Friday, January 10, 2020

Forcing US Troops from Iraq Will be a Victory for ISIS, Iran - Con Coughlin

by Con Coughlin

Not having the US to provide moral and military support to the Iraqi government would allow Iran to continue its meddling in Iraq's internal affairs, as well as consolidating its malign influence throughout the rest of the region.

  • "They [surviving ISIS fighters] have better techniques, better tactics and a lot more money at their disposal. They are able to buy vehicles, weapons, food supplies and equipment. Technologically they're more savvy. It's more difficult to flush them out. So, they are like al-Qaeda on steroids." — Lahur Talabany, a top Kurdish counter-terrorism official, in an interview with the BBC.
  • Calling on America to withdraw its forces from Iraq could therefore prove to be utterly self-defeating for the Iraqi government... they will simply be placing themselves at the mercy of a new, and bolder, generation of Islamist fanatics.
  • A US withdrawal from Iraq would also suit Tehran, where Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has not only called for the withdrawal of all US troops from Iraq, but the entire Middle East. Not having the US to provide moral and military support to the Iraqi government would allow Iran to continue its meddling in Iraq's internal affairs, as well as consolidating its malign influence throughout the rest of the region.

Calling on America to withdraw its forces from Iraq could prove to be utterly self-defeating for the Iraqi government. The most likely consequence of a withdrawal will be the return of ISIS as a major terrorist force. Pictured: The remains of a church that was attacked by ISIS in Mosul, Iraq. (Photo by Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP via Getty Images)

The most likely consequence of any attempt by the Iraqi government to demand the removal of American forces will be the return of ISIS as a major terrorist force, as President Donald J. Trump singled out in his televised address January 8.

The issue of whether the estimated 5,200 US troops currently based in Iraq will be allowed to remain in the wake of the assassination of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Qassem Soleimani has been raised following a nonbinding vote by the Iraqi parliament calling for the withdrawal of American forces.

President Trump immediately responded by threatening Iraq with sanctions and a bill for billions of dollars if Baghdad insisted on the withdrawal taking place, although questions remain about the legitimacy of the Iraqi parliament's demand.

The resolution was put forward by a pro-Iranian faction in the parliament with the backing of the country's pro-Iran prime minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, who was forced to resign from office at the end of last year over accusations of corruption. The session, however, was not attended by Kurdish and Sunni parliamentarians, who are keen for Washington to maintain its military presence in the country, as well as other Western allies such as Britain, to help support the Iraqi military's efforts to prevent ISIS from making a comeback.

It is also questionable how binding the resolution will be on Iraq's caretaker government, which is only in power until the country's politicians can agree on a new leader to replace Abdul-Mahdi.

The Trump administration has insisted that the US military will maintain its presence in Iraq for the time being, with Mr Trump remarking that withdrawing American forces would be the "worst thing to happen to Iraq."

"At some point, we want to get out," Trump added. "But this isn't the right point."

This is certainly the view of many senior Iraqi military officials, who are well aware that without Western support, there is every possibility that the fanatics of ISIS will be able to regroup and make another attempt to establish their so-called caliphate.

Back in the summer of 2014, when ISIS fighters first succeeded in capturing large swathes of territory in northern Iraq, they were able to do so because forces loyal to the Iraqi government were either ill-equipped or unwilling to defend their country against the Islamist extremists.

This success resulted in Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Iraqi-born leader of ISIS, fulfilling his long-held ambition of establishing his caliphate in territory captured by ISIS fighters in northern Iraq and Syria, where the group imposed a brutal reign of terror over the inhabitants, with mass beheadings and torture becoming an everyday feature of their brutal rule.

It was only after the intervention of the US-led coalition that ISIS was eventually defeated last year and the caliphate destroyed, forcing thousands of ISIS fighters to flee into exile throughout the Middle East.

Now there are mounting concerns that, with Washington's primary focus on containing the threat posed by Iran in the wake of the Soleimani assassination, ISIS will be able to take advantage of the mounting chaos in Iraq and regroup, an ambition that would be far easier to realise if the Iraqi government insisted on the withdrawal of US forces.

Western intelligence experts believe that there are now around 10,000 ISIS supporters based in Iraq, with between 4,000-5,000 fighters and a similar number of sleeper cells and sympathisers.

The surviving fighters from Baghdadi's caliphate, moreover, are seen as being more experienced and more determined than they were under their previous incarnation under the command of Baghdadi, who was killed during a US Special forces operation last year.

As Lahur Talabany, a top Kurdish counter-terrorism official, recently said in an interview with the BBC:
"They have better techniques, better tactics and a lot more money at their disposal. They are able to buy vehicles, weapons, food supplies and equipment. Technologically they're more savvy. It's more difficult to flush them out. So, they are like al-Qaeda on steroids."
Calling on America to withdraw its forces from Iraq could therefore prove to be utterly self-defeating for the Iraqi government. By breaking ties with the country that helped to defeat ISIS, they will simply be placing themselves at the mercy of a new, and bolder, generation of Islamist fanatics.

A US withdrawal from Iraq would also suit Tehran, where Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has not only called for the withdrawal of all US troops from Iraq, but the entire Middle East. Not having the US to provide moral and military support to the Iraqi government would allow Iran to continue its meddling in Iraq's internal affairs, as well as consolidating its malign influence throughout the rest of the region.

Con Coughlin is the Telegraph's Defence and Foreign Affairs Editor and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.


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Strike and Counterstrike: USA 1 - Mullahs 0 - Ari Lieberman

by Ari Lieberman

Iran’s much-anticipated retaliation predictably falls flat.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps fired 15 ballistic missiles at two military bases in northern Iraq housing U.S. military personnel last night in retaliation for a U.S. drone strike that killed General Qassim Soleimani and several top IRGC lieutenants as well as Iran-backed militia commanders. Ten of the missiles, believed to be Fateh-313s, hit the Ain al-Asad Air Base. One hit a military base in Erbil while four others missed their mark. There were no U.S. or Iraqi casualties though a hangar at the Al-Asad airbase appeared to have been damaged.

The Iranian strike appeared to be a face-saving measure designed for internal consumption. Iran is currently experiencing extreme economic distress and its populace is growing restless evidenced by recent widespread protests that paralyzed the nation for several days. Some 1,500 protestors were killed by government forces and many more were arrested and imprisoned. Iran is therefore in no position to militarily challenge the United States. Its anemic economy, which is reeling from sanctions simply cannot sustain a full-blown war, one in which it would surely lose.

The failure of Iran to inflict even one casualty, American or otherwise, allows President Trump more flexibility in determining the appropriate response to the Iranian aggression. In this regard, Trump can follow the Israeli model of strike and counterstrike. On August 25, an Israeli preemptive airstrike liquidated two top Hezbollah operatives as well as an undisclosed number of Iranians who were about to launch explosive laden drones into Israel from Syria. The Hezbollah operatives were trained by the Quds Force, the overseas arm of the IRGC. Within hours of the strike, an Israeli kamikaze drone struck a Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut destroying highly specialized machinery for mixing high-grade propellant used in precision-guided missiles.

The one-two punch was a significant blow to Hezbollah, and its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, vowed to harshly respond. A week later, Hezbollah fired Russian Kornet anti-tank missiles at an Israeli military vehicle. The missiles missed but Hezbollah nevertheless claimed “victory,” and the matter was over. Had there been casualties, Israel was prepared to wipe out Hezbollah’s entire ballistic missile program. According defense sources, fighter-bombers were already airborne and ready for the contingency. However, the lack of casualties gave Israel the leeway it needed to avoid further escalation. Israel had accomplished its military objectives without going to war.

Similarly, the failure of Iran to inflict a single U.S. casualty allows Trump to walk away from this skirmish knowing that American interests were preserved and deterrence vis-à-vis Iran, lost during the Obama years, has been re-established. Iranian government propaganda outlets like PressTV and the Tansim News Agency are claiming that the missile strikes inflicted casualties, but these reports, like most reportage out of Iran, should not be taken seriously. 

On paper, the United States emerged the clear victor in this round of fighting. It succeeded in killing the Quds Force’s top commander and brainchild of its overseas mischief making in the January 3, drone strike. It was Soleimani who ordered the Iran-backed Iraqi Shia militia, Kata'ib Hezbollah, to fire rockets at a U.S. compound in Baghdad’s Green Zone, which resulted in the death of a U.S. contractor, and injuries to U.S. and Iraqi military personnel. And it was Soleimani who ordered KH thugs to storm the heavily fortified U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Finally, it was Soleimani who supplied deadly explosively formed projectiles to Iraqi and Afghani insurgents which claimed the lives of some 500 American personnel.

Also killed in the drone strike was KH commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, whose involvement in terrorism extends back to the 1980s. Additionally, several Quds Force and KH terrorists, with varying degrees of specialized military and asymmetrical warfare expertise were also vaporized in the strike. These Iranian reversals were in addition to the roughly two dozen KH terrorists killed in U.S. strikes a few days prior to Soleimani’s liquidation.

Like Hezbollah, Iran has declared victory but make no mistake, Iran is licking its wounds and has sustained harsh blows from which it will soon not recover. The removal of Soleimani from the scene does not mean that Iran will halt its malign activities in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and Lebanon. These will continue. But the mullahs, who were accustomed to appeasement under Obama and treated to pallets of untraceable cash to the tune of $1.7 billion, are now very cognizant of the fact that there is a new sheriff in town who takes names, fulfills promises and protects American interests. 

Ari Lieberman


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Iran Changes Plane Crash Story As Ukrainian Theories Include Possible Missile Strike - Tyler Durden

by Tyler Durden

A video that made the rounds yesterday appeared to show that the jet was already on fire when it plunged out of the sky.

Iran has changed its story about what caused a Boeing 737 operated by Ukrainian International Airlines to plunge out of the sky minutes after taking off from the airport in Tehran.

After initially blaming mechanical malfunctions for the crash, a version of events that was almost instantly refuted by video footage, experts and the airline in Ukraine, Iran is now claiming that UIA Flight 752 tried to turn back after take off, suggesting that the cause of the crash was something other than the misfiring of one of Iran's Russian-made missile-defense systems, according to Bloomberg.

A video that made the rounds yesterday appeared to show that the jet was already on fire when it plunged out of the sky.

In a surprising move that wasn't initially expected, Iran has invoked an international agreement allowing it to receive assistance from other countries, including the US. A Ukrainian team has reportedly arrived in Tehran, and according to a report in Israeli newspaper Haaretz, investigators are looking for signs of Russian-made missiles among the debris at the wreckage site.

After initially appearing to support reports of mechanical error, the Ukrainian government has officially changed its stance to supporting several theories, including the possibility that a missile or bomb blew the plane out of the sky.

In the US, American agencies like the NTSB are trying to figure out whether it'd be legal to engage with the Iranians under the terms of international sanctions, which President Trump is now planning to tighten. They’re also concerned about sending people to Iran given the recent strikes.

The four scenarios reportedly being studied, according to a senior Ukrainian minister, are the possibility of a mid-air collision with a drone, a terror attack with an on-board bomb, a missile strike and mechanical failures.

The State Department issued a statement offering to assist Ukraine with the investigation, but notably that statement didn’t mention helping Iran. "The United States calls for complete cooperation with any investigation into the cause of the crash," it read. After dozens of Canadians died in the crash, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also demanded that Canada take part.

Tyler Durden


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Trump Hater Starts Fires in Jewish Girls’ Dorm, Released the Next Day - Daniel Greenfield

by Daniel Greenfield

How revolving-door justice causes violence against Jews.

Early Friday morning, Peter Weyand broke into the all-female dormitory of Yeshiva University’s Stern College. He kicked through the glass door of the Manhattan Jewish dorm and began starting fires.

FDNY firefighters arrived, put out the fires, and fire marshals arrested the arsonist.

“Thanks to the thorough investigative work of our Fire Marshals, a dangerous individual has been quickly apprehended," Commissioner Nigro announced.

Not so fast.

On Saturday, Weyand had his hearing and was out. Prosecutors hadn’t asked for bail because pro-crime “bail reform” meant that arson was not longer a qualifying crime requiring bail. A day after this “dangerous individual” had been caught, he was out again on supervised release. By that evening, he had been arrested for yet another break-in. This time targeting a private home in Staten Island.

Weyand, an Austin software engineer, did not fit any of the profiles for attacks on Jewish institutions. His politics were relentlessly progressive. A website created by him shows a picture of Trump next to the words, "Go to jail". There are other lefty memes, including those showing Trump with Putin, McConnell as a turtle attacking health care, along with expressions of support for Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders.

A graphic calls Trump the "secret alien space Hitler." LinkedIn posts show Weyand posting angry environmentalist screeds along with attacks on President Trump. "Donald Trump getting boo'ed at a Washington Nationals Game. This made my week," he posted.

And then his content took on a darker tone.

"Ok ok. So gonna die probably," Weyand then posted before the attack. "I've always been a hippy at heart, but I've been super s____y and priviledged my whole life."

"They've (CIA) been brainwashing me unfortunately (but I forgive them), so I have memory loss," he rambled. "They'll say I killed someone, I don't know who, but I've got a good guess. I'm queer, and couldnt hurt a fly."

Stories by the New York Post and the New York Times connected Weyland’s social media to the crime.

What was Weyand’s motive for the arson? His ramblings would seem to suggest that he wasn’t in his right mind. The authorities have blamed drugs. Earlier, he had responded to an Ease ad offering to deliver marijuana to hotel rooms with, "I approve. Thank you for making the world a better place."

Weyand was obsessed with the environment, with impeachment, and later the CIA. Did his fear of an environmental catastrophe motivate his arson attempt? There’s no way to know. But what we do know is that he is the product of a broken system which is endangering Jews in New York City.

The rapid turnaround that put Weyand back on the street shortly after starting fires in a girls’ dorm, was not unique. It’s the result of the pro-crime policies that proponents call, ‘criminal justice reform’.

The traditional name for them is ‘revolving-door justice’.

The New York Post noted that the perps in all but one of the eight anti-Semitic hate crimes carried out on Chanukah in New York City would be out on the street about as quickly as the Yeshiva U arsonist.

Tiffany Harris assaulted three Orthodox Jewish women in Crown Heights while shouting “F-U, Jews!”

She told the court, “Yes, I slapped them. I cursed them out. I said ‘F-U, Jews.”

Harris already had an open assault case and had gotten no jail time for a felony criminal mischief case.

No bail was requested and Harris was quickly freed.

A river of ink has been spilled about why attacks on Orthodox Jews in New York and New Jersey are taking place. But there’s been almost no conversation about what can be done about it. It is not the job of governments to change minds and hearts, but to protect citizens from violent crime.

And that, more than anything else, is why these crimes keep happening in blue cities.

Weyand, Harris, and the other attackers are examples of what happens when criminals and crazies have nothing to fear from the justice system. Jews are being attacked across the country because of anti-Semitism. But they’re also being attacked because the attackers know that they can get away with it.

Lihi Aharon was riding the subway when Zarinah Ali began shouting anti-Semitic slurs at an Orthodox Jewish man. When Aharon stood up to her, she was assaulted.

Aharon filmed Ali shouting, "Allahu Akbar", and, “It’s in the Quran, where they curse the serpent Jew, you wouldn’t believe. You f—- nasty a— Jew. You nasty mother—–. You a nasty a—- mother—-, you stink. You f—- stinkin’ a—- Jew.”

Despite the evidence, the Manhattan DA’s office chose not to prosecute the assault as a hate crime until the intervention of the Lawfare Project and the video of the encounter going viral forced a turnaround.

After the New York Post and other papers reported on Harris’ release, Mayor Bill de Blasio intervened, a rapid hearing was held, and she was sent off for a psychiatric evaluation. An emergency intervention in response to bad publicity to bad policies isn’t a sign that the system works, but that it’s badly broken.

Criminal justice reform and other pro-crime policies have made New York City a dangerous place.

Violent assaults on Jews are not a community relations problem. Women being punched in the head for walking while Jewish is not a problem that requires forums and rubber chicken dinners. It requires cops.

Jews have often been the canary in the coal mine. The anti-Semitic assaults are symptoms of a larger civilizational breakdown in major cities. It’s not only Jews that are being attacked by the likes of Weyand, Harris, and Ali. But Orthodox Jews are visible and often live near high crime areas.

The third most underreported story of the last five years is the effective collapse of the justice system.

New York, San Francisco, and other major cities have gone back to treating anything short of murder with light slaps on the wrist. Repeat offenders don’t bother showing up to court hearings. Judges keep them out of prison and put them back on the street over and over again. Violent crime, filth, and homelessness have become catastrophic crises because of criminal justice reform.

The media has addressed this national crisis by refusing to report on it and by lying frantically about it.

Anti-Semitism is rising, we are told, because of the first President of the United States with Jewish grandchildren. Not because you can punch a Jewish person in the head and be out the next day.

Jews are members of one the smallest minorities around. The breakdown of society, whether in America or Europe, has hit Jews harder. When the police stop enforcing the law, when judges don’t do their jobs, and when politicians announce that people are fair game, a visible minority becomes an easy target.

Anti-Semitism has been around forever. There’s no reason to think that it, like poverty, hunger, or any of the other social ills that politicians pretend can be wished away with campaigns, will go away. But we can and should prevent violent assaults from happening with impunity. If you want to stop violent anti-Semitism in the streets, start by ending the pro-crime initiatives of criminal justice reform. 

Ending revolving-door justice will make Jews and everyone else in the country safer.

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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Fanning the Flames of Black Anti-Semitism - Joseph Puder

by Joseph Puder

How the Left is helping New York join Berlin, London, and Paris in attacks against Jews.

Is the greater New York city joining Berlin, London, and Paris as cities where identifiably dressed Jews are subjected to harassment, insults, and violent assaults? Judging by the recent attacks in New York city and Union City, NJ, the answer is yes. Ironically, New York, known as the city with the largest Jewish population in the world, and where Jews contributed richly and decisively to its greatness, is now experiencing multiple antisemitic hate crimes. Alarmingly, the scourge of antisemitism has become an epidemic in the liberal western world, including the U.S. A spate of antisemitic hate crimes in December, 2019 and into the new year of 2020, in greater New York city, illustrates the point.

The Jerusalem Post reported on New Year’s Day, 2020, that two black women shoved a 22-year old Hasidic Jewish man and yelled “F… you Jew” and added, “I will kill you.” That occurred in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, NY. On December 24, 2019, the New York City Police Department released a video showing a group of black teenagers assaulting a 23-year old Hasidic Jewish man in Brooklyn. A few days earlier, a 34-year old black woman named Tiffany Harris attacked three Jewish women in front of their young children in Brooklyn. The 34-year old woman admitted to the police, “yes, I slapped them. I cursed them. I said F… you Jews.” She was released shortly after being arrested. More violent and deadly assaults on Jews took place on December 10, 2019, in a Jersey City Kosher supermarket, where three people were murdered by black racist antisemites. On the seventh day of Chanukah, 2019, a black anti-Semite with a machete cut down and severely injured five Hasidic Jews at a home of a Chabad rabbi, in Monsey, New York. Last month, a young Israeli exchange student was verbally assaulted and threatened on a busy New York subway, and once again, the perpetrator was a black man. The police stood by doing nothing.

The Wiesenthal Center top ten list of antisemitism has given New York city the “honor” of being number six. The acceptance of anti-Jewish bigotry is now justified by political correctness (PC), whose dictates includes “justice for Palestinians.” The BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions), anti-Israel, and anti-Jewish bigotry has been legitimized on American college campuses, particularly in some Ivy League schools of which Columbia University is a prime example. The New York Times reported that, “Of 421 hate crimes in New York City in 2019, more than half were directed at Jews, according to police crime data.”

With New York City being a bastion of liberalism, one would assume that blatant antisemitism would raise some concern among city leaders, but short of verbal expression, nothing else has been done.  Hate crimes against Jews by African-Americans does not fit the progressive media playbook. For the media and the politicians, African-Americans are permanent “victims,” and therefore cannot be racist or antisemitic. Yet, the current assaults on Jews cannot be blamed on white supremacists. It is the work of African-Americans imbued with racist and antisemitic sentiments. It is rather ironic that Jews, who stood along with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his fight for civil rights and equality for African-Americans, and were the most ardent champions of the civil-rights movement, are now the victims of the very people American Jews have fought for.

The African-American community leadership has thus far failed to address the antisemitism in its midst.  The Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan, probably the vilest anti-Semite and racist in today’s America, and hater of Jews and Christians, who called Jews “termites”, has been coddled by many black leaders including Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), and Jesse Jackson of “Hymietown fame” remarks against Jews in 1984. Farrakhan, who came out in Jackson’s defense, threatened Jews charging, “If you harm this brother (Jackson), it will be the last one you harm.” There are also the race-mongering Rev. Al Sharpton who was fanning flames during the anti-Jewish riots in Crown Heights, (to his credit, this time Sharpton denounced the antisemitism in the Monsey, New York attack), and Tamika Mallory, the organizer of the Women’s March, who called Farrakhan “great” and took admiring photos with him.  Lest we forget, President Obama’s personal pastor, Jeremiah Wright, is an anti-Semite, and anti-white racist. 

A New York Times editorial (January 1, 2020) titled “It is an Old and Insidious Hatred…” dealing with the attacks in New York and Jersey City, failed to mention that the perpetrators were blacks, which is typical of the PC culture the liberal media has promoted, and in most cases denies reality and excuses crimes committed by blacks. If a color-blind principle prevails, then mentioning black perpetrators of crime is as legitimate as mentioning white perpetrators, but it cannot be just one way. Furthermore, there are black racists as there are white racists. No one race has a monopoly on racism, or antisemitism.

It is not however, in the media alone that PC prevails over justice and fairness. In the U.S. Congress, the two Muslim Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) have been excused for their blatant antisemitism and hatred of Israel. Following Omar’s antisemitic tirade against American Jews supporting Israel, accusing them of dual loyalty, and “It’s all about the Benjamins” quip, she received a congressional “slap on her wrist” but was not removed from the prestigious and sensitive Foreign Affairs Committee. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi advanced a lukewarm resolution against antisemitism but took no disciplinary action against these two members of congress.

In New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo, pushed a Bail Reform Bill that enabled Tiffany Harris to be released by police because the new bill allows the release of perpetrators if the judge deems the offense to be a non-sexual assault case, where supposedly no physical injury has occurred. But assaulting three innocent Jewish woman and slapping them in front of their children is not only a humiliating and psychological injury, it is also physical one, and it was clearly a hate crime.

New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio has refrained from taking a clear stand against antisemitism because of the PC culture. To combat antisemitism would require admitting the real source of Jew-hatred. Much of it is black resentment of Jewish success. According to the New York Post (12/30/2019), Black political leaders like City Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo, blamed the recent spate of anti-Jewish attacks on black fears of being “pushed out” by Jewish landlords? Jersey City, NJ school-board member Joan Terrell-Paige remarked after the killing in her city Jewish supermarket in December, calling Jews “brutes who waved bags of money.” DeBlasio’s fear of antagonizing the black community by pointing out the anti-Jewish bigotry their midst, and demanding change from black pastors, politicians, and educators, is not happening.

In the age of social media and the internet, fanning the flames of hatred, and especially the oldest hatred – antisemitism, is rather easy. The culture of political correctness has proscribed anti-black and anti-Muslim bigotry and hate. Manifestations of such hatreds are punished and ostracized by our media, politicians, and society in general. Unfortunately, PC culture, and the media, and politicians who follow its dictum, have not done the same about Jew-hated.  

Joseph Puder


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K-12: The War against Children - Bruce Deitrick Price

by Bruce Deitrick Price

Each year, traditional education has less influence on public schools. Meanwhile, the theories and methods generally called Progressive grow more dominant. 

American public schools, by all the usual metrics, have steadily declined for a century. Was this inevitable? Or is there an evil plot aimed at our students?

The larger pattern is clear. Each year, traditional education has less influence on public schools. Meanwhile, the theories and methods generally called Progressive grow more dominant. Progressives insist that their ideas are superior. What we know for sure is that they are taking over, like killer bees flying up from Brazil.

Another thing is clear. Our Education Establishment is brilliant at concocting attractive jargon and clever marketing slogans, even for the most destructive practices. Who could oppose such melodious proposals as whole language, student-centered learning, higher-order thinking skills, experiential education, cooperative learning, project-based learning, constructivist instruction, Bloom's taxonomy, Common Core, reform math, whole language, discovery teaching, digital literacy, social-emotional learning, and so many more? 

The big question for all of these pretty phrases is elemental: does any of them work as promised? Or is each another attack wrapped as a gift?

Let's look quickly at some of the more harmful inventions:
Literacy: Children must learn to read with sight-words (even though this approach won't work except for children with photographic memories). Progressive instruction has created 50 million functional illiterates. That's our big national catastrophe. 

Common Core Math: Endlessly hyped "reform" methods prevent children from mastering even simple arithmetic. Fewer children are able to pursue STEM subjects. A bust.

Constructivism: Teachers are now called facilitators and can no longer teach. Children must create their own new knowledge. So we have millions of kids who know nothing about their own culture. Constructivism nullifies the whole purpose of schools. 

Memorization: Often demonized and treated as irrelevant. But why? If you can't use your facts in conversation or debate, you don't really possess those facts. The bias against memorization makes education more difficult. (The most inane sophistry in our society is this: all the information you might want is on the internet, therefore you need not bother learning anything. That is just stupid.)

Spelling: There are no rules, according to "invented spelling." And no grammar, either. Children don't need to be taught any of this dull stuff; they will absorb it from the air. Do even professors believe this claim? (Listen to people talking Japanese for a year; find out if you can read Japanese. Not likely.)

No cursive: Cursive is scorned, but it has many advantages. Children are forced to deal with individual letters, which accelerates reading. Furthermore, cursive is often a child's greatest and perhaps only contact with precision, design, and aesthetics. Cursive encourages practice and discipline, and is thus a good antidote to the general slackness found in K–12.

Student-centered classroom: Curiously, this phrase ends up describing a classroom that is teacher-centered, because the teacher's rules must always be followed — in particular, the injunction against traditional approaches. John Dewey makes lack of structure its own structure, its own prison. Kids need structure.

Experiential Learning: Everything has to flow through the child's experiences. But what about the experiences of the parents, the family, and the larger society? If the child's experiences are all that matter, the child's reality is very limited.

Permissiveness: Progressive thinkers like to eliminate rules and boundaries. A lot of children end up dazed and confused. If children want to eat candy and watch TV all day, should they be able to do it?

In general, almost every Progressive idea is like telling children, Don't bother tying your shoelaces. You'll be all right. They won't be all right. They will trip and fall at a much higher rate. That's the story of Progressive education in the U.S.

So yes, there was, and is, an evil plot aimed at our students. Progressive education turned out to be anti-education and anti-American. John Dewey and his followers were obsessed with social engineering. They wanted to make a new kind of child who would prefer a new kind of country, a socialist country. If kids have to be sacrificed in the process, apparently, that was okay.

Several problems present themselves in the case of John Dewey versus America. Dewey and his Progressives never asked permission for anything they did. They thought of themselves as change agents ordained by history. They went to work in the dark of night so that finally, nothing has been left unchanged.

Here are the typical results of all this change (read: subversion). Kids learn to be literate more slowly, if at all. Children no longer master the traditional math basics: adding, subtracting, multiplication, and division, never mind decimals and percentages. They don't learn what used to be common knowledge: oceans, continents, cities, famous people, and important events. Kids remain empty-headed.

John Dewey created what is almost an alternative universe. On his side, there are dishonest jargon, unproven claims, and poor results.

On the traditional side, there is a keen awareness of what should have been. But the historical reality is known. This reality is practiced in good schools around the world. We should join them.

Bruce Deitrick Price's new book is Saving K–12: What happened to our public schools? How do we fix them? (a good gift for smart friends). He deconstructs educational theories and methods at


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Academia's Leftism becomes more aggressive and more stupid - Andrea Widburg

by Andrea Widburg

Three stories out of academia in America and Canada demonstrate again the scary Leftist stranglehold on higher education.

Conservatives have long been concerned about the stranglehold Leftists have had on academia in North America. Recent news from academia should give them more reason than usual to be worried about what’s happen to students trapped in these institutions.

The most recent outrage – and it is outrageous – came on Tuesday from the University of Calgary, in Canada. Professor Ted McCoy, the Coordinator of the Law and Society Program in the university’s sociology department, sent out a tweet clarifying rumors about his classroom polices: "I heard it rumoured students will fail my class if they cite Jordan Peterson and I'd like to clarify that this is absolutely correct," he tweeted.

Jordan Peterson, for those unfamiliar with his work, is a respected professor of psychology with a large body of work that has been cited thousands of times over the years. Normally, of course, assuming the student cites to a publication relevant to the students’ research, Peterson would be a very rational source.

But Jordan Peterson is more than just a scholar. He rose to prominence in two ways. First, he compiled a series of essays that urged people to be responsible for their own lives. These essays in turn led to a bestselling book and worldwide tours to discuss the issues in his book.

Second, he refused to comply with the Canadian government’s Bill C-16, which adds gender expression and identity to the list of protected identities under the Canadian Human Rights Act, something that theoretically makes it a crime in Canada to “misgender” a person. Peterson rightly said that the law was Orwellian in that it sought to compel and control speech.

For his intellectual honesty, Peterson, a remarkably articulate and unflappable man, became a hero to conservatives and anathema to Leftists. And for that last reason, at least one professor in Canada, namely Prof. McCoy, decided to further demonstrate just how Orwellian the Left is by not only banning mention of Peterson in his class but promising to destroy the academic careers of those who resist that ban.

Prof. McCoy is not the only academic who went astray this week. In some ways, he can be excused because, as a sociologist, no one expects him to be anything other than a ravening Leftist. What was extremely disturbing, though, was the fact that a Physicist also launched herself into the identity politics stratosphere.

Of course, University of New Hampshire Professor Chanda Prescod-Weinstein (AB, Harvard; MS, UC Santa Cruz; Phd, University of Waterloo) isn’t just a core faculty member of the Department of Physics. She also has something to do with Women’s Studies, although it's not entirely clear what. 

Perhaps that last affiliation is why, after blacks in New York and New Jersey committed a rash of violent and sometimes fatal attacks on Jews, she assured her twitter followers that, just as people of color cannot be racist, only white people can be anti-Semitic (although they can infect black people):
University of New Hampshire physics professor Chanda Prescod-Weinstein took to Twitter on New Year’s Eve to explain why anti-Semitism is exclusively a “white” problem, and why it is inappropriate to discuss anti-Semitic acts committed by black people.
Prescod-Weinstein began her tweetstorm by explaining that it is “anti-Black” and “dangerous both to non-Jewish Black people and to Jews” to consider violent attacks against Jews by Black people “equivalent” to “white antisemitism.”
“Antisemitism in the United States, historically, is a white Christian problem, and if any Black people have developed antisemitic views it is under the influence of white gentiles,” the professor clarified.
The professor goes on to explain how “white Jews adopted whiteness as a social praxis and harmed Black people in the process,” and that “Some Black people have problematically blamed Jewishness for it.”
“There is no systemic Black on Jewish violence,” the professor clarified before insisting that “Putting more police and people with guns outside of synagogues may make white Jews feel safer but it will endanger Jews of color, especially Black Jews and Middle Eastern Jews.”
When called upon to explain her tweets, Prescod-Weinstein made her Twitter account private and refused to respond to any questions.

To round out this Leftist trio, Kenneth Rogoff, a Harvard Economics Professor (and former Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund), took to the Guardian to insist that the only way to fight climate change is to transfer American money to third world countries.

Indeed, he insisted that Americans are guilty of creating even more carbon emissions in China thanks to President Trump’s trade policies putting pressure on the Chinese economy. The article is a swirl of economic and climate gobbledy-gook. It’s stunning to think that this kind of nonsense is now acceptable for professors from a once-reputable institution.

Rogoff's contentions are not economics; they are socialism. His argument is entirely in line with a UN IPCC Official’s admission, in 2010, that the whole purpose of pushing alleged anthropogenic climate change is to “redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy.”

Our children are not getting educated; they are getting indoctrinated, and the indoctrination carries with it a high stupidity factor.

Andrea Widburg


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Shoving ‘Transgender Regret’ Back in the Closet - Robyn Dolgin

by Robyn Dolgin

LGBTQ advocates are attacking “transgender” people who want to return to their birth sex.

It is a startling reaction, but LGBTQ advocates are continuing their campaign to ostracize “transgender” people who want to return to their birth sex.

Charlie Evans fits the profile of a “former transgender” who felt shunned by LGBTQ members and was labeled a “traitor.” She naively set out to help teenagers from making the same “horrendous mistakes” she had made when starting to transition at age 17. She began living as a boy, binding her chest and shaving her head.

The floodgates to this bizarre phenomenon opened in the aftermath of Evans appearing on a popular cable program, Sky News, in the United Kingdom. Hundreds of “former transsexuals” who (also) feel like a social contagion,” says Evans, had contacted her wanting to do the same thing. 

Evans further enraged leftists by founding a nonprofit that recognizes the extent of the problem spelled out in its name: “Detransition Advocacy Network” in England. Transsexuals sought out Evans for support, calling from countries around the world.

Pulling back the curtain on Evans’ regrets, and others like her, couldn’t come at a worse time for the LGBTQ community. They literally can’t afford to have hundreds of “retransitioning” transsexuals come between them and their dream of getting more taxpayers to foot the bill for sex-change procedures.

Apparently “former transsexuals” fail to fit their romanticized narrative on how to achieve “gender inclusivity”. Leftist advocates can’t be bothered with examining the tragic details of devastated health and ruined lives of transsexuals, but rather must stick with their ideology foisted on the public.

Seeking the gold standard of approval, transgender advocates have prominently displayed the ACLU’s statement summing up their economic goal: “A general recognition in America that transition-related care is basic healthcare for transgender people,” reads the ACLU “blog of rights… (and) that no one should be denied coverage.”

Most politicians know which way the ideological argument is going, and they’re jumping on board the gender-activist train. But, not without your tax dollars.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has successfully forced taxpayers to subsidize gender-reassignment surgery by expanding Medicaid coverage. Why stop there? Gov. Patrick was lauded by leftists for his state’s unprecedented “significant advances” in healthcare legislation: That translates to mean he has targeted the deepest pockets in the medical insurance industry.

Private healthcare insurers are now prohibited from denying the claims of members who are suffering from sexual dysphoria and undergoing sex-change operations, according to the Massachusetts Division of Insurance.

This is the tip of the subsidy iceberg. Oregon and California have led the campaign to offer Medicaid and Medicare (respectively) funds for sex-change procedures.

Now even elderly patients can opt for gender-related healthcare coverage through Medicare. (Requests are handled on a case-by-case basis, according to the government website.) No doubt voters can anticipate thousands of pages of more legislation coming down the subsidy pike in 2020.

Taxpayers need to question more than subsidies for sex-change operations: They need to ask whether their politicians are keeping up with serious and lasting risks of transgender procedures.

One physician in Los Angeles addressed the obvious, but rarely discussed “dangerous” pre-treatment and surgical regimen. “A patient administered high doses of sex-change hormones must factor in the potentially catastrophic effects of totally disrupting the body’s normal physiologic function,” he says. The FDA has already received 24,000 reports of adverse reactions to cross-sex hormones, which now includes puberty blockers for children who “identify” as the opposite sex.

One world health organization has admitted sex-change treatments “can cause permanent bodily impairment and are generally irreversible,” according to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).

Mounting clinical evidence reveals the fallacy of the “rainbow dream” to safely transition. That means gender ideology cannot save transsexuals who are now suffering from ruined health and experiencing more serious health disorders (including cancer, diabetes, severe osteoporosis, etc.)

It’s rare, but cases of gender regret are surfacing in the media.

Mike Penner, a writer for the Los Angeles Times, returned to the newsroom as Christine Daniels, after reassignment surgery. Colleagues were very accepting, even after Mike/Christine decided to return to his birth sex. Tragically the reporter became another transgender statistic. He died by suicide in 2009.

The numbers kept mounting, according to nonprofit websites. Walt Heyer -- who had his sex change surgery reversed -- thinks this phenomenon is far more common than what the public has been led to believe. That is why he launched the website

“People don’t fare well in life experience after undergoing gender surgery,” Heyer tells National Review. “So it’s always kind of troubling for me why we would pay for something… that is actually (going to) be more harmful than if we left the person alone and dealt with the psychological component.”

His sixth book, Trans Life Survivors, compiles 30 life experiences of transgender regret, capturing the painful experiences of those caught up in today’s “transmania.” The most heartbreaking are “survivors” who felt pressured into gender transition by social media, political correctness, and even public-school officials.

“Blair,” who holds a Guinness World Record for the most sex-change surgeries, underwent a shocking 167 procedures. He, and others, are left feeling like the transgender movement has become a sickening money-making industry.

None of this can be found on the ACLU “blog of rights.”

A note to taxpayers:

Generally taxpayers remain clueless about the costs attached to gender reassignment surgery: Procedures now federally subsidized include: Basic male-to-female surgery ranges from $25,000 to $50,000 including testicle removal, breast augmentation, and genital surgery; and female-to-male ranges from $30,000 to $50,000 covering mastectomy, reconstruction of chest, areolar reduction, and genital surgery, according to the Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery.

Robyn Dolgin


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The Iran Cringe of the Progressives - Bruce Thornton

by Bruce Thornton

Fear-mongering is their favorite motif.

The progressives’ reactions to President Trump’s elimination of Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s blood-soaked chief of their foreign adventurism, covered the whole range of clichés we can predict whenever this country acts vigorously to defend its interests and security. Iran, however, is a special case. For forty years, with a few exceptions our leaders have preemptively cringed in the face of Iranian aggression, conjuring up the specter of a widescale war in order to justify inaction. This bad habit has led to appeasing policies that have emboldened the mullahs into ever-increasing aggression in the region from Iraq to Syria to Yemen.

We will pass over the tedious virtue-signaling and juvenile comments of celebrities, antiwar activists with their trite jingles, and Democrat Media, Inc. As Churchill said of the Bolsheviks, the activists and media “hop and caper like troops of ferocious baboons amid the ruins” of our political culture. But the responses of some Democrats reveal just of how fossilized their foreign policy thinking is.

The Democrats questioned the legality of the killing, or claimed it was a wag-the-dog distraction from impeachment. But fear-mongering is their favorite motif. Joe Biden, who opposed killing Osama bin Laden, claimed “we could be on the brink of a major conflict across the Middle East.” His fellow primary candidate, Elizabeth Warren, read from the same script: Taking out Soleimani was “reckless,” and “our priority must be to avoid another costly war.” Ben Rhodes, an Obama minion, linked Soleimani’s killing to Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, which “averted a war,” a claim redolent of Neville Chamberlain’s “peace in our time.” He claims Trump’s withdrawal from the deal “started this dangerous cycle of escalation that we are still on.” And don’t forget the buffoonish AOC, who fretted, “The President engaged in what is widely being recognized as an act of war against Iran, one that now risks the lives of millions of innocent people.”

Then there are the usual calls for “diplomatic engagement” and “dialogue,” the corner-stone of the “postmodern” foreign policy promoted by the “rules-based international order” that, as Oxford’s Kalypso Nicolaides put it, favors “supranational constrains on unilateral polices” and “civilian forms of influence and action” over military ones. We saw these dubious, worn-out ideals in the criticism of George Bush for starting a war with Iraq in 2003, after a decade of Saddam Hussein’s violations of the “rules-based international order.” Short-lived presidential primary candidate Howard Dean chastised Bush’s “unilateralism,” and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle said he was “saddened that this president failed so miserably at diplomacy that we’re now forced to war.”

So of course, we are hearing the same bromides from the font of all received wisdom, the New York Times, which advised that Trump “lessen tensions by opening some form of dialogue with Iran,” and stop demonizing the world’s worst state-sponsor of terrorism “as the premier evildoer in the Middle East.” As if Obama’s diplomatic outreach to Iran––which poured $150 billion into the mullahs’ war chest and put the regime on a glide-path to nuclear-tipped missiles––had been such a success. On the contrary, as the Federalist’s Ben Weingarten writes, “The irony is that those now hysterical in adamantly arguing that President Trump’s strike is going to lead to a massive conflagration in the Middle East were directly responsible for aiding, abetting, and enabling Iran to such an extent that it could pose such a threat.”

But we shouldn’t exaggerate Iran’s military prowess, as we have done from the beginning of our conflict with Iran, and as antiwar Democrats and Leftists have done in subsequent conflicts like the First Gulf War in 1991, the second in 2003, and Afghanistan in 2001. Jimmy Carter set the tone in 1979 with his flabby reaction to the hostage crisis, partly because of his naïve human rights campaign and American guilt over its Cold War foreign policy of supposedly coddling dictators.

Thus was established the Iran Cringe: conditioning our foreign policy regarding the theocracy on fear of how they might react, and the unknown consequences that might follow. It’s true that during the Cold War, we had to calculate the possible responses of the nuclear-armed Soviet Union. But while we cringed during the hostage crisis, fearful to respond with force, the Soviet Union boldly invaded Afghanistan, no doubt encouraged by our reticence and indifferent to our, or the UN’s, scolding.

We see the same contradiction today with Iran. While we fret over possible reactions to our destroying the assets and leaders of a country that has declared war on us and killed our troops, tiny Israel has launched over a 1000 airstrikes at will against Iranian troops and matériel in Syria––59 attacks in 2019. What’s been Iran’s response? So far, their proxies launch missiles easily intercepted by Israel’s antimissile defense systems, while the mullahs launch braggadocios threats.

The difference is Israel is feared because it always punishes aggression with force, whereas for decades we have accepted Iran’s murder of our soldiers and citizens, responding at best with bluster at the UN and flabby economic sanctions. The one exception was the Tanker War of the late Eighties, when Ronald Reagan sent our navy to destroy Iranian naval vessels and mine-layers, and Revolutionary Guards bases on oil platforms to stop Iran’s targeting of international shipping during its war with Iraq. The success of that intervention in changing Iran’s behavior should be a model of how to respond to its aggression.

In any case, Iran is in no condition to fight a war with the most powerful military in history. The regime is weak, its economy battered by tough sanctions that have cut its oil exports by two-thirds, reduced its GDP by 10%, raised unemployment to 17%, cut in half its currency’s value, and raised the cost of living 35%. Iran is also globally isolated, its ally of convenience Russia unlikely to go to war on its behalf, just as it done nothing about Israel’s attacks in Syria. Its people have been regularly protesting in the streets against the mullahs, with the regime’s goons killing over 1500 of them. The people in the streets are unlikely to rally around the regime because its Luca Brasi has been vaporized. The threat to use oil as a weapon, which was so effective until the last decade, won’t work today, since Iran’s exports are down drastically, and the fracking revolution in the U.S. has made Middle East oil imports problematic for the EU and China, but not for us. And if Trump ratchets up secondary sanctions, which proscribe U.S. trade with countries doing business with Iran, its economy will plummet even faster.

More important, war isn’t even necessary for deterring Iran from further aggression. As long as Trump understands that retaliation to be effective should be disproportionate and serially escalate, eventually the Iranians will have to cry Uncle Sam. A good place to start would to target an oil refinery, or one of their three terminals for shipping oil, which would further damage the Iranian economy.

More immediately, we should respond to the launching of more than a dozen missiles against two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops on Tuesday. Contrary to speculation that they were intended to avoid American casualties, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the Defense Secretary credited the military’s early-warning system and normal defensive procedures saved lives. Either way, those missile batteries should have been destroyed. Iran has a long record of interpreting our restraint as weakness and inducement to further attacks––a game we’ve been playing for 40 years, with the result that Iran continues its aggression and moves closer and closer to possessing nuclear weapons. Restraint now just once again delays the inevitable reckoning Iran must suffer to stop its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Finally, as Trump has said repeatedly, he does not want a war or regime change in Iran. He campaigned against “endless wars” in Middle Eastern dysfunctional countries riven by premodern tribal, clan, and sectarian conflicts. The problem with this stance, apart from telling the enemy your limits, is that we already are at war with Iran––one it declared 40 years ago and reaffirms with regular public chants of “Death to America” and the murder of our citizens.

And that war is not just a war of revenge for the U.S.’s support of the Shah and his modernizing, liberalizing policies. Nor is it a conflict that more negotiation, as Trump keeps suggesting, is going to end. That conflict is a front in Iran’s larger jihad against the West and what the faithful see as its aggression against Islam. The Quds Force once led by Soleimani is the vanguard of this jihad begun by the Ayatollah Khomeini. “We shall export our revolution to the whole world,” Khomeini announced. “Until the cry ‘There is no god but Allah’ resounds over the whole world, there shall be struggle.” Hence Iran has created numerous proxy militias and terrorists across the Middle East and beyond to achieve this aim. One of its first was Hezbollah, which murdered 241 of our military personnel in 1983––an act of war, by the way, that Ronald Reagan failed to punish.

Moreover, a strategy of retaliation that becomes increasingly disproportionate necessarily has to accept that a full-blown war is the final move if the enemy remains stubborn. Iran has many proven ways and means of retaliating: taking foreign hostages; hacking our government computers; attacking military bases, oil infrastructure, and embassies; targeted assassinations of our civilian and military leaders; and terrorist attacks on our allies in the region and the homeland. Any and all of these will have to be answered much more severely than we have responded to such aggression in the past.

And that brings us to the most important question of all: Are the American people ready to accept the unforeseen consequences, the inevitable collateral damage, and the casualties that will follow a strategy of incrementally severe retaliation? Can they accept what Lincoln called the “awful arithmetic,” the tragic calculus that some must die today so that more don’t die later? A loss of morale that makes isolationism attractive is the only way Iran can win in this conflict and force us from the region, which would endanger our security and interests. Whether we like it or not, we are the indispensable power in this interconnected world, our two oceans no longer sufficient for keeping us secure, and free from “foreign entanglements.”

We can’t gamble with American lives that “something will turn up” to keep nukes out of the mullahs’ hands, or the regime will collapse under its own corrupt weight, or some diplomatic magic will secure a peace-deal with murderous fanatics. With Iran imploding economically and facing internal resistance, now is the best opportunity for kicking away the last rotted timbers of the mullahcracy. The first step is to stop cringing in the face of its aggression.

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.


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