Saturday, January 9, 2021

LIVE UPDATES: Trump permanently banned from Twitter - Fox News


​ by Fox News

Shouldn't we all be finding an alternative to Twitter?

Graham: Second Trump impeachment will further divide America

Twitter announced the permanent suspension of President Trump’s account Friday, following months of flagging his tweets with warnings -- and days after the company said he violated its policies.

The platform locked Trump out of his account for the first time this week. The social media company deemed a number of tweets connected to the violent riot at the Capitol on Wednesday as inflammatory.

"After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence," the company wrote in a blog post.


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Congress Has Learned Nothing and Left America More Divided - J. B. Shurk


​ by J. B. Shurk

At some point, fraud and uncertainty in one state's election become national problems that affect voters in every state.

D.C. has spoken.  It is fine to burn down businesses and threaten homeowners in the name of "racial justice," but you must never, ever question the results of a political election that takes most of a week to sort out before declaring a winner.  

Black Lives Matter and Antifa are reportedly sitting on billions of dollars in donations after causing billions of dollars in property damage in this last year.  Americans who took part in "Stop the Steal" rallies at the Capitol will not find fat bank accounts awaiting them once D.C.'s wrath goes scorched earth on Trump-supporters.  And while glossy fashion mags depict Antifa revolutionaries as chic and stylish in glamorous photo spreads, Shopify and other online stores have already blacklisted MAGA revolutionaries from selling political clothing altogether.

Murder and physical battery against innocent civilians and police officers followed BLM and Antifa violence all year long; despite the terror those groups caused, the media saw nothing but "mostly peaceful protesters."  (Mitt Romney even proudly walked in one of their parades.)  Because the halls of Congress, rather than mom-and-pop storefronts, were damaged Wednesday, these "mostly peaceful protests" will always be portrayed as the "Capitol Siege of 2021."  (Mitt Romney will not walk in any future parades organized by Americans seeking free and fair elections.)

After the mayhem calmed down, most Republicans in Congress joined with Democrats in blaming President Trump for having unleashed a "violent mob."  They'd now rather impeach and remove the president than understand the problem.  The hundreds of thousands of Americans in attendance may have been protesting for their voting rights, but Congress will not remember them as "civil rights protesters."  Nobody in D.C. will turn police photographs of Wednesday's protesters into t-shirts with the caption "good trouble."  Only certain civil rights protests may be celebrated in gift shops.

The most amazing part of Wednesday's chaos is that Congress learned nothing from it.  The people participating were merely part of a "mob."  Their complaints about the 2020 election were the rantings of conspiracy theorists.  Protecting the marble blocks of the Capitol was more important than fortifying the public's faith in the legitimacy of the country's elections or governing institutions. 

America's constitutional republic can survive without glorious temples dedicated to the prestige of D.C.'s governing class.  America can survive if the capital were moved from the swamplands of Maryland and Virginia to the hills of Tennessee or the plains of Texas.  It won't survive if Americans don't have faith in the electoral process.

If there were ever a time for lawmakers in D.C. to look out their windows and marvel, "Wow, we've really messed up here because Americans' faith in their government is gone," Wednesday was the day.  The people protesting were the same people who, in the past, would have taken their children to Washington on summer vacations in order to celebrate America's history and accomplishments.  Now those same people are so angry at the government in Washington that many would probably be fine letting the statue-topplers who have been tearing down monuments of Lincoln and Jefferson for over a year just go right ahead and dismantle the whole of D.C. while they're at it.  When you've lost the American tourist class, you have a major problem.

There were so many voting irregularities during the 2020 election that any normal person would understand America's elections are a disaster.  We spent four days watching vote-counters in battleground states suspend their counting for no good reasons (and then secretly return to counting without Republican monitors present), discover additional Biden votes seemingly out of nowhere, and accept mail-in ballots well past legal state deadlines.  Statisticians have repeatedly shown how anomalous Biden's vote dumps (and Trump's vote deletions) were in battleground states.  Sworn witness affidavits attesting to vote manipulation and fraud are numerous.  

For me, four simple circumstantial facts always stick out: (1) Trump won well over ten million more votes than in 2016, making him the first president in nearly a century and a half to do better in re-election and still lose; (2) Trump won almost every traditional bellwether county in the country, and he did so by huge double-digit margins; (3) Trump won Iowa by eight points, Ohio by eight points, and Florida by three points, a feat that has guaranteed national victory in almost every presidential election; and (4) Biden, though barely campaigning, pulled in fifteen million more votes than Obama did in his re-election of 2012.  

Without any other knowledge of vote fraud, or any physical or statistical evidence that the 2020 presidential election was manipulated, I find these circumstantial facts so strange that voters deserve to understand how they occurred.

If the answer is that mass mail-in balloting requiring no voter identification, witness verification, or signature-matching allowed millions of votes to flow into battleground states from unknown places without any credible process for authentication whatsoever, then that might explain how out of whack the 2020 election was, but it cannot excuse it.  State and federal governments can't tell Americans that mail-in balloting, implemented with hardly any state legislative authority, fundamentally changed the way elections are won in America and expect ordinary voters on the losing side just to nod in agreement, consent, and put their trust in the system — especially after corporate news and social media giants have spent the last year intentionally deceiving Americans by (1) censoring stories damaging to Joe Biden, (2) pushing outright propaganda against President Trump, (3) suppressing pro-Trump voices, and (4) deplatforming pro-Trump publications.

Without any other evidence of fraud (of which there is plenty), the use of unaccountable mail-in balloting has permanently thrown democratic elections into doubt.  

Many members of Congress responded to the events of Wednesday by arguing that respecting the decisions of the states to certify Biden's win is instrumental to federalism — that states control their elections, and not the federal government, is undoubtedly true.  However, Americans are not so ignorant as to think out-of-state lawyers, out-of-state money, and out-of-state political operations didn't organize and implement this radically different way of conducting state elections with the equivalent of ballot air drops for anybody to find and return.  The harm generated by 2020's mail-in balloting occurred in the individual battleground states, but it almost certainly arose from national political organizations funded by the same big-money donors who have most of Congress on their payrolls.  

For Congress to turn around and wash its hands of the whole mess by hiding behind thin defenses of federalism and claiming that what happened in Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania is for the citizens of those states to figure out is like saying that if Montanans weren't happy with America's policy of "mutually assured destruction" during the Cold War, they shouldn't have housed so much of the nation's nuclear missile stockpile.

At some point, fraud and uncertainty in one state's election become national problems that affect voters in every state.  If Congress didn't understand that before Wednesday, the "Capitol Siege of 2021" should have made it vividly clear.  For Congress to instead blame ordinary voters for their lack of faith in an untrustworthy system does not bode well for any American going forward.  And that grotesque failure lies almost entirely with complacent lawmakers in D.C.

Image via Flickr, Public Domain.


J. B. Shurk  


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What a One-Party Oligarchy Means Going Forward - Lloyd Billingsley


​ by Lloyd Billingsley

The harrowing cost of Congress certifying electoral fraud.



“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th. I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!”

President Trump issued that statement early Thursday, and Democrats were quick to follow.

Joe Biden said those who stormed the Capitol were “domestic terrorists. It’s that simple.”

Nancy Pelosi and Charles Schumer called for Trump’s immediate removal under the 25th Amendment, calling Trump “a very dangerous person” who committed an “act of sedition.”

Joining Schumer and Pelosi was Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, on the grounds that Trump is unfit for office and to “ensure the next few weeks are safe for the American people.” Pelosi also supports a resolution by Democrat Cory Bush to expel from Congress unnamed Republicans who allegedly enabled Trump.

He had the temerity to interrupt the previous president’s plan to transform America into a one-party oligarchy, and that launched the left’s jihad against him. In four years, in the face of furious opposition, President Trump achieved more than anybody thought he would, and Trump’s middle-east peace accords drew widespread praise.

Trump never got his day in court, so by all indications the president of the United States has no standing to present evidence of election fraud. The illegitimate Joe Biden now reprises the ancien régime of 2008-2016, and that should have 74 million Trump voters appraising the forces arrayed against them.

Long before they caved to election fraud, federal legislators were representing the Washington establishment to their districts, not the other way around. As the late Frank Zappa put it, those folks up in Washington just look out for number one. And number one ain’t you. You ain’t even number two. Powerful precincts of the establishment deployed against Trump supporters, and that will surely ramp up under Biden.

The Department of Justice spearheaded the coup attempt against Trump and despite a mountain of evidence declined to file any charges against key players Comey, Strzok, McCabe et al. The DOJ is basically the pro-bono law firm of the deep state, and not a friend of freedom moving forward. Neither is the vaunted Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Like the KGB, the FBI takes the man then finds the crime, and the bureau is not adverse to “wet” operations.  For example, in 1992 the FBI deployed military force against a single family, and FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi shot Vicki Weaver through the head as she held her infant daughter. Attorney General William Barr sprung to the defense of the FBI sniper, not his innocent victim. So no surprise that in 2020 Barr looked the other way at election fraud.

In 2020, while leftist mobs burned buildings and murdered police officers such as David Dorn, reports of FBI response were hard to find. Note that it was the U.S. Marshals, not the FBI, that took down leftist thug Michael Reinoehl, who murdered Aaron J. Danielson, smeared as a “far right supporter.”

Joe Biden has described Antifa as “an idea, not an organization,” a concept echoed by FBI boss Christopher Wray last September.  Wray has kept rather quiet about the murder of former DHS whistleblower Philip Haney last February. Those who pushed back on Islamic terrorism during the Trump administration should be now be watching their back. Like Kamala Harris, Joe Biden will not speak the names of the terrorists’ victims. That hardly enhances the safety of the public, also subject to other powerful forces.

The composite character president, formerly known as Barry Soetoro, deployed the IRS against conservative groups and individuals. Joe Biden has every incentive to do likewise, and the powerful IRS is hardly his only weapon.

Under the prevailing regime of white coat supremacy, citizens can be stripped of their basic rights with impunity. New York state is considering Assembly Bill A416, under which the governor can “order the removal and/or detention” of persons who are or “may be” a danger to public health. They can detained in an “appropriate facility” until the “department” decides to turn them loose.

With no apology to Dalton Trumbo, this could be the beginning of the American concentration camp. Note also that Dr. Anthony Fauci is extending lockdowns until late 2021, possibly longer, and the racist vaccine distribution system menaces elderly persons of pallor. The left automatically consigns this group to the oppressor class, and they will get no respect from the establishment media.

Recall that Neil (rhymes with puto) Cavuto of Fox News broke away from a press conference on election fraud. The news must now be examined for what it conceals, which can be considerable. The New York Times set the standard by concealing Stalin’s terror famine in Ukraine. Modern counterparts look the other way at BLM-Antifa violence, or pass it off as “peaceful protest.”

The ancien régime headed by Joe Biden is hostile and the reactionary forces formidable.  On the other hand, a patriotic movement is on the rise, rededicated to the God-given rights to life and liberty, and as David Horowitz says, “is prepared to defend them.” As President Trump likes to say, we’ll have to see what happens.


Lloyd Billingsley  


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FB bans Conservative org: 'We were a threat to the Dem Party' - Arutz Sheva Staff


​ by Arutz Sheva Staff

Fox News talks to #WalkAway campaign founder who says his group's page was banned because it posed a danger to the establishment.



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The Left Slanderously Accuses Trump of Inciting the Capitol Riot - Joseph Klein


​ by Joseph Klein

Progressives' malicious power grab escalates to the wickedest heights.


A contingent of protestors invaded, vandalized and occupied portions of the U.S. Capitol on January 6th -- as the constitutional process of electoral college certification of the 2020 presidential election results was getting underway. The mob violence was an outright assault on the greatest constitutional republic in the world. But instead of making an effort to unite the country against such anarchy, the Left’s leaders and their friends in the establishment media are applying their usual double standard of “for thee, but not for me.” Not surprisingly, they are blaming President Trump for the Capitol unrest, falsely claiming he incited violence during his speech to supporters at Wednesday’s otherwise peaceful “Save America” rally.

President Trump and his supporters at the rally were simply exercising their First Amendment rights of free speech and peaceable assembly. The president’s refusal to concede an election marred by reports of widespread fraud which troubled many voters was not an incitement to violence, nor was his presentation of evidence of a stolen election.

President Trump told his supporters, “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators, and congressmen and women.” In so doing, he was clearly urging them merely to march peacefully and petition their government.

President Trump did NOT tell supporters to "storm the Capitol" or anything remotely similar. He was in no way responsible for the actions of a fringe breakaway group. Moreover, it remains a question as to who the rioters actually were. Indeed, there are credible reports of Antifa infiltration of the crowd.

President Trump made a video telling people to avoid violence and he urged calm on Twitter. Yet Twitter locked him out as if he were doing the opposite.

After recessing their electoral college certification proceedings for nearly six hours until the Capitol building was secured by a strengthened law enforcement contingent, the members of Congress reconvened to resume in a bipartisan show of support for constitutional order. The electoral college results were officially certified early Thursday morning.

In a tweet released in President Trump’s name (since Twitter had suspended his account), the president promised “an orderly transition on January 20” while at the same time continuing to “disagree with the outcome of the election.”

Nevertheless, the Trump-haters wasted no time blaming him for the Capitol violence. Joe Biden piled on against the president. So did the presumptive Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president," Schumer said in a statement on Thursday. "This president should not hold office one day longer." He recklessly called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office, even after the president promised an orderly transition to Biden’s presidency.

“I join the Senate Democratic leader in calling on the vice president to remove this president by immediately invoking the 25th amendment,” Pelosi said. “If the Vice President and Cabinet do not act, the Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment. That is the overwhelming sentiment of my caucus,” she added.

Precipitously removing the duly-elected president of the United States less than two weeks before the inauguration of his successor is anything but an orderly transition of power. It is yet another leftwing power play, exacting revenge on a president they hate by twisting the facts about the election and the Capitol occupation, censoring the president, and trying to kick him out of office before the end of his term to humiliate him.

Democratic Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went after Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley as well, insisting they “must resign” simply because they raised objections to state electors during the congressional electoral college proceedings.

The leftwing media also chimed in. For example, the front page of The New York Times on January 7th displayed the banner headline in all caps, “TRUMP INCITES MOB.” The Times’ editorial board claimed that “Mr. Trump’s seditious rhetoric prompted a mob of thousands of people to storm the U.S. Capitol building.” False.

CNN’s Don Lemon accused President Trump of being the leader of “a mob insurrection to destroy the Capitol and our democracy.” False.

In contrast, much of the establishment media downplayed, and in many cases excused, the months of violence last year perpetrated by leftwing radicals across the country. Such violence included repeated assaults on a federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon. Members of the media called the leftwing riots "mostly peaceful protests" in the cause of "racial and social justice."

As FrontPage Magazine's own Daniel Greenfield pointed out in his January 7th article,

Violent protests, including those targeting public officials and legislative bodies, had been championed and normalized by Democrats and their media over the last four years. That included the harassment of officials, property destruction, and assaulting law enforcement. Now, as the Democrats expect to take power, they suddenly decided that rioting is bad.

Nobody who cares about preserving the rule of law in our constitutional republic applauds what happened at the Capitol on Wednesday. But progressive leaders and their allies in the mainstream media apply an entirely different standard when violence serves their purposes. And driven as they are by malice and hatred, they will surely find any way to justify violence against President Trump personally, his Republican supporters in Congress, and the more than 70 million voters who supported him in the 2020 election.


Joseph Klein  


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EU-China Investment Deal: "It Spits in the Face of Human Rights" - Soeren Kern


​ by Soeren Kern

"The EU Commission's haste to partner with Beijing despite its grotesque human rights abuses has removed a fig leaf."

  • "It is a massive strategic blunder at a time when President Biden will be seeking to put together an international partnership of liberal democracies to deal with the bullying loutish behavior and assault on our international rules by Chinese Communists." — Former Hong Kong Governor Lord Patten, Daily Mail, January 7, 2021.

  • "We should not be seeking to contain China but to constrain the Chinese Communist Party." — Former Hong Kong Governor Lord Patten, Daily Mail, January 7, 2021.

  • "It is naive to believe that China will respect the agreement it has signed. It is naive to ignore the geopolitical implications of doing a deal with China right now. And it is naive to think that the darkening political climate in Beijing will never affect life in Brussels or Berlin." — Gideon Rachman, Financial Times.

  • "The EU Commission's haste to partner with Beijing despite its grotesque human rights abuses has removed a fig leaf. Some European officials and commentators liked to claim that the Trump Administration was an impediment to even deeper transatlantic cooperation. Now it is plain to all that this isn't about President Trump. It's about key European officials. Look in the mirror." — Former Deputy U.S. National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger, Twitter, December 30, 2020.

  • "Beijing's disregard for international law in Hong Kong is serving as a catalyst for a change in alliances — both Britain and Europe have serious choices to make." — Johnny Patterson, Director of Hong Kong Watch.

The EU has negotiated a controversial trade deal with China. The pact has been widely criticized because European leaders have sacrificed their professed concern for human rights on the altar of financial gain. The deal was negotiated in great haste by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel. Pictured: Von der Leyen (then Germany's Defense Minister) is honored by Chinese officials at the National Defense University in Beijing on October 22, 2018. (Photo by How Hwee Young/AFP via Getty Images)

The European Union has negotiated a controversial trade deal with China. The pact has been widely criticized because European leaders, in their apparent rush to reach an agreement, have sacrificed their professed concern for human rights on the altar of financial gain. Indeed, precisely one week after the deal was signed, China launched a massive crackdown on democracy activists in Hong Kong.

The so-called Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI), concluded on December 30, was negotiated in great haste by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel. Other EU countries were excluded from the negotiations. Merkel, under pressure from China, reportedly wanted an agreement at any cost before Germany's six-month EU presidency ended on December 31.

The deal — the details of which have not yet been made public — ostensibly aims to level the economic and financial playing field by providing European companies with improved access to the Chinese market. Currently, China has far more access to the European market than the other way around.

China, however, made only limited concessions in just three sectors — electric vehicles, telecommunications and private hospitals — and with many caveats that will restrict investment opportunities for European companies.

Moreover, on December 19, just days before the EU-China deal was reached, China approved a new national security review system for foreign investment. The new rules allow China to block foreign investment whenever it is deemed to harm China's national security.

Meanwhile, the EU-China deal lacks meaningful enforcement mechanisms for issues that the EU claims to care about, such as climate change and human rights, including forced labor.

On December 30, Von der Leyen proudly declared that the agreement will "uphold our interests" and "promote our core values." On January 6, however, seven days after reaching the EU-China trade deal, Chinese authorities arrested more than 50 people, including American human rights lawyer John Clancey, on suspicion of "subversion" in Hong Kong.

Former Hong Kong Governor Lord Patten said the economic deal, which must still be approved by the European Parliament, makes a "mockery" of the EU's ambitions to be taken seriously as a global and economic player:

"It spits in the face of human rights and shows a delusional view of the Chinese Communist Party's trustworthiness on the international stage.

"It is worth remembering, for all European politicians wherever they come from, that the Jewish community around the world has been outspoken about Xinjiang and in particular has drawn attention to the similarities between what is happening in that region today and the Holocaust in the 1940s.

"Are we about to see the end of forced labor in Xinjiang and the development of a trade union movement in China? Forget it.

"It is surely inconceivable that the European Parliament can support the miserable draft deal that the European commission wants to sign with Beijing.

"It is a massive strategic blunder at a time when President Biden will be seeking to put together an international partnership of liberal democracies to deal with the bullying loutish behavior and assault on our international rules by Chinese Communists.

"We should not be seeking to contain China but to constrain the Chinese Communist Party."

In scathing commentary published by the Financial Times, columnist Gideon Rachman argued that the deal was "naïve" and will increase Europe's vulnerability to pressure from China:

"Over the past year, China has crushed the freedom of Hong Kong, intensified oppression in Xinjiang, killed Indian troops, threatened Taiwan and sanctioned Australia. By signing a deal with China nonetheless, the EU has signaled that it doesn't care about all that. As Janka Oertel, director of the Asia program at the European Council on Foreign Relations think-tank, puts it: 'This is a massive diplomatic win for China.' ....

"It is naive to believe that China will respect the agreement it has signed. It is naive to ignore the geopolitical implications of doing a deal with China right now. And it is naive to think that the darkening political climate in Beijing will never affect life in Brussels or Berlin....

"Over the past year, China has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to ignore treaty commitments. Its new national security law violates an agreement with Britain that guaranteed the autonomy of Hong Kong. China has also imposed tariffs on Australian goods in violation of the China-Australia free trade agreement....

"The EU-China deal was pushed hard by Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and concluded right at the end of her country's presidency of the EU. Ms Merkel is seen as a champion of liberal values. But her approach to China is largely driven by commerce. She knows that the German car industry has had a rough few years, and China is its largest market....

"Many Europeans also believe that the US is on the brink of a new cold war with China — and want little part of that.... A European desire to avoid military confrontation in the Pacific is also rational. But relying on an American security guarantee in Europe, while undermining American security policy in the Pacific, does not look like a wise or sustainable policy over the long run.

"The Europeans are also kidding themselves if they think they can be blind to the increasingly authoritarian and aggressive nature of Xi Jinping's China. For the past 70 years, Europeans have benefited from the fact that the world's most powerful nation is a liberal democracy. If an authoritarian nation, such as China, displaces America as the dominant global power, then democracies all over the world will feel the consequences.

"Even in the current geopolitical order, China has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to use its economic power as a strategic weapon. By deepening their economic reliance on China — without coordinating their policy with fellow democracies — European nations are increasing their vulnerability to pressure from Beijing. That is a remarkably shortsighted decision to make, for a 'geopolitical commission.'"

Analysts Amrita Narlikar and Samir Saran argued that the EU-China deal has seriously weakened the EU's own hand while alienating allies and friends:

"There is much that is wrong with the deal, which we could point to, in both process and implications.

"We could look askance upon the remarkable haste with which the European Union — normally a lumbering, complicated, and bureaucratic machine — has pushed this deal through. Or we could suggest that the Zaubertrank [magic potion] at work now be made the official beverage for the bureaucracy in Brussels.

"We could raise an eyebrow at the fact that the final negotiations took place at what is usually expected to be the quietest time of the year: Holiday closures, understaffed newspaper offices, and tired citizens desperately trying to catch a breath or two in the period that is so sweetly described in German as "zwischen den Jahren" (the quiet time in between the years). Our raised eyebrows could perhaps rise further still if we turned our attention to the fact that people across Europe are caught in a surging second wave of the coronavirus pandemic (on the day that the deal was signed, Germany reached a new and depressing record of daily deaths due to COVID-19). And we could applaud that neither the pandemic nor the holiday despair could prevent this 'systemic rivalry' from being recast.

"We could question not only the timing of the EU-China party, but also the choice of protagonists: In what capacity was President Macron present at this meeting? The impression that screenshots of the meeting give is that the two largest economies of Europe — Germany and France — are in the driver's seat; all the attention that the union claims to give to representation and accountability for its remaining 25 members (to be reduced to 24 with Britain exiting on 31 December) is little more than lip-service.

"We could even — if we were thus inclined — point out politely that we are not convinced by the European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen's, claim that the 'Agreement will uphold our interests and promotes our core values. It provides us a lever to eradicate forced labor.' The clauses, at least as they are reported in the EU's Press release, are weak. They are, in fact, so weak, that one might almost want to graffiti LOLOL (Laugh Out Loud On Labour standards) all over it, were it not for the tragic and horrendous human rights violations that are reported in Xinjiang.

"We could raise all these issues, and more along such lines. But they still would not get us to the crux of a matter that is deeply political.

"International trade and investment — for all the conceits that many economists and lawyers seem to have about these issues — are inherently political. And they have become even more political in the context of China's rise: Not only because of the use and abuse of multilateral rules by non-market economies (which is what defenders of CAI tend to focus on), but also because of the fundamental difference in values that should define the goals of multilateral cooperation. Contra the inclination of technocrats to reduce values to labor and environmental standards, values include first-order principles of democracy, liberalism, pluralism, and more. And international trade and investment, especially in a world where interdependence can be weaponized, have become just too important to be left in disciplinary silos or technocratic bubbles. CAI is not 'just' a matter of investment, or even standards; it is a matter that has potentially serious security implications. It begins to dramatically alter who we are as a society, community and people.

"China has, perhaps, more than ever in 2020, given Europe ample evidence of these differences. It has threatened and bullied democratic Australia for having the gumption to push for an enquiry on the origins of the pandemic. Its new security law has all but abolished the promise of "one country two systems" for Hong Kong. Its adventurism in the neighboring seas has increased. Its border conflict with India has escalated to a new level. Its increasing use of 'wolf-warrior diplomacy' has even given up the pretense of sweet talk on many issues that most democracies hold dear.

"Despite all these clear provocations, the EU has done little to update its strategy. It has — almost religiously — continued to repeat its mantra of 2019: It sees China as its partner, competitor, and rival. This, in fact, was nothing but fence-setting — and with the conclusion of the CAI negotiation, the EU has signaled to its own people, its allies, and indeed to China, which side of the fence it prefers.

"The CAI — despite von der Leyen's claim that it will help the EU defend multilateralism —is not multilateral at all. It is a bilateral deal with an authoritarian power that seems to have a very different understanding of multilateralism. It comes at an especially ill-opportune time. It signals to China that the EU now, not only turns a blind eye to, but actually rewards its increasingly aggressive behavior. It suggests that the EU has scarce regard for its closest ally — the United States — which, under the incoming Biden administration, had clearly revealed that it would like to work together on China. It does not reassure other democracies — such as Australia, Japan, and India — and it also undermines the potential for alliances with like-minded players. And the deal is a slap in the face of multilateralism: It shows how, for all its talk in favor of reforming multilateralism, the EU actually attaches greater worth to a bilateral deal with a country that has contributed significantly to the breaking of the system....

"Importantly, these are all choices that the EU has made. They cannot be fobbed off on China. China has simply gamed a round of Realpolitik rather effectively. Europe, in contrast, has weakened its own hand, given short shrift to its own values, and undermined the position of its friends and allies."

Former Deputy U.S. National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger tweeted that the EU's actions showed that the root of the problems in transatlantic relations lie with European elites and not with U.S. President Donald J. Trump:

"Leaders in both U.S. political parties and across the U.S. government are perplexed and stunned that the EU is moving towards a new investment treaty right on the eve of a new U.S. administration.

"There is nowhere for bureaucrats in Brussels or Europe to hide. We can no longer kid ourselves that Beijing is on the verge of honoring labor rights, while it continues to build millions of square feet of factories for forced labor in Xinjiang.

"The EU Commission's haste to partner with Beijing despite its grotesque human rights abuses has removed a fig leaf. Some European officials and commentators liked to claim that the Trump Administration was an impediment to even deeper transatlantic cooperation. Now it is plain to all that this isn't about President Trump. It's about key European officials. Look in the mirror."

The chairman of the European Parliament's delegation for relations with China, Reinhard Bütikofer, said that European leaders had "folded" on the issue of forced labor: "It is ridiculous to try selling that as a success." He added that Germany has allowed China to "drive a huge wedge between the US and Europe." He also tweeted:

"Merkel, Macron, Michel and von der Leyen have so far refused to explain their China deal to the public. So far, so bad. But if they dodge the issue of this Beijing imposed persecution of Hong Kong democrats now, too, they should be considered as leaders in political cowardice."

China scholar Andres Fulda said that the EU-China deal was a result of "group think" among senior political leaders in Europe and represents "a major win for General Secretary Xi Jinping and really bad news for anyone who strives for more value-led European common foreign and security policy." He added that the deal can theoretically still be scrapped, but it will require: a) resistance by European civil societies; b) criticism by the European Parliament; and c) interventions by the Biden administration.

European lawmaker Guy Verhofstadt tweeted that "any Chinese signature on human rights is not worth the paper it is written on!"

Writing for the Spectator, the Director of Hong Kong Watch, Johnny Patterson, called on the EU to scrap its deal with China:

"If Europe is serious about being a bastion of liberal values, the European Parliament cannot allow the interests of the German car industry to trump international law. While we have been arguing about Brexit, it has become clear that relationships with China will be the defining diplomatic issue of the century. Beijing's disregard for international law in Hong Kong is serving as a catalyst for a change in alliances — both Britain and Europe have serious choices to make."

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Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute.


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Jack 'Uncle Horse' Ma Is a Bad Bet - Gordon G. Chang


​ by Gordon G. Chang

If Jack Ma's business empire can be broken up—and that is what's happening—all foreign investment is at risk of confiscation.

  • Beijing has... gone after Ma's business empire hard.

  • [R]egulators appear to be forcing Ant to restrict its profitable investment and loan businesses and making the company accept bank-like regulation. Tighter control would ensure that the fast-growing Ant would pose less of a challenge to state control of lending.

  • Rumor has it that Beijing ordered Ma not to leave the country. "His passport has supposedly been held by the Foreign Ministry for a long time," Anne Stevenson-Yang of J Capital Research told Gatestone, passing along financial community gossip.

  • Of course, this series of incidents also shows that foreign optimism about the Chinese markets—large inflows of capital have recently driven the Chinese currency sharply higher against the dollar—could be misplaced. If Jack Ma's business empire can be broken up—and that is what's happening—all foreign investment is at risk of confiscation.

  • Foreigners need to begin paying attention....

  • Jack Ma's fate, then, is a leading indicator.

If Jack Ma's business empire can be broken up—and that is what's happening—all foreign investment is at risk of confiscation. (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)

Ma Yun, until recently China's richest individual, is in detention in a Chinese cell, is in hiding in China, is "embracing supervision" from the ruling Communist Party, or is in Singapore after having evaded Chinese authorities. One observer even argues Ma's disappearance, the object of intense speculation in China and elsewhere, is nothing more than a ruse.

Which version of the truth is true? Take your pick.

Facts are scarce. Jack Ma, as Ma is known outside China, possesses one of his country's most famous faces and evidently loves the limelight, but he has not been seen in public since the last day of October, vanishing soon after criticizing state bankers.

Ma's disappearance suggests deep troubles in China's financial circles and almost certainly problems in top Communist Party leadership ranks.

On October 24, Ma criticized China's state bankers at a high-profile event, the Bund Summit in Shanghai.

In his most publicized comment, Ma highlighted the excessive reliance of state bankers on collateral for lending. He called their thinking out-of-date.

What he said is accepted truth in Chinese financial circles and the substance of his comments have been voiced by state bankers themselves. Yet Ma, with a flair for publicity, ridiculed them and spoke dismissively. For instance, he said these bankers had a "pawnshop mentality," a reference to overly cautious lending.

At the same time, he also said his Ant Group, a financial payments platform that was fast branching out into other financial services, would promote lending to China's small businesses.

It is generally believed the that Xi Jinping, general secretary of China's Communist Party, was particularly disturbed by Ma's comments in Shanghai. In any event, Chinese regulators—probably on Xi's direct orders—called Ma on the carpet and, at the last minute, suspended Ant's initial public offering in Shanghai and Hong Kong. The offering was expected in early November to raise $39.5 billion and would have set a world record.

Beijing has since gone after Ma's business empire hard. In late December, China's State Administration for Market Regulation announced an Anti-Monopoly Law investigation of Alibaba Group, which owns about a third of Ant. Regulators are concerned that Alibaba, China's premier online retailer, is forcing sellers not to do business with the online platforms of competitors. Ma in the public eye is associated with Alibaba, which he co-founded. He stepped down as executive chairman in 2019 and left the company's board last October.

At the same time, the State Administration for Market Regulation and the Ministry of Commerce called Alibaba and five competitors, including Tencent and, in for a "meeting" to discuss their subsidy policies, which were said to be predatory.

Moreover, regulators appear to be forcing Ant to restrict its profitable investment and loan businesses and making the company accept bank-like regulation. Tighter control would ensure that the fast-growing Ant would pose less of a challenge to state control of lending.

The Wall Street Journal reported this regulatory move would facilitate state entities taking a larger stake in the company.

It is not clear Beijing wants to own a bigger slice of Ant, but Ma, on November 2, is said to have offered to hand over portions of the business to Beijing, in an apparent attempt to save the offering. "You can take any of the platforms Ant has, as long as the country needs it," Ma told regulators according to Wall Street Journal reporting.

Rumor has it that Beijing ordered Ma not to leave the country. "His passport has supposedly been held by the Foreign Ministry for a long time," Anne Stevenson-Yang of J Capital Research told Gatestone, passing along financial community gossip.

Ma is not traveling far; he may not be moving around at all. Whatever his travel status, he has also dropped out of sight. As the Financial Times reported on New Year's Eve, he was not included as a judge on the final round of "Africa's Business Heroes" when it was taped in November. Ma was removed from promotional material for the "Shark Tank"-like television show, which he had a hand in creating. His Jack Ma Foundation offers contestants prizes.

Why did Ma, who has been a Communist Party member for at least a half decade, run into such trouble? Analysts believe this incident shows Ma had become arrogant, that Xi Jinping could not tolerate another larger-than-life figure in China, that the Communist Party was determined to maintain control of the country's financial markets and banking sector.

Of course, this series of incidents also shows that foreign optimism about the Chinese markets—large inflows of capital have recently driven the Chinese currency sharply higher against the dollar—could be misplaced. If Jack Ma's business empire can be broken up—and that is what's happening—all foreign investment is at risk of confiscation.

Every so often the Communist Party confiscates assets. One such move was the expulsion of foreigners from China Unicom in the late 1990s. Chinese law prohibited foreigners from the telecom business, so Unicom devised a complex shareholding relationship to evade Beijing's rules. Foreigners need to begin paying attention. They are not permitted to own Alibaba's internet business, and its shareholding structure uncomfortably resembles Unicom's.

Stevenson-Yang tells Gatestone that the regime has detained "most private entrepreneurs who amassed wealth in hard currency." "The key," she says, is that they become dangerous when they own real currency and thus can escape the Mainland death ray."

Several detained entrepreneurs have reappeared, she points out. Some, however, have not.

So, what will happen to Jack?

"Uncle Horse," as he's known in China, chose a particularly bad moment to attract unwanted attention. Not only was official concern and resentment against Alibaba and Ant growing over a long period, but also Ma's words came at what looks to be a time of turmoil in Beijing circles.

There are, most notably, unsubstantiated stories of Xi Jinping undergoing brain aneurism surgery; an official announcement that a senior finance executive, Lai Xiaomin, will be put to death; and a sweeping amendment of Chinese law that strips Premier Li Keqiang of much of his authority and gives it to the military.

We do not know exactly what is happening, but Jack Ma looks as if he has been caught up in intensified political infighting. That turbulence, unfortunately, can also ripple beyond China's borders and affect others.

Jack Ma's fate, then, is a leading indicator.


Gordon G. Chang is the author of The Coming Collapse of China, a Gatestone Institute Distinguished Senior Fellow, and member of its Advisory Board. Follow him on Twitter and Parler @GordonGChang.


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Did Twitter cut its own throat in banning President Trump? - Monica Showalter


​ by Monica Showalter

Shortly after banning the president, the company's stock took a beating. And that's not all...

Was banning President Trump good for Twitter, given its pious partisan reasons? Trump, after all, had tens of millions of followers, and getting rid of him means less traffic to the site. Did banning Trump enhance Twitter's shareholder value? Or did it put Twitter a few steps closer to going the way of MySpace?

It's too soon to say at this point, but there's oodles of evidence that the picture isn't pretty.

Take the company's stock price. Which way did it go after they banned Trump? Down.

Here's a thumbnail from a Google search of how its stock performed:

It went down 1.61% at the close of business yesterday, shortly after the news of its ban came out, and then went down nearly three times as much, losing 3.77% in the overseas and after-hours markets. This, on a day when most social media companies were neither in a down day or a downtrend. Facebook, which also banned Trump also lost some share value. Snapchat, which also banned Trump, but I believe in afterhours, ended up. Nearly all other social media and tech sites such as Ali Baba, were actually up. And while we are talking about tech, Tesla soared 7.84%. You can see this stuff easily with a Google Finance search like this one here.

A tiny stock drop is nothing without context, without studying the company's fundamentals and technicals, without weighing flukes and unrelated motives from buyers and sellers, but if you look at that, you'll see some definitely cautionary flags.

Investor's Business Daily, where I worked for 14 years until 2016 as an editorial writer, has some expert financial analysis on Twitter as a stock dated Dec. 28, 2020, in a neutrally reported story targeted at investors. 

One of IBD's portfolio managers (an ace trader named Scott Lehtonen I don't actually know) investigated the state of the stock, and neutrally reported both the positive and negative signals.

The Dec. 28 analysis, which can be read without a subscription here, points to flat earnings growth and a company that is failing to attract new users. I boldfaced the interesting parts:

In the most recent quarter — reported on Oct. 29 — the company reported better-than-expected Q3 results, but weak user growth. Twitter ended the quarter with 187 million daily active users, well below estimates of 195 million. It added just 1 million new users, vs. 20 million in the previous quarter and 6 million in the year-ago period.

Driven by a rebound in advertising demand, revenue climbed 14% to $936 million, above consensus of $777 million. Adjusted earnings of 19 cents per share topped views of 14 cents.

(We can draw our own conclusions as to why.)

Lehtonen finished his Dec. 28 report with this:

In conclusion, Twitter stock is trading in the 5% buy zone above a new buy point during the current stock market rally. But weak earnings growth could deter growth investors.

So Twitter isn't attracting new users, and undoubtedly lost some with the banning of President Trump, who had 80.46 million followers. Banning Trump means at least some may have, and probably have, moved to other platforms, such as Parler, or else just grown bored and departed. 

Two other trouble points were noted in a couple of IBD proprietary ratings -- in Twitter's earnings per share (EPS), which looks at quarterly and annual earnings growth (it rated 26 out of a possible 99, which is really wretched), and in its relative strength rating, which is how it stacks up to comparable companies (85 out of a possible 99, not the star in the bunch).  

I'm not a stock trader, but based on the figures cited, this doesn't look like an auspicious picture for the Twitter stock. Multiple factors included, it might still be a star performer, but it clearly has some weakness.

And amazingly, it was a self-inflicted wound, given that Twitter banned Trump on its own volition, chasing more users out. Smart companies don't alienate and lose customers. Memo to Twitter: Remember MySpace.

Image credit: Fox News video screen shot, via shareable YouTube


Monica Showalter  


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Spielberg Makes Movie Celebrating Jeffrey Epstein’s Anti-Israel Associate - Daniel Greenfield


​ by Daniel Greenfield

But the real story of ‘Oslo’ is a tale of radicalism, terrorism, and death.


In November 2020, filming began on Oslo: an adaptation of the revisionist history Broadway play about the fake peace process between Israel and the PLO terrorist organization.

That same month, the man at the center of both the play and the movie, Terje Rød Larsen announced that he was stepping down as president and CEO of the International Peace Institute after it was revealed that he had taken a $130,000 personal loan from Jeffrey Epstein.

The International Peace Institute is closely linked to the United Nations and its honorary chair is usually the UN Secretary General. The notorious pedophile didn’t just give Larsen money, he also pumped $650,000 into the UN-linked group through his “foundations'' and the Norwegian paper that broke the story published emails showing that Larsen’s people were trying to move money from IPI back to Jeffrey Epstein. "For forms sake we should send it to Jeff, however I am sure we will get it back many fold!" Larsen appears to have written in one email.

It was 2016. The date on the original loan was in 2013. All of this took place years after the original Epstein case and his conviction. The ex-UN diplomat knew whom he was dealing with.

But the Epstein scandal didn’t stop Oslo from being produced by Steven Spielberg anyway. Or HBO from moving forward with plans to air a story about a disgraced Jeffrey Epstein associate.

Neither HBO nor Spielberg are strangers to revisionist history or anti-Israel propaganda.

Spielberg’s most infamous movie, Munich, equated the terrorists murdering Israeli civilians with the Israeli operatives trying to stop them, and was the work of screenwriter Tony Kushner who had declared that he wished Israel had never existed. HBO has been responsible for a litany of anti-Israel flicks, most recently, Our Boys, which was protested by the families of terror victims.

But Oslo is awkward because a man linked to the world’s most notorious pedophile is its hero.

Oslo, the original play, was born when Terje Rød Larsen modestly proposed it to director Bartlett Sher who is also directing the HBO movie. The director and the diplomat are good friends.

“We were part of a historic event which we have waited twenty years to see written about,” is how Larsen pitched his story.

The “historic event” has been written to death. The so-called peace agreement has killed more people than many actual wars. The real problem was that the story was fading away. And, most particularly, Larsen’s starring role in the story which is key to his fame and his career.

The premise of Oslo is that Larsen and his wife, Mona Juul, who still serves as the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Norway Mission to the United Nations, got the “warring sides” to make peace by seeing each other as human beings for the first time. And it’s nonsense.

The true story of Oslo is how Israeli lefty radicals double-crossed their own country and government, violated laws against doing exactly what they were doing, made repeated concessions to the terrorists, and then presented a hoax of a peace agreement.

Arafat, the PLO, and the entire terrorist movement built around a fake ‘Palestinian’ nationality, never made peace, never recognized Israel, and were not going to stop killing Jews.

What was the whole thing really about? Long before Epstein, Larsen had been accused of trading cash for a Nobel Peace Prize. Kåre Kristiansen, a member of the Nobel Committee, alleged that Larsen got $100,000 from the Peres Center, a project of Israel’s notoriously corrupt left-wing foreign minister, to ensure that Shimon Peres would receive a Nobel Peace Prize.

The Norwegian government had been pumping millions of kroner into the Peres Peace Center which was writing a very large check to Larsen. Meanwhile Larsen was also sitting on the board of governors of the Peres Peace Center which was giving him an award and a big check.

The diplomat claimed that he had informed the Norwegian government to which it responded, "no one in the Foreign Ministry has known about these sums of money." There were also suggestions that it would investigate the role that Mona Juul, Larsen’s wife, who was also getting the prize money, had played in getting those millions of kroner to the Peace Center.

In 2002, a conservative Israeli government bounced Larsen, who was being billed as ‘Mr. Peace’, after he falsely accused Israel of having “lost all moral authority” while it was fighting the Islamic terrorists behind the Passover Massacre of thirty people: most of them senior citizens.

Larsen’s false claims of an Israeli massacre in Jenin that was “horrifying beyond belief”, “a shameful chapter in Israel’s history”, and rife with “the stench of death” were disproven. Even the UN’s own report found that 52 died, most of them terrorists, along with 23 Israeli soldiers.

Two years later, the PLO declared ‘Mr. Peace’ persona non-grata making Larsen’s unwantedness in the region about the only thing that the Israelis and the terrorists agreed on.

A few years later, it was discovered that all of the ‘Oslo Files’, the papers related to the so-called negotiations, had vanished from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The twists and turns in the search for those documents, and why they went missing would make for a much more interesting story than the tedious nonsense of Sher directing another glamorization of Larsen.

There are plenty of interesting angles to Larsen’s story that Spielberg and Sher won’t touch, but the real truth about Larsen is that his story matters much less than the devastation of Oslo. The backchannel wasn’t a triumph of peace, but a dirty leftist political trick that wrecked Israel’s security, touched off decades of intense violence in the region, and cost thousands of lives.

Oslo is another one of the same stories that the elite tell each other. Larsen and Sher got to know each other because their daughters attended the same Manhattan private school. Larsen and J.T. Rogers, the playwright, then met up at an “Upper West Side haunt” for drinks. Oslo did well on Broadway by way of being touted by the New York Times, and will be an HBO movie.

There is one giant hole in Oslo’s story about the power of Norwegian diplomats who send their kids to Manhattan private schools to make peace. There wasn’t and isn’t any actual peace.

The only meaningful peace accords in the region that led to normalization weren’t made by Larsen, Clinton, Peres, and Rabin, but by Trump, Netanyahu, and conservative leaders. Oslo is nostalgic peace porn from the elites who failed miserably, though not at getting rich or getting a lot of people killed, calculated to obscure the real world triumphs of Trump and Netanyahu.

Jeffrey Epstein thrived in these same elitist circles and was plugged into the same networks. When Larsen, previously earning around half a million a year as head of the IPI, needed $130,000, he was there to lend it to him. And provide cash and connections for countless members of the elite, trading favors, offering introductions, and palling around with everyone.

Oslo isn’t about Israel or Islamic terrorism. Like everything the decadent cultural industry of our country makes, it’s about that incestuous world whose key players all send their kids to the same private schools, hang out at the same bars, and agree on the same basic things. They’re also very good at not seeing things like abused teenage girls or thousands of dead people.

If Bartlett Sher wanted to make a truly relevant and groundbreaking play, he would tell the story of Jeffrey Epstein’s network and of the girls he abused, some of them the same age as his daughter. But that play, unlike his theatrical smears of American foreign policy in Afghanistan and the Middle East, would never be put on, and would be quickly sunk by the New York Times.

And Spielberg, and the rest of the gang, along with HBO, wouldn’t turn it into a movie.

The real life players and their fictional counterparts in this world give each other awards and good reviews. They write about the world, but the only world they know is their own, and despite the dictum of writing what you know, they have little interest in writing about the horrors in their own world, when they can write about how their friends brought peace to the Middle East.

Oslo unintentionally explains why the professional peacemakers failed so miserably. It wasn’t only Jeffrey Epstein’s abused girls they couldn’t see, but the limits of their own corrupt hubris. They promise to solve the problems of the people who aren’t as famous and connected as they are, but fail horribly every single time, only to spin those failures as historic successes.

And if the New York Times says so, it must be true.

The true story of Oslo is a tale of corruption, death, and bloodshed. It’s about the price that ordinary people paid when the elites got their way. It’s about Jewish senior citizens murdered while celebrating Passover, schoolgirls blown up on buses, and children shot in the head. It’s a million miles away from the world of Off-Broadway plays and Manhattan private schools, skyscraper boardrooms and Brentwood mansions that spawned Oslo’s revisionist history.

The violence unleashed by Oslo’s empowered terrorists in Israel fell heaviest on working class people riding the bus to their jobs or commuting to cheaper homes in Judea and Samaria.

While Oslo films in Prague, the terrorism continues in Israel. And Jeffrey Epstein’s old associates look forward to being able to watch Oslo’s message that the elites know best while paying no attention to the terrorism, to Larsen’s scandals, or to their own corruption.


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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