Friday, May 5, 2017

The Middle East: Problems Real and Fake - Bassam Tawil

by Bassam Tawil

Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has shown with sophisticated leadership that he understands the danger his country is in. Iran has its sights set on Saudi Arabia.

  • We have also found ourselves with a ruthless, expansionist Iran, the preeminent objective of which is to exploit the disarray to take over the Saudi oil fields and the Middle East.
  • Thus the question of to whom Abu Musa [an Island seized by Iran] belonged was effectively answered, not in an international court of law, as the situation demanded, but by Iranian effrontery and American weakness.
  • More globally problematic, if America no longer wants to be the "world's policeman," Sunni countries will be cozying up to Russia or China or whatever country looks as if it will fill the ghastly vacuum into which America's allies have been thrown. There is, dangerously, no shortage of candidates for the position of word hegemon; they are all, however, expansionist, authoritarian and anti-democratic.
Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has shown with sophisticated leadership that he understands the danger his country is in. Iran has its sights set on Saudi Arabia.

The problem is that just as U.S. President Barack Obama was incapable of admitting that extremist Islam is what drives global terrorism, his administration seemed totally incapable of recognizing the true objectives of the Iran's military buildup, missiles and nuclear program. Instead, the Obama Administration toadied up to Iran, lavishly bankrolled the leading state sponsor of terrorism and permitted it, in a deceptive, agreement still unsigned by Iran, to build a nuclear weapons capability. Meanwhile, as Iran's leaders threaten to destroy Israel and the United States, what they are actually planning is the complete control of the Arabian Peninsula.

The lowest clerk in the CIA knows that for years Iran has been doing its utmost to subvert and destabilize the Arabian Peninsula, take Shi'ite control of Islam's shrines in Mecca and Madinah, to dominate the sea lanes and oil reserves, and, following a plan of "today the Middle East, tomorrow the world," to expel both the Americans and Saudis from the Hijaz: the western part of the Saudi Peninsula, formerly an independent kingdom, and where the Shi'ites and the major oil fields sit.

Iran also continues to pull the strings of its proxies, Qatar and Oman. From combination of self-interest and fear of Iran, they acquiesce to Iranian control. Others will follow. The entire region is increasingly anxious lest the Americans abandon the Arabian Peninsula altogether.

The lowest clerk in the CIA knows that for years Iran has been doing its utmost to subvert and destabilize the Arabian Peninsula, take Shi'ite control of Islam's shrines in Mecca (pictured) and Madinah, and to dominate the sea lanes and oil reserves. (Image source: Ariandra/Wikimedia Commons)

More problematic, if America no longer wants to be the "world's policeman," Sunni countries will start cozying up to Russia or China or whatever country looks as if it will fill the ghastly vacuum into which America's allies have been thrown. There is, dangerously, no shortage of candidates for the position of word hegemon; they are all, however, expansionist, authoritarian and anti-democratic.

If American thinks it can just retreat into isolationism and be left alone, it has a rude surprise coming.

On the surface, Qatar and Oman represent interests identical to those of the Sunni Arab states, but they do nothing to support their Sunni Arab brothers, and even stab them in the back. Qatar, or instance, which finances the Muslim Brotherhood, subverts the Arab regimes, and uses its Al-Jazeera TV to promote Iranian incitement and hate propaganda.

Oman, for its part, conspires with Iran and will eventually sacrifice the entire region to Iranian hegemony.

Iran's activities in the Arabian Peninsula are invasive: it is attempting to dismantle the region piece by piece. In 1971, Iran took control of three islands belonging to Bahrain -- Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tunb -- and has now turned them into military bases that threaten the Strait of Hormuz and control naval traffic in the Gulf. In 2012 Iran's former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, provocatively went to the island of Abu Musa to prove it belonged to Iran. Thus the question of to whom Abu Musa belonged was in effect answered, not in an international court of law, as the situation demanded, but by Iranian effrontery and American weakness.

Since then, Iran's daring and America's stupidity have known no bounds, not in the Arabian Peninsula and not in the Persian Gulf. Iran continues to challenge the U.S. Navy, take its sailors hostage and swarm its ships. Iran is openly trying to take over Yemen to establish itself on Saudi Arabia's southern border for a future ground assault.

Iran has also repeatedly declared, in yet another potential takeover, that Bahrain is its 14th province. Years ago Iran was fortunately prevented from doing so by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, before he was abandoned by the Americans and dumped from office in favor of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.[1]

The Iranians are also behind the terrorism and slaughter in Syria and Iraq.[2] The result has been a tidal wave of refugees from Syria and Iraq. About half a million Syrians have been killed in the Syrian civil war so far and about five million refugees have left, effectively emptying the country.

In Syria, the Iranians are behind the terrorism and murder through Hezbollah in Lebanon, and are also active in Libya, Egypt and the Gaza Strip, where they finance and arm terrorist organizations such as the Sunni Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The Arab states, at odds with one another, are unprepared for Iran. To control the Arab masses protesting the corrupt regimes ruling them, attention has usually been deflected away from the real issues and turned instead toward a no-cost target, Israel -- a cheap way to channel justifiable rage and avoid actually resolving the basically comfortable Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Palestinians are, in reality, a "fake problem." The "dirty little secret" is that the only reason the Palestinian cause is a problem is because the Sunni Arab and Muslim states and Europe want it to be one. The current situation, while not perfect, is, actually one with which both sides are relatively happy, but unable to admit it. The Palestinian leaders would, as their maps clearly show, prefer to overrun Israel. Short of that, our leaders know they have all the benefits of claiming to be "victims" without the tedious responsibility of actually running anything. Showered with money from Europe, they do not even have to grow an economy. This way they are free to use the hundreds of millions of euros to reward terrorism, buy Israel's destruction, and plan greater attacks.

Our leaders seem only to be upset about not being in the headlines as much as before, but they no doubt realize that if they were governing a state, the world would pay as much attention to them as it does to Andorra.

It would be easy enough for the Sunni and Arab states to absorb the Palestinian refugees in the Arab countries, where they live now anyway. In reality the problem could go away in a minute. If the problem were solved, the Arabs and Muslims, to distract their public from rotten governance, would just have to find a new problem, so it is probably just as easy to keep the old, comfortable one.

The Israelis apparently find the problem manageable; so both sides are, in truth, quietly content and have no intention of changing anything.

Thus after the so-called "Arab spring" we have found ourselves not with democratic Arab countries, but faced with the ruins of former Arab countries. We have also found ourselves with an a ruthless, expansionist Iranian monolith whose preeminent objective is to exploit the disarray to take over the Middle East.

The tragedy of the Sunni states is that our demographic, geographic military and economic superiority do not seem to faze the Iranians in the least.

Our weak and feckless allies in the West encourage Iran to continue its aggression and military buildup. Thus ironically, the only thing protecting us is the military capability of our supposed enemy.

We allowed ourselves to be tempted by empty American promises of defense -- a trust in an ally that turned out to be a grave mistake. The Russians and the American-led alliance are now fighting ISIS, which, again ironically, is the only organization capable of confronting Iran and stopping it and its Shi'ite proxies. If the Muslim Brotherhood's Sheikh Qaradawi, the most influential Sunni ideologue in the Middle East, who sits in Qatar, had the sense to realize that Iran was the real enemy, and that military efforts have to be directed against Iran, not Israel or the West, the situation of the Sunni states would quickly skyrocket.

In view of Iran's regional threat, the Arabs are beginning to understand that the Palestinian cause is marginal; that Israel is not a rival, and -- as just about everyone knows by now except possibly France, the main instigator of problems in the region -- Israel is not responsible for our problems. We are.

While the West tries to decide who it will or will not support, and the Iranians are busy subverting Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and the UAE by fomenting local Shi'ite rebellions, any pretext could now be used by Iran to attack Saudi Arabia or, for that matter, anyone, through the enormous opening left by a supine American administration, before a new one can take its place.
Bassam Tawil is a scholar based in the Middle East.

[1] In 2011, using its Shi'ite proxies in Bahrain, Iran almost managed to subvert the country and overthrow the ruling Sunni family. Its ultimate objective was a putsch that would bring Bahrain under Iranian control and make it a bridgehead to the Arabian Peninsula. The plan was foiled when Saudi Arabia and the UAE provided. Bahrain with military support. When it became obvious that the Americans preferred Iranian hegemony, the Saudis and Gulf States, to protect themselves, formed the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Saddam Hussein, the only leader who dared to challenge Iran, kept it busy for years with a war which resulted in an untold number of casualties on both sides and froze progress in both countries. Unfortunately, since he was overthrown and eventually killed, Iran's influence, violence and terrorism have been on the rise throughout the Middle East and are now spilling into Africa.
[2] They are exploiting the Shi'ite regime of Haidar al-Abadi and, with the support of their IRGC and Shi'ite militias, the Shi'ites in Iraq have been slaughtering the Sunnis in Fallujah.

Bassam Tawil is a scholar based in the Middle East.


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Iran's Forward Operating Base against the U.S. - Thomas Quiggin

by Thomas Quiggin

Iran's aim is to use American's northern neighbour, Canada, as a "forward operating base" for influence operations against the American government.

  • Iran's aim is to use American's northern neighbour, Canada, as a "forward operating base" for influence operations against the American government.
  • The Trudeau government has shown both a past and present affinity for dictatorial governments. Trudeau himself said he admires the government of the Peoples Republic of China and their "basic dictatorship." He publicly mourned the passing of Cuban President Fidel Castro. The statement made no note of the 60-plus years of dictatorship, and Cuba's brutal suppression of human rights.
  • Among its teachings, the Ontario Jaffari Mosque's school suggested that boys should play sports so they can be "physically be ready for jihad whenever the time comes for it." Girls, on the other hand, were told that they should "stick to hobbies that prepare them to become wives and mothers.
Iran and its Islamist regime is currently making a major effort to expand its footprint in Canada. Their aim is to use American's northern neighbour as a "forward operating base" for influence operations against the American government. In a recent video, Hassan Abbasi, a leadership figure in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), was boasting about a "guerilla movement of Iranian agents living and working in the United States." Iran, he says, is leading a clandestine army of potential martyrs within the US.

This does not seem to be an isolated event. Iranian diplomat Hamid Mohammadi said in 2012 there were many Iranian-Canadians "working in influential government positions" and called on others to "occupy high-level and key positions."

Given Iran's history of exporting violence and terrorism, that Iranians on both sides of the border are discussing how they are infiltrating North America should be of concern.

Iran has been forced to recalibrate its efforts during the past decade due to the shifting views of Canadian and American governments. The Obama Administration (2009-2017) gave virtual free rein to Iranian agents of influence. They were supported by a variety of Administration insiders such as Valerie Jarrett. When the Iranian Navy seized ten US Navy sailors and photographed them in humiliating positions, Vice President Joseph Biden described this as "just standard nautical practice". Predictably, Iran forced a US Navy female sailor to wear a hijab , possibly as a way of showing male dominance over an American female.

The government of Canada had earlier allowed Iranian agents such as Faisal Larijani to build infrastructure and support. This included the Center for Iranian Studies, located in Toronto at 290 Sheppard Ave. W., which was incorporated in January 2008.

When Prime Minister Harper (2006-2015) was elected, governmental support for Iran quickly dropped, culminating in the shuttering of the Iranian Embassy in 2012, using, as the leverage to remove them, the newly enacted "Justice for the Victims of Terrorism Act".

The current situation has now reversed itself. The newly elected Trump Administration appears to be taking a much harder stand against Iran while Canadian Prime Minster Trudeau is committed to outreach to Iran and a possible re-opening of the Canadian and Iranian Embassies.

Today's Iran

Iran remains listed as one of three global state sponsors of terrorism, along with Syria and Sudan, according to the US State Department. Canada also lists the Qods Force as a terrorism entity and states that it "is the clandestine branch of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) responsible for extraterritorial operations, and for exporting the Iranian Revolution through activities such as facilitating terrorist operations."
In addition, Iran also has one of the most dismal human rights records of any country. Human Rights Watch and others say that the human rights situation in Iran is "dire." Under the rule of the Ayatollahs, Iranian women confront serious discrimination on issues such as marriage, divorce, and child custody. Women have been sent to jail for publicly speaking out in favor of equal rights for women.

Canada and the Trudeau Government -- Unclear Intentions

According to Canada's former Foreign Minister Stephan Dion (2015-2016), official talks with Iran on re-establishing diplomatic ties have already begun. This is not a surprise; Prime Minister Trudeau campaigned on the issue of doing just that. Some Canadian sanctions against Iran have already been lifted, as of February 2016. Canada also downgraded its warning against all travel to Iran -- despite ongoing arrests and the torture of a variety of Canadians and others.

Trudeau's interest in re-establishing ties with Iran is not new. In 2014, while a Member of Parliament, Justin Trudeau gave an interview to the Montreal-based newspaper Sada al-Mashrek. This paper is openly known to be Khomeinist in nature and supports Iran (as well as Hezbollah). That Trudeau would speak to such a paper in the year before an election suggests he was already reaching out to Iranian regime support in Canada. During this interview, Trudeau also told the paper that he would have a special immigration program that was more open to "Muslims and Arabs."

Foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland, was appointed in 2017. Her views seem slightly more nuanced, but there has been no indication that she will not pursue the re-opening of the Canadian embassy in Iran or that of Iran in Canada. A spokesperson for Freeland put it this way in March of 2017:
"We maintain our firm commitment to the human rights of Iranians. We continue to oppose Iran's support for terrorist organizations, its threats toward Israel, and its ballistic missile program."
By contrast, she also stated:
"With these amendments to Canadian sanctions against Iran, Canadian companies will now be able to position themselves for new trade opportunities, but we will also maintain rigorous controls on any exports that raise serious proliferation concerns."
Liberal Member of Parliament Majid Jowhari hosted a delegation of three members of Iran's parliament in his home. The delegation included MPs Alim Yarmohammadi, Yonathan Betkolia and Mehrdad Lahooti and Ali Bahraini, who is listed as secretary of a development committee. While Joseph Pickerill, a spokesperson for then Foreign Minister St├ęphane Dion, said that the delegation was not an official visit, such a highly unusual meeting raised eyebrows.

Most recently, the Iran Canada Business Council and Export Quebec hosted a meeting on business opportunities in Iran after the lifting of sanctions. Among those invited to participate in this March 28, 2017 Montreal meeting (by Skype) was Medhi Karbasian, Iran's Deputy Minister of Industry, Mining and Trade. He is also the Chairman of MIDRO (Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization), all of which appear to have commercial ties to the IRGC. Karbasian, has "a longstanding direct involvement in government companies."
"His resume reads like a sanctions list -- at one point he was board member of UN-sanctioned IRISL; a board member of US- and EU-sanctioned NITC; chairs the US-sanctioned Parsian Bank; and, most importantly perhaps, vice-chairman on Kharazmi's board as representative of Sepehr Energy Co., a recently formed private energy company controlled by Bank Saderat."
All offices of Bank Saderat worldwide are considered to be IRGC-designated affiliates.

Iran and its Current Khomeinist Representatives in Canada

Imam Rizvi, of the Jaffari Mosque in Thornhill, Ontario, is one of the leading proponents of the Iranian/Khomeinist ideology in Canada. He speaks to support the government of Iran and believes that the Khomeinist interpretation of Shia Islam is to take precedence over all matters. At a 2012 Carleton University conference, he stated:
"Khomeini had proved that Islam is not just a religion of prayers and personal laws that only deals with matters of divorce and inheritance, rather it is a complete code of life that can govern all aspects of society — spiritual, material, as well as personal, social, economic and political aspects."
The conference had been run to celebrate the anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Khomeini and was titled "The Contemporary Awakening and Imam Khomeini's Thoughts."

Consistent with his Khomeinist masters, Imam Rizvi also believes and advocates that sex with 9-year-old girls is acceptable, as long as it occurs within munqati' (temporary) or da'im (permanent) marriage. His book on Marriage and Morals in Islam also says that girls/women can be entered into temporary marriages, apparently from the age of nine and upwards. In the eyes of many, 'temporary marriage' or muta is another word for prostitution. These muta marriages may be occurring now at the Jaffari Mosque.

Imam Rizvi, of the Jaffari Mosque in Ontario, is a leading proponent of the Iranian/Khomeinist ideology in Canada. He believes and advocates that sex with 9-year-old girls is acceptable, as long as it occurs within munqati' (temporary) or da'im (permanent) marriage. (Image source: IslamiCentre video screenshot)

One of three schools run by the mysteriously well-funded Jaffari Mosque was also shut down during a 2012 hate crimes investigation. The teaching materials used by the mosque were from Iran (the Al Balagh Foundation) and from the Mostazafan Foundation of New York, which is identified as an arm of the Iranian government. Among its teachings, the mosque's school suggested that boys should play sports so they can be "physically be ready for jihad whenever the time comes for it." Girls, on the other hand, were told that they should "stick to hobbies that prepare them to become wives and mothers."

Iran and Canada: An Awkward Embrace?

Canada and Iran have an unhappy history with respect to the treatment of each other's citizens. Iran beat, raped and tortured to death in 2003 Canadian citizen and freelance photographer Zahra Kazemi. Her "crime" was being a woman and having taken picture of a demonstration in 2003 in Tehran. Currently, Iran is holding Abdolrasoul Dorri Esfahani, an Iranian-Canadian. He is a member of the Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants and a former adviser to Iran's Central Bank. He was, by all accounts directly involved in the $1.7 billion cash-for-hostages deal. He was indicted on spying charges in early March 2017.
Canada, on the other hand, still has Mahmoud Reza Khavari Ban. He is believed to be responsible for a $2.6 billion fraud case which he helped orchestrated through several Iranian banks. One of the banks involved, Bank Melli, is believed to be an IRGC/Quds Force front and was involved in funding terrorism activities.

Khavari had been a citizen of Canada since 2005 but returned to Iran shortly after getting his citizenship. The fraud in Iran apparently began in 2007, shortly after his return to his native country. This raises the question of whether Khavari sought Canadian citizenship earlier as a means of having a refuge after defrauding Iran. Either way, Khavari fled back to Canada in 2011 after details of the fraud began to emerge. Khavari's return and his kid-glove treatment by the government of Canada suggest to some that he must have struck some sort of deal with the government, perhaps in exchange for insider information on the government of Iran or its embassy in Canada.

The Iranian embassy in Canada closed in 2012, not that long after his arrival. No concrete links have been drawn between the two events. Iran, however, still has an Interpol "Red Notice" on Khavari and still wants his extradition as of October 2016.

How Prime Minister Trudeau would handle this case in the event of the reopening of Iran's Embassy in Ottawa is not clear. It would appear to be a major stumbling block to re-establishing normal relations. For Canada to allow extradition, Iran would have to waive the death penalty that is currently hanging over the head of Mr. Khavari. Iran has executed several other senior executives who were involved in the fraud, so this seems unlikely.


Iran shows every sign of doing a "full court press" on Canada to increase its footprint in Canada and provide it a forward operating base on the border of the USA. The Trudeau government, for its part, has shown both a past and present affinity for dictatorial governments. Trudeau himself says he admires the Government of the Peoples Republic of China and their "basic dictatorship." He publicly mourned the passing of Cuban President Fidel Castro in an official government statement describing him as "larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century." He also stated that the Cuban people had a deep and lasting affection for "el Comandante". The statement made no note of the 60-plus years of dictatorship, Cuba's brutal suppression of human rights nor its systemic persecution of gays.

Trudeau's brother and political advisor is Alexandre "Sacha" Trudeau. Sacha Trudeau and the Iranian state-owned PressTV co-produced a fawning documentary entitled, "The New Great Game," which stated that Iran's nuclear program is for "defensive" purposes only, serving as an effective "deterrent" against Israeli "aggression" and belligerence. In an earlier documentary ("The Fence"), Sacha Trudeau profiled Zakaria Zubeidi, then leader of the terrorist group Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades portraying him as a Robin Hood-like "leader of the resistance."
Given the history of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and based on his time in office to date, it appears likely that Iran will increase its influence activities in Canada, a dangerous development for the USA as it moves to confront Iran.
Tom Quiggin, a court qualified expert on terrorism and practical intelligence, is based in Canada.

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The Middle East: Where the improbable is usually the truth - Meir Jolovitz

by Meir Jolovitz

Hat tip: Dr. Jean-Charles Bensoussan

President Trump must come to understand that unless the belligerents facing Israel in the Middle East miraculously eschew their own ideologies, peace in the Middle East is not only improbable, it is impossible.

The fictional Star Trek character Spock credited an ancestor as stating “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” It was a deduction that properly belongs to Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. We should have guessed, because the proposition seems so irrefutably logical.

Especially in the Middle East.

Here’s the truth. There’s nothing improbable about the fact that despite his boasts as a dealmaker nonpareil, President Donald Trump will fail to broker a peace between two sides – Israelis and Palestinian Arabs – with mutually exclusive ideologies, and claims.

Peace in the Middle East, particularly between Arab and Jew, is simply not improbable, it is impossible. The former have told us as much, and the latter seem not to listen.

There might be a process, but there will be no peace between these rival neighbors. The diplomatic solution born with Oslo on September 13, 1993 – when Israel committed to a peace process with an adversary that has no equivalent desire for peace – was Israel’s most consequential and fateful mistake.

Since that time, four American presidents have placed their diplomatic hopes on the notion that common sense might prevail. It does not. Especially in the Middle East.

The abbreviated version, that a solution is founded on the assumption that diplomacy done right might engender peace, is based on three fundamental lies. First, that Israel has a negotiating partner that also desires a shared peace – the Palestinian Authority. Second, that Israel’s surrender of territories will lead to that peace. And third, that the western world will support Israel’s right to defend itself after it accepts less than defensible borders.

One need not be a Nobel Laureate to understand this fundamental fact: If the premise is wrong, it logically follows that the conclusion drawn from that premise might well be too.

The premise upon which rests all diplomatic endeavors is based on this: There exist two peace partners, with competing claims to the same territory, separated in agreement by some fundamental misunderstandings that can be addressed and remedied by some skillful negotiator (or his son-in-law) through a bi-lateral process. It is patently false.

Here’s why. There are several conditions, the Palestinian Arabs remind us, that must be traded for a “promise” of peace: An Israeli withdrawal to the June 4, 1967 lines (but let’s call them what they really are – the 1949 armistice lines). The Israeli surrender of Jerusalem, including all its post-1967 neighborhoods that are home to nearly a quarter of a million Jews, to then be established as the future capital of Palestine. The right of the 1948 refugees to return to Israel, in inflated and exaggerated numbers that would redefine its demography. And, finally, an officially declared State of Palestine, which would be Judenrein.

In exchange, the Palestinian Arabs would offer – a promise of peace. Tangibles for an intangible. Defensible lines, for indefensible borders.

That irrational, and impossible, formula has been rejected again, in the most recent polls, by an overwhelmingly large number of Israelis. It is a non-starter. It is also, with the most minor modifications, the essence of the Saudi peace initiative that was formulated in 2002, and which today’s diplomats are trying to somehow resurrect by engaging supporters of the bi-lateral approach.

The goal: A two-state solution.

Henry Kissinger once remarked: “A murderer can also be a liar.”
Irrelevant it seems, is the fact that the PLO (the precursor to the PA) was formed in January 1964 – it’s raison d’etre we are told in some revisionist spin, was the liberation of the Israeli occupation. The “occupation” that the diplomatic ‘experts’ reference occurred three and a half years later, in June 1967. The conclusion is obvious. The logic is axiomatic. The Palestinian Arabs wish to liberate all of Palestine. It might be instructive here for these experts to consult any Palestinian map.

Hellen Keller can see it – the Palestinian Arabs do not seek peace.

Sherlock Holmes and Spock were right. And what is left is the truth.

The concept of land for peace has failed. It ought to be ceremoniously buried. In the quarter century that Israel had allowed itself to be browbeaten into a series of failed diplomatic ventures – most significantly with Oslo, Oslo 2, the Road Map, Wye River Memorandum, Camp David 2000 Summit, and several other initiatives – one thing emerges as undeniable. The Palestinian Arab’s refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State.

One might channel former Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban, who stated following the 1967 Six-Day War, “This is the first war in history which has ended with the victors (Israel) suing for peace and the vanquished (Arabs) calling for unconditional surrender.” Little has changed.

The common thread that has been endemic to all the diplomatic endeavors which have called upon the Israelis to give, and the Palestinian Arabs to take, used to be called by its proper name: appeasement. It seems for almost a generation the guiding principle of western diplomacy – an attitude that is best described the way Teddy Roosevelt once referred to William McKinley – as having “the backbone of a chocolate ├ęclair.”

In search of a viable peace, Middle East specialists conveniently opt to suspend reality. The litany of ill-fated experts, part of a cottage industry that served the American peace initiatives is long – and each failed because their formulas were premised on the belief that there existed two peace partners. There are not.

President Donald Trump cannot make the same mistake. He must come to understand that unless the opposing belligerents facing Israel in the Middle East miraculously eschew their own ideologies, peace in the Middle East is not only improbable, it is impossible. That is the truth.

The proper premise almost invariably leads to its rational conclusion.

The Trump team needs to better understand the reason the PA even engages in the charade promoted falsely as a peace process. The Palestinian Arab design, however cosmeticized with euphemistic slogans, remains the same – the end of Israel. And because Israel’s demise could not be brought about by war, as evidenced in 1948, 1967 and 1973, then it must they reasoned, be realized as a cumulative result of a long drawn out series of political rather than military successes. Thus, for the Palestinian Arabs, in the context of the greater Israel-Arab conflict, war is not a continuation of diplomacy by other means, as Clausewitz once pronounced, but just the opposite: diplomacy has become the continuation of war by other means.

Will Rogers nailed it almost a hundred years ago: “Diplomacy is the art of saying ‘nice doggie’ until you can find a rock.” For the Palestinian Arabs, diplomacy is the rock.

The promise of peace, based on a workable and viable two-state solution, is a lie.

Zsa Zsa Gabor, one imagines, made a promise to her first husband – that it will be forever. It seems that she made the same promise to all her other husbands – the eight who followed the first.

One might suggest this as an appropriate premise: promises are not always meant to be kept. You can then draw a logical conclusion.

Meir Jolovitz is a former national executive director of the Zionist Organization of America, and formerly associated with the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies.


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CUNY Mainstreams Jew-Hatred -- Again - Ari Lieberman

by Ari Lieberman

A terrorist-supporter's planned commencement address.

The convoluted legal saga of Rasmea Odeh is thankfully nearing its end. On April 25, the convicted murderer and fraudster pled guilty in federal court to committing immigration fraud and violating 18 U.S.C §1425(a) which criminalizes knowingly procuring naturalization contrary to law. She will be stripped of her U.S. citizenship and is expected to be deported – likely to Jordan – after a sentencing hearing scheduled for August 17. Unfortunately, we will have to endure her presence in the U.S. for another 3 ½ months.

Courtroom witnesses said that Odeh teared up during her allocution. But the tears she shed were not for the two young university students – Leon Kaner, 21, and Edward Jaffe, 22 – she murdered on February 21, 1969 when she and her PFLP cohorts detonated a bomb at a Jerusalem supermarket. No, her tears were the tears of a cowardly, unrepentant terrorist who was sorry that she got caught committing immigration fraud.

By any standard, Rasmea Odeh is toxic. She is a convicted murderer and terrorist whose felony record now spans two continents. She is also a rabid anti-Semite. Her bombs targeted Jews for no other reason than the fact that they were Jews. Her instruments of death were insidiously timed to go off on Friday when Jewish shoppers were known to purchase last minute grocery provisions for the Sabbath. So sinister was this woman that she timed the second bomb to go off just as first responders – doctors and ambulance personnel – were tending to the wounded. Thankfully, the second bomb was discovered and neutralized in the nick of time, minutes before causing further injuries or damage.

But Odeh still has her supporters. The PFLP (A group listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department) has named terror cells after her. More recently, the anti-Semitic hate group, Jewish Voice for Peace, featured Odeh as a guest speaker at their annual hate fest. Another invited guest speaker was the notorious Linda Sarsour, a woman who once absurdly touted Saudi Arabia (a country that often punishes rape victims and denies women the right to drive) as a model for upholding women’s rights. Sarsour, who has a long history of offensive social media posts, including support for terrorism, once tweeted that she wished she could give her political opponents an “ass whippin” and wanted to “take their vaginas.” She maintains racist views that are consistent with the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism and openly calls for the end of Israel.

With such a morally skewed compass, it comes as no surprise that when Sarsour met the convicted felon and murderess Odeh at the JVP conference, the two engaged in a long embrace. Odeh and Sarsour maintain ideologically identical positions and see nothing wrong with murdering Jews who have the temerity to live in their ancestral homeland. Both wish and advocate for Israel’s demise and destruction.

Sarsour is of course free to express her views, no matter how odious. A red line however, is crossed when a taxpayer funded institution raises her on a pedestal. That is precisely what happened on April 19, when Dean Ayman El-Mohandes of CUNY’s Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy announced that Sarsour would be a keynote speaker. Perhaps feeling the backlash, El-Mohandes felt compelled to release two follow-up statements on April 21 and April 24 touting Sarsour’s credentials. There is of course, no mention of her dark, anti-Semitic past and support for terrorism; nor is there any mention of her past misogynistic statements, support for Saudi-style Sharia law and claim that liberal Zionists cannot be feminists.

There is no doubt that Sarsour is trying to mainstream herself and rehabilitate her image. She has deleted past offensive and misogynistic tweets and has thrust herself into the spotlight by raising funds for a vandalized Jewish cemetery near St. Louis. Sarsour apparently cares more about tombstones for dead Jews than she does about the living. But anti-Semites are full of paradoxes and one need not waste time making sense of their actions.

El-Mohandes’ inexplicable invitation to Sarsour comes on the heels of last year’s CUNY report, endorsed by CUNY Chancellor James Milliken, which essentially whitewashes the role that the hate group, Students for Justice in Palestine, plays in promoting anti-Semitism at CUNY campuses. The report completely disregards another report compiled by the watchdog group AMCHA, which states that manifestations of Jew-hatred are eight times more likely to occur on campuses where the SJP maintains an active presence.

On the issue of Sarsour, Milliken again punted claiming that while he is an opponent of BDS, revoking her invitation, “would conflict with the First Amendment and the principles of academic freedom.” That may be so but the fact that a dean of a taxpayer funded institution sought out a xenophobic, Jew hater above many other qualified speakers, calls into question his thought process, motives and ability to lead.

Moreover, platitudes issued by CUNY’s chancellor come as no solace to the countless Jewish students who are forced to endure harassment or are otherwise cowed into silence on a daily basis because of outrages committed by the SJP and their allies in academia. Free speech is indeed a sacred concept ingrained in our culture and should be defended at all costs but when speech crosses the line into hate speech and support for terrorism, an actionable red line is crossed.

Sarsour’s entire career is based on hatred of the Jewish state and while she may have deleted offensive tweets and performed a few faux acts of benevolence for the cameras in a transparent effort to rehabilitate her image, she is still the same rancid Jew-hater she always was. Sarsour’s appearance at the Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy as commencement speaker represents an indelible stain on CUNY as well as Chancellor Milliken.

Ari Lieberman is an attorney and former prosecutor who has authored numerous articles and publications on matters concerning the Middle East and is considered an authority on geo-political and military developments affecting the region.


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Video: From Time Immemorial – The Everlasting Jewish Tie to the Land of Israel - JCPA

JCPA - Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

A survey of continuous Jewish presence in the Land of Israel throughout the ages

JCPA - Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs


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As Promised: YAF Sues Berkeley for Free Speech Violations - YAF

by Young America's Foundation

Students at Berkeley have the right to hear diverse viewpoints.

Reprinted from

On Monday, April 24, 2017, Young America’s Foundation (YAF) fulfilled its promise to file a lawsuit, in federal court, against the University of California, Berkeley for the University’s unconstitutional suppression of free speech on campus. Last week, YAF warned officials at the state university that if administrators did not stop violating the rights of conservative students, then YAF would be left with no choice but to seek legal action in order to restore students’ rights.

Young America’s Foundation, in coordination with the Berkeley College Republicans and BridgeCal, invited 12-time New York Times best seller, Ann Coulter, to speak to students at Berkeley on the topic of immigration. The lecture was planned for April 27, 2017, until the University abruptly cancelled it.

The University cites, as its reason for canceling the lecture, its “high-profile speakers” policy. In recent weeks, administrators have used this unwritten policy to cancel events featuring two conservative speakers for YAF—Ms. Coulter and David Horowitz.  During the same time period, administrators permitted events featuring leftists Vicente Fox Quesada, former President of Mexico, and Maria Echaveste, former advisor and White House Deputy Chief of Staff to President Clinton, to proceed without interference.

This discrepancy is alarming.

Students at Berkeley have the right to hear diverse viewpoints.

Immigration is a topic of great interest to students at Berkeley. The reason students invited Ms. Coulter to speak was to provide balance to the campus-wide discussion on immigration following Ms. Echaveste’s presentation earlier this month.

Berkeley’s “high-profile speakers” policy is nothing more than pretext for censoring conservative ideas on campus. This unconstitutional policy gives Berkeley administrators unfettered discretion over who is allowed to speak and what viewpoints students are allowed to hear. As a result, conservative speakers invited by students are not afforded equal opportunities to speak as those who espouse the university’s preferred viewpoints. Conservative speakers are relegated to obscure locations on campus and are subject to an arbitrary 3 p.m. curfew.

“It is unfortunate that the very school that is considered the ‘birthplace of the Free Speech Movement’ is now leading the charge to censor thoughts, ideas, and debate. The University of California, Berkeley’s selectively applied approach to ‘free speech’ is unacceptable.,” said Ron Robinson, President of Young America’s Foundation.

The Constitution demands more of state school administrators and officials.

Read the full complaint here.

Young America's Foundation


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New bio claims Obama dumped girl he asked to marry him because politically awkward that she wasn’t black - Thomas Lifson

by Thomas Lifson

facts that contradict the hagiography

People do foolish stuff when they’re young, especially if love (and sex) are involved. That said, when the foolishness includes craven political calculation overriding the messages of the heart, well, that’s an indication that basic character may be at play.

A new, very long biography of the young Barack Obama, written by David J. Garrow, Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama, sheds new and interesting light on Obama’s character. In the words of Washington Post writer Carlos Lozada:
David J. Garrow … tells us how Obama lived, and explores the calculations he made in the decades leading up to his winning the presidency. Garrow portrays Obama as a man who ruthlessly compartmentalized his existence; who believed early on that he was fated for greatness; and who made emotional sacrifices in the pursuit of a goal that must have seemed unlikely to everyone but him. Every step — whether his foray into community organizing, Harvard Law School, even the choice of whom to love — was not just about living a life but about fulfilling a destiny.
It is in the personal realm that Garrow’s account is particularly revealing. He shares for the first time the story of a woman Obama lived with and loved in Chicago, in the years before he met Michelle, and whom he asked to marry him. Sheila Miyoshi Jager, now a professor at Oberlin College, is a recurring presence in “Rising Star,” and her pained, drawn-out relationship with Obama informs both his will to rise in politics and the trade-offs he deems necessary to do so. Garrow, who received a Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Martin Luther King Jr., concludes this massive new work with a damning verdict on Obama’s determination: “While the crucible of self-creation had produced an ironclad will, the vessel was hollow at its core.”
With such a critical perspective, is anyone surprised that The New York Times trashed the book in its review? Can’t have people escaping the bubble and getting negativity about The One.

The details that emerge are somewhat troubling, if racialism and ambition above all human emotion bothers you:
Jager, who in “Dreams From My Father” was virtually written out, compressed into a single character along with two prior Obama girlfriends, may have evoked something of Obama’s distant mother, Stanley Ann Dunham. Like Dunham, Jager studied anthropology, and while Dunham focused on Indonesia, Jager developed a deep expertise in the Korean Peninsula. Jager was of Dutch and Japanese ancestry, fitting the multicultural world Obama was only starting to leave behind. They were a natural fit. Jager soon came to realize, she told Garrow, that Obama had “a deep-seated need to be loved and admired.”
She describes their life together as an isolating experience, “an island unto ourselves” in which Obama would “compartmentalize his work and home life.” She did not meet Jeremiah Wright, the pastor with a growing influence on Obama, and they rarely saw his professional colleagues socially. The friends they saw were often graduate students at the University of Chicago, where Sheila was pursuing her doctorate. They traveled together to meet her family as well as his. Soon they began speaking of marriage.
“In the winter of ‘86, when we visited my parents, he asked me to marry him,” she told Garrow. Her parents were opposed, less for any racial reasons (Barack came across to them like “a white, middle-class kid,” a close family friend said) than for concern about Obama’s professional prospects, and because her mother thought Sheila, two years Obama’s junior, was too young. “Not yet,” Sheila told Barack. But they stayed together.
In early 1987, when Obama was 25, she sensed a change. “He became. . . so very ambitious” very suddenly,” she told Garrow. “I remember very clearly when this transformation happened, and I remember very specifically that by 1987, about a year into our relationship, he already had his sights on becoming president.”
The conflict produced some genuine drama:
Discussions of race and politics suddenly overwhelmed Sheila and Barack’s relationship. “The marriage discussions dragged on and on,” but now they were clouded by Obama’s “torment over this central issue of his life . . . race and identity,” Sheila recalls. The “resolution of his black identity was directly linked to his decision to pursue a political career,” she said.
In Garrow’s telling, Obama made emotional judgments on political grounds. A close mutual friend of the couple recalls Obama explaining that “the lines are very clearly drawn. . . . If I am going out with a white woman, I have no standing here.” And friends remember an awkward gathering at a summer house, where Obama and Jager engaged in a loud, messy fight on the subject for an entire afternoon. (“That’s wrong! That’s wrong! That’s not a reason,” they heard Sheila yell from their guest room, their arguments punctuated by bouts of makeup sex.) Obama cared for her, Garrow writes, “yet he felt trapped between the woman he loved and the destiny he knew was his.”
Just days before he would depart for Harvard Law School — and when the relationship was already coming apart — Obama asked her to come with him and get married, “mostly, I think, out of a sense of desperation over our eventual parting and not in any real faith in our future,” Sheila explained to Garrow. At the time, she was heading to Seoul for dissertation research, and she resented his assumption she would automatically postpone her career for his. More arguments ensued, and each went their way, although not for good.
Having dumped his mixed-race would-be bride over polticcal appearances, Obama went on the Harvard. One again, Garrow earns his pan from the NYT by reporting on less-than-attractive reactions to Obama at Harvard Law. I have to say as someone who spent almost two decades at Harvard, these reactions sound much more genuine that the presumed adulation involved in Obama becoming president of the Harvard Law Review:
At Harvard, the Obama the world has come to know took clearer form. In his late 20s now and slightly older than most classmates, he had a compulsion to orate in class and summarize other people’s arguments for them. “In law school the only thing I would have voted for Obama to do would have been to shut up,” one student told Garrow. Classmates created a Obamanometer, ranking “how pretentious someone’s remarks are in class.”
Garrow obviously has discovered facts that contradict the hagiography. Which makes this book worth reading.

Thomas Lifson


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New Evidence Bolsters Probability that Hillary Clinton Was Hacked - William F. Marshall

by William F. Marshall

The discovery of this information and its possible significance requires some explanation.

We the American people were told repeatedly by Hillary Clinton and her proxies during the endless 2016 presidential election that her brazen use of a personal, unsecure email server to traffic some of the nation’s most sensitive secrets was not a problem, because her email system was never hacked. But was this really the case? I believe emails divulged by Judicial Watch suggest that her computer may well have been compromised by hostile actors.

FBI Director James Comey told us in his extraordinary July 5, 2016 statement to the media announcing his decision not to seek Mrs. Clinton’s prosecution for her email set-up: “With respect to potential computer intrusion by hostile actors, we did not find direct evidence that Secretary Clinton’s personal email domain, in its various configurations since 2009, was successfully hacked.”

Mrs. Clinton herself told us on October 9, 2016 in the second presidential debate against Donald Trump: “After a yearlong investigation, there is no evidence that anyone hacked the server I was using and no evidence that anyone can point to at all; anyone who says otherwise has no basis.”

I believe Judicial Watch may have unearthed the “smoking gun” revealing just such a compromise, or at least an attempt to hack Mrs. Clinton’s system. At the very least, I believe this finding should have been investigated by federal authorities if they were aware of it. If they were not aware of it, or were aware, but have not investigated it to date, they should do so now.

The discovery of this information and its possible significance requires some explanation.

In the fourteenth production of Huma Abedin’s emails transmitted from her account that Judicial Watch obtained as a result of litigation against the State Department, on Page 287, we see a very interesting email exchange occurring between Ms. Abedin and Mrs. Clinton on November 20, 2009. Mrs. Clinton had received an email from someone she clearly did not know, named Jonathan Weston. His signature block in his email to Mrs. Clinton indicated that he was a Congressional Liaison Coordinator with something called the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, based in Washington, DC. The email bears a subject line which should raise the hack antennae of anyone who has been using a computer for more than a week: “I Thought You Might Enjoy This.”

The body of Mr. Weston’s email (or whoever sent the email over his name) is fairly sophisticated. It is six paragraphs long, addressed to “Dear Colleagues,” and describes the contents of a report produced by Mr. Weston’s organization on Chinese economic policy.

There are three potentially alarming aspects to this email exchange.

First, the writer, Mr. Weston, indicates that there is a file attached to the email. The file is supposed to be the report produced by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission described in the email. Files attached to emails are notorious for containing viruses.

Second, Mrs. Clinton forwarded the email on to Ms. Abedin, with the note: “Pls print. And who is he?” This off-hand comment reveals that Mrs. Clinton, the US Secretary of State and one of the most powerful people in the world, whose communications would be coveted by foreign intelligence services, is receiving an email from someone she doesn’t know on a personal email account presumably known only by a select group of family, friends and confidantes. It also implies, given her direction to Ms. Abedin to print the message, that she was interested in its content and may have clicked on the attached file.

Third – and here’s our Sherlock Holmesian “There you have it, Watson!” moment – when the email hit Ms. Abedin’s computer, her antivirus program added the prefix “*** VIRUS ***” to the subject line of the email.

But this is no laughing matter.

In a search of the State Department’s “Virtual Reading Room,” where it posts documents that it has released through FOIA requests, to see if this email exchange had been published by the State Department before Judicial Watch received it, I discovered that it had, but the version previously published by the State Department was apparently obtained from Hillary Clinton’s computer records, not Ms. Abedin’s. The State Department’s previously released version did not contain the virus warning. This suggests that Mrs. Clinton’s computer did not have an anti-virus program, or at least not one able to detect that this email from Mr. Weston contained a virus. Ms. Abedin’s computer, however, did have an anti-virus program and did detect the virus, based on the VIRUS warning in the subject line after Mrs. Clinton forwarded it to Ms. Abedin.

Did Mrs. Clinton click on the file the email contained, thereby possibly introducing a virus into her computer? Was Mrs. Clinton’s computer thereby compromised by a malevolent actor? Has the FBI seen this email exchange and questioned Mr. Weston about it? Did they ask Mrs. Clinton if she clicked on the attachment that was in this email?

Jonathan Weston does exist, and he did work for a real think tank in Washington, DC called the US-China Economic and Security Commission from October 2009 to March 2013, according to his LinkedIn profile. Interestingly, Mr. Weston’s own organization, the US-China Economic and Security Commission, was revealed in 2012 to have been the target of a major cyber-attack, reportedly emanating from India. In a 2012 Reuters article discussing the attack, in an irony of ironies, Mr. Weston -- listed as a “spokesman” for the organization -- was quoted about the impact of the attack on his employer.

We know from the Wikileaks disclosures of John Podesta’s emails and those of other Democratic National Committee employees that he and his staff were the victim of a spearphishing attack, which IT specialists have claimed the Russians perpetrated. According to an IT specialist whom I consulted, the email Mrs. Clinton received from Mr. Weston also bears the hallmarks of a spearphishing attack.

As former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Andrew McCarthy, has laid out in typically brilliant fashion in National Review, Mrs. Clinton could, and should, have been criminally charged for her egregious violations of law with regard to the handling of classified national security information. He makes this charge notwithstanding a recent epic apologia of FBI Director James Comey’s dereliction found in the New York Times. As Mr. McCarthy points out in NR, Mrs. Clinton’s use of an unsecure email system during her tenure as secretary of state “almost certainly caused the compromise of government secrets to foreign intelligence services.”

In a sane world, it would seem that federal investigators should try to learn if in fact Mr. Weston’s email was the source of a virus, and whether Mrs. Clinton clicked on a virus-laden file. But in a sane world, she would have already been charged.

William F. Marshall has been an intelligence analyst and investigator in the government, private and non-profit sectors for over 30 years. Presently he is a Senior Investigator for Judicial Watch, Inc. (The views expressed are the author’s alone, and not necessarily those of Judicial Watch.) 

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How many Americans does Obamacare kill each day? - Ben Voth

by Ben Voth

How might ObamaCare harm American health care?

In 2015, something unexpected and unusual happened to the United States. For the first time since 1993, life expectancy in the United States declined. The decline was significant and extensive. Life expectancy is one of the most basic indicators of human health and the United States is one of the most advanced nations in the world. The decline should be causing a careful consideration of its causes and potential solutions. This is largely being ignored by our intellectual leadership for a rather obvious reason: the Affordable Care Act that promised to make health insurance more affordable and available for Americans. Recognizing the most important achievement of the Obama administration and its potential role in declining health outcomes for Americans is an important investigation.

The problems with the law did not prevent late night comedian Jimmy Kimmel from making the fallacious appeal that his young baby would die without ObamaCare. Anyone who tries to discuss the ACA knows that the most innocent and vulnerable person we can imagine (except for an unborn child) will die if we criticize and otherwise alter the Affordable Care Act. We need to employ reasonable critical thinking skills that are under such constant attack on college campuses, to reverse the decline in life expectancy in the United States. 

The Affordable Care Act came into legislative existence in 2010 and has increased its influence over health care delivery in the United States every year since. At the heart are mandates that every American purchase health insurance. Defenders of the ACA proudly boast that at least an additional 10 million Americans have gained health insurance with the addition of the law. Some have gone as far as extrapolating how this has saved life. If this is true, why has life expectancy declined so dramatically? The problem is significant.

The Washington Post provides a sense of the danger in December 2016:
“For the first time in more than two decades, life expectancy for Americans declined last year -- a troubling development linked to a panoply of worsening health problems in the United States.
Rising fatalities from heart disease and stroke, diabetes, drug overdoses, accidents and other conditions caused the lower life expectancy revealed in a report released Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics. In all, death rates rose for eight of the top 10 leading causes of death. “I think we should be very concerned,” said Princeton economist Anne Case, who called for thorough research on the increase in deaths from heart disease, the No. 1 killer in the United States. “This is singular. This doesn’t happen.””
The abrupt conclusion of the Post article is a clue of how we are not allowed to refute or criticize the ACA or other progressive political acts: “Meara noted that more people need better health care but that “the health-care system is only a part of health.” Income inequality, nutrition differences, and lingering unemployment all need to be addressed, she said.” The last sentence is the only clue that the Washington Post thought maybe the American health care system would have something to do with dramatic increases in death rates for American due to a variety of diseases ranging from heart disease to diabetes and pneumonia. Eight of the ten leading causes of death for Americans showed increases in mortality for Americans. This is rather important to demonstrate how health care has collapsed. In 1993, when life expectancy last declined, HIV was ravaging Americans with such consequence that its singular effects were profound and yet still largely difficult to combat through medicine. All the things killing Americans in 2015 are treatable and can be reduced. Overall, the New York Times concedes that more than 85,000 deaths resulted from this decline in American health in 2015 alone. This translates to more than 230 Americans a day who may be dying as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Again, the New York Times was completely unwilling to scrutinize the ObamaCare as a potential cause even though it the most significant national change to the health care in our country since Medicare and Medicaid.

How might ObamaCare harm American health care?

The ACA has raised deductibles and premiums for Americans. Both of these factors can work to reduce incentives to seek medical care. These effects would well explain the lack of popularity for ObamaCare. Americans who were not able to keep a doctor they were familiar with or the health care plan they already understood could be refusing to seek the medical care they need. All of this is speculation because not only do the New York Times, ABC News, and the Washington Post refuse to investigate the adverse effects of the ACA, they actively work to refute criticism of the law.

ObamaCare also has profound effects of regulation that are likely damaging our medical innovations. Taxes on medical devices dampen innovation. Regulations on what insurance companies must cover complicate the process whereby doctors treat patients. This interference in the doctor/patient relationship demoralizes both doctors and patients and diminishes American health care. Doctors are more likely to quit the calling of medicine and patients are demoralized by the lack of options alongside byzantine insurance demands. The mandate regarding pre-existing conditions discourages the purchase of health care insurance as well. Knowing that insurers cannot discriminate against individuals with prior medical conditions means that, especially for young people and apparently healthy people, buying health insurance is an unwise diversion of monthly income that is greater than the tax penalties for refusing to buy insurance. Little is said about this disincentive to health insurance purchases.

The ACA also dampened economic growth in the United States by encouraging employees to be demoted to less than full-time status and punishing businesses that have more than 49 employees. The sluggish economic growth from 2010 to 2016 factored into the demoralized flyover nation that does not receive the same quality of medical care as the politically preferred coasts. Suicides, accidental deaths, and drug abuse are all important drivers to accelerating death rates. Americans continued to spend more than $9,000 a year on health care -- more than any other nation by far, and yet this spending has failed them. A breakdown of life expectancy by state shows that the states voting for Clinton have better health care results -- something some commentators note with cynical delight. The idea of killing Trump voters has a cynical ring to the Jacobin ranks of the American left. The Washington Post was again early to this subtle call for passive violence against Trump voters. The problem seemed to be that Trump voters were not dying fast enough.

What can be done?

The most important thing that can be done is for our intellectual culture to stop worshipping the politically sacred cow that is the Affordable Care Act. Careful reconsideration of ObamaCare could save hundreds of lives everyday in the United States. The Washington Post is right -- or maybe we should say Left -- “Democracy dies in darkness.” Bringing light to the ACA’s role in reducing American life expectancy could go a long way toward not only revitalizing our democracy with a free press, but also saving American lives. We need a discursively complex society that can reconsider its most cherished ideological assumptions. We need to think critically about the defects of our ACA driven health care system. 

Ben Voth is an associate professor of Corporate Communication and Public Affairs and Director of Debate at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.


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