Author Archives: Paul Mirengoff

A book deal for Huma Abedin?

Featured image Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s long-time confidante, is looking for a book deal. Reportedly, her asking price is $2 million. Jazz Shaw doubts that there’s a sufficient market for Abedin’s story to support this price. He may be right. However, Abedin strikes me as by far the most interesting person in Hillary Clinton’s world, with the obvious exception of Bill. First, there is her family background and ethnicity. Her parents are »

Failure to launch

Featured image North Korea put on quite a show Saturday, parading an impressive-looking array of nuclear missiles accompanied by the obligatory goose-stepping soldiers. According to the Washington Post, “experts were stunned at the sheer number of new missiles on display during the parade — including, apparently, a new and previously unknown type of intercontinental ballistic missile.” However, the day ended badly for Kim Jong Un when North Korea’s latest missile launch, touted »

Trump has rattled North Korea. Is this wise?

Featured image North Korea is threatening military action against South Korea and the United States. Indeed, it has promised to send “nuclear thunderbolts” at the first sign of a preemptive American strike. North Korea has made threats like this before. However, I believe President Trump has rattled Kim Jong Un, something previous administrations failed, or didn’t want, to do. Consider the events of this week. The Trump administration has launched an air »

Alan Dershowitz turns the tables on Sean Spicer’s critics

Featured image Last night, I wrote about the over-the-top criticism of Sean Spicer’s misstatement about Hitler and the use of chemical weapons. Spicer shouldn’t have compared Hitler favorably to Assad on this score, but to suggest that his comment shows latent anti-Semitism, or makes him a Holocaust denier, is slanderous. Alan Dershowitz agrees. Indeed, he takes the analysis further, finding that those trying to make political hay out of Spicer’s misstatement are »

Sean Spicer’s honest mistake

Featured image White House press secretary Sean Spicer is under intense fire for saying during a press conference, in the context of condemning Bashar al-Assad, that Adolf Hitler “didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.” Hitler does not appear ever to have authorized the use of chemical weapons on the battle field. However, he authorized mass killing through the use of chemicals at concentration camps. Spicer has apologized profusely for his statement. »

What is the Trump administration’s domestic policy?

Featured image Rich Lowry, whom I quoted here on the meaning of Steve Bannon’s apparent fall from grace, offers more on the subject. In a piece for Politico, he writes: No one can know for sure how this ends. Perhaps it’s all papered over, or maybe Bannon keeps his head down to fight another day. But it’s hard to see how Kushner doesn’t prevail in one form or other, together with the »

What is the Trump administration’s Syria policy?

Featured image I think I understand the Trump administration’s Syria policy. In western Syria, we will assist the forces fighting against ISIS; in eastern Syria, we will enforce former president Obama’s alleged red line on chemical weapons, but otherwise stay out of the fight. However, statements yesterday from top Trump administration officials make me wonder about the second prong of its Syria policy, thus understood. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the »

Steve Bannon’s ouster would be a blow to conservatives

Featured image President Trump has reinforced speculation that Steve Bannon may be on his way out as a member of the White House inner circle. He did so in an interview with Michael Goodwin of the New York Post. Goodwin reports: When I asked the president Tuesday afternoon if he still has confidence in Bannon, who took over the campaign in mid-August, I did not get a definitive yes. “I like Steve, »

Has Trump’s “wires tapped” tweet been vindicated?

Featured image As John discussed last night, the Washington Post is reporting that the FBI obtained a FISA warrant to monitor former Trump adviser Carter Page. If the report is true, and I assume it is, this means that the Obama administration obtained a FISA order to spy on at least one campaign associate of Donald Trump. John contends that the surveillance of Page means Trump’s famous tweets about Obama tapping his »

“The Trump era” begins; NPR attacks [UPDATED]

Featured image Yesterday, Attorney General Sessions signaled the Trump administration’s determination to crack down on illegal immigration. In a speech delivered in the border town of Nogales, Arizona, Sessions declared this “the Trump era” and warned that those who cross the border illegally risk prosecution under the full force of the law. NPR News responded by reporting on the lives of several Mexicans deported under President Trump. Having lived in the U.S. »

Explosions in Dortmund [UPDATED]

Featured image I have just returned from two weeks in Japan during which I paid scant attentions either to the news or to soccer. Now, both have jolted my consciousness, due to a series of explosions near a bus carrying the Dortmund soccer team to a big European match against Monaco. Early reports indicate that the team bus was rocked by three explosions. One Dortmund player, Marc Bartra (a decent center-back formerly »

Off to Japan

Featured image I’ll be in Japan for the next two weeks. I don’t plan to blog during this time. When I get back maybe the Senate will have confirmed Neil Gorsuch; the GOP will have formulated a solid Obamacare replacement plan that can pass the House and the Senate; and the Washington Redskins will have signed Kirk Cousins to a long-term deal. I’d settle for just the Gorsuch confirmation, and probably will »

Is Obamacare an entitlement program?

Featured image I guess so. Medicaid is considered an entitlement program, so Obamacare should be too. However, Obamacare (and Medicaid) differs materially from Social Security and Medicare, the classic entitlement programs. Everyone can get Social Security and Medicare if they reach a certain age. Moreover, because we pay into these programs, there’s a strong case that we are entitled to receive benefits. Obamacare is a welfare program. It provides free health insurance »

Trump administration blasts Russia’s handling of protests

Featured image This weekend featured anti-government protests in Russia, the largest since 2011. Tens of thousands of people are thought to have participated nationwide. In Moscow, the number probably exceeded 5,000, of whom almost 1,000 were arrested. The size of the protests wasn’t large by Western standards. On the other hand, in the U.S. and Western Europe one does not risk arrest and worse by participating in peaceful protests. The protesters hoped »

The Obamacare replacement blame game

Featured image From the Washington Post: President Trump cast blame Sunday for the collapse of his effort to overhaul the health-care system on conservative interest groups and far-right Republican lawmakers, shifting culpability to his own party after initially faulting Democratic intransigence. His attack — starting with a tweet that singled out the House Freedom Caucus as well as the influential Club for Growth and Heritage Action for America — marked a new »

A Yemen dilemma

Featured image Michael Ledeen wonders whether President Trump has “a strategy to win the global war.” Michael discerns none. Instead, he sees our enemies and adversaries making inroads, while the U.S. counters mostly with words and, in the case of Russia, “the usual sanctions.” What is our policy? It’s a surprisingly difficult question to answer. We say we want Iran out of Syria, but we’re in league with the Iranians in some »

Anti-Trump protesters use pepper spray on pro-Trump marchers [UPDATED]

Featured image A “Make America Great Again” march today in Huntington Beach, California turned violent when anti-Trump protesters, who were trying to block the march, used pepper spray against march participants. According to this report from the Orange County Register: As the marchers, many in MAGA hats or carrying American flags, walked down the bike path from Pacific Coast Highway and Warner Avenue, about a dozen protesters wearing black masks formed a »