• Pragerisms

    For a more comprehensive list of Pragerisms visit
    Dennis Prager Wisdom.

    • "The left is far more interested in gaining power than in creating wealth."
    • "Without wisdom, goodness is worthless."
    • "I prefer clarity to agreement."
    • "First tell the truth, then state your opinion."
    • "Being on the Left means never having to say you're sorry."
    • "If you don't fight evil, you fight gobal warming."
    • "There are things that are so dumb, you have to learn them."
  • Liberalism’s Seven Deadly Sins

    • Sexism
    • Intolerance
    • Xenophobia
    • Racism
    • Islamophobia
    • Bigotry
    • Homophobia

    A liberal need only accuse you of one of the above in order to end all discussion and excuse himself from further elucidation of his position.

  • Glenn’s Reading List for Die-Hard Pragerites

    • Bolton, John - Surrender is not an Option
    • Bruce, Tammy - The Thought Police; The New American Revolution; The Death of Right and Wrong
    • Charen, Mona - DoGooders:How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help
    • Coulter, Ann - If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans; Slander
    • Dalrymple, Theodore - In Praise of Prejudice; Our Culture, What's Left of It
    • Doyle, William - Inside the Oval Office
    • Elder, Larry - Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card--and Lose
    • Frankl, Victor - Man's Search for Meaning
    • Flynn, Daniel - Intellectual Morons
    • Fund, John - Stealing Elections
    • Friedman, George - America's Secret War
    • Goldberg, Bernard - Bias; Arrogance
    • Goldberg, Jonah - Liberal Fascism
    • Herson, James - Tales from the Left Coast
    • Horowitz, David - Left Illusions; The Professors
    • Klein, Edward - The Truth about Hillary
    • Mnookin, Seth - Hard News: Twenty-one Brutal Months at The New York Times and How They Changed the American Media
    • Morris, Dick - Because He Could; Rewriting History
    • O'Beirne, Kate - Women Who Make the World Worse
    • Olson, Barbara - The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House
    • O'Neill, John - Unfit For Command
    • Piereson, James - Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism
    • Prager, Dennis - Think A Second Time
    • Sharansky, Natan - The Case for Democracy
    • Stein, Ben - Can America Survive? The Rage of the Left, the Truth, and What to Do About It
    • Steyn, Mark - America Alone
    • Stephanopolous, George - All Too Human
    • Thomas, Clarence - My Grandfather's Son
    • Timmerman, Kenneth - Shadow Warriors
    • Williams, Juan - Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It
    • Wright, Lawrence - The Looming Tower

The perpetrators are largely the same in every location: young black and Hispanic men, heavily armed…..

May 14, 2022

The Silent Invasion and War at Home

By Jeffrey Folks at American Thinker:

It has been chilling to watch the steady number of deaths, the territory invaded, the executions and rapes, the fear and the flight.  It is especially shocking because we had peace for so long, but now we see all the possibilities of evil coming out.

I’m not talking about Ukraine — I’m speaking of an invasion right here in the United States.  Migrants, mostly Hispanic, are entering the U.S. at the rate of at least 2 million per year — or 20 million in the next decade — and with them come hundreds of thousands of violent gang members.  Meanwhile, our own inner-city gangs are spreading out into affluent suburban areas, invading high-end shopping areas and stealing from stores and individuals, often at gunpoint and with deadly consequences.

I am not being alarmist or racist.  I am simply describing what is happening and pointing out the future state of affairs if we do nothing.  If anything, my numbers are low, and my words cannot describe the horror of what is happening.

The most numerous victims of this invasion are blacks and Hispanics who are attacked by young men of their own race.  These are the forgotten men and women in our society, and this is a topic that mainstream news won’t cover because the killers are mostly black and Hispanic.  Just in 2020, the year of the “defund the police” protests, murders of blacks soared by 32%, and they’re only continuing.

We’re seeing an explosion in the number of carjackings and car thefts, along with murders, home invasions, rapes, assaults, and other violent crimes, not just in our cities, but in suburban areas as well.  And authorities cannot or will not do anything to stop it.  There has always been violent crime in Chicago, but now there seems to be a crime wave, and it includes the murder of children, police officers, and the elderly.  The authorities mumble about “root causes,” but social work won’t reduce the numbers.  We are at war, and war requires the use of force.

The perpetrators are largely the same in every location: young black and Hispanic men, heavily armed and with no apparent conscience or morality.  They prey on the weak and take what they want, which seems to be money, sex, drugs, and a certain kind of street cred that they mistake for status.

These thugs now control the streets, even in many smaller cities.  Mayors like Lori Lightfoot seem to have given up.  They attempt to change the subject and ignore the problem, just as the Biden administration does.

Biden ignores the fact that we have been invaded by a powerful army of young men of similar backgrounds and natures — ruthless gang members and repeat offenders with the same teardrop tattoos signifying their having committed murder, the same cold, haughty stare, the same hostile swagger, and domineering speech.  These criminals have become so familiar that even some middle-class whites, through popular culture and rap music, have mistaken them for Robin Hood–type heroes.

They are anything but heroes.  They inflict suffering and death on everyone around them.  Like half-starved lions released into the Coliseum, they exist only to murder and prey on the weak.

More Americans have died in this war over the past decade (some 200,000) than Ukrainians who have died in their war (13,000 according to a recent count), and American cities are beginning to resemble the bombed-out shells of civilization we see in Mariupol and Kharkiv.  The difference is that everyone notices the destruction in Ukraine, but few understand the magnitude of violent crime in the U.S.  If the media coverage were honest and proportional, Americans would demand change.

We have been invaded by an army that is worse than that of Russia.  Unlike the hapless conscripts who constitute those Russian forces, the thugs who roam America are remorseless.  If anything, they enjoy killing since it inflates their sense of power, especially their power over whites, and particularly white police officers, though black victims are hardly exempt.  They are lean, muscled, and street-tough, and they are not afraid of getting caught since in most places there is no real punishment for “common” crimes like stealing cars or home break-ins, and little punishment for violent crime as well.

The invaders we face are violent and lack all compunction, but they are not all that numerous.  They fit a similar profile — a certain type of young minority drop-out, stealing or selling drugs — but according to several estimates, they constitute at most one-quarter of their demographic and a smaller percentage of Hispanics.  Indeed, most blacks and Hispanics live in fear of these invaders, just as most whites do.

The Ukrainian army has repelled Russian forces in many areas.  If the Ukrainians had been properly armed, they might have turned back the Russians at the beginning and saved their country so much suffering and destruction.  In America, we don’t even realize we have been invaded, or else we refuse to admit it.  It’s not “woke” to say that young black men commit murder at 18 times the rate of the general population.  Not woke to say, as is true, that twice as many whites are murdered by blacks as are blacks by whites.  Not woke to point out that fully one-quarter of black men “end up in the criminal justice system,” as Bernie Sanders has it.

One does not defeat an enemy by allowing it to murder, steal, and rape without resistance.  The only way is to recognize that we have been invaded, and are at war.  War requires its own way of thinking and its own tactics and strategy.  At present, we arrest criminals (a few of them, since 54% of reported violent crimes and more than 75% overall go unsolved), charge them with a lesser offense, release them (in many places without bail), and watch them go right back to committing crimes.  That is the wrong strategy for a state of war.

It is possible to defeat our enemy, but it will take a change of attitude.  We must be willing to fund our police at maximum levels, support our police in their dangerous work, and indemnify them against unreasonable prosecution in their use of force, and we must elect prosecutors who actually prosecute this army of invaders.  The recall of L.A. district attorney George Gascón might be a good start.

We are under attack, and the situation is getting worse.  The only way to defeat an invading army is with greater force.  We need to provide that force so that we can live safely once again.

Jeffrey Folks is the author of many books and articles on American culture including Heartland of the Imagination (2011).

Fascistic Left Dems Have Owned Our American Newsprint World For A Generation!

Philadelphia Inquirer finally comes clean. Will endorse no Republicans

JAZZ SHAW May 14, 2022 at HotAir:

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With the primary season getting underway, it’s also time for the traditional round of newspaper endorsements. Few people seem to believe that those endorsements hold anywhere near the influence they did fifty years ago, but some traditions have to be maintained, I suppose. That’s not the case at the Philadelphia Inquirer, however. They are publishing their picks for the Democratic races as they normally do. But instead of listing endorsements for candidates in Republican primary races in Pennsylvania this week, the editorial board of the Inquirer decided to publish a long-winded explanation of why they refused to endorse a single GOP candidate in any race.

The board begins with what could be seen as a refreshing bit of honesty. They write, “It is no secret that this board, for decades, has leaned toward Democrats.” Really? We never could have guessed. (Insert sarcasm emoji here.) Of course, like so many other large papers, they’ve done a lot more than “lean,” but that point is far too self-evident to spend much time on here. They next walk through the rest of their decision-making process – which we’ll address in a moment – before reaching this despondent conclusion:

There is no inherent virtue in supporting the policies that this board supports — but that’s not the point. The question isn’t how can more people agree with us, but how can this nation come to a place where we reach different conclusions and hold different opinions while operating from the same commonly shared set of facts? We don’t have an answer.

Here is what we do know: It is through discussion, debate, and the interrogation of ideas that we develop a shared story. We hold on to the words of Thomas Jefferson — one of this nation’s flawed but fundamental founders — that “truth is great and will prevail” unless “disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate.”

That is why we wanted to speak with all of the candidates this primary. That is why we will invite the Republican nominees in both races to endorsement meetings in the fall. That is why we wanted to help provide guidance to Inquirer readers with an endorsement in the Republican primaries this year — but we couldn’t. Nevertheless, we will not stop engaging in free argument and debate until truth prevails.

The process that the board went through probably says a lot more about the general state of journalism today than it does about this particular editorial board. They began by sending the candidates in various races what should have been a standard set of questions. The first one, however, asked “Who won the 2020 presidential election” with two options as answers. That seems like a fairly silly question to ask, but among the Senate GOP candidates, all but one refused to answer, calling the question “biased” or unfair. It also seems like a silly question to refuse to answer. Many troubling issues about the 2020 elections were brought to light, particularly when it comes to the practice of mass mail-in ballot use. But unless someone can eventually prove some sort of national, illegal scheme on the part of the voting machine manufacturers (something that has yet to be definitively established), it shouldn’t have been that hard to check the Biden box for the newspaper and move on. One of the Senate candidates did that.

The next issue the board tackled was whether or not any of the candidates, particularly those for governor, would consider new laws in Pennsylvania restricting abortions if Roe is overturned. All of the gubernatorial GOP candidates support such laws. That was a bridge too far for the Inquirer board and they concluded that they could not offer up a name to their readers as the best choice.

There was a time back in the day when newspapers actually made an effort to deliver real news and facts to the public, leaving the reader to make up their own mind on the issues. (For some of our younger readers, I realize that’s probably hard to conceive of, but it’s true.) There were always editorials and opinions, but the news was still the news, not a value judgment on the newspaper’s customers.

That’s no longer the case. The board should take a moment and remember that their views are not “facts” with opposing viewpoints being “wrong.” They serve a community of people that includes many Republicans and conservatives. And many of those people do not consider abortion a “right” and they oppose the procedure strongly. And some of them probably still read the Philadelphia Inquirer (for reasons that escape me). Those readers might find a gubernatorial candidate’s plans on potential abortion restrictions to be valuable information when considering who to back in the primary. But in the view of this editorial board, those people don’t exist. Or if they exist, they clearly don’t matter. They are to be dismissed because of their position on an issue that still strongly divides the nation and invites a wide range of opinions.

There are other races and other issues to be considered. And the board even found one Senate candidate who was willing to say Joe Biden won the presidency. And yet they will not endorse a single person in a single primary race from that side of the aisle. The Inquirer is canceling all of those candidates for the sin of being from “the wrong party.” If you still take the opinions of this board seriously, I don’t know what to tell you at this point.

Note from Glenn….Here in the Minneapolis area, the Star-Tribune of the past generation prints New York Times and Washington Post daily fascistic news’ on its front pages. Occasionally, there’s a third fascist left “news’ smell blowing in from the West…The Los Angeles Times on the same lefty pages.

He, who is printed as long time owner of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, is advertised as GOP….

The Disappearance of the American Public School!

MAY 13, 2022 BY JOHN HINDERAKER at PowerLine:

SCHOOL SHUTDOWNS WERE A CATASTROPHE

America’s response to the covid epidemic was a scandal. On a best-case interpretation, America sacrificed its children to benefit the extremely elderly and the very sick. Even if such a strategy had worked–which it didn’t–it would be a grotesque and arguably evil policy choice.

One of the worst things we did to our children was to shut down the public schools, generally at the demand of teachers’ unions. “Remote learning” was largely a joke, and across the country millions of students checked out and didn’t return. Of course, they were mostly the kids who have the fewest family resources and therefore need school the most. Objective testing indicates that when schools went remote, student achievement fell off a cliff.

Six scholars from Harvard have issued a new report that seeks to quantify the remote learning debacle. It notes that the extent of shutdown varied widely from state to state. There was a clear political pattern. Click to enlarge:

There are some exceptions, but in general, if you were a young person in 2020-2021, it was a huge advantage to be in a red state. The report analyzes a lot of data, which it sums up in this conclusion:

Throughout the country, local leaders made different choices about whether to hold classes in-person or remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. There were valid reasons for differing judgements—including differing risks related to local demographics or population density as well as real uncertainty about the public health consequences of in-person schooling. While we have nothing to add regarding the public health benefits, it seems that the shifts to remote or hybrid instruction during 2020-21 had profound consequences for student achievement. In districts that went remote, achievement growth was lower for all subgroups, but especially for students attending high-poverty schools. In areas that remained in person, there were still modest losses in achievement, but there was no widening of gaps between high and low-poverty schools in math (and less widening in reading).
***
If the achievement losses become permanent, there will be major implications for future earnings, racial equity, and income inequality, especially in states where remote instruction was common.

One plausible interpretation of the data is that liberals hate poor people. Another is that teachers’ unions are one of the most sinister elements of our society.

Why Evil Will Our Joe Biden Cause Regarding The Ukraine?

The War in Ukraine Will Be a Historic Turning Point

But for History to Take the Right Path, America and Europe Must Work Together

By Christoph Heusgen at FOREIGN AFFAIRS:

May 12, 2022

The Russian invasion of Ukraine marks a turning point in history. It brings to a close the chapter that began at the end of the Cold War, when Western countries tried to integrate Russia into an international rules-based order. Russia under President Vladimir Putin has become a pariah state. Much as it did when facing down the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the United States has taken the lead in countering Putin‘s blatant attack on civilization.

Many countries support the U.S.-led response to Putin’s war, but some do so grudgingly. Too many governments see the conflict as a return to the days of the Cold War, when they were forced to choose sides. They imagine that what is at stake is the collision of two geopolitical rivals, not a fundamental question of principle. This is deeply unfortunate. Russia’s aggression should not be seen as ushering in a new Cold War but simply as what it is: the worst act of aggression in Europe since the end of World War II and a brutal violation of international law.

History will not turn in a positive direction on its own. The United States, which has at times undermined international law in its foreign policy choices, should commit to the upholding of the norms and laws that define the international rules-based order. The burden of addressing violations of international law has to be divided more evenly. Germany’s new chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has described this moment as a Zeitenwende, a historical turning point. Along with other European countries, Germany needs to step up to the plate and significantly increase its defense spending, improve its readiness to help maintain stability in and around Europe, and take on a leadership role in resolving international conflicts.

This effort requires a global alliance. The partnership among countries that commit to international law and its foundational texts, the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, should comprise countries from all continents. The international community should not be a euphemism for the West. The perception that there continues to be a conflict between “the West” and “the East” allows too many countries to sit on the fence. The fault line really lies between those who seek to reaffirm a principled, global moral and legal order, and those who do not. A new global alliance should stand tall in its uncompromising efforts to protect international law, international humanitarian law, and human rights law.

PLAYING BY THE RULES

In December 2018, when I was serving as Germany’s ambassador to the UN, I and nearly all of my fellow representatives received a note from Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the UN. The message said that if we voted in favor of a resolution in the General Assembly that condemned the United States’ plan to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, she would report us to U.S. President Donald Trump. I was stunned. I asked to see Haley, with whom I was friendly. She received me, and I explained to her my incredulous reaction to her note.

I was born in 1955, ten years after the Holocaust and World War II. I grew up in a divided Germany. Only because of the generosity and wisdom of the allied forces did Germany, after the horrendous crimes it had committed, receive a second chance. Thanks to allied persuasion, West Germany agreed to be better behaved, never again violate international law, and solve its conflicts with others peacefully. The German constitution was carefully drafted in 1949 and received the approval of the allies; it upheld respect for the law and abjured the unilateral use of force to resolve problems. The European Union was founded in 1957 on the same principle that differences could be managed through institutions and legal procedures—through the rule of law, not the law of the strongest. This premise afforded the center of Europe its longest period of peace in history.

I explained all this to Haley. And I asked her if she understood why I was surprised by the fact that she had demanded we ignore international law. Now it was her turn to be stunned. She asked her adviser what he thought. He stuttered and admitted that I was correct: UN Security Council Resolution 478 had asked all countries not to place their embassies in Jerusalem. He knew that UN Security Council resolutions were legally binding. The conversation quickly turned to another issue.

During Germany’s tenure on the Security Council between 2019 and 2020, the United States repeatedly violated UN Security Council resolutions, including by withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA); recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights; and recognizing Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara. The United States also withdrew from the World Health Organization, the Paris climate change agreement, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN cultural body. Trump advanced a narrow-minded “America first” policy instead of a global view of the common good.

But I was surprised by the successor Trump appointed to replace Haley in 2019: Kelly Craft. Although the Trump administration officially considered climate change a hoax, Craft understood that the climate crisis was a serious issue. She came out strongly in support of UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the United Nations. In 2020, she and I joined forces in upholding human rights by rallying dozens of countries to condemn China’s treatment of its Uyghur minority. As a result of that vote in the UN, the director general in charge of minority issues in the Chinese foreign ministry was reportedly fired. Craft and I had helped create an alliance that stretched from Albania to New Zealand and that was ready to stand up for the rule of law and for human rights.

Craft and I also joined forces to challenge China and Russia on another dismal human rights situation: Syria. I chaired the Security Council in July 2020, when it considered the renewal of the resolution that legalized UN border crossing points through which aid reached northwestern Syria. The UN program was a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of refugees and for local people in parts of Syria cut off from aid. Russia, supported by China, wanted to terminate the UN presence, insisting on the sovereignty of the Bashar al-Assad regime over the whole Syrian territory. It came to a showdown in the Security Council. Russia and China did veto the resolution, but thanks to internal and external pressure, both countries ultimately agreed to a solution that allowed for a minimum of help to be delivered to the people who desperately needed it.

This is the kind of cooperation a global alliance needs to pursue: a shared policy that upholds international law, humanitarian priorities, and human rights. Yes, it can be a painful process coordinating with partners to find a common solution, but it’s the only way forward for this alliance to continue to hold the upper hand in the conflict with autocracies such as Russia and China, which consciously violate international law in suppressing their own people and in bullying their neighbors.

STEPPING UP TO THE PLATE

China and Russia want to rewrite the international rule book by insisting on national sovereignty being the most important legal principle, one that trumps international law, humanitarian law, and human rights law. Against this backdrop, countries committed to upholding international legal regimes have to join forces. They have to do it on the basis of real partnership. In this respect, the Biden administration’s reaction to Russia’s aggression was exemplary: since late December 2021, President Joe Biden and his team have gone out of their way to coordinate the response to Putin with an alliance that reaches beyond NATO and the EU. Out of 193 countries, only Belarus, Eritrea, North Korea, and Syria supported Russia in the March vote at the General Assembly that condemned Putin’s invasion.

The new German government demonstrated some reluctance to fully join in possible sanctions, but Washington reacted with patience and allowed the Germans to iron out differences internally and eventually join the consensus in favor of sanctions. Germany, the world’s fourth-largest economy, has to strengthen its international role. It began to do so under former Chancellor Angela Merkel. Germany is the second-largest financial contributor to the UN system, a major source of support for the organization that underpins the international rules-based order and is the only entity that can deal with global challenges. Together with France, Germany helped negotiate the Minsk agreement with Russia and Ukraine that stopped Russia’s 2014-15 invasion. Together with the UN secretary-general, Germany organized the 2020 Berlin Conference on Libya, the outcome of which served as basis for the end of fighting there and opened a track toward a political resolution of the conflict. Germany is part of the group of countries that under EU leadership negotiated the Iran nuclear deal. Merkel was the driving force behind the G-20’s Compact with Africa, which directed international attention toward the continent by inviting selected African countries to the G–20 summit in Hamburg in 2017.

Cycling near Kharkiv, Ukraine, May 2022
Cycling near Kharkiv, Ukraine, May 2022Serhii Nuzhnenko / Reuters

But countries clearly expect more of Germany. When I worked as a diplomatic adviser to Merkel and as Germany’s ambassador to the UN, I was impressed by the many requests from representatives of other countries who asked for more German leadership in areas as disparate as the western Balkans, eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Sahel, Central Asia, and even Latin America. Of course, they appreciated Merkel and her steady hand, but they also respected Germany’s commitment to a foreign policy that was neither paternalistic nor neocolonialist. Countries recognize that Germany delivers much of its financial aid directly to UN agencies; it seeks to support development and peacekeeping goals without extracting anything immediate in return.

Scholz’s government has pledged that Germany will assume more responsibility on the international stage. Germany can promote stability in the Balkans, eastern Europe, Central Asia, the wider Middle East, and Northern and sub-Saharan Africa through energetic diplomacy, holding conferences, hosting key players, and engaging others with all the peaceful instruments at its disposal. Scholz has also promised to strengthen Germany’s commitment to the European Union. Germany as a country can do much to support and help stabilize Europe’s wider neighborhood, but only a stronger European Union can make a difference globally.

THE TROUBLE WITH EXCEPTIONALISM

The United States remains the most powerful global democratic actor, but it also presents a major challenge. In 2019, I complained to a member of the Trump administration about the disrespect it showed to the Security Council resolutions adopted during the time of the Obama administration. The official replied that his administration considered as null and void those international obligations entered into by its predecessor. Again, I was stunned. I had bumped into a particularly stubborn brand of American exceptionalism, the idea that the United States exists above the rest of the world—and above the rules of the rest of the world. To be sure, the United States throughout the twentieth century promoted democracy and the rule of international law. But it still has difficulties accepting that it, too, is subject to that law, as evidenced by its actions in the Vietnam War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, as well as by its abuses in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The rules-based international order will prevail only if the United States commits to it. The United States in the twenty-first century is no longer the one superpower that can control developments worldwide, that has the capability and the domestic backing to intervene globally. Without real coordination with its allies, the Biden administration rushed out of Afghanistan in 2021, implementing the awkward deal set in motion by the Trump administration and leaving the Afghan population in the hands of the Taliban, who don’t respect basic human rights, in particular those of women. Many of my American friends didn’t see any problems with the chaotic and unilateral nature of the withdrawal. They didn’t take issue with how the Afghan republican government found itself in an impossible (and doomed) situation, nor with how the withdrawal caught U.S. allies off guard. The feeling of my friends was that a swift withdrawal was necessary to concentrate on the many challenges the country faced at home: education, health, infrastructure, income disparity, and so on. The U.S. departure from Afghanistan was a clear demonstration of its gradual withdrawal from international crisis management and a call to action for others: a wider global alliance, including Germany, must fill the gap.

A reluctance to act has cost the United States in the past. To many U.S. allies, the Obama administration’s decision not to intervene militarily in Syria in 2012—even after the Assad regime crossed Washington’s red line by employing chemical weapons against its own people—was a turning point. Obama hesitated, remembering the U.S. experiences in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, all countries where military interventions didn’t yield the desired results but led instead to drawn-out operations, enormous human and financial costs, and continued turmoil. The United States’ major rivals, China and Russia, took notice—and took advantage of Obama’s passivity. Since then, they have aggressively enlarged their sphere of influence and ruthlessly violated international law—Russia in Ukraine, Libya, and Syria, and China in Hong Kong, the South China Sea, and in its policy toward minority groups, including the Uyghurs. The volatility of the Trump administration did nothing to curb the expansionist ambitions of Beijing and Moscow.

To be sure, U.S. leadership on the world stage is not just about projecting military power. Committed diplomacy underpins the rules-based order. Take, for example, the Iran nuclear deal. Years of intensive and very complicated negotiations led to the signing of the JCPOA in 2015. Iran adhered to the agreement, scaled down its nuclear activities, and allowed the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect its nuclear facilities. The immediate danger of Iran obtaining a nuclear bomb was defused. UN Security Council Resolution 2231 endorsed the JCPOA and gave it the legitimacy of international law. The deal was a masterpiece of diplomacy: no other major international agreement in recent years has brought together so many major powers: China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. It prevented a possible war in the region. Of course, the deal was not perfect. The brutal authoritarian regime in Tehran remained in place, and there was no guarantee that it would give up any of its destructive regional policies.

Unfortunately, the Trump administration decided to trash the deal, violating international law and further diminishing trust in the United States. The conflicts in the region worsened; the situation in Yemen deteriorated, the Iranians increased their support for Hezbollah in Lebanon and for the Assad regime in Syria, and they continued to undermine the Iraqi government. Instead of working with the United States, the European partners scrambled to convince the Iranian regime not to abandon the deal. It was a diplomatic nightmare for the Europeans, who effectively had to work with Iran against the United States.

Biden declared before taking office that he was ready to return to the JCPOA. But instead of immediately lifting sanctions on Iran, as the United States had committed to when signing the deal, the Biden administration started a negotiating process to get the Iranians to scale back their activities which were in violation of the JCPOA. This tactic—again, not coordinated with allies—was easier formulated than implemented. The Iranians felt they had already been cheated and that the United States needed to make concessions first. The prospects for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear challenge are dwindling. Any new deal reached will be worse than the original JCPOA. The current predicament is a reminder to U.S. officials that they should take international law more seriously and they should abide by it.

A BIGGER TENT

The war in Ukraine presents another crossroads for the international rules-based order—and for the U.S. role in global affairs. It was without a doubt positive that the Biden administration took the lead in countering Putin’s violent aggression. The vote in the General Assembly in March condemning the invasion was a demonstration of international unity. But that solidarity is not as strong as it seems. In many countries, including major democracies such as Brazil, India, and South Africa, the conflict is seen as a return to a Cold War dynamic that pits the United States and “the West” against Russia. Many people around the world perceive double standards in the U.S. response: by invading Iraq, for instance, the United States was also culpable of violating international law and the sovereignty of another country. The global economy is taking a downturn, energy prices are soaring, food is becoming scarcer and more expensive. Many of those affected see this as a consequence of U.S.-led “Western” sanctions on Russia.

That is why a better response to Putin’s war and similar violations of the UN Charter in the future would be a collective one, orchestrated by partners from all over the world that adhere to and seek to protect the fundaments of international law. Beyond the United States, this would require more from like-minded countries, including the G-7 countries and those governments from all continents that commit to the rule-based order on the basis of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The larger objective should be to finally implement the promise of being “partners in leadership” that U.S. President George H.W. Bush offered to German Chancellor Helmut Kohl in 1989. The cooperation between the EU and the United States in imposing sanctions on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine in 2014-15 was an example of such a partnership, as the sanctions were coordinated and synchronized. The JCPOA was another example—that is, until the United States unilaterally bowed out. Other crises in addition to the Russian aggression against Ukraine demand collective attention and joint action, including in the Middle East, the Horn of Africa, and the Sahel. So, too, does the future of Afghanistan and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the United States has largely tried to extract itself from both hotspots, which is a mistake. It would be a welcome gesture by the Biden administration, for instance, to revitalize the Middle East peace process by breathing fresh life into the Middle East Quartet, the grouping of Russia, the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations that was founded in 2002 to push for a two-state solution and a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Only more multilateral engagement—not Trump’s unilateralism nor Obama’s disengagement—will work to ensure the whole region does not become more volatile. 

Biden can help nurture a global alliance of countries that commit to the respect of international law. This will demand from the United States a change in its mindset; it must coordinate with its partners more systematically and treat the preservation of international law as the basis for all its actions. For Germany in particular and Europe more broadly, it is time to shoulder more responsibility, to provide for sufficient military and civilian instruments of crisis management, to take the lead in the resolution of international crises, and to reach out to partners outside their immediate neighborhood. The fault lines today are not those between the West and the communist East, as they were during the Cold War. They are between those who adhere to a rules-based international order and those who adhere to no law at all but the law of the strongest.

That Ugly Russian Invasion OF THE UKRAINE…

The combination of old and new technology that is helping Ukraine keep Russian forces at bay

JOHN SEXTON May 13, 2022

NBC News has a story up this afternoon about one of the ways in which Ukraine has been able to hold off Russian advances thanks to a novel combination of very old and very new military tech.

The old part of the tech is howitzers. The US and other countries have started providing Ukraine with howitzers and training Ukrainian soldiers in their use but when the war started Ukraine had a supply of older model Russian howitzers which used a specific sized ammo only used by Russia and China. With no ability to resupply that ammunition, Ukraine turned to western nations who could supply the guns as well as the ammunition for them.

The innovation comes from how Ukraine is using modern drones to help them target enemy forces with those artillery shells.

Heavy artillery is typically deployed against enemy infantry and equipment. It uses an “adjusted fire” approach, meaning small changes to trajectory are made between each salvo until a target is hit. For decades, that meant armies sending personnel to the front lines and radioing instructions to the gunners several miles back…

But experts say Ukrainian forces are going one better by harnessing widely available drone technology to provide real-time surveillance data on Russian targets and fire their heavy weapons with unprecedented accuracy.

“Each drone provides the opportunity to destroy enemy troops,” said Valerii Iakovenko, founder of DroneUA, a Ukrainian tech firm that advises the government on drone use…

Small teams of soldiers control the drones from off-road vehicles near the front line, relaying location and topographic data to artillery batteries via military channels on Telegram.

“They are providing real-time information: ‘OK, guys, 100 meters to the left, 50 meters to the right,’ that kind of thing,” Iakovenko said.

A fellow from a US-based foreign policy think tank told NBC, “We’ve seen artillery being able to take out tanks, which is normally not done.”

But while the Ukrainians ability to innovate is helping them stay in the fight, they are still heavily outgunned until supplies of US howitzers arrive. The NY Times published a story yesterday about the importance of long-range artillery to the outcome of the war.

Through binoculars, the Ukrainian soldiers can see the Russian position far in the distance. But the single artillery weapon they operate at a small, ragtag outpost on the southern steppe has insufficient range to strike it.

These circumstances have imposed a numbingly grim routine on the Ukrainians, who are pounded daily by Russian artillery salvos while having no means to fight back. Every few hours, they dive into trenches to escape shells that streak out of the sky…

Military analysts say the battle now is riding not so much on the skill or bravery of Ukrainian soldiers, but on the accuracy, quantity and striking power of long-range weapons…

Russia’s 203-millimeter Peony howitzers, for example, fire out to about 24 miles while Ukraine’s 152-millimeter Geocent guns fire 18 miles.

But American M777 howitzers have a range of 25 miles and high precision. The US plans to send Ukraine 90 of the big guns. The Ukraine government issued a special thanks for the arrival of an M777 yesterday.

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Ukrainians also apparently crowdsourced the translation of the M777 operating manual so soldiers could read it.

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So the M777 should be a game changer but for the moment there is a kind of stalemate. Russian tanks can’t advance on Ukrainian lines for fear of being hit by British NLAWs or US Javelin missiles. But at the same time, Ukrainians can’t advance any closer to the superior Russian artillery without being pounded.

Russia cannot capitalize on its artillery superiority to advance. Its tactic for attacking on the open plains is to hammer the opposing positions with artillery, then send armored vehicles forward on a maneuver called “reconnaissance to contact” aimed at overwhelming what remains of the defensive line.

But because of Ukraine’s wealth of anti-armor missiles and weapons, Russia cannot advance and seize ground.

Ukraine, meanwhile, also cannot advance, though its tactics differ. The Ukrainian military relies on small unit infantry with armored vehicles playing only supporting roles. Though Ukraine could seize ground, it could not hold it or use it for logistical support for further advances, as any new territory would remain under Russian bombardment.

So this is now a war of long-range artillery and for the moment Russia has the advantage. But that will change as the M777s start showing up on the battlefield and forcing Russia to move its own artillery out of range. Once that happens, Ukrainian units should be able to start advancing again and also shelling Russian supply lines.

That Covid Epidemic Scandal…

MAY 13, 2022 BY JOHN HINDERAKER IN CORONAVIRUSEDUCATION

SCHOOL SHUTDOWNS WERE A CATASTROPHE

America’s response to the covid epidemic was a scandal. On a best-case interpretation, America sacrificed its children to benefit the extremely elderly and the very sick. Even if such a strategy had worked–which it didn’t–it would be a grotesque and arguably evil policy choice.

One of the worst things we did to our children was to shut down the public schools. “Remote learning” was largely a joke, and across the country millions of students checked out and didn’t return. Of course, they were mostly the kids who have the fewest family resources and therefore need school the most. Objective testing indicates that when schools went remote, student achievement fell off a cliff.

Six scholars from Harvard have issued a new report that seeks to quantify the remote learning debacle. It notes that the extent of shutdown varied widely from state to state. There was a clear political pattern. Click to enlarge:

There are some exceptions, but in general, if you were a young person in 2020-2021, it was a huge advantage to be in a red state. The report analyzes a lot of data, which it sums up in this conclusion:

Throughout the country, local leaders made different choices about whether to hold classes in-person or remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. There were valid reasons for differing judgements—including differing risks related to local demographics or population density as well as real uncertainty about the public health consequences of in-person schooling. While we have nothing to add regarding the public health benefits, it seems that the shifts to remote or hybrid instruction during 2020-21 had profound consequences for student achievement. In districts that went remote, achievement growth was lower for all subgroups, but especially for students attending high-poverty schools. In areas that remained in person, there were still modest losses in achievement, but there was no widening of gaps between high and low-poverty schools in math (and less widening in reading).
***
If the achievement losses become permanent, there will be major implications for future earnings, racial equity, and income inequality, especially in states where remote instruction was common.

One plausible interpretation of the data is that liberals hate poor people. Another is that teachers’ unions are one of the most sinister elements of our society.

Today’s Americans Learn Their Lefty Lies BY ATTENDING UNIVERSITY, PUBLIC SCHOOLS, READING NEWSPRINT, AND WATCHING CNN, MSNBC, NBC, PBS, ABC, CBS ON TELEVISION!

Whitmer Hoax Defendant: ‘We Beat Them. We Got Justice’

Historically, American juries have hesitated to find the nation’s top law enforcement agency guilty of setting up other Americans. But Brandon Caserta had the goods.

By Julie Kelly at American Greatness:

May 12, 2022

Link to Part 1: Whitmer Hoax Defendant: ‘My Life Got Taken Away From Me’

On October 13, 2020, a judge denied Brandon Caserta’s release from custody less than a week after federal authorities arrested him at his workplace for conspiring to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. U.S. Magistrate Judge Sally Berens, relying mostly on evidence produced by the Justice Department, ruled Caserta posed a danger to the community and would be held awaiting trial.

While acknowledging Caserta broke no law by attending field training events in 2020—exercises organized by FBI agents and informants—Berens focused on texts posted by Caserta in an encrypted group chat that allegedly discussed threats against law enforcement.

According to the government, one message said, “I’m taking out as many of those motherfuckers as I can,” referring to police officers. Calling the charge against Caserta a “very serious and dangerous offense,” Berens concluded that prosecutors had presented “clear and convincing evidence that there is no condition or combination of conditions that will reasonably assure the safety of the community or of other persons.”

Caserta spent the next 18 months in the Newaygo County Prison in White Cloud, Michigan. “I had everything taken away from me,” Caserta told American Greatness this week. “Time just stopped. My main focus became the case.”

After determining Caserta could not afford to hire a private attorney, Judge Berens appointed Michael Hills, a Kalmazoo defense attorney, to represent him. Hills immediately got to work. The government did not turn over all its discovery until June 2021—and that’s when the central role of the FBI came into focus.

“We saw all these conversations between Dan Chappel (the main FBI informant) and Adam Fox. The whole time, Dan was trying to get Adam to do criminal stuff. Then I found text messages between FBI agents and informants and Dan with people I never saw.”

Defense attorneys filed bombshell motions beginning in the summer of 2021 that described the FBI’s involvement. The attorney representing Kaleb Franks notified the court that he would raise an entrapment defense at trial after identifying the use of at least 12 confidential human sources otherwise known as informants in the case. “Only through the efforts of ‘confidential human sources’ (CHSs) and undercover agents did the government come up with its allegations here. Everything in this case points toward a defense of entrapment,” Franks’ attorney Scott Graham wrote in a July 2021 motion.

Shortly after that motion was filed, BuzzFeed News published a lengthy investigative report providing more details on how FBI agents and informants lured the men into the kidnapping plot. BuzzFeed News reporters Ken Bensinger and Jessica Garrison concluded that FBI assets “had a hand in nearly every aspect of the alleged plot, starting with its inception,” and questioned “whether there would have even been a conspiracy without them.” The piece ignited new interest in the kidnapping scandal on the Right, particularly as a backdrop to the January 6 investigation and possible use of government instigators.

Similarities between the kidnapping scheme and January 6 began to emerge including plans to “storm the Capitol” in Lansing that produced many of the same optics as the U.S. Capitol protest. Further, the head of the Detroit FBI field office—which oversaw the lead agents and informants in the Whitmer case—was promoted to head of the D.C. FBI field office just a few months before January 6.

There were more troubling headlines for the FBI. The day after the BuzzFeed story dropped, local media reported that Richard Trask, the FBI agent who signed the criminal affidavit against Caserta and his co-defendants, had been arrested for assaulting his wife in a drunken rage after a swingers’ party near their Kalamazoo home. 

Trask, according to a Detroit newspaper, “repeatedly slammed his wife’s head into a nightstand and choked her with both hands before she stopped the attack by grabbing his crotch.” Body-worn camera footage from the arresting officers later showed a clearly-inebriated Trask, shirtless and barefoot, exiting his car around 4 a.m. on July 18, 2021. Trask’s profane anti-Trump posts on social media, including one that referred to Trump as a “piece of shit” went public; the FBI fired Trask in September 2021.

Suddenly, the same corporate news organizations that had published nonstop articles and opinion pieces about the “kidnapping” caper before the election lost interest. Coverage evaporated. Caserta and Hills, however, powered on. 

“Once we got the discovery, Mike and I dove straight in head first,” Caserta said. “Scrubbing every audio file, every PDF file, every text message. It was hard, but we had truth on our side made it easier to argue facts.” Meanwhile, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Jonker agreed to a motion filed by defense attorneys to delay the October 2021 trial until early 2022 to allow time to investigate the investigators.

The probe hit pay dirt; by the end of December, amid alleged misconduct by FBI agents Jayson Chambers and Henrik Impola, both of whom were primarily responsible for handling Dan Chappel, prosecutors notified the court that neither Trask, Chambers, nor Impola would be called as government witnesses during the trial; defense attorneys quickly filed a motion to dismiss the case. (Jonker denied the motion.)

As the trial date approached, however, the defense endured a number of setbacks. Judge Jonker sided with the government on nearly every pre-trial motion; Jonker described more than 200 incriminating communications between FBI agents and informants as “hearsay” that could not be presented to the jury. Jurors also would not hear the criminal history of Stephen Robeson, the other lead informant who committed at least two crimes while working the Whitmer caper, after Robeson threatened to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights and prosecutors accused him of acting as a “double agent.”

And a few weeks before trial, Kaleb Franks accepted a plea deal in exchange for his cooperation and a lighter prison sentence. (Ty Garbin had pleaded guilty in January 2021.) Both planned to testify for the prosecution.

The FBI Goes on Trial

Caserta, Fox, Croft, and Harris were moved to a jail facility near the federal courthouse in Grand Rapids right before the trial began on March 8. Caserta was ready. “Now we can expose these bastards for what they did. We had enough ammunition to show we were innocent. I thought, ‘let’s do this shit.’”

Caserta and his remaining co-defendants finally did receive some good news; Jonker ruled their attorneys could present an entrapment defense to the jury.

Numerous FBI agents and experts took the stand during the three-week trial. Dan Chappel testified for nearly three days, defending his participation as a concerned-citizen-turned-informant who took orders from Adam Fox. Garbin and Franks testified that the FBI did not entrap anyone and insisted the plans to kidnap Whitmer were a product of collaboration among the defendants, not the agents or informants.

Defense attorneys gave impassioned closing statements on April 1. 

“When I look at what happened in this case, I am ashamed of the behavior of the leading law enforcement agency in the United States,” Joshua Blanchard, the attorney for Barry Croft, Jr., told the jury that afternoon. Adam Fox’s attorney called the government’s conduct “unacceptable” and urged the jury to find the men not guilty. “They don’t make terrorists so you can arrest them,” Christopher Gibbons said about the FBI.

Still, the defense had a major hurdle to clear. American juries historically have been hesitant to find the nation’s top law enforcement agency guilty of setting up other Americans.

The jury deliberated for four full days before informing Jonker on April 8 that they could not reach a unanimous verdict on some of the charges. Jonker urged the jury to continue but to no avail. On the afternoon of April 8, 2022, Jonker called the defendants and their families into the courtroom to hear the results.

“I looked at my mom and thought, ‘here it is.’ As the judge started reading the verdicts, I just put my head on the table and started breathing deeply trying to remain calm.”

That’s when he heard the first verdict on Adam Fox: No verdict. Then Jonker read the same outcome for Barry Croft: No verdict.

When he heard a not guilty verdict for Daniel Harris, Caserta said he knew at that moment that he also would be acquitted. “I’m looking at my family and looking down. Then the judge reads the not guilty verdict and I just breathe a sigh of relief. I looked at the jury because I wanted them to know I love them. To say thank you so much.”

It was Caserta’s 34th birthday.

Family members and paralegals for the defense attorneys were crying. Caserta gave Hills a bear hug. “I hit the lottery by getting Mike Hills. He is an absolute badass. Such a genuine, personable guy.” As the verdict started to sink in as he prepared to leave the courthouse a free man for the first time in more than 18 months, Caserta said he started to laugh. “It felt so good, I was so happy. We did it, we beat them. We got justice.”

While Caserta and Daniel Harris went home that evening, Fox and Croft returned to their cells. Jonker declared a mistrial for both men; the Justice Department plans to re-try the case.

Meanwhile, Caserta is trying to put his life back together. He lost his job as well as nearly two years of income. His apartment complex is suing him for damages caused by the FBI raid of his home after his arrest. Caserta said he hasn’t been out in public much since his exoneration, unsure how people will respond to him.

Still, he’s glad he fought the government. (He hasn’t decided whether he will sue for damages.) 

“My life was at stake but this could happen to anyone,” Caserta said. “I was fighting for everyone else’s rights, too. I didn’t want to make it harder for the next guy to fight these bastards.”