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Defending Freedom

The Parable Of The Hungarian Spider And The Ill-Suited American Fly

By Dr. Miklos K. RadvanyiFrontiers of Freedom

On August 1, 2021, Viktor Orban the long-serving Prime Minister of Hungary posted a photo on Viktor Orban/Facebook with Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson chatting amicably at the Prime Minister’s official residence situated in the Buda Castle’s historical Carmelite Monastery.  To clarify the situation, Tucker Carlson tweeted:  “We’re in Budapest all this week for Tucker CarlsonTonight and a documentary for Tucker Carlson Originals.  Don’t miss our first show here starting tonight at 8 pm ET on #Fox News.”  

Tucker Carlson’s interest primarily in Viktor Orban personally and secondarily in Hungary harks back to early 2019, when he rightly praised Viktor Orban’s opposition to Angela Merkel’s lax immigration policies.  Yet, Viktor Orban’s resolute opposition to Angela Merkel’s and the European Union’s permissive immigration drive would have been more credible if he would not have granted either the equivalent of green cards or even citizenship to countless well-paying individuals as well as their families from Asia.  His “humanitarian” largesses that mostly favored rich Chinese and Russian citizens have been performed in total secrecy, raising all kinds of rumors about his, his families’ and his close collaborators’ private dealings with tens of thousands of those individuals with overwhelmingly questionable background.

Artificially linking Viktor Orban’s anti-immigration stand to Europe’s declining birth rate in general and Hungary’s abysmal record of steady population decline, he extolled the prime minister thus:  “Hungary’s Leaders actually care about making sure their own people thrive.  Instead of promising the nation’s wealth to every illegal immigrant from the Third World, they’re using tax dollars to uplift their own people, imagine that.”  Again, Tucker Carlson grossly embellished the Hungarian demographic situation.  According to the Central Statistical Office (Hungarian acronyms:  KSH), just in the first two months of 2021, the rate of population decline increased by a steep five percent.  In the same period, the death rate increased by a whopping six-and-a-half percent.  Meanwhile, the number of marriages decreased to 6,877 in the same period.  These trends are nothing new in Hungary.  Since Viktor Orban’s allegedly pro-Hungarian and pro-family policies, close to one million Hungarians left the country either permanently or temporarily.  To add insult to injury, young people declare in unison all over the social media that they do not see their future secured in Hungary and leaving the country permanently.  

Furthermore, in the same vein, Tucker Carlson opined: “Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, has a different idea.  Instead of abandoning Hungary’s young people to the hard-edge libertarianism of Soros and the Clinton Foundation, Orban has decided to affirmatively help Hungarian families grow.”  In this manner, in addition to not reflecting reality, his praise of Viktor Orban’s stand on illegal immigration spookily mirrored Hungarian government propaganda.  As a follow-up to his flattering comments, he invited in February 2019, the Orban-puppet political non-entity Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto to reinforce this narrative on his show.   

To crown his sojourn to Hungary, Tucker Carlson sat down on August 5, 2021, for an interview with Viktor Orban and on August 7, 2021, addressed as the featured speaker the Mathias Corvinus Collegium Symposium, held between August 5th and 7th in the town of Esztergom at the bend of the Danube river.  According to the Director-General of the Collegium, “the biggest name at the Mathias Corvinus Fest will undoubtedly be Tucker Carlson.”  Both his interview and his speech were unmitigated disasters and made him permanently a laughing stock in Hungary.  Except for their utter idiocy, neither highlight of his stay deserves detailed analysis.  However, his senseless and unjustified denigration of the United States of America abroad merits a more comprehensive scrutiny.  

The Collegium itself has been under the auspices of the Maecenas Universitatis Corvini Foundation, as does the University too, that was established under  Law No. XXX of 2019.  The Foundation has been endowed by Law No. XXVI of 2020, with many billions of Hungarian Forints (HUF), such as 82 million shares from the government-owned oil company (Hungarian acronyms: MOL), each share worth almost 2000 HUF, 19 million shares of the government-owned pharmaceutical company Richter, at about 7000 HUF each, and a variety of other government-controlled foundations as well as institutions that indirectly channeled government-endowed largesses in the tens of billions to the university.  This Foundation is run by a Board of Directors (Kuratorium in Hungarian) selected exclusively by Viktor Orban and his FIDESZ party with the absolute monopoly of power in Hungary.  Nominally, the Collegium’s mission has been “talent development” of gifted Hungarian youth from all over the Carpathian Basin, meaning mainly ethnic Hungarian youth from the Ukraine, Romania and Slovakia.    

For those who are not familiar with Hungarian history and geography, King Mathias, adoringly called Corvinus, ruled the Hungarian Kingdom from 1458 to 1490, and was dubbed the Renaissance King on the account of his progressive reforms and his marriage to an Anjou princess by the name Beatrice from Naples.  The town of Esztergom has been the seat of the only Hungarian Catholic Cardinal, starting with Bishop Domonkos the First in 1001.  For final historical accuracy, the Corvinus University of Budapest was named under the Communists the Marx Karoly (Karl Marx) Economics Scientific University.

To add intellectual cover to Tucker Carlson’s adventure to Hungary, Rod Dreher, a Senior Editor at the American Conservative, authored on August 4, 2021, a long article in the same publication under the title “Tucker To Hungary, Nixon To China.”  Claiming “a personal intellectual investment in the Hungary story” and trying to justify his grandiose title as a conservative breakthrough toward a more sane and effective Republican policy against both the Democrat as well as Republican Establishments and their misguided supporters, he suggests that “Tucker to Hungary is a kind of Nixon to China for conservative American intellectuals and thought leaders.”  Then follows an equally idiotic and confusingly discombobulated, grossly superficial and totally useless snippet of quotations from various writers, in which Rod Dreher attempts to show the difference between the allegedly uberliberal and unfree United States of America and the ideally much freer conservative Hungary. 

With due respect for Rod Dreher’s “personal intellectual investment,” whatever it is, I would like to present my objective intellectual analysis as well as my learned opinion to his and to Tucker Carlson’s unprofessional as well as extremely irresponsible flirtation with Viktor Orban and his equally unserious creed.  

For starters, some personal background.  I was born and mostly educated in Hungary.  After I took the Hungarian Bar for Judges and Prosecutors with distinction and oversaw all kinds of crimes in Hungary’s Communist society, I escaped to the Federal Republic of Germany.  Following a stint with Radio Free Europe, I worked in Academia in Germany.  Subsequently, I got an invitation from the United States Congress to join one of its research departments.  When Ronald Reagan was elected, I was on loan first to the Supreme Court, then to Senator Orin Hatch’s office and later to the White House.  I ended my government career as Congressman Christopher (Chris) Cox’s foreign affairs adviser.  I published hundreds of articles as well as opinion pieces and authored several books.  Already in 2005, I wrote an article about the real Viktor Orban under the title “Viktor Orban the Hungarian Chavez.”  Very recently, I published three major analyses on the current situation in Hungary at www.ff.org.  My aim with presenting my professional background is not to boast but to establish my credentials as knowing the United States of America and Hungary too, as opposed to the Monday Morning Quarterbacks of international relations like Rod Dreher and Tucker Carlson.  So-called intellectuals should not lecture others for being ignorant of the world when they are guilty of the same offense.

Moreover, throughout my professional career, I have been a staunch conservative and a Republican.  I wrote articles against George Soros and those who supported him either intellectually or politically.  Until his commentaries about Hungary, I mostly have agreed with Tucker Carlson’s opinions, especially with regard to the overall situation in the United States of America.  However, his lying about Hungary has turned him into an idiot.  As a result, his reporting about Viktor Orban and the Hungarian situation has only shown glaring ignorance and shameful fakery.  More dangerously, Tucker Carlson has positioned himself outside the intellectually objective and honest political debate in the United States of America, thus embarking on a zigzag course seeking to mix order and reform.  Seeing himself as becoming the media-equivalent of the “Reagan conservative,” he is running into political as well as intellectual headwinds, because of his deficient intellect and compensatory arrogance.

Both of these qualities have been in full display during his short stay in Hungary.  Limiting Viktor Orban’s policies to his justifiably firm response to illegal immigration and his “illiberal” responses to Brussels’ liberal value system are short-sighted and misleading.  It would be more helpful to put the Viktor Orban phenomenon in the context of the post-Communist developments in the formerly Soviet Union-occupied region’s general and specific situations.  Generally, all the countries that constituted the so-called Soviet Empire in Central and Eastern Europe have been in difficult transitions since 1990 from their original ubiquitously abnormal state to a more normal Western political, economic, cultural and ethical system.  In this quest, some have been more successful than others.  The Czech Republic and Slovenia have made the most progress.  Behind these two states are Slovakia and Croatia.  Romania and Bulgaria have been struggling to overcome corruption, poverty and political instability.  Poland and Hungary have been the most complex and contradictory examples of the post-Communist parochial as well as global challenges.  As far as Hungary is concerned, Balint Magyar published a thought-provoking article in Magyar Hirlap on February 22, 2001, in which he opined:  “With the appointment of Lajos Simicska (a former close friend of Viktor Orban’s) as the head of APEH(acronyms for the Hungarian IRS) a new chapter begins. What has happened since means the introduction of the state employing mafia methods within the democratic institutional framework to systematically build up an “organized uberworld” [in Hungarian felvilag as opposed to alvilag that means underworld].  Later, the same author with the assistance of Balint Mladovics published a book titled The Anatomy of Post- Communist Regimes, in which they argue that the so-called linear transition theory cannot be applied for those regimes, because of their “moral inhibition” to consequently adopt liberal democracy.  In conclusion, the authors coined the term “hibridology,” according to which those regimes are an inconsistent mixture of liberal and illiberal constructs.

Although I tend to agree in general with Balint Magyar, I think that the term “Mafia state” for Hungary is erroneous.  In a Mafia state the government is transformed because the Mafia that develops parallel to the state gradually overtakes the local and central positions of political, economic and financial organizations.  What has happened in Hungary since 1990 is exactly the opposite.  First, politicians gained absolute political power through using and then abusing the democratic processes.  After that, they turned the government into the instrument of their extreme lust for power and money. Therefore, I would rather use the term “Kleptocratic Absolutism” to describe the political regime of today’s Hungary.  

The post-Communist so-called “Democratic Politicians” were either members of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party (Hungarian acronyms: MSZMP) or non-party persons who elected to stay in the country and conform superficially to the norms as well as the abnormal values of the Communist dictatorship.  The latter led a schizophrenic existence that made them hover between collusion with the regime or merger with the political and economic power holders.  Clearly, neither the former members of the Communist elite nor the passive sympathizers espoused democracy or free market capitalism.  

To add insult to injury, both groups unconditionally believed in the redeeming value of government institutions and their bureaucracies.  Thus, instead of changing society by promoting new ideas, they tried to modify, but not reform, the existing government organizations, in order to transpose society and its mentality to their own bureaucratic image.  Predictably, the results were devastating.  The first democratically elected Antall government in 1990 was on a futile search for a new Hungarian business elite that would, in turn, finance the new-old bureaucracy forever.  No wonder that corruption on the scale unimaginable even under the Communists has taken roots in the society.  This government of supreme amateurs only lasted a single term.  In 1994, the former Communists, their party rechristened to the “Hungarian Socialist Party” (Hungarian acronyms: MSZP) returned to power with an absolute parliamentary majority.  Yet, to avoid being reminded of their one-party dictatorship, they allied themselves with the Free Democrats (Hungarian acronyms:  SZDSZ) in an absolutely unworkable political alliance.  In 1998, came Viktor Orban and his Young Democrats (Hungarian acronyms:  FIDESZ) in alliance with the Smallholder Party (Hungarian acronyms: KGNP).  First, Viktor Orban destroyed his coalition partners and then started to take over the political as well as business heights of powers.  The first signs of Viktor Orban’s corrupt dictatorial mentality and his lust for money emerged.  Suspicion of corruption and conspiracy theories were abound across Hungary.  In 2002, his government was sent packing into opposition by the voters for eight long years.  The former Communists were back in the saddle with their unloved Free Democrats.

In opposition, Viktor Orban behaved in a most undemocratic and disgusting manner.  In addition to barely showing his face in the Parliament, he tirelessly incited his loyal Antifa-like mob to disrupt, threaten and destroy everything in their way.  As a result, the years between 2002 and 2010 were the eight lost years for Hungary.  Tired of the former Communists and the politically impotent Liberals, the Hungarian voters, in their desperate stupidity, gave Viktor Orban and his party an absolute parliamentary majority.

Viktor Orban’s second chance at absolute powers from 2010 would enter the annals of Hungarian political history as the rapid return to the one-party rule combined with the resurrected self-defeating “Magyar” (Hungarian) semi-Feudal mentality. Domestically, Viktor Orban has been convinced that he is the Messiah the Hungarians have waited for since the humiliating Trianon peace treaty in 1920.  Better still, he has believed that he is infallible and possesses God-like qualities to decide by himself what is good for the nation and what is not.  For these reasons, he has zero tolerance for any other opinion that happens not to be his.  Therefore, he is convinced that he has every right to tyrannize the entire nation whose citizens he looks upon as his subjects.                               

To this end, his and his party’s first major political/legal act was in 2011 to pass a new constitution, which with its nine amendments thus far, has become a highly politicized instrument for political, economic and moral corruption.  Naturally, more laws, decrees, regulations and an avalanche of government decisions have followed that have perpetuated his hold on the media, prescribed the limitations of free speech, the conduct of elections, the financing of political parties, and the obtrusive acquisition as well as shameless expropriation of the national wealth to his family and his chosen elementary, high school and university buddies.  

To complete the creation of his absolutism, Viktor Orban and his pliant Parliament appointed a bunch of Yes-men to key and lesser important central and local government positions.  In this manner, Janos Ader, the President of Hungary, has become the “signing automat” of every law having been passed by the Parliament without any regard to its constitutionality; Laszlo Kover, the Speaker of the Parliament, who rules with iron hand over the opposition and metes out insane amounts of fines exclusively against their members; Peter Polt, the Prosecutor General of Hungary, who sees his role to protect the Prime Minister and his close associates from domestic and foreign criminal prosecution; Sandor Pinter, the Minister of Interior, who does the same on the police investigation level; and Judit Varga, the Minister of Justice, who tries to explain why the frequent violations of the rule of law are more democratic than any legislation passed by the European Union, etc.

Thus, it beggars belief to hear Tucker Carlson claim incessantly that in Viktor Orban’s Hungary the people enjoy more freedom than in the United States of America and that in Hungary people fear less of the government than in the United States of America.  As opposed to Tucker Carlson’s tendentious and misleading narrative, Hungary under Viktor Orban’s absolutism has turned into a closed stock company for the exploitation of the national wealth with profits shared exclusively among members of the government, parliamentarians and their privileged adherents, called in Hungarian slang the “Knights of the NER.”  Most of them, including Viktor Orban, have entered government poor as Job, but in politics they have been elevated to millionaires and even billionaires.  The Orban absolutism functions like a private business, in which each shareholder thinks of public affairs only insofar as he or she could turn his or her position into private profit.  Money reigns supreme for a small minority, while the overwhelming majority of the population either lives in poverty or struggles to make ends meet on a monthly basis. 

Meanwhile, the building of soccer stadiums, organizing international sport events, exhibitions, politically motivated financing of ethnic Hungarians across the neighboring countries, etc. have been in full swing for a decade.  Unnecessary mega projects, such as the Budapest Belgrade railroad, the extension of Hungary’s only nuclear power plant in Paks, the construction of hotels that would never be filled with tourists, and the elevation of Viktor Orban’s birth place in Felcsut have been objects of nationwide derigion.  On the other side of the coin, the once excellent Hungarian education system and the health industry have been run to the ground.  

In this economically insane situation, a set of scandals has tarnished the so-called elite.  Without going into the well-publicized details of those scandals, it should be sufficient to mention the fact that between 2015 and 2019, Hungary has headed the European Union’s anti-fraud investigation list.  During this four year period, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) concluded forty three probes into misuse of funds where it found irregularities and recommended to the European Union Commission to recover some four percent of payments made to Hungary under the organization’s structural and independent funds and agriculture funds.  In comparison, in all other member states the recommended rate of recovery of European Union money was below one percent.  At the same period, the European Union average was 0.36 percent.  Hypocritically, the Hungarian government defended itself by claiming that all the irregularities took place under the previous government.  Just a humble note:  Viktor Orban and his FIDESZ party has enjoyed absolute power since 2010.  

The most recent chaotic controversy again touches upon the suspicion of corruption in Hungary.  At the center of this new scandal is the Norwegian government’s financial contribution to the NGOs operating in Hungary.  The sum was 77 billion HUF, the equivalent of about 217.5 million Euros.  The saga of the Norway project has had its origin in an agreement concluded in December 2020.  Accordingly, the above quoted sum was designed to be distributed by an organization totally independent of the Hungarian government.  The latter had seven months to designate such an organization.  The Hungarian government missed the deadline and still demanded that the Norwegian Fund wire the money to Hungary.  The Norwegian Foreign Ministry informed the Hungarian government in early August 2021, that it considers the agreement null and void, because of the Hungarian government’s breach of the agreement.  Demonstrating that the word chutzpah has entered the vocabulary of the Hungarian government too, it first criticized Norway claiming that “Norway owes us this money,” since Oslo has benefited from its participation in the common market, despite not being a European Union member state.  To show the seriousness, better defined as irrational greed, of the Hungarian government, Gergely Gulyas, the government’s spokesman, stated that Hungary is looking into the legal possibilities to obtain the Norwegian money.  To support such a claim, the Hungarian government passed on August 6, 2021, Decision (in Hungarian:  Kormany hatarozat) 1564/2021, in which the government instructs the competent ministries to launch a complaint against the “Nowegian Kingdom” concerning the latter’s failure to provide the said amount of money to Hungary.   

In this single episode the entire mentality of the Viktor Orban-led regime is present.  For Viktor Orban and his clique, politics, including international affairs, is not the art of settling controversies but of trying to intimidate and to shut up those who disagree with them.  No wonder that the Viktor Orban regime is losing credibility at home as well as abroad.          

With respect to the Viktor Orban-led regime’s international shenanigans, the most important facts have been its anti-American, anti-European and pro-Chinese, pro-Russian and to a lesser extent pro-Turkish policies.  The gulf among the former and the close coordination among the latter are alarming, because the feeling of alienation on the one side and the hostile elation on the other are mutual.  Increasingly, Viktor Orban is asking what NATO and the European Union would do for Hungary.  Clearly, he is trying to use his allies to blackmail them into accepting his “illiberal democracy,” while offering Russia and China access to NATO and the European Union for personal favors.  In this dangerous game, in which he could easily be eliminated as prime minister, Viktor Orban has turned Hungary into a state of lies, fear, intimidation and vicious rumors.

As this analysis demonstrates, occasionally small countries must struggle with great challenges too.  Clearly, Hungary is at a crossroads.  The upcoming national elections next spring will be crucial for the future of the country.  Either Hungary will sink further into the swamp of Viktor Orban’s “Kleptocratic Absolutism,” or it will have a chance to rejoin as a democratic nation to the European Union and NATO.  The opposition parties have forged a united front, but barely.  Currently, their programs lack maturity.  In order to succeed, they will have to come up with a more homogeneous set of political and economic messages.  Yet, another election victory for Viktor Orban and his party would be unacceptable for Hungary and the West, including the United States of America, regardless of whether the Democrat or the Republican party controls the White House and Congress.  For this reason alone, objective information about the situation in Hungary would have been in America’s national interest.  Regrettably, Tucker Carlson’s week-long visit to the country did not serve this purpose.

Most importantly, Tucker Carlson appears to be in denial of Viktor Orban’s burgeoning authoritarian tendencies and endemic corruption both at home and abroad.  He says nothing or very little about strengthening the ruthless manifestations of glaringly anti-democratic values, such as censorship and other restrictive measures that have become daily occurrences in Hungary.  Even more alarmingly, Tucker Carlson is totally silent about the illegal spying on citizens, mainly opposition politicians and journalists.  Finally, it is never a positive professional sign about the strength of one’s case when a journalist compares Viktor Orban’s dictatorial regime favorably to the current state of affairs in the United States of America.  Thus, instead of presenting an explanation for his fallacious reporting, Tucker Carlson simply suppresses all the unpleasant and negative issues.  To a real and knowledgeable journalist, the difference between fraudulent government propaganda and the reality must be self-evident.  But not for Tucker Carlson who appears to be on a phony ideological mission.  Recommending Viktor Orban’s Hungary worthy to be followed by the United States of America is inexcusably idiotic.  In the end, Viktor Orban’s war on the Hungarian people and the West is not about politics.  It is about culture and mentality.  And in the long run, Western civilization carries far more weight than Viktor Orban’s and Tucker Carlson’s corrupt as well as bastard illiberal democracy.      


Iran’s Nuclear Program

By Peter R. MansoorHoover Institution

Image credit: 
Poster IR 80, Poster Collection, Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

The Biden administration came into office with the hope of reentering the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—the nuclear deal with Iran—and thereby reduce tensions in the Middle East, an area of the world to which it would rather pay less attention. President Joe Biden has stated that the United States would reenter the JCPOA provided Iran comes back into compliance with its terms, but Iranian leaders have insisted on the lifting of U.S. economic sanctions first. Furthermore, Biden has indicated his desire for the agreement to address other areas, such as the Iranian ballistic missile program. The newly elected Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, a protégé of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has stated that areas not covered by the original JCPOA are off the table. Negotiations in Vienna among Iran and China, Germany, France, Russia, and Britain (with the United States on the margins) have to date failed to reach an agreement.

The background to the current impasse is complicated. On July 14, 2015, the Obama administration, along with China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom, signed the JCPOA limiting Iran’s ability to process fissile material. The United Nations Security Council endorsed the agreement six days later. The nuclear deal, the culmination of twenty months of negotiations, placed significant restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program for a period of fifteen years. In return the international community lifted economic sanctions, which had crippled Iran’s domestic economy. The nuclear deal was touted as the signature foreign policy achievement of Barack Obama’s presidential tenure.

The Iranian nuclear program began in the late-1950s under the government of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. In 1970 Iran signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in return for assistance under the U.S. “Atoms for Peace” program. The Iranian nuclear program went into abeyance after the 1979 revolution, with a number of nuclear scientists fleeing the country. After the disastrous eight-year war with Iraq concluded in 1988, Iran resumed nuclear research with the assistance of China, Pakistan, and Russia. A 2003 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report concluded that Iran had violated the NPT, leading to negotiations with the United Kingdom, France, and Germany (EU 3). The resulting Paris agreement in November 2004 led to Iran’s suspension of nuclear enrichment and conversion.

The election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad led to the collapse of the Paris agreement. In February 2006, Iran resumed enrichment activities at Natanz. Four months later, the United States, Russia, and China joined the EU 3 to form the P5+1, which worked to limit Iran’s enrichment capabilities. The first of six United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutionsaddressing Iran’s violation of the NPT passed in July 2006. The UNSC called on Iran to cease nuclear enrichment and imposed economic sanctions to pressure the Iranian government to comply with its resolutions.

Iran failed to comply with the resolutions. In September 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama revealed intelligence indicating the existence of an underground enrichment facility in Fordow, near the religious center of Qom. IAEA director Mohamed ElBaradei called for the lifting of sanctions in return for Iran’s suspension of enrichment, to no avail. The Green Movement in the summer of 2009 had shaken Ahmadinejad’s government, and his hardline crackdown on civilian protesters signaled its unwillingness to compromise with perceived enemies, foreign or domestic. The United States and Israel then deployed the Stuxnet computer worm, which interrupted the operation of centrifuges at Natanz, ultimately destroying approximately a thousand of the machines.

The election of a new Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, in June 2013 broke the diplomatic logjam. Three days after his inauguration in August, Rouhani publicly called for a resumption of negotiations with the P5+1. The next month Rouhani spoke by telephone with Obama, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. The first high-level contacts between the United States and Iran since the Iranian revolution of 1979 signaled the diplomatic possibilities surrounding the nuclear file. The Obama administration was concerned that absent an agreement, Iran could develop a nuclear weapon within a matter of months if it chose to do so. This danger could lead to a preemptive strike by Israel, or to the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Saudi Arabia, Iran’s strategic competitor in the Middle East.

Negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran in Geneva led to the signing on November 24, 2013, of a Joint Plan of Action, an interim agreement that limited Iran’s nuclear enrichment capabilities in return for the partial lifting of economic sanctions while negotiations sought a more permanent agreement. That agreement, the JCPOA, was finally inked on July 14, 2015. At its core, the agreement would extend the “breakout time”—the amount of time required for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon—to more than twelve months.

Specifics of the JCPOA included a ten-year cap on the number of operational centrifuges (from more than 20,000 to just over 6,000), a fifteen-year uranium enrichment cap of 3.67 percent (nuclear weapons require concentrations in excess of 90 percent), a fifteen-year cap on the stockpile of enriched uranium (from 10,000 to just 300 kilograms), redesign of the Arak heavy water reactor for peaceful nuclear research, a twenty-year period of continuous IAEA inspection of centrifuge production facilities, the termination of all UN Security Council Resolutions regarding the Iranian nuclear program, the cessation of U.S. and EU sanctions on Iran’s oil and banking sectors, and the resumption of economic commerce including the sale of passenger aircraft and automobiles to Iran. Additionally, the United States and the EU released approximately $100 billion in frozen Iranian assets. U.S. sanctions on Iran targeting human rights, ballistic missiles, and terrorism remained unaffected by the agreement.

The Obama administration signed the JCPOA but refrained from submitting it to the Senate for ratification. This gave the agreement the force of an executive order, which could be quickly undone by a future Republican president. If President Obama desired a lasting foreign policy achievement, this was a fatal error.

Republican lawmakers and Israeli government officials immediately attacked the agreement as insufficient to permanently halt Iran’s nuclear aspirations. While negotiations were in progress, on March 3, 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Washington and spoke to a joint session of Congress, decrying the agreement as insufficient to curb Iranian nuclear ambitions. Without deeper and permanent concessions, Iran could follow North Korea into the club of nuclear-armed nations. Any deal should also be contingent on the cessation of Iran’s bad behavior in the Middle East: its support for proxies in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen; its sponsorship of terrorism, and its public calls for the destruction of Israel.

The unspoken hope by the Obama administration was that the Iranian regime would moderate by the time the restrictions in the nuclear deal lifted. This was a significant miscalculation. Following the signing of the JCPOA, Iran abided by its restrictions but used the resources freed up by the deal to fund proxy groups across the Middle East, from Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria to Houthis in Yemen to various military groups in Iraq. The revolutionary generation of 1979 was not disappearing—it was metastasizing. The quixotic hope for a more moderate Iranian government never came to pass, and probably will not happen provided the government remains in the hands of an all-powerful religious leader with no incentive to compromise.

The Trump administration entered office with a more clear-eyed vision of the sources of Iranian misconduct. The president lambasted the JCPOA as seriously flawed, deciding to withdraw from the agreement, and reimpose U.S. economic sanctions on May 8, 2018. The other members of the P5+1 remained in the agreement, but without access to the U.S. banking system or the ability to export large amounts of oil, Iran’s economy—80 percent of its exports linked to oil—tanked. The Trump administration enacted a policy of “maximum pressure,” attempting to force Iran to agree to deeper and more permanent cuts in its nuclear program, limitations on its ballistic missile program, and withdrawal of support for proxy and terrorist groups in the region.

Iran retaliated by instituting a policy of “maximum resistance.” Iranian forces and proxy groups attacked U.S. allies and interests in the Middle East, including strikes on Saudi oil facilities, interdiction of tanker traffic in the Gulf, proxy attacks on U.S. service personnel in Iraq, and the downing of a U.S. drone over the Strait of Hormuz. The Trump administration responded on January 3, 2020, by killing Iranian Revolutionary Guards Qods Force commander Major General Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad. Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the commander of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, was also killed; Iraqi paramilitary groups continue to target U.S. forces in Iraq to this day to exact revenge. Iran also walked back portions of the JCPOA: doubling the number of centrifuges in operation, enriching uranium to 5 percent purity, and ending on-site inspections by the IAEA.

Despite the failure of the maximum pressure campaign to change Iranian behavior or induce it to renegotiate the JCPOA, the Biden administration would be ill-advised to reenter the agreement without exacting further concessions from Iran. Some of the restrictions of the current JCPOA expire in just four years, without a change in Iranian behavior or ambitions in sight. Time is on the side of the United States; Iran needs an agreement to restore its economic fortunes far more than the Biden administration needs a foreign policy achievement. The administration should remain firm and demand a revised and stronger agreement. In the best of all worlds, a new and stronger JCPOA could be presented to the Senate for ratification, giving it more permanence. Senate ratification would be a heavy lift in the current domestic political environment but provided the Biden administration gives due credit to Trump’s policy of maximum pressure, bi-partisan backing of a treaty might be possible. A treaty capable of Senate ratification will require much deeper Iranian concessions than are currently on the table, but such is the price Iran must pay to reach an agreement with the Great Satan that can withstand a change in presidential administrations.


Biden’s Border Crisis Is About To Make History

If the current trend continues, this will be a record-breaking year for illegal immigration on the southwest border.

By John Daniel DavidsoThe Federalist

Biden’s Border Crisis Is About To Make History

You would never know it by perusing headlines in the corporate press, but the border crisis is getting worse, not better, as the summer goes on. In fact, it might well turn out to be historic.

Late last week U.S. Customs and Border Protection finally released June border apprehension numbers, which hit a 21-year high with more than 188,000 arrests last month and more than 1.1 million so far this fiscal year.

But that’s not all. Contrary to the usual seasonal rise and fall of illegal immigration, which typically spikes in the spring and then recedes during the hotter summer months, the number of people crossing the border illegally is increasing — as it has been every month since last April.

If this trend continues, we’ll break the decades-old record for southwest border apprehensions, which is more than 1.6 million back in 2000.

Beyond the sheer numbers are the changing demographics of illegal immigration. A growing share of illegal immigrants are now coming from countries other than Mexico or the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

CBP data for June show a sharp and sustained increase in other nationalities crossing the Rio Grande, rising from just 11,909 in February to more than 47,000 in June. Migrants from Nicaragua and other South American countries have increased three-foldsince the beginning of the year, and the number of Haitians and Cubans encountered by Border Patrol is 2.5 times higher than it was in January.

In addition, the number of families and unaccompanied children crossing over continues to rise, last month surpassing the total for June of 2019, during the height of the last border crisis. Indeed, more unaccompanied children have been taken into federal custody so far this year than in all of 2019. The number of single adults taken into custody, still by far the majority of all apprehensions, declined last month for the first time since last April.

Some on the left and in the corporate press like to point out that these figures represent apprehensions, not people, because some of those who are apprehended and expelled are repeat offenders. This has always been the case, but the use of Title 42, a public health measure invoked by former President Trump at the onset of the pandemic last year, allows for the rapid expulsion of some migrants, mostly single adults. Since expulsion under Title 42 carries no criminal penalty (like deportation does), many adult migrants are making multiple attempts to cross even after being arrested more than once.

But even taking these multiple offenders into account, in June there were more than 123,000 “unique individual encounters,” as CBP puts it, meaning these are people who are crossing for the first time. (For perspective, at the height of the 2019 crisis there were 144,00 apprehensions that May.)

Then there’s COVID. Fox News reported this week that COVID cases among illegal immigrants in the Rio Grande Valley — by far the busiest section of the border — are up 900 percent in the first two weeks of July compared to the previous 14 months after 135 detainees tested positive for the virus.

For months now, border officials and nonprofit shelters have worried that COVID infection rates among migrants were higher than the 5 percent figure widely repeated in the press. Testing has been haphazard and inconsistent along the border, but COVID outbreaks in emergency shelters for migrant youth have been ongoing, with infection rates hovering between 15 and 20 percent.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration continues to reduce the number of people being expelled under Title 42. Initially, Biden maintained Trump’s Title 42 authority in order to expel single adults and families out of concern that processing large numbers of people in border facilities would contribute to the spread of COVID-19, while admitting unaccompanied minors (and quickly overwhelming federal facilities).

But now, the Biden administration is releasing the vast majority of families apprehended at the border. Out of 55,000 family units apprehended in June, only 8,000 (about 14 percent) were expelled under Title 42. That’s a drastic drop from January, when 62 percent of all family units were expelled. Although less drastic, the administration is also gradually decreasing the number of single adults it expels under Title 42, from 92 percent in January to 82 percent in June.

Corporate Media Can’t Spin The Numbers

So much for the numbers. What they point to is a border crisis of historic proportions — one that’s unfolding with almost no coverage from a corporate media establishment that wants above all to protect the Biden administration.

Amid this self-imposed media blackout, Republicans in Congress have been trying to draw attention to the crisis as best they can. This week Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and James Comer, R-Ky., released a reportanalyzing the crisis six months into the Biden administration, including a timeline detailing all the Trump-era policies and programs Biden dismantled soon after taking office, as well as subsequent policies enacted by the Biden administration that have further exacerbated the crisis.

Among these are major shifts that largely flew under the radar, like a 62 percent drop in arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement during Biden’s first month in office, which indicates interior immigration enforcement plummeted just as the border was becoming overwhelmed.

The media can continue to ignore what is shaping up to be an historic crisis at the border, but ordinary Americans know something is wrong. According to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, a majority of Americans disapprove of Biden’s handling of the border, and in Texas, which is bearing the brunt of Biden’s immigration policies, another recent poll found that immigration and border security are the top concern of voters in the state.

One reason for this disapproval and concern, despite so little media coverage, is that every month CBP releases its border numbers, and every month for the last six months, those numbers have said the same thing: there’s a crisis on the border, and it’s getting worse.


The US should make a stand in Lebanon to push back against Iran’s ambitions

By RUSSELL A. BERMANThe Hill

Lebanon is facing a dangerous combination of accelerating crises — economic, political and societal. Although Lebanon is a small country, important issues for U.S. national interest and geo-strategy are at stake. Yet, currently, American Middle East foreign policy is devoted to the single obsession of the Iran negotiations, leaving little oxygen for other matters. This is a mistake. The Biden administration should develop a more nuanced engagement with the region and especially a robust response to Lebanon’s pending collapse. 

The Lebanese currency has lost close to 90 percent of its value, pushing much of the country below the poverty line, with many families relying on remittances from relatives abroad. Yet even those lifelines cannot make up for the shortages in commodities: gasoline, medications and food are all in short supply. Add to this a crumbling infrastructure that can supply electricity for only a few hours every day. 

Meanwhile, a political stalemate blocks the formation of an effective government that could institute reforms that might alleviate some of the problems. Instead, the political class, largely viewed as incorrigibly corrupt, is making no effort to meet the needs of the public. One bright light is the emergence of vibrant oppositional forces. But they remain fragmented, and elections will not take place until next year.   

Leadership change may therefore be too far in the future to rescue the crumbling institutions that once enjoyed a strong international reputation, especially Lebanese universities and hospitals. Now the talented personnel on which those institutions depend are trying to leave for better paying jobs abroad. After the troubled decades of civil war and occupations, after the devastation of COVID-19 and the massive destruction of the explosion in the port of Beirut on Aug. 4, 2020, this already fragile country faces even greater disorder.  

Given the extent of the suffering, there is every reason to provide humanitarian assistance to Lebanon, as the United States is already doing. The U.S. also provides important training support to the Lebanese armed forces, although the scope of that mission has been shrinking. Otherwise, American engagement is quite limited. Washington should do more and put Lebanon higher on the list of foreign policy priorities for four reasons   

1)  Grand Strategy: Lebanon presents a clear case of the deleterious consequences of a pivot away from the region, given the reality of great power competition. If the U.S. does not provide leadership, it opens the door for other powers, notably Russia. Its naval repair facility in Tartus, Syria, is less than a 40-mile drive from the Lebanese port of Tripoli, which could be ripe for Moscow’s taking. Lebanon could become one more stepping-stone for Russia’s advance in the Middle East, unless the U.S. reasserts its role there.  

2)  Terrorism: The discrepancy between the degradation of living conditions in Lebanon and the immobility of the political class can lead to social unrest, a breeding ground for the sort of Islamist terrorism that has plagued the larger region. One should not discount the possibility of a resurgence of ISIS or intentional spillover effects from the Syrian civil war, which led to bombings in Beirut and Tripoli only eight years ago. The more such violence proliferates, the greater the chance that terror incubated in the region can spread beyond it, including to the U.S.   

3) Refugees: Unless the Lebanese crises are addressed, the resulting social disorder is likely to produce a new wave of refugees, fleeing the ravages of a collapsed economy or, in a worst-case scenario, the resurgence of sectarian conflict. The Assad regime in Syria is not above provoking violence in Lebanon in order to achieve the sort of demographic reengineering it has undertaken at home, where it has forced targeted populations to flee, a cynical form of ethnic cleansing. The U.S. should be concerned about the destabilizing effects of renewed refugee flows into allies such as Jordan and Turkey, already hosting large refugee populations, or into the European Union, where the 2015 refugee wave continues to have disruptive political repercussions.   

4) Iran: A collapse of the Lebanese state can only benefit Iran and its most anti-American political forces. Iran’s proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah, might see an opportunity to seize power directly or, more strategically, it might prefer to consolidate its control in its strongholds and let the rest of the country dissipate, precisely in order to demonstrate the weakness of western democracy. In either case, Tehran would win, unless the U.S. engages in strategic ways to address Lebanon’s dilemmas.  

Arguments that it is in the U.S. national interest to engage more strongly in Lebanon run counter to current foreign policy predispositions in Washington. A prevailing orientation deprioritizes the Middle East in general in order to shift attention to the Indo-Pacific. But that viewpoint does not need to lead to a full-scale abandoning of the Middle East that hands the region over to America’s great power adversaries.  

In addition, the Biden administration views the region primarily in terms of Iran and a renewed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Many Lebanese understand this and correctly fear that Hezbollah will benefit from a windfall when the U.S. lifts sanctions on Iran. There is no indication that the U.S. negotiation team is seriously demanding a termination of Iran’s regional destabilization campaigns, including its support for Hezbollah. Yet getting to a new deal with Tehran without such a constraint basically means appeasing Iran by trading away Lebanese sovereignty.    

American national interest, including American values, requires a different path: Instead of misusing Lebanon as an accommodation to Tehran, the U.S. should make a stand in Lebanon, with policies designed to renew its democracy (and purge its corruption) and to protect its sovereignty by diminishing Hezbollah, as first steps toward pushing back against Iran’s broader expansionist ambitions.

Lebanon is a small country, but the current crisis has outsized geo-strategic implications for the U.S. 


In Corporate America and Academia, Silence Speaks Volumes

American elites are tight-lipped on an upsurge in anti-Semitism

By The EditorsThe Washington Free Beacon

A Jewish solidarity march in Jan. 2020 / Getty Images

As protests and riots consumed the country last summer in the wake of George Floyd’s death, the nation’s top corporate leaders weighed in almost in unison to condemn Floyd’s murder and voice solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Ninety percent of Fortune 100 companies issued such statements, according to a Washington Free Beacon analysis. Amazon decried “the inequitable and brutal treatment of Black people in our country”; Apple called for recognition of “the fear, hurt, and outrage” in the black community; and Google parent company Alphabet vowed to do “the harder work” of rectifying structural inequities.

The nation’s top universities followed suit. Every one, from top-ranked Princeton to 20th-ranked UCLA, recommitted itself to addressing what they all described in one formulation or another as the structural and enduring racism in American society. They were similarly responsive in March to an epidemic of violence targeting Asian Americans—every school responded publicly to the attacks.

But in corporate America and academia alike, the solidarity did not extend to the American Jewish community when it experienced a more recent surge of anti-Semitic attacks and violence in the wake of renewed Middle East violence. The sudden silence of corporate America is a striking contrast to the flood of corporate speech on hot-button political issues over the last year.

Among the Fortune 100, it is easier to count the companies that spoke up than those that stayed silent: Just two, Amerisource Bergen and Pfizer, issued statements about the rash of anti-Semitic violence that extended from New York City to Los Angeles in the wake of last month’s conflagration between Israel and Hamas. Google acknowledged an “alarming increase in anti-Semitic attacks” after sheepishly reassigning a top member of its diversity team, Kamau Bobb, whose anti-Semitic writings the Free Beacon exposed.

Just 6 of the top 20 institutions of higher education issued statements about the attacks. Of those that did, some, like Columbia, offered a variation of the “All Lives Matter” trope, condemning  “harassment … of people who are Jewish or Palestinian or anyone else.” Others, like Yale University, saw faculty members voice support for “the Palestinian struggle as an indigenous liberation movement confronting a settler colonial state” while making no mention of anti-Semitism.

The anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism of the intersectional left have been largely ignored by a cultural and business elite eager to embrace the social justice movement—or inoculate itself from the movement’s attacks.

But for Jews, the institutionalizing of this new anti-Semitism at schools and businesses across the country—complete with a bureaucracy of diversity officers like Google’s house anti-Semite to enforce it—is a threat that cannot be ignored.


Immigration: Tragedy & Human Suffering On The U.S. Borders

By George LandrithNewslooks

migrant children

I did something that neither the President or Vice President of the United States are willing to do.  I went to the border in Texas to learn and see with my own eyes what is going on.  And to be blunt, it is far worse than I imagined — for everyone.  The only people profiting from what is currently happening at the border are the human traffickers and drug cartels.  Everyone else — on both sides — is a loser if this situation persists. 

Here’s what I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears when I went to Del Rio, Texas — a town of about 35,000 people about 150 miles west of San Antonio along the Rio Grande.  Local law enforcement are overwhelmed and over run.  The local sheriff’s department was never intended to be a border security force.  Their job is to enforce the law within the county, not monitor the border.  They are stretched thin and only have four deputies to spare along almost 120 miles of border. That means one deputy to cover about 30 miles.

But even the US Border Patrol is overwhelmed. They have been put in an impossible position. Border walls are no longer being built. Technology to help border agents has been turned off. So they are left to patrol the border as best they can and even they believe they are only catching between 1/2 and 1/3 of those racing across the border. 
Imagine living in a town of 35,000 people and having four times that many people flooding across the border in the space of only a few months. And that is only a low-ball estimate. Even the Border Patrol agents said that probably double to triple that many are actually crossing the border. But that they cannot count them all because so many evade detection. 

I attended a townhall meeting where locals came to express their concerns. The auditorium was packed and many people were standing along side and back walls. For more than two hours a parade of local citizens — a slight majority of whom appeared to be people of color — came forward to the microphone an in a couple minutes told their experience. Here’s what I learned: 

Dozens and dozens of locals described how illegals had damaged their property, broken-in to their homes, sheds, and cars.  I listened for more than two hours as they described how their families and children are now living in constant danger and fear.

Some of those who spoke were descendants of the original Mexicans who wanted to be free of the despotism of Gen. Santa Anna. Their ancestors defended and died at the Alamo. Others joined Sam Houston’s army that ultimately defeated the Mexican army and won Texas’ independence. Some of the speakers came to America legally in the last decade or so and spoke English with an accent. Not that any of that matters, but the point, is, it was a diverse audience with a diverse background, but they were all united in one thing — the current situation is unbearable and must be fixed. 

They described how difficult it is to make ends meet even in better times — but that when there is a constant stream of trespassers damaging your property, destroying your fences, allowing your livestock to escape, stealing your vehicles, and putting you and your children in fear for their lives and safety, it just isn’t worth it. 

They described vehicles — stolen by human smugglers — driven recklessly and dangerously and colliding with locals — causing serious injuries.  Several speakers referenced a young girl and her father who miraculously survived but suffered life changing injuries  due to a head on collision with a human smuggler driving a stolen car. 

They described having to hide inside their homes as a group of more than a hundred illegals streamed across their property in the dark of night. 

A woman painfully described how her sister — who works as a house keeper at a local hotel which has been used by federal authorities as a place to house illegals before they are sent to other parts of the United States. This woman tearfully told us that her sister was brutally raped on the job.

They all had their own story, but they all expressed a sense of betrayal. And they also had a sense of anger and frustration that when they express their concerns, all too often, they are labeled as haters or intolerant and that they are ignored as if they don’t matter. 

A woman of hispanic descent holding babies and speaking in an accent described how she and her family had come to America legally years ago to have a better life and become an American. She spoke with pride of their home in America and the life that they had built here. But then she asked why she and her family don’t matter, why their rights to freedom and the pursuit of happiness are now irrelevant. 

Even Democrats told us that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and their policies are the primary cause of their problems. In Washington, we are used to partisans covering for their fellow partisans now matter how absurd the defense. But reality has forced this sort of blind partisanship to the side. 

But it isn’t just the locals in Texas who are suffering.  Many of those coming across the border are doing so because they’ve been invited to.  But they, too, have become victims of the human smugglers and drug cartels who make them indentured servants and who threaten with physical harm and death their remaining family who serve as collateral for the cost of being smuggled across the border. These remaining family members live the rest of their lives under constant fear that the cartels and human smugglers will pay them a visit because of a late payment. Simply stated, our current policies are allowing human smugglers and drug cartels to flourish and profit and with those profits, they will not be building hospitals and schools. Instead, they’ll be building armies to expand their human smuggling operations and militarizing the border.

The Biden-Harris administration says it is working on root-causes. But stamping out poverty in central America and around the globe, is not something that will happen this year or even this decade. America has spent literally trillions of dollars in the past generation to stamp out poverty and made little impact. So if they do as well in the rest of the world as they have in the US, 50 years from now, we will still be discussing the root causes of the problem and debating how many more trillions must be spent to fix it. 

But for people on both sides of the border that will be very sad news — a constant flow of crime and fear for generations to come and a perpetual stream of cruel and inhuman treatment from human smugglers and drug cartels. This is what I saw. This is what I heard. It was heart breaking. These are the cruel results of the ill-conceived and poorly thought out policies of the Biden-Harris Administration. False narratives won’t fix the problem. People on both sides of the border need solutions.  And a secure border is where it all starts.


Proposed Defense Merger Puts National Security at Risk

By George LandrithNewsmax

aerojet rocketdyne logo on a computer screen

Lockheed Martin has announced a plan to purchase Aerojet Rocketdyne.

Often mergers are natural responses to market forces that produce a more capable competitor in the marketplace which can benefit the economy and consumers generally. But sometimes, mergers simply kill off competition and end up creating dependence within the marketplace upon a single provider for certain products or services.

This is the problem with the proposed Lockheed Martin and Aerojet Rocketdyne merger — it will give one company virtual monopoly power over any military technology that involves missile propulsion.

Before this merger goes through, the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) must complete a review of it and approve it. If they look at the facts and learn from history, they will realize how truly problematic the proposed merger is.

In 2018, Northrop Grumman acquired Orbital ATK. This merger left Aerojet Rocketdyne as America’s last independent solid rocket motor provider. That reduced competition by causing major defense contractors to drop out of competitions because they couldn’t get the cooperation needed from the newly acquired rocket motor provider.

This proposed merger would only exacerbate the problem.Aerojet Rocketdyne has partnered with many of the major defense contractors, including: Lockheed, Boeing, Northrup Grumman and Raytheon. Right now, when the military seeks proposals for missile defense systems, it can go to all of these companies and others and ask them to compete on cost, capability and technology.Each of the competitors could go to Aerojet Rocketdyne for subcontracting help on the rocket propulsion portion of the contract. There isn’t enough high-tech missile rocket propulsion work to justify numerous competitors.

But if one of the major competitors owns the sole remaining rocket propulsion company, the other competitors will be effectively locked out. It wouldn’t be in the interest of the new larger monopolist to allow the rocket propulsion portion of the company to help a competitor win the prime contract.

Even if the DoD and FTC require that the new company not use its monopoly power to its advantage, it will. That’s simply how it works. We’ve already seen that.

The DoD and the FTC have ordered other companies to not use the monopoly power that they acquired in a merger, but that doesn’t actually stop them. It just means that they can’t be too obvious about it. They can still give themselves certain competitive advantages in price and cooperation levels.

This limits competition, harms innovation, soaks the taxpayer and in the end endangers our national security.

When it comes to national security matters, buying foreign technology isn’t a smart move and often isn’t even legal. So there is no reason to allow a merger that will reduce competition and give one defense contractor the ability to gain the upper hand in any defense project that involves missile propulsion.

On January 19, 2021, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin warnedthat among the weaknesses in our defense sector is “a reliance on sole or single source suppliers, reliance on foreign sources (including adversarial sources) and vulnerabilities to predatory and adversarial capital investments…”

If approved, this merger would only increase the need for prime contractors to look overseas for missile supplies — which is a dangerous direction for national security reasons, and it puts the American taxpayer at additional risk as well. As we saw during the COVID pandemic, being overly dependent on adversarial powers for basic needs is a dangerous place to be.

Additionally, President Biden signed an executive order calling for the federal government to use more U.S.-based suppliers for products. Nowhere is that more important than in the area of defense and national security.

Some defend the merger on grounds that it would increase competition in the space sector. But that is a red herring. This merger is not really about space competition, which is fairly robust with a number of capable players.

Instead, this merger is primarily about hypersonic technology and missile defense. Aerospace industry analyst Andrew Penn came to the same conclusion. This merger is about securing a monopoly.The nation’s security cannot afford a monopoly when it comes to missile defense. The Russians and the Chinese are developing hypersonic missiles that could evade our current defenses.If we want to keep our competitive advantage and protect the nation from the threat of hypersonic missile attack, we will need our best defense companies competing in a robust fashion to come up with innovative and cost-effective solutions. This merger does not make that more likely — in fact, it makes it very unlikely.

Let’s hope the DoD and FTC are paying attention. It isn’t often that a proposed merger could lead to missile attack vulnerabilities, but this is precisely that case.


Immigration: Tragedy & Human Suffering On The U.S. Borders

By George LandrithNewslooks

migrant children

I did something that neither the President or Vice President of the United States are willing to do.  I went to the border in Texas to learn and see with my own eyes what is going on.  And to be blunt, it is far worse than I imagined — for everyone.  The only people profiting from what is currently happening at the border are the human traffickers and drug cartels.  Everyone else — on both sides — is a loser if this situation persists. 

Here’s what I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears when I went to Del Rio, Texas — a town of about 35,000 people about 150 miles west of San Antonio along the Rio Grande.  Local law enforcement are overwhelmed and over run.  The local sheriff’s department was never intended to be a border security force.  Their job is to enforce the law within the county, not monitor the border.  They are stretched thin and only have four deputies to spare along almost 120 miles of border. That means one deputy to cover about 30 miles.

But even the US Border Patrol is overwhelmed. They have been put in an impossible position. Border walls are no longer being built. Technology to help border agents has been turned off. So they are left to patrol the border as best they can and even they believe they are only catching between 1/2 and 1/3 of those racing across the border. 
Imagine living in a town of 35,000 people and having four times that many people flooding across the border in the space of only a few months. And that is only a low-ball estimate. Even the Border Patrol agents said that probably double to triple that many are actually crossing the border. But that they cannot count them all because so many evade detection. 

I attended a townhall meeting where locals came to express their concerns. The auditorium was packed and many people were standing along side and back walls. For more than two hours a parade of local citizens — a slight majority of whom appeared to be people of color — came forward to the microphone an in a couple minutes told their experience. Here’s what I learned: 

Dozens and dozens of locals described how illegals had damaged their property, broken-in to their homes, sheds, and cars.  I listened for more than two hours as they described how their families and children are now living in constant danger and fear.

Some of those who spoke were descendants of the original Mexicans who wanted to be free of the despotism of Gen. Santa Anna. Their ancestors defended and died at the Alamo. Others joined Sam Houston’s army that ultimately defeated the Mexican army and won Texas’ independence. Some of the speakers came to America legally in the last decade or so and spoke English with an accent. Not that any of that matters, but the point, is, it was a diverse audience with a diverse background, but they were all united in one thing — the current situation is unbearable and must be fixed. 

They described how difficult it is to make ends meet even in better times — but that when there is a constant stream of trespassers damaging your property, destroying your fences, allowing your livestock to escape, stealing your vehicles, and putting you and your children in fear for their lives and safety, it just isn’t worth it. 

They described vehicles — stolen by human smugglers — driven recklessly and dangerously and colliding with locals — causing serious injuries.  Several speakers referenced a young girl and her father who miraculously survived but suffered life changing injuries  due to a head on collision with a human smuggler driving a stolen car. 

They described having to hide inside their homes as a group of more than a hundred illegals streamed across their property in the dark of night. 

A woman painfully described how her sister — who works as a house keeper at a local hotel which has been used by federal authorities as a place to house illegals before they are sent to other parts of the United States. This woman tearfully told us that her sister was brutally raped on the job.

They all had their own story, but they all expressed a sense of betrayal. And they also had a sense of anger and frustration that when they express their concerns, all too often, they are labeled as haters or intolerant and that they are ignored as if they don’t matter. 

A woman of hispanic descent holding babies and speaking in an accent described how she and her family had come to America legally years ago to have a better life and become an American. She spoke with pride of their home in America and the life that they had built here. But then she asked why she and her family don’t matter, why their rights to freedom and the pursuit of happiness are now irrelevant. 

Even Democrats told us that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and their policies are the primary cause of their problems. In Washington, we are used to partisans covering for their fellow partisans now matter how absurd the defense. But reality has forced this sort of blind partisanship to the side. 

But it isn’t just the locals in Texas who are suffering.  Many of those coming across the border are doing so because they’ve been invited to.  But they, too, have become victims of the human smugglers and drug cartels who make them indentured servants and who threaten with physical harm and death their remaining family who serve as collateral for the cost of being smuggled across the border. These remaining family members live the rest of their lives under constant fear that the cartels and human smugglers will pay them a visit because of a late payment. Simply stated, our current policies are allowing human smugglers and drug cartels to flourish and profit and with those profits, they will not be building hospitals and schools. Instead, they’ll be building armies to expand their human smuggling operations and militarizing the border.

The Biden-Harris administration says it is working on root-causes. But stamping out poverty in central America and around the globe, is not something that will happen this year or even this decade. America has spent literally trillions of dollars in the past generation to stamp out poverty and made little impact. So if they do as well in the rest of the world as they have in the US, 50 years from now, we will still be discussing the root causes of the problem and debating how many more trillions must be spent to fix it. 

But for people on both sides of the border that will be very sad news — a constant flow of crime and fear for generations to come and a perpetual stream of cruel and inhuman treatment from human smugglers and drug cartels. This is what I saw. This is what I heard. It was heart breaking. These are the cruel results of the ill-conceived and poorly thought out policies of the Biden-Harris Administration. False narratives won’t fix the problem. People on both sides of the border need solutions.  And a secure border is where it all starts.


Voters Leaving California Take Billions with Them

By Peter RoffAmerican Action News

JD Lasica from Pleasanton, CA, US via Wikimedia Commons

California’s high tax, generous welfare state policies, and the dominance of progressive politics have combined to create an environment causing voters to leave the state at can only be described as an alarming rate. For the first time since statehood in 1850, California is losing rather than gaining a congressional seat as a result of the decennial census and the ensuing reapportionment of the 435 districts in the U.S. House of Representatives among the 50 states. It’s an alarming reality for the state Ronald Reagan and his sunny optimistic brand of growth-oriented conservatism once called home.The economy is in the doldrums, and not just because of the strict lockdowns instituted by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Even with that, the state budget surplus for 2021 is projected to exceed $75 billion which, instead of being returned to the taxpayers through tax relief, is likely being socked away for the day when it’s needed to bail out the generous social welfare programs and government employee pensions the Democrats trade in exchange for votes to keep them in power.“California used to be a place where everyone wanted to live, but now California has become a place where people want to leave,” Brandon Ristoff, a policy analyst with the California Policy Center told Center Square driven out by “bad policies on the economy, education and more.” State-to-state migration data recently released by the U.S. Department of Internal Revenue (IRS) shows a net loss of nearly 70,000 households plus – which works out to about 165,000 taxpayers and their dependents – between 2017 and 2018.If that’s not bad enough, lawmakers in Sacramento now must worry about the impact of their departure on future budgets since they took nearly $9 billion in adjusted gross income with them when they left, The Epoch Times reported.Like New York City, California working hard to drive its tax base out of the state. Longtime residents are retiring elsewhere. Younger voters are leaving to pursue job opportunities in other states. Major businesses are relocating. Too many people, especially those who make up the middle class, are adversely affected by the high cost of living there – especially the housing market which is soaring to unaffordability for so many people – are now finding the Golden State an impossible place to live.Where are they going? Texas and Nevada – which have no state personal income tax, and Arizona – where the governor and members of the GOP-controlled state legislature are exploring ways to get rid of it.

-Texas experienced a net inflow of 72,306 taxpayers and their dependents, and a gross income boost of some $3.4 billion.

-Nevada welcomed 49,745 California taxpayers and their dependents, along with a gross income of $2.3 billion.

-Arizona saw an estimated 53,476 Californians relocated to Arizona, bringing with them around $2.2 billion in gross income.

Some policymakers still refuse to believe tax rates matter, that they have no incentive effect. Economist Arthur Laffer – developer of the famous “curve” that bears his name – proved they do. California has a state-local effective tax rate of 11.5 percent, the 8th highest in the nation in 2019 according to a recent Tax Foundation study. The effective state-local tax rate in Texas is 8 percent, in Nevada, it’s 9.7 percent, and in Arizona it’s 8.7 percent, making them (in order) 47th, 45th, and 29thout of 50.A 2018 Cato Institute report also showed the relationship between state-local tax effective rates on out-of-state migration. Tax-related motivations could be inferred from the Census Bureau data, The Epoch Times reported, citing the think tanks’ observation that some of the questions asked of people choosing to relocate show the incentive effect at work.“The Census Bureau does not ask movers about taxes. But some of the 19 choices may reflect the influence of taxes. For example, people moving for housing reasons may consider the level of property taxes since those taxes are a standard item listed on housing sale notices. Similarly, people moving for new jobs may consider the effect of income taxes if they are, for example, moving between a high-tax state such as California and a state with no income tax such as Nevada,” CATO said.If California doesn’t change its ways soon, it may find it has taxed its way into default. Illinois and New Jersey are in similar straights. There’s a lesson here for Democrats and Republicans in Washington who, despite the apparent end of the pandemic, still spend like there’s no tomorrow. If they continue to do that, there won’t be.


Hungary’s Evil Pandora’s “Pithos”

By Dr. Miklos K. RadvanyiFrontiers of Freedom

The mythological allegory of Pandora, the Greek equivalent of the Biblical Eve, the first woman on Earth, was created by Zeus as a new punishment for mankind, because of Prometheus’s theft of the fire from Heaven.  According to Hesiod’s Theogony, the Gods provided her with beautifully evil gifts to be mendacious, obstinate and weird.  As Eve was forbidden by God to consume the fruit of the “tree of knowledge” of good and evil, Pandora was not allowed by Zeus to open her gifted box ever.  Again, as in the case of Eve, Pandora could not resist the temptation and opened the box.  Her disobedience resulted in the escape of all the illnesses and deprivations that the Gods hid in the box.

Correspondingly, the gods of the fledgling Hungarian democracy, namely the voters, have since 2010 given absolute powers to a Young Democrat/Christian Democrat coalition and its leader Prime Minister Viktor Orban to steer the historically ravaged ship of the country into the safe harbor of a future free from evil.  Yet, the trust of the voters has been betrayed one more time in Hungarian history.  Viktor Orban and his party the Young Democrats have used their absolute powers to cage democracy and simultaneously to unleash all the evils of a destructive totalitarianism.

Domestically, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has pursued a form of government that he defined in his speech in 2014 at Tusvanyos illiberal democracy.  Pursuant to his definition, illiberal democracy is the idea of “Christian liberty,” which he equates with placing the common good above the traditional liberal values of individual freedoms.  According to him, this “Christian liberty” is under unrelenting attack both from within as well as from the outside.  In his opinion, Hungary as an illiberal democracy must endure undeserved onslaughts by those who push a post-nationalistic and post-Christian globalist agenda.  Thus, combining the adjective illiberal with the general political term democracy, Viktor Orban introduced a dangerous authoritarian ambiguity into the Hungarian, European and global discourse.  On the one hand, he has rendered Hungary a victim of his own misplaced righteousness vis-a-vis all those who disagree with his convoluted understanding of democracy.  On the other hand, he has designated himself as the sole defender of the common good, including the absolute arbiter of individual and societal morality.  

Equally significant is the fact that Viktor Orban owns the entire Hungarian media market.  His and his party’s disinformation propaganda campaign has disseminated lies about Hungarian as well as regional history, has created confusion about past and present relations among the various ethnic groups, and fostered the false sense of revisionism in the ethnic Hungarians across the neighboring countries.  In this context, especially alarming and outrageous have been his repeated references to “being the prime minister of 15 million Hungarians.”  To add fuel to the fire of the ever present ethnic grievances that have been rooted in the peace treaties of World War I, Viktor Orban’s purely political investment strategies and his militaristic bravado have only aggravated the long-existing ethnic tensions in Central and Eastern Europe. 

Clearly, Viktor Orban’s version of illiberal democracy can be characterized by its lack of civil society and by a corresponding totalitarian overreach of the political, economic, financial, religious, cultural and educational powers of the authoritarian one-party state.  Its common denominator is the irrational and self-defeating nationalism that fails to correctly gauge Hungary’s place and role in the region as well as in the European continent.  To add insult to injury, this sick Hungarian nationalism is intertwined with a non-existent Christian identity, because Christianity does not capture the political realities of today’s Hungary.

Essentially, Viktor Orban’s totalitarian regime is an extremely radical oligopoly, in which a very small number of firms are totally subordinated to the political decision making of a single individual, namely, the Prime Minister Viktor Orban.  In this absolutely centralized oligopoly, there is only very restricted competition and creativity, because the entire economy is owned by the Prime Minister himself.  Since the economy is under the rule of a single political despot, entry to the Hungarian markets is limited to the Prime Minister’s closed circuit of trusted individuals.  In this manner, Hungary is a semi-Feudal political and economic construct that is practically closed to effective as well as meaningful political, economic, intellectual and spiritual developments.

Today, amidst Viktor Orban’s totalitarian power grab and failures, his party is flailing and on the defensive.  The Young Democrats’ unity is shattering and they are in mounting disarray.  Less than a year from now, both the Prime Minister as well as his party will be forced to  account for the shameless plunder of the national wealth that they have foisted on the Hungarian people for over a decade.  

By now, the majority of Hungarians are thoroughly fed up with the all powerful corruption and the limitless squandering of the national wealth by incompetent thugs masquareding as genuine businessmen and responsible politicians.  The time has come for a new political course that will steer the country toward genuine democracy and free markets.  Therefore, it is also time for the opposing majority , all across Hungary, to take back their country and truly improve the lives of the citizenry by pursuing political freedom and existential prosperity for every single man, woman and child.

This awakening to the disaster that is Viktor Orban and his Young Democrats Party must also extend to the ruinous foreign policy of Hungary.  Although Hungary is a member of NATO and the European Union, Viktor Orban has done everything in his limited powers to undermine the unity of both organizations.  In the case of the European Union, his main motivation has been to protect his corrupt regime from the oversight and scrutiny of Brussels.  Secondly, he single-handedly has prevented the European Union from imposing punitive sanctions against China and Russia.  Again, his reason has been to protect his corrupt dealings with both countries.  

Concerning NATO, his close personal relationships with Presidents Putin and Xi have presented extremely serious security threats for NATO.  Presently, Budapest has become the major spy hub in Europe for Moscow as well as Beijing.  His latest decision to build a large campus for China’s Fudan University is an open invitation for President Xi Jinping to establish a permanent foothold in the middle of Europe.In Hungary, the united opposition must find a way to show the really corrupt and destructive character of the Orban regime and present a coherent vision of moving the country closer to NATO and the European Union.  In the same token, the United States of America and all the member states of the European Union must unite in helping Hungary to find its way out of the Orbanian cul-de-sac.  Jointly, they also must assure that the national wealth that has been stolen and embezzled so brazenly from the Hungarian people in the last decade be returned to them, and that individuals who committed those crimes be called to full account.  Only with such solidly unified assistance will Hungary be able to really rejoin the Free World of democratic nations.              


Biden’s Tax Increases Will Send American Jobs Overseas and Help China Become the World’s Super Power

We defeated the Soviet Union during the Cold War because our economy was relatively strong and they could not keep up. We didn’t bomb them into submission. We didn’t invade them. We simply grew economically at a rate that they could not keep up with. China hopes to do that to us. The question is will we cooperate with their goals and place ourselves in their grasp? The answer is — only if we are stupid.

By George LandrithTownhall

Joe Biden’s and Congressional Democrat’s plan to give the United States the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world will harm America’s economy, kill American jobs, and give China a leg up in their quest for world domination.  If Biden and congressional Democrats get their way, our corporate tax rate would be substantially higher than Communist China’s rate. American workers would suffer the most as their jobs are exported abroad to lower taxes and lower cost nations. 

But it isn’t just corporate income taxes that the Democrats and Biden want to raise. They also want to raised taxes on Global Intangible Low Tax Income (GILTI) to 21 percent.  This has the effect of imposing a minimum tax and creates a stimulus program for workers around the globe, but not in the U.S.  Biden’s plan would penalize American companies with a massively higher minimum tax and at the same time exempt foreign competitors.  There is no good reason to hamstring American companies, kill off incentives for good paying jobs to remain in America, or make jobs our primary export.  But that is precisely what the Biden tax plan would do. 

Even the left-leaning Tax Policy Center agrees that Biden’s plan will make US companies easy targets for foreign companies — including those owned or controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.  They concluded that “Biden’s proposal would likely reignite corporate inversions — transactions where US multinationals become foreign multinationals, usually through acquisition by a foreign company.” 

The Tax Policy Center also acknowledges that “Biden’s platform argues that a greatly strengthened foreign minimum tax is needed to prevent US firms from investing and shifting profits offshore, where taxes are lower. These practices can lower US wages and tax revenue.” 

So it isn’t just right-leaning economists who see this policy as dangerous and harmful. Biden’s tax policy simply is harmful to both the US and American workers. The primary beneficiaries would be foreign competitors — China in particular.  China has to be rooting for this tax plan because it will play into their hands and make their plans of world dominance much more easily achieved. If you want to know what a world dominated by the Chinese Communist Party might look like, ask Hong Kong who is being brutally repressed or ask the Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities who are being held in concentration camps and raped and murdered because the regime doesn’t like them. 

It isn’t very often that people think of tax policy as a national security issue, but in this case it clearly is. Having a strong and robust economy isn’t just good for American workers or American investors, it’s good for America’s national security.  Exporting jobs and economic well-being only strengthen’s China’s hand and makes it easier for them to rule the world as is their stated goal. 

We defeated the Soviet Union during the Cold War because our economy was relatively strong and they could not keep up.  We didn’t bomb them into submission.  We didn’t invade them.  We simply grew economically at a rate that they could not keep up with.  China hopes to do that to us.  The question is will we cooperate with their goals and place ourselves in their grasp?  The answer is — only if we are stupid. 

The bottom line is the Democrat tax plan is to make American companies pay higher taxes than their foreign competitors.  To make matters worse, Biden wants every country to impose a minimum tax on foreign earnings of domestic companies. Why would they do this? Because Biden is promising to keep the US minimum tax higher than other nations.  What does that mean?  President Biden is promising that he will make American companies and workers uncompetitive in the world marketplace. He is promising to make our tax code advantageous to communist China. 

These are important questions:  Why do Democrats in Washington, DC, led by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, think it is a good idea to push the US corporate tax rate higher than communist China’s tax rate?  Who will benefit from this policy?  Are Americans ready to return to an era where American firms are regularly downsizing and moving operations abroad? Or selling their operations to foreign companies or governments? 

America must maintain its strength — both militarily and economically — if it hopes to be the victor in the 21st Century.  If America thinks it would be better if China is the victor, then by all means, back the Biden-Harris tax plan. But if you think the world looks like a more free and prosperous world with America as the world’s primary power, opposing the Biden plan is a good start. 


Voters: Biden Can’t Handle Worsening Crime Problem

By Peter RoffAmerican Action News

D. Myles Cullen via Wikimedia Commons

Nearly two-thirds of voters say America’s problem with violent crime is on the rise while half the country says President Joe Biden is ill-equipped to deal with it.

A new Rasmussen Reports national found 65 percent of voters likely to cast ballots in the next election felt violent crime is getting worse while fully half – 50 percent – said the problem was beyond Biden’s ability to deal with effectively.

Homicide and other violent crimes have soared since the Black Lives Matter protests began in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death last May while in the custody of the Minneapolis police. Awareness of the problem is slowly permeating the national consciousness to the point famed political consultant James Carville recently penned an essay for the Wall Street Journal telling his fellow Democrats to get ahead of the curve by blaming the rise in the crime rate on former President Donald Trump.

The Rasmussen Reports survey found 72 percent of Republicans, 59 percent of Democrats and, 65 percent of voters unaffiliated voters agreeing violent crime in America is getting worse. It also found the issue transcending racial barriers as 67 percent of whites, 68 percent of black voters, and 57 percent of other minorities found themselves agreeing things are getting worse. Women, by six points, 68 percent to 62 percent, led men in expressing their fear things had worsened, a gap some experts suggest may have something to do with the differences in gender regarding the feeling of personal safety.

According to the Rasmussen Reports analysis, “Biden’s strongest supporters are least likely to think the crime problem is getting worse” yet, among those who give him the highest marks for job performance, 51 percent agreed the problem of violent crime was getting worse while just 18 percent said, “It’s getting better.”

Additionally, the polling firm said, “among voters who strongly disapprove of Biden’s performance, 89 percent say the violent crime problem is getting worse and only 3 percent think America’s crime problem is getting better.”

The reduction in violent crime to near historic lows – which not by coincidence began during a time when Republican mayors were in charge in NYC and Los Angeles – is attributed to “tough on crime, tough on criminals” efforts eventually repudiated by successors including current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

These numbers suggest the GOP may have an opening it did not expect in the run-up to the 2022 elections. The 1994 crime bill, which President Joe Biden pushed through the U.S. Senate as its principal sponsor and floor manager, is widely regarded as having helped set the stage for the Republicans to retake control of the U.S. Congress for the first time in 40 years. With that in mind, Carville’s suggestions in his opinion piece – which is long on rhetoric and short on facts – comes across as an effort to help the Democrats find a way to inoculate themselves against the charge they are “soft on crime” before voters go to the polls.

This theory will be tested out in real life in Virginia in November when voters throughout the state will have the opportunity to elect a new governor, attorney general, delegates to the General Assembly, and other officials. In some communities, prosecutors and other local elected swept into office in a blue wave four years ago with the support of groups affiliated with George Soros who have pursued criminal-friendly policies like no cash bail will have to explain to an increasingly wary electorate why they should be re-elected.

The survey of 900 likely U.S. voters was conducted May 25-26, 2021, and has a sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.


China Is A Menacing Threat And Overtly Hostile

By George LandrithNewslooks

China

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been ramping up its military spending to meet its stated goal of replacing the United States as the world’s preeminent superpower.  Many who seek to minimize the risk compare actual dollars spent on defense in hopes of proving the risk that China poses is minimal.  But the truth is, once you adjust for the cost of things, China is approaching parity with the U.S. For example, the pay for military personnel in the U.S. is 16 times higher than in China.*  Yet, China’s armed forces are approximately 2.2 million, whereas the US armed forces are only 1.4 million — roughly equal with North Korea in terms of manpower. 

Moreover, China has long been engaged in high-tech espionage and steals a great deal of the latest and greatest technology from the US. We have foolishly allowed their spies — posing as students or business and cultural exchanges to gain access to our technology. So we spend billions developing new technology and the Chinese regime spends comparative chump change to steal it. These cost savings allow China to spend less, while building up its military more. This is one of the reasons China now has the worlds’ largest navy with over 360 ships — dwarfing the U.S. fleet of 297 ships.  

China is also clearly seeking to exploit for its advantage the recent change in administrations.  President Joe Biden has long been comparatively conciliatory toward the communist regime and has often downplayed the risks China poses. Moreover,  Biden’s son, Hunter, has highly lucrative business dealings with major Chinese firms with strong ties to the Chinese Communist Party — that’s how business works in China. Even if there is nothing illegal about Hunter’s business dealings, it creates a troubling conflict of interest for the White House.

It is clearly not in the interests of the U.S. to downplay the risks and pretend that China’s threat isn’t real.  And China isn’t just a threat to the U.S., they are a threat to the entire world. They don’t intend to simply be a major economic and military power. They mean to rule and dominate the world with an iron fist. 

If you don’t believe me, look at how China deals with those it perceives to be dissidents. Look at how it treats Hong Kong. Look at how Chinese health officials who warned of the COVID-19 virus were punished or mysteriously disappeared. Look at the death camps and “re-education camps” and how China tortures, murders and rapes the Uyghurs and other “dissidents.” If China achieves its stated goal of control and domination, it will be a brutal reign of terror and oppression. 

It Is Not the Backward, Developing Nation It Once Was

Beyond raw military power, China also seeks economic supremacy. World shipping is an interesting case study where China seeks to dominate and is well on its way.  The global trade fleet is about 41,000 ships. China builds about 1,300 new ships each year. The U.S. builds only 8. China is now the dominant player in ship building and in owning and operating and controlling ports around the globe. 

The good news is that China does not, and cannot, dominate U.S. domestic shipping because the Jones Act stands in their way by requiring that ships used to transport goods between two or more American ports, must be American ships with American crews.

The Jones Act was passed shortly after World War I to ensure that the U.S. had sufficient shipping capacity, trained mariners, and a ship building and ship repairing capability necessary for our national security needs. But in the 21st Century, the Jones Act turns out to be a big help in stopping China’s attempts to dominate U.S. domestic shipping. 

Imagine if there were no Jones Act, and China could simply underbid the competition and gain an economic stranglehold on the U.S. and even world shipping markets. Also imagine Chinese ships sailing up and down the 25,000 miles of inland water ways in America with spies and high tech spy equipment intercepting communications at will. 

After being caught unprepared for WWI, the Jones Act seemed pretty necessary in 1920. But 101 years later in 2021, the Jones Act is even more necessary as one of many important ways America must stand up to the PRC and say, “Your oppression, aggression, and brutal domination are not welcome here!”  The Jones Act may not have been written with China in mind, but it is exactly what we need to prevent their expansionism into America’s inland waterways.


GOP Senators Introduce Bill to Sanction Enablers of Palestinian Terrorist Groups

By Peter RoffAmerican Action News

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Led by Florida’s Marco Rubio, a group of GOP senators said Friday they would be reintroducing legislation intended to force other countries to take a hard line on Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist groups whose mission is to bring about the destruction of Israel.

The Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act, which already has the support of almost a dozen of Rubio’s GOP colleagues, is a call for tough measures against Israel’s opponents that runs counter to the softer approach being taken by the Biden Administration.

“As these terrorist groups continue to show zero regard for the loss of innocent lives and threaten our ally, Israel, I’m proud to reintroduce this bill which seeks to impose sanctions against foreign nationals and governments who are actively providing material support to these groups,” Rubio said. “We must hold accountable the individuals who are aiding the terrorist activities of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”

The legislation under consideration requires the imposition of sanctions on countries, individuals, entities, and governments that provide support to anti-Israel terror groups and requires the U.S. president to send to Congress an assessment regarding America’s foreign allies’ diligence in choking off the stream of terror dollars that finance activities such as the recent weeklong rocket attack waged by Hamas against civilian Israeli targets.

“As our ally Israel continues to stand its ground in the face of ongoing terrorist attacks, we must step up to hold these terrorist groups and their enablers to account,” Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, who was one of the bill’s earliest co-sponsors said in a release. “It’s incumbent on responsible nations to do their part to prevent material support from reaching those who desire to destroy our ally. This bill sends a clear message that anyone who aids Israel’s attackers will face stiff consequences.”

“During the recent Israel-Gaza conflict, Hamas launched thousands of rockets intended to kill Israeli civilians. Hamas, a terrorist organization supported by Iran, also put the lives of Palestinian civilians at risk,” said Maine U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, who added the proposed legislation reaffirms “the United States’ commitment to combatting global terrorism.”

“Israel is one of our closest allies and deserves our support in countering these persistent threats to its security,” North Dakota GOP Sen. John Hoeven, another principal sponsor of the bill said. “Our legislation will sanction those who support terrorism against Israel while holding accountable those nations that do not take seriously the threats posed by Hamas and other terrorist groups.”

“America will always stand unapologetically with our great ally, Israel, and against all that wish it harm,” Florida Sen. Rick Scott said. “I’m proud to again join Senator Rubio on this important legislation to clearly demonstrate the United States’ intolerance for violent terrorist groups like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad and hold accountable all who support them.”

Joining Rubio as additional original co-sponsors of the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act are Kansas GOP Sen. Jerry Moran, Indiana’s Todd Young, and Mike Braun, Iowa’s Joni Ernst, John Boozman of Arkansas, Cindy Hyde-Smith, and Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Oklahoma’s James Lankford, Tennessee’s Marsha Blackburn, and Bill Haggerty and Josh Hawley of Missouri.


Wall Street Must Stop Enabling Communist China

America’s financial elite is helping to finance America’s prime strategic adversary.

By Senator Marco RubioThe American Prospect

Rubio-China 052621.jpg
After the Trump administration called for the delisting of Chinese companies tied to Beijing’s military last fall, Wall Street went to bat to ensure that three Chinese telecommunications firms, including China Telecom, were spared.

As a new, more skeptical consensus about America’s economic relationship with Beijing emerges in Washington, Wall Street is growing more tightly integrated with China than ever before. The disconnect highlights one of our nation’s biggest vulnerabilities in our confrontation with China over who will determine the course of the 21st century.

American capital markets are the most open, liquid, and valuable in the world. They are also increasingly a source of funds for China’s most strategically important companies. Chinese companies that produce surveillance technology and weapons of war that could one day kill Americans finance their investments with Wall Street capital.

Historically, both Republicans and Democrats have been weak when it comes to identifying and correcting these kinds of problems. Politicians in my own party have too often been reluctant to intervene over concerns about the “free market.” But things are changing. Faced with the catastrophic impacts of deindustrialization, which has choked opportunity for the American working class, and a growing reliance on an authoritarian regime, more of my colleagues in the GOP have awakened to the dangers of economic policymaking that prizes short-term economic efficiency over all else.

American capital markets are increasingly a source of funds for China’s most strategically important companies.

But just as many Republicans have grown more skeptical of big business’s cozy relationship with Beijing, large swaths of America’s financial and corporate sectors are making a play for a new base of political support—this time complete with deep-blue, progressive social stances on hot-button issues in our politics.

It’s the height of hypocrisy. U.S. corporations with lucrative business ties to the Chinese Communist Party will boycott states here over anti-abortion laws, while Beijing systematically sterilizes Uyghur women. They routinely inflame divisive race issues within the U.S. while marginalizing African American actors or erasing Tibetan characters to keep Chinese audiences happy.

And in instances when the U.S. government has acted, our financial sector, fearful of losing out on a lucrative investment opportunity, often intervenes to protect state-tied Chinese firms. For example, after the Trump administration called for the delisting of Chinese companies tied to Beijing’s military from the stock market last fall, it was Wall Street that initially went to bat to ensure that three Chinese telecommunications firms complicit in state censorship, China Telecom, China Mobile, and China Unicom, were spared. (After several reversals and a failed appeal process, the three ended up recently delisted.) And just this month, the Biden administration allowed one of China’s biggest companies, Xiaomi, to relist on U.S. exchanges.

Democrats should be skeptical of the opportunistic progressive social stances in our finance and tech sectors. The presence of a diversity and inclusion czar does nothing if a company is profiting off of slave labor in Xinjiang.

More fundamentally, Wall Street advances the goals of the CCP with its investment in China, which needs American capital to grow its economy. As China has evolved from an export-driven economy to one reliant on state-led investment, it needs foreign investment to help pay for its debts. Investing in China funds the Chinese companies powering Beijing’s economic strategy and industrial policy.

In 2019, the United States became a net investor in China for the first time in history. How did this happen? The answer lies with the fund managers. As China has “opened” its market to American financial companies and sought the listing of its businesses on American stock exchanges, the portfolios of American investors have been increasingly invested in Chinese companies. Many well-meaning Americans may inadvertently be propping up a genocidal regime because Wall Street does it for them.

Furthermore, Chinese firms listed on U.S. securities exchanges are widely shielded by their government from the full oversight of American financial regulators, putting teachers’ pensions and retirees at risk.

Thankfully, there are legislative solutions that both Republicans and Democrats should be able to support. First of all, we should ban any U.S. investments in Communist Chinese military companies. This is part of the reason why I first introduced my Taxpayers and Savers Protection (TSP) Act in 2019—to ensure the retirement savings accounts of federal workers and service members didn’t end up invested in Chinese companies tied to the People’s Liberation Army or engaged in human rights abuses.

In instances when the U.S. government has acted, our finan-cial sector often intervenes to protect state-tied Chinese firms.

Similarly, no Chinese company on the U.S. Department of Commerce Entity List or the U.S. Department of Defense list of Communist Chinese military companies should be allowed to access U.S. capital markets—a move that could simply be accomplished by passing my American Financial Markets Integrity and Security Act.

We can also require increased scrutiny of activist investors in companies tied to national-security work or supply chains—particularly ones related to China—through my Shareholder National Security Awareness Act. Finally, we must ensure that Chinese companies, the only ones in the world that routinely skirt U.S. regulatory oversight, are no longer welcome to publicly list on U.S. stock exchanges.

Americans from across the political spectrum should feel emboldened by the growing bipartisan awakening to the threat that the CCP poses to American workers, families, and communities. As we deploy legislative solutions to tackle this challenge, Democrats must not allow our corporate and financial sectors’ leftward shift on social issues to blind them to the enormity of China as a geo-economic threat.


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