Great Reads 6/30/17

A daily roundup of great reads from around the web as selected by our editors.

—Chris Buskirk—

“In July 2016 Spieles’ job was to register as many voters as possible and reported to Democratic Campaign headquarters in Harrisburg,” a U.S. Attorney’s office spokesperson said.

Can you fill in the blanks from there? We have a U.S. attorney issuing a statement about a Democrat operative paid to register voters. Where, oh where could this story lead? If you answered prison, give yourself a pat on the back. And if you are also thinking, “That’s why we like having Jeff Sessions as our Attorney General and not Eric “Contempt of Congress” Holder or Loretta “It’s not an investigation, it’s just a ‘matter’” Lynch then add a gold star to the list of life-affirming kudos you’ve received today.

CBS is reporting that Andrew Spieles of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania will be serving some hard time for his role in registering—wait for it—dead people as Democratic Party voters. WTVR has the rest of the story.

What is it with Democrats and shady land deals? We could ask the Clintons who have their own history. The Whitewater scandal sent everyone involved to prison except the Clintons. (Historical note: Disgraced former FBI Director James Comey was the Senate’s special deputy counsel investigating the Clintons. Result: No charges against the Clintons.)

And let’s not forget Barack Obama’s sweetheart deal with convicted fraudster Tony Rezko.

This time it is notorious capitalist scourge and Larry David lookalike Bernie Sanders. Readers will recall this man of the people owns three homes, including a lake house that he bought himself just after losing the nomination to Hillary Clinton in 2016. It’s no wonder so many of our misguided youth are (temporarily) attracted to socialism. If you think it means vacation homes (several) and rallies in front of adoring crowds rather than riots and breadlines you can hardly be blamed for wanting to sign up.

But now things are looking a little shaky in Sandersworld. Federal investigators are probing a rather curious land deal that Bernie’s wife Jane entered into while she was president of a small Vermont college. If you think of it as a mashup of Evergreen State, your local Montessori school, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and Clintonesque financial probity, you’re probably on the right track. That deal involved potential fraud to the tune of about $10 million. But now that people have started to look more closely at the college and at the Sanders there are more questions.

Jasper Craven at VTDigger reports federal authorities “are examining whether Jane Sanders accurately represented donations to the college used as collateral to back the bank loan.” He goes on to ask about accusations of nepotism and self-dealing that go back years.

—Brandon J. Weichert—

Useful Infidel. Earlier this week, I wrote a piece over at my website, The Weichert Report, in which I suggested that the Iranians were playing Russia for fools in Syria. The avalanche of emails from my readers indicates that I struck a nerve. What is the strategic purpose of Russia’s intervention in Syria? Before you answer, “Killing ISIS,” think again.

In fact, Russia has spent more of its time blasting American-backed forces than it has killing ISIS fighters. Is it to protect Assad? In part, yes. But that is not the strategic end goal. Putin is being pulled increasingly into the morass of Syria by his Iranian “friends.” With each escalation, with every increase in both U.S. and Russian forces into that mosh pit of sectarian strife, the United States and the Russian Federation are drawn closer to war.

Cui bono? The Iranians, that’s who!

As former Army Lt. Colonel Ralph Peters explains in his recent New York Post column, the Iranians have a vested interest in getting the United States to fight ISIS (an actual threat to Iran), and getting the Russians to eventually fight the Americans. As the two great powers duke it out with each other over—what, exactly?—the Iranians perceive that they will have the ability to inch their way toward building their often fantasized, yet rarely realized, Shiite-dominated, Iranian-led Mideast empire. This hegemony would stretch from Iran through Iraq and Syria and into Lebanon, all of the way to the Mediterranean Sea.

Putin believes it’s in his interest to back the Iranians because they are a “stable” player in the region that is not beholden to the United States or their Sunni allies (who are backing jihadist terrorists). Yet, the Russians clearly fail to realize that Iran has little interest in living in a Russian-dominated world system anymore than it wants to continue to live in an American-dominated international order. Their hope is that both Russia and America blast each other (and the jihadists) to smithereens and they’d be the last ones standing. It’s insane, yes. But it’s perfectly insane for that part of the world.

Rather than being the last great savior of Christendom, Vladimir Putin is proving out to be yet another Useful Infidel. Let’s hope that he realizes how badly he’s being played by his supposed allies in Iran before it’s too late. Did he not learn anything from America’s experience of supporting a jihadist force to fight a supposedly larger enemy, as the U.S. did in Afghanistan during the 1980s?

—Ben Boychuk—

The Senate healthcare bill is a mess and won’t pass in its present form. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) proposes doing what the Republicans in Congress had promised in the first place: repeal Obamacare, then figure out in August what to do to replace it. The most important thing is to repeal the law. It would leave the system in pretty shabby shape—fact is, the United States hasn’t had a properly functioning health care market since 1965—but it would spur lawmakers to act (and maybe even act prudently).

For what it’s worth, President Trump has endorsed the old Gym Rat’s idea, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) may not be so keen. Peter Roff at U.S. News & World Report says McConnell “may not have the votes today to pass reform through the Senate, but he’ll get them.”  

Is the higher-ed bubble deflating at last? According to the Hechinger Report, universities and colleges are struggling to stem big drops in enrollment. Seems as though it has less to do with parents’ and students’ frustrations with PCU and more to do with demographic shifts.

Here’s a timely reminder that liberals and Leftists aren’t the same (and that conservatives are marginal at best in the academy).

Do you like Shakespeare? Do you like politics? Forget the silly Shakespeare-in-the-Park stuff. Instead read Robert Cooper’s lengthy essay on Shakespeare’s politics at The American Interest. (The website allows non-subscribers one free read a month; this one is well worth it.)

“Many of his plays are political, to be sure,” Cooper writes. “His feeling for politics was so strong that one political figure in Britain believed his plays must have been written by someone who had personal experience of politics. This was the wrong conclusion. A keen feeling for politics runs through Shakespeare’s plays because man is a political animal and Shakespeare’s understanding of men meant he understood politics, too.”


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