Friday, October 25, 2019

US fears nuclear nightmare with unreliable ally – A scary ‘Doctor Strangelove’ scenario - Victor Davis Hanson

by Victor Davis Hanson

Turkey in the past has threatened to go nuclear itself should the U.S. ever dare to transfer the lethal arsenal. Apparently, Turkey’s theory is that possession of bombs in one’s territory is 9/10ths of the law of nuclear weapons ownership.

There are about 5,000 members of the U.S. military, mostly airmen, stationed at the huge, strategically located air base in Incirlik, Turkey, northwest of the Syrian border.
The American forces at Incirlik are also the custodians of about 50 B61 nuclear bombs. Data on these weapons is classified, but at their maximum yield each is 10 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, according to Stars and Stripes.
It’s a “Dr. Strangelove” scenario: No one quite knows how the American contingent could manage to secretly remove the deadly nukes from their concrete vaults, bring them out to the tarmac, load them on planes and fly them out safely over Turkish objections.


Turkey in the past has threatened to go nuclear itself should the U.S. ever dare to transfer the lethal arsenal. Apparently, Turkey’s theory is that possession of bombs in one’s territory is 9/10ths of the law of nuclear weapons ownership.

In the aftermath of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, which led to a U.S. arms embargo, Turkey shut down all U.S. operations at Incirlik. American forces were expelled for three years — until Washington caved and resumed arms supplies.


In 2016, Turkey cut off power to the base and barred U.S. flights, fearing that the dissident Turkish generals of a failed coup attempt might use the American facility as a sanctuary.

Under Islamist strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey has become NATO’s only non-democratic nation. It’s also NATO’s only Muslim-majority member. Erdogan has been trying to re-create Turkey as a new Ottoman imperial power. He feels no allegiance to Western-style democracy.

During the Obama administration, Erdogan snubbed the obsequious American attempts to promote Turkey as the cornerstone of America’s Middle East policy. President Trump should remember that and perhaps reconsider his own sometimes appeasing outreach to Erdogan.

Turkey opposes, if not detests, almost every American ally in the region, and befriends almost every U.S. enemy.

It despises Israel, aids its enemies and hopes for its dissolution. Turkey is currently attacking the U.S.-allied Kurds in Syria. It works against the pro-American Sisi regime in Egypt. Turkish violations of Greek airspace in the Aegean are a common occurrence, as are aggressive simulated attacks on Greek aircraft.

Turkey has frightened and alienated most NATO allies. The European Union has limited arms sales to Turkey. Germany has pulled its small forces out of the country. Recently, Turkish forces “accidentally” shelled a U.S. Special Forces peacekeeping outpost on the Turkish-Syrian border.

Russia sold Turkey a $2 billion, state-of-the-art S-400 anti-aircraft missile system designed to shoot down the latest NATO aircraft. Yet the U.S. is contracted to sell Turkey F-35 fighter aircraft, the cornerstone of the next-generation air defense of America and NATO. Given that some of the plane’s assemblage was outsourced to Turkish companies, it’s conceivable that on-site Russian technicians could build into the S-400 system ways to down F-35s.

Why, then, is the U.S. still an ally of this anti-American rogue nation? There are a number of scary reasons.
— The U.S. military has not quite figured out how either to stay in or leave Incirlik in a now-hostile Turkey.
— Washington knows that fighters at the valuable Incirlik base can reach any strategic conflict in the Middle East.
— American diplomats naively hope that democracy will return to Turkey and that Erdogan is a temporary nuisance who does not reflect a rising Islamist constituency in the Turkish heartland.
— America believes a bad ally is better than a bitter enemy. It fears that a hostile Turkey could start and win wars against our vulnerable regional friends and create a formidable nuclear alliance with Russia, China or Iran.
—  The West in general is blackmailed by Turkey, a gateway to the Middle East that has threatened to unleash a flood of millions of migrants onto European soil.
—  NATO in general is underfunded and undermanned. In contrast, NATO member Turkey has the second-largest military in the alliance at nearly 650,000 troops. Europe and the U.S. either believe such a force helps maintain credible NATO deterrence or are terrified it will be put into the service of others.


—  The U.S. fears that fighting against, or failing to aid, a NATO partner might unravel the entire alliance. Turkey has invoked Article IV of the treaty, requiring crisis consultation when a NATO ally claims it is threatened, three times in its regional disputes.

Not since the U.S. came to the aid of Josef Stalin’s Soviet Union in World War II has America so disliked and so feared a valuable but utterly untenable ally.

Victor Davis Hanson


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Trump Admin Calls Out Pro-Islam Bias, Corruption in Middle East Studies Programs - Raymond Ibrahim

by Raymond Ibrahim

Where analysts and “experts” are created.

This article was first published by Gatestone Institute. Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

The Trump administration recently called out and threatened to cut federal funding for the Consortium for Middle East Studies (CMES), a program run by Duke University and the University of North Carolina (pictured above). It was accused by the U.S. Education Department of misusing a federal grant to advance “ideological priorities” and unfairly promote “the positive aspects of Islam,” particularly in comparison to Judaism and Christianity.

The Education Department summarized its position in an August 29 letter that opens with a reminder: institutions of higher education may receive federal funding via Title VI of the Higher Education Act of 1965—though “only for the purposes of establishing, strengthening, and operating comprehensive foreign language and area or international studies centers and programs.”  The logic is simple: “cultural studies providing historical information about customs and practices in the Middle East and assisting students to understand and navigate the culture of another country, in concert with rigorous foreign language training, could help develop a pool of experts needed to protect U.S. national security and economic stability.”

After reviewing the Consortium for Middle East Studies’ curricula, the Department letter warned that it had “little or no relevance” to federal funding:
For example, although Iranian art and film may be of subjects of deep intellectual interest … the sheer volume of such offerings highlights a fundamental misalignment between your choices and Title VI's mandates. Although a conference focused on “Love and Desire in Modem [sic] Iran” and one focused on Middle East film criticism may be relevant in academia, we do not see how these activities support the development of foreign language and international expertise for the benefit of U.S. national security and economic stability. Similarly, the link between the statutory goals and the academic papers referenced in your grant proposal, Amihri Hatun: Performance, Gender-Bending and Subversion in the Early Modern Ottoman Intellectual History, or Radical Love: Teachings from Islamic Mystical Tradition, is patently unclear.

The Department letter further accused the program of projecting and “advance[ing] narrow, particularized views of American social issues” onto the Middle East.  It cites a CMES teacher training seminar that described itself as focusing on “issues of multicultural education and equity to build a culture and climate of respect,” and “serving LGBTIQ youth in schools, culture and the media, diverse books for the classroom and more.”

Just as the CMES proliferates in topics popular on U.S. campuses—but that have no bearing on the realities of the Middle East—so too is there “a startling lack of focus on geography, geopolitical issues, history, and language of the area, as Congress required in Title VI,” the Department letter continues.  As for those two fields that the grant was primarily designed for, “foreign language instruction and area studies advancing the security and economic stability of the United States have taken ‘a back seat’ to other priorities at the Duke-UNC CMES.”

In short, “the Duke-UNC CMES offers very little serious instruction preparing individuals to understand the geopolitical challenges to U.S. national security and economic needs but quite a considerable emphasis on advancing ideological priorities.”

Significantly but not surprising, the letter further accused CMES of “lack[ing] balance as it offers very few, if any, programs focused on the historic discrimination faced by, and current circumstances of, religious minorities in the Middle East, including Christians, Jews, Baha'is, Yadizis, Kurds, Druze, and others.”  Instead,
there is a considerable emphasis placed on understanding the positive aspects of Islam, while there is an absolute absence of any similar focus on the positive aspects of Christianity, Judaism, or any other religion or belief system in the Middle East. This lack of balance of perspectives is troubling and strongly suggests that Duke-UNC CMES is not meeting legal requirement that National Resource Centers “provide a full understanding of the areas, regions, or countries’ in which the modern foreign language taught is commonly used.”

The letter concluded by warning CMES to respond by September 22 or risk losing funding.  CMES did; it send a 16-page letter of explanation, adding that it “will re-examine its procedures to ensure that its Title VI-funded activities continue to match the purposes and requirements of the Title VI program,” and was granted another year of funding.

Whatever lasting impact the Education Department letter has on CMES, it is a welcome development for several reasons.  First, it suggests that the government is paying attention.  This is important considering that over a dozen other Middle East Studies departments—including at Columbia, Georgetown, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale universities—are also Title VI recipients.  Moreover, all of them can be accused of most if not all of the failures cited in the Education Department letter to Duke and North Carolina (perhaps suggesting that the latter two, in the guise of CMES, were meant to be an example and warning to the rest).

Another benefit of the Department letter is that, although it only concerns Title VI recipients, it made national headlines—it made waves—that may lead to more questions and/or create more public awareness on the greater issue: that most Middle East Studies departments on campuses across America can to varying degrees be accused of focusing on irrelevant topics, sidelining language skills, whitewashing Islam—in short, indoctrinating students in the Left’s views.

As the letter is about funding, it may also prompt questions about its flipside—foreign funding.  For example, a 2018 report found that “elite U.S. universities took more than half a billion dollars” from  Saudi Arabia in gifts and donations “between 2011 and 2017”; as far back as 2005, Georgetown and Harvard each received $20 million “to support Islamic studies on their respective campuses.”

Why would a nation that treats women like chattel, teaches Muslims to hate all non-Muslims, arrests and tortures Christians “plotting to celebrate Christmas”—a nation that has crack units dedicated to apprehending witches and warlocks—become a leading financial supporter of America’s liberal arts?  The answer would seem to be obvious: so that recipients can show their gratitude by indoctrinating students in a fictitious Middle East and Islam—both of which are supposed victims of America.

In all spheres of life, education is intimately connected with success—as its opposite, ignorance, is connected with failure.  The reason U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East has tended towards disaster is because policymakers depend on advisors and analysts who are products of the aforementioned Middle East and Islamic studies programs.  Until such time that Middle East Studies teach their topics with objectivity, balance, and above all, honestly—all criteria indispensable to success—failure will continue to dominate American policy.

* * *
Photo by Ildar Sagdejev at Wikimedia Commons.

Raymond Ibrahim


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European lawmakers demand sanctions on Iran for human rights abuses - Benjamin Weinthal

by Benjamin Weinthal

The French government continues to promote trade with the Islamic Republic, seeking to circumvent U.S. sanctions.

Members of the European Parliament have called on trade conditions with Iran to hinge on Tehran improving its appalling human rights record.

“Iran is a country where women are imprisoned for being women,” and business deals with the regime should be “conditioned on respect for human rights,” Italian MEP Alessandra Moretti said on Wednesday in Strasbourg, France.

Milan Zver, a Slovenian MEP, went further, urging the European Union to press its member governments to “stop trade” with the Islamic Republic. “The regime needs us for survival,” he said.

While the United States has imposed crippling economic sanctions on Tehran's financial and energy sectors, Europe's sanctions have largely been symbolic.

Iranian agents murdered two Iranian dissidents in the Netherlands – one in Almere, near Amsterdam, in 2015, and one near the Dutch foreign ministry in The Hague in 2017. In January 2019, the Netherlands accused Iran of the killings and the EU froze the assets of an Iranian intelligence unit and of two of its staff members.


In 2018, Iranian agents, according to the French government, sought to bomb a gathering in Paris of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) – a controversial Iranian political opposition group.

The French government continues to promote trade with the Islamic Republic, seeking to circumvent U.S. sanctions.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani gives a press conference in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. 
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani gives a press conference in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019.  (AP)
The European lawmakers’ demands to sanction Iran’s regime came after a presentation by Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the PMOI, who introduced a new book published by her organization, “Crimes Against Humanity.”

The book details Iran’s shocking massacre over five months in 1988 of thousands of political prisoners, the majority of whom were from the PMOI. Marxist prisoners were also executed. The exact number of prisoners killed remains in dispute, but estimates range up to 30,000. The book provides granular accounts of the slaughter ordered by senior Iranian clerical leaders, including the names of 5,015 members or supporters of the PMOI who were murdered by the regime in 1988.

The U.S. government classified the PMOI as a terrorist organization in 1997 but removed the designation in 2012.

On Wednesday, police in Albania, where the PMOI headquarters has been located since 2016, announced that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps plotted attacks on the PMOI in the Balkan country. Police Commissioner Ardi Veliu said the Revolutionary Guard Corps operates an “active terrorist cell” targeting PMOI members in Albania.

The United States government designated the IRGC a foreign terrorist organization in April 2019.


At Wednesday’s meeting in Strasbourg, lawmaker after lawmaker denounced the Iranian regime in harsh terms, in sharp contrast to the EU’s efforts to maintain strong relations with Tehran. Ryszard Henryk Czarnecki, a Polish MEP, said the “terrorist regime” in Iran shows “no mercy for its citizens.”

Juan Fernando López Aguilar, a Spanish MEP, chronicled the case of an Iranian woman, Sahar Khodayari, nicknamed Blue Girl, after the colors of her favorite soccer club, Esteghlal FC.

Khodayari was charged with “appearing in public without a hijab” after trying to enter Tehran’s Azadi Stadium dressed as a man so she could watch a soccer match last March. In protest against her possible sentence, she set herself ablaze in front of the Islamic Revolutionary Court of Tehran in September, and died of her injuries a week later.

The Spanish lawmaker said this is “absolutely shocking” and it is a “duty of member of the European Parliament to make the case for women’s rights” in Iran.

Sahar Khodayari, an Iranian female soccer fan known as "Blue Girl" for the colors supporting of the Esteghlal team, died after setting herself on fire after learning she may serve a six-month prison sentence for trying to enter a soccer stadium where women are banned.
Sahar Khodayari, an Iranian female soccer fan known as "Blue Girl" for the colors supporting of the Esteghlal team, died after setting herself on fire after learning she may serve a six-month prison sentence for trying to enter a soccer stadium where women are banned. (AP Photo/)
Jan Zahradil, an MEP from the Czech Republic, took outgoing EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to task for her efforts to mollify the Islamic Republic.

“The EU fails to recognize the real threat coming from the Iranian regime,” he said, adding that Mogherini has been “promoting an appeasement policy toward the mullahs.”

Zahradil said Iran’s regime is taking control of the neighboring countries of Iraq, Syria and part of Lebanon, implementing a warlike and expansionist foreign policy.


The criticism leveled at EU policy toward Iran’s regime comes on the heels of a German Green Party vice president of the Bundestag, Claudia Roth, enthusiastically greeting Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, a Holocaust denier and former chief nuclear negotiator, at the assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Belgrade last week.

Dr. Kazem Moussavi, an Iranian dissident living in Germany, slammed Roth on Twitter: “Roth presents herself as a feminist but courts representatives of the Islamic regime that represses women in Iran and wants to destroy Israel.”

On Tuesday, the German newspaper Bild said Roth, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and undersecretary of foreign affairs Niels Annen are contributing to rising hatred of Jews in their country.

Steinmeier sent a congratulatory letter to Iran’s regime in February to honor its 1979 Islamic Revolution, while Annen participated in Revolution Day celebrations at Tehran’s embassy in Berlin.


Italian MEP Gianna Gancia echoed the demands of her colleagues, noting that “Representatives of Europe seem only to be interested in business and trade with Iran. The EU Commission should stop relations with Iran and impose sanctions on the regime for violations of human rights. We want democratic change in Iran.”

“The Iranian people do not want this regime,” said British MEP Anthea McIntyre.

Former Colombian Senator Ingrid Betancourt, a former political hostage and presidential candidate who has fought political corruption, said at the EU event that Iran has taken dual nationals from France and the United Kingdom as hostages.

“This is the moment to say we want them free,” she said, adding that “No equality for women means there is no freedom for anyone in Iran.”

Iran’s regime jailed the British-Iranian national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in 2016 on what are widely believed to be trumped-up espionage charges.  In October, it was revealed that Iran imprisoned French-Iranian dual national Fariba Adelkhah, an anthropologist at the Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po). The French academic Roland Marchal, a senior researcher on economies and conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa from Science Po, is also being detained in the Islamic Republic.


Rama Yade, the former French Secretary for Human Rights, said Iran has become an “open air prison” and the “Iran nuclear agreement does not work.” Tehran has continued to violate the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name for the atomic accord that aims to stop Iran’s drive to obtain nuclear weapons.


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Every Media Trump Conspiracy Becomes a Jewish Conspiracy Theory - Daniel Greenfield

by Daniel Greenfield

The vast Russia-Ukraine-Huckabee-Jewish-Alabama conspiracy.

In 2017, Politico claimed that Chabad, a Jewish Chassidic group, was the nexus between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. The bizarre article was illustrated with a photo of shadowy Jewish men in black hats.

Politico's The Happy-Go-Lucky Jewish Group That Connects Trump and Putin traced "some of the shortest routes between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin" to a synagogue on Manhasset Bay "across from a Shell gas station and a strip mall". Strip malls and gas stations are notorious conspiracy hubs.


How did this synagogue across from a Shell gas station become the hub of the Trump-Putin conspiracy? Trump had once done business with some Russian Jewish real estate people who had donated money to a Chassidic Jewish charity. Also Jared Kushner's brother had dated a woman who is friends with the wife of a Russian oligarch.

Do you really need any more proof?

This was the heyday of Russia conspiracy theories in which any media hack with the ability to Wikipedia their way through a list of Russian oligarchs, and find some pathway to someone Trump knew or had done business with, or to the wife of a friend of his son-in-law’s girlfriend’s brother, could roll their own expose.

The Politico article was deservedly torn to shreds even by the lefties at JTA and the ADL. It was the sort of vulgar anti-Semitic conspiracy nonsense that Neo-Nazis specialized in. And the vulgar nonsense was leaking into the media.

The Russia conspiracy theory died when Mueller couldn’t figure out how to chew gum and testify at the same time. It’s been replaced by the Ukraine conspiracy theory. And the Jewish conspiracy theories are back.

The latest version in the New York Daily News tries to connect Chabad, Young Israel, Pro-Israel activists, Giuliani, Trump, Netanyahu, Huckabee, Ukraine, and some sort of point. It never comes close to doing any of these things. The article is full of basic errors that you don’t need to be an expert on Jews or Israel to spot. Take its claim that Sweet Home Alabama is a “a tribute to Dixie segregationists.”

The Daily News turns out to know as much about Israel and Jews as it does about Lynyrd Skynyrd.

It claims that Yair Netanyahu, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s son, is a “a powerful figure on the extreme right wing”. Last time I checked, Yair is a twenty-something guy who handles social media for Shurat HaDin, a group that uses legal tactics to go after terrorist financing. He’s not running the country.

It conflates Chabad and Young Israel, two very different groups from very different branches of Orthodox Judaism. It states that Young Israel is a “group of more than 100 Orthodox synagogues”. The actual number is 175. More importantly, the article struggles to smear a variety of Orthodox and Pro-Israel groups by associating them with the latest Ukraine conspiracy theory entirely by association.

Why does every conspiracy theory about President Trump eventually turn into a Jewish conspiracy?

Part of the answer is convenience. Chabad has been the target of several such media conspiracy theories because it’s international, and its Jewish movement has a large number of institutions in America and Russia. Its plethora of locations and openness attract a spectrum of attendees.

But the larger answer is that Jewish conspiracy theories provide a traditional framework on which contemporary conspiracy theories can be based. It’s inevitable that at least some of these conspiracy theories will return to their origins and that the media will gleefully run them. (Almost as inevitable as the outsourcing of the writeups to reporters with Jewish last names to deflect the inevitable criticism.)

The decline of journalism into conspiracy theories, drawing up charts of first, second and third degree associations, lends itself naturally to the traditions of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in which associations themselves are proof of guilt. Or, as the New York Daily News admits, “Parnas and Fruman may not have broken any laws with their outreach to far-right wing supporters of Israel.”

What laws could they have broken? The article never provides an answer. And then what’s the point?

The association is the entire point of a conspiracy theory. Whether laws are broken is entirely secondary. Conspiracy theories never actually prove anything or establish illegality. What they do is argue that their targets are operating a vast conspiracy and that any means, including, eventually, violence, may be used against them because they represent an extraordinary violation of the norms.

The decline of Trump media conspiracy theories into conspiracy theories about Jews doesn’t necessarily mean that Trump conspiracy theories are anti-Semitic, though some examples obviously are, but that they originate in the same rotten place and share the same intellectual flaws.

When the two are crossed, the end result only highlights the absurdity of both.

The crossover conspiracy theories of Trump and the Jews assume that any association, no matter how casual, is causal, that all interactions are about influence, and that therefore the wider the sphere of association, the vaster the underlying corruption must be. Trump’s international business interests have become proof that he is involved in foreign conspiracies around the world. The presence of foreign guests in his hotels is routinely put forward by mainstream media outlets as implicit proof of bribery.

It’s never clarified though exactly how exactly this system of hotel bribery works.

Do Trump hotels immediately inform the White House when foreign diplomats stay at one of their properties? Questions like that aren’t asked, details like these aren’t nailed down, because they would reveal the silliness of the conspiracy theory and of the unserious organizations that promote them.

But the essence of any conspiracy theory is the supernatural intelligence of its villains.

President Trump is immediately aware of any foreigner staying at one of his hotels. There are no casual meetings. Every association is part of a sophisticated plot whose actual implementation would baffle Machiavelli and defy the talents of 007. Coincidences and accidents don’t exist. Everything is planned.

Assume this and proof becomes unnecessary. That’s lucky because the theorists aren’t good at proof.

Their last conspiracy theory was thrown together more haphazardly than a season of 24. The only good thing to be said about their transition from Russian conspiracy theories to Ukrainian conspiracy theories is that they’ve simplified the plot, eliminating the endless lists of oligarchs, urinating prostitutes, and Facebook ads which tied together about as well as Young Israel, Sweet Home Alabama and the Ukraine.

And yet, as the media’s latest foray into Jewish conspiracy theories reveals, they can’t resist complexity.

The pleasure of a good conspiracy theory is its runaway complexity. Invent a conspiracy theory and there will always be new theorists looking to add layers of pointless complexity to the simplest alliance between Trump, space aliens, the Bank of England, and Burger King. The difference between a crime and a conspiracy theory is that the latter has no proof and no endpoint. Proofs narrow an accusation. Guilt by association infinitely expands it until it encompasses anything, everything, and everyone.

That’s why the Mueller investigation worked wonderfully as an open-ended, stream-of-consciousness series of raids, leaks and random interviews, but failed miserably as a counterintelligence investigation or whatever it was pretending to be. It’s why the House won’t actually vote on impeachment.

Trying to actually wrap up a conspiracy theory is like having a butterfly in your hand and making a fist.

A conspiracy theory is meant to be a never-ending story, a holographic extrapolation of infinite possibilities whose greatest significance lies in what is implied and unknown, not in what is known.

That’s why every time the media invents another Trump conspiracy theory, it spins out of control.  

And then, before you know it, your modern, sophisticated progressive journalistic conspiracy theory takes a detour into classic anti-Semitism. And then it’s just a matter of connecting Chabad to Dixie to Ukraine to the friend of somebody’s girlfriend, to Russia, to Netanyahu’s son, and to the space aliens.

Photo:  Reuters

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 Real Coup - Tom Trinko

by Tom Trinko

We the people can't get rid of bureaucrats or judges via elections, so they can operate without our consent with impunity.

Everyone who isn't a Democrat is talking about the coup attempts against Trump; first the fake Russian collusion story and now the fake "whistleblower" story. But the real coup is proceeding apace and has already stolen the freedom guaranteed by the Constitution to we the people.

Starting in the 1930s, politicians began stealthily transferring power from themselves, the elected representatives of we the people, to unelected bureaucrats and judges.

We the people can't get rid of bureaucrats or judges via elections, so they can operate without our consent with impunity. To get rid of them requires a significant majority of honest politicians in Congress, which hasn't been manifest for quite some time.

The politicians say the depredations of the administrators and the dishonest judges are not their, the politicians', fault, so they mislead voters into re-electing the very politicians who refuse to punish administrators and judges who violate their oath of office.

Much has been written about the rise of the administrative state, but the simple reality is that most of the rules and edicts from Washington that we the people have to follow aren't voted on or approved by the people we elect. Rather, they're ushered in by nameless and faceless government employees.

Year after year, politicians have passed laws that gave administrators essentially carte blanche to rule over we the people as they will. For example, the infamous HHS mandate that Obama's administrative state used force Catholic nuns to cooperate in providing abortions was never voted on by Congress. Rather, Congress gave the administrative state the power to work out all the details.

The bureaucrats who wield this power over we the people are paid more than the average American, and they have nearly 100% job security. Look at Lois Lerner. She admitted that people under her authority used the IRS to attack Obama's political opponents. Yet when she finally resigned, she got a great pension and a bonus!

They are a ruling class detached from we the people living in one big enclave, the D.C. bubble, and mingling mostly with their own kind. They neither know or care about what life is like for real Americans who aren't paid exorbitant salaries and who don't enjoy perpetual job security.

Yet they firmly believe that they have not only the wisdom, but the right to rule over us. No matter how bad the consequences of their actions are, they go unpunished, so there is absolutely no reason for them to actually care about what we the people want. 

The power they have has been given to them by politicians so the politicians can't be blamed for what is done to we the people.

As far as anyone can tell, this administrative state, also known as the swamp, isn't constrained by anything since even the Supreme Court has ruled that courts should defer to the rulings of the administrators because those administrators supposedly have arcane wisdom denied to judges.

They don't even follow the president's orders, even though he's their boss, if they don't agree with them. Instead of resigning, they simply refuse to comply with orders from Trump, and they ignore congressional authority as well.

As we're now learning, they have no compunction about using their power to nullify the votes of we the people, most obviously in their attempt to overturn the 2016 election, which clearly shows that their loyalty is to themselves, not the Constitution.

They are a fascist fifth column in America that is slowly but surely ensuring that we the people have no say in how our country is run. But they are actually less destructive than the dishonest judges whom politicians have empowered to legislate from the bench.

The entire Democrat social agenda, from abortion for any reason at any time in a pregnancy to redefining marriage, hasn't been put in place the old-fashioned way, by our representatives voting. Instead, edicts from on high have come from our "betters" on the Supreme Court that simply declare that pretty much everything the Left wants — from redefining fees to taxes to ensuring that the guilty can walk free based on technicalities — is found hiding in the Constitution.

These dishonest judges even talk about the "living" Constitution, which is a dog whistle for "dishonest judges can say the Constitution supports everything Democrats want."

There is a well-established way to amend the Constitution. But to use it, it's necessary to get the support of the American people. Dishonest judges, all leftists, eschew that, since they know they can't get the majority of Americans to support what they want. It's not an accident that Roe v. Wade overturned the laws of all 50 states or that the redefinition of marriage nullified the votes of around 51,000,000 Americans. Clearly, no attempt to actually amend the Constitution to legalize abortion for any reason at any point in a pregnancy or to redefine marriage would have ever passed with that sort of opposition.

Yet dishonest judges like the notorious RBG are perfectly comfortable imposing their personal ideologies on we the people under the guise of interpreting the Constitution. They have that power because the politicians refuse to rein in the Supreme Court when it legislates.

Democrats have always opposed reining in the Court since the Court was stocked with leftists who imposed the Democrats' ideology on America without the need to actually convince we the people of anything.

We're seeing some change in that attitude as the prospect of a court with a majority of honest judges appears to be a possibility. But even now, Democrats aren't calling for limiting the authority of the Court. Instead, they talk about packing the Court so that whatever party controls the Senate can turn the Court into nothing more than a rubber stamp for that party's ideology.

The Constitution assumed three co-equal branches of government, with the Judiciary being weak, since all it could do is interpret the Constitution and the laws passed by Congress. But because politicians let them, judges don't hesitate to create new laws and require we the people to follow them.

The only way to overrule these tyrants is by amending the Constitution, which is very difficult, or by impeaching the dishonest judges, which, with honest politicians being in the minority in the Senate, is effectively impossible. Dishonest Supreme Court judges can change the law of the land with a stroke of the pen, but to undo the evil that they do requires years and the support of a supermajority of Americans or an honest Senate. 

With that sort of effectively unchecked power, is it surprising that we the people now live in a country where it's not a crime to kill an unborn child, but it is a crime to refuse to serve a gay "wedding."

We live in a country where a farmer can be sent to prison for creating ponds on his land to use in case of fires but where a killer's conviction can be overturned because a court clerk accidently put the wrong date on a search warrant.

The coup attempts against Trump are horrible, and they show just how out of control the administrative state is but they are small potatoes compared to the freedoms we've already lost due to the slow, steady, and silent transfer of power from the people we elect to the people who rule over us.

You can read more of Tom's rants at his blog, Conversations about the obvious, and feel free to follow him on Twitter.

Tom Trinko


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Iran banned from world judo until it agrees to face Israel - Associated Press

by Associated Press

Iran was banned from international judo competitions Tuesday for refusing to let its athletes fight Israeli opponents.

FILE - In this Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018 file photo, Saeid Mollaei of Iran, top, competes against Didar Khamza of Kazakhstan during their men's - 81kg final judo match at the18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. Judo world champion Iran has been banned from international judo competitions for refusing to let its athletes fight Israeli opponents. The International Judo Federation has imposed an indefinite ban on Iran’s team until it promises to end a long-running boycott of Israel. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana, File)
FILE - In this Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018 file photo, Saeid Mollaei of Iran, top, competes against Didar Khamza of Kazakhstan during their men's - 81kg final judo match at the18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. Judo world champion Iran has been banned from international judo competitions for refusing to let its athletes fight Israeli opponents. The International Judo Federation has imposed an indefinite ban on Iran’s team until it promises to end a long-running boycott of Israel. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana, File)

Iran was banned from international judo competitions Tuesday for refusing to let its athletes fight Israeli opponents.

The International Judo Federation imposed an indefinite ban on Iran's team until it promises to end a long-running boycott of Israel.

The IJF's disciplinary commission said the ban will stand "until the Iran Judo Federation gives strong guarantees and prove that they will respect the IJF Statutes and accept that their athletes fight against Israeli athletes."

The commission said Iran broke rules on non-discrimination and the manipulation of competition results.

The ruling comes after 2018 world champion Saeid Mollaei walked off the Iranian team in August, saying he had been ordered to lose matches and withdraw from competitions so as not to face Israelis.

The IJF accused Iranian government officials of putting pressure on athletes including Mollaei, who is now in hiding in Germany and could potentially go to the Olympics as part of the International Olympic Committee's refugee team.

According to the commission, Iran accused Mollaei of making false claims in order to "speed up his change of nationality process" and denied he had ever come under government pressure. The commission says it found that argument to be untrue.

Iran has already missed some events because it was provisionally suspended last month pending the full disciplinary ruling.

The IJF has previously said any measures taken against Iran won't apply directly to next year's Olympics, because athletes are technically entered by the Iranian Olympic Committee, not the national judo federation.

However, qualifying for the Olympics depends in large part on world ranking points from IJF events.

Iran can appeal the IJF ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The measure comes at a time when the International Olympic Committee is pushing back against boycotts and other political demonstrations in sports.

In June, IOC President Thomas Bach criticized governments who "clearly abuse sport for their political purposes," noting a case in May of a Tunisian court blocking four Israelis from competing at the taekwondo junior world championships.

Associated Press


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Harvard, Diversity, and the Courts - Dennis L. Weisman

by Dennis L. Weisman

Academic diversity does not require legal discipline administered at the hand of the court, but rather economic discipline administered by the invisible hand of the marketplace.

The federal district court has ruled that Harvard’s admissions practices, while “not perfect,” do not violate federal law. This does not mean that Harvard is not engaged in “discrimination,” only that any such discrimination is “narrowly tailored” to address two compelling governmental interests -- remedying the effects of past discrimination and diversity in higher education. Under the Supreme Court’s strict scrutiny standard, Harvard may consider race to achieve diversity only if there is no workable race-neutral alternative that ensures a sufficiently diverse class. The multitude of cases to come before the high court concerning admission preferences suggests these principles may be easier to articulate than to administer. 

Harvard is constrained by both law and economics in the degree to which it discriminates against merit applicants. Harvard has considerable, but not unlimited, discretion in how it administers its admissions policies. Should Harvard violate the “narrowly tailored” criterion of race-based admissions policies, the court will order it to cease and desist. If Harvard trades off too much merit in order to achieve a sufficiently diverse class it will cede its esteemed reputation to other prestigious universities that do not. The law delineates what is permissible, but the market dictates what is sustainable. 

Is “Discrimination” Well-Defined?

Each Harvard applicant exhibits a unique set of attributes: scholastic performance, extracurricular activities, personality/leadership, public service, athleticism, etc. Harvard assigns weights to these attributes in selecting its entering class. The lawsuit claims that the weights that Harvard has chosen for certain attributes in its admissions calculus discriminates against Asians.

Admission practices at a prestigious university that trade off too much merit for diversity, legacy, or athleticism will with the passing of time cease to be a prestigious university. The very best students are attracted to Harvard for the academics, not for experiments in social engineering. Hence, regardless what the law permits in trading off one attribute for another, the market serves as the final arbiter. This suggests that the concept of “discrimination” in college admissions may not be well-defined given that the weights assigned to student attributes vary according to the university’s specific institutional mission.

Is the high court prepared to rule that a prestigious university that admits an academically qualified applicant with legacy dollars in tow rather than an academically superior student without such dollars is necessarily engaged in “discrimination”?

The Law

In the landmark 1978 Bakke decision, Justice Lewis Powell wrote that “the attainment of a diverse student body... is a constitutionally permissible goal for an institution of higher education.” Justice Harry Blackmun further underscored in Bakke that “[I]n order to get beyond racism, we must first take account of race.” This principle has been upheld in every “preferences” case to come before the Supreme Court in the last four decades. The public policy question concerns whether sufficient progress has been made in moving “beyond racism” that race-based preferences are no longer justified. On this question, the country is seemingly as divided as ever.

While universities are permitted to take race into account in their admissions decisions, how they do so is tightly circumscribed. Racial quotas and set-asides are not permitted, nor are mechanical adjustments for race in the admissions calculus because doing so violates the “individualized consideration” that the law requires. Race can be a factor in the admissions decision, but it cannot be the determinative factor. It can be a “Tip” as the Harvard Admissions Office uses that term. But the use of so-called Tips is not limited to racial attributes. These Tips also advantage so-called ALDCs (Athletes, Legacies, on the Dean’s or Director's interest list, or Children of faculty and staff.) An applicant that checks one or more of these boxes may receive a Tip in the admission’s calculus on an ex post basis, which is to say after the admissions office has assigned ratings for the individual components (academic, extracurricular, athletic, and personal).

The debate centers on the fact that Harvard does not select its entering class on the basis of academic merit alone (e.g., GPA, ACT, and SAT). In fact, if Harvard relied solely on academic merit, the percentage of Asians in the entering class would almost double. The seminal question concerns why Harvard does not appear to have suffered any measurable damage to its reputation if it is engaged in the systemic discrimination that has been alleged? 

The Economics 

The rationality axiom states that economic agents act in their own best interest. Businesses maximize profits and consumers maximize satisfaction. This implies that Harvard would have no incentive to deviate from an admissions standard that reinforces its reputation as one of the foremost educational institutions in the world. Whatever discretion Harvard is granted with its admissions under the law must still pass muster in the marketplace.

The line between diversity preferences and fair competition is not always an easy one to draw. When Harvard admits an academically able student from East St. Louis High School over an academically more able student from Beverly Hills Preparatory, is it invoking preferences for diversity or simply recognizing that the two students differ exogenously with respect to their opportunities to succeed and handicapping the “contest” accordingly? Notably, in Olympic diving competition, divers are evaluated on both the difficulty of the dive and how well it is performed.

Those opposed to race-based admissions policies often invoke the Mismatch Theory which counsels that minorities would be better off graduating from a less-prestigious university than enrolling but not graduating from a more prestigious university. Whereas this theory is not without merit, the problem is exacerbated by university administrators who emphasize minority admission rates over minority graduation rates. It is ethically questionable to admit underdeveloped academic talent without committing the resources necessary to properly develop that talent. 

The reputation of a prestigious university is based on many factors, including the selectivity of admissions, the accomplishments of its graduates, the prominence of its faculty and the size of its endowment. Still, there are natural limits on the degree to which prestigious universities can substitute ALDCs and race-based admissions for merit-based admissions.

The Ideological Paradox

The opposition to preferences in college admissions and the departure from a strict, merit-based admissions standard comes principally from the right side of the political divide. These individuals tend to oppose government intervention in the marketplace out of deference for the discipline of competition. Why not trust the market for college admissions?

If Harvard is engaged in discrimination to the degree that is alleged, these academically gifted students that Harvard has rejected would enroll at other prestigious universities and thereby enhance the reputations of those schools. Harvard’s reputation would then decrease in direct proportion to the increase in the reputation of its nondiscriminating rivals. And yet Harvard consistently ranks first or second in the annual rankings of American universities. This suggests that whatever discrimination Harvard is engaged in with its Tips for ALDCs and diversity initiatives, it is not trading off a sufficient amount of merit to materially diminish its reputation.

6. Conclusion

An appeal in the Harvard case is pending and the Supreme Court may once again wade into the social minefield of preferences in college admissions. This is not uncharted territory, but it is divisive territory. The high court has been tweaking, clarifying, and refining the use of preferences in college admissions for the last 40 years. If the high court were to find that Harvard’s admissions calculus is not narrowly tailored, it will naturally look to the alphabet of “ALDCs” to find the culprit. Will it conclude that the Tip that Harvard places on “A” is too high and that this served as a means to discriminate against Asians who did not as a group excel on this metric? Will it conclude that the Tips on “L” “D” and “C” are too high which will adversely affect Harvard’s endowment, recruitment of distinguished faculty, and in turn its reputation? Is the court prepared to prohibit universities from using socioeconomic and environmental considerations in the admissions calculus, and are there unintended consequences in doing so? 

Alternatively, the Supreme Court may find that the lower court followed precedent and no correction is required. Setting aside precedent seems unlikely given the currency of these rulings and the relatively modest changes in the ideological makeup of the court. In the final analysis, the Supreme Court may conclude that trading off too much merit for ALDCs and diversity does not require legal discipline administered at the hand of the court, but rather economic discipline administered by the invisible hand of the marketplace. 

Dennis L. Weisman


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Rhapsody in Brown and White - Lloyd Billingsley

by Lloyd Billingsley

Democrat kingmaker Willie Brown dumps Kamala Harris for Hillary Clinton.

Back in the day, California’s powerful Assembly Speaker Willie Brown set up his girlfriend Kamala Harris in lucrative sinecures that launched her career. When Harris ran for the Senate in 2016, Brown told Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to butt out. Harris is now running for president in 2020, but Brown is dumping her for Hillary Clinton.

Who should run against Trump? How about Hillary?” read the headline on Brown’s October 5 op-ed piece in the San Francisco Chronicle. It wasn’t really a question, and kingmaker Brown was posing as fight promoter Don King.

“It’s time for Hillary Clinton to come out of retirement, lace up the gloves and get back in the ring with President Trump for what would be the biggest political rematch ever,” Brown wrote. From what he had seen “Clinton is the only candidate short of Barack Obama who has the brains, the battle-tested brawn and the national presence to take out Trump.” With the other candidates, Brown did not exactly come out swinging.

“Bernie Sanders was fading even before his heart started acting up,” Brown wrote, and “Joe Biden has become Trump’s main talking point in the whole Ukraine-China impeachment mess.” Elizabeth Warren “has a following, but it’s not that much broader than Sanders.’” With the rest of the field, Brown pulls his punches, and has nothing to say about former flame Kamala Harris, his previous favorite to KO Trump. As it happens, Willie Brown was hardly her only promoter.

“She’s magnetic, authoritative, warm,” wrote Elizabeth Weil in the May Atlantic. Plus, “Harris’s demographic identity has always been radical. She was San Francisco’s first female district attorney, first black district attorney, first Asian American district attorney.” And in the presidential race she is “in top form,” touting the truth, and “dressed in a dark suit, pearls and black heels.” The clothes themselves are “a smart, cautious play, one that Hillary Clinton, frankly, could have benefited from.”

For Willie Brown, “Hillary is still the smartest of the bunch. She’s also better known than any of the candidates, so she doesn’t need a lot of money.” Most of all “she can take a punch,” and in recent days “she’s come off as funny, smart and natural.” Hillary loved it, and started touting the “rematch” her own self, but Brown’s reviews were mixed.

Attorney Joe Cotchett, Biden’s go-to guy in the Bay Area, told Politico it was “the dumbest column, the worst fucking column ever.” For Cotchett, “every once in a while, Willie gets a stick up his ass, and doesn’t know what to write,” but Brown is seldom at a loss for words.

As Daniel Flynn showed in Cult City: Jim Jones, Harvey Milk, and 10 Days that Shook San Francisco, Willie Brown was a supporter of Jim Jones, whom he compared to Einstein and Martin Luther King. As an assemblyman, Brown wrote to Fidel Castro urging the dictator to welcome Jim Jones, “a close personal friend and highly trusted brother in the struggle for liberation.” Brown also bragged about helping the careers of Harry Bridges fan Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein, who touted most favored nation status for Communist China, and whose staff harbored a Chinese spy. So in the Senate, Feinstein was something of a Chinese asset.

Several weeks after Brown’s call for Hillary’s “rematch,” the former First Lady and 2016 loser targeted Hawaii Democrat Tulsi Gabbard as a “Russian asset” being groomed for 2020, and Jill Stein was also in Putin’s pocket.  Gabbard has been punching back, but Willie Brown is not on record how deployment of the Russia smear might enhance Hillary’s status as the smartest candidate.

She beat Trump by nearly three million votes, Brown noted in his Chronicle piece, and “that’s not bad for one of the worst-run campaigns ever. You’ve got to think that she and the party learned something.” Voters of all denominations might wonder about that.

Democrats learned that Elizabeth Warren’s claim to be a Cherokee were false, yet Warren continues as a presidential candidate. Brown didn’t provide a scorecard for mayor, Pete Buttigieg, “Beto” O’Rourke, Julian Castro, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer or Andrew Yang. Brown also failed to weigh in on the Green New Deal, Medicare For All, and whether impeachment was a smart strategy.

The Democrat kingmaker appears to believe voters should make the call, and he is certain that Hillary Clinton, not Kamala Harris, is the only candidate capable of beating Trump. As Trump likes to say, we’ll see what happens. Meanwhile, Kamala Harris was not Willie Brown’s first case of poontronage.

Never a Billy Dee Williams, Brown was already a grandfather when he hooked up with political fundraiser Carolyn Carpeneti, the knockout blond who bore Brown a daughter in 2001. As Dan Walters of CalMatters noted, non-profit groups and committees controlled by Brown paid Carpeneti $2.3 million over a five-year period. Daughter Sydney Brown is a singer-songwriter, and at a 2018 event she quoted her father’s friend Eugene Duffy that “Willie Brown can herd cats in a rainstorm being chased by Rottweilers.”

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Photo by Gage Skidmore

Lloyd Billingsley


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