Here’s One Remaining Question On The Takedown Of Kevin Hart

With more than a week’s distance from the Kevin Hart controversy, one question is still nagging at me. What was accomplished by pushing him out of the Academy Awards gig? I don’t mean that rhetorically. 

The effect wasn’t to punish or deplatform or distance the Academy’s brand from a homophobe: When detractors dredged up old tweets, and a bit he’d addressed years ago, Hart didn’t actually stand by the objectionable content. “If you don’t believe that people change, grow, evolve as they get older, I don’t know what to tell you,” he said in an Instagram video. “If you want to hold people in a position where they always have to justify or explain their past, then do you.”

“You LIVE and YOU LEARN & YOU GROW & YOU MATURE,” Hart wrote in the caption.

He’d also basically admitted years ago that an infamous bit in one of his old routines about not wanting his son to be gay was a mistake. Here’s what Hart told Rolling Stone in 2015: “It’s about my fear. I’m thinking about what I did as a dad, did I do something wrong, and if I did, what was it? Not that I’m not gonna love my son or think about him any differently. The funny thing within that joke is it’s me getting mad at my son because of my own insecurities — I panicked. It has nothing to do with him, it’s about me. That’s the difference between bringing a joke across that’s well thought-out and saying something just to ruffle feathers.” 

The last sentence is important. It’s an admission that he failed his responsibility as a comedian.

As outrage over the jokes mounted earlier this month, Hart refused to apologize. “We feed into the Internet trolls and we reward them, I’m not going to do it, man,” he said, still insisting on his personal growth. The dynamic, then, was this: Hart was pushed out of a hosting gig over comments he did not endorse.

This brings us back to the question that’s been bothering me. What was accomplished by keeping him off the Oscars stage? Because Hart no longer stood by the jokes in question, the Academy’s decision to stick with him could not reasonably be seen as an endorsement of those jokes, or as a sign the Academy accepted them. So how does anybody benefit by keeping Hart from hosting the ceremony? Is the immense pressure supposed to function as a deterrent?

The notion that people must be purged from a given platform for past mistakes (often unearthed at key moments in their lives) seems to be quickly growing into a reflex and becoming our conventional wisdom, and that goes for both sides of the ideological divide. Is it the only reasonable consequence for these perceived transgressions? Is it reasonable at all when, in Hart’s case, a person’s views have changed?

Had he issued an apology, would he have been able to keep the job? I don’t know, although in announcing his decision to step down, Hart finally did just that. It’s a strange situation— the guy was all but forced to back out of the gig over comments he no longer stood by. 

I think it was easier to dismiss Hart than to grapple with his claims of personal growth. I hope we can learn to tread a new path forward in the future, whether the perceived offender is Hart or Sarah Silverman or Stephen Colbert. 

How Ballot-Harvesting Became The New Way To Steal An Election

America’s electoral obsession isn’t Russian meddling anymore. It’s ballot-harvesting, a long-disputed practice implicated in fraud that’s come to the fore with the nationwide embrace of absentee voting in recent years — and especially in last month’s midterms.

With ballot-harvesting, paper votes are collected by intermediaries who deliver them to polling officials, presumably increasing voter turnout but also creating opportunities for mischief.

The latter is suspected in North Carolina, where uncharacteristic Democratic charges of vote fraud prompted an investigation into whether Republican-paid political operatives illegally collected and possibly stole absentee ballots in a still-undecided congressional race. A national spotlight was shone by The New York Times, which, like Democrats, often minimizes vote fraud; it flooded the zone in this case, assigning five reporters to a single story.

In California, by contrast, Democrats exulted as they credited a quietly passed 2016 law legalizing ballot-harvesting with their recent sweep of House seats in the former Republican stronghold of Orange County, thereby helping them win control of the House. In that case, it was Republican eyebrows that were arched. House Speaker Paul Ryan said what happened in California “defies logic.”

In Orange County, an estimated 250,000 harvested ballots were reportedly dropped off on Election Day alone. County Republican Chairman Fred Whitaker claimed the 2016 law “directly caused the switch from being ahead on election night to losing two weeks later.”

One interaction caught by a Santa Clarita family’s doorbell camera suggested how harvesting can work in practice. A harvester, identifying herself as Lulu, asks for Brandi, and says she is there to collect her ballot, explaining that there is “this new service, but only to, like, people who are supporting the Democratic Party.”

However, there is no evidence that ballots were marked or discarded by those harvesting the ballots, as is alleged in North Carolina.

Election officials there have refused to certify Republican Mark Harris’s victory over Democrat Dan McReady in the state’s 9th Congressional District, and Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia, a Democratic member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is seeking an emergency hearing into possible voter fraud in that race.

“Votes have been stolen by preying on senior and minority voters, and now a cloud of doubt and suspicion hangs over this election result,” Connolly said.

North Carolina absentee ballots require a “witness,” or second signature, to verify the voter’s identity. In Republican-heavy Bladen County, the same people were signing as witnesses for numerous absentee ballots, a telltale sign that they were being “harvested.”

In fact, one TV station interviewed a harvester who claimed she was paid by Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr., a local political operative, between $75 and $100 a week to pick up completed absentee ballots. Dowless has worked for numerous North Carolina politicians of both political parties.

Dowless’s connection to Harris’s campaign, which paid Harris’s employer $428,000 for administrative, staff and grassroots services, is prompting a national look at ballot harvesting, which is considered election fraud because North Carolina law specifically prohibits anyone from collecting ballots.

But evidence is emerging that Dowless wasn’t the only one harvesting in the Tar Heel State. WBTV, a Charlotte station, reviewed 796 official ballot envelopes of votes cast in Bladen County. The review identified 110 that were signed by two women who are listed as having been paid by a PAC connected to the North Carolina Democratic Party.

North Carolina is but one example of dubious ballot-harvesting nationwide. The practice is so common, harvesters even have their own region-specific names. In Florida, they’re known as “boleteros.” In Texas, they’re called “politiqueras.”

In Missouri, Democratic state Rep. Penny Hubbard, a member of a St. Louis political dynasty known for ballot harvesting, was challenged and ultimately ousted in 2016 by progressive Bruce Franks, a protester in the Ferguson unrest. Absentee-ballot handling irregularities had handed her a delayed 90-vote win, even though Franks won 53 percent of the vote on Election Day.

In Florida, a Palm Beach Post investigation into numerous 2016 primary races uncovered significant evidence of voter fraud by Democratic candidates, who pushed back on any criticism by claiming racial discrimination.

Three Democratic candidates, County Commissioner Mack Bernard, state Rep. Al Jacquet, and a candidate for state Senate, Bobby Powell, all ordered mail ballots on behalf of constituents, in many cases without those constituents’ knowledge. Then, they either filed out the ballots for them or had them fill out the ballots while the candidates were present in their homes. All three candidates won on the strength of massive margins in absentee votes.

One Boynton Beach couple told the Post that Bernard just showed up at their door one day in August. Joseph Cerfius, a blind Haitian man, said he didn’t even know who Bernard was, or that he was a candidate for office. But Bernard produced a ballot, filled it out on Cerfius’s behalf, then actually signed Cerfius’s name.

“I couldn’t sign because I can’t see,” Cerfius said. “I gave him my voting card number. That’s all I did. He wrote my name.”

With a presidential election looming in less than two years, and with the example of California fresh in mind, expect the fight over expanded voting rights to include pushes for legalized ballot harvesting.

States like Florida and Georgia, which both endured contested elections and lawsuits over absentee ballots last month, can anticipate the push to be tinged with racial undertones. The two states’ respective Democratic gubernatorial candidates, Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams, were both also their state’s first African-American nominees, and regularly alleged racial discrimination in any arguments advocating the counting of contested ballots.

(Florida currently allows volunteers to collect ballots, except in Miami-Dade County, which has a localized prohibition against anyone having more than two ballots on their person at once. Georgia prohibits the practice except if the voter is disabled.)

Only 16 states regulate ballot-harvesting at all, and their rules vary. In Colorado, one of three states to conduct all elections entirely by mail-in ballots, third-party volunteers are allowed to collect up to 10 ballots, though critics have long alleged that the practice is ripe for exploitation.

In November, Montana voters passed a state referendum banning the collection of ballots by third parties. Arizona’s 2016 ban against the practice, which had previously been linked to voter fraud in the state, was recently upheld by a federal appeals court, despite claims that it would disproportionately impact Latino voters who relied on third parties to help navigate the voting process.

Expect arguments and legal challenges to continue. The first presidential primary ballots will be cast in 14 months.

This article is reprinted, with permission, from RealClearInvestigations.

Why Puberty Blockers Are A Clear Danger To Children’s Health

I have written (see here and here) about physicians who push the boundaries of ethical practice by administering untested medical treatments to children and adolescents suffering from gender dysphoria (or transgender patients). Such treatments include puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and so-called sex-reassignment surgery.

Citing guidelines issued by the political advocacy group World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), these physicians admit that the effects of cross-sex hormones are generally irreversible. Vulnerable patients who agree to this treatment are thus crossing the Rubicon into permanent bodily impairment.

However, most doctors insist that puberty blockers are safe and fully reversible, so that patients who decide not to continue with the “transition” can get their healthy bodies back. But mounting medical evidence shows the fallacy of the cavalier implication that puberty blockers are as harmless as aspirin and can be discontinued with as little effect.

Time To ‘Explore Their Identity,’ But At What Cost?

One of the puberty blockers frequently administered to girls who identify as boys (female-to-male, or FtM) is called Lupron. Lupron belongs to a class of drugs called gonadotrophin hormone-releasing (GnRH) agonists and is used to suppress estrogen production, thereby delaying the physical changes of puberty in a pre-pubescent female patient.

The argument is that this will give the girl more time to “explore her identity,” an easier path to physical transitioning before her body matures, and a chance to decide if she wants to pursue more serious measures such as cross-sex hormones and surgery. (More on that later.) The first claim is that Lupron is safe. But thousands of patients who have been treated with Lupron for non-sex-related conditions would disagree.

Lupron was originally Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved to treat prostate cancer, but it’s now routinely prescribed for other conditions such as endometriosis and “precocious puberty” — i.e., puberty that begins too early (generally considered under age eight for girls, under age nine for boys). Many of these patients have experienced extreme side effects that shattered their health and their lives, including severe joint pain, osteoporosis, compromised immune systems, and mental health issues such as severe depression and even suicidal ideation. The FDA has received 24,000 reports of adverse reactions, about half of which the agency has deemed serious.

Lupron manufacturer AbbVie has been fighting lawsuits over the drug for years. In one case pending in federal court in Illinois, 60-year-old Terry Paulsen claims she has endured severe medical problems related to receiving two injections of Lupron for endometriosis 14 years ago. “My body is on fire,” she said. “My joints have arthritis everywhere.” Since her Lupron treatment, Paulsen has suffered not only constant pain but strange rashes, severe osteoporosis, and multiple surgeries.

In another lawsuit, gynecologist David Redwine testified as an expert witness about the adverse effects of Lupron he has observed over 31 years of medical practice. Noting that Lupron’s suppression of the pituitary-gonadal system may affect a body’s immune response, Redwine concluded that the plaintiff in that case suffered extreme bone density loss and other symptoms as a result of being administered Lupron beginning at the age of 17.

Many Patients Suffer From Lupron-Related Side Effects

Tragically, many other young patients have endured similar adverse effects. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on a younger patient’s trauma after receiving Lupron treatment for precocious puberty. Now 22, Brooklyn Harbin was injected with Lupron at the age of 10, and soon found herself in such severe pain that she ended up a wheelchair while still in fifth grade.

Dr. Ken Sinervo, an Atlanta-area gynecologist who specializes in endometriosis surgery, reports having seen many women suffering memory loss and joint pain after Lupron treatment. He was quoted as warning that “Lupron or any of the similar types of medications should never be used in someone under the age of 21.”

But of course, all gender dysphoric patients who might be placed on Lupron to delay puberty are years younger than 21. Plus, there’s a serious added danger to using Lupron merely to stop normal puberty in a gender dysphoric child. Such treatment is “off label,” meaning the FDA hasn’t approved the drug for this purpose, nor is there reliable research showing the safety of such use.

The research and consulting firm Hayes, Inc. warned that “the literature is too sparse and the studies [that exist are] too limited to suggest conclusions” about safety and effectiveness of using Lupron and other GnRH agonists on healthy children to prevent normal puberty. The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) points out that puberty blockers alter a patient’s body in myriad ways:

In addition to preventing the development of secondary sex characteristics, GnRH agonists arrest bone growth, decrease bone accretion, prevent the sex-steroid dependent organization and maturation of the adolescent brain, and inhibit fertility by preventing the development of gonadal tissue and mature gametes for the duration of treatment.

Are Lupron’s Effects Really Reversible?

Despite all these warning flags about administering these drugs to healthy children, ideologues such as Dr. Stephen Rosenthal (who receives federal tax dollars to produce research supporting transgender-affirming treatment) see no problem with this experimentation. Rosenthal declares himself a “firm believer” in using GnRH agonists to stop normal body development in gender-confused children.

Rosenthal also insists that the effects of Lupron and other such drugs are “100 percent reversible,” a claim the true believers at WPATH support. Is this true? Mounting evidence suggests the answer is no.

The thousands of complaints about Lupron, mentioned above, show that many adverse side effects can be long-lasting, if not permanent. But even in a patient who doesn’t suffer those effects––that is, when the drug simply delays puberty without causing additional harm––the effect may not be fully reversible.

Reversibility must be considered from both a physical and a psychological perspective. Physically, a particularly problematic result is the direct effect on the pituitary gland. Redwine, the expert witness on the dangers of Lupron mentioned above, cited a study of impaired pituitary function: “The most important finding of this review comes from study M84-042. The study provides the evidence that 62.5% of patients [treated with Lupron for endometriosis] had not regained baseline estrogen levels by one year after stopping Lupron.”

In other words, the effect on the pituitary was not reversible for the majority of those patients. Endocrinologist Michael Laidlaw also warns that bone density may never recover from use of puberty blockers:

There is an exquisitely timed release and change of multiple hormones during normal puberty. Among these are growth hormone and the sex hormones which account for the growth spurt including bone growth and development. It has been shown that puberty blockers interfere with the expected increase in bone density in adolescence such that the bones are not as strong as they would be had normal pubertal development been allowed. This is due to the effect of dropping sex hormone levels to subnormal levels. These lost years of bone development cannot be regained.

Outgrowing Dysphoria Naturally

If this weren’t enough reason for parents to refuse such treatment for their minor children, Laidlaw says that “what parents should find truly terrifying is the psychological effect of this medication.” Under the traditional treatment for gender dysphoria, which involves “watchful waiting or pursuit of family and individual psychotherapy,” between 80 and 95 percent of adolescent patients outgrow their dysphoria naturally.

In other words, only 5 to 10 percent of those children remain dysphoric and go on to request further treatments. But a major study of dysphoric children who were administered puberty blockers found that 100 percent went on to request cross-sex hormones.

Why would a child whose normal puberty is short-circuited be more likely to move on to radical treatment with cross-sex hormones and perhaps surgery? Laidlaw attributes this phenomenon to “a very strong psychologically addictive component to this medication, so that once children begin taking these blockers, they never leave the road of high-dose synthetic hormones and irreversible surgeries.”

ACPeds agrees, offering a theory grounded in neuroscience and social science:

There is an obvious self-fulfilling nature to encouraging a young child with GD to socially impersonate the opposite sex and then institute pubertal suppression. Purely from a social learning point of view, the repeated behavior of impersonating and being treated as the opposite sex will make identity alignment with the child’s biologic sex less likely. This, together with the suppression of puberty that prevents further endogenous masculinization or feminization of the entire body and brain, causes the child to remain either a gender non-conforming pre-pubertal boy disguised as a pre-pubertal girl, or the reverse. Since their peers develop normally into young men or young women, these children are left psychosocially isolated. They will be less able to identify as being the biological male or female they actually are.

ACPeds concludes: “A protocol of impersonation and pubertal suppression that sets into motion a single inevitable outcome (transgender identification) that requires lifelong use of toxic synthetic hormones, resulting in infertility, is neither fully reversible nor harmless.”

Rosenthal, Dr. Johanna Olson-Kennedy, and the other medical ideologues who plow ahead with these therapies haven’t refuted these concerns. They seem to simply ignore them. That such behavior is allowed by the medical establishment, and even funded by federal tax dollars, is a travesty. Can we sink any lower than to sacrifice children to political ideology?

The Case For Making The GOP A Working-Class Party

At the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Donald Trump Jr. turned a longtime Democratic talking point into an argument for Republican policies. Speaking to a televised audience from the convention stage, he said, “The other party also tells us they believe in the American Dream. They say we should worry about economic inequality and immobility. You know what? They’re right. But what they don’t tell you is that it was their policies that caused the problem.”

The line was powerful, but suspicions of plagiarism swirled when journalists discovered that parts of the speech echoed an article that George Mason law professor Frank Buckley had written several months earlier. These were, in fact, Buckley’s words—he had privately worked with Trump Jr. to write the speech. His latest book, The Republican Workers Party: How the Trump Victory Drove Everyone Crazy, and Why It Was Just What We Needed, mixes policy proposals, personal accounts, and reflections on American politics and culture to supply a measure of intellectual weight to Trump’s political project.

Two years ago, Buckley and his wife moonlighted as a volunteer speechwriting team for the Trump campaign, helping to write a major foreign policy speech that Trump gave in April 2016. Buckley does not exactly fit the profile of a typical campaign volunteer. A Canadian immigrant who became a U.S. citizen in 2014, Buckley (no relation to conservative icon William F. Buckley, Jr.) wears many hats.

As a longtime professor at George Mason University School of Law (recently renamed Antonin Scalia Law School), Buckley has published several scholarly volumes on contract law in addition to his recent popular books on American politics. Outside of his academic work, he writes frequently as a senior editor of the American Spectator and a columnist for the New York Post.

Betrayal of the American Dream

The first few chapters provide interesting insights into the inner workings of the Trump campaign. Buckley recounts his role with the Trump campaign as an occasional speechwriter and adviser, and he provides details of behind-the-scenes intrigue. According to Buckley’s account, the decision to fire Gov. Chris Christie, the head of the transition team, was actually made three months before the election – it just wasn’t made official until after the election, to avoid controversy. Buckley also detailed his efforts to get the Trump team to hire Michael Anton, author of the controversial essay “The Flight 93 Election,” as a member of the Trump administration’s national security team.

The Republican Workers Party argues that Trump’s revolution gives Republicans the chance to reform a party that had lost touch with much of the country. If the Republican Party wants to succeed, Buckley believes that it must become the champion of the working class and focus on economic inequality. At first glance, this sounds like odd advice. After all, talk of class and inequality has long been a hallmark of progressives who want to tax the rich and redistribute the wealth. President Obama’s 2012 campaign sought to make income inequality the defining issue of the election.

For decades, the Democratic Party understood itself as the party of the working class. Its candidates presented themselves as champions for the laborer against oppressive corporate interests, while the common caricature of Republicans portrayed them as the defenders of wealthy business interests, indifferent to the welfare of the poor and determined to protect of the existing social hierarchy.

Buckley writes that he and Trump found themselves in agreement that “the fundamental political issue was the betrayal of the American Dream in a newly immobile country.” He observes that incomes for those in the bottom 50 percent grew only 21 percent between 1980 and 2014. In the same time span, incomes for the top income brackets doubled or tripled (top 10 percent and top 1 percent, respectively).

Trump and Bernie Sanders both observed that ordinary Americans were being left behind by elite of both parties, but only Trump recognized the nature of the new aristocracy. Sanders blamed capitalism, but Trump realized that the left’s policies on economic regulation and unchecked immigration had restricted opportunity for many Americans.

The Transformation of the Parties

This new class divide is not merely economic. An uncompromising social liberalism is the defining feature of modern liberalism. For all the recent talk of single-payer health care and democratic socialism on the left, race, sexuality, and gender are the central tenets of the church of liberalism. Dissent or tolerance on these issues is not permitted.

A clash of cultures between coastal elites and the heartland forms the greatest difference between the liberal aristocracy and those whom Hillary Clinton scorned as “deplorables” in 2016. Eight years earlier, then-candidate Barack Obama betrayed a similar condescension toward working-class voters in Pennsylvania with his assertion that “they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them” to explain why some of these voters did not support him.

Buckley argues that the working-class coalition that rallied behind Trump combined a moderate outlook on economic issues with conservative views on issues like immigration, abortion, and political correctness. The Democratic Party lost these voters by embracing progressive identity politics with religious fervor. Abortion on-demand, white privilege, same-sex marriage, transgender bathrooms, kneeling for the anthem—all enshrined as central tenets of the progressive cultural orthodoxy where neutrality is not an option.

Working-class voters, especially Catholics in the Rust Belt states, saw the left’s attempts to enforce public acceptance of its morality through political correctness and threw in their lot with Donald Trump’s insurgent campaign. For decades, these voters were a key Democratic voting bloc, but their socially conservative views became increasingly unwelcome in today’s Democratic Party.

But the transformation of the Democratic Party is only one part of the equation. Trump’s improbable nomination and victory upended the established order in the Republican Party. Conservative Republicans, Buckley charges, had accepted a false dichotomy between liberty and equality that limited their ability to appeal to the working class.

For example, Republicans often referred to the poor in ways that reinforced the impression of indifference towards the common man, such as former presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s ill-fated comment during the 2012 campaign that “[t]here are 47 percent of the people who will vote for [Obama] no matter what” because they are dependent on government and feel entitled to welfare. In doing so, they failed to contest the meaning of equality and allowed their left-wing counterparts to claim it for themselves. Buckley argues that “[t]he Left had created the problem, but conservatives had failed to blame them for creating the kind of class society that’s wholly at odds with the idea of America.”

By refusing to embrace equality as a conservative principle in their rhetoric, politicians and intellectuals on the right overlooked the connection between liberty and equality that the Founders and Abraham Lincoln understood. They failed to understand that the Declaration of Independence presents equality as the necessary foundation for liberty, that the equality of the Declaration demands an equality of rights. Because modern conservatives tended to conflate this use of equality with the radical egalitarianism promoted by progressives, equality rarely entered their vocabulary.

The Case For a Conservative Nationalism

The central argument of The Republican Workers Party presents the case for a conservative nationalism that stands squarely in the best of the American tradition, not the blood-and-soil nationalism of reactionary fringe movements. It is, first and foremost, a liberal nationalism derived from America’s founding principles. It rests on bonds of common citizenship and a common devotion to liberty and equality. Buckley argues that a Republican Party that wishes to embrace an American nationalism that transcends ties of blood or faith need only look back to its first and greatest president for guidance.

He quotes an 1858 speech on the meaning of the Fourth of July in which Lincoln argued that immigrant American citizens and their descendants had every right to celebrate their identity as Americans. They read the Declaration of Independence and “they have a right to claim it as though they were blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh, of the men who wrote that Declaration, and so they are.” He considered the principle that all men are created equal “the electric cord in that Declaration that links the hearts of Patriotic and liberty-loving men together.”

American nationalism distinguishes itself by fostering what President Reagan called “an enlightened patriotism” that directs love of country into a love of constitutional liberties. A dedication to liberties such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion forms a central part of the American identity, and the violation of these rights earns the label “un-American.”

Furthermore, Buckley argues that American nationalists “must distinguish between strangers and brothers, noncitizens and citizens,” and “[t]hey must feel a special sense of fraternity with their fellow citizens” to prefer their welfare before that of noncitizens. For example, the standard by which immigration or welfare policy ought to be judged should be the benefit it will bring to citizens. An anti-nationalist—whether progressive or libertarian—is indifferent between the welfare of citizens and noncitizens on such questions.

Making the GOP Appealing

Buckley introduces The Republican Workers Party as an account of how he “witnessed the death of the old Republican Party and assisted at the new party’s birth,” but his argument in the following pages suggests more of a reformation than a revolution. The key policies that he proposes for bringing back mobility are all sensible: school choice, merit-based immigration reform, and deregulation. While Trump deserves particular credit for elevating immigration control as a major issue, these policies are exactly what conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation have promoted over the past 20 years.

It’s worth noting that George W. Bush faced significant intraparty opposition with his attempts at immigration reform in 2007, and many conservatives rejected Bush’s neoconservative foreign policy approach after the failures of Iraq. The Republican Workers Party is certainly a break from the policies of the Bush-era Republican establishment, but it embraces conventional conservative policy prescriptions on most issues.

Even on trade policy, which is Trump’s biggest departure from the conservative establishment consensus, Buckley professes ambivalence, writing that “If the free trader can seem heartless, the trade protectionist can come across as naive.” Add the other signature policies of the Trump administration thus far—tax reform and the pipeline of originalist judges—and one sees a great deal of continuity with the policies of the pre-Trump conservative movement. Buckley argues that the socially conservative voting base of the Republican Workers Party does not hold a libertarian hostility to welfare, and he contends that it has inherited the mid-century liberalism of JFK that the Democratic Party abandoned in favor of identity politics.

Perhaps the difference between the pre-Trump Republican Party and the Republican Workers Party that Buckley advocates has less to do with policy than politics. Conservative policies could bring increased mobility, but conservatives have failed to persuade working-class and middle-class voters that these policies will bring greater opportunities for them and their children.

Buckley’s greatest criticism of leaders on the right concerns their ability to talk about issues of class and mobility in a way that appeals to working-class Americans. If Republicans can learn to speak in the language of a unifying American nationalism that seeks the welfare and prosperity of all Americans, then the Republican Workers Party may be here to stay long after our current political moment.

Hemingway And Harsanyi: Mueller, Cohen, And Russian Conspiracies


On the Federalist Radio Hour, Senior Editors Mollie Hemingway and David Harsanyi break down the latest media frenzy surrounding Michael Cohen’s sentencing and the special counsel’s investigation into the Trump campaign. Reporters are cobbling together pieces of information that are overstated, not connected, or insignificant to create conspiracy theories about Russia.

“I don’t know how they’re defining ‘Russian officials.’ In some cases there is a Russian official who turns out not to be a Russian official at all,” Hemingway said. “The ‘synergy’ quote is from a Russian weight lifter. Is that really ‘highly detailed’ and ‘highly damming?’”

Stick around for the third segment where they discuss “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and other current favorite TV series.


Michael Cohen’s Sentencing Memorandum Is A Roadmap For Indicting Trump

President Donald Trump is in legal and political jeopardy, and he doesn’t seem to know it. The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) has filed a sentencing memorandum in the case of Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and personal advisor. It candidly lays out the federal case against Trump for campaign finance crimes.

The prosecutors say that payments Cohen caused to be made to two women who say they had extramarital affairs with Trump were “in coordination with and at the direction of” Trump. (Trump denies that these alleged affairs occurred, and says he did not know about the payments when they occurred.) The SDNY’s sentencing memo thus implicates Trump in at least three crimes.

First, it is generally unlawful for a corporation to make a contribution or expenditure in connection with an election to federal office. Cohen pleaded guilty to causing such an unlawful contribution by American Media Inc., the owner of the National Enquirer.

According to court documents, Cohen coordinated AMI’s purchase of the “limited life rights” of former Playmate Karen McDougal’s claim to have had an affair with Trump, and did so for the purpose of influencing the presidential election. This last detail—that it was done for the purpose of influencing the election—is what makes this a campaign contribution and not a garden-variety services contract. Also, prosecutors’ claim that Cohen did it at Trump’s direction would, if true, make Trump as guilty as Cohen.

Second, it is unlawful for an individual to make a contribution or expenditure in connection with an election to federal office in excess of certain amounts ($2,700 in 2016). Cohen pleaded guilty to making such a contribution by paying $130,000 for onscreen prostitute Stormy Daniels’ silence. Just like the McDougal payment, the SDNY prosecutors say this payment was for the purpose of influencing the election and done at Trump’s direction. Again, if true, that makes Trump as guilty as Cohen.

Third, regardless of source or amount, presidential campaigns must disclose all contributions in regular filings with the Federal Election Commission. In the sentencing memo, the SDNY’s prosecutors lean heavily on the fact that Cohen structured these payments to foil “one of the core goals of the federal campaign finance laws: transparency.”

Mandatory disclosure laws exist so the American public can assess who is funding political candidacies. Cohen concealed these contributions as services contracts and by using a shell corporation—which, by the way, is further evidence that he knew he was breaking the law. If it was done at Trump’s direction, as alleged by the SDNY’s prosecutors, that’s another crime.

Thus, in the sentencing memorandum for Cohen, federal prosecutors have provided a roadmap for Trump’s indictment. Were he any other person, they certainly would have presented this information to a grand jury for indictment by now. But the Department of Justice’s view is that sitting presidents cannot be indicted because it would undermine the executive branch’s ability to perform its constitutionally assigned role.

This question was last addressed by the Office of Legal Counsel during the Bill Clinton administration. However, it actually extends back to the Nixon administration, which first determined that sitting presidents could not be indicted. Changing that view now would validate all of Trump’s claims of being persecuted by the federal bureaucracy. This doesn’t mean that Trump is safe; given the five-year statute of limitations on campaign finance crimes, it means only that Trump is safe for now.

Trump also has several potential avenues to attack an indictment as described. Obviously, he can try and establish that Cohen didn’t act at Trump’s direction. He could also show that the payments were not for the purpose of influencing the election, but for a different reason (protecting first lady Melania Trump’s feelings, for example).If true, that would mean that, as far as Trump knew, he wasn’t directing campaign contributions. But even a defense like this opens Trump up to additional legal jeopardy if he lies to investigators.

Keep in mind that federal prosecutors have Cohen’s recordings of conversations with Trump, and have granted immunity to the AMI executives who handled the McDougal payment. It is very likely that the SDNY’s prosecutors know more about this than has been revealed so far. Their candidness about Trump’s misconduct in the sentencing memo suggests they are relying on more than just Cohen’s say-so.

So the SDNY’s prosecutors have laid out their case that Trump conspired to conceal from the voters payments to alleged mistresses in violation of campaign finance laws—even if they cannot act on it for now. Congress, on the other hand, can at any time impeach and remove a president for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” And whether something is a high crime or misdemeanor is solely in the discretion of a majority of members of the House of Representatives, subject to agreement by two-thirds of the Senate.

The incoming Democrat-led House will certainly be considering this question. Moreover, at this point, Trump cannot discount the possibility that even more crimes will be revealed in the course of the SDNY’s work or that of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. This means that, even aside from criminal jeopardy, Trump’s political fortunes may also turn on the decisions of federal prosecutors.

6 Key Takeaways From The Comey Deposition Transcript

Two House committees quizzed former FBI director James Comey on Friday concerning his knowledge of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a homebrew server when she was secretary of state, and the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign.

The judiciary and oversight committees released a transcript of the hours-long deposition on Saturday. Here are six important takeaways.

1. We didn’t learn much — but that was significant.

Comey repeatedly responded to questions about the Trump campaign investigation by pleading ignorance, establishing he did not know of many of the facts underlying both the launch of Crossfire Hurricane and the continuing investigation. That’s concerning.

For instance, in response to Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy’s characterization of Crossfire Hurricane as a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign, Comey claimed that the FBI was not investigating Trump or the Trump campaign, but had instead “opened investigations on four Americans to see if there was any connection between those four Americans and the Russian interference effort. And those four Americans did not include the candidate.” Yet Comey had never seen the “FBI’s initiation document,” which Gowdy indicated referenced the “Trump campaign.”

Further questioning revealed that Comey had no knowledge concerning the agent responsible for drafting the FBI’s late-July 2016 initiation document for Crossfire Hurricane, did not know who approved the draft of the “initial plan for the Russian investigation,” and never read or saw the initiation document. In fact, Comey said he didn’t even know how the FBI launches counterintelligence investigations, who has the authority to launch a counterintelligence investigation into a major political campaign, or whether such an investigation would need to be approved by the FBI Director. Comey did note that “there’s documentation in criminal investigations and in counterintelligence investigations to explain the predication for the opening of a file, that is, the basis for the opening of a file.”

These exchanges raise three concerning points: First, that FBI agents — including the biased, “We’ll stop Trump from becoming president” duo of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page — had the ability, without Comey’s involvement, to launch an investigation into the Trump campaign. Second, Comey’s testimony shows that he may not have known the official basis for, and scope of, the probe because he never saw the “initiation document.”

And third, the same agents who launched the investigation craft the documentation to explain “the basis for the opening of a file.” So, if the agents wanted to pin the launch of Crossfire Hurricane on George Papadopoulos’ supposed foreknowledge of the WikiLeak hack into DNC emails, they would merely need to list that as the predicate for opening the investigation.

2. Comey buys the George Papadopoulos pretext, But that’s because he doesn’t know the facts.

Although Comey testified that he never saw the “initiation document” and had no idea who drafted or approved the initiation of the probe, he unequivocally stated that the Steele dossier did not prompt the Russia probe. When asked how he knew that, Comey said:

Because I know what the basis was for starting the investigation. It was the information we’d received about a conversation that a Trump foreign — campaign foreign policy adviser had with an individual in London about stolen emails that the Russians had that would be harmful to Hillary Clinton. It was weeks or months later that the so-called Steele dossier came to our attention.

There are several problems with Comey’s explanation. First, the evidence released to date indicates at the time the FBI launched Crossfire Hurricane, it merely had information that Papadopoulos had informed Australian diplomat Alexander Downer that the Russians had damaging information on Hillary Clinton. It would be many more months before the damaging information would be cast as “stolen emails.”

Second, Comey said that while he “remember[ed] the cases being opened at the end of July,” he didn’t “know the nature and quality of any work that went on before that.” And when asked whether, prior to the end of July, he directed or had “knowledge of the FBI trying to collect information about the possible Russian-Trump campaign,” Comey said he was not aware of any such efforts. However, when pressed, Comey hedged, stating, “It’s possible I knew at the time.”

As a side note, here: Throughout his testimony, Comey said the investigation began in late July and that he was briefed on the investigation in late-July, and on one occasion he spoke of the four counterintelligence files being opened on July 29. But Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff’s memorandum explicitly stated the FBI initiated its counterintelligence investigation on July 31, 2016, and the committee members consistently noted that the investigation began on July 31, 2016.

Comey also only knew what he was told — and apparently that wasn’t much. According to his testimony, Comey never met the author of the Steele dossier, former British Spy Christopher Steele, and never spoke with Steele. He did not know of Steele’s anti-Trump bias, and he did not know that Steele worked for Fusion GPS, that Perkins Coie had hired Fusion GPS, or that the Democratic National Committee had paid Perkins Coie to provide the opposition research on Trump which culminated in the Steele dossier.

Additionally, Comey did not know whether Steele was working for the Bureau at the time he was also working with Fusion GPS. And he did not know how Steele’s information reached the FBI, but believed “he passed it to an agent that he knew and that that agent sent it on to headquarters. I think that’s the way in which it reached the Counterintelligence Division, but I don’t remember the specifics of that.” He also did not know in particular how the FBI investigated Steele’s information.

Who withheld that information from Comey, and why, is unclear, but Comey stated he believed the general counsel (who was James Baker), had told him that the information included in the October FISA application was funded by Democrats. Comey also did not know that Perkins Coie provided the information from the Steele dossier to the FBI’s general counsel, James Baker, that Baker knew Perkins Coie represented the DNC, and that Baker in turn passed the information on to the FBI’s investigative team.

Additionally, Comey did not know why the FBI terminated Steele in November of 2016. And, significantly, Comey testified he knew nothing about Steele providing information on Trump to twice-demoted Department of Justice attorney Bruce Ohr after the FBI ended its relationship with the former MI6 spy. Comey likewise said he “knew nothing about” Ohr passing on Steele’s supposed intel to the FBI by sitting down with agents for about a dozen 302 interviews. In fact, Comey did not even know that there was any contact or communication between Steele and Ohr!

No wonder Comey believes the line the FBI launched Crossfire Hurricane based on Papadopoulos’ loose lips: He says he had no idea what was going on behind the scenes, such as Steele’s July 30, 2016, meeting with Ohr.

Comey’s cluelessness makes one ponder what other information the FBI kept from him. Did the FBI agents tell Comey about Joseph Mifsud — the supposed Russian connection who tipped Papadopoulos off to the Kremlin having dirt on Hillary? Did they keep him apprised of their investigation of Mifsud and the FBI agent’s Washington D.C.-based interview of the supposed spy? (Hopefully, the House committees will raise those questions next go-around.) And did Comey see the 302 of that interview? We did learn one fact, though, from Comey: 302 summaries won’t always include classified information, so if Mifsud had a connection to Western intelligence services, as many have surmised, the 302 report probably won’t mention it.

Friday’s questioning also revealed that Comey did not know that Steele had met with media representatives in September of 2016. On this point, Republican Rep. Jim Jordan pushed him, asking about reports of a series of emails that discussed “the fact that Christopher Steele had met with representatives in the press in September of 2016.” This question likely concerned John Solomon’s report in The Hill last week, “FBI Email Chain May Provide Most Damning Evidence of FISA Abuses Yet.”

Solomon reported claims from sources that email exchanges from early- to mid-October 2016 showed the FBI was aware, prior to its first application to surveil former campaign advisor Carter Page, that Steele had contacts with the news media. The email exchanges also evidenced concerns by the intelligence community about the reliability of Steele’s dossier. If the sources are accurate, these facts provide strong evidence that the Obama administration’s DOJ and FBI intentionally withheld or misrepresented evidence to the FISA court.

Further, according to Solomon’s sources, the email chains included then-FBI Director “Comey, FBI investigators in the Russia probe and lawyers in the DOJ’s national security division.”  Yet on Friday, in response to questioning by Jordan, Comey testified he didn’t know anything about those emails.

Maybe the sources were wrong. Or maybe Comey forgot. But if Comey was included on such an email chain, keeping him in the loop would be the exception because as Comey’s answers — or lack thereof — from Friday’s hearing make clear, the agents running Crossfire Hurricane intentionally cut Comey out of the information flow.

3. Comey unwittingly confirmed the FISA application failed to meet the legal standards for a FISA warrant.

In questioning Comey on his knowledge of Steele and the Steele dossier, the committee members also pushed him on the propriety of using the Steele dossier to obtain a FISA warrant for Trump’s former campaign-advisor Carter Page. Comey’s discussion of the FISA order makes two points clear: Comey’s review of the applications was superficial, and the FISA system was abused.

First, when pushed on the details of the FISA application, Comey didn’t seem to know much. He said he read the application, but then minimized his role. “The Director would want to know whether or not those representations were accurate,” he said, and whether the “carefully constructed process of the FBI had been followed, that the right people had reviewed things, that the right signoffs had been held, before I would sign the certification that came with it. That’s probably the most I can say about the role of the Director in a FISA.” In other words, Comey relied on what his subordinates told him, and as is clear by now, that wasn’t much.

Second, Comey’s testimony reaffirms the view that the FISA system was abused. The Steele dossier was included even though it was not verified beyond the fact that Page had traveled to Russia in July 2016.  And in Comey’s deposition it was revealed that Sally Moyer, a lawyer in the FBI’s General Counsel’s office, had stated that without the dossier, obtaining a FISA warrant was a 49-51 or maybe 50-50 proposition.

Further, when asked about the FBI’s reliance on the Steele’s dossier, Comey suggested that it was sufficient if the FISA court knew of the reliability of the primary source (Steele). That would make it “a totally legit warrant application,” according to Comey, even if the reliability of Steele’s sub-sources was not known. That is not the law.

Yet Comey verified the FISA applications and when asked whether he had any concerns about the process that occurred around the Page FISA warrant then, or now, Comey responded “I do not.”

4. Comey is blinded to the DOJ and FBI’s blame.

Comey also used his time testifying to condemn Trump. Aided by softball questions from some committee members, Comey charged Trump with damaging national security and the reputation of the DOJ and FBI with his constant criticism of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the DOJ.

Yet Comey ignores the fault that resides with the DOJ and FBI and he remains oblivious to the fact that half of the country views the Mueller probe as a witch hunt. Many Americans see a double-standard and they see men like Comey blind to the evidence of past misconduct by the DOJ and FBI, and ignorant of the blatant bias demonstrated by the individuals who have investigated the president.

For instance, Comey acknowledged former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton raised concerns.  He concedes that several aspects of the investigation into Hillary’s handling of classified material deviated from the norm, including the FBI allowing fact witnesses to attend the agents’ interview of the former Secretary of State.

Comey also admitted that the emails transmitted on Hillary’s private server included at least 110 emails and 52 email chains that involved classified information, including eight of which were top secret. But then Comey testified with a straight face that no “reasonable prosecutor would bring any charges” against Hillary given the facts.

Comey also acknowledged the politically charged exchanges between agents involved in the investigation and further admitted that the text messages exchanged between Strzok and Page and would have prompted him to remove the agents from the Hillary and Russia investigations, and potentially resulted in their termination. Yet he continues to play the investigations off as played in political-free zones.

If Comey and other career DOJ and FBI officials truly want to rehabilitate the reputation of the DOJ and the bureau, they would stop ignoring or downplaying the past and would instead come clean, admit the mistakes, and acknowledge the role of politics or personal animus.

But they haven’t. Instead, Comey continues to sell the line that the decision not to prosecute Hillary was made “by people who didn’t give a hoot about politics,” adding that the probe into her handling of classified materials did not stray from the mark because, “The FBI doesn’t investigate people to find any crimes.” That sentiment is rich given the tentacle-reach of the Mueller probe that Comey sees as above board and beyond reproach. Half the country, though, disagrees, and sees the Mueller investigation as payback for Trump winning the election and taking on “the swamp.”

5. There may be an obstruction of justice investigation.

The next key takeaway provides a case in point. Comey was asked about his conversation with Trump concerning his former national security advisor Michael Flynn. Comey told the committees that Trump said Flynn was “a good guy” and that he hoped I “would let it go.” Comey suggested these comments were potentially enough to justify an obstruction of justice investigation because “one interpretation of it is the President asking the FBI to drop a criminal investigation.”

Yet, for all of Comey’s concerns over the president’s comments and what he now claims suffices to launch an obstruction of justice probe, Comey didn’t raise his concerns with the DOJ. Instead, he wrote a memo and met with Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, Chief Counsel James Baker, and Chief of Staff Jim Rybicki — and possibly Bill Priestap or a couple of other FBI employees — to discuss his concerns.

During this meeting, the group decided to “hold on to it, keep the information close hold” until “the Department of Justice sorted out how they were going to supervise this and then we could bring them into it and figure out what should we do to investigate this.” Comey said, “We didn’t feel we could go to Attorney General Sessions because he was about to be recused, there was no Deputy Attorney General because Mr. Rosenstein had not been confirmed yet.”

But at the time Sessions was the attorney general and there was an acting deputy attorney general. Comey and his compatriots purposefully usurped Session’s authority. From Comey’s additional testimony, it appears that he later raised his concerns with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, following Rosenstein’s confirmation, but that “the Department of Justice didn’t get to the point of figuring out how they were going to supervise the investigation until after I was fired.”

Apparently, what the DOJ figured out was that Mueller would look into a possible obstruction of justice charge: at least that is the impression left by Comey’s testimony.

Although the scope of the Mueller probe is unknown, during questioning Comey stated that he could not answer whether he believed Trump’s firing of him constituted evidence of obstruction of justice, “because I’m a witness, in a sense.” The FBI’s attorney seemingly confirmed that point when she interjected “to the extent that question goes — again, goes to Mueller’s investigation into obstruction, the witness will not be able to answer.”

When the FBI attorney again noted that Comey “also stated that he is also a witness in the investigation,” Gowdy caught the slip, and asked, “Which investigation? Is there an obstruction of justice investigation?” FBI counsel then realized her misstep and asked Gowdy to rephrase his question to Comey and then began calling Comey “a potential witness.”

6. The committees wasted a bunch of time.

From Comey’s testimony it is clear that he did not, and does not, know much about the launch of, and handling of, the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. Yet, as discussed above, Comey’s lack of knowledge proves significant on many fronts: it demonstrates that his view on the propriety of the investigation and the FISA applications is worthless; it establishes that rogue agents had the ability to direct the investigation without Comey’s oversight; and it proves the paper trail provides a selective and slanted summary of the FBI and DOJ’s conduct.

But knowing the full extent of Comey’s ignorance would serve to inform Congress’s understanding of the breadth of the potential misconduct. Unfortunately, the Republican committee members wasted much of their time revisiting the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified (and even top-secret) government information. They need to let it go! The public knows what Clinton did — and what the Obama DOJ and FBI didn’t do — and rehashing that gets us nowhere.

What Congress and the public don’t know, though, is the extent of the misconduct and rule-bending engaged in to target the Trump campaign. That should be their focus when Comey returns Dec. 17 to finish the deposition.

Given Comey’s professed lack of knowledge of several key points, it should be a quick process to run down the list of questions I previously posed, asking simply: Did you know then? Or do you know now? And if Comey testifies that he didn’t know of the pertinent facts, a quick follow-up concerning whether under normal circumstances he should have been informed of the investigative details, would provide an important insight into the handling of the investigation.

18 Top Comedians Who Can Never Host The Oscars Now

The Academy Awards is facing quite a predicament about selecting a host for its 2019 ceremony. After tapping, then ditching, Kevin Hart due to some jokes he made about homosexuality a decade ago, they are left carefully contemplating his replacement.

It wasn’t long after his announcement as host that the outrage mob was demanding an apology for those old tweets. The Academy agreed, and asked Hart to apologize or they would remove him from his duties. Hart said he had already apologized for the jokes on several occasions and did not want to submit to a demand for further apology. Still, he removed himself from the job only hours later, along with yet another apology for his old jokes.

Hollywood’s deeply sanitized, heavily monitored thinking has been apparent for some time, but the current extreme mob mentality is “think exactly like us or don’t work.” Absolutely nothing an entertainer has said or done is off limits to the apology hunters, no matter how old or out of context that infraction may be.

Yet comedy is an area of entertainment that requires pushing boundaries and is incompatible with a climate so politically correct that it can no longer find humor in everyday doubts and insecurities. Every comic working who may be considered for this job will have to publicly apologize for something before he or she takes the stage.

Following Hart’s departure, many names have surfaced as possible replacements, but let me save the Academy some time and show why they are disqualified.

Tiffany Haddish

No one’s star has risen faster in the last two years of comedy than Tiffany Haddish’s. She is the current “it girl” for leading female roles in high-budget funny movies, having starred in eight major films since 2016.

She has been an awards show darling, and her name was immediately floated as a replacement for Hart. Unfortunately, if potential hosts are to be judged on years-old tweet jokes that could be interpreted as homophobic, Haddish is disqualified. They include: “then I turned into a ugly fat lesbian, and I could not stop eating tacos. Scared the sh-t out of me still crying”; “Why when I get my hair braided it makes my monkey feel funny? Oh just me?”; and “it almost makes me feel gay but thats why the person that braids my hair is a big Black dude out of Jail named Sug.”

To the Los Angeles Times in 2017, Haddish also expressed her desire to work with disgraced comedian Bill Cosby. She said, “I still want to work with Bill Cosby, I don’t care, I’ll drink the juice. I’ll drink the juice. I’ll take a nap. I don’t give a damn. [laughs] But seriously, I would love for him to play my grandfather in something.”

No love for Cosby allowed at the Oscars.

Donald Glover

Another name that has been proposed as a Hart replacement is Donald Glover. The comedian and actor had a big year in 2018, both in his work on “Atlanta” and as his alter ego, “Childish Gambino.”

Glover made headlines with his music video for “This Is America,” which was praised as both creatively genius and inspiring for young, black Americans. He’s young, funny, and a positive role model for marginalized youth, which makes him an ideal candidate for the Oscars.

Unfortunately, Glover’s early days as a comedian didn’t predict how high his star would rise, and he too has a checkered past with offensive comedic material. In an Internet sketch called “Bro Rape” that has largely been forgotten, Glover and his friends joke about the rising crisis of bros raping each other. Warning: graphic content.

As Childish Gambino, Glover’s lyrics should also not be ignored. He often references rape, misogyny, and an obsession with Asian women. As a comedian, he is a staunch defender of the word “retard,” and has joked about fighting midgets.

He also once compared the financial strain of having a child to having AIDS. Seems like Glover does not quite have the chops to be the perfect host after all.

Sarah Silverman

If strong virtue-signaling is what the Academy truly wants, Sarah Silverman should be the perfect choice. She’s currently starring in her own, super-woke talk show on Hulu, “I Love You, America,” and has become somewhat of a spokesperson for progressive causes.

She is outspoken in her disapproval of the president, and a strident supporter of abortion and Planned Parenthood. Sarah’s past as a comedian seems to contradict her current moral values, however. Once known for being edgy and controversial, she has several problematic jokes to reconcile if she ever wants the coveted hosting gig.

In this 2001 appearance on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” Silverman goes full tilt with ethnic jokes, even using the word “chink” in joke about getting out of jury duty.

In 2007 on her own show, “The Sarah Silverman Program,” Sarah appears in blackface makeup in a storyline about switching places with her black friend for a day. The comedian has also joked about child molestation and used homophobic slurs on Twitter. Sarah has quite a bit of public penance to pay if she wants the biggest platform in liberal Hollywood.

Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland (Nick Kroll and John Mulaney)

In recent days, many on social media suggested that this fictional duo revive their roles from “Oh, Hello!” on Broadway and host the Academy Awards. The duo is well-loved, and many find their brand of humor well suited to Hollywood’s biggest night.

Well, Gil and George may not have problematic pasts with jokes, but Nick Kroll and John Mulaney certainly do. Kroll is known as the creator and star of “Big Mouth,” a social justicey animated series that recently dedicated an entire episode to the wonders of Planned Parenthood.

Before Kroll prioritized leftist politics, however, he was famous for playing the incredibly crass and offensive Rodney Ruxin on “The League.” Kroll will have to repent for his time in the role if Gil is to be welcomed at the Oscars. Always the biggest bully in his group of friends, Ruxin named his fantasy football team the blatantly homophobic “Pete Top, Kevin Bottom.” Ruxin was also never afraid to make a rape joke.

Mulaney does not have a character like Ruxin lurking in his past, but he gleefully made “playfully anti-Semitic” jokes in his special “New in Town.” Sadly, that is also disqualifying. Gil and George will have to sit this one out.

Jon Stewart and John Oliver

Stewart is perhaps the best-known icon of left-branded comedy and often considered the original dissenter against conservatives in late-night comedy. His turn on “The Daily Show” is widely reflected on as a humorous but intellectual stand against oppressive politics.

Early in Stewart’s days as host of the show, the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal was absorbing the news cycle at a ferocious rate, and comics everywhere were having a field day. While every late-night host crossed the line with salacious jokes about Lewinsky, Stewart stands apart as the meanest in his unabashed slut-shaming of the young woman.

As recently as 2008, he doubled down on his pride in making disgusting jokes about a woman who lived for ten years in exile. Here he and then-correspondent John Oliver joyfully revisit their favorite swipes at Lewinsky.

Then in a 2014 episode of “The Daily Show,” Stewart reiterated his delight in making blow job jokes about the former White House intern: “Monica Lewinsky has returned to network TV. … I remember years ago she said she wanted her life back. Then I guess she got it back and said ‘Well, this sucks.’ … She’s hosting a show called ‘Mr. Personality’ because apparently the new Fox show ‘Blow Jobs, Blow Jobs, Blow Jobs’ isn’t ready.”

Slut-shaming is a no-go for Oscar hosting, Jon.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

The favorite “Saturday Night Live” duo have already shared hosting duties for the Golden Globes several times, so they seem like a natural choice to tap for the Oscars. Both are considered feminist icons who support equal pay and women in show business.

Yet they have sometimes run afoul of the required groupthink about using racism in comedy. While “30 Rock” was sometimes under fire for Tracey Morgan’s occasional sexism and homophobia, Fey’s current show, “The Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt,” has received the strongest pushback because of its use of race as humor.

White actress Jane Krakowski is cast as a Native American woman who is easily able to disguise her racial identity with bleach and contact lenses. Early seasons also featured a Vietnamese character named “Dong,” who was such a stereotype of Asian-Americans that it made people uncomfortable.

Attempting to make a joke out of the love interest between Kimmie and Dong on the show, another character comments, “For some reason, that Asian fetish thing tends to go one way, white guys and Asian women. But swim upstream, and a lady can clean up.”

Fey also received backlash for casting two American actors as Afghans in her movie, “Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot.”

While Amy Poehler has had less controversy in regard to racial sensitivity, she made her distaste of identity politics clear during a rather contentious interview with The Hollywood Reporter. While these ladies may be feminists, they can’t seem to get it quite right in jokes about racism.

Dave Chappelle and Wayne Brady

Often considered one of the greatest comics of all time, Chappelle has also been floated as a possible host. Anyone in the outrage community who wants to see Chappelle in this role must have a short memory. Chappelle is a non-apologizing comedian who has never been shy about making a controversial comment if he thinks it will be funny.

In two of his four Netflix specials released in the past two years, he has joked extensively about transgender people, much to their ire. In addition to jokes about Caitlyn Jenner being gross and scarring his memories, Chappelle quips, “I support anyone’s right to be who they are inside, but to what degree do I have to participate in your self-image? Why do I have to switch up my pronoun game for this mother–ker?”

Laughing at his situation in a follow up special, he says, “You know who hates me the most? The transgender community.”

In this “Chappelle Show” sketch with beloved clean comic Wayne Brady, the two joke freely about violence against women, which should effectively eliminate Brady from contention to host as well.

Don’t expect any apologies from Chappelle, and don’t expect him to host the Oscars.

Jerry Seinfeld

Another non-apologizing comedian, Jerry Seinfeld has enjoyed a prolific career in comedy that has consisted of very little controversy. He did happen to make this joke, however, about a gay French king scrolling through his phone that should serve as his official disqualification for being homophobic.

Stephen Colbert and Steven Carrell

Who could be better than the president’s number-one enemy on late night, Stephen Colbert? The man has made a career making political jokes that make virtue-signaling celebrities happy. Surely he’d be a perfect choice to host the Oscars.

Not so fast. When Colbert was a cast member of “The Dana Carvey Show” in the 1990s, he participated in racist sketch that would in no way fly today. Steven Carrell should also be voided from consideration by this clip alone.

Past Hosts Who Would Now be Disqualified

2016 Oscars host Chris Rock joked on Instagram that he had lost another job to Hart. Rock used the word “faggot” liberally in his 2008 special, “Kill the Messenger.” While actually hosting the Oscars, he also made stereotypical jokes about Americans with Asian heritage.

Billy Crystal did a Sammie Davis Jr. sketch in blackface makeup. Davis’ daughter thought it was funny, but it is doubtful the modern Academy would.

Steve Martin famously parodied King Tut without being at all Egyptian.

David Letterman was only outshined by Jon Stewart in his slut-shaming of Lewinsky.

Jimmy Kimmel makes headlines with his deep political values now, but he made homophobic jokes earlier this year during a feud with Sean Hannity, not to mention his oft-forgotten days of sexism and homophobia on “The Man Show.”

This list could go on forever, because no comedian has a record that would satisfy the outrage culture that exists today. Most of the jokes mentioned in this article have already been apologized for, and many comics have stressed that they have grown as a person since the time of their controversial jokes, but it will never be enough.

No comedian or genre of comedy exists that is incapable of offending someone, so the only acceptable solution is to pick the most progressive, intersectional “comedian” available who couldn’t possibly offend anyone, thus eliminating the idea of funny from the Oscars broadcast.

The Chris Rock paragraph was added after publication.

Massachusetts Public School Continues To Allow Bullying, Harassment Of Jewish Students

In response to several anti-Semitic incidents, Americans for Peace and Tolerance (where I work) launched an extensive investigation into anti-Semitic bullying and harassment of Jewish, pro-Israel students by radical left-wing history teachers at Newton North High School in Massachusetts. The investigation is ongoing, with thousands of internal emails and other documents already obtained and examined under the Massachusetts Public Records Law. Thousands more are on their way.

We have previously published reports about misconduct within the Newton North history department. We’ve reported about how twelfth-graders at Newton North are taught lies about Israel in a class conducted by history teacher David Bedar. We also reported on an anti-Semitic hatefest at Newton North organized by some of those twelfth-graders during the school’s annual Middle East Day, which featured Palestinian propaganda films screened by Ali Abunimah’s Boston Palestine Film Festival.

Recently, we reported about an organized protest staged by Newton North history teachers against people and organizations in Newton’s Jewish community who question the school’s anti-Israel “lessons.” In a widely read report in The Federalist, we also revealed how Newton North history teachers have coordinated to “call out” conservative students’ opinions in their classrooms after the unexpected results of the 2016 elections.

History teacher David Bedar noted that he found it “really difficult in the current climate to teach kids to appreciate other perspectives.” Another teacher vowed to feed her students “a constant drip of information that counters the Trump story of America.” In a stunning statement, one history teacher rejected the need to teach objective facts altogether, writing that objectivity might be “the most effective destructive weapon against social justice.”

Now, new information is emerging from internal communications we obtained under the Massachusetts Public Records Law, which points to a troubling and unreported pattern of harassment and discrimination against Jewish students by Newton North teachers. Here are four examples.

No Accomodations for Cancer

Two years ago, a Jewish student at Newton North — we’ll call her Becky — was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a bone cancer with a 60-70 percent survival rate, just before she was to start her junior year. Her parents moved her to Israel for a year of treatment by its amazing doctors. Becky wanted to attend a U.S.-accredited international school in Israel, because she wanted to graduate with her friends back in Newton after she got better and returned home.

In response to this plan, and to Becky’s desire to take an AP class, Jonathan Bassett, the chair of the Newton North history department, stated: “This is, of course, somewhat ridiculous.” He then wrote: “I’m not going to entertain requests … to take [a course] pass/fail, or any other modification.” He finished with, “I’m not going to have them play the cancer card on me if it doesn’t go well.”

At Newton South, Newton’s other high school, a more sympathetic attitude appears to prevail. An Israeli student was given the choice to take an entire semester of classes pass/fail simply because a visa issue forced him to miss a few days of school.

Bassett has been intensely hostile to community members concerned about anti-Israel bias in his school, telling teachers to “ignore the noise” and, in the words of a former school committee member, “wax[ing] poetic about this garbage,” referring to the community members’ concerns. Two years ago, Bassett dismissed a Jewish parent’s concerns about anti-Israel and pro-Islam history lessons in class, telling the principal, “She has some mental health issues and is visibly unwell.”

IDF Sweatshirt Reported to Police

Earlier this year, a Newton North history teacher had someone who apparently turned out to be a visiting former student reported to the Newton Police Department, because the former student came into the history office looking for a couple of teachers and happened to be wearing a sweatshirt with an Israel Defense Forces logo. The teacher felt that the former student represented a threat to the school.

Considering Police Investigation of Jewish Culture Club

In 2017, Newton North officials seriously considered having the Newton Police Department investigate leaders of the student Jewish Culture Club at Newton North over an internet post that might – or might not – have been written by a member of the club. A former teacher at Newton North demanded that school officials “[convene] a meeting with the leaders of the Jewish Culture Club … along with the Rabbi who works with them and their adviser … to discuss the post.”

The dean balked at the “the thought of speaking to a group of students who may not be involved,” but was “more than willing to set up a meeting with [since-deceased Newton Police] Officer Panica” and have the Newton Police Department investigate the online activity of Jewish Culture Club leaders. The Newton Public Schools’ lawyer has been fiercely resisting our attempts to obtain the content of the post.

Allowing Swastika Cyberbullying

Swastikas have made several recent appearances as graffiti on the Newton North campus, and have even now gone digital. In August, a Jewish Republican Newton North parent described on Fox News how students at the school went to his son’s Facebook page, photoshopped swastikas onto his son’s hat in pictures of the son and his friends at a Donald Trump rally, and spread these anti-Semitic caricatures all over social media.

This seems to be a fairly clear case of anti-Semitic cyberbullying, according to the federal government’s definitions of both anti-Semitism and cyberbullying. Yet, according to the parent, the school refused to discipline those responsible.

Tap on Wrist for Student Denying Genocide

Consequence-free Jew-hatred among Newton North students seems to play a significant role in the hostile environment for pro-Israel Jews at the school. Public records show that Bedar and some of his fellow history teachers at Newton North have repeatedly tolerated blatant and public anti-Semitic harassment by an out-of-control student. In January of this year, a student at Newton North, we’ll call him “S,” was deep into a year-long bullying spree against Jewish and Armenian students, which he waged in diverse contexts and imaginative ways. Among “S’s” offenses, in the teachers’ own words:

When he represented Hungary [as part of Newton North’s Model United Nations team], [S] made many anti-semetic [sic] comments because he believes that is how Hungary would act in the UN.

[S] denied the Armenian Genocide in conversation with NNHS students at MIT [Model United Nations] conference.

In [a] conversation [with a Jewish female student during lunch,] ‘[S] made anti-semetic [sic] comments while referring to the relationship between Palestine and Israel. When I asked about this yesterday, he admitted to saying them, but said he was joking.’

Here is the entirety of the reprimand that “S” received from Bedar for his anti-Semitic and anti-Armenian abuse:

[S], I’m trusting that you follow through with your promises, listen to my advice, and continue active participation in the [Model United Nations] club in an appropriate, respectful manner that meets expectations. Thanks for coming this afternoon and I’m looking forward to working with you in Model UN going forward.

It is difficult to imagine a student who made racist “jokes” about any other minority being treated in such a casual and lighthearted manner. Because of the failure of the teachers to discipline “S,” the student members of the Model UN club finally had to take the matter into their own hands. They voted him out.

Failure to Protect Civil Rights Is Legally Actionable

In 2015, a New York school district was forced to pay $4.48 million to settle a lawsuit accusing it of “taking little or no action to address the pervasive anti-Semitic harassment” in its schools. Under United States civil rights laws, “deliberate indifference” from public school teachers to civil rights violations by students is nearly as repugnant as the civil rights violations themselves.

Some Newton North teachers and administrators, who have a legal duty to protect the civil rights of Jewish students, are themselves encouraging an anti-Semitic hostile learning environment through their treatment of pro-Israel Jewish students and by teaching lies about Israel, which may incite students against pro-Israel Jews and Israel.

During the Jim Crow era of the American South, local and state governments that should have protected  civil rights seemed to be indifferent or hostile to pleas for those rights. It took federal intervention to provide protection to African Americans, and it may require the same for Jewish students in Newton, Massachusetts.

Whether through private action in the federal courts or through the enforcement powers of the Department of Education under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Jewish students of Newton North should, in principle, have the vast power and resources of the federal government to fight on their behalf against local government abuses. American Jews need to act with the understanding that freedom isn’t free, and that rights are very often not self-enforcing.

Podcast: Our Reality TV President, Kevin Hart, And Ariana Grande


Are Kim Kardashian and Kanye West the only celebrities who have been able to stand up to the mob? Has working with President Trump hurt or helped their brand? On this episode of the Federalist Radio Hour, Saagar Enjeti, White House Correspondent for The Daily Caller, and Emily Jashinsky discuss Trump’s recent appointments, his political media savvy, and how the outrage mob got Kevin Hart fired from his Oscars gig.

Our culture maintains an increasing intolerance of anyone against progressive orthodoxy, and Hollywood celebrities must choose to submit or fight back.

“Kim and Kanye use the sheer strength and power of their brand to say, ‘No, we’re not caving into this,’ and they’re actually accomplishing something.” Enjeti said. “It’s arguable that they have had more impact on moving the needle on criminal justice reform than anyone else.”