American Spectator

  • Trump Hits Communist China and Liberal Universities
    President Trump this week delivered a blow against the corrupt communist Chinese and our corrupt liberal universities. The double-whammy was a delicious slap that few noticed, including the president’s supporters. Unbeknownst to the vast majority of Americans, including conservatives, the Chinese government has been busily establishing so-called Confucius Institutes on campuses all across the country. These centers are directly funded and largely staffed by the Chinese government, where they can present a cozy Shining-City-on-a-Hill version of Beijing.Liberal universities have rolled out the red carpet for these institutes, so long as the Chinese gravy-train ladles out the cash. If there’s one thing to make an educrat salivate, it’s a cash-cow. Apparently, for many universities, it doesn’t matter much if the milk comes from Uncle Sam or Chairman Xi. The progressives on the university front are happy to drink up, and their hypocrisy is quite distasteful. Liberal academics gnashing their teeth over Russian meddling in the 2016 election against their beloved Hillary allow the Chinese to meddle on their campuses. And not merely meddle. As noted by FBI Director Christopher Wray, some Confucius Institutes may be engaged in espionage, notably at universities with top-notch research and STEM programs. The FBI, says Wray, is “warily” watching these groups. That’s a good thing, given that many of the universities don’t seem to be warily watching. How many campuses are involved? A handful? A dozen? No, over a hundred, according to the National Association of Scholars (NAS), which has done yeoman’s work on this matter, even creating a list of the colleges. A rare organization that fights for genuine diversity in college classrooms, NAS has been on this issue, namely with a ground-breaking report in 2017, titled, Outsourced to China. Rachelle Peterson, NAS’s director of research projects, has followed the money and the chain of command for the Confucius Institutes. She details how the institutes are a project of the Chinese government run through a front-group agency called the Hanban. The Hanban funds the institutes and staffs them with “teachers” carefully vetted, screened, and trained by the Hanban. (A crucial sidenote beyond the higher-ed aspect: NAS states that the Hanban has some 500 “Confucius Classrooms” in K-12 schools across America, which is surely another scandal waiting to be exposed. How many of our government schools are opening their doors and wallets to the Chi-comms?) The whole thing stinks of what the Kremlin used to run with its bogus KGB-controlled “cultural exchange” programs. (A hilarious case I’ve written about is Oleg Kalugin, the later KGB defector, who in 1959 was placed by Moscow in Columbia University’s School of Journalism, where he and the Kremlin duped his progressive hosts into thinking he was a happy, innocent student from Russia. The young KGB officer went into Columbia under the cover of a Fulbright study exchange program.) So, what did President Trump do to change this? On Monday, Trump signed the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act. The $717 billion budget features some big-ticket military items that Trump says will constitute “the most significant investment in our ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Friday, August 17, 2018By Paul Kengor
    5 hours ago
  • The Perfect Is the Enemy of the Great
    Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent comment — “We’re not going to make America great again; it was never that great” — was a swipe at President Trump’s signature theme. It would have made for a political self-immolation within 24 hours, in yesterday’s America. No politician, in either major party, could have survived such a gaffe. It brings to mind, for those of us of a certain age, Michigan Gov. George Romney, whose bid for the 1968 Republican presidential nomination instantly imploded when he declared that in initially supporting the Vietnam War he had received a “brainwashing.” Assuredly Cuomo’s father, three-time New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, though staunchly left of center, would never have said anything like this. On one level Cuomo the Younger’s gaffe vividly captures the Democratic Party’s sharp leftward turn since his father’s days in high New York state elective office (Lt. Gov. 1979-82, Gov. 1983-1994). On a deeper level it shows the decline in intellectual acuity from Elder to Younger, in conflating two distinct judgmental standards: perfection versus greatness. As to the first, Leftists do not really love today’s America; they reserve their affection for the tomorrow’s America they aim to create. Today’s Leftists routinely demonize America as racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, etc. These are hardly sentiments of love and admiration. These days they pine for final realization of Barack Obama’s call to voters before the 2008 election: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” Their America is not Ronald Reagan’s evocation of a free America as John Winthrop’s “shining City upon a Hill”; it is a progressive paradise that would envelop all Americans in a womb-to-tomb welfare state. Which tees up the second point: America, in this view, cannot be truly great until it achieves a utopian perfection — everyone absolutely equal in all respects, free of societal ills. Those of us not inclined towards utopian goals believe that quest would in real life lead to a dystopian future under the tyranny of an all-powerful state — George Orwell’s “boot stamping on a human face — for ever” nightmare. Perfection is an unachievable aspiration reachable only upon attaining a higher state of grace. By Leftist reasoning, America is irremediably tainted for not being perfect. Consider the following snapshots of America — none of which, in Leftist eyes, suffice to make America truly great: Revolutionary America, which created the world’s first true constitutional representative republic, and whose declaration of “self-evident” truths — God-given, unalienable rights — provided people everywhere — from 1989’s Tiananmen Square to the fall of the Berlin Wall — with the world’s first universally recognized vocabulary of human freedom; Nineteenth Century America, which unleashed in full the first modern economic revolution, and moved Alexis de Tocqueville to salute the free albeit imperfect society thus created; Civil War America, which risked extinction by partition to forge permanent union and anathematize slavery, and produced the martyred president widely considered America’s greatest; Twentieth Century America, which led coalitions of the free to defeat the most hideous totalitarian tyrannies ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Friday, August 17, 2018By John C. Wohlstetter
    5 hours ago
  • Monsters Of The Cloth
    The grand jury report in that Pennsylvania child rape case involving several hundred Catholic priests which surfaced last week is, as Michael Brendan Dougherty termed it at NRO Wednesday, a Rotherham for the Church. But unlike Rotherham, a case in which a ring of Muslim pedophiles and rapists latched on to local ethnic English girls and turned them into an extended harem of prostitutes, there will be no institutional cowardice involving politically correct politicians and law enforcement officials wishing the horror away. Pennsylvania won’t be swept under the rug. Nor should it. And after years of pedophilia scandals engulfing the Church, with promise after promise that the problem has finally been banished to the hell from whence it came, the public is eventually going to demand its pound of flesh for the clergy’s sins. We’re going to see that made manifest as that case goes to trial in the weeks and months to come. As we should. When the Church’s response to the news that more than 300 priests over six separate dioceses were found to have abused — in some cases with satanic profligacy — more than 1,000 children in their care is “We are deeply saddened,” it isn’t acceptable. It’s abominable. “Saddened” is a categorically wrong sentiment. Where is the shame? They’re Catholics, after all. Catholics do shame as well or better than anyone. And if anyone in Western society deserves that shame it’s a pedophile priest. But instead of shame, despite all those years of assurances the Church was cleaning up its act, these monsters are clearly getting protection — they’re shuffled off to another parish with a slap on the wrist and a non-disclosure agreement for fear of the kind of reckoning brewing in Pennsylvania. And that tells us something we would rather not know — namely, that the Church could be corrupt all the way to the top. Which is hardly to say that all Catholic priests are guilty of this horror. But it is to say that until pedophilia is banished from the Church — until those guilty of sexually abusing children they’re supposed to instruct in the moral tradition which serves as the basis for Western society without making them sexual playthings along the way are turned over to law enforcement upon their discovery, rather than sheltered and harbored by a hierarchy more interested in damage control than righteousness — the Church cannot claim standing to instruct us on morality, ethics, and truth. And this is a calamity, because we need the Church now more than ever. Our culture is rotting and our morality is falling away with breakneck speed. Catholicism used to be one of our bedrock institutions insuring we wouldn’t lose our way; now, it lies broken thanks to the failure of its leadership to address a wrong worse than the damage to its reputation the monsters in its clergy have exposed it to. After Rotherham, our outrage was rightly directed at a morally deficient culture imported to the West from ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Friday, August 17, 2018By Scott McKay
    5 hours ago
  • Elba, Idris Elba
    It’s time to have an urbane James Bond who loves his clandestine work — once again. The Bond brand suffered under Daniel Craig, who has made no secret of his desire to abandon that role. Reflecting the primacy of global grunge and glorification of the ordinary, Craig came across as a surly, hired hand who might rather be bench pressing several times his weight in the gym. Grimacing in his tight dark suits, his face smeared with grime, he looked as thuggish as the villains he was supposed to destroy. Happily, there are a number of candidates to replace Craig, and the leader at this writing seems to be the distinguished British actor, Idris Elba. Much coverage thus far is about race, as Elba is of West African antecedents. Elba is a highly versatile actor. Popular sources such as IMDb have ranked him among the “100 Most Beautiful People on the Planet!” Similarly, in 2017 GQ ranked him among the 50 best-dressed men. Elba was made an OBE in 2016. Elba is superbly qualified to be Bond, and the racial focus misses the point: viewed strategically, what should be the criteria for the next generation of Bond, James Bond? First, the candidate should portray a sense of mission — and that mission is to save Western civilization from existential threats. While some chaps might waggishly say “save it from itself,” the other way to look at it is to recognize the existence of a trapezoid of malevolence that includes Russia, Iran, North Korea, and China. In addition, the landscape teems with non-state actors seeking to do harm, bristling with modern battlefield weapons and digital intrusions. There are now so many threats, seen and unseen, that the next Bond will have to perform multitasking, indeed a form covert triage. Second, he will need to embody the cult of the English gentleman. Rolled umbrellas and trilbies should be seen. He should be a habitué of Savile Row and Jermyn Street, with a slight hint of foppery. He should know his horseflesh, along with Georgian and Regency mahogany and silver. His manners should be impeccable when he wants them to be, bringing to mind the axiom of Oscar Wilde: “A true gentleman is one who is never unintentionally rude.” Third, he should be an epicure. He will drink the right wines, and not seek to “pair them,” as is often done by gushy sommeliers in California. He will order Périgord foie gras, or the Hudson Valley equivalent if pursuing villains in the United States — accompanied by Château d’Yquem from the Sauternes, served at 14 degrees Celsius. The next Bond should know the fine cuisines of the world, but also appreciate a souvlaki with a good pilsner. Fourth, he will need to be highly proficient with a variety of handheld weapons. The Walther PPK chambered in 7.65 millimeter has no place in today’s theaters of conflict, where some of the bad guys wear body armor and major stopping power is required. Although the PPK was ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Friday, August 17, 2018By Frank Schell
    5 hours ago
  • The Case for Jim Jordan to Be the Next House Speaker
    Why are most politicians seemingly allergic to keeping their promises? It’s almost as if we as a society are surprised when something good happens in Washington. In fact, the stereotypical politician is seen as a sly liar who can easily be swayed by big donors and lobbyists while leaving his or her constituents out in the cold. And yet, we still send the same people back to DC over and over. In fact, according to Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, over 90% of incumbents were sent back to Washington in 2016. It’s almost as if we don’t care if they lie to us, we just keep hoping they’ll turn a new leaf. But it never happens. In fact, instead of “draining the swamp,” the swamp drains them. For example, how many promising politicians that rode the Tea Party wave in 2010 can we still say are committed to the principles they ran on? Sure, Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY), as well as Reps. Mo Brooks (AL-05) and Justin Amash (MI-03), for example, have been solid constitutionalists. But too many, such as Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Pat Toomey (R-PA), and Ron Johnson (R-WI), as well as Reps. Sean Duffy (WI-07), Jeffrey Denham (CA-10) and Adam Kinzinger (IL-16), have strayed. Some more than others, but it’s undeniable that the swamp got to them. But that can all change if Rep. Jim Jordan (OH-04) becomes House Speaker Jordan in 2019. The retirement of House Speaker Paul Ryan (WI-01) has created an opening for the Speaker’s position and it will represent a true fight for the soul of the Republican Party and the nature of the House of Representatives as there could not be a greater contrast between Jim Jordan and his opponent, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23). Jordan, a co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus, has been in office since 2007 and has kept every bit of integrity and principle he’s had since he got to the swamp. Recognition from conservatives of Jordan’s outstanding record is wide and broad, which a Conservative Review score of 98% and a FreedomWorks score of 97% would prove. Club for Growth and Heritage Action for America also both give Jordan a 98% lifetime score. In addition, Senate Conservatives Action polled over 11,000 of its members, and 92% preferred Jordan as Speaker, compared to 2.6% who preferred McCarthy. FreedomWorks activists also share the same near-unanimous opinion as 99.2% of their activists prefer Jordan to be Speaker. There are very good reasons for this. When it comes to issues like controlling spending, fixing our immigration system, bringing healthcare decisions back to the people, defending the sanctity of life, and restoring the judiciary, Jim Jordan has never ceased to be advocate for the interests of liberty-loving conservatives. Jordan plans to change the way Congress operates by making it more transparent and conducive to more debate, rather than capitulation to the other side. A good example of what Jordan is up against is the $1.3 trillion omnibus that Congress passed in March, funding ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Friday, August 17, 2018By Jeremy Frankel
    5 hours ago
  • Never That Great, Huh?
    “We’re not going to make America great again,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo informed this week. “It was never that great.” “America Was Never That Great” does not pop as a campaign slogan, at least in America, the way “Make America Great Again” did. It falters more as history. The air conditioner saving Cuomo from melting onto the podium, the electric lights illuminating him for the audience, and the teleprompter he wished he had relied upon all came to the world from American inventors. Motion pictures, synthetic rubber, nylon, computers, airplanes, and so much else that makes lives better resulted from American ingenuity. The United States exported baseball, rock ’n’ roll, chocolate chip cookies, and almost every great classic movie to the world. We helped eradicate yellow fever and created a vaccine for polio. Americans won a share of the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 55 of the last 75 years. Americans first trod on lunar soil, experienced the speed of sound, and explored the North Pole. The U.S. armed forces helped liberate slaves, free Europe from the Nazis, and defeat the Evil Empire without firing a shot. America rebuilt the places it destroyed. Since Andrew Cuomo’s birth, his homeland — he was actually born here despite his self-birther insistence otherwise — took in four times the number of immigrants as the world’s second-leading destination point. But for Andrew Cuomo, all of this does not translate into greatness. “We will reach greatness when every American is fully engaged,” he explains. “We will reach greatness when discrimination and stereotyping against women, 51 percent of our population, is gone, and every women’s full potential is realized and unleashed.” In other words, Cuomo finds America less than great next to fantasyland. In fantasyland, everyone lives life to their full potential and nobody, not even a comedian, stereotypes. Perhaps there the government dispenses free popsicles, teenage boys play video games for pay, and The Beatles never broke up, too. Fantasyland beats the United States on greatness metrics in all but one category. The United States exists. Fantasyland does not. Ideals remain worth striving for. But as bases of comparison, they fail in that they rig the game so that everything fails next to them. When you compare America to places that exist outside of our minds (Pakistan, Nigeria, Venezuela, etc.), the country starts to look quite pleasant and impressive. We appreciate anything more when reality and not fantasy serves as the reference point. America’s greatness does not negate the greatness of other peoples. The Chinese bequeathed the compass, gunpowder, and much else. A Scottish physician discovered penicillin. Through Arabia the Indians gave the world the numbers most use. The people of those cultures rightly feel pride in their contributions. Why should Americans feel shame? A multiculturalism, which scolds us to respect and even laud maladaptive cultural practices elsewhere while it pushes us to reflexively bash anything and everything American, remains fashionable within contemporary liberalism. A sad-sack vibe runs in the Cuomo family. These phenomena ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Friday, August 17, 2018By Dan Flynn
    5 hours ago
  • John Brennan, a Security Risk from the Start
    The real story about John Brennan’s security clearance is not that he lost it under a Republican president but that he once got one. One of the peculiar footnotes of Brennan’s history is that he obtained a position in Bill Casey’s CIA after having supported the Soviet-backed American Communist Party at the height of the Cold War. Had Casey conducted the polygraph test in which Brennan admitted to voting for Soviet proxy Gus Hall in 1976, Casey would have tossed him out of the office. Casey hated communists. Whoever hired Brennan must have been a Deep State holdover from the Carter years. All of Brennan’s propaganda about “Trump-Russian collusion” is just sour grapes over the loss of his preferred candidate, Hillary, for whom he was desperately auditioning by launching an unfounded investigation into her opponent, and a remnant of his pro-Soviet nostalgia. Brennan’s much-vaunted “conscience” was pricked not by Soviet leaders who slaughtered their own people and enslaved hapless nations but by a Russian leader who — brace yourselves — isn’t keen on postmodern Western propaganda in favor of gay rights. Brennan prided himself on his “commitment” to alternative lifestyles and would pad down the halls of the CIA in a “rainbow lanyard,” as Bill Gertz once reported. Putin’s refusal to hold “gay pride” parades in Moscow infuriated Brennan. He also didn’t care for Putin’s unsentimental approach to Islamic terrorism. Brennan defined jihad as “self-improvement” and lobbied Obama to embrace the fanatics of the Muslim Brotherhood. Brennan got his wish when the Obama-backed Morsi rose to power in Egypt and wrecked it. Michael Flynn thought that Brennan was a PC jackass of the first order, in thrall to the Muslims with whom he had traveled to Mecca during his stint as station chief in Saudi Arabia. Brennan got his revenge on Flynn by unleashing on him Stefan Halper, the vaguely pro-Republican oaf and Cambridge con man the Obama administration hired to spy on Trumpworld. Halper reported to his friends in British intelligence that Flynn in 2014 had been seen at a Cambridge University forum fraternizing with a Russian historian. That morsel of half-baked gossip was then fed to Brennan. In 2015, the British and presumably Halper kept bird-dogging Flynn. Part of Brennan’s “Trump-Russian collusion” fetish feeds off his hatred for Flynn, who had criticized the Obama administration for pursuing a pointlessly anachronistic course against Putin. Islamic terrorism, not Russian nationalism, threatened the vital national interests of America, argued Flynn. Brennan stewed over this disagreement and exacted his revenge on Flynn through Justice Department official Sally Yates, a Democratic hack who had joined the anti-Trump ring in the Obama administration along with her subordinate Bruce Ohr and fellow saboteur Peter Strzok. The only criticism that Trump deserves for yanking Brennan’s security clearance is its delay. He should have done it on day one. Brennan was a security risk from the start — an anti-American radical of staggering proportions who should never have been permitted within a hundred-mile radius of Langley. Putin, ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Friday, August 17, 2018By George Neumayr
    5 hours ago
  • Will Trump Be Impeached for Obamacare ‘Sabotage’?
    Despite attempts by their leadership to tamp down pre-midterm impeachment talk, the Democrats are clearly anxious to remove President Trump from office if the voters are crazy enough to grant them a majority in the House this fall. The only question involves the pretext Pelosi, et al., will use to justify the coup. Their last impeachment resolution, introduced by Texas Rep. Al Green, didn’t list any actual crimes or misdemeanors and it’s unlikely that the Mueller investigation will produce enough evidence of wrongdoing to impeach a ham sandwich. So, what’s a Trump-deranged Democrat to do? Nail him for Obamacare sabotage, of course. This idea was introduced more than a year ago by Noah Feldman, a Harvard law professor, and echoed by Clinton minion Robert Reich last October. It has gained increasing traction among TDS victims as various conspiracy theories involving the Russians have produced nothing but terminations and resignations at the FBI. The notion that Trump is violating the Constitution for failing to toe the progressive line on Obamacare reached a crescendo on Tuesday in the New York Times, where law professors Nicholas Bagley and Abbe Gluck assure the Gray Lady’s hopeful readers, “Mr. Trump’s assault on Obamacare is illegal.” Bagley and Gluck, who teach at the University of Michigan and Yale respectively, contend that the Constitution’s “Take Care Clause” leaves the President no room for discretion in the enforcement of the health care law and that there is no modern precedent for his exercise of such discretion. They aver that “Mr. Trump isn’t a king.” Oddly, neither seems to have pointed out that the same restrictions applied to “Mr. Obama” when he unilaterally suspended enforcement of various federal statutes, including the sacrosanct Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). As Professor Zachary Price of UC Hastings reminds us: Under President Obama, the executive branch announced policies of abstaining from investigating and prosecuting certain federal marijuana offenses in states where possession of the drug is legal and delaying for substantial periods the enforcement of key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Earlier, the Administration adopted a controversial policy of declining to seek removal of certain sympathetic undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as young children. For the Obama administration, in other words, enforcement discretion was practically a mission statement. Nonetheless, neither Bagley nor Gluck denounced “Mr. Obama” as a presidential scofflaw. It would appear, then, that these characters are less concerned with the President’s desire to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed” than with the political party to which he belongs. And, even if they weren’t encumbered by transparent political bias, they aren’t up to speed on the provisions of Obamacare. They claim, for example, that the Trump administration’s recently finalized rule on short-term health plans violates the law: In a new rule, it announced that insurers will have more latitude to sell “short-term” health plans that are exempt from the Affordable Care Act’s rules. These plans were designed to provide people insurance for small gaps in coverage, like those ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, August 16, 2018By David Catron
    1 day ago
  • Did Trump Really Save America From Socialism?
    With the appearance of Death of a Nation, the must-see film by Dinesh D’Souza, a debate has begun as to the role Donald Trump plays in American history. D’Souza argues persuasively that Trump has saved America from socialism while the left and Never-Trumpers insist he has set America back. However, the events of the last few years seem strongly to support D’Souza’s view. Americans need to understand that the shocking refusal by a major political party to accept the results of the last election and the onslaught of verbal, legal, and physical assaults the Democrats have engendered, are not specific to Donald Trump. In other words, it is now clear plans were made by Obama to exploit federal power during his presidency to give the Democrats control of our nation — perpetually. It really didn’t matter if Trump was the GOP nominee or not. In other words, the chaos we are witnessing today would not have been much different had, for example, Ted Cruz won the presidency. Sure, the issues and the phony narratives would be different but the intensity of the attacks would be the same and the illegal politicizing of Federal agencies would probably still have occurred. There is little doubt the Dems would have created phony narratives customized for whoever the nominee was, similar to how they customized the Russian collusion hoax for Trump. This is what the establishment Republicans and the Never-Trumpers don’t understand. Long before Trump’s candidacy, total war was declared on the GOP when the Obama administration strategically created the conditions to make its progressive revolution a permanent one. Or so they thought. First, let’s dump the naivety. Obama has been fully in charge of both the pre- and post- election attacks on Trump. He is the leader of the resistance. The idea that his appointees at the FBI, DOJ, IRS, CIA, State Department, etc., would risk committing multiple felonies without direction from him or his henchman is simply not believable as many long-time political leaders and observers have stated. Obama’s fingerprints can be found everywhere in the widening scandal. Text messages in September, 2016, between FBI agents/lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page reveal that Obama “wanted to know everything we’re doing” in the course of carrying out their make-believe investigation of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for illegally using a private server and thus allowing “foreign actors” to access sensitive State Department info, according to two House committees and an internal FBI email. Indeed, under Obama, in late 2015, over 5,000 Americans had their civil rights violated by illegal FISA “702” search queries, using the NSA/FBI database by “contractors” politically connected to the Democrats.It is believed one such contractors was Fusion GPS, the Democrat firm involved with facilitating the Russian dossier containing false information about Trump. When NSA director Adm. Mike Rogers discovered this illegal activity in April, 2016, he terminated contactor access to the data base. Not only is it highly likely the Obama White House knew that 5,000 Americans had their backgrounds searched illegally, but ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, August 16, 2018By Steve Baldwin
    1 day ago
  • Money for Nothing and the Rent’s for Free
    Sacramento After debating rent control in Santa Monica on Monday with a leader of a liberal community group, I was left thinking about a great quotation from a famous left-wing Californian, author Upton Sinclair: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” In this case, Santa Monica residents’ controlled rent depends on their not knowing the first thing about how economies work. Sinclair ran for governor in 1934 on the End Poverty In California (EPIC) platform. In the ensuing years, California progressives have grabbed control over every lever of power in the state. Lo and behold, poverty wasn’t ended. In fact, California has the highest poverty rate in the nation, when the Census Bureau takes cost of living into account. Liberal activists think they’re helping the poor, but if Proposition 10 passes in November, then those poverty rates will spread across the state as more municipalities embrace extreme forms of rent control. Recent reports suggest that Santa Monica, which has some of the toughest rent controls in the nation, also has the highest rents in the nation. Median home prices there have topped $1.7 million. Hey, how has rent control been working there so far? The basics are pretty obvious to readers of this magazine. You get less of whatever the government punishes, and rent control punishes people who provide rental housing. It turns every proposed rent increase into a political battle. Rent control boards and bureaucrats decide what private property owners can charge their customers. So people get out of the business — or invest mainly in high-end luxury apartments and condos. There’s no money to be made renting affordable units to people who are likely to squat there until your dying day. Rent control stops new apartment construction. It encourages current owners to turn their properties into condominiums or vacation rentals. I’m a landlord, and if the cities where I have homes embrace rent control, then I will immediately sell the properties to people who will occupy them. That means rental properties come off of the market. People have to live somewhere, so rent control has the side effect of driving up the cost of single-family homes. California already is underbuilding about 100,000 units a year, and rent control makes that situation worse. And, of course, landlords are not about to renovate their properties if they wish their rent-controlled tenants would get out of there anyway. So buildings deteriorate. Tenants take their landlords to court to force them to make basic improvements. It also stops turnover. Many people get really cheap rents, so they don’t leave. In rent-controlled buildings, renters often own homes elsewhere and drive fancy cars — but they aren’t going to give up cheap rent near the beach. It creates the “frozen city,” where people don’t ever move. There are stories of rich movie stars living for peanuts in someone’s else’s building. I don’t expect progressives to care about little things such as theft of property, which is really what ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, August 16, 2018By Steven Greenhut
    1 day ago
  • CEI Study: Remove Tariffs and Trade Barriers
    A pro free-market group released a study Wednesday that argues the trade wars originating from President Trump’s tariffs will depress, not encourage, financial growth. Competitive Enterprise Institute’s (CEI) “Traders of the Lost Ark: Rediscovering a Moral and Economic Case for Free Trade” says that free trade is one of the most important factors that has lifted people out of poverty, as cultures and nations used their strengths to barter with others with different strengths. CEI points out that since the international General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade came into effect in 1948, countries have slowly been lowering their trade barriers. Whereas once tariffs on dutiable goods were as high as 60 percent in the United States, the duties are now below 5 percent. Because most goods are duty-free, the average tariff is around 1.6 percent, the study says. Trump’s recent tariffs, which include 25 percent duties on aluminum and steel imported from Canada, Mexico and the European Union as well as 25 percent duties on many products from China, go against the trend. “It is important for America’s, and the world’s, long-term prosperity for policy makers to continue down the path of trade liberalization,” the report says. “In the short term, that means opposing any raising of trade barriers and making the broader case for freer global trade.” America’s new tariffs have been met with tariffs from the effected nations, which is hurting consumers. The trade wars that are beginning to arise are “the greatest threat [free trade] has yet faced” since the post-World War II era, CEI said. The report posits that free trade has been supported almost universally by economists since the days of Adam Smith, but that “support among policy makers and the public has ebbed and flowed with the political winds.” Tariffs can artificially inflate prices on goods both produced in foreign locales and domestically. Because the duties on the imports increase, domestic manufacturers can also increase their prices to a certain degree and gain larger-than-normal profits (what economists like to call “rents”). The study argues this gives producers incentive to expend resources to secure those rents. “Time and money that could have been invested in customer service, research and development, capital investment, and hiring and training new workers is spent on lobbying instead, as the latter option promises a greater immediate payoff. It is a minor miracle that special-interest lobbying, a multi-billion dollar industry, is not even larger than it is,” CEI said. Tariffs can raise the price of some goods so high that it keeps some purchasers away. That decreased demand leads to a reduction in quantity. “While difficult to quantify with any precision, deadweight losses caused by tariffs and other trade barriers amount to billions of dollars a year,” CEI said. “For example, reducing trade barriers by half between the United States and the European Union would increase U.S. GDP by $53 billion.” Advocates of tariffs mistakenly argue they create more jobs; instead, economists say they just shift those jobs to other sectors. “Tariffs ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, August 16, 2018By Johnny Kampis
    1 day ago
  • Deep State Failure: John Brennan Down and Out
    In a White House press briefing earlier today, Sarah Huckabee Sanders read a press release from President Trump that stated that former CIA director John Brennan has officially had his security clearance revoked. While Brennan is no longer a government employee this action was unusual. As the statement noted, “Historically former heads of intelligence and law enforcement agencies have been allowed to retain access to classified information after their government service so that they can consult with their successors.” This will not be the case with Brennan, as “any benefit that senior officials might glean from consultations with Mr. Brennan are now outweighed by the risks posed by his erratic conduct and behavior.” Calling John Brennan’s actions “erratic behavior and conduct” is quite mild. The former communist supporter somehow managed to make his way into the highest office of the world’s premier intelligence agency under President Obama. During the end of his tenure, when it became increasingly clear that Donald Trump had a real shot at the White House, Brennan set his lackeys on a highly questionable probe into the Trump Campaign, and he colluded with foreign spies to get the job done. We likely would have never known about his deep abuse of power had President Trump not been elected. Brennan issued a brief response to the revocation on Twitter: This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics.  It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent. — John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) August 15, 2018 To Brennan, the revocation is an attack on free speech and American democracy. How deluded do you have to believe that attacking a political opponents campaign with the weight of the intelligence community would be considered acceptable by the very person you spied on? And still, Brennan vows to not give up in his war on the sitting President of the United States. Between this news and the firing on panhandling cheater Peter Strzok, the Deep State has had a very bad week. The post Deep State Failure: John Brennan Down and Out appeared first on The American Spectator. ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, August 15, 2018By Evan Maguire
    1 day ago
  • Melting Pot Meltdown
    America’s greatness, they say, is built on its patchwork cultural foundation. The ability of numerous and varied peoples to peacefully live side by side, each contributing their best while recognizing the best of others, is the backbone of the American experiment. This “melting pot” mentality produced a stew so rich that in a little over a century and a half after its founding America would become the greatest country in the world, dominating the 20th century economically and militarily and ushering in the greatest era of peace and prosperity humanity has ever known. There is often friction but the United States, exceptional for many reasons, is particularly exceptional in its ability to eventually, and usually peacefully, find common ground in the cultural overlaps. These days, however, that uniquely American quality is in danger of going the way of the Dodo as far left activists, under the guise of “anti-gentrification,” are launching an all-out assault on residents and entrepreneurs attempting to live and establish businesses in predominantly minority communities. From Chicago to Austin to Denver to damn near anywhere with a sufficient concentration of angry liberals, “anti-gentrification” has become a rallying cry for the left’s identity politics-obsessed radicals. And ground zero is Los Angeles’ Boyle Heights neighborhood, an enclave in the throes of a particularly ugly struggle centered around class and race. Incidents abound, but the most recent featured anti-gentrification activists shamelessly disrupting the opening of a coffee shop because its proprietor is both — prepare yourself — Jewish and pro-Trump. The horror! Per L.A.’s CBS affiliate: [P]rotesters held signs and screamed at patrons in front of Asher Caffe & Lounge… to speak up against [the coffee shop owner Asher] Shalom, who they called “an anti-immigrant trump loving gentrifier…” Their evidence? A Facebook post by Shalom in which he declared: “I wish Democrats would fight as hard for Americans, as they do for illegals.” Talk about tolerance. Who knew asking politicians to do their jobs was such a controversial act? Shalom had previously received accolades from Latino politicians and was invited to join the community’s Chamber of Commerce, an invitation that was revoked due to his now-infamous Facebook post. But Shalom’s story is merely the most recent episode in a coordinated campaign by Boyle Heights activists to frighten away those looking to contribute to their community but who are, sadly, not sufficiently liberal or Latino. A series of vandalisms aimed at scaring away white business owners who had the audacity to invest and raise property values in the neighborhood made global headlines a couple of years ago. Per the Guardian: Police in Los Angeles are investigating the vandalism of art galleries in a Latino neighbourhood, including the spray-painted message ‘f–k white art’ as possible hate crimes.… A coalition of community leaders and left wing militants has mobilised over the past year to protest, confront and in some cases intimidate galleries whom they fear will pave the way for development that will push out residents and erase a cradle of Chicano identity.” Yes, you read that ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, August 15, 2018By Greg Jones
    2 days ago
  • Dems Battle to Limit Your Health Insurance Choices
    Democrats are trying to ban low-cost health insurance that covers less than Obamacare. They claim they’re protecting the public from what Senator Chuck Schumer calls “junk insurance.” Don’t believe it. In truth, they’re sabotaging middle class consumers who’ve been priced out of Obamacare and dread being uninsured. The Affordable Care Act requires all health plans to cover a whopping ten categories of medical care that Washington politicians deem “essential.” Everything from maternity (even if you’re in your fifties) to substance abuse treatment. It’s like passing a law the only car you can buy is a fully loaded four-door sedan. Some people need wheels and can only afford a Mitsubishi hatchback or a motorcycle. Likewise, if you need health insurance, basic coverage without the costly extras sure beats being uninsured. Trouble is, Obamacare is a budget buster. Premiums for 2019 will be about triple what they were six years ago. Not a problem for buyers who get subsidized by Uncle Sam. But it’s a big problem if you earn more than $48,560 individually or $65,840 as a couple, and can’t get a subsidy. One out of every five of these unsubsidized Obamacare customers dropped their insurance last year and went uncovered, a trend predicted to worsen this year. Not that Schumer and the rest of Congress feel the pain. They get their own sweetheart deal. Meanwhile, the middle class is becoming the new uninsured. Somebody needs to remind the Democratic Party that poor lives matter but so do middle class lives. Enter Trump. On August 1, the Trump administration announced regulatory changes that will allow sticker-shocked consumers to buy “short term” health plans without costly extras like newborn care and pediatric dental coverage that are mandatory (even for single guys) in Obamacare plans. The short term plans, which can last three years, will cost less than half what Obamacare costs, in some cases only a quarter as much. Six hundred thousand consumers are expected to snap up these lower-cost plans in the first year, two million by 2023. Disregard panicky predictions that consumers who don’t read fine print will get a rude awakening. Trump’s regulations require exclusions to be spelled out in huge typeface no one can miss. Buyers will know what they’re not getting before they sign up. How about Nancy Pelosi’s rants about “junk” coverage? False. These low cost plans will probably provide better access to hospital and doctors than Obamacare plans, which often exclude specialty hospitals like MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and include only doctors who take bargain-basement Medicaid fees. Schumer tries to claim people with pre-existing conditions will be harmed because their Obamacare premiums will rise as healthy people leave for less costly alternatives. Sorry, Senator, that’s another whopper. According to America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the impact will be nearly imperceptible — under 2%. Never mind hard facts. The Democratic Party is determined to outlaw low-cost alternatives to Obamacare. They’re taking their battle to the states, which have the ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, August 15, 2018By Betsy McCaughey
    2 days ago
  • Reagan Library Shows America at Its Best
    Fresh on the heels of lamenting the Aug. 6 death of former U.S. Sen. Paul Laxalt, known as Ronald Reagan’s “best friend in politics,” I found myself last Friday looking at a hand-written sentence from Reagan to Laxalt. On an otherwise routine response to a policy-inquiry message from Laxalt to the White House, Reagan wrote that “Nancy joins me in sending our love to [Laxalt’s wife] Carol” — thoughtfully insisting, amidst a host of other paperwork, on adding that personal touch. That personal touch of Reagan’s is evident throughout the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California, which I visited for the first time last week. The museum is a wonderful facility — well organized, engagingly presented, intellectually stimulating, emotionally powerful, and beautifully designed to present an expansive, soul-warming vista of the hill-surrounded valley stretching 15 miles to the Pacific. The exhibits do a fine job telling the story of Reagan’s remarkable life. Many of them expertly capture his buoyant personality, his infectious optimism, and especially his love for wife Nancy. Yet this isn’t one of those postmodern, vapid substitutions of personal ephemera for real history. Instead, the personal material is seamlessly and appropriately integrated into the important account of Reagan’s world-altering public life and presidency. Never does a visitor lose sight of why there is a museum for Reagan — of what he believed, what he did in office, and why his presidency mattered. As a confirmed Reaganophile for more than 40 years (and an editor of a major book on Reagan’s ascension to the presidency), I already was quite familiar with much of Reagan’s story. Even so, the museum provided copious, important details, including many little grace notes, which were entirely new to me. What first really captivated me were the collections of Reagan’s famous hand-written speech-note cards. I had imagined these index-cards, with which he built so many of his addresses and radio commentaries, as being large-lettered, bullet-pointed, quick-glance visual cues. Not at all. Painstakingly written in almost tiny cursive that filled the lines entirely (virtually no white space), the cards — hundreds of them — gave evidence of a rigorous, nuanced intellect. Later, through the museum, it is the copious hand-written material which most vividly brings Reagan to life, while destroying the myth that the man was a celluloid simpleton reading others’ lines. Particularly moving was the actual, hand-written draft of the famous letter he wrote, from his post-assassination-attempt hospital bed, to hideous Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Still in rather precarious health, and against the advice of some aides (and doctors), Reagan insisted — in his own hand, scratching out words along the way that weren’t quite right — on both making a heartfelt plea for peace and, characteristically, insisting that the American, freedom-centered worldview was superior to Soviet repression. The letter was the unfiltered essence of Reagan, strong-willed and insistent that his principles were correct, but magnanimous and eager to find common ground. Also moving was the audio of Reagan himself describing, in retrospect, his ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, August 15, 2018By Quin Hillyer
    2 days ago
  • ‘Everyone Knows’ — Why John Cox Can Win Governor of California
    Everyone “knows” that a Republican like John Cox can’t be elected Governor in California because the state is just too blue, right? Well, the people of Maryland, Massachusetts, Illinois, or Maine might not know that. Each of those states elected a Republican governor even though they are as blue, or even bluer, than California. Conventional wisdom was wrong in these other states for the same reason it is wrong in California. Voters there didn’t elect a Republican politician, they elected an outside businessman who happened to be a Republican. That’s just what John Cox is. He’s not a politician, he’s a successful businessman who has personally created hundreds of jobs and will right California’s fiscal ship, starting with repealing the gas tax that is killing the state’s middle class. And Cox will force the left-wing legislature to curb profligate spending. Raised by a single mom when his father abandoned the family, Cox pulled himself out of poverty and put himself through college in two and a half years before embarking on a highly successful career in business. But he never forgot his roots on the south side of Chicago, where entrenched bureaucrats who owed their positions to cronyism and corruption ran government as they do now in California. It inspired a lifelong commitment to fighting corruption and cronyism, something at the heart of his current run for Governor which both Newt Gingrich and President Trump have endorsed. Unlike John Cox, Gavin Newsom inspires little confidence as a leader. As a prominent journalist has noted, Newsom is “the living embodiment of privilege.” Blessed with deep family connections to the wealthy, powerful, and politically connected, Newsom was gifted with a gilded path in life. Possessed of good looks, Gavin pursued politics, where he could perform for the cameras and pontificate from on high. As in life, his political path was facilitated by privilege and patronage, having been appointed to both the San Francisco Parking Commission and the Board of Supervisors by Willie Brown, who also engineered his election as Mayor. Though he has enjoyed public attention, Newsom has not been fond of doing the hard work of a public officeholder. As Lieutenant Governor, Newsom missed as many as two-thirds of the public board and commission meetings he was supposed to attend and once told an interviewer he only went to work in Sacramento “one day a week, tops… It’s just so dull.” Now Gavin Newsom, this son of privilege, wants a promotion. Worse, he thinks he’s entitled to it. While Cox has been readily accessible to the public, Newsom has essentially hidden from it, appearing only at carefully crafted friendly venues where he can avoid answering tough questions. Newsom’s hometown, San Francisco — once a crown jewel of not just the state but the nation — continues to descend into slum-like conditions with streets crowded by drug addicts and the homeless which can be traced directly to his “leadership.” Property crimes have skyrocketed. Nearly a quarter million needles and syringes are picked up from the streets ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, August 15, 2018By Brian Harrington
    2 days ago
  • Lay Off Boris Johnson — and Us for That Matter
    Washington A fellow Spectatorian is under enemy fire, and we all must rally around him, particularly because he has done nothing wrong and because if those attacking him triumph we shall all suffer. The cause is free speech. The free speech that is endangered is in Great Britain, but if the forces of censorship win in London it is only a matter of time before the forces of censorship will be bringing their muzzles to our shores. I say a fellow Spectatorian is under fire because he is a former editor of the London Spectator and he is naturally a very clever writer, Boris Johnson. He is also, until recently, the foreign minister of Great Britain and still a Member of Parliament. What is more, he is a free spirit. I have known him since his Spectator days and consider him a friend, a particularly jovial friend. Now he is being accused of bigotry and all the so-called vices that go with bigotry: racism, white supremacy, intolerance, bad manners, bad breath, and so forth. You have heard it all before and recognize that when these vices are invoked the target is guilty as charged and there is no debate. Boris is innocent of the charges against him, and if anyone is a bigot they are to be found among his critics. Do you want evidence? Well, his critics come armed with one of the bigot’s favorite weapons, the muzzle. They would muzzle Boris just as they would muzzle us here in the land of the free. Boris, as a Member of Parliament, faces something called an “internal investigation” owing to charges that he has run afoul of something called the Conservatives’ code of conduct. He did this by writing in the Daily Telegraph that women wearing burqas resemble bank robbers and “letter boxes.” Boris was being humorous and perhaps suffering from his famous color-blindness. Letterboxes in London are red. Burqas are black, but it is true that no one — even among what we call the authorities — knows what is going on in the darkened quarters of a burqa or for that matter how many people are in the burqa. One burqa could be taking the whole family to the movies or for a ride on the subway. I personally have no quarrel with a lady wearing a burqa or even a man wearing a burqa, but there is a question on occasion of public order. I think we can all agree: one person to a burqa. This brings us to the serious matter that Boris was trying to address if ever so facetiously. He was talking about school disorder. He was saying that a teacher should be allowed to tell a student who “turns up… looking like a bank robber” to remove the veil. Presumably the same goes for a student who appears as a “letter box.” By the way, I should like to know what Boris has to say about students wearing tattoos or extensive body piercing or carrying ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, August 15, 2018By R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.
    2 days ago
  • An Easy Way to Lower the Trade Deficit
    From the first day Donald Trump started running for president he has raged against America’s large and persistent trade‎ deficit. His tariff policies are designed to try to reduce these trade imbalances — it is the metric he uses to gauge whether other nations are playing by the rules of our trade deals. As a pure economic accounting measure, the U.S. GDP goes down when we import and it goes up when we export. I have always suggested to Trump that what matters most is the overall volume of trade, not the trade deficit. But Trump is certainly right that if he can induce foreigners to buy more of our made-in-America products — our cars, our soybeans, our wheat, cotton, bourbon, baseball, and technology — this will greatly benefit American workers and businesses. But Washington is ignoring one easy way to trim the trade deficit without new tariff threats or complicated trade deals that can take years to consummate. Get more foreigners to travel to the United States and buy things here. I was recently visited by officials from the Visit U.S. Coalition — which is made up of owners of hotels, restaurants, airlines, amusement parks, shopping centers, and so on — and they alerted me to a lost opportunity here. The number of international tourists to these shores has fallen by about seven and a half million people since 2016. This trend didn’t start under Trump. Prior to 9/11 the U.S. was the destination for about one in six international trips, but now we are the destination for about one-in-eight. More people travel to Spain in a year than the United States. Is that a tear rolling down Honest Abe’s cheek in his memorial? Travel industry economists calculate that this decline has reduced foreign purchases of American goods and services by some $32 billion. They estimate about 100,000 fewer jobs have been created as a result of fewer tourists arriving from abroad. What does this have to do with the trade deficit? When a foreigner comes to the United States and buys goods and services here with the money that was earned overseas, this lowers the trade deficit. So just getting foreigners to visit Disney World, Pebble Beach, Yosemite, or Manhattan at the rates they used to could lower our deficit by $32 billion and it’s hard to see how tariffs could accomplish that. So why aren’t the Brits, Germans, Japanese, and Chinese coming in the numbers they used to? And why is it that even as international travel is up worldwide, America’s share of the tourism traffic is falling? There are three likely explanations. First, the dollar has strengthened, which makes it more expensive to travel to and shop in America. Second, the U.S. Government has made it more difficult to come into the United States and through customs and immigration enforcement, in order to keep terrorists and other bad actors out. And third, many foreigners don’t like Trump and his policies, so they spurn coming to America. ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, August 15, 2018By Stephen Moore
    2 days ago
  • For British Politicians Corbyn and Johnson, Words Speak Louder than Actions
    Two of Britain’s most prominent politicians have come under fire this week for supposedly promoting division and hatred. But for Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson, the circumstances surrounding their respective controversies have shared little else in common. Johnson, the former Foreign Secretary, has seen his estate swarmed by media and his name plastered all over tabloid headlines following comments he made in an August 5th Daily Telegraph column. In his article, Johnson sharply criticizes the Muslim practice in which some women wear burkas or niqabs, traditional garments that cover most of the face and often reveal only the eyes. He writes that “it is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes.” Of course, Johnson has never attempted to pass a burka ban or any other measure restricting religious attire. Nor has he ever even advocated for such a position. In fact, his Telegraph article explicitly denounces Denmark’s burka ban, as Johnson declares that “I thoroughly dislike any attempt by any – invariably male – government to encourage such demonstrations of ‘modesty’”. His headline reads, in no uncertain terms: “Denmark has got it wrong.” But Johnson’s choice of words, evidently, carries more weight than the actual argument he makes. Jennifer Williams of Vox condescendingly sneered that “Some conservative white men in Britain are obsessed with what Muslim women wear on their heads.” An article in the Guardian described Johnson as “parroting racist tropes.” Matthew d’Ancona called him “deplorable” in the Irish Times. While the British media has spent the last few days rebuking Johnson, news about Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has seemingly slipped under the radar. On Monday, the AP reported that Corbyn is alleged to have laid a wreath on the graves of Palestinian terrorists widely credited with orchestrating the murder of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. While Corbyn acknowledged his presence at the ceremony, he denies being “actually involved.” Regardless of the level of Corbyn’s participation, his mere attendance at such an event is controversial in itself. But as of this writing, the party leader has issued no apology, instead arguing in an interview with Sky News that he attended the ceremony “in memory of all those who have died.” Corbyn stated clearly that “I’m not apologizing for being there at all.” While Boris Johnson’s words are mild compared to the actions of his Labour counterpart, they have received a disproportionate amount of media attention in the UK and beyond. No matter what one thinks of Johnson or Corbyn, the last few days have made it clear that when it comes to burkas and terrorists, words speak louder than actions. The post For British Politicians Corbyn and Johnson, Words Speak Louder than Actions appeared first on The American Spectator. ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, August 14, 2018By Bradley R.D. Evans
    2 days ago
  • It’s Time for President Donald Trump to Pardon Pat Nolan
    Last week President Donald Trump continued his push for criminal justice reform, meeting with leading senators, governors, and state attorneys general, plus his key Cabinet officials, to strategize on getting a significant bill to his desk. Reforming the criminal justice system is arguably the only issue that enjoys bipartisan support. Under President Trump’s leadership, “The First Step Act,” which would shift the federal prison system from warehousing inmates to focusing on preparing them to reenter society as good neighbors and productive members of the community, passed the House 360-59, with only two Republicans opposed. For conservatives, there has been a remarkable turnaround on reforming criminal justice. Thus, six years ago the Washington Monthly observed that the conservative movement “decided that prisons are a lot like schools: hugely expensive, inefficient, and in need of root-and-branch reform.” Much of the credit for this extraordinary political shift belongs to a man who has been working tirelessly for more than two decades behind the scenes as the conscience for criminal justice reform. More recently he has been quietly laying the groundwork for the Trump initiatives. That catalyst is the formidable and highly respected Pat Nolan, director of the American Conservative Union Foundation’s Center for Criminal Justice Reform. (More about Pat, shortly.) Unfortunately, President Trump gets little credit from liberals for his leadership in criminal justice reform. In addition, a few holdovers from the “tough on crime” crowd still resist Trump’s stewardship and continue to defend the dysfunctional status quo. More broadly, a clique of top FBI officials and high-level Department of Justice careerists remains intent on reversing the election of Donald Trump. And if they can’t “get” Trump, they go after his inner circle to bring him down. Civil liberties types have long (and appropriately) opposed prosecutorial misconduct. However, now they are mostly silent about the appearance, if not the reality, of the federal intelligence apparatus/FBI/Department of Justice tilt toward Hillary in the 2016 election, and the relentless assault by the special prosecutor to undermine President Trump’s legitimacy. As civil liberties guru Alan Dershowitz (who voted for Hillary but opposes special prosecutor Bob Mueller’s promiscuous witch hunt) noted last night on Tucker Carlson’s show, traditional liberal legal scholars and judicial experts seem to look the other way at this double standard. Perhaps Michael Cohen did violate some laws relating to taxicab franchises he invested in years ago, but what does that have to do with the special counsel’s charter to investigate President Trump? Why ransack the office of Cohen, Trump’s long-time lawyer, except for files to leverage against Trump? And Paul Manafort may indeed be guilty of crimes that pre-date his brief association with Trump’s presidential campaign; the prosecution concluded its case yesterday, and soon a jury will decide. But an overpowering predawn raid to terrorize Manafort and his wife, then no bail, and then solitary confinement? Cohen and Manafort are hardly the only examples so far of the special prosecutor’s collateral damage; and anyone associated now or in the past with Trump apparently is “fair ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, August 14, 2018By Arnold Steinberg
    3 days ago
  • President Trump, Lay Off Harley-Davidson
    President Trump had the gall to call for a boycott of Harley-Davidson over the weekend for its discussions of shifting some manufacturing overseas, as it tries to deal with the trade wars No. 45 has created. Following the event “Bikers for Trump,” which the president hosted at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Sunday, Trump tweeted that “Many @harleydavidson owners plan to boycott the company if manufacturing moves overseas. Great! Most other companies are coming in our direction, including Harley competitors. A really bad move! U.S. will soon have a level playing field, or better.” Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson remained tight-lipped following Trump’s criticism. The company’s motorcycles are among the goods the European Union imports from the United States that could face higher tariffs in the aftermath of the extra duties that Trump imposed on steel and aluminum imported from the EU, Canada, and Mexico. The tariff on the motorcycles will skyrocket from 6 percent to 31 percent. Harley-Davidson said in June the average extra cost to export one of its rides will be about $2,200. It expects the financial hit of the tariffs to its company to be between $30 million and $45 million for the remainder of 2018 and as much as $100 million next year. “Increasing international production to alleviate the EU tariff burden is not the company’s preference, but represents the only sustainable option to make its motorcycles accessible to customers in the EU and maintain a viable business,” Harley-Davidson said in a regulatory filing. At the time of that announcement, Trump tweeted that he was “surprised that Harley-Davidson, of all companies, would be the first to wave the White Flag.” During the early days of his presidency, Trump enjoyed a healthy relationship with the company, posing for a photo-op with Harley-Davidson CEO Matthew Levatich beside some of the company’s motorcycles on the South Lawn of the White House in February 2017. Trump thanked the company for “building things in America.” Now the company faces a public-relations crisis due to its plan to shift some production to places like Thailand. Although Harley-Davidson motorcycles sold in America will still be made in America, the perception among some of the company’s loyal customers is that the company is bailing on its country and president. As the New York Times pointed out this past weekend during the famed annual bike rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, Trump’s criticism of the company’s decision “has put one of the country’s most iconic brands in the uncomfortable position of clashing with a president who is immensely popular with most of its customers.” Jim Cramer, host of Mad Money on CNBC, said on Monday that Harley-Davidson’s move makes financial sense, but added “this is a direct slap in the face to the president that they are doing this.” “You know how it works,” Cramer said on Squawk on the Street. “When you go exactly against [Trump], you have to face that there’ll be wrath.” CNN-Money pointed out that Harley-Davidson sales are declining in the United ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, August 14, 2018By Johnny Kampis
    3 days ago
  • Let’s Hope Trump Didn’t Record Anyone
    Democrats have a pernicious pattern for handling effective Republican presidents. First, they claim that the president is unfit for office either because he’s too stupid or insane (they did this with Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush). Then, they argue that the Republican in the White House is evil and corrupt — as they did to Richard Nixon, Reagan, and the second Bush. When that doesn’t work, they simply make the president in question so unpopular that he’s politically toxic. They have tried all of these things on Donald Trump. The Left has even managed to get a large number of Americans to question the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency based on the ever-shifting grounds that he is somehow Putin’s stooge in White House. None of this is true. What is true is that the media ginned up a great lie that Donald Trump’s campaign was working along with Russian intelligence to undermine the 2016 election and swing it in favor of Trump. Based on this ridiculous narrative, the FBI and other intelligence agencies conducted a massive counterintelligence investigation based solely on opposition research conducted by an aging British spy who was bought-and-paid-for by Establishment Republicans and then Hillary Clinton’s campaign. In that obscene piece of fiction — the Steele dossier — came claims that Russian intelligence possessed kompromat (compromising material on Donald Trump) based on a sordid night of urine-soaked sexual relations between Trump and a cadre of expensive Russian prostitutes in a posh Moscow hotel. Again, none of this verifiable. But, because this dossier had the support of both Democratic and Republican establishments — and the contents were harmful to Trump’s unpopular candidacy (within the Beltway) — it created toxic confirmation bias among the Obama Administration’s intelligence officials (namely former FBI Director James Comey, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper). So, the blatantly absurd dossier became the basis of a massive counterintelligence witch-hunt directed against Trump and anyone associated with him. Robert S. Mueller, III was called in as an “independent” investigator because President Trump had unceremoniously fired James Comey as the FBI director in the spring of 2017. Trump claimed to have fired Comey over his terrible handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation in 2016. However, Comey claimed that Trump wanted him as FBI Director to “let go” of his agency’s investigation into the now-disgraced former national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Trump denied this and insinuated that he had recordings of their conversation proving that it wasn’t about Flynn. However, the president quickly backtracked on this claim. Until now, few believed Trump did make recordings of his meeting with Comey. If he did make them, the investigation — or Congress — will subpoena them. This is important because if Trump’s firing of Comey occurred as Trump claims, then this is another non-story. If, however, Trump did insist that Comey let up on Mike Flynn — no matter what Trump’s real reasons were (I suspect out of personal loyalty to a man who was an ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, August 14, 2018By Brandon J. Weichert
    3 days ago
  • Of Guilt and the Late Confederacy
    Anti-Confederate liberals (of various races) can’t get over the fact that pro-common-sense liberals, moderates, and conservatives (of various races) can’t go over the fact that rhetorical agitation over race has led us down a blind alley. The supposed “nationalist” rally in Washington, D.C. last weekend was more an embarrassment to its promoters than it was anything else significant. No one showed up but cops, journalists, and anti-nationalist protesters. Ho-hum. We’re back approximately where we were before the Charlottesville, Va., disaster the Washington march was meant to commemorate — a foul-tempered shouting match that ended in death for a bystander hit by a “nationalist”-driven car. A vocal coterie continues to think all vestiges of the late Confederacy — especially, statues of Gen. Robert E. Lee — should be removed from the public gaze. A far larger number, it seems to me, posit the futility, and harm, that flow from keeping alive the animosities of the past. The latter constituency rejects the contention that, look, the past is the present: requiring a huge, 16th century-style auto-da-fé at which present generations confess and bewail the sins of generations long gone. The technique for repenting of sins one never committed in the first place is unknown to human experience. Nevertheless, it’s what we’re supposed to do. Small wonder we haven’t done it, apart from removing the odd Lee statue, as at Dallas’s Lee Park. To the enrichment of human understanding? If so, no one is making that claim. Looks as though we’re moving on to larger goals, like maybe — I kid you not — committing “The Eyes of Texas” to the purgative flames, now that the venerable school song of the University of Texas, and unofficial anthem of the whole state, has been found culpable. Culpable, yes. I said I wasn’t kidding. The university’s vice provost for “diversity” has informed student government members who possibly hadn’t known the brutal truth that “The Eyes” dates from the Jim Crow era. “This is definitely about minstrelsy and past racism,” said the provost. “It’s also about school pride. One question is whether it can be both those things…” Maybe it can’t be anything. Maybe nothing can be, given our culture’s susceptibility to calls for moral reformation involving less the change of heart than the wiping away of memory, like bad words on a blackboard. Gone! Forgotten! Except that nothing is ever forgotten, save at the margins of history. We are who we are because of who we have been; we are where we are because of the places we have dwelt and those to which we have journeyed. A sign of cultural weakness at the knees is the disposition to appease the clamorous by acceding to their demands: as the Dallas City Council did when, erratically, and solely because a relative handful were demanding such an action, it sent its Lee statute away to repose in an airplane hangar. I am not kidding — an airplane hangar. Civilization demands that its genuine friends — not the kibitzers and showmen on the ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, August 14, 2018By William Murchison
    3 days ago
  • Strzok Out, Ohr In
    The FBI finally pink-slipped Peter Strzok on Monday. The Deep State’s policy is to keep its bad employees close and its worst employees even closer. The cocky Strzok had thought he might survive under that rule, but apparently even Mueller pal Christopher Wray has his limits. The FBI had made sure to keep Strzok employed until the Congressional hearings, thereby controlling his testimony. But now Strzok, widely regarded as one of the biggest dirtbags in the history of the FBI, has outlived his usefulness. Bruce Ohr, on the hand, still hasn’t testified before Congress. Apparently, he will appear before it later this month. So he is still picking up a DOJ check. Ohr was the number four man in Obama’s Justice Department. His boss was the anti-Trump saboteur Sally Yates. During the 2016 campaign, Ohr and Yates, among many others, had turned the DOJ into a branch office of Hillary’s headquarters. Ohr’s wife, Nelly, worked for Hillary’s opposition research firm, Fusion GPS. The media has reported that Bruce Ohr, starting in January 2016, served month in and month out as a conduit for Hillary’s chief opposition researcher, the former British spy Christopher Steele. Steele might as well have had an office next to Ohr’s at DOJ. The DOJ corruption on display here is staggering, and were the roles reversed, were it a Republican Justice Department spying on a Democratic presidential campaign (with, say, Lee Atwater calling Ed Meese’s deputy every month to check in on the spying), the Ohrs and Strzoks would be run out of DC on a rail. As it is, they can count on at least a few years of well-paid punditry at CNN and MSNBC. The ethos of official Washington supports all things dastardly toward Trump. Spy on him, tape him, raid his lawyer’s office, harass his family, fabricate stories about him — anything goes. He is to be treated, according to official Washington, like, or perhaps even worse than, a foreign occupier. If James Comey deserves the gold medal for sanctimonious phoniness, Sally Yates surely deserves a silver. What a low, nasty partisan, who dressed up her vicious hack work for Hillary at Trump’s expense in the pompous garb of the “independence of the Justice Department.” Yates was engaged in nothing less than a three-stage coup against Trump: first, she joined Peter Strzok, Christopher Steele, and John Brennan in trying to “stop” Trump from winning; then, once he won, she allowed Ohr to continue collecting dirt from Steele in the hopes of preventing Trump’s inauguration (not to mention her entrapment of Michael Flynn, based on her Eddie Haskell-like concern about “Logan Act violations”); finally, once Trump did enter office, she used her Justice Department perch to defy his Travel ban, a ban that the Supreme Court has thoroughly vindicated. How are Yates and her pitiful subordinate Bruce Ohr any different from crooked officials in some Latin American banana republic? Sometimes party and marital loyalty ask too much, Ohr may be muttering to himself these days. ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, August 13, 2018By George Neumayr
    3 days ago
  • So Close
    Tiger Woods came close. Closer than Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jayson Day, Jordan Spieth, and the all the other young guns who had become contenders for the title of greatest in the world since Woods had last won a major championship, ten years ago. There was, in fact, only one man ahead of him on the leader board at the end of the day, Brooks Koepka, who might have been the winner but certainly was not the story. The PGA championship was Koepka’s second major title this season. The other was the U.S. Open, a tournament he won last year. Back to back U.S. Opens. Three majors in two seasons in spite of having to sit one — the Masters — out for injury. That ought to buy a guy some love. But the PGA at Bellerive outside of St. Louis was all about Tiger. And the tournament was not so much about Tiger the golfer as Tiger the competitor. In golf, you play against the course and against yourself. The course turned out, eventually, to be not much of a problem. It was long but then, these days, aren’t they all. And it took a while for the pros to get the feel of the greens but once they did, and after some rain had softened them up, the twenty footers started rolling in. And, anyway, Tiger Woods might have favorite golf courses but there is none that he fears. However, his other opponent — himself — looked at first like it would be no pushover. Woods started out the tournament bogey, double bogey. It was the sort of beginning you would expect from an over-the-hill former winner of majors, still teeing it up with the young studs and trying to make cuts until he can, blessedly, move on to the senior tour. But Woods gathered it up. Sufficiently, at any rate, to finish the day at 70, even par. Another round like that and he would make the cut. Which appeared to be a reasonable and attainable goal for the aging Woods who had reason to be grateful that he was still playing. His troubles have been well documented. His determination to overcome them had been winning back the fans. Still, another major championship seemed exceedingly unlikely. But on Sunday, there he was. Near the top of the leaderboard and wearing his customary red shirt. He had the fans with him. His game, however… not so much. Not off the tee, at any rate. On the front nine, he did not hit a single fairway. This would normally be a death sentence in any major. In those tournaments, the mantra is “fairways and greens.” Woods couldn’t find the fairways with a map and a GPS. But he found the greens and sank some putts. At the turn he was three under for the day and three strokes off the lead. On the 11th hole, his approach shot was some 27 feet short. The putt looked like it had eyes ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, August 13, 2018By Geoffrey Norman
    4 days ago
  • The Democratic Party’s Alt-Left
    Liberal reporters sprinted to the nation’s capital with their cameras this weekend in desperate hopes of capturing an “alt-right” uprising. The larger the smattering of white nationalists, the better for smearing Republicans and the Trump administration. Alas, they were disappointed. “Approximately two dozen white nationalists rallied in the nation’s capital on Sunday, one year after clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia,” lamented CNN. “The showing from ‘Unite the Right 2’ participants fell far short of the hundreds that organizer Jason Kessler was expecting.” The liberal media didn’t get the “alt-right” fireworks it wanted. But in the meantime, liberals face an alt-left uprising within their beloved Democratic Party, and it doesn’t seem to disappoint them one bit. Forget about two dozen angry white nationalists in Washington. They literally couldn’t fill two 15-passenger Ford vans. But how about the 40,000-plus members of the Democratic Socialists of America, the self-proclaimed largest socialist organization in the country? Not only is the DSA boasting a surge in membership under a Trump presidency, but it’s running candidates across the nation on the Democratic Party ticket. Traditional Democrats are losing in primaries to DSA “democratic socialists” running as Democrats. The Democratic Party has an alt-left problem, and no one at CNN seems to care. The DSA has been aggressively pushing its members to run as Democrats, and they’re winning. Here are three that embody what’s going on: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Summer Lee, and Sara Innamorato. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is, of course, the poster-girl for the new zeitgeist. That unclean spirit is the wind of “democratic socialism,” which is the rage among the Trump “resistance.” But Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the only young woman scoring big in the Democratic Party for the DSA. Two others are here in my backyard of Western Pennsylvania, Summer Lee and Sara Innamorato, who defeated longtime state reps Paul and Dom Costa. The Costas (they are cousins) were classic Western Pennsylvania Democrats, expected to hold their seats for life, until they were beat soundly in May in the primary by Lee and Innamorato, both of which now run unopposed in the general election and will glide into the state house as elected socialists. Well, actually, as “democratic socialists” who ran as Democrats. Here are three “young progressive women,” as an excited New York Times describes them, that are on the march. Lee and Innamorato, like Ocasio-Cortez, were openly backed by the DSA, and did not run from that endorsement. Quite the contrary. Both are members of the Pittsburgh chapter of the DSA. “I hope [the primary election] emboldens some secret progressives in elected office,” says Innamorato. “I hope they stop thinking, ‘I will get voted out if I don’t vote for this abortion ban.’ They can’t use that excuse any more. [The election] says that this is possible, you can run on progressive platforms, you can be a DSA member.” The DSA certainly doesn’t dodge the socialist label, even as it lamely tries to spoon the collectivist gruel in a more palatable way to oblivious Millennials: “We believe that the workers and consumers ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, August 13, 2018By Paul Kengor
    4 days ago
  • The Sick Thug of Europe
    Turkey was once the heart of the Ottoman Empire, an Islamic caliphate that included Hungary, the Balkans, Greece and much of the Middle East. In the years leading up to World War One, the Ottoman Empire was known as the “sick man of Europe” because its decay and decline were plain for all to see. Modern Turkey has now succeeded its Ottoman forebear and is wheezing its financial distress. Our most reliable newspaper, the Wall Street Journal, seems confused by the rapid demise of the Turkish economy. It wonders why the United States, which usually intervenes to calm global markets, isn’t doing so to save Turkey from itself. The answer is so simple that even the media ought to understand. Turkey, a NATO ally, has for over a decade treated us as an enemy instead of a friend. President Trump is beginning to return the favor. What Turkey has done, and Mr. Trump is starting to do, is all the result of the actions of Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan who has created an Islamic quasi-dictatorship where a secular democracy once stood. Erdogan and his AKP Party — an arm of political Islam — rose to power in 2002 when he was elected prime minister. He since served three terms as prime minister, strengthening the hold of his religion in all facets of Turkish life from schools to the media. Erdogan was elected president in 2014 and re-elected this year. He has achieved near-total power by changes to the Turkish constitution and now essentially rules by decree. Erdogan has succeeded in reversing Turkey’s course. In the years following World War I, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and his followers made Turkey into a secular state, rejecting Islamism and its 7th century model that eschews political evolution. After World War II, Turkey became a cornerstone of NATO, anchoring its influence in the Middle East. Erdogan has reversed Turkey’s half century of progress and returned to its Ottoman Islamist roots. All aspects of Turkish society — schools, courts, legislature, military, and media — have all been remade as tools of Islamism. Erdogan, never one to waste a crisis, used the failed July 2016 coup against him to seize total power. He quickly blamed the coup on Fethulla Gulen, an Islamic cleric based in Pennsylvania. About 50,000 “Gulenists” and suspected sympathizers were arrested. Some 120,000 others — government employees including judges and secular members of the military — were also fired as Gulenists. Erdogan has repeatedly demanded that we extradite Gulen to Turkey for trial. But his government has never presented any evidence that could justify our extraditing Gulen. The “Gulenist” arrests were a sham. Erdogen and his loyalists used the crisis of the coup to rid government — including the military and the judiciary — of any opposition. Journalists were arrested too, ensuring the Turkish press would follow Erdogan’s orders. In October 2016, three months after the coup was defeated, Erdogan’s regime detained and imprisoned Andrew Brunson, a North Carolina evangelist preacher who had served ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, August 13, 2018By Jed Babbin
    4 days ago
  • Custer Died for Our Virtues
    When I was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, you sometime saw a bumper sticker that read “Custer Died for Your Sins.” For the Left, figures like Custer represented an America of racism, ignorance, violence, and imperialism, portrayed on the silver screen in movies like Little Big Man, and playing itself out in real life in the Vietnam War. But the reality of Custer is far different. He represents, in many ways, what used to be old-fashioned American virtues, perhaps summed up in that singularly old-fashioned word “pluck.” He famously graduated last in his class, ending his West Point career court-martialed for failing to break-up — indeed for refereeing — a fight between two cadets, so that, in his words, “I was in the guard house when my class graduated.” He did graduate, however — or was court-martialed — straight to the front in the Civil War, where his bravery, daring, and initiative caught the eye of General George McClellan. Custer was courageous, a good scout (even taking on the hazardous duty of going up in balloons for aerial reconnaissance), and took pride in never confessing to exhaustion or hunger. McClellan said that “in these days Custer was simply a reckless, gallant boy, undeterred by fatigue, unconscious of fear; but his head was always clear in danger and he always brought me clear and intelligible reports of what he saw when under the heaviest fire. I became much attached to him.” Unlike his patron, though, Custer was all for battle. As a cavalry officer he swiftly became the Union’s “Boy General,” gaining his first star at the age of twenty-three. He was conspicuous in the field, in a way that made him an easy mark for sharpshooters — with his long blond locks, crimson tie, and black velvet jacket radiating gold braid — and quite unafraid to charge into the enemy. It was an enemy that he respected and even liked. Many of best friends at West Point had been Southerners. He and they were not just cavaliers at heart, but conservative Democrats, and while he confessed himself duty-bound to fight for the Union, he felt no bitterness toward his Southern comrades — and his warm feelings were returned. After Custer was killed at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Southern newspapers were among the most vehement in calling for his death to be avenged. Custer was always controversial — fame invites criticism — but he represented an optimistic, dynamic America that retained its sense of manifest destiny even after a catastrophically costly Civil War. He was a man of keen loyalties — not just to the Union, but to his family. Dying with him at the Little Big Horn were his brothers Tom and Boston, his nephew Henry Armstrong “Autie” Reed, and his brother-in-law Lieutenant James Calhoun (the “Adonis of the 7th Cavalry”). And while Custer had waged total war against both Confederates and Indians, he was as sympathetic to the native tribes as he had been to ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, August 13, 2018By H.W. Crocker III
    4 days ago
  • Burka Brawl: Britain Finally Standing Up to Islamism?
    The Boris Johnson Burka row has raged much longer than it should have. It is almost becoming boring. Yes, I’m getting tired of winning. But like any semi-competent writer I can still squeeze the last drops of juice from this festering orange of pseudo-shock and intimidatory outrage. One of the recent protests against Boris — in his constituency and my hometown of Uxbridge — saw a Muslim fundamentalist, niqab-clad, also sporting a sign which read “#MyDressMyChoice.” The hashtag was popularized in 2014 after a number of Kenyan women were brutally beaten for daring to wear short skirts. The irony of this caption being co-opted by the adherents of the antithetical position to the victims of abuse has clearly been lost on Britain’s Muslim fundamentalist community, who have engaged in a coordinated campaign of both threats, victimhood, outrage, blasphemy enforcement, and political leverage wielding. The same gaslighting approach as those predominantly male abusers of Kenyan women, and of other women in Iran, to give another example, who cruise around in public looking for other women to shame and attack for their failure to cover up. In truth, the reason Britain’s Boris burka saga has continued on so long (apart from the alliterative possibilities that mean tabloid editors don’t want it to) is that everyone — right, left, center, up, down, and all over the political spectrum — realizes this is a litmus test for Britain. Will the Nation Bow (Further) to the Pressure of an Effectively Foreign Force? Before I am censured for calling British Muslims “foreign,” take note of two things. The first is that I am calling the burka, niqab, chador, etc. “foreign,” not the people wearing them. Though some indeed may be. Second, I would say the same of French food, Japanese music, Russian dancing. Et cetera. The burka is no more part of British culture — which is to say our heritage and tradition — than any of the above. They’re all foreign. It pains me that because of the shifting of the Overton window over the past decade, I need to waste words to clarify such an obvious point. Foreign influences in this regard — such as those pertaining to Sharia (Islamic law) and pro-Islamic caliphate organizations — have in recent history reached the very heart of British government. I’m not talking about our Prime Minister Theresa May, and her repeated refusals to speak for England, as Leo Amery MP once demanded of Labour opposition spokesman Arthur Greenwood in the face of Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler. I’m talking about the former Chairman of the Conservative Party, Sayeeda Warsi, who has led the charge against Boris, whipping up the fear of “Islamophobia” along the way. Warsi — or “Baroness Token” as she came to be known — was David Cameron’s failed experiment at multiculturalizing the Tory Party and the British government. She wasn’t promoted on merit. She was promoted because she was from the densely Muslim populated area of Dewsbury. Where, rumor has it, she married and divorced with the assistance ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, August 13, 2018By Raheem Kassam
    4 days ago
  • Free Market Urges Caution on Dems’ Title II Push
    Free-market oriented groups are urging members of the House of Representatives as they head home for their August break not to break ranks and join Democrats trying to void the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) repeal of onerous internet service provider (ISP) regulations when they return to legislate. A coalition of 34 groups sent a letter to members of the House last Monday that basically says of the internet: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Democrats in the Senate were successful in squeaking through a Congressional Review Act (CRA) that would void the FCC’s decision and the measure will be pushed in the House when lawmakers return to the chamber on Sept. 4. The CRA faces long odds, as Republicans enjoy a greater majority in the House, and President Trump would also have to sign the measure. But the coalition, which includes such groups as the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Americans for Tax Freedom, Center for Individual Freedom, and Institute for Liberty, is taking no chances, reminding House Republicans that the internet enjoyed greater innovation and investment before the FCC, under then chairman Tom Wheeler, implemented the Title II regulations in 2015. The FCC, under the leadership of Chairman Ajit Pai, voted in May to begin the process of removing those rules for ISPs that imposed heavy-handed regulations. Prior to the FCC’s vote, two dozen ISPs wrote to Pai, telling him the Title II regulations hung “like a black cloud” over them, creating uncertainty and inhibiting internet growth. “This CRA measure utterly fails to encapsulate any shred of practical rulemaking for today’s evolving internet landscape,” the coalition letter says. “It falls back on archaic policy designed for the 1930s Ma Bell telephone system, slashing broadband investment dollars and undermining ongoing efforts to deploy a larger and more robust broadband network across the U.S., particularly in rural and low-income communities.” In an interview that ran in The American Spectator earlier this month, Pai said he is confident the FCC “made the right decision based on the facts and the law,” and that it was unwise for the FCC to implement the 2015 rules because “the internet wasn’t broken.” (Pai voted against Wheeler’s plan in the 3-2 party-line vote.) “Now it’s up to the folks in Congress to decide what to do, and I’m hopeful they will see, as we did, that the bipartisan tradition of light-touch regulation of the internet is something that is good for everybody,” Pai said. The coalition points out the removal of the Title II designation for ISPs would put them under the scrutiny of the Federal Trade Commission, “the nation’s historic cop on the beat,” which lost its ability to protect internet consumers under Wheeler’s rules. Republicans, led by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., have introduced legislation called the Open Internet Preservation Act, which would reintroduce some “net neutrality” protections such as blocking or slowing websites while establishing a light-touch regulatory framework for ISPs. Blackburn’s bill allows prioritization that would permit ISPs to smartly favor remote surgery and other important ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, August 13, 2018By Johnny Kampis
    4 days ago
  • Is Ocasio-Cortez Afraid of Candace Owens?
    Everyone’s favorite Democratic socialite continues to entertain, and not merely because of her unique views about how the world works beyond Westchester, NY. She has kept us in stitches with her claim that Medicare-for-All will save the nation zillions in funeral expenses, her weird belief that questions about the costs of M4A are merely GOP talking points, and her unique theory about the SCOTUS ruling in NFIB v. Sebelius. Now she has us slapping our thighs with comical excuses for refusing to participate in a debate about the virtues of socialism versus those of capitalism with black conservative Candace Owens. Shortly following her refusal to accept a debate challenge from Ben Shapiro, claiming that it was somehow sexist, Candace Owens called out Ocasio-Cortez on that excuse by offering to donate $20,000 to a charity of the latter’s choice if she would debate capitalism vs. socialism. The self-styled “girl from the Bronx” has declined, but Owens isn’t letting her off the hook: “And what exactly was your excuse for having turned down the debate with me? Can’t wrap that one up in fake-feminism.” Not that her excuse is really a secret. Ocasio-Cortez knows little of socialism’s intellectual foundation, such as it was, and less about capitalism. Gone are the days when serious, if hopelessly misguided, people like Michael Harrington could debatesocialism in a civil fashion with heavyweight conservatives like William F. Buckley. All of Harrington’s claims have now been shown by history to be false, leaving the left with a catalogue of empty slogans parroted by “progressives” who couldn’t stay in the ring with Buckley for 30 seconds. This is why the American left has now reverted to the suppression of free speech, the verbal abuse of its opponents, and outright violence. History hasn’t been kind to socialism, and honest debate will not be kind to Ocasio-Cortez. One of the reasons socialism, as most of its current apologists use the word, can no longer be defended in a civil discussion among thinking people is that it is a debunked product of the 19thcentury, like phrenology. It was thought of by social theorists of that era as a model for human behavior that could be validated by the scientific method. Like many ideas that were taken seriously by intelligent people of that century it didn’t stand the tests of time or experience, and should have long ago disappeared from the realm of serious discussion, as did other products of faulty thinking. It should have gone the way of the aether theory. Unlike the aether theory, however, socialism’s political utility for authoritarians has kept it alive despite a perfect record of failure. But socialism hasn’t merely left egg dripping from the faces of a few 19thcentury scientists, it has killed countless millions of human beings. The most obvious failure from the last century involved the Soviet Union’s collapse Another spectacular failure from the 20thcentury occurred in Germany under the National Socialist German Workers Party (readers educated in public schools will be more familiar ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, August 13, 2018By David Catron
    4 days ago
  • Space Warfare Is Here
    The White House has announced its intention to create a space force. Until now, a series of treaties have prevented the weaponization of space. Yet, even with things like the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 and other fantastical agreements, space has been militarized almost from the start. The only reason no space war occurred during the Cold War was that the technology to get humans into space was so rudimentary and the costs of such operations were too high. Today, costs have come down and space is much more accessible (as it should be) to humans. As the costs for entering a strategic domain lower, the potentiality for warfare increases. This is a fact of human nature: we compete with each other. Since the 1970s, the United States has increasingly come to rely on space systems to underpin its military power. Today, the American military operates in a cohesive fashion. While our Armed Forces are relatively small (only one percent of the American population serves in uniform, for instance), American space systems allow those forces to operate in a synchronized and rapid fashion. Remove those linkages and America’s military capabilities on Earth will be severely degraded. What’s more, the costs of fielding and maintaining satellite constellations is far greater than the costs of the technology to destroy or debilitate those vital systems. American enemies have known this for some time and have taken this into account. China has reorganized its armed forces to include serious space warfare capabilities. Russia, for its part, created the Aerospace Defense Force which is tasked with conducting Russian space warfare, as well as managing its air force and nuclear weapons. Yet, the United States continued operating its own armed forces as though there were only three strategic domains (land, sea, air). Part of this was due to bureaucratic inertia; another reason for the reticence was that the existing branches of the military — notably the Air Force — feared losing a significant source of funding. More frightening, however, is the active resistance being waged by policymakers who believe in the utopian ideal of keeping space a weapons-free sanctuary. Many of these utopians argue that the international space treaties ensure the peaceful use of space and, so long as we ugly Americans don’t place weapons in orbit first, the rest of the world will help to ensure that space remains a weapons-free sanctuary. This is utopianism at its finest (or its most dangerous). If international treaties were so effective in keeping the peace, why hasn’t someone created a set of treaties for the peaceful use of the Earth? What makes space so different from the other strategic domains of land, sea, and air? Just look at cyberspace: the innovators in Silicon Valley truly believed that the internet would unite us peacefully as never before. Yet, cyber warfare was one of the first things humans experienced in cyberspace. It now plagues humanity today. As Thucydides wrote: “the strong do what they will, the weak suffer what they must.” This fact about human ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Sunday, August 12, 2018By Brandon J. Weichert
    5 days ago
  • Manafort Trial Highlights Trump’s Bad Choices
    Washington In June, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis slammed the position of special counsel as a post too easily “deployed as a political weapon” to troll for dirt on targeted adversaries. At the same time, he ruled that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecution of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was legitimate and should continue. Ellis, who is presiding over Manafort’s trial in Alexandria, Virginia, was acutely aware that the multiple charges of tax and bank fraud had nothing to do with the 2016 presidential election or Russian meddling in the campaign. But the judge found grounds for Mueller’s team to prosecute Manafort as its probe uncovered a fraudulent money trail funded by backers of former Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych. The terms of the Mueller investigation included looking into the “strongly pro-Russian” Ukraine leader. Just don’t call Yanukovych’s big donors “oligarchs,” Ellis later warned prosecutors, as he saw such language as needlessly prejudicial. Federal prosecutors complained about Ellis scolding one of their ranks on Wednesday, and on Thursday, he apologized. There’s something to be said for the irascible judge’s focus. Ellis also appears to have curbed Manafort’s lawyer, Kevin Downing, after Downing grilled star witness Rick Gates about four alleged extramarital affairs. It’s irrelevant. Gates is Manafort’s former right-hand man who was indicted along with Manafort in October 2017, but later agreed to plead guilty and testify against his old boss as part of a plea deal that should reduce, and possibly eliminate, a prison sentence that threatened to span decades. The jury has seen Gates as an accomplished liar and professional cheat. From Monday afternoon through Wednesday morning, prosecutor Greg Andres walked Gates through a series of fraudulent maneuvers that he orchestrated to avoid paying taxes. Gates also admitted to skimming money from offshore Manafort accounts — although, as Downing pointed out, he claimed to have embezzled hundreds of thousands from Manafort after the government had figured Gates skimmed close to $3 million. But Gates looking shifty doesn’t make Manafort appear pure — not when prosecutors produced documents that gave the impression Manafort hired Gates because they share the same low bar on ethics. In 2015, Manafort emailed Gates about a higher-than-expected tax tab. “We need to discuss actions,” Manafort wrote. After some fancy shuffling, no surprise, his tax bill shrank. Manafort also consulted Gates about the method to doctor a PDF as he applied for a loan. In the long run, the most damaging testimony from Gates had to do with Manafort Inc.’s depleted finances after Yanukovych fell from power. According to the feds, as Manafort advised Yanukovych and other Ukraine entities from 2006 to 2015, $75 million flowed into the big-spending political consultant’s offshore accounts — and Gates helped launder more than $30 million of that. But when Yanukovych fled, the money went away. In 2015, Gates testified, “We had zero clients.” Rather than sell one of his many homes, Manafort went on the hunt for big loans by whatever means it took get to get them. ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Sunday, August 12, 2018By Debra J. Saunders
    5 days ago