Social distancing can kill, too

Xenophobia is passé. Now we are being taught anthropophobia, or fear of other people.


Fear is a powerful emotion: it is sometimes rational, but it can cloud our reasoning.

A number of fallacies pervade the Covid-19 debate. One is the fallacy of the missing denominator: we are told that X number of people have died of Covid-19, but we don’t appreciate the size of the population in which these deaths occur. (The population of the United States is 326.7 million.)

Another is the fallacy of the neglected or irrelevant comparison. Senator Bernie Sanders thinks the Covid-19 pandemic is comparable to the Civil War, which killed 620,000 Union and Confederate Soldiers (at last reckoning Covid-19 has killed 92,258 Americans). Deaths from violence are in a different category from deaths from disease. We all die sometime, but not all of us from violence.

A more reasonable comparison than the Civil War is the attacks of September 11, 2011, which killed 2,977 civilians and 19 terrorists and gave birth to a fear of more of the same. The Bush-Cheney Administration used 9/11 to put in place unprecedented measures of surveillance and lead us into an endless (and brutal) War on Terror.

The Obama Administration then set a sinister precedent by authorizing the extrajudicial execution of American citizens. Trump’s signature measure was a wall. The attempted impeachment of Donald Trump was based on an attempt to revive the fears of the Cold War era.

Now we are being carefully taught anthropophobia, or fear of human beings.

We should also compare Covid-19 with deaths from other causes, including the other diseases that contribute to a death set down to Covid-19’s account. The most important causes of death other than Covid-19 for my argument are suicide and deaths of despair. Social isolation is an important contributor to these deaths. Suicide is strictly speaking a death by violence, but it is one that happens only when a person has been reduced to misery.

California, with a population of 39.56 million, was thrown into panic mode by one death from coronavirus. By way of comparison, nearly 4,300 Californians killed themselves in 2016, a 50 percent increase from 2001. Deaths of despair include not only deaths by suicide, but also drug and alcohol poisoning, as well as alcoholic liver disease and cirrhosis, to which I would add heart failure where the patient is depressed. The rate of such deaths has been steadily rising.

Such deaths have two social causes, economic insecurity and social isolation. I need not choose between these explanations: both of them are certain to be increased by the measures taken against Covid-19. Hence we see another fallacy at work in the Covid-19 debate: a precautionary principle (better safe than sorry) that neglects the costs of staying safe.

Suicide prevention hotlines are have been kept very busy during the Covid-19 crisis. Domestic violence cases have spiked during the pandemic, as have cases of child abuse. Though the courts are now closed, a surge of divorces is expected when the crisis ends.

Democracy requires a demos, which can gather in places like churches, bowling alleys, and bars to establish solidarity, and peaceably assemble in parks for the redress of their grievances. Social distancing destroys the possibility of such assemblies.

Some comforting myths conceal from us the devastating social effects of the Covid-19 panic.

We are told that staying home and watching Netflix is an act of heroism like that of the soldiers who fought in the invasion on D-Day. We are told that avoiding fellow our human beings (and wearing a mask when you cannot avoid them) is an expression of human solidarity. Even crossing the street to avoid other people, as people did in the past to stigmatized groups, is supposed to be an expression of love. We are told forcing troubled families to spend more time together will improve their harmony.

One good effect of the crisis has been the reduction of air pollution. To sustain this result, we will need to rely far more heavily on public transportation. But the mentality of anthropophobia which invites us to view our fellow human beings as sources of contagion until they prove otherwise can only make us more unwilling to share vehicles with strangers.

The process of returning to normal, or some imitation of it, will be awkward and conflict-ridden. The phobic mentality that supports the War on Terror and xenophobic immigration policies has been extended to the whole human race.

We should not neglect reasonable precautions, but we should take into account their costs as well as their benefits. An 85-year-old woman a nursing home might reasonably risk her life to see her grandchildren.

We must cultivate a sceptical attitude toward people who urge us to distrust one another, play upon our fears like a violin, and exude contempt and condescension to those people who do not accept their models. Staying sheltered in place is not conducive to democracy.

COLUMN BY

Philip Devine

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EDITORS NOTE:  This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. Republish this article for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons licence. Most, but not all articles on MercatorNet are Creative Commons.

Obama appointed CDC Doctor Carol Baker: ‘We’ll just get rid of all the whites in the United States’

National File reports

A complaint has been lodged against Dr. Carol J. Baker, who in this clip suggests that they should get rid of all whites in the United States.

Dr. Baker was appointed Chair of the National CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization practices in 2009. In  2019 Dr. Baker Received the Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal at the National Academy of Sciences Building in Washington, D.C.

WATCH:

EDITORS NOTE: This Vlad Tepes Blog post by is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

PODCAST: 28 Million Reasons Not to Trust a Mail-In Election

“No idea.” That was the only answer state and local officials had.

When a federal elections commission started asking questions, not one person had any explanation for the 28.3 million mail-in ballots that have gone missing since 2012. As far as they’re concerned, 1 in 5 absentee votes just vanished.

No one knows if it’s fraud, system failure, general ineptitude, or a combination of all three. What we do know is that Democrats want us to trust this same process—on a national scale—this November. Thank you, but no thank you.

Four elections. At least 7 million missing votes each.

By way of comparison, Mark Hemingway at RealClearInvestigations points out, Hillary Clinton won the 2016 popular vote by 2.8 million. “But nearly six million unaccounted mail-in ballots were never counted in 2016—more than twice her margin in the popular vote.”

If that doesn’t rattle you, consider this: according to the federal Election Assistance Commission, these are all low-ball estimates.

For starters, the 28.3 million missing ballots doesn’t include the number that were “spoiled, undeliverable, or came back for any reason.”

Making matters worse, not every area of the country reported back with their statistics—including major cities like Chicago. In other words, this is just the tip of the malfunctioning iceberg.

And these problems, analyst Logan Churchwell shakes his head, aren’t getting much attention. First of all, they’re embarrassing for election officials—and secondly, “people just aren’t paying attention.” But they’d better start.

With Democrats trying to use the coronavirus to push America toward its endgame of universal mail-in ballots, voters need to wake up to the gamble they’d be taking with democracy.

Already, two liberal senators, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Ron Wyden of Oregon, are trying to capitalize on people’s fears with what they call the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act of 2020. But frankly, Americans ought to be more afraid of the chance they’d be taking with their vote.

On “Washington Watch,” Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., who worked as an election official for two decades, said he has plenty of concerns about the idea—not the least of which is the incredibly short timetable to get a new process up and running.

One is just a very practical reason that adjusting from whatever system you have to a system with big changes is hard to do. It’s hard to do in any election, [but] it’s particularly hard to do in a presidential election. And two is, while I think ultimately how a state conducts its elections should be left to the state, not the federal government, I have concerns if you don’t have real safeguards on who gets to cast that ballot, and who actually receives the ballot, and who collects the ballot.

Democrats, he goes on, are talking about a system with no witnesses, no voter ID, no certainty that your vote would even be delivered. “These are things that any rational person should be concerned about.”

Now, obviously, the traditional absentee ballot is fine for people who are physically incapable of going to the polls because of illness or military service, etc. “But that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about people getting ballots without even asking for them. Or two, asking for them and getting them without any accountability as to whether they come back or not.”

Those are the scenarios, we know from ballot harvesting in more lenient states, that are ripe for abuse.

In California, anyone can “walk into an elections office and hand over truckloads of vote-by-mail envelopes with ballots inside,” Townhall explains—”no questions asked, no verified records kept.”

In 2018, there were stories of Democrats all across the state knocking on doors to either “help” people vote or pick up their ballots for supposed delivery. What’s to stop someone from trashing those ballots? Or, as officials in Texas discovered, vote for you?

“The harvesters sit around and fill these out by the hundreds, often by the thousands,” said one political consultant.

The reality is, Democrats are only forcing this issue because they think it’ll help them win.

As the Family Research Council’s Ken Blackwell points out, it opens the door to “voter fraud and coercion … [and gives] partisan activists absolute control over physical ballots.”

Does a mail-in balloting system guarantee your vote won’t count? No. But even The New York Times admits that the possibility for fraud “is vastly more prevalent than in-person voting … “

We cannot let anyone exploit this crisis, Blackwell argues, to take away the integrity of our elections. “This pandemic may seem like it’s changed everything, but it has not changed the rules of our constitutional republic. Let’s keep it that way.”

EDITORS NOTE: This FRC-Action column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

Crooks are Working on all Sorts of Ways to Use the Wuhan Flu Virus Crisis to Scam You

There are so many stories on this topic that I am sure you have seen one or another, but I think it’s important that I remind you that scammers are busy using the COVID-19 situation to separate you from your money.

This is just one of many stories on the topic:

RELATED ARTICLE: New Mexico: Teen Wrestling Champ Tackles Wannabe Kidnapper

EDITORS NOTE: This Frauds, Crooks and Criminals column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

VIDEO: “Storefront Memories” the Legacy of Dr. Rev. Lloyd E Marcus

Ironically, the principles, values and life experiences of my lifelong Democrat dad, the late Dr Rev. Lloyd E Marcus made me the black Christian conservative Republican activist I am today.

I am thrilled and extremely grateful that my book honoring Dad’s legacy is finished. “Storefront Memories: Fond Memories of Growing Up in My Preacher Dad’s Baltimore Storefront Church.” The foreword by Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel law firm; faithfully fighting on the front line for our Constitutional freedom.

VIEW LLOYD’S VIDEO HERE.

Reviews are excellent.

Dear Lloyd, Your book definitely needed to be written and published. The pictures are amazing and the story of your Dad’s life is heartwarming and inspiring. How blessed you are to have had a father like him. No wonder you have become the man that you are – the man that we I have been privileged to get to know.” Dr. Cal & Linda D.

Quoting the late Paul Harvey, allow me to share, “the rest of the story.”

For years, I have shared Dad’s inspiring stories and nuggets of wisdom in my articles. He was a Christian minister, civil rights pioneer and champion of religious liberty.

Two years ago, my 4 younger siblings and I gathered around our 90 year old dad’s bed. He was semi-coherent with his eyes closed. We promised to honor his legacy as a man of God. He appeared to smile. The next morning, Dad transitioned home to Jesus.

A year ago, I asked a longtime publisher friend to assist in producing a book honoring Dad’s legacy. He was immediately on board and instructed me how to use a Kick-starter Campaign to fund the project. I raised the needed funds for design, production and printing.

Upon submitting the manuscript to my publisher friend to begin designing the book, surprisingly he disagreed with the content. In short, my friend dropped the project; refusing to take my phone calls or respond to my emails.

Candidly, I panicked. I resigned from my position at WJZ-TV as a graphic designer in 1993. The industry has changed dramatically since then. I did not feel comfortable designing the book. I scolded myself for being too stubborn about the content. And yet, I knew Dad would want his book to minister to readers.

Months passed without any progress on the book. Finally, I dove into designing the book. Searching the internet, I found a publisher/printer.

When the publisher sent me the finished design for approval before going to press, my eyes filled with tears. “Yes, Dad would love this.” It had been a long stressful journey.

I fretted losing my longtime friend over such a small disagreement. Surprisingly, he sent me a Christmas card. We met over the holidays and revived our friendship. God gave me back my friend.

At the beginning of the project, I prayed asking God to make Dad’s book a blessing. Little did I know the journey would include feuding with my friend, months of stress and self doubt. It always comes back to that scripture. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.”

According to reviews, God answered my prayer, making “Storefront Memories” a blessing to all who read it.

© All rights reserved.

The Hidden Scourge of Modern Slavery: Even in the United States, thousands of women and girls are working as sex slaves

In 2010, President Barack Obama made January National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month. It’s incredible that anyone needs to be aware of slavery 157 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. But it still exists. “Human trafficking erodes personal dignity and destroys the moral fabric of society,” said President Trump when he launched this year’s commemoration. “It is an affront to humanity that tragically reaches all parts of the world, including communities across our Nation. Each day, in cities, suburbs, rural areas, and tribal lands, people of every age, gender, race, religion, and nationality are devastated by this grave offense.”

MercatorNet interviewed a paediatrician who has worked with victims, Dr Joseph Zanga, of the American College of Pediatricians.


MercatorNet: Is human trafficking a problem in the United States?

Dr Joseph Zanga: The United States has been ranked among the top three nations of origin for victims of human trafficking in 2018, according to a recent report by the State Department and is the number one consumer of sex trafficking worldwide.

Human trafficking is an industry taking in more money each year than many Fortune 500 companies. This is a crime hidden in plain sight, aided by the addiction our children have to their tablets and, especially, their smart phones. Because their brains aren’t fully developed until their mid-20s, they are easy prey for traffickers who recruit very professionally on social media. Because of the “toxic stress” and the adverse childhood experiences that many of our children live with, the bait that professional traffickers dangle is hard to resist.

These figures are incredible. Who is being trafficked?

For sex-trafficked women (sex-trafficking in the US is mostly women) the average age is 14, but I’ve encountered victims as young as 12. That is less true for labour trafficking and varies with region. In farming areas those trafficked are mostly young adult to middle-aged men. In metropolitan areas the trafficking is for domestic help and is mostly young to middle age women. They come from all backgrounds.

However, trafficked children are often known to the state or local child welfare system (often for being sexually abused). Over 90 percent are chronic runaways and more than 70 percent are substance abusers (often “hooked” by a trafficker to get them into “the life”).

In the United States, it is estimated that up to 300,000 children are victims of sex-trafficking, also known as Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST). Countless others are victims of additional forms of exploitation, especially forced labour. Some of these children have been brought to the United States illegally, while thousands are US citizens as young as 12, who have been recruited, abducted, abused, or exploited into the sex trade or forced servitude.

You’ve had a lot of experience in rescuing kids from traffickers. What has your involvement been? How has it marked your life?

In my paediatric primary care practice I have encountered adolescent girls being trafficked by their parents (mostly their mothers). It was often, though, in the context of my work with Child Protective Services and abused or neglected children. While I continued with the trafficking issue, I eventually asked a colleague to chair our hospital Child Protective Committee. I was “burned out” by the cruelty inflected on children by their parents or guardians.

Is it really slavery? How do American kids in 2020 become “enslaved”?

If you accept the UN’s “Palermo Protocol” which defines all human trafficking as, “The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability”, then it is slavery. It is also defined in much that same way by various legal entities in the United States.

Enslavement is easy. We have in the US a culture of entitlement. Desirable goods are all around us and some young people believe that they should have unlimited access to all of them. Add to that the absence of a mother and father in the daily lives of many children. Add to that their smartphone or tablet connection to the world. So it’s easy to see how they can become victims.

A friendly (often false) face and story on their device, a meeting somewhere “safe”, access to things the child wants, offers of the love and attention missing in their homes: all these give some kids a reason to run away with the male or female face and story.

There were, and likely still are, web sites designed to procure trafficking victims. These and other items mentioned in the UN Statement are often enough to bind a child to “the life”.

Does it have anything to do with kids’ troubled family life?

Yes, that does play a part though “troubled” may be as simple as parental absence. It is said that American children, for a variety of reasons, have fewer than 40 minutes a day one-on-one with a parent.

How is it like and how is it unlike the chattel slavery experienced by African-Americans? I’ve read that some kids are “branded” with tattoos.

Traditional slavery has existed throughout human history. It’s part of man’s inhumanity to man. So these enslaved and trafficked victims are more alike than unlike other chattel slaves. And, yes, they are sometimes branded with tattoos to identify their belonging to the trafficker.

You live in a small city in Georgia. Does slavery exist there?

I used to live in Columbus, Georgia, a city of about 200,000. I now live in an even smaller city in central North Carolina. Human trafficking did exist in Columbus and it exists here as well. Smaller cities are sites for trafficking and also warehouses to “store” trafficked individuals for shipment to larger cities during major sporting events, large conferences, and the like. All the smaller cities need is good road connections to the larger cities and an uninformed community.

How can you recognise modern-day slaves? Are all of them involved in the sex trade?

Trafficking is both sex and labour, usually separate but sometimes combined. Recognizing key indicators of human trafficking is the first step in identifying victims and can help save a life. These indicators include:

♦ Disconnection from family, friends, community organizations, or a faith community.

♦ Sudden or dramatic changes in behavior.

♦ Inconsistencies in stories or explanations.

♦ Talks about wild parties and tries to recruit others to attend.

♦ Tattoos or branding.

♦ Frequent use of online dating/hookup sites.

♦ Older boyfriend or friends suddenly appear.

♦ Brags about or suddenly has money or expensive items.

♦ Engaging in commercial sex acts.

♦ Bruises in various stages of healing.

♦ Appearing fearful, timid, or submissive.

♦ Lacking in freedom of movement or living under unreasonable security measures.

♦ Multiple cell phones with no explanation as to why.

♦ Fearful of law enforcement.

Is there anything that we can do to put an end to this horror?

To start, we need to change people’s thinking that prostitution is a victimless crime or, worse, that it should be legalized. Refusing to enforce the law supports that mistaken idea and makes it easier for pimps and traffickers.

We should work to disrupt their activities — even briefly — and make their “business” more difficult and less profitable. We then need to work with victims to encourage cooperation with police against the pimp or trafficker while providing “rescue” when the pimp or trafficker is absent.

Here is where law enforcement, the courts and NGOs can be creative and more proactive.

Education is also key. The community needs to know that people are being trafficked locally and that it’s not a private or a consensual matter. That kind of thinking leads to traffickers being able to claim consent, which leads media to avoid publishing photos of the buyers. Lack of public outrage allows trafficking and the “advertising” of victims to continue.

An outraged public will recognize and report abuses, making it harder for traffickers to survive in our communities. A change in thinking by the public might also embolden victims and help them to recognize that they are victims.

One final thought. Drug addiction is an important factor. While working with abused children, I came across women who were prostituting themselves to have money to buy drugs. Their drug dealers were not involved in the prostitution. Several of my child abuse cases elsewhere involved parents prostituting their children to pay for their habit.

COLUMN BY

Joseph Zanga

Dr. Joseph Zanga is a paediatrician and a past President of the American College of Pediatricians.

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

PODCAST: Who is Really Above the Law?

Throughout President Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate, the prosecuting House Managers reminded us several times, “Nobody is above the law, particularly the president.” It became the mantra of the Democrats while litigating the case and, if anybody defied them, they were criticized as unpatriotic and accused of lacking any common sense.

Actually, I do not have a problem with the basic concept and accept the notion, “Nobody is above the law.” Unfortunately, this is simply not so as we have watched the super-rich and power-elites elude prosecution many times over the years. For example, money has kept members of the Kennedy family from getting into trouble on more than one occasion, starting with Ted Kennedy at Chappaquiddick. I am still at a loss as to how the Clintons have avoided prosecution over the years. The reality is, if you have the money for the best attorneys and/or hold political strings, you really can be “above the law.”

Recently, because of the Senate trial of the president, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-NH) was unable to spend time in Iowa, the highly contested site of the first presidential caucus. Consequently, he sent Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY 14, aka “AOC”) to Iowa to campaign on his behalf while he attended the trial. During her stumping for Sanders, AOC told voters the senator stood out because he was in favor of breaking up Immigration (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). She said, “Sen. Sanders is the only candidate to commit to breaking up ICE and CBP.”

Democrats have long been known to support open borders, as they represent new voters to support them. Further, the controversial concept of Sanctuary Cities, as offered by metropolitan areas controlled by Democrats, provides a safe-haven for illegal immigrants. This establishes an inconsistency by Democrats claiming illegals are “above the law.”

If the Democrats truly believe nobody should be “above the law,” they would dismantle the sanctuary cities and assist ICE and the CBP in capturing illegal immigrants. Unfortunately, they do not, which labels them as hypocrites as they only accept “above the law” when it suits their political agenda.

Frankly, the Democrats’ insistence that nobody should be “above the law” is laughable.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – Also do not forget my books, “How to Run a Nonprofit” and “Tim’s Senior Moments”, both available in Printed and eBook form.

EDITORS NOTE: This Bryce is Right podcast is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Chair of Harvard Chemistry Department Arrested for Illegal Dealings with Chinese University in Wuhan

The story is seeping out into the media even though it’s hard for any news to break through with the impeachment show going on in the Senate at the moment.

Another news story captivating the public is the Coronavirus news coming out of China and what a funny coincidence that the virus and the Harvard professor’s alleged secretive dealings both involve Wuhan, China. I am not implying a connection!

I’ll bet the vast majority of Americans (including me) never heard of Wuhan before this past week.

Here is one of many stories, this one at The Economist with this intriguing photo and the headline:

An American chemist is suspected of illegal dealings with China

Here are the opening paragraphs, but alas a subscription is required to read more. We can fix that because all the news you need to know is in a press release from the US Justice Department (h/t: Cathy):

In 2013 Charles Lieber, a pioneer of nanoscience who is now the chairman of Harvard University’s chemistry department, visited the Wuhan University of Technology (WUT), in China, to celebrate the founding of a lab he was credited by that university with helping to establish and oversee: the  WUT-Harvard Joint Nano Key Laboratory. It was a remarkable coup. WUT is an institution of little renown. Harvard is generally regarded as the top of the academic tree. And Dr Lieber, whose research has since become part of Elon Musk’s ambitious scheme to supercharge the human brain with nanotechnology, has been seen as a potential Nobel laureate.

Harvard’s officials had not, however, approved the laboratory and did not know about it until early 2015, according to the us Department of Justice. Nor did they know that while conducting his research with grants from the Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr Lieber was, according to federal authorities, also being paid up to $50,000 a month by WUT, plus at least $150,000 in “living expenses”, as a prized recruit in China’s Thousand Talents programme to bring foreign scientists, and return Chinese expatriates, to that country’s research laboratories.

See the release for more details and to learn about the Chinese nationals also charged with various crimes.  The DOJ says the three cases involve China, but are unrelated. However, they were all conducted as part of President Trump’s Department of Justice China Initiative described in the release.

Yanqing Ye, 29, a Chinese national, was charged in an indictment today with one count each of visa fraud, making false statements, acting as an agent of a foreign government and conspiracy. Ye is currently in China.

Zaosong Zheng, 30, a Chinese national, was arrested on Dec. 10, 2019, at Boston’s Logan International Airport and charged by criminal complaint with attempting to smuggle 21 vials of biological research to China.  On Jan. 21, 2020, Zheng was indicted on one count of smuggling goods from the United States and one count of making false, fictitious or fraudulent statements.  He has been detained since Dec. 30, 2019.

[….]

These case are part of the Department of Justice’s China Initiative, which reflects the strategic priority of countering Chinese national security threats and reinforces the President’s overall national security strategy. In addition to identifying and prosecuting those engaged in trade secret theft, hacking and economic espionage, the initiative will increase efforts to protect our critical infrastructure against external threats including foreign direct investment, supply chain threats and the foreign agents seeking to influence the American public and policymakers without proper registration.

More here.

EDITORS NOTE: This Frauds, Crooks and Criminals column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

VIDEO: “I hate you and I hope you die”

A student activist I work with sent me a disturbing video.

And I’m sharing it with you now to show you the hostile and often violent abuse young conservatives face from AntiFa and other radical leftists on their college campuses.

As you’ll see in the video, one “tolerant” left-wing student took a break from vandalizing property at a local Turning Point USA event to aggressively shout at a student organizer:

“I hate you and I hope you die!”

I hope you’ll take a moment now to watch this short, 47-second video:

In the toxic atmosphere on campuses, hundreds of thousands of conservative students are outnumbered by…

…AntiFa and other radical leftist students as well as far-Left socialist professors and university administrators.

EDITORS NOTE: This TPUSA video and column are republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Florida Governor DeSantis Signs Law Protecting State Constitution Amendment Process

HB-5 Ballot Measure, Protects Florida’s Constitution from Outsiders

HB-5 – Contains an amendment by Rep. James Grant (R) to restore the right of Floridians to control the Florida citizen ballot initiative petition process.

The amendment is intended to stop out-of-state billionaires from crafting amendments to Florida’s Constitution, then sending paid, out-of-state petition gatherers into Florida to collect petition signatures to change the Constitution for the benefit of out-of-state special interests.

The House voted 105-0 to pass the Grant amendment with 15 House members not voting. The Senate concurred in the Grant amendment and passed the bill 22-17.

On June 7, 2019, Governor DeSantis signed the bill into law.  

Bill Cotterell, a reporter with the Tallahassee Democrat, framed it well in his article on June 8, 2019 when he said:

“When it takes effect, the bill will soon require people gathering petitions to register with the state and live in Florida, effectively eliminating a sort of cottage industry that specializes in crafting constitutional amendments and guiding them through the referendum process. It also forbids paying canvassers by how many voter signatures they gather.” 

The new process takes effect in 30 days.

These changes are critically important to gun owners, as anti-gunners repeatedly try to subvert the Constitution and Second Amendment rights by imposing gun bans and gun control through the ballot petition process.

Film ‘The White Crow’ shows the evils of living under Communism

“I want to stay and to be free.” – Rudolf Nureyev at Le Bourget Airport


I had a great opportunity to watch a Sony Pictures film titled “The White Crow” about the life of Rudolf Nureyev. The film is powerful, not only because of Nureyev himself but of what it shows about living under Communism during and after WWII. Rudolf’s family “were Tartars, coming of peasant stock in the Soviet republic of Bashkir.” His father, Hamet, become a political education officer in the Red Army, advancing to the rank of major during WWII.

The main influence in his life was his mother, who first took the young Rudolf to a ballet. From then on Rudolf wanted to be free to dance. Nureyev wanted to dance where he wanted and when he wanted. His penchant for wanting to be with Westerners finally caused him to be recalled to Moscow. Therefore, as a free thinker, Nureyev became an enemy of the Soviet state. This eventually lead to his defection.

Rudolf Nureyev Foundation notes:

When the company went to Paris in 1961 for its first foreign tour, Rudolf could hardly be left behind but a close watch was kept on him.

Still he did not conform. Instead of returning obediently to the hotel each night in the coaches provided, he went out with French dancers and other locals. One or two other Kirov dancers did likewise but Nureyev was the one who caused most alarm to the political agents running the tour.

When everyone arrived at the airport to move on for performances in London he was instead given a ticket to Moscow and told he was needed for a gala.

Disbelieving assurances that he would rejoin the company in London, he was sure he would never again be allowed out of Russia and would face relegation back home.

He decided to seek asylum in the west and managed to get word to friends who had come to see him off. They told the French police, who explained that Nureyev must personally approach them; he did this and was granted permission to stay in France. Russian officials thereafter did all they could to disparage the “defector”, and in absence he was sentenced to prison. For many years all his travelling had to be done on temporary documents but eventually he was given Austrian citizenship.

Watch the trailer:

What I learned from this film was what it is like to live under a Communist regime, the former USSR. The “C” in Communism stands for control. The White Crow is about an artist who stood against oppression. His name was Rudolf Nureyev.

Rudolf Nureyev

The Rudolf Nureyev Foundation says this about “The White Dove”:

Ralph Fiennes’ THE WHITE CROW was inspired by the book Rudolf Nureyev: The Life by Julie Kavanagh. The drama charts the iconic dancer’s famed defection from the Soviet Union to the West in 1961, despite KGB efforts to stop him. Fiennes directs from a script by David Hare (The Hours). Acclaimed dancer Oleg Ivenko stars as Nureyev, alongside AdAle Exarchopoulos as Clara Saint, and Fiennes as Russian ballet coach Alexander Pushkin.

I highly recommend seeing “The White Dove” to understand why American can never become socialist.

RELATED ARTICLE: How socialism violates all Ten Commandments

Nureyev Biography

The Rudolf Nureyev Foundation provides this Nureyev biography:

1938 March 17. Birth of Rudolf, fourth child and only son of Hamet and Farida Nureyev, aboard the Trans-Siberian express, near Lake Baikal. He spends his childhood and youth in Ufa, capital of the Soviet Republic of Bashkir. His parents are Tartar Muslims.

1955 August 24. Rudolf Nureyev takes the entrance exam for the prestigious Vaganova Academy (Kirov Ballet school) in Leningrad. He is admitted and trains under legendary ballet teacher Alexander Pushkin.

1958 For the school’s graduation concert, Rudolf Nureyev dances the pas de deux from Le Corsaire with Alla Sizova. He joins the Kirov (ex-Marinsky Theatre) Ballet in Leningrad, the most important dance company in the USSR, as soloist.October 28. Debut at the Kirov in the pas de trois in Swan Lake.

1961 Kirov Ballet tour, Paris. Rudolf Nureyev’s success is stunning from his very first appearance on stage at the Palais Garnier on May 19, in Act III (Kingdom of the Shades) from La Bayadère.June 16. Rudolf Nureyev “chooses liberty” and demands political asylum at Le Bourget airport instead of boarding an airplane to take him back to the USSR. He joins the Ballets du Marquis de Cuevas the next day. Decisive encounter with Erik Bruhn, principal dancer with the Royal Danish Ballet.

1962 Departs for Copenhagen to study the Bournonville style with Erik Bruhn.February 21. First performance of Giselle with Margot Fonteyn and the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden. Rudolf Nureyev becomes guest artist with this company and continues as such until 1977

1963 March 12. Premiere of Marguerite and Armand, choreography by Frederick Ashton for Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev. It becomes their fetish ballet.November 27. Rudolf Nureyev remounts a choreography by Marius Petipa for the first time, Act III (Kingdom of the Shades) from La Bayadère for the Royal Ballet. His career quickly becomes international. He dances as a guest star with all the major ballet companies in Europe, the United States and Australia. He dances the princes of the repertoire as well as creations by Frederick Ashton, Rudi Van Dantzig, Roland Petit, Maurice Béjart, George Balanchine, Glen Tetley, Martha Graham and Murray Louis. His insatiable curiosity leads him to try all dance styles. He also remounts the great 19th century Russian ballets by Marius Petipa, a choreographer he reveres: Sleeping Beauty,The Nutcracker, Don Quixote, Swan Lake, Raymonda. He choreographs Tancredi and Manfred.

1983 Rudolf Nureyev becomes dance director at the Paris Opera Ballet, a position he holds until 1989.
He brings new life to the company, invites numerous modern choreographers and teachers, choreographs Cinderella and Washington Square….

1989 Finally obtains long-waited approval from the Soviet authorities to return to Russia and dances La Sylphide at the Kirov Theatre in Leningrad, where he had not returned since 1961.He can visit his dying mother during a short trip to USSR.

1990 He performs in the musical comedy The King and I in the United States.
He performs “Song of a wayfairer” for the last time at the Paris Opera Devoted himself to orchestral conducting.

1992 October 8. First performance of La Bayadère, remounted by Nureyev based on choreography by Marius Petipa, at the Palais Garnier.

1993 January 6. Rudolf Nureyev dies at the age of 54, at the Hôpital du Perpétual Secours in Levallois-Perret, near Paris.Rudolf Nureyev was buried at the Russian cemetery of Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois near Paris.

VIDEOS: At least seven hurt in central Lyon explosion; package bomb suspected (French prosecutors)

BREAKING France 24:

At least seven hurt in central Lyon explosion; package bomb suspected (French prosecutors).

Police are hunting “a man in his 30s”

That narrows it down doesn’t it?

EDITORS NOTE: This Vlad Tepes Blog column is republished with permission.

This Just In: Left Discovers Candace Owens Is A Nazi!

Candace Owens

Are Leftists evil, crazy, or both? This piece isn’t about jihad, but it does describe an instance of the same tactic that Leftists and Islamic supremacists use on foes of jihad terror and Sharia oppression: take a statement, twist its meaning, and use it to try to defame and destroy the speaker. My latest in FrontPage:

Leftists thought they had hit the jackpot last week in their never-ending quest to portray all dissenters from their totalitarian agenda as Nazis and/or tools of Vladimir Putin: video surfaced of black conservative activist Candace Owens of Turning Point USA appearing to say that the only problem with Adolf Hitler was that he carried his program outside of Germany. Their gleeful smearing of Owens raises the question yet again: are Leftists evil, crazy, or both?

Owens said this at a December event in London:

I actually don’t have any problems at all with the word ‘nationalism.’ I think that it gets, the definition gets poisoned by elitists that actually want globalism. Globalism is what I don’t want. So when you think about, whenever we say ‘nationalism,’ the first thing people think about, at least in America, is Hitler. You know, he was a national socialist, but if Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, okay fine. The problem is that he wanted, he had dreams outside of Germany. He wanted to globalize. He wanted everybody to be German. Everybody to be speaking German. Everybody to look a different way. To me, that’s not nationalism. In thinking about how we could go bad down the line, I don’t really have an issue with nationalism. I really don’t. I think that it’s okay.

It was indeed possible to see this as saying that the only problem with Hitler was that he didn’t confine his activities to Germany alone. And Owens’ Trump/Hitler resonance in speaking of Hitler wanting to “make Germany great” was more fodder for Leftists eager to find validation of their multiple smears of conservatives, and particularly of Trump supporters.

However, any sane person can see that Owens was discussing the taint that has been attached to the word “nationalism,” and not pausing to detail all of Hitler’s obvious crimes. That did not mean that she endorsed those crimes, as she made clear after the firestorm erupted: “He was a homicidal, psychotic maniac who was bent on world domination outside of the confines of Germany. You wouldn’t say he was a nationalist, because he wasn’t about putting Germans first. There were German Jews that he was putting into camps and murdering. He was a mass murderer.”

She also explained that she wasn’t likening Trump to Hitler: “Trump has no interest in conquering the world.” He is “employing a type of nationalism that is desperately needed in times like this, when you have people that are trying to globalize our economy, and we’re seeing that America has been hurt by it.” Responding to claims that she was saying Hitler would have been fine if he had just stayed in Germany, she said: “No, I’m saying Hitler wasn’t a nationalist.”

Anyone with an ounce of good will and common sense could have realized these things all along, but Leftists evidently have neither. Chelsea Clinton tweeted: “Ignorance about Hitler’s evil regime must always be confronted. That burden should not fall on Holocaust survivors. There was nothing, using @RealCandaceO own words, ‘great’ about the Third Reich before it began annexing & invading its neighbors.”

Fake moderate Muslim Qasim Rashid jumped on as well: “Oh my God. Candace Owens says she has ‘no problem’ w/Hitler’s nationalism as long as it had remained in Germany b/c ‘it’s important to retain your country’s identity.’ So Hitler using Nationalism to commit genocide of Jews was ‘just fine’ for Owens.”

The Washington Post pontificated: “Owens and Turning Point have been criticized for issues related to diversity. Some former members have called leaders of the group racist. With speeches like that from Owens, it’s not hard to see why.”

There are just two options here: one is that the Leftists who pounced on Owens (and there are many more) actually believe that conservatives are Nazis, in which case they are insane. Insanity is the inability to distinguish reality from fantasy, and if Chelsea Clinton, Qasim Rashid, the Washington Post and the rest really think that Owens’ initial statement revealed that she secretly admired Hitler, they have shown that they cannot make basic distinctions and perceive elementary realities.

On the other hand, if Leftists knew full well all along that Owens was not a Nazi, but saw her words as fodder to be exploited in order to try to defame and destroy her and all conservatives and Trump supporters, then they are evil.

The most likely answer is that they’re both crazy and evil.

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column with images is republished with permission. The featured image is from Candace Owens’ Facebook page.

Will you consider sending an editorial to your local paper to counter leftist promotion of World Hijab Day?

The same Sharia law that dictates women must wear the hijab also advocates harsh discipline (abuse) of wives, genital mutilation of girls and honor killing of allegedly dishonorable females.

World Hijab Day is February 1st.  The mission of World Hijab Day is to allegedly make non-Muslims aware of the societal response to Muslim women who wear a hijab.


#NoHijabDay livestream on February at bit.ly/NoHijabDayLive

The hijab symbolizes many tenets of Sharia law that oppress women. While most Muslim women in America do NOT wear the hijab, leftist media and retailers in their frenzy to be diverse have made the hijab its new symbol of diversity.  Leftist embracement, promotion and defense of the hijab reinforces the Sharia mandated headgear for women.  Their support for the hijab is hurting the chances of women embracing the fullness of the liberty that is extended to them by the United States Constitution by doffing the oppressive hijab as well as taking a stand against the harsh Sharia tenets that oppress them.

One way to counter World Hijab Day is to submit an editorial or opinion for publication in newspapers.  We are providing two editorials below for you to consider submitting to your newspaper.  The second editorial is the same as the first except it has been edited to 250 words which is the limit of some papers.  Please feel free to make changes to these editorials or write your own opinion.  Florida Family Association has published more information regarding the hijab here.   

Most news media provide a form or email address on their website to make submission easy.  The best way to find this form or email address is to search the internet with the words “newspaper name editorial.” 

If you are willing and would like to voice concern to the public regarding the realities of the hijab please consider submitting an editorial or commentary to your newspaper.  Please let us know if they publish your submission.

LONGER EDITORIAL

Title:  Embrace liberty, doff hijab. 

The mission of World Hijab Day (February 1st) is to allegedly make non-Muslims aware of the societal response to Muslim women who wear a hijab.  Perhaps Muslim women feel uncomfortable wearing the hijab in public because they know that millions of Americans see the hijab as exemplifying one of many harsh tenets of Sharia law that oppress women. 

The hijab has replaced the pink triangle as the progressive left’s top symbol of diversity.  However, tens of millions of Americans including thousands of Muslim women view the hijab as a symbol of Islamist, misogynistic repression.   Nearly sixty percent of Muslims in America do not wear the hijab according to Pew Research published by NPR on April 21, 2011.

Some scholars of Islam teach that the Quran does not mandate the hijab.  The hijab was invented and mandated by Mussah Sadr, an Iranian mullah, in the 1970s, 1300 years after the Quran was written.  Sadr issued a Sharia edict that required women to wear the hijab to allegedly prevent their rape.  Women In The World media published an article on September 15, 2015 titled “The day 100,000 Iranian women protested the head scarf.”  The article displayed a seldom-seen collection of photographs, shot in Tehran in 1979, of thousands of women who are not wearing hijabs or other oppressive attire prior to Sadr enforcing Iran’s new Islamist hijab law.  

British Muslim Qanta Ahmed wrote on March 18, 2017 in The Spectator UK:  “As a Muslim, I strongly support the right to ban the veil.  At last, the European Court of Justice has made a stand for European values.  Rigid interpretations of the veil are a recent invention. They’re derived not from the Quran or early Islamic tradition but from a misogyny which claims a false basis in the divine.”

The same Sharia law that dictates women must wear the hijab also advocates harsh discipline (abuse) of wives, genital mutilation of girls and honor killing of allegedly dishonorable females.  Hopefully, Muslim women will embrace the fullness of the liberty that is extended to them by the United States Constitution by doffing the oppressive hijab as most other Muslim women have done in America as well as take a stand against the harsh Sharia tenets that oppress them.

SHORTENED EDITORIAL 250 WORDS


Title:  Embrace liberty, doff hijab. 

The mission of World Hijab Day (February 1st) is to allegedly make non-Muslims aware of the societal response to Muslim women who wear a hijab.  Perhaps Muslim women feel uncomfortable wearing the hijab in public because they know that millions of Americans see the hijab as exemplifying many tenets of Sharia law that oppress women. 

The hijab has replaced the pink triangle as the progressive left’s top symbol of diversity.  However, tens of millions of Americans including thousands of Muslim women view the hijab as a symbol of Islamist, misogynistic repression.   Nearly sixty percent of Muslims in America do not wear the hijab according to Pew Research published by NPR on April 21, 2011.

The hijab was invented and mandated by Mussah Sadr, an Iranian mullah, in the 1970s, 1300 years after the Quran was written.  Sadr issued a Sharia edict that required women to wear the hijab to allegedly prevent their rape.  Women In The World media published an article on September 15, 2015 titled “The day 100,000 Iranian women protested the head scarf.”  The article displayed photographs taken in 1979 of thousands of Iranian women who were not wearing hijabs.  

The same Sharia law that dictates women must wear the hijab also advocates harsh discipline of wives, genital mutilation of girls and honor killing.  Hopefully, Muslim women will embrace the fullness of the liberty extended to them by the United States Constitution by doffing the oppressive hijab and standing against other oppressive Sharia tenets.

 

RELATED ARTICLE: #NoHijabDay Campaign Fights Women’s Subjugation, Indoctrination

EDITORS NOTE: This FFA column is republished with permission. The featured image is from Pixabay.

INTO THE FRAY: Generals in Israeli politics — The pinnacle of perversity?

As a rule, on entering Israeli politics, senior military and security figures have played a troubling role, which has—almost uniformly—proved disastrous, both for the country and/or for themselves.

It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.” – Alice in Wonderland.

Little could have reflected the perversity of politics in Israel more than the ten minute prime-time interview with former Prime Minister and IDF chief-of-staff, Lt. Gen. (res.) Ehud Barak on Wednesday (January 16, 2019).

A noxious brew of duplicity and hypocrisy

It was a noxious brew of duplicity and hypocrisy, in which Barak launched into a blistering diatribe against the incumbent Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu—beginning with the wildly implausible accusation that he was somehow to blame for the recent scandal involving the head of the Israel Bar Association for allegedly accepting sexual favors in return for advancing judicial appointments.

Indeed, it is curious that Barak should be given such media prominence in light of his largely disastrous foray into politics—or why his views should have any sway with the electorate. He was, after all—arguably—Israel’s most failed prime minister and—inarguably—its shortest serving one, being unceremoniously ejected from office by the voters after barely 18 months. Thus, one might be excused for entertaining the cynical doubt that, had he been about to warmly commend, rather than viciously condemn Netanyahu, he would never have been afforded such generous media exposure.

But apart from the gall of his toxic tirade against Netanyahu, who has been repeatedly re-elected by the very voters who rejected Barak, and who has served consecutively longer than any other prime minister to date—with less than 200 days between him and David Ben Gurion’s record for the longest overall accumulated incumbency—there is the jarring hypocrisy of his recriminations.

For Israel’s enemies: Manna from heaven

After all, Barak served for a good number of years under Netanyahu, first within the Labor party (2009-2011), and then in his breakaway Independence party (2011-2013), which he formed with the explicit purpose of remaining in the Netanyahu-led coalition, after Labor decided to quit it.

Moreover, it is unlikely that anyone familiar with the Israeli political system could doubt that if Barak’s Independence faction had any chance of winning enough votes to cross the minimum threshold required to enter the Knesset, he would have continued to participate in a Netanyahu-led coalition!

Yet today, perhaps smarting under the insult of rejection by the public and his own political failure, Barak has embarked on an incendiary campaign to besmirch the elected government of the country—in which he himself served—that is pure manna from heaven for Israel’s most vehement detractors. Indeed, it is difficult to think of  any of Israel’s external critics, who have expressed harsher or more derogatory accusations against the Jewish state than Barak himself. Indeed, Israel’s enemies need to do nothing more than to quote his venomous invective to prove their claims as to the nefarious nature of the brutal, corrupt, and racist “Zionist entity”.

But more about Barak and his disastrous debacles a little later.

Two categories of generals

Throughout Israel’s short history, former generals have been a highly sought after commodity by political parties. Although prima facie this may appear a logical—perhaps even obvious—desire, a brief glance at the political performance in the past few decades should suffice to cast considerable doubt as to the political acumen and value of former generals.

Indeed, as a general rule, on entering Israeli politics, senior military and security figures have played a troubling role, which has—almost uniformly—proved disastrous, both for the country and/or for themselves.

Overall, there have been two categories of generals that have entered politics in Israel: (a) Those who have managed to attain the highest political office of Prime Minister—and wrought disaster on the nation; and (b) those who did not—and were chewn up, and ignominiously spewed out of the political system—often with their reputations mauled.

In the latter category, we find former IDF Chief-of-Staff and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, who was forced into humiliating political retirement when it was clear that his Kadima list (once the largest in the Knesset) would not get enough votes to pass the threshold for election, and no other party was prepared to offer him a realistic spot on its list.

Other names that spring to mind in the lengthy list of unimpressive performances by the top brass in politics include Maj.-Gen. (res.) Danny Yatom, former head of the Mossad; V.-Adm. (res.) Ami Ayalon, former commander of the navy and head of the Shin Bet; the lackluster former Chief-of-Staff, the late Lt.-Gen. (res.) Amnon Lipkin-Shahak; Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amram Mitzna, former head of Central Command; and the hapless Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Mordechai, former head of Southern Command and later defense minister, who left public life under a cloud of sexual scandal.

Disastrously detrimental role

 With regard to the former category—those ex-generals who have become prime minister—the record is, without exception, dismal. From Yitzhak Rabin through Ariel Sharon to Ehud Barak, each and everyone has left a dismaying heritage of disaster.

Thus, Yitzhak Rabin, despite grave misgivings, capitulated to pressures from his party’s Left wing, and ushered in the Oslo Accords, that left Israel’s streets, cafes and buses awash in blood and body parts; allowed the arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat and his cronies to return triumphantly to Gaza; and for hostile armed militias to deploy within mortar range of the nation’s parliament.

Ariel Sharon abandoned the Gaza Strip, a measure he once vehemently opposed, precipitating all the perils he foresaw and of which he warned, while forcefully expelling thousands of productive, loyal Israeli citizens, to turn their homes over to savage hordes, who ravaged everything and anything left behind.

Then, of course, came Ehud Barak, billed as “Israel’s most decorated soldier,” portrayed as a rare combination of James Bond, Baruch Spinoza and Albert Einstein, and heralded as the great “white hope” of Israeli politics—a hope that was soon to be dashed. Swept along by the halo of his military glory, Barak was quickly elected prime minister—and disaster soon followed hard on the heels of disaster. Thankfully, he was forced out of office after little more than a year-and-a-half, but not before ordering the ignominious, unilateral flight of the IDF from South Lebanon in 2000; surrendering the area to Hezbollah; consenting – or rather capitulating – to the far-reaching concessions of the Clinton Parameters; and failing to contain the violence of the Second Intifada—that erupted despite his willingness to accept virtually all Palestinian demands.

Generals galore

Thus without exception, all these generals-turned-prime ministers have facilitated the transformation of what were troublesome terrorist nuisances into grave strategic threats.

Yet despite this depressing record, generals still appear to be “flavor of the month” in the upcoming election. More than ever, top military figures are crowding into the 2019 race for the Knesset. Two former chiefs-of-staff have set up their own parties, Bennie Gantz, whose Israel’s Resilience party is polling well, and Moshe “Bogey” Ya’alon, whose Telem party, is not. A third, Gabi Ashkenazi, is rumored as being on the cusp of throwing his hat into the ring—but as to with whom, little is known. Earlier this month, another well-known ex-general, Yom-Tov Samia, former head of Southern Command, who recently left the Zionist Union, announced he was about to set up a new—allegedly left-leaning—party.

Two other generals have joined existing parties, Yoav Galant, former head of Southern Command, who recently left the Kulanu list to join the Likud, and Orna Barbivai, former head of IDF’s Manpower Directorate and the first woman to serve in the General Staff, who joined Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid.

Yet the plethora of emerging parties does not seem to reflect a commensurate plethora of emerging ideologies. Indeed, far more is unknown about what the parties stand for than what is known. Thus, in registering his Israeli Resilience party, Gantz declared its goals as: “the ongoing foundation and strengthening of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state in the light of the Zionist dream as expressed in the Declaration of Independence, and through the establishment and redefinition of national priorities in the following areas: education, national infrastructure development, agriculture, law, internal security, social welfare, peace and security.”—which scarcely any of the Zionist parties competing in the elections would oppose!

Positions, not principles; Egos, not ideologies

Sadly, therefore, it appears that the upcoming elections will not be a battle of ideas, ideals and ideologies but of egos, not a struggle to advance principles, but to attain positions. And when position is the overriding goal, principles are jettisoned along the wayside. This has been a recurring phenomenon with generals-turned-politicians.

Thus, Rabin—against his better judgement—capitulated to the pressures of the Left-wing party to adopt the Oslo Accords; Sharon sacrificed Gaza—despite articulating precisely what the results would be—in the hope of appeasing the Left-leaning legal establishment regarding charges of malfeasance on his part; and Barak caved into pressures from Left-leaning civil society protest groups to abandon South Lebanon to Hezbollah.

Likewise, there is Moshe Ya’alon, once a leading figure in the Likud, and even served for five years as vice-premier to Netanyahu without any apparent discomfort, either moral or ideological, until he was replaced as defense minister in 2016—when he suddenly discovered the glaring deficiencies of both Netanyahu and the Likud. Since then, he has scoured the country, excoriating both the man he served under and the party of which he was a member—trying to persuade the electorate that there is no more urgent imperative than to replace them at the helm of government.

Of course, after almost 13 years as prime minister, there may be many reasons why a change of leadership is called for. But invoking a disastrous incumbency by Netanyahu is not one of them. To suggest that it is, is both disingenuous and detrimental.

Misplaced anti-Bibi hysteria

In this regard, I am far from an uncritical apologist for Netanyahu. Indeed, I have, in the past, even called for his resignation. However, it is undeniable that in many ways, he has been a truly transformative leader.

Under his stewardship, Israel has become one of the best performing economies in the world—with GDP per capita breaching the $40,000 mark for the first time ever in 2017, up sharply by almost 45% since 2009, when he was first re-elected after losing power in 1999.

He drastically reduced Palestinian terror from the horrific levels he “inherited” from the Rabin-Peres era—and, despite occasional flare-ups, he has largely managed to contain it to hardly perceptible proportions—certainly nowhere near the grisly scale that prevailed under his predecessors.

In terms of foreign policy, he has produced remarkable success. He managed to wait out the inclement incumbency of Barack Obama, emerging largely unscathed—despite the undisguised antipathy between the two men.

His views on Iran and its perilous nuclear ambitions have been embraced by the Trump administration. He has managed to initiate far-reaching changes in Middle East politics, with increasingly amicable—albeit, as yet, only semi-overt—relations with important Arab states, inconceivable several years ago, while sidelining—or at least, significantly reducing—the centrality of the intractable “Palestinian problem”.

He has overseen Israel’s “pivot” eastwards, and burgeoning relationships with the ascendant economies of India and China, increasingly offsetting Israel’s commercial dependence on the oft less-than-benign EU. He also has scored remarkable diplomatic successes in Africa and South America. Notwithstanding difficulties with western European countries, he has fostered increasingly warm relations and understanding with those in central and eastern Europe…

A whole different skill set

Whether any former high-ranking successor could match this performance is, of course, not impossible, but is certainly open to question. After all, while our senior military officers deserve great credit for their years of sacrifice, devotion and daring, civilian leadership calls for a substantially different skill set from military command.

Indeed, as I once said, a good many years ago, in a rather heated exchange with a former IDF chief-of-staff:

The ability to command is no guarantee of the ability to lead;

Physical courage is no guarantee of moral courage; and

Bluntness is no guarantee of integrity.

The voters will do well to bear this in mind!