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Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Category

Travel Ban is Revealing ––––but Does Not Threaten American Medicine

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

This essay is a response to the hand wringing of many academic and corporate medical workers lamenting the potential effect of the recent travel ban, which was blocked in a most absurd and unconstitutional manner by           a 3-judge panel of the 9th circuit court of appeals.

 

Travel Ban is Revealing ––––but Does Not Threaten American Medicine

 

Jane Orient, M.D.

2/9/2017

 

A 90-day ban on travel from seven countries has sparked tremendous outpourings of “worry” or outright opposition by some 33 medical organizations.

 

“The community is reeling over the order, fearing that it will have devastating repercussions for research and advances in science and medicine,” states an article in Modern Healthcare.

 

Certainly the order is disrupting the lives of individual physicians who have won coveted positions in American medical institutions and were not already in the U.S. when the order was issued. Also their employers have a gap in the work schedule to fill. War tears people’s lives apart, however innocent they may be. And countries that sponsor terrorism have effectively declared war on the U.S.

 

But is American medicine so fragile that it can’t survive a 90-day delay in the arrival of physicians, most of them trainees, from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and Sudan? After all, every year more than a thousand seniors in U.S. medical schools do not land a position in a post-graduate training program through the annual computerized “Match” of graduates with internships. After another chance through the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program, or SOAP, hundreds of seniors are still without a job. This means that they cannot get a license to practice in the U.S., however desperate rural communities or inner-city hospitals are to find a physician, and their four years of rigorous, costly post-college education are wasted. Yet James Madara, CEO of the American Medical Association (AMA), is worried about vacant residency slots, according to a Feb 3 article in MedScape by Robert Lowes.

Entry to medical school is highly competitive, so presumably all the students are well-qualified. Can it be that graduates from Sudan are better trained? Does the U.S. have so few young people capable of and interested in a medical career that we have to depend on a brain drain from countries that are themselves desperately short of physicians?

 

For all the emphasis on “cultural competence” in American medical schools, and onerous regulations regarding interpreters for non-English speakers, what about familiarity with American culture and ability to communicate effectively with American English speakers? Some foreign-born graduates are doubtless excellent, but many American patients do complain about a communication gap. So why do some big institutions seem to prefer foreigners? Could it be that they want cheap, and above all compliant labor? Physicians here on an employment-related visa dare not object to hospital policy.

 

Whatever the reasons for them, here are some facts about the American medical work force:

  • One-fourth of practicing physicians in this country are international medical graduates (IMGs), who are more likely to work in underserved areas, especially in primary care, according to Madara.
  • According to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), 10,000 IMGs licensed in the United States graduated from medical schools in the seven countries affected by the ban.
  • Immigrants account for 28% of U.S. physicians and surgeons, 40% of medical scientists in manufacturing research and development, and 15% of registered nurses, according to the Institute for Immigration Research at George Mason University. More than 60,000 of the 14 million workers in health-related fields were from the seven countries affected by the ban.

Is medicine, like agriculture, now filled with “jobs that Americans won’t do”? Actually, we have more than enough Americans who love medical work. But some of best doctors are being driven out by endless bureaucratic requirements, including costly “Maintenance of Certification™” programs that line the pockets of self-accredited “experts” but contribute nothing to patient care. They are being replaced (substituted for) by “mid-levels” with far less training. Then there are thousands of independent physicians having to retire or become employees because they can’t afford the regulatory requirements—soon to be greatly worsened by MACRA, the new Medicare payment system. Physician “burnout” is becoming so bad that we lose up to 400 physicians—the equivalent of a large medical school class—to suicide every year.

 

The U.S. should be a beacon to attract the best and brightest, and it should welcome those who want to become Americans. Unfortunately, the lives of Americans, as well as the opportunities of aspiring foreign-born doctors, are threatened by those who desire to kill Americans and destroy our culture. These must be screened out.

Meanwhile, the reaction of organized medical groups to the travel ban is spotlighting serious problems in American medicine.

 

 

Jane M. Orient, M.D.obtained her undergraduate degrees in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and her M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1974. She completed an internal medicine residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital and University of Arizona Affiliated Hospitals and then became an Instructor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and a staff physician at the Tucson Veterans Administration Hospital. She has been in solo private practice since 1981 and has served as Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) since 1989.  Dr. Orient is the 2017 recipient of The Edward Annis award for medical leadership.

Liberal Democracies In Retreat

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

The following is a rather gloomy, but likely accurate view of the future of the World order for decades to come and the retreat of the United States as a strong world leader.
Foreign Affairs Magazine
November, 2016
Liberalism in Retreat

The Demise of a Dream

By Robin Niblett

The liberal international order has always depended on the idea of progress. Since 1945, Western policymakers have believed that open markets, democracy, and individual human rights would gradually spread across the entire globe. Today, such hopes seem naive.

In Asia, the rise of China threatens to challenge U.S. military and economic hegemony, as Beijing seeks to draw American allies such as the Philippines and Thailand into its political orbit. In the Middle East, the United States and its European allies have failed to guide the region toward a more liberal and peaceful future in the wake of the Arab Spring and have proved powerless to halt the conflict in Syria. Russia’s geopolitical influence has reached heights unseen since the Cold War, as the country attempts to roll back liberal advances on its periphery.

But the more important threats to the order are internal. For over 50 years, the European Union has seemed to represent the advance guard of a new liberalism in which nations pool sovereignty and cooperate ever more closely with one another. But today, as it reels from one crisis to the next, the EU has stopped expanding. After the British vote to leave the bloc last June, it will probably shrink for the first time in its history.

Across the ocean, the U.S. commitment to global leadership, which until now has sustained the order through good times and bad, looks weaker than at any point since World War II. The Republican president-elect Donald Trump ran on an explicitly “America First” platform, pledged to renegotiate U.S. trade deals, praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, and called into question U.S. commitments to NATO. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama’s “rebalance” to Asia has struggled to take off. Beijing has wasted no time in laying out its own vision for a more integrated Eurasia that may exclude the United States and in which China will play the leading role.

Over the past half century, as other political systems have crumbled, the liberal international order has risen to face its challenges. Yet so long as the economies of its leading members remain fragile and their political institutions divided, the order that they have championed is unlikely to regain the political momentum that helped democracy spread across the globe. Instead, it will evolve into a less ambitious project: a liberal international economic order that encompasses states with diverse domestic political systems. In the short term, this will allow democracies and their illiberal counterparts to find ways to coexist. In the longer term, providing it can adapt, liberal democracy is likely to regain its supremacy.

LIBERALISM ON TOP

In the aftermath of World War II, Western policymakers, especially in the United States and the United Kingdom, set out to build a global system that would ensure that they would never repeat the disastrous failures of international cooperation of the interwar period. The architects of the system sought to promote not just economic development and individual fulfillment but also world peace. The best hope for that, they contended, lay in free markets, individual rights, the rule of law, and elected governments, which would be checked by independent judiciaries, free presses, and vibrant civil societies

Over the past half century, as other political systems have crumbled, the liberal international order has risen to face its challenges.

At the heart of the order were the Bretton Woods institutions—the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank—and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which became the World Trade Organization in 1995. Underpinning all these institutions was the belief that open and transparent markets with minimal government intervention—the so-called Washington consensus—would lay the foundation for economic growth. Guided by these principles, U.S. economic, military, and diplomatic support helped Germany and the other nations of Western Europe, as well as Japan, recover from the destruction of World War II.

Western policymakers were confident that transitions to open markets would inevitably lead to the spread of democracy. On many occasions, they were proved right. Liberal democracy has gradually expanded across Europe, Asia, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa, especially since the end of the Cold War. According to the U.S. nonprofit Freedom House, the number of democratic governments increased from 44 in 1997 to 86 in 2015, accounting for about 68 percent of global GDP and 40 percent of the world’s population.

As the order expanded, a new liberal idea gained ground: that governments that mistreat their populations and foment instability in their neighborhoods forfeit their sovereign right to rule. The International Criminal Court, which encroaches on sovereignty in the name of justice, was established in 1998. One year later, British Prime Minister Tony Blair laid out his doctrine of liberal interventionism in Chicago, declaring that, in a world of growing interdependence, “the principle of non-interference must be qualified in some important respects.” In 2005, the UN General Assembly endorsed the “responsibility to protect,” the concept that when a state fails to prevent atrocities, foreign governments can intervene to do so. In an ascendant liberal international order, the fundamental Westphalian principle that sovereign governments have the right to control their internal affairs—the principle that underlies international law and the UN—increasingly depended on governments’ adhering to Western standards of human rights. The liberal order seemed to be setting the rules for the entire international community.

THINGS FALL APART

But over the past decade, buffeted by financial crises, populist insurgencies, and the resurgence of authoritarian powers, the liberal international order has stumbled. According to the political scientist Larry Diamond, since 2006, the world has entered a “democratic recession”: the spread of individual freedom and democracy has come to a halt, if not retreated.

The greatest danger comes from within. The system’s leading powers are facing sustained domestic political and economic uncertainty. More than 25 years of stagnant median wages in the United States and parts of Europe have eroded the credibility of elites and the appeal of globalization. The opening up of economies to ever more trade, investment, and immigration has increased total national wealth, but it has not translated into local gains for large segments of society. The lax financial regulation that preceded the 2008 financial crisis and the bank bailouts that followed it have shattered people’s faith in government, and the Great Recession undermined their support for open capital markets, which seemed to benefit only a narrow global elite.

Trump’s victory, the decision by a majority of British voters to leave the EU, and the rise of populist parties in both the prosperous north and the poorer south of Europe represent visible symptoms of this deep unease with globalization. So, too, does the collapse in popular support in the United States and the EU for expanding international trade, whether through the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the United States or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership in Europe. In a 2014 Pew Research survey, 87 percent of respondents in developing economies agreed that trade benefits the economy, whereas around half of all respondents in France, Italy, and the United States said they believed that trade destroys jobs and lowers wages.

Across Europe, resistance to deeper political integration has grown. For the past 60 years, the willingness of the EU’s member states to pool their sovereign power in supranational legal structures provided a benchmark for other countries that sought to cooperate more closely in their regions. As the political scientist Simon Serfaty put it in 2003, Europeans had transformed their systems of political governance from city-states to nation-states to member states. Now, this process has ground to a halt—and it may well reverse.

The British vote to leave the EU will likely prove an outlier: the United Kingdom joined the European Economic Community, the EU’s predecessor, only in 1973, 16 years after its founding; the United Kingdom has a long history of Euroskepticism; and it opted out of the single currency and the Schengen area of open borders. Other countries will probably not follow the United Kingdom out of the EU. But few European leaders appear willing to continue relinquishing their countries’ sovereignty. Many European states have rejected EU requests that they accept a quota of refugees. The richer members of the eurozone are refusing to pool their financial resources in a common deposit insurance scheme to ensure the long-term viability of the single currency. Today, many European politicians are demanding more national sovereign control over the application of existing EU laws and the design of new forms of integration.

Few European leaders appear willing to continue relinquishing their countries’ sovereignty.

In this context, the hope that the EU might provide a template for liberal regional integration elsewhere seems increasingly lost. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, South America’s Mercosur, the African Union, and the Gulf Cooperation Council remain mechanisms for only limited political and economic cooperation among governments. China and Russia, meanwhile, have used this period of Western self-doubt to modernize their militaries and assert their regional and geopolitical interests. They have built institutions, including the Eurasian Economic Union and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, that have helped them coordinate and legitimize a parallel political order that challenges Western norms of democratic governance and that rejects any external interference in support of human rights.

AMERICA IN RETREAT

For the past seven decades, the United States has provided the security umbrella under which the liberal international system has flourished. But today, the United States is more inward-looking than at any point since World War II. After the costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the chaos that followed the intervention in Libya, Obama has recalibrated the United States’ international role, consistently encouraging allies in Europe and the Middle East to take greater responsibility for their own security. In his presidential campaign, Trump twisted this argument into an explicitly transactional bargain: the United States should become a mercenary superpower, protecting only those countries that pay, so that it can focus on making itself great again at home. In so doing, he ignored the hard-won lesson that investing in the security of U.S. allies is the best way to protect the United States’ own security and economic interests. How exactly Trump will govern, however, remains unclear.

Rightly or wrongly, the United States’ allies, from Europe to Asia, now fear that the superpower may no longer be an engaged and committed partner. These fears come at a dangerous time. A Europe hobbled by institutional and economic weakness is more vulnerable to the diverse forms of pressure that Russia is currently applying, including financial support for European populist parties and threatening military maneuvers on NATO’s eastern borders. Despite Russia’s own economic weakness, Putin’s advocacy of a new European order based on cultural and national sovereignty appeals to Europe’s increasingly vocal nationalist parties, from the UK Independence Party to France’s National Front and Hungary’s Fidesz, whose leader, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has publicly advocated building an “illiberal state.”

Many of the United States’ other allies and democratic partners around the world are also on the back foot. Japan and South Korea are struggling to manage the twin challenges of aging populations and economies that are overly dependent on exports, and his-torical antagonisms prevent them from presenting a united front to promote liberal democracy in their region. Large emerging-market democracies, such as Brazil, India, Nigeria, and South Africa, have so far failed to overcome entrenched obstacles to sustainable economic growth and social cohesion. And the perception that U.S. global power is waning and that the Washington consensus does not guarantee economic progress has bolstered strongmen in countries as diverse as the Philippines, Thailand, and Turkey, who have undermined the institutional checks and balances that underpin liberal democracy.

POT, KETTLE

Of course, supporters of the liberal international order have long displayed an inconsistent commitment to its principles. The United States and its allies may have generally promoted respect for the rule of law and liberal governance within their borders, but the dominant objective outside them has been to protect Western security and economic interests, even if doing so damaged the credibility of the liberal international system.

The United States has often acted unilaterally or selectively obeyed the rules of the international order it promotes. It invaded Iraq under a contested legal mandate, and the U.S. Congress has refused to ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, among numerous other multilateral conventions and treaties. And in 2011, the British, French, and U.S. governments stretched their mandate—granted by UN Security Council Resolution 1973, which authorized all necessary measures to protect civilians in Libya—when they helped overthrow Libya’s leader, Muammar al-Qaddafi. And various Western governments have condemned Russia and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for indiscriminately shelling civilians in Syria while simultaneously supporting Saudi Arabia’s bloody campaign in Yemen.

The United States’ allies, from Europe to Asia, now fear that the superpower may no longer be an engaged and committed partner.

Small wonder, then, that the West’s opponents have interpreted calls to enlarge the liberal international order as an excuse to expand Western political power. Putin sounded this theme in October, at the annual conference of the Valdai Discussion Club, when he accused the United States of promoting globalization and security “for itself, for the few, but not for all.” It is also unsurprising that the world’s principal multilateral institution, the UN Security Council, remains frozen in the same old standoffs, riven by disagreements between China and Russia, on the one hand, and France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, on the other. As a result, liberal attempts to reform the concept of state sovereignty, such as the introduction of the notion of the responsibility to protect and the establishment of the International Criminal Court, have failed to acquire international legitimacy—take, for instance, the ongoing failure to stem the violence in Syria and the announcements in October by the governments of Burundi, Gambia, and South Africa that they will withdraw from the court. Even the Internet, which promised to foster a more liberal international order by empowering individuals instead of governments, is now increasingly dominated by ideological polarization over national firewalls, surveillance methods, and privacy violations.

KEEPING ORDER

Do these challenges herald the end of the liberal international order? Probably not. Established liberal democracies remain resilient. Whatever domestic challenges they may face, from inequality to unemployment, they approach them from a position of strength compared with emerging-market countries, many of which boast high levels of GDP growth but have yet to make the transition from export- and investment-led growth to consumption- and innovation-driven growth. Western democracies are designed to allow the people to vent their frustrations and refresh their political leadership. Their economies operate in a relatively dynamic, transparent, and open manner, which fosters innovation. These qualities allow their political institutions to recover legitimacy and their economies to regain momentum. On the other hand, centrally controlled or illiberal countries, such as China and Russia, have yet to prove that their political systems will survive the economic transitions they are undertaking.

Still, liberal democracies cannot postpone difficult political decisions any longer. They need to fix themselves first if they are to sustain their liberal international order. They must boost productivity as well as wages, increase work-force participation even as new technologies eliminate old jobs, integrate immigrants while managing aging societies, and, in Europe’s case, evolve from centrally funded welfare states to more locally governed welfare societies, in which regions, cities, and other municipalities control a greater share of tax income and so can tailor the provision of social services to local needs. Liberal governments can rise to these challenges, whether by investing more in education, improving physical and digital infrastructure, or modernizing regulations that stifle entrepreneurship and growth in the service sector. These may seem like modest steps. But the appeal and, indeed, the survival of a liberal inter-national order depend on its ability to deliver returns to the societies within it that are superior to any alternative.

If the liberal world can get itself back on track, and does not itself turn to protectionism, it will likely find that the non-Western rising powers, China chief among them, will want to sustain the existing international economic order of relatively open markets and free flows of investment. After all, only through continued integration into the global supply chain of goods, services, people, and knowledge can emerging markets meet the aspirations of their growing middle classes. As the scholar G. John Ikenberry noted in his 2011 book, Liberal Leviathan, the United States and China—the two powers that will most likely determine the future of world order—may both refuse to compromise on their core principles of domestic governance and national security, but they can best coexist and prosper within a liberal international economic order.

It is in the West’s interests, therefore, that China’s economic development continue smoothly. U.S and European markets for goods, services, and infrastructure should remain open to Chinese foreign direct investment, as long as Chinese companies abide by U.S. and European rules on security and transparency and the protection of intellectual property. European countries should take the same approach with Russia, on the condition that Russian companies abide by EU rules. A mutual commitment to the liberal international economic order would help Western governments and their illiberal counterparts keep open other avenues for cooperation on shared challenges, such as terrorism and climate change, much as China and the United States have done over the past several years.

Western democracies are designed to allow the people to vent their frustrations and refresh their political leadership.

Meanwhile, European governments and businesses should take part in the Chinese-led effort to connect Northeast Asia with Europe across the Eurasian continent, a component of a series of regional infrastructure projects known as the Belt and Road Initiative. In 2016, the volume of global trade stagnated for the first quarter and then fell by 0.8 percent in the second. This reflects an ongoing structural decline in the growth rate of trade, as emerging markets, such as China, make more of their own products and developed countries bring some production back onshore. Against this backdrop, ramping up investment in infrastructure that can connect the thriving coastal areas of Asia to its underdeveloped hinterlands and then to Europe could create new opportunities for economic growth in both the liberal and the illiberal worlds. Rather than challenge such initiatives, the United States should support Western-led regional and multilateral financial institutions, such as the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Asian Development Bank, as they join forces with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the New Development Bank (set up by the BRICS countries—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) to pursue projects that are in every country’s economic interest while adhering to environmentally and financially sustainable principles.

Similar cooperation will be harder to build with Russia. Russia’s system of centralized and opaque political and economic governance makes deeper integration incompatible with the EU’s market and rules-based system, and NATO members have begun a much-needed upgrading of their military readiness in the face of recent Russian provocations. EU and NATO tensions with Russia will likely persist, even if Trump’s election heralds a change in U.S.-Russian relations. Still, the Chinese initiative to build new ways of connecting the Eurasian economy could provide an alternative way for the United States and Europe to engage with Russia.

The countries that built the liberal international order are weaker today than they have been for three generations. They no longer serve as an example to others of the strength of liberal systems of economic and political governance. Autocratic governments may therefore try to establish an alternative political order, one governed by might rather than by international laws and rules.

But liberal policymakers would be wrong to urge their countries to hunker down or resort to containment. An extended standoff between supporters of a liberal international order and those who contest it may accidentally lead to outright conflict. A better approach would be for liberal countries to prepare themselves for a period of awkward coexistence with illiberal ones, cooperating on some occasions and competing on others. The international political world will remain divided between liberals and statists for the foreseeable future, but both sets of countries will depend on a liberal international economic order for their prosperity and internal security. Time will tell whose form of government is more resilient. If history is any guide, liberal democracy remains the best bet.

The Dreadful November 8 Quandary

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Well, mercifully, we are at the end –– the end of the most awful presidential election of our time and really since the early 19th century involving Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams. What is worse this time, is that the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, is awful. He is vulgar, disreputable, a womanizer, a poorly educated lout. A disgrace to even imagine him as president. And his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton (and her equally corrupt husband, former President Bill Clinton), is a dreadful, dishonest, lying, elitist traitor. Her resume is long in politics so there is more evidence to review of her 30-40 years in the spotlight. Thus, I ask you to please see how Ayn Rand’s past words and Victor Davis Hanson’s present words all fit to describe her. To vote for him is an enormous risk and embarrassment.To vote for her is to turn our government into an even greater slimy hell hole than it is today. What is one to do?

“When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing –– When you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors –– When you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you –– When you see corruption being rewarded and honesty being self-sacrificed –– You may know that your society is doomed.”

Ayn Rand
Atlas Shrugged, 1957
NATIONAL REVIEW

Victor Davis Hanson
November 1, 2016

Epic greed, power, and pride: Where’s the bottom? With Bill and Hillary, there’s no telling. What was the Clinton telos? The end point, the aim of all their lying, cheating, criminality, dishonor, and degradation? Given the latest Weiner scandals coming on top of the latest WikiLeaks scandals, we wonder, what did the Clintons really wish to end up as — and why? Are they Goethe’s Faust or tortured souls crushed by the weight of their money bags in Dante’s Fourth Circle of Hell? For a few criminals, remorse comes with old age; but for the Clintons, near-70 was to be the capstone, the last chance to trump all their prior shenanigans. They were artists of amorality, and the election of 2016 was to be their magnum opus. Collate the FBI reopened investigation, WikiLeaks Podesta trove, revelations about the Clinton Foundation, the e-mail–server scandal, the DNC disclosures, and the various off-the-cuff campaign remarks of Bill and Hillary Clinton, and one then ponders what was the point of the Clinton shakedowns, the loss of reputation, the crude lawbreaking, as they neared their seventh decade. To paraphrase Barack Obama, in his progressive sermonizing on making enough money, did the two ever think they had enough money, enough honors, enough power already? The Hillary/Bill fortune — generated by pay-for-play influence peddling on the proposition that Bill would return to the White House under Hillary’s aegis and reward friends while punishing enemies — hit a reported $150 million some time ago, a fortune built not on farming, mining, insurance, finance, high-tech, or manufacturing, but on skimming off money. The Clintons are simply grifters whose insider access to government gave them the power to make rich people richer. Long gone was the Scrooge-like need to write off used underwear as charitable tax deductions or to play 4-trillion-to-one odds in rigging a $100,000 cattle-futures profit on a $1,000 “investment,” or Hillary’s decade-and-a-half as a corporate lawyer masquerading as a children’s advocate. How pathetic the minor league Whitewater cons must seem now to the multimillionaire Clintons — such a tawdry ancient example of amateurish shakedowns when compared with the sophistication of real profiteering through the humanitarian-sounding, high-brow, corrupt Clinton Foundation. So the Clintons finally got their millions and what such millions can ensure for their separate lifestyles. They have at last beautiful gated estates, tasteful and secluded from hoi polloi, light years away from Arkansas and the Rose Law Firm. Progressive Chelsea married a multimillionaire hedge-fund operator whose father served five years in federal prison for bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud. Her parents’ profiteering can allow Chelsea to announce, perhaps even sincerely, that she is not interested in money. Why should she be, given her own reported $15 million net worth from maternal spin-off favors? She lives in a $10 million Manhattan residence, so her parents had no motivation to get more in order to “provide” for their offspring. Instead, was bringing Chelsea down to Bill and Hillary’s level as a Foundation fixer a way to leave her a post mortem primer on how to get even richer? In sum, there was certainly no need for Hillary to even have considered flying to the Moroccan autocracy on the eve of announcing her presidential candida to leverage a $12 million speaking “fee” from a cut-throat Moroccan mining company, Why the drive to pile profits on top of profits on top of profits? Or, as Hillary’s top aide, Huma Abedin, put it of the quid pro quo fee (i.e., the mining company felt that it had gotten from the Clinton-run State Department a U.S.-financed Export-Import Bank loan of $92 million): This was HRC’s idea, our office approached the Moroccans and they 100 percent believe they are doing this at her request. Translated: A President Hillary Clinton would probably have no regret that dozens of heads of state, the majority of them dictatorial and not especially friendly to the U.S., would feel that they had done business with Hillary and Bill — and she, as a recipient of their largess, would owe them commensurate attention. Why did multimillionaire Hillary charge UCLA, in the era of thousands of indebted students, $300,000 (rather than, say, $149,999.99) for a brief, platitudinous speech? Why did multimillionaire Bill need more than $17 million for being honorary “chancellor” of the financially for-profit but tottering Laureate University (whose spin-off associate organization was a recipient of State Department largesse)? Did he think the extra millions were worth the embarrassment of being the highest-paid and least-busy college executive in U.S. history? Apparently, the good life did not drive the Clintons so much as the quest for the supposed best life. Even though they had finally “made it” among the multimillionaire set, the Clintons always saw others (no doubt, deemed by them less deserving) with far, far more — whether Jeffery Epstein, with his ability to jet wherever and with whomever he pleased, or green half-a-billionaire Al Gore, who ran even more successful cons, such as rapidly selling a worthless cable TV station to beat impending capital-gains taxes, and selling it to none other than the anti-Semitic Al Jazeera, whose carbon-generated profits come from autocratic Qatar. (The media never audited Gore’s attempt to become a cable mogul, unlike their current concerns about a potential Trump media outlet). The rich did not pressure the Clintons for paid favors as much as they sought out the Clintons as targets for graft. They certainly understand and smile at Hillary’s boilerplate promise of “making the rich pay their fair share” — the mantra of those who are worth over $100 million and immune from the impact of any tax hikes, or, for that matter, immune from any consequences whatsoever of their own ideology. The Clintons suffer from greed, as defined by Aristotle: endless acquisition solely for the benefit of self. With their insatiable appetites, they resented the limits that multimillionaire status put on them, boundaries they could bypass only by accumulating ever greater riches. The billion-dollar foundation squared the circle of progressive politicians profiting from the public purse by offering a veneer of “doing good” while offering free luxury travel commensurate with the style of the global rich, by offering sinecures for their loyal but otherwise unemployable cronies, and by spinning off lobbying and speaking fees (the original font of their $100-million-plus personal fortune and the likely reason for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s decision to put all her communications, mercantile included, on a private server safe from government scrutiny). Acquiring money to the extent that money would become superfluous was certainly a Clinton telos — and the subtext of the entire Podesta trove and the disclosures about the Clinton Foundation. Power and pride were the other catalyst for Clinton criminality. I don’t think progressive politics mattered much to the Clintons, at least compared with what drives the more sincere Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Hillary, like Bill, has no real political beliefs — though she doesn’t hesitate to pursue a mostly opportunistic progressive political agenda. By temperament and background, the Clintons are leftists and will follow a leftist vision, sort of, but one predicated on doing so within the constraints of obtaining and keeping power. Trade deals? Hillary is flexible given the fickle public mood. Fracking? It depends on where the money is. The Keystone Pipeline? What are the pros and cons in key swing states? Wall Street criminality? One has to distinguish a wink-and-nod political façade from a private flexibility. Gay marriage? She can reluctantly “evolve” under pressure. Immigration? It hinges on Latino demography in swing states, and how bothersome, as their aides put it, “needy” Latinos and “brown” op-ed writers become. Black Lives Matter? Had the black vote not won Obama the 2008 and 2012 elections, Hillary would probably have persisted in Bill’s 1990’s mode (when he condemned rap singer Sister Soulja for her racism and her anti-white rhetoric) and in her own critique of black “super predators,” as she called gang members in 1996. For the Clintons, power is the narcotic of being sought out, of being surrounded by retainers, of bringing enemies to heel and enticing sycophants with benefits. Liberalism and progressivism are mere social and cultural furniture. For the Clintons, power is the narcotic of being sought out, of being surrounded by retainers, of bringing enemies to heel and enticing sycophants with benefits. Liberalism and progressivism are mere social and cultural furniture, the “correct” politics of their background that one mouths and exploits to obtain and maintain political clout — and to get really, really rich without guilt or apology. As in the quest for lucre, the Clintons’ appetite for high-profile authority is endless. Just as $150 million seemed as nothing compared with the billions and billions raked in by their friends and associates, so too eight years in the White House, tenure as governor, senator, or secretary of state were never enough. In between such tenures, the Clintons suffered droughts when they were not on center stage and in no position to wield absolute power, as they watched less deserving folk (the Obamas perhaps in particular) gain inordinate attention. A Hillary presidency would give the Clintons unprecedented Peronist-like power, in a manner unlike any couple in American history. Of course, the Clintons are not only corrupt but cynical as well. They accept that the progressive media, the foundations, the universities, the bureaucracies, Hollywood, and Silicon Valley honor power more than trendy left-wing politics; they well understand that their fans will, for them, make the necessary adjustments to contextualize Clinton criminality or amorality. Sexual predations, the demonization of women, graft, and unequal protection under the law are also of no consequence to the inbred, conflicted, and morally challenged media – who will always check in with the Clinton team, like errant dogs who scratch the backdoor of their master after a periodic runaway. The Clintons have contempt for the media precisely because the media are so obsequious. They smile, that, like themselves, the media are easily manipulated and compromised — to the extent of offering their articles, before publication, for Clinton approval (as the New York Times’ Mark Leibovich did; leaking debate questions to the Clinton campaign (as Donna Brazile did); or saying (as Politico’s chief political correspondent did), “I have become a hack. . . . Please don’t share or tell anyone I did this Tell me if I f**ked up anything.” The Clintons view such sycophants not with affection, but with disdain, given that they are moochers no better than the Clintons, with the same base desires, albeit better camouflaged by their pretense of objectivity. To paraphrase Demosthenes’s warning of the impending arrival of the war-scarred and half-blind Philip II, the Clintons have devoted their lives, their health, their very bodies and souls to get where they are. And their visible scars prove it. They have long ago lost any sense of shame — Bill is hourly caricatured as a sexual predator, and the best that can be said of Hillary’s character is that the bankrupt Left shrugs, “She may be a crook, but she’s our crook.” In Dorian Gray fashion, their sins are now imprinted on their faces and visible in their tremors. They were and are capable of any and everything. And one wonders whether, in fleeting seconds here at the end of things, they still believe that it was all worth what they have become. —

NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Can Trump Stay On Message?

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

This is an important article. There is so much “garbage” heaping up in the Hillary campaign, if Trump stays on offense and on message without what looks to be self inflicted wounds, he might just win and prove that I am not a “Cassandra.” However , I will be extremely surprised if he wins. I still believe he is a Trojan Horse, placed in the Republican Party to split it wide open and allow Clinton to win despite all her negatives. We shall see..

CONSTITUTION

Trump Will Be President If He Stays On Offense in the Next 90 Days

William Stauff
August, 14, 2016

Trump needs to put his boot on Hillary’s neck and not let up. Trump will be president if he’s relentless.

If he does the following things I mention in this article Trump will be president. There really is gold mine with what is going on with Hillary. The Wikileaks scandal has the capability of completely undoing Hillary’s campaign but it won’t happen on its own. It’s up to Trump to continue to expose what actually is happening. This whole episode right now about Trump’s second amendment comments has put him on defense. Trump really doesn’t need to be on defense regarding his second amendment comments. Even Never Trump conservatives have recognized that the media is desperately trying to make a mountain out of a molehill and a feeble attempt to connect dots that are not even there. What we are seeing from Hillary’s trail of bodies is out in the open for all to see. It’s being reported far and wide by reputable sources of people close to her campaign getting murdered.

Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange has been dropping bombshell after bombshell after bombshell regarding Democrat Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton. His latest is that Seth Rich, a DNC staffer who was in charge of voter expansion who was found murdered in July, was a Wikileaks informant.

In an interview on Dutch television. Assange believes, as I do, that Rich was not robbed, but was rather murdered and the murder made to look like a robbery.

We know that the Kahn family are Clinton plants and Hillary is hiding behind them and using them as shields to go after Trump and using their dead son. The problem is, it’s a losing battle to go up against Gold Star Families who had a son who lost his life for his country. If Trump can get past these media landmines and distractions he can put all his focus on Hillary Clinton and go after her with a vengeance on what the WikiLeaks investigations have already revealed.
Trump will be president if he goes on offense by spending real money against Hillary Clinton.

Many political experts are besides themselves that Trump is not spending real money to combat Hillary’s war chest. Hillary has spent close to 50 million dollars in television ads against Trump in all the states that are going to win the election. Throughout the campaign you see some weeks where Trump is either close or gaining. There’s a slew of new recent polls that show an uptick for Trump.

Rasmussen (Clinton +3) and Reuters (Clinton +6) continue to view this as a relatively tight race, which is better than the double-digit race that some other pollsters are seeing.

The state polling was likewise pretty good for Trump yesterday, with a Fox 13/Opinion Savvy poll showing him only trailing in Florida by one point, a Suffolk poll showing him with a 1 point lead in Iowa, and a Gravis poll showing him with a 4 point lead in Georgia.

It’s during this time Trump can grab the bull by the horns and really start moving those numbers in his direction by spending some serious money. He has the money and he has the capability to raise more if he needs to. Get his message out quickly and make a big dent and stay on message and hit Hillary hard. Trump will be president if he does all these things.

Trump Can Win

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

So, despite the “No Trumpers,” This well crafted article suggests that Trump Can Win

Ten Reasons Why Trump Could Win
Victor Davis Hanson – July 19, 2016

With four more months until Election Day, be prepared for chills and spills.

Hillary Clinton has outspent Donald Trump in unprecedented fashion. Her endorsements bury Trump’s. The Obama administration is doing its best to restore her viability. The media are outdoing their 2008 liberal prejudices. And yet in John Connally delegate fashion, Clinton’s vast expenditures of $100 million plus have so far earned her only a tiny, if any, lead in most recent polls. If each point of approval is calibrated by dollars spent, Trump’s fly-by-night campaign is ahead.

Nor has Trump matched Clinton’s organization or voter-registration efforts. He certainly has blown off gifts from a number of Clinton gaffes and misfortunes, usually by gratuitously riffing on off-topic irrelevancies, from the Trump University lawsuit to the genocidal Saddam Hussein’s supposedly redeeming anti-terrorist qualities. Pollsters, gamers, insiders — everyone, really — have written his political epitaph for over a year. Rarely have conservative voices at mainstream-media outlets vowed not to support the Republican nominee. And yet the longer he stays viable, the more likely it is that Trump has a real chance at winning the presidency, which may already be a veritable 50/50 proposition. So why is the supposedly impossible at least now imaginable?

1. Not a Typical Populist

When critics are not slurring Trump as Hitler or Mussolini, they write him off, in sloppy fashion, as a dangerous populist — at worst an hysterical, demagogic Huey Long, at best a quirky Ross Perot: in other words, a flash in the pan who capitalizes on occasional but brief surges of Neanderthal isolationism, protectionism, nativism, xenophobia, and collective insecurity among the lower middle classes.

That diagnosis is rehashed groupthink. By any definition, Trump is not a classical populist. His traction derives from opposing unchecked and cynical illegal immigration, not diverse and measured legal immigration. And he is rebelling not so much against a flabby, sclerotic status quo as against a radical, even revolutionary regime of elites who are now well beyond accustomed norms. It is hardly radical to oppose the Confederate doctrine of legal nullification in more than 300 sanctuary cities, or a de facto open border with Mexico, or doubling the national debt in eight years, or ruining the nation’s health-care system with the most radical reconstruction in the history of American health-care policy, or systematically running huge trade deficits with an autocratic China that does not adhere to international norms of free trade and predicates expanding political and military power in the South China Sea on its commercial mercantilism. Trump seemed incendiary in the primaries, but as he is juxtaposed to the official Clinton extremist agenda, he will likely be reinterpreted increasingly as more mainstream — a probability enhanced by his selection of Mike Pence as his running-mate.

2. Obama Nihilism

Do not underestimate the volatility of Barack Obama’s popularity. As long as Obama keeps silent and out of the limelight, he nears 50 percent in approval ratings. The moment he returns to the fray (and he always does, as a June bug to a patio light), he instinctively reverts to his natural divisive and polarizing self, as evidenced in his disastrous reactions to the Dallas police shootings, and his politically suicidal post-Dallas courting of Al Sharpton (who used to call on supporters to “off” police) and of the architects of Black Lives Matter. It is likely that Obama, to cement a hard progressive legacy in the next four months, will only double down on his gratuitous pandering, and therefore will see his poll numbers return to the low or mid-40s. That may help Trump seem an antidote rather than an obsequious continuance.

3. Two Sorts of Elitists

Both Trump and Clinton are elitists in an anti-elitist year. But elitism is not all the same. The popular furor is not directed at the rich per se, but rather at the perception of cultural snobbishness and hypocrisy among those who romanticize the always-distant poor, as they favor the always-proximate rich, and caricature the despised middle class that lacks the taste of the latter and the appeal of the former. Trump’s in-your-face tastes and brashness are vulgar in the pure Roman sense, and his accent and demeanor are not those of the cultural elite, or even of the dignified Mitt Romney–type moneyed bluestockings. In contrast, Hillary, like Obama, talks down to Americans on how they ought to think, speak, and act. Trump seems to like them just as they are. In turn, middle-class hatred of the elite is not aimed at Trump’s garish marble floors or the narcissistic oversized gold letters plastered over the entrances to his buildings, but rather at the rarified self-righteous. Like it or not, Trump can square the ridiculous circle of a raucous billionaire as man of the people far better than Hillary can handle the contradictions of a Wall Street–created crony multimillionaire pandering to the Sanders socialists.

4. Election Formulas

It is not assured that Clinton can replicate Obama’s formula of record-high minority-voter turnout and bloc voting. More importantly, in a few key states Trump may win 25 to 28 percent of the Latino vote and perhaps 10 percent of the black vote, while Clinton might not capture even 35 percent of the so-called white vote. A surprisingly high minority of blacks and Hispanics do not feel Trump is a nativist or xenophobe, given that illegal immigration is often perceived as putting a strain on scarce social services, imperiling already poor schools, and driving down both wages and the availability of entry-level jobs. Trump’s El Jefeism plays well when juxtaposed to Clinton’s suburban namby-pamby falsity or her unhinged demonization of coal miners and gun owners. The numbers of minority voters in key states who quietly vote Trump need not be great, but rather only must top by 2 or 3 percentage points the disastrous McCain and Romney levels of 2008 and 2012, given the likely historic percentage of white voters that Trump may win. Media elites are in denial over this possibility. Racial hyphenation and bloc voting, along with prophecies of continual white irrelevance, should by their reckoning have long ago doomed Trump in the general election.

5. Crimes and Misdemeanors

Trump struggles with embarrassing misdemeanors, Clinton with high crimes. She may be delighted at not having been indicted, but FBI Director Comey confirmed to the nation that she was an inveterate liar, paranoid, conspiratorial, and incompetent. That she was not charged only made the FBI seem absurd: offering a damning hooved, horned, pitchforked, and forked-tailed portrait of someone mysteriously not a denizen of Hell. Add in the Clinton Foundation syndicate and the fact that lies are lies and often do not fade so easily, and Hillary in the next 15 weeks may average one “liar” and “crooked” disclosure each week — at a rate that even the Trump tax returns and Trump University cannot keep up with.

6. Four Months until the Election

The tumultuous news cycle — Dallas, Paris, Turkey, Baton Rouge — creates anxieties and a general sense that the nation and indeed the world are in chaos — and without any guidance from the White House. Such a vague foreboding that something has to give to avert catastrophe may favor Trump abroad and at home — especially if he can muzzle himself in times of enormous gift-giving from the Clinton campaign. Obama is a lame-duck president who is perceived as weak, vacillating, and ambiguous about his own country’s role in the world — a world that includes Russia, ISIS, China, North Korea, and Iran. The odds are even that at least one of the above in the next few months will feel that it has a rare opportunity to readjust the regional status quo, or at least will have a psychological impetus to try something stupid to humiliate Obama and the U.S. as payback for seven years of his empty sanctimoniousness. Either way, Trump could benefit, given that Hillary is a perceived tool of Obama’s therapeutic foreign policy. Tragically, at home, in the next few months ISIS may re-emerge, and racial relations are not likely to ameliorate, as Hillary straddles a politically correct tiger that she can neither dismount nor safely ride. Self-described leftists are cannibals who always end up devouring their own, given the never-enough trajectory of their equality-of-result creed.

7. Extremism

Trump seems extremist in speech, but as the campaign wears on, Hillary may confirm that she is more extremist in fact. It may well be that voters would prefer a brash-talking pragmatist to sober and judicious ideologues. Sloppy talk about temporarily limiting immigration from the Middle East is not so injurious as contrived efforts never to utter the phrase “radical Islam.” Clinton, Obama, and Sanders have moved the Democratic party radically to the left; Trump in some areas has pushed the Republican party to the center. The voter terrified of ISIS, record debt, the spiraling cost of his health care, perceived U.S. decline, and the seemingly violent racial Balkanization of the country — but not terrified of gay marriage or tough trade talks with China — may find Clinton, not Trump, the true radical.

8. Polls

If the polls are off a bit in this warped election year, they are more likely to err on Hillary’s side. Republicans who will vote for Hillary or no one rather than Trump will do so in part out of perceived moral principles, and thus they will not be so shy in showcasing their not-in-my-name ethos. But those who see themselves more as pragmatists, who will eventually hold their nose and vote for the embarrassing Trump, are more likely, in Brexit style, to keep quiet about it and stay under the polling radar. I think that to be truly ahead on Election Day Hillary will have to top Trump by 1 or 2 points in the polls — even with traditional Democratic massaging of voter rolls.

9. Converts and Apostates

The relative closeness of polling in key swing states already suggests that the Reagan Democrats and other Trump converts may either be more numerous than the Never Trump establishment or at least more numerous outside of coastal, and electorally irrelevant, blue states like California and New York — and thus more significant as swing-state adjudicators. In addition, traditional media, in which Never Trump views are most frequently aired, are themselves growing ossified and do not reach voters to the same degree as outlets like the Drudge Report, Breitbart News, and talk radio. In my rural California community, when I meet pro-Trump welders, farmers, and tractor drivers of all races and backgrounds, I try to ask them just one question: Did you vote for Romney? So far 0 percent of that cohort of probably over 100 Central Valley residents said they had turned out for Romney in 2012. Again, the new Trump voters may not be numerous nationwide, but they may be able to swing one or two purple states. Also, it may be more likely that a Never Trumper will weaken and quietly vote Trump in November as he grows aghast at the weekly Clinton circus. The Trump buffooneries may well be more than matched by Clinton’s ideological insanities.

10. The Screech-Owl Factor

For all his lack of discipline, the media-seasoned Trump is still the better and more robust campaigner. His liabilities — bouts of outer-space incoherence, unfamiliarity with basic issues, sloppiness in diction, a personal cruel streak — are balanced by a TV host’s sense of audience, timing, and cadence.
Hillary is the far more disciplined politico, but she is not so much uncharismatic as downright off-putting. Even on those rare occasions when she listens to her new voice-coach handlers and speaks quietly and deliberately, she still comes off not as reassuring, much less engaging, but rather as artificially trying her best not to revert to her natural screech-owl elocution. Heartfelt recklessness can sometimes wear better than packaged sobriety.
* * *
Finally, it is suicidal to descend into the muck to battle Trump. Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz all tried and failed, despite the fact that they had every moral justification in hitting back in like kind. Elizabeth Warren is trying to be an anti-Trump street-fighter; but her incoherent venom suggests that Harvard Law professors should stick to academic jousting in the faculty lounge.

Brawlers know the rules of the street far better than establishmentarians. The Senate is not The Apprentice, and politics is not New York real estate. Ask the trash-talking Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg if she came out on top in dueling with Trump — or whether she virtually destroyed a quarter-century’s reputation in minutes and ended up no better than an elderly version of Rosie O’Donnell in a Supreme Court Justice costume. Hillary is stepping up her crude attacks on Trump. But as in the past, such hits are more likely to make the Trump mode suddenly seem normal, and to make Trump a target of those who claim they are more sober and judicious but in extremis prove no more measured than Trump himself.

We have a long way to go till November 8, and the odds are still with Hillary’s establishment money, influence, power, and media. There will be dozens of Trump meltdowns and gaffes to come and always more slams at “crooked” Hillary. And never count out what narcissists like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — or Vladimir Putin — might do, or Obama’s Chicago-like warping of the electoral process. Nonetheless, for a variety of reasons, an unlikely Donald Trump has become a liberal’s worst nightmare, not so much for what he says or represents, but because he still could win — and win in a way, along with the Congress and the prospect of a new Supreme Court, that we have not witnessed in 80 years.


William S. Frankl, All Rights Reserved
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