Bad boy Bannon bites the dust
In a previous commentary, I predicted that the Alabama GOP loss was the swan song for political gadfly Steve Bannon. He seemed to be victim of his own repeatedly bad judgment. One could not then know that he actually had a more serious propensity for political suicide. However, his participation in the Mike Wolff attack book has shown that his lack of judgment, political loyalty and malignant ego have no bounds.
The problem with Bannon is that he had come to believe that he resided at the pinnacle of political importance. He was the Pied Piper and the puppet master of a nationalistic movement that only he could lead – a movement that was less popular than his imagination would allow him to believe.
Ironically, the very Steve Bannon who the mavens of the media disbelieved and discredited at every turn is now the credible source based only on his book quotes attacking the Trump administration and the Trump family.
Trump blasted his former advisor, but that is not the worst of Bannon’s problems. His key financial backer has now had enough of the pompous political operative. His return to his platform publication, Breitbart News, has not stemmed its decline of recent years. His reputation as a political guru is now laid waste by promoting and backing a serious of candidates who were worse than just bad. His reputation and influence are as tattered and disheveled as his just back from bivouac appearance.
Bannon may have been the worst of the political baggage Trump took on during the campaign. There were good reasons why he and Michael Flynn were short-lived denizens of the West Wing – and people like Paul Manafort and George Papadopoulos never got passed the Pennsylvania Avenue gate. Bannon’s only access to the limelight is the never Trump media that will be more than willing to give his damaging rants more airtime than they deserve.
Hatred and terror are a plus on academic resumes
In December of 2016, Drexel University Professor and strident Communist (by his own admission) George Ciccariello-Maher gained a bit of national notoriety when he tweeted that “All I Want for Christmas is White Genocide.” Following a wave of outrage by alumni and the general public, University officials issued a condemnation of his racist rant and Ciccariello-Maher claimed his obnoxious wish was only satire even though one would be hard-pressed to see anything satirical in his comment. Also, his satire excuse does not hold water in the face of his own clarification. He wrote, “To clarify: When whites were massacred during the Hattian revolution, that was a good thing.”
His Christmas wish was not a one-off sentiment that might be contributed to imbibing a bit too much at the faculty Christmas party. Ciccariello-Maher also hates the military. During a flight, he posted on Facebook this observation. “Some guy gave up his first-class seat for a uniformed soldier. People are thanking him. I’m trying not to vomit or yell about Mosul.” Mosul? Is the professor siding with ISIS against the Iraqi government and the United States who combined forces to rid the city of the Islamic terrorists?
His inbred self-righteous venom appeared again after the October massacre in Las Vegas. Despite the lack of any racial motivation or targeting, the good professor tweeted “It’s the White Supremacist Patriarchy, Stupid” – targeting white folks and especially men. He added, “White people and men are told that they are entitled to everything. This is what happens when they don’t get what they want.” Finally, Drexel had enough and put Ciccariello-Maher “on leave” – meaning, “we are going to give you time to find a new job.”
Well … after a year of criticism from those he describes as “right-wing, white supremacist media outlets and internet mobs” and complaining that Drexel was “bowing to pressure from racist Internet trolls,” the unhinged professor announced his long overdue departure from Drexel – from whence he should have been dismissed more than a year earlier.
Based on his vile and irrational hatred, it should be nigh on impossible for Ciccariello-Maher to find a job at any respectable academic institution. But noooo! Apparently, the repugnant professor has found a home as Visiting Scholar(?) at New York University.
Ciccariello-Maher is as bad as any of the white supremacists he simultaneously condemns and emulates, and far worse than the majority of white Americans he slanders with his baseless broad-brush racist rants. Yet, he is given the cloak of undeserved credibility by the liberal elitist press. His hateful opinions can be found on the editorial pages of such publications as the Washington Post. He is a welcomed lecturer on college campuses.
It is impossible to explain why academia gives prominence and prestige to the worst of the left-wing misanthropes, such as Ciccariello-Maher. It brings to mind such people as Bernadette Dorn, whose terrorist activities resulted in the death of a police officer and a prison term after years hiding from the law. The law? Oh, she spent her later years as a law professor at Northwestern University. Her husband, co-conspirator and terrorist bomber Bill Ayes taught education at the University of Illinois.
Ciccariello-Maher reminds me of something I first penned a long time ago. No one is entirely worthless because they can always serve as a bad example.
Farwell to legacy
One of the themes of current elitist media narratives is that President Trump is purposely unraveling the legacy of President Obama. Well, duh! If the press had been paying attention, they would have noticed that the people of America have been opposing the leftward drift of the Obama administration since the GOP reclaimed the United States House of Representatives in 2010 – a time when Obama himself said on behalf of his fellow Democrats, “we took a shellacking.” He, the Democrats and the press could see t Republicans rising like the Phoenix from the ashes of 2008, but they never, to this day, seemed to have figured out why.
When Obama campaigned in 2008, he did not campaign as a left winger. He was a centrist – almost conservative. He spoke in defense of the Second Amendment and religious freedom. He opposed gay marriage (which was a calculated lie at the time according to his top advisor David Axelrod). He gave speeches that Ronald Reagan would have endorsed. So, the good people of America trusted his lack of experience and his membership in the infamous Chicago Machine.
Once in office, the moderate mask was flung to the side and his administration became one of the most leftist in American history. Almost immediately, voters’ remorse set in. By 2010, his signature healthcare program was opposed by two-thirds of the American people. His economic program was inflating the National Debt like a Macy’s Christmas float. His classic liberal Neville Chamberlain-style foreign policy was undermining America’ historic international leadership.
The more the Obama Democrats imposed unwelcomed left-wing policy on the people of America, the more they hired Republicans to fight back in 2012, 2014 and then in the granddaddy of all political rejections, 2016. As nice and personable as Obama may be, the nation did not want what they now call his legacy.
If the Obama legacy is being shredded, it is because that is exactly what President Trump was hired to do.
Obamacare – essentially dead?
True to their tradition of dwelling on the petty to find ways to spin stories against Trump, one of the latest narratives of the elitist liberal press involves what the President said at the end of the year about Obamacare. Specifically, Trump said that with the passage of the Tax Bill and the elimination of the public mandate, Obamacare is “essentially dead.” Note the word “essentially” – meaning for all practical purposes.
That is not how the press reported it, however. They misquoted Trump by claiming he said it is “dead,” finito, gone. They then used their inaccurate interpretation to claim Trump is exaggerating, making false claims and even outright lying. That spin has come from news anchors, guest journalists and panelists over many programs throughout the broadcast week.
But is Trump wrong? If there has been any bipartisan consistency since the Affordable Care Act was introduced into Congress, it was that the ACA was not economically feasible without the public mandate forcing all those healthy young people to purchase insurance they did not want or face a fine they could not afford. The lack of such a mandate, however, was considered the death knell of Obamacare. Everyone agreed.
While it is true that the Tax Bill did not technically terminate Obamacare, it struck a lethal blow – which is largely being ignored despite the fact that Obamacare will have to be dealt with again in the future. Obama’s health plan was crashing even before the public mandate was ended – with even Democrats admitting the ACA had to be “tweaked” if it was to survive. With the removal of the mandate, Obamacare is now in political hospice. It is terminally ill – or as Trump put it, “ESSENTIALLY dead.”
The resolution by the UN condemning the United States decision to shift the American embassy to Jerusalem was meaningless but not surprising. The resolution was purely symbolic, meaning that it has no effect in the real world.
It was not surprising that even many of our allies voted against the U.S. since they all have deep interests in the Middle East and do not wish to upset the Arab leadership in the area – which understandably is unhappy with the decision.
Since the resolution ripped the scab off an old wound – the fact that America pays too much and gets too little out of the UN – the U.S. is now starting to reduce our investment in the international alliance and curtail some of our more excessive foreign aid expenditures with various individual nations. That is not necessarily a bad plan.
The liberals, who love the UN, seem to believe that America should provide blank checks to every troubled or failing nation in the world without strategic considerations. That appears to be coming to an end – finally.
But, what about the move of the embassy itself?
Moving on Trump style
Apart from the political gnashing of teeth, was moving the embassy a good idea? The answer to that is an emphatic “yes!”
The current criticism from the Democrats is their height of hypocrisy. The policy of moving the embassy to Jerusalem has been the bipartisan national policy for decades. The United States Senate had previously voted overwhelmingly to move the embassy. It had the full support of congressional Democrats until a president they do not like decided to actually do what they only intended to promise. That is what they call diplomacy.
It brings reality to the formal position of not only the United States, but to many western nations that follow the liberal practice of establishing a policy and then doing nothing to impose or enforce it. (Think of our red line in Syria, the demand that the Russians withdraw from the Crimea and the no nukes in North Korea).
What is widely recognized in the world community is that Jerusalem IS the capital of Israel. In fact, it has been the center of the Jewish people throughout history. For too many nations, however, that policy is only lip service – a diplomatic game of virtual reality. Trump’s decision also gives meaning to our strong alliance with Israel, something over which the Obama White House cast a shadow of doubt.
Israel’s current sovereignty over most of the city is a matter of unquestioned international fact. The only controversial issue is the claim of Palestinians over a portion of the city as part of a two-state solution – should that ever become a real possibility. That debate is not necessarily affected by the U.S. action. While we recognize Jerusalem as the national capital, we are not committed to any specific boundaries, as independent Senator Joe Lieberman points out. It does not prevent a section of the city from becoming a part of a future Palestinian state should such an agreement be reached – but that is a much longer and more complicated discussion.
Yes, there has been a flare-up of international anxiety. That is always the case when there are changes in the status quo. But in the larger and longer sense, the issue of Israel’s capital has now been settled. The contretemps of the moment will pass. Other nations will eventually move their embassies to Jerusalem – and I see Guatemala has already announced its intention to follow suit. The enforcement of America’s longstanding policy will at least take one of the contentious issues off the table for future negotiations.
Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and political issues. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, and he has served as a consultant to the White House under Presidents Nixon and Reagan. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress and lectured at Harvard University, Northwestern University, Florida Atlantic University, Knox College and Hope College. An award winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at email@example.com.