2 Overlooked Clues Russians Or Proxies Shot Down Malaysian Jetliner

2 Overlooked Clues Russians Or Proxies Shot Down Malaysian Jetliner

July 18, 2014
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Western media are hardly going easy on Russia. But in all the often-excellent coverage I’ve read so far of the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 disaster – which claimed 295 lives – no one* is pointing out two basic facts that point towards Russia and its separatist proxies:

1) MH17 was flying eastwards.

2) The Russian-backed rebels don’t have an air force.

Both these factors make it extremely unlikely Ukrainian government forces shot down the airliner. It’s not that Ukrainian troops are incapable of such a horrific mistake: They accidentally shot down a Russian jetliner during a military exercise in 2001, killing 78 people, and frankly the Ukrainian military’s skills have only degenerated since. Even the well-trained US Navy shot down an Iranian airliner in 1988, killing 290, because, amidst high tensions in the Gulf, the USS Vincennes mistook the approaching airliner for an attack plane.

But context matters. First, from a Ukrainian perspective, MH17 was flying from friendly, government-controlled territory towards rebel-held territory and Russia. That outbound vector would make it much harder for an anxious, trigger-happy Ukrainian air defense officer to mistake it for an incoming attack. From the perspective of a separatist or Russian gunner, however, MH17 was inbound from enemy territory.

Second, Ukrainian air defenses haven’t been shooting at anything so far this war because they haven’t had anything to shoot at. Russia has given the separatists weaponry, even rocket launchers and main battle tanks, but the rebels still don’t have aircraft. Russia itself does, of course, and Kiev claims a Russian aircraft shot down a Ukrainian Su-25 fighter Wednesday, so Ukrainian air defense units probably are now watching the skies more nervously than before (although, again, they would be watching for aircraft flying westwards).

But Russian-backed separatists have an actual track record of shooting down Ukrainian government aircraft, including a large-bodied AN-26 transport. A Ukrainian military AN-26 doesn’t look particularly like a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777: It’s much smaller, with straight wings and propellers, in contrast to the larger, swept-wing jet. But the two look much more like each other than either looks like, say, a fighter plane, especially on radar where details of shape would be obscured. And, notoriously, a separatist commander (and suspected Russian operative) known as Col. Igor Strelkov tweeted a claim the rebels had shot down an AN-26 just after MH17 crashed – a post later deleted.

If rebel forces did fire the fatal missile, however, their regular shoulder-launched weapons couldn’t have reached the high-altitude airliner: They would have had to use a more sophisticated anti-aircraft system such as the Russian-made Buk (in English, “Beech”; NATO codenames “SA-11 Gadfly” and “SA-17 Grizzly” depending on the variant). AP reporters have seen a Buk in rebel hands, and the rebels themselves claimed to have captured one from Ukrainian government forces. With ex-Soviet, ex-Ukrainian, and ex-Russian military personnel in their ranks, it’s quite possible they had enough former air defense troops to get the Buk working – although they would not have had a supporting infrastructure of command, control, and sensor networks to help them distinguish hostile from friendly aircraft.

It is also possible that Russian operatives sent by Moscow were working the advanced equipment on the rebels’ behalf. I personally think it unlikely (not impossible) that the highly centralized Russian military would have opened fire by accident – but personnel loaned to the Ukrainian separatists would be operating outside the usual safeguards.

[UPDATE: At a press conference this afternoon, the Pentagon’s top spokesman,Rear Adm. John Kirby, demurred on most questions about the tragedy, citing the ongoing investigation, but he did make some blunt statements.

“The SA-11 [missile], the one we believe was used to down Flight 17, is a sophisticated piece of technology,” Kirby said. “It strains credulity to think it could be used by separatists without at least some measure of Russian support and technical assistance.”

That could include the training of separatists on “vehicle-borne” anti-aircraft systems, which European Command chief Gen. Philip Breedlove has said has already happened on Russian soil. Or it could be Russian personnel working for or with the separatists. “We don’t know,” said Kirby.

“But the US is now confident that the missile that downed MH-17 was fired from separatist-controlled territory”, Kirby said — a statement so damning that I felt compelled to email the admiral to confirm I heard it correctly (he said I had).

Those of us – myself included – who have long been suspicious of Putin’s Russia should be careful not to rush to judgment. But the circumstantial evidence so far makes it highly unlikely the blame falls on Ukraine.

The analysis in this article represents my personal judgment and not any official position of any other party or entity. — Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

The Downing of the Malaysian Airliner: Avoid Rushing to Judgment

Anthony H. Cordesman

July 18, 2014

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The exact cause of the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 remains uncertain, but seems most likely to be the result of a firing of either the SA-11 (Gadfly 1979) or SA-17 “Buk Mk. 2” missile (Grizzly 2007). The SA-11 and SA-17 launch vehicles and missiles (four per vehicle) look very similar. The 17 has upgraded missiles but it is hard to see the difference.

It seems very doubtful that Russia would have used its SA-20(or S-300) air defense missiles, and there have been no suggestions that these are in rebel hands or they could use them. The SA-20 is an extremely sophisticated system operated by experienced crews with excellent ability to characterize flight paths and read out IIF (Identification friend of foe) and transponder data. Human error from a SA-20 unit is still possible, but seem very unlikely.

No MANPAD (man-portable air defense system) can reach and track a passenger aircraft flying at cruise altitudes of around 30,000 feet and normal flight speeds. However, both the SA-11 and SA-17 can easily intercept and track such an aircraft. Their radars can track high altitude planes to ranges of up to 120 kilometers.

Both systems can kill large aircraft flying at high altitudes. The SA-11 can hit targets at altitudes up to 45,000-60,000 feet, the SA-17 up to 70,000-82,000 feet. Their maximum intercept maximum ranges are 12 miles (some sources say 45 kilometers) and 27 miles (some sources say 45 kilometers) respectively.

The SA-11 and SA-17 are systems that are broadly deployed in Former Soviet Union forces. They are successors to the SA-6, and are in both Ukrainian and Russian hands. Rebel holdings are uncertain, but General Philip Breedlove, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, warned in June that the Russian government had been training pro-Russian separatists inside Russia to have an “anti-aircraft capability.”

Breedlove said that, “What we see in training on the east side of the border is big equipment, tanks, APCs [Armored Personnel Carriers], anti-aircraft capability, and now we see those capabilities being used on the west side of the border,” Breedlove said he had not seen training in the smaller MANPAD systems, but, “we have seen vehicle-borne capability being trained.”

There were earlier Russian reports that the rebels had captured Ukrainian surface-to-air defense but no details. The SA-11 or SA-17 are, however, logical systems for rebels to have used earlier in shooting down a Ukrainian AN-26 military transport at a reported altitude of 26,000 feet.

A passenger aircraft would have no warning of such an attack, and its black box would not record any data on the intercept. It is extremely unlikely that the pilots ever saw the incoming missile or could accurately characterize it if they had only seconds in which to speak in ways the black box could record.

It is unclear what can be detected from photos or on-site examination. The damage might show a “fingerprint” from a given type of warhead, but it is extremely unlikely any warhead fragments will be recovered that could help track who fired the missile.

U.S. and Ukrainian surveillance assets are unclear. U.S. imagery satellites do not detect this kind of missile launch. Depending on U.S. SIGINT and ELINT assets, the United States might or might not get data on radar detection and tracking. The SA-11 and SA-17 systems also present the problem that there is a separate detection/tracking radar and command vehicle, but that the individual vehicles launching the missile have their own radars and can operate independently. The data links between the radar vehicle, command vehicle, and fire units are also often ground connections to make detection and warning more difficult – which also means less intelligence collection capability.

The circumstances surrounding the actual firing are still uncertain, but several factors are important. Ukraine did not issue a warning notice about risk to civilian airliners after the AN-26 was shot down. Even Aeroflot did not change its flight guidance until after the airline was shot down.

The Malaysian airliner was flying from Europe and its path was similar to that a Ukrainian military aircraft might have used – although its altitude was higher and should have raised questions given the short flight time for descent before it went into Russia and the lack of a clear air facility in Ukrainian territory it could have landed upon.

Maps in the Washington Post show it was significantly further north and closer to rebel areas than the recent flight paths of other Malaysian airline flights – in fact it went right through the center of rebel held areas.

Radar does not show the size or any other aspect of a plane, it only reports speed, height, and vector over time. All blips are the same size. There are also reaction time problems inherent in the radar data. A plane flying at commercial cruise speeds does not have a long target window for a missile with a maximum range of 12-27 miles in human reaction and command and control authorization terms even though the missile can reach peak speed of Mach 2.5.

In theory, the operators of the firing unit should have had warning that the plane had a civilian transponder, and the radar unit, command unit, and launch vehicle should all have detected this. But, if the rebels fired the missile, it is unclear that the rebels had a full set of such vehicles. They may only have had launch vehicles. This would put far more of a load on the single launch vehicle’s 3-4 man crew.

Moreover, part of the system may have been down and failed to properly display the transponder data. The rebels also may have had little real training or familiarity with the system and have been trained to fire at any likely target, rather than focus on flight characteristics and carefully look for transponder data.

Regardless of who fired the missile, human error is all too possible. Surface-to-air missile crews may have been pumped up to overreact. They may have been tired, gotten conflicting orders and vague rules of engagement data, or simply have been too new to handle the work burden. The United States shot down an Iranian airliner under somewhat similar circumstances during the “tanker war.”

It is also possible that Ukraine or Russia made some form of similar error. The basic problem is the vector. The Ukraine would have seen that aircraft was flying into Russia and already over rebel-held territory when the missile was fired. Russia would have seen a single plane flying well above military operational altitudes on a vector that would not match any Ukrainian military operation. But human error does happen, particularly when both sides may be on the edge of overreacting and have virtually no real operational experience.

In short, the fact this is a horrible human tragedy should not lead to rushed judgment as to motive, guilt, or intent. Far too little data is available, and many of the facts we do know indicate that the environment may well have led to mistakes.

Anthony H. Cordesman holds the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

Commentary is produced by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a private, tax-exempt institution focusing on international public policy issues. Its research is nonpartisan and nonproprietary. CSIS does not take specific policy positions. Accordingly, all views, positions, and conclusions expressed in this publication should be understood to be solely those of the author(s).© 2014 by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. All rights reserved.

Our First Amendment Rights?

Our First Amendment Rights?

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A float with an outhouse and the words “Obama Presidential Library” on it was in the Fourth of July parade in downtown Norfolk, Nebraska. The figure was dressed in overalls and standing next to a walker outside of the outhouse. The hands and head of the figure were greenish and appeared to be zombielike; the hands were pressed against the sides of the figure’s head. The crowd was laughing and clapping as the float passed by. The outhouse float was the most popular one in the parade, and the three judges awarded it an honorable mention. Liz Guthrie of Pierce, Nebraska, took a photo of the float.

Make Fun of Obama… Get Investigated by Eric Holder?

Bobby Eberle

July 16, 2014

America used to be a free country, right? People could say what they wanted to say without fear of government reprisal. After all, isn’t that what the First Amendment to the Constitution is all about? Apparently not. In the world of Barack Obama, if you make fun of the president, you just might find yourself under federal investigation. That’s exactly what’s happening to a group in Nebraska.The U.S. Department of Justice has sent a member of its Community Relations Service team to investigate a Nebraska parade float that criticized President Obama. .

The “controversy” springs from a float in the Fourth of July parade in Norfolk, Nebraska. The float was a pick-up truck that featured an outhouse with the words “Obama Presidential Library” on it.

Now, consider all the problems going on in Washington that should be investigated: Fast and Furious, the IRS scandal, the VA scandal, and on and on and on. Yet, our attorney general, Eric Holder, thinks that this parade float should be investigated. That’s right, your tax dollars are being spent so that Holder can put government pressure on people exercising their free speech rights.

In Norfolk and surrounding Madison County, it’s hard to find a Democrat. President Obama couldn’t break 25 percent of the vote for his re-election. So it was up to the Democratic state party to take up the outrage with a fevered statement calling the float one of the “worst shows of racism and disrespect for the office of the presidency that Nebraska has ever seen.”

Dale Remmich, the man behind the float, says it’s all nonsense and that his display had nothing to do with race. He merely wanted to portray his disgust at the way the administration has been mishandling the care of fellow veterans. “I tried to use political satire as best I could,” he told a Norfolk radio station, “but to be honest with you, it’s mostly political disgust, simply no more or no less.”

An editorial in the McCook Gazette, points out that “the Nation’s Chief Law Enforcement Officer might want to investigate some real crimes.”

The Justice Department has ventured to Norfolk with only one purpose, to discourage free speech, and to try and punish those who would dare speak out against Mr. Obama.

Free speech, Mr. Holder, you didn’t learn about free speech in law school?

And yet, there are those who want to make this about race. Any time someone says anything negative about Barack Obama, those on the left immediately cry “racism.”

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We have enough real problems in America. Obama, Holder, and the rest of that gang would do us all a great service by investigating all the corruption within the administration and leave the good people of America alone. Freedom of speech makes no guarantee that someone won’t get offended. Grow up and deal with it.

First Five Steps to Solving the Southern Border Crisis – James Carafano

First Five Steps to Solving the Southern Border Crisis

James Carafano /@JJCarafano

July 16, 2014

Putting aside politics is the key to stabilizing the U.S.’s Southern border with Mexico. There are key national interests at stake.

In addition to concerns over security, public health and sovereignty, the disruption of illegal migration flows at the border distracts from focusing resources on the clear and present danger of transnational criminal cartels and gangs whose tentacles reach from deep in Latin America to cities in the U.S. heartland.

Further, a properly functioning border is an economic engine that creates prosperity by promoting the free flow of goods and services. The negative consequences of border mayhem ought to be a top concern for Washington. Bringing stability to the border ought to be job one. That can’t be accomplished by just playing for political advantage. Solving the problem has to start by dealing with the problem, not making it worse—and by putting first steps first.

Step 1. DACA must go. The president’s 2012 policy for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, regardless of the Oval Office’s intent, sets a precedent that encourages further unlawful migration, particularly among minors. It leaves those in the program mired in uncertainty as to their future status. It resolves nothing, encourages the problem to grow and is a detriment to establishing fair, consistent and sustainable immigration policy. Dumping DACA, on the other hand, would send a strong and unequivocal signal there is no advantage in rushing to the U.S. to shortcut the line and receive legal authorization to remain here.

Step 2. Resist the urge to throw money at the problem. Addressing the challenge at the border through emergency appropriations is inappropriate. The White House requested more than $4 billion in emergency spending, but most of the funds requested will do little to stabilize the border. Further, it exacerbates Washington predilection for fiscal ill-discipline. The Budget Control Act, said Heritage analysts Romina Boccia and David Inserra, “in an effort to constrain the administration and Congress from exploiting a safety valve designated for true emergencies to needlessly increase spending, established criteria to identify emergencies.” The president’s problem on the border doesn’t meet that criteria.

Step 3. Work within the existing budget and appropriations process. Congress and the administration first must work together to re-allocate appropriated funds to meet critical short-term needs. Then, they must work in a deliberate manner to provide for sustained and effective solutions that can be funded through the regular appropriations process.

Step 4. Facilitate expedited removal. The U.S. has much experience in the expedited removals of minors in a manner that ensures their safety and humane treatment. The 2008 law, which often is cited as restricting expedited removal of minors, was intended to combat human trafficking. The law never envisioned flows on the scale currently being experienced on the southern border. Further, although the president has authority under current law to facilitate the expedited removal of minors, the administration seems reluctant to fully exploit that authority. Congress could send the White House a strong signal of support for expedited removal, in a safe and judicious manner, by revising the 2008 law. More importantly, the government should aggressively develop responsible agreements with countries for the expedited return of their citizens, as well as greater cooperation from Mexico in combating illegal migration pipelines from Latin America to the U.S.

Step 5. Use the tools at hand. Meeting many of the challenges for stabilizing the border can be undertaken under existing law and with the resources the president has at hand. For example, the president has the authority to deploy the military, in particular the National Guard, to the border to provide assistance and support.

As important as dealing with the current situation is thinking about where the nation goes from here. The larger issues in fixing our broken borders and flawed immigration system don’t require a massive comprehensive sledgehammer of a bill that might do more harm than good. There are practical, effective, fair and compassionate alternatives that Washington simply has not tried. If the president and the Senate would be willing to drop their demands for amnesty, Washington could adopt a problem-solving road map that addresses the key issues.

Rather than accept the politics-as-usual approach of just doing “something” to say a crisis has been addressed, Congress and the administration should take a disciplined and nonpartisan approach that would provide more than a Band-Aid for the problem and talking points for campaign speeches.

Betrayed Again and Again — Congress and The Oval Office

Betrayed Again and Again — Congress and The Oval Office

     This Committee for the Constitution has repeatedly, for over a decade, published articles detailing the violations of the original intention of the Constitution resulting in the current condition of our governments at every level and in every jurisdiction. Manifest in the loss of freedom and the denial of justice for all, government has taxed us without representation while segregating opportunity into the hands of the wealthy and politically powerful. In betraying America, characterized by the repetitive election of liberal politicians, a very few of whom are mentioned in the following articles, the American electorate is ultimately responsible for their current financial and political disastrous circumstance. Electing politicians based on every criteria other than what is their ideology and worldview demonstrated and evinced by their history, ignoring voting records, party platforms, and words from their own mouths, often published and easily available in the public record, the electorate duped by the lies and deceptions of a complicit media initiate their own enslavement.

CftC

Why We Must Get Rid of the Export-Import Bank

Diane Katz / @Dianeskatz

July 05, 2014

When the U.S. Chamber of Commerce aligns with a disciple of Fidel Castro and hires a working-class hero to lobby Congress, when a liberal economist like Paul Krugman sympathizes with the CEOs of Boeing, Bechtel, and General Electric, it is obviously not business as usual on Capitol Hill.

Welcome to Ex-Im 2014.

For those with lives beyond the Beltway, “Ex-Im” is shorthand for the Export-Import Bank, an obscure federal agency that doles out billions of dollars in subsidies to foreign firms for the purchase of U.S. exports. Whether to reauthorize the bank’s charter, which expires Sept. 30, is the subject of unexpectedly intense debate in Congress—and the coupling of such strange bedfellows. It has been 80 years since President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the bank by executive order, and in all that time lawmakers have embraced Ex-Im reauthorization by either unanimous consent or voice vote in all but a couple of instances. Never has there been such a concerted effort to end it.

Change in Washington rarely occurs on a grand scale, and ending Ex-Im is a scalable goal at the moment.

This time around, however, critics of cronyism have seized on the bank as a practical target of attack against Big Government funneling the spoils of political power to those wielding economic power. The Export-Import Bank is hardly the biggest or worst manifestation of the problem, of course. But change in Washington rarely occurs on a grand scale, and ending Ex-Im is a scalable goal at the moment.

That leaves Ex-Im supporters such as the Chamber, the Business Roundtable, and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), to unite with Rep. Maxine Waters and Sen. Chuck Schumer, as well as NAM’s hiring of Dick Gephardt, the former Democratic Majority Leader-turned lobbyist, and (normally) the darling of the blue-collar set. These and other Ex-Im proponents claim export subsidies create jobs and fill “gaps” in private financing. Neither is true.

Moreover, the inspector general and the Government Accountability Office have documented a variety of problems with bank operations, including its failure to conduct economic impact analyses as required by law. Thus, bank officials are sending billions of taxpayer dollars to foreign firms without a meaningful consideration of the effects on American workers and the businesses that employ them.

Ex-Im proponents claim export subsidies create jobs and fill ‘gaps’ in private financing. Neither is true.

In reality, the bank is beset by mismanagement and fraud, and allowing its charter to expire should be an easy call for Congress. There is no shortage of private investment: 98 percent of the estimated $2 trillion in annual U.S. exports are financed without aid from Ex-Im. Even Barack Obama, as a presidential candidate, endorsed ending it.

But the beneficiaries of Ex-Im’s largesse are loathe to relinquish access to so much cheap capital. Last year alone, bank authorizations exceeded $27 billion, bringing taxpayers’ total exposure to nearly $134 billion … at the very least. (Ex-Im’s sloppy record-keeping obscures the actual amount of outstanding commitments.) It is perfectly understandable, of course, that businesses utilize Ex-Im financing. Corporate officers are responsible for maximizing shareholder value—including the retirement investments of millions of American workers. But it is also the responsibility of Congress to do away with preferential treatment for special interests, and to protect taxpayers from unnecessary financial risk. (Every cent of Ex–Im financing is backed by “the full faith and credit of the United States,” which means taxpayers are on the hook for any and all losses that bank reserves fail to cover.)

It is Congress’ responsibility to do away with preferential treatment for special interests, and to protect taxpayers from unnecessary financial risk.

Many in the mainstream press are fixated on the idea that the Tea Party is responsible for this abrupt turn in Ex-Im’s political fortunes. (That’s the very same Tea Party that said press otherwise portrays as disordered and ineffectual.) But the fight actually reflects a much more generalized public vexation with cronyism. Remember Occupy Wall Street? Ever hear Ralph Nader on corporate welfare?

If bank advocates are sincere in wanting to nurture employment and economic growth, they should focus on reducing the tax and regulatory barriers that are choking investment, innovation, and job creation. Ex-Im is a New Deal relic that is both unnecessary and injurious. Notwithstanding the aggressive efforts to save it, Ex-Im reauthorization is in serious doubt. For millions of Americans, it’s about time.

Diane Katz, who has analyzed and written on public policy issues for more than two decades, is a research fellow in regulatory policy at The Heritage Foundation.

How U.S. Taxpayers Subsidize Fossil Fuels in Russia, Saudi Arabia While Being Penalized at Home

Kevin Mooney

July 14, 2014

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Our electricity rates will increase as we pay countries to burn what we no longer can,” Americans for Tax Reform warns of a disconnect between domestic policy and Export-Import Bank loan practices. (Photo: Brendan Wood)

Americans have to pay more for electricity and compete for fewer jobs because of President Obama’s regulatory curbs on fossil fuels at home, even as their tax dollars support expansion of those same energy sources abroad.

The Obama administration last month rolled out its most recent brake on fossil fuels, a 645-page proposed rule to achieve a 30 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions from power sources by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.

At the same time, the administration pressed for reauthorization this fall of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, a federal agency that offers billions of taxpayer dollars for development of fossil fuels in Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Mexico and other countries.

In effect, Heritage Foundation policy analyst Diane Katz says, the Obama administration is “imposing a hefty energy tax on Americans” while “subsidizing fossil-fuel projects in foreign countries.”

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A gas well in Saudi Arabia. (Photo: Brian O’Donovan/Creative Commons)

In examples The Daily Signal plucked from the Export-Import Bank’s annual reports in the past three years, the federal agency:

    • Authorized $633.6 million for U.S. exports to four new fossil-fuel power plants, with an estimated aggregate amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions totaling about 5.87 million metric tons a year. Of that, 3.67 million metric tons will be produced at natural gas-fired plants in Spain, Russia, and Israel, and 2.2 million metric tons will be produced by a coal-fired plant related to a copper-mining project in Mongolia. The bank provided $494.5 million for exports to the project in Mongolia and $32.3 million in “engineering services” for a petroleum refinery in Russia (2013 report, page 26).
    • Financed $736 million in export sales to three other new fossil-fuel power plants, two in Turkey and one in Saudi Arabia. The bank estimated the aggregate amount of CO2 emissions would total about 11.3million metric tons a year — 2.1 million metric tons from two gas-fueled, combined-cycle plants in Turkey and 9.2 million metric tons from a similar plant in Saudi Arabia (2012 report, page 26).
    • Provided $5 billion for a petrochemical project in Saudi Arabia, described as “engineering and equipment for Sadara Petrochemical Complex” (2012 report, page 9).
    • Provided more than $4.5 billion to support mining projects, including $1.2 billion for oil and gas exploration and development projects by Mexico’s national oil company, Pemex (2012 report, page 18).

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A design featured on the Sadara-Dow and Aramco Launch Chemical Project Facebook page. (Photo: Facebook)

‘Political Hypocrisy of a High Order’

The Export-Import Bank provides taxpayer-backed loans, loan guarantees, capital, and credit insurance to foreign firms and countries to stimulate purchase of U.S. exports.

When President Obama signed a bill in May 2012 extending the 80-year-old agency’s charter through this Sept. 30, he told an audience of business owners gathered at the White House that the bank would open new avenues for their products overseas: By reauthorizing support for the Export-Import Bank, we’re helping thousands of businesses sell more of their products and services overseas. And in the process, we’re helping them create jobs here at home.

US President Obama Remarks on Export-Import Bank's Annual Conference

 

 

 

 

 

President Obama remarks at an Export-Import Bank Annual Conference. (Photo: Yacouba Tanou/Maxppp/ZUMAPRESS.com)

But some of those products and services will go toward developing the same energy sources that in the U.S. are being hit with a regulatory crackdown by the White House. The intent is to eliminate use of traditional energy sources under the rationale of averting “the catastrophic impacts of climate change” described in the president’s “Climate Change Action Plan.”

“This is political hypocrisy of a high order,” says Katz, a regulatory policy analyst at Heritage who has written extensively about the Ex-Im Bank: The Obama administration effectively is imposing a hefty energy tax on Americans at the very same time it is subsidizing fossil-fuel projects in foreign countries. Both are lousy policy.

The $5 billion in direct loans for Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company last week drew the distinction of being named “Egregious Ex-Im Bank Deal of the Day” by the House Financial Services Committee.

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A general view shows the Saudi Aramco oil facility in Dammam city. (Photo: Hassan Ammar/AFP/Getty Images)

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, the committee’s chairman, is the leader of a push by conservative lawmakers to deprive Ex-Im of reauthorization when its charter expires Sept. 30. The Heritage Foundation’s lobbying arm, Heritage Action for America, is part of a coalition organized by Americans for Prosperity to argue that Ex-Im’s time is past.

The Daily Signal invited Ex-Im officials to respond to critics for this report and to account for its support in foreign countries of the same kind of fossil-fuel development that the Obama administration restrains in the United States. Despite repeated phone calls and emails, the bank declined to comment.

Higher Electricity Prices, Fewer Jobs

President Franklin Roosevelt created what was then the Export-Import Bank of Washington through an executive order in February 1934. The idea, according to the order, was to “remove obstacles to the free flow of interstate and foreign commerce,” and to boost job creation in the U.S.

Two of today’s biggest supporters of preserving Ex-Im, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, continue to sound these themes – even while expressing concern about the effect of administration policy on domestic jobs and energy prices. However, critics argue, the bank’s subsidies long have distorted the allocation of labor and capital by imposing political calculations in place of economic decisions.

Under rules proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency, states and power companies must reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by a whopping 30 percent. States must obtain EPA approval of implementation plans that will impose higher energy costs on American families and businesses. The agency’s “flexible” options include expanding renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, implementing energy-efficiency mandates and regulations, and switching from coal to natural gas.

As noted by Heritage Foundation economist Nick Loris, who researches energy and environmental issues, the costs would reverberate across the economy. The phase-out of coal between 2015 and 2023 alone would eliminate 600,000 jobs, computer models show, and the annual income of a family of four would drop more than $1,200 a year.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, although a major backer of the Ex-Im Bank, has been a critic of the domestic energy policies to which the bank isn’t bound. A chamber report said the EPA rules would mean $290 billion more in electricity bills by 2030: Higher electricity prices [will] ripple through the economy and reduce discretionary income, which affects consumer behavior, forcing them to delay or forego some purchases or lower their household savings rates.

Mixed Messages

Ex-Im’s FY 2013 Annual Report shows the bank was not hesitant to offer support for cheap, affordable energy products that the Obama administration is working to restrict in the U.S.

President Obama Obama signs the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank in Washington

 

 

 

 

President Obama signs the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank in 2012. (Photo: Newscom)

Ex-Im “approved a total of 67 loans, guarantees and working capital guarantees and approximately 77 new and renewed export-credit insurance policies to finance U.S. exports related to foreign energy development, production and transmission,” the annual report says, adding: These activities include electric-power generation and transmission, coal mining, oil-and-gas-field exploration and development, production, pipelines and refineries.

Since 2001, Ex–Im has provided $14.8 billion in financial commitments for oil and gas exploration, field development, pipelines, distribution, and refining. A fact sheet from Ex-Im trumpets: “United States equipment and services for the petroleum industry are sought after by the world’s leading companies because of their quality and reliability.”

The bank’s annual report for 2011 noted that it had:

Financed the sale of $1.7 billion in goods and services to five new fossil-fuel power plants. The bank estimated the aggregate amount of CO2 emissions would total about 63.9 million metric tons a year; of that, 56.3 million tons would be from two coal-fired plants projects and 7.7 million tons from three gas-fueled, combined-cycle plants (page 20).

Approved a $2.84 billion direct loan and loan guarantee for a refinery project in Colombia for Refinería de Cartagena S.A. (Reficar), a subsidiary of Ecopetrol S.A., the national oil and gas company. The financing was “part of a $5 billion refinery and upgrade project in Cartagena, from which Reficar will supply petroleum products to the domestic and export markets” (page 9).

However, back home, the administration’s package of EPA rules aimed at staunching global warming or climate change is just the latest in a series of costly regulations aimed at curtailing use of fossil fuels in the United States, Katz and other policy analysts familiar with the changes say.

Alpha Natural Resources, for example, announced it will shut down eight coal mines and eliminate 1,200 jobs as a result of what the company’s CEO called “a regulatory environment that’s aggressively aimed at constraining the use of coal.”

Coal miners working.  New

 

 

 

 

President Obama’s EPA regulations forced 300 American coal-fired power plants to close down. (Photo: Newscom)

Citing environmental concerns, the White House persists in delaying construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would transport oil from Canada to refineries in south Texas. The administration effectively has banned offshore drilling for the next seven years.

Data compiled by the Western Energy Alliance shows federal leasing for oil and gas exploration on land has dried up as well. The end result of the Obama administration’s energy policies at home and abroad is a “lose-lose” for taxpayers, Chris Prandoni, director of energy and environment policy at Americans for Tax Reform, told The Daily Signal. Prandoni says: While President Obama’s EPA was writing regulations that forced 300 American coal-fired power plants to close down, his Export-Import Bank conceded the importance of coal by financing overseas coal development. This lose-lose for the American taxpayer is particularly painful: Our electricity rates will increase as we pay countries to burn what we no longer can.

‘Blind Eye to Sweetheart Loans’

The administration continues to build its case for new regulations around the “politically fashionable” concept of human-induced global warming, but that theory remains “scientifically unproven,” says Bonner Cohen, senior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research. This “war on coal,” he said, “is part of a larger war on affordable energy.”

The policy research center compiled a list of the Top 10 Reasons Washington Should Not Impose New Global Warming Laws or Regulations. Figuring prominently on the list is the disparity between climate models and actual scientific observations that show there has been no appreciable global warming since the Clinton administration.

“Under the guise of combating ‘climate change,’ the administration practices crony capitalism and allocates ever-more regulatory power onto itself,” Cohen says, adding:But when it comes to the Ex-Im Bank, it provides taxpayer-backed loans to foreign customers of well-heeled U.S. behemoths, such as Boeing, Caterpillar, and General Electric. And its allegiance to Washington’s powerful administrative agencies leads it to turn a blind eye to the Ex-Im Bank’s sweetheart loans, even if they finance fossil-fuel-related projects the administration would have the world believe endanger the planet.

  • Kevin Mooney is an investigative reporter.
  • Ken McIntyre, news director of The Daily Signal, contributed to this report.

Export-Import Bank Didn’t Make 2012 Reforms Ordered by Congress

Melissa Quinn /@MelissaQuinn97

July 07, 2014

US-ECONOMY-EXPORT-IMPORT

 

 

 

 

Some lawmakers aren’t confident that Fred Hochberg, chairman of the Export-Import Bank, will implement reforms of the agency’s operations. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom)

“Reauthorize with reforms.” That’s the new mantra from supporters of renewing the charter of the Export-Import Bank.

But a review of reforms that Congress ordered the bank to make during the last reauthorization fight shows the agency has done little to remedy issues identified by the lawmakers in 2012.

Some House Republicans view reforms as the main path to extending the Export-Import Bank’s life. Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif., drafted legislation with changes to the Ex-Im Bank that he says would be required parts of the 80-year-old agency’s reauthorization.

But Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, has been clear about his intention to allow the bank’s charter to expire Sept. 30.

Hensarling and other critics say the agency’s failure to address reforms mandated in 2012 as part of the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act demonstrate the bank isn’t likely to adhere to any conditions specified by Congress this year.

Concerns about bank operations prompted Congress to impose new requirements on the bank to increase transparency and accountability. Lawmakers also made step increases in the bank’s annual lending limit — from $120 billion in 2012 up to $140 billion in 2014 — contingent on Ex-Im’s submitting a variety of reports to lawmakers.

A review of those additional requirements, though, shows they failed to remedy mismanagement and dysfunction that critics say put taxpayers’ money at risk.

Diane Katz, a research fellow in regulatory policy at The Heritage Foundation, said officials within the Office of Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office continue to express concerns about bank operations. Recent reports of fraud and other misconduct further undermined the agency’s reputation.

“Taxpayers certainly are justified in worrying about Ex-Im,” Katz said.

Two years ago, Congress required the bank to draft a business plan. The bank submitted a plan, but both GAO and the agency’s inspector general identified weaknesses.

In written testimony to the Financial Services Committee, Ex-Im’s inspector general, Luis Gratacós, said: In order to manage its growing portfolio and to better meet export credit needs of the American exporters, it is our opinion that Ex-Im Bank and Congress can take steps to address some operational weaknesses and challenges facing the bank.

Gratacós previously recommended the bank hire a chief risk officer. It did, but critics note that half the employee’s time is devoted to other responsibilities such as supervising legal and administrative functions.

Its charter requires the bank to meet a small business participation goal of 20 percent of total funding for each designated year. Supporters cite this provision and their contention that 90 percent of bank transactions benefit “small businesses” as key reasons to extend the charter.

Over the the past three years, however, Ex-Im actually has fallen short of the mandated quota. Financing for small business fell from $6 billion in 2011 and 2012 to $5.2 billion in 2013 — less than 20 percent of the total.

Gratacós also told Congress the agency did not meet a renewable energy mandate of 10 percent of annual authorizations. The inspector general attributed the shortfall to “the fact that the total renewable energy export market is not yet large enough to achieve this level relative to the total size of Ex-Im’s bank portfolio.”

During a Financial Services Committee hearing last year, Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., pointed to other issues identified by the GAO and inspector general.

Mulvaney said the bank failed to report the default rates of three sub-portfolios–small business, sub-Saharan Africa, and renewable energy–as required under the 2012 reauthorization. He said: It strikes me that if I had read these types of reports about private banks, the banks would probably be shut down by the regulators.

Ex-Im’s chairman, Fred Hochberg, told Mulvaney that the bank was working with the GAO and inspector general to satisfy the requirement.

Senate Democrats appear intent on preserving the bank.

In a conference call with reporters last week, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said a bill extending the bank’s life likely will be introduced in the Senate next month. The legislation, he said, would pass the Senate with bipartisan support.

Melissa Quinn is a news reporter for The Daily Signal.

We Do Not Need To Amend The Constitution

Birthright citizenship is flatly unconstitutional

Bryan Fischer – Guest Columnist Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Illegal aliens and their children, by definition, are not subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. That’s why they can be deported.

     Because the current policy is that any child who is born here, even to an illegal alien, is automatically a citizen of the United States, pregnant illegal aliens by the thousands commit criminal trespass in order to give birth on U.S. soil. There is also a bustling business in birth tourism, where pregnant foreigners on tourist visas are hosted by a growing hospitality industry devoted to their comfort until the day of delivery – and U.S. citizenship – arrives.

     All this has led to calls to amend our Constitution to bring this misguided and misdirected practice to an end.

But we do not need to amend the Constitution to fix this problem; a correct reading of the Constitution indicates that such children born on our soil are specifically excluded from citizenship.

The clause at issue is found in the 14th Amendment, which reads, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the United States…”

A plain reading clearly indicates that birthright citizenship is granted only to those who are “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States when they are born on American soil. Illegal aliens and their children, by definition, are not subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. That’s why they can be deported. Their children are no more subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. than their parents are, and as little entitled to citizenship.

The “jurisdiction” clause was added to the 14th Amendment only after a lengthy debate. According to NumbersUSA, Sen. Jacob Howard of Michigan proposed the amendment because he wanted to make it clear that the simple accident of birth on U.S. soil was not in fact enough to confer citizenship.

Sen. Howard said the jurisdiction requirement is “simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already,” an apparent reference to the Civil Rights Act of 1866, about which more in a moment.

In his debate, Sen. Howard said, “[T]his will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States…”

The logic is inescapable. If the children of foreign diplomats, who are in this country legally, are not U.S. citizens by birth, how is it possible that children of illegal aliens could be?

The only Democrat to participate in the debate was Sen. Reverdy Johnson of Maryland. In debate, he said this about the meaning of this particular clause: “[A]ll persons born in the United States and not subject to some foreign Power– for that, no doubt, is the meaning of the committee who have brought the matter before — shall be considered as citizens of the United States.”

The 14th Amendment was passed in order to elevate the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 to constitutionally protected status and insulate it from legal challenge. The CRA of 1866 has a virtually identical clause in it, which reads, “[A]ll persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power,excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States.”

This makes it particularly clear, for the children of those in Indian tribes were born on U.S. soil, but were not considered citizens under the Civil Rights Act of 1866 because they were subject to a foreign power, the sovereign Indian nation to which they belonged.

As George Beck writes, “‘[T]ribal’ Indians were purposefully excluded from citizenship. The drafters of the Fourteenth Amendment clearly defined ‘tribal’ Indians as ‘Indians not taxed,’ as not ‘subject to the jurisdiction’ of the United States.”

      Ken Kuklowski puts it this way, “[T]he Civil Rights Act’s parallel language, ‘and not subject to any foreign power,’ instead shows the Jurisdiction Clause excludes all citizens of any foreign country. The Citizenship Clause was intended to overrule the most infamous Supreme Court case in American history—the 1857Dred Scott case—and ensure free blacks born in America could not be denied citizenship. It was never designed to make a citizen of every child born to a foreigner.”

Since 1795, aliens have been required to renounce allegiance to any foreign power and declare allegiance to the U.S. Constitution to become a naturalized citizen. They are required to do so because such allegiance was never assumed or taken for granted for an alien born on American soil. For instance, our family has a framed copy of my great-grandfather’s renunciation of his allegiance to the Czar of Russia hanging on the wall of our living room. It was a prerequisite to his being granted full citizenship in the United States.

Anyone born here, on U.S. soil, whose parents owed allegiance to some foreign power, were not considered citizens of the U.S. by birth and should not be today.

Bryan Fischer is director of issues analysis for the American Family Association. He hosts “Focal Point with Bryan Fischer” every weekday on AFR Talk from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. (Central).

This column is printed with permission. Opinions expressed in ‘Perspectives’ columns published by OneNewsNow.com are the sole responsibility of the article’s author(s), or of the person(s) or organization(s) quoted therein, and do not necessarily represent those of the staff or management of, or advertisers who support the American Family News Network, OneNewsNow.com, our parent organization or its other affiliates.

Poverty and Corruption

Poverty and Corruption
     Regarding the corruption accompanying the liberal enslavement of the poor and disadvantaged, justice demands accountability and responsibility. Whether by the crippling corruption of the Russian bureaucracy’s denial of equal rights to all its citizens or the loss of equal opportunity brought by the sequestration of wealth and power by unbridled capitalism; when the original intention of the Constitution is ignored, misinterpreted, or violated, history again confirms that freedom and justice for all are inseparable. Doling out a pittance in the form of “minimum wage” laws does not heal the brokenness and failure of the political bureaucracy destroying what made America great. Perhaps a picture does indeed “speak more than a thousand words”!

India - voter ID

Putin’s Secret Weapon – GRU

Putin’s Secret Weapon

Russia’s swashbuckling military intelligence unit is full of assassins, arms dealers, and bandits. And what they pulled off in Ukraine was just the beginning.

by Mark Galeotti

Mark Galeotti is professor of global affairs at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs and is currently researching in Moscow.

JULY 7, 2014

GRU

 

 

 

There are two ways an espionage agency can prove its worth to the government it serves. Either it can be truly useful (think: locating a most-wanted terrorist), or it canengender fear, dislike, and vilification from its rivals(think: being named a major threat in congressional testimony). But when a spy agency does both, its worth is beyond question.

Since the Ukraine crisis began, the Kremlin has few doubts about the importance of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence apparatus. The agency has not only demonstrated how the Kremlin can employ it as an important foreign-policy tool, by ripping a country apart with just a handful of agents and a lot of guns. The GRU has also shown the rest of the world how Russia expects to fight its future wars: with a mix of stealth, deniability, subversion, and surgical violence.Even as GRU-backed rebel groups in eastern Ukraine lose ground in the face of Kiev’s advancing forces, the geopolitical landscape has changed. The GRU is back in the global spook game and with a new playbook that will be a challenge for the West for years to come.

Recent years had not been kind to the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff, the Glavnoe razvedyvatelnoe upravlenie (GRU). Once, it had been arguably Russia’s largest intelligence agency, with self-contained stations — known as “residencies” — in embassies around the world, extensive networks of undercover agents, and nine brigades of special forces known as Spetsnaz.

By the start of 2013, the GRU was on the ropes. Since 1992, the agency had been in charge of operations in the post-Soviet countries, Russia’s “near abroad.” But Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to have seen it as increasingly unfit for that purpose. When the Federal Security Service (FSB), Russia’s domestic security agency, was allowed to run operations abroad openly in 2003, one insider told me that this was because “the GRU doesn’t seem to know how to do anything in our neighborhood except count tanks.” (It may not even have done that very well. Putin regarded the GRU as partly responsible for Russia’s lackluster performance in the 2008 invasion of Georgia.) There was a prevailing view in Moscow that the GRU’s focus on gung-ho “kinetic operations” like paramilitary hit squads seemed less relevant in an age of cyberwar and oil politics.

Political missteps also contributed to the GRU’s diminished role. Valentin Korabelnikov, the agency’s chieffrom 1997 to 2009,seemed more comfortable accompanying Spetsnaz assassination teams in Chechnya than playing palace politics in Moscow. His criticisms of Putin’smilitary reforms put him on the Kremlin’s bad side too. Korabelnikov was sacked in 2009 and replaced with soon-to-be-retired Col. Gen. Alexander Shlyakhturov, who, within two years, was rarely seen in the GRU’s headquarters due to his bad health. In December 2011 the GRU welcomed its third head in nearly three years, Maj. Gen. Igor Sergun, a former attaché and intelligence officer with no combat experience and the lowest-ranking head of the service in decades. By the end of 2013, the Kremlin seemed to be entertaining the suggestion that the agency be demoted from a “main directorate” to a mere directorate, which would have been a massive blow to the service’s prestige and political access.

In many ways, a demotion for the GRU seemed inevitable. Since 2008, the GRU had suffered a savage round of cuts during a period when most of Russia’s security and intelligence agencies’ budgets enjoyed steady increases. Eighty of its hundred general-rank officers had been sacked, retired, or transferred. Most of the Spetsnaz were reassigned to the regular army. Residencies were downsized, sometimes even to a single officer working undercover as a military attaché.

What a difference a few months can make. What the Kremlin had once seen as the GRU’s limitations — a focus on the “near abroad,” a concentration onviolence over subtlety, a more swashbuckling style (including a willingness to conduct assassinations abroad) — have become assets.

The near-bloodless seizure of Crimea in March was based on plans drawn up by the General Staff’s Main Operations Directorate that relied heavily on GRU intelligence. The GRU had comprehensively surveyed the region, was watching Ukrainian forces based there, and was listening to their communications. The GRU didn’t only provide cover for the “little green men” who moved so quickly to seize strategic points on the peninsula before revealing themselves to be Russian troops. Many of those operatives were current or former GRU Spetsnaz.

There is an increasing body of evidence that the so-called defense minister of the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic, Igor Strelkov, whose real name is Igor Girkin, is a serving or reserve GRU officer, who likely takes at the very least guidance, if not orders, from the agency’s headquarters. As a result, the European Union has identified him as GRU “staff” and has placed him on its sanctions list. Although the bulk of the insurgents in eastern Ukraine appear to be Ukrainians or Russian “war tourists” — encouraged, armed, and facilitated by Moscow — there also appear to be GRU operators on the groundhelping to bring guns and people across the border.

It was only when the Vostok Battalion appeared in eastern Ukraine at the end of May that the GRU’s full re-emergence became clear. This separatist group bears the same name as a GRU-sponsored Chechen unit that was disbanded in 2008. This new brigade — composed largely of the same fighters from Chechnya — seemed to spring from nowhere, uniformly armed and mounted in armored personnel carriers. Its first act was to seize the administration building in Donetsk, turfing out the motley insurgents who had made it their headquarters. Having established its credentials as the biggest dog in the pack, Vostok began recruiting Ukrainian volunteers to make up for Chechens who quietly drifted home.

Alexander Khodakovsky, a defector from the Security Service of Ukraine, subsequently announced that he was the battalion’s commander. But this only happened a few days after the seizure of the Donetsk headquarters. The implication is that the battalion was originally commanded by GRU representatives. Vostok appears intended not so much to fight the regular Ukrainian forces — though it has — but rather to serve as a skilled and disciplined enforcer of Moscow’s authority over the militias if need be.

The Vostok Battalion makes Moscow’s strategy clear: The Kremlin has no desire for outright military conflict in its neighbors. Instead, the kind of “non-linear war” being waged in Ukraine, which blends outright force, misinformation, political and economic pressure, and covert operations, will likely be its means of choice in the future. These are the kinds of operations in which the GRU excels.

After all, while Moscow is not going to abandon its claims to being a global power, in the immediate future Russia’s foreign-policy focus will clearly be building and maintaining its hegemony in Eurasia. These are also the areas where the GRU is strongest. For example, in Kazakhstan, whose Russian-heavy northern regions are a potential future target for similar political pressure through local minorities,the GRU is the lead intelligence provider, as its civilian counterpart, the SVR, is technically barred from operating in Kazakhstan or any of the countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States by the 1992 Alma-Ata Declaration.

The combination of these factors means that the GRU now looks far more comfortable and confident than it did a year ago. Kiev outed and expelled a naval attaché from the Russian Embassy as a GRU officer, and Sergun, the GRU’s head, made it onto the list of officials under Western sanctions. But neither of these actions has done the agency any harm. If anything, they have increased the GRU’s prestige.

Talk of downgrading the GRU’s status is conspicuously absent in Moscow circles. The agency’s restored status means it is again a player in the perennial turf wars within the Russian intelligence community. More importantly, it means that GRU operations elsewhere in the world are likely to be expanded again and to regain some of their old aggression.

The GRU’s revival also demonstrates that the doctrine of “non-linear war” is not just an ad hoc response to the particularities of Ukraine. This is how Moscow plans to drive forward its interests in today’s world. The rest of the world has not realized this now, even though Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov spelled it out in an obscure Russian military journal last year. He wrote that the new way of war involves “the broad use of political, economic, informational, humanitarian, and other nonmilitary measures … supplemented by military means of a covert nature character,” not least with the use of special forces.

This kind of conflict will be fought by spies, commandos, hackers, dupes, and mercenaries — exactly the kind of operatives at the GRU’s disposal. Even after the transfer of most Spetsnaz out of the GRU’s direct chain of command, the agency still commands elite special forces trained for assassination, sabotage, and misdirection, as Ukraine shows. The GRU has also demonstrated a willingness to work with a wide range of mavericks. In Chechnya, it raised not just the Vostok Battalion but other units of defectors from guerrillas and bandits. The convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout is generally accepted to have been a part-time GRU asset too. The GRU is less picky than most intelligence agencies about who is cooperates with, which also means that it is harder to be sure who is working for them.

NATO and the West still have no effective response to this development. NATO, a military alliance built to respond to direct and overt aggression, has already found itself at a loss on how to deal with virtual attacks, such as the 2007 cyberattack on Estonia. The revival of the GRU’s fortunes promises a future in which the Cold War threat of tanks spilling across the border is replaced by a new kind of war, combining subterfuge, careful cultivation of local allies, and covert Spetsnaz strikes to achieve the Kremlin’s political aims. NATO may be stronger in strictly military terms, but if Russia can open political divisions in the West, carry out deniable operations using third-party combatants, and target strategic individuals and facilities, it doesn’t really matter who has more tanks and better fighter jets. This is exactly what the GRU is tooling up to do.

Photo by VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images

July 4th, 2014

July 4th, 2014

     This 4th of July, as we celebrate the birth of what the Framers intended to be “one Nation under God”, it would behoove all to remember that the very foundation of that intention rests on immutable Law. In celebration, we must never forget that the Order transcending time and circumstance demands obedience often accompanied by service and sacrifice. Freedom and justice for all are never free! The following message, written by Stephen McDowell of the Providence Foundation, documents a commitment evidenced in the Continental Congress of 1776 that is most often lacking as those we place in offices of honor and trust fail to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from enemies, foreign and domestic.

     In addition to grounding our government on the principles consistent with their Christian Biblical worldview, the Framers who were, in fact, realists, even more than they were defined by sectarian denomination, relied on the truths conveyed through science and history, as they understood them at the time based on reason, to structure this new government. After McDowell’s revelation of facts from 1776, there is another article written by Dr. Anthony Daniels printed in Imprimis, volume 43 from Hillsdale College that details how far from the truths so clearly displayed throughout history our Nation has strayed. Moved beyond the reason demanded by the Founders and Framers, the politicians elected by hedonist humanist constituents totally ignore and subjugate the truths evident before them. Very seldom is a writing as by Dr. Daniels, so relevant, poignant, and applicable to our current economic and political disaster, available to learn from, if we would but open our eyes and ears to the voice of Truth.

CftC

What Really Happened on July 4th

Stephen McDowell

     During the first days of July in 1776 the Continental Congress was considering one of the most significant events of all time—the declaration by thirteen colonies to become the new nation of the United States of America.

     On the issue of independence all the colonies were agreed, but a few of the most cautious delegates still were not sure about the timing. Rev. John Witherspoon, a delegate from New Jersey, answered their concerns as he said:

   There is a tide in the affairs of men. We perceive it now before us. To hesitate is to consent to our own slavery. That noble instrument should be subscribed to this very morning by every pen in this house. Though these gray hairs must soon descend to the sepulchre, I would infinitely rather that they descend thither by the hand of the executioner than desert at the crisis the sacred cause of my country![1]

     The delegates went on to approve the Declaration of Independence. After the announcement of the vote, silence moved over the Congress as the men contemplated the magnitude of what they had just done. Some wept openly, while others bowed in prayer. After signing the Declaration with unusually large writing, the President of the Continental Congress, John Hancock, broke the silence as he declared, “His majesty can now read my name without glasses. And he can also double the price on my head.”[2]

Adding to the solemnity of the tense moment, Hancock said, “We must be unanimous; there must be no pulling different ways; we must all hang together.” Benjamin Franklin responded in his characteristic wit, “Yes, we must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately!”[3]

On August 1, the day before an engrossed copy of the Declaration was signed (the copy now displayed in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.), Samuel Adams, whom men of that day ascribed “the greatest part in the greatest revolution of the world,”[4] delivered an address in which he proclaimed regarding the day of Independence: “We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom alone men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and… from the rising to the setting sun, may His kingdom come.”[5] The men who helped give birth to America understood what was taking place. They saw in the establishment of America the first truly Christian nation in history.

As Franklin suggested, they did “hang together,” but even so, many of these signers as well as tens of thousands of colonists lost their lives, families, reputations, and property in order to purchase liberty for themselves and their posterity.[6]

What was it that motivated these people to risk everything in order that they might have freedom? What was it that brought about the events leading to the colonists declaring their independence? John Adams, our second President and a leader in the cause of independence, revealed what he and many others thought as he wrote at the time that the colonies declared their independence:

   It is the Will of Heaven, that the two Countries should be sundered forever. It may be the Will of Heaven that America shall suffer Calamities still more wasting and Distresses yet more dreadful. If this is to be the Case, it will have this good Effect, at least: it will inspire Us with many Virtues, which We have not, and correct many Errors, and Vices, which threaten to disturb, dishonor, and destroy Us. – The Furnace of Affliction produces Refinement, in States as well as Individuals…. But I must submit all my Hopes and Fears to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable as the Faith may be, I firmly believe.[7]

     John Hancock echoed the reliance upon God and the belief that the destiny of nations is in the hand of God as he said:

   Let us humbly commit our righteous cause to the great Lord of the Universe…. Let us joyfully leave our concerns in the hands of Him who raises up and puts down the empires and kingdoms of the earth as He pleases.[8]

     Thomas Jefferson’s original draft of the Declaration of Independence contained a recognition of God, in particular: the laws of nature’s God, the existence of a Creator, the equality of all men before God, Creator-endowed rights,[9] and the purpose of government to protect the God-given rights of God-made man. However, the reliance upon God was so universally adhered to among those in America that the Continental Congress insisted it be made clear in this seminal document. When the draft of the Declaration was debated before Congress, they added the phrase, “appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World, for the rectitude of our intentions,” as well as the words “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence.”[10] Thus, we see the Continental Congress declaring to the entire world their Christian convictions.

Not only does the Declaration of Independence reflect our Founders’ faith in God, but this document only came into being as a result of Biblical ideas that had been sown in the hearts of the colonists for over one hundred and fifty years. The American Revolution was a revolution of ideas long before it was a revolution of war. As the clergy and other leaders taught the colonists their God-given rights as men, Christians, and subjects, the inevitable result was a nation birthed in liberty.

Samuel Adams recognized the importance of educating everyone throughout the colonies so that they could reason out their rights and political convictions based upon Biblical principles. For this reason he began establishing “Committees of Correspondence” in 1772.[11] His desire was for the colonists to be united “not by external bonds, but by the vital force of distinctive ideas and principles.”

This unity of ideas and principles helped to promote union among the colonists. The common ideas sown within the colonists’ hearts by Samuel Adams and many other Christian thinking men of that and earlier generations, resulted in the Declaration of Independence and the external union of the colonies into the United States of America.

Our celebration of the birth of the nation on July 4th must surely place God at the center, for without His guiding hand our nation would have never come into being. As did the Founders of this nation, so should we recognize this fact. John Adams wrote that the day of independence “will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.—I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty … from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”[12]

[1] Samuel Davies Alexander, Princeton College During the Eighteenth Century (New York: Anson D.F. Randolph & Co.), p. ix.

[2] This is an anecdotal story reported by many sources using varying terminology. This quote is in Robert Flood, Men Who Shaped America, Chicago, 1968, p. 276. Another records Hancock said: “There, I guess King George will be able to read that” (The Annals of America, Vol. 2, Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1968, p. 449). This and the other comments could have been made on July 4 or perhaps on August 2 when the engrossed copy was signed by most of the delegates.

Jefferson records that on July 4 the Declaration was “signed by every member present, except Mr. Dickinson” (The Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson in The Life and Selected Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Adrienne Koch and William Peden, New York: The Modern Library, 1944, p. 21). Historian Benson Lossing concurs, writing that after approving the Declaration all the delegates signed their names on a paper that was attached to a copy of the Declaration (Benson J. Lossing, Our Country, A Household History of the United States, New York: James A. Bailey, 1895, Vol. 3, p. 871). However, some people do not think that the delegates signed on this day (citing various indirect remarks from delegates, in addition to the fact that such an original copy of the signees is not known to exist), but rather that all would not sign until an engrossed copy was made. Soon after approval of the Declaration on July 4, with the oversight of the committee, printer John Dunlap prepared and printed copies, perhaps during the night of July 4, which were sent to the governors of several states and to the commanding officers. These broadsides were authenticated by the signatures of John Hancock, the President, and Charles Thomson, the Secretary. On July 19 the Congress ordered the Declaration engrossed on parchment (Julian P. Boyd, The Declaration of Independence, The Library of Congress, 1999, p. 36). This engrossed copy was signed by 54 delegates on August 2 and two others afterward, one in September and the other later in the autumn (Lossing, Our Country, A Household History of the United States, Vol. 3, p. 871).

[3] The Annals of America, Vol. 2, Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1968, p. 276.

[4] George Bancroft, History of the United States, Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1878, Vol. VI, p. 355.

[5] Samuel Adams, An Oration Delivered at the State-House, in Philadelphia, to a Very Numerous Audience; on Thursday the 1st of August, 1776; London, reprinted for E. Johnson, No. 4, Ludgate-Hill, 1776. See also Frank Moore, American Eloquence: A Collection of Speeches and Addresses, New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1858, Vol. 1, p. 324. (Some historians do not think Adams made these remarks, but even if this is so, the content is consistent with his beliefs and writings.)

[6] These men were prepared to give their lives for the cause of liberty, and thought this was a very real possibility. Signer Benjamin Rush would later write to signer John Adams: “Do you recollect your memorable speech upon the day on which the vote was taken? Do you recollect the pensive and awful silence which pervaded the house when we were called up, one after another, to the table of the President of Congress to subscribe what was believed by many at that time to be our own death warrants?” (Letter of Benjamin Rush to John Adams, July 20, 1811, Letters of Benjamin Rush, edited by L.H. Butterfield, Vol. 2: 1793-1813, Princeton University Press, 1951, pp. 1089-1090.)

[7] The Book of Abigail and John, Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-1784, ed. L.H. Butterfield, March Friedlaender and Mary-Jo Kline, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1975, p. 140. Letter from John to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776.

[8] John Hancock, “Oration, Delivered at Boston, March 5, 1774,” in Hezekiah Niles, Principles and Acts of the Revolution in America, New York: A.S. Barnes & Co., 1876, p. 42.

[9] Jefferson’s original wording for this point was, “that all men are created equal and independent; that from that equal Creation they derive Rights inherent and unalienable.” The committee assigned to oversee the drafting of the Declaration changed it to, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” See Julian P. Boyd, The Declaration of Independence, Washington: The Library of Congress, 1999, pp. 31, 60.

[10] See Julian P. Boyd, The Declaration of Independence, p. 35.

[11] See William V. Wells, The Life and Public Service of Samuel Adams, Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1865, Vol. 1.

[12] Letter from John to Abigail, July 3d. 1776, in The Book of Abigail and John, Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-1784, p. 142. The Congress voted on July 2 for independence, while they approved the Declaration of Independence (which states the reasons for their action) on July 4. Adams was referring to the July 2 vote in this letter to Abigail.

What Really Happened on July 4th

May 2014

The Worldview that Makes the Underclass

Anthony Daniels – Writer and Doctor

     I worked for 15 years as a doctor and psychiatrist in a general hospital in a poor area of a British city and in the prison next door, where I was on duty one night in three. The really dangerous people were in the hospital, perhaps because of the presence in the prison next door of very large uniformed men who exerted a strangely calming effect on the prisoners. In the hospital, I personally examined many thousands of patients who had attempted suicide or at least made a suicidal gesture (not quite the same thing of course). They were overwhelmingly from poor homes, and each patient told me of the lives of the three, four, or five people closest to them—and I spoke to many of those people as well. I could not, of course, have spoken to so many people, and heard about so many others, without some general impressions forming themselves in my mind. One abiding impression was of the violence of their lives, particularly that between the sexes—largely the consequence of the fluidity of relations between the sexes—and also of the devastating effect of prevalent criminality upon the quality of daily existence.

     Before I did this work, I had spent a number of years working as a doctor in Africa and in other places in the Third World. I also crossed Africa by public transport, such as it was, and consequently saw much of that continent from the bottom up. These experiences also helped me in my understanding of what I was later to see in England. As Dr. Johnson put it, all judgment is comparative; or as Kipling said, “What should they know of England who only England know?” Indeed, what should anyone know of anywhere, who only that place knows?

On my return to England, I used to visit the homes of poor people as part of my medical duties. Bear in mind that I had returned from some of the poorest countries in the world, where—in one case—a single hen’s egg represented luxury and the people wore the cast-off clothes of Europe that had been donated by charity. When I returned to England, I was naturally inclined to think of poverty in absolute rather than in relative terms—as people not having enough to eat, having to fetch water from three miles away, and so forth. But I soon ceased to think of it in that fashion.

In the course of my duties, I would often go to patients’ homes. Everyone lived in households with a shifting cast of members, rather than in families. If there was an adult male resident, he was generally a bird of passage with a residence of his own somewhere else. He came and went as his fancy took him. To ask a child who his father was had become an almost indelicate question. Sometimes the child would reply, “Do you mean my father at the moment?” Others would simply shake their heads, being unwilling to talk about the monster who had begot them and whom they wished at all costs to forget.

I should mention a rather startling fact: By the time they are 15 or 16, twice as many children in Britain have a television as have a biological father living at home. The child may be father to the man, but the television is father to the child. Few homes were without televisions with screens as large as a cinema—sometimes more than one—and they were never turned off, so that I often felt I was examining someone in a cinema rather than in a house. But what was curious was that these homes often had no means of cooking a meal, or any evidence of a meal ever having been cooked beyond the use of a microwave, and no place at which a meal could have been eaten in a family fashion. The pattern of eating in such households was a kind of foraging in the refrigerator, as and when the mood took, with the food to be consumed sitting in front of one of the giant television screens. Not surprisingly, the members of such households were often enormously fat.

Surveys have shown that a fifth of British children do not eat a meal more than once a week with another member of their household, and many homes do not have a dining table. Needless to say, this pattern is concentrated in the lower reaches of society, where so elementary but fundamental a means of socialization is now unknown. Here I should mention in passing that in my hospital, the illegitimacy rate of the children born in it, except for those of Indian-subcontinental descent, was approaching 100 percent.

It was in the prison that I first realized I should listen carefully, not only to what people said, but to the way that they said it. I noticed, for example, that murderers who had stabbed someone always said of the fatal moment that “the knife went in.” This was an interesting locution, because it implied that it was the knife that guided the hand rather than the hand that guided the knife. It is clear that this locution serves to absolve the culprit, at least in his own mind, from his responsibility for his act. It also seeks to persuade the listener that the culprit is not really guilty, that something other than his decisions led to the death of the victim. This was so even if the victim was a man against whom the perpetrator was known to have a serious grudge, and whom he sought out at the other side of the city having carried a knife with him.

The human mind is a subtle instrument, and something more than straightforward lying was going on here. The culprit both believed what he was saying and knew perfectly well at the same time that it was nonsense. No doubt this kind of bad faith is not unique to the type of people I encountered in the hospital and the prison. In Shakespeare’s King Lear, Edmund, the evil son of the Earl of Gloucester, says:

   This is the excellent foppery of the world: that when we are sick in fortune—often the surfeit of our own behaviour—we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars, as if we were villains on necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on. An admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star!

In other words, it wasn’t me.

This passage points, I think, to an eternal and universal temptation of mankind to blame those of his misfortunes that are the natural and predictable consequence of his own choices on forces or circumstances that are external to him and outside his control. Is there any one of us who has never resorted to excuses about his circumstances when he has done wrong or made a bad decision? It is a universal human tendency. But in Britain, at any rate, an entire class of persons has been created that not only indulges in this tendency, but makes it their entire world outlook—and does so with official encouragement.

Let me take as an example the case of heroin addicts. In the 1950s, heroin addiction in Britain was confined to a very small number of people, principally in bohemian circles. It has since become a mass phenomenon, the numbers of addicts having increased perhaps two thousandfold, to something like 250,000 to 300,000. And with the statistically insignificant exception of members of the popular culture elite, heroin addiction is heavily concentrated in areas of the country such as the one in which I worked.

Heroin addiction has been presented by officialdom as a bona fide disease that strikes people like, shall we say, rheumatoid arthritis. In the United States, the National Institute on Drug Abuse defines addiction quite baldly as a chronic relapsing brain disease—and nothing else. I hesitate to say it, but this seems to me straightforwardly a lie, told to willing dupes in order to raise funds from the federal government.

Be that as it may, the impression has been assiduously created and peddled among the addicts that they are the helpless victims of something that is beyond their own control, which means that they need the technical assistance of what amounts to a substantial bureaucratic apparatus in order to overcome it. When heroin addicts just sentenced to imprisonment arrived, they said to me, “I would give up, doctor, if only I had the help.” What they meant by this was that they would give up heroin if some cure existed that could be administered to them that would by itself, without any resolution on their part, change their behavior. In this desire they appeared sincere—but at the same time they knew that such a cure did not exist, nor would most of them have agreed to take it if it did exist.

In fact, the whole basis of the supposed treatment for their supposed disease is rooted in lies and misconceptions. For example, research has shown that most addicts spend at least 18 months taking heroin intermittently before they become addicted. Nor are they ignorant while they take it intermittently of heroin’s addictive properties. In other words, they show considerable determination in becoming addicts: It is something, for whatever reason, that they want to become. It is something they do, rather than something that happens to them. Research has shown also that heroin addicts lead very busy lives one way or another—so busy, in fact, that there is no reason why they could not make an honest living if they so wished. Indeed, this has been known for a long time, for in the 1920s and 30s in America, morphine addicts for the most part made an honest living.

Withdrawal from opiates, the fearfulness of which, reiterated in film and book, is often given as one of the main reasons for not abandoning the habit, is in fact a pretty trivial condition, certainly by comparison with illnesses which most of us have experienced, or by comparison with withdrawal from other drugs. I have never heard an alcoholic say, for example, that he fears to give up alcohol because of delirium tremens—a genuinely dangerous medical condition, unlike withdrawal from heroin. Research has shown that medical treatment is not necessary for heroin addicts to abandon their habit and that many thousands do so without any medical intervention whatsoever.

In Britain at least, heroin addicts do not become criminals because they are addicted (and can raise funds to buy their drugs only by crime); those who take heroin and indulge in criminal behavior have almost always indulged in extensive criminal behavior before they were ever addicted. Criminality is a better predictor of addiction than is addiction of criminality.

In other words, all the bases upon which heroin addiction is treated as if it is something that happens to people rather than something that people do are false, and easily shown to be false. This is so whatever the latest neuro-scientific research may supposedly show.

I have taken the example of heroin addiction as emblematic of what, with some trepidation, I may call the dialectical relationship between the worldview of those at the bottom of society and the complementary worldview of what one might call the salvationist bureaucracy of the government. In the old Soviet Union there was a joke in which the workers would say to the party bosses, “We pretend to work and you pretend to pay us.” In the case of the heroin addicts, they might say, “We pretend to be ill, and you pretend to cure us.”

One of the possible dangers or consequences of such a charade is that it creates a state of dishonest dependency on the part of the addicts. They wait for salvation as Estragon and Vladimir wait for Godot in Samuel Beckett’s play; they wait for something that will never arrive, and that at least in some part of their mind they know will never arrive—but that officialdom persists in telling them will arrive someday.

Dishonest passivity and dependence combined with harmful activity becomes a pattern of life, and not just among drug addicts. I remember going into a single mother’s house one day. The house was owned by the local council; her rent was paid, and virtually everything that she owned, or that she and her children consumed, was paid for from public funds. I noticed that her back garden, which could have been pretty had she cared for it, was like a noxious rubbish heap. Why, I asked her, do you not clear it up for your children to play in? “I’ve asked the council many times to do it,” she replied. The council owned the property; it was therefore its duty to clear up the rubbish that she, the tenant, had allowed to accumulate there—and this despite what she knew to be the case, that the council would never do so! Better the rubbish should remain there than that she do what she considered to be the council’s duty. At the same time she knew perfectly well that she was capable of clearing the rubbish and had ample time to do so.

This is surely a very curious but destructive state of mind, and one that some politicians have unfortunately made it their interest to promote by promising secular salvation from relative poverty by means of redistribution. Whether by design or not, the state in England has smashed up all forms of social solidarity that are independent of it. This is not an English problem alone: In France the word solidarité, solidarity, has come to mean high taxation for redistribution by state officials to other parts of the population, which of course are neither grateful for the subventions nor find them sufficient to meet their dreams, and which are, in fact, partly responsible for their need for them in the first place. And not surprisingly, some of the money sticks to the hands of the redistributionist bureaucracy.

By a mixture of ideology and fiscal and social policies, the family has been systematically fractured and destroyed in England, at least in the lowest part of the society that, unfortunately, needs family solidarity the most. There are even, according to some researchers, fiscal and welfare incentives for parents at the lower economic reaches of society not to stay together.

Certainly the notions of dependence and independence have changed. I remember a population that was terrified of falling into dependence on the state, because such dependence, apart from being unpleasant in itself, signified personal failure and humiliation. But there has been an astonishing gestalt switch in my lifetime. Independence has now come to mean independence of the people to whom one is related and dependence on the state. Mothers would say to me that they were pleased to be independent, by which they meant independent of the fathers of their children—usually more than one—who in general were violent swine. Of course, the mothers knew them to be violent swine before they had children by them, but the question of whether a man would be a suitable father is no longer a question because there are no fathers: At best, though often also at worst, there are only stepfathers. The state would provide. In the new dispensation the state, as well as television, is father to the child.

A small change in locution illustrates a change in the character and conceptions of a people. When I started out as a doctor in the mid-1970s, those who received state benefits would say, “I receive my check on Friday.” Now people who receive such benefits say, “I get paid on Friday.” This is an important change. To have said that they received their check on Friday was a neutral way of putting it; to say that they get paid on Friday is to imply that they are receiving money in return for something. But what can that something be, since they do not appear to do anything of economic value to anyone else? It can only be existence itself: They are being paid to continue to exist, existence itself being their work.

It has been said that the lamentable state of affairs I have described has been brought about by the decline, inevitable as we now see it, of the kind of industry that once employed millions of unskilled workers, whose wages, though low by today’s standards, were nevertheless sufficient to sustain a stable, though again by today’s standards not rich, society. And I do not think that this view can be altogether dismissed. But it is far from the whole story. One of the curious features of England in the recent past is that it has consistently maintained very high levels of state-subsidized idleness while importing almost equivalent numbers of foreigners to do unskilled work.

Let me here interject something about the intellectual and moral corruption wrought by the state in recent years—and I don’t know whether it applies to America. The governments of Britain, of both political parties, managed to lessen the official rate of unemployment by the simple expedient of shifting people from the ranks of the unemployed to the ranks of the sick. This happened on such a huge scale that, by 2006—a year of economic boom, remember—the British welfare state had achieved the remarkable feat of producing more invalids than the First World War. But it is known that the majority of those invalids had no real disease. This feat, then, could have been achieved only by the willing corruption of the unemployed themselves—relieved from the necessity to seek work and relieved to have a slightly higher subvention—but also of the doctors who provided them with official certificates that they knew to be bogus. And the government was only too happy, for propaganda purposes, to connive at such large-scale fraud. One begins to see what Confucius meant when he said, 2,500 years ago, that the first thing to do to restore a state to health was to rectify the names—in other words, to call things by their right names rather than by euphemisms.

There are three reasons that I can think of why we imported foreign labor to do unskilled work while maintaining large numbers of unemployed people. The first is that we had destroyed all economic incentive for the latter to work. The second is that the foreigners were better in any case, because their character had not been rotted; they were often better educated—it is difficult to plumb the shallows of the British state educational system for children of the poorest homes—and had a much better work ethic. And the third was the rigidity of the housing market that made it so difficult for people to move around once they had been granted the local privilege of subsidized housing.

I will leave you with an anecdote. As Mao Tse-tung might have put it, one anecdote is worth a thousand abstractions.

I had been asked by the courts to examine a young woman, aged 18, who was accused of having attacked and injured her 90-year-old great-grandmother, with whom she lived, while under the influence of alcohol and cannabis. She had broken her great-grandmother’s femur, but fortunately it did not prove fatal. (Incidentally, the homicide rate, it is said, would be five times higher than it is if we used the same medical techniques as were used in 1960.) I asked the young woman in the course of my examination whether her mother had ever been in trouble with the police.

“Yes,” she replied.

“What for?” I asked.

“Well, she was on the social,” she said—“on the social” in English argot means receiving welfare payments—“and she was working.”

“What happened?” I asked. “She had to stop working.”

She said this as if it was so obvious that my question must be that of a mental defective. Work is for pocket money, the public dole is the means by which one lives.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the view from the bottom, at least in Britain: but it is a view that has been inculcated and promoted from the top.

ANTHONY DANIELS, who often writes under the penname Theodore Dalrymple, is the Dietrich Weismann Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. Born in London in 1949, he qualified as a doctor in 1974 and has worked in various countries in Africa and elsewhere. From 1990 to 2005, he worked as a doctor and psychiatrist in a prison in Birmingham, England. He has written a column for the London Spectator for 14 years, and writes regularly for National Review and the Wall Street Journal. He has published more than 20 books, including Not With a Bang But a Whimper: The Politics & Culture of Decline, The New Vichy Syndrome: Why European Intellectuals Surrender to Barbarism, and Life at the Bottom: The Worldview that Makes the Underclass.

The above article is adapted from a speech delivered on May 20, 2014, at a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar in Dearborn, Michigan.

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