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Reality TV: Obama at the Mosque

By 2.4.16

“Thou doth protest too much.” That’s my reaction to President Barack Obama’s visit to a mosque yesterday.

There is no national attack on Muslims that requires Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and major Democrats in Congress and in state legislatures, and Democrat governors and mayors, universities, mainstream media, to dignify a problem that doesn’t exist. They are projecting Obama’s enthusiasm for Islam.

Let’s stop demonizing Donald Trump as an excuse to accelerate the Islamization of America. Trump deserves credit for his blunt denunciation of political correctness, where a San Bernardino County resident did not report suspicious activity among the terrorists because of Obama’s chilling environment of political correctness. 

Ben Stein's Diary

Anger Makes Total Sense

By 2.4.16

Actually, now that I think a bit more about it, I do see some reasonable grounds for anger by voters.

They can be angry that they have to press a button to speak in English, the official language of the United States. They can be angry that they go into a store and not one person behind the counter speaks English.

They can be angry if, like me, they live in certain neighborhoods in Los Angeles where swaggering middle easterners in Rolls Royces blow them off the road.

They can be angry if criminals riot and throw bricks and bottles at the police officers who are trying to protect their neighborhoods and then the politicians, including the Head Politician, says it’s the police who have to be watched.

They can be angry if the street punks/pukes beat an elderly veteran to death in a convenience store and the elite media rushes to understand how the killers were mistreated by racist Amerika instead of pitying the veteran and his family.

A Further Perspective

Iowa Reminds: Have Faith in the Voters

By 2.4.16

Iowa was like a rainstorm that cleared away some of the nasty pollution clogging the air. Those last 10 polls that predicted Donald Trump would finish in first place? Wrong. The conventional wisdom about a high turnout sealing the deal for Trump proved — repeat — wrong. I am not a fan of the winner, Ted Cruz, but I appreciate how he used Trump’s decision to skip the last debate to puncture the billionaire’s balloon.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years of column writing, it’s to have faith in voters. Sometimes they see something in a candidate I don’t see. Sometimes there is a gulf between what they tell pollsters and what they do in the voting booth. The closer the election, the more sober the assessment.

While I am in the Anybody-but-Trump-or-Cruz camp, I have to believe that if either Trump or Cruz wins the GOP nod, it will be because he became a more viable candidate.


Who Has the Best Tax Plan?

By 2.4.16

The presidential candidates are dropping like flies now, so let’s see of the survivors who has the most pro-growth tax plan.

All the Republican candidates have crafted plans that would slash tax rates for everyone and most would vastly simplify the thousands of pages of IRS tax code too.

The chart shows how low tax rates would go under the GOP plans.

Highest Income Tax Rate Proposed by Presidential Candidates

Ben Carson: 14.9 percent
Ted Cruz: 16 percent‎*
Donald Trump: 25 percent
Jeb Bush: 28 percent
John Kasich: 28 percent
Marco Rubio: 35 percent
(Current code: 40 percent)
Hillary Clinton: 46 percent
Bernie Sanders: 50 percent**

* Cruz corporate rate is 16 percent and the individual income tax rate is 10 percent.
** Sanders says he favors a rate of at least 50 percent.
(Source: Tax Foundation and various news sources)

Conservative Tastes

Return of the Reagan Revolution

By 2.4.16

Finally! In the immortal words of the late Yogi Berra, it’s déjà vu all over again. The Reagan Revolution is back. As both Senator Ted Cruz and Donald Trump illustrated vividly in a one-two punch in the Iowa Caucuses.

The other day, the New York Times front-paged this headline:

Unions Lean Democratic, but Donald Trump Gets Members’ Attention

The story read, in part, this:

WASHINGTON — Of all the voters who might be expected to resist the charms of Donald J. Trump, the two million members of the Service Employees International Union would most likely be near the top of the list.

Live From New York

From America to Zanzibar…

By 2.4.16

As a teacher of teenagers and a parent of toddlers, scouting museums has become a central activity in my life. A little learning, a little entertainment, a little stimulation, a little fun, a little awe of nature, a little taste of history. During midwinter break this year, my wife and I trundled the little ones into the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. An earlier trip impressed us with the quality of the exhibits. The kiddies were entertained and full of curiosity about what they had learned and observed.

In particular we enjoyed the ground floor exhibit. It was an adorable, fully operational Manhattan-themed play center that taught children about the hustle and bustle of urban life. This time back we were shocked the entire exhibit was closed. The sign on the door proclaimed: “Please pardon the inconvenience while we install ‘America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far’. Opening Feb. 13th”.

The Energy Spectator

For Once, a Failed Obama Promise That’s a Good Thing

By 2.4.16

While campaigning in August 2008, President Obama called for 1 million plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles (EV) on the road by 2015. According to, the campaign circulated an “8-page fact sheet” that contained this promise: “Half of all cars purchased by the federal government will be plug-in hybrids or all-electric by 2012.”


Juan Perón Trump vs. Isabel Perón Clinton

By 2.4.16

They say history repeats itself, but let’s hope that doesn’t mean America is turning into Argentina.

There are some disquieting omens that it may be, though. Their names are (or, were) Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Colonel and Mrs. Juan Domingo Perón.

Let’s start with Juan and Don. The late South American strongman and the current GOP frontrunner share a number of attributes: both are masters of collectivist campaign techniques (e.g. fostering personality cults, skillfully using mass media for political manipulation, and making big empty promises at huge get-out-the-vote rallies).

And, when you get right down to it, Perón’s biggest promise was to “Make Argentina Great Again.”

The reality, though, is that he and his disciples in subsequent decades actually ruined a once-great country. In the process, they also badly damaged the rule of law. Authoritarian regimes are not terribly fond of checks and balances on their political powers — such as those exercised by independent and conscientious judges.

Sports Arena

An Offensive Federal Line

By 2.3.16

The day after Tom Brady spent the AFC championship game being harried by the Denver Broncos defense, the offensive line coach of the New England Patriots, Dave Deguglielmo, was sacked himself and fired by the team. Mind you, this is the same offensive line coach that was part of a team that finished 12-4 in the regular season and won the Super Bowl last year. If nothing else, you can’t say the Patriots don’t take results seriously, and when they don’t reach their goals someone will be held accountable.

The Patriots are unquestionably a successful franchise, but when it comes to accountability they are like most sports teams. If the wins don’t come, heads will roll. Since 2014 approximately one out of three baseball managers were replaced in Major League Baseball, and in the National Football League that number is even higher for head coaches. Most of the coaches fired weren’t incompetent but were dismissed because they couldn’t fulfill the organizational goals.

Live From New York

Panic at the GOP Yacht Club

By 2.3.16

In the Fall of 2013, I wrote a column for TAS that caused a lot of eye-rolling and chuckles among establishment Republicans. The column, titled “Look to Cruz, Not to Christie,” predicted “the future of the GOP is not Christie but Cruz” and criticized country club Republicans for trying to sabotage a promising and intellectually sharp conservative like Cruz: “Have the Republicans learned nothing from Romney’s loss, McCain’s loss, Dole’s loss?”

I was responding in part to what I saw as empty enthusiasm over Chris Christie’s easy and meaningless re-election in New Jersey: