American Spectator

  • Postmodern Assumptions
    Arguably the factor that militates against the sound and reasonable examination of issues on a global scale is a postmodern view that truth does not exist. In an age of internet exchanges opinions are as true as facts. Here is the efflorescence of John Paul Sartre’s view that intention is all that counts. If you think you are right, nothing else counts. Facts be damned. Media ecology has converted illusions into a form of reality that houses the self-appointed arbiters of truth. If intellectual freedom encourages everyone to believe anything he wishes, limits based on objectivity and empirical data are unneeded. The new norm is no norm. The 9/11 attacks were conducted by the CIA; vaccines lead to autism; extraterrestrials landed in the Nevada desert. These are merely a few of the bizarre claims in the anything goes universe. Two-thirds of Americans believe angels and demons are active in the world. Fifteen percent think the media or government add secret mind-controlling technology to broadcast signals. A quarter of Americans believe in witches. Moreover, much of this fantasy has been promoted by institutions that once held the keys to objective thought: institutions of higher education; newspapers; television news. In fact, their embrace of the postmodern view has allowed the irrational to become respectable with courses on campus like “mysticism and magic.” For most of American and European history a balance had been struck between credulity and skepticism. But now we are living with the great unravelling: Do your own thing means do whatever you want to do. With instant internet communication opinions can float around the globe before I have tied my shoe laces, making any manner of fantasy seem real. If there are antecedents for the current trend they can be found in the sixties, a decade that reordered American society. Psychology and philosophy were turned on their heads leading to hot tub therapy, sexual experimentation, shamanism, Chinese medicine, and a host of narcissistic therapeutic approaches. Even “madness” was not mad according to the therapists who argued mental illness doesn’t exist. But despite the sixties’ assault on rationalism, the peaceful utopia with hearts and minds converted didn’t quite pan out. It turns out reality is more than a social construct. Nonetheless, the cultural upheaval has influenced the present. Fantasyland is not only found in Disney World. Relativism is entrenched in the Academy. The distinction between fact and fiction is crumbling. Everyone seated before a computer can create his own reality for himself and others. In our culture, there is a Gresham’s Law in which the bad drives the good out of circulation. Fantasy is on the rise as reality has tipped into decline. An admixture of opinion and an occasional dose of fact and wisdom do not invoke great hope for the future. This crisis goes to the essence of meaning, of how we conduct our lives and raise our children. Postmodernists are winning these battles, which leads me to wonder if the few realists left in society can hold ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, August 17, 2017By Herbert London
    17 hours ago
  • Left-Wing Air and Water
    For those of you who still believe that the up-scale Sierra Club — with 2.4 million members and a $100 million annual budget — is anything more than a general purpose left-wing pressure group, allow me to share with you an email I received Tuesday from Sierra president Michael Brune urging me to action. This email didn’t ask me to get off my duff in the name of clean air and water, to save some obscure plant or animal, or to worry some climate alarum. You know, the kind of things one would expect environmental organizations to be hot for. No, Brune wants me to call the White House, at the number helpfully listed, to demand — Sierra Clubbers demand, they don’t request — that “the Trump administration fire staffers who support hate.” That’s right. Apparently Brune and his legion of Lexus lefties and tote-bag cranks have been convinced that the Trump administration is overrun by white racist haters. Saturday’s events in Charlottesville, and Trump’s rejection of the no-hate-on-the-left orthodoxy, have further cemented them in this delusion. “Some of these same white supremacists work in the Trump administration,” Brune asserts, offering no basis for this outlandish claim. “Call the White House now and demand that they be fired.” Other than the general fear that closet ku-kluxers in grey suits and ties lurk and do their evil work throughout 1600, Brune offers some specific names of advisors who should be cashiered. The names won’t surprise those who have been paying attention. Of course Brune wants to see the end of that general bugbear of the left, Steve Bannon. No explanation needed here. Everyone to the left of John McCain considers him a limb of Satan and has nightmares about Bannon whispering in the Donald’s ear. Sebastian Gorka should get the heave-ho too because he has, Brune says, underestimated the risk to the peace of the nation of white nationalist groups. Stephen Miller has earned the animosity of the left for suggesting that the State of Liberty has more to do with, well, liberty, than it has to do with open borders. There you have it. The three hateful desperados and threats to the republic, according to a silk-stocking environmental group. Brune goes on, working up a real head of steam and indignation: “It is more important than ever that we call out these people for exactly what they are: unacceptable racists preaching division and hatred that stand in opposition to the values of equality and justice that must drive our nation forward. Hatred and racism have long played a disgraceful part in American history, but there can be no doubt that those who spew hate feel empowered right now when they see allies in the corridors of power.” Wow. Takes your breath away, doesn’t it? Our Michael is some stem-winder. I’d be a bit alarmed after reading this if I had ever seen any of the presidential advisors singled out spewing hate or saying or doing anything racist or bigoted, let ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, August 17, 2017By Larry Thornberry
    17 hours ago
  • California Can’t Fix Its Housing Problems
    Sacramento Even California’s liberal Democrats are starting to understand that the state’s housing crisis is fundamentally a supply-and-demand problem. Home prices have soared to astronomical levels, with a median price above $750,000 in the nine-county Bay Area and nearly $700,000 in Orange County. Years of growth controls and local regulations have restricted housing supply and added as much as 40 percent to the price of every new home that’s built. Housing is the key reason California has a 24 percent poverty rate (using the U.S. Census Bureau’s new cost-of-living-adjusted index), the highest in the nation. Even a six-figure salary can’t buy a median-priced home in most of the state’s big metro areas, so you can only imagine what exorbitant home and rent prices mean for those people on the lower end of the earnings scale. As legislators head back to Sacramento after summer recess, a housing package tops the agenda. That’s a troubling idea in and of itself. The same leftist legislators who have created this crisis are offering to fix it. It’s the equivalent of what Ronald Reagan called the nine most terrifying words: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” It might be best to run for the hills, or at least contact U-Haul about the price of moving to Nevada. Still, those of us who long have pushed for an easier permit process are heartened to find such an idea gaining traction in the Legislature, as well as the support of Gov. Jerry Brown. Brown wants to loosen local zoning restrictions, even though his battle against climate change has made it far more difficult for localities to permit construction of new subdivisions. The main, encouraging piece of legislation is Senate Bill 35, by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco. The bill “creates a streamlined, ministerial approval process for development proponents of multi-family housing if the development meets specified requirements and the local government in which the development is located has not produced enough housing units to meet its regional housing needs assessment,” according to the bill analysis. Ministerial approval is a great idea. Builders would have a right to a permit provided they meet several standards, thus eliminating the drawn-out approval process that has doomed so many California housing projects over the years. The bill has gotten even better in recent days, as Wiener agreed to an amendment that expands its application not only to infill sites in “urbanized areas” but also to so-called “urbanized clusters.” “That greatly expands the bill’s impact, covering hundreds more small and mid-size cities,” according to a recent Sacramento Bee report. That’s good news. But don’t be too encouraged. The legislation also includes language that undermines a lot of the good stuff — and reveals the fundamental reason reform always is impossible here. As the Bee explained, the California Building Industry Association “objects to provisions requiring developers who want the expedited approval to pay prevailing wages on those projects and comply with worker training standards.” Prevailing wages are union wages. So ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, August 17, 2017By Steven Greenhut
    18 hours ago
  • The CBO’s Fuzzy Math
    The Congressional Budget Office postulates that cutting spending by almost $100 million over the next decade would increase the deficit by about $200 million over the next decade. George W. Bush called that kind of arithmetic “fuzzy math.” The CBO report released this week specifically involves cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments made by the federal government. The acronym works as a euphemism for “bribe” but few dare utter that ugly word. CSRs, which currently amount to about $7 billion annually, entice private insurers to stay in unprofitable markets covering deductibles, copayments, and other out-of-pocket expenses of lower-income Americans receiving insurance through Obamacare. The markets remain unprofitable because of restrictions on what companies can charge the old, the sick, and the vicious. CSRs keep the teetering Jenga tower standing. But even with CSRs Aetna, Anthem, and other insurers flee certain Obamacare markets, with fewer competitors ultimately nudging prices upward. The report claiming that cutting spending means increased spending assumes that citizens not receiving one subsidy make it up by enrolling in Medicaid, finding another program to help fund insurance costs, or benefiting from a tax credit. It bases the analysis on the premises that third parties continue to pay the bulk of the bills and that the defects in the program remain. The CBO admits of the spending cut resulting in a spending boost, “Those effects are uncertain and would depend on how the policy was implemented.” Indeed. Atop this assumption, the CBO does not explore the possible positive ramifications of relieving third parties (private insurance plans and public welfare programs) of the burden of paying all or nearly all of the tab. In Singapore, where almost everybody pays every time, healthcare eats up less than five percent of GDP versus nearly 20 percent here. Killing the subsidy also highlights the utter unworkability of Obamacare, which inflates prices by mandating several “essential” health benefits most do not want, forbidding fluctuations in the cost of individual plans based on obesity or other salient characteristics, and by placing artificial limits on the gaps in the money charged between age categories. It works as a redistribution program (not true insurance) from the healthy to the unhealthy and from the young to the old. In other words, Obamacare essentially orders private companies to adopt the policies of public welfare agencies. Unsurprisingly, companies in the business of business go out of the health care business in areas where the restrictions prove particularly onerous. The mere existence of the subsidy exposes the program as one unable to survive without an annual bailout. The exodus of insurers from markets in Iowa, Nevada, Wisconsin, and beyond puts the exclamation point on this. The report presents some good news for those looking to abolish CSR payments. The CBO sees the number of Americans insured eventually increasing as a result of the policy about-face. Other outcomes that appear painful in the short term yield to long-term benefits. But the positive judgments, like the negative ones, ultimately amount to an educated guess. As the ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, August 17, 2017By Hunt Flynn
    18 hours ago
  • Is It Time to Ban the Democratic Party?
    It is a political movement devouring itself. Of a sudden America is confronted with American leftists abruptly striking out at their own history — pulling down statues of those who were the military leaders of a philosophical belief that is historically recorded and enshrined as the building block of the Democratic Party. In a 2016 commencement address to City College in New York graduates, then-First Lady Michelle Obama said that “every single day” as First Lady “I wake up in a house that was built by slaves.” True enough. But what the First Lady left out is that every day any Democrat in America wakes up they are the core of a political party that, like the physical White House, “was built by slaves.” Back there in the stone age of 2008 I authored a piece in The American Spectator which was reprinted in the Wall Street Journal. In which there was a specific recounting of the Democratic Party’s construction as the Party of Race. A party that was built on the idea of racism. Among the hard facts of party history cited were these: Six party platforms from 1840-1860 that supported slavery. Twenty Democratic Party platforms from 1868-1948 that either supported segregation outright or were silent on the subject. The use of the Ku Klux Klan, which, according to Columbia University historian Eric Foner, became “a military force serving the interests of the Democratic Party.” University of North Carolina historian Allen Trelease described the Klan as the “terrorist arm of the Democratic Party.” The Democratic Party opposed the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution. The 13th banned slavery. The 14th effectively overturned the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision (made by Democratic pro-slavery Supreme Court justices) by guaranteeing due process and equal protection to former slaves. The 15th gave black Americans the right to vote. And so it went as the Democratic Party built itself politically on a culture of racism that is now once again overflowing in this sudden drive of 21st century leftists to deny the original identity politics that created them — and which is still the nuclear core of their ideological energy. All of which raises the obvious question. If the statues birthed by Democratic Party orthodoxy must come down — and there is now a call to remove statues of prominent Democratic members of the House or Senate from the US Capitol building — should the political party that gave birth to those statues in the first place be the exception to the First Amendment — and banned and outlawed outright? My answer? Of course not. The First Amendment should protect even a party built by racism and racists. But if Americans are not going to ban the Democrats — the political party that was built on the backs of black slaves and segregation? A party that continues to this very day by feeding off of identity politics — the grandchild of slavery and the child of segregation? Then at the very least the party must be held accountable ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, August 17, 2017By Jeffrey Lord
    18 hours ago
  • Asians on Campuses
    When the New York Times reported that the Justice Department’s civil rights division might investigate and litigate “intentional race-based discrimination” on campus, focusing on earlier complaints from Asians at Harvard University, affirmative-action engines roared into action, with the inevitable exhaust about racism and privilege in America. In the vaporous world of college admissions, of course, “intentional race-based discrimination” is the coin of the realm. Schools enact grandiose diversity goals to match the general population. But the actual choices made in admissions offices favor a different set of students. Since 2000, Asian enrollments at top U.S. colleges and universities have rocketed. White enrollments nationwide have dropped from about two-thirds to one-half. Selective private schools calculate ethnicity in ways to fog the numbers, and numbers vary based on the arithmetic. Asians are minorities when top schools need to flash high diversity numbers. “At selective colleges, Asians are demographically overrepresented minorities, but they are underrepresented relative to the applicant pool,” states Jeannie Suk Gersen, a Harvard law professor, writing in the New Yorker. Asian-Americans with U.S. citizenship make up one group. Foreigners are another. Public and private colleges and universities aggressively court cash-cow international students who pay much higher non-resident tuitions. Writing checks, Asian nationals are pouring into undergraduate programs across the country. Mainland Chinese students in U.S. schools have increased five-fold to 300,000 since 2007. Indians, Koreans, and Taiwanese follow close behind, clustered in STEM programs and business schools. These Asians think of themselves purely in national, not group or continental, terms. Label-conscious Asians, foreign and domestic, remain fixated on admittance to a few high-prestige U.S. schools. Top schools want to — and do — avoid Asian super-grinds who are conniving to get a green card, don’t mix with gweilo, cannot speak or write English, and make life hell for language instructors. Second-tier schools don’t have that luxury. They need the money. Harvard College is private, so its student profile is not accidental, nor is it something the government manages, not yet. Harvard sets higher bars for admissions for Asians and whites than for blacks and Hispanics. Asian and white applicants face admissions discrimination at schools like Harvard because so many proficient candidates exist. The Asian influx is actually something the college manages quite well, and exclusion is surely not the case. Harvard’s bigger headache might come from what to do with Chinese tour buses gumming up Harvard Square, and tour groups walking through campus in aggressive packs with selfie sticks. While Harvard and other top schools wear a diversity rainbow as their badge, they want to — and do — attract students who go on to be high achievers in business, government, and culture. Selective schools seek outstanding individuals globally from every conceivable background. They admit children of rich, famous, important alumni, thinking of future donations. Children from privileged backgrounds add cachet and savoir-faire to the mix. According to the Wall Street Journal, Asians comprise more than one-fifth of Harvard, Yale and Princeton undergraduates. Princeton’s entering class this year is 26% Asian. ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, August 17, 2017By Gilbert T. Sewall
    18 hours ago
  • Steve Bannon — In Exile Sooner Than Later
    Steve Bannon is out. And all that has happened in — and since — Charlottesville has had paradoxical effects. It is not simply whether Bannon, who once had unfettered access to the Oval Office, is now banished from the White House, gone outright, or to go first, in transition, to the adjoining Executive Office Building with the wannabes. For the president, this is the paradox — does he make Bannon the Fall Guy for Charlottesville by dumping him quickly, as if Bannon is to blame for the ongoing melodramatic fiasco? Or does the president rebel — so as not to be seen as acting out of weakness by throwing red meat to the mainstream media who could then rejoice that he has repudiated the ‘alt-right’ — and keep Bannon around longer? Recall not the presidents, but the precedents. President Trump erred egregiously in appointing Gen. Mike Flynn his national security adviser, but he loyally backed Mike Flynn “with his full confidence” until, hours later, he (properly) dumped him. But the president privately and then publicly denigrated White House chief of staff Reince Priebus before forcing Priebus out, i.e., a forced resignation. And previously, the president had been undercutting a Priebus colleague, press secretary-under-siege, Sean Spicer: the low-class Scary-mooch-ee humiliating the hard-working spokesman into a resignation to salvage what was left of Spicer’s self-respect. The president tweeted against a cabinet member, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an embryonic and quintessential Trump loyalist. Trump wanted Sessions out but relented only when his new chief of staff, Gen. John Kelly, among others, insisted that firing Sessions would precipitate a national crisis of confidence. And the consequence of all this: senior Republicans in the Senate and House are more empowered, against a weakened Sessions: look for them to challenge the AG’s recalcitrance on criminal justice reform, a priority of the conservative movement, whose leaders hold in distain the AG’s infatuation with the discredited War on Drugs, his renewal of draconian punishments for drug offenses, his resistance to state’s rights on marijuana decriminalization. When I attended the libertarian Freedom Fest in Las Vegas last month, the mention of Sessions’ name was booed. When and how Bannon’s fate is announced is, for now, still up (but not for long) to the Goldman Sachs alumnus-turned-populist. But time is running out for this iconoclast’s remotely dignified exit. Unlike the bumbling and obnoxious Scary-mooch-ee, who again proves that even a very rich guy can be a buffoon, Bannon was no opportunist seeking a media splash. He was content to be in the background, so unorthodox in his ideas in a Republican Administration, that he sought a tax hike for the wealthy, among other effects, a perverse assault on the affluent Hollywood elite. Insiders know that, despite President Donald Trump’s degradation of Bannon’s role in the upset electoral victory, Bannon as the campaign’s principal strategist was sine qua non. Reince Priebus was the nuts-and-bolts guy who skillfully allocated the resources, but it was Bannon’s vision that was dispositive. And some others ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, August 16, 2017By Arnold Steinberg
    1 day ago
  • Whose Side Is He On?
    Now for a few words about the Confederate statues contretemps in various states. 1. I wonder how many of the counter-protesters at the Charlottesville event even had any idea who Robert E. Lee was. He was a major hero of the Mexican-American War. He fought for the Confederacy against the Union, but at the time he did it, it was not illegal. Slavery was — while 100 percent evil — completely protected by law as of 1861. When Lee went to work to defend his native Virginia, he was not violating any law. In fact, at no time did the Supreme Court rule that secession was unconstitutional. To the contrary, when the Supreme Court moved towards declaring secession lawful, President Lincoln, in violation of every lawful principle, threatened to have Roger Taney, the Chief Justice, arrested and jailed. He had already used federal troops to arrest much of the Maryland state legislature to keep Maryland from seceding. Again, this was an unequivocal violation of the Constitution. And when a court ordered the legislators released under habeas corpus, Lincoln simply ignored the order. When the Army of Northern Virginia surrendered at Appomattox Court House in the spring of 1865, some officers of Lee’s Army suggested an ongoing guerrilla campaign against the Union. Lee absolutely vetoed the idea, saying that enough blood had been shed and that it was time to bind up the wounds of war. I wonder how many of the counter-protesters who threw containers of urine and bottles and sticks at the protesters who actually had a license to demonstrate knew anything about Lee the peacemaker or about Lincoln, the lawbreaker. I wonder how many Americans of any age know that the immense majority of Southerners owned no slaves and that they laid down their lives to protect not slavery, but an invasion by Northerners who by the laws of the day simply had no clear legal right to be in North Carolina or Virginia at arms. 2. I watched with astonishment the demolition of the statue of a Confederate soldier in Durham. No police at hand at all to stop the destruction of public property. No vote by any government body to remove the statue. Just a mob of “students” and a complete absence of police or law enforcement at all. This was mob rule. Pure, simple, and terrifying. Why even bother to have police at all if this is the way the law is protected? 3. I see that, as of late Tuesday night, he media is going berserk with rage about President Trump saying there were lawbreakers on both sides in C-ville. But clearly, Mr. Trump was right. The pro-statue people were strange looking, but they had a permit and they had the First Amendment. The ones who attacked them with clubs were the instigators. Yes, of course I hate anyone who even hints at sympathy for the Nazis. The monstrous evil of those demons is unmatched. But they have the right to speak when not inciting ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, August 16, 2017By Ben Stein
    1 day ago
  • Eclipse Mania Snuffed
    Thousands of astronomy buffs and amateur stargazers are spending thousands of dollars for the once in a lifetime opportunity to see a total eclipse of the sun. Unfortunately, there are no money back guarantees in astronomy and many may be sorely disappointed that, at the precise total eclipse moment, cloud cover will totally obscure the magical event. Like so many other misfortunes in life, this may be an opportunity for the federal government to step in and grant monetary relief.… FEMA, are you up to the task? ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, August 16, 2017By Gerald D. Skoning
    1 day ago
  • Healthcare Solutions, Scarce in Washington, Found 10,000 Miles Away
    Singapore spends less on health care than any other First World nation. Its inhabitants also rank as one of the healthiest peoples on the planet. Go figure. With polls showing just 12 percent of Americans supporting one of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s repeal-and-replace measures and even fewer wanting to keep Obamacare intact without reform, Washington’s solutions to our health-care woes appear pretty woeful to the American people. What’s the harm with looking halfway around the world for help? William Haseltine did just that in a book written in 2013 for the Brookings Institution. In Affordable Excellence: The Singapore Healthcare Story, he found a system that combines elements of the free-market system and of government management sure to alienate ideologues of all persuasions. He also persuades that what he studied works — at least a lot better than what we have. Singapore achieves universal coverage by requiring its citizens to pay into a savings account called MediSave. Singaporeans may also enroll in catastrophic-care insurance called MediShield. MediFund, Singapore’s version of Medicaid, provides care to the indigent. How do they cover everybody but incur so little in costs? Singapore makes everybody contribute to their health-care expenses. In the United States, where third parties — government welfare programs or private insurance — often pay the full bills of patients, patients often run up excessive tabs. Singapore provides a check against such behavior by mandating that the people receiving the care share in the costs. The government also requires transparency by mandating that providers promulgate the price for services. The personal funds used to pay for individual healthcare come out of the Central Provident Fund, a system not unlike Social Security set up to ensure a cushion for retirement. Singapore eventually expanded this program of mandated savings to healthcare. “The Central Provident Fund’s contribution to the viability of the healthcare system cannot be overstated,” Haseltine writes, “it helps control costs by instilling in patients a sense of responsibility about their spending — after all, it is their money to save or spend; and it helps make care available and affordable to all.” The government sets the percentages, which fluctuate in times of prosperity and recession, that employers and employees must contribute. The accounts earn a return on investment. Account holders can share money in their MediSave accounts with sick relatives and remain free to buy insurance atop the compulsory medical-savings account. While elements of the program resemble Medicaid and Medicare, it looks overall more like Social Security, perhaps the most popular government enterprise in America beyond those outlined by the Founders. The compulsory accounts may not strike conservatives as ideal and the everybody-pays requirement might appear less than perfect to liberals. But results — radically reducing costs and providing universal coverage — achieves what both groups regard as the salient goal. Beyond this, health outcomes — the main goal of any system — rank as top notch. “Today Singapore ranks sixth in the world in healthcare outcomes well ahead of many developed countries, ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, August 16, 2017By Hunt Flynn
    2 days ago
  • Who Put Charlottesville on the Map?
    “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” That would have been the narrative in Charlottesville. However, the media and social media have made what was a local story at best into, well, what it has become. You win, media, you win, social media, a woman is dead, and a town is in tatters, all to fill a 24-hour news cycle, now going on 96 hours. Of course, there is also the other narrative being refreshed that the President is Hitler incarnate and his supporters the future Fourth Reich. If not for social media and the David Dinkins police handbook, Charlottesville wouldn’t have been a story; it would have been the beginning of a bad joke. A white nationalist, a Nazi, a member of the BDS movement, and a member of Antifa, walk into a small town. Try googling how many white nationalists or “Nazis” were there protesting. Maybe you have better googling skills than I. It is curious, though, why no number has been offered. Since we don’t know, I would venture to say there were more counter-protesters than actual protesters. And, yes, “size does matter” in this scenario. Because we are being led to believe that that the Nazi party is on the rise, and David Duke has the slightest modicum of relevance. David Duke has about as much influence as an ’80s one-hit-wonder. Yeah, there is the passing curiosity of the loyal base, of where are they now, and the fleeting fantasy of one more hit, but the hit never comes. David Duke has been relegated to the county fair, and the media is elevating him to arena rock status. David freaking Duke, really? Say it out loud and try not to laugh. If anyone should be or would be scared of a growing “Nazi Movement” it should be this card-carrying, Star of David wearing Jew. But the numbers don’t lie. Sorry to disappoint, but there is no Nazi epidemic. What the President should say in response when asked about David Duke is, “Sure, that’s right, Davey and I share a Sabbath meal once a month, with Jared, Ivanka, my two daughters-in-law, my head of HUD, my chief economic adviser, and all of my grandkids who are all Jewish, and Omirosa.” This shouldn’t have been a story. And however many unreported members of the New Nazi regime showed up and would have given a few Sieg Heil’s, screamed whatever racist and I guess anti-Semitic slogans they could think of, exercised their First Amendment rights, dispersed, had a few Heinekens, saluted the motherland, and gone back to their tiny lives. But no, the media wanted a story they created. Again, a story that they, the mayor, and Terry McAuliffe created, and who without a doubt are as responsible for a young woman’s death as the idiot Charger driver. He drove, but they gave him the directions. They want to blame the President and his supporters. I ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, August 16, 2017By Judah Friedman
    2 days ago
  • Workers Benefit From Business Tax Cuts
    Left-wing political groups are staging street protests and running television ads to defeat President Trump’s proposed corporate tax cut. If they succeed, the big losers will be anyone hoping for a raise or looking for a better job. Top Democrats like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are haranguing about tax cuts for wealthy corporations. MoveOn.org and the Working Families Party are paying for ads opposing even “one penny” of tax breaks to corporations. Don’t be bamboozled. You don’t have to be a business owner to benefit from business tax cuts. If your goal is more take-home pay, these tax cuts will help you. Data from 72 countries over 22 years show that countries that raise corporate tax rates hurt workers, while countries that lower corporate taxes help their workers earn higher wages. What class-warfare Democrats aren’t telling you is that business tax rates in the U.S. are higher than in any other developed country, making it hard for American companies to compete for investment capital. That disadvantage is worsening as many European countries cut their business taxes even further. Once corporate rates are lowered, American companies will use the invested money to buy more computers, trucks, and high-tech manufacturing tools. And hire more computer operators, truck drivers, and factory workers. The new equipment will increase the output of each worker. That’s key. When workers produce more per hour, their wages can rise. A backhoe operator can earn more than a guy with a shovel. When workers produce more, the nation also has more goods and services to go around — more cars in the driveway and appliances in the kitchen. A higher standard of living. During the Obama years, the economy sputtered along at an average 2.1% a year, far below the 3.8% Americans were used to. Why? Companies failed to invest in equipment to boost worker output, and wages stagnated, as even Democratic Minority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer admits. Americans toiled year after year, but their standard of living didn’t improve. Donald Trump campaigned promising to jumpstart the economy. His goal is 3% growth, maybe even 4%. A goal Democrats mock. They say slow growth is inevitable — that 2% is the new norm. No doubt under their policies it is. President Obama’s tax hikes and regulatory war on business kept the brakes on economic recovery. Unless these Obama-era policies are changed, the Congressional Budget Office forecasts that we will face more stagnation ahead, a paltry 1.9% annual growth. Democratic politicians may be okay with that. You shouldn’t be. Democratic apologists like economist Larry Summers insist stagnation is here to stay. That’s nonsense. America can escape it. Morgan Stanley’s Global Investment Committee forecasts a surge in worker productivity if the nation embraces pro-growth policies. High corporate taxes are sabotaging our workforce. Yet Warren actually wants to raise them for the sake of fairness. What’s fair about depressed wages? Democrats stoke envy and argue over how to divvy up the pie, never mind expanding it. They seldom talk about growth. What a difference from 1961, when Democratic President John F. Kennedy ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, August 16, 2017By Betsy McCaughey
    2 days ago
  • Masters of Inhumanity
    No suspense this time around. Anyone who says someone else is “unfit to be a human” clinches our golden prize, hook, line, and sinker. Way to go, Ana Navarro. Your post-Jeb career isn’t wanting in the energy that made his run exhausting. Though we are curious, given that it’s all playing out at the network that has zero tolerance for any strains of Hitlerian speech. Wasn’t the Nazis’ denial of their victims’ essential humanity a characteristic of the Holocaust? Must say too that we’re mightily impressed by the humanity displayed by all those at CNN who weren’t purged in the Sieg Heil putsch of Jeffrey Lord, all of them rushing to resign en masse out of solidarity with a victim of corporate bigotry, cowardice, and intolerance. After all the bullying he put up with night after night, as seven of them on average would beat up on an isolated and cornered Jeff, didn’t they owe him something? How about a goodbye party, or a CNN special on the Lord Years? To think he wasted a Saturday night last spring to attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner as a CNN guest which the president had the good sense to blow off. Jeff had made them all look good, understanding the Trump phenomenon well before anyone else on any other network caught on. And now they’ll pretend he never existed. Tit for tat will come no sweat. We can’t promise, but it’s conceivable that Ms. Navarro will be the last CNN connected persona ever to be named EOW. With Jeff gone, there’s now one more liberal hotbed to avoid like the plague. Increasingly, the liberal super culture is being left to its own devices, and that means you can throw in your remotes and DVRs because liberaldom is just not going to be watched on any self-respecting monitors. Turn them on by mistake and you’ll see a bevy of aggrieved loudmouths savaging the latest our nation’s ruling president has said or not said or refused to say or insisted on saying or said with insufficient sincerity or as if he were overcompensating. We owe his predecessor an apology — he knew what he was doing when he doubled-down on mental health coverage as a pioneering feature of Obamacare. Now comes a Washington Post story insisting this time they got the president dead to right on the Russian story, all because some campaign operative no one had ever heard of tried at least six times unsuccessfully to set up Trump & Co. meetings with prominent Russian officials only to be ignored by Trump & Co. each and every time. Instead, the broadening scandal is that Mr. Trump’s fabulous predecessor knew already in 2014 that Moscow had mischief in mind for 2016. So we owe Mr. O another apology. Remember when he asked Putin’s beard Medvedev to convey to Vladimir that he’d have more flexibility after the election? Clearly, it has become obvious, he meant not after 2012 but after 2016. It was an ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, August 16, 2017By Wlady Pleszczynski
    2 days ago
  • Controversy on a Pious Cable News Outlet
    Washington Last week CNN fired Jeff Lord, its famously pro-Trump contributor, for mocking an activist whom the Daily Caller has reported as a racist and an anti-Semite. Lord addressed him with the salutation, “Sieg Heil!” What is wrong with that? Is CNN covering for racists and anti-Semites? CNN is the pious cable news network whose servile on-air performers, if they are to stay in the network’s good graces, must seek regular counseling on what topics are politically correct, what words must not be uttered on air, and how to part one’s hair on the set, in the event that one still has hair. I think Harvard State University has a whole center for distributing such politically correct information. Such is the shabby estate into which journalism has fallen at CNN. At any rate Lord was excommunicated last week, and now I am told that Anderson Cooper and Wolfe Blitzer may be next. Soon the racist and anti-Semite may be enthroned at CNN. For now he is only calling the shots from off-stage. Lord’s dismissal caused me some inconvenience for he is a senior editor at The American Spectator. He actually made his controversial salutation in a piece originally published in the Spectator, and our erudite audience recognized it immediately as mockery in the same way Nazis were mocked over the years by such masters of mockery as Charlie Chaplin and Mel Brooks. But then that is the difference between the television mind and the reading mind. The television mind needs to be reminded of what took place years ago, and who Hitler was, and why he is recognized as evil. The reading mind remembers this quite well and a lot more. The reading mind probably has a book or two about Hitler on the wall. Some years ago we at the Spectator began using the term “the moron vote” in referring to the kind of man or woman who might reflexively vote for Barack Obama or forget to come in from the rain. Obviously out there in CNN’s smug audience there are a lot of practitioners of the moron vote. So within hours of CNN’s excommunication of Lord from its circle of sages the morons began calling my office and leaving tart messages on the telephones, some very risqué. My very bright interns inquired of me what to do. I told them without hesitation. Call back and inform the callers that we had turned over their telephone numbers to the Secret Service. One obviously demented woman called me personally, and I told her that “the authorities are on their way over and this is no way to get an autographed picture of me.” “Indefensible,” that is the word that the hierarchy at CNN directed its faithful toady to hurl at Lord when she told him he was fired. Ironically Lord was sitting in a CNN car en route to the studio for another show where he would be outnumbered by a half-dozen stooges, all indignant about President Donald Trump’s latest ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, August 16, 2017By R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.
    2 days ago
  • The Endless Hazing of Trump by Sanctimonious Frauds
    The self-appointed ruling class is overflowing with egomaniacs and heartless operators who, oblivious to the irony of their own pouting, decry Trump’s “ego” and question his “heart.” Has America ever had to endure a more insufferable collection of frauds? When not sating themselves at Margaret Sanger award galas and Black Lives Matters powwows, they can be heard lecturing Americans on “racial healing” and a culture without violence. It would be a little easier to hear these disquisitions on nonviolence from brow-furrowing anchorettes and celebrity bloggers if many of them weren’t always obsessing over “reproductive rights.” When will these abortion supporters be tweeting out their disgust for the racist eugenics of Margaret Sanger and calling on all journalists to boycott Planned Parenthood until her statue is torn down? According to CNN’s David Gergen, whose back-stabbing scumbaggery made him notorious in Washington, Trump “needs to deal with the hatred in his own heart.” Pastor Gergen delivered this moral instruction with his much-practiced look of anguish. At such utter nonsense and gargantuan hypocrisy, all one can do is laugh. Only propagandized nitwits would take any of CNN’s self-righteous posturing seriously. CNN head Jeff Zucker has all the integrity of a strip club owner. Maybe less. At least strip club owners don’t pretend to be something they are not. Zucker calls himself the head of a news network when in reality he is nothing more than a cynical, lowlife maestro of a 24/7 anti-Trump infomercial designed to maximize ratings and delight his corrupt peers. Of course, joining the liberal mandarins in their sanctimonious and comically unfair nitpicking of Trump — CNN’s cheap-shot headline about Trump “caving to the outrage” (by condemning white supremacists) captures this culture perfectly — are self-described “Republican consultants” whose thin résumés indicate that they are neither Republicans nor consultants in any meaningful sense. Turn on MSNBC or CNN at almost any hour of the day and one of these hideous blowhards will appear. Two of the worst are Nicole Wallace and Ana Navarro. They are two know-it-alls who know nothing except how to pick up a check from news executives happy to pay them for their arrogant, mindless gibbering, provided that it is aimed below Trump’s belt. Such is the CNN-encouraged cockiness of Navarro that she has pronounced the president of the United States ”unfit to be a human.” Then there is Bill Kristol, whose anti-Trump Napoleonic complex seems to grow by the day. He has put down his dog-eared copy of Burke’s Reflections on the French Revolution and picked up the propaganda sheets of the ACLU. In July, he denounced Trump for saying that “in America we don’t worship government [but] God.” That didn’t sit well with Kristol, who informed his Twitter followers that “In America the president doesn’t tell us who or what or whether to worship.” Thank heavens Kristol has bravely stepped forward to protect the “integrity” of timeless conservatism from such a boor! Without his intervention conservatives might be delivered into the hands of a president ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, August 16, 2017By George Neumayr
    2 days ago
  • Hypocrisy at Charlottesville
    The brutal events in Charlottesville not only reveal a national tragedy but also a national hypocrisy. We do not have to agree with what the Nazis and white nationalists stand for to defend their constitutional right to assemble and speak. The courts have long ruled that even hate speech is protected speech. Had there been no counter demonstration and media spotlight, a few hundred racists would have gathered in Charlottesville and had no impact on the national conversation. Instead, they were met by the ongoing violence of the Antifa and the hate group Black Lives Matter and a police force that stood down, just as the campus police  did when the Antifa attacked people at the University of California, Berkeley. When James Alex Fields, a twenty-year-old from Ohio, used his car to maul people, he was immediately tagged as a white nationalist and the mainstream media quickly indicted all white nationalists for the vehicular assault. Yet, when Muslims, who created the vehicular intifada, run down people, the same media immediately cautions us, as it should, not to indict all Muslims. From what little we know about James Fields, he was allegedly infatuated with the Third Reich, and he was probably discharged from the Army because of mental illness. The two are not unrelated. American Vanguard claims he was never a member of its group. If we should not indict all Muslims for the actions of the few and the deranged, should we indict all white nationalists for the actions of James Fields? In the aftermath of Muslim-launched terrorism, the mainstream media expresses concern about a backlash that will harm innocent Muslims. Yet, no similar concern was voiced for the far-right demonstrators in Charlottesville that were not engaged in violence. And as it is with every major news story, it soon became a story about President Trump, just as his tough words about North Korea overshadowed the actual threat from its dictator, Kim Jong Un, who appears to be a modern version of the psychopathic Joseph Stalin. President Trump was excoriated because he initially condemned all violence in Charlottesville and did not focus on the right. MoveOn.org launched a petition calling on the president to condemn the far right, but not Black Lives Matter or the Antifa. Violence from the right is bad, but violence from the left is acceptable? It did not take long for President Trump to be blamed for the violence in Charlottesville. Yet, President Trump did not invite white nationalists to the White House and give them legitimacy as President Obama did with Black Lives Matter. President Obama’s equating attacks on the police with police brutality certainly provided a justification, if not a motivation, for these attacks. No one in their right mind will blame the victims of Charlottesville for what happened to them, but in the aftermath of Islamist violence, it is quite common to blame the victims. In the aftermath of 9/11, far too many of my university colleagues blamed “our foreign policy.” No responsible ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, August 15, 2017By Abraham H. Miller
    3 days ago
  • A Great American’s Story
    Never Call Me a Hero: A Legendary American Dive-Bomber Pilot Remembers the Battle of MidwayBy Timothy and Laura Orr(William Morrow, 312 pages, $26.99) The spring of 1942 was not an optimistic time for America, or for the free world. Most of Europe was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hitler’s Nazis. And how the allies were going to reverse this was not obvious at the time. If anything the situation in the Pacific was even gloomier, with the Japanese Imperial Navy having its way against the Americans, the Brits, the Chinese, and the Dutch. Had the Greater East-Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere been a public company then, brokers would have been giving the buy signal. It wasn’t even clear at that time that the mainland United States was out of reach of the Land of the Rising Sun’s war machine. Very bad medicine. Yes, there had been the April raid on Tokyo by then Colonel Doolittle’s B-25s. But these medium bombers, launched from the carrier Hornet, did little physical damage. The strategic effect of the raid was small, though the raid gave Americans a psychological lift, and certainly caught the attention of the Japanese high command. It was a slick trick. But not one that could be repeated. America needed a real win. Complicating the matter in the Pacific was the fact that the allies had decided on a Europe first strategy, whereby the greatest effort, therefore the greatest resources, would be devoted to defeating the Nazis in Europe, even though in America at the time feeling was running highest against the Japanese because of Pearl Harbor, the Bataan death march, and other barbarities committed by the Japanese. American ships, planes, and trained men in great numbers would eventually arrive in the Pacific and overwhelm the Japanese. But in the spring of 1942, America was on the defensive and on a shoestring in the Pacific. Only three American carriers were available in the world’s largest ocean, Hornet, Enterprise, and Yorktown. For all these disabilities, the win for America finally came at Midway in June of 1942, just six months after the “unprovoked and dastardly attack” on Pearl Harbor. It was Japan’s first turnover, and the beginning of a long and successful campaign to put an end to Japan’s hopes of owning the Pacific and the nations and people bordering it. Most Americans have seen documentaries of the Pacific war and know that the Battle of Midway was the first major naval battle where ships of the opposing forces never came within sight of each other. All the attacks in this historical confrontation were carried out by aircraft from the two sides’ carriers. It was David and Goliath-san, as America was outnumbered two to one in planes and ships. But by end of business June 4, four Japanese carriers — Kaga, Akagi, Hiryu, and Soryu — had been sent to the bottom by American Dauntless dive bombers. This was sweet revenge as these four had taken part in the Pearl Harbor attack. In the four-day battle, ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, August 15, 2017By Larry Thornberry
    3 days ago
  • Champions of Injustice Face Off in Rematch
    In 2006, University of Texas quarterback Vince Young, facing fourth down and five with the national championship game on the line, scrambled for a touchdown, bringing an end to a three-year run of dominance by the University of Southern California. For many Texans, it was the state’s single most glorious moment not involving Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett. So as the two universities prepare for a rematch next month, it’s fitting that Texas has once again seized a trophy from USC. Only this one, as the Apostle Paul put it, is a vessel unto dishonor. In the FakeRapeStakes taking place on American university campuses since the Obama administration sent out its infamous “Dear Colleague” letter, USC charged into first place earlier this year by kicking a Rose Bowl-winning hero off the football team for “roughhousing” with his girlfriend (her word). It’s a bizarre story. They were horsing around, a neighbor told a roommate, who told a tennis coach, who told someone else, and soon the couple was facing the sexual star chambers now virtually required on U.S. campuses thanks to a preposterously tendentious new reading of an old civil rights law. USC’s Title IX director, Gretchen Dahlinger Means, is a real peach. She was once recorded asking her colleagues, “Does that college m**f**er know who I am?” after a student had dared to ask the names of the secret panelists who had just ruined his life. In the case of USC kicker Matt Boermeester, it didn’t matter to the administrators that the supposed victim categorically denied any abuse. “I want to be very clear that I have never been abused, assaulted or otherwise mistreated by Matt. He is an incredible person, and I am and have been 100% behind him,” the girlfriend, tennis player Zoe Katz, said. “Nothing happened that warranted an investigation, much less the unfair, biased and drawn out process that we have been forced to endure quietly.” Didn’t matter. The bureaucrats who owe their existence to a mantra that sexual assault survivors must always be believed chose not to believe the young woman. “When I told the truth about Matt, in repeated interrogations, I was stereotyped and was told I must be a ‘battered’ woman, and that made me feel demeaned and absurdly profiled,” Katz said. Boermeester was kicked off the team. His status as the hero of one of the greatest games USC has ever played is what magnifies the disgrace, what turns honor to dishonor. Now, when hundreds of thousands of USC alumni recall the game, our feelings will be forever laced with disgust at the cretins and cowards who run our alma mater. However, University of Texas President Greg Fenves has figured out a way to make this foul business even more rancid — add some cronyism. Fenves’ predecessor, Bill Powers, was fired for doing too many favors for university donors. Namely, he ran a secret backdoor admissions program with fines de lucro. That he was replaced with his right-hand man tells you a ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, August 15, 2017By Jon Cassidy
    3 days ago
  • Refreshing Drinks to Beat the August Heat
    Everyone who knows me knows I love whiskey. Bourbon, Irish, Scotch, Rye…. It also is welcome to me. This summer, I enjoyed a great deal of Kentucky classic’s, especially Knob Creek and Harper’s. A liquor store near my office is selling fifths for $25, so can you blame me? I also enjoyed an odd duck of a bourbon: Sonoma County Distilling Co.’s West of Kentucky Bourbon Whisky No. 1. To the corn and rye mash the distiller added cherrywood smoked malted barley. And it shows — there is a faint cherry aroma to this oily, slightly herbal whisky. They bottled this in August 2016, and made only 300 cases, so if you want to try it, best hurry up and source a bottle. But it now is August, and the temperature and humidity often is above 90. My Ohio blood is too thick for this weather, and my thirst turns to lighter fare. I won’t say no to a hop-bomb IPA, or a whiskey, for that matter. What really appeals, however, are drinks that are cold and crisp. A bottle of Proud Pour Sauvignon Blanc ($18) showed up at my door a few months ago, and it well fit the bill. It noses of grapefruit and paired well with salads and roast vegetables. I accidentally made the acquaintance of Zardetto Z Brut recently, which was happy luck. This bargain ($13) prosecco really hit the spot as I sweltered over a grill loaded with dogs and burgers. I have enjoyed many rosé wines this summer. A decade ago you’d be lucky to find a couple in your local wine shop. Now supermarkets may stock offer a half-dozen or more brands, most of which are priced between $8 and $15. Brands I have tried (and whose names I recall) include Gerard Bertrand, Famille Perrin Reserve, and La Vieille Ferme. In my experience, it is hard to go wrong with rosé — I do not recall once buying a bottle and thinking, “Ugh, this is a disappointment.” (That has happened with plenty of red wines.) No recitation of hot weather drinks recommendation would be complete without the gin and tonic. A Bombay or Tanqueray and tonic with a slice of lime is a wonderous thing. Those who want to spice up the old G&T have a wealth of options, what with the flood of new gins and the arrival of some really remarkable tonics (e.g., Fever-Tree). Yes, summer is here, and the heat is on. But who needs water with so many other delicious, refreshing choices? Kevin R. Kosar is a senior fellow at R Street Institute and heads its alcohol policy reform program. He is the author of Moonshine: A Global History (2017) and Whiskey: A Global History (2010). ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, August 15, 2017By Kevin Kosar
    3 days ago
  • Can Conservatism, Inc. Hold Pharma Accountable for the Opioid Crisis?
    The crisis of confidence in the pharmaceutical industry remains one of the least well-reported elements of contemporary politics. And despite numerous scandals surrounding mismanagement and price gouging by Pharma companies, the proverbial big Kahuna of the industry’s scandals is undoubtedly the developing Opioid crisis. As documented in a recent story from the Washington Post, Pharma paid doctors more than $46 million as an incentive to push painkillers between 2013 and 2015, a scandalous push that arguably gave birth to the crisis as it presently stands. At least one state has already sued a pharmaceutical company over this, and more political remedies are likely to come down the pike. President Trump himself has vowed to tackle the crisis, and it appears that he is likely to declare a state of emergency over it. The President deserves a great deal of credit for that, as far as it goes. But declaring a state of emergency only goes so far. It is imperative that the White House not follow the script that it seemed to be leaning toward before Trump’s “emergency” comments. Indeed, its initial approach seemed to let the pharmaceutical industry completely off the hook. Unlike even other Republicans, such as Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who courageously pushed the ball into pharma’s court, so far Trump’s advisers seem to be advising solely that the President crack down on illegal purchases of drugs, rather than legal but unethical approaches to getting people hooked on them in the first place. This approach likely was not imagined by the President himself, who has previously shown no qualms about attacking pharmaceutical companies, but instead by members of his administration brought in to turn the Trump White House into a bastion of the policy preferences of Conservatism, Inc. Not only does the reflexively pro-business, Conservatism, Inc.-favored approach utterly fail to respond to the needs of President Trump’s base, but it sometimes ends up being more pro-Pharma than even Pharma wants, as in the case of the proposed changes to the 340B drug pricing program issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). But even more worrisome than this is the fact that it’s not clear that Conservatism, Inc. has a good answer to how to solve the opioid crisis at all. For example, a Heritage Foundation article on the crisis offers little in the way of solutions other than cutting money for drug treatment programs, vague hints about prevention, and, of course, increasing the enforcement of the war on drugs. These range from tone deaf (cutting funding) to actively counterproductive (the War on Drugs has been a failure for decades). There is no acknowledgement of the elephant in the room — namely, the already established role that pharmaceutical companies played in getting people addicted to the opioids in the first place. Moreover, it is easy to see why standard conservative dogma would militate against acknowledging such facts: because they cut against the lobbyist-driven view on the Right that all business is good business, and ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, August 15, 2017By Mytheos Holt
    3 days ago
  • Trump, Kim — Who’s Crazy? Who’s Foolish?
    Observers ascribe the confrontation between the United States and North Korea to a clash of personality disorders. This is a vulgar error. Kim Jong-un has a clear objective, which is to equip his country with a nuclear deterrent force. Such an instrument would be a major step toward assuring an “independence” which is more fantasy than reality, given the beggar-level economy to which the Kims have reduced North Korea, by gaining him entry into the exclusive club of nuclear powers. Obviously, one must hope he will fail. Such ghastly success for the most awful totalitarian regime in existence has nothing to recommend it. Efforts by the UN, and more particularly by the United States, to thwart Kim’s nuclear project, are perfectly understandable and deserve support. This, however, does not negate the logic of his strategy. Irrationality no doubt plays a part in this plan, because Kim would be prepared to respond to an American attack by striking Seoul, lying at the demarcation line between the two Koreas, with an arsenal of biological, chemical, and conventional weapons. Donald Trump’s policy is scarcely new: it is the time-honored U.S. policy of halting, perchance reversing, nuclear proliferation, across the world, not just in Korea. One can dispute this policy, which creates a division between “haves” and “have-nots,” but there is nothing absurd about it. Moreover, the American president’s method in applying this policy stems not from anything to do with psychiatry, as is argued by observers, but by a realistic appraisal of the situation. The U.S. appealed to North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions in exchange for massive economic aid: no takers. Then the U.S. rejected a strategy of limited bombings to destroy the North Korean nuclear installations. Finally, the U.S. urged the UN to intervene, and the world organization warned that ballistic missile or nuclear tests by North Korea would lead to economic and other sanctions. Again no takers in the North — if there were any, they have not been heard from and probably never will be. Trump’s policy, following these failures, consists of asking China for help restraining Kim’s nuclear ambitions. There is nothing absurd or abnormal in this policy. President Trump knows that only China has the means to twist its little North Korean ally’s arm. The American pressures on China have grown in urgency and variety. From kind words, even flattery, Trump moved to bellicose threats: should others (read: China) not follow, other options, including military ones, must be considered. But the American president has by no means abandoned the preferred policy of Chinese help, and he continues to press the Middle Kingdom’s leaders on this. The latter understood, and voted, with the other Security Council members, for stronger sanctions, last August 4. These are the harshest to which North Korea has yet been subjected. (Of course, Security Council sanctions and their real-world application are not necessarily the same thing.) North Korea responded by warning the U.S. would pay “a thousand times” for its crimes. Trump replied, ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, August 15, 2017By Roger Kaplan
    3 days ago
  • Gainfully Unemployed
    The NFL season is almost upon us, and Colin Kaepernick is still out of work. Guess whose fault this is? According to the media, it’s your fault and mine for being unflinching, unyielding bigots. Kaepernick’s employment status, or lack there of, swirled through the news yet again when quarterbacks Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens and Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins went down with injuries during training camp. As soon as news of those injuries became public, sports journalists created mini on-air vigils, trying to lobby and pressure teams to sign Kaepernick. When that didn’t happen, they made it clear that the awful boogeyman behind this travesty is America’s attitudes on race and NFL owners for being old white men. The leftists at ESPN have become particularly deranged by Kaepernick’s unemployment. After Kaepernick didn’t get the gig in Baltimore when Flacco hurt himself lifting weights, ESPN’s Jemele Hill embarrassed anyone left with ethics in the Disney Corporation by comparing today’s modern-day police officers to slave patrols in defense of Kaepernick. This bit of stupidity happened after a Tweet by Kaepernick where he in fact compared police officers to slave patrols. Jemele Hill was quick to agree, saying his comment was “Inflammatory, but historically accurate.” Next up was Hill’s cohort Dan LeBatard who, after the Dolphins signed Jay Cutler and not Kaepernick after Tannehill’s season-ending injury, opined one of the reasons Kaepernick was still unemployed was the color of his skin, and then intimated that the election of Donald Trump in November was an act of racism. It would be easy to dismiss this as just ESPN being ESPN, but it seems the majority of sports journalists (a term to be used lightly) when giving a personal opinion on Kaepernick agree on one thing. America’s institutional racism is to blame for Kapernick’s still being on the sidelines. What all of them miss, of course, is that the person responsible for Colin Kaepernick’s predicament is Colin Kaepernick. Let’s imagine for a moment that Kaepernick were white. What do you think would be the response if a white NFL quarterback did the following? Refused to stand for the National Anthem for an entire season. On multiple occasions intimated or stated that police were pigs and bigoted. Preached the gospel of how wonderful Fidel Castro was, a man who murdered and imprisoned those who disagreed with him, suppressed freedom at every turn and sent the Cuban economy and standard of living back 50 years. Had been absolutely awful as a quarterback over the last two seasons. With this set of circumstances, a Caucasian, Hispanic, or Asian quarterback would also be in the same predicament as Kaepernick, unemployed. The question isn’t why hasn’t Kaepernick been signed by a team yet, the question is why would anyone even consider him? We hear and see a lot of news stories that the NFL is blackballing Kaepernick. Looking at Kaepernick’s own disgraceful actions, it is more than plausible that each NFL team on its own came to ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, August 15, 2017By John Calvin
    3 days ago
  • Violence to the Right and Left of Us
    The jury is in, and from the glowering looks on all faces, the verdict appears unanimous: The President blew it. What did he mean, the infamy in Charlottesville could be ascribed to “many sides”? His accompanying condemnation of “hatred, bigotry, and violence” fell flat. Where was his specific and grounded condemnation of the alt-right, whose riff-raff came to town looking for a fight and quickly found one? It is hard at the best of times to know what goes on in the singularly individual mind of Donald Trump. I move we move past the inadequacies of the Trump declaration and try to see what goes on in places more central to the way we actually live in Anno Domini 2017. What goes on around this land we love isn’t just a spot of street-fighting in the home town of the university that Mr. Jefferson planted in liberty’s name, and that of reason. What unfolds here is the latest and in some sense most disheartening chapter in the disintegration of American culture. There is a point here in serious need of excavation — too large to dismiss out of exasperation with a president who, in the eyes of many, never says the right thing. Our memories are frighteningly short if we think Richard Spencer and his merry band of yahoos sprang to life, Athena-like, from the brain of David Duke and went straightway on a rampage. As a culture we’ve been going wacko for half a century, claiming the right to put individual perceptions, individual notions and aims and crochets, individual ways of seeing things, ahead of other people’s ways of seeing things. “We’re right and you’re wrong” is the motif of these times. In the ’60s protesters took over the offices of deans and college presidents and leveled outrageous demands, unfortified by rational analysis. They swamped streets and public squares as they told the world how right they were, and how wrong everyone else was. They lectured and hectored an American establishment they deemed racist, sexist, and unworthy to run things. They threw around smug, brainless slogans on the order of “If it feels good, do it.” And so the cultural barricades erected over centuries for the protection of sanity and decency, not to mention liberty itself, began to creak, then to crumble. Over a period marked by newer and more personal assertions of privilege — the right, for instance, to extinguish unborn life — the territory around us became more and more hospitable to the needs of… well, if you really want to know, Richard Spencer. But not just Richard Spencer. No. We now privilege anybody loud, obnoxious, and convinced of his special claims to satisfaction. Say, the “students” at Middlebury College who earlier this year drove the eminent libertarian scholar Charles Murray off campus. Shut up, Charles, they explained. The basis of their outrage? Murray’s perceived disrespect for women and minorities, under the ground rules of identity politics. He questions bad decisions both groups have made. But you ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, August 15, 2017By William Murchison
    3 days ago
  • David Duke, the KKK, Nazis, White Nationalists and All of the Above
    David Duke came into my life, sort of, two decades ago. Working in1995 with three academics, Glynn Custred, Tom Wood and Larry Arnn, I put on the California ballot an amendment to the state constitution, to prohibit race (and gender) preferences in state and local government hiring, contracting, and education. And with Ward Connerly as campaign chairman, we then passed Proposition 209 in November 1996. At the height of that campaign, the liberals at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) used compulsory student funds to pay racist-thug David Duke to debate in favor of Proposition 209. In fact, Duke had nothing to do with our campaign, which was actually endorsed by many supporters of the real civil rights movement of the 1960s, not the opportunistic expropriators who see Serbia and Bosnia as tribal models for America. This CSUN sorcery was, and remains, a scam: a formula to defame the opponents of race preferences and quotas, racial polarization and Balkanization, bilingual education and multi-language ballots, etc. These issues concern those Americans of all backgrounds who want a society of goodness and virtue, not graft and vitriol. The guilt-by-non-association scheme backfired, repulsing not only even the mainstream media, but the anti-209 debater, the late Joe Hicks, a legendary civil rights leader. The David Duke travesty jump-started Joe’s journey from a liberal to a libertarian. Joe went on to challenge the pathology of multiculturalism and diversity, and the entire racial spoils complex. As for me, I learned how to deal with the David Dukes. Criticize anyone who gives them a platform and dignifies them. If the David Dukes preach their venom, condemn them promptly (make a long story, short), and then ignore them, forever. If they commit any crime, throw the book at them. Recall that: (a) We believe in free speech, even for Communists, fascists, Nazis, racists, radical Islamists and other collectivists*** of the Left; over the weekend, Congressman Dave Brat explained to the media how to define collectivism. (b) We repudiate their hatred and bigotry and would aggressively thwart and prosecute their violence. (c) We calibrate, lest we give these scumbags more than their fifteen minutes of fame. [***Am I, like supposedly President Donald Trump, soft on the “alt-right” and “white nationalists”? As the author of a forthcoming book on American conservatism, I still do not know what the “alt-right” is. But you should only include them with white nationalists if you mean and know they are racists and bigots who want to use government to literally put down other races. But then don’t confuse such people with the sociological phenomenon of “angry white men” who did (and would again) fight Nazis, and would happily and pugnaciously disabuse David Duke of his physical well-being.] Now, about Charlottesville, consider the matter of Trump Derangement Syndrome. For those suffering from TDS, no matter what President Trump had said in response to the violence and killing, he would deserve continued opprobrium. And there also are the TS, the Trump Sycophants who rejoice about everything that is ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, August 14, 2017By Arnold Steinberg
    4 days ago
  • CNN Fires Me
    “Indefensible.” With that one word I was fired from CNN. What did the network find “indefensible”? Two mocking words from a mocking sentence in a two-day old column that appeared in this space in The American Spectator and were repeated on Twitter. After speculating on just how the far-left Media Matters would rewrite the First Amendment, the next line in the column read: The American Spectator has been unable to confirm reports that the original draft of this Media Matters revision ended with the words: “Sieg Heil!” For two days this column, titled “Fascist Media Matters Moves to Silence Hannity: Free speech under assault from Soros group” — a column that went after the goons of the far left Media Matters and their relentless Nazi-style attempt to intimidate the sponsors of television and radio shows featuring conservatives — sat posted prominently on this very site. My condemnation and mockery of the left-wing group and its tactics — something I have written about as far back as five years ago — was in plain sight for all to read. The reaction from CNN? Total silence. Which is as it should be. CNN has every right to decide who is on its air — no right to edit the works of any of the various writers who ply their trade daily from publications ranging the political gamut from The American Spectator to the New York Times. It was only when I posted those final two mocking words from the column on Twitter that CNN abruptly — angrily — reacted. Where to start by way of a response? Let’s start with the easiest part and go from there. I totally disagree that it is “indefensible” — much less inappropriate — to mock and condemn either those who use Nazi-style tactics or Nazis, neo-Nazis, white nationalists and white supremacists — all of which were tragically on display in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. Mocking and condemning is one of many ways to discredit these despicable human beings and their despicable philosophy. The very idea of treating any of those tactics, groups, or individuals with the kid gloves of a hyperventilating political correctness is itself “indefensible” — turning a blind eye to the horrific ideas and methods that lie behind them. There is a mind-boggling contradiction here. As this is written CNN — and CNN is far from alone — is sharply criticizing President Trump’s first statement on the violence from the “alt-right” and white supremacists — Neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and others — in Charlottesville. Here’s the headline from the CNN website: Trump — once again — fails to condemn the alt-right, white supremacists The story by Dan Merica begins this way: Bridgewater, New Jersey (CNN) President Donald Trump, a man known for his bluntness, was anything but on Saturday, failing to name the white supremacists or alt-right groups at the center of violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. As noted, one liberal media outlet after another ran with some version of this story. ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, August 14, 2017By Jeffrey Lord
    4 days ago
  • Judge Usurps Congressional Spending Power in Obamacare Cases
    If you are one of those hidebound individuals who believe that the distribution of taxpayer funds from the U.S. Treasury is a congressional prerogative clearly delineated in Article I of the Constitution, Judge Thomas C. Wheeler of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims has some bad news for you. Wheeler has handed down summary judgments ordering the government to pay two separate insurers a total of $266 million that Congress has declined to appropriate. He awarded Moda Health $214 million in February and, two weeks ago, he awarded $52 million to Molina Healthcare pursuant to Obamacare’s unfunded “risk corridor” program. Upon what authority does Judge Wheeler order the U.S. government to pay insurers taxpayer money that Congress hasn’t appropriated? Well, his reasoning is somewhat circular. In his recent ruling in favor of Molina Healthcare, the primary precedent he cites is his own ruling in Moda Health Plan, Inc. v. The United States. This is, as it happens, not as surprising as it first appears. Wheeler is the only judge to find for the plaintiffs in any of the two dozen or so lawsuits that Obamacare insurers have brought pursuant to the risk corridor program. Several others have already been dismissed, including two by judges on the same court. The background on these lawsuits involves an empty promise made by the Democrats and the Obama administration to insurers willing to sell plans through Obamacare exchanges. These companies were told that they could expect to have their bottom lines propped up if they managed to lose money selling plans to individuals required by law to purchase coverage. The “thinking” behind the risk corridor program was that insurers enjoying big margins would pay into a pool from which less profitable plans would be subsidized. Like every other pledge made on behalf of Obamacare by the Democrats, this was so much pie in the sky. In late 2015 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that profitable insurers had paid in a mere $362 million while their unprofitable counterparts had requested $2.87 billion to cover their losses. And, because Congress passed a spending bill (Public Law 113–235) requiring the risk corridors to remain budget neutral, the losers like Molina and Moda were able to recover only 12.6 percent of their losses. A lot of insurers lost their bets on Obamacare and want the taxpayers to fund their stupidity. They found a sympathetic auditor in Judge Wheeler, who wrote the following in his ruling in favor of Moda Health: There is no genuine dispute that the Government is liable to Moda. Whether under statute or contract, the Court finds that the Government made a promise in the risk corridors program that it has yet to fulfill. Today, the Court directs the Government to fulfill that promise. After all, “to say to [Moda], ‘The joke is on you. You shouldn’t have trusted us,’ is hardly worthy of our great government.” This is nonsense of course. It wasn’t “the government” that made a promise in ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, August 14, 2017By David Catron
    4 days ago
  • They Doth Protest Too Much, Methinks
    One of Shakespeare’s most famous lines comes when Hamlet asks his mother how she reacts to a certain character’s effusive and flowery language, and she responds, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” It’s among the bard’s many lines still quoted today, this one used when someone’s overblown rhetoric seems to disguise insincerity. That is very prevalent these days, as nearly every new 
Administration natural resources policy is immediately blasted by the environmental industry as a complete disaster. In many cases, the bombast is so over-the-top that it loses all
credibility. All Americans care about the environment, and
leaders on both sides of the aisle try to do the right thing, as
they see it. Some think we can strike a careful balance
between preservation of resources for the future, and use of
resources for today’s economy. Others think everything man
does is bad for the environment, and should be stopped. Political differences make our democracy interesting. But the accusation that anyone would purposely destroy nature, whatever side they’re on, reveals more about the accuser than the accused. Two current examples are especially notable. First, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s order to revise management plans for the greater sage grouse could undo some of the burdensome constraints created by the previous Administration. The new recommendations were compiled by an Interior task force at Secretary Zinke’s request, and call for possible loosening of restrictions near mineral leasing areas, using States’ conservation plans that are more flexible in determining where economic activity is compatible, and perhaps using increased cattle grazing in some areas as a tool to protect grouse habitat against wildfire and invasive grasses. The Secretary wrote, “I am particularly interested in assisting the states in setting sage-grouse population objectives to improve management of the species.” The order was announced last week, on a Monday, and by Tuesday was being assailed by the environmental industry as the embodiment of pure evil. “Secretary Zinke is selling out the sage grouse — and western states — to oil and gas developers,” said a lawyer from one of the largest national environmental groups. Another called it “a clear giveaway to industry that undermines years of work by Western governors, communities and stakeholders.” (In fact, the Obama-era plan was forced over the objections of most Western Governors, who were not consulted about it.) What they should have said was, “Secretary Zinke wants to conserve sage grouse, and so do we, but we just have a different view of how to do that. We wish he would leave in place the Obama-era restrictions that we helped write, so we’re disappointed that our own strategy might not prevail.” But that doesn’t get the membership up in arms, and convince donors to write checks. Only cries of impending doom accomplish that goal. Thus the rhetoric: “Selling out the west! No more beautiful places and no more wildlife! Sage grouse wiped out for filthy windfall profits!” Another current example is the Interior Department’s proposed repeal of the Obama BLM’s rule against fracking, which environmental groups are ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, August 14, 2017By Greg Walcher
    4 days ago
  • Presidential Words in the Neighborhood of War
    Even before the era of instant news, the words of any American president had great importance. During former president Obama’s tenure, words became a thick haze around the White House because the president spoke daily about everything that came to mind. Now we have another president who speaks whatever comes to mind. He does it without restraint, at odd hours, usually on his Twitter account. Since North Korea brought the current crisis to a boil, President Trump has made a great many statements and not just through his Twitter account. Some are excellent, some less so, and some are just flat wrong. Trump has done very well by taking a tough line against North Korea’s eternal belligerence and direct threats. In the increasingly heated crisis over the Kim regime’s threats to attack America and its allies with nuclear weapons, the president threatened to respond to a North Korean attack with “…fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Kim Jong Un, and the rest of the world, were shocked. Three American presidents — Clinton, Bush, and Obama — always responded with soothing words to which the successive Kims have each answered with even more heated belligerence. Trump’s words were necessarily tough-minded. But two other examples of Trump’s rhetoric, unconstrained and ad-libbed, were worse than just unwise. The first is the most recent. Addressing what he characterized (correctly) as the mess in Venezuela, the president said, “We have many options for Venezuela, including a military option if necessary.” Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro has extinguished the last remnants of democracy in his country left after his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, reached room temperature. We clearly have an interest in restoring Venezuelan democracy, but that interest is absolutely, positively, not a vital national security interest that could possibly justify military action. Trump’s words reflected emotion rather than thought. If he is thinking seriously about military action in South America, he should listen to his Marines — White House chief of staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — who would tell him just how bad that idea is. It would have been far better for the president to speak with either or both of them before saying what he did. An even worse example is what the president said about our nuclear arsenal. In one of his remarks responding to North Korea, Trump said, “My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before.” Each part of that statement was false. Worse still, the statement betrays an ignorance a president shouldn’t suffer. Mr. Trump has ordered a review of our nuclear forces which should report to him in a couple of months. They haven’t been “renovated” or “modernized” yet, not by a long shot. American nuclear forces have to be examined in terms of their parts. We have Minuteman III ICBMs in silos and Trident ICBMs in several submarines. We have nuclear capable cruise missiles. We have nuclear ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, August 14, 2017By Jed Babbin
    4 days ago
  • Airbags: Putting the Blame Where It Doesn’t Belong
    In a strange take on William Burrough’s famous quip about gun control advocates — who want to take guns away from people who haven’t shot anyone — lawyers for explode-in-your-face airbag manufacturer Takata are trying to convince a federal judge to suspend victim’s lawsuits against the car manufacturers who unwittingly installed the defective, deadly airbags in their vehicles. News story here. This is generating a tsunami of outrage — against the car manufacturers. Which is exactly like being outraged by your peaceful neighbor who has a rifle… because some guy in Ohio went on a rampage with one. It’s weirder, actually — because in the case of the car companies, they never had a choice. It wasn’t their decision to put airbags in their vehicles. They were ordered to do it by federal regulators. Two of whom can be named specifically: Joan Claybrook — who was Jimmah Cahtah’s pick to run the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from 1977-1981 and prior to that, a “public citizen” working for the ambulance-chasing lawyer, Ralph Nader. She (and he) agitated for an airbag mandate, to impose on the populace what the market had rejected. GM and Ford had tried offering airbags as optional equipment in a few of their early-mid ’70s models, but few people voluntarily bought them. So — naturally (in the unnatural minds of control freaks like Claybrook and Nader) — the bags had to be mandated. Enter the next defendant — or ought to be: Elizabeth Dooooole. She was a cabinet-level offender, the Secretary of Transportation from 1983-1987 under Rrrronald Rrrreagan. It was under her watch that a “Supplemental Restraint” mandate went into effect as part of something hung with the title, Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991. It decreed that all vehicles manufactured after September 1, 1998 be factory equipped with bags for the driver and front seat passenger. These bags were “defective,” too — in that it was known that the force with which they deployed could (and did) seriously hurt and even kill people. A bunch of people. Both Claybrook and Dole knew this would happen before it happened; they’d been briefed by engineers working for the car companies, who told them. It didn’t make them blink. The SRS mandate remained in place, people got killed — and neither of these two biddies were dragooned into a courtroom or even sent a fine in the mail. Does anyone ask why? Ah. Airbags are “safer” now. Adjustments were made to their design to reduce the force of the deployment when sensors in the seat sense the presence of a person who can’t absorb the impact as well as a standard-sized adult, such as a child or an older person (the sensors sense weight and most kids and older people weigh less than standard adults). People still get hurt, sometimes very badly. No one says anything. Why? And then there’s this Takata business. An inherently dangerous device made more so by an outright design defect. These bags ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, August 14, 2017By Eric Peters
    4 days ago
  • You’re Outta Here, Joe!
    Major League Baseball last week suspended long-time umpire Joe West. (So long-time as to be calling ’em like he sees ’em in the show since 1976.) MLB put West on the porch for three days for saying, in answer to a reporter’s question, that Texas Ranger third baseman Adrian Beltre was the biggest complainer in the game. “Every pitch you call that’s a strike, he says ‘Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!,’” West said to USA Today in preparation for an article commemorating West’s 5,000th Major League game. “I had a game with him recently and the pitch was right down the middle. He tells me, ‘That ball is outside.’ I told him, you may be a great ballplayer, but you’re the worst umpire in the league.” For this honest and jocular assessment, the killjoys at Major League Baseball handed down a punishment that seems priggish in the extreme. More like the sentence an aged, spinster schoolmarm might pass on a grade-school boy who had just pulled the hair of the girl sitting in front of him than like the honest just deserts a grown man would expect for a real offense on the professional athletic field. A man, by the way, who has been a big leaguer for 41 years. West was calling balls and strikes in the bigs when current Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred was still in high school. Baseball, after all, is a game. And games are supposed to be fun, something the drones at MLB’s head office seem to have lost track of. This particular game is played by strong, competitive, and assertive young men. And it takes the same kind of man to keep control of the games. (OK, the umps don’t have to be as young as the players, but they can’t be wallflowers either.) A certain amount of back and to between players and the men in blue is to be expected, and has been a constant since “Play Ball!” was first heard in the land of the free and the home of the Braves. This is exactly the point the World Umpires Association, the MLB umpire’s union, made. “Joking interactions between umpires and players are a routine part of the game,” the union said in a prepared statement. “We disagree strongly with the decision to punish Joe West simply for sharing a humorous exchange with a player.” Even Beltre said after the suspension was handed down that he didn’t think it was called for, and that he and Joe are OK. Just a player and an umpire jawing at each other. Business as usual. Major League umpires on the field get most of the calls right. And the umpire’s union has this one right as well. Joe West is not my favorite umpire. I watch a lot of games and Joe misses at least his share of calls. And he can sometimes be more cranky and imperious than the on-field situation calls for. (USA Today alludes to this in the June 20 when they call West “the most ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, August 14, 2017By Larry Thornberry
    4 days ago
  • Why Is This Not a Story?
    Washington Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., the former Democratic National Committee chairwoman known in political circles as DWS, is knee-deep in a scandal that involves a laptop, money and possible foreign entanglements. Unlike the Trump Russian scandal, however, the Washington Post and New York Times have barely reported on the story, which has conservatives observing — with President Donald Trump’s Twitter account concurring — that the mainstream media have a double standard. In February, the House sergeant-at-arms yanked House computer network access for five information technology staffers who worked as shared employees for some 30 House Democrats. Capitol Police told members that the five were under criminal investigation for possibly violating security policies — and asked members to update their security settings. By March, most Democrats had fired the five, if only because they could no longer do their jobs. To the puzzlement of many Democrats and Republicans, Wasserman Schultz kept one of the five, Imran Awan, on the payroll, even though he could not do standard House IT work. On July 24, federal authorities arrested Awan at Dulles Airport as the naturalized citizen was about to board a plane to his native Pakistan. According to an FBI affidavit, Awan had just wired $283,000 to Pakistan, $165,000 of it from an ill-gotten home-equity loan. The feds charged Awan with bank fraud, and then released him under supervision. Only then did Wasserman Schultz fire Awan. Awan’s wife, Hina Alvi, who was one of the fired IT workers, had left the country for Pakistan in March. While she had bought a round-trip ticket with a return date in September, FBI Special Agent Brandon C. Merriman wrote he “does not believe that Alvi has any intention to return to the United States.” Wasserman Schultz is no obscure member of Congress. Last year she had to resign as DNC chair after WikiLeaks revealed that she had tilted the Democratic primary in favor of Hillary Clinton, even though the national committee was duty-bound to remain neutral. Earlier this month Wasserman Schultz told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that she kept Awan on the payroll because she had “grave concerns about his due process rights being violated,” and stated her belief that the Capitol Police actions could be the result of anti-Muslim, anti-Pakistani profiling. She kept Awan on the payroll by switching his role to an advisory position. Awan’s attorney Christopher Gowan released a statement that blamed the firings on “a frenzy of anti-Muslim bigotry,” charged that “extremist right-wing bloggers” forced Awan’s family to leave the country and voiced confidence that Awan “will soon be able to clear his name and get on with his life.” It is important to note that federal authorities have not charged any of the IT five — Awan, Alvi, Awan’s two brothers or a friend — with any crime directly related to their House IT work. But Matthew Whitaker, executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, sees Awan’s continued presence on the payroll as a violation of ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Sunday, August 13, 2017By Debra J. Saunders
    5 days ago