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September 2017

North Korea Goes Ballistic, Washington Dithers on Missile Defense Andrew Harrod

Any nuclear conflict with North Korea would be an “unimaginable” apocalypse in the recent words of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford. http://dailycaller.com/2017/08/29/north-korea-goes-ballistic-washington-dithers-on-missile-defense/

Yet the nuclear threat from North Korea’s erratic tyrant Kim Jong-Un is becoming more imminent every day. After fewer than six years in power, Kim Jong-Un has overseen more missile tests than his father or grandfather combined including a July 4 test of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) capable of hitting Alaska. The “American bastards must be quite unhappy,” Kim stated on Independence Day, and a subsequent July 27 (a North Korean holiday) test launched an ICBM capable of hitting America’s west coast. Given recent intelligence assessments that North Korea has successfully miniaturized nuclear warheads for ICBMs, American intelligence analysts predict that North Korea could target the United States with nuclear ICBMs by 2018.

The key to America’s missile defenses against North Korea is the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system. GMD’s 32 Ground-based Interceptor (GBI) missiles at Fort Greely, Alaska, (with eight more GBIs deploying there by the end of 2017) and an additional 4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, stand ready to shoot down North Korean ICBMs. GMD is America’s only missile defense system capable of destroying missiles during their “midcourse” flight in space where missile debris and explosions are far removed from targets.

GMD contrasts with missile defenses like Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) or the United States Navy’s ship-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense. These systems intercept missiles after their reentry into the earth’s atmosphere during their “terminal” flight towards the target. This characteristic not only raises dangers with explosions and debris, but also means that terminal defenses have only regional coverage areas as opposed to GMD’s continental defense.

Defense officials express confidence in the ability of America’s missile defenses to counter emerging North Korean threats, yet there is no margin for complacency, even though the latest May 30 GMD intercept test was successful. Critics questioned the test’s realism restrictions, and GMD in the past has only achieved ten intercepts during 18 tests (a 55 percent success rate), with only two of four tests since 2008 being successful. Although Fort Greely’s final eight GBIs will have an upgraded kill vehicle (the CE-II Block I, debuted in the May 30 test), 20 of the 32 GBIs currently there have an older kill vehicle that has not had a successful intercept since 2008. Because ensuring a missile intercept might require as many as four GBIs, nine North Korean ICBMs would exhaust the GMD’s current arsenal. Necessary GMD improvements like new sensor systemsand a Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV) urgently require more funding.

Along with inadequate funding, “disaggregation” of procurement, a policy initiated under Obama and made permanent by his MDA director on his last day in office under Trump, damages our missile defense readiness. As commentator Peter Weyrich notes, disaggregation “in-sources” missile defense development in the government. “Under this system, rather than purchasing programs off-the-shelf, the Air Force would buy components from different firms and try to piece the system together,” which is a “mandate for delay and waste.” Other commentators have noted that disaggregation “adds layers of bureaucracy to a process that had been more streamlined” and often involves parceling out work from a single proven company to untested firms.

Meanwhile Kim Jong-Un’s Machiavellian plans for nuclear Armageddon proceed apace. While his iron rule apparently suffers no budgetary shortfalls or bureaucratic obstacles, Washington, DC, policymakers should assure that spending and policy changes reverse years of missile defense neglect. North Korea’s doomsday clock is ticking, with perhaps incalculable costs.


August 14, 1945 – the day Japan surrendered unconditionally – will always be etched in my mind. It was the day my father returned home from overseas. He had fought with the 10th Mountain Division in Italy. My mother, brother, two sisters and I ran to him and hugged him, as he de-trained in Nashua, New Hampshire.

The world, this August, is a different place. While it may seem hard to believe, with the month’s mayhem so fresh in our minds, we are better off than seventy-two years ago. We were more unified then, because of the War and, perhaps, more respectful of one another’s political leanings. Economic inequality was not as stretched as it is today. But social equality is greater; there is less bigotry, and standards of living are higher; there is less poverty and less hunger. History is a work in progress, and the elusive Grail of peace and understanding, which moves deliberately, remains out of reach.

Charlottesville, Virginia, its ramifications and repercussions, dominated a month that began with a war of words between North Korea and the U.S. – words that threatened a maelstrom – and ended with devastating floods in Texas. Kim Jong-un backed off firing a missile into the sea off Guam, but he did, provocatively, fire one over Japan. The situation remains tenuous. Accommodating bad guys rarely works. An op-ed by Susan Rice in The Wall Street Journal, was a reminder that policy makers would be wise to re-read Aesop’s Fables’ tale of “The Scorpion and The Frog.”

Charlottesville reflected the dissonance between extremists, and the desire of politicians to seek crises to exploit. A march in Charlottesville, to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, was the excuse. A group of right-wing extremists – white supremacists, members of the KKK and Neo-Nazis – received city permission for a march. They were met by protestors, mostly members of Antifa (antifascist action), who wear masks to shield their identity. Both sides came armed, with fists, pepper spray, bricks, clubs, shields, tear gas and, in the case of at least one Antifa protestor, a flame thrower. Blows were exchanged. The police, apparently, had been asked to stand back, as though they wanted both sides to destroy one another, or perhaps it was the “Ferguson effect”? The demonstration ended with the death of an Antifa demonstrator, as a deranged white supremacist, James Alex Fields, Jr., allegedly drove his car into a crowd of protestors. Thirty-two-year-old Heather Heyer was killed and nineteen were injured.

What gave this demonstration media-legs was when President Trump, in comments that same day, did not specifically, and solely, condemn neo-Nazis or white supremacists by name. He implied that blame belonged on both sides. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides.” It was his words “on many sides” that drove the Left nuts. It was, after all, an Antifa demonstrator who was killed, not a Neo-Nazi. Yet, violence was not one-sided. The New York Daily News reported that Taylor Lorenz of The Hill was punched in the face by an Antifa for recording a fight between the two groups: she was told not to “snitch, media bitch.” Sheryl Gay Stolberg of The New York Times tweeted at the time – something she surely now regrets – “The hard-left seemed as hate-filled as [the] alt-right. I saw club wielding ‘antifa’ beating white nationalists being led out of the park.” Hatred and violence are pretty evenly dispersed among extremists on both sides – something that will have to be recognized, acknowledged and condemned before reconciliation can begin.

We can all agree that the KKK and neo-Nazis are evil, and Mr. Trump, in this era of hypersensitivity, should have singled them out for blame, (which he did two days later). But, there is no question that his depiction of hate-filled extremists being on both sides was accurate.[1] Who can forget Missouri state senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal saying on social media: “I hope Trump is assassinated”? Antifa has not received the media attention it deserves. While they have their origins as opponents (including Communists) to Germany’s Nazis of the 1920s and early 1930s, in the U.S. they rose to prominence and militancy during the punk rock-scene of the 1980s. They claim to stand for equality and freedom. But that is specious. Their tactics are as fascist as those they oppose. They disapprove of “bourgeois” behavior: raising children within marriage, civility, hard work, thrift, self-discipline, respect for authority and tolerance of those whose ideas are different. They believe speech they deem racist to be violence, so must be countered physically. They were behind the groups forcibly disrupting conservative speakers on college campuses, from Berkley to Middlebury, and interrupting right-wing rallies, from Portland, Oregon to Charlottesville. Peter Beinart questions, in the September 2017 issue of left-leaning The Atlantic: “The antifa activists say they are battling burgeoning authoritarianism on the American right. Are they fueling it instead?” He concludes: “…they are its unlikeliest allies.”

Trump’s Insubordination Problem Nothing good can come from this. By Rich Lowry

Donald Trump told us that he’d hire the best people. He didn’t mention that he’d be unable to fire them.

The president is experiencing a bout of insubordination from his top officials the likes of which we haven’t witnessed in the modern era. It’s not unusual to have powerful officials at war among themselves, or in the presidential doghouse. It’s downright bizarre to have them publicly undercut the president without fear of consequence.

The new measure of power in Washington is how far you can go criticizing the president at whose pleasure you serve. The hangers-on and junior players must do it furtively and anonymously. Only a principal like Gary Cohn, Rex Tillerson, or James Mattis can do it out in the open and get away with it.

First, it was chief economic adviser Cohn saying in an interview that the administration — i.e., Donald J. Trump — must do a better job denouncing hate groups. Then it was Secretary of State Tillerson suggesting in a stunning interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News that the rest of the government speaks for American values, but not necessarily the president. Finally, Secretary of Defense Mattis contradicted without a moment’s hesitation a Trump tweet saying we are done talking with North Korea.

In a more normal time, in a more normal administration, any of these would be a firing offense. Tillerson, in particular, should have been told before he was off the set of Fox News on Sunday that he was only going to be allowed to return to the seventh floor of the State Department to clean out his desk.

The fact that this hasn’t happened is an advertisement of Trump’s precarious standing, broadcast by officials he himself selected for positions of significant power and prestige. This isn’t the work of the deep state, career bureaucrats maneuvering or leaking from somewhere deep within the agencies. This is the shallow state, the very top layer of the government, operating in broad daylight.

Trump, of course, largely brought this on himself. He is reaping the rewards of his foolish public spat with Jeff Sessions and of his woeful Charlottesville remarks.

By publicly humiliating his own attorney general, Trump seemed to want to make him quit. When Sessions stayed put, Trump didn’t fire him because he didn’t want to deal with the fallout. In the implicit showdown, Sessions had won. Not only had Trump shown that he was all bark and no bite, he had demonstrated his lack of loyalty to those working for him.

So why should those working for him fear him or be loyal to him? With his loss of moral legitimacy post-Charlottesville, the president is more dependent on the people around him than they are on him.

“Globalist Gary,” as his Trumpist enemies style him, is invested with considerable market power, more than any political official besides the president himself. Tillerson is eminently replaceable, but his immediate sacking would be too destabilizing. If Mattis were to leave, it would cause a freak-out on Capitol Hill and around the world.

The 2016 Election is Not Reversible By Angelo Codevilla

Today, the bipartisan ruling class, which the electorate was trying to shed by supporting anti-establishment candidates of both parties in 2016, feels as if it has dodged the proverbial bullet. The Trump administration has not managed to staff itself—certainly not with anti-establishment people—and may never do so. Because the prospect of that happening brought the ruling class’s several elements together and energized them as never before, today, prospects of more power with fewer limits than ever eclipse the establishment’s fears of November 2016.https://amgreatness.com/2017/08/31/2016-election-not-reversible/

But the Left’s celebrations are premature, at best. As I explained a year ago, by 2016 the ruling class’s dysfunctions and the rest of the country’s resentment had pushed America over the threshold of a revolution; one in which the only certainty is the near impossibility of returning to the republican self-government of the previous two centuries. The 2016 election is not reversible, because it was but the first stage of a process that no one can control and the end of which no one can foresee.

Trump’s troubles

The Left’s optimism is not unfounded. Trump, in his Afghanistan speech, told his voters that he is reversing a campaign promise because he was instructed that his, and their, basic instincts on foreign affairs are wrong. Similarly influenced, he is continuing to use unappropriated funds to subsidize insurance companies that practice Obamacare even though a Federal Court held this to be unconstitutional—far from undoing it as he had promised. Nevertheless he complies with rulings by single judges that overturn major political commitments of his. Unforced errors, all.

Meanwhile, the leaders of the Republican majorities in the Senate and House reject responsibility for failing to repeal Obamacare and even for failing to pass ordinary appropriations bills. They take every occasion to distance themselves from Trump, notably imputing to him insufficient disdain for racism and other political taboos. When Corporate America withdrew from the president’s business council, it premised this officious separation on implicit accusations of the same sort. In short, the Republican establishment now joins Hillary Clinton in leveling “deplorable” allegations against Trump and, above all, of his supporters. Nevertheless, Trump agreed to endorse that establishment’s candidate in the Alabama senatorial primary against one of his own supporters. Counterintuitive.

Not incidentally, he well-nigh cleansed his White House staff of people who had supported his election, and put it in the hands of persons who just as easily could have been in a Clinton White House—people who agree with the press that their job is to control Trump. Secretary of State Tillerson’s remark that the President’s words on America’s values are merely his private opinion epitomizes this transfer of effective power.

With the Left in full cry, the Republican majorities in the House and Senate put no legislative obstacles in the way of the “resistance” to the 2016 election. These Republicans, having now effectively demonstrated that the arguments that won them four consecutive election cycles were insincere, can no longer reprise them. Believing that the 2016 elections were an anomaly the effects of which they are containing, that Trump will pass and the “resistance” with him, they move from putting distance between themselves and Trump to defining themselves against him and with “moderate Democrats” in concert with whom they hope to enjoy their powers.

Trump himself, far from leading public opinion from the bulliest of pulpits, limits himself to “tweets” of 140 characters, which observers from all sides characterize as “plaintive.” In short, the ruling class’s “resistance” met feeble resistance—that is, insofar as it concerns Donald Trump.

Donald Trump is not and never has been the issue. With or without Trump, the nightmare of those who resist the 2016 election was, is, and will remain the voters who have chosen and will continue to choose candidates who they believe are committed to reducing the ruling class’s privileges and pretensions.

It’s the contempt, stupid!

That is why the “resistance” has increased rather than diminished the 2016 election’s import as a revolutionary event. To ordinary Americans, the winds that now blow downwind from society’s commanding heights make the country seem more alien than ever before. More than ever, academics, judges, the media, corporate executives, and politicians of all kinds, having arrogated moral legitimacy to their own socio-political identities, pour contempt upon the rest of America. Private as well as public life in our time is subject to their escalating insults, their unending new conditions on what one may or may not say, even on what one must say, to hold a job or otherwise to participate in society.

As I have argued at length elsewhere, the cultural division between privileged, government-connected elites and the rest of the country has turned twenty-first century politics in America into a cold civil war between hostile socio-political identities.

The Real Victim When a crazy stabber belongs to an intersectional “marginalized” group. Daniel Greenfield

Kenny Herring was very angry over a neighbor’s barbecue fire. It was early in the morning in St. Louis. Kristy Lynn Thompson, Kenny’s wife, handed him a large butcher knife.

And then Kenny tried to make mincemeat out of his neighbor.

When the cops came, the neighbor had stab wounds on his face and torso, and defensive wounds on his arms.

Kenny’s butcher knife pierced his left lung.

But Kenny still wasn’t done. He waved the knife around and stabbed an officer in the arm. And was shot and killed. Thompson was arrested and charged with assault and criminal action.

It’s not an unusual story. This is what police officers do a lot of the time when they make “housecalls” in St. Louis, Baltimore, Oakland and Detroit. It wasn’t the first time the cops had been forced to respond to “domestic disturbances” at Kenny’s place. But now it would be the last.

What happened on Ridge Avenue was bad. But it could have been much worse for the victims of Kenny’s violent rampage.

The victim has a collapsed lung. He will spend time in rehab and will probably never be the same again. The police officers who shot Kenny will need counselling. All of them will relive that horrible morning in their nightmares.

But wait. The story isn’t over.

Kenny Herring was African-American and he identified as “Kiki”, a woman. And by the left’s current rules that means that no matter whom he stabbed, the police officers had no right to shoot him.

There is never any excuse for shooting a member of an intersectional “marginalized” group.

Activists claimed that the downstairs neighbors had been “bullying” and “harassing” Kenny for years. These accusations against the victim of a violent crime were never backed by a single shred of evidence. Instead it was assumed that if a member of an oppressed group stabs his neighbor through the lung, the man he stabbed must have had it coming. There were even calls to free Thompson to “mourn” Herring.

THE STRATEGIC CASE FOR KURDISTAN Why it may weaken US adversaries and strengthen our allies. Caroline Glick

If the leaders of Iraqi Kurdistan aren’t intimidated into standing down, on September 25, the people of Iraqi Kurdistan will go to the polls to vote on a referendum for independence.

The Kurds have been hoping to hold the referendum since 2013.

Whereas Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu restated his support for Kurdish independence earlier this month in a meeting with a delegation of visiting Republican congressmen, the Trump administration has urged Kurdish President Masoud Barzani and his colleagues to postpone the referendum indefinitely.

US Defense Secretary James Mattis, who visited with Barzani in the Kurdish capital of Erbil two weeks ago, said that the referendum would harm the campaign against Islamic State.

In his words, “Our point right now is to stay focused like a laser beam on the defeat of ISIS and to let nothing distract us.”

Another line of argument against the Kurdish referendum was advanced several weeks ago by The New York Times editorial board. The Times argued the Kurds aren’t ready for independence. Their government suffers from corruption, their economy is weak, their democratic institutions are weak and their human rights record is far from perfect.

While the Times’ claims have truth to them, the relevant question is compared to what? Compared to their neighbors, not to mention to the Times’ favored group the Palestinians, the Kurds, who have been self-governing since 1991, are paragons of good governance. Not only have they given refuge to tens of thousands of Iraqis fleeing ISIS, Iraqi Kurdistan has been an island of relative peace in a war-torn country since the US-led invasion in 2003.

Its Peshmerga forces have not only secured Kurdistan, they have been the most competent force fighting ISIS since its territorial conquests in 2014.

The same is the case of the Kurdish YPG militia in Syrian Kurdistan.

As for Mattis’s argument that the referendum, and any subsequent moves to secede from Iraq, would harm the campaign against ISIS, the first question is whether he is right.

If Mattis is concerned that the referendum will diminish Iranian and Turkish support for the campaign, then his concern is difficult to defend.

Turkey has never been a significant player in the anti-ISIS campaign. Indeed, until recently, Turkey served as ISIS’s logistical base.

As for Iran, this week Iranian-controlled Hezbollah and Lebanese military forces struck a deal to permit ISIS fighters they defeated along the Lebanese-Syrian border to safely transit Syria to ISIS-held areas along the Syrian border with Iraq. In other words, far from cooperating with the US and its allies against ISIS, Iran and its underlings are fighting a separate war to take ISIS out of their areas of influence while enabling ISIS to fight the US and its allies in other areas.

This then brings us to the real question that the US should be asking itself in relation to the Kurdish referendum. That question is whether an independent Kurdistan would advance or harm US strategic interests in the region.

Since the US and Russia concluded their cease-fire deal for Syria on July 7, Netanyahu has used every opportunity to warn that the cease-fire is a disaster.

James Comey, Hillary’s Real Campaign Manager Sweet vindication — again — for President Trump. Matthew Vadum

The insufferable, morally preening former FBI Director James B. Comey Jr., intentionally gave Hillary Clinton’s campaign a boost last year by deciding to sabotage the email investigation by exonerating the then-candidate before key witnesses had even been interviewed, new evidence suggests.

Citing Comey’s bungling of the Clinton email investigation, President Trump unceremoniously fired him by press release on May 9, three-and-a-half years into his 10-year term. Trump was attacked in the media for not caring about Comey’s presumably hurt feelings. He based his decision on a U.S. Department of Justice memo authored by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein that found Comey had, among other things, usurped then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s authority by taking it upon himself to unilaterally clear Clinton.

Rosenstein excoriated Comey, whose side of the story has long been championed by the media. “I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken. Almost everyone agrees that the Director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.”

Comey’s endless posturing and palace intrigues damaged the FBI, causing morale to plummet. As a result, “the FBI’s reputation and credibility have suffered substantial damage, and it has affected the entire Department of Justice,” Rosenstein asserted. “That is deeply troubling to many Department employees and veterans, legislators and citizens.”

Of course, critics savaged Trump’s rationale for axing Comey at the time, claiming as the supremely silly Russian collusion conspiracy theory was gaining traction in the media, that the president was obstructing justice to save his own skin.

Exploding in huge, scary fireballs of anger visible from orbit, they ridiculed him, calling him a budding dictator. They claimed he had created a dire constitutional crisis. They demanded his impeachment and imprisonment – or worse.

But once again it appears Trump was right about a media-saturated, manufactured matter of public controversy, one in a series that over the president’s brief time in office has whipped the yet-to-exhausted Left into a frenzy.

Upon Comey’s dismissal, Trump said the FBI “is one of our nation’s most cherished and respected institutions and today will mark a new beginning for our crown jewel of law enforcement.”

Exactly right.

As Americans are now painfully aware, the congenitally devious Clintons had created a hacker-friendly, slap-dash private email system while she headed the U.S. Department of State to frustrate Freedom of Information Act requesters, shield Hillary’s correspondence from congressional oversight, and steer money to the international cash-for-future-presidential-favors clearinghouse known as the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. The “homebrew” email servers Mrs. Clinton used are at the heart of the scandal over her mishandling of an Islamic terrorist attack in militant-infested Benghazi, Libya on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 that left four Americans, including U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens, dead.

Hillary thought she was above the law. Apparently, the new evidence shows Comey thought she was, too.

The hypocrisy of antifa By Jonathan Turley,

The University of California in Berkeley was again the scene of violence recently, as protesters claimed license to silence those with whom they disagree. Their fight against “fascism” took the form of not just stopping a speech, but assaulting those who came to hear it.

For those of us at universities and colleges, these counter-demonstrators, and in particular the masked antifa protesters, are a troubling and growing presence on our campuses. They have been assaulting people and blocking speeches for years with relatively little condemnation. They flourish in an environment where any criticism is denounced as being reflective of racist or fascist sentiments.

However, as the latest violence in Berkeley vividly demonstrates, there is no distinction between these protesters and the fascists they claim to be resisting. They are all fascists in their use of fear and violence to silence others. What is particularly chilling is how some academics have given this anti-speech mob legitimacy through pseudo-philosophical rationalizations.

At Berkeley and other universities, protesters have held up signs saying “F–k Free Speech” and have threatened to beat up anyone taking their pictures, including journalists. They seem blissfully ignorant of the contradiction in using fascistic tactics as anti-fascist protesters. After all, a leading definition of fascism is “a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control.”

CNN recently interviewed antifa protesters who insist that violence is simply the language that their opponents understand. Leftist organizer Scott Crow endorsed illegal actions and said that antifa activists cover their faces to “avoid the ramifications of law enforcement.” Such violent logic is supported by some professors.

Last week, Clemson University Professor Bart Knijnenburg went on Facebook to call Trump supporters and Republicans “racist scum.” He added, “I admire anyone who stands up against white supremacy, violent or nonviolent. This needs to stop, by any means necessary. #PunchNazis.” He is not alone. Trinity College Professor Johnny Williams, who teaches classes on race, posted attacks on bigots and called on people to “let them f—–g die.”

These voices go beyond the troubling number of academics supporting speech codes and the curtailment of free speech. These are scholars who have embraced the antithesis of the life and values of academia. They justify violence to silence those who are deemed unworthy to be heard. Dartmouth Professor Mark Bray, the author of a book entitled “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook” is one of the chief enablers of these protesters. Bray defines antifa as “politics or an activity of social revolutionary self defense. It’s a pan-left radical politics uniting communists, socialists, anarchists and various different radical leftists together for the shared purpose of combating the far right.”

UN Chief Guterres, the Media and Palestinian Fake News by Bassam Tawil

One of the mothers who attended the meeting with the UN chief was Latifa Abu Hmaid. Four of her sons, Nasser, Sharif, Nasr and Mohammed are serving multiple life sentences for their role in terrorism. The Palestinian Authority (PA) chose the mother of these terrorists because they are all members of President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction, which is regularly described by Western media outlets as a moderate and pragmatic Palestinian party that believes in the two-state solution and peace with Israel.

The minimum the UN chief and his aides could have done is to call out the PA leadership and condemn it for the ambush and the fabricated report from the official Palestinian news agency. Had Israel been involved in a similar incident, we would have witnessed a diplomatic crisis, prompted by the UN secretary general and his spokesmen as well as the international media. Palestinians, as usual, are given a pass.

The lie about “Jewish extremists” setting fire to the Al-Aqsa Mosque has become so widespread and accepted that even senior Muslim scholars such as Abbas’s Grand Mufti, Sheikh Mohamed Hussein, has also been spreading the blood libel. He and most Palestinians continue to describe the Australian Christian arsonist as a “Jewish extremist.”

According to the Palestinian propaganda machine, nearly without exception, the terrorists were on their way to buy bread for their mothers or visit their grandmothers. These were innocent victims, the story goes, arrested or shot by Israel for no reason. Then there are the lies about Israelis “planting” knives near the bodies of terrorists who stab or try to murder Jews. Western journalists and others accept these lies as facts.

Fake news is an old story in the Palestinian world. Yet recently, fake news has been taken to new heights by Palestinian spin-doctors, who have been working overtime to mislead the international community and media. A number of stories published in the past few days in the Palestinian media demonstrate the extent to which Palestinians are prepared to go to deceive the world and impact international public opinion.

Excellence is often a virtue — except when one excels at lying. And if there is one thing at which the Palestinians have excelled in the past few decades, it is spreading lies about its conflict with Israel. The mainstream media in the West usually takes the fake-news bait — it sells papers! — and demonstrates tolerance, if not sympathy, toward Palestinian-produced fake news fabrications.

The most recent case of Palestinian fake news emerged during United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s visit to Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinians. The UN chief, who does not seem to be familiar with the Palestinian culture of lies, fell victim to a typical PR stunt organized by his Palestinian hosts.

According to the Wafa news agency, the official organ of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Guterres “held a meeting on Tuesday evening (August 29) with families of Palestinian martyrs and prisoners held in Israeli occupation prisons.” The report said that the families called on the UN secretary-general to take rapid and serious action to save the lives of more than 6500 male and female prisoners held in Israeli prisons. Wafa then quoted Guterres as saying: “We understand the suffering of the Palestinian prisoners and we will work with the relevant parties to end their suffering.”

First, it ought to be of interest that the “prisoners” and “martyrs” are Palestinians who were involved, directly and indirectly, in terror attacks. Many of the prisoners have Jewish blood on their hands and were convicted of often unspeakable crimes.

Second, it quickly became clear that the meeting between the UN chief and the Palestinian families was part of an ambush set up by his Palestinian hosts in Ramallah. According to a UN spokesman, Guterres was surprised by the sudden request of the Palestinian Authority to meet with the “mothers of detained children” but that he agreed to meet with them. To his great credit, Guterres also issued a clarification that the report in Wafa that he had expressed sympathy for the prisoners’ plight was “fabricated.”

Third, it is worth noting that one of the mothers who attended the meeting with the UN chief was Latifa Abu Hmaid, from the Al-Ama’ri refugee camp near Ramallah. Four of her sons, Nasser, Sharif, Nasr and Mohammed are serving multiple life sentences for their role in terrorism. The Palestinian Authority chose the mother of these terrorists because they are all members of President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction, which is regularly described by Western media outlets as a moderate and pragmatic Palestinian party that believes in the two-state solution and peace with Israel.

The response of the UN chief’s spokesman to the “fabricated” report by Abbas’s Wafa news agency and the unscheduled meeting with the families of the “prisoners” and “martyrs” is a fine example of how the Palestinian Authority manipulates the world’s top diplomat. The PA and other Palestinians, however, have been getting away with this for decades.

The minimum the UN chief and his aides could have done is to call out the PA leadership and condemn it for the ambush and the fabricated report on the official Palestinian news agency. Had Israel been involved in a similar incident, we would have witnessed a diplomatic crisis, prompted by the UN secretary general and his spokesmen as well as the international media. Palestinians, as usual, are given a pass.

A Clarion Call for Reason By Eileen F. Toplansky

That the Left could besmirch the gentle heroism and kindness depicted in this picture should be evidence enough of the malignant growth that is now casting a pall over America. It is time for Americans to put the vile genie back in its box.

In his slim volume titled A Trumpet for Reason, written in 1970, Leo Rosten gives a “ringing answer to the New Left, the New Right, the militants and extremists and romantic demagogues who have been tearing our country apart.” He writes that America stands “in peril of being stampeded by the over-simplifiers, however honest; the fanatic, however idealistic; the unstable, however eloquent; and the naive, however appealing.”

Why did we not learn that the “glittering nostrums of spellbinders” such as Obama would prove so disastrous to this country? Rosten wonders if “each generation [must] learn for itself that “when altruists turn militant they become self-righteous tyrants.” Thus, “a few days prior to the January 20, 2017 inauguration of Republican President Donald J. Trump, James O’Keefe’s investigative journalism organization, Project Veritas, released undercover video footage exposing a cohort of hard-left, self-described ‘anarchists,’ ‘anti-capitalists,’ and ‘anti-fascists’ who — in an effort to undermine Trump’s presidency and strike back at the ‘Nazis’ who they said supported him — were plotting to disrupt the inaugural festivities with a massive protest dubbed ‘DisruptJ20.’ Specifically, the conspirators planned to: (a) create a series of ‘clusterf**k blockades’ sealing off ingress points all over the capital; (b) shut down the Washington, DC Metro lines by chaining the trains to other physical structures; (c) inject butyric acid into the vent shafts of the National Press Club; and (d) physically assault Trump backers with well-placed, debilitating punches directly to the throat.”

In fact, “one of the activists… told the Washington Post, the violence ‘was purposeful in its symbolism’ – meaning… that ‘vandalism at a Starbucks shop and a Bank of America branch were executed as attacks on capitalism and corporate greed.'”

Antifa members dress entirely in black, and their faces are covered by black masks, hoods, and scarves. According to organizers ‘Antifa combines radical left-wing and anarchist politics, revulsion at racists, sexists, homophobes, anti-Semites, and Islamophobes, with the international anti-fascist culture of taking the streets and physically confronting the brownshirts of white supremacy, whoever they may be.'”

Actually, “[a]t its heart, the Antifa movement is… a communist phenomenon whose adherents – consisting predominantly of upper-middle-class white males — believe that conservatives, particularly those who supported Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, are the moral equivalent of Nazis and are therefore not entitled to the free-speech protections guaranteed by the First Amendment. Moreover… the movement has a strong element of anarchism as well; thus its members are commonly seen waving the red and black flag of anarcho-communism.” Their intent is to totally destroy America.

Sadly, “[m]ainstream media outlets have typically refrained from acknowledging just how radical and revolutionary Antifa’s objectives and practices are, portraying the movement instead as a well-intentioned alliance of idealists who seek nothing more than to thwart the evils of right-wing ‘fascism.’ The Washington Post, for instance, has benignly referred to Antifa and its allies as ‘antifascist groups'” as has the Los Angeles Times and the New York Daily News. Other sources — both mainstream and far left — have painted Antifa in openly complimentary tones. For example, an April 2017 Esquire magazine article lauded the movement’s ‘anti-fascist’ vigilantes for crashing pro-Trump demonstrations [.]”