American Spectator

  • End Games — Though Chuck Bednarik Would Be Happy
    Could have been worse. That, anyway, is what serious NFL fans were most likely thinking after the conference championship games were done and the Super Bowl matchup had, thus, been decided. It had been a season of discontent. The worst, in that regard, since the bad old days of players strikes and replacement players. By the metric to which the league no doubt pays the most serious attention — television ratings — it had been a woeful season. Significantly fewer people were watching the games on television; chased off, many of them, by the sanctimonious political protests of players who “took a knee” during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner before kickoff. None of the protesting players had ever done much service to the nation. They had been busy working on their blocking and tackling skills while some of their contemporaries were doing fire and maneuver in Iraq and Afghanistan. This was enough to turn many former fans permanently off the game. Other fans were disenchanted by the pace of play, the micromanagement of games by the officials, the hotdogging by players which left fans wondering, “Isn’t that what they get paid to do? Catch the football. Run with the football. Tackle the man with the football. I don’t do an end zone dance when I’ve done my job and, for instance, landed a new client or account or whatever.” The games and the broadcasts had lost their old, atavistic appeal. You missed Jack Lambert’s bloody face, baring the few teeth he had left, and looking across the line of scrimmage for someone upon whom he could inflict pain. What you had, instead, was a lot of specialists, coming in for a couple of plays, then heading back to the sidelines. Players were now technicians, almost; not warriors who were in the game for every play. You didn’t see men these days like Chuck Bednarik, who played both linebacker and center for the last Philadelphia Eagles team to win an NFL championship. He was the last to play both sides of the ball, the full sixty minutes of every game. And he played full throttle for every one of those minutes. He came from one of immigrant Pennsylvania families for whom the steel mills made middle class life possible… and football even bigger things possible. He manned a machine gun on heavy bombers flying raids over Germany in World War II. When he played for the Eagles, he kept Jim Taylor of the Green Bay Packers out of the end zone on a last minute drive for a touchdown and then lay on top of him to make sure time ran out and the Eagles got their championship. In another game, he hit Frank Gifford hard enough on one (clean) tackle to keep him out of football for a year. Gifford always said he liked Bednarik and that it had been a clean hit. Bednarik didn’t have much good to say about the modern, specialist football player. Made it ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, January 22, 2018By Geoffrey Norman
    3 hours ago
  • Throwing the President’s Weight Around
    When the president’s annual physical results were released, you knew anything short of White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson announcing that Mr. Trump was suffering from late stage dementia and was in desperate need of a heart transplant was going to outrage the media, who, of course, know better about the President’s health than his own physician. One of the more ridiculous memes widely cast out by Trump haters after his physical were side by side photos of Trump and hard body chiseled athletes who are listed as approximately the same height and weight as the President. Get it? The President and his doctor must be lying, as no way Trump is the same height and weight as a world class athlete such as Tom Brady pictured next to him. Such comparison as proof of anything is beyond dumb. Routinely, as a sports executive, I have stood shoulder to shoulder with world class athletes. I know how tall I am, and I can’t count how many times I had a few inches on athletes listed as the same height I am. What you quickly learn is the height and weight of athletes listed in the media guide is a number that is often cooked up by the team. Say you’re a 5’10” player. Usually your height is rounded up to six feet so as not to embarrass the athlete and so forth. Of course, this also works the other way. You’ve got a player who has been packing on the pounds, you can bet the mortgage that they’ll shave 20 pounds from the real weight. Do you actually think the San Francisco Giants will list Pablo Sandoval’s real weight in the media guide this spring? And did you know Babe Ruth was listed as 225 pounds in his playing days, 14 fewer than Trump’s 239? Put a side by side photo of the two of them and Trump’s weight claims look modest in comparison. The other problem with comparing your weight to a world class athlete is muscle. I’ve also had the experience of standing side by side with professional athletes who are the same height as me but who are listed 25 pounds heavier in the media guide than what I know I weigh. Yet, if you saw us side by side at the beach in nothing but our swim trunks you would recommend I drop a few pounds, while thinking the athlete looked in great shape. Hard body muscle, it seems, has weight. All this is silly of course, as whether the president is 239, 245, or 231 pounds doesn’t matter as a barometer for fitness for the office. What is amusing is the hypocrisy of the left for suddenly being concerned about what people weigh. Hillary Clinton, who has the same body type as my favorite Major League pitcher, Bartolo Colon, spent most of the campaign fainting, stumbling, hobbling around in walking casts and wearing dark shades on cloudy days. Yet, it was only media sources on ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, January 22, 2018By John Calvin
    3 hours ago
  • How to Know When Democrats Are Jerking Around
    It was a very subtle gesture, lost amid all the media ballyhoo over the Great Government Shutdown. But in that small gesture, we find the Rosetta Stone that helps the astute observer define and interpret the deceitful language of Washington politics. And once again, the uncovered language reveals that the Democrats not only are jerking around and playing games of dishonesty and outright fraud — but that they know it darn well. Did you see it? Did you catch the revealing sign? The House of Representatives already had voted to keep the Government open, and now it fell to the United States Senate to follow suit. After all the bloviating, a vote was taken. Under the Senate’s arcane rules, which are completely incompatible with those of the United States Constitution, nothing can get approved in the Senate with fewer than 60 votes out of 100. Therefore, with Republicans holding only 51 seats in the upper chamber, and with the Schumer-Pelosi Democrats sworn to The Resistance, so that they might block President Trump from achieving his agenda, there never were going to be 60 votes on the first go-round to keep the Government open. So the vote was taken, and — predictably — all the Democrats voted to shut down the Government. Except for five of them. Five brazen liars, five frauds as phony as a promise by Barack Obama that you can keep your doctor and your health plan. The five Democrats who “broke with party discipline” were Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Also the Democrat placeholder in Alabama whose name is not worth mentioning because he will not be staying in the Senate long enough for anyone to bother learning it. Was it courage that prompted these five to break from Pelosi and Schumer? Was it conscience? No. Rather, it was that the first four are up for reelection in ten months, facing Republican pro-Trump voters in Republican pro-Trump states, people who regret ever having put these radicals in the Senate in the first place. Voters who have been waiting six years to get a crack at these phonies who promised to be Centrist Democrats, moderates, but who instead bullet-voted with the Obama agenda. They voted with Obama on Obamacare and its modifications. They made the Iran Deal possible. They supported the Obama socialist economic agenda that focused on taking away Middle Class assets to support a burgeoning welfare state, from expanded food stamps to paying the physically able to sit on couches. They backed Obama’s agenda that inhibited the creation of new wealth, that excessively penalized efforts to repatriate American corporate assets to America. They supported trade agreements that stifled American enterprise and put Americans out of work. They sustained Obama’s choking regulations on the economy and industry. They presided over the multi-million-dollar Solyndra disaster and other disasters like it. They sustained the choking of new energy development, regulation of new and more environmentally ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, January 22, 2018By Dov Fischer
    3 hours ago
  • Trump Moves to Defend Religious Rights of Doctors
    President Trump’s Health and Human Services Department (HHS) has taken new steps to restore religious protections for physicians and other health care providers long under attack by the bureaucratic bullies of the Obama administration. In addition to expanding its Office for Civil Rights by creating the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, HHS has announced a new regulation that will protect care providers from being coerced into performing medical procedures, including abortions, that violate their consciences. The new OCR division and conscience regulation will enforce existing laws that were routinely violated or simply ignored by the bureaucrats of the Obama administration. Predictably, the abortion industry and its supporters in the media have already launched a propaganda campaign misrepresenting the substance and effect of these HHS actions. The New York Times, for example, published a “news” story with the following mendacious headline: “Trump Gives Health Workers New Religious Liberty Protections.” Neither President Trump nor HHS has given any “new” protections to health care workers. Doctors, nurses, and other health care providers are already protected by at least 25 federal and state laws, including the Church Amendment of 1973, the Coats-Snowe Amendment, and the Weldon Amendment. The problem is enforcement. As OCR Director Roger Severino phrased it: Laws protecting religious freedom and conscience rights are just empty words on paper if they aren’t enforced. No one should be forced to choose between helping sick people and living by one’s deepest moral or religious convictions, and the new division will help guarantee that victims of unlawful discrimination find justice. For too long, governments big and small have treated conscience claims with hostility instead of protection, but change is coming and it begins here and now. The impetus for the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division and accompanying regulation was provided when the Obama administration decided, during its seemingly interminable final year, to reinterpret a section of Obamacare. Originally, Section 1557 of the “Affordable Care Act” was a boilerplate provision prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, etc. But, in May of 2016, Obama’s HHS apparatchiks reimagined this section of the law such that it also prohibited discrimination “on the basis of gender identity and termination of pregnancy.” In effect, the Obama administration had unilaterally rendered all of the above-noted conscience protections null and void. This outrage generated a predictable flurry of legal action against HHS. In August of 2016, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty filed Franciscan Alliance v. Burwell in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas on behalf of Franciscan Alliance (now Franciscan Health), a 14-hospital health care network operating in Illinois and Indiana. Shortly thereafter the states of Texas, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Wisconsin also joined the suit. On December 31, 2016, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that the HHS regulation imposed a “substantial burden on Private Plaintiffs’ religious exercise” and issued a restraining order preventing the Obama administration from implementing its bizarre regulation. Had the voters been foolish enough to elect Hillary ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, January 22, 2018By David Catron
    3 hours ago
  • The Drone Epidemic
    Drones — remotely-controlled unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — come in any number of sizes and configurations. Some are weapons of war, such as the MQ-9 Reaper, whose pilots have killed hundreds of terrorists in the Middle East and Southwest Asia. The MQ-9 has a 66-foot wingspan and is 36 feet long. Some are toys like the 16-inch toy quadcopter your neighbor’s kid flies. Most are remotely-piloted while some are programmed to operate autonomously. UAV’s perform countless tasks. They can be used to map forests, inspect industrial equipment that is spread over many acres and which can be hundreds of feet tall. Just last week, Australian lifeguards unpacked a drone in about two minutes, attached a flotation device to it, and flew it almost a half-mile offshore to drop the flotation device to two swimmers fighting big waves, saving their lives. The lifeguards couldn’t have rowed or swum out to them that quickly. Many nations’ militaries are buying drones by the hundreds and terrorists are either buying or manufacturing their own and arming them with explosives and more. Millions of unarmed civilian drones are sold every year. The threat of weapons and espionage equipment borne by drones is evolving quickly. On New Year’s Eve, and on at least two occasions since, the Russian airbase at Hmeimim in Syria has been attacked with drones, sometimes operating in swarms. The Russians, as you’d expect, deny that the drones caused any damage but the Wall Street Journal reported on January 15 that the New Year’s Eve attack killed two Russian servicemen, injured ten more and damaged six aircraft. Those drones were monoplanes reportedly powered by small gasoline engines and operated from dozens of miles away. The Russians, like our military and civil defense forces, face a threat from drones. As the Washington Post reported on January 13, D.C.’s airspace is crowded and highly restricted. Yet there is a growing number of drone violations of closed airspace occurring over military bases and other government facilities. In January 2015, one crashed on the White House lawn. Even after a person operating a drone does something illegal — such as flying into the controlled area around the White House — it’s impossible to tell whether he’s just having fun or has murderous intent. Is it a knucklehead seeking a thrill by landing on the White House lawn or being flown by terrorists trying to use the drone to carry a bomb? It’s only possible to know after a drone has been forced down — or it delivers an attack — that we can know. The only exception to that is if intelligence indicates a lethal attack is intended, and that isn’t always sufficient to stop the attack before it happens. There are a lot of elements to UAV flights that prevent detection and interception. Drones are so small that they don’t appear on radar and they usually fly below radar coverage. Their infrared signatures are too small to detect. The FAA licenses drone pilots, but very few ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, January 22, 2018By Jed Babbin
    3 hours ago
  • America Needs a Counterrevolution
    Culturally speaking, America is a wreck. Today, the United States has lost its unquestioned dominance over the world. America remains the first power among equals, but America’s once-considerable lead is essentially gone. The beginning of the end of American dominance occurred during our cultural revolution in the 1960s. Thanks to the Left’s “long-march through the institutions” of America, most Americans have lost their identity — and it shows in declining fertility, literacy, numeracy, and economic growth rates, just to name a few negative trends. Compare this to China. Chinese children are educated from a young age to respect their elders and they are encouraged to study hard — focusing on subjects that will bear economic prosperity when they are adults. They are also inculcated in a deep — almost perverse — nationalism. In China, an economic miracle has taken shape in the last 30 years: 600 million people have moved from the impoverished countryside of China into the cities, where they have become members of a vibrant (and growing) modern, middle class. Chinese educational achievements are incredible, and the Chinese government has invested heavily into industries that will dominate the global knowledge economy. The Chinese know who they are as a people, which allows them to focus on what they need for their future. When the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union collapsed, China had already moved away from the Marxist principles which its political system was founded upon. Mao Zedong’s successor, Deng Xiaoping, enacted the first free market reforms, which sent China on its current, meteoric rise. China was embracing free markets at precisely the same time the United States was abandoning them. Of course, the Chinese political system still retains the trappings of the old Communist Party, but it has moved beyond pure Communism. In many respects, China has merely returned to its historical norm of being a Confucian society — a highly centralized political system that is fiercely nationalistic, prizes educational attainment, and highly values trade. The Chinese have remembered who they were and have risen to great heights geopolitically because of this. In the United States, our children are reared in a culture of disrespect and educational mediocrity. They are taught in permissive environments and encouraged to devalue traditional bourgeois values, as well as capitalism. Is it any surprise that 53 percent of my fellow Millennials believe in socialism? America used to value hard work, moral certitude, masculinity, and family (the basis of community). These values were deeply rooted in our country’s founding documents and civic culture. All of American history — from the colonial period until the 1960s — is reflective of these values. Such beliefs formed the basis for the culture that ultimately took us to the moon and back. Now, American culture — like most of Western civilization — is tired. Decades of globalization, multiculturalism, open borders, and moral relativism have gutted America of its moral center. Unlike the Chinese, Americans do not know who they are anymore. A culture that does ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, January 22, 2018By Brandon J. Weichert
    3 hours ago
  • GOP Should Help Dreamers (But Not This Week)
    I get it all the time: “What part of illegal don’t you understand? They have to go!” It’s a predictable reaction from a passionate minority of my audience when discussing how the United States should deal with the issue of illegal immigration, and particularly with those illegal (or “undocumented” if you are from a politically correct neighborhood) aliens known as “Dreamers” who were brought here as children and have no memory of any country but ours. Yes, much of the discussion, including the term “Dreamer” itself, is designed to make them a sympathetic group. We hear of their educational desires, of them serving in the U.S. military, of their living in fear. Anti-immigration groups (and I don’t mean simply anti-illegal immigration) push back by showing that Dreamers drop out of high school at relatively high rates, attend college only in small numbers, and that fewer than 1,000 of them serve in our armed forces. But whether Stephen Miller and NumbersUSA like it or not, multiple polls taken over the past week (and over the past few years) show that the vast majority of Americans support allowing Dreamers to stay. Among Republicans, when the question is worded to include that a Dreamer must “meet certain requirements such as going to school or joining the military, and not having a criminal record,” support to let them stay nears 80 percent. Did I mention that that’s among Republicans? Of those who support allowing Dreamers to stay, more than 80% of Republicans (and far more than 80% of independent voters and Democrats) support a “path to citizenship.” “Of course the Democrats support citizenship!” is the inevitable response. “It will create a new permanent cohort of Democratic voters.” There is some truth to this. Given the anti-immigrant rhetoric of enough Republicans (including, unfortunately, President Trump) to allow those on the left to tar the whole GOP with that brush, most Dreamers probably do lean Democratic. But this argument misses much larger and more immediate issues. To wit: How many American citizens, whether friends or relatives of a Dreamer or simply sympathetic to their plight, currently vote against Republicans because of this issue? And if you think that legalized Dreamers would be a permanent Democratic voter class, how about their American-born children if the GOP is perceived in perpetuity as the heartless “racists” who wanted to break up their families? Children of Dreamers will be voting in the next presidential election. In short, at least some of the potential gain to Democrats in voter count would be offset by other voters opening their minds to the GOP once the Democrats can no longer bludgeon Republicans with this issue. Republicans, especially in the Senate, know that Americans favor legalization and a path to citizenship. Some House members face a trickier situation in districts which are more anti-Dreamer than the national average. But enough Democrats would vote for a fair deal that those House members will be allowed to vote “no” to prevent a primary challenge from their ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Sunday, January 21, 2018By Ross Kaminsky
    1 day ago
  • Democrats Using Same Strategy Republicans Tried in 2013
    Washington In 2013, House Republicans shut down the federal government in a doomed effort to defund then President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. It lasted 17 days and accomplished nothing. Amazingly, Democrats have decided to follow the same lame playbook. Back in 2013, Obama called it the “Republican shutdown” — and he was right, even if his party controlled the White House and Senate. Top aide Dan Pfeiffer likened the shutdown caucus to terrorists with a “bomb strapped to their chest.” Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., had a similar view. The solidly conservative congressman called those pushing the shutdown “lemmings with suicide vests.” Now some Democrats are pushing to shut down the government if they can’t pass a “clean” bill to extend Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which provided legal status for as many as 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children. Here “clean” means 100 percent one-sided. Others, like Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., support a bill they see as a compromise, but it doesn’t reflect the scales of power. Republicans own the House and the White House. Senate Republicans, with a slim majority of 51, need Democrats to pass a 60-vote hurdle. If the Democrats insist on DACA as a condition to keep the government operating, they will have overplayed their hand. Friday morning, when there was time to pass a bill, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney already was calling it “the Schumer shutdown” in reference to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. Across town, the Democratic National Committee sent out a press release with the headline, “Republicans Created the Trump Shutdown.” The Democrats’ push for a shutdown was fueled by a week of saturation news coverage over Trump’s reported term for Haiti and African nations — “s***hole countries” — during a Jan. 11 White House meeting with Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., as the duo pitched their bipartisan compromise to extend and expand DACA. Trump denied using that word. Cable news pundits, however, engaged in precious debates about Trump’s exact language. Democrats’ wrath could not be contained. During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., berated Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen as “a threat to this country” after she testified she did not hear Trump say the word in question, but she did hear “tough” language. Schumer and Graham seemed to think they were a breath away from a deal. The DNC issued this talking point: “After saying he would sign a deal, Trump rejected a bipartisan agreement and threatened to shut down the government over his wall,” referring to the president’s desire to build a wall along the southern border. The Durbin-Graham measure has support from senators from both parties, but it also has garnered fierce opposition, especially in the GOP House. As a senior administration official told reporters, the Trump White House wants a deal that does not “recreate a second DACA wave.” She added that border crossings are increasing. Graham himself told CNN ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Sunday, January 21, 2018By Debra J. Saunders
    1 day ago
  • Tax and Smoke and #MeToo Aggravation
    Friday This has been a hellacious week. All because of the IRS. It’s complicated but it has to do with the Alternative Minimum Tax. That’s a tax on items which previously might have been deductible, but are now fully taxable. That is, if you had X amount of deductions, now that X is considered income, and is fully and highly taxed. I had a lot of that last year and I am now painfully paying it. I know I’m on TV all of the time saying we need higher taxes to pay for a defense buildup. And I’m right. We urgently need a major defense buildup. And I will cheerfully pay my fair share. But I’ll pay for it cheerfully and also complain about it a lot. It’s my own fault, though, for not planning more carefully. I feel so blessed that I have saved enough money to pay my taxes. There are plenty of people who haven’t. What do they do? What does the IRS do to them if they admit they owe the money but truthfully say they don’t have it? I guess the feds seize their homes and their cars and their cufflinks. But what if it’s still not enough? Do we have debtors’ prison? I don’t think so, but maybe I’m wrong. I also have tax aggravation because of IRAs and Keoghs. These are plans which allowed us taxpayers to set aside a certain amount of income money each year and invest it in forms to prepare for retirement. The money was not taxable when it was put into the IRA or Keogh (or 401 K) but it’s taxable when it comes out. If the taxpayer has made money on his investments (or her investments), the sums to be taxed can be enormous. This is causing me many sleepless nights. Still, we need the revenue to pay for defense. The problem is that so very little of the federal budget goes for defense. It’s very roughly 15% and that’s just not enough. Defense spending is life or death for America. We’ve neglected it to the point that many of our planes have no pilots and many sailors have no training sufficient to keep them from crashing into other ships. What the heck is wrong with our political class that they cannot read the lessons of history and realize that catastrophes happen to nations that are unprepared to defend themselves? What are they smoking? Speaking of which, I went up to my neighboring Beverly Hills Hotel this afternoon for some French toast. When I emerged, the whole front door area positively REEKED of “skunk” marijuana. It’s totally legal here in California now. It’s illegal under federal law, but in Jerry Brown’s California, we expletive deleted on federal law. So all over the state and even in front of the ultra-grand Beverly Hills Hotel, there is the stench of marijuana. Plus, of course, there are stoned, dangerous drivers. And this is in the ultimate Nanny State, Sunny Cal. ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Saturday, January 20, 2018By Ben Stein
    2 days ago
  • President Trump’s First Year In Office Has Been A Blessing For The American People
    “I, Donald John Trump, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, so help me God.” One year ago, President-Elect Donald Trump took the stage on a rainy but warm day at the United States Capitol and took the oath of office to officially become the 45th President of the United States. In attendance were former Presidents George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, as well as Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama, and countless other dignitaries of both parties. In a sign of the impending partisan polarization to also mark much of this past year, many celebrities and politicians, including roughly seventy Democratic members of Congress, boycotted the Inauguration. I remember that week in D.C., getting the honor of serving in some truly exhilarating roles with the Presidential Inaugural Committee. It was surreal, just like election night had been. The Trump Presidency was finally materializing and with it the new optimism and hope that marks every new administration. That week in D.C. was nasty and brutal as well, particularly on Inauguration Day and the day after. On Inauguration Day protesters rioted in central D.C., even shutting down several entrances to the National Mall and preventing onlookers from entering to watch the Inauguration firsthand. A selection of the protesters took their disruption to an even greater extreme, smashing stores, attacking police officers, setting fire to garbage cans, and causing in total over $100,000 in damages. Many of them were later arrested and prosecuted, with over 200 charged with felony riot charges. I had attended two prior Inaugurations – those of Barack Obama in January 2009 and January 2013. During neither of those were there any significant protests or chaos. Looking back on the year that has transpired since, I think it is almost certain to say that many of the fears President Trump’s critics had have not materialized. What we instead have seen is an extraordinary policy agenda that benefits all Americans accomplished, from the economic front to military to our constitutional structure itself. On the economic front, we see a stock market roaring on all engines and hitting new records every day, including recently a previously unfathomable 26,000. On the macroeconomic front, unemployment is at an almost two-decade low, economic growth continues to tick up, and the passage of the comprehensive tax-reform bill will lead to extraordinary tax reduction and simplification for ordinary as well as increased business investment that will lead to a rising tide to all. As Apple CEO Tim Cook, who has often been critical of Trump, said to ABC News this week amid news Apple would be investing $350 billion over the next five years in the U.S. economy, “I do believe the corporate tax side will result in job creation and a faster growing economy.” This stands in deep contrast to all those who predicted a market crash ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Friday, January 19, 2018By Erich Reimer
    3 days ago
  • Hijab Hate Crime Hoax in Toronto Is Latest of Many
    In Toronto last Friday, an 11-year-old Muslim girl was reportedly walking to school when an unidentified male attacker ran up behind her, ripped off her jacket and cut her hijab open with a pair of scissors before running off. The attack was so widely reported that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the act, stating that “My heart goes out to [the Girl] following this morning’s cowardly attack on her in Toronto. Canada is an open and welcoming country, and incidents like this cannot be tolerated.” This crime was indeed awful and not to be tolerated — except it never happened. On Monday, Toronto Police announced that this event did not occur. The girl will not face charges for her false report — it would be ridiculous to charge a child with a crime — but it is just the latest example of how false hate crimes can stir up controversy and divide people, even at the highest levels of government. Similar false claims have been filed in the United States. Shortly after Donald Trump’s election, a Lafayette, Louisiana Muslim woman said she had been attacked and had her hijab torn off by a group of white men in a pickup truck. During the investigation, she admitted that she had been lying and the event never happened. At the same time in New York City, another Muslim woman, Yasmin Seweid, claimed that she was attacked in the subway by a group of Trump-supporting white men. She also admitted that she was lying. In December 2016, a Muslim woman at University of Michigan claimed that a drunk white man threatened to set her on fire if she did not remove her hijab. The Ann Arbor police have since deemed the incident a hoax. False incidents like these happen far too often and support the notion that the election of Donald Trump and the mere presence of the right in politics will lead to mass discrimination against Muslims. When charges like these are leveled, the mainstream media seizes on them and gives them tons of airtime — or at least until they are revealed as hoaxes. At that point the media suddenly goes quiet. It might issue a short statement or correction, but the damage has been done. Incidentally, these bogus stories don’t serve Muslim women well, as they create a false atmosphere of fear for a group of women who are often already deeply mistreated. ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Friday, January 19, 2018By Evan Maguire
    3 days ago
  • Dickie Durbin Does DACA
    The last column in this space addressed the fact that, in the event that Amazon Post story, citing anonymous second-hand sources to allege that President Trump referred to a few Third World nations from which a sizable proportion of our illegal immigrants come as “s***hole countries” in a closed-door meeting with several members of Congress, turned out to be true the President might be guilty of several sins but untruth wasn’t one of them. That, amid a veritable s***storm brewed up over the alleged incident, as virtually everyone who could call Trump a racist has done so and the international reaction to the kerfuffle has been, well, what our readers certainly must have assumed it would be. It turns out, though, that untruth appears to be the primary sin of the likely source of the Amazon Post story which started the mess. Dick Durbin, Illinois’ senior Democrat senator who was in the meeting in question, didn’t exactly say he was the source of the allegation. But he did “confirm” that Trump used the language referred to in the Post article. The obvious conclusion is that it was Durbin’s staffers, who were “briefed on the meeting,” in the parlance of the Post piece, who tattled to the paper. Durbin’s confirmation flies in the fact of two Senators who were in the meeting and have since denied Trump said what Durbin alleges. Those being Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and David Perdue (R-Georgia). In addition, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who was also in the meeting, said she didn’t recall the use of the language in question either. All agree that Trump was quite frank in his formulation of the specific issue discussed during the meeting from which Durbin’s allegation came; namely, the disagreement between Democrats and Republicans (and probably most of the rest of the country, regardless of how polls might spin things otherwise) as to whether America has a duty to afford Temporary Protected Status to illegal immigrants from countries like Haiti, Somalia, El Salvador, Afghanistan and others which might properly be referred to as s***holes given the stated aim of Temporary Protected Status in the first place. Namely, that those places are so awful that it would be tantamount to a human rights violation to force someone from them to go home if that someone came here illegally. We don’t know that Trump called them s***holes. If he did he’s guilty of colorful and accurate language, if perhaps slightly less than presidential. It’s reasonable to assume his sentiments were likely at least somewhat in tune with the connotation “s***holes” would confer on the discussion at hand. The real scrutiny here should reside with Durbin. One of two things are true. First, if Durbin is the only one in the meeting telling the truth about what Trump actually said and Cotton, Nielsen, and Perdue are lying to protect the president, which is what Durbin’s pals among the Democrats are contending, then he’s still guilty of partisan demagoguery and opportunism of the worst ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Friday, January 19, 2018By Scott McKay
    3 days ago
  • Putting a Leash on Inspector Javert
    The War on Drugs has seen many casualties — among them the rule of law. Cops have been empowered to simply seize people’s property on the mere assertion of connection to “drug activity.” This is done prior to conviction of any crime — and in many cases, without the person even being charged with one. Another casualty-in-the-works is respect for the laws of other countries. The Justice Department is hoping to force Microsoft to violate the laws of Ireland — where the software giant has servers that contain customer data the feds are interested in pursuant to a drug investigation. The problem is that federal prosecutors — and federal search warrants — have no jurisdiction in Ireland. If Microsoft complies with federal demands, it will be breaking Irish law — which annoys the Irish, who wonder how it would be if the shoe were on the other foot. If Irish authorities asserted jurisdiction in the United States — and issued warrants ordering companies with operations located here to act in ways contrary to U.S. law for the sake of Irish law. Or just because. None of this appears to matter to federal prosecutors — who seem oblivious to the dangerous precedent being set and who continue to pursue the matter with the maniacal zeal of Inspector Javert. Using exceptionally tortured reasoning, the DOJ claims it has the legal authority to compel Microsoft to hand over the data stored on its overseas servers, citing a 1986 law — the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (EPCA) — which was written to deal with domestic wiretapping issues. The authors of EPCA could not have envisioned its provisions being used to suborn data stored overseas — or even domestically — given the Internet (and emails, the object of the feds’ inquisition) didn’t even exist back in ’86. EPCA certainly cannot authorize the feds to stomp on the laws of other countries as this amounts to a rejection of their sovereignty and — worse — encourages other countries to regard American sovereignty with equal contempt. If we can do it to them, why shouldn’t they do it to us? Microsoft, understandably, has steadfastly refused to “cooperate” with the feds — and in 2016, the Second Circuit Court of appeals unanimously agreed that the DOJ was operating way out of bounds, invalidating the EPCA-based warrant demanding the handing over of the data stored on Microsoft’s Dublin servers. The feds appealed the decision and on Oct. 16, the Supreme Court granted cert and agreed to review the case. Oral arguments are expected to begin in February. This pits the feds not only against Microsoft but also the government of Ireland and the European Commission — both of which are expected to submit briefs in defense of Microsoft’s position later this week. But the outcome of the case — and the precedent it will be set — has much broader implications. And much greater dangers. If the Supreme Court reverses the decision of the Second Circuit and thereby effectively forces Microsoft to violate Irish law, it will broadcast ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Friday, January 19, 2018By Eric Peters
    3 days ago
  • The Media Normalizes the Unruly Left
    Normally so censorious of shutdowns, the media seemed eager for one on Thursday. Pundits offered up preemptive excuses for Senate Democrats who seek to torpedo a deal. The more that Democratic senators behave like hack liberal activists, the more the media cheers them on. The media is in a disruptive mood and sees a shutdown as a win for Trump’s enemies. Even as the House passed a bill to fund the government on Thursday evening, MSNBC contributor Howard Fineman was babbling about the GOP as the party of shutdowns. The same media that lectures Trump on the importance of propriety and respect for custom shills for shutdown artists, secessionists, sanctuary city mayors, nullifiers, civil-disobedience advocates, criminal leakers, agitprop anarchists, and assorted public figures who fantasize about harming the president. We refuse to “normalize” the unconventional behavior of Trump, say journalists, even as they constantly indulge the unruly behavior of the left. Look at the media’s endlessly uncritical coverage of mayors and governors who defy immigration law. Or look at its fawning coverage of pols who proudly say that they refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of this president. The media is perfectly happy to normalize frivolous boycotts, trivial calls for impeachment and censure, and sabotage by civil servants. During the Obama years, the media treated resisters as states-rights freaks. Editorials poured forth comparing them to Deep South segregationists. Now the media lionizes state officials who promise to ignore the Justice Department and other federal agencies. CNN’s coverage of California as a “sanctuary state” has been nothing if not supportive and carefree. Oakland’s mayor has said that she will go to jail before cooperating with the federal government. Good luck finding any negative mainstream media press coverage of her. MSNBC will probably turn her into a contributor. Gone are the windy chastisements directed at state officials like Kim Davis. Now the ticket to media approval is open defiance. The same journalists who pretend to worry about the corrupting power of Trump’s language lose all delicacy on the topic of drugs. They consider opposition to federal drug laws a very wholesome cause and champion state officials who subvert Attorney General Jeff Sessions. When they hold federal government power, liberals speak gravely of the importance of adhering to laws. The moment they are out of power they start breaking them, and the media normalizes their lawlessness. Rebellion becomes chic again. For a year the media has rattled on about “threats to the republic” while stoking them on the left. At the very moment they primly monitor Trump’s tweets, they give liberals permission to engage in all manner of incivility. CNN’s idea of a responsible, sober, civil commentator is Ana Navarro, who says the president is “unfit to be human.” And that is what is said on the air; imagine what is said in the green rooms. Far from guardians of decency and stable standards, journalists serve as apologists for the ratty ends-justify-the-means radicalism of the 1960s. In their slavish, nostalgic tributes to Daniel Ellsberg, journalists reveal their own ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Friday, January 19, 2018By George Neumayr
    3 days ago
  • We’ve Seen This Movie Before
    The film industry witnessed its worse year since the 1990s in 2017. Hollywood, during the advent of television to name but one fallow period, has seen this movie before. But because filmgoers similarly lament seeing this movie before, they stay home. The ninth installment of the “Star Wars” franchise captured the top spot at the box office for movies released last year, garnering almost $600 million domestically almost three weeks into 2018. A Beauty and the Beast remake placed and Wonder Woman, based on a 76-year-old comic book character previously appearing in television programs and another movie, showed. Remakes (It, Jumanji), sequels (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Despicable Me 3), and movies based on old comic-book characters (Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Justice League) done to death populate the rest of the top ten list. Myopic producers evidently glean the opposite lesson from the top-grossers list. They see that remakes and sequels top the bestsellers, so they keep making more of them oblivious to the long-term harm they inflict on their business. The stale content churned out by Hollywood bespeaks a lack of creativity or, perhaps more accurately, a lack of appreciation for creativity from the moneymen behind the movies. They refuse to take risks and wonder why their industry reaps paltry rewards. Their lack of imagination in producing films unsurprisingly prefaces a lack of imagination in evaluating why their bottom lines hit rock bottom. How could one hold the hits responsible for a dud of a year? It takes imagination to see this. One grasps cinema déjà vu best by seeing its entries as neither art nor even entertainment but brands. Some brands — Wonder Woman received terrific reviews and the recent Star Wars sequels certainly better the prequels — do not damage the brand. But they all rely on formula in a field built on bucking it. Beyond the films themselves lacking in imagination, they require less creativity to market. Most everyone knows Wonder Woman and Minions and Pennywise and Luke Skywalker. So, it takes less to spread the word even though the studios throw more, more, more at the marketing budgets of brand movies. The phenomenon of repackaging the familiar seems familiar enough. Last year and the year before that, brand movies dominated the box-office top ten. And faithful readers recall similar laments from this Spectator scribe when that occurred (I am guilty of the same regurgitation, albeit in a heroic effort to curb copycatism). Apparently, Harvey Weinstein and Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg neither read nor pay heed to The American Spectator. Replicating success succeeds, at least from a bottom-line perspective, in restaurants, banks, and hardware stores. Mindlessly applying this template upon creative fields leaves connoisseurs looking elsewhere. People loved The Beatles beyond the initial mania because they kept reinventing their sound (and their look). All in the Family glued families to the small screen because it represented something new. Audiences embrace originality. Show business, its name reminds, is a business. So, naturally, the captains of this ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Friday, January 19, 2018By Dan Flynn
    3 days ago
  • The Donald’s First Year: Daily Demolition Derby
    It speaks volumes about the times we live in, that President Donald J. Trump is viewed as being in trouble. We have a stellar Supreme Court justice, and a record dozen judges confirmed (thanks, Mitch) to the federal appeals courts. America’s economy is roaring for the first time in a decade. Congress enacted the biggest tax reform and cuts in 31 years. Corporations responded by dispensing Christmas bonuses within days of passage, relocating plant and migrating capital back home. Business and consumer confidence has skyrocketed since Election 2016, as has the stock market. An epic repeal of burdensome regulations without prior precedent — not even in the Reagan years — has further jump-started business revival. America is going “drill, baby, drill” and rapidly becoming the world’s energy superpower. Environmentalists are in retreat in their tireless efforts to wall off federal lands and block traditional energy sources. National security changes have been similarly significant. Serious efforts are underway to stop nuclear military progress by North Korea and Iran, policy imperatives that prior administrations had ducked. The Pentagon is slated to begin long overdue defense rearmament, including accelerating development and deployment of essential national missile defense; America’s major NATO partners have made an historic commitment to ante up more. The first effort to arm the Ukrainians is underway. ISIS, which mushroomed in a year to grow from junior varsity to varsity status, is now defeated. Iran faces revolution, and a deadline for renegotiating the insanely one-sided arms accord president Obama accepted. America has bowed to empirical and historical reality, and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Palestinians no longer command American dollars and diplomatic benevolence regardless of their continued terror campaign against Israel. That campaign escalated this month with the Palestinians repudiating the 1993 Oslo Accords, and associated security cooperation with Israel, unless Israel recognizes a Palestinian state. As Oslo has been a sham, its demise is good riddance. Israel PM Netanyahu stated in response to Abbas’s January 14 speech assailing Israel: “He exposed what we have been saying all the time, that the root of the conflict is the basic refusal to recognize a Jewish state in any borders.” At the United Nations America is “taking names” and standing up for its interests without apology. Our ambassador to that globalist den of iniquity and grotesquery, Nikki Haley, is the brightest star in the Trump Cabinet firmament. She joins predecessors Arthur Goldberg (LBJ), Pat Moynihan (Ford), Jeane Kirkpatrick (Reagan) and John Bolton (Bush 43) on America’s all-time UN ambassador all-star team. Team Trump has initiated the first serious effort to stem unchecked immigration via the unholy trinity of a visa lottery tilted towards migrants from culturally incompatible places; unchecked “chain migration” of distant relatives; and keeping open a largely unprotected southwest border. The White House is pushing hard, despite several major states moving from sanctuary cities to sanctuary states for illegals, and despite strong open-borders opposition from within his own party. Yet it is Trump who is in line with ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Friday, January 19, 2018By John C. Wohlstetter
    3 days ago
  • Blaming Georgetown University for Slavery: Extortion in the Name of Justice
    Slavery is evil. Most Americans recognize that. Most people around the world also do so. But that wasn’t always so. Indeed, a couple of centuries, not to mention a couple of millennia, ago people held many views which today are considered, shall we say, unsavory at best. Such as warring for no and every reason, undertaking military conquest, slaughtering defeated populations, torturing enemies, colonizing distant territories, imposing absolute monarchy, converting the unfaithful by force, and committing a multitude of other sins, oppressions, and horrors. Slavery was one of many serious violations of life and dignity routinely committed and widely accepted at the time. Those who demonstrated special moral prescience and sensitivity by opposing the conventional but awful ahead of their time deserve praise. However, it is unfair to demonize people who did not rise above their times. Hindsight is wonderful when peering back into history. Yet few of us would enjoy be similarly judged by our descendants. That is, however, what the “GU272 Isaac Hawkins Legacy Group” is doing to Georgetown University. In 1838 a nearly broke school sold 272 slaves to raise money to continue operations. So the descendants of those slaves are demanding “restitution.” Explained lead counsel Georgia Goslee, her clients “do not believe Georgetown has fully atoned for the wealth it unjustly accumulated off the back of unpaid slave labor.” Although the university has taken a number of steps to promote minority education, Dee Taylor, descended from one of the slaves, said “I believe Georgetown has the means to do much more.” Which, apparently, means money for the 200 members of the Group. Thomas Craemer of the University of Connecticut concocted some figure to reflect what those alive today should have received if their ancestors had not been slaves: “The wealth gap between African Americans and white Americans in the United States is rooted in this reality.” The legacy of slavery is awful, but targeting individual institutions such as Georgetown is, well, bizarre. Claims for restitution focus on those alive who are not responsible for crimes committed decades and centuries before. And responsibility for slavery is far broader than a particular American slaveholder. The sweep of human history is an unending panorama of huge, horrific injustice. The Romans slaughtered the Carthaginians. The Egyptians, Persians, Hittites, Assyrians, Macedonians, and many others variously conquered and oppressed one another. The Israelites both killed and were killed. The Europeans fought Mongols and Turks. Ancient Greek city states and more modern Italian principalities constantly battled. Combatants and civilians alike were murdered and enslaved. And then there are the wars of our lifetime: World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iran-Iraq, U.S.-Iraq, and more. In everyone someone surely is at fault and should pay the victims — those injured, displaced, looted, and imprisoned, and the families of those killed. Germans should pay everyone, Russians should pay Poles, Vichyite French should pay Free French. Japanese should pay Filipinos and Americans, Americans should pay Iraqis and Yemenis. And so it goes. Surely someone should pay the Huguenots ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Friday, January 19, 2018By Doug Bandow
    3 days ago
  • Silicon Valley, Not Capitol Hill, Where Healthcare Reform Happening
    CNBC reported on Tuesday that Amazon seeks to hire an expert in Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy regulations. The job listing notes, “The HIPAA Compliance Lead is an experienced HIPAA professional who will own and operate the security and compliance elements of a new initiative. You will work alongside product managers, software developers, bizdev, and legal teams to ensure that our services are in compliance with HIPAA security and privacy requirements.” How does an online bookseller end up as a digital doctor’s office? Americans spent about $30 billion on books last year. They spent more than 100 times that on health care. Jeff Bezos, like Willie Sutton, goes where the money is. So do Google and Microsoft, two tech behemoths making forays into healthcare that appear as the harbingers of something grander. Amazon’s super-secret “1492” project, as its name implies, seeks to revolutionize everything — or at least healthcare, which acts as a rather big thing. Americans spend more on healthcare than everyone, save for the Chinese, Japanese, and Germans, spends on everything. The figure now hovers around $3.5 trillion annually. And as Americans grow older (average 2017 age 38; average 1970 age 28) and fatter (1970 obesity rate 15 percent; 2014 obesity rate, 37 percent), we figure to require more care and medicine and much else. Just as these demographic realities nudge the tech giants into a sector beyond their comfort zone, they inevitably increase pressures on employers, states, and the federal government — those tasked with providing medical coverage — to turn over the reins to entities better suited to efficiently deliver and manage healthcare. Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and others believe this means them. Who can gainsay them? We don’t get as much bang for our buck as other similar nations. Canada, for instance, spends less than two-thirds of what we spend per capita and an even smaller percentage as a percentage of GDP. Canadians live more than three years longer. A perfect storm of capitalistic greed and government inefficiency mars our mixed private-public healthcare system. With about the same number of people covered by Medicare and Medicaid as covered by employer plans, Americans get the worst of both worlds — capitalists charging $30 for an aspirin and socialists demanding we pick up the tab for strangers. This does not work. Americans disagree why this does not work. But a consensus seems to agree this does not work. And a consensus seems to agree that Amazon, Microsoft, and Google do work. State governments taxed by all the spending, and taxing to cover all the spending, appear open to try something radically different. Employers, who provide insurance to about 150 million employees, naturally appear eager to pay less for more as well. The tech giants, masters at efficiency and generally held in high regard by consumers, figure to give them just that. How will this work? Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and others may compete to manage those covered in bulk. This may mean, for instance, monitoring blood ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, January 18, 2018By Hunt Flynn
    4 days ago
  • Two Knockout Artists Square Off in Boston
    Boston The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) open workouts for UFC 220 appropriately took place Wednesday in a warehouse repurposed as a gym. Across Drydock Avenue, Boston Ship Repair, Inc., works on transforming a massive, aging ship into a seafaring vessel fit for the 21st century. Within the Reebok gym, dozens of Pinkertons — here not guarding President Lincoln or railroads from striking saboteurs — curiously protect hulking men looking quite able to protect themselves. Like the warehouse and the drydock, the Pinkertons appear as a case study in reinvention, a group seeming to evoke another era but, by adapting and overcoming, thriving in our age. The UFC seems at home here. After decades of so many of boxing’s biggest stars hailing from abroad, and subscription television pricing many fans out of their passion, the fight game seemed ripe for repurposing. Starting in the early 1990s, the UFC reinvented pugilism for the 21st century. It added the ancient sport of wrestling and the more modern practice of Brazilian jiu-jitsu (along with much else) to the striking familiar to fight fans to create something at once brand new and older than all of us. Men, and a few women, love a good fight. They expect to see a few of them Saturday night in Boston. The marquee matchup features Stipe Miocic, a workmanlike Ohioan who does nothing spectacularly except knock out the biggest names in the sport — former UFC champions Andrei Arlovski, Fabricio Werdum, and Junior dos Santos, as well as heavy hitters Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem — one after another. When The American Spectator asked him if he felt disrespected coming in as the underdog despite coming in with such an amazing résumé, he responded to the question with a question: “How would you feel?” His body language, expressing his opinions with a massive chip on his shoulder, did most of the talking. “I’m so used to it by now,” he explained. “I love being the underdog because I shut everyone up. And then they make up some excuse why I won — the guy wasn’t ready, or some $#!+.” What his opponent, Francis Ngannou, lacks in a CV he makes up for with a highlight reel. He nearly punched Alistair Overeem’s head off in December. That ferocious uppercut does not connect on every card or even in every annum. And it is for that reason he so connects with fans, who oohed and ahhed with every punch that connected in his session on the mitts. When The American Spectator asked him where that power comes from, he answered that it originated in Cameroon. “My dad would be the best one to give you the answer,” the 31-year-old noted. “He knows where he took it to transfer it to me. It’s a family story.” Unfortunately for his opponents, he does not keep that family story in the family. And in Boston, a working-city reborn as a hub of medicine and education, a Cameroonian boxer reinvented as a French mixed-martial ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, January 18, 2018By Dan Flynn
    4 days ago
  • Exploring the Great Blue Frontier
    There was a time when people unhappy with their government, and no longer able to tolerate the situation, would simply go somewhere else, and set up their own new communities. That is largely the story of the western frontier, but it is no longer an option — or is it? Today, nearly all the world’s inhabitable land is either privately owned or held by governments, no longer available for homesteading. But what if people once again had that choice? That is the gist of a notion that has been around for several years: floating cities. It is based on the premise that oceans are the one remaining category of real estate that nobody owns, and that no government controls. So if people could colonize oceans and build cities in international waters, they could set up their own sovereign government in whatever manner pleased them. The concept has really been around at least since the early 1980s, when Ken Neumeyer wrote Sailing the Farm, about living and growing his own food on a sailboat. Little did he realize how the idea might appeal to free-market advocates, once a larger-scale technology became feasible. But that became the vision of Patri Friedman, grandson of economist Milton Friedman. Patri was so inspired that he quit his job at Google in 2008 to found (with seed money from libertarian Pay-Pal founder Peter Thiel) “The Seasteading Institute.” Friedman began writing and lecturing on the potential of establishing autonomous floating cities, a discussion flourishing today. The grandfather famously said, “If you want to see capitalism in action, go to Hong Kong,” the “world’s best example of a free market economy.” The grandson envisions numerous such city-sized economies. The Seasteading Institute has steadily grown
in credibility, its vision no longer considered
 science fiction, especially because there is 
now an actual prototype being designed. It 
involves several private companies,
architects, scholars, and now the 
government of French Polynesia — which 
has created a special free economic zone for
 the proposed floating city. The Institute
 created a company called Blue Frontiers to
 construct and operate the proposed city, 
planned for occupation by the end of this decade. Its artist drawings are fascinating, showing a floating island with houses and commercial buildings attached by floating causeways. Office buildings, hotels, restaurants, malls, even golf courses, built on barges, can be hooked together to form larger blocks, added as the city grows. Once surrounded by a giant floating seawall, the entire complex could then be relocated from the safety of the harbor, to almost anywhere in the world. That kind of independence has a strong appeal to freedom-loving people. In 2014, for example, 89 percent of the people of Venice voted to secede from Italy. The mother country said no, but what if the whole city could leave anyway? Or as Joe Quirk, now president of the Seasteading Institute, puts it, “What if these individual units could break off, float away, and reform as they please? You’d have new societies, disassembling and reassembling, all over ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, January 18, 2018By Greg Walcher
    4 days ago
  • Jerry Brown Heads Toward the Sunset
    California Gov. Jerry Brown introduced his final budget last week. For a sense of perspective, the first general-fund budget he introduced back in 1975 was for $11.5 billion. His final one spends $132 billion — a whopping $190 billion if we included total spending from all special funds. It’s 44 percent larger than the budget he introduced in 2011, per news reports. This much is certain: Our state government certainly is good at getting its hands on our money. You can’t totally blame Brown. This is the sad trajectory of government spending at all levels, regardless of which politician is in charge. Democrats love to spend money, but do so Republicans. I’ve been asked whether, on balance, was this was a good budget. Absolutely not, but it’s the best budget that Californians are likely to see in our lifetime. And that’s the endless conundrum in California. We won’t ever get anything good. When do we settle for less bad? Our next likely governor, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, recently touted a single-payer healthcare system. The Democratic Senate actually approved a version of a single-payer plan last year. It ultimately was killed after no one could figure out how to pay for it, but lawmakers voted “aye” even after the Senate’s own analysis found that the cost would be $400 billion, or three times the entire general-fund budget. It’s coming back again, now that this idea has become a litmus test for California Democrats. Indeed, Brown’s final budget was indicative of his entire modern administration (as opposed to his terms in the 1970s and 1980s). Brown clearly wants to spend as much money as possible, but he wants to make sure the state can actually afford to do so. That has put him at odds with a Democratic-dominated Legislature that increasingly makes Bernie Sanders sound like a moderate. Such reasonableness has warranted myriad accolades for his “fiscal conservatism.” Such is the state of affairs in modern California. And, indeed, his latest budget did have some noteworthy features. In releasing his final budget, Brown urged “legislators to squirrel away most of the state’s projected $6.1 billion surplus as he warned of the next economic downturn and potential cuts by the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress,” reported the San Jose Mercury News. Yes, it’s wise to plan for a downturn and reduced revenues. Yes, the surplus is nice, although it reinforces the unnecessary nature of the supposedly vital $5.2 billion tax increases he imposed on gasoline and vehicle licenses. It also reminds us that Brown has largely been about raising taxes as a means to afford an ever-expanding state bureaucracy. Storing away more cash than necessary in the state’s rainy day fund is a good, albeit modest, idea. Even better would be taking on California’s overly progressive, capital-gains-dependent tax system, which Brown admits is the source of its endless boom-and-bust cycles. But Brown never used his political capital to take on the unions that assure that California vastly overspends and under-delivers on every ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, January 18, 2018By Steven Greenhut
    4 days ago
  • CNN and Liberals Hail MLK as Socialist
    In a remarkable piece for CNN.com, writer John Blake underscored three ways we need to “update” our knowledge of Martin Luther King Jr. “to see how he spoke not only to his time, but to our time as well.” No. 2 is this eye-opener: King “was a socialist before it was cool.” Blake writes: There was a time in American politics when calling someone a socialist was a slur. Not anymore…. One of the most popular politicians in recent times is Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described Democratic Socialist who almost captured the Democratic nomination for president. A 2016 Harvard University poll said 51% of young Americans — 18- to-29-year-olds — oppose capitalism. And a poll conducted the next year by YouGov and the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation found that most American millennials preferred to live in a socialist country than a capitalist one. The reasons why some millennials prefer socialism have been documented…. King had similar misgivings. Blake quotes leftist historians commending King as everything from a redistributionist to a “democratic socialist.” King “called for universal health care and education, a guaranteed annual income and the nationalization of some industries.” Blake offers quotes from King: In 1968, [King] told a church audience: “It didn’t cost the nation a penny to open lunch counters. It didn’t cost the nation a penny to give us the right to vote. But it will cost the nation billions to feed and house all of its citizens. The country needs a radical redistribution of wealth.” In a 1966 speech to his staff, he said: “There must be a better distribution of wealth, and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism.” Blake clarifies that while some say King gravitated toward socialism later in life, he saw its “possibilities” first as a young man. He cites a King letter to his future wife, Coretta Scott: “I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic. So today capitalism has outlived its usefulness. It has brought about a system that takes necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes.” Well, isn’t this just great? Martin Luther King Jr., we’re now assured with a cheer, was not only a socialist, but it’s now okay—actually, it’s cool—to call him a socialist. I’d like to add a crucial wrinkle to Blake’s observation. He notes there was a time in American politics when calling someone a socialist was a slur. It’s equally true that there was a time in American politics when calling Martin Luther King Jr. a socialist was deemed a racial slur. To affix such a label to King was political-racial dynamite. You didn’t dare do it, despite the existence of quotes like those that Blake assembles. I’ve had students over the years ask me if MLK was a socialist and, moreover, soft on communism. I’ve admonished them: Don’t go there. If you even raise that possibility, in writing, liberals will destroy you. Instant career-killer. In my book ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, January 18, 2018By Paul Kengor
    4 days ago
  • Our Staggering Corruption: A Conversation With F.H. Buckley
    Allen Mendenhall: Thanks for doing this interview, Frank. Your last book, The Way Back, addressed issues of economic inequality and the rise of the New Class, a manifestation of an old form of aristocracy consisting of people who can, so to speak, “game the system” through special favors and loopholes in laws. Your new book, The Republic of Virtue, is an extension of that theme, focusing on government corruption. It’s come to light that the Justice Department is investigating activities of the Clinton Foundation, a target of yours. What does this investigation mean for our “Machiavellian moment,” a term you use in the book? F.H. Buckley: Thanks for having me, Allen! The new book, The Republic of Virtue, is a companion to my 2016 book, The Way Back (now out in paperback). The earlier book described a crisis in American politics, the demise of the American Dream of a mobile society in which our children would have it better than we did. The Republic of Virtue details how we got here, through a deformed political system in which our politics are dominated by the greatest network of patronage and influence ever seen in the world. That’s not what the Framers of our Constitution wanted. They admired British liberty, but not British corruption, and the constitution they gave us was meant as an anti-corruption covenant. They had read their Plutarch and like Machiavelli yearned for disinterested leaders who would seek to serve the public interest. Hence the term, “Machiavellian Moment.” We had another Machiavellian Moment in 2016, when voters saw in Hillary Clinton the very personification of corruption. AM: What did corruption mean for our Framers? FHB: Corruption meant Britain, the way votes were purchased on the hustings or in Parliament. It meant putting self-interest over the public good. They had a strong sense of fallen humanity, George Washington, James Madison, Gouverneur Morris, all of them. But they hoped they had found an answer to private vices in a Constitution that promoted public virtue. For some, this meant a strong national government, since they thought that self-interested leaders were more likely to be found at the state level. For others it meant just the opposite — strong state governments that would be closer to the people. With Gouverneur Morris and James Madison, some thought that the parts of the federal government should be kept distinct, in a separation of powers, to prevent coalition-building and “cabals.” In the end they were not entirely sure what they had given us, except that all thought we needed to unite over a constitution, and all hoped that it would give us a set of disinterested leaders such as the man on the dais before them — George Washington. AM: Their hopes have not materialized, I’m afraid. It takes more than a constitution to thwart corruption, doesn’t it? FHB: There are a good many myths about the framing of the Constitution, that the Framers necessarily had to come to an agreement, that it was a “Madisonian” document. ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, January 18, 2018By Allen Mendenhall
    4 days ago
  • The Doctor and the Impatients: Navy Rear Admiral Jackson Enters the Media Hellhole
    Weirdest thing. I had just come back from my first-ever treadmill stress test. Never had done such a thing before. They tape all these little squares on your chest, have you walk on the treadmill at 1.7 miles an hour at a certain incline, take your pulse and blood pressure, then increase the thing to 2.5 miles an hour and up the incline, then increase the pace to over 3 miles an hour, upping the incline, continually monitoring the blood pressure, the pulse, all kinds of other stuff on their screen. And then comes the stress test — they tear each of those ten stickies off your chest. Unless you are into masochism or are a woman (it being assumed that, as a conservative, you agree with the premise that men and women are not exactly identical), that is murder. I had just returned from the stress test, thankful to G-d for the results reported to me, and there was Rear Admiral Ronny L. Jackson, personal physician to the President of the United States, on television reporting to the media on the health of President Trump. Although I was under serious time pressure, having already lopped off a chunk of my day for the cardiologist visit, I had seen something like this in the past and knew that it runs maybe five or ten minutes, so I watched the doctor report that the President is in very good health with some really excellent data to support the report. Five, ten minutes. Done. And then the circus began, as it can do so only in the hellhole that is known as the James S. Brady White House Press Briefing Room. (The word “hellhole” is an appropriate term in the English language because United States Senator Lindsey Olin Graham of South Carolina uses it to describe countries in South America, Central America, and other Third World countries where people do not look like the denizens of Canada or Norway.) It was, for lack of a better phrase, a Teachable Moment in American History, the day that the media circus unraveled in full public view of the American public as an assemblage of maniacs akin to a kin waiting for a rich uncle to die. It was like all the children and nephews, nieces, siblings, and grandparents of a hated billionaire gathered to hear news from the doctor that Father/Uncle/Grandpa is going to die any minute, and all his money will be distributed to them. The eagerness and excitement in the room was palpable as the circus unraveled around one predominant theme: So how long till The Old Man croaks? For those of you who did not have the opportunity to watch the event, under the mistaken impression that Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey had closed shop, here is approximately what you missed: Navy Rear Admiral Ronny L. Jackson (hereafter “Doctor”): I am here, y’know, to report to you on, y’know, the health of the President of the United States. I just did, ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, January 18, 2018By Dov Fischer
    4 days ago
  • The Road From Texas to Omaha
    It’s hard to believe given how fresh and exciting the game still feels, but it’s now been nearly two decades since No-Limit Texas Hold’em became the game du jour in the poker world. Now it’s not as if someone flipped a switch and everyone suddenly started playing that particular format — although famed Texas pro Doyle Brunson would have probably volunteered for the job. As with any changes in poker, it happened slowly over time. As the 21st century dawned, Seven-Card Stud and Limit Hold’em were the most commonly played cash-game formats. But the continued growth of the World Series of Poker, where NLHE was the format for the Main Event and other tournaments, as well as the 1998 release of the movie Rounders which depicted underground NLHE games in New York City, helped usher in the new wave of poker. While you still can’t throw a rock in a casino card room without hitting a $1-$2 blinds NLHE cash-game player in the head, a growing number of aficionados are moving to other games. I’m one of them, having taken the road from Texas to Omaha. Omaha is played very similarly to Hold’em with a board of five community cards, a flop-turn-river combo, and blinds with a rotating button, but with one very distinct difference — you get four cards in your hand instead of two. Omaha is also played in four primary forms: Pot-Limit Omaha, Limit and Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo, and Big O, which is a variation of hi-lo in which players get five cards. All four of the disciplines require different strategies. Pot-Limit Omaha, in which the high hand wins the entire pot, is the most popular form of Omaha, comprising the majority of the cash games and tournaments played live and online. It’s often referred to game as a game of the nuts, meaning the very best hand. Because the four cards each player possesses create so many combinations of possible hands, it’s not uncommon for someone to have the best possible hand: if the board is paired, someone likely has a full house; if there are three of a suit on the board, someone probably has a flush. So you’ve got to tread carefully. Don’t play that hand with the 2 and 6 of hearts because that’s your Aunt Ida’s birthday and she really loves Valentine’s Day. Instead wait until you have a hand that includes the ace of hearts so when you make a flush you can extract chips from an opponent playing those kinds of junk cards. Along the same vein, your four cards should work in conjunction. A hand like K-Q-8-7 may look like it has potential because you have two sets of connected cards that could make straights, but you’re better off playing a hand like 10-9-8-7. Consider those two hands in a scenario in which the flop comes 4-5-6 and there no flush draws. Both of those hands flopped the nuts, but the 9-8-7-6 hand is freerolling against the K-Q-8-7 and can ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, January 17, 2018By Johnny Kampis
    5 days ago
  • Government by Sanctimony and Smears
    Journalists are forever harping on Trump’s “lies.” But what really bothers them is his blunt truth-telling. His refusal to conform to their political correctness infuriates them. Political correctness is just one big lie — a denial of reality in the name of this or that “sensitivity” or ideological demand of the moment. The media devotes almost all of its coverage to policing deviations from those lies. That is why Trump’s ruthlessly reality-based approach to politics is such a shock to its system. The media had grown used to skittish Republicans jumping to attention and discussing issues only within the parameters of decreed lies. A “responsible” Republican wasn’t supposed to notice the problems of illegal immigration from high-crime, high-poverty countries. He wasn’t supposed to notice the militancy of Islam. He wasn’t supposed to notice any number of problems. Rather, he was expected to second the lying sanctimony of the media. Trump came along and exposed that charade, and the media has never forgiven him since. The media goes on and on about the importance of “facts” in the age of Trump. But it could not care less about facts. It operates entirely in the realm of feelings. It spends most of its energy suppressing facts in the name of feelings. Almost every single controversy it has ginned up against Trump revolves around some fact or truth the media wishes suppressed for the sake of protecting the feelings and interests of a liberal constituency. Go down the media’s feverishly assembled lists of Trump’s “racism” and all you will find are dissents from the approved lies of the media. CNN’s hosts recite these lists like robots, then crowd their shows with panelists who call for the most color-conscious policies imaginable. The casual reverse racism contained in the remarks of guests fresh from this or that “black pride” rally are never questioned. Foul-mouthed journalists get to pronounce on Trump’s “vulgarity,” pundits who wish him dead comment on his “hate-filled” heart, and pols and celebrities who announce their desire to beat him up are nevertheless treated as experts on presidential “temperance.” (The line of wimpy pols shadow-boxing Trump from the safety of television studios grows ever longer. Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, in the midst of complaining about Trump’s lack of decorum, expressed his fervent desire to knock Trump to the “floor.”) In politics, a confederacy of dunces and demagogues always forms against the rare politician who tells the truth. The Democrats, having become the foreigners first party, saw a chance to silence Trump by casting hearsay as evidence of racism. Their real objection is not to his crude word but to his clear thought, a truth they simply don’t want to hear: that high immigration from destitute and dysfunctional countries weakens America. For Dick Durbin, who has never seen an illegal immigrant he didn’t want to turn into a Democrat, Trump’s truth had to be discredited at all costs. He had to shift the discussion from the validity of Trump’s concern to the propriety ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, January 17, 2018By George Neumayr
    5 days ago
  • Oprah Would Be Trump’s Dream Opponent
    Despite liberals’ hyperventilation at the Golden Globe awards, Oprah would be Trump’s dream opponent. Although liberals comprise almost 100% of Hollywood, they were just a quarter of 2016 presidential voters. Drafting one to lead their ticket would just exacerbate Democrats’ leftward lean problem, while blunting their primary attack points against an incumbent president who will be harder to beat than many may think. For those who missed the spectacle of Hollywood giving itself awards, Oprah Winfrey was in showbiz argot: Boffo. She stole the show, and liberals’ hearts in the process. Although Oprah received a lifetime achievement award, the award they would like to give her is no less than the White House in 2020. Apparently the lesson liberals learned from 2016 is that anyone can win the presidency, so long as he or she is a big enough celebrity. In their mind, what Democrats need is their own of at least equal throw-weight to Donald Trump. An interesting theory, it entirely comports with the left’s low opinion of America’s public. It is also one that should leave Democratic strategists quaking in their boots. On January 10, Rasmussen released polling (1,000 likely voters, +/- 3%) on an Oprah versus Trump race. It showed 48% choosing Oprah, 38% for Trump, and 14% undecided. At first glance, a 10% margin appears like a good start, but there are problems. The first is that this is probably Oprah’s high-water mark — and it’s not that high. Forty-eight percent is still below half the vote. Remember: 48% was Clinton’s popular vote percentage in 2016 — and she still lost handily in the electoral vote. Oprah polled 76% of Democrats — that’s less than Clinton got — while Trump got 12% (more than his 2016 share). Oprah polled almost matched Clinton’s Independent share (44% to 42%) and 22% of Republicans (Clinton got only 8%). That means Oprah’s 10% margin rests on Republicans, who are likely to “come home” over a long campaign — and who voted 88% for Trump in 2016. The reason why Republicans will be likely to go back to Trump, is that Oprah would have to go left to win the Democratic nomination — and likely further left than Clinton did. Hillary had institutional advantages — Super Delegates, favorable rules, and more, all accumulated over a quarter of a century at the highest levels — that served as a bulwark against the Democratic Party’s increasingly leftward pull. Even with these advantages, Clinton had to really fight for the nomination. Without them, it is highly likely should would have failed. Sanders ran at a 40%+ rate throughout the primaries and Hillary had to move left more than desired. This leftward veer helped cost her the presidency. Oprah would lack Hillary’s advantages to withstand a leftward pull promising to be even stronger in 2020. However, Democrats’ problems would not end there. Democrats’ strategy has been to frame Trump as too extreme and inexperienced to be president. Oprah would negate both. As Oprah was pulled ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, January 17, 2018By J.T. Young
    5 days ago
  • Get Off the Couch, If You Want Medicaid
    Last week the Trump administration announced it will allow states to impose a “community engagement” requirement on healthy adults getting Medicaid, the public health insurance program for lower income people. So far, ten states intend to do it, though not welfare-haven New York. To get Medicaid, adults in these states will have to work or look for a job, study for a high school diploma, learn English as a second language, volunteer, get addiction treatment, or take care of a family member. In short, do something. Democrats and the liberal media call the requirement “cruel” and “pathological.” Baloney. There’s no reason taxpayers should pick up the tab for able-bodied people who won’t get off the couch. Medicaid was created in 1965 as a safety net health program for pregnant women, children and the disabled. Then Obamacare distorted it into permanent insurance, raising the allowable income level and opening it up to healthy adults who refuse to work. The Medicaid rolls now top 74 million, and are projected to reach 87 million within a decade. As Medicaid dependence soars, the left brags that more people are “covered.” Technically true, but misleading. Medicaid’s ballooning enrollment is creating a national crisis. And not just because it’s the fastest growing federal entitlement program and the biggest item in many state budgets. Medicaid is sending commercial health premiums through the roof. How? It shortchanges hospitals and doctors, and they make up for it by shifting the unmet costs onto privately insured patients, explains Don George, president and CEO of Vermont Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Every family that buys insurance or is covered through an employer gets socked with hundreds, or often thousands of dollars extra in yearly premiums. The bigger Medicaid grows, the higher these premiums will skyrocket, threatening to kill private insurance as a viable option. Yikes. Democrats boasting about the millions newly enrolled in Medicaid aren’t about to admit it’s driving premiums skyward. Allowing states to impose conditions for Medicaid will help curb the enrollment explosion. The history of welfare reform proves it. Welfare reform, enacted in 1996, introduced a work requirement, as well as a time limit on cash benefits. New York’s Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan predicted “children sleeping on grates, picked up in the morning, frozen.” Instead, welfare caseloads plunged by half within five years, as the freeloaders dropped out and the number of single mothers entering the workforce soared. That’s the goal again now. Nearly 10 million of the 25 million adults on Medicaid are not working, not even part-time, according to Kaiser Family Foundation. Yet there are millions of unfilled jobs available, and the labor participation rate for working age men is even lower than at the end of the Great Depression. So far, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin are planning to impose work-related conditions on Medicaid. It’s a national movement to dignify work, not dependence. If you earn too little to afford insurance, you can get Medicaid. But don’t ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, January 17, 2018By Betsy McCaughey
    5 days ago
  • Tax Reform Myths and Realities
    The recently enacted tax reform/tax reduction is possibly the most misinterpreted and misrepresented policy change in the history of policy changes. For example, it has been accused of benefiting only the wealthy and of adding $1.5 trillion to the federal debt. There are numerous reasons to be highly skeptical of both these assertions. The issue in the tax reform drawing the strongest criticism from Democrats is the reduction of the federal corporate tax rate. Democrats want you to believe that all the benefits of reduced corporate taxes flow to the wealthiest members of the population. Nancy Pelosi claims all the benefits go to “the wealthiest one-percent.” Knee-jerk reactions to reducing corporate taxes are a classic example of ignorance-based hysteria. To say that cutting corporate taxes benefits only the wealthy is a gross oversimplification of economic reality. A major part of the damage done by the corporate tax is the profound dishonesty it is based on. The corporate tax is a charlatan’s playground. It’s unfortunate that the misbegotten term “trickle-down economics” was ever invented. It’s been one of the terms used to demean cutting corporate income taxes. In an advanced, complex, free-market economy money flows in many directions. It goes down, up, sideways, backwards, and forwards. Trickle-down is a concept that does much more to obfuscate than illuminate. No reputable economist considers it a useful term. Much of the opposition to cutting corporate income taxes is based on the popular myth that corporations are capable of paying taxes. Corporations do write checks payable to the IRS but corporations cannot bear the “burden” of a tax any more than cows or horses can bear the burden of a tax. If you work for a corporation you pay the tax by having a reduced wage or salary. If you purchase goods or services produced and sold by corporations you pay the tax by paying a higher price for those goods and services. If you own shares of corporations you pay the tax through reduced dividends and lower share prices. It’s silly to think that all these people are wealthy. No one can possibly know how much he is paying in corporate income tax. That’s one of the reasons a corporate income is a bad tax. There’s no way to know if the tax is progressive, regressive, or proportional. The tax is reducing someone’s real income; it’s just hard to know who that someone is. It’s what Milton Friedman used to refer to as, “Don’t tax me, don’t tax thee, tax that fellow behind the tree.” The corporate tax is the best way to pretend there’s someone behind the tree. It would no doubt surprise Democrats that a study by William C. Randolph of the Congressional Budget Office estimated that “Domestic labor bears slightly more than 70 percent of the burden of the corporate income tax.” Other studies have come to similar conclusions. In other words, most of the payoff of lowered corporate tax rates would accrue to employees. Ideally the corporate income tax ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, January 17, 2018By Ron Ross
    5 days ago
  • Good News vs. Private Conversations
    Washington Last week the headlines should have abounded with the year’s good news. It was the economy: GDP up some 3 percent and for the last quarter nearly 4 percent, unemployment down to a 17-year low and black unemployment at the lowest level since such statistics were compiled. The stock market was soaring, up some 42 percent since Donald Trump was elected, and inflation was low. It was the best Christmas season in years. President Trump has — true to his word — presided over a genuine economic recovery, as opposed to President Barack Obama’s 8 years of stunted recovery — what the pessimists called the “New Normal.” Instead the headlines—and the cable news stories — abounded with a private remark made by our President — or perhaps not made by our President; he denies making it. In a White House meeting on immigration he allegedly used the word “sh–hole” to refer to various African countries and to Haiti. These countries are generally characterized by tyranny, corruption, and violence. If one refers to them as “hellholes” it usually attracts no opprobrium, though now it might attract feigned outrage by left-wing opportunists for they have called the offending remark “racist.” Actually race has nothing to do with the countries’ obvious shortcomings. Who doubts that in private such men as John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon used such off-color terms as “sh–hole.” I personally heard former president Nixon use similar vulgarities — infrequently, but he used them. For that matter, I have recorded Hillary Clinton’s recourse to off-color language. Now, shall I repair to the library in search of JFK and LBJ’s lapses into crudeness? It would not take very long. The man who reportedly leaked our President’s indiscretion was none other than Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois. Do you remember that sultry June day back in 2006 when on the floor of the Senate he accused the American military of using the tactics of Nazis, Soviets, and Pol Pot at Guantanamo? Now he has called President Trump reprehensible for his use of an off-color word in private. I am not particularly disturbed by our passionate and earthy 45th President’s resort to salty language in discussing what kinds of immigration legislation are desirable for the United States. Though I think there are more important issues to discuss and even celebrate. As I have said, how about that economy! Which brings me to another story I noticed last week. Floyd Abrams, the nation’s Keeper of the First Amendment, chided the Wall Street Journal for what the Journal termed “being too nonchalant about Mr. Trump’s rants.” Abrams did it in a Letter to the Editor where he wrote: “… journalists should be the first to take seriously and condemn vigorously any president who does so.” His dudgeon put me in mind of the days when I, in the late 1990s, was defending myself and The American Spectator against the Clinton Administration’s attempts to jail my staff and me. They dragged us before ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, January 17, 2018By R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.
    5 days ago
  • The American News Media is Repugnant: Donald Trump is Completely Sane
    From the Washington Free Beacon, a super-cut version of the White House correspondents asking inane questions of the President’s doctor: I would vote for Donald Trump 100 times just to annoy these vapid simpletons. They are a farce. The President keeps pointing out how the media is  unfair, biased and mendacious. Every day, the media proves him right. The President is fit as a fiddle. The media has lost its collective mind. ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, January 16, 2018By Melissa Mackenzie
    5 days ago
  • Trump’s Greatest Achievement May Be the Worsening Agony of the NY Times Op-Ed Writers
    As we are about to begin Year Two of the Trump era in Washington, there are a lot of things to like from year one. Tax reform. Gutting regulations. A return of presidential respect and support for law enforcement. The most entertaining aspect to this presidency as far as I am concerned is the way that President Trump in a near permanent state of apoplexy. The beauty of watching it all from this side of the aisle is enjoying the casual ease with which he leads them around by their noses all the while they keep reassuring themselves that they’re the smart ones and are really fighting the power. The examples of this are so numerous they could be dealt with in lengthy book or a miniseries, so we will just focus on one media outlet here: The New York Times. More specifically, the Grey Lady’s Opinion section. It is no secret to any non-liberal reader of the Times that the Opinion section has long been the section of the paper, and now the website, that is most likely to go off the deep end at any moment. Featuring a parade of contributors who are so far left that many of them have probably never even met a moderate Democrat, the Opinion section isn’t handling President Trump’s continued success very well. At all. In the past, I would only check out this section when I needed a quick idea for a media bias post. It rarely failed to deliver. Many argue with me that it isn’t bias if it is in the Opinion section, but then I dare them to prove how the op-ed pieces are any different from the front page. On Monday, this passed through my Twitter list devoted to watching print media: Scientists take evidence seriously, so @PaulKrugman says it's no wonder that politically conservative college professors are scare in physics and biology departments https://t.co/vV1VO8GFvu — NYT Opinion (@nytopinion) January 16, 2018 The typo isn’t uncommon for the Times. Despite the paper’s boasts about success since Trump was inaugurated, they still fired a bunch of editors last summer. As we move closer to the midterm elections, the constant railing against President Trump is slowly moving towards any kind of Republican bashing that they can think of. All of it is desperate and juvenile though. This Krugman piece features a Nobel Laureate basically engaging in a rote talking point playground taunt. Republicans don’t believe in science and are too stupid to teach-get it? The Opinion page gives a voice to this kind of “Why won’t everyone hate them as much as we do????” flailing every day. A couple of recent column headlines are “Will America Choose King’s Dream or Trump’s Nightmare” and “Trump Is a Racist, Period”. While these may be Opinion column headlines they are also featured in the upper right quadrant of the home page on the Times‘ website. During the big liberal “Is he crazy?” nonsense recently, nearly every tweet from the Opinion account read like a ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, January 16, 2018By Stephen Kruiser
    5 days ago
  • Must See Churchill
    The other day I went to see Darkest Hour, the movie about Winston Churchill’s heroics in the spring of 1940 in steeling the British upper classes to resist Hitler and to relieve Dunkirk by sending off a civilian armada to rescue the British army from the Nazis. The hour was very dark indeed. Aware as you might be of my aversion to movies, allow me to astound you further. This was not the first time I went to see Darkest Hour. It was the second time! I might see it again. The cinematography was stupendous. Parliament, Churchill’s war rooms, Buckingham Palace, and Chartwell — the Churchill home, also billows of cigar smoke, tumblers of scotch, and snatches of the great man’s oratory. Not one actor or actress in the movie was a dud. As a matter of fact, everyone was exceptional. It was as though the British movie industry summoned its very best talent to prove to the Yanks how inferior they really are at the thespian art. Of all the actors the one playing Winston Churchill, Gary Oldman, was the best. He might have surpassed even the real Winston. Lily James who played Churchill’s typists Elizabeth Layton was marvelous, as was Stephen Dillane who played the loathsome Lord Halifax. But when I get started naming names I feel the impulse to add another and another and before you know it I will have named the entire cast. Suffice to say, I have not seen a movie that lavished so much talent on screen perhaps ever. Possibly I shall have to end my boycott. I urge you to go. You will see Churchill at his best or at least one of his best moments. Of course there had to be some phony scenes thrown in. There is a scene in the London subway that surely never took place. In it Winston appears in a subway car on his way to Westminster, and the passengers, all commoners, urge him never to surrender. Actually the official biographer of Churchill, Martin Gilbert, reminded me before he died of an incident that captured the scene’s spirit and had the added benefit of actually occurring in 1940. Winston was walking from Admiralty House across Horse Guards to a gate that leads to Number 10. A group of construction workers saw him and cheered. Winston became very agitated and could not unlock the gate. His aide, I believe it was Anthony Eden, asked him why he was so troubled. The new Prime Minister answered with tears in his eyes, “Because I can’t help them.” His darkest hour was that dark. Even if you rarely go to the movies go to this one.   ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, January 16, 2018By R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.
    5 days ago
  • Fanta Is Healthier Than Fascism
    I’d like to buy the world a Coke. I would just rather shop for it in Sammamish than Seattle. Seattle’s 1.75-cent per ounce tax on sugary drinks went into effect earlier this month. That hangover after the sugar high appears in effect for the voters who elected the city council that elected to raise taxes on Grape Fanta, Fresca, Faygo Redpop, and other pleasant potations. Stores selling liquid deliciousness in bulk suffer the consequences. At Costco, which specializes in bulk, the tax — Seattle insists on calling it a fee — hits hard. A 35-pack of Gatorade, the beverage favored by the healthiest people in society, cost $15.99 at Costco before the “fee” and $26.33 after it. Social media posts noting the price explosion also highlight Costco’s advice for consumers to shop at their locations outside of Seattle. “We did not see any data that really shored up the argument that this hurts local businesses,” Lorena González, a member of the Seattle city council, told KIRO 7. “There’s not a lot of cross-border shopping,” Jim Krieger, a member of the Seattle Healthy Kids Coalition and executive director of Health Food America, maintained in an interview with the television station. “People realize it’s not worth my while.” But given that a sizable number of people drive out of their way to Costco, BJs, Sam’s Club, and other wholesalers, the idea that they will drive out of their way to Costco, BJs, Sam’s Club, and other wholesalers in the suburbs does not strike as far-fetched. Indeed, the whole premise behind the soda tax contradicts the notion that tax hikes do not alter behavior. Gonzalez, Krieger, and others backed the tax to nudge consumers into buying some other, presumably healthier beverage. Surely, driving a few extra miles to shop does not make for a more extreme behavioral modification than switching from Moxie to Poland water. And the next move by the sugar do-gooders indicates that they know as much. Evergreen State legislators, including several representatives from Seattle, seek to impose the soda tax in its largest city on all of its cities. HB1975 differs from the Seattle tax in that in imposing it upon producers rather than consumers its authors hope to hide its existence from the people paying it. At two-cents per ounce, it also penalizes soda drinkers more severely than the Seattle tax. But its sponsors believe they know best. “The legislature finds that both children and adults in the United States are eating and drinking added sugar in excess of the daily recommended amount,” the bill informs. “The legislature further finds that the daily consumption of sugary drinks by a child increases that child’s chances of obesity by fifty-five percent and that daily consumption of sugary drinks by an adult increases that adult’s risk of tooth decay by thirty percent.” Beyond this, the legislation notes that “African-American children saw over twice as many television advertisements for sugary and energy drinks than the white youth.” All true. But the authors of ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, January 16, 2018By Dan Flynn
    6 days ago