December 4, 2016

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IT SEEMS POINTLESS, BUT DON’T FORGET THAT JILL STEIN RAISED A LOT OF MONEY AND GOT A NEW LIST OF SUCKERS DONORS: Wisconsin Recount Farce Continues. “The filing fee for a recount in the state of Wisconsin, which Jill Stein had to pay, is $1.1M. In addition, the State Board of Elections provided a cost estimate for the entire operation, which also had to be paid in advance, of $3.8M. And what there is to show for it so far is a net gain for Donald J. Trump of 3 votes. . . . Donald Trump need lose no sleep over this, as the real losers are the people who contributed to Stein’s recount fund.”

LEFT STILL KEEPING IT CLASSY AFTER ELECTION LOSS: Democrat Brands Bill Banning Gay Conversion Therapy with Mike Pence’s Name.

RIGHT-WING GUY WON IN AUSTRIA, COURT ORDERED NEW ELECTION, NOW: Mainstream relief as leftist candidate wins in Austria.

More here.

FROM ACE, A COLLECTION: This is why we have Trump. “This first one was from 2009. Remember? A reporter snarkily confronting the Wrong Kind of protestors. Apparently she thinks it’s her job to fight her subjects, and that this is somehow not unprofessional behavior. Gee, I wonder why they’re so angry with media? Mysterious.”

CHOOSE THE FORM OF YOUR DESTRUCTOR: Dick Cheney Tells CNN’s Barbara Starr that Trump Took Us To “the Point Where We Don’t Need You Guys Anymore.”

(Via Ace of Spades.)

STEPHEN HAWKING: Stephen Hawking: Automation and AI Are Going to Decimate Middle Class Jobs. Honestly, if they only reduce them by a tenth — which is what “decimate” actually means — I’ll be surprised. And so would Hawking, I’ll bet. Too bad the headline writer apparently thinks that “decimate” is a synonym for “devastate.”

MICHAEL WALSH: We Interrupt This Weekend for a Little Schadenfreude, Trump Edition.

FAKE NEWS UPDATE: Newsweek never read their own “Madam President” issue. “Here’s the interview. It’s worth watching because of all of the squirming going on [by Newsweek political editor Matthew Cooper] and increasing level of disbelief which seems to consume Tucker Carlson as it drags on.”

ALTERNATE HEADLINE IF WE HAD A REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT: Administration’s “Insider Threat” Program Destroys Career of Innocent Diplomat, Damages Diplomacy While Secretary of State Does Nothing.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: “Donald Trump appears to have sent a message to Beijing: the First Island Chain will be held. Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines will remain the Westernmost bulwark in the Pacific.”

MEGAN MCARDLE: The Left’s Doomed Effort to Coerce the Right.

Over the last few years, as controversies have erupted over the rights of cake bakers and pizza places to refuse to cater gay weddings, the rights of nuns to refuse to provide insurance that covers birth control, the rights of Catholic hospitals to refuse to perform abortions, and the rights of Christian schools to teach (and require students and teachers to practice) traditional Christian morality, some Christians have begun to feel that their communities are under existential threat.

The response from the left has (mostly) been that this is so much whining, clinging to a victimhood belied by Christians’ social power and majority status. No one, they have been assured, wants to touch their freedom to worship, but when they enter the commercial realm, they have to abide by anti-discrimination laws, whatever their private beliefs.

What happened to the Gaines family makes that feel like a false assurance. Buzzfeed had no evidence that the Gaines family was discriminating. (It is true that they have not featured any gay couples on their show, but they live in Waco, Texas; how many gay couples had applied?) They had not, as Mozilla’s Brendan Eich did, donated to an anti-gay-marriage campaign. The entire substance of the article is: “They attend a church where the pastor espouses something I find reprehensible.”

What message does this send? “Sure, the government won’t actually shut your church down. But the left will use its positions of institutional power to try to hound anyone who attends that church from public life. You can believe whatever you want — but if we catch you, or if we even catch you in proximity to people who believe it, we will threaten your livelihood.”

Punch back twice as hard, as a famous man once said.

PRESIDENT ASH CARTER SAYS U.S. AND ALLIES NEED TO REMAIN IN IRAQ AFTER ISIS DEFEAT: Semi-retired president Barack Obama was unavailable for comment. (Carter’s video interview with Bret Baier is worth the look.)

IT’S COME TO THIS: Ohio State student: ‘After terrorist attack I’ve learned Left’s more scared of Trump than ISIS.’ “Because after this terror attack I haven’t heard anything about, you know, ‘We’re praying for the victims’ or this and that. I’ve heard things about how we need to understand Islam, the vibrant Somali community we have here, how we need to embrace them even though this is the third attack by a Somali in the last year here in Columbus, and all this stuff about, you know, Muslim sensitivity.”

THE HARD LEFT’S VIOLENT REACTION TO TRUMP’S ELECTION IS VILE AND DANGEROUS: My latest NY Observer essay in “The War On Honesty” series. You might check an older one out as well. Written in the wee hours of Wednesday, November 9, it discusses why Trump’s thumping the mainstream media is a strategic victory for America. (Bumped.)

TOM RICKS ON THE MATTIS PICK: The General Who Should Lead the Pentagon.

General Mattis is not another George Patton, a comparison Mr. Trump is fond of making. General Mattis, who retired in 2013, after leading United States Central Command for three years, is far more disciplined than Patton was, and a far more strategic thinker.

Usually, I’d oppose having a general as secretary of defense, because it could undermine our tradition of civilian control of the military.

But these are not normal times. The incoming president appears to be a profoundly ignorant man who often seems to act on gut impulse or on what pleases the crowd. That is a dangerous combination to have in the White House. Having known General Mattis for many years, I am confident that he will be a restraint on Mr. Trump’s impulsiveness. . . .

The public notion of generals is that they know how to use only the military as a means of policy and so are more likely to get the nation into wars. That is a false conception in most cases, but especially in this one. General Mattis knows that war is the last resort, not the first one. He also understands that the threat of force works best when it works in conjunction with robust diplomatic efforts.

Some in Congress have said that they oppose waiving the law that bans recently retired generals from being secretary of defense. (Such a waiver was required to give Marshall the job.) But Congress did not bar generals from the office, it only required that they be out of uniform for seven years. The idea was to make people consider that it is unusual, and a departure from American tradition, to have military men or women in the position. In this case, waiving the law is the best course.

Here’s a thought: Maybe Trump isn’t as impulsive or ignorant as you think. Maybe that’s why he picked Mattis.

UPDATE: From the comments: “First rate leaders surround themselves with first rate staff. Second rate leaders surround themselves with third rate staff. Looking at their cabinet nominees, it’s easy to tell what kind of leader Obama is versus Trump.”

By the way, for those readers who don’t know who Tom Ricks is, his book about the Marines, Making the Corps, is really first-rate. But it’s 20 years old, and there’s been a lot of Derangement Syndrome under the bridge since then. . . .

ANOTHER UPDATE: Wow, Louise is really into this appointment:

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MORE: Reportedly, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) may oppose Mattis over transgender rights in the military. I hope she does. . . .

IS ITALY THE NEXT E.U. DOMINO? Will Renzi be next casualty of 2016’s populist wave?

FUNNIEST PART OF SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE’S TRUMP-TWEETING SKETCH? Trump’s Real-Life Tweet In Response.

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TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME: Feminist Journalist: Sex Will ‘Get A Lot Less Fun’ Under Trump.

I dunno, for some reason that statement makes me think of this:

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TEACH WOMEN NOT TO LIE ABOUT RAPE! (CONT’D): Two Female Students In Legal Trouble After False Rape Reports. The way you teach that is by punishing them for lying.

I REMEMBER WHEN EXPRESSING EVEN THE SLIGHTEST DOUBTS ABOUT TOTALLY ACCEDING TO AN ELECTION WAS UNAMERICAN: Dems, Others Plot ‘Resistance’ to Election Outcome.

IT’S COME TO THIS: A City Attorney Spraying Anti-Trump Graffiti While Drinking Wine Is All We Have Left.

For the liberal elites, it’s come to this. We’ve been reduced to this. We are all Duncan Lloyd, an assistant city solicitor in Philadelphia. Lloyd was busted by surveillance cameras videoing a buddy spraying “Fuck Trump” on the side of a newly opened Fresh Grocer. Lloyd is pictured below in his civil disobedience uniform.

Yes. That’s a man, wearing an ascot, holding a glass of wine, who tagged an upscale supermarket.

This is our life now, hyper-educated coastal elites. We’re not going to stock up on guns and insta-waffles. We’re not going to hop in a Prius and ethanol-roll motorists we disagree with. We’re not going to burn an American flag, because we don’t own an American flag, because what kind of jingoistic prick can find space for a freaking flag in a one-bedroom apartment?

All we can do is turn up our noses, drown ourselves in an earthy vintage, and tastefully vandalize what establishments we pass. We are a broken, beaten people. It’s just like high school. We’ve got our books and our vastly superior reservoirs of knowledge and empathy, they’ve got a viselike grip on our underpants. . . .

Republicans are all too happy to pounce on our weakness and despair.

You would need a heart of stone not to be.

December 3, 2016

TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME: Liberals Mock Victims of Wildfire in Tennessee Because They Voted for Trump.

MICHAEL WALSH WONDERS WHY THE #NEVERTRUMP CROWD IS STILL UNHAPPY: “The GOP now controls both elected branches of governments and, if the president-elect makes good on his promises, will soon (ideologically, at least) control the Supreme Court. So why are the Vichycons — the collaborationist #NeverTrump crew whose views are increasingly indistinguishable from the hard Left — so miserable?”

Because they aren’t in control? Or treated as important?

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CHANGE: Liberal Pop-Culture Has Officially Outlived Its Usefulness in Politics. “During the campaign, the vote-shaming social media blitzes and testimonials we were bombarded with by Hillary’s celebrifriends seemed grating and tacky. Now their smugness is tangible evidence of a larger problem within the Democratic Party: Its image is controlled and marketed by a very narrow group of corporate interests, tech libertarians and affluent celebrities. A few years ago we’d have called them the 1 percent. The actual Democratic establishment’s agenda has often felt too absurd to articulate, so the party has chosen no identity over a bad one. So of course they had a marketing problem.”

STOLEN AMBULANCE CHASE IN CENTRAL TEXAS: Ambulance chasing of a different order and degree. Read it to believe it. This weird thief purloined the ambulance from a hospital in downtown Austin, TX then drove it north toward Killeen, TX. The dude was finally apprehended near Killeen. (Killeen is where Fort Hood is located.)

SNOW UPDATE: Hawaii.

HMM: Saban says Keith Ellison’s DNC win would bring ‘disaster’ to relationship between Jews and Dems. “Saban’s broadside – farther reaching, in calling him an ‘anti-Semite,’ than even some of Ellison’s conservative critics – is significant because of the mogul’s relationship to the DNC. Saban is better known for being one of the leading backers of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee defeated last month by President-elect Donald Trump, but he has also been a major donor to the party. In 2002, he paid $7 million toward the building of the then-new DNC headquarters in Washington D.C.”

WHY IS HOLLYWOOD SUCH A CESSPIT OF BABY-SHAMING? Hilary Duff Felt Judged For Having a Baby ‘Too Soon.’

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WELL, YOU NEVER SEE JILL STEIN AND EMILY LITELLA PHOTOGRAPHED TOGETHER: Never mind: Green Party drops statewide Pennsylvania recount.

JUST ASK MARK RIPPETOE: Can You Regain Muscle Mass After Age 60?

HEH:

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Related: Nation Shocked, Horrified As Christians Hold Christian Position. “’We’re not saying people can’t be Christians,’ a Seattle woman said in a Facebook comment. ‘This is a free country, after all. But when Christians decide to actually have Christian beliefs about things—I’m sorry, that’s just too far.’”

CHANGE: Americans’ Support for Electoral College Rises Sharply.

DAVID FRENCH: Simple Questions About Christians in the Workplace.

I speak frequently on college campuses, and my more liberal audience members often dispute my assertion that Christians face increasing challenges in the academy and the corporate marketplace. I sometimes respond with the following questions:

John and Jill are both applying to work at a company like Google, Apple, Starbucks, or Disney. John is an advocate for LGBT issues, he believes Caitlyn Jenner is a woman, and he thinks Black Lives Matter has pulled back the curtain on systematic police racism. Jill is an Evangelical Christian who believes marriage is God-defined as the lifelong, covenant relationship of one man and one woman. She knows that Caitlyn Jenner is a man. And while her heart grieves for racism, she believes Black Lives Matter is a dangerous, radical organization that is inciting violence and spreading dangerous hoaxes that are inflaming millions of Americans.

Will they both be equally free to share their views in the workplace? If their views are known, will they enjoy equal economic opportunity if they speak in the same manner and same intensity inside and outside the office? If John puts marriage equality and Black Lives Matters posters or stickers up in his cubicle, can Jill freely counter his speech with her own? Do your answers change if John and Jill are both applying to work at Harvard?

Honest liberals know the answers.

And so do the rest of us.

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NOT-SO-MULTI-CULTURALISM: Australian judge requires female Muslim witness to testify without a veil.

THE MYTH OF THE WHITE WORKING CLASS VOTING AGAINST ITS SELF INTEREST: “The people who you think are voting against their self-interest are doing something quite different. They are just looking for a level playing field, one where they control their land, their economy, and their community. They aren’t voting against their own self-interest.”

VIDEO: CALIFORNIA LEFTISTS SELF-TRIGGER AT SIGHT OF A BUILD THE WALL T-SHIRT. “A display of leftist piety. And one man’s extraordinary patience.”

THE HARD LEFT’S VIOLENT REACTION TO TRUMP’S ELECTION IS VILE AND DANGEROUS: My latest NY Observer essay in “The War On Honesty” series. You might check an older one out as well. Written in the wee hours of Wednesday, November 9, it discusses why Trump’s thumping the mainstream media is a strategic victory for America.

BERGDAHL SEEKS PARDON TO AVOID TRIAL FOR DESERTION: No. Obama’d better not grant one. The court martial is scheduled for April. Bowe Bergdahl is also charged with misbehavior before the enemy.

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Texas Moves a Step Closer to Making the Right to Bear Arms More Affordable with Free License to Carry Fee. “In a press release, NRA-ILA, the grassroots arm of the NRA, announced its congratulations and support of the bill’s intent to make obtaining a license attainable for Texas citizens at every income level.”

And with this free photo ID, any citizen who qualifies for a carry permit will be able to vote, eliminating claims that the ID requirement disadvantages the poor.

SCOTT ADAMS EXPLAINS Trump And The Taiwan Call.

Meanwhile, my prediction: Sometime next year, Taiwanese company Foxconn will announce that it’s opening an iPhone factory in the United States. . . .

I HOPE THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP’S JUSTICE DEPARTMENT WILL INVESTIGATE THIS AS A CRIMINAL CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATION: The State of Pennsylvania released the personal information of GOP electors, leading to a wave of emails and phone calls which at least one elector described as “total harassment.”

Plus: “Republican electors in several other states have reported threats.” Where’s the FBI?

CHANGE SOMEONE’S LIFE: Give the Gift of Amazon Prime.

LIFE IN THE POST-ANTIBIOTIC ERA: This forgotten WWI antiseptic could be the key to fighting antibiotic resistance. And the common cold.

I WANT ONE: This Handmade Tesla Gun Is Shockingly Cool.

DISPATCHES FROM THE PARENTHESES STATES:

Time for some traffic problems in Manhattan!

City officials have intentionally ground Midtown to a halt with the hidden purpose of making drivers so miserable that they leave their cars at home and turn to mass transit or bicycles, high-level sources told The Post.

Today’s gridlock is the result of an effort by the Bloomberg and de Blasio administrations over more than a decade of redesigning streets and ramping up police efforts, the sources said.

“The traffic is being engineered,” a former top NYPD official told The Post, explaining a long-term plan that began under Mayor Mike Bloomberg and hasn’t slowed with Mayor de Blasio.

“The city streets are being engineered to create traffic congestion, to slow traffic down, to favor bikers and pedestrians,” the former official said.

“There’s a reduction in capacity through the introduction of bike lanes and streets and lanes being closed down.”

—“The real reason for New York City’s traffic nightmare,” the New York Post, yesterday.

In the past, it was other people’s governments that would seek to make your life more difficult. But increasingly in California, the most effective war being waged is one the state has aimed at ourselves.

The Jerry Brown administration’s obsession with becoming a global model for reducing greenhouse gases is leading to an unprecedented drive to completely reshape how Californians live. Rather than focus on more pragmatic, affordable steps to reduce greenhouse gases – more efficient cars, rooftop solar systems and promoting home-based work – the goal increasingly seems like social engineering designed to force Californians to adopt the high-density, transit-oriented future preferred by Brown’s green priesthood.

The newest outrage comes from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research in the form of a proposed “road diet.” This would essentially halt attempts to expand or improve our roads, even when improvements have been approved by voters. This strategy can only make life worse for most Californians, since nearly 85 percent of us use a car to get to work. This in a state that already has among the worst-maintained roads in the country, with two-thirds of them in poor or mediocre condition.

“A ‘diet’ to give California drivers indigestion,” Joel Kotkin, the Orange County Register, May 29.

I don’t know how it compares to other states, but after leaving California, which, as Kotkin’s article hints, is notorious for having some of the worst roads in the country, I was amazed at how seriously Texas takes road maintenance, even out here in the hinterlands. And on the flip-side, for at least the last 20 years or so, it’s almost always been a safe bet: the bluer the region, the more it screws motorists.

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 1304: ‘The IRS Has Never Stopped Targeting Conservatives.’

THE DEMOCRATS DOUBLE DOWN:

The story of 2016 was ostensibly about how political party establishments had become empty vessels, vulnerable to takeover from populists with their own platforms and megaphones. The tumult in the GOP, from successive Tea Party rebellions to the nomination of Donald Trump, seemed to confirm this thesis. And even the Democratic elite showed some signs of weakness, as Bernie Sanders mounted a stronger-than-expected primary challenge to the establishment’s anointed candidate.

But the party’s 2016 collapse followed by the easy re-election of Nancy Pelosi as leader of the House Democratic caucus complicates this narrative. . . .

Consider: First, the Democratic elite dutifully steered voters to Hillary Clinton, virtually clearing the field for her in the primaries despite what should have arguably been—in retrospect, at least—a disqualifying scandal. And then, after four years of electoral carnage and virtual decimation of the party outside its coastal urban precincts, the Democrats have re-installed a veteran San Francisco liberal as the face of their party’s congressional agenda. To the extent that the rank-and-file has rebelled, it has not been very successful.

And neither has the party leadership, except at protecting its own positions.

DO TELL: How Stigma Sows Seeds of Its Own Defeat: Defending the liberal project is a Sisyphean task in part because successfully inculcating liberal norms leads to habits that weaken the ability to sustain them. Plus: “Stigmatization of an idea, by design, intends to convert, not persuade, by bypassing reason and going right for our tribal desire to fit in. But I think the rarely noted effect of this conversion happening is that it robs the converted of the tools to persuade others going forward. In other words, if you haven’t been persuaded by the merits of a political idea, how do you persuade others? You can’t without resorting to the same sort of stigmatizing argument. This, I think, at least partially explains the left’s staleness over the past two years, and the cultural center-left elite’s utter shock at the inadequacy of its invincible ascendant coalition.”

You have not converted a man because you have silenced him. And voting is by secret ballot. . . .

LEFTIES WORRY ABOUT THE CREEPY SURVEILLANCE STATE THAT BARACK OBAMA BUILT OUT: Signs Of A Creepy Government Conspiracy At Standing Rock.

UPDATE: From the comments:

Back in 2009 when Nancy Pelosi and the proggies were ramming ObamaCare down our throats someone opined that they were acting like they’d never lose another election. Since then they’ve spent eight years weaponizing the federal government. Now they’ve handed all that power over to The Donald and the Republicans and they’re terrified that we’ll do to them what they wanted Hillary to do to us. They’re looking under their beds and in their closets, terrified they might find the monsters of their own creation. The monsters they thought they’d control.

But monsters, once created, are notoriously difficult to control. You’d think all those English Lit majors would have remembered that, and we should remember it too…

And this never gets old:

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SEEN ON FACEBOOK: “What we’ve learned in 2016 is that the left loves poor people when they’re huddled in food banks, hungry, exhausted, desperately looking for dinner, but hates them when they cockily walk into polling stations and say ‘Fuck your status quo.'”

YES: Comey’s FBI Needs to Investigate Violent Democratic Tantrums: Robert Creamer-type operations—like coordinated nation-wide protests—require money.

It’s time for the FBI to conduct a detailed investigation into the violence and political thuggery that continue to mar the presidential election’s aftermath. A thorough probe of the protests—to include possible ties to organizations demanding vote recounts—will give the Bureau’s integrity-challenged director, James Comey, a chance to sandblast his sullied badge.

Director Comey must also include “elector intimidation” on his post-election investigation list. Reports that members of the Electoral College are being harassed and threatened by angry, vicious (and likely Democratic Party) malcontents require Comey’s quick and systematic attention.

Michael Banerian, one of Michigan’s 16 electors, told CNN: “Obviously, this election cycle was pretty divisive. Unfortunately it’s bled over into the weeks following the election and I have been inundated with death threats, death wishes, generally angry messages trying to get me to change my vote to Hillary Clinton or another person, and unfortunately, it’s gotten a little out of control.”

A little out of control? What an understatement. Let me put it to you straight and personal, Jim. Identifying electors and then attempting to intimidate them into switching their votes is an ipso facto effort to overturn a national election. Which leads to a question a competent FBI Director would already have his agents asking: Is this elector threat scheme a coordinated operation?

Why, electors live in different states. A mind with a talent for the obvious would see a federal interest. Federal as in Federal Bureau of Investigation. That’s the outfit you head, Mr. Comey—at least until the Obama Administration expires.

Which takes us back to the violent protests and political thuggery. Let me introduce you to two vicious Democratic Party operatives FBI agents should have quizzed and collared two months ago: Robert Creamer and The Hideous Scott Foval. These two creeps starred in Project Veritas’ video investigation of violent incitement during the political campaign.

Read the whole thing.

THE HILL: Reeling Dems look for new leader.

Reeling from their election losses, Democrats will hold their first audition for a new Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman at a gathering here on Friday.

The announced candidates — Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.), former DNC Chairman Howard Dean, New Hampshire Chairman Raymond Buckley and South Carolina Chairman Jaime Harrison — will make their pitch to state party leaders at the Association of State Democratic Chairs.

Ellison, who is promising to build the “50 state strategy” Dean employed during his chairmanship with a “3,143 county strategy” of his own, is the early front-runner, racking up endorsements from Washington lawmakers and national labor groups.

But since this story was published, Dean has dropped out, meaning that the face of the Democratic Party is likely to be a Muslim with homophobia, anti-semitism, and anti-Americanism in his background, who has advocated racial segregation, along with having connections to jihadists. And Ellison’s a 9/11 Truther who compared the collapse of the twin towers to the Reichstag Fire. Yeeargh!

TAKING SIDES: SUNY-Buffalo Dean At Post-Election Forum: ‘If Hillary Clinton (Or Others) Had Won, We Would Not Be Here’; Donald Trump Was Elected Due To ‘Profound Democratic Immaturity.’ So if I were a student or faculty member at Buffalo who supported Trump — and they have those there, even if, understandably, they’re mostly keeping quiet — I’d feel marginalized and “othered” by this sort of thing. Does the law school administration care? Apparently not. Perhaps they regard that marginalization and othering as a feature, not a bug. Equally likely, they can’t imagine that anyone there voted for Trump.

SILICON VALLEY CHOSE . . . POORLY. Silicon Valley Chiefs Notably Absent From Trump’s Cabinet of Business Advisers.

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TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME: On Inauguration Day, Don’t Go to Work. Don’t Buy Anything. We Need A National Strike to Stop Trump.

How much impact could a strike like this have? Hey, those lattes aren’t going to fetch themselves.

NELSON LUND: The Right to Arms and the American Philosophy of Freedom.

BOB MCMANUS: Bring On The Mad Dog: President-elect Trump makes a sterling pick to head the Pentagon.

The nation has been at war for 15 years now, the last eight half-heartedly and with no appetite even for identifying the enemy, let alone engaging him aggressively. History will judge whether that’s the correct way for a great power to prosecute necessary conflicts in a complex and dangerous world, but for the short term, it’s clear that the Obama administration has produced a sanguinary shambles.

The Mideast boils. Russia, pushed out of the region by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger more than 40 years ago, has returned and is ascendant. Afghanistan is in stalemate. Pakistan teeters. Half a world away, America is in retreat and, recognizing this, the president of the Philippines travels to China to cast his nation’s lot with Beijing, while Japan and South Korea silently wonder about American leadership.

So, too, does the nation’s hard-pressed military. It has performed brilliantly since the Twin Towers came down 15 years ago. But it has been depleted, if not exhausted, by budgetary sequestration, personnel reductions, and matériel shortfalls—and sorely vexed by wrongheaded, top-down social-justice activism.

Enter Mattis, a Marine Corps legend who was a little too tough on Iran for the outgoing administration’s tastes—hence his premature retirement—but who is now the president-elect’s pick to set things right at the Pentagon.

Trump’s best pick yet.

MY ADVICE: PLAN A CAYMAN TRIP! Winter Makes Me S.A.D. Help!

Though a Light Therapy lamp may be cheaper.

YEAH, THAT WAS HILLARY’S PROBLEM: SHE WAS TOO CIVIL AND LADYLIKE. David Faris: It’s time for Democrats to fight dirty.

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WELL, THEY GELDED THEMSELVES, REALLY: How Trump Turned the National Media Into Impotent Hecklers.

SARAH HOYT: I AM ALIVE. “Apparently my life was getting boring so this morning, in the shower, it seemed a good idea to have a cardiac episode.”

Hit her PayPal button if you’re so inclined.

WE MAY NEVER KNOW THEIR MOTIVATION: One year after the San Bernardino attack, police offer a possible motive as questions still linger. “Before the couple got married and Malik came to the United States, the two exchanged messages online ‘showing signs in their communication of their joint commitment to jihad and to martyrdom,’ FBI Director James B. Comey said last year.”

It’s an enigma.

Plus: “One person working in the neighborhood told a local outlet he had seen numerous Middle Eastern men in the area but did not report anything to avoid racial profiling. Another man told a local broadcast station that an unspecified person saw purported suspicious activity — including the couple getting numerous deliveries and working in the garage at odd times — but, again, did not want to be seen as involved in racial profiling.”

HEH: Is HGTV ‘trollin” BuzzFeed with this tweet? We sincerely hope so!

STRANGE NEW RESPECT IN 3, 2. 1. . . Sarah Palin: Trump’s Carrier deal is ‘crony capitalism.’

ON FACEBOOK, CHARLES GLASSER CALLS THIS “The most grown-up, intelligent interview I’ve seen in 2016.” Tucker Carlson Interviews Ny Times Public Editor Liz Spayd On Biased Trump Stories.

NOBODY TELL NOTORIOUS ROBOPHOBE MATTHEW YGLESIAS: SILICONCUBINES Sex robots will let kinky couples enjoy raunchy threesomes WITHOUT getting jealous.

Plus: “Sex therapist Ari Tuckman said robots will be a welcome relief for people who have mental or physical disabilities impeding their chances of finding a partner.”

Just be sure you have robot insurance.

ONLY IN 2016 DO YOU SURRENDER BY HAULING YOUR FLAG UP: Hampshire College returns US flag to full staff; president denies playing politics.

UPDATE: Thoughts from Mike Rowe. “Tuition at Hampshire College is about $60,000 a year. That’s not a problem because it’s expensive – it’s a problem because 85% of Hampshire students qualify for some form of federal financial aid. http://bit.ly/2gsZxnk. That means that We the People are enabling schools like Hampshire to sell a liberal arts degree for approximately $250,000.”

It’s like there’s some sort of Higher Education Bubble or something.

THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS GIFT: Chia Donald Trump.

I’LL HAVE WHAT THE GENTLEMAN ON THE FLOOR IS READING: Columbia Room Has a Cocktail Literally Made With Old Books.

Columbia Room has played around with plenty of unusual ingredients, like fig leaf milk and potato water, in its cocktails. But “In Search of Time Past” — the third drink on its current tasting menu—is the most Portlandia yet.

That’s because it includes a tincture made of old books. Literally. Really literally.

Owner Derek Brown got the idea after visiting El Celler de Can Roca in Spain, where he encountered candied page fragments on the avant-garde tasting menu.
“He was morbidly fascinated by it,” says head bartender JP Fetherston. So, the team began working on a cocktail that would replicate the sensation of opening an old book or walking into an old library.

That old book smell is so delightful, I once bought a 19th Century geography primer in terrible condition, just because it smelled more like old books than any of my other old books did.

Fascinating, indeed.

MARK STEYN: Make Kellogg’s Gr-rr-rr-rr-rreat Again. “America is a split nation politically. If the likes of Kellogg’s and Anheuser-Busch want to extend that split to beer and corn flakes, there won’t be a lot left. The damage is not just to their brand but to the kind of civil society that produces companies like theirs. If the left really cannot handle losing an election, why don’t they just cut to the chase and demand full-out civil war?” Give ’em until February.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Kellyanne Conway Would Be A Feminist Hero If She Were A Democrat.

WHEN EVEN SALON WON’T BUY YOUR SMEARS: Calling Jeff Sessions “racist” conveniently ignores the work he’s done for Alabama’s black community.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: An Infidel’s Quick Guide to Islamic Sects.

HE SWIMS THROUGH THE POPULACE LIKE A FISH THROUGH WATER: Donald Trump’s Guerilla War Against the Liberal Media.

JILL GLAM, HILLARY SCAM: They’re both ridiculous Tramtrumettes, but hey — it’s 2016!

CHANGE: Trump makes history with phone call to Taiwan leader. “Trump’s transition team confirmed late Friday that the president-elect had spoken by phone on Friday with Taiwan’s president, the first conversation between a U.S. president or president-elect with Taiwan’s leader since 1979, when the two countries severed diplomatic ties. . . . The phone call will almost certainly infuriate Beijing, which sees Taiwan as a breakaway province. Jimmy Carter formally declared Beijing the sole government of China in 1979, which ended formal U.S. diplomatic relations with Taiwan.”

PUNCHING BACK TWICE AS HARD: Shot: Emory Reviews ‘Sanctuary Campus’ Petition; Assesses Options. “In Georgia, local officials are required by law to prove their compliance with federal detention requests — no city in the state can be designated a sanctuary city, including Atlanta.”

Chaser: Emory could lose state funding if it declares a ‘sanctuary campus’ to shield immigrants.

A powerful Republican lawmaker aims to cut off state funding to Emory University and any other higher education institution that declares it will defy President-elect Donald Trump if he tries to deport immigrants who are illegally in the U.S.

State Rep. Earl Ehrhart plans to introduce legislation to block colleges from receiving state funds if they aren’t complying with state and federal law in response to the report last week that Emory was weighing whether to declare the school a “sanctuary campus.”

“Private institutions can do what they want, but there are consequences to actions. And it can’t be an option to choose not to follow state and federal laws,” said Ehrhart of Powder Springs, who is chairman of the House’s higher education financing subcommittee.

“There’s a raft of state taxpayer dollars for private institutions,” he said, “and I’m very sanguine about being able to pass a piece of legislation that says if you’re picking and choosing which laws you’re going to follow, state dollars aren’t going to follow.”

Emory University President Claire Sterk wrote in a letter to students last week that administrators are reviewing their request “for a sanctuary campus and ways to protect all members of the Emory community” and said the school would continue to support students, known as “Dreamers,” who were granted a temporary reprieve from the threat of deportation by an executive order from President Barack Obama.

I suppose there’s nothing stopping states from lifting state tax-exempt status from institutions that defy the law.

Look for state legislators to start providing more adult supervision for higher education institutions, both public and private. Those institutions used to be shielded by prestige, but there’s a lot less of that now.

I’M WITH SHAQ: Shaquille O’Neal says Donald Trump won “fair and square,” so forget calls for a recount and get over it.

HMM: ‘Pipeline Purgatory’ the Goal as Activists Take Fight Local.

SO JUST LIKE CNN STAFF, THEN: Gitmo Prisoners ‘Thought It Was the End of the World’ on Election Night, Asked for Tranquilizers.

JOURNALISM: Cillizza, other journos whine when Trump RAMS them at rally. Delicious schooling came next. Naming and shaming is supposed to be their turf.