As the NCAA’s March Madness begins this week throughout the country, the extent of the scandal sweeping throughout college basketball continues to grow.

All four of the tournament’s No. 1 seeds—Virginia, Villanova, Kansas, and Xavier—have been mentioned in some form or another in an FBI investigation. Moreover, about 20 percent of the 68 teams in the competition also have been investigated.

DaTech3.jpgAs The Associated Press’ Eddie Pells points out: “There’s an undeniable chance the team cutting down the nets in San Antonio on April 2 could be forced to forfeit its title a few years down the road after the NCAA sorts through the damage.”

In fact, Louisville recently lost its 2013 title as a result of the FBI investigation, and the coach, Rick Pitino, was fired.

The investigation initially centered on Adidas and college basketball programs associated with the brand. In September, the FBI arrested 10 people, including basketball coaches and Adidas personnel, and charged them with bribery, money laundering, and wire fraud. The schools implicated in the original indictments included Arizona, Auburn, Louisville, Miami, Oklahoma State, South Carolina, and Southern California. But the charges have gone beyond these schools and Adidas.

In February, Yahoo Sports published a report, based on documents obtained by the FBI that named more than a dozen more schools and more than 25 current and former players as having been potentially involved in the scandal.

But college basketball is not alone in the cavalcade of corruption.

As The Atlantic noted several years ago: “With so many people paying for tickets and watching on television, college sports has become Very Big Business…. When you combine so much money with such high, almost tribal, stakes—football boosters are famously rabid in their zeal to have their alma mater win—corruption is likely to follow.”

Simply put, with a lot of money to throw around corruption flows through the system. But the athletes don’t get much of the cash. Sure, they get a scholarship and some walking-around money. But the best players spend a year or so in college before jumping to pro ball.

Here are just a few of the football scandals in recent years. In 2010, the NCAA sanctioned the University of Southern California after determining that star running back Reggie Bush and his family had received “improper benefits” while he played for the Trojans. Among other charges, Bush and members of his family were alleged to have received free airfare and limousine rides, a car, and a rent-free home in San Diego, from sports agents who wanted Bush as a client. The Bowl Championship Series stripped USC of its 2004 national title, and Bush returned the Heisman Trophy he had won in 2005. As Auburn University football stormed its way to an undefeated season and a national championship in 2010, the team’s star quarterback, Cam Newton, was dogged by allegations that his father had used a recruiter to solicit up to $180,000 from Mississippi State in exchange for his son’s matriculation there after junior college in 2010. Jim Tressel, the highly successful head football coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes, resigned after the NCAA alleged he had feigned ignorance of rules violations by players on his team. At least 28 players over the course of the previous nine seasons, according to Sports Illustrated, had traded autographs, jerseys, and other team memorabilia in exchange for tattoos or cash at a tattoo parlor in Columbus, in violation of NCAA rules. A University of Miami booster gave illicit cash and services to a dozen Hurricanes football players.

The NCAA, the “nonprofit” association that runs college athletics, takes in close to $8 billion a year. According to a Business Insider report, there are now 24 schools that make at least $100 million annually from their athletic departments. In 2015, the most profitable athletic department in the country was at Texas A&M, raking in over $192 million. The University of Texas wasn’t far behind with $183 million.

Champions Way, a new book by New York Times reporter Mike McIntire, is the latest inquiry into the seedy underbelly of college sports. The “corporate-athletics complex,” as he calls it, corrupts universities, skirts federal tax laws, bullies the IRS, relies heavily on private donors, and sets players up to fail after their sports careers are over by pushing them into academically vapid curriculums.

NCAA President Mark Emmert has stated the obvious. “If true, [the charges] point to systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now if we want college sports in America.”

Don Jackson, an attorney who has worked on numerous college eligibility cases, told Yahoo Sports that the root of the problem is that the NCAA’s model of amateurism doesn’t work.

“This problem can be solved if players are compensated,” Jackson said. “The NCAA is not capable of adequately policing tens of thousands of athletes around the country.”

Some people argue that paying athletes would corrupt the system. That system is already corrupt and getting worse all the time.

A majority of Americans wants the government to regulate technology companies—a significant change after revelations that Russia used online services such as Facebook to influence the 2016 election.

According to an Axios-Survey Monkey poll, concern about government inaction is up significantly—15 percentage points—in  the past three months.

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Says Axios: “That’s a seismic shift in the public’s perception of Silicon Valley over a short period of time. It shows how worried Americans are about Russian meddling in the 2016 election, but it also reflects a growing anxiety about the potentially addictive nature of some of the tech companies’ products, as well as the relentless spread of fake news on their platforms.”

In a previous Axios-Survey Monkey poll in November, just after Facebook, Google, and Twitter testified before Congress, only about 40 percent of those polled were concerned that the government wouldn’t do enough to regulate the tech companies.

That number jumped to 55 percent in the latest poll. That includes 45 percent of Republicans, who are usually skeptical about government regulation. Independents showed the biggest shift with an increase of 20 percentage points.

The poll found a variety of other problems those polled see in the tech sector:

–More than eight out of 10, including significant majorities across party lines, blame the technology companies for not doing enough to safeguard their platforms against election interference.

–Fifty-five percent of those polled think social media do more to hurt democracy and free speech.

The online survey was conducted by Survey Monkey from February 21-23, 2018, among 3,574 adults in the United States. They were selected from the nearly three million people who take surveys on the Survey Monkey platform each day. The modeled error estimate for the full sample is 2.5 percentage points. Crosstabs available here.

A recent analysis in The Wall Street Journal described Facebook as “tone deaf.”

“It isn’t clear whether the Russian activity on Facebook made a difference in the election, a position some Facebook executives still privately maintain, and no evidence has emerged that it tipped the result to President Donald Trump. What is clear, however, is that the social-media giant’s months-long obliviousness to deepening public concern about its social impact has worsened a backlash against it and other Silicon Valley giants,” The Journal wrote. For more, see https://www.wsj.com/articles/tone-deaf-how-facebook-misread-americas-mood-on-russia-1520006034

Moreover, Google, Facebook, and other technology giants have a decidedly leftist tilt. Many top leaders give huge contributions to the Democrats.

A recent analysis found that “a majority of the most-engaged partisan Facebook pages are left-leaning or affiliated with Trump resistance movements, according to NewsWhip, a social analytics measurement company. The firm looked at the engagement (likes, comments, and shares) of partisan pages in Trump’s first full month as president. Even more telling is that most of the left-leaning pages are out-performing some of the most trafficked news competitors in overall engagement.”

Google, Facebook, and Twitter loomed large at last month’s Conservative Political Action Conference, where participants squeezed into a standing-room-only ballroom for a discussion called “Suppression of Conservative Views on Social Media: A First Amendment Issue.”

Moreover, a new film by Peter Schweizer, a journalist known for his investigations into Hillary Clinton, focuses on technology companies and their role in filtering the news. Even The New York Times noted the upcoming motion picture: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/06/business/media/paul-schweizer-google-facebook.html

Although I am not a huge fan of government regulation, I just about have had it with the social media giants. I happy to know that I’m in the majority for a change.

The ongoing conflict between an individual’s privacy and the public interest heads to the U.S. Supreme Court when the justices hear oral arguments in a lawsuit in which Microsoft refuses to turn over data in a drug case.

The U.S. Constitution does not include the actual word privacy, but the Fourth Amendment, which prevents illegal searches and seizures, has become the basis for the definition of the issue.

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This case involves Microsoft’s dispute with federal prosecutors over whether it must provide data hosted in a storage facility in Ireland. The dispute focuses on whether U.S. courts can compel a company to turn over an individual’s data when it is held overseas.

Simply put, the decision revolves around where “the cloud” exists. Cloud technology has become worth an estimated $250 billion.

If Microsoft wins, supporters will laud the decision as a victory for privacy. If the government wins, it will be seen as a victory of law enforcement. As usual, the truth lies somewhere in between. The company knows it will lose business if it cannot guarantee privacy to customers–much like the bankers who house drug money. The government as is its want is likely to overstep the boundaries if it wins.

The case has drawn extensive interest, including numerous briefs to the Supreme Court from abroad.

The showdown is unfolding on several fronts. Legislation in Congress would partially resolve disputes over law enforcement access to private data held across borders. The bills would obligate service providers to turn material over to prosecutors under certain conditions regardless of where in the world the material is stored.

Still, some mystery surrounds the legal dispute that was argued today in Supreme Court chambers. For one, prosecutors have never identified the person who was targeted in a warrant issued by a New York District Court judge in 2013.

Prosecutors demanded that Microsoft turn over all emails and information associated with the subject’s account, and the company responded that it could not be forced to turn over information stored overseas—in this case at a data center in Dublin.

Alternatively, prosecutors outside of the United States complain about obstacles to conducting investigations of criminal suspects using U.S.-based webmail.

“The cops in Brazil and the cops in India and the cops in France, all of the cops in the world, want to issue normal evidence orders in accordance with local law and they are frustrated or stymied by American rules,” Andrew Woods, a professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law, told Tim Johnson of the McClatchy Washington Bureau.

Woods cited a hypothetical case in which a Londoner is a suspect in the murder of a fellow Brit, a crime investigated by local police.

“Everything about that case is British,” Woods said, but police “cannot go to Google and compel Google to give them content of the suspect’s email account. They have to go through the mutual legal assistance process. That is not only slow it is also an affront to British sovereignty.”

The U.S. government has struck mutual legal assistance treaties, or MLATs, with about a third of the world’s countries. The mechanism, while useful, has its flaws.

Looming behind the debate is Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who stole secrets about U.S. surveillance programs in 2013 before fleeing to Moscow.

“In the wake of the Snowden revelations, levels of trust around the world in the American government went down,” Woods said. “American businesses ever since have been scrambling to reassure customers around the world that they resist the American government.”

The decision is expected to be announced in June.

For more on the case, see http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/united-states-v-microsoft-corp/ 

If you want an example of the alt-left, The Daily Kos is it.

As the mainstream media criticize conservative websites, Kos generally receives praise.

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I have been monitoring Kos over the past few weeks, and I found a hateful, hysterical example of what’s going on with the left.

Here is a recent example from the website’s front page—a reprise of a commentary from a few years ago.

“In the idealized version of the GOP primary, establishment Republicans would curry favor with their Wall Street pals while sending coded dog whistles to their foot soldiers—on race, immigration, reproductive freedoms, etc. Those dog whistles would motivate the GOP base without revealing their true radical nature to the American mainstream. It was a genius system while it worked, one that saw no parallel on the progressive side…. Republicans laugh about electrocuting immigrants who will cut off your head in the desert if they’re not stopped, while passing laws openly hostile to brown people. Attacks on homosexuals have escalated to new hysterical highs as society becomes more tolerant and open to equality.”

Instead of cautioning readers about the hyperbole of Kos, media outlets like The Huffington Post tout the website’s importance. “The liberal site has acquired a new relevance in the era of Democratic resistance to President Donald Trump,” the HP wrote recently.

Markos “Kos” Moulitsas Zúniga started the blog in 2002. Since then, it has become the most important website on the left, with email list of more than three million subscribers and 18 million unique readers every month. Moreover, Kos raised more than $3 million for Democrat candidates last year. He also is a founder of Vox Media, another generally leftist website.

Moulitsas is from the Chicago area and joined the U.S. Army in 1989. A one-time Republican who opposed gays in the military, he switched parties after attending law school in Boston in the late 1990s. He moved to the San Francisco area to work as a project manager for a web development company.

Simply put, Kos makes The Daily Caller look tame. A recent spate of headlines included the following:

–How many times has Trump cheated on Melania?

–Jared Kushner’s finances are in shambles and he’s a threat to national security

–Why are media ignoring the fact that Nikolas Cruz is a Trump supporter?

But there’s more. A recent edition showed a cartoon of Donald Trump eating cheeseburgers and drinking Diet Coke in his bathrobe. Another depicted the president as a supporter of sexual abuse.

Kos, George Soros, and others like them should be taken to task for the hateful outrages they spew. Each of them has done far more damage to the U.S. election process than any Russian troll.

During a visit last year to Vietnam, I made the trek to Khe Sanh, one of the key battles during the Tet Offensive, which happened 50 years ago.

For most of the journey, I bristled at the Vietnamese guide and propagandist, who maintained Tet was a major victory for the Communist forces. I finally had enough and offered some facts to her and the tourists on the bus.

DaTech3.jpgSimply put, the coverage of the 1968 North Vietnamese attack is a startling example of how the U.S. media got it wrong. The media presented Tet as a major loss for the Americans when it actually was a massive defeat for North Vietnam.

The North Vietnamese government launched the offensive during Tet, the celebration of the Vietnamese New Year. The attacks began on January 30 on targets in Saigon and other Vietnamese cities, and ended a little more than a month later when Marines crushed the last resistance in the northern city of Hue.

As The Washington Post’s Saigon bureau chief Peter Braestrup documented in his book The Big Story, reporters systematically used Tet to turn the reality of a U.S. victory into an image of American and South Vietnamese defeat.

For example, journalists reported that that Vietcong had overrun five floors of the U.S. embassy when the VC never got inside the building. Newsweek’s coverage of the siege of Khe Sanh showed 18 photos out of a total of 29 of dead or wounded Marines or Marines huddling under cover, never mentioning that the Marines inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy.

That campaign of misrepresentation culminated in Walter Cronkite’s half-hour TV special on February 27, 1968, when he told his viewers that Tet had proved that America was “mired in a stalemate.”

Here are some important facts that got lost in the journalistic shuffle. The North Vietnamese Army lost 20 percent of its forces in the South and suffered 33,000 men killed in action for no military gain.

In his excellent book on the battle of Hue, Mark Bowden describes miscalculations on the part of the U.S. command but also the cynicism of the North Vietnamese command that was trying to win a public relations battle rather than a military victory. The Communists told many of their supporters that the goal was to launch a revolution when the government knew many would die. Simply put, the North Vietnam leadership was willing to lose thousands of soldiers to turn the PR tide.

The strategy worked as the international media misinterpreted what happened on the ground. Public support for the war dropped significantly after the misinformation about the Tet offensive.

As The New Republic put it recently: “The American public knew none of this, however. The misrepresentation by America’s most respected newsman and most trusted media outlets of what had actually happened during Tet stunned the American public and the body politic. Popular support for the war took a heavy hit, as the war’s critics now grabbed center stage….

“After Tet, American media had assumed a new mission for itself: to shape the nation’s politics by crafting a single coherent narrative, even if it meant omitting certain relevant facts and promoting other false or misleading ones. standing — just as they had convinced them a year earlier that America’s major victory was actually a major defeat.”

Sound familiar?

It’s a good thing that Nick Foles’ Christian faith doesn’t prevent him from playing football on a Sunday, particularly last Sunday.

The MVP and Super Bowl champion has never shied away from his belief in God.

His Twitter bio reads: “Believer in Jesus Christ, husband, father, son, brother.”

More than a few sports reporters cringed when Foles held his postgame news conference after the Super Bowl. “I wouldn’t be out here without God, without Jesus in my life. I can tell you that, first and foremost in my life, I don’t have the strength to come out here and play a game like that,” he said.

Few Eagles fans and even fewer journalists expected that Foles could bring Philadelphia a single victory in the playoffs, let alone a Super Bowl victory.

But his unbelievable performance in the big game is a continuing saga of perseverance. Foles almost quit football after a crisis of confidence over his future when he fell from a superb year in 2013 with the Eagles to a backup role with the Los Angeles Rams.

But his belief in God continued to pull him through. “It took a lot more faith to come back and play than it would’ve to go in the other direction,” Foles told The Associated Press. “Either way would’ve been fine. Either way, I would’ve trusted in God. I would’ve done something else and glorified God in that instance. I knew as a person that the more growth I’ve had and the more opportunity I would have to glorify God and trust in him would be to go back and play football.”

Foles said he wants to become a pastor once his playing career is over–a career that looks a lot brighter than it did only two months ago when he took over as quarterback when Carson Wentz suffered a knee injury.

The Eagles quarterback is a graduate student at Liberty University where he studies religion. In fact, the school, which preacher Jerry Falwell founded, turned on the Rawlings School of Divinity in Eagle midnight green to honor Foles.

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It’s worth noting that Wentz, the quarterback Foles replaced after an injury, is a devout Christian. Even offensive coordinator Frank Reich is an ordained Presbyterian minister.

According to FaithWire, the Eagles even conducted a baptism in a hotel pool. “A photo posted to Twitter shows wide receiver Marcus Johnson being baptized in a hotel pool while surrounded by his teammates,” the site reports, calling the Eagles “possibly be the most spiritually active NFL team around.”

Foles was among that group, as was Wentz. ESPN has also chronicled the team’s devotion to religion, indicating that players hold Bible studies. “The presence of faith is not unique to the Eagles, though the way in which it has manifested might be,” reported ESPN.

Maybe the Eagles did have God in their corner. Foles and some of his fellow Christians helped answer the prayers of downtrodden Eagles fans who suffered through a nearly six-decade championship drought. Thanks, Saint Nick!

Like almost everything, the Super Bowl has become as much a political event as a game.

DaTimes’ Frank Bruni, one of the most leftist columnists at the newspaper, has written an incredibly obnoxious analysis of The Big Game. The headline itself is a neck-snapper: “The Existential Hell of This Year’s Super Bowl.”

“Football, like Trumpism, likes to believe that it’s about working-class folks in the heartland. But this year’s Super Bowl, like the Trump administration, bows to the Acela corridor. It nearly brought together two teams from underexposed cities, Jacksonville and Minneapolis. Instead it brings together two teams from celebrated theaters of history in the Northeast. So much for the little guy,” Bruni opines.

This comes from someone who is so much a part of the Acela corridor that he can’t even see how effete his analysis is anymore. His main claim to fame is that he is the first openly gay columnist for DaTimes.

But there’s more from Bruni.

“During the 2016 campaign, the Patriots’ owner, Robert Kraft, attested to Trump’s fine character, while the Patriots’ coach, Bill Belichick, wrote privately to Trump to congratulate him for his perseverance, telling him, ‘Your leadership is amazing.’”

Failing in his politically correct assessment, Bruni then just gets nasty. “[W]hen he looks at the Patriots’ glamour-puss quarterback, Tom Brady, he sees a younger, less quizzically coifed version of himself, complete with a foreign-born model for a wife. Trust me on this. He just squints extra hard, sucks in his gut and begs Melania to answer to ‘Gisele’ for a while.”

As a resident of Philadelphia, I would like to see the Eagles win. The city has been starved for a champion since the Phils’ 2008 World Series victory. Villanova is in the suburbs so its national basketball championship doesn’t really count in the city.

Moreover, if the Eagles win, sports writers will be flummoxed again by quarterback Nick Foles praising God after a victory.

Nevertheless, the Eagles have a significantly high number of protestors during the national anthem. One of the team’s most prominent members, Malcolm Jenkins, pushed a policy for “emotional training” for cops, and the Philadelphia police have complained and the players’ sentiments. See https://www.cnsnews.com/blog/craig-bannister/nfl-network-air-eagles-players-call-emotional-intelligence-training-police

Even though my Philadelphia friends may disown me, I could live with a New England win, particularly since it would be politically incorrect among the “intellectual” elite.

Simply put, it’s a win-win for me in this existential hell! Sorry, Frank.

I made a pilgrimage to the former home and gravesite of two of my favorite rock ‘n’ roll performers: Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison.

Hendrix moved into 23 Brook Street in London in 1968, and two years ago, the bedroom and living room of the home have become a museum. Ironically, the legendary composer George Frideric Handel lived there more than 200 years earlier.

Hendrix, who apparently was delighted to find out that Handel had once lived nearby, insisted he had once seen the composer’s ghost step through the wall, describing the image as “an old guy in a nightshirt and gray pigtail.”

One reviewer noted about Hendrix’s third-floor rooms: “The kitchen was rarely used, with room service supplied by Mr Love’s, the restaurant downstairs, whose waiters carried regular orders of steak and chips, a bottle of Mateus rosé, and 20 cigarettes, up the narrow stairs. Nights were late and noisy, with the flat regularly filled to bursting with whichever musicians had been in that night’s club.”

His former girlfriend, who participated in the design of the museum, reportedly complained that the exhibit was too messy.

fullsizeoutput_604.jpegAfter his years in the U.S. Army, Hendrix was obsessively neat, she recalled. The bed may have been draped in hippyesque fabrics under a canopy made from an embroidered silk shawl but was meticulously made with hospital corners, and the pillows and cushions squared up.

Another room at the museum has a wall of album covers, and an index of the music played on the Bang & Olufsen turntable. Remnants from Hendrix’s own collection included a copy of Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited stained with Hendrix’s blood from cutting his hand on a broken wine glass.

I may have been the only visitor who saw Jimi in concert, which was an amazing performance in 1969 when he played his iconic The Star Spangled Banner.

For more information, see https://handelhendrix.org/

Morrison’s grave in Paris is one of the most frequently visited tombs in the world. Established in 1804 by Napoléon Bonaparte, the Pére-Lachaise Cemetery, where Morrison is buried, contains the remains of celebrated artists, writers, and musicians, including Edith Piaf, Max Ernst, and Oscar Wilde.

Morrison died July 3, 1971, under mysterious circumstances. His girlfriend and an acquaintance quickly arranged for the burial without an autopsy.

For more, see https://www.today.com/popculture/did-jim-morrison-really-die-his-bathtub-2D80555735

As a teenager in a rock ‘n’ roll band, I sang many of Jimi and Jim’s songs. I couldn’t resist a tribute to Morrison, with my rendition of Light My Fire.

See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfrjNYTGaSk

Jimi and Jim could not escape their personal demons, but they left a body of work that endures decades later.

Although most of my European friends tilt toward the left of the political spectrum, immigration is an issue where they agree firmly and resolutely with the conservative perspective.

“They don’t speak the language. They don’t understand the culture. Many of them don’t work,” sniffs a French friend, who wants to see significant limits on the number of people allowed into France.

A longtime British diplomat notes that more than 50 percent of London residents were born outside the United Kingdom.

Even an Arab friend complains about those who wear Islamic garb in public.

If you think U.S. immigration is a mess, just take a look at Europe.

Demographers project more and more immigrants for decades to come. Annual net immigration into Europe is projected to increase steadily from current levels for another 20 years. This year, just over one million immigrants will arrive in Europe, according to Eurostat, the statistical agency of the E.U. That figure will reach nearly 1.5 million in 2036, the agency projects.

By 2080, these migrants and their families will have increased the population of the E.U. by 121 million, relative to what the continent’s population would be then without any immigration. The result will be a Europe that is substantially different than it is today.

For example, the number of European Christians is projected to decline by about 18 percent, to 454 million, by the middle of the century, according to the Pew Research Center. The organization predicts that the number of European Muslims will nearly double, to about 71 million.

In London, Brexit has stumbled along toward implementation, a policy that came about almost entirely as a rejection of the immigration policies of the E.U.
In Germany, Angela Merkel has had significant problems as a result of her open-door policy toward immigrants.

In France, the government has engaged in a significant crackdown on illegal immigrations. In a recent dispatch from Paris, The Associated Press notes that French President Emmanuel Macron, hardly a conservative, has launched significant changes in immigration policy.

“Critics contend that increasingly tough policy on migrants — though wrapped in a cloak of goodwill — contradicts his image as a humanist who defeated an anti-immigrant populist for the presidency, and has crossed a line passed by no other president in the land that prides itself as the cradle of human rights,” The AP says.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb has ordered regional representatives of the state to crack down on illegal immigration, to act quickly to expel those who fail to gain asylum, and to report results immediately, according to a November order cited by the newspaper Le Monde.

Opposition to President Trump’s immigration policies may be getting a lot of bad press in the United States, but many of my European friends would welcome his approach in their own countries.

It’s not easy to find a hardcore Trump supporter in London and Paris, but there is a grudging acknowledgement that the president isn’t as bad as many Americans think.

During a recent visit to the not-so-united United Kingdom and France, almost everywhere I went people noticed my accent and wanted to talk about Trump. I didn’t hide my support. What was amazing was that Brits and French actually listened to my point of view—something that rarely happens in the United States.

A former British diplomat and his wife, who worked as a journalist, can’t believe the importance given to the Michael Wolff book on the Trump administration. Such tales wouldn’t appear in much of the respectable press in Britain.

Moreover, they see the press failing apart with its constant attacks on Trump, losing any sense of credibility on many matters. The couple subscribes to The New York Times, but they find it appalling how politics have crept into the Gray Old Lady.

“I don’t care what the opinion writers say. They don’t have to be fair. But opinions are constantly creeping into the news pages,” the former diplomat said. His wife said she’s tired of the news organization looking at everything through the lens of Trump. Moreover, DaTimes has moved way left of center when it comes to social issues such as transgenderism.

Another friend, who also served in the British Foreign Service, noted that the Americans are lucky that they are unraveling Obamacare. In the United Kingdom, for example, the nationalized health service announced that all nonemergency surgeries were canceled this month because of a shortage of cash.

A longtime friend who’s an expert on the Middle East lauded Trump for cutting off aid to Pakistan because of its ties to terrorism. A retired French banker, who is Jewish, praised the decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, while a longtime Arab friend disagreed.

A London cabbie said he understood why Americans turned against Hillary and voted for Donald. “The elites have ruined the States and England,” he said. “Now it’s time for others to try to put things right.”

What was most important was how I could actually have a conversation about Trump rather than a shouting match. It’s one of the first times in months that I felt comfortable about stating my views in public with such a cross-section of people. It’s odd to have to travel outside of the United States to have a civil discussion.