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Updated: Mon, 21 Aug 2017 07:54:59 -0500

 



Senator Rock? Eclipse Central; Hazy Hate Crimes; Cyber Command

2017-08-21T00:00:00Z

Good morning, it’s Monday, August 21, 2017. I’m away this week and taking a brief hiatus from this daily newsletter. But there’s no break in the news, of course, so we’ll continue each day to spotlight RealClearPolitics’ front page, which presents our poll averages, videos, breaking news stories, and aggregated opinion pieces spanning the political spectrum. We also offer an array of original material from our own reporters and contributors, including the following: * * * Can Kid Rock Become Michigan’s Next Senator? David Byler...Good morning, it’s Monday, August 21, 2017. I’m away this week and taking a brief hiatus from this daily newsletter. But there’s no break in the news, of course, so we’ll continue each day to spotlight RealClearPolitics’ front page, which presents our poll averages, videos, breaking news stories, and aggregated opinion pieces spanning the political spectrum. We also offer an array of original material from our own reporters and contributors, including the following: * * * Can Kid Rock Become Michigan’s Next Senator? David Byler analyzes the dynamics in the blue-leaning state that backed Donald Trump last year. Everything You Need to Know About the Solar Eclipse. RealClearInvestigations has this one-stop guide to all things eclipse. The Squishy Secrets of Hate-Crime Stats. Also in RCI, James Varney sheds light on the inexact science of assigning fatalities to “right-wing,” “left-wing” or “Islamic” extremists.  Trump Elevates Status of U.S. Cyber Command. Sandra Erwin has the story in RealClearDefense. The Remaining ISIS Outposts in Iraq. Also in RCD, Zach D. Huff previews the coming battles to defeat Islamic State fighters. What Are Trump's Economic Priorities? In RealClearPolicy, Jeffrey Kucik warns that the administration’s trade-policy rethink could weaken the economy and undermine the president’s negotiating power. Why a Trade War With China Is a Bad Idea. Allan Golombek explains in RealClearMarkets. Is Obamacare to Blame for the Opioid Overdose Death Rate? In RealClearHealth, Jeffrey Singer argues that the ACA's community rating price controls are partly responsible for America's drug epidemic.  Union Leader’s Response on Vouchers and Segregation. In RealClearEducation, Randi Weingarten answers a recent piece in RCEd critical of her views.  Freshman Year for Free. RealClearLife spotlights online college courses offered without charge to anyone anywhere. Carl M. Cannon  Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics @CarlCannon (Twitter) ccannon@realclearpolitics.comCarl M. Cannon is the Washington Bureau Chief for RealClearPolitics. Reach him on Twitter @CarlCannon.[...]



Trump to Outline Afghan Strategy in National TV Address

2017-08-21T00:00:00Z

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump will use a nationally televised address to outline for a war-weary nation the strategy he believes will best position the U.S. to eventually declare victory in Afghanistan after 16 years of combat and lives lost. The speech Monday night will also give Trump a chance for a reset after one of the most difficult weeks of his short presidency. Trump tweeted Saturday that he had reached a decision on the way forward in Afghanistan, a day after he reviewed war options with his national security team at a meeting at Camp David, Maryland. The president...WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump will use a nationally televised address to outline for a war-weary nation the strategy he believes will best position the U.S. to eventually declare victory in Afghanistan after 16 years of combat and lives lost. The speech Monday night will also give Trump a chance for a reset after one of the most difficult weeks of his short presidency. Trump tweeted Saturday that he had reached a decision on the way forward in Afghanistan, a day after he reviewed war options with his national security team at a meeting at Camp David, Maryland. The president offered no clues about whether he would send thousands more U.S. troops into Afghanistan or exercise his authority as commander in chief to order that they be withdrawn from America's longest war. But signs pointed in the direction of Trump continuing the U.S. commitment there. The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan on Sunday hailed the launch of the Afghan Army's new special operations corps and declared that "we are with you and we will stay with you." Trump scheduled a 9 p.m. EDT Monday address to the nation and U.S. troops stationed at the Army's Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. Next door to the base is Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place for many of the U.S. troops who died fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will be Trump's first formal address to the nation outside of his late February speech to a joint session of Congress. And it follows one of the most trying weeks for the president, who generated a firestorm of criticism after he appeared to equate neo-Nazis and white supremacists with the counter-protesters who opposed them during a deadly clash, with racial overtones, two weekends ago in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump blamed "very fine people, on both sides" for the confrontation in which a woman was killed and more than a dozen people were injured. The comments triggered rebukes from elected and former elected leaders in both political parties, and corporate leaders signaled a lack of confidence in Trump by resigning from a pair of White House advisory boards, among other expressions of dissent over his comments. In Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson's comments suggested the Pentagon may have won its argument that U.S. military must remain engaged in order to ensure that terrorists aren't again able to threaten the U.S. from havens inside of Afghanistan. Nicholson, who spoke before the announcement about Trump's speech, said the commandos and a plan to double the size of the Afghan special operations forces are critical to winning the war. "I assure you we are with you in this fight. We are with you and we will stay with you," Nicholson said during a ceremony at Camp Morehead, a training base for Afghan commandoes southeast of Kabul. The Pentagon was awaiting a final announcement by Trump on a proposal to send in nearly 4,000 more U.S. troops. The added forces would increase training and advising of the Afghan forces and bolster counterterrorism operations against the Taliban and an Islamic State group affiliate trying to gain a foothold in the country. The administration had been at odds for months over how to craft a new Afghan war strategy amid frustrations that the conflict had stalemated some 16 years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Afghan government controls just half of the country and is beset by endemic corruption and infighting. The Islamic State group has been hit hard but continues [...]



Can Kid Rock Become Michigan's Next Senator?

2017-08-21T00:00:00Z

“How could an entertainer with no political experience and a long history of controversial comments ever win one of the most important political positions in the United States?” No, that’s not a quote from last year’s presidential election. For better or worse, it will likely echo into 2018 as the ranks of celebrities navigating the world of politics expand beyond President Trump and Minnesota Sen. Al Franken. Robert “Kid Rock” Ritchie has expressed interest in seeking the Republican nomination in Michigan’s 2018 Senate...“How could an entertainer with no political experience and a long history of controversial comments ever win one of the most important political positions in the United States?” No, that’s not a quote from last year’s presidential election. For better or worse, it will likely echo into 2018 as the ranks of celebrities navigating the world of politics expand beyond President Trump and Minnesota Sen. Al Franken. Robert “Kid Rock” Ritchie has expressed interest in seeking the Republican nomination in Michigan’s 2018 Senate race, and some party members are encouraging him to run. I have no idea if Kid Rock would win the GOP primary. And if he did, there’s certainly no guarantee he would beat incumbent Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow. But if the outspoken pop star runs and generates even a quarter of the controversy that Trump has, it may be hard to keep up with the news while also keeping tabs on the other important midterm elections. So it’s worth taking some time now to step back, think about the playing field in Michigan and gauge the odds for any Republican, rock musicians or otherwise, to win in the state. The Playing Field in Michigan and the GOP’s Two Paths Democrats have a solid record of winning offices in Michigan that deal with national-level issues. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both won the state twice, and Al Gore and John Kerry each carried it while failing to win the White House. Democrats have also been successful in recent Senate elections. Gary Peters now occupies the seat that Democratic Sen. Carl Levin held from 1979 to 2015, and Stabenow has held her seat since 2001 (the previous two Republicans in that seat were Spencer Abraham, who won a single term in the 1994 Republican wave, and Charles Potter, who lost re-election to Democrat Philip Hart in 1958). The House delegation is more Republican, but the details of the congressional map make it tough to jump from that fact to a claim that the state itself is conservative. But despite Michigan’s somewhat blue tint, Republicans still sometimes manage to win statewide. Donald Trump eked out a victory in 2016 -- a significant shift from President Obama’s 10-point triumph in 2012. GOP candidates take the governorship more frequently. Most recently, Republican Rick Snyder ran as a fiscal conservative and a “tough nerd” and ended up winning the governor’s mansion in 2010 and 2014. Gubernatorial races often revolve around state issues and thus have limited usefulness in predicting Senate results, but Snyder’s and Trump’s wins highlight two different paths that GOP candidates can take in Michigan. Snyder’s route was basically a souped-up version of the traditional Republican map. Snyder, like Republicans in other states, won rural a­reas. But he also performed well in heavily Dutch-American Grand Rapids (some such areas voted heavily against Trump in the GOP primary) and won affluent, suburban Oakland County (where Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney grew up). In that way, Snyder’s victory looks like the pre-Trump version of the GOP – a party whose base is religious conservatives, wealthy suburbanites and rural voters. In fact, the county-level results show that Snyder’s 2014 win correlates more closely with George W. Bush’s 2000 and 2004 wins than with Donald Trump’s 2016 showing. Trump took a[...]



Why We Must Challenge China on Trade

2017-08-21T00:00:00Z

WASHINGTON -- There is much to dislike in President Trump's trade agenda, but he is correct on one subject: China's relentless quest to extort American "intellectual property" -- technologies, business methods, patents. Trump took a swipe last week at China's policies by ordering his top trade officials to investigate. Whether he can alter China's behavior is unclear, but he is right to try, even at the risk of a trade war. China has high economic ambitions, write David Dollar and Ryan Hass of the Brookings Institution. Its industrial policy, called "Made in...WASHINGTON -- There is much to dislike in President Trump's trade agenda, but he is correct on one subject: China's relentless quest to extort American "intellectual property" -- technologies, business methods, patents. Trump took a swipe last week at China's policies by ordering his top trade officials to investigate. Whether he can alter China's behavior is unclear, but he is right to try, even at the risk of a trade war. China has high economic ambitions, write David Dollar and Ryan Hass of the Brookings Institution. Its industrial policy, called "Made in China 2025," envisions the country becoming the global leader in 10 crucial sectors: information technologies; machine tools and robotics; aerospace equipment; rail transport; maritime equipment; new energy vehicles; power equipment; agricultural equipment; new materials; and advanced medical products. "These sectors will be supported by financing from state-owned [banks and] institutions and protected from open competition," say Dollar and Hass on the website of Fortune magazine. To get to the top, China also needs advanced know-how. Here's where foreign companies make a bargain with the devil. The Chinese require them to surrender technology in return for the right to invest and sell in China. There are many mechanisms: joint ventures with Chinese firms; China-based research and development centers; licensing agreements made at bargain basement rates. Again, Dollar and Hass: "American companies agree to these technology transfers because it's the only way they can access the second-largest market in the world. ... The list of companies operating in such ventures is essentially the roll call of top American technology firms. Intel has agreements with two Chinese chipmakers in order to get access to the market for smartphones and tablets. IBM and Advanced Micro Devices have both licensed chip technology to Chinese partners. Qualcomm has a similar partnership. Automakers have to share their technology with local partners in order to produce and sell there." To this legalized technology extortion must be added an indeterminant amount of illegal cybertheft of business secrets. Whatever the source, the consequences hurt Americans -- and Europeans, Japanese and workers in other advanced countries. All their high-technology industries face a slow eclipse by China's favored firms. The aim is to substitute their production for other countries', says Rob Atkinson of the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation. He says that the government plans to spend $1.6 billion to expand its semiconductor industry. The danger of global over-investment, driven by China's subsidies, is obvious. "To put it plainly, China could do to semiconductors, artificial intelligence and pharmaceuticals what it has done to steel and aluminum," writes Scott Kennedy of the Center for Strategic & International Studies in a report. If global gluts of production capacity emerge -- as they have in steel and aluminum -- and China protects its producers, then losses will fall heaviest on non-Chinese firms. Finally, there's national security. Writing last week in The New York Times, former Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair and former National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander argued that the mounting pillage of American intellectual property poses a threat to national security as well as the economy. "Chinese agents have gone after the Unite[...]



GOP Doubts and Anxieties About Trump Burst into the Open

2017-08-20T00:00:00Z

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump's racially fraught comments about a deadly neo-Nazi rally have thrust into the open some Republicans' deeply held doubts about his competency and temperament, in an extraordinary public airing of worries and grievances about a sitting president by his own party. Behind the high-profile denunciations voiced this week by GOP senators once considered Trump allies, scores of other, influential Republicans began to express grave concerns about the state of the Trump presidency. In interviews with Associated Press reporters across nine states, 25...WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump's racially fraught comments about a deadly neo-Nazi rally have thrust into the open some Republicans' deeply held doubts about his competency and temperament, in an extraordinary public airing of worries and grievances about a sitting president by his own party. Behind the high-profile denunciations voiced this week by GOP senators once considered Trump allies, scores of other, influential Republicans began to express grave concerns about the state of the Trump presidency. In interviews with Associated Press reporters across nine states, 25 Republican politicians, party officials, advisers and donors expressed worries about whether Trump has the self-discipline and capability to govern successfully. Eric Cantor, the former House majority leader from Virginia, said Republicans signaled this week that Trump's handling of the Charlottesville protests was "beyond just a distraction." "It was a turning point in terms of Republicans being able to say, we're not even going to get close to that," Cantor said. Chip Lake, a Georgia-based GOP operative who did not vote for Trump in the general election, raised the prospect of the president leaving office before his term is up. "It's impossible to see a scenario under which this is sustainable under a four-year period," Lake said. Trump's handling of the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, has shaken his presidency unlike any of the other self-created crises that have rattled the White House during his seven months in office. Business leaders have bolted from White House councils, wary of being associated with the president. Military leaders distanced themselves from Trump's assertion that "both sides" - the white supremacists and the counter-protesters - were to blame for the violence that left one protester dead. And some members of Trump's own staff were outraged by his combative assertion that there were "very fine people" among those marching with the white supremacists, neo-Nazis and KKK members. Importantly, the Republicans interviewed did not line up behind some course of action or an organized break with the president. Some expressed hope the recent shakeup of White House advisers might help Trump get back in control of his message and the GOP agenda. Still, the blistering and blunt statements from some Republicans have marked a new phase. Until now, the party has largely kept its most troubling doubts about Trump to whispered, private conversations, fearful of alienating the president's loyal supporters and upending long-sought GOP policy goals. Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and a foreign policy ally of the Trump White House, delivered the sharpest criticism of Trump, declaring that the president "has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to" in dealing with crises. Corker's comments were echoed in the interviews with two dozen Republican officials after Trump expressed his views in Tuesday's press conference. More than half spoke on the record, while the others insisted on anonymity in order to speak candidly about the man who leads their party and remains popular with the majority of GOP voters. A handful defended Trump without reservation. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, an early supporter of the president, said he "proudly" stands with Trum[...]



Trump vs. The Business Community

2017-08-20T00:00:00Z

Most business executives fumed and groused for the eight years Barack Obama was in the White House. He was a former community organizer who had never met a payroll, and those in the corporate boardrooms thought he was no friend of free enterprise. In 2010, New York real estate and media tycoon Mortimer Zuckerman said Obama's "demonization of business" was discouraging investment, sapping job growth and generally creating an "economic Katrina." Gary Shapiro, head of the Consumer Technology Association, called Obama "the most anti-business president" in his...Most business executives fumed and groused for the eight years Barack Obama was in the White House. He was a former community organizer who had never met a payroll, and those in the corporate boardrooms thought he was no friend of free enterprise. In 2010, New York real estate and media tycoon Mortimer Zuckerman said Obama's "demonization of business" was discouraging investment, sapping job growth and generally creating an "economic Katrina." Gary Shapiro, head of the Consumer Technology Association, called Obama "the most anti-business president" in his lifetime. Former General Electric Chairman Jack Welch implored the president, "Stop it. You can't go industry by industry ... through intimidation, business by business by business." As ordeals go, though, theirs was notably mild. The stock market soared; corporate profits nearly tripled; and the unemployment rate declined from 7.8 percent to 4.8 percent. From the depths of the Great Recession, the economy began what is now the third-longest expansion on record. When it came to the economy, the Obama years looked more like Mardi Gras than Hurricane Katrina. Now, instead of a liberal lawyer in the White House, CEOs have one of their own. And they're finding it's not everything they hoped. The stock market and other economic indicators look about the same as they did before Donald Trump took office. In Obama's final six months, the economy added an average of nearly 181,000 jobs per month. In Trump's first six months, it added 179,000 per month. GDP growth has even slowed a bit. More troublesome at the moment is Trump's insistence on defending Confederate monuments and stoking white racial resentments. In recent days, so many CEOs resigned from the president's two business advisory councils that Trump closed them down. Some of the executives no doubt were genuinely upset at the president's coddling of bigots and his inability to behave with a dignity befitting his office. Some were fearful of alienating customers who find Trump toxic. Other business executives are edging away from the president as though he were an erratic panhandler, and for the same reason: Best not to be close to him if he flips out. You don't want to have to stand there in silent mortification, as White House chief of staff John Kelly had to do the other day, while the president makes a fool of himself on national TV. It would not be good for your company or your career. But even before Trump's Charlottesville debacle, he was not covering himself with capitalist glory. His January travel order put him at odds with some 100 tech firms that sued to block it, arguing, "It disrupts ongoing business operations. And it threatens companies' ability to attract talent, business, and investment to the United States." His decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord didn't go down well with many big companies, 25 of which had signed a letter urging him to stay in. Even oil giants Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips opposed the withdrawal. In abandoning the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, Trump spurned the recommendation of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. His insistence on renegotiating NAFTA has the Big Three automakers worried about their supply chains. A lot of executives applaud Trump's war on federal regulation. But what else has he done for them? His failures on Obamacare have generated uncertainty among insurance co[...]



Russia Reaps Blowback From Covert Campaign

2017-08-18T00:00:00Z

WASHINGTON -- Intelligence officers sometimes talk about "blowback," when covert actions go bad and end up damaging the country that initiated them. A year later, that is surely the case with Russia's secret attempt to meddle in the U.S. presidential election, which has brought a string of adverse unintended consequences for Moscow. The Kremlin is still issuing cocky statements accusing the U.S. of "political schizophrenia" in its response to Russian hacking. And there are vestiges of the triumphal tone I encountered in Moscow early this summer -- a sense that America...WASHINGTON -- Intelligence officers sometimes talk about "blowback," when covert actions go bad and end up damaging the country that initiated them. A year later, that is surely the case with Russia's secret attempt to meddle in the U.S. presidential election, which has brought a string of adverse unintended consequences for Moscow. The Kremlin is still issuing cocky statements accusing the U.S. of "political schizophrenia" in its response to Russian hacking. And there are vestiges of the triumphal tone I encountered in Moscow early this summer -- a sense that America is in decline and that a mistreated but resurgent Russia is in the driver's seat. But Russia's confidence must be flagging. Interference in the U.S. election has created new antibodies to Russian power: America is angry, Europe is newly vigilant, and Syria and Ukraine are becoming quagmires. Moscow remains a dangerously ambitious revanchist power, but its geopolitical goals look harder to achieve now than they did a year ago. The basics of Russia's covert operations were best summarized in a Jan. 6 report by the U.S. intelligence community: "President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election." Russia's goals were to "denigrate" Hillary Clinton and "help ... when possible" Donald Trump. A broader aim was "to undermine the U.S.-led liberal democratic order." So, how's it going for the folks at Lubyanka Square? Well, Trump was certainly elected, though the factors driving the U.S. vote were much deeper than Russian trolls and bots. And there's definitely disarray in the global order. But since Trump's inauguration, the world has begun moving in reverse from what Moscow's active-measures specialists must have hoped. Let's take a brief inventory of this global resilience: -- Russian meddling has produced a strong bipartisan counter-reaction from Congress. Last month's overwhelming passage of new sanctions against Russia showed how Putin's assault on U.S. politics has united otherwise polarized legislators. Russia is once again a toxic word in American politics, as Russian commentators are lamenting. It may take many years to recover. And Putin has nobody to blame but himself. -- European politics similarly has been galvanized by Russia's attempt to manipulate debate. The populist firestorm the Russians were secretly fanning -- which engulfed Britain in the Brexit vote -- has been damped. The moderate center has held in the Netherlands, France and Germany. Russia's covert support for right-wing nationalists has partially deflated those movements. To be credible, European politicians left and right are voicing their independence from Moscow. -- Russia's internet manipulations have spawned a new push by companies and civil society groups to combat such "fake news." One example is the online "dashboard" created by the German Marshall Fund's Alliance for Securing Democracy. It monitors 600 Twitter accounts linked to Russian influence operations to collect a regular summary of trending hashtags, topics and URLs. (Note: I'm a GMF trustee.) The world is forewarned now, and partially forearmed. -- Internet and social-media companies are seeking technology solutions to bots, trolls and fake news. Facebook plans to identify dubious articles and steer them to independent fact-checking organizatio[...]



Steve Bannon Out as White House Chief Strategist in Latest Upheaval

2017-08-18T00:00:00Z

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Steve Bannon, the blunt-spoken and divisive strategist who rose from Donald Trump's conservative campaign to a top White House post, was pushed out by the president Friday, capping a turbulent seven months that now has seen the departure of much of his senior staff. The former leader of conservative Breitbart News and a favorite in the farther-right portions of the Republican Party, Bannon has pushed Trump to follow through on some of his most contentious campaign promises including his travel ban for some foreigners and his decision to pull out of the Paris climate...WASHINGTON (AP) -- Steve Bannon, the blunt-spoken and divisive strategist who rose from Donald Trump's conservative campaign to a top White House post, was pushed out by the president Friday, capping a turbulent seven months that now has seen the departure of much of his senior staff. The former leader of conservative Breitbart News and a favorite in the farther-right portions of the Republican Party, Bannon has pushed Trump to follow through on some of his most contentious campaign promises including his travel ban for some foreigners and his decision to pull out of the Paris climate change agreement. Just seven months in, Trump has forced out his hardline national security adviser, his chief of staff, his press secretary (whose last day will be Aug. 31) and two communications directors - in addition to the FBI director he inherited from Barack Obama. Bannon's departure is especially significant since he was viewed by many as Trump's connection to his base of most-committed voters and the protector of the disruptive, conservative agenda that propelled the celebrity businessman to the White House. "It's a tough pill to swallow if Steve is gone because you have a Republican West Wing that's filled with generals and Democrats," said former campaign strategist Sam Nunberg, shortly before the news of Bannon's departure broke. "It would feel like the twilight zone." From Breitbart, there was a dramatic one-word warning. "#WAR," tweeted Joel B. Pollak, a senior editor at large at the news site. Indeed, Bannon's nationalistic, outsider conservatism served as a guiding force for Trump's rise to office. Without him, Trump's agenda is left in the hands of more moderate advisers, including his son-in-law, his daughter and his economic adviser whom Bannon has slammed as "globalist." On the other hand, some at the White House have suggested his influence was often exaggerated - perhaps as a result of behind-the-scenes self-promotion. Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Bannon and Chief of Staff John Kelly, only recently installed himself, had agreed that Friday would be Bannon's last day. "We are grateful for his service and wish him the best," she said in the only statement from the White House. A combative and unorthodox Republican, Bannon was a key adviser in Trump's general election campaign, but he has been a contentious presence in a White House divided by warring staff loyalties. He repeatedly clashed with other top advisers, most notably Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and has drawn the ire of the president himself. One person close to Bannon said he had offered his resignation to Trump on Aug. 7. It was to go into effect a week later, the one-year anniversary of when he officially joined Trump's presidential campaign. But the departure was delayed after the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, said the person, who spoke only on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. In fact, Bannon has been on shaky ground for weeks, and his job appeared in jeopardy when Kelly announced that he'd be embarking on a personnel review of West Wing staff. Though Bannon had adopted a lower profile in recent weeks, he again became a flashpoint following criticism from the right of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, which some blamed on him[...]



Speaking Truth to Power

2017-08-18T00:00:00Z

Speaking truth to power: Nothing is more difficult, especially in politics. In business, after all, people have contracts and stock options, and if nothing else, at least they can find similar jobs at other companies. But there's no such thing in government. There's one treasury secretary, one head of the National Economic Council. There's no equivalent to being a top aide to the president of the United States, no equivalent to walking into the White House every day or flying around the world in Air Force One. At most, at best, for the lucky few, it is a once-in-a-lifetime...Speaking truth to power: Nothing is more difficult, especially in politics. In business, after all, people have contracts and stock options, and if nothing else, at least they can find similar jobs at other companies. But there's no such thing in government. There's one treasury secretary, one head of the National Economic Council. There's no equivalent to being a top aide to the president of the United States, no equivalent to walking into the White House every day or flying around the world in Air Force One. At most, at best, for the lucky few, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience -- one to cherish, one to try to hold onto. Until. Unless. One of the president's lawyers says he doesn't have an anti-Semitic bone in his body. Frankly, I don't believe it. In any event, I don't care. The president's refusal to condemn those who chanted anti-Semitic slogans, his repeated determination to equate those who are spreading hate with those who are fighting it, is anti-Semitic. I don't know about the bones in his body, but I know about the words coming out of his mouth. No wonder that famous hater David Duke is so pleased. He got it; I got it; everybody got it. The president would rather sympathize with the haters than condemn them. When forced to read a statement drafted by someone else, he finally said the right thing. On his own at Trump Tower, he once again showed himself to be the divisive prophet of hate that he is. Most presidents -- every president in my lifetime -- has sought to speak for the best America, for the better angels of our nature. Every president, from Abraham Lincoln to Barack Obama, has stood up not only as a political leader but also as a moral voice for America's principles. Trump is not such a president. He is not a moral man. He has no moral authority, because he deserves none. Over 60 percent of all Americans know that. They disapprove of the president's handling of the nightmare in Charlottesville, Virginia. The president's approval rating has sunk well below the number of voters who reliably vote Republican. Thirty-six percent does not a majority make. But the Jews who work for Trump have been painfully silent. When must loyalty give way to integrity? When is it more important to stand up for what is right and condemn what is racist, anti-Semitic and wrong than to support your boss, keep your job and pretend that you're making a difference from the inside? Because news flash: With this president, "working from the inside" doesn't work. The people on the inside released better statements all weekend. They tried to put out a better statement for Trump on Monday. The president then made fools of all of them on Tuesday, winning the affection of David Duke and making clear that the time to speak truth to power is now, and the way to do it is the only way the president will pay attention to: through media -- on television, in the newspaper, in blogs and on Twitter. My favorite museum in Washington is not far from the White House. It was the only thing I wanted when my friend Bill Clinton was elected. I wanted to be on the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Council not only because it is critical that we should never forget what happened in the past but also because, even then, it was clear that hate was an [...]



Delaney's 2020 Plan; Job Disruption; Drone Warfare; Love Runs Through It

2017-08-18T00:00:00Z

Good morning, it’s Friday, August 18, 2017. I’m taking a week’s hiatus from this daily newsletter, and will be back in the saddle on August 28. My sidekick, RCP copy chief Tom Kavanagh, will send out next week’s emails touting the original coverage on our pages, but you’ll have to make do without the daily history lesson until then. Yesterday, I wrote about 81-year-old Ronald Reagan’s performance at the 1992 Republican convention. Today another Hollywood leading man with deeply held public policy views turns 81. This iconic westerner...Good morning, it’s Friday, August 18, 2017. I’m taking a week’s hiatus from this daily newsletter, and will be back in the saddle on August 28. My sidekick, RCP copy chief Tom Kavanagh, will send out next week’s emails touting the original coverage on our pages, but you’ll have to make do without the daily history lesson until then. Yesterday, I wrote about 81-year-old Ronald Reagan’s performance at the 1992 Republican convention. Today another Hollywood leading man with deeply held public policy views turns 81. This iconic westerner never ran for political office, except on the screen, where he played a California political candidate (not Reagan) and in another movie portrayed Nixon nemesis Bob Woodward. As an actor, director, environmentalist, and online columnist, Robert Redford has been part of America’s civic fabric for a half-century. I’ll have some of Redford’s greatest lines -- and some words from the heart about a film he directed that became part of my family’s history -- in a moment. First, I’d point you to RealClearPolitics’ front page, which presents our poll averages, videos, breaking news stories, and aggregated opinion pieces spanning the political spectrum. We also offer an array of original material from our own reporters and contributors, including the following: * * * Delaney, a “Different Kind of Democrat,” Sets Sights on WH. Rebecca Berg profiles the ambitious, self-made, multi-millionaire Maryland congressman who wants to be president in 2020. Ben Sasse on an Era of Unprecedented Disruption. RealClearFuture editor Rob Tracinski interviews the Nebraska senator about technology’s impact on workplace trends. Navy Offers Glimpse of High-Tech Drone Warfare. Sandra Erwin has the story in RealClearDefense. Trump Deserves Much of the Blame on Health Care. In RealClearHealth, James Capretta argues that the president turned out to be the weakest link in the GOP's efforts. Coal Subsidies: America's Worst Idea? In RealClearPolicy, William Murray takes issue with a new proposal from West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice. Things Could Get Worse Before They Get Better. The “lost decade” following the Great Recession is ending, but the sluggish recovery will persist, predicts Jeffrey Snider in RealClearMarkets. What Kissinger Gets Wrong About North Korea. Joseph Bosco explains in RealClearWorld. Win Some, Lose Some: Here Comes College Football. Cory Gunkel and Ben Krimmel debate the pros and cons in this RealClearSports video.  * * * In The Candidate, a novice politician wins his California Senate seat, and then says to his campaign manager, "What do we do now?" That phrase became a stock line in American political lore, but every moviegoer of a certain age has his favorite Redford movie lines. Some of us have many of them: In All the President's Men, he says -- as Bob Woodward -- "They volunteered he was innocent when nobody asked if he was guilty." In Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, he says to Paul Newman, "You just keep thinkin', Butch. That's what you're good at." He also tells Butch, just before they have to jump off a cliff into a raging river, "I can't swim[...]



Delaney, a 'Different Kind of Democrat,' Sets Sights on WH

2017-08-18T00:00:00Z

It might sound counterintuitive that Democrats, looking to defeat President Trump in 2020, would turn to an ultra-wealthy former businessman who supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership, warns against vilifying banks, and believes partisanship is a four-letter word.  But Rep. John Delaney is betting on it.   “Who?”  That was the one-word reaction from America Rising, a Republican opposition research outfit, when the Maryland Democrat announced late last month in a Washington Post op-ed that he will run for president, making him the first...It might sound counterintuitive that Democrats, looking to defeat President Trump in 2020, would turn to an ultra-wealthy former businessman who supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership, warns against vilifying banks, and believes partisanship is a four-letter word.  But Rep. John Delaney is betting on it.   “Who?”  That was the one-word reaction from America Rising, a Republican opposition research outfit, when the Maryland Democrat announced late last month in a Washington Post op-ed that he will run for president, making him the first entrant into what promises to be a crowded field.  And it wasn’t just Republicans cracking jokes. A couple of weeks after Delaney’s announcement, one Democratic strategist needed prodding to recall his campaign launch. “It was such a big moment that I totally forgot about it already,” the strategist deadpanned.  Delaney is in on the joke, however — which is why he is launching a campaign for president more than three years before Election Day.  “If someone who’s very famous like Joe Biden is going to run for president, he doesn’t have to do anything prior to his formal launch, because everyone knows who Joe Biden is,” Delaney (on right in photo) told RealClearPolitics. “But not everyone knows who John Delaney is, so my job ... is to solve for that problem.” Delaney describes himself as “a different kind of Democrat,” and he might be understating it. In a video to launch his presidential campaign, Delaney suggests “attacking banks won’t win the day” — at a time when Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have won support for doing just that.  And, amid the Democratic “resistance” to Trump’s administration, Delaney offers: “Democrats can’t win by just attacking Trump. We really have to show the American people there’s a better way.”  But if Delaney is taking a different stylistic approach to running for president as a Democrat in this charged political moment, he is also reviving old notions about how to win the presidency: with an organized, deliberate campaign and the years of thankless work that involves.  Meeting with Delaney last week in his stylish Capitol Hill row house, one of a few homes he owns, he was preparing for a traditional first step: a trip to Iowa, where he would grip-and-grin his way through the state fair this week.  “I think we’re seeing the butter cow, aren’t we, Will?” Delaney questioned his aide across the dining room table, invoking that famed dairy sculpture that has drawn past presidential candidates like pilgrims to a sacred idol.  One person who never paid respects to the butter cow, as it happens, is the man currently inhabiting the White House: Trump, as a celebrity and cable news magnet, was able to bypass many rites of a presidential primary. But, if there’s still a playbook for non-reality-television-stars to one day hold the highest office in the land, Delaney is following it.  New Campaign Playbook in Post-Trump Era What’s less clear is whether that trusty playbook can app[...]



America's Second Civil War

2017-08-18T00:00:00Z

"They had found a leader, Robert E. Lee -- and what a leader! ... No military leader since Napoleon has aroused such enthusiastic devotion among troops as did Lee when he reviewed them on his horse Traveller." So wrote Samuel Eliot Morison in his magisterial "The Oxford History of the American People" in 1965. First in his class at West Point, hero of the Mexican War, Lee was the man to whom President Lincoln turned to lead his army. But when Virginia seceded, Lee would not lift up his sword against his own people, and chose to defend his home state rather than wage war..."They had found a leader, Robert E. Lee -- and what a leader! ... No military leader since Napoleon has aroused such enthusiastic devotion among troops as did Lee when he reviewed them on his horse Traveller." So wrote Samuel Eliot Morison in his magisterial "The Oxford History of the American People" in 1965. First in his class at West Point, hero of the Mexican War, Lee was the man to whom President Lincoln turned to lead his army. But when Virginia seceded, Lee would not lift up his sword against his own people, and chose to defend his home state rather than wage war upon her. This veneration of Lee, wrote Richard Weaver, "appears in the saying attributed to a Confederate soldier, 'The rest of us may have ... descended from monkeys, but it took a God to make Marse Robert.'" Growing up after World War II, this was accepted history. Yet, on the militant left today, the name Lee evokes raw hatred and howls of "racist and traitor." A clamor has arisen to have all statues of him and all Confederate soldiers and statesmen pulled down from their pedestals and put in museums or tossed onto trash piles. What has changed since 1965? It is not history. There have been no great new discoveries about Lee. What has changed is America herself. She is not the same country. We have passed through a great social, cultural and moral revolution that has left us irretrievably divided on separate shores. And the politicians are in panic. Two years ago, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe called the giant statues of Lee and "Stonewall" Jackson on Richmond's Monument Avenue "parts of our heritage." After Charlottesville, New York-born-and-bred McAuliffe, entertaining higher ambitions, went full scalawag, demanding the statues be pulled down as "flashpoints for hatred, division, and violence." Who hates the statues, Terry? Who's going to cause the violence? Answer: The Democratic left whom Terry must now appease. McAuliffe is echoed by Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, the Democratic candidate in November to succeed McAuliffe. GOP nominee Ed Gillespie wants Monument Avenue left alone. The election is the place to decide this, but the left will not wait. In Durham, North Carolina, our Taliban smashed the statue of a Confederate soldier. Near the entrance of Duke University Chapel, a statue of Lee has been defaced, the nose broken off. Wednesday at dawn, Baltimore carried out a cultural cleansing by taking down statues of Lee and Maryland Chief Justice Roger Taney who wrote the Dred Scott decision and opposed Lincoln's suspension of the right of habeas corpus. Like ISIS, which smashed the storied ruins of Palmyra, and the al-Qaida rebels who ravaged the fabled Saharan city of Timbuktu, the new barbarism has come to America. This is going to become a blazing issue, not only between but within the parties. For there are 10 Confederates in Statuary Hall in the Capitol, among them Lee, Georgia's Alexander Stephens, vice president to Jefferson Davis, and Davis himself. The Black Caucus wants them gone. Mount Rushmore-sized carvings of Lee, Jackson and Davis are on Stone Mountain, Georgia. Are they to be blasted off? There are countless universities, colleges and high schools like Washington [...]



Pro-Choicers Should Explain Why They Think Eugenics Is Acceptable

2017-08-18T00:00:00Z

Due to the rise of prenatal screening tests in Europe and the United States, the number of babies born with Down syndrome has begun to diminish significantly. And no one, as CBS News puts it, is "eradicating Down syndrome births" quite like Iceland. Now, the word "eradication" typically implies that an ailment is being cured or beaten by some technological advancement. That's not so in this case. Nearly 100 percent of women who receive positive test results for Down syndrome in that small nation end up eradicating their pregnancy. Iceland averages only one or two Down...Due to the rise of prenatal screening tests in Europe and the United States, the number of babies born with Down syndrome has begun to diminish significantly. And no one, as CBS News puts it, is "eradicating Down syndrome births" quite like Iceland. Now, the word "eradication" typically implies that an ailment is being cured or beaten by some technological advancement. That's not so in this case. Nearly 100 percent of women who receive positive test results for Down syndrome in that small nation end up eradicating their pregnancy. Iceland averages only one or two Down syndrome children per year, and this seems mostly a result of parents receiving inaccurate test results. It's just a matter of time until the rest of the world catches up. In the United States, an estimated 67 percent of women who find out their child will be born with Down syndrome opt to have an abortion. In the United Kingdom, it's 90 percent. More and more women are taking these prenatal tests, and the tests are becoming increasingly accurate. For now, however, Iceland has completed one of the most successful eugenics programs in the contemporary world. If you think that's overstated, consider that eugenics -- the word itself derived from the Greek word meaning "well-born" -- is the effort to control breeding to increase desirable heritable characteristics within a population. This can be done through "positive selection," as in breeding the "right" kinds of people with each other, or "negative selection," which is stopping the wrong kinds of people from having children. The latter was the hallmark of the progressive movement of the 1900s. It was the rationalization behind the coerced sterilization of thousands of the mentally ill, poor and minorities here in America. It is why Nazis required doctors to register all newborns born with Down syndrome, and why the first to be gassed were children under 3 years old with "serious hereditary diseases" like Down syndrome. Down syndrome usually isn't hereditary. Most children born with it have moderate cognitive or intellectual disabilities, and many live full lives. But for many, these children are considered undesirable -- "inconvenient," really. If Iceland's policy "reflects a relatively heavy-handed genetic counseling," as geneticist Kari Stefansson admits, then what will it mean when we have the science to extrapolate and pinpoint other problematic traits? How about children with congenital heart defects or cleft palates or sickle-cell disease or autism? Eradication? One day, a DNA test will be able to tell us virtually anything we want to know, including our tendencies. So here's the best way to frame eradication policies in terms more people might care about: "Iceland has made great strides in eradicating gay births" or "Iceland has made great strides in eradicating low-IQ births" or "Iceland has made great strides in eradicating the birth of those who lean toward obesity" or "Iceland has made great strides in eradicating the birth of mixed-race babies." Feel free to insert the facet of humankind that gets you most upset. How about "Iceland has made great strides in eradicating female births"? If your circumstance or[...]



Is the Party of Lincoln Now the Party of Lee?

2017-08-18T00:00:00Z

This year will mark my 30th anniversary as a syndicated columnist. During these years, I have written more words than I would have preferred about race. But race is America's great moral stain and unending challenge. I've tackled school choice, affirmative action, transracial adoption, crime, police conduct, family structure, poverty, free-enterprise zones and more. Some of those columns took the left to task for maliciously accusing Republicans of racism. A missive on "JournoList," an online forum of left-leaning journalists started in 2007, plotted strategy for how to...This year will mark my 30th anniversary as a syndicated columnist. During these years, I have written more words than I would have preferred about race. But race is America's great moral stain and unending challenge. I've tackled school choice, affirmative action, transracial adoption, crime, police conduct, family structure, poverty, free-enterprise zones and more. Some of those columns took the left to task for maliciously accusing Republicans of racism. A missive on "JournoList," an online forum of left-leaning journalists started in 2007, plotted strategy for how to defend Barack Obama from the taint of Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Spencer Ackerman advised, "If the right forces us to either defend Wright or tear him down ... we lose the game they've put upon us. Instead, take one of them -- Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares -- and call them racists." A chapter in my book "Do-Gooders" detailed the shameless calumnies deployed against, among others, George W. Bush. Bush was tarred as sympathetic to the Klan because a vicious lynching happened while he was governor of Texas -- though he signed the death warrant for one of the killers and demonstrated great sensitivity on racial issues throughout his career. Examples of such cynical and libelous tactics are unfortunately abundant. That said, in the era of Donald Trump, I stand slack-jawed as some on the right live down to the worst calumnies conjured from the left's febrile imagination. That the entire Republican Party has not risen up, en masse, to renounce Donald Trump's comments about Charlottesville is a disgrace. Nancy Pelosi's response to the attack on Steve Scalise showed far more decency than did Trump's to Charlottesville. She denounced the would-be assassin and proclaimed that Republicans and Democrats were members of one American family. Contra Donald Trump, the Hitler Youth wannabes who paraded through Charlottesville last Friday night are not sincere Republicans falsely accused of being Nazis. They are the real thing. It should have been the most basic act of American civic hygiene to condemn and anathematize them. (Some Republicans did.) But since it seems we must state the obvious: The "Unite the Right" organizers, including alt-right leaders Richard Spencer and Jason Kessler, advertised their demonstration with Nazi-style imagery, carried torches reminiscent of Nuremberg and Klan rallies, and chanted "Blood and soil" and "The Jews will not replace us." The next day, they clashed with counter-protesters and one of them committed a savage act of ISIS-style terrorism, crashing his car into a crowd. He murdered one person and wounded 19 others, five critically. Yet Trump's Monday condemnation, if you can call it that, was tardy, stilted and almost immediately withdrawn by his fiery Tuesday press conference. True to his pattern of peddling "alternative facts," Trump insisted that "not all of those people were supremacists by any stretch ... you take a look ... the night before, they were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee." I've taken a look. How does "the Jews will not replace us" convey benevolence? Sorry, but [...]



GOP Leaders Must Overcome Their Timidity and Denounce Trump

2017-08-18T00:00:00Z

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump has dropped all pretense and proudly raised the banner of white racial grievance. The time has come for Republicans in Congress to decide whether this is what they signed up for. Business leaders decided Wednesday that they'd had enough, quitting two presidential advisory councils before Trump quickly dissolved the panels. Military leaders made their call as well, issuing statements -- in the wake of Charlottesville -- making clear they embrace diversity and reject bigotry. With only a few exceptions, however, GOP political leaders have been too timid to...WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump has dropped all pretense and proudly raised the banner of white racial grievance. The time has come for Republicans in Congress to decide whether this is what they signed up for. Business leaders decided Wednesday that they'd had enough, quitting two presidential advisory councils before Trump quickly dissolved the panels. Military leaders made their call as well, issuing statements -- in the wake of Charlottesville -- making clear they embrace diversity and reject bigotry. With only a few exceptions, however, GOP political leaders have been too timid to denounce the president and the reprehensible game of racial politics he's playing. I think the corporate chief executives who bailed are making the right bet: History will remember who spoke out, who was complicit, and who stood idly by. Thursday on Twitter (where else?) Trump poured salt in the nation's wounds by coming out firmly against the removal of public monuments to the Confederacy -- the issue that brought white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan to Charlottesville and led to the death of Heather Heyer. "Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments," he wrote. "You can't change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson -- who's next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!" Some slippery-slope arguments are valid but the one Trump makes is absurd. He can't possibly be so dense that he doesn't see a clear distinction between the men who founded this nation and those who tried to rip it apart. Trump may indeed not know that most of those Confederate monuments were erected not in the years right after the Civil War but around the turn of the 20th century, when the Jim Crow system of state-enforced racial oppression was being established. They symbolize not history but the defiance of history; they celebrate not defeat on the battlefield but victory in putting uppity African-Americans back in their place. But even if someone explained all of this to Trump -- perhaps in a one-page briefing memo with lots of pictures -- he wouldn't care. For him, the important thing is to tell the white voters who constitute his base that they are being disrespected and dispossessed. It's a cynical and dangerous ploy. We know this is Trump's game because White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon told us so. In an interview with journalist Robert Kuttner of The American Prospect, published Wednesday, Bannon is quoted as saying: "The Democrats, the longer they talk about identity politics, I got 'em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats." But Trump's base won't identify with Nazis and the KKK. That's why Trump maintained -- falsely -- that among the torch-bearing Charlottesville white supremacists there were also plenty of "nice people." And it's why he now seeks to broaden the issue to encompass Confederate monuments nationwide, abandoning his earlier position that the ques[...]



How Can You Stand by a President with No Heart?

2017-08-18T00:00:00Z

"O mother What shall I cry? We demand a committee, a representative committee, a committee of investigation RESIGN RESIGN RESIGN" -- T.S. Eliot, "Difficulties of a Statesman" WASHINGTON -- Many have asked with rising hope in their voices: Will Steve Bannon be fired? It would certainly be ironic for the alt-right conscience of the White House to be dismissed at the moment of his triumph. President Trump's recantation of his staff-enforced moral clarity on the Charlottesville clash was a high point for the Breitbart worldview. About that unequivocal condemnation of..."O mother What shall I cry? We demand a committee, a representative committee, a committee of investigation RESIGN RESIGN RESIGN" -- T.S. Eliot, "Difficulties of a Statesman" WASHINGTON -- Many have asked with rising hope in their voices: Will Steve Bannon be fired? It would certainly be ironic for the alt-right conscience of the White House to be dismissed at the moment of his triumph. President Trump's recantation of his staff-enforced moral clarity on the Charlottesville clash was a high point for the Breitbart worldview. About that unequivocal condemnation of Nazis, racists and murder? Never mind. The left is just as bad. Both sides share the blame. This might be defensible -- if you leave out the 400 years of oppression, segregation, violence and cruelty that black people have experienced in North America. If you leave out a bloody Civil War started by slave interests to defend an economic system based on theft of labor and the lash. If you leave out the millions shot, gassed and incinerated under the Nazi flag, their wedding rings and gold fillings carefully collected by their killers. If you leave out every grave of every American who fought and died to defeat fascism and militarism. So moral equivalence is an option -- for those who are willfully blind to history and have a shriveled emptiness where their soul once resided. This is now, sadly, an accurate description of America's 45th president, who felt compelled to reveal his true convictions. Such compulsion has the virtue of honesty. It has the drawback (from Trump's perspective) of leaving his defenders without excuse. Now the operative question is not "Should Bannon leave?" It has become: "Why should anyone not named Bannon stay at the White House?" There are, of course, some true believers beside Bannon who constitute a deep state of lunacy and malice. And it would be difficult for relatives to resign in protest from the family. But consider poor chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, standing beside Trump during his moment of sympathy for the "very fine people" at a white supremacist rally. (Cohn was "somewhere between appalled and furious," according to sources who talked to Axios.) Or consider poor chief of staff John Kelly, who watched helplessly as message discipline swerved into the alt-right abyss. But "poor" is not quite the right adjective. People with jobs at the White House or in the Cabinet are not victims. They hold positions of public influence and trust, with their primary duty owed to the United States Constitution (go and look at the oath they take), not to the president. Loyalty to the president is a good thing, in the proper context. It is rooted in gratitude for the opportunity of a lifetime. There is a natural tendency, I can attest as a former White House staffer, to defend the leader you know from attacks by outsiders who know him not at all. Being an assistant to the president or a Cabinet officer is the chance to do great good -- a chance that may never come again. Besides, the president won an election and has the right to set his o[...]



What Identity Politics Hath Wrought

2017-08-18T00:00:00Z

There's a whiff of Weimar in the air. During the years of the Weimar Republic (1919-33), Germany was threatened by Communist revolutionaries and Nazi uprisings. Foreign Minister Walter Rathenau was assassinated, and violent street fighting was commonplace. Then Adolf Hitler took power in 1933. America is nowhere near that point. But many surely agree with The American Interest's Jason Willick, who wrote Sunday that "this latest round of deadly political violence has" him "more afraid for" the United States than he has "ever been before." But as he...There's a whiff of Weimar in the air. During the years of the Weimar Republic (1919-33), Germany was threatened by Communist revolutionaries and Nazi uprisings. Foreign Minister Walter Rathenau was assassinated, and violent street fighting was commonplace. Then Adolf Hitler took power in 1933. America is nowhere near that point. But many surely agree with The American Interest's Jason Willick, who wrote Sunday that "this latest round of deadly political violence has" him "more afraid for" the United States than he has "ever been before." But as he pointed out, this political violence -- identity politics violence is a more precise term -- began well before Saturday's horrifying events in Charlottesville, Virginia, and before the election of Donald Trump. Examples include the June 2015 murder by a white racist of black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, and the July 2016 murder by a Black Lives Matter sympathizer of five police officers in Dallas. This year, we've seen a Republican congressional candidate shove a reporter in Montana and a Bernie Sanders booster shooting at a congressional Republican baseball practice and seriously wounding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise in Alexandria, Virginia. In Charlottesville, there were multiple bad actors. White nationalists and neo-Nazis uttering vile racism demonstrated against removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. One drove a car into a crowd -- killing one young woman and injuring about 20 others -- a tactic of Islamic terrorists. Many so-called antifa (anti-fascist) counter-demonstrators, some disguised with masks, attacked the Lee statue supporters with deadly weapons. "The hard left seemed as hate-filled as alt-right," tweeted New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg from Charlottesville. "I saw club-wielding 'antifa' beating white nationalists being led out of the park." As Stolberg noted, the police not only failed to separate the two groups but maneuvered them into direct and predictably violent confrontation. Antifa believe that hateful words are violence and that they're entitled to be violent in response, as they have been on campuses from Berkeley to Middlebury -- a view profoundly at odds with the rule of law. "The result," writes Peter Beinart in The Atlantic, "is a level of sustained political street warfare not seen in the U.S. since the 1960s," led by a group that is "fundamentally authoritarian." President Trump was widely criticized -- by many conservatives, as well as liberals -- for his Saturday statement condemning "this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides" without specifically denouncing white nationalism. Barack Obama faced much less criticism in July 2016 when he lamented the Dallas police murders but went on to decry "the racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system." On Monday, Trump, obviously under pressure, said: "Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans."[...]



Barcelona Terror Attack Kills 13 in Agonizing Repeat for Europe

2017-08-17T00:00:00Z

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- A van veered onto a promenade and barreled down the busy walkway in central Barcelona on Thursday, swerving back and forth as it mowed down pedestrians and turned a picturesque tourist destination into a bloody killing zone. Thirteen people were killed and 100 were injured, 15 of them seriously, in what authorities called a terror attack. The late afternoon attack in the city's Las Ramblas district left victims sprawled in the historic street, spattered with blood or writhing in pain from broken limbs. Others were ushered inside shops by officers with their guns...BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- A van veered onto a promenade and barreled down the busy walkway in central Barcelona on Thursday, swerving back and forth as it mowed down pedestrians and turned a picturesque tourist destination into a bloody killing zone. Thirteen people were killed and 100 were injured, 15 of them seriously, in what authorities called a terror attack. The late afternoon attack in the city's Las Ramblas district left victims sprawled in the historic street, spattered with blood or writhing in pain from broken limbs. Others were ushered inside shops by officers with their guns drawn or fled in panic, screaming and carrying young children in their arms. "It was clearly a terror attack, intended to kill as many people as possible," Josep Lluis Trapero, a senior police official for Spain's Catalonia region told reporters late Thursday. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility, saying in a statement on its Aamaq news agency that the attack was carried out by "soldiers of the Islamic State" in response to the extremist group's calls for followers to target countries participating in the coalition trying to drive it from Syria and Iraq. Early Friday, Catalan police said they shot and killed five suspects in a seaside resort town south of Barcelona in response to a terrorist attack. They also said six civilians were injured in Cambrils but didn't immediately say how. The force is working on the theory that the Cambrils suspects are linked to the Barcelona attack, as well as to a Wednesday night explosion in the town of Alcanar in which one person was killed. The Catalan regional government said citizens from 24 countries were among the people killed and injured during the Barcelona van attack. Authorities said the dead included a Belgian and a Greek woman was among the injured. Australia confirmed three of its citizens were injured; two others were Taiwanese and one was from Hong Kong, according to their governments. Germany was investigating whether its citizens were among the dead or injured. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called the killings a "savage terrorist attack" and said Spaniards "are not just united in mourning, but especially in the firm determination to beat those who want to rob us of our values and our way of life." After the afternoon attack, Las Ramblas went into lockdown. Swarms of officers brandishing hand guns and automatic weapons launched a manhunt in the downtown district, ordering stores and cafes and public transport to shut down. Several hours later authorities reported two arrests, one a Spanish national from Melilla, a Spanish-run Mediterranean seafront enclave in North Africa, and the other a Moroccan. They declined to identify them. Trapero said neither of them was the van's driver, who remained at large after abandoning the van and fleeing on foot. The arrests took place in the northern Catalan town of Ripoll and in Alcanar, where a gas explosion in a house is being investigated for a possible connection. Spanish public broadcaster RT[...]



Trump Decries Monument Removals, 'History Ripped Apart'

2017-08-17T00:00:00Z

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump bitingly decried the rising movement to pull down monuments to Confederate icons Thursday, declaring the nation is seeing "the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart." Trump's new remarks came even as the White house tried to manage his increasing isolation and the continued fallout from his combative comments on last weekend's racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. He also tore into fellow Republicans who have criticized his statements on race and politics, fanning the controversy toward a...WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump bitingly decried the rising movement to pull down monuments to Confederate icons Thursday, declaring the nation is seeing "the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart." Trump's new remarks came even as the White house tried to manage his increasing isolation and the continued fallout from his combative comments on last weekend's racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. He also tore into fellow Republicans who have criticized his statements on race and politics, fanning the controversy toward a full-fledged national conflagration. Pressured by advisers, the president had taken a step back from the dispute on Monday, two days after he had enraged many by declining to single out the white supremacists and neo-Nazis whose demonstration against the removal of a Robert E. Lee statute had led to violence and the death of a counter-protester in Charlottesville. He returned to his combative stance on Wednesday - insisting anew that "both sides" were to blame. And then in a burst of tweets on Thursday he renewed his criticism of efforts to remove memorials and tributes to the Civil War Confederacy. "You can't change history, but you can learn from it," he tweeted. "Robert E. Lee. Stonewall Jackson - who's next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish. ... "Also the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!" He wasn't talking about beauty in earlier tweets, lashing at GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona. He accused "publicity-seeking" Graham of falsely stating his position on the demonstrators, called Flake "toxic" and praised a Flake primary election opponent. Graham said Wednesday that Trump "took a step backward by again suggesting there is moral equivalency" between the marching white supremacists and the people who had been demonstrating against them. And Flake has been increasingly critical of Trump in recent weeks. Other Republicans, including the most powerful in Congress, have been making strong statements on Charlottesville and racism, but few have been mentioning Trump himself. The Senate's top Republican, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, condemned "hate and bigotry." House Speaker Paul Ryan charged that, "White supremacy is repulsive." But neither criticized the president's insistence that there were "very fine people on both sides" of the violent weekend clash in Virginia. The nuanced statements reflect the party establishment's delicate dance. Few top Republican officeholders want to defend the president in the midst of an escalating political crisis, yet they are unwilling to declare all-out opposition to him and risk alienating his loyalists. In another major sign of discontent within the Republican Party, Trump abruptly abolished two of his White House business councils Wednesday as corporate chiefs began resigning in protest of his racial statements. "Rather than putting pressure[...]



Robert E. Lee Is Worth Remembering. Just Don't Honor Him.

2017-08-17T00:00:00Z

Touch not that statue of Robert E. Lee in lovely Charlottesville, Virginia. Let it stand, keep it handsome and dignified, but around it place plaques telling the curious that the man memorialized there was a traitor to his country who went to war so that white people could continue to own black people -- to take their women and sell their children, rip apart families and, if need be, take the lives of the recalcitrant or the rebellious. Lee is not a man to be honored. He is, though, worthy of remembering. Lee should be recalled as a slave owner who would not give them up. He should be...Touch not that statue of Robert E. Lee in lovely Charlottesville, Virginia. Let it stand, keep it handsome and dignified, but around it place plaques telling the curious that the man memorialized there was a traitor to his country who went to war so that white people could continue to own black people -- to take their women and sell their children, rip apart families and, if need be, take the lives of the recalcitrant or the rebellious. Lee is not a man to be honored. He is, though, worthy of remembering. Lee should be recalled as a slave owner who would not give them up. He should be remembered as one who felt so keenly about slavery that he renounced his commission in the U.S. Army and enlisted in the Confederate one, whose purpose was to keep emancipation at bay. I have the late Elizabeth Brown Pryor, author of "Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters," to thank for setting the record straight. As I wrote in 2011, Pryor's essay for The New York Times gave us "a Lee who is at odds with the one of gauzy myth. He was not, as I once thought, the creature of crushing social and political pressure who had little choice but to pick his state over his country. In fact, various members of his own family stuck with the Union." "When Lee consulted his brothers, sister and local clergymen, he found that most leaned toward the Union," Pryor wrote. "At a grim dinner with two close cousins, Lee was told that they also intended to uphold their military oaths. ... Sister Anne Lee Marshall unhesitatingly chose the northern side, and her son outfitted himself in blue uniform." Pryor noted that some 40 percent of Virginia officers "would remain with the Union forces." So what is so honorable about Lee? What is so honorable about leading your men into a war that cost more than 600,000 lives and whose purpose was to retain slavery? What's a black person gazing upon a Lee statue to think? Here is a man who, had he won, would have kept that black person's ancestors in chains -- grandparents going back not all that far, maybe only five generations, as these things are reckoned. This is like me having to gaze on a statue of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, an outstanding military leader in World War II, whose brilliance enabled the Germans to murder even more civilians. In the end, he turned against Hitler and was made to commit suicide. He didn't manage to kill Hitler. He did manage to kill countless others. But it is the Germans, in the end, who know how to memorialize the unpardonable. Berlin today is replete with monuments and memorials to the Holocaust, even cobblestones bearing the names of murdered Jews and sunk into the streets where the Jews once lived. The basement of the building that housed the Gestapo and the SS has been retained and converted into a museum called the Topography of Terror. It was once used for torture and executions. It is now used to educate. Millions have visited it. Few have forgotten it. Els[...]



Isolated Trump; Disbanded Councils; Cyber Ready? Reagan Redux

2017-08-17T00:00:00Z

Good morning, it’s Thursday, August 17, 2017. Twenty-five years ago today, on the first night of the Republican National Convention, Ronald Reagan addressed the delegates gathered in Houston to re-nominate George H.W. Bush. The speech was vintage Reagan. He began with a grace note, thanking the delegates and fellow Americans for their “warmth and affection,” adding that he and his wife, Nancy, “cannot thank you enough for the honor of your friendship.” After reminding his audience that he’d addressed Republican conventions as a...Good morning, it’s Thursday, August 17, 2017. Twenty-five years ago today, on the first night of the Republican National Convention, Ronald Reagan addressed the delegates gathered in Houston to re-nominate George H.W. Bush. The speech was vintage Reagan. He began with a grace note, thanking the delegates and fellow Americans for their “warmth and affection,” adding that he and his wife, Nancy, “cannot thank you enough for the honor of your friendship.” After reminding his audience that he’d addressed Republican conventions as a private citizen, as a governor, as a presidential candidate, as a president and finally as private citizen again, the 81-year-old Reagan made a joke that was simultaneously self-deprecating and a gentle needling of the opposition party. “Tonight is a very special night for me -- of course, at my age, every night's a very special night,” he quipped. “After all, I was born in 1911. Indeed, according to the experts, I have exceeded my life expectancy by quite a few years. Now this a source of great annoyance to some, especially those in the Democratic Party.” The speech that followed was a typically Reaganesque paean to America’s future; that is to say it was optimistic and upbeat. Although there was little hint of it that day, the August 17, 1992 address would be the last major political one of Ronald Reagan’s long and lustrous career. I’ll have more on that -- and why this excellent speech was given short shrift at the time -- in a moment. First, I’d point you to RealClearPolitics’ front page, which presents our poll averages, videos, breaking news stories, and aggregated opinion pieces spanning the political spectrum. We also offer an array of original material from our own reporters and contributors, including the following: * * * Trump Isolation Grows as CEOs, Republicans Pull Away. Criticism of the president’s stance on white supremacists mounted Wednesday, with an array of leaders adding their voices, Caitlin Huey-Burns reports. Disbanding Business Councils Is a Good Thing. In RealClearMarkets, Adam Golombek writes that the CEO groups were window dressing, at best. Will U.S. Cyberwarriors Be Ready for the Next Big Hack? Sandra Erwin assesses efforts to shore up defenses and upend the perception that our cyber systems are easy prey. The North Korean Crisis: Immediate Considerations. Also in RealClearDefense, three authors offer this prescription. Inside the USS Zumwalt. RCD features an interactive tour of the most technologically advanced surface ship in the world. The Collateral Damage of Russia Sanctions. In RealClearWorld, Dina Smeltz and Lily Wojtowicz spotlight ways the U.S. measures could harm allies in Europe. Freight Rail Moves the Economy. In RealClearPolicy, Edward R. Hamberger argues that regulations that hamper the industry will harm the economy overall. The Benefits of Stu[...]



Trump Isolation Grows as CEOs, Republicans Pull Away

2017-08-17T00:00:00Z

In the wake of a combative and controversial press conference, Donald Trump on Wednesday found himself in much the same spot he began his White House campaign: isolated from rank and file Republicans, business and community leaders, and former presidents. GOP officials dismissed White House-circulated talking points defending the president's response to racial violence in Charlottesville, Va., and instead sought to distance themselves by denouncing white supremacist groups in unambiguous terms. The main council of corporate chief executives aligned with the Trump administration...In the wake of a combative and controversial press conference, Donald Trump on Wednesday found himself in much the same spot he began his White House campaign: isolated from rank and file Republicans, business and community leaders, and former presidents. GOP officials dismissed White House-circulated talking points defending the president's response to racial violence in Charlottesville, Va., and instead sought to distance themselves by denouncing white supremacist groups in unambiguous terms. The main council of corporate chief executives aligned with the Trump administration disbanded, and the president dissolved another council amid mass defections by CEOs concerned about the country’s volatile political climate. While such panels are often ceremonial, their dissolution was a shot across the bow for Trump, a former CEO who has touted his relationships with top business leaders. The president blasted members leaving his manufacturing council Tuesday, calling them easily replaceable. But amid the continued fallout Wednesday, he claimed to have closed the program altogether. Trump remained defiant, issuing a range of tweets on North Korea, the Alabama special election, and Amazon. But he also remembered Heather Heyer, who was killed by a participant in the white nationalist rally over the weekend. Vice President Mike Pence came to his boss's defense while on a South American trip. "The president has been clear on this tragedy and so have I,” he said during a press conference in Chile. “I spoke at length about this heartbreaking situation Sunday night in Colombia. And I stand with the president, and I stand by those words." Pence is cutting his tour short in order to meet with the president and national security advisers at Camp David over the weekend. Some Republicans outside of Washington have also remained supportive. America also has a President who isn't afraid to take on the hypocrisy and intimidation tactics of #fakenews. Way to go, @realDonaldTrump 🙌🏼 https://t.co/UrzT21THpK — Missouri GOP (@MissouriGOP) August 15, 2017 Earlier in the day, Trump's re-election campaign released its first ad, criticizing Democrats and the media for obstruction. "Let the president do his job," the ad's narrator said. The release of the ad suggested a concern about progress on the agenda and slip in support among Republicans. Some Republicans shared the president’s exasperation with his critics. Others took the new comments as a positive step. "We elected a very unconventional president, so it would be foolish to expect him to act in a conventional way," said Ron Nehring, a California Republican strategist who worked for Cruz's presidential campaign. "The narrative of the last 48 hours was not helpful, but at the same time it would have been far worse if the president had not made the statement he made today." Nehring[...]



Trump's America Is Not Mine

2017-08-15T00:00:00Z

Last month, Simon Kuper wrote in his Financial Times column that he was applying for French citizenship. His wife and children, Americans all, had already done so. They live in Paris, so they are not leaving one country for another, but the column made me wonder if I could ever do anything similar. The quick answer is no, but Donald Trump has put my relationship with my own country on the rocks. Some days I think I don't know it anymore. Trump's reaction Saturday to the Charlottesville hate-fest is an example of what I find so troubling. I never thought a president of the United...Last month, Simon Kuper wrote in his Financial Times column that he was applying for French citizenship. His wife and children, Americans all, had already done so. They live in Paris, so they are not leaving one country for another, but the column made me wonder if I could ever do anything similar. The quick answer is no, but Donald Trump has put my relationship with my own country on the rocks. Some days I think I don't know it anymore. Trump's reaction Saturday to the Charlottesville hate-fest is an example of what I find so troubling. I never thought a president of the United States would hedge his bets when it comes to denouncing racists and anti-Semites. There is abundant boilerplate for these incidents, whole attics of cliches, but Trump could utter not a one. Instead, he pushed out some mush about an "egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides." On Monday, the president toughened-up. "Racism is evil," Trump said, no doubt at the urging of his aides. He denounced "the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans." Nice try, but three days late and many dollars short. The stain of the original statement cannot be removed. It is the authentic Trump -- the genuine embodiment of a president who has both identified a rage in part of the American electorate and has validated it. America has had these moments before. The reign of Sen. Joseph McCarthy comes to mind. He was a lying opportunist who exploited a Red Scare to ruin lives and careers. But for all his villainy, he was just a senator and, in due course, the Senate took care of its own. It censured McCarthy. Trump, however, is vastly more powerful. His tweets dominate the news cycle. His claim that 3 million to 5 million illegal immigrants voted for Hillary Clinton and deprived him of a popular vote victory has seeped into the Republican electorate. The Washington Post last week reported that about half of Republicans would support postponing the 2020 presidential election until the problem is fixed. That the problem cannot be fixed because it does not exist is almost beside the point. More important is the blatant disregard for both the Constitution and tradition. We hold presidential elections every four years. Always have. The president's term is set by the Constitution. Look it up. Simultaneous with the delegitimization of the electoral process has come a subversion of truth. It has been reduced to just another thing -- something like an alternative to the "alternative facts" of Kellyanne Conway's invention. Trump's incessant attacks on the press have taken a toll. The so-called mainstream media has for years been a GOP whipping boy, but now it is not merely in opposition, it is corrupt. "They're lying, they're cheating, they're stealing," Trump said during a rally last October in Grand Junction, Colorado.[...]



Violence to the Right and Left of Us

2017-08-15T00:00:00Z

The jury is in, and from the glowering looks on all faces, the verdict appears unanimous: The president blew it. What did he mean, the infamy in Charlottesville, Virginia, could be ascribed to "many sides"? His accompanying condemnation of "hatred, bigotry and violence" fell flat. Where was his specific and grounded condemnation of the "alt-right," whose riffraff came to town looking for a fight and quickly found one? It is hard even at the best of times to know what goes on in the singularly individual mind of Donald Trump. At present, I'd like to move past...The jury is in, and from the glowering looks on all faces, the verdict appears unanimous: The president blew it. What did he mean, the infamy in Charlottesville, Virginia, could be ascribed to "many sides"? His accompanying condemnation of "hatred, bigotry and violence" fell flat. Where was his specific and grounded condemnation of the "alt-right," whose riffraff came to town looking for a fight and quickly found one? It is hard even at the best of times to know what goes on in the singularly individual mind of Donald Trump. At present, I'd like to move past the inadequacies of the Trump declaration and try to see what goes on in places more central to the way we actually live in anno Domini 2017. What goes on around this land we love isn't just a spot of street fighting in the hometown of the university that Thomas Jefferson planted in the name of liberty and reason. What unfolds here is the latest and, in some sense, most disheartening chapter in the disintegration of American culture. There is a point here in serious need of excavation -- too large to dismiss out of exasperation with a president who, in the eyes of many, never says the right thing. Our memories are frighteningly short if we think Richard Spencer and his merry band of yahoos sprang to life, Athena-like, from the brain of David Duke and went straightway on a rampage. As a culture we've been going wacko for half a century, claiming the right to put individual perceptions -- individual notions, aims and crochets, individual ways of seeing things -- ahead of other people's ways of seeing things. "We're right and you're wrong" is the motif of these times. In the 1960s protesters took over the offices of deans and college presidents and levelled outrageous demands, unfortified by rational analysis. They swamped streets and public squares as they told the world how right they were and how wrong everyone else was. They lectured and hectored an American establishment they deemed racist, sexist and unworthy to run things. They threw around smug, brainless slogans on the order of "If it feels good, do it." And so the cultural barricades erected over centuries for the protection of sanity and decency, not to mention liberty itself, began to creak and then to crumble. Over a period marked by newer and more personal assertions of privilege -- the right, for instance, to extinguish unborn life -- the territory around us became more and more hospitable to the needs of... well, if you really want to know, the needs of Richard Spencer. But not just Richard Spencer. No. We now privilege anybody loud, obnoxious and convinced of his special claims to satisfaction: e.g., the "students" at Middlebury College who, earlier this year, drove the eminent libertarian scholar Charles Murray off campus. "Shut up, Charles," they explained. The basis of their outrage? Murray's perceived disrespect for [...]



Why Is Donald Trump Tougher on 'Fake News' than Real Bigots?

2017-08-15T00:00:00Z

I don't believe that Donald Trump is a racist. I don't think he's a closet white supremacist or a suit and tie neo-Nazi. I don't believe he hates Jews. So why didn't he flat-out, unequivocally condemn the white supremacist, neo-Nazi, Jew haters whose public rally in Charlottesville, Virginia led to violence and death? Why didn't he specifically denounce the white nationalists who descended on the college town and converged in a park chanting, "You will not replace us" and "Jews will not replace us"? Instead, in a very un-Trump like way, he...I don't believe that Donald Trump is a racist. I don't think he's a closet white supremacist or a suit and tie neo-Nazi. I don't believe he hates Jews. So why didn't he flat-out, unequivocally condemn the white supremacist, neo-Nazi, Jew haters whose public rally in Charlottesville, Virginia led to violence and death? Why didn't he specifically denounce the white nationalists who descended on the college town and converged in a park chanting, "You will not replace us" and "Jews will not replace us"? Instead, in a very un-Trump like way, he went generic and said, "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides." And then, as he often does, he repeated himself. "On many sides." Imagine if during President Obama's presidency, a supporter of Black Lives Matter ran his car into a crowd of white people, and Obama had said, "We condemn violence on many sides" -- but failed to specifically mention Black Lives Matter. As Stephen Hayes put it in the Weekly Standard: "Trump is quick to condemn -- in specific and harsh terms -- anyone he doesn't like. He's blunt, he's direct, and he's politically incorrect. "So it was striking on Saturday when Trump refused to denounce the white supremacists and neo-Nazis whose public rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, led to violence." During the campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly laid into Barack Obama for failing to utter the words "Radical Islamic terrorism." I think Trump was right about that. But if he demanded that President Obama be specific when it comes to hateful villains, why didn't he hold himself to the same standard when it came to hateful white supremacists in Charlottesville? So if Trump isn't a bigot, what is he? How about a coward, a weakling who talks tough but is afraid to alienate even an extreme reprehensible wing of his base? Remember back in February 2016 when a reporter asked candidate Trump about an unsolicited endorsement from David Duke, the former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan -- and. Trump said, "Well, just so you understand, I don't know anything about David Duke." Really? That would make Trump the only person in America over the age of 15 who doesn't know anything about David Duke. A few weeks later they held the Louisiana presidential primary. Let that sink in. Duke is from Louisiana. Could it be that the tough-talking Trump was afraid that if he talked tough and denounced Duke he might lose some of the bigot vote in the primary? In case you forgot, Trump won that primary, with more than 41 percent of the vote. And he would have won without Duke -- but when winning is so very important, as it is to Trump, why take any chances, right? A president can't be responsible for everyone who supports him, but he can get a bullhorn and tell the world that there is some support he just doesn't want -- like that of David Duke[...]



If We Erase Our History, Who Are We?

2017-08-15T00:00:00Z

When the Dodge Charger of 20-year-old Nazi sympathizer James Alex Fields Jr., plunged into that crowd of protesters Saturday, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer, Fields put Charlottesville on the map of modernity alongside Ferguson. Before Fields ran down the protesters, and then backed up, running down more, what was happening seemed but a bloody brawl between extremists on both sides of the issue of whether Robert E. Lee's statue should be removed from Emancipation Park, formerly Lee Park. With Heyer's death, the brawl was elevated to a moral issue. And President Donald...When the Dodge Charger of 20-year-old Nazi sympathizer James Alex Fields Jr., plunged into that crowd of protesters Saturday, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer, Fields put Charlottesville on the map of modernity alongside Ferguson. Before Fields ran down the protesters, and then backed up, running down more, what was happening seemed but a bloody brawl between extremists on both sides of the issue of whether Robert E. Lee's statue should be removed from Emancipation Park, formerly Lee Park. With Heyer's death, the brawl was elevated to a moral issue. And President Donald Trump's initial failure to denounce the neo-Nazi and Klan presence was declared a moral failure. How did we get here, and where are we going? In June of 2015, 21-year-old Dylann Roof gunned down nine Christians at an evening Bible study in Charleston's Emanuel AME Church. A review of Roof's selfies and website showed him posing with the Confederate battle flag. Gov. Nikki Haley, five years in office, instantly pivoted and called for removal of the battle flag from the Confederate war memorial on the State House grounds, as a "deeply offensive symbol of a brutally offensive past." This ignited a national clamor to purge all statues that lionize Confederate soldiers and statesmen. In Maryland, demands have come for removing statues and busts of Chief Justice Roger Taney, the author of the Dred Scott decision. Statues of Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson, President Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee have been pulled down in New Orleans. After Charlottesville, pressure is building for removal of the statues of Lee, Jackson, Davis and Gen. "Jeb" Stuart from historic Monument Avenue in Richmond, capital of the Confederacy. Many Southern towns, including Alexandria, Virginia, have statues of Confederate soldiers looking to the South. Shall we pull them all down? And once all the Southern Civil War monuments are gone, should we go after the statues of the slave owners whom we Americans have heroized? Gen. George Washington and his subordinate, "Light Horse Harry" Lee, father of Robert E. Lee, were slave owners, as was Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe and Andrew Jackson. Five of our first seven presidents owned slaves, as did James K. Polk, who invaded and annexed the northern half of Mexico, including California. Jefferson, with his exploitation of Sally Hemings and neglect of their children, presents a particular problem. While he wrote in the Declaration of Independence of his belief that "all men are created equal," his life and his depiction of Indians in that document belie this. And Jefferson is both on the face of Mount Rushmore and has a memorial in the U.S. capital. Another term applied to the "Unite the Right" gathering in Charlottesville is that they are "white supremacists," a mortal sin to modernity. But here [...]



Trump's Empathy for White Racial Grievance Is Nothing New

2017-08-15T00:00:00Z

WASHINGTON -- No one should have been surprised to see President Trump playing footsie with racists. He's been doing it for years. On Saturday, when Trump could not bring himself to condemn white supremacists for the Charlottesville tragedy, he was just being consistent: He often has shown empathy for white racial grievance. After all, who was the most prominent voice of birtherism, the unfounded and blatantly racist challenge to President Obama's legitimacy? Who exclaimed on Twitter in 2014 that "you won't see another black president for generations" because of...WASHINGTON -- No one should have been surprised to see President Trump playing footsie with racists. He's been doing it for years. On Saturday, when Trump could not bring himself to condemn white supremacists for the Charlottesville tragedy, he was just being consistent: He often has shown empathy for white racial grievance. After all, who was the most prominent voice of birtherism, the unfounded and blatantly racist challenge to President Obama's legitimacy? Who exclaimed on Twitter in 2014 that "you won't see another black president for generations" because of Obama's performance? Who has disseminated false, racially charged "statistics" about black crime? Trump made a rare climb-down on Monday, specifically condemning violence by white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. But his initial reaction on Saturday -- after a car, allegedly driven by a young Nazi sympathizer, plowed into a crowd of demonstrators, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring many others -- was to denounce "hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides." In fact, there were just two sides in Charlottesville: militant white nationalists, including former Klan leader David Duke and neo-Nazis, who had descended in large numbers; and counter-protesters who came out to tell the assembled racist horde to get lost. Trump's first statement seemed to make no moral distinction. Prominent Republicans quickly took the president to task for his disgraceful equivocation. "Very important for the nation to hear @potus describe events in #Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by #whitesupremacists," Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said on Twitter. "I urge the Department of Justice to immediately investigate and prosecute this grotesque act of domestic terrorism," tweeted Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. "We should call evil by its name. My brother didn't give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home," wrote Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. Those are stirring words, gentlemen, but where have you been hiding all this righteousness? Were you not paying attention when then-candidate Trump attacked a federal judge for his Mexican-American heritage and demeaned a Gold Star mother and father for their Muslim faith? Did you not hear the screech of white grievance at his campaign rallies, often not so much a dog whistle as a blaring siren? I might take all the GOP breast-beating more seriously if the party would abandon its state-by-state campaign to impose restrictive election laws that disproportionately disenfranchise African-American and Hispanic voters. In contrast to the Republican reaction, the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website was quite pleased with Trump's initial comment. "He didn't attack us. He just said the nation should come together," wrote the racist, anti[...]



Women United Refuse to Be Dishes on Cad's Buffet

2017-08-15T00:00:00Z

Let us briefly rest from the obscene world of politics and turn to the more wholesome subject of hookups at bars. A 28-year-old named Justin Schweiger was recently caught lining up six dates for one night. He had ordered this "buffet of women" with the help of dating apps. Lisette Pylant, date No. 1, got wind of this extraordinary show of disrespect. A friend who worked at the bar in Washington, D.C., had texted her a warning: "This guy sucks." One by one, the dates were apprised of the situation. And one by one, they united in a show of force. Herein lies the great...Let us briefly rest from the obscene world of politics and turn to the more wholesome subject of hookups at bars. A 28-year-old named Justin Schweiger was recently caught lining up six dates for one night. He had ordered this "buffet of women" with the help of dating apps. Lisette Pylant, date No. 1, got wind of this extraordinary show of disrespect. A friend who worked at the bar in Washington, D.C., had texted her a warning: "This guy sucks." One by one, the dates were apprised of the situation. And one by one, they united in a show of force. Herein lies the great ending. Pylant reported the drama real-time on Twitter. Of course, it went viral. Next thing you knew, the women were sharing their account on "Good Morning America" and "Inside Edition." What is this story's takeaway? It could be the indignities of app-based dating. One of the apps used, Bumble, is supposed to empower women by having them make the first move. Another, Hinge, says it promotes more socially accountable behavior by linking to Facebook. Creeps can obviously get through the filters. And in any case, these women were quite savvy about the dating-app realities, among them the advantages held by men who seem halfway presentable. This could be another collapse-of-chivalry story. Upon being tipped off to the game, Alex Woody saucily went into the bar and introduced herself to Schweiger and date No. 4. "Hi, I'm date No. 5," she said. Schweiger retorted, "Oh, you're already cut. As Schweiger, an IT project manager, explained to The Washington Post: "I appreciate time. Time is the only thing humans have. When it runs out, you're not a human anymore. I'm an efficient person." Schweiger may not be the authority on what makes a person human, but he should know this: Time matters for women. Very. Much. Many might blame the sexual revolution for turning the mating ritual into a dumpster fire. But anyone who's read a lot of Victorian novels knows that cads have been around a long time. No, this story is about the sisterhood. Four female friends joining in a mutual defense pact against bad men and others who would prey on them has long been a television theme. There was "Girls" and before that "Sex and the City" and before that "Golden Girls." These shows differed in the mores of the time, but the formula demanded populating the group with diverse personality types -- the street smart, the innocent, the traditionalist, the "wild one." One thing underscored their commonality: They were women. A member might wander off to do stupid things. But whether she got the best of her tormenter (often with help from the "girls") or not, she could limp home to comfort and support from the pack. Pylant was still with Schweiger when date No. 2, Kristen Incorvaia, showed up. Schweig[...]