Day: November 9, 2017

PRC-hypersonic-1.jpg

China Reveals Hypersonic Strike Aircraft…


BY: Bill Gertz

China has disclosed the first images of secret hypersonic strike aircraft that are being developed to deliver nuclear warheads through U.S. missile defenses.

State-run CCTV on Oct. 8 broadcast images of four different vehicles or missiles that U.S. intelligence agencies believe are mockups of hypersonic strike vehicles, including one known as DF-ZF.

It is the first time images of the hypersonic aircraft were made public.

The Free Beacon first reported China’s initial flight test of the hypersonic glider in January 2014. Since then, six other flight tests have been carried out in what U.S. intelligence officials believe is a high-priority weapons program for the Chinese.

China’s Defense Ministry confirmed the first flight test nearly four years ago but sought to play down the arms development.

“Our planned scientific research tests conducted in our territory are normal,” the ministry said in the statement. “These tests are not targeted at any country and at any specific goals.”

U.S. officials have told Congress the initial use of the new hypersonic glider will be for delivering nuclear warheads through what China believes will be a future global U.S. missile defense shield directed against its missiles.

The most advanced hypersonic missile is the DF-ZF glider that is launched atop a ballistic missile and then glides to its target in near space. The glider is capable of maneuvering at speeds of between Mach 5 and Mach 10—3,836 miles per hour and 7,672 miles per hour, respectively.

Such high speeds require special materials and electronics capable of withstanding the high temperatures and pressures created by those velocities.

The Oct. 8 broadcast reported on China’s development of a hypersonic wind tunnel that is used for testing the high-speed strike vehicles. The test system is located in Beijing and is known as the JF12 shock wave wind tunnel. A technician from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Jiang Zonglin, told CCTV the tunnel is comparable to an unspecified “renowned” U.S. wind tunnel.

Jiang said the JF12 “has reached the world’s advanced level” and is capable of revealing many issues U.S. researchers have yet to discover about hypersonic flight.

According to Jiang, tests at the JF12 are conducted every two days and the facility will be operating at full capacity through the end of the year.

China expects to increase the speed of next generation hypersonic vehicles past the current Mach 5 limit, the report said.

The broadcast showed three hypersonic vehicles over various shapes, including a triangular-shaped glider, and one weapon that appeared similar in shape to the last stage of a ballistic missile.

The report also included images of the JF12 that stated the tunnel creates wind speeds of between Mach 5 and Mach 10 and uses a nozzle diameter of 8.2 feet. The test duration is 100 milliseconds.

The Pentagon’s 2013 annual report on the Chinese military mentioned the JF12 wind tunnel as a development of the China Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Mechanics.

The Institute announced in May 2012 that it began hypersonic testing of the super-large wind tunnel that China claimed is the largest in the world.

Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of the Strategic Command, said in July he is worried about the development of hypersonic missiles by China and Russia. The United States is also pursuing the weaponry, he said.

“Hypersonic technology is concerning to me, but it’s really no more concerning to me than any cruise missile technology, any ballistic missile technology,” Hyten said. “We have to be prepared to defend ourselves against all those threats. And we have to have a deterrent that is ready to respond in case any of those break out.”

The National Air and Space Intelligence Center stated in a report made public last summer that hypersonic glide vehicles are a new class of weapons and an emerging threat. Hypersonic missiles “are maneuverable vehicles that travel at hypersonic (greater than Mach 5) speed and spend most of their flight at much lower altitudes than a typical ballistic missile,” the report said. “The combination of high speed, maneuverability, and relatively low altitude makes them challenging targets for missile defense systems,” the report added, noting they are currently being developed by Russia and China.

Congress last year passed legislation requiring the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency to create a dedicated program aimed at countering hypersonic missile threats.

An Air Force-sponsored study warned last year that the United States is falling behind in the emerging hypersonic arms race.

“The People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation are already flight-testing high-speed maneuvering weapons that may endanger both forward-deployed U.S. forces and even the continental United States,” the study said. “These weapons appear to operate in regimes of speed and altitude, with maneuverability that could frustrate existing missile defense constructs and weapon capabilities.”

The growing threat of hypersonic arms is said by U.S. officials to be part of two major Pentagon studies that are nearing completion. One is the nuclear posture review that will include an examination of strategic threats to the United States posed by hypersonic nuclear delivery vehicles. A second is a review of strategic missile defenses that are being challenged by new hypersonic and other maneuvering missiles.

Rick Fisher, a China weapons expert with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said the Chinese television broadcast confirms reports about the new high-technology weapons development.

“This CCTV show provides additional validation that China is developing hypersonic maneuverable reentry vehicles (MaRVs) that some PLA experts suggest in the future may also be launched from PLA navy ships to attack U.S. Navy ships.”

“The delta shape may be a generic test model or it could indicate the shape of an early PLA MaRV warhead.”

China’s development of high-speed maneuvering warheads is a high threat because “this type of warhead is much more difficult to intercept with current U.S. missile defenses,” Fisher said.

Three years ago, Lee Fuell, an intelligence analyst with the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, told Congress China’s hypersonic glider appears designed for nuclear weapons.

“At this point, we think that’s associated with their nuclear deterrent forces,” Fuell said. “Of great concern would be if they were to apply the same technology and capability with a conventional warhead or even just without a warhead because of the kinetic energy that it has.”

In addition to an unpowered glider, China also is developing a scramjet-powered hypersonic missile. A Chinese technical publication reported in May that a breakthrough was made in development of a ramjet engine for hypersonic missiles.

The CCTV broadcast on the hypersonic missiles was first reported by the online newsletter “The War Zone” on Tuesday.



Source link

The Fox Approach Triumphs in Another Cable Battle


After shocking the television news business by taking Fox News Channel from nowhere to cable news dominance, the same management team created by the late Roger Ailes took on another challenge.  The lucrative niche of business news, where CNBC showed the same sort of first mover advantage that had favored CNN, was the target.

It seemed like an auspicious beginning in October 2007 when the 21st Century Fox media empire launched a new channel devoted to business news. Meanwhile, the Fox News Channel (FNC) was eleven years old at that point and had achieved #1 ratings status among the three U.S. cable news outlets, trouncing cable news pioneer CNN and MSNBC. The Fox Business Network (FBN) was intended to challenge CNBC, the leading cable-satellite-Internet business news channel, which had started way back in 1989 and seemed ripe for a challenge..

The first years of FBN were slow going, however. Two and one-half months after Fox Business launched, the New York Times (not friendly to anything labeled “Fox”) reported “Few viewers for infancy of Fox Business.” In early 2009, the Washington Post noted “[Fox] Financial News Outlet Continues to Lag Far Behind CNBC.” For a time, FBN’s viewers were “so low as to fall below [TV ratings reporting firm] Nielsen’s minimum standards for reporting,” according to Gary Holmes, a Nielsen spokesman.

Ten years later now, everything is different and the Fox Business Network has ample reasons to celebrate. An FBN news release on November 7, 2017 reported the latest: “FOX Business Network continued its winning streak over CNBC, topping the network in both Business Day and Total Day viewers during the heavily dominated business news week of October 30th – November 3rd, according to Nielsen Media Research.”

CNBC still leads FBN during much of the day in the age 25-54 demographic metric, but while the news for FBN has been getting better, for the 29 year-old CNBC it has been bad and it’s getting worse. As FBN’s audience share has been increasing, CNBC, according to ValueWalk (August 1, 2017) “Has Lowest Rated Business Day in 22 Years.”

The turnaround for FBN was first noted by the mainstream media over a year ago when FBN began to top CNBC in the ratings. Last February 28, AP television writer David Bauder reported:

Fox Business Network topped CNBC in viewership during the business day for the fifth consecutive month [emphasis added], an illustration of dramatic growth at an upstart network that began operation a decade ago.


FBN averaged 218,000 viewers during the hours between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. in February, an increase of 59 percent over February 2016. CNBC, meanwhile, dropped from 212,000 to 182,000 in the same measurement, Nielsen Media Research said.

More recently on October 13, 2017, a lengthy article in USA Today reported that FBN:

…which celebrates its 10th anniversary next week, touts robust Nielsen data showing it has won the business daytime slot  — from the time the stock market opens at 9:30 until 5 p.m. ET (an hour after its close) — beating CNBC over the past four quarters. . .


There’s no denying Fox Business Network is on the rise, says Chris Roush, professor of business journalism at the University of North Carolina.

A third cable-satellite financial channel, Bloomberg Television, which started in 1994, remains a poor third in the ratings. A November 19, 2013 BuzzFeed article about the channel noted that “Bloomberg’s audience is too small to be rated by Nielsen.” Bloomberg Television is mainly known for producing Charlie Rose’s interview program which also airs nightly on PBS.

A 2,300-word article in Business Insider on October 17, 2017 recounts in major detail the history of FBN and its eventual success against CNBC. The article’s title accurately summarizes its content: “How Fox Business is beating CNBC by embracing politics.” But other analysts point out that CNBC has also modified its original focus on financial news in order to make room for the white hot polarized political coverage of the present time that represents a ratings magnet. As an August 5, 2017 un-bylined article in ValueWalk notes, “CNBC is allegedly ‘business’ news.  But, is it really? I’d argue it has tragically morphed into a 50/50 mix of ‘business and politics.’”

So, both competing channels have adopted a mix of business and politics. Produced in the same house as the its sister outlet the Fox News Channel – the dominant cable news source for the past 15 years –  the Fox Business Network appears to have the advantage in this area.

The production values of FBN are similar to FNC’s, giving each one a similar compelling appearance and an advantage to FBN. This is television, after all, and the “look” is important to the art and science of capturing and keeping viewers. Fox News’s visual presentation has been state of the art and influential, copied by both CNN and MSNBC, since shortly after it went live. A lot of the innovative visual design was attributed to Rich O’Brien, FNC Sr. V.P. and Creative Director for 21 years, the “creative genius” who died in a car accident in July 2017.

Content is clearly also important. While CNBC (unlike its sister channel MSNBC or NBC News in general) lacks a consistent ideological or editorial spin, FBN is more uniformly business-, capitalist-, and conservative-friendly, and is much more balanced in its political reporting. Its sister channel FNC’s motto has long been “fair and balanced,” and the two channels share that ethic as well as on-air talent, including veteran reporters and hosts Neil Cavuto, Stewart Varney, Maria Bartiromo, and a number of others.

Lou Dobbs

The #1 program on FBN is hosted by Lou Dobbs. According to FBN’s November 7th news release, “For the 63rd consecutive week, Lou Dobbs Tonight (7-8p/ET) was the number one rated program in business television with 381,000 total viewers, as well as the week’s number one rated business program in the 25-54 demo with 42,000 total viewers.” Dobbs is a consummate professional broadcaster who was a mainstay at CNN from 1980 when the channel started until 2006, when he wore out his welcome due to his increasingly independent, populist reporting that was incompatible with CNN’s evolving left turn. Dobbs also appears from time to time on Fox News as a guest analyst.

Another FBN program host who is popular with viewers, and who occasionally crosses over to appear on FNC, is Charles Payne, whose compelling personal narrative is part of his success as a TV host and commentator.

Charles Payne

Because of its more detailed focus on business news and its appeal to a sophisticated, financially literate audience, the Fox Business Network is sometimes referred to as “the thinking man’s Fox News.” Over the course of months of writing about the cable news wars and the Fox News Channel at American Thinker, a number of readers who posted comments have said they now prefer FBN over FNC, including because of the increasing presence on the latter of left of center, talking point-reading hosts and analysts like Juan Williams, Marie Harf, Richard Fowler, and Jessica Tarlov. The perception matched by the reality is that FBN is less encumbered with these kinds of predictable, progressive Democrat talking heads.

Jamie Colby

FBN is also the home of some entertaining non-political and non-business shows like Strange Inheritance® with Jamie Colby and The Property Man with Bob Massi. In the past, FBN has presented both repeat and new episodes of War Stories with Oliver North, an extremely worthwhile and entertaining documentary-style program about significant events in the military history of the United States.

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran reporter and analyst of news on national politics, media, and popular culture. Follow Peter on Twitter @pchowka

After shocking the television news business by taking Fox News Channel from nowhere to cable news dominance, the same management team created by the late Roger Ailes took on another challenge.  The lucrative niche of business news, where CNBC showed the same sort of first mover advantage that had favored CNN, was the target.

It seemed like an auspicious beginning in October 2007 when the 21st Century Fox media empire launched a new channel devoted to business news. Meanwhile, the Fox News Channel (FNC) was eleven years old at that point and had achieved #1 ratings status among the three U.S. cable news outlets, trouncing cable news pioneer CNN and MSNBC. The Fox Business Network (FBN) was intended to challenge CNBC, the leading cable-satellite-Internet business news channel, which had started way back in 1989 and seemed ripe for a challenge..

The first years of FBN were slow going, however. Two and one-half months after Fox Business launched, the New York Times (not friendly to anything labeled “Fox”) reported “Few viewers for infancy of Fox Business.” In early 2009, the Washington Post noted “[Fox] Financial News Outlet Continues to Lag Far Behind CNBC.” For a time, FBN’s viewers were “so low as to fall below [TV ratings reporting firm] Nielsen’s minimum standards for reporting,” according to Gary Holmes, a Nielsen spokesman.

Ten years later now, everything is different and the Fox Business Network has ample reasons to celebrate. An FBN news release on November 7, 2017 reported the latest: “FOX Business Network continued its winning streak over CNBC, topping the network in both Business Day and Total Day viewers during the heavily dominated business news week of October 30th – November 3rd, according to Nielsen Media Research.”

CNBC still leads FBN during much of the day in the age 25-54 demographic metric, but while the news for FBN has been getting better, for the 29 year-old CNBC it has been bad and it’s getting worse. As FBN’s audience share has been increasing, CNBC, according to ValueWalk (August 1, 2017) “Has Lowest Rated Business Day in 22 Years.”

The turnaround for FBN was first noted by the mainstream media over a year ago when FBN began to top CNBC in the ratings. Last February 28, AP television writer David Bauder reported:

Fox Business Network topped CNBC in viewership during the business day for the fifth consecutive month [emphasis added], an illustration of dramatic growth at an upstart network that began operation a decade ago.


FBN averaged 218,000 viewers during the hours between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. in February, an increase of 59 percent over February 2016. CNBC, meanwhile, dropped from 212,000 to 182,000 in the same measurement, Nielsen Media Research said.

More recently on October 13, 2017, a lengthy article in USA Today reported that FBN:

…which celebrates its 10th anniversary next week, touts robust Nielsen data showing it has won the business daytime slot  — from the time the stock market opens at 9:30 until 5 p.m. ET (an hour after its close) — beating CNBC over the past four quarters. . .


There’s no denying Fox Business Network is on the rise, says Chris Roush, professor of business journalism at the University of North Carolina.

A third cable-satellite financial channel, Bloomberg Television, which started in 1994, remains a poor third in the ratings. A November 19, 2013 BuzzFeed article about the channel noted that “Bloomberg’s audience is too small to be rated by Nielsen.” Bloomberg Television is mainly known for producing Charlie Rose’s interview program which also airs nightly on PBS.

A 2,300-word article in Business Insider on October 17, 2017 recounts in major detail the history of FBN and its eventual success against CNBC. The article’s title accurately summarizes its content: “How Fox Business is beating CNBC by embracing politics.” But other analysts point out that CNBC has also modified its original focus on financial news in order to make room for the white hot polarized political coverage of the present time that represents a ratings magnet. As an August 5, 2017 un-bylined article in ValueWalk notes, “CNBC is allegedly ‘business’ news.  But, is it really? I’d argue it has tragically morphed into a 50/50 mix of ‘business and politics.’”

So, both competing channels have adopted a mix of business and politics. Produced in the same house as the its sister outlet the Fox News Channel – the dominant cable news source for the past 15 years –  the Fox Business Network appears to have the advantage in this area.

The production values of FBN are similar to FNC’s, giving each one a similar compelling appearance and an advantage to FBN. This is television, after all, and the “look” is important to the art and science of capturing and keeping viewers. Fox News’s visual presentation has been state of the art and influential, copied by both CNN and MSNBC, since shortly after it went live. A lot of the innovative visual design was attributed to Rich O’Brien, FNC Sr. V.P. and Creative Director for 21 years, the “creative genius” who died in a car accident in July 2017.

Content is clearly also important. While CNBC (unlike its sister channel MSNBC or NBC News in general) lacks a consistent ideological or editorial spin, FBN is more uniformly business-, capitalist-, and conservative-friendly, and is much more balanced in its political reporting. Its sister channel FNC’s motto has long been “fair and balanced,” and the two channels share that ethic as well as on-air talent, including veteran reporters and hosts Neil Cavuto, Stewart Varney, Maria Bartiromo, and a number of others.

Lou Dobbs

The #1 program on FBN is hosted by Lou Dobbs. According to FBN’s November 7th news release, “For the 63rd consecutive week, Lou Dobbs Tonight (7-8p/ET) was the number one rated program in business television with 381,000 total viewers, as well as the week’s number one rated business program in the 25-54 demo with 42,000 total viewers.” Dobbs is a consummate professional broadcaster who was a mainstay at CNN from 1980 when the channel started until 2006, when he wore out his welcome due to his increasingly independent, populist reporting that was incompatible with CNN’s evolving left turn. Dobbs also appears from time to time on Fox News as a guest analyst.

Another FBN program host who is popular with viewers, and who occasionally crosses over to appear on FNC, is Charles Payne, whose compelling personal narrative is part of his success as a TV host and commentator.

Charles Payne

Because of its more detailed focus on business news and its appeal to a sophisticated, financially literate audience, the Fox Business Network is sometimes referred to as “the thinking man’s Fox News.” Over the course of months of writing about the cable news wars and the Fox News Channel at American Thinker, a number of readers who posted comments have said they now prefer FBN over FNC, including because of the increasing presence on the latter of left of center, talking point-reading hosts and analysts like Juan Williams, Marie Harf, Richard Fowler, and Jessica Tarlov. The perception matched by the reality is that FBN is less encumbered with these kinds of predictable, progressive Democrat talking heads.

Jamie Colby

FBN is also the home of some entertaining non-political and non-business shows like Strange Inheritance® with Jamie Colby and The Property Man with Bob Massi. In the past, FBN has presented both repeat and new episodes of War Stories with Oliver North, an extremely worthwhile and entertaining documentary-style program about significant events in the military history of the United States.

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran reporter and analyst of news on national politics, media, and popular culture. Follow Peter on Twitter @pchowka



Source link

After the Obamacare Apocalypse: The Future of Health Care Reform


Health care reform isn’t going to go away, and it shouldn’t.  According to CNN (October 30), the average increase for a Silver plan in the United States is increasing 37%.  Those who receive taxpayer-subsidized insurance will be spared the brunt of these substantial increases.  The taxpayers will not as they fund these subsidies.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 12-month inflation rate is 1.9%. 

We have a health care problem, and Congress has to date done nothing to solve this mess impacting 12.2 million citizens created under the Obama administration.  This health care problem is stifling economic growth and crowding out innovation in other sectors of our economy, and it is every bit as dangerous as our $20 trillion of accumulated debt, built with our permission by our elected officials.

To the starry-eyed dreamers for single-payer…it won’t happen.  We have powerful forces with powerful lobbyists influencing our elected officials of both parties in Washington.  Here are a few on the “A” list:

1) AARP.  Any attempt to reform Medicare ($594-billion federal expense in 2016) into a fiscally sustainable model has been met with resistance even as the worker-to-beneficiary ratio has decreased  from 3.7 workers per beneficiary in 1970 to 2.6.  Most recently, AARP opposed the move to raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67.  Knowing that 25% of Medicare’s expenses are in the last year of one’s life, where does AARP stand in reducing the cost of end-of-life care?

2) AHIP (American Association of Health Insurance Plans).  They continue to demand taxpayer subsidies to the tune of $7 billion (NPR) in 2017 to insure those covered by the exchanges.  Why do taxpayers need to subsidize the insurance industry? 

3) AMA.  Why haven’t nurses, midwives, and physician assistants been given a greater scope of care in our health care?  Why are there only 141 medical schools in the USA?  The limited supply of medical schools in conjunction with a limited role for other health providers results in a limited supply of physicians, resulting in a greater demand for services, resulting in a greater price for physician services.  Does this serve the patient?  Why does Australia recommend colonoscopies in specialized circumstances (such as a family history of colon cancer) and the USA recommend colonoscopies for everyone over age 50?

4) AHA (American Hospital Association).  The merger of hospitals (many “non-profit”) into various health systems  was driven by the Affordable Care Act as an effort to circle the wagons and protect themselves from an overreaching government.  This has resulted in cartel-like behavior that has resulted in increased costs being passed on to patients and third-party payers such as insurers and our government.  If we were to have Medicare for all, do you believe that hospitals would accept a 33% loss of revenue from those covered via private insurance?  Wouldn’t this loss of revenue result in many hospitals no longer being financially viable?  According to the Becker Hospital Review, the hospital bed occupancy rate is 61%.  Doesn’t this make a case for an oversupply of hospitals?  If the federal government were to advocate closing (or reducing the scope of care) at a hospital, do you think members of Congress would let this loss of jobs happen in their districts?  Have you watched the fight members of Congress put up when a military base is going to be closed? 

5) Pharma.  Here in the U.S. (according to GoodRx.com), you can buy a year’s supply of AbbVie’s Humira (you’ve seen the advertisements, haven’t you?) for $54,444 per year.  You could also get the same Humira in the U.K. for $12,561 per year – same 40-mg pre-filled pen.  Do you think Big Pharma is going to allow a 77% reduction in price for Humira?  How about the Harvoni course of treatment that is $96,000 that you can purchase in India for $1,000 (generic Harvoni)?

6) ABA.  What would happen if we embraced the French model of reimbursing malpractice claims  outside the U.S. legal system at a fixed rate?  Wouldn’t this free up our courts and result in quicker justice for victims of malpractice?  According to JAMA, the 2015 cost of defensive medicine was $46 billion.

7) The states.  According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2014, the range by state for per Medicare beneficiary cost per year ranges from $12,614 (New Jersey) to $8,238 (Montana).  Why would a state that manages its health care costs better than the national average of $10,986 per Medicare beneficiary give up that competitive advantage that results in an overall lower cost of living and a lower cost of doing business?  Why should states that manage their health care costs better than their fellow states give up their competitive advantage?

Absent any concessions from these powerful organizations, “Medicare for All” will only soak the taxpayer and continue to suck the life out of our economy (and suppress our birthrate).  The problem is the cost of health care and the powerful lobbies that prop up our Medical Industrial Complex.  (Remember the phrase “Military Industrial Complex”?  That phrase first gained mainstream usage when used by President Eisenhower in his farewell address in 1961!)

As with any association or union, the goal is to serve the interests of the members.  Associations pay powerful lobbyists to represent their causes to our elected officials – which isn’t necessarily the cause of the American taxpayer and citizen.

We need to come to terms with who is enabling the Medical Industrial Complex: our elected officials.

How do we defeat these powerful forces that pander to our elected officials?  The answer lies in we the people taking control of our health care and understanding that the goals of the Medical Industrial Complex do not align with ours.  Our enemies prey on our fear, causing us to misdirect finite resources. 

Any change that can de-centralize decision-making away from Washington and empower the patient is a good place to start in our efforts to rein in the cost of health care.

Health care reform isn’t going to go away, and it shouldn’t.  According to CNN (October 30), the average increase for a Silver plan in the United States is increasing 37%.  Those who receive taxpayer-subsidized insurance will be spared the brunt of these substantial increases.  The taxpayers will not as they fund these subsidies.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 12-month inflation rate is 1.9%. 

We have a health care problem, and Congress has to date done nothing to solve this mess impacting 12.2 million citizens created under the Obama administration.  This health care problem is stifling economic growth and crowding out innovation in other sectors of our economy, and it is every bit as dangerous as our $20 trillion of accumulated debt, built with our permission by our elected officials.

To the starry-eyed dreamers for single-payer…it won’t happen.  We have powerful forces with powerful lobbyists influencing our elected officials of both parties in Washington.  Here are a few on the “A” list:

1) AARP.  Any attempt to reform Medicare ($594-billion federal expense in 2016) into a fiscally sustainable model has been met with resistance even as the worker-to-beneficiary ratio has decreased  from 3.7 workers per beneficiary in 1970 to 2.6.  Most recently, AARP opposed the move to raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67.  Knowing that 25% of Medicare’s expenses are in the last year of one’s life, where does AARP stand in reducing the cost of end-of-life care?

2) AHIP (American Association of Health Insurance Plans).  They continue to demand taxpayer subsidies to the tune of $7 billion (NPR) in 2017 to insure those covered by the exchanges.  Why do taxpayers need to subsidize the insurance industry? 

3) AMA.  Why haven’t nurses, midwives, and physician assistants been given a greater scope of care in our health care?  Why are there only 141 medical schools in the USA?  The limited supply of medical schools in conjunction with a limited role for other health providers results in a limited supply of physicians, resulting in a greater demand for services, resulting in a greater price for physician services.  Does this serve the patient?  Why does Australia recommend colonoscopies in specialized circumstances (such as a family history of colon cancer) and the USA recommend colonoscopies for everyone over age 50?

4) AHA (American Hospital Association).  The merger of hospitals (many “non-profit”) into various health systems  was driven by the Affordable Care Act as an effort to circle the wagons and protect themselves from an overreaching government.  This has resulted in cartel-like behavior that has resulted in increased costs being passed on to patients and third-party payers such as insurers and our government.  If we were to have Medicare for all, do you believe that hospitals would accept a 33% loss of revenue from those covered via private insurance?  Wouldn’t this loss of revenue result in many hospitals no longer being financially viable?  According to the Becker Hospital Review, the hospital bed occupancy rate is 61%.  Doesn’t this make a case for an oversupply of hospitals?  If the federal government were to advocate closing (or reducing the scope of care) at a hospital, do you think members of Congress would let this loss of jobs happen in their districts?  Have you watched the fight members of Congress put up when a military base is going to be closed? 

5) Pharma.  Here in the U.S. (according to GoodRx.com), you can buy a year’s supply of AbbVie’s Humira (you’ve seen the advertisements, haven’t you?) for $54,444 per year.  You could also get the same Humira in the U.K. for $12,561 per year – same 40-mg pre-filled pen.  Do you think Big Pharma is going to allow a 77% reduction in price for Humira?  How about the Harvoni course of treatment that is $96,000 that you can purchase in India for $1,000 (generic Harvoni)?

6) ABA.  What would happen if we embraced the French model of reimbursing malpractice claims  outside the U.S. legal system at a fixed rate?  Wouldn’t this free up our courts and result in quicker justice for victims of malpractice?  According to JAMA, the 2015 cost of defensive medicine was $46 billion.

7) The states.  According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2014, the range by state for per Medicare beneficiary cost per year ranges from $12,614 (New Jersey) to $8,238 (Montana).  Why would a state that manages its health care costs better than the national average of $10,986 per Medicare beneficiary give up that competitive advantage that results in an overall lower cost of living and a lower cost of doing business?  Why should states that manage their health care costs better than their fellow states give up their competitive advantage?

Absent any concessions from these powerful organizations, “Medicare for All” will only soak the taxpayer and continue to suck the life out of our economy (and suppress our birthrate).  The problem is the cost of health care and the powerful lobbies that prop up our Medical Industrial Complex.  (Remember the phrase “Military Industrial Complex”?  That phrase first gained mainstream usage when used by President Eisenhower in his farewell address in 1961!)

As with any association or union, the goal is to serve the interests of the members.  Associations pay powerful lobbyists to represent their causes to our elected officials – which isn’t necessarily the cause of the American taxpayer and citizen.

We need to come to terms with who is enabling the Medical Industrial Complex: our elected officials.

How do we defeat these powerful forces that pander to our elected officials?  The answer lies in we the people taking control of our health care and understanding that the goals of the Medical Industrial Complex do not align with ours.  Our enemies prey on our fear, causing us to misdirect finite resources. 

Any change that can de-centralize decision-making away from Washington and empower the patient is a good place to start in our efforts to rein in the cost of health care.



Source link

Hearts of Stone on the Left


“Too long a sacrifice / Can make a stone of the heart,” the Irish poet W.B. Yeats wrote, having witnessed the violence of the 1916 Easter Rising and its aftermath.  In an America more divided than ever, and with the left more radicalized than ever, there are all too many hearts of stone.

The Washington shooting of Steve Scalise and other Republican lawmakers back in June; the attack on Sen. Rand Paul last week; and now the massacre in Southerland Springs, Texas – all of them appear to have been carried out by persons motivated at least in part by leftist ideology.  The baseball field shooter, James Hodgkinson, was a left-wing activist who hatred President Trump and targeted Republicans.  The attack on Rand Paul was reportedly carried out by a neighbor who held extremely liberal views and may have attacked Paul because of political differences.

Now there is the Texas shooter, who has been variously reported to have been a leftist and a radical atheist.  There is certainly proof that Devin Kelley posted strongly worded comments on atheism.  There is proof that he endorsed numerous liberal causes.  There is also evidence that Kelley was aligned with “United Against Fascism,” a far-left political group.  Whether his political views were the primary motive for his actions remains to be seen, but clearly his attack on a conservative white church was not random.   

On Sunday, Kelley entered the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas and killed 26 persons between the ages of 5 and 72.  Kelley, who had received a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force in 2012 in connection with a charge of domestic violence, was linked to the Sutherland Springs church through his second wife and mother-in-law.

Violence is not the way, either on the left or the right, but it seems that the left has a particular propensity for violence.  As Edmund Burke demonstrated in his analysis of the French Revolution, the leftist ideology itself contained the seeds of violence.  The idea of revolution is fundamental to all leftist thinking, and as Robespierre asserted, in the eyes of a revolutionary, “terror is only justice: prompt, severe, and inflexible; it is therefore an emanation of virtue” (speech of Feb. 5, 1794).

In one form or another, every left-wing terrorist or tyrant since that time has ascribed to this fundamental concept – the idea that leftists’ support of “justice,” as they see it, confers the right to employ violence or force.  The fact that the left condones violence in the service of social justice is actually one reason for its appeal.  It is a short step from the idea that “terror is only justice” to the equally misguided idea that individuals have the right to carry out that “justice.”

For the radical left, all existing structures of thought and institutions must be torn down so they can be replaced with supposedly ideal structures.  It is for this reason that the left has always employed slogans like “to the barricades”; “a New Deal”; “Occupy Wall Street”; and, simply, “forward.”  “A Better Deal,” the Democratic Party’s current watchword, is an intentionally nondescript, ridiculous-sounding version of these revolutionary slogans, but it preserves the common idea of fundamental change.

It is this very idea that is the culprit. As long as the left adheres to Robespierre’s idea that justice authorizes the use of force, there will be many willing to support revolution with violence.  Violence is part of the left’s genetic code.  The entire history of leftist revolution, from Rousseau to Robespierre to Marx to Lenin and Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, Castro and Chávez, is predicated on the idea that existing society must be transformed by means of violence – and that opponents must be liquidated unless they are willing to submit to re-education, and even if they are not.

That sort of revolutionary attitude has now become familiar to Americans as they witness the acts of groups like Antifa.  One particularly chilling aspect of these groups is the extent to which they are willing to dehumanize their opponents, whether innocent churchgoers or police officers on the beat, reducing them to nothing but inhuman stereotypes.

Even those of strongly conservative opinions do not generally fantasize about fomenting a civil war or a class war.  This is because the very nature of conservatism is rooted in the idea of “conserving” rather than destroying.

It is not in the nature of conservatives to destroy life.  Conservatives are protectors and promoters of life.  They view all life as sacred, and they are not prone to dehumanize their political opponents, no matter how strongly they disagree with them.

The true nature of conservatism, as John Paul II wrote, is to celebrate God’s creation by manifesting love for one’s family and fellow man.  At the same time, he warned that “social justice cannot be attained by violence.  Violence kills what it intends to create.”  John Paul II recognized that every moment of life is precious because it is part of divine creation.  This is apparent to a conservative, whether he is religious in a conventional sense or not: life is filled with goodness, and our purpose is not to tear down and transform; it is to affirm and preserve.

That for me is the lesson of the recent attacks on conservatives and Christians.  I share in the grief of those who have lost family and friends, and I believe more than ever that life has purpose and goodness.  Mine is a faith – not an ideology – that could never support the executions, class wars, gulags, and assassinations perpetrated by the left.  Unfortunately, the left is not going away, and neither is its propensity for violence.  Political terrorism has not been relegated to the past – it is the present-day nature of the left, and it will continue, probably with greater force, in the future.

Recent attacks on conservatives have been appalling.  In many cases, they are intended to divide Americans and instigate further violence, leading to a leftist takeover following a period of extreme unrest.  But conservatives must not allow the mounting violence on the part of the left to draw them in.  We must remain “conservators,” always protective of life, just as we are protective of life-giving institutions and traditions.  In the wake of terrible violence, we must remain conservatives in the best sense.

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

“Too long a sacrifice / Can make a stone of the heart,” the Irish poet W.B. Yeats wrote, having witnessed the violence of the 1916 Easter Rising and its aftermath.  In an America more divided than ever, and with the left more radicalized than ever, there are all too many hearts of stone.

The Washington shooting of Steve Scalise and other Republican lawmakers back in June; the attack on Sen. Rand Paul last week; and now the massacre in Southerland Springs, Texas – all of them appear to have been carried out by persons motivated at least in part by leftist ideology.  The baseball field shooter, James Hodgkinson, was a left-wing activist who hatred President Trump and targeted Republicans.  The attack on Rand Paul was reportedly carried out by a neighbor who held extremely liberal views and may have attacked Paul because of political differences.

Now there is the Texas shooter, who has been variously reported to have been a leftist and a radical atheist.  There is certainly proof that Devin Kelley posted strongly worded comments on atheism.  There is proof that he endorsed numerous liberal causes.  There is also evidence that Kelley was aligned with “United Against Fascism,” a far-left political group.  Whether his political views were the primary motive for his actions remains to be seen, but clearly his attack on a conservative white church was not random.   

On Sunday, Kelley entered the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas and killed 26 persons between the ages of 5 and 72.  Kelley, who had received a bad conduct discharge from the Air Force in 2012 in connection with a charge of domestic violence, was linked to the Sutherland Springs church through his second wife and mother-in-law.

Violence is not the way, either on the left or the right, but it seems that the left has a particular propensity for violence.  As Edmund Burke demonstrated in his analysis of the French Revolution, the leftist ideology itself contained the seeds of violence.  The idea of revolution is fundamental to all leftist thinking, and as Robespierre asserted, in the eyes of a revolutionary, “terror is only justice: prompt, severe, and inflexible; it is therefore an emanation of virtue” (speech of Feb. 5, 1794).

In one form or another, every left-wing terrorist or tyrant since that time has ascribed to this fundamental concept – the idea that leftists’ support of “justice,” as they see it, confers the right to employ violence or force.  The fact that the left condones violence in the service of social justice is actually one reason for its appeal.  It is a short step from the idea that “terror is only justice” to the equally misguided idea that individuals have the right to carry out that “justice.”

For the radical left, all existing structures of thought and institutions must be torn down so they can be replaced with supposedly ideal structures.  It is for this reason that the left has always employed slogans like “to the barricades”; “a New Deal”; “Occupy Wall Street”; and, simply, “forward.”  “A Better Deal,” the Democratic Party’s current watchword, is an intentionally nondescript, ridiculous-sounding version of these revolutionary slogans, but it preserves the common idea of fundamental change.

It is this very idea that is the culprit. As long as the left adheres to Robespierre’s idea that justice authorizes the use of force, there will be many willing to support revolution with violence.  Violence is part of the left’s genetic code.  The entire history of leftist revolution, from Rousseau to Robespierre to Marx to Lenin and Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, Castro and Chávez, is predicated on the idea that existing society must be transformed by means of violence – and that opponents must be liquidated unless they are willing to submit to re-education, and even if they are not.

That sort of revolutionary attitude has now become familiar to Americans as they witness the acts of groups like Antifa.  One particularly chilling aspect of these groups is the extent to which they are willing to dehumanize their opponents, whether innocent churchgoers or police officers on the beat, reducing them to nothing but inhuman stereotypes.

Even those of strongly conservative opinions do not generally fantasize about fomenting a civil war or a class war.  This is because the very nature of conservatism is rooted in the idea of “conserving” rather than destroying.

It is not in the nature of conservatives to destroy life.  Conservatives are protectors and promoters of life.  They view all life as sacred, and they are not prone to dehumanize their political opponents, no matter how strongly they disagree with them.

The true nature of conservatism, as John Paul II wrote, is to celebrate God’s creation by manifesting love for one’s family and fellow man.  At the same time, he warned that “social justice cannot be attained by violence.  Violence kills what it intends to create.”  John Paul II recognized that every moment of life is precious because it is part of divine creation.  This is apparent to a conservative, whether he is religious in a conventional sense or not: life is filled with goodness, and our purpose is not to tear down and transform; it is to affirm and preserve.

That for me is the lesson of the recent attacks on conservatives and Christians.  I share in the grief of those who have lost family and friends, and I believe more than ever that life has purpose and goodness.  Mine is a faith – not an ideology – that could never support the executions, class wars, gulags, and assassinations perpetrated by the left.  Unfortunately, the left is not going away, and neither is its propensity for violence.  Political terrorism has not been relegated to the past – it is the present-day nature of the left, and it will continue, probably with greater force, in the future.

Recent attacks on conservatives have been appalling.  In many cases, they are intended to divide Americans and instigate further violence, leading to a leftist takeover following a period of extreme unrest.  But conservatives must not allow the mounting violence on the part of the left to draw them in.  We must remain “conservators,” always protective of life, just as we are protective of life-giving institutions and traditions.  In the wake of terrible violence, we must remain conservatives in the best sense.

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



Source link

Down the Memory Hole: Obama Stole the 2008 Primary with Help of DNC


It’s an odd experience to dig this information out of the memory hole.  No one in the Democratic Party, their media, or their base cares – not about rule of law, not about fair elections.  Their primaries reveal how their will to power trumps every other value.  What these corrupt Democrat primaries show is that progressives want permanent power, not a functioning republic.    They don’t want fair and free elections – witness their dirty attempts to overturn the last one and deprive Trump voters of their victory. 

As Hillary might say, Democrat corruption, like Hollywood corruption, takes a village.

Like the revelations of Harvey Weinstein’s abuses, one big dog gets punished, while the even bigger dog (Bill Clinton for sexual abuse, Barack Obama for political abuse) remains untouchable. 

A documentary by Hillary supporters on Obama’s cheating and abuse was reported on Fox & Friends only in 2010; at the time of the election, no one would cover their complaints. Read about it here.

In one documentary interview, civil rights activist Helene Latimer recounts seeing an elderly woman being intimidated at the polls. “As she approached the entrance way to go into the building, one of the young men said to her, ‘If you’re not voting for Obama, go home because you’re not voting here today.'”


“It’s our right as Americans to be able to vote and everybody was alerted, we went to press, we went to Fox, we went to CNN, nobody wanted to hear the story (in 2008),” Gaston told Fox’s Alisyn Camerota. “Nobody wants to deal with this.”

From “How Obama Used an Army of Thugs to Steal the 2008 Democratic Party Nomination”:

… the Obama Campaign… encouraged and created an army to steal caucus packets, falsify documents, change results, allow unregistered people to vote, scare and intimidate Hillary supporters, stalk them, threaten them, lock them out of their polling places, silence their voices and stop their right to vote.

Political junkies will recall that Obama gained crucial momentum after his surprise win of the Iowa primary.  He won in Iowa by breaking the law and busing in supporters to vote.  Everyone in Iowa could see it with their own eyes – and that includes the entire national press corps.

Dr. Long spent several months studying the caucus and primary results, published here.  Unlike primaries, caucuses are run by the Democrats, using party rules, with no outside observers.

“After studying the procedures and results from all 14 caucus states… my conclusion is that the Obama campaign willfully and intentionally defrauded the American public by systematically undermining the caucus process,” she said.

In Hawaii, caucuses ended up with more ballots than participants.  In Nevada, Obama supporters upturned a wheelchair-bound woman who wanted to caucus for Hillary.  They flushed Clinton ballots down the toilets.  Union members were told they could vote only if their names were on the list of Obama supporters.

Two thousand Texas Democrats filed official complaints, in outrage and total frustration, against Obama’s lawless tactics. The party acknowledged that the Obama campaign’s actions “amount to criminal violations” and ordered them to be reported to state and federal law enforcement.  Nothing happened.

Thanks to these and other strong-arm tactics, Obama won victories in all but one of the caucuses, even in states such as Maine where Hillary had been leading by double digits in the polls.

Bernie Sanders supporters are justifiably angry that the superdelegates gave the nomination to Hillary.  The Washington Post reports in 2008 Hillary won the popular vote in the nomination process.  She was neck and neck with Obama in the delegate count.  Yet the DNC pressured the superdelegates who were pledged to Hillary to flip their votes.  From the Washington Post:

In 2008, the superdelegates became infamous — and essential. That year, as in this one, they helped the party’s front-runner cross the threshold by releasing endorsements around the final primary.  The irony was that the 2008 election, a near-tie, ended with pro-Clinton superdelegates flipping to support then-Sen. Barack Obama.

The Post makes it sound like the superdelegates flipped themselves.  Hillary delegates tell us the  DNC did the deed:

Basically, the delegations would meet and the leadership would say, ‘We need to vote for Obama. You need to basically switch your vote from Hillary to Obama.’ Even though in some 16 or 14 states it was required by law that the delegation needed to vote for the candidate that they represented on the first ballot. Those state party chairs were still manipulating that delegation to break the law and vote for Obama.”

As early as April, Virginia’s party leaders pressured their superdelegates:

Another Clinton superdelegate, senior Democratic strategist Mame Reiley, said she understood targeting undecided superdelegates, but including longtime Clinton supporters only created ill will.  “If we wanted to have a nominee decided in June then we’d have scheduled the convention in June,” Reiley said. “It sort of makes me wonder what they’re afraid of.”

In May 2008, Hillary wrote to the superdelegates, begging them to respect the popular vote.

As we reach the end of the primary season, more than 17 million people have supported me in my effort to become the Democratic nominee – more people than have ever voted for a potential nominee in the history of our party. … And with 40 and 35 point margins of victory, it is clear that even when voters are repeatedly told this race is over, they’re not giving up on me – and I am not giving up on them either.

Clinton trounced Obama by half a million Democrat votes in the 2008 Democrat primaries.  She bettered him among women, seniors, Latinos, the working class, those earning less than $50,000 and first-time voters.  Clinton won the primaries where it is harder to cheat; Obama’s delegate count was based on his fraudulent caucus wins.  Polls showed Clinton beating McCain and Obama losing.  Rasmussen showed Clinton was more competitive than Obama by 16 points.  Yet 100% of the superdelegates threw the nomination to the weaker, less popular candidate.

Senator Obama’s win in Indiana was used by the Democratic leadership to call for the party to unify behind him.  But Obama lacked the minimum number of signatures to legally run   In 2013 two county election board workers were convicted on felony charges for forging hundreds of signatures to get Obama on the ballot. 

In Lake County, home to the long-depressed steel town of Gary, the bipartisan Elections Board has stopped processing a stack of about 5,000 applications delivered just before the October 6 registration deadline after the first 2,100 turned out to be phony.


“All the signatures looked exactly the same,” Ruthann Hoagland, a Republican on the board. “Everything on the card filled out looks exactly the same.”

As a Heritage Foundation expert on election fraud explains, Obama’s Indiana victory was at a crucial juncture. 

Had this fraud been discovered, Barack Obama would have been disqualified from the primary ballot in a major state…the course of the campaign—and history—could have changed. … Clinton would have been almost even with Obama… Obama’s campaign would have been enveloped in a major scandal involving election fraud by local Democratic officials.

The Indiana fraud was discovered in 2011 by a Democrat Yale college student.  The inquiring mind wants to know –did anyone bother to check Obama’s victories in other close primary states?

Nees said the fraud was easy to detect “because page after page of signatures are all in the same handwriting.” A close inspection also revealed their similarity to signatures from a petition for a previous gubernatorial election.

Some of the Obama campaign abuses Democrat voters testified to in “We Will Not Be Silenced,” are disturbing in the extreme.  The documentary is available in four parts on YouTube here. (hat tip canadafreepress.)

In Texas, Hispanic voters were told to go home before they got a chance to sign the caucus sheets, so their vote was not counted.  In Indiana, parents were livid that their high school children were taken out of school, bussed to vote and told to vote for Obama.

The most emotional report is from a Civil Rights activist who had marched with Martin Luther King (Part 3, 3:54). 

I got out of my car and there was this lady, probably about 80 years old, who was slowly walking up the street. As she was approaching the entranceway to go into the building, one of the young men called to her ‘If you’re not voting for Obama, go home, because you’re not voting here today.’ She turned and walked away. The pain that I felt, because of the people who have fought for African Americans to have the right to vote… While I was standing there, there were other people approaching, maybe four or five, and when they heard that they all turned and walked away.

In Texas, elderly Hillary voters were also turned away from voting:

Part 3, 7:20, The two women saw that these women had Hillary stickers on them… so they weren’t going to let them caucus. They said ‘Oh, you must be in some other caucus.’ I said ‘Look lady, I’m from Chicago and I know tricks like this. Let me see that book or we’re going to get the precinct captain over here and we’re going to look and find the names together. I guarantee this woman’s in here, because she’s not a liar. She’s ninety years old and has been looking forward to this. Don’t tell me she’s not in the book.’ Well then, wouldn’t you know it … she magically found her name in the book and let her go be a part of the caucus… I noticed that that was not happening for any of the Obama people, they were just getting waved right through.”

Fixing the nomination for Obama didn’t end with secret lawbreaking.  There was the infamous ruling by the DNC to not count the primary votes in Florida and Michigan, where Clinton won.  These two states were allotted 796 superdelegates.  If her two wins had been credited to Clinton, she would have won the nomination hands down, instead of 137 delegates short.

The Democrat primary process is not this corrupt and ugly by accident.  This is not a problem found in both parties.  It is characteristic of our leftist party, and its leading politicians, because they feel morally entitled to hold power, and are given cover by the mainstream media.  The Democrat lust for power destroys other civic virtues. They lie to voters about themselves, they lie to voters about this country, and they lie about their own elections. 

In 2008, Obama used the obvious but unstated threat of black voters boycotting the election to silence even Clinton, who knew very well he was cheating.  In 2016, Hillary copied not only Obama’s identity politics but his cheating in the primaries.  She did it her own way, by buying the DNC, which was cleaned out by Obama and left $24 million in debt.  (President Obama, it turns out, did all that non-stop fundraising for his personal foundation, Organizing for America, not the party.) 

Obama is now busy destroying Clinton via his surrogates, as if she alone will be blamed for the administration’s corruption of the FBI and spying on candidate Donald Trump.  Neither Obama nor Hillary can reconcile themselves to honest elections, where there is chance they lose. 

President Trump won free and on the square, relying on his message and his voters.  The Democrats are at their wits’ end.  They can’t scare Trump, they can’t fool Trump voters, and they can’t silence the conservative websites.  What was done in the dark is coming to the light.

The country is shocked, shocked that the DNC colluded with the Hillary campaign to anoint her as their nominee. In her 2015 caper, Clinton made a backroom deal with the DNC. But in 2008, Barack Obama combined muscular Chicago-style clout with community organizing acumen to steal the nomination directly from the voters. 

Obama’s illegal shenanigans in the 2008 Democrat primaries were far worse than Clinton’s – and will never be widely reported.   Obama used outright election fraud and thuggery, the tried and true Chicago methods.   When he got far enough, the DNC pressured Hillary’s pledged superdelegates to violate their voters’ wishes and award Obama an unearned victory.

It’s an odd experience to dig this information out of the memory hole.  No one in the Democratic Party, their media, or their base cares – not about rule of law, not about fair elections.  Their primaries reveal how their will to power trumps every other value.  What these corrupt Democrat primaries show is that progressives want permanent power, not a functioning republic.    They don’t want fair and free elections – witness their dirty attempts to overturn the last one and deprive Trump voters of their victory. 

As Hillary might say, Democrat corruption, like Hollywood corruption, takes a village.

Like the revelations of Harvey Weinstein’s abuses, one big dog gets punished, while the even bigger dog (Bill Clinton for sexual abuse, Barack Obama for political abuse) remains untouchable. 

A documentary by Hillary supporters on Obama’s cheating and abuse was reported on Fox & Friends only in 2010; at the time of the election, no one would cover their complaints. Read about it here.

In one documentary interview, civil rights activist Helene Latimer recounts seeing an elderly woman being intimidated at the polls. “As she approached the entrance way to go into the building, one of the young men said to her, ‘If you’re not voting for Obama, go home because you’re not voting here today.'”


“It’s our right as Americans to be able to vote and everybody was alerted, we went to press, we went to Fox, we went to CNN, nobody wanted to hear the story (in 2008),” Gaston told Fox’s Alisyn Camerota. “Nobody wants to deal with this.”

From “How Obama Used an Army of Thugs to Steal the 2008 Democratic Party Nomination”:

… the Obama Campaign… encouraged and created an army to steal caucus packets, falsify documents, change results, allow unregistered people to vote, scare and intimidate Hillary supporters, stalk them, threaten them, lock them out of their polling places, silence their voices and stop their right to vote.

Political junkies will recall that Obama gained crucial momentum after his surprise win of the Iowa primary.  He won in Iowa by breaking the law and busing in supporters to vote.  Everyone in Iowa could see it with their own eyes – and that includes the entire national press corps.

Dr. Long spent several months studying the caucus and primary results, published here.  Unlike primaries, caucuses are run by the Democrats, using party rules, with no outside observers.

“After studying the procedures and results from all 14 caucus states… my conclusion is that the Obama campaign willfully and intentionally defrauded the American public by systematically undermining the caucus process,” she said.

In Hawaii, caucuses ended up with more ballots than participants.  In Nevada, Obama supporters upturned a wheelchair-bound woman who wanted to caucus for Hillary.  They flushed Clinton ballots down the toilets.  Union members were told they could vote only if their names were on the list of Obama supporters.

Two thousand Texas Democrats filed official complaints, in outrage and total frustration, against Obama’s lawless tactics. The party acknowledged that the Obama campaign’s actions “amount to criminal violations” and ordered them to be reported to state and federal law enforcement.  Nothing happened.

Thanks to these and other strong-arm tactics, Obama won victories in all but one of the caucuses, even in states such as Maine where Hillary had been leading by double digits in the polls.

Bernie Sanders supporters are justifiably angry that the superdelegates gave the nomination to Hillary.  The Washington Post reports in 2008 Hillary won the popular vote in the nomination process.  She was neck and neck with Obama in the delegate count.  Yet the DNC pressured the superdelegates who were pledged to Hillary to flip their votes.  From the Washington Post:

In 2008, the superdelegates became infamous — and essential. That year, as in this one, they helped the party’s front-runner cross the threshold by releasing endorsements around the final primary.  The irony was that the 2008 election, a near-tie, ended with pro-Clinton superdelegates flipping to support then-Sen. Barack Obama.

The Post makes it sound like the superdelegates flipped themselves.  Hillary delegates tell us the  DNC did the deed:

Basically, the delegations would meet and the leadership would say, ‘We need to vote for Obama. You need to basically switch your vote from Hillary to Obama.’ Even though in some 16 or 14 states it was required by law that the delegation needed to vote for the candidate that they represented on the first ballot. Those state party chairs were still manipulating that delegation to break the law and vote for Obama.”

As early as April, Virginia’s party leaders pressured their superdelegates:

Another Clinton superdelegate, senior Democratic strategist Mame Reiley, said she understood targeting undecided superdelegates, but including longtime Clinton supporters only created ill will.  “If we wanted to have a nominee decided in June then we’d have scheduled the convention in June,” Reiley said. “It sort of makes me wonder what they’re afraid of.”

In May 2008, Hillary wrote to the superdelegates, begging them to respect the popular vote.

As we reach the end of the primary season, more than 17 million people have supported me in my effort to become the Democratic nominee – more people than have ever voted for a potential nominee in the history of our party. … And with 40 and 35 point margins of victory, it is clear that even when voters are repeatedly told this race is over, they’re not giving up on me – and I am not giving up on them either.

Clinton trounced Obama by half a million Democrat votes in the 2008 Democrat primaries.  She bettered him among women, seniors, Latinos, the working class, those earning less than $50,000 and first-time voters.  Clinton won the primaries where it is harder to cheat; Obama’s delegate count was based on his fraudulent caucus wins.  Polls showed Clinton beating McCain and Obama losing.  Rasmussen showed Clinton was more competitive than Obama by 16 points.  Yet 100% of the superdelegates threw the nomination to the weaker, less popular candidate.

Senator Obama’s win in Indiana was used by the Democratic leadership to call for the party to unify behind him.  But Obama lacked the minimum number of signatures to legally run   In 2013 two county election board workers were convicted on felony charges for forging hundreds of signatures to get Obama on the ballot. 

In Lake County, home to the long-depressed steel town of Gary, the bipartisan Elections Board has stopped processing a stack of about 5,000 applications delivered just before the October 6 registration deadline after the first 2,100 turned out to be phony.


“All the signatures looked exactly the same,” Ruthann Hoagland, a Republican on the board. “Everything on the card filled out looks exactly the same.”

As a Heritage Foundation expert on election fraud explains, Obama’s Indiana victory was at a crucial juncture. 

Had this fraud been discovered, Barack Obama would have been disqualified from the primary ballot in a major state…the course of the campaign—and history—could have changed. … Clinton would have been almost even with Obama… Obama’s campaign would have been enveloped in a major scandal involving election fraud by local Democratic officials.

The Indiana fraud was discovered in 2011 by a Democrat Yale college student.  The inquiring mind wants to know –did anyone bother to check Obama’s victories in other close primary states?

Nees said the fraud was easy to detect “because page after page of signatures are all in the same handwriting.” A close inspection also revealed their similarity to signatures from a petition for a previous gubernatorial election.

Some of the Obama campaign abuses Democrat voters testified to in “We Will Not Be Silenced,” are disturbing in the extreme.  The documentary is available in four parts on YouTube here. (hat tip canadafreepress.)

In Texas, Hispanic voters were told to go home before they got a chance to sign the caucus sheets, so their vote was not counted.  In Indiana, parents were livid that their high school children were taken out of school, bussed to vote and told to vote for Obama.

The most emotional report is from a Civil Rights activist who had marched with Martin Luther King (Part 3, 3:54). 

I got out of my car and there was this lady, probably about 80 years old, who was slowly walking up the street. As she was approaching the entranceway to go into the building, one of the young men called to her ‘If you’re not voting for Obama, go home, because you’re not voting here today.’ She turned and walked away. The pain that I felt, because of the people who have fought for African Americans to have the right to vote… While I was standing there, there were other people approaching, maybe four or five, and when they heard that they all turned and walked away.

In Texas, elderly Hillary voters were also turned away from voting:

Part 3, 7:20, The two women saw that these women had Hillary stickers on them… so they weren’t going to let them caucus. They said ‘Oh, you must be in some other caucus.’ I said ‘Look lady, I’m from Chicago and I know tricks like this. Let me see that book or we’re going to get the precinct captain over here and we’re going to look and find the names together. I guarantee this woman’s in here, because she’s not a liar. She’s ninety years old and has been looking forward to this. Don’t tell me she’s not in the book.’ Well then, wouldn’t you know it … she magically found her name in the book and let her go be a part of the caucus… I noticed that that was not happening for any of the Obama people, they were just getting waved right through.”

Fixing the nomination for Obama didn’t end with secret lawbreaking.  There was the infamous ruling by the DNC to not count the primary votes in Florida and Michigan, where Clinton won.  These two states were allotted 796 superdelegates.  If her two wins had been credited to Clinton, she would have won the nomination hands down, instead of 137 delegates short.

The Democrat primary process is not this corrupt and ugly by accident.  This is not a problem found in both parties.  It is characteristic of our leftist party, and its leading politicians, because they feel morally entitled to hold power, and are given cover by the mainstream media.  The Democrat lust for power destroys other civic virtues. They lie to voters about themselves, they lie to voters about this country, and they lie about their own elections. 

In 2008, Obama used the obvious but unstated threat of black voters boycotting the election to silence even Clinton, who knew very well he was cheating.  In 2016, Hillary copied not only Obama’s identity politics but his cheating in the primaries.  She did it her own way, by buying the DNC, which was cleaned out by Obama and left $24 million in debt.  (President Obama, it turns out, did all that non-stop fundraising for his personal foundation, Organizing for America, not the party.) 

Obama is now busy destroying Clinton via his surrogates, as if she alone will be blamed for the administration’s corruption of the FBI and spying on candidate Donald Trump.  Neither Obama nor Hillary can reconcile themselves to honest elections, where there is chance they lose. 

President Trump won free and on the square, relying on his message and his voters.  The Democrats are at their wits’ end.  They can’t scare Trump, they can’t fool Trump voters, and they can’t silence the conservative websites.  What was done in the dark is coming to the light.



Source link

Troy Has Fallen. Don't Let Helen Trick You.


And at last, how did colleges that were conceived as lights of reason and character formation plummet into such unreason and depravity with nobody to stop them?

It isn’t the wickedness that staggers the mind, since most people understand the existence and reality of evil.  It is the evasion of justice.  Especially in institutions such as entertainment, politics, and law, which are constantly under the public gaze, it strains credulity that nobody would have seen something going wrong.

Kristallnacht Was Not about Vandalism

When people see evil, they have a reaction and feel the urge to combat it.  So instead of trying to fight that urge in people, you just need to direct it somewhere other than at the real evil.  In other words, when you see people getting ready to take aim, throw up a decoy somewhere, anywhere, and buy time so you can devise a way to escape justice.

Recently, Sharyl Attkisson formally analyzed the uses of distraction in her book, The Smear.  Realistically speaking, The Smear should have been the big paradigm-shifting story of recent times, rather than the wave of coverage about rapists and sexual harassers in Hollywood.  Why?  Because the problem of Kristallnacht was not vandalism, and passing ever stricter laws against vandalism would not have solved the problem of Kristallnacht.

In the same way, the broader problem with Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey was not their sexual misconduct.  The problem is the larger network of spying, disinformation, character assassination, blacklisting, and intimidation, which men like Harvey Weinstein belonged to and used for their purposes.

Ronan Farrow’s article on Weinstein’s large “army of spies,” published in the New Yorker, is as chilling as it is necessarily groundbreaking.  It shows that many in America, who blew the whistle on some problem and found themselves sabotaged in all parts of their lives, were not paranoid.  Maybe it was someone asking Barack Obama a basic political question only to see his embarrassing tax history laid bare in the press.  Maybe we are talking about children raised by gay couples who find that their dissent from the LGBT narrative brought them social ruin.  Their fears were probably right.  People were hacking into their emails; poisoning them with whisper campaigns; turning employers against them; and destroying their reputation through elaborate, planned online campaigns.

Sexual predation, like vandalism, is a timeless problem that rarely gets solved through regulation and punishment.  On the other hand, like the police state of Nazi Germany, the larger disinformation apparatus chronicled by Attkisson’s Smear is a timely problem, something specific, urgent, and crucial for a free society’s capacity to remain free.  And unlike sexual harassment and vandalism, the structure exposed by The Smear can be overturned if people steer clear of distraction.

Helen of Troy: The Original Mistress of Spin

It is often useful to resort to classical examples of a phenomenon so that we can examine our subject without the biases that come with proximity.  Hence, let’s consider Euripides’s Trojan Women.  It is the day after Troy’s sacking.  All the Trojan men are dead.  Female survivors in Troy are huddled, terrified, subject to the cruel whims of the Greek men who invaded and destroyed their city and destroyed.

Menelaus states at first that he will bring Helen back to Greece, “and then hand her over to the vengeance of those whose friends have died at Ilium; they will kill her.”  But upon hearing this, Hecuba, the queen of the vanquished city, pleads with him to place her on public trial now and kill her quickly, thereby denying her a chance to plot some kind of contrivance against justice.  Hecuba adds: “You don’t want to kill her without a hearing. But allow me to handle the prosecution’s case against her. You do not know the evils she did in Troy” (195).  For Hecuba, this must not turn into a general lecture about chastity or a predictable squabble between the sexes.  It has to be about what Helen of Troy did and whom she explicitly harmed through her evil actions.

Unlike Trojan women dressed in tatters and smeared in grime, Helen emerges gorgeously arrayed, with her hair coiffed and her gown clean (she is famous for her skill at weaving garments).

Before Menelaus can interrogate her, she chastises him, saying, “Your servants lay rude hands on me and hustle me out of these tents” (194-5).  Then Helen tells a series of elaborate narratives, all of which direct the blame at others or simply buy her time.  She cites witnesses who cannot be contacted because they are dead.

Helen of Troy blames Hecuba for giving birth to Paris, the prince who took her away from Sparta in the first place (195).  In fact, she mentions that Hecuba was warned by an oracle to kill him in infancy, so Helen deflects her problems to Hecuba, who appears disobedient to the gods.

Then Helen slips in the charge against Menelaus that when Paris was visiting Sparta, Menelaus foolishly sailed away on business and left her alone and defenseless with a foreign prince: “you, my unworthy husband, left him in your halls and sailed off to Crete on a Spartan ship” (196).

Helen directs blame at the gods, recounting a suspicious tale of a three-way contest among Aphrodite, Athena, and Hera, over who was the most beautiful.  Paris was randomly selected as the judge of this contest and was offered three bribes: had he picked Hera, Paris would receive a united Eurasia to rule over; had he picked Athena, Paris would receive “leadership of a Phrygian army that would overthrow Greece.”  Both Hera’s and Athena’s offers would have led to Sparta, Menelaus’s hometown, being overrun by foreign armies with the aid of implacable goddesses.  Only Aphrodite’s offer was relatively benign: she “told of [Helen’s] marvelous beauty and promised it to him” if only Paris would state that Aphrodite was fairer than the other two (195).

The audience knows from preceding scenes that the gods are furious with the Greeks over their conduct during Troy’s last battle.  Poseidon states in the opening monologue, “The sacred groves are abandoned.  The shrines of the gods run with human blood” (175).  His niece Athena agrees with this bleak assessment of the Greeks’ behavior, saying, “Have you not heard of the insult to me and my temples?” and “The [Greeks] must learn in future to stand in proper awe of my shrines and to respect the other gods” (177).  With the gods refusing to appear to men, Helen has the chance to concoct wildly implausible stories without being contradicted by them.

It is hard enough to prove something that happened; how do you disprove something that did not happen?  This is the grand art of distraction, fitting for the emotional landscape of a Greek tragedy.  Helen, being a Spartan in her emotional resilience and an Athenian in her gift of rhetoric, tells Menelaus: “See what a boon my nuptials [to Paris] conferred on Greece; she was not conquered by the barbarians, you had neither to meet them in battle nor submit to their empire” (195).

Helen and Paris appear to be on the side of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and pleasure (#lovewins), while everybody else was just obsessed with war, bloodlust, and vainglory.  If everyone had just submitted to the ineffable will of the gods, then there would have been no Trojan War!  Everyone is wrong but Helen, who is in fact a victim dressed up in a gorgeous outfit with her bags packed, ready to bust out of this dump.  She says, “I was bought and sold for my beauty, and now I am reproached for what ought to have earned me a crown of honor for my head” (195).

Hecuba tries to refute Helen but looks old, haggard, bitter, and possibly mad, while Helen is a good Greek woman, completely in control of her emotions.  Naturally, as we know from Homer and others, Helen is never killed, but her female accusers all end up being sold away as slaves, raped, killed, and scattered to the four winds.

Distraction works.

So who is our Helen of Troy now?

Regardless of the eternal brutality of mankind and the incurable sinfulness of each man’s heart, Helen of Troy was married to the king of Sparta and left him to marry someone else.  The war was about her.  The Trojan women who called for justice knew Helen as the heartless female who sat beside them during ten years of siege, now leaving them all to penury and trauma to protect herself.  One might say that perhaps punishing her would be profitless, since nobody on that fateful morning could reverse the destruction of Troy or give those women their lives back.

Yet by allowing her to escape justice, human civilization learned a deeply self-destructive lesson.  You can get away with anything, including murder, if you are gorgeous and people lack the attention span to figure out what you did.  The aggregate of millions of people justifying themselves in these ways is a society of people wreaking destruction all around and relying, eternally, on plausible deniability.  You get America 2017: a place where people finally witness the shocking immorality that has poisoned our government, Hollywood, academia, and publishing.  Suddenly, it becomes undeniable that accountability matters, that a j’accuse against vague societal forces is often far less curative than a good old-fashioned whooping in the town square to show arrogant bullies they can’t treat people like dirt.

The current American esprit that abounds in exposés and rude awakenings could go either way.  Perhaps Americans will realize that Kristallnacht was not a crisis of rampant vandalism, but rather the sign of a totalitarian doomsday machine taking over their country; likewise, Les Affaires Hollywood are not a crisis of sexual harassment, but rather the sign of a totalitarian doomsday machine taking over our country.  Maybe Americans will rise up, lead a peaceful revolution through all the institutions – Washington, academia, Hollywood, the media, and the like – ripping out all the festering corruption and demanding a new system held accountable to basic standards of human dignity.  With the help of David Pickup, for instance, I organized a conference with just such hopes of pushing back against LGBT education in high schools.

Or America could fall for any number of Helen of Troy moves.  Americans might get caught up in the sexual details of these crises and neglect problems of privacy and corruption in favor of fueling puritanical outrage over maiden victims of eighteenth-century rakes and libertines.  They might get hysterical over crazy “snowflakes” on campus stopping Ben Shapiro from giving a speech and forget that a massive system of debt, extortion, nepotism, and fraud has turned the scholarly class of America into a legion of snickering Democrat toadies.

We know from Euripides what the likely tactics of distraction will be.  We have no excuse.  It’s time to blow the lid off all of the corruption and make America great again, for real.

Follow Robert Oscar Lopez on Twitter at @baptist4freedom.

If you want to get away with anything, you need only one skill: distraction.

Today, we Americans find ourselves sinking into swamp after swamp of institutional corruption, from Washington’s Russia eruptions to Hollywood’s frisky lust to academia’s sheer madness.  A question repeats ad nauseam: How do they get away with this stuff?  How did gropers and pederasts run amok in our nation’s media for decades without being challenged?  How did a web of state operatives, lobbyists, agents, and propagandists fool so many people with disinformation for so long without being caught?

And at last, how did colleges that were conceived as lights of reason and character formation plummet into such unreason and depravity with nobody to stop them?

It isn’t the wickedness that staggers the mind, since most people understand the existence and reality of evil.  It is the evasion of justice.  Especially in institutions such as entertainment, politics, and law, which are constantly under the public gaze, it strains credulity that nobody would have seen something going wrong.

Kristallnacht Was Not about Vandalism

When people see evil, they have a reaction and feel the urge to combat it.  So instead of trying to fight that urge in people, you just need to direct it somewhere other than at the real evil.  In other words, when you see people getting ready to take aim, throw up a decoy somewhere, anywhere, and buy time so you can devise a way to escape justice.

Recently, Sharyl Attkisson formally analyzed the uses of distraction in her book, The Smear.  Realistically speaking, The Smear should have been the big paradigm-shifting story of recent times, rather than the wave of coverage about rapists and sexual harassers in Hollywood.  Why?  Because the problem of Kristallnacht was not vandalism, and passing ever stricter laws against vandalism would not have solved the problem of Kristallnacht.

In the same way, the broader problem with Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey was not their sexual misconduct.  The problem is the larger network of spying, disinformation, character assassination, blacklisting, and intimidation, which men like Harvey Weinstein belonged to and used for their purposes.

Ronan Farrow’s article on Weinstein’s large “army of spies,” published in the New Yorker, is as chilling as it is necessarily groundbreaking.  It shows that many in America, who blew the whistle on some problem and found themselves sabotaged in all parts of their lives, were not paranoid.  Maybe it was someone asking Barack Obama a basic political question only to see his embarrassing tax history laid bare in the press.  Maybe we are talking about children raised by gay couples who find that their dissent from the LGBT narrative brought them social ruin.  Their fears were probably right.  People were hacking into their emails; poisoning them with whisper campaigns; turning employers against them; and destroying their reputation through elaborate, planned online campaigns.

Sexual predation, like vandalism, is a timeless problem that rarely gets solved through regulation and punishment.  On the other hand, like the police state of Nazi Germany, the larger disinformation apparatus chronicled by Attkisson’s Smear is a timely problem, something specific, urgent, and crucial for a free society’s capacity to remain free.  And unlike sexual harassment and vandalism, the structure exposed by The Smear can be overturned if people steer clear of distraction.

Helen of Troy: The Original Mistress of Spin

It is often useful to resort to classical examples of a phenomenon so that we can examine our subject without the biases that come with proximity.  Hence, let’s consider Euripides’s Trojan Women.  It is the day after Troy’s sacking.  All the Trojan men are dead.  Female survivors in Troy are huddled, terrified, subject to the cruel whims of the Greek men who invaded and destroyed their city and destroyed.

Menelaus states at first that he will bring Helen back to Greece, “and then hand her over to the vengeance of those whose friends have died at Ilium; they will kill her.”  But upon hearing this, Hecuba, the queen of the vanquished city, pleads with him to place her on public trial now and kill her quickly, thereby denying her a chance to plot some kind of contrivance against justice.  Hecuba adds: “You don’t want to kill her without a hearing. But allow me to handle the prosecution’s case against her. You do not know the evils she did in Troy” (195).  For Hecuba, this must not turn into a general lecture about chastity or a predictable squabble between the sexes.  It has to be about what Helen of Troy did and whom she explicitly harmed through her evil actions.

Unlike Trojan women dressed in tatters and smeared in grime, Helen emerges gorgeously arrayed, with her hair coiffed and her gown clean (she is famous for her skill at weaving garments).

Before Menelaus can interrogate her, she chastises him, saying, “Your servants lay rude hands on me and hustle me out of these tents” (194-5).  Then Helen tells a series of elaborate narratives, all of which direct the blame at others or simply buy her time.  She cites witnesses who cannot be contacted because they are dead.

Helen of Troy blames Hecuba for giving birth to Paris, the prince who took her away from Sparta in the first place (195).  In fact, she mentions that Hecuba was warned by an oracle to kill him in infancy, so Helen deflects her problems to Hecuba, who appears disobedient to the gods.

Then Helen slips in the charge against Menelaus that when Paris was visiting Sparta, Menelaus foolishly sailed away on business and left her alone and defenseless with a foreign prince: “you, my unworthy husband, left him in your halls and sailed off to Crete on a Spartan ship” (196).

Helen directs blame at the gods, recounting a suspicious tale of a three-way contest among Aphrodite, Athena, and Hera, over who was the most beautiful.  Paris was randomly selected as the judge of this contest and was offered three bribes: had he picked Hera, Paris would receive a united Eurasia to rule over; had he picked Athena, Paris would receive “leadership of a Phrygian army that would overthrow Greece.”  Both Hera’s and Athena’s offers would have led to Sparta, Menelaus’s hometown, being overrun by foreign armies with the aid of implacable goddesses.  Only Aphrodite’s offer was relatively benign: she “told of [Helen’s] marvelous beauty and promised it to him” if only Paris would state that Aphrodite was fairer than the other two (195).

The audience knows from preceding scenes that the gods are furious with the Greeks over their conduct during Troy’s last battle.  Poseidon states in the opening monologue, “The sacred groves are abandoned.  The shrines of the gods run with human blood” (175).  His niece Athena agrees with this bleak assessment of the Greeks’ behavior, saying, “Have you not heard of the insult to me and my temples?” and “The [Greeks] must learn in future to stand in proper awe of my shrines and to respect the other gods” (177).  With the gods refusing to appear to men, Helen has the chance to concoct wildly implausible stories without being contradicted by them.

It is hard enough to prove something that happened; how do you disprove something that did not happen?  This is the grand art of distraction, fitting for the emotional landscape of a Greek tragedy.  Helen, being a Spartan in her emotional resilience and an Athenian in her gift of rhetoric, tells Menelaus: “See what a boon my nuptials [to Paris] conferred on Greece; she was not conquered by the barbarians, you had neither to meet them in battle nor submit to their empire” (195).

Helen and Paris appear to be on the side of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and pleasure (#lovewins), while everybody else was just obsessed with war, bloodlust, and vainglory.  If everyone had just submitted to the ineffable will of the gods, then there would have been no Trojan War!  Everyone is wrong but Helen, who is in fact a victim dressed up in a gorgeous outfit with her bags packed, ready to bust out of this dump.  She says, “I was bought and sold for my beauty, and now I am reproached for what ought to have earned me a crown of honor for my head” (195).

Hecuba tries to refute Helen but looks old, haggard, bitter, and possibly mad, while Helen is a good Greek woman, completely in control of her emotions.  Naturally, as we know from Homer and others, Helen is never killed, but her female accusers all end up being sold away as slaves, raped, killed, and scattered to the four winds.

Distraction works.

So who is our Helen of Troy now?

Regardless of the eternal brutality of mankind and the incurable sinfulness of each man’s heart, Helen of Troy was married to the king of Sparta and left him to marry someone else.  The war was about her.  The Trojan women who called for justice knew Helen as the heartless female who sat beside them during ten years of siege, now leaving them all to penury and trauma to protect herself.  One might say that perhaps punishing her would be profitless, since nobody on that fateful morning could reverse the destruction of Troy or give those women their lives back.

Yet by allowing her to escape justice, human civilization learned a deeply self-destructive lesson.  You can get away with anything, including murder, if you are gorgeous and people lack the attention span to figure out what you did.  The aggregate of millions of people justifying themselves in these ways is a society of people wreaking destruction all around and relying, eternally, on plausible deniability.  You get America 2017: a place where people finally witness the shocking immorality that has poisoned our government, Hollywood, academia, and publishing.  Suddenly, it becomes undeniable that accountability matters, that a j’accuse against vague societal forces is often far less curative than a good old-fashioned whooping in the town square to show arrogant bullies they can’t treat people like dirt.

The current American esprit that abounds in exposés and rude awakenings could go either way.  Perhaps Americans will realize that Kristallnacht was not a crisis of rampant vandalism, but rather the sign of a totalitarian doomsday machine taking over their country; likewise, Les Affaires Hollywood are not a crisis of sexual harassment, but rather the sign of a totalitarian doomsday machine taking over our country.  Maybe Americans will rise up, lead a peaceful revolution through all the institutions – Washington, academia, Hollywood, the media, and the like – ripping out all the festering corruption and demanding a new system held accountable to basic standards of human dignity.  With the help of David Pickup, for instance, I organized a conference with just such hopes of pushing back against LGBT education in high schools.

Or America could fall for any number of Helen of Troy moves.  Americans might get caught up in the sexual details of these crises and neglect problems of privacy and corruption in favor of fueling puritanical outrage over maiden victims of eighteenth-century rakes and libertines.  They might get hysterical over crazy “snowflakes” on campus stopping Ben Shapiro from giving a speech and forget that a massive system of debt, extortion, nepotism, and fraud has turned the scholarly class of America into a legion of snickering Democrat toadies.

We know from Euripides what the likely tactics of distraction will be.  We have no excuse.  It’s time to blow the lid off all of the corruption and make America great again, for real.

Follow Robert Oscar Lopez on Twitter at @baptist4freedom.



Source link

France Takes Away Its Oscar from Harvey Weinstein


Hollywood, the celestial universe with stars that are cloudy rather than bright and are far from being angels until recently suffered from an Ostrich effect, oblivious or inattentive to reprehensible  behavior, something akin to playing the piano in a bordello. The stars in the Hollywood firmament remained strangely unaware of what has long been apparent to even casual observers, the disgraceful behavior of their theatrical colleagues toward both women and men.

Revelations of unexpected behavior are often highly disconcerting. Would-be revolutionaries must have been puzzled that their idol and icon, Che Guevera, on his death in 1967, was found to be wearing two very expensive Rolex watches. The elite Hollywood club, for the most part ideologically left-wing conformist, pretends to be experiencing a similar puzzlement, while the show goes on. Allegations of unbecoming behavior in Hollywood, as elsewhere, are now evident, though the conspiracy of silence remains.

A prime example is Alec Baldwin, the self-made dramatic personality with strong left-wing views on every subject who adores his creator. After learning that 300 women claimed that his friend the film director James Toback has abused or harassed them, Baldwin explained he never knew any details of what Toback did that was an assault in nature or criminally accountable. By contrast, Baldwin is more articulate, assured, and knowledgeable about political opponents: he has called President Donald Trump a “sexual predator ” and asserts that all kinds of evidence shows that Trump has behaved that way. A less political figure, the actress Uma Thurman, has confined her comment on Harvey Weinstein to an enigmatic contribution that, “when I’m ready, I’ll say what I have to say.”

Paradoxically, when Roman Polanski was arrested in Switzerland in 2009 for unlawful sex acts with a 13-year-old girl in 1977, about 100 film people supported him and called for his release. Among them was Harvey Weinstein who called his arrest a “terrible mistake.”

What should society and representative organizations do about the alleged sexual offenders? The offenders of course may be faced with possible criminal charges or legal action. Or they may apologize in some form, and, genuinely or otherwise, seek help, “treatment,” whatever that means, or rehabilitation.

France has shown the right way to deal with the issue. President Emmanuel Macron has expressed concern about the allegations of sexual misconduct, especially about Harvey Weinstein, and is interested in overhauling the Legion d’honneur system to deal with it and similar issues. One suggestion is reducing the number of people awarded the Legion d’honneur, France’s highest decoration in five grades. This distinction was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in May 1802 to reward people, based on merit, not social status.

According to the Legion’s Code, awards are given by the president in consultation with the National Order of the Legion d’honneur, for “outstanding merit in the service of the nation in a civilian or military capacity.” There is no exact or exhaustive list of what constitutes “outstanding merit” or the quality of services or the nature of actions by the individual. Foreigners receive the honor for rendering service to France in cultural or economic activity or support for issues in which France is interested. There is no financial benefit, or material reward associated with the award, but all recognize its meaningfulness, and recipients are proud to have gained it.

The president of France has the prerogative to award the honor as he sees fit. It can and has been used for diplomatic reasons or reciprocity as one means to buttress French foreign policy. This has been done, sometimes controversially, in awards to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who got the highest honor the Grand Croix in 2006, Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu, Tunisian President Zine Ben Ali, former President of Gabon, Ali Bongo, and former crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad bin Nayef.

The pantheon of foreign honorees is formidable, ranging from the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in 2016 for his efforts on behalf of the Paris climate change proposals, to U.S. movie stars and celebrities, among them Barbra Streisand, Clint Eastwood, Kirk Douglas, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Miles Davis, Toni Morrison, and the four brave people, three American and one British, who were give awards for subduing a gunman on a high speed train going to Paris.

What is given by the French president can be taken away. The Legion award can now be withdrawn from a foreigner who was sentenced for a crime or to a prison term of at least one year, or if the individual has committed acts or behaved in such a way that was dishonorable or damaging, or does not have good character or has been guilty of abuses of human rights.

A number of notorious cases have come up in recent years. One concerned the celebrated cyclist champion Lance Armstrong who won seven rounds of the Tour de France and was awarded the Legion in 2005. It was withdrawn in 2014 because of accusations of the use of dope in his career. Another in 2012 was John Galliano, the fashion designer, because of his conviction for a drunken outbreak of anti-Semitism in the streets in Paris the previous year.

A third is the case of Panama dictator, Manuel Noriega who got the award in 1987, but who was extradited in 2010 from the U.S. to France to serve a prison sentence for money laundering and drug dealing. Another case involved Bob Dylan who was deemed unworthy and was criticized for his pot drug taking, and anti-war protests. Curiously, the award went to Paul McCartney, who was not immune from cannabis. But Dylan, internationally known for “Blowin’ in the Wind,” and thus considered culturally important made it in 2013.

The number of actresses who were or claimed to have been sexually harassed by Harvey Weinstein mounts daily. Among them are four French actresses. President Macron has been quick to act declaring Weinstein guilty of “unbecoming behavior.” He has started the technical legal process to strip Weinstein of the award of the Legion he received in 2012.

Now it is up to authorities in the U.S. to deal with Weinstein and others in similar fashion. Formal legal charges may be brought. But in the meantime, there are other alternatives. It is true that his membership of various organizations, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and the Producers Guild of America have been revoked. There is no comparable Legion of Honor in the U.S., but the prized jewel in the film world is the Hollywood Oscar. The least compensation that world can make for its alleged transgressions is, as in the case of France, to strip Weinstein and similar offenders, of its highest honor. The Hollywood world is not full of angels, but it now knows it can get along without Weinstein very well.

Michael Curtis is a Chevalier of the Legion d’honneur.

Hollywood, the celestial universe with stars that are cloudy rather than bright and are far from being angels until recently suffered from an Ostrich effect, oblivious or inattentive to reprehensible  behavior, something akin to playing the piano in a bordello. The stars in the Hollywood firmament remained strangely unaware of what has long been apparent to even casual observers, the disgraceful behavior of their theatrical colleagues toward both women and men.

Revelations of unexpected behavior are often highly disconcerting. Would-be revolutionaries must have been puzzled that their idol and icon, Che Guevera, on his death in 1967, was found to be wearing two very expensive Rolex watches. The elite Hollywood club, for the most part ideologically left-wing conformist, pretends to be experiencing a similar puzzlement, while the show goes on. Allegations of unbecoming behavior in Hollywood, as elsewhere, are now evident, though the conspiracy of silence remains.

A prime example is Alec Baldwin, the self-made dramatic personality with strong left-wing views on every subject who adores his creator. After learning that 300 women claimed that his friend the film director James Toback has abused or harassed them, Baldwin explained he never knew any details of what Toback did that was an assault in nature or criminally accountable. By contrast, Baldwin is more articulate, assured, and knowledgeable about political opponents: he has called President Donald Trump a “sexual predator ” and asserts that all kinds of evidence shows that Trump has behaved that way. A less political figure, the actress Uma Thurman, has confined her comment on Harvey Weinstein to an enigmatic contribution that, “when I’m ready, I’ll say what I have to say.”

Paradoxically, when Roman Polanski was arrested in Switzerland in 2009 for unlawful sex acts with a 13-year-old girl in 1977, about 100 film people supported him and called for his release. Among them was Harvey Weinstein who called his arrest a “terrible mistake.”

What should society and representative organizations do about the alleged sexual offenders? The offenders of course may be faced with possible criminal charges or legal action. Or they may apologize in some form, and, genuinely or otherwise, seek help, “treatment,” whatever that means, or rehabilitation.

France has shown the right way to deal with the issue. President Emmanuel Macron has expressed concern about the allegations of sexual misconduct, especially about Harvey Weinstein, and is interested in overhauling the Legion d’honneur system to deal with it and similar issues. One suggestion is reducing the number of people awarded the Legion d’honneur, France’s highest decoration in five grades. This distinction was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in May 1802 to reward people, based on merit, not social status.

According to the Legion’s Code, awards are given by the president in consultation with the National Order of the Legion d’honneur, for “outstanding merit in the service of the nation in a civilian or military capacity.” There is no exact or exhaustive list of what constitutes “outstanding merit” or the quality of services or the nature of actions by the individual. Foreigners receive the honor for rendering service to France in cultural or economic activity or support for issues in which France is interested. There is no financial benefit, or material reward associated with the award, but all recognize its meaningfulness, and recipients are proud to have gained it.

The president of France has the prerogative to award the honor as he sees fit. It can and has been used for diplomatic reasons or reciprocity as one means to buttress French foreign policy. This has been done, sometimes controversially, in awards to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who got the highest honor the Grand Croix in 2006, Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu, Tunisian President Zine Ben Ali, former President of Gabon, Ali Bongo, and former crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad bin Nayef.

The pantheon of foreign honorees is formidable, ranging from the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in 2016 for his efforts on behalf of the Paris climate change proposals, to U.S. movie stars and celebrities, among them Barbra Streisand, Clint Eastwood, Kirk Douglas, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Miles Davis, Toni Morrison, and the four brave people, three American and one British, who were give awards for subduing a gunman on a high speed train going to Paris.

What is given by the French president can be taken away. The Legion award can now be withdrawn from a foreigner who was sentenced for a crime or to a prison term of at least one year, or if the individual has committed acts or behaved in such a way that was dishonorable or damaging, or does not have good character or has been guilty of abuses of human rights.

A number of notorious cases have come up in recent years. One concerned the celebrated cyclist champion Lance Armstrong who won seven rounds of the Tour de France and was awarded the Legion in 2005. It was withdrawn in 2014 because of accusations of the use of dope in his career. Another in 2012 was John Galliano, the fashion designer, because of his conviction for a drunken outbreak of anti-Semitism in the streets in Paris the previous year.

A third is the case of Panama dictator, Manuel Noriega who got the award in 1987, but who was extradited in 2010 from the U.S. to France to serve a prison sentence for money laundering and drug dealing. Another case involved Bob Dylan who was deemed unworthy and was criticized for his pot drug taking, and anti-war protests. Curiously, the award went to Paul McCartney, who was not immune from cannabis. But Dylan, internationally known for “Blowin’ in the Wind,” and thus considered culturally important made it in 2013.

The number of actresses who were or claimed to have been sexually harassed by Harvey Weinstein mounts daily. Among them are four French actresses. President Macron has been quick to act declaring Weinstein guilty of “unbecoming behavior.” He has started the technical legal process to strip Weinstein of the award of the Legion he received in 2012.

Now it is up to authorities in the U.S. to deal with Weinstein and others in similar fashion. Formal legal charges may be brought. But in the meantime, there are other alternatives. It is true that his membership of various organizations, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and the Producers Guild of America have been revoked. There is no comparable Legion of Honor in the U.S., but the prized jewel in the film world is the Hollywood Oscar. The least compensation that world can make for its alleged transgressions is, as in the case of France, to strip Weinstein and similar offenders, of its highest honor. The Hollywood world is not full of angels, but it now knows it can get along without Weinstein very well.

Michael Curtis is a Chevalier of the Legion d’honneur.



Source link