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ROGER KIMBALL ON TRUMP VS. OBAMA: A STUDY IN CONTRASTS:

As we approach Trump’s hundredth day in office, however, I am happy to say that I sense a change in the anti-Trump dynamic. The anti-Trump venom is as widespread and hysterical as ever. But as the days go by and Trump governs not as Hitler but as a deliberate executive, toting up victories here, setbacks there, rain checks and extenuations and opportunities, more and more people will say, “This guys is the real deal. He gets things done. He delivers on his promises. He really is making America great again.” The effect of that sentiment will be to marginalize the mainstream media.  If you want a vivid example of exactly how that is done, contemplate what’s about to happen next Saturday when Trump skips the White House correspondents’ dinner and holds a big rally in Pennsylvania instead. I’m sure there will be lots of snide remarks, anti-Trump jokes, and the air will be thick with contemptuous self-satisfaction.  What might not be obvious to the attendees, but what will be blindingly obvious to the rest of us, is that no one who is not crowded into that fetid atmosphere will care. A process of marginalization and emasculation is underway.  If Trump’s second 100 days is as successful as his first 100 days, that process should be essentially complete by the end of the year.

Read the whole thing – and note that in regards to the DNC-MSM’s Trump-as-Hitler meme, as Glenn would say, all is proceeding as Scott Adams has foreseen.

MEGAN MCARDLE: Trump Voters Want Respect. Here’s How to Give It to Them.

After the election, shell-shocked opponents of Donald Trump divided themselves into roughly two camps. The first group wanted to focus on understanding and reaching out to the disaffected white working- and lower-middle class voters who had given Trump his electoral college victory. The second group wanted to focus on resisting Trump; their solution to the Democratic Party’s loss of those voters was, essentially, to wait for them to die off.

As you can probably guess, my sympathies are with the “outreach” folks rather than the “wait for them to die” folks. A strategy of demographically swamping your opponents is more often discussed than delivered, as followers of Israel-Palestine negotiations, Northern Irish politics, or recent American elections can attest. Also, those people are your fellow citizens, and it is not healthy — civically or emotionally — to rest your dreams on the deaths of millions of Americans.

The problem is, smugness and feelings of superiority are the coin in which the gentry liberals pay themselves for their politics.

YOU WANT MORE TRUMP? BECAUSE THIS IS HOW YOU GET MORE TRUMP. Cashman: Flag flap shows reporter’s out in left field. “This is how crazy 2017 has become. The American flag is now, according to one NBC Sports baseball writer, a political statement. Delicate NBC snowflake Craig Calcaterra was triggered Sunday when a giant American flag covered the field at an Atlanta Braves game, with Old Glory gracing the Jumbotrons, and a stirring military flyover to cap it all.”

KOREA, AND MORE KOREA: Well, East Asia is on the edge of war –renewed war, for the Korean War never officially ended. Today on ABC New’s This Week, National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster sent Kim Jong Un a very specific message regarding his military technology.

Hours after North Korea paraded its weaponry and attempted a missile launch, President Trump’s national security adviser said the U.S. leader will not allow Kim Jong Un’s regime to have the capacity to threaten the U.S.

“While it’s unclear and we do not want to telegraph in any way how we’ll respond to certain incidents, it’s clear that the president is determined not to allow this kind of capability to threaten the United States,” Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz in an exclusive interview on “This Week” Sunday. “Our president will take action that is in the best interest of the American people.”

North Korea rolled out ballistic missiles and other weaponry at a huge parade Saturday and later in the day, at 5:21 p.m. ET, made a failed attempt to shoot off a missile, which exploded immediately after launch.

McMaster said the launch “fits a pattern of provocative and destabilizing and threatening behavior on the part of the North Korean regime.”

The article includes a tweet from President Trump: “Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens!”

Yes, art of the deal meets art of war. China got a taste of that in December 2016.

As for North Korea, McMaster made it clear the U.S. prefers a peaceful solution.

“What (is) particularly difficult about — about dealing with this regime, is that it is unpredictable,” he said. “It’s time for us to undertake all actions we can, short of a military option, to try to resolve this peacefully,” he said.

The Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace agreement. That’s not an irrelevant point. The Kim regime thinks it can still win.

BUSINESS INSIDER: What ever Trump said to China about North Korea, it seems like it worked.

Well, it’s way too early to tell.

While China has signed onto every UN Security Council resolution against North Korea since 2006, “it has, of course, watered down most if not all of those Security Council resolutions because it has not wanted to agree to sanctions that might create instability in North Korea,” Glaser said. “And if it won’t cause instability, it’s probably not likely to be tough enough to cause Kim Jong Un to rethink his strategy and priorities.”

So while China may have been swayed to act against its own interests by the Trump administration’s military posturing, another more credible threat could have moved the needle.

“I think that [the Chinese] are quite worried about what Trump might do in the area of trade and economics — that’s really credible,” Glaser said.

I suspect Rex Tillerson’s “strategic patience is over” comment and Trump’s retaliation against Syria’s Assad regime helped move Beijing’s needle.

DESPITE ALL THE TALK, TRUMP HASN’T DONE A TINY FRACTION OF WHAT FDR DID: FDR’s War Against the Press.

Like Trump, he feuded with the mainstream media; like Trump, he used a new medium as a direct pipeline to the people. He also used the government’s machinery to suppress unfavorable coverage, a fate we hope to avoid in the age of Trump. . . .

In the 1936 election, Roosevelt claimed that 85 percent of the newspapers were against him. In the standard work on the subject, historian Graham J. White finds that the actual percentage was much lower and the print press generally gave FDR balanced news coverage, but most editorialists and columnists were indeed opposed to the administration. Convinced that the media were out to get him, Roosevelt warned in 1938 that “our newspapers cannot be edited in the interests of the general public, from the counting room. And I wish we could have a national symposium on that question, particularly in relation to the freedom of the press. How many bogies are conjured up by invoking that greatly overworked phrase?”

Roosevelt’s relationship with radio was warmer. The key distinction was that broadcasters operated in an entirely different political context: Thanks to federal rules and administrators, they had to tread much more lightly than newspapers did. At its inception in 1934, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reduced the license renewal period for stations from three years to only six months. Meanwhile, Roosevelt tapped Herbert L. Pettey as secretary of the FCC (and its predecessor, the Federal Radio Commission). Pettey had overseen radio for Roosevelt in the 1932 campaign. After his appointment, he worked in tandem with the Democratic National Committee to handle “radio matters” with both the networks and local stations.

It did not take long for broadcasters to get the message. NBC, for example, announced that it was limiting broadcasts “contrary to the policies of the United States government.” CBS Vice President Henry A. Bellows said that “no broadcast would be permitted over the Columbia Broadcasting System that in any way was critical of any policy of the Administration.” He elaborated “that the Columbia system was at the disposal of President Roosevelt and his administration and they would permit no broadcast that did not have his approval.” Local station owners and network executives alike took it for granted, as Editor and Publisher observed, that each station had “to dance to Government tunes because it is under Government license.” . . .

Even as he was securing domination of the ether, Roosevelt worked hard to neutralize criticism from the print media. Here he used a combination of manipulation and intimidation. By 1935, the famous Roosevelt charm was much less of a guarantee of success, and his press conferences became increasingly orchestrated. Like Trump, he singled out some reporters who wanted to ask questions and ignored others. Writing for The Washington Post in 1938, Harlan Miller commented that Roosevelt only answered questions which enabled him to “utter an oral editorial.…He selects only those on which he can ring the bell.”

He also gave special access to pro-administration outlets, such as J. David Stern’s Philadelphia Record and Marshall Field’s Chicago Sun. Another Field publication, PM, was probably the closest facsimile to a New Deal Breitbart. In both editorials and news reports, PM repeatedly demonized FDR’s enemies, often comparing them to fascists. These pro–New Deal outlets had a special entrée to top administration officials, who gave them valuable scoops. The collaboration went both ways. In 1942, Field brought an antitrust complaint against the much less Roosevelt-friendly Associated Press.
The Black Committee

Roosevelt’s intimidation efforts reached their apogee in the hands of the Special Senate Committee on Lobbying. The president indirectly recruited Sen. Hugo L. Black (D–Ala.), a zealous and effective New Deal loyalist, as chair. The committee’s original mission was to probe the opposition campaign to the “death sentence” in the Public Utility Holding Company Bill, a provision that would have allowed, under certain circumstances, the dissolution of utility holding companies. The Black Committee gained traction with the public when it brought to light evidence that some lobbyists had concocted thousands of “fake telegrams” sent to Congress to protest the bill. Smelling blood, Black expanded the investigation into a general probe of anti–New Deal voices, including journalists.

The Treasury granted Black access to tax returns dating back to 1925 of such critics as David Lawrence of the United States News. Then he moved to obtain his targets’ private telegrams, demanding that telegraph companies let the committee search copies of all incoming and outgoing telegrams for the first nine months of 1935. When Western Union refused on privacy grounds, the FCC, at Black’s urging, ordered it to comply.

Over a nearly three-month period at the end of 1935, FCC and Black Committee staffers searched great stacks of telegrams in Western Union’s D.C. office. Operating with virtually no restriction, they read the communications of sundry lobbyists, newspaper publishers, and conservative political activists as well as every member of Congress.

Sounds more like Obama than Trump.

Related (From Ed): And then there was that time in 1942, when FDR gave a New York Daily News journalist whose reporting he disagreed with a Nazi Iron Cross medal.

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY: Sorry, Democrats, The Obama Spying Scandal Isn’t Going Away.

But the fact is members of intelligence committees are not perfect about how they handle disclosure of classified information. Schiff has a reputation for lacking discretion, but many other Democratic members would be sure to face problems if mild mention of already public surveillance was cause for censure or oblique denials of FISA warrants. If Republicans wanted to make life difficult for Democrats on the committee, they could. Or as one anonymous official on the committee said, “There is evidence that some Democrats have leaked classified material — both inadvertently and intentionally.”

The House is busy with health care discussions and on a spring break. But Rep. Nunes will continue to dig into the potentially improper handling of information collected on Trump associates. And now he’ll have more time to do so. Those who watched him investigating previous intelligence problems know he is like a dog with a bone when it comes to getting to the bottom of wrongdoing. Whether Democrats agree with Nunes’ decision to go public with the news of the unmasking and dissemination of information about Trump associates, the fact that the public knows about it means that an investigation must continue.

Sorry-not-sorry.

SPEAKING WITH THE PRESIDENT ON BOARD TRUMP FORCE ONE FOR THE CHINA SUMMIT:

“I think what happened in Syria is a disgrace to humanity, and he’s there, and I guess he’s running things, so I guess something should happen.”

“What Assad did is terrible. What happened in Syria is truly one of the egregious crimes and it shouldn’t have happened. And it shouldn’t be allow to happen,” he said, responding “I don’t want to say what I’m going to be doing with respect to Syria” when asked what steps are next.

More from Bridget Johnson at the link.

NICK KRISTOF? My Most Unpopular Idea: Be Nice to Trump Voters.

“I absolutely despise these people,” one woman tweeted at me after I interviewed Trump voters. “Truly the worst of humanity. To hell with every one of them.”

Maybe we all need a little more empathy?

I wrote my last column from Oklahoma, highlighting voters who had supported Trump and now find that he wants to cut programs that had helped them. One woman had recovered from a rape with the help of a women’s center that stands to lose funding, another said that she would sit home and die without a job program facing cutbacks, and so on. Yet every one of them was still behind Trump — and that infuriated my readers.

“I’m just going to say it,” tweeted Bridgette. “I hate these people. They are stupid and selfish. Screw them. Lose your jobs, sit home and die.”

Another: “ALL Trump voters are racist and deplorable. They’ll never vote Democratic. We should never pander to the Trumpites. We’re not a party for racists.”

The torrent of venom was, to me, as misplaced as the support for Trump from struggling Oklahomans. I’m afraid that Trump’s craziness is proving infectious, making Democrats crazy with rage that actually impedes a progressive agenda.

They’re just taking their cue from Hillary “Basket of Deplorables” Clinton.

SHAKEUP: Bannon reportedly threatened to leave White House after NSC shakeup.

Rebekah Mercer, a top Republican donor, had to urge Bannon not to quit after he was removed from his post, sources told Politico. Mercer “tried to convince him that this is a long-term play,” a GOP operative said. Bannon reportedly opposed the change and wanted to quit if the president gave the OK.

“It hasn’t all been fun, and I know he’s been frustrated,” one Republican close to Bannon said.

The White House said that Bannon had not attempted to leave the White House and Bannon added that any indication that he threatened to resign was “total nonsense.”

Bannon’s removal from the National Security Council comes as Jared Kushner’s role in the White House has increased. Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, was recently chosen to lead efforts to cut out bureaucracy from the federal government and visited Iraq in the beginning of the week.

After Kellyanne Conway (and Trump himself), Bannon and Kushner are probably most responsible for Trump’s election, but there seems to be more than a little friction between the two in the White House.

YEAH, WELL HIS SYRIA AND LIBYA POLICIES AREN’T EXACTLY BLOOMING EITHER: Obama’s Asia Pivot Still Bearing Sour Fruit.

Obama’s vision of a multilateral regional coalition appears to be in tatters. President Trump may not mind, as he doesn’t appear to intrinsically value such things anyway. Still, he may find that the kinds of deals he wants in the region would have been easier to come by had his predecessor been more successful.

Well, I think Trump already wishes Obama had been less useless on North Korea.

UPDATE ON LATEST NORTH KOREAN MISSILE TEST: South Korea suspects North Korea’s latest missile launch tested “new technology.”

The South Korean military said the missile was fired from land near the east coast city of Sinpo and flew about 60 kilometers (40 miles). The earlier one in February flew about 500 kilometers (310 miles). Analysts were trying to determine if the shorter distance meant Wednesday’s launch was a failure.

One expert said it could have been a test of a new missile intended as a stepping stone toward developing a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the U.S. mainland. Kim Dong-yub, an analyst at Seoul’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies, questioned why North Korea would do a shorter launch of the KN-15.

More:

Ralph Cossa, president of the Pacific Forum CSIS think tank in Honolulu, said he was expecting North Korea would do something to coincide with the Trump-Xi summit, perhaps conduct a nuclear test. The missile launch may be a precursor, with more to come as the summit starts Thursday, he said.

“I’ve joked before that they don’t mind being hated but they definitely hate to be ignored,” Cossa said.

Recent satellite imagery shows possible preparations for a test at North Korea’s main nuclear test site, including the laying of communication cables used to initiate a test and collect data.

Diplomatic dealings, U.S.-China:

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acknowledged the launch in a brief statement but said the U.S. had spoken enough about North Korea and would not comment further.

Trump has said China must do more to pressure North Korea to halt its nuclear program. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Wednesday that all sides needed to be involved.

“If we are serious about solving this issue, we need to tackle the root of it,” she said at a regular news briefing. “We need to balance the interest of each side. China wants to make efforts with all sides involved, to make denuclearization a reality, and ensure peace in the region.”

SecState Tillerson said a lot in March when he said strategic patience with North Korea is over. This essay has a long section discussing the Trump Administration’s policy change vis a vis North Korea. I’ve linked to it several times but it’s history-rich and does help readers understand current events on the Korean peninsula.

WELL, TO BE FAIR, MOST OF LEFTY POLITICS BOILS DOWN TO “SCREW YOU, DAD!The NYT columnist Frank Bruni — in an attack on Trump — attacks manliness.

Would anyone in the NYT attack femininity — in general — the way Bruni attacks masculinity in “Manhood in the Age of Trump”? It would be outright misogyny, and Bruni deserves to be called out for the misandry here.

Much of the column is about his personal struggle as a gay man to deal with his own anxieties about whether he is masculine enough.

That’s personal to him, and not about Trump at all and not about all the other men who are free to experience, express, and enjoy whatever level or version of manliness they want.

Also, as a former food critic you’d expect him to know more about soup.

CBS’S SCOTT PELLEY LOSES A FIGHT RIGGED IN HIS FAVOR: Ever since it was created by Don Hewitt in 1968, CBS’s Sixty Minutes has functioned as a sort of ritual kabuki for its audiences: it made stars of its left-leaning investigative journalists, who would grill the offending conservative politician or businessman of the week. By the mid-’80s, the show’s formula was summed up brilliantly in the classic parodies by Martin Short’s Nathan Thurm character on Saturday Night Live, who would be drenched in sweat and chain-smoking Marlboro 100s by the time he was done attempting to survive the hammering from the crusading journalist on the other side of the desk.

But CBS made its bones during the days when, as Rob Long wrote of NBC’s Johnny Carson, “There were three big channels—and maybe an old movie on one of those fuzzy UHF stations—so if you didn’t like what was on, you were out of luck. Network television didn’t compete with cable channels or Hulu or Amazon Prime. It competed with silence.”

And such lack of competition allowed the networks’ news divisions to create self-contained worlds where they could absolutely control the dialogue, as Walter Cronkite did throughout his career at CBS, while signing off each night “And that’s the way it is.” His successor’s career at CBS ended there with a Sixty Minutes segment…well, we all know how it ended there, right?

Which brings us to CBS’s Scott Pelley and his recent interview with Mike Cernovich, whom Breitbart.com’s Ezra Dulis describes as “a lawyer, independent blogger/author/filmmaker, and a dominant voice on Twitter,” and whom BuzzFeed describes as “a troll.” The latter Website of course is home of the infamous Trump golden showers with Russian hookers story and an editor who believes covering Trump “sometimes…means publishing unverified information in a transparent way that informs our users of its provenance, its impact and why we trust or distrust it.”

Whatever Cernovich’s excesses, assuming this transcript of the full unedited interview is accurate, it’s fascinating much more for what it reveals about Pelley, watched by six and a half million viewers on the CBS Evening News, than for Cernovich. Here’s how the transcript begins:

Scott Pelley: How would you describe what you do?

Mike Cernovich: I’m a lawyer, author, documenter, filmmaker, and journalist.

Scott Pelley: And how would you describe your website?

Mike Cernovich: Edgy, controversial content that goes against the dominant narrative.

Scott Pelley: What’s the dominant narrative?

Mike Cernovich: The dominant narrative is that there are good guys and there are bad guys. The good guys are liberals. Everybody on the right is a bad guy. Let’s find a way to make everybody look bad. Let’s tie marginal figures who have no actual influence to anybody we cannot overwrite. That’s the narrative.

Scott Pelley: That’s not a narrative I’m familiar with. Who’s narrative is that?

In 2008, Pelley compared global warming skeptics to Holocaust deniers. Ben Rhodes, who until January was Obama’s deputy national security advisor, is the brother of CBS News president David Rhodes. John Dickerson, the host of Face the Nation and the “political director” for CBS, wrote an article for Slate in 2013 charmingly titled “Go for the Throat! Why if he wants to transform American politics, Obama must declare war on the Republican Party.” Katie Couric, whom Pelley succeeded as Evening News host, read a poem on her broadcast to shill for the passing of Obamacare, and after leaving CBS had a Rathergate-like moment of her own, attempting to marginalize gun owners.

But back to the transcript of Pelley and Cernovich, where eventually, the hunter is captured by his prey:  

Scott Pelley: You wrote in August a story about Hillary Clinton’s medical condition the headlines said, “Hillary Clinton has Parkinson’s disease. Position confirms.” That’s quite a headline.

Mike Cernovich: Yeah, Dr. Ted Noel had se-sent a story to me anonymously, that I checked out, analyzing her medical condition. And –

Scott Pelley: It isn’t true.

Mike Cernovich: How do you know?

Scott Pelley: Well, she doesn’t seem to have any signs of Parkinson’s disease.

Mike Cernovich: She had a seizure and froze up walking into her motorcade that day caught by a citizen journalist.

Scott Pelley: Did you, well, she had pneumonia. I mean –

Mike Cernovich: How do you know?

Scott Pelley: Well, because that’s what was reported.

Mike Cernovich: By whom? Who told you that?

Scott Pelley: Well, the campaign told us that.

Mike Cernovich: Why would you trust a campaign?

To ask the question is to answer it. In a post headlined “‘Shamefully Stupid’: CBS’s Scott Pelley Loses a Fight Rigged in His Favor,” Breitbart.com’s Ezra Dulis adds in response, “Pelley has no answer for those six words — ‘Why would you trust the campaign’ — as his entire profession goes berserk with literal-minded fact checks for every tweet from President Trump. Pelley also seems to forget the fakery that Clinton World attempted hours before its pneumonia statement — with the candidate smiling and waving outside her daughter’s apartment, greeting a little girl, and assuring reporters everything was a-okay.”

More:

Mike Cernovich: So let’s be, let’s be honest with one another, which is that you are reporting that the Hillary Clinton campaign-

Scott Pelley: I didn’t report that she had Parkinson’s disease.

Mike Cernovich: You just told me she’s healthy though. Based on what was told to you by the campaign. See? That’s what I’m saying about the double standards which is I don’t take anything Hillary Clinton’s going to say at all as true. I’m not going to take her on her word. The media says we’re not going to take Donald Trump on his word. And that’ why we are on these different universes.

Scott Pelley: Why should anyone take you on your word?

Mike Cernovich: Oh, you should always double-check. You should always fact check. And if people don’t agree with me, people express that disagreement, and I’m completely, completely open to criticism.

Insert Glenn Reynolds’ Rathergate-era comments about the positive nature of the Internet being a low-trust environment here. Not to mention Michael Crichton’s Gell-Man Amnesia Effect.

Let’s give Pelley the exit quote: “Well, the benefit of intermediaries is having experienced editors check things out and research people. Check the facts before it goes out to the public. You don’t do any of that.”

Mary Mapes could not be reached for comment.

UPDATE: “Was Pelley not around in 2004?” John Hinderaker asks at Power Line. “Has he forgotten how stupid that refrain sounded then? (‘Layers and layers of fact-checkers’) Does he not realize how false it rings today? We have been here before: the liberal media are in a panic because their authority is being challenged. It must be worse now, though, than it was in 2004. Then, Time’s refrain was a relatively benign ‘Who owns the truth?’ Now, they ask, ‘Is truth dead?’ We can translate: ‘Is the liberal news media monopoly dead?’”

BYRON YORK: Senate committee targets FBI No. 2 in Trump dossier probe.

Sen. Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has sent a letter to FBI Director James Comey demanding the story behind the FBI’s reported plan to pay the author of a lurid and unsubstantiated dossier on candidate Donald Trump. In particular, Grassley appears to be zeroing in on the FBI’s deputy director, Andrew McCabe, indicating Senate investigators want to learn more about McCabe’s role in a key aspect of the Trump-Russia affair.

Grassley began his investigation after the Washington Post reported on February 28 that the FBI, “a few weeks before the election,” agreed to pay former British spy Christopher Steele to investigate Trump. Prior to that, supporters of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign had paid Steele to gather intelligence on Clinton’s Republican rival. In the end, the FBI did not pay Steele, the Post reported, after the dossier “became the subject of news stories, congressional inquiries and presidential denials.” It is not clear whether Steele worked under agreement with the FBI for any period of time before the payment deal fell through.

“The idea that the FBI and associates of the Clinton campaign would pay Mr. Steele to investigate the Republican nominee for president in the run-up to the election raises further questions about the FBI’s independence from politics, as well as the Obama administration’s use of law enforcement and intelligence agencies for political ends,” Grassley wrote in a letter to Comey dated March 28.

Raises questions, answers questions, whatever.

ALWAYS BACKUP YOUR DATA: Jonah Goldberg’s laptop has seconds to live as he kicks off his latest G-File:

Dear Reader (particularly any of you women who want to have dinner with me alone, but can’t),

Turn that frown upside down!

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been in a bit of a funk of late, what with all of the gloominess, snark, and unexplained blood spatters and splatters on my glasses, clothes, car, etc.

Just last week, in this space, while mentioning my dour mood, I asked, “Hey, what’s the emoji for metaphysical dyspepsia and spirit-grinding weltschmerz?”

A bunch of people sent in suggestions, but none really hit the mark. So, the Universe decided to create one for me.

To summarize briefly, last week I was in NYC trying to salvage a little bit of Spring Break for my kid in the wake of all our plans blowing up on account of needing to go to Alaska for my mother-in-law’s funeral. While in the city, I met with the lovely (and understanding and patient and awesome) editor of the book I’m still working on. She needed to know when the final chapters were coming. I said in the next week or so. “I have about 25,000–30,000 words on my computer,” I told her. “I just need to organize it and write a couple thousand more.”

And this is when the Universe saw an opening.

Sensitive readers triggered by past memories of their own hard drive failures and/or accidentally pouring liquids into laptops are warned about reading onward. Though it could be worse, I suppose. As James Lileks once noted after one of his backup sessions, “I remember Anthony Burgess telling a story in an interview: he had finished a book and was heading off to the post office to mail it to his publisher, and a scooter sped by – the fellow on the back grabbed his satchel and they sped off through the Roman traffic. You might doubt the story, since it contains the phrase ‘sped off through the Roman traffic,’ but a scooter can fit between the cars. That was the only copy of his book. So he went home and wrote it again.”

THEY TOLD ME IF TRUMP WERE ELECTED, WEB CENSORSHIP WOULD RUN RAMPANT. AND THEY WERE RIGHT! Alternative facts alert: Proposed legislation bans “fake news.”

The new proposal bars the online publication of a “false or deceptive statement designed to influence the vote.” Bye-bye online news. On the flip side, this legislation would probably outlaw lawmakers’ and candidates’ online speech, too.

The bill is proposed by California Assemblyman Edwin “Ed” Chau, a Democrat representing a section of Southern California. The proposal, which is likely unconstitutional on its face, was supposed to have a committee hearing Tuesday afternoon, but it was pulled at the 11th hour.

The measure does have a laudable goal, however. It’s designed to combat the so-called “fake news” that filled the 2016 election season. Intentions aside, the Electronic Frontier Foundation on Monday began campaigning against the proposal.

“At a time when political leaders are promoting ‘alternative facts’ and branding unflattering reporting as ‘fake news,’ we don’t think it’s a good idea to give the government more power to punish speech,” the EFF said.

Actually, EFF, it’s never a good time to give the government more power to punish speech. Even when a Democrat is in power. You know, like Ed Chau. Or Hillary, who wanted people jailed for making a film that was critical of her, and who did jail a filmmaker when it provided a handy cover story. Making it sound like it’s somehow a Trump related problem in this context is unfair and dishonest.

JAZZ SHAW: Killing that online digital privacy rule will come back to bite the GOP.

We’ll get to the stunningly bad optics of this move in a moment, but it’s first worth keeping in mind how transparently thin the arguments against this rule are. The entire idea of “adding costs and stifling innovation” is laughable on the face of it. We’re talking about a rule which doesn’t impact the amount of data which is available and collected or any of the normal processes involved in providing internet service to customers. It simply forces the provider to proactively obtain the permission of the user (“opting in”) before all of their personal data can be scooped off and auctioned off for marketing and advertising purposes. The fact that virtually no sane person who doesn’t wish to be further bombarded with spam advertising or have their private online activity shipped around with even more chance of it being hacked would ever want to opt in for that tells you all you need to know.

And what data are we talking about? An editorial piece from Motherboard provides some of the chilling details.

Financial and medical information. Social Security numbers. Web browsing history. Mobile app usage. Even the content of your emails and online chats.

These are among the types of private consumer information that House Republicans voted on Tuesday to allow your internet service provider (ISP) to sell to the highest bidder without your permission, prompting outrage from privacy watchdogs.

Unlike Google, Facebook and other so-called “edge providers” (who can already see far too much of your data), the ISPs have direct access to everything that passes through their portals when you are connected to the web. And allowing them to gather all that data up, parse it, package it and sell it to marketers and advertisers is an intrusive nuisance at a minimum and a severe security risk in worst case scenarios.

I don’t find myself agreeing with the Democrats in Congress all that often, but Massachusetts Congressman Michael Capuano asked the correct and not terribly subtle question when he said, “What the heck are you thinking?”

ObamaCare is left untouched, but this the GOP manages to get through?

President Trump is expected to sign the repeal.

Dumb.

JOHN HINDERAKER: Leaked DHS Document Is Another Democratic Party Scandal. “So it appears that what happened here is that Democratic Party activists in the Department of Homeland Security either created a bogus document or dug up a poorly-researched draft document that had never been issued, and fed it to Democratic Party activists at the Associated Press. The Democratic Party activists at the AP published a story based on the anonymous document, which two Democratic Party activists on the bench used as a pretext for orders enjoining the president’s travel order. Those orders should be viewed as purely political acts that have no basis in any valid judicial reasoning or authority.”

The judges who are striking down Trump’s actions because they doubt his adherence to his oath of office are playing a dangerous and unwise game. Their oaths are no more unquestionable, and their branch has neither the sword nor the purse. Do they want to set Trump up to ignore them?

TRY, TRY AGAIN? Affordable Care Act Repeal Is Back on the Agenda, Republicans Say.

Republican members of Congress said they hoped that revisiting the issue would lead this time to a solution and a vote in the House.

“I think everyone wants to get to yes and support President Trump,” said Representative Dave Brat, Republican of Virginia and a Freedom Caucus member. “There is a package in there that is a win-win.”

Representative Raúl Labrador of Idaho, another Freedom Caucus member, said he hoped the discussions would yield a compromise that brings the party together after a divisive debate that revealed deep fissures. “I think we will have a better, stronger product that will unify the conference,” Mr. Labrador said.

The House leadership needs to worry less about what might clear the Senate, and concentrate more on winning passage in the House.

THE ART OF THE DEAL? Trump’s ultimatum: If vote fails, Obamacare stays.

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney has just laid down a gauntlet to House Republicans on behalf of President Trump: pass this bill, or Obamacare remains in place.

Members of the conservative Freedom Caucus want more concessions but, according to Mulvaney, Trump will not negotiate further.

The president demanded a vote tomorrow, and now it appears he will get it. He is all but daring Republicans to vote no.

Nancy Pelosi didn’t allow a final vote on ObamaCare until she knew, privately, that she had enough to win. Is the GOP leadership or caucus that disciplined?

EVERY TIME I THINK I’M OUT THEY PULL ME BACK IN: Iraqi PM Says Trump Administration ‘Wants to be More Engaged’ in Region.

We’ll almost certainly need to be, with Iran uncaged and the longterm decline in oil prices both promising fresh chaos.

ASTROTURF? Republican green groups seek to temper Trump on climate change.

President Donald Trump’s outspoken doubts about climate change and his administration’s efforts to roll back regulation to combat it have stirred a sleepy faction in U.S. politics: the Republican environmental movement.

The various groups represent conservatives, Catholics and the younger generation of Republicans who, unlike Trump, not only recognize the science of climate change but want to see their party wrest the initiative from Democrats and lead efforts to combat global warming.

Conservative green groups such as ConservAmerica and republicEn, along with politically neutral religious groups such as Catholic Climate Covenant and bipartisan groups such as the Citizens Climate Lobby, have ramped up efforts to recruit more congressional Republicans to work on addressing climate change since Trump’s election.

There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of there-there to this story, but I’m amazed that anything containing that second graf could be placed as straight news instead of on the op-ed page.

ELI LAKE: The Resistance Cheers Tactics Trump Will Likely Use Against Them.

The risk of normalization is particularly acute when it comes to selectively disclosing details of conversations monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies, such as the leaks that forced Flynn to resign last month. Such leaks violate the public’s trust in government eavesdroppers to not abuse their power to advance a political agenda.

This is why there are strict laws prohibiting the public disclosure of wiretap information. It’s why the intelligence community is supposed to take great pains not to distribute the names of American citizens who are caught up in surveillance of foreign targets widely within the government. It’s why the House Intelligence Committee is now investigating how many times the identities of U.S. citizens were unmasked in intelligence reports in the last six months of the Obama administration.

Tim Edgar, who served in Obama’s first term as the director of privacy and civil liberties at the White House, told me that it’s a mistake to conflate leaks of government-monitored communications with leaks designed to expose government wrongdoing or corruption. “J. Edgar Hoover was a prolific leaker, the Nixon White House leaked information, including information about its opponents from surveillance,” he said. “You may care somewhat if the government has intercepted your call, but you care more if they are using that information against you in some way.”

Edgar, who is now a professor in law and public policy at Brown University, is worried that the anti-Trump forces are not seeing the danger. “My message to the resistance is that you have to be careful,” he said. “These laws exist to protect all of us and our constitutional rights, and there is a difference between leaking the contents of surveillance transcripts and whistle blowing involving questionable government policy.”

In this sense, the resistance is fashioning a rod for its back. Democrats rightly howled when it was leaked that the FBI had wanted to investigate the Clinton Foundation but was stymied by the Justice Department in the run-up to the election. Trump will now have access to all kinds of damaging information on Democratic politicians. What is to stop him from selectively leaking monitored communications against the resistance?

Ideally, the rest of Washington would stop him. We don’t do that kind of thing in America. This is what police states do. But these norms are only effective if they are observed with consistency.

Deep-sixing norms is what lefties do.

SOMEBODY NEEDS TO BE: Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Skeptical Of Federal Agency Power.

In some of his dissenting and concurring opinions on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, he has called for reconsideration of the Chevron decision.

It is one of the ways in which he is more conservative than the justice he has been nominated to succeed, the late Antonin Scalia. Scalia was generally an advocate of Chevron deference to agencies — his view was that agencies are at least politically accountable, whereas judges are not.

But Chevron “cuts both ways,” as professor Jonathan Adler of Case Western Reserve University School of Law points out.

“An agency might want Chevron deference when it wants to regulate more, but under the Trump administration, agencies will want to claim Chevron deference when they’re trying to deregulate,” Adler says.

Many Gorsuch defenders argue that having someone on the Supreme Court who is less deferential to agencies should reassure those who don’t trust the Trump administration.

It would be “harder” for a Trump administration to get its way if there were no Supreme Court decision requiring the courts to defer to the agencies, says Jeffrey Pojanowski, professor at Notre Dame Law School.

Senate Democrats are being given all kinds of outs to let this nomination roll through.

WELL, IT WAS THE HOME OF WALTER DURANTY, AFTER ALL. The Grey Lady Soft Pedals Richard Falk.

The United Nations has released a report accusing Israel of practicing “apartheid”, the The New York Times reports. . . . In blithely describing him only as someone “critics” have accused of bias, the Times fails to report that the author of the report, Richard Falk, is a 9/11 Truther with a deeply-felt animus toward Israel. . . . In no sense can Falk be called an impartial or fair minded writer. The Times can and should do better than paying lip service to unnamed “critics”.

Here at Via Meadia, we’re used to this crazy UN stuff. Our core criticism isn’t of predictable haters commissioning a predictable hit job, but of the NYT for failing to give its readers a clear understanding of just who it was who produced this piece. The Times‘ incomplete account also makes top UN officials’ response to the apartheid accusation look weak and potentially irresponsible rather than principled. . . .

Falk’s bias and animus are well known at the UN, and UN officials—who know much more about this than the Times decided to share with its readers—understood that this report was an ugly piece of junk and had no desire to be associated with it in any way. This probably wasn’t about appeasing Trump or Israel, but about a sense of professionalism and due caution asserting themselves.

What the Grey Lady’s readers won’t know due to the horrible framing is that what we have here is actually a good news story about the UN: a number of people in the organization have wised up to Richard Falk and want nothing to do with him. Instances of integrity and objectivity at the UN aren’t so common that they should be passed over in silence; the Times’ readers deserve to know that the long process of reform at the UN actually shows some occasional signs of being successful.

Now if we can just get some reform at the New York Times.

HAVEN’T YOU HEARD? THIN IS IN: Trump’s Ridiculously Skinny Budget.

In order to offset a proposed $54 billion bump in defense spending, the administration wants to take a chunk out of most other federal agencies, often in the most cartoonishly villainous ways possible. Eliminating the Corporation for Public Broadcasting? Check. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps people pay their heating bills? Gone. The Chemical Safety Board, which investigates chemical accidents at federal facilities? See ya.

But those sort of programs amount to rounding errors in the context of the federal budget. The big proposed hits are to the State Department (nearly 30 percent), Environmental Protection Agency (31 percent), Agriculture Department (21 percent) and Department of Labor (20 percent).

And again, this is all to fund a 10 percent increase for the Pentagon, not even to reduce the precious deficit that conservatives always pretend to be worried about.

Longterm, entitlement spending is going to break us, and it’s a pity that Trump hasn’t shown any more guts on entitlement reform than any of his predecessors. But as for the rest, “elections have consequences.”

OVERRULED: Judge Blocks Second Travel Order; Trump Slams ‘Judicial Overreach’

The ruling, granting a request for a temporary restraining order by the state of Hawaii and Ismail Elshikh, stalls the president’s second attempt to suspend admission of nearly all refugees for 120 days and to restrict visas for nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson, who said the restraining order applies nationwide, said Trump’s travel order was religiously discriminatory.

In an appearance Wednesday night in Nashville, Tennessee, Trump denounced the ruling as “an unprecedented judicial overreach” and said his administration would pursue the case all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

“We’re talking about the safety of our nation, the safety and security of our people,” he said, adding: “This ruling makes us look weak.”

Sarah Isgur Flores, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, called Watson’s ruling “flawed both in reasoning and in scope,” saying Trump’s travel order “falls squarely within his lawful authority in seeking to protect our nation’s security.”

Mollie Hemingway has more:

Trump said the temporary travel restriction was needed for national security. In issuing his temporary restraining order, Watson said Trump’s order was a result of nothing more than religious animus against Muslims. The judge’s order is predicated on what he thinks Trump wants to do, not the order itself.

Throughout the ruling, Judge Watson concedes there’s nothing about the executive order that would be problematic if not for his interpretation of Trump’s statements made in the months and years prior to issuing it. He repeatedly states his feeling that Trump had a bad motive in issuing the order.

Judges using campaign rhetoric to infer intent instead of plainly evaluating the law as written is a dangerous development. Also because the public can witness the selective use of this trick, it undermines confidence in the judiciary at a time when the judiciary can’t afford too much erosion of trust.

“Feelings” isn’t even a good song, much less a sound basis for overturning a legal executive order.

SPOILER ALERT: “The documents were phony.”

In the third week of January, an Israeli named Yoni Ariel flew from Tel Aviv to Rome carrying $9,000 in cash on a secret mission to bring down Donald Trump.

There, he met with an Italian businessman. Seated at a table toward the rear of a café, away from the street where they might attract unwanted attention, Ariel recalled, he handed over the cash. In exchange he was given a copy of a potentially explosive set of documents.

Its 35 pages told the story of a $1.6 billion wire transfer from petroleum giant ExxonMobil to a European office of a Chinese mining company, which a day later transferred 1.4 billion euros to the Trump Organization, the privately held conglomerate founded by President Trump.

The transfers appeared to have taken place in mid-June, at the exact same time that Exxon’s then chief executive, Rex Tillerson, was in St. Petersburg at an economic forum, which Russian President Vladimir Putin also attended. Less than six months later, President-elect Trump — victor in an election that the US intelligence community said the Russian government had interfered with — nominated Tillerson to be his secretary of state.

To Ariel, who is married to an American and calls Russia’s tampering in the elections “an act of war,” the implications of these billion-dollar transfers were clear: Exxon had secretly bribed Trump to name Tillerson to the powerful cabinet post.

Just a taste more:

Not long after Trump won the election, Schorer, the former spokesman for Democrats Abroad Israel, told Ariel about the alleged Exxon payments and the documents that supposedly provide proof.

Ariel, intrigued, decided he would need help paying for trips to Rome to acquire the documents and also with authenticating them. A string of contacts, including the chairman of Democrats Abroad France, and a former Democratic National Committee operative in Washington, DC, eventually led Ariel to Brett Kimberlin, a left-wing political activist who is also notorious as a felon convicted of setting off bombs in the American heartland.

This is the same Brett Kimberlin who during the 1988 election claimed to have sold pot to Dan Quayle — attempted meddling in presidential elections seems to be something of a sideline for him.

Read the whole thing, but even at the end we still have no clue who forged the Exxon documents, or why they did just an obviously phony job of it.

DO YOU WANT MORE TRUMP? BECAUSE THIS IS HOW YOU GET MORE TRUMP:

“Oh shut up” is now my preferred response to “Everything is racist.”

SALENA ZITO: Love and hate in Ohio.

“People immediately think, because you live in a town that is flat on its back, that you want to leave and, if you don’t, your lack of mobility is a sign of ignorance or ambition,” Hays says as she tidies up Froehlich’s Casual Corner, the restaurant she manages, after the lunch crowd clears out.

“Maybe people stay because they love where they live. Sometimes they leave, but most find their way back – they almost always come back. I did.”

Hays is one of those white working-class Rust Belt voters who did not vote for Trump. The 39-year-old mother of a six-year-old boy looks more like a twenty-something with her long blond hair pulled in a loose ponytail and her fresh-faced expression.

People just check off a box and typecast folks when they find out where they are from or what they do, she thinks: “It is one of the things that really bothers me about the perception people outside of towns like this have about towns like this. Honestly, stereotypes are a lazy analysis.”

Pop culture has become as harsh as national politics in its treatment of folks from the country’s interior, she says.

“Our politics has to become more personal, more decent, more connected to the people. So does our media and entertainment,” Hays says. “You don’t have to be a fan of the president to feel just as looked-down-upon for your values.”

I’d wager that Hays — and many, many more like her — will become a Trump supporter in time for the next election.

And the self-styled elite in Washington, New York, and Hollywood will have no one to blame but themselves.

SCOTT ADAMS: Income Inequality:

What happened is that candidate Trump persuaded us that immigration was a big problem. And in so doing, he pushed the issue of income inequality off the page. Do you remember the last time you saw CNN obsessing about income inequality? I thought it was the public’s biggest issue two years ago. Did it just sort of stop being one?

No, President Trump is in our heads. He told us what our priorities were and we accepted it, even if we hated his plans. Some people think is it a priority to get tougher on immigration, some think the opposite. But we all agree the issue is important.

If you had asked me in 2014 to list my country’s top 10 problems, immigration would not have been on the list. Now it’s usually at the top of the news. Trump did that. And by doing it he showed us a level of leadership that I have never seen in my lifetime. Even if you don’t like where he is leading us.

But here’s the interesting part. If you want to address income inequality, what is one of the best ways to do it? Answer: Limit immigration. That means higher wages for American citizens and lower profits for the top 1% who want cheap labor.

I saw a factoid yesterday that illegal immigration from Mexico is way down lately, presumably in anticipation of the Trump administration being tough. That’s an indicator of rising wages to come. I suppose the top 1% can pass along the higher costs to some extent. But the jobless guy who gets a job won’t be too unhappy that his food is 10% more expensive. He still comes out ahead. And if the employer gets a Trump tax cut, she doesn’t need to pass along as much of the higher wage expense to consumers.

Speaking of jobs, if Trump’s job-creation hype evolves from anecdotal to real, that’s a great way to reduce income inequality too. As I have often said, economies run on psychology, and Trump is a master of psychology. He proved that already by injecting enough optimism into the system that it goosed the stock market, and business confidence in general. That should translate into more investments and a better economy.

The Trump administration also recently tightened their connection to historically black colleges to see how they can help. The best way to reduce income inequality is to address the hardest cases first, to get the most bang for the buck. And the African-American community is coming from the deepest hole. We see no results there yet, but the move makes sense from the perspective of addressing income inequality.

Well, it’s not how Bernie Sanders would do it. Which means it has a chance of working.

MICHAEL TOTTEN: Brace Yourself for a New Cold War.

Trump said last September that he loves WikiLeaks, forgetting everything he ever knew about the rogue outfit. (Someone should ask him what he thinks of WikiLeaks dumping a trove of classified material onto the Internet supposedly revealing how the CIA spies on people all over the world through their smart phones.) Its founder Julian Assange is emphatically not a Republican operative. WikiLeaks has spent its entire existence waging geopolitical warfare against the United States, mostly on behalf of itself, but partly on behalf of the Russians and everyone else in the world who wants to pull down the American “empire.” Like the Russians, Assange trained his fire on Clinton not because he likes the Republicans but because the Democratic Party includes roughly half the elected officials in the United States and presumably would have included the next president of the United States.

Assange and Putin hoped to kneecap the incoming president before she could even get started.

Their hostility toward the United States in general isn’t obvious to everyone in this country. Putin’s approval rating actually increased during the last year among Trump’s most die-hard supporters. The rest of us, though—and the rest of us still includes most Republicans—are reacting against Russian malfeasance more strongly than we have at any time since the Berlin Wall fell.

That reaction is blowing up in the Trump administration’s face, but the president can turn it around by taking an unambiguously hawkish stance against Russia. Putin, meanwhile, can’t do anything to recover his reputation in the United States.

Read the whole thing.

AVIK ROY: House GOP’s Obamacare Replacement Will Make Coverage Unaffordable For Millions — Otherwise, It’s Great.

Unfortunately, the AHCA’s efforts at replacing Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges are problematic. A key limitation is that Republicans have decided to repeal and replace Obamacare on a party-line vote using the Senate’s reconciliation process. But reconciliation can only repeal Obamacare’s taxes and spending; it can’t replace most of the law’s premium-hiking insurance regulations.

The AHCA does make an effort to repeal Obamacare’s two costliest regulations: its requirement that plans charge similar premiums to the young and the old (age-based community rating); and its requirement that plans contain generous financial payouts (high actuarial value). So far, so good.

But the plan, due to the reconciliation process, appears to leave the vast majority of Obamacare’s regulations in place. The February 10 leaked draft contained language that would have returned control of essential health benefits to the states. That language appears to have been deleted.

Worse still, the bill contains an arbitrary “continuous coverage” provision, in which those who sign up for coverage outside of the normal open enrollment period would pay a 30 percent surcharge to the normal insurance premium. This surcharge is an arbitrary price control. While 30 percent represents an approximate average of the additional health risk of late enrollees, the 30 percent provision incentivizes those who face much higher costs to sign up, forcing insurers to cover them at a loss. This seems like a recipe for adverse selection death spirals.

The critical mistake of the AHCA is its insistence on flat, non-means-tested tax credits. The flat credit will price many poor and vulnerable people out of the health insurance market.

As I wrote last month, the AHCA creates a steep benefit cliff between those on Medicaid (subsidizing approximately $6,000 per patient per year), and those just above the poverty line who will get tax credits of about $3,000. People just below poverty will be strongly disincentivized to make more money, effectively trapping them in poverty.

You want to lose your majority? Because this is how you lose your majority.

But here’s what Trump said this morning:

This is more cause for hope than Philip Klein’s take earlier today, but remain wary of Congress ever getting to Phase Two after they can safely claim to have “done something” about ObamaCare.

I’M GUESSING SCOTT ADAMS WOULD UNDERSTAND: What if Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Had Swapped Genders? A restaging of the presidential debates with an actress playing Trump and an actor playing Clinton yielded surprising results.

Many were shocked to find that they couldn’t seem to find in Jonathan Gordon what they had admired in Hillary Clinton—or that Brenda King’s clever tactics seemed to shine in moments where they’d remembered Donald Trump flailing or lashing out. For those Clinton voters trying to make sense of the loss, it was by turns bewildering and instructive, raising as many questions about gender performance and effects of sexism as it answered. . . .

We heard a lot of “now I understand how this happened”—meaning how Trump won the election. People got upset. There was a guy two rows in front of me who was literally holding his head in his hands, and the person with him was rubbing his back. The simplicity of Trump’s message became easier for people to hear when it was coming from a woman—that was a theme. One person said, “I’m just so struck by how precise Trump’s technique is.” Another—a musical theater composer, actually—said that Trump created “hummable lyrics,” while Clinton talked a lot, and everything she was was true and factual, but there was no “hook” to it. Another theme was about not liking either candidate—you know, “I wouldn’t vote for either one.” Someone said that Jonathan Gordon [the male Hillary Clinton] was “really punchable” because of all the smiling. And a lot of people were just very surprised by the way it upended their expectations about what they thought they would feel or experience. There was someone who described Brenda King [the female Donald Trump] as his Jewish aunt who would take care of him, even though he might not like his aunt. Someone else described her as the middle school principal who you don’t like, but you know is doing good things for you. . . .

I remember turning to Maria at one point in the rehearsals and saying, “I kind of want to have a beer with her!” The majority of my extended family voted for Trump. In some ways, I developed empathy for people who voted for him by doing this project, which is not what I was expecting. I expected it to make me more angry at them, but it gave me an understanding of what they might have heard or experienced when he spoke.

So switching genders basically allowed Democrats to see clearly.

TOM SHATTUCK: For Obama, spying is nothing new.

In what has already been a historically bad year for Democrats, it just may be that they’re about to lose again to Donald Trump, this time in a high-stakes game of Russian roulette.

The Dems’ Putin smear was supposed to paint President Trump as a friend of the tyrant and beneficiary of Russian meddling in the election. Instead, it is the standard-bearer of the Democratic Party, former President Barack Obama, who may take the fall.

Snooping on a presidential candidate is serious business.

The Democrats want you to think this is a crazy conspiracy theory for an unhinged tweeting president.

But Obama has a rich legacy of using the federal government as a political weapon and it would be foolish to think he suddenly started restraining himself, when he was never held to account by either the media or Democrats in power.

Remember, Obama’s Justice Department secretly subpoenaed the private phone records of Associated Press editors and reporters. It was pure spying.

Yeah, it’s not like the charges are out of character for Obama.

UPDATE: Stephen Hayes:

Even if Trump’s tweets were irresponsible—based only on media reports— Democrats and many journalists have treated the substance of the claims themselves as utterly inconceivable. Is it?

It’s the Obama Rorschach test. When Valerie Jarrett claimed shortly before the end of the Obama presidency that he’d had a “scandal free” eight years, most Democrats and journalists nodded their heads and most conservatives howled with a combination of laughter and frustration. To the extent that they paid attention to them at all, for journalists, the Obama scandals were minor footnotes to a much happier story of the Obama presidency. But for conservatives they were not just part of the story but key drivers of the narrative.

The Obama Department of Justice targeted James Rosen of Fox News as a possible “criminal co-conspirator” in a leak investigation and seized phone records of AP reporters and editors in 2013. The IRS under Barack Obama systematically targeted the president’s political opponents.

And there are numerous examples of the Obama administration and the intelligence leaders loyal to the president politicizing intelligence. In collaboration with the Obama White House, CIA Director John Brennan and DNI James Clapper worked for more than five years to keep the documents captured in the Osama bin Laden raid from public view. (See here and here for the exhaustive details). During the heated debate over the Iran Deal, Clapper’s office rewrote the threat assessment on Iran to downplay Iran’s involvement in transnational terror.

Beyond that, we know that several high-ranking Obama administration officials were caught lying about the details of the Benghazi attacks in the weeks before the 2012 presidential election—and for several years after. . . .

Both sides are citing Clapper as the final word on the parts of the interview that support their case. He should not be considered the final word on anything. In addition to his involvement in the bin Laden documents cover-up and his office’s rewriting of the Iran threat assessment, Clapper was caught misleading Congress.

We won’t know the full truth about all of this anytime soon. And even as we see bits of the truth revealed will we—will the country—recognize it? Or will Democrats believe their Democrat truth and Republicans believe their Republican truth? There is reason for concern.

Well, yes. Yes there is.

HOOLIGAN VIOLENCE AS A SPECTATOR SPORT: This is a Instapundit Two-fer, the Associated Press and Russia, two suspect sources in one!

A Russian pol is proposing that “Soccer hooliganism” be made a spectator sport. And the AP –ever in search of click bait — is reporting it. I’d say “you can’t make this stuff up” but of course you could manufacture it. In fact, cable tv more or less treats hooligan violence as a sport, at least when Red Fascists beat up conservatives.

A Russian lawmaker has proposed an unorthodox solution to the country’s problems with soccer hooliganism ahead of next year’s World Cup – legalize it and make it a spectator sport.

The Rooski dude’s raison d’etre for staging gang fights as a sport:

Organized groups of Russian fans, many with martial arts training, fought English fans on the streets of Marseille during last year’s European Championship.

Better Than Snopes and The Washington Post Fact Check: This is sensationalist spout-off that approaches fake news.

Like, who in the heck is dumb enough to square off with British football rowdies?…Oh, wait…Russian football rowdies…

Actually, the Russian politico could be a cable tv producer. He wants to stage a “draka,” the Russian word for fight.

“…20 fighters on each side, unarmed, in an arena.”

Hold it. I’m being too hard on this guy. If he’d ginned up this concept six months ago Obama would’ve wiretapped him. By exhibiting showmanship of this caliber ole Barack would’ve been convinced he got the idea from Trump.

This is what Hollywood calls blockbuster concept. We all know what’ll happen. The Russians will stack their rowdies with Spetsnaz and the Brits will stack their rowdies with Special Air Service (SAS) commandos. War would once again become a contest of tribal champions. Stay tuned!

RELATED: The SAS recruits a dozen Gurkas. This gives the Brits a “draka” edge, in my opinion.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: It’s Not the ‘Deep State,’ It’s ‘Revenge of the Losers.’

I don’t think there is any question that the former president was intent on leaving behind landmines. And you are right, the NSA stuff is curious. Normally, when NSA is listening in on a foreigner, they take great care to redact any American involved. The NSA is not supposed to spy on Americans. Here it was the reverse, and there was an obvious attempt as was reported in the New York Times to make sure that this was spread as widely as possible, that it would become a problem for the Trump administration. I wouldn’t call it the “deep state,” it gives it a le Carré feel that there is this ominous enemy of the United States hidden in bureaucracy. What this is, is the revenge of the losers. These are people who wanted to make trouble for an administration of a guy who they thought wasn’t going to win and shouldn’t have won, and to see what happens. That is what I think is going on. To some extent, it has happened in other administrations. But I think it’s more obvious and we are going to get to the bottom of it, because there are going to be a lot of investigations.

We need a special prosecutor to sort this out.

IT DOESN’T MATTER, IT’S ABOUT DELEGITIMIZING HIM, AND TRUMP: Did Sessions Commit Perjury? Let’s Talk It Out.

Now, I don’t know whether Sessions has been in contact with Russian officials or not about the election; neither the senator nor Kislyak have chosen to confide this information to me. But let’s assume for the nonce that he wasn’t. Was his response to Patrick Leahy’s letter reasonable? Eminently. It is reasonable even if, in the course of a meeting on some other topic, the ambassador idly asked how the campaign was going.

Sessions was an early Trump surrogate, and it would have been unsurprising for the ambassador to ask about the race in passing; if Sessions then replied with campaign boilerplate little different from what he was saying in public, that is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a meaningful contact with a foreign power. Anyone at the Kremlin could have gotten the same information by turning on CNN.

But what about the exchange with Franken? This was what really seemed to seize the imaginations of Twitter this morning, where cries of “perjury” were flying left and right. Well, OK, mostly left, actually. I don’t think, however, that those charges are going to stick.

Franken offered a lengthy preamble suggesting that the Trump campaign had been exchanging information with the Russians, then asked him what he’d do if there was information that someone in the Trump campaign had communicated with the Russians. In the time-honored tradition of congressional hearings, Sessions said he hadn’t had any such communications, had no knowledge of such communications, and therefore wouldn’t speculate about the hypothetical.

If you read the latter part of this exchange extremely strictly, chopping off the preamble, then you can argue that Sessions was technically untruthful. The problem is that this is not how verbal communication works. The left is attempting to hold the attorney general to a standard of precision that is appropriate for written communication, where we can reflect on preceding context and choose exactly the right word.

Oral language is much looser, because it’s real time. Real time means that we don’t have 20 minutes to puzzle over the exact phrasing that will best communicate our meaning. (For example: Reading this column aloud will take you perhaps five minutes. It took me nearly that many hours to write.) On the other hand, our audience is right there, and can ask for clarification if they are confused.

Demanding extreme clarity from an oral exchange is unreasonable. Moreover, everyone understands that this is unreasonable — except, possibly, for the chattering classes, who spend their lives so thoroughly marinated in the written word that they come to think that the two spheres are supposed to be identical.

Well, also the chattering classes hate Trump and Sessions. Now if you want to judge Sessions the way the chattering classes judged Obama, Eric Holder, and Loretta Lynch . . . .

WHY IS THE DEMOCRATS’ CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION SUCH A CESSPIT OF HATRED AND MISOGYNY? Richmond Under Fire for Correspondents Dinner Comments: Accused of sexually inappropriate remarks about Kellyanne Conway.

Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., is facing heavy criticism for making what some perceived as sexually inappropriate jokes about Kellyanne Conway.

During the Washington Press Club Foundation’s annual congressional dinner, Richmond commented about a recent photo showing Conway, who serves as counselor to President Donald Trump, kneeling on a couch in the Oval Office.

Earlier in the evening, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., joked that the couch had seen more sordid action during the 1990s, alluding to President Bill Clinton’s sexual impropriety in the Oval Office.

“I really just want to know what was going on there, because, you know, I won’t tell anybody,” Richmond remarked. “And you can just explain to me that circumstance — because she really looked kind of familiar in that position there. Don’t answer — and I don’t want you to refer back to the 1990s.”

Richmond, who is chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, for his part said in a statement that his remarks weren’t sexual.

“Where I grew up saying that someone is looking or acting ‘familiar’ simply means that they are behaving too comfortably,” the Washington Post reported he said in a statement.

But UltraViolet, a liberal women’s group, criticized Richmond’s comments — despite the fact the group acknowledged it disagrees with “just about everything” Conway does or says.

“No woman deserves to be treated the way Congressman Richmond treated Conway,” a statement from UltraViolet said.

Well, she’s a Republican woman, so . . .

THE IMMIGRATION DEBATE WE NEED:

Changes in social policy do not make everyone better off, and immigration policy is no exception. I am a refugee, having fled Cuba as a child in 1962. Not only do I have great sympathy for the immigrant’s desire to build a better life, I am also living proof that immigration policy can benefit some people enormously.

But I am also an economist, and am very much aware of the many trade-offs involved. Inevitably, immigration does not improve everyone’s well-being. There are winners and losers, and we will need to choose among difficult options. The improved lives of the immigrants come at a price. How much of a price are the American people willing to pay, and exactly who will pay it?

This tension permeates the debate over immigration’s effect on the labor market. Those who want more immigration claim that immigrants do jobs that native-born Americans do not want to do. But we all know that the price of gas goes down when the supply of oil goes up. The laws of supply and demand do not evaporate when we talk about the price of labor rather than the price of gas. By now, the well-documented abuses of the H-1B program, such as the Disney workers who had to train their foreign-born replacements, should have obliterated the notion that immigration does not harm competing native workers.

Over the past 30 years, a large fraction of immigrants, nearly a third, were high school dropouts, so the incumbent low-skill work force formed the core group of Americans who paid the price for the influx of millions of workers. Their wages fell as much as 6 percent. Those low-skill Americans included many native-born blacks and Hispanics, as well as earlier waves of immigrants.

Expect Trump to stress that. A friend posted this story on Facebook and lamented that since Trump, the immigration debate has turned into one giant virtue-signal. But I think the virtue-signaling brought us Trump, not the other way around.

THE DEMOCRATS WHO DON’T DARE FACE VOTERS AT TOWN HALLS:

Recent weeks have seen a flood of media reports on Republicans facing angry constituents at town-hall meetings, so it’s nice to see the Associated Press point out that many Democrats have been dodging town halls altogether.

Specifically, AP’s Steve Peoples notes that Senate Democrats up for re-election in states that President Trump carried on Election Day just don’t want to show up.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), for one, sent a staff member rather than attend a Kansas City town hall last weekend. She will chat with voters this week via Facebook Live — a much more controlled environment, where angry mass shouting isn’t an option.

Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) have also dodged town-hall gatherings, the AP reports — opting instead for teleconferences, e-mail surveys and speeches. . . .

The reasons are obvious: McCaskill, Manchin and the rest just don’t want to be pushed into any corners. They don’t dare stare down the left, or they risk facing primary challenges.

But they also can’t promise too much to these voters — for fear of angering the majority in these Trump states.

Confidence!

WHO CAN ARGUE WITH SCIENCE? Hundreds of scientists urge Trump to withdraw from U.N. climate-change agency.

More than 300 scientists have urged President Trump to withdraw from the U.N.’s climate change agency, warning that its push to curtail carbon dioxide threatens to exacerbate poverty without improving the environment.

In a Thursday letter to the president, MIT professor emeritus Richard Lindzen called on the United States and other nations to “change course on an outdated international agreement that targets minor greenhouse gases,” starting with carbon dioxide.

“Since 2009, the US and other governments have undertaken actions with respect to global climate that are not scientifically justified and that already have, and will continue to cause serious social and economic harm — with no environmental benefits,” said Mr. Lindzen, a prominent atmospheric physicist.

Signers of the attached petition include the U.S. and international atmospheric scientists, meteorologists, physicists, professors and others taking issue with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC], which was formed in 1992 to combat “dangerous” climate change.

The 2016 Paris climate accord, which sets nonbinding emissions goals for nations, was drawn up under the auspices of the UNFCCC.

“Observations since the UNFCCC was written 25 years ago show that warming from increased atmospheric CO2 will be benign — much less than initial model predictions,” says the petition.

I guess the science is settled. You don’t want to be anti-science, do you?

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD HARSHES THE NARRATIVE: Trump Isn’t Sounding Like a Russian Mole: Trump’s core global strategy is intended to destroy any illusions in Moscow that Russia is a peer competitor of Washington’s.

A Trump administration is going to be four years of hell for Russia: a massive American doubling down on shale production along with a major military buildup. Trump is, in other words, a nightmare for Putin and a much, much bigger threat to Putin’s goals than President Obama ever was or wanted to be.

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

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

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

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

This foolishness is best understood as an unreasoning panic attack. The liberal media hate Trump more than they have hated any American politician in a generation, and they do not understand his supporters or the sources of his appeal. They are frantically picking up every available stick to beat him, in the hopes that something, somehow, will Miloize him.

So blind does hatred make them that they cannot understand how their own behavior is driving American public opinion in directions that bode ill for liberals in the future. In the first place, suppose Donald Trump does not in fact turn out to be the second coming of Benedict Arnold. Suppose instead, as is much more likely, that he turns out to be a very hawkish president, one who quite possibly will make George W. Bush look like Jimmy Carter. The media and Democratic Party leaders will have staked huge amounts of credibility on a position that turns out to be laughably untrue. Six months or a year from now, they will have to flip from calling Trump an anti-American traitor and Russian plant to calling him a dangerous, fascistic ultranationalist whose relentless hawkishness is bringing us closer to World War Three.

The press and the Democrats — but I repeat myself — will make that flip without a moment’s hesitation or acknowledgment.

Plus: “The media wants to cast Trump as both Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler; but you can’t give the Sudetenland to yourself.”

ASHE SCHOW: Due process defenders back Education Department critic to lead Office for Civil Rights.

Critics and supporters alike are wondering who might be the next person to lead the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, which has overseen in recent years an expansion of responsibilities related to campus sexual assault.

One name being pushed as a nominee is Gail Heriot, a law professor at the University of San Diego and a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Heriot has been a critic of OCR’s overreach, even joining fellow Civil Rights commission member Peter Kirsanow in writing a letter to Congress opposing a budget increase for the department.

“[W]e have noticed a disturbing pattern of disregard for the rule of law at OCR,” the two wrote in the letter. “That office has all-too-often been willing to define perfectly legal conduct as unlawful.”

Heriot and Kirsanow added that OCR was only “under-funded” because it had given itself additional responsibilities. “Increasing OCR’s budget would in effect reward the agency for frequently over-stepping the law. It also would provide OCR with additional resources to undertake more ill-considered initiatives for which it lacks authority,” they wrote.

Heriot and Kirsanow argued that OCR’s 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter, which greatly expanded the office’s role in combating an alleged epidemic of campus sexual assault, created a dangerous situation for accused students by requiring schools to adopt a low “preponderance of evidence” standard.

“[G]iven the importance of safeguarding the rights of accused students, the ‘clear and convincing’ standard would seem to be the more appropriate one in at least some situations,” the two wrote.

A group dedicated to the rights of accused students sent a letter to the Trump transition team after the election in support of Heriot to lead OCR. The letter, written by a group called Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), was sent with more than 240 signatures supporting Heriot and was published last week.

Although I’ve pushed Robert Shibley of FIRE for this position, I’d also be quite happy with Gail Heriot.

GEORGE NEUMAYR: Trump Is Beating The Media At Its Own Game: The left’s own politics by shorthand is now being turned against it.

Whenever editors say that they refuse to acknowledge “two sides” on such matters as “marriage equality” or Darwinism or climate change, they are paying homage to Lenin’s devious politics by shorthand. They pay homage to it whenever they substitute their opinions of the news for actual reporting of the news. Even the squabbling among journalists recently over whether or not to suspend “conventional reporting” in Trump’s case, or whether front-page stories should declare his misstatements “lies,” is a tacit acknowledgment of that politics. With Lenin, the Christiane Amanpours have no use for the peskiness of precise responses. Just call Trump a “liar,” their attitude goes, and “everyone will understand everything.”

But that demagogic shorthand only works as long as Republican politicians defer to it. For years journalists opined self-servingly under the guise of objectivity and got away it because Republicans were too afraid to shatter that illusion of objectivity. They permitted the media to serve as the arbiter of what qualifies as “mainstream,” “extremist,” “racist,” and so forth, and made sure to stay within the media-determined parameters of any discussion.

Donald Trump has blown up that absurd arrangement and is beating the media at its own game. He labels reporters in the same way that they label him. He upends their dishonest framing of debates by treating them as what they are, liberal partisans. His exchange last week with April Ryan, a correspondent for the American Urban Radio Network, captured that perfectly. She asked him a loaded question not as a neutral reporter but as a water-carrier for the Congressional Black Caucus. So he treated her that way. “I’ll tell you what, do you want to set up the meeting?” the president said to her, after she asked if he would meet with the CBC. “Do you want to set up the meeting? Are they friends of yours?” Of course, they are friends of hers and she was trying to score a partisan point for them. Had Trump not deconstructed that for the audience, her question might have done him damage. Instead, it fell flat and looked unserious.

Reporters are thrown by a president who questions them as aggressively as they question him. And they resent that he refuses to accept as “facts” what is nothing more than their biased interpretation of the facts.

Well, it makes life harder for bylined operatives.

LIFE AMONG THE TRANSHUMANISTS. Well, I don’t exactly want to live forever. Just a lot longer and healthier.

Plus, more reason to like Trump: “Under President Donald Trump, the quest for immortality might pick up steam: Among the candidates he is reportedly considering to head the Food and Drug Administration is Jim O’Neill, who sits on the board of the anti-aging SENS Research Foundation.”

Related thoughts here. “Even much more modest progress–extending healthy middle age from 60 to, say, 80–would permit significant shifts in retirement ages and allow for a longevity dividend that could go a long way toward preventing the looming pension meltdown. Greater progress might make the problem go away entirely. So perhaps it would make sense to steer some of the federal money currently going to research on treating the diseases of old age–an approach that leads to older, but frailer, people who are a drain on public resources and whose quality of life is iffy–to research on slowing or reversing the damage that aging does, leading to healthier old people who can work (and pay taxes) longer, while feeling better and enjoying life more.”

WHAT DESPERATION LOOKS LIKE? Byron York: 25th Amendment chatter: Dems, pundits mull ways to remove Trump.

As President Trump finishes his fourth week in the White House, a number of opposition lawmakers, political commentators, and self-styled members of The Resistance are discussing ways in which the president might be quickly removed from office.

Some have talked about impeachment for quite a while, even before the Trump inauguration. But that could take a long time, and it would require Trump to commit, and then be charged with and convicted of, “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors” to meet the Constitution’s standard for removing the president from office.

That’s too long term, say some. So now, there is increasing discussion of the 25th Amendment. The 1967 amendment, which has its roots in the Kennedy assassination, covers ways to replace an incapacitated president. Up until now, its most-discussed provision was a measure by which the president could inform the Speaker of the House and the President pro tempore of the Senate that he, the president, can no longer perform the duties of office, whereupon those two officials would declare the vice president the acting president, until such time as the president informed them that he was again able to perform his duties. The amendment has been used or considered for cases in which the president underwent surgery or was under anesthesia.

Now, however, The Resistance is looking at Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, which would allow the vice president and a majority of cabinet officers, or the vice president and a majority “of such other body as Congress may by law provide,” to declare the president unable to serve, making the vice president the acting president.

If you want to see a civil war, just keep it up with these plans to “get rid of” Trump. That our “ruling class” continues to indulge in these despite the obvious danger demonstrates more than anything else that it is unfit to rule.

WELL, YES. Are Liberals Helping Trump?

Jeffrey Medford, a small-business owner in South Carolina, voted reluctantly for Donald Trump. As a conservative, he felt the need to choose the Republican. But some things are making him feel uncomfortable — parts of Mr. Trump’s travel ban, for example, and the recurring theme of his apparent affinity for Russia.

Mr. Medford should be a natural ally for liberals trying to convince the country that Mr. Trump was a bad choice. But it is not working out that way. Every time Mr. Medford dips into the political debate — either with strangers on Facebook or friends in New York and Los Angeles — he comes away feeling battered by contempt and an attitude of moral superiority.

“We’re backed into a corner,” said Mr. Medford, 46, whose business teaches people to be filmmakers. “There are at least some things about Trump I find to be defensible. But they are saying: ‘Agree with us 100 percent or you are morally bankrupt. You’re an idiot if you support any part of Trump.’ ”

He added: “I didn’t choose a side. They put me on one.”

Liberals may feel energized by a surge in political activism, and a unified stance against a president they see as irresponsible and even dangerous. But that momentum is provoking an equal and opposite reaction on the right. In recent interviews, conservative voters said they felt assaulted by what they said was a kind of moral Bolshevism — the belief that the liberal vision for the country was the only right one. Disagreeing meant being publicly shamed.

This shaming works as a self-herding mechanism among the left, but it’s not very good at winning converts. You want more Trump? This is how you get more Trump.

Related: Why The Resistance Is the Best Thing That’s Happened To Donald Trump.

Sure, it matters that President Donald Trump has a historically low favorability rating. Then again, disliking the president isn’t exactly a courageous act. Plenty of Americans—many of whom supported the president during the general election—don’t like Trump. They do realize that politics is a trade-off. Here’s a more revealing question pollsters might ask people: Do you “like” any better Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) or Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), pussyhatted marchers griping about the patriarchy or the totalitarians blocking Education Secretary Betsy Devos from walking into a public school?

That’s the choice #TheResistance—whose mantra, let’s face it, has synched with the Democratic Party—has created for many moderate Republicans, right-leaning independents and movement conservatives concerned about Trump. That is to say, they offer no choice whatsoever. They offer plenty of hysteria, hypocrisy and conflation of conservatism with Trumpism for political gain.

Plus:

But if it’s a zero-sum choice they’re offering, that includes picking Judge Neil Gorsuch over Planned Parenthood; tax cuts over teachers unions; Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Iran’s Holocaust deniers; deregulation of the bureaucratic state over legislation; or forcing progressive cultural mores on everyone, and so on.

For example, many former free traders are now embracing the protectionist big-government policies of Trumpism. This is the kind of capitulation many fiscal conservatives feared. Again, the problem is that for free traders, Democrats are as just bad. In fact, the popularity of protectionism among populist movements on the left and right is so strong there’s a good argument that the only way to possibly counteract it is to elect more conservatives to Congress.

The average resistance fighters might dislike Trump. But they hate conservatism. By treating even the most milquetoast, run-of-the-mill Cabinet nominee as the worst thing that has ever happened to America, The Resistance gives conservatives the space to defend such long-standing political positions as school choice, immigration enforcement and deregulation. I imagine many Republicans would happily hand over the scalp of more Michael Flynns if it meant creating a more stable and experienced administration.

But they also understand that people who treat DeVos like a bigger threat to the republic than Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon will never be placated. Those who spend weeks after the election acting like the Electoral College was some kind of trick pulled on the country are not interested in rule of law. They’re interested in Democrats.

Yes. And here’s my message for 2017.

Last year it was my message too.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Jim VanDeHei & Mike Allen: The Media Is The Opposition Party. Likewise, they were the Obama Support Party for the previous eight years. Any efforts to defend their role now must also take that into account.

But it’s just more evidence that if you want checks and balances, you need a white, male Republican in the White House.

UPDATE: From the comments: “I thought, given the wailing I have heard the last few days, that some brilliant questions were going to be asked of Trump by the ‘real’ journalists. Where were they hiding?”

BRENDAN O’NEILL ON FEARS OF “FASCISM:”

In recent weeks, the corrosion of the meaning of fascism that Weissman and Orwell worried about has intensified to a shocking degree. We seem to be witnessing the falling apart of historical categories; the unhinging of political language from reason; a profound break between historical experience and political expression. That people can openly talk about a return of the 1930s — as if that decade were some kind of free-floating thing, an attitude, rather than a specific, grounded moment in history — shows how meaningless the idea of fascism has become. That people feel haunted by the 1930s — we’re being bruised by ‘deeply disturbing echoes of [those] dark days’, says Prince Charles — is a testament more to their own moral destabilisation, to their own experience of political disarray, than it is to any return of fascism.

This is most pronounced among the political class. It is their sensation of being under assault, of the ebbing away of their technocratic, judicial, evidence-based authority over society following the decidedly political jolts of Brexit and Trump, that has led them to resuscitate the fascism frenzy. The omnipresence of that word tells us little about a return of fascist terror, but a great deal about the political class’s own feeling of terror at recent political events. . . .

It is a fantasy to claim fascism has made a comeback. And it’s a revealing fantasy. When the political and media elites speak of fascism today, what they’re really expressing is fear. Fear of the primal, unpredictable mass of society. Fear of unchecked popular opinion. Fear of what they view as the authoritarian impulses of those outside their social, bureaucratic sphere. Fear of the latent fascism, as they see it, of the ordinary inhabitants of Nazi-darkened Europe or of Middle America, who apparently lack the moral and intellectual resources to resist demagoguery. As one columnist put it, today’s ‘fascistic style’ of politics is a creation not so much of wicked leaders, as of the dangerous masses. ‘Compulsive liars shouldn’t frighten you’, he says. ‘Compulsive believers, on the other hand: they should terrify you.’ In short, not leaders but the led; not the state but the people. This, precisely, is who terrifies them. This, precisely, is what they mean when they say ‘fascism’. They mean you, me, ordinary people; people who have dared to say that they want to influence politics again after years of being frozen out. When they say fascism, they mean democracy.

Indeed.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: A Profession Built On Exploitation:

Yet to talk about adjuncts is to talk about the centerpiece of higher education. Tenured faculty represent only 17 percent of college instructors. Part-time adjuncts are now the majority of the professoriate and its fastest-growing segment. From 1975 to 2011, the number of part-time adjuncts quadrupled. And the so-called part-time designation is misleading because most of them are piecing together teaching jobs at multiple institutions simultaneously. A 2014 congressional report suggests that 89 percent of adjuncts work at more than one institution; 13 percent work at four or more. The need for several appointments becomes obvious when we realize how little any one of them pays. In 2013, The Chronicle began collecting data on salary and benefits from adjuncts across the country. An English-department adjunct at Berkeley, for example, received $6,500 to teach a full-semester course. It’s easy to lose sight of all the people struggling beneath the data points. $7,000 at Duke. $6,000 at Columbia. $5,950 at the University of Iowa.

These are the high numbers. According to the 2014 congressional report, adjuncts’ median pay per course is $2,700. An annual report by the American Association of University Professors indicated that last year “the average part-time faculty member earned $16,718” from a single employer. Other studies have similar findings. Thirty-one percent of part-time faculty members live near or below the poverty line. Twenty-five percent receive public assistance, like Medicaid or food stamps. One English-department adjunct who responded to the survey said that she sold her plasma on Tuesdays and Thursdays to pay for her daughter’s day care. Another woman stated that she taught four classes a year for less than $10,000. She wrote, “I am currently pregnant with my first child. … I will receive NO time off for the birth or recovery. It is necessary I continue until the end of the semester in May in order to get paid, something I drastically need. The only recourse I have is to revert to an online classroom […] and do work while in the hospital and upon my return home.” Sixty-one percent of adjunct faculty are women.

If Trump wants to troll academia hard, he should speak out and demand a “living wage” for adjunct instructors. For the sake of economic justice!

NO LESSONS LEARNED: Campus Intolerance Intensifies in the Trump Era.

Panelists raised, implicitly, the question whether higher education has become out of touch with Donald Trump’s America. They fretted over their belief that the current social and political climate is a threat to the liberal arts and, in a time of “fake news,” to the pursuit of truth itself.

The Association’s president, Lynn Pasquerella, concluded that it is the average American—giving in to the alleged anti-intellectualism of the day—who is misguided.

Higher education leaders, she argued, must therefore work to “destabilize the attitudes at the basis of proposals that devalue education.”

While there were some speakers who called for tolerance and understanding—including Wesleyan University president Michael Roth, who advocated greater respect for “traditional conservative religion and thought”—they were a mere footnote during the four-day gathering.

Rather, workshops such as “Reclaiming the Racial Narrative,” case studies on implementing progressive agendas on campus, and strategies on how to engage students in support of “racial and social justice” dominated the conference’s agenda.

Unfortunately, in these early days of Trump’s presidency, similar politicization seems to persist throughout much of academia. Many leftist students, faculty, and administrators pay only lip service to the notion that higher education should be a marketplace of ideas. They now seem to view themselves as combatants in an ideological war.

Well, that’s just more of the Gramscian Damage. But if you want more Trump, by all means double down. Because that’s how you get more Trump.

ANDREW MALCOLM: Psst, here’s how political leaks really work.

Leaking in political capitals like Washington can be a sophisticated strategic game with trade-craft elements of a John LeCarre novel involving code words, secret rendezvous in person or by phone and fake messages to advance or defeat a cause and especially to detect a leaker’s identity. Remember during Watergate reporters convening with their secret source in an underground parking garage?

The Trump White House is said to be concerned about leaks involving the president’s recent telephone calls with world leaders. Thursday Sean Spicer asserted, “We’re looking into the situation, yes, and it’s very concerning.” Spicer said the leaks, not all accurate or complimentary, were of “personal concern” to Trump.

True, unplanned leaks drive some politicians crazy. President Lyndon Johnson would get apoplectic over them as personal betrayals, which they are in a way. Some officials, such as George W. Bush, minimize unplanned leaks by building strong two-way personal loyalties with senior staff.

OK, here’s the deal: We’ll never know the truth about these Trump leaks. All news consumers can do each time is evaluate the credibility of known details and the likely motives of participants.

Good advice.

Want more good advice? Read the whole thing.

DAVID FRUM: What Effective Protest Could Look Like.

You want to scare Trump? Be orderly, polite, and visibly patriotic.

In other words, be the Tea party. But [EDIT FOR CLARITY] copying the Tea Party has been tried already, repeatedly, without success.

More:

Trump wants to identify all opposition to him with the black-masked crowbar thugs who smashed windows and burned a limo on his inauguration day. Remember Trump’s tweet about stripping citizenship from flag burners? It’s beyond audacious that a candidate who publicly requested help from Russian espionage services against his opponent would claim the flag as his own. But Trump is trying. Don’t let him get away with it. Carry the flag. Open with the Pledge of Allegiance. Close by singing the Star Spangled Banner––like these protesters at LAX, in video posted by The Atlantic’s own Conor Friedersdorf. Trump’s presidency is itself one long flag-burning, an attack on the principles and institutions of the American republic. That republic’s symbols are your symbols. You should cherish them and brandish them.

Don’t get sucked into the futile squabbling cul-de-sac of intersectionality and grievance politics. Look at this roster of speakers from the January 21 march. What is Angela Davis doing there? Where are the military women, the women police officers, the officeholders? If Planned Parenthood is on the stage, pro-life women should stand there, too. If you want somebody to speak for immigrants, invite somebody who’s in the country lawfully.

By and large, those are the people the Left has already lost — or has driven away, or actively despises.

DO YOU WANT MORE TRUMP? BECAUSE THIS IS HOW YOU GET MORE TRUMP: Militant, Anti-Trump Anarchist: ‘Confront the Police and Destroy Corporate Property.’

MARK SERRANO: Senate Democrats: Be afraid when Trump comes to town. “Among the 23 Democratic senators up for re-election in 2018, there are 10 from states that President Trump won in 2016. Now that Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer and the Democratic Party have decided to resist every plan, policy, proposal and nomination by the fledgling Trump administration, these senators should beware the power that Trump ultimately has to respond. . . . Since his inauguration on Jan. 20, the Democrats have deployed a political strategy to oppose all things Trump. Even more troubling, they have closely aligned themselves with the alt-left of their party that will use violent demonstrations to oppose the president.”

You want more Trump? Because that’s how you get more Trump.

I DON’T THINK MANY TRUMP VOTERS WILL BE MOVED BY THIS STORY AS THE NY TIMES INTENDS: ‘A Sense of Dread’ for Civil Servants Shaken by Trump Transition. I’m not so sure Albert Gallatin would be as upset as career GS types. But really, one would need a heart of stone not to laugh at this:

“It’s almost a sense of dread, as in, what will happen to us,” said Gabrielle Martin, a trial lawyer and 30-year veteran at the Denver office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, where colleagues now share daily, grim predictions about the fate of their jobs under Mr. Trump’s leadership.

“It’s like the movie music when the shark is coming,” Ms. Martin said, referring to “Jaws,” the 1975 thriller. “People are just wary — is the shark going to come up out of the water?”

This article is based on interviews around the country with more than three dozen current and recently departed federal employees from the Internal Revenue Service; the Pentagon; the Environmental Protection Agency; the Justice and Treasury Departments; the Departments of Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, and Housing and Urban Development; and other parts of the government. They reveal a federal work force that is more fundamentally shaken than usual by the uncertainties that follow a presidential transition from one party to the other.

Federal workers are more likely to be Democrats, according to surveys. But partisanship and ideology explain only some of the intense feelings among workers, many of whom have seen Democrats and Republicans in the White House come and go.

Well, there’s also class-identification and overall smugness. But stuff like this makes serious civil service reform more likely to take place:

At the Environmental Protection Agency, a group of scientists strategized this past week about how to slow-walk President Trump’s environmental orders without being fired.

At the Treasury Department, civil servants are quietly gathering information about whistle-blower protections as they polish their résumés.

At the United States Digital Service — the youthful cadre of employees who left jobs at Google, Facebook or Microsoft to join the Obama administration — workers are debating how to stop Mr. Trump should he want to use the databases they made more efficient to target specific immigrant groups.

Just imagine how differently the New York Times would have played a story about federal employees planning to resist Obama initiatives. But it is more support for my theory that if you want checks and balances, you need a white, male Republican in the White House!

UPDATE: Flashback: Washington’s ‘governing elite’ think Americans are morons. And now they’re scared and unhappy that Americans are returning the sentiment.

SACRAMENTO’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: CA State Senator admits half of family under deportation threat:

A Los Angeles lawmaker leading the fight to make California a so-called “sanctuary state” has suggested half of his family would be deported for using falsified Social Security cards and other fake identification.

California Senate Leader Kevin de Leon made the claims during testimony before the Senate’s Public Safety Committee for SB54, a bill introduced by De Leon that would create a statewide sanctuary for immigrants living in the country illegally.

Responding to President Trump’s suggestion of “withholding federal funding” from California, de Leon said: “Half of my family would be eligible for deportation under the executive order, because they got a false social security card, they got a false identification, they got a false driver’s license prior to us passing AB 60, they got a false green card, and anyone who has family members who are undocumented knows that almost entirely everybody has secured some sort of false identification.”

“That’s what you need to survive, to work,” he added. “They are eligible for massive deportation.”

Most Americans want to make a living, Leslie Eastman of Legal Insurrection responds. “However, they don’t commit crimes to do so. The senator’s admission has not inspired the kind of sympathy from the nation’s law-abiding taxpayers he may have been expecting.”

As California resident Victor Davis Hanson has noted in various formulations in recent years, “In California, the neglect of the felony requires the rigid prosecution of the misdemeanor.” No state regulates its small businesses more. No state is more obsessed with recycling and banning common goods, down to shopping bag bans, and in some regions, mandatory composting. No state is more obsessed with banning guns from legal owners. But illegal immigration and its related crimes such as potential voter fraud, and false drivers’ licenses and Social Security cards? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Which of course is why Sacramento has to deal with Donald Trump these days. Speaking of their “Enemies: A Love Story” like relationship, the addicts may loathe the new dealer, but they still want their fix: “California rebukes Trump’s orders but wants $100B in federal infrastructure funds.”

BLACK LIVES MATTER AND THE TRUMP ELECTION: A Truth So Glaring Even Vox Can See It.

Over at Vox, Matt Yglesias highlights a polling trend we first noted in October: Just as the Black Lives Matter movement hit its stride last year, the American public—whites and non-whites alike—became far more supportive of law enforcement, with the share of Americans who say they have “a great deal” of respect for police officers shooting up from 64 to 76 percent. . . .

It’s worth considering the possibility that the BLM movement and the publicity it received just might have played a decisive role in tipping the 2016 presidential election to the law and order candidate—that, as Glenn Reynolds puts it, “this is how you get more Trump.”

That doesn’t mean that we don’t have a policing problem in this country or that we don’t need to be constantly rethinking the way our social institutions (including the judicial and the educational systems) address the needs and problems of African Americans, especially though not only young men. But it does mean that today’s would-be Civil Rights heroes need to think a bit harder about how to build majority support for changes that would help. Martin Luther King was sometimes an angry man, and with just cause, but we owe his lasting impact on American life to his wisdom rather than to his rage.

The difference is, the people behind Black Lives Matter don’t want to solve the problem. They want to exploit the problem.

Also, the “do you want more Trump?” line originates with Sean Davis, though to be fair, he was riffing off Archer.

MEGAN MCARDLE: The Democrats’ Immigration Problem(s).

Briefly: Democratic arguments about immigration mostly aren’t arguments. The party has relied on opposing Trump’s more outrageously exaggerated claims about the criminality and all-around character flaws of immigrants. That’s fine, as far as it goes — but as November showed, it doesn’t go far enough.

The core problem is that Democrats didn’t really make an affirmative argument for an overhaul to U.S. immigration policy that might appeal to voters. Instead, they talked a lot about what great people immigrants are, and how much they benefit from migration. Unfortunately, the clearest group of beneficiaries from this policy — people who want to migrate, but haven’t yet gotten a green card — can’t vote.

Of course there are spillover benefits to immigration, but they are somewhat nebulous compared to the direct benefit to the would-be migrants. It’s easy to explain how immigrants benefit from an open door. Explanations of how the rest of us benefit tend to rely on the trivial or on abstract economic arguments that most people don’t find particularly intuitive or convincing. Those arguments look even more suspicious because they are generally made by the one group that visibly does benefit from a lot of low-skilled immigration, which provides the nannies, lawn-care, and food services that high-skilled professionals rely on to allow them to work longer hours. . . .

Distrust of strangers is a universal human phenomenon, tapping into some pretty deep evolutionary instincts. Once those instincts are aroused, you need very powerful emotional arguments as to why it’s worth taking the risk. “They’re really nice people” is not it. Nor is “It will be great for them” or “Look at this regression analysis.”

Democrats seem to appreciate that this is a problem. You saw this at the convention, where the hours before 6 p.m. — when most people weren’t watching — were heavy on praise for immigration and appearances by illegal immigrants who spoke movingly of their plight. But at the hour when the nation turned its eyes to the television, the paeans in favor of illegal migrants became dramatically more restrained.

Yet instead of solving this problem, Democrats opted to mostly speak in vague generalities and to avoid concrete questions: What percentage of our society should be foreign born? How should we choose the people we allow to migrate? Instead of formulating a clear policy, they relied on institutional inertia and lax enforcement to swell the foreign-born population to nearly 15 percent of the country. And Republicans, whose donor class likes generous immigration rules, were happy to go along.

That was fine as long as those groups were in charge of the status quo. Once Trump took over, however, that became infeasible.

Well, to be fair, Trump took over in no small part because a lot of voters wanted to make that infeasible.

FLASHBACK: Bill Clinton warns of “the large number of illegal aliens” coming into America, and explains his crackdown.

When I posted this earlier, a reader commented: “Donald Trump should televise this Bill Clinton speech from 1995 and then simply state ‘I’m Donald Trump and I approve this message.'”

HOUSE DEMOCRATS WANT TO CHANGE THE WAY THEY TALK TO VOTERS, BUT THEY’RE NOT SURE HOW:

House Democrats are walking away from a soul-searching retreat in Baltimore without having answered the question that has loomed over them since the election: Whether the party should be content with changing its communication strategy or whether the party needs to undergo deeper changes.

“We lost, so either our programs need to be retooled or our communication needs to be retooled. Now which do you think is easier for us to focus on?” California Rep. Brad Sherman said. “I wish we could just print our message on a different color of paper and suddenly win, but I think it’s going to be harder than that.”

Shades of Bertolt Brecht’s famous line that “Some party hack decreed that the people had lost the government’s confidence and could only regain it with redoubled effort. If that is the case, would it not be simpler, If the government simply dissolved the people And elected another?”

Linking to the above article at DNC house organ BuzzFeed, Varad Mehta of the Federalist tweets “Trump’s election was a repudiation of cultural progressivism. Until the left admits it, they’re just wasting time.” But even if Democrats somehow manage to change their tone, after their earlier false-flag operation in 2006, voters would be very wise not to believe them this time around.

YOU WANT MORE TRUMP? BECAUSE THIS IS HOW YOU GET MORE TRUMP:

DAVID HARSANYI: Republicans Should Make Elizabeth Warren The Voice Of Democrats.

It seemed pretty obvious to me that the nomination of Jeff Sessions as attorney general was likely a done deal. So it was unlikely any persuadable voter would have even heard about Warren’s grandstanding if it weren’t for the kerfuffle. If it were up to me, however, I’d let Warren speak whenever she wanted to — ceding my time, if necessary — for as long as she wanted on any stage she demanded. The more she speaks, the better for conservatives.

As The Washington Post points out, however, McConnell probably gave Warren’s 2020 presidential aspirations a huge “in-kind contribution” by forcing her to follow rules of decorum. It’s possible, I suppose, that the GOP is playing the same 3D chess mastered by Donald Trump. Maybe shutting down Warren was a surreptitious means of making her the de facto voice of the Democratic Party and #TheResistance (formerly known as “unprecedented obstructionism”). Maybe it was just good luck.

Warren as the voice of the Left might be the best-case scenario for Republicans. For one thing, Warren is no Barack Obama on the charisma front. For another, Warren saves conservatives the trouble of going after socialist strawmen. They’ll have a real one.

Right now it looks like Republicans won’t have to do anything at all — Democrats seem to think they have a real winner on their hands.

JONATHAN RAUCH:

For this article, I set out to develop a list of telltales that the president is endangering the Constitution and threatening democracy. I failed. In fact, I concluded that there can be no such list, because many of the worrisome things that an antidemocratic president might do look just like things that other presidents have done. Use presidential power to bully corporations? Truman and Kennedy did that. Distort or exaggerate facts to initiate or escalate a war? Johnson and George W. Bush did that. Lie point-blank to the public? Eisenhower did that. Defy orders from the Supreme Court? Lincoln did that. Suspend habeas corpus? Lincoln did that, too. Spy on American activists? Kennedy and Johnson did that. Start wars at will, without congressional approval? Truman did that. Censor “disloyal” speech and fire “disloyal” civil servants? Wilson did that. Incarcerate U.S. citizens of foreign extraction? Franklin D. Roosevelt did that. Use shady schemes to circumvent congressional strictures? Reagan did that. Preempt Justice Department prosecutors? Obama did that. Assert sweeping powers to lock people up without trial or judicial review? George W. Bush did that. Declare an open-ended national emergency? Bush did that, and Obama continued it. Use regulatory authority aggressively and, according to the courts, sometimes illegally? Obama did that. Kill a U.S. citizen abroad? Obama did that, too. Grant favors to political friends, and make mischief for political enemies? All presidents do that.

But Rauch’s overall piece — about how “civil society” should rally to control Trump — is just more evidence in favor of my theory that if you want a President constrained by “civil society,” you need to elect a white, male Republican.

SO WAIT, SCIENCE SAYS WE WON’T GET TIRED OF WINNING? ANOTHER TRUMP LIE! Docs say victory leaves fans wanting more.

THE FAKE NEWS PROBLEM, THEN AND NOW: At Tablet, James Kirchick explains “Why the left is also responsible for the proliferation of inaccurate information—and why the big beneficiary is Donald Trump:”

Now that Trump is in the White House, much of the media feels uninhibited in their campaign to destroy him, seeing the unprecedented nature of his presidency as license to get away with anything. Take Jonathan Weisman, deputy Washington editor of The New York Times. Since he was targeted by pro-Trump, anti-Semitic Twitter trolls last summer, Weisman—a man who is supposed to at least feign objectivity—has completely dropped any pretense of political independence. His own Twitter feed—like the feeds of a growing number of Times reporters—is a constant stream of anti-Trump invective indistinguishable from committed anti-Trump pundits like myself.

Why do I hold myself and Jonathan Weisman to such wildly differing standards? Because my job is to opine and provoke. His job is to accurately report on events, so that I know that the things I am reacting to are real, rather than the products of angry mass hallucinations or partisan messaging campaigns. By publicly refusing to do his job, he makes my job (and all our jobs as engaged citizens) much harder because I can’t reasonably trust that what I read in The New York Times is factual or based on good sourcing. Who in their right mind inside the Trump administration would talk to The New York Times, except to mislead the paper’s reporters and editors, by spinning them up or sending them off on wild goose chases that serve the administration’s own aims? How can I trust that what I read in the paper’s news columns isn’t hopelessly distorted by the angry bias evident in the social-media feeds of the paper’s editors and reporters? Much of the reporting on the Trump administration thus far seems to be so poorly sourced, riddled with caricature and negative wishful thinking as to be actively misleading, for all intents and purposes “fake news.” The beneficiary of the resulting confusion and hysteria is not The New York Times or its readers. It’s Donald Trump.

But Kirchick’s take doesn’t feel all that far removed from how left-leaning media critic Jack Shafer, then with the Washington Post-owned Slate described the state of the MSM in May of 2008, with an assist from the since-deceased Michael Crichton:

In 1993, novelist Michael Crichton riled the news business with a Wired magazine essay titled “Mediasaurus,” in which he prophesied the death of the mass media—specifically the New York Times and the commercial networks. “Vanished, without a trace,” he wrote.

* * * * * * * *

“[T]he American media produce a product of very poor quality,” he lectured. “Its information is not reliable, it has too much chrome and glitz, its doors rattle, it breaks down almost immediately, and it’s sold without warranty. It’s flashy but it’s basically junk.”

* * * * * * * *

As we pass his prediction’s 15-year anniversary, I’ve got to declare advantage Crichton. Rot afflicts the newspaper industry, which is shedding staff, circulation, and revenues. It’s gotten so bad in newspaperville that some people want Google to buy the Times and run it as a charity! Evening news viewership continues to evaporate, and while the mass media aren’t going extinct tomorrow, Crichton’s original observations about the media future now ring more true than false. Ask any journalist.

That was nearly decade ago, building on an article that Crichton wrote a quarter century ago. And yet things have only gotten exponentially worse for the media in the years since, passing through their quasi-religious hagiography of the Obama era along the way. Just think of the MSM as Democrat party operatives with bylines, and it all makes sense.

UPDATE: Mark Hemingway on “The Problem of Two Unreliable Narrators: Trump Versus the Media — When both the person in power and his critics are both perceived as lacking credibility, the person in power is likely to come out on top.”

THE OBAMA LEGACY: Trump wants to push back against Iran, but Iran is now more powerful than ever.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Chelsea Clinton Is the Last Thing the Democratic Party Needs.

Instead of moving on—and being better off for it—another Clinton in public office would broaden the party’s disconnect with working and middle class voters. Electing Chelsea to a major role among Democrats would do little to convey a message of change and progression.

The Washington Post recently reported Chelsea Clinton has begun to show an interest in politics. “In recent days, we’ve noticed a different Chelsea Clinton—one more than willing to speak out, often a bit bluntly. And she’s speaking out specifically against President Trump, using his preferred medium: Twitter.”

Business Insider further dramatized Chelsea Clinton’s recent activity on Twitter by hyperbolically dubbing it a “crusade against Trump.” “Very grateful no one seriously hurt in the Louvre attack …or the (completely fake) Bowling Green Massacre. Please don’t make up attacks,” Chelsea tweeted on February 3 in regards to Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway’s “Bowling Green” gaffe. Conway responded to Chelsea by citing Hillary Clinton’s infamous “Bosnia Sniper Fire” lie and noted Clinton lost the election, to which Chelsea Clinton didn’t bother to retort back.

She’s not very good even at Twitter, and if you saw her during her brief career as a highly-paid “reporter” for NBC, you know she has very little camera presence. Nevertheless, if she wants to run, the Democrats will probably make room for yet another Clinton.

TIM ALLEN: ‘The Left Wants to Tell Everybody’ What to Do.

“I’m more of an anarchist because I’m a stand-up comic. I don’t like anybody telling me what to do and, lately, the left wants to tell everybody – it’s the ‘we all know this, you should, you should.’ Stop telling me what to do, you go do it. You want to support stuff that the government should stay out of? You go do it. No one is stopping you from paying more taxes. Then, that’s the attitude I get,” he told PJM after he left the Creative Coalition’s Inaugural Gala.

“You see my act on the road or in concert – I don’t do political stuff. I do anarchist stuff. I like making everybody laugh. Jokes should be – President Trump should laugh at it, so should Hillary – that’s the balance I like; the personal stuff is different,” he added.

There’s a lot less fun to be had, doing all that work of getting elected just to leave people alone — which is the sad reason Libertarians usually do so poorly.

NO FREE SPEECH, NO MONEY: Trump Threatens No Federal Funds for Berkeley.

UPDATE (From Glenn): You want more Trump? Because Berkeley is how you get more Trump.

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ANOTHER UPDATE (from Steve): Judd Apatow is also how you get more Trump..

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Apatow has since bravely deleted his tweet.

WHY YOU HATE SOCIAL MEDIA: Let’s start with Jim Geraghty of NRO on the horrors of Twitter:

Christopher Cooper – a.k.a. “Coop” – is an artist with some libertarian sensibilities known for skateboards, concert posters, album covers. He noted Monday night that he’s thinking of leaving Twitter. His thoughts, cleaned-up for a family newsletter:

Had lunch today with a friend (with way more twitter followers that me) and we both agreed we’re just about ready to shutter our accounts. Neither of us needs the promotion badly enough to deal with the constant barrage of ****heads. If you tweet about politics, you get trolled by ****s, and if you deliberately do not tweet about politics, you get attacked by “woke” ****s. I’ve also seen too many of my friends on here get threats against their families from ****heads & I don’t want to go down that road.

Whatever Twitter once was – I initially used it to stay in touch with far-off friends – it’s now a way to reach a mass audience. Almost anyone can interact with almost anyone. The bad news is, this gives almost anyone in the world an ability to send you messages, and to do so anonymously. No inventor ever likes to contemplate the worst possible application of their new creation; surely Jack Dorsey didn’t think in 2006, “Hey, I’ve just found an amazing way to empower racists, stalkers, psychos, and the most malevolent voices in society!”

Will Rogers famously said he never met a man he didn’t like. Put him on Twitter today and within a week he would turn into H.L. Mencken. Jean-Paul Sartre was close; Hell is other people on Twitter.

The world is full of people who you would never choose to have a conversation with – not because you aren’t open minded or you’re hypersensitive, but because you have better things to do with your life than to spend time around people who mock, berate, sneer, or just overall hate you. And yet, on Twitter, they’re metaphorically right in front of you. Yes, you can block them with the touch of the button. But very few people like being hated, or being reminded that they are hated. And in 2017 America, whatever your view on politics is, someone hates you for holding that view, and is eager to let you know how much they hate you.

(All of this should be a deep, deep concern to the Twitter company.)

So why is anyone on Twitter? Because there’s positive feedback, and that feels good. It feels like an affirmation. You’re right. People agree with you. People like you. They like your one-line joke, your thought, your snappy headline, your photo of what you’re about to eat. Every once in a while, they react in ways that make you think or reconsider what you thought before.

On Twitter, the ratio of useful/enjoyable interaction to useless/unenjoyable interaction has been steadily sliding in the wrong direction.

And now over to Bethany Mandel of the Federalist on the excesses of Facebook, or as she writes, “Facebook Dead At 12, A Victim Of 2016:”

One of my many friends also feeling this way, Sarah Barak, wrote on Facebook recently: “I feel hectored. I’ll be happier if I unfollow the worst offenders. It’s just too much and the constant negative coverage is affecting my happiness.” It’s not just in our imaginations; there’s plenty of social science research that indicates surrounding oneself with Negative Nancies has a way of turning you into a Negative Nancy also. It’s impossible to know for sure, but it seems many who were once politically ambivalent at best are now caught in a negative feedback loop, perpetually hysterical because all of their friends are as well.

The problem with Facebook political rants is this: It is not Twitter. I do not “follow” my high school best friends because of their insightful political commentary; I want to see updates on their lives and pictures of their adorable children. Unlike Twitter, I don’t want to unfollow or unfriend them because of their rants, because if I do so, I’ll miss out on the all-important baby announcements and updates.

If all you’re using Facebook for is to yell into the digital void about politics, you will find your audience for such rants is getting smaller by the minute. Sorry, random friends from all walks of life: I just don’t care what you think about Donald Trump today.

I hoped the tone would improve post-election, but with the inauguration and every statement or story out of the Trump administration, the hysteria remains at a fevered pitch. And I’m sick of it.

My solution, and that of many friends, has been significant or total disengagement from the social network, shifting usage to Instagram instead to catch most of those important baby and kid pictures.

This past weekend, a self-described Princeton neuroscientist, whose ‎amygdala was suddenly hijacked by all things Trump, decided to take out his concerns over our new president by doing what any serious academic would do at that moment: he addressed his anger towards Dave Burge, aka Iowahawk, who was busy, as is his wont, tweeting photos of hot rod cars. “Glad to see brave conservatives face up to a Constitutional crisis with…Sunday car talk,” our brave Princeton neuroscientist speaking truth to gearhead tweeted to the Bard of Des Moines.

In response, Burge tweeted (among other things), “let me break it down for you, ‘neuroscientist’: I’m not a conservative, and not a public utility to argue on topics you choose.” Eventually, he followed up with a  series of 36 Tweets on why he’s burning out on Twitter. I was hoping a site like Twitchy or Storify would link them together in one place, but I haven’t found it yet. But If you’re reading this post on the day it went up, go to Iowahawk’s Twitter homepage and keep scrolling, and you’ll come across it eventually. Exit quotes:

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NONIE DARWISH: On Boycotting Radical Islamic Nations.

Early this morning an Arabic radio station in the Middle East called asking my opinion about President Trump’s ban on refugees and citizens of seven Muslim nations. The radio host, who sounded angry over the ban, was a Christian Arab. She was surprised to hear that I supported the ban and think that it should have taken place the day after 9/11.

She then asked me if I knew any Arab American activist who was against the ban because she wanted to interview someone against the ban. She seemed shocked to hear that I do not have any Arab or Muslim friends who are protesting the ban, and that many immigrants of Islamic and Middle East origin support the ban and are fed up and embarrassed by what jihadists are doing.

She said that all she sees on CNN and other channels are riots that portray almost all Americans supporting Muslims and against Trump. I am upset over the success of the leftist propaganda all over the Middle East. It brings back memories of the life of the hate indoctrination and misinformation I lived under for most of my life.

Read the whole thing — and keep in mind that the progressive left produces heat and noise all out of proportion to its actual size, and that it is treated overseas (and by our own, sympathetic news media) with far more respect than it deserves.

TRUMP SEEMS MORE NORMAL EVERY DAY: PETA Wants Toymaker to Remove Plastic ‘Fur’ From Plastic Figurines.

IS THIS THE KIND OF PROTEST OBAMA FINDS “HEARTENING?” A Black Lives Matter Protester: ‘We Need to Start Killing People.’

This pre-school teacher wants to violently overthrow our government and our economy, in the name of Black Lives Matter. What a great message to be giving to the next generation, let alone to share on the internet. She screamed, “F**k white supremacy, f**k the U.S. empire, f**k your imperialist a** lives. That s**t gotta go.” She also yelled, “We need to start killing people. First off, we need to start killing the White House. The White House must die. The White House, your f**king White House, your f**king Presidents, they must go!”

I remember when “eliminationist rhetoric” was considered bad by the left, instead of aspirational. More here.

YEAH, IN PARTICULAR THE GREEN CARD THING WAS A MAJOR UNFORCED ERROR: Jonathan Adler: President Trump may hire “only the best people” but he did not rely upon them to draft and implement his latest Executive Order.

Whatever one thinks of the underlying policy, the degree of administrative incompetence in its execution is jaw-dropping. . . .

Under normal circumstances, I believe that the policy embodied in the Trump EO is lawful under existing precedent and would survive judicial review. That is, I believe the executive branch may decide to identify specific countries from which immigrants and others seeking entry into the country must receive “extreme vetting” and that the President may order a suspension of refugees from particular places (as Obama did with Iraq in 2011). Despite some of the President’s comments during the campaign about wanting a “Muslim ban,” this EO does not come anywhere close to effectuating such a ban, as it largely focuses on countries that were previously identified as sources of potential terror threats.

I stress “under normal circumstances” because these are not normal circumstances. The cavalier and reckless manner in which this specific EO was developed and implemented will likely give judges pause — and with good reason. Courts typically give a degree of deference to executive branch actions under the assumption that polices are implemented after serious consideration of relevant legal and policy questions. Indeed, the more serious the government interest allegedly being served, the more serious one expects the government’s internal review to be (unless, of course, there are exigent circumstances necessitating immediate action, but that was not the case here).

Yes, this is Trump’s first screw-up (as opposed to policy that people don’t like). He needs to be sure there aren’t more.

Plus: “Many of the things the Trump Administration wishes to do to reverse Obama Administration policies, particularly those embodied in duly promulgated regulations, will require careful and patient lawyering. The failure to properly vet and flyspeck administrative actions will leave them vulnerable to legal challenge.”

One of the reasons the Reagan Revolution bogged down in court on many fronts was precisely this sort of failure. Don’t do it again.

THOMAS FRANK: The intolerance of the left: Trump’s win as seen from Walt Disney’s hometown; Ivy League graduates micromanaging the country – that’s how some in Marceline, Missouri, saw the status quo.

By and large, these were men who had voted for Trump, but few of them seemed to really support him in the full sense of the word. They were apprehensive about his presidency, they didn’t know what to expect from it, but many of them had made the choice anyway.

Why? One of the men present told me you could summarize it with a single word: “Hillary!” Another described it with a variant on Trump’s famous proposition to black voters, which these white people clearly felt applied to them, too: “Whaddaya got to lose by making a change?”

Certain predictable conservative issues came up: meddlesome government, for example. Farmers these men knew of complained bitterly about the Environmental Protection Agency. Small bankers, too, were said to feel micromanaged. “We don’t like to be told what to do, how to do it,” someone said.

But it was not all standard-issue Republican talking points. These men groused about how big banks avoided being taken over by the FDIC, they used “Goldman Sachs” as verbal shorthand for wealth and influence, and I even heard complaints about billionaires controlling the state’s political process.

What did crop up persistently when I talked to this group was a disgust with the perceived moral haughtiness of liberals. More than one member of the club referred to himself as one of Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables”, for example. There was resentment of “Ivy League graduates” who felt entitled to “micromanage the rest of the country”. The man who told me that – a fellow wearing a US Army Retired cap – also told me that “if you want to be an obnoxious slob, you have a right to be one”.

This right-to-obnoxiousness raises a fascinating point: these men saw liberals as loudmouthed Pharisees, intolerant moralists who demanded that the rest of the nation snap into line – an exact reverse of the John Ashcroft stereotype liberals used to hold of conservatives.

Well, the shoe fits.

UPDATE: Brendan O’Neill on Facebook: “I wonder if those arguing that America has gone fascist and Islamophobia is rampant and Trump is an illegitimate president who should not be indulged by other world leaders realise how much they are confirming Trump voters’ view that a morally haughty liberal elite has replaced politics with hissy fits and has become so arrogant it thinks everything that doesn’t conform to its worldview is Nazism? I’m against Trump’s executive order, but this reaction… it is an own goal of epic proportions.”

JOEL KOTKIN ON IMMIGRATION: “In often needlessly harsh ways, President Donald Trump is forcing Americans to face issues that have been festering for decades, but effectively swept under the rug by the ruling party duopoly. Nowhere is this more evident than with immigration, an issue that helped to spark Trump’s quixotic, but ultimately successful, campaign. Many Americans are clearly upset about an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, and many also fear the arrival of more refugees from Islamic countries. Perhaps no issue identified by Trump has been more divisive. Not surprisingly, Trump’s rhetoric has stirred bitter anger among the country’s polite establishment, right and left, as well as the progressive grievance industry. . . . Politically, the open borders rhetoric helps Trump. Even in California, three-quarters of the population, according to a recent UC Berkeley survey, oppose sanctuary cities. Overall, more Americans favor less immigration than more. Most, according to a recent Pew Research Center study, also want tougher border controls and increased deportations. They also want newcomers to come legally and adopt the prevailing cultural norms, including English.”

Honestly, I think Trump’s encouraging the freakoutrage on purpose here. The more the Democrats shriek about not “normalizing” President Trump, the more they de-normalize themselves. This piece is circulating among some of the smarter lefties at the moment, and makes that point, although I don’t think Trump is Hugo Chavez or even close. If he were, all those lefty celebrities would be supporting him. . . .

UPDATE: Howie Carr:

Matthew Denice was a 23-year-old taxpaying U.S. citizen when he was run over and dragged to his death by a drunken illegal immigrant on welfare back in 2011.

It was not an isolated incident. Denice was the third American killed by illegal immigrants in two years in just one small central Massachusetts community.

The former governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, could never remember Matthew Denice’s name. A Democrat candidate for governor in 2014 (Don Berwick) breezily dismissed the horrific crime as an “anecdote.” And just last week, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh told a radio audience he had no idea who Matthew Denice was.

Do you know who does know Matthew Denice’s name? The president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

And that is yet another reason why he is president, and these shameless Democrats are wandering in the political wilderness.

The immigration debate hurts the Dems most because it makes clear that they don’t really care about American citizens. That goes with the cultural contempt for “deplorables” in a very toxic way.

Related: Don Surber: Media In A Fact-Free Fall Over Immigration.

OBAMA DID A 6-MONTH IMMIGRATION PAUSE ON IRAQ, NOBODY CARED. TRUMP DOES A 3-MONTH PAUSE ON A LIST OF COUNTRIES THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION PUT TOGETHER AND HE’S LITERALLY HITLER. The Green Card thing is genuinely horrible, but that’s not even what people are going apeshit about.

And Trump’s fine with that, because it will play badly, and he knows it.

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Tom Nichols is as big a NeverTrumper as there is, but he understands the strategy. And even he’s getting impatient with the opposition.

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Do you want more Trump? Because explosive anger mixed with sanctimony is how you get more Trump.

YOU WANT MORE TRUMP? BECAUSE THIS IS HOW YOU GET MORE TRUMP. 2016: The Year The Campus Culture Wars Jumped The Shark. Judging by the apparently complete lack of awareness of this fact on the part of university folks, I predict that 2017 will be worse. And Donald Trump smiles.

DO YOU WANT MORE TRUMP? BECAUSE THIS IS HOW YOU GET MORE TRUMP:

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BECAUSE WHEN YOUR HEART IS FULL OF PATRIOTISM, THERE IS NO ROOM FOR PREJUDICE: A white Trump voter explains why he left a black waitress a $450 tip with an uplifting note.

Plus: “‘You automatically assume if someone supports Trump that they have ideas about you,’ she said, ‘but [the customer was] more embracing than even some of my more liberal friends, and there was a real authenticity in our exchange.’ . . . But she said the men left her with so much more. Their words were a reminder not to make assumptions. And that so many Americans want unity, regardless of their politics, and to not be afraid to connect with someone as human beings, she said.”

As a great man once said, “Whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.”

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS.

Shot:

A longtime admirer of Fidel Castro, Turner has called the former Cuban president “one hell of a guy.” In 2001 Turner told a class at Harvard Law School, “You’d like him [Castro]. He has been the leader of Cuba for 40 years. He’s the most senior leader in the world, and most of the people that are still in Cuba like him.”

Castro, in turn, holds Turner in high regard, so much so that the dictator was the inspiration behind the creation of CNN International. As CNN News Chief Executive Eason Jordan told his audience during a 1999 lecture at Harvard’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism:

“… Let me also thank Fidel Castro. In the earliest days of CNN, when CNN was meant to be seen only in the United States, the enterprising Fidel Castro was pirating and watching CNN in Cuba. Fidel was intrigued by CNN. He wanted to meet the person responsible. So Ted Turner, who at that point had never traveled to a Communist country or knowingly met a Communist, [went to Havana]. It was big deal for Ted and during the discussions Castro suggested that CNN be made available to the entire world. In fact it was that seed, that idea that grew into CNN International.”

—David Horowitz’s “Discover the Networks” page on CNN founder Ted Turner, as quoted at Ed Driscoll.com, in a 2010 post titled “The Mote in CNN’s Mini-Cam,” a round-up of some of the network’s zanier bootlicks of totalitarian dictators over the years, not least of which was this moment a decade ago:

Chaser: “Following the lead of CNN’s Brian Stelter, Thursday’s Situation Room touted the spike of sales in the book 1984 and strongly hinted that Americans view the Trump administration as the real-life version of Big Brother portrayed in George Orwell’s classic.”

NewsBusters yesterday.

Shades of clueless Walter Cronkite during run-up to the eponymous year depicted in Orwell’s book, as I wrote in my 2014 review of Cronkite’s biography by leftwing author Douglas Brinkley:

Similarly, in 1970, Brinkley writes that Cronkite believed that “the U.S. government needed to regulate polluting corporations and force them to prioritize environment over profit.” But Cronkite chose to commemorate the arrival of the year 1984 and its Orwellian implications by starring in a special for CBS and drafting a column for the New York Times in which he wrote, “The total absence of privacy the idea that the government is (or may be) always watching, means, most of us would agree, the ultimate loss of freedom.”

Without the implied method of force, how did Cronkite imagine government would regulate corporations “to prioritize environment over profit”?

It’s during this passage of Cronkite that Brinkley concocts a smear of his own, by writing:

Reading George Orwell’s classic novel 1984, published in 1949, had been a revelation for Cronkite. He was stunned by Orwell’s raw insights into both Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia. To Cronkite, the dystopian 1984 was prescient in showing that America’s civil liberties were being gutted by a right-wing agenda.

Gee, wait ‘til Brinkley discovers what Orwell’s Ingsoc stood for, let alone where national socialist Germany and the international socialist Soviet Union were on the ideological spectrum.

And as Joseph Epstein wrote in his review of Brinkley’s book in the September 2012 issue of Commentary (subscription may be necessary to read), Cronkite himself wrote an introduction to a paperback edition of 1984, in which he seemed to think that modernism itself was Orwell’s chief concern:

I read a preface Cronkite wrote to a paperback edition of George Orwell’s 1984, and discovered he thought that the target of the novel was not the brutal devastation of life, private and public, under totalitarianism, but chiefly the danger posed by the technology of modernity. “1984 is an anguished lament and a warning that vibrates powerfully when we may not be strong enough nor wise enough nor moral enough to cope with the kind of power we have learned to amass,” Cronkite wrote. Throughout this preface, the Soviet Union and China, whose governments treated their respective populations as conquered nations, go unmentioned.

As Epstein notes, Cronkite’s preface to Orwell’s epoch-defining novel was written in 1983, “and by then Cronkite had entered that phase of liberalism that finds no country more dangerous than one’s own.”

Which has long been CNN’s view of the world looking out from the Thermopane windows atop their headquarters in Atlanta. But as I said before, if Trump really were half the strongman CNN is trying to depict him as, they’d be falling over themselves to worship him.

UPDATE: “Despite being on opposite sides, protesters on the right and left can end their fears the same way. If you’re afraid that the federal government will ruin your life, reduce the power of the federal government,” Jon Gabriel advises in his latest Arizona Republic column. Where shall we begin shrinking the leviathan, CNN?

MEGAN MCARDLE: The Democrats’ Rise Is Far From Inevitable.

Why are the left’s public demonstrations more impressive than its voter turnout? Because there are a whole lot of Democrats in the large population centers where such demonstrations are generally held. People can join a protest simply by getting on the subway; it’s an easy show of force.

But there are a lot of small towns in America, and as Sean Trende and David Byler recently demonstrated, those small towns are redder than ever. Effectively, the Democratic coalition has self-gerrymandered into a small number of places where they can turn out an impressive number of feet on the ground, but not enough votes to win the House. Certainly not enough to win the Senate or the Electoral College, which both favor sparsely populated states and discount the increasingly dense parts of the nation.

The Senate map in 2018 is brutal for Democrats. If Democrats want to get their mojo back, they’re going to need to do more than get a small minority of voters to turn out for a march. They’re going to need to get back some of those rural votes.

To do that, they’re probably going to have to let go of the most soul-satisfying, brain-melting political theory of the last two decades: that Democrats are inevitably the Party of the Future, guaranteed ownership of the future by an emerging Democratic majority in minority-white America. This theory underlay a lot of Obama’s presidency, and Clinton’s campaign. With President Trump’s inauguration on Friday, we saw the results.

Why was this such a bad theory? Let me count the ways.

The GOP couldn’t have planted a more destructive idea in the Democratic Party if it had tried.

SEE, IF YOU’D PROPOSED THIS UNDER OBAMA YOU’D HAVE BEEN RACIST: Democrats introduce bill to restrict Trump’s ability to launch nukes. Of course, this is just more effort at delegitimization.

QUESTION ASKED: Can Trump Fix the Carnage That Is Chicago?

But Trump is about more than crime when it comes to the nation’s urban centers. There are his promises to revive America’s deteriorating inner cities, of which Chicago has a surfeit. And if Trump intends to more broadly redefine the federal-city relationship by stepping in where the locals have failed, then he might also want to look into Chicago’s calamitous finances that have crippled the police department, schools and other vital municipal services while flogging its taxpayers.

The City of Sloping Shoulders would be the perfect laboratory for Trump’s promised repair work. Its schools are broke, yet it gives teachers raises and allows the Chicago Teachers Union to cap the number of charter schools the district can have. Extravagant pensions for public employees are crushing taxpayers and cutting into vital services. Neighborhood infrastructure is wanting. Residents and businesses are hightailing it out of the city and state.

The left ridicules Trump’s use of the word “carnage,” but it doesn’t do Chicago justice. “Catastrophic” and “calamitous” also should be thrown into the mix.

It ought to be Chicago’s job to fix Chicago, else it’s just a new kind of bailout under a different name.

UPDATE (From Glenn): Normally I’d agree, but a lot of Chicago’s problems — e.g., housing projects and welfare and gangs — had significant federal inputs. And a “bailout” that requires significant reforms might even be worth it. I’m not saying that’s the case, necessarily, but I can imagine that it might be.

SMALL WARS JOURNAL: Toward an Afghan End State.

As President Trump inherits the war in Afghanistan, the best piece of advice anyone can give him is that this is about as good as it is going to get. The government controls the major population areas and the Taliban controls some largely Pashtun dominated swaths of territory along the Pakistani border. Warlords of various ethnic origins control large areas in the north and the west. None of this is an immediate threat to the vital security interests of the United States. The Taliban will not overrun the major cities, nor will the government be able to exert true control over the more remote areas of the country due to its lack of usable roads and communications.

We got into the war in Afghanistan because we wanted transnational radical Islamists out. Al Qaeda is largely gone, and although ISIS would like in, there are no indications they are welcomed by any of the major Afghan players. This does not mean that we should leave Afghanistan entirely, but it does mean that the nation building phase of that war is over.

There should never have been a nation-building phase. Afghanistan isn’t and never was a nation — it’s a spot on the map where bordering nations aren’t.

SIZE MATTERS NOT: Donald Trump’s nominee for Treasury Secretary says banks should not be overseen based on size alone.

Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin said banks should be regulated based on their “complexity and activity, not simply size” and addressed other regulatory issues in written answers submitted to members of the Senate Finance Committee after his confirmation hearing last week.

“I believe in a regulatory framework that is determined by complexity and activity, not simply size,” he wrote, addressing a question about the $50 billion asset threshold at which banks face tougher regulation under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law. Many lawmakers and regulators want to change the line.

Mnuchin’s proposal seems more sensible than just moving the “too big to fail” line up or down.

JON GABRIEL: In First WH Briefing, Spicer Upsets Media Pecking Order. “Did the new President sent red-hatted mobs to smash printing presses and hijack the cable news to run non-stop ads for Trump Steaks? Even worse. In his first official White House press briefing, Sean Spicer called on reporters from the wrong side of the tracks. Apparently, in an unwritten rule precious only to careerist Beltway journos, the Press Secretary calls on an Associated Press reporter first then follows with questions to other large media companies. For the first time, Spicer chose less storied agencies for the first handful of questions. Did he blacklist journalists from CNN, the New York Times, etc? No, he got to them a few minutes later. In fact, Spicer stayed as long as the reporters wanted, answering questions for well over an hour. What so appalled the press was that Spicer upset the media’s caste system. After calling on the New York Post, he went to CBN (Christian cable network), Univision (Spanish-language channel), Fox Business Network, and American Urban Radio Networks (African-American focused service). He also announced the creation of ‘Skype seats’ that will allow reporters who live 50 miles or more from Washington DC to ask questions.”

I’M NOT 100% SURE WHAT THAT MEANS, BUT I LIKE THE SOUND OF IT: Trump tells business leaders he wants to cut regulations by 75% or ‘maybe more.’

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE, KAFKA-WOULD-CRY EDITION: An unwanted touch. Two lives in free fall. A dispatch from the drive to stop sexual assault on campus.

The facts are largely undisputed: Two college students on summer break – he’s a sophomore; she, a freshman – make a date. It’s Memorial Day weekend, 2014, and their intentions are explicit. They meet and have sex – consensual, enthusiastic – when a passerby interrupts them.

A few hours later, still together, the male student attempts to resume the sexual encounter. He reaches under her shirt to touch her breast. He stops immediately when she asks him to. They agree about these facts.

Yet this “one-time, non-consensual touching,” as university documents summarize it, is the crux of a startling Michigan State University sexual misconduct case. It has generated a thick stack of legal documents, months of MSU administrator time, and tens of thousands of dollars in legal bills since the female student, known here as Melanie, formally complained on Sept. 25, 2015 – almost 16 months after the incident.

More importantly, though, the case – which has traveled through an internal appeals process, exhausting the now-22-year-old man’s hope for reversal of sanctions at the university level – challenges what some might see as common-sense assumptions about sex and dating behavior. MSU’s findings draw sharply etched lines into the blurry world of dating intimacy and reveal the power of university administrators to mark a student as a sexual offender – for touching a lover’s breast after sex, miles from campus, without any accusations of violence, intimidation or stalking behavior.

Well, when you start with the presumption — and they most certainly do — that all men are basically rapists who exist on sufferance, it all makes sense. I expect that the Trump Administration will bring some common sense to this kind of thing, although if they really want to hurt higher education they should probably just double down.

Oh well, maybe it’ll at least do K.C. Johnson and Stuart Taylor some good.

BYRON YORK: Scenes from a pussy riot.

So Hillary couldn’t even get a majority of white women, the people who are mostly marching today. 53% went for Trump. So this march is Hillary’s 47%.

UPDATE: Yeah: “The message Get government out of my uterus is a compelling libertarian message, but the Women’s March may be seen as demanding more than the continued protection of reproductive freedom (which Trump does endanger, since he’s said he wants a Supreme Court that will overturn Roe v. Wade). Here’s a list of the Women’s March ‘unity principles,’ and it is not a ‘boy, bye’ to the government. It’s demanding that the government get very involved in women’s bodies.”

Feminism consists of Strong Independent Women demanding that the government play daddy to them with money taken from men.

SHE’S RIGHT, BUT SHE’S ALSO THINKING ABOUT RE-ELECTION IN A STATE THAT WENT FOR TRUMP: Dem senator: Violent Trump protesters ‘disgusting:’

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) says she is appalled by protesters responding destructively to President Trump’s inauguration Friday.

“Nothing is more un-American than protesters who are not peaceful – disgusting,” tweeted McCaskill, who backed 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over Trump.

“I understand the angst out there today for all of you throwing stuff at me,” she added. “Sorry, but I believe peaceful protest is always the right way.”

McCaskill also said violent protests run counter to the teachings of civil rights leaders, adding they discredit peaceful demonstrations as well.

“MLK and John Lewis were and are the role models for peaceful protest,” she wrote, referencing Martin Luther King Jr. and the present-day Democratic representative from Georgia, respectively. “But the small group will get all the attention – sigh.”

Trump took the oath of office Friday, making him America’s 45th president after an often bitter White House race last year.

“We are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the people,” he said on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. “From this moment on, it’s going to be America first. I will fight for you with every breath in my body, and I will never, ever let you down.”

Police in Washington, D.C., however, announced that afternoon they had arrested “numerous” people destructively protesting against Trump mere blocks from his address.

Authorities told The Associated Press that those arrested were charged with rioting following incidents involving a group of about 100 people.

The demonstrators damaged vehicles, destroyed property and set small fires while armed with crowbars and hammers, officials added.

She knows that if you want more Trump, this is how you get more Trump. And she doesn’t want more Trump.

Exit question: If you get beaten by these rioters, do you get to play martyr for life like John Lewis?

MICKEY KAUS: It’s Not 1934. “Wanted: A name for the hypertrophied fear of Trump that’s overcome so many — maybe most — of his opponents.”

Plus: “How does 1934ism go away? Is it enough that the brownshirts don’t appear? (Spoiler: Maybe not.)” Well, it’s not so much that they think Trump is a Nazi, as that they want to think of themselves as the bold resistance. The absence of actual brownshirts — well, except for the ones from the Left who were smashing windows, and Trump supporters, in DC last night — only makes it easier and more appealing to strike that pose.

“ANARCHISTS” ARE JUST THE LEFT’S (BARELY) DENIABLE MUSCLE: Police clash with anarchist protesters in downtown DC. “The protesters smashed windows at a bus stop and businesses in the downtown area before congregating in mass in front of the American Health Care Association building on L Street Northwest.”

In an actual anarchy, people who behaved this way would be killed, or enslaved until they paid off the damage they did.

More: Inauguration protesters vandalize city, try to disrupt Trump’s oath, police arrest nearly 100.

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

I JUST WANT TO REASSURE ALL OUR FRIENDS ON THE LEFT: Trump is not going to put you all in camps and install a Nazi state.  He can’t, because George W. Bush already put you all in camps and installed a Nazi state.  Oh, wait, he never got to do it, because we were already all dead in the nuclear war our cowboy president, Ronald Reagan, started by talking tough to the Russians.  And that is when I got to the States.  I’m sure people who’ve been here longer can explain to you how other republican administrations already destroyed everything, ALL THE THINGS WITH ALL THE DRAMA, in the most terrible way.  Sorry guys the song has gone thin and only children believe the lyrics anymore.  And honestly?  That’s only because they haven’t seen the drama you guys create long enough to know better.

JONATHAN TURLEY: Stop Whining: Trump’s Our Legitimate President:

It is of course immaterial that Trump lost the popular vote in a system based on electoral, not popular voting. (For the record, I have long been a critic of the Electoral College.) Moreover, while references to the “Russian hacking of the election” have become common shorthand, the Russians did not hack the election. Emails were hacked and those emails were not faked or tampered with, as repeatedly claimed by DNC chair Donna Brazile. As recently confirmed by the intelligence report, they were real emails showing incredibly dishonest and corrupt practices. Although there is no question that the leak appears selective in targeting Democrats, Washington seems most aggrieved by the fact that the public was given a true insight into the false and duplicitous behavior that defines the establishment. However, according to a new CNN/ORC poll, the spin is not taking: almost 60% of voters do not believe the hacking determined the outcome of the election.

In the end, the protests are not about legitimacy. Trump is by any measure our duly elected and legitimate president. It is about a refusal to accept legitimate results. Even the title of “The Women’s March” is dubious.

While Bill Clinton insisted that his wife lost because Trump figured out “how to get angry, white men to vote for him,” the fact is that it was the Democratic leadership that secured the election for Trump. Despite long-standing polls showing that voters did not want an establishment figure, the establishment pre-selected Clinton, who is not only one of the most recognized establishment figures but someone carrying more luggage than Greyhound. She is also someone who had even higher negative polling on character and truthfulness than Trump.

More importantly, it is a well-maintained myth that Clinton was the candidate of women who overwhelmingly rejected Trump. Clinton pulled basically the same percentage of female votes as Obama did four years earlier. Indeed, Clinton actually did slightly worse this election than Obama did in the prior two presidential elections with women.

Women don’t particularly like her. But, to be fair, neither do men.

I LOVE WHEN JOURNOS ACT LIKE THEY’RE GOING ON SAFARI IF THEY VENTURE MORE THAN 100 MILES INLAND: Not just ‘Trump’s America’: These journalists will spend 100 days digging into Appalachia.

You want to understand stuff? Go talk to Sen. Frank Niceley.

THE LEFT’S WAR ON SCIENCE: Climate activists step up campaign to cut funding to science museums. Today’s target is the American Museum of Natural History in New York, which is being denounced for taking money from Rebekah Mercer and allowing her to serve on its board of trustees. The activists want her removed because she has also donated to the Trump campaign and to think tanks skeptical of climate alarmism.

As the Times article notes, there is absolutely no evidence that Mercer has had any influence on the museum’s climate-change exhibits. Far from downplaying the threat of climate change, the museum has hyped it. I’ve written about the faulty science in its alarmist exhibits, and Edward Rothstein has critiqued its apocalyptic sermonizing. But none of this matters to the green activists determined to shame and intimidate conservative philanthropists even if it means less money for science education:

“To politicize science is shameful; to politicize the institutions that are designed to foster greater learning is even worse,” Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said. The museum’s executives “should acknowledge that they have a healthy endowment — a steady stream of funding — and they should thank Ms. Mercer for her service and talk about a reasonable plan for her to resign,” he said.

The chutzpah is astonishing. The only ones politicizing science at the museum are Brune and the other witch-hunters quoted in the Times. One of them is Michael Mann of Penn State, the researcher who produced the infamous hockey-stick graph and has done even more to discredit climate science with his unhinged activism. As usual, the threats to science come from one direction: the left.

JOHN MCGINNIS: Our Laws Should Encourage Business Leaders To Become Cabinet Secretaries.

One of the best disruptions of Donald Trump has been his decision to nominate many officials to the Cabinet who have been enormously successful in business. Such appointees have run major organizations and thus can use their substantial management experience to impose order on the sprawling government bureaucracy. They also bring the perspective of business into the heart of government. A commercial republic can thrive only if, from time to time, officials set about lifting off the dead weights that democratic practices tend to place on the economy.

It is thus disheartening, if not surprising, that many Democrats in the Senate now want to eliminate most of the tax law that facilitates the transition of business people to government. This law permits appointees to an administration to defer their capital gains on the stock they must sell to avoid conflict of interest. It thus encourages wealthy individuals to take government posts, because otherwise they would face an unpalatable choice: Pay a huge capital gains bill or hold on to stock that would create conflicts of interest in their new positions. The legislation greatly aids in eliminating conflicts of interest, because in exchange for the tax deferral, appointees must put their money in treasuries or index funds.

Thus, it is not an interest in good government, but in insular government that is behind the push to change this law.One of the most striking aspects of the modern left-liberal agenda is the effort to create a politics run by and for the symbolic class—people who talk or write for a living. This impetus is most obviously demonstrated by the interest in campaign finance reform. Such reform does not touch the very substantial influence of the media or of the academy on the long term shape of politics, groups almost entirely on the left side of the political spectrum. But campaign finance reform would curtail the capacity of those who create and improve our material world from using their own resources to rent the media and get their own views out the public.

The attempt to gut this sensible tax provision is yet another part of the effort to protect the power of symbolic class and make it harder for the sensibility of business to infuse government.

Nothing in the performance record of the “symbolic class” suggests that we gain from putting more power in its hands.