BEN WEINGARTEN

Reader. Writer. Thinker. Commentator. Truth Seeker.

Month: January 2014

The Tokyo Rose chronicles part IV: ‘Her entire life was just destroyed by this monolithic thing called the U.S. government’

In chapter 9 of Miracles and Massacres, Glenn Beck’s latest book, we learn the story of Iva Toguri, aka Tokyo Rose, an American citizen whose life was ruined during World War II after she was prosecuted as a traitor in a political decision made by the U.S. government. One aspect of the story that was left out of the book was how Toguri’s pardoning in 1977 – the last act of President Gerald Ford’s administration, almost three decades after initially being charged as a traitor – came to pass.

In a Blaze Books exclusive, we spoke with Ronald Yates, a former Chicago Tribune journalist, who was responsible for publishing the exposés in 1976 that ultimately helped Iva Toguri gain her pardon, and one of only a handful of people who became a close personal acquaintance with Toguri in her later years. This is our final story in a series based on our interview with him. If you missed it, be sure to check out parts I, II and III.

The last part of our interview with Ronald Yates focused on the takeaways from Iva Toguri’s story. Given that these terrible events transpired decades ago, I asked Yates in his view what the lessons of the story were, and why they should be relevant to Americans today. His answer is reproduced in full below:

“One of the major lessons I always felt is, governments are very powerful entities and when they come after an individual like they did her, I don’t think there’s very much that an individual can do to withstand that kind of force. I think what it says is that not everything a government does is always correct. Not everything that government does is always in the best interests of its people. And of course that’s why we have the Constitution that we have, so you have this redress.

I never understood exactly why, and I think there had been an appeal process in the works, but it never got very far, because I think they were terrified that she would lose the appeal and they would deport her even though she was an American citizen. How can you deport an American citizen?

But you know once again, the government is a very powerful entity. And you know, when it decides to come after you, it’s going to come after you. Now not always, you might survive it once in awhile, but in this particular case, she didn’t have a whole lot going for her. She didn’t have any money. She was almost destitute. The man that worked with her, Wayne Mortimer Collins, did it really pro bono to help her, to defend her, and it didn’t work because she was convicted anyway.

So I think it’s a frightening thing to think that a government could be so vicious, and that a prosecutor like [Tom] DeWolfe could be so callous as to know that she was not guilty but to pursue her anyway and to get her convicted any way he possibly could because it was the political thing to do. That is a frightening thing and I think people need to understand that you can’t roll over, you have to fight it, you have to fight against these kinds of things, and Iva did her best, but it wasn’t enough. And the people around her did their best but it wasn’t enough.

And I think it tells you something about the machinations and the motivations of a government when it’s actually motivated only by politics. And that was the case in this case because it was an election year in 1948 and Truman wanted to make sure that people were not seeing him as being soft on traitors, etc., and so they went after her. Politics, whenever you have politics involved in a criminal case, anything can happen.

Read more at TheBlaze…

The Tokyo Rose chronicles part III: Finding Iva Toguri, two decades later

In chapter 9 of Miracles and Massacres, Glenn Beck’s latest book, we learn the story of Iva Toguri, aka Tokyo Rose, an American citizen whose life was ruined during World War II after she was prosecuted as a traitor in a political decision made by the U.S. government. One aspect of the story that was left out of the book was how Toguri’s pardoning in 1977 – the last act of President Gerald Ford’s administration, almost three decades after initially being charged as a traitor – came to pass.

In a Blaze Books exclusive, we spoke with Ronald Yates, a former Chicago Tribune journalist, who was responsible for publishing the exposés in 1976 that ultimately helped Iva Toguri gain her pardon, and one of only a handful of people who became a close personal acquaintance with Toguri in her later years. This is our third story in a series based on our interview with him. If you missed it, be sure to check out parts I and II.

While Ronald Yates had helped finally vindicate Iva Toguri, he had still never met the woman, until he received a call from her lawyer in 1991. Yates had spent the majority of his adult life traveling through Asia and Latin America as a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, and thus had not returned home till 1991.

Iva’s attorney called Yates and said “Iva would like to meet you to personally thank you for what you did and the stories that you wrote. She wants to meet you for dinner. Would you be willing to do that?”

Yates naturally accepted, and during that winter made an appointment to meet with Toguri on the North Side, the same area where some twenty-plus years before the whole story had begun.

As Yates describes the encounter:

“I drove up to the North Side of Chicago after working at the Tribune Tower and I parked my car and I didn’t know what to expect. But as I got to the restaurant door, I saw Iva standing at the door. And I thought, well that’s interesting. So I walked in to the door and she just ran over and she grabbed me and says ‘Oh I just wanted to meet you and thank you and oh my goodness, let’s go sit down at the table and have dinner.’”

Read more at TheBlaze…

Climate Change Versus Free Speech

If you dare to challenge the scientific establishment generally, and its global warming adherents specifically, you better have deep pockets and plenty of time on your hands. That is the takeaway of the last 15 months, and soon to be more, of Mark Steyn’s life — one of the recent victims of the Left’s war on speech whose case has arguably been the least-covered but most deserving of your attention.

For those unfamiliar, Steyn, author and contributor for the “National Review,” along with Rand Simberg of the Competitive Enterprise Institute are embroiled in a defamation lawsuit with noted climate scientist Michael Mann. Mann is the famous originator of the so-called “Hockey Stick Graph” climate model.

Michael Mann (R) is suing Mark Steyn (L) for defamation. (Credit: Michelle Siu/National Post//Pennsylvania State University)

Dr. Mann filed suit against Steyn, Simberg and the “National Review” on Oct. 22, 2012. In his complaint he leveled varying libel charges against each of the defendants. Herein I focus on the allegations against Steyn in particular since his prospective hockey stick beheading as sacrifice to the scientific gods upon the altar of global warming is the most well-chronicled, and based on the least compelling evidence against the two individuals in the case.

Steyn has incurred literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees over the last 15 months defending himself against the following charge from Dr. Mann [emphasis and hyperlinks added]:

“Mr. Steyn’s statement, published by NRI on National Review Online, that Dr. Mann “was the man behind the fraudulent climate-change ‘hockey-stick’ graph, the very ringmaster of the tree-ring circus” is defamatory per se and tends to injure Dr. Mann in his profession because it falsely imputes to Dr. Mann academic corruption, fraud and deceit as well as the commission of a criminal offense, in a manner injurious to the reputation and esteem of Dr. Mann professionally, locally, nationally, and globally…In making the defamatory statement, NRI and Steyn acted intentionally, maliciously, willfully, and with the intent to injure Dr. Mann, or to benefit NRI and Steyn. Accordingly, NRI and Steyn are liable to Dr. Mann for punitive damages in an amount in accordance with proof at trial.”

Got that? Make fun of a climate scientist and be prepared to lawyer up.

Now before we proceed, we need not get into the science of global warming or climate change or whatever it’s being called this week, “Climategate” or Rand Simberg’s comments comparing Michael Mann to a fellow former Penn State employee Jerry Sandusky for “molested and tortured data.” Nor do we need to discuss the fact that Dr. Mann’s initial complaint had to be amended, reflecting the fact that while he originally declared himself in a legal document (and on Twitter per the below) as a Nobel laureate, he actually was not (speaking of misrepresentation).

And I do not intend to debate the merits of the case, however weak from a non-legalistic perspective I think Mann’s position may be, given that the couple of phrases that offended Mann look mild compared to the typical invectives hurled at people who stake out what Mann himself pejoratively calls the “climate denier” position; and however hard it is to believe that Mann has suffered at all, given that as he has argued as recently as two weeks ago in a “New York Times” article “the overwhelming consensus among climate scientists is that human-caused climate change is happening.”

While all of these topics are ripe for discussion, and I urge you to research them yourselves, what really matters is the fact that Steyn, Simberg and the “National Review” were forced to defend themselves in a court of law in the first place.

Continue reading at TheBlaze…

The Tokyo Rose chronicles part II: Iva Toguri’s pardon

In chapter 9 of Miracles and Massacres, Glenn Beck’s latest book, we learn the story of Iva Toguri, aka Tokyo Rose, an American citizen whose life was ruined during World War II after she was prosecuted as a traitor in a political decision made by the U.S. government. One aspect of the story that was left out of the book was how Toguri’s pardoning in 1977 – the last act of President Gerald Ford’s administration, almost three decades after initially being charged as a traitor – came to pass.

In a Blaze Books exclusive, we spoke with Ronald Yates, a former Chicago Tribune journalist, who was responsible for publishing the exposés in 1976 that ultimately helped Iva Toguri gain her pardon, and one of only a handful of people who became a close personal acquaintance with Toguri in her later years. This is our second story in a series based on our interview with him. If you missed it, be sure to check out Part I here.

Ronald Yates had come upon an Earth-shattering discovery nearly three decades after the lies had been told: Iva Toguri, Tokyo Rose, had been wrongfully accused and convicted of treason. An American-born Japanese woman had been branded a traitor, spent over six years in prison, been separated from her husband, Felipe D’Aquino who had stayed behind in Japan, afraid to return to the country, and been left to try and pick up the pieces of her life without the truth ever being exposed to the light of day.

In 1976, Yates wrote a series of newspaper articles for the Chicago Tribune on his findings. I asked him what the impetus was for writing the stories. Yates responded without any sign of hesitation:

“I felt that she had been wronged. First of all she had been wronged by journalism, two journalists [Harry] Brundidge and [Clark] Lee interviewed her in Tokyo and treated her really badly…Lee wrote this horrible story that she had been a traitor to her country for something like $6 a month…and Brundidge, he filed a story to Cosmpolitan magazine and they rejected it, saying there was no story there because there was no evidence that she had done anything and they didn’t like the story.”

Read more at TheBlaze…

Free Speech in Name Only

The cruel irony of what happened to Maria Conchita Alonso this past week lies in the following: Here was a woman descended from Communist Cuba, who emigrated to the United States from Communist Venezuela, only to find herself a victim of the more insidious totalitarianism of a monolithic Leftist artistic establishment.

For those unfamiliar, Maria Conchita Alonso is a Cuban-born, Venezuelan-raised actress who had the temerity to endorse a conservative gubernatorial candidate in California. Even worse, in an interview she said she supported candidate Tim Donnelley’s views on immigration, using the term “illegal” to describe immigrants who were here…well…illegally.

Maria Conchita Alonso with candidate Tim Donnelly. (Image source: YouTube raw video)

The penalty for her thought crime? Alonso was compelled to “resign” from her role in a Spanish-Language version of the “Vagina Monologues” set to run in San Francisco’s Mission District in mid-February.

Eliana Lopez, the producer of the show, and herself a fellow Venezuelan actress, said “We really cannot have her in the show, unfortunately…Of course she has the right to say whatever she wants. But we’re in the middle of Mission. Doing what she is doing is against what we believe.”

Stated differently, here was a Hispanic woman telling another Hispanic woman that her views on Hispanic immigration were too odious to be given sanction by a role in a performance. Apparently not all wise Latina women are born equal.

Maria Conchita Alonso is just the latest in a series of victims of the Left’s fatwa against anyone who does not hew to the party line in recent years.

Continue reading at TheBlaze…

The Tokyo Rose chronicles part I: How an ambitious young Chicago journalist discovered the truth about the patriot destroyed by our government

In chapter 9 of Miracles and Massacres, Glenn Beck’s latest book, we learn the story of Iva Toguri, aka Tokyo Rose, an American citizen whose life was ruined during World War II after she was prosecuted as a traitor in a political decision made by the U.S. government. One aspect of the story that was left out of the book was how Toguri’s pardoning in 1977 – the last act of President Gerald Ford’s administration, almost three decades after initially being charged as a traitor – came to pass.

In a Blaze Books exclusive, we spoke with Ronald Yates, a former Chicago Tribune journalist, who was responsible for publishing the exposés in 1976 that ultimately helped Iva Toguri gain her pardon, and one of only a handful of people who became a close personal acquaintance with Toguri in her later years. This is our first story in a series based on our interview with him.

Ronald Yates, a Kansas City born former Chicago Tribune journalist, former Dean Emeritus of the College of Media at the University of Illinois and current author could not be more different than Iva Toguri, the Japanese-American whose life was turned completely upside down in the aftermath of World War II. Yet through a circuitous and fortuitous path, their two lives would become inextricably intertwined.

Yates joined the Chicago Tribune straight out of college in 1969-1970 where he worked as a general assignment reporter, getting his feet wet in various aspects of the newspaper business. By chance, in response to one of his early columns titled “Action Express,” Yates received a letter that would forever change his life. The letter stated: “I understand that the infamous Tokyo Rose lives in Chicago.”

The young journalist was struck by the message. Yates says “…like most people of my generation I grew up listening to and watching these old WWII movies in the ‘50s and ‘60s and she was always in these movies…somebody named Tokyo Rose was broadcasting to American troops, so I thought well this is an interesting idea, let me go talk to her.”

When Yates tracked Iva Toguri down to Toguri’s father’s store on the North Side of Chicago, his efforts to see her were in vain. He received the following message: “No, she won’t talk to the press.”

But Ronald Yates was not going to let the story die.

Read more at TheBlaze…

An interview with Instapundit on ‘The New School’: ‘Smart people make better electricians,’ and other musings from the prolific Professor Reynolds

In a wide-ranging interview with Blaze Books in connection with his just-released title, “The New School,” prolific professor Glenn Reynolds (aka Instapundit) provided his insights on the 19th century Prussian industrial model of education that predominates to this day, the bursting of the education bubble, sage advice for students, parents and academic institutions, his predictions for new models in education, and much more. Below is our interview which was conducted via phone. The interview has been edited slightly for clarity. If you missed it, be sure to check out our review of “The New School” as well.

Can you give a brief background for readers as to what compelled you to write “The New School?” 

Reynolds: Compelled is kind of the right word. I really wasn’t ever planning to write anything significant about education. I mean you know I was a student and now I’m a professor and so I live in that world, but it was never anything I had much interest in writing about. But then I wrote a couple of newspaper columns on the higher education bubble, and I wrote a law review article about where legal education was going, and then I wrote a couple more columns about K-12 education, and then the reaction to all that stuff was huge, and it made me see that there was really a lot of interesting stuff going on that I didn’t feel like was being looked at at quite the right angle, which is to say my angle [laughs]…and I went ahead and did that.

Why should the man on the street pick up your book?

Reynolds: Well you know education is a big piece of the economy. Everybody talks about how you can’t get anywhere without education. We have over a trillion dollars in student loan debt. We have massive urban K-12 systems on the verge of collapse because students are leaving in search of something better. So it’s pretty important. We’re in the midst of a big social change. Most of the people who talk about it or write about it, focus on particular aspects of it. And I try to sort of provide a universal field theory on what’s going on.

I’m curious, when you were writing this book, had you read for example Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart?” Murray advocates that a lot of ails us stems from the culture. Culture is influenced by and then reinforces ideas. The education system of course is where people develop their ideas. Do you see a link between the problems in education and the problems throughout the rest of society?

Reynolds: I think that’s right. The book is not at all political, in sort of a left-right sense, but it’s certainly true that some of the problems we have come from having sort of an intellectual monoculture behind a lot of these issues. And one of the things that I think – the changes I describe in the book will be good about is that we’re gonna see a lot of diversity – and I mean real diversity in terms of educational models. And I think that’s all to the better. I think monocultures when you’re farming are bad because one pest can wipe out the whole thing, and intellectual monocultures are bad too because one bad idea spreads like wildfire and causes all kinds of havoc.

Read more at TheBlaze…

Of Israelis and Republicans

Israelis and Republicans suffer from the same fundamental afflictions. At root, they misunderstand their enemies, while doubting themselves. The consequences of such delusions are fatal.

For the Israelis believe that ultimately, despite all history and reason, their enemies will seek peace. Republicans too believe that their opponents seek peace. They believe Democrats can be reasoned with; that Democrats merely have genuine ideological differences, while seeking the same goals of peace and prosperity.

Both Israelis and Republicans fail to see, either out of wishful thinking or naiveté, that their enemies want to destroy them. In fact it is an ideological imperative to destroy them.

The recent easing of sanctions on Iran and so-called two-state peace negotiations being driven by the Obama administration, and Israel’s inability to effectively counter such efforts, are just the latest in a series of disastrous blunders epitomizing the suicidal mindset of the Israelis that find their American analogue in Republicans. (AFP PHOTO/GALI TIBBON/POOL GALI TIBBON)

Beyond the PLO charter or Iranian calls for pushing Israel into the sea, at root it is a dedication to Islam that animates Israel’s enemies, Jew-hatred of which is an integral part. Islam must be at perpetual war against infidels, and especially Jews, in order to reach its goals for a global ummah under sharia. The ummah is achieved through violent jihad and/or ideological deception via taqiyya.

The Democratic Party has become the progressive party, which in order to obtain its ends must destroy the Republicans, both by defeating Republicans in elections and turning Republicans into progressives themselves. The end of progressivism is also world dominance, under the rule of men as opposed to the rule of Allah.

The war against the Israelis and Republicans is waged in similar ways. The media and academia, both worldwide and in America, are pro-Islamic and progressive. By spewing propaganda overtly and covertly, the media and academia are able to influence generation after generation of useful idiots, turning the West against itself and weakening the mental defenses of the Israelis and Republicans.

Continue reading at TheBlaze…

Dear Mayor de Blasio: Don’t Condemn New York to Detroit’s Fate

Dear Mayor de Blasio:

In your inaugural address you called for an end to economic and social inequality in New York. You said you wanted to improve education and build a strong economy, taking dead aim at the “Tale of Two Cities” of New York. The antidote for the ailments you say plague this city is to follow progressive principles not seen since the Dinkins administration. However, such a path will inevitably lead to greater inequity and economic deterioration in New York, harming most those who can afford it least.

More instructive than the rhetorical fiction found in the “Tale of Two Cities” is the real-life tale of two countries (Hoppe, 48-52). There were once two countries that sat side by side. Their people shared the same ethnic background, language, history and culture. Many of their citizens were not only related by a shared heritage, but by blood. In fact, the two countries were once one big country.

One country practiced what you referred to as “trickle-down” economics, which is less pejoratively referred to as free market or laissez-faire capitalism. In this country all people were guaranteed freedom of movement, trade and profession; existing price controls were abolished with a single pen stroke. The other country instituted a full slate of progressive policies, consisting of governmental control of all sectors of the economy, and driven by an underlying devotion to egalitarianism – i.e. a focus on reducing economic and social inequality, as you intend to do.

The wall between East and West Berlin was heavily guarded from the 1940s until 1991. Photo Credit: www.boston.com

The country that practiced free market capitalism in the ensuing decades developed the highest standard of living on its continent. Its progressive neighbor lagged behind – so far behind in fact that despite wealth transfers from the free market country to the progressive country, people sought to flee the progressive country. They did so to such a degree that the leaders of the progressive country had to establish strict border controls just to keep their citizens from emigrating en masse. When border policies failed to stem the exodus of citizens, the progressive country ended emigration altogether by building a physical barrier between the two countries, consisting of walls, barbed wire fences and even land mines.

The ending to this tale of two countries is bittersweet: East Germany did ultimately shed the yoke of socialist control imposed by the Soviet Union, but more than two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, its denizens have yet to recover from this experiment with progressivism. And West Germany, the country whose citizens miraculously recovered from and prospered under a free market system following the Second World War has, to its own detriment, increasingly implemented progressive policies over the years that have retarded its growth. Yet by practically every economic measure, the gap between East Germany and West Germany persists.

So my question is this: Why will it be different this time? Have not little “East Germany’s” sprung up all over the United States in recent decades, with cities implementing progressive policies with the same disastrous results over and over again — failed education systems, mass unemployment, sky-high crime rates, bankrupt governments, and perhaps most cripplingly, the destruction of nuclear families? If the progressive policies you support have consistently wrought destruction from Detroit to Newark to Chicago, why are you so dead-set on condemning New York’s most at-risk citizens — minorities, single mothers and the poor — to the same tragic fate?

Continue reading at TheBlaze…

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