[VIDEO] Dinesh D’Souza Unveils Hillary Clinton Video Ahead of DNC Speech

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The clip coincides with the launch of a new website where D’Souza answers critics who claim his movie distorts facts. ‘Detractors and several film reviewers have been challenging many of its claims’. Example claim: ‘Democrats had backed slavery and the Ku Klux Klan decades ago’.  This is in dispute, really? (Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images)

5 percent of critics gave ‘Hillary’s America’ a positive review, compared to a favorable review from 82 percent of the audience.

“‘Evita’s foundation funneled money given to the poor into her own bank accounts,’ D’Souza says in the clip. ‘Certainly, the Clintons wouldn’t steal from the poorest of the poor?’”

Hollywood Reporter: Hours before Hillary Clinton is set to accept the Democratic nomination for president, Dinesh D’Souza has releasedscene from his documentary film Hillary’s America that compares the former secretary of state to Eva Peron, the Argentine politician famously accused of money laundering in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Evita.

The release of the scene coincides with D’Souza launching a website that he says debunks criticisms of Hillary’s America by offering evidence that what he says about her and her party in his movie is historically accurate.

His “evidence” page cites various historical sources and quotes notable figures, like Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson and Lyndon B. Johnson, to make the case that Democrats had backed slavery and the Ku Klux Klan decades ago.

Since D’Souza’s movie opened two weeks ago, detractors and several film reviewers have been challenging many of its claims. The Hollywood Reporter’s reviewer likened the movie to a “highly subjective history lesson” while the Los Angeles Times said it “doesn’t even qualify as effectively executed propaganda.” On Rotten Tomatoes, only 5 percent of critics gave Hillary’s America a positive review, compared to a favorable review from 82 percent of the audience.

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[Read the full story here, at the Hollywood Reporter]

Republican nominee for president Donald Trump, meanwhile, has endorsed the film. Read the rest of this entry »


Gene Healy: ‘Early American Political Culture Held that Anyone who Seemed to Relish the Idea of Wielding Power Couldn’t Be Trusted with it. No Longer’

George W. Bush Library Dedication

It Doesn’t Matter If Campaigning For President Is Fun

healyGene Healy writes:

….There was a time, however, when we approached presidential selection with the sobriety a serious choice demands. In a penetrating 2003 article, The Joy of Power: Changing Conceptions of the Presidential Office, political scientist Richard J. Ellis explains that Americans used to look for a very different demeanor when assessing potential presidents.

“You’d never catch that guy grinning, nor, prior to the twentieth century, any of the others.”

‘My God: what is there in this office that any man should want to get into it?’

“In the beginning,” Ellis writes, “the presidency was envisioned not as an office to be enjoyed, but as a place of stern duty.” In fact, “one would be hard-pressed to find a single president between George Washington and Grover Cleveland of whom it could be said that he appeared to have fun in the exercise of presidential power.”

[Read the full text here, at thefederalist.com]

Early American political culture took it as self-evident that anyone who seemed to relish the idea of wielding power over others couldn’t be trusted with it. Our first president set the standard for presidential bearing: “dutiful and reluctant.”

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“Over the course of the twentieth century, thanks in part to the two Roosevelts, cultural norms shifted, even as the executive branch grew radically in size and power.”

As Washington put it: “I can truly say I had rather be at Mount Vernon with a friend or two about me than to be attended at the Seat of Government by the Officers of State and the Representatives of every Power in Europe.” Or, as Cleveland once moaned, “My God: what is there in this office that any man should want to get into it?”

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“Presidents today are supposed to take pleasure in the job. Those who dislike or at least complain about it are assumed to be psychologically suspect.”

— political scientist Richard J. Ellis

Throughout the nineteenth century, the public norms surrounding political power mandated a “low-energy” campaign, in which the candidates “stayed home in dignified silence, ready to serve if called by the people.” Even Andrew Jackson, the first candidate to style 51BZC+zfo3L._SL250_himself the champion of the popular will, refused to hit the hustings: “I meddle not with elections; I leave the people to make their own president,” he said.

[Order Gene Healy’s book “The Cult of the Presidency: America’s Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power” from Amazon.com]

You’d never catch that guy grinning, nor, prior to the twentieth century, any of the others. In the popular images of nineteenth-century presidents, Ellis writes, “it is difficult if not impossible to find an exuberant or smiling president.”

Enter the Self-Styled Larger than Life

Over the course of the twentieth century, thanks in part to the two Roosevelts, cultural norms shifted, even as the executive branch grew radically in size and power. “Presidents today are supposed to take pleasure in the job,” Ellis writes, and be happy warriors on the campaign trail. “Those who dislike or at least complain about it are assumed to be psychologically suspect.”

Read the rest of this entry »


American Revolution a ‘Monumental Mistake’

George-Washington

‘Blame America First’ Journalism Hits New Lows

“The very definition of Blame America First liberalism in the guise of ‘explanatory journalism.’ The U.S. never should have been created so it would be easier, 230 years or so later, for liberals to pass a carbon tax. How petty.”

Paul Bedard writes:

…written by Vox‘s Dylan Matthews and headlined: “3 reasons the American Revolution was a mistake.” …Matthews argues that had the colonies remained under British control, slavery would have been abolished earlier, government would be more proactive, and calls for a carbon tax would have passed with ease…

 “Save Harvard University the embarrassment and never again allow their graduates into journalism.”

— Media Research Center Vice President of Research Brent Baker

An excerpt:

American independence in 1776 was a monumental mistake. We should be mourning the fact that we left the United Kingdom, not cheering it…

Traveling throughout the United States of the 1830s, Alexis de Tocqueville pondered the question of just how funny Americans were before deeming us decidedly unfunny.

Alexis de Tocqueville

I’m reasonably confident a world in which the revolution never happened would be better than the one we live in now, for three main reasons: Slavery would’ve been abolished earlier, American Indians would’ve faced rampant persecution but not the outright ethnic cleansing Andrew Jackson and other American leaders perpetrated, and America would have a parliamentary system of government that makes policymaking easier….

millen-anguish

In the US, activists wanting to put a price on carbon emissions spent years trying to put together a coalition to make it happen, mobilizing sympathetic businesses and philanthropists and attempting to make bipartisan coalition — and they still failed to pass cap and trade, after millions of dollars and man hours. In the UK, the Conservative government decided it wanted a carbon tax.
Read the rest of this entry »


Slighting Alexander Hamilton: A Democratic Party Tradition

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Stephen F. Knott Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew announced Thursday that Alexander Hamilton would be joined on the ten-dollar-bill by a woman to be named later, or perhaps relegated to appearing on some bills but not on others. Lew cited bureaucratic imperatives in choosing to ignore calls to remove the anti-51PA1F97HWL._SL250_paper money, bank-hating, Indian-killer Andrew Jackson from the twenty-dollar-bill, while adding that symbols on currency are a “way for us to honor our past and express our values.”

[Check out Stephen F. Knott’s book Alexander Hamilton and the Persistence of Myth” at Amazon.com]

By downgrading the founder of his own cabinet department, Lew, perhaps with the best of intentions, continued a tradition that has deep roots in his own political party. From the moment Hamilton was mortally wounded by Vice President Aaron Burr, the Democratic Party has done its best to relegate Hamilton to the ash heap of history. Jackson warmly welcomed Burr to his home as Hamilton’s killer escaped to the west, while Thomas Jefferson’s lieutenants scurried to contain the emotional impact of Hamilton’s death from damaging their party’s political prospects. Jefferson spent considerable time portraying Hamilton as an un-American, pro-British agent intent on importing monarchy and corruption.

[Read the full text here, at  TheHill]

Part of the Jeffersonian-Jacksonian contempt for Hamilton stemmed from the fact that Hamilton was an immigrant from the Caribbean, and thus his “Americanism” was constantly questioned. This sense that Hamilton was not “one of us” animates the writings of Jeffersonians and of Jefferson himself, who was 51WhWm6YhyL._SL250_appalled that Hamilton did not see eye to eye with him despite having been “received” by Americans and “given . . . bread” and having honors “heaped . . . on his head.”

[Also see the book Knott co-authored with Tony Williams – “Washington and Hamilton: The Alliance That Forged America at Amazon.com]

In the twentieth century, Franklin D. Roosevelt led the effort to elevate Jefferson into the American Pantheon and downgrade Hamilton’s status. Roosevelt saw himself as a Jefferson for the new century, battling forces similar to those that confronted the Sage of Monticello over a century earlier. Roosevelt led the drive for a Jefferson Memorial in Washington and selected the truncated quotes that adorn its walls. Hamilton’s “monument” in Washington consisted of an undersized statue on the back side of the Treasury building in Washington, and to make matters worse, that statue had been erected during the corrupt Harding administration by its privileged Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon. Read the rest of this entry »


The Problem with Treating Pain in America

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A new federal report reveals holes in how we treat chronic pain

Alexandra Sifferlinb93e229a4f87ad18f235baaff90da61f writes: Chronic pain affects an estimated 100 million Americans, and between 5 to 8 million use opioids for long-term pain management. Data shows the number of prescriptions written for opioids as well opioid overdose deaths have skyrocketed in recent years, highlighting a growing addiction problem in the U.S. In response, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a report on Monday citing major gaps in the way American clinicians are treating pain.

“The prevalence of chronic pain and the increasing use of opioids have created a ‘silent epidemic’ of distress, disability, and danger to a large percentage of Americans.”

In September, the NIH held a workshop to review chronic pain treatment with a panel of seven experts and more than 20 speakers. The NIH also reviewed relevant research on how pain should be treated in the United States. On Monday the NIH published its findings in the Annals of Internal Medicine, detailing a lack of research into better treatment methods and poor preparedness among physicians. “The prevalence of chronic pain and the increasing use of opioids have created a ‘silent epidemic’ of distress, disability, and danger to a large percentage of Americans,” the report authors write. “The overriding question is: Are we, as a nation, approaching management of chronic pain in the best possible manner that maximizes effectiveness and minimizes harm?”

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“The overriding question is: Are we, as a nation, approaching management of chronic pain in the best possible manner that maximizes effectiveness and minimizes harm?”

The answer is no, the report reveals. The number of opioid prescriptions for pain has gone from 76 million in 1991 to 219 million in 2011, and according to recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, the latest figures show around 17,000 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2011. Between 2007 and 2010, the number of hospitalizations for opioid addiction increased four-fold. As TIME recently reported, the growing opioid problem means the nation also has a growing heroin problem, since both drugs offer similar highs, and heroin is cheaper and doesn’t need a prescription. Read the rest of this entry »


Transcript: Jon Gruber’s Opening Statement to the House Oversight Committee

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Written Testimony of Professor Jonathan Gruber before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives, December 9, 2014

[PDF – Gruber-Statement-12-9-ObamaCare]

Chairman Issa, Ranking Member Cummings, and Distinguished Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify voluntarily today. I am pleased to be able to address some statements I have made regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the reactions to and interpretations of those statements.

I am a Professor of Economics at MIT. I am not a political advisor nor a politician. Over the past decade I have used a complex economic microsimulation model to help a number of states and the federal government assess the impact that various legislative options for health care reform might have on the state and federal health care systems, government budgets, and overall economies. I have had the privilege of working for both Democratic and Republican administrations on health care reform efforts. For example, I worked extensively with Governor Romney’s Administration and the Massachusetts legislature to model the impact of Governor Romney’s landmark health reform legislation. I later served as a technical consultant to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and provided similar support to both the Administration and Congress through economic microsimulation modeling of the Affordable Care Act.

I did not draft Governor Romney’s health care plan, and I was not the “architect” of President Obama’s health care plan. I ran microsimulation models to help those in the state and federal executive and gruber-townhalllegislative branches better assess the likely outcomes of various possible policy choices.

[More – Katie Pavlich – TownHall.com]

After the passage of the ACA, I made a series of speeches around the nation endeavoring to explain the law’s implications for the U.S. health care system from the perspective of a trained economist. Many of these speeches were to technical audiences at economic and academic conferences.

Over the past weeks a number of videos have emerged from these appearances. In excerpts of these videos I am shown making a series of glib, thoughtless, and sometimes downright insulting comments. I apologized for the first of these videos earlier. But the ongoing attention paid to these videos has made me realize that a fuller accounting is necessary.

I would like to begin by apologizing sincerely for the offending comments that I made. In some cases I made uninformed and glib comments about the political process behind health care reform. I am not an expert on politics and my tone implied that I was, which is wrong. In other cases I simply made insulting and mean comments that are totally uncalled for in any situation. I sincerely apologize both for conjecturing with a tone of expertise and for doing so in such a disparaging fashion. It is never appropriate to try to make oneself seem more important or smarter by demeaning others. I know better. I knew better. I am embarrassed, and I am sorry.

In addition to apologizing for my unacceptable remarks, I would like to clarify some misconceptions about the content and context of my comments. Let me be very clear: I do not think that the Affordable Care Act was passed in a non-transparent fashion. The issues I raised in my comments, such as redistribution of risk through insurance market reform and the structure of the Cadillac tax, were roundly debated throughout 2009 and early 2010 before the law was passed. Reasonable people can disagree about the merits of these policies, but it is completely clear that these issues were debated thoroughly during the drafting and passage of the ACA. Read the rest of this entry »


Charles Sheeler: American Precisionism

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Charles Sheeler (American precisionism, modern artist and photographer, 1883-1965) – Conversation, Sky & Earth (1939, via Charles Sheeler’s Power series published in Fortune magazine, 1940). The Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Forth Worth, Texas.

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Books: The Absurdist Insurgency

Traveling throughout the United States of the 1830s, Alexis de Tocqueville pondered the question of just how funny Americans were before deeming us decidedly unfunny.

Traveling throughout the United States of the 1830s, Alexis de Tocqueville pondered the question of just how funny Americans were before deeming us decidedly unfunny.

“People who spend every day in the week making money, and the Sunday in going to Church, have nothing to invite the muse of Comedy.”

                                                                                    — Alexis de Tocqueville

A history of American humor finds liberation in the horselaugh

cover00Ben Schwartz writes:  Who gets to be funny and who gets made fun of? Americans never get tired of that question. At least, we Americans in the think-piece-writing business don’t. Are women funny? Are fat jokes cruel playground humor or legitimate satire in an increasingly unfit culture? Did that comic you’ve never heard of before go too far on that talk show you never watch? Is that black comic who puts on a dress funny, or a demeaning Jim Crow minstrel? Is there such a thing as a man telling a funny rape joke, and if so, why hasn’t it been written yet?

[Check out American Fun: Four Centuries of Joyous Revolt at Amazon, in hardback, and Kindle edition]

Judging by most late-night talk shows, sitcoms, and stand-up clubs, we go about distributing the cultural authority to make fun of us in much the same way that we’ve gradually doled out other kinds of authority—to vote, own property, run Fortune 500 companies, or sit in the White House. Mainly, it’s been white men kidding, if not ridiculing, us and defining what’s supposed to be funny and what isn’t.

Read the rest of this entry »


Our Masters, the Bureaucrats

A republic, if we can keep it.

Jay Cost

Our Masters, the BureaucratsWith so many scandals swirling around the Obama administration, it is hard to identify which is the most politically damaging for the president. But there’s no doubt which one should trouble constitutionalists the most. The Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups raises core questions about the nature of our government that the public has ignored for generations. It’s high time to revisit the issue of how the people can maintain control over those who are supposed to do their business.

Political scientists and economists have identified the “principal-agent problem” that rational actors face when trying to outsource management of their affairs. How can a “principal” induce her “agent” to work for her interests rather than his own? The Constitution is an attempt to manage the principal-agent problem in a republic, though the Founders didn’t understand it in those terms. The founding document institutes a system of checks and balances to ensure that elected officials work on behalf of the people, rather than themselves.

Yet the Constitution barely touches upon the bureaucracy, the modern version of which the Founders couldn’t have imagined. It merely empowers Congress to create executive departments and charges the president to make sure the laws are faithfully executed. This gives little direction, as the Framers—like most republican thinkers of their day—were more interested in the relationship of the three main branches of government to each other and to the people. It would be up to later generations of Americans to fill in the gaps, and they struggled for a century to find a reasonable organizational scheme for the civil service.

The original bureaucracy has often been called a “government by gentlemen,” which more or less persisted through the Jeffersonian era. Bureaucrats were thought to be public-spirited, independently established farmers or merchants who could put aside their own interests for a while to serve the public good. Thomas Jefferson, Albert Gallatin, and Alexander Hamilton all fit this mold—none of them ever made a dishonest dollar from public service.

By the 1820s, fraud was creeping into the executive departments, which in turn contributed to the Jacksonian revolution and a sea change in how the bureaucracy was staffed. Andrew Jackson believed that government by gentlemen had degenerated into rampant corruption, tilting public policy away from the interests of all the people (or at least his main constituency in the West) towards the elites. He instituted “rotation in office” as a tool to clean out the bureaucracy and make it more reflective of the general public, and thus (he hoped) more responsive to the public good.

Read the rest of this entry »