Free Russia

May 24, 2022 at 8:48 am

"The one goal hardly anyone in Washington dares to mention is a free and democratic Russia," I write in my column this week, arguing for that as an American aim. Please check out the full column at Newsmax ("A Free, Democratic Russia Guarantees a Nervous China") and at the New York Sun ("The Logic For America Is To Aim for a Free, Democratic Russia.")

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Frank Brandeis Gilbert

May 17, 2022 at 8:59 am

Frank Brandeis Gilbert, a lawyer who saved New York City's Grand Central Terminal and preserved tens of thousands of other historic properties nationwide while also wisely counseling generations of Harvard Crimson editors in his capacity as longtime chairman of the student newspaper's graduate board, has died.

Gilbert, a grandson of Justice Louis Brandeis, had Parkinson's Disease. I spoke to him on Wednesday May 4, and he agreed to join other Crimson alumni in signing on to a letter expressing dismay at the newspaper's recent editorial singling out Israel for a boycott. I told him in that conversation that I felt the Crimson had never really adequately thanked him for his years of service to the organization, and that I wanted to thank him, myself, for the time and energy and wisdom that he had devoted to the paper.

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Three Letters to the Crimson on Boycotting Israel

May 12, 2022 at 5:33 pm

There are three recent letters from me to the Harvard Crimson responding to the paper's editorial calling for a boycott of Israel — one letter they wouldn't publish, one letter they did publish, and another letter that they did publish and that I signed on to but did not draft myself. All are recommended reading for those interested in the campus climate, the state of student journalism, and the underlying issues. There is also a Harvard Faculty Statement on the issue.

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Ninth Amendment Is Key to Abortion Issue

May 12, 2022 at 5:24 pm

The Constitution and how it relates to abortion is the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at Newsmax ("Abortion Right Not in Constitution, Doesn't Mean It Doesn't Exist") and at the New York Sun ("Ninth Amendment Is Key in Abortion Law Battle").

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The Biden Stagflation

April 28, 2022 at 9:06 am

Negative 1.4 percent real quarterly GDP growth and 8 percent inflation. What a combination. If the Fed raises interest rates to combat the inflation, it makes the growth problem worse. If the Fed eases interest rates to combat the negative growth, it makes the inflation problem worse. Likewise with Congressional spending as a form of fiscal stimulus for the economy, which Biden has pushing under the "Build Back Better" rubric. It looks a lot like later Carter or early Reagan. You can blame it on the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 pandemic or on the energy price effects of the Russia-Ukraine war, but it's an unpleasant combination even so, both for Biden's political hopes and for the household finances of American consumers.

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Missile Defense Biden Scorned Would Sure Be Useful Now

April 26, 2022 at 8:06 pm

Missile defense is the topic of my column this week. Please check it out at Newsmax ("We Could Use Missile Defense Biden Derided as 'Naive Dream'") and at the New York Sun ("Biden Leaves America Vulnerable by Shortchanging Missile Defense").

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China Hawks Emerge from Both Parties

April 24, 2022 at 2:07 pm

The most newsworthy political campaign commercial of 2022 may be the one recently released by Congressman Tim Ryan, a Democrat running for U.S. Senate in Ohio.

"It is us versus China," Mr. Ryan says. "Capitalism versus communism. I'm not backing down, are you?"

Please read the rest of the column at the New York Sun under the headline, "Democrat Ryan, Republican Rubio Press Harder Line Against Communist China."

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How's That Divestment Working Out?

April 24, 2022 at 1:36 pm

A recent column of mine looked at announced decisions by the Ford Foundation, by Yale's endowment, and by New York State pension funds to divest from fossil fuels. Please check out the full column at Newsmax ("Costly Fossil Fuel Divestment Leaves Foundations Looking Foolish") and at the New York Sun ("Fossil-Fuel Divestment Decisions Prove Costly, Ill-Timed").

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DeSantis Versus Disney

April 4, 2022 at 8:12 pm

The clash between Florida Governor DeSantis and Disney over what critics call the "don't say gay" law is the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at Reason ("Republicans Taking Aim at Disney Is a Reminder That Both Parties Are Hostile to Free Speech"), at the New York Sun ("Who's a Bigger Danger to Liberty Than Even Woke Corporations?"), and at Newsmax ("Why a Woke Disney Irks DeSantis.")

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Biden-Wyden Wealth Tax, the Sequel

March 29, 2022 at 8:39 am

The president's second try at the Biden-Wyden wealth tax is the topic of my column this week. Please read the full column at Reason ("Biden Is Trying To Pass a Wealth Tax—Again. It Could Be Unconstitutional."), at the New York Sun ("Biden-Wyden Wealth Tax Sequel Just as Bad as Original Publicity Stunt"), and at Newsmax ("Biden-Wyden Wealth Tax Returns, as a Rebranded Publicity Stunt").

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Juxtaposition of the Day

March 29, 2022 at 8:35 am

"Biden's Budget Tilts Priorities Toward Center"—front page news headline, New York Times, March 29, 2022.

"So much for President Biden's pivot to the political middle. The fiscal 2023 budget he unveiled Monday re-proposes most of the bad ideas that haven't passed Congress and adds a new one—a tax on wealth that he refused to endorse as a candidate in 2020. On the economy, he's pivoting further left—presumably to fire up sullen progressives in November." — Wall Street Journal editorial, "Biden's Big New Wealth Tax," March 29, 2022.

Another good reminder of the importance of reading more than one newspaper. What counts as the "center" and what counts as "left" can depend on, or disclose something about, where the person ascribing the label stands.

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The Ukraine-Russia Backstory

March 25, 2022 at 9:01 am

Russia's genocide against Ukraine in 1933, and the American lack of response at the time, were the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at Newsmax ("Putin's War May Not Solve Russia's Ukraine Problem") and at the New York Sun ("Century of Russification, American Inaction Are Context for Putin's War.").

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Fact-Checking the Fact-Checkers

March 24, 2022 at 8:51 am

In Tablet, Jacob Siegel takes an illuminating and skeptical look at the burgeoning industry of fact-checking, asking, "Who are you going to believe, the Democratic Party's new official-unofficial, public-private monopoly tech platform censorship brigade, or your misinformed, disinformed eyes?"

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Pomerantz and Trump

March 24, 2022 at 8:43 am

A New York Times front-page news article reports, "One of the senior Manhattan prosecutors who investigated Donald J. Trump believed that the former president was 'guilty of numerous felony violations' and that it was 'a grave failure of justice' not to hold him accountable, according to a copy of his resignation letter."

The Fifth Amendment says "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury." The Sixth Amendment says "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence."

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Ukraine Aid

March 20, 2022 at 1:49 pm

A New York Times infographic and article about the $13.6 billion in U.S. aid to Ukraine reports that the package approved by Congress includes "$25 million to combat disinformation and support independent journalism." It's a puzzle to me how the New York Times accepts without any skeptical questioning the idea that U.S.-government funded journalism is "independent." One might point out that if the $25 million in government funding is necessary, the journalism isn't in fact "independent," it is dependent, on U.S. government funding.

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