Monthly Archives: June 2017

Campus Pogroms, Part 2

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government concludes its two-part examination of anti-Semitism on U.S. college campuses.

A Tower report emphasizes that there is a  “disquieting, yet growing, trend of hate speech and crimes directed towards Jewish students within the [University of California] UC system that spurred Mokhtarzadeh and Rosenberg, both Jewish sophomores at UCLA, to attend a [Students of Color Conference] (SOCC) . Their freshman year was punctuated by incidents of anti-Semitism that were both personal and met with national controversy. They were shocked during their first quarter in school, when students entered the Bruin Cafe to see the phrase “Hitler did nothing wrong” etched into a table. Months later, Mokhtarzadeh’s friend, Rachel Beyda, was temporarily denied a student government leadership position based solely on her Jewish identity, an event that made news nationwide. Throughout the year, they saw the school’s pro-Palestinian group, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), issue criticism of Israel that overstepped into anti-Semitic rhetoric and hate.”

A legal action filed by the Lawfare Project about mistreatment of Jewish students at San Francisco State University [SFSU] describes a long list of discrimination and intimidation and mistreatment

The following are some examples cited:

  • “In 1994, a ten-foot mural was erected on SFSU’s student union building that portrayed yellow Stars of David intertwined with dollar signs, skulls and crossbones, and the words ‘African Blood.’
  • In 1997, a banner depicting an Israeli flag with a swastika next to an American flag with a dollar sign was hung over the same wall where the 1994 mural had been painted.
  • In April of 2002, posters appeared around campus advertising an event called ‘Genocide in the 21st Century,’ featuring a dead baby on the label of a soup can, surrounded on either side by Israeli flags.
  • In May of 2002, following a Peace rally, a small group of Jewish students were targeted by a large group of students who shouted bigoted and offensive remarks, including ‘Hitler didn’t finish the job,’ ‘Get out or we’ll kill you,’ and ‘Go back to Russia.’
  • In 2009, SFSU hosted on-campus events that advocated for the elimination of the Jewish state of Israel.
  • In 2016, President Wong complained that in all his years, he had never seen a university donor withhold a pledge because of a ‘political issue.’ A Jewish Studies faculty member told him, ‘the physical safety of Jewish students is never a political issue.’ President Wong replied, ‘on this, we will have to agree to disagree.’
  • In 2017, when specifically asked whether Zionists are welcome at SFSU, President Wong refused to provide the only proper answer: ‘Yes.’ Instead, President Wong demurred, stating ‘That’s one of those categorical statements I can’t get close to. . . . Am I comfortable opening up the gates to everyone?  Gosh, of course not.’

A recent study by the AMCHA Initiative found that:

  • “There were nearly 100 more antisemitic incidents in the first six months of 2016 compared with the same time period in 2015.
  • The number of incidents involving the suppression of Jewish students’ freedom of speech and assembly approximately doubled from 2015 to 2016.
  • The consideration of anti-Israel divestment resolutions in student government or by the student body was strongly linked to a surge in antisemitic activity.
  • The number of incidents opposing Israel’s right to exist nearly tripled from 2015 to 2016 and was highly correlated with behavior that targeted Jewish students for harm.”

The study specifically noted that “Suppressing Jewish students’ freedom of speech, movement or assembly is one of the ways in which Jewish students are targeted for harm on several college campuses. Often events organized by Jewish students, particularly those expressing a pro-Israel sentiment, are disrupted or shutdown by members of anti-Zionist student groups…Other forms of suppression include physically blocking or hindering the movement of the attendees of Jewish student events or engaging in efforts to get these events canceled. The latter occurred in March 2016 at Brown University, when bestselling author Janet Mock cancelled a speech at the Brown Hillel after receiving a petition falsely accusing Hillel of defending ‘racial apartheid’ and being ‘complicit in pinkwashing.”

The reality and political power of modern anti-Semitism in the political Left is clear, and one need look no further than the recent race for national leadership of the Democrat Party itself for evidence. Keith Ellison, a member of Congress from Minnesota, came extremely close to being elected head of the DNC. His past association with anti-Semites, and his statements that U.S. foreign policy is “governed” by Jewish interests should be noted.

As the New York Analysis of Policy and Government has noted, the new anti-Semitism is broader than the traditional ethnically-based hatred that history is all too familiar with.  It contains the seeds of the broader Progressive/Left’s disdain and hatred for all religion. A devotion to religious principles means that individuals see a higher power than government, a belief that the Left, which places the power of government on a solitary pedestal above individual rights, cannot tolerate.

 

Campus Pogoms

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government presents a two-part examination of anti-Semitism on U.S. college campuses.

The Lawfare Project  has announced that “A group of San Francisco State University [SFSU] students and members of the local Jewish community [have] filed a lawsuit alleging that SFSU has a long and extensive history of cultivating anti-Semitism and overt discrimination against Jewish students. According to the suit, ‘SFSU and its administrators have knowingly fostered this discrimination and hostile environment, which has been marked by violent threats to the safety of Jewish students on campus.’ The plaintiffs are represented by a team of attorneys from The Lawfare Project and the global law firm Winston & Strawn LLP.”

As the New York Analysis of Policy & Government reported in March, Anti-Semitism has become acceptable to the American Left.  Anti-Semitic incidents rose in 2015 by 3%, according to the Anti-Defamation League.  The organization’s 2016 statistics are also expected to be disturbing.

The legal action, according to the Lawfare Project, “comes at a crucial time for Jewish students across the United States…Anti-Semitic incidents at colleges and universities have been rising at exponential rates, doubling from 2014 to 2015 and increasing from 90 to 108-another 20 percent-from 2015 to 2016…According to the FBI hate crimes statistics from 2015 (the most recent year calculated), anti-Jewish incidents accounted for 57 percent of all religiously motivated hate crimes.”

According to the Lawfare project, the lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, and also names as defendants the Board of Trustees of the California State University System, SFSU President Leslie Wong and several other University officials and employees. The suit alleges that “Jewish students at SFSU have been so intimidated and ostracized that they are afraid to wear Stars of David or yarmulkes on campus.”

The legal action was initiated in response the alleged complicity of senior university administrators in the disruption of an April, 2016, speech by the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat. The suit states that “At that event organized…Jewish students and audience members were subjected to genocidal and offensive chants and expletives by a raging mob that used bullhorns to intimidate and drown out the Mayor’s speech and physically threaten and intimidate members of the mostly-Jewish audience. At the same time, campus police – including the chief – stood by, on order from senior university administrators who instructed the police to ‘stand down’ despite direct and implicit threats and violations of university codes governing campus conduct.”

According to the legal papers filed, SFSU continues to affirm its preference for those targeting the Jewish community, according to the lawsuit, by claiming to handle such incidents successfully by removing the Jewish students from their lawful assembly without allowing them the opportunity to exercise their free speech rights.

Reportedly, no actions were taken by SFSU against the disruptive students, no disciplinary charges were ever filed, and no sanctions were ever imposed against the groups or students responsible for committing these acknowledged violations.

While that one incident sparked the lawsuit, the plaintiffs note that an ongoing atmosphere of intimidation exists at the campus. “SFSU has not merely fostered and embraced anti-Jewish hostility -it has systematically supported … student groups as they have doggedly organized their efforts to target, threaten, and intimidate Jewish students on campus and deprive them of their civil rights and their ability to feel safe and secure as they pursue their education at SFSU.”

In a Lawfare press release, Amanda Berman, the organization’s Director of Legal Affairs, noted “Every couple of weeks, another anti-Semitic incident occurred; another Jewish student faced harassment or intimidation on campus…another openly degrading comment surfaced from a member of the administration; or another student faced recalcitrance when trying to benefit, the same as all other students, from the opportunities and privileges of enrollment at SFSU. These defendants seem to believe that they are above the law, that discrimination against Jews is entirely acceptable, and that their response to criticism must go only so far as to placate Jewish donors. It is time for profound institutional change at SFSU, and since the faculty and administration is entirely unwilling to pursue such a goal, Jewish victims of this pervasively hostile environment have been left with no choice but to ask a federal court to compel it.”

The Report concludes tomorrow. 

Justice Purchased, Justice Attacked, Part 2

The New York Analysis concludes its two-part examination of the “lawfare” attack on the American electorate. 

Illegal Immigration has been a substantive issue in numerous elections across the nation, and candidates endorsing tougher border controls have fared well. To reverse that result, Soros, according to True Pundit, “Soros is helping foot the bill for illegal immigrants’ legal services…Soros has previously blasted strong, national borders as an “obstacle” for illegal immigrants and foreign refugees trying to enter the Western world, Breitbart London reported.”

There is no single, vast, organized conspiracy, although some of the action has been financed by key wealthy sources. The lion’s share of the blame must be placed on a reduction of the legal standards that have guided American jurisprudence throughout the life of the U.S., an abandonment by some in the judiciary and in the practice of law to make decisions or file actions based on law and precedent, rather than personal political beliefs.

A salient example concerns the President’s travel ban. Whatever one’s opinion is of Mr. Trump’s  executive order, the ability of a judge to overturn it is not legally in question.  The decision of the judges who have ruled against or stayed the matter are not based on or permitted in either the Constitution or the Unites States Code. (It is somewhat ironic that key elements of that order were based on former President Obama’s actions, which the same legal circles never challenged or questioned.)

As the New York Analysis of Policy and Government has previously noted, “There is a reality surrounding the Ninth Circuit Court’s upholding of a stay on President Trump’s temporary travel ban: It is based on that Court’s political preferences, and not on the law. It is a reflection of an ongoing and desperate attempt by the left to nullify by disruption and force the election of 2016.

“There is no Constitutional provision, no statutory law, and no legal precedent that could reasonably be cited as the justification for the opinion.  There is not even political precedent to back it up.  Former Presidents Carter and Obama, during their tenures in office, engaged in similar acts, without facing the obstacles now levied at the current Administration. President Bill Clinton deported 12 million illegal aliens, without the opposition of the same forces that seek to discredit Trump.

“The Constitution has no provision allowing the courts to set this type of policy.  Further, Statutory law Title 8, Section 1182 of the U.S. Code explicitly, clearly, and undeniably provides the president with this authority.  The Court ignored both facts in its decision. A first-year law student would be given a failing grade if he or she wrote a moot court opinion without noting those key facts.”

Allowing judges or prosecutors to rule or act on personal, partisan beliefs rather than law and precedent is a dangerous threat to the entire foundation of American jurisprudence. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment of significant Clinton donors to his investigatory team is an affront to the entire concept of justice. According to Brendan Kirby writing in Lifezette Meuller’s staff includes former a “Clinton Foundation lawyer, contributors to Obama, Hillary, [and] more….Four top lawyers hired by Mueller have contributed tens of thousands of dollars over the years to the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates, including former President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump’s 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton. One of the hires, Jeannie Rhee, also worked as a lawyer for the Clinton Foundation and helped persuade a federal judge to block a conservative activist’s attempts to force Bill and Hillary Clinton to answer questions under oath about operations of the family-run charity.”

A more direct lawfare assault on the U.S. electoral process was noted by Joe Schoffstall Democrats have scrambled to build up a massive network to counter voter integrity efforts after Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton. Marc Elias, the former top campaign lawyer for Hillary Clinton, led challenges against voter identification laws in numerous states leading up to the 2016 elections. The effort was bankrolled by millions of dollars from Soros. Elias recently joined the board of Priorities USA Action, the largest liberal super PAC that backed Clinton, to spearhead their nonprofit arm’s efforts against voter laws.”

Justice Purchased, Justice Attacked

The New York Analysis presents a two-part examination of the “lawfare” attack on the American electorate. 

The American electorate is in the midst of a lawfare attack.

Lawfare is defined as the “use of law as a weapon of war,”  according to the Lawfare Project. “It denotes the abuse of Western laws and judicial systems to achieve strategic military or political ends. Lawfare is inherently negative…It is the opposite of pursuing justice.  It is filing frivolous lawsuits and misusing legal processes to intimidate and frustrate opponents…”

The election results of 2010–2016 were devastating to the Progressive Left.  Eventually, The White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives, most Governorships, and most state legislatures were won by Republicans, many of whom ran on platforms denouncing failed left-wing policies which led to a devastated middle class, a ruined health care system, a weakened economy, diminished race relations, and unprecedented dangers to U.S. national security.

This occurred despite vigorous attempts by a biased media to assist progressive candidates, a move which didn’t sway the voting public. The oppressive environment against centrists and conservatives within the nation’s universities, both by intimidating professors and radical students, did not produce campaign gains. A vehement effort by Hollywood to portray Republicans as villains was equally ineffective.

Lacking success with other approaches, it appears that a lawfare attack was launched. Unlike a simple move to outspend an opponent (which would be rather difficult to do in this case) in a single suit by simply filing a costly legal action, the approach now underway is multi-faceted and designed more to discredit those who have won office by establishing doubt in the electorate’s mind. Uniquely, it also involves attempts to influence the outcome of aggressive actions by insuring that decision-making personnel favorable to the Left are in positions of responsibility.

In the wake of repetitive failures at the ballot box, leftist attorneys general have sought to gain voter support by filing groundless legal actions aimed more at disparaging Republican elected officials than at actually enforcing the law.

Hans Bader, writing for The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), outlines the various ways that some state attorneys general have abused their office for partisan political purposes, aimed primarily at implementing leftist agendas rejected by the voters or prohibited by the Constitution. The CEI report outlines the various means leftist state attorneys generals have abused their authority:

  1. The Ethical Breaches and Selective Applications of the Law. Using campaign contributors to bring lawsuits. Using the attorney general’s offi ce to promote personal gain or enrich cronies or relatives. Favoritism towards campaign donors and other uneven or unpredictable application of the law (including refusal to defend state laws or state agencies being sued when plausible defenses exist).
  2. Fabricating Law. Advocating that courts, in effect, rewrite statutes or stretch constitutional norms in order to make new law—for example, seeking judicial imposition of new taxes or regulations, or restrictions on private citizens’ freedom to contract.
  3. Usurping Legislative Powers. Bringing lawsuits that usurp regulatory powers granted to the federal government or other state entities, or that are untethered to any specifi c statutory or constitutional grant of authority.
  4. Predatory Practices. Seeking to regulate conduct occurring wholly in other states—for example, preying on out-of-state businesses that have not violated state law and have no remedy at the polls.

Mindful of the ability of district attorneys or state attorneys general to defeat the will of the electorate by lawfare, Progressive financiers have invested heavily in what used to be comparatively low-key races.

Fox News reports that “Big bucks from George Soros helped turn a Pennsylvania district attorney election on its head, in the latest example of the liberal billionaire’s influence in local U.S. politics. On April 28, Soros poured nearly $1.5 million into the Philadelphia Justice and Public Safety PAC, which supported candidate Larry Krasner in the Democratic primary. Krasner won on Tuesday, and by a wide margin…The race marked the first time a super PAC has supported a D.A. candidate in Philadelphia. Krasner, as the Daily Caller puts it, benefited from ‘the kind of capital typically reserved for important national political campaigns.’ Last August, Politico reported that Soros had channeled more than $3 million into seven local district-attorney campaigns in six states over the past year.

A Daily Caller review noted how this has became a fairly standard lawfare practice

“The outcome of the Philadelphia district attorney’s race followed a now-familiar playbook. A candidate aligned with Soros’ left-wing politics emerged victorious thanks to the billionaire’s willingness to flood local races with the kind of capital typically reserved for important national political campaigns…In one such instance, Soros poured $600,000 into the Houston district attorney’s race last fall…Soros spent more than $7 million influencing local prosecutorial races in 2015 and 2016, The Washington Times reported.”

The Report continues tomorrow.

Slandering Veterans

Hollywood continues to insult veterans. A review of the television season just ended provides a number of examples.

The series “Designated Survivor”   presents a prime example. A group consisting of (surprise!) military veterans and Second Amendment types are revealed to be the perpetrators of a crime in which almost the entire body of U.S. elected officials were assassinated while attending a State of the Union address.

This lunatic-fringe series is not alone.  The latest “24” reboot characterizes veterans as burned-out psychotics. Newsbusters  notes that 24 “caricatures [veterans,] shows every single vet on the show as broken in some way. Even in small scenes, such as when we see a group of homeless veterans hanging out under an overpass, complete with garbage drum fire…The liberal critics have already expressed displeasure that the bad guys are radical Islamists. Funny, though, there haven’t been any objections to how our military veteran heroes are portrayed. Hollywood and its critics are so predictable. They don’t want to insult the radicals in the Muslim world but it’s no problem to slam the good guys.”

None of this new, nor is it restricted to Hollywood. Slandering America’s veterans has been an obsession, amounting to a mental disorder, on the part of Progressives and the Left for far too long. Under Barack Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, U.S. veterans returning from Iraq were labelled as more of a security threat than Islamic terrorists.  By the way, Janet Napolitano is currently the head of Berkley College.  In her new role, she has refused to take steps to confront left-wing terrorists who have committed acts of violence and intimidation against those who merely seek to invite non-progressive speakers on campus. The College Fix notes that “500 University of California alumni joined over twenty organizations in requesting that UC President Janet Napolitano ‘adopt a number of measures to rein in anti-Semitic acts against students…’”  Despite her tolerance of anti-Semitism, and DNC Deputy Chair Keith Ellison’s history of anti-Semitism, there are no TV scripts casting them as villains.

Defamatory portrayals  of veterans cause real harm. A Breitbart study  explains that “…images matter, especially when veterans try to find employment after coming back home. Last year, the Center for a New American Security surveyed 69 companies on why (or why not) they hire veterans. Not surprisingly, more than half said negative stereotypes gleaned from media and popular culture made them wary of bringing veterans aboard…”

A Los Angeles Times  article notes that “Studies show that the public can have skewed views of veterans based on what’s seen in film or on television, said Chris Marvin, executive director of Got Your 6, [a group dedicated to helping veterans.] Dave Philipps, writing in the The New York Times  in 2015, relays how veteran activist Chris Marvin worries that “We believe that the way veterans are portrayed on the screen is the way the will be thought of in the living room and the way they will be treated in the community.”

The reality is that Hollywood’s moguls ignore reality, about veterans as well as anyone or any group who doesn’t share their progressive politics.  They refuse to back off their politically-correct and reality-challenged view of the world.  It isn’t veterans who are rioting on city streets or college campuses—it’s the professional (and frequently paid) radicals and misinformed and inaccurately educated college leftists who engage in storm-trooper tactics.   It isn’t the NRA or the American Legion that seeks to censor, through violence or intimidation, anyone they disagree with. It’s the Progressives that own that monopoly.

The defamatory portrayals of veterans, while giving a free pass to Islamic extremists, totalitarian leftists, and the drug cartels who entered the nation during the Obama open-border era, is reprehensible.

Totalitarianism and the U.S. Left

Modern American Progressive activists tend to think of themselves as an avant-garde movement at the cutting edge of a new wave. In reality, they are practicing a time worn script seen repeatedly through the ages. The trend has reached a crescendo since the 2016 election.

Throughout history, extremists of every sort have convinced their followers, and perhaps themselves, that their actions were justified.  Absolute monarchs subscribed to the belief that their power came from God. Nazis alleged that they were restoring Germany. Communists claim they represent “the people.” Theocrats insist they are the one true voice of a deity.

The excuses may differ, but the reality is the same; conform or be punished. The methods are also similar. Block dissenting voices, utilize or threaten violence against those with differing views. Any action, including mass murder, aggressive warfare, censorship, deception and violence, are, in their eyes, valid because the means, no matter how extreme, justify the ends.

Within the United States, there is a rapidly growing and deeply disturbing trend that mirrors the attitudes and actions of totalitarian movements. On college campuses, guest speakers not conforming to a hard-left perspective are kept away, through violence or the threat thereof; non-progressive professors are not hired; centrist or conservative students are intimidated or ostracized. The actions of the Berkley rioters are not functionally different from the time-dishonored precedent of their fascistic forebears of the 1930’s.

Dr. Laurie Patton, president of Middlebury College, writing in USA Today, describes a scenario that has become unfortunately typical:

“Students protested when [a non-leftist] speaker took the stage. They prevented him from speaking and went on to disrupt attempts to continue the program…when [the speaker and moderator] left the building, outsiders [and] students physically confronted them and surrounded their car. [The moderator] was injured…”

In contrast, leftists speakers utter extreme anti-centrist and anti-conservative positions with impunity.  One example: New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand delivered a profanity-laced address at New York University’ recent commencement exercise aimed the current White House. She faced no disruption.

As these students graduate and should they eventually assume positions of authority, book burning and the imprisonment of dissenters will not be far behind.

You will not hear these concerns expressed in most news analyses.

Conventional media has abandoned objective coverage in favor of Progressive-oriented “advocacy journalism.” Internet search engines bury non-leftist search results, and social media sites claim the right to omit entries they deem inappropriate. The Black Lives Matter movement, citing examples of rare police misbehavior against minorities, condone establishing a permissive attitude towards violence against the forces of law. Terrorists, such as Bill Ayers, are welcomed into the halls of power, up to and including the former Obama administration. Anti-Semites such as Keith Ellison are given positions of exceptional influence, in Ellison’s case, as Deputy Director of the DNC. Adding to Ellison’s power is the recent naming of his top political aide, Will Hailer, as a key DNC adviser, as reported by the Washington Free Beacon.

The co-opting of federal agencies for partisan purposes, such as that which occurred when the IRS was used to attack Tea Party groups in the prior Administration, mirrors methods used in totalitarian governments, such as the USSR, in which the Communist Party, not the actual government, held true power.

In American grammar and high schools, traditional fact-based education has been replaced by politically-oriented indoctrination. Radical-left texts are utilized not as alternative viewpoints but as standard guides.  The New York Post recently noted that a Brooklyn middle school teacher assigned an anti-capitalist screed as a homework assignment. A Texas text book asked students to compare the 9/11 destruction of the World Trade Center to the Boston Tea Party.

Objective science takes a back seat to Progressive philosophical course work, particularly “sustainability.”

As with all totalitarian movements, Progressivism utilizes a kind of reverse phraseology. The “AntiFa” (anti-facist) movement is, at its core, fascistic, in both practice and philosophy.

The concept of preventing “offensive speech” is merely the latest excuse to suppress differing perspectives.  Advocates of censoring so-called offensive speech should review history.  Eliminating the absolute power of monarchs, establishing representative government, allowing religious freedom, ending slavery, giving equal rights to women, all were considered deeply offensive concepts to many when they were first proposed.

The tolerance by the left of dictatorial regimes is disturbing, but quite revealing. Obama’s opening of relations with oppressive Cuba was inappropriate; so, to, was the refusal to condemn and take forceful action against radical Islam, which endorses the death of nonbelievers. Support by many prominent progressives, both those elected to office and in the entertainment industry of the destruction of Venezuela by a dictatorial socialist regime is inexcusable. Kindred souls feel no need to criticize each other.

Since the election of Donald Trump, the advocacy of violence against the elected president has become epidemic—and increasingly acceptable on the left. Writing in the Federalist, Daniel Payne notes “…There is reason to be genuinely, authentically concerned with the direction in which the left is headed.  To cope with the political defeats they suffered in 2016, liberals appear to be embracing and championing political violence.”  This, also, resembles the actions of totalitarian movements across the ages.

Leftists have brought America to a precipice.

Avoiding Past Infrastructure Mistakes

President Trump’s extensive infrastructure package, totaling $1 trillion, much of which would be financed by the private sector, has been featured this month by the White House. There will be substantial debates about how much to actually spend, and which projects to endorse.

Business Insider notes that a repair backlog of about $90 billion exists on mass transit facilities, a figure expected to grow substantially. Population growth will exacerbate the problem.

A significant look should be taken at how Obama failed at this crucial task, to avoid a repeat of his costly errors.

The prior Administration spent an incredible $825 billion on a stimulus program that failed to address vital national needs. Middle class jobs deteriorated,  (Obamacare was significantly to blame) the national debt doubled, more businesses failed than opened, national security worsened, and America’s infrastructure continued to crumble. Astonishingly, Obama declared that he had difficulty finding “shovel ready jobs”—despite the findings of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) that the nation’s roads, bridges, tunnels and airports rate only a D+. The 2017 ASCE analysis, which is quite similar to its prior studies, notes that over 55,000 bridges are structurally deficient. ASCE estimates that transportation problems cost each household $3,100 in lost income.

Much of Obama’s stimulus funding went to failed “green” organizations such as Solyndra, and politically-friendly sources, rather than infrastructure needs.

But it’s not just federal mistakes that need to be avoided. Cities and states continue to finance efforts that not only divert funds from worthwhile projects, but actually make transportation issues worse.

A salient example is the development of bike lanes on roads.  This program, which has widespread popularity, slows down vehicular traffic, is used by only the smallest fraction of commuters, poses a danger both to bikers and motorists (bikers, exempt from vehicular licensing and insurance requirements, frequently ignore traffic rules) and does almost nothing for the environment.

Some rapid-rail projects that fail to take into account expense factors have cost taxpayers extraordinary sums while accomplishing little. Robert Samuelson, writing in the Washington Post, notes:

“Somehow, it’s become fashionable to think that high-speed trains connecting major cities will help ‘save the planet.’ They won’t. They’re a perfect example of wasteful spending masquerading as a respectable social cause. They would further burden already overburdened governments and drain dollars from worthier programs…” A Congressional Research Service report found that these types of efforts face many challenges, and urged Congress to consider whether they are worthwhile investments.

Many riders note that use of intercity rail lines are prohibitively expensive.

In contrast, there has been inadequate attention paid to the restoration of neglected freight lines, which if restored, could dramatically reduce road congestion and the resulting air pollution. Some urban areas, such as New York City, have less rail freight access than existed in the early 20th Century. Abandoned freight lines have, in some cases, been turned into public parks.

In addition to transportation, the Trump proposal includes the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline and similar projects, which are expected to be a safer alternative than trucking energy supplies, as well as reducing congestion on major roads.

To insure that the necessary work is not delayed by the traditional bureaucratic delays, the President issued an executive order expediting the environmental review process.  There is speculation that a key incentive for that move was the necessity of rapidly protecting the nation’s electrical grid, endangered by a potential electromagnetic pulse assault either from a nuclear blast or a solar incident, similar to that which last occurred in the 1850’s and which astronomers believe is now overdue. This exceptionally urgent task was not addressed during the Obama Administration.

A potential drawback to the White House plan was recently noted by Ted Mann in a Wall Street Journal article. “President Donald Trump’s plan to tap the private sector to rebuild $1 trillion worth of roads, bridges and rails has encountered an early problem: geography.” While development projects in densely populated areas may prove attractive to private sector financing because they could provide a timely return on investment, those in rural areas may not offer the same inducement.  Some of those expressing doubts on the ability of securing private financing of rural area projects are Trump’s fellow Republican elected officials, including Kansas Senator Jerry Moran.

The doubling of the national debt during the Obama Administration, with no appreciable addressing of national needs, sharply hinders Washington’s ability to meet the growing and crucial infrastructure needs facing the U.S.

Dangerous Chinese Illusions, Part 2

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government concludes its two part examination of China’s challenge to the U.S.—and the unrealistic response on the part of some Washington policy makers.

The Free Beacon also reported that “China flight tested a new variant of a long-range missile with 10 warheads in what defense officials say represents a dramatic shift in Beijing’s strategic nuclear posture. The test of a missile with 10 warheads is significant because it indicates the secretive Chinese military is increasing the number of warheads in its arsenal…The new commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, Air Force Gen. John Hyten, stated during a Senate confirmation hearing in September that he is concerned about China’s growing nuclear arsenal…’Although it continues to profess a ‘no first use’ doctrine, China is re-engineering its long-range ballistic missiles to carry multiple nuclear warheads and continues to develop and test hyper-glide vehicle technologies,’ Hyten added…The 10-warhead missile test comes amid heightened tensions with China. State-run media in recent weeks has carried reports calling for China to expand its nuclear forces. A broadcast report showed that new long-range mobile missiles could strike the entire United States…The Chinese Communist Party propaganda newspaper Global Times, known for its anti-U.S. stance, issued stark calls for China to build up its nuclear arsenal for use against the United States. On Jan. 24, the newspaper said China’s strategic forces ‘must be so strong that no country would dare launch a military showdown.

China’s actions are indicative of its confidently belligerent attitude, whether in the construction of illegal artificial islands, occupying Philippine offshore areas, or in aggressive acts towards U.S. forces. Lawfare discusses a recent incident. “On December 16 a Chinese warship snatched a U.S. underwater drone literally from under the eyes of the crew of a U.S. survey ship. The USNS Bowditch is an unarmed naval oceanographic vessel that was recovering two underwater drones in the Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ), about 50 miles northwest of Subic Bay…China’s capture of the drone violates three norms embedded in international maritime law and reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and other treaties.

In addition to the extraordinary growth in the strength of China’s armed forces, its alliance with Russia has given it a new-found confidence. The Diplomat  notes that ‘a major feature of China’s and Russia’s defense and geostrategic interests has been rising levels of official support for each other’s security, increasingly pitched as common defense concerns… China and Russia have been accelerating their joint military drills including holding their first joint naval drills conducted in the South China Sea this year.”

According to The Navy Times, the Obama Administration had “barred Pentagon leaders from a key talking point when it comes to publicly describing the military challenges posed by China. In February [2016], Defense Secretary Ash Carter cited the ‘return to great power of competition’ in the Asia-Pacific, ‘where China is rising.’ Similarly, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson characterized China and Russia as rivals in this ‘great power competition’ in his maritime strategy. But a recent directive from the National Security Council ordered Pentagon leaders to strike out that phrase and find something less inflammatory, according to four officials familiar with the classified document, revealed here for the first time by Navy Times. Obama administration officials and some experts say ‘great power competition’ inaccurately frames the U.S. and China as on a collision course, but other experts warn that China’s ship building, man-made islands and expansive claims in the South and East China seas are hostile to U.S. interests. This needlessly muddies leaders’ efforts to explain the tough measures needed to contain China’s rise, these critics say.

Part of the “Let’s Pretend” foreign policy concept is that China may be helpful in controlling North Korea.  Unfortunately, that contradicts the evidence.

A Foreign Policy article notes that a “confidential U.N. Report details North Korea’s front companies in China. …an unpublished U.N. report obtained by Foreign Policy …documents sophisticated North Korean efforts to evade sanctions … China has proved a fickle partner at best in Washington’s effort to stymie Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions…China, despite its apparent cooperation of late with international efforts to sanction North Korea, has instead served as Pyongyang’s economic lifeline, purchasing the vast majority of its coal, gold, and iron ore and serving as the primary hub for illicit trade that undermines a raft of U.N. sanctions that China nominally supports, the report’s findings suggest. As early as December 2016, China had blown past a U.N.-imposed ceiling of 1 million metric tons on coal imports, purchasing twice that amount. China then shrugged off a requirement to report its North Korean coal imports to the U.N. Security Council sanctions committee. When U.S. and Japanese diplomats pressed their Chinese counterpart for an explanation in a closed-door meeting this month, the Chinese diplomat said nothing, according to a U.N.-based official. North Korean banks and firms, meanwhile, have maintained access to international financial markets through a vast network of Chinese-based front companies, enabling Pyongyang to evade sanctions.”

America’s policy makers must fully accept that China is a militarily equal power with an expansionist policy that views American strength, and America’s allies, as roadblocks. It would be irresponsible for Washington to continue the Obama policy of ignoring this threat and not strengthening and preparing the U.S. military for the dire challenge that lays ahead.

Dangerous Chinese Illusions

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government begins a two part examination of China’s challenge to the U.S.—and the unrealistic response on the part of some Washington policy makers.

America’s political establishment—Democrats and Republicans, liberals and Conservatives—desperately want to believe that China harbors no malign intentions.

It’s easy to understand that hope.  The consequences of facing the worlds’ largest population and second largest economy, a nation aligned directly with Russia, the planet’s greatest nuclear force and occupying the world’s largest national land mass—are truly horrifying.

That doesn’t make the reality any less substantial. There is almost no evidence that Beijing,
has any intention of acting in a manner that indicates anything other than belligerent intent. China is, indeed, acting “like a bully.” The evidence is abundant. Beijing’s military budget continues to soar. Its espionage effort is increasingly extensive. It has done nothing to rein in its North Korean client states’ nuclear brinksmanship. It continues its illegal expansionist activities, both in the development of artificial islands and its dominance of the offshore exclusive economic zone of the Philippines. Its military influence in Latin America and Africa grows.

Spacewar  reports that “Beijing has embarked on an extensive project to build a “blue water” navy and modernise its two million-strong military, the world’s largest. The country’s rapidly expanding military might includes a range of maritime defence capabilities, a fleet of attack submarines, and highly sophisticated anti-aircraft systems that prevent enemy vessels from nearing its coast. Chinese President Xi Jinping has said that ‘all must be done’ to improve the country’s battle capacities so it can ‘fight and win wars.’

Scout.com notes that “the Chinese are reportedly working on a handful of high-tech next-generation ships, weapons and naval systems. China has plans to grow its navy to 351 ships [the U.S. Navy only has approximately 276]  by 2020 as the Chinese continue to develop their military’s ability to strike global targets, according to a recent Congressional report.

A Foreign Policy  article notes that a “confidential U.N. Report details North Korea’s front companies in China. …an unpublished U.N. report obtained by Foreign Policy …documents sophisticated North Korean efforts to evade sanctions … China has proved a fickle partner at best in Washington’s effort to stymie Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions…China, despite its apparent cooperation of late with international efforts to sanction North Korea, has instead served as Pyongyang’s economic lifeline, purchasing the vast majority of its coal, gold, and iron ore and serving as the primary hub for illicit trade that undermines a raft of U.N. sanctions that China nominally supports, the report’s findings suggest. As early as December 2016, China had blown past a U.N.-imposed ceiling of 1 million metric tons on coal imports, purchasing twice that amount. China then shrugged off a requirement to report its North Korean coal imports to the U.N. Security Council sanctions committee. When U.S. and Japanese diplomats pressed their Chinese counterpart for an explanation in a closed-door meeting this month, the Chinese diplomat said nothing, according to a U.N.-based official. North Korean banks and firms, meanwhile, have maintained access to international financial markets through a vast network of Chinese-based front companies, enabling Pyongyang to evade sanctions.”

A Washington Free Beacon analysis notes that  “Recent press reports that have received little attention in the West indicate that China is quintupling the size of its marine corps, from roughly 20,000 to 100,000 troops. We really should be paying more attention…You only need a large marine corps if you intend to assert yourself overseas. A perceptive piece last year in The National Interest surveyed this development… The article asked readers to consider “the potential ramifications of such a Chinese amphibious force maintaining a constant presence in, say, Southeast Asia,’or indeed that it “may routinely operate in the Indian Ocean as well—and, for that matter, even in the Mediterranean.’With such an increase in size that we now expect, such expectations are entirely reasonable. Considered along with Beijing’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative and its newly aggressive basing strategy, with naval facilities operating and/or under construction in Pakistan and Djibouti, it also seems that merely regional goals are not the extent of China’s ambitions…Far from a peaceful rise as a nation comfortable with existing international norms and reasonably concerned with its own security, China gives every indication of a desire to call the shots globally. If it achieves such a position, the world will come to miss American predominance—and so will Americans.

The Report concludes tomorrow.

Crisis in Journalism, Part 2

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government concludes its two-part review of America’s crisis in journalism.

The New York Post wrote in August of 2016 about the “the complete collapse of American journalism as we know it…The shameful display of naked partisanship by the elite media is unlike anything seen in modern America. The largest broadcast networks … and major newspapers…have jettisoned all pretense of fair play. Their fierce determination to keep Trump out of the Oval Office has no precedent. Indeed, no foreign enemy, no terror group, no native criminal gang suffers the daily beating that Trump does. The mad mullahs of Iran, who call America the Great Satan and vow to wipe Israel off the map, are treated gently by comparison.By torching its remaining credibility in service of Clinton, the mainstream media’s reputations will likely never recover, nor will the standards.”

In the 2016 campaign, hard-left groups engaged in utterly illegal tactics against some Republican candidates. Most of the media ignored this significant story.  Likewise, the Democrat National Committees’ highly inappropriate and legally questionable tilt in favor of the Clinton campaign over primary rival Bernie Sanders received inadequate attention.  (As did an amusing incident involving the Democrat convention.  Throughout the 2016 contest, the Clinton campaign raged against the Republican drive for honest balloting, including the use of ID to cast votes.  However, to enter their convention floor, the DNC demanded picture ID from its own delegates.)

As expected, the bias of the media for Clinton over Trump was obvious throughout the campaign. What is startling, however, are the actions of the media since Election Day. The disappointed and overwhelmingly pro-Clinton media have essentially acted as though the campaign never ended. The news networks on broadcast television and cable, as well as the major print outlets, have both encouraged and emphasized a sense of crisis.

An example of the extremity of media bias was noted in a Reason article  which reported that “Two journalists covering the protests coinciding with Donald Trump’s inauguration have been charged with felony rioting, [including] Evan Engel, a senior producer for Vocativ, and Alexander Rubenstein of RT America.” RT is associated with the Russian government, but no one has questioned how this contradicts the “Russian collusion” charges.

The Washington Times reports that “Journalist Bob Woodward of Watergate fame has some advice for his younger peers — stop “binge drinking the anti-Trump Kool-Aid.

A Federalist review provided 16 examples of fake news stories levied against Trump. Noting that U.S. Journalism is “… in the midst of an epidemic of fake news…The “agent” in this case is hysteria over Trump’s presidency, and the “susceptible hosts” are a slipshod, reckless, and breathtakingly gullible media class that spread the hysteria around…It is difficult to adequately sum up the breadth of this epidemic, chiefly because it keeps growing: day after day, even hour after hour, the media continue to broadcast, spread, promulgate, publicize, and promote fake news on an industrial scale. It has become a regular part of our news cycle, not distinct from or extraneous to it but a part of it, embedded within the news apparatus as a spoke is embedded in a bicycle wheel.”

Data from a recently released Harvard Harris poll  provided exclusively to The Hill  disclosed that “65 percent of voters believe there is a lot of fake news in the mainstream media.”

Ying Ma, writing in The National Interest, cautions that “During the 2016 presidential election, the mainstream media’s hostility to Donald Trump was overt, but long before that, its antipathy toward conservative public figures or issues was obvious…the mainstream media should hit the pause button on its self-adulation and reflect not just on its failed coverage of Trump but also on its inability to offer fair treatment to conservative…When that happens, American voters will see something other than the manufactured news that conforms to preexisting ideological predilections.”