Football Is Good for Kids, Propaganda Is Not

Americans watch more NFL this season after several years of ratings decline. While couches and seats fill, fields go empty. For the first time in 30 years, high school sports witnessed a participation drop last year, with football’s loss of 31,000 athletes primarily fueling the decline. Youth football more glaringly experiences a participation freefall.

Blame a cultural tic masquerading as a public health crusade. Consider a recent Concussion Legacy Foundation advertisement depicting youth football players smoking cigarettes after a game. “Tackle football is like smoking,” the ad claims in a child’s voiceover. “The younger I start, the longer I’m exposed to danger.”

Two players out of more than four million competing last season died from a football hit (the CDC attributes nearly 500,000 U.S. deaths annually to smoking). Fifty seasons prior, 36 died from collisions. Football did not become more dangerous. Society became more phobic about risk. And for whatever reason, far deadlier activities — skiing, skateboard, bicycling, climbing — avoid notice from do-gooders. Like media scare stories from killer bees to SARS to beach shark attacks, the war on football relies on a fact-challenged narrative to scare Americans.

Scientific journals tell a different story about football than newspapers and magazines.

A study of a massive cohort of high school students published two years ago in the Journal of the American Medical Association found, “Among men graduating from high school in Wisconsin in 1957, we did not find evidence that playing football had a negative long-term association with cognitive functioning and mental health at 65 and 72 years of age.” A much smaller pilot study of South Dakota youth football players reports improved postural stability, oculomotor performance, and reaction time after a season of play, and “no significant preseason versus postseason differences in verbal memory, visual memory, or visual motor speed.” A 2012 Mayo Clinic study compared the health results of 438 midcentury high school football players in Minnesota with 140 nonplaying male peers who participated in choir, glee club, and band. “We hypothesized that athletes playing football during the decade 1946–1956 would be more likely to develop a neurodegenerative condition later in life than non-football players,” the scientists admitted. Instead, they found no differences in Alzheimer’s rates, and that “the frequency of [Parkinson’s] and [Lou Gehrig’s Disease] was lower in the football group than in the band, glee club, and choir group.”

When the NFL Players Association, persuaded by sensationalistic media accounts of early deaths for former pros, petitioned the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to conduct a mortality study on their ranks, the results upended conventional wisdom. The pros enjoyed better health outcomes than the joes in 14 of 17 cause-of-death categories examined. The players outlived their peers. Whereas the scientists discovered in 2012 a death rate of 10 percent of the 3,439 pension-vested athletes who competed between 1959 and 1988 for five NFL seasons or more, the rate climbed to 18 percent among the peer group, i.e., football saved 291 lives. Respiratory illness felled the players at just one-fifth the rate of nonplayers, cancer killed them at two-fifths of the rate, and cardiovascular illness, despite the physical size of the pros, caused fatalities for the athletes at about a two-thirds rate. Suicide, despite over-the-top coverage of the deaths of Junior Seau and Dave Duerson, afflicted the peer group at a rate more than double that of the pro group.

When I interviewed one of the four scientists conducting the NIOSH study for my 2013 book The War on Football: Saving America’s Game, he explained, “You have a very select, highly fit, almost like a Superman cohort. To be able to play football you have to be above physical average to begin with. So, in terms of cardiovascular disease — training, fitness, their medical care — it would be expected when you’re comparing them to the general population that they would have much better cardiovascular disease mortality.”

Translation: Football — running and jumping, tackling and blocking, training and dieting — is good for you. Play and watch this weekend with glee and not guilt.

Scientists employed by the Mayo Clinic and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published by the Journal of the American Medical Association paint a picture of positive health outcomes for football players. An ad by a nonprofit run by a former professional wrestler depicts signing up your son for youth football as the health equivalent of dispensing cigarettes to him.

Guess which side the media finds credible.

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Author: Daniel J. Flynn

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China Puts the Full-Court Press on Americans in NBA Controversy

The Hong Kong saga reached a climax this past week with back-to-back American corporate capitulations to the Chinese government. The spotlight has been on the National Basketball Association’s disastrous handling of a pro–Hong Kong tweet made by Daryl Morey, the Houston Rockets’ general manager, but many other supposedly all-American firms have added to the humiliation. 

Apple has restricted the Taiwanese flag emoji for devices in Hong Kong. It removed an app used by the protesters to track police, reinstated it after a backlash, and then removed it again upon being issued an ominous warning by the People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s primary mouthpiece. Videogame giant Blizzard Entertainment panicked after a player from Hong Kong spoke out in support of the protests during an official event: they banned the player and confiscated his prize money. 

Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins pointed out last week that this rout is far from the first, or most egregious, example of corporate appeasement of China. Nonetheless, its visibility to the American public may serve to shore up a weak point in the U.S.’s combative stance toward the Chinese regime: the attitudes of American consumers. 

A Morning Consult poll of Americans conducted October 8 and 9 in the immediate aftermath of the Morey fallout paints a picture of indifference. Thirty-eight percent of all adults would prefer that corporations stick to doing business and refrain from engaging in political or cultural issues, an echo of the advice that NBA players are receiving in private to “tread lightly” and avoid discussing Hong Kong. A further 38 percent have no opinion on the matter. 

Obviously, American corporations, including the NBA, do not usually “stick to what they do” — anyone who thinks otherwise need only look around during Pride Month. NBA players have been quick to trash President Trump and embrace social-justice movements such as Black Lives Matter when doing so earns them brownie points with woke millennials and costs them very little. With China, though, their multi-million-dollar salaries are on the line. Cue the sudden uninterest in politics: LeBron James, who once tweeted that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” now subscribes to the philosophy of “we’re not politicians.”

In light of all the progressive browbeating, it is understandable that conservatives are more suspicious of corporate activism than liberals. Only 20 percent of Republican respondents to the Morning Consult poll approve of corporations using their influence to “impact political and cultural issues” in other countries, compared to 31 percent of Democrats. But continued indifference cannot be justified. There is no such thing as simply doing business with a customer like China, whose leaders are willing and able to squeeze geopolitical leverage out of every international business relationship. 

What should conservatives do? Before anything else, they need to leverage their power as consumers. Companies such as the NBA that lecture Americans on inclusivity at home and then accede to the whims of exclusive regimes abroad should be roundly mocked and exposed for the hypocrites they are. Beyond that, Chinese goods ought to be boycotted with the understanding that buying from China is always more than just a financial transaction. 

There is still a long way to go before most Americans are willing to accept that economic engagement with China is a geopolitical trap. The same Morning Consult poll found that 42 percent of all U.S. adults currently support American corporations doing business in China, with only 36 percent opposed — a major roadblock to the efforts of President Trump and his allies to combat China. With the NBA’s helpful and timely reminder of China’s influence, the tide may finally be turning.

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Author: John Jiang

Hunter Biden Cashed In to Fuel His Drug and Sex Habits

Say what you want about the Trump kids, none of them have been found with a crack pipe on them. The same can’t be said for Hunter Biden. I picked up the New York Post yesterday morning and found an informative reprint from The Intercept by Ryan Grim, who details Hunter’s dirtbaggery, including this revealing tidbit: “One particularly out-of-control bender, which included a crack pipe found in a rental car, took place while Biden was making $50,000 a month serving on the board of [the Ukrainian company] Burisma.”

Therein lies one of the obvious motives for his shameless cashing in on his last name. For years he has had a very expensive drug habit. Drugs aren’t cheap, and neither are loose women — two of Hunter’s favorite pastimes.

Earlier this year, Hunter got hit with a paternity suit by a woman in Arkansas. Then there are his Ashley Madison troubles: Hunter’s name turned up in its subscriber data after the dating site for adulterers got hacked. Popped, Hunter tried to explain it away as a dirty trick by the Russians. But reporter Patrick Howley traced the breached subscriber data back to the school where Hunter was teaching:

[A]ccount information shows that the profile, which was confirmed by a credit card purchase in 2014, was used at the latitude/longitude point of 38.912682, -77.071704. That latitude-longitude point just happens to exist on the Georgetown University campus, at an administrative building on Reservoir Road. And Hunter Biden just happened to be teaching there around the time the account was set up.

Hunter didn’t let his teaching stint at Catholic Georgetown interfere with his extramarital hobbies. He also sits on the advisory board for Catholic Charities in Washington, D.C. He is a chip off the old block, wrapping himself in Catholicism while blowing off its teachings.

Not that Joe Biden is as seedy as his son, although his inability to keep his hands off women may have proved formative for young Hunter. Another poor influence on Hunter was his low-rent lobbyist uncle, James Biden, who has been cashing in on his brother’s last name for years, according to Ryan Grim: “In trading on his father’s name and power to advance his career, Hunter Biden is following in the footsteps of James Biden, Joe’s younger brother.”

At one point, Hunter and his uncle worked for the same phony-baloney financial firm — that is, until “Paradigm Global Advisors” went bust in 2010.

I had to laugh when I heard Hunter the other day on ABC say that his “experience” for his influence-peddling board work in China and Ukraine was another nepotistic gig: serving on the board of Amtrak, which is famous for indulging Joe Biden’s vanity and interests. (Also, few people would consider work for the chronically failing Amtrak as “experience” to boast.)

Hunter clearly needed the easy money to pay off his many drug debts and rehab visits. According to the New Yorker, Hunter has been to rehab at least five times and once had a crack dealer pull a gun on him. After testing positive for cocaine use, he got bounced from the Navy Reserve.

His cavortings have proven no less messy. He got sexually involved with his dead brother’s wife, then crossed the country to live in Los Angeles after the relationship dissolved, only to enter into a quickie wedding with a South African woman whom he had known for less than two weeks. ABC reported that Joe Biden told his son’s freshly minted wife, after learning of the spontaneous wedding, “Thank you for giving my son the courage to love again” — a line so laughable only the tacky Joe Biden could come up with it.

Hunter Biden makes Hugh and Tony Rodham, Hillary’s comically scummy brothers, look abstemious. And yet there Hunter was on ABC a few mornings ago, crying at the thought of what the amoral Donald Trump has done to “the presidency.” You see, Hunter was taught by his pop to “revere” the presidency, and it makes him really, really sad to see it fall into the hands of such a vulgarian. Poor Hunter also didn’t anticipate that Rudy Giuliani was going to play so dirty “with this ridiculous conspiracy idea.”

Like all nabbed liberals, Hunter is hoping that anti-Trump special pleading will absolve him of his sins. No doubt it will it many quarters of the chattering class, who chunter on about Rudy’s “hand grenade” and how he has “blown” himself and Trump up. These pundits never mention the damage it has done to Hunter Biden and his father’s faltering campaign. Nor do they note the irony of Joe Biden on the campaign trail fretting over the “example” Trump is setting for the nation’s children while his own child self-destructs.

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Author: George Neumayr

About the CNN Debate

My goodness, these people are boring. What a snoozefest. What was most interesting, though, is what wasn’t talked about.

No Biden corruption. No China. No answer from Elizabeth Warren, the ostensible front-runner, about where the money comes from for her pie-in-the-sky schemes. (Hint: It’s the middle class paying higher taxes. If Democrats refuse to answer, the middle class paying higher taxes is always the answer.)

Here’s some overall impressions, and then I’ll get into the candidates themselves.

First, this crew has driven past Bernie (the Squad endorsed him!!!) and gone off into the weeds and rusting buildings of commieland. Trillions of spending was waved off as no big deal. Gun confiscation was enthusiastically embraced. The Democrats are now the party of perpetual war and foreign adventurism, but there was zero mention of one Barack H. Obama. Also notably absent: Code Pink. Where are those ardent, true believers screaming out, “BUSH McHALLIBURTON!!!”?

Second, let’s be honest, though. Who really was paying attention to their insanely extreme domestic and foreign policy plans? Mostly, they were boring. Leaden, even. Nothing quotable. Nothing interesting. This is in stark contrast to the Republicans in 2016. That field was strong. Nearly anyone on that stage could be president and America would be fine. Forget who they were? Let’s just look at the candidates who withdrew before the primary: Rick Perry (governor, Texas — economic miracle), Scott Walker (governor, Wisconsin — economic turnaround), Bobby Jindal (governor, Louisiana — growth), Lindsey Graham (senator, South Carolina — Years of experience, foreign policy and judicial expert), George Pataki (Yuck, but governor, New York.) Any of them could lead the nation better than the doofuses on the stage as the premiere Democrats. President Obama decimated the party for a generation. Not only did Democrats across the country get destroyed but the bench to build future leaders also sat empty. Hopefully, the Republicans are watching and learning. Just kidding. They never learn. Anyway, the lack on the Democrat side is so complete and sad, it’s a little unnerving. None of these people deserve to lead this nation. Let’s discuss why, one by one.

Joe Biden: (17 minutes) He’s still the leader, no matter what the polling says. He’s stumbling, fumbling, addled, and old. If he loses, I will blame his ill-fitting teeth. They seem to get in the way of his speaking when his brain can form a thought. But Joe is likable. He wasn’t pressed about corruption or his dopey, grifter kid. He is a Democrat after all. What a weak mess for a party leader.

Elizabeth Warren: (23 minutes, oh the media LOVES her) Does this woman have tardive dyskinesia? What the hell? All her weird, jerky movements, twitches. She’s like the crazy grandma. (Hillary was the mean grandma.) Warren, underneath her superior lecturing to dumb college students (you) is just statist, authoritarian (what college prof can handle being questioned these days?), and boring. She is even weaker than Biden, and that takes some doing. I’ll say this: her makeup looked good and she’s bright on the stage compared to the walking dead around her, but bright in that wide-eyed, you’re-freaking-me-out true-believer kinda way.

Bernie: (13 minutes) Oh, where to begin. So, he said some nice things to his followers. It was the first time I’ve seen him be so genuine, and it was heartwarming. Normally, it’s angry Bernie all the time. Bernie should be happy. Every wackadoodle on the stage got 100 percent of their ideas from his USSR-loving communist plans. Commie is mainstream because of Bernie. But he’s not going to win ever. He will be a spoiler again to the womyn, especially Liz Warren.

This is where things get weird. There are these ancient people who are the front-runners. It’s difficult to imagine any of them keeping up with Trump. Warren will schoolmarm him to death. Bernie and Biden will just poop out. Beyond them, the field is wide open. Let’s go with whom the media seems to love most. I’m going to spoil the end and tell you who they hate most, and that’s Tulsi Gabbard, which I’ll explain in a minute. She’s hated by the neocons on the right, too. Back to the miserable middle.

Kamala Harris: (12 minutes) Said, “I’m done.” She was referring to something Very Important Just Ask Her and You Know It’s Important Because She’s Using Her Serious Voice. But the bottom line is that she’s done. She went on some weird tangent wanting Elizabeth Warren to say that she wants President Trump off Twitter. This idea makes the media and Never Trump-ers tingly, but all it sounds like to other people is that she can’t take the heat and should get out of the kitchen. This debate demonstrated just how over she is.

Cory Booker: (11 minutes plus) Sigh. He and his bug eyes need to go. No, you’re not even going to be vice president. Did you know that he’s a vegan? Next.

Pete Buttigieg: (13 minutes) He can be saying something sensible one minute and then sound insane the next. If I had to diagnose a psychopath on the stage (beyond the normal sociopathy of all political candidates), it’d be him. I don’t know what his deal is, but when he looks at the camera it freaks me the heck out. Dude is weird. As I’ve said before, no one with his name is going to be elected. Mayor Pete is going back to Indiana and will be forgotten.

Julián Castro: (8 1/2 minutes) Who? Next.

Amy Klobuchar: (13 minutes) Now here’s the thing about Ms. K: she’s awkward and not very likable but was talking intermittent sense on the stage tonight. I can’t remember what about. Again, everything melted into boredom. Wait, I remember. From her 10 years in the private sector, she remembers capitalism being a good thing but big business still needed to be taxed. Oh right. Never mind.

Andrew Yang: (8 1/2 minutes) Mr. Yang had his moments. He’s actually likable by normal people, which is why the rest of the candidates and the CNN hosts seem to dislike him. He got a little dig in on the Bing search engine, which made people laugh, which woke them up out of their somnolent stupor. Then they went back to sleep again. Everyone dismisses him. He won’t get traction.

I completely forgot about Beto O’Rourke and he got 13 whole minutes to blather. He’s such a dope. As the debates go on, it’s obvious how much of an amateur he is. His perpetual pout makes one want to smack him. Like Abortion Barbie before him, I don’t know how he gets elected in Texas ever again at any level, never mind become president.

Oh yeah, Tom Steyer (7 minutes). Nice tie.

And then we get to Tulsi Gabbard, the woman who receives universal Beltway and media derision but who most normal Americans will like because she’s not insane. She is smart, firm, never wavers in her answers and has the calm assurance of someone who’s been in tougher situations than a stupid debate stage. She held firm on a nuanced abortion position (no late-term abortion, abortion should be legal at the beginning, abortion is a tough choice for a woman). She defended getting troops out of the Middle East. The scorn she receives from the media and Twitter mystifies me. Do these folks not understand where Americans are at right now? I saw someone chortling about her use of the term “regime change,” but, uh, that’s been the American position from Bush I, Clinton, Bush, Bush, Obama, Obama. Trump is trying to undo it. Obama was going for regime change in Syria. Hillary had her regime change moment in Libya. They attempted it in Egypt. Bush changed the Iraq regime. It’s constant meddling. Tulsi bringing it up is like the skunk in the garden party, apparently. Americans are sick of it. She’s on the side of voters, not the Beltway buffoons.

What really ticked the moderators off, though, was when Gabbard called out the New York Times and CNN for calling her a Russian stooge. She was outraged. They cut her off and went to commercial.

If the Democrat primary was normal, Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard would be doing better. But it’s not and primary voters are old and the ones who aren’t old are voting for Bernie.

I remain convinced that Biden has the best chance against Trump. CNN wants Warren, and badly. The media keep getting their preferred candidates. They got Trump. Maybe they’ll succeed with Warren, too.

All in all, a wasted evening. These candidates absolutely stink. It was boring, filled with evasion on taxes and authoritarian impulses across the board. If the Americans watching it didn’t fall asleep during it, the tyrannical ideas should frighten them.

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Author: Melissa Mackenzie

Elizabeth Warren Is Theft

What on earth is Sen. Warren thinking of? What are the mandarins of America’s business community thinking of? Mrs. Elizabeth Warren is clearly thinking, along with the French writer Proudhon, that “Property is theft,” and as a demagogue in politics whose stock in trade is envy, I don’t think her behavior or her attitudes are strange. But the many CEOs of large corporations who signed up with her in her attack on property seem to me to be a bit more confused.

Let’s start at the beginning. A short time ago, Mrs. Warren offered up a proposal to basically castrate the top dogs of American industry of the publicly held variety. Management of these large corporations would be mandatorily transferred to “stakeholders,” which could mean outsiders or union reps. Automatically, 40 percent of board seats would go to “stakeholders.”

That could be anyone. But it certainly would not have to be large owners of the company. Now, as far as I can see, “stakeholders” already have a huge ownership stake in the company. The federal government already controls the hours and minimum wages that a worker can be paid. There are also strict clauses on retirement plans, safety on the job, and, of course, taxes of every description.

This does not mean that corporations are wards of the workers. It does mean that government has certainly not abandoned the workplace to Snidely Whiplash and his thugs.

But let’s look at how the world really works. It’s likely that Sen. Warren will be the next president. It’s likely that there will be a Democrat Congress. And it’s likely that there will be some kind of outrage against workers that will make the percentage of “stakeholders” more than 40 percent.

At that point we have a socialist economy. Power in corporate matters will pass from the families that started the company to angry people who want the corporate form dead and buried.

There are such people. But what will happen to innovation and invention when a large chunk of the reward for such innovation goes to “stakeholders”?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m as human as the next guy. I want to see billionaires who got there by some combo of struggle and genius. I don’t want all of the money to get where it’s going by some weird chance. But I do want the incentives for successful industry to go to people without whom there would be no modern America as know it.

Private property is the bedrock of capitalism. If we are going to share it out, we lose much of its magical power. Not all. But much of it. And we lose a chuck of the bedrock of human organization — private property. The societies that prosper are generally those in which private property is guaranteed. If we lose that, we lose a lot.

Socialism has its points, but mass prosperity is not one of them.

Private property has its flaws, but mass poverty is not generally in recent centuries one of them.

So we come down to a basic struggle in human nature — between envy and ambition. We’ll do well if we can stick with envy as the lesser motivator and let ambition triumph.

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Author: Ben Stein

The Real Democrat Contest Is Between the Old Left and the New Left

The Democrats’ presidential contest is not so much between candidates, as between the left. Having virtually secured the nomination, the left is now battling to determine who will represent it, and more importantly, what the left will be. The outcome will not just select a nominee and what the Democrat Party will be in 2020, but define America’s left for the future.

The conventional coverage of American politics is that of a horse race — leads changing and candidates shifting positions. In the Democrats’ current presidential race, the attention has been on Biden, the front-runner, and Warren’s surge to overtake Sanders. Lost in this focus on the candidates, is the real race — or rather, the forest, for the trees.

The real Democrat race is between blocks of voters. The first, between Democrats’ establishment/moderates and the left, effectively ended before it began. Already preponderant at the beginning, its collective strength now approaching two-thirds of every poll’s respondents, the left has pulled away. It is also pulling apart.

The Democrats’ contest is now being waged within the left, between its old and new wings. Bigger than a fight over a nominee, it has evolved into one over destiny: Which of its versions will define America’s left?

Certainly, the fight is in part personified in the one between Sanders and Warren, who together account for roughly 40 percent of Democrats. However, it also spills into the “remaining left,” those second-tier left candidates who collectively account for approximately one quarter of Democrats.

Sanders leads the old left. The old left follow the traditional economic-based agenda; akin to historical socialist orthodoxy, it is an ideological association Sanders has embraced. Historically, its mainstay support was unions, and its issues bargaining- and wage-based. Control of the economy is its end, with the conviction that the rest of society’s ills will be righted once this control is achieved.

Warren is the new left. The new left follows the more traditionally liberal, social justice agenda. Its support resides in cause-based organizations and identity politics. Control of the economy is its means, the economy’s reshaping being justified as necessary to address society’s ills.

Both old and new left have their handicaps. The old left has always found its agenda undercut by America’s prosperity and opportunity. Further, its economic-focused similarity with doctrinaire socialist regimes abroad has tended to define it as adhering to a “foreign” — and frequently, adversarial — ideology. As a result, an explicitly socialist party has never had significant success in the U.S.

The new left is hindered primarily by its lack of a unifying focus and agenda. Lacking the old left’s primary concentration on the economy, the new left’s focus on various liberal initiatives — exemplified by identity politics — has led to a seemingly ad hoc approach in which disparate issues comingle. The result can be a disjointed confederation in which the various groups have little shared interest. In the past, the combined minority status of the old and new left in the Democrat Party served to reduce the handicaps of each. Lacking another acceptable political outlet, both old and new left had little choice but to accommodate their priorities to the Democrat Party’s — and each other’s — or risk having them ignored altogether. Each picked their opportunities, advancing issues as circumstances and leverage permitted.

The left’s decisive current rise to majority status in the Democrat Party has reversed the historical internal political dynamic that forced them together. Instead of dancing the tune, the left is now calling it. While minority status argued for passive accommodation, the opportunity to seize the agenda and achieve one’s own interests argues for aggressive competition. Having always had divergent interests, and frequently conflicting ones, the old and new left now see that long-suppressed fissures have come to the fore in the Democrats’ 2020 race. A purely candidate-view of this race misses that the candidates are actually much more than they appear. They are personifying the left’s cleavages. The Sanders-Warren contest has merely been the most prominent, but the second tier left also embodies it.

Presented with what could be a unique opportunity — the void created by the absence of a consensus establishment figure to exert hegemony over the Party, as Clinton managed in 2016 — the left’s two branches are fighting to determine, not just which nominates the Democrat Party’s candidate in 2020, but who will define the left in America.

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Author: J.T. Young

Anonymous Accusations and Their Dangerous Purveyors

Anonymous accusations have been regarded with suspicion by honorable leaders for at least two millennia. Even the Romans rejected the use of such allegations against Christians. Indeed, the Emperor Trajan explicitly admonished one of his provincial governors against doing so: “Anonymously posted accusations ought to have no place in any prosecution. For this is both a dangerous kind of precedent and out of keeping with the spirit of our age.” The Democrats of our era aren’t troubled by such scruples, it would seem. In fact, they have used just such an accusation as the pretext for their “impeachment inquiry,” and it is indeed dangerous.

The Democrats don’t call it an anonymous accusation, of course. They have attempted to wrap it in a veneer of legitimacy by calling it a “whistleblower complaint,” but this collection of secondhand allegations was obviously produced by some anti-Trump partisan. Its author reportedly has ties to one of the candidates currently running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Moreover, this person knowingly violated proper procedure governing whistleblower complaints by colluding with the staff of Adam Schiff’s intelligence subcommittee before reporting his concerns to the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community (ICIG).

Worst of all, many of accusations made by the so-called whistleblower about the fabled telephone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky are refuted by the transcript of that call. The most explosive accusation made by this person was that President Trump suggested a quid pro quo arrangement whereby the release of U.S. aid would be contingent on a Ukrainian investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden. There is no evidence in the transcript or anywhere else to support this nonsense. Nonetheless, the Democrats have made this accusation the pivotal pretext for their ersatz impeachment inquiry.

But all that will come out when this witness testifies under oath before the American people and is questioned by the Republicans as well as Democrats, right? Wrong. The Democrats want to maintain the wall of secrecy even after congressional testimony questioning begins. They want the testimony to take place without any Republicans present to ask inconvenient questions about which of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates this mysterious character has ties with or when exactly the covert discussions with Adam Schiff and his intelligence subcommittee began. If this seems a little suspicious, it gets even weirder, as the Washington Post reports:

House Democrats are weighing extraordinary steps to secure testimony from a whistleblower whose complaint prompted their impeachment inquiry, masking his identity to prevent President Trump’s congressional allies from exposing the individual, according to three officials familiar with the deliberations. The steps under consideration include having the whistleblower testify from a remote location and obscuring the individual’s appearance and voice, these officials said.

The pretext for all of this is the claim by the Democrats that the anonymous informant’s identity must remain secret pursuant to safety concerns. This might well be a valid point in the case of a witness in a RICO case, but it’s a ridiculous assertion to make about a whistleblower testifying in an impeachment inquiry about alleged misdeeds committed by the president. Are they afraid Bill Barr will show up at the secure location, à la Tom Hagen in The Godfather: Part II, and convince the canary to “do the honorable thing”? It is the credibility of the entire impeachment inquiry that is in real danger, as the editors of the Wall Street Journal put it:

The mystery is why Democrats think this process will help their cause.… If Democrats are confident this merits impeachment, then why not make the case in public, step by regular step, for all to see? An authorized inquiry would also put them on firmer constitutional ground as they seek documents and testimony from the Administration.… Their resort to secrecy and irregular order will feed public suspicion that this isn’t a proper inquiry out to persuade. It will look instead like a railroad job with the goal of branding Mr. Trump “impeached” to please the Democratic and media left.

And that is precisely why anonymous accusations and their purveyors are dangerous. It isn’t that sensible people will believe them. Media hype and third-rate pollsters notwithstanding, the majority of voters know exactly what is going on here. The danger is that they will eventually conclude that any system that employs such people is irredeemably corrupt. Trump’s supporters voted for him because they still believe in the system, that it can be fixed with a new kind of leader who doesn’t worship the state gods to whom the Washington establishment swears obeisance. This may be the last chance to convince the voters that they really matter.

Returning to Trajan, the spirit of the age to which he refers in his letter to that provincial governor (Pliny the Younger) combined justice — even for the despised Christians — with peace and prosperity. He was one of those “five good emperors” that students once learned about in our school systems. Does anyone believe that Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, and Jerrold Nadler are his equals intellectually or ethically? No? Perhaps, then, we should heed his warning about the dangers associated with anonymous accusations.

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Author: David Catron

China’s Intimidation Campaign

The stock markets rose abruptly Friday on President Trump’s announcement of a cease-fire in our trade war with China. There is no agreement on a trade deal — not even an agreement to agree — but the president suspended application of increased tariffs, at least for a while, as talks go on.

Trump’s unilateral cease-fire comes at a significant moment for China. It has managed to intimidate American companies — most bluntly in the case of the NBA — into self-censorship regarding the Hong Kong freedom demonstrations it may have also done with the president.

According to a CNN report (which is suspect because it is from CNN), in a June telephone call Trump promised Chinese President Xi Jinping that he would remain quiet about the Hong Kong protests while the trade talks went on. Whether or not that report is true, the president has remained silent on those protests — now in their 20th week — and, bizarrely, congratulated Xi on the regime’s 70th anniversary.

Trump’s relationship with Xi is puzzling. Why would an American president congratulate the leader of a regime that has murdered millions and oppresses its more than a billion citizens every day? Has Trump been intimidated or just buffaloed by Xi’s supposed willingness to enter into a trade deal that would end China’s theft of American military and commercial secrets?

Two weeks ago, in the military parade held in Tiananmen Square, the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force displayed what it claimed were new hypersonic missiles against which the U.S. has no defense. Like those being developed by us, the Russians, and others, the Chinese missile is a “boost-glide” vehicle that could deliver nuclear weapons or destroy large chunks of territory merely by striking at hypersonic speeds.

The reason why we have no defense against such missiles is the natural phenomenon called “plasma stealth.”

We were all taught in grammar school that matter exists in only three forms: solid, liquid, or gas. That’s not quite correct. There’s a fourth form called plasma gas.

Plasma gases can be electronically manipulated in solid containers to do such things as form antennae enabling communications. One inventor I know has already perfected the means of doing so. The applications for such antennae include stealthy aircraft and missiles that could have highly effective communications without external antennae that increase their detectability by radars.

Plasma gas occurs in nature, albeit far less than the other forms of matter. It is ionized gas — i.e., a gas, such as those found in the atmosphere — in which the atoms of the gas lose an electron and thereby become more electromagnetically active and unstable. That brings us to plasma stealth.

In 1957 American radars were trying to track Russia’s original Sputnik satellite in low earth orbit, effectively within the outer limit of the atmosphere called the ionosphere. Sputnik was traveling at orbital speed, about 17,500 miles per hour or Mach 23.

The satellite was traveling in a naturally created ionic plasma cloud that in turn created two different radar shadows that effectively canceled each other out. Thus, Sputnik was at times invisible to radars because it was shrouded in a plasma cloud. That means plasma stealth isn’t just theoretical: it can be accomplished.

Hypersonic weapons such as the Chinese DF-100 are supposed to be able to be boosted to speeds of Mach 5 and higher. They would be trackable by conventional radar in their ascent stage to their maximum altitude where they would tip over and then re-enter the atmosphere at speeds of Mach 10 or higher.

If the missiles were equipped to electrically charge their skins, they would create a cloud of plasma shrouding the missile’s body. Even if we had interceptor missiles that could catch and kill them, we couldn’t target the incoming missiles because they would be invisible to radar.

We don’t know if the Chinese (and Russian) claims that they have perfected hypersonic missiles that cannot be detected by radar are true. (Russian President Putin announced in March 2018 that Russia already has such missiles.)

The Chinese “missiles” displayed in their October parade weren’t missiles themselves, just big missile casings hauled on what the Chinese claim are launch vehicle trucks. Again, we don’t know if their claims of success in hypersonic missile development are true.

The Chinese and Russian claims of success in developing hypersonic boost-glide missiles pose a question of national security that disrupts our theory of deterrence through “MAD” — mutually assured destruction. They are clearly first-strike weapons that cannot be defended against by our current defense systems.

The risk they pose can be answered in several ways. First, by our own development of such weapons, which is proceeding at our usual pace, meaning very slowly. It takes two decades for us to field weapon systems such as fighter or bomber aircraft. There is no reason for the development of hypersonic weapons to succeed faster.

The other way to answer the threat such missiles pose is for us to develop systems to detect and kill them in their boost stage, before they tip over into the atmosphere and are plasma-shrouded. That would necessitate making the decision to develop and deploy weapons — such as a modern version of the Reagan-era “Brilliant Pebbles” system that was never built — which is a decision that neither we nor our adversaries have been willing to make.

The idea that space is a region where weapons do not exist is a fallacy. China successfully tested a ground-launched satellite killer a dozen years ago. Russia has reportedly — and successfully — tested its mobile satellite killer, thePL-19 Nudol, at least seven times.

Both the Russians and the Chinese are developing hunter-killer satellites that could orbit for months or years awaiting signals to destroy our satellites, crippling our abilities to securely gather intelligence, communicate, navigate, and detect missile launches by our enemies. (Our Space-Based Infrared System — “SBIRS” — can probably detect any launch of even small, short-range missiles and give almost instant warning to our defense systems.)

Hypersonic “boost-glide” missiles and satellite killers are designed to make MAD’s deterrence obsolete and to tip the balance of power decisively in the direction of those who can first deploy them. They are weapons of intimidation that will affect us and our allies in a way that must be answered very soon.

By their impeachment proceedings against him, the Democrats have diverted President Trump’s attention from almost anything else. Neither we nor our allies can allow him to ignore the effort to make MAD obsolete. He has some tough decisions to make on the matter of the further weaponization of space. Those decisions must be made quickly, whatever else may be diverting him from his duties.

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Author: Jed Babbin

The Rhine Flows Into the Amazon

Pope Francis spent a brief period of his Jesuit formation in Germany. He was sent there to get a doctorate in theology, but, finding the work tedious and feeling homesick, he returned to Buenos Aires. He once told a fellow Jesuit that studying “fundamental theology” is “boring” — a bizarre attitude for a churchman that explains his intellectually slipshod pronouncements.

Not that Francis doesn’t revere German theologians. He does, exceedingly so, particularly heretical ones. During the conclave that elected him, he stayed in a room across from Walter Kasper, the German cardinal famous for his project to liberalize and Protestantize the Church from top to bottom. Jorge Bergoglio said Kasper handed him his book on mercy — an absurdly heretical tract about how the Church needs to adopt the world’s version of morality on LGBT issues and the like. Bergoglio said Kasper’s book provided him with some delightful reading before he fell asleep. Shortly after he became pope, he singled out Kasper as one of his “favorite” theologians.

Francis is also close with Cardinal Cláudio Hummes of Brazil, who is the chief organizer of the Pan-Amazon Synod. Hummes, an outspoken socialist and opponent of traditional teaching, is the son of a German-Brazilian father and a German mother. He is one of the architects of the Latin American–German alliance to revolutionize the Church — what Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, calls the “wrecking ball” the synod will release upon the faithful, as reported by LifeSiteNews.

That’s no exaggeration. Look at all the new bishops and cardinals, preening at the synod under the pope’s supportive gaze, who now say openly that they favor LGBT rights, divorce and remarriage, female deacons, even female priests — the same cardinals who shrugged at the news this week that nuns are hearing confessions and presiding at weddings in South America, the same cardinals who consider it a mere trifle that the pope would tell his Boswell, the doddering Eugenio Scalfari, that Jesus was just an “exceptional” man. (The Vatican still hasn’t issued a convincing clarification about that astounding part of the Scalfari interview.)

“The synodal process in the realm of the German Bishops’ Conference is now being linked with the Synod for the Amazon, and this is done for ecclesial-political reasons and as a leverage for the restructuring of the Universal Church,” says Müller. “Additionally, at both events the protagonists are nearly identical, and they are even financially and organizationally connected by way of the relief agencies of the German Bishops’ Conference.”

The German fingerprints on this synod are a recurring theme in my conversations with Church insiders in Rome. It is the Germans, they say, who shipped in the Indian activists who performed pagan rituals in the Vatican gardens, as well as the Soros-style activists who put up the poster of an Amazonian mother breastfeeding a dog and the other pieces of weird propaganda dotting churches in Rome.

The pope says the synod must reject the “colonialist” prejudices and dictates of the past, even as he christens a new and far more disfiguring neocolonialism under the United Nations. Papal dilettantes, German liberation theologians, and UN bureaucrats are teaming up to foist upon the hapless Amazonians the moral and political schemes of the global elite. The Amazonians are simply guinea pigs on whom the Planned Parenthood crowd can experiment. The old colonialists took pagan idols out of the Indians’ hands and put rosaries in them; the new colonialists hand them condoms and birth control pills, all the while purring about their refreshingly “natural” and “non-modern” modes of living.

It was Hummes, according to the pope, who whispered in his ear on the Vatican balcony, “Remember the poor” — one of the many socialist conceits that led to this sorry synod. The pope hasn’t remembered the poor so much as exploited them in the name of socialism. St. Peter’s Square, in fact, is teeming with hobos, many of whom don’t appear to be receiving much help from Francis-friendly cardinals snug in their beds behind Vatican walls.

Outside of the Vatican press office, which is part of a Vatican-owned building full of grand apartments for the cardinals, the homeless sack out for the night. Meanwhile, the Indian activists flown in by the German bishops stay at four-star hotels, where they can don their face paint before meeting up with the pope for a photo-op or before hitting seminars about “Civil Society Commitment on Indigenous and Environmental Issues Through Advocacy at the UN.” (That’s one of the many UN-tainted posters I have seen in Rome. Two of the sponsors for the event were the Franciscans and the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary.)

What a gigantic con. Here we have an “evangelization” synod that will neutralize evangelization, a synod on “respecting Amazonian ancestral wisdom” that will turn Amazonians over to UN social engineers, a synod that seeks “new pathways for the Church” that will only lead demoralized Catholics out of it. Mixing the waters of the Rhine, Tiber, and Amazon can only poison all three.

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Author: George Neumayr

American Policy in Africa Just Handed the U.S. Diamond Market to Russia 

Do you know which country produced the rock in your fiancée’s diamond engagement ring? If you bought it last month, there’s a 40 percent chance it’s from Russia. And courtesy of an abject failure in U.S. foreign policy, the odds your next jewel comes from the mines that directly fund Putin’s government are about to increase.
Last week U.S. Customs and Border Protection unilaterally chose to ban American imports of diamonds from Marange in Zimbabwe — widely considered the world’s largest single diamond field. In doing so they furthered Russia’s grip over production and supply of the world’s most precious mineral resource without Putin lifting a finger.
According to the bureaucrats in the U.S. embassy in Zimbabwe, the bureaucrats in customs made their decision on the basis of “widespread public reporting that artisanal mining in Marange includes forced labor. Were such allegations true, then the decision would of course be quite justified. Only there isn’t any evidence.

In fact, the widely acknowledged investigative specialists in Zimbabwe who monitor the country’s extractives sector have publicly said the opposite is the case.

The Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) — quite literally the experts in the field who continually gather on-the-ground information in order to flag labor concerns — stated categorically, “We have raised several issues of concern regarding the treatment of community members both by the state and mining companies, but forced labor is definitely not one of the issues that have arisen.”

CNRG is well-known to be no friend of the Zimbabwean government; they are funded by international NGOs and Western aid. Yet instead of listening to the experts in the sector, U.S. authorities appear instead to have based a decision with major negative implications for the Zimbabwean economy — which has been hit by two major cyclones and a drought this year — on politicized gossip created by Zimbabwe’s opposition.

As the managing editor and proprietor of the independent, privately owned Morning Post newspaper in Zimbabwe, I work at a media house that is no more in league with the government than is CNRG. The Post has long reported, with our journalists taking major personal risks to win awards for investigating and breaking stories, on abuses in the mining sector in Zimbabwe under former President Robert Mugabe’s rule. Many of those stories, based on carefully sourced, factual evidence, were backed up publicly by calls from NGOs and the U.S. government for action.

Then, U.S. influence across Africa was undisputed. Yet today America’s diplomacy across Africa — and in Zimbabwe in particular — is coming under scrutiny for a combination of naiveté, bias towards opposition groups, lavishing public funds on NGOs, and complacency in face of the fast-growing challenges from Russia and China for Africa’s affections. Today American policy is Africa is contorted in dangerous contradictions.

In Zimbabwe, in 18 months we have witnessed the U.S. embassy praising former President Mugabe on Twitter following his passing — only to delete the tweet after howls of displeasure from Fox News.
We have seen the U.S. embassy’s same brave and charismatic opposition leader’s valedictory in praise of Robert Mugabe’s virulently anti-homosexual policies — while at the same time the U.S. pours public funds into Zimbabwe for gay rights education. And the opposition leader has recently been found — naturally, given the support the U.S. has offered him — in Moscow and Beijing, enlisting their support for his war against the authorities. When your “friends” are out in the open, working against you and consorting with your opponents, who needs enemies?
Elsewhere in Africa, the U.S. has drawn criticism for backing out of lightly funded military assistance against Islamic jihadists in Mali, Cameroon, and Nigeria — with with seven out of eight U.S. counterterrorism units drawn down across the continent in the last year — while maintaining State department funding for local, niche, minority-interest NGOs.

It is not for Zimbabweans to judge the rights, wrongs, or reasons why for American foreign-policy decisions. Unless, of course, they directly affect Zimbabwe — and many of these do.

U.S. policy banning Zimbabwean diamonds over baseless falsehoods and in the face of the facts causes Zimbabweans — and Americans — to suffer financially. Policy supporting a self-professed minority-basher and violence-mongering opposition leader undermines our faith — and American honesty — in support of democracy and good governance.

Zimbabweans, the current government included, wish to be America’s allies. We wish to trade and to connect. Zimbabwe has vast, untapped resources and the best-educated citizens in Africa, who want to work and look to America for investment and the blessings of freedom and opportunity. There is much to be gained for both countries by working closer together.

Instead, Zimbabwe is being cut off for a fiction. And American citizens must enjoy Russian diamonds for that fact. In the Kremlin you can hear the joy as they shout, “бриллиант!”

Elias Mambo is an award-winning investigative journalist who is now managing editor of the Zimbabwe Morning Post. Mambo is also director at the Centre for investigative Journalism in Zimbabwe.

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Author: Elias Mambo