Omarosa & Trump: Does Trump Really Hire the “Best People?”

Drama, secrets, and betrayal. The latest feud between President Trump and former staffer Omarosa Manigault-Newman is unfolding like a reality TV show. Omarosa’s new book, “Unhinged,” reveals damning secrets about the Trump White House and Omarosa claims that she has recordings to back it up. Staff shake-ups are nothing new in Trump’s administration, but does the story of Omarosa finally put an end to Trump’s claim that he hires “the best people.” More at Business Insider.

During the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump ran as a savvy outsider who knew how to get things done. His leadership acumen and gut instincts would enable him to hire all “the best people” to help him run the country. The approach had worked in real estate. It was the core conceit of “The Apprentice.” What could possibly go wrong? As it turns out, everything… Even if you grade on the Trumpian curve of loyalty matters above all else, Mr. Trump has repeatedly failed. These people are all grifters. Mr. Trump just assumed they were his grifters.

[Omarosa] is essentially becoming an enemy of the White House. And clearly that public breach of loyalty has rubbed Trump in a way no other former staffer’s departure has… It’s not an entirely unique thing in American politics for staffers or even cabinet officials to turn on their president (this is territory trod, to varying degrees, by people like John Dean, Scott McClellan, Paul O’Neill and George Stephanopoulos). But it is a very unique thing in the Trump White House.

Some who have appeared most effective countering Trump are those who employ his tactics, such as Michael Avenatti, attorney for adult-film star Stormy Daniels, and Michael Cohen, the president’s former lawyer now under federal investigation. They are relentless and omnipresent. They create drama, hold news cycles hostage and dribble out tantalizing nuggets.

Is the Economy as Strong as Trump Says It Is?

The GOP is counting on the strength of the economy to bolster candidates in November – but how well is the economy really doing? Some think Trump is inflating his claims.

…poverty in our country remains unacceptably high and tens of millions of Americans are struggling to keep their heads above water… the median household in America has less wealth than it did 35 years ago after adjusting for inflation, and the average wealth of those in the bottom 40 percent is virtually zero… All of this may sound like a “booming economy” to Donald Trump, but it sure doesn’t sound like it to me.

One of the more remarkable media campaigns of recent times is the current attempt to persuade Americans that the economy is worse than it seems. Every day our competitors are filled with columns, editorials and news analyses asserting that tax reform has failed, wages aren’t rising, investment is falling, and growth is an illusion. We’re reminded of the old Chico Marx line, “Who ya gonna believe, me or your own eyes?” Apparently Americans are believing their own eyes.

The preferred Republican answer is that Trump has turned the economy around with his brilliant combination of deal-making, tax-cutting, and freeing Job Creators of laborious Obama-era regulation. There is no evidence whatsoever for this widespread claim. Ramesh Ponnuru and Michael Strain, two conservative writers, examine a wide array of economic data, and find the economy is performing no better now than it did in Obama’s second term.

Is Stephen Miller a “Hypocrite” Because He’s a Jew?

A scathing op-ed in Politico penned by David S. Glosser, the uncle of Senior Trump Advisor Stephen Miller, calls Miller an “immigration hypocrite.” “If my nephew’s ideas on immigration had been in force a century ago,” Glosser states, “our family would have been wiped out.” But does being a Jew mean you can’t have right-wing views about immigration? What about other Americans with immigrant histories?

Trump and my nephew both know their immigrant and refugee roots. Yet, they repeat the insults and false accusations of earlier generations against these refugees to make them seem less than human. Trump publicly parades the grieving families of people hurt or killed by migrants, just as the early Nazis dredged up Jewish criminals to frighten and enrage their political base to justify persecution of all Jews.

These days, you can see it everywhere. White Americans have historically raised themselves above the unwashed masses, the “tempest-tossed” immigrants. Today, a worrisome number of Jews have forgotten our own unwashed history, and are cynically calling for even the most desperate and terrified of refugees to “come here the right way.”

Miller’s ancestors immigrated to the United States. Every living American is either an immigrant or had immigrant ancestors. For that matter, every human being dwelling in North America, and every one who ever has, is either an immigrant or a child of immigrants, humans not being native to the continent, or to any other continent but Africa, the significance of which ought to be obvious to any Homo even half sapiens. By the Glosser standard, everybody who supports immigration restrictions is a “hypocrite.”

Does Recognizing Palestine Advance Peace?

Palestinian leadership sees international recognition of the “State of Palestine” as an important step towards gaining independence and eventually establishing a sovereign state. But do recognition victories (such as being recognized by the outgoing president of Colombia and presiding over the UN’s Group of 77) have more than a symbolic value for Palestinians?

By making a declarative sentence that proclaims an imaginary space in the ether a state – no facts on the ground, nothing based on reality – all 137 countries are in fact directly hurting the chances for any meaningful dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians… No, peace won’t be made by unilaterally recognizing “Palestine” as a state.

The Palestinian Authority’s acceptance by important international organizations affiliated with the UN [.] enabled the Palestinian leadership to make its voice heard… As far as the Netanyahu government goes, this is a minor inconvenience. However, anyone who sees the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians as a zero-sum game would regard this development as a blow for Israel.

…the acceptance of the “State of Palestine” as a fait accompli by eighty percent of the world’s population represented through the Group of 77 reinforces widespread de facto recognition of Palestinian sovereignty; this, even as securing de jure recognition remains elusive. Hence, Riyad Mansour asserted this week to the New York Times, “We walk like a state. We quack like a state. Therefore we are a state.” To which one might retort: To what end, though?

Is Pope Francis Right on Capital Punishment?

The leadership of Pope Francis is being put under a microscope this month. As the country looks to the “revolutionary” Pope to see how he handles the Church’s latest sexual abuse scandal, others are criticizing his lack of Biblical originalism on the issue of capital punishment. The Bible seemingly has no moral issue with capital punishment, but Pope Francis does.

Conservatives should be fighting for even the most evil of inmates to have as many opportunities as possible in prison to recognize our common humanity before they see their final day in prison and meet their Maker. The Pope has righted Catholic teachings on the death penalty. Conservatives should follow suit.

The biblical authority for the death penalty is well established from beginning to end of the Bible. One must seriously question the validity or understanding of those who, claiming to be speaking on behalf of God, claim otherwise. God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and His opinion on such things is not subject to change; nor will His word change… Bluntly, Catholics must ask themselves, do they believe God’s Word or do they believe their Pope?

So we can commend Pope Francis for favoring what Jesus said over the actual practice of the Christian church, although it’s worth noting that he’s only catching up to developed Western countries, nearly all of which abolished capital punishment long ago.

#MeToo: What Happens When the Accused is a Woman?

A #MeToo story with a twist. What happens when the accused is a woman, and the accuser is a man? Turns out – even with the gender reversal (and even considering that both parties identify as queer), the story plays out much the same. Avital Ronell, a professor at NYU, has been accused of making unwanted advances on Nimrod Reitman, a graduate student. Ronell has now been suspended, but the prominent intellectuals jumping to her defense are left facing the charge of hypocrisy. More at Jerusalem Post.

Ronell’s response to the allegations also echoes those of other powerful people — many of them men — accused as part of #MeToo. She has asked why Reitman didn’t speak up if he was uncomfortable, and argued that he was just upset because of his intellectual inferiority: “His main dilemma was the incoherency in his writing, and lack of a recognizable argument,” she said in an interview that was part of the Title IX process.

Both Professor Ronell and Mr. Reitman feel they have been miscast in this #MeToo story. Mr. Reitman said he never intended to become any kind of public figure in a national conversation about gender, and that he started the process before the movement took off. “It didn’t come from #MeToo,” he said. In March 2018, Professor Ronell pointedly complained that Mr. Reitman had a penchant for “comparing me to the most egregious examples of predatory behaviors ascribable to Hollywood moguls who habitually go after starlets.”

…other professors have come to the defense of Ronell, [.] writing a letter to the president of New York University on her behalf. The first signature on the letter is Judith Butler’s, the author of Gender Trouble and Bodies that Matter… If the letter’s signatories had any exculpatory evidence when it comes to the specific accusations made by Reitman, they failed to include it. Instead, they are basically saying that a world-famous professor is simply worth more than a graduate student, so she should be allowed to harass as she pleases.

Today’s Hot Issues

Omarosa & Trump: Does Trump Really Hire the “Best People?” Is the Economy as Strong as Trump Says It Is? Is Stephen Miller a “Hypocrite” Because He’s a Jew? Does Recognizing Palestine Advance Peace? Is Pope Francis Right on Capital Punishment? #MeToo: What Happens When the Accused is a Woman?