“Cuba’s longtime oppressive dictator Fidel Castro is dead. Let me be absolutely clear: We are not mourning the death of some revolutionary romantic, or a distinguished statesman.”
“We’re not grieving for the protector of peace or a judicious steward of his people. Today we are thankful. We are thankful that a man who has imprisoned, and tortured, and degraded the lives of so many is no longer with us. He has departed for warmer climes.”
“It does help but I think David is right; this is about Cruz much more than it is about Trump. And when he says it makes him a little cynical, I would have to say that that’s an understatement. It should make you very cynical.”
“I love the way Ted Cruz said ‘after searching his conscience.’ Whenever a politician says he is “searching his conscience,” you can assume it was a quick search of a very small space. I’m not saying anything personal about Cruz, but remember — he and Trump were the outsiders. And what was their calling card from the very beginning? “We don’t act like the Washington insiders. We don’t scratch each other’s back. We speak our conscience.”
“Well, it turns out in the end that they do what you’d expect of any other candidates, which is why — I mean, I don’t denounce them or deplore what they are doing here. This is business as usual. But weren’t they the candidates who were against the business as usual? Read the rest of this entry »
‘Under the guardianship of the United States and the First Amendment the internet has become truly an oasis of freedom, but that could soon change.’
During an often-contentious hearing Wednesday, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, took on the Obama administration for what has become his latest signature issue: internet oversight.
“It is not a democratic body.”
— Senator Ted Cruz
The Obama administration is due to relinquish U.S. control Oct. 1 over a private-sector, nonprofit organization that administers internet domain names and designations. Cruz warned that the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers will not on its own honor U.S. protections of free speech, and he is leading an effort to delay or stop the transfer.
“A number of significant questions related to the transition remain unanswered, including whether the transition will yield an unconstitutional transfer of United States government property, how the transfer will affect human rights and free speech issues, if U.S.-controlled top-level domains such as .gov and .mil could be compromised or if ICANN will be subject to increased antitrust scrutiny.”
“It is not a democratic body,” Cruz said of the organization, which includes such internet stakeholders as Google and Facebook and is based in Los Angeles. And he warned that authoritarian countries such as China, Russia and Iran could exert control over the organization and censor internet use in their countries.
We are a nonpolitical technical entity. Göran Marby, CEO and president, Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers
The Obama administration maintains that the transfer involves technical matters that do not affect the substance of websites or the flow of information. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., the ranking member on the subcommittee, said the transition was really a “clerical process.” “The United States does not own the internet,” he said.
Discussing Donald Trump’s latest indications that he is softening on immigration, Bret Baier played a video of Ted Cruz questioning Trump’s integrity on the issue in a debate, and asked Charles Krauthammer about how Trump could be “evolving” on this core issue.
“Well, you know, if this is evolution, this is like a platypus going to sleep and waking up as a pussycat. That has really never happened in the history of any of our species. This is not evolution — this is a complete turnabout. And the worst thing is not just that it’s a change of policy. It’s that — look at what happens to the underlying logic. The logic of the policy was — this was the tent-pole of his campaign — the politicians are idiots. The politicians are stupid. The politicians are sold-out. They don’t care about you. And what did he say? “We don’t have borders. We don’t have a country. They are all flocking in. They’re killers, they’re rapists, and the country is a divided crime scene,” as he said in his speech at the convention, as a result of this. And now he tells us, “Oh, the laws are wonderful as administered by Bush and Obama. I don’t want to change any of it. I’ll be a little more energetic.” That undermines everything he’s ever said. And you have to question, did he ever mean it? I believe the answer is probably no.”
A video produced by CounterJihad critical of the Muslim Brotherhood, jihad and sharia law was removed from YouTube Tuesday due to the company’s “hate speech” regulations.
The video — titled “Killing for a Cause: Sharia Law & Civilization Jihad” — was uploaded to YouTube last Thursday.
“Terrorism seems to be everywhere, and it’s getting worse. The bad guys have lots of names—ISIS, al Qaeda, Boko Haram—but they have one thing in common. They are all killing for a cause: Islamic Law known as Sharia.”
“I am stunned that the policy that YouTube developed for the express purpose of fighting Islamic State propaganda is now being used to silence critics of radical jihad,” Jim Hanson, executive vice president of the Center for Security Policysaid Wednesday.
Hanson added, “Instead of counteracting radical propaganda online, these policies are now being used to silence the very speech that YouTube said it wanted — speech that challenges ISIS.”
“Sharia is a return to medieval Islam.”
YouTube’s hate speech policy states that “hate speech refers to content that promotes violence or hatred against individuals or groups based on certain attributes.” These attributes include religion. Read the rest of this entry »
…Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson faced roughly ten minutes of questioning from Senator Ted Cruz, R-TX. During the testimony, Johnson repeated the administration’s line that it doesn’t matter what the terrorists are called, especially if it’s the word “Islamic.” Cruz tried to get Johnson on record answering the question of whether or not DHS purposely scrubbed Islamic from documents. The most shocking part of Johnson’s testimony, however, was near the end. Johnson blatantly lied about what the administration knew regarding the Fort Hood Jihadist, and when it knew it.
Cruz: One, is it true or false that the administration knew before the attack that Nidal Hasan was communicating with Anwar al Awlaki?
Johnson: How are you defining the “Obama administration” sir?
Cruz: The Federal Bureau of Investigation
Johnson: The entire Federal Bureau of Investigation? I can’t answer that question sitting here. [unintelligible]
Cruz: The answer is yes, and it is in public record.
Senator Cruz is absolutely correct. Not only did the Obama administration know about Hasan’s communications, they shut down an investigation field agents wanted to conduct into Hasan’s behavior.
In The United States of Jihad: Investigating America’s Homegrown Terrorists, which I recently reviewed, Peter Bergen details in painstaking fashion what the Obama administration knew and when it learned that information. His information came from the public record.
They Obama administration did in fact know beforehand about the communications, as The New York Times reported shortly after the attacks.
“Not only did the Obama administration know about Hasan’s communications, they shut down an investigation field agents wanted to conduct into Hasan’s behavior.”
Intelligence agencies intercepted communications last year and this year between the military psychiatrist accused of shooting to death 13 people at Fort Hood, Tex., and a radical cleric in Yemen known for his incendiary anti-American teachings.
But the federal authorities dropped an inquiry into the matter after deciding that the messages from the psychiatrist, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, did not suggest any threat of violence and concluding that no further action was warranted, government officials said Monday.
Major Hasan’s 10 to 20 messages to Anwar al-Awlaki, once a spiritual leader at a mosque in suburban Virginia where Major Hasan worshiped, indicate that the troubled military psychiatrist came to the attention of the authorities long before last Thursday’s shooting rampage at Fort Hood, but that the authorities left him in his post.
The Times report goes on to say that “authorities” thought the questions were consistent with a report Hasan was preparing on PTSD. Bergen reports that much of Hasan’s work did not deal with PTSD but with whether or not the United States armed forces should be allowed to fight in Muslim lands. Read the rest of this entry »
“I believe it had a chilling effect on conservative news.”
Michael Nunez reports: Facebook workers routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network’s influential “trending” news section, according to a former journalist who worked on the project. This individual says that workers prevented stories about the right-wing CPAC gathering, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and other conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even though they were organically trending among the site’s users.
“It was absolutely bias. We were doing it subjectively. It just depends on who the curator is and what time of day it is. Every once in awhile a Red State or conservative news source would have a story. But we would have to go and find the same story from a more neutral outlet that wasn’t as biased.”
Several former Facebook “news curators,” as they were known internally, also told Gizmodo that they were instructed to artificially “inject” selected stories into the trending news module, even if they weren’t popular enough to warrant inclusion—or in some cases weren’t trending at all. The former curators, all of whom worked as contractors, also said they were directed not to include news about Facebook itself in the trending module.
“Depending on who was on shift, things would be blacklisted or trending. I’d come on shift and I’d discover that CPAC or Mitt Romney or Glenn Beck or popular conservative topics wouldn’t be trending because either the curator didn’t recognize the news topic or it was like they had a bias against Ted Cruz.”
In other words, Facebook’s news section operates like a traditional newsroom, reflecting the biases of its workers and the institutional imperatives of the corporation. Imposing human editorial values onto the lists of topics an algorithm spits out is by no means a bad thing—but it is in stark contrast to the company’s claims that the trending module simply lists “topics that have recently become popular on Facebook.”
These new allegations emerged after Gizmodo last week revealed details about the inner workings of Facebook’s trending news team—a small group of young journalists, primarily educated at Ivy League or private East Coast universities, who curate the “trending” module on the upper-right-hand corner of the site. As we reported last week, curators have access to a ranked list of trending topics surfaced by Facebook’s algorithm, which prioritizes the stories that should be shown to Facebook users in the trending section. The curators write headlines and summaries of each topic, and include links to news sites. The section, which launched in 2014, constitutes some of the most powerful real estate on the internet and helps dictate what news Facebook’s users—167 million in the US alone—are reading at any given moment.
“Depending on who was on shift, things would be blacklisted or trending,” said the former curator. This individual asked to remain anonymous, citing fear of retribution from the company. The former curator is politically conservative, one of a very small handful of curators with such views on the trending team. “I’d come on shift and I’d discover that CPAC or Mitt Romney or Glenn Beck or popular conservative topics wouldn’t be trending because either the curator didn’t recognize the news topic or it was like they had a bias against Ted Cruz.”
The former curator was so troubled by the omissions that they kept a running log of them at the time; this individual provided the notes to Gizmodo. Among the deep-sixed or suppressed topics on the list: former IRS official Lois Lerner, who was accused by Republicans of inappropriately scrutinizing conservative groups; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; popular conservative news aggregator the Drudge Report; Chris Kyle, the former Navy SEAL who was murdered in 2013; and former Fox News contributor Steven Crowder. “I believe it had a chilling effect on conservative news,” the former curator said. Read the rest of this entry »
The socialist utopias of Sanders’ dreams bear little resemblance to reality across the Atlantic.
In conventional political thought, Democrats are always trying to make America more European — Higher taxes! Free college! A smaller military! — while Republicans are a passel of cowboys who view Europe as a bunch of socialist libertines.
But, as with much of conventional political thought, this isn’t quite right. And if the Republicans really want to mess with Democrats’ minds, perhaps they should launch a new campaign to make America more like Europe.
A good place to start would be with the Scandinavian countries that Bernie Sandersoften uses as a model. Sanders’ problem is that the Scandinavia he has in mind is the Scandinavia of the 1970s. Scandinavians today have learned a few things since then, which Bernie seems to have missed.
As Swedish pundit Johan Norberg writes: “Sanders is right: America would benefit hugely from modeling her economic and social policies after her Scandinavian sisters. But Sanders should be careful what he wishes for. When he asks for ‘trade policies that work for the working families of our nation and not just the CEOs of large, multi-national corporations,’ Social Democrats in Sweden would take this to mean trade liberalization — which would have the benefit of exposing monopolist fat cats to competition — not the protectionism that Sanders favors. … Being more like modern Sweden actually means deregulation, free trade, a national school voucher system, partially privatized pensions, no property tax, no inheritance tax, and much lower corporate taxes. Sorry to burst your bubble, Bernie.”
Cruz just had a very interesting hour-long interview on CNBC this morning with Joe Kernen, Becky Quick and Andrew Ross Sorkin on the Squawkbox financial program. The CNBC gang hit Cruz with everything from Japanese and German basis points, to negative global interest rates, to bank bailout policies, tax reform, economic effects of climate change proposals, opposition to various kinds of VAT taxing, instability of commodity prices, Fed monetary policy, etc.
Reagan administration economist Arthur Laffer, one of the architects of Cruz’s tax plan, weighs in for an extra helping of tax and quantitative easing wonkishness.
…This is a much more in-depth discussion than the stump speech snippets we’ve all heard many times…(more)
NEW YORK—Enraged by his public pronouncements regarding that which is yet to be, the almighty gods on high are said to have blinded political statistician Nate Silver this week as punishment for seeking forbidden knowledge of the future. “Any mere mortal who dares trespass into the realm of the Fates by making grand prophecies or electoral projections shall suffer swift and holy wrath,” said Sophioxis, a representative for the all-knowing deities, who added that Silver’s blinding should serve as a warning to all who might venture to aggregate various polling data, weight it by historical accuracy and methodological rigor, and seek visions into the veiled worlds beyond the present over which the gods hold sole dominion…(read more)
…Last week, Fox News’Megyn Kelly had Rachel Huebner, staff writer for The Harvard Crimson, on her show, where she detailed how the PC police are destroying these institutions of learning because the latest batch of college students are coddled, soft, and downright incorrigible.
One would think that the faculty or the administration would be the point of the lance in this war of free speech, but it’s not; it’s the students.
Huebner described an incident where a student felt she could not learn, let alone be in the same room, if she knew a classmate was pro-life. Having a view that’s different from your own is very, very offensive in delicate snowflake land.
More disconcerting is a separate incident involving Huebner’s friend trying to put an American flag on the wall of his dorm room.
He’s a freshman who was unpacking his things, when his roommate stopped him from displaying the flag, considering it an intolerable political statement that “he was unwilling to make.” This story drew laughter from Kelly’s crew–and rightfully so…(read more)
Back in March of last year, fake news site The Onion issued a stark warning to the readers of Time magazine: “Brace for inevitable issue with close-up of Ted Cruz’s face.” And here we are, just over a year later….
When reached for comment, the Onion issued this statement to Time:
“We are committed to providing our 12 billion readers in over 500 countries with disturbingly comprehensive news coverage and upholding the very highest standards of journalistic excellence that all other lesser publications — such as your own — have long since abandoned.”
Harvard Law Protesters voted to remove all signs on their “occupied” portion of campus that were not approved by their plenary committee. Over 50 signs were removed, including these free speech fliers.
The Harvard group “Reclaim Harvard Law,” which has been occupying the Law School’s Caspersen Student Center for over a month, claims it has jurisdiction over the building which they have renamed “Belinda Hall.”
After student Bill Barlow had put up flyers at Caspersen/Belinda which denounced Reclaim as anti-free speech, group members promptly took them down.
Reclaim leader AJ Clayborne, who personally had removed some of Barlow’s flyers, said that anything that goes up in Belinda Hall “must be approved by Reclaim first”:
“Belinda Hall has been reclaimed by Reclaim HLS for the purpose of creating an anti-racist environment for all and, accordingly, has a new governing body to protect that cause in a way that the institution’s existing structure, including DOS, has not. Anything that violates anti-racist values has no place in Belinda Hall.”
Barlow’s first set of signs compared the (anti-free speech) policies of Donald Trump to those of Reclaim. But “[a]fter learning about Harvard’s 501(c)(3) obligations, which could bar signs referencing Trump, [he] created new signs void of political content.”
Clayborne and Reclaim removed those signs, too…(read more)
At an awards ceremony, Obama praises journalists. Back in the White House, he blocks honest press queries with all his power.
Jack Shafer writes: The last person in the world who should be lecturing journalists on how to do journalism is President Barack Obama. Yet there Obama was Monday night at a journalism award ceremony, yodeling banalities about the role of a press in a free society, moaning over the dangers posed by “he said/she said” reporting, and—to the delight of the assembled audience—attacking Donald Trump in every way but name.
“The administration’s war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration.”
— Leonard Downie Jr. in a Committee to Protect Journalists report
The press-heavy crowd, convened by Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications to give the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting to Alec MacGillis, clapped at Obama’s 30-minute address, encouraging his best Trump-baiting lines about “free media” and the dangers of “false equivalence.”
At the awards dinner for Syracuse’s Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting, President Barack Obama lectured the media and their responsibilities toward an informed electorate.
What they should have done is bombard Obama with rotten fruit or ripped him with raspberries for his hypocrisy.
“Shame on Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications for allowing Obama—a documented opponent of the press—to pontificate on journalistic practice.”
How do we hate Obama’s treatment of the press? Let me count the ways. Under his administration, the U.S. government has set a new record for withholding Freedom of Information Act requests, according to a recent Associated Press investigation.
FOIA gives the public and press an irreplaceable view into the workings of the executive branch. Without timely release of government documents and data, vital questions can’t be answered and stories can’t be written.
“The only press award he has any business awarding is a special commendation to Trump, thanking him for making Obama look like a free-speech radical by comparison.”
Obama’s “Insider Threat Program” has turned employees across the government—from the Peace Corps to the Social Security Administration to the Department of Agriculture—into information-squelching snitches. If this isn’t Trumpian behavior, I don’t know what is.
“What makes Obama’s speech so unstomachable is the way he praises reporters at an award ceremony by calling their work ‘indispensable,’ ‘incredible,’ ‘worth honoring’ and essential to democracy while simultaneously blocking honest press queries with all the formidable energies of his office.”
“Obama hates the press,” New York Times national security reporter James Risen said not long ago, “and he hates leaks.” AP Washington Bureau Chief Sally Buzbee has decried the “day-to-day intimidation of sources” by the Obama administration, judging it worse than the Bush administration on that score. And in a 2013 piece, POLITICO’s Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen documented Obama’s mastery of “limiting, shaping and manipulating media coverage of himself and his White House.”
As ProPublica has reported, at the same time the Obama administration has been paying lip service to protecting whistleblowers, it has pursued national security leaks to the press with a vehemence unmatched by any previous administration, using the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers who leak to journalists more times than all previous administrations combined. Read the rest of this entry »
Left/right, Progressive/Conservative, Democrat/Republican… The names change and evolve but the core difference remains constant: The Collectivists vs. The Individualists. In his latest FIREWALL, but shows how violence, disruption and intimidation have always been the tools of the Collectivists. This is not about Donald Trump, no matter how much they want you to believe it.
On The Lawrence Show on MSNBC, National Reporter Tony Dokoupil in a revealing moment lets slip to show host Lawrence O’Donnell why reporters will not challenge GOP Frontrunner Donald Trump on policy issues after Trump stumbled through a local Wisconsin radio interview with Charles Sykes.
Steven Shepard writes: Donald Trump wasn’t wildly popular to begin with. And now he’s becoming even more disliked among American voters, creating a significant threat to his chances of winning the Republican presidential nomination.
“If Trump misses the threshold to win the nomination outright in bound delegates, it will be more difficult to persuade unbound delegates to put him over the top if they see him as a general election disaster-in-the-making due to his high unfavorability ratings among all voters.”
Trump is, by far, the GOP delegate leader — and the only candidate with a realistic shot at winning a majority of delegates before the July convention. But at the same time, nearly two-thirds of Americans view Trump unfavorably — and his image rating has declined since Republican voting began in February.
The danger for Trump is two-fold: His declining popularity is taking a toll on his standing in the 17 states that will hold primaries between now and the end of the process in early June. Losing some of these states — or even winning fewer delegates in proportional states — makes it more difficult for Trump to secure a pre-convention majority of 1,237 delegates.
That’s where Trump’s horrific poll numbers could haunt him again: If Trump misses the threshold to win the nomination outright in bound delegates, it will be more difficult to persuade unbound delegates to put him over the top if they see him as a general election disaster-in-the-making due to his high unfavorability ratings among all voters.
How bad are Trump’s image ratings? The HuffPost Pollster average of recent national polls puts Trump’s favorability at only 31 percent, while 63 percent view him unfavorably.
That’s a notable decline from late January, on the eve of the first votes in the GOP nominating process, when Trump’s average favorability rating was 37 percent, with 57 percent viewing him unfavorably. Read the rest of this entry »
“He’s an authoritarian,” says Washington Post columnist and Fox News contributor George Will. “He believes that government we have today is not big enough and that particularly the concentration of power not just in Washington but Washington power in the executive branch has not gone far enough.”
In late February, Will sat down with Reason’s Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch for an opening-night interview at the International Students For Liberty Conference, which was attended by nearly 2,000 people from all over the world.
The official topic was “Is The Libertarian Moment Over?” and the conversation was as wide-ranging as it was at times depressing. “Today, 67 percent of the federal budget is transfer payments,” announced the 74-year-old Pulitzer Prize winner. “The sky is dark with money going back and forth between client groups served by an administrative state that exists to do very little else but regulate the private sector and distribute income. Where’s the libertarian moment fit in here?”
Gillespie and Welch, who coined the “Libertarian Moment” term in a 2008 Reason story and expanded its meaning in The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong With America (praised by Will, incidentally), argued that many things are moving in a decidedly libertarian position. As Welch pointed out, in 2008, recreational pot legalization, marriage equality, and criminal-justice reform were barely discussed at the national level. Now, all three have proceeded or are proceeding apace, as is judicial support for liberalized gun rights. And there’s this: “In the last 25 years, a historical number of people—1 billion people—have been lifted out of extreme poverty,” said Welch. “Even the United Nations says this is because in large part due to globalized reductions in tariffs and barriers to trade.”
For all his gloom, Will acknowledged that “there are good signs underway.” Specifically, he cited Reason Senior Editor Damon Root’s Overruled: The Long War for Control of the U.S. Supreme Court (2014), which makes the case for “libertarian judicial activism” as a constitutionally legitimate way of reining in government action. Root and others such as Georgetown Law’s Randy Barnett and Institute for Justice’s Clark Neily argue that “what we need is an engaged judiciary asserting the fact that the essence of America is not majority rule, it is liberty,” said Will, who applauded the rise and power of this argument.
He also cited the Supreme Court’s controversial ruling in the Citizens United case, which invalidated many campaign-finance rules. “The court,” noted Will, “overturned prior decisions and overturned certain clear principles enunciated by elected officials around the country by saying that when Americans band together in corporate form, they do not, for the purpose of advocacy, forfeit their First Amendment rights.”
WASHINGTON — As Hillary Clinton moves toward the Democratic presidential nomination, she faces legal hurdles from her use of a private computer server as secretary of state that could jar her campaign’s momentum in the months ahead.
Foremost among a half-dozen inquiries and legal proceedings into whether classified information was sent through Mrs. Clinton’s server is an investigation by the F.B.I., whose agents, according to one law enforcement official, could seek to question Mrs. Clinton’s closest aides and possibly the candidate herself within weeks.
It is commonplace for the F.B.I. to try to interview key figures before closing an investigation, and doing so is not an indication the bureau thinks a person broke the law. Although defense lawyers often discourage their clients from giving such interviews, Democrats fear the refusal of Mrs. Clinton or her top aides to cooperate would be ready ammunition for Donald J. Trump, the Republican front-runner….(read more)
This week begins act two. Our guest star is the terrific Hannah Dunne. I think doing this show is the most fun I’ve ever had.
I’d like to also thank everyone in the rest of the world for supporting the show. The show is selling well in England, France, Germany, Denmark, Australia, India, Israel and more. I wish I had the resources to create a subtitled version of the show in every language but it’s already a challenge to shoot the show and get it up on the site so quickly every week.
Also, as the show is not being advertised and promoted anywhere, please share it with your friends and people you think would like it. Please don’t show it to anyone you think would hate it. Although I do believe a show needs to be hated. It’s part of the life of any show to have some people who devote energy to ripping it apart. It’s healthy. Anyway it continues to be very interesting to watch a show spread and grow strictly on word of mouth. And you are the mouths. I mean your mouths are the mouths that… Make words. So please… Word… About it. The show.
To other mouths. I mean don’t talk into people’s mouths though.
Okay. I’m going back to bed. My kids don’t get here for another hour.
P.S. Please stop it with voting for Trump. It was funny for a little while. But the guy is Hitler. And by that I mean that we are being Germany in the 30s. Do you think they saw the shit coming? Hitler was just some hilarious and refreshing dude with a weird comb over who would say anything at all.
And I’m not advocating for Hillary or Bernie. I like them both but frankly I wish the next president was a conservative only because we had Obama for eight years and we need balance. And not because I particularly enjoy the conservative agenda. I just think the government should reflect the people. And we are about 40 percent conservative and 40 percent liberal. When I was growing up and when I was a younger man, liberals and conservatives were friends with differences. They weren’t enemies. And it always made sense that everyone gets a president they like for a while and then hates the president for a while. But it only works if the conservatives put up a good candidate. A good smart conservative to face the liberal candidate so they can have a good argument and the country can decide which way to go this time.
Trump is not that. He’s an insane bigot. He is dangerous.
He already said he would expand libel laws to sue anyone who “writes a negative hit piece” about him. He says “I would open up the libel laws so we can sue them and win lots of money. Not like now. These guys are totally protected.” He said that. He has promised to decimate the first amendment. (If you think he’s going to keep the second amendment intact you’re delusional.) And he said that Paul Ryan, speaker of the house will “pay” for criticizing him. So I’m saying this now because if he gets in there we won’t be able to criticize him anymore.
Please pick someone else. Like John Kasich. I mean that guy seems okay. I don’t like any of them myself but if you’re that kind of voter please go for a guy like that. It feels like between him and either democrat we’d have a decent choice. It feels like a healthier choice. We shouldn’t have to vote for someone because they’re not a shocking cunt billionaire liar.
We should choose based on what direction the country should go.
I get that all these people sound like bullshit soft criminal opportunists. The whole game feels rigged and it’s not going anywhere but down anymore. I feel that way sometimes.
And that voting for Trump is a way of saying “fuck it. Fuck them all”. I really get it. It’s a version of national Suicide. Or it’s like a big hit off of a crack pipe. Somehow we can’t help it. Or we know that if we vote for Trump our phones will be a reliable source of dopamine for the next four years. I mean I can’t wait to read about Trump every day. It’s a rush. But you have to know this is not healthy.
If you are a true conservative. Don’t vote for Trump. He is not one of you. He is one of him. Everything you have heard him say that you liked, if you look hard enough you will see that he one day said the exact opposite. He is playing you. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m happy to be back with you in this annual event after missing last year’s meeting. I had some business in New Hampshire that wouldn’t wait.
Three weeks ago here in our nation’s capital I told a group of conservative scholars that we are currently in the midst of a re-ordering of the political realities that have shaped our time. We know today that the principles and values that lie at the heart of conservatism are shared by the majority.
Despite what some in the press may say, we who are proud to call ourselves “conservative” are not a minority of a minority party; we are part of the great majority of Americans of both major parties and of most of the independents as well.
A Harris poll released September 7, l975 showed 18 percent identifying themselves as liberal and 31 per- cent as conservative, with 41 percent as middle of the road; a few months later, on January 5, 1976, by a 43-19 plurality those polled by Harris said they would “prefer to see the country move in a more conservative direction than a liberal one.”
Last October 24th, the Gallup organization released the result of a poll taken right in the midst of the presidential campaign.
Respondents were asked to state where they would place themselves on a scale ranging from “right-of-center” (which was defined as “conservative”) to left-of-center (which was defined as “liberal”).
Thirty-seven percent viewed themselves as left-of-center or liberal
Twelve percent placed themselves in the middle
Fifty-one percent said they were right-of-center, that is, conservative.
What I find interesting about this particular poll is that it offered those polled a range of choices on a left-right continuum. This seems to me to be a more realistic approach than dividing the world into strict left and rights. Most of us, I guess, like to think of ourselves as avoiding both extremes, and the fact that a majority of Americans chose one or the other position on the right end of the spectrum is really impressive.
Those polls confirm that most Americans are basically conservative in their outlook. But once we have said this, we conservatives have not solved our problems, we have merely stated them clearly. Yes, conservatism can and does mean different things to those who call themselves conservatives.
You know, as I do, that most commentators make a distinction between they call “social” conservatism and “economic” conservatism. The so-called social issues—law and order, abortion, busing, quota systems—are usually associated with blue-collar, ethnic and religious groups themselves traditionally associated with the Democratic Party. The economic issues—inflation, deficit spending and big government—are usually associated with Republican Party members and independents who concentrate their attention on economic matters.
Now I am willing to accept this view of two major kinds of conservatism—or, better still, two different conservative constituencies. But at the same time let me say that the old lines that once clearly divided these two kinds of conservatism are disappearing.
In fact, the time has come to see if it is possible to present a program of action based on political principle that can attract those interested in the so-called “social” issues and those interested in “economic” issues. In short, isn’t it possible to combine the two major segments of contemporary American conservatism into one politically effective whole?
I believe the answer is: Yes, it is possible to create a political entity that will reflect the views of the great, hitherto, conservative majority. We went a long way toward doing it in California. We can do it in America. This is not a dream, a wistful hope. It is and has been a reality. I have seen the conservative future and it works.
Let me say again what I said to our conservative friends from the academic world: What I envision is not simply a melding together of the two branches of American conservatism into a temporary uneasy alliance, but the creation of a new, lasting majority.
This will mean compromise. But not a compromise of basic principle. What will emerge will be something new: something open and vital and dynamic, something the great conservative majority will recognize as its own, because at the heart of this undertaking is principled politics.
I have always been puzzled by the inability of some political and media types to understand exactly what is meant by adherence to political principle. All too often in the press and the television evening news it is treated as a call for “ideological purity.” Whatever ideology may mean—and it seems to mean a variety of things, depending upon who is using it—it always conjures up in my mind a picture of a rigid, irrational clinging to abstract theory in the face of reality. We have to recognize that in this country “ideology” is a scare word. And for good reason. Marxist-Leninism is, to give but one example, an ideology. All the facts of the real world have to be fitted to the Procrustean bed of Marx and Lenin. If the facts don’t happen to fit the ideology, the facts are chopped off and discarded.
I consider this to be the complete opposite to principled conservatism. If there is any political viewpoint in this world which is free for slavish adherence to abstraction, it is American conservatism.
When a conservative states that the free market is the best mechanism ever devised by the mind of man to meet material needs, he is merely stating what a careful examination of the real world has told him is the truth.
When a conservative says that totalitarian Communism is an absolute enemy of human freedom he is not theorizing—he is reporting the ugly reality captured so unforgettably in the writings of Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
When a conservative says it is bad for the government to spend more than it takes in, he is simply showing the same common sense that tells him to come in out of the rain.
When a conservative says that busing does not work, he is not appealing to some theory of education—he is merely reporting what he has seen down at the local school.
When a conservative quotes Jefferson that government that is closest to the people is best, it is because he knows that Jefferson risked his life, his fortune and his sacred honor to make certain that what he and his fellow patriots learned from experience was not crushed by an ideology of empire.
Conservatism is the antithesis of the kind of ideological fanatacism that has brought so much horror and destruction to the world. The common sense and common decency of ordinary men and women, working out their own lives in their own way—this is the heart of American conservatism today. Conservative wisdom and principles are derived from willingness to learn, not just from what is going on now, but from what has happened before.
The principles of conservatism are sound because they are based on what men and women have discovered through experience in not just one generation or a dozen, but in all the combined experience of mankind. When we conservatives say that we know something about political affairs, and that we know can be stated as principles, we are saying that the principles we hold dear are those that have been found, through experience, to be ultimately beneficial for individuals, for families, for communities and for nations—found through the often bitter testing of pain, or sacrifice and sorrow.
One thing that must be made clear in post-Watergate is this: The American new conservative majority we represent is not based on abstract theorizing of the kind that turns off the American people, but on common sense, intelligence, reason, hard work, faith in God, and the guts to say: “Yes, there are things we do strongly believe in, that we are willing to live for, and yes, if necessary, to die for.” That is not “ideological purity.” It is simply what built this country and kept it great.
Let us lay to rest, once and for all, the myth of a small group of ideological purists trying to capture a majority. Replace it with the reality of a majority trying to assert its rights against the tyranny of powerful academics, fashionable left-revolutionaries, some economic illiterates who happen to hold elective office and the social engineers who dominate the dialogue and set the format in political and social affairs. If there is any ideological fanaticism in American political life, it is to be found among the enemies of freedom on the left or right—those who would sacrifice principle to theory, those who worship only the god of political, social and economic abstractions, ignoring the realities of everyday life. They are not conservatives.
Our first job is to get this message across to those who share most of our principles. If we allow ourselves to be portrayed as ideological shock troops without correcting this error we are doing ourselves and our cause a disservice. Wherever and whenever we can, we should gently but firmly correct our political and media friends who have been perpetuating the myth of conservatism as a narrow ideology. Whatever the word may have meant in the past, today conservatism means principles evolving from experience and a belief in change when necessary, but not just for the sake of change.
Once we have established this, the next question is: What will be the political vehicle by which the majority can assert its rights?
I have to say I cannot agree with some of my friends—perhaps including some of you here tonight—who have answered that question by saying this nation needs a new political party. Read the rest of this entry »
“Donald Trump continues to call Megyn Kelly names, he continues to tweet out, this is what he does, to journalists he isn’t happy with.”
“It is troubling, and of course, we’ve talked about this. It does have a chilling effect, ’cause you do watch your words more. You don’t want all of his Twitter followers to come at you with that Twitter hate.”
The Guojiang Subtitle Group, which is made up of about six dozen volunteers across China, subtitles American debates and uploads them to Chinese video sharing sites like Sina. But if the hope is that Chinese viewers would be more supportive of democracy after watching them, we are in for a disappointment. In fact, some Chinese viewers come away thinking democracy is a joke. “There isn’t that much discussion of policy issues. Many remarks are just sensational,” the New York Timesquoted a former business consultant as saying. Other viewers compared it to watching a reality show or a sitcom.
To be fair, the Chinese aren’t alone in laughing at The Donald and other ridiculous characters in politics. A debate moderator accused Trump of running “a comic book version of presidential campaign, and FOX News host Bill O’Reilly opened a segment of his show by imagining what the GOP primary contenders would be like if they were stars of a reality television show. Joking about politics is an international pass time.
Even in China, with its limited scope of political discourse, social media users mock local government officials and joke about corruption. One popular joke holds that in America, rich people get involved in politics, while in China people involved in politics get rich.
Still, from the many conversations and experiences I’ve had during the four years I’ve been living in China, it seems as if the Chinese public views the flaws in democracy as the rule rather than the exception. Americans have our complaints—and rightfully so—about politicians, but at the end of the day, most of us believe in Winston Churchill’s famous remark, “Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”
Politicians might say stupid things to appeal to the public, but isn’t that better than the public having no say at all? By contrast, Chinese people often look at countries with unstable or failing democratic systems and use those systems as examples of why democracy itself is flawed. Thailand (with its many coups), Libya, and Iraq are frequently cited examples in China in the past few years.
But the Chinese save their worst criticism and their favorite cautionary tales about the foibles of democracy for Taiwan…(read more)
The persistent problem of how to deal with American-allied strongmen has long tripped up an inflexible president who boasts of his preference for ‘pragmatic solutions’ over moral purity but has been unable to find much of either in the Middle East.
Michael Crowley writes: On a late July day this past summer, a roar filled the sky over Cairo. It was the sound of Barack Obama’s capitulation to a dictator.
Eight new American fighter jets, freshly delivered from Washington, swooped low over the city, F-16s flying in formation. As they banked hard over the city’s center, they trailed plumes of red, white and black smoke—the colors of the Egyptian flag.
“The rhetoric got way ahead of the policymaking. It … raised expectations that everything was going to change.”
— Michael Posner, who served as Obama’s top State Department official for human rights and democracy in his first term
For Egypt’s brutally repressive president, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the spectacle was a triumph, symbolizing not only his militaristic power at home, but also his victory over an American president who had tried to punish him before surrendering to the cold realities of geopolitics.
“He’s never quite melded his rhetoric with his policies.”
— Dennis Ross, who served as Obama’s top Middle East aide in his first term
Just two years earlier, Sisi had seized power in a military coup, toppling Mohamed Morsi, the democratically elected successor to Hosni Mubarak, himself a strongman of 30 years pushed out in early 2011 by mass protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. In the summer of 2013, Sisi followed his coup with a brutal crackdown that would have done Saddam Hussein proud. His security forces arrested thousands of people, including much of his political opposition, and in one bloody day that summer, they gunned down some 1,000 pro-Morsi protesters (or more) who were staging peaceful sit-ins. The massacre was shocking even by the standards of Egypt’s long-dismal human rights record.
“It seems like we are swinging back to the idea that we must make a choice between supporting dictators or being safe.”
— Robert Ford, who was Obama’s ambassador to Syria before resigning in frustration over the president’s policy there
Obama was appalled. “We can’t return to business as usual,” he declared after the slaughter. “We have to be very careful about being seen as aiding and abetting actions that we think run contrary to our values and ideals.”
Several weeks later, Obama halted the planned delivery of U.S. military hardware to Cairo, including attack helicopters, Harpoon missiles and several F-16 fighter jets, as well as $260 million in cash transfers. He also cast doubt on the future of America’s $1.3 billion in annual military aid to Egypt—a subsidy on which Cairo depends heavily, and much more than the United States sends to any country in the world aside from Israel.
But a fierce internal debate soon broke out over whether and how to sanction Egypt further, a fight that many officials told me was one of the most agonizing of the Obama administration’s seven years, as the president’s most powerful advisers spent months engaged in what one called “trench warfare” against each other. It was an excruciating test of how to balance American values with its cold-blooded security interests in an age of terrorism. Some of Obama’s top White House aides, including his deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, and the celebrated human rights champion Samantha Power, now U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, urged the president to link further military aid to clear progress by Sisi on human rights and democracy. But Secretary of State John Kerry, then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Hagel’s successor, Ash Carter, argued for restoring the aid. Trying to punish Sisi would have little effect on his behavior, they said, while alienating a bulwark against Islamic radicalism in an imploding Middle East. “Egypt was one of the most significant policy divides between the White House and the State Department and the Department of Defense,” says Matthew Spence, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle East policy. Read the rest of this entry »
Federal prosecutors say Saddam Hussein’s intelligence agency secretly financed a trip to Iraq for three U.S. lawmakers during the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion.
An indictment in Detroit accuses Muthanna Al-Hanooti of arranging for three members of Congress to travel to Iraq in October 2002 at the behest of Saddam’s regime. Prosecutors say Iraqi intelligence officials paid for the trip through an intermediary.