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Ruth King

Reflections on the Panthers A look back at what the Black Panthers did to deserve Beyoncé’s rousing tribute at the Super Bowl. John Perazzo

Beyoncé Knowles. Everyone knows her simply as Beyoncé, the multi-talented superstar wife of music-industry legend Jay Z. She’s also the glamorous and magnetic “Bey,” as President Barack Obama affectionately calls her. She’s held fundraisers for the President, performed at the White House, and cultivated a warm friendship with both Mr. and Mrs. Obama. Beyoncé often turns up at NBA basketball games, where she and her hubby can typically be seen in their courtside seats, soaking up the love of starstruck fans, broadcasters, and ballplayers alike. This past Sunday, as part of the Super Bowl halftime show, Beyoncé put on a performance that served as an ode to the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party. Her all-black female backup dancers proudly donned the Panthers’ signature black berets atop their ’60s Afro hairstyles, and emphatically raised their fists in the Panthers’ famous Black Power salute. In light of the passion with which so many screaming youngsters in attendance rocked and gyrated orgasmically to Beyoncé’s every move and word, it’s worth taking a moment to consider exactly who the Black Panthers were, and what did they do to deserve such a tribute from the lovely Bey.

The Black Panther Party was born as an outgrowth of the Oakland, California street gang of Huey Newton, a 24-year-old man whose only prior discernible achievements had been as a vicious thug, thief, and pimp. To define the Panthers’ mission, Newton in 1966 drafted a Ten-Point Program charging that because America’s “racist government” had collaborated with “the capitalists” to “rob” the “Black Community” blind, that same government was now morally “obligated,” as a form of restitution, to give all blacks “employment or a guaranteed income” as well as taxpayer-funded “land, bread, housing, education, [and] clothing” until the end of time. Moreover, Newton argued that “all Black people should be released from … jails and prisons because they have not received a fair and impartial trial.” He also issued a call for blacks to “arm themselves for self-defense,” which was in fact an incitement to a race war. As Panther “minister of culture” Emory Douglas put it in 1970: “The only way to make this racist U.S. government administer justice to the people it is oppressing, is … by taking up arms against this government, killing the officials, until the reactionary forces … are dead, and those that are left turn their weapons on their superiors.”

Gaza War Deja Vu By Lawrence J. Haas

The next Gaza war is fast approaching, with the terrorist group Hamas feverishly expanding its tunnel network to launch attacks inside Israel and Jerusalem now debating the shape and timing of its next move.

So get ready for the usual drama: Hamas will seize or kill Israelis by attacking through a tunnel; Israel will receive significant global support at first when it defends itself by counterattacking; Hamas will then ensure the deaths of Palestinian women and children by hiding its terrorists in homes and schools as Israel responds; the global media will promote images of Palestinian suffering while ignoring its cause; support for Israel will erode in Europe and then Washington; Israel will face war crime charges at the United Nations; and Jews around the world will come under attack.

Before long, Israel will succumb to mounting global pressure to halt its counterattack; Israel and Hamas will agree to a ceasefire; Hamas will portray the ceasefire as but a temporary respite before its next round of rocket fire and underground incursion; an increasingly isolated Israel will face a more energized global movement to isolate the Jewish state through sanctions and boycotts; and the Western intelligentsia will ignore Hamas’ genocidal motives, target Israeli settlements as the driving force behind the mayhem, and push mindlessly forward for the wholly unrealistic two-state solution.

Clearly, Israel didn’t deliver the deterring blow to Hamas during their seven-week war over the summer of 2014 that it had hoped because, just 18 months later, both sides are sliding toward the next round.

Today, along the border with Gaza, Israelis complain that they hear the digging of tunnels beneath their homes. “The fear among everyone here is constant,” one Israeli told Reuters. “I’ve heard the sound of a hammer and chisel and my neighbor says she can hear them digging under the cement. We’re stressed out.”

Plenty of Palestinian Passes The heavy cost of ignoring or rewarding Palestinian hostility and hate . Noah Beck

Reprinted from InvestigativeProject.org.

Activists who genuinely want to see peace between Israelis and Palestinians need to internalize a memorably alliterative warning: plenty of Palestinian passes perpetuate the impasse. The more global opinion ignores or rewards irresponsible behavior by Palestinians, the more likely renewed violence (rather than peace) becomes.

There are enough instances of unfair and counterproductive “Palestinian passes” to fill a tome, but here are some recent examples.

PASSING ON HAMAS BELLICOSITY

Probably the most important pass currently given to the Palestinians is the global silence over news that Hamas is preparing to launch another war against Israel while distressing ordinary Israelis with their ominous tunneling sounds. Such silence by the world’s most important media, international bodies, political leaders, NGOs and academics helps keep Hamas in power, and when Hamas eventually launches new hostilities against Israel, many of the same voices that are now silent will blame Israel for the resulting suffering.

Hamas bellicosity is constant, and constantly ignored. Rather than prepare Palestinians for peace, Hamas glorifies death and promotes viciously hateful ideologies. A Hamas TV broadcast announces, “We have no problem with death. We are not like the children of Israel…we yearn for death and Martyrdom…Every mother…must nurse her children on hatred of the sons of Zion.”

Last April, Iran reportedly sent Hamas tens of millions of dollars to rebuild tunnels and restock missile arsenals destroyed in 2014 by Israel during Operation Protective Edge. Instead of global sanctions or censure over its support for terrorism, Iran was rewarded with a nuclear deal that just unlocked $100 billion in frozen assets, some of which are expected to support more terrorism.

Hamas regularly starts pointless wars with Israel that doom Gaza to inevitable devastation. Then, when international sympathy and donations pour in, Hamas diverts the resources to rebuilding its offensive capabilities/tunnels (rather than destroyed homes in Gaza).

Hamas recently accelerated its tunnel-digging program. Indeed, three collapsing tunnels killed eight Hamas diggers in late January and another two last week.

Such reports establish that Hamas is diverting resources from rehabilitating Gaza to attacking Israel, and yet the world still blames Israel for Gazan misery.

Syria and the Real Demographic Threat How would a Palestinian state on the western side of the Jordan River block refugee flows from the east? February 10, 2016 Caroline Glick

Last week marked the 17th anniversary of Jordan’s King Abdullah’s coronation after the death of his father, King Hussein.

Abdullah’s ascension to the monarchy was unanticipated. His uncle Hassan was his father’s long-serving crown prince and was expected to inherit the throne. Hussein made the change in succession from his deathbed.

Today it is hard to believe that Abdullah will have the power to decide who succeeds him.

For generations, the largest looming threat to Jordan was its Palestinian majority. Although estimates of the size of Jordan’s Palestinian population vary widely, some placing it at just over 50 percent, and other estimates claiming that Palestinians made up 70% of the overall population, all credible demographic studies have agreed that most Jordanians are Palestinians.

It was due to fear of his Palestinian citizenry that for the past decade or so, Abdullah has sought to disenfranchise them. Beginning around 2004, Abdullah began throwing Palestinians out of the Jordanian armed forces. He also began canceling their citizenship.

According to a 2010 report by Human Rights Watch, between 2004 and 2008, the kingdom revoked the citizenship of several thousand Palestinian Jordanians and hundreds of thousands were considered at risk of losing their citizenship in an arbitrary process.

Today, concerns that Palestinians may assert their rights as the majority and so threaten the kingdom have given way to even greater fears. Demographic changes in Jordan in recent years have been so enormous that Palestinians may be the least of Abdullah’s worries. Indeed, it is far from clear that they are still the majority of the people in Jordan.

Since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, between 750,000 and a million Iraqis entered Jordan. Current data are not clear regarding how many of those Iraqis remain in Jordan today.

But whatever their number, they have been eclipsed by the Syrians.

Progressive “Thought-Blockers”: Income Inequality An ideological construct that exploits envy and resentment for political advantage. Bruce Thornton

Throughout this primary season, Hillary Clinton and self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders have both been flogging the “crisis” of “income inequality,” which is “at the center of their campaigns,” according to CNN. Both have scourged the “greed” of the “1%,” called for higher taxes on the “rich,” and promised to expand and multiply government programs to rectify this injustice. Yet like other slogans progressives rely on, the idea of “income inequality” is an ideological construct, a statistical artifact that exploits envy and resentment for political advantage.

The first problem with “income inequality” is how “income” is defined. Progressives indulged in some noisy triumphalism a few years back when French economist Thomas Piketty seemingly proved with hard data that capitalism inevitably leads to a concentration of wealth and an increase in income inequality. Further analysis revealed the flaws in his argument and data. One problem is the same one that undermines how poverty is defined. As James Piereson wrote in The Inequality Hoax, “Figures [on income] exclude transfers from the government such as Social Security payments, food stamps, rent supplements, and the like, which constitute a growing proportion of income for many middle-class and working-class people.” Adding the value of those supplements would narrow the income gap considerably.

Ignoring the value of entitlement transfers also underlies Clinton and Sanders’ complaints about the “stagnant middle class” that worsens inequality. But Martin Feldstein points out in the Wall Street Journal that the dramatic gaps in income between the top 10% and everybody else “leaves out the large amount of wealth held in the form of future retirement benefits from Social Security and Medicare.” As Feldstein writes,

Add the $50 trillion for Medicare and Medicaid wealth to the $25 trillion for net Social Security wealth and the $20 trillion in conventionally measured net worth, and the lower 90% of households have more than $95 trillion that should be reckoned as wealth. This is substantially more than the $60 trillion in conventional net worth of the top 10%. And this $95 trillion doesn’t count the value of unemployment benefits, veterans benefits, and other government programs that substitute for conventional financial wealth.

And don’t forget, most retirees take 3-5 times more in benefits from Social Security and Medicare––which gobble half the federal budget–– than they contribute in payroll taxes. Try getting that deal in the private insurance market.

Winning and Losing in New Hampshire Campaigns shatter and crumble in the granite state. Daniel Greenfield

New Hampshire primaries are occasionally unpredictable, but this time around Iowa proved to be unpredictable, while the outcome in New Hampshire was known to everyone and their second cousin.

But New Hampshire was less about winning votes and more about constructing a winning narrative. As Iowa showed us, early primaries are not so much about delegates as about stories. Win or lose, every candidate uses the process as background for a narrative about their own trajectory. Winning candidates boast inevitability. Losing candidates claim that they exceeded expectations or were robbed.

For Sanders and Trump, their wins allowed them to reclaim the victories they thought had been denied to them in Iowa. New Hampshire was a do-over, rebooting the narrative of their inevitable candidacies.

For Hillary Clinton, New Hampshire is a setback, but not a major one. She had won New Hampshire in ’08 against Obama, but the racial calculus has since flipped. In ’08, Hillary Clinton’s base was white Democrats and New Hampshire is as white as the driven snow. Now Bernie Sanders is breathing down Hillary’s neck with white voters, but her political firewall is her base of black and Latino voters.

In ’08, Hillary Clinton had desperately scrambled to hold on to New Hampshire after her loss in Iowa. This time she desperately held on to Iowa, using tactics that look suspiciously like fraud, complete with magic coin tosses, but could afford to accept defeat in New Hampshire. Her victimhood antics from ’08 made a comeback in New Hampshire as Bill Clinton whined about “sexist” attacks, but if the candidate has any crocodile tears to cry on camera, she held them in liquid suspension in her steel ducts even in chilly New Hampshire, saving them for sunny Nevada or for an emergency Super Tuesday Weepathon.

Syria: Checkered Past, Uncertain Future by Amir Taheri

Because almost every religious and/or ethnic community in Syria is divided, some siding with Assad and others fighting against him, it is difficult to establish clear sectarian demarcation lines. Syria today is a patchwork of emirates.

The Islamic Republic of Iran needed Syria to complete the “Shiite Crescent” which it saw as its glacis and point of access to the Mediterranean. Iran is estimated to have spent something like $12 billion on its Syrian venture. By the time of this writing, Iran had also lost 143 ranking officers, captain and above, in combat in Syrian battlefields.

Turkey’s “soft” Islamic leadership, the main source of support for anti-Assad forces, has always had ties to the global movement of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is likely that Turkey’s leaders see the Syrian imbroglio as an opportunity for them to “solve” the problem of Kurdish-Turkish secessionists based in Syrian territory since the 1980s.

Turkey has become host to more than 2.5 million Syrian refugees, posing a long-term humanitarian and security challenge. Ankara’s decision to goad large numbers of refugees into the European Union was an attempt at forcing the richer nations of the continent to share some of Turkey’s burden.

The country most dramatically, and perhaps permanently, affected by the Syrian conflict is Lebanon. More than 1.8 million Syrian refugees have arrived, altering the country’s delicate demographic balance. If the new arrivals stay permanently, Lebanon would become another Arab Sunni majority state.

Next March will mark the fifth anniversary of what started as another chapter in the so-called “Arab Spring” morphed into a civil war, degenerated into a humanitarian catastrophe and, finally, led to the systemic collapse of Syria as a nation-state.

That sequence of events has had a profound impact on virtually the whole of the region known as the Greater Middle East, affecting many aspects of its component nations ranging from demography, ethno-sectarian composition and security. Since the purpose of this presentation is not to offer an historic account of the events, a brief reminder of some key aspects would suffice.

HILLARY- I AM WOMAN-HEAR ME WHINE

Hillary’s Use of the Gender Card Isn’t Working By Jonah Goldberg —

Hillary Clinton is not a woman, and that’s a triumph for feminism and a problem for Hillary.

Let me clarify.

Yes, technically she is female. But when millions of Americans think of Hillary Clinton, they don’t think of her gender; they think of, well, Hillary Clinton. Some may think of her as a heroic liberal technocrat. Others might think of her as a deeply partisan politician. The list goes on: She’s a supportive (or enabling) wife, a great (or terrible) former secretary of state, a left-wing bully, or a victim of political witch hunts.

What she is not is an icon for a category of humanity called “womanhood.”

This strikes me as a significant victory for feminism, though not for professional feminists and certainly not for Hillary Clinton.

Clinton, who on her best days is a workmanlike (workwomanlike?) politician, desperately wants to borrow some unearned excitement about her gender. And to her great frustration, it’s not happening. In Iowa, Bernie Sanders crushed Clinton among women under 30 years old by 70 percentage points (84-14). He beat her significantly among 30- to 44-year-old women (53-42). Meanwhile, Clinton trounced Sanders among mature and, uh, very mature women. Women over the age of 65 backed Clinton 76 percent to 22 percent.

But in the lead-up to the New Hampshire primary, Sanders had opened an eight-point lead over Clinton among New Hampshire women, according to polls.

While a gaggle of female Democratic politicians and aging feminist writers and actresses have tried to gin up female solidarity, it’s largely backfired.

Gloria Steinem, a fading icon of a bygone era, said that Bernie Sanders is attracting young female supporters because they’re boy-crazy, and “the boys are with Bernie.” She later apologized.

Former secretary of state Madeleine Albright was trotted out to issue her favorite quip: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!”

BYE BYE BULLY-

New Hampshire Deals Death Blow to Christie Campaign By Alexis Levinson —

Nashua, N.H. — “Four years ago, people wanted me to run for president. I said no,” Chris Christie told a crowd of employees at DYN, a tech company based in Manchester, 30 hours before polls closed in the state’s primary. “The reason I said no is ‘cause I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to be president. I knew I wasn’t ready. I’d been governor for a year and a half; I wasn’t ready to be President of the United States.”

“But I’m ready now.”

Timing can be everything in politics. And for Christie, the timing was never quite right.

The New Jersey governor’s presidential hopes were vanquished Tuesday night here in New Hampshire, the state on which he’d staked his campaign: He came in sixth place, failing to earn a single delegate, and while he did not officially suspend his campaign, he made clear it was unlikely to continue unless the results changed after all the votes had been counted.

“Mary Pat and I spoke tonight and we decided we’re going to go home to New Jersey tomorrow. And we’re going to take a deep breath, and see what the final results are,” a subdued and evidently saddened Christie told a crowd assembled in the ballroom of the Radisson Hotel. He had been scheduled to fly to South Carolina in the morning.

“We leave New Hampshire tonight without an ounce of regret,” he added.

But Christie’s tale is very much a story of what could have been. When he won overwhelming re-election as the Republican governor of a blue state in 2013, he was heralded as perhaps the top contender for the nomination. The win, wrote the New York Times, “vaulted him to the front ranks of Republican presidential contenders and made him his party’s foremost proponent of pragmatism over ideology.”

Beach Books 2014-2016: What Do Colleges and Universities Want Students to Read Outside Class?

https://www.nas.org/projects/beachbooks

The NAS published Beach Books 2014-2016: What Do Colleges and Universities Want Students to Read Outside Class? on February 9, 2016. The main author is David Randall; Ashley Thorne and Peter Wood are contributors. We invite readers to share responses in the comments section or in article submissions via email to contact@nas.org.

Hundreds of American colleges and universities assign a summer reading to entering freshmen—usually one book, which the students are asked to read outside their courses. For many students, this is the only book they will read in common with their classmates. Colleges rarely assign classic texts: the common reading genre is parochial, contemporary, commercial, optimistic, juvenile, obsessed with suffering, and progressive.

Our study of common readings covers more than 350 colleges and universities for the academic years 2014-2015 and 2015-16.

Beach Books Report: 20-Page Version

Beach Books Report: 2-Page Media Packet