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’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!”


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?

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

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

Universities Assign Simplistic, Childish Books as Common Reading for Incoming Freshmen By Peter Wood

Reading a book is like going to a dinner party. You agree not just to spend time with your host, the author, but with all the other invited guests—your fellow readers. If the party goes well, you meet people you like, and you definitely have something to talk about.

Colleges and universities have caught onto this idea. From Princeton University to tiny Hesston College in Kansas (“Start here, go everywhere”), some 350 institutions of higher learning this year assigned a single book that all the freshmen were asked to read. As the colleges see it, these common reading programs “build community.” Between the hors d’oeuvres and the demitasse, the students will discover their mutual admiration of…Homer, Proust, Hemingway? No, not quite.

The host books of these community-building parties definitely aren’t classics. The seven most assigned books this year are:

The Other Wes Moore

16 colleges, including Kansas State University, assigned this 2011 memoir by Rhodes Scholar Wes Moore in which he contrasts his fortunate life with a namesake crack dealer in prison for murder.

Just Mercy

14 colleges, including the University of Wisconsin, Madison, assigned this 2014 account of author Bryan Stevenson’s successful efforts to spring a black man in Alabama wrongfully convicted of murder.

The Circle

6 colleges, including the University of Tennessee, assigned this 2014 novel by Dave Eggers depicting a Google-like corporation’s attempt to take over the world.

Anti-Semitism Raises its Ugly Head in Europe by Herbert London

The winds of change in Europe have circled back to the 1930’s as public attitudes have grown dark and bitter. It was recently reported that more than forty percent of European Union citizens hold anti-Semitic views and agree with the oft repeated claim that Israel is committing genocidal acts against Palestinians. In fact, there is the common refrain that Israelis are the new Nazis.

Reasons for this remarkable condition – as the blood of the Holocaust still soaks the soil of Europe – abound. Obviously radical Islam promotes this calumny even as it engages in violence from Paris to Moscow. Refugees from Syria attribute their plight to Jews, a form of scapegoating that downplays the role of ISIS in population displacement. The BDS movement has a role in using boycott, divestment and sanctions as instruments to delegitimize the state of Israel. When Jewish organizations themselves climb on to BDS, e.g. J Street and the New Israel Fund, it is difficult to refute the claims, albeit claims that should be refuted. And last, is the rise of extremist parties on the right and the left that have often exhibited hostility to Israel. While Jean-Marie Le Pen of the French National Front, Jeremy Corbyn of the British Labor party have deep seated philosophical differences, they are united in their hostility to Israel.

Dutch Intelligence Report Exposes Horrors of Daily Life Under ISIS by Abigail R. Esman

When the leaders of ISIS declared the caliphate of the Islamic State in June 2014, the world already had a strong idea of who they were: a jihadist group so violent, so barbaric, so extreme, that even al-Qaida, with whom they had once been affiliated, wanted nothing more to do with them.

But as the world soon learned, it would get even worse.

The founding of the Islamic State brought some of the most inhumane violence of modern civilization: captives held in cages and burned alive; beheadings captured on video and broadcast on the Internet; mass enslavement and rape of non-Muslim women; and the genocide of Iraq’s Yazidi tribe.

Coupled with this has been a perverse propaganda campaign that makes the Caliphate look like a teenage summer camp, aimed at recruiting Westerners to join the jihad and enjoy life in their idyllic, Allah-blessed commune-on-the-sea. And for thousands of Western Muslims, it has worked, either by inducing them to make the journey, or hijrah, to Syria and Iraq, or by motivating them to carry out terrorist attacks on Western towns and cities.

This is what we know.

What we have not known has been the reality of life in the Islamic State, including the social order, the availability of housing and health care and other basic necessities and the treatment of women and children.