Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A Jarring New Level of Confrontation and Conflict?

I don't think so, actually.

We've had hyper-partisan conflict virtually 24/7 since 2009, when Barack Hussein took office, and only slightly less so under G.W. Bush. Going back further, Bill Clinton was impeached in December 1988, by a GOP House that took power after the earthquake midterm elections of 1994. Politics has long become partisan warfare. It certainly seems even more intense now, because President Trump has upended all expectations since he announced his campaign in June 2015, and it's been a relentless roller coaster of political terror for the left ever since.

It's been, what, 11 days since the new regime took over? And with the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, the populist-nationalist-conservative right is firing on all cylinders. It's unbelievable. The elation you're seeing even among raving critics of Trump during the campaign --- the "Never Trumpers" --- gives you a powerful idea of just how significant the victories for the right are at this moment. Leftists are being devastated. Hence, the Democrat-Media-Complex has a vested interest in portraying the intensity of partisan sniping as unprecedented. The pace is faster, sure, but that's about all. Trump never seems to sleep, and all the up and downs, the volleys and shots he throws across the bow of the collective left, are looking much more carefully choreographed than people thought possible during the campaign. He's just hammering the radical left!

All of this is absolutely breathtaking and I'm just floating right now. If Mitch McConnell announces the nuclear option to get Gorsuch confirmed, in the face of threats of a Democrat filibuster (and amid the boycott today on Trump's cabinet nominations) --- it's going to feel like the freakin' first time, man!

In any case, see perhaps the hardest hit, the New York Times, "A Jarring New Level of Confrontation and Conflict Hits Washington" (at Memeorandum):

WASHINGTON — President Trump made clear in his fiery inaugural speech that he was going to challenge the Washington establishment. Now the establishment is quickly pushing back, creating a palpable air of uncertainty and chaos in the opening days of his administration.

The new president fired an acting attorney general who refused to defend the administration’s executive order on immigration. Democrats on Tuesday boycotted Senate confirmation hearings to prevent votes on cabinet nominees. State Department employees opposed to the administration were urged to quit if they didn’t like Mr. Trump’s direction.

Even after years of unbreakable gridlock and unyielding partisanship, it was a jarring new level of confrontation and conflict, and it was contributing to a building sense of crisis just as the new president was to disclose the identity of a new Supreme Court nominee — a selection certain to further inflame tensions.

Republicans, adjusting to the new era, seemed blindsided by the rapid pace of events and the worrying failure of the new administration to engage in the information-sharing and consultation that would typically accompany the issuance of a potentially explosive proposal like the freeze on visas for refugees and immigrants from select countries.

“It’s regrettable that there was some confusion with the rollout,” Speaker Paul D. Ryan told reporters Tuesday, noting that top Republicans learned of the contents of the order only as it was being issued.

That secretive, closely held approach may be the preferred choice of the president and self-proclaimed disrupters like his senior adviser, Stephen K. Bannon, who is quickly emerging as the power in the West Wing, but not by more conventional politicians who definitely don’t like to be caught off guard.

Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York, said similar failings had emerged in the early days of previous administrations but would not be tolerated for long.

“You get a brief period you’re allowed for a learning curve, but after that, you have to get your act together,” Mr. King said.

One veteran of past Republican administrations, acknowledging the Trump White House was still in its “shakedown” phase, encouraged the president’s staff to focus more on consultation to avert confusion. “Process matters,” said Kenneth M. Duberstein, who served as chief of staff to Ronald Reagan. “You are dealing with not just senior management, but with a variety of constituencies and a board of directors of 535 people.”

Still, the main Republican objection seemed to be with the handling of the executive order by the inexperienced and understaffed White House rather than the actual content of the order...
Keep reading.

#PresidentTrump Nominates Conservative Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court

Folks on Twitter can't be more ecstatic about this nomination. It's the home run of Supreme Court nominations, if the reaction is any guide.


Sebastian Gorka Joins the Trump Administration

I like this guy so much it's ridiculous.

Here's his book, at Amazon, Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War.

And on Twitter:


ICYMI: Eliot Cohen, The Big Stick

*BUMPED*

I'm going on an Amazon book splurge on the first of the month.

This one's at the top of my list.

At Amazon, Eliot Cohen, The Big Stick: The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force.

John Kenneth White, The Values Divide

*BUMPED.*

White's book is helpful to understanding our current predicament, although it starts out pre-Obama, so should be combined with more recent research on extreme political tribalism.

At Amazon, John Kenneth White, The Values Divide: American Politics and Culture In Transition.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Kate Upton Floats (VIDEO)

Well, yeah, she has natural flotation devices, heh.

Via Sports Illustrated:



Sensible Pause in U.S. Entry Policies

From Peter Brookes, at the Boston Herald, "Pause in U.S. entry policies sensible: Trump’s order targets countries with terror risks":
People will spin it anyway they like — and they will — but President Trump’s decision to take a pause and review travel to the United States from seven Middle Eastern and North African countries is sound national security policy.

It’s also completely defensible in these troubled times.

The presidential executive order will temporarily alter visa issuance, immigration and refugee flows to America from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen while U.S. entry programs are examined.

All of these countries have one thing in common: terrorism.

They may have a terrorist group operating within their borders or may have been slapped with the U.S. State Department’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation as a country that uses terrorism or supports terrorist groups.

Of particular importance now is the Islamic State (aka ISIS) which, in my estimation, is in big trouble. The “caliphate” is under significant pressure in Syria and Iraq as forces close in on its key strongholds in Raqqa and Mosul.

For instance, Iraqi forces, with U.S. support, have made significant advances against ISIS since the battle for Mosul began last fall. The going is still tough, but Iraqi forces have reportedly taken back a good chunk of Iraq’s second largest city from ISIS fighters.

While Raqqa is still functioning as the Islamic State’s capital, tougher days are ahead for ISIS there. Syrian Kurdish and Arab forces, with U.S. help, are targeting the terrorist headquarters for a final assault.

But taking Raqqa won’t terminate ISIS...
More.

Open Dissent as State Department Staffers Sign Opposition Memo Against Trump

I tweeted earlier upon seeing WaPo's report:


And at Axios, "Hundreds of State employees to oppose Trump travel ban":
Brookings' Lawfare Blog obtained a copy of a draft memo created by "numerous Foreign Service officers and other diplomats" to express dissent to President Trump's executive order restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. Hundreds of foreign service officers are expected to be party to the memo, which will be submitted through the State Department's Dissent Channel.
Here's the piece at Lawfare, "BREAKING NEWS: Full Text of Draft Dissent Channel Memo on Trump Refugee and Visa Order."

It's hard to remove career bureaucrats. They can't easily be fired. But top people can, especially political appointees. So let's see how it goes over a State this week in terms of Trump's political apparatchiks. They might be able to offer the career staffers deals that can't refuse. Frankly, these long-term Foreign Service hacks are supposed to serve without fear or favor. They're supposed to carry out the policies of the elected administration. They're functionaries. And by dissenting they're violating the will of the American people who voted in a duly constituted election. This is how it works in this country. There should be consequences if this leftist charade goes on too long. Big consequences.

Via Memeorandum.

Debunking the Left's Despicable Attacks on Trump's Immigration Orders

Daniel Horowitz is the author of Stolen Sovereignty: How to Stop Unelected Judges from Transforming America.

He's got an awesome piece up at Conservative Review, "Separating Fact from Sickening Media Fiction on Trump's Immigration Executive Order."

This is bang-up phenomenal:

“Any alien coming to this country must or ought to know, that this being an independent nation, it has all the rights concerning the removal of aliens which belong by the law of nations to any other; that while he remains in the country in the character of an alien, he can claim no other privilege than such as an alien is entitled to, and consequently, whatever risque he may incur in that capacity is incurred voluntarily, with the hope that in due time by his unexceptionable conduct, he may become a citizen of the United States.” ~ Justice James Iredell, 1799.
There is a lot of confusion swirling around the events that transpired this weekend as a result of Trump’s executive order on immigration. Make no mistake: every word of Trump’s executive order is in accordance with statute. It’s important not to conflate political arguments with legal arguments, as many liberals and far too many “conservatives” on social media are doing. While the timing and coordination of implementing this order might have been poorly planned, we shouldn’t allow that to undermine the broader need to defend our sovereignty. For courts to violate years’ worth of precedent and steal our sovereignty should concern everyone.

What the order actually does

Among other things, the key provisions at the center of the existing controversy are as follows:

It shuts off the issuance of all new immigrant and non-immigrant visas for 90 days from the following seven volatile countries: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. Any non-citizen from those seven countries (not “all” Muslim countries) is excluded from entering the country during this time-period (which usually means they won’t be able to board a direct flight to America). After 30 days, the secretary of state and secretary of homeland security must submit a report to completely revamp the vetting process going forward.

Within 60 days, countries will have to submit any information that the administration determines necessary, pursuant to the findings of this report, in order to adjudicate a visa application and ensure they are properly vetted. Any country that fails to submit this information will not be able to send foreign nationals to our country. All the while, the ban can be extended and expanded at any time.

In addition, the entire refugee resettlement program is suspended for four months pending a complete investigation of the program and a plan to restructure it and prioritize those who are truly in danger of religious persecution. After 120 days, the program may resume, but only for those countries Secretaries Kelly and Tillerson determine do not pose a threat. The program from Syria is completely suspended until the president personally gives the green light.

With regards to refugees and those who seek to enter from the seven countries temporarily excluded, the order gave discretion to the State Department and DHS to admit individuals on a case-by-case basis for important reasons, even during the temporary moratorium.

Statement of principles on the right of a country to exclude non-citizens

Those who want to immigrate: There is no affirmative right, constitutional or otherwise, to visit or settle in the United States. Period. Based on the social contract, social compact, sovereignty, long-standing law of nation-states, governance by the consent of the governed, the plenary power of Congress over immigration, and 200 years of case law, our political branches of government have the power to exclude or invite any individual or classes people for any reason on a temporary or even permanent basis – without any involvement from the courts.[1] Congress has already delegated its authority to the president to shut off any form of immigration at will at any time.

Immigrants already here: Those already admitted to this country with the consent of the citizenry have unalienable rights. They cannot be indefinitely detained. However, they can be deported for any reason if they are not citizens. In Fong Yue Ting v. United States (1893), which is still settled law, the court ruled that Congress has the same plenary power to deport aliens for any reason as it does to exclude them and that the statutory procedures and conditions for doing so are due process.[2] Congress has established the process for deportation of those already here. However, as long as a legal permanent resident leaves the country he has no affirmative right to re-enter.[3] Either way, they have absolutely no right to judicial review other than to ensure that statutes are properly followed.

But can Trump prevent those with green cards from re-entering the country?

The statute is clear as day. The Immigration and Nationality Act (§ 212(f)) gives the president plenary power to “by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants.” Clearly, the president has the authority to block any non-citizen – including refugees, green card holders, and foreign students – from entering the country. Also, for purposes of deportation, there is no difference between a green card holder or a holder of a non-immigrant visa. No foreign national who has not yet obtained citizenship has an affirmative right to re-enter the country...
Still more.

FLASHBACK: Suzy Cortez, Miss Bum Bum 2015, Body Paint for Barcelona

This ran last January, but it's worth a re-up.

At Egotastic!, "Miss Bum Bum Suzy Cortez Body Paint for Barcelona."

Also at the Sun U.K., "BONKERS FOR BUMBUM World Cup 2018: Miss BumBum Suzy Cortez poses in steamy photo shoot to celebrate Bonk the cheeky wolf being named official mascot; Russian Federation of football invited the Playboy babe to promote their new mascot in the best way possible."

Yep, she did a Playboy spread as well.

PREVIOUSLY: "Erika Canela, Brazil's 'Best Bottom' Winner, Gets Donald Trump Tattoo for Women's Rights."

ICYMI: James Campbell, Polarized

*BUMPED."

This is the one to read, in addition to John Kenneth White.

At Amazon, James Campbell, Polarized: Making Sense of a Divided America.

Outrage! Pandemonium! Leftist Islamists Block Traffic at LAX (VIDEO)

Following-up, "Donald Trump's Refugee Ban Sparks Global Leftist Crisis."

At the Los Angeles Times, "Protesters block traffic at LAX as thousands rally against Trump travel ban."

More at CBS News 2 Los Angeles:




Trump Voters Shrug at Global Leftist Outrage Over Adminstration's Refugee Crackdown

Following-up, "Shock. Outrage. Resistance. Repeat."

Remember, it's leftists who're outraged. Everybody else is going about their lives. Normal Americans have jobs, for example.

At Instapundit, "SHOCKER: Trump Voters Shrug Off Global Uproar Over Immigration Ban."

#PresidentTrump's Alien Exclusion Order is Constitutional

At the Weekly Standard, "Alien Exclusion Order is Constitutional":
Over at National Review, Andrew McCarthy writes that President Trump's executive order instituting a temporary ban on entry into the United States for foreign nationals from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen is statutorily and constitutionally sound:
Under the Constitution, as Thomas Jefferson wrote shortly after its adoption, "the transaction of business with foreign nations is Executive altogether. It belongs then to the head of that department, except as to such portions of it as are specifically submitted to the Senate. Exceptions are to be construed strictly."

The rare exceptions Jefferson had in mind, obviously, were such matters as the approval of treaties, which Article II expressly vests in the Senate. There are also other textual bases for a congressional role in foreign affairs, such as Congress's power over international commerce, to declare war, and to establish the qualifications for the naturalization of citizens. That said, when Congress legislates in this realm, it must do so mindful of what the Supreme Court, in United States v. Curtiss-Wright (1936), famously described as "the very delicate, plenary and exclusive power of the President as the sole organ of the federal government in the field of international relations – a power which does not require as a basis for its exercise an act of Congress."
McCarthy, a former U.S. Attorney who prosecuted the 1993 World Trade Center bombing case argues that the 1965 immigration act prohibiting discrimination against immigrants on the basis of national origin does not make Trump's order illegal:
With that as background, let's consider the claimed conflict between the president's executive order and Congress's statute. Mr. Bier asserts that Trump may not suspend the issuance of visas to nationals of specific countries because the 1965 immigration act "banned all discrimination against immigrants on the basis of national origin." And, indeed, a section of that act, now codified in Section 1152(a) of Title 8, U.S. Code, states that (with exceptions not here relevant) "no person shall receive any preference or priority or be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person's race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence" (emphasis added).

Even on its face, this provision is not as clearly in conflict with Trump's executive order as Bier suggests. As he correctly points out, the purpose of the anti-discrimination provision (signed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965) was to end the racially and ethnically discriminatory "national origins" immigration practice that was skewed in favor of Western Europe. Trump's executive order, to the contrary, is in no way an effort to affect the racial or ethnic composition of the nation or its incoming immigrants. The directive is an effort to protect national security from a terrorist threat, which, as we shall see, Congress itself has found to have roots in specified Muslim-majority countries. Because of the national-security distinction between Trump's 2017 order and Congress's 1965 objective, it is not necessary to construe them as contradictory, and principles of constitutional interpretation counsel against doing so.
McCarthy also cites specific language in federal immigration law that specifically authorizes this kind of temporary restriction for national security purposes...
Keep reading.

Also at RCP.

Shock. Outrage. Resistance. Repeat.

Yep. That about sums things up.

It's going to be daily outrage and protests for the next four years.

What a time to be a leftist. Democrats will be hailing Trump for revitalizing their base, lol.

Via Katrina vanden Heuval, from the Washington Post, "Shock. Outrage. Resistance. Repeat. Is this the new normal in Trump’s America?":

In Donald Trump’s America, there may be no more weekends — just an incessant cycle of shocks, of actions and reactions. For the second weekend in a row, Friday to Sunday was wall to wall with resistance and outrage.

On Friday, President Trump signed an executive order banning people from seven nations in the Middle East and Africa from entering the United States.

On Saturday, protesters began heading to the airports to welcome international travelers, some of whom were detained for hours without access to lawyers.

On Sunday, thousands pushed peacefully against the fences around the White House in protest of Trump’s order. The signs spelled out embarrassment and resolve — and a cheeky self-awareness that only Washington can muster.

“SHAME ON AMERICA.”

“DEATH TO FASCISM.”

“PROTEST IS THE NEW BRUNCH.”

Is this what we’re in for, even on weekends? Will every news alert force us to ask ourselves who we are or send us out into the streets in a spontaneous counterattack?
Yes. The left is all about perpetual outrage. Meanwhile, the rest of us go about our lives while the White House restores are sovereignty.

Sheesh.

(Still more.)

Donald Trump's Refugee Ban Sparks Global Leftist Crisis

Look, I'm not having a crisis. My wife and kids aren't having a crisis. If you're a regular taxpaying American citizen you're not having a crisis. You can come and go. It's leftists who're having a crisis. The cosmopolitan globetrotting left is in crisis as the Trump administration takes back control of our borders.

So, yeah, Charles Schumer, cry me a river, you freakin' dweeb.

I mean, c'mon, just look at the jihadist taking over LAX. We're about to knock off Mecca as the jihad capital, sheesh.

At LAT, "Confusion reigns at U.S. airports as protests of Trump executive order enter second day":


With protesters’ chants echoing through arrival halls and beyond, confusion prevailed Sunday at airports across the United States amid seemingly contradictory signals from the Trump administration over a hotly contested executive order blocking U.S. entry to refugees and nationals of seven Muslim-majority nations.

Even as the White House defended the directive’s rollout as a success, advocacy groups and administration officials remained locked on an apparent collision course. Since its signing on Friday, the measure has led to the detention of more than 100 people landing at airports across the country with valid entry documents.

About twice as many others were denied permission to board flights to the United States, according to lawyers representing a consortium of groups that won a temporary nationwide stay Saturday night against the deportation of anyone who had arrived with a valid visa.

On the ground, backlash to the ban grew. While major international airports were the locus of protests, thousands rallied in cities including Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Boston.

Despite the air of gravity surrounding debate over the ban, the atmosphere at many airport rallies was raucous and cheerful. Whenever anyone was released from detention, he or she was greeted with cheers and applause from well-wishers.

At Los Angeles International Airport, thousands of protesters filled the lobby at the Tom Bradley International Terminal and spilled into the street outside, chanting, "Let them in!" and "Love, not hate, makes America great."

Jacob Kemper, a 35-year-old Army veteran who served two tours in Iraq, said he was infuriated to think soldiers he fought alongside might be denied entry to the country.

"I really don't care about religion, but I really hate oppression," he said, holding a sign that read, "I Fought Next To Muslims."

Shay Soltani, a network engineer, fled the Iranian revolution 40 years ago and still has family members in Iran. She joined Sunday’s protest in Los Angeles, she said, because she doesn't know if she will be able to see them again, thanks to Trump’s order.

"I am so hurt by this," she said. "He is against freedom of speech and the Constitution and everything I believe in as an American."

Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union said they would ultimately press to have Trump’s order overturned as unconstitutional.

In the meantime, the emergency stay issued by a federal judge in Brooklyn on Saturday represented an “absolute baseline” prohibiting the removal of any of those who were halted upon arrival, said Lee Gelernt, the deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

But it remained essentially the luck of the draw in terms of who was halted upon arrival, who was released after questioning, and who had access to legal counsel if detained, the lawyers said.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sunday Cartoons

At Flopping Aces, "Sunday Funnies."

Branco Cartoons photo Darkness-600-LI_zps8wobyeuk.jpg

And at Theo's, "Cartoon Round Up..."

Cartoon Credit: Legal Insurrection, "Branco Cartoon – Sees Only Evil."

Sunday Night Rule 5

I've been reviewing files all day for the new full-time political science position at my college.

Plus, Sarah Hoyt's got me 'lanched today, for this post, "The National Elite Nervous Breakdown," which is way cool.

So I've been procrastinating on my Sunday Rule 5. Here's a quickie for consistency, in any case.

At the Other McCain, "Rule 5 Sunday: Making Anime Great Again."

Also, at the Pirate's Cove, "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup," and "If All You See……is an area flooding from too much carbon pollution, you might just be a Warmist."

And at 90 Miles from Tyranny, "Morning Mistress - Business Undress...", and "Girls With Guns."

Plus, at Odie's, "Boob Pong ~OR~ Rule 5 Woodsterman Style."

At Knuckledraggin', "Luis will go for this."

And from the Hostages, "BBF Victory Lap 2016: Big Boobs Milana Vayntrub."

Still more, at Drunken Stepfather, "STEPLINKS OF THE DAY."

Don't forget Goodstuff's, "GOODSTUFFs BLOGGING MAGAZINE (278th Issue) - Candy Barr."

More Rule 5 blogging later.


Trump Creates Chaos!

Heh.

I wonder if the chaos is the blow to the system more so than the promise-keeping itself, although the headline writer at USA Today isn't especially clear:

From Susan Page (who I like), "Analysis: Trump's start creates chaos by doing what he promised":

WASHINGTON — New presidents typically start with a flurry of actions designed to demonstrate to supporters and opponents alike that they will deliver on their campaign promises, and that there is a new guy in charge.

But never in modern times — a phrase that Donald Trump has made familiar in his opening 10 days in the White House — has there been a whirlwind of action that has so disrupted the political order. President Trump has opened a breach with Mexico over building a wall, created chaos at U.S. airports by blocking immigrants from Muslim countries, moved to undercut the Affordable Care Act even before Congress formally resumes debate over repealing it and more.

In other words, after a campaign that upended political assumptions, Trump has grabbed the headlines and prompted protests in the streets and the courts by doing precisely what he said he would do if elected.

"We've been in office now for about seven or eight days, and we've done an incredible amount," White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said Sunday on CBS' Face the Nation after deflecting questions on the orders to begin building a wall along the southern border and to temporarily block refugees from seven majority-Muslim countries. "I think that one thing people can say about President Trump is that he's following through on his promises, and I don't think people should be surprised that he's doing it. I'm kind of surprised that people are surprised that he's actually conducting himself exactly the way he said he would."

It has been a surprise to those who assumed candidate Trump had more of a combative attitude than a specific policy plan. That gave rise to the observation, first credited to Saleno Zito of The Atlantic, that Trump's supporters took him seriously but not literally, while journalists took him literally but not seriously.

What's also surprised many is the speed with which Trump has moved, in some cases reportedly without the traditional consultation with members of his Cabinet, leaders of Congress or even the government lawyers who customarily would review the language and legal basis for the executive orders and presidential memorandums he has signed with fanfare.

Of course, presidents who have taken over at times of crisis have acted in the past with far-reaching actions and left it to the future for the courts and the critics to sort out. Franklin Roosevelt, taking over during the depths of the Great Depression, on the day after being inaugurated in 1933 declared a bank holiday and called Congress into special session. When he took office in 1861, Abraham Lincoln was dealing with a nation being split by Southern secession.

This time, though, Trump isn't taking over at a time of war or economic calamity. He has in effect created his own sense of crisis, a situation he seems to find useful when it comes to dominating the debate and conducting negotiations.

And while FDR coined the idea of the "first 100 days" as a measure for decisive action, Trump seems to be speeding up even that timetable — akin to his mode of unprecedented and instantaneous presidential communication via the burst of 140-character tweets...
More.

The Democrats' Rise Is Far From Inevitable

Well, rising Democrats are more than far from inevitable the way things have been going this last week, with a collective leftist temper tantrum practically equal to an extinction level event, a Democrat Party extinction, lol.

From Megan McArdle, at Bloomberg:

Why are the left's public demonstrations more impressive than its voter turnout? Because there are a whole lot of Democrats in the large population centers where such demonstrations are generally held. People can join a protest simply by getting on the subway; it's an easy show of force.

But there are a lot of small towns in America, and as Sean Trende and David Byler recently demonstrated, those small towns are redder than ever. Effectively, the Democratic coalition has self-gerrymandered into a small number of places where they can turn out an impressive number of feet on the ground, but not enough votes to win the House. Certainly not enough to win the Senate or the Electoral College, which both favor sparsely populated states and discount the increasingly dense parts of the nation.

The Senate map in 2018 is brutal for Democrats. If Democrats want to get their mojo back, they’re going to need to do more than get a small minority of voters to turn out for a march. They’re going to need to get back some of those rural votes.

To do that, they’re probably going to have to let go of the most soul-satisfying, brain-melting political theory of the last two decades: that Democrats are inevitably the Party of the Future, guaranteed ownership of the future by an emerging Democratic majority in minority-white America. This theory underlay a lot of Obama’s presidency, and Clinton’s campaign. With President Trump's inauguration on Friday, we saw the results.

Why was this such a bad theory? Let me count the ways...

Heh, that's the best.

Keep reading.

Sistine Stallone LOVE Advent Alternative Version (VIDEO)

Well, I suppose she does deserve a second go at it.

Via LOVE:



PREVIOUSLY: "Sistine Stallone LOVE Advent 2016 (VIDEO)."

Faith Goldy: Hey Feminists, Straight Up, You're Getting Pranked by Islam (VIDEO)

She's a cool chick.

Funny.

At the Rebel:


ICYMI: Alexander Hill, The Red Army and the Second World War

*BUMPED.*

This book's great. I just need more time to get further into it.

ICYMI, at Amazon, Alexander Hill, The Red Army and the Second World War.

Daily Beast Editor Christopher Dickey: 'We've Been Spared Fascism, Up Until Now...' (VIDEO)

They still don't get it.

Leftist elites don't get it, and they're going to flail themselves right into a second Trump administration until they do.

From Mark Finklestein, at Legal Insurrection, "Daily Beast editor: Non-Cosmopolitan Rural Voters For Trump are the ‘Real Problem’."

Dickey used to be at Newsweek, which oughta tell you something, lol.


A Clarifying Moment in American History

From Professor Eliot Cohen, at the Atlantic, "There should be nothing surprising about what the Donald Trump has done in his first week—but he had underestimated the resilience of Americans and their institutions":
I am not surprised by President Donald Trump’s antics this week. Not by the big splashy pronouncements such as announcing a wall that he would force Mexico to pay for, even as the Mexican foreign minister held talks with American officials in Washington. Not by the quiet, but no less dangerous bureaucratic orders, such as kicking the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff out of meetings of the Principals’ Committee, the senior foreign-policy decision-making group below the president, while inserting his chief ideologist, Steve Bannon, into them. Many conservative foreign-policy and national-security experts saw the dangers last spring and summer, which is why we signed letters denouncing not Trump’s policies but his temperament; not his program but his character.

We were right. And friends who urged us to tone it down, to make our peace with him, to stop saying as loudly as we could “this is abnormal,” to accommodate him, to show loyalty to the Republican Party, to think that he and his advisers could be tamed, were wrong. In an epic week beginning with a dark and divisive inaugural speech, extraordinary attacks on a free press, a visit to the CIA that dishonored a monument to anonymous heroes who paid the ultimate price, and now an attempt to ban selected groups of Muslims (including interpreters who served with our forces in Iraq and those with green cards, though not those from countries with Trump hotels, or from really indispensable states like Saudi Arabia), he has lived down to expectations.

Precisely because the problem is one of temperament and character, it will not get better. It will get worse, as power intoxicates Trump and those around him. It will probably end in calamity—substantial domestic protest and violence, a breakdown of international economic relationships, the collapse of major alliances, or perhaps one or more new wars (even with China) on top of the ones we already have. It will not be surprising in the slightest if his term ends not in four or in eight years, but sooner, with impeachment or removal under the 25th Amendment. The sooner Americans get used to these likelihoods, the better...
Interesting, and not all that disagreeable. And I find the talk of impeachment and exercising the 25th Amendment rather humorous.

Frankly, it's mostly humor that's the antidote to all the leftist hair-raising hysteria. Repeat after me: It's gonna be fine. It's all good. Take the day off from politics and you'll see that your life hasn't changed much at all.

Still more, at Memeorandum.

And don't forget Cohen's book, The Big Stick: The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force.

'It's going to be a long and terrible four years...'

Ah, the nectar of leftist tears. I've gotta get me one of those cups!

On Twitter:


These two are responding to a Facebook post from Clemson Professor Nazanin Zinouri, whining about being "deported" by the Trump administration. I mean, how stupid can you get? You fly to Iran to visit your mom when President Trump is in the midst of issuing a raft of executive orders. I guess leftists aren't used to a president that keeps his word.

Federal Judge Halts Part of President Trump's Immigration Order; Stops Deportation of Refugees (VIDEO)

Trump's going to win. Some of his executive order may be struck down, especially the ban on return entry for green card holders, but he's going to win. It's the executive's authority to implement immigration laws. We're in for big changes, and for all the hand-wringing, they will be far-reaching.

At the Los Angeles Times, "Federal judge blocks deportations under Trump's 'extreme vetting' order for refugees and others with valid visas":

After a day of chaos at airports around the world, a federal judge in Brooklyn on Saturday night stayed deportations under President Trump’s executive order barring citizens of some Muslim countries from entering the United States.

U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly ordered a halt to any removal of refugees or others who hold valid visas to enter the United States — meaning those who have arrived at U.S. airports from the seven predominantly Muslim countries named under the president’s executive order can remain, for now.

The judge did not rule on the legality of the executive order, nor did she say that others who have not yet arrived in the U.S. can be allowed to proceed.

The ruling came in response to a petition filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of two Iraqis detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York: Hameed Khalid Darweesh, who was an interpreter for the U.S. military, and Haider Alshawi, who was on his way to join his wife, who had worked for a U.S. contractor in Iraq.

ACLU attorneys argued that returning either petitioner could cause “irreparable harm” by exposing them and their families to retaliation from extremists.

The two lead plaintiffs were held by authorities and threatened with deportation, even though both “assert a fear of returning to their countries, and if they are not admitted pursuant to their valid entry documents, [they] seek an opportunity to pursue asylum,” the lawyers argued in the emergency petition.

“This ruling preserves the status quo and ensures that people who have been granted permission to be in this country are not illegally removed off U.S. soil," said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, who argued the case.

The executive order Trump signed Friday suspends all refugee entries for 120 days, blocks Syrian refugees indefinitely and bars for 90 days the entry of citizens from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia.

While the court did not take on the legal merits of that action, the judge’s order said the Trump administration and its employees are  “enjoined and restrained from the commission of further acts of and misconduct in violation of the Constitution.”

“The petitioners have a strong likelihood of success in establishing that the removal of the petitioner and others similarly situated violates their rights to Due Process and Equal Protection guaranteed under the United States Constitution,” the court ruled.

Surrounded by a throng of cheering demonstrators, who had rushed from Kennedy airport to the Brooklyn courthouse, an exultant Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the ACLU, said, ``This was a remarkable day. What we’ve shown today is that the courts can work. They are a bulwark in our democracy when President Trump enacts laws or executive order that are unconstitutional and illegal.’’
Keep reading.


Venus and Serena Williams, the Civil Rights Icons of Our Age

Following-up, "Will Serena Throw Australian Open Title to Venus?"

Well, she obviously didn't throw it, although I didn't watch, being as the match was on at like 12:30am.

No matter. The sisters from Compton have lots more tennis in them.

At WSJ:


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Do You Want More Trump?

Here's Glenn Reynolds with a roundup on the leftist reaction to President Trump's executive order on refugees, at Instapundit, "Do you want more Trump? Because explosive anger mixed with sanctimony is how you get more Trump":
OBAMA DID A 6-MONTH IMMIGRATION PAUSE ON IRAQ, NOBODY CARED. TRUMP DOES A 3-MONTH PAUSE ON A LIST OF COUNTRIES THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION PUT TOGETHER AND HE’S LITERALLY HITLER. The Green Card thing is genuinely horrible, but that’s not even what people are going apeshit about.

And Trump’s fine with that, because it will play badly, and he knows it.
Click through for the tweet roundup.

Danielle Gersh's Warm Weather Forecast

Ms. Danielle's the new weekend meteorologist at CBS News 2 Los Angeles. She's a sweetie.

And it was beautiful warm weather today. Almost like summer. Weird too, after all the blustery winter weather of the last week.



Populist Nationalism

I've written about the populist surge a number of times since Donald Trump moved to the forefront of American politics in 2015. See, for example, "Donald Trump and American Populism," and "Populism Isn't a Threat to Democracy, But a Vibrant Manifestation of It."

But with his first week in office, President Trump is really --- and I mean really! --- shaking things up. He's making good on his campaign promises with an earnestness that's like brick-loads of freshness. I love it. But thinking about developments, especially the executive orders on refugees, the significance is now fully sinking in, especially for radical leftists horrified at the rapid changes before their eyes. Trump's been so substantial even arch "Never Trumper" Erick Erickson's largely on board, although he writes:
His campaign and those around him have been pretty explicit about their populist-nationalist bent. I think conservatives must resist the temptation to be constant cheerleaders and must resist the temptation to let President Trump be the standard bearer for a movement he really is not a part of.
Actually, I don't think any serious conservative thinks Trump's one of their own. My support, for example, has been to foster an ideological reaction, to have a force opposed to the left's fundamental transformation come to power. I've been pleased as punch since election day. No, I'm not down with everything Trump says or does. But that's besides the point. He's putting the brakes on leftist radicalism, and the country needed that more than anything else. He's saving our democracy, not destroying it. The Democrat-left was doing that just fine all by itself.

In any case, I do like that term "populist nationalism," which is a perfect label for the grassroots surge taking politics and policy back from reprehensible progressive elites. More freshness. I love it. And folks need to embrace it. That is, our kind of folks. They need to defend it. They need to throw the claims of "racism" and "Islamophobia" right back in the faces of progressives. As Robert Stacy McCain noted today, writing about Steven Bannon and Andrew Breitbart, this is TOTAL WAR finally unleashed on the left, including the Democrat-Media-Complex, and we're taking no prisoners.

Like I said, champion the moment. Defend the cause. The power of this populist revolution, lifting with it many conservative priorities as well (like this weekend's pro-life march in Washington), is saving the country from the clutches of leftist anti-Americanism. It's beautiful.

See also Breitbart, "The Hill: Steve Bannon's Populist Nationalist Focus Is America First."

'It took a while for Sports Illustrated to fully convert from exclusive Muhammed Ali cover stories to foreign lingerie models barely covered in Costa Rican hooker thongs...'

But the magic has landed, heh.

At WWTDD, "SI Now Porn, Finally."

Yes, and SI blesses us with the bodacious Nina Agdal in nothing but chain bikini strings, lol.


Refugees Detained at U.S. Airports, Prompting Legal Challenges to Trump's Immigration Order

I'm surprised green card holders are being detained, since they have a legal right to be here. (See Glenn Reynolds on that, "WELL, THIS IS STUPID: DHS Spox: Trump Muslim Ban Includes Green Card Holders.")

Honestly, though, I'm not all shaken up by this. See the long stream of articles at Memeorandum, including the New York Times.

And from Matt Pearce, via Twitter, linking the L.A. Times, "Confusion and consternation as new 'extreme vetting' policy blocks travel from several Muslim-majority countries":

President Trump’s executive order suspending refugee arrivals and banning travel to the United States from several Muslim-majority countries spawned chaos and consternation across the globe Saturday, igniting legal challenges, trapping unwitting airline passengers and galvanizing anguished questions about core American values.

The abrupt ban ensnared people from all walks of life who were caught in transit or expecting to soon return to the U.S. — not only refugees but students on a break from studies, business travelers, tourists, concert musicians, even the bereaved who had gone home for funerals.

A group of advocacy organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a legal action against the policy on Saturday in New York, acting on behalf of two Iraqis who were stopped at John F. Kennedy Airport hours after the order was signed. The writ seeks the release of the two Iraqis, who held valid U.S. visas, unless the government can show lawful grounds for their detention.

One of the two detained Iraqis, Hameed Khalid Darwish, was an interpreter who had worked on behalf of the American government. Freed after 19 hours in custody, he wept as he spoke to reporters, thanking supporters and calling America “the land of freedom, the land of rights.”

The groups bringing the legal action, who also included the International Refugee Assistance Project and the National Immigration Law Center, said a separate motion sets the stage for a larger action involving other would-be refugees, visitors and immigrants stopped at other ports of entry.

“We’ll see you in court, Mr. Trump,” tweeted the ACLU’s national legal director, David Cole, after the writ was filed.

Arab American advocacy groups also were reacting to the new order, warning that it was disrupting travel all over the world.

“We see complete chaos in the way this has been implemented. … Individuals overseas have not been able to board airplanes and fly back into the United States,” Abed A. Ayoub, legal and policy director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said in a conference call with reporters Saturday morning.

This is tearing apart families. We have students overseas stuck there who can’t get back. We have students abroad who cannot return here at all,” he said.

Another legal challenge was in the works as well. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, said it would file a federal lawsuit on behalf of more than 20 individuals challenging the order. The suit, to be filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Virginia, argues that the executive order is unconstitutional because of its apparent aim of singling out Muslims.

“There is no evidence that refugees — the most thoroughly vetted of all people entering our nation — are a threat to national security,” the group’s national litigation director, Lena F. Masri, said in a statement. “This is an order that is based on bigotry, not reality.”

The order, signed Friday by the president during a visit to the Pentagon, suspends all refugee entries for 120 days. In addition, it indefinitely blocks Syrian refugees, and bars entry to the U.S. for 90 days for those traveling from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Prominent Muslim figures raised their voices in opposition to the temporary refugee ban, saying children would be among those suffering the most from it. Nobel peace laureate Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot by the Taliban, said in a statement that she was “heartbroken” that Trump was closing the door on “children, mothers and fathers fleeing violence and war.”

On Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security said the travel ban covered holders of green cards, who are authorized to live and work in the U.S. Some reports have put the number of such permanent residents from the affected countries as high as half a million.

An administration official eventually said that current green card holders from the affected countries would be allowed to remain in the U.S. — but that those caught outside the country at the time of the ban’s imposition would have be allowed back in on a case-by-case basis. Those with business overseas will have to meet beforehand with a consular official.

Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway took to Twitter on Saturday to praise the directive, calling the president “a man of action and impact.”

“Promises made, promises kept,” she tweeted. “Shock to the system. And he’s just getting started.”


Other Than the San Bernardino Shootings? Hmm, Let Me See...

Heh, this is the best.

At Twitchy, "D’OH! NY Times WH correspondent asks for fact check on terrorism claim, tweeters oblige."


Do click through, lol.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Unhinged Jessica Valenti: 'The War on Abortion is Just Beginning'

Here's Ms. Valenti, at the Guardian U.K.:

If you’ve ever wondered what the oft-used and much maligned word “patriarchy” looks like, you need look no further than a picture of Donald Trump, surrounded by white men, reinstating the global gag rule. The policy, which bans funding any international organization that dares to even talk about abortion, has contributed to thousands of women’s deaths across the globe.

The executive order was just the beginning. In the short time Trump has been president, his administration has set a disastrous course for women’s health and rights. On Tuesday, days after historic marches that put millions of women on the street globally, Republican congressmen introduced the first ever federal ‘heartbeat bill’ - a policy that would ban abortions after six weeks, well before most women even know they’re pregnant.

That same day, the House passed a bill that would make the dangerous and discriminatory Hyde Amendment – which prevents federal funds from covering abortion, even in cases of fetal abnormalities and maternal health issues – permanent. The bill, which targets poor women, would also impact abortion coverage for women with private insurance. Congressional republicans have even introduced a federal ‘personhood’ bill that would define life as beginning at conception.

While the bills will not likely get far, the new administration is sending a clear message – they’re keeping Trump’s promise to punish women who have abortions, and rolling back hard-won rights. These are far-reaching and radical policies that quite literally kill women. There is no overstating just how harmful they are.

So you’ll excuse me for laughing off recent suggestions that feminists embrace “pro-life” women in the name of inclusivity. You don’t get to feel bad about being banned from the treehouse when you’re in the middle of setting the trunk on fire...
Leftism (and feminism) is a death cult, and women like Valenti are the Joseph Mengeles of the movement.

In other words, the movement and its partisans are horrifying.

Still more at that top link, if you can be bothered, lol.

Josephine Skriver in Victoria's Secret Photoshoot in Santa Monica

At London's Daily Mail, "Playing without the boys! Josephine Skriver shows off her beach volleyball skills as Victoria's Secret models shoot sexy sporty set in Santa Monica."

John Hurt Has Died

Well, he'll always be remembered as "Winston" to me.

At London's Daily Mail, "Hollywood legend John Hurt dead: Two-time Oscar nominee and Elephant Man actor passes away aged 77 after battling cancer and suffering intestinal complaint."

That's four movie and television stars in four days: Mary Tyler Moore, Mike Connors, Barbara Hale (from "Perry Mason"), and Sir John.



Extreme Vetting (VIDEO)

Following-up, "President Trump Issues Executive Order Calling for 120-Day Pause on Refugee Admissions."

Here's Margaret Brennan, for CBS Evening News:



President Trump Issues Executive Order Calling for 120-Day Pause on Refugee Admissions

Trump's doing what Americans elected to do, and terror-coddling open-borders leftists are up in arms.

I'm loving it.

Oh, and not to forget, the U.S. will now give preference to Christians in the refugee program, and that's what you call sticking up for American values.

At the Los Angeles Times, "Trump signs order to temporarily shut nation's door to most refugees and start 'extreme vetting'":

President Trump signed an executive order Friday that temporarily halts the nation’s refugee program and ushers in the most sweeping changes in more than 40 years to how the U.S. welcomes the world’s most vulnerable people.

The order blocks all refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days and suspends the acceptance of refugees from war-torn Syria indefinitely.

“We want to ensure that we are not letting into our country the very threats that our soldiers are fighting overseas,” Trump said after swearing in new Defense Secretary James N. Mattis at the Pentagon.

Trump also blocked visa applicants entirely from a list of countries that the administration considers of major terrorism concern, including Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, until a new “extreme vetting” procedure for visa applicants can be launched.

The action capped Trump’s frenetic first week in the White House, as well as a busy day that included his first meeting with a foreign leader, British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Trump also spoke by phone for about an hour with Mexican President Enrique Pe├▒a Nieto, attempting to soothe what has already become a tense relationship. And he swore in Mattis and signed a second directive that instructs the Pentagon to draw up a list of plans to upgrade equipment and improve training.

The U.S. has admitted more than 3.3 million refugees since 1975, including more than 80,000 refugees in the last year. Under Trump’s plan, those numbers will plummet to a trickle for the next several months. For the full fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, the order sets a cap of 50,000 refugees.

The order provides an exception for “religious minorities,” a category that could include Christians fleeing largely Muslim countries as well as other groups including Yazidis and Bahais that face persecution in the Mideast.

Trump said in an interview Friday with the Christian Broadcasting Network that the order will help Christians fleeing Syria enter the United States.

The order also expands the ability of local jurisdictions to block the settlement of refugees they object to. During the Obama administration, the federal government stopped efforts by some local officials to block refugee resettlements.

Trump’s action, seen as part of his campaign pledge to ban Muslims from entering the country, sparked an international outcry, given the historic role that the U.S. and other industrialized nations have long played in embracing victims of war and oppression. The last major change in U.S. refugee policy came during the Vietnamese resettlement programs of the mid-1970s.

In recent months, Trump has backed away from a blanket ban on Muslims and instead says he will focus on blocking people from countries linked to terrorism...
More.

FedEx Driver Shuts Down Flag Burning Protest in Iowa City (VIDEO)

Barstool Sports is loving it, "Protestors Try to Burn The American Flag in Iowa City, Hero FedEx Dude Saves the Day":
What a goddamn hero! FedEx guy! Do work buddy! A bunch of punk ass protestors doing punk ass protestor things like trying to burn the Amrican flag and the FedEx dude was having NONE OF IT. They picked the wrong day to protest in Iowa City. FedEx guy stopped delivering packages and saved the damn day. I wanna kiss that FedEx dude on the mouth...
More.


Will Serena Throw Australian Open Title to Venus?

A few years back Venus Williams withdrew from the U.S. Open due to complications from Sjogren's Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder causing pain, fatigue, and extreme dryness of the eyes and mouth. Folks thought her career was over. I thought she'd had a pretty good run at the time.

But now Venus will play younger sister Serena in another pairing at the Australian Open. Serena's been the dominant sister for some time now, and she doesn't seem to be slowing down. But Venus is doing well of late, too. Indeed, I was surprised when I saw earlier reports on Venus making the semifinal round. So, will the younger Serena go easy this weekend, allowing her sister to have one last championship at one of the "Grand Slam" major tournaments? Who knows? People have speculated for years that the sisters rigged their matches. It's gotta be a nightmare playing your sister, especially as they seem so close.

We'll see. Maybe this won't be the last time the two face off?

At NYT, "A Final Match for Venus and Serena Williams. But Maybe Not the Last One":

MELBOURNE, Australia — The sibling rivalry, at least on the tennis tour, started right here at the Australian Open for the Williams sisters.

It was 1998, and older sister Venus beat younger sister Serena, 7-6 (4), 6-1, in a second-round match that — as intrusive as it felt to watch — surely drew more attention than any second-round match in history between a pair of Australian Open debutantes.

The fascination in their dynamic and their futures was there from the start in Melbourne Park, known then as Flinders Park when it had only one stadium with a retractable roof instead of three. A picture of Venus consoling Serena after the match was on the front page of The New York Times.

Though it would be tempting to label their Australian Open final on Saturday as a full-circle moment and to speculate that it might be their last meeting at this late a stage of a Grand Slam tournament, it seems best to resist the temptation.

The Williams sisters have taught us a lot about the limits of conventional tennis wisdom through the years. And so, even if 19 years have passed and Serena is now 35 and Venus 36, it is wise to avoid fencing them in again after they have run roughshod over so many other preconceptions.

“I watched Venus today celebrating after she won the semifinal like she was a 6-year-old girl, and it made you want to cry for joy just watching her,” said Marion Bartoli, a former Wimbledon champion. “Such a powerful image, and it makes you think about all those questions she was getting: ‘When are you retiring? Have you thought about retiring? How much longer?’

“You must let the champions decide when the right moment comes.”

The Williamses are both great champions, even if Serena is clearly the greater player with her 22 Grand Slam singles titles and her long run at No. 1, a spot she can reclaim from Angelique Kerber with a win Saturday....

*****

They have not played since the 2015 United States Open, when Serena won, 6-2, 1-6, 6-3, in a quarterfinal in which Venus attacked, often successfully, from the start but had no answer in the end for Serena’s ultimate weapon: her first serve.

Saturday’s final in Melbourne could be intriguing on multiple levels, in part because of the Australian public. Venus is viewed here, as elsewhere, as a sympathetic figure: the older sister who has handled the younger’s greater tennis success unselfishly and with dignity. And though both sisters have had to cope with major health problems and family tragedy, with the murder of their half sister Yetunde Price in 2003, Venus is the one whose tennis fortunes dipped more dramatically.

A seven-time Grand Slam singles champion and a former No. 1, she did not advance past the third round in any major event in singles from late 2011 to the end of the 2014 season.

She was a major star reduced to a minor role, largely because of an autoimmune disorder — Sjogren’s syndrome, diagnosed in 2011 — that sapped her strength and endurance. When Russian hackers breached the World Anti-Doping Agency’s databases last fall, it was revealed that Venus had needed 13 therapeutic-use exemptions for drugs in recent years.

The retirement questions to which Bartoli referred started during that period. But Venus’s ability to cope with her condition has improved, and after rejoining the top 10 in 2015, she reached the semifinals at Wimbledon last year and then the final here.

“She never even thought of the word retire,” said David Witt, her coach and hitting partner of 10 years. “I just think when she got diagnosed, it was a step back, a shock. She’s learned a lot about how to deal with it and her body, how to eat, how to manage it...
Still more.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

What Donald Trump's Wall Says to the World (VIDEO)

From Patrick Buchanan, at Real Clear Politics, "What Trump's Wall Says to the World":

"Something there is that doesn't love a wall," wrote poet Robert Frost in the opening line of "Mending Walls."

And on the American left there is something like revulsion at the idea of the "beautiful wall" President Trump intends to build along the 1,900-mile border between the U.S. and Mexico.

The opposition's arguments are usually rooted in economics or practicality. The wall is unnecessary. It will not stop people from coming illegally. It costs too much.

Yet something deeper is afoot here. The idea of a permanent barrier between our countries goes to the heart of the divide between our two Americas on the most fundamental of questions.

Who are we? What is a nation? What does America stand for?

Those desperate to see the wall built, illegal immigration halted, and those here illegally deported, see the country they grew up in as dying, disappearing, with something strange and foreign taking its place.

It is not only that illegal migrants take jobs from Americans, that they commit crimes, or that so many require subsidized food, welfare, housing, education and health care. It is that they are changing our country. They are changing who we are...
Keep reading.

Blonde Bombshell: 'Baywatch' Babe Kelly Rohrbach in Lipsy Campaign

At London's Daily Mail, "Baywatch babe Kelly Rohrbach swaps her lifeguard suit for a skimpy bikini as she flaunts her buxom bust for new fashion campaign."

Erin Andrews Undergoes Surgery for Cervical Cancer

At Sports Illustrated, "Erin Andrews on Cancer Diagnosis, Hotel Stalker Trial."

Via Emily Kaplan:


The National Elite Nervous Breakdown

From JPod, at Commentary:

It cannot go on like this. It’s been five days since the inaugural and the adrenalized, hypercaffeinated, speed-freak affect of the entire chattering class is beginning to seem like we’re living through Bob Woodward’s classic depiction in his book Wired of John Belushi’s final overcharged sleepless days before dying from a cocaine speedball overdose in 1981.

If every word out of Donald Trump’s mouth is greeted with shrieks of horror and rage and anger and despair and hysteria by his opponents, they are going to find it impossible to serve as any kind of effective opposition to him. If media spends their hours celebrating each other for the most creative or the most direct way in which to call Trump a liar, they are going to take their (our) taste for self-referential solipsism to a new level at which their capacity to communicate with their own readers and viewers will be fatally compromised. And just at the moment when they could find new audiences and new credibility in serving as an authoritative source of information in a sea of White House spin and outright disinformation.

This is where the follow-through on Saturday’s “women’s marches” will tell the tale. It would be a terrible mistake for conservatives, Republicans, and Trump supporters to pooh-pooh this mass event, which happened simultaneously in several cities and towns, with a gross turnout dwarfing any mass protest in American history. Dismissing three million people taking to the streets nationwide would be an act of willful blindness, and ascribing the march’s success to Soros money would be foolish.

Similarly, it would be wrong to assume those crowds even heard a single word of Madonna’s curses or cared one whit about the fight between the “check your privilege” activists and the offended/cowed Brooklynite feminists over whose march it was. It was no one’s march. It was everyone’s march. And it worked, I believe, for one reason: It had a simple message. That message: We don’t like Trump and his behavior toward women...
Actually, I'm totally impressed.

But it's still almost four years until the country votes again for the presidency. A lot can happen in that time, but if the left keeps up with mass protests, they could have a big effect on public opinion, especially with a hate-addled, Democrat-compliant mass media.

But keep reading.

Lily Aldridge in Cook Islands (VIDEO)

The new Sports Illustrated Swimsuit should be out in about a week.

Featuring the lovely Ms. Lily, via Theo Spark:



PREVIOUSLY: "Lily Aldridge Intimates Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2017 (VIDEO)."

Representative Tulsi Gabbard Says She Met With Syrian Strongman Bashar Assad

At Hot Air, "Dem Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Why, yes, I met with Assad on my freelance visit to Syria":

My goodness. Logan Act violations are like Bigfoot sightings: Claims are made all the time but they’re never solid enough to convince anyone. In this case, we may have the equivalent of a real-life ‘Squatch in captivity. Quote:
Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
Gabbard went to Damascus not only without the endorsement of leaders in Congress, she went without their knowledge. Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi had no idea she was gone until after she’d arrived in Syria. It was the Ohio chapter of the Arab American Community Center for Economic and Social Services that footed the bill for her, apparently, which until today had been another mystery about Gabbard’s trip. Watch the clip below. It sounds like she went to Damascus to lend Assad moral support and to carry back talking points aimed at convincing Americans to take his side. Unless you want to argue that no “dispute” technically exists between the U.S. and Syria, which would be hard given the American aid provided to anti-Assad rebels, how is this not a Logan Act violation? Does being a member of Congress mean by definition that she enjoys the “authority of the United States” in carrying out freelance diplomacy?

A choice bit from her interview with Tapper below:
“When the opportunity arose to meet with [Assad], I did so because I felt it’s important that if we profess to truly care about the Syrian people, about their suffering, then we’ve got to be able to meet with anyone that we need to if there’s a possibility that we could achieve peace,” Gabbard said. “And that’s exactly what we’ve talked about.”
What do you mean “we”? The president speaks for Americans on foreign policy. Last week that was Obama, this week it’s Trump. Meeting with Assad is especially dubious since the U.S. broke off official diplomatic relations with his regime several years ago. It was the judgment of the White House that he’s a sufficiently monstrous human that the United States shouldn’t legitimize him by formally meeting with him. Gabbard, a member of Congress, had other ideas. By what authority does her judgment trump Trump’s?
Keep reading.