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July 2017


The United States is facing a series of nuclear challenges, including maintaining our central strategic nuclear deterrent, stopping the use of small numbers of nuclear weapons against us by terrorists or rogue regimes, and ensuring that our allies and friends are also protected from nuclear attack.

While related, each of these pose unique challenges. While deterrence and homeland defense have been 100% perfect in stopping any use of nuclear weapons against the United States for over 70 years, and while the hope is that continued vigilance by our country will continue that record, there are no guarantees of future success.

But most importantly, we should take whatever action is needed to improve deterrence and defense, and we should definitely avoid making decisions that will undermine either. Key is to modernize our land based missile deterrent, a plan some small dozens of House and Senate members have recently declared probably unnecessary, including the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee.

The Russians and the Chinese are way ahead of us in deploying-building and putting the force in the field-new nuclear armed (1) land based missiles, (2) submarines and their associated missiles, and (3) bombers and cruise missiles. These dual country modernization programs were started over a decade ago and have accelerated even as American nuclear modernization efforts were delayed and underfunded.

Although the American nuclear posture review is not completed, it is fairly apparent the new administration will fund a robust nuclear modernization effort. The reason is simple: each of our three legs of our nuclear forces—land based missiles, submarines and bombers-are at or near their life expectancy and are in danger of rusting to obsolescence. And the cost of maintaining the current force beyond current plans is very high, and exceeds even the cost of new, replacement systems.

So obviously the smart plan is to modernize.

In addition, an effort to extend the life of some of these systems and forgo modernization is fraught with danger. For example, our 14 Trident submarines will have a hull life of 42 years, the longest ever in the history of the submarine US Navy, and assessments show they cannot be extended any further without a risk of a catastrophic collapse.

As for our land based missiles, the fuel and guidance systems can be maintained in the near term, but beyond 2030 would cost more than the new modernized ground based strategic deterrent (GBSD) missile replacement planned for the end of the next decade and be technologically untenable. None of this is conjecture-it is based on solid fact and analysis.

Particularly critical are the 450 land based Minuteman missiles scheduled for replacement and modernization with the GBSD. Contrary to sloppy thinking of nuclear modernization opponents, the land based missiles are highly survivable, have very high alert rates and thus cannot be easily targeted. They are also quick to their targets which denies an adversary the use of their own weapons, and are also highly affordable.

Let us examine each of these points in turn.

It is true that land based missiles are in fixed silos. But while their locations are known, they are spread out over three military bases in five states cumulatively the size of Texas, or nearly 700,000 square miles. This has led to some confused analysis. For example, one long-time opponent of land based missiles correctly explained at a recent conference that a country such as Russia would be crazy-“irrational to the extreme” to try and take out all 400 Minuteman missiles silos and their 48 associated launch control centers, as it would require the use of nearly 1000 warheads launched simultaneously. But then in the same breath, the critic justified his opposition to Minuteman by claiming the missiles were vulnerable to a surprise attack from the very same country-Russia-and thus must be deemed “vulnerable” and “destabilizing”. In that no rationale adversary would attack three American Minuteman bases, the missiles in their silos are perfectly safe.

America’s Newest Epidemic: Toxic Russophobia By Brandon J. Weichert

Since Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 election, a constant drumbeat of Russophobia has resounded throughout the halls of power. Today, the drumbeat has become so deafening that Congress’s already self-imposed inability to legislate has been made even worse, if you can believe it. In turn, this clamorous Russophobia has needlessly blunted the president’s ability to “make America Great again.”https://amgreatness.com/2017/07/27/americas-newest-epidemic-toxic-russophobia/

America’s current Russophobia epidemic is not based on anything substantive. Rather, our Ruling Class are still sick about their preferred candidate losing the November election. How pathetic.
For all the talk of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s murderous tyranny (and, yes, he is an autocrat who intimidates, jails, and likely even kills his opponents), our Russophobes usually miss something crucial: Putin’s grip on power is tenuous at best (which is why he is fighting so hard to keep hold onto it) and Russia’s social and economic standing in the world is precarious. In fact, Russia is in outright decline. If the West is not careful, we may end up sending Russia over-the-cliff and into collapse. Be assured, no matter how terrible Putin’s regime may be, what comes afterward can be much, much worse for the United States.

Fact is, like the Ottoman Empire of yesteryear, the Russian Federation is the “sick man” of Eurasia. Rather than formulating doctrines and programs for speeding up the Russian Federation’s demise (as the United States did to the Soviet Union during the Cold War), the American government should be doing what the British and French Empires did to the Ottoman Empire throughout the last part of its existence: figuring out how to guide the flailing empire to a proverbial soft landing.

Remember, the great European empires (other than Czarist Russia) fought hard to ensure the Ottoman Empire did not collapse, lest the “Sick Man of Europe” ultimately spread his contagion. World War I represented the collapse of this policy, as the Ottomans aligned with the Central Powers to fight the Allies, and made British and French attempts at preserving it impossible.

What followed, of course, was the creation of the modern Middle East by the British and French (as well as the Russians and other European colonial powers). And as you know from recent events, the modern Middle East is a disaster zone. What happened in the aftermath of the Ottoman Empire is likely to happen in modern Russia, should the United States keep pushing hard against the enfeebled regime, as we have since 2014. Only imagine the collapse of the Ottoman Empire with scores of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons being loosed from its bases. Does that sound like a good future for the world?

Of course, our elite—the “wise” graybeards of American foreign policy—don’t pay much mind to that scenario. They laugh at such suggestions. But bear in mind that since the United States imposed harsh economic sanctions on Moscow following its unlawful annexation of Crimea, Russia’s economy has collapsed. As a result, the internal security situation in Russia is precarious. In response, the Putin regime has imposed greater restrictions on what little democracy exists in Russia. Meanwhile, our European friends—who are entirely dependent on Russian energy sources and trade—are made weaker, not stronger, by the lack of access to Russian goods. Plus, the sanctions have inspired the kind of political extremism in Europe that our Europhilic elite claim to abhor.

The Russophobia has become so toxic that Russia is looking to China for a new alliance. In other words, our ruling elite’s excessive animus toward Moscow risks harming American grand strategy for at least a generation. After all, it was the great British geostrategist, Sir Halford Mackinder, who warned the West of the grave danger that would exist should a power (or group of powers) come to dominate the immense natural resources of the “world island” that is Eurasia. And as we saw during the early Cold War, a Sino-Russian alliance is terrible for U.S. foreign policy.

Why is Everyone Suddenly Quoting Thucydides? Victor Davis Hanson

Currently, the historian Thucydides is the object of debate among those within the Trump Administration and its critics, who, like scholars of the last three millennia, focus on lots of differing Thucydidean personas. https://amgreatness.com/2017/07/26/everyone-suddenly-quoting-thucydides/

Did Thucydides warn in deterministic fashion about ascendant powers like Athens that disrupt the existing order of Sparta and its Peloponnesian League—and thus prompt preventive attacks from established nations (“the Thucydides trap”)?

Is the historian thus a guide to how to handle a rising China? Or did he remind us how wrong-headed (but nonetheless free and correctable) choices can turn a tense situation into a catastrophe?

Was Thucydides, an admiral and man of action, a voice of the aristocratic elite, or sympathetic toward small landowners who were neither oligarchic nor radically democratic?

Translated into modern terms, was he like-minded with the contemporary elite Washington establishment or a likely supporter of what are now the forgotten Red-State middle classes between the coasts?

Did he despise the reckless democracy that exiled him, or develop a grudging respect for its dynamism and powers of recovery from its own self-inflicted wounds—and become especially complimentary of Periclean leaders who can act forcefully within democratic checks and balances?

Some 2,400 years after Thucydides wrote the Peloponnesian War, scholars still argue over why and how he crafted his history.

Unchanging Human Nature and the Thin Veneer of Civilization
Are there, then, any guiding principles in reading his history that are beyond debate and must be respected in all current and often politicized efforts to channel the great historian?

In fact, there are two.

One, Thucydides assumes that human nature remains unchanging and thus he thinks his history will transcend the Peloponnesian War and become “a possession for all time” (ktêma es aei) that can enlighten us about wars and their consequences across time and space. On that score, he was quite right. Today his history is still mined for wisdom about conflict in the present waged by people inherently no different from Spartans and Athenians of the past. Thucydides would approve of his contemporary utility. He certainly did not believe that enlightened intellectuals, with reliance on resources like greater education and wealth, can change the nature of man and thereby always eliminate war through rational compromise and higher wisdom.

Two, Thucydides believes that the veneer of civilization is precious and thus when ripped off—by the plague at Athens, the revolutions at Mytilene and Corcyra, the ultimatums to and dialogue with the Melians, and the expedition to Sicily—man’s innate nature is revealed as savage and reduced to its circumstances. He is of the tragic, not the therapeutic, bent, and at odds with the later Tacitean sense of the noble savage.

A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Britain: June 2017 by Soeren Kern

Nazir Afzal, a former chief crown prosecutor and one of the most prominent Muslim lawyers in Britain, warned that an “industry” of Islamist groups in the country is undermining the fight against terrorism. He singled out the Islamist-dominated Muslim Council of Britain and also condemned “self-appointed” community leaders whose sole agenda was to present Muslims “as victims and not as those who are potentially becoming radicals.”

Col. Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, charged London Mayor Sadiq Khan with “appeasing jihadists” for authorizing the Al-Quds Day march.

More than 40 foreign jihadists have used human rights laws to remain in Britain, according to an unpublished report delayed by the Home Office.

June 3. Khuram Shazad Butt, a 27-year-old Pakistani-born British citizen, Rachid Redouane, a 30-year-old who claimed to be Libyan and Moroccan and Youssef Zaghba, a 22-year-old Moroccan-Italian, murdered eight people and injured 50 others in a jihadist attack on and around the London Bridge. The three assailants were shot dead by police. It was the third jihadist attack in Britain in as many months.

June 3. Nazir Afzal, a former chief crown prosecutor and one of the most prominent Muslim lawyers in Britain, warned that an “industry” of Islamist groups in the country is undermining the fight against terrorism by peddling “myths” about the Prevent strategy, the government’s key anti-radicalization policy. He singled out the Islamist-dominated Muslim Council of Britain, and said he was shocked that in the agenda for its annual meeting there was “nothing about radicalisation and nothing about the threat of people going to Syria.” Afzal, who prosecuted the Rochdale sex-grooming gang, also condemned “self-appointed” community leaders whose sole agenda was to present Muslims “as victims and not as those who are potentially becoming radicals.”

June 3. Khalid Al-Mathkour, chairman of Kuwait’s sharia council, and Essam Al-Fulaij, a Kuwaiti government figure known for his anti-Semitic diatribes, are listed as trustees of a UK-registered charity that is building a mosque in Sheffield, according to the Telegraph. They have helped channel almost £500,000 ($650,000) into the project from Kuwait. Another £400,000 ($525,000) has been donated to the charity, the Emaan Trust, by a Qatari organization. The stated aim of the new mosque, which will have a capacity for 500 worshippers, is to “promote and teach Islamic morals and values to new Muslim generations.”

June 4. Prime Minister Theresa May said there was “far too much tolerance of extremism” in Britain and promised to step up the fight against Islamic terrorism after the London Bridge attack. “Enough is enough,” she said. May also claimed the jihadists held to an ideology that was a perversion of true Islam: “It is an ideology that claims our Western values of freedom, democracy and human rights are incompatible with the religion of Islam.”

June 5. Conservative election candidate Gordon Henderson said that Muslims are duty bound to report extremists in their midst:

“The only people who can defeat the Islamic terrorists are the British Muslims in whose midst they find sanctuary. It is time for peace-loving Muslims to start providing information to the police about those within their community that they suspect of plotting attacks. The only other option is to put all suspected terrorists in internment camps, and that is not a route I would like to go down. We tried it with the IRA and all it did was make the prisoners into martyrs.”

The Left’s War on the First Amendment … and the crisis of an illiberal media. Daniel Greenfield

Once upon a time there was a liberal media. Like most left-leaning institutions it worked hard to prove its progressive premises. Democrats were good and Republicans bad. The police and the military were bad. Social welfare spending and diplomacy were good. Israel was bad and the PLO was good.

This was the thing we used to nostalgically call media bias.

We aren’t dealing with a liberal media anymore, but an illiberal media. The liberal media was content to use its institutional power as a megaphone to broadcast its views. But you could debate those views. Actual conservatives were allowed to write columns, and not just as a strategic attack on some element of the GOP the way it is now, and appear on television to offer opinions, and not just as punching bags.

The liberal media was convinced it would win the argument because it was right.

The illiberal media isn’t interested in winning an argument, but in silencing the opposition. It doesn’t just want to shout louder than you. It wants to use its institutional power to shut you up.

This isn’t just a media phenomenon. It’s what happened across the social spectrum when the people we used to call liberals became illiberal leftists. It’s why colleges censor controversial speakers and punish dissenting faculty. It’s why the environmental debate went from scientific discussions to calls to punish, fine and even jail those who question the left’s Luddite alarmism on Global Warming.

It’s why the debate over gay marriage shifted to punishing Christian bakers and florists, the arguments about Israel tilted to preventing musicians from performing in Tel Aviv and civil rights turned into a call to create “safe spaces” that ban everyone else. Diversity is no longer dressed up as an expansion, but is now explicitly a contraction. Don’t read books by white authors. Don’t hire more men. Kick Jews out of the gay rights rally. Send the IRS after conservative groups. Punch a Trump supporter in the face.

Nearly every leftist cause these days is expressed by punishing someone. Arguments are won by force. The illiberal totalitarian lurking inside the liberal, as David Horowitz described it, is out of the closet.

It’s a lot easier to spot illiberalism in the press and academia because they depend on the free exchange of ideas. It’s hard to spot creeping totalitarianism at the DMV or in any government bureaucracy. But it’s really easy to see the change on a college campus or in the pages of your local newspaper.

And that’s where the iron curtain truly falls on the First Amendment.

The modern campus is mired in trigger warnings and safe spaces. Faculty and administrators are lynched, buildings are burned, students are assaulted and dissent is ruthlessly silenced.

Immigration Law Enforcement and Human Trafficking What exactly is pro-immigrant and compassionate about Sanctuary Cities? Michael Cutler

On July 23, 2017 police officers in San Antonio, Texas made the gruesome discovery of the bodies of eight illegal aliens who had succumbed to the extreme heat in a tractor-trailer in which they were being transported, along with dozens of others who were rushed to the hospital where two more died.

My 30 year career with the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) included an assignment to the Anti-Smuggling Unit (ASU) at the New York City District Office of the INS where I found that the alien smugglers / human traffickers we investigated and arrested were among the most pernicious and violent criminals I encountered during my career.

The U.S./Mexican border is notoriously dangerous. Several years ago, during the Obama administration, I was interviewed for a documentary that is well worth watching, The Border States of America: Every State Is Now A Border State.

Most of the filming was done along the U.S./Mexican border and includes interviews with ranchers and law enforcement officers who live and work along that border, providing insight and a perspective on the scope and violence of human trafficking that is seldom, if ever, reported upon by the mainstream media.

On July 24, 2017 ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement posted a news release, Federal alien-smuggling charge filed in San Antonio against driver of tractor-trailer when 10 died after smuggling trip that reported on this story and the fact that the driver of the vehicle, James Matthew Bradley Jr., is being charged in a federal complaint filed on July 24 alleging that he had unlawfully transported illegal aliens resulting in the death of 10 of those aliens. The press release noted that if convicted, Bradley would face a maximum punishment of life imprisonment or death, and a $250,000 fine.

To deter alien smuggling and related crimes, laws passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by past presidents certainly provide for some of the toughest penalties possible, yet today securing our borders against illegal entry, to combat alien smuggling and human trafficking, has for some, become extremely controversial.

This is only one of many of the incomprehensible inconsistencies where immigration is concerned, whether we consider how the media covers immigration or how some politicians, on all levels of government, view immigration law enforcement.

Transporting illegal aliens is an element of the smuggling statute: Title 8, United States Code §1324 because once across the border, these un-inspected illegal aliens need to travel from the borders to the interior of the United States, a need often fulfilled by the smugglers who facilitated their entry, once they are paid their exorbitant fees that virtually amount to ransom.

This can simply involve driving illegal aliens to airports and bus terminals or can involve transporting them in all sorts of motor vehicles including mobile homes and tractor-trailers.

The ICE press release also reported that the trailer had been packed with more than 100 illegal aliens who had been smuggled into the United States, held in a “stash house” and were being transported in the un-refrigerated trailer. The aliens had no water and took turns breathing through a couple of holes in the side of the trailer.

The Deep State War On Trump’s Foreign Policy Agenda President’s policies on Israel, Iran, Qatar and climate change under attack by a rogue State Department. Joseph Klein

The State Department’s own “deep state” is trying to sabotage President Trump’s foreign policy agenda. From the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to Iran, Qatar and climate change, the State Department, under Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, is reported to be in “open war” with the White House. Key high level positions remain vacant as Obama holdovers “continue running the show and formulating policy, where they have increasingly clashed with the White House’s own agenda,” according to the Free Beacon. Secretary Tillerson has reportedly run interference to protect the Obama holdovers from being removed, allowing resistance to President Trump’s foreign policy agenda to flourish within the State Department.

The first casualty of this internal coup by the State Department’s deep state is Israel. The shadow of the Obama administration’s anti-Israel bias was reflected in a report the State Department released on July 17, 2017 entitled Country Reports on Terrorism 2016. It praised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for reiterating “his commitment to nonviolence, recognition of the State of Israel, and pursuit of an independent Palestinian state through peaceful means.” The report referred to what it called “significant steps during President Abbas’ tenure (2005 to date) to ensure that official institutions in the West Bank under its control do not create or disseminate content that incites violence.”

The State Department report brushed aside clear evidence of a continuing barrage of incendiary rhetoric appearing on official Palestinian Authority and Fatah social media outlets and of inflammatory statements by Palestinian officials, including Abbas himself. Instead, it claimed that the Palestinian Authority “has made progress in reducing official rhetoric that could be considered incitement to violence.”

The State Department report conveniently skipped over the fact that Abbas remains committed to paying regular salaries to Palestinian terrorists imprisoned for killing Jews and to terrorists’ families. Their perfidiously named “Martyrs Fund” has a treasure chest of about $300 million dollars. That blood money comes in part from foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority, some of which is contributed by American taxpayers. President Trump has spoken out against the ‘pay to slay Jews’ terrorist payments, but the State Department has turned a blind eye. Obama holdover Stuart Jones, the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, is reported to have steered Secretary Tillerson into making the erroneous claim that the Palestinian Authority had ceased spending U.S. taxpayer funds to pay terrorists, according to the Free Beacon’s sources.

After reciting the litany of Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis, the State Department report held Israel largely responsible:

“Continued drivers of violence included a lack of hope in achieving Palestinian statehood, Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, the perception that the Israeli government was changing the status quo on the Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount, and IDF tactics that the Palestinians considered overly aggressive.”

Just a few hours after three members of an Israeli family were massacred by a Palestinian terrorist, a State Department official tried to defend the report’s conclusions on the drivers of Palestinian violence. The official sounded like a clinical psychologist or a social worker, declaring that there is “no one single pathway to violence—each individual’s path to terrorism is personalized, with certain commonalities.” This is the same type of irresponsible rhetoric used by the Obama administration in discussing the supposed root causes of what it called “violent extremism.”

The State Department has also carried over the Obama administration’s soft pedaling on Iran. Instead of presenting options to President Trump supporting a refusal to re-certify that Iran has complied with all of its obligations under the disastrous Obama nuclear deal with Iran, the State Department took Iran’s side. It recommended twice that President Trump sign certifications of Iran’s compliance. Deprived by the State Department of any analysis to the contrary, as he had requested, the president reluctantly signed the certifications in April and July. However, he has reportedly decided to sidestep the State Department going forward and rely instead on a White House team to prepare the way for refusing to sign the certification the next time it is presented to him. CIA Director Mike Pompeo, senior strategist Steve Bannon, and deputy assistant to the president Sebastian Gorka opposed the State Department’s recommendation.

“The president assigned White House staffers with the task of preparing for the possibility of decertification for the 90-day review period that ends in October — a task he had previously given to Secretary Tillerson and the State Department,” a source close to the White House told Foreign Policy.

The Trump Effect Deprogramming the American mind. Mark Tapson

Six months into the Trump presidency, it seems safe to say that America has never had a political experience like the one he has brought to the White House. He has sparked a stark raving mad #resistance from the left that makes Bush Derangement Syndrome look fair and balanced. The news media hang on his every tweet. Hollywood is practically self-combusting in panic and disbelief. Climate change Cassandras are melting down. Illegal aliens are feeling the heat as well. He has even thrown his own party into turmoil. All of this hysterical disarray has resulted from the impact not of a movement or a Party, but of one man, Donald Trump.

Now a new documentary offers some thoughtful commentary on President Trump’s agitating arrival on the political scene. Produced, directed and edited by Agustin Blazquez, The Trump Effect: Deprogramming the American Mind features author and filmmaker Laurence Jarvik musing upon the rise of Trump and how this iconoclastic President is changing the way Americans think about ourselves and the world. Over the course of an hour of discussion, Jarvik’s primary thesis is that Trump is dismantling the politically correct ideology that has dominated American political discourse since 9/11, which will lead the way to a newfound freedom and unification of a country on its way to becoming great again.

Laurence Jarvik is the editor and publisher of Penny-A-Page Press and the author of PBS: Behind the Screen and Masterpiece Theater and the Politics of Quality. He is also the director of Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die, a documentary about America’s indifference to the plight of European Jews during the Holocaust. Agustin Blazquez is the Cuban filmmaker behind a seven-part Covering Cuba documentary series and the founder of UnCovering Cuba Educational Foundation, a non-profit organization.

“The Trump effect,” Jarvik begins, “is the deprogramming of the American mind, and Trump is the Deprogrammer-in-Chief.” Since the traumatic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Jarvik notes, “Americans have somehow been programmed, indoctrinated, sort of fed a lot of fantasy ideology, whether it’s in schools, whether in the media, whether in politics,” and the brainwashing and fear induced by this PC totalitarianism is similar to being immersed in a cult. The process of breaking free from its grip is not unlike the process whereby a cult follower is deprogrammed.

Jarvik is hopeful that Trump can break this spell; indeed, he is already doing it. “The techniques Trump is using are the same techniques used by deprogrammers,” he argues. “First they have to discredit the cult leader… [Trump] did it with the Clintons and the Bushes, and he did it with President Obama.”

“The second step is to show the contradictions between what they say and what they’re going to do on a policy or action level. Again, he did that,” and “that’s where the tweets come in.” Jarvik notes that Trump uses Twitter to constantly bombard the public with information and attacks on leftist hypocrisy and policy failures.

“The third stage,” Jarvik continues,

which is the tipping point in this, is that you have to get the cult member who is being deprogrammed to recognize reality. The cult creates a fantasy world that you live in. Once the cult follower is shown the leader can’t be trusted, that the policies make no sense, and then is exposed to what reality is, the former cult person can begin to think for him- or herself. So Trump has really been carrying out this experiment and deprogramming the whole country.

In this respect, Jarvik states, “Trump, far from being a Hitler figure,” which is the left’s constant refrain, “is a liberator.” Trump’s reliance on Twitter plays into that. Jarvik observes that it’s as if Trump saw the role that social media played in the so-called Arab Spring revolution and said to himself, We can have a Twitter revolution right here in the United States. Once Trump began to dominate Twitter with his round-the-clock tweets, Twitter felt the pressure and began censoring people, exposing the left’s authoritarian impulses. Trump showed that, as the great critics of totalitarianism like George Orwell and Arthur Koestler demonstrate in their novels, all it takes is one man to lead the way in challenging the power structure, and others will be inspired to follow suit. The next thing you know, a revolution is under way.

A great many misconceptions have built up around Trump, says Jarvik, and it’s important that they be dispelled. People have to realize, Jarvik insists, that “what Trump is most of all is a realist who represents a non-ideological, practical approach that is very much in keeping with his New York business background.” As a political outsider, Trump “was the right man at the right time because he wasn’t encumbered by all the constraints that other [politicians] had.”

Jarvik makes the interesting point that Trump, having come essentially from the entertainment world, is very familiar with the left but has rejected them, like a dissident to the Party. That makes him especially hated and dangerous. David Horowitz, the left’s most despised apostate, knows this experience intimately.

As for Trump breaking the chains of political correctness, Jarvik cites an insightful example. “Nothing is more politically incorrect than beauty pageants,” which absolutely outrage feminists. “Trump is the president who owned beauty pageants,” says Jarvik, and thus Trump has, in a way, helped to usher a renewed appreciation for beauty back into a culture that has been wallowing in PC ugliness.

Noting that nothing Trump’s critics hurl at him seem to derail him, Jarvik asserts that Trump is “pretty much bullet-proof.” “If Reagan was the ‘Teflon President,’” he says, “you could say Trump is the ‘Kevlar President.’” Jarvik is optimistic that the Trump presidency will move the nation forward and ultimately even resolve our political polarization.

Check out more of Laurence Jarvik’s thoughts in The Trump Effect below, and get more information about it here.

The EPA Still Hasn’t Been Held Accountable for the Gold King Mine Blowout It unleashed a million pounds of metal contaminants and covered up what happened. By Rob Gordon & Hans A. von Spakovsky

Remember when your TV aired stunning images of a bright-orange river snaking through the West? Credit the EPA for that unnatural scene.

At Colorado’s Gold King Mine, our would-be environmental protectors blew out millions of gallons of acid-mine drainage and metal contaminants. By the EPA’s calculations, the blowout expelled over a million pounds of metal contaminants into the Animas River, including almost a half-ton of arsenic and eight and a half tons of lead. Yet two years later, no one at the EPA has been held accountable for this unmitigated environmental disaster.

Government accounts — including those from the Interior Department and the EPA’s inspector general — have consistently maintained that the EPA crew was seeking to excavate above the mine tunnel’s opening (the “adit”) and stay away from the blockage that plugged it when, somehow, the plug just gave way, unleashing the flood of pollutants. However, well-documented reports (here, here, and here) contradict that story.

One direct refutation came in an e-mail from the Interior Department’s lead Gold King Mine official. Within 48 hours of the blowout, the official e-mailed over a half-dozen colleagues that he had talked with his EPA counterpart in charge of the project. Attached to the e-mail was an undated, unsigned document that flatly contradicts the subsequent official reports:

On 8/5/2015, the EPA was attempting to relieve hydrologic pressure behind a naturally collapsed adit/portal of the Gold King Mine. The EPA’s plan was to slowly drain and treat enough mine water in order to access the inner mine working and assess options for controlling its discharge. While removing small portions of the natural plug, the material catastrophically gave-way and released the mine water.

In other words, the EPA crew was not trying to avoid the plug. It deliberately dug right into it, and the agency has been covering up and hiding its incompetence from Congress, the courts, and the public ever since. This account, rather than the official one, is consistent with the available photographic evidence.

The Daily Caller recently asked the EPA’s inspector general about this e-mail and how it squared with the IG’s report. The EPA IG told the Daily Caller that they viewed the DOI’s official report on the spill, rather than this telling e-mail sent right after the spill, “as the official position taken by the DOI.”

Seasoned investigators don’t give much weight to edited reports and rehearsed statements issued months after an event when contemporaneous e-mails among key players contradict “official positions” that may have been crafted to hide the truth. If the EPA were investigating a private corporation accused of causing this monumental environmental disaster, it would surely not accept the company’s report absolving itself of all responsibility if it flew in the face of statements made by key executives in the aftermath of the blow-out.

Wall Street Journal Editors Miss the Point on Sessions’s Recusal He wrongly assumed that the Russia probe was a criminal investigation. By Andrew C. McCarthy

My heart is with the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board, which last night published an editorial defending Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s decision to recuse himself from the so-called Russia investigation. Unfortunately, my head cannot go along because the editors miss important points.

Preliminarily, the Journal addresses an aspect of President Trump’s unseemly public critique of his AG that has bothered me, too. Trump has said that if Sessions had informed the White House that he’d recuse himself from the Russia investigation, Trump would have nominated someone else for AG. The Journal counters that “the contours” of the investigation were not clear to Sessions until he started on the job in February.

I’m not sure I buy that — at least not completely. The FBI, CIA, and NSA released the non-classified public version of their report in early January. They indicated that there was an ongoing investigation of Russia’s interference in the election, and they spelled out the agencies’ theory that Putin had been trying to help the Trump campaign. Given that Sessions was a key figure in the Trump campaign and was about to take a position in which the FBI would answer to him, there were enough red flags to raise the prospect of a conflict situation.

Still, regardless of Sessions’s state of knowledge about the investigation, Trump was briefed on it in detail by the agency heads. Why should anyone assume it was incumbent on Sessions to raise any conflict-of-interest concerns? Trump was better informed on the matter. If, in nominating an AG, it was important to the incoming president to know the nominee’s position on disqualification, it was incumbent on Trump (or someone on the staff vetting nominations) to raise the issue. Obviously, we don’t know what discussions took place between the president-elect and his AG nominee. Assuming they failed to discuss this topic of great importance to Trump, however, I fail to see how that is Sessions’s fault — or at least, solely or principally Sessions’s fault.

Now, to the main point. As I recounted in yesterday’s column, Sessions expressly based his recusal on Section 45.2 of Title 28, Code of Federal Regulations. But that provision does not support his recusal. It says disqualification is necessary only if there is a criminal investigation or prosecution for which a prosecutor has a conflict of interest. The Russia investigation is not a criminal investigation; it is a counterintelligence investigation, which, for the reasons I outlined in the column, is saliently different from a criminal investigation.

In defending Sessions’s blind eye to this distinction, the Journal’s editors assert:

Some legal sages say this means Mr. Sessions did not have to recuse himself because this was a “counterintelligence,” not a criminal, probe. But you have to be credulous to think [the FBI’s then-director James] Comey would ignore potential crimes if he found them in the course of counterintelligence work. Mr. Sessions might have become a subject of the probe because of his meetings with the Russian ambassador.

This is wrongheaded. To take on the snark first, it is not a matter of being a “legal sage.” It was Sessions who cited a legal regulation as the basis for his recusal. It doesn’t require sagacity to point out that the regulation doesn’t say what he claims it says.