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Scott McConnell: The Battle for France

The new intellectualism of cultural anxiety

And that’s why France is the epicenter of today’s fearsome battle between Western elites bent on protecting and expanding the well-entrenched policy of mass immigration and those who see this spreading influx as an ultimate threat to the West’s cultural heritage, not to mention its internal tranquility. In France it is a two-front war. One is the political front, where Marine Le Pen’s National Front has moved from the fringes of politics into the mainstream. The other is the intellectual front, where a new breed of writers, thinkers, and historians has emerged to question the national direction and to decry those who have set the country upon its current course.

Americans have always had a special affinity for France. It was critical to the American founding by way of Lafayette’s mission. In the 20th century many artistic and upper-class Americans embraced Paris as the site of and model for their own cultural strivings. France’s 1940 fall to Nazi Germany dealt the first real blow to American isolationism. After the 1945 victory in Europe, U.S. links to Paris, London, and Europe generally rendered postwar Atlanticism more than just a strategy: it was a civilizational commitment that helped define who we were as Americans.

Paris remains beautiful, though crime has been rising for a generation and the city has the trappings of wartime, with heavily armed soldiers visibly guarding sensitive targets—museums, schools, newspapers—against Islamist terror. The approaching elections, where the National Front will surely exceed its past vote totals, mark a tremulous new era.

Indeed, serious people have for some years been contemplating whether France is nearing the precipice of civil war. That’s probably unlikely, at least in the near future, but few would be shocked if the political and communal conflicts exploded into violence not seen in decades. And that has spawned a radically changed intellectual climate. The French intelligentsia and its cultural establishment still lean, in the main, toward the left, as they have since the end of World War II, or indeed since the divisive Dreyfus affair of the Third Republic. But today, France’s most read and most discussed popular writers—novelists and political essayists—are conservatives of one stripe or another. They are not concerned, even slightly, with the issues that animate American “mainstream” think-tank conservatism—lowering taxes, cutting federal programs, or maintaining some kind of global military hegemony. Their focus is France’s national culture and its survival. When they raise, as they do, the subjects embraced by American paleoconservatives and the so-called alt-right, that doesn’t mean the French debate has been taken over by extremists. The authors driving the French conversation are in almost every instance prominent figures whose views would have put them in the Gaullist middle or somewhat left of center at any time in the 1960s or ’70s. But France has changed, and what National Review in the 1990s called “the national question” has been brought to the very heart of the country’s national debate.

At the moment, France’s most important political intellectual on the right is probably Éric Zemmour, a former editorial writer for Le Figaro. A natural polemicist, he is a descendant of working-class Algerian Jews who fled to France in the 1950s. Though he demonstrates serious intellectual breadth, Zemmour’s particular passion is polemical battle. He was fined under French anti-racism laws in 2011 for publicly referring to racial discrepancies in crime rates. No one questioned the accuracy of his statistics, but discussing them in a way that was seen as contravening French anti-defamation law was an absolute no-no. Three years later, he reached a pinnacle of influence with the publication of his 500-page Le Suicide français, a modern national history that sold 400,000 copies within two months and became the top-selling book in France. Weeks later, when attacks by French-born Islamists on the offices of Charlie Hebdoand a kosher supermarket outside Paris stunned the nation (while being greeted with shocking indifference in the predominantly Muslim Paris suburbs), Zemmour’s book was there to explain how France had arrived at that dismal intersection.

The literary technique of Le Suicide français seems made for the internet and social media. The book marches, in short vignettes, from the death of de Gaulle in 1970 through the end of Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency in 2012. Zemmour takes an illustrative event—sometimes no more than a demonstration, a film, or a pop song—and shows how it reflects national decline or actually pushed that decline onward.

[Read the full story here, at The American Conservative]

One central theme is that the young bourgeois nihilists of the May 1968 street revolution prevailed. Not in politics or at least not immediately: de Gaulle’s party remained in power for more than a decade after. But the cultural victory was decisive. De Gaulle as a father figure was overthrown, and so was the traditional idea of the father. As the traditional family weakened, birth rates sank. In short order, France embraced legalized abortion and no-fault divorce; the father, when he didn’t disappear altogether, began to behave like a second mother. Traces of the shift show up in pop music. The singer Michel Delpech gave his blessing to his wife leaving for another man in one popular song:

You can even make a half-brother for Stéphanie
That would be marvelous for her.

Or as the comic Guy Bedos put it, “We separated by mutual agreement, especially hers.”

Such shifts coincided, in symbiotic ways that few understood at the time, with the advent of mass immigration. Zemmour writes, “At the same moment the traditional French family receded, as if to compensate symbolically and demographically, the most traditional type of Maghrebine family, the most archaic, the most patriarchal, is invited to take up its role. To come to its rescue. To fill up the places it has left vacant. To replace it.”

Like the immigration narrative of every advanced Western country, the story is complex. France had welcomed and assimilated immigrants from eastern and southern Europe for a century. In the 1960s, Prime Minister Georges Pompidou, encouraged by an industrial elite seeking cheaper manual labor, recruited to France each year hundreds of thousands of workers from Spain, Portugal, and North Africa. Rural Maghrebine workers were preferred; they were seen as less Frenchified than workers from Algerian towns, more docile. After worker recruitment was stopped during the recession of 1974, family reunification as a humanitarian policy was instigated, and hundreds of thousands of North African women and children joined their husbands in France. Zemmour concludes that this represented a kind of posthumous victory over de Gaulle by the partisans of Algérie Française, the blending of France and Algeria which de Gaulle had rejected—for reasons of sociology and demography as much as for peace. As he told Alain Peyrefitte in 1959, “Those who dream of integration are birdbrains, even the most brilliant of them. Try to mix oil and vinegar. Shake up the bottle. After a while, they separate again. The Arabs are Arabs, the French are French.” In the same interview, de Gaulle said the Algérie Française would result in massive immigration to France, and his town Colombey-les-Deux-Églises would be turned into Colombey-les-Deux-Mosquées. Read the rest of this entry »

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Census: More Americans 18-to-34 Now Live With Parents Than With Spouse

(CNSNews.com) – Four decades ago, in the mid-1970s, young American adults–in the 18-to-34 age bracket–were far more likely to be married and living with a spouse than living in their parents’ home.

But that is no longer the case, according to a new study by the U.S. Census Bureau.

“There are now more young people living with their parents than in any other arrangement,” says the Census Bureau study.

“What is more,” says the study, “almost 9 in 10 young people who were living in their parents’ home a year ago are still living there today, making it the most stable living arrangement.”

The Number 1 living arrangement today for Americans in the 18-to-34 age bracket, according to the Census Bureau, is to reside without a spouse in their parents’ home.

That is where you can now find 22.9 million 18-to-34 year olds—compared to the 19.9 million who are married and live with their spouse.

In 1975, according to Census Bureau data, 31.9 million Americans in the 18-to-34 age bracket were married and lived with their spouse.

Back then, this was the most common living arrangement for that age bracket. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Pence Went To The DMZ Just To Stare Down North Korean Soldiers 

Vice President Mike Pence broke from his schedule Monday morning and took an unannounced trip to the Korean Demilitarized Zone.

Though other top ranking U.S. officials have visited the DMZ in the past, Pence actually ventured outside and stared down North Korean troops.

Mike Pence (CNN)

Mike Pence (CNN)

“Yeah, you better keep walking.”

In addition to his visit to the DMZ, Pence sent North Korea a warning statement Monday morning … (read more)

Source: The Daily Caller


Millennial Diagnosed With Tragic Inability To Even

BOTHELL, WA—According to reports, local 22-year-old Chloe Kowalski’s world was torn apart Friday morning, as the millennial barista was diagnosed with a rare disease that prevents her from having the ability to even. “I just—I can’t even,” Kowalski reportedly sobbed on her boyfriend’s shoulder after the appointment with her regular doctor, which she had scheduled […]

Source: The Babylon Bee


[VIDEO] Moment of impact: Pentagon Releases Video of MOAB Strike


NBC’s Report Of Preemptive Strikes On North Korea Contested, Declared ‘Wildly Wrong’

Ryan Pickrell reports: Senior defense officials and administration officials are refuting NBC’s story that the U.S. will launch a preemptive strike on North Korea if it anticipates a sixth nuclear test.

“The U.S. is prepared to launch a preemptive strike with conventional weapons against North Korea should officials become convinced that North Korea is about to follow through with a nuclear weapons test,” NBC reported Thursday evening. The news outlet, citing multiple intelligence sources, claimed that the U.S. would use destroyers stationed nearby to launch the attack.

Citing multiple high-level sources, several journalists are saying that the report is “wildly wrong,” “crazy,” and “extremely dangerous.” VOA claims that the a “preemptive strike is NOT planned.” … (read more)

Source: The Daily Caller


China Deploys 150,000 Troops to Deal with Possible North Korean Refugees Over fears Trump May Strike Kim Jong-un

The Chinese army has reportedly deployed 150,000 troops to the North Korean border to prepare for pre-emptive attacks after the United States dropped airstrikes on Syria.

President Donald Trump‘s missile strike on Syria on Friday was widely interpreted as a warning to North Korea.

And now China, left shocked by the air strikes, has deployed medical and backup units from the People’s Liberation Army forces to the Yalu River, Korea’s Chosun.com reported.

The troops have been dispatched to handle North Korean refugees and ‘unforeseen circumstances’, such as the prospect of preemptive attacks on North Korea, the news agency said.

Meanwhile, the US Navy has moved the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group from Singapore to North Korea after the country conducted more missile testing.

China’s top nuclear envoy arrived in Seoul Monday for talks on the North Korean threat, as the United States sent the naval strike group to the region and signalled it may act to shut down Pyongyang’s weapons program.

Speculation of an imminent nuclear test is brewing as the North marks major anniversaries including the 105th birthday of its founding leader on Saturday – sometimes celebrated with a demonstration of military might.

Wu Dawei, China’s Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Affairs, met with his South Korean counterpart on Monday to discuss the nuclear issue.

The talks come shortly after Trump hosted Chinese leader Xi Jinping for a summit at which he pressed Pyongyang’s key ally to do more to curb the North’s nuclear ambitions.

‘(We) are prepared to chart our own course if this is something China is just unable to coordinate with us,’ US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said after the summit.

He added however that Beijing had indicated a willingness to act on the issue.

‘We need to allow them time to take actions,’ Tillerson said, adding that Washington had no intention of attempting to remove the regime of Kim Jong-Un. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Single-Payer Health Care: America Already Has It 

Could a single-payer, government-run health care system work in the United States? We already know the answer, because America already has single-payer, government-run health care. Author and commentator Pete Hegseth explains.

 


Syria Strikes Signal an End of ‘Leading From Behind’

Hugh Dugan writes: With his surprise, 180-degree decision to avenge innocents in Syria, President Donald Trump entered the particle accelerator that is foreign affairs.

The barrage of urgencies—inhumanity, chemical weapons, Syrian civil war, North Korean missiles, Russian warships, truck bombings, ISIS—has streamed his focus into a statesmanship that impresses even his detractors.  This reminds us of Trump’s speech to Congress in February where he grew visibly into his presidential shoes.

Taking decisive action in Syria indeed was in the U.S. national interest, not only an understandable human response to a human atrocity. How is it in the national interest? Chemical weapons cannot be tolerated a bit. No excuse exists. Any shadow of their acceptability would quickly become a black cloud over a world cowed into suspicion and fear. Our national interest depends upon a world open to itself and to the future. Read the rest of this entry »


Census: Immigration to Bust 100-Year Record, Continue Surging

Already 13.5 percent of the U.S. population, immigrants will surge to 15 percent in 2023, according to Steven Camarota, the director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies.

At a conference to discuss the impact of immigration on public schools, he said “the share will hit 15 percent in just six years and that will surpass the all time high in the United States reached in 1890.”

And if unchecked, he added, “the share is projected to increase throughout much of this century.”

The surge comes as President Trump is planning to cut the number of illegal immigrants in the country and crossing the border, but so far hasn’t indicated if he will brake the larger number of legal immigrants entering the U.S.

It also takes place with a nation divided over what it expects of immigrants, with liberals eager for them to embrace their own heritage and others hopeful for immigrants assimilate into America. Read the rest of this entry »


Barack Obama Changed How NSA Intercepts of Americans Could Be Shared

John Solomon and Sara Carter reports: As his presidency drew to a close, Barack Obama’s top aides routinely reviewed intelligence reports gleaned from the National Security Agency’s incidental intercepts of Americans abroad, taking advantage of rules their boss relaxed starting in 2011 to help the government better fight terrorism, espionage by foreign enemies and hacking threats, Circa has learned.

Dozens of times in 2016, those intelligence reports identified Americans who were directly intercepted talking to foreign sources or were the subject of conversations between two or more monitored foreign figures. Sometimes the Americans’ names were officially unmasked; other times they were so specifically described in the reports that their identities were readily discernible. Among those cleared to request and consume unmasked NSA-based intelligence reports about U.S. citizens were Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice, his CIA Director John Brennan and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Some intercepted communications from November to January involved Trump transition figures or foreign figures’ perceptions of the incoming president and his administration. Intercepts involving congressional figures also have been unmasked occasionally for some time. Read the rest of this entry »


Reports: Russian Interior Ministry Official Shot Dead

The head of the Russian Interior Ministry‘s construction department has reportedly been shot dead in Moscow.

The Interfax news agency cited an unidentified law-enforcement official as saying that Nikolai Volkov was killed on March 27.

Volkov was the head of the Interior Ministry’s Renovation and Construction Department.

The Interfax report said police believe the motive was robbery, suggesting that the killing was not directly related to Volkov’s job.

Source: rferl.org


[VIDEO] KGB Atomic Spy Rudolf Abel: ‘The Hollow Coin’, US Department of Defense, 1958

KGB Atomic Spy Rudolf Abel: “The Hollow Coin” 1958 US Department of Defense.

MORE – Intelligence & Espionage playlist and more at fbi.gov


[VIDEO] Gavin McInnes Interviews Tucker Carlson: The Free Speech Podcast, 2015

Gavin McInnes interviews Tucker Carlson, co-founder of The Daily Caller, and a Talk Show Host of Crossfire, Tucker, and now Tucker Carlson Tonight. They cover a plethora of topics in this great interview ranging from feminism, racism, political correctness, and much more. Very funny and educational at the same time. Originally aired April 2, 2015.

 


CORRECT TARGETING: Source: ICE Targeting ‘Sanctuary Cities’ with Raids 

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Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been targeting so-called “sanctuary cities” with increased enforcement operations in an effort to pressure those jurisdictions to cooperate with federal immigration agents, a senior US immigration official with direct knowledge of ongoing ICE actions told CNN.

A sanctuary city is a broad term applied to states, cities and/or counties that have policies in place designed to limit cooperation or involvement in the enforcement of federal immigration operations. More than 100 US jurisdictions — among them New York, Los Angeles and Chicago — identify as such.

High-ranking ICE officials have discussed in internal meetings carrying out more raids on those locations, said the source.

This week, a federal judge in Texas seems to have confirmed that tactic. US Magistrate Judge Andrew Austin revealed during an immigration hearing Monday that a mid-February raid in the Austin metro area was done in retaliation for a local sheriff’s recent decision to limit her department’s cooperation with ICE.

“There’s been questions about whether Austin is being targeted. We had a briefing…. that we could expect a big operation, agents coming in from out of town. There was going to be a specific operation, and it was at least related to us in that meeting that it was a result of the sheriff’s new policy that this was going to happen,” Austin says in audio of the proceedings provided by the court.

The judge’s comments came as he questioned an ICE agent about a recent unrelated arrest.

Austin said that in a late January meeting, local ICE officials told him and another federal judge that an upcoming enforcement operation was being done in direct response to Sheriff Sally Hernandez’s adoption of a sanctuary policy in Travis County.

Earlier this year, Hernandez announced that beginning in February, her department would no longer honor ICE detainers unless the individual was arrested for murder, sexual assault or human trafficking, or a warrant had been issued. A detainer is a 48-hour hold request placed on suspected undocumented immigrants in local jails until federal agents can come in and take over the case.

A showdown in Travis County, Texas

It is a significant shift in the county’s immigration enforcement policy that has put the newly elected Democratic sheriff at odds with pro-enforcement local and state officials, including the Texas Senate, which recently passed a bill that withholds state dollars from sanctuary cities and Gov. Greg Abbott, who cut $1.5 million in funding to the county. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Krauthammer: ‘There’s Going to Be a Sea Change in Opinion’ on Illegal-Immigrant Sanctuaries

Discussing the alleged rape of a 14-year-old student by two illegal immigrants, Charles Krauthammer argued that publicity around cases like this has the potential to change public opinion about how best to protect communities in the face of illegal immigration.


[VIDEO] Tucker Carlson vs Baltimore Lawmaker Who Called Feds ‘Nazis’ 

14-year-old Md. girl is gang-raped by two older teens, one of whom is an illegal immigrant, while Baltimore reels from 10 recent homicides. Tucker takes on a Baltimore councilman who wants to make law enforcement kinder and gentler during troubled times.

Read the rest of this entry »


Massive Oil Discovery in Alaska is Biggest Onshore Find in 30 Years

Some 1.2 billion barrels of oil have been discovered in Alaska, marking the biggest onshore discovery in the U.S. in three decades.

Matt Egan reports: The massive find of conventional oil on state land could bring relief to budget pains in Alaska brought on by slumping production in the state and the crash in oil prices. 

The new discovery was made in just the past few days in Alaska’s North Slope, which was previously viewed as an aging oil basin.

Spanish oil giant Repsol (REPYY) and its privately-held U.S. partner Armstrong Energy announced the find on Thursday, predicting production could begin as soon as 2021 and lead to as much as 120,000 barrels of output per day.

The oil resources lie in a well, called Horseshoe, that’s 75% owned by Denver-based Armstrong. Repsol owns the rest of this well.

The discovery is 20 miles south of where the two companies have already found oil in a project known as Pikka. That northern project is already in early development and is 51% owned by Armstrong, which is the operator on both developments.

“The interesting thing about this discovery is the North Slope was previously thought to be on its last legs. But this is a significant emerging find,” Repsol spokesman Kristian Rix told CNNMoney. Read the rest of this entry »


Trump’s First Two Months Prove He’s Anything but a Fascist

If so, the joke’s on you. If there’s any ancient tale that presaged the start of the Trump Era, it’s the Voyage to Lilliput in “Gulliver’s Travels.”

Gulliver-like, Trump finds himself tied down by a thousand tiny strings, paralyzed by micro-people he can barely detect. Because of their combined power, he can’t do much of anything. If it’s the system vs. Trump, the system is winning, bigly. But it isn’t Berserkeley radicals or marching feminists in pussy hats who are leading the charge to #resist. Resistance to change is as natural in Washington as cherry blossoms in spring.

Since being promoted from private citizen to president, the only thing Trump has exercised undisputed authoritarian control over has been his Twitter account. And even that mysteriously seems to go silent at the exact times his aides are being badgered with questions about his latest tweet.

Thanks to two judges (Derrick K. Watson of Hawaii and Judge Theodore D. Chuang of Maryland) who didn’t star in a hit reality TV show, aren’t the most famous dudes on Earth and don’t have 27 million Twitter followers, Trump’s latest executive order restricting immigration from six countries with major terrorism problems is on hold.

The judiciary is a check on the president. Trump’s predecessor found that out, too, when the Fifth Circuit court upheld a lower court order that blocked Obama’s immigration plan (which would have shielded 5 million illegal aliens from deportation). There’s no such thing as doing an end-around the system (or, if you like, the Swamp).

Even with his party in control of both houses in Congress, Trump is finding major limits to what he can do legislatively. The American Health Care Act is not going to pass (without major changes) because, as Trump himself so memorably put it, health care is “an unbelievably complex subject.” The Jenga game that is ObamaCare is so wobbly that removing a single block could cause the health-care system to come crashing down. Which is why Republicans can’t agree on whether AHCA leans too far in the direction of the free market, or not far enough.

Passing a budget? Hey, guess what? The president can’t spend a dime without Congress. As Marco Rubio so cruelly, but accurately, put it: “We do the budget here. The administration makes recommendations, but Congress does budgets.” Marco may still be little. But Congress is still big.

Liberals should have had more respect for our national institutions than to think that one man could simply have trashed them all. Yet The New York Review of Books called Trump an autocrat in a Nov. 10 story that warned, “Institutions will not save you” and said Trump was the new Vladimir Putin. Read the rest of this entry »


Man Killed at Paris Airport Had Been Flagged for Possible Radical Ties

ORLY, FRANCE: French soldiers shot and killed a man who wrestled another soldier to the ground and tried to take her rifle Saturday at Paris’ Orly Airport. The melee forced the airport’s busy terminals to close and trapped hundreds of passengers aboard flights that had just landed.

The 39-year-old Frenchman, who authorities said had a long criminal record and was previously flagged for possible radicalism, had earlier fired birdshot at police officers during an early morning traffic stop before speeding away and heading for the airport south of Paris.

There, in the public area of its South Terminal, the man wrestled the soldier who was on foot patrol and tried to snatch away her rifle, authorities said. The French defense minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said the patrol’s other two members opened fire. Le Drian said the soldier managed to keep hold of her weapon.

“Her two comrades thought it was necessary — and they were right — to open fire to protect her and especially to protect all the people who were around,” Le Drian said.

The shooting further rattled France, which remains under a state of emergency after attacks over the past two years that have killed 235 people.

Witnesses described panicked bystanders fleeing, flights halting, traffic chaos and planes under lockdowns. French authorities, however, emphasized that security planning — reinforced across the country in the wake of repeated attacks — worked well.

The soldier was “psychologically shocked” but unhurt by the “rapid and violent” assault, said Col. Benoit Brulon, a spokesman for the military force that patrols public sites in France. No other injuries were reported.

“We’d already registered our bags when we saw a soldier pointing his gun at the attacker who was holding another soldier hostage,” said traveler Pascal Menniti, who was flying to the Dominican Republic.

Authorities said at least 3,000 people were evacuated from the airport. Hundreds of passengers also were confined for several hours aboard 13 flights that were held in landing areas, and 15 other flights were diverted to Paris’ other main airport, Charles de Gaulle, the Paris airport authority said.

A French official connected to the investigation confirmed French media reports that identified the attacker as Ziyed Ben Belgacem, born in France in 1978. The official spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to publicly discuss the man’s details.

The attacker’s motives were unknown. After the airport attack, his father and brother were detained by police for questioning Saturday — standard operating procedure in such probes.

The antiterrorism section of the Paris prosecutor’s office immediately took over the investigation. The prosecutor’s office said the attacker had a record of robbery and drug offenses.

He did not appear in a French government database of people considered potential threats to national security. But prosecutors said he had already crossed authorities’ radar for suspected Islamic extremism. His house was among scores searched in November 2015 in the immediate aftermath of suicide bomb-and-gun attacks that killed 130 people in Paris. Those searches targeted people with suspected radical leanings. Read the rest of this entry »


Russian Spy Ship Returns to East Coast of U.S.

Feb. 27, 2014: A Russian spy ship Viktor Leonov SSV-175, is seen docked at a Havana port. REUTERS

Russian spy ship that made a foray near a U.S. Navy submarine base in Connecticut in February is once again in international waters off the East Coast of the United States, presumably to monitor activity at American Navy bases.

The Viktor Leonov spy ship is now 50 miles east of the U.S. Navy’s submarine base at Kings Bay, Georgia, according to a defense official. The ship traveled there from a port in Havana, Cuba, where it docked for five days.

The Leonov’s earlier visit off the Eastern Seaboard in mid-February drew international attention although American officials noted at the time that the visits have become a regular occurrence in recent years.

Serena Marshall/ABC News The Russian spy ship Viktor Leonov CCB-175 is parked at a Havana port as the US starts talks Cuba, Jan. 21, 2015.

Serena Marshall/ABC News. The Russian spy ship Viktor Leonov CCB-175 is parked at a Havana port as the US starts talks Cuba, Jan. 21, 2015.

For one day in February the ship was offshore of the U.S. Navy submarine base in New London, Connecticut, the furthest north the Russian intelligence ship had ever traveled up the East Coast of the United States.

Following that brief stop off New England, the Leonov headed south where it spent almost two weeks east of the U.S. Navy base at Norfolk, Virginia. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] #SXSW: How Activists Are Using Technology to Fight Dictators

Dissidents are using USB drives to smuggle information into authoritarian regimes.

But if you were looking for something truly disruptive at SXSW, look no further than a group of activists using tech to spread information to citizens oppressed by authoritarian regimes.

“The people out there they don’t have satellites, they don’t have internet, they have nothing,” says Abdalaziz Alhamza who escaped Syria and co-founded Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently. “To be stuck with only ISIS propaganda, it will affect them.”

Alhamza and dissidents from Eritrea, Afghanistan and Cuba were brought together by the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) for a panel discussion called “The Real Information Revolution.” Reason caught up with the group at the HRF booth on the convention floor, centered around a large wall of Kim Jong Un faces with USB ports for mouths. Attendees were invited to donate USB drives into the display. The drives will later be smuggled into North Korea after being wiped and filled with films and information from the outside world. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] CNN’s Van Jones on Trump’s Taxes: ‘That’s a Good Night for Donald Trump’

On CNN Anderson Cooper 360, Political Analysts and Commentators Van Jones, Ryan Lizza, Matt Lewis, Gloria Borger, Paul Begala and Jason Miller discusses the 2005 President Trump’s Tax returns released by the White House showing that Trump paid $38 millions in taxes, though the legitimacy of the tax return has not been verified.

 


The Rise of Political Correctness

“Comrade, your statement is factually incorrect.”
“Yes, it is. But it is politically correct.”

Angelo M. Codevilla writes: The notion of political correctness came into use among Communists in the 1930s as a semi-humorous reminder that the Party’s interest is to be treated as a reality that ranks above reality itself. Because all progressives, Communists included, claim to be about creating new human realities, they are perpetually at war against nature’s laws and limits. But since reality does not yield, progressives end up pretending that they themselves embody those new realities. Hence, any progressive movement’s nominal goal eventually ends up being subordinated to the urgent, all-important question of the movement’s own power. Because that power is insecure as long as others are able to question the truth of what the progressives say about themselves and the world, progressive movements end up struggling not so much to create the promised new realities as to force people to speak and act as if these were real: as if what is correct politically—i.e., what thoughts serve the party’s interest—were correct factually.

Communist states furnish only the most prominent examples of such attempted groupthink. Progressive parties everywhere have sought to monopolize educational and cultural institutions in order to force those under their thumbs to sing their tunes or to shut up. But having brought about the opposite of the prosperity, health, wisdom, or happiness that their ideology advertised, they have been unable to force folks to ignore the gap between political correctness and reality.

Especially since the Soviet Empire’s implosion, leftists have argued that Communism failed to create utopia not because of any shortage of military or economic power but rather because it could not overcome this gap. Is the lesson for today’s progressives, therefore, to push P.C. even harder, to place even harsher penalties on dissenters? Many of today’s more discerning European and American progressives, in possession of government’s and society’s commanding heights, knowing that they cannot wield Soviet-style repression and yet intent on beating down increasing popular resistance to their projects, look for another approach to crushing cultural resistance. Increasingly they cite the name of Antonio Gramsci (1891–1937), a brilliant Communist theoretician for whom “cultural hegemony” is the very purpose of the struggle as well as its principal instrument. His writings envisage a totalitarianism that eliminates the very possibility of cultural resistance to progressivism. But owing more to Machiavelli than to Marx or Lenin, they are more than a little complex about the means and are far from identical with the raw sort of power over culture enforced by the Soviet Empire or, for that matter, that is rife among us today.

My purpose here is to explain how progressives have understood and conducted their cultural war from the days of Lenin, and how Gramsci’s own ambiguous writings illustrate the choices they face in conducting that war in our time and circumstances—especially with regard to political correctness in our present culture war.

Culture Wars

Every form of progressivism bases itself on the claim of a special, “scientific,” knowledge of what is wrong with humanity and how to fix it. The formula is straightforward: the world is not as it should be because society’s basic, “structural” feature is ordered badly. Everything else is “superstructural,” meaning that it merely reflects society’s fundamental feature. For Marx and his followers that feature is conflict over the means of production in “present-day society.” From the dawn of time, this class warfare has led to “contradictions”: between types of work, town and country, oppressors or oppressed, and so on. The proletariat’s victory in that conflict will establish a new reality by crushing all contradictions out of existence. Other branches of progressivism point to a different structural problem. For Freudians it’s sexual maladjustment, for followers of Rousseau it’s social constraint, for positivists it is the insufficient application of scientific method, for others it is oppression of one race by another. Once control of society passes exclusively into the hands of the proper set of progressives, each sect’s contradictions must disappear as the basic structural problem is straightened out.

But wherever progressives have gained power, all manner of contradictions have remained and new ones have arisen. Progressive movements have reacted to this failure by becoming their own reason for being. Theoretically, the Revolution is about the power and necessity to recreate mankind. In practice, for almost all progressive movements it is about gaining power for the revolutionaries and making war on those who stand in their way. For example, transcending private property, the division of labor, and political oppression was never Marxism-Leninism’s core motive any more than worker/peasant proletarians were ever its core protagonists. In fact, Communism is an ideology by, of, and for ideologues, that ends up empowering and celebrating those very ideologues. This is as true of progressivism’s other branches as it is of Marxism.

Lenin’s seminal contribution was explicitly to recognize the revolutionary party’s paramount primacy, and to turn the party’s power and prestige from a means to revolution into the Revolution’s candid end. Lenin’s writings, like Marx’s, contain no positive description of future economic arrangements. The Soviet economy, for all its inefficiencies, functioned with Swiss precision as an engine of privilege for some and of murderous deprivation for others. The Communist Party had transcended communism. The key to understanding what progressive parties in power do is the insight, emphasized by “elite theorists” like Vilfredo Pareto and Gaetano Mosca, that any organization’s practical objectives turn out to be what serves the interests and proclivities of its leaders.

[Read the full story here, at claremont.org]

What serves progressive revolutionaries’ interests is not in doubt. Although each of progressivism’s branches differs in how it defines society’s “structural” fault, in its own name for the human reality that it seeks to overcome, and in the means by which to achieve its ends, progressives from the 19th century to our time are well nigh identical in their personal predilections—in what and whom they hate even more than in what they love. They see the culture of what Marxists call “bourgeois morality” as the negation of their identity and authority. That identity, their identity, is to be promoted, endlessly, by endless warfare against that culture. That is why the cultural campaigns of otherwise dissimilar progressives have been so similar. Leninist Russia no less than various Western democrats have tried to eradicate religion, to make it difficult for men, women, and children to exist as families, and to demand that their subjects join them in celebrating the new order that reflects their identity. Note well: cultural warfare’s substantive goal is less important than the affirmation of the warriors’ own identity. This is what explains the animus with which progressives have waged their culture wars.

Yet, notwithstanding progressivism’s premise that individual minds merely reflect society’s basic structure and hence are incapable of reasoning independently about true and false, better and worse, reality forces progressives to admit that individuals often choose how they think or act despite lacking the “structural” basis for doing so, or that they act contrary to the economic, social, or racial “classes” into which progressive theories divide mankind. They call this freedom of the human mind “false consciousness.”

Fighting against false consciousness is one reason why Communists and other progressives end up treating cultural matters supposedly “superstructural” as if they were structural and basic. They do so by pressuring people constantly to validate progressivism’s theories, to concelebrate victories over those on the “wrong” side of history by exerting control over who says what to whom. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO]  Krauthammer: Chinese & Korean Nuclear Missiles Affect Trump’s Moves in Asia

“The worrisome thing here is the outside partner. This is not just a three sided game, North Korea, South Korea, and the U.S. — it’s the Chinese reaction. The Chinese are watching the United States after eight years of withdrawal, accommodation, and essentially no response to Chinese expansion — they’re seeing the United States now asserting itself. The U.S.S. Carl Vinson an aircraft carrier is now in the South China Sea. Trump has just sent B-52’s into South Korea as a way to threaten the North Koreans, and everyone knows what they carry, they carry nuclear weapons. But the worst thing from the Chinese point of view is the THAAD: This is the antimissile system. The Chinese react to that the way the Russians did to the anti-missile system we wanted to put in Eastern Europe. They get very upset because it can be applied against them. Yes, our reason for doing it is to defend the South Koreans against the North. But the overall effect is to put up a missile shield that could degrade and weaken the Chinese arsenal. They know that. They are very worried about that. And they’re getting semi-hysterical. Global Times which is a government-friendly publication just this week said that the government of China will no longer rule out a first nuclear strike. That’s a big deal. That’s not an official statement, but it tells you how much the Chinese are upset, which is why we are now rushing to install the THAAD by the end of April before the election so at least it’s a fait accompli — but this is a tinderbox.”

Source: National Review


[VIDEO] Dana Perino Joins Mercy Ships’ Humanitarian Mission in Africa

Floating hospital docked in the Republic of Benin; for more information visit mercyships.org

Dana first visited our ship in 2013 during Mercy Ships’ field service in the Republic of the Congo. She will return on March 8 for four days while we’re docked in Cotonou to witness firsthand the hope and healing our crew is bringing to the people of Benin. On board theAfrica Mercy, Dana plans to shadow volunteer surgeon Dr. Mark Shrime, visit a local community, meet with patients to learn their stories, and much more.

Photo Credit: Michelle Murrey; Dana PERINO (USA), guest of Don STEPHENS, waits with a child in the Communications Room on Selection Day in Pointe Noire, Congo
Photo Credit: Michelle Murrey; Dana PERINO (USA), guest of Don STEPHENS, waits with a child in the Communications Room on Selection Day in Pointe Noire, Congo africa mercy ship dock africa mercy ship port

Many people in developing nations have little or no access to healthcare, causing children, teens and adults to suffer every day from treatable medical conditions. That’s why we use a hospital ship to bring care to those directly in need. Since our founding in 1978, Mercy Ships has delivered free services impacting more than 2.5 million children and families. Dana will experience a small taste of this during her visit.

Mercy Ships is tirelessly motivated to bringing hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor, but we cannot do so without help from people like you. Mercy Ships operates via funding from private donors, foundations and socially responsible corporations. Our entire crew — from surgeons and nurses to chefs and electricians — is made up of volunteers who pay to serve on the ship. Read the rest of this entry »


Trump Administration Warns Against Iran Travel

Iran seeking revenge for Trump’s halt on immigration

 reports: The Trump administration is emphasizing warnings against travel to Iran by U.S. citizens in light of the Islamic Republic‘s latest effort to implement a travel ban on Americans, which comes in response to the White House’s new immigration order temporarily halting all immigration from Iran and several other Muslim-majority nations designated as terrorism hotspots, according to U.S. officials.

Iranian officials announced this week that they are poised to implement their own travel ban on U.S. individuals and entities they described as aiding “terrorist groups or [helping] regional dictatorial rulers crack down on their nations,” according to comments carried in the country’s state-controlled media.

Iran said the effort is part of a package of reprisals against the United States for the Trump administration’s latest immigration order, which stops Iranian citizens and others from entering the United States for several months as American authorities seek to strengthen vetting procedures.

When questioned about Iran’s potential travel ban on Monday, a State Department official confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon that the Trump administration is aware of the effort and emphasized current warnings against travel to Iran by U.S. citizens. Read the rest of this entry »


The Wikileaks CIA Stash May Prove Interesting, But Not Necessarily for the Hacks 

The software tools revealed by the leak are sinister, unsurprising—and potentially politically explosive.

Jamie Condliffe writes: Wikileaks has released a huge number of files that it claims to be the “largest ever publication of confidential documents” from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. It includes details of a number of hacking tools, though at first blush they don’t appear to be as incendiary as their potential political ramifications.

“To be sure, such hacks are sinister. But if we learned anything from Snowden’s disclosure of National Security Agency surveillance programs in 2013, it’s that government agencies feel it necessary to hack any technology the public chooses to use.”

The controversial organization published the first tranche of what it says will become a vast collection called Vault 7 on the morning of March 7. The first wave, called Year Zero, contains 8,761 documents and files from between 2013 and 2016.

At this point in time it’s impossible to have scoured the entire database. But Wikileaks claims that it contains descriptions of tools from the CIA’s hacking program. They are said to include malware that can turn Samsung TVs into covert listening posts, tools to remotely control vehicles, and a number of means to render encrypted messaging apps like WhatsApp and Signal redundant.

[Read the full story here, at MIT Technology Review]

None of these approaches are particularly earth-shattering. Samsung had already admitted that its smart TVs could effectively spy on you. Security consultants showed that they could remotely control a Jeep Cherokee two years ago.

“None of these approaches are particularly earth-shattering. Samsung had already admitted that its smart TVs could effectively spy on you.”

And as Edward Snowden points out, the files don’t reveal a problem with encrypted messaging services themselves, though they do reveal that the CIA has a number of targeted exploits that allow them to gain partial remote access to iOS and Android. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Krauthammer: Latest WikiLeaks Breach ‘Worse Than Snowden’ 

Charles Krauthammer described the latest leaks at the CIA as more damaging than even those of Edward Snowden, and he casts blame on the vetting procedure for contractors.


[VIDEO] Capitalism & Neoliberalism Have Made the World Better: Q&A with Johan Norberg 

Johan Norberg of the Cato Institute speaks with Reason’s Nick Gillespie at ISFLC 2017.

“People think the world is in chaos. People think that the world is on fire right now for all the wrong reasons,” says author and Cato Institute senior fellow Johan Norberg. “There is a segment of politicians who try to scare us to death, because then we clamber for safety we need the strong man in a way.”

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But despite the political situation in Europe and America, Norberg remains optimistic. His new book, Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future, shows what humans are capable of when given freedom and the ability to exchange new ideas. “In the 25 years that have been considered neo-liberalism and capitalism run amok what has happened? Well, we’ve reduced chronic undernourishment around the world by 40 percent, child mortality and illiteracy by half, and extreme poverty from 37 to 10 percent,” explains Norberg. Read the rest of this entry »


NSA Whistleblower: Spy Agencies Eavesdrop Without Warrants

"THE  SPOOK SHACK" NSA headquarters. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

‘The IC is becoming more like the Praetorian Guard’

Kerry Picket reports: NSA surveillance program architect and later whistleblower Bill Binney told Sean Hannity on his radio program Monday that the intelligence community routinely listens in on Americans’ conversations without court ordered FISA warrants.

President Donald Trump accused former President Barack Obama on Twitter Saturday of wiretapping Trump Tower during the election.

“Under executive order one two triple three, they do surveillance of everybody in the United States without warrants and that’s done through various upstream programs Fairview, Stormbrew, Blarney and also in cooperation with other countries in terms of collection worldwide,” said Binney.

“So it’s all done without warrants and that was testified to by Adrian Kinney and David Murfee Faulk, who were transcribing at Fort Gordon George. They were transcribing conversations between U.S. citizens with no warrant at all.”

ABC News reported in in early October 2009, Murfee Faulk, a Navay Arab linguist, said he and other NSA intercept operators in Baghdad’s Green Zone from late 2003 to November 2007 listened to hundreds of Americans’ private phone conversations.

[Read the full story here, at The Daily Caller]

“Calling home to the United States, talking to their spouses, sometimes their girlfriends, sometimes one phone call following another,” said Faulk.

“Hey, check this out,” Faulk says he would be told, “there’s good phone sex or there’s some pillow talk, pull up this call, it’s really funny, go check it out. It would be some colonel making pillow talk and we would say, ‘Wow, this was crazy’.”

Binney, who resigned from the NSA in 2001 out of disgust wit how the program was being abused, told Hannity, “I will put it this way. The IC is becoming more like the Praetorian Guard. You know, where they’re trying to determine who the emperor is and also influence what the emperor does, so I just think that this is getting out of hand.” Read the rest of this entry »


How The Cultural Marxists Of The Frankfurt School Subverted American Education

institute-for-social-research-frankfurt

Perhaps you’ve wondered why so many college professors are so left-wing.  In your freshman year, you might have noted with dread—as I did—some of your fellow students “going with the flow” and molding their beliefs to fit in.  Perhaps one of them was you, before you grew up and snapped out of it!  The Frankfurt School is the answer to why so many universities are Social Justice Warrior factories.

The origins of the Frankfurt School

They began as a Communist think tank at the Goethe University Frankfurt.  They noted that the masses didn’t rise up during the First World War to overthrow capitalism; instead, the citizens fought for their countries.  Only Russia became Communist, a place they didn’t expect Communism to take hold.  Since they took the writings of Marx as gospel, all this was quite shocking.  They decided they needed to prepare the way by breaking down traditional social ties—country, family, and religion—and afterwards the masses would embrace rule by a global Communist state.  That’s not working out too well lately, but all that’s another story.

Andrew Breitbart was instrumental in exposing pervasive influence of the Frankfurt school

Andrew Breitbart was instrumental in exposing pervasive influence of the Frankfurt school

They found themselves unwelcome in Germany during the 1930s, and one of the two reasons was that all of them were Communists.  They moved to the USA, settling down in Columbia University.  How did they repay the country that gave them refuge?  By subverting it, of course.  If all this sounds like McCarthyist alarmism, note that the Communists themselves claim them.
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Because the proletariat just wasn’t interested in revolution, they rebranded Communism, taking out the elements of class struggle, and adding contributions from Freudian theory.  This was a mistake; Communism emphasized hard work and heroism; that much is respectable even if the rest of the ideology is badly flawed.  If you compare the Motherland Calls statue to Trigglypuff, you’ll understand.

Barack Obama was instrumental in advancing ideas formed in the 1930s at the Frankfurt school

Barack Obama was instrumental in advancing ideas formed in the 1930s at the Frankfurt school

How cultural Marxism took root

“You see, what Antonio Gramsci called ‘hegemony’ is, like, the value system of the Establishment, man! So don’t trust anyone over thirty, dig?”

They had two strategies:  ensconcing themselves into academia, and the criticism of society (hence “critical theory”).  Ultimately, this meant ideological subversion and basically badgering society to death.  (It seems incredible that they did so much without picking up a single rifle.)  They stressed Marx-TVmoral relativism and the “question everything” atmosphere that became the 1960s counterculture zeitgeist.  A few of their books, such as Eros and Civilization by Herbert Marcuse and The Authoritarian Personality by Theodor Adorno, have become classics in academia.

Many of their students graduated and became professors elsewhere, just in time for the 1960s.  Young people are at the most impressionable time of their lives, so indoctrinating college students was a very effective strategy.  It’s little wonder that campuses became hotbeds of student activism!  College draft deferments surely helped them reach more students sympathetic to their message.

Further, the ideological seeds of the Frankfurt School—along with the Communist Party USA—fell onto fertile ground.  There were several groups that they—cultural Marxists and garden variety Communists—infiltrated and subverted, for instance:

  • There was already a feminist movement, mostly moderate and mostly simply about equal rights (a goal which was nearly complete by then).  Under leftist influence, second wave feminism began, which was anything but moderate and effectively about deconstructing society.
  • There was already a beatnik counterculture.  With a little encouragement, this became a much larger youth counterculture, the hippies.  Having a significant toehold in academia put the Critical Theory folks in a very good position to influence the young Baby Boomers.
  • There was already a civil rights movement, which the Communists had put a lot of effort into influencing.  This included figures such as W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Robeson, Stanley Levison (MLK’s top advisor), and Frank Marshall Davis (called “Pops” in Obama’s autobiography).
  • The gay movement was heavily influenced in the beginning by the Mattachine Society, founded by Harry Hay, of which most members were Communists.

Connecting the dots

Earlier I had assumed that the Frankfurt School was an independent movement, with no particular encouragement or guidance from the USSR.  Actually, it’s a little more complicated than that.  Read the rest of this entry »


ObamaCare Satisfaction Craters To 22% As Law Continues To Collapse

OBAMACARE-but-the-patient

Health Reform: The need for an overhaul of ObamaCare just got more acute, as a new survey shows that satisfaction rates among those enrolled in ObamaCare plans has taken a steep nose-dive this year amid premium hikes and reduced choices.

The new coverage of ObamaCare these days has been all about protests against repeal and the alleged increase in public support for the law.

But a survey of actual ObamaCare customers released this week paints an entirely different picture.

It found that just 22% of the 44,200 ObamaCare enrollees polled rate their health plan as good to excellent. That’s down from 77% who gave their ObamaCare plans high marks last year.

torture-obamacare-poster

The reason for the sharp decline was higher premiums, worse service and lack of choice. The survey, conducted by Black Book Market Research, found that 96% reported a decline in customer service support, 90% noted premium increases, 80% said their plans had narrower provider networks, and 77% said their plans’ benefits had been trimmed. Nearly two-thirds (61%) complained about lack of competitors in their market.

In other words, the collapse of competition in the ObamaCare exchanges — which left five states and a third of U.S. counties with only one ObamaCare insurer — has led to the rapid deterioration in quality.

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Black Book managing partner Douglas Brown says that the remaining plans “failed to congruently ramp up member services support to process claims, respond to enrollment issues, answer provider questions, denials, authorizations, and payment.” Read the rest of this entry »