Saturday, February 9, 2019

Why Palestinians Oppose an Anti-Iran Coalition - Khaled Abu Toameh

by Khaled Abu Toameh

It seems the Palestinian leadership would rather see Iran continue to pose a threat to Arab countries than see peace between those countries and Israel.

  • It seems the Palestinian leadership would rather see Iran continue to pose a threat to Arab countries than see peace between those countries and Israel.
  • Several Arab countries appear completely fed up with the Palestinians, particularly the continued bickering between Fatah and Hamas. Egyptian intelligence officials have devoted years trying to convince Hamas and Fatah to work together for the benefit of the Palestinians.
  • Instead of doing so, however, Palestinian leaders are preoccupied with blocking Arab participation in a conference that could see the creation of a coalition against Iran -- the same country Abbas and his loyalists hold responsible for the ongoing divisions among the Palestinians. Might it be possible that the Arab countries are finally rousing themselves from their long slumber and beginning to seek better lives for themselves and their neighbors?

The Palestinians have good reason to believe that influential Arab countries have given up on both them and the Palestinian cause. They fear that several Arab countries might be headed toward normalizing their relations with Israel. Pictured: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said, during Netanyahu's official visit to Oman, October 26, 2018. (Image source: Israel PM's Office)

The Palestinians have good reason to believe that some influential Arab countries have given up on both them and the Palestinian cause. They fear that several Arab countries might even be headed toward normalizing their relations with Israel.

For several weeks now, the leadership of the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been waging a campaign against a US-Polish conference that is scheduled to take place in Warsaw later this month. US and Polish officials said that the conference will include sessions on the situation in Syria, Yemen, missile development, terrorism and illicit finance and cybersecurity. A US official said that the conference will also discuss "Iran's destructive policies in the region."

Why are the Palestinians so worried about the upcoming conference? Because they care about Iran or Yemen or Syria or missile development? No, the Palestinians are concerned because they have somehow convinced themselves that the main purpose of the conference is to bring the Arab countries closer to Israel. It is not clear on what the Palestinian claim is based, especially as neither the US nor Poland has mentioned the issue of normalization between Israel and the Arab countries as being on the agenda of the conference.

"The PLO considers the conference a form of direct and public normalization [between the Arabs and Israel]," said PLO Executive Committee member Ahmed Majdalani. "This is an attempt to change the priorities in the Middle East so that confronting Iran would become the main issue instead of ending the [Israeli] occupation." The PLO official called on the Arab countries to boycott the conference.

PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat also expressed concern over the planned conference in Warsaw; he said it was a "serious attempt to overturn the Arab Peace Initiative" that was endorsed by the Arab League in 2002. This 10-sentence initiative calls for normalizing relations between the Arab countries and Israel in exchange for a full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines (including east Jerusalem) and a "just settlement" of the Palestinian refugee issue based on UN resolution 194. The resolution states that refugees "wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practical date."

Although Israel has expressed tentative support for the initiative, it also made clear that it cannot accept the relocation of millions of Palestinians into Israel. Such a move would mean the creation of two Palestinians states: one in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, and another in Israel, where Jews would become a minority in their country.

Erekat and other Palestinian officials seem worried that the Arabs planning to participate in the conference will abandon the Arab Peace Initiative, including the "right of return" for Palestinian refugees and their descendants to Israel. They are also apparently concerned that their Arab brothers will abandon the Palestinian issue in favor of an anti-Iran coalition. Several Arab countries now consider the Iranian "threat" their main priority and believe that it should take precedence over the Palestinian dispute.

"The Palestinian cause is an Arab and Islamic issue par excellence," Erekat said, echoing Palestinian fears of Arab indifference toward the Palestinians. "We have not authorized anyone to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinians. The US is planning, through the Warsaw conference, to first achieve normalization between the Arabs and Israel before peace [between Israel and the Palestinians]."

Even if the planned conference is aimed at creating a coalition against Iran, one would expect the Palestinian Authority to be the first to join it. In the past few years, the Palestinian leadership has repeatedly charged Iran with meddling in the internal affairs of the Palestinians, especially by supporting Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. It seems the Palestinian leadership would rather see Iran continue to pose a threat to Arab countries than see peace between those countries and Israel.

Recently, a senior Palestinian official accused Iran of being behind the weekly demonstrations that began in March 2018. "Iran is financing these marches," the official said, referring to the demonstrations being held in the context of the Hamas-sponsored March of Return.

The "March of Return" is the name chosen by Hamas and other Palestinian groups to describe the weekly protests along the Gaza-Israel border. The groups say that their main goal is to force Israel to lift the Gaza Strip blockade, but by calling the demonstrations a "March of Return," Hamas and its supporters are also saying that they want Palestinian refugees and their descendants to move into Israel as part of what they consider a "right of return."

Osama Qawassmeh, a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's ruling Fatah faction, also lashed out at Iran:
"Iran has not provided anything for the Palestinian people. It is shameful that some think that the economic crisis in Iran is because of its support for the Palestinians. We never heard that Iran helped build a school or hospital or university or any other developmental project."
Iran's support for Hamas and Islamic Jihad, he explained, does not mean that it supports the Palestinian people. "This is a huge misconception and mistake," he said.

In addition, Abbas loyalists have accused Iran of supporting Hamas's violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007. One official claimed that the Hamas terrorists who staged a coup against the Palestinian Authority back then had received military training in Iran and "some Arab countries."

Another sign that the Arab countries have turned their backs on the Palestinians was provided by the recent convening of Arab foreign ministers in Jordan to build a consensus among Arab states on regional security issues. The Palestinians were not invited.

The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank city of Ramallah should ask itself why is everyone disparaging the Palestinian cause," said Palestinian political analyst Fayez Abu Shamaleh. "Why is the Palestinian cause no longer at the center of the attention of Arabs and Jews? Even the candidates running in the Israeli election have ignored the Palestinian issue."

The Palestinian fears do not seem unjustified. Several Arab countries appear completely fed up with the Palestinians, particularly the continued bickering between Fatah and Hamas. Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other Arab countries have tried in the past decade to help the two rival parties resolve their differences, to no avail. Egyptian intelligence officials have devoted years trying to convince Hamas and Fatah to work together for the benefit of the Palestinians.

Instead of doing so, however, Palestinian leaders are preoccupied with blocking Arab participation in a conference that could see the creation of a coalition against Iran -- the same country that Abbas and his loyalists hold responsible for the ongoing divisions among the Palestinians. Might it be possible that the Arab countries are finally rousing themselves from their long slumber and beginning to seek better lives for themselves and their neighbors?
  • Follow Khaled Abu Toameh on Twitter

Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at Gatestone Institute.


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The Shameful Censuring of Hallandale Commissioner Anabelle Taub - Joe Kaufman

by Joe Kaufman

A courageous local official speaks out against anti-Semitic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib.

Last month, I attended a rally outside the Hallandale Beach, Florida Commission, in support of Hallandale Commissioner Anabelle Lima-Taub. Taub, who was born in Haifa, Israel, was being unfairly targeted and criticized for speaking out against the anti-Semitism and extremism of newly elected United States Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. For Taub’s courageous deed, she was repeatedly labeled “anti-Muslim” by the media, ‘censured’ by her fellow commissioners, and on the receiving end of death threats.

On January 8th, Lima Taub tweeted the following against US Representative Rashida Tlaib: “A Hamas loving anti-Semite has NO place in government! She is a danger and would not put it past her to become a martyr and blow up Capitol Hill.”

The tweet sparked outrage, both from the press, which labeled Taub “anti-Muslim,” and the radical Muslim community, which described her post as “Islamophobic.” To most reasonable people, the reaction the tweet invited was a severe overreaction, as Taub’s post merely singles out one individual – that being Tlaib – and never goes as far as to disparage all Muslims or their faith.

Contrary to the criticism and abuse she received, Commissioner Taub’s words, while perhaps somewhat hyperbolic, should be welcomed. The tweet is well-deserved by Congresswoman Tlaib, who no doubt has exhibited the type of anti-Semitism and extremist behavior that warrants such words and warnings.

It is Tlaib who has called for a ‘one-state solution’ regarding Israel and her Palestinian neighbors, which of course would result in the destruction of Israel. Tlaib recently flaunted this, when she – smiling broadly – allowed herself to be photographed with a map broadcasting a Post-it note renaming Israel “Palestine.” It is Tlaib who brought up the anti-Semitic canard of ‘dual loyalty,’ when she questioned the loyalty of US Senators after they came out against the BDS boycotting of Israel. It is precisely these actions that have provided Tlaib a formal condemnation from the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Furthermore, it is Tlaib who has cavorted with known terrorist supporters, such as Abbas Hamideh, who referred to convicted child-killer Samir Kuntar as a “legendary Hezbollah martyr.” Tlaib’s fanatical views and associations are a threat to our government and society.

Commissioner Taub’s words contained legitimate accusations and concerns, and she should be commended for them, not criticized. However, like the media and Muslim radicals, Taub’s fellow commissioners went after her, voting to censure her.

Following the rally, I headed over to the commission meeting to view the proceedings and to sign up to speak. It was a packed house with mostly Taub supporters in the audience. Taub arrived to much fanfare, strutting and singing (along with much of the crowd in Hebrew) and raising her hands in the air to victory.

Leading the charge against her was her fellow Commissioner Michele Lazarow, who sponsored a shameful resolution to censure Taub “for promoting bigotry, fueling hatred, and creating a hostile environment for the city’s Muslim residents.” The resolution was co-sponsored by Vice Mayor Sabrina Javellana and Commissioner Mike Butler.

Around 40 people signed up to speak, both for and against Taub. They included individuals involved with radical Muslim organizations, who called for Taub’s resignation.

Representing the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) were CAIR-Florida Outreach Coordinator Yusuf Nganga and CAIR-Florida Communications Director Wilfredo Amr Ruiz.

Since its founding, in June 1996, CAIR has been associated with Hamas. CAIR was established as part of an umbrella group headed by then-global leader of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook, and CAIR has been cited by the US government for its involvement in the financing of Hamas. CAIR-Florida, itself, has been the co-sponsor of a pro-Hamas rally held in Downtown Miami, in July 2014.

Besides his connection to CAIR, Ruiz is the legal advisor for the American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA), a group that champions white supremacist leader David Duke. AMANA’s President Sofian Zakkout is a strong advocate for Hamas and refers to Duke as “David Duke, a man to believe in!” Ruiz, as well, is heavily involved in the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), an Islamist group linked to Hamas financing and those who harbored Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

Another Muslim radical who spoke was Rasha Mubarak, an Orlando-based activist who has been involved with both CAIR and an additional terror-related group, Islamic Relief (IR), and who has appeared with Tlaib outside Tlaib’s congressional office.

Israel has banned IR, labeling it a Hamas front and arresting its Gaza Program Manager, Ayaz Ali, in 2006, for providing assistance to Hamas. At the end of 2014, Britain’s HSBC bank cut ties with Islamic Relief over concerns about “terrorist financing.” Reports show that Islamic Relief has sent millions of dollars to and received tens of thousands of dollars from groups related to al-Qaeda.

In November 2012, while Israel was at war with Hamas in Gaza, Mubarak posted her own controversial tweets. She tweeted, “Don’t worry ya Gaza, we’re working hard for you in Florida… yes we are.” And “#LiesImTiredOfHearing Israel has the right to defend herself.”

Inside the Commission, Mubarak sat in front of me, giving me the opportunity to ask her about her tweets on video. “Rasha, does Israel have the right to defend herself?” She gave me a glance, then quickly turned around and refused to answer. I asked her once again, as her handlers put their hands up to block my camera. I asked her if she had stated such a thing and, if so, why. No response.

Mubarak did not give the same level of disrespect to the reporter seated next to me to my left, Sarah Blaskey from the Miami Herald. After reading Blaskey’s column mentioning my presence at the Commission meeting, I understood why. She wrote, “Filming the event was Joe Kaufman, founder of CAIR Watch, an organization dedicated to disparaging the Muslim-advocacy group, and frequent contributor to FrontPage Mag, a far-right extremist publication founded by David Horowitz.”

So CAIR – which has representatives like Wilfredo Ruiz, who works with an organization championing David Duke, and Rasha Mubarak, who doesn’t believe Israel has the right to defend herself – is called a “Muslim-advocacy group,” but the news outlet I write for, FrontPage Magazine, where I have the fortune of exposing the statements and activities of these fanatics, is labeled a “far-right extremist publication.” Ms. Blaskey has it backwards.

It is this same flawed reasoning of attacking the truthful messenger that has Commissioner Taub – a Jew who simply called out someone’s blatant anti-Semitism – branded a bigot, herself. She did nothing to deserve such a wrongful characterization, and now she is receiving death threats because of it.

In the end, Commissioner Taub, who remained strong and unrepentant throughout, was censured. One of her fellow commissioners, Mike Butler, even thanked CAIR.

As I stated during my speech in front of the Commission, thank you Commissioner Taub for having the guts to speak out and do what is right. Our nation is dying of political correctness. Thank you for not giving in to this.

Instead of rallying around Commissioner Taub, her accusers have aided and abetted those who want to harm our country.

Shame on them and those who attacked a valiant and much needed truth teller.

Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.

Joe Kaufman was the 2014, 2016 and 2018 Republican nominee for United States House of Representatives in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District against Debbie Wasserman Schultz. He is an expert in the fields of counter-terrorism, foreign affairs and energy independence for America. He has been featured on all major cable networks, including Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, PBS and C-SPAN. Joe has been instrumental in getting terrorist charities shut down and terror-related individuals put behind bars. Exactly one month prior to the September 11 attacks, he predicted the attacks by stating in an article that “the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was no aberration” and that it would happen again.


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Stop Medieval Diseases With a Medieval Wall - Daniel Greenfield

by Daniel Greenfield

How the legalization of illegal migration and homelessness is leading to a new wave of disease outbreaks.

The media recently reported that Los Angeles County’s ongoing typhus epidemic had infected Deputy City Attorney Liz Greenwood. 

"Who gets typhus? It's a medieval disease that's caused by trash,” she wondered.

Greenwood is partially correct. The typhus outbreak, like the hepatitis outbreak, was directly caused by social justice policies that legalized public vagrancy, and leaving trash and human waste on sidewalks. The piles of trash, human waste and people combine to create horrifying diseased conditions. Before Greenwood, many Los Angeles patients who had been diagnosed with typhus were indeed homeless.

"There are rats in City Hall and City Hall East," she complained. "There are enormous rats and their tails are as long as their bodies."

The rats are a problem, but the fleas that carry the virus that Greenwood has can live on a variety of animals, including stray cats and possums. That’s why the typhus outbreak isn’t just happening in Skid Row, but has spread to Long Beach and Pasadena. And while the homeless encampments act as incubators for the disease, it’s not the only social justice policy spreading disease across America.

Or at least in California and Texas.

“It’s never been considered a very common disease,” Peter Hotez, the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, noted, “but we seem to see it more frequently. And it seems to be extending across from Southern California all along the Mexican border into southeastern Texas and then into the Gulf Coast in Florida.”

America never had much of a history of typhus, but Mexico did. And our brief episodes of typhus invariably involved immigrants and migrants carrying the disease from Europe or Mexico.

The first outbreak of the disease in this hemisphere occurred in Mexico back in the 17th century and there have been 22 major outbreaks since then, caused in part by refugees and crowded conditions. Typhus was so associated with Mexico that it was even known as Tabardillo or Mexican typhus fever. There was extensive debate as to whether Mexican typhus was different than European typhus.

The first case of typhus in southern California was linked to Mexican refugees.

Dr. L.M. Powers, a Los Angeles physician, was the first to spot it. "The first recognized and recorded cases of typhus fever in southern California occurred in the summer of 1916, when many Mexicans came to this section during a civil war in their own country," he wrote in a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The first victim of typhus had visited El Paso. Dr. Powers linked many other typhus cases in Los Angeles to Mexico. Historical records show that these cases involved migrants and Mexican railway workers.

In saner times, American authorities understood the problem and took common sense measures to fight the spread of the disease. The rise of typhus cases in California a century ago led to a campaign that included the delousing of anyone coming into the United States from certain parts of Mexico. Leftists have revisited this history in recent years to make obscene analogies to Holocaust gas chambers.

But despite the insistence that disinfection stations were motivated by racism, rather than real fear of the disease, the 67 typhus cases in El Paso make it very clear that there was a real problem.

El Paso’s efforts to keep out typhus were touched off by the death of Dr. W. C. Kluttz, who spotted the disease in the Mexican refugees that he was treating, before becoming infected and dying of it.

Dr. Kluttz was far from the only medical professional who lost his life to the disease. Dr. Howard Taylor Ricketts, the brilliant pathologist after whom Rickettsia, the genome that causes typhus is named, died while trying to isolate typhus in Mexico City at the request of the Mexican government.

At Dr. Kluttz's funeral, El Paso's Mayor Lea called for "a strong federally enforced quarantine here that would effectively stop the entrance into this country of disease-bearing persons from south of the Rio Grande."

The ambitious 2,000 mile quarantine ultimately proved to be a success, preventing Mexico’s typhus outbreaks from spreading into the United States. But it also claimed a toll with at least one inspector, David M. White, conducting disinfection procedures, contracting typhus and dying of the disease.

Illegal migrants seeking to bypass the quarantine however spread the disease in unlikely places.

A 1921 outbreak of typhus on a Navajo reservation was attributed to it being on a “pathway for itinerant laborers.” That particular outbreak appears to have killed 27 Navajo Indians.

The quarantine is history and typhus cases continue to rise in border states.

Texas saw a surge of typhus cases between 2008 and 2016. And the cases have been heavily concentrated in counties with high illegal populations. But officials insist on blaming ‘global warming’.

The number of typhus cases rose from 30 in 2003 to 519 in 2017. Hidalgo County had the highest incidence with 99 cases. Hidalgo County contains 6% of the state’s illegal alien population. Harris County has the second highest rate with 71 typhus cases and contains 24% of the state’s illegal alien population. Hidalgo has some of the youngest and newest illegal alien arrivals which may account for its high typhus infection rates.

Bexar County, with 59 typhus cases, the fourth highest rate of infections, hosts 4% of Texas illegals.

Typhus had fallen off the radar in the United States. It had been delisted by the CDC in 1994. And then it made a comeback in the middle nineties. Los Angeles saw a rise in the number of typhus cases in 1996 around the same time as futile efforts were being launched to fight the plague of illegal migration.

Now the situation has worsened. And it will only keep getting worse.

Like superstitious dark age types, leftists insist on blaming the typhus outbreaks on global warming, caused by an angry ‘Mother Earth’ rather than on the very real spread of disease by people. Instead of preventing the spread of disease, they insist that we must repent for our crimes against the environment, and recycle more, and then the earth will cool and the typhus outbreak will stop.

This denial of basic scientific facts is at the root of the typhus outbreak. Raising taxes in a bizarre scheme to change the weather is a bizarre folly that will do absolutely nothing to stop the spread of typhus.

The legalization of illegal migration and homelessness, is leading to a new wave of disease outbreaks.

Epidemiology shows us that typhus flares up in border counties and areas with large illegal alien populations. From there, it takes root in poor areas with bad hygiene. Fleas carried by rats, possums and cats can then pass on the disease to people who would have never expected to come down with it.

We know how to stop typhus. It begins with ending public vagrancy and illegal migration.

The Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney called typhus a “medieval disease”. Senator Kamala Harris of California ridiculed President Trump’s proposal for a border wall as “medieval”. California Rep. Harley Rouda urged Trump to “give up on the outdated notion of building a wall from medieval times.”

Rouda represents parts of Orange County. The O.C. had 15 typhus cases last year.
If you want to stop a medieval disease, you might want to start with a medieval wall. 

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.


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The Hijacking of a Presidential Election - Jon N. Hall

by Jon N. Hall

The vulnerability of our federal elections to fraud is just fine and dandy with the Democrats because they've been planning to steal the 2020 election anyway.

In January of 2017, the Federal Election Commission reported that in the 2016 general election Mrs. Clinton received 65,853,516 votes and Mr. Trump received 62,984,825 votes. Clinton therefore beat Trump by 2,868,691 popular votes.

President Trump has said that if the illegal votes were deducted that he would have won the popular vote. If one looks at that FEC report, one sees that in California, the state with the most illegal aliens, Clinton got 8,753,788 votes, while Trump got 4,483,810 votes. So Clinton beat Trump in California by 4,269,978 votes.

What’s interesting is that Clinton beat Trump by more votes in California than she did nationwide, precisely 1,401,287 more votes. Though Trump’s claim that illegal voting threw the popular vote to Clinton is sheer speculation, we can say that if we exclude California that Trump did in fact win the popular vote in the rest of the nation, and by exactly 1,401,287 votes.

Because Trump didn’t get any electoral votes in California and New York, when we subtract the electoral votes of those two states, Clinton won just 143 electoral votes in the rest of the nation while Trump’s electoral total remains unchanged at 304. In the Electoral College, which is what we use to elect our presidents, Trump beats Clinton by more than 2-to-1 when California and New York are excluded. Even if the votes of the seven faithless electors were given to Clinton, Trump would still have trounced Clinton by more than 2-1 in the 48 states of “real America.”

It takes a bare minimum of 270 electoral votes to win the presidency. Had Clinton received all 46 electoral votes in the blue wall states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, she would have gotten 273 electoral votes. She then could afford to lose only the least populous of those three states, Wisconsin, and still prevail, but only if she were also awarded all seven votes of the faithless electors. In which case, Clinton would have won with a grand total of 270 electoral votes.

Government officials have assured us that Russians did not change the vote counts in 2016. Elections are conducted by the states, and each state has its own separate election system, so changing the votes would be enormously difficult. And besides, “there is no serious person out there who would suggest somehow that you could even rig America’s elections, in part because they’re so decentralized.” We were told this by no less than Obama Himself, (so it must be true).

Obama fails to see the obvious. If the Russians wanted to throw the popular vote to Trump in 2016, all they would have needed to change is the popular vote in just one state, California with its 55 electoral votes… not the entire country. Trump could have even lost his three “blue wall” states and still have won had he gotten California, and he’d have had an even greater total at 313 electoral votes.

Some progressives think we should junk the Electoral College and elect presidents with the popular vote. Other progressives think we should rejigger the College and allocate its votes in a way that is closer to the popular vote. But if one believes in federalism, the above data argues just the opposite. We can’t have the preferences of two populous coastal states being imposed on the other 48 states merely because they have some tiny majority. That’s especially so when those two states are so very different from the rest of the country. Let California have its tent cities, its free healthcare for illegal aliens, and its San Francisco values, but leave us “hicks” in the heartland alone.
Given the above, I think we can say that in 2016 the Electoral College worked as intended, and that America got the correct president, the one she needed. Even so, the electoral vote is derived from the popular vote, so there’s still the nagging little question of what the legitimate popular vote count really was.

One of the safeguards to ensuring the integrity of the popular vote is voter registration. But the states are failing at this important task. Recently, California came under fire for registering illegal aliens at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

On October 8, the San Francisco Chronicle ran “California DMV may have registered noncitizens to vote” by Melody Gutierrez, who quoted Assemblyman Jim Patterson of Fresno:

“There is much more to see here than what the DMV is admitting to,” Patterson said. “They have either been hiding the truth from the public or are completely unaware of this voter registration disaster -- either should be a startling realization for this governor and the public... We cannot trust the current management to fix the very problems they created.”
(But what does Patterson know, he’s an Anglo. He might even have a MAGA hat.)
The Secretary of State has responsibility for voter registration in California. But despite the snafus in his office, Secy. Alex Padilla was re-elected in November, and in a landslide.

On October 10, the New York Times reported in its “California Today” series: “At the center of the controversy is California’s new Motor Voter program, which automatically registers eligible voters who visit the D.M.V. to renew or replace their drivers’ licenses.”

On January 7, Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times reported on a settlement to a suit brought by Judicial Watch (video) in which Los Angeles County agreed to purge its voter registries of inactive voters perhaps numbering 1.5 million:
Judicial Watch said it targeted Los Angeles after finding the county’s total voter population was higher than the number of people the Census Bureau estimates to be citizens of voting age in the county. That’s true for the state overall, which Judicial Watch said has a 101 percent registration rate for its eligible adult population.
Here’s the thing about California’s voter registries: a federal law enacted 23 years ago mandates that only citizens can vote for federal officials. It was called the “Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.” For the operative language, see SEC. 216 on page 26 of the pdf of the entire act, or if you want the short sweet excision, click 18 U.S. Code § 611. Voting by aliens.

Since they’re corrupted, can California’s voter registries be used in the election of a federal official? The problem of illegal aliens on California voter registries isn’t just a problem at the DMV, as voter registration in California asks for only the last four digits of one’s SSN. California isn’t doing even the most basic vetting to comply with the requirement that voters for federal officials be citizens.

California is by no means unique, however, as none of the states really verify registrants’ citizenship, not even in Kris Kobach’s Kansas. Perhaps the Electoral College should reject a state’s votes if that state cannot demonstrate that all of its registrants and voters are citizens.

The vulnerability of our federal elections to fraud is just fine and dandy with the Democrats because they’ve been planning to steal the 2020 election anyway. Why do you suppose the Dems hate voter ID laws and love open borders? Democrats don’t want President Trump’s wall precisely because it keeps their voters out. The illegal alien vote is the Democrats’ “insurance policy.”

Jon N. Hall of ULTRACON OPINION is a programmer from Kansas City.


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Ocasio-Cortez’s plan properly should be called the ‘Green Leap Forward’ - Thomas Lifson

by Thomas Lifson

We have our own Red Guards, some of which have already been elected to Congress. They are waiting for demography to hand them the victory they think the arc of history will provide.

Lunatic schemes based on technological and redistributionist fantasies have been implemented on a huge scale within my lifetime with disastrous results. The delusional collection of progressive goals that has acquired the label “Green New Deal” is named after the wrong historical precedent. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s economic program that lengthened a recession into a decade-long Depression may have permanently expanded the scope of the federal government, but it embraced no crackpot technological schemes and did not try to restructure human nature around sharing.

The closure of nuclear and fossil-fuel powered energy sources and reliance on wind and solar that the GND envisions surely would be destined to fail, and cause millions to starve or freeze to death. Fertilizer is produced from banned hydrocarbons, and the solar- or wind-powered trucks and trains to carry the reduced food supply to urban areas would never reach their destinations in time to feed the masses with the remaining agricultural output.

China’s Great Leap Forward is the correct historical model for the visionary, transformational scheme of Ocasio-Cortez and Ed Markey’s plan, which properly ought to be called the “Green Leap Forward.” The Great Leap Forward was the personal creation of Chairman Mao Tse-tung, who wanted a rapid transformation of China from a backward, rural nation to a modern industrial one in the space of five, or maybe ten years, just as Ocasio-Cortez envisions a total transformation in a decade. In my graduate studies of East Asia in the late sixties and early seventies, it was still fresh in memory, and the horrors that it inflicted on China were vividly accounted by refugees who fled for their lives. I spent a lot of time and effort reading about it and even speaking to a few survivors. One recent article on the Great Leap Forward summarizes its main initiatives:
Between 1958 and 1960, millions of Chinese citizens were moved onto communes. Some were sent to farming cooperatives, while others worked in small manufacturing. All work was shared on the communes; from childcare to cooking, daily tasks were collectivized. Children were taken from their parents and put into large childcare centers to be tended to by workers assigned that task.
Mao hoped to increase China's agricultural output while also pulling workers from agriculture into the manufacturing sector. He relied, however, on nonsensical Soviet farming ideas, such as planting crops very close together so that the stems could support one another and plowing up to six feet deep to encourage root growth. These farming strategies damaged countless acres of farmland and dropped crop yields, rather than producing more food with fewer farmers.
Mao also wanted to free China from the need to import steel and machinery. He encouraged people to set up backyard steel furnaces, where citizens could turn scrap metal into usable steel. Families had to meet quotas for steel production, so in desperation, they often melted down useful items such as their own pots, pans, and farm implements.
The results were predictably bad. Backyard smelters run by peasants with no metallurgy training produced such low-quality material that it was completely worthless.
Backyard furnaces during the Great leap Forward (source)

Peasants who forced into massive collective farms with an average of about 5000 families had no reward or benefit from extra work, so people naturally did as little work as possible, which tended to depress agricultural output. Compare this to the Green New Deal proposal the everyone receive a living wage, including those unable or unwilling to work. 

Nobody disputes that Great Leap Forward killed tens of millions of people, the only question is how many.

In the wake of the undeniable disaster, Mao temporarily lost power to more pragmatic rivals. He didn’t take that lying down, however, and appealed directly to young and naïve products of the heavily politicized education and propaganda arms of his state, dubbing them “Red Guards” and urging direct actions against his enemies – anyone who was not a radical Mao supporter. The resulting chaos of what became known as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution destroyed even more of China’s cultural legacy and social capital. Tens of millions more died.

Just because the Green new Deal/Green Leap Forward is impossible to implement and is unlikely to become a law, there is no reason to assume the underlying madness will subside. We have our own Red Guards, some of which have already been elected to Congress. They are waiting for demography to hand them the victory they think the arc of history will provide.

Thomas Lifson


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A different way of dividing the city - Nadav Shragai

by Nadav Shragai

Hat tip: Dr. Jean-Charles Bensoussan

A new Jerusalem Institute of Strategy and Security report lifts the lid on Palestinian activity that aims to undermine Israeli authority in east Jerusalem, and effectively turn its Arab residents into "citizens" of Ramallah rather than Israel.

The Orient House, a Palestinian national symbol, remains closed
Photo: Lior Mizrahi 

The Orient House, a grand estate built in the Bab a-Zahara neighborhood of east Jerusalem in the 19th century, has been empty for over 17 years. Two days after the deadly suicide bombing at the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem during the Second Intifada – on Aug. 11, 2001 – police special forces rappelled down from a helicopter and raided the building, which was being used as the PLO and Palestinian Authority's headquarters in Jerusalem. The occupants were arrested and interrogated. Tens of thousands of documents were confiscated, and the offices were padlocked.

The villa, which would become a Palestinian national symbol in Jerusalem, is now locked and barricaded. For years, orders to keep the Orient House closed have been reissued every six months. The last such order was signed a few days ago, and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan extended it to include other Palestinian institutions that operate in Jerusalem. But the quiet at the Orient House is deceptive.

Only a few weeks ago, Israel arrested 32 members of the PA security services, including Adnan Ghaith, who is called "the governor of Jerusalem." The reason for the arrests: Activity of governance in east Jerusalem, which is illegal under a 1994 law which bars the PA from any governmental activity anywhere in the city.

The arrests came after Jerusalem resident Issam Akel was arrested by PA authorities. Akel, who is also an American citizen, was suspected of helping transfer property in the Old City to Jewish purchasers, an unforgivable sin in Palestinian society. He was tried in Ramallah and a PA court sentenced him to life in prison and hard labor. A few weeks ago, with U.S. intervention, Akel was released.

In Akel's case, Israel did not make do with arrests. "Governor" Ghaith, a resident of Silwan – who Israel believes has taken part in the PA's arrests of Palestinian residents of Israel – has had his movements restricted. He is not allowed to enter Judea and Samaria, including territory under PA control. Ghaith has also been prohibited from meeting with Majid Faraj, head of the Palestinian General Security Service, a darling of the Israeli security establishment and one of the architects of Israeli-Palestinian cooperation on security matters. The security establishment has also barred the PA's Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Adnan al-Husseini from traveling abroad. Al-Husseini has also been fingered as a part of the PA's "government activity" in the capital against Palestinians who sell land to Jews.

The 'Jerusalem Unit' 

But the Ghaith affair and Akel's arrest in Ramallah are turning out to be only the tip of the iceberg of the PA and other foreign organizations' activity in Jerusalem. Israel is gradually lifting the lid on what is going on in the eastern part of the city, and the pact of silence about that activity appears to be breaking down.

Dr. David Koren, a researcher with the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security who served as an adviser to former Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat on east Jerusalem issues, has discovered that the PA invests 64 million shekels ($17.6 million) in activity in east Jerusalem. Six million shekels ($1.65 million) goes to activity by "Governor" Ghaith, and another 58 million shekels ($16 million) to al-Husseini's work. The budget for the office of the governor includes support for "tsumud" (retaining land) and "remaining steadfast in the face of the crimes of the Israeli occupation," as well as "oversight of illegal weapons," – an actual act of governance, in light of the fact that thousands of weapons are owned without licenses or permits by residents of the east Jerusalem neighborhoods.

Another item in the governor's budget is "hosting foreign delegations" – another official diplomatic governmental act. The budget also covers aid to Palestinian refugees, families of security prisoners and terrorist martyrs, to the community, and to women who want to enter the workforce.

In a paper for the JISS, Koren reveals some of the heaviest expenditures of the minister's office, to whom the governor answers. These include support for institutions in Jerusalem that are linked to the PA, many of which Israel has repeatedly tried to shut down; legal and financial aid to Palestinians who built homes illegally that are in danger of being demolished; financial aid for tradesmen; and funding for cultural, social, and sports activities. But Israel frequently discovers that the PA starts investing in the community as a response to Israeli attempts to expand services to Arab neighborhoods.

The PA, Koren explains, has made it a goal to control as many aspects of the lives of the residents of east Jerusalem as possible. It actively seeks out donations, both from international entities like the EU and from Arab countries. That activity, Israel Hayom is the first to report, is mainly concentrated in the hands of the Jerusalem Unit in PA President Mahmoud Abbas' office. The Jerusalem Unit works with the PA's Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs and the office of Governor Ghaith.

Dr. David Koren says the PA's goal is to control as many aspects of the lives of the residents of east Jerusalem as possible.

A green warning light 

The PA budget might be small compared to the Israeli budget – over the past few years Israel has invested hundreds of millions of shekels in roads, cleaning, education, welfare, leisure and sports in east Jerusalem – but while the Israeli money is focused on providing municipal services, the Palestinians are investing in political consciousness.

Fatah is busy in the east of the city and operates several sports clubs there. One of the most prominent is the Mount of Olives club, based in the A-Tur neighborhood, where it is vying with the city-run neighborhood administration for the hearts of the local youth. Fatah has integrated its people in PTAs and on community boards and is behind both rioting and the organization of marches to commemorate Palestinian events and holidays.

Koren's report for the JISS reveals how the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement under Sheikh Raed Salah (who spent years stirring up trouble on the Temple Mount until his organization was outlawed in 2015) gets around the ban against it. The group has been replaced by a nonprofit organization called "The Islamic Nation's Waqf for Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa," which operates out of Turkey. The Islamic Nation's Waqf seeks donations from governments, organizations, and businesspeople. The group locates bank accounts into which the donations can safely be deposited and then invests the money in projects in Jerusalem, mainly at the Al-Aqsa compound and Muslim Quarter of the Old City. In effect, it is another Turkish arm that is reaching into the Old City and the Temple Mount.

The Turkish activity is prompting countermeasures by Jordan and Morocco.  Just last week, residents of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, who regularly park in the quarter's main parking lot, were amazed to see green lights flashing from the tower of a mosque at the edge of the quarter that has been abandoned for years. When Lt. Col. (res.) Baruch Yedid (a former advisor to the IDF's Central Command on Arab issues) looked into the matter, it turned out that for months the Jordanian Waqf had secretly been renovating the mosque. The Al-Quds Committee, headed by King of Morocco Mohammed VI, helped the project. The project seeks to renovate and reopen six more defunct mosques in Jerusalem.

The newly renovated mosque, which lies flush on the border of the Jewish Quarter, is known as the Disi Mosque or the Olive Oil Mosque. Yedid explains that the mosque's adjacency to the Armenian Quarter caused concern in Jordan that Turkey, which has already refurbished over 100 buildings in the Old City, including mosques, would wind up wresting another Waqf property from Jordan's hands.

The Al-Quds Committee, Yedid recently wrote on his Arab affairs blog, is also working to renovate a giant historical building in the Muslim Quarter, not far from the Temple Mount, known as Beit Morocco. This, too, he says, appears to be part of a battle against Turkey forcing its way into the Old City.

Saudi Arabia close to the Mount 

The Koren report maps out the various foreign players who have a finger in the east Jerusalem pie. Many of them challenge Israeli sovereignty in the capital. Other than the activity by the PA and the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, he details Hamas' strong grip on neighborhoods in southeast Jerusalem: Zur Baher, Umm Tuba, Jabal Mukaber, and Umm Lisun. In Jabal Mukaber, for example, there is an influential PTA, some of whose members were senior Hamas officials recently released from prison in Israel.

In east Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, and the Muslim Quarter in particular, Hizb ut-Tahrir (The Party of Liberation) is active. Hizb ut-Tahrir has already been outlawed by European countries, but Israel has thus far refrained from doing the same. Ideologically, it is a twin of Islamic State – a fundamentalist Islamist movement that aspires to eradicate political structures and establish international Islamic caliphates in their place. But unlike ISIS, Hizb ut-Tahrir operates through dawa – the concept of strengthening religious faith by persuasion and preaching rather than by violent jihad. However, the organization runs "modesty patrols" in the east of the city and has acquired influence in a few mosques in the Beit Zafafa and Beit Hanina neighborhoods.

Besides the Turkish activity, which has been extensively reported in Israel Hayom, the report unveils growing attempts by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to strengthen their hold in east Jerusalem. Saudi Arabia recently donated $150 million to various projects in east Jerusalem, and with the UAE has even purchased property in the Old City, near the Temple Mount.

Another foreign actor that is investing vast sums in the capital is the EU.

"The EU is involved in funding political NGOs identified with the left wing of the Israeli political map," Koren tells Israel Hayom.

The EU funding goes to support position papers and execute projects in two main areas: questioning Israeli sovereignty in east Jerusalem while tarnishing Israel and the Jerusalem Municipality in international public opinion; and promoting civil projects for the benefit of Palestinian residents of the city, while battling Israeli authorities on their behalf.

EU involvement is particularly noticeable in the planning and construction field, in the form of legal advice to families and organizations that are facing trial for building illegal homes. But the EU also helps businesses; it is trying to reopen the Palestinian Board of Trade, which Israel closed down. The board of trade is now asking to re-launch as the PA's business branch in Jerusalem.

Koren, who currently directs the Education Ministry's five-point strategic plan for east Jerusalem, describes how Fatah operatives put heavy pressure on parents who register their children in schools that offer the Israeli curriculum, hoping to keep them on the Palestinian matriculation track. He says the PA is also sowing disinformation about the confiscation of land for projects meant to benefit the Arab population, such as paving roads. These steps by Israel are misrepresented as attempts to steal the Palestinians' land from them.

Koren also discusses the physical assaults and violent discourse that the PA and its envoys employ against leaders of Arab neighborhoods who don't even identify as pro-Zionist, but who work with the Israeli authorities to improve the residents' quality of life.

A short hop to Syria 

About two weeks ago, police raided Al-Makassed Islamic Charitable Society Hospital in A-Tur. They were informed that a ceremony hosted by the PA to mark the hospital's 50th anniversary would be taking place and that Governor Ghaith and al-Husseini would both be participating.

Last weekend, police learned that Shadi al-Matour – identified as one of the leaders of Fatah in Jerusalem – had gone to Syria with a delegation on behalf of Abbas to discuss the matter of Syrian refugees. The police wanted to arrest al-Matour so they could question him as an Israeli citizen who entered an enemy state and was suspected of contact with an enemy agent. Jerusalem Magistrates' Court Judge Daniel Dembitz ordered his release, but the police do not intend to give up and have appealed the decision.

"Overall, we can say that the PA is working assiduously, aggressively, and violently to prevent the Arab residents of Jerusalem from acting like residents who implement their rights under the Israeli authorities," Koren says.

"The PA is unceasingly undermining the foundations of Jerusalem's unification and seeking to create a de facto division of the city, in which the Arab residents are linked more strongly to Ramallah than to Jerusalem," he says.

Koren suggests establishing an inter-ministerial committee that will work with everyone involved. It would take action to eradicate illegal activity by the PA and other foreign entities with particular emphasis on the financial side. He suggests amending the Implementation Law to constrain the steps the PA is taking in Jerusalem, and in particular setting up a good Israeli alternative for the civil services that the foreign groups currently offer east Jerusalem residents.

Nadav Shragai


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Get China and Russia Out of Venezuela - and the Western Hemisphere - Gordon G. Chang

by Gordon G. Chang

China and Russia make no global problem better. The only sensible approach, therefore, is to remove them from our hemisphere, and the place to begin to do that is Venezuela.

  • The partnership of Beijing and Moscow is certainly up to no good. As an initial matter, the duo, powers from the other side of the world, are in Venezuela to take on the United States, not help it.
  • It is doubtful, as Matt Ferchen of the Leiden Asia Center in the Netherlands suggests, that Beijing can help another society transition to democracy. The same, of course, can be said about Vladimir Putin's Russia. After China and Russia worked to turn Venezuela into "the Syria of the Western Hemisphere," they are not about to democratize it.
  • An outreach from Washington "would legitimize the concept that Russia and China have a constructive role to play in Western Hemisphere security... the U.S. has everything to lose from inviting China and Russia to the table, and no realistic prospect of gains." — Robert Evan Ellis of the U.S. Army War College, to Gatestone.
  • China and Russia make no global problem better. The only sensible approach, therefore, is to remove them from our hemisphere, and the place to begin to do that is Venezuela.

Juan Gerardo Guaidó Márquez appears to be the legitimate president of Venezuela, and his claim to the presidency has been recognized by the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and a slew of European countries. Pictured: Guaidó (center, waving) on February 2, 2019 in Caracas, Venezuela. (Photo by Marco Bello/Getty Images)

"What are our national security interests in Venezuela?" Adam Smith, the Washington Democrat who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, asked Erin Burnett on January 29 during her CNN primetime show. "The idea that we're going to go in and do battle in Venezuela over who should be running that country, I don't see a single U.S. national security argument for doing that."

Not a single interest, Chairman Smith? In December, two Russian Tu-160 Blackjacks landed near Caracas. The Mach 2, nuclear-capable bombers can launch cruise missiles with a range of 3,410 miles, putting the U.S. homeland at risk from the airspace over Venezuela. The Blackjack bombers also buzzed America's West Coast as they left the region last month.

Representative Smith charged President Trump with making Venezuela policy "on whims and fantasies and no reality behind it."

On the contrary, Trump policy is based on the reality that the U.S. must be involved in the resolution of the Venezuelan crisis and not on the whims or fantasies that bad actors on their own will produce constructive solutions.

Unfortunately, there is no shortage of misguided ideas when it comes to Venezuela. Tony Blinken, for instance, deputy secretary of state in the Obama administration, told Kate Bolduan on her CNN show on January 28 that Washington should bring China and Russia into discussions about the crisis.

Why, you may ask, is this a less-than-brilliant idea?

First, there is a crisis in Venezuela because there are two figures claiming to be the legitimate leader of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro Moros and Juan Gerardo Guaidó Márquez.

Maduro's re-election in May of last year was marred by charges of widespread vote-rigging, vote-buying, and other irregularities, but more fundamentally it failed to meet constitutional requirements. As such, Guaidó, due to his role as head of the National Assembly, appears to be the legitimate president.

The 35-year-old Guaidó has been recognized by the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and a slew of European countries.

He is not, however, recognized by either China or Russia. They back Maduro to the hilt because they have much to lose if his leftist government falls. Both maintain crucial military facilities in the country, such as China's satellite-tracking facility inside the Capitan Manuel Rios Air Base in Guarico, and have substantial investments and financial ties.

China, for example, has lent Maduro and his predecessor, the infamous Hugo Chávez, over $62 billion, perhaps as much as $70 billion. Of that amount, somewhere between $10-$25 billion remains outstanding. In recent months, China, the regime's largest creditor, has been digging itself in deeper. In September, Beijing extended Venezuela another $5 billion in credit. Russia has also loaned the country billions.

Second, the partnership of Beijing and Moscow is certainly up to no good. As an initial matter, the duo, powers from the other side of the world, are in Venezuela to take on the United States, not help it.

As Joseph Humire of the Center for a Secure Free Society told Fox News, "Russia and China are using Venezuela as a proxy conflict to challenge the U.S." Venezuela, like, Cuba, is a base. Moscow and Beijing, he notes, are providing "economic support to establish a military-industrial presence in Venezuela."

"We can try to negotiate with Moscow and Beijing," Humire told Gatestone Institute, "but for them to help the U.S. resolve the Venezuela crisis they would have to leave Latin America alone, something that almost two decades of regional escalation by Russia and China tells us is unlikely to happen." Their projects in Venezuela are an extension of a continent-wide effort. They want, he points out, to turn Latin America "into a contested theater for military and intelligence operations."

Moreover, there are other objections to asking for Chinese and Russian assistance. It is doubtful, as Matt Ferchen of the Leiden Asia Center in the Netherlands suggests, that Beijing can help another society transition to democracy. The same, of course, can be said about Vladimir Putin's Russia. After China and Russia worked to turn Venezuela into "the Syria of the Western Hemisphere," they are not about to democratize it.

Furthermore, Robert Evan Ellis of the U.S. Army War College told Gatestone that an outreach from Washington "would legitimize the concept that Russia and China have a constructive role to play in Western Hemisphere security."

The Obama administration officially renounced the Monroe Doctrine in 2013, but five years later, then secretary of state Rex Tillerson resurrected it -- and not a moment too soon. There is real danger to the U.S. and Latin America if any state outside the region is allowed to establish colonial or neo-colonial relations here.

In particular, China's ties with Caracas are the essence of neo-colonialism. Historically, the commercial dealings between the two have not been at arm's-length. These dealings have benefited Chávez, Maduro, and their cronies, a "criminal syndicate collaborating with extra-hemispheric authoritarian regimes" as Ellis wrote in a note to security professionals last month.

Beijing has been extending loans and investment on favorable terms to entice Venezuela's leaders into dependence.

Beijing often talks about "South-South solidarity" and a "new era" in China-Latin America ties, but others see "debt-trap diplomacy" or "debt servitude." As a debt slave, Caracas cannot ignore Beijing's geopolitical demands. Some would call this debtor-creditor relationship the foundation of "neo-colonialism," but this debt-trap diplomacy may be even more sinister than that.

Venezuela's subservience should be viewed in the context of Beijing's longer-term goals. Xi Jinping, the extraordinarily ambitious Chinese ruler, seems to be trying to recreate the imperial-era tributary system, in which others were required to acknowledge Chinese supremacy. Xi has been dropping hints that China is the world's only sovereign state, and that bold notion, in turn, suggests he believes in formal colonialism, namely, having China dominate the world.

Whatever form of colonialism China is promoting at the moment, Ellis was correct when he told Gatestone that "the U.S. has everything to lose from inviting China and Russia to the table, and no realistic prospect of gains."

China and Russia make no global problem better. The only sensible approach, therefore, is to remove them from our hemisphere, and the place to begin to do that is Venezuela.
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Gordon G. Chang is the author of The Coming Collapse of China and a Gatestone Institute Distinguished Senior Fellow.


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