Ron Radosh

Ron Radosh

After the murders at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church by a young white racist, a consensus has been reached on the issue of taking down the Confederate flag from South Carolina’s soldier’s monument, where it has flown since being removed from the state capitol in 2000.

The flag was flown from the capitol only since the early 1960s, when segregationists resurrected what was in fact the Confederate battle flag as their symbol for opposition to desegregation. Other states quickly followed South Carolina’s example.

Evidently, this may not be enough to satisfy the cultural enforcers on the American Left.

Suddenly, anything in our history that is somehow connected with the sin of slavery — and it was a sin against humanity — is fair game to be excised from America’s past. As John Hinderaker writes at Powerline, the Democrats are getting “their crazy on.” First it’s the Confederate flag, then statues, monuments, and our currency that celebrate racists, then perhaps the American flag itself.

Remember those leftists who after 9/11 refused to fly the flag, since they argued it stood for oppression?

For a few years, I lived in West Virginia. Throughout the state, and indeed in many buildings at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, there are many buildings named after the late Sen. Robert Byrd. There are so many roads and institutions throughout the state honoring Byrd that you have to stop counting. Byrd, an honored Democrat who was considered the Senate’s master of its rules and a mainstay in the first two years of the Obama administration, was Grand Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan.

After the Civil War, the Republicans were the party of civil rights; the Democrats the party of racism and the evolving system of segregation.

A few days ago, CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield moved on from the Confederate flag to demanding that Americans think about taking down the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. The Washington Monument will probably be next — after all, our first president was also a slaveholder.

Others have pointed out that Woodrow Wilson, upon taking office, moved to institute segregation in government offices as official policy. At Instapundit, Randy Barnett skillfully presents the entire racist record of Wilson’s presidency. How, he asks, can a scholarly center be named the Woodrow Wilson Center, or the political scientists’ association offer a Woodrow Wilson award, or professorships be named after him at Princeton University, at which he was once its president?

Others have noted the racist character of the multi-Academy Award winning 1939 release, Gone With the Wind. Should it no longer be shown or even celebrated, like MGM did at the time of its 75th anniversary with restored DVD box sets and screenings in both Atlanta and then throughout the country? I doubt that any plans for a 100th anniversary will still take place, as the studio obviously was planning.

For an excellent discussion on how we should handle impulses to expunge our past by rewriting history, I highly recommend a reading of film director Ronald F. Maxwell’s eloquent and powerful words, spoken on June 7, 2009, at the annual commemoration of the Confederate Monument in Arlington National Cemetery, and offered online at Huffington Post.

I know it may come as a shock to you that such a memorial exists. Even more shocking, however, is that President Barack Obama, as Maxwell writes, “to his everlasting honor, and in keeping with the tradition of his predecessors, on Memorial Day just two weeks ago sent a wreath to Moses Ezekiel’s monument to the Confederate dead.” Ezekiel, himself a Confederate soldier, went on to become one of America’s preeminent sculptors; he worked in Rome, to which he had moved. He had become, as his obituary in the New York Times stated, a “distinguished and greatly beloved American sculptor.”

President Obama sent the wreath despite having received a letter from a group of professors urging him not to do so. The list of signers includes very distinguished scholars such as James McPherson and Ira Katznelson. It also includes one Bill Ayers, who as we know is an expert in blowing up statues of which he disapproves. How did Obama deal with this? He also sent a wreath to the memorial of African-American soldiers who died fighting for the Union. Undoubtedly, the leftist professors would consider his doing so an act of “moral equivalency.”

Maxwell goes on:

We cannot wish our ancestors away, nor should we. In the act of designing and erecting these monuments and statues they are telling us what was important to them in their time. By leaving for us, their progeny, a record in stone, they are expressly calling upon us, their grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren to remember.

Shall we do as the professors who signed the letter to our president asked him to do — shall we heap scorn upon these monuments and chastise those who will not? Should we do as their doctrinaire kin in Afghanistan did? Shall we, like the Taliban, destroy our statues with dynamite because they offend a prevailing dogma? Shall we disinter the bones of our ancestors like the radical Jacobins of the French Revolution did, scattering their unearthed remains to the winds — first to be reviled, then ever to be forgotten?

These lines nail it. If we tear apart our past because contemporary standards have changed, we will lose our understanding of how our democracy has been constantly evolving since the birth of the republic.

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Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren is currently under attack for the publication of his important new book, Ally: My Journey Through the American-Israeli Divide. In it, Oren has dared to pull back the curtain on Obama’s — and his administration’s — antipathy for Israel.

Further, Oren has hit the Obama administration hard over the past week with three different columns detailing how dangerous the Obama administration actually is for Israel. Oren’s “How Obama Abandoned Israel” appeared in the Wall Street Journal, his “Why Obama is wrong about Iran being ‘rational’ on nukes” appeared in the Los Angeles Times, and — perhaps the most devastating of the three — his “How Obama Opened His Heart to the Muslim World. And Got it Stomped On” appeared in Foreign Policy.

In the FP column, Oren points to “the president’s naiveté as peacemaker, blinders to terrorism, and alienation of allies.” He concludes that the president is failing in his most important responsibility — keeping the country safe — by refusing to recognize the following:

Those who kill in Islam’s name are not mere violent extremists but fanatics driven by a specific religion’s zeal. And their victims are anything but random.

Obama’s allies, including J Street and other left-wing Jewish defenders of the president and his record on Israel, are now out in full force trying to blunt Oren’s effectiveness. According to Lee Smith (who is not Jewish) in an article appearing in Tablet, all of them fit the description of the “court Jew.”

Smith recounts how Jack Lew, Obama’s treasury secretary and an Orthodox Jew, was recently sent to address a Jerusalem Post conference in New York City, where he was heckled. An audience member yelled: “You’re a court Jew.” Smith points out that the term refers to a Jew “who walks with the stamp of official power”:

The term refers to a particular class of Jews who’ve existed throughout modern history, people who obtain privilege with the ruling authorities and who then take on a dual role: to convince the Jewish community of the beneficence of the ruling authorities, and also to intercede with those authorities on behalf of the community. In some cases, these “court Jews” have protected the Jewish communities in whose name they spoke. In other cases, they are remembered as agents of historical disaster, who helped lead Jews to the slaughter.

Smith writes that, despite growing evidence, these modern-day “court Jews” who think of themselves as independent thinkers are instead functioning as “court Jews” insofar as they are helping to sell Obama’s policies to the Jewish community:

[Without them it is] hard to explain why Obama still has the support of the majority of the Jewish community for policies that from any rational perspective — the perspective of any other minority group — cannot be seen as anything other than detrimental to the Jewish state.

Why else, Smith asks, would they not criticize Obama’s forthcoming Iranian deal even though it is the “opposite of what he told them it would be?”

As usual, Peter Beinart — the model for all “court Jews” — calls out Oren in the left-wing Israeli newspaper Haaretz, arguing that President Obama has not abandoned Israel.

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You will be well-rewarded if you take a break from our current political turmoil to read David Horowitz’s new book, You’re Going to be Dead One Day: A Love Story.

In its pages, you will not find the conservative warrior that you know from his speeches, books, articles, and his organization’s website. Rather, Horowitz, in this third memoir since he wrote Radical Son, presents us with a profoundly personal and moving philosophical inquiry into the meaning of life in the face of death — hence the jarring title (as if we didn’t know it already). But, it is also, as the title states, a love story chiefly about his wife April and the other people in his life he loves and treasures.

I have been friends with Horowitz for decades, since our high school days in New York City when we were comrades in arms in the American Communist Party’s youth organization. But I was not prepared for the power of his writing, and his willingness to bare his soul and inner feelings from the months of May through September of 2014. Those months, as we learn, were particularly difficult ones for his family. David, after what he expected to be a standard hip replacement operation, was left with what is called  “drop foot,” a condition leaving him unable to walk and in severe pain.

A short time after, April almost died in a car accident, and his son Jonathan was rushed to the hospital having suffered a heart attack at the age of 53. Thankfully, he survived.

This was not Horowitz’s first brush with mortality. At 60, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which caused him to pass the Rubicon between a time when he enjoyed “robust health” and took it for granted to the realization that he was not going to be the exception. He could, he tells us, fill his head with happier reflections, but he won’t, writing that “thinking about our mortal condition, and the way it affects how we live in the here and now, remains as seductive to me as ever.”

Despite these setbacks and the unpleasant surprises life sometimes gives us, David Horowitz faces these tribulations as part of life, and still presses on with strength and optimism.

He has been “driven,” as he puts it, to “confront those who refused to give up [the] misguided” attempt to change the world and achieve the new socialist order that would supposedly triumph everywhere and solve all the world’s problems.

Now Horowitz tells us he is “a pessimist about humanity,” but at the same time an optimist about his own life. How can that be?

The answer, he believes, may lie in the “quasi-religious world” he was brought up in, where he was taught that “despite all improbabilities, despite the fact that our community of communist believers was tiny and hunted, the brave new world we were seeking was just beyond the horizon. History was on our side.” He admits that tragic experience taught him the “destructive folly of this faith, but habit and instinct continue to say otherwise.”

Life is indeed full of surprises. Like Whittaker Chambers, to whom Horowitz has often been compared, good came out of his youthful infatuation, and gave us a man who is now an energetic force devoted to fighting the lies of the Left.

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Why Hillary May Not Win the Presidency

June 10th, 2015 - 3:26 pm

Hillary Clinton must have read John Judis’ article “The Emerging Republican Advantage,” which appeared last January in the National Journal. In it, he argued that a “resurgent Republican coalition” is eroding what he once believed was an “emerging Democratic majority.” What changed is that what remains of the white-working class is deserting the Democrats in droves; and secondly, that Republicans are dramatically gaining the support of the American middle class, a group that Democrats used to take for granted. “The defection of these voters” Judis writes, “—who, unlike the white working class, are a growing part of the electorate—is genuinely bad news for Democrats, and very good news indeed for Republicans.” Reluctantly he concludes that we are still living in a Republican era.

Apparently, Hillary has gotten the message that if she is to win the race for the presidency, she will not be able to do it by relying on the old coalition that propelled her husband to victory. As Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman explained in the New York Times, her plan is to dispense “with the nationwide electoral strategy that won her husband two terms in the White House and brought white-working class voters and great stretches of what is now red-state American back to Democrats.” She is assuming nothing she does or says will win their votes, and hence, she has moved to the far-left and is running a campaign in which she will try to follow the path Barack Obama took.

Writing in National Review, editor Rich Lowry concurs that she cannot capture the voters her husband kept in Democratic ranks:

So the question for Hillary is whether a 67-year-old candidate who’s not a racial minority or particularly exciting can reenergize the electoral coalition defined by a youthful African American who rose to prominence on rhetorical flights of fancy about hope and change.

So rather than move to the center—Bill Clinton, after all, was previously the chair of the centrist New Democrat Coalition — she has decided to best both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren by moving far to the Left.

She is also hoping, as Noah Rothman points out, that she will receive the votes necessary to win from the 31 percent of voters who are Americans of color, and will expand the Hispanic vote and hold the vast majority of black voters who cast their ballots for Obama. Hence all the vitriolic speeches about how Republicans are seeking to prevent minorities and African-Americans from voting. And by this approach, she hopes the party’s far-left base will all turn out.

Times columnist David Brooks points out that the reason she sounds so phony whenever she argues a point is because no one is sure she really believes what she is saying. That is because her goal is to win a demographic, not to run on conviction.  Brooks thinks she may be wrong to act on this strategy:

The mobilization strategy over-reads the progressive shift in the electorate. It’s true that voters have drifted left on social issues. But they have not drifted left on economic and fiscal issues, as the continued unpopularity of Obamacare makes clear. If Clinton comes across as a stereotypical big-spending, big-government Democrat, she will pay a huge cost in the Upper Midwest and the Sun Belt.

Is there a motive for Hillary waging a left-wing campaign beyond mere political expediency? I think the answer is simple: she believes what she says. Her husband was a centrist and did not come from a leftist background. Hillary did not either, but she became a leftist at college.

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If Hillary Clinton becomes president of the United States, she will undoubtedly bring with her to the White House her long-time trusted aide, confidant, and spinmeister, journalist Sidney Blumenthal. Blumenthal served in Bill Clinton’s White House as a special advisor, and was recently a staff member at the Clinton Foundation.

Perhaps the most noteworthy revelation coming out of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails from the time she was secretary of state is what they show about her relationship with Blumenthal. The New York Times report summarized it well:

In 2011 and 2012, Hillary Rodham Clinton received at least 25 memos about Libya from Sidney Blumenthal, a friend and confidant who at the time was employed by the Clinton Foundation. The memos, written in the style of intelligence cables, make up about a third of the almost 900 pages of emails related to Libya that Mrs. Clinton said she kept on the personal email account she used exclusively as secretary of state. Some of Mr. Blumenthal’s memos appeared to be based on reports supplied by American contractors he was advising as they sought to do business in Libya. Mr. Blumenthal also appeared to be gathering information from anonymous Libyan and Western officials and local news media reports.

Secretary Clinton wanted Blumenthal to come to the State Department with her, but — remembering how he orchestrated vicious attacks against Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign — the Obama administration turned down her request to bring him aboard. Nevertheless, while she was paying his salary for his work at the Clinton Foundation, she appointed him a special advisor to the State Department anyway, getting around the administration’s wishes.

As for the Blumenthal e-mails, Clinton forwarded his reports on Libya — where he had never been and about which he knew nothing — to others at State and elsewhere without identifying who wrote them. Most importantly, Blumenthal was sending out recommendations favoring those with whom he was involved in a prospective business deal.

Especially damaging was one sent in January 2012, about which the Times noted:

Blumenthal said that Libya’s prime minister was bringing in new economic advisers, and that a businessman, Najib Obeida, was among “the most influential of this group.” At the time, Mr. Obeida was a potential business partner for a group of contractors whom Mr. Blumenthal was advising.

Blumenthal was also one of the first to tell her that, according to Libyan officials, the Benghazi attacks were prompted by the obscure film Innocence of Muslims. A “’senior security officer’ had told Libya’s president,” the Times reported, “that Blumenthal reported that the attacks on that day were inspired by what many devout Libyan [s] viewed as a sacrilegious internet video.” Blumenthal added: “Some of the Libyan officials believe that the entire demonstration was organized as a cover for the attack.”

As we know, Hillary decided to go with the first version.

To those of us who have had contact with and are familiar with Blumenthal’s reporting, there is no doubt that he is incapable of being non-partisan or objective. Blumenthal always saw himself as a partisan fighter in the war against what Hillary Clinton famously called “the great right-wing conspiracy” — a term suggested to her by none other than Blumenthal.

To see what Blumenthal was all about in the ’80s, one must read Joshua Muravchik’s devastating review of Blumenthal’s 1986 book, The Rise of the Counter-Establishment, in which Blumenthal argues that a new conservative “elite” has been created and has built “an alternative presence” that, he claims, is more powerful and potent than the old liberal Establishment. Muravchick dissects the book, writing that it is nothing less than “an outburst, a formless outpouring of venom, bounded by no ethics of discourse, nor by logic, consistency, or accuracy.”

What it does show is that Blumenthal’s obsession with and hatred of those he brands “the Right” started in this era, if not before. And, as Muravchick shows, Blumenthal remains true to the New Left origins from whose ranks he started his political life.

Blumenthal would use any ammunition against her enemies, even if they came from conservative sources he hated. First, during the early days of the 2008 campaign, when Hillary was running in the primaries against Barack Obama, Blumenthal himself decided to use the work of various conservative news sources that were exposing Obama’s leftist background. Blumenthal sought to use this information in the hope of mitigating the damage that might be done by the release of information that showed Hillary herself was on the far left in her youth.

I wrote this up for the Weekly Standard in a column titled “Dueling Redbaiters: Which Candidate is the real Leftist?” I explained it this way:

Before you could say Comrade, Clinton’s close adviser Sidney Blumenthal was emailing out blog posts, articles, and reports from a wide array of conservative sources. Blumenthal’s missives went to “an influential list of opinion shapers — including journalists, former Clinton administration officials, academics, policy entrepreneurs, and think tankers,” as the left-wing activist and professor Peter Dreier reported on the Huffington Post (May 1).

Blumenthal sent out pieces from the ultra-conservative Accuracy in Media (AIM) –”With Obama, It’s the Communism, Stupid,” “Obama and the Fifth Column,” “Is Barack Obama a Marxist Mole?” — as well as items from more mainstream conservative publications, such as a Fred Siegel cover story from National Review, Fred Barnes’s “Republicans Root for Obama” from the Weekly Standard, and an older City Journal article by Sol Stern reporting Bill Ayers’s current role in developing a radical curriculum for K-12 teachers (“Ayers’s texts on the imperative of social-justice teaching are among the most popular works in the syllabi of the nation’s ed schools and teacher-training institutes”).”

This was shocking in its own way. Dreier noted that Blumenthal, the very man who coined the term “vast right-wing conspiracy” by circulating articles from the conservative media, was attempting to exploit “that same right-wing network to attack and discredit Barack Obama.”

The man would clearly stop at nothing to put Hillary over. But Blumenthal’s viciousness — which led those who knew his real character to call him “Sid Vicious” — led him during the time of the Clinton impeachment drama to go to new extremes. At that time, he served the same function for Bill Clinton that he did in the 2008 campaign waged by Hillary in the Democrat primaries. After Clinton’s tryst with Monica Lewinsky was made public, he painted the picture that it was Lewinsky who was the responsible party and had been stalking the president.

That led to a famous break with his once-close friend, the late Christopher Hitchens, who knew it to be untrue and detested both Clintons’ attempts to always blame his prey.

Paul Mirengoff explains more at Powerlineblog.com:

During the 1980s, Blumenthal became alarmed by the rise of conservatism as an intellectual-political movement. As a reporter for the Washington Post, he attacked those whom he viewed as in the vanguard of that movement, especially, it seemed, if they happened to be Jewish. Among his targets were Elliott Abrams (who, Blumenthal thought, didn’t take John Lennon’s death seriously enough), Richard Perle, Michael Ledeen, and David Horowitz.

To that end, Blumenthal made an accusation that Michael Ledeen was responsible for a post appearing on Drudge Report, in which Drudge had accused Blumenthal of beating his wife. Blumenthal sued Ledeen for defamation, and he and his wife Barbara were subject to what any reader can see was a broad-based witch hunt meant to smoke out Ledeen’s political views, as well as scores of other personal and business matters having nothing to do with the allegation made by Blumenthal. Drudge eventually had to apologize and retract his accusation, which had no basis in fact. But Blumenthal used the accusation to go after the Ledeens — and possibly two-dozen other conservatives he listed as accomplices.

It was an opportunity to harass the Clintons’ critics, and to conduct a fishing expedition into the phrase he had given Hillary to use — that of “the great right-wing conspiracy.”

Michael Ledeen responded with an Open Letter to conservatives, warning others of what they would face when questioned by Sidney Blumenthal’s lawyers: the questions would deal with their views of Blumenthal, Clinton, and what one might have written critical of Blumenthal or the president, he warned. Ledeen noted that these forced appearances would be a chance to show how Blumenthal, contrary to his own claims, was anything but a defender of free speech.

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As each day passes, the Left is becoming more excited about Vermont’s Senator Bernie Sanders’ entry into the Democratic primaries.

Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson points out:

[Sanders’ campaign] is the first such effort by a democratic socialist since Norman Thomas waged the last of his six such campaigns on the Socialist Party ticket in 1948.

However, there is one big difference between these two socialist campaigns: Thomas ran on his own party’s ticket, and not within the Democratic Party primaries.

He was acting on Eugene V. Debs’ old axiom that if you don’t vote for the candidate you really want, you’ll definitely get the one you don’t. Certainly, Debs received the largest vote a Socialist had ever received in the 1912 presidential race, but even so, it was only 5% and did not affect the election results. Debs believed, as he said in his post-election statement, that the million votes cast for him presaged something they could build upon — and that both the Republican and Democrat parties would collapse, leaving the Socialists in place for eventual victory.

That did not happen, but there have been changes within the current Democratic Party that might make Debs happy. Sanders decided not to emulate Debs, but to run within a Democratic Party that has already become a social-democratic political party on the far left of the spectrum.

The late socialist leader Michael Harrington considered the Democratic Party to be part of “the invisible social democracy” in which those who wanted America to turn socialist had to engage. That is why Harrington supported the policy advocated by Communist Earl Browder during the WWII years, which was to work within and support the Democrats, hoping to push the party towards the radical policies the socialists desired.

Today, Meyerson says that Sanders is advocating policies that are “distinctly more progressive than last year’s standard Democratic fare,” amounting to “a slightly more social democratic version of the newly populist liberalism.”

With Sanders running at a moment when “Democrats are moving left in response to the deep dysfunctions of U.S. capitalism,” Meyerson believes this is the right moment to put forth even more radical measures than Democrats of the past would have dared to propose, including higher Social Security benefits, single-payer national health care, major raises in the minimum wage, higher taxes on the rich, and cancellation of a new free-trade agreement with the Pacific Rim nations.

Give both Sanders and Meyerson credit for saying what they really advocate. They want to bring America closer to what exists in the welfare states of Europe, where economies are on the verge of collapse due to left-wing programs that cannot economically be sustained.

Do Meyerson and Sanders really believe that such programs are economically viable, and that taxing the rich will bring in enough money to fund what they advocate? If so, they are delusional. They seem to think, as William Voegeli argues in his seminal book, Never Enough: America’s Limitless Welfare State, that our existing welfare state is limitless, and can be expanded dramatically so that the goal of equality by command will be realized.

Unlike the modest reforms Meyerson cites that Debs supported — an eight-hour workday, social insurance, and women’s suffrage — today’s socialists advocate such an expansion of government power and integration of the state with the economy that it would amount to destruction of the American idea.

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The Synagogue Of Satan - Updated, Expanded, And Uncensored

Most of us buy our books and much more from Amazon. The firm started by Jeff Bezos has become one of the most powerful corporations, always expanding its grasp or devising new forms of merchandising and delivery.

Amazon, however, got into trouble when it was found that its German division was selling neo-Nazi books and other materials promoting Holocaust denial. In 2009, the American Jewish Committee sued the firm’s German division for selling 50 pro-Nazi books, although sales of these books were banned by France, Germany, and Austria:

It is unacceptable that books are for sale on Amazon.de that normally are only available under the counter in far-right extremist shops. … We cannot let the spread of internet sales erode laws that ban Holocaust denial and incitement to hatred of minorities in Germany.

As a result of the suit and bad publicity, Amazon supposedly removed sale of these titles. But two years ago, reporters for the British press found that the firm was again selling Holocaust-denial, anti-Semitic, and white-supremacist books. The Daily Mail reported:

The online retailer has been shown to sell books denying the holocaust and promoting anti-Semitism and the superiority of the white race with titles such as The Myth of the Extermination of the Jews and Building a Whiter and Brighter World. … The tide of discrimination appears to have come back in. Among the Holocaust denial books is Did Six Million Really Die? The preview questions the validity of claims of gas chambers and alleges many survivor stories have been made up.

Most were on Kindle, but some were in both hardcover and paperback. These titles were on European Amazon, where anti-Semitism is growing and where the availability of such titles by a one-click purchase can provide ammunition for young and uneducated anti-Semites.

But now, it seems, many of these titles are readily available for purchase on U.S. Amazon, where Bezos began his world-wide business. My friend, Cantor Bob Cohen of Kingston, New York, was searching for a specific book on Judaism, and much to his shock found that his search returned this one: It’s the Jews Stupid: Who and what these evil vipers are! by R. Vincent Bert. The author intends, he says, to prove that Jews are the “Seed of Satan.” And also, if you didn’t know, that they control today’s world and are the single force promoting evil.

This book is not the only one of its ilk. Amazon also sells one written by Andrew Carrington Hitchcock, The Synagogue of  Satan, a 60,000-word book that, we can be thankful, has been “Updated, Expanded, and Uncensored.” Calling it a “groundbreaking historical study,” potential readers are told that it also contains the famous Russian forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of  Zion, as well as writing from Henry Ford’s old anti-Semitic newspaper, The International Jew.

An admiring reader comments on the Amazon book page that there will be attempts to “label the book as ‘hate’ literature,” when it contains only “historical truths” showing that Jews have an “agenda to control the world.”

Amazon, as the evidence shows, is allowing its business to market this as just another legitimate book whose arguments should be considered. But fear not. If you want to read what real old-fashioned Nazis from the Hitler era have to say, you can also order on Kindle, for only 99 cents, the Nazi propagandist and newspaper publisher Julius Streicher’s The Jew as Criminal, which this time we are told is being offered only “for research purposes.” Yet it seems that not only researchers have bought the book. A reader calling himself “Montana Man” writes: “Streicher sure has this one right. … Yes they [the Jews] are criminal in all facets of humanity and in their dealings with others.” Guess Amazon didn’t demand proof that this reader was a researcher.

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Kirchick's Cuba

As the normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba continues, it is important for Americans to be informed about what life on the island is really like. This is all the more necessary because our major newspapers and magazines are running features proclaiming that “now is the time to travel to Cuba,” especially before the island gets American chain restaurants and the charming 50-year-old autos disappear from the streets.

Just visit sites from National Geographic to The Nation, and you will find the itinerary, cost, and joys of a trip to Cuba. A recent issue of Bloomberg Businessweek includes Cuba in its “Take a Real Vacation” section. The article explains that one can book a tour through a “government-approved” licensed operator; one of these “specialists” offers a nine-day package, departing from Miami for $4,449 a person.

What these tourists will get is a 21st century trip through Potemkin villages.

They will learn that Cubans are a friendly people, that they love and support their Communist leaders and system, and that they believe they are better off today than they were in the ’50s before Castro came to power. They will be told that the scenic areas and preserved sections of towns they travel to are the “real” Cuba. They will stay in hotels and listen to some good music in high-priced clubs that most Cubans can’t afford to enter — even if these Cubans could get into one of the hotels, they would not be allowed to stay there.

They will come back reporting how joyous and grateful the people are, living in this socialist paradise. Finally, they will all say that if there are any economic problems, it’s the fault of the United States and the embargo that prevents them from living in prosperity.

That is why the cover story in the new issue of National Review by Jamie Kirchick on his recent trip to Cuba is so important.

Unlike the regular American tourists who are signing up for the tours, Kirchick went on his own, staying at an individual’s guest house and then a hotel. He wanted to see for himself what Cuba is really like, and most importantly, to seek out and speak to Cuba’s dissidents, most of whom are not happy with Obama’s policies.

Kirchick writes:

The relaxed travel policies, the pending opening of embassies, the removal of Cuba from the State Department’s list of terrorism sponsors, the restoration of limited economic activity — all longtime goals of the Cuban regime — were declared without any corresponding demands that Havana change its conduct.

In other words, Barack Obama is applying to Cuba the same mindset that he applies to Iran: give our adversary what they want, and eventually they will democratize and become our good friends.

The dissidents, on the other hand, want support for their movement towards democracy.

They do not want Obama’s policy, which involves legitimization of the totalitarian regime in the false hope that such measures — such as lifting the embargo — will suddenly move the Marxist-Leninist caudillos in charge of the regime to change. They want an end to the kind of experience that dissident Antonio Rodiles told Kirchik he had when he was arrested, as he stepped out of his home on the way to a scheduled free-speech demonstration.

From what Kirchick reports, Cuba hasn’t changed much since I was there for a few weeks in the summer of 1973, and wrote about my experiences in my memoir.

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As Bridget Johnson reports on these pages, and as the left-wing Huffington Post told its readers on Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders, the self-proclaimed socialist senator from Vermont, is going to announce his entry into Democratic primaries to challenge Hillary Clinton.

The first response of many people will be to scoff. Everyone knows, even if Senator Sanders himself has delusions, that he will never get enough votes in a general election to become president, even if he somehow managed to win the nomination. Of course, the latter is not likely to occur. No matter how many small donors contribute to his campaign chest, it will never amount to anything close to the huge war chest that Hillary Clinton is amassing.

So why does his campaign even matter? Huff Po makes this point:

The Vermont senator’s entry into the race will provide a platform for Democrats to criticize Clinton from the left. It will not only do this, but could force Hillary to move further left in her campaign pronouncements.

If she does not, she will be in danger of losing a large portion of her base. In a close swing state, Clinton cannot afford to alienate those who believe she is too close to the banks and Wall Street.

Sanders has been arguing publicly that Hillary does not know why she is running and that she stands for nothing except her desire to be president and to have political power. As he put it:

Why don’t you tell me what Hillary Clinton is campaigning on? Do you know? You don’t know and I don’t know and the American people don’t know.

When he begins his campaign, the senator is certain to remind people that her husband was a force in the then-existing Democratic Leadership Council, which sought to keep the Democratic Party in the center and to function as an opposition to those Democrats further to the Left. He could also remind voters that Bill Clinton supported welfare reform and got his centrist programs through Congress only by gaining the votes of Republicans. He will undoubtedly try to argue that Hillary will be Clinton II, and that this is proved by the heavy funding she is receiving from corporate America.

What if the Republican candidate chooses to run by advocating new and innovative policies that respond to the growing plight of the middle class, and on measures that will enable the United States to once again become a true opportunity society? An opportunistic lurch to either the left or the center by Hillary Clinton will strengthen the chances of a Republican victory in the general election.

Hillary Clinton is very smart, and should not be underestimated. She will undoubtedly at first ignore Sanders, attempting to depict him as a marginal candidate whose campaign will only help Republicans. If Sanders manages to gain support in certain key states where voters do not trust Hillary to do anything that will help them, she will have to reevaluate and address the concerns he raises and the stands he takes that prove to be popular.

Sanders’ candidacy might be a harbinger of Democrats who will be emboldened to question Hillary’s inevitability. After her e-mail deleting, and after the revelations in Peter Schweizer’s Clinton Cash on the unsavory ways the Clintons amassed $150M over the past ten years, other challengers may well step forward. So run, Bernie, run! We will have a more interesting campaign, as well as a fight over the future direction of America. I’m certain that Sen. Elizabeth Warren is looking very closely at Sanders’ announcement and rethinking her own options. Maybe Joe Biden is, too. Then there is Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, and, God forbid, John Kerry, who might think he is entitled to another go at it. Let the race begin!

This morning, too late for its print edition, the New York Times broke a major story about Hillary Clinton that is likely to grow and haunt her for the duration of her campaign. The story documents the millions of dollars donated to the Clinton Foundation by Canadian company Uranium One, which was seeking to sell American uranium mines to the Russians. The deal required approval by the Department of State — while Hillary Clinton was secretary of State.

The Times reports:

[T]he sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well … Whether the donations played any role in the approval of the uranium deal is unknown. But the episode underscores the special ethical challenges presented by the Clinton Foundation, headed by a former president who relied heavily on foreign cash to accumulate $250 million in assets even as his wife helped steer American foreign policy as secretary of state, presiding over decisions with the potential to benefit the foundation’s donors.

Shortly after the Russians announced that they intended to acquire a majority interest in the company, Bill Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank — that had links to the Kremlin — which was promoting the firm’s stock.

The story is not going away, and this time the mainstream media is on the case.

Moreover, the reporters writing the Times’ story, Jo Becker and Mike McIntire, give full credit in the article to the research of and material detailed in the new book by Peter Schweizer, the Hoover Institution’s former fellow and author of Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich. The reporters noted that Schweizer “provided a preview of material in the book,” and then encouraged them to scrutinize his information and build upon it with their own reporting.

As usual, the response of the Clinton team is to go with the old “great right-wing conspiracy” scenario used by Hillary Clinton during the impeachment drama surrounding her husband’s presidency.

On Morning Joe today, former Governor of Vermont and presidential hopeful Howard Dean used that tactic, arguing that the Schweizer story was just another right-wing hit job, although he acknowledged that as yet he had not even read the Times report, which had just gone online.

Dean, instead of arguing with Schweizer’s facts and research, emphasized that part of Schweizer’s funding came from an individual who was a major contributor to Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign. Jeremy Peters, the paper’s Washington, D.C. bureau chief, let him know that he was quite angry at Dean’s insult to his colleagues. Dean, he said, had no evidence that they had not done their job well.

And last night, Rachel Maddow took the same tack on her MSNBC program, as her website notes that “Peter Schweitzer (sic) … has a history of producing partisan misinformation and wonders why otherwise legitimate news outlets are giving him any credulous treatment.”

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