‘I Am Your Voice’: Trump Becomes the Candidate of Change And Hillary is the voice of the establishment. Daniel Greenfield

Hope. Confidence. Resolve.

As the country reels from its crises, facing domestic and international terrorism, culture wars orchestrated by the powerful machinery of the left and economic decline robbing generations, these are the qualities that a nation on the edge of despair is desperately looking for.

If there is one defining quality for Donald Trump that sums up his essence, it is confidence. And that is also the quality that the Republican National Convention has also come to embody.

Day after day, speaker after speaker has boldly laid out a confident case for a national resurgence.

This has been an unapologetic convention. A convocation of men and women who refuse to back away from their beliefs. Proudly politically incorrect, the convention rocked Cleveland. Defying the threats and predictions of violence, the protests proved to amount to little more than a nuisance showing once again that confidence and courage can achieve success where compromise and appeasement fail.

Tonight the pattern held true as Sheriff Joe Arpaio told a cheering crowd the simple truth. “We are the only country in the world whose immigration systems put the needs of other nations ahead of ours. We are more concerned with the rights of illegal aliens and criminals than we are with protecting our own country.”

“When I was a kid, the great debate was about how to defeat the Soviet Union. And we won. Now we are told that the great debate is about who gets to use which bathroom,” Peter Thiel declared.

African-American pastor Mark Burns proudly led a chant of, “All lives matter.” And he told a cheering crowd, “Despite the color you were born with, here in America, the only colors that matter are the colors red, white, and blue.”

This was exactly the sort of uncompromising tone with which Donald Trump took the stage, telling those in attendance that, “Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored. The most basic duty of government is to defend the lives of its own citizens. Any government that fails to do so is a government unworthy to lead.”

The Closing of the American Mind There are dangerous signs that the U.S. is turning its back on the principles of a free and open society that fostered the nation’s rise By Charles Koch

I was born in the midst of the Great Depression, when no one could imagine the revolutionary technological advances that we now take for granted. Innovations in countless fields have transformed society and radically improved individual well-being, especially for the least fortunate. Every American’s life is now immeasurably better than it was 80 years ago.

What made these dramatic improvements possible was America’s uniquely free and open society, which has brought the country to the cusp of another explosion of life-changing innovation. But there are dangerous signs that the U.S. is turning its back on the principles that foster such advances, particularly in education, business and government. Which path will the country take?

When I attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1950s, I quickly came to appreciate that scientific and technological progress requires the free and open exchange of ideas. The same holds true for moral and social progress. I have spent more than a half-century trying to apply this lesson in business and my personal life.

It was once widely accepted that progress depends on people challenging and testing each other’s hypotheses. This leads to the creation of knowledge that, when shared, inspires others and spurs the innovation that moves society forward and improves lives. It is a spontaneous process that is deeply collaborative and dependent on the contributions of others. Recall Sir Isaac Newton’s statement that he achieved so much by “standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Scientific progress in seemingly disparate fields creates opportunities for fusion, which is where the greatest innovations often occur. The British writer Matt Ridley has brilliantly described this process as “ideas having sex.” Today, this creation-from-coupling is evident in, for example, the development of driverless cars, which combine advances in transportation and artificial intelligence. When seen through this prism, the opportunities for life-altering innovation are limitless. CONTINUE AT SITE

The Art of the Presidential Deal Trump operates more on emotion and instinct than analysis.

Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination in Cleveland Thursday, and he is a figure without precedent in modern U.S. politics. Thus even in his unlikely hour of triumph, the polls show that independents and many Republicans are still ambivalent or undecided voters. Readers may have detected some of the same ambivalence in these columns.

This is the great paradox of the Trump phenomenon: The billionaire is disrupting one political norm after another, which is the source of his appeal as an agent of change. But the uncertainty he creates along the way is also the largest obstacle he must now overcome.

Voters tend to prefer more self-discipline, policy knowledge and predictability in their potential Presidents, or at least a better idea of what they would do in office. Could 2016 be the year they break with tradition and decide that Mr. Trump is a risk worth taking if he will topple the political and economic status quo? Aside from elegant and classy, as the candidate might describe it, what would a Trump Presidency be like?

Mr. Trump has an opening because of poor, arrogant governance in Washington and a decade of slow economic growth. Some 69% of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track in the Real Clear Politics average, and only 23% say the right track. Such pessimism hasn’t been seen since the 1970s.

This week the White House revised its growth projections down to 1.9% for this year and 2.5% in 2017. GDP numbers can seem like abstractions, but in human terms the difference between a 3%-4% economy and the 1%-2% trend of the last decade is millions of citizens denied the opportunity to fulfill their potential. CONTINUE AT SITE

Who Planned Turkey’s Coup? It probably wasn’t President Erdoğan. Claire Berlinski

The failed military coup in Turkey that began on the evening of July 15 left nearly 300 dead and 1,400 injured. It was the fifth coup attempt in Turkey since 1960, but the first in which the military turned its fire against its own citizens. Unthinkably, and inexplicably, the aspiring junta also bombed the Turkish parliament, the symbol of the democracy it claimed to be acting to rescue.

On Monday, Air Force commander general Akin Öztürk appeared in court, visible bruises on his neck and face. “I am not the person who planned and directed the military coup,” he said. He claimed to have an alibi; he had been at a wedding during the coup preparations.

If not him, who? President Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, and many politicians from different parties believe the person who planned and directed the coup was the U.S.-based Islamist ideologue Fethullah Gülen. Borrowing from the American historian Robert Paxton—who coined the term “parallel state” to describe a collection of institutions that are state-like in their organization, management, and structure, but not part of the legitimate state—the Turkish government calls Gülenists within the Turkish state a “parallel structure organization.” Sources within the military, according to the well-connected Turkish journalist Murat Yetkin, likewise claim that the plotters were known or suspected Gülen sympathizers.

Gülen has strongly denied any involvement. He has denounced the coup attempt, and accused Erdoğan, in turn, of staging the coup as a pretext for the brutal crackdown now underway on those suspected of involvement. This has already led to some 8,000 arrests and to calls for reinstating Turkey’s death penalty. The European Union’s high commissioner for foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini, has warned that this would automatically end Turkey’s accession process, for no country with the death penalty can be an E.U. member. The penalty would have to be applied retroactively—a clear breach of the Turkish constitution. Any remaining pretense of rule of law would be gone.


Watch the ABC investigation | “Play” the embedded video above

Last night, we helped expose more egregious waste at Veterans Affairs.

Partnering with the COX Media Washington, D.C. News Bureau; ABC affiliate station WSB-TV Atlanta; and investigative reporter Justin Gray, we found millions of dollars in VA spending on luxury art.

It’s millions of dollars on high-end artwork spent by the VA, and that’s just a fraction of the waste…

Now, the VA administrators say they are going to institute new rules to stop the waste on expensive artwork. They promised a new policy over the next 90-days.

Watch the ABC investigation | “Play” the embedded video above

While veterans wait in line to see a doctor, the VA is busy purchasing:

A twenty-seven foot artificial Christmas tree costing: $21,000.
‘Local image’ pics for the San Francisco VA facility costing: $34,000.
Artwork for the new VA medical center in Puerto Rico costing: $500,000.
A landscape rock for the VA Palo Alto, CA center costing: $500,000.
$6.0 million in artwork purchased for new California VA centers.

At OpenTheBooks.com, we are committed to holding the VA accountable.

Last month, we debuted our OpenTheBooks Snapshot Oversight Report – The VA Scandal Two Years Later, with a column at Forbes, Read it here.

We found that the VA created 40,000 new positions, but less than one in eleven of those new positions were doctors. Today, up to 500,000 veterans still wait to see a doctor.

Search by work location our OpenTheBooks interactive map of the 354,000 VA employees with name, position, salary and bonus, click here.

Jews for Trump grassroots movement launches website By Karin McQuillan

The killing of cops has been the final straw. A spirit of revolt is sweeping the nation – conservatives are sick of being cowed to speak out in public about their political convictions. More and more people see the danger of the unrelenting scapegoating and slander by Democrats, who try to bully everyone, but especially every minority, into submission to their groupthink. If we want to preserve rule of law and our freedoms, each of us has to speak out.

It is for this reason that Jewschoosetrump.org has launched a website hoping to bring Jews who support Trump out of the closet.

There are a lot of conservative Jews out there, and this is a chance for them to sign their names. Once jewschoosetrump has hundreds of names, the group will publish open letters and articles and sponsor advertisements and events.

The website’s headline is “America’s Support for Israel on the Line in this Election.” It is followed by a direct comparison of quotes from Trump and Hilary. Nothing could be more powerful than the candidates’ own words.

Trump: “My number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.”

Hillary: “I ultimately supported the agreement that has put a lid on its [Iran’s] nuclear program…I really believe the United States, Israel and the world are safer as a result.”

Trump: ” We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem – and we will send a clear signal that there is no daylight between America and our most reliable ally, the state of Israel.”

Hillary: As Secretary of State, Clinton filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in which she argued that recognizing Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem would ” critically compromise the ability of the United States to work with the Israelis, Palestinians and others in the region to further the peace process.”

Once again, it was all about Ted Cruz By Richard Baehr

I have never been a big fan of Ted Cruz but I would have voted for him without any hesitation, were he the nominee. I liked many of his policy positions, and considered him very bright and knowledgeable. I think he might have made a very good president had he accomplished nothing more than stopping the relentless growth of the super state and changing the direction of our foreign policy to once again backing allies and opposing enemies.

But there is the downside as well. Cruz’ antics during the budget shutdown effort in 2013, managed to drive the Obamacare enrollment fiasco off the front pages and the evening news, so that his completely hopeless shutdown effort could attract attention to him for his supposed commitment to principle and willingness to fight the good fight. Support for the GOP dropped by 1/4 in the month during which Cruz played this game. Cruz knew he could not win in his effort, but he won in the way that mattered to him — making him the darling of the hard right and talk radio for his courage and allegiance to conservative principles, and setting himself up to run in 2016.

The reality is that the part of the conservative movement that was in love with Cruz is a shrinking percentage of the American electorate and will drive the party well beyond where most independents and non-conservatives are comfortable. In other words, purity is the enemy of the good and it has been winning. There is no large missing conservative base that will win national elections for the GOP. Trump attracted support from working class Democrats, many of whom have stopped voting regularly. It is why he has a long shot chance to make states like Pennsylvania competitive.

So what happened Wednesday night? Cruz again made himself the story at the expense of his party.

If Cruz was not endorsing Trump because of ugly Trump comments about his family (what he told the Texas delegation Thursday) that is perfectly understandable, and he should have avoided the convention entirely, especially since Trump never apologized. Thursday, Cruz said he decided he could violate his pledge to endorse the eventual nominee based on Trump’s’ comments about his family. Nice to know that after the fact, if it is the real reason.

If, on the other hand, Cruz were refusing to endorse Trump because Trump is not conservative enough, well he is a giant phony. Cruz danced with Trump for 6 months while Trump was caustically tearing apart Jeb and Carly and others, assuming he would scoop up the remains once Trump collapsed. Trump insulting other candidates and their families was OK for Cruz — just politics as usual, until the worm turned on him.



We’re Losing Our Republic Because We Lack the Will to Restrain Democracy The Founders had good reason to guard against the tyranny of the majority. By David French…See note please

These are the last and vicious gasps of the #Never Trump losers….Shame on David French who is usually so thoughtful and brilliant…. This is also an elite slight on patriotic Americans….rsk

Our nation’s Founders understood a singular truth about human nature. No single person — or group of persons — could be fully trusted with power. As John Adams noted, “My opinion is, and always has been, that absolute power intoxicates alike despots, monarchs, aristocrats, and democrats.” Indeed, distrust of democracy helped animate the Founders’ push for a republic. James Madison, writing in Federalist No. 10, stated his concerns bluntly:

Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.

In other words, there is nothing magical or inherently virtuous about the “will of the people.” The people are just as capable of error, just as capable of becoming tyrants, as any tin-pot dictator.

Thus, the Founders gave us a republic, if — as Ben Franklin is alleged to have admonished — we can keep it. Every branch of government checks the other. The people check the government. The Constitution is supreme over all, protecting our core civil liberties from the will of the majority and from the abuse of the rulers. At its heart, the entire system depends on the understanding that no person is above the law.

But no government — no matter how wisely constructed — can long survive in the absence of at least some degree of human courage and conviction. People who abuse power can be stopped only by other people who have the authority and responsibility to defend our liberties and our way of life. And, yes, sometimes that means standing in front of democracy to preserve the principles of the republic.

Where Are the Academic Boycotts of Turkey? The Western academy doesn’t hesitate to boycott Israel — but outright suppression of academic freedom in Turkey draws silence. By Theodore Kupfer

In an attempt to consolidate power after last week’s coup attempt, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has launched a massive purge of Turkish institutions. As Noah Daponte-Smith notes, among those fired or detained are 1,577 university deans and professors, along with tens of thousands of teachers. In conjunction, the government has “issued a blanket travel ban on all academics.” The purges are a signal that Erdogan is finished dealing with the irksome byproducts of a free academy.

Academics have been critical of Erdogan throughout his autocratic reign, with some sympathetic to Pennsylvania-based opposition leader Fethullah Gulen. Now, however, not only has the Turkish state built a rejection of academic freedom into its regime, but Turkish universities must also cheerlead for that regime. The Turkish academy is going to be nothing more than a megaphone for Erdogan as the suppression of dissenting scholars reverberates throughout its institutions.

Or, put another way, the actual situation in Turkey is therefore a lot like the imaginary situation in Israel, as imagined by academic associations that support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS). These institutions claim that, first, Israel’s state activities violate international law, and second, that Israel’s academy as a collective is complicit in the perpetuation of these state activities. The president of the American Studies Association said about their Israel boycott that it “is the best way to protect and expand academic freedom and access to education,” adding that “as an association of scholars and educators, the ASA has an ethical responsibility to act.” Turkey’s actions since the aborted coup have been grotesque and illegal. The government has destroyed the freedom of individual scholars and lower-level educators. So should we expect the ASA — and the handful of academic associations like it that have also declared boycotts of Israel — to exercise its “ethical responsibility to act” in the case of Turkey?