Elites’ Sacrificial Victims :When Your Goal is to Save the Planet, You Can’t Worry About Who May Get Hurt Victor Davis Hanson

Why do our well-meaning elites so often worry about humanity in the abstract rather than the real effects of their cosmic ideologies on the majority? The dream of universal health coverage trumped the nightmare of millions of lives disrupted by the implementation of it. Noble lies, with emphatics like “Period!” were necessary to sell something that would hurt precisely those who were told that this was going to be good for them. A myriad of green mandates has led to California’s having the highest-priced gasoline and electricity in the continental United States, a fact that delights utopians in San Francisco and in the long run might help the rest of us, butrace right now ensures that the poor of the state’s vast, hot interior can scarcely afford to cool their homes or drive to work. Fresno on August 1, after all, is a bit warmer than Berkeley or Menlo Park.

In a word, liberal ideology so often proves more important than people. Noble theories about saving humanity offer exemption from worry about the immediate consequences for individual humans. In a personal sense, those who embrace progressive ideas expect to be excused from the ramifications of their schemes. For the elite who send their kids to prep schools and private academies, public charter schools for the poor are bad, given that they undermine the dream of progressive, union-run education that has turned into a nightmare for those forced to enroll in it.

Recently, pundit Margaret Carlson wrote an op-ed lamenting the fall of Lois Lerner, as if her decline were due to a McCarthyesque hit. But Lerner staged her own dishonest disclosure of impropriety. She set up a phony, preplanned question that might offer her a platform to contextualize her unethical behavior. Despite her protestations that the IRS’s violations all emanated from a rogue office in Ohio, Lerner or her colleagues were in contact with Democratic enablers at the House Oversight Committee and the Department of Justice to find ways to thwart conservative tax-exempt organizations before the 2012 election.

Lerner has sought to obfuscate her improper role at the IRS, pled the Fifth Amendment to avoid self-incrimination, and done a great deal of damage to the American notion that government agencies, especially in election years, must remain impartial. It is hard to think of anything that she has testified about that has proved accurate. In addition, Lerner caused hundreds of legitimate members of tax-exempt organizations misery by violating the rules of her own agency. In short, there is no scandal victim less sympathetic than the now-well-retired Lois Lerner, even if the damage she did to innocent others does not register on the liberal scale of sympathy. Apparently, since her politics of wishing to shut down right-wing groups is correct, her morality need not be. Had Carlson been the director of a liberal green group, and had it been denied tax-exempt status by a high-ranking conservative IRS bureaucrat right before the reelection of George W. Bush, and had that functionary been exposed as an ideologue who harmed the reputation of the IRS and took the Fifth Amendment, I doubt that Carlson would now be writing to express worry over his mounting legal fees.

Recently, Senator Elizabeth Warren was quoted to the effect that she was upset when critics pounced on her erroneous claim that she was Native American and asserted that she had used that supposed background to enhance her career. Oddly, Warren thought her attackers were off base while she was stoically above the fray. Indeed, she doubled down with the absurd postmodern claim, “I never questioned my family’s stories or asked my parents for proof or documentation. What kid would? . . . Knowing who you are is one thing, and proving who you are is another.”

You think?

Anti-Israel BDS Resolutions Seize Campuses in Ontario, Canada by Christine Williams

Hamas — the terrorist group and offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood — has fueled and directed the BDS and Israel Apartheid Week campaigns on campuses across North America.

“Islam is my life… Jihad is my spirit… I will die to establish Islam.” — from the Muslim Student Association pledge of allegiance.

Under the guise of promoting peace and human rights, resolutions to join Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] drives are being foisted on Canadian university campuses to push the agenda of the Muslim terrorist group, Hamas, to destroy Israel.

It is Hamas—an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood—that has fueled and directed the BDS and Israel Apartheid Week campaigns on university campuses across North America through chapters of the Muslim Student Association and the Palestine Solidarity Network.

Despite drawing a negligible fraction of the student population, the votes are gaining traction. According to the website of the Palestinian BDS National Committee, BDS is a global campaign designed to pressure Israel to end its so-called “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands.” Hidden is the real BDS agenda: to delegitimize and ultimately obliterate Israel by destroying its economy.

Also concealed in these drives are Israel’s reason for so-called “occupation,” and the fact that Palestinians are treated better in Israel than by their own vicious leadership who sometimes even use their own people as human shields.

Toronto’s Ryerson University students reportedly became the 11th student union to vote in support of the anti-Israel BDS campaign, giving “student politicians” the mandate to pressure the university administration to cut ties with all companies that support what the BDS campaign asserts is “Israeli apartheid.” Not only do they invariably fail to provide any evidence to support that allegation, they fail to mention the very real apartheid that still exists against Palestinians in Lebanon and Kuwait, where they are forbidden to hold a whole array of jobs and privileges enjoyed by other residents. They also fail to mention the very real apartheid against non-Muslims that exists in countries such as Saudi Arabia — where there are roads they may not travel on, cities they may not enter and books they may not bring in; or Pakistan, where non-Muslims effectively receive no protection from the law-enforcement agencies.


“According to the 2011 Skills Gap Survey by the Manufacturing Institute, about 600,000 manufacturing jobs are unfilled nationally because employers can’t find qualified workers. To help produce a new generation of welders, pipe-fitters, electricians, carpenters, machinists and other skilled tradesmen, high schools should introduce students to the pleasure and pride they can take in making and building things in shop class.”

Welders Make $150,000? Bring Back Shop Class

Taking pride in learning to make and build things can begin in high school. Plenty of jobs await.

In American high schools, it is becoming increasingly hard to defend the vanishing of shop class from the curriculum. The trend began in the 1970s, when it became conventional wisdom that a four-year college degree was essential. As Forbes magazine reported in 2012, 90% of shop classes have been eliminated for the Los Angeles unified school district’s 660,000 students. Yet a 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics study shows that 48% of all college graduates are working in jobs that don’t require a four-year degree.

Too many young people have four-year liberal-arts degrees, are thousands of dollars in debt and find themselves serving coffee at Starbucks SBUX +0.47% or working part-time at the mall. Many of them would have been better off with a two-year skilled-trade or technical education that provides the skills to secure a well-paying job.


The dictators are back. The political scientist saw it coming.

‘What would happen,” Samuel Huntington once wondered, “if the American model no longer embodied strength and success, no longer seemed to be the winning model?”

The question, when the great Harvard political scientist asked it in 1991, seemed far-fetched. The Cold War was won, the Soviet Union was about to vanish. History was at an end. All over the world, people seemed to want the same things in the same way: democracy, capitalism, free trade, free speech, freedom of conscience, freedom for women.

“The day of the dictator is over,” George H.W. Bush had said in his 1989 inaugural address. “We know what works: Freedom works. We know what’s right: Freedom is right.”

Not quite. A quarter-century later, the dictators are back in places where we thought they had been banished. And they’re back by popular demand. Egyptian strongman Abdel Fatah al-Sisi will not have to stuff any ballots to get himself elected president next month; he’s going to win in a walk. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán presides over the most illiberal government in modern Europe, but he had no trouble winning a third term in elections two weeks ago.

In Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spent recent months brutalizing protesters in Istanbul, shutting down judicial inquiries into corruption allegations against his government, and seeking to block Twitter, TWTR +2.49% YouTube and Facebook, FB +2.06% the ultimate emblems of digital freedom. But his AKP party still won resounding victories in key municipal elections last month.

And then there is Russia. In a Journal op-ed Monday, foreign-policy analyst Ilan Berman pointed out that Russia had $51 billion in capital flight in the first quarter of 2014, largely thanks to Vladimir Putin’s Crimean caper. That’s a lot of money for a country with a GDP roughly equal to that of Italy. The World Bank predicts the Russian economy could shrink by 2% this year. Relations with the West haven’t been worse since the days of Yuri Andropov.

But never mind about that. Mr. Putin has a public approval rating of 80%, according to the independent Levada Center. That’s up from 65% in early February.

Maybe it’s something in the water. Or the culture. Or the religion. Or the educational system. Or the level of economic development. Or the underhanded ways in which authoritarian leaders manipulate media and suppress dissent. The West rarely runs out of explanations for why institutions of freedom—presumably fit for all people for all time—seem to fit only some people, sometimes.

But maybe there’s something else at work. Maybe the West mistook the collapse of communism—just one variant of dictatorship—as a vindication of liberal democracy. Maybe the West forgot that it needed to justify its legitimacy not only in the language of higher democratic morality. It needed to show that the morality yields benefits: higher growth, lower unemployment, better living.

Has the West been performing well lately? If the average Turk looks to Greece as the nearest example of a Western democracy, does he see much to admire? Did Egyptians have a happy experience of the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood? Should a government in Budapest take economic advice from the finance ministry of France? Did ethnic Russians prosper under a succession of Kiev kleptocrats?

“Sustained inability to provide welfare, prosperity, equity, justice, domestic order, or external security could over time undermine the legitimacy of even democratic governments,” Huntington warned. “As the memories of authoritarian failures fade, irritation with democratic failures is likely to increase.”



A Top Hospital Opens Up to Chinese Herbs as Medicines Evidence is lacking that herbs are effective

Christina Lunka appeared nervous and excited as she sat in the Chinese herbal therapy center recently opened by the Cleveland Clinic.

The 49-year-old had been to many doctors seeking help for ongoing issues that included joint pain and digestive problems. Now the Kirtland, Ohio, resident was hoping to find relief through herbal remedies.

“Do you have something for inflammation?” Ms. Lunka asked herbalist Galina Roofener during a one-hour consultation.

“Absolutely,” responded Ms. Roofener. “This is for pain, for digestion, for inflammation, all of the above,” she said, handing Ms. Lunka a bottle with capsules of an herbal combination called Xiao Yao San, which translates as free and easy wanderer. The capsules include about eight different herbs, including licorice, mint leaf and white peony root.

“Please do not expect immediate results,” said Ms. Roofener. “The first effects, three weeks. The best therapeutic potential, three months. It will be slow, tedious work.”


U.S. allies look for support against Beijing’s new aggression.

President Barack Obama lands in Japan Wednesday to kick off a week-long Asian Reassurance Tour, and not a moment too soon. Amid the summitry in Tokyo, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur and Manila, Asian leaders will be watching the showdown over an obscure speck of land in the South China Sea.

Second Thomas Shoal sits some 125 miles off the western coast of the Philippines, one of more than 750 rocks, reefs and islets known as the Spratly Islands. Today it is the site of China’s boldest attempt to forcibly exert sovereignty over the resource-rich, 1.35-million-square-mile South China Sea, through which one-third of all global maritime traffic passes.

Early last month Chinese ships blocked the Philippine military from resupplying its marines on the shoal, which is 700 miles from China’s coast and has had a Philippine military presence since 1999. This marked an escalation in China’s “cabbage strategy” of seizing Philippine territory by gradually surrounding it with layers of Chinese boats, from fishing vessels to coast guard patrols and warships.

Beijing’s move essentially dares Manila to risk a shooting war whenever it resupplies or rotates its marines, as it last did on March 29. That time a Philippine supply ship successfully reached the shoal, having maneuvered past Chinese coast guard vessels at a distance of a few hundred dangerous meters. Manila’s next supply run could come any day.

This is the latest in a string of Chinese provocations against the Philippines. In 2012, several hundred miles to the north, Beijing seized Scarborough Shoal after Philippine patrols had the temerity to try to arrest illegal Chinese fishermen. The U.S. brokered a June 2012 agreement for China and the Philippines to withdraw from Scarborough, but only Manila complied. Chinese ships have since used water cannons to keep Filipinos from fishing in the area.


Fading Gigolo,” a new film written, directed by and starring John Turturro, Woody Allen and several other top stars, has gotten short shrift from the NYTimes and the Wall Street Journal. Its premise is less funny than shaky: a going out of business bookseller finds an unconventional way for his now unemployed worker/friend to earn some extra money and get out of debt. John Turturro plays the sensitive part/time florist/book stacker who’s coaxed into male prostitution. Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara are the wealthy va-va-voom lovers who crave a menage a trois and apparently can’t find a suitable male without asking Woody Allen for a recommendation. As I said, the premise is shaky.

But the plot thickens as Woody takes the black children of his live-in partner to be de-loused by a lovely Hasidic widow of a rabbi whose books Woody had bought. We first meet Avigal wearing a turban that’s a counterpoint to the black woman’s ethnic headdress in the previous scene – New York is the mecca for cultural compare and contrast. Played by the singularly haunting Vanessa Paradis, Avigal is the one who steps out of the confines of her stereotype to surprise both John Turturro’s character and the audience. We see her meticulously pick out the lice and distinguish between the microscopic egg and the insect as naturally as if she were sorting socks. After Woody suggests that she might be re-energized by a visit with a masseur, she comes to John Turturro’s apartment where he patiently and gently begins to stroke her partially exposed back, whereupon Avigal is flooded with emotion at the recognition of how lonely she has been for a man’s touch. There is no further contact except for the offer of a tissue for her tears.

There is another visit at which she skillfully debones a cooked fish with the same down to earth know-how that she exhibited with the lice. This woman’s simplicity and and earthiness stand in contrast to the expensively clad, extensively made-up twosome of Stone and Vergara who want sex with a man as revenge against a husband or plaything for bored lesbians. When Turturro first comes to Sharon Stone’s elegant NY apartment, he brings a complicated centerpiece inspired by a Japanese master; when he is with Avigal, he brings a single rose.

The Jewish Question By Alex Markovsky

Winston Churchill called Jews, “..the most formidable and the most remarkable race which has ever appeared in the world.” We are remarkable all right. When you have a smart Jew he predominates with his intellectual prowess over the rest of the human race, but when you have a dumb Jew, he is an insult to human intelligence.

As a Jew, I was perplexed which of those remarkable Jewish-Americans voted for Obama in 2008; to me, it was completely obvious that the alternative choices for president in 2008 were clear and unambiguous. On the Republican side was a war hero, a strong supporter of Israel, an experienced politician with a strong track record and a commitment to public service.

On the other side, for the Democrats, was a young man of Muslim background, an inexperienced politician with no track record of accomplishment whose personal files were mysteriously sealed. Moreover, this man had dubious connections with anti-Semites and America-haters.

I was even more baffled in 2012. This time, the choice was between Obama and Romney, a friend of Benjamin Netanyahu, supporter of Israel, and a man with impeccable business and civil service credentials. What could Obama do for Jews that Romney couldn’t or wouldn’t do? What was it in the Democratic Party platform that was so appealing to the Jews? What was I missing?

After the shocking outcome of each election, I asked “Why?” many times, of many Jews.

The typical answer I received was “I did not (???) vote for him, but I am not going to vote for him this time.” You ask a Jewish question, you get a Jewish answer. But they lied, and did vote for him again in 2012.

As prominent Zionist Zev Jabotinsky once said, “Logic is an art of the Greeks; a Jew has his own logic. Jewish logic is the logic of catastrophe. Jews do not detect danger; they face it when it comes.”


The headline shouted, “All citizens of Jewish nationality!” The document ordered all Jews over the age of 16 to register or face deportation, calling them “hostile to the Orthodox Donetsk Republic.”

The words stunned Jewish residents of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on the first night of Passover, when masked men carrying a Russian flag started handing out sheets with the chilling announcement to community members as they left the synagogue. “Evasion of registration,” it warned, “will result in revocation of citizenship and . . . confiscation of property.”

Was the threat real? Was it a hoax? Was it an effort to intimidate Jews, to smear pro-Russian activists?

The fliers bore the seal of the “Donetsk People’s Republic,” an entity just announced by Moscow loyalists trying to break away from Ukraine’s pro-Western government in Kiev. It accused the Jews of supporting the “Junta” in Kiev, and therefore being disloyal to the Donetsk separatists. It was signed Denis Pushilin, the leader of the Donetsk “Republic,” but Pushilin denies he had anything to do with it.

Until now there is no sign that anyone intends to enforce the apparent decree. Still, it would be wrong to dismiss the incident and the flier as a meaningless forgery.

Both sides in the dispute between Ukraine and Russia have accused the other of anti-Semitism, and they have each called the other fascists. The truth is that anti-Semitism has a long history there.

It is no accident that the Jews are caught in the middle.

Jews have lived in Ukraine and Russia for more than a thousand years. After hundreds of generations, you would understand why they feel they live in their country and have a right to participate in civil life. But many in the community urged the young people to stay out of the demonstrations on either side, lest Jews become yet again the convenient scapegoats.

Boston Marathon a Case Study in Lessons Learned Following Last Year’s Bombing Tragedy: Steve Lasky

Things were different at the Boston Marathon this year. Meb Keflezighi became the first American man to win the Boston Marathon since 1983 and the second oldest runner to ever take the crown. And unlike past races where it was a virtually open venue for both spectators and participants alike, strict physical security measures and a robust police presence made for long security lines, barricaded race routes, random searches, bans on backpacks and a zero tolerance for rouge runners who used to be part of the Marathon’s charm – remember Rosie Ruiz? The Marathon also accommodated more than 9,000 additional runners who failed to cross the finish line in 2013 because of the horrific terrorist bombing at the finish line of last April’s Marathon.

This year’s race also figured to be a lot different for Bonnie Michaelman, the Director of Police, Security and Outside Services at Mass General Hospital. The devastating attack put Michaelman and her entire facility on the frontline in 2013, as Mass General was the designated primary hospital for the race. Her facility wound up treating close to 300 casualties as a result of the bomb attacks.

“The preparations for last year’s event were prudent and appropriate for both the city and my facility. No one could have ever anticipated the unforeseeable nature and horror of this event. You can never plan for every contingency, for every event, and this was by far a startling example of that,” said Michaelman, who pointed out that the situation was made even more difficult due to the longitudinal nature of the event.

“This was an extremely disruptive disaster for many organizations, including mine. It wasn’t a four or five hour disaster – it was a multi-day disaster. We went into to Tuesday still gathering evidence, looking for the suspects, trying to reunite families, trying to identify comatose patients; and then on Thursday we had to ramp up for a Presidential visit,” she continued. “So we had a huge emergency preparedness response to those dignitary visits. Then Friday, we had an unprecedented city lockdown that created all sorts of issues for the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I have 8,500 employees here at Mass General that takes public transportation to work, which was completely shut down.”

Michaelman has been a long-time key player in the region’s disaster preparedness efforts. The city of Boston regularly conducts disaster and emergency preparedness exercises throughout the year, with a major training event each May. There are also numerous table-top exercises conducted among the public-private partners, MEMA and FEMA.