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Political Hay

Hannity Answers Beck on Trump

By 8.18.15

Glenn Beck doesn’t get it.

Specifically, Beck turned to a lengthy post on his Facebook page and asked (in part here) this about conservatives and Donald Trump:

This is not an attack, this is an honest question….

I really want to understand.

I get that Trump is reflective of what people are feeling; secure the border; fight to win; don't give in to china etc. I really do understand that he is saying things that people are feeling. Justifiably.

I get the fact that he is saying that America is a great place and that we can be great again. That is rare and refreshing.

I understand that he is seen and has the proof in New York City, as a guy who can get things done.

I understand and like the fact that he just says what he is thinking. No politically correct bs; no focus groups and he does it with out apologizing.

But here is what I don't understand.

Special Report

Will EPA Benefit From Its Own Mistake?

By 8.18.15

When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) literally popped the cap holding back toxics-filled water at the Gold King Mine above Silverton and Durango, Colorado, it really messed up.

Here’s what we know: The Gold King Mine had been closed and plugged since 1923. Behind the plug were several million gallons of tainted water laced with toxins and heavy metals. Among the potential toxins in the mine were lead, sulfuric acid, dissolved iron and copper, zinc, beryllium, cadmium, and arsenic. Note I said potential toxins. Any of these chemicals or metals alone, or combined as they were in the waters in the Gold King Mine, could be dangerous, but only if a person were exposed to them in particular ways and in sufficient amounts.

Even before there was mining in the area, Cement Creek—the stream first hit with three million gallons of sludge released by EPA’s snafu at Gold King—had been declared undrinkable as far back as 1876. Nature was poisoning the water even before humans got involved. Mining exacerbated the problem. Tainted water had been seeping out of abandoned or closed mines near Gold King for decades.

The Nation's Pulse

Random Thoughts

By 8.18.15

Random thoughts on the passing scene:

Stupid people can cause problems, but it usually takes brilliant people to create a real catastrophe.

President Obama’s “agreement” with Iran looks very much like “the emperor’s new clothes.” We are supposed to pretend that there is something there, when there is nothing there that will stop, or even slow down, Iran’s development of a nuclear bomb.

The endlessly repeated argument that most Americans are the descendants of immigrants ignores the fact that most Americans are NOT the descendants of ILLEGAL immigrants. Millions of immigrants from Europe had to stop at Ellis Island, and had to meet medical and other criteria before being allowed to go any further.

Governor Bobby Jindal: “I realize that the best way to make news is to mention Donald Trump.… So, I’ve decided to randomly put his name into my remarks at various points, thereby ensuring that the news media will cover what I have to say.” Governor Jindal’s outstanding record in Louisiana should have gotten him far more attention from the media than Trump’s bombast.

Serve and Volley

Racquets and Words

By 8.17.15

Nick Kyrgios, 20-year-old Australian tennis player, beat this year’s French Open champ, 30-year-old Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland, in an early round in the Canada Open, more formally known as the Rogers Cup and, bilingual correctness oblige, the Coupe Rogers. The men’s competition takes place in Montreal, the women’s in Toronto, but they alternate year by year. This may be on instructions from the meddlesome federal government in Ottawa, which is mindful of spreading the wealth — the sports-tourism wealth — between the neighboring provinces of Ontario (Toronto) and Quebec (Montreal.)

The Canadian Open enjoys Masters 1000 status (ATP, men’s tour) and Premier 5 (WTA, women). It is a significant event for anyone who follows tennis. The No. 1 seeds at the tournaments were Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams, both of whom are having sensational seasons and will doubtless be the No 1 seeds at the U.S. Open, which begins August 31.

The Obama Watch

Iran and the Roots of Obama’s Rage

By 8.17.15

Was Dinesh D’Souza right? Mr. D’Souza is a political commentator who proposed that the best explanation of President Obama’s behavior was not to be found in Obama’s seeming embrace of the radical socialism of Saul Alinsky but in the anti-colonialism of his father. Mr. D’Souza’s theory has been heatedly dismissed by the White House with the admonition that in America we do not judge people by their father’s political beliefs and that Ronald Reagan’s father was an alcoholic.

Fair enough, but then Ronald Reagan never wrote a memoir titled, Dreams from My Father, in which he measured his own life by both the achievements and failures of an alcoholic father that had abandoned him.

The reason that Mr. D’Souza’s 2010 book comes back into focus is Mr. Obama’s Iran deal. If we had doubts about Mr. D’Souza’s hypothesis before, Mr. Obama in recent weeks has gone a long way toward lending confirmation to it.

The Right Prescription

Medicaid: A Fifty-Year-Old Flimflam

By 8.17.15

Recently, while most of the media obsessed over the antics of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the nation passed a significant milestone. Medicaid, the federal-state program meant to provide a medical safety net for the poor, turned 50. This anniversary was celebrated by progressives as proof that government-run health care really works. Few of these cheerleaders noted, however, that this once modest program has morphed into a budget-busting behemoth most of whose expenditures go to the middle class. They also neglected to mention the difficulties Medicaid patients face accessing care or that they experience worse health outcomes than the uninsured.

Free Market Accountability Project

Why Are Miracle Drugs So Few and So Expensive?

By 8.17.15

Most people don’t realize how much our government intrudes into every market. For example, I saw a drug company pitch recently. The company has a drug that helps cure cancer, and which may also have other life-promoting uses (I am obscuring non-essential details to protect the innocent). Let’s look at this company, to see how the capital and drug markets are both harmed by government interference.

Like all angel investor pitches, this was a closed meeting. Angel investment groups are not open to the public. They are exclusive clubs, restricted to Accredited Investors only. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) defines several ways for an investor to be Accredited, but the two most important are: $1M net worth or $300K annual income.

Angel groups generally grow only by personal referrals, since it has not been possible to advertise to the general public (recent rule changes allow advertising in theory, but in practice I am not aware of any doing it). This SEC regulation further restricts the number of people who invest in startups. By clamping down on angel investing, the SEC reduces the capital available to startup companies.

Political Hay

Trump Derangement Syndrome

By 8.17.15

Thursday morning I prepared a lovely prune-based compote. My husband adores this dessert, but I wondered if I shouldn’t send it over to George Will’s house, as an act of mercy. For Will has never before seemed as constipated as he did in his Thursday morning column on Donald Trump, whom he describes as “an unprecedentedly and incorrigibly vulgar presidential candidate.”

What exactly does Will mean by “vulgar”? Is it an epithet that Washington arbiters of taste use to describe the regular vernacular and humor of everyday Americans? If you eschew complex ambiguity in favor of language that everyone can understand, does that make you vulgar?

Another Perspective

In the Wake of Proposition 47, California Sees a Crime Wave

By 8.17.15

“The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act” isn’t living up to its promise. Also known as Proposition 47, the California ballot initiative, which was approved in November 2014 with 60 percent of the vote, downgraded drug possession and many property crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor. Proponents argued that lesser punishment for low-level offenders would enhance public safety. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon was the rare prosecutor who pushed for its approval. He told the San Francisco Chronicle, “What we have been doing hasn’t worked, frankly.”

Ben Stein's Diary

A Tough Act to Swallow

By 8.14.15

In the course of the super lie-a-thon that was the Senate testimony of Wendy Sherman, the cry baby former community organizer who was the lead negotiator with the Iranians over nuclear arms, and that of her junior partner, Adam Szubin, the mysterious Orthodox Jew turned advocate for Iran, several super lies came out, as they had to.

One of the worst was about how long it would take Iran to get back to its nuclear arms production schedule if the U.S. bombed Iran’s facilities. “A few months,” was the basic answer. After all, said these two witnesses, the knowledge was already in the heads of the Iranians. “You can’t bomb that away,” said the testificants, or words to that effect.

But how can that be true? Doesn’t that depend on the scope and scale of the bombing? If we used bunker busters or even atom bombs against the facilities, and if we kept on using them until the Iranians didn’t have a day without bombing of their facilities, wouldn’t that delay the production of the weapons by more or less forever?