They Didn’t Do It for Medals

“Only you — only you! — could manage to get shot in the ass!”

The year was 1987. A group of middle-aged men sat under the umbrellas at the cheap fiberglass tables of the Holiday Inn in Columbus, Georgia not far from Fort Benning. They deserved a Ritz-Carlton, but this would have to do. The sign out in front of the hotel, the letters hanging somewhat askew, read:

WELCOME 8TH AIRBORNE RANGER COMPANY

The comment about taking an unfortunate enemy round in the gluteus maximus was an affectionate jab from one member of the company to another, and it was met with howls of protest and laughter.

“Son,” a grizzled old veteran said gripping my shoulder while the other men tried to interrupt him. “Hush! Hush!” he said to them in mock annoyance before turning back to me. “I mean it went in one cheek and came out of the other just as neatly as could be! No bone, just flesh!”

The index finger of his right hand poked one of his own cheeks while the thumb of his left hand moved up and out on the other side, indicating the bullet’s exit.

The conversation turned to a man with an even more unfortunate war wound.

“I tell ya, he thought his life with the ladies was over.” The other men listened expectantly for the ending of a story they knew well. “There was so much blood, we feared he had been gut shot! But, nooo!”

“No!” bellowed another, like a member of the choir in a good Pentecostal church.

The teller of the story continued: “So, I pull his pants down and guess what? It was just nicked!”

Again, howls of laughter.

My father finished the story: “We just told him he’d have a good story to tell when it came to explaining how he got that scar.”

Men wiped their eyes and guffawed.

This was a reunion of the 8th Airborne Ranger Company, or what remained of it. The end of the American spear in Korea 1950-51, they were the handpicked elite from all airborne and subsequent Ranger units. Not surprisingly, 8th Company had the highest qualification scores in the history of the Ranger Training Command (RTC).

Over the course of that weekend, the Ranger School at Fort Benning would honor them with a demonstration of modern Ranger skills and tactics. The latest generation of Rangers would rappel from helicopters, make a practice jump, and tour them around Benning, the place where 8th Company was born in 1950. And, not coincidentally, it was where I was born.

The men of 8th Company were much older now and not as lean as the men — boys, really — who appeared in the photos from 1950-51. Most carried extra weight around the middle, had the leathery skin that came with years of overexposure to the sun, and old tattoos that had purpled with age on biceps and calves that were not as hard and chiseled as they once were — but you didn’t try to tell them that. Like old athletes, they spoke with as much bravado as ever.

I had to smile. It had been my privilege to be raised in the company of such men. They could be profane and the jokes were always off-color. They were, to a man, hard-drinking and chain-smoking. They incessantly complained about the army and were fiercely proud of their part in it. Ornery and ready to fight each other, they were nonetheless ready to die for each other, too. Their vices were ever near the surface and yet, I cannot imagine where America would be without their kind.

I was 20 years old and sat silently watching and listening as I so often did when my father swapped war stories with other veterans. But this time it was different. These weren’t just any veterans; these were the men with whom he had shed blood. This would be his last reunion and it was important to him that I be there. As the son of an 8th Company Ranger, I was, like other sons, an honorary member of this very exclusive club and therefore allowed to participate on the periphery of their banter — and fetch them beer. Lots of beer. Ranger reunions were impossible without beer. And with middle-aged men, that meant frequent trips to the bathroom.

With my father away for a moment on just that sort of mission, one of his old buddies leaned in as if to tell me a secret:

“If any man was ever born to be a soldier, it was your father. Some men have an instinct for the battlefield, and he damn sure did. Absolutely the best shot I ever saw. Could hit flies at a hundred yards. And, man, he was fearless…”

My father, returning, rolled his eyes: “That’s bulls–t, Mike. I was as afraid as any man.”

He turned to me. “It’s as I’ve told you before, son, a man who is truly fearless will get you killed. There’s something wrong with him. His instincts don’t tell him to be afraid when he should be. You want a man on point who wants to stay alive just like you do and whose senses are telling him ‘something’s not right here’ when there’s reason to believe you’re walking into an ambush. Now Mike here, was a helluva point man…” This was all very typical. They extolled each other’s battlefield heroics, but not their own.

Graduates of the 1950 RTC should not be confused with the more than 10,000 military personnel who wear Ranger tabs today and who do not serve in Ranger units. This is no slight to those who wear them. But as any Ranger will tell you, there is a difference between passing the Ranger course and serving as a Ranger, especially today where the standards have been watered down for political reasons. These men were truly elite as indicated by the high washout rate and the fact that of the 500,000 soldiers of the United Nations serving in the Korean War, there were never more than 700 Rangers.

Just as my father indicated, I had heard stories like this before, this old battlefield wisdom. My whole life, in fact. More stories followed. More laughter, backslapping, and beer. Indeed, the cans in the center of the table began to pile up and lips became looser.

Those of us who have heard a lot of old war stories, the wives, the sons and daughters, learn to distinguish the authentic from the fictional. Because the men who did the real fighting as these men had — and I mean the really brutal, prolonged, on the ground stuff where the sight and smell of the dead forever sears memories — they don’t like to talk about the details. Not even with each other. The guy who talks casually about what he did in combat? You can bet that he’s either a fraud or that battle has unhinged him.

“When your dad came home from Korea,” my Uncle recently told me, “he had a chest full of ribbons. He was a hero. But he wouldn’t talk about it in anything but general terms.” And nor did the rest of 8th Company who had their share of ribbons, too. The stories they told on this reunion weekend were mostly amusing, but to the veteran listener of veterans’ stories, you knew that the humor masked a horror.

All of these men dealt with the psychological wounds of war whether they ever received a Purple Heart or not. My mother tells me that my father suffered from hideous nightmares to the day he died, a recurring one being that he had fallen into a thinly covered mass grave full of bodies in a state of decomposition. Though he fights to climb out over the bodies, the rotten flesh slides off the bones as he grips them and their flesh remained on him for days until he could bathe, a luxury not afforded to men behind enemy lines. Though he would never say, she thinks the nightmare reflected an actual occurrence. I wager all of these men had nightmares of war.

Years later, as he lay on his deathbed delirious from the heavy doses of morphine, he returned to the battlefield. I will never forget his words, a command shouted with urgency and authority: “Cover the left flank! Cover the left flank! Move! Move! Move!” The order was repeated along with something about laying down suppression fire. Whatever the battle he was in, he was reliving it and he was determined to hold the line. In that moment, I prayed that the Lord would take him. He was suffering the horror of war all over again.

The next afternoon, his chest, heaving and belabored for days, relaxed and the air left his lungs in one long sigh. My father was dead.

A few days later, I sat solemnly with my mother going through his things. It was a joyless task. Buried among his memorabilia we found a letter from a fellow member of 8th Ranger Company, Thomas Nicholson. It was an award of sorts, but deadly earnest, and, again, the humor here serves a purpose — it makes a terrifying memory more tolerable to recollect. It read:

During combat operations in the Republic of South Korea, Charles Taunton bravely, but unknowingly, earned life membership in The Noble & Ancient Order of the Combat Boot…. He deserves the acclaim and friendship of all who learn that he unselfishly, and with little regard for his own safety, went behind enemy lines to assist a fellow soldier. This act of courage, which epitomizes the U.S. Army tradition of ‘never leaving an injured or deceased soldier in enemy territory,’ is worthy of great praise. Be it therefore known that I, Thomas Nicholson, was the injured soldier he carried back to friendly lines, and that it is with everlasting gratitude that I certify the truth of this citation.

Napoleon said that “Men will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.” Some men perhaps. But I never got the impression that the men of 8th Company cared about such things. They valued, above all, the opinions of the other men in 8th Company. To have the respect of the man who fought to your right and to your left, well, that meant something. In an interview with NBC News many years later, radio operator E.C. Rivera spoke with great emotion about his fellow Rangers and other Korean War veterans: “Nobody gave a rat’s ass about us. Nobody cared. They [i.e., people in America] were very cold to us.”

On July 27, 2013, the surviving members of the 8th Airborne Ranger Company gathered at the Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Led once again by their former captain, James Herbert, who was now a retired Brigadier General, the half dozen men sat with their wives and families. Before them stood Son Se-joo, the Consul General for the Republic of Korea, who had come to honor them:

In the face of overwhelming danger, your stories of valor and sacrifice saved our country and made it what it is today. As we pay tribute to you, I can confirm that the Korean War is not a ‘Forgotten War’ and that the victory is not a forgotten victory. The Korean people will never forget your sacrifice.

It was an honor long overdue, but too late for most. Coming as it did sixty years after the end of the war, most of the men of 8th Company were, by now, dead. Many had died on hills with no names, only numbers, in a country that was not their own, but in defense of principles they held dear. Others died later from wounds received in battle. And still more passed away as old men who fought in a war no one seemed to care about. Historian Thomas H. Taylor writes of 8th Ranger Company:

[Their] only tribute has been from their own post-war lives. Their collective lack of bitterness. Their forbearance from bitching about the lack of deserved recognition. This may be because they were mobilized but their nation was not. They went to war while their countrymen remained at peace. They fought, they bled, they won. Then they returned. Having given their all, they asked for nothing — and that’s just what they got.

I would add to this that satisfaction for the men of 8th Airborne Ranger Company came from something much more important to them than ribbons or recognition. It is something that only those who have known the battlefield can fully appreciate, but that the rest of us can glimpse in the terrible and inspiring story behind Thomas Nicholson’s humorous letter.

According to the Ranger Hall of Fame at Fort Benning:

On the 22nd of April 1951, 350,000 CCF [Chinese Communist Forces] troops launched their largest offensive of the Korean War. The attack broke the 6th Republic of [South] Korea Division that retreated 21 miles, leaving the right flank of the U.S. 24th Infantry Division exposed. The Commanding General of the 24th Infantry Division sent the 90 men of the 8th Ranger Infantry Company into this void.

It was in that void, on Hill 628, a godforsaken, bleak mass, that Thomas Nicholson was shot up badly. Wounded and expecting to die as the battle raged around him, he sat propped against a tree, bleeding to death and holding a hand grenade. His plan was to pull the pin when the enemy that surrounded them drew near, thus killing himself and as many of the CCF as possible.

But that’s not what happened.

Instead, his fellow Rangers came for him just as they came for every other wounded or dead American on that hill. Calculating that the CCF who surrounded them would not expect them to abandon their fixed positions on 628 and attack, the Rangers closed ranks, formed a spearhead, put the wounded in the middle, and assaulted the side of the hill between them and a company of tanks in the valley below (see no. 2 on this list of most heroic acts of bravery). One platoon remained on the hill to provide cover fire as the other two platoons slammed into the unsuspecting Chinese. The effect was devastating. Writes Taylor: “As the Rangers approached, Chinese came out of their holes in a banzai attack. They were mowed down — nothing was going to stop 8th Company unless every man took a bullet.”

They carried him off of Hill 628 just as a U.S. Navy gull wing Corsair fighter bomber descended, banked, and hit the mountain with napalm. Ranger Robert Black recalled it years later: “A black canister fell from beneath the plane and a moment later a towering gout of flame erupted from behind the hill.” For over a mile the Rangers fought their way through CCF lines until they reached the tanks where their wounded could be evacuated.

Thomas Nicholson spent the next 18 months in hospitals. He never rejoined 8th Company, but he did live to become a husband and father. He also became a helicopter pilot in Vietnam. Thirty years after the war was over, he issued “citations” to the men responsible for his rescue. My guess is that this included every man who fought to get all of the dead and wounded — a third of 8th Company — off of Hill 628.

When my father spoke with pride of his war record, it was never with a medal in mind. It was not in the recollection of some heroic act or a promotion. And it wasn’t in the body count of enemy dead, a statistic of which he never spoke. If I may borrow a phrase from E.C. Rivera, my father “didn’t give a rat’s ass” about any of that. No, he took great pride in one simple fact: in the history of 8th Ranger Company, they never left a man behind be he wounded or dead. Never. And if I had to bet, I would wager that the rest of the men in this remarkable company felt the same way.

Perhaps that explains why his mind went back to a specific moment in battle as death, the enemy he could not escape, closed in on him. Even in dying, the men of the 8th Airborne Ranger Company maneuvered to protect:

“Cover the left flank! Cover the left flank! Move! Move! Move!

Larry Alex Taunton is an author, cultural commentator, and freelance columnist contributing to The American Spectator, USA Today, Fox News, First Things, the Atlantic, and CNN. You can subscribe to his blog at larryalextaunton.com.

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Author: Larry Alex Taunton

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Jordan Peterson Is Taking the Fight to Big Tech

Jordan Peterson, New York Times best-selling author and vocal advocate of free speech, says he will be launching a new social media platform that is free of restrictive censorship. With a terms of service predicated on free-speech policies, ThinkSpot (sign up for a Beta invite here) will seek to provide a voice for any and all, regardless of politics or viewpoint.

As a subscription service, ThinkSpot will also allow users to monetize their content and thus fill the vacuum created by Big Tech’s admonishing treatment of voices outside the Leftist mainstream. Coming on the heels of social media site Pinterest’s indefinite blocking of pro-life group Live Action under a “pornography block list”, the announcement couldn’t seem to be at a more opportune time. This type of behavior shouldn’t surprise anyone who has been following the increasingly tyrannical oversight of tech companies on the content that is shared through their platforms.

This type of behavior is what initially prompted Peterson to begin exploring possible alternatives to the current social media landscape as early as December 2018. After Patreon, a crowdfunding website, banned user Carl Benjamin (or Sargon of Akkad as he is known online) for engaging in what it determined was hate speech – even though it happened on YouTube, a platform not owned by Patreon – Peterson decided he had had enough.

Indicative of what he saw as a larger phenomenon of Big Tech moderating its platforms so as to censor any material it personally deemed outside the bounds of acceptable discourse, Peterson along with political commentator Dave Rubin announced their leaving of Patreon. They also vowed to begin exploring the feasibility of launching some type of alternative platform free of arbitrary censorship.

Enter ThinkSpot. “Once you’re on our platform we won’t take you down unless we’re ordered to by a US court of law,” Peterson explained. Good news for those who wish to express viewpoints outside the corridors of university gender studies departments.

One feature of the sight worth noting is the fresh approach on the user comment section. Limiting each comment to a maximum of 50 words, the idea is to require that user’s invest more thought into their responses. “Even if you’re being a troll, you’ll be a quasi-witty troll,” according to Peterson.

Some users will of course work hard to encapsulate heinous and vile remarks within that word limit. As remedy, the site potentially offers a voting feature in which comments receive either upvotes or downvotes, requiring viewers to click on those receiving more of the latter than the former in order to view the content.

The main challenge is in creating enough of a user base to make the site a viable endeavor. The tech giants currently reign supreme in the realm of online public discourse fora. But maybe dethroning Big Tech isn’t necessary for success. Simply providing an alternative platform, where tolerance of opposing viewpoints is the standard, may attract enough support to create a niche for ThinkSpot in regard to political conversation rather than as an alternative to Twitter, Facebook, and the like.

At best this would filter out intolerant users who seek to censor opposing viewpoints. As Dave Rubin recently pointed out, however, this fact would likely be weaponized by the Left to paint the new platform as the gathering place for the alt-right – a safe-space for racists, misogynists, and homophobes. This argument would then be used to dissuade others from signing on to the service, particularly those of a more centrist (or certainly Leftist) bent in their political beliefs.

The open exchange of ideas, from as many viewpoints and as many commentators as possible, is undoubtedly the best way to refine political thought and establish shared values. ThinkSpot provides an excellent template for what a social media platform in an open society should resemble. It will have to stay vigilant, however, that this reality is not simply used as another tool of censorship.

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Author: Dominick Sansone

‘I Think I Would’ — A Clause Challenging Those Who Incite Before Thinking

A person contemplates a business deal. The negotiators get very clever, sly — trying to maximize the deal’s value and minimize their taxes. It happens all the time. Some really weird, crazy ideas come out.

“Hey, do you think we can do this? I think we can.”

“Hey, can we declare our business an LLC, a pass-through… whatever that means? I think we can.”

“Hey, can I just incorporate my own self and protect my house that way? I think I can.”

“Hey, can we incorporate in Delaware — better yet, can we incorporate in the Cayman Islands, wherever that is? I think we can.”

“Hey, can we just call her an independent contractor so as to avoid paying employee taxes? I think we can.”

“Hey, can we just make that alteration to the property without seeking a permit? I think we can.”

I think we can. I think I would. I think.

That is how executives in the business world speak and conduct business. They are unbridled, without reins, very daring. They go way outside the box. And then, having gone as far as they can think, they turn to their professionals — the accountants and the attorneys — and they say: “Here is what we came up with, assuming it is legal or that you can figure out some other way to make it legal. Can we do it?”

That is when the attorneys get to work. I have worked at some of the finest law firms in America, where the legal scholarship and incisive creativity of thought is amazing. I know all the jokes and stereotypes about attorneys. Yet I also know first-hand how honest and ethical the vast majority of attorneys are. Yes, the Michael Cohens and Michael Avenattis — and the rest of their ilk — are an appalling embarrassment and feed into the popular stereotype that is exacerbated any time someone has a legal encounter that he or she loses, or that costs a ton of money. I get it. And, yes, the overall system stinks. It moves too slowly. (By contrast, after Lincoln was assassinated April 14, 1865, eight co-conspirators were adjudged guilty on June 30, and four of them were hanged on July 7.) And justice costs too much. But the really great attorneys work their tails off, putting in fifteen- and eighteen-hour days when the need arises in the face of a court-filing or deal-closing deadline or a pending trial, to research every conceivable precedent that may save the day, to confer in teams to generate valuable ideas. And I have met all-too-many people who hated “lawyers” until the day came when their kid was unfairly arrested or when they were wrongfully sued or when someone else cheated them out of their rightful property — and then they found true love… at least for their attorney.

If Donald Trump were a bit more circumspect and understood that sometimes it really is OK to be circumspect, he either:

1. Would not have spent two days openly and casually conversing with a Clinton Communications Director, now a Democrat Hack looking to embarrass and hurt Trump; or

2. Would have answered the question about accepting opposition dirt research from a foreign government by saying “I first would ask my legal team, the finest legal minds in America, whether such activity is lawful, and I would proceed from there.”

But Trump, G-d bless him, shoots from the lip and prefers the unfiltered to the menthol.

Nevertheless, all he said was that he think she would accept that information. He think she would. Listen at 3:23-3:41. Almost no one seems to have picked up on that verb. He think she would. “Think” is a verb that connotes tentativeness, pending more careful analysis later.

Others have made the obvious points, many times over, that the Left Media and Democrats, as always, are so hypocritical. Thus, Crooked Hillary paid for opposition research that her team understood came from Russians close to Putin. Kerry has traveled to Iran to incite the Mullahs to wait out Trump, an initiative that borders somewhere between treason and at least violating the Logan Act. Ted Kennedy did the same with the Russians during Reagan’s day. Pelosi flew to Syria to strengthen Assad when Bush was President. All the usual garbage.

But on top of all that — Trump spoke exactly the way a chief executive would be expected to speak: he shared his sense that, in a hypothetical situation that could offer a potentially huge advantageous pay-off, he think she would go for it, like if Norway offered it. Norway is not our enemy and is pretty irrelevant, give or take a fjord. And that is why Trump hires teams of smart, even brilliant, attorneys and accountants: to guide what he thinks into what he actually ends up doing. (And, for other purposes that have so very little to do with the kind of law that brilliant attorneys find in law books, Trump also will have a Michael “Cash Cab” Cohen on retainer to pass around a few bucks like “Michael Anthony,” the fictional character in the 1950s TV show, “The Millionaire,” to worthy women in need so that they can afford silicone supplements to remain abreast of current affairs.

So Trump said “I think so,” and the Clown Car — 23 and Counting — came honking into town, with the lowest in the polls hoping for oxygen. Impeach him! Stretch him! Hang him! Force him to listen to Rap!

They are such despicable hypocrites, the whole lot of them. Obama’s moles dug up “Oppo Research” on his opponents in Illinois, unsealing confidential court divorce files, revealing that this one beat up his wife and that one forced his divorcing spouse to engage in uncommon trysts. Gillibrand’s moles got her into Congress as a 9-1-1 phone call recording from an abused wife was released to the media. Dirt. A resurfaced tape of a conversation in a trailer. A DUI involving Bush II before he matured. A claim that Romney rough-housed one day in high school. Digging up dirt. Gingrich’s bitter ex-wife looking to get even. Herman Cain’s past. Stephen Moore’s divorce records. Excavating for more and more dirt.

Meanwhile, O’Rourke, who is Scottish and Irish with not a gene of Hispanic-anything, not even in one single ear hair, was involved with hackers and broke into buildings. Sanders flew to give succor to Communists from the Soviet Union, where he honeymooned, to Nicaragua. Obama and Kerry worked covertly with the Israeli Left to try to turn Netanyahu out of office and to corrupt another country’s elections with foreign influence and State Department funding. The Clintons took hundreds of thousands from the Chinese. Indeed, the whole Clinton Foundation funneled foreign money that way. Such liars and phonies, all — even as Biden wielded his Vice Presidential authority to intimidate a foreign government leader, the President of Ukraine, to fire that nation’s prosecutor as the noose was being tightened around the neck of Hunter Biden’s multi-million-dollar sweetheart dealings there.

There is a real meaning to the word “think.”Again: “Think” is a verb that connotes tentativeness, pending more careful analysis later. The corrupt and defamatory Left Media from CNN to MSNBC to ABC to CBS to NBC to PBS to the New York Times to the Washington Post can be associated with many terms. But a verb that connotes tentativeness, pending more careful analysis, is foreign to a contemporary Fourth Estate that repeatedly has proven itself incapable of careful analysis.

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Author: Dov Fischer

Why Gillibrand Is the Most Vapid Clown in the Car

She is so excruciatingly, insufferably, painfully stupid, shallow, pandering, desperate, and without ethics.

Kirsten Gillibrand. United States Senator from New York. Candidate for 2020 Democrat Presidential nomination.

Dolt.

She was not initially on my radar. I follow the news like a hawk, but she always was so politically lightweight — make that bantamweight — that she did not register. Here in California, “register” is a term we often use for earthquakes. The Northridge shaker registered at 6.7. A solid 3.5, give or take, will wake you up. Gillibrand registers at 0.0, give or take a zero.

It is not that I live amid a high bar for United States Senate excellence. Here in Orange County, the epicenter of The Resistance within the People’s Republic of California, reports reach us that we are represented by Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris. One slept her way from the bottom to the top. Everyone here knows that. She cavorted publicly with one Willie Brown, then California Democrat Kingmaker, even prompting Willie’s wife to castigate her in the same brazen open way that the affair itself was conducted. In a quote published by the famous San Francisco columnist Herb Caen in his book, Basic Brown, Mrs. (Blanche) Brown said on the eve of Willie being sworn in as Mayor of San Francisco:

“Listen, she may have him at the moment, but come inauguration day and he’s up there on the platform being sworn in, I’ll be the b***h holding the Bible.”

As for our other U.S. Senate star, she spent nearly twenty years being chauffeured around by a spy for the Chinese government. Are you worried about collusion and leaks to foreign governments? How about having a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence talking privately on her phone for two decades with no one else listening in — except for a spy planted there by China? Many Americans outside the Golden Homeless State had the opportunity to witness for your own eyes and ears these two gems on full national display during Christine Blasey Perjury day. Dromedary and Bactrian. One hump and two humps. Dianne and Kamala.

So my exposure to Senate excellence does not set a high bar for Kirsten Gillibrand to transcend or even to ascend. And yet, as she endeavors to ascend, that is exactly the end on which she lands. Here is why:

For several years, The Dolt was in the House, representing a somewhat moderate, even conservative, Upstate New York theretofore Republican district. She won election in 2006 and retained office in 2008 by advocating conservative views. She supported the National Rifle Association. She even received a 100% rating from the NRA. She opposed amnesty for Illegals. She even opposed issuing drivers’ licenses to Illegals. She voted to withhold federal funds from Sanctuary Cities. She won the Republican district because news broke days before the election that her opponent, the incumbent GOP Congressman, was abusive to his wife and even “knocked her around the house.” The wife had phoned in a plea to 9-1-1, and the tape ended up in the news just in time.

That is how democracy works. That is how our leaders emerge to lead us over the cliffs.

Gillibrand was a Clinton neophyte and sycophant. She traveled with them, campaigned for them, and they for her. They raised money for her. Despite everyone knowing about Bill Clinton’s history with Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick, and Monica Lewinsky — among others — Gillibrand was only too eager to associate closely with Bill. And it paid off. When Hillary was named by Obama as Secretary of State, she had to give up her Senate seat. Gillibrand, an Utter Unknown in a field of possibilities that included Andrew Cuomo and Caroline Kennedy, nevertheless was named by New York Governor David Paterson to that vacated Clinton seat.

She has been running for President ever since.

Gillibrand immediately ditched all her “values” and moved rapidly to the Left. As the Democrats moved even farther yet to the Left, she kept endeavoring to outpace them. When #MeToo erupted after Harvey Weinstein, Gillibrand played a leading role in demanding that Al “Probing Fingers” Franken resign from the Senate. To get more national attention as she ramped up her Presidential aspirations, she then turned on her Clinton patrons and excoriated Bill, saying that he should have resigned from the Presidency in light of all the times he abused women, culminating with Lewinsky. Yet such concerns never before had stopped Gillibrand from endorsing Clintons and bragging of their endorsements and of their fundraising for her during all the prior years, even though all of Clinton’s storied abuses of women had been world famous by then.

In other words, not only no deeply held personal values, but also no loyalties, just the brazen single-minded pursuit of fame and power.

When she ran in New York for reelection to the Senate in 2018, she was challenged whether she had eyes on the White House. She famously and publicly promised to serve a full six-year term in the Senate if elected. Yet only two months after her November reelection, she announced her Presidential exploratory committee and joined the Democrat Clown Car. Unlike Georgia Governor-Not-Elect Stacey Abrams, she was able to fit in.

During the past many months, Gillibrand repeatedly has demonstrated two defining characteristics:

1. She is the most phony of fakers.

2. In the face of polling for months in the general vicinity of Zero-point-Zero, she will say absolutely anything, no matter how absurd (assuming she is smart and realizes what she is saying, but is saying The Outrageous for news-making effect) or outright just-plain-stupid (assuming she actually means what she is saying).

1. The Most Phony of Fakers

Gillibrand is a strong supporter of the most vile bigot in America, Linda Sarsour, and likewise praises Sarsour’s close second in hate, Tamika Mallory. Gillibrand endorses them, seeks to be photographed with them, and wants the Democrat Left to associate the name of Kirsten Gillibrand with Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory. When Time magazine named those two Jew-hating racist bigots among America’s most influential people, Sen. Gillibrand amazingly personally authored the article. Sarsour openly thanks Gillibrand for “work[ing] for us on the inside.” Yet the same Gillibrand will throw around the insult “Racist!” when describing others who are not politically correct. She even sees “racism” in being pro-life. But she endorses Sarsour and Mallory, whose catalogues of prejudice, bigotry, and hate against Jews, White people, and even White women are an open book.

Although Gillibrand postures as a #MeToo activist, she has openly tolerated remarkable anti-female abuse in her own office, where she disregarded several women’s complaints and pleas to deal with one of Gillibrand’s closest long-time staffers, who repeatedly told “rape jokes” in the office, intimidated women sexually, and created a profoundly hostile workplace environment for women. Only after a woman staffer resigned over the severe and persistent abuse, and the story then broke in Politico, did Gillibrand act to contain the political fallout.

2. She Will Say Absolutely Anything to Register a Decimal

Gillibrand was a relative unknown when named United States Senator. As a Democrat United States Senator in New York, she cannot lose reelection if she tries. But her Aught Nothingness is more manifest on the national stage. From the early weeks of her candidacy for the Democrat Presidential nomination, she has been unable to register. To get attention — any attention at all — she now will say anything that comes to her unscripted mind, no matter how absurd, no matter how really not smart. That is, no matter how objectively stupid. You be the judge: Absurd or Stupid?

Thus, she has announced that, if elected, she will federally recognize a legal third-gender option, creating an “X” field on identification documents for people who don’t identify as male or female. Likewise, she will roll out new birth certificates, replacing “mother” and “father” with gender-neutral language “to ensure that both members of a same-sex couple can secure their parental rights from the day their child is born.” Absurd or Stupid?

She tweeted: “Our future is: / Female / Intersectional /… And we’re just getting started.” For that, she got slammed all over Twitter. Remember: She is White. Rich. Non-Muslim. For years a friend of the tobacco lobby. And although she yet may change her gender to get another vote somewhere, meanwhile she is one of the two genders recognized in the Bible. She is not yet Muslim, though she works on the inside for Linda Sarsour. Tough to see how Instersectionalism raises her Presidential fortunes above Cory (Black), Kamala (female, Jamaican, Indian, weed smoker, sexually promiscuous when needed), Pete (Gay), Julian Castro (Hispanic), Andrew Yang (Asian), Gov.-Non-Elect Stacey (female, Black, non-stereotypically full-figured, not elected), and those of such ilk. Absurd or Stupid?

Shecomparespro-life judges to racists and Jew-haters (like, uh, Linda Sarsour? Tamika Mallory?). Absurd or Stupid?

Still hovering at Zero-point-Zero, she pledges to legislate giving $600 to every person to donate to a candidate.  Absurd or Stupid?

Not enough? Still not registering in the polls?

So she goes to a Gay Bar, wearing a rainbow-colored “Love Is Brave” T-shirt (get it?), and gets herself filmed sipping a drink at the bar, as though she does this all the time. A long weary day on the trail, so need to relax just a bit at Happy Hour at the Ol’ Gay Bar. And then she waves at one of her many fans in the bar, assuming anyone there even recognized her and did not think instead that she was signaling a desire to be “picked up” or to “pick up,” and she yells: “Gay Rights!

Think about that last one. Really, pause a moment. Can you imagine someone entering a kosher deli, wearing a T-shirt that says “I Love Lukshin Kugel,” eating a piece of gefilte fish with a sour pickle and rye bread, waving at people she does not know and yelling out down the room “Jew Rights!”? Seriously.

I have been at a gay bar only once — at an awkward moment fifteen summers ago, when my wife and ten-year-old son were driving down to a world-famous Laguna Arts Fair, and we needed most assuredly to stop at a restroom. None of us ever before had been in any bar at all (except a bar mitzvah…), and it was during the years before a Starbucks bathroom was available on every block. We did not want to enter a non-kosher restaurant for the pit stop because it might seem we would be entering to eat there, so we figured let’s just go in-and-out of the bar. As we entered, I made a bee-line for the men’s room. The first thing that seemed strange was that there was no door to the room — you could see in and out of the room. And then I saw something else in there that educated me rapidly beyond my yeshiva education. ’Nuff said. I realized rapidly that I had entered a twilight zone that even Rod Serling never had imagined, and — although I had tried avoiding the non-kosher burger place down the block — I essentially just had brought my wife and young boy into a place that might as well have had that burger store’s sign: “In-and-Out.”

So there is Kirsten, Intersectionalist, tight “Love Is Brave” T-shirt. Music blaring so loud that no one can hear a thing. Sipping a drink at a bar, fake dancing in a kind of Elaine Benes way. Big inviting smile. And she waves her hand at someone and yells something inviting that no one can hear at the bar, except for the microphone her campaign has attached near her for her choreographed tweet. So tell me: What does a person there think, if not that she is looking for a “date”? Invest five seconds of your life and watch this tweeted snippet. Absurd or Stupid?

Kirsten Gillibrand will say absolutely anything to register a decimal. Even at a gay bar. To get a one-dollar donation, she will film how many tries at beer pong? For every Robert O’Rourke video showing him getting a full-mouth cavity inspection or having his ear hairs cut, she can take Twitter and YouTube a notch even lower. In the year of the 23-and-Counting, Kirsten Gillibrand is the most vapid clown in the car.

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Author: Dov Fischer

Lemonade Stands Legalized in Texas

A child’s lemonade stand set up on a hot summer day is a classic element of Americana. Lemonade stands are one of a child’s first forays into entrepreneurship, and teach valuable skills about commerce, sales, and resource management. Lemonade stands also give children a fun and productive activity to do when school is out.

They’re utterly uncontroversial, right?

Not so much. In many states, it is illegal to have a lemonade stand without a permit. You may recall the campaign last summer by Country Time Lemonade to combat the shutting down of children’s lemonade stands. The company volunteered to pay the legal fees of children whose lemonade stands were shut down by police.

Texas Governor Gregg Abbott signed a law on Monday to finally make it legal for children to have lemonade stands without permits.

Abbott signed the law in a video on Twitter where he said, “Here is a common-sense law. It allows kids to sell lemonade at lemonade stands. We had to pass it because police shut down a lemonade stand here in Texas. So kids, *signs bill* cheers *sips lemonade*.”

The children that Abbott references in the video are two girls from Overton, Texas who were trying to earn a little bit of money to buy their dad a Father’s Day gift by selling Kettle Corn and Lemonade. Their stand was shut down because the eight and nine year old girls lacked adequate government permits to run the stand.

Representative Matthew Krause (R-Ft. Worth) proposed the law, HB 234, after the two girls had their stand shut down. The law specifies that municipalities and counties across the state may not create any sort of law or regulation that  “prohibits an individual younger than 18 years of age from temporarily selling lemonade or other nonalcoholic beverages from a stand on private property.” The rules are now clear in Texas, lemonade stands are allowed, and children will no longer run into permit problems when trying to engage in local commerce on a miniature scale.

Across the country, every year kids get in trouble for having unpermitted lemonade stands. Lemonade stands are a harmless way for kids to learn important skills while keeping themselves occupied and out of trouble in the summer months. The government shouldn’t put up unnecessary barriers that punish kids’ entrepreneurial spirit. Legalization of lemonade stands in Texas.

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Author: Paige Lambermont

Freedom of Speech Wins in Texas

Texas’ Governor Greg Abbott on Sunday signed a bill ensuring that speakers in public areas on campuses will be protected, and that students interfering with free speech will face harsh consequences.

Abbott is following in the footsteps of states such as Alabama and Tennessee, both of which recently enacted similar laws preventing colleges from creating limited free speech zones, outside of which free expression would be limited. In fact, Texas is the 17th state to enact a law protecting free speech on college campuses – it is interesting to note that, while these bills often receive bipartisan support, the governors of those states are, by-and-large, Republicans. The existence of such a strong trend leads one to ask: why – and why now? Why have so many states felt the need to enact laws protecting what should be the bedrock of any college campus – free speech? While signing the bill, Abbott rightly stated that he “shouldn’t have to do it. First Amendment guarantees it.” Debate and exposure to new ideas should be the foundations of education – free speech on campus should never be threatened or restricted.

Students and staff at universities around the country disagree. Examples abound of over-sensitive and paternalistic students constraining the principles so important to our society. Santa Clara University’s student government recently refused to recognize the Young America’s Foundation (YAF), a conservative group aimed at mobilizing a growing young conservative movement. A student claimed that YAF “makes minority students feel more unsafe or targeted.” Another student senator cited “emotional harm” caused by speakers like Ben Shapiro, which he felt he couldn’t “feel good about… and tolerate.” Despite the efforts of conservative students, who made clear that “we do have a right… to express our viewpoint on this campus,” the student government failed to recognize YAF. In Abbott’s home state, Texas State University’s student government banned conservative organization Turning Point USA from campus.

These students are not alone in their distaste for free speech. Various elected officials have made statements indicating that free speech can and should be sacrificed to protect people from emotional duress. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently tweeted asking her followers and opponents “whose free speech do you believe in?” It boggles the mind that a member of the House of Representatives, who holds great sway with young Democrats, would need to ask.

Well, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, the free speech the Founding Fathers believed in, is everyone’s free speech. College students in this country should not be silenced simply on the basis that they are conservative, or that they disagree with the status quo. Conservative speakers should not be banned from campus because there is a slight risk of offending an undisclosed minority. This is why the efforts of Texas and other states to protect what should not need protection is so important.

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Author: Ali Atia

Big Business Sides With the Culture of Death

Businesses used to avoid taking political positions, lest they anger half their consumer base. No more. This week, 180 CEOs signed a pro-abortion open letter that appeared as a full-page ad in the New York Times. More than simply an endorsement of a single stance on a social issue, this business decision reveals a change in corporate strategy: avoid ticking off the mouthy minority.

The letter, presented with the print-version of clickbait “Don’t Ban Equality,” is a response to laws passed in several states that restrict abortion. The signers make the claim that the laws are “bad for business.” While the letter is short on how these laws harm business, it’s long on moral buzzwords like “equality,” “empowerment,” and “inclusive.” The signers do not make a compelling business case for killing a human life.

Are the signatories ardent supporters of a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy? In the current day and age, this very well may be the case. A more likely explanation is that virtue signaling is good for business.  

Studies show that 47% of millennials hold the belief that, “CEOs have a responsibility to speak up about issues that are important to society.”  51% say they would be more likely to “buy from a company whose CEO spoke out on an issue they agree with.” In the age of social media, the economic repercussions of these statistics can’t be understated, particularly as this generation continues to enjoy the growing influence commensurate with its increasing position in the ranks of political and social power.

One needs only to look at the slew of Fortune 500 companies withdrawing from doing business in Georgia following the state’s ban on abortion once a heartbeat is detected. Businesses fight to prove their level of “wokeness” to customers. They don’t consider expressing opposition to the new leftist party line, even if it doesn’t affect their business. They attempt to avoid business risk headaches like the fast food chain Chick-Fil-A faces over CEO Dan Cathy’s personally held belief about traditional marriage.

The battle lines of the culture wars have been drawn. The business world, by throwing in with social justice warriors have enabled the Age of the Heckler’s Veto.

In a capitalist society, however, competition ensures that newcomers may reach the customers lost to “going woke.” Big businesses undermine their own market power by alienating portions of their customer base in order to appease the minority who are radicals.  Others will likely pick up the slack.

Those who seek to censor, bully, and shame will ultimately be defeated by the one thing they continuously work to control: personal choice.

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More: Big Tech bullies at Pinterest black list Pro-Life accounts and Christians. Kirsten Gillebrand says that being pro-life is no longer acceptable.

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Author: Dominick Sansone

Deal with Mexico is Good News for Everybody

“Everyone [sic] very excited about the new deal with Mexico” President Trump tweeted Saturday, following the announcement of a deal aimed at curbing immigration from Central and South America. The deal came after several days of negotiation, largely as a result of threats by President Trump to raise tariffs on Mexican goods by 5% weekly. These threats, as noted from the outset by various commentators, were intended more as negotiation tactics, as opposed to concrete policy. The speed with which a deal was reached illustrates that these tactics were successful.

The news is good for everybody. Mexico has agreed to attempt to curb the flow of immigration through the use of various programs and initiatives. These include devoting more troops to its southern border in order to stop immigrants from other nations before they can enter Mexico as a route to the US. Mexico has also promised to expedite the process of holding immigrants until their asylum claims are adjudicated.

With these developments, Trump can rightly say that he has made substantial progress towards one of his main campaign promises – securing the border. Further, with the threat of tariffs now a thing of the past, the economy and consumers can rest easy knowing that trade with Mexico will continue uninterrupted. Markets worldwide have responded positively to the deal. There is no denying that the deal is beneficial not only for the US and Mexico, but also for the global economy.

Perhaps most importantly, the deal indicates that positive progress for the US-China trade war may be on the horizon. For Trump, tariffs are not ends in themselves – his use of tariff threats against Mexico indicate that, while he may verbally express willingness to raise barriers to trade, in practice he is more careful. This line of thinking extends to the trade war. Thus far, Trump has made statements professing his desire to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and negotiate a deal, in what is sure to be the key event of the upcoming G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan. Mr. Xi, too, has made optimistic claims about future trade relations with the US.

Such a deal is sorely needed. Trump is justified in wanting to push back against China – they have engaged in espionage and other bad faith practices against America, and their leadership is authoritarian and repressive. Tariffs have served as effective short-term negotiation tools against both China and Mexico. But in the long-term, high tariffs can only serve to damage the US and the world’s economy. At G20, with a deal with China in the works, Trump should also seek to make trade deals with other Western nations focused on strengthening the West against rapid Chinese growth.

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Author: Ali Atia

Did Narendra Modi Get Reelected Because of Islamophobia?

As a child when I visited India, I rarely had jet lag. At the crack of dawn, I’d be awoken first by the azaan— the call for morning prayers from the mosque. I’d barely fall asleep again when the bells in the temple would ring to the aarti— the devotional Hindu prayer. The neighborhood mosque and temple were close enough for their acoustics to be inseparable. To the untrained ear of a child the two calls sounded the same but were vastly oppositional. The azaan, translated, means there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet. The aarti is a paean to Lord Vishnu, the mighty Lord of the Universe.

By sunrise in most parts of India the gods of Hindus and Muslims have laid their respective claim to the celestial White House. On Earth, things seemed more cooperative. The azaan signaled that it was time for the aarti. The muezzin would wake the priest up with “Allah ho Akbar” (Allah is great) to remind him to give Lord Vishnu the same deference. By agreement, the muezzin and the priest made sure their calls for prayer did not overlap. Only years later did I realize the significance of this acoustic juxtaposition. The first lesson that India teaches you about coexistence is that for people to truly get along they must be their religious selves.

My first memory of religious expression was a procession of men beating their chest in the streets. I thought it was a funeral. Men looked angry but were crying and some had blood dripping from their bared chest. It was Muharram, the death anniversary of Hussein Ali, grandson of Prophet Muhammad. I recall how my grandmother, a Hindu who expressed her Hinduism in symbolic carnates, casually went about her business as if nothing was happening. Many Indians of every faith wear their religion on their sleeves, and few think the worse of anyone because of it.

If the left-leaning media is to be believed, India is hurtling towards dark ages and her days of religious tolerance are over since Narendra Modi, the leader of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), a party which unabashedly flaunts Hinduism, was reelected by a landslide. An editorial in the Guardian expressed disappointment in the election of Modi. Soon after the election results were announced notable Indian writer, Pankaj Mishra, wrote in the New York Times that Modi had “seduced India with hate.” Some believe that Indian Muslims are living in fear. Just like many believed that Trump’s victory signified rise of prejudice and white supremacy, so many feel that Modi won because he inspired prejudice, specifically hatred of Muslims in Hindus. Is this media-inspired moral panic or is there some truth?

Part of the problem in judging the significance of Modi’s return is the temptation in divorcing the present from the arc of history. If you magnify the present, there truly is much to be concerned about. Misinformation, particularly about the scientific achievements of Hindus five thousand years ago, is on the rise. Cows have assumed a special status in society and, for now, are off the menu. Many Muslims have been bullied by cow-vigilantes — self-appointed Hindu thugs charged with keeping cows from the frying pan. Magnified, India is a fallen star whose dimming light casts a shadow of despondence over a long horizon of despair.

But it is constellations not stars which tell stories. To understand India’s constellation, we must return to 1947, when the British Raj ended, and the subcontinent was divided into India and East and West Pakistan. India chose to remain secular, rather than base its national constitution on Hinduism, even though Hindus comprised the vast majority. Leaders of the Congress Party, which had inherited India, pleaded with the frightened Muslims not to leave. Many Muslims stayed back. India was reshuffled with a new aspect ratio rather than amputated.

The Congress Party felt morally responsible for reassuring Indian Muslims that their decision to remain in India was correct. They were given concessions, though historians would argue that they were political expedients, not concessions. For example, Muslims were granted their own civil law in marriages. There is one law for Hindu women and another law for Muslim women.

The line between reassurance of Muslims, a noble endeavor, and bringing religion into politics, an ignoble consequence, is thin. By 1960, Congress Party, ostensibly secular, crossed that line. The Party under Jawaharlal Nehru joined forces with the Muslim League to oust the democratically elected Communist Party in Kerala — India’s most literate state. Feroze Gandhi, Nehru’s son-in-law, wasn’t pleased with the political alliance his father-in-law — India’s first prime minister (PM) — and his wife, Indira, had chosen. Feroze warned that an alliance with an overtly religious party was an uncomfortable precedence for India’s secular politics. Feroze and Nehru did not get along. Though both were idealistic, Feroze was more principled and Nehru more pragmatic.

The Congress Party wagered that Muslims voted en bloc. Their calculation made two assumptions. The first that Muslims were united — united by theism and a continual fear of the Hindu majority. The second that religious leaders could tell Muslims who to vote for. The Congress began mixing religion with politics.

Before the elections in 1980, Indira Gandhi met Shahi Imam Bukhari, the highest authority of the Jama Masjid — India’s most important mosque, asking for his support. Bukhari agreed, but had terms of his own. Bukhari then advised millions of Muslims to vote for Indira Gandhi. Imagine if the Archbishop of Canterbury had instructed the Protestants of Northern Ireland to vote for Mrs. Thatcher. Whether or not the Protestants paid attention, the net effect of mixing religion so explicitly in politics, would have been even greater resentment from the Catholics towards Protestants.

By projecting a one-size-fits-all psephology on all Muslims, politicians not only devalued their individuality but discouraged people from seeking their individualism. The “Muslim” badge became stuck to their identity by superglue. An example — innocuous but instructive. A young man running for local elections came to my grandparents’ house to canvass for support. He was a friend of the family. My grandmother loved him. When he left, my grandmother, fiercely Hindu, said — “what a nice Mussalman (Muslim). He even supports India when India plays Pakistan in cricket.”

The idea that Muslims are a monolith, an idea still extant, is deeply offensive, unapologetically patronizing, and demonstrably false. Nevertheless, the two communities were different in one regard. After independence the Hindus and Muslims in India were joined by destiny but separated by counterfactuals — different “what ifs”? To many Hindus, for India to be logical, the two-nation theory had to be rejected, which meant Pakistan had to be illogical, the partition had to be a mistake — a regret, at best.

Muslims, understandably, saw Pakistan differently. Just as the Jews who aren’t domiciled in Israel, who live in the U.S. for example, still view Israel with reverence, Muslims in India looked to Pakistan with affection and reverence. A homeland that was never home is still a homeland. But unlike the U.S. and Israel, who are allies, India and Pakistan were perpetually at war with each other. How the two communities viewed Pakistan became a source of tension between them.

Actually, it wasn’t the wars which were the problem. It was cricket. For most of post-independence, Pakistan was undeniably the better team. India would frequently get walloped, and walloped badly, in both the short and long versions of the game by Pakistan. Hindus wondered if Indian Muslims supported Pakistan. The shame of losing to Pakistan turned into resentment for Muslims. The loyalty of Indian Muslims towards India was questioned.

Imran Khan, the fiery Pakistani bowler who was the nemesis of Indian batsmen, once declared, apparently in jest, that the Kashmir dispute, the festering land dispute between India and Pakistan, should be settled over a test series. Pakistan beat India 4-0 in that series. Cricket was salt to the wounds of the partition.

India is a complex country with complex emotions. Even as Hindus questioned the loyalty of Muslims, they flocked to cinema to watch Muslims. In the arts the Muslims flourished. Several successful actors, playwrights and singers were Muslims. Bollywood — India’s music and film industry — is fiercely agnostic — the type of amorality which comes when money is the only arbiter of judgment. For a while Bollywood was dominated by the Khans —the trio of Shahrukh, Aamir, and Salman, particularly Shahrukh, who was also known as “King Khan.” The Khans drew, predominantly Hindu, crowds to the cinema, making Bollywood rich through their fans.

Can the popularity of the Khans be extrapolated to broader Hindu sentiments about Muslims? Is it really possible for Muslims to be so successful in movies if Hindus are inherently prejudiced against them? The master logician would scoff at my fallacious dichotomy. But wisdom would not discount the broader significance of the popularity of the Khans, which indicates that prejudice, even if it exists, can be overcome.

Commerce guts prejudice more effectively than entertainment. When I was getting married in India, I needed a special suit tailor made for my physique. My physique isn’t exceptional but needs exceptional attention to detail. The choice wasn’t any tailor, but any Muslim tailor. Muslims had a reputation for attention to detail. Muslim tailors would thrive during colorful Hindu weddings and Hindu-owned grocery stores would profit during Ramadan. Hindu-Muslim commerce most succeeded when both sides clung to their traditions.

Indian Muslims were far from pampered. They had the highest rates of poverty. They lived in closed spaces — partly because of poverty. The politicians, content by their “Muslims are a monolith” strategy, never bothered improving their economic condition. Instead they indulged the demands of the vocal few whose decibels were generalized to the silent many.

In 1988, Salman Rushdie’s controversial Satanic Verses, for which he received a fatwa from Ayatollah Khomeini, was immediately banned in India. Was banning the book the highest priority for the government? At that time, Muslim women, like Hindu women, in rural Bihar, one of India’s poorest and least developed states, still defecated in open spaces, often behind the bushes, risking being assaulted by men or being bitten by poisonous snakes. Defecating in the open is one of the most pernicious problems facing women in rural India. It’s dangerous. It challenges the modesty of a culture in which immodesty is eschewed. That it was allowed to go on for so long is a testament not only to Indian politics, but those charged with reporting its warts.

Modi promised a sanitation drive and has delivered — 80 million toilets have been built in India, and many millions still need to be built. One of the untold stories of this election are the Muslim women who voted for Modi. The construction of toilets seems to be one reason for Modi’s popularity in this constituency.

There’s a certain distance from the truth one inevitably acquires when making general statements of a country as complex as India. I don’t blame Pankaj Mishra, or the Guardian or New York Times, for missing the significance of toilets for Muslim women in rural India. Like me, I suspect Mishra does not have to relieve himself in the bushes. And I would hazard a guess that if we had to go out in the sweltering heat or the dark night to defecate in the open, our wish list from India’s PM might change — banning inflammatory books, or reducing fake scientific news, might assume less pertinence. A toilet at hand is worth two in the bush.

With identity politics, politicians felt they didn’t have to do anything material for disadvantaged communities. Policies which uplift all communities — Hindus and Muslims, alike — don’t have the same religious-specificity as banning blasphemous books. But economic growth disproportionately helps Muslims precisely because they’re disproportionately poor. Modi’s pro-growth policies have brought many Muslims out of poverty.

Modi’s mandate in this elections shows that Indians are tired of being divided. They’re signaling to their politicians that local, grievance-based, identity politics, doesn’t work anymore. They’re tired of being played against each other. And they’re tired of a media which seems to gallantly miss the point, their point. The Congress Party, led by Feroze Gandhi’s grandson, Rahul Gandhi, has been slow to understand the national mood. But Modi understands the proletariat and promises to address problems which transcend India’s multiple divisions — sanitation, healthcare, roads, corruption, national security. Nationalism has terrible connotations but nationalism, for many Indians, simply means issues which affect them all.

After the election, I received a text from an Indian American physician, a Hindu, who was worried that Hindus in India were descending into Taliban-style theocracy. I, too, had concerns but I wasn’t as concerned as he was and couldn’t see the sky falling imminently. Our conversation rapidly deteriorated. I accused him of moral panic and silly hyperbole. He accused me of “normalizing the BJP” and compared my behavior with those who ignored the Nazis. The conversation got sillier — the sort you see in the comments on YouTube. He then sent me a video of a Muslim man being beaten by Hindu thugs. The video was distressing and I felt bad. Then I remembered India’s past. I still felt bad but felt proud, too, at how far India had come.

In 1980, violence erupted between Hindus and Muslims in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh, because a pig had entered a Muslim colony. A conservative estimate places the death toll at 400. In 1987, Hindus and Muslims fought each other in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, after the disputed Babri Mosque was reopened for worship. In 1989, over a thousand people, mostly Muslims, died in Hindu-Muslim violence in Bhagalpur, Bihar, after false rumors that Muslims had killed a dozen Hindu students. I could go on and on. This is just a glimpse of the episodic communal violence in India.

The human death toll of the riots aside, riots rip the psyche of the region and destroy its economy for generations. Only a simmering mistrust between communities remains. During Modi’s first term, India recorded the fewest Hindu-Muslim riots. The significance of the absence of riots can’t be understated. Riots should be a zero event. If India in the 1980s gets a grade F for Hindu-Muslim relationship, then the absence of riots, notwithstanding the rise of the cow vigilantes, surely gives India today a C-. India has a long way to go before it can get a B+. But how far India still has to go should not diminish how far India has come.

The popular narrative of Modi’s victory in the media, that he won because Hindus have become more fanatical, is very different from the realities in India. Of a thousand reasons people voted for Modi, 999 have nothing to do with religion. To believe that the Hindu votes for Modi were actuated by a chronic resentment of Muslims renders upon Hindus the same uncharitable assumption of uniformity which is still rendered upon Muslims. The assumption of tribalism is deeply offensive.

Saurabh Jha is a physician and writer. He was born in India, raised in Britain, and practices in the United States. He can be reached on Twitter @RogueRad

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Author: Saurabh Jha

The Open Border Extremists

The extremism of the Democrats, their honed-to-a-fine-edge radicalism, is displayed almost daily on the subject of abortion. When anyone — like poor old Joe Biden — strays an inch on abortion, they’re quickly reined in as Biden was last week when he endorsed the Hyde Amendment and then was forced into a flip-flop.

Their extremism goes beyond abortion to other important issues such as illegal immigration. The Dems are committed to an extreme open borders position.

The Dems’ refusal to consider any legislation to stop the flow of illegal immigration across our southern border was, to their outrage, end-run by the president in his deal with Mexico last week. The deal resulted from Trump’s threat of presidentially imposed tariffs under his national security authority. It was a beautiful sharp stick in Nancy and Chuckie’s eyes.

Since he was inaugurated, President Trump has been searching for solutions to the immigration problem and most — nearly all — of what he’s tried to do has been thwarted by the Dems and court actions. The threat of heavy tariffs on Mexican exports — most of which come into the U.S. — was Trump’s attempt to use the economic sanctions weapon that he’s used to great effect on nations such as Iran and Russia to tackle illegal immigration.

Trump threatened five percent tariffs on Mexican goods if they didn’t do more to stop the flow of illegal aliens into the U.S. The tariffs would have increased by five percent per month until Trump was satisfied with the Mexicans’ actions. About 80 percent of Mexico’s exports come to the U.S., so the Mexicans were facing a huge decline in trade they cannot afford.

The threat was enough to get the business community’s alarm bells ringing and for some Republican senators to threaten disapproval of the tariffs. They all looked pretty stupid when the result was announced.

Mexico has been a bad actor in this crisis. Its government has been providing illegal aliens from Central America transportation by bus and train to the U.S. border guarded by federal police. Mexico doesn’t want the illegals and has been very happy to shuffle them off to us.

Trump’s threat was enough to force Mexico’s President Lopez Obrador to compromise. The details of the deal are still sketchy — Trump and the Mexicans have different stories on what it does and doesn’t do — but it’s a big step in the right direction and a major win for Trump.

Under the deal, Mexico reportedly will deploy about six thousand troops to its southern border to prevent people from crossing it and then coming to America. Other Mexican national guard troops will be deployed around the country.

Also, the U.S. will be expanding its “Migrant Protection Protocols,” under which would-be asylum seekers are returned to Mexico to await adjudication of their cases. This will result in many fewer illegals being released into the U.S. general population.

The deal reportedly includes a promise to recommence the financial aid to Central American countries that Trump had stopped earlier. That’s a very bad idea because it removes the pressure on those countries to act to stem the flow of illegals into the U.S.

The Dems’ reactions to the deal are what you’d expect. Pelosi said that Trump’s threat of tariffs was reckless and that, “Threats and temper tantrums are no way to negotiate foreign policy.” Schumer said, sarcastically, that now that Trump has solved the immigration problem we won’t be hearing about it anymore.

No, Chuck. You’ll be hearing about it a lot next year and for very good reasons.

The Dems insist that there is no national emergency at our southern border despite the facts. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency, by the end of May there were 676,315 illegals apprehended there this year, over 144,000 in May alone. More than one million illegals are expected to cross our border with Mexico this year.

A growing number of them aren’t only from Central America. By June 5, at least 500 from southern and central Africa were apprehended. About 350 of them have been sent to San Antonio, Texas. Portland, Maine denied San Antonio’s request for it to take more of them.

Last week, a captured ISIS terrorist confessed to an ISIS plot to have English-speaking terrorists and “westerners” cross the border and attack U.S. financial targets. The “westerners” are citizens of European countries who have gone to Syria to fight for ISIS and are now returning to their homelands. ISIS wants them to get into the U.S. to continue their jihad.

The number of illegal aliens in the U.S. is, according to the Dems and their media cohort, around ten to eleven million. The better estimates say they are about double that in number.

The illegal aliens are welcomed to the Dems’ sanctuary cities where local cops are prohibited from cooperating with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, “ICE,” which often results in the release from local custody and escape of illegal aliens who are the subjects of deportation orders.

When the president declared a national emergency to overcome the Dems opposition to building his signature border wall, the Dems shouted about a constitutional crisis. They continue to refuse funding. In response, Trump ordered the Pentagon to reprogram some of its funding to build the wall. The Dems, despite the fact that walls have protected borders effectively for hundreds of years, deride the idea of a wall as a “medieval” remedy to a non-existent problem.

That “non-existent” problem surfaced again last week when it was reported that TSA was allowing illegal aliens to board airliners without proper identification. With one phone call, the president could stop that practice. He should make that call today and, in the same call, fire the head of TSA.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), one of the loudest anti-Semitic radicals in Congress, said last week that, “It’s un-American to criminalize immigrants for wanting to come to this country for a better life. This is why ICE needs to be defunded.” If a video of her statement exists it ought to be made into a Republican campaign ad next year.

The Democrats have worked themselves into a corner on abortion, illegal immigration, and gun control. They are chafing at the bit to impeach Trump and may yet try to do so. They don’t want to, and probably can’t, stifle their radicalism because it is a primary characteristic of their base.

The 2020 campaign may prove to be the most bitterly-fought in our history. The Dems, with the media’s help, will try to conceal their extremism in a fog of supposed moderation. They can’t be allowed to succeed.

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Author: Jed Babbin