At Issue this week... December 7, 2016 2016 Election Coulter (6, 7) Schlafly (18) Bannon, Stephen Tyrrell (30) Castro, Fidel Bozell (29) Thomas (1) Will (2) Dear Mark Levy (19) Democrats’ Identity Politics Elder (16) Krauthammer (17) Lowry (17) Discrimination Massie (12) Disparity Morris (9) Sowell (13) Diversity Bozell (26) Fields (24) Thomas (24) Education Parker (4) Government de Rugy (3) Lowry (13) Williams (4) History Barone (14) Infrastructure Barone (11) Will (10) Islamic State Bay (30) Latino Voters Chavez (23) Left, The Prager (27) Shapiro (26) Leslie’s Trivia Bits Elman (14) Life Greenberg (7, 15) Jeffrey (9) Limited Government Napolitano (22) Media Harsanyi (25) Nationalism Buchanan (31) Republican Party Moore (6) Russia Bay (28) Supreme Court McCaughey (3) Thanksgiving Charen (20) Cushman (21) Hollis (23) Will (20) Trade Buchanan (5) Trudeau, Justin Malkin (29) Trump’s Agenda Lambro (8) Murchison (15)
Fidel Castro by Cal Thomas
The left’s love affair with Fidel Castro
n a statement following the death of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, President Obama spoke of “the countless ways in which (Castro) altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation.” That’s an understatement as the thousands who have risked their lives over the years to escape from Cuba have testified. The president added: “History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.” WHY WAIT on history? We can judge him now. For six decades the left has lauded Castro as a secular savior, seeing only what they wanted to see and reporting only what the Cuban government wanted them to report. Examples are legion, but this one is typical: In February 1988, the State Department named Cuba one of the world’s biggest human rights oppressors. NBC News reporter Ed Rabel visited Havana to check it out. Rich Noyes of the Media Research Center, the conservative media watchdog, writes: “NBC’s conciliatory approach allowed Castro to spew lies about his drug connections and the wonderful achievements of the Cuban revolution.” Rabel reported, “There is, in Cuba, government intrusion into everyone’s life, from the moment he is born until the day he dies. The reasoning is that the government wants to better the lives of its citizens and keep them from exploiting or hurting one another. ... On a sunny day in a park in the old city of Havana it is difficult to see anything that is sinister.” Over the years, celebrities made pilgrimages to Havana. Each time they marveled at the supposed excellence of Cuba’s medical care and quality of education. In the immediate aftermath of Castro’s death, the pattern was repeated. Typical was Andrea Mitchell, who gushed on MSNBC: “(Castro) gave his people better health care and education.” Mitchell and other Castro disciples apparently never read a July 2007 article in National Review titled, “The Myth of Cuban Health Care.” The magazine was among many publications that destroyed the notion of outstanding health care in Cuba, noting that the country offers three medical tiers. One tier is for celebrities and
tourists, requiring payment in hard cash to help bolster the regime. The second tier is for Cuba’s top government officials. The third tier is for everyone else, which the magazine called “... wretched. Hospitals and clinics are crumbling. Conditions are so unsanitary, patients may be better off at home, whatever home is. If they do go to the hospital, they must bring their own bed sheets, soap, towels, food, light bulbs, even toilet paper. And basic medications are scarce ... finding an aspirin can be a chore. And an antibiotic will fetch a fortune on the black market.”
Thomas (c) 2016, Tribune Media Services
AS FOR “excellence” in Cuba’s education system, a February 2015 article in the Atlantic punctured that myth: “Under Fidel Castro, education became universal — but he also stipulated that anyone who received this education would have to actively promote government policies both during and after their schooling. They would also be required to take government-approved courses that didn’t tolerate any criticism of socialism as a way of life. In other words, education was seen as key
to the revolution taking hold and creating a literate population loyal to the government.” The left, so concerned about human rights in America and other non-communist countries, ignores their violations in Cuba. As Human Rights Watch noted earlier this year, “The Cuban government continues to repress dissent and discourage public criticism. While in recent years it has relied less on long-term prison sentences to punish its critics, short-term arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders, independent journalists, and other critics have increased dramatically. Other repressive tactics employed by the government include beatings, public acts of shaming, and the termination of employment.” President-elect Donald Trump’s statement was more direct and accurate than President Obama’s: “Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades. Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.” THIS SHOULD be history’s judgment on Fidel Castro, depending on who writes it. November 29, 2016
FIDEL CASTRO: November 26, 2016
Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and dead utopianism
ith the end of Fidel Castro’s nasty life Friday night, we can hope, if not reasonably expect, to have seen the last of charismatic totalitarians worshiped by political pilgrims from open societies. Experience suggests there will always be tyranny tourists in flight from what they consider the boring banality of bourgeois society and eager for the excitement of sojourns in “progressive” despotisms that they are free to admire and then leave.
DURING THE 1930s, there were many apologists for Josef Stalin’s brutalities, which he committed in the name of building a workers’ paradise fit for an improved humanity. The apologists complacently said, “You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.” To which George Orwell acidly replied: “Where’s the omelet?” With Castro, the problem was lemonade. Soon after Castro seized power in 1959, Jean-Paul Sartre, the French intellectual whose Stalinist politics were as grotesque as his philosophy was opaque, left Les Deux Magots cafe in Paris to visit Cuba. During a drive, he and Castro stopped at a roadside stand. They were served warm lemonade, which Castro heatedly said “reveals a lack of revolutionary conscious-
This charge condemned Armando ness.” The waitress shrugged, saying the refrigerator was broken. Castro Valladares, then 23, to 22 years in Cas“growled” (Sartre’s approving descrip- tro’s prisons. Stalin’s terror was too tion): “Tell your people in charge that if high a price to pay for a great novel, they don’t take care of their problems, but at least the world got from it Arthur they will have problems with me.” Sar- Koestler’s Darkness at Noon. And although Castro’s regime, saturated with tre swooned: should never have “This was the first time I under- s a d i s m , existed, because of stood — still quite it the world got Valvaguely — what ladares’s testament I called ‘direct to human endurdemocracy.’ Beance, his prison tween the wait(c) 2016, Washington Post Writers Group memoir Against ress and Castro, All Hope. Prison an immediate secret understanding was established. She food was watery soup laced with glass, let it be seen by her tone, her smiles, by or dead rats, or cows’ intestines filled a shrug of the shoulders, that she was with feces, and Castro’s agents had without illusion. And the prime minis- special uses for the ditch filled with the ter ... in expressing himself before her sewage from 8,000 people. without circumlocution, calmly invited ON APRIL 15, 1959, 15 weeks afher to join the rebellion.” Another political innovator, Benito ter capturing Havana, Castro, then 32, Mussolini, called his regime “ennobled landed in Washington at what is now democracy,” and as the American col- Reagan National Airport. He had been in umnist Murray Kempton mordantly not- America in 1948, when he studied Enged in 1982, photographs of Castro “cut- lish and bought a Lincoln. This time, on ting sugar cane evoke the bare-chested April 16, in a concession to bourgeois Mussolini plunged into the battle for expectations, he dispatched an aide to wheat.” Castro’s direct democracy was buy a comb and toothbrush. His conparsimonious regarding elections but nections to communism? “None,” he permissive of shrugs. It did, however, said. He endorsed a free press as “the forbid “acts of public destruction,” first enemy of dictatorship,” and said free elections were coming soon. Then meaning criticism of communism.
he was off to a Princeton seminar and a lecture in the chapel at Lawrenceville prep school, well received at both places. By July red stars were being painted on Cuban military vehicles. Three years later, Soviet ballistic missiles were arriving. A year after that, a Castro admirer murdered the U.S. president whose administration had been interested in, indeed almost obsessed with, removing Castro. U.S. flings at “regime change” in distant lands have had, to say no more, uneven results, but the most spectacular futility has been 90 miles from Florida. Castro was the object of various and sometimes unhinged U.S. attempts to remove him. After the Bay of Pigs debacle, the Kennedy administration doubled down with Operation Mongoose, which included harebrained assassination plots and a plan skeptics called “elimination by illumination” — having a U.S. submarine surface in Havana harbor and fire star shells into the night sky to convince Catholic Cubans that the Second Coming had come, causing them to rebel against Castro the antiChrist. Nevertheless, Castro ruled Cuba during 11 U.S. presidencies and longer than the Soviet Union ruled Eastern Europe. SOCIALISM IS bountiful only of slogans, and a Castro favorite was “socialism or death.” The latter came to him decades after the former had made Cuba into a gray museum for a dead utopianism.
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December 7, 2016 SUPREME COURT: November 30, 2016
Battle lines forming in war over Trump court
pening shots are being fired appointment to tilt the Court the other over Donald Trump’s an- way. As a candidate Trump pledged to ticipated Supreme Court nomination. A conservative advocacy appoint Justices who would uphold group is running television ads urging “the Constitution as it was meant to Trump to appoint a justice in the mold be.” Trump’s victory signals the public of the late Antonin Scalia. New Senate agrees. Even so, Schumer and felminority leader Chuck Schumer fires low Democrats back that Demoare spoiling for a crats will try to fight. In part, it’s block any nomirevenge for the nee who isn’t Republicans’ re“mainstream.” (c) 2016, Creators Syndicate fusal to consider Trouble is, Obama’s last high anybody who disputes the Democrats’ left-wing defini- court nominee, Merrick Garland. Will tion of the Constitution as a malleable the Democrats’ tough talk lead to any“living” document is outside their thing? Unlikely. Ten Senate Democrats in states Trump won are facing mainstream. tough re-election races in 2018. Count MEANWHILE, pro-choice wom- on some of them to help push Trump’s en’s groups are panicked about losing pick over the 60-vote threshold to win abortion “rights.” For now, it’s much confirmation. Trump’s first addition to the Court ado about nothing. No matter whom Trump appoints this time, there are will have a major impact on labor already five pro-choice justices on the union issues, voting procedures, the Court, counting Justice Anthony Ken- death penalty, executive power and renedy. It would take a second Trump ligious freedom.
GOVERNMENT: November 24, 2016
On the separation of church and state, watch for the pending case, Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley. The Justices delayed the case while Scalia’s seat was vacant, expecting a 4-4 tie. The state of Missouri awards grants to help schools make their playgrounds safer with soft, rubber paving. But Missouri nixed a grant to a Lutheran-affiliated preschool. The school sued, saying its children deserve the same safety enhancements as children in secular schools.
with everyone else. Yes, the Constitution bars favoring a particular religion, but that shouldn’t require government to discriminate against religion. Deference to religion doesn’t mean limits on abortion. Only 29 percent of Americans think abortion should be legal “under any circumstances,” and states continue to enact restrictions. But even with Trump’s new justice, the Court will likely strike down these restrictions. Last June, with Scalia’s seat vacant, the Court ruled 5-3 against safety regulations that would have TRUMP’S NEW justice will shift forced some Texas abortion clinics to the Court to allow religious institutions close. and the faithful to be treated equally But deference to conscience could give Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips a win over his state’s Civil Rights Commission, if the Court takes his case. Phillips was ordered to bake cakes for same-sex weddings, against his beliefs, and “re-educate” his staff. The Court’s most consequential rules. Despite its misleading name, shift will be reining in federal powRAWA would go even further than the er and overly aggressive regulators. original and erroneous interpretation That’s the issue in a case the high court of the Wire Act, as even that dealt only may take: Alaska v. Jewell, challengwith interstate activity. ing the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s RAWA has failed to muster enough unprecedented power grab over Alassupport to move forward thus far, but ka’s rivers and streams. another bill, SB 3376, was recently inVoter ID laws are also up for Sutroduced by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., preme Court review, and Trump’s apwith very similar language, suggest- pointee is likely to cast the pivotal ing there may be an attempt to sneak it vote there, too, validating states’ efthrough during the lame-duck session. forts to combat voter fraud. During the Trump’s campaign received significant recent presidential contest, President support from Adelson, so Republicans Obama’s lower federal court appoinmight also try to take it up in the new tees voted to strike these laws in Texas, Congress. N.C. and Wis. But similar laws surDoing so would mean ditching vived legal challenges in states where their oft-claimed support for the 10th federal judges appointed by RepubliAmendment and state sovereignty. It cans hold sway. would also set a precedent for DemoThat’s a reminder of the importance crats, who will eventually hold power of Trump’s power to appoint not just again, to similarly prohibit the forms of Supreme Court justices but also hunonline commerce they find distasteful, dreds of lower federal court judges. such as gun and ammunition sales. The Supreme Court hears some 75 cases each term. Federal appeals courts REPUBLICANS SHOULD learn hear 30,000. With an unprecedented from today’s dismayed Democrats and number of judges scheduled to retire, resist the temptation — while in pow- Trump can turn a majority of federal er — to operate beyond constitutional courts conservative in a mere four limits so that such limits might still be years. around to keep the other side in check once control of the federal government BY ELECTING Donald Trump, inevitably changes hands again. Americans have a shot at restraining government’s suffocating power over our daily lives. Now that’s “mainstream.”
Ban on Internet gambling a mistake
any on the left have taken Donald Trump’s surprise victory poorly, responding with considerable hand-wringing and emotional outbursts. Instead of simply focusing on the many evils that they anticipate will take place under President Trump, they would do well to look in the mirror and recognize that there would be far less cause for concern had they not spent the past eight years cheering on the expansion of executive power under President Barack Obama. Republicans, soon to control all elected branches for the first time in a decade, ignore this lesson at their peril.
A GROUP of congressional Republicans has been trying to undo the Department of Justice’s acknowledgment in 2011 that the Wire Act — passed before the internet existed — never should have been interpreted to prevent all forms of online gambling (such as poker and lotteries), as opposed to the “bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest” that the statute explicitly addresses. They’re worked up about it because billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson is a GOP megadonor and some states have begun authorizing online gambling within their borders. Adelson hates online gambling, as it competes with his bricks-and-mortar Las Vegas casinos for customers.
More than five years ago, on what has become known to the poker world as Black Friday, the federal government unleashed a legal jihad against online poker companies and their top executives. Online poker is not itself illegal — a fact clarified by the DOJ’s reinterpretation of the Wire Act — but the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act made it illegal for payment processors to transfer funds to and from gambling sites.
de Rugy (c) 2016, Creators Syndicate
The problem for Adelson and his allies is that the UIGEA and other federal statutes apply only when state borders are crossed. The 10th Amendment and the principles of federalism mean that federal lawmakers should have no say regarding activities that take place entirely within one state’s borders. So if state governments wish to authorize online gambling for their citizens, they are and should remain free to do so. ADELSON’S GANG has been trying for some time to pass the Restoration of America’s Wire Act to stop states from setting their own gaming
EDUCATION: November 30, 2016
DeVos: Great pick for education secretary
2016 election cycle $33,623,843 on with compensation over $100,000, political contributions and $3,077,849 with president Weingarten standing at on lobbying to advance their special- $543,150. Regarding the claim that schoolinterest agenda. choice programs drain funds from EVERY AGENDA is, of course, public schools, American Enterprise special interest. Betsy DeVos’ special Institute scholar Gerard Robinson, interest is advancing freedom by bring- former commissioner for education in ing education opportunities to poor Florida and secretary of education for children. The unions’ special interest Virginia, reports that inflation-adjusted is keeping a stranglehold on public spending on education since the end of schools and looking out for their mem- World War II has increased 663 percent, with virtually no change in readbers and their left-wing agenda. According to the Bureau of Labor ing and math scores since 1992. In 2016 the Department of EducaStatistics, the average salary for a high school teacher in 2014 was $56,310, tion will spend $79 billion, up 67 perwith the average in the highest 10 per- cent from 2000. A headline on the National Educacent at $88,910. The Center for Union Facts shows tion Association website says, “Transthat there are 198 employees at the gender students thrive in supportive ACCORDING TO the American American Federations of Teachers schools.” Can you imagine the NEA Federation of Teachers, the appointment shows that Trump’s administraGOVERNMENT: November 30, 2016 tion will focus on “privatizing, defunding, and destroying public education in America.” But the school-choice movement, where Betsy DeVos has been an activist and leader for years, is not about or more than a half-century, it term peaceful solution. Separation any of this. It is about what the teachhas become abundantly clear and independence do not require that ers unions hate the most: Freedom. that our nation faces increas- liberty-loving Americans overthrow It is about an outrageous idea that ing irreconcilable differences. At the the federal government any more than parents should have the power and root is the fact that there is one group they required Gen. George Washington freedom to decide where and how to of Americans who mostly want to be to overthrow the British government in educate their children. left alone and live according to the rule order to secede or required his succesFreedom is what I thought defined of law and the dictates of the U.S. Con- sor secessionist, Confederate President our country, the secret sauce that stitution while another group of Ameri- Jefferson Davis, to overthrow the U.S. made, and makes, America great. It is cans wants to control the lives of oth- federal government. crazy that in something as fundamen- ers and ignore both the rule of law and tal as education we have so little of it. constitutional restraints on the federal YOU SAY, “All those government And for those with the least power, the government. Should those Americans acts that you say violate the rule of law poor, parents are totally locked into who favor the rule of law and consti- and the Constitution have been ruled failing schools controlled by bureau- tutional government fight against or constitutional by the courts!” That’s crats and unions. yield to those Americans who have true. The courts have twisted If giving parents education choice contempt for the rule of law and conwas a bad idea, why do so many want stitutional government? Let’s look at a it? few of those irreconcilable differences. Thirty years ago, school-choice programs didn’t exist. Today, accordSOME AMERICANS prefer to (c) 2016, Creators Syndicate ing to the organization EdChoice, manage their own health care needs. around 400,000 children attend private Others wish to have the federal gov- the Constitution, but Thomas Jefferschools in 29 states with help from ernment dictate their health care. Some son warned, “To consider the judges some type of public funding — vouch- Americans want their earnings to be as the ultimate arbiters of all constituers, tax credits or education savings taxed only for the constitutionally tional questions (is) a very dangerous accounts. mandated functions of the federal gov- doctrine indeed and one which would According to the National Alliance ernment, which are outlined in Article place us under the despotism of an olifor Public Charter Schools, more than 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. Oth- garchy.” a million children are on waiting lists ers think American earnings should be State governors and legislators to be accepted in charter schools. Yes, taxed for anything on which Congress ought to summon up the courage our the charter schools that Hillary Clinton can muster a majority vote. Though Founding Fathers had in their response criticized during the presidential cam- there is no constitutional authority for to the fifth Congress’ Alien and Sedipaign to cozy favor with the teachers federal involvement in public educa- tion Acts in 1798. Written by Jefferson unions. tion, some Americans want the fed- and James Madison, the Kentucky and American Federation of Teachers eral government involved. The list of Virginia Resolutions of 1798 and 1799 President Randi Weingarten said that irreconcilable differences among the stated that those states’ legislatures Betsy DeVos “uses her money to game American people is nearly without end. considered the Alien and Sedition Acts the system and push a special-interest These differences survive because of unconstitutional. They said, “Resolved, agenda.” the timidity of those offended and the That the several States composing, the This is laughable, coming from a brute power of the federal government. United States of America, are not unitunion official. I think reconciliation is impossible; ed on the principle of unlimited subThe two teachers unions spent in the therefore, separation is the only long- mission to their general government f the teachers unions are outraged by Donald Trump’s selection of Betsy DeVos as the new secretary of education, our presidentelect must have made a good choice. The two major unions are beside themselves that Trump picked schoolchoice advocate and activist DeVos, who chairs the American Federation for Children, an organization that fights for school choice, with a focus on low-income communities. The National Education Association’s press release says DeVos supports “failed schemes, like vouchers” and “a corporate agenda to privatize, de-professionalize, and impose cookie-cutter solutions to public education.”
worrying about Christian children getting biblical values? Parents should be free to choose a school embracing transgender values or Christian values. It should be up to them, not unions or bureaucrats. HAVING KNOWN Betsy DeVos for years, I am confident that unions will find their fears justified, and that our new secretary of education will provide leadership to significantly improve education in our country by bringing freedom and choice to families. This column is by Star Parker, an author and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education. Contact her at www.urbancure. org.
Have courage: Let’s fight tyranny
... and ... whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.” The 10th Amendment to our Constitution holds, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The federal government should not be permitted to determine the scope of its own powers. Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist No. 28, said, “The State governments will, in all possible contingencies, afford complete security against invasions of the public liberty by the national authority.” One response to federal encroachment is for state governments to declare federal laws that have no constitutional authority null and void and refuse to obey them. In other words, they should nullify federal laws that violate the Constitution. In good conscience, liberals could not object to nullification. There are hundreds of so-called sanctuary cities in the U.S. — liberal places that have chosen to nullify federal immigration laws and harbor immigrants who are here illegally. FORMER SLAVE Frederick Douglass advised: “Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them. ... The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” We Americans appear to have very limited endurance in the face of tyrannical oppression.
December 7, 2016 TRADE: November 25, 2016
An ‘America First’ Trump trade policy Donald Trump’s election triumph is economic principles and patriotism of among the more astonishing in history. Hamilton and the men of Mount RushYet if he wishes to become the fa- more: Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson ther of a new “America First” majority and Theodore Roosevelt. The president-elect has declared the party, he must make good on his solemn TPP dead, and says he and his negotiapromise: To end the trade deficits that have tors will walk away rather than accept bled our country of scores of thousands another NAFTA. Again, good, but again, not good of factories, and to create millions of enough, not nearly. manufacturing jobs in the USA. The New International Fail here, and those slim majorities Economic Order in Mich,, Pa, and imposed upon us Wis, disappear. for decades has to The presidentbe overthrown. elect takes credit For the root for jawboning (c) 2016, Creators Syndicate cause of the trade William Clay Ford to keep his Lincoln plant in Lou- deficits bleeding us lies in U.S. tax laws isville. He is now jawboning Carrier air and trade policies that punish companies conditioning to stay in Indiana and not that stay in America and reward companies that move production overseas. move to Mexico. Executives move plants to Mexico, GOOD FOR him. But these are Asia and China for the same reason baby steps toward ending the $800 bil- U.S. industrialists moved plants from lion trade deficits in goods America runs the Frost Belt to the Sun Belt. Given annually, or bringing back factories and the lower wages and lighter regulations, creating millions of new manufacturing they can produce more cheaply there. In dealing with advanced economies jobs in the USA. The NAFTA Republicans tell us the like Japan, Germany, and the EU, anplants and jobs are never coming back, other critical factor is at work against that we live in a globalized world, that us. Since the Kennedy Round of trade production will now be done where it can be done cheapest — in Mexico, negotiations, 50 years ago, international trade deals have reduced tariffs to insigChina, Asia. Yet, on Nov. 8, Americans rejected nificance. this defeatism rooted in the tracts of BUT OUR TRADE rivals have re19th-century British scribblers and the ideology of 20th-century globalists like placed the tariffs with value-added taxes on imports from the USA. Even to Woodrow Wilson and FDR. America responded to Trump’s call belong to the EU, a country must have a for a new nationalism rooted in the VAT of at least 15 percent.
As Kevin Kearns of the U.S. Business and Industry Council writes, Europeans have replaced tariffs on U.S. goods with a VAT on U.S. goods, while rebating the VAT on Europe’s exports to us. Some 160 countries impose VAT taxes. Along with currency manipulation, this is how European and Asian protectionists stick it to the Americans, whose armed forces have defended them for 60 years.
go to the WTO and asking, “Mother, may I?” Like this writer, Kearns argues for an 18 percent VAT on all goods and services entering the United States. All tax revenue raised by the VAT — hundreds of billions — should be used to reduce U.S. taxes, beginning by ending the income tax on small business and reducing to the lowest rate in the advanced world the U.S. corporate income tax. The price of foreign-made goods in WE LOSE at trade negotiations, U.S. stores would rise, giving a competieven before we sit down at the table, be- tive advantage to goods made in Americause our adversaries declare their VAT ca. And with a border VAT of 18 percent, nonnegotiable. And we accept it. every U.S. corporate executive would Trump has to persuade Congress to have to consider the higher cost of leavdeal him and our trade negotiators our ing the United States to produce abroad. own high cards, without our having to Every foreign manufacturer, to maintain free access to the U.S. market of $17 trillion, greatest on earth, would have to consider shifting production — factories, technology, jobs — to the USA. The incentive to produce abroad would diminish and disappear. The incentive to produce here would grow correspondingly. Inversions — U.S. companies seeking lower tax rates by moving to places like Ireland — would end. Foreign companies and banks would be clamoring to get into the United States. With a zero corporate tax, minority businesses would spring up. Existing businesses would have more cash to hire. America would shove China aside as the Enterprise Zone of the world. Most important, by having Americans buy more from each other, and rely more on each other for the necessities of life, U.S. trade and tax policies would work to create a greater interdependence among us, rather than pull us apart as they do today. WHY NOT write new tax and trade laws that bring us together, recreating the one nation and people we once were — and can be again?
2016 ELECTION: November 23, 2016
A night to remember: Election night 2016
n fairness, we Trump supporters don’t want to be sore winners, so we ought to set a time limit on our gloating. I propose three years. In that spirit, let us revel in the Never Trumpers’ tweets leading up to Trump’s election night triumph. Now that I’ve had time to do a full archeological dig, I’m able to present a whole new treasure trove of smug idiocy. Save this column to share with your children, and they with their children, for years to come.
— PATTON OSWALT: Comedian who realized he wasn’t really all that funny and decided to try his hand at political commentary instead. His tweets are a perfect time capsule of the Never Trumpers’ smug certitude that Hillary would win — which would soon blossom into bitter recrimination. The day before the election, Oswalt was snarky and nasty, but his mood turned as election results came in: NOV. 7: @pattonoswalt Every artisanal cocktail bar in Williamsburg is scrambling to create a “mazel tov cocktail” right now. @pattonoswalt Someone create this drink, ASAP. That’s what we should toast with tomorrow. NOV. 8: @pattonoswalt This is the final, feeble insanity of the Trump campaign being slapped down. It’s over, Donny. Get ready. @pattonoswalt Oh G—, the LAUGHTER when he appears. “Gonna lose!” It’s all gone, Don. #Election2016 NOV. 8 — LATER: @pattonoswalt Come on, Broward County! Grind your democracy crotch on the stripper pole of freedom! #Florida #ElectionNight @pattonoswalt f*ckf*ckf*ckf*ckf*c kF*CKF*CKF*CKF*CK #ElectionNight (Asterisks, mine.) @pattonoswalt EVERY PUNDIT ON EVERY NETWORK IS TERRIFIED RIGHT NOW. AND EVERY ONE OF THEM CAUSED THIS TO HAPPEN. #Election2016 NOV. 8 — MUCH LATER: @pattonoswalt Hey Chris Matthews, Trump didn’t “tap into” people’s feelings. He EXPLOITED them. He HATES people. #ElectionNight @pattonoswalt Oh F*CK YOU Brit Hume. Don’t act like you were the one lone holdout against Trump. F*ckyouf*ckyouf*ckyou. #ElectionNight [Again, asterisks, mine.] (Brit Hume was pretty clearly against Trump from start to finish.) — POLITICAL CONSULTANTS My favorite tweets were from the Republican political consultants who have hauled in multiple millions of dollars over the years, in exchange for turning
the GOP into a minor fringe party, as ex- Libya that got our ambassador killed, and appointed Elena Kagan to the Suemplified in these electoral results: 1992: GOP loses to a draft-dodging preme Court. horndog. — MIKE MURPHY: High-priced 1996: GOP loses to a draft-dodging horndog who tried to destroy health care. GOP campaign consultant who help 2000: GOP barely wins an election so Jeb! raise $150 million from credulous in order to win four (4) close it wasn’t decided until December. donors, delegates. 2004: GOP’s NOV. 5: wartime president Responding to: wins razor-thin “But what will hapre-election, almost pen after he loslosing to a gigolo. (c) 2016, Ann Coulter es?” 2006: GOP los@murphymike: es both houses of Congress in a historic sweep after Re- A rage howl so loud you won’t need a publican president makes amnesty cen- TV set to hear it for 200 miles. #LookingForward #Earmuffs terpiece of his second term. Responding to John Noonan’s “Can’t 2012: GOP loses in an electoral landslide to president who destroyed health remember how many times guys like @ care, staged a disastrous intervention in stuartpstevens @murphymike warned
GOP about millions of new Hispanic voters” @murphymike: Indeed. @murphymike Oh I think I know what outcome of Jeb v HRC in FL would have been ... and about eight other swing states. (Yes, Jeb! was a political juggernaut. If only he’d had some money to get him through the primaries!) NOV. 6: @murphymike My big prediction: I think she’ll win FL quickly; will be clear in early numbers. Then cable news will do a huge 180 on “long night.” @murphymike I’m still not convinced he’ll win OH. If the WSJ/NBC data today is right, I think he’ll narrowly lose Ohio. Plus FL, etc. (continued on the next page)
REPUBLICAN PARTY: November 29, 2016
Welcome to the party of Trump
stirred up some controversy last week when I told a conference of several dozen House Republicans that the GOP is now officially a Trump-working-class party. For better or worse, I said at the gathering inside the Capitol dome, the baton has now officially been passed from the Reagan era to the Trump era. The members didn’t quite faint over my apostasy, but the shock was palpable.
I EMPHASIZED that Republicans must prioritize delivering jobs and economic development to the industrial and Midwestern regions of the country — states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa and Missouri. These are places that, for the most part, never felt the meager Obama administration recovery, and so these blue-collar Reagan Democrats took a leap of faith and came back to the Republican Party for the first time since 1984. The GOP will be judged in 2018 and 2020 as to whether they deliver results for this part of the country and for the forgotten middle-class men and women (aka “the deplorables”) who Democrats abandoned economically and culturally. This is all simply a political truism. What caught the ire of some of my conservative friends was this statement: “Just as Reagan converted the GOP into a conservative party, with his victory this year, Trump has converted the GOP into a populist, America-first party.” One friend lamented that I must have been drunk when I said this. No. I meant exactly what I said. But I will clarify. First, let me lay to rest the idea that
this was a backhanded slam against Ronald Reagan’s legacy. Hardly. I worked for the Gipper. He rebuilt the American economy and caused a quarter-century-long boom with wealth creation and prosperity nearly unrivaled in American history. He won the Cold War and vanquished the evil empire of the Soviet Union. He belongs o n Mount Rushmore.
Moore (c) 2016, Creators Syndicate
BUT THIS is 2016, not 1986. The world is a different place. The voters spoke with a thunderclap, opting for Trump’s new breed of economic populism. He squashed his 16 GOP rivals. “Never-Trumpers,” who insisted with absolute certainty that Trump could never win the general election or even the primary, can pretend that a political sonic boom didn’t happen. But guess what? It did — while all the highfalutin intellectuals and political consultants were napping. So yes, we have awoken to a new party that will be a lot tougher on illegal immigration and will build a wall; that will be a lot more skeptical of lopsided trade deals; more wary of foreign entanglements; and more prone to spend money on infrastructure. I don’t approve of all of these shifts, but they are what the voters voted for. Trade and immigration are unambiguously good for the country — but it will have to be done in ways that are supported by the American people, not shoved down our throats by the elites.
In this way, I am more of a populist. The elites in both parties have never understood Trumpism and often are contemptuous of the intellect and lifestyles of the Trump loyalists. Conservatives should go back and read Jude Wanniski’s classic The Way the World Works. Jude repeatedly reminds us that there is great collective wisdom in the decisions made by the American voters. It’s wise for elites on the right to listen to what they are saying. A lot of good things come with the Trump package: Probably three conservative justices on the Supreme Court; tax cuts and assaults against regulatory overreach; the repeal of Obamacare; and so on. But it’s a package deal, folks. If you want purity, vote for Ron Paul for president again and see where that gets you. I have always tried not to oversell Donald Trump to voters, because I’ve been so bitterly disappointed by politicians time and again. You never know how it will turn out, and it’s folly to render a verdict on a President-elect Trump, who hasn’t yet notched a single policy victory. BUT IT IS A new Republican Party, and a new political and policy era has begun. On election night, Trump toppled two family dynasties — the Clintons and the Bushes — and Barack Obama’s legacy all at once. They were the troika of big losers in 2016. Trump didn’t topple the Reagan legacy of growth, optimism and peace through strength. If the age of Trump is to be a success, he will build on and modernize that legacy.
December 7, 2016 2016 ELECTION: November 23, 2016
A night to remember: Election night 2016 cont. Responding to: “Still think Trump loses?” @murphymike: Yes @murphymike I’ve believed in data for 30 years in politics and data died tonight. I could not have been more wrong about this election. (Unfortunately, Mike was getting his “data” from the New York Times, the GOP’s best friend in the whole wide world. That’s where Mike got that great idea to have Jeb! babble in Span- first Republican to lose college eduish and call illegal immigration “an act cated whites since FDR era. Goldwater won them. of love.”) (Trump won college-educated — STUART STEVENS: The brain whites.) trust of Mitt Romney’s presidential @stuartpstevens Just a little glimpse campaign, whose smooth Hispanic into future of a Trump party: every 4 outreach resulted in a smaller Hispanic years, electorate is 2% less white & 4% vote than Trump got, while actually less white HS or less educated. losing the white vote to Obama in five (Maybe GOP should stop pushing states. policies that make it less white faster.) NOV. 6: @stuartpstevens (Responding to @stuartpstevens Fascinating piece. Corey Lewandowski) Give it 48 hours But if Trump is so good at media, to get bitter. Need to pace yourself. why’s he the most unpopular nominee @stuartpstevens (About Trump) in modern history? The world is full of bitter losers who @stuartpstevens As new NBC/WSJ wished they could settle the score for poll shows, Trump is on track to be the their failures. He can work it out over shuffleboard. NOV 7: LIFE: November 25, 2016 @stuartpstevens The “elite” seems to be anyone who won elections. (Which Stuart Stevens didn’t.) @stuartpstevens It’s a not an encouraging stat that Trump is losing t is an all too familiar pattern: The dissenting judge was allowed to every demographic in country that is In order to do away with human have his innings, too. The Hon. James growing. From college educated whites life, it first must be defined as Dowd spoke up to say that “Missouri to Hispanics. something other than human life — just law makes one thing abundantly clear: (Again, wrong, wrong, wrong on two embryos at issue in both whites and Hispanics.) property, for example. Which is just The are human beings what an appellate court in Kansas City this case @stuartpstevens One of the key difwith protectable ferences with Clinton-Trump: Clinton now has done. interests in life, world understands rallies are about The Missouri health and well- who is watching on television, not the Court of Appeals being.” has ruled 2 to 1 crowd. The mother in that embryos are (c) 2016, Tribune Media Services this case said the but property, not developing human beings. It is a deci- majority opinion left her “somewhat sion that defies not only biology but the disgusted.” But she was just getting all-too-human tendency to reduce the warmed up. For in her opinion, the judges in the majority “ignored Mismost complex questions to legalese. souri statutes that say life begins at TO QUOTE the majority opinion, conception, and I think that’s a dis“We are only required to decide wheth- grace for the judicial arena and for the er frozen pre-embryos have the legal people it’s affecting, like me. All of the status of children under our dissolu- statutes point to one thing — the prestion of marriage statutes.” Awarding ervation of life. For them to say otherjoint custody of this so-called property wise is counter to the point.” thus “subjects neither party to any unHER ATTORNEY was at least as warranted governmental intrusion but leaves the intimate decision of wheth- vocal, asserting that the majority had er to potentially have more children “essentially created law out of thin air” to the parties alone.” Just what these by treating these embryos as nothing embryos, if allowed to thaw and be- but property. As if anybody who’s ever come adults, might have to say about had a child didn’t know better. Espethe court’s decision was not reported. cially if that youngster grows up to deAll such issues were left in limbo, like cide whom he or she is going to form a bond with — marriage certificate or these abandoned souls themselves. So at this point, the score stands not. Death 2, Life 1. But life itself goes on.
@murphymike Real media bias isn’t for D or R, it’s for a breathless horse race ... even when fundamentals belie that. @murphymike This Hart/POS poll of RVs is always poll I take most seriously. For zillionth time, Trump is gonna lose. FL/NC will go relatively fast. @murphymike Prediction: HRC winning FL will lead TV heads to proclaim “nobody saw this coming” when fact is their Trump hype has been wrong all along. NOV 7: “Elwood” tweets to Mike: “Well if you do not see the end of your job we can’t help you!! Hope you get air time on how you were so wrong!” @murphymike Oh Elwood. I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow night when the networks call Florida in the 9 pm hour for Clinton and end this Trump nightmare. NOV 8: Responding to: “do you think trump wins?” @murphymike: Nope. Though I will say FL is closer than I and many FL hacks thought.
Here’s to life
(Hillary wasn’t strategically trying to avoid drawing large crowds: She couldn’t get them. Apparently crowd size did mean something.) @stuartpstevens Whomever you support, the professionalism & steadiness of the Clinton campaign has been impressive. They are pros. @AdamParkhomenko (Stevens tagged a longtime Hillary aide in this tweet, so maybe, deep down, he knew that no one in the GOP would ever hire him again.) NOV. 8: @stuartpstevens Trump burned down the house to drive more non-college men to his side. Didn’t do better than Romney & worse with every other group. (According to the exit polls — still preliminary — Trump not only did a LOT better than Romney with noncollege-educated men, but also with Hispanics, African-Americans and Asians.) Today, Mike Murphy sits alone, playing Jenga with stacks of cash looted from corporate donors ($150 million, utterly wasted), and an addled Stuart Stevens wanders the streets of Manhattan, window shopping and daydreaming of the snappy suit he’ll wear to the Romney inauguration.
TRUMP’S AGENDA: November 23, 2016
Trump’s big agenda may get a boost from some Dems
resident-elect Donald Trump and no one understands this more than has a big agenda, with many our nation’s future job creators, busimoving parts, that should nesses large and small, and millions of keep the Congress busy for the next investors. four years. Many of them have been sitting on Under normal circumstances, the sidelines and holding back investwhen Republicans control the White ment capital for the past eight years House and both houses of Congress, in this age of uncertainty, as Barack one would expect swift approval of Obama kept threatening to raise taxes the president’s chief proposals along on anyone who made too much money. straight party lines. The result has been an But in this underperformcase, even some ing two percentDemocrats may growth economy in be lining up beneed of a transfuhind a few of sion of capital, (c) 2016, United Media Services Trump’s bigwhich Trump and spending initiatives. More on this in a the Republicans are going to provide moment. when he takes office in January. We saw the first wave of expectaTO BE SURE, Republican law- tion of stronger growth when the Dow makers are chomping at the bit to cut broke through the 19,000 mark for income tax rates and simplify our dys- the first time in its history this week, functional tax code, and that will sure- driven by business investors who piled ly be one of the earliest pieces of legis- back into the market. lation they will send to him next year. But Trump has another card to play It may not be exactly what he has in the growth game that he thinks will proposed. For one thing, his plan does strengthen the economy: Spending $1 not make any attempt to be revenue- trillion on rebuilding the nation’s deneutral by eliminating a mountain of caying infrastructure. tax breaks, loopholes and corporate If this proposal sounds familiar, it’s welfare — a core element in the GOP’s what Obama spent in his first years to long-stalled legislation. grow the economy and produce jobs. But in the end, with some strategic It was a humiliating failure. The econcompromises here and there, it’s likely omy remained weak and is still “in reto meet with Trump’s approval and covery” years later. his signature, to fulfill his promise to But Trump’s huge infrastructure strengthen our economy and get the plan is likely to draw significant supGreat American Jobs Machine running port from big-spending Democrats, at full throttle. though a potentially tepid response The critical element behind the from Republicans who will most likely GOP’s tax cuts can’t be overstated, cut the bill down to size.
Trump naively thinks he can deal with incoming Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, a fellow New Yorker, and the two are said to have spoken several times since the election. “I have always had a good relationship with Chuck Schumer. He is far smarter than Harry R (Reid) and has the ability to get things done. Good news!” Trump tweeted earlier this week.
market-oriented plan is likely to happen, too, but not without an all-out fight from the Democrats. But the GOP has a major political advantage over the Democrats that in some cases could result in more than a few of them crossing the aisle to support GOP initiatives. In the 2018 midterm elections, 25 of the 48 Democrats in the Senate will face re-election, compared to only eight Republicans. Ten of these Democrats represent states that Trump won on Election Day. This means Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a skillful political dealmaker, may be able to persuade some vulnerable Democrats to side with the Republicans on a number of critical legislative issues. One of five or so Democrats who face tough re-election races is Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a swing state that Trump won. “Manchin sounds especially eager to cooperate with the new Republican president,” the Washington Post reported this week. Here’s what he said: “If President-elect Trump comes with good policies, I’m going to be 1,000 percent behind him. OK? Maybe the rest of my caucus will not, but I’m going to find a pathway forward.” The bottom line is that Trump is going to get his way on a lot more issues than anyone expected, with the help of his party’s establishment leadership, the very people he often criticized and insulted.
SCHUMER DIDN’T return the compliment. “We will work with President Trump when he agrees with our positions,” he told the Washington Post last week. But “when he goes against our values and our positions, we’ll fight him with everything we have,” he said. The rest of Trump’s broad agenda remains a work in progress. Filling the Supreme Court vacancy since Justice Antonin Scalia’s death will be an early priority and a major test of Trump’s presidential judgment. He has already submitted a list of 21 judicial prospects from which he has pledged to pick his nominee, and it has won general approval from most Senate Republicans. The Supreme Court will likely remain in conservative hands, at least throughout Trump’s presidency. Energy policy will be another slamdunk for the GOP, with the rapid approval of the long-stalled Keystone XL pipeline, and reversing the Democrats’ “war on coal.” His remaining agenda, however, could turn out to be a hornets’ nest of AND MAYBE with the help of a fierce political battles, from immigra- few Democrats, to boot. tion reform to free trade policies. Repealing and replacing the Obamacare law with a far more affordable,
December 7, 2016 LIFE: November 30, 2016
NYC late-term abortion capital: 1 every 5 hours
n New York City, where the (9,992,167), according to the Census Statue of Liberty stands, 1,752 Bureau, had larger populations in 2013 unborn children — at least 21 than New York City (8,405,837). Every year, the CDC publishes its weeks of age and still in their mother’s Abortion Surveillance report. It covers wombs — were killed in 2013. That means, on average, someone the abortions committed in the third in New York City killed one of these year before its release, and, given how obsessed liberals in government are unborn children every five hours. Legal abortionists were the per- with tracking “health care,” its “surpetrators. Elected officials, Supreme veillance” is remarkably un-thorough. Obamacare has made it mandaCourt justices and elites who condone and rationalize such killings were the tory for individual Americans to buy health insurance or face a co-conspirators. federal penalty — The federal what Chief Justice Centers for DisJohn Roberts calls ease Control and a “tax.” However, Prevention pubthere is no federal lished the num(c) 2016, Creators Syndicate mandate for aborber just before tionists to report the number of aborThanksgiving. New York City has become the na- tions they do or the age of the babies tion’s late-term abortion capital — at they abort. Nor is there a federal mandate for least among those jurisdictions that actually report their abortions and do so the states to report the number of babies aborted within their borders or the by gestational age. age of the babies who are killed. While the city of New York reportTHE ENTIRE states of New Jersey and Georgia each reported that 705 ed its abortions by gestational age in unborn children at least 21 weeks of a manner the CDC deemed worthy of age were aborted within their borders publication, the state of New York (the in 2013. They led all 39 states that re- third most populous in the nation in ported their abortions by gestational 2013) provided less detailed information on its abortions. age. “Each year, CDC requests abortion But their combined 21-weeks-andlater abortions (1,410) did not equal data from the central health agencies the 1,752 done in New York City alone. of 52 reporting areas (the 50 states, the This was despite the fact that both District of Columbia, and New York New Jersey (8,899,339) and Georgia City),” explains the CDC. “The re-
porting areas provide this information voluntarily.” “In most states, collection of abortion data is facilitated by the legal requirement for hospitals, facilities, and physicians to report all abortions to a central health agency,” says the CDC. “These central health agencies then voluntarily report the abortion data they have collected through their independent surveillance systems and provide only aggregate numbers to CDC.” “However,” says the CDC, “because the collection and reporting of abortion data are not federally mandated, many reporting areas have developed their own data collection forms and therefore do not collect or provide all the information or level of detail included in this report.” CALIFORNIA, THE nation’s most populous state, reported none of its abortions. Nor did Maryland, a residential center for Washington bureaucrats. Nor did New Hampshire, whose motto is “Live Free or Die.”
DISPARITY: November 23, 2016
Discrepancy of popular/electoral votes
t now appears that Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump in the popular vote by more than 1.7 million ballots. And, with almost three million left to be counted — largely in liberal California — her margin may swell further. No matter how high it goes, it will have no effect, of course, on the election results. Trump’s lead in the Electoral College is safe. But we have never had this wide a disparity between the electoral and the popular vote. In 2000, Al Gore got one-half of one percent more votes than George W. Bush nationally but lost the Electoral College. But this outcome is dwarfed by Clinton’s current lead of more than one percentage point, a lead that is likely to expand. WHY HAS the Electoral College stopped mirroring the popular vote all of a sudden? Prior to the 2000 presidential race, campaign strategists kept their focus largely on the national campaign, pay-
ing only secondary attention to the specific swing states. Most paid advertising was bought on national shows and network programming that reached all U.S. households. But the 2000 results, in which everything hinged on Florida, led to an obsessive concentration on a handful of swing states that absorbed most of the paid advertising and field operations, leaving the rest of the country out in the cold.
Morris (c) 2016, Creators Syndicate
THIS FOCUS on swing states has created a virtual blackout in the nonswing states. Voters there are not subject to the same influences as those who live in swing states. Hence the dichotomy. (In fact, it now appears that the national polls were right, after all, and
that Clinton did indeed win the popular vote by between one and two percent, about what the RealClearPolitics. com average of major polls predicted she’d do.) Of course, had the election been determined by popular vote, not by the Electoral College, political strategists on both sides would have adjusted. As it was, Republicans saw no point in maximizing their turnout in red states and Democrats did not focus much on major cities like New York because they were located in states whose outcome was clear. Only if the major cities were in swing states, did they receive much attention. WE HAVE politically become two nations: The privileged swing states that elect the president and the other 40 or so states that are disenfranchised by their own predictability.
Eight other states and the District of Columbia did not report their abortions by gestational age or did so in a manner the CDC said “did not meet reporting standards.” These included New York State (as opposed to New York City), Fla. (the fourth most populous state in 2013), Ill. (the fifth most populous), Pa. (the sixth most populous), Mass., Conn., Wis. and Wyo. In 2013, according to the CDC, New York City reported a total of 69,804 abortions by gestational age. That equals about one abortion every seven and a half minutes. Of these 69,804 New York City abortions, 2.5 percent (1,752) were of fetuses 21 weeks or older, 2.6 percent (1,821) were of fetuses 18 to 20 weeks of age, 2.1 percent (1,485) were of fetuses 16 to 17 weeks of age and 2.9 percent (2,034) were of fetuses 14 to 15 weeks of age. In New York City in 2013, 7,092 abortions of unborn children 14 weeks old and older were committed. If New York City abortionists worked on this 24 hours per day, seven days a week, one of them would have to abort a baby 14 weeks or older about every hour and 15 minutes. In three reporting states, the percentage of all abortions that targeted babies 21 weeks or older was higher than the 2.5 percent in New York City. These included New Mexico (259 or 6.3 percent), New Jersey (705 or 3.3 percent) and Colorado (256 or 2.6 percent). But none approached the 1,752 21-week-or-older unborn babies New York City killed in one year. Every human being has God-given right to life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. A truly just state would prohibit the deliberate taking of every unborn life. President-elect Donald Trump has promised to sign the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would prohibit aborting unborn babies who are at least 20 weeks past conception. THIS IS A good start — that will save thousands of innocent lives in Donald Trump’s hometown alone.
INFRASTRUCTURE: November 27, 2016
The boondoggle of infrastructure spending
who distrust government. ... We seem to be caught in a dismal cycle of low expectations, poor results and shared cynicism.” There is a trope for these times: “I’m a progressive, but ... .” Barack Obama should have understood this in 2009 when he serenely promised “shovelready projects,” the scarcity of which LAST SPRING, Larry Summers, was one reason his stimulus barely former treasury secretary and Harvard stimulated. Groundbreaking for the Empire State president, was mired in congealed traffic on the bridge, which is being repaired, Building was on March 17, 1930. Conand he suddenly understood “Ameri- struction soon began and the building ofcan sclerosis.” Repairing the bridge, ficially opened May 1, 1931 — just 410 during the Great Dewhich was built in 11 months in 1912, d a y s , pression. The Pentawill take about gon was built in just five years. The 16 months, during problem, he conwartime. After seecluded in a blog ing reconstrucpost, is “a gaggle (c) 2016, Washington Post Writers Group tion of Manhatof regulators and veto players” — Massachusetts’ gov- tan’s West Side Highway take 35 years ernment, contractors, environmental (construction of the George Washington agencies, the historical commission, Bridge took 39 months), Sen. Daniel etc. — “each with the power to block or Patrick Moynihan despaired that whereto delay, and each with their own paro- as America once celebrated people who chial concerns.” Summers’ sunburst of built things, it now honors those who block building. understanding continued: Today’s long lag between the con“I’m a progressive, but it seems plausible to wonder if government can build ception and execution of infrastructure a nation abroad, fight social decay, run projects is one reason they are dubious schools, mandate the design of cars, run as countercyclical economic stimulants, health insurance exchanges or set prop- and as jobs programs for the unemer sexual harassment policies on college ployed. The economist Milton Friedcampuses, if it can’t even fix a 232-foot man said that once, while he was taken bridge competently. Waiting in traffic to see a canal that was being dug, he over the Anderson Bridge, I’ve empa- expressed astonishment that there was thized with the two-thirds of Americans no heavy earth-moving machinery, only istory has a sly sense of humor. It caused an epiphany regarding infrastructure projects — roads, harbors, airports, etc. — to occur on a bridge over Boston’s Charles River, hard by Harvard Yard, where rarely is heard a discouraging word about government.
men with shovels. A government official said that was because the project was a jobs program. Well, then, Friedman replied, shouldn’t they use spoons rather than shovels? NEW DEAL public works gave the nation splendidly useful engineering marvels, including the Golden Gate Bridge and the Hoover Dam. It did not, however, significantly reduce unemployment, which never came below 14 percent until prewar military spending began. Both presidential candidates endorsed huge increases in infrastructure spending, so we are about to relearn
that bipartisanship, whatever its many merits, usually means a recklessly open spending spigot. Will there be wasteful projects? Indeed, boondoggles are transaction costs of democracy. As is the inclination to direct infrastructure spending to stagnant regions, where it is unlikely to stimulate growth, rather than to regions where economic dynamism is putting pressure on, and being dampened by, inadequate infrastructure. Besides, the economic bang from every infrastructure buck is biggest in a society that is starting from a low base, as America did in the first half of the 19th century. Princeton historian James M. McPherson in Battle Cry of Freedom noted that before 1815 — before allweather macadamized roads — the only efficient means of moving goods long distances was sailing ships and downriver floats. “The cost of transporting a ton of goods 30 miles inland from an American port equaled the cost of carrying the same goods across the Atlantic.” So, “America’s transatlantic trade exceeded internal commerce” and “the economy grew little if any faster than population.” Then came the Erie Canal and the frenzied funding of emulative projects, many of which failed, but the successes redeemed the rest. Next came railroads, and soon Americans regarded infrastructure — then called “internal improvements” — as emblems of national greatness. When the Marquis de Lafayette toured America in 1824, a couple of years before the 50th anniversary of the Revolution, his New York banquet table groaned beneath the weight of a 75-foot model of the Erie Canal, which opened in 1825. AMERICANS HOPED that commerce, ignited by infrastructure, would weld the nation’s sections, defusing the danger of disunion. Actually, this would require a railroad lawyer from Illinois.
December 7, 2016 INFRASTRUCTURE: November 29, 2016
What will Donald Trump do for infrastructure?
Jersey, to permit new super-container ships coming through the widened Panama Canal to enter Port Newark. The widened canal was opened in June. Despite millions spent on plans and environmental approvals, the bridge hasn’t been raised yet. This is just one of many examples of how, as Howard writes, “decade-long review and permitting procedures more THE 70-YEAR-OLD president- than double the effective cost of new inelect surely remembers that. His propos- frastructure projects.” Congress, at the prodding of the al for massive infrastructure spending holds out the opportunity to transform Trump administration, could change government spending programs much that. Republicans may be wary of ing as much as Trump as he transformed the process of build- s p e n d wants, and Demoing an ice skating crats may be wary rink in the beautiabout changing ful infrastructure some of the rules. Frederick W. OlBut the author msted designed (c) 2016, Creators Syndicate of The Art of the in the time of the Deal could point out that Congress can Civil War. Federal transportation infrastructure change those rules. It could repeal the requirements for programs, designed in the post-World War II years, have run out of gas. Gas environmental impact statements or tax receipts have been flagging because require that they be completed within of decreases in driving and increased a given time — six months? — with gas mileage requirements. Projects are the default assumption that the project doled out by congressional committee would go ahead otherwise. Congress members, and environmental proce- could cut off endless appeals to the dures hold up completion for years. As courts. That would put out of business President Barack Obama said after his groups that exist solely to bollix things 2009 stimulus didn’t do much stimulat- up. Congress could overrule — preing, “there’s no such thing as shovelempt is the legal word — the BANANA ready projects.” Common Good’s Philip K. Howard (build absolutely nothing anywhere points out that government agencies set near anything) regulations of states such out in 2008 to raise the Bayonne Bridge, as California. If California complained, which connects Staten Island and New it might forfeit federal money. n May 1986, a 39-year-old Manhattan real estate developer named Donald Trump promised to get Wollman Rink in Central Park up and running — something the city government, despite spending $13 million, had failed to do for six years. Trump delivered, ahead of time and under a $3 million budget.
COUNSEL MIGHT be taken from Howard, who wrote: “Dumpsters can be filled with obsolete laws. Inflexible dictates can be replaced by open frameworks that permit officials to act sensibly. ... Give a federal agency the job of deciding when there’s been sufficient review.” With low interest rates, government could right now borrow cheaply for infrastructure. It still would have to pay off the debt, but not all of it if Congress encouraged infrastructure public-private partnerships. Canada employs them extensively and is using one to finance the new bridge across the Detroit River. Having private money at risk also would increase the chance that infrastructure
would be built where it is needed, not just in some senior committee member’s district. Another thing that makes infrastructure in the U.S. so much more expensive than in Canada, Australia and Europe is the Davis-Bacon Act, passed originally to exclude blacks from construction work and now employed to favor labor unions. Davis-Bacon requires government bureaucrats to calculate the “prevailing wage” in each of the 3,141 counties involved — a lengthy and money-wasting process. A gifted dealmaker might tell the unions that they can keep Davis-Bacon in, say, 50 counties — which is where most of their members are concentrated — but that it will go away for the rest of the country. Another thing Congress might want to consider is that good infrastructure requires not just construction but maintenance. Large hunks of Washington’s Metro subway are out of service these days because, as fatal accidents have shown, the system has been stinting on maintenance for 40 years. Maintenance and repair jobs in the long run will outnumber construction jobs, and they also tend to be more permanent. And maintenance will inevitably be concentrated on infrastructure that is actually useful and used. A big infrastructure package could also include revision of civil service rules, something Trump called for in his 100-days video. And it could encourage the privatizing of the air traffic control system — something Canada has done — which has been held up for more than a decade. THE BEGINNING of an administration offers an opportunity to make sharp changes to processes previously considered unchangeable. Will the 45th president do for infrastructure what he did for Wollman Rink?
DISCRIMINATION: November 27, 2016
The CEO and 1st In SEO should be sued into oblivion
Blanchfield claims the State of New atthew Blanchfield, CEO of 1st In SEO, a search en- Mexico allows such discrimination but gine optimization compa- I can assure you there are is no state in ny, has established a code of business America that allows a business owner that states his company will openly to discriminate on the basis of sex and/ practice discrimination and xenopho- or color of skin. Which for the record is exactly the factors that come bia. into play if/when he Blanchfield’s refuses service to a position states: person. Does he be“If you are a Relieve the Justice publican, voted Department Civil for Donald Trump (c) 2016, Mychal Massie Rights Division or support Donand/or the office ald Trump, in any manner, you are not welcome at 1st In of Human Relations will okay his overt SEO and we ask you to leave our firm. discrimination? If we call upon 1st In To our Democrat and Progressive cli- SEO for our search engine optimization ents, we want to recommit to you that needs and Blanchfield refuses, does he we will continue to work diligently to really think he will prevail? Is he so pompous as to believe he can improve your internet marketing redeny employment and dismiss a person sults in this quickly changing world.” because they voted for a person he disTHERE IS no grey area or ambi- approves? Can he discriminate by denyguity pursuant to Blanchfield’s public ing service to blacks, Hispanics, womarticulation of discrimination. His big- en, or even homosexuals because they otry is condemnable and his smug in- voted for and/or support Donald Trump tolerance is emblematic of white and/ or for belonging to a particular political or black supremacists who practice party? Does he have any idea what he has just opened himself up to? racism and xenophobic exclusion. I know that liberal progressivism is A few questions need to be answered here. How does Blanchfield propose to a mind numbing, self-limiting, mentalfind out who people supported? Does ly debilitating cognitive disease but in he propose to have perspective clients what scenario can this person envision and/or employees fill out paperwork not being sued into oblivion? stating if they are Republican or DemoHOWEVER, IF you are a borncrat? Will he have a questionnaire that demands a person state how they vot- again Christian husband and wife who ed? What about those who are presently own and operate a bakery in Oregon employed or serviced by his company? — and choose to obey your God by re-
fusing to participate in a homosexual marriage —the weight of government is used to shut down your business. You are punished for refusing to disobey the tenents of your faith. You are charged with discrimination and the courts uphold the fallacious charges. Despite the fact that the bakery did not refuse to do business with homosexuals, the Christian bakery refused to participate in a homosexual marriage. Brad Avakian, the Oregon politician responsible for bringing charges against the Christian bakery referenced above, argued that honoring the tenets of one’s Christian faith was not sufficient reason to refuse to participate in a lesbian wed-
ding. He argued it was a case of overt discrimination. Are we to understand that this blatant act of denial of service is a less demonstrable act of discrimination? We the People have the power to punish those like Blanchfield and too literally destroy their bigotry by shuttering their businesses. We should flood his business with calls to service our business needs and we should make clear our political persuasion if asked. We should seek employment in his company. And when or if Blanchfield followed through on his stated course of sexual, racial, political discrimination, our next move should be to engage lawyers to sue on our behalf. We need not hide nor be ashamed of our actions. Our actions would not be unlike what liberal groups have done by oftentimes sending people who are not financially qualified and or credit worthy to rent or buy certain properties. When said persons are denied, the groups bring legal action against the property owner. Blanchfield’s actions are prototypical of the property owners who refused to rent to blacks, single women, homosexuals; it is in direct violation of the Civil Rights Act, and he should be severely punished. It is time for those of us who believe in freedom to become as intolerant of this type of behavior as progressives are intolerant of Constitutional propriety. It doesn’t take a massive organizational effort to undertake this action. It simply requires persons willing to do it. We should confront Blanchfield’s company and Starbucks and every other company that mistreats us and/or denies us service, with legal action. WE HAVE the power and the ability to teach people like Blanchfield the error of their ways. It is past time that we stop crying, complaining, and wringing our hands, and take action to end this discrimination.
December 7, 2016 GOVERNMENT: November 24, 2016
Self-government in the wilderness
he Mayflower had a harrow- outlandishness of the Pilgrim project. ing two months crossing the The Pilgrims rejected what they considAtlantic. Its mast splintered ered a corrupted Church of England and in rough water and two people died, as wanted to found their own community, supplies dwindled and passengers grew but might as well have resolved to do it side of the moon. sick. It arrived in the New World later on the far A s Philbrick notes, all than expected, on the cusp of a punishother ventures to ing winter. create permanent It was this voyEnglish settlements age, of course, in this hemisphere that gave us one of had failed, with the foundational (c) 2016, King Features Syndicate the exception of documents in our history, the Mayflower Compact. It is Jamestown, which wasn’t exactly an easy to forget that the Compact, the first encouraging precedent. Its first year, 70 artifact of American self-government, of 108 people died, and the next year, was written at the outset of a survival in the course of a brutal six months, anchallenge worthy of the TV show Naked other 440 of 500 settlers perished. Against these odds, the Mayflower and Afraid, except the stakes were real. traversed the Atlantic and was immeIN HIS excellent history of the May- diately confronted with what politiflower and the initial settlement at Plym- cal philosophers might call a crisis of outh, Nathaniel Philbrick writes of the the regime. It sighted land off of Cape
Cod on Nov. 9, 1620, well north of its intended destination in Virginia. It was too dangerous to venture farther down the coast. So, its passengers would have to land in Massachusetts, even though no legal provision had been made to do so. What was the governing authority in this literally uncharted territory? AN ARGUMENT ensued. In the words of the eventual governor of Plymouth Colony, William Bradford,
DISPARITY: November 23, 2016
Of football and fallacies This is a football story with both political and legal implications. It was fourth down in a National Football League game, and the punting team came onto the field. The other team went into their formation to defend against the punt. Then somebody noticed that the man set to kick the punt was black. “Fake!” one of the defenders cried out. That cry was immediately echoed by others, and the defending team changed their formation, to guard against the kicker either running with the ball or throwing it. But in fact he punted. WHY DID anyone think he was not going to punt the ball? Because chances are no one on that field had ever seen a black football player kick a punt. As someone who has watched NFL games for half a century, I have never seen a black player either punt the ball, or kick a field goal or a point after touchdown. I have seen hundreds of black players score touchdowns, but not one kick the point afterwards. I have seen a black President of the United States before I have seen a black kicker in the NFL. Politicians, the intelligentsia and even the Supreme Court of the United States have been saying for decades that statistical disparities between racial groups indicate discrimination. If so, then the racial disparities among kickers in professional football exceed that in virtually any other job anywhere. But is it discrimination? The very same people who employ blacks at every other position on a football team are
the people who hire kickers. Why would they be willing to hire black players in other positions that pay a lot more money than most kickers get, but draw the line at hiring black kickers? In this situation, discrimination is an explanation that doesn’t even meet the test of plausibility. At the other end of the ideological spectrum, there are those who attribute differences in racial representation to genetics. Are blacks genetically incapable of kicking a football? Somehow black colleges have been playing football for generations, without having to recruit white players to do the kicking. BUT IF neither race nor
Sowell (c) 2016, Creators Syndicate
racism can explain why black kickers are so rare in professional football, what can possibly explain it? One of the most obvious possibilities is routinely ignored in many cases of group disparities: Different individuals and groups have different things they want to do. If black youngsters who are dreaming of an athletic career don’t happen to be dreaming of becoming kickers, then it doesn’t matter whether they have both the innate ability and the opportunity. It is very doubtful if any of the guys who grew up in my old neighborhood in Harlem ever became ballet dancers. Is that because black guys can’t dance? Some of the best male tap dancers have been black. Is it because nobody would
hire black male dancers? Some black male tap dancers have starred on the stage and danced in movies. Just not in ballets. Many of us have been so brainwashed over the years — by sheer repetition, rather than by either logic or empirical tests — that statistical disparities are automatically taken to mean discrimination, whether between races, sexes or whatever. The plain fact that different individuals and groups make different choices is resolutely ignored, because it does not fit the prevailing preconceptions, or the crusades based on those preconceptions. Women make different career choices than men, and wisely so, because men do not become mothers, and being a mother is not the same as being a father. And we can’t make them the same by simply calling them both “parents” or saying that “the couple” is pregnant. Discrimination can certainly cause statistical disparities. But statistical disparities do not automatically mean discrimination. When some racial or ethnic groups have a median age that is 20 years older than the median age of some other racial or ethnic groups, how surprised should we be to find members of the younger groups far better represented in sports and members of the older groups far better represented in jobs that require long years of experience?
some passengers made “discontented and mutinous speeches,” and threatened to go their own way, because “none had power to command them.” (The passengers were divided between the Pilgrims — highly motivated, closely knit believers on a mission — and others who were on board simply to increase the odds of success, the so-called Strangers.) This created a truly ruinous prospect. Divided, everyone might well die. An agreement was hammered out and signed by the men on the ship. It provided that they would “covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic.” The compact would be “for our better ordering,” and “to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony.” This wasn’t a revolutionary statement. It acknowledged “our dread sovereign Lord, King James.” The Pilgrims, of course, didn’t intend to set in motion the process that would create a liberal democracy. Historian Walter McDougall calls Massachusetts “an oligarchy of the devout.” And the Compact doesn’t set out any explicit rights. Yet the implication is clear. As political philosopher Willmoore Kendall put it, “The Compact is itself an exercise in freedom, and a tacit assertion of at least one right, that is, the right to be free, the right to make such a compact as the signers are making.” “Here,” John Adams marveled, “was a unanimous and personal assent by all the individuals of the community, to the association by which they became a nation” — and in the most isolated, trying circumstances imaginable. Half the settlers died during the ensuing winter, “sometimes two or three of a day,” according to Bradford. But they persevered, and their ranks were steadily increased by subsequent waves of settlers. William Bradford was re-elected 30 times as governor of the colony (for one-year terms), and a through line runs from the Mayflower Compact to our contemporary democracy that hasn’t lost its vitality or ability to surprise.
FOR THAT, and the wisdom and enSTATISTICS ARE no substitute for durance of our forebears, we all should thought — certainly not in government policies, and especially not in Supreme be grateful. Court decisions.
HISTORY: November 24, 2016
The arc of history doesn’t always bend toward justice
istory is on our side. That’s a claim Barack Obama has made frequently, in his two successful campaigns for president and during his nearly eight years in office. It’s a claim that looks a little shakier this Thanksgiving holiday than it did during the Halloween holiday three weeks ago. Obama has frequently paraphrased a statement made by Martin Luther King: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” King, in turn, was paraphrasing the 19th-century abolitionist Theodore Parker. THEY TURNED out to be right about this — but not without doing a considerable amount of the bending themselves. Parker was one of the abolitionists who set America on the course of abolishing slavery. King did as much as anyone else to persuade Americans to end racial segregation. But the arc didn’t travel in a straight line. The rights of the freed slaves were effectively abolished after the rejection of the Republicans’ Reconstruction policies. Most Americans were content to let the South enforce segregation for 80 years. Millions of people lived their whole lives under this system during those years. Many around the world fared worse. Tens of millions died in World War I and World War II. Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler and Mao Zedong caused the deaths of tens of millions more. Americans today, few of whom have a memory going back before 1945, take it for granted that Hitler and Nazism were defeated. Millennials, most of whom have no memory of 1989, take for granted the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Soviet Union. Most Americans don’t remember the late 1970s, when Mao died and Deng Xiaoping put China on the path of capitalist economic growth. None of these things was inevitable. Consider the 22 months between Aug. 23, 1939, when the Hitler-Stalin pact was signed, and June 22, 1941, when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union. Hitler, Stalin and their allies in Italy and Japan swept over much of the landmass of Eurasia. Only an isolated Britain stood in their way, while an isolationist America dreaded getting involved. It was the closest the world has come to the dystopia of George Orwell’s 1984. Two great leaders rose to the occasion. Winston Churchill insisted that Britain would never surrender, and Franklin Roosevelt provided American military aid to make sure it could fight on. On the deck of HMS Prince of Wales in a bay in Newfoundland in August 1941, Churchill and Roosevelt proclaimed the Four Freedoms. They had a sense of where they wanted history to head and how to move it in that direction. Not all the decisions they
were discarded as vestiges of medieval tyranny. That’s something like American voters’ response to Obamacare and other regulation-heavy Obama policies. Obama hoped Obamacare would lead to a government-run single-payer system communicated a sense of OBAMA’S VISION of the arc of his- and never much government tory is more cramped and partisan. In his h o w would be too much. view, history is a American voters restory of progress sponded that Obamtoward an ever acare was more larger government than enough. It’s at home and an (c) 2016, Creators Syndicate another example of ever more assertive America abroad. But history doesn’t history’s going back and forth on the size always move that way. In the century be- of government. On foreign policy, Obama clearly fore World War I, Britain led the world by reducing taxes and freeing up enter- thinks America has too often been on the prise and trade. Government restrictions wrong side of history, an oppressor more made were wise, and they often faced tragic choices. We take it for granted that the arc of history moved the right way, but it took some very heavy bending by two leaders and the millions they inspired.
often than a liberator. Better to cede power to international organizations and to hold out to unfriendly powers an “open hand” rather than a “clenched fist.” So far, that seems to have produced not affection but contempt. Vladimir Putin expands Russian power into Ukraine and Syria. China advances to dominate international sea lanes. The mullahs of Iran ramp up support of terrorism and do little to conceal their pursuit of nuclear weapons. UNFORTUNATELY, the arc of history seems to be bending toward something other than justice. As Churchill and Roosevelt knew, history is contingent, and those who act as if progress is inevitable often prove to be sadly disappointed.
LESLIE’S TRIVIA BITS: November 28, 2016
Leslie’s Trivia Bits
pidemiology is the study of the spread and control of diseases. Digital epidemiology involves studying the spread and control of diseases by tracking people’s online behavior. Every time you tweet about your flu symptoms or do a Google search for chickenpox, you could be helping medical researchers pinpoint outbreaks of infectious diseases around the world. If an ailment is a trending topic in your area, expect a digital epidemiologist to be keeping tabs on it.
PANAMA AND Papua New Guinea are nearly 9,500 miles apart geographically yet side by side at the United Nations General Assembly, where member states are seated by country name in English alphabetical order. Each year, one member nation is chosen randomly to occupy the first seat in the first row. The rest of the delegates then take their seats accordingly. This year Bolivia has the first seat, followed by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil and so on. That means Bhutan, the U.N. member state that precedes Bolivia alphabetically, now occupies the last seat in the room. Released Nov. 30, 1982, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” has earned every superlative known to the music industry including eight Grammys and a 32x platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America, meaning it’s sold more than 32 million copies in the United States alone. Worldwide sales are more than 100 million. Seven of the original album’s nine songs were released as singles. Trivia fiends will know that the other two songs are “Baby Be Mine” and “The Lady in My Life,” both written by Rod Temperton,
who also wrote the album’s title track. NASA estimates that 100 tons of interplanetary material drifts down from space to earth’s surface every single day. Most of it is harmless space dust. Larger objects are a different story. And if they’re giant chunks of space debris, then they pose a potential threat to our planet. That’s why scientists in NASA’s Near Earth Object Program keep track of potentially hazardous asteroids (they call them PHAs) that could conceivably strike the earth. As of Oct. 27, there were 1,738 of them on the watch list.
Elman (c) 2016, Creators Syndicate
FRENCH ARTIST Georges Seurat is known for his technique of applying individual dots of paint to a canvas to create an overall color effect. (He called it chromoluminarism. It’s also known as pointillism, from the French word for dot.) It took him two years, 1884 to 1886, to complete his most famous work, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” Three years later, he added thousands more dots to create a border around the central image of picnickers in a park beside the Seine River. By some estimates, Seurat applied about 6.4 million dots and dashes of color to the finished 81 3/4 x 121 1/4 inch canvas. Pyruvic acid gives onions their sharp flavor. It’s also what makes your eyes water when you chop them. Sweet onion varieties, such as Vidalia and Walla Walla, have a lower pyruvic acid concentration than standard yellow onions,
which is why chopping them is less likely to make you cry. TRIVIA 1. Epidemic parotitis is the medical name for what illness that affects the parotid salivary glands? A) Measles B) Mumps C) Scarlet fever D) Tetanus 2. Which of these countries was NOT an original member state of the United Nations in 1945? A) Colombia B) France C) Iraq D) Switzerland 3. Above its green, gold and platinum levels, American Express offers a black titanium card known by what name? A) Centurion B) Eagle C) Spartan D) Warrior 4. Dwarf planet Ceres and asteroid Vesta are the largest objects in the asteroid belt between which two planets? A) Mars and Jupiter B) Mercury and Venus C) Saturn and Uranus D) Venus and Earth 5. What or who did George H.W. Bush refer to as “a thousand points of light”? A) Colleges B) Community organizations C) Doctors D) Soldiers 6. All acids contain which chemical element? A) Arsenic B) Chlorine C) Hydrogen D) Nitrogen (answers on page 19)
December 7, 2016 LIFE: November 28, 2016
And so it goes, on and on ... like life itself
t is the Jewish Sabbath, and so I do not phone my daughter in Boston — or, more precisely, Newton Centre, Mass., for it wouldn’t matter anyway. For 24 blessed hours, if not another added to ensure the peace of the day, she is incommunicado. Her phone goes unanswered, her laptop is recharging, just as she and her family are. My father, being of the tribe of Levi, took care to wash his hands on leaving a cemetery, lest he carry any of its contamination with him. After every funeral in the congregation, he would sigh and tell me, “And so it goes.” And indeed it does, like life itself. DON’T GET ME wrong; Pa was a man who loved life with all its ups and downs and sidewayses. He even fancied himself something of a dancer, much to
“More than Israel has kept the Sabthe embarrassment of his oh-so-sophisbath,” a purely cultural rather political ticated sons. There was a twinkle in his eye that would not be extinguished till Zionist wrote in another century, “the he joined his beloved dead. For he was Sabbath has kept Israel.” Yes, let other the head of his congregation’s Chevrei peoples raise their flags and claim their Kadisha, literally Holy Gang, and territories, but this peculiar one claims would be dressed in complete Masonic only a territory of the spirit. All it has through much of its regalia when he finally went to meet his a s k e d checkered past is maker. to be left alone. You couldn’t But that turns but love the man out to have been my favorite coustoo much for great in called Uncle (c) 2016, Tribune Media Services empires to grant. Benny, and while That it asked so he did have feuds and fusses from time to time, he never little caused other more aggressive met a stranger or a wayfarer who was people not to love it but despise it. So not welcome in the house to spend Sab- does weakness work; it invites only bath and enjoy a good meal of eastern more bullying. Cringe and be prepared European fare that, I learn from the to suffer the rod, not escape it. Only Wall Street Journal, is now the fashion strength and self-reliance will prevent it, never weakness. among gourmet chefs.
TRUMP’S AGENDA: November 29, 2016
It’s time to get on with it
rue, Reince Priebus needs to revoke the boss’s Twitter access so as to head off random rants about stolen votes by the millions and zillions. Likewise, Kellyanne Conway needs to consider whether the job of presidential adviser includes lobbying the president in front of a TV audience over whom to name or not name as secretary of state. Still, we have to notice — how could we not? — that the present presidential transition is not your ordinary presidential transition: Any more than the Trump administration, once installed, is going to be your ordinary presidency. The American people voted for a non-ordinary presidency, to escape, if possible, from a malign set of circumstances. THEY DID? What about the popular vote, which went to Hillary Clinton by a margin of around two million? In quieter times than these, we would have acknowledged that that’s how the Electoral College works — by respecting the decisions of voters in the big population centers without turning over to them sole and unique responsibility for choosing the president. Donald Trump won in the Electoral College. That’s it. He wins the whole shooting match. But you might not know it from watching the defeated Green Party candidate — 10 to one you can’t name her, and I won’t help — vie for public attention and financial contributions from the grumpy and disconsolate by pursuing recounts in Wis., Pa., and Mich. This is in spite of no evidence
of fraud. To this effort — without evidence being adduced — the Clinton campaign pledges support, despite Clinton’s having conceded the election on Nov. 9. You can almost forgive Donald Trump, who had evidenced a desire to forget the whole business of jailing Clinton, for leveling a series of indignant Twitter posts that allege major voter fraud. You can almost forgive him, I said. The posts were beneath the dignity of a president-elect. However, when the topic is political power, it seems that we’re not
Murchison (c) 2016, Creators Syndicate
much into dignity anymore. We’re into squeezing our enemies, kicking them in the anatomical jurisdiction normally used for sitting. KELLYANNE CONWAY’S gratuitous advice against hiring Mitt Romney as secretary of state is one more piece of testimony about the disorders of the moment. Maybe she’s right about Romney, who, during Trump’s campaign, excoriated Trump up one side and down the other. Maybe — probably — David Petraeus needs to be secretary of state. Nevertheless, we don’t need additional contributions to national disunity and distemper. We’ve got a gunnysack of those miserable commodities right now — too heavy as it is for a troubled people to tote.
What we need is a pause for something like serious thought about what we want done, not just over the next four hours but the next four years. The fracases and foofaraws that so entertain the anti-Trump media weaken public confidence in the Trump camp’s ability to step in and do the jobs that need doing. Which are numerous: Overhauling Obamacare; ginning up the economy; cutting taxes; naming a conservative to the Supreme Court; dealing with Russia and also with long-oppressed, long-suffering Cuba, following the overdue demise of its local tyrant/scourge; just to name a few. Islamic terror, to all appearances, rears its head at Ohio State University. No telling what else is coming between now and Inauguration Day, but it’s likely to outrank in importance all sham controversies over ballot-box manipulation in a settled election. OH, IT’S NOT a thing like most presidential transitions, the present handoff from Barack Obama to Donald Trump. Nor is Trump like many, if any, past transitional figures. The need of the day, because his enemies are many and bent on obstruction (they say so out loud), is that he remember his dignity and keep his cool; or that those around him — yes, I’m speaking to you, Ms. Conway — assist him in prioritizing, in leaving aside the parochial for the sake of the big picture. That’s because, on the evidence of our present fractiousness and distraction, making America great again looks like anything but a no-brainer.
A good Sabbath to you, friend, on whatever day of the week yours falls. May you be well and strong. And may you avoid the contagious grip of today’s ideological fashions. Writing in First Things, its editor R.R. Reno tells about a visit he paid to Christendom College in Front Royal, Va. He describes it as a small cog in the vast machinery of what is laughingly called higher education in this country. CHRISTENDOM COLLEGE is hidden away from the maze of worldly concerns in this land of the free and home of the unlettered. It doesn’t even accept federal grants, which have become the life’s blood of American education and a great point of pride among other schools. The school’s curriculum, like its mission, is traditional, geared toward a life of the mind and spirit rather than urging its students, like so many trained seals, to climb the greasy pole of politics. Strangely enough in this day and debased age, Christendom’s required courses are intended to inspire a life of faith and reason rather than to join some meritocratic upper crust that’s supposed to run Barack Obama’s administrative state. How rare, and how welcome. Brother Reno is scarcely enthusiastic about today’s industrial-educational complex. He contrasts Christendom College with Haverford College, his own alma mater, which remains as impressive in its own frightening way. It, too, has a small student body, which numbers about twice the almost 500 who go to Christendom. But its campus is large and well-maintained. To call it grand would not be inaccurate. Grand, too, are its financial resources, and its faculty could be changed for that of any other highly selective institution in or out of the Ivy League and nobody might be able tell the difference. Kids all over America doubtless dream of going to such a school some golden day. You might call it a feeder school, as Brother Reno indeed does. For the whole system in this country would seem to be dedicated to feeding the most talented of our young people into the maw of this modern-day Moloch, god of progress or what goes by that name. YET THE LITTLE Christendom Colleges of the land proliferate like so many blessings, waiting only to be gathered up. There is no need to spy them out. They’e not hiding but are there in plain sight. Look around and you’ll find one. Both you and your kid might be glad you did.
December 7, 2016
Democrats and the Nazi card: One among many
ep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., trusted man in America” gravely shakthe odds-on favorite to be- ing his head. When Goldwater accepted come the Democratic National the Republican nomination, Democratic Committee’s chairman, had a long as- California Gov. Pat Brown said, “The sociation with the anti-Semitic Nation stench of fascism is in the air.” About Ronald Reagan, Steven F. of Islam. He compared then-President George W. Bush and 9/11 to Adolf Hit- Hayward, author of The Age Of Reagan ler and the destruction of the Reichstag, wrote: “Liberals hated Reagan in the Pure and simple. They the German parliament building: “9/11 is 1 9 8 0 s . used language that the juggernaut in would make the most American history fervid anti-Obama and it allows ... it’s rhetoric of the Tea almost like, you Party seem like, know, the Reich(c) 2016, Creators Syndicate well, a tea party. stag fire,” Ellison Democratic Rep. said. “After the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the William Clay of Missouri charged that Communists for it, and it put the lead- Reagan was ‘trying to replace the Bill of er of that country (Hitler) in a position Rights with fascist precepts lifted verbawhere he could basically have authority tim from Mein Kampf.’” After Republicans took control of to do whatever he wanted.” Comparing Republicans to Nazis has the House in the mid-’90s, Rep. John long been a national pastime of the Dem- Dingell, D-Mich., compared the newly conservative-controlled House to “the ocratic Party. Duma and the Reichstag,” referring to DURING THE 1964 Goldwater/ the legislature set up by Czar Nicholas II Johnson presidential race, Republican of Russia and the parliament of the Gerpresidential candidate Barry Goldwater man Weimar Republic that brought Hitaccepted an invitation to visit an Ameri- ler to power. About President George W. Bush, bilcan military installation located in Bavaria, Germany. On CBS Evening News, lionaire Democratic contributor George hosted by Walter Cronkite, correspon- Soros said, “(He displays the) supremadent Daniel Schorr said: “It is now clear cist ideology of Nazi Germany,” and that Sen. Goldwater’s interview with that his administration used rhetoric that Der Spiegel, with its hard line appealing echoes his childhood in occupied Hungato right-wing elements in Germany, was ry. “When I hear Bush say, ‘You’re either only the start of a move to link up with with us or against us,’” Soros said, “it rehis opposite numbers in Germany.” The minds me of the Germans.” He also said: reaction shot — when the cameras re- “The (George W.) Bush administration turned to Cronkite — showed the “most and the Nazi and communist regimes
all engaged in the politics of fear. ... Indeed, the Bush administration has been able to improve on the techniques used by the Nazi and communist propaganda machines.” Former Vice President Al Gore said: “(George W. Bush’s) executive branch has made it a practice to try and control and intimidate news organizations, from PBS to CBS to Newsweek. ... And every day, they unleash squadrons of digital brown shirts to harass and hector any journalist who is critical of the President.” ACTOR/SINGER AND activist Harry Belafonte, who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., called Bush a racist. When asked whether the number
and prominence of blacks in the Bush administration perhaps suggested a lack of racism, Belafonte said, “Hitler had a lot of Jews high up in the hierarchy of the Third Reich.” NAACP Chairman Julian Bond played the Nazi card several times. Speaking at historically black Fayetteville State University in North Carolina in 2006, Bond said, “The Republican Party would have the American flag and the swastika flying side by side.” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who dared to rein in excessive public employee compensation packages, received the full Nazi treatment. The hard-left blog Libcom.org posted in 2011: “Scott Walker is a fascist, perhaps not in the classical sense since he doesn’t operate in the streets, but a fascist nonetheless. ... He is a fascist, for his program takes immediate and direct aim at (a sector of) the working class.” After the 2012 Republican National Convention, California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton said, “(Republicans) lie, and they don’t care if people think they lie. As long as you lie, (Nazi propaganda minister) Joseph Goebbels — the big lie — you keep repeating it.” The chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, Dick Harpootlian, in 2012, compared the state’s Republican governor to Hitler’s mistress. When told that the Republicans were holding a competing press conference at a NASCAR Hall of Fame basement studio, Harpootlian told the South Carolina delegation: “(Gov. Nikki Haley) was down in the bunker, a la Eva Braun.” IF NOT THE Nazi card, it’s the race card or the sexist card or the homophobic card. This “I’m right; you’re evil” brand of politics has a lot to do with why voters elected Donald Trump, rather than Hillary “basket of deplorables” Clinton, to serve as our next president. November 24, 2016
This Week’s Conservative Focus
Democrats’ Identity Politics
For Democrats, the road back after riding the wave
Moreover, the legitimation of identinow realize that the huge turnout of their constituencies was attributable to ty politics by the Democrats has finally Barack Obama, a uniquely gifted cam- come back to bite them. Trump manpaigner whose aura is not transferable. aged to read, then mobilize, the white And why assume that identity poli- working class, and to endow it with tics creates permanent allegiances? political self-consciousness. What he on their behalf was the Take the Hispanic vote. Both Mitt v o i c e d unspoken complaint Romney and Don- ald Trump won of decades: Why not less than 30 perus? All these other cent, but in 2004 groups, up to and George W. Bush including the relawon 44 percent. (c) 2016, Washington Post Writers Group tively tiny popuWhy assume that lation of transthe GOP cannot gender people, receive benefits, special be competitive again? As these groups evolve socioeco- attention and cultural approbation, yet nomically, their political allegiances we are left out in the cold, neglected can easily change. This is particularly and condescended to as both our social true for the phenomenally successful status and economic conditions decline. Asian-American community. There FOR ALL THE embrace of identity DEMOCRATS READ the 2008 is no reason the more entrepreneurial and 2012 election results as a harbinger party, the GOP, should continue to lose politics at home, abroad Obama has preached the opposite. Here is a man of the future. Then came 2016. They this vote by more than 2-to-1. ne of the more salutary outcomes of the recent election is that Democrats are finally beginning to question the wisdom of basing their fortunes on identity politics. Having counted on the allegiance of African-Americans, Hispanics, gays, unmarried women and the young — and winning the popular vote all but once since 1992 — they were seduced into believing that they could ride this “coalition of the ascendant” into permanent command of the presidency. They’re reconsidering now not because identity politics balkanizes society, creates state-chosen favored groups and fosters communal strife. They’re reconsidering because it’s not working.
Can Democrats quit identity politics?
or the Democrats, no activity is immune from reflexive accusations of sexism and racism, not even soul-searching. The initial postelection debate on the left has brought some tentative breaks with the party’s oppressive and selflimiting identity politics. And they have been met, predictably, with a furious counterattack wielding all of the usual rhetorical weapons of identity politics — lest fresh air penetrate the intellectual and political hothouse where transgender bathroom issues loom incredibly large and it is forbidden to say “all lives matter.”
REP. TIM RYAN, an Ohio Democrat, is mounting a challenge against House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and argues that Democrats are hurt by a paint-by-numbers view of politics. “We try to slice the electorate up,” Ryan said on Meet the Press over the weekend. “And we try to say, ‘You’re black, you’re brown, you’re gay, you’re straight, you’re a woman, you’re a man.’” Ryan might have pointed to a critique of his own leadership bid by a writer at the website ThinkProgress, who opined that his run against Pelosi “is how sexism works.” How so? Ryan is a male; Pelosi is a woman. Q.E.D. Outside of its political effects, this style of argument is childish and intellectually deadening, yet is too ingrained and widespread on the left to be extricated easily. A recent essay in the New York Times elegantly diagnosed the problem and
inadvertently illustrated it. Mark Lilla, a professor at Columbia and highly respected intellectual historian, wrote that “American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing.” HIS PIECE itself occasioned a moral panic, focused overwhelmingly on how Lilla is, in fact, himself a white male. His op-ed was
Lowry (c) 2016, King Features Syndicate
denounced from the left as “the whitest thing I’ve ever read,” and part of an “unconscionable” assault on “the very people who just put the most energy into defeating Trumpism, coming from those who will be made least vulnerable by Trump’s ascension.” Most reprehensibly and sophomorically, a Columbia colleague, Katherine Franke, accused Lilla of promoting a “liberalism of white supremacy” (and, for good measure, of “mansplaining”). One wonders if Franke has any conception of words and arguments as a means to persuade rather than to excoriate and shut down debate, or any inkling of her own self-satisfied intolerance. Bernie Sanders has entered this debate over identity politics, and, incredibly enough, as a voice of reason. He
is cautiously on the side of less emphasis on race and gender. “It’s not good enough,” Sanders said the other day, “for someone to say: ‘I’m a woman! Vote for me!’” (Whom possibly could he have been thinking of?) The Vermont socialist argues, not surprisingly, that his style of populist economics is the real key to appealing to workingclass voters. The Sanders approach will have a lot of allure for Democrats, since it promises renewed political success on the basis of Hillary Clinton’s policy agenda, only more so. There’s nothing more comforting to any political party than the idea that the true religion is also a reliable vote-getter. What Democrats won’t want to grapple with is that their problem with Middle America goes deeper than an insufficiently socialistic economic agenda, and deeper than their hard-to-control instinct to call people who disagree with them names. To have broader appeal, Democrats will actually have to meet working-class voters partway on a few cultural issues, whether it is abortion or guns or immigration, even if their concessions are symbolical or rhetorical.
telling a black audience in September that he would “consider it a personal insult, an insult to my legacy” if they don’t turn out for the Democratic candidate in November. Yet on his valedictory tour abroad just nine weeks later, he lectures anyone who will listen on the sins of parochialism. His urgent message for the nations of the world, including his own, is to eschew “tribalism” in the name of a common universalism. This doctrine of global consciousness found its photographic expression just two weeks ago. There was parkabundled John Kerry on a visit to the Antarctic, to which he had dropped in to make a point about global warming. Three days later, Vladimir Putin, thinking tribally, renewed the savage bombing of Aleppo and then moved nuclearcapable missiles into Kaliningrad to remind Europeans of the perils of defying the regional strongman. Putin is quite prepared to leave the Antarctic ice sheets to Kerry while he sets his sights on Eastern Europe and the Levant. Our allies, meanwhile, remain amazed that Obama still believes the kinds of things he said in his maiden U.N. address about the obsolescence of power politics and national domination — and acts accordingly as if his brave new world of shared universal values had already arrived. Seven months ago, Obama went to Britain to urge them — with characteristic unsuccess — to remain in Europe. Now he returns to Europe to urge everyone to resist the siren song of “a crude sort of nationalism, or ethnic identity, or tribalism.” This is rather ironic, given that what was meant as a swipe at both European and Trumpian ethno-nationalism is a fairly good description of the Democratic Party’s domestic strategy of identity politics. To be sure, ethnic appeal has been part of American politics forever. But the Hillary Clinton campaign was its reductio ad absurdum: all segmented group appeal, no message. Even Bernie Sanders is urging that “we go beyond identity politics” if Democrats are ever to appeal again to the working class. As for foreign policy, there has always been and always should be an element of transcendent mission to American actions. But its reductio ad absurdum was the Obama doctrine of self-sacrificial subordination of U.S. interests to universal values. That doctrine is finished. The results, from Ukraine to Aleppo to the South China Sea, are simply too stark.
THIS IS what Bill Clinton did in the 1990s when he made inroads into what would come to be known as Red America. This will be a truly painful step, and FOR THE Democrats, the road back surely anyone advocating it will be accused of every -ism and -phobia in the — from tribalism at home and universalism abroad — beckons. book. November 28, 2016
November 25, 2016
2016 ELECTION: November 29, 2016
Trump has a point about illegal votes
hen Donald Trump boldly complained about the “millions of people who voted illegally” in the presidential election, he may not have been far from the mark after California is considered. Most Americans are unaware just how far California’s election procedures have drifted away from the rest of our country. In the 49 States other than California, Donald Trump crushed Hillary Clinton by almost two million popular votes. The claim that Hillary won the national popular vote is due entirely to the huge run-up in votes that she claims she received in California. HILLARY’S REPORTED vote total in California is constantly changing, even weeks after the election, so Donald Trump’s skepticism about the popular vote total is healthy. A look at rules in California which are rejected by nearly every other state illustrates why California’s vote should not dictate the future of our country. For starters, California continues to accept mailed-in ballots lacking in safeguards against voter fraud for many, many days after the rest of the country voted on Election Day. How many of these mailed-in ballots, not received until long after the election, are the result of fraud? California does not require any photo identification or comparable verification before allowing someone to cast a ballot. This is in contrast to the states
that do have safeguards against voting by impostors, and most of the voter ID states were carried by Trump. California is one of only three states that allow convicted felons to vote while sitting in jail behind bars. In most other states, murderers and rapists are denied the ability to influence the outcome of an election even after they have been released from jail, unless they go through a process to have their voting rights restored. California harbors illegal aliens in far greater numbers than other states, with several major cities in California designated as “sanctuary cities.” The entire state was declared a “sanctuary” by the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice, a decision which allows the Attorney General to withhold federal funds from the state. In 2013 the California legislature even passed a law to allow illegal aliens to serve on juries, in contrast with all other states. Democratic Governor Jerry Brown vetoed that bill, but he signed a bill to prohibit state government from using the word “alien” because, according to the bill’s sponsor Tony Mendoza, it “has very negative connotations.”
ILLEGAL ALIENS have been given so many benefits and protections unavailable to them in other states that the term “California citizenship” has been used to describe its un-American approach. Many of those illegal aliens could have voted because in practice
there is nothing to stop them from doing so, and Trump is right to complain about the unknown number who “voted illegally” in the presidential election. In addition, California did not allow any Republican to be on the general election ballot for U.S. Senator this year, due to an unusual process that eliminated the Republican candidate in the primary. Given a choice between two liberal Democratic minority females, California’s U.S. Senate race was more like something found in Cuba or other one-party systems. Many local races in California also reflected a one-party system where vot-
ers were given a choice between two different members of the Democratic Party, both of whom generally supported the same political positions. While Californians could vote for the Republican candidate Trump for president, many could not vote for a Republican candidate for other key offices in the general election. Neither Trump nor Hillary Clinton spent much time or money campaigning in California, which has expensive media markets and a sprawling population nearly 800 miles from north to south. The final vote tally in that state is as meaningless as the final score in a sporting event where one side continued to run up the score after the outcome was already settled. If the outcome of the election were based on who won the most popular votes rather than who won the Electoral College, then the candidate who spent the most money would have an enormous advantage. The very problem that liberals criticize so often — the influence of money in determining the outcome of elections — would be far worse if popular vote were all that mattered. INSTEAD, THE Electoral College brilliantly allows a less-funded candidate, as Trump was, to focus on a halfdozen small-media states to take his campaign right to the American people without relying heavily on negative ads as Hillary Clinton did. How ironic it is that the critics of negative campaigning and the corrosive effect of big money in politics are not defending Trump’s victory based on his large rallies with the people in a few swing states. John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) whose 27th book, The Conservative Case for Trump, was published posthumously on September 6.
December 7, 2016 DEAR MARK: November 25, 2016
GOP action, immigrant taxes and fake news
DEAR MARK: Okay, Congress retained its Republican majority. Trump is at least not Hillary. Congress had better show that they can work and earn their substantial salaries by working for the people who elected them. This may well be their last chance as they blew the one handed to them in 2014. The voters have shown what they can do when they set their mind to it. We are watching. — Kathleen the Conservative Machine Dear Machine: This is where Trump’s no-nonsense approach to calling someone out i.e. Crooked Hillary, Lying Ted, Little Marco or his experience firing people on The Apprentice will be an asset in governing. Trump campaigned and won by listening to the people and I hope he holds Congress accountable by demanding action from the GOP majorities in the House and Senate. As much as I’d like to think that GOP politicians are different than Democrats, sadly Washington representatives from both parties have fragile egos. I believe the fear of being shamed by President Trump might spur Republicans to proper action.
DEAR MARK: Throughout the presidential campaign I’ve repeatedly heard about “undocumented” immigrants who are law abiding and pay their taxes. My question is how? How does an illegal immigrant pay income taxes without a Social Security number? If they “borrow” one, won’t paying taxes with it tip off the federal/state/local authorities? Am I missing something? — Taxing My Patience in PA Dear Taxing: No, you actually have something that
the federal government is missing — common sense. Immigrants illegal or otherwise can pay taxes using an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) which is issued by the IRS. The idea actually makes sense for individuals who are here legally on visas or doing business in the United States or students. The magnanimous folks at the IRS certainly don’t want to miss an opportunity to take someone’s money. The problem you’re alluding to is that illegal immigrants can obtain these numbers and use them without fear of legal retribution. In fact some states allow a person with an ITIN to acquire a driver license which of course leads to noncitizens voting. But where your common sense is needed is in the area of Federal agencies communicating with each other.
Levy (c) 2016, Mark Levy
As it stands now the IRS “in the name of taxpayer privacy” is not required to share this type of information with any of the immigration enforcement agencies. Yet somehow Donald Trump’s tax returns were leaked to the New York Times but I digress. So it sounds like to me that the IRS is more concerned with collections than national security or the breaking of other federal laws. This “non-requirement” of the IRS code can be changed if Congress is truly interested in solving the illegal immigration problem. It seems like a simple rewrite; if a particular ITIN number appears on tax returns on consecutive years
the proper immigration enforcement agency is then notified. The respective agency would then check on the visa status, the marital status or some other “status” of the individual. After all, some of the 9/11 conspirators were illegally in the United States on expired visas.
DEAR MARK: The Democrats keep whining about Donald Trump winning the election. They have used every excuse in the book including Russia hacking the voting machines, Trump getting away with lies, and FBI director James Comey mishandling Hillary’s email investigation. Now they say “fake news” is to blame for Hillary’s loss. The excuses are growing old with me but what exactly is fake news anyway? — Cancelling my Subscriptions Dear Cancelling: “Fake news” websites publish outlandish headlines with bogus stories in order to drive people to their websites and their advertisers. Whiny liberals are claiming this phenomenon only began with the 2016 presidential campaign and some are even claiming the Russians are behind this as well. Liberals can’t have it both ways. They always act like their voters are intellectually superior to conservative voters so how in the world could a liberal voter be fooled into voting for Trump because of “fake news?” Speaking of fake news being reported to sway an election, NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times and the Washington Post could not be reached for comment. E-mail your questions to email@example.com. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkPLevy
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THANKSGIVING: November 24, 2016
Be thankful you have something to grumble at “Oh, don’t the days seem lank and long When all goes right and nothing goes wrong, And isn’t your life extremely flat With nothing whatever to grumble at!” — Gilbert and Sullivan
AT THIS SHANK end of a shabby year, Americans still can be thankful: They do not have the problem of nothing to grumble about. As we steel ourselves for Thanksgiving’s obligatory routs and revels — does anyone really like turkey? or Uncle Ralph, who keeps turning up, like a bad penny? — Americans are cudgeling their brains for reasons to feel gratitude. So, herewith a call for everyone to temper gloom with lucidity. Things could be worse. And they often have been while Americans nevertheless were giving thanks. In her new book Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience, Melanie Kirkpatrick traces the evolution of this celebration from the Pilgrims’ 1621 feast with members of the Wampanoag tribe. Congress urged George Washington to “recommend” to the people a day of thanksgiving, which he did. Thomas Jefferson, however, did not feel “authorized” to promote this “intermeddling” of government with religious observance. On Oct. 3, 1863, President Lincoln proclaimed that henceforth the last Thursday in November would be an official national holiday. He did so to thank God — and His instrument, the Union army — for the nation’s improving fortunes of war. And specifically for the victory at Gettysburg, where 47 days later Lincoln gave a short speech dedicating a cemetery. Thankfulness did not seem, and was not, inappropriate even in a context of American deaths in hitherto unimaginable numbers. Exactly 100 years later — 53 years ago — Thanksgiving fell six days after the murder of a president. In 1939, the New Deal having failed to banish the Depression — unemployment was 17.2 percent — Franklin Roosevelt unlimbered the heavy artillery, the plucky American shopper. Happy days would be here again because FDR was moving Thanksgiving from the last Thursday in November to the third. In 1933, his first year in office, November had five Thursdays and Thanksgiving was on the 30th, and in 1939 it was again set to land on that day, to the horror of the nation’s biggest retailers, who coveted more postThanksgiving shopping days. But a Brooklyn haberdasher wanted the later date: “If the large department stores are overcrowded during the shorter shopping period before Christ-
mas, the overflow will come, naturally, lier failed to be an economic blessing. Nineteen days after Pearl Harbor, FDR to the neighborhood store.” Generally, the nationwide reaction signed a joint congressional resolution was, Kirkpatrick writes, “swift and making the fourth Thursday in Novemvociferous.” The pastor at the Church ber Thanksgiving. Today’s president-elect, who is not of the Pilgrimage in Plymouth, Massachusetts, lamented that “the sacred has always a human sunbeam, seems to renation (“a hellhole”) given way to the secular forces of life.” gard the as akin to tundra in Alf Landon, the that anything done losing Republican to it will improve candidate against it. Perhaps his deft FDR in 1936, presidential touch said the president (c) 2016, Washington Post Writers Group on the tiller of has announced the ship of state this change “to an unprepared country with the omnipo- will soon have America sailing toward tence of a Hitler.” Twenty-two of the greatness. But his coming ascension to 48 states adopted what Republicans the ship’s bridge might cause a polar cheekily called Franksgiving on Nov. frost, followed by scorching heat, at 23, another 23 stayed with Nov. 30, many Thanksgiving dinner tables. Uncle Ralph, squinting at Aunt Emma’s and three states celebrated both days. defiantly worn “I’m With Her” button, LIKE MUCH of the rest of the is going to say, with measured malice, New Deal, moving Thanksgiving ear- “I wish you were.” At least there will
not be anesthetizing boredom caused by the turkey’s tryptophan. Modern presidential campaigns, like the presidency itself, are too much with us, which makes it difficult to relegate politics to the hinterland of our minds. Shortly before Thanksgiving 2013, the student government of Barnard College in New York City sent to all students this email: “Happy Turkey Week. Thanksgiving is complicated. We urge you not to forget that this holiday commemorates genocide and American imperialism. But, enjoy the week off and make it into something meaningful.” THE EMAIL’S authors deserve the fate of William Veazie, a Massachusetts church warden who in 1696 was spotted plowing a field on the day designated for Thanksgiving. Kirkpatrick says he was fined 10 pounds and sentenced to an hour in the pillory in Boston.
THANKSGIVING: November 24, 2016
I’m very thankful for pets
ast Thanksgiving our family had two dogs and two cats. It’s looking like not long after this holiday, we’ll be down to two. Teddy, a traffic-stoppingly gorgeous Keeshond, died in May. We name our dogs after presidents. Gipper was the first. A putative golden retriever, Gipper was so aggressive and stubborn — not traits usually associated with the breed — that we took him to a trainer for temperament testing (the kids were young then). They did their assessments and reported back. “Your dog is not vicious, he’s just a little s---.”
slightly absurd, even if you love animals. Americans spent $15.4 billion on veterinary care in 2015 (only half of it by us). The average American spends more on pets annually than on alcohol, landline phones, or men’s and boys’ clothing. We spend more on veterinary care for our dogs than the average person spends for his own medical care in the Dominican Republic, Egypt, India and many other countries. Even knowing that we’re a devoted nation of pet lovers, it’s still surreal to visit the specialists’ office and see the
NOT TEDDY. Unfailingly sweet and biddable (he never put his teeth on another creature — not even when he was bitten on the snout by a friend’s 10-week-old puppy), we almost doubted his full canine credentials. No pack instincts? No resource guarding? No. The only time I ever heard him growl was when he was old and ailing from Cushing’s disease. He was sustained every day by the confidence that someone might drop some chicken scraps or a stray meatball in his food dish. And it was perfectly fine if you didn’t. He would still dance in circles when you gestured at the leash. That was Teddy. Now Gilbert, one of the cats (his brother is Sullivan), has a mass on his jaw. We had the X-rays and biopsy on Monday and will get the results next week. I always feel a bit sheepish when I tell people about the various specialists we’ve consulted for our pets. “Took the cat for an MRI yesterday” sounds
Charen (c) 2016, Creators Syndicate
range of possibilities on the office wall — cardiology, gastroenterology, ophthalmology, etc, etc. We’ll need the oncologist soon. VETS ALWAYS speak of the “patient,” rarely the dog or cat. When Gipper needed an ACL repair (oh, yeah, ka-ching), the doctor called to give me a progress report. The “patient” was in recovery and doing well. Then the orthopedist paused, coughed, and apologized, explaining, “I had a frog in my throat.” Something made me say, “Not a patient, I hope.” The world is, apparently, divided between dog and cat people. I love both. Dogs are uncanny in their understanding of us and their delight in our com-
pany. But cats are just as devoted. They may not weep with joy when we return from a one-day absence, as our current golden, Cali (that’s Coolidge), unfailingly does, but they curl up in your lap and purr like a living muff. Our cats adore people — well, me — and if they could they would spend roughly 23 and a half hours of every 24 right next to me. Last week, I saw that the tip of Gilbert’s tongue was sticking out of his mouth. At first, I thought it was just funny, and waited for him to notice and fix it. It’s not normal for cats’ tongues to extend out of their mouths when they’re not eating, drinking or grooming. A few days later, he did it again. And then it seemed to be out all the time. Off to the vet, who found that he had a large mass on his jaw. His gums were bright red. She referred us to the oral surgeon, and now we await the biopsy results. The oral surgeon didn’t sugarcoat it. Some cancers are more aggressive than others, but even if a tumor is benign, it can do a lot of damage if it’s in the wrong place (like the brain). The jaw is one of those places. The tumor is the size of an almond. IT’S THANKSGIVING. I’m so grateful that my human family members are healthy and thriving. I have friends who are struggling with illness, and it seems almost unseemly to be so sad about a cat. But feelings aren’t logical. Gilbert was one of a pair of stray kittens we never meant to keep. Now, I only wish we could.
December 7, 2016 THANKSGIVING: November 24, 2016
Thanksgiving, a time to ‘heal the wounds of the nation’
of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God and to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor,” he wrote. For decades afterward, states set aside different dates to celebrate Thanksgiving. It took the persistent efforts of Sarah Josepha Hale to get the nation as a whole to observe a single day as Thanksgiving. Hale was born in New Hampshire in 1788. Her brother, Horatio, helped her receive an education. Each time he reOVER THE years, it has evolved turned to the family’s home from DartCollege, where he was into a day of family gatherings, feasting, m o u t h a student, he taught football and the her what he had last respite before Jackie learned there. After the start of the he received his diChristmas shopploma, he presented ping season. The (c) 2016, Creators Syndicate it to Sarah in recfocus for many of ognition of her acus is on spending time together rather than giving gifts or complishment. At 18, Sarah founded a private school attending cocktail parties. Thanksgiving began in 1621, when and taught there for seven years until the Pilgrims invited the Wampanoag In- she met and married David Hale. While dians to join them in celebration of the married, she wrote short stories and artifall harvest. The Indians traveled for cles that were published in newspapers. After Hale’s sudden death when several days, created their own camp, and stayed with the Pilgrims for three Sarah was in her late 30s and her subdays of feasting and celebration. This sequent failed attempt at making and first Thanksgiving sounds similar to our selling women’s hats, Sarah published tradition of family members invading a book that attracted the attention of the a relative’s home and staying there for Rev. John Blake, owner of a new women’s magazine. He hired her as editor. days on end. The holiday received official status Hale went on to write poetry and fiction, in 1789, with Washington’s first presi- including the nursery rhyme “Mary Had dential proclamation, which designated a Little Lamb.” But perhaps her greatest effort was the 26th day of November next to be set aside for Thanksgiving. “It is the duty her nearly 40-year campaign for the eshis week, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, let us do so not only with the goal of bringing our families closer together, but bringing our country closer together. Before I talk about how a holiday unique to the United States could serve to heal the wounds of a nation, it may help to consider how we got here. George Washington started our day of thanks, Lincoln made it official and Franklin Roosevelt set the date in stone.
tablishment of an official day of thanks to be celebrated throughout the country. She lobbied five presidents and wrote numerous newspaper editorials in support of a day of Thanksgiving. IN 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared a day of Thanksgiving after the Union victories at Vicksburg and Gettysburg. After receiving a letter from Hale urging him to set aside a permanent, single day for celebration of the holiday, Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving. Lincoln’s proclamation, made during the Civil War, acknowledged “The gra-
cious gifts of the Most High God” and noted that it “seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.” Lincoln invited his fellow citizens to observe “a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a national holiday since Lincoln’s proclamation. While this established a single day of thanks for our nation, the date continued to change every year. In 1939, in an effort to lengthen the Christmas selling season, President Franklin Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving up a week — to the next-to-last Thursday of November. This created much confusion regarding which Thursday was the correct day for Thanksgiving. In 1941, President Roosevelt signed legislation making Thanksgiving the 4th Thursday in November. Thanksgiving is a family holiday, where the emphasis is on fellowship and time spent together rather than gifts, glitz or fancy parties. The holiday’s one constant is a big meal shared by family and friends. While this might appear to be simplistic and unimportant to some, studies have proven there is great value in family gatherings for meals. THAT SAME positive impact of coming together to break bread and share time may hold true for the nation, too. Doing so may help families overcome miscommunication, misunderstanding and misinterpretation. If so, let us gather together, be thankful and, as Lincoln wrote in his proclamation, “fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”
LIMITED GOVERNMENT: November 24, 2016
What if the government is not worth thanking?
hat if on Thanksgiving if there was little or no talk during the Day there is more to be campaign about how the federal governfearful about than there is ment should stay within the confines of to be thankful for? What if our political the Constitution? What if there was no season from hell is not over but merely talk at all by either candidate during the transformed? What if the election sea- campaign of the Constitution itself and son through which we all just suffered the values that underlie it and its unambiguous recognition of natural rights? is a portent of things to come? What if the public injection of the What if the election was decided not on issues but on emotions? What if most FBI into the political process during the the presidential campeople who voted for president chose height of was without precthe candidate they hated less? What p a i g n edent or legal justiif people talked fication? What if it more about vidwas expressly proeotapes, emails, hibited by longprivate behavior (c) 2016, Creators Syndicate standing federal and public deceppractice? What if tion than they did about issues that arise under the Consti- the Department of Justice was detertution? What if the videotapes and the mined to exonerate Clinton no matter emails aroused feelings of disgust that what evidence of criminal activity on motivated millions of voters to make her part was discovered by the FBI? What if the FBI nonsense about Clinchoices? What if those emotional choices led them to Donald Trump over Hill- ton emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop was just that — nonsense intended to ary Clinton? ensure a Clinton electoral defeat in reWHAT IF, on the issues that arise turn for her legal exoneration? What if under the Constitution, Clinton and that is a trade-off that the FBI has no Trump have a common belief at their business offering and no lawful right to core — that government should expand make? What if the whole purpose of the to address whatever needs the politiConstitution was to establish the fedcians who run it can identify? What if neither Clinton nor Trump eral government and, at the same time, expressed any mistrust of government? to limit it? What if the Constitution afWhat if, instead, they showed a willing- firmatively states that the powers the ness to embrace it? What if there was states do not delegate away to the fedlittle or no talk during the campaign of eral government are retained by them? personal liberty in a free society? What What if that view is alien to President-
elect Trump? What if he believes that the federal government can right any wrong, regulate any behavior and tax any event, no matter what the Constitution says? WHAT IF candidate Trump called Obamacare the worst political experiment and assault on health care in American history? What if the core of Obamacare is the individual mandate (which forces all Americans to have health insurance), the pre-existing conditions mandate (which forces insurance carriers to insure the uninsurable, against all free market principles) and the child coverage mandate (which forces insurance carriers to allow for the insuring of the children of insured parents until the children reach age 26)? What if those three mandates have contributed to the increased cost of health insurance and the decreased availability of the services of medical professionals? What if President-elect Trump now supports those three mandates, against which he railed aggres-
sively and vociferously when he was a candidate? What if he supports President Barack Obama’s claimed right to use drones to kill Americans who have not been charged or convicted of any crime when they are in foreign countries? What if Trump believes he can legally torture Americans, not as punishment for the commission of a crime but to extract information from them? What if he believes he can kill the innocent spouses and children of those foreigners who are harming American interests? What if torture for any purpose and knowingly targeting innocents for death are war crimes and the president is not immune from being prosecuted for them? What if Trump, like Obama before him, believes he can lock people up without charges or a trial or access to the courts? What if on Thanksgiving, instead of thanking, we engage in thinking — about human freedom, limited government and government fidelity to the Constitution that created it? What if, while being thankful for life and liberty, we think about ways to preserve them? What if we recognize that when our government breaks its own laws, it assaults the fabric of our republic? What if we are thankful for the recognition of that? What if on Thanksgiving we re-evaluate the relationship of the individual to the state? What if we begin by demanding that the government work for us and not the other way around? What if instead of just accepting the new government, we try to limit it? What if we advance the idea that the individual has an immortal soul and the government is a temporary organization based on a monopoly of force? What if we can cause the government to recognize that because our souls are immortal, there are vast areas of human behavior in which we do not need a government permission slip in order to make personal choices? What if we call these choices in these areas natural rights? WHAT IF the best government is the one that taxes, spends and regulates the least? What if the best government recognizes our natural rights? What if the best government leaves us alone? What if that would be something to be thankful for?
December 7, 2016 THANKSGIVING: November 24, 2016
Nine things to be thankful for about the election
s unconventional, conten- a crackdown on “fake news.” They can tious and divisive as this start with themselves. 2. We’re having conversations about election as been, there are nevertheless things one can find to be the Constitution. It’s hard to overstate the importance of this as an opportuthankful for. Here a just a few. 1. Much of the national press has nity for small-government conservabeen exposed for the frauds that they tives. Now that President Obama is leaving office and are. Yes, that is President-elect actually someTrump is taking the thing to be gratereins, Democrats ful for. We depend are questioning upon the press (c) 2016, Creators Syndicate the wisdom of the in a free society Executive Branch to keep those in power honest. It is deeply dangerous, trampling on the legislative prerogative therefore, to have a press that covers of Congress. Good. This is an issue that up for the government. And it is even needs to be front and center. 3. Remember “diversity?” Yeah, that. more dangerous when that is the case and few know it. Thanks to Julian As- Things are turned on their ear at the mosange and WikiLeaks, what many of us ment. The left is furious that 62 million suspected was revealed to be true: Cer- people don’t agree with them. And detain members of the press have been spite all their efforts to paint this as an de facto activists for the Democratic election about disaffected, rural, white, Party for years. With their credibility uneducated males, the truth is much in tatters, they are joining the call for more complicated. The fact is that there
is a great deal of disagreement about the direction of the country, and many people, regardless of gender, orientation, ethnicity, religion or race wanted something other than what the Democrats were offering. That’s also why the two third-party candidates got as much national attention as they did. This, too, is called “diversity.” Relatedly ... 4. This is what a big tent looks like. Love him or hate him, Donald Trump proved that big chunks of the American electorate are legitimately up for grabs. “Reagan Democrats” are still a thing.
LATINO VOTERS: November 18, 2016
Why the exit polls were wrong
ne of the most amazing things about what was arguably the most surprising election in a generation was the number of Hispanic voters who seemed to choose Donald Trump. According to exit polls, Trump received a higher percentage of Hispanic votes than Mitt Romney in 2012 — 29 percent, compared with 27 percent. How is it that the man who wants a deportation force to rid the country of undocumented immigrants bested the guy who only wanted people here illegally to self-deport? Well, hold on to your Make America Great Again hat: It turns out that the 29 percent figure is probably way off.
ACCORDING TO Latino Decisions, whose sample of 5,600 Latino voters is much larger than the fraction included in exit polls or even polls taken before the election, less than 20 percent of the Hispanic population voted for Trump. Why the big difference? The biggest reason is sample size and the way the sample was selected. Edison Research, the firm that conducted exit polling relied on by the media, warns that its results shouldn’t be used to analyze behavior among geographically concentrated subgroups such as Hispanics and blacks. In part, this is because the smaller the sample size of a subgroup within a sample of voters the less accurate the results. But there is another bias at play, as well. If history is a guide, Edison Research skews its precinct sample to more affluent,
highly educated areas. Among Edison’s sample of nonwhite voters this year, for example, 44 percent had a college degree, while only 15.5 percent of Latinos nationally have a college education. LD’s results — that only 18 percent of Hispanics voted for Trump — are also in keeping with the results of other polling that oversampled Hispanics prior to the election. Virtually all those polls predicted that Trump would do much worse among Hispanics than Romney or any other Republican candidate had in recent years. But doing worse does not mean that Trump had no support in the Hispanic community. Hispanics are not single-issue voters — and as I have been saying for years, they are fully assimilating into the Ameri- can mainstream.
Chavez (c) 2016, Creators Syndicate
WHILE THE media and most analysts on both the right and the left refer to Hispanics as nonwhite, most Hispanics don’t identify themselves in those terms. As the Census Bureau reminds everyone when it issues racial and ethnic statistics, Hispanics may be of any race. The majority of Hispanics actually self-identify on census data as white (53 percent), while 37 percent identify not as white, black or Asian but as “some other race.” Mexicans are, by and large, racially mixed. Indeed, the much-ma-
ligned term “La Raza” actually refers to the new “race” of Mexicans who were the progeny of intermarriage among Spanish settlers, indigenous groups and Africans who were brought to Mexico as slaves. It is possible, perhaps likely, that some of those Hispanics who voted for Trump were actually attracted by his views on immigration. To the degree that American-born Hispanics feel the newly arrived Hispanic immigrants compete with them for jobs or increase prejudice toward Hispanics in general, they may well support Trump’s proposal to deport immigrants here illegally. I’ve heard from many such voters throughout the course of the election, as well as from Hispanics who simply support whoever the Republican nominee is even if they don’t agree with him on every issue. But my guess is that most Hispanics who voted for Trump were like his other supporters — attracted by Trump’s outsize personality and hopeful that he could jump-start the economy. THE QUESTION for the Republican Party going forward, however, is whether this year’s presidential victory included an acceptable amount of support from one of the fastest-growing groups in the country. Whether it was 18 percent as LD’s analysis shows or 29 percent as the Edison exit polls suggest, wouldn’t it make sense to try to get back to the 40-plus percent support Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush enjoyed?
Women don’t necessarily vote for other women. African Americans are not a monolithic voting bloc. Hispanic Americans are not terrified by enforcement of our immigration laws. The candidate that actually goes and speaks to Americans, instead of assuming their loyalty or denouncing them as cretins might have a chance to win their support. This, again, is a powerful opportunity for conservative candidates. 5. We still live in a free society, where political disagreements are resolved peacefully at the ballot box. Yes, the post-election fallout has been bitter and rancorous, but these are wars of words, not guns. In fact, it is precisely when feelings and opinions are as strong as they have been that the resilience and endurance of the national institutions are tested. Ours give us good reason to be proud. (And should give us pause about changing them.) 6. We also live in one of the world’s most prosperous societies. It doesn’t have to be a holiday; walk into your local grocery store and look at the bounty that thousands of farms and businesses, large and small, provide for us every single day. We are truly blessed, and we need to thank all those who make this possible. And that means recognizing that ... 7. The overwhelming majority of Americans are good people. Including those who voted for the other candidate. We depend upon each other for education, medicine, transportation, food, clothing, shelter and more. Does the political perspective of your paramedic really matter? Look at all the places across the world where disagreements routinely devolve into violence, or even all-out war. Now, consider someone you know whose political viewpoints drive you craziest, and ask yourself: Would you pull that person out of a burning building? Would you pull their children out of a burning building? Of course you would. So keep your perspective. 8. It’s over. That means we don’t have to deal with another presidential election for four more years. Thank God. And most importantly ... 9. Chances are there is at least one person in your life who loves you. Find them, call them, text them, email them, go visit them or invite them to visit you. Put disagreements aside. Life is too short. Let them know you’re thankful that they’re in your life. Happy Thanksgiving!
DIVERSITY: November 24, 2016
Hamilton, Donald Trump and diversity
administration. She has also been a weapons, China and the Soviet Union. chief speechwriter, spokesperson and She was on Henry Kissinger’s Nationone of the highest-ranking women at al Security Council staff as a college the Pentagon. She wrote the Weinberg- freshman, working the night secretarier Principles of War, which came to be al shift in the Situation Room. She was ing many critical moknown as the “Weinberger Doctrine,” there durU.S. foreign policy, that outlined the six basic conditions ments in including the the U.S. should opening to China, consider before detente and arms using force in incontrol, Middle ternational situaEast peace negotions. (c) 2016, Tribune Media Services tiations and the She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at George Paris Peace Accords. Every new president needs loyWashington University, a Master of Arts degree at Oxford and studied at al and trustworthy people around WHEN SOME liberals use the the Massachusetts Institute of Tech- him. He also needs experienced and word “diversity” they are not talking nology (Ph.D. program, all but disser- knowledgeable people. McFarland about diversity of thought or ideology, tation) with concentrations on nuclear has proved more than her loyalty to they mean people who think alike, but who are different in outward appearDIVERSITY: November 25, 2016 ance. Otherwise the left would celebrate successful conservatives from different racial and ethnic groups. Looking at the people coming and going from Trump Tower and Trump’s golf resort in New Jersey, I have obe gather together to ask looking for prejudice against a black served only two women (not counting the Lord’s blessing, to president in campaign rhetoric. “Safe Kellaynne Conway) who is not the hasten and chasten our spaces” have been created on camspouse of a man being interviewed for will to partake of turkey and the fruits puses across the land to assuage the a possible job in the new administra- of the field as we imagine the Pilgrims feelings of young adults who can’t deal tion. They are Michelle Rhee, the re- did at their first Thanksgiving in 1621. with how the numbers in the Electoral form-minded former head of the Wash- We actually know little of their menu, College came out differently than the ington, D.C., public school system, and it may not please the traditional- numbers they preferred. Such young and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, ists or the squeamish to learn that the men and women, who once would have to be the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. early settlers were also keen on dining been looked at as future leaders, are That’s a start. now indulged with Legos, Play-Doh, on swan, crane and even eagle. One does not need to fall into the coloring books and videos of puppies liberal diversity trap to suggest that the LEGEND MIXES with changing to distract them from the anxiety and Trump team seriously consider some culinary tastes through the ages to de- fear in the real world. conservative and qualified people oth- termine what’s for dinner on Thankser than white males for high positions giving Day. It’s fitting to serve a variTHE CHUTZPAH Award of the in the administration. ety of dishes to suit different attitudes, year, if not the Tony Award, must go to I nominate K.T. McFarland for ei- cultures and moral poses. Appeals to the actors of the rap musical Hamilton ther U.N. ambassador, or secretary of diversity are not unique to the 21st cen- who broke through the fourth defense. McFarland was among the tury. Thanksgiving tables have always first few women in the national secu- been inclusive of the tastes of the most rity field. Beginning in the 1970s, she recent immigrants, expressing their held positions in the Nixon, Ford and appreciation for ancestral tradition as Reagan administrations. After leaving well as taking pleasure in the melting (c) 2016, Creators Syndicate government, she went home to raise pot they join in America. five children, but returned to the areWhat may be unique today is the wall to explain to Vice President-elect na after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. dogmatism of diversity. We usually Mike Pence how he should interpret She is currently a commentator on Fox think of diversity as opening up minds what he had just watched and heard onNews where she speaks with authority. to different tastes, different traditions stage. “We, sir, are the diverse America and different ideas, but contemporary who are alarmed and anxious that your IF THIS isn’t enough to attract attitudes often turn diversity into a de- new administration will not protect us, Trump and Pence to her, McFarland cree. Political correctness, which has our planet, our children, our parents or tells me she was “an early and out- so mangled discourse in the media, defend us and uphold our inalienable spoken Trump supporter,” even when in the workplace and on the college rights,” actor Brandon Victor Dixon he was being attacked for being anti- campus, is both condescending and said, with the approving cast lined up woman. She also was on his nation- patronizing toward others. It suggests behind him. (This recalls Barbara Walal security advisory committee and that half of our countrymen need to be ters’ famous plea to President Jimmy briefed him before the debates. constantly tutored in the right way to Carter as she concluded an interview McFarland’s resume is long and think, talk and act, and the other half just after he was elected more than four impressive. She would bring strength, are to be coddled and protected rather decades ago — “Please be kind to us, knowledge, experience and, yes, a than required to think for themselves. Mr. President.”) strong female voice, to what so far It’s sad that the actors didn’t have We’re not even talking about the irlooks like a mostly boys’ club. redeemable “deplorables” that Hillary confidence in their work to let the McFarland served as deputy assis- Clinton made up, or the “whitelash” magic of a wonderful Broadway show tant secretary of defense in the Reagan electorate coined by a CNN reporter weave its spell after the finale and rathresident-elect Donald Trump says Brandon Victor Dixon, the actor who currently plays Aaron Burr in the Broadway musical Hamilton, should apologize for his tacky lecturing of Vice-President-elect Mike Pence about diversity and the “fear” of people like himself, an African-American, about a Trump-Pence administration. Conservatives are denouncing the incident. Some are calling for a boycott of the show, which is sold out for months to come. But wait. Lessons can be learned from any situation.
the presidents she has served. She has shown she has the intellectual strength and real-world experience to enhance the new administration and to offer advice that will be in the best interests of the nation. IF TRUMP and Pence don’t take advantage of her skill and institutional knowledge they will be missing a grand opportunity. An added plus: McFarland would force the diversity police to shift the conversation from gender, race and ethnicity, to ideology, about which they are anything but diverse.
‘That’s what freedom sounds like’
er felt it necessary to undercut a dramatic and uplifting appeal with a mere protest. Pence nevertheless showed gentlemanly grace in response, praising the play. It’s particularly ironic that the actor who delivered the protest played Vice President Aaron Burr, who killed Alexander Hamilton. In the drama as in the history books, Burr was clearly a bad man. His advice to Hamilton was sly and devious, as scripted in rhyme early in the musical: “Talk less. Smile more. Don’t let them know what you’re against or what you’re for.” Whatever angry feelings toward Burr lingered in the audience had to be overcome quickly for it to empathize with the actor who spoiled the magic with the bizarre curtain call. That’s too bad. When I saw Hamilton, there were such good feelings from watching a talented, multiracial, multicultural cast sing and dance about the Founding Fathers that I thought it would inspire pride in how the American democracy was established. Who needs to know what the actors think when they slip into the identities of the characters onstage? Or, as Shakespeare’s Hamlet says, “The play’s the thing.” ALAS, WE live in contentious times, where theater and politics overlap, sometimes for better and often for worse. When Mike Pence walked into the theatre with his family, he heard boos and cheers, signaling that the audience recognized him and wanted him to hear what they thought. He later recalled telling his daughter, “That’s what freedom sounds like” — a needed note of grace in a wounded Thanksgiving season.
December 7, 2016 MEDIA: November 25, 2016
Dear media: Please stop normalizing the alt-right
hy does the March for Life, Right Exults in Donald Trump’s Election a rally that attracts tens of With a Salute: ‘Heil Victory.’” Politico’s headline read, “Alt-right thousands of anti-abortion Americans to Washington, D.C., every celebrates Trump’s election at D.C. year get less prominent media coverage meeting.” NPR’s read, “Energized By Trump’s than a fringe neo-Nazi gathering? Because institutional media and white na- Win, White Nationalists Gather To tionalists have formed a politically con- ‘Change The World.’” Every major cable news network had venient symbiotic relationship. For Jew-hating racists, the attention a discussion about the importance of the means they can playact as a viable and Institute. But here’s a little nugget from piece that asserts the popular movement with pull in Washing- the NPR election has given ton. In return, many this “once fringe in the media get to movement a jolt:” confirm their own “About 300 biases and treat people — split white supremacy (c) 2016, Creators Syndicate nearly evenly beas if it were the setween conference cret ingredient to attendees and protesters of the conferRepublican success. Meanwhile, this obsessive coverage ence outside — were on hand at the of the alt-right not only helps mainstream downtown D.C. event.” About 300 people? Some jolt. To put a small movement but it’s also exactly that into context, there were well over what the bigots need and want to grow. 300 people at thousands of churches and CHECK OUT the coverage of this temples across the Washington area this weekend’s National Policy Institute weekend praying for peace on Earth. In conference in Washington. As far as I this country, you could pull together 300 can tell, these pseudointellectual xeno- people for a meeting about anything, acphobic bull sessions have been going on tually. Thousands of UFO enthusiasts got for years, featuring many of the same together in the Arizona desert last year names. These people have generally in hopes of not being mass abducted by been given the attention they deserve, space aliens. A few years ago, I attended the Socialwhich is to say exceptionally little. If you read this week’s headlines, though, you ist convention in Chicago, where at least would have thought the German Ameri- a thousand activists gathered to discuss can Bund had packed 22,000 cheering how to end economic freedom. Since fascists into the Ronald Reagan Interna- then, 43 percent of Democrat primary goers have given this extreme movement tional Trade Center. A New York Times headline read, “Alt- a jolt, I guess.
THEN AGAIN, it’s possible not every self-styled American “socialist” is an ideological purist about handing production of iPhones to the state. We’d be wise to view many on the alt-right with similar skepticism. Still, it is indisputable that many of these people are odious — and not odious in the way liberals think of Republicans who worry about refugees from Syria, or in the way immigration laws are odious. We have a responsibility to use morally precise language when referring to this group (which, in this case, is the neo-Nazi group); contextualize their influence (which is little but more than it should be); and unequivocally call them out. We should never, ever glamorize them for political purposes.
Why do media obsessively cover the alt-right? I suppose it’s the same reason every major publication gave former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke — who polled at three to four percent in the Louisiana Senate race all year — their undivided attention. (What am I talking about? We’re still hearing about Duke on a daily basis.) It’s to create the impression that they matter. None of this is to say Trump shouldn’t be called out for his vulgar rhetoric or ideas, some of which gave these people the space they needed. Nor does it absolve Republicans who look the other way when genuine bigotry appears. Yes, GOPers shouldn’t normalize the alt-right, and neither should the media imbue the movement with an outsized importance to feed its preferred narrative regarding the election. For some reporters, I imagine it’s a matter of perception. Conservative critics of Trump were relentlessly attacked by astroturfing neo-Nazi types on social media during the primaries. After the primaries, when liberal journalists finally focused on Trump, they, too, became the target of harassment. The hate became a huge story because of these personal experiences. But that’s a generous reading of events. Another reading is that coverage is driven with the cynical purpose of exaggerating the importance of neo-Nazis to tie them to Republicans. The media will now demand the administration to denounce white supremacists every time they have a meeting — which itself intimates that there is a connection. Conflating these scary things can create the impression that conservatism is Donald Trump, which is Steve Bannon, which is David Duke, which is Richard Spencer. I’M AFRAID it’s not that simple. And attempting to make it that simple only weakens legitimate criticism of the president-elect — of which there is plenty.
THE LEFT: November 30, 2016
Why does the left go easy on dictators
hen evil Cuban dictator rificed on behalf of the vision. That’s Fidel Castro finally died because the state — which is really just last Friday, the left seemed an extension of “the people,” who only deeply ambivalent. President Obama exist en masse, never as individuals — noted “the countless ways in which Fi- is the source of all rights. No rights can del Castro altered the course of individ- be violated if the state declares them ual lives, families, and of the Cuban na- defunct. tion,” as though Castro had been some THAT’S WHY the left only pays sort of high school guidance counselor. Former President Jimmy Carter recalled token homage to those who suffer the hands of history’s all the wonderful times he spent by the at greatest monsters sea with Castro, — as Josef Stathe sun gleaming lin apocryphally off the waves. He put it, you can’t said, “We rememmake an omelet ber fondly our (c) 2016, Creators Syndicate without breaking visits with him in eggs. No wonder Cuba and his love of his country.” Canadian Prime Min- the left defended Stalin all the way ister Justin Trudeau — aka handsome until news broke in 1956 that Soviet Bernie Sanders — described Castro as leader Nikita Khrushchev had criti“remarkable ... a larger than life leader cized Stalin’s purges. Until then, Walwho served his people for almost half a ter Duranty of the New York Times had whitewashed the murder of millions century.” in the Ukrainian Holodomor — he deMEANWHILE, around the world, clared that he had seen the future, and dictators wept in solidarity with Cas- it worked. And Hollywood even portro. Palestinian Authority dictator trayed Stalin’s show trials in a positive Mahmoud Abbas, who is currently in light in Mission to Moscow. Today, the 11th year of a four-year term in office, ordered the flags dropped to DIVERSITY: November 25, 2016 half-staff around his trashed territory. Russian dictator Vladimir Putin sent a telegram to Cuban President Raul Castro, saying, “Free and independent Cuba, which (Fidel Castro) and his alice President-elect Mike lies built, became an influential memPence was in New York durber of the international community and ing the transition, and he took became an inspiring example for many his family to Broadway to see Hamilcountries and nations.” Chinese dictaton, the hot hip-hop Founding Fathers tor Xi Jinping called Castro “a close musical that people are overpaying to comrade and a sincere friend,” adding, see. What resulted wasn’t exactly sur“His glorious image and great achieveprising — rude and obnoxious, but not ments will be recorded in history forsurprising. ever.” What were Castro’s great achievePENCE ENTERED the Richard ments? He presided over the economic destruction of one of the most quickly Rodgers Theatre to both cheers and developing countries in Latin America; boos, which is unsurprising for national he arrested and imprisoned hundreds politicians at public events, especially of thousands of dissidents; he caused sporting events. But during the curtain the self-imposed exile of millions of call, Pence was singled out from the Cubans; he watched and participated stage. Actor Brandon Victor Dixon, who in the drowning of thousands of Cubans attempting to escape his prison plays Vice President Aaron Burr, lecisland; he worked with mass murderer tured the vice president-elect, saying: Che Guevara to murder political op- “We, sir, we are the diverse America ponents. Castro was, simply put, one who are alarmed and anxious that your of the worst people in a century full of new administration will not protect us — our planet, our children, our parents awful human beings. So why did the left emerge to pay its — or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this respects this week? Because at least Castro sought uto- show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of pia. Radical leftism believes that the all of us.” Can anyone imagine Broadway acquest for a utopian world, a world free of unfairness, justifies any cruelty tors singling out a Democrat after against individuals. Individual rights a show to proclaim their alarm and are obstacles to communal greatness. anxiety over an election result? That’s The bricks of the tower of Babel will be why you dismiss the absurdity that this mortared with the blood of those sac- “diverse America” of hard-left theatre
Hollywood produces fawning biopics like Che (directed by Steven Soderbergh) and The Motorcycle Diaries (produced by Robert Redford), and the New York Times titled its obituary for Castro, “A Revolutionary Who Defied the U.S. And Held Cuba in His Thrall.”
DICTATORS EVERYWHERE are safe so long as leftism reigns. And leftism will continue to reign so long as men dream of a collective heaven on Earth rather than of individual rights protected from such utopian totalitarians.
The hilarious Hamilton hubbub
people represents anyone outside of the ZIP code in which they perform. Then it came out that Dixon and other Hamilton stars haven’t voted in years. So much for the alarm and anxiety they’ve been feeling about the country. It’s yet another reason to reject the pleadings of the elites who cannot conduct even the most basic exercise in the democratic process — voting — and yet demand their voices be respected.
PENCE KNEW going in that Hamilton has become some kind of a Rocky Horror Picture Show crowd-
Bozell (c) 2016, Creators Syndicate
participation event for Trump-hating liberals who cheer wildly at the musical’s lyrics that boast about how much immigrants can do. Pence knew going in that the Hamilton folks hosted a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in July — touted by “news” media as a “boost of Tony-winning star power” — with ticket prices ranging from $2,700 to $100,000. So who was reflecting a tolerance of diverse views, and who was ranting inside a bubble?
The controversy took off when Donald Trump tweeted that Pence was “harassed” in the lecture and deserves an apology. Hamilton fans insisted the lecture was polite. It wasn’t. Then the New York Times lectured from a half-mile away that this protest speech represented “American principles like free speech, respect and the ability to challenge authority in the Trump era.” Now that is just hilarious. Lecture or heckle Pence, and you represent free speech. Lecture or heckle President Barack Obama, and the Times insists you represent white people’s rancid failure to accept a black president. It’s going to be a long four (or eight) years of the usual arrogant liberal mockery from the entertainment elite. On the American Music Awards, 21-year-old supermodel Gigi Hadid was hailed by liberal media elites for a bad Melania Trump impression in which she repeating the tired Michelle Obama-plagiarism joke. LIBERALS COULDN’T imagine that a large chunk of red-state America is tired of multimillionaire supermodels and Broadway starts telling them that they represent the common people. Earth to the elites: You don’t represent the common people. The election was not just a dismissal of your candidate but a rejection of your condescension.
December 7, 2016 THE LEFT: November 29, 2016
Reasons left-wingers cut Trump voters from their lives
brother-in-law’s mother told him that she “no longer had a son.” All of this raises an obvious question: Why is this phenomenon of cutting off contact with friends and relatives so onesided? Why don’t we hear about conservatives shunning friends and relatives who supported Hillary Clinton? After all, almost every conservative considered Clinton to be ethically and morally THE ARTICLE begins with three challenged. And most believed that another four years of left-wing rule would stories: “Matthew Horn, a software engineer complete what Barack Obama promised do in 2008 if he were from Boulder, Colo., canceled Christ- he would elected president mas plans with his — “fundamentally family in Texas. (transform) the Nancy Sundin, a United States of social worker in America.” Spokane, Wash., (c) 2016, Creators Syndicate In other words, has called off conservatives were Thanksgiving with her mother and brother. Ruth Dorancy, not one whit less fearful of Clinton and a software designer in Chicago, decided the Democrats than Democrats were of to move her wedding so that her fiancé’s Trump and Republicans. Yet virtually no conservatives cut off grandmother and aunt, strong Trump supporters from Florida, could not at- contact with friends, let alone parents, who supported Clinton. tend.” The Times acknowledges that this HERE ARE 10 reasons left-wingers phenomenon is one-sided, saying, “Democrats have dug in their heels, and cut Trump voters from their lives. 1. Just like our universities shut out in some cases are refusing to sit across the table from relatives who voted for conservative ideas and speakers, more and more individuals on the left now shut President-elect Donald J. Trump.” A number of people who voted for out conservative friends and relatives as Trump called my show to tell me that well as conservative ideas. 2. Many, if not most, leftists have their daughters had informed them that they would no longer allow their par- been indoctrinated with leftism their enents to see their grandchildren. And one tire lives. This is easily shown. man sent me an email reporting that his any Hillary Clinton voters have ceased communicating with friends, and even family members, who voted for Donald Trump. It is so common that the New York Times published a front-page article on the subject headlined, “Political Divide Splits Relationships — and Thanksgiving, Too.”
There are far more conservatives who read articles, listen to and watch broadcasts of the left and have studied under left-wing teachers than there are people on the left who have read, listened to or watched anything of the right or taken classes with conservative instructors. As a result, those on the left really believe that those on the right are all SIXHIRB: Sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, racist and bigoted. Not to mention misogynistic and transphobic. 3. Most left-wing positions are emotion-based. That’s a major reason people who hold leftist views will sever relations with people they previously cared for or even loved. Their emotions (in this case, irrational fear and hatred) simply overwhelm them. 4. Since Karl Marx, leftists have loved ideas more than people. All Trump voters who have been cut off by children, inlaws and lifelong friends now know how true that is. 5. People on the right think that most people on the left are wrong; people on the left think that most people on the right
are evil. Decades of labeling conservative positions as “hateful” and labeling conservative individuals as “sexist,” “intolerant,” “xenophobic,” “homophobic,” “racist” and “bigoted” have had their desired effect. 6. The left associates human decency not so much with personal integrity as with having correct — i.e. progressive — political positions. Therefore, if you don’t hold progressive positions, you lack decency. Ask your left-wing friends if they’d rather their high school son or daughter cheat on tests or support Trump. 7. Most individuals on the left are irreligious, so the commandment “Honor your father and your mother” means nothing to those who have cut off relations with parents because they voted for Trump. 8. Unlike conservatives, politics gives most leftists’ lives meaning. Climate change is a good example. For leftists, fighting carbon emissions means saving human existence on Earth. Now, how often does anyone get a chance to literally save the world? Therefore, to most leftists, if you voted for Trump, you have both negated their reason for living and are literally destroying planet Earth. Why would they have Thanksgiving or Christmas with such a person? 9. The left tends toward the totalitarian. And every totalitarian ideology seeks to weaken the bonds between children and parents. The left seeks to dilute parental authority and replace it with school authority and government authority. So when your children sever their bond with you because you voted for Trump, they are acting like the good totalitarians the left has molded. 10. While there are kind and mean individuals on both sides of the political spectrum, as a result of all of the above, there are more mean people on the left than on the right. What other word than “mean” would anyone use to describe a daughter who banished her parents from their grandchildren’s lives because of their vote? I WISH none of this were true. But there is a way to prove me wrong: Refriend your friends and relatives who voted for Trump, and tell everyone who has ended relations with family members — especially with parents — to reach out to them and welcome them back into their lives.
RUSSIA: November 30, 2016
Russia’s cyclic war in Ukraine continues
ntense combat suddenly erupts more or less followed the script. Acin eastern Ukraine. Russian- cording to StrategyPage.com, the backed rebels — using Kremlin- number of rebel attacks launched in supplied heavy artillery, mortars and October was roughly twice the nummachine guns — launch a series of at- ber launched in September. Many were tacks on Ukrainian military positions. small-scale pinpricks, with few casuOther rebels raid neighborhoods or alties on either side, but a number of probe Ukrainian defenses around the the attacks occurred near the Ukrainian port of Mariupol. During November, Black Sea port of Mariupol. Then the violence stops. All ap- the number of attacks in the eastern pears to be quiet on Europe’s eastern Ukraine war zone fell. October was the burst of aggresfront. Ukraine contends Russian intelsandwiched between ligence agents planned the attacks and s i o n comparatively dorRussian Special mant September and Forces officers November. Even directed them. during the quiet peThe Kremlin deriods, however, nies supplying or (c) 2016, Creators Syndicate the fighting never financing the rebcompletely subels and announces it has convinced the rebels to respect sides. Perhaps it was coincidental that inthe ceasefire agreement with Ukraine. Russian propagandists promise peace, creased combat occurred in October, soothing the headline consciousness of when U.S. and western European meU.S. media. As a result, a war in Eu- dia focused on the last weeks of a conrope involving a nuclear power draws tentious American presidential election — but I don’t think so. scant American attention. Russia’s stop and start offensives THIS CALCULATED cycle guides seek to secure a position of comparaRussia’s creeping war of aggression in tive advantage over Ukraine, but at Ukraine: A burst of planned, aggres- minimal cost in terms of casualties and sive violence followed by planned, political penalties. The sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its allies burden well-propagandized dormancy. The February 2014 invasion of Russia’s weak economy. The Kremlin Crimea followed this pattern. So did wants to avoid stiffer sanctions. Mariupol seems to be the objective the creeping offensive that carved a rebel enclave in the Donbass (Donets of the creeping war’s current phase. Basin). Fighting during Fall 2016 has Seizing the city would be a major step
toward securing a land route between The Kremlin is creating other facts Russia and the Crimean peninsula. The on the ground that will be difficult to route would run along the Black Sea reverse. This continues a pattern estabcoast. lished on March 18, 2014 when Russia officially annexed Crimea. RUSSIA HAS been improving the The Crimean invasion violated the anti-aircraft defenses in rebel-held ar- Budapest Memorandum of 1994, a eas of the Donbass. The ceasefire agree- multi-lateral diplomatic agreement that ment supposedly banned over flights guaranteed Ukraine’s territorial integby military aircraft in parts of eastern rity. It was part of a larger post-Cold Ukraine. The improved Russian anti- War diplomatic framework forwarding aircraft defenses make the area a no-fly disarmament, economic development zone for Ukrainian warplanes. and democratic development in former Iron Curtain countries. The Budapest agreement traded Ukrainian nuclear weapons for mutual security guarantees. Yes, the Kremlin violated a nuclear weapons deal and used armed aggression for the purpose of territorial expansion. Moreover, a U.S. president, Bill Clinton, signed the Budapest Memorandum. The Kremlin’s Crimean caper and the Obama Administration’s weak response showed U.S. territorial guarantees in Eastern Europe are less than totally reliable. THE NATO alliance suffered political damage. Eastern European NATO members continue to worry. In October 2016, NATO member Lithuania published a manual entitled “Prepare to survive emergencies and war.” It is basically a guide to surviving a Russian attack. According to StrategyPage. com, the manual says prior to an invasion “Russia will send in agents.” The manual “provides tips on how to detect the presence of these agents, especially in preparation for an imminent invasion.” This is precisely what the Russians did in Crimea.
December 7, 2016 FIDEL CASTRO: November 30, 2016
Still honoring Castro and his debacle
The dictator was dead, and they were still spreading his official lies about a terrific health care system — where the doctors are paid $30 to $50 a month or are shipped to socialist “partners” like Venezuela. Brian “Fake News” Williams of MSNBC claimed that Cubans use donkey carts alongside automobiles “because that’s exactly what they’d rather have for transportation.” Would Williams prefer being shuttled to 30 Rock by donkey? This charade has been going on since Castro shot his way into power in 1959. The left just spent an election cycle talking about the (liberal) truth vs. “false (c) 2016, Creators Syndicate equivalence,” but the very best the ON MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell unspooled the usual left-wing media can do now is report that nonsense about how Castro “gave his “some say” Castro was a ruthless dictator, people better health care and education.” and “some say” he was Havana’s version She said that Castro “will be revered” for of George Washington. There was no “objective” on-the-othgiving “education and social services and er-hand coverage when former right-wing medical care to all of his people.” ne of the world’s last brutal communist dictators, Cuba’s Fidel Castro, died last week at the age of 90. While Cuban exiles celebrated long into the night, on America’s “objective” networks, they pulled out hankies and mourned this despot’s filthy works and celebrated the hellhole he made. ABC’s Jim Avila made the Founding Fathers roll over in their graves by touting how Castro “was considered, even to this day, the George Washington of his country among those who remain in Cuba.” Notice only “those who remain” — under the thumb of the Castros — can be counted as fans.
JUSTIN TRUDEAU: November 30, 2016
Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet — who Dies at 91.” Jonathan Kandell of the Times allowed a peaceful transfer of power to began by describing him as “the brudemocracy in 1990 — died 10 years ago. tal dictator who repressed and reshaped Chile for nearly two decades and became BACK THEN, the New York Times a notorious symbol of human rights abuse headline screamed, “Augusto Pinochet, and corruption.” Dictator Who Ruled By Terror in Chile, The Washington Post headline for Pinochet’s death read, “A Chilean Dictator’s Dark Legacy.” Reporters Monte Reel and J.Y. Smith stated that his government “murdered and tortured thousands during his repressive 17-year rule ... leaving a legacy of abuse that took successive governments years to catalogue.” how the Liberal Party was conducting But what about Castro? The Times’ the people’s business. Dudley Do-Right’s headline read, “A Revolutionary Who party declared there would be “no pref- Defied the U.S. and Held Cuba In His erential access, or appearance of prefer- Thrall.” Anthony DePalma of the Times ential access” in exchange for campaign began by calling Castro a “fiery apostle of cash and purported to ban favor-seekers revolution” who “defied the United States with direct business before the govern- for nearly half a century.” ment from attending political fundraisers. The Post headline was slightly more Behind closed doors, however, balanced: “Revolutionary remade Cuba: Trudeau was selling out to wealthy Chi- Dictator who defied U.S. was loathed, nese-Canadians and Chinese nationals beloved.” Kevin Sullivan and J.Y. Smith seeking government green lights for their oozed that Castro was “a romantic figure business deals. According to his conser- in olive-drab fatigues and combat boots, vative critics, Trudeau and the Liberal chomping monstrous cigars through a Party have held 80 such cash-for-access bushy black beard,” who “became a spirifundraisers crawling with lobbyists and tual beacon for the world’s political far access traders over the past year. left.” So let’s look at the legacy of this soTHE GLOBE and Mail newspaper called romantic figure. He outlawed revealed last week that Trudeau and his Christianity and persecuted Christians Liberal Party fundraisers had secretly (mostly Catholics). He executed some organized one tony $1,500-per-head pri- 10,000 political prisoners; and many convate residential gala in May attended by tinue to languish in his prisons. He aided Chinese billionaires and bankers gunning and abetted dictators and terrorists from for federal approval of projects. Echoing Angola to Nicaragua. He plundered his the operations of the Clinton Foundation treasury, living in sheer luxury while his pay-for-play money machine, the non- citizens lived in squalor. profit Trudeau Foundation and the UniHe allowed the Soviets to place nuclear versity of Montreal raked in $1 million missiles aimed at the U.S. on his soil and from a wealthy Chinese businessman a urged Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to few weeks after the fundraiser. The do- launch them during the Cuban missile crination includes funding for a statue of sis, which might well have killed millions Pierre Trudeau, who once wrote a book of Americans. hailing Chairman Mao. The self-aggrandizing Commie fanAND THE current president of the boy apple doesn’t fall far from his cul- United States can’t think of a single thing tural Marxist tree. to criticize.
Commie apologist unmasked Wasn’t one vapid pretty boy named Justin from Canada enough? At least Justin Bieber is eye candy without the heartburn. Justin Trudeau, on the other hand, is the twinkly-eyed boy toy who makes informed adults wanna hurl. For more than a year, the liberal Canadian prime minister enjoyed droolstained global press coverage as the “hot hipster” and “dreamy sex symbol” with great hair and a tribal Haida tattoo. He basked in Ryan Gosling-esque memes about his commitment to feminism and touched off “Trudeau-mania” with a series of shirtless selfies and photobombs. BUT THIS weekend, the sane world saw the baby-faced Commie apologist for the naked twit he truly is. Mourning the death of repressive dictator Fidel Castro, Trudeau hailed his longtime family friend as a “larger than life leader” who “served his people for almost half a century.” Actually, El Comandante ruled with an iron fist and firing squads — serving himself to all of the island’s land, private businesses and media, along with his own private yacht, private island, 20 homes, fleet of Mercedes limos and bevy of mistresses. Trudeau’s ridiculous mash note to the “legendary revolutionary and orator” caused the social media backlash of the year. The hashtag #TrudeauEulogies erupted to mock Trudeau’s soft-soaping of tyranny.
“As we mourn Emperor Caligula, let us always remember his steadfast devotion to Senate reform,” one Twitter user jibed in Trudeau-speak. “Although flawed Hitler was a vegetarian who loved animals, was a contributor to the arts & proud advocate for Germany,” another joked. “Kim Jong Il will always be remembered fondly for his leadership and contributions on climate change,” another chimed in. Stung, the Canadian tundra hunk’s office announced Monday that he will not attend services for his beloved Uncle Fidel, who had served as a pallbearer at his former Canadian PM father’s funeral. But if Trudeau thinks the damage to his celebrity brand is temporary, he has another think coming.
(c) 2016, Creators Syndicate
OUR NEIGHBORS to the north are now discovering what disillusioned Barack Obama worshipers realized too late: Beneath the shiny packaging of supermodel progressivism lies the same old decrepit culture of corruption. Political watchdogs have been buzzing about Trudeau’s shady fundraising ties to Chinese communist moguls. Like Obama, Trudeau promised unprecedented transparency in government — “sunny ways” that would shed open light on
ISLAMIC STATE: November 23, 2016
The Islamic State’s Afghan intrigues
n November 21, an Islamist terrorist entered the Shia Muslim Baqir ul-Uloom mosque in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul. He detonated his explosive-laden suicide vest, killing 30 people and wounding over 70. Afghanistan’s Taliban militant organization denied responsibility for the attack. However, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria claimed credit for the slaughter, touting it in a press release.
THE TERROR attack incited anger and provoked fear throughout Afghanistan. Even headline writers for Western media outlets understood that dimension. The carnage and human suffering was evident and targeting worshippers in a mosque stirred curiosity. Voice of America published an article that said the mosque attack “is yet another indicator” of ISIS’ “expanding terror activities” in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is that. It was also the second major attack by ISIS on an Afghan Shia shrine. In October, ISIS gunmen attacked Kabul’s Karte Sakhi cemetery shrine and killed 19 Shiites. The twin attacks on Shiites confirm a larger context illustrating in miniature the Obama Administration’s ill-disciplined, shortsighted and always politically self-serving approach to fighting the global war on militant Islamist terrorists. Recall the compact disc Iraqi Kurds snagged in early 2004. The disc contained a strategic assessment penned by infamous Jordanian al Qaeda operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Part of the text asserted that al Qaeda radicals “are failing to enlist support” inside Iraq and “have been unable to scare the Americans into leaving.” It lamented Iraq’s “lack of mountains in which to take refuge” — a major terrain difference with between Iraq and Afghanistan. The document then offered a strategic solution to al Qaeda’s failure in Iraq: Attack Iraqi Shias and start a “sectarian war” that will “rally the Sunni Arabs” to al Qaeda. This war against Shiites “must start soon at “zero hour,’” Zarqawi wrote, “before the Americans hand over sovereignty to the Iraqis.” After Iraqis run their own government, U.S. troops will remain, the document says, “but the sons of this land will be the authority ... This is the democracy. We will have no pretexts.” Iraq’s new army and police will link with the people “by lineage, blood and appearance.” Al Qaeda fears an American and Iraqi strategic victory — a democracy defending itself against terrorists. ISIS is attempting to exploit in Afghanistan the same Sunni-Shia Muslim division Zarqawi attacked in Iraq. ISIS seeks to ignite a Sunni-Shia sectarian war. That war, once ignited, will
thou” game played by radicals everywhere. ISIS is probably responsible for other recent suicide bomb attacks in Afghanistan, including one on the U.S. airbase at Bagram. Meanwhile, at least some openly advocate negotiaIT APPEARS the Taliban want Taliban tions with the Afghan to avoid a sectarian war with Afghan government and the Shias. The Taliban U.S. This Taliban facare a radical Sunni tion wants to become militant movean independent ment but are also Afghani political an ethnic Pashtun (c) 2016, Creators Syndicate movement and movement, which means they understand accommodating demonstrate that it isn’t a creature of alother tribes and ethnic groups. But up- legiance to Pakistani intelligence. ISIS perceives a political opportunity. sides have downsides. ISIS is targeting the Taliban’s dual identities. Murder- It would become the leading militant Ising Shias positions ISIS as the “pure” lamic movement in Afghanistan. Now return to Zarqawi’s letter. ZarSunni militant movement. It’s the “we’re more militant than qawi assumed U.S. forces would remain produce further anarchy within Afghanistan and create the perception of hopelessness in in the U.S. and western European states invested in stabilizing Afghanistan.
in Iraq and nurture Iraq’s democracy. American forces, unfortunately, did not. In the face of common sense, President Barack Obama withdrew them. He was wedded to the narrative that he would bring peace to Iraq. With U.S. forces gone, ISIS exploited Iraqi weaknesses, murdering hundreds of thousands of people in the process. The U.S. has not left Afghanistan — not quite. However, President Obama is perceived as weak. He failed to demonstrate spine. Obama’s weakness has damaged the entire U.S. effort. The U.S. commitment to Afghanistan is perceived as frail. AFGHANISTAN HAS lots of mountains. If ISIS flees from Iraq, will Afghanistan become its haven?
STEPHEN BANNON: November 24, 2016
Stephen K. Bannon is winning
istory is not standing still. At least it is not stopping for America. It did not stop with the Clinton era, which is now finally over. America is moving along at a rapid pace. For the Clintonistas and their millennial acolytes, however, I guess America did stop. In fact, for them it froze, locked into an eternal 1968, forever reliving all the demonstrations and sit-ins, and the sobbing, heaving hubbub of yesteryear. Yet America goes on riding the currents of history, and those currents are moving rapidly.
AS FOR THE Clintons themselves, they have been stopped dead in their tracks. There was Hillary Clinton’s meltdown on the evening of Nov. 8. She reportedly reverted to the form that all of us who have covered her for years have been reporting. She screamed, shouted some very unladylike epithets, threw some objects at her servitors’ heads and availed herself to more adult beverages than was prudent. All the old scandals, improprieties and breaches of the law had finally caught up with her. She was captured by her past and is not likely to escape that past. Now she is scrambling to get a presidential pardon before Congress and various prosecutors move in. If President Barack Obama does not grant her a pardon, history will truly stand still for the Clintons and their sidekicks for years. Yet, as I say, for the rest of us history proceeds at a swift clip. One of history’s new players is Stephen K. Bannon. He has been a naval officer, a principal at Goldman Sachs, a media entrepreneur and the brains behind Breitbart
News. Now he is senior counselor to President-elect Donald Trump. He also represents one of history’s latest editions, a new outreach for conservatism. Bannon was a Reagan Democrat; now he is a Trump Republican. He wants conservatism to reach out to, as he says, the “patriots,” the “people who love this country,” for “They just want their country taken care of.” He says: “I’m not a white nationalist. I’m a nationalist. I’m an economic nationalist.” And for talk like that the commentators who are locked away in 1968 call him a racist, an anti-Semite and a m i sogynist.
Tyrrell (c) 2016, Creators Syndicate
ALL ARE empty charges. Their evidence that he is a misogynist is that he has used the word “bimbo.” It is an amazingly ignorant charge. The word made it into our vocabulary thanks to the Clintons and the personae of the Clinton era. Surely, you remember President Bill Clinton’s aide Betsey Wright and her warnings about “bimbo eruptions.” Another popularizer of the word “bimbo” was George Stephanopoulos, who wrote of bimbos in his memoirs. Doubtless Hillary Clinton used the term, too. Regarding Bannon’s being an antiSemite, the New York Times speaks of his “extended family members who are Jewish.” And he is defended by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, an orthodox Jew who is married to Trump’s splendid daughter Ivanka
Trump. My guess is that no administration in years will have been as close an ally of Israel as the Trump administration will be. I would only ask Bannon’s critics to show me their evidence of anti-Semitism. Moreover, show me the evidence that he is a racist. Bret Stephens comes up with Bannon’s support for something called the “alt-right movement,” saying in the Wall Street Journal that he associates with “the altright movement he has proudly championed through his Breitbart website.” Well, Bannon’s Breitbart website is open to all sorts of movements, which is part of his political strategy. He wants to include all Americans willing to support Donald Trump. He has not proudly championed the alt-right. Bannon does open his site to many other kinds of Americans. It is part of Bannon’s inclusion of what he calls “the forgotten man.” There are many forgotten men and women in America, and Bannon welcomes their participation in politics. Let me be specific: Late in the day on Monday, word came from Trump Tower that Trump opposes the “Heil Trump” movement, which is to say the so-called alt-right. One other thing the discredited left has against Bannon is that he championed the Government Accountability Institute. Its president, Peter Schweizer, is the author of the most damaging anti-Clinton book of the recent election cycle, Clinton Cash. BANNON IS in sync with the political movement of the present. He will continue to get a lot more flak, but it will come from the voices of the past. He is winning.
December 7, 2016 NATIONALISM: November 29, 2016
The populist-nationalist tide rolls on
and the Forza Italia of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a pal of Putin’s. “Up to eight of Italy’s troubled banks risk failure,” if Renzi’s government falls, says the Financial Times. One week from today, the front pages of the Western press could be splashing the newest crisis of the EU. In Holland, the Party for Freedom of Geert Wilders, on trial for hate speech for urging fewer Moroccan immigrants, WHILE FILLON sees Margaret is running first or close to it in polls for Thatcher as a role model in fiscal poli- the national election next March. Meanwhile, the cy, he is a socially conservative Cathodoor to the EU aplic who supports pears to be closing family values, for Muslim Turkey, wants to confront as the European Islamist extremParliament voted ism, control im(c) 2016, Creators Syndicate to end accession migration, restore France’s historic identity and end sanc- talks with Ankara and its autocratic president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. tions on Russia. In welcoming Muslim immigrants, “Russia poses no threat to the West,” says Fillon. But if not, the question aris- Germany’s Angela Merkel no longer es, why NATO? Why are U.S. troops in speaks for Europe, even as she is about to lose her greatest ally, Barack Obama. Europe? Not only Europe but the whole world As Le Pen is favored to win the first round of the presidential election and President-elect Trump is about to inherit Fillon the second in May, closer Par- seems in turmoil, with old regimes and is-Putin ties seem certain. Europeans parties losing their hold, and nationalist, themselves are pulling Russia back into populist and rightist forces rising. Europe, and separating from the AmeriEARLY THIS year, Brazil’s Senate cans. Next Sunday, Italy holds a referen- voted to remove leftist President Dilma dum on constitutional reforms backed Rousseff. In September, her predecesby Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. If the sor, popular ex-President Lula da Silva, referendum, trailing in the polls, fails, was indicted in a corruption investigation. President Michel Temer, who, as says Renzi, he will resign. Opposing Renzi is the secessionist vice president, succeeded Rousseff, is Northern League, the Five Star Move- now under investigation for corruption. ment of former comedian Beppe Grillo, There is talk of impeaching him. ow that the British have voted to secede from the European Union and America has chosen a president who has never before held public office, the French appear to be following suit. In Sunday’s runoff to choose a candidate to face Marine Le Pen of the National Front in next spring’s presidential election, the center-right Republicans chose Francois Fillon in a landslide.
Venezuela, endowed with more oil than almost any country on earth, is now, thanks to the Castroism of Hugo Chavez and successor Nicolas Maduro, close to collapse and anarchy. NATO’s Turkey and our Arab ally, Egypt, both ruled by repressive regimes, are less responsive to U.S. leadership. South Korean President Park Geunhye, her approval rating in single digits, is facing impeachment and prosecution for corruption. Meanwhile, North Korea, under Kim Jong Un, continues to test nuclear warheads and missiles that can hit all of South Korea and Japan and reach all U.S. bases in East Asia and the Western Pacific. The U.S. is obligated by treaty to defend South Korea, where we still have 28,500 troops, and Japan, as well as the
Philippines, where new populist President Rodrigo Duterte, cursing the West, is pivoting toward Beijing. Malaysia and Australia are also moving closer to China, as they become ever more dependent on the China trade. Responding to our moving NATO troops into Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, Putin has begun a buildup of nuclear-capable offensive and defensive missiles in Kaliningrad, its enclave between Poland and Lithuania. Should we get into a confrontation with the Russians in the Eastern Baltic, how many of our NATO allies, some now openly pro-Putin, would stand beside us? The point: Not only is the Cold War over, the post-Cold War is over. We are living in a changed and changing world. Regimes are falling. Old parties are dying, new parties rising. Old allegiances are fraying, and old allies drifting away. The forces of nationalism and populism have been unleashed all over the West and all over the world. There is no going back. Yet U.S. policy seems set in concrete by war guarantees and treaty commitments dating back to the time of Truman and Stalin and Ike and John Foster Dulles. America emerged from the Cold War, a quarter century ago, as the sole superpower. Yet, it seems clear that we are not today so dominant a nation as we were in 1989 and 1991. We have great rivals and adversaries. We are deeper in debt. We are more divided. We’ve fought wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen that availed us nothing. What we had, we kicked away. America is at a plastic moment in history. AND AMERICA needs nothing so much as reflective thought about a quarter century of failures — and fresh thinking about her future.
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•NEWSPAPER• •DATED MATERIAL•
Postmaster: Timely Material Please deliver on or before 12/7/16 Periodicals Postage Paid Mailed 12/1/16
Read Larry Elder, Charles Krauthammer & Rich Lowry on Pages 16-17
Democrats’ Identity Politics
This week our CONSERVATIVE FOCUS is on:
Read Cal Thomas’ Column on Page 1
The Left’s Infatuation With Fidel
Castro Is Dead
Wednesday, December 7, 2016 • Volume 31, Number 49 • Hampton, Iowa