Monthly Archives: April 2017

Obama Illegal Alien Crime Policy Reversed, Part 2

The failure—some would say refusal– of the Obama Administration to effectively address the challenge presented by criminal aliens was largely obscured by the reluctance of the media to provide coverage of these offenses.

The Heritage Foundation notes that a 2005 GAO report  (GAO-05-337R) found that criminal aliens (both legal and illegal) make up 27 percent of all federal prisoners.  However, those and similarly worrisome statistics are not reflected in the major media.

A March 23 Fox news  analysis reported that ABC, NBC, and CBS provided little to no coverage of the rape in Maryland by illegal aliens, and contrasted that with the significant air time given to the alleged University of Virginia fraternity rape case that proved to be false.

An MRC Newsbusters  review pointed out that

“National establishment media coverage of the alleged…rape of a 14 year-old freshman at Rockville High School at the hands of two late-teen classmates in the U.S. illegally — a story which first drew national attention only because it became a White House press briefing topic — has been grudging from the start. Now it has virtually ceased, even though the incident is at least the second recent violent one at the school, even though the father of one of the two teens is also an illegal immigrant who is now under arrest, and even though school system spending on English for Speakers of Other Languages largely resulting from the County’s ‘sanctuary’ status is spiraling out of control. Despite all of this, virtually no one in the press cares.”

Indeed, some major media outlets are so eager to coverup the crimes committed by illegals that they publish diversionary articles. Townhall notes that “illegal immigrants commit crime far more often than legal immigrants…” and asks “Why is the media fabricating a false narrative that illegal immigrants commit fewer crimes than American citizens? Here’s why: To attack President Trump’s immigration policies, most notably his travel ban.”

The statistics are sobering. Take just one state, Texas, as an example.

The Texas Department of Public Safety notes “According to DHS status indicators, over 217,000 criminal aliens have been booked into local Texas jails between June 1, 2011 and March 31, 2017. During their criminal careers, these criminal aliens were charged with more than 579,000 criminal offenses. Those arrests include 1,179 homicide charges; 68,900 assault charges; 16,854 burglary charges; 68,999 drug charges; 699 kidnapping charges; 40,818 theft charges; 45,104 obstructing police charges; 3,813 robbery charges; 6,190 sexual assault charges; and 8,693 weapons charges. Of the total criminal aliens arrested in that timeframe, over 144,000 or 66% were identified by DHS status as being in the US illegally at the time of their last arrest. According to DPS criminal history records, those criminal charges have thus far resulted in over 260,000 convictions including 485 homicide convictions; 25,882 assault convictions; 8,239 burglary convictions; 34,077 drug convictions; 238 kidnapping convictions; 18,543 theft convictions; 22,179 obstructing police convictions; 1,939 robbery convictions; 2,812 sexual assault convictions; and 3,625 weapons convictions. Of the convictions associated with criminal alien arrests, over 173,000 or 66% are associated with aliens who were identified by DHS status as being in the US illegally at the time of their last arrest.”

In the strange world of Progressive politics, concern is centered on assisting illegal aliens, not protecting their victims.  Immigration Reform.com reports that “The New York City Council has asked Mayor Bill de Blasio for up to $23 million in funding for programs to support illegal aliens residing in New York. Included in these costs are $12 million to pay for the legal representation for illegal aliens who are removable under federal law. Additionally, the Council’s budget proposal includes a $1 million fund for a “rapid response team” of lawyers to directly engage with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when an officer attempts to initiate enforcement proceedings.”

Obama Illegal Alien Crime Policy Reversed

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government examines President Trump’s reversal of his predecessors’ policy on crime committed by illegal aliens. 

There has been an extraordinary reversal of policy by the Department of Justice on the issue of criminal immigration enforcement.

The Trump Administration’s rejection of Obama-era practices has its roots in a 2015 letter to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch. The communication came from then-Senator and chair of the Subcommittee on Immigration the National Interest, now Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, along with Senator Charles Grassley, the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The letter noted:

“According to information provided by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), up to 121 homicides in the U.S. could have been avoided between Fiscal Year 2010 and FY 2014 had this [Obama] administration removed from our borders aliens with criminal convictions instead of releasing them back into society where they could commit more crimes. This disturbing fact follows ICE’s admission that of the 36,007 criminal aliens released into ICE custody in FY 2013, 1,000 have been re-convicted of additional crimes in the short time since their release…”

On April 12, 2017, Attorney General Sessions, speaking in Nogales, Arizona announced a dramatic change from the Obama-era practices regarding criminal aliens.

“…transnational gangs … flood our country with drugs and leave death and violence in their wake …MS-13 and the cartels…turn cities and suburbs into warzones…rape and kill innocent citizens…Depravity and violence are their calling cards, including brutal machete attacks and beheadings…Under the President’s leadership and through his Executive Orders, we will secure this border and bring the full weight of both the immigration courts and federal criminal enforcement to combat this attack on our national security and sovereignty. The President has made this a priority — and already we are seeing the results. From January to February of this year, illegal crossings dropped by 40 percent, which was unprecedented. Then, last month, we saw a 72 percent drop compared to the month before the President was inaugurated. That’s the lowest monthly figure for at least 17 years…I am issuing a document to all federal prosecutors that mandates the prioritization of such enforcement.

“Starting today, federal prosecutors are now required to consider for prosecution all of the following offenses:

  • The transportation or harboring of aliens.
  • Further, where an alien has unlawfully entered the country, which is a misdemeanor, that alien will now be charged with a felony if they unlawfully enter or attempt enter a second time and certain aggravating circumstances are present.
  • Also, aliens that illegally re-enter the country after prior removal will be referred for felony prosecution — and a priority will be given to such offenses, especially where indicators of gang affiliation, a risk to public safety or criminal history are present.
  • Where possible, prosecutors are directed to charge criminal aliens with document fraud and aggravated identity theft — the latter carrying a two-year mandatory minimum sentence.
  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly: I have directed that all 94 U.S. Attorneys Offices make the prosecution of assault on a federal law enforcement officer… a top priority. If someone dares to assault one of our folks in the line of duty, they will do federal time for it.

“To ensure that these priorities are implemented each U.S. Attorney’s Office…will designate an Assistant United States Attorney as the Border Security Coordinator for their District… I am also pleased to announce a series of reforms regarding immigration judges to reduce the significant backlogs in our immigration courts…we will now be detaining all adults who are apprehended at the border. To support this mission, we have already surged 25 immigration judges to detention centers along the border…In addition, we will put 50 more immigration judges on the bench this year and 75 next year…”

The report concludes tomorrow

Media Ignores National Security Threats

The United States may be heading into one of the most dangerous periods in its history.

The Obama Administration’s disinvestment in American national security came at precisely the same time that Russia, China, and North Korea dramatically increased their militaries. Insufficient attention has been given to the alliance between those powers and Iran, Syria, and, if actions do count more than mere words, North Korea. The threat within America’s own hemisphere from the growing military relationship between Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and several other Caribbean and Latin American with Russia and China, as well as the association between terrorist organizations and criminal elements in Mexico, receives minimal attention.

As this article went to press, questions were raised about a new Russian facility in Nicaragua that may be Moscow’s most significant Western Hemisphere surveillance base. That revelation may be comparatively recent, but Moscow’s sending tanks and troops, and landing its Tupolev nuclear bombers in that Central American nation, have been known for years.

There are two issues worthy of intense examination in this matter.  The first is the massive danger the U.S. faces.  The second is how that issue has been so thoroughly ignored by so many major media outlets.

One of the crucial mistakes rendered by the Obama Administration was to reject the long-standing doctrine that the U.S. should have the capability to respond to two crises simultaneously.  The error of that decision is obvious as the ravages of ISIS, Iran, and Syria continue to plague the Middle East, and North Korea threatens to turn Asia into a tinderbox.

There was no shortage of facts. Putin committed an additional $700 billion to his military spending, violated nuclear arms accords, invaded Ukraine, and returned to Cold War bases in the west.  He opened relations with the Taliban, from whence the 9/11 attack was hatched. He initiated a massive new investment in strategic nuclear weaponry, and altered his nation’s philosophy on when it was appropriate to use battlefield atomic arms, essentially establishing a doctrine that they were just another weapons choice. The Kremlin’s nuclear acceleration came at a time when the U.S. arsenal was shrinking and sliding into obsolescence.

China’s actions were equally worrisome.  It’s rate of spending was higher even than that of either the USA or the USSR at the height of the Cold War.  It has become a military power equal in sophistication to the U.S.  By 2020, its navy will be larger than America’s, a truly stunning development. It has engaged in aggressive action against neighboring nations, including the invasion of the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone, a move condemned by the World Court but virtually ignored by the Obama Administration.

Both Beijing and Moscow have shamelessly engaged in cyberattacks on American military, civilian, and corporate targets.

On April 5, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, stated “There is widespread agreement that funding cuts under the Budget Control Act, plus a series of continuing resolutions, coupled with the pace of required deployments have damaged the U.S. military.  I believe that the damage has gone far deeper than most of us realize, requiring more time and more money to repair than is generally expected…we all have to be clear and candid with the American people.”

Despite the sensational nature of these threats, the media has been relatively silent. It failed to probe these questions:

  • Why, when the military strength of Russia, China, North Korea and ISIS increased substantially, and the belligerence of those powers expanded, did the Obama Administration move to cut America’s military?
  • Why did the Obama Administration fail to address Russia’s massive arms buildup?
  • Why did the Obama Administration fail to address Russia’s violation of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty?
  • Why, when Russia was dramatically building up its armed forces, did the Obama Administration withdraw key Army components from NATO countries?
  • Why did the Obama Administration surrender America’s lead in nuclear weapons to Moscow?
  • Why was the Obama Administration’s response against the invasion of the Ukraine so trivial?
  • Why did the Obama Administration ignore Russia’s militarization of the Arctic?
  • Why did the Obama Administration ignore the Chinese invasion of the Philippine’s Exclusive Economic Zone?
  • Why did the Obama Administration open up diplomatic relations with Cuba one month after Havana agreed to allow Russian Navy ships to return to the island nation?
  • Why did the Obama Administration ignore the growing Russian, Chinese and Iranian influence in Latin America?
  • Why did former National Security Adviser Susan Rice mislead the public about Russia’s failure to remove chemical weapons from the Syrian arsenal, as it was obligated to do?
  • Why has there been so little coverage of Moscow’s resumption of Cold War nuclear bomber and submarine patrols along the coastlines of the United States?

At any other time, these news stories would be continuous headline news. Now, as America, thoroughly under-prepared, faces an unprecedented threat level across the globe, the press continues to underplay them.

The Deep State Threat Part 2

Concerns about a “deep State” are not confined to libertarians, conservatives, or Trump supporters.  Left wing pundit Bill Moyers  noted several years ago: “There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is traditional Washington partisan politics: the tip of the iceberg that a public watching C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of the iceberg I shall call the Deep State, which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power.”

The New York Post describes how Deep State elements in the State Department have hampered the President’s agenda

“…six Republican senators who asked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to probe whether foreign aid is promoting a progressive agenda around the world just got an abject lesson in how [the will of the voters is being thwarted.]…They got their answer not from Tillerson or anyone around him, but from a mid-level career official at the Bureau of Legislative Affairs, Executive Secretary Joseph E. Macmanus. He pretty much told the senators to take a hike. They also asked him to investigate how USAID was working with groups funded by billionaire George Soros ‘to push a progressive agenda and invigorate the political left.’…Macmanus didn’t even acknowledge the request for a probe. It was just an outright defense of USAID’s work, with sentences like, ‘The Department of State’s foreign-assistance programs are rigorously designed, implemented and monitored to ensure that they are based on core American values.’ In other words, we know what we’re doing, you don’t.”

The Washington Free Beacon points to the attack which resulted in the resignation of White House National Security Adviser Mike Flynn as an example of Deep State activity, calling it the “culmination of a secret, months-long campaign by former Obama administration confidantes to handicap President Donald Trump’s national security apparatus and preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, according to multiple sources in and out of the White House who described to the Washington Free Beacon a behind-the-scenes effort by these officials to plant a series of damaging stories about Flynn in the national media…The operation primarily focused on discrediting Flynn, an opponent of the Iran nuclear deal, in order to handicap the Trump administration’s efforts to disclose secret details of the nuclear deal with Iran that had been long hidden by the Obama administration.” (The Free Beacon also reports  that “A confidential David Brock memo obtained by the Washington Free Beacon lays out the ways the Democratic operative plans to use his numerous organizations to take down President Donald Trump through impeachment…)

Former Judge Andrew Napolitano, in a Reason Magazine article, stated “The Wall Street Journal revealed that members of the intelligence community — part of the deep state, the unseen government within the government that does not change with elections — now have acquired so much data on everyone in America that they can selectively reveal it to reward their friends and harm their foes. Their principal foe today is the president of the United States…Trump’s former national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, himself a former military spy, spoke to the Russian ambassador to the United States in December via telephone in Trump Tower. It was a benign conversation. He knew it was being monitored, as he is a former monitor of such communications. But he mistakenly thought that those who were monitoring him were patriots as he is. They were not. They violated federal law by revealing in part what Flynn had said, and they did so in a manner to embarrass and infuriate Trump.bWhy would they do this? Perhaps because they feared Flynn’s being in the White House, since he knows the power and depth of the deep state.”

The Deep State Threat

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government begins a 3-part examination of “The Deep State.”

Americans vote for their federal elected officials, responding to calls to support different ideas, or liberal or conservative ideals. However, many complain that when the din of campaigning concludes and the newly elected assume their positions, nothing changes. Attention is being paid to the concept that unelected bureaucrats have gained an excess of power, and are using it to propagate policies that ignore the will of the electorate.

Tom Tancredo, writing for Breitbart  warns “We are witnessing the unraveling of the fabric of constitutional government, and only a fool can believe it will end well…And folks, in the words of Al Jolson, you ain’t seen nothing yet. It’s probably going to get worse…efforts have at least three obvious things in common: desperation born of utter shock at Trump’s election victory; self-righteous elitist arrogance; and the active participation and support from the nation’s major media organizations. Yet, there is another novel element interwoven in these events that is even more dangerous – dangerous not simply as a political obstacle to Trump’s agenda, but inherently dangerous to the survival of our country. That novel element is the active, conscious subversion of lawful Presidential orders and initiatives by the permanent civil service apparatus called the ‘senior bureaucracy.’ It is also being called the ‘Deep State,’ meaning the part of the government that is immune to political appointment and political accountability.”

The victory of Donald Trump was an outlier. The candidate was an outsider to politics, and faced voracious opposition not only from Democrats and their media supporters, but also from some within his own party, as well from entrenched bureaucrats. The level of dissent he encountered even before taking office, and the leaks arising from within federal agencies seeking to discredit his agenda, is unprecedented.

Zack Beauchamp writing in VOX, notes the “permanent state” opposition to the winner of the 2016 contest: “’Selectively disclosing details of private conversations monitored by the FBI or NSA gives the permanent state the power to destroy reputations from the cloak of anonymity. This is what police states do’ Eli Lake, a neoconservative columnist at Bloomberg View, wrote in a column…Glenn Greenwald, the editor of the left-wing publication the Intercept, wrote something making basically the same point as Lake’s column — an ideological convergence that I’m not sure has ever happened and probably never will again.”

Many are beginning to ask how powerful the “Deep State”, currently comprised mainly of appointees of the Obama Administration, truly is.

PJ media  expresses its concern. “Welcome to the Deep State, the democracy-sapping embeds at the heart of our democracy who have not taken the expulsion of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party lightly. They realize that the Trump administration poses a mortal threat to their hegemony, and so have enlisted an army of Democrats, some Republicans, the ‘neverTrumpumpkin’… die-hards, leftist thugs, Black Lives Matter and anybody else they can blackmail, browbeat or enlist. They mean business…So what must Trump do now? First, complete his cabinet. Second, fire every fireable federal employee in the leak-prone agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency. Third, start taking operational security seriously. Fourth, assume everything you say will leak to the media and be spun as malevolently as possible. Fifth, trust nobody.”

Ryan McMaken, writing for the Mises Wire, explains what the Deep State is: “…the Deep State is nothing more than agencies and individuals within the US government that have their own interests and their own agendas. Only the most naïve observers of any government would deny that life-long entrenched bureaucrats don’t have their own interests separate from both the public and the public figures who — unlike officials at the CIA — are subject to public oversight and to elections.”

The report concludes tomorrow.

Pentagon Depends on China for Key Components

Two years ago, one of America’s top military leaders, now retired, told this publication that he was “deeply concerned” over the Pentagon’s dependence on China for key computer chips. Concerns also abound about Beijing’s control of the “rare earth” materials market.  These are resources essential for advance weaponry.

The Alliance for American Manufacturing, in a recent report, warns that “America’s military communications systems increasingly rely on network equipment from China, putting our entire defense at risk. A 2012 House intelligence committee investigation, for example, found that the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, which had been working to expand in the United States, posed a major threat to the U.S. because its equipment could be used to spy on Americans — as well as U.S. defense systems and companies. New America Foundation senior fellow Peter Singer warned military leaders in 2015 that ‘America’s most advanced fighter jets might be blown from the sky by their Chinese-made microchips and Chinese hackers easily could worm their way into the military’s secretive intelligence service.’ …The United States increasingly relies on foreign nations to provide the materials needed for our defense supply chain…Not a single high-tech magnet — crucial to military hardware — is Made in America. Roughly 91 percent of the rare earth element needed for night-vision googles is from China. The United States produces just 2 percent of Lithium ion batteries, used in everything from unmanned aerial drones to bomb disposal robots and other gear.

“Defense systems in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps all face major supply chain vulnerabilities. Take semiconductors, which have been central to U.S. military and economic strength over the past century. Semiconductors are used in the Army’s M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank, the Marine Corps’ F-35B Joint Strike Fighter and the Air Force’s F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, the Joint Director Attack Munition Precision Guidance Kit used by the Army and Marine Corps, and the communications systems for all four branches…the U.S. has faced a steady decline in semiconductor fabrication, which is increasingly happening in Asia. The U.S. share of semiconductor fabrication decreased from nearly 50 percent in 1980 to only 15 percent in 2012.”

In addition to computer chips, resources known as “rare earth” materials are vital to many military components.  According to Mining.com, a BMI Research Report says the Chinese government seeks to dominate this trade. The country produces more than 85% of the global supply of the 17 elements. “China’s policy of consolidating domestic producers and processors while encouraging exports saw the sole US producer of rare earths Molycorp fall into bankruptcy in July last year. While Australia’s Lynas has withered the storm, projects in Greenland, which has the potential to rival China’s biggest production centres, Russia, India and elsewhere have struggled to gain traction amid the low price environment…As a result the US will continue to be beholden to China for more than 90% of its rare earth imports.”

The Congressional Research Service reports that “From the 1960s to the 1980s, the United States was the leader in global rare earth production. Since then, production has shifted almost entirely to China, in part due to lower labor costs and lower environmental standards. Some estimates are that China now produces about 90- 95% of the world’s rare earth oxides and is the majority producer of the world’s two strongest magnets, samarium cobalt (SmCo) and neodymium iron boron (NeFeB) permanent, rare earth magnets…”

In addition to the potential for spying or intentionally disabling U.S. military equipment , threats from defective equipment originating in China looms large. In 2011, Buck Sexton found that, according to U.S. Senate sources, “on 1,800 separate occasions, the U.S. military or contractors have purchased electronics materials for defense systems that were either fake or poorly recycled.In some cases, defective chips made their way into critical U.S. weapons and navigation systems. The examples could provide a serious wake-up call to defense contractors and others involved in the military supply chain…70 percent of them originated in China.Another 20% came from countries like Canada and the U.K. that resold Chinese parts to the U.S. Realistically, closer to 90% of faulty electronics in military equipment came from China…While the report focuses on unintentional threats to the military supply chain, the presence of shoddy Chinese electronics in thousands of devices and the apparent U.S. reliance on China for its national defense supply chain should concern all Americans.”

Trade Doesn’t Prevent War

The China relationship of our dreams simply doesn’t exist.

Politicians who seek to continue allowing the nearly bankrupt federal government to continue spending on social programs that it can ill afford by borrowing from Beijing, and corporations that seek to make large profits by selling their wares or services to it, propagate the inaccurate concept that China can be readily brought into the larger international community through the incentive of trade.

The idea that economic ties serve as a preventive measure against armed conflict only works if the nation-states involved operate as rational, functioning democracies whose governing intentions are the promotion of its citizenry’s best interest.  Totalitarian governments, such as China, operate under a different set of principles.

Richard Eberling, writing for The Mises organization  noted: “All of the treaties and agreements and all of the hopes that international trade would establish a web of mutual interdependency in the areas of commerce, culture, and communication, which would make war impossible or at least more ‘civilized,’ died on the battlefields of Europe in 1914…And the Second World War threw to the winds all restraints on the conduct of nations, as unrestricted methods of warfare were joined by mass murder and the barbaric brutalizing of tens of millions of innocent and unarmed men, women, and children.”

Paul Krugman, writing in the New York Times  explains: “Some analysts tell us not to worry: global economic integration itself protects us against war, they argue, because successful trading economies won’t risk their prosperity by engaging in military adventurism…Shortly before World War I…British author…Norman Angell, published a famous book titled “The Great Illusion,” in which he argued that war had become obsolete, that in the modern industrial era even military victors lose far more than they gain. He was right — but wars kept happening anyway. So are the foundations of the second global economy any more solid than those of the first? In some ways, yes. For example, war among the nations of Western Europe really does seem inconceivable now, not so much because of economic ties as because of shared democratic values. Much of the world, however, including nations that play a key role in the global economy, doesn’t share those values. Most of us have proceeded on the belief that, at least as far as economics goes, this doesn’t matter — that we can count on world trade continuing to flow freely simply because it’s so profitable. But that’s not a safe assumption…the belief that economic rationality always prevents war is an equally great illusion. And today’s high degree of global economic interdependence, which can be sustained only if all major governments act sensibly, is more fragile than we imagine.”

James R. Holmes, in a Diplomat article echoes that concept. He notes that the European nations that came to blows in the First World War were even more interconnected than those of today’s global trading order.

Edward Chancellor in a Reuters  editorial, argued: “Trade between countries…can lead to intense competition for raw materials, whilst also producing in some nations an acute sense of geostrategic vulnerability. Rather than bringing eternal peace, trade between nations may lead to war…The extensive trade among the [pre-World War one] Great Powers did not prevent a naval arms race…In recent years, the Middle Kingdom has been building up its navy and lately become involved in a number of maritime territorial disputes with its neighbours. Japan, under nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is seeking to strengthen its military capacity. An arms race in Asia threatens. Beijing has also developed quasi-autarkic ambitions. China’s investment-driven economy cannot survive without imported raw materials. Although China is a net importer of most raw materials, Beijing has used its dominant position as a supplier of rare earths for political ends. In 2009, as a dispute with Japan over the sovereignty of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands flared up, China effectively banned the export of rare earths, a vital component for Japan’s electronics manufacturers.”

If war is to be avoided between trading partners, a common set of principles need to be agreed upon to prevent disputes from escalating into armed clashes.  If a trade dispute arises between, for example, the United States and France, there is little danger that Washington and Paris will go to war to resolve the issue.  Both adhere to common diplomatic and legal concepts, even if their interpretations of the law differ, and each side acknowledges that even unresolved conflicts should not be settled by shooting.

Not so China. This can clearly be observed in Beijing’s expansionist maritime practices. China has laid claim to approximately 90% of the resource-rich South China Sea. It enforces its claim—disputed by numerous nations—through the use of its increasingly powerful Navy. Its armed forces invaded the internationally recognized Exclusive Economic Zone belonging to the Philippines. Despite a clear ruling against that action by the International Tribunal at The Hague, Beijing refused to back off.  It continues its expansionist actions throughout the South China Sea, turning the vital trade region into a potential tinderbox.  It does so because it does not subscribe to internationally recognized diplomatic and legal practices, and does not place trade relations ahead of its national goals.

Of course, the U.S. should seek to avoid war with China. But it needs to do so through realistic means, not through the illusion that economic ties will serve that end.

Revolt Against Elites

The assertion of individual rights doesn’t have a particularly lengthy record in a history mainly filled with monarchs, dictators, oligarchs, and other elites. The age of gilded kings, queens, emperors and empresses isn’t as dead as it seems; only the names and excuses to stay in power keep changing. Russia lost its czar, but gained Communist Party rulers who held even greater control. Similar non-substantive changes have occurred in many locales.

Indeed, in Russia, the transition happened again.  When the Communist regime collapsed, essentially the same group rather quickly reclaimed power.  Putin, an old KGB hand, has, after only an unfortunately brief period, restored the same absolute power to his leadership that czars and commissars once held.

For centuries, Europe’s intermarried royal families controlled the lives of the continent’s residents.  That began to diminish as nationalism, often maligned but in reality a necessary step in European democratization, took hold. But as socialism gained acceptance, the concept of an elite class of intellectuals and politicians took hold.

The European Union deepened that trend. When the citizens of the United Kingdom voted to leave the E.U., the continental elites, who, in their own way, are as interconnected as the old monarchial families, were shocked.  In Britain itself, there was significant discussion among them about whether a re-vote or other scheme to overturn the ballot could be successful.

In the United States, the election of Donald Trump has caused similar conversations among power brokers and political party chiefs.  Whatever one’s thoughts of the new President, he is certainly outside of the typical leadership groups.  In the aftermath of his upset win, the traditional governing interests have reacted with near hysteria.  Even before he took the oath of office, the mainstream left-wing opinion makers in academia, the media, Hollywood, and progressive activists called for his impeachment.

Of course, there were a whole host of issues that compelled voters in the U.K. to reject the E.U. and Americans to reject the “establishment” candidacy of Hillary Clinton. But the extraordinary similarity is that, in both cases, the traditional power brokers were successfully challenged.

Writing for the BBC,  Mark Mardell discusses the twin jolts of Brexit and Trump : “It is perhaps ironic that our two countries, with a reputation for stable political systems, have delivered political revolutions of such importance. Or perhaps it’s not. Perhaps their stability and strength is they can cope with popular revolts, without pitchforks or getting blood all over our sans culottes.”

As the leading supporters of individual freedom, British and American citizens have rejected surrendering their personal freedoms.

Tibor Machan, writing in the Daily Bell notes: “We are asked to believe that some people are inherently different from the rest of us. We are told that the select group − the leaders of socialist/egalitarian governments via their schemes of distribution and equalization − is immune from the errors of the rest of us. That the likes of Ralph Nader, Chuck Schumer, Joe Biden, et al., are really inherently better and wiser folk than are we all is what the citizenry is supposed to accept!”

Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall puts it this way in News With Views: “Communism, socialism, tribalism, and oligarchies all have one thing in common: Someone else is responsible for your life. From paying for your education, determining what kind of information will be contained in that education/indoctrination, to your career choices, the fuel your car will use (or whether you will be allowed to have a car…) all…are decisions about you to be made by others.”

Britain and America have been bulwarks in the lonely struggle to insure individual rights.  Attempts to overturn that achievement have been recently thwarted by the surprising victories of Brexit and Donald Trump. The particular merits of Brexit and Trump aren’t the point.  The battle lines in both instances clearly pitted elites eager to assert greater control against individuals, who rebelled at the attempt.

Writing in the British current affairs journal Spiked Brendon O’Neill  states: “…what a great starting point we have. If we can ditch something as huge as the EU, what else can we do to the end of enlivening the democratic sphere? This is what is so exciting about this referendum result. Ignore all the politicos and observers saying ‘Britain is broken. We no longer recognise this country’ (now they know how the people who voted against the EU have felt for years). For this huge jolt in global politics, this brilliant people’s quake, this vote against the political and media and business classes, provides us with an opportunity to rethink public life. It opens up the political landscape. It allows us to wonder, and discuss, how that landscape might be reshaped…”

During the eight years of the Obama Administration, Americans experienced a sharp deterioration in the fortunes of the middle class at home, and in the national security of their nation abroad.  Race relations took a turn for the worse.  Average citizens expressed their displeasure in the establishment elites by voting for Trump.

One State’s Concerted Attack on the First Amendment

New York is one of the most solidly left-wing states. But that doesn’t mean that all of its residents agree with the prevailing progressive ideology—and that dissent disturbs the leadership.

In an attempt to muzzle opposing viewpoints, New York’s elected officials are continuously seeking means to suppress free speech. The latest scandalous move comes from Assemblyman David Weprin, who represents part of NYC in the state legislature. He has introduced legislation (A5323) that is such a broad attack against the First Amendment that it has attracted national attention, garnering substantial criticism.  This is how the Washington Post’s  Eugene Volokh describes the measure:

“…under this bill, newspapers, scholarly works, copies of books on Google Books and Amazon, online encyclopedias (Wikipedia and others) — all would have to be censored whenever a judge and jury found (or the author expected them to find) that the speech was “no longer material to current public debate or discourse”…And of course the bill contains no exception even for material of genuine historical interest; after all, such speech would have to be removed if it was “no longer material to current public debate.” Nor is there an exception for autobiographic material, whether in a book, on a blog or anywhere else. Nor is there an exception for political figures, prominent businesspeople and others.But the deeper problem with the bill is simply that it aims to censor what people say, under a broad, vague test based on what the government thinks the public should or shouldn’t be discussing. It is clearly unconstitutional under current First Amendment law.”

A failure to comply with a request to remove material from articles, search engines or other places would make the author liable for, at a minimum, a penalty of $250 per day plus attorney fees.

Weprin isn’t alone in his antipathy for the First Amendment. New York enacted a measure that requires not-for-profit organizations that discuss public issues to disclose the names of donors who give more than $2,500, a move that violates both the First Amendment and the Fourth Amendment, as well as a Supreme Court ruling.

New York’s anti-free speech and campaign disclosure laws are stunning in their extent and open defiance of the First Amendment. Among other mandates, they impose a requirement of across the board disclosure of donors and staff, and provides a first-ever disclosure requirement for “political consultants.” At first glance, that appears comparatively innocuous. However, the devil is in the details. According to the legislation’s language, almost anyone who has ever had any relation or association with anyone even remotely connected to a campaign would have to be disclosed. In essence, it criminalizes anyone with an active interest in politics. Further, it substantially intimidates anyone seeking to provide summaries of their perspectives on the issues or advice on how to present those views from speaking with a candidate in any substantive manner. Independent advocacy groups promoting anything from environmental protection to benefits for veterans would be handicapped.

The outrageous assault on free speech has been challenged in federal court. Not backing down, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo has hired one of the nation’s top specialist attorney’s in the field to defend the offensive measure.

As previously reported in the New York Analysis of Policy & Government, New York Senator Charles Schumer, who is the U.S. Senate’s minority leader, proposed a measure that would limit free speech protections as they pertain to campaign donations. The proposed legislation, thankfully defeated, gained 43 Senate supporters—all Democrats. At a Senate Rules Committee  Schumer stated that “The First Amendment is sacred, but the First Amendment is not absolute. By making it absolute, you make it less sacred to most Americans.”

America’s Constitutional Government Targeted, Part 2

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government concludes its review of efforts to ignore the Constitution.

Examining the actions of political parties is an essential aspect of understanding perspectives on the Constitution. However, only looking at party leaders diverts the discussion from the new centers of gravity in Progressive politics. The Washington Free Beacon reports that:

“Three liberal donor networks and foundations with ties to billionaire George Soros have joined forces to form a new fund to ‘resist’ President Donald Trump. The Emergent Fund…was established late last year to quickly fund groups to take direct, immediate action against Republicans. Since the fund’s formation, it has received little public attention. It has raised over half a million dollars to give to groups opposing Republicans, such as the Black Lives Matter Network. The fund has extensive ties to significant liberal networks and groups…The Solidaire Network, the Threshold Foundation, and the Women Donors Network, all San Francisco-based groups, mobilized to form the Emergent Fund. The Solidaire Network brings together wealthy progressive donors to foster protest and direct action movements. The donor network is comprised of individuals who can move $50,000 or more personally or through a family foundation. The group props up other donor communities on its website such as the…secretive George Soros-tied Democracy Alliance donor network, the largest liberal dark money group.”

Trevor Loudon, a New Zealander, is the producer of a new film entitled “America Under Siege,” which examines the unusual level of disruption following the 2016 election. In an interview with the Capital Research Organization, he points out that there are groups operating outside of the regular political process, engaging in activities of highly questionable legality which were shielded from prosecution by the Obama Administration. He states:

“One of the…groups involved in this, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, had 23 members of its group arrested in 2010 by the FBI for supporting terrorist groups in Palestine and Latin America.  They were raided, a whole bunch of stuff was confiscated, and Obama’s Justice Department did nothing with those cases for seven years.  But the fact that they were raided because the FBI had an informant inside their organization shows how dangerous these groups potentially are.  It also shows that the [Obama] government] had no willingness at all to go after them.”

Key influencers like the shadowy billionaire Soros, the terrorist Bill Ayers, and even party officials such as the radical Perez and the anti-Semite Ellison are not tied to the traditional practices and constraints of U.S. politics. They have introduced something new and unhealthy: a slash and burn mentality that cares little for practices vital to the survival of constitutional government, such as a peaceful transfer of power, a tolerance of opposing views, and the use of honest facts. As their influence and power has reached its zenith, the normal rational debate and competition of opposing political parties and different points of view have been replaced by the extremism, violence, and disruption that have been the earmarks of collapsing open governments.

Red State writes that The ultimate goal of the more radical Leftists is to create disorder to beget more disorder…These are the ones most likely to be wearing their tattered Che Guevara T-shirts and shouting communist slogans…Most of the violence committed is done…by the more radical elements of the protesters, or refugees from the anarchist Occupy Wall Street movement…”

Politics has always been a blood sport, but what has occurred since the 2016 election is unprecedented, amounting to little more than a repudiation of the peaceful transition of power that has been the consistent and laudable practice and tradition of American Constitutional government.

History has seen this type of environment before.  In her book, SPQR, author Mary Beard describes how Rome descended from a republic, however flawed, into a dictatorship:

“Looking back over the period, Roman historian regretted the gradual destruction of peaceful politics. Violence was increasingly taken for granted as a political tool. Traditional restraints and conventions broke down, one by one, until swords, clubs and rioting more or less replaced the ballot box. At the same time…a very few individuals of enormous power, wealth…came to dominate the state…when the story is stripped down to its barest and brutal essentials, it consists of a series of key moments and conflicts that led to the dissolution of the free state, a sequence of tipping points that marked the stages in the progressive degeneration of the political process…”