Archive for politics

The Front Page isn’t saying much

In the Washington Times today are reports that much of the ‘Russian Collusion’ story stems from the appointment of a community organizer as ambassador to Russia in 2012. It seems the Russian government did not take too well to a U.S. Ambassador organizing resistance movements there.

Another story is about how ex-Trump aides are fighting back against the scurrilous smear campaign they endured by working with the FBI on criminal investigations and pushing ethics and court complaints.

I’m mad as hell and I’m not taking it anymore By L. Todd Wood – “Black America wrong to blame white racism for woes.” Many might sympathize with his observations and ‘enough is enough’ attitude.

The coverage on the Front Page is rather thin for many other news publishers as it has to spread to fill the space there. There is only so far you can Fake the News for that so many stories get buried below the fold or inside in curious spots if they get coverage at all. Then there is ‘social media’ and Drudge is warning that those who repeat fake stories my end up liable for libel. Caveat Emptor! The saga at Quicksand Bottoms in Hallelujah Trail comes to mind.

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Deceit scars people for life

The Hill posted an item on Russian Collusion that is causing quite a stir. Here’s a sampler.

Obama’s Russian collusion By Jerold Levoritz:

The Hill’s release of information on the collusion between American corporate interests, U.S. government agencies and Russia seems to be all-new material. The text outlines the failure of the U.S. government under Obama to take account of information generated by the FBI on attempts by Russia to gain a financial advantage in the U.S. nuclear industry.

The article includes redacted documents with official date and time stamps. The identity of whoever leaked these documents will become an issue for those wanting to deflect attention from the article’s contents, but the shocking details ought to prevent its source(s) from becoming the center of attention.

Time to subpoena Obama on his ties to Russia by Don Surber:

Whoa. No Drama Obama just became “Dynasty” meets “Dallas.”

Let’s see, on his watch, this man who received a Nobel for his efforts in nuclear disarmament:

  1. Gave pallets of money to Uran so it could nuke up

  2. Allowed North Korea to nuke up

  3. Cleared the sale of uranium to Russia

World War III should be named after him.

What Did Mueller Know? New Documents Show Clinton-Russia Scandal Dwarfs Anything on Trump’s Side by Tyler O’neil:

Contrary to the Left’s favorite narrative, any Russia scandal has always been worse for Hillary Clinton than for Donald Trump. Recent revelations confirmed this Tuesday, and even implicated the special prosecutor at the center of the Trump-Russia investigation, former FBI director Robert Mueller.

“The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns,” a person who worked on the case told The Hill. “And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions.”

Robert Mueller, the special counsel in the Trump-Russia investigation, was at the helm of the FBI from 2001 until 2013, so it seems likely he was culpable in keeping this investigation secret — at the very time when it would have been most pivotal for U.S. national security.

In light of such a scandal, it seems particularly damning that members of the intelligence community have been shamelessly leaking allegations against Donald Trump involving potential Russian connections. Every story in this direction turns out to be a dead end.

Attorney: DoJ blocked FBI undercover testimony on Russia bribery-extortion probe by Ed Morrissey:

How did the Department of Justice keep the FBI probe into Russian bribery and extortion a secret from Congress since it began in 2009? The attorney for an undercover confidential witness claims that the DoJ threatened her client with prosecution if he blew the whistle. Victoria Toensing tells The Hill’s John Solomon and Alison Spann that she has memos to back up that claim, raising even more questions as to why this information never emerged until this week

All of this is mighty curious, and not just a little suspicious. If we’re going full-hysteric on Russian interference and possible collusion, then let’s make sure we’re looking at its full scope — starting with the strange “reset button” from Hillary Clinton in March 2009, the shocking reversal on missile defense in Poland and Czechia in September 2009, and the “more flexibility” comment from Barack Obama to Dmitri Medvedev in 2012 while castigating Mitt Romney for calling Russia our most dangerous geopolitical foe. If the revelations from Solomon and Spann over the last couple of days turn out to be valid, we may find some explanations for some of these odd events.

The case of Fusion GPS by Scott Johnson fits in here, too.

The so-called strategic intelligence firm Fusion GPS is behind the infamous Trump Dossier. The dossier is one of the keys to the anti-Trump hysteria in which we have been engulfed since the election. Who paid for the Trump Dossier? The House Intelligence Committee has issued subpoenas to figure out what happened and at whose behest. Fusion GPS, however, won’t say. The company’s lawyer has submitted a 17-page list of reasons why the company won’t comply. Something is happening here. It is a most peculiar matter.

Remember “San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, a frequent Trump foil, reportedly accused Trump on Thursday of “genocide” for not doing more to aid in the relief efforts”? The contrast is a Disturbing Video – U.S. Aid To Puerto Rico Thrown in Dumpsters… by sundance:

a disturbing video shows Puerto Rico’s Secretary of State showing boxes and boxes of food, water and supplies being discarded by Puerto Rican officials in dumpsters, obviously not reaching the intended residents.

The FBI had previously opened an investigation into the level of fraud and corruption within Puerto Rico’s municipal authorities and reports of widespread theft of U.S. aid by officials of the local governments. This report on FEMA aid being corrupted by these same officials does not come as a surprise; indeed, unfortunately, it is the norm – not the exception.

NFL cash cow dries up by Don Surber:

Broadcasters applauded this politicization of another form of entertainment.

I fail to see how disrespecting our flag is civil.

I fail to see the dialogue in calling our nation oppressive to black people, which had a black president when this protest began.

I fail to see how turning your back on the new president is love.

Oh and “colonizing”? We need to stop teaching Marxism and go back to teaching history in college because revisionist history like that scars people for life.

We are having a dialogue that James Brown wanted.

Money talks.

Losers kneel.

Treat the NFL like we treated Standard Oil.

The problem is that the NFL is doubling down on an indefensible position based on falsehoods. That never ends easy.

On that Marxism v History idea, The Ken Burns version, cont’d by Scott Johnson:

In place of a fair representation of the men who fought the war, it gives us voices ranging from disillusion to shame. The Ken Burns version should not become the received version with our silence or acquiescence.

Providence has posted Mac’s review of the Burns/Novick/War documentary in two parts: “Mission Failure: The Burns & Novick “The Vietnam War” Misses its Target| A Review (Part I)”and “A Failure to Discern: Burns’ & Novick’s ‘The Vietnam War’ is Bad History | A Review (Part II).”

Mac is one of the many veterans of the war who is proud of his service but whose like was somehow overlooked by Burns et al. in the ten years they worked on the documentary. He is also a scholar and student of the war.

… “I was struck by the absence of certain voices.” …

The Ken Burns version cannot rightly be ignored without dishonor either to our history and to our veterans living and dead. I think the documentary seeks to fix the record in falsity. Burns and his colleagues assert their will to power by controlling the past. We need Mac and the others who have risen to Burns’s challenge to provide the true ground of resistance.

There are scars and they don’t fade.

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Wishful thinking doesn’t do the job

This morning is a yin and yang raising the question about the difference. Why did the allegations against Weinstein (and Clinton et al) stick while those against Trump did not? Feldman takes off on the Weinstein mess while Taggart and Garrison push the plight of Trump’s accusers. The two essays might help clarify the question.

Take Back Your Diamonds, Take Back Your Pearls, What Makes You Think I Was One of Weinstein’s Girls? by Clarice Feldman – “The story has laid bare the hypocrisy of the media giants, Democratic biggies, and the Hollywood virtue signalers.”

Something like 32 women have come forward, now that Weinstein seems to be powerless, to confirm his inappropriate behavior, and as soon as more of them can find publicists to write statements for them, more are likely to show up.

His troubles are far from over. He’s under investigation by law enforcement officers in Los Angeles, New York, and Scotland Yard,

Watching Harvey Weinstein Fall, Trump’s Accusers Feel Frustrated by Kendall Taggart and Jessica Garrison – “When he won, I felt like I lost.”

For all the women who have cheered as accusations against the producer Harvey Weinstein force a public conversation about sexual misconduct, one small group of women has watched with frustration. They are some of the dozen women who publicly accused Donald Trump of groping or kissing them — accusations that Trump has denied.

In a sharp contrast to the women who accused Weinstein, Trump’s accusers did not see the public turn against him, the board of his company fire him, or the police launch an investigation. Instead, these women watched the man they say humiliated and abused them get elected president of the United States.

One thing that is obvious is the transaction. With Weinstein, there was fame and fortune on the line. With Trump? There is also the seriousness of the charges: rape or boorish behavior? Where was politics and power? Weinstein was a major figure in the Democratic Party for years. Trump is being lambasted as ‘lacking experience’ because he wasn’t that involved until deciding to run for President. Look for which tale is shallow and which has depth. There are reasons to be found and understood.

Trump doesn’t owe Obama anything by Michael Goodwin – “It’s nine months into the administration, and there is no rest for the hair-on-fire coverage.”

Every report is a parade of horrors that celebrates critics as truth-telling prophets. All the code words about cruelty to the poor and benefits for the rich are trotted out, capped with warnings about race and gender impacts.

The hyperbolic language is designed to stoke partisan fear and rally the resistance.

And so it goes, day after day, issue after issue. Stripped of policy fig leaves, the media reaction amounts to, “You can’t do that! That’s not how Barack Obama did it!”

Never mind that unemployment is at a 17-year low and the stock market is at historic highs, or that it’s boom times for consumer and business sentiment. The economic recovery is going global, but Trump, we are assured, deserves zero credit.

But policy-wise, he deserves a fair assessment of his actions. Instead, he gets automatic denunciation, as if anything he does is either stupid or corrupt.

Changes are not only welcome, they are necessary. Yet from most of the coverage, you get the idea that Trump is messing with perfection.

What’s truly reckless is the continuing bias of the media. They campaigned to defeat Trump last year, and now campaign to defeat his every action as president. Their version of Groundhog Day is that he doesn’t belong in the White House, democracy be damned.

The feel good story: As everything around him burned, one Napa man’s house somehow survived by Eric Ting – “It was 2 a.m. Monday morning … as flames from the Atlas Fire rapidly approached. He opened his car door and saw his 80-year-old mother sitting in the passenger seat, clutching a rosary and praying.”

Omlin returned to find his house and compound still standing, even though the trees and ground right next to the buildings were scorched. … Other than the ground and trees, only one thing burned on Omlin’s property: A statue of Mary.

“It was so surreal,” Omlin said. “Remembering my mom and the rosary, and then to see the Madonna sitting there.” … “I will never forget this moment,” Omlin said. “When I saw my mom and that rosary, I wanted to say, ‘I believe in prayer, but right now we need to move. This is not the time for praying.’ I felt so bad.

“But when I saw the statue, I said, ‘Shame on you Kenny.'”

There’s another one about pets. Dog survives wildfire, reunites with California family by Jonathan J. Cooper. It’s like Saving Private Ryan but, in this case, Izzy. Pets are taking it hard in the fires as their owners can barely get out with just nightclothes. Some pets are being rescued and many have severe injuries.

What does the $100 race really tell us? by John Sexton – “They found it to be touching and insightful and revealing. I found it to be dishonest and misleading.” It is about a race where the coach has those who have two parents and other ‘whiteness’ privileges are given a lead … and then told to be guilty about their privilege else they are fools.

At this point, the coach asks the people in the front to turn around. Again, the camera goes back to the starting line where several black people haven’t moved. And then comes the kicker: “Every statement I’ve made had nothing to do with anything any of you have done. Has nothing to do with decisions you’ve made,” he says.

The general idea is that this reveals how racial disparities in society are the result of people starting out with unearned advantages. But is that what this clip is actually showing? The commentary is explicitly racial but the questions are all about having a two-parent family and a steady income to pay the bills and put food on the table.

The coach is correct that the young people themselves aren’t directly responsible for any of these advantages. What he doesn’t say is that all of these advantages nevertheless come from someone’s individual choices. Whose fault is it that some people don’t have married parents or a father figure in the home? That’s the father’s fault or maybe it’s the mother’s fault or maybe both of them are at fault. You know who is not at fault? The fathers and mothers of the other kids on the field, the ones whose parents got married and stayed married.

When I see this video I essentially see someone glossing over all those hard choices and difficult experiences that made it possible for many of those kids to have advantages in life. And yes, it also glosses over the poor choices of the some of the parents who didn’t stick around for their kids.

This is the sort of insidious propaganda that attacks those aspects of western culture that has done so much for the state of mankind. People get ahead, gain privilege for themselves and their children, by taking charge of their lives and responsibility for their actions. Accepting victimhood is a characteristic of third world cultures.

Gun-control measures in Colorado and Washington about as effective as you’d expect by Ed Morrissey – “Three years after a hard push for gun control nearly cost Democrats control of Colorado, a new study suggests that they shouldn’t have bothered.” This tends to miss the idea that the stated arguments for gun control are not why it is being pushed by the Left.

The study concludes that in Colorado, Washington, and Nevada, the laws had little effect on increasing the number of background checks

the only issue studied was whether passing new laws would force greater compliance from already law-abiding gun owners on private transactions. Instead, it showed that people tend not to follow stricter mandates where government remains mainly unaware of the transactions in the first place.

Not only did it show that people tend to keep their private transactions private, it also showed that police tend to stay out of otherwise lawful private transactions, too.

Charles C. W. Cooke warns that gun-control advocates are pushing a police state, whether they realize it or not

Suggesting that government mandates succeed merely on the basis of compliance with them is the same logic that ObamaCare advocates used to claim success for having less than half of their projected enrollments materialize

Do laws like this reduce gun violence or don’t they? That’s the only measure that would justify pouring more regulation onto legal gun owners and requiring them to become an agent of the government to conduct private transactions. It’s very telling that this study completely avoids that question, choosing instead to measure success by the compliance of law-abiding citizens to ever-increasing regulation — and then failing even on that measure.

Speaking of sabotage by Scott Johnson – “When it comes to President Trump, hysteria is the only note the Democrats can strike. According to Nancy Pelosi, in terminating the subsidy payments Trump is guilty of “sabotage.” What else is new?”

During his two terms in office President Obama conducted an assault on the Constitution and on limited government in the name of the higher good as he saw it. Obama’s lawlessness was little noted in the mainstream media other than in disparaging accounts of the Republican and conservative reaction to Obama.

President Trump appears to be a bull in the White House china shop. He is portrayed as a kind of Strangelovian madman. Yet in many respects he seeks to restore the rule of law where it was abrogated by Obama. As a reaction to Obama’s lawlessness, Trump stands in relation to the Obama era as Jimmy Carter did to the Nixon era.

Trump’s cessation of subsidy payments to Obamacare insurers represents a perfect example.

Does anyone think anymore?

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Dangerous times and making effective decisions

The 49th Sveriges Riksbank prize in economic sciences – commonly referred to as the Nobel Prize for economics – has been awarded to Richard H Thaler for his contributions to behavioural economics. Sergey V. Popov explains why.

He was a key proponent of the idea that humans do not act entirely rationally. By applying insights from psychological research, he helped the world better understand people’s economic decision-making in particular.
 …
I hope this Nobel Prize award will attract the public’s attention and encourage many to acknowledge the irrationality of their decision-making. As well as seeing the value in regulating financial markets so they are not susceptible to irrational behaviour, by acknowledging this tendency, we can make better plans for our futures – ones that our “doer” sides are happy to follow.

Neena Satija, Kiah Collier, and Al Shaw: Everyone Knew Houston’s Reservoirs Would Flood — Except for the People Who Bought Homes Inside Them – “This is not dumb, bad planning,” he said. “This is very well-thought-out, bad planning.” It’s willful blindness of the sort the casino depends upon. For the casino, they bet the sucker will take the low odds in hopes of winning. The homeowner takes the odds in hopes of losing. The story here is about flood control planning and preparation that wasn’t expected to be used. The same story on a smaller scale occurred in Lemmon Valley, Nevada where the Reno City council denied development permits unless the developer built above the flood levels like the sewer plant did in the sixties.

“One option was, don’t allow any development there. And it was like, well, politically we probably can’t do that,” Dunbar remembered. “So I said, another option is, make all the developers elevate the homes above the design pool” — the land behind the dams the Army Corps knew it might have to flood. Dunbar said county officials told him “that may not be practical.”

In the end, over significant opposition from developers, the county agreed to put a one-sentence disclosure of possible “controlled inundation” for plots of land in neighborhoods inside Barker. But the sentence was buried in the plat documents, which are not typically shown to homebuyers.

Charles Hurt: The general schools doltish press corps

But a quick run through the cable channels and all anybody was talking about were the tweets. The palace intrigue. Who called whom a “moron.”

Or, as Mr. Trump calls it, “Fake News.” Somebody should check their licenses.

But even that tweet about NBC has been taken to some suggesting a Congressional Inquiry …

Scott Whitlock: Chris Cuomo Flips Out Over ‘Emperor’ Trump, Gets Schooled on ObamaCare

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo got in a heated dispute, Friday, with Congressman Jim Jordan over Donald Trump ending ObamaCare subsidies. After asking Jordan for his opinion, Cuomo demanded a more liberal answer: “Jim, why aren’t you saying the President is acting like an emperor? And his job is to execute laws that are passed, not write his own and Congress must hold him into account for doing so.”

This is rich coming from Cuomo as he previously slammed Trump for ending Obama’s DACA action even though it was “legally dubious.” Later in the segment, the Republican schooled Cuomo on ObamaCare: “Everything that the Democrats told us about this law has turned out to be false.”

F.H. Buckley: Behind Trump’s latest moves: A return to constitutional government

From 2013 to 2017 we experienced a period of monarchical government under good King Obama and his executive diktats. Under Trump we’re seeing a return to constitutional government. Sometimes that means that things don’t happen, and don’t get passed. But if so, it’s as the Framers intended.

Andrew C. McCarthy: Trump Faithfully Executes Obamacare; Media, Democrats Go Nuts

In report after sky-is-falling report, the journalism wing of the media-Democrat complex castigates the president over his decision to — as the New York Times put it — “scrap subsidies to health insurance companies that help pay out of pocket costs of low-income people.”

It’s ironic. Notwithstanding the many outrageous, mendacious things the president says and tweets, the press is aghast that his “fake news” tropes against mainstream-media stalwarts resonate with much of the country. Well, if you want to know why, this latest Obamacare coverage is why. What Trump has actually done is end the illegal payoffs without which insurance companies have no rational choice but to jack up premiums or flee the Obamacare exchanges. The culprits here are the charlatans who gave us Obamacare. To portray Trump as the bad guy is not merely fake news. It’s an out-and-out lie.

In essence, we are back to the question we asked a couple of weeks ago in connection with Trump’s then-anticipated decertification of Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal: It is not whether the president should take this action; it is why he failed to take it before now.

The media-Democrat narrative that President Trump is imperiously flouting the rule of law has it backwards.

Finally, the claim that Trump is “unraveling” the ACA would be laughable were it not so cynical. You can’t unravel something by honoring its terms.

Republicans are afraid to deep-six Obamacare because they have never explained how bad it is. They do not want to be seen as shafting the people who benefit from it, even though it is at the expense of others who are badly harmed. Meanwhile, the public does not comprehend that Obamacare is unsustainable because the GOP, fearful of being framed for its failure, is actively complicit in (or at least passively resigned to) the shenanigans by which it is propped up.

The best way to make the case for repealing an atrocious law is to execute it faithfully. That appears to be President Trump’s new approach. If so, it has a lot more promise than empty GOP campaign prattle about “repeal and replace.”

Jim Dicks: Donald Trump’s True Nature

If you scratch below the surface of a typical Trump supporter, you’ll see a roiling resentment. Many on the left see this as an indicator of “white rage,” of impotence or envy of a fading ruling group in an increasingly ethnically diverse culture of color.

These pejorative beliefs buttress the intolerant self-righteousness of the virtue-signaling left. But if you ask Trump supporters what’s driving their anger, you’ll get a different story.

To put it in a nutshell – we’ve had enough.

Once it is understood that Trump’s political positions are authentic and spring from the core beliefs of our country established at its founding, that he is the tip of the spear and his intentions are trustworthy, then one can sense the awesome power he wields.

That’s the real view of Trump by his vast legions of supporters. In him we see a fighter, fighting our fight to break the backs of the colluding cabal bringing economic suffering to our great and unique country and to shut down the drug cartels bringing death, misery, and destruction across our borders. If, in this epic fight, he uses some rough language and throws some precise arrows of insults at the corrupt political class along the way, if he offends the Peggy Noonans of the world with his “coarseness” or “vulgarity”, then so be it!

He’s got our backs. We’ve got his.

L. Todd Wood: The Boy Scouts are waging a War on Boys

The decision by the Boy Scouts of America to admit girls is vile. It represents nothing less than the destruction of an organization that has helped millions of boys throughout the last century. Lord Baden-Powell must be turning over in his grave. Leftists will stop at nothing to destroy the culture of America.

Valerie Richardson: Black Lives Matter, police-focused NFL protests overlook rising black-on-black homicides

the dramatic increase in black homicide victims has raised questions over whether NFL players taking a knee in a statement against racially motivated police violence are missing the larger problem.

“If these wealthy football players really cared about saving black lives, they would support proactive policing and denounce criminality,” said Ms. Mac Donald, author of “The War on Cops” (Encounter Books, 2017). “When the police back off of proactive policing in high-crime areas, black lives are lost.”

While the NFL kneeling began as a protest against police brutality, those involved have increasingly expanded the point to encompass what San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid described as “systemic oppression that has been rampant in this country for decades and decades.”

Rashad Robinson, senior campaign director at Color of Change, said President Trump’s recent suggestion that owners should fire players who refuse to stand for the national anthem represents a view within sports that “black people serve at the pleasure of white people.”

“It’s the communities themselves — people who are being victimized, people who are being murdered, families who are losing loved ones, kids who are afraid to go to schools, business people who won’t open up a business because the neighborhood is too rough — that’s who’s suffering,” he said.

Not all neighborhoods are hit equally.

“It tends to be poor communities, communities of color,” Mr. Johnson said. “Communities that are already suffering from higher crime rates than their neighbors who need safe, effective, thorough law enforcement.”

There is a difference between “black people serve at the pleasure of white people” and ‘all business serve at the pleasure of their customers.’  The former is identity politics and grievance that lead to impoverishment in mind and body and the latter is the essence of western culture, capitalism, and Christianity where people serve each other for mutual gain, benefit, and growth. 

Coyote: UNC Avoids Athletic Sanctions By Arguing their African-American Studies Dept. Had Staggeringly Low Academic Standards

UNC successfully argued that it was not giving its athletes special treatment in the African-American studies department — they had low standards for all students in that department.

Just so we are clear exactly what we are talking about, UNC, which consumers about 12.5% of the entire North Carolina state budget, freely admits, in fact desperately argues, that it was offering courses like this

Ryan Saavedra: NFL Goes Left: Won’t Force Players To Stand For Anthem, Focuses On Social Justice – “Commissioner Goodell has a plan “to use our platform to both raise awareness and make progress on issues of social justice and equality in this country.”

The National Football League announced on Friday that it wants to use its platform to raise awareness for social justice issues and that it does not plan to mandate that players stand for the U.S. national anthem.

So it’s no longer the NFL but rather the NSJL? A business loses its identity and then wonders why its customers act like they think they’ve been had?

Scott Johnson: The Ken Burns version, cont’d

I think the documentary seeks to fix the record in falsity. To take only one example, as I say in my “Notes,” Burns and his colleagues were apparently unable to find a soldier to recall his service in anything other than shades of disillusion, disgust and shame. Much more remains to be done on this deeply dishonest work to prevent it from becoming the received history of the war.

Richard Fernandez: After the smash – “It’s becoming increasingly hard to believe the world can return to the status quo ante,”

After several ominous rumbles outside the tower the individual creaks have finally merged into a continuous roar. Brexit, the defeat of Hillary Clinton, the crumbling of the Iran deal, America quitting UNESCO, Trump dismantling Obamacare, consular withdrawal from Cuba, the pullout from the Paris accord — these have piled on so fast they’ve acquired the character of a single collective event. Now the fall of Hollywood has followed like the inevitable comedic boulder right on Wile E. Coyote’s head at the bottom of the gulch. Are we still in Kansas anymore?

It is as if a demolition crew has cleared a site leaving only a vacant lot. Some ask “when are the builders due?” Others more ominously ask “when are the zombies due?”

There will be danger — perhaps immense perils — associated with this paradigm shift. Yet the danger may have even been greater had the population not risked adapting. For one thing it might have been trapped in the Tower now fallen to dust. What is manifest is the gods have fallen, leaving many institutions rudderless. The Left spent decades replacing traditional myths and social sanctions with their own structures only to see these fall to ruin.

Dangerous times need rational decision making. The zombies are gathering.

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Filled with dread. Fires. Healthcare. Extremists. Corruption.

Umair Irfan : California’s wildfires aren’t “natural” — “humans made them worse at every step. We fuel them, we build houses by them, we ignite them.” And, of course, there’s the obligatory ‘weather is human created global climate change’ blame complete with fuzzy (non-existant) evidence but, otherwise, a good rundown on just how normal the tragedy really is.

The California fires stretch the definition of “natural disaster” since human activities have exacerbated their likelihood, their extent, and their damage. Deliberate decisions and unintended consequences of urban development over decades have turned many parts of the state into a tinderbox.

This year’s blazes particularly stand out because of how close they are to suburbs and major cities.

Much of California is naturally hot, dry, and prone to fires for parts of the year. But the state’s population is growing, leading to a significant overlap between the areas of high fire risk and areas with a growing population density, as you can see in these maps from a 2014 study of population trends in in California out to 2050.

This pattern of building in or near fire-prone regions has also led to land management practices to prevent fire that paradoxically increase fire risk. For instance, policies for preventing wildfires have in some areas led to an accumulation of the dry vegetation that would ordinarily burn away in smaller natural blazes.

John Hinderaker: On Health Care, Trump Takes an Important First Step – “practical solutions that don’t sound glamorous but will help millions of Americans.”

In the wake of the Republican Congress’s historic failure to carry out its pledge to repeal Obamacare, President Trump today signed an executive order intended to promote choice and competition in health care markets. The order is a practical and positive step forward that will benefit millions of Americans.

Why am I so sure of that? Because the order is based mostly, if not entirely, on work done by Peter Nelson, my colleague at Center of the American Experiment, one of the country’s top health care experts. Peter has consulted extensively with the Trump administration’s health care team, and some of the ideas incorporated into today’s executive order have been advocated exclusively by him.

Stephen Dinan: Trump declares Obamacare payments illegal; deals second blow to health law – “Without payments, insurers say they would jack up premiums, upending the underpinning of the ACA.”

The Trump administration announced late Thursday that it has concluded it can no longer legally make critical Obamacare “cost-sharing” payments and will cut them off, dealing another blow to the struggling 2010 health law.

The payments had specifically been denied by Congress but President Obama had made them anyway, drawing a rebuke from a court who said he was overstepping his powers.

The move comes just hours after Mr. Trump signed an executive order pushing his administration to allow association health plans, which would allow individuals and small businesses to join up and purchase insurance on the group market across state lines.

Mr. Trump’s decision Thursday means he’s accepting the original judge’s legal finding. It’s similar to the move he made last month on DACA, the Obama-era deportation amnesty, where the administration concluded it would likely be unable to defend the program in court, so it instead announced a phaseout.

“This administration is committed to the rule of law, and a fundamental premise is that Congress holds the power of the purse. We will not usurp its authority,” said Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores.

Follow the law? That gets the Democrats in a moral outrage! For example, Cheryl K. Chumley: Chuck Schumer, always ready with the cheap shots – “Count on death and taxes — and the ability of Sen. Chuck Schumer to take cheap partisan potshots at the president, wherever and whenever possible.” Or Stephen Dinan: San Juan mayor accuses Trump of ‘genocide’ after hurricane – “Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, accused Mr. Trump of “genocide” for what she said was an antipathy toward her island territory.” This was prompted by the President noting the incompetence of the mayor earlier and making it clear that emergency aid to Puerto Rico was not permanent and, hence, not a fix for the territory’s financial problems that stem from corruption and incompetence.

The Puerto Rico aid situation also came up with the news reporting problem. Jennifer Harper: Even after 266 days in office, the news media mistreats Trump — and voters know it – “The nonstop coverage instead is filled with fake news, tweaked polls, false narratives, weaponized talking points, personal insults and incendiary language.”

IBD: It’s Official: Democrats Are The Extremists Today – “Data from the highly respected Pew Research Center provides a definitive answer. It’s because Democrats have moved sharply to the extreme left.”

Everyone knows that the country is more politically polarized than ever, but most don’t know why.

Given the way politics gets reported these days, it’s easy to conclude that the widening gap is the result of Republicans become more extreme in their views. That is, after all, a mantra among Democrats and the press. The GOP is the party of racist, sexist, xenophobic, right-wing extremists, we hear over and over again, while Democrats are but humble centrists.

The Pew data, however, make it clear that the shift toward the extreme has happened among Democrats, not Republicans.

Democrats and their water carriers in the press are like people on a boat that is drifting off to sea, but are convinced that it’s the land that’s moving, not them.

It gets interesting to hear the rhetoric about Trump with the Weinberg (and Cosby) scandals that bring up Clinton and Kennedy. David French: Trump’s Tweets Are Damaging the Republican Character – “No short-term political victory is worth the long-term cultural degradation the president is guaranteeing the GOP.”

Yet, incredibly, across the country rank-and-file Republicans react to such messages not by rebuking Trump but by trying to find a way to rationalize or justify them. Many go even further, joining Trump in his attacks regardless of their merit. These folks are degrading their political character to defend Trump, and the damage they do to their own credibility and their party’s in the process will endure long after he has departed from the political scene.

Trump is stoking a particularly destructive form of rage — and his followers don’t just allow themselves to be stoked, they attack Trump’s targets with glee.

And I have never in my adult life seen such anger.

This gets rather puzzling. Glee and anger seem at odds. Never seen such anger? Like what antifa is doing? Like the actual Fake News™? Like the assassination or impeachment ruminations? Or the expression of the heckler’s veto nearly any time a conservative shows up on campus? Or consider how French completely misses the point of the press responsibility for accuracy tweet. Or consider how he takes a single instance of locker room braggadocio and compares it to decades of sexual abuse by Weinstein. “On a vast scale, members of the Republican base are defending behavior from Trump that would shock and appall them if it came from a Democratic president.” You mean like Clinton with perjury, disbarment, and a semen stained dress? What French illustrates is just how hate can blind a person and distort his perceptions to the point of derangement. He needs to look in the mirror and do some heavy introspection to maybe find out his accusations and allegations might likely be a case of projection and not of reality.

Thomas Lifson: Tucker Carlson declares war on ‘corrupt’ NBC News – “these are far from ordinary times, and I am coming to appreciate that Tucker Carlson is far from an ordinary TV talking head.”

Meanwhile, things are a’poppin’ on the important issues. Lewis K. Uhler and Peter J. Ferrara: Congress Makes Big Progress On Pro-Growth Tax Reform – “The so-called “do nothing Congress” is making amazing progress toward major, pro-growth tax reform.”

The architects of “progressivism” (Schumer, Pelosi, Sanders) continue their chant that we are “toadies” of Wall Street and want to cut taxes for the rich. Their left wing “intellectual” apologists like the Tax Policy Center claim that our tax cut proposals will dramatically reduce federal tax revenues, increase our national deficits and debt, and bankrupt America. Yet, these are the very same people who applauded Obama’s anti-growth policies and trillions in additional debt.

These so-called “progressives” still haven’t gotten the message of the last election. Working people and their families want growth, not Third World-style stagnation.

The fundamental economic truth is when the economy is rising, revenues will be rising, regardless of the rates. And when the economy is declining, revenue will be declining, regardless of the rates.

These are historical facts, not opinion. And those who do not understand them should not pretend to be practicing economics.

Only on the promise of tax reform plus a concerted attack on business regulation the U.S. economy is growing at a rate not seen in years and the stock markets are at record highs. Trump is doing his part. Will Congress, most pointedly the Senate, follow through?

Have you wondered about those naval ship collisions? Neo-neocon describes a case at Army: The West Point rot – “Many people (me included) wondered how it was that the openly-Communist Spenser Rapone was allowed to graduate from West Point.” If the Naval Academy is similarly effected, it may explain a few things.

Now the professor who had originally reported Rapone to West Point authorities (to no avail), retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Robert Heffington, has issued an open letter to West Point graduates with a word—actually, many words—of explanation:

Here is the text of the letter. After you’ve read it, you will understand that Rapone didn’t fall through the cracks. There weren’t any cracks. If what Heffington says it’s the truth—and I’m definitely inclined to believe it—then West Point has apparently become a standardless, permissive, PC, open (and perhaps bottomless) pit.

West Point has become the same as just about any other university, afraid of its students and subservient to the PC dictates.

If all of this was an open secret, it’s shocking that there was a culture of silence around it till now. Reminds me a bit of Hollywood—or, if truth be told, most institutions. Maybe Spenser Rapone did us all a favor by being so flagrant that he drew greater public attention to the rot that’s been going on (not just in the military in general, which we already knew about, but at West Point itself) for a long time. The question is whether anything will be done about it.

William A. Jacobson: Legal Insurrection is 9 years old, and filled with dread – “Last year I noted that while it was a difficult year personally, I was optimistic. …The attempts to unwind the 2016 presidential election have changed everything.”

If the assault on the Electoral College was the game changer for me, a runner up was waking up to implications of the concentration of power in a small number of social media and internet companies who have been weaponized to shut down speech and expression.

I don’t know if there are any uncorrupted institutions left that matter.

There is a rising tide of absolutism in ideas and enforcement of ideological uniformity that is palpable.

The press could stand as a bulwark against this slide, but it too is corrupted.

Filled with dread indeed. 

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In the Weinstein era …

Peter Nichols: On the ‘Vulgar Manliness’ of Donald Trump – a takedown of the hyperbolic language being used by such as Harvard Professor of Government Harvey Mansfield who depicts the President as a demagogue.

Ace has an example: Trump’s “Threat” About NBC’s Broadcast License May Be “Dangerous,” But It’s Rooted in the Public Interest Requirement for Broadcast Licenses. The vulgarity and demagoguery is often in those whose ox is being gored.

Harsanyi argues that it’s a dangerous road to go down, threatening to deny someone’s free speech rights, even if they are putting out “#FakeNews,” as NBC allegedly did here.

But there’s an aspect of this he entirely omits, which makes me wonder if he even knows about it. (This is so important that I imagine he’d mention if, if only to explain why it doesn’t matter, if he knew about it.)

Betsy Newmark contrasts with ACE by assuming a stupid president who doesn’t understand the First Amendment. Like with the NFL, free speech isn’t the issue. Her bias stemming from hate is destructive. Feeling good and assuming the hubris of moral superiority is destructive to the person as well as to any productive discussion of the actual topic or issue being raised. A history teacher should be especially cognizant of these internal bias issues but this one seems to have a weakness when it comes to Trump.

Dan Calabrese provides another example for contrast and comparison: Of course, Trump’s random musing about NBC’s broadcast license is the end of civilization – “Trump is a troll without equal, and his ability to inspire completely insane overreactions to his words and actions is quite something.”

The constitutional power of the president is limited, but his power to get people to do things is limited only by the bounds of his persuasive power. You might think Donald Trump is a little short in that area because he is so widely and deeply reviled. I disagree.

did he really threaten NBC’s license? Er, kinda, sorta . . . not really.

This is a classic Trump troll. He doesn’t actually take any action, nor does he direct anyone else to do so. He merely muses about it, and that’s enough to send the rest of the media into a fullblown meltdown.

Trump’s aim in tweeting stuff like this is twofold: 1. Make the public more aware of the media’s practice of publishing and airing untruths; and 2. Provoke the media to freak out. They take the bait every time.

Mark Perry: Quotation of the day on Pope Francis’s misguided worldwide campaign against capitalism and entrepreneurs…. is from Lawrence J. McQuillan’s May 12, 2017 article titled “Pope Francis’s Failure to See Entrepreneurs as Good Samaritans Undercuts the Poor

Leslie Eastman: Gov. Brown fiddled with climate change while Wine Country now burns – “The Wine Country Wildfires may end up being Brown’s lasting legacy.”

I suspect that the Wine Country Wildfires will turn out to be Brown’s Katrina, the legacy for which he will truly be remembered. The death toll in these devastating blazes has already hit 23, and 315 are now reported missing.

No matter the ultimate cause, 2017 was anticipated to be a potentially bad wildfire year, because recent rains led to more growth in drought-impacted areas…but not enough to leave enough moisture to make ignition difficult. Instead of focusing on infrastructure, security, and disaster preparedness, Brown’s effort went to becoming an international climate change star.

Additionally, he vetoed a bipartisan bill in 2016 aimed at reducing the risk of wildfires from overhead electrical lines.

Walter Olson: “Morally Innocent, Legally Guilty: The Case for Mens Rea Reform” – mens rea, a guilty mind, is about the difference between crime and unintentional misdoing.

our justice system has usually been content to evaluate accidents that injure others as civil wrongs, but criminal punishment has been reserved for people who do bad acts on purpose. But that has changed as legislators and regulators have begun to see the criminal justice system, not as a forum for ascertaining moral blameworthiness and meting out punishment accordingly, but as just another tool in the technocratic toolbox for shaping society and preventing social harm.”

The SJW often confuses good intentions with proper results. Their judgments are often missing context and implication. Legal justice differs from social justice as it has been honed over time to avoid the bias and errors in subjective opinions and human nature driven motivations and behaviors that are more for protecting self than society. For the SJW, law is a weapon and not a path to justice.

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The Blue Bubble – it may be a very different place.

Clifford D. May: We’ll always have Paris – “But like the rest of Europe, it may be a very different place.”

Europeans seem to have an increasingly bizarre and perhaps self-destructive view of the world, and their place in it. Last week’s most creative illustration: The Irish postal service issued a stamp to “commemorate” the 50th anniversary of the death of “Argentinian Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara.”

This particular Marxist revolutionary wrote a treatise in 1967 in praise of “hatred.” Why? Because hatred can turn a man into “an effective, violent, selective, and cold-blooded killing machine.”

Paul Berman, … Do the Irish understand that they are commemorating that as well?

His bluntly stated thesis: “Europe is committing suicide. Or at least its leaders have decided to commit suicide.” He thinks there’s an outside chance that less exalted Europeans can still save their culture and civilization.

Other factors contributing to the coming calamity include Europe’s “guilt for its past,” its “existential tiredness,” and, of course, multiculturalism, an ideology based on the premise that all cultures are equal but that the cultures of the West are less equal than others.

many European are leftist multiculturalists who believe that the solution to the problems of the world is to bring millions of foreigners to Europe, along with their cultures and values. It’s yet another grand experiment. Mr. Murray is not alone in believing it won’t end well.

Thomas Lifson: James O’Keefe video has New York Times management reeling – “Hats off to James O’Keefe and Project Veritas (donate here – please!) for another video that is rocking a major progressive institution to its foundations.”

So blatant is the self-described misbehavior that the Times tasked its Vice President of “Comms,” Danielle Rhoades Ha, with a response:

the Times has got to be frantically asking people if they have ever shot off their mouths to someone they didn’t know particularly well. I’d really love to see how that memo is worded, and hope that somebody will leak it.

The heart of the problem is that the Times people live in what I call the Blue Bubble, where everyone shares their prejudices. In the mentality of most urban progressives, one gains approval, acceptance, and prestige by cleverly expressing contempt for the “other” upon whom they look down with contempt: Trump and the racist morons who foisted him upon “us.”

“They” are seen as a threat to all that urban progressives hold dear.

the notion that people are wandering around with hidden cameras and publicizing the results has got to be terrifying, once they think it through.

Who knows, maybe it will make people think about changing their behavior.

Noemie Emery: Who’s breaking America’s norms now? – “Even more strange is their claim that the Republican Party brought Trump about by shattering norms of behavior,”

To Mann, Ornstein, and Dionne, Ted Kennedy did nothing wrong when he took to the floor of the Senate in 1987 to unleash a tirade against Robert Bork that would have been considered unhinged in a campaign context, but was unheard of against a high court nominee. Bork failed to fight back, and the Court and the Senate were altered forever — or, as Kevin Williamson would say later, “The Democrats’ craven, despicable, lying campaign against Bork announced the arrival of Supreme Court confirmation hearings as bare knuckled political brawls.”

Nor could they acknowledge that Barack Obama did anything to smash civic norms in 2010, when, after Scott Brown’s election deprived him of his 60th vote for the passage of health care, he rammed it through anyhow using parliamentary technicalities, breaking the norm that large, complex measures should be passed by a large and bipartisan margins and backed up by popular will

So we’re to believe that the Tea Party is the norm-breaking event, not the decision to take on 5,000 and 2,000 years of religious tradition in a country founded on biblical principles. It’s pretty hard to keep reading once that premise has been established.

Ed Morrissey: Judiciary war escalates: McConnell gives blue slips a pink slip – “Get ready for the howls sure to come from Chuck Schumer and Co, but they only have themselves to blame.”

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redefinition to rationalize; fears not realized

Cheryl K. Chumley: Mike Pence, mocked for principles the left just can’t fathom – “Mike Pence, post-Colts-49ers walkout, has been mocked mercilessly by a vicious left as little more than a media hog and public relations stuntman for daring to leave the game in protest of players’ national anthem kneeling.”

Now that Pence has walked the talk — now that he’s actually shown his disdain for the improper, inappropriate shows of political protests on the playing field, and left the game — the lefties want to pretend like he’s all show, no substance.

Sorry, guys. Pence had principles before players decided to kneel. He had the same principles when he attended the game and found the players still kneeling.

Those on the left are only making a case out of Pence’s departure because a man of principle is so alien to them. They just can’t fathom anybody in politics who actually stands for something — because everyone they know, everyone they support, does not.

The personal attacks are ‘as usual.’ What is interesting is that money shows up. With Pence, it is taxpayer money on a trip that has long been in the schedule and is rather standard practice for Vice Presidents. Another story comments on ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith warning that President Trump is winning an ongoing public debate claiming the President has hijacked the issue. The motivation for this effort is asserted to be an effort to “exact revenge for failed attempts to gain a financial stake in the league.” Interesting how money is being used as a weapon (see also Jazz Shaw: Another dry hole: Mnuchin travel inquiry comes up empty).

Ed Morrissey: Cowboys owner: I’ll bench anyone who disrespects the flag – “The NFL doesn’t appear to have figured this out. It’s not just about the flag, but about the theft of trust with the fans, all for a series of silly and impotent protests.”

The multimillionaires on the field and their billionaire owners have plenty of platforms for social protest and activism. Fans want them to stop hijacking the one that taxpayers got shafted to provide.

John Merline: What Is ‘Patriotic’ These Days? A Guide For The Perplexed – “ When millionaire football players turn the anthem into a divisive stunt, it’s patriotic. But when a sitting vice president walks out of a game to show respect for the flag, it’s shameless and disrespectful.”

Time was, being patriotic meant supporting the troops, honoring the flag, loving the country and its many freedoms. It was pretty simple. But progressive sophisticates have been trying for years to redefine what patriotism means, and the result is a muddle that requires a pro-football-size playbook to figure out.

To that end, we’ve reviewed a multitude of stories and commentaries from some leading politicians and the best and brightest of the pundit class to put together a brief tutorial on the current thinking about this word

If you find all this confusing pr upside down, join the club. Worse, there’s no consistency. Some protests, even if they’re violent, are deemed patriotic, while others, such as peaceful tea party marches, aren’t. One day, criticizing the president is akin to treason, the next, it’s as American as apple pie.

How does burning the flag, thumbing one’s overpaid nose at the national anthem, attacking the founding principles of the county, calling its institutions oppressive, opposing border controls, putting American lives at risk constitute love, support, or devotion to the U. S. and its interests?

Jennifer Harper: Trump and Pence: Power of the pushback – “Critics called the brisk departure “a political stunt” and speculation was rampant. But some say the couple’s exit was a defining moment that launched a jolt of cultural change, which now is gaining momentum.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is what pushing back looks like. Get used to this. This is what pushing back looks like. This is what the left not getting away with setting the narrative and determining who can and who can’t say anything — this is what it looks like. This is what it looks like when you push back against it,” talk radio host Rush Limbaugh told his 10 million listeners Monday.

Americans have been conditioned for decades “to accept anti-American displays” Mr. Limbaugh said — but that era may be waning with President Trump in office.

Ace – “We cannot sit idly by as the Social Justice Warriors identify, kill, gut, and wear the skin suit of one powerful institution after another without any kind of pushback whatsoever.”

Bullying a bully isn’t bullying — it’s just kicking a would-be bully in the ass for a while until he stops bullying.

The left has decided that it can’t win the political war on the current battlefield, so it has made it its mission to shape the battlefield by taking over the main transmission stations of permissible public opinion and using the power of those corporations to propagandize and bully citizens into compliance.

That is the war. Some on the Not-So-SmartSet right may proudly pat themselves on the back for avoiding that war, denying the existence of that war, and even white knighting corporations actively fighting that war on behalf of the left — but that is the actual war.

And, as to any conservative too polite to fight the actual war — then what is the point of you, and whose side are you actually on?

David Horowitz and Matthew Vadum: Mouth Control, Not More Gun Control, Is What We Need – “How the Democratic Party’s “Resistance” and Trump Derangement Syndrome are inciting a violent war against Republicans and conservatives.”

While the left side of the political spectrum responded to the mass shooting in Las Vegas with fevered calls for gun controls, which even Democrats admit would not have prevented the massacre, they have done nothing to rein in their hateful rhetoric demonizing Trump supporters and providing clear incitements to deranged individuals like Stephen Paddock to commit heinous acts of violence. Leftist celebrity Nancy Sinatra notoriously tweeted “Murderous members of NRA should face firing squad” – to express her politically correct assumption that a gun, rather than an individual incited by hateful comments like hers, was responsible for the slaughter.

Nor are Democrats unaware that their reckless rhetorical attacks can have deadly results.

While Democrats call for gun control they project a steady stream of wild-eyed rhetoric and venomous rationales for violence against their political opponents. This is not only not useful in a democracy. It is downright dangerous.

Victor Davis Hanson: Message v. Messenger: The Trump Enigma – “The strange disconnect between a disliked person and his mostly praised policies again raises fundamental questions.”

Is Trump’s occasional crudity and unapologetic animus counterproductive and turning off possible allies, as conventional wisdom suggests? Or is his rambunctiousness instead integral to reifying his message? Neither or both?

Is he hated in unprecedented fashion by the media and the Left because he can be crude in a manner unmatched by past presidents? Or because his efforts, both real and rhetorical, to overturn the progressive project, are of the street-fighting caliber never quite seen before from a party of sober and judicious Republicans but long adopted by the Left and therefore likely to be both eerily familiar to them and perhaps even efficacious?

what is clear is that many liberal and conservative prognostications about his presidency have so far not happened.

No previous president has been the target of such public venom. Assassination chic is now endemic. Anti-Trump obscenity is a staple of late-night television.

Yet it is likely that there is a 50/50 chance that the unpredictable and irascible Trump and policies will achieve in the not so distant future a sustainable 3 percent annual rate of GDP growth, a reform of the tax code, a systematic dismantling of onerous government regulations through executive orders, a restoration of U.S. deterrence abroad, another conservative Supreme Court justice, and a return to legal, measured, and meritocratic immigration—and thus even more hysteria and hatred of Trump, the person, from policy supporters and opponents alike.

And there are stories about implicit racism out there today, too.

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SJW’s met on their own ground. Outrage erupts.

Ralph Z. Hallow: Pence brings social justice to 49ers – “All you do as Vice President is go to funerals — and, if you’re Mike Pence, you kick the NFL and its anthem kneelers in their overinflated footballs.”

Several of the San Franciso 49ers didn’t stand at the Colts’ stadium in Indianapolis on Sunday. The Colts did stand for the anthem but with arms linked, showing unity over what?

“Social injustice?”

In a land that has worked harder, longer and more successfully to achieve equality of opportunity and social justice than any other country on earth.

Cheryl K. Chumley: NFL players union still doesn’t get it – “Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence walked out of the Colts-49ers football game after players fell to their knees in protest of the national anthem.”

Shortly after, the NFL Players Association released a statement of support for the kneelers. Make that: The tone-deaf NFL Players Association released a statement.

But truly, these ‘disses of America’s symbols — of the anthem, the flag — for reasons that are rooted in false leftist notions of widespread, rampant police brutality against minorities are past wearisome.

Pence is being blasted by several NFLers for what they’re claiming is a vice presidential “PR stunt.”

Well, note to NFL players: That’s pretty much how America regards your on-field shows of anti-Americanism. Pence? He’s an American patriot who took a stand on principle and did what the rest of fed-up fans have been doing for weeks now — turned his back on the game.

Schuyler Dixon: Jerry Jones: Cowboys ‘will not play’ if they disrespect flag – an owner in conflict.

CNN shows its colors: Trump praises Christopher Columbus, omitting explorer’s dark history. The “omitting” is on CNN’s part as it omits the context of history. It is an attempt to bash and trash by distortion and selective history. For example, CNN brings up the ‘epidemic’ that occurs in a meeting of cultures but takes it only one way. They ignore the slavery, the oppression, and the brutality existent in the ‘new world.’

“Christopher Columbus’ legacy of extreme violence, enslavement, and brutality is not in dispute,” O’Farrell said, according to CNN affiliate KCAL. “Nor is the suffering, destruction of cultures and subjugation of Los Angeles’ original indigenous people, who were here thousands of years before anyone else.”

The thing is that this “extreme violence, enslavement, and brutality” was near nothing compared to what the Europeans found in the indigenous population. CNN, again with the Left, repaints culture and history to destroy what gives them a voice.

Christopher Columbus XX: Hey America, my ancestor didn’t cause your failings – “We’re quick to rewrite history and accuse Christopher Columbus of decimating Native Americans when the truth is so much more complex.”

Two cultures meeting for the first time in 1492 was no easy thing, but blaming Columbus for everything that went wrong hides the truth about him and about those who followed him. It also obscures the great things that the countries of the American hemisphere have accomplished.

What is lacking in the anti-Columbus narrative is any sense of history or of nuance.

Blaming Columbus does his legacy a terrible injustice, but it does something else, too. It focuses anger on one man and on the wrong man.

Jack Cashill: Harvey Weinstein and the Slow-Motion Theft of American Culture – “Having just given up on the NFL, I have to ask myself how much more of our common culture will be denied me and the millions of Americans who would rather desert that culture than be demeaned by its custodians.”

Like Glen Reynolds noted, who would of thought that a Queen concert (pausing for a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance) would be more patriotic than an NFL game?

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Whole Truth??

Douglas Ernst: David Frum tells readers to stop believing the ‘myth’ of responsible gun ownership – “The Atlantic’s David Frum had a social media feed filled with angry Second Amendment activists on Friday after telling his readers that responsible gun ownership is a “myth.” This is a fundamental difference between Left and Right. The Left believes negatively about people which leads to the necessity of governance by an elite cabal.

Those four rules that Mr. Frum claims impede appropriate gun laws from being crafted include:

  • “The measures to be debated must bear some relationship to the massacre that triggered the debate. If the killer acquired his weapons illegally, it’s out of bounds to point out how lethally easy it is to buy weapons legally.”

  • “The debate must focus on unusual weapons and accessories: bump stocks, for example, the villain of the moment. Even the NRA has proclaimed itself open to some regulation of these devices.”

  • “The debate must always honor the ‘responsible gun owners’ who buy weapons for reasonable self-defense.”

  • “Gun ownership is always to be discussed as a rational choice motivated by reasonable concerns for personal safety.”

In other words, reason, reality, integrity, and trust in ‘the people’ should be off the table. And, of course, the problem is with those who do want reason, reality, integrity and ‘trust in the people’ to be at the forefront of constructive dialog.

The Weekly Standard: Let’s Have a Real Debate on Guns – “their real aim—an outright ban on all civilian use of handguns and most rifles—would require a repeal of the Second Amendment.”

The pattern is depressingly familiar: Someone uses a gun in an act of mayhem and murder. Progressive and center-left politicos demand “action” in the form of gun-control legislation. Congress toys with the idea but doesn’t pass much of anything. The Times and other liberal publications and commentators denounce the “gun lobby” to which they attribute vast powers of coercion.

what makes the gun debate so unbearably stale isn’t any disagreement over the interpretation of data. Nor is it a dispute over the value of firearms in a free society. If only it were about these questions. What makes the debate so stale, rather, is the disingenuousness of those who claim to want “sensible” and “reasonable” gun regulations but who in fact want an outright ban.

Since they can’t name their desire, anti-gun activists, in a kind of Freudian displacement maneuver, spend their energy fulminating against the “gun lobby.”

If progressives insist on engaging in the joyless ritual of arguing about guns after every inscrutable act of mass murder, we would prefer that they drop the pretense and advocate the repeal of the Second Amendment and the confiscation of our guns. We disagree with that view, but we would rather have an honest debate about the Constitution than go on trampling the sensibilities of mourners by treating their grief as an occasion to quarrel about statutory adjustments nobody really believes in.

Stephen Dinan: FBI says lack of public interest in Hillary emails justifies withholding documents – “You have not sufficiently demonstrated that the public’s interest in disclosure outweighs personal privacy interests of the subject,” FBI records management section chief David M. Hardy told Mr. Clevenger in a letter Monday.” It is yet another example of the disparagement of the public in favor of the elite.

“How can a story receive national news coverage and not be a matter of public interest? If this is the new standard, then there’s no such thing as a public interest exception,” he [Clevenger] said.

Thomas Lifson: Why is the FBI stonewalling congressional subpoenas on the Fusion GPS ‘Trump Dossier’? – “Could the story behind the “Trump dossier” be the Rosetta Stone of Russian manipulation of our electoral process in 2016?

There is a strong and justifiable suspicion that the dossier was the critical bit of evidence that persuaded the FISA Court to reverse itself and permit monitoring of American associates of Donald Trump. The dossier was originally begun as an opposition research project for Republican rivals of Trump, then funded by Democrats, and allegedly, finally funded by the FBI. We already know that some of the wild accusations in it were demonstrably false.

The Ken Burns Vietnam propaganda epic response profits from modern technology where many voices can add to the public discussion. Previous posts here have linked to two distinguished ‘been there’ voices. Terry Garlock is another who warns: Be skeptical of Ken Burns’ documentary: The Vietnam War – “Some months ago I and a dozen other local veterans attended a screening at the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta.”

The series began showing on PBS Sunday Sep 17, and with Burns’ renowned talent mixing photos, video clips and compelling mood music in documentary form, the series promises to be compelling to watch. That doesn’t mean it tells the truth.

For many years I have been presenting to high school classes a 90 minute session titled The Myths and Truths of the Vietnam War. One of my opening comments is, “The truth about Vietnam is bad enough without twisting it all out of shape with myths, half-truths and outright lies from the anti-war left.”

Our group of vets left the Ken Burns documentary screening . . . disappointed. As one example, all four of the photos I use were shown, with only the anti-war narrative. Will the whole truth be told in the full 18 hours? I have my doubts but we’ll see.

Will the full documentary show John Kerry’s covert meeting in Paris with the leadership of the Viet Cong while he was still an officer in the US Naval Reserve and a leader in the anti-war movement? Will it show how Watergate crippled the Republicans and swept Democrats into Congress in 1974, and their rapid defunding of South Vietnamese promised support after Americans had been gone from Vietnam two years? Will it show Congress violating America’s pledge to defend South Vietnam if the North Vietnamese ever broke their pledge to never attack the south? Will it portray America’s shame in letting our ally fall, the tens of thousands executed for working with Americans, the hundreds of thousands who perished fleeing in overpacked, rickety boats, the million or so sent to brutal re-education camps? Will it show the North Vietnamese victors bringing an influx from the north to take over South Vietnam’s businesses, the best jobs, farms, all the good housing, or committing the culturally ruthless sin of bulldozing grave monuments of the South Vietnamese?

Will Burns show how the North Vietnamese took the city of Hue during the 1968 Tet Offensive, bringing lists of names of political leaders, business owners, doctors, nurses, teachers and other “enemies of the people,” and how they went from street to street, dragging people out of their homes, and that in the aftermath of the Battle of Hue, only when thousands of people were missing and the search began did they find the mass graves where they had been tied together and buried alive?

Will Burns show how America, after finally withdrawing from Vietnam and shamefully standing by while our ally was brutalized, did nothing while next door in Cambodia the Communists murdered two million of their own people as they tried to mimic Mao’s “worker paradise” in China?

Will Burns show how American troops conducted themselves with honor, skill and courage, never lost a major battle, and helped the South Vietnamese people in many ways like building roads and schools, digging wells, teaching improved farming methods and bringing medical care where it had never been seen before? Will he show that American war crimes, exaggerated by the left, were even more rare in Vietnam than in WWII? Will he show how a naïve young Jane Fonda betrayed her country with multiple radio broadcasts from North Vietnam, pleading with American troops to refuse their orders to fight, and calling American pilots and our President war criminals?

I expect to see American virtue minimized, American missteps emphasized, to fit the left-leaning narrative about the Vietnam War that, to this day, prevents our country from learning the real lessons from that war.

Roger Canfield: Why Ken Burns’ “Vietnam” on PBS Matters – “With monuments falling and history burned, comes renewed foci on America’s faults. Vietnam is exhibit A.” The website is Vietnam Veterans for Factual History.

Burns is America’s greatest storyteller since Mark Twain. Unlike Twain, Burns does not admit to fictitious works. He has perfected manipulating human emotions. He selected veterans whose war stories bring one to tears, anger and even hate. Ho Chi Minh said America’s policy was “burn all, kill all and destroy all,” using “napalm bombs, poison gas and toxic chemicals to massacre our compatriots and ravage our villages.” Burns fills the screen with the orange fires, bloody slaughter and destroyed hamlets — that do not fit the narrative’s timeline. No matter. An ugly America is repeatedly depicted waging an illegal, immoral, unjust, racist and unwinnable war. You see, America “misreads” the war as fighting communism. Burns quickly passes over Ho’s 20 years as a paid agent of the international communism and his receipt of massive Soviet and Chicom weaponry.

To Burns, America is the real enemy in Vietnam. Episode 1 begins with the sound of helicopter blades and a montage of scenes symbolically running rapidly backwards out of Vietnam. Veteran Karl Marlantes has an unfriendly homecoming – strangely, not being spitting upon or being called a “baby killer.” No one talks about Vietnam. Burns does that definitively. Almost all of Burns’ facts are true as far as they go. The emotional impact of 60’s music, iconic photos and human pain easily pass by contradictory facts.

A blizzard of facts, critical ones omitted, and a cacophony of sounds and pictures flashing by, obscure key points and advance falsehoods. Here’s some examples.

The main antagonists in Burns’ morality play, other than lying presidents, were corrupt Saigon leaders and their cowardly troops.

What is missing is the war from the ‘other side.’ There has been no documentary with the weight that Ken Burns and PBS provide that goes into just what it was that the U.S. was fighting. There is very little on the quality and nature of the enemy’s leadership or of its sources, history, and context. There is very little about the enemy’s troops or tactics or behavior. There is very little about the aftermath of the war comparing and contrasting to, say, what happened in Europe after WW II. There is very little about the role of the communists and other Leftists in the U.S. anti-war movement and how they were organized, funded, and executed.

Here’s one result. Natalie Bruzd: UNLV class erupts after professor blames Trump for shooting – “In the aftermath of the mass murder in Las Vegas, a UNLV history professor told her class this week that she had predicted “people will die” when Donald Trump was elected president.” This was in a senior level course (History 407) where you’d expect a bit better intellectual rigor.

“It is sad she is teaching students such divisive, inaccurate and irresponsible rhetoric,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “She should be ashamed of herself, and the university should look into it. What a terrible example to set for students.”

A few things missing make a mockery of the whole truth.

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Tragic incoherence: as lies are the root of evil, this lie must lead to something awful

Victor Davis Hanson: The Tragic Incoherence of the NFL Protests – “It has become a sort of reflex to object to the National Football League’s players’ bended knee/sitting through the National Anthem—while also conceding that their complaints have merit.”

But do they?

To answer that question, one would have to know precisely what the protests are about. But so far the various reasons advanced are both confused and without much merit. That is why the players will eventually stand for the anthem before their tragic incoherence loses them both their fans and their jobs with it.

The Left often does not pay much attention to such facts—though it grows angry when others do.

Were the players then frustrated about general racial disparities in landscapes beyond their own privileged positions? That larger question of why African-Americans have not yet statically achieved the same level of education, income, and family stability as the majority is more complex.

The exegeses usually break down politically.

The point is not to dismiss the unique historical ordeal of African-Americans, but rather to suggest that a majority of Americans does not any longer believe race is destiny, much less that being “white” governs one’s fate, especially at a time when intermarriage and integration are at an all-time high, and when the white working classes are increasingly disengaged from and at odds with the bicoastal white elite class. In other words, working-class white people often have much more in common with working-class blacks than they do with elite whites.

The idea of multimillionaire professional athletes—as part of the 0.01 percent of the nation’s income earners, in a meritocratic but quite un-diverse league made up of 75 percent black players—refusing to stand for the National Anthem out of anger at their country, racial unfairness, the president, or history is nonsensical.

Jazz Shaw: That FBI report is making the Ferguson Effect hard to ignore – “one disturbing trend can be found by matching up locations recording rising murder rates with the homes of of widespread riots and anti-police protests.”

Dennis Prager: The Greatest Libel since the Blood Libel – “America does not oppress minorities or women, and it’s a lie to say so.”

That America today oppresses minorities and women is as far from the truth as was the notion that Jews used Christian blood for matzo.

Last year, ESPN’s Paul Finebaum said, on air: “This country has issues, but this country is not oppressing black people.” After being widely denounced, two days later Finebaum felt it necessary to issue this abject apology: “I could spend the rest of my life trying to talk my way out of it, but I can’t. I blew it. I simply did not have a good grasp of the situation. I know better. I’ve lived in this country. I see what is going on all across the country from North to South, East to West and I have no excuse. . . . All I can say is that I made a terrible mistake. In trying to express a feeling that I probably — not probably — I had no right to express.”

Such examples are endless. America oppresses blacks, Latinos, women, gays, and everyone else who is not a white, male, heterosexual Christian. It is a great lie. But it is the dominant narrative of the society. And, as lies are the root of evil, this lie must lead to something awful.

the charge that America is a land of oppression has utterly cheapened the word “oppression.” The truly oppressed of the world will have to find a new word to express their condition. If blacks and women in America are oppressed, what word shall we use to describe the condition of Christians in Iraq or Egypt? Of gays in Iran? Of women in much of the Muslim world? Of the Untouchables in India? Kurds in Turkey?

The Jews survived the Blood Libel. But America might not survive the American Libel. While the first Libel led to the death of many Jews, the present Libel might lead to the death of a civilization — indeed, the least oppressive ever created.

Alicia Colon: The Consequences of Media Weaponized Hatred – “What is it about social media venues like Facebook and Twitter that make people express vile, despicable comments?”

Yes, it is true that many CW fans lean right, probably vote Republican, probably believe in the second amendment and may own guns, as is their right.

They are also loathed by most Hollywood celebrities and are mocked nightly by late show hosts like Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel.

This antipathy has flooded the airwaves since last November when Donald Trump was elected president.

The venom is unprecedented and like many conservatives I have felt its wrath personally in my own family.

The inability by many Democrats to accept what 63 million Americans voted for last year has divided this country as painfully as during the Civil War.

The mainstream media agree with failed candidate Hillary Clinton when she described those who supported Donald trump: “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”

The Weekly Standard: Supreme Double Standard – “The effort to discredit Neil Gorsuch is disingenuous garbage.”

These protests—and we assume there will be others—are intended to discredit Justice Gorsuch and so provide a feasible excuse for Democrats to block any second Supreme Court nomination by this president.

We hope the tendentiousness of this complaint will appear as plainly in the future as it does now.

If Gorsuch’s critics are searching for improper remarks made by Supreme Court justices, they ought to consult Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s open hostility to the current president.

The main point of Gorsuch’s address, meanwhile—that self-governance requires an ability to “treat others as our equals, as persons, with the courtesy and respect each person deserves, even when we disagree”—seems acutely relevant.

Allahpundit: Pew: Media coverage of Trump through first 60 days vastly more negative than last three presidents – “A fine companion piece to the factoid Bob Schieffer dropped yesterday on “Face the Nation,” that one out of every five reporters in the U.S. now lives in either New York, Washington, or Los Angeles. In 2004, claims Schieffer, it was one out of every eight reporters. The bubble’s getting thicker.” There is bias showing even in this report. Allahpundit ignores what VDH noted in his essay cited above. The crude, rude, and vulgar isn’t “a degree unusual” if you take an objective comparison to Obama or Clinton yet Allahpundit’s bias blinds him to that.

Again, the obvious counterpoint is that leadership and character are a perpetual elephant in the room with Trump and therefore the coverage should logically track that. When you elect a guy whose deep thoughts about “p***y-grabbing” were preserved forever on the “Access Hollywood” tape, who’s known for Twitter-farting whatever grievance happens to be bugging him at any given moment, who seems invested to a degree unusual even for politicians in his own image and perceptions of his “strength,” you’re going to end up with more stories about the presidential persona than you would if, say, Ted Cruz were president. Even so, Trump was dealing with Big Stuff early on after being sworn in — overturning ObamaCare, filling a SCOTUS vacancy, and feeling his way towards a nationalist foreign policy that had the potential to break with decades of American fo-po consensus. Notwithstanding his essential Trumpiness, 69/31 seems out of whack. Go figure.

The New York Sun: Aldean’s Army – “The smell of cordite and the stench of blood — to use the famous phrase — was still over Las Vegas when a reference to Aldean’s Army showed up in dispatches.” It is a shaming of those who kneel for nonsense by example of what is true courage and character.

We first read it in James Freeman’s column — “Americans Under Fire” — in the online Wall Street Journal, which linked to an editorial of earlier today in Chicago Tribune. It referred to the courage of those who had come to hear country crooner Jason Aldean, who has long described his fans as the Aldean Army.

An apt metaphor. Their courage under fire will be talked about for years to come — even if we have so far witnessed on the internet only glimpses captured on cell phones.

No doubt in coming days we will start to learn more about the dark side of the story, the killer’s descent into whatever madness came over him. What a contrast to the thousands of ordinary Americans who, when fired upon, sprang to help one another and inspired their countrymen in a time of terror.

David Harsanyi: When You Politicize Shootings You Make It Harder To Find Solutions – “There are two kinds of social media reactions to horrifying events such as the Las Vegas shooting. One of them makes debate impossible.”

There are generally two kinds of social media reactions to heart-wrenching events like yesterday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas: one is to offer prayers and sympathy to the victims and their families, and the other is to reflexively lash out in anger at those who don’t share your political agenda. Although emotionally satisfying, one of these responses makes it nearly impossible for the country to engage in any kind of useful discussion moving forward.

The more horrifying realization is that once a person has lost his moral bearings the killing part is pretty easy.

Maybe Paddock evaded or abused some gun law. Maybe it can be tightened. But those who reflexively call for more restrictive gun laws without even knowing how or why Paddock got his hands on guns — or what kind of firearms he used — give themselves away. Those who conflate automatic and semi-automatic guns also give themselves away.

Those in the press who mislead the public on all these issues give themselves away, as well.

ideological stridency and partisanship feeds into the distrust gun owners have towards politicians. For many of them, gun laws feel a lot like incremental steps to undermine access. It’s difficult to disagree with this perception when you read and listen to the rhetoric of most liberal gun-control groups. The only thing this kind of partisanship creates is a spike in legal ownership.

David Post: This American madness – it a case study of the American Libel and it sounds so nice. Where does he err? One is that he obsesses on “a military-grade automatic assault rifle and plenty of ammunition.” Another is his perceptions about who fits into the ‘two kinds of reactions’ described above by Harsanyi.

I know the arguments for why we permit people to own weapons of this kind, but none of them seem remotely plausible or persuasive to me. Whatever one thinks of the scope and nature of the rights bestowed by the Second Amendment, the idea that the Constitution renders us completely powerless to limit the sale, distribution and ownership of weapons that are this efficient at mowing down large numbers of people — and that have no other real or legitimate purpose — is surely a symptom of a kind of political insanity.

He shows that he does not know the arguments nor does he understand the U.S. Constitution nor does he know about existing gun control laws. This is gross ignorance and that is a bad place to be in expressing opinions if you want those opinions to be worthy of any consideration.

This is particularly disturbing, because there seems to be a lot of hate out there these days, and hate plus military-grade weaponry is a truly terrifying combination. It’s not confined to either side of the political divide; people don’t seem to disagree so much as despise these days.

A critical flaw here is the ‘both sides do it’ fallacy and it ignores the Boston bombing or the recent vehicle assaults in Europe in the obsession about guns.

Of all the things I dislike about the Trump presidency — and it’s a long list — his calculated strategy to make us all hate each other more than we already do is perhaps the most unforgivable. It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: Of course President Trump didn’t somehow “cause” the Las Vegas shooting to happen, and he isn’t responsible for this massacre. But he feeds off our hatred for our fellow citizens and stokes it up, because he believes — possibly correctly — that it is to his political advantage to do so, whatever costs it may impose on our social and political discourse and institutions.

This one needs a compare and contrast to the response Trump offered to that offered by Clinton and others. Just who is it that is promulgating hate? Who is it pushing politics into a tragedy as a first action? Note also the “long list” and consider the logical fallacy.

The National Football League/national-anthem controversy was the latest dispiriting example. He found an applause line to fire up his base of supporters

See above from VDH about just how disingenuous and falsely based this particular assertion really is.

I look forward to the day when we once again have a president who actually believes it is part of his or her job to help us get over our divisions, not to insert hot pokers into the wounds from existing divisions. Self-government is pretty much impossible if we all think that those with different views on difficult questions are all SOBs.

Here Post shows that his perceptions are not based on what was said but rather what he imagines. He shows no awareness of the attempts to shut down political debate even to the point of beating up people that has occurred recently. The fact that he is so far from reality and so resistant to any effort to express intellectual integrity is the real tell on the problems with divisiveness and political discord.

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A catalog of tactics: dirty, mean, dishonest, etc.etc.

First: horror, condolences, and prayers for the victims of a guy with automatic weapons firing down on a country music festival from the 32nd floor. There are many questions to be answered but those questions and the victims will likely be swept to insignificance over political ideology is history trends holds out (already showing from the usual suspects). Meanwhile, United Blood Services is seeking donations.

Jeff Sessions: When colleges became echo chambers of the politically correct – “The search for truth has suffered, with the imposition of truth-by-censors replacing it.”

Our legal heritage, upon which the Founders crafted the Bill of Rights, taught that reason and knowledge produced the closest approximation to truth — and from truth may arise justice. But reason requires discourse and, frequently, argument. And that is why the free speech guarantee is found not just in the First Amendment, but also permeates our institutions, our traditions, and our Constitution.

We have staked a country on the principle that robust and even contentious debate is how we discover truth and resolve the most intractable problems before us. This is the heritage that we have been given and which we must protect.

Charles Hurt: Puerto Rico the latest crisis Democrats see as too good to let go to waste – “Is there no third rail of American politics this president fears? Obviously not.”

In this case, San Juan’s mayor tangled with the wrong guy. Politics 101 has always instructed presidents to lie down and take any beating — no matter how politically motivated — that is offered up over federal response to natural disasters.

It did not help Ms. Cruz that she accused Mr. Trump of killing her people while standing amid aisles of food and bottled water on giant pallets. This only highlighted the fact that ships have been delivering cargo containers of rations and relief into the San Juan harbor, but local officials have not been able to distribute the goods to the people who need them.

Just one more tragic example that the federal government is not the answer to every problem. Even the weather.

Steven Hayward In Re: Puerto Rico – “The only surprising thing about the total catastrophe in Puerto Rico is that it took so long for the “Trump-Is-A-Bigot-Who-Hates-Brown-People” refrain to get cranked up to eleven.”

One difference today that is Bush was too much of a gentleman to respond to the demagogic attacks from the left. And one thing we know about Trump is that he is no gentleman and won’t take these attacks.

Even before the hurricane, it was clear that bondholders were going to take a large haircut in any restructuring; now I suspect Puerto Rico may default completely.

Prediction: The end result of the Puerto Rico disaster will either be statehood, or independence. I prefer the latter.

Jorge Rodriguez: ‘Inept’ Puerto Rican government ‘riddled with corruption’ – “For the last 30 years, the Puerto Rican government has been completely inept at handling regular societal needs, so I just don’t see it functioning in a crisis like this one.” Those seeking similarities with Katrina need to look at local government, not federal.

I’m really tired of Puerto Rican government officials blaming the federal government for their woes and for not acting fast enough to help people on the island. Last week I had three federal agents in my office and I was so embarrassed; I went out of my way to apologize to them for the attitude of my government and what they have been saying about the US response. When the hurricane hit we had experts from FEMA from all over the US on the ground and I was really proud of their quick response. The first responders and FEMA have all been outstanding in this crisis, and should be supported.

I have a message for the U.S. Congress: Watch out what relief funds you approve and let our local government handle. Don’t let the Puerto Rican government play the victim and fool you. They have no clue what they are doing, and I worry that they will mishandle anything that comes their way.

They don’t need another aircraft carrier. They need experienced people to run a proper disaster command center.

Via Instapundit: U.S. Military On Puerto Rico: “the Problem Is Distribution.” – “They have the generators, water, food, medicine, and fuel on the ground, yet the supplies are not moving across the island as quickly as they’re needed. It’s a lack of drivers for the transport trucks, the 18 wheelers. Supplies we have. Trucks we have. There are ships full of supplies, backed up in the ports, waiting to have a vehicle to unload into. However, only 20% of the truck drivers show up to work. These are private citizens in Puerto Rico, paid by companies that are contracted by the government,” says Col. Valle.”

Rowan Scarborough: Tormenting Manafort is seen as Weissmann’s way to snare big prosecution targets for Mueller – “Facing indictment and millions of dollars in legal debts, President Trump’s onetime campaign manager maintains his innocence and has nothing incriminating to offer Special Counsel Robert Mueller, associates say.”

“Manafort will be looking at several counts to begin with,” said Ms. Powell, who wrote the book “Licensed to Lie,” about what she considers Justice Department corruption. “If he doesn’t cooperate, in response to that, they’ll indict him for many more counts, which will ratchet up his cost of defense significantly, and he’ll be looking at a lifetime in prison.”

But people who know Mr. Manafort have a contrarian narrative. They wonder why Mr. Mueller and his staff of nearly 20 prosecutors had the FBI conduct the shock-effect raid.

They suggest that the trail to finding Russia-Trump collusion has become so cold that Mr. Mueller’s game of hardball led by Mr. Weissmann is a last-ditch effort to scare Mr. Manafort into becoming a prosecution witness.

Associates say Mr. Manafort is not a cooperating witness for one clear reason: He has nothing to reveal and has witnessed no illegal collusion.

Mr. Trump has called the Russia collusion investigation by three congressional committees and Mr. Mueller a “witch hunt.”

IBD: Is Any Part Of The Russia Election Hacking Story True? – “Instead of building up to a troubling conclusion about the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russian to interfere in the 2016 election, the “facts” about this story keep turning out to be untrue. The latest is the claim that Russian tried to hack 21 state election systems.”

This sparked renewed outrage from Democrats about how the election results had been “hacked” by Russia.

But then the story started to fall apart, when Wisconsin and California said DHS was wrong about their systems being targeted.

But that didn’t stop various Trump critics from claiming that this was further evidence that Russia stole the election for Trump.

This has, unfortunately, become the norm since Trump unexpectedly won the election in November. Headline-grabbing stories claim that Russia was involved in some nefarious election-related business, and then days or weeks later the stories turn out to false or wildly exaggerated.

As we’ve noted in this space repeatedly, after more than a year of investigations by law enforcement and the press, we’ve yet to see a shred of credible evidence that Trump had anything to do with whatever Russia actually was up to during the 2016 election. Or any evidence whatsoever that whatever Russia was up to had any impact on anyone’s votes.

It’s shameful, and a disservice to the public. Even Chicken Little didn’t claim the sky was falling this often.

Byron York: As fight enters second month, FBI still withholding dossier documents – “Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein met with committee chairman Devin Nunes last Thursday — the committee can perhaps take comfort in the fact that it is being put off by progressively higher-ranking officials — but it is not clear if the committee is any closer to receiving the documents than when it first issued its subpoena on August 24.”

Investigators in both House and Senate are serious about wanting to know the dossier story. They want to know why the FBI would have taken up, during the height of last year’s presidential campaign, an opposition research project in which a former British spy, paid by supporters of Hillary Clinton, collected what Comey called “salacious and unverified” allegations about Donald Trump and Russia. Grassley said the episode raised “questions about the FBI’s independence from politics.”

Now, the FBI and the Justice Department are resisting Congress’s effort to understand what the bureau did in the 2016 campaign. It seems clear that if it were up to the FBI, the public would never know what went on in the dossier affair. Which means that right now, the House and Senate are the public’s only chance.

David Catron: Tom Price’s Real Crime – “He was guilty of being a fierce and powerful opponent of Obamacare.”

Anyone naïve enough to believe that Tom Price’s ouster from HHS was actually about his use of chartered jets may wish to consider this: The same transgression was committed on a much larger scale by numerous Obama administration officials, yet neither the “news” media nor the Democrats ever exhibited any outrage over far worse abuses by repeat offenders like Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch.

The search for dirt on Price by the Democrats and the media continued apace, of course, and this effort to find damning information only increased after he was confirmed by the Senate and promptly initiated an extensive review of the more than 1,400 intrusive health care regulations promulgated by his predecessors.

Betsy McCaughey: Exposing Democrats’ lies on the Trump tax-cut plan – “Intent on stoking envy, these class warriors are willing to forfeit economic growth. But the nation can’t afford to.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders smears the Trump plan as “morally repugnant,” claiming the rich don’t pay their “fair share.” You’ll hear the same complaint in the “Not One Penny” TV ads paid for by MoveOn.org and other left-wing groups. They warn Congress not to allow one cent of tax cuts for high-income people.

But the top 10 percent of earners pay 80 percent of federal income taxes. Do the math.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren rages that the plan “delivers massive cuts to corporations” and “kicks working families to the curb.” Wrong, Senator. Business tax cuts don’t just benefit businesses. They produce higher wages and more job opportunities for workers.

Pelosi warns Trump’s plan will “blow a huge whole in the deficit.” That’s a new religion for Democrats. Don’t be fooled. The real problem isn’t that taxes are too low. It’s that spending is too high, and Dems want to push it higher.

Expect more demagoguery as Democrats battle Trump’s tax relief. They claim to want a bipartisan plan. Their rhetoric proves otherwise. Unwilling to help govern, they call themselves the “resistance.”

Don’t count on them to help rebuild America’s economy.

Thomas Lifson: How many $ billions will the NFL lose over its kneeling fiasco? – “Signs are evident that the NFL has done permanent damage to its business by appearing to side with the Colin Kaepernick-initiated kneeling during the National Anthem.”

Almost half of the public would be pleased to see them suffer financially! They are angry, and no longer identify with those teams.

Fans become a tribe of sorts, sharing a common identity and common hopes. Part of the reason people like to go to games is the glorious feeling of togetherness, sharing thrills and disappointments. They “affiliate” with the team.

The flag, the National Anthem, and the nation itself are an even larger identity, vastly larger and more important. The nation is a glorious tribe, one that is multi-racial and multi-everything, because it includes every American. It is a tribe for which Americans have willingly died, in fact, whom we honor by standing for the National Anthem and saluting the flag.

When identities clash, people are forced to choose between them.

Paul Mirengoff: The Vietnam War Gets The Ken Burns Treatment – “I found Burns’ version of the war biased and superficial.”

Burns consistently deploys the “iconic” music of the Vietnam era in service of the anti-war movement. When protesters appear, we often hear pop music rather than the voices of the protesters, e.g., “Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Min, NLF [the ones killing Americans] is gonna win.” Burns wants to associate the anti-war movement with music most people like in the hope that it will make us like the movement. It’s one of the oldest advertising tricks in the book.

Ironically, Burns doesn’t let us hear the one song of the era that was explicitly about Vietnam and that made it to the top of charts. I’m referring to “The Ballad of the Green Berets” by Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler. This was a pro-war song written by a member of the Green Berets, a special forces unit, while he was in the hospital recovering from an injury sustained during the war.

Gussying up the anti-war movement with the sounds of the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, etc. is a minor problem compared to gussying up North Vietnam. I’m being unfair. Burns doesn’t so much gussy North Vietnam up as give them something of a pass.

The Vietnam War was an attempt by a murderous Stalinist regime and the its proxy in the south, aided massively by the Soviets and the Chinese, to seize through military conquest an internationally recognized neighboring country. In the 12 or so hours of the series I watched, Burns and his crew downplayed this reality.

The U.S. and South Vietnamese governments came in for relentless criticism. The North Vietnamese mostly skated.

Ironically, Burns, who says he hopes his documentary will help end divisions over the war and facilitate national healing, has come under fire from the left. The contemporary left is so virulently anti-American that it objects to the few crumbs Burns has offered those who think the war was justified or was a mostly honorable mistake.

Ordinarily, I would find this sad. But in this context, anything that might prevent Burns’ version of the Vietnam War from becoming the received wisdom is okay with me.

John Hinderaker: How The Associated Press Spins The Supreme Court – “The Associated Press is a loyal servant of the Democratic Party and its liberal components. If you doubt that assertion, consider today’s AP article on the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court term by reporter Mark Sherman.”

So how does a liberal reporter spin his coverage of the Supreme Court? It’s easy: he just frames every legal issue with the liberal narrative, and turns exclusively to liberal sources for comments on the Court’s controversial cases.

the law favors arbitration of disputes. But Sherman doesn’t tell you that. Instead, he turns to a left-winger for comment: … The other side is not represented.

The issue is whether a public employee can be forced by law, against his or her will, to contribute money to a union that siphons off much or most of that contribution to support political candidates and causes of which the employee disapproves. But Sherman doesn’t tell you that. Instead, he goes for comment to a representative of a union that has a major financial interest in the case.

Next up is redistricting. … Sherman goes to former Obama administration official Donald Verrilli.

The Colorado wedding cake case comes next. … Sherman turns to–who else?–another former Obama Justice Department official, who speaks for the anti-baker side of the case: … Sherman didn’t think it necessary to find anyone to speak on behalf of Phillips. That’s not the side he is on.

Next, a gratuitous swipe at the Trump administration: … “Civil rights groups” are advocating for the voting rights of dead people, apparently. To continue his attack the Trump administration, Sherman turns to a neutral observer–the ACLU.

The Associated Press plays this game every day, in pretty much all of its coverage. Frame issues the way the Democratic Party wants them framed, then turn to liberal “experts” for comment. Are reporters like Mark Sherman fooling anyone? No, which is why trust in the media is in the toilet. Yet the incessant repetition of left-wing talking points has an effect, like rain wearing down rock.

Many examples and, no, both sides aren’t the same.

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Resisting the resisters

Cheryl K. Chumley: National anthem supplanted by national anger – “What a sad commentary on the state of modern America when even the national anthem can’t be sung without controversy.”

But that’s a left-of-left way of thinking. That’s a very dark and negative way of looking at life. It’s also the line of crap that’s being sold as reason to rebel against the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence — the one that says since some of the writers of America’s founding documents were slave owners, well then, the entire compass of America’s government must be racist, too.

Radical — and ridiculous.

So are these ongoing football field expressions of anti-patriotism, though.

nowadays, like the flag, the anthem’s become a political wedge — just another tool for the left, for the anti-President Donald Trumpers, for the disgruntled and perennially offended, for all these progressive forces to band together and showcase their anger. And they’ve managed now to turn a display of peace, togetherness and pride in nation into a tool of hate and division.

what was good has been twisted into bad. The national anthem has been supplanted by a national anger. And why?

So how to defeat all this angry politicking that’s taken to America’s football fields in recent times?

By resisting the resisters. These anti-anthem rebels aren’t making a valid argument. They’re simply agitating and fueling anger to score political points, or further personal agendas based on arguments and narratives that don’t stand up to fact-based scrutiny.

The hate shows up everywhere. Consider Jim Hoft: San Juan Mayor to Liberal Media: We Are Getting No Help From Trump – As She Stands In Front of Pallets of Aid – “Caren Yuliz Cruz Soto is a Democrat so she expects everything to be given to her for free. So now she’s out on all of the liberal mainstream news outlets trashing President Trump.” There are those who are in despair that Trump responds to the attempts to ‘Katrina-ize’ him by a Democrat partisan and the usual media propaganda campaign (e.g. Allahpundit casting judgment and hubris with the “POTUS’s insane decision”) but we saw what happened when the President played nice the last time a hurricane devastated a politically spoiled state. Trump is “resisting the resisters” and many appreciate the effort.

Neo-neocon has More on “Trump’s Katrina” – “believe Trump’s picking a fight with the mayor of San Juan has been counterproductive and in fact stupid.” Anytime anyone gets into opining that Trump’s behavior is counterproductive or stupid it is a clue that it might be time to climb down a bit and be very very careful about jumping to conclusions. There are just too many examples where Trump has been right and the negative judgments, especially those about personal characteristics, have been wrong. One can see some realization of this in the hyperbolic condemnation and the rationalizing that often goes along with the Trump condemnations.

this is one PR war I think he’s going to lose. He is tone deaf on this one and comes across as childish and petulant and defensive, not a good presentation during a humanitarian disaster

It is certainly possible that every single word Trump said is true; I don’t know. But it doesn’t matter; it would still be the wrong response from him.

The mayor holds all the emotional cards here. Trump holds none. It’s time to be “presidential” rather than petty—which would give a lot of weight to his claims that the administration is doing all it can.

The key here is whether Trump has tapped into something that neo-neocon has missed. One might get a handle on this by looking at Texans and Floridans responding to their disastrous hurricanes. Yes, there is a lot of pity for the victims but there is also an American ethic about self sufficiency, preparedness, and make-do at play. That is, in part, why the opposition to the naval base in 2003 and the economic situation in Puerto Rico float by in the hurricane response conversation every now and then. There is a comparison and contrast which leads to a ‘what is wrong with Puerto Rico’ question.

Howard McCrum: Democrats Are Addicted to Lies – “What we need is a national conversation on lies. Without this one, all the other conversations are worse than useless.”

The most self-destructive lies are the ones we tell ourselves to avoid the discomfort of admitting our imperfections. Think “eating crow.” Honest people use the discomfort of self-awareness as a spur to self-correction and self-improvement. The Democrat mind evades the pain.

when a Democrat speaks, don’t ask, “Is he lying?” Ask, “Is he lying to himself, or only to me?”

Here are some examples of Democrats engaging in each type of lie (italicized).

Screaming “LIAR!” at Democrats only deepens the pain of self-awareness and reinforces their withdrawal into self-deception. Instead, we must break the thrall of Democrat leaders over the rank-and-file by patiently explaining their leaders’ lies. Most importantly, we must set the example and invite them to join us in honest self-examination and the rejection of lies.

It’s a means of resisting the resistors. It is standing witness to deceit and dishonesty.

James Lewis: Living on a Paranoid Planet – “After decades of watching propaganda scare bombs in the mass media, aided by worried kindergarten teachers and parents who get freaked out by anxiety-provoking headlines, we have a whole population of planetary hypochondriacs.”

This kind of thing has been known throughout history as “mass hysteria.” Children and people living under tyrannical regimes are easily whipped into mass hysterias, which can also turn into murderous mobs. If the Jews poisoned the village well in Pinsk, Russia, a mass hypochondria might be turned against the Jews by mob leaders (AKA politicians and journalists). Or witches would be burned by a frantic mob after children spread rumors about getting the evil eye from an old, solitary woman, walking at night.

It takes a lot of mental effort to spot and shut out an endless stream of industrialized lies.

Propaganda is now taught in our film and drama departments to students too young and brainwashed to think critically. Even then, “college students” are so fearful, so paranoid and weak, that they can’t bear to hear anyone disagreeing with their brainwashing. Our robotically marching Antifas in the colleges must have some secret seed of doubt about the nonsense they are being taught every day.

E. Jeffrey Ludwig: Vietnam, the Flag, and Me – “Although in the decades since the Vietnam War, I had moved away from my anti-War activism, many of the old leftists from the sixties and early seventies have not changed.”

Yes, they are still proud of their anti-Vietnam War position. But what in God’s name are they proud of? The communist takeover of Indochina? The millions of South Vietnamese sent to “re-education” camps? The killing fields of Pol Pot in Cambodia? The experience of one of my colleagues who, as a little boy, was put in a boat in Vietnam by his parents along with his brother and many other children, a boat that drifted into the lonely darkness to finally end up in a refugee camp in Thailand? Many of those children didn’t survive!

I had also supported the anti-War movement, but upon seeing these consequences, upon seeing the ascension of the Left in America with a Jimmy Carter presidency, the error of my thinking became quite apparent. The reds had not only won in Vietnam, but had made a giant step forward in U.S. politics. And those flag hating, America hating brigades of leftist egotists — with hearts and minds filled with grievances — hearts and minds lacking gratitude for the blessings of this country — are still here in greater numbers, taking a knee (not in prayer), supporting those taking a knee, and wallowing in a leftwing self-righteousness that is truly ignorant. It is a rejection of a living patriotism and the dead who kept us going.

Kerry Lutz: Trumps Puts Another Nail in the MSM Coffin with NFL’s Help – “Tweeting at daybreak, when most reporters are starting to come to grips with the day’s hangover, or trolling them with deliberate minor factual misstatements, which throws them into a frenzy, he never lets up. Trump is this war’s aggressor and he’s totally gotten into their decision loop.”

We all know that President Trump is a buffoon, has low intelligence and is incapable of any strategic thought or planning. The media and the democratic party has beaten him at every turn. The White House’s prior occupant laid out a carefully placed minefield, which has blown up on various Trump personnel and family members. And yet, Trump won the presidency with something carefully resembling an ingenious strategy, which saw him winning in Blue states, formerly believed to be unwinnable by a republican.

There must be something more at play here than meets the eye.

Jon Evans: Capitalism without consequences – “technology also has an increasingly nasty habit of decoupling authority from responsibility.” This is another case where there is “something more at play here than meets the eye.” Evans even provides an oxymoron.

That is a remarkable claim. It is also deeply disingenuous. If advertisers started showing Facebook users hardcore pornography, you can be absolutely certain that they would very quickly find a way to stop this and prevent it from happening in the future, without defending the porn on the basis that “we don’t check what people say and I don’t think people should want us to.”

The power is in the people … or isn’t it?

This disjoint isn’t inherently endemic to technology. And there’s a lot tech can do to improve the correlation between authority and responsibility. But we can’t expect major companies to do so; almost by definition, the more authority-without-responsibility they have, the more money they can make. We’ll have to find other ways to balance those scales.

“almost by definition” it is those evil greedy corporations without accountability and that illustrates the bias that blinds. Just look at the NFL. Is it decoupled from the behavior of its players? Or reconsider Evan’s example of Uber and the problems it faces in cities trying to protect their taxi unions and defend itself from lawsuits and tax efforts that are based on the behavior of its ‘decoupled’ drivers and riders.

The whole FOSS ideology is based on a ‘power to the people’ ethos much like the current fantasies about crypto-currencies. There are very many examples that show Evans as blind to his bias and reality and logic. He, like so many others these days, doesn’t even seem to realize that there is “something more at play here than meets the eye.”

Another post from a member of the geek squad notes the technical side that refutes his own ‘green’ fantasies. Timothy B. Lee: Why electric airplanes within 10 years are more than a fantasy – “Startups plan to make hybrid airplanes, and eventually purely electric ones.”

Jet fuel has a specific energy of 12,000 watt-hours per kilogram, Clarke told Ars. For comparison, battery systems work out to around 200 watt-hours per kilogram. In other words, jet fuel is about 60 times as efficient for storing energy as batteries are. This is somewhat offset by the fact that electric motors are about three times more efficient than jet engines. But that still means that you can go a lot further with a kilogram of jet fuel than you can with a kilogram of batteries.

These basic facts of chemical and thermodynamic reality are behind any effort to electrify transportation. Add in the energy commerce and handling factors involved with fuel choice and you get a better understanding of why things are the way they are and the nature of the hurdles to find something else that can actually compete.

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Fondling sensitive nerves

Andrew C. McCarthy: Blame the NFL, Not Trump – “The league allowed the false premise of a despicable protest to be accepted unquestioningly; Trump just brought attention to its error.”

To my mind, to say that the president made things worse is to understate how bad things were — i.e., how appalling the fraud behind the kneeling protest has been. More damaging than anything Trump has said, moreover, is the indulgent reaction to the protest: The received wisdom that even if we find the tactic of the protesters objectionable, we owe them respectful attention because their cause — which they claim is racial equality — is an urgent and honorable one.

To the contrary, the protest promotes a false narrative. And we are not required to take at face value the protesters’ representation that they seek racial equality in the name of justice. Patently, what they are seeking is a perversion of justice based on racial inequality.

Then there’s the caveats:

It is beyond cavil that the president’s impetuous remarks, his at times reckless and even offensive blathering, often make things worse

He drew attention to its fraudulent underpinnings. Was that his intention? I doubt it. Trump is not adept at governing, but he is a master culture warrior.

I don’t think Trump has given much thought to what the kneeling exhibition has been about.

Still, regardless of whether Trump grasped the full meaning of what he was doing, his riveting of attention to the controversy, and the provocateurs’ response to his provocation, elucidated the phoniness of the protest. After all, if the protest was against something real, it would not, on a dime, have been turned into just another reason to go after Trump.

The NFL well knew what the kneeling protest was about. It was a claim that police were hunting down black men and other people of color. As we’ve seen, Colin Kaepernick could not have been clearer about that. That same year, after five Dallas cops were slain by a sniper, the Dallas Cowboys requested permission to wear small “Arm in Arm” decals on their helmets, in honor of police killed while serving and protecting their community. The NFL said no, that message would not be permitted.

McCarthy would be better served if he was not so biased about the President. Making the assumption that Trump is an incompetent boob who just happened to get something right is in dissonance with reality. The tactics McCarthy despises and impugns have, despite his assertions, raised awareness on many issues and have achieved positive results time and again. Blaming Trump for being “ impetuous” or “ reckless” or “blathering” or “bull-in-a-china-shop” and causing a “media a rationale for focusing on Trump’s misstatements” is just as far off base as blaming Trump for the NFL’s problem.

Also see Andrew Klavan: Trump Is 100 Percent Right About the NFL – “Donald Trump took fire from both leftists and intellectual conservatives for his attack on the NFL protests, but he got it one hundred percent right. Here’s why.”

The difference between staging a protest and disrespecting the flag is this. A protest demands that America “live out the true meaning of its creed,” that an essentially good country move closer to its ideals. To disrespect the flag is to say that America is the enemy, that America is the problem, that America must be “fundamentally transformed” before it is worthy of its citizens’ respect.

Thomas Lifson: How Tom Price was taken out – “The lesson is clear for the rest of the cabinet.” This was a problem after 9/11. It was trying to get a grip on the fact that the ‘enemy’ was willing to commandeer and airplane to fly it on a suicide mission. The current administration and its leaders seem to be having trouble accepting the nature of their political enemies and the depths and depravity to which they will go. The cabinet members “are living out symbolic as well as substantive roles. Anything that can be made to look bad about their behavior, will be leaked and made to look bad in the media.” The key words here are “can be made” and the onslaught of Fake Newstm shows just how far this effort can go.

Another culture wars and political hate issue came up in a response to the Melania Trump donation of Dr. Seuss books. It has received a lot of attention. That says that, like the NFL fracas, a nerve was touched. For example, Dana: The School Library Where Good Manners Go To Die And Dr. Seuss Gets The Racist Treatment – “Unfortunately, not all librarians were thrilled with the gesture, nor responded with polite appreciation.” The Left’s recipe is there and well described.

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Politically Correct Deception

Mark Bauerlei: When Republicans concede that ‘white supremacy’ is a crisis – “They hand the Democrats a club in contests about immigration, crime and entitlements.” But this is what they do, the party of ‘go along to get along’ with much the same sentiment as the owners and coaches who kneel with their black players to bite the hand that feeds them. They don’t see the fight and they don’t see the conflict.

The Republicans approved last week’s resolution against white supremacy unanimously. They must not have realized that in doing so they have undermined themselves on a host of other issues. If the premise of the resolution is correct, if white supremacy is a serious and widespread problem, then the conservative take on many policies is flat wrong.

The dots aren’t hard to connect. Any area showing disparate outcomes or impact by race implies, in progressive thinking, racism at work. It need not involve individuals consciously discriminating against persons of color. Racism might be systemic, baked into the norms or procedures of a program, business, or culture. Disproportionate results are sufficient evidence of bias.

What liberals and the media have made of the Charlottesville affair will keep it going. Not one Republican leader is going to say what Steve Bannon said on “60 Minutes” when Charlie Rose pressed him on white nationalists and neo-Nazis: “They’re irrelevant.”

This is a dangerous loss of perspective. To rid a nation of every person with bad race attitudes is a utopian dream that only produces illiberal acts. If Republicans think that they will make the issue go away by conceding the white supremacist premise, they are naive or deluded. Or stupid.

Charlottesville was a manufactured crisis. The NFL kneel down is another. The fact that the Democrat party has bought into these events and picked them up as political ploys is dangerous in the extreme.

John Sexton: Librarian rejects First Lady’s gift of Dr. Seuss books calling them ‘racist propaganda’ – “First Lady Melania Trump celebrated National Read a Book Day by selecting some children’s books and sending them to one school in each state.” One response is telling about the sorry state of primary education and just what hate will do to corrupt one’s soul.

For all of the effort to remain civil, it’s pretty clear the rejection of the books is intended as a big middle finger to the First Lady, the president, the Secretary of Education and of course Dr. Seuss. Unfortunately for Ms. Soeiro, she had no right to reject the books in the first place.

As for Dr. Seuss being racist propaganda, I’m attaching a list of 6 video clips Ms. Soeiro should probably watch (it’s the blogger in me) that I hope will enlighten her. It turns out both Barack and Michelle Obama were quite fond of Dr. Seuss during their tenure in the White House.

Shari Goodman: Blacks, Crime, and the Bended Knee – “Fresh off the heels of the march on Charlottesville and the destruction of historical monuments in the South by Black Lives Matter, protests are occurring; this time it is against our National Anthem and our flag in stadiums across our country.”

Whites comprise about 75 percent of America’s population and they have had just about enough of the offensive accusations, protests, and moral outrage directed at them. Yes, blacks were brought here centuries ago as slaves, but America did not originate slavery nor do we still practice slavery, as do parts of Africa and Muslim nations today. … By instilling the notion that blacks today are the victims of white racism and “white privilege”, black leadership (Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, and Maxine Waters, to name a few) have created not only an entitlement mentality, but a dependency and helplessness prevalent among young blacks in inner cities throughout the country.

It is not “whitey” who is committing 62 percent of robberies, 57 percent of murders, 45 percent of assaults in the 75 biggest counties throughout the United States.

Black educational statistics are dismal when compared to whites.

Nor are whites responsible for the huge increase in out-of-wedlock births. In 2013, 71 percent of black births were born to black unwed mothers.

Yes, the black community has a problem, but it is of its own making, and too often whites are the victims of a dysfunctional black community.

For decades, beginning with the 60s, white guilt was kept alive by a civil rights revolution that swept the nation.

Black problems are self-created, and history has proven that no amount of money thrown at them will solve the problem. Scapegoating is getting tiresome and dangerous. Do not lecture us about social injustice and the debt owed to you. …Shame on those who display ingratitude and dishonor America, a country that has given black athletes the opportunity to make millions playing a sport that young men in Africa can only dream about, a country that has given blacks liberty and opportunity. Shame on you and those who kneel with you.

Dylan Gwinn: Packers’ Attempt to Involve Fans In Anthem Demonstration Falls Flat, Most Chant ‘USA!’ Instead – “The team decided to continue with the planned demonstration, and clearly the fans were not having it.” Locking arms is leaning on others for support and this is something several team leaders seem to miss. There is a team but each member needs to be able to stand on their own as well as with the team. They don’t lock arms when out on the field to play the game. There, each member is independent and strong in doing his part to make the play work. That is what fans expect to see before the game as well when they look for each and every team member to stand strong, by himself, for the team and for the country.

The Steelers and the Broncos have already released statements saying they will end their protests and stand, beginning on Sunday. After what happened at the Packers game tonight, Green Bay may be the next team to join them.

The NFL has a problem and it goes much deeper than its players and fans. Steven Malanga: Bench the NFL – “The league enjoys an antitrust exemption from Washington that should have been revoked years ago.”

Many sports fans know that Major League Baseball has a unique exemption from the nation’s antitrust laws, thanks to a 1922 Supreme Court decision, which perplexingly ruled that baseball teams do not engage in interstate commerce. Less well understood, however, is that the National Football League retains its own federal exemption through legislation that has allowed the league’s teams to cooperate on television contracts—a gift from Washington that has been crucial to the development of the modern NFL. Over the years, the exemption has proved controversial, though bipartisan calls to revoke or narrow it have never gained much traction. The exemption deserves a fresh look with the players’ extreme politicization of the league, in which they have been aided and abetted by the owners, who have allowed and even taken part in unprecedented partisan posturing—broadcast to the nation via Congress-approved TV deals.

The national anthem protest controversy offers a new perspective on the privileges that Congress has awarded to the NFL, particularly because the league’s team owners have allowed those protests to take place and even, last weekend, participated in them, in response to President Trump’s criticism of the players’ activism. … while players have the right to engage in political speech free from government interference, their freedom does not extend by right to a private employer in its own workplace. The majority of companies in America would not, and do not, allow demonstrations at work by individual employees on political issues unrelated to their employment … the league’s use of its platform—created by its federal antitrust exemption—to broadcast its message across the country is more than a simple business matter. It represents an improper use of resources made available to the NFL by special federal legislation. It’s past time to revoke the Sports Broadcasting Act—and let the “chips fall where they may.”

Stephen Sherman: The Tragedy of the PBS-Ken Burns Version of the Vietnam War – “Mr. Burns: come help us identify the untruths and tear down “this wall” of false history.”

The problem for many of us is that Burns does not see the same tragedy many of us lived in person day by day. Yes, the deaths of millions, American and others, mostly Vietnamese, was tragedy – but not tragedy in the classic sense, that being the human characteristic, the hubris to believe we can design policy, take actions to thwart an undesirable or uncomfortable development in the future that we believe awaits us.

All the prime actors here exhibit that hubris, whether it was the communist leaders who believed that a Leninist state would bring prosperity (really? how about stability instead of prosperity?) to their people, or American presidents who thought their bombs and troops would bring the other side constructively to the negotiating table, or demonstrators who thought civil unrest would end a war and save lives. And what about reporters who felt it necessary to disseminate facts without context, or academics who even today feel that overlooking and distorting untruths buried in the history they teach will better enable us to mature as constructive citizens?

Supplying their proxies added to the Soviet Union failure to achieve economic sufficiency. Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book faded when it came in contact with capitalist possibilities. The South Vietnamese’s perpetual bickering, attendiste attitudes, and endemic peculation cost them their nation and a prosperous future, a victim of their own inability to constructively play the game of “messy” democracy. The North Vietnamese fought hard to “liberate” their Southern brothers, only to put them both under the thumb of the Cong An (the Thought Police).

What we see today is the failure to learn lessons from the past. Appeasement never works. … Protests are intended not to unify a society, but to heighten the divisions and encourage anarchy for principal benefit of the protest leaders.

Many of my fellow veterans have succumbed to a constant din of false history. Burns’s documentary film series includes an Air Force general proclaiming that he thought we were fighting on the wrong side. The view from a cockpit at several thousand feet must have been very different from that on the ground.

Burns seems reluctant or at least non-observant to accepting that there is inherent evil built into Lenin’s theory and application.

Jen Wilkin: Think Fake News Is Scary? Try False Teaching – “We learn to spot a lie by studying the truth.” It is interesting that the same issue also has a story about how the U.S. incarcerates too many people and how awful this is with nary a word about the culpability of the criminals.

In a smooth turn of phrase, Satan does what liars do best: Muddle together a heady cocktail of fact and fiction, twisting the very words of God to prey on fear and desire. The pattern for false teaching was set.

If the church wanders from its time-tested, reliable source of revelation, we begin to welcome these messages, content to receive instruction secondhand, no fact-checking required. It will not do. If the church is to navigate the shark-infested waters of the digital age, we’re going to need a bigger boat.

We learn to spot a lie by studying the truth. Both fake news and false teaching bow to this principle.

Stephen Dinan: Joe Arpaio’s lawyers compare Democrats to Internet trolls – “Demand judge rule on accepting Trump pardon.”

In a document filed with the court, the lawyers said that Judge Susan Bolton’s had allowed the case to become farcical with the latest brief this week from top House Democrats, who urged the judge to ignore President Trump’s pardon.

“This case is fast turning into the judicial equivalent of an online ‘comments’ section,” Mr. Arpaio said through his lawyers.

The former Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff had thought he was in the clear after Mr. Trump’s pardon last month, but Judge Bolton has refused so far to grant his request to have his record expunged. In keeping him twisting, she has also given a slew of anti-Trump and anti-Arpaio activists, including some of the country’s most prominent legal scholars, to suggest she ignore the pardon altogether.

But the Democrats said Mr. Trump presents a special danger. They said they fear he will issue repeated pardons to thwart the courts, and they said impeachment — the solution the Supreme Court has suggested for such abuses — can’t be the only option.

This is another abuse of the judiciary about issues clearly defined in the U.S. Constitution. First it was the control of immigration and now it is about the pardon authority. Again and again it is an effort by the Left, and the Democrats, to reconstruct U.S. governance in accord with their own desires and fantasies. The effort is not diminishing but rather growing. That raises the stakes on how it will be resolved.

Gregg Jarrett: Trump won’t fire Mueller because the president did nothing wrong – “Firing Robert Mueller is a media invention. Always has been.”

But it was resurrected on Tuesday by Roger Stone. The informal adviser to President Trump offered his opinion, eagerly solicited by reporters, that the president should sack the special counsel because his impartiality is hopelessly compromised by a myriad of conflicts of interests.

Stone was correct, in part. Mueller is deeply conflicted.

For months there has been rampant speculation in print and television that Trump was on the precipice of firing the special counsel. Perhaps this is because the press knows, but would never admit, that Mueller deserves it. But mostly it is because the media would love to use Mueller’s termination as an excuse to demand Trump’s impeachment.

Some senators are considering legislation to block Mueller’s potential firing. Clearly, they’ve fallen for the media canard.

The mainstream media, which exhibit no pretense in their unabashed scorn for Trump, will continue to peddle the fiction that the president is about to fire the special counsel any minute now. They will be left disappointed.

President Trump has no intention of doing so, even though Mueller’s conflicts of interest should have disqualified him from serving in the first place.

Victor Davis Hanson: A Lying Quartet – “Rarely has an intelligence apparatus engaged in systematic lying—and chronic deceit about its lying—both during and even after its tenure.”

Yet the Obama Administration’s four top security and intelligence officials time and again engaged in untruth, as if peddling lies was part of their job descriptions.

So far none have been held accountable.

Those exemptions are likely because, in hubristic fashion, all four assumed their service to progressive noble agendas would justify any odious means felt necessary to achieve them.

The deceptions of Comey, Brennan, and Clapper are perhaps far more disturbing than the partisan untruths of Susan Rice, a chronic political appointee who calibrated her national security fictions with Obama’s efforts to ensure reelection and later a presidential legacy.

But what extenuating excuse do the supposedly nonpartisan trio of intelligence and investigative directors offer?

John Whitesides: Beyond the daily drama and Twitter battles, Trump begins to alter American life – “Trump has made changes that could have far-reaching and lingering consequences for society and the economy.” Note how grudging the allowances are in a field of judgments such as “without delivering on his biggest campaign promises,” “chaotic,” “impulsive,” and “whimsical.” This conflict also shows in allowing that there has been success but trying to qualify it because of how it was done.

Those kinds of low-profile policy shifts are far from the dramatic change promised by the headline-loving Trump, who won the White House with a vow to fundamentally reshape Washington. But the effects can be just as real.

He has rolled back hundreds of rules and regulations, signed 47 executive orders and used a previously obscure legislative tool, the Congressional Review Act, 14 times to undo regulations passed in the final months of Obama’s presidency. The law had only been used once before, 16 years ago.

Then there’s the story about how the President held up Air Force 1 until he could check up on a motorcycle officer in his motorcade that was injured ….

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Taking a stand in the culture wars

When The Cowboys owner locked arms in a kneel down with his team on ESPN’s Monday Night Football, the NFL jumped the shark (see Sundance). The NFL has made its choice, delineated its stand, in the culture wars and its fans are taking notice. NFL players may have the right but that right comes with a responsibility that cannot be ignored or shirked.

Rich Lowry: No Way to Treat Old Glory – “The American flag is not to be trifled with.”

The late political scientist Samuel Huntington marveled at its place in our national life: We pledge allegiance to it. The national anthem celebrates it. An incredibly elaborate code stipulates how it is to be displayed, handled, and maintained. It even has its own holiday.

The NFL players who kneel during the national anthem — a phenomenon that increased exponentially after President Donald Trump colorfully demanded that they stand — are disrespecting the most potent and enduring national symbol of the most patriotic nation on Earth.

Not only are they wrong to do so, they aren’t delivering the devastating rebuke to Trump that they may imagine.

This is why the NFL kneelers are cutting against the American cultural grain, besides picking the wrong target on the merits. The American flag isn’t a Confederate monument — indeed the opposite. Our military fights under it. The flag drapes the caskets of the fallen and is folded in a solemn ceremony at military funerals, with practically every movement fraught with religious and patriotic meaning. It is not to be trifled with — unless you intend to insult the country for which it stands. When William Driver transferred control of his flag to Union troops, he is reported to have spoken “triumphantly, with tears in his eyes.” So many years later, Old Glory still elicits the same heartfelt sentiment. May it always.

Investor’s Business Daily: NFL To Fans: Drop Dead — How’s That For ‘Lack Of Respect’? – “Whether you agree with them or not, the NFL players and the executives that run the National Football League have really stepped in it, damaging their brand and alienating millions of fans and potential fans for no real good reason.”

Like it or not, and whether it’s fair or not, many Americans feel that professional athletes as a whole lead a privileged existence, working only part of the year and earning millions for their efforts. When they’re seen leading “protests” by disrespecting the flag and the national anthem — and all the high ideals and sacrifice those symbols represent — it’s too much.

Yes, Trump intentionally tweaked the football players on Friday, after his back-and-forth with the NBA champion Golden State Warriors led to the president disinviting them from a White House visit. Trump then turned his attention to the NFL players for “taking a knee” to protest racism.

The NFL’s official response was pathetically tone-deaf and could have been written by the NFL players union. Heck, maybe it was.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell castigated Trump for his “divisive comments” and “an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL.”

Lack of respect for the NFL? What about respect for the nation’s flag and its anthem, and for those who died defending them and what they stand for? What about respect for your own fans, many of whom still believe that America, though not perfect, is the greatest country on Earth? It’s no wonder that many of the protests were met with a chorus of boos.

Nor is this, as many self-righteously claim, a matter of “free speech.” NFL football players have the right to express what they believe, however odious or wrong it may be. But businesses have a right not to employ those who intentionally damage their businesses by reckless behavior and comments.

Sure, the players have a right to disrespect the flag and the anthem. As we noted, people have fought and died for those rights. But fans also have a right to be disappointed, offended and angry. Roger Goodell, the team owners and the whole NFL enterprise better wake up before it’s too late.

Douglas Ernst: Limbaugh mocks NFL national anthem protests: ‘There’s no way Donald Trump loses this’ – “Radio host: ‘The owners, as I discussed earlier, are scared to death’

“The left is attempting to publicly damage, take hold, whatever, of the NFL,” Mr. Limbaugh said. “And people who are not political — and there are a lot of those in this country, more than you would think — are seeing it. And they don’t like it, and now there’s a president speaking out against it. In public, it is Democrats who are now showing up to be the party supporting actions against the flag. The Democrats are being seen as the party that encourages protest against the anthem and the country itself. I’m telling you, sports media guys and gals, there’s no way Donald Trump loses this, the way you’ve got it going.”

“I was personally saddened,” he said. “I did not watch the National Football League yesterday, and it was the first time in 45 years that I made an active decision not to watch, including my team, the Pittsburgh Steelers.”

“The owners, as I discussed earlier, are scared to death, folks,” Mr. Limbaugh said. “They’ve got to come down on the side of their employees or their customers. They are trying to find this middle ground and they’re doing that with liberal political language like, ‘We’re for unity and solidarity,’ and it doesn’t fly because this isn’t unity. Nobody’s being unified. The divisiveness is happening on Sundays.”

Ralph Z. Hallow: Sure, players can kneel — and NFL’s customers should walk – “The fabulously wealthy players who take a knee not in thanks for the privilege of being American and living in America but in disgust at both are expressing ignorance of — or disrespect for — some amazing things about America.”

The kneelers, in what must be one of the most colossal displays of ignorance and irony on record, thumb their noses at the only nation that, thanks to its press and academics, has made too many black Americans think they have a cultural and racial right — even obligation — to resist lawful arrest and to kill law-enforcement officers for trying to carry out arrests.

Nora Princiotti: Taking on Trump: For some, president’s words could not go unchallenged – “There were twin strands of feeling intertwined in the response from most players Sunday.”

The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech protections from the government only. The NFL, as an employer and a private company, would have the right to discipline players for acts of protest or even release them, as the president suggested. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on ABC’s This Week that players “can do free speech on their own time.”

The NFL and its owners largely disagreed.

The president had gone after them, their teammates and friends, and it was personal. It also served as a reminder of the power they hold as athletes to influence and to control the national conversation, so it was political too. Stick to sports is a misleading phrase. In a way, the title of the NFL’s Sunday Night Football spot was, too.

If Sunday made one thing clear, it’s that what happens inside the lines has never been separated from what goes on outside of them.

Cheryl K. Chumley: Mike Rowe’s timely reminder: Citizens true bosses of NFL – Rowe is right but misses when it comes to the President as do so many others. The President was not ordering or instructing the people, he was leading. The President was reflecting the mood of the country and where the “true bosses of NFL” stand. Rowe was disappointed at the President’s appeal because he did not realize it was made as a spokesman for the ‘true bosses’ who are also speaking in other ways as well. The President’s comments were exactly what Rowe was honoring. See also Ace on Rowe’s comments.

“I felt a similar bemusement when the commissioner issued his response, followed by the president of the player’s union,” he said. “Their comments, along with the comments of many of the players themselves, were perfectly reasonable, perfectly understandable, and perfectly in keeping with their First Amendment rights. But they were also perfectly arrogant. Because they, too, presuppose that millions of fans will continue to watch them play a game, no matter what.”

Cheryl K. Chumley: Interior’s astonishing deep state: 30 percent ‘not loyal to the flag’ – “Ryan Zinke, secretary of the Interior Department, said that almost a third of his agency’s employees aren’t exactly President Donald Trump supporters — or fans of the American flag, for that matter.”

It’s one thing to work in the federal government for people with whom you politically disagree. It’s another thing entirely to work in the federal government of a country you don’t entirely support.

In a different day, a different time, that’d be cause for a red flag followup from U.S. intel agents concerned about government collapse or takeover from communist-aligned enemies, or otherwise anti-American forces.

But now?

Anti-Americanism, non-patriotism — these are just modern day expressions of free speech.

Wesley Pruden mocks the President’s attention to the anti-American antics as insignificant when there’s issues like North Korea and disaster recovery. Perhaps he needs to re-think priorities? Or Perhaps he is further indication of just how deep and serious the devaluing of patriotism and loyalty really is?

What many also seem to miss in trying to find calm in stormy seas is the matter of false witness. Ed Stetzer illustrates this in wondering about what a Christian should do. There is a difference between unpopular speech and false witness that must be acknowledged by anyone parading a mantle of Christianity. See Heather Mac Donald: Hard Data, Hollow Protests – “FBI crime figures paint a very different picture of crime and policing than this weekend’s demonstrations suggest.”

The FBI released its official crime tally for 2016 today, and the data flies in the face of the rhetoric that professional athletes rehearsed in revived Black Lives Matter protests over the weekend.

Four studies came out in 2016 alone rebutting the charge that police shootings are racially biased. If there is a bias in police shootings, it works in favor of blacks and against whites. That truth has not stopped the ongoing demonization of the police—including, now, by many of the country’s ignorant professional athletes. The toll will be felt, as always, in the inner city, by the thousands of law-abiding people there who desperately want more police protection.

That’s the hard data. The soft data about claims of racism and oppression and other propaganda points is even worse for calling false witness on those supposedly just exercising free speech.

Richard W. Rahn: If oppression could inspire happiness – “Socialism has yet to generate the utopia it promises.”

Why do so many embrace a system — socialism — that has always failed, whether it was a form of state socialism or the various utopian communities started in the United States and Europe over the last couple of hundred years?

We praise the benign socialism that is practiced within the family, churches, some social or civic groups where the members look out for each other in case of need. It works as long as it is voluntary and members are free to leave.

In contrast, government socialism is coercive and denies the fundamental right to opt out, no matter how repressive or incompetent it becomes.

The takeover playbook remains the same. State socialism is incompatible with liberty — and if a majority of the people are aware of the facts, socialism loses.

State socialism is a product of ignorance — and thrives among those who have not read history, let alone Orwell and Hayek.

Lamar Smith: Alarmism in climate reporting – “One-sided media coverage emphasizes sensation over facts.” It’s not only in the schools that the mind is prepared, it is also in the propaganda a.k.a Fake News™. It is a broad front, too.

it is rare that a day goes by without some misleading, exaggerated or flat-out false statement about climate change showing up in the media. Often, journalists knowingly publish false information with exaggerated headlines to grab readers’ attention. This strategy comes at a high cost. Trust in the media is at a record low, with only 27 percent of Americans having confidence in them. What’s more, Americans’ trust in news from the internet is at an all-time low of 16 percent.

The way the media operates today does not help increase the public’s trust. Day after day, the media publishes biased news to push a one-sided agenda. Recently, The New York Times printed a front-page, headline-grabbing story alleging that a draft climate change report had been leaked supposedly to prevent the administration from hiding it. Further investigation revealed that this draft of the report had been public for months. In an interview, multiple authors of the report said they had not heard or seen any sign of suppression or censorship by the White House.

There seems to be a culture of relishing climate scare tactics by the media. Unfortunately, the media tries to indoctrinate Americans by limiting the news to support only the networks’ views and agendas. Because of its actions, the media perpetuates misunderstandings and the exaggerated fear of climate change. This makes for bad policy and undermines our democracy.

IBD notes another case: Media Ignore Puerto Rico Devastation, Then Blast Trump For Not Tweeting About It — Sad.

Bias: The mainstream press paid little attention to the devastation in Puerto Rico all weekend. Then they noticed that President Trump hadn’t tweeted about it since Thursday. Now that they can attack Trump, they suddenly care.

On Monday, headlines everywhere all made the same exact point

If Trump’s obsession with tweeting about trivial matters — while his government is taking action — is an abuse of his position, isn’t the media’s obsession with the same trivial matters just as bad, if not worse?

John Hinderaker: For the White House Press Corps, Football Is Issue #1 – A press briefing story that illustrates just how corrupt the Media really is.

Reporters seem to think that Trump is vulnerable on the anthem, but I suspect that they are wrong. I think Trump speaks for most voters when he expresses disgust with pampered athletes who go out of their way to show contempt for their country. And on company time, no less.

Choose your fight. The President has shown a gift in OODA Loop tactics. (wikipedia) The turmoil in his opponents camp is primary evidence.

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Trump right? Again?

Double, double toil and trouble; 
Fire burn and caldron bubble. 

Song of the Witches by William Shakespeare

Another document drop brings up the Trump ‘wiretapping’ claim again. Don Surber summarizes the situation to date: The media’s wiretap dancing – “The news that the FBI may have used Paul Manafort to spy on a political opponent should have decent Americans up in arms.” Sundance cites a CNN Report: U.S. Government Wiretapped Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort – “There will be much discussion and speculation about a recent “leaked” FBI FISA warrant surrounding former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. However, the interesting aspect always falls upon the timeline, not necessarily the wiretapping itself per se’.”

The July/August 2016 time frame is interesting because that coincides with the surfacing of the ridiculous opposition research “Steele Dossier” on Presidential Candidate Donald Trump. Further recently revealed information about the “steele dossier”, interestingly surrounds the James Comey FBI paying for the information contained therein.

Chuck Ross: Here’s Everything We Know So Far About The Trump Dossier – provides a background on one of the items that was used to support investigations into the Trump campaign.

The uncorroborated dossier of opposition research about Donald Trump has become a key document in the investigation over whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government during the presidential campaign last year.

Democrats have insisted that many claims made in the dossier, written by former British spy Christopher Steele, have been proven accurate. Republican lawmakers say otherwise, leading to a standoff between the two sides over the 35-page document, published by BuzzFeed News on Jan. 10.

John Sexton: Antifa and the normalization of left-wing violence – “Megan McArdle has written a piece for Bloomberg which highlights something that the media continues to gloss over. What we’re seeing on the left today, from Antifa and student protesters, is not normal but is being normalized.”

She goes on to argue that what we are witnessing is a challenge to our constitution, not with arguments and votes but with threats and violence:

McArdle’s basic point is that what we’re seeing isn’t normal. Every time student protesters response to speech is to “shut it down” it needs to be pointed out that they are in the wrong. Every time Antifa threatens to show up in masks and vandalize businesses or attack people on their hit list, they need to be unmasked and arrested. We can’t allow the far left’s adoption of the heckler’s veto to be normalized. They want control over who is allowed to speak in public. The answer must be no or better yet, “Hell no!” We have to keep giving the same answer until they stop making the threats in the first place.

Victor Davis Hanson: Beware of Narratives and Misinformation – “Narratives surrounding the DNC hack & Antifa reveal media bias and government bureaucracy at their worst.”

When it was discovered that the e-mails had been compromised, then–DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz weirdly refused to allow forensic detectives from the FBI to examine the DNC server to probe the evidence of the theft. Why did the FBI accept that refusal?

There is not much left to the media myth of James Comey as dutiful FBI director, unjustly fired by a partisan and vindictive President Donald Trump. A closer look suggests that Comey may have been the most politicized, duplicitous, and out-of-control FBI director since J. Edgar Hoover.

There is also a media fantasy about the Antifa street protesters. Few have criticized their systematic use of violence. But when in history have youths running through the streets decked out in black with masks, clubs, and shields acted nonviolently?

Doubts about official narratives of the DNC leaks and the errant behavior of James Comey, and misinformation about the violent extremists of Antifa, illustrate media bias — not to mention entrenched government bureaucracies that are either incompetent, ethically compromised, or completely politicized.

Steven Hayward: The Wages of Borking – “This week marks the 30thanniversary of one of the turning points in modern American politics: the travesty of the Bork confirmation hearings.”

The “Borking” of Bork changed the rules of judicial appointments, and have poisoned judicial politics, ever since. It was a shameful moment because of the duplicity and hypocrisy of Democrats.

Ted Kennedy’s single most demagogic moment on the Senate floor

The subsequent public campaign of the activist Left was stunning in its breadth, depth, and dishonesty. It also made evident the startling politicization of civic organizations in America.

The recent confirmation hearings for Amy Barrett so glaringly revealed leading Democrats to be anti-Catholic bigots that their histrionics are now backfiring. And we have Harry Reid to thank for one fo the biggest political blunders of modern times­—throwing out the filibuster of judicial nominees.

But let’s look finally at some data. This chart shows the real lasting wages of Bork: appellate court judgeships are becoming harder to get judges confirmed because of the legacy of Borking. You can see a fairly clear before- and after- break in the bars.

Ted Kennedy and Harry Reid left quite a mark on the Senate. Chappaquiddick is now the subject of a movie. What will they pick for Reid’s movie legacy?

Coyote Blog: Wealth Is The New Normal – see the graph.

Today, we spend a lot of time trying to understand the roots of poverty. This was not so 200 years ago. When Adam Smith wrote “The Wealth of Nations” his task was to explain why a very few nations at the time seemed to be getting wealthier. Poverty at the time and through most of history was accepted as the norm. Only the advent of free inquiry and (relatively) free markets has changed that norm.

But it doesn’t stop the caterwauling. And riots. And using an assumed privilege gained via false victimhood to put ignorance and rejection of a gift in your face.

Instapundit cites Prof. John Banzhaf: Sue The St. Louis Rioters. This would be to adopt a tactic of the Left and, if done with vigor, would demonstrate social rejection. At least such suits could be backed by actual physical damage and not the SJW fantasies the Left usually uses for lawsuits.

Because the threat of arrest and small fines obviously isn’t discouraging a growing number who engage in criminal activities as a way of protesting, Banzhaf suggests that all those adversely affected should sue for civil damages under a variety of legal theories, some of which have already been successful.

This is true even for rioters with few assets, since the possibility of a large civil judgment – with potential garnishments and other collection techniques – is something many young people would be concerned about.

Civil damages actions are also much easier to win than criminal prosecutions, notes Banzhaf, since there are fewer elements to establish, and a much lower standard of proof to be met.

Civil actions would also open the door to pre-trial legal discovery, including those aimed at verifying concerns expressed in various media that those with even deeper pockets are involved in the planning, funding, and/or execution of these criminal disruptions.

That last is the real point, I think. And this analysis is also applicable to campus rioters.

Bruce Bawer: The Sinister Way Germany’s Recollection of the Holocaust Impacts Its Approach to Muslim Immigration – “Every observer of Germany knows that its officially prescribed attitude of perpetual atonement over the Holocaust coexists with an anti-Semitism that’s been on the rise for decades.”

Six years ago I reviewed Tuvia Tenenbom’s eye-opening book I Sleep in Hitler’s Room: An American Jew Visits Germany. Tenenbom, I wrote, was “constantly exposed to rote expressions of sympathy for the victims of Auschwitz – and rote expressions of rage over Israel’s supposedly deplorable treatment of the Palestinians.”

Obviously, Germans enjoy equating Israel with Nazi Germany because it helps relieve their historical guilt. Germans will tell you that they’re resolved never to let “that” happen again – but they’ve managed to convince themselves that the group most in danger of being subjected to “that” in today’s Europe isn’t the Jews but the Muslims. Therefore, the best way to atone for what their ancestors did to Jews is to kowtow to Islam.

A recent report on anti-Semitism in Europe explained: the German government routinely categorizes synagogue attacks as “anti-Israeli, not anti-Semitic.” It’s a slippery way of avoiding an uncomfortable fact, and on the entire continent, apparently, it’s Germany alone that systematically practices this deception. Which is why it might be time for Germany to put an end to its phony posturing about its past evils and face up to its present ones.

This sort of deception is also fundamental to the rioters on the street whether BLM or Antifa.

Tom Knighton: Racism And Guns: Why The Left Keeps Painting Gun Owners As Racist – “you’ll have a far easier time finding racists at the Democratic National Convention than at the NRA’s annual meeting.”

By now, many pro-Second Amendment advocates and activists understand the racist roots of gun control in this country.

The anti-gun left paints gun owners in general, and the NRA in particular, as racist because they don’t want anyone to see their own racist past. They’re the mean kid in school who picks on everyone so nobody will look too closely at their own flaws.

Meanwhile, they hide the racism in their past all while still trying to keep inner city blacks from obtaining weapons to protect themselves.

They’ll paint us a racist because they don’t want anyone to see their own hoods.

Hao-Kai Pai: Defanging identity fraud by verifying identities – “part of the damage here stems from organizations assuming that Social Security Numbers are secret … another part of the problem is that some businesses are startlingly lax about confirming who they are extending credit to.”

It is of course upsetting that criminals now have access to your address and Social Security Number, and if you had a credit history, you are very likely a victim. Of course, some criminals probably already had this information from past breaches. Once compromised, much of this data stays compromised for a long time: You can’t change your birthday, and you can’t get a new Social Security Number just because criminals know the old one. You can change your name and address if you like, but those are quite disruptive and costly steps. You should assume your identity will stay compromised.

Technology has, in some ways, made identity fraud easier. Gone are the days when a mother’s maiden name could be treated as secret. But on the other hand, we also have many more ways to check identity — thanks to smartphones, half the country has a camera and a fingerprint reader in their pocket these days. If we give businesses the incentive to verify that they are extending credit to who they think they are, the businesses will find efficient and accurate ways to do so.

What you know that nobody else does is a rather poor basis for establishing identity. Anything that can be photographed needs a chain of authority. What you have is a bit better. This is why a smart phone with an address or telephone number assigned to you and backed by trusted networks is gaining popularity as a means of identity confirmation. But then, what you have can be stolen.

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Horsepucky News and the Fraudulence of the Conventional Wisdom

Sundance: Horsepucky News Courtesy of Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal… – “Seriously folks, if we want to help President Trump and the agenda we voted for, then inoculate yourself -and your family- from this ridiculous corporate media ‘gaslighting’.” And President Trump Right Again – London “Bucket Bomber” Detained by Police Two Weeks Ago… – yet another example of where Trump was right and the Left’s outrage was off base.

Eddie Scarry: Trump, racism, and the media’s obsession – “If it weren’t for their sick obsession with race, the national media would have next to nothing to talk about.” Ta-Nehisi Coates’ essay in The Atlantic is certainly providing meat for criticism about the ‘black privilege’ phenomena where oppression is turned on its head. “But imagination isn’t reality, and this isn’t racism. It’s an obsession.”

Michael Goodwin: Donald Trump shows he is not an ‘abnormal’ president – “During last year’s campaign, The New York Times justified its biased coverage of Donald Trump by saying he was the “abnormal” candidate while Hillary Clinton was the “normal” one.”

Oh, what a difference a year makes.

Now it’s President Trump who is doing bipartisan deals with congress and trying to rally the world against North Korea while Clinton is embarrassing herself and her party with a sore-loser blame game. It’s time to reverse the normal and abnormal labels.

The remarkable contrast between the 2016 foes these days is more vindication of the outcome, and helps explain why he won and she lost.

America is witnessing the normalizing of a new president, flaws and all. There are even signs that the media, while still hostile, is getting tired of declaring that the sky is falling every time Trump colors outside the lines.

Talk about abnormal — some in the “out” party would rather abdicate their duties than accept Trump as president.

Melkorka Licea: These handicapped New Yorkers are behind hundreds of lawsuits – it’s one thing to have a hobby, but the SJW can go a bit too far to becoming an abuse of the legal system and society rather than a war for justice.

The Ken Burns Vietnam propaganda piece stirs the pot and Scott Johnson brings back memories in asking Why were we in Vietnam? – “Watching Victor Davis Hanson’s PragerU short course on the war elicited a flood of memories, of which that was not the only one by any means. I recalled the North Vietnamese Army tanks rolling toward Saigon in the spring of 1975. I thought that they contradicted one or two of the key talking points I had been taught by the antiwar crowd in the heyday of the movement against the war.”

Nick Gillespie: Documentarian Ken Burns on How Vietnam Explains the Current Political Moment – “”

We think it’s the most important event in American history in the second half of the 20th century. If we want to understand the political divisions and the lack of civil discourse that bedevils us today, the seeds of that were planted in Vietnam. If you could unpack the fraudulence of the conventional wisdom, and repack it benefiting from the testimony of people who lived through it and the recent scholarship that has taken place—and also to triangulate with the South Vietnamese and North Vietnamese perspectives, which are almost always left behind—you have an opportunity to understand it better and maybe pull out some of these fuel rods of discourse.

In one episode, the Marine Karl Marlantes says, “Think about how many times we get ourselves into scrapes as a nation because we are always the good guys. Sometimes I think that if we thought we weren’t always the good guys, we might actually get into less wars.”

Glenn Garvin: The Vietnam War Punctures Any Remaining Myths About the Conflict – “Ken Burns and Lynn Novick hold politicians (both D and R) accountable.”

The central political thesis of The Vietnam War is hardly novel—that it was an ill-conceived part of Washington’s Cold War containment strategy that quickly went off the rails but stayed in place another two decades because American policymakers were too embarrassed to admit they’d tragically miscalculated.

That’s not the only leftist fairytale to be challenged in The Vietnam War. The North Vietnamese regime is depicted not as armed agrarian reformers but a collection of murderous Stalinist thugs who cloaked their communism in anti-colonialist rhetoric that appealed to a population that had suffered much at the hands of Chinese, Japanese, and French invaders over the centuries.

There’s a lot of context that suffers and quite a lot of presumptions that what was is the same as what is now as if “invaders over the centuries” is unusual or automatically means suffering. Or, consider those “armed agrarian reformers” with “ tanks rolling toward Saigon in the spring of 1975″ After the U.S. withdrew its promised support of South Vietnam.

To “unpack the fraudulence of the conventional wisdom” starts with the hubris behind the Ken Burns ‘documentary’ and the knowing of one’s self, the unpacking of the fraudulence of the current conventional wisdom.

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Thrill Seekers and Who’s Your Hero?

John Sexton: Is Antifa just a group of ‘lawless thrill-seekers?’ – “The Washington Post has a story today which suggests that maybe, just maybe, Antifa’s motives aren’t as selfless or noble as they claim.”

Mike Isaacson, described as an anarchist adjunct professor, tells the Post, “A lot of people are coming into antifa because of the thrill of violence, and that’s not what we’re about.” Isn’t it though? Isn’t political violence the real distinctive of Antifa? Put another way, would Antifa still be Antifa if they ruled out violence? I don’t think so.

Everyone turning up to a rally in a mask and body armor is looking for a thrill. The potential for lawless behavior (toward property and people) is the draw. A willingness to risk arrest is a sign of commitment, just as it was at Occupy camps in 2011. The story suggests violence is also what gives members credibility within the group. Hines tells the Post, “Most people I know love me now.” He adds, “I’m not trying to brag, but I’ve become pretty popular.” I’m sure he is popular among a narrow group of far left 20 somethings. And you can bet that’s part of the appeal to do this again.

Sexton also on Ta-Nehisi Coates and the American Dream – “Professor Jason Hill, who teaches philosophy at DePaul University, has written a lengthy rebuttal of Ta-Nehisi Coates book Between the World and Me.”

he writes that Coates is doing black Americans a disservice by seeking to convince them the American Dream is either illusory or, worse yet, an enemy to people of color. Hill, using his own life as an example, writes that the dream is real enough. Through effort, determination, and independence, America is still a great place for people of all backgrounds.

That’s the final irony in all of this. Coates himself is living what many people would consider the American dream. He has written award-winning books and articles. A comic book fan himself, he had the chance to write a storyline for Marvel’s Black Panther. Last year he bought a $2.1 million brownstone in Brooklyn (which his friend dubbed “the dream”). After the purchase became a story in the New York media he decided it wasn’t safe and sold it (at a small profit). America has been pretty good to Ta-Nehisi Coates. He could maybe write about that once in a while too.

Victor Joecks: Would Nevadans pay higher taxes to cover Medicaid expansion? – “Nevada pays 5 percent of the costs in 2017 and by 2020 will pay 10 percent of the bill.”

Nevada’s Medicaid expansion has been getting a lot of love from Gov. Brian Sandoval, Sen. Dean Heller and others who want Washington to continue paying the bulk of the program’s tab.

But if Nevada taxpayers had to pay the full cost of the expansion, it’d have less support than Harry Reid running for president of a Republican women’s club.

A massive tax increase to give “free” health care to abled-body adults above the poverty line would be a non-starter.

The “free” money coming into Nevada is a microcosm of our nation’s larger health care problems, in which cost-shifting and third-party payments hide the actual price of care from taxpayers and patients. Beneficiaries have no ability to comparison shop and no incentive to seek less-expensive care because they can’t see the costs and they don’t directly pay them.

If the Medicaid expansion is so beneficial to the state and its people, shouldn’t Nevada’s top elected officials be willing to ask Nevadans to pay for it themselves?

Neo-neocon: Trump, DACA, the wall, and the press

In the Trump era it’s gotten even more difficult to write about the news, for the simple reason that for the most part I distrust all prognostications and rumors, both of which have come to take up a larger and larger part of reporting ever since Trump was inaugurated.

You know what I’d like to see—although I have no illusions that I will see it? Newspapers that report on what actually has happened once it has happened, rather than predicting what they think is happening or what is supposedly happening behind closed doors.

Frank Ryan: Trump’s Task Organization – for some, this might be rationalizing Trump but for others, it is a description of what they were looking for.

That unique concept of task organization is foreign to most. Many managers will tell you that it is people first and mission second. That’s how organizations fail.

People being secondary is an anathema to most people. We recognize, however, in the Marine Corps and in the special forces that putting people first actually jeopardizes everyone, because failure ensues, and people get killed.

Leadership is key in this paradigm of task organization because the effective leader knows how to communicate the mission and ensure that the common good is maximized while accomplishing the mission first.

We need to task-organize our government regardless of who is president. We need to accomplish the mission of creating a framework for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness from our government rather than creating a government of overregulation, control, and dysfunction.

More in this vein from Scott Adams: I Explain the Persuasion Techniques President Trump is using on The Wall and DACA – “You might enjoy my Periscope playback from this morning in which I describe the several persuasion techniques President Trump is using on the topic of The Wall and DACA. Here’s the quick summary.”

PrawfsBlog: Infallible: The Pope or the President – “what struck me most this time was the vitriolic rhetoric from some quarters of Catholic leadership—taking Trump’s side.”

But all this raises the larger issue, for me, of how folks deal with conflicting moral and political identities in our current climate. For those with strong moral convictions, this should presumably be fairly straightforward. But, I have to say, it doesn’t seem like it has been in recent years.

On Ken Burn’s Vietnam film, “Despite the purported time spent on researching and collecting materials, the film still comes across as a worn-out Communist propaganda.” This from the review by Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Sang at Maggie’s Farm: Review Of Ken Burn’s Vietnam PBS Series.

The following is the first factual, shall I say fact-checking, review that I’ve come across about the Ken Burns narrative of the Vietnam war(s). Other reviews are more of the same breast-beating and ignorant narrative that has dominated in the liberal press for the past several decades. This review circulated among various Vietnamese and Americans with an interest in a more realistic contemporary view, rather than retrospective self-justifications for weakness of will and understanding that condemned millions to death and torture.

No one can change the history. Those who waged wars on behalf of the international Communists must accept their responsibility for the destruction of the country. History will judge their actions and our descendants will know the truth despite the Communists’ efforts to skew the historical facts.

In order to fight against China’s aggression, the Vietnamese Communists must harness the national strength by reconciling with the people as a whole, and their victims, in particular. Otherwise, they will be a party to the demise of the country.

In conclusion, this is a one-sided, half-truth documentary unworthy of watching. My observation had been posted on Yahoo but was removed 15 minutes later. Let us hope that Mr. Burns and Ms. Novick would have a change of heart and be more factual in their next project about the Vietnam War.

It may be confirmation bias extrapolating past experience with Burns, PBS, and Google but the facts and ‘true witness’ does exist and the reviewer here was as close to the event as one could get and does provide references and examples and context.

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An explicit demonstration of elitism

Ed Morrissey: Retired jurist makes compelling case for term limits in stunning admission – “For decades, a debate over lifetime appointments in the federal judiciary have pitted those who value freedom from political influence against those who see a need for accountability.”

In short, Posner by his own admission spent the last “ten to fifteen years” disregarding the legislative and executive branches to create his own law and whim, and then enforce it. Regardless of specific outcomes, that arrogance corrodes the rule of law and the Constitution, and demonstrates aptly why Americans have grown so distrustful of their government. It’s an explicit demonstration of elitism.

It’s time to start considering methods of accountability for the federal judiciary. Perhaps that will be enough to keep future jurists from following Posner’s example, but it at least will give Americans the opportunity to ensure that they have a role in determining the laws under which they are governed, and to be sure that those laws get applied properly in courts.

John Hinderaker: Democratic Party Smears Neil Gorsuch As a Bigot – “I am not easily shocked these days, but an email sent by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee an hour and a half ago shocked me.” Also today at Powerline, Scott Johnson describes the Franken fallout, another case of Democrats gone bonkers trying to replicate Posner’s example.

It has been a long time since I have been a fan of the Democratic Party. But the hate speech to which the Democrats–not a few renegade party members, but the Democratic Party itself–now resort, is utterly beyond the pale. The leaders of the Democratic Party must understand that the wild charges they fling against people like Neil Gorsuch are not just false, but crazy. But they don’t care: power is their sole object.

We are living through a sad epoch in the history of our republic.

And Paul Mirengoff provides an update on the SPLC: “All it has is a hard-left ideology, a willingness to smear those with whom it disagrees, and lots of money. – Oh, and let’s not forget that it also benefits from a mainstream media that, to a considerable degree, shares the first two attributes.”

On the Irma Fuel Crisis, Sundance reports that his posts on the bottom tier impact have been heard and he has been assured that fuel supply efforts will be stepped up. Other parties are helping, too. David Wethe: As Florida Fuel Grew Scarce, GasBuddy App Change Filled Gap – “GasBuddy LLC, previously known only for helping drivers find the lowest fuel prices, raced to put into action a lesson learned from Harvey just a week earlier.” The cell phone app allows users to report on fuel prices and, now, on outages and supply.

A run on gas at stations in South Texas after Harvey struck convinced Walt Doyle, the company’s chief executive officer and a former venture capitalist at Highland Capital Partners LP, that GasBuddy needed to quickly expand its offerings to help Florida as it readied for Irma. The goal: Re-engineer their mobile app in a single night to help drivers escaping the storm identify which stations had run out of fuel, or had lost their electricity.

Bottom up responses were also described in an SFGate story where Burning Man put out a plea for help with 5,000 abandoned bicycles. That prompted a convoy out of Reno that took care of the problem in short order.

On the FUD front, Anthony Watts: Low-level radiation exposure less harmful to health than other modern lifestyle risks – “From the “I thought sure Fukashima was going to kill me” department.” It’s nothing new but a restatement of what is known if reality is a value.

Professor Angela McLean, lead author and Co-Director at the Oxford Martin Programme on Collective Responsibility for Infectious Disease, said: ‘We know a great deal about the health risks from radiation thanks to exceptionally careful studies of groups of people exposed to different levels from nuclear bombs or accidents, medical exposure of patients, naturally occurring sources (such as radon), and workers in the nuclear industry and medicine. From these studies it is clear that moderate and high doses of radiation increase the risk of developing some types of cancer.’

The full paper, “A restatement of the natural science evidence base concerning the health effects of low-level ionizing radiation” can be downloaded at http://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/policy/restatements/.

More ignorance from Bruce Schneier: On the Equifax Data Breach – “The market can’t fix this. Markets work because buyers choose between sellers, and sellers compete for buyers. In case you didn’t notice, you’re not Equifax’s customer. You’re its product.”

The companies that collect and sell our data don’t need to keep it secure in order to maintain their market share. They don’t have to answer to us, their products. They know it’s more profitable to save money on security and weather the occasional bout of bad press after a data loss. Yes, we are the ones who suffer when criminals get our data, or when our private information is exposed to the public, but ultimately why should Equifax care?

Market failures like this can only be solved through government intervention.

The ignorance claim? Ever look at the history of depending upon government to fix such ills? Do you really want The Swamp to control your affairs? Or consider the idea that Equifax does not have customers, or at least the sidestepping about who that customer might be. Who is going to have the biggest headaches and costs from identity theft that results from Equifax malfeasance (hint: think ‘credit rating’)? There is a role for government, certainly, but there is also a role for both Equifax’s customers and the general public. The discussion illustrates that the public is indeed taking notice and pursuing action and doing its part. The question now is whether that will be the right thing or whether FUD and ignorance will prevail.

Joanne: How campus rape policy went wrong – another issue where FUD and ignorance is being beat back (to much wailing, gnashing of teeth, and personal smears).

Pressured by the federal government and beliefs about “rape culture,” colleges have tried to police their students’ sex lives. Emily Yoffe’s excellent three-part Atlantic series explains what went wrong.

Part 1: Rules intended to help sexual-assault victims have denied due process to the accused, Yoffe writes.

Part 2 deals with the bad science underlying “trauma-informed” investigations and adjudications.

Part 3: Race may play a factor in accusations of sexual assault.

This last part gets into dangerous territory because the evidence indicates that the problem is not victim racism but rather racial distinctions in inappropriate behavior which cannot be observed or noticed or even discussed in today’s society (just ask Charles Murray).

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