American Spectator

  • New York Times: Blame Russia First
    Europe has problems: Trust in traditional center-right and center-left parties collapsing. A rise in support for outsider parties. Integration issues brought about by decades of mass immigration, exacerbated by the 2015 refugee flow. A European Union that has become so undemocratic that it is about to lose one of its key members. There are several ways to approach these problems. You could think the answer lies with making the European Union more accountable. You could say that more power needs to reside locally. You could call for slowing down immigration. You could look at what other policies outsider parties are advocating and see if those issues could be addressed. Or, as is increasingly the case, you could say that it is all the Russians’ fault. We saw that with the election of Donald Trump. We saw it with Brexit. And, in the latest example from the New York Times, we are seeing it with Sweden. The Times’s Jo Becker highlights Russian and Western “disinformation” media outlets targeting Sweden with xenophobic and anti-immigrant messaging. Anecdotes also emerge of Russian camera crews allegedly paying immigrants to cause havoc in an attempt to validate far-right claims. “To dig beneath the surface of what is happening in Sweden,” the Times reports, “is to uncover the workings of an international disinformation machine, devoted to the cultivation, provocation and amplification of far-right, anti-immigrant passions and political forces … most influentially rooted in Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia.” Some facts about Sweden today: Sweden took in 163,000 asylum seekers in 2015. That’s the equivalent of the U.S. taking 5.2 million, and it was the highest number per capita in Europe. Large numbers of asylum seekers arrived from Syria and Afghanistan in particular. Unsurprisingly, the bedding-in process has not been smooth. As the Financial Times reported in June, “Sweden has faced a sharp rise in deadly shootings, arson attacks, and the use of hand grenades in some of its poorest and most immigrant-heavy neighbourhoods in cities such as Malmo, Gothenburg and Stockholm.” Or, as Paulina Neuding writes for Politico, “Gang-related gun murders, now mainly a phenomenon among men with immigrant backgrounds … increased from 4 per year in the early 1990s to around 40 last year.… Social unrest, with car torchings, attacks on first responders and even riots, is a recurring phenomenon. Shootings in the country have become so common that they don’t make top headlines anymore, unless they are spectacular or lead to fatalities.” So there are many things to be said about Sweden in 2019. Claiming it has no issues beyond those whipped up by Russia should not be one of them. Readers may remember the response to President Trump telling a rally in February 2017, “You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden.… They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.” There was much merriment to be had in response. After all, nothing had happened the previous night other than a brief Fox News segment airing on Sweden. The #lastnightinsweden hashtag quickly spread, poking fun at ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Friday, August 23, 2019By Robin Simcox
    6 hours ago
  • Democrat Hypocrisy on Family Separation at the Border
    Last year, the Democrats portrayed President Trump as a monster for authorizing an immigration policy under which border authorities separated some children from the “families” with which they had illegally entered the country. Ignoring the inconvenient fact that many of the people from whose arms these kids were “so cruelly torn” weren’t parents or relatives, they compared the president to Adolf Hitler and accused him of state terrorism. The Trump administration now plans to close the legal loophole that required the separations and is all too predictably being denounced by the Democrats for that proposal. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s statement was typical: The Administration is seeking to codify child abuse, plain and simple…. This inhumane and utterly unconscionable rule circumvents the conditions set in the Flores settlement, and we expect the District Court to swiftly strike it down.  Democrats continue to call on this Administration to end its assault on families and children, and to join us to protect families and preserve America’s heritage as a beacon of hope, freedom and opportunity for all. As it happens, the “inhumane” change proposed by the Trump administration would keep families together by preventing the separation of children from families awaiting immigration hearings. The Flores settlement that Pelosi and the Democrats want so desperately to keep in place incentivizes illegal aliens to game our immigration system by bringing children to the border. Far from protecting children, it exposes them to all manner of exploitation and criminal maltreatment, including kidnapping and sexual abuse. It is also the engine that drives the notoriously ineffective “catch and release” policy that has rendered it all but impossible to enforce our immigration laws. Like so many of the statutes and federal regulations that prevent the efficient operation of federal departments, the Flores settlement is part of the Clinton legacy, and its many flaws were exacerbated by a meddling federal judge during the Obama era. In 1997, the government settled a long-standing piece of litigation that said children who had entered the country illegally would be detained in the least restrictive setting possible for the shortest period of time in order to be placed with a family member or some other qualified care provider. Then, in 2015, an Obama-appointed federal district court judge interpreted “shortest period of time” to mean “no longer than three weeks.” Because the adults with whom these children arrived were frequently detained due to eligibility issues and were unlikely to get an immigration hearing within three weeks, the DHS was faced with the choice of separating the children from their “parents” and releasing the entire “family unit” into the general U.S. population. The Obama administration chose the latter course and went with “catch and release.” It goes without saying that very few of the erstwhile detainees ever materialized for their hearings. The Trump administration’s alternative policy was subsequently demagogued by the Democrats, so DHS has proposed the new rule, the highlights of which are summarized below: First and foremost, the new rule permanently establishes standards ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Friday, August 23, 2019By David Catron
    6 hours ago
  • Who’s Afraid of Joe Rogan?
    The Joe Rogan Experience works because the host exudes curiosity, the guests fascinate, the format (untethered to word counts or ad breaks) allows for an authentic conversation to develop, the tone remains uninhibited and the palate broad, and the views offered confound patterns and predictions. This naturally offends the Atlantic, a publication the opposite of one of the most popular podcasts in America: a priori, in-crowd, oversocialized, pretentious, forced, formulaic, consumed by politics, boilerplate, bromidic. In Devin Gordon’s “Why Is Joe Rogan So Popular?” Atlantic piece, we learn that “Joe Rogan may be all about love, but beneath the surface he’s seething”; “He uses the word lady a lot”; and his show “can seem like a safe space for retrograde assholes.” In other words, we learn little about Joe Rogan and much about what Devin Gordon thinks about, or wants us to think about, Joe Rogan. What evidence exists that the 52-year-old father of three, often animated but almost never angry, seethes beneath the surface, and who cares if he uses the word “lady” a lot? “And a key thing Joe and his fans tend to have in common is a deficit of empathy,” Gordon writes at the Atlantic. “He seems unable to process how his tolerance for monsters like Alex Jones plays a role in the wounding of people who don’t deserve it.” People who watch Joe Rogan’s podcast do not read the Atlantic. A perusal of its site reveals such headlines as “Milton Friedman Was Wrong,” “The Democrats’ Filibuster Problem Is Only Getting Worse,” and “Would You Rather a Recession, or Trump?” Even the movie reviews exist to make political points. Along these lines, the Atlantic obsesses over that sliver of Joe Rogan that delves into politics. “Rogan’s most recent Netflix special is often funny because Joe Rogan is a professional stand-up comedian, but if you look past the jokes themselves and focus on the targets he’s choosing, the same patterns emerge,” Gordon writes. “Hillary, the #MeToo movement, why it sucks that he can’t call things ‘gay,’ vegan bullies, sexism. Of all the things in the world for a comedian to joke about right now, why these?” Precisely because cultural guardians forbid jokes about such subjects, and because from Monty Python to George Carlin authority serves as a punching bag for comedy. Joe Rogan, in his comedy and on his show, thumbs his nose at cultural guardians and gatekeepers. People know Joe Rogan from his encouraging people to eat bugs on primetime television or enthusiastically describing men with neck tattoos punching one another in a cage or making people laugh on stage or his enthusiasm for marijuana. People watch The Joe Rogan Experience to hear from Scientology founder David Miscavige’s estranged father Ron, former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, physicist Brian Cox, and others without much to say regarding Donald Trump’s attempted acquisition of Greenland or the political enthusiasms of the U.S. national women’s soccer team but with much to say that, well, interests. Joe Rogan’s show, unsurprisingly, is as ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Friday, August 23, 2019By Daniel J. Flynn
    6 hours ago
  • A Truly Populist Social Security Reform
    The U.S. government’s debt — that is, ours and our children’s debt as taxpayers — is growing. This growth is largely driven by rising Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid obligations. These are the programs Congress could focus on and work to reform. Only the Democrats are really talking about reform, though they want “reform” to be in the direction of making these programs even more expansive. There’s some hope, however, as politicians will have no choice but to face the facts on Social Security. Come 2035, this program’s trust funds will run dry, and, by law, benefits will automatically be cut by 20 percent. When that happens, Congress will have no option but to reform Social Security in a more fiscally prudent manner. I have some thoughts on how to do this. But before I explain, let’s make sure we’re clear about one thing: The program is indeed growing insolvent. Since 2010, Social Security has run annual cash-flow deficits. This means that the payroll tax revenues collected from you and me aren’t enough to fully pay the retirement benefits for current retirees. For now, the program makes up this gap by using assets in its trust fund. It looks even worse in the long run. The Social Security Board of Trustees reports that over the next 75 years, the program will be underfunded by $13.9 trillion. To make Social Security solvent over this period would require an immediate and permanent payroll tax increase (today) of 2.78 percent of overall wages — which raises the average Social Security payroll tax bite by 25 percent. Alternatively, Congress could cut benefits by 17 percent. A mix of both tax increases and benefit cuts is obviously an option. No meaningful reform will be painless, and waiting only makes fixing the problem harder. The bottom line is that this talk of expanding the program, rather than shrinking it, is crazy talk. When Social Security was created in 1935, it was conceived to provide benefits for retired workers. Given the lower life expectancy back then, retired workers were never expected to live off of these benefits for very long. Over time, however, Congress expanded the program’s eligibility, extending it to spouses, disabled persons, and also children. While some aspects of the program are means-tested, everyone — rich and poor — receives core Social Security benefits. This policy is silly for many reasons. First, in reference to a universal basic income (UBI), George Mason University economist Bryan Caplan explains, “Forcing people to help others who can’t help themselves — like kids from poor families or the severely disabled — is at least defensible. Forcing people to help everyone is not.” He adds, “If you were running a private charity, it would never even occur to you to ‘help everyone,’ because it’s such a frivolous use of scarce charitable resources. Instead, you’d target spending to do the most good.” Caplan’s criticism of UBI applies to Social Security, which is also universal, though this wasn’t always the case. ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, August 22, 2019By Veronique de Rugy
    1 day ago
  • Beneficial Choice Entails More Than ‘Mental Health Days’
    Several Oregon high school students reaped a ton of media adulation this summer by persuading their state legislature to permit public school kids to take up to five “mental health days” off from school every three-month period. Let us assume their declared objective was good: to reduce the youth suicide rate, which in Oregon is higher than the national average. Given that suicide is the second leading cause of death for Oregonians aged 10 to 34, it is reasonable to assume that a toxic school environment contributes to this societal malady. Bullying is a malignant force linked to suicides in schools across the land. News stories about the Oregon students’ advocacy of mental health days off reported terribly sad accounts of student suicides. For instance, a Eugene teen aspiring to become a surgeon took her own life because she was bullied after coming out as bisexual. Stop, though, and consider this: If a child takes a day off to evade a persistent bully, it is likely the bully will lie in wait upon the student’s return and perhaps be even more hateful. If the child suffers from a mental illness such as schizophrenia or severe depressive disorder, an excused absence of a day or two is not going to solve the problem, either. Instead, clinical care might be in order. So when a toxic school environment is putting students under great stress, disrupting their ability to concentrate on their studies, and even inducing suicidal thoughts, the solution lies not in mental health days but in mental health school transfers. That means parents and students being able to choose safe schools or to fashion their own educational alternatives. School choice is the cause for which these Oregon student activists should apply their energy and persuasive skills. Their home state has abundant natural beauty but is a desert when it comes to empowering families to choose schools outside the realm of stultifying governmental control. Although a majority of states now have tax-credit scholarship, voucher, individual tax credit, or education savings account programs — or a combination of such avenues to private choice — Oregon offers none of the above. Charter schools, featuring a modicum of autonomy within the governmental system, offer the only sliver of school choice in the Beaver State. But even the state’s charter-authorizing law is weak tea. An education savings account (ESA) could be of particular help to Oregon students and parents worried about threats to physical and mental well-being at their assigned government school. By being able to draw from their child’s share of public funding, parents could enroll their child in a safe private school attuned to individual needs, tap into online learning available from the safety of home, hire private tutors, or even find therapeutic services to overcome trauma experienced at the previous school. Pursuant to the sound principle that families should not have to face bureaucratic foot-dragging when a child’s life is in peril, my colleagues at The Heartland Institute have developed a template for ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, August 22, 2019By Robert Holland
    1 day ago
  • End Student Evaluations of Professors
    The saddest and most profound transformation I have witnessed nationwide in my many decades in higher education is professors’ increasing fear of college students. This fear, borne of the increasing power of undergraduates’ influence on professors’ careers through invalid teaching evaluations and the profound ethic of expediency encouraging the coddling of students in the academy, cannot be overestimated. Earlier this year I published a letter to the editor in the Chronicle of Higher Education titled “Student Evaluations Will Never Be Very Valid or Valuable.” I closed the piece with this short paragraph: The fact is that every couple of years, scholars and others will come up with new “answers” on how to make student evaluations more valid and important, but they cannot do so. Use student evaluations for retention, promotion, and tenure, but use them tenuously only. After much thought and reflection, I wish to amend that sentiment: I want to state more firmly that teaching evaluations cannot be made valid or valuable and strongly advise that they not be used more consequentially. They should be expunged for the purposes of retention, promotion, and tenure, and they should not be used for hiring purposes. Student classroom evaluations of courses and professors should be eliminated. If they must be kept at all, they should be replaced by student accounts of measurable teacher behaviors on which students have the ability to report with some accuracy and validity. For example, does the professor show up for class regularly? Does he or she arrive on time? Does he or she grade consistently with his or her claims of criteria? Questions like these might constitute valid data from students. Student evaluations of professorial teaching, currently used in just about every college and university, do not — at all. I recall that my best professor ever, the late Dr. Trevor Melia of the University of Pittsburgh, showed how easily students can be manipulated into evaluating courses positively through pedagogical legerdemain. He would give easy tests before evaluations, mark them with an overly generous curve, and then compliment the class on doing superbly on such a tough test. The result? Happy students and positive evaluations. In addition to their easy manipulability, the measures used in many schools to assess student satisfaction and dissatisfaction with professors and courses in the internet age ignore the requirement of representative numbers of student responses. Online evaluations, the current norm, often yield invalid and insufficient numbers of responses and tend to attract polarized students who either love or hate the professor and/or course. Professors — particularly non-tenured professors and adjuncts — are frightened that negative teaching evaluations can and will lessen their chances of being hired at new schools, retained at their current schools, promoted, and/or tenured. Demographic factors also affect and infect teaching evaluations — yet another reason to reject evaluations’ false assessment of teaching effectiveness. There is an unholy alliance between professors who want these benefits and students who want easier courses and higher grades, leading to another serious issue ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, August 22, 2019By Richard E. Vatz
    1 day ago
  • California’s War on Cars
    Sacramento On a trip back from the rugged Mendocino coast, we were fortunate enough to reach California State Route 37, which meanders along the north side of San Pablo Bay from Marin County to the Interstate 80 intersection at Vallejo, before the serious Bay Area rush-hour traffic kicked in. It was a miserable drive nonetheless — and one that is emblematic of the state’s transportation “crisis.” The state had planned to turn the mostly two-lane road into a freeway since the 1950s, but concerns about the surrounding swampland and costs have left it as is. The road is best known as “blood alley” because of the large number of traffic fatalities along the route. The scenery is lovely, but a sensible government would find an environmentally friendly way to expand the road capacity and protect human lives and mobility in the process. There’s nothing but open space on both sides of the roadway. But California’s government is driven by environmental concerns, so good sense always flies out the window. I thought about that drive as I perused a new CalMatters article that asks the question, “Can California put cars in the rear-view mirror?” California has a growing traffic congestion problem that could be addressed through traffic engineering, but social engineering always is the go-to solution, so this crisis keeps getting worse. In 2001, then-Gov. Gray Davis cut the ribbon for a long-planned stretch of new freeway linking the San Gabriel Valley to San Bernardino — a desperately needed connector for fast-growing inland regions east of Los Angeles. As the Los Angeles Times reported at the time, the opening of that segment of the Foothill Freeway marks “a construction milestone on probably the last major urban freeway in California’s foreseeable future.” State officials seemed proud that “the era of massive freeway construction in California will be dead.” Nearly 19 years later, we see the fruits of that public-policy decision. Traffic has long been horrific throughout California, especially in the Los Angeles basin and the Bay Area. But like every bad thing in this state, it just keeps getting worse. The 2018 INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard tops the ranking of most congested cities, with drivers spending an annual average of 104 hours stuck in gridlock. Other California cities made the ranks of 50 most congested cities across the globe. The obvious solution is to, well, build more roads, even though decades of neglect — and reams of environmental impediments such as the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) — would make that a daunting task if state officials wanted to do so. But they have no interest in doing so. Their goal is to coerce us into giving up our cars or at least driving much less. They’ve caused the crisis and are not about to let it go to waste. Even when the state boosts taxes to fund road-construction projects, it uses the money in dubious ways. As I wrote for The American Spectator following the state’s boost last year in gas taxes and vehicle-license fees, California cities and counties ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, August 22, 2019By Steven Greenhut
    1 day ago
  • Why Pope Francis Hasn’t Visited Argentina
    Last Saturday, I arrived in chilly Buenos Aires. I am sure it is just a coincidence, but my arrival coincided with the collapse of the peso. A dollar goes a long way in Argentina. For $40, Americans can get a four-star hotel; for $4, they can get a tasty steak. Signs of Argentinian economic malaise abound, from shanty towns on the outskirts of Buenos Aires to hobos sleeping on dirty mattresses in its downtown. Argentines love raw dollars, offering huge deals for cash purchases. It appears that the Peronistas are on the verge of victory. As Brazil goes right, Argentina moves back to the left, such is its addiction to its socialist traditions. My principal purpose in visiting Buenos Aires is to learn about its not-so-favorite son, Jorge Bergoglio, who still hasn’t visited Argentina since becoming Pope Francis. During my first few days here, I asked every Catholic I met to explain that anomaly. I got some blunt and brutal answers. “We all know he is a son of a bitch,” said a former prosecutor to me. “We are ashamed of him. He represents our worst qualities.” His friend chipped in that Catholics consider Francis “to be a fake, a make-believe pope,” not to mention, he added, an uncultured, ill-mannered flake. The former prosecutor oozed contempt for Francis: “He knows nothing — not morals, not theology, not history. Nothing. Only power interests him.” The description of Pope Francis as a power-mad ideologue is very widespread, I am finding. I spoke at length with Antonio Caponnetto, who is the Argentine author of several books on Pope Francis. “At seminary, his classmates called him ‘Machiavelli,’ ” he noted. Caponnetto gives two reasons for why the pope has avoided his home country: one, at least half the country hates him, and two, Francis dislikes the supposedly “conservative,” pro-capitalist Macri regime. The latter reason is absurd: Macri is hardly conservative, as Argentine conservatives are the first to say. On Wednesday morning, I visited with Santiago Estrada, Argentina’s former ambassador to the Holy See. He has been close to Bergoglio for decades, but he allowed that Bergoglio “hates businessmen.” He dislikes Macri, he said, not because Macri is a pillar of conservatism but because Macri is simply not as anti-business “as the pope.” Estrada was loath to criticize his friend, but he conceded that the pope’s promotion of molesting bishops has been “inexplicable.” The pope’s predecessors visited their home countries. Even the timid Pope Benedict XVI braved his German critics and returned home. Is it really possible Pope Francis could boycott Argentina for the rest of his tenure? Probably not. For one thing, say engaged Catholics, if the hardcore leftists return to power, “he will come back.” Estrada thinks he “definitely will come back next year” if Macri loses, but that he will call it a “pastoral visit.” “Francis has been working behind the scenes” to help Macri’s opponent, an Argentine political operative said to me. “He wants Macri to lose.” Conservatives fear the prospect ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Thursday, August 22, 2019By George Neumayr
    1 day ago
  • Socialism: An Indifferent Government Made of Fallible People
    Why do socialists believe a bigger government is a boon? Big government socialist types love the government. To hear them tell it, government employees are sainted experts motivated by a divine desire to serve their fellow Americans. Brilliant, hard-working, kind, good people work government jobs. As if standing in line at the DMV for three hours and then being sent to another line and then being sent home because of a missing document isn’t enough to convince Americans that government employees are humans and likely sadists, the Trump presidency has revealed that this malevolent rot goes to the top. If men are given more power, they have more power to harass. The Obama administration used the IRS, EPA, and nearly every arm of the government to persecute ideological opponents. The Russian collusion scandal was an exercise by fearful political opponents using the State Department, Department of Justice, FBI, and all tools in their power to prevent and then undo the will of the people by undermining the Trump presidency and attempting to push him out of office. Then there is the malice by the rank-and-file employees of these agencies exemplified by the woman arrested over the weekend for feeding information to her gang member son. From the New York Post: Tawanna Hilliard — whose son Tyquan is part of the ruthless 5-9 Brims set of the Bloods street gang — in 2016 used her work computer to help a crew member find possible turncoats, as well as to obtain the personal information of a rival member she thought was “trying to jam my son up,” documents filed in Brooklyn federal court allege. The Department of Justice employee also allegedly meddled in a pending robbery case against her son in 2018. Ms. Hilliard is the perfect example of human nature and why the best solution for a troubled America is not a bigger government but a smaller one. There are a couple central premises to leftism and Marxist underpinnings of their ideology that crumble under even passing examination. First, leftists believe that human nature is essentially good. Conservatives recognize that people are fallible — all of them. It’s best to take human nature into account when considering how much power to give the government. Far too many people are like Ms. Hilliard. Even if most people wouldn’t sell out gang informants, some will — maybe only one or two, but it has to be considered that someone will do the wrong thing, so the power of a government official should be limited. Second, leftists believe that most people are wired for the greater good. So not only are they good people but they also want to help other people. Again, let Ms. Hilliard be the example. While her responsibility was to uphold the law, protect the government’s attempts to uphold the law, and to not betray the safety, and maybe the lives, of government employees who sought to expose crime, Ms. Hilliard chose her own well-being first. She chose the well-being ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, August 21, 2019By Melissa Mackenzie
    2 days ago
  • Woodstock: The Last Word
    Washington Well, all the palaver about the 50th anniversary of Woodstock has finally shut down. The reminiscences, the brave statements, the claptrap about how beautiful we all were — it is over. Now the Woodstockians can get back to their retirement communities, their gerontologists, their rehab centers yet again. Apparently I am not going to be invited back to reflect on that idiotic jamboree. I actually made a memorable appearance but not at Woodstock. I avoided the mud and the cheap wine, beer, and illicit drugs. Yet when NBC wanted to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Woodstock I made a clever effort to be there. It was not because I was interested in rock ’n’ roll or because I was a radical student who opposed the war in Vietnam and deodorant. It was because I have long had a sociological interest in the 1960s generation. I favored the conservative element of the generation. I was critical of the radical element of the generation. I knew by 1984 that the radical and doped-up members of the 1960s generation had generally composed the audience at Woodstock, and I wanted — 15 years later — to render my judgment. A nationally televised stage would be the perfect place to do it. A producer from NBC called my office and told me they were thinking of me, the editor-in-chief of The American Spectator, to make an appearance on their 15th anniversary program called “Summer Sunday USA.” Would I as a conservative come along and participate? I was asked what I was doing during the original Woodstock extravaganza. Well, if I wanted to be on the show, now was the time for some cunning. In truth, I was, as the Woodstockians howled and sloshed around in the mud, probably washing my car or sunning myself, but that would not be good enough for the producer from NBC. So I fabricated. Possibly, I said that I was diligently practicing the national anthem on my harpsichord. Possibly, I said that I was stamping envelopes at the local American Legion Post. Whatever I said, it obviously hooked NBC, and shortly thereafter I was on my way to Woodstock in an NBC limousine. I invited the writer Roger Kaplan along. He had been in the radical SDS back in the Woodstock days. Now he was writing for conservative journals. I wanted to see how he would react. We were going to be out in a corn field with William Kunstler, the radical lawyer, Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panthers who now was hawking a cookbook featuring, I believe, barbecue recipes. Then there was someone called Wavy Gravy, possibly from Harvard University’s Department of Philosophy. As we got acquainted I looked around the field for Joan Baez. She was billed as making an appearance with us, and really of all the luminaries on “Summer Sunday USA” she was the only one in whom I was interested. She was reported to have given up on the North Vietnamese because of ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, August 21, 2019By R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.
    2 days ago
  • The Myth of Jewish Influence in the Democrat Party
    Take heart, anti-Semites. Or be depressed. Because the myth on which so much anti-Semitism is built finally now is exposed as one more fantasy, one more falsehood, one more libel. This is the myth that Jews have influence in the Democrat Party. Turns out ’taint so. Duh! Don’t get me wrong. Like most American Jews, I love many of the main anti-Semitic myths and defamations. Lying Jew-haters say that Jews control the banks. They say that Jews control the wealth. They say that Jews hypnotize the world. They say that Jews control everything. As a Jew, what’s not to love when you read that stuff? Think about how it feels for me: I control the banks, the wealth, hypnotize the world, control everything. It’s like the guy in every eighth Twilight Zone episode built on that variation. Honestly, for me as a Jew — that is so unbe-freaking-lievably cool! Ah, to control everything. Everything. But then it happens. Ouch! — reality sets in. Back when I was in my 30s and 40s, I would apply for a home mortgage, and for years and years I could not qualify. But I’m a Jew — I control the banks, no? No. I would look at my bank account every month, for all my wealth. Where was it? Month after month, just breaking even. I called my parents — were they hoarding our renowned Jewish wealth? Nope. Actually, Mom then asked whether I would be able to send her $100 a week. My sisters, a bit richer — but only a bit — sent more. We all sent money regularly to Mom. That’s what grown kids did for 5,000 years until this generation of narcissism and texting. So where was our freaking Jewish wealth? The banks we control? And why were never invited to any meetings of the International Zionist Conspiracy? I went around to the neighbors. Abe and Florence Goodman. The Bresnicks. The Pelikows. Irving and Claire Gold. Mrs. Neiman. Mr. Herskovitz. “Does any of you happen to have the secret combination to the safe where we Jews of the World hoard all our wealth? Anyone know which banks we own here, like just to get approved for a secured debit card?” Nope. Not even Mr. Gold knew where the gold was. Nor Mr. Goldberg. Nor Goldstein. So it didn’t even pay to ask Dr. Silverman or Mr. Diamond. Thankfully, none of them also asked me for $100 a week. But at least we owned the banks. Just had to find where. So I went to Security Pacific. Not a Jew near the top. Citibank. First National. Heck, not even at Eighth National. Everyone turning me down for loans. Like, the banks wouldn’t even approve me for a credit card back then. “But I’m a Jew!” I pleaded. “Don’t you read anti-Semitic literature? Don’t you know we control you? And I’m not just any run-of-the-mill Jew. I am a rabbi!” (At that point, for added effect, I would stretch out my two arms and wave my ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, August 21, 2019By Dov Fischer
    2 days ago
  • Eight Decades On: Lessons From Perhaps the Most Evil Diplomatic Triumph in History
    In mid-1939 German Chancellor Adolf Hitler had a problem. He wanted to go to war with the Soviet Union in order to grab precious Lebensraum, or living space — and eradicate the Bolshevik menace. The Western powers, however, namely Great Britain and France, refused to make a deal with him. Instead, they guaranteed the security of Poland, the next obvious Nazi target and pathway to the USSR. He wanted to avoid a two-front war, which ended badly for the Germans in World War I. So the Austrian corporal turned German Führer sought a deus ex machina. He found it on August 23, 1939, when the Treaty of Non-Aggression Between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, also known as the Hitler-Stalin Pact and Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the names of the respective dictators and foreign ministers who negotiated the agreement’s terms, was signed. While diplomacy almost always is preferable to war, the two sometime coincide. Plenty of plundering marauders have made common cause. But it is hard to think of an example of greater depravity: two of the worst mass murderers in history dividing the world between them. World War I left both Germany and Russia isolated pariah states. Germany’s new Weimar republic had expected gentler treatment by the allies, having surrendered under Woodrow Wilson’s “14 Points” and then defenestrated the Kaiser and the entire imperial system. But the Versailles Treaty placed full blame on Berlin, amputated historic Germanic lands, transferred indisputably German populations to other nations, imposed the cost of the war on the German people, and kept the democratic German government out of the League of Nations, which was designed to guarantee British and French dominance of the new international order. Ravaged by political conflict and civil strife at home, Berlin schemed to overturn the artificial territorial divide, which it never accepted. The newly created Soviet Union, successor state to the Russian Empire, was even more isolated. Forced by Germany, which triumphed on the Eastern Front, to accept the draconian Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in 1918 — the only way for the Bolsheviks to preserve their tenuous control as civil war loomed — the Communists spent the next several years battling counter-revolutionaries while seeking to reassemble the old empire. The Americans, British, French, and Japanese intervened militarily against the new regime, first hoping to keep Russia in the war and next seeking to strangle the Soviet state in its infancy. The USSR survived, but turned inward as Vladimir Ilyich Lenin’s successors battled for control and the triumphant Joseph Stalin brutally industrialized his peasant nation. During this time, the former enemies became friends of sorts. In April 1922, Germany and Russia signed the Treaty of Rapallo, renouncing financial and territorial claims against the other. A secret annex allowed Berlin to train military personnel and test military equipment on Soviet soil, violating the Versailles Treaty. The Treaty of Berlin, signed in April 1926, guaranteed neutrality in the event of a third-party attack on the other. Trade also expanded between the two states ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, August 21, 2019By Doug Bandow
    2 days ago
  • The Economy Needs Structural Changes, Not Gimmicks
    The Washington Post reports, “Several senior White House officials have begun discussing whether to push for a temporary payroll tax cut as a way to arrest an economic slowdown, three people familiar with the discussions said.” The discussions follow a budget deal that sent spending upward by $320 billion and ensured trillion-dollar deficits for the foreseeable future, vehement calls by the president for the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates further, and even a push to embark on a new program of quantitative easing. Like a doctor injecting a sick, lethargic patient with uppers, the policies aimed to jump-start the economy may temporarily infuse life into the convalescent. They do not do anything to cure the underlying condition. The national debt fast approaches $23 trillion. This burden, substantive and psychological, weighs down the economy. The structural fiscal problems, involving both taxes and spending, and pressure on monetary policy to keep rates artificially low, not only ensure an eventual downturn but limit short-term palliatives as well. Out-of-control federal spending comes directly as a result of out-of-control health-care spending. The federal government spent about one in 20 dollars on health care a half century ago. Today, the federal government spends almost one in three dollars directly on health care. This response to medical inflation also fuels it. A half century ago, health care amounted to about 7 percent of the American economy. Today, it accounts for about 18 percent. The more the government commits itself to subsidize the medical bills of individuals, the more it necessarily spends. And this inevitably grows worse. By the middle of the next decade, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates, health-care spending grows from 18 percent of GDP to over 20 percent ($5.6 trillion). Taxpayers, because of Medicare Part D, Obamacare, and much else, pay a large portion of this amount. Rather than act to rein in spending, Republicans punt, and many Democrats seek to increase commitments as though not costs but coverage stands as the primary problem. Federal revenue, almost wholly stagnant for several years, amounts to about $3.4 trillion this year after hovering around $3.3 trillion for the last four years. A real restructuring of the tax code would achieve higher revenues as it grants Americans greater freedom. Taxes on U.S. corporations amount to about 1.5 percent of GDP. Whereas corporate taxes account for about 10 percent of federal revenues today, they constituted 40 percent at their peak point in 1943. In just a few generations, a massive shift in the tax burden took place in which individuals paid what corporations once did. Part of this involves a welcome reduction in onerous corporate rates. A more nefarious part of this involves a byzantine code that invites manipulation from massive corporations, such as Amazon, which received a refund for the most recent year, that can afford an army of clever accountants and lawyers. A clearer, less complex code would result in higher revenues without the need for a rate hike. To reverse the trend ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Wednesday, August 21, 2019By Hunt Lawrence and Daniel J. Flynn
    2 days ago
  • President Trump’s Foreign Policy Fiasco
    A major loss has occurred in the Trump administration, one that undermines the hard work to conceive and implement a literal “Trump Doctrine” in foreign policy, and it appears that President Trump is unaware of what fully happened or what’s at stake. He didn’t initiate the change. This action was taken by a group under Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a coup by insiders. It’s an abrupt step that has shocked foreign-policy voices as diverse as Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright, George Shultz and Henry Kissinger and Newt Gingrich. Kiron Skinner, a brilliant foreign policy expert and renowned Reagan scholar and one of the nation’s most respected African American intellectuals and conservatives, was fired from her position as director of policy planning in the Trump State Department. That position, as I wrote about here at The American Spectator back in May, is one of the most prestigious jobs in the federal government — also known as the George Kennan seat, in honor of its inaugural holder. It was the esteemed Kennan who, under President Harry Truman, crafted the historic “X” letter/telegram, published in Foreign Affairs in 1947. That statement is credited with creating the policy of containment that became the cornerstone of U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union. Heirs to the seat included the likes of Paul Nitze, Walt Rostow, and a long line of illustrious thinkers. Dr. Skinner is the first black woman to hold the seat. She was one of the single best Trump appointees — an appointment conveniently ignored by much of the media. The Policy Planning Staff serves a unique role as effectively the State Department’s and president’s think tank on foreign policy. The director maintains a crucial position, and still more crucial was what Skinner was doing in that position for President Trump and for America’s foreign policy. As I laid out at length in May, Skinner was skillfully formulating and articulating something badly needed. She was establishing the intellectual architecture for an emerging Trump doctrine. She had identified four pillars of what had evolved into something we could cohesively call a Trump Doctrine: 1) national sovereignty, 2) reciprocity, 3) burden sharing, and 4) regional partnerships. As someone personally critical of Donald Trump on foreign policy from the outset, especially on NATO and Russia, it was for me a tremendous relief to observe Skinner’s work. To cite just one instance, very much unheralded, in April Skinner had convened a NATO Policy Planners’ conference in Washington. It was the first ever gathering of NATO Policy Planners in the 70-year history of the organization, and it could not have come at a timelier moment. Skinner was striving to communicate the intentionality and purpose at work in Donald Trump’s evolving foreign policy and to help the president himself coalesce and direct his ideas into strategic doctrine. Further, Skinner was striving to create among the Policy Planning Staff an interdisciplinary team of foreign service officers, civil service employees, and academics, all working together with a particular expertise on Europe, Eurasia, and ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, August 20, 2019By Paul Kengor
    3 days ago
  • House Democrats Silent on Omar, Tlaib Ties to Miftah
    The silence is telling. In the recent dust-up over the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu barring Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and her colleague Rep. Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) from Israel, House Democrats have been silent as church mice about the organization that was to have sponsored Omar and Tlaib’s trip. That group is known as “Miftah.” A serious hat tip goes to National Review’s David French and the Washington Examiner’s Seth Mandel’s Twitter feed for shining a spotlight on just what Miftah believes. Let’s start with this gem, as reported here by NGO Monitor, which specializes in “fact-based research and independent analysis about non-governmental organizations (NGOs), their funders, and other stakeholders, primarily in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict.” The NGO Monitor reported: On March 27, 2013 MIFTAH, a Palestinian non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in 1998 by Hanan Ashrawi (Chair of MIFTAH’s Board of Directors), published an article by Nawaf al-Zaru that repeated the antisemitic blood libel. He wrote, “Does Obama in fact know the relationship, for example, between ‘Passover’ and ‘Christian blood’… ?! Or ‘Passover’ and ‘Jewish blood rituals…?! Much of the historical stories and tales about Jewish blood rituals in Europe are based on real rituals and are not false as they claim; the Jews used the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover … ” (translated from the original Arabic by NGO Monitor). Miftah responded to the criticism by taking the article down and issuing this statement, which said in part: MIFTAH has and always will promote the principles of democracy and a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Really? Then, how to explain another Miftah posting, which, as French points out, originated here with, yes indeed, American neo-Nazis. The title: Who Rules America: The Alien Grip on Our News and Entertainment Media Must Be Broken The short answer to the question posted by the neo-Nazis of “Who Rules America” is, but of course, “the Jews.” French links to this tweet from Vox’s Jane Coaston that pinpoints the source as the “National Vanguard, a neo-Nazi group founded in 2005 in Charlottesville by members of the National Alliance.” There is more about Miftah, of course. French points to, among other things, a Miftah contributor celebrating one Dalal Al-Mughrabi, a woman who was hailed for giving her life in a “military operation” — the latter turning out to be “a bus hijacking that resulted in the deaths of 38 Israeli civilians, including 13 children.” French’s central point is spot on. To wit: Where is the media on this story? As Becket Adams over at the Washington Examiner has pointed out, whether it is the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, the Washington Post, or the New York Times, all mildly described Miftah merely as a “Palestinian group” or “a nonprofit organization headed by a Palestinian lawmaker” and so on. The New York Times, at least, published an op-ed that did acknowledge some of Miftah’s scurrilous doings. Other than that, there is not a syllable that would indicate Miftah has been publishing anti-Semitic propaganda — except from Fox News, which is on ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, August 20, 2019By Jeffrey Lord
    3 days ago
  • ‘The Hunt’: An Old Story Retold Poorly
    Some stories are retold over and over in new renditions. Romeo and Juliet, set in New York City with gangs, becomes West Side Story. The Tempest on an alien world with a robot for Caliban is Forbidden Planet (1956). It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) becomes a 1989 Christmas episode of the TV comedy Married With Children wherein, after the schlub Al Bundy is shown by an angel that the people who happily made his life a burden would be better off if he’d never been born, he decides to live to spite them. As you can see from the last, transmogrification can produce peculiar results. Such is the case with “The Most Dangerous Game,” now retold in the film The Hunt (2019). “The Most Dangerous Game,” a short story by Richard Connell, first appeared in 1924 in Collier’s magazine. In it, a shipwrecked man is hunted by a big game hunter who has grown bored with conventional prey like tigers. Men are more challenging. In 1932, RKO Pictures turned the story into the film The Most Dangerous Game, starring Joel McCrea as the human prey. Fay Wray, who would find greater fame in King Kong (1933), was added as a second castaway to provide McCrea’s character with a damsel to save while evading the hunter. The film was successful, and the story was retold in later films. These drifted further from the original. The hunter became a Nazi in A Game of Death (1945). In Bloodlust! (1961), the prey was a group of young people meant to draw the teenage drive-in movie crowd. In it, Johnny, played by the 27-year-old Robert Reed, who would one day be the dad on The Brady Bunch, memorably scolds the hunter: “Listen, Mister … fun’s fun. But if you think we’re gonna be the clay pigeons in your shooting gallery — you’re just a little far out!” In The Woman Hunt (1972), the victims are beautiful girls, who, according to the ads, were “hunted like animals by men who are beasts” in “an orgy of sex and death.” The Suckers (1972) was in the same vein. The Perverse Countess (1974) increased the sex and added cannibalism. Turkey Shoot (1982) is a violent Australian interpretation set in a futuristic prison whose inmates are hunted. Another sci-fi version was Slave Girls From Beyond Infinity (1987). It returned to female prey not dressed for cold weather. They are also prison inmates, but this time on an alien world. Hard Target (1993) was a gritty version, with homeless vets paid to be prey. Surviving the Game (1994) was also grim, with a homeless man tricked into being hunted. The Pest (1997) was an attempt to turn the story into a comedy. It starred John Leguizamo as a mistakenly chosen victim who, instead of being released when the error is detected, is hunted because he’s just so annoying. The film cost $17 million to make but earned only $3.5 million because Leguizamo’s character also annoyed audiences. To this list, we can add The Hunt (2019). In The Hunt, originally titled Red State vs. Blue State, the hunters are ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, August 20, 2019By Ed Morrow
    3 days ago
  • The Wisdom of Federalism
    “How Much Damage Have Republicans Done in the States?” Gosh! Worlds of damage, you’d imagine, if you’re a typical client of the New York Times nursery school system, where more and more government is good and less and less government is very, very bad — evidencing a failure on your part to appreciate the joys of governance by one’s betters. The idea the Times advances is that Republicans took control of all these state legislatures in 2018 and then more or less blew the follow-up, enacting relatively few of those conservative notions the Times tends to disdain, such as minimizing abortion and promoting traditional families. Leave-it-alone-don’t-touch-it government is an idea that progressives favor only when conservatives run the government — something we last saw on a large scale during the Reagan years. Matt Grossmann, author of the Times editorial column bearing the dismissive headline cited above, has a new book out on the topic of just how little the voters enjoy, in practice, seeing their government benefits slashed or taken away. He says, in 2018, owing to their legislative gains, “Republicans were in a position to fundamentally reorient states to scale back public services, serve corporations and the rich, and impose a conservative social agenda.… Republican-controlled state governments largely failed to enact policies that advance conservative goals. They have been effective at staying in power but have not altered the reach of government or its socio-economic impact.” Not that they failed to try. “But they faced the same problem of conservative parties worldwide: Translating a philosophy of small government and traditionalism into major cuts to public services is quite unpopular.” From the conservative perspective, there were gains — just not the gains sometimes foretold or hoped for. There was no rightward lurch, save in Wisconsin, where a determinedly conservative governor and legislature took on and beat, at long last, the labor unions. Motion to starboard was elsewhere modulated. There was even, save the mark, conspicuous collaboration here and there with Democrats, as in Texas, where the criminal justice system received some overhaul. Conservatives can say, “We wish thus and so had been done, because it ought to have been done.” But there is a larger point to mark. It is that we see in Grossmann’s findings of variety in political outcomes new affirmation of our federal plan of government. To wit, not everything need be done the same way — or done at all, if you please. Variety is a strengthener of liberty. It means if you want something done a certain way, it’s on you to do it that way — and make good of the opportunity. If you’re right, and things work out as hoped, well and good. You’ve done it democratically, the people’s will — implied through the electoral returns — having been accomplished. Other states may have other ideas. Good on them. We’ll see in due course how it works out. New York might have a sounder economic environment by imitating the tax policy and conservative political philosophy of the ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Tuesday, August 20, 2019By William Murchison
    3 days ago
  • Why Trump’s Approval Ratings Are Up Among Minorities
    A mounting number of voter polls show that, despite shrill denunciations of the President by the Democrats for his alleged racism, Trump is enjoying a dramatic increase in his approval ratings among minorities. This isn’t, as some liberal news outlets and pundits have suggested, wishful thinking based on outlier polls. The trend began showing up in surveys early this year and appears to be gaining momentum. Some polls now show his approval numbers at 25 percent among African-American voters and 50 percent among Hispanic voters. If those figures hold for the next 15 months, they will render Trump unbeatable in November of 2020. If this claim seems over the top, it should be remembered that Trump beat Hillary Clinton in 2016 despite garnering only about 8 percent of the black vote and 29 percent of the Hispanic vote. Put another way, Clinton lost the election despite winning nearly 90 percent of the African-American vote and two-thirds of the Hispanic vote. In other words, they simply can’t beat the President if he holds them to significantly lower percentages of these key voting blocs. The Democrats and their media enablers understand this, of course, which is why they have worked so diligently to discredit polls that confirm the president’s gains among minority voters. This began in earnest when, in January of this year, Marist found that Trump’s approval rating among Hispanics had reached 50 percent. Then, in February, a Morning Consult poll showed Hispanic approval of the President at 45 percent. This was followed by a March poll from McLaughlin & Associates that found Hispanic approval for the President at 50 percent. All three polls were discounted as outliers by the media or simply ignored. This continued in June, after Harvard Harris showed similar findings. Much the same strategy was still being pursued last week after Zogby Analytics discovered even worse news for the Democrats: Race also played a factor in Trump’s job approval rating. Hispanics, this time around, were much more likely to approve of his job performance [49%], while the president also saw his numbers jump with African Americans. This was his second straight poll with over a quarter support from African Americans [28%]. If Trump wins half of Hispanics and a quarter of African Americans in 2020, Democrats will be in trouble! This is the understatement of the decade if Zogby’s numbers about African-American voters are accurate, particularly combined with gains the President has seen among Independents, older Generation X voters, and maturing Millennial voters. Is it really possible that Trump, who has so often been accused of racism by the Democrats and the media, is gaining traction with black voters? Zogby Analytics is by no means the only polling firm to find a shift toward Trump among the Democratic Party’s most loyal supporters. Rasmussen Reports, for example, found in an August survey that Trump’s approval among African-Americans exceeded 30 percent: Like most Republicans, Trump has struggled to attract black voters, but this week’s surveying for the Rasmussen Reports ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, August 19, 2019By David Catron
    4 days ago
  • Dean Baquet Kills the New York Times
    The revelations from an internal town hall between New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet and key members of the paper’s staff, which leaked to Slate and were reported Thursday with an extensive transcript, prove everything we already knew — namely, that the paper was dedicating its coverage and its very credibility to the Trump-Russia narrative. “We built our newsroom to cover one story, and we did it truly well,” Baquet told the assemblage. “Now we have to regroup, and shift resources and emphasis to take on a different story.” Think about that statement for a minute. Baquet says he “built our newsroom” to cover a story which turns out to have been based on a hoax spread by Democrat Party operatives and used by a corrupt Obama administration to spy on innocent American citizens while attempting to prejudice a presidential election. Had the Times actually covered the back half of the Trump-Russia story, in which the abuses by the Obama and Clinton camps turn out to have been the meat of the thing, it might have been justified to “build our newsroom” around it. But of course that’s not what Baquet did. Not shockingly, as Baquet admitted, things went badly. “Chapter 1 of the story of Donald Trump,” he said, “not only for our newsroom but, frankly, for our readers, was: Did Donald Trump have untoward relationships with the Russians, and was there obstruction of justice? That was a really hard story, by the way, let’s not forget that. We set ourselves up to cover that story. I’m going to say it. We won two Pulitzer Prizes covering that story. And I think we covered that story better than anybody else.” Then came Honest Bob Mueller, who it turns out was a big disappointment to Baquet and his gang. “The day Bob Mueller walked off that witness stand, two things happened,” Baquet continued. “Our readers who want Donald Trump to go away suddenly thought, ‘Holy s–t, Bob Mueller is not going to do it.’ And Donald Trump got a little emboldened politically, I think. Because, you know, for obvious reasons. And I think that the story changed. A lot of the stuff we’re talking about started to emerge like six or seven weeks ago. We’re a little tiny bit flat-footed. I mean, that’s what happens when a story looks a certain way for two years. Right?” The Trump-Russia story hasn’t looked “a certain way” for two years at all. Not to anyone who was objective about the story. In fact, after about six months at maximum anybody interested in the truth could have screamed from rooftops that the Steele dossier was the crux of the Trump-Russia story and that the whole thing was a put-up job designed to serve as a slow-motion wrecking ball to the Trump administration. The fact that Baquet and the Times were fully invested in swinging that wrecking ball is now unmistakable by his own admission. Well, he swung it. And he’s missed his target and hit his ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, August 19, 2019By Scott McKay
    4 days ago
  • The Hong Kong Stand Off
    President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are playing a high-stakes game of chicken that encompasses both trade negotiations and the protests against Chinese oppression that have continued for eleven weeks in Hong Kong. Over the past week, the contest has resulted in a standoff that won’t last long. The Hong Kong protests began in January in opposition to legislation proposed by Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive. That bill would have significantly changed Hong Kong’s system — established in 1997 when the UK surrendered sovereignty over Hong Kong to China — to enable the Xi government to extradite any Hong Kong citizen accused of a crime to face trial under the communist mainland government. To bring Hong Kong citizens under the oppression of China’s government-controlled courts would have the effect of negating their freedoms. Lam has backed off the proposal but has by no means abandoned it. (Beijing would never permit that.) Since they began, the protests have continued to grow and are now — from what can be seen in televised interviews of protesters — against the Xi government and the Chinese Communist Party, not just the proposed extradition bill. Some demonstrators have carried American flags. The protesters had shut down Hong Kong’s principal airport for days. They may — and should — again. Yesterday, in defiance of police, the protesters numbered in the hundreds of thousands. On several occasions, they have numbered more than one million. The importance of Hong Kong to China is enormous. The former British possession has served to attract enormous foreign investment in China by promising safe, stable banking and commercialization of China. If that is destabilized, or even ended, China’s economy will suffer a major blow. Last week, China deployed thousands of troops to the nearby city of Shenzen in a major show of force. It seemed then — and still seems — that the Xi regime intends to put down the protests, probably as violently as China put down the Tiananmen Square freedom protests in 1989. It is very likely that it will do so. The principal force holding it back is Trump’s nascent trade war with China. Trump has been trying to negotiate a trade deal with China for about a year. Our principal demands include the cessation of Chinese theft of U.S. intellectual property — military and commercial secrets such as patents and trademarked goods — which have amounted to U.S. losses of at least $225 billion annually. Credible reports say that half of Chinese intellectual property was stolen from U.S. and other Western sources. At least one in five U.S. companies have had their technology and other intellectual property stolen by the Chinese. In answer to that, Trump has leveraged tariffs, and the threat of greater tariffs, on goods imported from China. The trade talks broke off when China, which had agreed to stop theft of intellectual property, reneged on the deal at the last minute. Xi knows that any military action against the Hong Kong protesters would ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, August 19, 2019By Jed Babbin
    4 days ago
  • The Unmasking of BDS
    After fourteen years of being lulled by propagandists into believing that their boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign (BDS) is a human rights movement, we’re finally waking up to the deception. The U.S. House last month overwhelmingly passed a bill opposing BDS efforts to target and delegitimize the State of Israel. Last February, the Senate passed a bill, never taken up by the House, legalizing the right of state governments and employee benefit plans to refuse to do business with companies boycotting Israel, thereby protecting the 27 states with anti-BDS legislation. Concerned about BDS similarity to Nazi boycotts and incitement of anti-Semitism becoming “the breeding ground for escalations to violence,” the German parliament recently passed a resolution declaring BDS anti-Semitic. The Western world is acting, albeit slowly, to unmask BDS for what it is — a dangerous 21st century iteration of the age-old scourge of Jew-hatred. Anti-Semitism is a mutating cancer, evolving and adapting, intent on destroying Jews in their host communities. Our State Department definition of modern-day anti-Semitism identifies expressions of hatred, including when disguised as Israel-bashing and anti-Zionism, the hallmarks of BDS. The BDS movement was founded by left-wing socialists and Marxists in 2001 explicitly to undermine Israel’s sovereignty, skillfully exploiting the language of peace, justice, and human rights to appeal to Western audiences. Adopted by Palestinian extremists in 2005, BDS misleads civic and cultural organizations, governments, and individuals into believing that its goal is merely to establish a Palestinian state living peacefully beside a Jewish state. Using sophisticated subterfuge to hide its linkage to Palestinian terror groups, it obscures its extremist endgame — the destruction of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people and the creation of yet another Arab-majority state. People who should know better have bought into this “Big Lie,” conforming to their ideological predisposition and antipathies toward Israel, Jews, and the West. BDS founder Omar Barghouti calls for the destruction of Israel. He explained that a Jewish state “contravene[s] the basic rights of the land’s indigenous Palestinian population.… Ending the occupation doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t mean upending the Jewish state itself.” BDS is the latest version of a history of boycotting European Jews. Arabs boycotted Jews in the British Mandate of Palestine. The Arab League formalized this policy in 1945, three years before Israeli statehood. By delegitimizing and demonizing Israel, BDS flagrantly crosses the line into pure anti-Semitism. Its supporters equate Israel with Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa. By advocating the right of return of millions of Palestinians, it attacks the Jewish people’s right to self-determination. It targets Jewish students, intimidating, harassing and physically threatening them. New York Times writer Roger Cohen, a liberal critic of Israel, realizes that “Mellifluous talk of democracy and rights and justice masks the BDS objective that is nothing other than the end of the Jewish state.” Israel has issued a report, “Terrorists in Suits,” providing detailed evidence of more than 100 links between BDS and Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, both U.S.-designated terrorist ... read more
    Source: American SpectatorPublished on Monday, August 19, 2019By Ziva Dahl
    4 days ago