Navy SEAL Robert O’Neill, who fired the shots that killed Osama Bin Laden, has written a book detailing what happened on the night of that historic raid. Warning for the squeamish: the link describes the kill shot in graphic detail. The full story also provides further proof, if any were needed, of the unbelievable courage, selflessness, humility and devotion to country and mission of America’s finest.

One detail that I believe should be shouted from the rooftops: according to O’Neill, when Bin Laden was killed, he was standing behind a woman, presumably one of his wives, with his hands on her shoulders. It didn’t help: a Navy SEAL knows how to aim a gun precisely. But just in case you missed the important part, let me repeat and emphasize it: the great “Lion of the Desert,” the “Jihadist Sheik,” Osama Bin Laden, died while trying to shield himself by cowering behind a woman.


Let no one doubt President Trump’s commitment to the pro-life cause. Click the link to find out who’s going to be serving as the assistant secretary of public affairs at Health and Human Services.

It should also be noted that this former president of Americans United for Life is replacing someone who left to become the vice president for communications at Planned Parenthood. Talk about the pendulum swinging the other way. Now there’s a sign that things are moving in the right direction at HHS.


Once again over the weekend, North Korea tested another missile, and once again, it was a humiliating failure that went straight into the sea. Unless Kim Jong-Un is trying to start a war with Aquaman, that’s probably not what he was shooting for. Naturally, President Trump was standing ready on Twitter to respond to the missile flop with some world class trolling.

It’s easy to mock the wide gap between Kim’s grandiose threats and boasts and his failure to launch even a small missile. But it’s a threat that has to be taken seriously. If North Korea keeps defying the world by test-firing missiles, eventually, they're going to figure out how to hit something other than Charlie the Tuna. If you let a child play with fireworks long enough, someone’s going to get hurt.

Welcome to 21st century liberal Hollywood, where actor Chris Pratt is forced by the PC police to backtrack and apologize for saying something that’s so obviously true that you can tell it just by looking at the plummeting movie ticket sales.

And while we’re talking about people who make assumptions about race and gender, and who open their mouths without first engaging their brains, why did his critics automatically assume that when he said, “I don’t see personal stories that necessarily resonate with me, because they’re not my stories. I think there’s room for me to tell mine, and probably an audience that would be hungry for them. The voice of the average, blue-collar American isn’t necessarily represented in Hollywood,” he was talking exclusively about white males?

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News flash to the SJWs who threw a Twit-storm at Pratt: out here in “flyover country,” there are an awful lot of blue collar workers of all races and religions, many of whom are women. Quite a few even vote Republican (gasp!) I’m a white male, but their stories would resonate with me, and I’d like to see them on screen. Maybe Hollywood movie makers should try visiting sometime, talk to some of those conservative, religious, blue collar workers they apparently disdain, and see about scheduling an attitude adjustment.

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As I visit Israel for the umpteenth time, I’m saddened today at what I’ve just heard from Benjamin Netanyahu, in an exclusive interview with Sean Hannity, about the nature of terrorist attacks here. At the same time, I thank them both for bringing to light information about the shadowy sources of funding for terrorism in Israel and the evolving strategy for terrorist attacks. Most mainstream reporters are straining their necks trying to look the other way.

As you may know, Israel has opened its arms to Palestinians who need cancer treatment. But one aspect of this story hardly rates media attention: this humanitarian effort to promote peace between Arabs and Jews has been exploited by Hamas, who on at least one occasion have taken the opportunity to use a cancer patient to smuggle explosives into Israel inside tubes labeled “medical materials.” They’ve also used cancer patients to smuggle money and gold to their operatives in Sumeria and Judea.

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As for funding, Netanyahu explains that hundreds of millions of dollars are funneled by the Palestinian Authority to the families of Palestinian inmates in Israeli prisons. And how do they decide the amounts to be paid? “The more you kill, the more you get,” Netanyahu says.

He’s spot-on when he says there’s “selective” reporting going on when it comes to Israel. But for a clear-eyed look at what’s actually going on there, just listen to his personal account.

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A Positive Economic Trend

April 21, 2017

The Labor Department reports that the number of Americans collecting Unemployment checks fell this week to 1,979,000. That’s the lowest since April 15, 2000, seventeen years ago. One economist explained that there’s been a steady downtrend in the pace of layoffs that put workers on Unemployment. There are various factions trying to claim credit, with Democrats saying it’s a continuation of that Obama recovery, and Republicans saying it’s because of Trump’s pro-business policies and his ongoing reversal of Obama regulations that cost employers tens of billions of dollars. There’s some truth to both claims. Well, at least to the latter.

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But anyone who’s ever tried to run a business knows there’s another factor at work. It’s not what the government is doing, but what it’s NOT doing. Employers finally feel confident that with Trump at the helm, there will not be any more new complicated, business-killing regulations blindsiding them in the near future, and that activist bureaucrats will NOT target their industry for extermination in the name of some trendy cause popular on the left. So they can take some of the cash they’ve been sitting on like a security blanket and use it to keep workers working or even to hire more and expand. It shows how well the economy does when the government gets out of the way, and even more important, when employers feel secure that it’s going to stay out of the way.

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Don Rickles RIP

April 7, 2017

Sad news from Hollywood: the king of the insult comics, “Mr. Warmth,” Don Rickles has died at 90 of kidney failure. He deserves a final standing ovation, not only for giving the world 70 years of laughs, but for continuing to entertain audiences right up until the end and never yielding to the PC thugs who’ve terrorized so many comedians into censoring themselves, lest anyone's feeling be hurt by their jokes. Rickles gleefully offended everyone, like a heckler who’d somehow taken over the stage, addressing his fans as “hockey puck,” and playing off of ethnic and gender stereotypes while always making sure the crowd knew that he was a nice guy playing a jerk. He got us to laugh at ourselves and our own absurd prejudices, which we need more of.

It’s no surprise that Rickles wasn’t cowed by the young hothouse flowers of the SJW movement. He was a lifelong pal of Frank Sinatra, and anyone who would do jokes about Sinatra and the mob to his face had no fear. One of his best Sinatra lines is in the obit, but another story he loved to tell isn’t. Rickles recalled that before he met Barbara, his wife of 52 years, he was dating a young woman he wanted to impress. So when he saw Sinatra in the same Vegas restaurant, he begged him to stop by his table, to show his date what a big shot he was that the great Frank Sinatra would come over and say hi to him. Frank agreed. Later, as he was leaving, a smiling Sinatra approached Rickles’ table and said, “Hi, Don!” Rickles angrily snapped back, “Frank, please! We’re tryin’ to eat!”

Luckily for Rickles, Sinatra cracked up laughing.

Gender Wars

March 29, 2017

Two highly-credentialed Johns Hopkins researchers, Paul McHugh and Lawrence Mayer, released a report arguing that there is no reliable scientific evidence supporting the currently fashionable claims that sexual orientation and gender dysphoria are caused by natural traits and innate behavior. In response, the director of LGBTI Research at Vanderbilt University released a letter signed by about 600 scholars, denouncing the report for not being published in a peer-reviewed journal and claiming that its "conclusions do not reflect current scientific or medical consensus about sexual orientation or gender identity…”

McHugh responded that it’s very hard to respond to the letter because it lists no specific objections, other than that the report, like many medical articles, wasn’t published in a peer-reviewed journal, and that they “just don’t like us” and want to “silence us.” He added, “I am disappointed that 600 people don't like me. But I would like them to explain what exactly in that article we got wrong and where the information is that we should have put in. We are not against anybody. We are a group of doctors talking about the treatment of patients."

I’m hardly an expert in gender research, but this letter does point up one of the growing problems with scientific research in general: There are several areas of science that have become tainted by politics, such as climate research and gender identity. It’s the very essence of the scientific method that the orthodoxy be challenged, but certain subjects are being declared off-limits to questioning. Citing the lack of publishing in peer-reviewed journals as a disqualifier is itself misleading, if the editors of those journals refuse to publish anything that questions the conventional wisdom, no matter how well-researched. Likewise, people who declare, “The science is settled,” are tacitly admitting they know nothing about science. “Settled science” is getting unsettled all the time, as we learn that things we once believed about everything from space to nutrition to fetal development were not accurate. Citing “consensus” also reveals an ignorance of the scientific method. Scientific facts aren’t determined by popular vote. If a million scientists believe something, and one dissenter is able to prove them wrong, then he’s right and the million others are wrong.

For the record, I’m not taking sides on this battle. For all I know, McHugh and Mayer may be wrong. But if you really have 600 qualified scientists who agree that they are wrong, then they should be able to explain why. Simply saying, “Look at how long this list of names that disagrees is!” is not a scientific refutation.


Sunday, I found myself accidentally at close range of what turned into another big media controversy over President Trump. I was a guest on Fox News’ “Judge Jeanine” (we’ll have a link to that video up elsewhere), appearing right after her monologue in which she called on Paul Ryan to step down as Speaker over House Republicans’ embarrassing failure to pass an Obamacare repeal and replacement bill.

Earlier, Trump had tweeted to his followers to be sure to watch Jeanine Pirro’s show, so the media naturally leaped to the conclusion that he was endorsing her message to Ryan, which had yet to be revealed. Trump has praised Ryan for his efforts, and the White House insists he didn’t know in advance what the Judge would say in her monologue, he was just giving a plug to his friend and supporter’s show.

I think it’s interesting that when it suits the media to depict Trump as a clueless know-nothing, that’s the story; and when it suits them to depict him as a Machiavellian manipulator who was psychic enough to know in advance what Judge Pirro would say, that’s the story.


Trump Budget Breakdown

March 20, 2017

Here is a breakdown of President Trump’s proposed budget that’s making steam shoot out of ears all over Washington. True to his word, he is calling for increases to some agencies, such as Defense and Veterans Affairs, deep cuts to many others and the complete elimination of a number of programs, including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities. It’s the kind of budget that’s sure to meet fierce opposition even among some Republicans (I support Trump, but I think that eliminating the NEA would be a tragic mistake. While I was among the first to criticize some of the controversial grants to individual artists that it made in the past, the community arts programs that it currently funds help countless children, seed creativity in many fields, and support the arts industry that generates many billions more in tax dollars than the NEA costs.)

The thing to remember is that Presidents’ budgets are never simply rubber-stamped by Congress (Obama’s budgets were unanimously rejected by both Houses.) They just serve as a blueprint for what the President wants, but the final result never reflects exactly that. So Trump decided not to be timid in laying down his priorities. This is his opening bid for the deal negotiation, but he knows the starting point is never where we end up. I’d be very surprised if the final budget is anywhere near this. But if Congress passes a budget at all, at least that will be an improvement over much of the Obama years.


Abuse of Power

March 7, 2017

The Must-Read Article of the Day that everyone’s talking about: Andrew C. McCarthy at National Review argues that the whole “Trump’s people colluded with the Russians to ‘hack’ the election” nonsense is crumbling before our eyes as Democrats frantically backpedal away from it, knowing that it could be replaced by a far bigger scandal involving the Obama Administration’s abuse of power to spy on political opponents. It was a great distraction and a way to hamstring Trump’s Administration for a while, but as McCarthy notes, they were playing with fire. Once it became obvious that there was no evidence of any wrongdoing, it would start to occur to Americans to ask, “Say, if there was no spying on the Republican candidate and his team, how did the government get all those ‘intercepted conversations’ that were leaked to the media?”

If journalists still thought their job was to dig up the truth rather than to undermine Trump and prop up the Democrats, that question might have occurred to them several weeks ago. Read the whole thing:

Just to throw a bucket of cold reality on the impeachment dreamers: to remove Trump, they’d first have to get the House to pass articles of impeachment. Thanks to years of unrealistic Democratic actions, Republicans control the House. But let’s imagine that actually happened. He’d then have to be impeached by the Senate. True, some Republican Senators don’t like Trump, and unlike Democrats, Republicans have been known to hold Presidents of their own party to some actual standards. Still, it requires a two-thirds vote. But as long as we’re fantasizing like Democrats, let’s imagine that happens, too.

So Trump is gone! Democrats rejoice! Until they realize they’ve just given us President Mike Pence. Okay, gear up your imaginations and let’s fantasize that they can impeach every Republican in the entire line of succession. That would require removing Pence, House Speaker Ryan, Senate President pro tempore Orrin Hatch, and the Secretaries of State and the Treasury. Finally, we get to an Independent: Welcome to the White House, Defense Secretary-now-President James “Mad Dog” Mattis! Wait, I don’t think that’s what liberals were dreaming of.

In fact, the Democrats are so far out of power that even if they could impeach Trump, Pence, Ryan, Hatch and a dozen Cabinet officials, it would just result in President Betsy DeVos.

Far be it from me to give liberals advice, but if they ever want to see another Democratic President, they need to give up these childish fantasies and tantrums, and start winning elections again by proving to the voters that they are capable of creating mature, intelligent policies that work in reality.

But then, I guess I’m the one dreaming now.

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The Oscars

February 23, 2017

Most Republicans expect that Sunday’s Oscars will be wall-to-wall Trump bashing, because why wouldn’t a celebration of movies be a perfectly appropriate place to harangue viewers with your leftwing political opinions? (When you’re done with that, why not also list all the foods you hate before saying thanks to your agent? Because we all care just as much.) But as with the Grammy Awards, I have to wonder if anyone in show business understands the damage they’re doing to their own industries.

Both music and movies are facing falling revenues and stiff competition due to file sharing, video games, and a thousand other cuts bleeding their traditional business models dry. Yet when they’re presented with an annual three-hours of prime commercial time to sell their wares, they take it as an opportunity to make divisive, insulting political comments that insure at least half their potential audience will change the channel. Or else turn off the TV entirely and spend the rest of the evening making out their celebrity boycott lists.

If they do, chances are they won’t miss much that they care about, anyway. A Hollywood Reporter poll found that even with NINE “Best Picture” nominees to choose from (were there really that many good movies this year?), only about a third of Americans could name even one. If Hollywood studios don’t want to go the way of the prehistoric fossils in the LaBrea Tar Pits, they should take the advice of someone they seem to respect, Woody Allen. In his movie “Stardust Memories,” he plays a successful comic who now makes pretentious art films that nobody wants to see. In a dream, he meets space aliens and starts asking them about God and human suffering. They reply, “If you want to do mankind a real service, tell funnier jokes.”

All the Oscar participants should take the advice of Woody Allen’s aliens. Instead of rending your garments over your political angst (those are expensive duds, and the designers want them back), stick to the point and open with a joke. That might keep millions of Republicans from turning off the Oscars. Unless they’re nothing but Trump jokes, which I fully expect them to be.

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A lot of people found a photo of Ivanka Trump sitting at the Presidential desk, flanked by her dad and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to be warm and inspiring. Aside from illustrating the pride and trust Donald Trump has in his daughter, it also shows that women have “a place at the table” in his Administration, and offers an aspirational image of a poised and accomplished woman in the Oval Office. So naturally, it infuriated liberals. Click the link to see the photo and read some of the range of reactions to it. One category of negative reaction was especially amusing. These were the leftists who railed that it’s “disgusting” that Ivanka would be allowed to sit in the President’s chair, with one woman sneering, “Nepotism, anyone?”

So to be clear: Hillary Clinton supporters are “disgusted” someone with no official elected title sat in the Oval Office and might be considered a potential first woman President, just because she happens to be related to a man who was President? Some people really need to think a bit harder before they tweet.


This story offers a good example of why so many Americans are fed up to the gills with modern day politics. It started with leftist attacks on businesses that carry Ivanka Trump’s merchandise. That inspired White House counselor Kellyanne Conway to stick up for her by responding to a TV interviewer with, “Go buy Ivanka’s stuff, is what I would tell you. I’m going to give it a free commercial here. Go buy it today.” She was called on the carpet by the White House for that inappropriate remark, but that wasn’t good enough. The Office of Government Ethics is now calling for an investigation of Conway for allegedly violating the Standards of Conduct Act, followed by disciplinary action. With a little effort, we can turn it into a long, drawn-out sinkhole of time and tax money. Say, maybe we could even appoint an independent counsel who could destroy several people’s reputations and careers before his ever-expanding investigation inevitably destroys his own career.

My question: Does this seriously require an investigation? Does any sentient being not know what happened? Conway was incensed by what she quite understandably saw as unfair political attacks and cowardice on the part of retailers. She’s not a professional politician and is used to speaking her mind, so she did, unaware that in Washington, saying what you’re actually thinking may be illegal. She obviously shouldn’t have said that, and she’s been reprimanded and knows better than to do it again. This is one of the drawbacks to sending people to Washington who haven’t spent their entire lives steeped in political minutiae, but voters thought the advantages vastly outweighed the drawbacks. Still, any hint of political advantage is like blood in a shark tank in DC these days, so we’ll probably be subjected to a never-ending investigation of something about which anyone with a handful of functioning brain cells already knows everything there is to know.

I’m not part of the current government, so I am allowed to make the following free commercial announcement on behalf of common sense: if the ethics office thinks she unknowingly said something actionable on live television, then spare us the kabuki theater of an investigation, slap her with a modest fine, tell her not to do it again, and let’s get on with making America great again. Or has the government already solved the easy stuff like job creation and national security, so it has plenty of time to waste on nonsense like this?


Slip Of The Tongue

February 8, 2017

Two prominent House Democrats just made the type of slips-of-the-tongue/brain glitches that would be trumpeted by the left as evidence of disqualifying mental instability if they’d been made by Republicans. Maxine Waters berated President Trump for embracing Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Korea (?), while Nancy Pelosi declared that, try as she might for two whole weeks, she’s been able to find absolutely nothing on which she can cooperate with President Bush. I’ll cut Rep. Pelosi a little slack: when you’ve been there as long as she has, and you demonize every Republican in the exact same way, I’m sure the names start to get a little fuzzy after a while.

Personally, I'd suggest that they both take a nice, long vacation on the island of Guam, if I weren’t afraid that it might tip over if we send too many Americans there (that’s another handy “alternative fact” I learned by listening to a prominent House Democrat).


Lady Gaga's Performance

February 8, 2017

Lady Gaga took the expected lashing from leftist cry-bullies for not abusing her role as the Super Bowl halftime entertainer to make a divisive, inappropriate attack on the duly-elected President, just as her critics do every day, everywhere, ad nauseum. But here’s an important lesson for other entertainers cowed into silence or submission by the angry left: immediately after that performance that the left slammed for being “merely entertaining” rather than in-your-face political, Gaga’s music sales skyrocketed by as much as 1,000%. It’s similar to what happened to the young singer Jackie Evancho, who dared to buck the braying malcontents by singing the National Anthem at the Inaugural, and suffered the painful retribution of seeing her latest album shoot to the top of the classical sales charts.

Take note, entertainers who don’t sympathize with leftist agitators but are afraid of crossing them. They might be the loudest voices, but they are only a small minority, and their name-calling and impotent threats are a very effective sales pitch to the much larger number of people who support those who entertain them and don’t harangue them. Besides, judging from their disregard for other laws and their belief that they’re owed everything for free, they’re probably illegally downloading your records and movies anyway.


Haters Gotta Hate

February 8, 2017

Sen. Elizabeth Warren got the kibosh put on her ranting diatribe against Attorney General nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions, after it turned into a personal attack on him as a racist and a “disgrace.” She was found in violation of a Senate rule barring Senators from accusing colleagues of conduct or motives unbecoming of a Senator. Warren protested, claiming she was only reading from a letter by Coretta Scott King (that was from 30 years ago, and Mrs. King was not the most reliable predictor of people’s racist motives, as the link shows).

This is hardly the first time Warren has tried to wrap herself in the protective cloak of a racial minority. Also, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who launched the procedure to oust Warren from the podium, noted, she was given a warning and an explanation, but she persisted in her slanderous diatribe.

Well, maybe she just couldn’t help herself. Haters gotta hate. READ MORE.

When Will Hillary Speak Up?

February 8, 2017

In case you think the radical anti-Trump movement is just expressing their First Amendment right to protest, the leaders made it crystal clear on Twitter: “This is war.” They intend to take over the streets, “dismantle the state,” overthrow representative democracy, silence and physically assault people they disagree with and label them as “fascists” (a term whose meaning they’re obviously unclear on) and “make this country ungovernable.” Just thought you’d like to know their true intentions in their own words. Be prepared to react accordingly.

So when is Hillary Clinton going to speak out against this genuinely fascistic, anti-American thuggishness? Didn’t she once call it “horrifying” that anyone might refuse to accept the results of a free and open US election?


Double Standard

February 8, 2017

The big “double standard” switch having now been flipped in Washington, the term “obstructionism” is out and “resistance” is in. So, Senate Democrats are engaging in heroic resistance by mindlessly and pointlessly wasting the time taxpayers are paying them for. They're deliberately dragging out the confirmation process of Trump appointees who are guaranteed to be confirmed anyway, impeding the lawful transition of power and the ability of government to handle its day-to-day functions, all for the political equivalent of holding their breath until they turn blue because they’re just so maaaaaaad that they lost the election. In 2008, there were very few Republicans who were happy with Obama’s Cabinet picks, but they voted for them anyway because as someone once said, “Elections have consequences.” Apparently, that’s only true when Democrats win.

I hope voters who elected these resisters to reality remember their never-ending hissy fit when a number of them are up for election next year in red and purple states. If they find doing their jobs to be that grating, I bet there'll be someone on the GOP ticket who’d be more than happy to take over and actually get to work making America great again.


The Washington Post reports that a group of NeverTrump Republican national security experts who signed open letters during the campaign attacking Trump’s character and calling his candidacy a danger to the nation now lament that he’s not hiring them for his Administration. They’re whining that it’s “hostile,” that it’s as if Trump compiled an “enemies list” and they’re being blacklisted.

No Shinola, Sherlock? He didn’t need to compile an enemies list: his enemies voluntarily signed their names on their own list! I realize things work differently in DC, but in the real world, when you publicly call the boss every dirty name in the book, you assume he won’t be hiring you any time soon. But even in DC, do things really work that way? Do you think that if Hillary Clinton had won, she’d have offered me a Cabinet position?

Jimmy Kimmel does a comedy bit called “Is This News?” where he spotlights a news story so blindingly obvious that you wonder why anyone would even bother reporting it. I nominate this story for the next edition of that bit.

Read more.

Now Impeachment?!?

January 18, 2017

All the dirty tricks, slanted coverage and fake polls didn’t work to destroy Trump before the election; the recounts and Electoral voter intimidation didn’t overturn the free and fair election; the charges of a Russian conspiracy backed by lewd Penthouse Letters style fiction badly disguised as an intelligence dossier convinced nobody but the brainwashed; a little-publicized (because it was so idiotic) attempt to get John Roberts to boycott the Inaugural on the mistaken assumption that Presidents can't take office unless the Chief Justice personally administers the Oath (hey, knowledge of the Constitution isn’t the left’s strong point) never got off the ground; and now, they’re reduced to this absurdity: getting a Republican Congress to impeach Trump before he even takes office. We know from recent experience that if he were a Democrat, Congressional Democrats would refuse to impeach him, even after he took office, no matter what he did in there.

I know “Thank God It’s Friday” is a cliché, but seriously, this Friday can’t possibly come soon enough. It needs to get here fast before every Democrat in Washington and Hollywood ends up in a straitjacket.


Today is the Rev. Martin Luther King’s birthday holiday, and President-elect Donald Trump issued a statement marking it. Here is a brief excerpt:

“Our Declaration declares that ‘all men are created equal,’ and Dr. King challenged our nation to live out that sacred truth: to banish the evils of bigotry, segregation and oppression from the institutions of society and the hearts of men…But his work is not done: all around us today we see communities and schools falling behind and not sharing in the prosperity of American life. Each of us has a solemn obligation to ensure that no American is left behind — and that all Americans are fully included in the American Dream…”

Please click the link for the entire statement. It is a must-read, particularly for those who continue to gin up political rancor that will divide the entire nation and harm the American people.

Dr. King left us many inspiring ideals to live up to, but one that isn’t discussed very often is his disdain for partisan politics. Both parties sometimes try to claim him, but the truth is that he was a registered independent. He made it clear that he felt both parties had their strengths and faults, and he was concerned with much larger issues than petty political squabbles.

His example lives on today through his niece, Alveda C. King, an evangelist and pro-life leader whom I am very happy to call my friend. Matt C. Abbott of asked her to comment on the current dust-up between Trump and Rep. John Lewis, who called Trump's election “illegitimate” and is boycotting the Inaugural. I think her uncle would have been proud of her response:

“I pray that all polar opposites learn to Agape Love, live and work together as brothers and sisters—or perish as fools. While I voted for Mr. Trump, my confidence remains in God, for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Prayers for President-elect Trump, Congressman Lewis, and everyone including leaders.”

That’s the legacy of love and inclusiveness that the Rev. King left us, and that we should all be celebrating today.

Standing Up To Bullies

January 13, 2017

A member of the family behind LL Bean is refusing to be bullied by anti-Trumpers calling for a boycott of the company because she made a personal contribution to a pro-Trump PAC. Meanwhile, conservatives are reportedly fighting back by ordering merchandise from LL Bean. All this furor, despite the company’s insistence that it is politically nonpartisan.

A second controversy also broke out after President-elect Trump tweeted his praise of LL Bean and urged Americans to support them. Some slammed this as an inappropriate presidential endorsement of a product, but Trump isn’t President yet. He also came under fire for hypocrisy because Republicans criticized Obama for trying to “pick winners” in the marketplace, and here he is promoting one company over others.

Just to be clear on the difference: Trump praising LL Bean is equivalent to Obama going to an auto plant whose workers’ union supported him and saying that people should support their great American-made product. It might be self-serving, but it’s also within the standard pro-American-business cheerleading role of the President. The criticism of Obama for “picking winners in the marketplace” centered on using our tax money and/or government contracts to reward political supporters, like the half-billion dollars the government guaranteed for the solar panel company, Solyndra. That's not just praising an American company, it's using our money to give them an unfair advantage that their competitors didn’t have. Although considering how Solyndra went down the drain and took our money with it, maybe that proves government really can’t pick winners in the marketplace, even when it tries to stack the deck.

Back In The News

January 13, 2017

You’d think that anyone who could actually build a clock would know when his 15 minutes are up. But that doesn’t seem to apply to Ahmed “Clock Boy” Mohamed, or more precisely, to his opportunistic father, both of whom are back in the news this week. You might recall the 2015 incident in which the 14-year-old brought a digital clock he claimed to have built to his school in Irving, Texas (critics said it was actually a Radio Shack clock he’d simply dismantled and put into a pencil case, which gave it an alarming similarity to a time bomb.) When he plugged it in during class, a concerned teacher altered school officials. Police questioned Ahmed and found him unresponsive, but he was released after a few hours, after they determined the device wasn’t dangerous.

The incident garnered a bonanza of lucrative sympathy for Ahmed, from gifts of free computer equipment to scholarship offers to an invitation to the White House from President Obama to an offer to come live like honored guests in Qatar. But it also stirred widespread suspicion of his family’s motives. Even Bill Maher pointed out that in today’s dangerous climate, any teacher who was confronted with something that looked like a bomb would be negligent to just take a student’s word for it that it wasn’t.

His father, Mohamed Mohamed, squandered any remaining sympathy by demanding $15 million from the city of Irving and the school district. He later filed a defamation lawsuit against a number of conservative media figures who had suggested the whole incident might have been a hoax designed by the father to spark an incident that he could brand as Islamophobia and sue over.

Now, the update: this week, that case came to court. The judge asked Mohamed's attorney to cite any false or defamatory statements. After she spent what the defendants’ attorney called “a painfully embarrassing 15 minutes flipping through reams of paper” and coming up with nothing, the judge dismissed the suit against the media figures. A lawsuit against the mayor of Irving still stands, but she’s challenged it as well. Let’s hope that will also be tossed out, and we’ll never have to hear about this family again.

Still, before we let this blessedly slide into the dustbin of history alongside various old P.T. Barnum sideshow acts, it’s worth clicking the link to learn about a term you might not have heard before: a SLAPP lawsuit. It’s a tactic used by certain groups who abuse the legal system to try to silence critics and thwart the First Amendment through the threat of expensive lawsuits. You might be hearing that term a lot more often, but let’s hope all such lawsuits end up slapped down, the way this one did.

One reason Donald Trump was elected President is that millions of Americans trusted him to use private-sector knowledge and experience to help solve seemingly intractable problems in government. One of his new appointments, especially, demonstrates that their trust was well placed.

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani has been tapped to advise the President on cybersecurity issues. He’s the best of both worlds: not only does he know government bureaucracy like the back of his hand, he also has moved into a private-sector career as a cybersecurity consultant. His many years in law enforcement and his leadership during and after the worst attack on American soil add to his stature. First on his agenda will be to bring together experts from the business world to share their insights and suggestions for combatting cyber intrusion.

It seems that while others in politics are using the cybersecurity issue for political gain in this period of transition, President-elect Trump is already grabbing it by the horns. His hiring of Giuliani for this purpose signals that he’s not fooling around. Imagine for just a moment that Trump lost the election and the ultimate decisions about safeguarding our nation’s cybersecurity were being made by...Hillary Clinton! But then come back to the real world and smile.


Interesting Timing

January 13, 2017

Interesting timing. On her way out the door, Attorney Gen. Loretta Lynch has approved an internal inquiry by the DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General into the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. IG Michael E. Horowitz says it comes in response to requests from the public and several lawmakers.

So. When FBI Director James Comey announced publicly that the Bureau would not recommend charges against Hillary for her use of a private email server while Secretary of State, was he following established “policies and procedures,” or was he not? It’s curious that this examination has been ordered by the outgoing administration rather than being tabled for the incoming one to consider. Don’t know about you, but I’d love to have been a fly on the wall during those conversations.

For more details, click here.

Meryl Streep's Speech

January 9, 2017

As expected, last night’s Golden Globe Awards gave Hollywood stars a chance to cry over the end of the Obama era and posture self-righteously about Donald Trump. But the one who’s getting the most press is Meryl Streep, for turning her acceptance speech into a combination attack on Trump for allegedly mocking a disabled reporter and a rallying cry for Hollywood stars to act as a sort-of truth squad defending the media. Here’s a quote:

“We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage. That's why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our Constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists. Because we're going to need them going forward. And they'll need us to safeguard the truth.”

Meryl Streep is a gifted actress, possibly the best of her generation, but let’s get real: a guardian of the truth she is not. The last time she waded into public policy, it was to attack the use of Alar on apples, an overblown scare that bankrupted a lot of mom-and-pop apple farmers. She helped stir up a hysterical fear of cancer caused by Alar, even though, as the American Council on Science and Health reported, to get a dose of Alar equivalent to what was fed the mice in the study, a human would have to drink 19,000 quarts of apple juice every day for life. Cancer would be the least of your worries, since you’d drown in apple juice on day one.

Likewise, she couldn’t even get through her speech last night without repeating “fake news.” Here’s a link to a video showing that Donald Trump was not mocking the reporter’s disability but just using a gesture he uses all the time to indicate anyone who’s flummoxed about something. The idea that he was targeting the reporter’s disability came from a concocted Internet meme that juxtaposed two still photos.

Read more.

But I will say this on Ms Streep’s behalf: I agree with her that we need a press that will safeguard the truth and call the powerful on the carpet for every outrage. For the past eight years, I’ve wondered what happened to that press, as they ignored outrageous lies (“If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,” “ISIS is the JV team,” “Bengazi was caused by a YouTube video,” etc., etc.), looked the other way at blatant corruption and malfeasance, and ignored attempts to unfairly interfere in the American presidential election (I refer to the DNC undermining Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton getting debate questions in advance, letting her campaign suggest questions for her opponent, etc.) We now know, thanks to WikiLeaks – and let’s face it, their own admission – that the media were not acting as a watchdog but as a willing lapdog, shilling for and colluding with one candidate while relentlessly attacking the other. Of course, NOW they’re ready to be fierce watchdogs again.

That’s the type of outrageous corruption and hypocrisy at the highest levels of power that cries out for a Hollywood movie exposing it all, a la “All The President’s Men.” I look forward to seeing that movie, although I won’t hold my breath.

Say, you know who would be great as Hillary Clinton? Meryl Streep! Read more.

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2017

Happy New Year and welcome to 2017! And not a minute too soon!

I hope you’re not nursing a hangover from last night. But if you are, at least take solace in knowing that the long national binge drunk that was 2016 is blessedly over. Last year saw Americans battered by a politicized media and over a billion dollars in attack ads designed to drive us all further apart and into warring fiefdoms. While far too many Americans remain “bitter clingers,” refusing to stop fighting a battle that was over in November, let’s hope they’ll come to realize how much of that anger and animosity they feel was ginned up by political theater, invented by consultants who profit and gain power from fomenting divisiveness.

For the rest of us who just want to make America great again, that starts with putting the election in the rear view mirror. We need to keep our eyes on the tough road ahead, and not let the profiteers of division distract us from all the things we have in common. Let’s hope and pray there are no more disasters, be they natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes, or manmade disasters, like the terrorist attacks in Berlin, Nice, San Bernardino and Miami. But let’s bear in mind that if disasters come, nobody should care if they’re in red states or blue states. Wherever and whenever our fellow Americans are hurting, we all pitch in to help.

Let’s make 2017 a year to rediscover the things we have in common, and join hands instead of pointing fingers. Maybe reconnect with those Facebook Friends who unfriended you just because you didn’t see eye-to-eye on some political issue. If there’s one thing previous New Years have taught us, from the Y2K scare to the Mayan Calendar, it’s that despite all the apocalyptic gloom and doom talk, the world didn't come to an end. Life goes on. And life is what you make of it. 2017 could be the greatest year ever if we all agree that come what may, we’re going to make it great.

If you can't be that optimistic, then just be happy that 2017 isn't an election year! And here's more good news: the 2020 presidential campaigns won't start gearing up in earnest until at least October.