Do you really want to live in Trump's America?

One need not violate Godwin’s Law to recognize that there’s something deeply troubling about a leading presidential candidate having no objection to his supporters “roughing up” a vocal dissenter. But that was Donald Trump’s reaction after several attendees at a Saturday rally in Birmingham, Alabama “shoved, tackled, punched and kicked” a well-known local activist who began shouting “Black lives matter!” during the campaign event. As Trump put it on Fox & Friends the next morning, “Maybe he should have been roughed up” because Trump’s “fans” found the man “obnoxious.”

One need not support the Black Lives Matter movement — the word “movement” giving it credit for more importance than it actually deserves — to recognize the terrible irony of Trump’s outrageous comment supporting the assault of a black man, even a “troublemaker,” in a city (in)famous for civil rights struggles and the malign law enforcement reign of Bull Connor.

One need not shy away from objecting to thug-like tactics and hateful rhetoric of Black Lives Matter activists (not all of whom are black) such as those who recently invaded a Dartmouth College library yelling things like “filthy white bitch” and demonstrating that theirs is an ideology of hatred and exclusion, in order to recognize that there is a line between confronting political correctness and losing one’s soul.

And one need not suffer any illusions that Donald Trump’s supporters will hold these shameful remarks against him any more than they have held anything else against him...

Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here:

My op-ed: Colorado should allow alcohol sales in supermarkets

I asked a friend who hails from Michigan, "How would you feel if it became illegal for supermarkets to sell beer and wine?" He looked at me like I was crazy. Indeed, the question seems a ridiculous one. The idea that government would prevent me or you from buying a nice Cabernet or a six-pack of Colorado's best craft-brewed porter (I'm a dark-beer guy) in the supermarket - the store I have to go to more than any other - is galling. But that's the situation here in the Centennial State.

I mentioned the lunacy of this - no full-strength wine or beer in supermarkets - to a state senator, asking him "How can such a small number of people hold hundreds of thousands of Coloradans hostage?" He just shook his head and said something about liquor stores having an outsized influence on their local politicians.

It's not right, it's not fair, and it doesn't have to be this way.

Please read the rest of my op-ed for the Colorado Springs Gazette here:

Politico’s Friday Fabrications

What a Friday that was: Ben Carson showed emotion when pushing back against a desperately dirt-digging media — dirt-digging against Republicans, that is; George Will remained equanimous in the face of a verbal assault from Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly; Barack Obama gave the coup de grâce to the Keystone XL pipeline; and I had the chance to talk to Fox News’ James Rosen about his fascinating new book on former Vice President Dick Cheney.

(The several links to the Ben Carson story in Politico are different from each other, each representing a new phase in Politico’s incompetent and unethical writing and editing.)

On Friday morning, the website, continuing its steady journey into the realm of just-another-propaganda-arm-of-the-DNC, posted a big bold story, intended no doubt to let the air out of the trustworthy sails of Dr. Ben Carson’s political ambitions: “Ben Carson admits fabricating West Point scholarship.” The article’s subtitle read, “Carson's campaign on Friday admitted that a central point in his inspirational personal story was fabricated.”

After furious denials from the Carson campaign, Politico edited the article so that the title now reads “Exclusive: Carson claimed West Point ‘scholarship’ but never applied” and the subtitle states “Republican hits POLITICO story, later admits to The New York Times he wasn’t offered aid.” In this first stealth edit, Politico offered no editor’s note pointing out that any change had been made, much less one as enormous as removing the word “fabricated.” As the Washington Post’s Dave Weigel (nobody’s idea of a conservative) noted, “taking ‘fabrication’ out of that headline is like taking uranium out of an A-bomb.”

Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here:

Reading and Rereading the Wondrous Peggy Noonan

As a political columnist, it has meant a lot to me — certainly more than it has to them — to meet the three best and most important political writers in America today: George Will, Charles Krauthammer and, most recently, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan.

In recent years, I’ve had the chance to enjoy books by Will and Krauthammer; now it’s Noonan’s turn with the release of her ninth book, The Time of Our Lives, a thoroughly enjoyable and intellectually compelling compilation of her columns, essays, and speeches covering more than 30 years of writing and thinking.

My first reflection upon devouring Noonan’s oeuvre over the last few days is how many sentences I went back and read twice — or three times. Not because they were opaque or confusing but because Peggy Noonan’s writing is, perhaps alone among the political-social commentariat, a delicious combination of poignant and beautiful.

From writing about writing, to reflections on 9/11 or the state of modern American culture and politics, to thoughts about her friends and heroes including Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher (at the Iron Lady’s funeral, Ms. Noonan learned that Thatcher was an avid reader of her writing), Peggy Noonan’s prose is not simply, indeed not primarily, analytical but instead deeply insightful, plunging into complexities of the American psyche and the human condition.

Please read the entirety of my book review for the American Spectator here:

Barack Obama, Stand-up Comic

The latest example of President Obama’s defining character traits — supercilious narcissism blended with hyper-partisanship — came in a Monday night performance at DNC fundraising event in New York during which he skewered Republican presidential hopefuls who claim they will be stronger against Russian President Vladimir Putin than Obama himself has been, but “it turns out they can’t handle a bunch of CNBC moderators.”

“If they can’t handle those guys,” Obama added helpfully, “then I don’t think the Chinese and the Russians are going to be too worried about you.”

Project much, Mister President?

The lame message was good for a laugh and, to give credit where it’s due, Obama's delivery as a comedian is better than his once-vaunted communication skills as president — although he spends too much time laughing at his own jokes, which may explain why so few narcissists become stand-up comics.

As with most of Obama’s political pronouncements, it was a lie; not just a lie but one so obvious as to unintentionally highlight the very failings that Obama was trying to deny in himself.

Just how did the Republican candidates not “handle” the CNBC moderators?

Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here:

Big news for my radio station: KOA goes FM!

As almost anyone reading these words will know, I have the pleasure and privilege of hosting a Saturday morning radio show on what was, until yesterday, called NewsRadio 850 KOA.

What listeners have known for years as NewsRadio 850 KOA (and, if you're old enough KOA 85 AM), will now be KOA NewsRadio 94.1 FM and 850 AM.

With so many young and young-ish people rarely switching to the AM dial, having an FM signal is a great thing for a talk show host who aims to appeal to the widest possible audience.

Congrats and thanks to KOA management who got this done...and with a frequency right in the heart of the FM dial.

If you're part of those folks who can't find your way to AM, please give me (and the rest of the many "live and local" hosts on KOA) a chance on our new FM signal!

The Ongoing Failure of Obamacare, Right Here in Colorado

My latest for the Denver Post:

Last month, Colorado HealthOP, the state's largest non-profit health insurer, was removed from Colorado's Obamacare exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, because massive ongoing losses have rendered it financially unstable. As of next year, the co-op's 83,000 members will have to find new health coverage, while taxpayers are on the hook for more than $70 million in startup loans.

The Denver Post reported earlier this year that Colorado HealthOP, which captured roughly 40 percent of all health insurance enrollments though the state exchange and was its largest carrier, garnered market share with an "aggressive price cut ... but analysts warn the move carries financial risk."

You don't say. Too bad the risk was yours and mine instead of theirs.

Just days before Colorado HealthOP's collapse, the federal Department of Health and Human Services announced that it expects to have approximately 10.4 million Americans enrolled through Obamacare "marketplaces" at the end of 2016 — less than half the number predicted by the Congressional Budget Office just two years ago.


Please read the rest of my article for the Denver Post here:

My thoughts on the CNBC GOP Debate

Boehner's Backroom Budget

Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI) . wanted to know how presumptive Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) . “feels about the process” used to negotiate the budget deal reached late Monday by current Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) ., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) ., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)., and the White House.

Putting aside for a moment the details of the deal, the process — secretive back-room negotiating with approximately zero input from nearly 300 other Republican members of the House and Senate — seems to be everything Ryan railed against when courting House conservatives’ support for his speakership.

On Tuesday morning, Paul Ryan — who later today will likely win the Republican Conference’s approval to become Speaker — obliged Amash, saying “I think the process stinks.” He added, “This is not the way to do the people's business. And under new management we are not going to do the people's business this way.”

Outgoing Speaker John Boehner, perhaps surprisingly, agreed: “It stinks. This is not the way to run a railroad.” He explained that failing to reach a deal would have meant a “clean debt ceiling or default on our debt.… So when you look at the alternative, it starts to look a whole lot better.” Sorry, John, default is, despite all the scare tactics, approximately impossible; if you would make that clearer to the nation, perhaps you could have gotten a better deal.

Boehner aims to “clean the barn” so that Ryan, to continue the metaphor, doesn’t have to trudge through a deep, sticky, smelly budget-and-debt-ceiling cow pie on his way to the Speaker’s chair. It is a worthy goal for a party so widely perceived as dysfunctional, but not a goal worthy of paying any price.

Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here:

Ryan Rightly Slams Ex-Im

I'll have more tomorrow on the "budget deal," likely Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's statement that the process used to reach that deal "stinks," and his promise that things won't work this way when he's in charge.

For today, I want to point you, and particularly conservatives who are skeptical of Ryan, to his welcome and forceful statement against reauthorization of the cronyist organization known as the Ex-Im Bank. See Ryan's statement below.

I would urge all Republicans to contact their members of Congress, especially Republican members, to urge them to keep Ex-Im dead. Sadly, a "discharge petition" has been launched by corporatist Republicans working with big-spending Democrats over the objections of some of the most prominent and respected members of the House, including Paul Ryan and Jeb Hensarling. You may not be surprised to learn that John Boehner supports Ex-Im; yet another positive contrast for Paul Ryan to make with the departing Speaker.

Any Republican who signed on to the discharge petition, and especially Rep. Stephen Fincher of Tennessee, should face primary challenges from true fiscal conservatives, particularly if the district is safely Republican. Over at the Washington Examiner, Tim Carney reports that Fincher raises almost all of his campaign contributions from PACs, bringing in approximately nothing from the Tennesseans he is supposed to represent. Two days after moving to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank, Fincher deposited a $2,000 check from General Electric, a firm which benefits from the cronyist "bank." Stephen Fincher represents the absolute worst in politicians, a man who is feathering his own nest at the expense of his district, his state, and the nation; his disgraceful self-characterization as the "conservative champion for reforming the Export-Import Bank" would be laughable if it weren't so cynical.

For more intellectual ammunition against Ex-Im, I encourage you to read my friend Don Boudreaux here, here and here.

And now, Paul Ryan's statement on Ex-Im:

"Mr. Speaker, I want to express my strong disapproval for this bill for the Export-Import Bank.

"This is a pretty profound debate we are having. It's about what kind of economy we’re going to have. Are we going to reward good work or good connections?

"I think there are plenty other ways to expand opportunity in this country, and corporate welfare is not one of them. The biggest beneficiaries of this bank, two-thirds of their money go to 10 companies. Forty percent goes to one company.

"And this bank does cost money—just ask the Congressional Budget Office when they use real scorekeeping. Remember Fannie Mae? Remember their accounting? Remember when they told us they weren't going to cost any money—until they did? And it cost us billions.

"The other excuse that I just don't buy is, 'other countries do this, so should we.' We shouldn't acquire other countries' bad habits. We should be leading by example. We should be exporting democratic capitalism, not crony capitalism.

"There is this criticism by those against the free enterprise system who compare it to competition, like a sport. Where the critics of free enterprise say there’s a winner and there’s a loser, just like a boxing match or a football game. Well, that's true when it comes to crony capitalism. That is the case when it comes to corporate welfare. Because in that case, the winner is the person with connections. It's the company with power. It's the company with clout.

"The loser is the person who is out there working hard, playing by the rules, not knowing anybody, not going to Washington, hoping and thinking that the merit of their idea and the quality of their work is what will win the day. That's what is rewarded under a free enterprise system.

"Free enterprise is more about collaboration. It's more about transactions of mutual benefit where everybody benefits, and the rising tide lifts all boats. Equality for all. Equal opportunity. That's free enterprise. That's small d, democratic capitalism. This thing is crony capitalism, and I urge it be rejected."

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