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“When The Donald calls aspiring apprentices into the boardroom to determine which one to fire, I’m always hoping for a miracle. I want him to can ALL of them.” Thus spake Robert Farago nearly thirteen years ago when he started the General Motors Death Watch. Just fifty-one months later, General Motors filed for Chapter 11. Our august founder got his wish. Or most of it, anyway. The weak-sister brands were sold off — although, looking at the stunning resale value of Hummer H2s on the West Coast, one wonders if perhaps that nameplate should have been retained; it would certainly play well in an era where $100,000 is the new normal for a loaded full-size SUV. (One also has to admire Farago’s Muad’Dib-style prescience regarding Donald Trump’s relevance in the future, but that’s slightly besides the point.)

Robert was wrong about one thing: while General Motors did die in the the legal sense, most of what normies consider “GM” is still very much present and accounted for. I recently sat down with a senior “New GM” person who told me, “We used the bankruptcy to keep the good people and make some much-needed changes,” by which he meant “cutting the dead wood.” I think that much of the current product line reflects that rejuvenation. The Corvette is the world’s finest sporting automobile, at least on the value-for-money scale. The Equinox has been a bright spot for more than half a decade now. The Denali line is a license to print money, and justifiably so. I’m no longer much of a skeptic when it comes to the General. Last year, I did something I’d never done before: I spent nearly 60,000 of my favorite dollars on a brand new GM product. While there are certainly criticisms to be made regarding America’s largest-by-a-whisker automaker, I believe it is now safe to say that the company is on solid footing everywhere from 755-horsepower supercars to electric-dreams city commuters.

Except, of course, for Buick. That’s got to go, and nobody’s going to miss it.

When I first started noticing cars a kid in the ’70s, Buick still held some small cachet, but that was a long time ago.

HOLLY SCHEER: Hillary Clinton Apparently Still Has No Clue Why She Lost.

Clinton compared herself to the mother of the country, trying to enforce something wholesome that the children aren’t fond of. She said, “She ran the presidential campaign like a mother who was telling the kids to eat spinach because it was good for health while the other guy was asking them to go eat fast food and have ice-cream,” India Today reported. Clinton may not have realized it, but this also sheds a lot of light on how she sees the average American. She views them as short sighted, more interested in junk than substance, and in her words, they’re “backwards.”

Clinton reduced huge populations that voted for and against her to caricatures, by describing them as: “optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward, and his whole campaign ‘Make America Great Again’ was looking backwards. You know, you didn’t like black people getting rights, you don’t like women, you know, getting jobs, you don’t want it, you know, see that Indian-American succeeding more than you are. Whatever your problem is, I’m going to solve it.”

She traveled overseas to talk poorly about Americans, instead of building up the people that she campaigned to represent. Rural America is dealing with a host of serious issues, including poverty, joblessness, an opioid epidemic, a staggering suicide rate, and she doesn’t touch on any of these problems or offer possibly solutions.

When Trump speaks openly of “shithole” countries, he’s talking about Third World countries which could accurately be described that way. When Clinton implies that there are shithole countries, she’s referring to the vast interior of America.

EVERGREEN HEADLINE: Legacy Media Even Weirder Than We Thought.

Plus an explanation for Trump referring to NBC’s Chuck Todd as “sleepy-eyed son of a bitch:”

In an interview with a combative Chuck Todd, Leo Gerard, President of the United Steelworks, praised the effect of President Trump’s newly proclaimed tariffs would have on the U.S. steel market. Gerard praised Trump for making it clear he is going to “tackle trade deficits” which he called a “wealth transfer” because they are “taking good jobs away.”

Gerard said Trump was able to “see the steelworker agenda” and “he’s going to have a major impact on our members” with what he has done.

NBC’s Chuck Todd argued that while there are some countries where there is trade deficits but there is a “national security component” because “we’re exporting values” like democracy to make a financial ally. Gerard said he doesn’t understand his point because these countries aren’t dumping unemployment on the economy when they dump steel in the U.S.

* * * * * * * *

Let me break this Chuck Todd thing down for you people. Chuck was not so nice and, frankly, was more than a little condescending to Leo Gerard of the Steelworkers. Steelworkers get angry… Trump calls Chuck Todd a “sleepy-eyed son of a bitch” and… steelworkers laugh. Get it?

What does NBC have against American steelworkers? The Washington Free Beacon spotted MSNBC’s Ali Velshi smugly patronizing a steelworker on Friday: “You don’t want your son being a steel worker I assume.

YOUTUBE: The Great Radicalizer.

At one point during the 2016 presidential election campaign, I watched a bunch of videos of Donald Trump rallies on YouTube. I was writing an article about his appeal to his voter base and wanted to confirm a few quotations.

Soon I noticed something peculiar. YouTube started to recommend and “autoplay” videos for me that featured white supremacist rants, Holocaust denials and other disturbing content.

Since I was not in the habit of watching extreme right-wing fare on YouTube, I was curious whether this was an exclusively right-wing phenomenon. So I created another YouTube account and started watching videos of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, letting YouTube’s recommender algorithm take me wherever it would.

Before long, I was being directed to videos of a leftish conspiratorial cast, including arguments about the existence of secret government agencies and allegations that the United States government was behind the attacks of Sept. 11. As with the Trump videos, YouTube was recommending content that was more and more extreme than the mainstream political fare I had started with.

Intrigued, I experimented with nonpolitical topics. The same basic pattern emerged. Videos about vegetarianism led to videos about veganism. Videos about jogging led to videos about running ultramarathons. . . . The Wall Street Journal conducted an investigation of YouTube content with the help of Mr. Chaslot. It found that YouTube often “fed far-right or far-left videos to users who watched relatively mainstream news sources,” and that such extremist tendencies were evident with a wide variety of material. If you searched for information on the flu vaccine, you were recommended anti-vaccination conspiracy videos.

Related: Social Media As Social Disease.

AGREE? WITH TRUMP? HOW IS THIS EVEN POSSIBLE? Trump Wants More Asylums — and Some Psychiatrists Agree. “In the wake of the horrific school shootings in Parkland, Fla., President Trump has called repeatedly for building or reopening mental institutions. Strangely, perhaps, he has echoed an argument made by some experts who study the mental health care system.”


LARRY O’CONNOR: CBS really wants Oprah to run against Trump.

The full court press is on over at CBS to try and convince Oprah Winfrey to run for president in 2020.

Winfrey recently told People Magazine that it would take a message from the Almighty to get her to run. “’God, if you think I’m supposed to run, you gotta tell me, and it has to be so clear that not even I can miss it.’ And I haven’t gotten that yet,” she said.

So it appears CBS is determined to inspire some sort of divine intervention to get Oprah to to throw in her hat.

Earlier this week Oprah appeared on CBS’ Late Show with Stephen Colbert and an animated “God” showed up, complete with Oprah for President swag.

More details about CBS’s desperation at the link, plus:

But here’s the really strange thing about this pressure from CBS to get Oprah to run: Winfrey is actually their employee. She is, in fact, a journalist for CBS News.

So, apparently, CBS News is completely comfortable dispensing with even the faintest hint of journalistic integrity for their high-priced, 60 Minutes Special Correspondent.

In all fairness, it’s been a long time since CBS News or 60 Minutes dropped any pretense of objectivity.

HMM: China test hypersonic space vehicle as Xi Jinping continues push to rival Trump military.

According to a bombshell report issued at the opening of China’s annual meeting of Parliament, the country’s 2018 defence budget will be 1.11trillion yuan (£127billion).

Military chiefs in China reportedly want to make the country’s armed forces the most powerful in the world and have set a target of 8.1 per cent growth.

At present, China is the second biggest military spender behind the US.

Sam Roggeveen, a visiting fellow at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre of the Australian National University in Canberra, said: “The pace and scale of this build-up is really dramatic.

Those are just the official defense spending figures. China is known to do much of its military spending off the books. These figures are a few years old, but they still pertain in trying to get a better idea of how much Beijing really spends:

Not everyone agrees with Beijing’s numbers. Critics have complained for years that China consistently under-reports its defense budget by not including spending that other countries would disclose.

In 2012, Beijing announced a military budget of $106 billion. But the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute pegged the real number at $159 billion. The Pentagon estimated it was anywhere from $135 and $215 billion.

But there’s also this WSJ item from Tuesday: China Spends More on Domestic Security as Xi’s Powers Grow.

Beijing’s budgets for internal and external security have grown faster than the economy as a whole for several years, but domestic security spending has grown far faster — to where it exceeds the national defense budget by roughly 20%.

So who does Xi think his government really needs protection from? That’s a question I put to Bill Whittle and Scott Ott on a recent Right Angle segment.

THE OUTRAGE MACHINES DON’T WANT IT DONE “BEST,” THEY WANT IT DONE THEIR WAY: Washington Examiner: Government is not best done in a state of outrage.

Some of the worst policy changes in modern history have happened when lawmakers have let emotions and anecdotes dominate debate rather than facts and figures — actual evidence. Consider the short-lived “assault weapons” ban of 1994, nearly any law named after a deceased child, or President Trump enacting steel and aluminum tariffs. . . .

The murder of school children is a terrible calamity, but schools overall are incredibly safe, both in terms of mass shootings and of everyday crime. The experiences of students traumatized at a mass shooting need to be heard, but neither their ordeal nor their fear and anger turn them into policy experts. Passion should not be allowed to trump reason. Anecdotes should not displace facts. The perspectives of victims are important and should be heard, but students deserve sympathy, not carte blanche to dictate the trampling on fellow citizens’ rights.

There’s an instructive parallel in the judicial system. We entrust decisions on sentencing criminals to neutral judges, not to victims, their families, or their outraged neighbors. It’s the difference between a court and a lynch mob. . . .

James Madison, who drafted the Constitution, said the six-year term of senators was intended to ensure that the Senate proceeded “with more coolness, with more system, and with more wisdom, than the popular branch [the House of Representatives].” While the news cycle changes daily, the issues addressed by our Congress should not.

The outrage machines don’t mind lynch mobs, either, so long as the right people are being lynched.


Shot: Meghan McCain, Meredith Vieira to join health conference in Vatican City:

“The View” co-host Meghan McCain and former co-host Meredith Vieira are heading to Vatican City to honor their loved ones, and their fight against disease, at an international conference that will focus on hope for better and more effective health care around the world.

Leading scientists, patients, families, religious leaders, government representatives and more from across the globe will join The Cura Foundation’s Unite to Cure event to discuss the latest innovations and research that will prevent and treat disease.

At the conference, which will be held from April 26 to 28, Pope Francis is expected to receive participants.

“I’m honored to be part of this event,” McCain said on “The View” today.

Vieira attended the conference once before with her husband, Richard Cohen, saying, “It’s going to be an amazing experience … it gave Richard tremendous hope.”

—ABC News, yesterday.

Chaser: View’s Behar, Hostin Mock Pence as ‘Dangerous’ Christian With ‘Mental Illness:’

[Sunny] Hostin, who identifies as Catholic, called Pence’s Christianity “dangerous:”

When you have a Mike Pence who now puts this religious veneer on things and who calls people values voters, I think we’re this a dangerous situation. Look I’m Catholic. I’m a faithful person, but I don’t know that I want my vice president, um — speaking in tongues and having Jesus speak to him.

While Joy Behar decided to mock Pence instead, suggesting he had a “mental illness.”

“Like I said before, it’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you,” she warned.

Hostin agreed as the audience clapped. “Exactly. That’s different!” she gushed.

“That’s called mental illness, if I’m not correct. Hearing voices,” Behar quipped.

Guest host Sherri Shepherd added to the mockery, saying, “What concerns me is how long is the conversation with Jesus…anything that’s too much is concerning.”

NewsBusters, February 13.

Want more Trump? Trashing a huge chunk of your viewers as mentally ill for being practicing Christians will get you more Trump.


DON’T GET COCKY, KID: Politico: Trump Is Winning.

Donald Trump is on track to win re-election to the presidency of the United States.

Yes, despite Russiagate, despite shitholegate and despite whatever gate he blunders through next. Despite approval ratings that would make Nixon weep. Despite his mind-numbing political misjudgments—defending accused pedophiles, for example—and the endless, unnecessary daily drama. Trump is winning. It is actually happening, people. And if there are those who want to stop it—and there are of course millions—they need to know what they are up against. It’s a lot more than they overconfidently think. . . .

Second, consider Trump’s record as president. He actually has something to run on. He’s cut taxes. He’s rolled back regulations. He’s put ISIS on its heels. The economy and the stock market are humming along again, despite recent turmoil. Any other Republican incumbent running on that record of relative peace and prosperity—just as Eisenhower and Reagan did—would be in pretty good shape for re-election. Trump, as loathed as he is, might not cruise to reelection on an electoral landslide like those predecessors. But if jobs continue to be created and the economy continues to hum, whether he deserves the credit or not, enough voters might just hold their nose again and vote for him.

Maybe Trump isn’t all that loathed. After all, he’s ahead of where Obama was at the same point in his term, and nobody in the press was calling Obama “loathed.”

Related: One major difference between 2010 and 2018: Trump’s signature tax bill is much more popular than Obama’s signature health bill.

IF DEMOCRATS AND THE PRESS — BUT I REPEAT MYSELF — WANT TO MAKE 2018 ABOUT GUN CONTROL, WELL, OKAY. As Expected, Trump’s Visit To A Florida Hospital Was Criticized By The Media.

Related: Fake News: Liberals Try To Claim Florida Shooter Was “Trained By The NRA.” “What was the NRA doing hanging around at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School? Well… it turns out they weren’t. Those headlines are a bit more overblown than the way the Associated Press describes the situation, which is at least a bit more honest. The ‘rifle team’ in question was actually a marksmanship program. And it wasn’t run by the NRA, but by the Army Junior ROTC. And the “rifles” were air-powered pellet guns. They did, however, receive a grant to operate the program and purchase equipment.”

No one cares when the press tries its “have you no decency?” schtick, because the press so clearly has none of its own.

Also related: Why Didn’t Democrats Pass Gun Control When They Controlled Congress In Obama’s First Term? Because they didn’t want it to be Obama’s only term.

ANDREW KLAVAN: The Left Is Reaping the Whirlwind of the Culture They Made.

I am a First Amendment purist and don’t want to see expression censored in any way. And I don’t argue that there’s a straight line between any specific cultural creation and bad acts. But surely, a culture in which those in authority approve of and argue for things like gangsta rap and GTA — and indeed for the use of violence to silence speech that offends them — well, such a culture becomes a machine for transforming madness into murder.

It reminds me of some wisdom from another two sheriffs, the fictional sheriffs from the Coen Brothers movie of Cormac McCarthy’s novel No Country for Old Men discussing the mindless violence that has taken over society.

“Once you stop hearing ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am’ the rest is soon to follow,” says one.
“It’s the tide, the dismal tide,” says the other. “It’s not the one thing.”

The left wants to defend gangstas and “transgressive” art and antifa thugs — but when the shooting starts, they blame the guns.

The left wants to get rid of feminine modesty and masculine protectiveness and social restrictions on sex — but when the abuse and rape and harassment rise to the surface, they start whining about toxic manhood. Perhaps they should have listened to the Catholic apologist G.K. Chesterton, who wrote about the difference between reforming society and deforming it — a passage that was neatly paraphrased by John F. Kennedy: “Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up.”

At a more amusing level, they can’t figure out why they can’t get traction against Trump with scandals that would have worked three decades ago. Whatever could have happened in the interim?

THINGS YOU RUN ACROSS DOING RESEARCH: I’m working on a few essays (more about that soon) and wanted to pull together a list of US efforts to influence or “meddle” (the non-legal legal word du jour) in foreign elections. Of course, anyone with a sense of 20th Century history ought to know this, but obviously our intellectual betters discussing the Mueller indictments seem to conveniently forget this episode of American history.

That said, I thought I would share this little nugget from 2016 — long before Trump allegedly “colluded” with anyone but a porn star: “In unearthed 2006 audio, Clinton appears to suggest rigging the Palestine election.” According to The Week, the Most Qualified Candidate Ever said, regarding Palestinian elections:

“And if we were going to push for an election,” Clinton went on, “then we should have made sure that we did something to determine who was going to win.”

I suppose it always depends on whose Gore is being oxed.

PAUL BOLYARD: A few thoughts on Mitt Romney running for Senate from his perch in Utah.

If you want Trump’s agenda to succeed (and that’s what it’s all about, right?) the GOP is going to need that Republican vote from Utah. We simply cannot afford another debacle like we saw in Alabama. Mitt is still wildly popular in Utah, and he’ll have the money and skillz to beat whatever upstart Roy Moore type the Bannonites throw at him. And then he’ll beat whatever sacrificial scrub the Democrats send to the plate.

A protracted mini-war along the way doesn’t help our side and will just give the Democrat-Media Complex more ammo to use against us in future wars. Think long and hard before you put that lighter to your hair.

Read the whole thing.

JOHN HINDERAKER: Why Susan Rice Wrote An Email To Herself. “Susan Rice is far from the brightest bulb on the tree, but she was well aware that by concealing facts ostensibly relating to national security from her counterpart in the new administration–General Michael Flynn–she was, at a minimum, violating longstanding civic norms. If she actually lied to Flynn, she could have been accused of much worse. So Rice wanted to be able to retrieve her email, if she found herself in a sticky situation, and tell the world that she hid relevant facts about Russia from the new administration on Barack Obama’s orders.”

Plus: “What were the secrets that Obama wanted to keep from the new administration? We can easily surmise that the fact that the Steele memo was paid for by the Democratic Party; that the FBI had to some degree collaborated with Steele; that the Clinton campaign had fed some of the fake news in the dossier to Steele; and that Comey’s FBI had used Steele’s fabrications as the basis for FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign were among the facts that Obama and his minions didn’t want Michael Flynn and Donald Trump to know. Susan Rice, we can infer, was told to keep these secrets, and if anyone ever asked why she had failed to disclose them to Michael Flynn and others on Trump’s team, or even lied to those people, she would have the defense that President Obama ordered her to do it. There may be more to it than this. The redacted paragraph likely contains more information about what it was that Rice wasn’t supposed to tell the Trump team. One of these days, we will learn what was blacked out.”

THIS MUST BE MORE OF THAT “COLLUSION” I’VE BEEN HEARING ABOUT: U.S. Strikes Killed Scores of Russia Fighters in Syria, Sources Say.. “The 200-plus deaths dwarf official Russian toll in the war.”

Nominally, of course, they’re “mercenaries,” and the Russian response is this: “No one wants to start a world war over a volunteer or a mercenary who wasn’t sent by the state and was hit by Americans.” I suspect, though, that a message was sent, and it wasn’t Trump saying he’ll have “more flexibility” after the election. . .

ABOUT THAT BLUE WAVE… The collapse of Democrats’ popularity on the much-ballyhooed generic ballot foreshadows tough midterm elections for them in November.

New polling shows that Democrats have lost their recent 15-point lead over Republicans, dropping to only a two-point lead for a critical election they had hoped to paint as a referendum on President Trump and writ large, Republicans.

However, historically speaking, the news is more daunting for Democrats. Compared to where they stood in the 2014 midterm elections, Democrats are actually faring worse at this point than they were then.

In the 2014 midterms, Democrats were ahead on the generic ballot by an impressive eight points most of the year. However their lead eventually vanished, and Republicans ultimately trounced them at the ballot box, retook the U.S. Senate and won a big majority of seats in the House of Representatives.

By comparison, Democrats’ current poll numbers also rate worse than their generic ballot ranking in the 2010 midterms.

If you want to make a difference, as Glenn as been urging lately, step away from the keyboard and volunteer for a local campaign.


The sad truth is, there’s not a big enough constituency for reducing spending. It’s possible that the bond market will induce some responsibility — we may be seeing the first signs of that — but not enough voters, and even fewer politicians, care. Even if the GOP had 60 seats in the Senate, it’s very doubtful that would translate into 60 votes to cut spending significantly.

As I’ve written before, I’d like to see a 5% across the board cut on spending, followed by a multiyear hard freeze. But the chances of that are zero. And even if Trump is turning out to be more conservative (and more libertarian!) than I expected, he never pretended to be a big spending cutter. And even if he were, there would be bipartisan resistance in Congress.

I don’t have a solution. Any ideas out there?

Related: The Tea Party Is Dead. Long Live The Tea Party.

In 2010 at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, I witnessed and heard some of these debates first hand. Everyone was walking around with pocket Constitutions, reading and trying to understand the relevance of that document. It doesn’t matter if the arguments weren’t on point or legally “correct.” What mattered was that ordinary people had taken a keen interest in preserving the spirit of the Constitution and the essence of our founding principles that are “self-evident” in that document at a time it has been under relentless attack.

In a word, it was awesome.

This side of the tea parties was never widely reported on by the media, for very good reasons. The left hates getting into a discussion about what the Constitution says because they can’t defend most of their ideas. Despite the fact that the founders wrote the constitution so that basically anyone who could read could understand it, the left keeps insisting the Constitution says things that it doesn’t.

Any clever lawyer and willing judge can twist the meaning of the Constitution so that it says anything they want it to say to accomplish any end they wish to accomplish. So the budget deal may have killed fiscal sanity in Washington and — perhaps — the tea party’s political power to some extent. And the GOP may have co-opted most of the larger tea party groups to do the party’s bidding.

What remains of the tea party is, to my mind, the best part. The desire of ordinary people to govern themselves, to take personal responsibility for their own lives, and to try to do something about the denigration and increasing irrelevance of the Constitution.

Don’t give up the ship.

SPENDING: House holds 5:30 am vote to end brief shutdown, sends spending bill to Trump.

The House early Friday morning passed a bipartisan bill to keep the government open, several hours into a partial government closure and despite division within both parties over the legislation.

Dozens of Republicans and Democrats voted against the bill, which provides government funding until March 23 and sets a marker for federal spending levels for the next two years. The legislation also suspends the nation’s borrowing limit for one year, and provides nearly $90 billion in disaster relief for states and territories devastated by recent wildfires and hurricanes.

Despite the opposition from Republicans opposed to new spending, and Democrats who wanted to include an immigration deal that doesn’t exist, the bipartisan support supplied enough votes to ensure House passage.

Most Democrats added some drama by not voting until the very end, but more than 70 of them ultimately joined the GOP majority to support the bill. In the final vote, 67 Republicans rejected the bill, which passed 240-186.

I’m not happy.

YES. NEXT QUESTION? Are Democrats destroying their own credibility?

Michael Barone:

On what issues are Democrats taking such risks?

(1) Their undisguised faith that Donald Trump and his campaign colluded with Vladimir Putin’s Russia to steal the 2016 election. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think this happened or that it has or will come anywhere close to being proven.

(2) The Republican tax bill was a “scam” that was going to take money away from those with modest incomes. A look at the tax rate schedules in the Republicans’ bill should have told Democrats that this argument wasn’t sustainable, and perhaps they made it in the hope—which didn’t seem too far-fetched at the time—that enough Republicans would waver, the bill would never pass and their characterization, with predictable help from the mainstream media, would stick. But the bill passed, modest and low-income people are getting raises and bonuses, and just about everyone will get a bigger paycheck later this month.

(3) Their claims that the Republicans were responsible for shutting the government down last month over DACA. Democrats knew that DACA was widely popular, but overestimated its importance to voters. It turns out they didn’t want the government shut down to help even deserving illegal immigrants. It’s hard for the party of more government to lose an argument over who caused a government shutdown, but they managed to do it.

More at the link.

I understand that the party is currently in almost total thrall to its far-left progressive wing, but the last time they took such big risks with their trust and credibility it wasn’t until after they’d won back Congress.

COLLUSION: FBI lovers’ latest text messages: Obama ‘wants to know everything.’

Newly revealed text messages between FBI paramours Peter Strzok and Lisa Page include an exchange about preparing talking points for then-FBI Director James Comey to give to President Obama, who wanted “to know everything we’re doing.”

The message, from Page to Strzok, was among thousands of texts between the lovers reviewed by Fox News. The pair both worked at one point for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Page wrote to Strzok on Sept. 2, 2016, about prepping Comey because “potus wants to know everything we’re doing.” According to a newly released Senate report, this text raises questions about Obama’s personal involvement in the Clinton email investigation.

This whole thing stinks to high heaven. Plus:

Among the newly disclosed texts, Strzok also calls Virginians who voted against then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s wife for a state Senate seat “ignorant hillbillys.” (sic)

That text came from Strzok to Page on Nov. 4, 2015, the day after Jill McCabe lost a hotly contested Virginia state Senate election. Strzok said of the result, “Disappointing, but look at the district map. Loudon is being gentrified, but it’s still largely ignorant hillbillys. Good for her for running, but curious if she’s energized or never again.”

Your tax dollars at work.

UPDATE: Full report here.

SALENA ZITO: There aren’t two Americas. There are hundreds. Can they get along?

We are parochial by birth; we love our neighborhoods and towns, our sports teams and our schools, as well as churches, county fairs, local music, and parish festivals.

No matter what the subject is, we brag ours is better than yours, maybe put on our team jersey’s and crow about it, but for the most part it is all done in good nature. We find a way to come together on some cultural touchtone and we continue on with our lives.

“It is a shame that politics cannot adopt that same robust competitive nature, that doesn’t end with a conniption,” said one building manager, after watching the State of the Union address last week.

“You know, disagree on some things, but show a little respect when it comes to other things,” he said.

He was adamant in not wanting to give his real name. “Just use ‘Derek,'” he says shaking his head, “because I see what happens on social media if you express a thought.”

“Yeah, no thank you,” he quipped. He is part of the fabric of the country who doesn’t live and die by tribal politics.

Derek, who is African-American, said he was disappointed last week in the members of Congress when they sat on their hands during the State of the Union address on several fronts. “And what was going on there when the president noted the dive in black unemployment, and they all sat on their hands and rolled their eyes?”

“Man, I don’t get Washington. I didn’t vote for Trump, but I accepted him as the president and honestly, under his policies, I have more money in paycheck,” he said.

Read the whole thing.

THAT’S WHY THEY IGNORED IT: Eddie Scarry: Trump won on immigration at the State of the Union, even as the media ignored it.

Anyone hear about the two pairs of black parents who were invited to the State of the Union by President Trump in order to show the country how tragic our immigration system is?

I didn’t think so. Their appearance — and it was heartbreaking to see them grieve while Trump told the story of how their daughters were killed by illegal immigrant gang members — was almost entirely dismissed by the press. . . .

The two had been walking together when several members of MS-13, a gang largely made up of illegal immigrants from the slums of Central America, jumped them while wielding machetes and baseball bats. The girls, who had grown up friends since childhood, were slashed, brutalized, and bludgeoned to death, reportedly over an altercation that started on social media.

The machete is MS-13’s “weapon of choice” and is “used to mutilate and dismember victims during attacks that sometimes are recorded,” according to the Long Island newspaper Newsday.

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini described the gruesome attacks as “depraved” and said the perpetrators would have had to have had “no regard for human life.”

So ravaged is Suffolk County by MS-13 that it received half a million dollars in a federal grant last October just to combat the gang violence.

But after Trump’s address, NBC “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd immediately complained that he “didn’t lead with a conciliatory tone on immigration.” (Presumably Trump’s guests, Evelyn Rodriguez, Freddy Cuevas, Elizabeth Alvarado, and Robert Mickens, were more upset that the illegals who killed their daughters “didn’t lead with a conciliatory tone” when they took machetes to their bodies.)

The New York Times editorial board said Trump had “injected only poison and confusion” into the immigration debate.

Flush with originality, the Washington Post also said Trump “injected more ethno-nationalist venom into a debate he already has done much to poison” and that he “chose in the most inflammatory way possible to associate immigrants with a horrific crime committed by a vicious gang.”

As Scarry notes, an actual look at the speech doesn’t reveal any actual poison. Plus:

It’s only worth noting that Cuevas, Mickens and their parents are black because of the media’s unrelenting accusation that any immigration policy outside of “complete open borders” is racist.

Trump spent the better part of the last month being called a racist because he suggested limiting immigration from “shithole countries.” Here at his State of the Union were four black parents who saw their children taken away because of illegal immigrant criminals.

That interests virtually no one in the national media?

Of course not, because that would be a win for Trump. And he always wins when the debate is over immigration.

That’s why they want to shut the debate down with bogus claims of racism.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: VIDEO: Law prof: says Department of Justice a ‘sh*thole.’

More than a dozen of students and professors blasted the Illinois College of Law last week, labeling it a “sh*thole” for hosting an event that featured a Department of Justice official.

According to the school’s calendar, the college of law sponsored last week’s lecture by Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart, who was invited by the university to discuss various topics relating to the justice system.

Students for Economic Empowerment UIUC organized the protest, using it as a platform to speak out against president Trump, despite the fact that Stewart has held his role since 2008.

The video footage obtained by Campus Reform depicts a visibly frustrated law professor, Francis Boyle, berating the Department of Justice and leading the protesters in an anti-Trump chant outside of the law building, with The Daily Illini confirming that it in fact Boyle who is featured in the video.

“And I say, it is the College of Law here, the ‘Trump College of Law,’ that brought out this high-level Trump henchman,” the professor said into the megaphone. “They are the s—-holes too. And I want everyone in there to hear exactly what we think about them.”

We keep hearing about how Trump has lowered the tone of public debate in America. I guess this is what people are talking about.

LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: Rosenstein Wanted Trump to Help Him ‘Fight’ Congressional Oversight and Much, Much More.

A QUESTION FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES: Does the word “Caucasity” — used in the NYT today — express the idea of whiteness as a problem? Here’s the passage in question: “The audience begins to clap as well as its overwhelming Caucasity will allow.”

You want more Trump? Because this is how you get more Trump.

BYRON YORK: On immigration, Trump goes for it all.

Back in 2015, before the presidential primaries began, a voter asked candidate Donald Trump if he believed compromise should be part of politics.

“Compromise is not a bad word to me,” Trump answered. “But if you are going to compromise, ask for about three times more than you want. You understand? So when you compromise, you get what you want.”

Now, President Trump is engaged in delicate negotiations with Congress over immigration. And he has come up with a deal. On one hand, he’s making a big offer to Democrats: legal status for 1.8 million people in the country illegally, which is more than the 800,000 or so covered by former President Barack Obama’s old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA — plus a path to citizenship for all of them.

In return, Trump is making a big ask: A fully-funded border wall, strong limits on chain migration, and an end to the visa lottery.

The questions for Democrats: Is Trump asking for three times more than he wants? Can his position be negotiated down? Or is this the deal they should take?

This stuff can be a real art.


The United States is a compassionate nation. We are proud that we do more than any other country to help the needy, the struggling, and the underprivileged all over the world. But as President of the United States, my highest loyalty, my greatest compassion, and my constant concern is for America’s children, America’s struggling workers, and America’s forgotten communities. I want our youth to grow up to achieve great things. I want our poor to have their chance to rise.

So tonight, I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties — Democrats and Republicans — to protect our citizens of every background, color, religion, and creed. My duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans — to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American Dream. Because Americans are dreamers too.



According to the Hollywood Reporter, the CBS telecast was down a staggering 21% from 2017 — potentially an all time low.

This mirrors the slide in NFL ratings that several surveys have attributed to players’ decisions to kneel during games.

“Virtue signaling is tricky business, especially for an entertainment world trying to be holier-than-thou,” Nick Gillespie writes at Reason, wondering why “Grammys Have Time for Hillary Clinton, But Not Lorde, To Perform?

Let’s assume that the Grammys, like the Olympics, the Oscars, the NFL, and other 20th-century televised institutions, no longer command attention and interest the way they used to. It’s less because of politicization and more simply because audiences have more and more freedom to go elsewhere. (In the case of the Olympics, the loss of audience is precisely because of de-politicization: the end of the Cold War robbed every archery and ski jump contest of specifically political interest.) The more important question for me is whether consumers of art, culture, sports, and entertainment are more or less able to access the fare we want. To borrow the pretzel logic of multiple Grammy-winning band Steely Dan, any major dude with half a heart will tell you, my friend, any minor world that breaks apart falls together again. Music has never been more accessible and varied than it is today. While the “rock star” archetype may well be dead as a meaningful cultural touchstone, there’s more stuff to listen to in any possible genre you can imagine. If the Grammys and boring old fare like it must die for entertainment to live, well, that’s the sort of grave I’m happy to dance on.

* * * * * * * *

Which isn’t to say that the Grammys didn’t go out of its way to bother the majority of Americans who didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. For a show that didn’t make time for popular (and political!) artist Lorde to perform despite her being up for the prestigious “album of the year” award, the Grammys still found time to run an explicitly anti–Donald Trump sketch featuring Hillary Clinton reading from Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury. Because when you’ve got a roomful of musical talent, what you really want to see is a failed politician who spent a good amount of her time in power railing against pop culture.

As with most of broadcast television, the Grammys have been heading slowly south in the ratings for ages. Their recent hyper-politicization aligns perfectly with Robert Tracinski’s theory regarding the hard left bias of the network late night TV hosts – it’s the best way for the Grammys, and the network that hosts it, to keep what’s left of a inexorably shrinking audience.

ELIZABETH PRICE FOLEY: The immigration fight isn’t really about the Dreamers — it’s all politics. “President Trump’s immigration proposal offers a pathway to citizenship for approximately 1.8 million people. . . . Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, allowed approximately 800,000 individuals to stay, without any path to citizenship, for renewable three-year periods under his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order. If the Trump proposal is a hateful middle finger to Hispanics, presumably Obama’s much narrower order was a violent assault. Yet the far left’s leaders, including Congressman Gutierrez, praised DACA as an ‘antidote for do-nothingism’ and now thinks that Trump’s more robust proposal — replete with a path to citizenship — is a surefire sign of xenophobia. Such comments imply that the far left’s goal is not finding a workable solution for Dreamers but instead, keeping their base ginned up with hatred toward President Trump. By reflexively crying racism in response to reasonable policy proposals — which would achieve far more than any Democratic president or Congress has ever achieved — the political left undermines its credibility and suggests its goal is sowing racial division, not solving problems.”

Trump has made them a very generous offer, and — as I suspect he expected — they’re rejecting it and screaming racism. I think that leaves him right where he wants to be.

ABOUT THAT LOGAN ACT: Kerry to Abbas Confidante: ‘Stay Strong and do not given in to Trump’. Remember how many progressives wanted to prosecute members of the Trump transition team under the Logan Act for warning U.S. allies that the U.S. would not look kindly upon them if they voted for a pending anti-Israel UN resolution? Strangely enough, those same progressives have been silent about Kerry’s much more egregious interference in U.S. foreign policy.

DAN MCLAUGHLIN: Chuck Schumer Doesn’t Want An Immigration Deal.

• Trump will sign basically anything that he can claim includes “The Wall.”

• Trump would be effectively admitting defeat if he signs something that he can’t claim includes “The Wall”

• If Trump is on board with an immigration deal with the Senate, that will give cover for it to pass the Republican-controlled House.

• Most of the Republican voters who care about restricting immigration will take their cues from Trump if he says he got a wall from Schumer, and will be happy and encouraged regardless of what else is in the bill.

• Most of the Democratic voting base will be furious at Democrats that they did something to make Trump happy – especially on his signature issue – regardless of what else is in the bill. The “Resistance” will treat this as the equivalent of a deal with Hitler.

• The optics of a smiling Trump signing a bipartisan immigration deal will play well overall for Trump and Republicans, and will help defuse some of the most polarizing arguments against Trump.

• Schumer expects to have more leverage to extract better terms in 2019, given that the Democrats are universally expected, at a minimum, to gain seats in the House in November.

Dan concludes, “Now that both Schumer and Trump have declared the wall non-negotiable, one of them has to cave or there’s no deal – a situation that was completely predictable when Schumer made his announcement.”

I’ve been reading Dan for years and respect the heck out of him, but his take might be too generous to Schumer. It isn’t that he doesn’t have any plays to make, but I don’t see any — at least not yet — which overcome his essential bind:

• Democrats can’t deliver the immigration deal which their most energized voters demand, even to the point of protesting at Schumer’s home.

• Continued Democratic obstruction on immigration restrictions — which poll surprisingly well (surprising to Beltway types, anyway) — risks turning off the very same Obama-to-Trump voters who Democrats need to win back in November.

This is far from over and Schumer is a crafty Washington player, but for now it looks like a “bad” deal for Schumer might be better than no deal at all.

NO. WAY. Here’s A Crazy Theory: Maybe Americans Just Want A Rational Immigration Policy.

David Harsanyi:

Logically speaking, Democrats can’t simultaneously contend that the borders are already secure and argue we have an obligation to legalize 800,000 illegal immigrant children and another 11 (or whatever it is) million illegal immigrants. How did they get here? How will the dynamic change in the future? All the arguments now in play for DACA will be in play a decade from now. Do we do this every decade?

Now Mitch McConnell has promised to allow an up-or-down vote on DACA in early February that ensures the immigration debate will consume Washington for the next few weeks. It seems there’s already consensus forming among analysts that this is a loser for Republicans. But maybe the lesson of the shutdown is that DACA, and the debate surrounding illegal immigrants in general, isn’t as simple or as powerful as Democrats imagine. Maybe the shutdown’s lesson is that Trump can hold out for a wall and other concessions on chain migration and enforcement in exchange for an easier path towards legalization for those already here. Maybe the lesson is that a deal is available.

Because if the wall is just a silly, ineffective, useless prop then certainly it would make sense for Democrats to accede to its creation to help legalize the Dreamers and create a more rational and ethical immigration policy. If they don’t, cynical people might start to get the impression that Democrats are far more interested in creating millions of new Democrats than they are in creating a lawful and rational process that respects the sovereignty of their nation.

I guess I’m a cynical person then.

BYRON YORK: NeverTrumpers face vexing question: What to make of Trump successes?

The start of President Trump’s second year in office has given Republicans and conservatives an opportunity to review a solid list of achievements: corporate and individual tax cuts; economic growth; wage growth; a conservative Supreme Court justice; a record number of circuit court confirmations; deregulation; the defeat of Islamic State, and more. Each is a development worth celebrating, either by the standards of conservatism, or the general welfare, or both.

But for NeverTrump conservatives, the list presents a challenge. Many support the actions, like cutting taxes and reducing regulation, on Trump’s list. Yet some have also staked their credibility and prestige on declaring Trump’s election an unmitigated, historic disaster that will lead to an autocratic, dystopian future. Many want to force Trump out of office, either by impeachment, the 25th Amendment, or, at least, defeat in 2020.

So how to deal with the current good news?

The most extreme NeverTrumpers, like the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin, simply rail against everything the president does. But more sophisticated NeverTrumpers are looking for nuanced ways to recognize the president’s accomplishments while maintaining that he remains a menace — and that they have been right about him all along.

Jennifer Rubin, like Ana Navarro, is just a Republican-for-media-purposes.

MOMENTUM: Emboldened conservatives press Ryan to bring hard-right immigration bill to floor.

Related: Shock poll: Americans want massive cuts to legal immigration: Cutting chain migration even more popular than legalizing Dreamers. “A Harvard-Harris poll taken in the run-up to the shutdown found Americans strongly support granting citizenship rights to illegal immigrant Dreamers. But they also back Mr. Trump’s three demands for a border wall, limits to the chain of family migration and an end to the Diversity Visa Lottery. Most striking of all is the public’s demand for lower overall legal immigration — a position that has little traction on Capitol Hill but one that is overwhelmingly popular across the country.”

Also: Immigration deal in jeopardy after Democrats retract border wall funding.

Plus: Michael Barone: After shutdown, Republicans have leverage on immigration.

ALICE STEWART: On shutdown, Democrats have a lot of explaining to do.

Chuck Schumer blames the GOP generally and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell specifically, saying the Democrats are happy to compromise, but “we will not be bullied.”

The reality is that Democrats chose protections for recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients over funding the government. They will have to explain that to the American people.

The fact is that, while there is tremendous support for protecting Dreamers, 56% of Americans, according to a recent CNN poll, said approving a budget to avoid a shutdown was more important than continuing DACA. Thirty-four percent thought renewing DACA was more important than preventing a shutdown.

President Trump has been clear on his goal for dealing with immigration. Along with a DACA fix, he wants increased security at the border, an end to chain migration, and an end to the visa lottery program.

With that in mind, Congress should have addressed first things first: fund the government now and address DACA by its March deadline. It’s shameful that our military and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will suffer due to the reality show known as Congress.

But if the GOP can’t get the Democrats to pay a political price, then you can expect more of the same.

THIS STINKS TO HIGH HEAVEN: FBI ‘Failed To Preserve’ Five Months Of Text Messages Between Anti-Trump FBI Agents.

The FBI “failed to preserve” five months worth of text messages exchanged between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the two FBI employees who made pro-Clinton and anti-Trump comments while working on the Clinton email and the Russia collusion investigations.

The disclosure was made Friday in a letter sent by the Justice Department to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC).

“The Department wants to bring to your attention that the FBI’s technical system for retaining text messages sent and received on FBI mobile devices failed to preserve text messages for Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page,” Stephen Boyd, the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs at the Justice Department, wrote to Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, the chairman of HSGAC. (RELATED: FBI Agents Discussed ‘Insurance Policy’ Against Trump Win)

He said that texts are missing for the period between Dec. 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017.

There have been so many episodes like this where crucial evidence is “lost” that I don’t believe any of it anymore.

Related: NSA erased surveillance data related to pending lawsuits: Report.

Surveillance data the National Security Agency vowed to preserve related to pending lawsuits has been erased, and the agency did not take several precautions it told a federal court it would take to ensure the data did not get deleted, court filings reveal.

Top NSA officials should be jailed for contempt. But they won’t because the law is for the little people.


Shot: Why do Californians pay more state and local taxes than Texans?

—The San Jose Mercury, this past Sunday.


A pair of California lawmakers want to claw back some of steep tax cuts that corporations will receive under the federal tax overhaul signed last month by President Donald Trump.

Democratic Assemblymen Kevin McCarty of Sacramento and Phil Ting of San Francisco announced Thursday that they will pursue a constitutional amendment to add a surcharge on large companies that do business in California, potentially raising billions of dollars to expand social services for Californians.*

“We’ve seen enough billionaire justice from the presidency,” McCarty said in an interview. “It’s time for middle class tax justice.”

“‘Time for middle class tax justice’: California corporate tax bill offsets Trump cuts,” the Sacramento Bee, Thursday.

* What could go wrong?

SMALL BUSINESSES ARE ALREADY INVESTING DUE TO TAX CUT: That’s the word from Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Linda McMahon, who, according to LifeZette’s Brenda Kirby, hears that message from entrepreneurs and small business owners all the time.

“Well, what they’re saying with the new tax reform package passed is that they are going to take the proceeds from any tax savings that they have and reinvest them in their business,” McMahon said during an interview Thursday on Laura Ingraham’s Talk Radio show. “So, you know, they complained about taxes. They wanted to see regulatory reform. And under President Trump, they are seeing both of those issues addressed. And they’re very enthusiastic about it.”

That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that McMahon wants “to see more loans because that means more businesses are taking advantage of this access to capital. And they’ll either use it to grow, or they’ll use it to start a new business, or they’ll use it to add an employee.” All true but wouldn’t it be better if those guarantees and loans came from the private sector rather than the taxpayers via SBA?


TRUMP’S HITLER! LET’S EXPAND HIS POWER! Liberals accuse Trump of being a dictator, then promptly vote to give Trump more power.

Since Inauguration Day, liberals have fear-mongered in order to swell the ranks of their #Resistance. While they said Ronald Reagan was senile and George W. Bush was stupid, they now accuse Trump of being an evil authoritarian. Pieces in both the Washington Post and the New York Times, for instance, declared 1984 a must-read at the start of 2017. In the same spirit, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi even accused Trump of attempting “word and thought control.”

If any of this was legitimate, liberals would suddenly become the biggest advocates of limited government, or at least limited executive power. And for a while, there was even hope that checks and balances would come back in vogue. Reasonable people like columnist Ryan Cooper could be forgiven for naively expecting “Democrats to see at least some of the problems with unchecked surveillance powers.” But they didn’t.

When given an opportunity to limit the authority of a man they said was unsafe for democracy, Democrats joined with Republicans to put the keys to the surveillance state back into the pocket of the president. The House voted down an amendment by Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., that would have forced the government to get a warrant before spying on citizens. The combined vote was 233 against with 183 in favor.

What the Deep State wants, the Deep State usually gets.

MATTHEW CONTINETTI: Liberal exhaustion from Oprah to DACA.

What Matthew Walther called Oprahysteria signified nothing less than Democratic leeriness and hesitancy at the coming primary fight. Crowded, aged, liberal, boring, and pale, the emerging 2020 Democratic field is no reason for excitement. Tossing Oprah into the mix livens things up.

But all that’s in the future. The midterms come first. Here, the Democrats are enthusiastic. They have many—some say too many—candidates. After Virginia and Alabama, the wind is at their backs. Trump remains unpopular. All that the Democrats are missing is an agenda. They need something to offer the public. Right now they have nothing.

Don’t tell me they have the Dreamers. Polls might show that legalizing the status of illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children is popular. But the fact is that the attention Dreamers receive from the media is remarkably out of proportion and intensity with their relevance to the everyday voter. When Pew surveyed public priorities a year ago, the top three items were terrorism (76 percent), the economy (73 percent), and education (69 percent). Immigration ranked fifteenth (43 percent) out of twenty-one options.

In the Virginia exit poll last November, immigration was only the third-most important issue, and much of that probably was from Gillespie voters who want the state to fight MS-13. Health care and gun policy were more important to Virginians. So do we really believe Claire McCaskill will begin her appeals to Missourians this fall by saying, “Reelect me, I legalized the Dreamers”?

It’s not so much that it’s a thin bench, but one with all the wrong priorities and worst of all: deadly uninteresting.

MORE FAKE NEWS? GOP senator: Trump did not make ‘s—hole’ comment.

Republican Sen. David Perdue (Ga.) on Sunday said President Trump did not use the word “shithole” to refer to some African nations, Haiti and El Salvador during a White House meeting with lawmakers.

During an interview on ABC’s “Meet the Press,” Perdue said the comment attributed to the president in The Washington Post is a “gross misrepresentation.”

“I’m telling you he did not use that word, George. And I’m telling you it’s a gross misrepresentation. How many times do you want me to say that?” Perdue said after host George Stephanopoulos pressed him for an answer.

If the reports were true, they were a breach of confidence regarding a private meeting. If they’re false, they’re something worse. Either way, how can Trump feel he’s dealing with Democrats on immigration in good faith, if they’re willing to either breach confidence or lie?

Related: DHS secretary on Trump’s ‘s—hole’ comments: ‘I don’t recall him saying that exact phrase.’

SUMANTRA MAITRA: Trump’s Conservative-Realist Approach Will Outlast Trump.

It is foolish to imagine that the interests of United States will cause her to be aligned with the same countries with whom her interests were aligned in 1945, or even 1989. The European Union, for example, under the leadership of Brussels, Stockholm, and Berlin, consistently clashed with Washington on Iran, mass-migration, Jerusalem, Cuba, the Nord Stream gas pipeline, Russian sanctions, and China to name just a few. This rift will only continue to grow.

The failure to understand the simple fact that Trumpism is purely an effect of a failed imperial foreign policy, and not a cause, in incredible to observe. The United States now stands as a hegemon, and now faces what Great Britain faced during the Suez Canal crisis in 1956: massive debt, a disinterested public that wants to avoid any foreign entanglement, new growing peer rivals and structural realities, a bygone unipolar moment, and a new multipolar great power rivalry. In a way, Trump’s strategy simply reflects these structural changes and aspirations of Americans, who are tired of paying their hard-earned cash for this Wilsonian and imperial foreign policy. Conservative Realism is about strength at home and prudence and restraint abroad.

NATO funding remains a major thorn, and while Trump took credit for some countries increasing their funding for NATO, the strategy still makes it a point that countries should pay for their security. Trump is right about rich European countries living on American taxpayers. But it is not true that Europe is supposed to pay for Trump. That’s not how it works. And there’s no way Trump will be able to make Western European countries pay 2 percent of GDP for NATO, simply because there is no longer a Soviet Union to fear. American foreign policy at this stage is more aligned with East and Central European states, which are traditionally socially conservative and are wary of Russian military designs and EU social engineering. That is unlikely to change, and sooner or later, American policymakers will need to adjust to this new reality.

That last point is one Donald Rumsfeld was mocked for making 15 years ago, with his “Old Europe/New Europe” remarks.

PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Don’t refill the swamp by restoring earmarks, President Trump.

While President Trump wants to drain the swamp, his White House has been repeatedly checked by a gridlocked Congress. Now, Trump wants to grease the wheels a bit. He wants to bring back earmarks.

“I think we should look at a form of earmarks,” Trump told lawmakers gathered at the White House on Tuesday. “One thing it did is it brought everybody together.” The other thing it will do is permanently rebrand the party of fiscal responsibility into the party of graft, pork, and greed.

To be sure, earmarks make the legislative process a bit more efficient. And it’s understandable why a dealmaker like Trump would find them appealing as a negotiating aid. But they also lead to waste. Even the president admitted as much when he said that earmarks “got a little bit out of hand.”

When negotiations break down, obstructionists sell their votes for things like a $233-million bridge nobody needs, $3.4-million worth of tunnels for turtles, and $500,000 for a teapot museum. Old, greasy hands like former Rep. Charlie Rangel were even able to secure funding for personal monuments. That New York Democrat christened the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service with $1.9 million in taxpayer money.

Most lawmakers don’t remember, though. When some Republicans tried to bring earmarks back shortly after Trump’s inauguration, Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, warned that “63 percent of House Republicans have been elected since 2010” and as a result “have no personal knowledge or experience with earmarks.”

Those post-pork members didn’t witness the conservative crusade to end the practice. “If there’s a public vote [on earmarks],” former Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., warned me last February, “Republicans are going to get killed by some of these grassroots organizations out there now.” In other words, they can’t comprehend the rake they would be stepping on if they do this before the midterm elections.

That’s absolutely right.

NOBODY’S SURPRISED HERE, ARE THEY? Son of Dem Congressman: Coming Out As A Republican To My Democrat Family Went Worse Than Coming Out Gay.

The irony of this apparent intolerance for diversity of thought by the party claiming to champion the rights of groups underserved by the status quo was not lost on me.

For the first time in my progressive life, standing up for the values that I most strongly espouse—truth, morality, self-reliance, boundaries, tolerance, and a healthy dose of Jewish skepticism—was damaging my reputation and character. When I publicly opposed my dad’s support of the Iran deal, I was admonished. I had few friends with whom I could have a civil political conversation: one stopped all communication with me for two weeks because Trump won the presidency.

If Republicans are bad, Trump is nothing less than Satan embodied. Post-election family gatherings devolved into group Trump-bashing, which intensified as more rumors of my dubious views wafted across town. I did not even bother going to gay pride because it was fused with a Resist march. If you do not want to impeach our president, you have no place in gay life.

I was labeled a white supremacist by a friend I’ve known my entire life, and completely dropped with no explanation by another dear friend and self-anointed giant of the gay civil rights movement to whom my father had introduced me 15 years ago.

Hypothesis: Lefties act this way because they’re awful people.

THE LEFTIES AT THE INTERCEPT ARE NOT AMUSED: Oprah Winfrey for President: Have We All Gone Bonkers?

I’m old enough to remember when liberals gave a damn about experience, qualifications, and judgement; when Democrats mocked the idea of Trump — a former reality TV star and property developer who struggled to tell the difference between Hamas and Hezbollah — running for the presidency.

On the campaign trail, former President Barack Obama blasted Trump as “uniquely unqualified,” lacking in “basic knowledge” and “woefully unprepared” to do the job of commander-in-chief. In stark contrast, he argued, there had “never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America.”

Well, when you finish up with a lie like that, people may disbelieve the other stuff, too. And since — judging from the economy, unemployment, foreign relations, judges, regulation cuts, etc. — Trump is doing a much better job than the allegedly-credentialed Obama, people might want to take a flyer on another outsider.

WAGES OF POSTMODERNISM: Michael Wolff to MSNBC anchor on his book: “If it rings true, it is true.”

“If it rings true, it is true” may be the most Orwellian defense of slovenly reporting since the immortal “fake but accurate” line from the Rathergate days. This isn’t the way journalistic ethics are supposed to work, gasps an exasperated Haley Byrd of the Weekly Standard. It is if you want to sell a million copies, I guess. In fact, “if it rings true, it is true” is about as perfect a summation as you could ask for of the concept of confirmation bias. If you already hate Trump, the mix of fact, rumor, and third-hand smear in Wolff’s book, all relentlessly damning of the White House, is a political banana split with extra hot fudge. Nothing that tastes this good could possibly be bad for you!

And as Allahpundit quips, Wolff is “the second person in a hot media spotlight in less than 24 hours to casually undermine the idea of objective truth. The other, of course, was the 46th president of the United States.”

Heh.Ben Shapiro reminds Oprah that “There is no such thing as ‘your truth.’ There is the truth and your opinion.” But then, they don’t call Oprah “the pope of American gnosticism” for nothing.

On Friday, it was announced that the first guest on David Letterman’s upcoming Netflix series will be former President Obama.

But of course – there’s no reason why America’s first postmodernist talk show host should be joined by America’s most prominent postmodern former president. (Bill Clinton was the first of course, arguing over the meaning of “is” in 1998 to save his hide during the impeachment hearings. But his equivocating over a verb didn’t directly impact millions of Americans the same way that Obama’s fables did.)

In his recent book Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night, author Jason Zinoman wrote:

In May 1985, Esquire magazine published an essay by a twenty-three-year-old Yale graduate named David Leavitt, who set out to do nothing less than explain his generation. It belonged to a long, dubious journalistic tradition in which a major media outlet sums up young people for its readers, using an envoy from their tribe. These stories follow a certain script: Mix some reported anecdotes with a few references to politics and pop culture trends, add a tone of alarm, and then draw a sweeping conclusion about wildly different groups of young people. The piece’s title: “The New Lost Generation.”

Leavitt argued that those coming of age in the Reagan era saw the idealism of the 1960s vanish and substituted a cynical and steely veneer. They sighed at political activism and rolled their eyes at passion and engagement. Unlike the hopeful kids from past decades, they were not marked by a particular cause to fight for. They were more likely to find all of politics contemptuous. What united them was a jaded outlook about not just politics but even the nature of honesty itself. “We are determined to make sure everyone knows that what we say might not be what we mean,” Leavitt wrote, building to a crescendo: “The voice of my generation is the voice of David Letterman.”

* * * * * * * *

Late Night had not become as popular as The Tonight Show, an impossibility, considering their respective time slots, but its cultural impact had surpassed it. By the middle of the decade, Letterman was the rare host who stood for something bigger than a television show. He was increasingly mentioned as the talk-show avatar of postmodernism, a movement marked by self-awareness and challenges to dominant narratives that was then shifting from academia to the mainstream press. He became the host who didn’t believe in hosting, a truth-teller whose sarcasm rendered everything he said suspect, a mocking challenge to anyone who pretended to take the ridiculous world seriously. Letterman became the face of an ironic sensibility that permeated comedy, television, and popular culture.

Andrew Breitbart famously said that “politics is downstream from culture.” In the 1980s, Letterman’s postmodernism made for fascinating and often wryly amusing late night television. But as Obama, and multiple DNC-MSM outlets have proven, it’s a lousy way to run a country or “report” its news. And of course, all of its worst practitioners are still clueless as to how they got Trumped.

KIMBERLEY STRASSEL: The Democrats’ ‘Russian Descent:’ Tactics in the Trump probe are starting to look a lot like McCarthyism.

Democrats have spent weeks making the case that the Russia-Trump probes need to continue, piling on demands for more witnesses and documents. So desperate is the left to keep this Trump cudgel to hand that Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats have moved toward neo- McCarthyism.

If that sounds hyperbolic, consider an email recently disclosed by the Young Turks Network, a progressive YouTube news channel. It’s dated Dec. 19, 2017, and its author is April Doss, senior counsel for the committee’s Democrats, including Vice Chairman Mark Warner.

Ms. Doss was writing to Robert Barnes, an attorney for Charles C. Johnson, the controversial and unpleasant alt-right blogger. Mr. Johnson’s interactions with Julian Assange inspired some in the media to speculate last year that Mr. Johnson had served as a back channel between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks. There’s still no proof, but in July the Intelligence Committee sent a letter requesting Mr. Johnson submit to them any documents, emails, texts or the like related to “any communications with Russian persons” in a variety of 2016 circumstances, including those related to “the 2016 U.S. Presidential Campaign.”

Mr. Barnes seems to have wanted clarification from Ms. Doss about the definition of “Russian persons.” And this would make sense, since it’s a loose term. Russians in Russia? Russians in America? Russians with business in the country? Russians who lobby the U.S. and might be affected by the election—though not in contact with campaigns?

Ms. Doss’s response was more sweeping than any of these: “The provision we discussed narrowing was clarifying that the phrase ‘Russian persons’ in [the committee letter] may be read to refer to persons that Mr. Johnson knows or has reason to believe are of Russian nationality or descent” (emphasis added).

Well, to be fair, it was the Democrats who imprisoned people in concentration camps simply for being of Japanese descent, so at least they’re consistent.

CRACKDOWN: Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Declares “The End Of The ’96 Sedition.”

Ed Morrissey:

The mullahs apparently didn’t want to wait to see whether its Astroturf protests would turn things around for them. Interestingly, they’re aiming the crackdown outside of Tehran and Qom, the two most significant cities for the ruling mullahs, and probably the most accessible to outside journalists. They want to quell the uprising outside of the view of the world, but more importantly, outside the view of other Iranians to the greatest extent possible.

This becomes the critical point of the uprising. The mullahs needed to act before the spirit of revolution infected the IRGC, but also before it got too far among the population. If the latter is true, an armed response to demonstrations might provoke an even wider rebellion that could overwhelm the IRGC. That’s why the mullahs waited this long before ordering their palace guards to open fire on the regime’s subjects. If they’ve mistimed the crackdown, it might be an end to the mullahs’ run of 7th-century rule by 21st-century technology.

At this point, however, the mullahs have given an opening for international intervention, including the reapplication of sanctions that the deal with Barack Obama ended. Donald Trump has been itching to reinstate those sanctions but has been held off by both the deal and our Western allies, who wanted to consider the matter closed. If the IRGC is opening fire on unarmed Iranians for dissent, they will have no choice but to take action, and it might even force Russia and China to allow for emergency action from the UN Security Council. That will make the economic situation even worse, which will prompt more protests — and perhaps disincentivize the IRGC rank and file in the longer run.

Watch for reports from dissenters about the status of the protests.

That might not be easy given Tehran’s social media crackdown, but to paraphrase Dr. Ian Malcolm, dissent finds a way.

MICHAEL TOTTEN: Fractured West: In Oregon and elsewhere, rural residents increasingly balk at Democrats’ progressive governance.

Lots of journalists have ventured into the rust belt to find out why so many working-class voters abandoned the Democrats for Donald Trump, but hardly anyone is asking why blue-collar voters in the rural West have been going the same way for years. Perhaps many people think that they already know. In his 2004 book, What’s the Matter with Kansas?, journalist Thomas Frank argued that the Republican Party wins in his home state by pushing a culturally conservative platform to manipulate rural blue-collar folks to vote against their economic interests and for the party of big business and the wealthy instead of the party of labor unions and government assistance.

That’s not what happened in Oregon. Yes, rural Oregonians are more culturally conservative than urban Oregonians. Rural people are more culturally conservative than their urban counterparts everywhere in the world. Oregon, though, is not fighting a cultural civil war. Rather, people on the inland eastern side of the state have an entirely different set of priorities. Rural voters are being micromanaged by Democratic politicians elected in Portland, whose land-use and water-rights policies are inflicting at times devastating economic hardship on the other side of the mountains. Contrary to Frank, they prefer the Republican Party not despite their economic interests but because of them. If the Democrats want to win back these votes in the upcoming midterms, the first thing they need to do is stop kidding themselves. Understanding Oregon is a good place to start.

I think a lot of states need to split.


A source says, “Romantic relationships at work are not exactly unusual, but now NBC says it is taking a zero-tolerance approach. Staffers have been told that if they find out about any affairs, romances, inappropriate relationships or behavior in the office, they have to report it to human resources, their superior or the company anti-harassment phone line. Staffers are shocked that they are now expected to snitch on their friends.

“Plus, there’s been a series of ridiculous rules issued on other office conduct. One rule relates to hugging. If you wish to hug a colleague, you have to do a quick hug, then an immediate release, and step away to avoid body contact.

“Also there’s strict rules about socializing, including [not] sharing taxis home and [not] taking vegans to steakhouses.”

As I keep noticing, it’s amazing how the sex-harassment torpedo the Dems aimed at Trump has circled back around on them.

And, further demoralizing Trump’s enemies, is this reality:

The problem at NBC News wasn’t that people didn’t know, it’s that people who knew and should have done something didn’t. They didn’t because Lauer was a star with the power to damage almost anyone who represented a threat to him. No one wanted to take a shot at Lauer because there was a good chance you would end up fired and he’d remain untouched. That’s the same problem people at the Weinstein Company had. Everyone knew about Harvey but no one could afford to take him on.

The problem with procedural rules to deal with sexual harassment and abuse is that the rules are most likely to be applied in an unforgiving fashion to people low on the totem pole while they are applied sparingly if at all to the people most likely to see the harassment as a kind of office perk. You’ll know these rules actually mean something when another A-list host at NBC gets written up for violating the hug policy. My guess: It will never happen.

Yep. It’s all bullshit. As I predicted a while back, the end result of all this #metoo stuff is more HR seminars for powerless males, while the Matt Lauers continue to do what they want, until they’re disposable.

JORGE RAMOS MAKES HIS CONTRIBUTION TO THE 2020 TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Jorge Ramos Says He’s Now Having the ‘Worst Time’ of His Life in U.S. And note this:

Nearly a year into the Trump presidency, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos says he’s experiencing “the worst moment I’ve had in the 34 years I’ve been living in the United States.”

“With Donald Trump there, I have never been treated so badly. I have never been insulted so much. We’ve never been attacked so much, nor have they tried to run us out as much as now,” Ramos vented in an interview with the Spanish radio network Cadena SER.

Ramos, who proclaimed himself “if not an enemy, an opponent” of Trump in the interview, complained about the massive blowback he has received since deciding to use his media platforms to openly oppose the choice of over 62 million American voters in last year’s U.S. presidential election.

“Now the social media networks are terrible,” Ramos told his Spanish radio interviewer, Javier del Pino. “Before if someone wanted to insult you, they had to do it in person or by sending you an anonymous letter. Now they do it through the social media networks and the daily insults – you can enter my Facebook or Twitter and they are there all the time,” lamented Ramos.

How dare you peons speak with me – I’m a reporter!

Flashback: Stelter, Tur clash with Jorge Ramos on being ‘Stand-Ins for Democrats:’

At a recent National Press Club panel on the current state of the U.S. news media, the fireworks really erupted when Ramos objected to a statement made by Tur, in which she basically exhorted journalists to uphold core journalistic standards.

KATY TUR, CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: Continue to report on the facts. Be as fair as you possibly can be. Be partial to the truth, and don’t be alarmist when it’s unnecessary.


After interrupting Tur for apparently advocating a much too orthodox approach to the practice of the profession, Ramos proceeded to urge the attendees at the National Press Club event to favor instead his ‘holy war’ approach to covering Trump.

JORGE RAMOS, SENIOR NEWS ANCHOR, UNIVISION: Our position, I think, has to be much more aggressive. And we should not expect the Democrats to do that job. It is our job. If we don’t question the president, if we don’t question his lies, if we don’t do it, who is gonna do it? It’s an uncomfortable position…

BRIAN STELTER, HOST, CNN’S RELIABLE SOURCES: You’re almost saying we’re a stand-in for the Democrats.

“Almost.” Just think of them as Democrat operatives with bylines (and in Ramos’ case, a daughter who was employed by the Hillary campaign) and it all makes sense.

Who want to aggressively “question the president…question his lies,” but dive for the fainting couch when their viewers return the favor.

WHY DO YOU THINK? So why’s China setting up shop in the Caribbean?

Monica Showalter:

According to a front-page above-above-the-fold report in yesterday’s South China Morning Post, the extensive plan is a clear bid to increase the Asian superpower’s “influence” in the region. The Post reports:

Beijing’s blueprint envisions the construction of massive infrastructure projects in the small tropical nation, which has a population of about 100,000. They include the construction of a highway connecting the major towns on its main island, which is about four times the size of Hong Kong Island, and a railway line encircling it. The plan also calls for the building of deepwater ports that could accommodate a large number of cruise and cargo ships, a large wind farm to replace diesel-fuelled generators and a modernised airport with more, longer runways. It also sees a future for Grenada as an offshore tax haven for foreign companies or individuals.

And we suppose China will claim it wants nothing in return…

What this is really about is a likely retaliation for the U.S.’s attempt to reassert its naval presence in the South China Sea, standing up for and reassuring our democratic allies in Southeast Asia, most of which rim the South China Sea. Up until President Trump took command, China had been brazenly seeking to extend influence there, building illegal atolls for military purposes in the area, much to these countries’ dismay.

Now that the U.S. is back, China is back, this time seeking to set up a foothold in the U.S.’s traditional sea of influence, the Caribbean.

If President Trump were to make a pointed speech reasserting the Monroe Doctrine, would there be more heads spinning in Beijing — or at the State Department?

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIALIZES: The FBI’s Trump ‘Insurance:’ More troubling evidence of election meddling at the bureau.

Democrats and the media are accusing anyone who criticizes special counsel Robert Mueller as Trumpian conspirators trying to undermine his probe. But who needs critics when Mr. Mueller’s team is doing so much to undermine its own credibility?

Wednesday’s revelations—they’re coming almost daily—include the Justice Department’s release of 2016 text messages to and from Peter Strzok, the FBI counterintelligence agent whom Mr. Mueller demoted this summer. The texts, which he exchanged with senior FBI lawyer Lisa Page, contain expletive-laced tirades against Mr. Trump. Such Trump hatred is no surprise and not by itself disqualifying. More troubling are texts that suggest that some FBI officials may have gone beyond antipathy to anti-Trump plotting.

“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office—that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected—but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” Mr. Strzok wrote Ms. Page in an Aug. 15, 2016 text. He added: “It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”

What “policy” would that be? The “Andy” in question is Andrew McCabe, the deputy FBI director. FBI officials are allowed to have political opinions, but what kind of action were they discussing that would amount to anti-Trump “insurance”?

In another exchange that month, Ms. Page forwarded a Trump-related article and wrote: “Maybe you’re meant to stay where you are because you’re meant to protect the country from that menace.” He thanked her and assured: “Of course I’ll try and approach it that way.” Mr. Strzok, recall, is the man who changed the words “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless” in James Comey’s July 2016 public exoneration of Hillary Clinton’s emails.

The McCabe meeting came on the heels of the FBI’s launch of its counterintelligence probe into Trump-Russia ties. July is also when former British spook Christopher Steele briefed the FBI on his Clinton-financed dossier of salacious allegations against Mr. Trump. The texts explain why Mr. Mueller would remove Mr. Strzok, though a straight shooter wouldn’t typically resist turning those messages over to Congress for as long as Mr. Mueller did.

Meanwhile, we’re learning more about the political motives of Mr. Mueller’s lieutenant, Andrew Weissmann.

Related: Fusion DOJ: It’s getting hard to tell where the Clinton campaign ends and the federal law enforcement apparatus begins.

Is animus toward President Donald Trump a prerequisite for landing a job with special counsel Robert Mueller ? Recent revelations in Washington also raise again the question of what former President Barack Obama knew about the decisions of his FBI Director James Comey to exonerate Hillary Clinton and investigate Mr. Trump in 2016. . . .

Mr. Trump does not have to be paranoid to believe that the indigenous creatures of the Beltway swamp are out to get him. A number of them have put it in writing. This column can only imagine what the two political lawyers Ms. Page and Mr. Strzok said about Mr. Trump when they weren’t creating electronic records of their conversations.

Plus: Why did a federal judge overseeing a major Fusion GPS court case never disclose that she worked for multiple firms that hired Fusion GPS?

BYRON YORK: After mysterious ‘insurance policy’ text, will Justice Department reveal more on FBI agent bounced from Mueller probe?

Yes, the release of texts sent between top FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page show that both loathed Donald Trump while they were working on investigations involving Trump as a presidential candidate and later as president. Of course, lots of federal employees loathe Trump. It would be hard for all of them to recuse themselves from government matters, although it is probably not a great idea to have them play key roles in high-stakes probes that could have a momentous effect on the presidency.

More troubling, in the set of texts released Tuesday night, is a single message, from Strzok to Page, dated Aug. 15, 2016. Here is what it said:

I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40….

What does that mean? “Andy” apparently refers to FBI No. 2 Andrew McCabe, who was overseeing the bureau’s Trump investigation. “He” apparently refers to Trump. And “insurance policy” apparently refers to…well, it is not known what that refers to. Actually, we don’t know with absolute confidence what any of it refers to.

It’s suspicious. And I’d still like to know whether Lisa Page approved Peter Strzok’s warrant applications to the FISA court. I asked Mueller’s office about that, but they said no comment.

RON ROTUNDA ON RECUSAL: Justice Ginsburg has some explaining to do.

The Supreme Court allowed President Trump’s travel ban to go into effect this week, overturning a lower court ruling as a federal appeals court considers the issue. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented and did not disqualify herself from that preliminary decision. Two questions emerge: First, why not? And second, will she disqualify herself if the court takes the case?

We already know what Ginsburg thinks of the president. She told us more than a year ago that she “can’t imagine what the country would be . . . with Donald Trump as our president.” Facing criticism for her apparent endorsement of Hillary Clinton and her attacks on Trump, Ginsburg doubled down, emphasizing in a CNN interview: “He is a faker.” She then went on “point by point, as if presenting a legal brief,” the CNN analyst said.

Her statements are particularly troubling in the context of the travel ban case, in which the crucial issue — at least, according to the lower courts and the plaintiffs — is the personal credibility of Trump and whether he delivered his executive order in good faith — in other words, whether he is faking it. It’s no wonder 58 House Republicans sent Ginsburg a letter calling for her recusal because of her comments before the election.

She doesn’t care, because #Resistance. But, once again, efforts to “denormalize” Trump will instead weaken institutions people want to constrain him with.

DON’T FORGET THE SECURITY ADVANTAGES: Spread the swamp? Trump administration wants to move government offices out of Washington

Advocates for this idea neglect perhaps its most important aspect, the way it would make the federal government much more resilient in the aftermath of a catastrophic terrorist attack on Washington, D.C., such as a dirty bomb or biological attack on the Metro. Why would you want all of the most important government offices and officials to be concentrated within a few square miles?

CHANGE: The Rebirth of America’s Pro-Natalist Movement: Activists on the right and left want policies that will reverse the country’s baby bust. But the broader culture—and Congress—don’t seem to care.

America needs more babies.

That’s what policymakers seem to have decided, from the White House to Capitol Hill. Congress spent November considering the Child Tax Credit, a measure that reduces the federal income taxes owed by families with kids. The Senate and the House both voted to raise the credit in their recent tax bills, which will soon be reconciled. Meanwhile, two Democratic senators, Michael Bennet and Sherrod Brown, proposed their own version of an increase. And led by Ivanka Trump, the Trump administration has been softly pushing a child-care tax deduction and federal paid-maternity-leave program.

These programs have been sold as ways to support struggling middle-class families, but they also address another issue: declining birth rates. Government data suggests the U.S. has experienced drops in fertility across multiple measures in recent years. Even Hispanic Americans, who have had high fertility rates compared to other ethnic groups in recent decades, are starting to have fewer babies. Lyman Stone, an economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture who blogs about fertility in his spare time, called this year’s downward fertility trend “the great baby bust of 2017.”

These are the seeds of a nascent pro-natalist movement, a revived push to organize American public policy around childbearing. While putatively pro-family or pro-child policymaking has a long history in the U.S., the latest push has a new face. It’s more Gen X than Baby Boom. It’s pro-working mom. And it upends typical left-right political valences: Measures like the Child Tax Credit find surprising bipartisan support in Congress. Over the last year or so, the window of possibility for pro-natalist policies has widened.

Read the whole thing. I’m beginning to think it was a mistake to listen to Paul Ehrlich.

MARTHA STEWART JOKED, “I HEAR NBC EXECUTIVES CALL MATT THE ‘COCK OF THE ROCK:’” ‘They all knew’: Media elites roared in laughter at obscene 2008 ‘roast’ sending up Matt Lauer’s office sexcapades.

The 2008 Friars Club roast took place at the New York Hilton and was attended by everyone from future President Donald Trump to TV legend Norman Lear to a constellation of New York’s media elite including Brian Williams, Diane Sawyer, Nancy O’Dell and Howard Stern. Also on hand were numerous top executives from across the business and almost everyone who was anyone at NBC News. Fox News has confirmed many details of the roast with a media executive who attended, and has also drawn on the one contemporaneous account of the roast, which appeared in The Village Voice.

Speaker Martha Stewart joked, “I hear NBC executives call Matt the ‘Cock of the Rock,’” according to The Voice.

Another of the roast’s speakers was current CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker — then the chairman of NBC Universal — who last week adamantly denied that he had any idea about Lauer’s in-office sexcapades.

“It’s just good to see Matt up here and not under my desk,” Zucker said from the podium. “I don’t want to say Matt is a germophobe, but he’s the only guy I know who uses Purell both before and after he masturbates.”

Perhaps the big catch there is Zucker, who has been in full Sgt. Schultz mode during the past week regarding his former employee, including last Thursday when he said, “I’ve known Matt for 25 years and I didn’t know this Matt.” But we’ve been seeing numerous variations of the above article in recent weeks. As Daniel Greenfield writes today at Front Page, “The massive media machine built to smear and steamroll Republicans never bothered to report what everybody on the inside already knew. The wannabe Woodwards and Bernsteins in every paper, news bureau and explainer site weren’t investigating the scandals they already knew about. Those weren’t the scandals they were looking for. That’s why no one trusts them. Hollywood, the media and the Democrats have been preaching to us about sexism and feminism for generations. Meanwhile behind the cameras and the chambers, an assault spree was in progress. And everybody knew.”

QED, these articles, all recent Insta-links:

● Cokie Roberts: Oh, We All Knew to Avoid Getting in an Elevator with Rep. Conyers.

● “Or, to put it another way: More than 20 people in one magazine office alone all had the story about Harvey Weinstein’s ‘mistreatment’ of women. So why didn’t anyone write it? Not to take anything away from Jodi Kantor’s excellent New York Times piece, but the reality is that everyone had the story. The reason no one wrote it is not because the press wanted to get Weinstein, but couldn’t prove the story. No, it’s because the press was protecting Weinstein.”

Charlie Rose, sexual harassment and the female newsroom managers who looked away.

Kevin Spacey is another ‘everyone knew’ — who else does Hollywood know about?

Amazing how many in the political-media-industrial complex “everybody knew,” and couldn’t be bothered telling the public.

DESPERATE FOR CHEAP SHOTS, Newsweek charges Ivanka Trump with plagiarizing “one of her own speeches” in India. You can’t plagiarize yourself.

Lots of background on plagiarism here. But this sort of crazed press attack is why people have tuned out even substantive criticisms. You want more Roy Moore? This is how you get more Roy Moore.

UPDATE: Under universal mockery, Newsweek changes the headline, though a story about a political figure giving similar speeches isn’t a story at all, and just underscores what a sad reach-for-something-damaging this was.

BECAUSE “THE RESISTANCE” IS A BUNCH OF CHILDISH JERKS: Why Is the ‘Resistance’ Harassing This Man? FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and his family endure a season of hatred.

Speaking of crossing lines, unhinged critics on Twitter have attacked Mr. Pai’s Indian heritage and wished death by AIDS and cancer upon him and his family. Mr. Pai’s Chief of Staff, Matthew Berry, has posted some of the appalling messages.

According to Variety, Mr. Pai’s wife “has received threatening messages at her workplace, according to an FCC source.” April Glaser has more in Slate:

It wasn’t the first time that activists apparently showed up near his home. Menacing, handwritten signs also appeared in Pai’s local neighborhood, including one that named his children and the question, “How will they ever look you in the eye again?” In May, in what appeared to be a coordinated campaign by the advocacy group Popular Resistance, people left flyers on Pai’s neighbors’ doors that included his picture, age, and weight. Unfortunately, such attacks aren’t new to Pai, who has endured a steady stream of racist, lewd, and threatening backlash since April, when he introduced his intention to gut the net neutrality rules. . . .

As irresponsible as such language is, it’s also ridiculous. The resisters are casting as a fundamental free speech right what was essentially a gift to tech lobbyists. Companies like Netflix, which by some measures generates more than a third of all North American Internet traffic, and Google, which also generates significant traffic via its YouTube video service, didn’t want to pay market rates to companies like Verizon for moving that traffic. Essentially, Silicon Valley wanted to cut its phone bill and it persuaded President Obama to instruct his supposedly independent telecom regulators to make it happen.

They told me if Trump were elected, racist mobs would harass minority members and government officials who were just trying to stand up to corporate looting. And they were right!

SNATCHING DEFEAT FROM THE JAWS OF VICTORY: Trump’s invoking “Pocahontas” to criticize Elizabeth Warren at a ceremony to honor Navajo war heroes was to say the least highly inappropriate and buffoonish. Yet somehow, the Democrats and their media allies have shifted the focus to a clear loser, the question of Warren’s phony claim to Native American heritage. Meanwhile, media outlets keep referring to Warren as having “claimed” or “unsubstantiated” Native American heritage. Five years after the controversy over her “claim” originally broke, if there were any evidence, DNA or genealogical, supporting the claim she would have produced it by now. Why can’t reporters bring themselves to write something like “apparently false claim…” at this point? I think we know the answer. You want more Trump? This is how you get more Trump.

WHY ROY MOORE MIGHT WIN: BLAME THE MEDIA. “How have we reached a point in this country when nearly half the voters of a U.S. state so mistrust, and even revile, major media outlets that they are willing to brush aside credible evidence and elect an accused sexual predator simply out of spite? How have we reached a point where a president of the United States can just declare ‘fake’ news he doesn’t like—and largely get away with it?”

I dunno, maybe skim my blog archives back at least to 2003? Or maybe read this. Or this.

FLASHBACK: A LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENED WITH NIR ROSEN: “It seems that Rosen has been getting away with making outrageous statements for so long that it’s no wonder that he felt emboldened to tweet away and mock Logan with impunity. This time, though, he happened to have hit on a subject that was offensive to leftist sensibilities as well as those on the right — and he discovered that there are finally consequences, even for Nir Rosen. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.”

How many of these anti-American hacks are out there doing allegedly factual reportage? They keep turning up. See, e.g., Chris Hedges. And as was noted after Toby Harnden’s revelations about the Baghdad press corps, the journalistic omerta that keeps these things from being reported only serves to undermine the entire profession’s trustworthiness.

Related: Kyle Smith: Unhinged coverage of Trump is hurting the media.

A year ago this week, I marveled at the pot-boiling-over frenzy of Donald Trump Derangement Syndrome in the media. Well, today, the media’s kitchen is a shambles. Spaghetti sauce is splattered all over the walls, and the Fourth Estate is pouring more Prego marinara into the pot while keeping the heat turned up to the level marked “thermonuclear.”

Not only is everything (still) hyper-politicized, but the lines between news media, lifestyle media and flat-out activism have faded into irrelevance. . . . The unhinged coverage of all Trump scandals, real and imagined, has cost the media in the eyes of the public, among whom only 39 percent said they had a “great deal” or even “some” confidence in news outlets last November.


IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR MORE THINGS TO KEEP YOU UP AT NIGHT: Forget about global warming, North Korea, race relations or giant metal robots who want to steal your medicine. The New Yorker has found a historian/researcher who claims that “that there are probably around two thousand serial killers at large in the U.S.” The Daily Mail summarized the story with a Rogue’s Gallery of serial killers.

This comes two days after Newsweek published a spurious and much-ridiculed article noting that both Charles Manson and Donald Trump “used language” to “attract followers.” Imagine that. If Newsweek really wants to freak out their readership, they should publish a follow-up reporting that there are approximately two thousand Donald Trumps at large in the U.S.

**UPDATE** Newsweek removes reference to Trump, saying that “An earlier version of this story did not meet Newsweek’s editorial standards and has been revised accordingly.” 

**UPDATE 2 ** Newsweek still has original headline up on their Twitter feed…for now.

CONRAD BLACK: Donald Trump Is The Most Successful U.S. President Since Ronald Reagan: “It is too early to predict whether he will be a successful president or not. But no one relying on the Canadian media would be aware that he has more than doubled the economic growth rate, reduced illegal immigration by about 80 per cent, withdrawn from the insane Paris Climate accord, helped add trillions to U.S. stock market values, created nearly two million new jobs, led the rout of ISIL, and gained full Chinese adherence to the unacceptability of North Korean nuclear military capability. He will probably pass the greatest tax cuts and reforms since Reagan, if not Lyndon Johnson, by Christmas, and may throw out the most unpopular feature of Obamacare, the coercive mandate, with it.”

Well, you wouldn’t learn much more from following U.S. media. But for the moment I think Trump is happy to have this stuff going on under the media radar. When he wants it to be news, I suspect he’ll figure out a way to make it news.

THE WAGES OF BARNEY FRANK AND ELIZABETH WARREN: A Wall Street Journal op-ed by a former Barney Frank staffer, Dennis Shaul, bewails a great mistake by the Democrats: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Richard Cordray’s resignation as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides a great opportunity for President Trump to appoint a new director who can undo an unfortunate legacy of bureaucratic overreach and political bias. More important going forward is what we have learned from our experience with the CFPB to prevent future similar missteps.

The first lesson is that Congress should never again create an “independent” agency with a sole director, particularly one not subject to the congressional appropriations process. Under the law, the CFPB—unlike the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and other independent agencies—is funded by the Federal Reserve, a move specifically designed to avoid congressional oversight.

I had the privilege of working as an aide to then-Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee when the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, which created the CFPB, was written. I realized that no bill is ever perfect and the CFPB would have its imperfections. The authors wanted the bureau to be a fair arbiter of protecting consumers, instead of what it has become—a politically biased regulatory dictator and a political steppingstone for its sole director, who is now expected to run for governor of Ohio.

An independent federal agency should be nonpartisan. A bipartisan commission on the model of the SEC and FCC would allow for better and more evenhanded decision-making. To show how partisan the CFPB became under Mr. Cordray’s leadership, not one of the agency’s employees made a contribution to Donald Trump’s campaign, while a multitude contributed to Hillary Clinton. The new director will have a partisan staff.

Yes, Trump’s in charge, not Hillary. Tsk. The essay goes on to list several egregious examples of CFPB overreach.

This one, for example:

The CFPB, like other agencies, collects fines and fees. Astonishingly, Congress does not require them to be transferred to the federal Treasury. Mr. Cordray has boasted of collecting billions of dollars on behalf of consumers, but portions of that money ultimately go to favored consumer groups—a continuing problem of ideological preference.

Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren helped create and build this hideous government monster. Yes,”a politically biased regulatory dictator.” Tsk again.


Consider Joe Biden. A few short weeks ago, the former senator and vice president seemed like he would be a leading contender to win the Democratic nomination for president in 2020 and then the favorite to challenge President Trump’s bid for re-election. But now? Biden’s polling may look good, but he has a history of wandering hands that is simply incompatible with the new normal. He’s a political dead man.

Now think of all the pages and interns and young staffers cycling through all of those offices on Capitol Hill, year after year, decade after decade. And the countless thousands of staffers who’ve passed through the White House and executive branch departments and agencies across Democratic and Republican administrations. And all the Supreme Court clerks and assistants. How long until one of these pages or interns or staffers or clerks or assistants, or dozens of them, or hundreds of them, begin to talk and make credible accusations against leading public figures of both parties?

How many unwanted advances, kisses, gropes, coerced sex acts, and other forms of harassment, abuse, and assault are we likely to learn about?

I suspect far more than any of us can imagine.

Already we know that the House has paid out $15 million over the last 10-15 years to settle sexual harassment allegations. And that is surely just the beginning.

The reckoning is coming. Washington is going to weather an absolute hurricane of sexual abuse allegations and revelations.

In his twitter thread last month on Harvey Weinstein’s career demise, Brian Cates wrote, “What took out Ailes/O’Reilly was so many women coming forward at once. The usual playbook of legal threats/buying them off didn’t work. Watching Ailes & then O’Reilly being suddenly toppled, it COULD be some women in Hollywood realized there was hope.” That could be the key to the coming “reckoning” that Damon Linker predicts at The Week, plus the boost they’ll get from the left as battlefield prep. As Allahpundit wrote in his post at Hot Air on Franken’ accuser not calling for him to step down, “Whatever happens to Franken, between the left’s reawakening to the allegations against Bill Clinton and the certainty that more big-name Democrats will be accused of sexual misconduct before 2020, it’s a cinch that a woman will be on the party’s next presidential ticket. Ironclad guarantee.”


Query: why does Max say that the wisdom of America’s voters was “dubious”? For the same reason that Bill Kristol, to take another prominent NeverTrumper, is organizing a Committee Not To Renominate the President. Bill wants to liberate “conservatism from Trumpism.”

But what is the “Trumpism” from which he wishes to liberate us conservatives? Max Boot, Bret Stephens, and other anti-Trump pundits have told us repeatedly that Donald Trump is a “fascist.” What can that mean? They have read their George Orwell. They know as well as anyone that “fascist” in the context of modern American society is simply a term of abuse, a negative epithet impatient people apply to things and people they do not like. In this respect, “fascist” is a lot like “racist” when deployed on college campuses these days.

Donald Trump’s real tort, I believe, was to have somehow gotten himself elected despite the objections and without the permission of people like Max Boot. . . .

While you are waiting for evidence of these claims, Max wants you to know that he thinks “Trump has been utterly incompetent. Even if he wants to achieve more of his agenda, he doesn’t know how to do it.” He is, you see, “ignorant, petulant, unethical, avaricious, conspiratorial, nasty, shameless, bullying, egomaniacal.”

Quite a litany. But what this really means, I think, is that while Donald Trump’s election was supposed to be impossible, it is still utterly unacceptable. The fantasy of “Trumpism” is an expression of that state of affairs. Even before Trump was elected, some academic historians, fired by nostalgia for the radicals of the 1960s and their protests against the Vietnam War, created a group called “Historians Against Trump” to protest the “dangerous ideology of Trumpism.” “The lessons of history,” they intoned, “compel us to speak out against a movement rooted in fear and authoritarianism.”

Where is the fear? Where the authoritarianism?

I believe that one of the great embarrassments confronting the persistent anti- or NeverTrumpers has been, pace Max Boot, the utter failure of their fantasies about Donald Trump to materialize. He was supposed to be a horrible, xenophobic, racist, militaristic cad, but how has he actually governed?

I have several times, in this space and elsewhere, provided periodic reality checks comparing the hysteria of the anti- or NeverTrumpers to Trump’s actual accomplishments. The list of those accomplishments grows longer and more impressive as the months go by.

Read the whole thing.

ROGER KIMBALL: Why I Have Given Up on Trumpism.

Donald Trump’s real tort, I believe, was to have somehow gotten himself elected despite the objections and without the permission of people like Max Boot.

Max confided that he went “to bed late on the evening of Nov. 8, 2016, in a daze, incredulous that my fellow citizens could elect a man so unqualified for the presidency.” The American people really let Max down. And they persist in their outrageous behavior. According to Max, “Trump doesn’t really believe in much beyond his own awesomeness. He didn’t run for office to get anything done; he ran to stoke his own ego and pad his own bank account by increasing his visibility.”

While you are waiting for evidence of these claims, Max wants you to know that he thinks “Trump has been utterly incompetent. Even if he wants to achieve more of his agenda, he doesn’t know how to do it.” He is, you see, “ignorant, petulant, unethical, avaricious, conspiratorial, nasty, shameless, bullying, egomaniacal.”

Quite a litany. But what this really means, I think, is that while Donald Trump’s election was supposed to be impossible, it is still utterly unacceptable. The fantasy of “Trumpism” is an expression of that state of affairs. Even before Trump was elected, some academic historians, fired by nostalgia for the radicals of the 1960s and their protests against the Vietnam War, created a group called “Historians Against Trump” to protest the “dangerous ideology of Trumpism.” “The lessons of history,” they intoned, “compel us to speak out against a movement rooted in fear and authoritarianism.”

Where is the fear? Where the authoritarianism?

The Left projects, always.

BYRON YORK: Did dossier trigger the Trump-Russia probe? “The FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump-Russia affair shortly after receiving the first installment of an anti-Trump dossier from a former British spy working for the Hillary Clinton campaign. What congressional investigators want to know is whether that was a coincidence or not.” I’m going to go with “not.”

Plus: “Now the moving parts, as far as the dossier is concerned, are the Mueller investigation and Congress. With Mueller, it’s impossible to determine whether he is using the dossier and if so, in what way. For its part, Congress is trying to uncover the dossier story — what did the FBI do to try to verify it? Did agents use it as a basis for seeking wiretaps? — but getting information out of the FBI, as well as Fusion GPS, has been like pulling teeth, even after a House subpoena. Ultimately more will become public. But if the past months have shown anything, it is that the FBI will not reveal its secrets, even to its legitimate congressional overseers, without a fight.”

RUSSIAGATE: Judicial Watch Sues Department of Justice for Communications Relating to ‘Russian Lawyer’ Immigration Parole.

Fox News recently reported on a meeting between Fusion GPS and Veselnitskaya:

The co-founder of Fusion GPS, the firm behind the unverified Trump dossier, met with [Veselnitskaya] before and after a key meeting she had last year with Trump’s son, Fox News has learned. The contacts shed new light on how closely tied the firm was to Russian interests, at a time when it was financing research to discredit then-candidate Donald Trump.

The opposition research firm has faced renewed scrutiny after litigation revealed that the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign paid for that research. Congressional Republicans have since questioned whether that politically financed research contributed to the FBI’s investigation of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – making Fusion’s 2016 contacts with Russian interests all the more relevant.

“The ‘Russian lawyer’ who finagled a meeting with Donald Trump, Jr. evidently wasn’t supposed to be in the country,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We want to know what the Obama Justice Department knew and when it knew about what Ms. Veselniskava was up to.”

“No good” is the easy answer, but I do wish Congress were investigating more effectively since we can no longer trust our counterintelligence outfit at the FBI.

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY: 5 Takeaways On Virginia’s Election Sweep For Democrats.

Here’s one:

Democrats are finally focusing on statehouse races, and this should terrify Republicans. Democrats lost some 958 state legislative seats during the Obama administration. Those years saw a strong federal executive, but very little attention paid to Democrats at the state and local level.

The Washington Post had a story last week that suggested the huge win for Democrats in Virginia was no accident, but the result of a carefully crafted campaign being tested for nationwide rollout:

For a new crop of Democratic groups, Virginia is the opening salvo and a testing ground ahead of what they hope is a wave election in 2018.
Virginia is the first state to hold a competitive contest for governor after Trump moved into the White House, and both parties want to win it — the Democrats as a rebuke of Trump, and the Republicans to show they are not blemished by an unpopular president.

It’s also a purple state where Democrats have been winning statewide since 2009, but Republicans hold 66 of the 100 seats in the House of Delegates. Democrats are running in 54 GOP-held districts this year, and scores of groups — some well-financed, some loosely organized, are looking to leave their mark on those contests.

There’s a Democratic super PAC planning to spend $1 million — with an eye to a bigger goal of raising $100 million to take control of state houses across the country.

An organization founded by wealthy Virginia donors and bankrolled by a Silicon Valley entrepreneur is beta-testing technology to help low-budget campaigns run more efficiently.

Given the success this high-dollar, high-technology strategy yielded, expect to see many more resources applied in a state near you to achieve the same effect.

The Democrats seem to be learning the lessons of 2016. Will the GOP learn the lessons of Virginia 2017?

SALENA ZITO: America still hasn’t recovered from Trump’s shocking win. But what she really means is, Democratic America hasn’t recovered:

There’s still a sharp pain in Sarah Moberly’s gut. The hurt and disbelief she felt watching the presidential election one year ago remains ever-present.

In fact, it has escalated.

“Honestly, I feel absolutely worse today than I did last year and it just keeps getting worse every day,” she told The Post. “The moment that Hillary conceded, it was a feeling of complete doom. That’s the only way I can put it. I went to bed, I put the covers over my head. I woke up the next morning, I put the covers back over my head, and I didn’t want to get out of bed for like a week,” she said. “I kept thinking, this is a dream and that I’d wake up. Nope, that wasn’t a dream that really just happened.”

And compare and contrast:

The table is stacked with comfort food — mashed potatoes, burgers, french fries, eggs and bacon — but it’s offering little solace. Moberly fidgets and can barely make eye contact with the Trump voters, even when they try to engage with her. . . .

Suddenly Moberly turned to Stearns, an insurance agent and female Trump voter, and spoke: “It’s hard for me to look at another woman who voted for him, with the misogyny that has been involved in this whole process. I don’t understand how you voted for him.”

Shrugging, Stearns politely smiled. “I can agree to disagree. I’m one of those kind of people.”

Trump Derangement Syndrome is real, and it’s not improving. And yes, it’s truly derangement:

TRUMP2020 HAS A LOT OF AGENTS INSIDE THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Democrats: Proud to Be the Anti-White, Anti-Male, Anti-Heterosexual Party.

From the comments: “All that just to tell Joe Biden they don’t want him to run? Seems like overkill.”

Related: Rod Dreher: Trump Will Be President Forever. “This mentality exemplified by Madeleine Leader has a lot to do with why, at the end of the day, I’ll end up voting Republican out of pure self-protection, and to protect the job prospects of my children, especially my sons. Good job, Democrats. You are telling straight white people that they are second-class citizens who don’t deserve fairness. You’ll continue to find self-hating liberal whites who are willing to accept this garbage, but many more aren’t falling for it — and know what kind of world Democrats are preparing for them when and if they take power again.”

This will not end well.


A VOICE OF DECENCY: Kelly Speaks About Son’s Death and Criticizes Congresswoman Wilson.

John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, delivered an emotional, personal defense of President Trump’s call this week to the widow of a slain soldier, describing the trauma of learning about his own son’s death in Afghanistan and calling the criticism of Mr. Trump’s call unfair.

Mr. Kelly said that he was stunned to see the criticism, which came from a Democratic congresswoman, Representative Frederica S. Wilson of Florida, after the president delivered a similar message to the widow of one of the soldiers killed in Niger. He said afterward he had to collect his thoughts by going to Arlington National Cemetery for more than an hour.

In a remarkable, somber appearance in the White House briefing room, Mr. Kelly, a retired Marine general whose son was slain in battle, said he had told the president what he was told when he got the news.

“He was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed,” Mr. Kelly recalled. “He knew what he was getting into by joining that one percent. He knew what the possibilities were, because we were at war.”

“I was stunned when I came to work yesterday, and brokenhearted, when I saw what a member of Congress was doing,” he said. “What she was saying, what she was doing on TV. The only thing I could do to collect my thoughts was to go walk among the finest men or women on this Earth.”

It was an indecent thing she did, but it served its purpose. It buried the story about driving ISIS out of Raqqa, with the Trump Administration having done in months what Obama didn’t do in years.

SPACE: Pilot Wave theory suggests Trumpet shaped Emdrive would have more thrust. I want working reactionless thrusters, and I want them ASAP.

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS TO NO ONE IS ASKING: “NFLers are Protesting During the National Anthem. Here’s Why Cheerleaders Aren’t,” young Democrat operative with a byline Kalhan Rosenblatt writes at NBC. And check out her lede:

Millions of Americans have applauded the NFL players who have taken a knee during the national anthem, but not the women whose job it is to root for the teams — the cheerleaders.

No leftwing bias here! And it’s a somewhat poorly written biased sentence as well — millions of American guys applaud the NFL’s cheerleaders whenever the programming director cuts to a shot of them on the sidelines, whatever the players are doing on the field before or after the game. Of course, what Rosenblatt really wants is the women’s edition of what Allahpundit calls the NFL’s pregame “woke Olympics:”

They have been noticeably absent from the year-long drama that has divided football fans and outraged President Donald Trump and their reasons range from not wanting to undermine the team — to not wanting to lose their prized spot on the squad.

“Definitely the financial compensation isn’t high enough where you’re concerned about paying rent … but certainly if you’re creating waves you could lose your spot,” Danetha Doe, a two-season Indianapolis Colts cheerleader, told NBC News.

Doe remembers when it was rare to find an African-American in the rah-rah ranks and understands why a cheerleader might think twice about joining the players’ protest against the persecution of black people in America.

Ahh, so the NFL is a cesspit of racism as well. OK, yet another reason for fans to tune it out — and why is NBC facilitating it each Sunday night?

According to this 2014 PBS article, NFL cheerleaders earn on average about $100 or so a game…

San Diego Chargers cheerleaders are paid $75 per game, for example. Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders earn around $150 per game, and Baltimore Ravens cheerleaders are paid around $100 per game, according to the Atlantic.

Some cheerleaders employed by NFL teams say the job is not about the money and is more of a hobby. They add the exposure of being an NFL cheerleader can lead to better, more lucrative positions down the line.

…Sure, drag them into the protests as well, NBC.

HOWARD FINEMAN: The Method To The Moron’s Madness. “The powers that be are underestimating Trump — again.”

Washington reacts with alarm to his inflammatory tweets, and lately has made a parlor game out of chronicling his outbursts of anger, dismay and ignorance, as news organizations offer a cascade of vivid in-the-room portrayals of an out-of-control boy king.

Democrats hope against hope that he will be impeached over Russia. His approval rating is lower at this point in his term than any previous modern president’s. His former consigliere Steve Bannon has reportedly said Trump has only a 30 percent chance of lasting a full term.

But by the end of this week, it was clearer than ever that if Trump is a moron, he is a moron on a mission ― and with more method to his madness than his enemies understand or want to consider. The tweets are a useful distraction ― a kind of air cover for his carpet bombing of federal policy and programs.

Fineman can call it “carpet bombing” if he wants, but conservatives (and a few libertarians) might call it “winning.”

And who’s the more moronic, the moron or the moron who follows his every tweet?


[ESPN] did not elaborate on her offending tweet, and Hill has not tweeted since 11 a.m. Eastern on Monday. However, on Sunday she suggested fans boycott Cowboys advertisers if they were upset Jerry Jones told his players they would stand for the national anthem or be benched.

“This play always work,” she wrote. “Change happens when advertisers are impacted. If you feel strongly about JJ’s statement, boycott his advertisers.”

On Monday, her last tweet read: “Just so we’re clear: I’m not advocating a NFL boycott. But an unfair burden has been put on players in Dallas & Miami w/ anthem directives.”

Hill was in the middle of an ESPN firestorm last month, when the White House called for her firing for calling President Trump a white supremacist on Twitter. ESPN had a sitdown meeting with her, where she apologized for the forum but not the message.

Also this past weekend, “If you had ESPN on your television Saturday morning, you had the privilege of hearing host Michelle Beadle tell all white men to ‘Shut up and listen for five minutes.’” the Daily Caller adds.

Related: Disney, which also owns ESPN (and ABC), owned Miramax from 1993 through 2010, and funded its productions – and thus by extension, Harvey Weinstein’s numerous legal payouts to both direct victims and journalists to spike stories.

What Kurt Schlichter wrote about Hollywood is applicable to its subsidiary corporations: “The hell with Hollywood. It’s all lies, it’s all a pose, it’s all a scam, and we aren’t falling for it. But at least for the first time in a long time, Kimmel and his Tinseltown pals have us laughing again. Just not why they’d hoped.”

Keep all of the above in mind, as the New York Times writes that Disney’s CEO Bob Iger “is emerging as a credible contender in the 2020 presidential speculation game.”

On Twitter, Clay Travis of the Outkick the Coverage sportsblog links to the Times’ article on Iger transforming ESPN into a haven of SJWs who occasionally discuss the infield fly rule and punt formations. “Told y’all it’s all a set up for presidential run,” he adds.

Travis also responds to a tweet from a follower who notes that Hill wants a boycott of, among other corporations, Cowboys sponsor AT&T. AT&T also happens to carry on its subsidiary DirecTV a little-watched public-access cable TV network called — wait what is it — oh yeah, ESPN. “The stupidity is amazing. All the advertisers she wants fans to boycott ADVERTISE ON HER SHOW AND NETWORK!”, Travis writes.

UPDATE: Here’s the tweet that likely earned her suspension.

In their aggregation of responses to Hill’s meltdown, Twitchy spots a tweet from veteran media analyst Howard Kurtz, who writes, “ESPN suspends Jemele Hill for 2 [weeks], not for calling Trump a white supremacist but for urging boycott of Cowboys after owner bars protests.” Or as blogger Drew McCoy writes, “ESPN may love social justice commentary but you start messing with Jerry Jones, the Cowboys, and The Shield…shit’s gonna get real.”

Heh, indeed.™


Vice President Pence walked out of the Indianapolis Colts game on Sunday when ​some ​players from the San Francisco 49ers took a knee during the national anthem.

“I left today’s Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem​,” Pence posted on Twitter. ​

Sure, it was a stunt – Pence had to know that the Niners would kneel, just as they’ve done since Kap first blew-up the NFL last year, and at each game so far this season. But Pence’s message is the correct one – protest your causes all you want during your own free time, not during the national anthem.

In addition to rallying Trump’s base, this will of course ensure that the protests continue, which will further hurt the NFL’s image, alienate fans who just want to watch a game and spend a few hours away from the culture wars, and likely drive ratings further downward.

Or as Ace wrote a few weeks ago: The National Nervous Breakdown, and How to Exploit it Ruthlessly.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): AP: BREAKING: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick tells CBS he’ll stand during national anthem if given chance to play football in NFL again.

MORE (From Ed): AP and CBS walk back this report, with CBS sports journalist Jason La Canfora oddly now claiming that he was going by past statements by Kaepernick, and never discussed the issue with him, despite apparently spending several hours interviewing him. Also, Kaepernick’s girlfriend denies the claim. Much more here.

MEGAN MCARDLE: Debt Alone Won’t Crush Puerto Rico. Depopulation Is the Curse.

“They owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street,” Donald Trump told Geraldo Rivera. “We’re going to have to wipe that out. That’s going to have to be — you know, you can say goodbye to that. I don’t know if it’s Goldman Sachs but whoever it is, you can wave goodbye to that.”

Bond markets didn’t appreciate the verbal wave. The territory’s bonds, already weak from the pounding of Hurricane Maria, fell another 31 percent. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney hastened to say the president didn’t mean what he said. “I wouldn’t take it word for word with that,” he said demurely. Nor should you; as debt expert Cate Long told CNN Money, “Trump does not have the ability to wave a magic wand and wipe out the debt.”

Yet the fact remains that Puerto Rico is not going to be able to pay all of its debts. Prior to the hurricane, the territory had $73 billion in outstanding debt, and a population of 3.4 million people. That’s approximately $21,500 for every man, woman and child on the island – just about enough to buy each of them a brand new Mini Cooper, provided that they don’t insist on the sport package or the heated seats. . . .

And why was the government borrowing so much? For one thing, because the government doesn’t work very well. The operations of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, for example, defy belief: It essentially gave unlimited free power to municipalities and government-owned entities, which used it to do things like operate skating rinks in the tropics. Everywhere you look, you see signs of a government struggling to perform basic tasks: collect taxes, maintain the infrastructure, improve the health system. In the jargon of development economists, the island lacks “state capacity”: It is simply unable to exert the amount of power over its operations that we on the mainland mostly take for granted.

But you can’t entirely blame the Puerto Rican government for the state of the underlying economy, which is what had plunged the island into a bankruptcy crisis even before the hurricane. For that you have to look to the federal government, which eliminated a tax break that had given companies incentives to locate in Puerto Rico, and then oversaw a financial crisis that sent them into an even deeper spiral. We also made sure that a relatively poor island was forced to adopt the federal minimum wage, which was too high for the local labor market. That has contributed to the 11.5 percent unemployment rate. And Puerto Rico uses the U.S. dollar, leaving it unable to adjust monetary policy to overcome economic stagnation.

None of those things will change just because we wipe out the bondholders. And the bondholders are not Puerto Rico’s only creditors; it has an unfunded pension liability of roughly $50 billion. Covering the current liability will consume more 20 percent of the budget.

That figure will only grow, because the biggest problem of all is Puerto Rico’s rapid demographic decline. There has long been a steady migration from Puerto Rico to the mainland. By 2008, there were more Puerto Ricans in the rest of the U.S. than there were in Puerto Rico. But the economic crisis has accelerated that flow to staggering levels.

So I’m guessing that if Steve Bannon were still around, he’d be encouraging Trump to do things that would make Puerto Rico so attractive that not only would people want to stay there, but expat Puerto Ricans would want to return, since most of them vote Democrat, and Puerto Rico doesn’t have any electoral votes. Which would be good for Puerto Rico, and also for Trump. In Bannon’s absence, I’m not sure there’s anyone in the White House who thinks that way.


I have spent the past six months poring over the literature of European and American white nationalism, in the process interviewing noxious identitarians like the alt-right founder Richard Spencer. The most shocking aspect of Mr. Coates’s wording here is the extent to which it mirrors ideas of race — specifically the specialness of whiteness — that white supremacist thinkers cherish.

This, more than anything, is what is so unsettling about Mr. Coates’s recent writing and the tenor of the leftist “woke” discourse he epitomizes. Though it is not at all morally equivalent, it is nonetheless in sync with the toxic premises of white supremacism. Both sides eagerly reduce people to abstract color categories, all the while feeding off of and legitimizing each other, while those of us searching for gray areas and common ground get devoured twice. Both sides mystify racial identity, interpreting it as something fixed, determinative and almost supernatural. For Mr. Coates, whiteness is a “talisman,” an “amulet” of “eldritch energies” that explains all injustice; for the abysmal early-20th-century Italian fascist and racist icon Julius Evola, it was a “meta-biological force,” a collective mind-spirit that justifies all inequality. In either case, whites are preordained to walk that special path. It is a dangerous vision of life we should refuse no matter who is doing the conjuring.

This summer, I spent an hour on the phone with Richard Spencer. It was an exchange that left me feeling physically sickened. Toward the end of the interview, he said one thing that I still think about often. He referred to the all-encompassing sense of white power so many liberals now also attribute to whiteness as a profound opportunity. “This is the photographic negative of a white supremacist,” he told me gleefully. “This is why I’m actually very confident, because maybe those leftists will be the easiest ones to flip.”

If you divide America along racial/ethnic lines, eventually the largest racial/ethnic group will start to think of itself as a racial/ethnic group and act accordingly. But in the meantime, it’s a good living for Coates, and I guess an okay one for Spencer.

And if you want more Trump, well, Coates will help you get more Trump, and a lot more effectively than Spencer ever has. Right after the election, John Podhoretz tweeted, “Liberals spent 40 years disaggregating [the] U.S., until finally the largest cohort in the country chose to vote as though it were an ethnic group.” That’s where “whiteness”-as-original-sin gets you. But hey, like I said, it’s a good living for some people.

SENATOR TOM COTTON: ‘Willing’ to Give Administration, Allies More Than 60 Days to Try for ‘Better’ Iran Deal.

RELATED, FROM STEPHEN HAYES AND MICHAEL WARREN: The art of decertifying the Iran deal.

What happens after decertification is a precarious balancing act if the president hopes to succeed in renegotiating a better deal that achieves the U.S. goal of preventing a nuclear Iran. There are a lot of things Trump and his administration could do to try to improve the deal before deciding whether to scrap it altogether. As Mark Dubowitz and David Albright put it in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, these include: designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, slapping Iranian companies and organizations with new non-nuclear sanctions allowed under the JCPOA, insisting on making permanent the “sunset clauses” that only temporarily restrict Iran’s nuclear program and testing, and demanding thorough and complete inspections of Iranian facilities to ensure compliance. In his Council on Foreign Relations speech, Tom Cotton echoed these ideas.

Success on this post-decertification route will require working closely with Congress, negotiating with European allies who have economic interests in Iran and want to expand them, and follow-through and commitment on the part of the administration. John Bolton tells TWS he’s highly skeptical of the news reports of this plan. “What’s been described is an incoherent policy mishmash,” says Bolton, who was candid in his criticism of Tillerson, Mattis, and McMaster’s guidance of the president toward recertification back in July. “If they failed to present the president with the full range of policy options, it is—and I say this wittingly—a dereliction of duty.” If Trump begins to feel this way again, he could upend the difficult path forward for improving the deal.

It’s the worst of all possible deals, locked in by Russian and Chinese intransigence and our own foreign policy and national security establishments.

Thanks, Obama.


In truth, the noose has been tightening for years around Harvey Weinstein. There’s been a bunker-like mentality at the Weinstein Co. for years, as the indie studio’s money troubles have worsened and as it tried to migrate away from prestige fare and into television. There were too many film flops such as “Tulip Fever,” “Burnt,” and “Gold,” and persistent mutterings that the company could no longer pay its bills. High profile executives would leave, with positions remaining vacant or filled by junior staffers. It’s been a while since the studio was a major force at film festivals, swinging its checkbook around to nab the hottest Sundance titles. In the meantime, new players like A24 and Bleecker Street have emerged, establishing themselves as more auteur-friendly (Weinstein had a reputation for battling directors), while Amazon and Netflix have been able to outspend all comers.

Even before the reports broke, agents were already wary about working with Weinstein because of reports that its money was running out. One agent told Variety that the Times’ report will give them an even bigger reason to stay away from the studio.

In some respects, Thursday’s piece was the confirmation of decades of rumors and shop talk that have clung to Weinstein. At various times, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the New Yorker (which has its own competing piece still set to launch) have tried to break this story. They’ve aggressively pursued the angle of whether or not Weinstein used corporate funds at Miramax to pay for legal settlements with women. In most cases, Weinstein was able to successfully hit back at those claims. Another stumbling block was that many women did not want to go on the record with their allegations. That will likely change with the Times piece.

Weinstein Gives First Interview After Shocking Sex Harassment Claims, the New York Post reports:

“The Times editors were so fearful they were going to be scooped by New York Magazine and they would lose the story, that they went ahead and posted the story filled with reckless reporting, and without checking all they had with me and my team.

He added that he believes the paper – which published a long negative piece about Weinstein’s dealings with amfAR a week ago – has a vendetta against him.

Weinstein explained, “They never wrote about the documentary I did with Jay-Z about Rikers Island, they never write that I raised $50 million for amfAR, nor my work with Robin Hood – instead they focus on trying to bring me down. This is a vendetta, and the next time I see Dean Baquet [the executive editor of the Times] it will be across a courtroom.”

Insert Kissinger Iran-Iraq War quote here.

In a link-laden post, Ace of Spades asks, “Didn’t people in the media know, given that Weinstein was, you know, a notorious figure in the media?”, also pondering about how much knowledge the Democrats he donated to had, and the past Disney connection to Weinstein.

“Weinstein was a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton 2016 run, donated to her campaigns 10 times between 1999 & 2016,” the Hollywood Reporter notes. He made 13 visits to the Obama White House. Malia Obama interned for him.

Lionsgate distributes Miramax films on home media in the US, and also produced AMC’s Mad Men series during its run from 2007 to 2015. As I wrote at Ed during its last season, I always thought Hollywood had a lot of chutzpah tut-tutting the sexual mores of the corporate world of the 1960s while simultaneously enabling Bill Clinton, handsy Joe Biden, and what goes on in their own executive suites.

UPDATE: Regarding Weinstein’s NRA and Trump-obsessed “apology” letter (which Iowahawk neatly sums up as, “It’s just this war and that son of a bitch Johnson”), when you’ve lost the Daily Beast…

More: Former Obama Adviser Anita Dunn Helped Harvey Weinstein Strategize Before New York Times Story. “Weinstein has also, supposedly, reached out to the Clintons’ crisis PR honcho Lanny Davis.”

THEY MUST WANT MORE TRUMP: Trump will win in 2020 if the left keeps calling him a racist.

Robert Robb:

I now believe that the left will re-elect Trump. The ruction over NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem illustrates the point.

The left has talked itself into believing that Trump’s alleged appeals to white racism were what put him over the top.

More astute psephologists have pointed out that the actual difference was made by people in industrial states who previously had voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, but switched to Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Hard to attribute those decisions to white racism.

Nevertheless, the left now interprets all of Trump’s actions through the prism of perceived appeals to white racism. If Trump were to tweet, “It’s a lovely day in Washington,” the left would denounce it as a dog whistle to white supremacists.

Which brings us to the NFL ruction. Players began kneeling during the national anthem reportedly to protest what they regard as racial injustice in the United States. Trump denounced them in Trumpian fashion.

According to the left, since the players were protesting racial injustice, Trump was endorsing racial injustice by criticizing them. There goes that dog whistle!

To most Americans, that’s nuts.

Well, yes. But as Bill Whittle likes to say, if Republicans didn’t have Democrats to run against, they’d lose every time.

ROBBY SOAVE: If You Think Trump Is a Fascist, You Should Oppose Gun Control.

Following the unfathomably tragic events in Las Vegas, many on the left are demanding that Congress pass new restrictions on guns. Such calls make even less sense than usual, given what much of the left already believes about the current political environment: that a fascist occupies the White House.

“Yes, Donald Trump is a fascist,” wrote The New Republic’s Jamil Smith. He said that in 2015, when Trump was still merely a primary challenger; associating Trump with fascism has grown only more common in the two years since.

“This is how fascism comes to America,” wrote Robert Kagan, a former Republican, in a Washington Post piece widely shared last year on both the left and the NeverTrump right: “not with jackboots and salutes (although there have been salutes, and a whiff of violence) but with a television huckster, a phony billionaire, a textbook egomaniac ‘tapping into’ popular resentments and insecurities, and with an entire national political party—out of ambition or blind party loyalty, or simply out of fear—falling into line behind him.”

“Trump’s not Hitler,” wrote Salon’s Fedja Buric in 2016. But that was only because: “He’s Mussolini.” Buric’s article is about “How GOP anti-intellectualism created a modern fascist movement in America.”

The Daily Beast’s Jay Michaelson held out until Trump pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio, at which point he declared, “at a certain point, ‘fascist’ becomes the most accurate term to describe what this man does….’Fascist’ is not an incendiary slur—it is an accurate description.”

Those are high-profile writers; grassroots activists have been less measured. The antifa movement, which for some reason thinks smashing windows and setting cars on fire is an effective form of resistance, regularly claims that Trump is a modern incarnation of Nazism. Left-leaning students and professors frequently accuse Trump of fascism; some have even maintained that members of Trump’s Cabinet, like Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, are white supremacists by mere association. . . .

Which brings us back to gun control, something countless liberal pundits and Democratic congresspeople are breathlessly demanding right now. How on earth could anyone believe both that Trump is a fascist and that it’s a good idea for a federal government he runs to take guns away from law-abiding citizens? If Trump is a budding Mussolini—let alone something worse—then you shouldn’t want to give him the power required to wage a war on guns.

You’d think.

THE NORMALS WEIGH IN: Byron York: On game day, new polls show what Americans think about NFL protests, Trump.

Whenever President Trump sets off a new controversy, there’s always a period of hair-on-fire commentary, usually conducted in the absence of polls or other evidence of public opinion. It’s happened again and again, the latest example being the president, the NFL, and the national anthem.

Trump set things off September 22 during a speech in Alabama. Now, after more than a week, there are five new polls with information on the underlying issue — NFL players protesting during the national anthem — and Trump’s treatment of it.

On the protests, the short version is, the public, which disapproved when Colin Kaepernick first refused to stand for the anthem last year, still disapproves.

A new CBS poll asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of football players protesting by kneeling during the national anthem?” Fifty-two percent said they strongly or somewhat disapprove, while 38 percent said they strongly or somewhat approve, and nine percent said they haven’t heard enough to say.

The disapprove-approve numbers were 51-39 in a new ESPN poll.

Fox News asked, “In general, do you think kneeling during the national anthem is an appropriate — or inappropriate — form of protest?” Fifty-five percent said inappropriate, while 41 percent said appropriate, and five percent didn’t know.

CNN asked the question in a slightly roundabout way, asking “Do you think athletes who protest by kneeling during the national anthem are doing the right thing or the wrong thing to express their political opinion? Forty-nine percent said the wrong thing, 43 percent said the right thing, and eight percent didn’t know.

Finally, the Huffington Post found a lot of indecisive respondents when it asked, “Do you think it’s appropriate or inappropriate for NFL players to kneel in protest during the national anthem?” Forty-eight percent said inappropriate, 36 percent said appropriate, and a full 16 percent said they weren’t sure.

The CBS poll shed some additional light on the public’s attitude toward the demonstrations when it asked, “Do you think professional athletes should or should not use their position and fame to talk politics or raise issues, if they want to?” The poll gave respondents three choices: “Yes, whenever they want to,” “Yes, but only on their own time,” and “No, they should not.”

A decisive 68 percent said athletes either should get political on their own time or not at all. . . .

Given the racial dimension of the controversy, the poll broke things down further by race. Forty-six percent of blacks said athletes should get political on their own time or not at all; 64 percent of Hispanics said the same; 58 percent of other races/ethnicities agreed; and 75 percent of whites agreed. Blacks were the only group that said, by a 54 percent majority, that athletes should get political whenever they want.

The bottom line is that in most polls, small majorities oppose the national anthem protests. But in a broader sense, a much larger majority opposes athletes using the field of competition to play politics.

Why is the majority generally opposing political activity on the field larger than the majority specifically opposing the anthem protests? Just a theory here — it could be that the former is a true measure of opinion on sports protests, while the latter is associated with Trump, which means measures of opinion about the anthem protests are comingled with respondents’ opinions about the president.

What doesn’t, these days?

CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE, ROGER: Bench the NFL. Pro football’s success is founded on shrewd lobbying and a federal favor. After a court forbade the NFL teams from jointly negotiating a TV deal, the league persuaded Congress in 1961 to grant a special exemption from antitrust laws. This perk has often has been criticized, but the efforts to remove it have never gone far in Congress. The NFL enjoyed bipartisan support because it seemed a national institution above politics. But now that the owners and players have so resolutely united against Republicans (and public opinion), Steve Malanga of City Journal wants Congress to reconsider:

The national anthem protest controversy offers a new perspective on the privileges that Congress has awarded to the NFL, particularly because the league’s team owners have allowed those protests to take place and even, last weekend, participated in them, in response to President Trump’s criticism of the players’ activism. Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft, for instance, said last Sunday, “I support [players’] right to peacefully affect social change and raise awareness in a manner that they feel is most impactful.” But while players have the right to engage in political speech free from government interference, their freedom does not extend by right to a private employer in its own workplace. The majority of companies in America would not, and do not, allow demonstrations at work by individual employees on political issues unrelated to their employment—just the sort of demonstrations begun last year by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and carried on through this weekend by more than 200 players. That the owners have tolerated and lately even encouraged such protests over an issue—charges of police brutality—that divides many Americans is a business risk that they seem willing to take. But the league’s use of its platform—created by its federal antitrust exemption—to broadcast its message across the country is more than a simple business matter. It represents an improper use of resources made available to the NFL by special federal legislation. It’s past time to revoke the Sports Broadcasting Act.

The owners won’t be happy with this, but at least they’ll have something specific to protest in the pregame ceremony.

JOSH KRAUSHAAR: Democrats Lose Touch With America — Hillary Clinton’s new book blames a lot of culprits for her defeat. It barely notes the biggest reason: her cultural disconnect from the country.

Clinton’s decision to call Trump backers deplorable was one of her campaign’s low points. But the problem runs much deeper within her party. Progressives now instinctively label pro-Trump conservatives as “white supremacists,” a slur that paints nearly half the country with a racist brush. Legitimate anxieties over the country’s national security are frequently dismissed as anti-Muslim xenophobia. Politicized sportswriters assumed that the American public supports players protesting the national anthem, even when a swell of football fans across the country—including those in the most liberal media markets—booed their own team’s players for disrespecting the flag.

President Trump has exploited this gaping disconnect between elite opinion and majority sentiment in the most divisive way possible. But it doesn’t mean that Democrats should be playing into his hands.

For a sign of how far to the left Democrats have drifted on culture, just look at the last major anthem protest to sweep up a sports league. In 1996, Nuggets star Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf refused to stand for the national anthem, calling the American flag a symbol of tyranny. He was promptly suspended for a game and fined by the NBA. There was no uproar in favor of his right to protest, even in a league where most players were African-American. Condemnation of Abdul-Rauf’s action ran across the political spectrum. Then-commissioner David Stern later mandated players stand in a dignified manner when the anthem was played—a wholly uncontroversial decision.

The closest Clinton comes to acknowledging the party’s cultural tone-deafness is an anecdote she shares about the Arkansas Senate race in 2014. She relays a story about an old friend who typically votes Democratic, has fairly liberal economic views, but was having a tough time supporting moderate Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor’s reelection. She recounts him telling her husband: “At least the Republicans won’t do anything to us. The Democrats want to take away my gun and make me go to a gay wedding.” But instead of showing empathy for people with more-traditional social views, she concludes that “the politics of cultural identity and resentment were overwhelming evidence, reason and personal experience.” Successful politicians feel people’s pain; they don’t hector them about their hang-ups.

As president, Bill Clinton’s strategy when tackling divisive cultural issues was to at least offer a signal that he understood the opposition. His famous formulation about wanting abortion to be “safe, legal and rare” offered rhetorical reassurance to those opposed to abortion, even as his administration was solidly and proudly in favor of abortion rights. Inclusive language helps dampen the anger of opponents, even when there’s little agreement on policy.

Even longtime Clinton pollster Stanley Greenberg, who has long urged Democrats to adopt an aggressively populist economic message, concludes that Clinton’s cultural disconnect was her most glaring vulnerability in the campaign. In an essay in The American Prospect, he writes: “Despite overwhelming evidence that the Democratic base wasn’t consolidated or excited, the campaign believed that Trump’s tasteless attacks and Clinton’s identification with every group in the rainbow coalition would produce near-universal support…. They were explicitly privileging race and gender over class.”

How’d that work out for you, folks?

DAILY CALLER: White House Aides Are Stopping Deal With Assange, Congressman Says.

President Donald Trump is being blocked from knowing he can pardon WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in exchange for information vindicating Russia of hacking allegations, according to Republican California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.

Trump told reporters Sunday that he has “never heard” of a potential deal with Assange.

“I think the president’s answer indicates that there is a wall around him that is being created by people who do not want to expose this fraud that there was collusion between our intelligence community and the leaders of the Democratic Party,” Rohrabacher told The Daily Caller Tuesday in a phone interview.

The Trump angle is little more than a hook — the real meat is Rohrabacher’s desire to cut a deal with Assange to get to the bottom of any DNC-Deep State-Russia connection.

JON GABRIEL: Red Team? Blue Team? Start Your Own Team.

Remember when multimillionaire President Trump criticized a multimillionaire football player last night? Well today, a multimillionaire basketball player said he didn’t want to go to the White House no more. So, President Trump said the multimillionaire basketball player wasn’t welcome at the White House in the first place. And then a different multimillionaire basketball player tweeted something mean at President Trump.

Honestly, I’m just happy the Republic hasn’t collapsed.

A few million put on their Red Team uniforms and rushed to their computers. Another few million put on their Blue Team uniforms and grabbed their iPhones. To the barricades, citizens!

Then they wasted a beautiful Saturday afternoon tweeting at each other.

Melissa and I spent Saturday doing chores and then drinking and talking too loudly with old friends — highly recommended.

WAR ON WOMEN UPDATE: Sanders Donor Clarifies She Doesn’t Want Betsy DeVos to Be Raped, Just Tortured.

As Glenn noted in August:

Two months ago, Steve Scalise was shot by a Trump-hating, Bernie-backing gunman who set out intentionally to massacre Republican congressmen.

The next day: ‘F*ck Steve Scalise’: HuffPost writer wishes ‘violent resistance’ were more ‘organized.’

Why is the Democratic party, and its socialist fellow travelers, such a cesspit of violent rhetoric — and at times, actual violence?

WALL STREET JOURNAL: The Politicization Of Everything.

Healthy democracies have ample room for politics but leave a larger space for civil society and culture that unites more than divides. With the politicization of the National Football League and the national anthem, the Divided States of America are exhibiting a very unhealthy level of polarization and mistrust.

The progressive forces of identity politics started this poisoning of America’s favorite spectator sport last year by making a hero of Colin Kaepernick for refusing to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” before games. They raised the stakes this year by turning him into a progressive martyr because no team had picked him up to play quarterback after he opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers.

The NFL is a meritocracy, and maybe coaches and general managers thought he wasn’t good enough for the divisions he might cause in a locker room or among fans. But the left said it was all about race and class.

All of this is cultural catnip for Donald Trump, who pounced on Friday night at a rally and on the weekend on Twitter with his familiar combination of gut political instinct, rhetorical excess, and ignorance. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired,’” Mr. Trump said Friday.

No doubt most Americans agree with Mr. Trump that they don’t want their flag disrespected, especially by millionaire athletes. But Mr. Trump never stops at reasonable, and so he called for kneeling players to be fired or suspended, and if the league didn’t comply for fans to “boycott” the NFL.

Well, Trump’s got his opponents arguing against the National Anthem, so maybe he’s not as dumb as you think. But whenever you wonder why we’re in a situation where Trump’s driving this sort of narrative, remember that we got Trump because the respectable political class did such a sorry job that there was an opening for Trump.

VIRGINIA POSTREL: Facebook’s Pros Still Outweigh Its Cons: I wanted to quit. Here’s why I decided to stay.

The response to my question made me realize that Facebook had allowed me to create a distinctive forum, that people appreciate it more than I can usually tell, and that I’d miss (most of) these interactions if I left. It reminded me of the reasons to like Facebook: the connections it provides and the chance to easily share interests. So I’ve decided to stay, with modifications.

To avoid distraction, I’d already started using the Anti-Social app to block Facebook and Twitter for several hours at a time. I’ll extend the blocked periods and make them a daily habit. Taking a cue from psychology research that suggests that reading Facebook passively is what puts people in a bad mood, I’ve also installed the Stop Scrolling Newsfeed for Facebook browser extension, which lets you block the feed after a minute or even 15 seconds. (If that doesn’t work, there’s the nuclear option: Feed Eradicator for Facebook extension, whose name is self-explanatory.) Instead of endlessly scrolling through whatever some algorithm serves up, I’ll visit specific people’s pages directly and focus on interaction.

The exercise was a useful reminder of what often gets lost in the public commentary on social media. For all their myriad faults, services like Facebook provide genuine value by connecting people who wouldn’t otherwise be in touch. Tools exist to help users minimize the downside — you just have to look for them. Like any other form of abundance, making the most of social media requires conscious consideration. So I reserve the right to revisit the question next year.

I agree, though I feel this way somewhat less than I used to. Plus, on her fear of Facebook knowing her too well:

This particular fear was somewhat assuaged by downloading my Facebook archive and discovering just how clueless the ad targeting was. Rolex? The band America? Soccer? The ad preferences page also pegs “fire” as a hobby, presumably based on my interest in FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Hillary bet the farm on big data analytics. Now it’s Trump’s farm.

MAYBE SHE CAN GET A JOB AT ESPN, OR THE NFL: Post-Trump Megyn Kelly buried in bad reviews.

Critics ripped up Megyn Kelly’s canceled Sunday night news magazine show and are now ripping up her morning talk show, which one critic says makes President Trump the real winner of Kelly’s fall from TV stardom.

“It’s as if the old Kelly — sarcastic, cutting, sharp — got replaced by a Trump-approved version that grins hard and just wants you to like her,” according to a review at The Week magazine. “She won’t talk politics! She promises! If this startling about-face tells us anything, it’s that Trump, Kelly’s tormentor, has won.”

Fox viewers liked Kelly, but they liked Fox more. She thought her audience would follow her, and she was wrong. Related: Jessica Heslam: Megyn Kelly isn’t a morning person.

WOW, THIS REALLY DOESN’T FIT THE NARRATIVE: Black Lives Matter group takes the stage at pro-Trump rally — what happens next is amazing.

Though the speaker declared that BLM is “not anti-cop,”  the pro-Trump crowd’s reaction showed they didn’t believe it. But things began to turn around when the man clarified that the group was “anti-bad cop” and shouted that the group didn’t want any handouts, and didn’t want anything that didn’t rightfully belong to them.

“We want our God-given right to freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!” the group’s leader shouted, and the crowd began to applaud and cheer once more.

The BLM leader added, “All lives matter, right? … If we really want to make America great, we do it together.”

Huh – I was told repeatedly by the DNC-MSM last year that saying “all lives matter” was the height of racism. Read the whole thing.

DAVID HARSANYI: After Self-Reflection, Journalists Discover They’ve Been Too Critical Of … Democrats.

It’s difficult to believe this now, but at one point a number of top media outlets considered the first-ever FBI investigation of a major presidential candidate in the history of the republic to be somewhat newsworthy. So they proceeded to cover the candidate’s many lies, her purging of somewhere around 30,000 pieces of evidence, and the FBI’s she’s-so-freaking-guilty-but-not-guilty verdict. And when authorities uncovered a computer that should have been in the possession of the FBI but was instead accessible to the sex-addicted husband of a top Hillary aide, they reported that, as well. This should have all been ignored.

On numerous occasions during her book tour, Clinton argued that the press didn’t do its job — which is to say, help her get elected. Considering the sycophantic coverage afforded her and her former boss the past eight years, perhaps these expectations were too high. Perhaps she expected the whitewashing to continue. Perhaps she anticipated the reaction to her dishonesty to be similar to the reaction she received after lying about the events surrounding the September 11, 2012 terror attack that took the life of Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Which is to say a bunch journalists tweeting,


embellished with dismissive jokes.

Perhaps in all the excitement of the election some journalists lost their way.

They must want more Trump, because this is how to get just that.