December 9, 2017

OH, THERE IS MY SHOCKED FACE:  Yet Another “Racism” Hoax.

THEY JUST CAN’T HELP THEMSELVES:  CNN with more fake news.

BABY PICTURE OF THE UNIVERSE?  Monster black hole is the oldest ever found.

ABOUT TIME:  DOJ Opens Investigation Of Plannned Parenthood And Sales Of Baby Parts.

THEY HAVE NO HUMAN FEELINGS:  Newsweek Mocks Loss of Mike Pence’s Cat Pickles.

BARTENDERS AND WAITSTAFF SHOCKED:  Science shows drunk people have no idea how wasted they are.

NEWS YOU CAN USE:   The absolute worst Christmas gifts you can give.

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU NEED TO KNOW IS WHETHER YOUR INSURANCE WILL COVER THIS:  Here’s what you need to know about 3D mammograms.

THE HALF THAT PAY ATTENTION TO POLITICS. I MEAN, REALLY, MOST HUMAN-SUITS DON’T FIT THAT WELL, AND YOU CAN SEE THE LIZARD UNDERNEATH:  Or see it come out in the way they vote.   Half of humans believe in alien life, study says.

WHAT WERE AUSTRALIANS SMOKING TO EVEN THINK OF THIS?  Military wives furious over proposal to send sex workers to troops.

NEVER TRUST A MALE ‘FEMINIST’. IT’S JUST COVER UNDER WHICH TO HOIST THE PIRATE FLAG:  They probably also have other bad habits.   Fairbanks man gets 45 year sentence in child abuse case.

DON’T TRUST AND ALWAYS VERIFY:  Roy Moore accuser admits altering yearbook entry.

December 8, 2017

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OOPS, THEY DID IT AGAIN: CNN Botches Major ‘Bombshell’ Alleging Contacts Between Don Jr. And WikiLeaks.

The story, which CNN published on Friday and covered extensively on TV, was touted as the first evidence that the Trump campaign was given a heads-up about documents stolen from Democrats.

But the story appears to have been riddled with errors, while also lacking key context.

Perhaps the most jarring error in the CNN report is the date on which Trump Jr. was sent the email. The network reported that a person named Mike Erickson emailed Trump Jr. and others on the Trump campaign on Sept. 4, 2016, with a link to Wikileaks documents as well as a decryption key to access them.

The email also offered access to emails that had been stolen from former Sec. of State Colin Powell, according to CNN.

But a copy of the email provided to The Daily Caller shows that Erickson sent the email on Sept. 14.

That date is significant because WikiLeaks had released a batch of stolen documents on Sept. 13. The group touted its release of the DNC documents, which were published by Guccifer 2.0.

Read the whole thing, which is yet another enforced error by a major outlet of the Democratic-Media Complex.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): Ouch.

HOW THE FBI CRIMINALIZED TRUMP’S TRANSITION.

STOCK UP ON AA batteries from AmazonBasics.

STRANGE THAT NOBODY TRIED THIS BEFORE: Trump, Mattis turn military loose on ISIS, leaving terror caliphate in tatters.

WOMAN CONVICTED OF DISORDERLY CONDUCT for yelling at her teenager in her own home.

MY CHAKRA, MY CHOICE: TV host slut-shames woman who says she had sex with 20 ghosts.

That’s nice, but did she make it with a chandelier?

THOUGHTS ON THE STATE AND LOCAL TAX DEDUCTION.

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I HAD MISSED THIS: Politico: How Trump Is Going After Hezbollah in America’s Backyard.

IN THE FUTURE, EVERYONE WILL BE NAPOLEON FOR 15 MINUTES: Love at First Light! Woman Gets Engaged to Her Chandelier: ‘I Love Kissing and Cuddling Lumiere.’

What Is Objectum Sexual (OS)?

Sometimes referred to as objectophilia, OS has to do with the attraction and commitment to inanimate objects and is thought to be related to the autism spectrum, an antisocial personality disorder, or past trauma.

However, Erika Eiffel, a San Francisco woman married to the Eiffel Tower, disagrees.

“OS people have a spectrum just as society does from one extreme to the next. It’s a misconception that OS people only love objects and cannot relate to people on any level,” she wrote in an interview with support group Objectum-Sexuality Internationale. “The reality is, most OS people are social but choose not to expose themselves to public scrutiny and jeopardize the balance they have established.”

Eija-Riitta Berliner-Mauer, 54, of Sweden is also known in the OS community for having married the Berlin Wall.

Well, it’s nice to see someone who loves lamp more than Brick Tamland of Anchorman, I guess. But the ghosts of the Weimar Republic just called and said, “Oy, and we thought we were meshugenah.”

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Woman Gets Engaged to Her Chandelier: ‘I Love Kissing and Cuddling Lumiere.’

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HEADLINE OVERSELLS A BIT: Female aides said Franks suggested intercourse to impregnate them. Only here’s what the story actually says: “The sources said Franks approached two female staffers about acting as a potential surrogate for him and his wife, who has struggled with fertility issues for years. But the aides were concerned that Franks was asking to have sexual relations with them. It was not clear to the women whether he was asking about impregnating the women through sexual intercourse or in vitro fertilization.”

So it’s clear in the headline, but it wasn’t clear to the women. But I think I see where this is going. Still, how can you blame Franks? Democrats have been telling us nonstop that we live in The Handmaid’s Tale now; he was just taking them at their word and acting accordingly . . . .

UPDATE: Hey, he was offering $5 million. For that, I’d consider having his baby. I dunno, maybe I should be taking this more seriously, but it’s Friday afternoon and the news has gotten too weird even for me.

Or as someone else put it:

REVIEW: 2018 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack.

NOBODY TELL NOTORIOUS ROBOPHOBE MATTHEW YGLESIAS: 27 Percent of Millennials Would Date a Robot.

LATE-STAGE SOCIALISM: Venezuela’s chronic shortages give rise to ‘medical flea markets.’

In the middle of a market in the humid and sweltering city of Maracaibo, dozens of boxes full of medicines including antibiotics and pain killers are stacked on top of each other. The packaging is visibly deteriorated: The cases are discolored and some are even dirty.

Doctors warn these drugs — usually smuggled in from Colombia, a few hours’ drive from Maracaibo — pose risks.

“We’ve found that a lot of them have not been maintained at proper temperatures,” warned oncologist Jose Oberto, who leads the Zulia state’s doctors association.

Still, some Venezuelans feel they have no choice but to rely on contraband medicine.

“I had to buy medicine from Colombia, and it worried me because the label said ‘hospital use,'” said retiree Esledy Paez, 62.

But they are often prohibitively expensive for Venezuelans, many of whom earn just a handful of dollars a month at the black market rate due to soaring inflation.

Norkis Pabon struggled to find antibiotics for her hospitalized husband to prevent his foot injury from worsening due to diabetes.

Wreckers, hoarders, saboteurs, Trotskyites, kulaks, Yankee Imperialists, counterrevolutionaries, and (of course) Jews are to blame.

JOURNALISM: AN ENDLESS SERIES OF CLOWNS, STEPPING ON RAKES. CNN Gets Date Wrong, Claims Email Calling Attention to Public Information Was Secret Tipoff.

WELL-BUILT: NASA’s oldest Mars rover survives another harsh winter.

IT’S NOT OVER YET: Al Franken’s political career began with an apology to women. It ended without one.

He never actually felt sorry “that I had written ‘Porn-O-Rama’ or pitched that stupid Lesley Stahl joke at two in the morning,” Franken wrote years later in his book.

“I was just doing my job,” he wrote. “But running for office is a different job. When you run for office, you’re asking people to stand with you and work for you and believe in you. And you’re making a promise that it’ll be worth it. People had to know I understood that.”

Last month, nearly a decade after Franken’s strategic apology, a woman accused him of groping and forcibly kissing her in 2006. She was followed by another accuser, then another and another — eight women in total by Thursday.

Franken apologized without hesitation this time, but also without admitting anything, and always with qualifications.

“There are some women — and one is too many — who feel that I have done something disrespectful, and that’s hurt them, and for that I am tremendously sorry,” he told one interviewer.

“I am very sorry if these women experienced that,” he told another.

Many recoiled from these semi-apologies.

Franken hasn’t changed — and he hasn’t actually ended his political career, either.

FASTER, PLEASE: Researchers develop gel that could help save soldiers’ eyes.

ANALYSIS: ISIS Territorial Losses Haven’t Degraded Global Attack Reach.

CHANGE: Saudi Arabia Allows First Public Concert by a Female Performer, and Saudi Women Go Crazy.

Thousands of young women attended the sold-out event on Wednesday, removing their abayas, (the floor-length robes women in Saudi Arabia are obligated to wear in public), shaking out their hair and dancing to covers of songs by pop stars such as Whitney Houston and Celine Dion. At one point, the singer looked out at the crowd and yelled, “Girl power!”

“This is a very proud moment for Saudi Arabia,” a presenter said while welcoming the Lebanese singer to the stage. “All women should express their appreciation for a fact that a woman for the first time is performing at a concert in Saudi Arabia.”

The concert was another symbol of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s attempts to modernize and reform Saudi Arabia.

Prince bin Salman’s baby steps keep growing bigger and coming more frequently.

FASTER, PLEASE: Groundbreaking New CRISPR Technique Reverses Genetic Disease Symptoms in Mice.

FASTER, PLEASE: Pentagon wants 12 month procurement time for major weapons programs.

The Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Ellen Lord, was asked her goal for cutting back time for weapons procurement and she responded “12 months for major programs.”

Lord, who began working at the Pentagon in August, was formerly chief executive of defense contractor Textron Systems, an aerospace and defense company that makes drones and missiles.

If the acquisition process is shortened it would be good for larger weapons makers because time is money, Byron Callan, a defense analyst at Capital Alpha Partners, said in an interview. The move could also increase competition from smaller companies that often lack the financial resources to wait out lengthy Pentagon procurements, he said.

Speeding things up might shake the Pentagon loose from its insistence on reinventing the wheel with nearly every major program.

YES, BUT ON THE OTHER HAND WE’RE CONSTANTLY TOLD THAT WOMEN ARE SMARTER, BRAVER, AND HARDER-WORKING THAN MEN, SO THAT SHOULD EVEN THINGS UP: Being a Doctor Is Hard. It’s Harder for Women.

J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS: Rod Rosenstein Overcome By Soros Swamp Gas.

GOOD LORD: Arizona Cop Acquitted for Killing Man Crawling Down Hotel Hallway While Begging for His Life.

The incident occurred in January 2016. Daniel Shaver apparently was showing off a pellet gun, and it was visible through the hotel room window. This promped somebody to call to the hotel front desk, which prompted a call to the police.

So it wasn’t unreasonable for police to approach the hotel room thinking the encounter might be dangerous. They knew there was a gun there, and they didn’t know it was a pellet gun. But that video shows some truly baffling decisions by Brailsford that escalated the situation to make it even scarier, not the least of which was that Brailsford’s bluster and open threats of violence made him appear as terrified as Shaver.

The contents of the body camera footage had been described to the public before, when Brailsford was first charged, but the video itself was withheld until this morning.

Forcing Shaver to crawl toward the police like this increased the likelihood that Shaver would lose balance and make wild movements, and Brailsford’s bizarre orders were probably confusing even to a sober person.

Read the whole thing. And the video, I must warn you, is disturbing.

HEATHER WILHELM: ‘Evil’ Tax Cuts? Nope, It’s Blue-State Panic.

Thank goodness for people like Nancy Pelosi, Jerry Brown, the New York Times editorial board, and other blue-state stalwarts, whose No. 1 concern is to fight this pernicious money grab by a sinister, well-organized, and garishly wealthy elite! But hark, New York Times: What have we here? Why, it’s an analysis from your own news pages, dated December 5, with a doozy of a headline: “Among the Tax Bill’s Biggest Losers: High-Income, Blue State Taxpayers.”

Well, this is certainly awkward.

Let’s read on: “While the Republican tax overhaul would add up to an overall tax cut for individual taxpayers, at least through 2025, millions could still immediately receive a tax increase,” notes the report. Interesting! Who might those people be? “For many, particularly those in Democratic areas who earn $200,000 or more, the increase would come from the repeal of the state and local tax deduction, known as SALT.”

If you know anything about California, you likely now know why good old Governor Moonbeam is freaking out. California may be filled with natural wonders, but it’s also a Democratic area chock full of people who earn $200,000 or more — and it’s also known for high state-level income taxes, with a top marginal rate of 13.3 percent. In the bad old days, Californians could count on simply deducting this highway robbery from their federal taxable income, masking the state’s shenanigans and blunting the financial pain. The GOP tax bill yanks what is essentially a federal subsidy away, forcing blue-state residents to face the reality of their local high-tax, high-spending regimes.

They’re only being asked to pay their fair share.

THE INTERNET OF THINGS: HomeKit flaw in iOS 11.2 allowed remote access to smart devices, temporary fix already in place.

FRANKEN, BARTON, CONYERS, ETC. WILL IT NEVER END?: Dr. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, offers a trenchant analysis of what’s fueling the burgeoning congressional sex scandal and why it isn’t likely to end soon. Check out the first segment of his Friday podcast, “The Combustible Mix of Scandal, Moral Relativism and Political Expediency.”

IN THE MAIL: Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival.

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TOTALLY NONPARTISAN AND UNBIASED INVESTIGATION, WE SWEAR, PART 1,000,007: Mueller’s ‘Right-Hand Man’ on Russia Probe Represented Clinton IT Aide Who Set Up Unsecure Server.

THANK YOU FOR HELPING ME REACH MY FUNDRAISING GOAL! Thanks to your generous support, as well as shoutouts from Glenn and Popehat.com, my $3,000 matching fundraiser on Facebook for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education met its goal almost a week early. Perhaps, more than ever, free speech on campus needs all the help it can get, so your support is greatly appreciated!

BUT WHEN AND WHY?

More details here, but we haven’t yet seen the full money quote.

HMM: Obama Appointed Judge Mysteriously Recuses Himself From Michael Flynn Case.

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras abruptly recused himself Thursday night with no explanation. Contreras is an Obama appointee who also sat on the FISA court while the Trump team was under surveillance by the Obama administration. Judge Emmet Sullivan, an Bill Clinton appointee, was randomly assigned to take over the case after Contreras’ recusal.

Of note, Contreras was appointed to the FISA court on May 19, 2016 – before the warrant to surveil one-time Trump advisor Carter Page was issued “in the summer” of 2016. It is unknown whether or not Contreras was involved in the decision, or whether he was involved in surveillance on Michael Flynn.

In fact every single FISA Court judge was appointed during the Obama administration.

Read the whole thing.

MEGAN MCARDLE: Don’t Tune Out ‘What About?’ Maybe you actually are being hypocritical. Cop to it. Learn from it. Get back on topic.

Last week, as you may have noticed, Republicans passed a tax bill. As you may also have noticed, Democrats were aghast. Passing a bill like that on straight party lines! Using a parliamentary maneuver to push through something that could never have survived a filibuster! How could Republicans be so brazen, so immoral, so fiscally irresponsible?

Those of us who remembered saying many of the same things during the passage of Obamacare had to beg them to stop. I mean, we could have been seriously hurt, laughing that hard.

But when I pointed this out, the good citizens of Twitter informed me over and over that this was mere “whataboutism.”

Claiming “Whataboutism” is just a way to deflect.

BREXIT BREAKTHROUGH: The EU and Britain Have Agreed on Key Terms of Divorce.

The European Commission said enough progress had been made after the two sides worked through the night to end an impasse over the status of the Irish border that had scuppered an earlier attempt to clinch a deal on Monday.

The Commission gave its verdict in a statement after intense talks, which resulted in British Prime Minister Theresa May taking an early-morning flight to Brussels to announce the deal alongside Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Donald Tusk, the chairman of European Union leaders, welcomed the deal but said London still needed to provide more clarity on the new relationship after Brexit, and bemoaned the fact the first round of talks had taken so long.

“We all know that breaking up is hard, but breaking up and building a new relation is much harder,” he said. “So much time has been devoted to the easier task and now … we have de facto less than a year” left for talks before Britain is due to leave in March, 2019.

And not a moment too soon, if this next story has any weight to it: Martin Schulz wants ‘United States of Europe’ within eight years.

The leader of Germany’s Social Democratic party has sketched out red lines for talks to form another coalition government with Angela Merkel.

In a speech at the SPD’s party conference in Berlin that called for the creation of a “United States of Europe” by 2025, as well as a more robust social security net and a phasing out of coal power, Martin Schulz made the case for entering open-ended talks with the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

He also tweeted that “Any state that won’t ratify this treaty will automatically leave the EU.”

Whether Schultz, who just led the SPD to its worst election result in the postwar era, has enough juice to make that happen remains to be seen.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Catholic School Under Fire For Celebrating Christmas. “Some students are complaining that Loyola University Chicago puts a greater emphasis on Christmas than on other religious holidays, such as Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan.”

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LIZ SHELD’S MORNING BRIEF: Mueller’s Circus, Days of Rage and Much, Much More.

JAILED FOR A TEXT: China’s Censors Are Spying on Mobile Chat Groups.

One night this September, construction supervisor Chen Shouli fired off a joke in a chat group.

“Haha,” he typed on his black iPhone 7, followed by an off-color wisecrack about a rumored love triangle involving a celebrity and one of China’s most senior government officials.

Four days later, he says, the police telephoned, ordering him in for questioning.

“I thought, I haven’t done anything wrong, have I? I’m law-abiding,” recalls Mr. Chen, a wiry 41-year-old. “So I went in. Once I arrived, they wouldn’t let me leave.”

Mr. Chen was locked in a cell for five days, he says. According to the police report, his comment on the WeChat messaging app was deemed “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” a broad offense that encompasses gang fighting and destruction of public property and is punishable by detention without trial.

In China’s swiftly evolving new world of state surveillance, there are fewer and fewer private spaces. Authorities who once had to use informants to find out what people said in private now rely on a vast web of new technology. They can identify citizens as they walk down the street, monitor their online behavior and snoop on cellphone messaging apps to identify suspected malcontents.

Strong encryption is everyone’s friend — except the tyrant.

MICHAEL BARONE: Real target of Republican tax bills: Feds, eds, and meds bloat.

The Republican tax bills do indeed reduce revenues to the “feds,” with surprisingly small rate cuts for high earners and by cutting the corporate rate from 35 to 20 percent. The current rate, highest in the world, had to be lowered sooner or later, as most liberal economists (and Barack Obama) have long admitted.

And it is hard to take seriously those moaning about increased budget deficits from those unwilling to reform entitlements, which includes all Democrats and many Republicans, notably President Trump.

The critics have more of an argument when it comes to eds and meds. But there’s a counterargument there as well. The tax bills push against the counterproductive government policies that have been pushing up education and health care costs, to the detriment of the consumers thereof.

The tax bills impose a new 1.4 percent tax on the investment income of endowments of very wealthy colleges and universities. They would eliminate deductions for student loans and tax tuition waivers for graduate students.

These institutions have been coasting on their reputation for excellence and as havens of free thought, even as they impose speech codes, conduct kangaroo courts on sexual assault charges and allow humanities and social science departments to be dominated by “postmodern” agitprop and gibberish.

Student loans impoverish many students, especially dropouts, while the money they pump into universities produces administrative bloat, to the point that there are more administrators than teachers in higher education today. Government subsidies produce an oversupply of Ph.D.s, whose theses go unread and whose job prospects are dismal.

Yep. Somebody should write a book on that problem.

CHEESEHEAD STASI: DOJ Report: Wisconsin’s Infamous John Doe Investigation Was More Sinister Than First Reported.

A Wisconsin Attorney General report on the year-long investigation into leaks of sealed John Doe court documents to a liberal British publication in September 2016 finds a rogue agency of partisan bureaucrats bent on a mission “to bring down the (Gov. Scott) Walker campaign and the Governor himself.”

The AG report, released Wednesday, details an expanded John Doe probe into a “broad range of Wisconsin Republicans,” a “John Doe III,” according to Attorney General Brad Schimel, that widened the scope of the so-called John Doe II investigation into dozens of right-of-center groups and scores of conservatives. Republican lawmakers, conservative talk show hosts, a former employee from the MacIver Institute, average citizens, even churches, were secretly monitored by the dark John Doe.

State Department of Justice investigators found hundreds of thousands of John Doe documents in the possession of the GAB long after they were ordered to be turned over to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The Government Accountability Board, the state’s former “nonpartisan” speech cop, proved to be more partisan than originally suspected, the state Department of Justice report found. For reasons that “perhaps may never be fully explained,” GAB held onto thousands of private emails from Wisconsin conservatives in several folders on their servers marked “Opposition Research.” The report’s findings validate what conservatives have long contended was nothing more than a witch-hunt into limited government groups and the governor who was turning conservative ideas into public policy.

“Moreover, DOJ is deeply concerned by what appears to have been the weaponization of GAB by partisans in furtherance of political goals, which permitted the vast collection of highly personal information from dozens of Wisconsin Republicans without even taking modest steps to secure this information,” the report states.

And in an all-too familiar occurrence involving allegations of government abuse, a key hard drive believed to contain the court-sealed John Doe documents leaked to The Guardian in October 2016 has suspiciously disappeared – GAB officials with knowledge of the hard drive can’t seem to explain what happened to it.

People should be jailed and disbarred for this.

WHY ARE LEFTY-DOMINATED INDUSTRIES SUCH CESSPITS OF SEXUAL PREDATION? X-Men Director Bryan Singer Accused of Raping 17-Year-Old Boy, Threatening Him Into Silence.

LATE-STAGE SOCIALISM: China sues Venezuela’s oil company over unpaid bills.

According to court documents filed on Nov. 27 in Houston, Texas, Sinopec USA claims that PDVSA has failed to pay for half of a $43.5 million order for steel products. The lawsuit was first reported by the Financial Times on Wednesday.

The disputed amount is small when compared to the massive debts Venezuela is struggling to repay.

Venezuela and PDVSA owe more than $60 billion just to bondholders. In total, the country owes $196 billion, according to a paper published by the Harvard Law Roundtable.

China’s state banks loaned $60 billion to Venezuela between 2007 and 2016, and the lawsuit is just the latest sign that Beijing is growing impatient with the embattled South American country.

Even the comradely international socialist brotherhood gets tense when the bills don’t get paid.

FREE SPEECH FOR ME, BUT NOT FOR THEE: Two very wrong perspectives on Masterpiece Cakeshop

John McGinnis:

Consider, first, Linda Greenhouse: “in my opinion, if someone wants to be able to pick and choose his customers, he should bake for his friends in his own kitchen and stop calling himself a business.” On her view, people in commerce lose all expressive rights, because on any sensible line, sometimes a baker will be able to refuse a customer because of what that customer insists must be included in the cake design.

Greenhouse’s prejudices against people in commerce are right out of the nineteenth century. There aristocrats and landed gentry looked down on people in trade, thinking that the way those with income earned from land gave them social superiority and a more capacious set of rights. Similarly, Greenhouse earns income as a journalist, and does not regard that as a low commercial activity, although it entirely depends on consumers buying media products. Nevertheless, she feels she should get a full panoply of First Amendment protections while mere artisans get none.

Someone really ought to write a book about how antidiscrimination laws are gradually eroding civil liberties.

CLAIRE BERLINSKI: The Warlock Hunt: The #MeToo moment has now morphed into a moral panic that poses as much danger to women as it does to men.

Among us, it seems, lives a class of men who call to mind Caligula and Elagabalus not only in their depravity, but in their grotesque sense of impunity. Our debauched emperors, whether enthroned in Hollywood, media front offices, or the halls of Congress, truly imagined their victims had no choice but to shut up, take it, and stay silent forever. Many of these men are so physically disgusting, too—the thought of them forcing themselves on young women fills me with heaving disgust. Enough already.

All true; yet something is troubling me. Recently I saw a friend—a man—pilloried on Facebook for asking if #metoo is going too far. “No,” said his female interlocutors. “Women have endured far too many years of harassment, humiliation, and injustice. We’ll tell you when it’s gone too far.” But I’m part of that “we,” and I say it is going too far. Mass hysteria has set in. It has become a classic moral panic, one that is ultimately as dangerous to women as to men.

If you are reading this, it means I have found an outlet that has not just fired an editor for sexual harassment. This article circulated from publication to publication, like old-fashioned samizdat, and was rejected repeatedly with a sotto voce, “Don’t tell anyone. I agree with you. But no.” Friends have urged me not to publish it under my own name, vividly describing the mob that will tear me from limb to limb and leave the dingoes to pick over my flesh. It says something, doesn’t it, that I’ve been more hesitant to speak about this than I’ve been of getting on the wrong side of the mafia, al-Qaeda, or the Kremlin?

But speak I must. It now takes only one accusation to destroy a man’s life. Just one for him to be tried and sentenced in the court of public opinion, overnight costing him his livelihood and social respectability. We are on a frenzied extrajudicial warlock hunt that does not pause to parse the difference between rape and stupidity. The punishment for sexual harassment is so grave that clearly this crime—like any other serious crime—requires an unambiguous definition. We have nothing of the sort.

Read the whole thing. And here’s a nice note of sanity, in the form of a tweet from Berlinski: “So strange. Everyone likes it. I’d braced myself to hide under the bed, barricade the doors, and tell anyone who called I’d never even heard of this ‘Berlinski’ woman.”

Like most mass hysterias, there’s a critical mass, but not really the totality they’d like you to believe.

DIGGING DEEPER: Newly Revealed Experiment Shows How F-35 Could Help Intercept ICBMs.

I covered this one earlier in the week, but the only article I could find was locked tight behind a paywall. This one is free:

The F-35 is studded with sensors like no other aircraft, including the Distributed Aperture System, or DAS, a half-dozen 17-pound electro-optical and infrared sensors. These feed a helmet-mounted display that allows the pilot to effectively “see through the plane” and spot incoming aircraft and missiles.

In October 2014, Northrop and MDA launched FTX-20, an experiment to see, among other things, whether the DAS could track an enemy ICBM. They took data from the sensors, ran it through algorithms developed by Northrop and MDA’s Enterprise Sensor Lab, generated a 3D-moving picture of the missile’s trajectory, and conveyed it over the Link 16 tactical data exchange. This kind of targeting data can help cue the U.S. Navy’s anti-ballistic missile destroyers or short- and intermediate-range missile defenses like the Army’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missile battery deployed in South Korea.

The F-35 sensors aren’t meant to replace the infrared satellites that detect launches, or the sea-based X-Band Radar that can feed targeting data about missile launches to destroyers. Rather, Northrop officials said, the DAS data would help the other missile-defense gear get a targeting track on a missile more quickly, improving the odds of nailing the shot. (You also need two of them in the air for triangulation.)

“That information can go straight to the Patriot [missile system], THAAD, or anywhere else, who has communication with that platform,” John “Bama” Montgomery, a business development manager at Northrop’s ISR & Targeting Division, said on Tuesday.

One drawback is that unlike satellite or ground-based radar, two F-35s must be kept within detection range of the launchpad at all times. But the targeting information they could provide would be priceless.

THIS SCANDAL IS GOING TO TAKE DOWN A LOT OF PEOPLE, BUT I DON’T THINK TRUMP WILL BE ONE OF THEM: Byron York: We knew the FBI was involved in Trump dossier during campaign. Now we learn knowledge of dossier reached into highest levels of Obama Justice Department. “The Ohr revelation comes not long after word that top FBI agent Peter Strzok was removed from the Mueller investigation for anti-Trump text messages he exchanged with a top FBI lawyer who had also worked for the Mueller probe. Now, with news of Ohr’s contacts with Steele and Simpson, Republicans on Capitol Hill — and perhaps some Democrats, too — will wonder just how far the Obama Justice Department officials went in the effort to stop Trump.”

Lock them up.

THEY DIDN’T REALLY WANT HIM GONE, THEY JUST NEEDED THE APPEARANCE OF ACCOUNTABILITY: Democratic senators and staffers shed tears during Al Franken’s resignation speech. Of course, he didn’t resign, merely announced his intention to resign at a later date. We’ll see what happens after Roy Moore is elected, or not.

Even CNN’s Chris Cilizza is calling it “Al Franken’s totally unapologetic resignation.” “Franken’s speech was defined primarily by his lack of any real apology and the clear bitterness he carries for being pushed out amid allegations that he had groped several women and forcibly tried to kiss others.”

But does a promise to resign at an unnamed later date establish the moral ascendancy the Democrats are after here?

SHE’S LIVING IT: The Upside of Office Flirtation?

Allison Benedikt:

When I was 23 years old, my boss would look down the gap at the waistband of my jeans when he walked past my desk. I was an entry-level fact-checker at my first magazine job, and he was an older and more powerful editor. My career, at the time, was in his hands. Once, when we had finished working on a story together, he suggested we get a drink to celebrate. It was a Friday night, and I remember feeling extremely nervous as we sat across from each other in a dark bar. He was flirting with me, I could tell. The next weekend, he asked me out again. A few days later, he kissed me on the steps of the West 4th subway station without first getting my consent. We’ve now been happily married for 14 years and have three children.

It is an understatement to say something has shifted in the culture. And that shift is unquestionably to the good. Men like Harvey Weinstein and Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer and their less famous counterparts deserve to be kicked out of polite society, ruined, and, in certain cases, indicted. Women (and men) feel safer coming forward with stories of abuse and are being believed. But a byproduct of these welcome developments has been an expansion of our collective definition of harassment. Reading accounts of others’ experiences since the great outpouring began, I’ve vacillated between horror at the abusive situations so many women have endured and alarm at some of the interactions being considered misconduct. I’ve felt a rift with many of the younger women I know, who claim to understand exactly where to draw the line between legitimate behavior and abuse and seem to view harassment as any interaction with a man that has made them uncomfortable. For all the power of the #MeToo moment, it’s been a bit bewildering too.

It’s necessary — and belatedly satisfying — to expose devils like Weinstein and Rose and Lauer. But before this new normal settles down, it’s likely to take some innocent reputations along with it. To some “feminists,’ that’s a feature, not a bug.

But even after the dust settles down, the new normal may put a permanent kibosh on happy office romances like Benedikt’s.

KIMBERLEY STRASSEL: Obstruction of Congress: Mueller, the Justice Department and the FBI aren’t helping the lawmakers’ probe.

The media echo chamber spent the week speculating about whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller can or will nab President Trump on obstruction-of-justice charges. All the while it continues to ignore Washington’s most obvious obstruction—the coordinated effort to thwart congressional probes of the role law enforcement played in the 2016 election.

The news that senior FBI agent Peter Strzok exchanged anti-Trump, pro-Hillary text messages with another FBI official matters—though we’ve yet to see the content. The bigger scandal is that the Justice Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Mr. Mueller have known about those texts for months and deliberately kept their existence from Congress. The House Intelligence Committee sent document subpoenas and demanded an interview with Mr. Strzok. The Justice Department dodged, and then leaked.

The department also withheld from Congress that another top official, Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, was in contact with ex-spook Christopher Steele and the opposition-research firm Fusion GPS. It has refused to say what role the Steele dossier—Clinton-commissioned oppo research—played in its Trump investigation. It won’t turn over files about its wiretapping.

And Mr. Mueller—who is well aware the House is probing all this, and considered the Strzok texts relevant enough to earn the agent a demotion—nonetheless did not inform Congress about the matter. Why? Perhaps Mr. Mueller feels he’s above being bothered with any other investigation. Or perhaps his team is covering for the FBI and the Justice Department.

Perhaps.

THE HILL: Ethics panel clears Intel chairman of disclosing classified info.

The House Ethics Committee on Thursday cleared Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, of allegations that he disclosed classified information to the public.

In a statement, the committee said it is closing the investigation into Nunes after consulting with experts on classification rules.

“Based solely on the conclusion of these classification experts that the information that Representative Nunes disclosed was not classified, the Committee will take no further action and considers this matter closed,” it said.

Nunes during a press conference earlier this year announced that intelligence agencies had incidentally collected information about associates of President Trump.

Or maybe not so incidentally, as it is appearing now.

December 7, 2017

ISN’T IT IRONIC? DON’TCHA THINK? Millennials: Calling Us Snowflakes Hurts Our Fragile Feelings.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Visual Guide to Lock Picking.

ASHLEY MCGUIRE: Worried about sexual harassment? Don’t force nuns to buy other people’s birth control. “Coming out in the midst of this, the Becerra-Shapiro suit to rope nuns into contraception has the same icky feel of men pushing women around. . . . Becerra and Shapiro are powerful men with political ambition and a track record for bullying the little guy.”

PEOPLE SEEM TO LIKE THESE, SO HERE’S ANOTHER OPEN THREAD. Talk about whatever you want.

GOOD ADVICE:

Social media mobs are jackals with the memory of gnats. This advice goes for the bosses of people who are being ganged up on social media, too, but most of them don’t have enough backbone.

WELL, THIS IS NEWS: Justice Department Moves To Investigate Planned Parenthood’s Fetal Tissue Practices.

THE EAST IS . . . KINDA THIN AND WATERY: Anheuser-Busch makes a big bet on China — to the tune of 1.5 million tons of beer.

AT AMAZON, 12 Days of Christmas Deals.

Plus, Xmas Savings in Video Games.

SO WE HAVE THE VICTORIANS’ VICES WITHOUT THEIR VIRTUES: Rep. Franks resigning after discussing surrogacy with female staff. “Due to my familiarity and experience with the process of surrogacy, I clearly became insensitive as to how the discussion of such an intensely personal topic might affect others.” Either there’s a lot more to this story, or we’ve really gone crazy.

UPDATE: Ah, the initial bare-bones story has been updated to indicate that he asked them to be surrogates for him and his wife. Still, not exactly Harvey Weinstein stuff.

KURT SCHLICHTER: Liberals Have Turned The FBI Into A Disgrace.

DOWNSIDE: Birth Control Pill Raises Risk of Breast Cancer.

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: The ‘Wandering Eye’ is Just Part of Human Anatomy.

CUE THE WORLD’S SMALLEST VIOLIN: Western Jihadists Who Joined ISIS Fear for Their Lives, Beg to Be Sent Home.

MODIFIED LIMITED HANGOUT? If Moore wins and Franken un-resigns, will Senate Democrats back him up?

Seems awfully Nixonian for a guy who spent his glory days writing scripts for Dan Aykroyd to trash Nixon on a weekly basis.

AT AMAZON,on sale, AT-A-GLANCE Daily Appointment Book / Planner.

JOHN PODHORETZ: Trump’s truth-telling on Jerusalem marks an all-new Middle East.

THEY ALL KNEW: Women enable men like Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose.

Roxanne Jones:

In some cases, these women are the personal assistants, executives and co-workers who have benefited from the harasser’s success. They’ve gotten promotions, recognition and raises.

They may commiserate with other women in the ladies’ room about the awful boys’ club culture. But if you ever accuse a co-worker of sexual harassment or abuse, the last thing they will do is support you. If they have the power, these women may even fire you for causing a stir.

This week, NBC star Matt Lauer became the most recent man to fall amid sexual harassment allegations, which ranged from castigating a woman for not having sex with him after he dropped his pants in the office to sending women sex toys. On Thursday, Lauer apologized: “… there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed,” he wrote. “I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly,” his statement said.

When his “Today” show co-host Savannah Guthrie broke the news of Lauer’s firing on air, she was clearly devastated.

Given that Lauer’s proclivities were no secret, that last bit hasn’t gotten nearly the scrutiny it deserves.

ANDREW MOSEMAN: How To Build A City On The Moon.

AT AMAZON, 12 Days of Christmas Deals.

Plus, save on Grocery and Gourmet Foods.

SERGEY IS WATCHING YOU: Google Street Views AI Can Now Predict Race and Political Party.

BLUE STATE BLUES: A $40 Toll to Drive 10 Miles? It Happened on Virginia’s I-66.

If you took a bus from New York to Washington tomorrow, a 230-mile drive, and then turned around and came back, you still might not spend as much as some Virginians paid on Tuesday to drive there from 10 miles away.

Just after 8 a.m., the price to take the new express lanes on Interstate 66 from the Beltway to downtown Washington reached $40. By the time the morning rush ended at 9:30, the toll was $15.75 — a comparative pittance, but still almost enough for a one-way ticket from New York.

The peak price — which barreled past the $34.50 recorded on Monday, the lanes’ first day of operation — was one of the highest for a toll road anywhere in the United States. But transit officials said the congestion pricing system was working as designed: keeping traffic moving by encouraging people to car-pool or take alternate routes.

If you’re in a hurry to get to DC, I guess it helps to be a well-paid bureaucrat or lobbyist.

GO FOR A NICE HEALTHY WALK — OR NOT: Smoggy streets may negate health benefits of a daily walk.

WOW: This Epic 4K Film Captures the Beauty of Lightning at 1,000FPS.

REVANCHISM? Turkey’s Erdogan calls for border treaty review in Greece visit.

Mr Erdogan said the 1923 treaty that settled Turkey’s borders after World War One was not being applied fairly.

But Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos rejected any change to the Treaty of Lausanne.

Relations between the two Nato members have been uneasy for decades.

The 1923 treaty and the resulting population transfers between the two nations was supposed to settle the Greco-Turkish border once and for all, but it never quite worked out that way.

HEALTH: This Extreme Diet Reversed Type 2 Diabetes in Up to 86% of Patients.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: A Most Remarkable Year.

After a period of sheer disbelief these liberal revolutionaries are now going head to head with the Deplorable rebels. The game’s afoot and nobody can easily call it off.

Which will win has yet to be determined by history. All one can do is compare their present strengths and strategies. In the matter of strength there should be no contest. A survey of federal government employees has the liberals over the Deplorables by almost 19 to 1. Over 99% of Department of Education employees backed Hillary. Trump’s best showing was in the Department of Defense — and even there Hillary had 84% of contributions. Add to this the liberal dominance in the media (93%) and academe (92%) and in Big Silicon, and it should be a case of progressive Goliath walking over conservative David.

Yet for a variety of reasons, the contest is much closer than the liberals could have imagined. Even the term “Resistance” implicitly accepts the status of equality if not actual inferiority. One possible explanation for the surprising competitiveness is the existence of some weakness which prevents liberals from generating their nominal power potential. In fact, the inability of the Resistance to generate net thrust is indirect confirmation that the toxic lying, wasteful spending, institutional incompetence, and ideological madness of which they have been accused are at least partially true.

Though they won’t admit it, they’ve realized this. This quiet acceptance has driven their strategy. The Resistance’s need to rid itself of weakness explains the choice of rectification, also known as purge, as a major activity. Purges have traditionally been used by “progressive” movements to rid themselves of “undesirables.” In 2017 the purge took two forms. The first was directed against the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party, and the second became a vigorous, almost hysterical campaign against sexual predators in liberal ranks. The need to clear the decks was so great that even liberal politicians like Al Franken and John Conyers find themselves reclassified as expendable.

Read the whole thing.

HOW EXERCISE CAN MAKE FOR HEALTHY FAT. “According to a timely new study, a single session of exercise may change the molecular workings of fat tissue in ways that, over time, should improve metabolic health. This finding has particular relevance during the holidays, when, despite our best intentions, so many of us add to our fat stores. Exercise might make these annual bacchanals less metabolically damaging than otherwise.”

For me, at least, exercise also serves as an incentive not to bury all that hard work under a layer of fat.

AND ANOTHER ONE DOWN: Former Congressman Harold Ford Jr. Fired For Misconduct By Morgan Stanley.

In two interviews with HuffPost, the woman alleged that Ford engaged in harassment, intimidation, and forcibly grabbed her one evening in Manhattan, leading her to seek aid from a building security guard. The incident took place several years ago when Ford and the woman were supposed to be meeting for professional reasons. Ford continued to contact her after the encounter until she wrote an email asking him to cease contact.

The email, which was reviewed by HuffPost, shows that the woman emailed Ford after he repeatedly asked her to drinks. She asked him not to contact her anymore, citing his inappropriate conduct the evening where he forcibly grabbed and harassed her. Ford replied to the email by apologizing and agreeing not to contact her.

HuffPost is not identifying the woman at her request but has reviewed emails that confirm her interactions with Ford and spoke to two people whom the woman confided in about the incident. One woman heard from Ford’s accuser the night of the incident and described her as “distraught, shocked, and frightened,” and said that she was concerned about any career ramifications should she report the incident.

Ford comes from a prominent political family in Tennessee. His father, Harold Ford Sr., held a congressional seat for 12 terms before retiring, leaving his son to run for the seat, a race which he won handily.

As the wise man said, “There is no distinctly native American criminal class save Congress.”

ONLY THE PARANOID SURVIVE: What’s Driving Walmart’s Digital Focus? Paranoia, Top Exec Says.

For quite some time, Walmart, No. 1 on Fortune’s Global 500 list of the world’s largest companies with $486 billion in sales last year, has been working to adjust its strategy to reckon with the threat posed by Amazon.com.

The so-called Everything Store had more than 50% of all online retail sales in the U.S. last year and continues to expand at a blistering pace. With its acquisition earlier this year of Whole Foods, Amazon served notice that it is bringing the fight for consumers to Walmart on its own turf—physical stores. Amazon’s market value has risen above $550 billion, significantly above Walmart’s stock market value of around $290 billion despite strong returns for Walmart’s shares this year.

In China, Walmart now has another potent competitor getting into the stores business: Chinese online retail titan Alibaba.

Alibaba announced in November that it was investing $2.9 billion to acquire a 36% stake in Chinese hypermarket operator Sun Art, which has some 400 stores in China similar in scale to Walmart’s superstores. As with Amazon and Whole Foods, Alibaba plans to create a connected retail experience for shoppers between their smartphones and their neighborhood stores.

It’s the same strategy Walmart is pursuing, but in reverse: Amazon and Alibaba want to bring their huge customer bases into stores; Walmart wants to persuade the shoppers who frequent its nearly 12,000 stores globally to do more of their digital shopping with Walmart as well.

Walmart’s online experience is much improved, but Amazon still enjoys amazing customer lock-in with its combination of Prime membership and one-click ordering.