Ben Weingarten

Reader. Writer. Thinker. Commentator. Truth Seeker.

Category: Government (Page 2 of 12)

My Interview with Victor Davis Hanson on Trump, Trumpism and Russiagate

In connection with the release of Encounter Books’ Vox Populi: The Perils and Promises of Populism, I interviewed the author of one its more provocative essays, the often-contrarian and always-compelling Professor Victor Davis Hanson.

During our discussion we discuss among other things:

  • The populism of President Trump
  • The insights President Trump has into the American people that his political opponents lack
  • The significance of the 2016 presidential election in history and what it augurs for the world
  • Whether Trumpism is a full-blown political movement or an outlier in U.S. history
  • How Trump is doing when it comes to constructing the four core pillars of Trumpism
  • Russiagate and Deep State subversion
  • And much more

You can listen to our interview in full here, and read a transcript of our discussion here.

The 10 Richest Ironies of the Trump Age

Beyond the noise of controversies real and invented, a 24-hour news cycle demanding perpetual outrage and hyperbole and partisan polarization on grounds more stylistic than substantive and cultural than ideological, the Trump Age has provided a signal that is incredibly clarifying.

To wit, the Trump presidency has exposed the American political elite by illuminating the internal contradictions, deep-seated biases and core hypocrisies of its players. At heart, what his presidency has revealed — due to equal parts Trump Derangement Syndrome, stylistic disdain and genuine fear that his agenda poses a threat to their livelihood — is that power is the political class’s single unifying principle.

I’ve catalogued the greatest ironies of the Trump era in a new piece at PJ Media titled “The 10 Richest Ironies of the Trump Age.”

And I’ve summarized my piece in a shareable Twitter thread that begins below:

Dems Revolt Over a Citizenship Question in the 2020 U.S. Census With Dramatic Implications

Do Americans have a right to know who is living among them? The Trump Department of Justice says yes, but Democrats are revolting when it comes to the reinstatement of a simple question on citizenship in the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census.

For The Federalist I explore the emerging controversy over this issue, which is critical because population count (including noncitizens) impacts (i) the apportionment of seats in the U.S. house, (ii) the relative power of each state in the electoral college, (iii) the allocation of billions of dollars in federal funds and (iv) the drawing of potentially every political district in the country.

I also touch on the broader lack of transparency on citizenship in government data, and why it is in the political class’s interest to shield the truth from Americans — truth that hurts its narrative and threatens its agenda.

I’ve summarized my piece in a shareable Twitter thread that begins below:

Read the whole thing here.

My In-Depth Interview with Rupert Darwall on Environmental Fascism, Climate Change Fraud, the Paris Accord and More (Video)

For the second episode of Encounter Books’ new “Close Encounters” video interview series, I spoke with policy analyst and former special adviser to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Left, Rupert Darwall, on his new book Green Tyranny: Exposing the Totalitarian Roots of the Climate Industrial Complex.

During the interview (video, full transcript) we discuss the Nazi roots of the modern environmentalist movement, Sweden’s environmentalist power grab, the anti-capitalist underpinnings of the environmentalist movement, the links between the acid rain fraud and today’s global warming movement, why the Paris climate accord represent a battle for America’s soul and much more.

Will The Obama Administration Ever Be Brought To Justice Over Its Iran Scandals?

I’ve often asked if there was anything Iran could have done that would have caused the Obama administration to ditch Iran Deal.

The more we find out about the illicit Iranian activities the Obama administration apparently allowed to fester as a carrot to supposedly entice Iran to come to the negotiating table, the more I think the better question might be if there was anything the Obama administration would not give Iran in service of Iran Deal.

I write about the latest dumbfounding revelation — which follows on the heels of the allegedly Obama administration-spiked “Project Cassandra” investigation into a cars-for-cocaine Hezbollah financing scheme — in a new piece for The Federalist detailing a Turkey-Iran sanctions-evasion scheme that may have generated upwards of $100bn for the mullocracy.

As I detail, the Obama administration willfully ignored its own sanctions regime, thereby providing de facto sanctions relief to the tune of billions of dollars for the mullahs at a time in which they were under significant economic duress.

This episode, like so many others, raises fundamental questions I pose in the piece about the illegal, nefarious and dangerous activities the Obama administration appears to have tolerated in order to get to a deal.

We need answers to these questions if we are to hold our officials accountable and prevent future administrations from undertaking actions similarly detrimental to the national interest in service of foreign policy “wins” — in particular ones as Chamberlainian as Iran Deal has proven to be.

I’ve posted a thread on Twitter that unpacks this piece as well.

Read the whole thing here.

Trump’s New National Security Strategy Holds the Hidden Key to Defeating Jihadism

For the Washington Examiner, I write about the overlooked but absolutely critical element of the Trump administration’s new National Security Strategy that holds the key to finally turning the tide on our jihadist foes.

What is this monumental change?

The Trump administration lays out in no uncertain terms who the enemy is, the underlying Islamic supremacist ideology that animates him and the enemy’s ultimate goal of creating a global caliphate united under Sharia law.

The Obama administration spent eight years explicitly purging our national security and foreign policy apparatus of any understanding of the above. It warped and watered down our lexicon, shredded relevant training materials and fired the expert advisors who understood jihadism, and with it undertook a series of disastrous policies both at home and abroad that served only to empower our jihadist foes.

If we are to allow the new National Security Strategy to govern policy, American can develop a comprehensive plan to use all elements of U.S. governmental power to counter jihadist actors Sunni and Shia, state and non-state, violent and non-violent and overt and covert, commensurate with the size, scope and nature of the existential threat that faces us.

My In-Depth Interview with John Yoo on the Future of War, North Korea, Iran, Free Speech and More (Video)

For the first episode of Encounter Books’ new “Close Encounters” video interview series, I spoke with former Bush administration Justice Department official and bogeyman laureate for the Left, John Yoo, on his new book Striking Power: How Cyber, Robots, and Space Weapons Change the Rules for War.

During the interview we discuss the future of warfare given tremendous technological advances in the way of robotics, autonomous vehicles and cyberweapons, how the rules of war help terrorists, Yoo’s views on dealing with Iran Deal and North Korea, how America is losing the “War on Terror,” the state of free speech on our college campuses, and much more.

13 Interviews that Will Make You Smarter on U.S. National Security & Foreign Policy

Over the last five years I’ve had the privilege to interview some of the savviest thinkers on American national security and foreign policy.

These discussions have covered critical subjects ranging from the global jihadist movement, to Iran, Russia and China, strategic disinformation and EMPs.

Below are what I think are some of the most insightful and thought-provoking of these conversations on such live and all-too-relevant topics.

1) Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Heretic

2) Andrew Bostom, Iran’s Final Solution for Israel: The Legacy of Jihad and Shi’ite Islamic Jew-Hatred in Iran

3) Victoria Coates, Special Assistant to the President & Senior Director for International Negotiations, NSC for the Trump Administration, David’s Sling [Transcript]

Read More

My Interview with Joy Pullman on ‘The Education Invasion’, Common Core and the Administrative State

On behalf of Encounter Books, recently I had the chance to interview Joy Pullman on her new book, The Education Invasion: How Common Core Fights Parents for Control of American Kids

One particularly interesting portion of our conversation comes in the form of Joy’s argument about Common Core serving as in effect an extension of the administrative state:

Ben Weingarten: And you, early on in your book, describe Common Core, and a bone that you have to pick with Common Core about consent of governed issues. You write, and I quote, that “Common Core is as big a change in education as Obamacare is in health care, but unlike Obamacare it needed no votes in Congress to become national policy. It garnered practically no notice from the media before the Obama administration, in concert with largely unelected state bureaucrats and a shadow bureaucracy of private organizations, locked it in nationwide. That meant no public debate before the scheme was imposed upon a country supposedly run with the consent of the governed.” And in reading that, is it fair to think of Common Core as, in essence, an extension of the administrative state?

Joy Pullmann: Absolutely. Absolutely…You hit on one of my favorite topics — I should say, my most hated topics, therefore about which I like to rant the most. But absolutely. Common Core, I think, is basically an expression of the administrative state. And what the administrative state is is a vast, unaccountable, unelected bureaucracy that, because it isn’t accountable, Americans who pay the salaries of all these people cannot fire them, cannot tell them what to do, so on and so forth. And they unite all the faculties of the three branches, the executive, the legislative, and the judicial, very often. So it’s a very un-American system of government that has grown up in this country and that we are now governed by, and Common Core is a representation of that.

Ben Weingarten: How did a curriculum that was euphemistically described as state-led actually become advanced through a combination of big business and big government to essentially nationalize education in America?

Joy Pullmann: Basically through the administrative state.

Let me just hit a couple of the major milestones. In my book, I go through a history of what is called the “standards movement” in education because American education has actually been notably declining since the 1950s. And there have been lots of different measures that people have objectively shown to be the case.

And so, ever since then, Americans have been…Politicians, interest groups, and the like have been proposing ways to remedy this problem. And basically, what we keep doing is…The title of another book by American Enterprise Institute scholar, Frederick Hess, The Same Thing Over and Over. So we keep basically enacting the same principles since the 1950s, and expecting a different result. And then we’re shocked when the result of increased centralization is worse inefficiency, higher costs, and stupider children.

Anyway, if we’re gonna talk about “How did all of this happen?”…I talk in my book, there’s documentation to show that enacting Common Core was deliberately facilitated through non-elected, private, special interest groups in order to give it the appearance of being state-led because in previous attempts at nationalizing American education directly through Congress, the American people rejected it soundly. They just failed.

And so the people for whom that is a policy priority said…And I quote, and I cite these folks in my book, they said, “Well, Americans, basically they’re too dumb to know what’s good for them. They don’t like the idea of Washington running their local schools. And in fact, Americans still don’t like the idea of Washington running their local schools. National polls continue to show that.”

“So, since Americans are so parochial and not really informed of their best interest to have an education czar running their local schools from Washington, we’re going to do it on their behalf and in their name through a coalition of private interest groups.”

And that’s exactly how Common Core went into place.

There’s three organizations that came together to create Common Core, and they are creatures of the administrative state. They are technically nonprofit organizations, but in the book, I go through their tax returns. They receive a very large amount of money from federal and state taxpayers through both dues and government contracts. They’re quasi-government — they’re basically government sponges. And so these organizations, which have no legal authority — nobody elected them — no Constitution, no law says that they are in charge of education policy anywhere, nevertheless, they took it upon themselves to get together and create Common Core.

And they did this with funding from the Gates Foundation, which, I’ve just been re-running the numbers again, updating them since the book came out, and I think in the book we have a quarter of a billion dollars that Gates spent on enacting and pushing Common Core, and that has increased to a third of a billion dollars, more than $300 million.

So with that money, these three organizations got together, again, a bunch of unelected people to basically write Common Core. They farmed out little pieces of it to committees. They had a long, complicated, drawn-out process.

But the important thing to me, like you mentioned earlier, is the consent part of it. Because this was done in private organizations instead of a state house, instead of Congress, the American people have no right of transparency. Even though we paid for Common Core to be created in part, and even though we have to live under its regime in our public schools, we still don’t know who paid for what, who wrote what words of Common Core, what their credentials are, who vetted it. All of this is opaque. It’s not subject to Freedom of Information, Sunshine Law sorts of requirements.

This is actually really common in public policy nowadays, as you mentioned, because government has gotten so big that it’s very, very difficult, if not impossible, for anyone to watchdog it. You would have to have investigative reporters who cared more about uncovering what government is doing in the name and with the money of the people, than they do about running flippy stories about the Kardashian family or whatever.

Anyway, so they created it, and then they went directly to the Obama administration which Congress had, in all its wisdom, given basically a strings-free pot of money for the education department. And Gates Foundation officials had phone calls, regular check-up phone calls with Obama administration officials, and they put into place this scheme by which they would bribe all the states into it. It was called Race to the Top.

So the Obama administration, during the panic years of 2008 and 2009, when we were having an economic crisis, went to the states and said, “Hey, you might be able to win a couple of hundred thousand, maybe a million dollars from the federal government for education projects, as long as you do all these things to make us happy for a shot at it.” Mind you, a couple hundred thousand dollars or a million dollars sounds like a lot to you and me, we could be set for life if we had that money, but in terms of education funding, it’s a drop in the bucket.

So states were coming to the federal government, hat in hand, to get less than one percent of their annual education funding for a one-time-only program that committed them to much more spending than they got out of it. And only a handful of states ended up being winners anyway.

One of the criteria for just applying for this program included adopting standards that are common to a majority of states, standards being mandates for what tests and curriculum have to contain. And of course the only thing that fit that definition was Common Core. And in fact, Common Core itself was in the original draft regulations that the Obama administration wanted to put out, but at the last minute they changed it to a definition that only fit Common Core, without mentioning it because they were afraid of the political backlash.

Obviously it’s long and complicated, and there’s lots of other things, but those are basically the milestones. The milestones are created under the auspices of private organizations that nobody can see what they’re doing, even though taxpayers pay for their activities. And then second, the Obama administration comes to states, holds a carrot in front of their little noses and says, “Come get it, little donkeys,” and they all came running.

The kicker to me is that the state signed contracts with the federal government, promising that they would do a complete overhaul of all their curriculum and testing, and this was all before even a draft of Common Core was available. They had no idea what they were going to have kids learning in schools. They had no idea what the tests would look like. And they still said, “Sure, sounds good to me. We believe that whatever you promise is gonna come through.” To me that’s unconscionable. It’s completely an abdication of the responsibility of public officials.

You can read the transcript in full here.

On Big Tech’s Stifling of Counterjihadist Speech

When one thinks of the embodiment of “hate,” modern-day jihadists are perhaps without equal.

They murder those who refuse to submit to their totalitarian theopolitical belief system in the most vile and horrific ways, they revile and persecute non-believer “infidels” and engage in sex slaverymass rape and pillaging.

But when today’s sophist Left thinks of “hate,” it focuses its sights not on jihadists, but on those who forthrightly discuss the jihadist threat, among other advocates of non-leftist views.

That is the sad reality in light of the emerging story of the blacklisting of such individuals and organizations by major technology platforms, buoyed by purported civil rights organizations (largely funded by leftists) and journalistic institutions (largely composed of leftists) that in effect serve as fronts to legitimize attacks meant to destroy dissenting, largely conservative voices.

In my latest column at PJ Media, I focus on the narrower issue of the Left seeking to figuratively behead counterjihadists like Jihad Watch‘s Robert Spencer by threatening their ability to operate on the internet, whereby tech titans are unwittingly achieving the Islamic supremacists’ stated desire.

Read the whole thing here.

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