February 22, 2018

REALCLEARINVESTIGATIONS: Mueller Still Relying on Discredited Steele Dossier. That hardly seems professional. Plus:

And a detail previously reported last fall – that Mueller’s investigators traveled overseas last year to debrief the dossier’s London-based author, Christopher Steele, a former British spy – takes on a new cast with the disclosure this month that FBI agents abruptly stopped using Steele as an informant in late 2016 after concluding that he had lied to them.

“The FBI’s reliance on Steele’s past credibility was misplaced, since he concealed from the FBI unauthorized media contacts with numerous outlets and his anti-Trump bias,” according to an addendum to the so-called FISA memo released Feb. 2 by the Republican majority on the House Intelligence Committee.

Special Counsel’s Office spokesman Peter Carr told RealClearInvestigations, “We will decline to comment” on Steele and the dossier.

Mueller’s use of the dossier – opposition research described by former FBI Director James Comey as largely “salacious and unverified” – was reported by several news outlets last year. But word that Mueller has continued relying on it despite the House memo and other disclosures raise new questions about the special counsel’s investigation as it expands beyond indictments last week of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies.

While those charges highlighted an ineffective operation to spread fake news stories on social media platforms, the dossier, largely based on unconfirmed reports from Russians with suspected ties to the Kremlin, may have been a far more consequential tactic for sowing American national discord.

Ya think?

ROGER KIMBALL: Never mind Russia – the real threat to the US is China.

TOM FITTON: Why Is The FBI Trying So Hard To Protect James Comey?

IT’S THREE-QUESTION THURSDAY!!! Click the links on this trio of inquiries and you will know three times as much as your buddies. Or at least you will have the answers to three more questions that will enable you to dazzle and befuddle them. Okay, would you believe knowledge is its own reward? So start clickin,’ folks:

1.) True or False? Rev. Billy Graham helped integrate the American South in the 1950s and 1960s?

2.) Is France one of the multiple governments investigating Clinton Foundation corruption?

3.) Who said Jeff Sessions is “a small man in a big moment in history”?

A. Mary Blackshear Sessions

B. GOP Attorney John Jordan

C. Critical Theory Professor Elmer Fudd

 

GLAD TO SEE PEOPLE TAKING A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO GUN VIOLENCE: Kentucky Moves To Add Guns To Schools After School Shooting.

Related: People Don’t Stop Killers. People With Guns Do.

CURING A COLD WITH CYANIDE: My Op/Ed on government attempts to restrict/control political speech, at The Daily Caller.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: U.S. Colleges Are Separating Into Winners and Losers: Schools that struggle to prepare students for success losing ground; ‘The shake-out is coming.’

For generations, a swelling population of college-age students, rising enrollment rates and generous student loans helped all schools, even mediocre ones, to flourish. Those days are ending.

According to an analysis of 20 years of freshman-enrollment data at 1,040 of the 1,052 schools listed in The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education ranking, U.S. not-for-profit colleges and universities are segregating into winners and losers—with winners growing and expanding and losers seeing the first signs of a death spiral.

The Journal ranking, which includes most major public and private colleges with more than 1,000 students, focused on how well a college prepares students for life after graduation. The analysis found that the closer to the bottom of the ranking a school was, the more likely its enrollment was shrinking. . . .

“In the same way the bookstores fell when Amazon took over, now it’s higher education’s turn and it’s been coming for a while,” said Charles Becker, Concord’s vice president for business and finance. “The shake-out is coming. It’s already here.”

Demographics and geography have some influence on which side of the fault line a school lands, but quality is also a big factor. The Journal uses 15 metrics to determine quality and rank. They include return on investment, student engagement and academic resources.

At Clemson University, the Journal found, graduates on average earn $50,000 a year 10 years after entering college and the default rate on student loans is 3%; the average Concord graduate earned $32,000 and the default rate is 15%.

Richard Vedder, the director of Center for College Affordability and Productivity and a teacher at Ohio University, believes dark days are ahead for the nation’s poorest ranked schools.

And it will be no picnic for those higher up, except perhaps for the very top.

All is proceeding as I have foreseen.

WEIRD, I WONDER IF IT’S BECAUSE THE “CALLS” ARE BASED IN DUMB EMOTIONAL BULLYING: The Hill: Calls for new gun laws are falling on deaf ears.

Renewed calls for stricter gun controls following a school shooting in Florida that left 17 dead are falling on deaf ears.

Legislators in states across the country have delayed, defeated or refused to take up new measures to prevent more gun violence — despite the impassioned calls of victims from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

In Florida’s legislature, House Republicans blocked a Democratic effort to revive debate on a measure to ban assault weapons with student survivors from Parkland watching in the gallery. . . .’

Students from Parkland who have blanketed the media to call for gun reforms have expressed incredulity at the lack of action.

I think it’s more that the media has blanketed them, in yet another effort to generate the political results the media wants.

BUT I THOUGHT THE SCIENCE WAS SETTLED!  Plants are 100 million years older than we thought.

THE INEVITABLE AND GLORIOUS PEOPLE’S PARADISE:  Venezuelans with transplants live in fear as medicine runs out.

WAY TO ENCOURAGE TRUST IN LAW ENFORCEMENT:  NYPD Faces Civil Rights Case in ‘Collars for Dollars’ Claim.

HOW COULD TEACHING ENVY AND DISCONTENT BENEFIT ANYONE?  A social justice curriculum that benefited no one.

TOUGH. LEARN THE LANGUAGE OF THE LAND:  Student Op-Ed Complains That School’s English-Only Alert System Hurts Feelings.

AND YET, TRUMP IS RIGHT: Once upon a time in America and Once upon a time in America, Part Two.

IT’S NOT JUST THE VISUAL ARTS:  MUSIC: Remodernism Resonates with Composer George Pepper.

YES, THEY ARE DELIBERATELY TRYING TO SPLIT THE US:  Never Let A Tragedy Go To Waste.

YEAH, ABOUT THAT:  Newsweek: Definitely Believe All Women, But, By the Way, Al Franken Was Taken Out by RUSSIAN Bots Who Lie.

NANCY “CRUMBLES” FAILS TO GET IT:  Pelosi Heckled, Sidesteps Questions.

STAY CLASSY LEFT:  Teen Vogue Columnist Tells Billy Graham to “Burn in Hell”.

KILLING MAN AND BEAST FOR 2500 YEARS:  The reason why people suddenly died near ancient ‘portal to hell’.

February 21, 2018

HECKUVA JOB TODAY, CNN:

CNN’s Tapper Sits Back as Student Equates Rubio to School Shooter.

Good talk: Someone in CNN’s town hall audience yells, ‘You’re a murderer!’ at Dana Loesch.

CNN confronts female Trump supporter to tell her she was part of Russia’s election meddling.

All of which is why Ben Shapiro explains why CNN’s ‘show trial’ won’t play out as gun control advocates think.

QED:

UPDATE: At Hot Air, Allahpundit explores “The very fair and balanced ‘students stand up to evil gun owners’ CNN town hall:”

Think I’m being snarky with the headline? The actual network-approved title of tonight’s event is “Stand Up: The Students of Stoneman Douglas Demand Action.” This is an advocacy event, not a “news program,” and they’re making no bones about it. I did some cursory googling this morning to see if CNN has ever hosted something so overtly biased towards one side’s position on a hot-button issue and came up empty.

It’s the flip-side to 2009, when CNN employed a children’s choir to shill for Obamacare and heckled Tea Party members.

DEVELOPING: US Embassy ‘under attack’ by grenade throwing assailant in Montenegro.

AT AMAZON, save on Herbs Spices and Seasonings.

Plus, deals on Office Supplies.

COMMON-SENSE GUN POLICY: Trump’s solution to school shootings: arm teachers with guns.

IT’S LIKE “THE SHOOTING OF BUCKWHEAT” ALL OVER AGAIN: School board knew of Parkland shooter’s obsession with guns and violence, documents show. “Exclusive documents obtained by Local 10 News show the education plan for school shooter Nikolas Cruz; a plan that left clear signals that should have alerted officials of the danger he posed to the community, according to a former Broward County ESE specialist who reviewed the information at the station’s request. . . . Provenzano said that in 42 years of dealing with exceptional students she never saw a document with such obvious signs that a student might resort to violence.”

WAIT, THAT’S NOT THE NARRATIVE: Shooting Survivors Thank Trump For ‘Leadership.’

HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS, OUR MORAL GUIDES: “Madison high schools are erupting in chaos. Three high schools in one day, Monday, February 19, over the noon hour.” “Bad enough for the cop on duty to call for reinforcements. Police responded to melees at Madison West, Madison Memorial, and Madison East high schools. From what we can determine, the misbehaving students were not peacefully protesting for gun control, social justice, or better cafeteria food. They were just fighting.”

Plus:

My son said this was a very loud and aggressive happening involving a subset of the student population that he cannot help but notice and comment has also coincidentally been involved in all other altercations (including not just “verbal altercations” but also actual physical assaults and various melees including ones with torn-off hair strewn on the floor and a vast crowd of students teeming at the edges, filled with adrenaline, watching and getting thrills from the witnessing thereof).

… These altercations are seen as the NORM because students engaging in them are coddled and the peaceful majority of students are the real victims— living in constant awareness that for reasons unknown to them and that can and will never make sense to them — West High and the District are engaging in experimental, ill-advised, and dangerous tactics to essentially bend over backwards to not “offend” the OFFENDERS.

My son is also aware of and afraid, as are most students, that at any given moment, the PARENTS of the violent pupils can and HAVE enjoined the fray themselves, coming upon school grounds….

I blame the NRA.

TRUMP BUMP! YOU’D THINK LAW FACULTIES WOULD LIKE HIM BETTER SINCE HE’S SAVING THEM: LSAT Test-Takers Surge 29.7% In December; 19.2% Yearly Rise Would Be Highest In 16 Years.

And no, I’m not kidding.

WELL, HER AND OBAMA: Bernie Sanders blames Hillary for allowing Russian interference.

NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG: Exclusive: Not A Single Lawyer Known To Work For Mueller Is A Republican.

THE HILL: Poll: Trump job approval gains as voters warm to tax bill.

OPEN THREAD: Make it a good one!

MICHAEL TOTTEN: The Russian Attack Against America You Didn’t Hear About.

You probably didn’t hear this because few media organizations have even mentioned it, but Russia committed an act of war against the United States a little more than a week ago. No, this is not about more social media and election shenanigans. Russia mounted an armed assault against American soldiers and our allies in Syria, including Kurdish security forces affiliated with the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, at a military base in the city of Deir Ezzor, the largest in eastern Syria. Russian combatants fought alongside Assad regime fighters and Shia militias armed, funded and directed by Iran.

Both the Pentagon and the Kremlin are going out of their way to keep this as quiet as possible. If you only read the New York Times story about the incident on February 13, you’d have to squint and zero in on the subtext. After the United States used air and drone strikes to obliterate incoming assailants, including dozens of Russians, American military spokespeople assured the press in calm tones that there was never any chance that Russian and American forces would clash directly in Deir Ezzor or anywhere else. The Kremlin, for its part, said any Russians who might have participated in the assault were mercenaries unaffiliated with the Russian armed forces.

The problem with the Kremlin statement is that Russian mercenaries in Syria are employed by the Wagner Group, which works for the Russian government, and specifically for Russia’s Ministry of Defense, not for the Syrian or Iranian governments. And the problem with the American statement is that the Pentagon is asking us to assume that dozens of Russians were killed not by the bombs it had just dropped but by somebody else…or perhaps by spontaneous heart attacks or a catastrophic series of vehicle accidents.

Read the whole thing.

FAKE NEWS ABOUT FAKE NEWS: Newsweek: Retracted: How An Alt-Right Bot Network Took Down Al Franken.

UPDATE: Link was bad before. Fixed now. Sorry!

THIS IS WHAT THE ROBOTS WANT YOU TO THINK: We’re told to fear robots. But why do we think they’ll turn on us? The robot uprising is a myth.

Luckily, I’ve got robot insurance from the Old Glory Insurance Company against just such an eventuality.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON ON Trump’s Unlikely Populism.

CAN SOMEONE TELL SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND $133M IS MORE THAN $54.4M? The numbers are significant because the New York Democrat — who is expected to mount a bid for her party’s 2020 presidential nomination — thinks the NRA has a “chokehold” on Congress that blocks gun control.

In fact, as LifeZette’s Kathryn Blackhurst explains, the NRA spent “only” $54.4 million in contributions to, mostly, Republican congressional incumbents and challengers, while Priorities USA, the liberal PAC created and run by two former Obama campaign veterans, spent $133 million on Democrats, especially Hillary Clinton.

Add the spending totals by three other liberal PACs and NRA was outspent in 2016 $393 million to $54.4 million. So tell us Mrs. Gillibrand, how does $54.4 million buy more of a chokehold in the nation’s capitol than $393 million???

THE ABOLITION OF BRITAIN, PART 1,237,324: London Police tell chicken lovers to stop calling them to report the KFC crisis.

(Classical reference in headline.)

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC: We’re People In Severe Pain. “The prescribing of opioids has dropped every year since 2012 and is at 10 year low — and yet drug overdose deaths have skyrocketed. Meanwhile, our public policy looks backward in time, intruding on the doctor patient relationship and burdening patient care. . . . Long-term, legitimate pain patients who have relied on opioid analgesics can no longer fill their prescriptions in the many states that set maximum dosage and supply limits, often of three to seven days. Even in states that contain exceptions for long-term pain care, insurance companies and pharmacy policies use such laws as a reason to deny coverage or fills. Pain patients are being denied treatment and involuntarily tapered off of opioid medications, even if they’ve never shown any risks of abuse.”

Flashback: Opiophobia.

Clinicians and researchers have long remarked on the link between opiophobia and undertreatment of pain. In a 1966 pharmacology textbook, the psychiatrist Jerome H. Jaffe, who later became Richard Nixon’s drug czar, noted that patients who take narcotics long enough develop tolerance (a need for larger doses to achieve the same effect) and physical dependence (resulting in withdrawal symptoms). But he cautioned that “such considerations should not in any way prevent the physician from fulfilling his primary obligation to ease the patient’s discomfort. The physician should not wait until the pain becomes agonizing; no patient should ever wish for death because of his physician’s reluctance to use adequate amounts of potent narcotics.”

Jaffe’s admonition suggests that undertreatment of pain was common, an impression confirmed in the early 1970s by two psychiatrists at Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center in New York. Assigned to handle “difficult” patients, Richard M. Marks and Edward J. Sachar discovered a very good reason why so many continued to complain even after being treated with narcotics: They were still in pain. “To our surprise,” they wrote in the February 1973 Annals of Internal Medicine, “instead of the primary issue being personality problems in the patient, in virtually every case it was found that the patient was not being adequately treated with analgesics and, further, the house staff for various reasons was hesitant to prescribe more.”

We need sensible prescribing, not over- and under-treatment fads.

WHY ARE DEMOCRAT-DOMINATED INDUSTRIES SUCH CESSPITS OF SEXUAL ABUSE AND EXPLOITATION? “How common is sexual misconduct in Hollywood? A USA Today survey of 843 women in the entertainment industry found 94% say they’ve experienced harassment or assault.”

In October when the Weinstein story broke, Steve Hayward wrote, “Why is it, Glenn Reynolds likes to ask, that liberal-run cities and institutions all seem to be hotbeds of sexism and racism? To adapt this slightly, maybe there’s a reason the left is so obsessed with sexual harassment and racism, because it is practiced so much in their communities and institutions.”

As a prominent woman in the space exploration industry once said, nuke the site from orbit – it’s the only way to be sure.

AT AMAZON, First Alert CO615 Dual-Power Carbon Monoxide Plug-In Alarm with Battery Backup and Digital Display. Everyone should have a CO detector.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON ON KILL CHIC: In Art, Progressives Murder Republican Presidents & Other Enemies.

3) Metaphorically assassinating a Bush or Trump has no real-life ramifications. Lowering the bar of what is culturally acceptable has nothing to do with violence such as a Bernie Sanders supporter shooting Representative Steven Scalise and fellow Republican congressmen. But in the case of progressive targets, lowering the bar just might have real consequences, given the Right’s innate propensity for hate and violence.

Translated, that means that the sober and mellifluous Obama can engage his culturally explorative side — and in his usual judicious tones — while not being especially bothered by the killing chic of Kendrick Lamar or Kehinde Wiley whom he patronizes. All that is a welcomed edgy expression of authenticity and presidential versatility.

And perhaps in the same warped manner, so is the art of ritually killing Bush or Trump in film, art, and literature, through knife, bullet, and bomb: artistically pushing the envelope — and all for a noble cause.

Read the whole thing; as Kurt Schlichter writes, “Progressives Must Stop Using Terror To Try And Intimidate Conservatives.”

THE RUSSIAN BOT HYSTERIA: “If only Joe McCarthy had lived to see this moment, when it is suddenly in vogue to attribute large-scale events in American politics to the hand of Russia and to inveigh against domestic subversion,” Rich Lowry writes in his syndicated column. “We aren’t divided because of Russia; we’re divided because we have genuine, deeply held differences. The fault, to the extent there is one, isn’t with the bots, but with ourselves.”

Read the whole thing – particularly if you’re employed by Newsweek.

Related: Oh, the Joy-full irony: MSNBC news host tops the list of Russian trolls’ favorite pundits.

FLASHBACK: Who Goes to Prison Due to Gun Control?

According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, for Fiscal Year 2011, 49.6% of those sentenced to federal incarceration with a primary offense of firearms violations were black, 20.6% were Hispanic, and only 27.5% were white.

This is how gun laws actually work—those caught violating them go to prison. For the mere act of owning an illegal weapon—not necessarily for using it, not for threatening anyone with it, not for being irresponsible with it—people who have harmed no one are locked up in prison for years at a time. As with the rest of the criminal justice system, particularly the war on drugs, these laws disproportionately harm the poor and minorities. That is the inescapable reality of gun control.

Democrats should be made to talk about this.

THEY JUST CAN’T LEAVE MELANIA ALONE: Michelle Obama could do no wrong. Melania Trump, it seems, can do nothing right.

I’M SO OLD, I CAN REMEMBER FAR ENOUGH BACK TO WHEN NBC WAS STILL SANE:

Note the tag line below the photo. Funny, how Tom Brokaw, Chris Matthews, Chuck Todd, Brian Williams or Al Sharpton aren’t quitting their gigs at NBC to fight the patriarchy.

Update: Deploy the mighty space phallus!”

STATUS-6: What Russia Is Saying About Its 100-Megaton Nuclear Torpedo.

This “megaton-class nuclear weapon”, as described by one Russian source, is delivered by an unmanned undersea vehicle (UUV) and has the potential to exterminate a significant portion of the U.S. population in a single doomsday blow if deployed against the East Coast of the United States. This source explains: the Status-6 UUV is “designed to defeat important enemy economic facilities in the region of the coast and to inflict guaranteed unacceptable damage to the country’s territory by creating zones of extensive radioactive contamination unsuitable for carrying out military, economic and other activities in these zones for a long time.” For good measure, it is additionally explained that the weapon can also be used to destroy naval bases or aircraft carrier battle groups. This edition of Bear Cave takes makes a brief examination of what Russian commentators are actually saying about Status-6.

First, however, it should be said that TNI has carried several articles that provide a good analysis of this new weapons system, including in particular, a fine exploratory piece by Dave Majumdar. He quotes CSBA undersea warfare expert Bryan Clark explaining that the system is far from an ideal weapon and may face real technical hurdles since a one-hundred megaton weapon could be exceedingly heavy and thus “difficult to control.” Monterey nuclear weapons expert Jeffrey Lewis is quoted reassuringly as saying: “I think we could build defenses against it … It should be easier than intercepting a missile, for sure.”

Maybe it’s time to beef up the old SOSUS lines.

FASTER, PLEASE: Scientists find new antimalarial drug targets.

PRETTY BAD: Just How Bad Is Sugar For Your Heart And Body?

COLIN POWELL: ‘Pretty Shocking’ That So Many American Youths Lack Smarts, Fitness for Military. “They can’t get through the basic exam that we give them. Now, c’mon, it’s not that hard of a test, but even high school kids who graduated high school can’t get through this exam.”

DOUBLING DOWN ON STUPID: Pelosi: GOP Tax Bill Is ‘Unpatriotic.’

It used to be dissent that was patriotic. Now patriotism is happily accepting whatever crumbs Washington allows you to keep out of your own paycheck.

ANTITRUST: AT&T’s attempt to buy Time Warner suffers a blow in court.

ALEX BEREZOW: CNN thinks that socialism is cool. My grandparents from the USSR would disagree.

SOME FAKE NEWS IN ILLINOIS.

JUST MORE CRUMBS: Manufacturers to American Workers: We’re Hiring.

At the end of 2017, the National Association of Manufacturers surveyed its membership and the results were recording-breaking. Almost 95 percent of respondents felt positive about the outlook of their businesses — an all-time high in the survey’s 20-year history.

Manufacturing is in the spotlight, with elected leaders and the American people cheering for us. Demonstrating where manufacturers sit in today’s America, three of the guests of honor for President Trump’s State of the Union address were manufacturers — Steve Staub, Sandy Keplinger and Corey Adams from Staub Manufacturing Solutions in Dayton, Ohio.

Manufacturers’ newfound confidence didn’t happen by accident. Major developments in Washington, D.C., dramatically improved the business climate in the United States, most notably regulatory relief and, at the end of the year, historic tax reform.

I had been assured, starting in early 2009, that “business climate” was a myth.

SOMETIMES THE OLD WAYS ARE BEST: Merchant Ship Goes Medieval, Throws Boiling Oil To Fight Off Pirates. But honestly, I think a Ma Deuce and some RPGs would be better.

HMM: Massive Overnight Twitter Purge Outrages Conservatives. “Users locked out of accounts, lose thousands of followers.”

Plus: “Gab TV broadcast the reports they are getting by the thousands of people locked out. Twitter seems to be labeling Trump supporters ‘Russian bots’ and banning them until they provide confidential information most people don’t want Twitter to have.”

My account seems unaffected, but I’m good about blocking bots just as soon as they start following me. So I suspect Twitter really is purging fake accounts — but so far they seem to be letting leftwing bots slide.

THE SADDEST HEADLINE EVER WRITTEN: China wages war on funeral strippers.

It’s official: Commies ruin everything.

Via Iowahawk, who tweets, “Oh great, now I have to go and completely update my funeral arrangements.”

PUNCHING BACK TWICE AS HARD, HADRIAN’S WALL EDITION: Roman boxing gloves unearthed by Vindolanda dig.

Experts at Vindolanda, near Hexham, in Northumberland, believe they are “probably the only known surviving examples from the Roman period”.

Dr Andrew Birley, Vindolanda Trust director of excavations, described the leather bands as an “astonishing” find.

The gloves were discovered last summer along with a hoard of writing tablets, swords, shoes and bath clogs.

Made of leather, they were designed to fit snugly over the knuckles and have the appearance of a protective guard.

Dr Birley said: “I have seen representations of Roman boxing gloves depicted on bronze statues, paintings and sculptures, but to have the privilege of finding two real leather examples is exceptionally special.

This is an impressive find, but not as impressive as the last line from the story: “It is understood they would have been used for sparring sessions as they do not have metal inserts used in ancient boxing bouts.”

Ouch.

THERE’S MORE THAN ONE WAY TO REPEAL AND REPLACE OBAMACARE: Republicans in Congress failed to repeal and replace Obamacare but President Donald Trump is still searching around the dark corners of the federal bureaucracy to root out as much of President Barack Obama’s “signature achievement” as possible.

One significant area is in allowing people to buy short-term health insurance coverage policies when that’s what they need, rather than being forced by Washington bureaucrats to pay unbelievably high premiums for benefits they don’t need. Obama closed off this option in the waning days of his administration. Now Trump is re-opening it. And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is again predicting apocalypse.

IT’S COME TO THIS: CNN knocks on woman’s door, wants to know why she promoted a Russian-organized pro-Trump rally.

And because of the symbiotic relationship of big media and social media, the inevitable occurs:

That’s a mighty weak news hook. But what makes it worse is that CNN chose to name her in its report. (Her name’s not featured in the clip below.) And now, per Jerry Dunleavy, she’s being harassed by lefty trolls because of it.

But of course – the Central Scrutinizers at Time-Warner-CNN-HBO will dox any and all potential customers when they commit doubleplus ungood crimethink.

REMEMBER WHEN “FALLING ON YOUR SWORD” MEANT SOMETHING? Former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova is calling for FBI Director Christopher Wray to resign in the wake of multiple revelations that his bureau was warned about Nikolas Cruz but still dropped the ball.

“These 17 young people would be alive today if a bunch of adults had done their jobs. And the fact is, they didn’t,” diGenova said, according to LifeZette’s Brendan Kirby. “You will wait until hell freezes over before he does it. Christopher Wray should be fired. This is an embarrassment. It happened on his watch.”

CHRISTIAN TOTO: Five Woke Movies Deemed Not Woke Enough by SJWs.

There’s just no pleasing some people. And what Hollywood doesn’t get (well, what Hollywood doesn’t want to get) is that they’d make better movies if they’d stop trying to please those people.

OBVIOUS #FAKENEWS: Man Joins CrossFit Without Telling Anyone.

IN THE MAIL: What If It Does Work Out?: How a Side Hustle Can Change Your Life.

Plus, fresh Gold Box and Lightning Deals. New deals every hour. Your patronage is always appreciated!

DOUBLE TROUBLE: Roger Simon explores How the MSM and Russian Trolls Are Destroying the Democratic Party.

CHRIS QUEEN: Meet the Olympic Athletes Who Probably Don’t Belong There.

VALENTINE’S DAY MEDEVAC DURING TET OFFENSIVE 1968: The helicopters are bringing wounded men to a field hospital near Hue City. A grim photograph.

ANTITRUST UPDATE: Amazon is on its way to becoming the next Standard Oil, amassing inordinate market power to set the terms by which goods are bought and sold in the United States.

Amazon, in just 23 years, has gone from a website offering books at a discount to a behemoth with revenues that now surpass all of America’s department, grocery store and restaurant chains combined. Most worrisome is that the company dominates all e-commerce, which grows five times faster than brick-and-mortar retail, and is going to enter the financial services and healthcare sectors. This is in addition to its recent entertainment ventures and its new entry into the $8 trillion industrial market, providing everything from valves to industrial motors and maintenance supplies.

The company has a market capitalization value of $602 billion, which is, ironically, bigger than was New Jersey’s GDP in 2016.

Heh.

WHY RELYING ON TWITTER IS JUST PLAIN STUPID: Chris Cuomo does it again, this time retweeting a totally bogus claim — without a lick of fact-checking — that some kid bought an AR-15 without valid ID. Twitter busts him on the fact that the same kid admitted he never bought the weapon, and Ben Shapiro adds that:

“When called on it, Cuomo tweeted, “Isn’t the point that the kid’s age and lack of ID wasn’t a deterrent? and this isn’t all gun shops. Place I bought my shotgun basically goes farther than the law requires and makes judgments about whom to sell to. Point is the system should be better.”

Again, we see an alleged journalist whose purported commitment to principles of accuracy are swept aside when there’s advocacy to be made. CNN’s own guidelines say:

“CNN does not try to appeal to a specific point of view or political constituency. To the contrary, the reporters, producers, editors and writers at CNN aim for comprehensive journalism.”

I wonder if he’s actually read this.

THE CRITICAL MINERALS LIST: Compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey. “…a draft list of minerals considered critical to the economic and national security of the United States.”

RELATED: Congo and the corrupt cobalt crisis. (Scroll down to February 10 post.)

BLUE WAVE? Trump rebound has Democrats fretting over midterms.

This one comes from Politico:

House Democrats are heading into the throes of the election haunted by many of the same problems that dogged them in 2016: a Trump-dominated news cycle, a message that’s struggling to break through and sharp divisions within the party about how to fix it.

Now many Democrats say they’re watching nervously as polls start to trend in Republicans’ favor — and worry they’re witnessing the beginning of a slow-motion train wreck that they have no idea how to stop.

There are still widespread disagreements within the diverse 193-member caucus about what campaign message Democrats should rally around in the final months before the midterms and even who should be the party’s chief messenger.

I’m usually loathe to give advice, but if anyone in the Democratic caucus is reading this, please take my suggestion of running against tax cuts and in in favor of radical identity politics.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Event on ‘white supremacy’ organized in response to Shapiro. And they’re really weaselly about it: “‘We do not know whether Ben Shapiro is a white supremacist,’ organizers of the event told Campus Reform. ‘What we know is that we have received an outpouring of support.'”

I don’t know whether the organizers of this event are child molesters, but I do know that Ben Shapiro’s will draw a bigger crowd.

LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: Kill the NRA, Mueller Gets Another One and Much, Much More. “Speaking of RUSSIAN troll farms, according to The New York Post, the RUSSIANS ‘hired two actors in an abortive bid to fake a sex tape of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’.”

Rule 34 always applies, even in presidential politics.

DEEP STATE STASI: When School-Voucher Foes Called in the Feds … and Called the Shots. “It was a prolonged mystery that struck Wisconsin education reformers as more akin to a Kafka novel than American due process: Who was behind cryptic demand letters sent under the aegis of the Obama Justice Department, intimating without specific evidence that Milwaukee’s school-choice program was illegally discriminating against disabled kids? Now, after a six-year bureaucratic and legal tangle in which school voucher advocates said they were stonewalled by Washington, the mystery has been solved. And the answer, they say, is alarming: The federal operation was sparked and practically run behind the scenes by liberal opponents of the program.”

RICH LOWRY: THE RUSSIANS DIDN’T DO ANYTHING TO US THAT WE WEREN’T ALREADY DOING TO OURSELVES: “The larger goal was to sow discord, yet we had already primed ourselves for plenty of that. Does anyone believe, absent Russian trolls on Twitter and Facebook, that we were headed to a placid election season involving an incendiary, mediagenic former reality TV star bent on blowing up the political establishment and a longtime pol who had stoked the enmity of Republicans for 30 years and was under FBI investigation?”

The Russians didn’t make Hillary skip Wisconsin, and they didn’t make her stage a late, and grudging, concession.

MORE THAN CRUMBS: Heckler confronts Pelosi over her wealth: ‘How much are you worth, Nancy?’

BILLY GRAHAM HAS DIED, at 99.

He, my dad, and Richard Nixon had an episode together, which you can read about here.

BYRON YORK: Devin Nunes’ 10 questions about the Trump dossier.

House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes has sent a series of questions about the Trump dossier to a number of current and former government officials. The committee did not specify to whom Nunes sent the questions, but a spokesman said the letter has gone to more than 20 recipients.

The questions concern when the recipients first became aware of “the information contained in the Steele dossier,” referring to the compilation of anti-Trump allegations compiled during the 2016 campaign by former British spy Christopher Steele. The letter asks who the recipients may have shared dossier information with. They ask when the recipient first learned that the dossier was financed by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. They ask when President Obama was made aware of the information in the dossier. And more.

Interesting.

IT’S IN A COUNTRY WESTERNERS DON’T CARE ABOUT, AND IT MAKES MUSLIMS LOOK BAD, SO IT’S NOT GOING TO BE A STORY: A Slaughter In Nigeria Goes Unreported.. “One attack took place in broad daylight, as people were about to go to church. The assailants chased and killed the villagers and burned down nine churches and many more houses.”

CHANGE: Dems fume as Trump pushes low-cost, ObamaCare alternative health plans.

The proposed regulations would allow insurers to sell individual consumers “short-term” policies that can last up to 12 months, have fewer benefits, and come with lower premiums.

The plans also would come with a disclaimer that they don’t meet the Affordable Care Act’s consumer protection requirements, such as guaranteed coverage. Insurers could also charge consumers more if an individual’s medical history discloses health problems.

But at a time of rising premiums, Trump administration officials touted the option as a boost for those who need coverage but don’t qualify for the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies and would otherwise face paying the full premium cost.

“We need to be opening up more affordable alternatives,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters. “It’s one step in the direction of providing Americans with alternatives that are both more affordable and more suited to individual and family circumstances.”

Good.

MARY CHASTAIN: Refugee Haven Canada Ready to Send More North Korean Asylum Seekers Back Home.. “But reformed jihadists are okay!”

After “reformed jihadists” is not quite the proper place to insert a “Heh.”

WELL, PEOPLE HAVE BEEN CALLING FOR SENSIBLE GUN POLICIES: Florida Senate Committee Taking Up Bill to Arm Teachers.

Related: 250 Teachers Sign Up for 50 Seats at Concealed Carry Training Session.

BUT TRUMP’S A WARMONGER OR SOMETHING: U.S. says ready to talk Mideast peace; Abbas calls for conference.

REASON: No, Trump Did Not Make It Easier for Mentally Ill People to Buy Guns: Shooting revives deliberately misleading talking points about a bad regulation both the NRA and the ACLU opposed.

In the wake of yesterday’s deadly school shooting in Florida, President Donald Trump tweeted that there were signs that alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz was “mentally disturbed.” Trump encouraged people to report bad behavior to authorities.

In response, a Twitter and media parade of people spouted misleading claims about an Obama-era regulation that Trump and Congress rolled back.

None of this is a remotely accurate description of what happened. A year ago, Congress and Trump eliminated a proposed rule that would have included in the federal government gun background database people who received disability payments from Social Security and received assistance to manage their benefits due to mental impairments.

This is a regulation that potentially deprived between 75,000 to 80,000 people of a right based not on what they had done but on the basis of being classified by the government in a certain way. The fact that these people may have these impairments did not inherently mean that they were dangerous to themselves or others and needed to be kept away from guns.

As I noted when the regulation was repealed last March, this rule violated not just the Second Amendment but the Fourth, because it deprived the affected people of a right without due process. The government does have the power to restrict and even deny gun ownership to people, but it has to show that these people have engaged in behavior that makes weapons dangerous in their hands.

That’s why the regulation was opposed not just by National Rifle Association (NRA) but by several mental health and disability groups and by the American Civil Liberties Union. Pundits largely ignored the latter groups’ opposition to the rule, preferring to play up the power of the NRA and their influence on Republicans to turn the issue into a partisan fight.

What’s funny is, when I posted this Reason article on Facebook, I got a Facebook-generated “fact checker.”

The thing is, the AP article just says that Trump signed the order — which nobody disputes — but doesn’t undercut the Reason piece at all. Even worse, I heard nothing from Facebook and only found out that this was what Facebook was doing from friends. If this is how their much-touted anti-fake-news program works, it’s pathetic.

AMERICA: West Point Posthumously Accepts Fallen Parkland JRTOC Student.

BABY STEPS: Saudi women to start own busines without male permission.

The policy change, announced by the Saudi government on Thursday, also marks a major step away from the strict guardianship system that has ruled the country for decades.

“Women can now launch their own businesses and benefit from (governmental) e-services without having to prove consent from a guardian,” the ministry of commerce and investment said on its website.

Under Saudi Arabia’s guardianship system, women are required to present proof of permission from a male “guardian” — normally the husband, father or brother — to do any government paperwork, travel or enrol in classes.

Long dependent on crude production for economic revenue, Saudi Arabia is pushing to expand the country’s private sector, including an expansion of female employment under a reform plan for a post-oil era.

All these baby steps are adding up — faster than I’d thought possible, and without (yet?) any major backlash.

THIS IS CNN: Trump’s Twitter Venting Against FBI Is Just What Russia Wants.

THE HILL: Judicial order in Flynn case prompts new round of scrutiny.

The federal judge overseeing the criminal case against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn has ordered special counsel Robert Mueller’s team to turn over any “exculpatory evidence” to his defense team.

The development generated immediate attention in conservative circles, with some seizing on the order as a potential indication that Flynn’s guilty plea had been called into question.

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan filed the order on Friday, directing federal prosecutors to produce to Flynn’s legal team “any evidence in its possession that is favorable to defendant and material either to defendant’s guilt or punishment” in a timely manner.

Sullivan’s order invoked the “Brady Rule,” which requires prosecutors to disclose exculpatory evidence in their possession to the defense — that is, evidence that could prove favorable to the defendant in negating his guilt, reducing his potential sentence or bolstering the credibility of a witness.

Could this be Ted Stevens all over again?

FROM BLAKE SMITH:  Test of Valor.

NO, THEY’RE NOT.  BUT KEEP TREATING THEM AS THOUGH THEY ARE AND THEY’LL BE:  Are American Boys Broken?

WHAT PART OF CRIMINALS DON’T OBEY LAWS DO THEY FAIL TO GET:  Florida House kills AWB bill. (Senate is still not decided).