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April 2017


Yesterday, like all Americans, I ruefully sent my tax returns and payments to New York State and the IRS. Do you ever wonder, as I do, where that money goes? Would you be shocked to learn that those funds feed corruption and rampant wast at the state and federal levels?

Some examples are mind boggling….Veterans who languish in a hospital for the blind don’t get to see doctors, nor do they get to see the costly statues that are placed on their lawn at taxpayers’ expense. At the EPA the coercive regulatory agency they use funds from American taxpayers like us to buy $800.00 inkwells and high end furniture….desks and chairs which they occupy to make regulations that kill infrastructure repairs and construction work and jobs. At the Ivy League Colleges government grants fund ridiculous programs that implement bias and ignorance to the tune of $41.59 billion dollars.

How do I know this? Because of the meanest and leanest and most informative organization in America which exposes rampant waste and corruption. Home Page | Open the Books http://www.openthebooks.com/
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Go to their website and please support them. rsk



Ben Hecht, a writer of wide-ranging accomplishments and great fame and influence who became especially active in American Zionist efforts to save Jews from the Holocaust, died at 70 on this date in 1964. Hecht’s screenplays included The Front Page (1931), Scarface (1932), Gunga Din (1939), Angels Over Broadway (which he also directed, in 1940), several Hitchcock films, and dozens of other Hollywood classics, including Gone with the Wind, for which he was an uncredited screenwriter. Hecht also wrote some thirty-five books and a couple of Broadway plays. He was an anti-racist activist, active in campaigns against lynching and the Ku Klux Klan in the early 1920s. In the 1940s he collaborated with Hillel Kook (aka Peter Bergson) to raise funds for the Irgun in Palestine and to agitate for the rescue of European Jews from the Nazis’ predations. Their activism included a widely read article in Reader’s Digest testifying to the slaughter, and a Madison Square Garden pageant, “We Will Never Die,” produced by Billy Rose and Ernst Lubitsch. To hear Hecht interviewing Jack Kerouac in 1958, look below.

“Prejudice is a raft onto which the shipwrecked mind clambers and paddles to safety.” –Ben Hecht

Time To Ditch Israel’s Fake Friends Israel doesn’t need to appease J Street and BDS supporters in the American Jewish community. Lee Bender

It’s getting terribly tiresome hearing and seeing some liberal American Jews complain and harp that Israel is not doing much of anything “to make peace with the Palestinians” and are not acting with “compassion and justice.” The constantly repeated refrain, including from groups such as J Street, Jewish Voice for Peace, and other BDS supporters, that the status quo is unacceptable; that Israel, which is the much stronger party, and not the “poor” “victim” Palestinian Arabs, must urgently do something now; make concessions; withdraw from “occupied territories” for the sake of a Palestinian Arab state on its doorstep –- or else– is all too reflexive. And Israel will of course be isolated and vilified by the world and U.N. if it does not comply. After all, “we all know what this is going to look like in the end.”

Well, maybe not. Maybe it is about time for Israel to say, “thanks for your suggestions, but if it is a choice between placing Israeli lives at risk or your support, then later on.”

Israel is actually doing quite well with business and relations around the world these days. Israel has tremendously positive things to offer that the world is hungry for: high technology, computers, software, security systems, medical devices and treatments, agricultural, water, and other industry innovations. Israel is an open, democracy that upholds civil, women, minority, and gay rights, has a robust free press, independent judiciary, a parliament where Arab citizens are represented, an independent judiciary, educational opportunities and top health care. Is everything perfect? No. Can and must Israel do better? Indeed. But these “progressive values” are nowhere to be found in the Arab world. However, simply being a Jew who does not live in Israel does not give an automatic right to dictate terms to Israel’s generals and security officials as to “what is in Israel’s best interests.” That Israel is a sovereign democracy which elects its leaders is apparently of no consequence to some.

Placing the onus for peace squarely on Israel is wildly misplaced. The Arabs have rejected a state living side-by-side with Israel six times since 1937. The fact is that Israel has no true peace partner: the Palestinian Authority engages in “pay to slay”– paying salaries to those who murder Jews (or the families of murderers)– glorifies and names public squares for terrorist murderers; preaches hate and incitement of Jews in its schools, text books, mosques and media; refuses to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish People; fails to abide by its obligations under the Oslo Accords to stop terrorism, confiscate weapons, and teach peace; and has failed to retract their anti-Semitic charter.

Meanwhile, the PA leader, Mahmoud Abbas is 82 and has refused to hold elections for nine years. And don’t forget Hamas (the Islamic Resistance Movement, which is the Palestinian arm of the Muslim Brotherhood) who rules in Gaza and whose charter calls not only for the eradication of Israel, but the murder of all Jews.

We do in fact “know what this is going to look like” in the vision of the elites:” First, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated, “If the Arabs lay down their arms, there will be no more war. If Israel lays down its weapons, there will be no Israel.”

Erdogan Moves Closer to Making Turkey an Islamic State The making of another Islamic Republic. Bruce Thornton

By a razor-thin margin, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has won the referendum to expand exponentially the powers of his office. The results have been challenged for voting irregularities, but they’re unlikely to change the outcome. Given Erdoğan’s record-setting jailing of reporters, his mass arrests after an aborted coup, and his frankly expressed ambitions to Islamize Turkey, these changes will result in a much more authoritarian and Islamic government incompatible with the West.

No one should be surprised, as Erdoğan has always been up-front about his ambitions. At the beginning of his political career in the mid-nineties he said, “Thank God Almighty, I am a servant of the Sharia.” A decade later he said, “Democracy is like a streetcar. You ride it until you arrive at your destination and then you step off.” In 2007, Erdogan said of the term “moderate Islam,” “These descriptions are very ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.” And last May, referring to democracy, freedom, and the rule of law, he proclaimed in a television address, “For us, these phrases have absolutely no value any longer.”

If Erdoğan prevails in the referendum, then, Turkey is likely to move closer to the model of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and farther from the Western-style secular democracy created by Kemal Atatürk, founder of modern Turkey. Such a development will be a blow for about half the Turks, but also for the widely held thesis that the endemic tyranny and violence within the Muslim Middle East has little to do with Islam, and more to do with the autocratic and illiberal governments that have dominated the region. If Turkey fails after nearly a century of effort to create a secular democracy, then there’s little hope that any other nation can succeed in being true to both liberal democracy and the precepts of Islam.

More important, an Islamized Turkey will confirm what Erdoğan said about “no moderate or immoderate Islam.” For decades the West has indulged a pernicious fantasy that vaguely defined “extremists” unrelated to true Islam are responsible for the carnage afflicting the world. These “extremists” are products of tyrannical governments, poverty, Western historical crimes, the neo-imperialist “Zionist entity,” Israeli “settlements” in the “occupied West Bank,” Western disrespect for the “religion of peace,” and numerous other specious pretexts. Fourteen centuries of jihadist doctrine and action are ignored or rationalized, with a myopia that would have astonished our Western ancestors who fought for centuries against Muslim invaders, colonizers, occupiers, and slavers.

Examples of this delusion are legion. One of the most consequential jihadist organizations has been the Muslim Brotherhood, from which descended al Qaeda. Hassan al Bana, the Egyptian founder of the Brotherhood in 1928, expressed its clearly classic Islamic supremacist ambitions: “It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its laws on all nations, and extend its power to the entire planet.” For al Banna, jihad remained the time-honored means of achieving this end: “Fighting unbelievers involves all possible efforts that are necessary to dismantle the power of the enemies of Islam including beating them, plundering their wealth, destroying their places of worship, and smashing their idols” ––precisely what ISIS is doing with its genocidal attacks on Christians.

Campus Fascism Rising What can be done? Matthew Vadum

Acts of violence and physical intimidation aimed at conservatives on American campuses are growing – and college administrators, who sympathize with the progressive fascist lynch mobs doing the misdeeds, are generally fine with the mayhem.

Although universities and colleges are supposed to be places where ideas are exchanged and challenged, they are easily the most reactionary institutions in modern American society. Confronting the established wisdom there is a career-ender. Free speech exists in theory but only within the narrowest of prescribed limits. Speakers who violate the politically correct canon are shouted down, demonized, and assaulted. Truly new ideas are anathema in the academy, at least in the humanities and social sciences.

Question identity politics, the cult of multiculturalism, or the evil inherent in white people and America, and your life in academia will be over before it begins.

“The cultural Marxism ideology that created identity politics in the first place now permeates the university far beyond the classroom,” opines Bruce Thornton, “and enables an intolerance for competing ideas, not to mention shutting down the ‘free play of the mind on all subjects’ that [English cultural critic] Matthew Arnold identified as the core mission of liberal education.”

And so the dominant illiberal ideology in higher education snuffs out its competition, marginalizing original thinking and combating intellectual diversity – and this weaponized intolerance spills over into the culture at large along the way. Free speech is a threat to the authoritarian glue that holds these taxpayer-supported warehouses of student indoctrination and conformity together, so it must be regulated. There is almost no life of the mind nowadays; there is the dictatorship of thought commissars. And woe to those who fail to toe the line.

“The thuggishness and violence of the Sixties demonstrations at their height exceeded what we see today,” Stanley Kurtz reflects. “Yet today’s chronic, pervasive, and steadily growing vise-grip of campus orthodoxy, punctuated and enforced by occasional shout-downs and meeting takeovers, is in its way more dangerous.”

Kurtz adds:

There are plenty of indications that campus free speech is more besieged nowadays than it’s been in decades. Trigger warnings, safe spaces, and microaggressions signal a cultural sea-change. Anti-Israel shout-downs and disruptions have multiplied dramatically. These are no longer occasional embarrassing episodes but the fruit of a deliberate strategy devised by influential sectors of the campus left.

Courage is rarely found in the academy nowadays, laments Adam Goldstein, a Justice Robert H. Jackson Legal Fellow at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

Muslim Screaming “Allahu Akbar” Murders Three In Fresno As usual, authorities aren’t sure whether or not it’s terrorism. Robert Spencer

On Tuesday morning around 10:45AM, a Muslim named Kori Ali Muhammad walked through Fresno, California, shooting three men dead at random, including one in the parking lot of Catholic Charities. When he was arrested, he screamed “Allahu akbar.” According to the local ABC station, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer “indicated it was ‘still too early’ to know if the shootings were an act of terrorism.”

Of course. And for those who refuse to acknowledge the nature or magnitude of the Islamic jihad against the West, it will always be too early, even if Kori Ali Muhammad presents Dyer with an ISIS membership card and a letter signed by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi commanding him to carry out this attack. In this case, the familiar dance of denial by non-Muslim authorities intent on absolving Islam of all responsibility for the crimes done in its name and in accord with its teachings is not the central lesson of the attack – that sad charade has played out all too often in the past, and will many more times in the future, and there is nothing new to say about it.

The key story in the murders committed by Kori Ali Muhammad is that they constitute a jihad attack carried out by an apparent member of the Nation of Islam, the racist black supremacist pseudo-Islamic group headed by Louis Farrakhan. According to the Los Angeles Times, “a Facebook profile page for a Kori Ali Muhammad from Fresno paid homage to black pride and black nationalism, with images of the red, green and black Pan-African flag and images of a raised fist. The page listed him as a ‘warrior’ for RBG Nation, referencing red, black and green.”

What’s more, “in recent days, he repeatedly posted images to his frenetic Facebook page with the hashtag #LETBLACKPEOPLEGO. He referenced ‘white devils’ and praised melanoma skin cancer. In a post Monday, he wrote in all caps: ‘MY KILL RATE INCREASES TREMENDOUSLY ON THE OTHER SIDE ASÈ ALLAH U AKBAR.’ Shortly before that, he posted: ‘BLACK WARRIORS MOUNT UP AND RIDE OUT *ASÈ* #LETBLACKPEOPLEGO.’” Ase, according to the Times, “is a term from the Yoruba people of Nigeria, referencing a concept that there is power in our spirituality, words and feelings.” Muhammad also referred to “white devils” and the Nation of Islam’s mythical evil figure who created white people, Mr. Yakub.

If Muhammad is indeed a member of the Nation of Islam, he demonstrates yet again how members of the Nation of Islam, even though orthodox Sunni and Shia Muslims consider the Nation a heretical sect, can identify with the global jihad, and place themselves in its service. The most notorious example of this is the Beltway Sniper, John Allen Muhammad, who along with his accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, murdered seventeen people in sniper attacks in the Washington, D.C. area in October 2002. Muhammad had joined the Nation of Islam in 1987; Malvo was discovered to have kept notebooks in which he drew portraits of Osama bin Laden and other jihadis and declared his determination to wage jihad himself.

Health-Care Workers Aim to Decertify a Union Suspected of Fraud In Minnesota, they suspect the Service Employees International Union of deducting dues with our their permission. By Akash Chougule & Jason Flohrs see note please

This is welcome news…..and hard working union members should also challenge the unions’ use of dues to promote candidates…..rk

As its membership plummets, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is seeking to unionize home health-care workers, who have never previously organized and do not fit the traditional description of the public employees SEIU typically represents. The union is making its attempt in states across the country, but in Minnesota, where it has been rife with fraud, the personal-care attendants are pushing back, pursuing one of the largest union-decertification efforts in the history of the United States.

In 2013, Governor Mark Dayton (D.) signed a law declaring that home health-care providers — mostly women caring for disabled family members — are government employees, but only for purposes of collective bargaining. Shortly thereafter, the SEIU swooped in, pressuring workers to vote for unionization. Fewer than 6,000 ballots were cast, but because Minnesota law requires unions to receive majority support only from those who vote rather than from the entire bargaining unit, the 3,543 yes votes were enough to unionize all 27,000 personal-care attendants in the state.

To make matters worse, caretakers allege that SEIU did more than harass and “stalk” them — they say the union also forged signatures and denied anti-union voters ballots in the representation election.

Nonetheless, the resulting contract stipulated that 3 percent of the Medicaid funds that caregivers received in compensation for their work would be taken from them and handed over as union dues to the SEIU. But thanks to the Supreme Court decision in Harris v. Quinn (2014), unions representing home health workers can collect payment only from those who voluntarily opt in to the union and agree to have the dues deducted. But in Minnesota, the SEIU was caught deducting dues from caregivers who never gave them permission to do so.

Patricia Johansen, a personal-care attendant in Otter Tail County, Minn., told Matt Patterson of the Center for Worker Freedom that she never voted for the union or agreed to join and have dues deducted. In the fall of 2015, however, she noticed that the SEIU had been skimming dues from her Medicaid funds. When she complained, the SEIU said it had her signed dues-deduction authorization card on file.

Patricia, who is left-handed and “writes in an elegant and distinctive cursive” script, requested a copy — and received a form that had been filled out in her name in “crude, block letters” with a “clumsy” signature. Patricia had her dues refunded after notifying the union that she had been defrauded, but others have not been as lucky.

Now she and other personal-care attendants are collecting signatures to put the SEIU back on the ballot in hopes of decertifying this union that appears to have engaged in voter disenfranchisement, identity theft, and unlawful dues deduction, all in order to divert Medicaid funds to its own coffers.

No, Trump Is Not a Neocon Both supporters and critics of Trump’s foreign-policy decisions should take a step back and view the whole picture. By Rich Lowry

With U.S. missiles flying in Syria, the “mother of all bombs” exploding in Afghanistan, and an aircraft-carrier strike group heading toward North Korea, has there been a revolution in President Trump’s foreign policy?

His most fervent supporters shouldn’t get overly exercised and his interventionist critics shouldn’t get too excited. What has been on offer so far is broadly consistent with the Jacksonian worldview that is the core of Trump’s posture toward the world.

Trump’s views are obviously inchoate. He has an attitude rather than a doctrine, and upon leaving office, he surely won’t, like Richard Nixon, write a series of books on international affairs.

What we have learned since he took office is that Trump is not an isolationist. At times, he’s sounded like one. His America First slogan (inadvertently) harkened back to the movement to keep us out of World War II. His outlandish questioning of the NATO alliance, an anchor of the West, created the sense that he might be willing to overturn the foundations of the post–World War II order.

This hasn’t come to pass. It’s not possible to be a truly isolationist president of the United States in the 21st century unless you want to spend all your time unspooling U.S. commitments and managing the resulting disruption and crises. And such an approach would undercut the most consistent element of Trump’s approach — namely strength.

His set-piece foreign-policy speeches during the campaign were clear on this. “The world is most peaceful and most prosperous when America is strongest,” he said last April at the Center for the National Interest. “America will continue and continue forever to play the role of peacemaker. We will always help save lives and indeed humanity itself, but to play the role, we must make America strong again.”

In direct contradiction to isolationism, he said repeatedly on the campaign trail that he would take the war to ISIS and build up our defenses. He even called himself — in a malapropism — “the most militaristic person you will ever meet.”

Now, there is no doubt that the Syrian strike is a notable departure for Trump, and he defended it in unapologetically humanitarian terms. But it’s entirely possible that the strike will only have the narrow purpose of reestablishing a red line against the use of chemical weapons in Syria and reasserting American credibility.

That is particularly important in the context of the brewing showdown with North Korea, which he roughly forecast in his speech last April. “President Obama watches helplessly as North Korea increases its aggression and expands further and further with its nuclear reach,” Trump said, advocating using economic pressure on China to “get them to do what they have to do with North Korea, which is totally out of control.”

The Tomahawks in Syria and saber-rattling at North Korea have Trump’s critics on the right and left claiming he’s becoming a neoconservative — a term of abuse that is most poorly understood by the people most inclined to use it. All neocons may be hawks, but not all hawks are neocons, who are distinctive in their idealism and robust interventionism.

We haven’t heard paeans to democracy from Trump, or clarion calls for human rights. He hasn’t seriously embraced regime change anywhere (even if his foreign-policy officials say Assad has to go). He shows no sign of a willingness to make a major commitment of U.S. ground troops abroad.

Why North Korea’s Nuclear and Missile Programs Are Far More Dangerous Than They Look Kim Jong-un’s weapons could cause widespread devastation even if they don’t hit their targets. By Fred Fleitz

On Friday, the news media were so sure North Korea would conduct a nuclear test over the weekend to celebrate the 105th birthday of Kim Il-Sung that they almost started a countdown clock. The test never happened. Some experts said this was because President Trump caused North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to “blink.”

On Saturday, North Korea did attempt a celebratory ballistic-missile test, which failed seconds after launch. There has been speculation in the media that this failure was due to U.S. sabotage, possibly a cyberattack.

While I believe the above explanations of both events are unlikely, North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs still pose serious and growing threats because they represent an unstable regime developing and testing increasingly advanced WMDs based on poor engineering and badly inadequate R&D. This is why a new U.S. approach to the threat from North Korea is long overdue.

I did not believe a nuclear test would occur as part of North Korea’s weekend celebration. I was not convinced by commercial-satellite imagery cited by some experts as evidence of an imminent nuclear test, since there is constant activity at North Korea’s nuclear test site that often leads to predictions of nuclear tests that do not occur. On the other hand, when North Korea actually conducts nuclear tests, these same experts are usually caught off guard.

Predicting North Korean nuclear tests is difficult, because Pyongyang is aware it is being watched by U.S. spy satellites. North Korea probably engages in subterfuge at its test site to make the world think nuclear tests are imminent when they are not, and to conceal preparations for actual tests.

North Korean nuclear tests during major celebrations like the 105th birthday of Kim Il-Sung are unlikely because, as North Korea’s nuclear program becomes more sophisticated, the chances of failed tests increase. North Korean leaders probably wanted to avoid the humiliation of a failed nuclear test on an important holiday when the eyes of the world were fixed on the Hermit Kingdom.

There also is a more likely and simpler explanation for North Korea’s April 15 missile test and its subsequent failure. North Korean officials probably decided to conduct a missile test as a demonstration of their nation’s military might that had a higher likelihood of success than a nuclear test.

While some experts are speculating the missile test failed because of U.S. sabotage or cyber warfare, the more likely explanation is that the failure was due to the poor state of North Korean science and engineering. Arms-control expert Jeffrey Lewis is “deeply skeptical” that the U.S. was responsible for the failed missile test, and he said in a recent Axios.com interview, “The failures we’ve seen are better explained by the pains of the R&D process. There is a reason that ‘rocket science’ is a metaphor for something that is hard to do.”

About 50 percent of North Korean missile tests — and 88 percent of its intermediate Musudan missile tests — have failed. This is what happens when a brutal totalitarian regime tries to pursue a complex weapons program using borrowed and stolen technology and relies on third-rate scientists.

It goes without saying that the world’s leading experts in rocketry and physics are not flocking to North Korea to work on the WMD programs of an evil totalitarian regime with a serious job-security problem — Leader Kim may have you executed if your project encounters failures or setbacks.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali on What the Future Holds for Muslim Women The noted feminist advocate imagines how Islam’s treatment of women could evolve in the years ahead. By Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Editor’s Note: The following piece is adapted from “Preserving the Values of the West,” the remarks delivered by Ayaan Hirsi Ali upon accepting the 2016 Philip Merrill Award for Outstanding Contributions to Liberal Arts Education alongside her husband, Niall Ferguson. It is reprinted here with permission.

The specific example I would like to address today is the relationship between men and women. All cultures have strong views on marriage, family, divorce, promiscuity, and parenting. Not all cultures are similar or interchangeable, however.

Within Islam today, I believe that we can distinguish three different groups of Muslims in the world based on how they envision and practice their faith, with important consequences for women.

The first group is the most problematic — the fundamentalists who envision a regime based on Shariah, Islamic religious law. They argue for an Islam largely or completely unchanged from its original seventh-century version and take it as a requirement of their faith that they impose it on everyone else.

I call them Medina Muslims, in that they see the forcible imposition of Shariah as their religious duty, following the example of the Prophet Muhammad when he was based in Medina. They exploit their fellow Muslims’ respect for Shariah law as a divine code that takes precedence over civil laws. It is only after they have laid this foundation that they are able to persuade their recruits to engage in jihad. There is no equality between men and women in their eyes, either legally or in daily practice.

The second group — and the clear majority throughout the Muslim world — consists of Muslims who are loyal to the core creed and worship devoutly but are not inclined to practice violence or even intolerance toward non-Muslims.

I call this group “Mecca Muslims,” after the first phase of Islam and the peaceful Qur’anic verses that were revealed in Mecca. In this group, the position of women is contested.

More recently, and partly in response to the rise of Islamic terrorism, a third group is emerging within Islam: Muslim reformers — or, as I call them, “modifying Muslims” — who promote the separation of religion from politics and other reforms. Although some are apostates, the majority of dissidents are believers, among them clerics who have come to realize that their religion must change if its followers are not to be condemned to an interminable cycle of political violence. Reformers generally favor equality between men and women.

The future of Islam and the world’s relationship with Muslims will be decided by which of the two minority groups — the Medina Muslims or the reformers — can win the support of the rather passive Meccan majority.