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JOURNALISM AS NARRATIVE CONTROL: James T. Hodgkinson, Attempted Assassin Of Steve Scalise, Already Being Erased From History.

We’ve been hearing a lot about “right-wing violence” lately. If we’re to believe our moral, ethical, and intellectual betters, there’s a Klansman on every street corner and a Nazi under every bed. There’s nothing more terrifying than a “white nationalist” who lives in his mom’s basement, which is why it’s okay for feral Antifa children to beat these guys up and drench them with balloons filled with piss. It’s “self-defense.”

But what happens when an act of violence is irrefutably motivated by left-wing ideology? What happens if, for example, a Bernie Bro named James T. Hodgkinson shoots at a bunch of congressmen for the explicit reason that he hates Republicans and wants them dead? How do we fit that into the preferred narrative?

We can’t. There’s no way. So we just leave it out entirely.

Well, for certain values of “we.” But it’s sad to see this even from the WSJ. Plus:

If James T. Hodgkinson had been a Trump supporter who shot and almost killed a Democratic congressman for political reasons, he’d be the most infamous man in America. But now, just two months after his attempt to murder a group of Republican lawmakers, he’s not even worth mentioning.

If I didn’t know better, I’d think the press is sad that Hodgkinson didn’t succeed.

Think of them as Democratic Party operatives with bylines and you won’t go far wrong. Even at the WSJ, it seems.

MATTHEW CONTINETTI: America’s new, combustible four-party system.

Trump’s emphasis on social issues broadly construed—on abortion, guns, judges, crime, drugs, immigration, terrorism—and his rejection of orthodox GOP support for free trade and entitlement reform transformed the Republican makeup. What Drutman describes as a “split in the Republican Party between populists and conservatives” can also be interpreted as a division between the party of Trump and the Grand Old Party. The two parties may agree on some issues, but they differ in tone and outlook and on crucial policy questions. It is difficult for them to function as a coalition government. Trump’s health care reform is stalled in Congress, his tax reform is inchoate, and his infrastructure plan is nonexistent. The two parties are able to unite against the left, but have trouble finding common legislative ground.

Making things more complicated is the fact that there are more than these two parties. Drutman also found divisions within the Democrats. “To the extent that the Democratic Party is divided, these divisions are more about faith in the political system and general disaffection than they are about issue positions.” The Democratic Party of Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton is satisfied with the status quo, and uses identity politics as a veneer for economic policies that benefit Wall Street, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and multinational corporations. What we might call the party of Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, is both more radical on questions of political correctness and identity and hostile to the established order. The party of Sanders wants radical change. Beginning with Medicare for all.

Recent events have brought to light the distinction between the party of Trump and the GOP. But it would be foolish for Democrats to believe that they are out of the woods, that America has settled, for the moment, on a three-party system. What we have are four parties: The mainstream Republicans, the party of Trump, the mainstream Democrats, and the party of Sanders.

The old two-party system had failed — failed to pursue its constituents’ interests, failed at basic governance, and worst of all, failed to protect America’s institutions, both formal and informal. “Worst political class ever,” as Glenn as noted here more than once.

So the current mess might not be an improvement (at least not yet), but it was certainly inevitable. And it will likely be years before the dust settles — if then.

WITH THE ACADEMIC YEAR BEGINNING, IT’S A GOOD TIME TO REVISIT THIS EXCELLENT PIECE FROM HEATHER GERKEN: Dean of Yale Law School: Campus Free Speech Is Not Up for Debate.

In this, the summer of our discontent, many college presidents are breathing a sigh of relief that they made it through a politically fraught spring without their campuses erupting. Nobody wants to be the next Middlebury or Claremont McKenna, where demonstrations disrupted controversial speakers.

Law deans, in sharp contrast, have reason to be cheery. Their campuses have been largely exempt from ugly free-speech incidents like these. Charles Murray, the controversial scholar whose speech drew violent reaction at Middlebury, has spoken at Yale Law School twice during the past few years. Students and faculty engaged with him, and students held a separate event to protest and discuss the implications of his work. But he spoke without interruption. That’s exactly how a university is supposed to work.

There may be a reason why law students haven’t resorted to the extreme tactics we’ve seen on college campuses: their training. Law school conditions you to know the difference between righteousness and self-righteousness. That’s why lawyers know how to go to war without turning the other side into an enemy. People love to tell lawyer jokes, but maybe it’s time for the rest of the country to take a lesson from the profession they love to hate.

In law schools we don’t just teach our students to know the weaknesses in their own arguments. We demand that they imaginatively and sympathetically reconstruct the best argument on the other side. From the first day in class, students must defend an argument they don’t believe or pretend to be a judge whose values they dislike. Every professor I know assigns cases that vindicate the side she favors–then brutally dismantles their reasoning. Lawyers learn to see the world as their opponents do, and nothing is more humbling than that. We teach students that even the grandest principles have limits. The day you really become a lawyer is the day you realize that the law doesn’t–and shouldn’t–match everything you believe. The litigation system is premised on the hope that truth will emerge if we ensure that everyone has a chance to have her say.

The rituals of respect shown inside and outside the courtroom come from this training. Those rituals are so powerful that they can trump even the deepest divides. As Kenneth Mack recounts in his book Representing the Race: The Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer, Thurgood Marshall was able to do things in court that a black man could never do in any other forum, like subjecting a white woman to cross-examination. Marshall was able to practice even in small, segregated towns in rural Maryland during the early days of the civil rights movement. The reason was simple: despite their bigotry, members of the Maryland bar had decided to treat Marshall as a lawyer, first and foremost.

She makes excellent points, though I wonder if a contemporary equivalent of Marshall would do as well today, when the personal is political and when “protesters” scrawl “Fuck Law” on the Lincoln Memorial. Marshall, after all, benefited from the bourgeois conventions of dignity that a latter generation of activists rejected.

DAVID BLANKENHORN: Charlottesville, Trump, And Our Bitter Politics.

Like so many, I’m saddened and deeply troubled by what happened in Charlottesville this past weekend, and its aftermath. And I also worry that more argument about it at this point is unlikely to do much good and may even do harm. Yet silence, somehow, feels cowardly.

Let’s review the basic story to date. An innocent woman lies dead, murdered. Far-right hate groups, for decades essentially exiled from anything but the most marginal participation in our public life, are now being discussed around the world (whether accurately or not) as a viable and perhaps growing presence among us. And the polarization of our society, much of it stoked by our market-share obsessed media—the rancor, the bitterness, the frantic hyperbole, the relentless either/or framing of issues, our fear of and anger at each other—appears only to have been increased by Charlottesville and its aftermath.

I agree with, or at least can understand with some sympathy, many things President Trump said. Left-wing provocateurs do exist; and they, too, use telegenic violence to recruit new members and raise money. Labels such as “alt-right” or “neo-Nazi” probably don’t describe everyone who showed up for the rally. There is more than one side to the issue of the Confederate statues and monuments; indeed there are at least three sides, since some African-American members of a Charlottesville city commission formed by the Mayor to consider the issue favored keeping the statues partly as “teaching moments” for the future.

The President also said yesterday that neo-Nazis and white nationalists “should be condemned totally,” a sentiment for which I’m grateful and with which I fully agree—but which also seems both forced and late.

But here’s the heart of the matter, for me. The great majority of Americans on both sides of the political aisle recognize that, in this land we all love and want to make better, racism exists. It’s deep and it’s serious. It dishonors us, and we need to do everything we can to erase it and put it behind us.

In that light consider: The rally in Charlottesville was planned and carried out by openly racist groups in pursuit of openly racist objectives. These facts should and do cause the great majority of Americans to feel distress, embarrassment, regret, shame, remorse, anger, and a renewed determination to do all that we can to minimize this terrible thing that crawled out of the fever swamps this past weekend to highjack our attention. Almost all of us—liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats—know this and feel this in our bones.

Read the whole thing.

RENEGOTIATING NAFTA: Canada Wants to Make Nafta More ‘Progressive.’

Earlier Monday, President Donald Trump tweeted that U.S. lawmakers over the years “have given us (or not fixed) some of the worst trade deals in World History. I am changing that fast!”

She said among the country’s objectives would be a freer market for government procurement across the continent. This could run into opposition from the Trump administration’s push to put more teeth into Buy America directives, which preserve them as part of a revamped Nafta.

She said local-content provisions, such as Buy America, “are political junk-food—superficially appetizing, but unhealthy in the long run.”

Ms. Freeland said Canada also wants to make Nafta more “progressive,” through tougher labor and environmental standards. On the environment, she said Canada wants the countries to support efforts to combat climate change, and cast a skeptical eye toward countries that “[weaken] environmental protection to attract investment.”

Be careful what you wish for.

AN EXCELLENT EDITORIAL FROM THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: The Poison of Identity Politics: The return of white nationalism is part of a deeper ailment.

The White House nonetheless issued a statement Sunday saying Mr. Trump “includes white supremacists, KKK, Neo-Nazi and all extremist groups” in his condemnation. As so often with Mr. Trump, his original statement missed an opportunity to speak like a unifying political leader.

Yet the focus on Mr. Trump is also a cop-out because it lets everyone duck the deeper and growing problem of identity politics on the right and left. The politics of white supremacy was a poison on the right for many decades, but the civil-rights movement rose to overcome it, and it finally did so in the mid-1960s with Martin Luther King Jr. ’s language of equal opportunity and color-blind justice.

That principle has since been abandoned, however, in favor of a new identity politics that again seeks to divide Americans by race, ethnicity, gender and even religion. “Diversity” is now the all-purpose justification for these divisions, and the irony is that America is more diverse and tolerant than ever.

The problem is that the identity obsessives want to boil down everything in American life to these categories. In practice this means allocating political power, contracts, jobs and now even salaries in the private economy based on the politics of skin color or gender rather than merit or performance. Down this road lies crude political tribalism, and James Damore’s recent Google dissent is best understood as a cri de coeur that we should aspire to something better. Yet he lost his job merely for raising the issue.

A politics fixated on indelible differences will inevitably lead to resentments that extremists can exploit in ugly ways on the right and left. The extremists were on the right in Charlottesville, but there have been examples on the left in Berkeley, Oakland and numerous college campuses. When Democratic politicians can’t even say “all lives matter” without being denounced as bigots, American politics has a problem.

We have the worst political class in our history, and a dysfunctional political culture.

CHARLIE MARTIN: Breaking News: Donald Trump is President.

Donald J Trump is President. Really. Won it fair and square, he was inaugurated seven — almost eight — months ago, and very probably is going to be President for another three and a half years.

Minimum.

So, now, children, let’s calm down. All of you people over there saying Trump is unqualified and should be removed? Give it up. He’s qualified by the only qualification that matters: he is over 35, he is a native US citizen, and he won the damned election. The Constitution doesn’t have a clause in it for removal by vote of the media, or because his political opponents don’t like him. The only reason he can be removed Constitutionally is if someone finds high crimes and misdemeanors.

Now, I know that some people are fantasizing about the Democrats taking the House, and passing a Bill of Impeachment, and somehow getting the Senate to convict.

To which I say, “be careful, you’ll get chafed.”

Besides, look what we know now: the Russian collusion story is effectively dead — the famous Golden Showers Dossier is the product of a Democratic opposition research house, talking to Russians is actually not a crime, and the case has gotten much stronger that the DNC emails weren’t obtained by Russian hackers. If you’re hanging your hopes on the Emoluments Clause, remember that George Washington ran his business while President. If George Washington could do it without hitting the Emoluments Clause, it’s going to be tough passing the laugh test with Trump.

Let’s game the impeachment out, though. Say it happened. Then there are going to be approximately 43 million Americans who are convinced that the President they elected has been removed by the people they were voting against when they elected him. I don’t care what you think of Trump, that won’t be good. And should it happen, what do you think the next election will be like?

So, stop.

They can’t. And I mean that literally. It’s not just a political posture. It’s a psychological need.

He’s got some advice for Trump supporters, too. Oh, and here’s one more excerpt:

Legacy media, it’s like this: if you want to have your reporting respected, your reporting is going to have to deserve respect. If you keep reporting fake news, people are going to keep thinking you report fake news.

For everyone: stop using the word “treason” unless you’re prepared to show which recognized enemy with which we have a legally-recognized state of active hostilities. And good luck with that.

But stop bandying it about recklessly: you’re accusing someone of a capital crime. That goes for everybody: Debbie Wassermann-Schultz, Hillary Clinton, Steve Bannon, Donald Trump Jr., Donald Trump Sr., basement-dwelling ne’er-do-wells whether they’re carrying a Swastika or a Hammer and sickle. If you want to know why accusing these people of treason is bad, read the Federalist Paper number 43 or just look at history: “treason” is an awfully convenient way to justify killing your political opposition.

Whatever your politics, it’s time to recognize that the election is over, and and what’s going on now is hurting the country and hurting the people. It’s time to start a acting like responsible citizens of a free nation.

Or at least it’s time to decide whether you want to be citizens of a free nation.

Indeed.

THE GOOGLE ARCHIPELAGO: In an article at the Weekly Standard that was likely written before Google’s meltdown this week headlined, “You Can’t Say That,” a review of the recent book The Demon in Democracy , Matthew B. Crawford asks, “Has liberalism taken a Soviet turn?”

Through the ’80s, ’90s, and into the new millennium, the phrase “politically correct” would crop up here and there. Among people who were credited as being sophisticated, use of the term would be met with a certain exasperation: It was needling and stale. The phrase had been picked up by the likes of College Republicans and Fox News, and if you had an ear for intellectual class distinctions you avoided it.

Originally a witticism, the term suggested there was something Soviet-like in the policing of liberal opinion. When it first came into wide circulation, was it anything but humorous hyperbole? Is that still the case today?

A sociologist might point to a decline in social trust over the past few decades—they have ways of measuring this—and speculate about its bearing on political speech. One wonders: Who am I talking to? How will my utterances be received? What sort of allegiances are in play here? In the absence of trust, it becomes necessary to send explicit signals. We become fastidious in speech and observe gestures of affirmation and condemnation that would be unnecessary among friends.

It’s a great review, and well worth your time to read the whole thing. Crawford’s question, “Has liberalism taken a Soviet turn?”, dovetails remarkably well with this week’s events. In the article by James D. Miller that Glenn linked to on Wednesday titled “Get ready for the ‘tech alt-right’ to gain influence in Silicon Valley,” Miller wrote:

It will be poisonous if the tech right feels compelled to not only hide their beliefs but also to actively pretend to believe in progressive diversity values. This pretending will embitter them, probably pushing many to the more radical alt-right.

It will prevent the left and right from getting meaningful feedback on their belief. Plus, if progressives never talked with people on the right, they wouldn’t get to learn that most of us do not fit their stereotypes of being sexist monsters.

When SJWs in Silicon Valley realize that their ideological enemies are hiding, they might actively search them out. They might become suspicious of the guy who was the first to stop clapping when a new diversity initiative was announced. Even worse, SWJs in human resources might become reluctant to hire those with characteristics correlated with conservatism, such as past military service.

That line about SJWs becoming suspicious about “the guy who was the first to stop clapping when a new diversity initiative was announced” is Straight Outta the Kremlin, comrade. In The Gulag Archipelago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote of the fate of the man who stopped clapping first:

At the conclusion of the conference, a tribute to Comrade Stalin was called for. Of course, everyone stood up (just as everyone had leaped to his feet during the conference at every mention of his name). … For three minutes, four minutes, five minutes, the stormy applause, rising to an ovation, continued. But palms were getting sore and raised arms were already aching. And the older people were panting from exhaustion. It was becoming insufferably silly even to those who really adored Stalin.

However, who would dare to be the first to stop? … After all, NKVD men were standing in the hall applauding and watching to see who would quit first! And in the obscure, small hall, unknown to the leader, the applause went on – six, seven, eight minutes! They were done for! Their goose was cooked! They couldn’t stop now till they collapsed with heart attacks! At the rear of the hall, which was crowded, they could of course cheat a bit, clap less frequently, less vigorously, not so eagerly – but up there with the presidium where everyone could see them?

* * * * * * * *

Then, after eleven minutes, the director of the paper factory assumed a businesslike expression and sat down in his seat. And, oh, a miracle took place! Where had the universal, uninhibited, indescribable enthusiasm gone? To a man, everyone else stopped dead and sat down. They had been saved!

The squirrel had been smart enough to jump off his revolving wheel. That, however, was how they discovered who the independent people were. And that was how they went about eliminating them. That same night the factory director was arrested. They easily pasted ten years on him on the pretext of something quite different. But after he had signed Form 206, the final document of the interrogation, his interrogator reminded him:

“Don’t ever be the first to stop applauding.”

And the world’s biggest search engine is well on its way to becoming The Google Archipelago. In an article Orwellianly titled “Internal Messages Show Some Googlers Supported Fired Engineer’s Manifesto” (heaven Lenin forefend — root out the hoarders and wreckers!) in Wired, which began as a libertarian-leaning publication before being purchased by the lefties at Condé Nast, the writer quotes from an anonymous Google employee. “‘Let’s take a step back,’ the Googler wrote, ‘and look at what is actually making everyone in Google upset on this thread and in general since the start of the 2016 election season.’ He went on to describe how the apparent uniformity of thought at Google led people like Damore to feel ‘like they are being forcibly dragged into [sic] ideological indoctrination chamber,’” including these passages that sound like mash notes smuggled out of the Ministry of Truth:

Weekly public (though thankfully anonymous) shaming of employees for misdeeds as slight as anachronistic use of “guys” for a mixed gender group

Frequent references to documents that stigmatize open disagreement with a a rage [sic] of positions

Call for employees to give each other hugs at an all hands meeting because the wrong candidate won a presidential election in the country, following by a mass mailing on how to help your kids deal with grief due to the same occurrence

In a piece at the Federalist titled “No One Expects The Google Inquisition, But It’s Coming,” Robert Tracinski spots another Stalin-esque element to be found in the above article at Wired:

In the new Internet version [of commercial advertising], we know these big companies are gathering specific personal information about our habits and preferences, far more than anyone has ever done, but we accept it because we think they’re just going to use it to sell us stuff, which might sometimes be annoying but isn’t ominous. But if we think there is a wider purpose, if we think they’re going to use our information for social engineering or political manipulation—will that break the bargain?

In this regard, the most important part of the story is those photographed screenshots intended to out Googlers who agreed with Damore. Why were they photographs of a computer screen rather than actual screenshots grabbed by the computer itself, which would have had much better resolution? I suspect it’s because this would leave evidence behind on work computers, so the leakers might get caught. This implies the leakers know what they’re doing is against internal Google rules—just as leaking Damore’s original memo to the media was against internal Google rules.

I don’t want to get into the debates we see around the Trump administration about which is worse: what we found out about our leaders because of the leaks, or the fact that so much information is being leaked. What’s relevant here is that Google now faces a pattern in which its employees are taking internal information and leaking it to the media, against the company’s own rules and safeguards, in order to achieve political objectives. If the wider public starts to figure out that this is happening, they just might decide this is not a company they want to trust with their information or access to their lives.

And they would be wise to do so. At the conclusion of a post today on the hypocrisy of Google firing Damore over his memo but making billions off of gender-based data-mining and targeted advertising code, Rod Dreher links to this scene from the 2006 film on the East German Stasi, The Lives of Others:

Dreher’s captions the clip, “A scene from the Google cafeteria.” He’s likely not all that far off.

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

I use DuckDuckGo as my primary search engine, and Bing as my fallback. Instead of Gmail, I spend a few bucks a month with a reliable web-hosting service and own my own domain with 1,000 email addresses and unmetered bandwidth. There are no Google apps on my phone to report my every movement and all my metadata back to the mothership.

These are easy steps almost anyone can take to rid themselves of this meddlesome priest.

TRUE: Hillary Wants To Preach.

I wrote something about this for the Guardian back in 2004. Excerpt:

And, actually, the roots of this do-goodism are ultimately in New England Puritanism, which had many characteristics associated with today’s left. Among them were a hostility to wealth – illustrated by sumptuary laws – a belief that the welfare of the community trumped the rights of individuals (Hillary combined both these aspects in her famous recent statement: “We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good”). Puritans favoured dense settlement in towns over spread-out farmers – they were, in a sense, the first opponents of “sprawl”.

Even the most stereotypical aspect of the Puritans is not as out of place as you might think. Puritans were, of course, notoriously hostile to sex, but the modern left has threads of those sentiments, too – witness the anti-sex screeds of Catharine MacKinnon or Andrea Dworkin. In fact, Puritans, who were actually quite enthusiastic about marital sex, may actually have been less Puritanical in this regard than some modern feminists.

Not all leftwingers in the US are as frankly religious as Hillary Clinton, and many don’t even realise that the ideas that they champion have deep religious roots. But even for these people, being leftwing has itself become a sort of religion, with those who disagree viewed as sinister, almost demonic forces, rather than simply as individuals holding different views.

The language of righteousness and sin, if not that of redemption and grace, remains a hallmark of the purportedly secular left, though I find it no more attractive than the language of the religious right.

In fact, it’s worse.

CHARLIE MARTIN: Diversity Is Conformity At Google.

So, the author should be fired and blackballed.

According to others, he should be beaten. (I’m linking Breitbart, not my favorite site, but a lot of these people have now blocked or protected their accounts.)

I can’t imagine why he felt that “Google has several biases and honest discussion about these biases is being silenced by the dominant ideology.”

Now, I wrote about my own experiences following the Brendan Eich debacle — Netscape was very interested in me and then, suddenly, was not. I’ve had the same experience several times now, and I’ve been effectively unemployed (except for writing) for nine months, the longest time ever (and if anyone needs Python or Java programming, or DevOps with Ansible, especially if it can be done remotely, or technical writing, let me know.)

Is it because I’m a visible conservative? Who knows. But you just have to look at the reaction to this memo to see that his worry that people are being silenced by a dominant ideology is well-founded.

There are a lot of unhappy people — mostly but not exclusively white males — in Silicon Valley who are unhappy with how PC it’s become. (Note that about 1/3 of Google employees who weighed in actually agreed with the essay). This is a litigation opportunity for lawyers who want to use California’s surprisingly strong strong laws against political discrimination in employment. It’s also a hiring opportunity for companies that want to be non-PC. And if all these guys got together, they could probably swing their Congressional district.

Meanwhile, Silicon Valley’s brand continues to suffer as they look less like bold innovators and more like deranged college administrators. This has all sorts of consequences, politically and economically. In particular, if the Trump Administration wants to go all-in on a strong antitrust enforcement effort against the tech industry’s behemoths, these kinds of episodes will strengthen his hand, and weaken the industry’s.

ROD ROSENSTEIN: Mueller needs to come to me if he wants to chase any crime outside scope of Russia probe. “Bob Mueller understands and I understand the specific scope of the investigation, and so no, it’s not a fishing expedition.”

Plus:

It has been reported that Mueller’s investigation has expanded to look at the finances of Trump and his associates, giving rise to concerns that Mueller could make it the focus of the probe. Rosenstein seemed to dismiss this issue.

Asked if there were no red lines under the terms of his order, Rosenstein said that the investigation is subject to the rules and regulations of the Justice Department.

If there’s evidence of a crime that’s found within the scope of what they have agreed, then Mueller has free rein, Rosenstein explained. If it’s outside the scope of the probe, then “he needs to come to the acting attorney general, at this time me, for permission to expand his investigation,” he added. Rosenstein noted this as a precedent, which was also followed by independent counsel Ken Starr during the Clinton years.

Reports have come out over the past couple months about how the probe is investigating Trump for obstruction of justice, and that Mueller has impaneled grand juries, capable of issuing subpoenas.

These reports and more have relied on anonymous sources, against whom Rosenstein cautioned could be unreliable. He dubbed these reports, “speculation in the news media.”

Hmm.

MARK KRIKORIAN: Why Trump Is Right about Immigration.

The RAISE Act would limit family immigration rights to the actual nuclear family: husbands, wives, and little kids of American citizens and legal residents. The current categories for adult siblings, adult sons and daughters, and parents would be retired. U.S. citizens could still bring in their elderly parents in need of caretaking, but only on renewable nonimmigrant visas (no green cards or citizenship) and only after proving that they’ve paid for health insurance up front.

The second major element in this restructuring addresses the employment-based immigration flow. It is now a jumble of categories and subcategories, the main result of which is to provide steady work for immigration lawyers. The Cotton-Perdue bill would rationalize this mess by creating one, streamlined points system, along the lines of similar schemes in Canada and Australia. Points would be awarded to potential candidates based mainly on education, English-language ability and age, and those who meet a certain benchmark would be in the pool for green cards, with the top scorers being selected first.

The bill would also eliminate the egregious Diversity Visa Lottery and cap refugee admissions at fifty thousand per year, rather than allow the president let in as many as he wants, as is the case today.

The level of immigration—now running at over a million a year—would likely drop by 40 percent, and then drop some more over time, as the number of foreign spouses declined. (Most U.S. citizens marrying foreigners are earlier immigrants, so as they age, and fewer new immigrants come in behind them, the demand for spousal immigration is likely to fall.) That would still mean annual permanent immigration of 500,000–600,000 a year, which is more than any other nation.

None of this seems unduly harsh, or really anything less than perfectly sensible — naturally then, anyone supporting the bill is “literally Hitler.”

GOP BORDER LAWMAKER: ‘Can’t Double Down’ on 3rd-Century Wall to Solve 21st-Century Problems.

Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), who has voiced support for a technology-driven solution over President Trump’s border wall, has introduced legislation in support of building a “Smart Wall” that would entail high-tech detection and tracking systems.

“Violent drug cartels are using more modern technology to breach our border than what we are using to secure it,” Hurd said in a statement last week introducing the Secure Miles with All Resources and Technology (SMART) Act. “We can’t double down on a Third Century approach to solve 21st Century problems if we want a viable long-term solution.”

Hurd, whose district includes 800 miles of U.S.-Mexico border, said during a congressional hearing last week that he favors the U.S. investing in a “smart wall” rather than spending billions to build the 700- to 900-mile border wall that Trump has envisioned.

I’m all in favor of modern solutions to old problems, but we are talking the U.S. government here. You have to wonder if a smart wall might end up as the world’s biggest — and hackable — Internet of Things device.

I THINK HE SHOULD GET THE NEXT OPEN SUPREME COURT SEAT: Don Willett’s Lone Star Legal Show: The Texas Supreme Court justice is witty and approachable, and he’s huge on Twitter. He’s also one of the most influential conservative jurists in the country right now.

In the past few decades, the number of American jobs requiring a state license has exploded. Roughly one out of every four workers must seek a license to work. Now some institutions are starting to push back. Perhaps the most prominent — or at least most fervent — of these is the Texas Supreme Court. In 2015, the court struck down the state’s licensing requirement for eyebrow threaders (cosmetologists who remove unwanted facial hair using a thread), finding it unreasonable.

One of the justices, Don Willett, who has served on the court since 2005, went much further. The state’s regulatory requirements were not just extreme, he concluded, but “preposterous.” To pursue the low-paying job, prospective eyebrow threaders had to pay thousands of dollars in fees and were required to complete more than five times as many hours of initial training as emergency medical technicians. “If these rules are not arbitrary,” Willett wrote in a concurring opinion, “then the definition of ‘arbitrary’ is itself arbitrary.”

Willett’s concurrence in the case, Patel v. Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, has been hailed as one of the most important conservative opinions of recent years. It was expansive enough to trigger talk about reviving a judicial approach to regulation that has lain dormant for decades. It’s one of the main reasons Willett’s name appeared on President Trump’s short list for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Willett is pretty blunt about his overall intent. He’s a champion of individual rights, claiming a central role for the judiciary in protecting those rights against state encroachment. “Liberty is not provided by government,” he wrote in Patel. “Liberty pre-exists government.” In that context, Willett wasn’t talking about speech or privacy rights. He was referring to economic liberty: the right to earn a living by unfettered free choice in a capitalist economy.

For someone in the important but relatively obscure position of state supreme court justice, the 51-year-old Willett has engendered an unlikely cult of personality. He’s hailed by conservative columnists and think tanks and has been profiled in The Wall Street Journal as one of the right’s leading legal thinkers. It’s hard to find anyone, even among his liberal critics, who won’t acknowledge Willett’s combination of legal acumen and down-home style.

Read the whole thing.

YOU WANT MORE TRUMP? BECAUSE THIS IS HOW YOU GET MORE TRUMP. Chelsea Clinton, the epitome of ‘white privilege’, lectures white parents about racism.

INDEPENDENT-COUNSEL-ORAMA: John Hinderaker: Let’s Investigate All The Scandals. “The House Republicans identify no fewer than 14 additional scandals or potential scandals that they want investigated by a second special counsel, Robert Mueller having shown himself to be a tool of the Democratic Party (my characterization, not theirs). . . . Roger Simon more modestly suggests five scandals that need to be investigated, along with Russian activities in connection with the 2016 election: the unmasking scandal, Fusion GPS, Imran Awan, Loretta Lynch’s cover-up of the Hillary Clinton email scandal, and Uranium One. . . . The House Republicans addressed their letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Sessions may or may not have been correct in recusing himself with regard to the investigation into the Trump campaign, but he certainly has no need to defer with regard to the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the fourteen additional subjects raised by the House Judiciary Committee members.”

WELL IF THEIR GOAL WAS SOWING CHAOS, THEY’VE CERTAINLY HAD A LOT OF HELP FROM THE MEDIA AND THE “RESISTANCE.” BUT I REPEAT MYSELF. Were The Russians Playing Both Sides?

It is now widely known that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election to weaken Hillary Clinton, both by hacking and releasing emails and by spreading disinformation on social media and state-funded news outlets.

But yesterday’s Senate Intelligence Committee hearings suggest that this may not be the whole story.

In the clip below, Senator Lindsay Graham asks Bill Browder—American businessman who has successfully lobbied for sanctions against Russia after his attorney was abused and likely murdered in a Moscow jail—about Russian involvement in the 2016 election. Browder notes that Fusion GPS—the opposition research behind the infamous “pee tape” dossier about Donald Trump—was at the time being paid by Russians to produce opposition research about him and undermine support for the Magnitsky Act, the bill Browder backed that froze the assets of a few dozen Russian oligarchs.

Fusion GPS is relevant to the Russia investigation for two reasons. First, as Browder says above, it was under contract by Russian oligarchs at the same time that it produced “dirt” on Trump. Second, Christopher Steele—the British former spy who produced the dossier on Fusion’s behalf—gathered much of his information from Russians.

The web of connections involved in this whole affair can get convoluted (if you want to be more confused, recall that the Russian firm that hired Fusion GPS, Prevezon Holdings, also retained Natalia Veselnitskaya—the lawyer who met with Don Jr. in Trump Tower last July). But the information we have now at least raises the possibility that powerful Russians were involved—as sources of information or money or both—in the creation of the Steele Dossier, perhaps the most influential piece of opposition research in history. . . .

As Graham says, it’s quite possible that the Russians were collecting dirt on both sides in a bid to sow chaos above all else. We are likely to learn more as the Congressional investigations proceed.

Oh, I hope so.

Related: Kimberley Strassel: Who Paid for the ‘Trump Dossier’? Democrats don’t want you to find out—and that ought to be a scandal of its own.

It has been 10 days since Democrats received the glorious news that Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley would require Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort to explain their meeting with Russian operators at Trump Tower last year. The left was salivating at the prospect of watching two Trump insiders being grilled about Russian “collusion” under the klieg lights.

Yet Democrats now have meekly and noiselessly retreated, agreeing to let both men speak to the committee in private. Why would they so suddenly be willing to let go of this moment of political opportunity?

Fusion GPS. That’s the oppo-research outfit behind the infamous and discredited “Trump dossier,” ginned up by a former British spook. Fusion co-founder Glenn Simpson also was supposed to testify at the Grassley hearing, where he might have been asked in public to reveal who hired him to put together the hit job on Mr. Trump, which was based largely on anonymous Russian sources. Turns out Democrats are willing to give up just about anything—including their Manafort moment—to protect Mr. Simpson from having to answer that question.

Make him talk. Under oath. “What if, all this time, Washington and the media have had the Russia collusion story backward? What if it wasn’t the Trump campaign playing footsie with the Vladimir Putin regime, but Democrats? The more we learn about Fusion, the more this seems a possibility.”

TYLER O’NEIL: Imran Awan Scandal Shows Just How Much Dirt Dems Wanted to Hide By Focusing on Trump-Russia.

When U.S. Capitol Police, the FBI, and Customs and Border Protection teamed up to arrest Imran Awan, an IT staffer for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and other congressional Democrats, Americans began to realize just how broken and corrupt the Democratic Party has become. Indeed, such scandals beg the question of whether the Trump-Russia hype has not been a desperate attempt to distract the country from a long train of scandals on the Left.

Awan was arrested Monday night on charges of bank fraud, to which he has pled not guilty. As Forbes’ Frank Miniter argued, however, his strange case “has all the feeling of the opening scene of a movie that might soon include political corruption and so much more.”

Politico reported that Awan is “at the center of a criminal investigation potentially impacting dozens of lawmakers.” He was arrested after wiring $283,000 from the Congressional Federal Credit Union to Pakistan, The Daily Caller reported.

PJ Media’s Debra Heine has been on the story since it broke in February of this year. Imran Awan and his Pakistani-born brothers, Abid and Jamal Awan, are under criminal investigation by the U.S. Capitol Police and the FBI on suspicion that they accessed congressional computers without permission and stole equipment.

The Awan brothers worked for more than 30 House and Senate Democrats, as well as former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who only fired Imran Awan on Tuesday after his arrest. News of the investigation broke in February, but Schultz kept Awan on staff for five months before firing him. Schultz even threatened Capitol Police Chief Matthew Verderosa about the investigation in May.

Weird how, since the connection to Democratic dirty-tricks firm Fusion GPS came up, the press stopped talking about the Russia “collusion” story overnight.

SO IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THE THING TO FOCUS ON IS THE 2018 ELECTIONS. The press will continue to go crazy over Trump’s latest tweet, but what happens will ultimately turn on whether the GOP keeps its majority — and whether, if it does, the majority that it keeps is as lame as this one. I think that people who want small government will want to primary Senators and Representatives who don’t, while still trying to keep a majority. As tempting as it is to just wash your hands, we learned in 2006 that a determined Democratic Congress is a lot more destructive than a wishy-washy Republican one, as irritating as the latter is.

ISRAEL EVALUATES ITS READINESS FOR WAR: Hamas and Hezbollah are the daily challenges, but Iran is the big threat. By the way, Iran still wants nukes.

The Iranian regime has not given up its strategic objective of obtaining nuclear weapons. The sunset clauses on the nuclear deal will lift key restrictions over the next eight to thirteen years. Assuming the hard-line Shiite ideological-religious camp and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) continue to control Iran’s foreign and military policies, the Islamic Republic will be able restart its nuclear program at the end of the sunset clauses (if it does not cheat and breach the agreement beforehand).

Iran could begin enriching uranium again (using improved techniques it is currently researching) to bring it to nuclear breakout, and could try to reach that point at a time of its choosing. Its missile program is already developing. This means Israel could find itself in a state-to-state conflict in the not too distant future.

Additionally, Arab Sunni states threatened by Iran have launched civil nuclear programs of their own. These could turn out to be the initial stages of military nuclear programs, designed to counter Iran’s nuclear shadow.

More evidence that Obama’s Iran deal was a very bad deal.

WEIRD, FROM WHAT I’VE SEEN IN THE PRESS AND ON SOCIAL MEDIA, ABSOLUTELY NOBODY EXCEPT A FEW NEANDERTHALS AGREES WITH TRUMP: Only 23% Favor Transgenders In Military.

A poll conducted less than one month prior to President Trump’s decision on Wednesday to reverse an Obama-era policy that allowed transgender individuals to serve openly in the military found more people opposed than supported it.

Rasmussen surveyed 1,000 likely voters on the topic in late June, almost exactly one year after then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the shift last summer.

“The U.S. Department of Defense now allows transgender people, those who identify with and want to live as the opposite sex, to serve openly in the military,” the survey said. “Is this decision good for the military, bad for the military or does it have no impact?”

Only 23 percent of people surveyed responded that it was good, while 31 percent said it was bad. The largest bloc of respondents, 38 percent, said it has no impact.

As the Washington Examiner reported earlier today, a Military Times poll conducted last December found 41 percent of active-duty troops believed the policy hurt military readiness, while only 12 percent said it helped.

Who knew?

TAKE A BOW, DNC-MSM: Last night, the Boy Scouts became the Hitler Youth. Today, Sean T. Collins, a freelancer who has written for the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Wired, and the New York Observer among other publications, declares “The world would be a better place if McCain died in Vietnam,” in a since-deleted tweet, as he and other Democrat operatives with bylines attack McCain for wanting to “kill” people by repealing Obamacare, as NewsBusters notes.

Lest you think this is entirely a new attitude amongst the left, recall this New Yorker flashback to the Vietnam War era. “Punch” Sulzberger, who had published the Times from 1963 through 1992, and whose family has controlled the New York Times since the late 19th century, served with distinction as a Marine in the Pacific Theater in WWII and as an officer during the Korean War. His son on the other hand…

[Arthur Ochs “Pinch” Sulzberger Jr.] had been something of a political activist in high school—he had been suspended briefly from Browning for trying to organize a shutdown of the school following the National Guard’s shooting of students at Kent State—and at Tufts he eagerly embraced the antiwar movement. His first arrest for civil disobedience took place outside the Raytheon Company, a defense and space contractor: there, dressed in an old Marine jacket of Punch’s, he joined other demonstrators who were blocking the entrance to the company’s gates. He was soon arrested again, in an antiwar sit-in at the J.F.K. Federal Building in Boston.

Punch had showed little reaction after the first arrest, but when he got word of the second one he flew to Boston. Over dinner, he asked his son why he was involved in the protests and what kind of behavior the family might expect from him in the future. Arthur assured his father that he was not planning on a career of getting himself arrested. After dinner, as the two men walked in the Boston Common, Punch asked what his son later characterized as “the dumbest question I’ve ever heard in my life”: “If a young American soldier comes upon a young North Vietnamese soldier, which one do you want to see get shot?” Arthur answered, “I would want to see the American get shot. It’s the other guy’s country; we shouldn’t be there.” To the elder Sulzberger, this bordered on traitor’s talk. “How can you say that?” he yelled. Years later, Arthur said of the incident, “It’s the closest he’s ever come to hitting me.”

Pinch and the rest of the MSM haven’t exactly matured much since the Woodstock era. As Matthew Continetti of the Washington Free Beacon wrote of the Times in a 2014 piece titled “Fast Times at Eighth Avenue High,” “The next time our reporters and producers and anchors and bloggers affect an air of moral or social superiority, the next time they pretend to know the answers to every political and economic and cultural question, remember this: They are basically teenagers.”

And regarding their adolescent rage, and that of the non-media wing of the Democrat Party, as Glenn has written, “Trump, as I keep saying, is a symptom of how rottenly dysfunctional our sorry political class is. Take away Trump and they’re just as awful and destructive. He just brings their awfulness to the fore, where it’s no longer ignorable. Now they’re willing to play with fire, risking the future of the polity over little more than hurt feelings, in a way that would have been unthinkable not long ago.”

Related: “And now, in sports news, Deadspin preparing victory lap in event of Sen. John McCain’s death,” tweeting, “I don’t want to hear another [f***ing] word about John McCain unless he dies or does something useful for once.”

I’m so old, I can remember when the left pretended to condemn eliminationist rhetoric.

UPDATE: Liberals Stop Pretending to Care About John McCain After His Health Care Vote.

BUT WHO WOULD BELIEVE THEM? “Progressives must preach understanding, not shame, to be effective,” Andrew Redlawsk writes in USA Today. His bio describes him as “a Democratic organizer and activist and is currently pursuing his Masters in Political Management at George Washington University.” Embrace the smugness dripping from his article:

The other night, I had an amazing conversation with a friend who admitted he was a Donald Trump voter. Having known him for most of my life, I was shocked. But as a result, as a proud member of The Resistance, I’m even more certain that we progressives are largely responsible for the rise of Trump’s America.

Amazed that a lifelong friend was one of those people. Shocked that he’s part of the other, deplorable half of America. Whereas fortunately, Redlawsk declares himself a “proud member of The Resistance,” as if he’s in the French underground in WWII. More Redlawsk:

If we’re waiting for people who hold a different view to change their minds without being guided through that process, we’ll be waiting an awfully long time. I think progressives would all agree that time is not something we have to waste. It may not be fair, but progressives must be willing to put aside their anger and hate and take responsibility for creating the change they wish to see in the world. To vilify, shame and condemn only causes those who don’t understand to dig in their heels. If we are the ones who want change, the responsibility is ours to do what it takes to encourage it.

To summarize: Progressives, stop insulting, stop shaming, and stop condescending. Start listening. Start teaching.

Start “teaching.” Guide them through the process.

Yes, Middle Americans love to feel like they’re the left’s students – that always plays really well – particularly knowing that the lessons come with a fair amount of “anger and hate” behind them as Redlawsk admits.

And if the instructions from our would-be betters are rejected?  That dovetails quite well into another piece making the rounds concurrently with the above USA Today article: “Rolling Stone Confirms: Ultra-Rich Gay Activist Is Targeting ‘Wicked’ Christians,” Bre Payton writes at the Federalist:

Ah, so “the wicked’” whom [tech millionaire turned gay rights activist Tim Gill] says need to be “punished” are indeed Christians, as well as everyone who agrees with them. Anyone who stands up for a Christian’s right to live in accordance with his or her religious beliefs will also be targeted for harassment in public and the legal system. Further, he clearly defines “wickedness” as adhering to centuries-old Christian (and Jewish and Muslim) beliefs on human identity and sexuality. To Gill, orthodox Christian beliefs comprise “wickedness.” Thanks for clearing that up.

* * * * * * * *

Nevertheless, asking a judge to think twice before throwing the book at a Christian baker who doesn’t want to bake a cake for a lesbian wedding is a “wickedness” that ought to be stamped out, according to Gill.

This must be part of that “Better Deal” that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are promising us. As Erick Erickson likes to say, you will be made to care.

One way or another – we can do this the easy way, or the hard way, as they say in the Corleone family.

UPDATE: I think Steve’s phrase earlier today regarding another column by a lefty trying to make sense of what happened — “If this column is any indicator, even lefties who think they get it still haven’t gotten it” — might need to go into a macro for rapid and frequent deployment.

THE “DEEP STATE” ISN’T THE “ESPECIALLY BRIGHT STATE,” AS THIS LATEST DEVELOPMENT PROVES:

People who want to undermine Trump should try looking more sober and responsible than he is. So far, they’ve done the opposite.

THE O.J. TRIAL AND THE CLINTON PRESIDENCY: The O.J. Trial Was a Preview of America Under Trump.

Race loomed large in the O.J. Simpson trial, which came on the heels of the Rodney King saga, and O.J.’s team leveraged black identity politics in much the same way that Trump leveraged white identity politics. The prosecution team, like Hillary Clinton’s campaign, made a logical (if not particularly inspired) argument for why the jurors should take its side in what seemed to most professionals like a slam-dunk case. But the result came down to ethnocultural identification among the decision-makers. And O.J.’s jurors, like Trump’s voters, simply did not feel understood or recognized by the other team. The prosecution’s efforts at tokenism weren’t enough to convince the largely black jury to take the side of a law enforcement regime they viewed with suspicion, just as Hillary Clinton’s tortured working class appeals didn’t persuade white Rust Belt voters that she had their interests at heart. . . .

The most remarked-upon similarity between these two phenomena is the reality-TV quality of the coverage surrounding them. Both Trump and O.J. achieved wall-to-wall, flood-the-zone coverage unlike anything seen before or since. Both did this at a time of flux in the way Americans consumed information—O.J. at the dawn of the age of cable news, and Trump at the dawn of the age of social media. And both employed similar media strategies, with great success. For O.J.’s legal team, as the communications professional Bradley Tusk wrote in a post-election piece comparing it to the O.J. trial, “message and narrative trumped facts and evidence. Style trumped substance. He turned the whole thing into a spectacle, and the media played right along. Punditry, commentary and celebrity overran the process.” The media wanted O.J. to be convicted, just as it wanted Trump to lose, but the 24/7 coverage vortex probably helped both men more than it hurt.

Plus, Alan Dershowitz!

FUSION GPS ILLUMINATES THE BRAVE NEW WORLD OF MANUFACTURED NEWS FOR HIRE:

The news media is dead broke. Print advertising is washed up and all the digital advertising that was supposed to replace lost revenue from print ads and subscribers has been swallowed up by Facebook and Google. But the good news is that people will still pay for stories, and it’s an awful lot easier to bill one customer than invoicing the 1,500 readers of your blog. The top customers for these stories are political operations.

There is no accurate accounting of how many of the stories you read in the news are the fruit of opposition research, because no journalist wants to admit how many of their top “sources” are just information packagers—which is why the blinding success of Fusion GPS is the least-covered media story in America right now. There’s plenty of oppo research on the right, but most of it comes from the left. That’s not because Republicans are more virtuous than Democrats and look for dirt less than their rivals do. Nor conversely is it because Republicans make a richer subject for opposition research because they’re so much more corrupt. Nope, it’s simple arithmetic: Most journalists lean to the left, and so do the majority of career officials who staff the federal government. There are more sounding boards on the left, and more sources. It’s not ideological, it’s business.

Thus, most of Fusion GPS’s contracts seem to come from the left—except for its most famous project, the Russia dossier. Before it was passed on to the Democrats, it started on the right, when one Republican candidate—thought to be Jeb Bush but never confirmed—hired the outfit to amass damning material on Trump. From humble beginnings, it has taken on the shape of a modern-day legend.

Read the whole thing.

Related: Co-founder of firm behind Trump-Russia dossier to plead the Fifth.

AARON BLAKE: This poll is a warning sign for Democrats.

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll, as Mike DeBonis and Emily Guskin report, presents a pretty mixed bag for Democrats. It shows that registered voters say they want Democrats to control Congress to be a check on Trump by a 52-38 percent margin, but it also shows Democrats are — rather remarkably — less enthusiastic about voting than Republicans are. While 65 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning adults say they are “almost certain to vote,” just 57 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning adults say the same.

The question from there is which is more predictive of what lies ahead. And the answer won’t necessarily make Democrats feel better.

Great, kid — don’t get cocky.

BACKLASH: RIGHT WING TWITTER BEGINS DIGGING FOR DIRT ON CNN EMPLOYEES. “This is not the world I want to live in,” one of Ace of Spades’ co-bloggers writes, and I concur. “When I first saw that they’d embarrassed this guy, I laughed. I thought he was an on-air personality and at least a minor political player. After I realized he was just an editor, I cringed a little. I can’t bring myself to endorse it, but neither can I condemn it. This is what they’ve done to time and time again us and they won’t stop. What alternative is there?… This is only the beginning of an ever-growing pushback, one that’s only going to get nastier and more ugly. And everything that happens is on them. This is the rotten, worm infested harvest they have sown and they’re going to be choking on it for some time to come.”

As Ace himself warned the media last November, a week after Trump won, this backlash was coming. “You dominate this culture. You made the rules. You now get to live in the savage world you made brick-by-brick, media…The media loves to ride the tiger of Mob Hatred when that tiger is devouring a plebeian. Well, sometimes the tiger bucks, old chaps.”

Related: Regarding their actual news coverage, or the lack thereof, “Our Corrupt Media Is Now Haunted By All The Precedents They Set While Colluding With Obama.”

BYRON YORK: What campaign wouldn’t seek motherlode of Clinton emails?

The public learned on March 10, 2015 that Hillary Clinton had more than 60,000 emails on her private email system, and that she had turned over “about half” of them to the State Department and destroyed the rest, which she said were “personal” and “not in any way related” to her work as Secretary of State.

The public learned later the lengths to which Clinton went to make sure the “personal” emails were completely and permanently deleted. Her team used a commercial-strength program called BleachBit to erase all traces of the emails, and they used hammers to physically destroy mobile devices that might have had the emails on them. The person who did the actual deleting later cited legal privileges and the Fifth Amendment to avoid talking to the FBI and Congress.

Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, told Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Benghazi Committee, that investigators could forget about finding any of those emails, whether on a device or a server or anywhere. Sorry, Trey, he said; they’re all gone.

It was, as the New York Times’ Mark Landler said in August 2016, the “original sin” of the Clinton email affair — that Clinton herself, and no independent body, unilaterally decided which emails she would hand over to the State Department and which she would delete.

Still, there were people who did not believe that Clinton’s deleted emails, all 30,000-plus of them, were truly gone. What is ever truly gone on the Internet? And what if Clinton were not telling the truth? What if she deleted emails covering more than just personal matters? In that event, recovering the emails would have rocked the 2016 presidential campaign.

So, if there were an enormous trove of information potentially harmful to a presidential candidate just sitting out there — what opposing campaign wouldn’t want to find it?

The difference is, most campaigns would send some deniable operative. Trump’s campaign was so lean that he didn’t have a bunch of those people to call on.

JOURNALISM: ABC News: Christians Who Believe In The First Amendment Are A ‘Hate Group.’

ABC News’ Pete Madden and Erin Galloway smeared Christians who believe the Bill of Rights secures religious liberty as a “hate group,” in an article this week headlined, “Jeff Sessions addresses ‘anti-LGBT hate group,’ but DOJ won’t release his remarks.” The lede of the story made it clear this was not just the work of a rogue headline writer but the failure of the reporters themselves. . . .

Who is this “hate group”? Alliance Defending Freedom is not a hate group at all, but a civil liberties organization that battles for religious liberty. And they’re not a fringe group either. They just weeks ago won their most recent Supreme Court victory — Trinity Lutheran v. Comer — 7-2. It was their fifth Supreme Court victory in seven years, during which time they’ve had no losses at the high court.

And the group is ranked among the top law firms in the country for its successes at the Supreme Court.

Most recently the non-profit law firm found out that the Supreme Court agreed to hear another one of their cases dealing with artistic freedom and religious liberty.

To characterize such an accomplished civil rights group as a ‘hate group’ is unacceptable and inexcusable.

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

Related: How ‘Good Morning America’ hides George Stephanopoulos’ ‘little-boyish mini-legs.’

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: “I want to make a prediction: The next successful Republican politician will rally the Right by making America’s universities his punching bag — and the universities will prove even more vulnerable to that politician’s attacks than the media were to Donald Trump’s.”

If Republicans want to change the culture – really change the culture – reforming academy should be their top priority:

The next Trump, then, will play to the worst fears of parents by going after colleges and universities. In doing so, he will unite the best, the worst, and all the other elements of the Right. They will be primed to hear the critique, which will be partially or even largely correct. The next Steve Bannon will seek to “overthrow” the university system from behind the scenes. And the universities, like the media before them, will walk right into the trap, while the Left rejects potential voters as deplorable ignoramuses.

Can you see it yet?

You bet — read the whole thing.

Related: The Closing of the American Mind Now.

THE HILL: Lawmaker pushes probe of whether Comey leaked classified info.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) want Congress to investigate of whether former FBI Director Jim Comey leaked confidential information in a memo that was leaked to the press.

“We don’t know if the memo that he leaked through his friend to the New York Times contained confidential information, but we do know based on that [news] story — that other memos he put together may have had confidential classified information,” Jordan, member of the Oversight Committee ,said in an interview with The Hill’s Molly K. Hooper.

“That warrants us examining those, that matter as well and getting to bottom of it,” Jordan said, adding that he’s “pushing for hearings right now in the Judiciary Committee on the Comey/Lynch matter.”

The Hill on Sunday reported that more than half of the memos that Comey wrote as personal recollections of his conversations with President Trump contained classified information.

Josh Marshall was saying on Twitter the other day that Trump thinks everybody in DC is dirty. If so, well, he’s not wrong. . . .

THE RISE OF THE INTERNET’S ‘DIRTBAG LEFT’ — How a new strain of progressive leftism is using humour, irony, and diaper jokes to push back against the emerging alt-right:

What Michelle Obama—or Canadian writer Jonathan Kay, who recently issued a critique of social media boorishness in a National Post essay—miss in their clarion calls for civility is that, for many, politics isn’t just some academic discussion or reimagining of a collegiate debate club: It’s a battle. It’s about drastically opposed visions of society rubbing against each in open conflict. The reinvigorated left doesn’t want to debate; it wants to disgrace.

The fact is that there are many on the left who don’t want to be civil—who want to mock and joke and hurl ad hominem and be as baseless and vulgar as possible. And why? Well, for one thing, it’s productive (and fun!) to unnerve those in power, and to make them feel uncomfortable in their laziness and privilege. And if it’s acceptable for members of the utterly powerless online liberal #Resistance to tweet at Donald Trump calling him a “Cheeto” or a “carrot” as if he’ll miraculously resign when he’s read it for the 17-millionth time, why is it not also valid to needle more immediate villains with harsher, more pointed criticisms?

These tactics will likely present a problem for some. The valuing of vulgarity and snarky hostility (“so much for the tolerant left!”) may scan as cannibalization and in-fighting among those with loosely shared agendas (i.e. anti-Trumpism). The dirtbag left understands this. What they reject are progressive-leftists being neglected, despite the foundering of the liberal/Democratic institution. They’re tired of sitting, slouched and bored, elbows on the table, at the kids’ table. And unlike the purely anarchic alt-righters doing it “for the lulz,” the alt-left offers a coherent, practical, progressive political agenda. As Chapo co-founder Will Menaker put it on a recent episode of the show, addressing an imagined audience pragmatist liberals and centrists: “Yes, let’s come together. But get this through your f–king head: you must bend the knee to us. Not the other way around. You have been proven as failures, and your entire worldview has been discredited.”

As Marcus H. Johnson of the Huffington Post tweets, with a screen cap highlighting that last sentence, “Imagine being a wealthy white guy and telling this to poor minorities who vote for Democrats.”

It’s like there’s a fascistic side to liberalism, or something.

EPA’S PRUITT ASKS FOR TV CLIMATE DEBATE, Jon Gabriel writes at Ricochet:

The science may not be settled, but EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt wants it televised. He raised the idea of a TV climate change debate in an interview with Reuters:

“There are lots of questions that have not been asked and answered (about climate change),” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told Reuters in an interview late on Monday.

“Who better to do that than a group of scientists … getting together and having a robust discussion for all the world to see,” he added without explaining how the scientists would be chosen.

Asked if he thought the debate should be televised, Pruitt said: “I think so. I think so. I mean, I don’t know yet, but you want this to be open to the world. You want this to be on full display. I think the American people would be very interested in consuming that. I think they deserve it.”

We do deserve it, especially since every proposed solution involves raising our taxes, damaging our economy, and making citizens more submissive to federal and global bureaucracies.

Please make this happen — Pruitt will compile hours of potential footage for the Trump reelection campaign video b-roll. In addition to the smug condescension of haughty climate scientists speaking to Pruitt as if he’s Cletus The Slack-Jawed Yokel, the apocalyptic doomsday rhetoric and proposed solutions would be a riot. I wonder if John Holdren, Obama’s “Science” “Czar,” could be invited to discuss eugenics (i.e. forced abortions and mass sterilization) and shooting rockets into the atmosphere filled with pollution to blot out the sun?

JONAH GOLDBERG ON THE DANGERS OF ARROGANT IGNORANCE:

For many historians, the Polish-born pope’s Mass in Victory Square, more than anything else, set in motion the events that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall a decade later and the dissolution of the Soviet Union soon thereafter. The people in attendance knew exactly what President Trump meant when he spoke of how the millions of Poles attending that Mass “did not ask for wealth. They did not ask for privilege. Instead, one million Poles sang three simple words: ‘We want God.’”

But I wasn’t in the audience; I was watching it on TV and following Twitter’s response to the speech. It was remarkable how many people immediately assumed Trump was talking crazy or just making stuff up (I am paraphrasing very charitably here).

I understand that response. Trump often does say crazy things. He does make stuff up — but usually not in prepared texts at big events.

It struck me how a lot of our political polarization is fueled by plain old ignorance.

* * * * * * * *

It is a common human foible to think you know more than you do and to assume that when someone, particularly someone you don’t like, says something you don’t understand that the fault must be in the speaker, not the listener. “It’s a universal law — intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education,” observed Alexander Solzhenitsyn. “An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.”

Read the whole thing.

IT’S A SOUTHWEST “WANNA GET AWAY” COMMERCIAL IN HELL:

Shot: New Jersey Transit Train Derails at Penn Station in New York.

—The New York Times tonight. The train reportedly had almost 200 people onboard, with no serious injuries claimed.

Chaser: “It’s obvious why Team de Blasio didn’t want you to see the numbers: They show 3,892 people living on the streets, up 40 percent from last year and the highest rate since 2005….the homeless shelter population is also at a high under de Blasio, having crossed the 60,000 mark last October.”

—The New York Post, yesterday.

Hangover: De Blasio Makes Sudden Trip to Trump Protests at G-20 Summit.

—The New York Times today.

It’s the banned-in-New York supersized economy version of Victor Davis Hanson’s Bloomberg syndrome:

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg used to offer all sorts of cosmic advice on the evils of smoking and the dangers of fatty foods and sugary soft drinks. Bloomberg also frequently pontificated on abortion and global warming, earning him a progressive audience that transcended the boroughs of New York.

But in the near-record December 2010 blizzard, Bloomberg proved utterly incompetent in the elemental tasks for which he was elected: ensuring that New Yorkers were not trapped in their homes by snowdrifts in their streets that went unplowed for days.

The Bloomberg syndrome is a characteristic of contemporary government officials. When they are unwilling or unable to address pre-modern problems in their jurisdictions — crime, crumbling infrastructure, inadequate transportation — they compensate by posing as philosopher kings who cheaply lecture on existential challenges over which they have no control.

Meanwhile on the west coast, “Schwarzenegger’s successor, Jerry Brown, warned of climate change and permanent drought and did not authorize the construction of a single reservoir. Now, California is experiencing near-record rain and snowfall. Had the state simply completed its half-century-old water master plan, dozens of new reservoirs would now be storing the runoff, ensuring that the state could be drought-proof for years…Governors who cannot build a reservoir have little business fantasizing about 200-mph super trains.”

Amtrak’s Acela trains can at least get over 130 mph on the Northeast Corridor — if only they had a functioning train station in Manhattan for them to pull into.

And note this item in the Times’ report today:

He has vowed that the city will resist efforts to deport more immigrants, and he has said the city will push ahead with a commitment to meet or exceed the goals of the Paris climate accord, which Mr. Trump plans to set aside.

But Mr. de Blasio appears to again be feeling the need to travel.

Recently he met with the mayor of Seattle, and in June he flew to Miami where he spoke about health care and climate change at a meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors.

What’s the carbon footprint on all that air travel for de Blasio and his entourage?

KURT SCHLICHTER: We Should Cheer CNN’s Ritual Suicide. “If you ever had any doubt that Donald Trump was right that the mainstream media is the enemy of the American people, CNN corrected your inexplicable inability to comprehend this painfully obvious truth by choosing July 4th to threaten some guy for daring to make fun of Its Medianess Holiness. Apparently, if you dare defy the media it has the right to wreck your life – as long as you are an anti-Obama rodeo clown or a meme-making rando on Reddit. If you are a zillionaire like Anthony Scaramucci with the bucks to hire top flight law firms and Gawkerize its lame carcass – which I would have done in a split-second if CNN had lied about me the way it did about him – then you get a free pass. . . . Now, before we move on, someone is going to point out that the meme guy is kind of a jerk and said stuff that offends decent people. So? How is that the point? This is a multi-billion dollar media corporation using all its power to threaten an individual into not criticizing it. How is that ever okay? And don’t pretend for a minute this media extortion precedent gets limited to outlier Reddit guys. Normal Americans are next.”

Plus: “As much as it is a joy to see CNN shred its pretenses and act openly as we always knew it wanted to, this sort of thing is not good. There is a cultural war underway already, and this only makes it more likely to get worse. When the media takes a side, it makes the other side its enemy. That’s a conscious choice. And CNN seems happy to help feed the fire by embracing its liberal fascist id.”

ROGER KIMBALL: Trump’s Warsaw Uprising.

If you want to know why Donald Trump will go down in history as a great President, listen to (or read, when it is available) his speech in Krasinski Square, Warsaw today.

Yes, there is a lot of the usual diplomatic persiflage: “Thank you, President Duda. Thank you, Poland.” But be an adult and distinguish the gem from the setting. While the anti-Trump press was busy running stories warning about “unease in Brussels” over Trump’s visit to Poland, Trump once again totally outflanked his critics. Those who have ears, let them hear.

Much more at the link.

YEAH, THAT’S TOUGH TO CLAIM, NOW THAT THE “REFEREES” ARE BUSY OUTING THE IDENTITIES OF THE BLEACHER BUMS: MSNBC Panel Bemoans ‘Impartiality’ as ‘Mistakes of the Past,’ a ‘Disservice:’

MSNBC’s self-crowned political referee, Chuck Todd, appeared to throw in the towel on enforcing D.C.’s political rules, or at least the journalistic ones. During the first segment of Monday’s MTP Daily, Todd and two of his panelists, Brian Karem and David Folkenflik, whined about how the media was expected to be impartial with President Trump attacking them. “But look, two generations of us as reporters. We’re trained and conditioned to don’t show emotion, we’re the umpires and the referees.” Todd claimed. “When somebody is insisting on making you the story, what do you do? … I struggle with it.”

It was clear that Todd didn’t know how to be an unbiased reporter as he opined about how he and other journalists weren’t trained to deal with Trump’s “moral failings.” “Somebody tweeted that journalists today were never trained to cover moral failings very well. And in some ways, this is what makes this more difficult,” he told his fellow partisans. “We’re not good with having to say what’s right and wrong sometimes because again, we have been trained to be dispassionate and the umpire.”

Of course, when dealing with the previous president’s moral failings and lack of empathy, Todd had no problem justifying them away:

CHUCK TODD: I would say the real danger for the president on issues like this, is less about this, and more about — Paul Begala one time said this to me — he said, you know, the guy really is his mother’s son sometimes when it comes to studying society.  He’s anthropoligcal about it.  Remember that time when he was studying people in Pennsylvania, and he said to that fundraiser in Pennsylvania, you know they cling to their guns.  He wasn’t meaning it as demeaning in his mind, but it came across that way.

ANDREA MITCHELL: It’s intellectualized.

TODD: He’s the son of an anthropologist, and I think sometimes he goes about religion that way, almost in this, as I said because he’s very well studied on, not just Christianity but on a lot of religions, but in that, frankly, anthropological way, and that can come across as distant.

Trump’s excesses, and the media’s obvious boiling anger that Hillary lost, are simply the latest excuses for the DNC-MSM to drop the mask and claim that objectivity is unwarranted – not that they ever need much of excuse:

Big Journalism, September 28th, 2013

— Column in liberal MSM industry house organ Editor & Publisher in 2007.

— Twitchy.com, July 13, 2013.

— Ed Driscoll.com (aka, me) June 25th, 2013.

— The Daily Caller, April, 2013.

— Twitchy, April, 2013

— Newsbusters, February of 2010.

— Newsweek cover headline, February of 2009.

— Ed Driscoll.com, February 24, 2012.

Nobody believes the MSM is objective anymore (not that they ever really were) – and their insanity is, ironically, the best thing that could happen to Trump. As Glenn quipped earlier today, “This is the point where the Wilford Brimley character turns and says ‘Mr. Trump, I seem to want to ask if you set all this up. But if I do, you ain’t gonna tell me, are you?’ No.”

A PARTY OF, BY, AND FOR THE RICH AND FAMOUS: Two Silicon Valley billionaires want to reinvent the Democratic Party with a new project called ‘WTF.’

Called Win The Future, WTF is starting as a “people’s lobby” where people can vote on policy topics that are important to them, like making engineering degrees free for everyone.

“We need a modern people’s lobby that empowers all of us to choose our leaders and set our agenda,” said Mark Pincus, the billionaire cofounder of WTF and Zynga. “Imagine voting for a President we’re truly excited about. Imagine a government that promotes capitalism and civil rights.”

Despite its roots with two powerful tech founders, WTF is taking an old-school approach to start. People will vote on the policies and discuss them on Twitter. The ones that seem to resonate will then be turned into billboards that the group plans to buy in Washington D.C. to make sure Congressional leaders see them.

While it wants to get the attention of members of Congress, WTF is also unabashedly “not for pro-politicians.” According to Recode, one of WTF’s more audacious plans has been to recruit political outsiders to run as “WTF Democrats” and challenge the old stalwarts of the democratic party. One person Pincus targeted specifically has been Stephan Jenkins from the band Third Eye Blind, according to Recode.

I’d wager that the Democrats will run as many celebrities as they can drum up, hoping to emulate Donald Trump’s success. But not many celebrities have Trump’s thick skin, and unlike Trump they can’t afford to rally support by constantly tweaking the symbiotic news media.

“LITERALLY:” Trump literally tackles mainstream media with CNN ‘clothesline’ video.

CNN’s Brian Stelter actually contacted Twitter to ascertain if Trump’s animated GIF-themed tweet violated their terms of use.

Meanwhile, from BuzzFeed,MORE LOGO VIOLENCE: BuzzFeed staffer creates wrestling video with the DOJ logo knocking out President Trump.”

As Allahpundit quipped yesterday:

The Atlantic wants Trump banned from Twitter for supposedly violating its terms of service covering violent threats, harassment, and “hateful conduct,” which is a bit like asking the Angels to release Mike Trout. When there’s only one compelling reason to pay attention to a mediocre organization, they’re going to cling to that reason as long as they can afford to. Frankly, maybe it’s best for everyone that Twitter continues to let him slide: He doesn’t seem all that stable as it is and taking away his favorite toy is likely to compound the problem. The best-case scenario is that he starts doing video rants on Instagram instead. Worst-case: Korean War II.

Perhaps another GOP presidential candidate with a show-biz connection said it best:

 

BYRON YORK: The Price Of Fighting With Trump.

People who get into fights with Donald Trump often end up diminished by it.

Just ask Marco Rubio, who in February 2016 broke some sort of ground when he introduced the “small hands” attack into presidential politics. “And you know what they say about guys with small hands,” Rubio told crowds during the days he decided to transform himself from GOP contender into anti-Trump insult comic. A few weeks later, Rubio expressed regret about the “small hands” routine. “My kids were embarrassed by it, and if I had it to do again, I wouldn’t,” Rubio said.

Just ask Jeb Bush, who allowed himself to be drawn into brawls with Trump — brawls which there was no chance Bush, no match for Trump’s insults, would win.

Just ask Ted Cruz, who made an informal peace with Trump for much of the campaign, then fought Trump in the final primaries, and finally released a campaign’s worth of anger and bile at Trump just hours before the Indiana primary vote that knocked Cruz out of the race. Now, as a senator, Cruz has to work with, and support the policies of, the man who so got under his skin.

Of course, Rubio, Bush, and Cruz — and Carson, Christie, Fiorina, Paul, Kasich, Jindal, and others — had an excuse; they were running against Trump for the Republican presidential nomination. But others have tangled with Trump and found themselves diminished, too.

Just ask some of the more strident NeverTrumpers who have allowed Trump to live rent-free in their heads. Today, some are serious people doing non-serious things — I bought a pair of socks at Nordstrom! — because of a reflexive opposition to Trump.

Just ask CNN, which, in addition to its news reporting, has taken on what appears to be a network-wide air of snarkiness in its Trump coverage. That oppositional tone has raised the stakes for CNN when its journalists make mistakes, as they have recently. Yes, CNN’s ratings have gone up, but its reputation has taken a hit. “Trump is indeed destroying CNN…by tempting them to destroy themselves,” tweeted writer and former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro recently.

And now ask Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the TV hosts who once sang Trump’s praises and were openly friendly with the presidential candidate but now bash and insult him daily. (“They’ve said he has dementia,” RNC chair Ronna Romney McDaniel noted recently. “They’ve said he’s stupid. They’ve called him a goon. They’ve called him a thug. They’ve said he’s mentally ill.”)

Scarborough and Brzezinski are engaged in a back-and-forth with Trump over…what? A facelift? Hand size? Who said what to whom? The argument, which appears to have started Thursday with Brzezinski’s needling of Trump’s hand size (“They’re teensy!”) took a turn when Scarborough and Brzezinski wrote in a Washington Post op-ed (“Donald Trump is not well”) that, “This year, top White House staff members warned that the National Enquirer was planning to publish a negative article about us unless we begged the president to have the story spiked. We ignored their desperate pleas.” TrumpWorld sources are telling some (decidedly not-in-the-tank) reporters a very different version of events, which suggests Scarborough and Brzezinski will be pulled into a he-said-they-said fight that is far different from the one they wanted.

Does anyone think that, by any measure other than notoriety, this episode will not diminish Scarborough and Brzezinski? . . .

Of course one could say that Trump is at fault, that he regularly engages in spats that are beneath the dignity of the presidency. He should not, for example, respond in kind to “small hands” jabs. But Trump is Trump. He does what he does, which is what he did during the campaign and before. And now, in the White House, he has enlisted his media adversaries, wittingly or not, in a campaign against “fake news” that resonates with his core supporters.

“They like him, they believe in him, they have not to any large degree been shaken from him, and the more the media attacks him, the more it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy on the side of the Trump supporters who fervently believe the media treat him unfairly,” Tony Fabrizio, Trump’s campaign pollster, told the Washington Post.

I wrote a column about this months ago, but they’re still falling for it. Though to be fair, how much room is there for diminution where Scarborough and Brzezinski are concerned?

UPDATE: As usual, IowaHawk nails it:

ANN ALTHOUSE ON THE REACTION TO TRUMP’S LATEST TWEET:

Over at The Washington Post, Callum Borchers is calling it a “blatantly sexist attack.” Ridiculous. Men get facelifts too. In fact, it’s Borchers who’s supplying the sexism:

When Trump hits Brzezinski and Scarborough on Twitter, he hits Brzezinski harder, more personally and in a way that seems designed to portray her as insecure (“facelift”) and unintelligent (“low IQ”) — as a side piece who would not be on TV if not for her romantic relationship with Scarborough, to whom she was recently engaged.

Trump didn’t say “sidepiece” or characterize plastic surgery as a marker of insecurity. That’s Borchers projecting. What I read in that tweet is that he found it ludicrous that the person trying to insinuate herself into his company was bleeding from the face. That doesn’t sound at all like insecurity. Quite the opposite.

I suspect that Trump knows a lot about cosmetic surgery. And the pic accompanying the NYT story doesn’t exactly undermine the whole “facelift” angle.

But for those who find Trump unacceptably crude, a reminder: How David Brooks Created Donald Trump.

Brooks is, of course, horrified at Trump and his supporters, whom he finds childish, thuggish and contemptuous of the things that David Brooks likes about today’s America. It’s clear that he’d like a social/political revolution that was more refined, better-mannered, more focused on the Constitution and, well, more bourgeois as opposed to in-your-face and working class.

The thing is, we had that movement. It was the Tea Party movement. Unlike Brooks, I actually ventured out to “intermingle” with Tea Partiers at various events that I covered for PJTV.com, contributing commentary to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Examiner. As I reported from one event in Nashville, “Pundits claim the tea partiers are angry — and they are — but the most striking thing about the atmosphere in Nashville was how cheerful everyone seemed to be. I spoke with dozens of people, and the responses were surprisingly similar. Hardly any had ever been involved in politics before. Having gotten started, they were finding it to be not just worthwhile, but actually fun. Laughter rang out frequently, and when new-media mogul Andrew Breitbart held forth on a TV interview, a crowd gathered and broke into spontaneous applause. A year ago (2009), many told me, they were depressed about the future of America. Watching television pundits talk about President Obama’s transformative plans for big government, they felt alone, isolated and helpless. That changed when protests, organized by bloggers, met Mr. Obama a year ago in Denver, Colo., Mesa, Ariz., and Seattle, Wash. Then came CNBC talker Rick Santelli’s famous on-air rant on Feb. 19, 2009, which gave the tea-party movement its name. Tea partiers are still angry at federal deficits, at Washington’s habit of rewarding failure with handouts and punishing success with taxes and regulation, and the general incompetence that has marked the first year of the Obama presidency. But they’re no longer depressed.”

One of the most famous things about the Tea Partiers was that — as befits a relentlessly bourgeois protest movement — they left things cleaner than they found them. Rich Lowry reported from Washington, DC: “Just as stunning as the tableaux of the massive throngs lining the reflecting pool were the images of the spotless grounds afterward. If someone had told attendees they were expected to mow the grass before they left, surely some of them would have hitched flatbed trailers to their vehicles for the trip to Washington and gladly brought mowers along with them. This was the revolt of the bourgeois, of the responsible, of the orderly, of people profoundly at peace with the traditional mores of American society. The spark that lit the tea-party movement was the rant by CNBC commentator Rick Santelli, who inveighed in early 2009 against an Obama-administration program to subsidize ‘the losers’ mortgages.’ He was speaking for people who hadn’t borrowed beyond their means or tried to get rich quick by flipping houses, for the people who, in their thrift and enterprise, ‘carry the water instead of drink the water.’ The tea party’s detractors want to paint it as radical, when at bottom it represents the self-reliant, industrious heart of American life.”

In San Francisco, too, tea party protesters met pro-Obama activists and picked up their trash. “John,” author of The City Square blog wrote: “As Obama supporters moved along in the line to get into the fundraiser, they left behind an impressive amount of trash … Tea Partiers shouted ‘pick up your garbage’ and ‘this is San Francisco, what about recycling?’ There was no response. They chanted ‘Obama leaves a mess.’ Still no response. Eventually, a tea partier (wearing the black cowboy hat) crosses over and starts to pick up the trash on his own. Other tea partiers join him. Another manages to find a trash bag. Soon the trash is being collected.”

Yet the tea party movement was smeared as racist, denounced as fascist, harassed with impunity by the IRS and generally treated with contempt by the political establishment — and by pundits like Brooks, who declared “I’m not a fan of this movement.” After handing the GOP big legislative victories in 2010 and 2014, it was largely betrayed by the Republicans in Congress, who broke their promises to shrink government and block Obama’s initiatives.

So now we have Trump instead, who tells people to punch counterprotesters instead of picking up their trash.

When politeness and orderliness are met with contempt and betrayal, do not be surprised if the response is something less polite, and less orderly. Brooks closes his Trump column with Psalm 73, but a more appropriate verse is Hosea 8:7 “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” Trump’s ascendance is a symptom of a colossal failure among America’s political leaders, of which Brooks’ mean-spirited insularity is only a tiny part. God help us all.

Nice work, political class. Now if you manage to do to Trump what you did to the Tea Party, you need to wonder: What comes after Trump?

WELL, YES: McMaster Points To Obama’s ‘Premature Disengagement’ For Current Afghan Mess.

National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster cast blame for the dire current situation in Afghanistan on the previous administration’s handling of the war effort, while speaking at a Center for New American Security conference Wednesday.

The national security advisor’s comments came during an answer to a question as to how increasing the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan can change the tide of the war. McMaster pointed to former President Barack Obama’s “precipitous withdrawal” from Iraq and subsequent development of the Islamic State as an example of what the Trump administration intended not to do in Afghanistan.

The Taliban have made unprecedented gains across Afghanistan since the end of the U.S. combat mission in 2014, controlling nearly a third of the population. The U.S. backed Afghan National Security Forces have borne massive casualties in the last two years of fighting and continue to suffer from major systematic problems.

Obama’s legacy has been self-inflicted defeat everywhere we faced Islamist terror. Plus, some history, worth repeating again:

IT’S TRUE. HE LACKED COURAGE AND INTELLECT. Obama whines he just didn’t ‘have the tools’ to act on Syria.

Related: Obama seems eager to massage his legacy as it’s being written. We, therefore, are obliged to get the record right.

Well, here’s some history for you:

Rachel Maddow Tries to Rewrite History of Obama ‘Ending the War’ in Iraq.

Flashback: No Doubt About It — We’re Back in a Ground War in Iraq.

Without much fanfare, Obama has dramatically reversed his Iraq policy — sending thousands of troops back in the country after he declared the war over, engaging in ground combat despite initially promising that his strategy “will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil.” Well, they’re on foreign soil, and they’re fighting.

It would have been easier — and would have cost far fewer lives — if we had just stayed. But Obama had to have a campaign issue.

And I suppose I should repeat my Iraq War history lesson: Things were going so well as late as 2010 that the Obama Administration was bragging about Iraq as one of its big foreign policy successes.

In the interest of historical accuracy, I think I’ll repeat this post again:

BOB WOODWARD: Bush Didn’t Lie About WMD, And Obama Sure Screwed Up Iraq In 2011.

[Y]ou certainly can make a persuasive argument it was a mistake. But there is a time that line going along that Bush and the other people lied about this. I spent 18 months looking at how Bush decided to invade Iraq. And lots of mistakes, but it was Bush telling George Tenet, the CIA director, don’t let anyone stretch the case on WMD. And he was the one who was skeptical. And if you try to summarize why we went into Iraq, it was momentum. The war plan kept getting better and easier, and finally at the end, people were saying, hey, look, it will only take a week or two. And early on it looked like it was going to take a year or 18 months. And so Bush pulled the trigger. A mistake certainly can be argued, and there is an abundance of evidence. But there was no lying in this that I could find.

Plus:

Woodward was also asked if it was a mistake to withdraw in 2011. Wallace points out that Obama has said that he tried to negotiate a status of forces agreement but did not succeed, but “A lot of people think he really didn’t want to keep any troops there.” Woodward agrees that Obama didn’t want to keep troops there and elaborates:

Look, Obama does not like war. But as you look back on this, the argument from the military was, let’s keep 10,000, 15,000 troops there as an insurance policy. And we all know insurance policies make sense. We have 30,000 troops or more in South Korea still 65 years or so after the war. When you are a superpower, you have to buy these insurance policies. And he didn’t in this case. I don’t think you can say everything is because of that decision, but clearly a factor.

We had some woeful laughs about the insurance policies metaphor. Everyone knows they make sense, but it’s still hard to get people to buy them. They want to think things might just work out, so why pay for the insurance? It’s the old “young invincibles” problem that underlies Obamcare.

Obama blew it in Iraq, which is in chaos, and in Syria, which is in chaos, and in Libya, which is in chaos. A little history:


As late as 2010, things were going so well in Iraq that Obama and Biden were bragging. Now, after Obama’s politically-motivated pullout and disengagement, the whole thing’s fallen apart. This is near-criminal neglect and incompetence, and an awful lot of people will pay a steep price for the Obama Administration’s fecklessness.

Related: National Journal: The World Will Blame Obama If Iraq Falls.

Related: What Kind Of Iraq Did Obama Inherit?

Plus, I’m just going to keep running this video of what the Democrats, including Harry Reid and Hillary Clinton, were saying on Iraq before the invasion:

Because I expect a lot of revisionist history over the next few months.

Plus: 2008 Flashback: Obama Says Preventing Genocide Not A Reason To Stay In Iraq. He was warned. He didn’t care.

And who can forget this?

Yes, I keep repeating this stuff. Because it bears repeating. In Iraq, Obama took a war that we had won at a considerable expense in lives and treasure, and threw it away for the callowest of political reasons. In Syria and Libya, he involved us in wars of choice without Congressional authorization, and proceeded to hand victories to the Islamists. Obama’s policy here has been a debacle of the first order, and the press wants to talk about Bush as a way of protecting him. Whenever you see anyone in the media bringing up 2003, you will know that they are serving as palace guard, not as press.

Related: Obama’s Betrayal Of The Iraqis.

Plus: Maybe that Iraq withdrawal was a bad thing in hindsight. Obama’s actions, if not his words, suggest that even he may think so.

ADIOS, AMIGA! ‘Trumpcare’ would send her to Mexico for birth control.

All Ariana and Kevin Gonzalez want is birth control.

As far as health care needs go, that’s pretty simple.

But the California couple says that if the Republican alternative to Obamacare becomes law, they’ll be driving over the border to Mexico to get it.

It’s not that the Gonzalezes don’t have insurance; they have very good insurance through Ariana’s job as a high school teacher.

The problem is that “Trumpcare,” as Ariana calls it, would probably run her health clinic out of town. It’s Planned Parenthood, which the Republican health care proposal defunds because it performs abortions.

The Gonzalezes live in the Imperial Valley, an agricultural area two hours east of San Diego, with a severe doctor shortage.

A quick Yellow Pages search returns a number of Walmart pharmacies in her area where inexpensive birth control is available. And the inability to schedule an annual doctor’s appointment can probably be attributed either to poor planning or — and this does seem more likely — to grandstanding for the TV cameras.

In either case, Gonzalez’s plight could be easily remedied by making birth control available over the counter.

VIRGINIA POSTREL IS PRO-IMMIGRATION, but she still has some sharp words for Bret Stephens’ stupid deport-native-born-Americans piece:

Now, I should be a sympathetic audience. I support substantially higher legal immigration levels, appreciate the contributions of those here illegally, and back efforts to regularize the status of undocumented workers and the children they brought with them. I detest Donald Trump. I liked Bret Stephens when we met.

But here’s the problem. The Swiftian part of the column was the idea of mass deportation. (I get it — you don’t really want to eat Irish babies or deport their great-grandchildren.) The rest of the comparison, however, was serious: People like Stephens and his family are good for America, it argued. People like me and mine are a drain.

Like most southerners, black and white, I don’t take kindly to disrespect. Although I’m hardly a hillbilly, that argument got my dander up.

Who is this prep-school-educated child of a high-level corporate executive to condemn as “complacent” and “entitled” the children of postal workers and engineers, schoolteachers and stock clerks? How can he be so ignorant and unappreciative of the innumerable small contributions that built the country that he now calls home? Who is he to tell the descendants of slaves and indentured servants that they don’t belong here because they don’t win enough science prizes? Where was he when I was sweltering through mediocre South Carolina public schools?

If that was my reaction, imagine how people who already have their doubts about large-scale immigration would respond — especially those with deep American roots. A child of privilege lecturing his fellow Americans on how they don’t deserve to live here is a prescription for Trumpian uprisings. And Stephens is hardly alone. Protected by the canopy of satire, he’s just more blatant about his disastrous message.

As I wrote long ago, “Americans care, of course, about their economic interests. But they care first about their identities. … If voters feel personally attacked — because they are Latinos, or working women, or housewives, or evangelical Christians, or gays — they will bolt the party that serves their economic interests.” Or, given the opportunity, back a presidential candidate who promises to blow it up.

It’s hard to escape the feeling that a lot of pro-immigration people really just don’t want America to be its traditionally exceptional self, and would like to import more tractable, and less distinctly American and ornery, voters. But they keep letting the mask slip.

KURT SCHLICHTER: Advice To Help Our Beloved Democrat Friends Win In 2018. “Look Democrats, you’re doing great. After a half year of Trump and several special election moral victories – which are the best kind of victories – America is digging your vibe. Everyone loves the Democrats and their can-do message of opposition to Trump, entitlement to our money, resistance to Trump, demands for even more of our money, and dog-whistlin’ about murdering Trump and anyone else who doesn’t hate Trump or want to give Democrats our money.”

LOSING AGAIN, FOR THE SAME REASON. Jon Ossoff’s loss in Georgia shows that the Democrats have failed to broaden their appeal, Henry Olsen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center writes at City Journal:

Ossoff’s loss ultimately stemmed from his failure at the third task: persuading independents and never-Trumpers that he was the better choice. Third-party voters cast 4.9 percent of the vote in 2016, but Ossoff outperformed Clinton by only 1.3 percent. Since partisan turnout seems to have been about equal, this implies that Ossoff won by only about a quarter of the third-party supporters’ votes. Democrats hoped that he would do better, based on polls showing Trump’s low approval rating (less than 40 percent) among voters in the district. But Trump’s approval ratings were no better last November, and he still won because people who did not like either Trump or Clinton voted for him by a large margin. Apparently these mostly Republican voters remain willing to choose the Trump-backing GOP devil they know over the Democratic devil they don’t, even if they don’t like Trump himself.

This is the Democrats’ national problem in a nutshell. The Democratic mantra this year has been “resist,” a call to the barricades that energizes their base but apparently does nothing to attract more people to the cause. When Democrats are trying to win districts or states where Trump triumphed, they’re simply re-running the same failed strategy that sent Clinton down to defeat.

Rather than resist, the Democrats should desist—from overreacting to every tweet from the Oval Office and from trying to push their unmodified agenda. Whatever Democratic activists think, a majority of Americans do not want what they are selling. They may not like much of what the Republicans and Trump are offering, either, but when forced to choose, they will, however reluctantly, back the Trump-GOP synthesis over the united Democratic alternative.

One special election 18 months before the national midterms is just a data point, of course; extrapolating national trends from such a unique race as Georgia’s is unsound. But placed in the context of polls and other special elections that show the same thing—Democrats mobilizing their voters but not winning over Republicans or GOP-leaning independents in appreciable numbers—it is a warning. Unless Republican voters start to see Democrats as acceptable alternatives to their own Trump-backing party members, Democrats who hope to regain power quickly are just whistling Dixie.

Good luck getting the left to see that, however. QED:

TRUMP COUNTER PUNCHES: Trump continues to accuse Obama of failing to respond to Russian hacking and election meddling.

Trump on Obama’s lack of action:

“If he had the information, why didn’t he do something about it? He should have done something about it. But you don’t read that. It’s quite sad.”

Trump has his critics in a bind. If the election meddling was so terrible, then Obama was incompetent and negligent. If it wasn’t so significant, then why the sustained hand wringing and pearl clutching?

Answer: Dems want it both ways so they can excuse their election loss and protect Obama’s legacy.

Remember, Obama told Medvedev to tell Putin he’d have more “flexibility” after he was re-elected. “I will transmit this information to Vladimir,” Medvedev replied.

It’s time the Senate and FBI investigated that conversation. It sure sounds like collusion with the Kremlin.

A DOGWHISTLE TO INCITE VIOLENCE? “Attacking Trump is not enough,” a senior Democratic aide said late Tuesday, speaking on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly about strategy.

Is this a dogwhistle for more violent attacks and assassination attempts against Republican lawmakers? If the roles were reversed, that would be the narrative, I have no doubt. Perhaps our moral betters might want to re-think words like “attack.” The heightened language of politics-as-war is the ugliest thing I’ve seen since forever.

AFGHANISTAN: It’s Too Late.

Until now, Western forces have been able to keep the government in power by financing the budget and paying salaries and maintaining the Afghan army in the field. But it has become increasingly difficult, with the Taliban advancing in many parts of the country making US and NATO forces look increasingly irrelevant. Opposition politicans have been willing to contradict the Americans, but that may be changing.

In view of the growing brazenness of Taliban attacks, there are now deep fissures in the US National Security Council between those, including Mattis, who want to send thousands more US troops in a last-ditch effort to save the regime from collapse and those, such as adviser Steve Bannon, who want the US to walk away from what is clearly a failing military endeavor and a failed state. But Trump’s decision this week to hand over the troop decision to the military itself suggests that those arguing for a new troop surge will get the upper hand. This is a hopeless strategy.

No matter how many troops Mattis decides to send this summer, it will not rectify the political crisis in Kabul.

Forcing the nation-state model on a place where there is no nation and has only fleetingly been a state is doomed to failure.

DO YOU WANT MORE TRUMP, BECAUSE THIS IS HOW YOU GET MORE TRUMP: A New York Times column about the need for mass deportations of native-born Americans, because they don’t live up to Ruling Class expectations. “Bottom line: So-called real Americans are screwing up America. Maybe they should leave, so that we can replace them with new and better ones: newcomers who are more appreciative of what the United States has to offer, more ambitious for themselves and their children, and more willing to sacrifice for the future.”

Yeah, it’s not serious. Except that, really, it pretty much is. The problem with all the immigration talk is the strong sense that the ruling class wants to dissolve the people and elect another, one more tractable to their schemes. Stuff like this doesn’t help, though I suppose NYT readers think it’s clever. But unpack it a bit — and break down which classes of native-born Americans are pulling down the averages — and it looks pretty awful.

Plus: “Because I’m the child of immigrants and grew up abroad, I have always thought of the United States as a country that belongs first to its newcomers.”

TRUE: Peggy Noonan: A generation of media figures are cratering under the historical pressure of Donald Trump.

Here I want to note the words spoken by Kathy Griffin, the holder of the severed head. In a tearful news conference she said of the president, “He broke me.” She was roundly mocked for this. Oh, the big bad president’s supporters were mean to you after you held up his bloody effigy. But she was exactly right. He did break her. He robbed her of her sense of restraint and limits, of her judgment. He broke her, but not in the way she thinks, and he is breaking more than her.

We have been seeing a generation of media figures cratering under the historical pressure of Donald Trump. He really is powerful.

They’re losing their heads. Now would be a good time to regain them.

They have been making the whole political scene lower, grubbier. They are showing the young what otherwise estimable adults do under pressure, which is lose their equilibrium, their knowledge of themselves as public figures, as therefore examples—tone setters. They’re paid a lot of money and have famous faces and get the best seat, and the big thing they’re supposed to do in return is not be a slob. Not make it worse.

By indulging their and their audience’s rage, they spread the rage. They celebrate themselves as brave for this. They stood up to the man, they spoke truth to power. But what courage, really, does that take? Their audiences love it. Their base loves it, their demo loves it, their bosses love it. Their numbers go up. They get a better contract. This isn’t brave.

Trump’s presidency has made clear that the allegedly sober and sensible establishment — the one that calls him excitable, rage-filled, narcissistic, and mean — is excitable, rage-filled, narcissistic, and mean.

KURT SCHLICHTER: Why Should We Trust Mueller?

The establishment is praising Mueller up and down. They tell me he’s honest. They tell me he’s incorruptible. But they also told me Jim Comey was a towering paragon of virtue instead of a towering pile of Harry Reid. . . .

Why should we believe this isn’t rigged? Because people in D.C. promise us that “Hey, this guy is honest?”

I guess we’re supposed to think “Yeah, well this time they’ve got to be telling us the truth. They’re totally due.”

But here’s the problem – we now have lots of new facts that change the original picture of our esteemed special counsel. Yes, as the Democrat steno pool that is the media has pointed out as we got woke to what’s happening, a lot of conservatives (including me) were initially satisfied with Mueller when he was appointed to investigate the Trump/Russia connection that everyone now admits doesn’t exist. But then came some troubling revelations which – whoa! – made us re-evaluate our prior understanding. So we – brace yourselves! – changed our minds in the face of new evidence.

Let’s look at all of the evidence. Mueller seems like a good guy. War hero. No scandals as FBI director. Not a known scumbag or skeevy perv. In Washington terms, the last one alone puts him miles ahead of the competition.

But now we find out that he’s Leaky Jim Comey’s bestest buddy there ever was. These guys are pals, and now Mueller is going to investigate the dude who fired his amigo? Does that seem cool to you?

If the HR Department at work is investigating you, do they pick as the lead investigator the guy you go drink Budweiser with? Sure they do, unless Chet the Unicorn is free, because the only thing more unlikely than picking a key player in the investigation’s friend to do it is picking a damn unicorn to do it.

So, Jim Comey – whose hurt feelings seem to be the only thing left of this Schumer-show of a scandal – is the key guy in the pseudo-scandal, and he’s got a motive to shaft the president, yet his friend is investigating it and somehow that’s supposed to be A-OK?

Related: “I’ll say it: If the special counsel’s office is leaking prejudicial information about an investigation, it should be shut down immediately.”

Also: “Sessions can’t sit on this. He’s either got to come out [and say] WaPo is wrong or he’s got to make the entire team recuse itself, start over.”

UPDATE: From Randy Barnett: “Mueller should resign not recuse. If he recuses, the matter will be delegated to one of the Democrat attack lawyers he’s hired.”

By the way, for those who don’t know, this is a celebrated Georgetown Law Professor who’s now calling for Mueller to step down over conflicts.

Related: Mueller Is Conflicted Out.

28 CFR Section 45.2 provides in part as follows:

Disqualification arising from personal or political relationship.

(a) Unless authorized under paragraph (b) of this section, no employee shall participate in a criminal investigation or prosecution if he has a personal or political relationship with:

(1) Any person or organization substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution; or

(2) Any person or organization which he knows has a specific and substantial interest that would be directly affected by the outcome of the investigation or prosecution….

(c) For the purposes of this section:

(2)Personal relationship means a close and substantial connection of the type normally viewed as likely to induce partiality….Whether relationships (including friendships) of an employee to other persons [outside his or her family] or organizations are “personal” must be judged on an individual basis with due regard given to the subjective opinion of the employee.

Jim Comey and Bob Mueller have been friends for about 15 years. They were partners in the episode that — I think it’s no exaggeration to say — defined Comey’s professional persona more than any other in his career. It would be surprising if it did not also forge a permanent bond with Mueller. . . .

Comey now finds himself smack-dab at the center of the Russian investigation over which Mueller presides. Questions swirl around Comey — about whether the President wanted/hinted/hoped/asked/directed/or something else the investigation of National Security Adviser Gen. Flynn to be stopped/abandoned/slowed/soft-peddled/something else. This is probably the central element of the obstruction of justice case Mr. Trump’s opponents would like to see made against him.

Questions also swirl about Comey’s notes about this conversation, why he gave them to a private individual (Prof. Dan Richman of Columbia Law) to convey to the press. Additional questions have arisen about whether this curious and seemingly devious means of putting contents of the notes in the public domain (leaking, in other words) was designed specifically to bring about the appointment of a Special Counsel outside the President’s direct reach — and, indeed, whether Comey wanted, expected or intended his friend Mueller to get the job.

There is much to be said of all this, none of it very happy-making. But one thing that can be said with considerable clarity if not comfort is that, under the governing rules (set forth above), Mueller has a long-term relationship with Comey that “may result in a personal…conflict of interest, or the appearance thereof.”

He is therefore disqualified. I hope and believe that Mueller, whom I believe to be an honest man and a partisan of the rule of law, will see this for himself. If he doesn’t, I hope Rod Rosenstein will.

Mueller should resign. Aside from the issues above, I don’t see any way that his office’s work will be seen as impartial, defeating the point of a special counsel. And given that — as even Chris Matthews has admitted — the whole Russia-collusion story has imploded, I’m not sure why his office shouldn’t just be shut down.

MORE: From the comments:

Trust Mueller? From the WaPo article on obstruction we get this gem:

“Five people briefed on the interview requests, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly…”

Five friggin’ people on Mueller’s super-secret investigation team leaked!

Yeah, let’s trust these people.

What percentage is that of the office as a whole?

BASEBALL GUNMAN WAS A BERNIE BRO WHO HATED REPUBLICANS.

The shooter who was killed during gunfire at practice for a congressional baseball game Wednesday morning was from Belleville.

The shooter was James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, who belonged to a number of anti-Republican groups, including one called “Terminate the Republican Party.”

President Donald Trump said Hodgkinson died during gunfire exchanged with congressional security workers.

Hodgkinson, 66, owned a home-inspection business. Hodgkinson was a licensed home inspector from 1994 to 1997, when his license expired, according to records from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. He also held a license from 2003 to 2016, but it was not renewed.

Two days ago, Hodgkinson posted an angry tweet about President Donald Trump on Facebook.

“I Want to Say Mr. President, for being an ass hole you are Truly the Biggest Ass Hole We Have Ever Had in the Oval Office,” he wrote on Facebook.

Hodgkinson is a member of a number of anti-Republican groups on Facebook, including one called “Terminate the Republican Party.”

▪ “The Road to Hell is Paved with Republicans”

▪ “Donald Trump is not my President”

▪ “President Bernie Sanders”

▪ “Illinois Berners United to Resist Trump”

▪ “Boycott the Republican Party”

▪ “Expose Republican Fraud”

▪ “Terminate the Republican Party”

Hodgkinson took a Democratic ballot in the primary election in 2016.

The climate of hatred and violence that the Democrats and media have fostered has claimed more victims.

UPDATE: Thoughts from John Hinderaker.

JERRY POURNELLE ON TRUMP AND THE DEEP STATE:

I have long been an admirer of Peggy Noonan, but she seems lately to have been converted to the obligatory Trump bashing of the neo-cons and the editorial authorities of the Wall Street Journal. The paper’s policies are curiously contradictory, in that they seem to believe some reform of the Washington Establishment is needed, but they are so much a part of the Establishment that they can’t resist whacking Mr. Trump whenever possible; and Peggy Noonan has now joined that crowd, . . .

I’m not sure what this means. Mr. Trump is the elected president of the United States. It is no secret that many holdover officials were explicitly not loyal to the President, and some were proud of dragging their feet or even sabotaging Mr. Trump‘s action. Why should the President not expect loyalty from the Director of the FBI? Is the top investigating agency not subject to control by elected officials? This insistence of Administrative Independence is the very essence of the deep state, of the experts who have a right to rule not subject to the elected officials; it is a resurrection of the old divine rights, only the deep state is superior to everyone else: they and only they have a right to rule.

Mr. Comey had spent months “investigating” the Russian question without finding anything to prosecute. It consumed time, distracted from proper government, and to what purpose? Was the President improper for asking when this very expensive and distracting investigation would end? Do we want the FBI “investigating” whomever it wants to, subject to no elected authority?

As to the President not being subject to the norms, rules, and traditions of the Presidency, is there a person in America who thought this president would be? Was it not clear from the moment of his announcing his candidacy on the escalator in Trump Tower that he was not going to be subject to the rules, norms, and traditions of the Establishment? He made all that very clear throughout his campaign, and only a ninny could believe otherwise; indeed, he was denounced for it right up to the election. Yet he was elected.

A Republic’s government must be responsible to SOMEONE. There is no Monarch to be the fountain of justice. The President must take care that the laws are faithfully enforced. And the Establishment may insist on norms, rules and traditions all it likes, but they are not laws, and elections count.

Mr. Obama had a pen and he had a phone, and guess what, he won.

Mrs. Clinton was his designated successor. She did not win.

And that’s the real crime that Trump is guilty of.

Plus:

One story about “professionalism” in government. George H. W, Bush, Bush I, was the essence of the establishment, and believed in government professionalism and competence. The Foreign Service is the professional diplomatic establishment. When Saddam Hussein became a problem and threatened Kuwait, our Ambassador, Ms. April Glaspie, a professional, went to him and formally delivered a message, which I have read many times over – and for the life of me I can’t see that she says don’t invade Kuwait or we’ll do something about it.

Her message is diplomatic and polite, professional, and traditional. It is also ambiguous about the US position on Saddam taking Kuwait.

Would we not be better off today had we had a traditional ambassador, an old chum of the President who could speak for him and say “Saddam, old boy, you’ve been kind of our favorite over here because you resist Iran. We know Iraq was glued together out of provinces of the Turkish Empire, and maybe you have some claim to Kuwait from that, but we don’t agree. We can’t allow you to invade Kuwait, and if you do, we won’t like doing it, but we’ll come over here and throw you out. Now, let’s talk about what we can let you do, or even do for you.”

In which case, there would not have been the two Iraqi Wars costing a $Trillion or more.

But modern diplomacy isn’t about saying no to dictators.

I’M OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER WHEN THE “DEEP STATE” WAS SUPPOSED TO JUST BE A FIGMENT OF PARANOID RIGHTISTS’ IMAGINATION: Leading liberals develop blueprint to expand ‘deep state’ and undercut Trump.

Forlorn liberals took refuge at the American Constitution Society’s national convention in Washington this week, discussing whether to encourage the growth of the “deep state” resistance inside the government or fight President Trump from outside.

“The election of Donald Trump was an assault on the federal bureaucracy,” William Yeomans said to a room full of students and civil servants, including those recently displaced by Trump’s administration. “His values are simply not consistent with the values of people who are committed to public service and who believe deeply in the importance of public service.”

Yeomans, an American University law professor with more than 25 years of experience at the Justice Department, was holed up inside the Capital Hilton hotel downtown on a sunny Friday afternoon leading a panel of bureaucrats and scholars divided about how best to fight Trump.

UCLA law professor Jon Michaels said he favors filling the Trump administration with liberals opposed to Trump’s agenda.

“We hear a lot of language about draining the swamp and this idea about a deep state that somehow was going to thwart the intentions or the political mandate of the president,” Michaels said. “I kind of embrace this notion of the ‘deep state.'”

Michaels listed his ideas for how to ensure the success of the “deep state.” Act as a group — a department, across agency lines, as a community — rather than as an individual when pushing back against Trump from the inside, he said. Once such a coalition is formed, he suggested “rogue tweeting” or “leaking to the media” as options for fighting the president.

Just remember, you’re setting the stage for a similar campaign of massive resistance to the next Democrat in the White House. And it may not be limited to the bureaucracy. I mean if this sort of thing is okay, why not refusal to pay taxes, or a Tea Party mob occupying the White House? And that’s just at the top of the slippery slope of “resistance.” At the bottom? Bureaucrats and politicians hanging from lampposts while their families try to evade the mobs. Is this really where you want to go, lefties?

And if you think this is “special” because you think Trump is unfit for office, what about the majority of Americans who think the federal government operates without the consent of the governed? If bureaucrats are free to ignore the law, why should they listen to bureaucrats? Do you really want to live in a Kurt Schlichter novel?

JUST THINK OF THEM AS DEMOCRAT OPERATIVES WITH BYLINES, AND IT ALL MAKES SENSE.

Shot:

Back in February, I was riding on the New York to DC shuttle and CNN’s own Jeff Zucker was seated in the row behind me with a woman I took to be a colleague or personal assistant. She was yelling loudly into her phone, loudly enough that the other passengers took note of it, at one point escalating her voice to say: “If they want war with CNN, they got it.” When we landed, I noted the likely inspiration for the call: the administration had offered Mike Pence to every network except for CNN.

—Ben Domenech, “CNN’s War On Trump Is Going Swimmingly,” yesterday.

Chaser:

The media brag that they now more or less run the Democratic agenda. Univision’s Jorge Ramos (whose daughter worked for the Hillary Clinton campaign) recently thundered:

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

In other words, Ramos confessed that the Democratic party apparently has neither new ideas nor a political agenda that would win over the public, and thus self-appointed journalistic grandees like him would have to step forward and lead the anti-Trump opposition as they shape the news.

Fellow panelist and CNN’s media correspondent Brian Stelter answered Ramos, “You’re almost saying we’re a stand-in for the Democrats.” Thereby, Stelter inadvertently confirmed Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon’s widely criticized but prescient assertion that the media are in fact “the opposition party” — and should be treated as such.

—Victor Davis Hanson, “Progressive Media & Democrats Form New Anti-Trump Party,” May 30th.

Hangover: Proud Sponsor of President Trump’s Nightly ‘Assassination’ — CNN’s Parent Company Time Warner:

In the next scene the Trumpian Caesar is attacked by the Senators and stabbed to death as an American flag hovers overhead, according to Sheaffer. “They had the full murder scene onstage, and blood was spewing everywhere out of his body.”

Among others, guess who proudly sponsors this nightly wish-fulfillment in the bloody, live and in person! assassination of the President of the United States of America?

Time Warner, the parent company of CNN.

“And keep in mind that this is the same CNN that led the charge to destroy the career of a rodeo clown for the sin of wearing an Obama mask,” John Nolte adds at the Daily Wire.

IT’S CALLED THE DEEP STATE, NOT THE BRIGHT STATE: NSA Leaker Is A Bernie Supporter Who ‘Resists’ Trump.”

More here. “President Trump has been pushing Justice to go after leakers inside the federal government, which he has identified as ‘the big story’ when it comes to Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election. Winner’s arrest could signal the federal government is going to aggressively investigate and prosecute individuals who send classified intelligence to news organizations.”

JOEL KOTKIN ON THE COMING DEMOCRATIC CIVIL WAR:

The two most remarkable campaigns of 2016 — those of Trump and Bernie Sanders — were driven by different faces of populist resentment. Yet, increasingly, the Democrats’ populist pretensions conflict with their alliance with ascendant “sovereigns of cyberspace,” whose power and wealth have waxed to almost absurd heights. Other parts of their upscale coalition include the media, academia and the upper bureaucracy.

This affluent base can embrace the progressives’ social agenda — meeting the demands of feminists, gays and minority activists. But they are less enthusiastic about the social democratic income redistribution proposed by Bernie Sanders, who is now, by some measurements, the nation’s most popular political figure. This new putative ruling class, notes author Michael Lind, sees its rise, and the decline of the rest, not as a reflection of social inequity, but rather their meritocratic virtue. Only racism, homophobia or misogyny — in other words, the sins of the “deplorables” — matter.

The Washington Post, owned by Jeff Bezos, the world’s third-richest man, reflects this socially liberal, but oligopolistic, worldview. Last spring, Bezos worked assiduously to undermine Sanders’ campaign, then promoted Clinton, and now has become a leading voice in the anti-Trump “resistance.” The gentry wing of the party, which dominates fundraising and media, as the opposition to Sanders reveals, likes its money. The tech community is famously adept at avoiding taxes.

How long can this odd pairing of socialism and oligopoly persist? There are growing sentiments on the left to begin confiscating some of the massive wealth of the tech firms. Bank of America’s Michael Harnett recently warned that continued growth of stock market wealth in a handful of tech stocks “could ultimately lead to populist calls for redistribution of the increasingly concentrated wealth of Silicon Valley.”

And note this related bit of irony from veteran left-leaning journalist Thomas Edsall, who discovers that too many wealthy leftists can be very bad for their own income distribution schemes. Or as Ace of Spades quips, linking to a new column by Michael Barone, “Who’s Standing in the Way of the Economic Left’s Dreams of Redistribution of Wealth…? The Affluent Social Left, Which Doesn’t Want to Share Their Money With the Riff-Raff:”

Thomas Edsall, the longtime Washington Post reporter now writing on his New York Times blog, laments the increasing tendency of high-income Americans to vote Democratic. That leaves the Democrats with an increasingly affluent constituency, presumably unwilling (or less willing than others) to support redistributive policies like Bernie Sanders’s proposal for higher tax rates on the affluent.

“In the past,” Edsall writes, “Democrats could support progressive, redistributive policies knowing that the costs would fall largely on Republicans. That is no longer the case. Now supporting these policies requires the party to depend on the altruistic idealism of millions of supporters who, despite being relatively well off, often feel financially pressed themselves.”

Kotkin concludes that “Trump, by his incoherence and incompetence, has opened the door to the Democrats. But the passage to redemption may prove more difficult if the party fails, as Hillary Clinton and the Democratic congressional delegation showed last year, to relate to the broad ranks of the citizenry.”

It will be interesting to see the left try and reconcile that with their concurrent goal of aiming towards ideological purity by casting off not just those Americans whom they declared “Deplorable,” but all Republicans.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:

Shot: “[Kathy Griffin] never imagined that it could be misinterpreted as a threat of violence … that was never what she intended,” lawyer says.

—CBS, today. (Link safe; goes to Twitchy.)

Chaser: FLASHBACK: Kathy Griffin Blames Sarah Palin For AZ Shooting.

—The Federalist, Wednesday.

Hangover: Crybully Kathy Griffin Tries to Become a Victim of Her Sick Photo Shoot.

—Megan Fox, PJ Media.com, today.

UPDATE: When I linked to the announcement of Griffin’s press conference last night, I was tempted to add that you know you’re too toxic a lefty celebrity when Gloria Allred won’t serve as your attorney. But as Ace of Spades writes today, Lisa Bloom, Griffin’s attorney, is Allred’s daughter, thus making this 14:59 moment complete. And as he notes, Griffin “complains that the rule is ‘Criticize the president, lose your job,’ without acknowledging for a single second that this is the exact rule the left imposed for 8 years under f***ing Obama. Elizabeth Lauten, hounded by the Washington Post out of a job when she remarked on Facebook that Obama’s daughter shouldn’t chew gum at public appearances, wants to know where this ‘don’t get people fired for criticism of the president’ rule was four years ago.”

In addition to Lauten, as Ben Shapiro tweets, “Obama and Co. got a rodeo clown fired, and he was funnier than [Griffin] was.”

And I love Griffin saying that Trump “broke me.” Does that make Trump Bane or Batman?

More: “‘I would never want to hurt anyone,’ says a weeping Kathy Griffin, who has spent her entire career saying horrendous things about people,” John Podhoretz tweets.

SPENGLER: Merkel throws Trump in the briar patch.

Donald Trump and Angela Merkel now agree about the main issues in US-German relations. “The times in which we could rely fully on others — they are a way past us,” Merkel told a beer-tent rally of her political party. “We Europeans really have to take our fate into our own hands.” That is just what President Trump has been telling the Europeans since the beginning of last year’s US election campaign, demanding in particular that Europe pay more for its own defense. Both Trump and Merkel, moreover, say they want the Euro to strengthen against the U.S. dollar. That buries the two bones of contention between Berlin and Washington. Everything else is political posturing and fake news.

The German Chancellor in effect threatens to throw President Trump into the proverbial briar patch, giving him what he wants while appearing to denounce him.

Read the whole thing.

TO HELL IN A HANDMAID’S BASKET: Veteran Hollywood composer Boris Zelkin has a lengthy essay on Hulu’s new remake of The Handmade’s Tale, starring longtime former Mad Men actress Elisabeth Moss:

While Atwood presents her tale as occurring in the United States, and the buzz surrounding the release of the Hulu series implies that her vision is timely for America today, in truth, the dystopia she posits has a significantly higher chance of becoming reality in Europe. After all, Europe is the place where trust in and over-reliance upon centralized power, declining birthrates, and an appeasement of an unyielding worldview―the one that actually inspired The Handmaid’s Tale―are all threatening quickly to overturn what was once the font of liberalism and birthplace of the enlightenment into a religiously dystopian and morally bankrupt society.

I could understand the impetus to remake the Handmade’s Tale a bit more if a traditional conservative such as Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio was in the White House. But it’s awfully zany to believe a theocracy is just around the corner, when the current president is a rake who declared that dodging STDs while sleeping around was “my personal Vietnam,” and bragged that he could grab models and actresses “by the p***y,” language that would have been perfectly acceptable to the left if his last name was Clinton, Kennedy, Beatty, or Flint, and he had a (D) after it. Not to mention our current First Lady, who had a previous career posing nude as a model and later, in bikini-clad cheesecake shots on the wing of her husband’s private jet.

And note this:

Of the most wretched and evil characters in modern literature, Atwood’s Aunt Lydia places at the top. She is the apologist voice and cheerleader for the Handmaid’s dystopia. When not presiding over the ‘Salvaging’ of women – hanging them in Harvard Square (a mass execution of women in a public place…reminiscent of the Al Qaeda soccer field executions), she’s busy explaining why the women’s oppression isn’t really oppression at all, but a freedom from male oppression. She argues that the new mores and constricting dress are, in fact, a form of freedom:

“Now we walk along the same street, in red pairs, and no man shouts obscenities at us, speaks to us, touches us. No one whistles.

There is more than one kind of freedom, said Aunt Lydia. Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don’t underrate it.” —Aunt Lydia

Lydia argues that with the correct modification of mores and dress the oppressed women are actually freer than they were when they were always worried about the unwelcome sexual advances of men. This distorted narrative, that correct dress and behavior will lead to a freedom from assault is currently being played out in Europe.

In response to the rapes and sexual assaults that occurred in Europe over the New Year’s celebrations and at other times, politicians, many of whom are female and self-described feminists suggested that women, the prospective and actual victims of rape, need to modify their behavior to avoid the rape. These suggested behavior modifications range from walking at arms length from migrants, to walking in pairs (similar to the Handmaids who were always to walk in twos), and to avoiding provocative dress. Most recently a Paris newspaper reported that there are areas of East Paris where women fear to walk alone for fear of being harassed and treated like prostitutes by men. One of the women interviewed states:

There are insults, incessant remarks. The atmosphere is agonizing, to the point of having to modify our movements and our clothes. Some even gave up going out.

What we’re starting to see in Europe is Lydia’s the notion of Freedom From. If a woman wants freedom from assault in today’s Europe she is being told by her female feminist leaders that she must act and dress a certain way.

A decade after being known as Al Gore’s campaign advisor on earth tones and all things alpha-male, and A few years before her spectacular meltdown as an ISIS truther, feminist icon Naomi Wolf was decidedly pro-burka in a piece for the Sydney Morning Herald headlined, “Behind the veil lives a thriving Muslim sexuality:”

She observes, “It is not that Islam suppresses sexuality, but that it embodies a strongly developed sense of its appropriate channelling — toward marriage, the bonds that sustain family life, and the attachment that secures a home.” There was “demureness and propriety” outside of the home, “but inside, women were as interested in allure, seduction and pleasure as women anywhere in the world.”

As Robert Spencer wrote in response, “How interesting that the same things that Western feminists have scoffed at for decades — ‘marriage, the bonds that sustain family life, and the attachment that secures a home’ — become warmly appealing when they see them in the Islamic world.”

And then there’s Lydia’s whole “Freedom from” riff.

“Freedom from Fear” was the Newspeak-style cornerstone of how FDR converted the negative rights of the laissez-faire Constitution (or as Lydia would say, those “days of anarchy”) into the big government Leviathan of the New Deal. Or as Orrin Judd of the conservative Brothers Judd Blog and book review site asked in 1999:

Is it possible that the History of the 20th Century can be explained by simple reference to a change in prepositions?  That is the gist of the epiphany that struck me while watching David M. Kennedy on Booknotes (C-SPAN).  He and Brian Lamb were discussing the fact that this book is part of the Oxford History of the United States joining James McPherson’s excellent one-volume history of the Civil War, Battle Cry of Freedom : The Civil War Era (1988).  Suddenly, the switch from “of Freedom” to “Freedom from”, in the respective titles, struck me as emblematic of the pivotal change of  emphases in the Modern world.  The history of America from Plymouth Rock until the Crash was essentially the story of Man’s struggle for Freedom, but Freedom in a positive sense, Freedom to do things–to worship, to speak, to gather, etc.  Thus, McPherson’s book details the great convulsion of the 19th Century, the Civil War and the struggle to free the slaves–a struggle to expand freedom.  But Kennedy, charting the great 20th Century convulsion,  has it exactly right, the importance of the responses to the Depression by both Hoover and Roosevelt lay in their decision to elevate a negative idea of Freedom, freedom from want, from hunger, from “the vicissitudes of life” above, and against, the traditional American ideal of republican Liberty.  This shift from a government aimed at protecting Freedom to one designed to provide Security is the single most important thing that happened in 20th Century America.

Finally, in a contradiction so big even Newsweek could see it, “there’s something simply too intriguing not to address about Moss’s lifelong devotion to Scientology and her new role as a character who resists accepting a regime’s ideologies and strict governance as status quo:”

In Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Offred and other fertile women cannot walk alone in the United States; they must abide by the stringent ruling of a far-right regime that has taken over what’s left of the nation. She dreams of what her life could be like if she managed to successfully escape, leaving behind the followers of a religion that often resembles an oppressive and volatile cult. In actuality, she’s complicit in the organization’s control and terror over the country, following along with its rules, partaking in the indoctrination of its newest captured members and killing those deemed immoral.

Of course, Offred’s plight is only fictional: Elisabeth Moss, who plays the protagonist in Hulu’s adaption of the Margaret Atwood novel, doesn’t seem to have any of the same struggles as a Scientologist. A member of the controversial church her entire life, the 34-year-old maintains a quiet relationship with Scientology in the public eye and has avoided the topic entirely along her press tour promoting the new show, which released its fourth episode Wednesday night.

All of which is why, as Charlotte Allen recently noted in the L.A. Times, “We’re Living The Handmaid’s Tale Now, But Not The Way Feminists Think.”

WILLIAM MCGURN: Don’t Blame Hillary. “She was a flawed messenger, but her party has a problem with its message.”

It has been a consistent pattern for Mrs. Clinton. On almost any issue that energizes her party—from same-sex marriage to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal—Mrs. Clinton has gone where the party has pulled her even if it meant going against where she had been. This is what Hollywood actress Rosario Dawson meant last summer when she asked a group of Sanders delegates at the convention to understand that Mrs. Clinton “is not a leader, she’s a follower.”

But on what became the single overriding theme of her campaign, Mrs. Clinton was truly in sync with her party. This is the idea that she should be elected because she’s a woman, and that a coalition of millennials, minorities and women would come together to make it happen. So where Donald Trump had “Make America Great Again,” Mrs. Clinton had the identity project par excellence: “I’m with her.”

After all, who could be more deserving to succeed the first African-American president than the first woman president?

It didn’t turn out that way. And if you take the Trump blinders off for some perspective, there’s another dynamic that had little to do with Mrs. Clinton: the hemorrhaging of Democratic seats over the Obama years—from the governorships to state legislatures to Capitol Hill—to the point where the Democratic Party is now at its lowest levels in a century.

By the time Mrs. Clinton had secured the nomination for president, she had embraced everything a far more progressive party wanted her to embrace. But she also inherited a party that was losing elections all across the country.

Barack Obama said he wanted to be a transformative president in a way that Bill Clinton wasn’t, but I doubt this is what he had in mind.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Trump Faces the Fury of a Scorned Ruling Class: The ‘threat’ that has elites quaking is his serious attempt to curb federal power and cut spending.

A lobbyist friend who visited Capitol Hill recently came away horrified. “I now am ready to believe that the partisanship is so unhinged that it’s a threat to the Republic,” she writes in an email.

This Washington hysteria comes at a time of full employment, booming stocks, relative peace and technological marvels like an electronic robot named Alexa who fetches and plays for you songs of your choice. What’s the fuss about?

We all know the answer: Donald Trump. The Washington body politic has been invaded by an alien presence and, true to the laws of nature, that body is feverishly trying to expel it. These particular laws of nature demand rejection of anything that threatens the livelihoods and prestige of the permanent governing class.

The “threat” that has Washington quaking is the first serious effort in a long time to curb federal regulatory power, wasteful spending, and a propensity to run up mountainous budget deficits and debt. That’s presumably what the voters wanted when they elected Donald Trump. Democrats—accurately regarded as the party of government—seem to fear that Mr. Trump might actually, against all odds, pull it off.

The Washington Post, the New York Times and other apostles of the Democratic Party have apparently set out to prove that despite their shaky business models they can still ignite an anti-Trump bonfire.

So far, what they’ve gotten is people cheering when journalists are shoved to the floor. Plus:

The Washington community knows how to fight back when it feels threatened. Leakers are having a ball, even if it has taken a lot of journalistic imagination to turn the most notorious leaks into “scandals.” Almost everyone in town has a stake in fending off the Trump threat: government workers and the businesses that serve them, public unions, lobbyists and their clients, owners of posh hotels and restaurants that cater to well-heeled visitors seeking government favors, journalists whose prestige derives from the power center they cover, academics who show politicians how to mismanage the economy, real-estate agents feeding on the boom—to name a few. It’s a good living, and few take kindly to a brash outsider who proclaims it is his mission to drain the swamp.

Mr. Trump is on the attack and Washington is fighting back. Is the Republic in danger? Another question is how much danger will it be in if Mr. Trump loses?

I don’t know why these people think that Trump voters will just stay home and sigh if the Establishment wins. It’s likely to be something much uglier. That the Establishment can’t even conceive of other people besides itself deciding to ditch the rules is just one more reason that it’s unfit to govern.

CHARLOTTE ALLEN: We’re Living The Handmaid’s Tale Now, But Not The Way Feminists Think:

At first I scoffed. There couldn’t be any more unlikely a theocrat than Trump, what with his misquotes from the Bible and speculation that he hasn’t been in a church more than twice since the inauguration. But then I realized that the liberal paranoiacs were right. Except not in the way they think. Instead of seeing Atwood’s fictional Gilead as a near-future militant fundamentalist Christian elite dystopia, we should see it as the mostly secularist elite dystopia we live in right now.

Take those elite-class Wives. Liberals typically assume the 1% consists of striped-pants tycoons off the Monopoly board who reliably vote Republican and want to cram retrograde religious ideas down people’s throats. In fact, as social scientists (Charles Murray in “Coming Apart”) and political analysts (Michael Barone, writing recently for the Capital Research Center) have observed, it’s the Democratic Party that’s the party of the 1%: the tech and finance billionaires, the media and entertainment moguls who cluster in expensive ZIP Codes around metropolitan Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Washington.

Those folks aren’t known for their church-going, and they vote in favor of liberal social and economic causes from abortion and immigration rights to sustainable energy to higher taxes. They contribute heavily to political campaign, and with their upper-middle-class epigones they run the culture, deciding who gets banned on Twitter, which kinds of “diversity” are allowed on campuses, and what television programs we’ll be allowed to see. Today’s overclass Wives typically hold Ivy League degrees, “lean in” to high-status careers, and stand with Planned Parenthood.

We also have a rigidly defined caste of Marthas (and “Marthos,” their male counterparts), because the Wives and their high-earning husbands need them to mop their floors, care for their children, mow their lawns and trim their trees, all for bargain-basement wages. And so we have the irony of Malibu declaring itself a sanctuary city out of “solidarity” with its servant class, many of whom are in the country illegally, who can’t afford to live anywhere near their wealthy and high-minded masters and mistresses.

Finally, the Handmaids. As in the fictional Gilead, real-life elite-class Wives have something of a fertility problem, although it’s related not to environmental degradation but delayed marriages and childbearing attempts of women who pursue high-power careers. Thanks to 30 years of advances in egg-transfer technology since Atwood published her novel, today’s gestational surrogates don’t have to get into embarrassing “threesome” sexual positions with the Commanders and their Wives in order to do their jobs. And they tend to be drawn not from the ranks of political dissidents, but from the financially strapped Econowife class (military bases are common surrogate-recruiting centers) who are willing to put up with a year’s worth of uncomfortable hormone treatments and possible pregnancy problems for the $40,000 or so that they receive.

Related: How Serfdom Saved The Women’s Movement.

WHY TRUMP GOT ELECTED, PART 1,322,217. “‘Far Cry 5’ Is About Living Under Fear in America. The game will put the player up against a Montana based cult and militia that has plenty of real world analogues:”

Dan Hay, creative director and executive producer of Far Cry 5, is standing in front of a TV displaying the word pressure, written out in all caps. PRESSURE. He’s telling a room of games journalists about the game he’s wanted to make since the 2008 recession, one that engaged with the rise of rural, American militias during Obama’s presidency. What if, Hay said, one of these groups so dedicated to preparing for the end days of America decided to actively push for it, instead.

But he couldn’t find enough support for the game: the core premise seemed “unrealistic.” After all, the world—the western world, it is implied—was “a global village.”

* * * * * * * *

Though the game’s “key art” and first teaser trailer focus only on the cult, Hay’s presentation (and many of the assets that Ubisoft sent to the games press for today’s embargo lift) additionally evoke a more mundane, almost idyllic Hope County: Bait shops. Main street bars. Little league fields. Two bedroom homes with flags out front. Taken alone, these parts of the FC5 press blast read like a love letter to the “fly over states” like Montana.

Responses to that key art over the past few days has been mixed, including arguments that FC5 will simply be about killing stereotypical, white “rednecks.” This response (and Far Cry’s own history) shows why this focus on “everyday” Montana is necessary. Far Cry as a series has always labored over transforming beautiful, distant places into chaotic playgrounds—these are even the words Hay uses to describe the series, “beauty and chaos”—and it has often done so with limited or mishandled interest in the inhabitants of these places.

Hat tip, Kathy Shaidle, who adds, “No word on when the same company will be doing a video game about Muslim terrorists.”

That’s different because shut up and maybe they’ll all go away.

Related: 7 Virtue-Signaling Celebrities Silent on Massacre of Coptic Christians.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Regime Change by Any Other Name?

Truth or consequences? Obama skated for far worse misdeeds. Election machines in three states were not hacked to give Donald Trump the election. There was never a serious post-election movement of electors to defy their constitutional duties and vote for Hillary Clinton. Nor, once Trump was elected, did transgendered people begin killing themselves in alarming numbers. Nor were there mass resignations at the State Department upon his inauguration. Nor did Donald Trump seek an order to “ban all Muslims” from entering the U.S. Instead, he temporarily sought a suspension in visas for everyone, regardless of religion, from seven Middle Eastern states that the Obama administration had earlier identified as incapable of properly vetting travelers to the U.S. The first lady did not work for an elite escort or prostitute service. She never said that she and young Barron Trump would not be moving to the White House. Barron does not have autism. Trump’s father never ran racist ads as a supposed candidate in a purported political campaign. Kellyanne Conway denies that in a private conversation between segments on MSNBC, she privately remarked to hosts that she had to take a shower after working for Trump. Donald Trump never suggested to the Mexican president that the U.S. was going to invade Mexico. Nor did Trump plan to mobilize the National Guard to send back illegal aliens. He did not remove a Martin Luther King bust from the White House. There was no evidence that he ever promised to ease Russian sanctions (much less that he promised the Russians he would be “flexible” after he was elected). He did not short the FBI of resources to conduct an investigation into supposed Russian collusion. He did not go to Moscow and watch prostitutes in his bed urinate where Barack Obama had previously slept. His deputy attorney general did not threaten to resign over the Comey firing. . . .

Fake news crowds out real news. Here is what we do not read much about: North Korea, long appeased, could well send missiles against our allies, perhaps even with nuclear payloads. Afghanistan is at a crux and will either implode or need more American troops. China’s role is in the balance, and it may or may not help defang North Korea. The greatest tax- and health-reform packages in years are now in the hands of Congress. Executive orders have revolutionized the domestic energy industry and achieved a stunning and historic reduction in illegal immigration. The stock market is soaring, employment is up, and confidence in the economy has returned. Wall Street seems to dip only on talk of impeaching Donald Trump. Commensurate Worry? And here is what no longer troubles us at all. In 2008, candidate Barack Obama used back channels to communicate flexibility to the Iranians (as in the later assurance he gave, on a hot mic, to the Russians), which may have helped undermine the ongoing Bush-administration negotiations with Iran. Hillary Clinton set up an illegal server, distributed classified information in an illegal and unsecured fashion, lied about it, and destroyed thousands of e-mails central to an investigation — and got off without an indictment. In the 2016 election, the head of the DNC conspired to massage the debates and help swing the nomination to the Clinton campaign. The prior attorney general of the United State met with the spouse of a presidential candidate under investigation, in a stealthy conversation on an airport tarmac, did not inform officials of that meeting until the get-together was discovered by a reporter, semi-recused herself under pressure only to turn over her prosecutorial discretion to the head of the FBI, in a fashion that was both improper and perhaps unconstitutional. We do not hear how exactly Russian interests at Uranium One obtained market control over 20 percent of U.S. uranium holdings, or the connections between Uranium One and their prior multimillion-dollar donations to the Clinton Foundation, or that the Podesta Group had numerous financial dealings with Russian interests, or that Bill Clinton received $500,000 in 2010 from Russian oligarchic interests while his wife was secretary of state — ten times more than what Michael Flynn was alleged to have received. . . .

The effort to remove the president is conducted by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the wire services, and the major networks. And we have seen nothing like it in our time.

It’s like we’ve been living in a banana republic for a decade.

GOOD IDEA: GOP talks of narrowing ‘blue-slip’ rule for judges.

GOP senators are talking about changing an obscure Senate tradition to make it more difficult for Democrats to block certain judges from advancing to a confirmation hearing.

The change to the “blue-slip rule” would involve preventing individual senators from blocking nominees to circuit courts that have jurisdiction over several states.

If the rule change were made, it would make it easier for President Trump to win confirmation for his circuit court picks. Trump currently has 20 vacancies on the lower courts of appeals to fill.

GOP members on the Senate Judiciary Committee say this would leave the tradition in place for district court vacancies, meaning a single senator could still hold up a nomination to those courts.

“I want to separate it,” said Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).

“Blue slips for district court judges has been time honored and I think needs to stay,” he said. “There is a question now does it apply to circuit court judges. That history is a little more mixed and I don’t think myself it ought to apply there.”

Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, seemed to agree.

The “blue slip” rule is antidemocratic, and probably racist. It should go.

BEGUN, THE RANSOMWARE WAR HAS: Ransomware’s Aftershocks Feared as U.S. Warns of Complexity.

As a new workweek started Monday in Asia, there were concerns the malicious software could spread further and in different forms, with new types of ransomware afflicting computers around the globe.

There were initial reports of new cases found over the weekend in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

President Trump has ordered his homeland security adviser, Thomas P. Bossert, who has a background in cyberissues, to coordinate the government’s response to the spread of the malware and help organize the search for who was responsible, an administration official said Sunday.

The attack is more complicated because “the experts tell us that this code was cobbled together from many places and sources,” according to an administration official who insisted on anonymity to discuss the government’s cybersecurity plans. The more potential sources of the malicious code, the harder it is for investigators to run down the trail of possible perpetrators.

The source of the attack is a delicate issue for the United States because the vulnerability on which the malicious software is based was published by a group called the Shadow Brokers, which last summer began publishing cybertools developed by the National Security Agency.

This is an agency of the same federal government which wants backdoors built into your smartphone and other secure devices.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ ON OUR FRAGILE CIVILIZATION:

One of the weaknesses of the anti-Trump resistance is their inability to address the factors which brought the current administration into existence.  Too many think it’s all about one man.  This may explain why the Resistance to the Resistance has been surprisingly hard to push off the Hill and why Bernie Sanders is the most popular Democratic politician in America.  The key insight into the problem is that people didn’t vote for Trump but against Hillary, PC, and the ending of their world. Charles Sykes in New York Times noted this element of sheer reaction. “Mr. Trump’s most vocal supporters don’t have to defend his specific actions as long as they make liberal heads explode”.*

A hundred years ago the liberal project seemed easily attainable. “I have seen the future and it works,” wrote Lincoln Steffens, yet it’s proved surprisingly hard to close the sale. The reason why the masses should reject such a brilliant vision were hard to explain.  Despite Leftist fears their foes were never more than a coalition of amateurs with no particular ideology.  The alt-right didn’t even know it was alt-right until they were properly analyzed and labeled.

So why can’t such a stupid, ignorant and incompetent bunch be seen off?  That must be what troubles the Resistance. The scariest possibility is they are up against complexity itself, fighting a reality that refuses subordination to a narrative.  The world is hard to control, even when you dominate all the media outlets.  Jurassic Park was Michael Crichton’s parable warning against trying to linearly control complex systems. In history Marx may be friction’s equivalent of John Hammond.  “God creates dinosaurs, God kills dinosaurs, God creates man, man kills God, man brings back dinosaurs,” might explain the banging on globalism’s door when there should be nobody there.

The liberal project wanted the global world.  Maybe they didn’t understand what came with it.

Read the whole thing; though I rarely disagree with any of Richard’s analyses, they’re not liberals in the classical sense, they’re leftists; which is why they bring a whole lot of bad luck, to coin an Insta-phrase, when they’re running things entirely.

* It’s also better for us all that the left is largely unified in waging war against Trump, than say, an Indiana pizza shop owner or Washington state florist.

(Via SDA.)

STEPHEN CARTER: I Side With the ‘Bad Guys’ on Encryption: Law-enforcement agents want the power to break into secure devices. Why should we trust them?

One of the more intriguing pearls in FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week was his disclosure that the Bureau has been unable to penetrate the encryption on about half of the 6,000 cell phones seized in the course of various investigations between October and March. To Comey and the senators, this was plainly a problem. I will confess that my own feelings are more mixed. . . .

When the head of the FBI says to the tech companies, “Please help us,” he is in effect saying to ordinary users, “Please trust us.” And that’s where the problem lies. Little in recent history — or, for that matter, not-so-recent history — offers any particular reason to believe that government officials, once granted a power, will use it sparingly.

Moreover, a warrant requirement offers little protection. The courts rarely say no, and recent administrations, including those of President Donald Trump’s two predecessors, have found ways to get around judicial scrutiny. Nor has Trump himself given the impression that his use of such powers would be sparing. But even if we imagine a government run entirely by angels, we live at a time when intelligence agencies can hardly protect their own secrets, including their hacking tools. If the tech companies yield to official pressure and begin to build backdoors into their encryption, how long will it be until the details show up on WikiLeaks, and the actual methods are being bartered in various corners of the Dark Web?

Actually, the Dark Web is used these days by journalists, who try to evade the vast networks of official surveillance by offering sources the ability to remain anonymous while sending encrypted communications via SecureDrop. SecureDrop uses the Tor network of hidden servers to allow sources and reporters who never meet to exchange untappable messages. Among the many news outlets that have signed on are the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the New Yorker.

Now suppose that the U.S. government demanded that a backdoor be built into SecureDrop. After all, in the view of law enforcement, to disclose classified information to the news media is a crime. Under the Obama administration, more leakers were prosecuted for espionage — espionage! — than in all prior administrations combined.

Well, sure but that was okay because he was a Democrat.

MORE PROBLEMS AT ESPN: The worldwide leader in politically-correct sports coverage is still creating headaches for owner Disney.

ESPN recently announced a new round of layoffs and [Disney CEO Robert] Iger, despite his liberal views, might be particularly impatient for a turnaround at the network—and not just because he wants to deliver robust earnings growth for Disney shareholders. A recent report from the website Axios claims that Mr. Iger is contemplating a run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. Such a run would be premised on his business success, so Disney has to be thriving for him to make a Trumpian leap into politics.

Mr. Iger may be so eager to spruce up his tarnished cable operation that he’ll consider the analysis by former ESPN and current Fox Sports journalist Jason Whitlock that ESPN’s embrace of leftist ideology is partly to blame for driving away former fans of the sports giant.

Progressives across social media have been in an uproar since the Journal published Mr. Whitlock’s op-ed on Sunday night. Mr. Whitlock wrote that ESPN is “diverse on its surface, progressive in its point of view, and more concerned with spinning media narratives than with the quality of its product. The channel has become too handcuffed by politics to protect its most experienced and loyal employees. It’s a massive symbol of everything that fueled Donald Trump’s bid for the presidency.” Mr. Whitlock also opined that ESPN had been highly influenced by attacks from the leftist website Deadspin to adopt its current politicized approach to sports coverage.

Iger can either take the progressive politics out of ESPN and please his stockholders, or he can continue to use ESPN to please the Democratic base and help him win the nomination, but he likely can’t do both.

HOW GAWKER-AFFILIATED DEADSPIN MADE ESPN POLITICALLY CORRECT AND ‘A MASSIVE SYMBOL OF EVERYTHING THAT FUELED TRUMP’S BID FOR THE PRESIDENCY:’

“The old-school viewers were put in a corner and not appreciated with all these other changes,” veteran ESPN anchor Linda Cohn said during an April radio interview when asked if ESPN’s liberal bent hurt the network. “If anyone wants to ignore that fact, then they’re blind.”

Rather than sue Mr. Denton’s bullying internet pirates into submission the way tech billionaire Peter Thiel did, ESPN chose to acquiesce and adopt progressive ideology and diversity as groundbreaking business innovations. ESPN is the exact network Deadspin desired. It’s diverse on its surface, progressive in its point of view, and more concerned with spinning media narratives than with the quality of its product.

The channel has become too handcuffed by politics to protect its most experienced and loyal employees. It’s a massive symbol of everything that fueled Donald Trump’s bid for the presidency.

ESPN NFL reporter Ed Werder, one of the most prominent faces among the layoffs last month, said in a podcast that he heard quality of work would not be a consideration when employees were let go. He lamented that “it seemed to me that quality work should be the only consideration.” Not in this America, the one ruled by social-media perception and dismissive of the real world.

Read the whole thing.

SO IT DOESN’T SOUND LIKE THERE’S MUCH TO THE TALK OF TRUMP REVISITING LIBEL LAW. Well, that’s fine with me. As a blogger and a pundit, I’m very, very happy with New York Times v. Sullivan.

But let’s not pretend that it would be the end of the world if Sullivan were overturned. We had a free press before Sullivan, after all. At core, Sullivan is just a subsidy to the news media, substituting constitutional doctrine for libel insurance premiums.

Ironically, though, all the left’s “Fake News” drumbeating increases the pressure for more press accountability. I don’t think that’s enough for a constitutional amendment, which is fine, but if Trump wants to jawbone them, well, they’ve given him a lot to work with.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: Trump Will Test Democrats’ Tax Patriotism: President’s plan would make high-tax blue states pay their fair share.

Democrats have been saying for years that we need tax increases, and that paying taxes is one of the greatest forms of patriotism. Now it looks like President Trump is going to put their beliefs to the test.

Trump’s new tax plan would hit blue states hardest, by eliminating the federal deductibility of state income and property taxes. . . . That’s going to make it harder for blue states to maintain the high tax rates they’ve traditionally levied.States should be able to set their own levels of taxing and spending, but I see no reason why a Walmart cashier in Tennessee (which has no state income tax and low property taxes) should be subsidizing a hedge fund mogul in New York or a studio executive in Hollywood. It’s fine if blue states want to have higher state and local tax rates, as they do, but they shouldn’t be encouraged to do so by federal tax giveaways. And it’s the urban, coastal areas that have done best over the past 25 years, so it seems time for them to pay their fair share now.

Fair share! Fair share! The wealthy states can afford to “chip in a little more.”

A USEFUL ADDITION TO TRUMP’S TAX REFORM PLAN: A Modest Proposal to Reduce “Inequality:”

A surtax on large private college endowments—say on all endowments that are more than something like $1 million per student. This would hit the ivy league schools that these days are raking in nearly $1 billion a year in contributions according to the latest reports. (I recall an old line from Conan O’Brien—a Harvard grad—about Harvard’s donor pitch: “We’re Harvard. We don’t need your money. We just want it.”) Or instead of a surtax directly on endowments, reduce the tax deductibility of donations to college endowments above a certain level.

And if Republicans really want to start riots in faculty clubs, they should pass Obama’s community college plan with one proviso: that all community college credits be fully transferrable to any four-year college that accepts any federal funding (which is every institution of higher learning except Hillsdale and one or two others). Watch the four-year colleges sputter with indignation.

Seems fair.

JOEL KOTKIN: The Arrogance of Blue America: If you want to see the worst impacts of blue policies, go to those red regions—like upstate New York or inland California—in states they control.

Ironically, many of the most exploited people reside in blue states and cities. Both segregation and impoverishment has worsened during the decades-long urban “comeback,” as even longtime urban enthusiast Richard Florida now notes. Chicago, with its soaring crime rates and middle class out-migration, amidst a wave of elite corporate relocations, epitomizes the increasingly unequal tenor of blue societies.

In contrast the most egalitarian places, like Utah, tend to be largely Trump-friendly. Among the 10 states (and D.C.) with the most income inequality, seven supported Clinton in 2016, while seven of the 10 most equal states supported Trump.

If you want to see worst impacts of blue policies, go to those red regions—like upstate New York—controlled by the blue bourgeoise. Backwaters like these tend to be treated at best as a recreational colony that otherwise can depopulate, deindustrialize, and in general fall apart. In California, much of the poorer interior is being left to rot by policies imposed by a Bay Area regime hostile to suburban development, industrial growth, and large scale agriculture. Policies that boost energy prices 50 percent above neighboring states are more deeply felt in regions that compete with Texas or Arizona and are also far more dependent on air conditioning than affluent, temperate San Francisco or Malibu. Six of the 10 highest unemployment rates among the country’s metropolitan areas are in the state’s interior.

I think that this is the result of Baker v. Carr and Reynolds v. Sims and that Congress can remedy it by civil rights legislation under its Guaranty Clause powers.

I REMEMBER WHEN PEOPLE WERE PREDICTING THAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY WOULD GO THE WAY OF THE WHIGS: Exit the Dems, Stage Left:

This week the Draft Bernie for a People’s Party got a rather high-profile devotee in Harvard professor Cornel West, who used an op-ed in The Guardian to announce his imminent departure from the Democratic Party.

“We must admit that the Democratic Party has failed us, and we have to move on,” he wrote. “Where? To what?”

The People’s Party, he added, “builds on the ruins of a dying Democratic Party and creates new constituencies in this moment of transition and liquidation.”

West, a professor of The Practice of Public Philosophy, did a fair amount of public philosophizing about the 2016 election, insisting that it was one “which Democrats lost more than Republicans won” in large part because the party “put forward a Wall Street-connected and openly militaristic candidate with little charisma.”

Ouch! It’s enough to make you feel sorry for poor Hillary. And apparently the current darling of Democratic progressives, Massachusetts’ Sen. Elizabeth Warren, just won’t do.

“Only the ubiquitous and virtuous Bernie remains true to the idea of fundamental transformation of the party — and even he admits that seeking first-class seats on the Titanic is self-deceptive and self-destructive,” West wrote.

As for issues, well, the movement wants single-payer health care, is opposed to fracking, opposed to TPP (just like Donald Trump) and West in particular is “opposed to Israeli occupation” (it’s unclear whether that means simply the West Bank).

And, of course, there is the matter of age. Sure, Bernie’s a robust 75 today, but that would make him 79 in 2020. Guess there’s no expiration date on lefties.

Old people with old ideas, running as the party of youth.

REMEMBER: WHEN YOU WANT TO KEEP MORE OF YOUR OWN MONEY, IT’S “GREED.” Rich States Growl At Trump Tax Plan.

The Trump Administration’s stated intention to eliminate the state and local tax deduction (SALT) is likely to meet major opposition from big blue states’ Congressional delegations. . . .

The deduction overwhelmingly benefits six-figure earners. The benefit is largest for affluent people living in states that impose high income tax rates, which are much bluer than average.

Trump’s abbreviated tax proposal is too vague to assess in any level of detail; it appears on the whole to be too expensive and too regressive. But Congressional leaders and Administration officials looking to turn it into something more palatable should hold the line on eliminating SALT. This would raise much-needed revenue to pay for the plan’s other provisions, and it would be targeted, for the most part, at the coastal metropolitan regions that have benefited most from the economic changes of the past few decades.

Moreover, as we have noted before, scrapping SALT could have unexpected positive effects at the state level. As it stands, many wealthy people in cities like San Francisco and New York have largely withdrawn from the state political process. They can afford to acquiesce to inefficient government and the high taxes required to pay for it in part because they can deduct all of that money from their federal tax bill. If it weren’t for SALT, we might see more talented and creative people in wealthy blue states re-engage in state government in a meaningful way.

Some SALT opponents will claim that the measure would create a system of “double-taxation,” and they aren’t entirely wrong. But if this were really the concern, states could address it by making federal tax deductible from state tax bills. Of course, that would impose new costs on states, just as SALT imposes costs on the federal government. This is at its core a fight over resources, and it’s one that the working class deserves to win more than coastal high-flyers.

Indeed. In fact, that’s why they elected Trump.

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.