CEO of Cardone Capitol To Team: “Immediately Discontinue All Underwriting on New York City Real Estate” In Wake of Insane Ruling in Trump Case

It begins. As predicted, one of the most successful private equity real estate firms has called for a cessation of business in New York.

Grant Cardone to Team: “Immediately Discontinue All Underwriting on New York City Real Estate”

By: Joey Solitro, Yahoo News, Feb 21, 2024:

Grant Cardone is less than pleased with the ruling against former Donald Trump, in which Trump has been ordered to pay $355 million in penalties plus interest. If Trump were to pay the full amount of the penalty today, it would cost him roughly $450 million.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Grant Cardone said, “Dear Cardone Capital team, Immediately discontinue ALL underwriting on New York City real estate. The risk outweigh the opportunities at this time. Recent political decisions will continue to deteriorate price and benefit states that don’t have these challenges. Focus on Texas & Florida.”

Cardone’s comments echo what Kevin O’Leary said in a recent interview, calling the decision to fine Trump “unjust,” “appalling,” and “Un-American.”

“That fact that he was found guilty, you might as well find guilty every real estate developer on Earth,” O’Leary said.

Continue reading.

AUTHOR

RELATED ARTICLE: Insane Trump’s Penalty Will NY Businesses To Flee to FLA, as New York State Becomes ‘Legal Banana Republic’: Experts

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His Best Townhall Yet: Trump Energy and His Deep Love For America Shines Through

Donald Trump’s Passion for America Shines Through During Townhall

Former President Donald Trump called his recent New York civil fraud case and $354 million fine “a form of Navalny” on Tuesday, just days after Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny died in a penal colony at the age of 47. Trump proceeded to pull a copy of the 8th Amendment out of his pocket, before reading the section which states, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted,” to applause from the audience (Mediaite).

Collin Rugg: Donald Trump says his “revenge” will be success and goes on to suggest that he has multiple rallies planned in New York City after the $350M ruling against him. “My revenge will be success” (X).

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Benny Johnson: Trump challenges Biden to presidential debates: “I’ll do it right now on your show. I’ll challenge him right now” (X). Maga War Room: Laura Ingraham: Why not drop out instead of face all of these legal battles? President Donald Trump: “I can’t because I want to make America great again” (X).

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Can Harvard Be Saved From DEI and a Debased Curriculum?

Harry Lewis has been at Harvard, man and boy, for fifty years. He’s a professor of computer science, and formerly Dean of Harvard. He has long been a Cassandra, a vox clamantis in deserto, alarmed about the state of education at Harvard, where he has registered the decline brought about by the madness of DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) and by self-indulgent faculty members who teach what they want — their niche subjects — rather than what the students need. More on Professor Lewis’s analysis of Harvard’s “debased curriculum,” and comments on it by Professor Peter Berkowitz of the Hoover Institution, can be found here: “Harvard’s Crisis Stems From Debased Curriculum,” by Peter Berkowitz, Real Clear PoliticsFebruary 18, 2024:

Last month, Harry Lewis published a Harvard Crimson column that squarely laid the blame on Harvard for the crisis that has engulfed the great university. Fifty years of experience on the banks of the Charles River inform Lewis’ severe judgment: He is a longtime Harvard computer science professor, a 1968 Harvard College graduate, and, from 1995 to 2003, he served as dean of Harvard College. Nevertheless, while illuminating Harvard’s damaging politicization over the last 20 years of its undergraduate curriculum – and despite his half century at Harvard – Lewis overlooks the full extent of the crisis.

In “Reaping What We Have Taught,” Lewis maintained that the surge of antisemitism on campus following Hamas’ perpetration of mass atrocities in Israel on Oct. 7 was not the fault of Claudine Gay, who resigned as Harvard’s president in early January. Nor, he asserted, had Harvard admitted antisemitic students or hired antisemitic faculty. The problem, rather, lies in Harvard’s curriculum: “Unapologetic antisemitism – whether the incidents are few or numerous – is a college phenomenon because of what we teach, and how our teachings are exploited by malign actors.”

Lewis performed a simple experiment. He typed into the Harvard online course catalog search box key words associated with fashionable progressive ideology. The word “decolonize,” he found, “is in the titles of seven courses and the descriptions of 18 more” – more than triple its appearance before 2000. The words “oppression” and “liberation” are each “in the descriptions of more than 80 courses,” while “‘Social justice’ is in over 100.” Lewis also searched for “white supremacy” and “Enlightenment” – these days, it is often said, the latter arises out of and perpetuates the former. He discovered that the terms’ appearances in the online course catalog run “neck and neck, both ahead of ‘scientific revolution’ but behind ‘intersectionality,’” which barely registered before 2000…..

Consider the Ethics & Civics category. The 2024 spring semester offerings feature such options as “Ethics of Climate Change,”; “Evolving Morality: From Primordial Soup to Superintelligent Machines,” and “Ignorance, Lies, Hogwash, and Humbug” (which deals with fake news and other forms of deceit that mark “the post-truth era”). With one of these courses, students can check the ethics and civics requirement at Harvard without ever studying Western civilization’s biblical and classical foundations, the synthesis of faith and reason in the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Middle Ages, the modern tradition of freedom’s emergence in the 17th and 18th centuries, and, not least, America’s founding principles and constitutional traditions.

The post-Oct. 7 educational crisis at Harvard, entwined with antisemitism, has been several decades in the making. Effective reform must replace the current curriculum, which advances professors’ interests in niche scholarship and partisan politics, with one that serves students’ interests in acquiring an organized introduction to the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences and in undertaking a reasoned exploration of the United States, the West, and the world.

Can the curriculum be changed at Harvard, removing niche subjects offered by self-indulgent professors, so that again requiring that students be provided with what they need to know: the “general education” that demands basic instruction in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences? And who will remove the modish madness of DEI from the campus, so that it no longer the deciding factor in determining the courses that are taught, the faculty who are hired, and the students who are admitted? What Dean or future President of Harvard would take on the twin tasks of DEI removal and curriculum reform? Perhaps, despite his age, the Harvard Corporation will offer the job of President to Harry Lewis himself. That would be a welcome sign from the Corporation that it’s willing to break with the past. Harvard could not do better.

AUTHOR

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Forget Basement Campaign — It’s Been A Whole Basement Presidency For Joe Biden

Critics of President Joe Biden have begun dusting off the “basement campaign” allegation now that the 2024 election cycle is in full-swing, but a low-profile, press-free campaign would fall right in line with how Biden has conducted his entire presidency.

During Biden’s run for president in 2020, the now 81-year-old was criticized for running a “basement campaign” as he often stayed in his home studio for media appearances and had limited, low-attendance rallies. Now, as the 2024 election approaches, similar critiques are bubbling after Biden ducked out on a traditional end of year press conference and opted out of a prime-time Super Bowl interview.

Going on his fourth year in office, Biden is averaging about 11 press conferences a year, according to data compiled by the University of California at Santa Barbara’s American Presidency Project. Biden’s average is the lowest since former President Ronald Reagan, who held office from 1981 to 1989, and averaged 5.8 press conferences per year.

The parallel between Biden and Reagan is not a coincidence, historian Barbara Perry, co-chair of the Presidential Oral History Program at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, told the Daily Caller.

“I think it’s more than coincidental that you have these two presidents with an aging factor. And I don’t mean to say that he’s non compos mentis and he’s going down. I’m not saying that at all. I’m just saying I do think it’s more than coincidental that oftentimes as these presidents get older, they want to do these kinds of pressers less. Prior to that would be the third and most elderly president was Eisenhower, who was well known for having trouble with his syntax,” Perry told the Daily Caller.

“I just think that’s part and parcel of what happens when you have older presidents, that to be on the hair trigger and be able to respond immediately to let’s face it, and I think this is the role of the press is to press and ask pressing questions instead, sometimes may even be hostile or at the very least, be pointed, and ask presidents to explain what they’re doing and why they’re doing things and to be controversial,” Perry continued.

In addition to snubbing press conferences, Biden has participated in fewer interviews with media outlets than his predecessors, according to NBC News. Since his 2021 inauguration, Biden has done 86 interviews with media outlets, NBC tallied. Former President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama trounce Biden’s numbers, each doing 300 and 422 interviews, respectively, at the same point in their presidency.

When Biden has done sit-down interviews with the media, his administration has often chosen to go the non-traditional route, sometimes avoiding hard-hitting journalists in favor of celebrity personalities. The president has done interviews with the Weather Channel, CBS News’ 60 MinutesRyan Seacrest and comedian Conan O’Brien.

In 2024, Biden has already foregone media opportunities. Biden turned down a prime-time Super Bowl interview for the second year in a row. His campaign then claimed that they wanted to give Americans a break from politics during the game, CNN reported. The NFL, however, is notoriously political, playing the black national anthem before the U.S. national anthem while players don helmet stickers reading “End racism” and “It takes all of us.”

“We are being less traditional because less people get their news from traditional mediums than ever before,” a Biden campaign official told CNN.

This year’s Super Bowl was the most-watched program in television history.

After giving an address on border initiatives being debated in Congress, Biden promised reporters on Feb. 5 that he would be back sometime during the week to answer questions. That same week the president unexpectedly gave a press conference to address a special counsel report that had been released that day discussing the president’s physical and mental state. It was widely panned after Biden mixed up the presidents of Egypt and Mexico and snapped at reporters who asked about his age.

Biden again promised to take questions from reporters following remarks on Ukraine funding stalling in Congress. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre dismissed further questions about the president’s promise.

“On Tuesday, President Biden, he said, ‘I’m not going to answer your questions today. I will answer them tomorrow and the day after,’” a reporter asked Jean-Pierre during a press briefing. “What was he talking about?”

“Well, he was outside yesterday, and he took questions from some of you,” Jean-Pierre responded, referring to when the president told the media he was giving them up for Lent. Biden also continued to repeat “Happy Valentines day” as he was asked about a mysterious national security threat.

“And what about today?” the reporter followed up.

“Today I don’t have anything to share beyond what you all know, don’t have anything to add on his public schedule,” Jean-Pierre followed up.

Mark R. Weaver, a GOP strategist, pointed to the quick-witted nature of press conferences as a reason Biden may be conducting less of them.

“It can be a little bit like playing ping pong. So in these gaggles, the reporter can serve the ping pong ball towards him, and he can hit once back, but he can’t hit the next shot or the next shot. He’ll walk away before he does. So [for example a reporter]  will say ‘Mr. President, why are the prices still so high?’ And he is able to give a first response he will say ‘Well, that’s because the Republicans in Congress’ right, so we can get a first response out,” Weaver said.

“But then the reporter will follow up ‘no, Mr. President, you did you know, you did this policy, you forgave student loans and and that change this monetary policy, what do you have to say about that,’ and then he’ll mumble and walk away. He can’t hit that second shot,” Weaver continued.

The White House dismissed questions about the president’s lack of press interactions during a February press briefing.

“The numbers show that President Biden has engaged in about 33 news conferences.  Compare that to Obama’s 66 and Donald Trump’s 52 by this time in their presidencies.  Can you explain why the President isn’t doing more?” a reporter asked Jean-Pierre on Feb. 12.

“We’re always going to try to find ways — obviously, outside of press conferences as well — t0 — for the President to be out there. And we have found some nontraditional ways.  We think it’s important to try and meet the American people where they are,” Jean-Pierre responded.

“As far as press conferences, we’re going to try and make sure when it’s the right time for — for those to happen, certainly we will — we will do so. But it doesn’t mean that this President does not engage with — with the press corps — with the White — White House press corps or with other reporters, journalists out there who have different — different ways with communicating with the American people as well.  We think that’s important too,” the press secretary continued, pointing to the amount of times Biden takes questions from reporters while on the road.

Biden does appear more willing to speak to the press when it is spontaneous, whether that be during trips or following a speech.

As of Oct. 17, 2023, Biden has engaged with the press 492 times in an informal “gaggle,” which is more than any other president aside from Trump, the Washington Post reported. The president is averaging about 131 interactions with the press per year as of Feb. 20, according to the American Presidency Project. The number is less than Trump, though far more than Obama who averaged 25 exchanges with the press per year.

Perry recounted a time she attended a December 2022 event at the White House and had an opportunity to speak to the president. Biden’s strength, Perry noted to the Daily Caller, is more personal, unexpected interaction.

“About 10 to 15 years, slid off his face between standing on that stage looking kind of tired and coming down and talking to each person standing behind the velvet rope line. And so I do think that part is a shame that to the extent that he is not out as much as maybe he would have been as a younger person meeting and greeting and pressing the flesh because that is his strength,” Perry told the Daily Caller.

While doing fewer press conferences, the Biden White House has still made an effort to meet the Americans through social media platforms such as Instagram and Tik Tok, the Washington Post previously reported. Throughout his presidency, Biden and his administration have leaned heavily on social media influencers in an effort to reach a younger crowd, though some argued to the outlet that the medium allows the White House to control the president’s messaging more.

“I think we should also point out that the press these days and in part may be trying to keep up with social media, may be more confrontational than at other times in long past,” Perry noted. “I mean, certainly the press was confrontational with Reagan, they were confrontational with Nixon, and I would compare him to someone like Trump, who really disliked the press. I don’t think Joe Biden dislikes the press, I think he probably misses the days when he could go toe to toe with them.”

AUTHOR

REAGAN REESE

White House correspondent. Follow Reagan on Twitter.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Joe Biden’s Brother Switched Up Story On China Deal After Lawmakers Showed Him Receipts, Source Says

James Biden altered his story during a closed-door interview with lawmakers on Wednesday after congressional investigators presented him with evidence directly contradicting his claims, according to a source familiar with the interview.

Joe Biden’s younger brother, in closed-door testimony to the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees, initially told his interviewers that he was not part of a business deal involving Hunter Biden and several of his associates, according to a source familiar with the interview. However, after investigators showed him an agreement that featured his signature alongside those of Hunter Biden and his business partners ,James Biden then told legislators that he did not remember signing the agreement.

The deal in question was a proposed joint venture involving an entity known as SinoHawk and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-tied CEFC China Energy Limited energy firm, according to a source familiar with the interview.

Fifty percent of SinoHawk was to be owned by Hudson West IV — an entity nominally managed by CEFC “emissary” and Joe Biden “office mate” Gongwen Dong — with the other 50% to be owned by Oneida Holdings LLC, an entity composed of LLCs controlled by Hunter Biden, James Biden, Rob Walker, James Gilliar and Tony Bobulinski, according to Bobulinski’s Feb. 13 testimony to congressional investigators and documents obtained by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The president’s younger brother also stated that he threw out a diamond that Hunter Biden had given him to appraise, according to a source familiar with James Biden’s interview. That diamond had initially been given to Hunter Biden by CEFC Chairman Ye Jianming, presumably to woo Hunter Biden to engage in business with CEFC, according to the source.

A May 2017 email from Gilliar to Hunter Biden, Bobulinski and Walker detailed the potential equity split for Oneida’s piece of SinoHawk, with 20% for “H,” 20% for “RW,” 20% for “JG,” 20% for “TB,” 10% for “Jim” and “10 held by H for the big guy,” according to the archive of Hunter Biden’s laptop.

Bobulinski told the FBI in 2020 that Oneida was supposed to receive a $5 million unsecured loan from CEFC or a related entity, and that the loan was supposed to be forgivable, according to an October 2022 letter signed by Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley. As of July 2017, the funds had not yet been sent to Oneida, apparently to the chagrin of Hunter and James Biden.

Then, on July 30, 2017, Hunter Biden sent a threatening WhatsApp text message to a Chinese business associate affiliated with CEFC, according to information disclosed to lawmakers by Internal Revenue Service whistleblowers.

“I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled. Tell the director that I would like to resolve this now before it gets out of hand, and now means tonight. And, Z, if I get a call or text from anyone involved in this other than you, Zhang, or the chairman, I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction. I am sitting here waiting for the call with my father,” the text reads.

Bank records obtained by congressional investigators do not indicate that SinoHawk ever received the cash infusion from CEFC or related entities that may have been expected, according to Grassley’s October 2022 letter.

However, records and other information obtained by Republican lawmakers demonstrated that Hunter Biden and James Biden profited from a $5 million wire from a CEFC-linked firm in August 2017.

Those funds do not appear to have been transmitted to SinoHawk, but instead to Hudson West III, a joint venture established by the Bidens and CEFC in August 2017, according to Grassley’s letter. Subsequently, wire transfers were conducted from Hudson West III to Owasco — Hunter Biden’s firm — and Lion Hall Group, James Biden’s company, a move that appears to have effectively cut SinoHawk out of the deal altogether.

Bobulinski told investigators on Feb. 13 that “the Biden family — Joe’s son Hunter and his brother Jim — knowingly and aggressively defrauded me as the CEO of SinoHawk Holdings and as a member of Oneida Holdings, LLC, at the end of July 2017” and that “the Biden family violated their fiduciary duties to SinoHawk and Oneida as they enriched themselves at the CEFC trough.”

The White House did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

AUTHOR

NICK POPE

Contributor.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.


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Judge Overseeing Trump’s Georgia Case Donated To Fani Willis Campaign Prior To Appointment

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, who is overseeing the case against former President Donald Trump, made a small donation of $150 to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ campaign prior to his appointment.

McAfee, who was sworn in on Feb. 1, 2023 after being appointed by Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, made his donation in June 2020 while still working as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Department of Justice (DOJ), according to financial disclosures. He will soon have to decide whether Willis should be disqualified over allegations that she financially benefited from appointing her romantic partner, Nathan Wade, to work on the Trump case.

McAfee also formerly worked under Fani Willis when she led the complex trial division in the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, according to the New York Times.

Atlanta-based criminal defense attorney and legal analyst Philip Holloway told the Daily Caller News Foundation McAfee’s donation was “nominal,” but said it should still have been disclosed to the defendants so they could determine “whether they believed that amounted to a conflict of interest on the part of the judge.”

“The donation itself is more or less a token amount and was made prior to his becoming a judge,” he said. “But failure to disclose to the defendants a political donation to the prosecutor can be seen as a present appearance of a conflict of interest. Judges are required to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.”

McAfee has not shied away from delivering unfavorable decisions to Willis, and reprimanded her several times for her behavior on the stand.

Last week, McAfee oversaw the hearing on Trump co-defendant Michael Roman’s motion to disqualify Willis. He previously declined the district attorney’s request to cancel the hearing.

McAfee’s other donations include $200 to Kemp’s campaign in 2018 and $200 to Republican state representative candidate Lyndsey Rudder’s campaign in 2020, according to financial disclosures. McAfee’s wife donated $99 to Willis’ campaign in 2020 and $101 in 2018.

During last week’s hearing, Willis and Wade maintained on the witness stand that their relationship began after Wade’s contract started, despite a long-time friend of Willis testifying to the contrary. The two said there is no documentation showing Willis reimbursed Wade for travel expenses because she paid him in cash.

The district attorney’s office and the Superior Court of Fulton County did not immediately respond to requests for comment. McAfee could not be reached.

AUTHOR

KATELYNN RICHARDSON

Contributor.

RELATED ARTICLE: Dramatic Hearing On Fani Willis Corruption Allegations Comes To A Close With Outcome Still Unclear

EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.


All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

The Presidents and Faith

Since we celebrated Presidents’ Day recently, I thought it might be interesting to reflect on the faith of the first six men who held that office.

Most of them were believers in Jesus and were not ashamed to say so. Several of these instances are not politically correct, but they are historically accurate.

In 1779, ten years before he became the first president under the Constitution, George Washington was asked by Delaware Indian chiefs for advice on the education of three of their sons.

Washington told them, “You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are.”

John Adams, our second president, said in his Inaugural Address in 1797 that he considered “a decent respect for Christianity among the best recommendations for the public service.”

Our third president Thomas Jefferson was a church-going man whenever it was available to him, generally in the Episcopal tradition. As a young man, before he entertained some private doubts of core Christian doctrines, he helped found an evangelical church. This was in 1777, a year after he wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence.

That church was the Calvinistical Reformed Church of Charlottesville, and Jefferson wrote up its by-laws and donated more money than any other parishioner. He said in the charter for this church that they started it because they were “desirous of…the benefits of gospel knowledge.”

They called Rev. Charles Clay as the minister. He was an ordained Anglican minister who was also an evangelical. A book I co-wrote with Mark Beliles on Jefferson’s faith or lack thereof contains two of Rev. Clay’s sermons. To our knowledge, this is the first time any of Clays’ works have been in print. They are straight forward Gospel preaching.

Clay preached some things as, “Repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are the means of the sinner’s reconciliation with God.” And Jefferson supported Rev. Charles Clay’s ministry for years.

James Madison, a key architect of the Constitution, served on the committee to appoint chaplains to the legislature. (The first non-Christian chaplain appointed was not until the 1860s, long after Madison’s death.)

Writing in his Memorial and Remonstrances in 1785, Madison, (later, our fourth president), described Christianity, as “the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin.” Madison felt the faith best served by not denying “an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us.”

Madison believed in the separation of the institution of the church from the institution of the state, but he certainly didn’t believe in separating God and government.

Madison once wrote of the correlation between morality and Christian conviction, “The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good is so essential to the moral order of the World and to the happiness of man.”

Our fifth president, James Monroe, was the last of the founding fathers to serve as president. Monroe professed to believe in Christian doctrine, although he is perhaps best known for the eponymous Doctrine, which essentially states that the European nations should not interfere with those of the Western hemisphere and vice versa.

In his First Inaugural Address, in 1817, Monroe stated that he was taking office with “my fervent prayers to the Almighty that He will be graciously pleased to continue to us that protection which He has already so conspicuously displayed in our favor.”

Our sixth president John Quincy Adams (JQA) was the son of our second president. He was the only president who went on to a political career in Congress after he served in the White House.

Why? Adams was so dead set against slavery which was inconsistent with the founding principles of the United States, that he sought to remove this evil. John Quincy Adams was nick-named “The Hell-Hound of Slavery.”

While serving in Congress, he sat next to a young man from Illinois, and some argue he was able to influence that man to help end this evil. That man was Abraham Lincoln.

John Quincy Adams had a great motto, “Duty is ours. Results are God’s.”

JQA once observed, according to author John Wingate Thorton, in his 1860 book, The Pulpit of the American Revolution, “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”

And we could go on and on.

In our highly secular age, we have been largely cut off from our Judeo-Christian roots. It’s time for America to rediscover the indispensable role that the Bible played in our nation’s founding.

Hat tip to Bill Federer and “America’s God and Country” for research help with this column.

©2024. All rights reserved.

VIDEO: Democrat Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, ‘Immigration is not a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’

Barbara Jordan’s vision on immigration is more relevant today than ever before.


In a February 21, 2024 Numbers USA column titled “The Essential Barbara JordanJeremy Beck wrote,

February 21, 2024 – Today is Barbara Jordan’s birthday. She would have been 88 years old. Tragically, she died in 1996, just before Congress voted on the immigration recommendations she developed over the last years of her life.

If you don’t know much about Barbara Jordan, you should look her up. She regularly appears on lists of great American orators. Jordan’s life story is full of “firsts,” including the first Southern Black woman to be elected to the House of Representatives, and the first woman to deliver the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.

If you are concerned at all with immigration policy, you must learn about Barbara Jordan and the last act of her illustrious life and career. Her work as chair of the last bi-partisan commission to study immigration is essential to understanding where we’ve been; and necessary for us to see where we need to go.

Growing up during the Great Migration

Jordan was born in 1936, twelve years after the Immigration Act of 1924 was signed into law (one hundred years ago this May). That bill permanently ended The Great Wave of European migration (after the Great War had temporarily halted it in 1917). The slowdown of ships from Europe forced Northern industrialists to do the unthinkable: they sent recruiters to the far corners of the deep South and recruited the descendants of slaves and American Freedmen. The result was The Great Migration of Black Americans into the North and West.  White workers’ income went up two hundred and fifty percent. Black workers’ income went up four hundred percent. W.E.B. DuBois called the immigration slowdown “the economic salvation of American black labor.” DuBois’ declaration was echoed by Black journals and newspapers.

Jordan grew up during segregation and other forms of institutionalized racism. She also grew up during The Great Leveling and the rise of the Black middle class, whose economic gains led to new political power. In the year before Jordan was elected to the Texas State Senate (another first), Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1965. Four decades of economic empowerment had finally led to the dismantling of institutional barriers to social equality.

Righting an old wrong; creating a new one

As Jordan was on the cusp of beginning her political career in the Texas Senate, legislators in Washington, D.C. were about to make a mistake that Jordan would spend the coda of her political career trying to clean up. In the spirit of the civil rights movement, and to honor the slain President Kennedy, Congress passed the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. In doing so, they righted an old wrong, and created a new one.

Multiple administrations and Congresses had criticized one aspect of the immigration system created by the 1924 law: national-origin quotas made it virtually impossible for anyone outside of Europe to immigrate to the United States. The 1924 Act drastically reduced immigration from Europe, but it effectively banned immigration from other parts of the world, regardless of an individual’s merit. If the fundamental questions of immigration policy are “how many” and “which ones,” the 1924 Act was right on the former, and wrong on the latter.

“Everywhere else in our national life, we have eliminated discrimination based on national origins,” Senator Ted Kennedy said, “Yet this system is still the foundation of our immi­gration law.”

Kennedy and his fellow reformers vowed to leave the successful “how many” part of the 1924 Act in place. They promised a system that would admit 265,000 immigrants per year. Their aim was only to recalibrate the “which ones” part. The new system, they promised, would be less discriminatory.  A nuclear physicist, for instance, wouldn’t be denied just because he or she came from the “wrong” part of the world.

In the end, the bill changed both the “which ones” and the “how many.” The discriminatory quotas were abolished, but immigration numbers almost immediately doubled. Decades of declining inequality, an expanding middle class, and shrinking racial wealth gaps were halted and reversed. Inadvertently, it seems, Congress created new economic barriers to equality within a month of passing landmark civil rights legislation.

The 1965 Act was the photo negative of the 1924 bill. The legislation got the “which ones” right and the “how many” wrong. The challenge for policy makers today is to get both parts right. Nobody in the last half century has provided a clearer roadmap to achieving that sensible balance than Barbara Charline Jordan.

Read the full article.

EDITORS NOTE: This Numbers USA column is republished in part with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Woke Investment Managers Pull $15.7 Trillion from Climate Activism Pact

BlackRock and other U.S.-based investment management conglomerates have chosen to withdraw from a controversial initiative, Climate Action 100+ (CA100+), that pressured companies to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions” to “net-zero emissions by 2050 [or] sooner,” in pursuit of “limiting global average temperature increase” to 1.5 degrees above “pre-industrial levels.” The withdrawals follow financial and legal pressure from U.S. state officials, as well a new phase of cooperation for CA100+ that would move “from words to action.”

As of last June, more than 700 firms had joined CA100+, controlling a breathtaking $68 trillion, or nearly 2.5 times the U.S.A.’s annual GDP.

However, last week, Reuters reported that some of the world’s largest investment managers had withdrawn from CA100+. BlackRock, the world’s largest investment firm with $9 trillion assets under management (AUM), withdrew its U.S. arm, worth $6.6 trillion. State Street (4th largest with $4.1 trillion AUM), J.P. Morgan (6th largest with $3.1 trillion AUM), and PIMCO (14th largest with $1.9 trillion AUM) all withdrew entirely. However, Fidelity Investments, Goldman Sachs, Invesco, and Franklin Templeton (U.S. firms among the world’s 20 largest asset managers) are still signatories.

With the withdrawal of these four firms, CA100+ lost influence over the $15.7 trillion in assets they managed, cutting its influence by 23%.

At least in part, the withdrawals were triggered last summer, when the Steering Committee for CA100+ announced a “Phase Two” for their campaign of corporate climate activism, expected to last until 2030. “In phase two, the overarching goal is to go from words to action,” explained CA100+ Steering Committee Chairman Francois Humbert. The new phase would mean “more accountability, more transparency, more seniority.” The new guidelines would require investment managers to disclose how they vote on climate-related motions at shareholder meetings, as well as how often they lobby corporations and policymakers with their climate agenda.

When CA100+ upped the ante, several major U.S. investment firms promptly folded. BlackRock and State Street cited independence concerns, J.P. Morgan said it had developed “its own climate risk engagement framework,” while PIMCO claimed it “operates its own portfolio-relevant engagement activities with issuers on sustainability.”

In other words, these investment managers do not object to leveraging their fiduciary trust to pursue climate activism. All four of them are still doing climate activism on their own. They did object to the loss of independence of having an international organization micromanage their climate activism — how very American.

However, independence concerns over CA100+’s move to “Phase Two” does not fully explain the abrupt withdrawal of these investment management firms. After all, they still basically share CA100+’s goal of leveraging the investments they manage to advance their climate activism agenda. And these firms did decide to join CA100+ in the first place, knowing that it might inevitably lead to phases that required more action and accountability. Here, grasping the full picture requires viewing the scenery from more than one vantage point.

On March 30, 2023, 21 state attorneys general wrote a letter to the largest U.S.-based asset managers, expressing concern over their political activism and warning that such behavior could violate federal securities laws. The letter, led by Montana AG Austin Knudsen (R), specifically highlighted the CA100+ agenda as “potential unlawful coordination” to “push policies through the financial system that cannot be achieved at the ballot box.” It put investment managers on notice that “ongoing investigations” would “continue to evaluate” whether the firms were engaged in “potential unlawful coordination and other violations … as part of Climate Action 100+, Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative [NZAM], or the like.”

Woke asset managers have sustained considerable pressure from state governments in recent years, as the vast scale of their political activism became known. State officials have issued opinions declaring political activism with public funds illegal, published blacklists of politicized corporations the state won’t do business with, opposed woke companies’ purchases of public utility shares, and demonstrated the public support for doing so by winning subsequent elections.

Asset management firms are wilting before the ire of these state officials. Last summer, after 11 state governments pulled more than $5 billion in assets from his firm’s management, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink declared he was abandoning the acronym “ESG” (for left-wing “environmental, social, and governance causes) — but not the spirit. In December 2022, Vanguard (the world’s second largest asset manager, with approximately $7 trillion AUM) announced plans to withdraw from the NZAM after pressure from state governments.

The mini-exodus from CA100+ seems to be undertaken with the same goal in mind. The firms withdrawing from the climate pact haven’t abandoned their commitment to climate activism, but they would prefer not to become the next Bud Light in doing so. Re-asserting their “independence” from CA100+ frees them to evaluate the political or legal costs of any particular deed of climate activism and avoid provoking uncomfortable investigations or costly lawsuits. Even without changing their behavior, distancing themselves from the climate organization can help them avoid charges of “unlawful coordination” without distancing themselves from the climate agenda.

The backdrop to this performative calculus is that much left-wing corporate activism is neither essential nor profitable. In a 2022 survey of top executives, 59% of CEOs said they would “plan to pause or reconsider their organization’s ESG efforts” in response to a recession. That’s the sort of numbers you would expect from an optional extra — like a soft-serve machine in the breakroom. It might keep the workforce happy, and it might help mute outside criticism, but it doesn’t help a business achieve its core mission — to produce, move, or sell a product, or to provide certain services.

In the case of asset management firms, they provide the service of managing assets, in hopes of providing a better return for investors than they could obtain on their own. Climate activism is not relevant to the goal of asset management. In fact, climate activism can hamper an asset manager’s goal (obtaining the best return for his client) by forcing a company to adopt costly “green” policies that reduce its profitability and thus the profitability of assets invested in that company.

“Broadly, [federal securities] laws require you to act as a fiduciary, in the best interests of your clients and exercising due care and loyalty,” the attorneys general wrote the asset management firms. “Simply put, you are not the same as political or social activists and you should not be allowing the vast savings entrusted to you to be commandeered by activists to advance non-financial goals.” Asset management firms aren’t yet convinced of this argument and continue to pursue climate activism, but changes in their behavior indicate the pressure is having an effect.

AUTHOR

Joshua Arnold

Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Church Attacks Increase 800% in less than 6 Years: FRC Report

If you believe anti-Christian attacks have skyrocketed over the last decade, you’re right. Attacks on churches have increased 800% in less than six years — and more than doubled over the last year, according to a new report released today by Family Research Council. Documented acts of anti-church hostility include attempted bombings, shootings, satanic vandalism, and numerous attacks based on anti-Christian bias due to support for abortion or extreme transgender ideology. Some constituted unpunished election interference.

The report identified 915 acts of hostility against churches between January 2018 and November 2023, including:

  • 709 acts of vandalism
  • 135 completed or attempted arsons
  • 32 bomb threats
  • 22 gun-related incidents
  • 61 other incidents, including assault, threats, and interruption of worship services.

These acts of “religious intimidation” send the message “that churches are not wanted in the community or respected in general,” Arielle Del Turco, who authored the report, told The Washington Stand. “Regardless of the motivations of these crimes, everyone should treat churches and all houses of worship with respect and affirm the importance of religious freedom for all Americans.”

The report shows that church attacks, and acts of violence, continued to explode in 2023. During the first 11 months of last year, researchers verified at least 436 acts of hostility against U.S. churches — more than double the number of attacks in all of 2022, including:

  • 315 acts of vandalism
  • 75 completed or attempted arsons
  • 20 bomb threats
  • 10 gun-related incidents
  • 12 instances of satanic graffiti
  • 59 churches faced repeated acts of hostility

These statistics likely understate the extent of the problem, because “[m]any acts of hostility against churches are likely not reported to authorities and/or are not featured in the news or other online sources from which we collected data,” says the report. “[T]he number of acts of hostility is undoubtedly much higher.”

Acts of anti-church hostility blanketed the country in 2023, taking place in 48 states and Washington, D.C. California experienced the largest number of incidents, with 91. Texas churches endured 62 incidents; New York had 58; and Florida had 47.

“The rise in hostility we identified in our December 2022 report has neither slowed nor plateaued; rather, it has accelerated,” says the new report. “The rise in crimes against churches is taking place in a context in which American culture appears increasingly hostile to Christianity. Criminal acts of vandalism and destruction of church property may be symptomatic of a collapse in societal reverence and respect.”

The raw numbers paint a grim picture of escalating anti-Christian action boiling over into bigoted action. The report totals:

  • 50 acts of hostility against churches in 2018
  • 83 in 2019
  • 55 in 2020
  • 96 in 2021
  • 195 in 2022
  • 436 in 2023

“If this rate continues, 2023 will have the highest number of incidents of the six years FRC has tracked,” the last such report accurately predicted last April.

Although federal civil rights laws explicitly ban religious discrimination, and hundreds of assailants targeted houses of worship, only “a minority were under investigation as hate crimes,” according to the 157-page analysis, titled “Hostility Against Churches Is on the Rise in the United States.”

Deadly Shootings, Bomb Threats, and Political Ideology

The report’s longest section is a robust 97 pages of church attacks, verified through 50 pages of endnotes, which show bomb threats, shootings, politically motivated attacks, and explicit Satanism.

Transgender violence: Perhaps the most shocking act of anti-Christian bias took place last March 27, when transgender-identifying Audrey Hale opened fire at the Nashville Covenant School, operated by the Covenant Presbyterian Church, killing six people, including three young students. Hale, who frequently identified as a male named “Aiden,” told a friend she had left a manifesto and “plenty of evidence behind” attesting to her motive. Yet, aside from a few pages pried out of police hands by conservative commentator Steven Crowder, Hale’s manifesto remains hidden.

The assault is but one example of 2023’s transgender-related anti-church violence. Last January 3, a man named Cameron Storer who identifies as female set fire to Portland Korean Church, an historic, 117-year-old vacant building. Storer claimed that voices in his head threatened to “mutilate” him unless he set the church ablaze.

Transgender activist-vandals painted the message “TRANS PWR” on St. Joseph Catholic Church in Louisville, on March 3. The attack came one day after the Kentucky legislature overrode the veto of Governor Andy Beshear (D) to enact a law protecting children from transgender surgeries. Also in March, vandals cut down crosses in the cemetery of the Friendship United Methodist Church in Newton, North Carolina, shortly after it disaffiliated with the United Methodist denomination over the denomination’s liberalizing views on LGBT issues. On June 16, vandals spray-painted the words “Stay gay, stay hard, Love is 4 everyone” on Grace Community Church in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

The report does not include incidents that took place in 2024, such as Genesse Moreno — an ex-Muslim convert to Judaism who is not a U.S. citizen and whom neighbors say has identified as “transgender” — opening fire in Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston.

Bombings, shootings, and Molotov cocktails: Christian churches faced potential mass casualties from explosions or shootings in 2023. Someone set a five-gallon drum of gasoline ablaze inside Word of God Ministries in Shreveport last January, but fire personnel’s quick response limited the damage.

Last October 29, a man purloined Holy Communion from Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church in San Fransisco. “After being confronted about it, the man punched the person who confronted him and ran out. Police pursued the man, who reportedly ‘set off a pipe bomb’ and ignited a ‘Molotov cocktail’ to deter police,” notes the report. Similarly, on July 17, a man threw Molotov cocktails through the windows of Living Stones Church in Reno, Nevada. In March, four people fired 50 rounds into Clearview Mennonite Church of Versailles, Missouri.

While some acts of violence seemed senseless, others carried a pointed political message. Many church assaults stemmed from the Christian church’s 2,000-year-old teaching that life begins at fertilization/conception, and abortion is murder.

Pro-abortion hostility: The number of church assaults peaked in June, the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, overturning Roe v. Wade. An arsonist set the Incarnation Roman Catholic Church in Orlando ablaze on the pro-life ruling’s first anniversary, although investigators could not determine if the date figured into the blaze.

But pro-abortion attacks on Christian churches continued unabated all year long. On January 18, just before the March for Life, someone vandalized the monument to the unborn at St. Rosalia Roman Catholic Church in Pittsburgh. Eight days later, someone desecrated a pro-life banner inside a Florida Catholic parish with the phrase “Women’s body, women’s choice.” Months later, on September 9, someone splattered red paint on a pro-life sign at the Second Baptist Church in Palermo, Maine, leaving behind two messages: “Abortion is our human right” and “Queer love 4 eva.” Vandals destroyed a pro-life display of 1,000 wooden crosses, representing unborn lives snuffed out by abortion, at a display in Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Church in Elmhurst, Illinois.

Acts of Anti-Christian Election Interference

Several of Ohio’s 24 reported church attacks involved the state’s Issue 1 campaign. The controversial constitutional amendment created a “right” for people of all ages to access abortion at essentially any point in pregnancy. Many constituted acts of election interference. “In October, someone pulled the ‘Vote No’ sign at Cincinnati’s St. Monica-St. George Church out of the ground and threw it in a dumpster,” notes the report. “At St. Bartholomew Church, also in Cincinnati, between six and eight ‘Vote No’ yard signs were removed from the church’s property and replaced with ‘Vote Yes’ signs.” Additional acts of pro-abortion election interference occurred at:

  • Cincinnati’s Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter in Chains, Cincinnati, Ohio, where vandals stole or vandalized anti-Issue 1 signs one month before the election.
  • At St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in the university town of Oxford, home of (Miami University), a pro-life sign opposing Issue 1 “was cut in half, and many other similar church signs were vandalized or stolen.”
  • At the Church of the Incarnation in Centerville, “someone spray-painted the church’s front door window to cover up a sign opposing Ohio Issue 1.”

Issue 1 passed handily last November.

“Americans appear increasingly comfortable lashing out against church buildings, pointing to a larger societal problem of marginalizing core Christian beliefs, including those that touch on hot-button political issues related to human dignity and sexuality,” says the report. “Attacks on houses of worship may also signal a discomfort with religion in general.”

Anti-Christian, Muslim-based hatred: Some acts of violence appeared to spring from Islamist sources. Last October, a man claiming to be with Hamas entered Sacred Heart Church in Cicero, New York, and threatened its employees.

International conflicts invaded U.S. churches throughout the year. Last September 24, vandals painted an anti-Christian, pro-Muslim slogan on St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church in Watertown, Massachusetts. The message — “Artsakh is Dead, Karabakh is Azerbaijan,” which was taped to the Armenian church’s outdoor bulletin board — referred to a violent Christian-Muslim feud over control of Nagorno-Karabakh (also known as Artsakh) between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

A few attacks also involved Jewish issues, including vandalizing a sign showing support for Israel and graffiti on one church denouncing “Israel’s genocide.”

Targeting minority churches: A few attacks targeted ethnic minorities. The report documents nine attacks targeting Missionary Baptist churches and six targeting parishes of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME). Additionally, on October 28, someone burned down Holy Innocents Episcopal Church, which serves the Rosebud Indian Reservation in Parmelee, South Dakota.

Some incidents straddled the line between arson and the demonic. “In June, Ascension of the Lord Romanian Orthodox Church of Hayward, California, was broken into, and several religious artifacts were set on fire, including a Bible and a crucifix. The charred items and ashes were left around an altar,” the report notes.

Whatever the purported motivation, many anti-church attackers directly invoked demonic forces in their attacks on the church, which the Bible identifies as “the Body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12).

Satan: “At least 12 incidents included satanic imagery or symbols,” the report notes. It goes on to specify numerous examples:

  • In July, vandals broke into Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church of El Paso, Texas, and left behind satanic imagery, including writing the number “666” on multiple items. Crosses inside the church were also turned upside down, and holy oil was dumped out.
  • In October, someone spray-painted the words “Devil Has Risen” and a symbol like a pentagram on the buildings of Jesus Worship Center in Jennings, Louisiana.”
  • Last February 4, vandals desecrated the Old Philadelphia Church — the oldest church in Izzard County, Arkansas — with inverted crosses and a pentagram.
  • Last October 7, someone spray-painted “Their [sic] is no God” on the marquee of Miracle Faith Christian Center in Columbia, South Carolina.
  • A vandal spray-painted “Lucifer Lives Here” and “God No More” on Bethlehem Church in Austin, Texas, on October 29.

These attacks leave aside the largest category of anti-church hostility: vandalism.

General anti-Christian vandalism: The 315 acts of vandalism against churches include disturbing reports, including:

  • A man broke into the Roman Catholic Subiaco Abbey Church of St. Benedict in Subiaco, Arkansas, busting the marble altar with a hammer and stealing 1,500-year-old relics.
  • Last January 12, vandals attacked five churches in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. One of its targets alone, Greater Tabernacle Worship Center, suffered $15,000 of damage.
  • The next day, a lone vandal targeted three Roman Catholics churches in New Jersey, setting fire to a flagpole in one, and attempting to burn a cross in front of another.
  • In January, a vandal spray painted “Mary is the whore of Babylon” inside a Roman Catholic church in Billings, Montana, in addition to stealing $8,300 of statutes and paintings, and doing $4,000 damage.
  • Weeks later, a man poured bleach on a statue of the Virgin Mary and threw a statue of Baby Jesus down the stairs at Good Shepherd Church in Fall River, Massachusetts.
  • A woman defecated and wiped feces on the altar of the chapel inside Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati on May 13.

The Biden administration cannot plead ignorance of church desecrations and vandalism targeting houses of worship: The administration actively warned such incidents would increase for the foreseeable future. Last May 27, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a bulletin warning of “a heightened threat environment” for churches and religious institutions, thanks to “the 2024 general election cycle and legislative or judicial decisions pertaining to sociopolitical issues,” such as issues involving “the LGBTQIA+ community.” The Biden administration then opened its Faith-Based Security Advisory Council (FBSAC), allegedly to advise houses of worship on how to improve security. Biden’s handpicked FBSAC members included controversial street agitator Al Sharpton, LGBTQ activists, and “three Islamists.”

Experts say the skyrocketing number of attacks on churches mirrors the general anti-Christian tenor of the Biden administrations’ policies, at home and abroad. President Joe Biden’s “indifference abroad to the fundamental freedom of religion is rivaled only by the increasing antagonism toward the moral absolutes taught by Bible-believing churches here in the U.S.,” said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. The Biden administration’s whole-of-government opposition to biblical morality is “fomenting this environment of hostility toward churches.”

AUTHOR

Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

The PLO Covenant Calling for the Liquidation of the State of Israel was Never Abolished

Palestinians | MEMRI Daily Brief No. 572


It is widely believed that, in April 1996, the PLO abolished its notorious Covenant calling for the liquidation of the State of Israel. This belief is based on PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat’s statement in his September 9, 1993  letter to Israel’s then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin: “The PLO affirms that those articles of the Palestinian Covenant which deny Israel’s right to exist […] are now inoperative and no longer valid. Consequently, the PLO undertakes to submit to the Palestinian National Council for formal approval the necessary changes in regard to the Palestinian Covenant.” However, the fact is that this crucial commitment was never fulfilled. In order to understand the gap between the false impression and the facts on the ground we must look back to those days and see exactly what transpired.

It was Wednesday, April 24, 1996, Israel’s Independence Day. Thousands of guests were gathered for the traditional reception at the Tel Aviv compound of the Ministry of Defense. At the very same time hundreds of Palestinian National Council (PNC) members were convened in Gaza for a session at which the articles of the Covenant calling for Israel’s destruction were to be abolished (a move that requires a two-thirds majority). Another significant event was approaching: early elections to the Knesset were set for May, initiated by the ruling Labor Party, and the amendment of the PLO Covenant was important for this party’s electoral victory. In fact, it had now become crucial, because for several months, despite the Oslo Agreements signed three years earlier, Israelis had been witnessing horrific suicide bombings resulting in dozens of casualties.

The PLO leadership had repeatedly deferred the fulfilment of Arafat’s commitment in his September 1993 letter to Rabin, but in those special circumstances the time to do so had finally come. As for the Israeli leadership, after its painful experience with Arafat’s broken promises it was understandably taking no chances: it had dictated to Arafat word by word the required language of the PNC resolution. However, two days before the PNC session, Arafat notified Prime Minister Shimon Peres that it would not work – the agreed-upon text would not be endorsed by the required majority in the PNC. Without delay, another, milder text, was prepared and agreed upon by Arafat and the Israeli government. We learned of this maneuver only two years later, when it was publicized by Yoel Zinger, the legal advisor of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, who was among those who had worded the resolution dictated to the PLO (see “The Truth About the Covenant,” Ma’ariv, June 19th, 1998, in Hebrew).  Thinking the matter closed, the government’s seniors waited in Tel Aviv for the expected note from Gaza. The moment it came the good news was announced with great fanfare by the prime minister: “This is the most important ideological event in the history of the Middle East in the last hundred years.”

But it was not. It took several hours for the PLO press agency WAFA to publish the official text of the PNC resolution in Arabic. Yigal Carmon, until 1993 the counterterrorism advisor to prime ministers Rabin and Shamir, sent it to me, and later that evening I brought the text to Professor Yehoshua Porat, a leading expert on the Palestinian national movement. After reading it carefully he told me: “This is a hoax”.

And that is exactly what it was. Arafat had cheated again and disregarded the second wording he had agreed on with the Israeli Government. The trick used by the PLO will no doubt be familiar to any reader who has ever decided to stop smoking or go on a diet but never actually did. The official PNC statement stated that “the PNC has decided to amend the articles of the Palestinian National Covenant […] [and] has authorized the Judicial Committee to formulate a new Covenant”.  The PNC only “decided to amend” the Covenant, but the Judicial Committee never convened and no amendment ever took place. Former Israeli Finance Minister Yoram Aridor remarked at the time that “Arafat does not respect agreements but he has a great respect for covenants”.

The farce reached its peak when, in the weeks after the passing of this PNC resolution, PLO leaders were asked how many articles would be struck from the Covenant. Haidar Abd Al-Shaffi said two. The PLO representative in Washington DC said six. Nabil Sha’ath was not sure: “I have a feeling that the number of cancelled articles is sixteen,” he said. PNC chairman Salim Za’anun was not so vague. He stated plainly, three weeks after the PNC session, that “there are still no specific articles that [we] have decided to remove from the Covenant.”

Immediately after the PNC session, all its resolutions were published in a large ad in the Palestinian press, except for the resolution concerning the Palestinian Covenant. The reason was simple: The Israeli government understood it had been cheated but refused to admit it, and therefore negotiated a new wording with the PLO, which would be included after the fact in a letter by Arafat to Prime Minister Peres. On April 29, 1996, five days after the PNC session in which the PLO Covenant had been “amended”, the IDF Chief of Intelligence announced in the Knesset that the final wording of the PNC resolution had not yet been agreed upon. Eventually, the Israeli pressure bore fruit, and instead of the original version, “decided to amend,” Arafat wrote to the prime minister in English that the PNC had resolved that the Covenant was “hereby amended by canceling the articles that are contrary to the letters exchanged between the PLO and the Government of Israel on 9-10 September 1993.” The date of Arafat’s letter to the government of Israel in which the (false) version of the resolution was included was May 4, 1996, ten days after the PNC session.

Thus, it was all a hoax in which both parties took part. Two years later, in January 1998, in a letter to U.S. President Bill Clinton, Arafat listed 28 articles of the PLO Covenant that had been cancelled or altered. However, it should be stressed again that no article had actually been changed. The original Covenant in its evil entirety was still valid, and a second round of the PNC bluff was therefore needed. The next grand show was produced one year later, in December 1998, when the PNC convened in Gaza in order to – once again! – cancel the poisonous articles in the PLO Covenant, this time in the presence of President Bill Clinton. The hall was full of PNC members and many others. The vote took place by acclamation: all those present who were in favor of abolishing the Covenant articles were asked to raise their hands – but the raised hands were not even counted. Twenty-five years later, one fact is certainly clear: to date no alternative version of the murderous PLO Covenant has been put forward.

“So what?”, one may ask. True, these are merely words, but they are not trivial. The PLO leadership never extracted the venom from the PLO Covenant.  The fact that this document, including its message that the Jewish State of Israel is destined to perish, is still valid signifies both the unwillingness and the inability of the PLO leadership to change its attitude towards Israel. A peace treaty between two rival parties must include a specific article in which the parties declare “an end to all mutual claims”– but the PLO cannot and will not sign such a document. For them, the goal is still the establishment of a Palestinian State stretching “from the River to the Sea”, thereby eliminating the Jewish state.

One effective tool for the realization of this plan is the implementation of the “right to return” of millions of descendants of Palestinian Arab refugees to their original homes within the state of Israel. The small key on Chairman Mahmoud ‘Abbas’s jacket lapel stresses his commitment to this goal. Paying monthly allowances to the families of murderous terrorists is another way to demonstrate this approach. And since they refuse to abolish their Covenant, the PLO cannot be “renewed” as expected by some leaders. Thus, all maneuvers aimed at taming the PLO are just solemn diplomatic nonsense, and the political concept of the “Two State Solution” is stillborn.

A shorter version of this article was printed in Ha’Aretz on December 19, 2019.  

AUTHOR

Ze’ev B. Begin

Ze’ev B. Begin is a senior fellow at MEMRI.

RELATED ARTICLE: Israel and Lebanon: Do cedars line the road to Tehran?

EDITORS NOTE: This MEMRI report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

ELECTION 2024: $6 TRILLION in Democrat Tax Increases on November 5th Ballot

It’s the MOAB (mother of all bombs) on America’s dwindling middle class.

No enemedia coverage of this, of course.

$6 Trillion in Taxes Are at Stake in This Year’s Elections

Biden, Republicans offer vastly different plans for handling tax cuts that lapse after 2025

By Richard Rubin, Wall Street Journal Jan. 12, 2024:

The winners of November’s presidential and congressional elections will quickly face decisions on extending tax cuts scheduled to expire after 2025. President Biden and Republicans support starkly different tax plans.

Republicans generally want to extend all expiring tax cuts from the 2017 law former President Donald Trump signed. The price tag: $4 trillion over a decade.

Biden proposed extending Trump’s tax cuts for households making under $400,000 annually but said the rest should expire. Beyond that, he would raise taxes further on top earners and corporations. That plan, including tax increases the president hasn’t fully detailed, would generate more than $2 trillion beyond current forecasts.

That $6 trillion gap is on the ballot, and the ultimate resolution will affect family budgets, corporate profits and the federal government’s fiscal health amid rising debt.

Continue reading.

Keep voting Democrat.

Election 2024 puts $6 trillion in taxes on the November ballot

$4 trillion in tax cuts expire and Biden could add in $2 trillion in additional burdens

By Ted Jenkin, Fox News, February 19, 202:

If the upcoming election in November is reminiscent of the 1993 movie “Grumpy Old Men” with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, you might want to also re-watch “The Bad News Bears” with another four years governed under what we colloquially call Bidenomics. It isn’t a dollar’s worth of difference between the two parties, it’s more like $6 trillion at stake when you pull the lever in November.

Embedded within this discourse between the two parties lies some potential deception when you peel back the artichoke and really analyze the numbers. You should never be fooled by percentages and always look at the real dollars coming out of your pocket.

Consider, for instance, a purported 5% increase in capital gain rates for 20% to 25% — a seemingly modest adjustment. However, a deeper examination reveals that this type of tax change would translate to a 25% increase in taxes in actual dollars and not 5% as might be reported. This basic arithmetic underscores the gravity of the electoral choices right around the corner.

Here’s an example. If you had a $100,000 gain and paid 20%, you would owe $20,000. If you had a $100,000 gain and now paid 25%, you would owe $25,000. The difference between $20,000 and $25,000 isn’t 5% … it’s 25%! Here’s why this simple math problem should have you think twice come November.

Depending on how the presidential election goes, taxpayers might be paying Uncle Sam trillions more. (iStock)

As a retrospective glance, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017” ushered in a sweeping paradigm of pro-growth tax reforms, marked by several pivotal provisions. Noteworthy among these were the reduction of top marginal tax rates from 39.6% to 37%, a significant expansion of the standard deduction, and the implementation of State and Local Taxes (SALT) for itemized deductions, among others.

Yet, these beneficial measures are poised to expire by the end of 2025, wiping out $4 trillion in tax relief. Moreover, if the current administration’s proposed tax reforms materialize, an additional $2 trillion of burden may be imposed upon Americans already grappling with inflationary pressures.

Consider the ramifications: Under the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” the standard deduction, which Forbes estimates is utilized by nearly 90% of filers, was doubled, offering substantial relief particularly to middle and lower-income families.

The potential reversion to pre-2018 figures if these tax cuts expire at the end of 2025 would inflict financial hardship on many, not just the wealthy. Millions of middle-class Americans would see a pay cut.
Suddenly, the GOP and Democrats agree on taxes Video

Similarly, the prospect of reverting to a top tax rate of 39.6% and the proposed adjustments to raising federal income taxes and inheritance taxes won’t squeeze enough out of the lemons to make lemonade.

Absent an extension, the estate tax exemption levels could plummet by as much as 50%, jeopardizing the intergenerational transfer of wealth painstakingly accumulated by families. You did great the last seven years, so what? Get ready to give it back.

The proposed revisions to Social Security taxes also loom on the horizon, with discussions revolving around imposing a 6.2% unlimited Social Security tax on incomes exceeding $400,000, akin to an indefinite Medicare tax.

The president continues the rhetoric saying that, “I’m a capitalist, but pay your fair share.” Fair share! In 2022, it’s estimated by Statista that 40.1% of Americans paid no federal income tax. Here’s a question? Is paying zero fair?

Yet, these beneficial measures are poised to expire by the end of 2025, wiping out $4 trillion in tax relief. Moreover, if the current administration’s proposed tax reforms materialize, an additional $2 trillion of burden may be imposed upon Americans already grappling with inflationary pressures.

How many of those that paid no income tax got money back in tax credits and other structures from the government. When the president says wealthy people need to pay their fair share what he means is help pay more taxes to support all of those who don’t pay any. Isn’t that right?

It’s not that long before each of us must hit the ballot box in November. Before you press the button and cast your vote, there may be 6 trillion reasons to consider the future of how much of your hard-earned money you keep.

Continue reading.

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Betrayed: Biden Regime Proposes Anti-Israel ‘Ceasefire’ Resolution at United Nations Security Council

Instead of demanding that the terrorists release of the 134 hostages (including Americans), the Democrat regime is demanding Israel surrender. Biden’s UN Resolution against Israel is depraved and shameful.

According to a Reuters report, the Democrat ruling regime is proposing a temporary ceasefire in Gaza, combined with an objection to the planned IDF invasion of Rafah, on Gaza’s southern border with Egypt.

Betrayed: Biden Proposes Anti-Israel Temporary ‘Ceasefire’ Resolution at United Nations Security Council

By: Breitbart News, February 19, 2024:

President Joe Biden plans to introduce a resolution at the United Nations Security Council calling for a temporary “ceasefire” and demanding Israel refrain from conducting an attack on the last Hamas battalions in Gaza that are the key to winning the war.

Israel has been adamant that it must attack Hamas in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza on the Egyptian border, to win the war. Rafah is the last stronghold of the Palestinian terror organization, and also the key to smuggling routes into and out of Gaza.

The White House has said publicly that it would not support an attack on Rafah, at least without an evacuation of civilians. Even after Israel promised to develop a plan to evacuate civilians, the Biden administration has opposed an Israeli operation in Gaza.

That opposition has continued despite a successful Israeli raid last Monday that rescued two civilian Israeli hostages from Rafah. It has become evident that Biden intends to let Hamas survive, to use it as leverage to force Israel to accept a Palestinian state.

The U.S. promised to veto a resolution, set to be introduced Tuesday by Algeria, calling for a permanent ceasefire. But the Times of Israel reported Monday on a draft alternative resolution by the U.S. that would use the word “ceasefire,” in a temporary sense.

The Times of Israel noted:

The United States has proposed a rival draft of the United Nations Security Council resolution that would underscore the body’s “support for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable,” according to the text seen by Reuters on Monday.

Washington has been averse to the word “ceasefire” in any UN action on the Israel-Hamas war, but the US draft text echoes language that US President Joe Biden said he used last week in conversations with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The US draft text also “determines that under current circumstances a major ground offensive into Rafah would result in further harm to civilians and their further displacement including potentially into neighboring countries.”

It is unclear whether the language in the resolution opposing an attack on Hamas in Rafah would be binding.

Hamas has insisted on a permanent ceasefire before it releases the remaining 134 Israeli hostages — a demand that the Biden administration has now ratified by seeking a temporary ceasefire that it openly hopes will lead to a broader halt to the fighting, despite the fact that Hamas would survive.

Read more.

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Biden Regime Considered Sanctioning Israeli Cabinet Members

The Biden regime is desperate to stop Israel’s campaign against Hamas.

The Biden administration has a plan for the Hamas-Israel war. It’s the same plan that past administrations have unleashed on Israel. Pressure Netanyahu or whoever is in office into ignoring voters and conservative members of his coalition, push him into making a deal with the Islamic terrorists, and go back to advocating for a terrorist state. The problem is that things fundamentally changed in Israel on Oct 7 even if they didn’t change in D.C.

When the Biden administration wanted Israel to stop its offensive at the end of 2023, it didn’t get its wish. Now it’s fighting to keep Israel from going into Rafah and finishing off Hamas in its last stronghold.

So the Biden administration has ramped up a pressure campaign, much of it under the radar, but that is playing out across various fronts. The administration has enabled the “monitoring” of Israeli attacks on Hamas for “human rights violations” in a way that may trigger a shutoff of arms sales. It also tested the waters by sanctioning four Israeli Jewish activists for allegedly harassing terrorists and their supporters.

This was a trial balloon and it looks like the Biden administration is preparing to escalate.

The United States is considering imposing sanctions on Israel’s Finance Minister Bezalel Smotich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

According to the report, the US was preparing a package of sanctions that would include actions taken against the two far-right ministers who are influential members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet.

The sanctions were considered amid exacerbated tensions between the US and Israel due to Washington’s insistence that Israel refrain from carrying out a full-fledged invasion of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Sanctioning cabinet members of an allied government would be unprecedented, but apparently, that was Plan A and still on the backburner.

Last month, the U.S. administration was considering enacting a package meant to send a message of discontent to Israel.

The package, U.S. officials said, would have included a reversal of two Trump-era policies: one that allows products made in Jewish settlements in the Israel-occupied West Bank to be labeled as being “Made in Israel,” and another that upended longstanding U.S. policy that the West Bank settlements violate international law.

U.S. officials said they were also considering imposing sanctions on two influential members of Netanyahu’s right-wing government: Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.

Taken together, U.S. officials said, the package could have sent a strong message of discontent. But, in the end, the Biden administration only enacted sanctions against four largely unknown Israeli settlers, once again tempering the Biden administration’s response.

Leaking this to the media however, makes it clear that the Biden administration is preparing to escalate to stop Israel’s campaign against Hamas.

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Minneapolis Muslim trained at ISIS camp, said he would ‘shoot New York up. We going to come blow New York up’

How many others are there like Harafa Hussein Abdi in Minneapolis? Such questions, of course, are “Islamophobic.”

“U.S. Citizen Charged with Providing Material Support to Isis And Receiving Military-Type Training at Isis Fighter Camp,” Justice Department, February 16, 2024:

A complaint was unsealed today charging Harafa Hussein Abdi, 41, of Minneapolis, with providing and conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and receiving and conspiring to receive military-type training from ISIS. Abdi, a U.S. citizen, was recently taken into custody overseas and was transported to the United States yesterday. Abdi will be presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Valerie Figueredo in Manhattan federal court later today….

As alleged in the complaint, Abdi, moved from Minnesota to Somalia in 2015. Once there, he joined a group of ISIS fighters at an ISIS training camp in the Puntland region of Somalia. During his time with the group, Abdi regularly carried an AK-47 assault rifle and received training on how to use it. In addition, Abdi worked in the ISIS group’s “media” wing, where he filmed footage for distribution by a pro-ISIS media outlet.

In social media communications during his time at the ISIS camp, Abdi described how he had left the United States and joined the “Islamic state.” Abdi also stated that he had made “hijra,” an Arabic term used by ISIS supporters to refer to traveling overseas to join ISIS and engage in jihad. Abdi also sent a photograph of himself carrying an AK-47 assault rifle, as depicted below:

In or about January 2017, Abdi sent an audio clip of rap lyrics in which he expressed support for ISIS and described multiple acts of violence, including shooting and bombing individuals in New York City. Specifically, Abdi stated, “hollow tips put a hole in your Catholic vest, and chop his head off let it rest on his Catholic chest.” Abdi further stated, “We going to carry on jihad”; “Fly through America on our way to shoot New York up. They trying to shut this thing. We ain’t going. We going to come blow New York up.” Abdi sent the audio clip to at least 20 other social media users and included messages with the audio clip, such as “Fighting back the kuffar who’s at war with Muslims if [that] is not islam then I don’t know wats Islam.”

Abdi left the ISIS camp in 2017 after his relationship with the ISIS group’s leadership deteriorated. After being jailed by the group, Abdi escaped and traveled to East Africa, where he was arrested by law enforcement authorities. In subsequent Mirandized interviews with FBI personnel, Abdi admitted that he had joined the training camp, which was affiliated with a known ISIS leader in Somalia. Abdi also identified himself in an ISIS propaganda video that he helped to film at the training camp in which Abdi carried an AK-47 assault rifle, promoted ISIS and urged others to join and fight on its behalf. In the video, Abdi said, “We thank almighty God for making us His soldiers and chose us to be among the Khilafa troops,” and “So do not stay behind, brother, and get on this caravan…. Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah, and those who reject Faith fight in the cause of Evil.” Abdi also admitted that he was trained on and regularly carried an AK-47 assault rifle and practiced shooting the AK-47 in the Somali wilderness outside the camp….

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.