Friday, October 18, 2019

Pence, Pompeo secure cease-fire agreement in Syria after meeting with Turkish president - Ronn Blitzer

by Ronn Blitzer

Pence said a safe zone between the two sides will be established.

Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Thursday that they have reached a cease-fire agreement between Turkey and Kurds, following a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara.

The deal is for a 120-hour cease-fire, during which time the Kurdish-led forces could pull back. All Turkish military operations under the recent offensive known as Operation Peace Spring will pause during that time, and the operation itself will come to an end upon the completion of the Kurdish withdrawal, under the terms of the deal. Pence said a safe zone between the two sides will be established.


“Turkey and the United States agree on the priority of respecting vulnerable human life, human rights, and particularly the protection of religious and ethnic communities in the region,” Pence said during a press conference while in Turkey.

It remains to be seen whether the Kurds will agree to the terms.

The Turkish offensive began after President Trump announced the withdrawal of American troops from northern Syria. Trump was heavily criticized for the move by lawmakers from both parties.

Last week, Trump sent a letter to Erdogan encouraging him to “work out a good deal,” threatening to “destroy” the Turkish economy if Erdogan continued his aggression against the Kurds.

“Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!” Trump said, before stating that he would call Erdogan.

It was reported by the BBC Thursday that Erdogan “thoroughly rejected” the letter and threw it “in the bin,” but hours later Pence announced the potential cease fire.

Trump teased the news before the formal announcement.

“Great news out of Turkey. News conference with @VP and @SecPompeo. Thank you to @RTErdogan,” Trump tweeted. “Millions of lives will be saved!”

"We think the agreement today first ends the violence, which is what President Trump sent us here to do," Pence said. "We achieved that."

Pence said that the U.S. did not approve of Turkey's military operation, but under the terms of the deal will lift sanctions against Turkey upon the fulfillment of the agreement from both sides.

Ronn Blitzer


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The Democrats -- Who They Are, What they Want and How to Confront Them - Alexander G. Markovsky

by Alexander G. Markovsky

America's drift toward socialism can be stopped if people realize in time where the Democratic Party’s newly adopted ideology may lead.

Every time the Democratic presidential contenders take the stage, we witness a stunning display of the Democratic Party's ideological conversion to a Marxist-sponsored socialist cartel. In pursuit of utopian/egalitarian virtue, the party has adopted the language of the ideology and is growing perpetually out of sync with American liberties.

In a frightening sense of déjà vu, the downsized American replicas of Leon Trotsky, Nikolai Bukharin, Clara Zetkin, and Rosa Luxemburg are seeking to impose the moralities of a flawed society through seductive promises of fairness and equality with an intensity and passion that rivals that of their precursors a century earlier. However, unlike the originals, the candidates are hardly thinkers or mavericks; they sound like pedestrian opportunists having no intellectual basis and as such are unable to define independent philosophical identities.

But it doesn’t make them less dangerous. The contenders enjoy widespread support among the ideologically driven legislators who with medieval fanaticism demand the implementation of socialist agendas. Some bombastically prophesy environmental calamities and the end of the world unless we implement insane ideas they put forward as the key to salvation. Those loonies cannot be persuaded by facts, historical records, or common sense. For them, acceptance of reality equates to a denial of faith.

“It is more important to be morally right than factually correct,” so asserted socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “Morally right” is a method of persuasion that epitomizes radicalism in its most extreme form. A maxim, not bounded by the concepts of reasoning or moral restrains, that justified the Red Terror in Russia, the Cultural Revolution in China, the Holocaust in Germany and many other atrocities that cost tens of millions of lives by those who proclaimed themselves “morally right.” 

This madness can be stopped if people realize in time where the Democratic Party’s newly adopted ideology may lead. 

Since the dawn of time, the purpose of every human organization has been to create wealth. Socialism, however, is the exception -- its purpose is economic equality. To find the historical precedent for economic equality, we have to travel ten thousand years back in time to the era of primitive communism. There were no property and no wealth, resulting in total economic equality -- in poverty. Ironically, this is the only way economic equality can be achieved -- there is no equality in wealth.

By taking control of the production of wealth, whether via expropriation or imposition of taxation and regulations or manufacturing hyperinflation, socialists destroy wealth to impose economic equality. It is significant that during the current election cycle none of the Democrats has offered a single proposal that would lead to wealth creation. In the contrary, every proposal is aimed at government control of the economy and human life itself.

As with any utopia, this one cannot be implemented on a voluntary basis. The acceptance of socialism would require a massive cultural transformation and major adjustment in the American DNA -- the moral lapse from self-reliance to government dependence. Hence, just like their Russian predecessors, American socialists proceed to dismantle the established concept of domestic order. The entire institutional spectrum, the Constitution, the legacy of the American history, education, art, literature, holidays, legal basis, vocabulary, street names, and monuments came under ideological assault.

To confront this monster, the entire debate over the definition and objectives of socialism needs to be reconceived. The argument -- “socialism doesn’t work” -- has been used by the opponents of socialism for a hundred years and has not diminished socialism’s magnetic appeal to millions of disoriented and disillusioned souls who are easy prey to hefty promises of “free stuff.”

The folly of this argument is that it is based primarily on economic reasoning. The socialists never promised high productivity and economic efficiency. As stated earlier, they promised economic equality and they have consistently delivered it for 99% of a country's population. In this sense, socialism works. It works as intended and that is Bernie Sanders's suicidal "Future to Believe In" is all about.

Although socialist conceptions have already penetrated deeply into society, astonishingly, thus far there has been little resistance to the ideological onslaught, primarily due to lack of an ideological counterweight. A sustained effort by all supporters of free enterprise and individual liberty is required before the tumor metastases and consumes the country. An anti-socialist ideology defining and confronting a contemporary version of socialism needs to be developed and translated into an operating policy.

It is critically important to accept the historical fact that socialism cannot be defeated -- it self-destructs. This irreconcilable ideological rival can and needs to be contained by the vigilant application of the ideology and adroit strategy.

“We need to gather together at once in our hands all the cards we hold to play them for the full value,” suggested George Kennan, the author of the Cold War containment policy for dealing with the Soviet Union.

At this writing, a generation has grown up ignorant about socialism. Henceforth to make the policy effective, thousands of trained volunteers and scholars, despite violent intimidation, should be mobilized to work at the university campuses confronting the aberrations of socialism and the indoctrination of our youth in anti-Americanism. This is a huge and never-ending task the necessity of which has been ignored for too long. 

Alexander G. Markovsky is a scholar of Marxism and a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, a conservative think tank that examines national security, energy, risk-analysis, and other public policy issues. He is the author of Anatomy of a Bolshevik and Liberal Bolshevism: America Did Not Defeat Communism, She Adopted It. Mr. Markovsky is the owner and CEO of Litwin Management Services, LLC. He can be reached at

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Why the ‘Woke’ Corporations Support China in Hong Kong - Daniel Greenfield

by Daniel Greenfield

Free-market Christians are the biggest enemies of both.

Think there’s a contradiction between ‘woke’ corporate titans like Apple and Disney silencing anyone opposed to China’s crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong?

It’s not hypocrisy, it’s synergy.

The same forces that made the major brands scattered around your kitchen, living room and garage broadcast their support for gun control, gay marriage and illegal immigration are fueling their support for the People’s Republic of China pulling another Tiananmen Square in Hong Kong.

The lefties in Beijing and Berkeley used the same set of ideological tools to force companies to toe the party line. They roped off access to an appealing customer base, the population of mainland China, urban millennials with huge amounts of disposable income, in exchange for ideological compliance.

Communist China is one entangled oligarchy which mingles political party and company. Sound familiar?

The CEO of Nike sits on the board of Disney. The CEO of Disney until recently sat on the board of Apple. The CEO of Apple sits on the board of Nike. Good thing we have a “free market economy” isn’t it?

Disney, Apple and all the rest have no problem understanding their Chinese Communist counterparts.

ESPN smears democracy protesters in Hong Kong for the same reason that it celebrated Colin Kaepernick. There’s a fundamental contradiction in principles between supporting a Communist police state and denouncing American police officers, but a perfect synergy of political expediency.

Disney, ESPN’s parent company, has embraced identity politics from the top down, even as its head honcho, Bob Iger, remains whiter than vanilla ice cream, not because it really believes in this stuff. The Chinese Communist Party believes in One China. Its American counterparts believe in A Thousand Genders. Lefty power in China is built on unity and solidarity. Lefty power in America is built on divisive minority coalitions. But it’s only a difference if you focus on the means rather than the ends.

And the Mouse didn’t eat the entire entertainment industry by being unable to see the endgame. Avengers Endgame brought in $612 million in China. That’s the real endgame that it cares about.

In America and China, a lefty political elite controls the culture. Chinese and American lefties interlock cultural, economic and political power. Disney, once seen as a square family friendly studio, can rule the box offices in America and China because it advances the cultural goals of their political elites.

American corporations went ‘woke’ because their ideal customer base, wealthy millennials, were reprogrammed by academia. Getting access to young people with lots of money required ritual virtue signaling, first by cultural industries, which didn’t need much encouraging to function as gatekeepers, censors and reeducators, and then by all the other industries which bowed to the culture.

If Disney didn’t advance the party line, its comic book movies would be ridiculed, dismissed and denounced, and its cartoon remakes would be accused of racism in America. And in China, where the loci of political control are even simpler, they would never be released in the country’s movies theaters.

China’s Commies control the entire economy. America’s lefties control the cultural economy. And our few real exports to China are either agricultural or cultural. And soybean farmers aren’t tweeting about Hong Kong. The ‘wokest’ parts of our economy, entertainment and tech, are that way because they depend on the cultural sanction of the same political movement that killed millions in China.

If you’re going to sell thousand-dollar phones made by slave labor in some dusty factory town where the air is poison, you need the sanction of the Communist Party of China and the culture industry of California. And if you’re going to dump your cultural garbage in American and Chinese movie theaters, both owned by the same Chinese corporations, you’ll need to run the stuff by cultural censors.

Chinese censors are concerned about portraying their leaders as powerful and discouraging insurrection. American censors want to push their identity politics. That’s how you end up with ESPN cheering Colin and booing Hong Kong protesters. Chinese and American commies both get what they want and ESPN gets a foothold in the Chinese market and among the Ivy League’s wealthy woke grads.

The Hong Kong protesters won’t be too happy, but how many Avengers movies do they watch? How many iPhones can they buy? How many copies of Battlefield do they play? That’s the real question.

The ‘enemies of the people’ in Hong Kong are free market Christians who don’t want a police state controlling their lives. Funny coincidence, those are also the ‘enemies of the people’ in America.

Giant multinational monopolies don’t like free markets. They encourage competition.

The last thing the NBA, Disney, Apple, Nike and the rest of the ‘megas’ want is competition. What they want is a walled garden tended by a kindly Zen-Communist tyrant who will give them a virgin territory in exchange for a huge slice of the pie to be shared with local political partners. And, of course, slavish devotion to the tyranny of whatever it is the locals believe in, dialectical materialism, the transcendence of gender, which is a small price to pay by people who don’t have any principles or believe in anything.

It doesn’t really matter if this walled garden is in China or California. Either way, the ideal outcome is a totalitarian leftist state and the enemies are Christians who believe in a free market economy.

Can you think of anything a soulless ‘woke’ monopoly would hate and fear more than religious believers who also believe in personal freedom? That’s why Disney, Apple and the ChiComs are on the same page.

Apple, Disney and all the rest are about brands. A brand is a form of identity.

Brands don’t make good products. Instead they churn out overpriced junk and use advertising to fuse consumer loyalty to their brand. And that brand, a sports team, an Apple logo, becomes part of the identity of the people who are brainwashed into identifying with it even to their own detriment.

That’s why ad agencies have gone gaga for identity politics. And why every other ad you see is virtue signaling so hard that it would make Mao roll his eyes. They’re all in the manufactured identity business.

Identity politics manufactures identities and then convinces its dupes that their lives are hopeless and incomplete until they also implement open borders, gun control, and a ban on fossil fuels.

Sound familiar? Buy into the revolution now. Organizers are standing by to take your call.
That’s also why religious believers are the enemy. They don’t make ideal consumers.
People who have a form of meaning in their lives that isn’t for sale on Black Friday aren’t good consumers. Lefties with thirty genders and a hole the size of Cleveland where meaning should be, are.

So are Communist drones in a society drifting away from Communism while suppressing religion.

That’s why California and Communist China are the capitals of ‘Capitamunism’. And why free market Christians are the enemies in both of the capitals where identity politics are their own religion.

In China, it’s nationalism. In America, it’s anti-nationalism. But those are just different identities. And advertising is in the business of monetizing identities. The militant Chinese nationalist vocally insisting that everything in Asia belongs to Beijing and the furious Black Lives Matter activist demanding that we build Wakanda in Oklahoma are two sides of the same coin and ESPN will market to both of them.

And if a few protesters in Hong Kong or police officers in Dallas get shot, that’s also the same coin.

What really matters is the next game, the next movie, the next phone and the next crackdown. What matters is that you can buy governments, shut down protests and suppress the truth. What matters is that more people, in China and America, are realizing that what they want isn’t a sale: it’s freedom.

Daniel Greenfield


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A Texas Mayor Defends the Constitution from Sharia Law - Amil Imani

by Amil Imani

Beth Van Duyne: A principled public servant

Time and again in every election we see politicians promise everything, and once elected deliver very little or nothing. Beth Van Duyne is a welcome exception and her past record clearly proves it. A person of impeccable integrity, Beth has always remained loyal to the values and wishes of her constituents and has not compromised them on the altar of political expediency so widely practiced by self-promoting politicians. A devoted mother beaming with energy and the talent to get things done, Beth is indeed the kind of person the US Congress desperately needs.
Under Beth’s leadership as a Mayor of Irving, TX, the city became one of the best and safest towns in the great state of Texas. Beth Van Duyne’s achievements attracted the attention of President Trump’s administration and accepted to serve, this time, at the national level in the Department of Housing and Urban Development Office in Fort Worth.

Myor Beth Van Duyne

City of Irving Islamic Tribunal

Van Duyne’s reputation soared outside her city since February 2015, when she became aware that some Muslims intended to create a Sharia court in Irving, TX. To follow with her oath of office, she wanted to make sure if in fact, these stories were accurate. 

Van Duyne went directly to the source, the website. What she noticed was shocking. The imams at the website referred to themselves as “attorneys” and “judges” even though none of them were lawyers or practice law in the State of Texas. She noted a phone number for legal services. There was also a disclaimer at the bottom that read:

“Don’t send us any confidential material, before an attorney client relationship has been established.” 

They were even charging for their services. They listed divorce cases, product liability, business, and real estate litigations as their legal specialties. Mayor Van Duyne wanted to know why anyone would subject themselves to Sharia law in the United States while everyone is protected under the U.S. Constitution! And she repeatedly noted, her biggest concern was for women were treated differently than men under Sharia law, put at a great disadvantage, and denied basic rights we are all guaranteed. 

Despite a great deal of pushback and non-stop attacks from the leftist media in Texas, Beth Van Duyne, a woman of great courage managed to push the envelope off the table on Sharia’s implementation in her own U.S. city: Irving, Texas. The Mayor wasn’t aware of the extent of Sharia practiced by the Islamic Tribunal. So, she asked lawmakers at the Texas Homeland Security Forum to investigate the legality of this group in North Texas.

In a direct and powerful response, she refuted that it was authorized or approved by her office. The Islamic Tribunal was the first of its kind in the nation. Its members had begun deciding “non-criminal” cases, even though none of the tribunal members was an attorney. On her Facebook page, the mayor wrote:
“Sharia Law Court was NOT approved or enacted by the City of Irving. Recently, there have been rumors suggesting that the City of Irving has somehow condoned, approved or enacted the implementation of a Sharia Law Court in our City. Let me be clear, neither the City of Irving, our elected officials or city staff have anything to do with the decision of the mosque that has been identified as starting a Sharia Court.”

In the hope that this issue would be put to rest, the Irving City Council, headed by Mayor Van Duyne, supported a bill in Texas Legislature, HB 562, to reaffirm people would be protected from the use of foreign laws. If passed, it prohibits Texas judges or justices the use of any foreign law in any cases where there was a possibility that a person could lose his or her Constitutional rights.

Being fully prepared for the backlash from the left-wing media, the resolution was crafted without using the words, “Sharia law,” “Sharia,” “Muslim,” “Islamic,” or “religion.” It simply stated the obvious, that the United States has at the tip of its legal pyramid the Constitution, and under it a substantial body of federal, state, local laws, ordinances, resolutions, and huge volumes of case law that together have served us well since the ratification of the Constitution. "This bill does not mention, at all, Muslim, sharia law, Islam, even religion," said Van Duyne. "It specifically talks about foreign laws not taking precedence over U.S. laws and those in the State of Texas."

When the City of Irving came out with this resolution, they invited Muslim imams to come and support it. “When we had met them in private, we asked the members of the mosque if they would support our American laws and if they would support and follow our Texas State Statutes, and they told me in that private meeting, yes, they would,” stated Mayor Van Duyne. The Mayor sent them the Bill, but not only did she not hear back from them, but when she did, a protest group went into the town hall to protest and object to it.

Muslim groups did their level best to have the resolution fail. Fortunately, the Mayor held a hair’s-breath margin when the resolution passed by a five to four vote majority.

The Texas Senate passed a bill that year, forbidding the implementation of any foreign laws, which would adversely affect any person’s Constitutional rights. Senator Donna Campbell said that her bill doesn’t mention Sharia law at all, only guarantees that no law from “foreign courts” would be used to override American law in settling civil matters according to Unfortunately, the Bill failed to pass in the House.

On that day, Mayor Beth Van Duyne stood tall and strong to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States for you, me and all Americans.

Tarrant County, the State of Texas and the US Congress desperately need Beth Van Duyne, an effective leader who fights for American values.

Amil Imani


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All Democrats are saying is, Give War a Chance - Tom Knepper

by Tom Knepper

Democrats are now pretending Trump's plan to withdraw our troops from that region would lead to catastrophe.

Democrats, always reliably anti-Trump, have now carved out a position for themselves of being the party of Pro-War Protest. They are passionately in favor of our continued military intervention in Syria. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi apparently were aggressive in their meeting with President Trump, protesting his announced policy of withdrawing the small American military contingent in that country. Fake News ABC lent its support to the pro-war cause by providing phony footage of an artillery demonstration that it falsely claimed portrayed Kurds being slaughtered.

Since the sixties, Democrats have generally preferred the antiwar side of any issue involving American military action. Except for a brief time immediately following 9/11, the party has consistently been critical of American troops on the battlefield, to the point of actually favoring our enemies over our own troops.

Now Donald Trump has changed all that. Driven nearly insane by their hatred of the man, and by their continued failure at bringing him down by lies and coup attempts, Democratic leadership is switching sides on the issue of continuing U.S. intervention in what was once the country of Syria. Conveniently forgetting that the blunders of the Obama/Hillary administration were in large part responsible for the Syrian civil war turning into a bloodbath, and that it was the Orange Man who was responsible for the decisive leadership that decimated ISIS, Democrats are now pretending Trump's plan to withdraw our troops from that region would lead to catastrophe.

Whether or not the decision to withdraw is a wise one, it is in line with Trump's campaign promise to bring our troops home from endless Middle Eastern wars. And it is supremely ironic that Democrats are the ones now arguing for continuing to put American soldiers and Marines in harm's way. If memory serves, when ISIS was slaughtering Christians and other infidels with abandon during Obama's term in office, in many cases using weapons supplied by Hillary Clinton's twisted Benghazi arms-dealing, Democrats were more than willing to look the other way. When Barack Obama drew a red line over chemical weapons use in Syria, and then pretended he didn't notice when Syrian president Assad ignored the red line, Democrats in Congress and the media were also willing to pretend they didn't notice.

The bottom line is that no policy contortion is too extreme for Democrats to undergo in order to maintain their always and forever anti-Trump position. It's obvious they don't really believe in any of the policies they claim to support — all are merely means to deceive the voters into returning them to power. The war the Democrats really support to the fullest is the war against the Trump administration, and the wider war against constitutionally limited government. This is the war they wage fiercely with lies, fake news, and secret kangaroo courts. For Democrats, in the War against Freedom, there is no substitute for victory. 

Tom Knepper


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Ben Shapiro goes off on ridiculous UN statistics - Phil Schneider

by Phil Schneider

Today, the UN is basically just a bully pulpit to antagonize Israel and do very little else that matters.

The UN was created in order to bring peace to the world, and preserve peace wherever possible. It has had a few isolated positive accomplishments. Yes, the formation of the State of Israel is one of them. The UN undoubtedly had a critical hand in that fateful vote of 1947. But the bulk of the time, the United Nations has been a place for representatives of all of the nations of the world to get together, sit down, hear a lot of speeches, and pass rather useless resolutions that are more biased against Israel than any other place in the entire world.

A Body for World Peace

The UN is indeed the best place for representatives of the entire world to come together and try to work things out to preserve the peace. The problem is that the morals of the decision-making bodies of the United Nations are decided upon based on the ridiculous concept of one vote for each country. So a tiny country with a few hundred thousand people has a vote and say that is equal to a country with 100 million people.

What needs to be done is to revamp the structure of the UN in order to provide more power and say to the large countries who truly do dominate the world. The problem is that China, Russia, and some other powerful countries are not exactly the most peace-loving nations either. So, where should the peace-promoters come from? The answer is that indeed – even in Russia and China – there are unique individuals who do strive to bring peace to their nations. The United Nations should be the place where leaders of problematic countries send the peace promoters in order to keep them out of their countries. By so doing, the UN may not become a body with much ability to implement. But at least, it would evolve into a genuine moral compass for the world by world renown peace-promoters. Basically the UN will never bring peace to the world. But it could be a strong mouthpiece to advance peace and serve the world in a positive way. Today, the UN is basically just a bully pulpit to antagonize Israel and do very little else that matters.

Phil Schneider


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Vietnam vs. Dreamworks - J. R. Dunn

by J. R. Dunn

Just a silly little error involving an entire sea.

It seems that the People’s Republic of Vietnam has pulled the Dreamworks production Abominable from theaters across the long green country.

The film featured a map which showed the South China Sea encompassed by the “Nine Dash Line,” an imaginary border that China utilizes to lay claim to the entire South China Sea and all that lies within it. This is in blatant defiance of the nations – including Indonesia, Brunei, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam, who actually, by international law, control the area.

The Vietnamese in particular have suffered the effects of Chinese piracy. In the late 70s, an entire military contingent sent to exercise sovereignty over an island in the area was machine-gunned to the last man by Chinese warships, and two Vietnamese patrol boats were later sunk. Since 2013, when China began creating artificial islands on which to construct military bases in the region, the Chinese have turned to attacking all Vietnamese fishing vessels that venture into the area. Several have been sunk by ramming by ostensibly “civilian” Chinese ships.

So it’s easy to grasp why this is a sore spot for the Vietnamese. But it’s not just a matter of pride – China is also hijacking all the resources in the area, which include oil and natural gas. It may well develop into a matter of survival for the Vietnamese.

It’s unlikely that it was deliberate, and was very probably a product of ignorance involving those countries that are full of little brown people of whom nobody has ever heard. (I can just see some bright little millennial Dreamworks staffer rearing back in shock and saying, “You’re telling me people have heard of Vietnam?”)

But it’s not a good sign. Our Honest Media™ has gone out of its way to lowkey the entire South China Sea story, keeping it as dark as possible. (It’s not likely that many have heard of the Chinese atrocities listed above.) Pundits and academics, for their part, compete in insisting that the South China Sea crisis is “over.”

This incident is a clear indication that this is not the case. The South China Sea is a running sore, and will remain one until justice is done for the nations of the region, “though the heavens fall,” as the saying goes. Until that time, we have an obligation to remain informed and knowledgeable about what is happening there, and that goes for Dreamworks too.

J. R. Dunn


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The Rise of Young Black Conservatives - Larry Elder

by Larry Elder

Making gains in a broken culture.

This past weekend, I spoke for the second time at the second annual Black Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., hosted by Turning Point USA. Turning Point was founded in 2012 by then-18-year-old Charlie Kirk. Its website describes its goal as seeking "to identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets, and limited government."

In addition to the Black Leadership Summit, Turning Point holds other annual gatherings, including the Young Women's Leadership Summit, the Young Latino Leadership Summit and the Student Action Summit. Turning Point, according to Kirk, has established chapters at over 1,000 college campuses across the country. In a short time, the organization has become quite a force.

In an interview with Business Insider, Kirk asked: "Have you ever seen a conservative shout down a liberal speaker on campus? Isn't that kind of strange, though, that the left does that every day and conservatives don't?" He argues: "We live in a broken culture. Where the conservative movement is making gains really quick and where the left is really struggling right now is that we are offering remedies for a broken culture."

Not too surprisingly, Turning Point is not without controversy. A column in the conservative Washington Examiner written by a college senior insists: "TPUSA is initially attractive to many young people due to the organization's savvy marketing using memes, posters, and catchy slogans such as 'socialism sucks.' And at first glance, this may seem like a good thing for the conservative movement.

"But everyone should be concerned by the mainstreaming of TPUSA and Kirk. ... In reality, it's an organization that pulls kids too young to know any better into a group that's deeply troubled and dishonest at its core."

A piece in the Wall Street Journal written by a senior at Dartmouth criticizes groups like Turning Point for receiving funding by wealthy donors. The student wrote: "These groups are well-organized, well-funded political operations, not grass-roots gatherings or student-led movements. There's nothing necessarily wrong or unethical about them, but they often convey a deliberately false image of themselves as bottom-up movements when in fact they are top-down, highly purposive national organizations. Students approached by their recruiters — or handed "educational" material by their activists — should ask about their sponsors and objectives."

What I know is this: Some 400 young blacks recently gathered in D.C., where they heard criticism of Democrats, liberals and the left. Speakers such as former Turning Point Communications Director Candace Owens, now a podcast host for Prager University, questioned blacks' overwhelming allegiance to the Democratic Party, arguing that the party pushes the narrative of systemic, structural and institutional racism for power and votes. After I spoke, young person after young person came up to me and said things like, "You introduced me to economics professors Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams," and, "because of you and your books and videos, I began to question the horrible things I was taught about the 'racist' Republican Party."

These young people did not think of themselves as victims. They recognized their good fortune as Americans living in a country of opportunity where their own future will be bright if they work hard. In my speech, I quoted black liberal Harvard sociology professor Orlando Patterson, who 28 years ago wrote: "The sociological truths are that America, while still flawed in its race relations ... is now the least racist white-majority society in the world; has a better record of legal protection of minorities than any other society, white or black; offers more opportunities to a greater number of black persons than any other society, including all those of Africa."

At last weekend's summit, the narrative of "structural racism" by the police was challenged with facts, studies and data. The Democrats' opposition to private vouchers was questioned, given studies showing that school choice improves reading and math scores, graduation rates and parental satisfaction. Democratic policies of reparations, race-based preferences, government-mandated minimum wage and taxes on job creators were challenged.

I have known Sowell and Williams for nearly 30 years. Their presence loomed large this weekend in Washington, D.C. For years, they were lonely voices questioning blacks' devotion to the Democratic Party. They have long argued that the welfare state has destabilized families, encouraging women "to marry the government" and men to abandon their financial and moral responsibilities. They have long argued against the job-destroying impact of the minimum wage. They have long argued that one's fate is determined not by racism but by one's willingness to invest in oneself through education, hard work and sacrifice.

Turning Point's Black Leadership Summit shows that Sowell's and Williams' books, columns, television appearances and speeches have spawned a generation of hopeful young black men and women who believe in themselves. These bright, energetic young people get it. As then-first lady Barbara Bush said, "Your success as a family, our success as a society, depends not on what happens in the White House, but on what happens inside your house."

What a weekend!

Photo: Reuters

Larry Elder


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Why Are Palestinians 'Disappearing' in Saudi Arabia? - Khaled Abu Toameh

by Khaled Abu Toameh

Euro-Med said it considers the "practices of the Saudi authorities a flagrant violation of the requirements of justice

  • The Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (Euro-Med), a youth-led independent organization that advocates for human rights across Europe and the Middle East, said it has collected names of about 60 Palestinians detained by the Saudi authorities in recent months
  • Euro-Med said it considers the "practices of the Saudi authorities a flagrant violation of the requirements of justice, which guarantees everyone the right to a fair trial, including knowing charges against and the right to defense and access to a lawyer... [and] affirms that the relevant authorities do not comply with the international legal rules that guarantee the simplest rights of litigation for any individual..."
  • The Saudi authorities have offered no explanation for the widespread campaign targeting Palestinians in the kingdom. It appears that PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his officials in Ramallah fear that any criticism of this behavior would jeopardize the financial handouts and political support they receive from Saudi Arabia.... For Palestinian leaders, Saudi money and political backing far outweigh the fate of a few dozen Palestinians held without trial in an Arab country.
  • It is only Palestinians who are held by Israel for terrorist-related crimes who Abbas and his friends remember to mention in their endless litanies of complaints.

The issue of the Palestinian detainees in Saudi Arabia seems to have missed the agenda of the discussions. For Palestinian leaders, Saudi money and political backing far outweigh the fate of a few dozen Palestinians held without trial in an Arab country. Pictured: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas visits Saudi King Salman bin Abdel Aziz on December 30, 2015 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Thaer Ghanaim/Palestinian Press Office via Getty Images)

Dozens of Palestinians have been "disappearing" in Saudi Arabia in recent months and are believed are being held in detention in the kingdom's prisons, according to Palestinian sources and international human rights organizations.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership in the West Bank, which regularly condemns Israel for arresting Palestinians suspected of involvement in terrorism and other anti-Israel activities, has been reluctant to speak out against the Saudi purge of Palestinians, ostensibly for security reasons, not to harm its relations with the kingdom.

The PA is not only keeping mum about the unprecedented Saudi crackdown, but it is also trying to prevent the families of the detainees from protesting in public. Last week, the PA's Preventive Security Service summoned the family of Palestinian engineer Abdullah Odeh, being held in a Saudi prison, and warned them not to protest their son's detention.

Odeh's family was planning to arrive at a football match between Saudi Arabia's national soccer team and the Palestinian national soccer team as part of the World Cup qualifier held on October 15 near the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The family was warned that they would be beaten and arrested if they arrived at the Faisal al-Husseini Football Stadium to protest their son's incarceration in Saudi Arabia. Additionally, the family was ordered to remove all social media posts denouncing the arrest of Odeh and calling for his release.

Odeh's brother, Baraa, wrote on his Facebook page on September 6:
"My brother, engineer Abdullah Odeh, has been held in a Saudi prison for the past month and we don't know anything about him. This is not how a prisoner should be treated in an Islamic country."
In another Facebook post on September 11, Odeh's brother wrote:
"My dear brother, engineer Abdullah. I hope you ate doing well and in good health. I wanted to let you know that we have appealed to the [Palestinian Authority] president, the government and ministries and embassies to get information about your condition... but they don't care because your life, and the lives of those with you, are too cheap for them to pay any attention. Why is an expatriate who goes to earn a living being held without trial?"
Last week, Baraa Odeh was forced by the Palestinian Authority security forces to remove another Facebook post deemed offensive to the Saudis. In that post, he commented on the warm welcome the Saudi national soccer team received upon its arrival in Ramallah ahead of the match with the Palestinians. He wrote:
"My dear brother, engineer Abdullah. I apologize to you. My people gave a warm welcome to the Saudi national soccer team. We are proud of this reception. A Palestinian family has been subjected to injustice by Saudi Arabia, which has been holding my brother in detention without trial for the past two months. My brother worked as an electrical engineer in Saudi Arabia for five years. Tomorrow I will go to the stadium to hold a peaceful protest and carry my brother's photo."
The Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (Euro-Med), a youth-led independent organization that advocates for human rights across Europe and the Middle East, said it has collected names of about 60 Palestinians detained by the Saudi authorities in recent months.

The organization said that it has documented testimonies from 11 Palestinian families whose sons have been detained or were forcibly "disappeared" during their stay in, or visit to, Saudi Arabia. The detainees include students, residents, academics and businessmen, Euro-Med said in a statement, adding:
"In fact, those people were isolated from the outside world without any specific indictments against them. They were not brought before the public prosecution, nor allowed to communicate with their relatives, or communicate with their lawyers."
Selin Yasar, Euro-Med's communication and media officer, said that the "campaign in Saudi Arabia of arresting Palestinians is but one in a long series of human rights violations in the country."

The family of one of the Palestinian detainees in Saudi Arabia told the organization that they were prevented from asking about his fate or the place of detention. "My biggest heartache is not knowing anything about my husband," the detainee's wife complained. "I don't know if he is alive, dead, healthy or tortured, and this made his disappearance more painful for my children, his parents, and his siblings."

Another Palestinian family whose son is being held in Saudi Arabia said they lost contact with him last July; since then, they have heard nothing about his fate or whereabouts. During the same month, the Saudi authorities also arrested a 60-year-old Palestinian businessman who has been living in Jeddah for decades. Euro-Med reported that one of the detainee's sons said that the Saudi authorities confiscated his money, threatened his family members to keep silent, and prevented them from leaving Saudi Arabia. Even Palestinians who went to Mecca for the Islamic pilgrimage (hajj) have fallen victim to the Saudi "security-motivated" detentions. According to Euro-Med, the families of the detainees remain silent on the matter "in the hope that the nightmare of enforced disappearance would come to an end, and they would return to normal life."

Euro-Med wrote in another statement:
"The Euro-Med considered the practices of the Saudi authorities a flagrant violation of the requirements of justice, which guaranteed everyone the right to a fair trial including knowing charges against them, the right to defense and access to a lawyer...
"It also affirms that the relevant authorities do not comply with the international legal rules that guarantee the simplest rights of litigation for any individual, the most important of which are the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."
While the PA leadership has been silent over the "enforced disappearances" of Palestinians in Saudi Arabia, other Palestinians, including Hamas, the terrorist group in control of the Gaza Strip, have been vocal in their protests and are calling on the Saudi authorities to release the detainees. Hamas says that one of its leaders, Mohammed al-Khoudari, was also arrested several months ago by the Saudi authorities. Earlier this week, the families of some of the detainees protested in the Gaza Strip against the arrest of their sons in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi authorities have offered no explanation for the widespread campaign targeting Palestinians in the kingdom. It appears that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his officials in Ramallah fear that any criticism of this behavior would jeopardize the financial handouts and political support they receive from Saudi Arabia. Abbas and the PA leadership have long tip-toed around any Arab country that mistreats Palestinians or subjects them to discriminatory laws, as in Lebanon.

Abbas was scheduled to arrive in Riyadh this week for talks with King Salman bin Abdel Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on ways of strengthening bilateral relations. The issue of the Palestinian detainees in Saudi Arabia seems to have missed the agenda of the discussions. For Palestinian leaders, Saudi money and political backing far outweigh the fate of a few dozen Palestinians held without trial in an Arab country.

It is only Palestinians who are held by Israel for terrorist-related crimes who Abbas and his friends remember to mention in their endless litanies of complaints. Why spoil relations with Saudi Arabia, one of the PA's prime cash cows, because of a handful of Palestinians who, together with their families, are being denied basic rights in an Arab country that continues, in public, to state its full support for the Palestinians and what they perceive as their rights?
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Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at Gatestone Institute.


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