Mail Fraud

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

A recent cover of The Week magazine proclaimed “Undermining Democracy. The GOP’s blueprint for nullifying Democratic votes in 2024“.

The article was another installment of the concentrated effort on the Left to convince Americans that voter fraud is essentially nonexistent, just a hoax used by Republicans as an excuse to deny the franchise to underprivileged Americans.

But is it true? Are Republicans using strategies like restricting the number of weeks early voting is allowed, cleaning up outdated voter rolls, and requiring voter ID simply to squelch minority votes?

The Week article didn’t describe one voter who had been even partially hindered from voting. Critics seldom do because such cases are devilishly hard to find.

Any limiting of access is illegal under federal law and the Department of Justice has a large and aggressive enforcement unit. Yet during the eight years of the Obama administration, just four cases were filed under the relevant voting rights section.

Moreover, a 2019 survey of turnout data from all 50 states concluded that voter ID laws, for example, “have no negative effect on registration or turnout“ for any race, gender, party or age groupThe Census Bureau in 2012 reported that blacks nationally had a higher turnout rate than whites.

Mississippi had a higher percentage turnout of black voters than white, unlike Connecticut, New York, or Delaware. Much reviled Georgia’s black turnout percentage was higher than New York’s in 2018 and 2020, all during times when Republicans were being loudly accused of voter suppression. They must be the most inept vote suppressors in history.

The Maricopa County 2020 audit was meant to clear up some of these issues of fraud versus suppression. It was never intended by its sponsors to overturn the election. So all the chortling by its detractors when that didn’t happen is their mistake.

Nevertheless, both sides felt vindicated. One thing for certain is that allegations that voter fraud doesn’t exist were again demolished. Voters voting in multiple counties, mail-in ballots from prior addresses, dead people voting, deleted files and duplicated ballots were all uncovered.

But the commission whiffed on the issue of bulk mail voting. The practice of sending unsolicited ballots by mail to millions of voters is by far the greatest potential threat to election integrity.

Unfortunately, they looked for evidence of mail fraud in the wrong place at the wrong time. The audit was of the accounting process and never really addressed how the ballots were generated in the first place.

Mail-in fraud has caused entire elections to be canceled and major schemes have been busted in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and other states. But any fraud discovered is likely only the tip of the iceberg. Fraud from bulk mail voting/ballot harvesting occurs out of sight and leaves few traces.

Unlike in-person voting, there is no ability to assure the vote is cast independently.  Arizona’s sole safeguard has been the notoriously easy-to-game signature verification process with no ID required.

Normally, a chain of custody violations is considered a major breach by election officials. Here, there is no chain of custody. What could go wrong?

There’s a reason that after Democrats discovered electoral gold in 2016, votes by mail more than doubled in 2020, and just 28% voted in person on election day. Yet as far back as 2005, the bipartisan Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform advised that “absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud”.

Our sister democracies know that. 74% ban absentee voting entirely for citizens living in the country, 6% have very strict restrictions and another 15% require photo ID to obtain a mail ballot. France and Mexico banned mail-in voting after massive fraud and political intimidation were finally discovered.

America has a serious problem. Our elections do not have and do not deserve, the confidence of a majority of Americans.

The overriding problem is not the lack of access to the ballot. In fact, a plurality of voters believes it is too easy to vote.

It’s not stolen elections or miscounted ballots. It is intentionally flawed election laws that permit massive security leaks, raising the undeniable possibility of widespread cheating.

That, friend, is the true threat to democracy.

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Thomas C. Patterson, MD is a retired Emergency Medicine physician, Arizona state Senator and Arizona Senate Majority Leader in the ’90s. He is a former Chairman, Goldwater Institute.

Taiwan’s Wealth Shows Cuba’s Poverty Is the Result of Socialism, Not a Blockade

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Cuba and Taiwan began the ’70s with similar economies, but today the GDP of the Caribbean island is five times less than that of Taiwan.

 

For decades the Communist Party of Cuba has blamed the United States for Cuba’s misery and poverty, alluding to the “blockade” that the U.S. maintains against Cuba. However, the alleged blockade wielded by the island is in reality a trade embargo that only makes it impossible for people and companies in certain sectors within the United States to do business with Cuba, the rest of the world can trade freely with the island.

Even the United States annually exports about $277 million in goods to Cuba despite the trade embargo, a majority of these exports are foodstuffs.

In addition, despite the establishment of a dictatorial regime in Cuba that has been in power for more than 60 years without any kind of alternation, elections, or basic freedoms, the whole world recognizes the communist authorities and Cuba has a presence in all multilateral international organizations, the main one being the United Nations.

Then there is Taiwan, which has characteristics very similar to those of Cuba since it is also an island that is close to one of the two world powers—China. In the case of the authorities of Taipei they have been completely blocked by the Asian giant, since China claims sovereignty over the island.

Taiwan is recognized by only a dozen nations around the world, has no representation in the United Nations, and its official name cannot even be pronounced at any international event: be it an Olympic Games, a United Nations General Assembly, or even by the embassies of most countries in the world—including the United States. And yet, despite all these difficulties, today Taiwan’s economy is one of the most important in the world, with a poverty rate of 0.7%, as opposed to Cuba, which has one of the most depressed economies on the planet and 90% of its population living in poverty. What is the difference between the two islands? The economic and political model they applied in their nations.

Two Islands With Similar Histories

Cuba and Taiwan, despite being located at two different poles of the planet earth, have very similar characteristics, the one that most resembles them is the fact that they are less than 200 kilometers away from the two superpowers of the world—the United States and China respectively—and suffer trade embargoes or political blockades by the neighboring superpowers; on the other hand, Cuba has a little more than 11. 3 million inhabitants—a couple of million more have fled the country, while Taiwan has 23.5 million residents, despite the fact that Cuba has a land area about three times larger.

Despite the similarities, both nations are currently a long way apart in terms of economic, social, cultural, and technological development, as well as individual freedoms and democracy. Today, Taiwan’s economy is five times larger than Cuba’s, but fifty years ago things were not so different, in the 1970s the GDP of both countries was similar and the largest industry of both was agriculture.

Taiwan: Capitalism, Liberty, & Free Markets

The painful results of the cultural revolution in Mao Zedong’s communist China, which caused the death by famine of at least 30 million Chinese, illuminated the path of the region’s governments, who quickly understood that the failed model of putting the State in control of the means of production would make them all more vulnerable and miserable.

Then the People’s Republic of China’s neighbors began a series of economic and political reforms that would drastically change the quality of life of their inhabitants; Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and, of course, Taiwan, would begin to open their markets, encourage private enterprise and transform their authoritarian regimes into nations with democratic institutions, and little by little the sun began to shine for the so-called Asian tigers.

Despite territorial limitations and China’s political blockade of the island, Taiwan’s inclusive institutions paved the way for the production of technology to supply a severely deficient world market. Taiwanese entrepreneurs began to specialize in the production of semiconductors, those microchips that today we find in all electrical devices in the world, from computers to smartphones and even cars, and little by little the poor island of the past became a rich and developed country.

Currently, Taiwan has the sixth freest economy according to the Index of Economic Freedom, Singapore is the first nation in this section, while Malaysia ranks 22nd and South Korea 24th.

In an article published by the Taiwanese embassy in Mexico, the authorities stated that: “Taiwan, thanks to the policies of its government, began a rapid and overwhelming commercial development, becoming a stable industrial economy. Today it is the 22nd largest economy in the world. This allowed it to establish relations with countries that were in search of good trade relations.”

In the same brief they explain the transition that occurred in Taipei:

“Despite having started as a one-party military dictatorship, in the 1990s it began a process of democratization that today has it as one of the freest countries in the world, with high rates of press freedom, health service, public education, economic freedom, and human development. That is why communist China sees Taiwan, and its international recognition, as an existential threat. The contrast is stark. Democracy has not only proven that it can work but has brought multiple benefits to the population. The Taiwanese have a better quality of life, and opportunities for personal development, than the average Chinese on the mainland. And all this within a framework of freedoms that are unthinkable in a communist China that censures dissidence and whose ruling party increasingly tightens its control over all aspects of the country”.

Cuba: Socialism, Misery, & Ideology

On the other side of the planet, in Cuba, they decided to cover their eyes with the results of the cultural revolution perpetrated in China, and with the collapse of the Soviet Union. While Taiwan took off with a capitalist model, Cuba remained anchored in the old revolutionary dogmas of Fidel Castro, who far from trying to change, he sought to expand his regime of misery in the rest of the continent, achieving it quite successfully in countries such as Venezuela and Nicaragua.

The Cuban revolution took power on the island in 1959 by force of arms and never let go again. With popular slogans such as redistribution of wealth, supposed aid to the poor, and socialism, Fidel Castro began to expropriate land and private companies to be managed by the state, and in a short time Cuba, which used to be one of the largest producers and exporters of sugar in the world, found that it could no longer even produce sugar for internal consumption and had to import it.

For decades, the Cuban revolution was able to stay in power exclusively thanks to the financing offered by the Soviet Union with the aim of increasing the ideological enemies in the backyard of the United States. After the fall of the USSR, in the ’90s Cuba lived one of the worst decades of its history, until the political astuteness of Fidel Castro managed to put Hugo Chavez in power in Venezuela, and since then they lived off the oil of that country until the same failed socialist model ended up ruining the nation with the largest oil reserves in the world, and Cuba was again involved in a tremendous economic crisis, with millions of citizens in extreme poverty, which has recently provoked one of the largest civil uprisings against the communist authorities.

Cuba and Taiwan began the decade of the ’70s with similar economies, but today the GDP of the Caribbean island is five times less than that of Taiwan, and 90% of its population lives in poverty, while in the Asian island only 0.7% of its population is poor.

It is definitely not the fault of the “blockade”, but of socialism. 

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This article was published on September 29, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from FEE, Foundation for Economic Education.

Communist China’s Aggression in the South China Sea

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

In March, a huge Chinese fishing fleet descended on Whitsun Reef, which lies within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines. The Philippine government called on China to cease “militarizing the area”. Almost eight months later, however, more than 150 Chinese vessels reportedly remain in Philippine waters. Pictured: Whitsun Reef, as seen from space. (Image Source: United States Geological Survey/NASA/Wikimedia Commons)

Tensions continue to rise in the South China Sea, as China, or, rightly, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), ramps up its military activities in the region. Within only the first four days of October, China conducted a record-breaking 150 incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) — after China’s People Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) had already, in September, set another monthly record with 117 incursions, some with nuclear-capable bombers, fighter jets and reconnaissance planes. The incursions were reportedly the highest monthly number on record since Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense began reporting Chinese aerial incursions 13 months ago. In addition, in August, the first-ever incursion of Chinese military helicopters into Taiwan’s ADIZ took place, with experts suggesting that the PLA was probing Taiwanese defense capabilities by using different aircraft.

Tensions continue to rise in the South China Sea, as China, or, rightly, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), ramps up its military activities in the region. Within only the first four days of October, China conducted a record-breaking 150 incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) — afterChina’s People Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) had already, in September, set another monthly record with 117 incursions, some with nuclear-capable bombers, fighter jets and reconnaissance planes. The incursions were reportedlythe highest monthly number on record since Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense began reporting Chinese aerial incursions 13 months ago. In addition, in August, the first-ever incursion of Chinese military helicopters into Taiwan’s ADIZ took place, with experts suggesting that the PLA was probing Taiwanese defense capabilities by using different aircraft.

Also in August and September, China conducted assault drills near Taiwan with war ships, early-warning aircraft, anti-submarine aircraft and bombers. “The joint fire assault and other drills staged by the Eastern Theater Command troops are a necessary action to further safeguard China’s sovereignty under the current security situation in the Taiwan Straits,” Colonel Shi Yi, spokesperson for the PLA Eastern Theater Command said, “and also a solemn response to the interference of foreign forces and the provocation of ‘Taiwan independence’ secessionists.” Shi stated that military exercises would be “conducted regularly” based on the situation in the Taiwan Strait and the “need to maintain sovereign security”. China has conducted 20 naval island-control exercises in the first half of 2021, compared to 13 in all of 2020.

This activity — in addition to diplomatic and economic pressure — is evidently meant to exhaust Taiwan, force it to capitulate to China and relinquish its independence without China firing a shot. “China is pursuing an all-of-party approach that seeks to coerce, corrupt and co-opt the international community,” former commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Philip Davidson, recently warned, “in a way in which they may be able to achieve their geopolitical edge… to force Taiwan to capitulate because of extreme, diplomatic, economic, pressure and strain”. Failing that coercion, Davidson estimates:

“the changes in the [People’s Liberation Army]’s capabilities, with their missile and cyber forces, and their ability to train, advance their joint interoperability and their combat support logistics, all those trend lines indicate to me that within the next six years they will have the capability and the capacity to forcibly reunify with Taiwan, should they choose force to do it.”

With China assessing America’s lack of resolve to protect its allies — China’s illegal takeover of Hong Kong and Taliban’s seizure of Afghanistan, where the US even failed to save all US citizens — China could be planning to use force to capture Taiwan much sooner than that — while the opportunity looks inviting. The question is: if China attacks Taiwan, whether the US will defend the island — or even put in place serious deterrents. It will not help anyone except the Chinese Communist Party if the consequences for invading Taiwan consist of nothing more damaging than “strong letter to follow.”

Taiwan’s Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng announced on October 6 that China already has the ability to invade his country. “By 2025, China will bring the cost and attrition to its lowest. It has the capacity now, but it will not start a war easily, having to take many other things into consideration.”

Elsewhere in the South China Sea, also in September, the PLA air force conducted troop transports with a number of large Y-20 transport aircraft to three airstrips in the Spratly archipelago, where China has built and militarized artificial islands on top of the reefs, according to Chinese state media. Global Times, the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) mouthpiece, wrote that the aircraft “conducted amphibious landing drills under complex conditions, showing the PLA’s capabilities in safeguarding peace and stability in the region.” It was the first time that the PLA confirmed that it had used aircraft of this type to transport personnel to the islands. Vietnam, which also claims sovereignty over the disputed Spratly archipelago, protested China’s transport mission to the islands and called it a violation of Vietnam’s sovereignty.

“Surely, this announced feat is aimed at demonstrating the PLA’s force projection capability over vast maritime distances across the South China Sea,” said Collin Koh, a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

“And definitely it’s aimed also to demonstrate that the airstrips constructed on the artificial islands are capable of supporting flight operations by large aircraft. If Y-20 can be supported, so will the H-6 bomber.”

China considers almost all of the South China Sea, an area covering roughly 3.5 million square kilometers, and its estimated 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 11 billion barrels of oil, in addition to maritime resources such as fish, part of Chinese territory. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague firmly rejected China’s sovereignty claim in 2016 but five years after that ruling, China continues to reject the court’s authority. China’s claim to sovereignty over the South China Sea and its willingness and ability to pursue it has long been creating friction with countries in the area, who stake their own claims to parts of the sea, including Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

China also regularly uses its large civilian fishing fleet to further its goals in the South China Sea. In March, a huge Chinese fishing fleet descended on Whitsun Reef, which lies within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines. The Philippine government called on China to cease “militarizing the area”. Almost eight months later, however, more than 150 Chinese vessels reportedly remain in Philippine waters. On September 29, Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said he wanted diplomatic protests “filed on China’s radio challenges against Philippine maritime patrols, unlawful restriction of Filipino fishermen from Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal), and the continued presence of Chinese ships in the vicinity of Iroquois Reef…”

In addition, China’s newly revised Maritime Traffic Safety Law (MTSL), which entered into force on September 1, requires certain foreign vessels sailing into Chinese “territorial waters” to notify Beijing in advance. Foreign vessels such as foreign submarines, nuclear-powered ships, ships carrying radioactive, toxic or hazardous materials and any other vessels that “may endanger the maritime traffic safety” of China are required to provide information including their ships’ names and numbers, recent locations, satellite telephone numbers and dangerous goods. “Article 2 of the MTSL expands application of the law from ‘coastal waters’ to ‘sea areas under the jurisdiction of the People’s Republic of China.'”

“The term ‘sea areas under the jurisdiction of the People’s Republic of China’ is not defined in the law and is purposely vague”, wrote Captain Raul Pedrozo, Professor of International Law at the U.S. Naval War College.

“Enacting ambiguous and imprecise laws allows China to alter its position on the applicability of the law based on the circumstances at the time. Nonetheless, given China’s excessive maritime claims and prior enforcement activities, the MTSL is likely intended to apply to all waters and seabed areas (1) encompassed by the nine-dash line in the South China Sea, (2) extending to the Okinawa Trough in the East China Sea, and (3) beyond Ieodo (Socotra Rock) in the Yellow Sea…China is once again testing the international community to gauge how it will react to the enactment of yet another maritime law that exceeds the permissible jurisdictional limits of international law, as reflected in UNCLOS [The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.] China will undoubtedly use the new law to engage in grey zone operations below the threshold of armed conflict to intimidate its neighbors and further erode the rule of law at sea in the Indo-Pacific region.”

Vice Admiral Michael McAllister, commander of the US Coast in the Pacific saidthe revised law was “very concerning”, and seemed “to run directly counter to international agreements and norms”, while building “foundations for instability and potential conflicts” if enforced.

“This looks like part of China’s strategy of casting legal nets over areas that it claims … to ‘normalize’ these claims,” said Robert Ward, senior fellow for Japanese security studies at The International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. “Enforcement will be difficult, but this may matter less for Beijing than the slow accumulation of what it sees as a legal underpinning”. The Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has already said that his country will ignore the revised maritime law. “Our stand on that is we do not honour those laws by the Chinese within the West Philippine Sea because we consider that we have the sovereign right within this waters. So we will not recognise this law of the Chinese,” Lorenzana said during an event marking the Philippines’ Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the United States.

The revised maritime law came into effect just seven months after China’s new coastguard law went into force on February 1. The Chinese coast guard law gives China’s coast guard authority to use lethal force on foreign ships operating in Chinese waters, including disputed areas such as the South China Sea. In January, the Philippines filed a diplomatic protest against the Chinese coast guard law saying that it is a “verbal threat of war to any country that defies the law”.

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This article was published on October 7, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from the Gatestone Institute.

Americans Reject President Too Weak to Take on Radicals in His Own Party

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

President Joe Biden’s poll numbers are tanking, especially among independent voters. The American people do not like weak leaders, and they do not like the craziness that’s infiltrating their daily lives.

Biden campaigned as someone who could bring the country together. Since taking office, he’s made no effort to do that. Instead, he has continually conceded to his party’s far-left wing, which is growing crazier by the day. It’s not clear if Biden is just too weak to take them on or if he is buying into their craziness, but either way, people are not happy. The Democrats are somehow making the Republicans seem appealing again to your average non-politically aligned voter. Given the current disarray in the Republican Party, this was a tall task. It’s almost as if the two parties are competing to see who can turn off the middle more. This week, the Democrats are in the lead. Their policies are so crazy not even their allies in the dominant corporate media can succeed in selling them.  

First, the numbers: Quinnipiac University is a major polling outlet not known for a bias. In their latest poll, Biden’s overall job approval has plummeted down to 38% from highs in the mid-50s earlier in his presidency. Things look even worse for Biden when you look at the complete collapse of his support from political independents, who now disapprove of him by a 60%-to-32% margin.

It gets worse yet again when you look at key issues independent voters really care about. On the economy, Biden’s underwater by 28 points. On taxes, by 30. On immigration overall, Biden is down 48 points among independents with only 22% approving, versus 70% disapproving. On Mexican border matters, it’s even worse, with a net negative of 55%. Sixty-three percent of independents don’t think Biden is a good leader, versus only 34% who do. Finally, only 35% of independents think the Biden administration has been competent running the government, versus a whopping 62% who think they are incompetent.  

It’s not a pretty picture.

How did Biden squander all his popularity? It’s not hard to see when you analyze each issue.

On immigration and border security, the hard left is in favor of open borders. Biden claims to disagree with this view, but the policy changes he’s put in place since coming to office have obliterated any semblance of security America had on the southern border. Millions of migrants are crossing illegally. The U.S. government doesn’t even know the real number, and it also does not know how many terrorists or criminals are crossing or how much deadly fentanyl is making it across with so little resistance. People don’t want this.

On economic issues, the socialist wing in the Democratic Party is firmly in charge of the agenda in Washington. The new policies they are trying to ram through Congress will add trillions of dollars in new spending and taxes. Somehow, Biden seems to have been convinced that ramming through this level of increased government involvement in our economy will make him a historic leader. Nobody voted for this. Certainly, the many independents who voted for Biden to help heal a broken country did not sign up for it. The hard left is harassing the two Democratic senators who stand in the way of the socialists, and Biden is passively watching it happen.

The situation in American schools is out of control. Radicals are instituting programs and curricula that are most accurately described as racist in school districts across the country. A school in Buffalo, New York, for example, prescribed a curriculum including Marxist teachings on “disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure.” A private school in New York City even encouraged its students to stop using the terms “mom” and “dad.” 

And racial segregation is back. Its advocates this time are so-called anti-racists, as opposed to the traditional brand of racists who used to advocate for such policies. The results are the same. A school in Madison, Wisconsin, for example, segregated students and parents by race into so-called affinity groups for class discussions. And in Wellesley, Massachusetts, the public school hosted an event pushing a so-called healing space available only to minority students. The school did not try to hide its overt racism: “Note: This is a safe space for our Asian/Asian-American and Students of Color, not for students who identify only as White.”

Parents are understandably up in arms over these attempts by radical educators to brainwash their children with Marxist thought or even overt racism. They have taken to school boards in record numbers to push back. The Biden administration’s response? This week, the attorney general sent a memorandum to the FBI and federal prosecutors asking them to work with local law enforcement to crack down on parents protesting school board actions. Nobody is in favor of parents threatening or committing violence against teachers, but the memorandum was worded so broadly as to be reasonably viewed as itself an attempt to intimidate parents away from questioning the radical ideologies being imposed on students across America.

Biden has earned his unpopularity through some combination of weakness and incompetence. The left wing of the Democratic Party has gone firmly out of the American mainstream in several policy areas. Instead of standing up to this fringe, Biden and the party have been catering to the socialists. It’s not clear if they do this because they agree with the insanity or they are too weak to oppose it, but either way, the good news is the American people are not buying it.

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This article was published on October 8, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Daily Signal.

GOP Governors: Biden Ignores Meeting Request On border crisis, propose own solutions

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Twenty-six U.S. governors requested to meet with President Joe Biden to propose solutions to the ongoing border crisis, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said at a Wednesday new conference. Because Biden did not respond to the request, the governors said they decided to take their message to the American people, proposing their own solutions to the drastic increase in illegal immigration this year that’s led to what they called a humanitarian crisis across the country.

Convening in the border town of Mission, Texas, Abbott, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and eight others said they’ve proposed a 10-point plan to help end the humanitarian crisis caused by Biden’s open-border policies.

“We’re not going to sit around while Biden refuses to act,” Ducey said. “We’ve tried to meet with the president and be part of the solution, but he refuses. No, worse – he ignores us, just like he’s ignoring the border and the well-being of the American people. If the president won’t meet with us, then we’ll share our policy ideas today. Hopefully he will hear our solutions and begin to act.”

Abbott and Ducey created an Emergency Management Assistance Compact in June requesting aid from governors to help quell the overflow of migrants entering the country illegally. Many governors sent law enforcement personnel on short-term missions to help Texas’ and Arizona’s efforts.

The governors’ 10-point plan includes the reinstatement of the “Remain in Mexico” policy that requires immigrants to return to their home countries until amnesty hearings are concluded in the U.S.; and finishing securing the southern border with Mexico, including completion of the border wall that was a priority of former President Donald Trump.

A third demand is the reinstatement of Title 42 health restrictions at the border, which require immigrants to be deported if they pose a health risk, including testing positive for COVID-19. Another is ending the Obama-era catch and release program, which they said is incentivizing criminals and cartels to illegally traffic people and drugs into the country.

The proposed solutions also include clearing the judicial backlog that is slowing the legal immigration process, and deporting all migrant criminals, a policy the Biden administration also changed. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ most recent memorandum states that even entering the U.S. illegally is not reason enough to be arrested even though illegal immigration is a federal crime.

The governors also propose the federal government dedicate more resources to eradicate human trafficking and drug trafficking, which they said has over-extended local law enforcement agencies across the south. And they propose re-entering all agreements with Northern Triangle partners and Mexico, which Biden let lapse.

The majority of the proposed solutions are in direct opposition to Biden administration policies.

Prior to engaging the help of other states, Texas launched its own border security measures after Biden took office, costing Texas taxpayers $3 billion so far.

The Texas Legislature also passed several bills, which Abbott signed into law this year to strengthen border security efforts, including a budget authorization to build a border wall in Texas.

New state laws that went into effect this year increase penalties for those committing crimes in Texas, including nine that crack down on human trafficking, and manufacturing or distributing the highly addictive narcotic fentanyl. Several governors at Wednesday’s news conference said they have seen drastic increases in fentanyl distribution and overdoses in their states.

“The Biden administration’s open border policies have led to complete chaos at the southern border, and pose a threat to the safety of Texans and all Americans,” Abbott said. “Texas has stepped up to keep our communities safe and mitigate this crisis ourselves, and our efforts have been made stronger by the support and assistance of governors from across the nation.”

Joining Abbott and Ducey were Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Idaho Gov. Brad Little, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw, Texas Military Department Adjutant General Tracy Norris and Deputy Adjutant General Monie R. Ulis, and National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd.

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This article was published on October 7, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Center Square.

Arizona Faces Its Own Border Crisis, With Yuma Seeing Significant Increases In Illegal Crossings

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

While much of the world watched roughly 15,000 Haitians illegally cross the Rio Grande River from Mexico into Del Rio, Texas, last month, an area near Yuma, Arizona, has become the Grand Canyon State’s Del Rio equivalent.

Known as “The Gap,” a well-known break in the border fence near the Morelos Dam is where migrants illegally cross the border into Arizona – walking across the Colorado River from the Mexican border town of Los Algodones.

In August, 17,000 people illegally crossed into the Yuma Sector. That’s compared to 694 in August 2020, according to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol data, an increase of more than 2,300%.

By mid-September, the daily average was more than 600 migrants arriving in the Yuma sector, also an increase of more than 2,000% from the same time last year.

On Sept. 23, Yuma Border Patrol agents encountered more than 1,000 migrants who illegally crossed the border, “a new fiscal year record for daily apprehensions,” Chief Patrol Agent Chris T. Clem tweeted. They came from 21 different countries, he said.

The previous weekend, Yuma agents apprehended more than 2,400 migrants, which included several large groups and a human smuggling operation, he added in a separate tweet.

The Yuma Sector, in the southeast corner of Arizona, comprises about 181,670 square miles of primarily desert terrain divided between California and Arizona. It covers 126 miles of the U.S. southern border from the Imperial Sand Dunes in California to the Yuma-Pima County line in Arizona. The area consists of vast open deserts, rocky mountain ranges, large drifting sand dunes and the Colorado River.

Yuma Station Agent Vincent Dulesky told DailyMail.com that the crossings are “relentless,” taking place 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

One apprehended Haitian told DailyMail.com, “We had heard of The Gap and people said this is the place to come.” He said he came “because my family are here – my mom and dad. I was in Brazil before. I want to have a life here and work.”

Another Haitian family said, “We were in Chile but we heard the border was open so we went to Mexicali and then came here [Yuma].”

Border Patrol facilities are overwhelmed in Arizona, agents say, with one camp designed to hold 500 people now holding more than 1,300.

Republican Gov. Doug Ducey earlier this year issued a state of emergency order and disaster declaration over the border crisis. He also launched an interstate compact with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, also a Republican, in June, calling on other governors to send forces to help secure the southern border in response to Biden administration policies facilitating the surge at the border.

Ducey and Abbott are hosting nine Republican governors in Mission, Texas, on Wednesday to discuss border security concerns. Many of the governors have already sent members of their national guard, state troopers, or other law enforcement agents to Arizona or Texas on temporary assignments. They’ve also reported that their states have been inundated with human and drug smuggling, as well as increased drug overdoses due to a surge of cheap supplies of methamphetamine and fentanyl flowing into their states through the southern border.

The 11 governors convening Wednesday are also part of a group of 26 governors who previously called on President Joe Biden to end his open border policies and requested a meeting at the White House. They have not yet received a response.

“The months-long surge in illegal crossings has instigated an international humanitarian crisis, spurred a spike in international criminal activity, and opened the floodgates to human traffickers and drug smugglers endangering public health and safety in our states,” they wrote in their letter to Biden.

“A crisis that began at our southern border now extends beyond to every state and requires immediate action before the situation worsens,” they added. “The negative impacts of an unenforced border policy on the American people can no longer be ignored.”

According to Customs and Border Patrol data, apprehensions in August increased by nearly 500% along the southern border compared to last August. Nearly 209,000 people came through, a 21-year-high.

By mid-September, more than 1.3 million people had been apprehended, a number greater than the populations of nine states, with another several hundred thousand estimated to have evaded capture.

*****

This article was published on October 4, 2021, and is reproduced with permission from The Center Square.

Bombs Away !! A Razor Thin Congressional Democrat Majority Is About to Transform and Break America and Must Be Stopped: Here’s How

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

The U.S. House and Senate Democrats are attempting to ram through over 2,500 pages of transformational legislation with a Senate reconciliation vote (50 + VP) and a House vote that has a 5 vote Democrat majority (smallest in past century). THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO MANDATE FOR THIS. It is our belief that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer know their majorities are at great risk in November 2022 and with the disastrous record of President Biden thus far (Afghanistan, foreign policy, Covid, southern border, inflation, economy, energy, etc., etc.), they are desperate to cement their goal of permanent Democrat power with an entitlement state that cannot be reversed and irrevocably alters America and our individual sovereignty. Enormous increases in federal debt, crushing  tax burdens for all citizens, severe inflation beyond what is now occurring and economic stagnation are just some of the very predictable near and long term results. This progressive, socialistic legislation will cement this Democrat dream. It is the centerpiece of a Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez socialist conquest of America. IT MUST BE STOPPED.

The TAKE ACTION box below addresses this assault on Americans in greater detail. Be assured that the majority of U.S. citizens do not want this legislation. Please refer to the paragraphs in the TAKE ACTION link below. How can we stop this assault on American families, their values, individual liberty, citizenship, energy, small business, and future opportunity and economic growth for future generations? We must inform our U.S. Representatives and Senators that it is absolutely unacceptable to do this. We suggest the following themes in short emails easily sent (please cut and paste the messages below) to legislators from the TAKE ACTION link below. The email portals and phone numbers for the Arizona U.S. Representatives and Senators Sinema and Kelly (up for reelection in 2022) are there. It takes only a few minutes to inform them how you, your families, your neighbors and so many you know are against this perverse effort to transform America. Please do not hesitate – we are moving toward this cliff very quickly. Senator Sinema may (??) stay strong and not vote for it. Senator Manchin from West Virginia has said no to this but he has caved in the past – he should be contacted and strongly reminded his state is a deep red state and his constituents are vehemently against this. Senator Kelly is facing election in 14 months – his vulnerability is essential to point out. All U.S. Representatives face election every two years – make it clear that they are all at significant risk.

Here are four suggested messages for each of the following groups – 1. Senators Sinema and Manchin, 2. Senator Kelly, 3. AZ Democrat Representatives (5) and 4. AZ Republican Representatives (4). Please move on this – repetitively and forcefully make your voices heard and felt as often as possible. If this disaster is foisted on the nation, there is little chance to turn it back – entitlements are never removed. Ergo – BOMBS AWAY. Let it rip and do not relent in informing  them until this assault on every American and our great Republic is stopped.

(1) Senator Sinema (or Manchin),

Dear Senator Sinema (or Manchin),

I ask that you reject the pending legislation in the Senate that is moving toward a reconciliation vote (50 + the Vice-President). It is not a true reconciliation process but rather transformational legislation that has absolutely no bipartisan support and intended to produce one-party rule in America, truly an un-American legislative goal. As we move through the Covid pandemic of the past 18 months and recover the nation’s economy and some semblance of normal American life, passing this legislation will not benefit the nation, your constituents or our children’s future. Intellectual honesty demands that it be rejectedif this ‘budget’ reconciliation bill becomes law, every current issue or crisis in America will be worsened (debt, energy, strong inflation, immigration, taxes, healthcare, etc.) and the blame will be on the party that forced it into being – you and your party.

You have publicly stated your objections to this attempt to transform America with a single party vote with its huge expansion of the federal government, vastly more crushing debt and taxes on all, yes all, citizens. You are in an historic moment and I implore you to vote no on this legislation. You represent Arizonans (or West Virginians) but your vote greatly impacts all American citizens. The majority of your constituents are polling strongly against this legislation and its intended purpose. Please stay strong and vote no on what is clearly Bernie Sander’s vision of  America’s future.

(2) Senator Kelly:

Dear Senator Kelly,

You are at an historic moment in this nation’s history. As a new freshman Senator with an impending election, you have the ability to determine the outcome of the reconciliation bill being pushed through the Senate. Arizonans know that it is not a true reconciliation process but rather transformational legislation that has absolutely no bipartisan support and intended to produce one-party rule in America, truly an un-American legislative goal. As we move through the Covid pandemic of the past 18 months and recover the nation’s economy and some semblance of normal American life, passing this legislation will not benefit the nation, your constituents or our children’s future. Intellectual honesty demands that it be rejected – if this ‘budget’ bill becomes law, every current issue and crisis in America will be worsened (massive debt, energy, strong inflation, immigration, crushing taxes, healthcare, etc.) and the blame will be on the party that forced it into being – you and your party.

November 2022 is less than 14 months away. This legislation will determine the outcome of next year’s election despite multiple issues of great distress for the American people. I implore you to reject Senator Schumer’s (and Senator Bernie Sander’s) legislative attempt to transform America to one-party rule and vote no on what should never be passed without bipartisan support for all constituents of our Republic.

(3) Democrat U.S. Representatives (AZ):

Dear Representative …..,

As an Arizonan and American, I implore you to vote no on the pending 10,000 page (yes, 10,000 pages!) legislation in the U.S. House that will be subjected to a Senate reconciliation vote (50 + the Vice President) to pass. You know very well, as Speaker Pelosi does, that it is not a true reconciliation process but rather transformational legislation that has absolutely no bipartisan support and intended to produce one-party rule in America, truly an un-American legislative goal. As we move through the Covid pandemic of the past 18 months and recover the nation’s economy and some semblance of normal American life, passing this legislation will not benefit the nation, your constituents or our children’s future. Intellectual honesty demands that it be rejected – if this ‘budget’ bill becomes law, every current issue and crisis in America will be worsened (massive debt, energy, strong inflation, immigration, crushing taxes, healthcare, etc.) and the blame will be on the party that forced it into being – you and your party.

November 2022 is less than 14 months away. This legislation will determine the outcome of next year’s election despite multiple issues of great distress for the American people. I implore you to reject Speaker Pelosi’s and Senator Schumer’s (and Senator Bernie Sander’s) legislative attempt to transform America to one-party rule and vote no on what should never be passed without bipartisan support for all constituents of our Republic.

(4) Republican U.S. Representatives (AZ):

Dear Representative …..,

We know that the 10,000 page House bill that will be treated as a reconciliation bill in the Senate (50 + the Vice President) will get absolutely no Republican votes. I thank you for that. Arizonans know that it is not a true reconciliation process but rather transformational legislation that has absolutely no bipartisan support and intended to produce one-party rule in America, truly an un-American legislative goal. As we move through the Covid pandemic of the past 18 months and recover the nation’s economy and some semblance of normal American life, passing this legislation will not benefit the nation, your constituents or our children’s future.

I humbly implore you to publicly and forcefully call this egregious legislative attempt what it is – an attempt by a leftist dominated Democrat Party desperate to transform the nation to a progressive, socialist ruling class and one-party dominance. It is un-American, it is wrong and it is against everything this Republic with its founding principles is about.

The battle is now joined, the polling is not with the Democrats and despite your minority status, it is time to shout out the truth loud and clear to the public, to every U.S. House and Senate member and to the media – this is a Bernie Sander’s socialist assault on the nation and its citizens that will diminish our liberty, our people and our children’s future. Stand strong, be loud and clear and please influence every Democrat House member who is not radical – if this process becomes law, it will be disastrous  for their party and for each of them in 14 very short months but with incalculable and permanent damage to our nation and its future.

Hillsdale Imprimis: The Disaster at Our Southern Border

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on July 22, 2021, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C., as part of the AWC Family Foundation Lecture Series.

In just a few short months, the Biden administration has created a disaster on the southern border of the United States. It did so by methodically—and by all indications intentionally—undoing every meaningful border security measure that had been in place. As a result, we have had five straight months of over 170,000 illegal immigrants apprehended at the border. The number in June was the highest in over 20 years. And Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been effectively shut down.

Our national discussion of border security is generally misleading, and it is designed to be misleading by those who favor open borders. They frame the issue as if the American people face a binary choice: either let all immigrants in because they are “looking for a better life” or close our borders completely and inhumanely. But this is a false choice. The unspoken alternative is to enforce the law, taking in immigrants who enter the U.S. legally while securing our borders against those who attempt to enter illegally—particularly those meaning to do us harm.

Illegal immigration is, of course, nothing new. It has been a problem in our country for many decades. What is relatively new is the total lack of concern we see in the Biden administration, especially in terms of the national security aspect of border control.

Unbelievable as it may seem to us today, it was only 15 years ago—with the 9/11 terrorist attacks still fresh in our minds—when Congress came together in a bipartisan effort to pass the Secure Fence Act of 2006. The Secure Fence Act directed the Department of Homeland Security to take appropriate actions to achieve “operational control” over U.S. land and maritime borders to “prevent unlawful entry.” It defined operational control as the prevention of all unlawful entries into the U.S., including terrorists, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband. And it specifically set the goal of “provid[ing] at least two layers of reinforced fencing, installation of additional physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors.” It added thousands of Border Patrol personnel, mandated the acquisition of new technologies, and resulted in the construction of more than 650 miles of physical barrier along the southern border of the U.S. between 2006 and 2011.

To repeat, this legislation was passed in a bipartisan spirit, with 80 members of the U.S. Senate voting to approve it. This included Senator Barack Obama, who said in 2005: “We simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, unchecked, and circumventing the line of people who are waiting patiently, diligently, and lawfully to become immigrants in this country.” It included Senator Chuck Schumer, who said in 2009: “Illegal immigration is wrong, plain and simple. . . . People who enter the United States without permission are illegal aliens and illegal aliens should not be treated the same as people who enter the U.S. legally.” And it included Senator Joe Biden, who said in 2006: “Let me tell you something, folks, people are driving across that border with tons, tons—hear me, tons—of everything from byproducts from methamphetamine to cocaine to heroin, and it’s all coming up through corrupt Mexico.”

Some attribute the breakdown of the bipartisan consensus on securing the border to the fact that Democrats came to look on illegal immigrants as much-needed Democrat voters. For whatever reason, a decade later these same Democratic leaders were lambasting President Trump’s border wall policy as “immoral and ineffective,” even “racist,” and fiercely opposing any and every serious proposal aimed at enforcing immigration law.

***

When I say that the Biden administration methodically undid every meaningful border security policy that it inherited, what specifically do I mean? I’ve mentioned the border wall. And it is a demonstrable fact that border walls, placed in strategic locations, act as effective impediments and improve the ability of law enforcement to drive and dictate the behavior of criminal organizations rather than being driven and dictated to themselves. One of the most ridiculous criticisms I’ve heard is that the wall is “a fourteenth century solution for a twenty-first century problem.” The same could be said of the wheel, which also still works pretty well.

In any case, the first bullet point of President Biden’s budget for the Department of Homeland Security this year trumpets the fact that not a cent will go towards the construction of border walls.

Yet despite the amount of intense debate the border wall engendered, it was not the only or even the most important border security measure instituted under the Trump administration. Let me outline two other key game changers.

Prior to Trump’s presidency, a combination of three things had the effect of forcing the Department of Homeland Security to institute a “catch and release” policy for illegal immigrants: the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, which mandated that the U.S. detain all unaccompanied minors from non-contiguous countries (countries other than Mexico and Canada); Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an executive policy adopted in 2012 to allow some of the migrants brought into the country illegally as children to receive a renewable deferred action from deportation; and the Flores Settlement Agreement, a 1997 court decree that was reinterpreted in 2015 to prevent the U.S. from detaining migrant families and unaccompanied minors for more than 20 days. In addition to catch and release, these things combined to bring about a demographic shift in illegal immigration that was immediately exploited by smuggling organizations—a shift from the influx of predominantly single adult males from Mexico to an explosive influx of families and unaccompanied minors from far and wide, and particularly from Central America. By 2016, the message had been sent and received that America’s southern border was wide open.

In response to this, the Trump administration negotiated the Migrant Protection Protocol, a bilateral agreement with Mexico more commonly known as the Remain in Mexico Program….

*****

Continue reading this article, published August 2021 at Imprimis.

Mark Morgan is a visiting fellow at the Federation for American Immigration Reform and at the Heritage Foundation. He served as acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the Trump administration and as chief of U.S. Border Patrol in the Obama administration. A Marine veteran and a former officer in the LAPD, he served for over 20 years in the FBI, including as the assistant section chief of the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime Branch; deputy on-scene commander in Baghdad, Iraq; special agent in charge of the El Paso Division; and assistant director in charge of the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. He has a B.S. in engineering from Central Missouri State University and a J.D. from the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

Book Review: Faustian Bargain-The Soviet-German Partnership And The Origins of the Second World War

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

Author: Ian Ona Johnson.  Published by Oxford University Press.

It would be safe to say that World War I set up the circumstances for The Great Depression and World War II and that World War II set the stage for the Cold War and the growth of the worldwide welfare state. Thus the two wars coming some twenty years apart, with the worldwide depression in between, really does much to explain both the 20th century and even the 21st century.

For these reasons, studying both wars and the Depression is worthwhile. Insofar as World War II history is concerned, both the history profession and popular culture have been German-centric. For example how many movies have you seen featuring Nazis as opposed to movies that feature Stalin?

After reading this book, it is also fairly obvious that WWII really started almost immediately after WWI, and the team that started it, at least in Europe, were Russia and Germany. Aggression was not limited to Hitler.

We earlier reviewed Sean McMeekin’s magnificent Stalin’s War, a book heavily relying on recent access to Russian archives, that has reshaped our view of World War II. It was indeed Stalin’s War, in that he helped start it and profited the most from it. The West went to war (or at least Britain and France did) to save Poland. In the Pacific region, the U.S. got crossways with Japan over their atrocities in China. At the end of the conflict, Russia got Poland, the rest of Eastern Europe, half of Germany, North Korea, and China. Not a bad haul for having a hand at starting the whole thing.

McMeekin’s book concentrates on the role of U.S. Lend-Lease programs, Roosevelt’s diplomatic bungling, and the Soviet spy penetration of the Roosevelt Administration. He certainly mentions the pre-war relationship between two strange bedfellows, Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. But this relationship was not the primary focus of his book.

Professor Ian Ona Johnson of Notre Dame University fills in additional details about the pre-war relationship with another breakthrough work that again concentrates on the recently available Soviet archives.  

Most of us think of this relationship as starting with the Molotov-Ribbentrop treaty or what is commonly called the Hitler Stalin Pact, which dates from 1939.

However, military cooperation between the new Soviet Union and Germany began as early as 1919, right after the end of the Great War. It was codified in the Treaty of Rapallo in 1922. Military, technological, and economic ties grew deeper throughout the 1920s and early 1930s, long before the rise of Hitler

Both nations felt slighted by the English-French order established for Europe and so they decided to form a strategic partnership between the aristocratic German military and the new Russian revolutionary government that openly declared the goal of worldwide communism. On the German side, this continued even during the period of the Weimar Republic, often without full knowledge of the fleeting democratic government.

Germany built large bases to build and perfect aircraft at Lipestak and a large base for tank development at Kama. The earliest cooperation was to develop poison gas, aircraft, and aircraft engines.

Germany got a secret place to develop air superiority tactics, new radio coordination of armor and tactical air assets, and new tank technology. Russia got technology that they both purchased and stole, and developed much on their own through reverse engineering of German designs, especially of aircraft and aircraft engines. Germany got raw materials, while Russia got loans, cash flow, technology, machine tools, and an officer corps trained in Germany.

It was a Faustian Bargain because never in history have two countries done more to build up each other’s military, only to turn it on each other with incredible ferocity. What made it even stranger was the unlikely union between Junker aristocracy from the German side making an alliance with class hating Bolshevik Russia on the other.

Germany was thus able to evade many of the restrictions of the Versailles Treaty, all the while Socialist governments in England pursued appeasement and France produced a cavalcade of weak and ineffectual governments. Once Germany decided to openly re-arm, they had much of the technology and tactics in place having honed both of them in Soviet Russia.

As it became more clear that Germany needed to be confronted about rearmament and treaty violations, the West was paralyzed and pursued disarmament. Much like today, the International Left held the view that arms races create international tension, instead of the more realistic view that international tension creates arms races. They felt then, as they do today, that signing agreements with partners that have no interest in honoring agreements, leads to peace. As it became more clear what Germany’s intentions were, the West did not want to spend money on the military but rather their socialist experiments at home. Appeasement of Hitler and actual reduction in military spending occurred. France decided early on they could not move to blunt Germany by herself but could only do so with Britain.

The most powerful military in Europe, that could have confronted Germany, was Russia. But these two countries were partners in crime for what they viewed as their own strategic interests.

As Professor McMeekin points out, Russia wanted war in Europe, feeling they could exploit the chaos. They certainly did, but almost perished in the process. If not for U.S. Lend-Lease, they would have.

At the outbreak of the War, the two gangster nations split Poland. Germany struck West conquering France, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, and Holland,  followed by attacking England while Russia struck Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, and reached into Rumania, Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria.

It would not be an understatement that the German war machine in the early part of the war during the Blitzkrieg and the Battle of Britain phase, was supplied with Russian fuel. Industrial production was supported with Russian metals, and both civilians and the military were fed with Russian grain.

Russia in turn got money, technological transfers, and training. They even reorganized their general staff and officer education along German lines.

Even as Hitler made his statements about eliminating Jewish Bolshevism, the two countries maintained an uncomfortable but significant alliance. About 75% of each countries trade was with each other, which again bursts the myth that countries that trade with each other have too much to lose to go to war.

German dependence on Soviet oil came to a head when Stalin made moves towards Romania, Germany’s only non-Russian source of oil. The two gangster nations then went to war with Hitler making the first overt military moves while Stalin was attempting the economic asphyxiation of Germany.

Several lessons come leaping out of the book. Disarmament is a hoax as is relying on the “international community” to do anything to really stop aggression.

It is not a good idea to be dependent on Russia for energy.

Civilian control of the military is very important. At least from the German perspective, the ability of the military to operate outside the scrutiny of the elected officials during the period of the Weimar Republic was quite astonishing. 

Trade and commerce do not forestall war, and in fact, can promote it.

When a country is brutal to its own people, it will very likely be brutal with its neighbors. Countries that turn a blind eye to internal brutality and aggressive behavior just for the benefit of trade or to avoid the cost of a robust defense, are enablers of dictators.

Businessmen want to sell products and sometimes do so to the detriment of their own country. It is not analogous to the parasite that kills its host. We don’t even have a good word for it when the host promotes and feeds the adversary that soon kills the host.

Be wary of businessmen who get state financing and credit guarantees to enable trade.

Be wary of governments that provide state financing and take the risk out of business judgment.

Weak leaders can promote war almost as effectively and belligerent leaders.

Never underestimate the ability of people to delude themselves about the nature of tyrannical governments.

Ideological differences did not stop close alliances between countries, both between Russia and Germany, and later Russia and the U.S.

Secular ideology is easily as persuasive to both populations and political leaders as religious wars, although the secular ideologue is so arrogant he can’t see the commonality.

Finally, it was astonishing that after Hitler went after his domestic political opposition, killing about 84 people (the night of the long knives), an inspired Stalin went on his rampage of purges of both the party and the Russian military that he killed millions. Ironically, the self-inflicted loss of his German-trained officer corps very nearly cost him the entire country.

Although current conditions are not completely analogous, as I read the book I kept thinking about present-day U.S. relations with Communist China. We are currently building up a rival just as surely as Russia built up Germany and Germany built up Russia. We hear many of the same arguments made about trade and the cost of military build-up.

The elites in this country have been very pro-Communist China and many of our universities and communications companies, sports leagues, film studios,  have lucrative deals with China. The business ties many of our political leaders have with China are disturbing.

We both sell technology and allow the Chinese to steal our technology. American business invests heavily in China, even as the Chinese brutally crackdown on their own people. Again we see the willingness to grant favors to a country that kills its own people for political and religious reasons. We even subsidized their biological warfare capability and helped unleash Covid-19 on ourselves. 

It would seem we have made a Faustian Bargain of our own. Let us hope it does not turn out the same way as the last one.

What Makes A Country?

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

A loose definition might start with “an aggregation of people sharing some or all of the same culture: language, religion, values, arts, music, sports, political organization, history, etc.” In other words, a country consists of people with a shared culture. Not everyone shares everything identically or completely, but there is a general commonality of beliefs and preferences. When such a group of people lives in a defined area under an accepted government (not necessarily a democracy) that is recognized by most of the rest of the world, it officially becomes a country.

A country has borders. Without borders, a culturally distinct group would merely be nomads or gypsies. Within its borders, a government is expected to provide both internal and external security for its citizens.

This naturally raises the questions of cross-border access and treatment of foreigners. What are a country’s legal and moral rights to deny access to outsiders or control their behavior when inside?

Before we get to those questions, it should be noted that countries with two distinct languages or religions often have problems of dominance. Even peaceful Canada has a French-speaking province that has occasionally proved problematic. Whatever benefits bilingualism may bring the country, the need for everything to be produced in two languages is inherently more complicated and expensive. When antagonistic religions are thrown into the mix, chaos is often the result. Think Muslims-Hindus in India, Shias-Sunnis in the Arab world, Chinese-Malays in Indonesia, and countries with large unassimilated indigenous populations like Bolivia.

There are counter-examples like Australia and Switzerland, of course. However, the key is assimilation. In recent years, France has tried to absorb a great many Muslims. The problem is they do not want to assimilate. They want the benefits of living in France, but they want to maintain their own separate culture. In many countries with large Arab populations, they want Sharia law to be equal to or superior to the laws of the country. The more a country gives in to such demands, the more it finds that the real goal is to change the culture of the nation to that of Muslim culture.

Australia has been the most outspoken in asserting its policy. If you want to live in Australia, be an Australian. If you think you are going to change Australia into something like your former country, go back there. In the 1500s, Christian missionaries went to Japan. They not only tried to turn the Japanese into Christians, but they also meddled in politics and tried to change Japanese culture. The Government responded by outlawing Christianity and crucifying a lot of Christians.

The United States has always been unusually welcoming of strangers. If you come to America legally and strive to become an American, embracing its culture (even while preserving some of the more positive characteristics of your previous culture), you are likely to fit in and do as well as your talents permit.

America likes to call itself a melting pot. This is true, but only where newcomers try to fit in. In 1960 I went to graduate school in Austin, Texas. Initially, I was just a “damnyankee”. There were no problems until I was invited to attend Southern Baptist church meetings. Everyone was very nice and very encouraging. But when it became apparent that I was not interested in becoming a member, I was clearly an outsider thereafter. There was no overt discrimination, but I felt less “inclusivity” than before.

There is nothing wrong with being an outsider, but it does not justify nasty behavior. However, not being “inside” can easily lead to wrongful exclusion. When someone has voluntarily chosen to be an outsider, he has less validity to a claim of being excluded from insider activities. When I was a young man, I was employed by an actuarial firm that operated in a very collegial fashion. At some point, we hired an Orthodox Jewish actuary. He was competent and did satisfactory work, but he held himself apart from the rest of us, as is often the case with the Orthodox. This was despite repeated attempts to include him in various activities and involve him in team projects. Eventually, we gave up. His work life must have been very lonely, but that was his choice. After a year or so, he departed, probably feeling underappreciated.

The Apostles of diversity and inclusivity completely miss the reality of the importance of fitting in. Personally, I do not care about the color of someone’s skin, their ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, accent, etc. If we have enough things in common to form a relationship, the superficial things are (or should be) immaterial.

On the other hand, if someone chooses to emphasize differences, then I am less likely to try to build a relationship, especially if they are insistent that their way is the right way and mine is either wrong or is evidence of racism or some other “ism”.  I have friendships with people as diverse as Indians and Italians, Japanese and Chileans. My criteria are intelligence, integrity, and no exaggerated sense of self-importance.

OK, That is just me. What about countries? It seems to me that if a recognized country chooses to exclude “others” from its boundaries, that is its right, regardless of reasons. It may choose for moral or practical reasons to admit foreigners, but it is at its discretion as to numbers, characteristics, requirements, etc. If they are to have some or all of the privileges of citizenship, then why not require them to learn the language? Without it, they will always be several steps behind. Government funding for teaching English as a second language makes more sense than many welfare handouts to foreigners.

I think we should discourage ethnic enclaves. Shipping a boatload of Somalis to Minnesota may give them some comfort over the short term, but it discourages their fitting into the American culture and values, and in some cases leads to enough political power to send representatives to Washington whose focus is on deconstructing our culture and replacing it with that of another people.

I am not picking on Somali’s. I don’t think I have ever met one. The United States clearly needs immigrants, as our birth rate is below the replacement level. Plainly stated, without immigrants, our social safety net will collapse because there will be an insufficient number of workers to support those receiving benefits.

The question of what immigrants to admit (and on what basis) is largely political. One of the major problems in Israel is that unrestricted immigration by Arabs would eventually lead to an Arab majority and a Jewish minority. Do the Israelis have a right to preserve what is a Jewish theocracy from those who would prefer a Muslim theocracy? Personally, I answer in the affirmative. I think the Jews have a right to maintain the culture and country they have created. It has nothing to do with not liking Muslims. The question that needs to be asked is where do the outsiders get a right to change the culture that is in place? It wouldn’t make any difference if it were militant Buddhists or Baptists seeking to overturn the existing way of life of the country.

Again, speaking personally, I am greatly opposed to theocracies for many reasons. But if the Jews in Israel want a theocracy, it is their country. If Muslims in Arab countries want to live under Sharia law, that is their right, however much we may find it distasteful.  The international community of nations has the right and the duty to protest if the government of a theocracy systematically persecutes non-believers. But if a government mistreats its own citizens (or a segment thereof), as for example the Taliban in Afghanistan, that is the problem of the citizens of that country to sort out. The same can be said of Iran, North Korea, Russia, etc. It is not the job of the U.S. to overthrow governments simply because we are opposed to aspects of their cultures we find repugnant. But others will disagree. Some want the U.S. to be like the old Cavalry heroically charging over the hill; others see the U.S. as having a moral duty to mold the whole world into some ideal image that even we do not live up to.

But what about back home? Where do immigrants derive the right to the benefits of living in this country? Some would argue that those fleeing persecution have a moral right, with no exceptions. Surely, there are limits to the sacrifices citizens may be asked to make in order to relieve the suffering of others. This seems more a matter of individual morals and consciences than a purely political question.

While most people are willing to help the persecuted, I question whether anyone has the right to demand access to a friendlier country simply because things are very bad at home. Everyone desires a better life, but how does that create a right to live in a more prosperous country? Where there is real persecution in the home country, there is also the question of whose responsibility it is to change things, and under what circumstances? It is dreadful that Muslim countries treat women so abominably, but it only becomes someone else’s problem to solve under the theory that the world is merely a global village, an air-headed concept concocted by dreamers.

In Aristophanes’ great play, Lysistrata, the women of ancient Greece got their men to stop their ruinous fighting by denying them sex. I wonder if that play has ever been performed in Arabic? The idea that women are always helpless in the face of more powerful males is exaggerated. Modern examples of women dominating men stretch from Margaret Thatcher to Nancy Pelosi. I believe it is a mistake to always task men with saving women in every situation. Women demanding both equality and protection from those they claim equality with just doesn’t compute. I am not talking about stopping a man who is beating his wife. That is different from sending troops because the men in one culture don’t treat their women as equals. Afghan women surely have the right to a better life, but Americans don’t have an obligation to provide it.