BEN WEINGARTEN

Reader. Writer. Thinker. Commentator. Truth Seeker.

Month: December 2015

My Interview with Longtime Democratic Strategist Doug Schoen on ‘Return to Winter: Russia, China, and the New Cold War Against America’

Check out my latest interview on behalf of Encounter Books with longtime Democratic strategist and friend Doug Schoen, in connection with the newly released edition of his Return to Winter: Russia, China, and the New Cold War Against America.

During the interview, which you can listen to below, Doug and I discuss the acceleration of the Russia-China strategic partnership against America and the West, their aims in Syria, the threat of cyberwarfare, how the next American president can fix the mess President Obama has created, Doug’s predictions for Russian action in 2016, Trump and Cruz vs. Rubio, Hillary Clinton, and the one thing people are discounting that could play an outsized role in the upcoming U.S. presidential election:

Featured Image Source: Encounter Books.

My GenFKD Series on Misleading Government Economic Statistics

The first of my two posts for GenFKD on the misleading economic statistics our government peddles are now available:

My friend George Rasley over at ConservativeHQ did a write-up on my piece on the flawed U-3 “headline” measure of unemployment, which would lead Americans to think that the economy is rip-roaring given that the unemployment rate has fallen to 5.0%.

Thomas Lifson at American Thinker followed up on my piece as well in a post titled “Obamanomics explained in one chart.”

PJ Media: Does the GOP Establishment Think Ted Cruz Is a RINO in Conservative Sheep’s Clothing?

In my latest post at PJ Media, I argue that the GOP Establishment’s argument that Ted Cruz is “slick,” narcissistic and ambitious is disingenuous.

First, even if we were to accept that Ted Cruz had such traits, does any candidate for the presidency not have them in some measure?

Second, so what? Is the Establishment afraid that Senator Cruz is pulling a fast one and seeking to dupe GOP voters into believing he is a conservative so he can govern as a moderate?

Here’s a taste:

Conservatives aren’t as stark raving mad as the media loves to claim — painting them as enraged yahoos clinging to guns and religion as a means of marginalizing them — but rather, conservatives are supremely disappointed by a party that rewards its support with betrayal time and time again. It would be the definition of insanity for grassroots voters to continue doing the same thing over and over again at the ballot box, pulling the lever for the generic Republican candidate and expecting a different outcome.

Which again brings us to Ted Cruz and the slights of his Republican adversaries. Every person running for president need be somewhat ”slick,” if slick means an ability to garner wide enough political support to be considered a serious competitor for the presidency.

Every person running for president need be somewhat egotistical, if not narcissistic, to have the confidence and belief that he should be commander-in-chief of the greatest nation in the world’s history.

Certainly, every person running for president need be ambitious enough to do what is necessary to rise through the ranks of power, and surely it must have been his or her aim to rise to the Oval Office for a number of years. Or did Bill Clinton just store away a picture with John F. Kennedy so he would have a fun souvenir for his grandkids?

Given that this is the reality of politics, does the D.C. Republican political class honestly believe that Marco Rubio does not share these traits? How about Jeb Bush? Or Chris Christie?

While it may be that Cruz personally grates on the GOP establishment because he challenges them and won’t play ball, perhaps its key concern is that it feels that his conservatism is out of the mainstream, thus making him unelectable in a general election. If so, the establishment should make that case to the GOP primary voters — at this writing it should be noted, Cruz falls within the margin of error or betteragainst presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in a general election.

Read the whole thing here.

Featured Image Credit: Doug Mills.

Government Thinks You’re Too Dumb To Try Crowdfunding

Over at The Federalist, I write about how the SEC is subverting perhaps the only piece of pro-market legislation passed during the Obama administration in the so-called “crowdfunding” component of the JOBS Act.

This bill was supposed to democratize startup funding by allowing you and I to invest in the next Uber. Instead, in its implementation of the law, the SEC is completely undermining that aim and discouraging companies from availing themselves of crowdfunded equity altogether.

Here is a taste of the piece:

Market participants in crowdfunding would invest in companies with varying levels of disclosure on varying terms based upon risk-reward payoffs they deem appropriate. In fact, while startups are loathe to provide detailed information on their operations, some companies would voluntarily provide more robust disclosures to entice greater investment on more company-friendly terms, thereby creating a potential race to the top without government coercion.

Moreover, market participants are perfectly capable of determining for themselves how much money they should invest in speculative startup ventures. Americans are free to spend as much as we want on everything from doughnuts to liquor and lottery tickets. Investing in startups may provide only marginally better odds than the latter; at the very least it has the upside of leaving us thinner and sober. Why should government leave us free to choose on how we spend on some things, but not others?

Read the whole thing here.

 

Featured Image Source: JoBlo.

My Interview with Author Bob Curry on ‘Common Sense Nation: Unlocking the Forgotten Power of the American Idea’

Check out my interview for Encounter Books with author Bob Curry on his new book Common Sense Nation, a deep but eminently accessible introduction to the still under-appreciated American Enlightenment that resulted in the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and our nation, among a few other things:

Featured Image Source: Encounter Books.

‘Inequality’ Does Not Cause ISIS, Or How Our Western Materialist Worldview is Killing Us

Recently, world-renowned French socialist economist Thomas Piketty proffered the argument that “inequality” is the cause of ISIS.

While it may not be surprising given that Piketty’s life work has been dedicated to studying inequality (and arguing that to eradicate it we ought to tear down the capitalist system), Piketty revealed a critical insight about the Western elite: It believes global jihadism is attributable to materialist factors.

I challenge this thesis in my latest piece over at the indispensable City Journal titled Did Inequality Cause ISIS?, and argue that in order to effectively combat the global jihad, we must look at the world through the same prism as Islamic supremacists, not the materialist one apparently subscribed to by our entire foreign policy Establishment, including but not limited to the Obama administration (see “jobs for jihadis”).

Also, the great Dan Bongino spoke about my piece during his Conservative Review podcast. Listen starting at 21:13 below:

 

Featured Image Source: LiveLeak screengrab.

PJ Media: Serial Islamic Supremacist Enabler Lindsey Graham’s Laughable Attack on Ted Cruz

Check out my latest at PJ Media, where I delve into the long overdue foreign policy battle between the “right-wing” Wilsonianism espoused by Sen. Lindsey Graham et al, and in my opinion the superior policy articulated best by Jeane Kirpatrick, and I believe being represented most faithfully by Sen. Ted Cruz.

A taste:

[Sen. Lindsey] Graham may be a marginal figure in the polls, but his comments come in context of a critical and long overdue battle that has broken out within the Republican Party to define a conservative foreign policy superior to the “right-wing” Wilsonianism of George W. Bush, and left-wing Wilsonianism of Barack Obama under which mortal enemies have ascended.

In particular, a spat has broken out between Cruz and what may prove his stiffest competition, Sen. Marco Rubio. Graham, though perhaps less articulate and more impolitic than Rubio, serves as something of a stalking horse given that their positions on issues in the Middle East are largely indistinguishable.

Graham’s attack was in fact reminiscent of similar rhetoric we have seen from those in the Rubio camp in recent days.

For my money, I take Cruz’s judicious and clear-eyed policy over a third and fourth term of George W. Bush’s well-intentioned but ultimately detrimental democracy spreading.

And if Graham or Rubio for that matter takes issue with Cruz’s foreign policy in Syria in particular, one would be interested to hear what they would say to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for whom what goes on in Syria has direct consequences. Netanyahu said recently:

If I see a situation where I don’t have a clear concept, I don’t charge in. In Syria, I do not see a simple concept because you choose here between a horrible secular dictatorship or the two other prospects that would be buttressed by Iran, and you would have Iran run Syria, a horrible prospect for us, or Da’ish, which is also touching our borders on the Golan. When two of your enemies are fighting each other, I don’t say strengthen one or the other. I say weaken both, or at least don’t intervene, which is what I’ve done. I’ve not intervened.It is hard to argue with that.

Read the whole thing here.

PJ Media: The 10 Obfuscatory Essentials for Covering Jihad as a Journalist

Recently I published a piece on the media’s formulaic obfuscation when it comes to covering jihadism, though it much prefers the term “terrorism.”

In the wake of the savagery in San Bernardino, it is unfortunately timely. The media continues to follow its same politically correct and therefore damaging script.

Read The 10 Obfuscatory Essential for Covering Jihad as a Journalist over at PJ Media.

No, Islamic Supremacism is not ‘Nihilistic,’ and Syrian Refugees Aren’t Like Jews in World War II

Recently I had the chance to appear on SiriusXM’s “Steele & Ungar” to take up a spirited debate with my lefty pal Rick Ungar and ally Ron Christie on American policy vis-à-vis Syrian refugees, Ungar’s contention that to bar such refugees from America is akin to FDR preventing Jews fleeing Europe from entering the country during World War II and Islamic supremacism more broadly.

Because it’s always good to attack the callers, this was one of my favorite parts of the show in which I challenge the idea that Islamic supremacism is a “nihilistic” ideology:

My appearance began with a back-and-forth between myself and Rick on what is in America’s national interest with respect to the Syrian refugees, and why I take issue with his World War II analogy:

We later continued that debate:

Lastly, here is what I think the most compassionate thing we can do for refugees in the Middle East is:

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