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  • Stephen Miller believes conservatives should walk away from Trump and the Republican Party and plan for the long term:

    Donald Trump is the perfect Fox News Nominee; a nonsensical congeries of every clichéd talking point the political Left has poked conservatives with for the past decade. He seemingly has formed his ideology from Greta polls and Breitbart comment sections. He’s your grandfather sitting in his favorite Archie Bunker rip-off chair screaming about how This Country Is Goin’ To Hell, but with about a billion extra dollars to burn and enough spray tan to lacquer an entire Real Housewives cast three times over. He’s the perfect soundbite candidate, and 40 million dollars’ worth of free soundbites is what carried him to the nomination.

    Actually Trump has received nearly $3 billion in free advertising,not $40 million. Later Miller writes:

    Conservatives who become Social Justice Warriors themselves, on behalf of Trump, are giving into a chintzy fad, one which ultimately only serves the interests of the man running the show. Worshipping a cult of personality still makes you a cult member, and make no mistake: no matter how many “TRUMP 2016” chalk-markings you leave on university sidewalks–and admittedly we all enjoy winding up the new squares of the “trigger”-happy generation–realize that you’re shifting exactly zero narratives in media and culture. Crusading over someone’s missing blue check mark is not moving the Overton window. There is no virtue to be found in living and dying by the news cycle or viral tweet. Any casual attendee making a face at a baseball game today can accomplish that. Social Justice Warriors on both the left and the right thrive on capturing the viral rage of a single moment in time and attempting to hit the home run with it. #NeverTrump is as pointless as #BringBackOurGirls.

  • Donald Trump still won’t release his tax returns, falsely blaming an in-progress audit. John Fund thinks this is a ticking time bomb, and suggests delegates to the Republican National Convention withhold their votes until Trump releases his returns:

    This is Trump’s bait-and switch-style at its most dangerous. Some Trump delegates and their alternates should write him an open letter demanding his unredacted tax returns. If he declines, they should declare they will abstain on the first ballot of the convention, driving him below the number needed to nominate. The delegates should not give Republicans a time bomb that could help take down GOP control of the House or the Senate, or both.

    A friend of Donald Trump’s recently approached him to suggest that he will eventually have to release his tax returns, as every presidential nominee has for decades. The friend told Trump that he should do it before the GOP convention to ensure everyone can process what’s in the returns and help make any revelations “old news” by November. If Trump didn’t do that, he was warned, the odds of politicized leaks from his returns were high, citing several examples from the Obama era, including the illegal leaking of some of Romney’s tax information by the IRS in 2012.

    “What will you do if the returns come out as part of an October surprise?” Trump was asked. Trump pondered the question and replied, “I’ll say they aren’t mine.” That stunning answer is the essence of Donald Trump. “It’s exactly what I’d expect him to say,” Fox Business’s Charlie Gasparino, who has known Trump for decades, told me.

    Later Trump “clarified” that he’ll release his tax returns when the audit is done, without indicating when that might happen.

  • Donald Trump claims he has a mandate to blow off voter targeting and get out the vote efforts in the general election, and will just hold rallies instead. That prompted this quip from Dan McLaughlin:

  • House Republicans told Paul Ryan they want an audience with Donald Trump. Allahpundit thinks this is pointless and silly:

    I guess they have to do this, if only for appearances, but c’mon. What would a Q&A, even a half-day of Q&A, with Trump achieve for House members who are wary of him? What could he conceivably say at this point to reassure a conservative Republican who isn’t sold yet after 11 months of daily televised Trump rallies? If he stood up and recited the Paul Ryan policy agenda as his own personal credo, no one would believe him. If he stood up and gave them his protectionist pitch, they’ll take it as proof that he’s not going to accommodate conservative lawmakers’ concerns. So instead he’ll stand up and give them some oatmeal about how the party’s a big tent and there’s room for all views and of course he respects the House and intends to work with the Speaker, yadda yadda yadda. That tells you nothing about how Trump will really behave as president. Meeting with the conference is a gladhanding opportunity, nothing more. And it’s all downside for Trump himself: If he declines the offer to meet, he’s snubbing an important group of Republicans, and if he accepts, he puts himself at risk of giving an answer that’ll end up alienating some fencesitters — or, worse, convincing them that he has no idea what he’s talking about on most policy. Maybe that’s why the Freedom Caucus sounds especially eager to meet with him. This is their opportunity to give him an ideological baptism by fire.

  • Marco Rubio still doesn’t think Donald Trump should be trusted with the country’s nuclear codes, but he’s voting for him anyway. Such courage. Such conviction. I’m in awe.

  • Charlie Rose interviewed three former Obama speechwriters, David Litt, Jon Favreau, and Jon Lovett. The conversation turned to President Obama’s “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it” line, which prompted giggles from everyone. It’s a joke now, and it was a joke then, too – it’s just that not everyone was in on the joke back then.

  • When some companies controlled by the Chinese government are sued in American courts, they’re claiming they can’t be sued thanks to sovereign immunity.

  • Joy Pullmann writes that Common Core is the fulfillment of Hillary Clinton’s 1990s efforts to nationalize the country’s education system along progressive lines.

  • The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined that the 2013 fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas was the result of arson. The explosion killed 15 people. The ATF is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.

  • A judge ruled that the man who murdered three people at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic is mentally incompetent to stand trial, and ordered him to a state mental hospital.

  • Nolan Peterson reported an uncomfortable truth from an American air base near Erbil, Iraq:

    For many U.S. military personnel on the ground in Iraq, [U.S. Navy SEAL Charles] Keating’s death underscored something they’ve known for a long time—U.S. special operations forces are neck-deep in the daily grind of the ground war against ISIS.

  • ISIS used a car bomb to kill at least 64 people in Sadr City, Iraq. Two additional attacks in Baghdad later in the day killed 29 people.

  • Russia is ticked off about a new missile defense installation in Romania that the U.S. is powering up tomorrow and a two week military exercise in Georgia that includes American and British troops.

  • The Convention of States Project released a video explaining Article V of the Constitution and illustrating how leaders from our founding through Ronald Reagan have supported exercising it:

Links for 5-7-2016

  • A Marine Corps AV–8B Harrier crashed just off the coast of North Carolina. The pilot ejected and was rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter.

  • Andrew McCarthy wants to see a conservative independent run for president, in part because it would help draw conservatives to the polls in November and increase the odds of Republicans retaining control of the Senate and House of Representatives:

    A credible campaign by a third candidate would give anti-Trump Republicans a reason to come to the polls. That is why it must be a bid by an independent Republican, not just a third-party run. The Libertarian and Constitution parties have some commendable elements, but they part company with conservative Republicans in salient ways and would not attract many disgruntled GOP voters. An independent conservative Republican bid could conceivably attract enough support to win states and, crucially, help elect conservative Republicans in down-ballot congressional races.

    While getting to 270 electoral votes is very unlikely, the independent bid could prevent other candidates from getting to 270. If the election is decided by the House, Trump or the independent Republican could win, but Clinton would not. Meantime, the independent bid could increase the chance of maintaining a Congress that could thwart a President Clinton or keep a President Trump in check.

  • Donald Trump has been lying about having recent “really nice conversations” with Marco Rubio, a claim that led to vice president speculation that Rubio has swatted down.

  • The Libertarian Party could have a big year if it nominates Austin Petersen for president instead of Gary Johnson.

  • The New York Times Magazine profile of President Obama’s alter ego, Ben Rhodes, is worth reading, if only to understand how the White House falsely sold the Iran deal:

    Rhodes’s innovative campaign to sell the Iran deal is likely to be a model for how future administrations explain foreign policy to Congress and the public. The way in which most Americans have heard the story of the Iran deal presented — that the Obama administration began seriously engaging with Iranian officials in 2013 in order to take advantage of a new political reality in Iran, which came about because of elections that brought moderates to power in that country — was largely manufactured for the purpose for selling the deal. Even where the particulars of that story are true, the implications that readers and viewers are encouraged to take away from those particulars are often misleading or false.

    Later:

    The president set out the timeline himself in his speech announcing the nuclear deal on July 14, 2015: “Today, after two years of negotiations, the United States, together with our international partners, has achieved something that decades of animosity has not.” While the president’s statement was technically accurate — there had in fact been two years of formal negotiations leading up to the signing of the J.C.P.O.A. — it was also actively misleading, because the most meaningful part of the negotiations with Iran had begun in mid–2012, many months before Rouhani and the “moderate” camp were chosen in an election among candidates handpicked by Iran’s supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The idea that there was a new reality in Iran was politically useful to the Obama administration. By obtaining broad public currency for the thought that there was a significant split in the regime, and that the administration was reaching out to moderate-minded Iranians who wanted peaceful relations with their neighbors and with America, Obama was able to evade what might have otherwise been a divisive but clarifying debate over the actual policy choices that his administration was making.

    Rhodes on the mechanics of selling the deal:

    “We created an echo chamber,” he admitted, when I asked him to explain the onslaught of freshly minted experts cheerleading for the deal. “They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.”

    When I suggested that all this dark metafictional play seemed a bit removed from rational debate over America’s future role in the world, Rhodes nodded. “In the absence of rational discourse, we are going to discourse the [expletive] out of this,” he said. “We had test drives to know who was going to be able to carry our message effectively, and how to use outside groups like Ploughshares, the Iran Project and whomever else. So we knew the tactics that worked.” He is proud of the way he sold the Iran deal. “We drove them crazy,” he said of the deal’s opponents.

  • The American mining industry has lost 191,000 jobs since September 2014, the most recent employment peak.

  • Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore was suspended by the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission for ordering state probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Moore says the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission has no authority over administrative orders issued to probate judges, so he’s contesting the suspension.

  • A Turkish court sentenced two prominent journalists to five years in prison for publishing a report showing a Turkish intelligence agency shipping weapons to Syrian rebels. The journalists were convicted of “divulging state secrets” but were acquitted of charges of espionage and conspiring to topple the government. There was an assassination attempt on one of the journalists outside the courthouse, hours before sentencing.

  • An Egyptian court recommended the death penalty for six people — including three journalists — for leaking state secrets and documents to Qatar. The journalists — two from Al Jazeera and one from a pro-Muslim Brotherhood news network — were sentenced in absentia.

  • A green-on-blue attack near Kandahar killed two Romanian soldiers and injured a third. This was the first green-on-blue attack in more than a year.

  • Saudi Arabia’s King Salman reshuffled his cabinet, including replacing the oil minister and the central bank governor.

  • The Labour Party’s Sadiq Khan was elected mayor of London with 57% of the vote, ending eight years of Tory control.