American Spectator

  • Elon Musk Burns Fossil Fuels While Telling Others Not To
    The Washington Post recently reported green energy guru and Tesla CEO Elon Musk flew more than 150,000 miles (at company expense) in his corporate jet in 2018. Meanwhile, his electric car company lost more than $100 million per week in 2018. Even more stunning, Musk’s lavish travels burned thousands of gallons of fossil fuel despite his comment that fossil fuels are “the dumbest experiment in human history.” Musk, ever the pseudo-scientist, went on to explain, “We know we’ll run out of dead dinosaurs to mine for fuel and have to use sustainable energy eventually.” Apparently, Musk has little understanding of the actual sources of petroleum, let alone the impossibility of running the world on wind and solar. Perhaps one day we can power our grid with nuclear energy, however, wind and solar is still well out of reach — despite ample government subsidies and mandates. These green energies have their niches but are nowhere near capable of powering the nation’s electric grid. Even more troublesome, Musk’s extravagant experiment with green energy and jet-set lifestyle occurred while he laid off 9 percent of his Tesla workforce in 2018 and 7 percent so far this year, along with 10 percent cuts at SpaceX. The key Musk’s businesses are to maximize federal tax breaks and subsidies such as $7,500 from the federal government for each electric vehicle sold. Musk also receives state-based handouts and subsidies such as carbon dioxide credits in California. Nevada also bequeathed the billionaire with a package of taxpayer-subsidized benefits worth $1.2 billion to place his battery factory within its borders. Evidently, Musk’s business philosophy is predicated on crony capitalism. With Musk, the duplicity never stops. His “do as I say, not as I do” behavior is not limited to so-called global warming. It simply goes hand in hand with his conviction that artificial intelligence (AI) poses a dire threat to humanity. Yet he uses AI in Tesla’s self-driving technology. By the way, Musk also wants to hook up computers to the human brain. However, let’s circle back to Musk’s desire to cut off fossil fuels. If his reasoning is based on projections of rising temperatures due to carbon dioxide emissions, the physical evidence does not exist. Yes, mathematical models — with limited understanding of the effects carbon dioxide has on climate — do exist at nearly every university. But guess what? They receive billions of dollars of government support to “prove” man’s impact on climate. Talk about a conflict of interest if ever there was one. The reality is there are hundreds of variables that we know effect our climate. For instance, clouds have an impact but we do not understand how. Many scientists downplay the Sun’s role while common sense says it is the driving force behind our climate. So why are supposed geniuses such as Elon Musk so willing to totally upend and transform our economy around such tentative information? One must always look askew at anything and everything Mr. Musk spouts, in spite of his brilliance. For many believe insanity ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Saturday, February 23, 2019By Jay Lehr
    13 hours ago
  • Hoax Victimology — and the Search for the Black Cat at Midnight
    The Jussie Smollett matter is riveting. The rush to judgment is exactly the hallmark of the Left — rushing to convict Brett M. Kavanaugh based on lies, damned lies, and more damned lies. Rushing to convict the Duke lacrosse players. Rushing to convict the rapist of Lena Dunham for a rape that never happened. Rushing to convict a Columbia University student, even as he was shamed and disgraced publicly by “The Mattress Girl,” with Columbia University ultimately having to settle with him. Rushing to convict the University of Virginia fraternity. Rushing to convict the people accused by Al Sharpton over Tawana Brawley. Rushing to believe the Ferguson Michael Brown “Hands up, Don’t Shoot!” lie and racing to convict a good police officer. Rushing to convict more good police officers in Baltimore over the Freddie Gray lies. And the Trayvon Martin lies. Rushing to convict Nick Sandmann. The Smollett verdict is not yet in, so I am not ready to convict. But the story at its core was hokey and raises questions broadly in at least two areas:  (i) What’s with all the Left-wing cruel and vicious hoaxes that depict very good Americans as racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic in order to tar-and-feather conservatives in general, and Caucasian heterosexual male supporters of President Trump in particular? (ii) What’s with the compulsion to be seen as a victim? These actually are two separate issues. In Jussie Smollett’s case, the story was so hard to digest. He never was on the horizon of Trump supporters. Trump supporters have feelings about Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Ocasio-Cortez, Alec Baldwin, Joe Scarborough, Rachel Maddow, Robert De Niro, Jim Comey, Andrew McCabe, Michael Cohen, Kathy Griffin, Adam Schiff, and many others who take unfair potshots at the President, lie about him, and seemingly live for no other primary purpose but to destroy him. By contrast, Trump supporters mostly never heard of Jussie Smollett until a week or two ago. Trump supporters, by and large, do not watch “Empire” and probably do not even know what it is about. The world of Trump Conservatism simply is not the world of the hip-hop music industry. Therefore, the premise that Trump supporters would target a non-entity in their world for a quasi-lynching was preposterous. If someone were going to try quasi-lynching a person, it furthermore is preposterous to believe that they also would not have beaten him up badly. Yet the police photo of Smollett after the supposed incident shows one small facial bruise or cut. That does not make sense. Nor does it make sense that people would roam such a Chicago neighborhood with a rope. Nor that they would yell in the middle of the street “This is MAGA country.” First of all, Trump supporters do not go around yelling “MAGA.” It is not a secret mantra. At Trump rallies, thousands chant “Build the Wall!” “Lock her Up!” “Drain the Swamp!” “USA! USA!” No one starts chanting “MAGA!” Rather, that apparently is ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Saturday, February 23, 2019By Dov Fischer
    13 hours ago
  • The President Has Lost the Space Force Fight
    The United States is threatened as never before from strategic rivals, such as the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation, yet don’t tell that to the Pentagon. This is particularly true in the little-referenced-but-all-important strategic domain of space — the ultimate high ground, in military parlance. For decades, the United States has led the world in utilizing space for communications, scientific discovery, and strategic military advantages. Yet, even as America’s society became increasingly dependent on space for its ability to communicate, to project military power, and to learn about the universe around it, it did little to adequately defend essential U.S. space systems — namely satellites — from foreign disruption and attack. Today, as both China and Russia increase their own capabilities to threaten and disable American advantages in space, the United States has failed to act to better defend its vulnerable satellite constellations. Further, America’s space policymakers have been derelict in their duty: they have neglected to maximize America’s position in orbit, in order to both defend the United States from nuclear attack (by building and deploying a space-based missile defense system) and to protect America’s existing satellite architecture from attack. These two weaknesses have become so serious that the United States faces a “space Pearl Harbor.” If trends persist, it is only a question of when, not if, a rival successfully attacks the United States. And, remember: losing America’s satellites could set the United States back to a pre-1970s era of existence. Since Donald Trump took office in 2017, the Department of Defense — like most of the entrenched bureaucracy — has deeply resisted his calls for the enactment of the more “controversial” aspects of his foreign policies (such as withdrawing American forces from war-torn Syria and the quagmire of Afghanistan). One of the most important calls that the president has made has been his command to create a new branch of the United States Armed Forces dedicated solely to space operations. Meanwhile, as president, he has reconstituted the White House Space Council, and reinvigorated America’s ailing civilian space program — while encouraging the growth of the private space sector. Unfortunately for the president, though, the Joint Chiefs of Staff have long resisted calls for the creation of a Space Force. They fear what would happen to the budgets of the existing branches of the United States military, if they had to compete with a highly technological (and, therefore, inherently expensive) branch, like a Space Force, for limited taxpayer dollars. But, for years, the current crop of military branches — namely the United States Air Force — has insufficiently resourced space defense. The entire rationale for the Trump Administration’s original decision to create an independent Space Force was due to the fact that little was being done to defend American interests in space by relying on the existing aspects of the military. Since 2017, the president has issued public statements announcing his intentions to form a new military branch in order to better defend American interests in space. For two years, ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Saturday, February 23, 2019By Brandon J. Weichert
    13 hours ago
  • Jonah Goldberg’s Answer to Sean Trende
    Jonah Goldberg of NRO responds to Real Clear Politics election editor Sean Trende’s Twitter thread.  Sean asks this:
    This strain of anti-Trumpism is so fascinating to me, mostly because I have no idea what they think the endgame is? Like, do they think they have the ability to reach a position of power within the Republican Party again? Or at least a Republican Party that can win nationally? https://t.co/heJ4lLlwfu — Sean T at RCP (@SeanTrende) February 22, 2019 Ace has a good encapsulation of the arguments here. I responded thusly:
    The end game is this: A wild hope that Trump fails/ends up in jail/is impeached so they can go, “Ha ha! We were right! You’re wrong and evil! Now, come vote for __________ big government Republican of OUR choosing.” And everybody will do it because we live in fantasyland. — Melissa Mackenzie (@MelissaTweets) February 22, 2019 And then Jonah weighed in about Trende’s question of strategy, saying: I understand what Trende is getting at, and he certainly makes some plausible points about how ugly things will be for a while. But I think he’s starting from a couple of wrong assumptions. First, he makes no allowance for the possibility that some anti-Trump conservatives are just doing what they believe is the right thing to do. But this is answering a question not asked. It’s obvious that Kristol et al. (and Jonah) believe that opposing Trump and holding in contempt Trump’s followers is the right thing to do, otherwise, why would they do it? But Trende is asking a different question, one that Jonah alludes to when he says that things will get ugly for a while. Here’s the question another way: Why does opposing Trump mean that one must be nasty to Trump’s more respected and erudite defenders? What purpose is there, for example, in trying to destroy Victor Davis Hansen? When Trump gets out of office (and it will happen, if not by the glorious swan dive of impeachment or by rotting away his dotage in prison as the Never Trump wing hope), how will attempting to destroy someone personally influence the post-Trump party? What place will the most vociferous anti-Trumpers have once they’ve alienated everyone with whom they disagree? That’s what Trende is getting at. Jonah doesn’t answer that question. Instead he posits a false choice: If, for example, you think Trump’s emergency declaration is philosophically and politically wrongheaded, what should a writer do? Lie? Stay silent? Uh? Why is it either or? There are plenty of Trump policies to like and to dislike. Why not write positively of the good ones and negatively of the bad ones? That’s what lots of writers are doing while holding onto their conservative values and not giving Democrats fiscal and moral support ala Bill Kristol who gave money to the baby-killer Governor Northam in Virginia. And why must one be hateful to the people who support the emergency declaration in order to write against ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Friday, February 22, 2019By Melissa Mackenzie
    17 hours ago
  • ISIS Brides Seek to Return to the West
    As ISIS has been almost completely eliminated as a physical caliphate in the Levant, Western brides are calling it quits and demanding they be allowed back into their home countries. In the past week or so, cases in Canada, Britain, and the United States have taken center stage. ISIS brides from these countries have sought reentry in order to escape the crowded and ill-equipped refugee camps. These women aren’t the average person in a refugee camp, who are in their situation for being simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. These women are among the estimated thousands of Westerners who left their lives behind to support the Islamic State’s dream of a Koranic state in the Islamic world and beyond. That dream has failed, and these women are cashing out. The first, and most outlandish case comes with Shamima Begum, a woman who left Britain at 15. In an interview with the BBC from a refugee camp, Begum lamented her situation saying she wasn’t helping ISIS because she was simply a housewife. Begum also did not outright condemn the Manchester bombing that killed 22 innocent people, mainly young girls. In an interview with Sky News she complained about the conditions in a refugee camp and that she doesn’t want her child to be taken away from her even if she returns to Britain. She wants the UK to help her start a new life. She also claims that there is no evidence that she did anything dangerous or wrong, and that there is no proof that she is a threat “other than that I was in ISIS, but that’s it”
    IS bride Shamima Begum has insisted she is not ‘a threat’ to the UK and has spoken of her regret at joining the jihadi fighters in Syria https://t.co/V8wfaratdv pic.twitter.com/vTBIFmMDKs — ITV News (@itvnews) February 18, 2019 Her lawyer has claimed that she should be allowed home and to not do so is “racist,” though that she could be prosecuted for crimes. British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is known to have pro Islamist sympathies, says that Begum has a “right to return” to Britain. In the case of Canada, four Canadian women are currently living in the Al-Hawl refugee camp. These women largely claim to have been tricked into going to Syria to join the Islamic State, and that they should have a “second chance”. The families of these Canadians as well as Human Rights Lawyers are petitioning for them to be repatriated. Additionally, American woman Hoda Muthana, who left Alabama at 19 to join ISIS, wants to return to the United States with her toddler. Muthana claims to have renounced ISIS and that she is not a threat. In the past, she shared calls to violence on Twitter. Muthana wants America to excuse her crimes because she was young and ignorant, she believes that “lessons” would be a good response from the government to reform her, but jailtime would not. President Trump, who has ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Friday, February 22, 2019By Evan Maguire
    17 hours ago
  • Another Dot on the ‘Hate Map’
    Citizens of Powder Springs, Georgia, probably have no idea they are a dot on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s annual “Hate Map,” which was published this week and achieved its purpose, i.e., generating scary headlines: “Hate group count hits 20-year high amid rise in white supremacy, report says” (USA Today), “U.S. Hate Groups Rose 30 Percent In Recent Years, Watchdog Group Reports” (NPR), and “Trump ‘fear-mongering’ fuels rise of U.S. hate groups to record: watchdog” (Reuters). The journalists who supply the SPLC with this kind of free publicity seldom if ever bother to dig down into the details of these annual reports, so it’s unlikely that USA Today readers or NPR listeners in Powder Springs are aware that one of these “hate groups” has made their town a dot on the map. Located in the prosperous Cobb County suburbs of Atlanta, Powder Springs has more than tripled its population in the 30-odd years since I worked there as a young newspaper reporter. However, I had no idea there was a “hate group” in Powder Springs until I clicked on the SPLC’s latest map and found that the town of 14,000 people is home to American Vision, a small 501(c)3 “Biblical Worldview Ministry” currently led by Dr. Joel McDurmon, author of such books as God Versus Socialism: A Biblical Critique of the New Social Gospel(2009) and Restoring America: One County at a Time (2012). A theologian by training, McDurmon’s views can perhaps be most easily summarized as Calvinist and libertarian, and the question is: Why is this Christian non-profit organization with an office in Powder Springs labeled an “Anti-LGBT Hate Group” by the SPLC? “Merely because we have always stood by the Bible’s position on homosexuality,” McDurmon told me in a phone interview the day the latest “Hate Map” was published. Of course, there are many thousands of churches with millions of Bible-believing congregants in America that stand by the same position, but the SPLC can’t put every church on its “Hate Map,” so there’s a certain randomness to this designation. A couple of years ago, as part of an effort by the Left to defund conservative organizations, American Vision was denied services by various online payment processing companies citing the SPLC’s “Hate Group” label. As McDurmon explained in an article last fall, “Apparently, such left-leaning companies believe Christians should be forced to bake their homosexual wedding cakes, but they shouldn’t have to serve us.” This tactic of “financial blacklisting,” as Allum Bokhari of Breitbart News calls it, has been targeted at a broad spectrum of conservative activist groups since President Trump’s election in 2016, and can be devastating in its impact. Fortunately for supporters of American Vision, its online donations page is back in operation and McDurmon says the group has “recovered 80 to 90 percent of our donor base” since it first got blacklisted by companies like Stripe and Amazon. The increasing absurdity of the SPLC’s “hate group” designation has become obvious to conservatives in recent years. David Horowitz, the former New Left radical-turned-conservative, has called the SPLC ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Friday, February 22, 2019By Robert Stacy McCain
    2 days ago
  • The Bogeyman Isn’t Real
    Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is countering President Donald Trump’s use of a presidential declaration of a national emergency to build a border wall by ominously predicting — dum, dum, DUM!! — that some future Democrat president will use a similar declaration to attack things conservatives hold dear. She did it with a smirk and smug chuckle worthy of someone who has just snatched enough Dalmatian puppies to make a very comfy coat. Don’t be surprised but Madame Speaker is being disingenuous. If Trump hadn’t declared a national emergency, it wouldn’t have reduced the likelihood of a future Democrat president declaring one for whatever he thought to be an emergency. As Barack Obama’s weaponizing of the IRS, the FBI, and other federal agencies demonstrated, power placed in Democrat hands is used whether doing so is in keeping with statesmanly tradition, is ethical, or is even legal. So, we can confidently predict, that like the sun rising tomorrow or Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez saying something nutty, a Democrat president will do whatever it takes to advance the Democrat agenda. But will a presidential declaration of a national emergency (hereafter, PDNE) by a Dem prez work for the causes Lefties find delightful? Pelosi explicitly mentioned increasing gun control using a PDNE. Extending and improving border barriers that already exist and destroying a fundamental right enumerated in the U.S. Constitution aren’t, however, the same thing. Such an effort would bring a quick trip to the Supreme Court, where it would be unlikely to prevail. Additionally, over 326 million firearms are in private hands and it will be difficult to gather them up. A 2014 effort in California to confiscate 21,249 guns owned by convicted felons and domestic violence offenders collected just 3,770 guns. The guns were registered so the collecting officers had the names of the owners, their addresses, and the number of weapons they owned. They spent nearly $10 million of a $25 million appropriation or about $2500 per gun and left 17,479 of the targeted weapons uncollected. Imagine a similar effort to collect all American guns. The cost would be enormous and we haven’t mentioned the costs of hunting down guns less readily found nor of imprisoning those who resisted confiscation nor of diverting law enforcement from their normal duties nor of the costs of crimes that would otherwise be prevented by those officers and gun owners lawfully using their guns. The needed police intrusion into millions of lives would be an incredible imposition on America. While anti-gun voices might protest that no guns would mean no gun deaths and that confiscation would thereby be justified, it’s hard to imagine a gun confiscation effort that would collect all guns and keep criminals from obtaining a firearm. At best, it would make guns a highly valuable black market item to smuggle into America or to make in an ordinary machine shop. There’s also a political cost to gun confiscation. While anti-gun voices dominate the debate as conducted in the mainstream media, there are millions of pro-gun ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Friday, February 22, 2019By Ed Morrow
    2 days ago
  • Sacramento Attacks the Sacraments
    California State Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) sponsors a bill to jail Catholic priests for not reporting to the state authorities the confessions of those who abuse children and the parents who neglect them. Priests who refuse to violate the confidentiality of penitents face a year in prison and a $5,000 fine. St. Matthew, not to mention the Catholic missionaries who established an outpost in San Mateo in the 18th century, do not approve. Hill supporting a decade ago the turning of the birthday of Harvey Milk, who started a long-term relationship with a sixteen-year-old runaway during the 1960s, into a state holiday celebrated in public schools makes the intent of the current legislation seem less about punishing child predators than about punishing the Catholic Church. Indeed, Hill periodically calls for audits and investigations of Catholic and Christian groups for various reasons, including a charity that instructed on medication that reverses the effects of abortifacient pills and private schools that include morality clauses in the contracts of teachers. “The sacramental seal is inviolable,” church law states. “[T]herefore it is absolutely forbidden for a confessor to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason.” Even under threat of death, ordained priests, the church commands, must stay faithful to this trust. Don’t fret, Father Flanagan, the cardinal never need discover your violation of this sacrosanct tenet of the church. Hill’s bill ironically promises confidentiality to priests who violate the Seal of the Confessional. “No agency or person listed in this subdivision shall disclose the identity of any person who reports under this article to that person’s employer, except with the employee’s consent or by court order,” the bill reads. So who knows? The exceptions include prosecutors, law enforcement and social services “receiving or investigating mandated reports,” and the courts. Trust the agents of Gavin Newsom, superior to the agents of God, in keeping secrets. And, in fact, the bill makes priests agents of the state. “Free exercise and enjoyment of religion without discrimination or preference are guaranteed,” reads the California constitution, which puts it at odds with the legislation. Above and beyond the legal issues exist spiritual ones. Such a requirement chills something required of sinners — penance — in the Catholic Church. This ritual empowers believers to reflect and change. The act of contrition, apart from saying an Act of Contrition, helps us acknowledge right and wrong, humbles us, and compels us through conscience to mend our ways. Do we really want to suppress something so socially adaptive and spiritually rejuvenating? Priests, it seems, already save the state tax dollars in funding policemen. Though everyone, save for perhaps child abusers, wants more reporting, it seems clear that this law would not bring this desired state about. Assuming that child abusers strike as exactly the type of people who frequent confessional boxes, they certainly will not confess their crimes to a priest once a promulgated law informs them that those revelations go straight to ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Friday, February 22, 2019By Daniel J. Flynn
    2 days ago
  • Why the ‘Green New Deal’ Will Not Fly in Missouri
    How well prepared are different players in Missouri’s highly diversified economy to join the “Green New Deal” proposed by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and endorsed by several presidential contenders? Are businesses and people in our state ready to make the jump from an economy that is heavily dependent on fossil fuels to one that would “meet 100 percent of power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy” over the next ten years? Let’s start with Missouri farmers. Are they ready to switch to electric tractors, trucks, and combines in order to reduce their carbon footprint to the vanishing point over the course of a single decade? We can answer that question with an unequivocal “No.” Here’s why. Begin with the fact that there are no — repeat, no — Tesla-like, battery-powered farm vehicles on the market today that could begin to replace most of today’s diesel-powered vehicles in doing the heavy-duty, energy-intensive work involved in ploughing fields and gathering harvests. The battery-powered substitutes for today’s machines don’t exist, and — even if they did — other problems would prevent their instant and widespread use. Did any of the utopian thinkers who devised the Green New Deal stop to consider that most farms are wired in much the same way as most homes. That is to say, they are not wired for industrial use — which is what would be required to bring about the presumed greening of agriculture through electrification. The problem here cannot be solved by putting up hundreds or even thousands of new wind turbines to supplement the 500 now in use in Missouri — which provide an average of two megawatts of power per turbine, and then only when the wind blows. As Blake Hurst, the president of the Missouri Farm Bureau, points out, the electrification of Missouri agriculture would be an immensely expensive undertaking. It would require nothing less than “totally rebuilding the electrical grid” in order to deliver far greater quantities of electric power to farms in thinly populated areas around the state. The grid, along with charging stations and other supporting infrastructure, would have to treat every farm with a fleet of one truck, one tractor, and one combine or cotton-picker as if it were a town with 10,000 or more inhabitants. To understand the physics, consider a conservative estimate of the electrical requirements posed by a hypothetical electric combine that replaces a typical grain combine. The latter weighs 15 tons, consumes approximately 15 gallons of diesel fuel per hour, and is often used about 16 hours a day during harvest. At 40-percent efficiency, its diesel engine delivers about 244 kW of power. To do the same work, the electric combine would need to carry the equivalent of about 3.5 Tesla batteries (4,400 pounds) for each hour of continuous use. It would therefore need approximately 28 Tesla batteries to go eight hours without recharging. The combined weight of all of batteries would be 17 tons, making the electric combine significantly ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Friday, February 22, 2019By Andrew B. Wilson and James W. Seeser
    2 days ago
  • Scams, Big and Small
    The media claims to have learned its lesson after the Jussie Smollett and Covington cases. But, of course, it hasn’t. It can’t resist stories based on anti-Trump prejudice, starting with its favorite one, the allegation that Trump and Russia colluded in the 2016 election. While browbeating Smollett for his bogus and staged tale of having been beat up at the hands of two Trump supporters, the media listened with bated breath to Andrew McCabe this week as he engaged in his own form of crying wolf: he continues to claim that Trump “may be a Russian asset.” What is his evidence for that? He hasn’t provided any on his many book tour stops. McCabe’s sensationalistic speculation that the president of the United States is a possible foreign agent is a far more consequential and damaging story to the common good than a half-baked hoax orchestrated by a Hollywood actor. Yet the media shows McCabe’s claim no skepticism whatsoever. They let McCabe speak vaguely about his reasons for authorizing an investigation into Trump. They never ask him about the FBI’s reliance on Hillary Clinton’s opposition research. They never ask him about the Inspector General’s findings that he lied to investigators and engaged in criminal leaking. They let him smear the president without hesitation. Were it not for the media’s detestation for Trump, McCabe’s book tour would have been embarrassing and rocky. Instead, he regales hosts with a self-serving account that is based upon a series of false assumptions, such as, that Trump’s firing of James Comey constituted an act of obstruction of justice. The media has yet to ask McCabe how that act, which falls within Trump’s constitutional authority, met the FBI’s criteria for treating a president as a probable foreign agent. Smollett’s hoax no doubt wasted police resources and he will pay a price for that. But will the peddlers of the Trump-Russia collusion claim like McCabe be held accountable for the millions of dollars they have cost taxpayers for a politicized investigation? We’re told that Mueller is finally wrapping up his probe and will shortly send his report to the Justice Department. Judging by the absence of any leaks about Trump-Russia collusion up to this point, the report is likely to disappoint the media and Democrats. Even James Clapper, the stridently anti-Trump former intelligence director, is bracing for the possibility it will come up short in proving collusion. “I think the hope is that the Mueller investigation will clear the air on this issue once and for all. I’m really not sure it will, and the investigation, when completed, could turn out to be quite anti-climactic and not draw a conclusion about that,” Clapper told CNN. But no sooner had Clapper said that than he threw out the same irresponsible speculation as McCabe about Trump as a possible Russian agent owing to his foreign policy. Clapper said, “The strange thing I think that has bothered a lot of people both in and out of the intelligence community is this ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Friday, February 22, 2019By George Neumayr
    2 days ago
  • Confronting Government’s Revenue Addiction
    The law of civil forfeiture allows police and prosecutors to seize and keep cash, cars, homes, businesses and property of all kinds without ever criminally charging or convicting the owners. As originally conceived, it was to be a deterrent by which law enforcement would transfer the ill-gotten gains of crime to the public treasury. But, as so often happens with governmental power, it has transmuted over the years into a semi-criminal operation in and of itself. In 2014, Chris Sourovelis’ son was arrested for selling $40 worth of drugs. Three weeks later, the Philadelphia police forcibly evicted the entire Sourovelis family from their home. This was part of Philadelphia’s aggressive program to shut down drug houses which plagued neighborhoods throughout the city. Sourovelis, who owned the property, was never charged with a crime. Nevertheless, before he and his family could return to their home, he had to go to court. But this wasn’t just any tribunal. The forfeiture court at Philadelphia’s City Hall had neither judge nor jury. Instead, it was run by the District Attorney’s Office, the same organization which authorized the property seizures. Since this was a civil court, no lawyer or public defender was provided to persons trying to get their property back. If they couldn’t afford to pay a lawyer, the petitioners themselves had to present their cases to an Assistant District Attorney. The prosecutor in the courtroom determined whether or not the City could keep the property into perpetuity, and there was no venue for an appeal. Needless to say, the District Attorney’s Office did pretty well in forfeiture court. Relatively speaking, Sourovelis got off easy. He and his family were allowed to reoccupy their home provided they banned from the premises the son who had sold the $40 worth of drugs. After being allowed back into his own home, Sourovelis filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Philadelphia which last year resulted in a consent decree that put some limited restraints on what had become a money-making scheme which yielded average annual revenues of $5.6 million. What Philadelphia did to the Sourovelis family is by no means an isolated incident. Civil asset forfeiture programs similar to and even more aggressive than Philadelphia’s are being used throughout the nation and have become major cash cows for governments at all levels. Now the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits “cruel and unusual punishments” and “excessive fines.” But what is excessive and whether the constitutional prohibition against such fines applies to the states has been a matter of debate. Previously the U.S. Supreme Court had left open the question of whether the Eighth Amendment prohibition against excessive fines applied to the states. But on Wednesday, the Supreme Court answered that question with a landmark ruling. When Tyson Timbs was arrested by Indiana police for selling heroin, they seized his $42,000 Land Rover which he had used to transport the drugs. This was done despite the fact that Timbs had purchased the vehicle with the proceeds of ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Friday, February 22, 2019By George Parry
    2 days ago
  • The Cultural Reichstag Fires
    Remember the Reichstag fire? It was perhaps the seminal event that sealed Germany’s fate as a socialist dictatorship before the Allies were finally able to pry that nation out of the jaws of Nazism in 1945 (although for the eastern portion of the country human dignity and freedom wouldn’t come for another 40-plus years thanks to Soviet imperialism). If you’re not familiar with that event, the date was February 27, 1933. Adolf Hitler had been sworn in as Germany’s chancellor just four weeks hence, though his Nazi party was in an unstable position at the center of a coalition government holding a small plurality of 32 percent of the seats in the Reichstag — Germany’s parliament under its Weimar Republic. At the time Hitler had an agenda in mind to secure a much larger portion of the Reichstag’s seats in order to create a majority for passing an Enabling Act that would allow him essentially to rule by decree, at an election set for March 5. By happenstance or contrivance on the part of the Nazis — it’s still a matter for debate — a fire was set in the assembly chamber of the Reichstag building which raged until the structure lay largely in ruins. A 25-year-old Dutch communist with a sketchy history as an arsonist named Marius van der Lubbe was found at the scene and charged with the crime, along with four other communists, as the Nazis used the Reichstag fire as evidence of a communist putschto overflow the Weimar Republic. As a political weapon, the Reichstag fire was incredibly useful to the Nazis — their representation in the Reichstag grew to 44 percent of the body, giving them a majority of 52 percent with allies included, especially when Hitler was able to convince German president Paul von Hindenburg to sign the Reichstag Fire Decree suspending most civil liberties and banning the communists from participating in the country’s parliament. What we know as the Third Reich followed, and the world was ablaze in war shortly thereafter. But as a matter of proof there is little to indicate that a communist plot burned the Reichstag. Van der Lubbe alleged he acted alone before being guillotined for the crime, the other communists tried for their accused role in the fire were found not guilty and historical examination since has thrown more suspicion on the Nazis than anyone else for setting the building on fire. Since then, the Reichstag fire has been the shining example of a “false flag” operation, in which a hoax of some kind is perpetrated in order to inflame public sentiment against parties not guilty of the conduct the hoax is intended to portray. Which is both instructive and ironic given our current American reality, in which the Left cannot stop slandering its political opponents as Nazis and our president as the second coming of Hitler (which is a long-running gag hardly limited to Donald Trump) — and yet it appears the Nazi false flag tactics are ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, February 21, 2019By Scott McKay
    3 days ago
  • A State GOP Convention or a Wake?
    Sacramento As California Republicans head to their convention in Sacramento this weekend, they are buzzing about the big election to choose a new party leader, as former state Sen. Jim Brulte heads into the sunset after six years as GOP chairman. The low-key and generally non-ideological Brulte did yeoman’s work organizationally, but the party is on the brink of irrelevance. It has virtually no influence in a state government run almost entirely by progressive Democrats. As far as the candidates, there’s Jessica Patterson, a Southern California Latina who has most elected officials’ support because of her work as CEO of a well-respected candidate-recruitment program known as Trailblazers. There’s Travis Allen, a firebrand former Huntington Beach Assemblyman who received an underwhelming 9.5 percent in the gubernatorial primary. His main pitch had been fealty to Donald Trump, who nevertheless endorsed his opponent, John Cox, in that race. And there’s longtime conservative activist Stephen Frank. If Allen or Frank win, the donors will surely pull back support. The moderates might walk, too, and the GOP here will become the equivalent of a defiantly liberal Democratic Party in some place such as Mississippi or Wyoming. Donald Trump won the lowest vote count of any major party presidential candidate in California since 1924, as Hillary Clinton trounced him by 30-percentage points in 2016. Whatever one thinks of Trump, focusing purely on the base is not a winning strategy in California. But it probably doesn’t matter, one way or another. As of the latest general election, Democrats held registration totals of 43.8 percent. The second-largest group doesn’t even belong to a party: No Party Preference voters comprised 26.8 percent of the electorate. Republicans came in an increasingly distant third at 24.5 percent. No Republican won any statewide constitutional office. Democratic legislative supermajorities are history. They now have mega-majorities in both chambers: 61 of 80 seats in the Assembly (after the recent defection of a San Diego-area Republican) and 29 of 40 Senate seats. Not a single Republican now represents any part of Orange County, the one-time GOP stronghold, in the U.S. House of Representatives after Democrats swiped several GOP-held seats in November. The most depressing news is the party is setting itself up for the same, tired debate it’s been having since I’ve moved to California in the 1990s, back when Republicans still had a governor, attorney general, treasurer, insurance commissioner, secretary of state and solid representation in the Assembly. The conservatives, not surprisingly, say the party has to be more defiantly conservative to appeal to voters. The moderates, of course, say the party has to be more inclusive and moderate to win over voters. There’s a new group called New Way California that is designed to “work collaboratively to advance issues that are important to all Californians.” That New Way represents an old way that failed before. In fact, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, elected in an unusual recall election in 2003, is on the New Way board. He pioneered some of the programs (cap and trade, high-speed rail) that ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, February 21, 2019By Steven Greenhut
    3 days ago
  • Can Nick Sandmann Save the First Amendment?
    Nick Sandmann is back in the news, literally with a vengeance. If there is anyone in the galaxy who doesn’t recognize the name, this is the high school teen viciously maligned by the media after a leftwing activist with a film crew attempted to provoke a confrontation with him as he waited for a bus near the Lincoln Memorial. Having committed the crimes of wearing a red MAGA cap and smiling, Sandmann was vilified by the media as a smug beneficiary of “white privilege” who had bullied a Native American veteran. This turned out to be a lie, of course. Consequently, Sandmann’s parents are suing the Washington Post for $250 million pursuant to its participation in a “modern-day form of McCarthyism” and enthusiastically joining “a mainstream and social media mob of bullies which attacked, vilified, and threatened Nicholas Sandmann, an innocent secondary school child.” The pretext for this outrage was a deceptively edited video suggesting that Sandmann was the aggressor in the “confrontation” with alleged Vietnam veteran Nathan Phillips. The full video revealed that the former was, in fact, the victim. This incident enraged a public whose trust in the “news” media is already at an all time low and alarmed many honest journalists and scholars who fear that the increasing number of such abuses by the press will cause an overreaction by the courts resulting in undesirable restrictions on the First Amendment. Indeed, confirming the validity of such concerns, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas just wrote a concurring opinion in which he suggested that NYT v. Sullivan, a landmark First Amendment ruling involving defamation cases, should be revisited: [NYT v. Sullivan] and the Court’s decisions extending it were policy-driven decisions masquerading as constitutional law.… We did not begin meddling in this area until 1964, nearly 175 years after the First Amendment was ratified. The States are perfectly capable of striking an acceptable balance between encouraging robust public discourse and providing a meaningful remedy for reputational harm. We should reconsider our jurisprudence in this area. NYT v. Sullivan is regarded as sacrosanct by the media. The general gist of the ruling is that news organizations can’t be sued for defaming public figures unless they act with “actual malice.”To clear that bar, an outlet must be shown to have published a claim about a public figure knowing that it was untrue or with reckless disregard concerning its accuracy. A good recent example involves a false story about Melania Trump published by the Daily Mail in the U.S. The First Lady sued whereupon that “news” publication was forced to pay $2.9 million in damages. The Sandmann case is far worse. Nick Sandmann is a 16-year-old high school kid. There isn’t a lawyer in the land who will be able to convince any court that he was a public figure before he found himself under assault by the media and the Twitter mob. Thus, the Postwill face this lawsuit with no ability to invoke a basic principle elucidated in NYT v. Sullivan. Second, the Postran with the false narrative with no attempt ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, February 21, 2019By David Catron
    3 days ago
  • Bernie and Cal
    The least improbable feature of Bernie Sanders campaign to become President is that, if elected, he would be 80 years old when he takes the oath of office. But, then, he is not only old, he is a socialist and represents one of the smallest, whitest states in the Union. Not the ideal résumé for a presidential candidate. But Sanders is not lacking in determination. He is also a humorless scold but that comes with being an old-school socialist. There is nothing funny about inequality and in the socialist universe, everything is about… inequality. You never take the day off. Sanders has been my Representative in the House and one of my two Senators for longer than I care to remember and I was content to consider him simply part of the price of living in Vermont. The air is clear, the schools are safe, many miles of the state’s roads are still unpaved and turn into the quagmires during what is known as mud-season. Outside of Burlington and a few other small cities, life moves at rhythms that recall the days of Calvin Coolidge, a great Vermonter and President. Would that Senator Sanders were more like Coolidge, who was a man of few words and could make those that he did use sing with a music that is imperishable. “I have never been hurt by what I have not said.” “You know, I have found out in the course of a long public life that the things I did not say never hurt me.” “If you don’t say anything, you won’t be called on to repeat it.” Coolidge was a laconic man who prized — and praised — silence, which is sort of a Vermont characteristic. (Except when it isn’t, which is often the case.) He was called “Silent Cal” for this taciturnity and that didn’t seem to bother him. Or, if it did, then he typically did not say anything about it. Bernie Sanders is the other thing. “Voluble” doesn’t quite cover it. Bernie is never at a loss for words. Never silent, which was the Coolidge trademark. But then Sanders was never really a Vermonter. To be officially recognized by the natives as such, you must be of at least the third generation born in the state. Once upon a time, a real Vermonter said to me, “Where you from with that accent?” “Alabama,” I said sounding almost guilty about it. “But my wife just had a baby here,” I went on, “so my daughter is a Vermonter.” The man looked like he wanted to spit on the floor. “Cat crawls in the oven and has kittens, that don’t make them muffins, does it?” I couldn’t think of anything to say, so I played like Calvin Coolidge and stayed silent. Bernie Sanders would no doubt have engaged the man in dialogue. Or, more likely, monologue. And his mouth wouldn’t have even been up to cruising speed before the word “outrage” came out of it. In the Sanders ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, February 21, 2019By Geoffrey Norman
    3 days ago
  • Is Your Car a Threat to National Security?
    If you drive an imported car, as I do, your vehicle may soon be declared a national security risk by the Department of Commerce. If you drive an American-assembled car, your car may also pose a threat to U.S. national security because it inevitably contains some foreign parts — which Commerce could include in its list of threats to national security. If President Donald Trump acts on this finding, it’ll be bad news for automakers and even worse news for consumers. Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 gives the president unilateral authority to impose tariffs or quotas on imports that “threaten to impair” U.S. national security. In a still-undisclosed-to-the-public report sent to the administration on Sunday, many suspect that Commerce contends imported foreign cars and parts represent just such a threat. If that’s the case, it would give the president power to impose restrictions on them, such as a 25 percent tariff. He has up to 90 days to announce his decision and another 180 days to negotiate remedies with trade partners. If Trump imposes these trade restrictions, it will make producing and purchasing every single new automobile in America more expensive. Yes, I mean all automobiles, not just imports. That’s because, while car brands can be national (e.g., Toyota is Japanese, Mini is German, Ford is American), in reality they are global automakers using global sources for their parts. Many “foreign” automakers produce and assemble cars in the United States and then export them to the rest of the world. The same is true for “American” automakers who have both domestic and international locations from which they produce for export and domestic consumption. No automobile is made with 100 percent of its parts from one county. For instance, Tesla — which is unique in that it produces all of its vehicles in the United States — imports half of the parts it uses. Looking at the percentage of each vehicle’s parts and manufacturing that comes from either the United States or Canada as tracked by U.S. regulators, CNN Money reported that “the two most ‘American’ cars are both Hondas — the Odyssey minivan and Ridgeline pickup. Three-quarters of each vehicle’s components are made in the United States or Canada.” In other words, no automakers — not even G.M. or Ford — will be safe from these tariffs. All manufacturers will suffer rising costs, much of which will be shifted onto consumers via higher prices. A new study from the Center for Automotive Research estimates that import restrictions would increase new-car prices by $455 to $6,875, depending on the approach the administration takes. These higher prices would reduce annual consumer demand by 493,600 to 2 million vehicles. But that’s before other countries retaliate with their own tariffs and quotas. These new U.S. trade barriers will impact more than sticker prices. If the American market is too small for a foreign automaker to justify building a U.S. factory for a given model, all the models of that car sold ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, February 21, 2019By Veronique de Rugy
    3 days ago
  • Andrew McCabe: Faux Hero of Our Times
    The progressive mainstream media have declared former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to be a Hero of the Republic for having launched a counterintelligence investigation of President Trump after he fired FBI Director James Comey in May 2017. In interviews on CBS and NBC, McCabe has claimed that FBI officials under his supervision opened the probe because they believed that it was “possible” that Trump had acted on behalf of the Kremlin when he fired Comey. On NBC’s Today Show, McCabe told Savannah Guthrie that the FBI “had information that led us to believe that there might be a threat to national security — in this case that the president himself might, in fact, be a threat to the United States’ national security.” In keeping with the media consensus, the New York Times’ review of McCabe’s new book, The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump, begins with a worshipful description of McCabe’s picture on the back cover. “His hands are at his hips, gunslinger style. It’s as if he were a kind of High Plains sheriff who had stumbled upon an intolerable rodeo of villainy.” There is more, but you get the idea. What has been so remarkable about the coverage and commentary is the astounding degree to which no one in the mainstream media has uttered a single word or asked a single question about McCabe’s demonstrable record of dishonesty and tenuous relationship with the truth. It’s as if the remarkably incurious — bordering on semi-comatose — mainstream media have developed mass amnesia when it comes to McCabe’s firing by the FBI after the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General had found that he had “lacked candor [i.e.,lied], including under oath, on multiple occasions in connection with describing his role in connection with a disclosure” to the Wall Street Journal regarding a story about the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server and his role in that investigation. The OIG concluded that McCabe had authorized the disclosure “through an anonymously sourced quote in the WSJ, recounting the content of a telephone conversation between him and a [Justice] Department official, [that] served only to advance McCabe’s personal interests and not the public interest, as required by FBI policy. We therefore found that his actions violated applicable FBI and Department policies and constituted misconduct.” Following these findings, the FBI fired McCabe, and he was referred to the Justice Department for possible criminal prosecution for making false statements and false swearing. That’s some record of achievement for the High Plains sheriff who, we are told, stepped into the breach to save America from Trump, the Manchurian traitor. So, since nobody else seems interested in McCabe’s background, let’s dip into the memory hole to fish out a few scraps that might help us better evaluate McCabe’s most recent self-aggrandizing yarn. A good place to start is the campaign of his wife’s 2015 campaign for the Virginia State Senate. She had the support of then Democratic Virginia Governor and ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, February 20, 2019By George Parry
    3 days ago
  • Opportunity to Reverse Disastrous Climate Policies at World Bank
    With World Bank President Jim Yong Kim stepping down effective February 1, President Trump’s chosen successor, David Malpass, should waste no time in shifting the powerful multilateral lender’s focus from combating climate change to providing the world’s poorest countries with access to reliable and affordable energy. Malpass, currently undersecretary of Treasury for international affairs, is a longtime critic of the World Bank. It was under Kim’s leadership that the World Bank announced in 2013 that it would no longer finance coal-fired power plants in developing countries but instead would look favorably on electrification projects employing renewable energy. Appointed to head the bank by President Obama the previous year, Kim enthusiastically embraced Obama’s anti-fossil fuel policies and carried them into the sphere of international lending. Supported by a nearly $400 billion balance sheet, the bank, by denying funds to energy projects it deems at odds with “acceptable” climate goals, is in a position to do great harm. And by pushing intermittent wind and solar power in underdeveloped countries, it is doing just that. In a 2017 report for the London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation, international investment analyst Rupert Darwall wrote that the World Bank was guilty of “an inhumane and senseless attempt to try and save the planet on the backs of the world’s poor.” He called on the bank to abandon “its damaging advocacy of renewable energy for countries that can ill afford the costs and risks of flawed technologies that rich countries have yet to solve.” This is where Trump and Malpass come in. Trump has already broken with the global green establishment by pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord and pledged to marshal America’s abundant resources of oil, coal, and natural gas to achieve “global energy dominance.” Now, it’s time to take that agenda to the World Bank, where, by tradition, its head is an American citizen chosen by the U.S. president, subject to the approval of the bank’s board of executive directors. Conveniently, the bank’s posh headquarters is a couple of blocks from the White House. The World Bank doesn’t operate in a vacuum. Its anti-fossil fuel policies fit neatly into the climate agenda pursued by the United Nations, the European Union, global corporations, environmental organizations, and a bevy of deep-pocketed foundations, hedge funds, and investment banks. The Houston-based Laura and John Arnold Foundation, for example, has teamed up with high-profile billionaires such as Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg, and Vinod Khosla to form Breakthrough Energy Ventures, an offshoot of Gates’ green-energy advocacy group, the Breakthrough Energy Coalition. Launched in December 2016, a month after Trump’s election and a year after conclusion of the Paris climate accord, Breakthrough Energy Ventures pledged to invest $1 billion in “energy that doesn’t emit greenhouse gas to power the future.” The Arnold Foundation has also joined forces with the Hewlett Foundation, Packard Foundation, George Soros’s Foundation for an Open Society, and others, to fund the ClimateWorks Foundation. Described by the Capital Research Center’s Influence Watch as a ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, February 20, 2019By Bonner R. Cohen
    3 days ago
  • Instagram Banning Memes Against Hoaxer Jussie Smollett
    Instagram, owned by Facebook, crafts the narrative users receive. Right now, they’re deleting any memes that make fun of Jussie Smollett, the Empire actor who paid fellow actors to attack him in Chicago in the middle of a frigid night. [Read all about it in Dov Fischer’s cover piece.] Before that, he wrote a fake racist, homophobic letter to himself [allegedly] or paid someone to do it. Jussie Smollett is a joke. He perpetrated his own crimes [allegedly] and lied about it. His lies provoked hysteria from the media, Democrats, and Hollywood, and then they lied about it. Anyone with a nose for truth knew it was false and so, anyone not duped is making fun of both the criminal and his willing accomplices. Since Leftists have no sense of humor, they’re angry. Since Leftists control the media, they can do something about it. What they’re doing is squelching anyone expressing mirth at their expense.
    Now @Instagram is censoring memes making fun of Jussie Smollett. pic.twitter.com/fiNHH3OD2J — Mark Dice (@MarkDice) February 20, 2019 Mark Dice asks why no one is covering it. Well, maybe it’s because the lying, ignoring, and squelching is nonstop. Have you noticed that no one is talking about Governor Northam’s black face scandal? Thanks Jussie! Have you noticed that no one is talking about Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax’s #MeToo moment where he’s credibly accused by two professional, Democrat women of rape? His accusers are willing to testify. Democrats in Virginia are dropping calls for him to resign. Have you noticed that the Covington kids hoax isn’t being reported? The Washington Post is being sued for libel to the tune of $250 million. Have you noticed that no one is talking about the rampant anti-Semitism coming out of Democrats’ mouths? Oh! And did you know that on the very night that Jussie Smollett made up a crime against himself, a Jewish man was attacked in Brooklyn, NY? Did you know that hate crimes against Jewish people, by black people is rising there? Even the New York Times is covering it deep in their pages. Meanwhile, Andrew McCabe, who looks like he’s from central casting for a NASA film from the 1950’s, is marauding around the cable news circuit spreading falsehoods. The calumny and coverup is rampant. Oh! And did you know that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez illegally moved money around not only to pay her boyfriend (husband?) during the campaign but to buy her election? She also moved into a swanky new apartment complex – as commies so often do – poor people need not apply. Thanks Jussie, too, for taking the lazy media’s gaze off of the New Green (Red) Deal. Back to Instagram. If you haven’t heard all of these stories, it’s because Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and their various subsidiaries like Instagram, don’t cover this news. They bury it in their algorithms. I couldn’t even find the story about AOC via search using the words “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez new home.” I had to use ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, February 20, 2019By Melissa Mackenzie
    3 days ago
  • Republican Spenders: Where’s the Backbone?
    Just three months after last November’s midterm elections, Democratic presidential hopefuls are already lining up. And the new darling of the left, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is blithely explaining her party’s outright embrace of old-fashioned socialism with the self-assured assertion that the left is “morally right.” Do conservatives have the backbone to offer an effective alternative? The recent past is disturbing. While the nation continues to drown in deficit spending, Washington Republicans muffed many recent opportunities to reverse course. Here are just three: In 2018, President Trump and his Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, recommended a $9 billion reduction in appropriations for the Education Department. How did the Republican Congress respond? It went in the opposite direction, giving the department a $2.6 billion increase in appropriations over the prior year — an $11.6 billion increase over the administration’s request! Similarly, the Trump administration proposed steep reductions in foreign aid and State Department funding which would have reduced spending levels back to those under George W. Bush. The Republican Congress responded by spending $11 billion more than President Trump requested. In March, 2018, Congress passed a gargantuan $1.3 trillion spending bill over the futile protest of a handful of conservative Republicans. In an effort to exert some semblance of fiscal responsibility, the administration then proposed a rescission bill that would have clawed back some $15 billion of the $1.3 trillion spending bill. The House approved the rescission package. The Senate defeated it. These three missed opportunities illustrate how we got in this mess. Our national debt now stands at well over $20 trillion, and the annual deficit is projected at over $1 trillion. And that’s in a year when the economy is robust and growing — just imagine what the deficit will be whenever we enter the next recession. Even with a Republican president and a Republican Congress, there has been no real appetite for cutting spending and moving toward a balanced budget. Meantime, as liberals boast about “being morally right,” Republicans have failed to make the moral argument against more deficit spending. Is it moral to spend the nation into bankruptcy? Government has spent trillions of taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars on welfare programs to end poverty since the 1960s — but the poverty rate hasn’t declined. Was that spending moral? Was it moral to create a huge class of Americans who are permanently dependent on the government? The answer is no. It is immoral, and it is dangerous. In economic terms, we are perched atop a time bomb. Deep down, we Americans agree with Ben Stein’s father: “If something can’t go on forever, it will stop.” Yet Congress has refused to reduce spending. Why? Because the American voters have too often elected representatives who ran as conservatives but lacked the backbone to vote as they had promised. Former Senator Tom Coburn has written, “Big government’s false promise of easy living and smug security has wreaked havoc not only in the nation’s finances, but also in the American ideals of self-reliance and human dignity.” Arthur Brooks concludes, ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, February 20, 2019By Garland S. Tucker III
    4 days ago
  • Racist Hoaxes in a Remarkably Accepting and Diverse America
    The United States is the most accepting diverse society on earth and has been for decades. How many Black people have risen to President of France? To Prime Minister of France? Of England? Of Germany? Of Spain? Of Russia? How many have been named Ambassador to the United Nations, Foreign Minister (akin to Secretary of State), Defense Minister (akin to Secretary of Defense), Justice Minister (Attorney General), to other cabinet posts, national security advisor, and such? How many non-ethnic-Chinese have attained such positions in China? Non-ethnic Japanese in Japan? Ours is a remarkably kind, accepting, and fair country. Yes, this country once was blighted by slavery, but more than 300,000 White American men gave their lives to end that tragic institution more than 150 years ago. Slavery ended. Like the Holocaust of only 75 years ago, it is part of a history book now. It is history. It is something to remember, something from which to learn so that it never be repeated — and it is over. A proud and healthy culture cannot be built predominantly on a tragedy, even a historic tragedy of incalculable proportions. As a rabbi, the Judaism I teach is the Torah and the Talmud, the commentaries and writings of Rabbi Rambam Maimonides and of Rabbi Rashi and of so many others. I teach the history of 3,300 years since Sinai, the achievements even in the face of the challenges. Yes, we are informed by the Shoah, as we are by the destruction of the Holy Temple that someday will be rebuilt in Messianic times on its promontory on Mount Moriah, as we are by the expulsions, Inquisitions, blood libels, pogroms, Communist terrors, and other persecutions that have visited us. That makes us vigilant. But we do not build a culture on that. I wish so much for others in other cultures to understand that no culture can be built in 2019 America on a slavery that ended in 1865 by virtue of 300,000 White men giving up their lives to end it. Today’s reality is that the United States is the most accepting diverse society on earth and has been for decades. I associate with people of all political, theological, ethnic, and gender-oriented stripes. In actual life experience, racism like anti-Semitism has all but ended in open American society. Racist Democrat governors like Lester Maddox and George Wallace, racist Democrat Senators like KKK Exalted Cyclops Robert F. Byrd and J. William Fulbright are gone from the scene. Yes, one reads despicable hateful social-media comments in certain online vehicles. Call it “Godwin’s Law.” In a society of more than 300 million people from so many diverse backgrounds, it is what it is. But wanton hatred has departed from our open society. I have not met a conservative in more than twenty years who cares a whit about someone’s color. That simply is not part of the conservative mindset. We measure people by their trustworthiness, resourcefulness, good cheer, skills and intelligence, and readiness to contribute to team success. Nothing else matters. ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, February 20, 2019By Dov Fischer
    4 days ago
  • Low Taxes Are the Best Sweetheart Deal 
    Ever since Amazon’s break-up with New York on Valentine’s Day, dejected Mayor Bill De Blasio is complaining that corporations shouldn’t be able to play off one local government against others for tax breaks. “I don’t think it’s really fair to pit city against city and state against state,” De Blasio whined like a jilted suitor. Grow up, Mr. Mayor. Localities will always vie to woo companies. The real problem is that New York is pursuing a losing strategy. Winning requires low taxes and deregulation that benefit every company — whether it’s big or small, new to the state or homegrown. Instead New York pols keep taxes at intolerable heights. Then they boast about negotiating tax breaks with a few big companies like Amazon. These pols aren’t job creators at all. They’re job buyers, willing to bid whatever it takes (with our money) so they can brag about luring in a plum employer. The whole strategy is unfair to smaller companies that have to do business absent these tax breaks. And to the state’s taxpayers, who have to pay more in taxes to make up for the lost revenue from these deals. We’re footing the bill for these pols’ phony job-creation theatrics. Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor De Blasio did a victory dance in November, when Amazon said it would build a second headquarters in Long Island City. Give the two credit. At least they were willing to deal with Amazon. Unlike Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and her anti-capitalist ilk, whose vocal opposition may have been what drove Amazon out. The Amazon deal aside, New York lost the overall competition for job growth in 2018, coming in below national average. Which states won? Nevada, Texas, Washington, and Florida, which have no income tax, as well as Colorado, Arizona, and Utah. Cuomo blames bad weather for New York’s mediocre showing, and the exodus of New Yorkers to other states. That’s laughable. Utah, hardly tropical, has a booming economy. Cuomo’s tailor-made tax breaks are an abysmal failure. Since taking office in 2011, he’s doled out more than $10 billion in costly giveaways. Failures include the $90 million factory in upstate Syracuse for Soraa LED lighting company, which walked away from the deal. New York’s taxpayer-funded corporate handouts are the most expensive in the U.S. and among the least effective, according to the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. In New York and nationwide, the strategy is a flop. Since 1990, states have tripled the amount of tax credits they’re offering companies to set up shop. But the states winning economically are pursuing a wiser strategy: across the board tax cuts and regulatory relief instead. States that woo big companies with special packages are getting slapped in the face. Three years ago, General Electric moved its corporate headquarters from Connecticut to Massachusetts, sweetened with a $25 million tax break package. Thursday, General Electric canceled plans for an office tower on the Boston waterfront and pared its staffing plan from 800 jobs down to 250. Lawmakers in several states, including Massachusetts and New York, are acting ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, February 20, 2019By Betsy McCaughey
    4 days ago
  • What Is in the Pope’s Hand?
    Washington Pope Francis is increasingly showing his hand. He came into the papacy promising to clean up the Church, especially on matters of sexual abuse. In doing so, he raised hopes among the laity, especially in America and Latin America. He said all the right things or at least many of the right things. He traveled the world. Now it is increasingly obvious that he means none of it. Pope Francis comes from Argentina. Yet the more I see of him he looks and sounds like a fat alderman from Chicago. He is slippery, evasive, and I think we all know where he is going to go. He is heading to the comfortable left, ever to the left. What he really thinks about anything I cannot say, but look at the issues that he claims move him. Climate change, there is a political winner, and just go along with polite opinion. What is the Pope’s expertise for talking about climate change? He keeps an eye on the thermostat in his comfortable room in the Vatican. At any rate, he will never have to pay for the cost of climate change. If it is a flop, who cares? By the time the bills come due the Pope will have vamoosed to celestial parts. Also the poor, he speaks with great eloquence on the plight of the poor. But then so does a Chicago alderman or a New York City councilman. The standard issue American progressive talks about the plight of the poor incessantly. In fact, the standard issue progressive has been talking about the poor ever since the 1960s, and today there are about as many people living beneath the poverty line as in the 1960s. Nothing changes. And, oh yes, the Pope talks about world peace. He is for world peace. Has any pope spoken out on behalf of war? Possibly one or two from the Renaissance, but that was a long time ago. What action can Pope Francis take on behalf of world peace? How about putting a bumper sticker on his car? While he is rattling on about the poor, let me point out that the only person that has affected poverty in America is Donald Trump. The president has lowered unemployment to the lowest level that it has been at in years. And for Latinos and African-Americans it is at the lowest level ever. Does Donald get credit? Not at all. He also has been a force for peace in the world, but the only thing I hear remotely related to the subject are harangues about his violent tweets. Now we have arrived this week at the Pope’s “abuse summit.” That is to say, his sexual abuse summit. For months it looked like it would not come off at all, but we now have it. Is the Pope going to move against child molesters within the Church in a serious way? Well, he has finally defrocked Theodore McCarrick, the disgraced cardinal from Washington, D.C., but that should ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, February 20, 2019By R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.
    4 days ago
  • Bernie Sanders is Running For President
    Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) announced this morning on Vermont Public Radio that he would seek the Democratic nomination for President in 2020. You can listen to the announcement interview here. He emphasized that his wish to let the people of Vermont know first was his reason for choosing this outlet for his announcement. Following that interview, Sanders released an official announcement video this morning. Sanders plans to leverage his grassroots support from 2016 moving into his 2020 run. He made this clear when he opened his announcement by asking the viewer to be part of “an unprecedented, grassroots campaign of one million active volunteers in every single state” He then went on to describe his vision for his campaign: “Our campaign is about transforming our country and creating a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial, and environmental justice. Our campaign is about taking on the powerful special interests that dominate our economic and political life.” He closed by saying: “And together we can defeat Donald Trump and repair the damage he has done to our country. Brothers and sisters, if we stand together there is no limit to what we can accomplish, I hope you’ll join me, thank you very much.” His language at the end strikes as uniquely Sanders. It has his socialist flair, his yearning for brotherhood among men palpable in his phrasing. But, he stands in common with the rest of the crowded Democratic field in positioning himself more firmly in opposition to Donald Trump than in support of his own policy agenda. In this announcement, he focused on three things.  Defeating Donald Trump, achieving his vision of justice, and activating a campaign from the grassroots with a never before seen degree of grassroots support. These were the themes to which he referred again and again in his announcement, and that will likely play a major role in the campaign to come. ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, February 19, 2019By Paige Lambermont
    4 days ago
  • YouTube Allows Pedophiles to Roam Free on Platform
    YouTube, the Alphabet Inc. owned giant, protects and promotes pedophiles. In a bombshell controversy drop over the weekend, a video  by YouTuber Matt Watson, explained how YouTube is allowing, enabling, and even monetizing content for pedophiles. YouTube has had numerous scandals and controversial policies in the past, including demonetizing conservative voices and allowing the infamous ElsaGate style videos to be monetized. Watson explains how videos of young girls are being traded and watched millions of times by pedophiles. Seemingly innocent videos of young girls are being “Timestamped” while the girls are in compromising positions and users are making suggestive or outright explicitly sexual comments. These videos have hundreds of thousands of views. Some of this content is monetized, meaning that advertising appears on the videos. Advertisers that appeared on these videos included Grammarly, Purina, IKEA, Glad, Lysol, McDonald’s, Disney, Canada Goose, and others. YouTube often demonetizes content that features swearing, mentions of mental illness, and controversial political content, that hasn’t happened with these videos. YouTube’s response to this phenomena is particularly appalling. For starters, children under thirteen should not even be on the platform, as Google ToS states you must be at least 13 years old.  [Editor’s note: Which is absurdly young. No one under 18 is allowed to enter a contract.] YouTube’s rules clearly state that inappropriate comments will be disabled on videos featuring minors. Yet YouTube is aware of the pedo problem and has done nothing. On some videos, the comments are disabled, but the videos are still available. Watson also reported comments to YouTube that included links to child pornography. Those comments were removed but the accounts that posted them still operate. Watson’s video has garnered 1.4 million views in two days. More discussion can be found on Twitter with the hashtag #YouTubeWakeUp. YouTube, and Google by extension, are far too fixated on the wrong kind of problems to be solving. YouTube has demonetized PragerU and Steven Crowder, they’ve “unpersonned” Alex Jones and Gavin McInnes, but they don’t use their considerable resources to stop pedophiles. One solution to the problem can be pulled from the Leftist playbook: target advertisers.  Advertisers should be made aware that their products are being placed alongside this kind of content. Disney and McDonalds would not be pleased if they found out about this, that is, if they have not already. Purina has already stated that they will be looking into the matter. The obvious solution to this problem is that parents need to wake up. Children should not be allowed to be either on YouTube or posting or commenting or doing anything online without supervision. Children have fallen victim to this evil and many of the parents likely don’t even know that this is happening. Children deserve to have their innocence. YouTube is complicit in destroying it. ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, February 19, 2019By Evan Maguire
    4 days ago
  • Sheer Madness From Ms. Ocasio-Cortez
    Now for the charming topics of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Ed Markey, and the so-called “Green New Deal.” If ever there was a multi-pronged way to snatch Depression from the Jaws of prosperity, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez seems to have hit upon it. Ms. AOC has discovered that the planet is warming to an alarming degree. Never mind that she is in no sense a scientist. Never mind that many climatologists say that climate change is a hoax — and many say it’s not a hoax at all. Never mind that there are many different possible causes of climate change and that human activity is only one of several possible culprits. Never mind that the huge bulk of air pollution spreading over the earth comes from China, far beyond the reach of our laws. And India and Brazil and other places far beyond our legal control. Ms. AOC has reached the conclusion that the earth is warming to a degree that will end all animal life on the planet in about 12 years. And she’s sure she knows who’s responsible. Corporate America is killing the earth, or so Ms. AOC is certain. Ms. AOC has also noticed that America generates most of its power by burning coal, oil, and natural gas, as well as breeding immense herds of cattle which let off breathtaking amounts of flatulence. She has also noticed that while the economy is wildly prosperous, there is still some unemployment in America. She has a solution: The Green New Deal. Patterned very loosely after FDR’s New Deal to fight the Great Depression, AOC’s plan would mandate complete and total control over the economy by the federal government. A New Gestapo would be created to watch America like a hawk. There could be no more gas- or oil-burning engines for anything. There could not be burning any kind of fuel that gives off smoke at all. Every structure in the USA would have to be inspected and then knocked down and built anew, or “retrofitted” so that it was totally powered by solar or wind or tidal action or some other form of totally non-polluting power. This would cost so much money that from the moment it was enacted, the USA would be bankrupt. The cost of this project would in a decade triple the national debt. This would make it completely unpayable EVER. Inflation would explode as federal money chased a limited pool of workers and resources. The country would be in a crisis that would make the Great Depression look like a picnic. And meanwhile that immense cloud of air pollution raging out of China would not be reduced at all. In other words, we would have committed national economic suicide for nothing. Now, I don’t think AOC will ever get her Green New Deal enacted and if she did, it would be vetoed — or tied up in courts forever. But 70 Members of Congress and over a dozen Senators are already signed on as co-sponsors with AOC. Would anyone ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, February 19, 2019By Ben Stein
    4 days ago
  • The Good News About the Botched Bureaucratic Coup
    A lot of Americans are justifiably angry that disgraced FBI official Andrew McCabe is doing a book tour rather than a stretch in some federal penitentiary. He has committed perjury on multiple occasions, participated in an attempt to alter the outcome of a national election, and colluded with other rogue bureaucrats to remove a duly elected president from power. But there is a bright and shiny silver lining to this dingy cloud of deep state skullduggery — Donald Trump still resides in the White House while Hillary Clinton stumbles around her Chappaqua mansion in a muumuu hugging a fifth of Glenfiddich. It is, of course, galling to watch a disreputable character like McCabe treated like Nathan Hale on 60 Minutes and generally feted by the Fourth Estate, but there is only one way it could have been avoided — the election of a criminal to the presidency. Think about this for a moment. If Hillary Clinton had been elected President, it is probable that few Americans would be able to identify Andrew McCabe. Even worse, the outrageous corruption that characterized his career and the crimes of his co-conspirators would have been covered up by her administration, with the enthusiastic assistance of the media. In other words, enduring McCabe’s ephemeral celebrity is a small price to pay for avoiding the nightmare of a Clinton presidency. This piece is being written on what we now call “Presidents Day,” a national holiday that originated as a celebration of George Washington’s birthday.  It’s useful to recall a maxim used by Washington in a 1794 letter to a friend: “Truth will ultimately prevail where pain is taken to bring it to light.” The comments made on CBS’s Face the Nation by GOP Senator Lindsey Graham, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, suggest that pains will be taken to bring the truth to light: “We’re going to find out what happened here and the only way I know to find out is to call the people in under oath and find out, through questioning, who’s telling the truth because the underlying accusation is beyond stunning,” he said, having earlier noted, “there’s an allegation by the acting FBI director at the time that the deputy attorney general was basically trying to do an administrative coup, take the president down through the twenty-fifth amendment process.” Graham’s comments were prompted by McCabe’s claim, during a 60 Minutes interview, that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein raised the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment against the President shortly after FBI director James Comey was fired: “Discussion of the 25th amendment was simply Rod raised the issue and discussed it with me in the context of thinking about how many other cabinet officials might support such an effort.” McCabe is hardly a paragon of veracity, of course, but his claim is consistent with the congressional testimony of former Justice Department lawyer James Baker last fall: I was being told by some combination of Andy McCabe and Lisa Page, that, in a conversation with the Deputy Attorney General, he ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, February 19, 2019By David Catron
    5 days ago
  • FBI’s Weaselgate
    Andrew McCabe’s book is tilted The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump, as if to say Trump is part of the terror. The real upshot of the book is that the politicized ranks of the FBI under James Comey and McCabe were too afflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome to protect America from real threats. Those ranks took their eyes off real threats and concocted a phony one about Trump and Russia, behaving like members of a cult who turned to retaliation after their dear leader fell in a wholly justified firing. In his recent interviews, McCabe has talked about the firing of Comey as a crisis of the greatest proportions. It wasn’t. Trump had the constitutional authority to fire him and plenty of grounds to do so. He was under no obligation to retain an FBI director chosen by his predecessor. Comey’s tenure had been marked by unprofessional behavior, and Trump was correct in recognizing that Comey had signed off on unfounded investigations unfairly targeting his campaign and White House. Why should a chief executive let a department of his own branch of government hobble his presidency and treat him like a criminal? What the media insists on calling “obstruction of justice” is nothing more than the ordinary self-defense any chief executive would practice if he saw the executive branch in the hands of political hacks who hated him and were misusing their powers. Instead of jumping to wild conclusions about Trump’s motives, FBI and Justice Department officials should have seen the firing of Comey as an obvious and legitimate exercise of Trump’s constitutional authority and just gone back to real work. Trump, if anything, has shown too much deference to the Justice Department and the FBI during their torments of him. Under most presidencies, the double-dealing Rod Rosenstein would have been fired a long time ago. He emerges from McCabe’s account as one of the chief weasels. According to McCabe, Rosenstein offered to wear a wire to try and catch Trump out in a crime and discussed using the 25th amendment to oust him. Under any other president, those would be automatic firing offenses. But the pressures of the Mueller investigation make it impossible for Trump to control his own Justice Department. The media has been obsessed over this “abnormal” presidency, but sees nothing abnormal in an FBI that treats a duly elected president as a criminal on nothing but partisan hunches. McCabe offers no evidence of any criminal activity that would have justified his panic over Trump. He is simply appealing to anti-Trump prejudices amongst the press and political class and using hysteria over Russia as cover for a meritless investigation. Could the threshold for the FBI treating a president as a probable Russian agent really be as low as Trump firing Comey? That’s a ludicrous basis for an investigation. Yet McCabe casts that as one of the “facts” justifying it. “So all those same sorts of facts cause us to wonder if ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, February 19, 2019By George Neumayr
    5 days ago
  • Trump Is Winning the Battle Over the Wall
    Score another one for President Trump. On Friday the President walked into the Rose Garden to discuss his signing of an order declaring a “national emergency” in the case for building a wall along the southern border. Among other things, he said this:  [We’re declaring the emergency] because we have an invasion of drugs, invasion of gangs, invasion of people and it’s unacceptable. We had a little disappointment for the first year and a half, people that should have stepped up did not step up. They didn’t step up, and they should have. It would have been easy, not that easy, but it would have been a lot easier. But some people didn’t step up. But we’re stepping up now. So we have a chance of getting close to $8 billion, whether it is $8 billion or $2 billion or $1.5 billion it’s going to build a lot of wall. He added: I went through Congress, and I made a deal. I got almost $1.4 billion when I wasn’t supposed to get one dollar, not one dollar. He’s not going to get one dollar. Well, I got $1.4 billion, but I’m not happy with it. I, also, got billions and billions of dollars for other things, port of entries, lots of different things, purchase of drug equipment, more than we were even requesting. As if that weren’t enough to make the point of his determination there was this in an exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta: Acosta: “What do you say to your critics who say that you are creating a national emergency, that you’re concocting a national emergency here in order to get your wall?” President Trump: “I’ll ask the angel moms. What do you think, do you think I’m creating something? Ask these incredible women who lost their daughters and their sons.” With that the President gestured to a group of “Angel Moms” — mothers whose children were murdered by an illegal. All displayed photos of their lost child. At the conclusion of the presser, the Angel Moms confronted CNN’s Acosta, holding up their signs. Said one Mom who had lost her son, looking Acosta in the eye: “President Trump is completely correct on this issue, we need to protect this country.” Well aside from ignoring the deadly serious message of those Angel Moms and insisting that the flood of illegals along with the massive drug smuggling are a not serious problem? None of the news reports out there adequately convey the President’s determination to build the wall — to finish a project that already exists. In a pre-State of the Union briefing at the White House, at which I was present, the striking thing was the President’s attitude — totally upbeat and completely determined. This is, without doubt, exactly what drives his critics into foaming seizures set off by Trump Derangement Syndrome. It is not hard to understand this President. He has a very long, well documented career of sticking to his guns to accomplish whatever the goal he ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, February 19, 2019By Jeffrey Lord
    5 days ago
  • MAS-ICNA and Its Web of Turkish Support
    As the New York Knicks headed to London last month for a game, one team member — 26-year-old Turkish player Enes Kanter — did not join them. In a televised interview, Kanter explained that his own outspoken criticism of Turkish Islamist president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s illiberal policies means that traveling outside of North America carries with it the risk of assassination. Indeed, the dictatorial Erdoğan has requested Kanter’s arrest and extradition, accusing the basketball star of being a member of a terrorist organization. While Kanter is likely safer in the United States than London, he shouldn’t fool himself into thinking that arms of Erdoğan’s extremist network — already well developed in the Arab world and South Asia — do not exist already in America. In fact, Erdoğan-inspired Turkish Islamism has flourished in the U.S. in recent years, finding ready allies among other Islamist group-offshoots. Worse, several of those Erdoğan-friendly offshoots are popular nationwide Muslim organizations that deceptively portray themselves as civil-liberties and education-focused — such as the Muslim Brotherhood-spawned Muslim American Society (MAS) or the Jamaat-e-Islami-spawned Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). Though these groups are not the sort to assassinate Kanter on Erdoğan’s (or anyone’s) behalf, they are ready and willing to help Erdoğan boost his ideological influence. As American non-profit organizations, MAS and ICNA work hard to cater to liberal American sensibilities, masking their Islamism with interfaith photo-ops and progressive platitudes about “liberty and justice.” Together, the two groups organize two annual conferences in this vein — one in April and one in December. But the annual MAS-ICNA/ICNA-MAS conferences — with their heavy Turkish regime participation and bevy of extremist speakers — reveal the intolerance and illiberalism within. The latest MAS-ICNA conference, at the end of December in Chicago, was a place Enes Kanter was probably wise to avoid. Though MAS and ICNA are non-violent allies in a non-violent network, the event’s speakers were among the most ideologically radical members of that network. They included: Islamist activist Osama AbuIrshaid, whose organization American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) frequently employs Erdoğan’s wording about a “Muslim red line” on Jerusalem, and has publicly called on its supporters to buy Turkish products as a means to protest the Jewish state; Oussama Jammal, who has encouraged Turkey to invade Iraq, and whose organization the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) has denied the Armenian genocide and sent Jammal to visit AKP offices in Turkey; and Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) director Nihad Awad, who has come out in support of Hamas, repeatedly met with Turkish regime officials, and attended Erdoğan-supporting events organized by the regime-backed Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC). Furthermore, this MAS-ICNA featured Turkish consul general in Chicago, Umut Acar, who delivered a message from Erdoğan himself. Acar’s remarks condemned Western “Islamophobia and cultural racism” but ignored the Turkish regime’s human rights abuses. Despite considerable American Muslim outrage over Erdoğan’s tyranny and involvement in MAS-ICNA, the relationship between MAS, ICNA, and Erdoğan’s regime is longstanding. For instance, Turkish Airlines co-sponsored the 2014 and 2015 MAS-ICNA conferences. And, the 2017 MAS-ICNA conference included a video message from Erdoğan that was broadcast on the main stage, ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, February 19, 2019By Samantha Rose Mandeles
    5 days ago
  • A Wall Too Far
    In case you hadn’t noticed, everything is in crisis these days. Race relations, the climate, male behavior, government shutdowns, immigration… Except that immigration, as crises go, was pretty small beer until President Trump swooped down last week with his proclamation of an emergency requiring him, as he represented the matter, to build a southern border wall with funds designated by Congress for other purposes. Whereby he worsened prospects, dim enough already, for the composing of national differences over what to do about the seemingly bottomless desire to take up residence in the United States, legally or the reverse. “#^%^#— it! We’re going to do things the way say — I, Donald Trump,” isn’t recommended as a formula for achieving majority support of useful immigration policy. For one thing, polls show half of Americans — 52 percent, specifically — dispute the need for more walling, or fencing, or whatever, of the country’s southern border. Just 34 percent want more. That sizable gap in commitment would seem to necessitate, on the administration’s part, more wrangling and shouting, more strong language, more dismissal of variant viewpoints than seems likely to reveal a way forward. One thing we can probably all agree on without working up a sweat: Announcing that we’ve got an emergency (“We’re talking about an invasion of our country.” — DJT, Feb. 15) isn’t the same thing as establishing in federal court that we’ve got such an emergency. Or that the emergency declaration fits the terms of the 1976 statute the president invokes to justify it. This thing is going to be tied up in federal court for months and months — perhaps until the presidential election — without making Trump look anything like the thoughtful, constructive leader he surely imagines himself to be. He is likely now to resemble, more than ever before, some petulant kid with tongue stuck out: “Can’t make me, can’t make me!” On Election Day next year he could find his fellow countrymen depleted, wrung out, ready to hand over power to Joe Biden, say, in order that the tumult and shouting might die. The strength and, at the same time, the weakness of Trump has always been his assumed posture as the Great Disrupter. Knock, knock, pound, pound — here he was with foot in the door, offering to kick over the furniture, to bust in the mouth those we wanted busted, and generally to give our political Augean Stables a good cleansing. In which enterprise he has earned some legitimate credit: good judicial appointments, a greatly improved economy, stronger support for the military than under Barack Obama, the filing down of various sharp-toothed federal regulations, etc. Immigration and trade policy, nonetheless, are thorn-infested pastures in which Trump leaves his wildest impulses to run amok. Both venues, being complex, require of their occupants some willingness to paper over differences of viewpoint. Not as Trump sees it. He loves tariffs because he loves them. He’s got no patriotic and sensible fix for immigration other than walling ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, February 19, 2019By William Murchison
    5 days ago
  • A Dark Moment for the Yellow Vest Movement
    The French government last week reported that anti-Semitic acts rose sharply last year, confirming a trend that has been noticeable at least since the early 1990s. You still hear the old Yiddish proverb, men ist azoy wie Gott in Frankreichor, in German, glücklich wie Gott in Frankreich (Happy as God in France), but not without being told, at the same time, that emigration (mainly to Israel or the U.S.) is up too. It did not come as a surprise that in the midst of a street demonstration on the weekend, a well-known Jew, Alain Finkielkraut, was attacked verbally for being a Jew. He was whisked away by the marchers’ own security, quickly reinforced by nearby uniformed, but came out of it a bit shaken. “I felt hate,” he told an interviewer later. He must have been disappointed, too, because he had expressed sympathy with the marchers, who were on their 14th week of telling one another — and the French public and government — that they are fed up. Finkielkraut, a philosopher, prolific author, and member of the French Academy, has been critical of many social and political trends in France for quite a few years. He has warned that immigration without assimilation poses a threat to France as a secular and free republic. At the risk of simplifying a subtle and erudite mind, his view is that immigration policy in France has been off the rails since the end of the colonial empires, and is manifestation, obviously with far reaching and long-lasting consequences, of a broad failure, cultural and institutional, in free societies to manage the changes — many of them, of course, positive — they can take credit for. Widely execrated within the intellectual class of his own time — he is about 70 — because he practices the philosopher’s trade honestly, Finkielkraut is also known to a larger educated public that appreciates his sensible approach to issues, his scotching of the corruption of thought — and political policy — brought on by fashions that take the place of facts and evidence as a basis for public policy-making. There is a cruel irony in the way Finkielkraut was, at the level of ideas, far more attuned to the discontent that exploded in the face of France’s alleged elites last November. Though initially it took the form of a tax revolt, the gilets jaunes, or yellow vest, movement, represents a failure to understand their own country on the part of those elected to run it. This failure is not confined to the political class, though it has been clear enough that France’s is more mediocre and selfish even than ours, if such a thing is possible. The French failure is represented strikingly in the way commentators of the left and the right both sought to see in the yellow vest movement evidence of their critique of their society and its political institutions. When public affairs get confusing, there are some basic questions you can ask to start picking your way ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, February 18, 2019By Roger Kaplan
    5 days ago
  • Yes, I Am a White Male — Deal With It
    Just as I happened to miss the entire NFL season again this year, I recently missed the Stacey Abrams Show that followed President Trump’s marvelous State of the Union (SOTU) speech two weeks ago. I was going to watch her cry about how she really had won the Georgia gubernatorial election in November because, after all, she had Obama and Oprah campaigning for her, so she could not possibly have lost. My TV already was tuned to the station. But first I had to sharpen some pencils. Then there were these two soda cans that were empty, so had to be put into our recyclables garbage. It was getting later at night, so I had to adjust the thermostat. I noticed two or three lint pieces on the carpet, so I had to pick them up. I don’t know where the time went. Interesting, isn’t it, that the Democrat party, with free national television time on all the networks, selected the Ungovernor of Georgia. They have a prominent member of the Cherokee Nation who proudly boasts enough Indian blood to provide one-third of an ant’s nutritional needs for twenty minutes. Another Senator from the Land of Minnesota Nice who abuses her workers, insults and demeans them, throws things at them, consequently has the highest of staff turnovers, and even needed to be counseled privately by Gentleman Harry Reid. Another, Spartacus the Vegan Gladiator of Newark, who published that he would fondle women as he worked his way around the playing field from first base to second base, managing to avoid any short stop. Another, who at age 30ish pranced about publicly up and down the Golden State with a married power broker in his 60s, girlfriend and boyfriend, all while the Sugar Daddy’s wife, Blanche Brown, was telling the news media:“Listen, she may have him at the moment, but come inauguration day and he’s up there on the platform being sworn in, I’ll be the b***h holding the Bible.” So many wonderful choices — and they chose The Unguv. (For the record, Stacey Abrams also is co-founder of Nourish, Inc.) Unguv Stace was chosen because (i) she is Black, not White; and (ii) she is female, not male. In other words, in the world of Democrat Intersectionality, she was born with two points, and all she needs is someday to convert to Islam, find Navajo, Iroquois, or Asian blood, and to express doubts about her gender identity, and she will be moved from the Pelosi Speakers’ Bureau to head their list of future Supreme Court nominees. Here is the thing: In our new racially divided intersectionalist society that Obama created, I now feel — more than ever — very, very White… and very, very male. Crazy Mazie Hirono wants men to “shut up”? The #MeToo crowd wants all women’s voices to be believed unquestioningly — except when such trust might take down Michael Avenatti or hand the Virginia governorship to a Republican? Well, my response to Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory and the ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, February 18, 2019By Dov Fischer
    5 days ago