Friday, March 27, 2020

China, Article III: Every corona patient is a victim of China - Giulio Meotti

by Giulio Meotti

Can the Chinese government be held responsible for 'criminal negligence'? This is the single most important political and cultural issue in our global crisis. Giulio Meotti Interviews an expert on China who heads the Population Research Institute.

“Can the Chinese government be held responsible for 'criminal negligence' in relation to Covid-19?”, asks the economist Branko Milanovic. This is the question that many columnists and observers ask themselves.

I talked with Steven W. Mosher, an American expert on China and head of the Population Research Institute about this, the single most important political and cultural issue in the present global crisis. 

Meotti: What doesn’t the West get about the Chinese regime?

Mosher: Even after the end of the current pandemic--which will, sooner than we think, end--China will not be looked upon the same way again.  Its relationship with the West in general, and the U.S. in particular, will be fundamentally different.  It will no longer be seen as merely an economic competitor, or even a strategic rival. 

It will be seen as a hostile force to be confronted at every turn.  

China will not give up its hegemonic aspirations and return to its previous status as a non-expansionist regional power.  But it will no longer be aided in its quest for global domination by any country other than its handful of dictatorial allies whose dictators have, in one way or another, been paid off.  China's Belt and Road Initiative will come to be seen not as the high road to riches, but as deceitful debt-trap diplomacy, not to mention a one-way ticket to Coronavirus hell.

Meotti: Why is this epidemic, as you said, “made in China”? 

Mosher: With every day that goes by we learn more about the evil and incompetent regime that unleashed this horror upon the world.  Whether or not the Wuhan virus leaked from one of its biolabs or not, Beijing deliberately concealed the outbreak for as long as two months.  Although it was finally forced by the rising death toll to admit it had a problem, it has continued to dissemble about virtually everything else in the two months since. 

Why wasn't the world warned in time? Estimates are that 95% of the infections in China, and almost 100% around the world, could have been stopped with timely medical intervention.

I am a frequent visitor to Italy, and have over the years traveled to all parts of the country, from Turin and Venice in the north, to Bari in the south.  It pains me to learn that in northern Italy hundreds of elderly Italians are being denied ICU beds and ventilators, and are dying.  They are dying because of the incompetence and evil of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).  

Italy signed on to the same Belt and Road project, the only G-7 country to do so, on the promise that it would lead to prosperity.  At the present time, however, China's New Silk Road seems to be a fast track to death. 

The problem is not that there are hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens living in Italy, not counting illegal immigrants.  The problem is that their government allowed the Chinese Coronavirus to reach epidemic proportions in China, and then allowed it to be spread around the world.  The CCP could probably have not done a better job of "seeding" a global pandemic if it had been trying to.

Let’s be crystal clear about one thing: Everyone who falls ill from the Chinese coronavirus, everyone who dies from the Chinese coronavirus, everyone who is denied medical care because the hospitals are treating Chinese coronavirus patients,  everyone who loses a job, or loses weeks out of their lives because of a quarantine—each and every one of those individuals is a victim of the Chinese Communist Party.

That because it is the CCP—and only the CCP—that is responsible for this deadly outbreak.  

Meotti: A regime that aborted females, that imprisons millions, that take organs from prisoners, persecute religions… Where is the scandal in the West? 

Mosher: The Chinese coronavirus has also put the spotlight on the Peoples Republic of China’s (PRC) outsized influence in the United States. 

Every Fortune 500 company that has invested in China has become a hostage to the Beijing regime, and its lobbyists argue against taking action against China's multifarous human rights abuses.  Wall Street has become the financial services arm of the Beijing regime, providing the financing and the hard currency it needs for its military buildup and relentless expansionism in the South China Sea and elsewhere.  

Its penetration of U.S. colleges and universities to implant or suborn professors also gives it influence in academe.  These professors work for China's interests, not America's. Such academics not only advocate pro-China policy positions, they sometimes steal research and technology. 

The FBI has recently arrested "students" who were actually intelligence agents and other "researchers" who were actually officers in the People’s Liberation Army.

Why is today's China a threat to our civilization, freedom of expression,WHO etc..?

The Chinese Coronavirus pandemic has focused the world's attention on the dangers of a rising China is a way that nothing else has.  It has also exposed the way that the Chinese Communists have corrupted the international order, starting with the World Health Organization. 

Incredibly, the WHO helped China to hide the epidemic for a couple of weeks.  WHO researchers were kept out of China until February 15, more than two months after the first cases were discovered. Even today, the WHO is not given access to the kind of data that would allow a complete understanding of the spread of the virus in China.  Without this information, we are fighting in the dark against a largely unknown enemy.

We should have known certain basic facts about the coronavirus weeks ago. 
  • We should have known that it was contagious during the incubation period.  
  • We should have known that the incubation period was two or three weeks, or even longer.  
  • We should have known that it could be transmitted by aerosols.  
  • We should have known how long it was able to survive on surfaces. 
  • We should have known what antiviral drugs were effective in treating the disease. 
Instead, we were told virtually nothing.  And what we were told often turned out to be false.  The numbers of infected and dead, for example, in China are certainly much higher than the official numbers.

China's model of governance would mean an end to all the things that we hold dear, from human rights and popular sovereignty, to freedom of expression, association, and assembly.  None of these things are permitted in China.  Nor would they be long tolerated in a world dominated by China.

The post-coronavirus world is unlikely to be a world dominated by China, however.  The Chinese Communist Party's evil and incompetence has now been exposed on the world stage in an unforgetable way.  

Americans will never forget that, in the middle of a viral epidemic unleashed by China, the Beijing regime threatened to withhold vital prescription drugs and medical devices in order to let "America drown in a coronavirus sea."

America and the world will now move beyond the "China Dream," even if the Communist Party leaders there continue to cling to it. 
  • The world will reassess its dependence on China for, among other things, prescription drugs and medical devices. 
  • The Belt and Road Initiative will grind to a halt as China desperately tries to avoid a financial collapse. 
  • The U.S. tariffs on Chinese-made goods will go back up when China defaults--as now it must--on Phase I of the trade deal it signed with President Trump.  
  • Chinese investment in places like northern Italy, where PRC controls much of the textile industry will be reassessed. 
The world will pull back from China.

As the world order reconstitutes itself after the current pandemic subsides, it will take a different shape.  China will no longer be regarded as a responsible member of that order, because it has proven that it is not.  Instead it will be on the outside, looking in. 

Giulio Meotti, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter and of "J'Accuse: the Vatican Against Israel" published by Mantua Books.. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary.


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Curbing China's Dominance of Medical Supplies - Ron F. Hale

by Ron F. Hale

China is now the global kingpin in the supply of key ingredients for many prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and supplements

Rosemary Gibson is senior advisor at the Hastings Center and a national authority on health care reform. In 2014, she won the highest honor from the American Medical Writers Association. She is an editor for JAMA Internal Medicine. She has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

Speaking to journalist Sharyl Attkisson in an April 23, 2018, interview, Gibson warned: "What happens if we have a Fukushima type event or the trade routes are blocked in the South China Sea? Or if there's a global pandemic? And the United States and virtually every other country in the world is dependent on a few companies in China for the ingredients to make critical antibiotics."

Gibson provided a detailed picture of China’s growing domination of the medical drug and equipment market in her 2018 book China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine (co-authored by Janardan Prasad Singh).

China is now the global kingpin in the supply of key ingredients for many prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and supplements. The Chinese now control most of the active and inactive ingredients for the manufacture of medicine in the world.

Suppose your blood pressure medication is factory-made in Canada and you feel your supply line is safe. Your health is still in jeopardy because Communist China could choose to ban the export of your drug’s active ingredient to Canada. 

In China Rx, Gibson and Singh lay out the facts in how drug manufacturing has experienced a paradigm shift over several decades. Communist China has followed an aggressive plan in becoming the global supplier of necessary ingredients for medicines.

Penicillin, a longstanding drug in the fight against bacterial infection, is a prime example of America’s market loss and China’s economic seizure and takeover.

Around 2004, the Chinese government had its national companies dump penicillin ingredients on the global market. Most Western countries, including the U.S., could not compete with their low prices and went bankrupt. Then China issued a major price increase on these important ingredients, thereby cornering the market and making billions.

Although the penicillin that you purchase at your local drugstore may not be manufactured in China in its final form, the keys to its production (active ingredients) are under communist control. 

Forget about a vital drug like heparin, the only anticoagulant used in the U.S. for heart surgery and kidney dialysis. What about something simple, like Vitamin C? 

China is now the primary supplier for the key ingredients for manufacturing this vitamin in the U.S. and around the world. Chinese companies created an artificial shortage of vitamin C around 2005 by slowing production and exports. American companies filed a class-action suit resulting in a legal battle lasting over eight years. The evidence was strong and convincing against China. The judge ordered China to pay over $160 million in damages to U.S. corporations.

The Seattle Times in June 2007 reported, “In less than a decade, China has captured 90 percent of the U.S. market for vitamin C, driving almost everyone else out of business… Chinese pharmaceutical companies also have taken over much of the world market in the production of antibiotics, analgesics, enzymes and primary amino acids. According to an industry group, China makes 70 percent of the world’s penicillin, 50 percent of its aspirin and 35 percent of its acetaminophen (often sold under the brand name Tylenol), as well as the bulk of vitamins A, B12, C and E.”

In China Rx, Gibson also reveals that China is the main supplier of the active ingredients for acetaminophen and aspirin now used in over 600 prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
How were these warning signs missed for these less-complex drugs, not to mention the more expensive heart and cancer medications? 

Who is listening to Rosemary Gibson on Capitol Hill?

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), while chairing a hearing of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship on March 12, sounded the alarm concerning critical shortages in our drug supply chain, the offshoring of American drug manufacturing for two decades, and now the threat of a global pandemic.

He warned, “The inability to quickly increase the production of key supplies, such as surgical masks, medical gowns, and pharmaceutical drugs limits our ability to mitigate the worst effects of disease in this emerging crisis and in any future pandemic. It is unacceptable that China holds this much leverage over America’s public health and economy, which are both essential components of our national security.”

Thank you, Senator!

Ron F. Hale


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What the Political Scene in China Says about the Coronavirus - Gary Gindler

by Gary Gindler

Warring factions within China shed light on the disease.

The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic began in China in late November and early December 2019. Now many accuse the Chinese authorities of negligence and the fact that they did not take sufficient measures to prevent the spread of the virus, thereby contributing to the infection of the inhabitants of all countries on the planet. However, the Chinese Communists had a completely different task.

In order to understand the logic of the Chinese authorities, you need to know what China is. In modern China, there is not a traditional nation-state, but a party-state. They have no separation of powers as in Western countries. Nevertheless, there is still a particular division of power in China.

Power in China is divided among several opposing communist groups.

The most famous are the Communist Youth League (CYL) faction and the Shanghai faction. The CYL faction was significantly weakened in 2016 by the secretary-general of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Xi Jinping. Former CCP secretary-general Hu Jintao and current prime minister Li Keqiang belong to the CYL faction. Another former secretary-general of the CCP, Jiang Zemin, belongs to the Shanghai faction.

Xi Jinping came to power in November 2012 entirely unexpectedly. The Hu Jintao faction insisted on one candidate, while the Jiang Zemin faction supported the other. Xi Jinping skillfully played the role of a compromise candidate. He looked like a suitable candidate for all the main warring factions, because, although he was one of the "communist princes" (his father was a close associate of Mao Zedong), he gave the impression of a somewhat "weak" leader. Xi Jinping belongs to the faction long forgotten in China, which at one time was aligned with the Soviet Union and Joseph Stalin.

Hopes for easy manipulation of the new party boss did not materialize. Secretary-General Xi Jinping toughened the persecution of those who do not support the party's official line. In 2013, shortly after coming to power, Xi Jinping even banned the teaching of freedom of the press, civil rights, and the rule of law.

The massive party inquisition and the purge of the party apparatus, which began in China in 2013, led to the fact that many supporters of the previous leader of the country, Hu Jintao, appeared on the dock. Xi Jinping not only established effective internet censorship in China, but also achieved almost a lifetime post.

The Chinese communists have been fighting for many years with all kinds of "deviations" from their own dogmatic interpretation of Marxism. On this front, they clashed with the Soviet communists, the Marxist Dalai Lama, the Fourth (Trotskyist) Communist International, and numerous internal factions.

The congress of the CCP, which meets every five years, is the supreme arbiter of all covert battles. But between congresses, the establishment of political influence materializes in the manipulation of cadres — each faction seeks to place as many of its people into leading posts as possible.

Recently, a faction of Wang Qishan, an associate of Xi Jinping in mass party purges, has begun to gain strength in China. Wang Qishan is a representative of the "power bloc" in the government and is a peculiar Chinese analog of Torquemada. Wang's faction is relatively new, but he still managed to put his people in key positions. For example, in 2016, Chen Wenqing became the head of the "Chinese KGB," and American-educated banker Jiang Chaolyan became the party boss of Hubei Province.

Hubei Province, with its capital in Wuhan, has always been "problematic" for the Chinese communists. The relationship between Beijing and Wuhan is somewhat reminiscent of the relationship between Washington and New York, Moscow and St. Petersburg, Madrid and Barcelona. The parallels here are unambiguous – this is not just a conflict between the current and previous capital of the country (Wuhan was the capital under Chiang Kai-shek). Wuhan has always been a rebellious city that triggered the events that led to the tragedy in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

When the epidemic of the new coronavirus started, Beijing faced the challenge — to ensure that the party authorities of the rebellious and freethinking Wuhan made mistakes, and to deal with them under this pretext.

Now many say that if the Chinese authorities acted three weeks earlier, the number of diseases could have decreased by 95%, and its spread would be significantly limited. This could happen only if the main objective were human health. But in fact, the main task of the Chinese communists was to win the intraspecific struggle.

All these warring factions of China at the most critical time of the outbreak of the epidemic were engaged in what they always did: to protect and strengthen their political positions and interests, and not to fight the spread of the virus.

For China, such an epidemic is a typical phenomenon. Influenza outbreaks occur in China, as in all countries, every year, but generally, in 2019, China was ready for the flu season, and no panic was expected. Xi Jinping needed a crisis to settle accounts with dissent in the party ranks.

Without a doubt, the Chinese left operates on the same principles as the American left: these people "never let a serious crisis to go waste."

There is a widespread belief that Beijing was silent about the scale of the epidemic in Wuhan. Initially, that was the case, but only until January 7, 2020. On this day, Xi Jinping intervened and changed the essence of events — from medical, they became political. From that moment, it was Beijing that methodically and purposefully stepped up the situation around the epidemic.

What the Chinese leaders did not take into account was the fact that their ensuing panic would be picked up by the world's mass disinformation media. The surrealistic footage of the Apocalypse from China, created by skillful Chinese propagandists, was very photogenic and was instantly circulated by the world press.

The crisis inflated by the Beijing elite was the result of an ideological confrontation among the Chinese factions, which clashed over some of the nuances of Marxist dogma.

Xi Jinping's ruling group has skillfully used the epidemic to blame the party leadership of Hubei and the leadership of Wuhan. As a result, the political goal was achieved. The party boss of Hubei province, Jiang Chaoliang (from the Wang Qishan faction), and the party boss of Wuhan city, Ma Guoqiang (from the Shanghai faction), "paid for the epidemic" and were removed from their posts on February 13, 2020. Only after this reprisal did Beijing embark on a full-scale suppression of the true extent of the epidemic, which continues to this day.

The connection with the coronavirus is indicative of the fate of Wang Xiaodong, the governor of Hubei province since 2016. As a man of Xi Jinping, Wang Xiaodong remained at his post, even though he is the governor of the province most affected by the coronavirus of China.

From this point of view, the undercover political operation of the Chinese communists was successful. But the panic they created turned out to be more contagious than the coronavirus itself.

As soon as the political reprisal in Hubei was over, Beijing instantly switched from internal to external efforts and began openly accusing the United States of creating and spreading the coronavirus. The Chinese communists simply had to do this because they had lost control of the situation — the panic they created, and then the coronavirus itself, spread throughout the world.

What was initially conceived as a local and time-limited episode of reprisals against party comrades unexpectedly gained a global status. The genie jumped out of the bottle: the situation in China took the form of a comprehensive economic crisis and spread throughout the whole world.

On the surface, the current situation looks as if microorganisms are capable of reformatting the world macroeconomics. However, the difference between the current pandemic and all previous ones is that in 2020, the Information Coronavirus won a convincing economic victory over the real one.

Gary Gindler, Ph.D. is a conservative columnist at Gary Gindler Chronicles and the founder of a new science: politiphysics. Follow him on Twitter and Quodverum.


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The Coronavirus and the November Election - Bruce Thornton

by Bruce Thornton

What does it all mean for Trump’s chances to win again?

Early in the new year, President Trump seemed in good shape to be reelected. The economy was booming, with record-setting stock-market highs and unemployment lows. The over three years of various inquisitions into “scandals” like the Russian collusion or Ukrainian quid pro quo had culminated in no evidence of any crimes, and in a failed impeachment conviction. The opposition Democrats looked increasingly likely to be settling one of two old, rich, white mediocrities as their standard-bearer for November, with nothing to recommend them other than utopian, expensive anti-free market policies and their irrational hatred of Donald Trump.

The more prudent prognosticators knew that despite such tail-winds, Trump still faced the greatest fear of every politician: events. Some are known possibilities, such as an economic downturn, a shooting war, or some Harvey Weinstein level of scandal. But no one foresaw that a pandemic starting in a Chinese wet market would incite mass hysteria and containment policies that have wounded our economy, tanked the market, raised unemployment, and threaten to bring on a deep recession, if not a depression.

What does all this mean for Trump’s chances to be reelected?

On the one hand, economic bad news usually overrides the advantage of being the incumbent, especially when it is accompanied by a foreign policy disaster, as Jimmy Carter learned when his reelection was hampered by, among many other things, the stagflation of the Seventies and the Iranian hostage crisis. But the current economic woes have not been caused by Trump’s or his party’s policies, which in fact created the boom in the first place. Nor does he face abroad anything as serious as the hostage crisis.

The current economic debacle is the consequence of an unforeseen contingency no state can adequately plan for. And unlike Carter’s blunders, Trump’s occasional misspeaking or exaggerations, all hyped and distorted by the media, have been redeemed by his swift move to ban all air travel from China, and a few weeks later from Europe as well. These actions no doubt have saved thousands of American lives.

Trump also has been lucky in his enemies: The NeverTrump media have continued their obsessive-compulsive habit of demonizing Trump’s decisions to the point that they circulate patent lies.

No, banning flights from China was not “racist,” but a reflection of the simple fact that the outbreak began in China and worsened by their secrecy and lies.

No, banning flights from Europe was not thoughtless disrespect to our allies, but common sense. Even the Europeans have seen the light, basically gutting their Schengen zone of free border-crossing between states by bringing back border controls.

No, Trump did not call the outbreak a “hoax,” a blatant, contrived misreading of his comments.

No, he did not cut funding for the CDC, another lie that even progressive outlets like AP and the Washington Post had to correct.

No, Trump’s “incompetent” leadership did not delay the production and distribution of test kits. Look to the federal, bureaucratic CDC and its network of intricate rules and regulations that hindered a more nimble response.

By this point, at least half of American voters have become used to the media and Dems crying wolf. Many voters no doubt will see these antics as a despicable search for partisan advantage at a time when the whole country faces a serious health crisis. What they see on the news nearly every day is Trump’s attention focused on resolving the crisis and instituting policies to soften the economic blow. At the same time, they also see the Democrats holding up legislation because they want to do a favor for powerful clients like unions, Green Energy grifters, Planned Parenthood, and the “diversity” racket. The RNC no doubt will constantly remind voters of this contrast come November.

Then there’s the way this crisis graphically reinforces Trump’s pull-back from the globalist, one-world paradigm and its scorn for national borders.

After the China virus invasion, how will the Dems sound when they start plumping for open borders, sanctuary cities, liberalized immigrant entry policies, the release of illegal alien felons, and the demonization of ICE?

Or when they intensify their war against carbon-based energy and fracking, the domestic development of which has made us nearly energy independent, no longer a hostage to the dysfunctional politics and disorder of most petrostates?

Or when they start up with stale charges of “racism” and “xenophobia” that they claim motivates Trump’s America First policies, when thousands are dying because China’s totalitarian regime lied about it and then tried to spin a preposterous conspiracy theory implicating U.S. soldiers, one given support by progressive chants of “racism”?

And how does the “global marketplace” and its fabled “harmony of interests” fare when a nuclear armed rival blatantly steals our intellectual property, cheats on its treaty obligations, and threatens to use against us its outsized dominance of our critical pharmaceuticals? Or a transnational institution like the U.N.’s World Health Organization, whose president was elected with China’s help, and has been paying China back by parroting its lies about the origins and infectability of the virus?

Finally, Trump will face in November one of the weakest presidential candidates in the postwar period. Joe Biden for decades has been a political hack, a serial plagiarist, and a shameless opportunist, as will become clear when in his campaign he has to pivot away from the wacky socialist programs like Medicare for All or the Green New Deal. His whole career he has carried water for credit-card companies and banks, making sure, for example that student loan debt cannot be forgiven through bankruptcy. The odor of corruption still clings to him and his family, including his brother as well as his son. Biden’s nice talk about China appears hinky given the sweetheart deals worth millions that Hunter secured from a Chinese investment fund and a private equity firm.

And on top of all that, he is showing clear signs of cognitive decline. Always a gaffe-meister and inappropriate squeezer of women and girls, the 77-year-old Joe’s outbursts, spatial confusion, bizarre comments, and tall tales have now gone beyond the typical politician who stretches the truth and spins facts. They have become frighteningly surreal. As the campaign progresses, and he appears on the debate stage with a candidate full of energy, confidence, and pizzazz, questions  about Joe’s cognitive state and stamina will lead to further questions about his fitness to fill the most stressful, consequential job in the world. And on election day he may be damaged by the Bernie Bros who sit out the campaign, or actively work against it with protests or even violence. If the election is close, those internal enemies may tilt the scales.

And yet.

We don’t know at this point whether this crisis will have peaked by November, how great the toll of dead by then, how deeply damaged the economy will be. In the coming weeks, if not days, Trump will face choices whose outcomes cannot be predicted. Should he let people go back to work and get the economy going again? Or should we stick with the radical social distancing that will worsen the economic damage every week it is in force. In other words, fix the economy at the price of more infected and dead, or let it continue to tank and cause more misery and suffering down the road––with the media peanut gallery ready to hiss, heckle, and whistle at his decisions. Don’t forget, Trump has done as well as he has in spite of a concerted, non-stop effort on the part of the media and the government agencies like the FBI and DOJ to cripple his administration. We have to assume that these efforts will redouble between now and then.

In the end, it all comes down to a critical mass of voters who have enough common sense and practical wisdom to filter out the noise and hysteria, and vote for the candidate who upholds America’s political and economic principles of freedom, enumerated rights, limited government, and self-rule. Right now, with irrational hoarding of toilet paper and eggs, it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of common sense. If conditions don’t improve over the summer, fear and panic may make even a weak candidate attractive, if he promises to take control and manage people’s lives, and, as Tocqueville’s writes of “soft despotism,” “to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living.”

“Anxiety,” Kierkegaard said, “is the dizziness of freedom.” At times like these, freedom can appear a necessary sacrifice in order to find a seeming peace. November will be a plebiscite on that trade-off.

* * *
Photo from Wikimedia Commons

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


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Edelstein sacrificed himself for the Knesset - Mati Tuchfeld

by Mati Tuchfeld

There are rules, laws and statutes that finely regulate the balance of power within the Knesset's walls. The High Court's intervention in this process is a dangerous precedent of the highest order.

In two-and-a-half weeks Benny Gantz will lose the mandate he received from the president to form the next government, after failing to make any headway thus far. Ever since President Reuven Rivlin tasked him with forming the next government, Gantz has mostly focused on seizing control of the legislature while almost completely neglecting the main goal of the mandate he was given. 

If he fails in his mission – and as of now this appears to be the direction – Rivlin won't be able to give Gantz a two-week extension and will have to transfer the mandate to Benjamin Netanyahu. Even if the prime minister won't even want to form a government, preferring another election instead, he will ask for the president's mandate just to stop the rampaging Blue and White and left, which are treating the Knesset as their own personal headquarters.

According to the precedent established by Knesset legal adviser Eyal Yinon, chairmanship of the Knesset's Arrangements Committee also transfers to the party of the person tasked with forming the government. Avi Nissenkorn will be replaced by Miki Zohar, who will block any additional attempt to use the Knesset against Netanyahu.

When the High Court required Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to convene the plenum to discuss his replacement, he was faced with two bad options: disobey, or obey. It's unclear which is worse.  

On one hand, the time has come for the legislative branch to show the judicial branch that its days of unlawfully appropriating authority are over. To this end, Edelstein should have declared he has no intention of honoring the High Court's ruling, and stayed the course. But Edelstein is more stately than people think. Doing this would have been out of character. He can argue with the judges, criticize them, but he will always follow their rulings. 

This time, however, there is a second issue, no less critical than the first. Respecting the High Court's decision, from Edelstein's perspective, would have been crossing a red line. Obedience would have created a dangerous precedent, allowing the High Court to complete its takeover of the Knesset. Appointing a Speaker or any other position in the government or Knesset is part of the normal political give and take which occurs in the Knesset on a daily basis. Political arm-twisting between the coalition and opposition, parliamentary games, muscle-flexing by committee leaders – are an inseparable part of the political experience. 

There are rules, laws and statutes, however, that finely regulate the balance of power. The Knesset knows how to handle recalcitrant committee leaders uninterested in bringing issues under their purview to a hearing, just as it's capable of giving the Knesset Speaker the authority to occasionally override a majority bloc of MKs seeking heavy-handed legislation. Obeying the High Court this time would have removed all the restraints completely – a dangerous precedent of the highest order. Because after that point and moving forward it would mean just one thing: The court would be running the country's democratic house, not the elected officials. 
Edelstein, therefore, took the middle path. He didn't obey the ruling, but also won't be continuing as Knesset Speaker. He is taking personal responsibility and resigning. And while he won't be able to save himself anymore from the boot of the High Court, he will likely save the Knesset. At least for now. Edelstein didn't believe the High Court judges would exhibit such a degree of imperviousness, and therefore chose to invest quite a bit of energy in his appeal, which was penned by two of the more prominent attorneys in the country. After formulating their response, which essentially rejects the High Court's intervention in the political game inside the Knesset, Yinon expressed astonishment at its depth of thought and quality of arguments.    

The legal document, however, was of absolutely no interest to the appeals panel. From the moment it was sent from the Knesset to the Supreme Court, a mere 25 minutes passed before Yinon received word that a 19-page ruling would be delivered by the judges within a quarter of an hour. The judges wrote their ruling before Edlestein's appeal was even submitted. The judges stopped bothering with doing justice a long time ago. Now they don't even think they have to maintain appearances.

Mati Tuchfeld


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We know Biden has roaming hands, but how far have they roamed? - Andrea Widburg

by Andrea Widburg

A former Senate staffer claims that, in 1993, Biden’s hands roamed right into her underwear and got very aggressive there.

Before you even begin to read this post, remember what Hillary Clinton, the voice of the left in 2015, said about sexual assault allegations: “Every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported.” With that fixed in your mind, it’s time to talk about Joe Biden.

The #MeToo movement in America reached its crescendo in 2017. The diminuendo phase happened soon after, when it seemed as if every Democrat man in America, especially in Hollywood and the media, had been playing fast and loose with women, even while pandering to feminists.

Up until spring 2019, when he began his presidential run, Joe Biden seemed immune. That was when, Lucy Flores, a Bernie Sanders supporter, claimed that, in 2014, when he was still Vice President, Joe Biden touched her inappropriately and kissed her head at a campaign rally. In other words, she claimed that he did to her what he did to the women and girls in this video:

Biden denied the accusation. And because Biden seemed like the best hope to beat President Trump, he got a pass. (Recall that, back in 1998, feminist reporter Nina Burleigh said of Clinton, “I would be happy to give him a blowjob just to thank him for keeping abortion legal.” Politics before principles....)

Tara Reade, however, believed Flores’s claims. To support Flores, she went public with her own story about the time that Biden had “put his hand on my shoulder and run his finger up my neck.” However, because Reade was threatening the man who would save America from Trump, the Democrats threw at her the worst insult they could think of, calling her a Putin puppet. Reade retreated.

As the Democrat Party began to consolidate around Biden, Reade decided that, for her daughter’s sake, it was time to tell the whole story about Joe. She reached out to Time’s Up, a post-#MeToo organization that was established to help survivors of sexual assault and harassment tell their stories. Because Reade supported Sanders, Time’s Up bowed out of helping her. The organization was afraid that doing so would look like a political act and threaten its non-profit standing. Additionally, Reade had written nice things about Putin, which gave credence to the charge she was a Russian operative. 

Eventually, Reade found her way to Katie Halper, a podcaster and journalist who often works with Rolling Stones’ Matt Taibbi (one of the last honest left-leaning journalists). On Wednesday, Katie Halper released a short excerpt of a more extended interview with Reade. In the excerpt, Reade gives graphic details about what Biden allegedly did to her in 1993.

According to Reade, she was working in Joe Biden’s office in 1993. Her supervisor asked that she deliver a gym bag to Biden. Reade reached Biden just as he was finishing a conversation with someone, after which they were alone. 

Suddenly, Biden pushed Reade up against a wall, slithered his hand down the outside of her skirt and up the inside, and then thrust his fingers, not just into her underwear, but into her. At the same time, he started kissing her and asking her if she wanted to go somewhere else.

Reade’s body language must have alerted Biden to the fact that, no, she didn’t want to go somewhere else, for Biden pulled away. He then said either “Come on, man. I heard you liked me,” or, perhaps, “Come on, man. I thought you liked me.”

Reade was shattered. Up until then, she’d admired Biden, whom she considered a father figure, for he was the same age as her father. More than that, “He was, like, this champion of women’s rights in my eyes, and I couldn’t believe it was happening. It seemed surreal.”

Even worse than the assault, said Reade, was what Biden did when it was over. “He took his finger. He just, like, pointed at me and said, ‘You’re nothing to me.’” And at that moment, Reade truly felt like nothing. While she told her brother and a close friend what happened immediately after the event, she remained silent until Flores’s words, and the treatment meted out to Flores, caused her to act.

Keeping in mind Hillary Clinton’s words, which were the mantra of the Democrat Party until too many Democrat men got hit by them, Reade must be believed. And frankly, listening to her, she sounds believable, not least because it’s so easy to envision gropey, arrogant, hair-sniffing Biden being gropey and arrogant with Reade – and then calling her “man,” as he does everyone else.

Joe Biden's accuser finally tells her full story

Andrea Widburg


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Has Syria Reactivated Its Chemical Weapons Program? - Yaakov Lappin

by Yaakov Lappin

Syrian media reports of Israeli airstrikes, allegedly launched early on March 5 in central and southern Syria, may be a sign that Damascus has renewed its chemical weapons program

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,506, March 26, 2020

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Syrian media reports of Israeli airstrikes, allegedly launched early on March 5 in central and southern Syria, may be a sign that Damascus has renewed its chemical weapons program.

According to Yediot Ahronot, one of the targets hit by Israeli airstrikes in central Syria in early March is believed to have been a chemical weapons production facility. Tel Aviv University Professor Eyal Zisser states that if this report is true, it is a sign that the Syrian regime is still developing chemical weapons despite efforts by the international community to dismantle Damascus’s program.

There have been concerns among international observers that Syria has restarted its chemical program. The regime led by Syrian President Bashar Assad has repeatedly used chemical weapons against its own Sunni citizens to conduct mass slaughter throughout the civil war.

Other targets hit in the alleged Israeli strikes appeared to include terror cell positions in southern Syria that Iran and Hezbollah were setting up as part of their long-term effort to create strike capabilities against Israel.

Such strikes appear to be a reflection of the fact that the Iranian policy of military and terrorist entrenchment in Syria remains in place, despite likely disapproval from Russia, the senior partner in the pro-Assad coalition. Moscow has its own vision for Syria, and it does not include Iranian domination.

Under the leadership of the late Iranian Quds Force commander, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the Iranians deployed advanced weapons such as cruise missiles to Syria and attempted to crate precision-guided missile bases throughout the country with which to threaten Israel.

Israel has made it clear, through word and deed, that it will not tolerate the presence of such weapons in either Syria or Lebanon and is prepared to take military action to stop it.

After years of fighting in a brutal civil war that has cost the lives of more than half a million people, the Assad regime has regained more than 70% of Syrian territory, with the assistance of the Iranian axis and Russian air power. Syria continues to host Iranian forces that view their intervention in the civil war as an opportunity to turn Syria into a military attack platform against Israel.

The new Quds Force chief, Maj. Gen. Esmail Ghaani, replaced Soleimani after his killing by US drone strike on Jan. 3 in Baghdad—an attack that replenished American deterrence in the region and caused the Iranians to recalibrate their thinking on attacks on US forces or interests.

Still, it’s too soon to tell how Ghaani’s leadership will affect Iranian actions in Syria, particularly when it comes to Israel.

“Soleimani set up the outline, and this is continuing,” said Zisser. “I don’t think Ghaani has yet had a chance to have his own influence. I assume this [the latest Iranian activities in Syria] is a continuation of what has occurred in the past, and that Ghaani is, in the meantime, continuing without a dramatic, sharp change in the trend. We’ll have to continue to wait for that.”

Growing tensions between Tehran and Ankara

Meanwhile, the shaky truce agreed upon by Turkey and Russia in Syria’s Idlib region, designed to halt combat between Turkish and Assad regime forces, looks uncertain. Almost a million people have been forced out of their homes in the past three months as Damascus and its allies seek to retake the last zone under rebel control in northwest Syria.

The subsequent fighting has seen deadly exchanges of fire between the Turkish military, which is backing some of the rebel groups, and the Assad regime and its allied militias. There are no immediate implications of this fighting for Israel, but the growing tensions between Ankara and Tehran are a geostrategic development worth watching from an Israeli perspective, argued Zisser.
“The fact that the matter was not immediately settled shows the limits of Russia’s power,” he said. “And therefore, this also means that Israel still has a window of opportunity to continue to act in Syria” against Iranian entrenchment.

This is an edited version of an article published by JNS on March 10, 2020.

Yaakov Lappin is a Research Associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and a military and strategic affairs correspondent. He conducts research and analysis for defense think tanks and is the military correspondent for JNS. His book The Virtual Caliphate explores the online jihadist presence.


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Progressive Cities and Black Education - Walter Williams

by Walter Williams

Why the black/white achievement gap is smaller in conservative cities.

A recent report by Chris Stewart has shed new light on some of the educational problems faced by black youth. The report is titled "The Secret Shame: How America's Most Progressive Cities Betray Their Commitment to Educational Opportunity for All." Stewart is a self-described liberal and CEO of Brightbeam, a nonprofit network of education activists who want to hold progressive political leaders accountable.

The report asks, "So how do we explain outstandingly poor educational results for minority children in San Francisco — which also happens to be one of the wealthiest cities in the country?" "The Secret Shame" reports that progressive cities, on average, have black/white achievement gaps in math and reading that are 15 and 13 percentage points higher than in conservative cities. For example, in San Francisco, 70% of white students are proficient in math; for black students it's 12% — a 58-point gap. In Washington, D.C., 83% of white students scored proficient in reading compared to 23% of black students — a 60-point gap.

Yet, three of the 12 conservative cities researchers looked at — Virginia Beach, Anaheim and Fort Worth — have effectively closed or even erased the gap in at least one of the academic categories studied, achieving a gap of zero or one. "The politically conservative Oklahoma City has even turned the tables on our typical thinking about race-based gaps," says Stewart. Black students in Oklahoma City even have higher high school graduation rates than white students.

Had the "Secret Shame" study analyzed other cities, it would have found that educational outcomes for most black youngsters is a national disgrace. As of 2016, in Philadelphia, only 19% of eighth-graders scored proficient in math, and 16% were proficient in reading. In Detroit, only 4% of its eighth-graders scored proficient in math, and 7% were proficient in reading. In 2016, in 13 of Baltimore's 39 high schools, not a single student scored proficient on the state's math exam. In six other high schools, only 1% tested proficient in math. Only 15% of Baltimore students passed the state's English test.

National Assessment of Education Progress tests (also called the Nation's Report Card) give further testament to the tragedy. In Philadelphia, 47% of its students scored below basic in math and 42% scored below basic in reading. In Baltimore, it was, respectively, 59% and 49%. In Detroit, 73% scored below basic in math and 56% in reading. Below basic means that a student is unable to demonstrate even partial mastery of knowledge and skills fundamental for proficient work at his or her grade level.

Then there's gross fraud practiced by the education establishment. High school graduation rates for black students range from a high of 84% in Texas to a low of 57% in Nevada and Oregon. However, according to ACT data, the percentage of black students judged to be college-ready in English, math, reading and science ranges from 17% in Massachusetts to only 3% in Mississippi. One concrete example of this fraud is the fact that Baltimore's Frederick Douglass High School has a graduation rate of 70% while not a single student tested proficient in mathematics and only 3% did so in reading.

"The Secret Shame" report didn't say why the black/white achievement gap was smaller in conservative cities compared to their progressive counterparts. But permit me to make a suggestion. An Education Week article reported that in the 2015-16 school year, "5.8% of the nation's 3.8 million teachers were physically attacked by a student." The Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics show that in the 2011-12 academic year, there were a record 209,800 primary- and secondary-school teachers who reported being physically attacked by a student. A National Center for Education Statistics study found that 18% of the nation's schools accounted for 75% of the reported incidents of violence, and 6.6% accounted for half of all reported incidents. These are schools with predominantly black student populations. My guess is that part of the reasons black academic achievement is greater in conservative cities is that schools are less tolerant of crime whereas schools in progressive cities make excuses.

Photo from COD Newsroom

Walter Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.


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Prager U Video: There Is No Such Thing As Free Healthcare - Prager University

by Prager University

Like all utopian visions, single-payer healthcare produces more harm than good.

How is healthcare working in Canada? Well in Ontario, the country’s largest province, the cost of nationalized healthcare took up 46% of its entire budget in 2010. By 2030, that number is projected to be 80%. The tax increases in the U.S. would be STAGGERING. Check out the latest short video from Prager U below:

Prager University


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Spielberg Funded a PAC, Now It’s Exploiting the Coronavirus to Divide Americans - Daniel Greenfield

by Daniel Greenfield

Dividing the country, undermining a wartime president, in a time of crisis.

Everyone gave something.

Steven Spielberg and his wife gave $100,000. His former partner, Jeffrey Katzenberg, gave another $100,000. The producers of Lost gave over $50,000. Jett actress Carla Gugino also chipped in.

Not to relief efforts dealing with the coronavirus, but to a hate campaign against Trump.

Everyone has their own brand of patriotism, and for some Hollywood celebrities, that meant giving big to Pacronym: a sleazy money machine targeting President Trump run by Tara McGowan. McGowan, a former 60 Minutes vet reporter turned Obama hack, was supposed to brilliantly transform Dem campaigning with innovative tactics like seeding fake news through fake local papers under Courier Newsroom, and Shadow Inc: the mysterious company behind the Iowa caucus disaster.

But McGowan has never found a sewer she couldn’t crawl out of and is relaunching her reputation by using the coronavirus crisis to run digital ads attacking President Trump. And donors to Pacronym, a PAC affiliate of McGowan’s Acronym, a non-profit, which somehow ties in with for-profits and a PAC, include Hollywood celebrities, writers, CEOs and financial whiz kids, helping divide America during a crisis.

The Hunt, which features lefty CEOs hunting down and killing conservatives, was written by Lost producer Damon Lindelof. The movie, shelved after criticism by President Trump, is back now that no one is paying attention. Lindelof is also a donor to Pacronym. As is the wife of Lost’s producer, J.J. Abrams, and CEO of Bad Robot, his production company, and Brian Weinstein, another Bad Robot executive.

Maybe The Hunt can get a sequel in which wealthy elites spread division and panic during a pandemic, while betting that they can ride out the effects of the virus inside their mansions and on their islands.

Other famous contributors to Pacronym include author Richard North Patterson, and Geraldine Brooks, the authoress most famous for penning, "Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women."

And then there are the hip CEOs. Acronym, McGowan's mothership, was co-founded by Dollar Shave Club CEO Michael Dubin. Pacronym donors include Smartypants Vitamins founder Gordon Gould, while SoulCycle CEO Elizabeth Cutler and Knot co-founder Carley Roney helped fund McGowan's ambitions.

The hip rich elites poured money into McGowan’s scams and as the Obama vet launches a divisive campaign to undermine the leadership of a wartime president, they should be held accountable. At a time of fear and uncertainty, a controversial Dem operative is plotting to seed digital ads across Facebook sowing misinformation, and encouraging people to distrust President Trump’s efforts to fight the coronavirus: an irresponsible tactic that can have dangerous public health consequences.

Pacronym’s Facebook digital disinformation campaign targets Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Arizona, the same five states targeted by McGowan’s Courier plot to create fake local news sites. Coronavirus cases have sharply risen in Michigan and Pennsylvania, but McGowan is sticking to her plan to help elect Joe Biden by spreading uncertainty during a time when people need reassurance.

Americans need to know that they can trust the health advisories coming from the White House. It’s not a time to sow doubt and division. But Democrat political operatives have decided that it’s their moment.

The question is will Biden and other Democrats condemn McGowan’s dangerous campaign?

They ought to be asked that question. And asked to pledge that they will not hire McGowan or any other consultants and operatives who are undermining our response to the coronavirus crisis.

Will Steven Spielberg, Damon Lindelof, and, especially Michael Dubin, disavow the ugly monster they helped create?

Don’t count on it.

The National Democratic Redistricting Committee was a major Pacronym backer. Michael Halle, McGowan's husband, worked for the Buttigieg campaign. (As did Shadow Inc., which mismanaged the Iowa Caucuses that Buttigieg allegedly won). And Pacronym aren’t the only ones jumping in the sewer.

American Bridge, the Media Matters version of Pacronym, founded by unhinged smear artist David Brock, is running its own coronavirus misinformation ads meant to convince voters that the country is unprepared for the crisis.

“Coronavirus has the potential to infect millions of Americans and cripple our economy,” American Bridge president Bradley Beychok declared. "We’re going to make sure voters know just how dangerously the president is failing them.”

There's a special place in hell for hacks who see millions of potential pandemic infections as the perfect opportunity to hammer voters with messages of fear and doubt.

Beyond George Soros, American Bridge’s largest donors include Steven Spielberg and his wife who donated $500,000. Is that money now being used to divide the nation during a time of crisis?

Steven Spielberg could speak out and ask Pacronym and American Bridge to stop dividing the country.

The election is far away and there’s no urgent need to run digital ads right now. Attacking the President of the United States over the coronavirus undermines his leadership at a time when we need unity and decisive action. Instead Pacronym and American Bridge are encouraging fear, doubt and panic.

But don’t expect anyone in the media to ask Spielberg the hard questions.

Meanwhile the Never Trumpers of the Lincoln Project have rolled out their own ad comparing President Trump to the coronavirus. The ad, which masquerades as a warning about a virus, is meant to get the attention of a worried nation, but then switches to an attack on the President of the United States.

The only thing that the Lincoln Project’s ad proves is that even coronavirus lows have their own lows.

Diseases often breed in a swamp. And this feverish plot by the Washington D.C. consultant class to cash in on the coronavirus is something that could have only come out of the soulless swamp of D.C. politics.

But these schemes, by Pacronym, American Bridge, and the Lincoln Project, would go nowhere unless the funders of division are held accountable for incentivizing their dirty work with loads of cash.

No one should expect anything from creatures as fundamentally amoral as David Brock or Tara McGowan who long ago sold off anything resembling a soul for the opportunity to be players. They’re mercenaries, literally, David Brock was once just as rabidly to the right as he now is to the left, who cash in on the egomaniacal ambitions of Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and Wall Street donors who will roll up a dump truck full of money to the D.C. offices of any Obama or Clinton vet promising to use Facebook ads to brainwash flyover country voters into voting their way. They’re the supply, not the demand.

As America struggles with the consequences of a shutdown and a pandemic, it may be time to have a conversation about the role that power brokers in New York and California, some of the most affected states, have played in crippling our ability to respond to a national crisis that now threatens them.

Maybe when Tom Hanks gets over being treated for the coronavirus, he can talk to Steven about it.

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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