Friday, February 12, 2021

Dems’ Next Plot Against Trump - Joseph Klein

 

​ by Joseph Klein

If Senate impeachment trial fails.

 


With the Senate impeachment trial underway that is virtually certain to end in acquittal, the Democrats are already planning their next move against Donald Trump. They are looking to use an obscure clause in the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, written in the aftermath of the Civil War and aimed at disqualifying ex-Confederate rebels from public office, to bar Trump from holding any future public office. Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment allows for the disqualification of individuals from holding federal or state office who both previously (1) took an oath to support the U.S. Constitution as a federal or state government legislator or officer, and (2) then “shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

The Democrats leading the charge on the Fourteenth Amendment gambit include Senators Tim Kaine of Virginia, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, and Dick Durbin of Illinois, along with Representatives Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Steve Cohen of Tennessee. They are being advised by leftist academics who believe that Congress has the unilateral power to pass a joint resolution invoking the Fourteenth Amendment’s disqualification provision against Trump. As far as the Trump-haters are concerned, it is perfectly all right to put aside due process and fundamental fairness, so long as Trump is barred from holding public office ever again.

The Democrats’ unconstitutional Senate show trial is bad enough. The House’s lead impeachment manager has even gone so far as to suggest that Trump’s refusal to testify be used as an inference of guilt – precisely the opposite of the presumption of innocence and the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination. But even that is not enough for the Trump-haters. Assuming the likely outcome of acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial on the incitement of insurrection charge, the Democrats want to further upend the Constitution by taking another bite at the apple. This time they want to do so by majority vote of both Democrat-controlled chambers under a perverted reading of the Fourteenth Amendment. They have one insurmountable problem. The Constitution includes a specific provision prohibiting bills of attainder (Article I, Section 9, paragraph 3).

Bills of attainder have been described by the Supreme Court as legislative acts, “no matter what their form, that apply either to named individuals or to easily ascertainable members of a group in such a way as to inflict punishment on them without a judicial trial. . . .” The Court explained the rationale for prohibiting such bills of attainder in a case that dealt specifically with a statute barring certain individuals Congress deemed guilty of “subversive activities” from ever engaging in any federal government work, except as jurors or soldiers:

Those who wrote our Constitution well knew the danger inherent in special legislative acts which take away the life, liberty, or property of particular named persons, because the legislature thinks them guilty of conduct which deserves punishment. They intended to safeguard the people of this country from punishment without trial by duly constituted courts.

Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment was obviously written with those who served in the Confederacy’s military or government in mind. If ex-Confederates had previously taken an oath to support the U.S. Constitution and then engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” against the Constitution, they were automatically disqualified from serving in any federal or state office. There was an escape hatch. Congress could, by a vote of two-thirds of each chamber, remove the disqualification. Unless Trump has a time machine at his disposal, he was not an insurrectionist or rebel during the Civil War.

Congress has the power under the Fourteenth Amendment “to enforce, by appropriate legislation” its provisions. But this authority does not override or amend the Constitution’s bill of attainder clause.

What Congress can do is pass legislation criminalizing insurrection or rebellion, which is precisely what it has done (18 U.S. Code § 2383 - Rebellion or insurrection). A violation of the law can result in fines, imprisonment, and disqualification from “holding any office under the United States.”

Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment would extend that penalty to also bar individuals convicted of insurrection or rebellion, who had taken an oath to support the U.S. Constitution, from holding a state government office as well. However, The Fourteenth Amendment’s disqualification clause would kick in only if Trump is first convicted of insurrection or rebellion in a court of law with full due process. Moreover, it would be a complete travesty of justice to say the least if Trump is acquitted in the Senate impeachment trial, only to then be disqualified from public office anyway by a joint congressional resolution.  

There is a fundamental principle at stake here. The Democrats plotting yet another way to bar Donald Trump from holding any future public office are seeking retribution against Trump by any means they consider necessary. They believe that the end justifies the means. But that is not how the U.S. Constitution works. It has guardrails against abuses of power that trample on the rights of individuals. The Trump-haters’ obsession with the former president is so intense that they would first abuse the constitutional impeachment process and then twist the Fourteenth Amendment to prevent Trump from ever holding federal office again. This is an affront to the Constitution and to the right of voters to cast their votes for the candidate of their choice.

 

Joseph Klein  

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/02/dems-next-plot-against-trump-if-senate-impeachment-joseph-klein/ 

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The ‘Five Million Palestinian Refugees' - Hugh Fitzgerald

 

​ by Hugh Fitzgerald

A profitable hoax that keeps on growing.

 


Mitchell Bard has provided a detailed look at the data surrounding the claims of refugee status for five million “Palestinian refugees” here: “The Palestinian refugee hoax,” by Mitchell Bard, Israel Hayom, January 31, 2021:

The negotiation affairs department of the PLO tweeted on May 15, 2020, “Every nakba commemoration day, we mark the catastrophe that befell our people in 1948, when 957,000 Palestinians became refugees.” The truth is that number was concocted, as is the current figure of 5.7 million used by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The actual number is more likely less than 30,000.

Palestinians typically claim that 800,000 to 1,000,000 Palestinians became refugees between 1947 and 1949. The last census was taken in 1945. It found only 756,000 permanent Arab residents in Israel. On Nov. 30, 1947, the date the United Nations voted for partition, the total was 809,100. A 1949 Government of Israel census counted 160,000 Arabs living in the country after the war, which meant no more than 650,000 Palestinian Arabs could have become refugees. A report by the UN Mediator on Palestine (as of September 1948) arrived at an even lower figure: 360,000. The CIA estimate was 330,000. In 2011, historian Efraim Karsh analyzed the number of refugees by city and came up with an estimate of 583,000 to 609,000.

When the United Nations created UNRWA to assist the Palestinians, a refugee was defined as “a needy person, who, as a result of the war in Palestine, has lost his home and his means of livelihood.”

The Palestinians claim there were several hundred thousand more Arabs who left Mandatory Palestine/Israel than in fact existed in that entire territory before the war. How could between 800,000 and one million Arabs have become refugees, when the total Arab population of that area was—according to the Arabs but not according to anyone else — 810,000, and after the refugees left, there were 160,0000 Arabs still living in the country? That would mean – as a maximum – there might have been 650,000 refugees. But Bard notes that others came up with far lower numbers: the office of the UN Mediator on Palestine (hardly a hotbed of Zionism) reported there were only 360,000 Arab “refugees.” The CIA’s estimate was lower still: 330,000. It would be interesting to know how both the UN Mediator and the CIA came so close in their own estimates, and so very far from what the Arabs claimed. Note that these estimates were made soon after the 1949 war had ended, and before the ranks of the refugees were swollen by large numbers of other Arabs from Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and even Arab states farther afield, who wanted to pass themselves off as refugees from “Palestine” so as to receive the generous benefits that were being distributed by UNRWA. We still have no idea as to how many of those “Palestinian Arab refugees” were simply Arabs from other countries. Bard doesn’t mention this phenomenon, but it buttresses his general argument.

The scholar Ephraim Karsh came up with an absolute maximum of 609,000 Arab refugees (he didn’t supply his estimated minimum). So let’s keep those estimates firmly in mind when we are assured by Palestinian propagandists that there were 800,000 to one million “refugees.”

And let’s also keep in mind that in 1948 the accepted definition around the world of a “refugee” was someone who “as a result of war or other conflict, had lost his home and means of livelihood.” Any children that refugee had abroad were not considered refugees themselves. A Russian refugee who fled the Revolution and moved to Europe, where he had a child, remained a “Russian refugee,” but his child was never thought of as a refugee. A Jewish refugee from Germany – e.g., Henry Kissinger – remained a German Jewish refugee, but his child born in the U.S. was not.

And that same definition has been applied to all the hundreds of millions of refugees who have been created since World War II: “A refugee is someone who as a result of war or other conflict has himself lost his home and means of livelihood.” With one exception. Only the Arab refugees from the 1947-1949 period have had a unique rule applied to them and to no others. The condition of being a “Palestinian refugee” has, since UNRWA ‘s very beginning, been treated as an inheritable trait. A Palestinian refugee’s son, grandson, great-grandson are all treated as, and receive benefits from being considered,“Palestinian refugees.” Thus there are more “Palestinian refugees” born every day, and there is no way, as long as the current bizarre definition of “Palestinian refugee” prevails, to put an end to those ever-increasing rolls.

Initially, UNRWA had a list of 950,000 names, but the agency knew that this number was inaccurate. UNRWA accepted most claims while acknowledging that, for example, many Palestinians did not report deaths in their families so they could continue to collect rations for the deceased. The agency admitted that many fraudulent cases were discovered but was unable to remove undeserving individuals from the relief rolls. It also knew that it would not get any cooperation from the refugees themselves. UNRWA was petrified, however, of criticism for failing to address the humanitarian problem:

From its very beginning, UNRWA was the victim of several kinds of fraud. And since most of those staffing UNRWA were themselves Palestinian Arab refugees, they had no desire to root out that fraud but, instead, turned a blind eye to it. Of course the list of 950,000 names was preposterous, but UNRWA refused to reject that figure. Among the frauds was multiple counting. The more children in a refugee’s family, the greater the benefits that family would receive for housing, food, and general maintenance. Those children might then be “lent” to another refugee family, most often relatives, and then that second family could claim those same children as their own, and see their benefits increase accordingly. Even when the fraud was detected – as when the same staff member went to both families and recognized the children, UNRWA found it almost impossible to remove those engaged in fraud from the rolls; it would have roiled the agency’s Arab staff. Besides, why not let a few hundred thousand more impoverished Arabs be supported by the rich Western donors to UNRWA?

Another kind of fraud involved the dead: Palestinian Arab refugees who died were seldom removed from the rolls, but kept on for as long as possible, so that their families would continue to receive benefits—especially ration coupons –that the deceased had received when alive.

UNRWA accepted from its very inception an inflated initial list of 950,000 names. That number of “refugees” was larger, by at least 150,000, than the total number of Arabs that had been living in Mandatory Palestine/Israel. Indeed, if we are to believe the CIA, there were only 330,000 Arab refugees – about one-third the number UNRWA declared. A considerable number of those who managed to get onto UNRWA’s rolls from its earliest days were not Palestinian Arabs at all but, rather, Arabs from Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and even farther afield, who were eager to pass themselves off as “Palestinian Arab refugees” and receive all the benefits available to such refugees from UNRWA. The swelling of UNRWA’s rolls, through fraudulent practices deliberately overlooked by UNRWA staffers who were themselves either Palestinian Arab refugees or other Arabs sympathetic to the Palestinians, continues to this day: multiple-counting of children, ascribed to more than one family; failure to remove the dead from the rolls, so that posthumously they continue to receive benefits; and finally, the failure to weed out those non-Palestinian Arabs who early on passed themselves off as refugees deserving of, and consequently receiving, generous UNRWA benefits.

Conferring refugee status on non-refugees in the first instance has created a situation that cannot be ignored but removing it exposes the Agency to unwarranted and unfair criticism from the misinformed public as well as fanatical opposition on the part of the undeserving recipient and his friends and supporters.

Mitchell Bard’s view is that the unique definition of a “Palestinian refugee” as applying to all those descended, however many generations have passed, from an original “Palestinian refugee” who did indeed leave Mandatory Palestine/Israel, will be difficult to undo but, at the very least, ought to be attempted. Were UNRWA forced to impose the universal definition of a refugee in the case of the Palestinians, that misinformed public Bard mentions might indeed heap “unwarranted and unfair criticism” on the agency. But UNRWA should not shirk its duty to end this state of affairs; it deserves plenty of criticism – not for now wishing to end the special status –, but for having allowed it in the first place, and having let it continue, unchallenged, for 70 years. Besides, why should we care if UNRWA is subject to criticism; it is solely responsible for the current absurdly inflated rolls of recipients of benefits, by not having firmly opposed that unique definition of who can claim to be a “Palestinian refugee” in the first place.

Photo: AFP

 

Hugh Fitzgerald  

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/02/five-million-palestinian-refugees-hugh-fitzgerald/ 

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Biden Takes 'Death to America' Terrorists Off Terror List, Replaces Them With Republicans - Daniel Greenfield

 

​ by Daniel Greenfield

Democrats say Muslim terrorists aren’t terrorists, but their political opponents are.

 


The Biden administration responded to protests against its stolen election by embedding a domestic extremism office into the National Security Council. The man in charge of making it happen, Joshua Geltzer, had previously denied that Black Lives Matter was a terrorist threat and had attacked the Trump administration’s response to Antifa and BLM violence in Portland.

That means that the only domestic extremists the NSC will be fighting are Republicans.

Even while the Biden administration is preparing to double down on Obama’s abuse of the national security state to target his political opponents, it’s also giving real terrorists a pass.

Joe Biden, whose biggest bundlers included the Iran Lobby, announced he was ending support for American allies fighting the Houthis, and then went even further by preparing to remove the terrorist organization whose motto is, “Death to America”, which took American hostages and tried to kill American sailors, from the list of designated foreign terrorist organizations.

The motto of Iran’s Houthi Jihadis is, "Allahu Akbar, Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse the Jews, Victory to Islam." The Houthis took over parts of Yemen as a result of the chaos unleashed by Obama’s pro-Islamist Arab Spring. Since then they’ve been engaged in a protracted war while causing a local famine by confiscating food from the local population.

Last year, the Trump administration had finally secured the release of three American hostages, Sandra Loli, an American aid worker who had been held for 3 years, another American who had been held for a year, and the body of a third American, in exchange for 240 Houthis, including three dozen Islamic terrorists who had been trained in the use of missiles and drones by Iran.

Like those launched at the USS Mason.

The Houthis lived up to their “Death to America” slogan by repeatedly launching cruise missiles at the USS Mason which had been protecting shipping in the area. And they lived up to the second half of their slogan by ethnically cleansing the remaining local Jewish population, locking them up, and confiscating their homes and land. Local reports stated that the Houthis were “cutting off water & electricity to Jewish homes and preventing Jews from purchasing food."

“No Jew would be allowed to stay here,” one of the Jewish refugees said.

The Iran-backed Islamic terrorists fight using 18,000 child soldiers. The soldiers, many abducted, some as young as 10, are taught to hate America and to kill enemies of Iran.

None of this stopped Biden’s State Department from taking the Houthis off the terror list.

“Secretary Blinken has been clear about undertaking an expeditious review of the designations of Ansarallah,” the State Department claimed. “After a comprehensive review, we can confirm that the Secretary intends to revoke the Foreign Terrorist Organization and Specially Designated Global Terrorist designations of Ansarallah.”

‘Ansarallah’ or ‘Defenders of Allah’ is what the Houthis call themselves. Blinken had only been confirmed on Tuesday. By next Friday, he had already somehow completed the “comprehensive review”, amid all the other minor business like China, Russia, and a global pandemic, and decided that the Islamic terrorists whose motto is “Death to America” aren’t really terrorists.

How can the Biden administration deny that Islamic Jihadis backed by Iran who attacked Americans are terrorists? The State Department claimed that this, “has nothing to do with our view of the Houthis and their reprehensible conduct, including attacks against civilians and the kidnapping of American citizens." Not to mention the attacks on the USS Mason.

But the Biden administration isn’t even going to pretend to care about attacks on our military.

The Bidenites are claiming that they're taking the Houthis, whom they don't deny are terrorists, off the list of designated terrorist groups because of the "humanitarian consequences".

That’s a lie, no matter how often you hear it in the media, because Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States would be providing licenses to “humanitarian activities conducted by non-governmental organizations in Yemen and to certain transactions and activities related to exports to Yemen of critical commodities like food and medicine.”

That’s despite the fact that the humanitarian crisis in Yemen was caused by the Houthis.

Nevertheless the media, echoing propaganda from the Iran Lobby and Qatar, a close terrorist ally of Iran, has falsely claimed that the Houthis are the victims of the Yemen famine. A number of politicians, mostly Democrats, but some Republicans, as well as various aid groups, have pushed this same disinformation campaign about the causes of the Yemen famine.

America and its allies have spent billions providing food, medicine, and other humanitarian aid to Yemen. That aid has been seized by the Houthis who have used it for their own troops or to resell on the black market. This is a familiar problem from Syria to Somalia, and aid groups have refused to honestly address their complicity in aiding the terrorists who caused the crisis.

There’s no money in admitting that the aid an organization is providing is being seized by the terrorists, prolonging the conflict and worsening the humanitarian crisis. Some aid organizations share the same goal as the Houthis of worsening the crisis because it boosts their donations.

That’s why international aid organizations don’t want to talk about the Houthis taking their food donations, or about their use of child soldiers. “It’s a taboo,” an anonymous aid official had said.

When Secretary Pompeo announced that the United States was finally designating the Houthis a foreign terrorist organization, the United Nations took the lead in claiming that it would cause a humanitarian crisis. But the UN's World Food Program had already admitted that its food shipments weren't getting to the starving people because the Houthis were intercepting them.

The Middle East director for UNICEF also admitted that the Houthis were seizing food.

An Associated Press investigation found entire stores seling "cooking oil and flour displaying the U.N. food program’s WFP logo." The former Houthi education minister said that 15,000 food baskets that were supposed to go to hungry families instead went to the Houthi terrorists whom the Biden administration is defending. Massive amounts of aid have been pumped into Yemen, and the famine has only grown worse because the Houthis have used starvation as a weapon.

The only way to end the famine is to end Iran’s grip on Yemen through its Houthi terrorists.

That’s obviously not what Biden or the Democrats have in mind. The loudest Democrat voices against designating the Houthis as a terrorist group have a troubling history with Iran.

"Reversing the designation is an important decision that will save lives and, combined with the appointment of a Special Envoy, offers hope that President Biden is committed to bringing the war to an end,” Senator Chris Murphy tweeted.

Murphy had been among the loudest voices against the designation.

And Murphy had met with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif last year. That same year, he had advocated lowering sanctions on Iran for “humanitarian reasons”. Biden had also joined the push to use the pandemic as a pretext for reducing sanctions on the terror state.

That same year, the Left succeeded in forcing out Rep. Elliot Engel, one of the few remaining pro-Israel Democrats, and replaced him with the militantly anti-Israel Rep. Jamaal Bowman, whose election was backed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and her antisemitic ‘Squad’.

Engel, who had served as Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was replaced by Rep. Gregory Meeks, a strong backer of the Iran Deal. Meeks’ position was cheered by Iran Lobby groups. As far back as 2009, Meeks had declared at a hearing, “I have developed a tremendous appreciation for the work of the National Iranian American Council. I am pleased that we will hear the perspective of NIAC’s President, Mr. Trita Parsi.”

Emails released allegedly showed Parsi telling Iran's Foreign Minister, "I am having a meeting with Gilchrest and Meeks, and they asked for our assistance in getting some communication going between the parliamentarians."

Speaking to the Islamic Republic News Agency, the official state news agency of the Islamic terrorist state, Chairman Meeks allegedly stated that he was willing to travel to Iran and had been engaged in dialogue with Iranian legislators.

Meeks took the lead in attacking the designation of the Houthi Islamic terrorists as terrorists, arguing that, “No solution in Yemen will be sustainable unless the Houthis are involved.”

And that gets at the real reason why Biden and Democrats oppose the designation.

It’s not about humanitarian aid, which would have kept on going anyway, only to be stolen by the Houthis. It’s about supporting Iran’s bid to take over parts of Yemen in order to control shipping and tighten the grip of the Islamic terrorist regime over the entire region.

The ‘diplomatic’ solution advocated by Biden and the Democrats would finalize Iran’s grip over parts of Yemen. Designating the Houthis as terrorists would get in the way of another in a series of Islamist dirty deals with Iran that began with Obama and that will continue on under Biden.

Even while the Democrats insist loudly that the Houthis must be part of the solution in Yemen, they just as vocally cry that the Republicans must be isolated and eliminated in America.

The Democrats militarized D.C. with an armed occupation and are criminalizing political dissent. They have claimed that one riot, after a year full of them by their own activist wing, requires a permanent state of emergency that will be run through the National Security Council.

The Biden administration is not only taking the Houthis, and likely other Islamic terrorist groups, off the terror list, it’s putting the domestic political opposition on its terror list. This is an extension of the same Obama policy that illegally shipped foreign cash to Iran even while it was using the NSA to spy on pro-Israel members of Congress and on the Trump campaign.

The Democrats are happy to fight terrorism by designating their domestic political opponents as terrorists while removing the “Death to America” Houthis who have kidnapped and killed Americans, who fired on the USS Mason, and ethnically cleansed Jews, from the terror list.

And what do the Houthis plan to do with their newfound support from the Biden administration?

In addition to sanctioning the Houthis, the Trump administration sanctioned three of their leaders, beginning with Abdul Malik al-Houthi. The Houthi leader has made it clear that he intends to build up the same missile program that was used to attack the USS Mason.

“To have rockets that could reach far beyond Riyadh, this is a great achievement,” he said, referring to the Saudi capital.

He also promised to send terrorists to fight against Israel.

“Many of Yemen's tribesmen are ambitious to fight against Israel, and they are looking for the day to participate along with the freemen of the Islamic nation against the Israeli enemy,"

This is the terrorist group that the Biden administration and the Democrats are bailing out even while they’re criminalizing the Republican political opposition as terrorists.

“Death to America” is something that the Houthis and their Democrat supporters can agree on.

 

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/02/biden-takes-death-america-terrorists-terror-list-daniel-greenfield/ 

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The International Criminal Court Threatens Middle East Peace - Richard Kemp

 

​ by Richard Kemp

The ICC's design against Israel is the latest in a long history of endeavours to subjugate and scourge unwilling Jewish people deemed incapable of regulating themselves.

  • The International Criminal Court (ICC) has long had its sights on what it no doubt considers an unholy trinity: Israel, the US and Britain.... First, these are the three Western democracies most active in using legitimate military force to defend their interests. This is anathema to the left-liberal doctrine of ICC officials and their soul-mates in such morally dissipated places as the UN Human Rights Council. Second, they wish to virtue signal, deflecting criticism that the court is biased against African states....

  • Yet by its charter, dealing with countries that lack the will or capability to bring their own to justice is the sole purpose of the ICC. This does apply to some states in Africa and elsewhere but demonstrably does not apply to Israel, the US or Britain, each of which have long-established and globally respected legal systems.

  • The ICC's design against Israel is the latest in a long history of endeavours to subjugate and scourge unwilling Jewish people deemed incapable of regulating themselves. When you examine the unexampled contortions the court has gone through just to get to this point, you have no choice but to question whether antisemitism is the motive.

  • The effects of the ICC's decision will be profound. This is only the end of the beginning. Unless halted, investigations into spurious allegations of war crimes will go on for years, perhaps decades, creating a global bonanza for all who hate Israel, including at the UN, the European Union, various governments and in universities and so-called human rights groups.

  • But the most detrimental effect of the ICC's decision will be felt by Palestinian Arab people who, for decades, have been abused as political pawns by their leaders and who would be the greatest beneficiaries of any peace agreement with Israel. The ICC's ruling makes such a deal even more remote today.

  • In an unprecedented move early last year Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Australia, Canada, Uganda and Brazil petitioned the ICC, of which all are members, arguing that a formal investigation could not be launched as the Palestinian Authority does not meet the definition of a state under the Rome Statute that established and governs the court.

The International Criminal Court's imperious judgement on its own authority over Israel is not only detrimental to peace, it also undermines the credibility of the court itself. Pictured: The ICC building in The Hague, Netherlands. (Image source: OSeveno/Wikimedia Commons)

The International Criminal Court (ICC) waited until after US President Joe Biden took the oath of office before unilaterally handing itself territorial jurisdiction over Israel — more than a full year since the pre-trial chamber was asked to rule on the matter. Mindful of President Donald J. Trump's sanctions against ICC staff, including revoking Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's US entry visa, and his warnings against efforts to brand Israel and other allies as war criminals, court officials lacked the steel to make an announcement while he remained in the Oval Office.

The ICC has long had its sights on what it no doubt considers an unholy trinity: Israel, the US and Britain. Its reasons are twofold. First, these are the three Western democracies most active in using legitimate military force to defend their interests. This is anathema to the left-liberal doctrine of ICC officials and their soul-mates in such morally dissipated places as the UN Human Rights Council. Second, they wish to virtue signal, deflecting criticism that the court is biased against African states, which led to South Africa, Burundi and The Gambia threatening withdrawal in 2016. Yet by its charter, dealing with countries that lack the will or capability to bring their own to justice is the sole purpose of the ICC. This does apply to some states in Africa and elsewhere but demonstrably does not apply to Israel, the US or Britain, each of which have long-established and globally respected legal systems.

Bensouda failed to get her way with the US and UK. Despite having submitted more than 20,000 pages of documentation in support of her demand for a formal investigation into alleged crimes by US forces in Afghanistan over a 15-year period, the pre-trial chamber turned her down, in part due to a rightful US refusal to cooperate with a body that it considers likely to abuse its power. Having first closed a preliminary examination into allegations against UK forces in Iraq in 2006, Bensouda then re-opened her investigation in 2014 but was forced to shut it down again in 2020 with an admission that "none of the potential cases arising from the situation would be admissible before the ICC".

So for the time being, Israel remains the prize, despite the dissenting opinion of Hungarian Judge Peter Kovacs, one of the three justices who determined the ICC's jurisdiction:

"I find neither the Majority's approach nor its reasoning appropriate in answering the question before this Chamber, and in my view, they have no legal basis in the Rome Statute, and even less so, in public international law."

Israel was always highest on Bensouda's list, urged on by a Palestinian Authority intent on undermining the Jewish state through a dual strategy of brainwashing its own people to precipitate violence, and manipulating international entities such as the ICC to delegitimise lawful defensive efforts. Bensouda has also been encouraged by a vengeful UN Human Rights Council, which has for years made untold efforts to force Israelis into the dock, obsessing on this malevolent mission at the expense of genuine human rights abuses.

The ICC's design against Israel is the latest in a long history of endeavours to subjugate and scourge unwilling Jewish people deemed incapable of regulating themselves. When you examine the unexampled contortions the court has gone through just to get to this point, you have no choice but to question whether antisemitism is the motive.

The effects of the ICC's decision will be profound. This is only the end of the beginning. Unless halted, investigations into spurious allegations of war crimes will go on for years, perhaps decades, creating a global bonanza for all who hate Israel, including at the UN, the European Union, various governments and in universities and so-called human rights groups. Although determining jurisdiction does not imply guilt, it will be widely portrayed as just that and utilised to stir up hatred and violence against Israelis and Jews everywhere.

But the most detrimental effect of the ICC's decision will be felt by Palestinian Arab people who, for decades, have been abused as political pawns by their leaders and who would be the greatest beneficiaries of any peace agreement with Israel. The ICC's ruling makes such a deal even more remote today.

After years of counterproductive peace processing by the US, the EU and others, the Abraham Accords of 2020 for the first time brought an actual possibility — however slight — of peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. Contrary to former US Secretary of State John Kerry's categorical assurance in 2016 that "there will be no separate peace between Israel and the Arab world without the Palestinian process" — his infamous four "no"s — that is exactly what happened last year.

It came as a severe blow to Palestinian leaders who have consistently rejected all efforts at peace, most recently by Presidents Obama and Trump. Instead of trying to arrive at an understanding with Israel, they have remained intent on squandering vast sums of overseas aid for their personal benefit and on their malign anti-Israel programme, while using the hapless peace processors to gain concession after concession from the Jewish state but themselves making none.

The Palestinian leadership have also counted heavily on backing from other countries in the Middle East. But the steady dissipation of support from Arab leaders, exasperated by their intransigence, became increasingly worrisome for the Palestinians. The fears of the Palestinian leaders exploded into a catastrophe — another "nakba" — when the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco, backed by Saudi Arabia, signed up to the Abraham Accords. As the Abraham process powered on at the end of last year, some among the Palestinian leadership apparently realised the game might be up. Angry denunciation of their Arab neighbours seemed to dwindle into sullen resignation as they floundered around for an answer.

Now could have been the time when the likes of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas concluded there may be no other course than to find some way of treating with the Israelis. It was impossible for him to conceal what was going on in the Middle East beyond the West Bank, with the growing realisation among his benighted people that it may after all be conceivable to work with, rather than against, Israel, as their brothers in Dubai were doing.

Here was an opportunity for creative diplomacy by the Biden administration. On the one hand encouraging further progress in the Abraham project while on the other restoring ties with the Palestinians after their refusal of any relationship with the hated Trump. A dexterous approach, rather than a return to the washed-out Kerry peace processing, have taken advantage of the Palestinian leadership's new nakba in the interests of peace and prosperity for their people.

Enter the ICC pre-trial chamber, throwing a lifeline to Abbas and his henchmen's malevolence. Hussein al-Sheikh, PA civil affairs minister, declared the ruling "a victory for rights, justice, freedom and moral values in the world". Although al-Sheikh's description is the diametric opposite of reality, for the PA it is certainly a major diplomatic triumph. In any conflict, even a symbolic morale boost can turn the tide, reviving flagging spirits and restoring the will to fight on.

Thus the ill-judged insertion of the ICC into the conflict, especially in such legally untenable and contested circumstances, makes even more difficult the potential for genuine dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians, which is the only realistic path for bringing about peace between them. Effectively, the ICC's determination to criminalize the longstanding political dispute can lead only to further polarisation as mutual recriminations are incentivised. In other words, it will exacerbate the conflict, not contribute to its resolution, at the very moment when resolution may have been closer than ever.

In an unprecedented move early last year, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Australia, Canada, Uganda and Brazil petitioned the ICC, of which all are members, arguing that a formal investigation could not be launched as the Palestinian Authority does not meet the definition of a state under the Rome Statute that established and governs the court. These countries, whose objections to the legitimacy of the legal process were overruled, should now vehemently protest the ICC's decision on jurisdiction, also legally unjustifiable.

The ICC's imperious judgement on its own authority over Israel is not only detrimental to peace, it also undermines the credibility of the court itself. Both are consequences so serious that responsible member states should consider at least temporarily defunding the ICC pending fundamental reform. As a non-member, the US should renew and reinforce its actions against court officials rather than the Biden administration's likely inclination to end the sanctions.

 

Colonel Richard Kemp is a former British Army Commander. He was also head of the international terrorism team in the U.K. Cabinet Office and is now a writer and speaker on international and military affairs.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/17051/international-criminal-court-threatens-peace 

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Republicans Need to Stop Accepting Progressives’ 'Facts' - Bruce Thornton

 

​ by Bruce Thornton

How the self-proclaimed party of “science” is undermining democracy.


As the self-proclaimed party of “science,” progressives assert that their interpretations and explanations of people and events comprise “facts” that only the ignorant or evil refuse to believe. But this faith in science more often reflects the nostrums of scientism: contested ideas or beliefs that present themselves with the jargon, formulas, and quantitative data that characterize real scientific research, but that lack the reproducibility and established foundational facts that support authentic scientific research.

As such, these “facts” of scientism reflect ideological and political aims that appropriate the prestige and authority of science to camouflage their partisan prejudices. Unfortunately, too many Republicans in their public discourse and deliberations accept these “facts” as truth, thus empowering technocratic progressives by legitimizing their malign policies.

Climate change, of course, is a prominent example of this phenomenon. But anthropogenic, catastrophic global warming (ACGW)––the actual theory disguised by the banal, self-evident phrase “climate change”––is not a scientific fact, but a theory with some facts that support it, but others that challenge it. Our foundational knowledge of global climate as of now is too incomplete, and so is unable to create a predictive model because we do not yet fully understand or can quantify how all the numerous components that govern global climate over time interrelate. Yet based just on one element, human-created CO2 concentrations, warmists conclude that doomsday for the planet is around the corner.

Despite that uncertainty, too many Republicans accept the “scientific consensus” and “settled science” canards and support carbon taxes or other policies created by Joe Biden’s executive orders, like the ban on fracking. But carbon taxes, even if ACGW is true, will only increase the price of energy, while doing nothing about the true drivers of increased CO2––China and India.

A more immediate example of this Republican bad habit are the multiple, bipartisan claims that the recent presidential election was not compromised by fraud­, and so contrary claims that there was fraud are counterfactual fantasies of partisan conspiracy theorists. For decades this claim, along with the contention of wide-spread “voter suppression” of minority voters, has been a Democrat talking point aimed at eliminating voter identification requirements and increasing the use of mail-in ballots.

But the numerous evidence that something untoward took place last November 6 cannot be dismissed by mere assertion or slurs about “conspiracy” theories. Most of that evidence has been marginalized by calling it circumstantial. But as Thoreau said, a “trout in the milk” may be circumstantial evidence, but it’s pretty strong, since the trout obviously didn’t swim into the milk pail.

The big “trout” in the last election is the huge increase in mail-in ballots––more than twice as many as in 2016. Mail-in ballots are inherently prone to fraud, since the chain of custody of the ballot from voter to vote-counter is vulnerable to interference and manipulation. That’s a major reason why only a quarter of 166 countries allow mail-in ballots. Another “trout” in the last election comprises the rejection rates of such ballots: In 2020, rejection rates for non-matching signatures were nearly half as much as in 2016, and a third less for a missing voter signatures.

Given that only 43,000 votes in three swing-states, out of 159 million total votes cast, decided the election, it is reasonable to suspect that some fraud had taken place. We know from previous elections that voter fraud regularly occurs, so to claim no fraud took place in 2020 is an assertion, not a fact. If one admits that fraud took place, but not enough to change the outcome, that too is not a fact. No one knows the actual number of fraudulent ballots was less than 43,000.

These and other anomalies, such as election laws being illegally changed just before the election, that should have triggered an investigation to settle whether or not fraud determined the outcome. Given the importance of the integrity of our elections, we should not rely on mere assertion from either party. But no one other than Trump supporters seemed interested in conducting such an investigation. Instead, the media and the political establishment rushed to claim as a fact that fraud was not abundant enough to reach beyond 43,000. But that claim is no more a fact than the claim that the election “was stolen.”

Another spurious “factual” claim regards the rally Trump held at the Ellipse in D.C. on January 6. The brief invasion of the Capitol lobby and some legislators’ offices by a breakaway group of Trump supporters is alleged to have been “instigated” by the President’s speech in order to overturn the results of the election. That this charge is considered a fact is evident in the articles of impeachment–– filed in House with support from 10 Republican House members–– which include fomenting “rebellion.” Other Republican politicians and pundits have joined the Dems in accepting as a fact that Trump is responsible for the invasion and thus encouraging an “insurrection.”

But that claim is not a fact, but an allegation on the part of those suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome. The transcript of Trump’s speech only mentions that the participants “peacefully and patriotically” exercise their First Amendment “right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The vast majority of protestors did just that, with only a small number turning to violence.

Moreover, there is evidence that the perpetrators came prepared with weapons, zip-ties, and other implements visible during last year’s five months of rioting, vandalism, arson, and violence led by BLM and Antifa. Many of the rioters at the Capitol didn’t even attend Trump’s speech at the Ellipse. It’s hard to argue that these groups were “egged on” by Trump. Finally, at least one Capitol rioter has been arrested and identified as a BLM participant from last year’s violent protests. If the authorities release information on others apprehended and charged, we may find more “false flag” participants. Then again, we may not. To say that the violence was completely a “false flag” operation is not a factual assertion, any more than the charge that Trump willfully and knowingly “instigated” the invasion of the Capitol is factual.

The charge against Trump, then, is not based on facts, but on partisan interests, spiteful vengeance, and irrational hatred.

These are just a few examples of progressives who brandish the banner of “science” but in fact are driven by the “passions and interests” that Madison identified as the tragic, permanent truths of human nature. The commentary and policies regarding the Wuhan Virus, such as keeping children out of school, or closing down restaurants and other small businesses, reflect the same bad habit of cloaking ideology in the guise of science. Such behavior shouldn’t surprise us, given that progressives are relativists who use “any means necessary” to achieve their aim to aggrandize more and more power.

But for the self-proclaimed party of conservatism to endorse such a politicized definition of “fact” is shameful. Conservatives should know that there is such a thing as truth and virtue, goods beyond mere ideology and partisan interest. Moreover, they also are supposed to know that truth is critical for a democracy. As French philosopher Jean Fran├žois Revel put it,

Democracy cannot thrive without a certain diet of truth. It cannot survive if the degree of truth in current circulation falls below a minimal level. A democratic regime, founded on the free determination of choices by a majority, condemns itself to death if most of the citizens who have to choose between various options make their decisions in ignorance of reality, blinded by passions or misled by fleeting impressions.

Truth, then, is democracy’s immune system. When conservatives go along with progressive manufactured “facts,” they weaken our political freedom and hasten its decline. They should know better.

 

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

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/02/republicans-need-stop-accepting-progressives-facts-bruce-thornton/ 

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Alexei Navalny and Public Dissent in Russia - Emil Avdaliani

 

​ by Emil Avdaliani

The Kremlin has a problem on its hands no matter what it does.

 


BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,928, February 11, 2021

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The massive protests staged in Russia by supporters of opposition leader Alexei Navalny pose a serious threat to the country’s political elite. The Kremlin has a problem on its hands no matter what it does. Whether Navalny is kept in prison or released, his movement will be strengthened, and it has the potential to fuse to broader public dissent over Russia’s long-term economic performance and government ineffectiveness.

Huge protests recently held in Russia over the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny could become a countrywide movement against the ruling political elite. The immediate reasons for the large public demonstrations are the poisoning of Navalny and a series of videos of corruption schemes that incriminate President Vladimir Putin himself.

Other factors, however, are the real driving force behind the protests. They include anger over falling living standards, pandemic-related troubles, diminished political freedom, and Putin’s decision to effectively remain in power beyond 2024. Though the latest protests could have been partly motivated by earlier local movements, such as the Moscow protests of summer 2019 or the regional ones that occurred in 2019–2020 in Khabarovsk, Yekaterinburg, and Shiyes, they are different in that they represent a new stage in Russian public dissent.

The first indicator that these rallies are different is their sheer size. Totaling nearly 100,000 people, they were the largest nationwide displays of dissent in recent years. The detention of 3,700 people greatly exceeds the detentions that occurred during the wave of anti-Kremlin protests that rocked Russia in 2011 and 2012.

Another indicator is the way the protests have spread. Citizens in nearly 100 cities across the country took to the streets. Historically, Putin enjoyed the advantage of Russia’s geography, which precluded the spread of public dissent. Much has changed, however, as modern technologies have enabled the coordination of simultaneous protests across Russia’s vast territory.

For nearly a decade, the Russian authorities treated Alexei Navalny like a minor political headache. High-level officials even shied away from referring to him by name—an apparently imperious form of behavior that in fact reflected an inherent problem within the Russian governing elite.

The way the Navalny problem was handled revealed that there are at least three different strains of thought on how to deal with him within the Russian government. Had the leadership been monolithic in its vision, Navalny might not have been poisoned in the first place. The decision to attempt to assassinate him catapulted him to the status of a national figure, though many Russian citizens disagree with his political views.

Not long ago, many of them had no idea who Alexei Navalny was, but he is now famous enough to pose a direct threat to the leadership. In the aftermath of his poisoning in Siberia and recovery in Germany, Navalny is Russia’s second most prominent voice abroad after Putin. He has become a politician with a global reach.

The momentum for the protests was partly fueled by a growing anti-regime, anti-elite, and anti-corruption sentiment among the population. This was long in coming and is not directly related to Navalny’s anti-corruption investigation videos. Russia is experiencing what many former Soviet states experienced in the 1990s and the early 2000s—a struggle for a more effective government, more accountability, transparency over public spending, and most of all, the ability to change the government through elections.

Western observers who are hoping the dissent will generate a liberal movement may be disappointed. Though some degree of a liberal mood might be present, the protests are not necessarily either pro-Western or pro-democracy. Very young people have not been a dominating force. The crowds have included middle-aged, middle-class Russians—members of the urban, post-industrial working class who work in the service sector or at office jobs. These people are frustrated with the government’s economic performance, the ruble’s performance, and inflation. It is little wonder that over 40% of the crowds were protesting for the first time.

Another novelty is that the crowds openly targeted the Russian president. Considering that the dissent has gone national, this is a serious challenge to Putin and to the entire regime. According to independent pollster Levada, many Russians still view Putin as irreplaceable, and his approval rating stood at nearly 65% as recently as November 2020—but this support is primarily motivated by fear of the chaos that could erupt after his departure rather than by love of the man himself.

The memory of the troubled 1990s is still fresh, but it will be increasingly difficult for the Russian government to play that card. A growing number of people who grew up under Putin do not remember the post-Soviet era. Many of them want a higher standard of living and a more effective government.

The severity of the crackdown on the protesters suggests nervousness within the regime. On July 27, 2019, 1,373 people were rounded up in what was at the time the largest single detention of protesters in years—but at the Navalny protests, almost 3,700 people were taken into custody. The scale of the challenge was also indicated in a surprising statement given by Putin denying his ownership of the palace when directly asked about it during a video conference.

The protests might result in a worsening of the government’s policy on freedom of speech. New regulations and laws will likely be introduced as the crackdown on the Navalny movement intensifies. Yet a new tradition of protest is being established, possibly influenced by foreign examples.

Russia’s neighbors have already experienced popular revolutions. Russia is much larger, of course, and the influence of the smaller states should not be overstated—but it would be an error to ignore them entirely. In Belarus, the opposition has been trying for months to remove President Alexander Lukashenko, who won an election many believe was rigged. Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Kyrgyzstan have all experienced revolutions during Putin’s tenure.

Public dissent in Russia has become matter of international relations. Russian leaders have to contend with Western demands that Navalny be released. Their dilemma is that releasing him would further embolden the protesters, but imprisoning him indefinitely could further radicalize them. While no significant challenge to the ruling power is likely to be made in the near future, the protests collectively represent a general worsening of the public’s attitude toward the government, and they are likely to continue across the country.

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Emil Avdaliani teaches history and international relations at Tbilisi State University and Ilia State University. He has worked for various international consulting companies and currently publishes articles on military and political developments across the former Soviet space. 

Source: https://besacenter.org/perspectives-papers/alexei-navalny-dissent-russia/ 

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Teachers' union pet: Biden moves the goalposts again on re-openiong schools - Monica Showalter

 

​ by Monica Showalter

Biden's claim to be re-opening schools is beyond pathetic.

To the extent that Joe Biden drew votes, a very big reason was the expectation from parents and students that he would re-open the public schools, currently on extended shutdown over COVID concerns.  That was his promise, that was a signature issue, with many pixels spilled in multiple spots on Biden's campaign website supporting the claim that he was serious about re-opening schools.

Now that he's in office, too bad for those who actually believed him.

Instead of re-opening the schools, Biden's re-drawn himself a goal line for school re-opening so pathetic, so wretched, so insignificant that it's actually lower than what's already going on now in school reopenings. 

School re-openings, it seems, no longer mean school re-openings the way normal people see them.  In Bidenland, school re-openings mean lots and lots more Zoom school, with just lip service, a little grope maybe, to the idea of re-opening.

According to the Washington Examiner:

President Biden hopes to have the majority of students learning in school at least one day a week by April 30, press secretary Jen Psaki said in a press briefing.

"His goal that he set is to have the majority of schools, so more than 50%, open by day 100 of his presidency," Psaki said. "And that means some teaching in classrooms. So, at least one day a week. Hopefully, it's more, and obviously, it is as much as is safe in each school and local district."

Asked what that meant for teachers and in-person instruction, Psaki clarified that teachers should be in the classroom at least one day a week.

"Teaching at least one day a week in the majority of schools by day 100," Psaki responded, confirming that she was referring to "in-person teaching."

Fox News pointed out that the "goal" was complete bee ess, given that 66% of schools, actually, are already open.  Unless Biden means to shut a few, to crow about that magic 50%-plus majority claim (which may easily be lower than the current 66%), any enactment of the Biden plan would mean no progress whatsoever on school re-opening.  That train has already passed.  Biden voters just got stiffed.

Yet Biden claimed that school reopenings were a "priority," in sharp contrast with Orange Man Bad, who, Biden claimed, "didn't have a plan."  Teachers' unions come first, and too bad about students, because as with all things Biden, it's about the cash.  According to Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen

[I]n 2020, teachers unions gave $43.7 million in political contributions, 98 percent of which went to Democrats. The No. 1 recipient of teachers union cash? Joe Biden.

Fact is, teachers' unions are the Biden priority, so now he's trying to pee down his voters' legs and tell them it's raining with his school re-opening "goal."  Voters are supposed to be happy with those miserable crumbs in a box full of Zoom.

Biden has a creepy habit of conflating what teachers' unions want with what parents want, which are two grossly different things.  There's no such thing in his mind as balancing competing interests.  Unity, you see.  Notice the conflation, emphasis mine:

Trump has done effectively nothing to help schools or child care providers reopen, perhaps the single most important step to get parents back to work. While schools stay closed, parents are struggling and students, especially low-income students and students of color, are falling behind. Biden would mobilize the federal government, in cooperation with educators, child care providers, unions, communities, and families, to take decisive action. 

Memo to families: You don't count; you're just filler.  You're there for the pictures.  You're there for the show.  Biden is never going to re-open schools so long as teachers' unions have the final word.

And to Biden, the teachers' unions and their money are so important that they are actually allowed to defy what Biden calls "the science."  Biden claimed that he would "follow the science" from the Centers for Disease Control.

Here it is on Biden's own campaign website:

  • Working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health to share with educators and families evolving scientific insights into how COVID-19 affects children. Biden has called for scaling up COVID-19 pediatric research partnerships to address glaring gaps in our knowledge.

Turns out that the CDC has stated that schools could re-open safely.  According to Thiessen, they're actually defying the "science":

[H]is handpicked director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rochelle Walensky, said last week that "schools can safely reopen" and "vaccination of teachers is not a prerequisite for the safe reopening of schools," the Biden White House slapped her down, with press secretary Jen Psaki insisting that Walensky was speaking in her "personal capacity."

No, she wasn't. Walensky was speaking in her capacity as a government scientist during an official briefing of the White House covid response team. And her comments came just days after a team of CDC scientists published a review in the Journal of the American Medical Association of numerous studies which show "there has been little evidence that schools have contributed meaningfully to increased community transmission." Indeed, the CDC researchers pointed out one study of 17 Wisconsin schools found that after taking basic mitigation measures, "COVID-19 incidence was lower in schools than in the community." According to data compiled by Brown University Economics professor Emily Oster, in the last two weeks of January, the covid-19 case rate among students attending in-person school was just 0.45 percent and 0.88 percent among staff, compared with a community case rate of 10.57 percent during the same period.

Indeed, the politicized agency apparently was trying to do Biden a political favor for his poll numbers by finally admitting the obvious about school reopenings, something they would never have done for President Trump.  But Biden couldn't take the favor, because teachers' unions told him no.

Why does this matter?  Because in contrast to a lot of rubbish promoted in the press and beyond, school re-opening was and is a very big deal for a lot of voters, as evidenced in a lot of studies that have made the mainstream press.

Here's a straight analysis piece from the New York Times that ran on Oct. 22:

Several recent polls have suggested the issue is a leading concern for many voters. A Politico and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health survey released last month found that schools and education was the second most important issue for likely voters, after the economy and jobs. And a poll conducted this month in Michigan for The Detroit Free Press found that reopening schools and the economy was the top issue concerning voters, followed by the public health crisis posed by the coronavirus.

What's likely is that a lot of people figured that Biden could "talk to" the teachers' unions about re-opening schools and get the CDC to lighten up and quit trying to Get Trump with their constant lockdown orders...if they could just get him in the saddle.  He wouldn't be like Trump, arguing with these people.  He'd get them to go along.  Voters knew that the COVID lockdowns were politicized, and with Biden on the same ideological spectrum point as the lockdown lobby, there'd be no more need for lockdowns.  Just look at the twists and turns of California's Gov. Gavin Newsom, who's facing a likely recall based on his bid to Get Trump, shutting much of California's small business economy down in his bid.  Voters could see it.

Biden, see, would make the teachers' unions come around, the voter logic went.  Biden would get the CDC to start admitting to reality and end the perma-lockdown...

What they weren't counting on is Biden's loyalty being absolutely lashed to the mast of the teachers' unions.  Trump was the kind of guy who would defy them and attempt to make them re-open schools, which is something Biden complained about.  But Biden's the kind of guy who will coddle them and hand them billions and billions (which Trump did already), through his big COVID relief package, while attempting to gaslight voters into thinking the minor re-opening of schools is a good thing and the teachers' union wants just as fervently as anyone to re-open, which it doesn't.  The teachers unions want a free ride, bottomless funding, and each demand met accompanied by a higher demand.  Biden is now trying to tell voters that the tiny crumbs he's offering are a good thing, rather than an abject failure from a puppet to teachers' unions.

What's vivid here is that even the establishment seems to be on to it.  Multiple columns, even from the left side, are starting to appear in the New York Times and the Washington Post about the necessity of re-opening schools.  WaPo columnist Matt Bai, who's written pretty good books chronicling the SEIU and its pillow-talk relationship with the Democratic Party, urges Biden to privately take on the teachers' unions (likely knowing that Biden lacks the courage to go public).  Bai knows there's a problem:

You don't have to be a parent to understand the growing perils of what's euphemistically known as "remote learning." It is basically a hollow and socially isolating echo of real school that has dragged on for almost a year now in scores of large districts.

Bai points out that most people can see that essential workers, such as cops, firefighters, nurses, National Guard, and retail store workers (added as an afterthought), have been on the job dangerous in (far more) dangerous conditions, but teachers' unions think they are special.  If they are essential workers, he argues, they need to act like it and get on the job.

The implicit warning, with these multiple warnings from the establishment press, herehere and here, are that school re-opening is a very big deal with voters.  If Biden fails to re-open schools and instead plays puppet with his teachers' union campaign contributors as their bought man, no amount of gaslighting is going to save him.  He's failing to deliver on his promise, and even the Biden voters are going to notice.  And right now, his great school re-opening claim nonsense is thin ice for him.  He's one miserable excuse and moved goalpost after another.

 

Monica Showalter 

 Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2021/02/teachers_union_lackey_biden_moves_the_goalposts_again_on_reopeniong_schools.html 

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Joshua's Altar restored - Shlomo Witty

 

​ by Shlomo Witty

The Samaria regional council sent a clandestine task force to restore the ancient site of the Biblical Joshua's Altar.

 

restoring the historic site
restoring the historic site                                                                   Samaria Regional Council

The Samaria Regional Council today (Thursday) restored the ancient wall surrounding the altar of Joshua Ben-Nun, which was recently destroyed by the Palestinian Authority.

More than 30 employees of the contracting company "Aish Avodot" and restoration professionals participated in the restoration work, closely accompanied by the staff of the Shomron Regional Council, and Shuki Levin, former director of the Council of Samaria's Defense Department and who led one of the initial expeditions to find the site.

The Samaria Council restored about 35 meters of the western wall of the altar compound, using natural fieldstone. It was not possible to rehabilitate the northern wall, which is about 20 meters long and was also damaged by the Palestinian Authority; such a restoration will take more time and thorough archaeological investigation.

Yossi Dagan, chairman of the Samaria Reginal Council, said that "the altar of Yehoshua ben Nun is not only an important historical site for the Jewish people, it is one of the iron-clad assets of world culture, the place of where the Jewish people were forged.”

''This place, which was unveiled by Prof. Adam Zertel from the University of Haifa, attracts researchers from all over the world. Unfortunately, we have recently witnessed severe damage by the Palestinian Authority to historic heritage sites, including the deliberate robbery and destruction of antiquities throughout Judea and Samaria, but there is no doubt that damage to the site is done to world culture as well.”

Dagan said: We have received thousands of inquiries from Israel and from all over the world, from scientists, academics, historians and government officials. We will continue to fulfill together with all the people of Israel our right and duty to build the whole of the Land of Israel, to settle and travel in Samaria and to preserve the historical sites.”

"I call on the Israeli government to fulfill its duties and sovereignty and to fulfill the international conventions it has signed and to preserve the archeological sites in its territory in a practical way, and not just by talking about cultural and heritage sites”.

 

Shlomo Witty  

Source: https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/296690 

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