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Lincoln Project’s disgrace and other commentary

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Lincoln Project’s disgrace and other commentary

Scammer alert: Lincoln Project’s Disgrace

Last summer, donations to the Lincoln Project rolled in “by the tens of millions,” as “the group tried to claim a higher moral ground in an effort to purge Trump from the GOP,” recount Steve Peoples and Brian Slodysko at RealClearPolitics. Yet multiple sources now claim that harassment allegations against cofounder John Weaver were “repeatedly raised inside the organization, long before leaders acknowledged them publicly in late January.” Through it all, “the group took no action against Weaver and pressed forward with its high-profile work” — much of which involved funneling donations to firms controlled by Lincoln Project principals. The group denies all this. Still, the cascading accusations “threaten the stature of not just the Lincoln Project, but the broader coalition of establishment-oriented Republican groups hoping to . . . excise Trump from the party.”

Pandemic journal: Get Vaccinated ASAP

At USA Today, five members of the Biden-Harris Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board warn against waiting to be vaccinated: “Take whatever vaccine is offered to you. Right now, all of the vaccines are the ‘best.’ ” ­Reports of varying effectiveness in the different vaccines “miss the most important point”: that they “were all 100 percent effective in the vaccine trials in stopping hospitalizations and death.” Any variation in efficacy rates applies only to “mild forms of COVID-19 illness,” and “we don’t vaccinate to prevent a minor case of the sniffles.” Time is ultimately “the most important factor” when it comes to getting vaccinated, because ­every day that passes “is a day where you have a higher risk of getting ­infected, becoming seriously ill and dying.” So just get it done.

From the right: Biden Smeared Capitol Police

What stood out most in the presentation from House impeachment managers last week was the “heroism” of the Capitol Police, notes The Washington Post’s Marc A. Thiessen. But President Biden’s reaction ­immediately following the riot was to accuse “the heroes who saved our elected representatives of bigotry, saying they would have treated black protesters differently.” The evidence “clearly shows that police failed to stop the mob not because of the color of their skin, but because the officers were overpowered.” For Biden to suggest that “the officers who risked and gave their lives to defend Congress failed to ‘carry out equal justice’ is a calumny.” The president promised to unite the country, but “at the very moment when Americans of all political stripes were united in outrage, he sought to divide us.” Biden must rectify his injustice: The president “owes the Capitol Police an apology.”

Union watch: Speak Out for Schools, GOP!

President Biden “is not going to pressure teachers unions to reopen schools and get kids back into the classrooms,” sighs Stephen Miller at Spectator USA, notwithstanding his campaign’s “pro-science mantras.” This has led even “Biden-friendly” media figures like CNN’s Jake Tapper to grumble — yet sadly, Republicans are failing to seize ground, which is both bad for the country and a waste of a massive political opportunity: “Every Republican should be hammering this ­issue right now, everywhere, on every network TV appearance and Twitter feed. Fighting with the media about Donald Trump will not automatically lead to midterm victories next year. Fighting for parents across this country might. . . . Republican members of Congress should be talking about nothing else. Not Donald Trump. Not impeachment. Not QAnon tweets. Nothing. It is clear that President Biden has abandoned the parents of schoolchildren who voted for him for a little peace and quiet coming from Washington, because that is who Joe Biden is and ­always has been.” But as it is, the GOP is “blowing it.”

Iconoclast: The Anti-Trump Third-Party Delusion

Never Trumpers are the most “overrepresented” faction in the national media, gripes The Week’s Matthew Walther, and now some are floating the idea of a Never Trump third party. Sorry: “There aren’t enough people who broadly approve of tax cuts and bombing the hell out of the Middle East and opposing labor unions but don’t like mean tweets to form a new political party.”

— Compiled by Ashley Allen & Sohrab Ahmari

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Opinion

NYC needs a fighter for mayor, not a technocrat

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NYC needs a fighter for mayor, not a technocrat

Former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia touts her career in city government and technocratic skills as reasons she should be your pick for mayor. Problem is, what New York needs right now is not just impressive-sounding plans, but the ability to fight for what the city needs.

Frankly, being a good-government star of the de Blasio city administration is a pretty minor achievement: The competition wasn’t exactly fierce. Nor did Garcia’s much-touted talent for logistics always prove true.

Back in November 2018, a mere six inches of snow paralyzed the city and left thousands of schoolkids trapped on school buses for hours. The response was so poor that Council Speaker Corey Johnson called for hearings into Garcia’s handling of the storm. She also ran into trouble as interim city Housing Authority chief, letting the insiders lead her to deliver false testimony about lead-paint remediation.

During the lockdowns, the mayor put her in charge of delivering emergency food to needy seniors. But her system demanded seniors use unfamiliar technology to sign up, and as The Post reported, the “beneficiaries” also had issues with food quality and delivery.

But the bigger issue isn’t dealing with the bureaucracy, but with the politicians. It’s not enough to reject “Defund the Police” nonsense: The city’s next mayor will need to muscle the City Council and Legislature into amending the anti-anti-crime laws they’ve passed in recent years, from the city’s “chokehold” mistake to the disastrous “no bail” legislation.

Brooklyn’s Eric Adams has the contacts from his time in the state Senate to move Albany, and the cred from a lifetime of fighting for police reform to argue persuasively against bad police reforms.

Garcia just hasn’t been in the political trenches. Indeed, two veteran Democratic operatives told The Post’s Julia Marsh that her lack of such seasoning would harm her ability to handle pressure from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the council and the feds.

Coming out of the pandemic, New York City faces multiple crises: public safety, fiscal, economic. The next mayor can hire wonks, planners and managers; the talent he or she must have is a proven ability to make the right calls, as Adams did in centering his campaign on public safety from the start, and to beat the other politicians into going along. That’s why Eric Adams remains our choice.

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The old Cold War models can’t help us meet today’s Russian threat

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The old Cold War models can’t help us meet today’s Russian threat

President Joe Biden and Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin are scheduled to meet Wednesday for the first time since Biden was elected president.

For many in the foreign-policy establishment, this is an exciting opportunity to conjure some Cold War drama. Historically, such summits were major happenings. They were premised on the idea that tensions between the two nuclear powers were so great and grave, merely talking was an accomplishment in its own right.

Conservatives contend that the summit is a mistake primarily because it gives Putin the prestige he craves while giving Biden nothing in return. I tend to agree. But this argument also draws on the same Cold War nostalgia.

Conservatives often opposed US-Soviet summits, because they were seen as part of a process of “normalization” and détente that not only lent the Soviets undeserved legitimacy but often ended with concessions that strengthened our enemy.

Worse, such summits were often used to buy cover or time for Soviet expansionism. Forty-two years ago this week, Jimmy Carter met with Leonid Brezhnev in Vienna to sign the SALT II treaty. Brezhnev personally promised his peaceful intentions to Carter, and six months later, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan.

You can see how those arguments could be applied today, but I think we’d all be better served to ditch the Cold War stuff, because circumstances have changed.

First, Russia is a basket case. Rife with corruption, entirely dependent on oil and gas revenues and starving for foreign investment, Russia’s entire GDP ($1.7 trillion) is smaller than Biden’s first COVID relief package.

Second, as morally bankrupt as Soviet Communism was, it nonetheless appealed to the hearts and minds of millions around the globe. No one, save would-be despots, looks at the Russian “model” as something they want to emulate. We’re not competing with Russia for moral leadership.

That’s because Putin is better understood as a cross between a conventional mob boss, a James Bond villain and a Latin-American strongman. Estimates of his personal wealth range from $40 billion to $200 billion. Whatever the right number, he didn’t get that rich from wisely investing his $300,000 salary.

Putin holds onto power in part through crushing domestic opposition, intimidating or killing dissidents, blackmail, censorship and other tactics of ruthless tyrants. But he also maintains control by keeping Russian society in a constant state of crisis by relentlessly fueling paranoia that the West is at war with Russia and he’s the only leader strong enough to hold her enemies at bay. A true Cold War nostalgic, he believes that relations with the West are zero-sum: Whatever is bad for the West is good for Russia.

That’s why Russia is constantly meddling in Western elections, including our own in 2016. It’s also why Russia’s propaganda machine loves to amplify America’s domestic shortcomings.

The idea that Biden (or anyone) can talk Putin out of his perceived self-interest is ludicrous. Someone who has clung to power through murder and oppression can’t be made to see the light with finger-wagging bromides.

Biden would be well-served to tell Putin simply and bluntly that there will be concrete consequences to his actions — assuming Biden is willing to follow through. Beyond that, Biden should take a page from Putin himself. The Russian dictator sees these summits as a propaganda opportunity, domestically and internationally. Biden should, too.

Propaganda has taken on a negative connotation, suggesting pernicious state misinformation. But propaganda was originally about propagating the faith, specifically Catholicism. To his credit, Biden seems to be sincerely interested in propagating the faith of democracy, the rule of law and Western resolve. He won’t be able to persuade Putin of any of that. But that’s not the audience that matters. There are people throughout Russia who need to hear it — and in America, too.

Twitter: @JonahDispatch

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Step up for the cops, says ex-NYPD brass Joanne Jaffe

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Step up for the cops, says ex-NYPD brass Joanne Jaffe

Three-star chief commander, highest-ranking female ever in the NYPD, Joanne Jaffe was let go. Despite her pending lawsuit relative to discriminating employment practices, she has workable ideas about handling our crime problem.

“My first day as a cop, 1979, a 4 to 12 tour along totally decimated, blown out Pitkin Avenue’s boarded up buildings, my first thought? ‘How to go to the bathroom?’

“As for now, this city’s thousands of religious leaders with influence over communities they serve must step up to preserve the sanctity of life. Our priority is their priority. They should be out in the streets saying, ‘Stop the violence.’ Also our grandmothers. They’re influential over grandchildren. Let them be involved in what their kids and great-grandchildren are doing.

“Plus, a block watch program that really works. There’s 77 precincts. Plus, 12 transit districts. But we need the community. Disagree with the police, OK, but be part of discussions. Understand the anger.

“There’s a supervision of homeless shelters, so why are police the repository of all society’s social ills? More things get shoved onto the police when other agencies haven’t training or ability to cope.

“There’s city agencies. Pick the top hundred families that can help with medical, economic, education problems. You only hear about keeping kids out of jail. How about before they go to jail? Instead of watching TV all day, we’ve got to build school relationships in a different way.

“Politicians knowing nothing sit at tables making decisions. They don’t invite police officials. Don’t know what it’s like struggling in the middle of a crowd, things thrown at you, fighting you. Not clean. Nothing’s pretty. These pols have rallies. They march. They don’t even know what they’re talking about.

“Our cops know who it is. They know their people. Others tell them. They know who, what. They know how to calm things down. We need people to come out, like when a child gets shot. When these tragedies happen they shout out for two days and then slink back. We need them to stay out. Our elected officials are busy with rallies. We need them, our religious leaders, our grandparents, our top families to come out!

“Cops aren’t engaging now because they feel unsupported. Disillusioned. Morale is low. They’re no longer willing to risk. It’s not defund the police or support the police. It’s come to the middle.”

Unlucky with Leo?

DiCaprioJulianne Hough’s niece, being a yenta, has claimed her aunt told her Leo is not “King of the World” between the sheets. Then on Howard Stern’s show recently a caller said he stood next to Leo at the urinal in Sunset Beach on Shelter Island and assessed DiCaprio’s various parts. Not king-sized burbled this one. Stern, skeptical, admitted, “I know that bathroom and never use it. Rather pee in my pants if I have to.”


THE good news. Finally, we’re dragging out last year’s stylish clothes. The bad news? Thanks to our pandemic’s stay-home/eat-home year — nothing fits.

Not only in New York, kids, not only in New York.

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