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July 2017

Palestinians: The Metal Detector Scam by Khadija Khan

Metal detectors and are commonplace at most prominent mosques in the Middle East, and more than 5,000 surveillance cameras (and 100,000 security guards) monitor pilgrims to Mecca in Saudi Arabia during the annual Hajj.

While the Palestinian terrorist was being treated for his wounds in an Israeli hospital, the Palestinian Authority celebrated his actions and set in motion the mechanism according to which he will receive a salary of more than $3,000 per month for his attempt to become a “martyr” through murdering Jews.

It is time for the international community to stop enabling radicals to use the Palestinian people as pawns in their greater agenda, transparent to everyone, including all Muslims: to obliterate Israel through delegitimization.

After massive pressure from the Muslim world and international community, Israel removed all metal detectors and surveillance-camera infrastructure from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the location of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Possibly to obfuscate the reason that the metal detectors were installed in the first place — a terrorist attack on July 14, in which three Israeli Arab citizens killed two Israeli Druze police officers with weapons they had hidden inside the mosque — the Palestinian Authority (PA) called on Muslims to boycott the site and launch “days of rage” against the Jewish state.

Palestinians, claiming that the metal detectors were a “desecration” of the mosque — which is actually located on the holiest site in Judaism and the third-holiest in Islam – entered into violent clashes with Israeli security forces. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced Israel and called on Muslims to “protect” Jerusalem.

Palestinians near Jerusalem’s Old City protest Israel’s installation of metal detectors at entrances to the Temple Mount, although the metal detectors had already been removed days before, on July 28, 2017. (Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)

A Palestinian teenager posted on Facebook his intention to become a “martyr,” before entering the home of a Jewish family in the West Bank and slaughtering three of its members. While this terrorist was being treated for his wounds in an Israeli hospital, the Palestinian Authority celebrated his actions and set in motion the mechanism according to which he will receive a salary of more than $3,000 per month for his attempt to become a “martyr” through murdering Jews.

Unmasking All Night and Leaking Every Day By Thaddeus G. McCotter

Thaddeus McCotter was U.S. Representative from Michigan’s 11th congressional district from 2003 to 2012
As a veteran of the KISS Army, I recall (albeit vaguely) the great mystery about what the makeup caked quartet actually looked like in what for Rock stars passes for real life. There was singer and rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley (a.k.a. Starchild); singer bassist Gene Simmons (a.k.a. Demon); lead guitarist Ace Frehley (a.k.a. Spaceman); and drummer Peter Criss (a.k.a. Catman). Then, their eighth studio album—the last produced by this original lineup (until 1996 anyway)—was announced: KISS “Unmasked”! Finally, the mystery of what they looked like would be solved!

Or not.https://amgreatness.com/2017/07/28/unmasking-night-leaking-every-day/

Despite the album’s title, no unmasking occurred; consequently, the ranks of the KISS Army swelled with the mixed emotions of disappointment and relief—much the same as fans felt toward the band’s record, which Stanley called “a pretty crappy album. It’s wimpy.” Listeners were disappointed with the disc, and relieved when it was over. Regardless, the KISS Army was delighted that, by not unmasking themselves, KISS’s original show would go on!

Until 1983, anyway, when lineup shakeups led to a reconstituted Kiss sandblasting off their stage personas and appearing as themselves at an MTV press conference for their latest contribution to Western Civilization, the album “Lick It Up.”

It was a startling development for the KISS Army; and a difficult decision for KISS. Not only did the band risk alienating fans by rebranding with reality, they also would lose some of the precious anonymity their alter egos afforded.

Yet to this day KISS still packs concert venues with fans who also “wanna rock and roll all night and party every day,” ultimately, for the band this unmasking was the right decision.

And it was their decision.

Good thing they decided to unmask themselves prior to the Obama Administration, which apparently would have been more than happy to do it for them whether the band liked it or not.

Remembering Father Jacques Hamel, One Year after His Murder Father Hamel’s death at the hands of ISIS-allied terrorists should never be forgotten. By Jeff Cimmino

One year ago, Father Jacques Hamel was killed by two men, both of whom pledged allegiance to ISIS, while celebrating morning Mass in Normandy, France. Hamel had served as a priest for almost six decades. Pope Francis referred to him as a “martyr,” pointing out that he “accepted his martyrdom next to the martyrdom of Christ, on the altar.”

Martyrdom may seem like it is confined to the ancient past — something that Christians dealt with while under Roman dominion — but the last few years have witnessed an increasing number of Christian martyrs. Coptic Christians in Egypt, for example, have suffered numerous attacks by the Islamic State. Father Hamel joined the ranks of these martyrs, and did so with courage, in his final moments, to call the enemy by its real name, saying to the attackers, “Begone, Satan!”

Moreover, as John L. Allen Jr., the editor of Crux, observed, Hamel was “a classic exemplar of one of the most profound lessons of the martyrs”:

Beyond all the heartache and frustrations we may experience in the Church sometimes, there’s still something so precious about the faith that, when push comes to shove, ordinary people, with zero aspiration to heroism, will nevertheless pay in blood before they let it go.

While debates concerning the future direction of the Church have resulted in passionate disagreement between liberals and conservatives, Father Hamel is one subject on which Catholics of all political persuasions agree. “The extraordinary response to Hamel’s martyrdom throughout France,” writes Christopher White for Crux, “has been one of unity and an abiding belief that his sacrifice would yield a greater good for both the Church and the country.”

Besides nurturing a spirit of unity within the Church, Hamel’s death created an opportunity for a closer relationship between French Catholics and Muslims. At a Mass celebrated in honor of the one-year anniversary of his death, French president Emmanuel Macron noted that “By murdering Father Hamel at the foot of his altar, the two terrorists undoubtedly wanted to sow the thirst for vengeance and retaliation among French Catholics.” Instead, Catholic leaders refused to use tragedy to sow discord and fear, and in the days following Father Hamel’s death, Muslims across France attended Mass in solidarity with Catholics.

Father Hamel died just as inklings of a Catholic revival in France were becoming apparent. A few months ago, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, wrote in America magazine that he had begun to notice more people seemed to be attending Mass:

A few years ago, I started to realize something. Whenever I was less than five minutes early for Mass, I had to go to the overflow room, and I would typically have to step over people sitting on the floor to get there. The church was filled to the gills every Sunday, with young families and children most of the time. . . . Then I moved. And I saw the same thing. I live in a very different neighborhood now, one that is “upwardly mobile,” as real estate agencies coyly say. But on Sunday morning the church is packed.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the Pakistani IT Scammers There’s more than bank fraud going on here. By Andrew C. McCarthy

In Washington, it’s never about what they tell you it’s about. So take this to the bank: The case of Imran Awan, Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s mysterious Pakistani IT guy, is not about bank fraud.

Yet bank fraud was the stated charge on which Awan was arrested at Dulles Airport this week, just as he was trying to flee the United States for Pakistan, via Qatar. That is the same route taken by Awan’s wife, Hina Alvi, in March, when she suddenly fled the country, with three young daughters she yanked out of school, mega-luggage, and $12,400 in cash.

By then, the proceeds of the fraudulent $165,000 loan they’d gotten from the Congressional Federal Credit Union had been sent ahead. It was part of a $283,000 transfer that Awan managed to wire from Capitol Hill. He pulled it off — hilariously, if infuriatingly — by pretending to be his wife in a phone call with the credit union. Told that his proffered reason for the transfer (“funeral arrangements”) wouldn’t fly, “Mrs.” Awan promptly repurposed: Now “she” was “buying property.” Asking no more questions, the credit union wired the money . . . to Pakistan.

As you let all that sink in, consider this: Awan and his family cabal of fraudsters had access for years to the e-mails and other electronic files of members of the House’s Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees. It turns out they were accessing members’ computers without their knowledge, transferring files to remote servers, and stealing computer equipment — including hard drives that Awan & Co. smashed to bits of bytes before making tracks.

They were fired in February. All except Awan, that is. He continued in the employ of Wasserman Schultz, the Florida Democrat, former DNC chairwoman, and Clinton crony. She kept him in place at the United States Congress right up until he was nabbed at the airport on Monday.

This is not about bank fraud. The Awan family swindles are plentiful, but they are just window-dressing. This appears to be a real conspiracy, aimed at undermining American national security.

At the time of his arrest, the 37-year-old Imran Awan had been working for Democrats as an information technologist for 13 years. He started out with Representative Gregory Meeks (D., N.Y.) in 2004. The next year, he landed on the staff of Wasserman Schultz, who had just been elected to the House.

Congressional-staff salaries are modest, in the $40,000 range. For some reason, Awan was paid about four times as much. He also managed to get his wife, Alvi, on the House payroll . . . then his brother, Abid Awan . . . then Abid’s wife, Natalia Sova. The youngest of the clan, Awan’s brother Jamal, came on board in 2014 — the then-20-year-old commanding an annual salary of $160,000.

A few of these arrangements appear to have been sinecures: While some Awans were rarely seen around the office, we now know they were engaged in extensive financial shenanigans away from the Capitol. Nevertheless, the Daily Caller’s Luke Rosiak, who has been all over this story, reports that, for their IT “work,” the Pakistani family has reeled in $4 million from U.S. taxpayers since 2009.

That’s just the “legit” dough. The family business evidently dabbles in procurement fraud, too. The Capitol Police and FBI are exploring widespread double-billing for computers, other communication devices, and related equipment.

Why were they paid so much for doing so little? Intriguing as it is, that’s a side issue. A more pressing question is: Why were they given access to highly sensitive government information? Ordinarily, that requires a security clearance, awarded only after a background check that peruses ties to foreign countries, associations with unsavory characters, and vulnerability to blackmail.

Who Paid for the ‘Trump Dossier’? Democrats don’t want you to find out—and that ought to be a scandal of its own.

It has been 10 days since Democrats received the glorious news that Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley would require Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort to explain their meeting with Russian operators at Trump Tower last year. The left was salivating at the prospect of watching two Trump insiders being grilled about Russian “collusion” under the klieg lights.

Yet Democrats now have meekly and noiselessly retreated, agreeing to let both men speak to the committee in private. Why would they so suddenly be willing to let go of this moment of political opportunity?

Fusion GPS. That’s the oppo-research outfit behind the infamous and discredited “Trump dossier,” ginned up by a former British spook. Fusion co-founder Glenn Simpson also was supposed to testify at the Grassley hearing, where he might have been asked in public to reveal who hired him to put together the hit job on Mr. Trump, which was based largely on anonymous Russian sources. Turns out Democrats are willing to give up just about anything—including their Manafort moment—to protect Mr. Simpson from having to answer that question.

What if, all this time, Washington and the media have had the Russia collusion story backward? What if it wasn’t the Trump campaign playing footsie with the Vladimir Putin regime, but Democrats? The more we learn about Fusion, the more this seems a possibility.

We know Fusion is a for-hire political outfit, paid to dig up dirt on targets. This column first outed Fusion in 2012, detailing its efforts to tar a Mitt Romney donor. At the time Fusion insisted that the donor was “a legitimate subject of public records research.”

Mr. Grassley’s call for testimony has uncovered more such stories. Thor Halvorssen, a prominent human-rights activist, has submitted sworn testimony outlining a Fusion attempt to undercut his investigation of Venezuelan corruption. Mr. Halvorssen claims Fusion “devised smear campaigns, prepared dossiers containing false information,” and “carefully placed slanderous news items” to malign him and his activity.

William Browder, a banker who has worked to expose Mr. Putin’s crimes, testified to the Grassley committee on Thursday that he was the target of a similar campaign, saying that Fusion “spread false information” about him and his efforts. Fusion has admitted it was hired by a law firm representing a Russian company called Prevezon. CONTINUE AT SITE

Two films By Marion DS Dreyfus : After Love and Ingrid Goes West


Directed by Joachim Lafosse

A film for devotees of dense, moody relationship dramas, After Love is a searing exploration of the post happily-ever-after time, when you share kids you both love, but unfortunately — because of financial exigencies — still cohabit in the same space. Uncoupling, in case we forgot, is complicated.

Berenice Bejo, so amusing in the prize-winning silent, The Artist (2011), a fetching presence, is in constant motion as the film progresses, cooking, making her twin daughters Margaux and Jade brush their teeth, wash up, and do their homework. It is as if she wants to outwalk the sadness and annoyances of having run out of love with her handsome but unreliable architect husband, Boris (Cédric Khan, director of the French Red Lights), who does not seem to respect the boundaries of divorce, as he flouts the legal strictures of the divorce judgment, comes and goes at all hours. He loves his children, we see as he cooks for them and tries to maintain some sort of foodie integrity (“Don’t let them eat ice cream: They should eat their stewed fruit cup…”) And as someone commented in the vestibule when we were discussing the film’s merits or de-, No matter that he’s a gambler and an uncertain provider, “…it’s still so rare to find a man so good with kids…” So all is forgiven, kiddies?

No. Lots of divorced men love their children but don’t invite themselves to parties they are told to leave, or owe massive debts to shady guys who visit without warning.

Still, although the subject area is rich with possibility, is it the first or even the 10th filmic treatment of nasty matrimonial detritus to come along?

It is well scripted and photographed, the translations from the French are, for a change, quite accurate and timely, and the two daughters are, thank goodness, not angelic, giving some verisimilitude to the taut grimace-inducing interchanges between the principals. Marthe Keller, not seen for many years on the silver screen on these shores, plays the frustrated mother of Bejo — but the years have taken their toll of the lissome lovely seen opposite Dustin Hoffman in 1976’s Marathon Man.

Though redemption — spoiler alert — does not come over the transom by the closing credits, should you be curious about how divorced people still sharing the same domicile get through the week, this is the ticket.

In French with English subtitles

Official selection: Directors’ Fortnight, Cannes Film Festival


Directed by Matt Spicer

Set in sunny California amid the sandy dunes and the palm trees, Ingrid Goes West is a dark picture. Watching it, colleagues felt disturbed throughout the length of the picture. Ingrid Thorburn is a woman with clear esteem issues verging on the stalkerazzoid who follows her instagram and FB muse to the West Coast, using every tool at her disposal to ingratiate herself with the goddess-like figure she admires (Elizabeth Olsen plays the sunlight-radiating, image-idealizing Taylor Sloane) on her various branded posts. The film devolves greatly on the cell phone and the instant messaging and pic posting so beloved of millions.

The ugliness of character that is blatant in the protagonist, played by an unnerving Aubrey Plaza, throughout the two hours is, unfortunately, echoed by millions of tweens and teens, for whom followers and going viral is all important. She may be unhinged, but the characters she interacts with seem not to notice for far too long.

A key problem with the script is that events proceed far too swiftly without logical script underpinning. She’s taken in by a sweet, hunky local guy — the only relatable person in the cast, Dan Pinko, played by the extremely likable O’Shea Jackson, Jr. — without a single document or checkup of her references — even if she does, because of an inheritance, pay cash upfront. She escapes arrest too easily. She insinuates herself into being her landlord’s “girlfriend” without a second thought — or regard of his being already taken.

Implausible at it increasingly becomes, you can’t tear your attention away, though you are engulfed in discomfort over her counterfeit life. She’s an instant friend of people who don’t know the smallest thing about her. She is able to stay off the grid for far longer than her initial stash would seem to have covered. The easy druggy, drinky, hard-partying life exuded by Taylor and her husband Ezra (a Kris Kristofferson-the-younger look-alike, Wyatt Russell) and nasty brother, Nicky (Billy Magnuson), looks somewhat, sometime, seductive. But it’s just a glossy easily erased photo on Instagram, when you think about it.

No special effects. No ‘language’ issues. Some expected violence and pushback. But lots of up-to-the-minute unapologetic psychoneurotic disorder.

The audience does laugh at those points where insane talk or behavior (or foodie absurdities) would be laughed out of the room in the East, but where La La Land goofiness covers every gold-plated nuttiness with a cozy effusion of acceptance and “Whatever, dude.”

Training Americans for Dependency One Bite at a Time By Robert Weissberg

Over the last century America has gone from a nation that prized self-reliance to one where millions seem unbothered by dependency. For a political leader just to hint at curtailing entitlements or adding a work requirement certifies him as evil. This is hardly surprising is that Washington itself promotes dependency and this training for irresponsibility begins early in life. Long before a youngster can vote, he or she learns, regardless of what economist say, that there really is such a thing as a free lunch.

A recent Wall Street Journal article (July 19, 2017, A3) highlighted how this sorrowful condition is encouraged. The Journal article concerns government financed school meals (lunches but increasingly larger numbers of breakfasts). This generosity, in addition to providing daily vitamins and minerals also supplies a daily message that government, not parents, put food on the table. To be specific, in 2016, 73.3% of all school children availing themselves of school lunches ate either free or reduced priced lunches; this compares to 15.1% in 1969.

More is involved than just instructing youngsters in the statist Lord’s Prayer where the Department of Agriculture (USDA), not the Lord, gives us our daily bread. This “instruction” also applies to the millions of other youngsters whose families do not financially qualify for subsidized meals and must therefore pay something toward their daily bread. At least they, unlike those on the subsidized meal plan, ought to see the connection between the sweat of somebody’s brow and their daily bread.

No such luck. Though the Department of Agriculture that administers school food programs explicitly requires schools to notify parents when junior is a deadbeat, inaction regarding no-pays is commonplace. Yes, some school districts are cracking down, for example, banning freeloaders from attending graduation or even withholding meals until the bill is paid (legally permissible), but many other school districts permit junior (and his parents) to stiff Uncle Sam. For example, the Los Angeles Unified School District recently absorbed $629,000 in debt for these unpaid meals; the Yonkers New York School District had an even more forgiving policy and thus wound up with a deficit of $800,000.

This tolerance for freeloading is predictable. Public schools are not like McDonald’s and few educators seem alarmed over burgeoning education costs. In fact, some educators resist any effort to get deadbeats to pay up for their meals and if a school instead supplies a bag lunch to lunchroom deadbeats, the school is condemned for “lunch shaming” (nearly half of all schools engage in some form of shaming). Though shaming is permitted by USDA rules, Texas and New Mexico currently prohibited it and other states are now considering anti-shaming measures. A proposed federal law — the Anti-Lunch Shaming Act of 2017 — has even been introduced in Congress. And needless to say, a no money, no food policy is unthinkable in today’s educational hyper-compassionate environment.

Germany Confronts the Forgotten Story of Its Other Genocide By Gabriele Steinhauser

SHARK ISLAND, Namibia—Just over a century ago, Germany built one of its first concentration camps on a narrow peninsula jutting into the Atlantic.

A 1904 uprising in what was then called German South-West Africa turned into a war of annihilation against the Herero and Nama peoples. At least 60,000 are believed to have died, including some 2,000 in the Shark Island camp, where inmates were starved, beaten and worked to death.

That episode of colonial brutality, considered by many historians to be the first genocide of the 20th century, is now testing the limits of historical apologies.

Namibia says it wants Germany to officially recognize that its actions constituted genocide, to issue a formal apology and to pay reparations. Berlin says it is willing to meet the first two demands and to pay some form of compensation. The two countries have been negotiating for more than a year.Other governments have expressed regret or sorrow for past atrocities. What makes the current situation novel is that most have stopped short of any official apology, and financial payments have been rare.

The talks “are being watched very closely by other countries,” says Germany’s ambassador to Namibia, Christian Schlaga.

Debate has surged in recent years about whether and how nations should take responsibility and make amends for horrors inflicted generations ago.

Belgium apologized for its role in the 1961 assassination of Congo’s first post-independence prime minister, Patrice Lumumba, but not for its colonial abuses in that country. In 2006, then-U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed “deep sorrow” for Britain’s role in the slave trade, but didn’t apologize.

Former French President François Hollande recognized the suffering of Algerians under France’s “brutal and unfair” colonial rule, but again there was no official apology. Last year, U.S. President Barack Obama paid homage to the victims of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, but didn’t apologize.

Japan has come the closest to what Germany is trying to do now. In 2015, it settled a long-running dispute with South Korea by agreeing to pay about $9 million in support funds for surviving Korean “comfort women” used as sex slaves by the Japanese military in the 1930s and 1940s. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe extended an apology.The question has exquisite historical resonance for Germany in particular. Countless museums and memorials throughout the country act as reminders of Germany’s genocidal slaughter during World War II. Because most Germans accept their history has dark chapters, and are proud of how they have been handled, they might find it easier to face colonial atrocities than citizens of other European powers, says Jürgen Zimmerer, professor of global history at the University of Hamburg and president of the International Network of Genocide Scholars.

Following World War II, Germany acknowledged its responsibility for the Holocaust and agreed to pay damages to survivors, but not to the families of those who were killed.

A successful conclusion to the negotiations between Germany and Namibia “would be a signal, and an invitation, to other former colonial powers to deal with their past,” says Medardus Brehl, a historian at the Institute for Diaspora and Genocide Studies at the ​Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany.

At the same time, ​a growing number of Germans are beginning to bristle at constantly carrying their historical guilt. Right-wing parties have recently called for the country to move beyond its past and develop a new sense of patriotism. CONTINUE AT SITE

One Dead in Hamburg Stabbing Attack At least six others injured in rampage at supermarket By Anton Troianovski

BERLIN—A rejected asylum applicant from the United Arab Emirates killed one person and injured six others in a stabbing rampage at a Hamburg supermarket on Friday, officials said, an attack that could reignite debate over security and immigration as the German election approaches.

The 26-year-old suspect, whose identity wasn’t released, couldn’t be deported because he lacked identity papers, Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz said in a statement late Friday.

“It further makes me angry that the attacker appeared to be someone who sought protection among us in Germany and then turned his hatred against us,” Mr. Scholz said. “This shows how urgently the legal and practical obstacles to deportation must be removed.”

The attack began in a supermarket in the Barmbek section of northeast Hamburg, where the suspect stabbed a 50-year-old German man to death with a large knife, police said. The attacker injured five others, at least some of them as he fled, and a 35-year-old Turkish bystander suffered injuries as he subdued the attacker before authorities arrived.

The attacker yelled “Allahu akbar”—Arabic for “God is great”—according to one witness interviewed by Germany’s N-TV television and another whose interview with reporters on the scene circulated in a video on social media.

A Hamburg police spokeswoman said she couldn’t confirm the “Allahu akbar” exclamation or that the attack was ideologically motivated. “We are investigating in all directions,” she said.

But the revelation that a rejected asylum applicant appeared to have carried out the attack had the potential to revive Germany’s immigration debate—an issue that has largely faded into the background even as the Sept. 24 national election approaches. Ever since the influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants to Germany two years ago, Chancellor Angela Merkel has pushed to tighten asylum laws, speed deportations and negotiated with Turkey and north African countries to reduce the number of migrants who reach Europe’s shores.

While several hundred asylum applicants are still crossing into Germany daily, officials say, those numbers are a far cry from the thousands a day seen in 2015. Germany hasn’t had a terrorist attack since last December, when an Islamic State supporter drove a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin, leaving 12 dead. CONTINUE AT SITE

The Media’s Embellisher-in-Chief A newsman with a Godlike baritone who was a star in every medium—and also made stuff up. Edward Kosner reviews ‘The Voice of America: Lowell Thomas and the Invention of 20th-Century Journalism’ by Mitchell Stephens.

Among the celebrated people in America in the 1920s and ’30s were Franklin Roosevelt, Charlie Chaplin, Babe Ruth, Shirley Temple, Jack Dempsey, Clark Gable, Bing Crosby—and Lowell Thomas. All those names still resonate—except Thomas, for decades the “Voice of God” in network newscasting, now a curious footnote in the frisky history of American journalism.

In his heyday, Thomas (1892-1981) was almost impossible to miss. He sold out huge concert halls with his exotic travelogues—the first mixed-media shows, dressed up with music, hand-tinted slides and quick snatches of film, some of which he shot himself from airplanes. His nightly radio newscasts often drew more listeners than “Amos ’n’ Andy,” the most popular show in America. His narrator’s voice on Fox Movietone News boomed out in jammed newsreel theaters before television took over. And when NBC started the first commercial TV station, W2XBS in New York, Thomas made the first newscast, from the World’s Fair in 1939, and the next year was the host of the first regularly scheduled program, a 15-minute news show.

The wonder of it all—or perhaps the explanation—is that Lowell Thomas, in the early days of his career and later in his double-barreled memoirs, elaborated and embroidered his stories and simply made stuff up. He was, in old-school newspaper argot, a “pipe artist.” He made millions by entertaining millions and often informing them in the bargain.

The Voice of America

By Mitchell Stephens

St. Martin’s, 328 pages, $26.99

Now Mitchell Stephens, an accomplished chronicler of journalism, has resurrected Thomas from what might be considered well-earned obscurity. And it’s fair to ask if the subtitle of his biography, “The Voice of America: Lowell Thomas and the Invention of 20th-Century Journalism,” is a sly wink at its subject’s penchant for making a good story even better.

Thomas’s industrious ancestors had come to America in the 17th century, and he seems to have been born on the make. The son of a doctor obsessed with self-improvement and an attentive mother, Thomas grew up in a honky-tonk gold-rush town on the western slope of Pikes Peak in Colorado. His father drilled him in elocution, and at 9 he stood on long lines twice to shake hands with and chat up the touring Vice President Teddy Roosevelt. By 19, he was the editor of his hometown paper, the Victor Record, writing headlines like “Mayor’s Nephew Shot in Love Nest.” (The youth was shot, all right, but turned out not to be related to the mayor.) Thomas quickly picked up two degrees at the University of Denver, then headed off to Chicago for law school.

But even before enrolling, he got a job on the Chicago Daily Journal, sitting next to Ben Hecht, the roistering epitome of the harum-scarum Chicago newspapering he later confected into “The Front Page.” Whether under Hecht’s tutelage or not, Thomas soon fit right in. Within a year, the Journal splashed his “exclusive” interview with a supposedly insane young heiress who was being held captive by her family after chasing her new husband with a knife and threatening suicide. The heiress was real enough; the interview wasn’t. There was a stink, but Thomas survived. In his spare time, he took law classes and taught public speaking to his fellow students. He was 21.

By the time he was 25, Mr. Stephens recounts, Thomas had studied for a Ph.D. and joined the faculty at Princeton and twice traveled to Alaska and the Yukon, returning with slides and film for lectures. Then he decided to cover World War I—raising $900,000 in today’s money from a group of Chicago investors with the sales pitch that his stories and illustrated lectures would build support for the war effort.

In Europe with his cameraman, Thomas heard that the British had captured Jerusalem and sped there. One day he spotted a diminutive Englishman resplendent in Arab garb walking on the street and stopped to chat. It was Maj. T.E. Lawrence—and before long Thomas would turn Lawrence and himself into international stars.