Saturday, August 22, 2020

IDF prepares for escalation as Hamas threatens Israel - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

Terrorists in the Gaza Strip threaten mass attacks on Israel following latest round of rocket fire and IDF retaliations.

Iron Dome missile defense
Iron Dome missile defense                                                                                                           Gili Yaari /Flash 90
The IDF is increasing its presence in southern Israel Friday and preparing for a new round of fighting with terrorists operating out of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, after Hamas warned Israel it is prepared for an expanded conflict.

Israeli aircraft struck multiple Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip Friday morning, after seven rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli territory Thursday night.

In addition, dozens of fires broke out in Israeli territory near the border with Gaza Thursday, after terrorists operating in the Gaza Strip launched a number of incendiary devices attached to balloons.

Following the latest round of fighting, Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for the Hamas terror group said Friday morning that Hamas “would not hesitate to battle the Zionist enemy if the escalation continues”.

Israel, Barhoum continued, needs to understand that if the attacks continue to destroy our positions, [Israel] will bear the cost and will pay a heavy price.”

Channel 13 cited Palestinian Arab sources which claimed that the rockets fired Thursday night were launched after Egypt warned Hamas against further escalations, and were intended to signal Hamas’ willingness to expand the conflict.

Following the string of rocket attacks Thursday, the IDF is gearing up for additional attacks, and advised farmers near the Gaza frontier not to work their fields Friday.

According to a report by Israel Hayom Friday morning, Hamas is demanding Israel expand the fishing area allotted to Gaza fishing boats, and to allow an expansion of the payments allowed into the Strip from Qatar from $30 million to $40 million per month.

Arutz Sheva Staff


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UN Supports 'World's Worst State Sponsor of Terrorism,' Iran - Majid Rafizadeh

by Majid Rafizadeh

The UN's decisions to allow "the world's worst state sponsor of terrorism," freely to have an unlimited supply chain of conventional weapons may sadly go down in history as one of the most dangerous acts against stability and world peace.

  • Europe's leaders also did not support extending the arms embargo. They have been arguing that they want to preserve the nuclear deal. What deal? The deal that Iran never signed? The deal that Iran has been violating anyway?
  • The European powers have also ignored a recent plea by Iran's neighbors to extend the arms embargo, as well as a recent statement made by the IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, who raised serious concerns about possible clandestine and undeclared nuclear sites in Iran.
  • The six-country Gulf Cooperation Council -- Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates -- submitted a plea to the UN Security Council to extend the Iranian arms embargo. The letter accurately stated that "Iran has not ceased or desisted from armed interventions in neighboring countries, directly and through organizations and movements armed and trained by Iran. As such, it is inappropriate to lift the restrictions on conventional weapons' movement to and from Iran until it abandons its destabilizing activities in the region and ceases to provide weapons to terrorist and sectarian organizations."
  • The UN's decisions to allow "the world's worst state sponsor of terrorism," freely to have an unlimited supply chain of conventional weapons may sadly go down in history as one of the most dangerous acts against stability and world peace.

On August 14, the United Nations Security Council voted to permit the 13-year arms embargo on Iran, "the world's worst state sponsor of terrorism," to expire. Pictured: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, flanked by US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft, speaks after meeting with UN Security Council members about the restoration of sanctions against Iran, on August 20, 2020. (Photo by Mike Segar/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

One would think that one of the most dangerous things possible would be to allow what the US Department of State calls "the world's worst state sponsor of terrorism," Iran, freely to buy, sell, import and export advanced weapons. Yet, this is exactly what the United Nations just decided to do. The UN Security Council voted on August 14 to permit the 13-year arms embargo on the Iranian regime to expire.

Even the ruling mullahs do not seem to believe that they received such a great reward. "I don't remember [in the past] the US preparing a resolution for months to strike a blow at the Islamic Republic of Iran, and it garners only one vote [the Dominican Republic]," said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. This, he added, was a humiliation and blow to the US. Iranian politicians and media outlets are also celebrating. As the headline of the Iranian newspaper Etemad read in Persian (Farsi): "US is Defeated in Home Game: Attempts in New York to Convince the UNSC Member States Fail".
Iran, thanks to the previous US administration, is crying victory. Among the many concessions that the Obama-Biden administration gave the ruling mullahs of Iran was setting a date when Iran's arms embargo would be lifted. President Obama agreed to add a provision in the nuclear deal -- which, by the way, Iran never signed – for the arms embargo's disappearance.

Although the US recently drafted a resolution to extend the Iran arms embargo, Russia and China exercised their UN security council vetoes. The other 11 members abstained. Russia's leaders appeared more than willing to help Iran. Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of Russia's Liberal Democratic Party, said in January 2020 that Russia needs to "offer Iran an agreement on military cooperation and urgently sell the most modern weapons so that no one dares throw anything in the direction of Iran."
Europe's leaders also did not support extending the arms embargo. They have been arguing that they want to preserve the nuclear deal. What deal? The deal that Iran never signed? The deal that Iran has been violating anyway?

According to the latest report from the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran has been violating all the restrictions of the JCPOA anyhow. Israel, too, has been collecting evidence of Iran's cheating for years. The European Union, however, has refrained from criticizing the Iranian regime even though it has increased its total stockpile of low-enriched uranium from 1,020.9 kilograms to 1,571.6 kilograms -- approximately eight times more than what the regime was allowed to maintain under the JCPOA deal. According to the terms of the JCPOA, Iran was permitted to keep a stockpile of 202.8 kilograms, and to enrich uranium up to 3.67%. Iran is now enriching uranium up to the purity of 4.5% and possesses far more heavy water than permitted under the nuclear agreement.

The European powers have also ignored a recent plea by Iran's neighbors to extend the arms embargo, as well as a recent statement made by the IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, who raised serious concerns about possible clandestine and undeclared nuclear sites in Iran. The six-country Gulf Cooperation Council -- Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates -- submitted a plea to the UN Security Council to extend the Iranian arms embargo. The letter accurately stated:
"Iran has not ceased or desisted from armed interventions in neighboring countries, directly and through organizations and movements armed and trained by Iran... As such, it is inappropriate to lift the restrictions on conventional weapons' movement to and from Iran until it abandons its destabilizing activities in the region and ceases to provide weapons to terrorist and sectarian organizations."
The UN's decision to lift Iran's arms embargo is a critical threat to regional and international stability. As Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi pointed out:
"The extremist regime in Iran doesn't just finance terrorism: it takes an active part in terrorism through its branches around the world and uses it as a political tool. This behaviour represents a danger to regional and international stability."
The UN's decisions to allow "the world's worst state sponsor of terrorism," freely to have an unlimited supply chain of conventional weapons may sadly go down in history as one of the most dangerous acts against stability and world peace.

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Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US foreign policy. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu


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DNC platform should wake up Trump-wary suburbanites – here are 7 reasons why - Steve Levy

by Steve Levy

Suburban voters better start paying attention

Suburban voters better start paying attention, because the Biden-Harris ticket and the Democratic Party platform that’s been rolled out this week will hit them like a ton of bricks if they win in November.

This is important because recent polls indicate that white suburban women who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 are trending away from him in 2020.


As a white male who was the county executive of New York’s largest suburb, and who did not vote for Trump in 2016, I understand where they’re coming from. But as someone who plans to vote for Trump over Biden this time around, here are seven reasons why I want to suburban women (and men) to think carefully about their vote.

But, first, let’s dissect why suburban women are rejecting a second Trump term. It’s not his policies; it’s his demeanor.

As late as February of this year, six in 10 Americans said in a Gallup poll that they felt better off after the first three years of Trump.

Yet, nearly 60% of suburban women in the poll viewed Trump’s character negatively.

This seems to be the driving force behind the fact that a recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll showing 66% of suburban women disapprove of the job President Trump is doing.


Meanwhile, there’s no question Republicans took a huge hit with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released earlier this year showed support for Republicans among suburbanites dropped 7 points from 50 percent in February to 43 percent in March.

A recent Fox News poll now has Trump down 11 points in the suburbs.

The pandemic, the social unrest in the streets, and the self-destructive tweets from the president himself, have distracted voters from the destructive economic policies being espoused by the Democrats’ standard-bearer.

Here are seven reasons suburban voters should pay attention to the Biden-Harris ticket.

1. Taxes – Get ready to pay more
Not much attention is being given to Biden‘s efforts to restore taxes to the Obama administration levels. But why would any of us want to revert to a time when the GDP was a mere 1.6%, wages were stagnant. and income inequality was actually on the rise?

It was the Trump tax cuts and deregulation that accelerated unemployment down to record low levels. These policies boosted confidence within the corporate world, leading to enormous investment (and the market soaring) and wages piercing the 3% level for the first time in over a decade.

Biden plans on reversing the measures that created this historic economic boom. After Obama raised taxes in 2013 significantly, businesses recoiled.

And yet Biden is saying let’s go back to those bad old days?

Trump’s tax cap of 37% from the previous 39.6% in the top bracket meant thousands of more dollars in the pockets of many suburbanites to pay for their kids’ college bills or for replacement of that worn-out car.

The elimination of the alternative minimum tax, which clobbered upper-middle-class workers, put more money at their disposal to update their homes, and thereby hire contractors and buy needed furnishings.

The tax cuts helped working and middle class suburbanites as well.  The average tax liability decreased 12.5%, for people making $15,000 to $20,000 a year, 11.5% for people making $25,000 to $30,000, and 10.96% for those earning $100,000 to $200,000.

2. Doubling capital gains taxes
Not to be overlooked is Biden’s proposals to double the capital gains tax. What happens when these folks sell their businesses that they built up over the last 25 years. The profit that would’ve gone toward a comfortable retirement is now going to be ceded to the government in the form of a 40% capital gains tax for sales exceeding $1 million.

On Long Island, a typical home in Nassau County purchased under the $500,000 capital gains exemption might today be valued at over a million. For the first time, many of these homeowners will have to consider what the capital gains bite will take from their life savings when they decide to downsize.

3. Estate taxes
Now we get to the point where your house or business is passed over to your children upon your death. Presently, the cost basis upon the transfer rises so that your children are not forced to sell the asset to pay the capital gains. That may end under Biden’s tax plan.

4. Raising business taxes
Many suburbanites own businesses, which benefited tremendously by Trump’s lowering of the corporate rate from 28% to 21%.  Are you willing to start paying more when Biden raises it back to the higher rates, as promised?


How many suburbanites will lose their jobs when business dollars that would otherwise go toward employee wages now goes back to Uncle Sam?

5. Ending the Business Income deduction
Many middle-class suburbanites are not corporate board members but rather small business owners who were helped significantly by the 2017 tax plan that allowed up to a 20% deduction on their business income. According to Ed McWilliams of Cerini and Associates, an accounting firm in Bohemia, N.Y., that  move in 2017 potentially dropped their tax from 37% to 29.6% on their business income. Biden will aim to reverse the cut.

6. Overruling Local Zoning
Suburbanites need to know that Biden will reinstate an Obama decree that gives far more powers to the federal government to supersede local zoning powers in the name of social justice.

If there is an insufficient number of minorities in a specific area -- without any demonstrating any overt discrimination -- it could trigger a mandate by the feds that a town build high-density housing in contravention of local zoning laws.

7.  Violent Crimes Coming Your Way
Once the coronavirus subsides, suburbanites commuting each morning to their city offices or seeking an evening of culture in the urban center will now potentially have to contend with violent crime sprees. And while Biden claims he’s against defunding police out of one side of his mouth, he thoroughly embraces the notion of “redirecting” funds away from the police. Translation: more social workers, fewer cops.

I’m not so sure a commuter will be calling out for a mental health therapist as a deranged vagrant is pushing her onto the oncoming train.

Elections are a binary choice.

Many Trump-defecting suburban women say their decision to switch alliances stem from the president's combative nature, his crude, often insensitive remarks, and his inability to emote empathy.

It’s easy to understand and I do. That's why I opposed Trump four years ago.

The president's narcissistic, impulsive nature continues to disturb me, too, but seeing our nation plummet into a crime-ridden, economically stagnant society that would come about from leftist-tilting Biden and Harris, who appear unwilling or incapable of stopping it, concerns me much more.

Steve Levy is president of Common Sense Strategies, a political consulting firm. He served as Suffolk County Executive, as a New York state assemblyman, and host of "The Steve Levy Radio Show."


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More of that 'rare' voter fraud, this time in Paterson, New Jersey - Monica Showalter

by Monica Showalter

Funny how mail-in voting has brought out so many new cases of voter fraud...

The media has been falling all over itself to "report" that mail-in voter fraud is 'rare,' in line with the wishes of its Democratic Party masters.

Here's just one example under the feature heading 'explainer' from Reuters:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With the number of Americans voting by mail on Nov. 3 expected to nearly double due to COVID-19, election experts see little reason to expect an increase in ballot fraud, despite President Donald Trump’s repeated claims.
As with other forms of voting, documented cases of mail-ballot fraud are extremely rare. The conservative Heritage Foundation, which has warned of the risks of mail voting, found 14 cases of attempted mail fraud out of roughly 15.5 million ballots cast in Oregon since that state started conducting elections by mail in 1998.
Nothing to see here, move along.

Heritage in fact documented 1296 cases of electoral fraud, and those are the proven ones. How many go uncaught is another issue, and how many involve cases premised on mass mail-in voting, such as ballot-harvesting fraud, can only raise the number. Reuters's "14" number is disingenuous to say the least. Here's the other thing: Mass mail-in voting wasn't common in the past which naturally lowers the number. Now that it is, prepare for Reuters to be "surprised" if they were just marginally honest.

Which brings us to Paterson, New Jersey, where mail-in voting fraud has forced a judge to declare cause for a new election.

According to the New York Post:
A judge this week ordered a re-vote on Nov. 3 for the 3rd Ward race, where “winner” Alex Mendez faces state fraud charges — as do 1st Ward Councilman Michael Jackson and two workers for 2nd Ward candidate Shahin Khalique’s campaign. (Khalique’s race ended in a tie and will also be re-voted in November.)
Weeks after the May election, state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal charged the four with fraud in casting mail-in votes, unauthorized possession of ballots, tampering with public records and falsifying or tampering with records, and hit Mendez with added charges including election fraud. (All four deny any wrongdoing.)
Most of it revolved around improper “vote harvesting” — where an intermediary turns in your ballot for you.
And the charges don’t even cover the other signs of trouble — the hundreds of Paterson ballots found scattered across other Jersey towns or the 800 ballots tossed by the Passaic County Board of Elections over various improprieties. (In some parts of the Garden State, a full quarter of ballots got disqualified.)
Mail-in voting has barely become a thing yet, and look at how much evidence there is of fraud. Naturally, it takes place in blue cities, but most anyone can do it and it has happened in red states, such as North Carolina, too. It makes sense that there is fraud because elections these days can be close, unscrupulous candidates can be determined to win, there's an emerging new tradition from the left of not accepting election results, and now the incentive is there, like a banker's bag left out in the sun, to use the helpful conditions of mail-in voting to cook ever more creative ways of engaging in voter fraud.

The press is ignoring what is going on in Paterson, but the lesson for the rest of us is that the risk is growing. Leftists have always stolen elections in blue cities such as Chicago, it's a tradition of theirs, and the Democrats' new enthusiasm for mail-in ballots suggests they'd like to export the Chicago Way to the rest of the country, creating permanent blue cities and states as rigidly unaccountable and un-vote-out-able as Mexico's famously venal and corrupt PRI until the 1990s. Most nations prohibit mail-in balloting for just this reason.

Now that mail-in balloting is seen as beneficial to Democrats, it's taken off, with Democrats justifying it on COVID "safety" concerns. 

Paterson is warning of how disgusting it can get. And if it becomes widespread, we will be living in a tyranny. Democrats may like that, given the power it gives them, but the rest of us should be on high, high alert, given the evidence of our eyes.

Monica Showalter


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Congress Stands up to Qatar and Al Jazeera - Clifford Smith

by Clifford Smith

Al Jazeera has long refused to comply with U.S. laws concerning foreign propaganda outlets.

Originally published under the title "Clearing Al Jazeera's Smokescreen—and Qatar's."

Al Jazeera headquarters in Qatar.

For years, Al Jazeera—media mouthpiece for the terror-supporting Qatari regime—has defied attempts at being forced to comply with U.S. laws concerning foreign propaganda outlets. This is troubling. But recent actions by the Department of Justice (DOJ), as well as scrutiny from Congress, suggest the game is changing.

Spearheaded by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), 10 members of Congress recently wrote a letter to DOJ to demand that Al Jazeera register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) and comply with new Federal Communication (FCC) laws pertaining to foreign government-controlled media outlets.

Coming after DOJ actions that resulted in the registration of the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) under FARA, which the letter prominently notes, this is a nightmare for Al Jazeera. As the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies' Varsha Koduvayur explained, TRT's registration "sets the precedent for Al register as well."

Al Jazeera has long refused to comply with U.S. laws concerning foreign propaganda outlets.
The letter cuts through Al Jazeera's bombast to get to the heart of the issue: "If the DOJ has found that TRT is subject to FARA registration due to the government of Turkey exercising 'direction and control of TRT by regulation and oversight,' as well as 'by controlling its leadership, budget and content,' then the same is true of Al Jazeera."

Al Jazeera recognized this threat. Their spokesman previously denounced Koduvayur's suggestion that TRT's precedent demands Al Jazeera register as "erroneous claims and tired, false narratives [that] are part of the aggressive lobbying" by Qatar's foreign rivals—namely, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

But this sort of substance-less bluster didn't bully the numerous congressmen who have the facts on their side.

Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani
Indeed, Al Jazeera is an overt tool of Qatar's emir. Until recently, the emir was Al Jazeera's owner of record. As the Rubio/Zeldin letter states: "(D)ocuments filed in the United Kingdom show that Al Jazeera International (AJI) was controlled by the emir of Qatar until 2018, after which the person of significant control was changed from the emir of Qatar to Al Jazeera Media Network (AJMN). The board of AJMN is chaired by Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani, a relative of the emir." Indeed, Sheikh Al Thani has even engaged in foreign relations on Qatar's behalf.

The letter also mentions that beyond the corporate control of Al Jazeera, "According to a new law issued by the emir of Qatar in January 2020, Al Jazeera, along with all Qatari media, is forbidden from publishing any 'false or biased rumors, statements or news, or inflammatory propaganda, domestically or abroad, with the intent to harm national interests, stir up public opinion or infringe on the social system or the public system of the state,' with threat of imprisonment."

This alone shreds Al Jazeera's claim to editorial independence. Its reporters could be prosecuted for publishing any news, anywhere, that "harm[s] national interests," an impossibly vague standard. This provision has been condemned by human rights groups, but it hasn't been considered as applied to Al Jazeera. The letter raises this vital issue to the highest levels of government.

Al Jazeera's typical response to such concerns is aggressive lobbying aimed at silencing its critics. When Congressman Jack Bergman (R-MI), one of the letter's signatories, previously demanded Al Jazeera's compliance with FCC laws, Al Jazeera sicced its lawyers on him in what Bergman has called "a heavy-handed attempt" at intimidation.

Although Al Jazeera spent roughly $1.8 million dollars on lobbying in the past year, the media outlet forms only a small component of Qatar's broader influence-buying campaigns. As the Hudson Institute's Lee Smith recently explained, "Qatar has implemented the single most sophisticated, sustained, successful effort by any foreign nation or interest group to shape Western policymaking—especially American opinion—in its favor." This effort involves lobbying and influence campaigns at all levels. Virtually everything Qatar does is aimed at whitewashing its behavior and increasing its political influence.

New congressional pressure demonstrates that Qatar's bullying may have diminishing returns.
Hence, in spite of repeated calls for Al Jazeera to register under FARA, and the passage of new FCC reporting laws, little action has been taken. Qatar's ongoing influence campaign has been very successful—while other countries, like China and Russia, get most of the attention.

However, TRT's registration, congressional pressure and clear violations of FARA and FCC rules demonstrate that Al Jazeera's bullying may finally result in diminishing returns. Bravado might throw off casual observers, but it hasn't tricked Congress.

And it won't fool DOJ.

Clifford Smith (@CliffSmithZBRDZ) is the Washington Project director of the Middle East Forum.


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Chinese Spies...Everywhere - Michael Ledeen

by Michael Ledeen

Even in the CIA.

The United States has taken a dramatic step against a Chinese penetration of American schools and universities. Known as Confucius Institutes, these—numbering some 75 across the country—have set up shop in our educational institutions in order to spread propaganda and suppress free speech.

The Washington-based nonprofit Confucius Institute U.S. Center (CIUS) promotes Beijing-funded Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms in universities and schools across the United States.  
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the designation recognizes “CIUS for what it is: an entity advancing Beijing’s global propaganda and malign influence campaign on U.S. campuses and K–12 classrooms.” The designation restricts the CIUS’s operations and staffing levels in the country.
“Confucius Institutes are funded by the PRC [People’s Republic of China] and part of the Chinese Communist Party’s global influence and propaganda apparatus,” Pompeo said in a statement.

Secretary Pompeo announced that the Confucius Institutes would be treated as foreign intelligence operations, and their employees would be targeted as spies. In retrospect, it’s amazing that American counterintelligence failed to understand what the Chinese were up to from the earliest days of Confucius. But then, it was only part of a massive penetration of the American scientific establishment, and we are only at the beginning of a serious response.

It is important to keep in mind that the Chinese are not primarily motivated by a concern for human life, but rather by an urgent need to keep key persons alive, regardless of the cost to others. This principle was clearly illustrated by the case of Sun Lingling, who was saved by a heart transplant earlier this summer after she contracted a rare incurable autoimmune heart infection on a trip to Japan. She was flown back to China, where, in the space of a very few days, she was provided with a new heart, and quickly began a spectacular recovery.

In fact, she had a choice among four hearts. The abundance of transplantable organs raised questions about China’s supply of such materials.

…with China’s voluntary organ donation system still in its nascent stage, experts questioned how the hospital was able to source Sun’s matching organs so quickly—a concern at the core of allegations that the regime is engaged in the grisly practice of forced organ harvesting: killing prisoners of conscience to sell their organs for profit.

In other words, Sun was saved by the Chinese supply of fresh hearts, and experts from around the world marveled at the phenomenon. 
“The question is: who is the source for these 4 hearts,” said Dr. Torsten Trey, executive director of the medical ethics advocacy group Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting. In the United States, patients generally waited for around 6.9 months for a matching heart donation, according to the latest government data from 2018. At this rate, to get four matching hearts for the same person…may take around two years, he noted.

The Chinese saved Sun in a matter of days, leading experts from the United States and Israel to conclude that organs were “harvested” from the bodies of arrested dissidents and then implanted to the needy. 

The experts believe that China views the bodies of dissidents as fair targets for transplants, and they are frequently said to engage in harvesting organs as needed. As Newt Gingrich writes, the Chinese are at one with Biden and Kamala Harris on this subject. 

US Sen. Kamala Harris is the most openly anti-Catholic bigot to be on a national ticket in modern times.
Her record is perfectly clear. She is openly anti-Catholic in confirming federal judges, wanting to prosecute the Little Sisters of the Poor, closing Catholic Hospitals who don’t join her union allies, and favoring tax paid abortion up until birth (in fact, she has twice voted against bills that would ensure that babies who lived through abortion procedures got medical care).

Harris has made her anti-Catholicism explicit by fighting against the confirmation of Brian Buescher in 2017 as a member of the US District Court, where he now sits. As Gingrich put it,
The most explicit example of Sen. Harris’s anti-Catholic bigotry was her treatment of now-US District Court Judge Brian Buescher during his confirmation hearings. Specifically, she questioned Buescher’s membership in the Knights of Columbus – a faith-based charitable organization which feeds the poor, assists in disaster relief around the globe, provides scholarships for struggling students, helps refugees fleeing violence and persecution, and a host of other philanthropic efforts.

Senator Harris joins an imposing list of Chinese spies, many of them from the heart of the dark state. As Pompeo was announcing the mounting crackdown on Confucius, the Justice Department confirmed the arrest of a twenty-year veteran of CIA. 

It’s a target-rich environment.

* * *
Photo credit: Pixabay

Michael Ledeen


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Kuwait's Anti-Israel Rhetoric in Spotlight after UAE Deal - Seth Frantzman

by Seth Frantzman

Kuwait's historic role has been to stay out of the spotlight.

In sharp contrast to the reaction of other Arab Gulf states to the recent Israel-UAE accord, Kuwait insists it will be the last country to normalize relations with Israel.
On the surface there's no reason why Kuwait, the kingdom at the end of the Persian Gulf, would be a leading critic of Israel.

Not only does it have no historical connection to Israel, either positive or negative, it is also far away from the Jewish state.

However, in the wake of the UAE decision to normalize relations with Israel, Kuwait has appeared to be the coldest toward Israel of all states in the Gulf.

Kuwait has indicated it would be the last country to normalize relations with Israel, according to a report on Sunday in the Al-Qabas daily newspaper.

Clearly, Kuwait feels pressure to comment after the Abu Dhabi decision. It is known that Oman and Bahrain are more keen on relations with Israel and that Qatar holds discussions with Israel in the context of funding Gaza. This leaves Kuwait as an exception.

The explanation for Kuwait's exceptionalism is complex. In the 1960s and 70s, many Palestinians moved to Kuwait, and the country played a formative role in their life.

Later when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait the Palestinians supported him, seeing him as the region's most anti-Israel leader.

This led Kuwait to expel hundreds of thousands of Palestinians after the country was liberated by the US-led coalition.

One might imagine that Kuwait, with its many US bases and close relations with Saudi Arabia and the West, might be more flexible regarding Israel. Instead, it has been staunch in its pro-Palestinian approach and not wanting to deviate from this more hardline position.

Kuwait's daily newspaper Al-Jarida, for instance, highlights comments by US presidential advisor Jared Kushner that claimed the country's approach was "radical."

Kuwait knows that its position between Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Iran is precarious, and wants to preserve its neutrality on some issues.

That means the West Asian country has not taken a strong stance on the dispute between Riyadh and Doha. In 2017 Saudi Arabia led the UAE and Bahrain to break relations with Qatar.

Kuwait was more cautious. It seeks to be more like Jordan in its affairs, a monarchy but one that does not want to have as active a role in the tectonic shifts in the region between Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

However, Kuwait does express support for Saudi Arabia on other issues, such as recent missile attacks by the Houthi rebels in Yemen. The Houthis are backed by Iran.

On the Palestinian issue, Kuwait continues to pay lip service to supporting the Palestinians. It has other issues to worry about – its aging ruler recently underwent surgery.

Kuwait's historic role has been to stay out of the spotlight.
It also has had to deal with the COVID-19 crisis and unrest in neighboring Iraq's port city of Basra. All this means that the Israel-Palestinian issue is an easy one for it to express a hardline position on, without actually doing much.

That has been Kuwait's historic role: trying not to cause any trouble and staying out of the spotlight. The trauma of the 1990 invasion continues to overshadow its foreign policy – and it knows how fragile the affairs of the monarchies can be when facing larger states in the region.

Seth Frantzman is a Ginsburg-Milstein Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and senior Middle East correspondent at The Jerusalem Post.


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Bangalore Burning - Radhika Singh

by Radhika Singh

India’s Charlie Hebdo moment.

It was pretty late at night; I don’t really remember what exact time though. I was watching some random videos when the phone started to ring. “Don’t get out of the house. Stay put,” warned a friend calling from Delhi.

“What happened?” I asked.

“Your city is burning.”

“What?” I gasped in disbelief.

Bangalore is a peaceful place. The crowd is educated, civilized, white-collared corporate types. Riots are not part of the norm in this city of IT parks. I switched on the TV. Yes. The city was indeed engulfed in flames. The mad mob had come for Bangalore now.

The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, with their fake narratives about my country, have convinced the world that we are a living hell for the “minorities” -- the Muslims who constitute the second largest religious denomination in this country. Far from the truth, these stories are nothing but an orchestrated attempt to paint the Muslim population as a meek, orphaned and harmless segment of our society. The reporting perpetually hides atrocities perpetrated by Muslims and promulgates amplified versions of minor incidents involving a Muslim "victim" -- just as the media does worldwide.
On Tuesday, August 11th, in what appears to be a pre-planned attack, a 1000-strong mob of Muslim men, raising the Islamic chants of 'Nara-e-Taqbeer' and 'Allah-hu-Akbar’, descended on the streets near DJ Halli and KG Halli police station. The violent mob was armed with iron rods, sticks, petrol bombs, and other sharp objects.

It was alleged that a Hindu Dalit boy had made a derogatory post about the Prophet Mohammad; the subsequent madness sprang from it. The mad mob had gone berserk and barged into the residence of a local Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA). A separate mob of armed Muslims proceeded to attack the local police headquarters. They locked the gates from outside and pelted stones, damaged the lined-up vehicles, and then set the police station on fire. They didn’t spare the local ATMs, nor the public or private properties either.

Shopkeepers were intimidated to pull down the shutters and run for their lives. The house of the MLA was set ablaze. It turns out the Hindu Dalit boy who had made the derogatory Facebook post was the MLA’s nephew. The uprising claimed two lives, leaving at least sixty police personnel severely injured. The situation could only be brought under control after imposing section 144 throughout the riot-affected area. For the uninformed, imposing Section 144 is like calling a curfew in India.

The following day, media houses – the liberal, leftist ones – camouflaged the severity of the rioting and violence and defended the mob that had unleashed bloodshed on the streets of a major city. For the ever-secularist Indian media, the main culprit was the Hindu boy who had made a derogatory post and set the unrest into motion.

The truth that the media were striving to keep from the people was that there was no derogatory post made by the Hindu Dalit boy against Prophet Mohammad. In fact, the original Facebook post featured a pejorative representation of the Hindu Goddess of wealth and prosperity, Lakshmi. In this post, a Muslim man had uploaded despicable images of the Hindu deity with morphed images of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, showing both in objectionable positions. The post was accompanied by insulting and vulgar lyrics.

No Hindu man or woman took to the streets, baying for the blood of that Muslim man or to vandalize public property or kill others. The Hindu Dalit boy, in retaliation for the obscene images of the Hindu deity with PM Modi, made remarks about the Prophet Mohammad. The rest is history.

Crowds of thousands gathered within minutes, despite the country being in a state of semi lock-down. Muslim men and boys took to social media to organize this riot. Facebook typically allowed the clarion calls directing and mobilizing mobs for an impending riot on its platform. And yet, if I use the F-word out of frustration on Facebook, the post gets flagged and I get banned for 48 hours.

The Hindu Dalit boy was arrested. And we Hindus are not surprised. We have been following this kind of secularism in our country for over 70 years now. Yes, the rioters were arrested too. Not the entire uncountable weapon-wielding mob; just a few among them.

But did the arrest of the 150-odd rioters discourage the radicals? The very next day, Muslim political leader Shahzeb Rizvi announced a bounty of 51 lakh rupees on the head of the Hindu Dalit boy for his blasphemous act. Crowds of Muslim men huddled on the streets demanding the beheading of the boy -- all this, in a secular democracy.

Westerners must have read a lot about the “intolerance” that our leftist media houses keep regurgitating about. Trust me when I tell you that, amidst all of this chaos, the truth is that the original derogatory post was made by a Muslim man dishonoring a Hindu Goddess. There hasn’t been as little as a fleeting digital outrage from the Hindus, let alone a planned assault or announcement of bounties.

This was not the first Charlie Hebdo-esque situation India had to put up with. Back in October 2018, a Hindu leader, Kamlesh Tiwari, was slaughtered in broad daylight for having uttered something that was blasphemous according to the Islamists' code of conduct.

In 2017, Muslim groups held the town of Bashirhat, West Bengal, for ransom after a Hindu minor made a post about the Islamic prophet and the Kaaba. Police vehicles were charred and police stations went up in flames after a mob of 5000 radicals took to the streets.

The terrorizing mobs don’t wait for insulting posts about their prophet; highly combustible, this mob violence can flare up in reaction to any event or incident that ruffles their fragile sensibilities.

On June 11, 2019, a septuagenarian Muslim patient succumbed to his normal senile ailment at the Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital located in Kolkata, West Bengal. Within minutes, trucks loaded with enraged and seething Muslim men arrived at the gates of the residential Medical College. A relative of the dead patient had organized the rampage and Facebook played a pivotal role in assembling them. The mob pounced on the medical staff, flinging stones and rods at them. The police stood like silent spectators with hands tied by the current minority-abetting state government. The doctors had to call a 7-day-long strike throughout the state, bringing the medical machinery of West Bengal to its knees.

The list of mob violence planned and carried out by the privileged minority in India is endless. Political parties don’t touch them; the media won’t criticize them. Celebrities, who thrive on riches earned from the Hindu audience, project these radicalized crowds as miserable ostracized sections that are constantly ill-treated by the majoritarian regime. There have been movies glorifying terrorism by these people; books have been authored swapping the identities of the victims and the perpetrators. The rabid anti-socials are portrayed as innocent children of poor schoolteachers as assorted journalists of international repute sit down to whitewash their crimes. The global audience, with limited access to the reality on the ground, absorb the litany of fallacies as truth.

Radhika Singh has a treasury of stories that prove how Communists and Islamists together destroy the cultural richness, historical legacy, tradition and religion of any nation. Radhika would like to be known as a Hindu Indian who represents a generation that has woken up from a 1000 years of slumber.


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Will Gretchen Whitmer's lockdown hand Michigan to the GOP? - Bill Weckesser

by Bill Weckesser

"Stand Up Michigan" is now reporting more than 200,000 certified signatures in about four weeks.

Is swing state Michigan a lock for the Democrats? While professional polls may lean that way, a citizen's initiative indicates otherwise. Governor Gretchen Whitmer's severe lockdown measures are considered logical and popular by Democrats and the punditry, but they've so upset thousands of residents that a petition is circulating to eliminate them.

"Stand Up Michigan" is now reporting more than 200,000 certified signatures in about four weeks. On the podcast The Lantern, the state's Senate majority leader, Republican Mike Shirkey, said there's a lot of excitement.
This is all credit to the folks of Michigan who understood and wouldn't take the vague leadership and demands coming out of the executive office during this crisis we've endured. The people of Michigan have stood up based on your encouragement and exhortations and have banded together to generate a level of energy never before seen in Michigan. That's the recipe for what's produced these unbelievable results in such a short period of time. I predicted the first hundred thousand would take three weeks but took about two weeks and I think we'll see the next hundred in ten days.

Michigan law allows for a "Citizen Initiative" where 340,000 certified signatures can put an issue before the Legislature, which can put it on the ballot for a vote or pass into law. The state's Republican Legislature has promised to do so. The process circumvents the governor. The group says its petition accuracy is about 92%, and its goal is half a million signatures — enough so that Michigan's Democrat secretary of state will be compelled to use a sample to approve it, rather than dragging her feet with an actual count.

Stand Up Michigan says petition-signers are more afraid of the unexpected consequences of the lockdown than of COVID. Shirkey indicated that the state's suicide hotline has experienced an 1,800-percent increase in calls. Michigan residents can get a petition here.

Image: Ken Lund via Flickr (cropped).

Bill Weckesser


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Support for Black Lives Matter repeats a lethal error of history - Melanie Phillips

by Melanie Phillips

Many Jews, particularly in Israel, are brown or black-skinned. Whiteness, though, is deemed to be less about pigment than power.

Melanie Phillips
Melanie Phillips                                                                                               Channel 1
Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of history, it is said, are doomed to repeat them.
In the 20th century, thousands of progressively minded people supported Soviet communism. Believing this ideology was the key to a better world, they refused to acknowledge the horrific abuses under Stalin when millions were brainwashed, murdered or starved to death.

Today’s progressives are behaving in similar fashion in response to another onslaught on civilized values, perpetrated in the name of an ideology with the same roots as Soviet communism. And just as in the last century, a dismaying number of its cheerleaders are Jews.

In both America and Britain, Jewish leaders and community groups overwhelmingly back Black Lives Matter. Since Jews have suffered from bigotry, discrimination and social alienation, they feel a duty to express solidarity with black people who they believe are experiencing similar difficulties.

But BLM, which took off after last May’s death of George Floyd under the knee of a police officer, is not about promoting fairness and tolerance.

It is instead a nihilistic, violent, revolutionary movement committed to defunding the police as an incorrigibly racist institution, closing the prisons, destroying the family and overthrowing white capitalist society. What’s more, many of its leaders are white.

There’s no doubt that black people experience bigotry, and that there are racist police officers.

But a significant number of police officers are themselves black; most people who are killed in police custody are white; and most black people who are murdered are killed by other black people.

Moreover, BLM’s denunciation of white society as racist is itself a racist act since it categorizes an entire ethnic group as bad. Yet progressive people have bought into this malign agenda.

In the name of the BLM movement thuggish mobs, including supporters of the “anti-fascist” Antifa, have been subjecting the public to shocking levels of violence over the past three months in a number of cities. Democrat administrations in such places have let this happen with no pushback against the rioters, sometimes even stripping the embattled police of funds.

In Seattle, marchers demanded that white residents give up their homes and abused them as racists when they protested. In Minnesota, demonstrators shrieking obscenities assembled outside the home of the president of the Minneapolis police department union and vilified his neighbors.

The worst and most sustained violence has taken place in Portland, Ore. This week, one such mob there beat up a homeless, white, transgender person. A man who tried to help the victim was attacked in turn by the rioters, who dragged him out of his truck and beat him almost to death.

Yet this sustained thuggery has been all but totally ignored by the media. There’s been not one word of criticism from the Democratic Party. Instead, it wove support for BLM into its convention this week, with Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez declaring: “We will not miss this moment to ensure those values are reflected in everything we do.”

Worse still is the reaction of the broader intellectual establishment. In both America and Britain, universities, corporations, voluntary organizations, cultural bodies and other institutions have adopted the BLM agenda of bullying white people to “check their privilege.”

In Britain, supposedly impartial civil servants have openly endorsed BLM activism and have declared their intention to “tackle the whiteness” of senior officials. One of these used her department’s intranet to advise her colleagues: “Recognize your white privilege … call out racism in your family, friends and colleagues … (unintended or not).”

This sinister attempt to force people to denounce themselves and their loved ones is straight out of the Soviet communist playbook.

As Yoram Hazony writes in Quillette, anti-racism and other “woke” ideologies are all rooted in Marxism. They have adopted some of its key precepts: that all relationships are defined by power, that people are either oppressors or oppressed, and that through “false consciousness” oppressors may not even realize they are indeed oppressive. Hence the demand for white people to acknowledge their guilt.

(JNS) What makes Jewish support for BLM even more grotesque is its profound anti-Semitism, identifying “Jewish privilege” as the worst manifestation of “white privilege.”

Many Jews, particularly in Israel, are in fact brown or black-skinned. Whiteness, though, is deemed to be less about pigment than power. BLM ideology portrays Jews as all-powerful because they are seen to run the world that “oppresses” black people.

This poisonous prejudice against the Jews, which has achieved such traction that “#JewishPrivilege” briefly became a trending Twitter hashtag until one feisty Israeli led a fightback, emanates in particular from two highly influential groups in the black community.

The first is the Nation of Islam, the black power movement led by Louis Farrakhan who calls Jews “Satanic” and says: “When you want something in this world, the Jew holds the door.”

The second is the Black Hebrew Israelites, two of whose members attacked a kosher grocery store in New Jersey last December after murdering a police officer. This group spreads the preposterous canard that black people are the descendants of Moses and real children of Israel, while the Jews themselves are imposters who stole Judaism from them.

All this has been ignored by progressive Jews, who instead are eagerly volunteering their community for mass self-denunciation by blaming “white Jewish privilege”.

In Forward, for example, Julia Appel defines this by “the way we’re visually categorized in a split second by the power structures of our society.”

And so: “You can be Jewish and the child of Holocaust survivors and still benefit from white privilege—a privilege that accrues to you whether you’ve chosen it or not.”

To people like her, only white people can guilty of bad things. “Black and Jew are uttered in one breath by white supremacists,” she writes. True; but it doesn’t occur to her that “white and Jew” are uttered in the same breath by black power ideologues. Nor do people like Appel square their “white privilege” with the fact that the Jews are racially attacked more frequently than any other group.

Over the years, Jews have been prominent in helping tackle prejudice and discrimination against black people, so many of whom are decent, moderate and patriotic and whose view of the Jews is benign. Yet here are Jews eagerly offering up the community’s collective throat to the metaphorical knife of defamation, vilification and the potentially murderous lie that their very identity makes them oppressive, exploitative and altogether bad.

So deeply are they gripped by this mind-twisting dogma, they simply cannot grasp that what they tell themselves is a Jewish moral imperative is in fact the antithesis of Jewish ethics—and one, furthermore, which has the Jews themselves in its sights.

In 1942, the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee was set up by Stalin to raise funds for the war effort against Nazi Germany. Led by prominent Jewish writers, it raised millions of dollars in the United States and elsewhere. The Jews on that committee believed they were on the same side as Stalin against evil.

Accordingly, they assured their Western audiences that there was no anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union. But when they started to praise Jews who had stood up against Hitler, Stalin’s anti-Semitism was unleashed; and so his loyal apologists on the committee were rounded up, tortured, subjected to secret trials and executed.

Today’s Jews who have signed up to the BLM agenda are their ideological heirs. Whether they are truly in the grip of this latest Marxist-based delusion or are simply trying to protect themselves by going along with it, they are helping promote anti-white racism, anti-Jewish hatred and anti-West insurrection.

And tragically, they fail to see that this monster they are helping create is coming for them, too.

Melanie Phillips, a British journalist, broadcaster and author, writes a weekly column for JNS. Currently a columnist for “The Times of London,” her personal and political memoir, Guardian Angel,” has been published by Bombardier, which also published her first novel, “The Legacy,” in 2018. Her work can be found at:


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