Month: August 2017

The Black Church and the Democratic Party: Unholy Alliance or Doublethink?


Something interesting happened to me the other day.  The doorbell rang, and I thought it was a delivery I was expecting, but who was there but two elegant black ladies standing at my front door?  I knew right away why they were there, as I could see they were both holding Bibles.  And I occasionally see black Americans walking up and down my street going door to door.  I live in a Cleveland neighborhood that’s about evenly split between whites and blacks (I being part of the 50% who are white). 

At first, it sounded a little like a self-help pitch about how to deal with living in an overworked and over-stressed world.  But then one of the two women read a short passage from one of the letters to the Corinthians, although I don’t recall which one, putting into biblical terms what they had just explained to me.  They didn’t take much of my time and handed me a pamphlet to read, thanked me, and said they would like to return another time. 

It got me to thinking about how religious blacks are in this country – maybe more so on a percentage basis than whites – and how they square their religiosity with their overwhelming loyalty to the Democratic Party.  For example, at Obama’s second nominating convention in Charlotte in September of 2012, they removed all references to God in their party platform and actually booed God at one point.

Then there was the California referendum in 2008, Proposition 8, that called for keeping the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.  It passed with 52% voting in favor, which never would have happened without the black vote.  Seventy percent of California blacks voted for it, a super-majority if there ever was one.  Unfortunately, the referendum was overturned by the liberal U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and that court’s decision was later upheld by the Supreme Court.

Black Americans are an ethnic group that has looked down on homosexuality probably more than any other group.  My guess is that that hasn’t changed much, despite all of the political gains the gay movement has made with the unquestioned support from the elitist Democratic Party. 

So as the Democrats continue to chip away at marginalizing, if not criminalizing Christianity, why do blacks continue to support the party?  Could it be a mass instance of holding two opposing views at the same time, being misguided and misled by a party that takes them for granted every election cycle, or an unholy alliance, where the party continues to promulgate the “divine” status of the welfare state over the status of black churches?  Most likely, it’s a combination of the two.  It also helps that there is a huge loyalty factor, or possibly a massive case of Stockholm syndrome, that’s been there for the 53 years since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed.

What confuses me is that after so much time one, would think that blacks, especially since the vast majority now reside in the middle and upper classes, not to mention the super-rich who exist in pro sports, entertainment, and business, would abandon the Democratic Party, seeing through the race-hustling and race-baiting that’s kept it in power for so long.  (What is the controversy of Confederate monuments but just another attempt to keep up their ongoing divide-and-conquer strategy of keeping pseudo-racism alive for political purposes?)

An analogy might be the Islamic world, where you have a tiny number of radicals working to establish a world caliphate through violent means.  Where are the leaders in the Islamic world speaking out against it?  For blacks, why aren’t they speaking out against the clear attempt by the Democrats to marginalize if not replace the church with the state?  Obamacare’s attempt to force religious enterprises to accept its abortion mandates is just one example among many.

I was pleased to have greeted the two evangelical black women and extremely impressed by their motivation “to get out into the world” in order to spread the gospel.  It’s what the country needs more of in order to push back against the secular religion of liberalism that has taken over not just the state, but the culture as well.

But perhaps it’s not so much an unholy alliance, cognitive dissonance, or just plain old misguidance, as I originally thought.  Perhaps, rather, it’s because, in the words of David F. Wells, author of God in the Wasteland, “God has become weightless in the modern world.”  In other words, when faith becomes only a personal matter, it will remain hidden and invisible while the spiritual vacuum in the public arena is filled by the “faith” of political power-seekers and doers.

Two bold black women are literally taking it to the streets, but they face serious headwinds in their evangelical quest to bring “weightiness” back to God.

Something interesting happened to me the other day.  The doorbell rang, and I thought it was a delivery I was expecting, but who was there but two elegant black ladies standing at my front door?  I knew right away why they were there, as I could see they were both holding Bibles.  And I occasionally see black Americans walking up and down my street going door to door.  I live in a Cleveland neighborhood that’s about evenly split between whites and blacks (I being part of the 50% who are white). 

At first, it sounded a little like a self-help pitch about how to deal with living in an overworked and over-stressed world.  But then one of the two women read a short passage from one of the letters to the Corinthians, although I don’t recall which one, putting into biblical terms what they had just explained to me.  They didn’t take much of my time and handed me a pamphlet to read, thanked me, and said they would like to return another time. 

It got me to thinking about how religious blacks are in this country – maybe more so on a percentage basis than whites – and how they square their religiosity with their overwhelming loyalty to the Democratic Party.  For example, at Obama’s second nominating convention in Charlotte in September of 2012, they removed all references to God in their party platform and actually booed God at one point.

Then there was the California referendum in 2008, Proposition 8, that called for keeping the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.  It passed with 52% voting in favor, which never would have happened without the black vote.  Seventy percent of California blacks voted for it, a super-majority if there ever was one.  Unfortunately, the referendum was overturned by the liberal U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and that court’s decision was later upheld by the Supreme Court.

Black Americans are an ethnic group that has looked down on homosexuality probably more than any other group.  My guess is that that hasn’t changed much, despite all of the political gains the gay movement has made with the unquestioned support from the elitist Democratic Party. 

So as the Democrats continue to chip away at marginalizing, if not criminalizing Christianity, why do blacks continue to support the party?  Could it be a mass instance of holding two opposing views at the same time, being misguided and misled by a party that takes them for granted every election cycle, or an unholy alliance, where the party continues to promulgate the “divine” status of the welfare state over the status of black churches?  Most likely, it’s a combination of the two.  It also helps that there is a huge loyalty factor, or possibly a massive case of Stockholm syndrome, that’s been there for the 53 years since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed.

What confuses me is that after so much time one, would think that blacks, especially since the vast majority now reside in the middle and upper classes, not to mention the super-rich who exist in pro sports, entertainment, and business, would abandon the Democratic Party, seeing through the race-hustling and race-baiting that’s kept it in power for so long.  (What is the controversy of Confederate monuments but just another attempt to keep up their ongoing divide-and-conquer strategy of keeping pseudo-racism alive for political purposes?)

An analogy might be the Islamic world, where you have a tiny number of radicals working to establish a world caliphate through violent means.  Where are the leaders in the Islamic world speaking out against it?  For blacks, why aren’t they speaking out against the clear attempt by the Democrats to marginalize if not replace the church with the state?  Obamacare’s attempt to force religious enterprises to accept its abortion mandates is just one example among many.

I was pleased to have greeted the two evangelical black women and extremely impressed by their motivation “to get out into the world” in order to spread the gospel.  It’s what the country needs more of in order to push back against the secular religion of liberalism that has taken over not just the state, but the culture as well.

But perhaps it’s not so much an unholy alliance, cognitive dissonance, or just plain old misguidance, as I originally thought.  Perhaps, rather, it’s because, in the words of David F. Wells, author of God in the Wasteland, “God has become weightless in the modern world.”  In other words, when faith becomes only a personal matter, it will remain hidden and invisible while the spiritual vacuum in the public arena is filled by the “faith” of political power-seekers and doers.

Two bold black women are literally taking it to the streets, but they face serious headwinds in their evangelical quest to bring “weightiness” back to God.



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WSJ Editor Admonishes Reporters Over Trump Coverage…


A copy of Mr. Baker’s emails was reviewed by The New York Times.

Several phrases about Mr. Trump that appeared in the draft of the article reviewed by Mr. Baker were not included in the final version published on The Journal’s website.

The draft, in its lead paragraph, described the Charlottesville, Va., protests as “reshaping” Mr. Trump’s presidency. That mention was removed.

The draft also described Mr. Trump’s Phoenix speech as “an off-script return to campaign form,” in which the president “pivoted away from remarks a day earlier in which he had solemnly called for unity.” That language does not appear in the article’s final version.

Contacted about the emails on Wednesday, a Wall Street Journal spokeswoman wrote in a statement: “The Wall Street Journal has a clear separation between news and opinion. As always, the key priority is to focus reporting on facts and avoid opinion seeping into news coverage.”

In February, Mr. Baker fielded tough questions at an all-hands staff meeting about whether the newspaper’s reporting on Mr. Trump was too soft. Mr. Baker denied that notion, and he suggested that other newspapers had abandoned their objectivity about the president; he also encouraged journalists unhappy with the Journal’s coverage to seek employment elsewhere.

But apprehensiveness in the newsroom has persisted. This month, Politico obtained and published a transcript of a White House interview with Mr. Trump conducted by Mr. Baker and several Journal reporters and editors. Unusually for an editor in chief, Mr. Baker took a leading role in the interview and made small talk with Mr. Trump about travel and playing golf.

When Ivanka Trump, the president’s older daughter, walked into the Oval Office, Mr. Baker told her, according to the transcript, “It was nice to see you out in Southampton a couple weeks ago,” apparently referring to a party that the two had attended.

The Wall Street Journal is owned by the media magnate Rupert Murdoch, who speaks regularly with Mr. Trump and recently dined with the president at the White House.

Continue reading the main story



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Pigs saved from fire served as sausage to rescuing firefighters…


A British farmer thanked firefighters who rescued a litter of piglets and two sows from a barn fire in February by giving them sausages made out of the animals, according to local reports. 

Farmer Rachel Rivers thanked the Pewsey fire station with sausages from the pigs they rescued six months ago when a barn on her farm in England caught fire, the BBC reported. 

Rivers told the BBC she promised the firefighters she would bring them some sausage from the pigs, which were reared for meat. 

“I gave those animals the best quality of life I could ever give until the time they go to slaughter, and they go into the food chain,” she said.

The Pewsey fire station shared photos of the sausages, which have since been deleted, and thanked Rivers for the meat, according to the BBC. 

USA TODAY has reached out to the Pewsey fire station for comment. 

 



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JUDGE JUDY Unleashed In Leaked Deposition: 'Pay Me!'


If you think Judy Sheindlin is out of this world on Judge Judy and deserves every penny of the mammoth $47 million a year in salary she gets, wait until you hear what she had to say in a deposition. In a transcript obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Sheindlin sounds off on everything from the coup during the first season that she felt powerless to prevent to her current status as television’s top money-maker. Regarding CBS, she says, “Their back’s to the wall.”

Her colorful testimony comes in a lawsuit brought by Rebel Entertainment Partners, which claims to have been denied profits thanks to creative accounting by CBS and Big Ticket Television. Specifically, in a complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in March 2016, Rebel objects to the way Sheindlin’s compensation is structured so that after deductions, net profits on Judge Judy are wiped out. The lawsuit also takes issue with how the syndicated show is licensed to CBS affiliates and why Rebel is not seeing money from the Sheindlin-created series Hot Bench.

Rebel is the successor-in-interest to the talent agency that allegedly packaged the show. For whatever work it did in the mid-1990s, it’s entitled to a 5 percent share of net profits.

CBS and Big Ticket, in summary adjudication papers filed this month, don’t think much of that work.

“Rebel did not conceive of, develop, or create Judge Judy,” states a brief. “Rebel has never financed, produced, sold, licensed, distributed, exhibited, or marketed Judge Judy. Rebel’s only connection with Judge Judy was its representation of three original show producers in 1995. For this, Rebel has collected nearly $20 million in upfront commission and back-end participation payments. Indeed, Rebel has received more than $1.1 million in payments in the year since it filed the Complaint in this action.”

The chief argument from CBS is that Rebel’s deal doesn’t allow the agency to challenge production cost amounts. CBS’ lawyers say Rebel can object to production cost types, but that the discretion on what to pay the show’s star is something reserved for the producers.

“Rebel cannot dispute that the salary paid to Judge Sheindlin was the salary necessary to keep Judge Judy on the air, and, ironically, the salary necessary for Rebel to continue to earn millions of dollars in upfront commissions that would disappear were the show to end,” continues the defendants’ summary adjudication brief.

Is paying Sheindlin all that salary really necessary? Well, that’s where her deposition comes into play.

In July 2016, Sheindlin was videotaped giving testimony. What she said hasn’t been revealed publicly until now.

During questioning, Sheindlin discussed how she went from being a supervising judge in New York family court to becoming a TV star. It was in late 1994 or early 1995 when Sheindlin says she got a call from producer Sandi Spreckman, who worked with another producer named Kaye Switzer and who had seen a piece on her on CBS’ 60 Minutes. Spreckman asked whether Sheindlin had ever thought of becoming a television judge.

“I remember that conversation because it was a life-altering conversation for me,” testified Sheindlin. “I said as a matter of fact I did. I thought I would make a great TV judge and I know that Joe Wapner had just gone off the air. Little did I realize that the reason they were making this call is because they were both unemployed because People’s Court had gone off the air…”

Sheindlin then recounted her Hollywood courtship from producer Larry Lyttle and others with all sorts of details down to the drink — a Diet Coke with lemon — she had during meetings and the hotel near Universal’s studio she stayed at (“I thought I’d died and went to heaven, it actually had a little tiny room in addition to a bedroom.”) During the deposition, she continually referred to Spreckman and Switzer as “the girls” and expressed skepticism about those pitching her. For example, the agent for the host of The People’s Court? She told him, “I don’t know you from a hole in the wall, so I’m not certainly binding myself to you.”

Told by Lyttle that she needed to give an answer within 24 hours to a proposed deal for a pilot, Sheindlin says she looked for representation. She retained her entertainment lawyer — Nancy Rose — after a recommendation from Laurie and Larry David, the latter being of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm fame. Sheindlin says she’s related to them through marriage. (Reportedly, an upcoming episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm features star David as a plaintiff in the Judge Judy courtroom.)

After intense negotiations, Big Ticket made its final offer. Sheindlin doesn’t remember the name of the company’s lawyer (“I think he’s no longer vertical on this earth”).

She recalls her response to the offer: ‘If the girls are happy with their deals, if that’s their last offer, it’s three and a half times as much as I’m making now as a family court judge — I’ll take it.’

The pilot was made. The show was sold. “The girls finally realized the possibility of getting the brass ring,” testified Sheindlin.

Except that’s not exactly true. When she got back to New York, she got a frantic call from Switzer, who had been fired and escorted off by security.

“At that time I really didn’t know I had the power to say, ‘You can’t fire the girls,’ to say to Larry Lyttle, ‘You can’t fire the girls. If you fire the girls, I’m not working,'” continues Sheindlin. “So I did what I was supposed to do contractually. I showed up for work the next week. The girls left the show sometime in late ’95, early ’96. Actually, the last time I saw the girls is when I testified on their behalf in a lawsuit. I’ve had limited communication with them.”

Judge Judy has become an enormous success — and now Rebel demands what it says is its rightful piece. Rebel is run by Richard Lawrence. There’s obviously some bad blood between the two that’s festered for years that few knew about.

“I haven’t seen him or heard from him in over 21 years,” said Sheindlin in her testimony about Lawrence. “I think I said something like for him to complain about my salary when he’s made … 17 million dollars … for what was perhaps two, three hours’ worth of business, that, to me, is obscene. Especially since it has always been my view that Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Lyttle were in collusion right from the beginning, just as Mr. Lyttle was with Fred Fenster to screw the girls. … I don’t think he can ever suggest that he represented me, and if he did represent these two women, he did such an atrocious job as an agent in representing them, because while he made tens of millions of dollars, I had to give Kaye Switzer money several years ago because she couldn’t pay her rent.”

That’s not all she has to say about the agent.

“Mr. Lawrence should actually be kissing this right in Macy’s window because my contract with CBS for more than a decade now does not include a last look, which means the following,” she said. “Which means they can’t match another offer, which means I can produce this show myself for decades. I choose not to do that because of my age and because of the fact that I like the uncomplicated life I lead.”

Sheindlin said someone once wisely told her that she was leaving $20 million a year on the table by not producing Judge Judy herself.

She responded, “How much can you eat?” (Besides her enormous salary, she recently sold the Judge Judy library to CBS in a deal that was likely north of $200 million.)

Sheindlin testified that if she ever decided to produce the show herself, Lawrence would be “getting bupkis.”

“It’s very important for you to know, because part of your complaint is that CBS conspired with me to deprive Mr. Lawrence of his backend profit,” Sheindlin added in testimony. “CBS had no choice but to pay me what I wanted because otherwise I could take it wherever I wanted to take it or do it myself.”

Sheindlin says that every three years, she sits down for a renegotiation with CBS and brings along a card with her demands. Sometimes, she wants a bump for the crew who work on Judge Judy. Sometimes, it’s something different. But there’s always the salary.

“And we go to the Grill on the Alley with the president of the company,” says the tough-minded judge about CBS. “We sit across the table, and I hand him the envelope and I say, ‘Don’t read it now, let’s have a nice dinner. Call me tomorrow. You want it, fine. Otherwise, I’ll produce it myself.’ That’s the negotiation.”

“The only one who tried something a little bit different was John Nogawski,” continued Sheindlin, referring to the former president of CBS TV Distribution. “John Nogawski came to the meeting at the Grill on the Alley, and I handed him my envelope, and he said, ‘Judy, I have my own envelope.’ And I said, ‘I don’t want to look at it.’ He said, ‘Why not? Maybe it’s more than what’s in your envelope.’ And I said, ‘Well, John, if I look at your envelope, it’s a negotiation. This isn’t a negotiation.’ And he put his envelope away and they gave me what I wanted; not a whole thing, not 30 pages, three things, whatever it was, done. So to suggest that the largest profit participant, which is CBS, would pay me willingly more money is so ludicrous. Their back’s to the wall.”

Sheindlin has come a long way from the time she couldn’t stick up for her girls fired on Judge Judy. Here she is in an imaginary discussion with CBS:

“You have corporate stockholders to respond to,” she testified. “I have nobody except my grandchildren. You’re going to tell me you’re going to close down my show because you will be making less money this year than you made last year if you double my salary or if you give me another 10 million dollars per year. You won’t. We’re just going to be partners. Because after almost a decade, that’s the way it should be.”

Her half-hour response to just one question from an attorney concludes in dynamic fashion.

She says, “They pay me the money that they do because they have no choice. They can’t find another one. They’ve tried to find another Judy. If they find another Judy, good for them. So far they haven’t. … And until they do, they have their local news on all their O&Os [owned-and-operated stations]. They have international, which we’re involved with the — the Judy program is all over the world, and even though they had to take a deep breath, they paid the money because they know otherwise. I’d take the same people with me that are producing the show now and I’d go and do it myself.”

In response to CBS’ summary adjudication motion, plaintiff’s attorney Bryan Freedman calls it “laughable,” asking, “Isn’t it ironic that CBS waited to file this motion until after it agreed to pay Judge Scheindlin over $95 million for the Judge Judy library – in addition to her salary of $45 million?”

“As to the argument attempting to eliminate my client’s claim for breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing – i.e., by stating that CBS had a right to set Judy’s salary at any amount they wanted – that is an insult to every profit participant who has ever been involved in a show with CBS,” he adds. “By providing Judy Scheindlin with a $45 million salary and essentially forcing profit participants to pay for it by eliminating their backend, CBS’ conduct is clearly in bad faith and completely inconsistent with customary practice in the television industry. If a court allows CBS to force their profit participants to pay for the outrageous salaries of its talent, be forewarned that no one should ever do business with CBS.”

More soon about this dispute.



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Norman Lear Making NBC Aging Sitcom 'GUESS WHO DIED'…


The network has handed out a sizable pilot-production commitment to the long-gestating project.

Four decades after Sanford and Son ended its six-season run, legendary TV producer Norman Lear is returning to NBC.

The network has handed out a sizable pilot-production commitment to Lear’s long-gestating comedy Guess Who Died. Lear and prolific producer Peter Tolan (Rescue Me) will co-write the script and exec produce the single-camera comedy.  

The project, which Lear has been championing for more than seven years, is described as a humorous and inspiring look at the shared joys and challenges we all experience at any stage of life. NBC notes the potential series is inspired by Lear, 95, and his secret to longevity: to continue learning and growing — but especially when society expects you to slow down. It’s based on Lear’s personal experiences and will be told in partnership with Tolan’s authentic and irreverent voice.

Read more: Norman Lear, Creative Until You Die

Sony Pictures Television Studio, Tolan’s studio-based The Cloudland Co. and Lear’s Act III Productions will produce. Lear, Tolan and Act III head of production and development Brent Miller will exec produce.

Should Guess Who Died move to series, it would be Lear’s second show currently on the air, joining Netflix’s One Day at a Time reboot, which is now in production on season two.

Lear has frequently discussed Guess Who Died publicly. He most recently organized a table read for it at the Austin Film Festival last year — featuring June Squibb, among others — that was recorded by CBS Sunday Morning. (Watch below.)

The New York Times also produced a documentary short following Lear’s efforts to get the potential show on the air. (Watch below.)

“I think it may have sold the show because it attracted a tremendous amount of interest, including a couple of sources that want to put it on,” Lear told IndieWire earlier this year of the attention placed on Guess Who Died.

All told, Lear has produced more than 30 TV series including All in the Family (which won four Emmys), The Jeffersons, One Day at a Time and Good Times. On the feature side, he earned an Oscar nomination for 1967’s Divorce American Style, as well as 1987’s The Princess Bride.

Sony TV-based Tolan, meanwhile, counts Outsiders, The Larry Sanders Show and Murphy Brown among his credits. He is repped by CAA and Schreck Rose.

TV Development



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UPDATE: Trumps Skip Kennedy Center Honors Amid Boycotts…


If you had been hoping to see Norman Lear and Donald Trump face off at the Kennedy Center Honors in December, the former Celebrity Apprentice host just dashed your dreams and likely avoided a very uncomfortable confrontation of sorts.

“The President and First Lady have decided not to participate in this year’s activities to allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction,” coldly announced the White House early in the AM today regarding the 40th Honors. “First Lady Melania Trump, along with her husband President Donald J. Trump, extend their sincerest congratulations and well wishes to all of this year’s award recipients for their many accomplishments,” the fleeing statement added.

The White House had nothing further to say on Saturday on the matter when pressed by media accompanying Trump at his working vacation in Bridgewater, N.J. Past presidents like Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Bush Senior and Ronald Reagan haven’t hidden away from the ceremony, even when they or their policies may have been counter to what honorees believed.

For their part, Kennedy Center Chairman David Rubenstein and President Deborah Rutter tried to put the best spin they could on the whole fiasco. “In choosing not to participate in this year’s Honors activities, the administration has graciously signaled its respect for the Kennedy Center and ensures the Honors gala remains a deservingly special moment for the honorees,” the duo said on Saturday after the White House said the Trumps wouldn’t be coming. “We are grateful for this gesture.”

However, being that the current President of the United States avoids most of the big cities in the country, the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, the United Kingdom and Democrats for fear of meeting people who disagree with him, today’s announcement or “gesture” doesn’t really come as a surprise. Even less so less than a day after every single member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities resigned in outrage over Trump’s repeatedly divisive remarks about the violent and fatal demonstration by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia that started on August 10. If you hadn’t heard, Friday also saw Trump’s chief strategist Steven Bannon get pink slipped out of the Executive Mansion.

Alas, even with all that, the Kennedy Center Honors event itself was fraying and the traditional pleasantries retreating to partisan and personal positions.

Norman Lear

All In The Family producer Lear has already said that he would probably not attend the customary White House reception for honorees.  “I’m not sure I want to visit a White House that has given such a cold shoulder to culture and the arts,” the TV icon told Deadline earlier this month.

Fellow honoree Carmen de Lavallade said this week that she would accept the award but not step inside Trump’s White House for any pre-hootenanny schmoozing. “In light of the socially divisive and morally caustic narrative that our current leadership is choosing to engage in, and in keeping with the principles that I and so many others have fought for, I will be declining the invitation to attend the reception at the White House,” the acclaimed dancer and choreographer noted on August 17.

Also a Kennedy Center Honors recipient this year, Gloria Estefan has said she will go to the White House to talk immigration with the Deporter-in-Chief. Long time Trump pal Lionel Richie says he’ll be in the house while LL Cool J hasn’t indicated either way what his plans are right now for the December events.

Right now, Kennedy Center Honors medallions are still scheduled to be presented on December 2, the night before the Gala, at a State Department dinner hosted by Secretary of State and ex-EXXON-Mobil boss Rex Tillerson. The event the next day will be filmed for broadcast on CBS as a two-hour primetime special the day after Christmas – with or without Scrooge Trump.



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Man stabbed after haircut gets him mistaken for neo-Nazi…


This Colorado man is avowedly not a neo-Nazi.

But he believes his long-on-top, buzzed-on-the-sides haircut got him mistaken for one — and nearly stabbed to death by a confused anti-fascist.

Joshua Witt, 26, escaped his brush with hairdo-doom with a defensive slice to the hand and three stitches.
“Apparently, my haircut is considered a neo-Nazi statement,” he told The Post Saturday, as his account on Facebook garnered 20,000 shares.

Witt says he’d just pulled in to the parking lot of the Steak ’n Shake in Sheridan, Colo., and was opening his car door.

“All I hear is, ‘Are you one of them neo-Nazis?’ as this dude is swinging a knife up over my car door at me,” he said.

“I threw my hands up and once the knife kind of hit, I dived back into my car and shut the door and watched him run off west, behind my car.

“The dude was actually aiming for my head,” he added.

“I was more in shock because I was just getting a milkshake.”

Witt says he has no tattoos or regalia that would finger him for a fascist. His pals are messaging him on Facebook with the only rationale they can come up with: “They say it’s my haircut.”

He’s thinking of changing his look, he says.



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Charlottesville and Its Aftermath: What if It Was a Setup?


The ridiculous campaign by virtually every media outlet, every Democrat and far too many squishy Republicans to label Trump some kind of  racist and Nazi sympathizer is beginning to have the stink of an orchestrated smear.   The conflagration in Charlottesville is beginning to feel like a set-up, perhaps weeks or months in the planning.  Planned by whom?  Time may tell.  We know that Michael Signer, the mayor of Charlottesville, declared his city to be the “capital of the resistance” just after Trump’s inauguration.  We know that Gov. Terry McAuliffe is a corruptocrat, joined at the hip to the Clintons.  He pardoned sixty-thousand felons in order to ensure he delivered his state to the presidential election of Hillary Clinton.  We know he would like to run for president himself.

We know that Obama and his inner circle have set up a war room in his D.C. home to plan and execute resistance to the Trump administration and his legislative agenda.  None of these people care about the American people, or the fact that Trump won the election because millions of people voted for him.  They suggest those deranged persons who gathered in Charlottesville as members of one of several fringe groups, Unite The Right, neo-Nazi or KKK, are Trump’s base — as if there are more than a few hundred or thousand of them throughout the country.  There are not enough of them to affect anything or elect anyone.  Those who are actual members of these small groups are most likely mentally ill to one degree or another. Trump has disavowed them all, over and over and over again.  Liz Crokin, an entertainment reporter and no fan of Trump, wrote in 2016 that she had covered Trump for over a decade and  in all that time, no one had ever suggested he was racist, homophobic, or sympathetic to white supremacists.  That all began after he announced his campaign.  It is as fake a narrative as the “Russia collusion” meme.  The left set out to defame Trump from moment one.  When he won the election, their shock, dismay and intolerance for every opinion that differs from their own shifted into hysterical overdrive.   They mounted their crusade to destroy his presidency on Nov. 9, 2016. 

What if Signer and McAuliffe, in conjunction with Antifa and other Soros-funded groups like Black Lives Matter, planned and orchestrated what happened in Charlottesville and meant for events to unfold roughly as they did?  If they did,  it was icing on their sick, immoral cake.  If this was all part of a plan, one would hope those behind it suffer for their part in and responsibility for the tragic death of a young woman, Heather Heyer.  The “founder” of Unite The Right, Jason Kessler,  was an activist with Occupy Wall Street and Obama supporter. 

Jason Kessler at Charlottesville City Hall, August 13, 2017

He sees himself as a professional provocateur. What if he was a ringer, a phony who revels in riling up some crazy people for some political purpose?  We know the left is skilled in all manner of dirty tricks.  That sort of thing was Robert Creamer’s job for the Hillary campaign, hiring thugs to incite violence that could then be blamed on Trump supporters.  Think of Ferguson, Baltimore, Berkeley, etc.  Antifa and BLM are every bit as fascist as any of the supremacist groups; they are more violent and there are more of them.  Why is the left so afraid to admit this fact?  Even Peter Beinart did in the Atlantic, written before last Saturday.

Since that day, the call to remove the statues on display that honor any members of the Confederacy has become shrill and  frenzied.  Erasing American history benefits no one and only condemns us to repeat past mistakes.  The supremacist groups had a permit; they had applied months earlier.  The Antifa and Black Lives Matter groups did not have a permit.  The local police at some point, on whose order we do not know, turned the pro-statue groups toward the Antifa and BLM groups, many of whom were armed with lethal weapons – soda cans filled with cement, bottles filled with urine, baseball bats and boards with screws protruding to do maximum harm, and improvised flamethrowers.  These are the people who initiated the violence.  How was this not a planned melee?  Pit groups of demented racists  — all of them on both sides are certainly that — against each other and violence is sure to occur.  (Certainly, there were decent people among the protestors and counter-protesters who had no affiliation with the supremacist groups or Antifa or BLM. Heather Heyer was among them.)

Trump spoke out on Saturday and his statement was perfectly fine given the known facts at the time.  But the media reacted as though he had defended the supremacist groups.  He did not; not even close.  It was as though no matter what Trump said, they were going to attack his remarks as being insufficient.  When he reiterated his horror of the brawl the next day and named the groups present,  they again reacted as if he had defended the supremacist groups because he said there was mayhem committed by both sides.  He correctly stated that there was violence perpetrated by members of all the groups present.  The media was apoplectic even though they surely knew what he said was true.  Reporters on the scene saw the police stand down.  Only one of them reported that truth.  One has to wonder if talking points were distributed before the event took place and before Trump said a word about it.

The Democratic Party is no longer liberal, it is leftist.  It is not progressive, it is regressive and repressive.  It seeks to overturn the First Amendment.  It means to indoctrinate, and has, successive generations via public and private education.  It is becoming ever more fascist by the day.  Along with groups like Antifa, BLM, and the host of anti-democratic groups George Soros funds to protest all around the nation, the media and the Democrats in Congress seek to overthrow an elected president in order to impose their vision of some sort of socialist utopia which of course will never exist.  What will result if they get their way is a Venezuela-style two-tiered class system, the ultra rich and the very poor who are kept in their place by economic and social control.  The millions of people who see the left for what it has become see this.  It is why they voted for Trump. 

It is disheartening to see so many American elites, privileged in wealth and position within the media and/or government be so completely of one, unthinking mind.  They all have braces on their brains (Auntie Mame).  So afraid to buck the rigid mindset of their peers, they have become mouthpieces for their own group identity.  Do they believe the nonsense they spew?  Who knows?  Those in Congress, all the Democrats and the anti-Trump Republicans essentially care about one thing and one thing only: getting re-elected.  They cannot afford to offend their donors or the lobbyists whose largesse fills their coffers.  So they trip over each other getting to the nearest camera to align themselves with whatever opinion they think will put them on the right side of the money people.  They are wrong so often.

Finally, Trump’s press conference on Tuesday made the left’s heads explode.  Why?  Because everything he said was absolutely true.  He does not play by their tyrannical PC rules.  He said what was true and that room full of puerile reporters shouting insults at him could not handle the truth.  They want what they want to be true but it just is not.   This entire episode, the behavior of all those protesters in Charlottesville and the bizarre behavior of the media will likely drive future voters to Trump, not away from him.  Millions more than those who voted for him are as likely to be sick to death of the self-righteous preening of the talking heads:  Chuck Todd, Jake Tapper, Don Lemon, Shep Smith, etc.  There must be a contest to see who can appear to be the most egregiously triggered by what Trump did or did not say. 

So were the events of Saturday the result of a despicable plan to further undermine Trump? There was plenty of time and Charlottesville is the “capital of resistance.”   If it was, it was evil and deadly and the people involved need to be prosecuted.  Or is this a wild conspiracy theory?  Perhaps. But the pieces fit.  Will the DOJ and the FBI actually investigate the many mysteries that surround the events of that day?  Not likely.  The left in this country has long been and seems to remain above the law.  But someday, maybe someone will come forward and tell the truth.  What is certain is that the violence could easily have been prevented with the common sense strategies civilized cities put in place.  America deserves much better from its media and its elected officials.  The only person remembering why he is there is Donald Trump. 

Editor’s note: An error on the purpose of McAuliffe’s pardoning of 60,000 felons that ran in an earlier version of the piece has been corrected.

The ridiculous campaign by virtually every media outlet, every Democrat and far too many squishy Republicans to label Trump some kind of  racist and Nazi sympathizer is beginning to have the stink of an orchestrated smear.   The conflagration in Charlottesville is beginning to feel like a set-up, perhaps weeks or months in the planning.  Planned by whom?  Time may tell.  We know that Michael Signer, the mayor of Charlottesville, declared his city to be the “capital of the resistance” just after Trump’s inauguration.  We know that Gov. Terry McAuliffe is a corruptocrat, joined at the hip to the Clintons.  He pardoned sixty-thousand felons in order to ensure he delivered his state to the presidential election of Hillary Clinton.  We know he would like to run for president himself.

We know that Obama and his inner circle have set up a war room in his D.C. home to plan and execute resistance to the Trump administration and his legislative agenda.  None of these people care about the American people, or the fact that Trump won the election because millions of people voted for him.  They suggest those deranged persons who gathered in Charlottesville as members of one of several fringe groups, Unite The Right, neo-Nazi or KKK, are Trump’s base — as if there are more than a few hundred or thousand of them throughout the country.  There are not enough of them to affect anything or elect anyone.  Those who are actual members of these small groups are most likely mentally ill to one degree or another. Trump has disavowed them all, over and over and over again.  Liz Crokin, an entertainment reporter and no fan of Trump, wrote in 2016 that she had covered Trump for over a decade and  in all that time, no one had ever suggested he was racist, homophobic, or sympathetic to white supremacists.  That all began after he announced his campaign.  It is as fake a narrative as the “Russia collusion” meme.  The left set out to defame Trump from moment one.  When he won the election, their shock, dismay and intolerance for every opinion that differs from their own shifted into hysterical overdrive.   They mounted their crusade to destroy his presidency on Nov. 9, 2016. 

What if Signer and McAuliffe, in conjunction with Antifa and other Soros-funded groups like Black Lives Matter, planned and orchestrated what happened in Charlottesville and meant for events to unfold roughly as they did?  If they did,  it was icing on their sick, immoral cake.  If this was all part of a plan, one would hope those behind it suffer for their part in and responsibility for the tragic death of a young woman, Heather Heyer.  The “founder” of Unite The Right, Jason Kessler,  was an activist with Occupy Wall Street and Obama supporter. 

Jason Kessler at Charlottesville City Hall, August 13, 2017

He sees himself as a professional provocateur. What if he was a ringer, a phony who revels in riling up some crazy people for some political purpose?  We know the left is skilled in all manner of dirty tricks.  That sort of thing was Robert Creamer’s job for the Hillary campaign, hiring thugs to incite violence that could then be blamed on Trump supporters.  Think of Ferguson, Baltimore, Berkeley, etc.  Antifa and BLM are every bit as fascist as any of the supremacist groups; they are more violent and there are more of them.  Why is the left so afraid to admit this fact?  Even Peter Beinart did in the Atlantic, written before last Saturday.

Since that day, the call to remove the statues on display that honor any members of the Confederacy has become shrill and  frenzied.  Erasing American history benefits no one and only condemns us to repeat past mistakes.  The supremacist groups had a permit; they had applied months earlier.  The Antifa and Black Lives Matter groups did not have a permit.  The local police at some point, on whose order we do not know, turned the pro-statue groups toward the Antifa and BLM groups, many of whom were armed with lethal weapons – soda cans filled with cement, bottles filled with urine, baseball bats and boards with screws protruding to do maximum harm, and improvised flamethrowers.  These are the people who initiated the violence.  How was this not a planned melee?  Pit groups of demented racists  — all of them on both sides are certainly that — against each other and violence is sure to occur.  (Certainly, there were decent people among the protestors and counter-protesters who had no affiliation with the supremacist groups or Antifa or BLM. Heather Heyer was among them.)

Trump spoke out on Saturday and his statement was perfectly fine given the known facts at the time.  But the media reacted as though he had defended the supremacist groups.  He did not; not even close.  It was as though no matter what Trump said, they were going to attack his remarks as being insufficient.  When he reiterated his horror of the brawl the next day and named the groups present,  they again reacted as if he had defended the supremacist groups because he said there was mayhem committed by both sides.  He correctly stated that there was violence perpetrated by members of all the groups present.  The media was apoplectic even though they surely knew what he said was true.  Reporters on the scene saw the police stand down.  Only one of them reported that truth.  One has to wonder if talking points were distributed before the event took place and before Trump said a word about it.

The Democratic Party is no longer liberal, it is leftist.  It is not progressive, it is regressive and repressive.  It seeks to overturn the First Amendment.  It means to indoctrinate, and has, successive generations via public and private education.  It is becoming ever more fascist by the day.  Along with groups like Antifa, BLM, and the host of anti-democratic groups George Soros funds to protest all around the nation, the media and the Democrats in Congress seek to overthrow an elected president in order to impose their vision of some sort of socialist utopia which of course will never exist.  What will result if they get their way is a Venezuela-style two-tiered class system, the ultra rich and the very poor who are kept in their place by economic and social control.  The millions of people who see the left for what it has become see this.  It is why they voted for Trump. 

It is disheartening to see so many American elites, privileged in wealth and position within the media and/or government be so completely of one, unthinking mind.  They all have braces on their brains (Auntie Mame).  So afraid to buck the rigid mindset of their peers, they have become mouthpieces for their own group identity.  Do they believe the nonsense they spew?  Who knows?  Those in Congress, all the Democrats and the anti-Trump Republicans essentially care about one thing and one thing only: getting re-elected.  They cannot afford to offend their donors or the lobbyists whose largesse fills their coffers.  So they trip over each other getting to the nearest camera to align themselves with whatever opinion they think will put them on the right side of the money people.  They are wrong so often.

Finally, Trump’s press conference on Tuesday made the left’s heads explode.  Why?  Because everything he said was absolutely true.  He does not play by their tyrannical PC rules.  He said what was true and that room full of puerile reporters shouting insults at him could not handle the truth.  They want what they want to be true but it just is not.   This entire episode, the behavior of all those protesters in Charlottesville and the bizarre behavior of the media will likely drive future voters to Trump, not away from him.  Millions more than those who voted for him are as likely to be sick to death of the self-righteous preening of the talking heads:  Chuck Todd, Jake Tapper, Don Lemon, Shep Smith, etc.  There must be a contest to see who can appear to be the most egregiously triggered by what Trump did or did not say. 

So were the events of Saturday the result of a despicable plan to further undermine Trump? There was plenty of time and Charlottesville is the “capital of resistance.”   If it was, it was evil and deadly and the people involved need to be prosecuted.  Or is this a wild conspiracy theory?  Perhaps. But the pieces fit.  Will the DOJ and the FBI actually investigate the many mysteries that surround the events of that day?  Not likely.  The left in this country has long been and seems to remain above the law.  But someday, maybe someone will come forward and tell the truth.  What is certain is that the violence could easily have been prevented with the common sense strategies civilized cities put in place.  America deserves much better from its media and its elected officials.  The only person remembering why he is there is Donald Trump. 

Editor’s note: An error on the purpose of McAuliffe’s pardoning of 60,000 felons that ran in an earlier version of the piece has been corrected.



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Obama 2.0 in 2020


First, Obama was fortunate enough to have inherited an economy that had begun to recover by the time he entered the White House in January 2009.  The economy would have recovered no matter who was president.  Obama’s contribution was to make it the slowest post-recession recovery in 70 years.

GDP gains following postwar recessions have averaged 4.3%.  Growth under Obama averaged 2%.  So the economic growth the U.S. lost under Obama was at least 18.4% percent (4.3% minus 2% equals 2.3%, times 8, excluding compounding).

That growth deficit will continue to shadow those same Millennials and younger Gen Xers who helped elect Obama.  Compounded over a lifetime, that lost growth amounts to 4.5 times whatever growth was squandered under Obama (18.4% x 3% average growth x 50 years compounded).  Lost economic growth is the gift that keeps on giving.

Second, Obama was fortunate enough to have inherited a situation in the Middle East that had stabilized due to the Bush “surge.”  Along with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Obama made a shambles of the Middle East, destabilizing allies in Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Libya and plunging Syria into civil war.  None of this was helped by Obama’s estrangement from our ally Israel.  In the Far East, he did no better, playing ostrich to the threat posed by China’s militarization.  And now there is North Korea, also ignored for eight years. D id North Korea suddenly obtain missiles capable of striking the mainland U.S., or were they developed while Obama was intentionally looking the other way?  

Third, economic decline and foreign policy mismanagement were matched by cultural and civic decline.  Race relations had been improving up to 2009.  It is generally acknowledged that race relations declined under Obama.  Not since the 1960s has America seen such racial upheaval, as for example in Ferguson, Missouri, where rioting in response to legitimate police action was fueled by Obama’s many attacks on the police.

Then there is Charlottesville, where a mob of nasty white supremacists was met by a mob of belligerent adversaries.  This confrontation was the result of eight years of reducing politics to the lowest common denominator.  Charlottesville was an ugly mêlée followed by a brutal vehicular assault.

A large part of the solution is for our leaders to resist the temptation of scoring political points off every act of violence.  Unfortunately, the response to Charlottesville, including Obama’s recent tweet, represents just that sort of politicized response.  In the context of events, what the former president said is, I have the moral high ground.  I condemn haters on the right but keep quiet about those on the left (such as the Steve Scalise shooter and many of the Black Lives Matter assailants).

Under Obama, the conduct of politics declined with the president publicly slamming members of the opposing party and justices of the Supreme Court.  Then there was the former president telling us, again and again, that we could keep our doctor and our health care provider.  For millions, that turned out not to be true.

And, in addition, the “unmasking” opponents for political purposes.  To exploit the nation’s intel services for political gain is, of course, illegal.  It is also a new low in the conduct of politics.  Like voter fraud and fake news, it undermines our democracy.

In sum, Obama’s eight years were years of national decline.

Would Deval Patrick be any better?

Between 2007 and 2015, when Patrick was governor of Massachusetts, real GDP growth was less than one percent (0.96%).  By comparison, real GDP growth in Texas was 2.8%, nearly three times that of Massachusetts.  Could we reasonably expect Patrick to do better at the national level than he did in the Bay State?

The simplest measure of a state’s success is population growth.  From 2007 to 2015, the population of Massachusetts grew from 6,432,000 to 6,794,000 (unofficial estimates), an annual population growth rate of 0.56%.  Compare that to Texas: 23.83 million to 27.43 million, or 1.51% annual growth, again nearly three times that of Massachusetts.

Clearly, the Dems should be running Rick Perry.  But then he doesn’t quite fit the liberal mold.  All he can do is bring about enormous prosperity, security, and happiness to 25 million Texans.  

Patrick has no significant foreign policy experience, but then neither did Obama, and Obama managed to create the worst instability overseas since the Korean War.  Maybe Patrick can expand on that.

On race, Patrick, who was assistant attorney general for the civil rights division under Bill Clinton, has made a career out of civil rights issues.  It is likely that he would continue this tendency if elected president.

As governor Patrick exploited the same liberal issues as Obama: climate change, state-run health care, gun control, redefining marriage, and abortion, accompanied by higher income taxes and greater regulation.  According to Forbes magazine, after eight years of Patrick, Massachusetts had a “lousy regulatory climate” and the highest cost structure for business in the U.S.

Ironically, after leaving office, Patrick joined Bain Capital, the investment firm co-founded by Mitt Romney.  During the 2012 campaign, Obama roundly attacked Romney’s connection with Bain Capital, suggesting that a candidate who worked for Bain Capital was an out-of-touch elitist.  Would that apply to Deval Patrick as well?

I actually believe that Bain Capital may be a positive on Patrick’s résumé, along with his legal work at Coca-Cola and Texaco.  Much of what came before seems to have been tied too closely to race.  We’ve been there already, and it hasn’t done the country any good.  

So when the Dems run Obama 2.0 in 2020, let them be honest about his record.  We’ve heard enough of the “better way.”  Expect no “better” from Patrick than we had from Obama.

Jeffrey Folks is the author of many books and articles on American culture including Heartland of the Imagination (2011).

Not surprisingly, Deval Patrick has been ordained by the Obama camp as the favorite for 2020.  As Obama 2.0, the former Massachusetts governor would bring the same failed policies as his mentor.  The danger is that by 2020, much of the electorate will have forgotten just how flawed those policies were.

And so a brief reminder:

First, Obama was fortunate enough to have inherited an economy that had begun to recover by the time he entered the White House in January 2009.  The economy would have recovered no matter who was president.  Obama’s contribution was to make it the slowest post-recession recovery in 70 years.

GDP gains following postwar recessions have averaged 4.3%.  Growth under Obama averaged 2%.  So the economic growth the U.S. lost under Obama was at least 18.4% percent (4.3% minus 2% equals 2.3%, times 8, excluding compounding).

That growth deficit will continue to shadow those same Millennials and younger Gen Xers who helped elect Obama.  Compounded over a lifetime, that lost growth amounts to 4.5 times whatever growth was squandered under Obama (18.4% x 3% average growth x 50 years compounded).  Lost economic growth is the gift that keeps on giving.

Second, Obama was fortunate enough to have inherited a situation in the Middle East that had stabilized due to the Bush “surge.”  Along with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Obama made a shambles of the Middle East, destabilizing allies in Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Libya and plunging Syria into civil war.  None of this was helped by Obama’s estrangement from our ally Israel.  In the Far East, he did no better, playing ostrich to the threat posed by China’s militarization.  And now there is North Korea, also ignored for eight years. D id North Korea suddenly obtain missiles capable of striking the mainland U.S., or were they developed while Obama was intentionally looking the other way?  

Third, economic decline and foreign policy mismanagement were matched by cultural and civic decline.  Race relations had been improving up to 2009.  It is generally acknowledged that race relations declined under Obama.  Not since the 1960s has America seen such racial upheaval, as for example in Ferguson, Missouri, where rioting in response to legitimate police action was fueled by Obama’s many attacks on the police.

Then there is Charlottesville, where a mob of nasty white supremacists was met by a mob of belligerent adversaries.  This confrontation was the result of eight years of reducing politics to the lowest common denominator.  Charlottesville was an ugly mêlée followed by a brutal vehicular assault.

A large part of the solution is for our leaders to resist the temptation of scoring political points off every act of violence.  Unfortunately, the response to Charlottesville, including Obama’s recent tweet, represents just that sort of politicized response.  In the context of events, what the former president said is, I have the moral high ground.  I condemn haters on the right but keep quiet about those on the left (such as the Steve Scalise shooter and many of the Black Lives Matter assailants).

Under Obama, the conduct of politics declined with the president publicly slamming members of the opposing party and justices of the Supreme Court.  Then there was the former president telling us, again and again, that we could keep our doctor and our health care provider.  For millions, that turned out not to be true.

And, in addition, the “unmasking” opponents for political purposes.  To exploit the nation’s intel services for political gain is, of course, illegal.  It is also a new low in the conduct of politics.  Like voter fraud and fake news, it undermines our democracy.

In sum, Obama’s eight years were years of national decline.

Would Deval Patrick be any better?

Between 2007 and 2015, when Patrick was governor of Massachusetts, real GDP growth was less than one percent (0.96%).  By comparison, real GDP growth in Texas was 2.8%, nearly three times that of Massachusetts.  Could we reasonably expect Patrick to do better at the national level than he did in the Bay State?

The simplest measure of a state’s success is population growth.  From 2007 to 2015, the population of Massachusetts grew from 6,432,000 to 6,794,000 (unofficial estimates), an annual population growth rate of 0.56%.  Compare that to Texas: 23.83 million to 27.43 million, or 1.51% annual growth, again nearly three times that of Massachusetts.

Clearly, the Dems should be running Rick Perry.  But then he doesn’t quite fit the liberal mold.  All he can do is bring about enormous prosperity, security, and happiness to 25 million Texans.  

Patrick has no significant foreign policy experience, but then neither did Obama, and Obama managed to create the worst instability overseas since the Korean War.  Maybe Patrick can expand on that.

On race, Patrick, who was assistant attorney general for the civil rights division under Bill Clinton, has made a career out of civil rights issues.  It is likely that he would continue this tendency if elected president.

As governor Patrick exploited the same liberal issues as Obama: climate change, state-run health care, gun control, redefining marriage, and abortion, accompanied by higher income taxes and greater regulation.  According to Forbes magazine, after eight years of Patrick, Massachusetts had a “lousy regulatory climate” and the highest cost structure for business in the U.S.

Ironically, after leaving office, Patrick joined Bain Capital, the investment firm co-founded by Mitt Romney.  During the 2012 campaign, Obama roundly attacked Romney’s connection with Bain Capital, suggesting that a candidate who worked for Bain Capital was an out-of-touch elitist.  Would that apply to Deval Patrick as well?

I actually believe that Bain Capital may be a positive on Patrick’s résumé, along with his legal work at Coca-Cola and Texaco.  Much of what came before seems to have been tied too closely to race.  We’ve been there already, and it hasn’t done the country any good.  

So when the Dems run Obama 2.0 in 2020, let them be honest about his record.  We’ve heard enough of the “better way.”  Expect no “better” from Patrick than we had from Obama.

Jeffrey Folks is the author of many books and articles on American culture including Heartland of the Imagination (2011).



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SKmissile

US-SKorea war games start Monday as Pyongyang warns of 'catastrophe'…


Are tensions cooling in the Korean Peninsula? The United States and South Korea will find out Monday, when the two allies are scheduled to start joint military exercises that are known to anger North Korea, sometimes triggering a show of force.

This year’s war games come at a particularly delicate moment. There have been exchanges of war rhetoric between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, has further complicated the situation, by stating in an interview there’s “no military option” in North Korea while floating a possible deal with Pyongyang that would leave Seoul hanging.

Amid all this back and forth, the U.S. and South Korean military will simulate warfare with North Korea from Aug. 21 to 31, well aware that North Korea could respond with another missile test.

“Over the course of the next two weeks I expect tensions to escalate,” said Scott A. Snyder, a Korea specialist with the Council on Foreign Relations who previously was the Asia Foundation’s representative in Seoul. “This is always a sensitive issue, but it is more hair-trigger as the North Koreans are very sensitive to the like additional nuclear-capable aircraft flyovers.”

The United States says biannual exercises are defensive in nature, but North Korea and China have long criticized them as a provocation and an affront to regional security.

“There certainly will be some reaction,” said J.D. Williams, a retired Marine colonel and defense policy researcher at the RAND Corporation in California. He said he wouldn’t be surprised if North Korea conducted some kind of missile launch — not a test but a defiant demonstration of might.

North Korea last week threatened to fire four missiles toward Guam, a U.S. territory, a rebuttal to President Donald Trump’s “fire and fury” remarks of Aug. 8. North Korea’s Kim later backed off that threat, saying he’d watch “the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees” before deciding on the launch, a decision that Trump quickly tweeted was “very wise and well reasoned.”

The exchange suggested that cooler heads were prevailing in the latest U.S. standoff with North Korea. But next week’s war games could rekindle hostilities. On Thursday, North Korean state media declared that the military exercises will “further drive the situation on the Korean Peninsula into a catastrophe.”

Held every fall in South Korea, the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian war games are the world’s largest computerized command and control exercise. Some 30,000 U.S. soldiers and more than 50,000 South Korean troops usually take part, along with hundreds of thousands of first responders and civilians, some practicing for a potential chemical weapons attack.

The exercise, along with one in March, often triggers anti-war protests in South Korea and condemnation from China. While Chinese President Xi Jinping has been noticeably cool toward Kim Jong Un, and has been critical of North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons, China has long wanted the United States to shrink its military footprint in Asia, including some 12 bases in South Korea and Japan.

Over the course of the next two weeks I expect tensions to escalate

Scott A. Snyder, Council on Foreign Relations

In an editorial Monday, China’s Global Times newspaper, an arm of the Communist Party’s People’s Daily, lambasted the decision by the United States and South Korea to go ahead with Monday’s exercises.

“The drill will definitely provoke Pyongyang more, and Pyongyang is expected to make a more radical response,” the newspaper said. “If South Korea really wants no war on the Korean Peninsula, it should try to stop this military exercise.”

North Korea has been known to react strongly during the biannual war games. In 2014, the north fired off scud missiles during the March exercises held by the U.S.-South Korean command, called Foul Eagle.

During the 2015 Ulchi-Freedom Guardian exercises, North Korea and South Korea exchanged artillery and rocket fire over their border. That exchange came after two South Korean soldiers were maimed stepping on land mines in the Demilitarized Zone. South Korea accused North Korean soldiers of sneaking across the border and planting the land mines.

China and Russia have been urging the United States to consider a “freeze for freeze” agreement to reduce tensions. In such a deal, Pyongyang would agree to suspend its tests of missiles and nuclear weapons, and Washington and Seoul would agree to suspend large-scale military exercises.

U.S. military experts say such a deal would give a lopsided advantage to North Korea, which could continue its military training even as the U.S.-South Korea exercises were suspended. “It is hard to imagine why the United States would accept that, because of the vulnerability it would create,” said Bruce Bennett, a senior defense researcher at RAND.

In a media briefing on Tuesday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the United States will continue to hold joint exercises with South Korea.

The next day, the administration’s Korea plans were rocked by quotes attributed to Bannon, the White House Chief Strategist. In an interview with the American Prospect, Bannon said he might consider a deal in which North Korea suspended its nuclear buildup with verifiable inspections and the United States removed its troops from the peninsula.

The comments come as many in South Korea are uncertain about Washington’s commitment to the 64-year old U.S.-South Korean alliance. As McClatchy reported last month, numerous South Korean lawmakers support their country developing its own nuclear weapons program, to counter the threat from the north.

South Korea has two major concerns with the Trump administration. One is a question about commitment. The other is the potential for Trump to launch a preemptive military strike on North Korea without consulting Seoul, which would bear the brunt of Pyongyang’s response.

On Tuesday, South Korean President Moon Jae In sent a blunt warning to the White House. “No one should be allowed to decide on a military action on the Korean Peninsula without South Korean agreement,” Moon said in a televised speech.

On Thursday, after meeting with Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Moon said he’d been assured South Korea would be consulted before any military action is taken.



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