BEN WEINGARTEN

Reader. Writer. Thinker. Commentator. Truth Seeker.

Category: History (Page 2 of 2)

Obama Bends the Arc of History Towards Justice by Renaming Mt. McKinley to ‘Denali’

Because the West is simply the worst:

President Obama announced on Sunday that Mount McKinley was being renamed Denali, using his executive power to restore an Alaska Native name with deep cultural significance to the tallest mountain in North America.

The move came on the eve of Mr. Obama’s trip to Alaska, where he will spend three days promoting aggressive action to combat climate change, and is part of a series of steps he will make there meant to address the concerns of Alaska Native tribes.

It is the latest bid by the president to fulfill his 2008 campaign promise to improve relations between the federal government and the nation’s Native American tribes, an important political constituency that has a long history of grievances against the government.

Denali’s name has long been seen as one such slight, regarded as an example of cultural imperialism in which a Native American name with historical roots was replaced by an American one having little to do with the place. [Emphasis mine]

Changing the name of a mountain from the surname of a U.S. president to ‘Denali’ is an apt symbol for the Obama presidency, which views the West as the world’s foremost oppressor.

Whether in rewarding our enemies, punishing our allies or elevating Native Americans over Americans, for our morally relativistic Dear Leader this is moral. This is how President Obama corrects for what he perceives as our sins of the past. This is how he makes the arc of history bend towards justice.

It’s a safe bet that

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James Piereson Discusses America’s “Shattered Consensus”

Full Interview

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James Grant Interview on “The Forgotten Depression”

Pat Buchanan Interview on “The Greatest Comeback”

Dinesh D’Souza’s dire warning: Americans ‘are being prepared for a political and financial shakedown’

In connection with the release of his new book “America: Imagine a World Without Her,” we conducted an interview with bestselling conservative author, filmmaker and recent Real News guestDinesh D’Souza.

In the interview, we covered such topics as the left’s disingenuous championing of the “little guy,” the twisted historical narrative being taught in schools today, illegal immigration, the man who shaped the dastardly tactics of both the current…and if the left gets their way, future president, D’Souza’s upcoming movie and much more.

The transcript of our interview, conducted via phone, can be found below. The interview has been modified for clarity and links.

And for more content like this, follow Blaze Books on Facebook and Twitter.

In your book, you take on the left on their own terms, focusing on those at the bottom of society, or as the left describes it, looking at “history from below.” Why did you choose to go that route?

D’Souza: The left is very successful at appealing to the principle of justice, and justice for the man lowest down. Sometimes, as conservatives, we miss the force of that. We reply by chanting “Liberty!” But we have to remember that justice is a key principle. Right, the Pledge of Allegiance: “With liberty and justice for all.” So we can’t ignore justice, and what I do in the book and film is to engage the left on its own terms. I go “Ok, let’s really look at whether or not America has been good for the common man.” Forget about the rich guy, he’s going to do well everywhere. Let’s judge a society by the kind of life it makes available to the ordinary fellow. So I’m willing to argue that the left is actually attacking ordinary people.

Let me give an example of what I mean. The left says that the wealth of America is stolen. So here’s the first question: Who stole it? Was it the one percent? Now if we look at American history, who are the people who moved West and displaced the Indians? The immigrants. Who are the people who benefited from slavery? Well everybody who bought a cotton shirt. Who are the people who defeated the Mexicans in the Mexican War? Ordinary immigrants and settlers.

So the point is that the critique of America is not one that is aimed at wealthy aristocrats who had beautiful cottages or mansions on the East Coast. The progressive critique is an attack on the immigrants themselves – it’s an attack on people like me. And so, what I’m doing here is making a defense of the ordinary American against these malicious charges that are leveled by the left, which are untrue and the prelude to shaking us down economically.

You frame that thesis, ironically enough, around two Frenchmen, Alexis de Tocqueville and Michel Foucault. Can you expound upon the dichotomy represented by these two men — and the “spirit of 1776″ versus that of 1968?

D’Souza: Yeah, we see the “spirit of 1776″ and 1968 by looking at two French guys, both of whom came to America at very different times. Tocqueville came in the early 19th century, and what he saw was the American founding principles in action, basically half a century after they had been put into effect. And what Tocqueville noticed was that America was a very entrepreneurial society, America was a society where people rely very little on the government, and America is a society deeply infused with Christian values. So Tocqueville saw, if you will, conservative America. Now, fast-forward 150 years when Michel Foucault came to America in the 1970s. And what he liked about America – he, like Tocqueville, grew to love America — but he loved America because he saw America as a mecca of gay liberation. The things that Tocqueville saw about America, like its entrepreneurship or its Christianity, Foucault hated. He hated that America. But what he liked is a different America, that he saw in the Castro district of San Francisco, which he called “laboratories of sexual experimentation.” So these are really two different Americas. In Foucault, you get just a glimpse of a different kind of America that progressives might prefer to the principles of 1776.

In moving from the 1776 ethos to that of 1968, you speak to Saul Alinsky’s playbook. And one of the things you say, and something that I hadn’t seen elsewhere, is that Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” effectively are derived from the same playbook as that of the devil, which kind of explains why he dedicated “Rules for Radicals” to Satan. Can you expound upon that?

D’Souza: Well, something strange is going on here because Alinsky was obviously not a Christian; in fact, he was an atheist. So why would an atheist dedicate a book to Lucifer? I think to discover the answer, you have to pay careful attention to what Lucifer represents in the Western tradition. So I did a close reading of Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” and you begin to see how Lucifer operates. First of all, Lucifer is a master of organizing resentment, and so is Alinsky. Lucifer is also a master at making G-d the bad guy. So even though Lucifer rebels against G-d, even though G-d justly expels Lucifer from Heaven, Lucifer goes, “G-d, you’re a tyrant. I don’t have to follow you. I want my own kingdom.” So Lucifer practices, you may say, demonization against G-d. And finally, Lucifer is a liar. He is a master of dishonesty and deceit.

Now, Alinsky adopted these Luciferian techniques, and so, for example, Alinsky openly advocates deceit. He tells the radicals of the ‘60s, “You know you people are middle class, but you hate the middle class, you hate middle class values, and that’s very good. But what you should do is pretend to be a friend of the middle class, pass yourself off as middle class, and use your position in the middle class to rub raw the sores of discontent. Try to radicalize the middle class by feigning or pretending to share their values.” And I think here, we begin to see the Obama and even the Hillary playbook, which is to say the ways in which Hillary and Obama both started out as Bohemians or Hippies, and then quickly adopted the Alinsky-ite approach of as Alinsky says “dressing square:” Seeming very respectable, being very self-disciplined, and ultimately pretending to be a friend of the middle class, whose values you are trying to undermine.

Read more at TheBlaze…

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…

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…

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 British Member of European Parliament Daniel Hannan: Bullish on the Anglosphere despite impending defaults and revolt-worthy tax levels

In a wide-ranging interview with Blaze Books in connection with his newest title, Inventing Freedom: How the English-Speaking Peoples Made the Modern World, outspoken British MEP Daniel Hannan provided his insights on American exceptionalism, Western governmental defaults, why he is bullish on the West in spite of such defaults, and a whole host of other topics. Below is our interview, conducted via email. The interview has been slightly edited for clarity.

What would you say to critics who argue that there are strong bedrock principles that have come from cultures outside the Anglosphere (or to paraphrase the President, that he believes “in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism”)?

Hannan: The President was right about one thing. Most Brits do indeed believe in British exceptionalism. But here’s the thing: we define it in almost exactly the same way that Americans do theirs. We believe it resides in certain values and institutions, such as the rule of law, free contract, secure property, jury trials, personal liberty, regular elections, habeas corpus, and uncensored newspapers. In Greece, as in pretty much the rest of the world, people expect – indeed demand – far more intervention from the state. That’s why they’re in the mess they’re in. Come to think of it, maybe it wasn’t a coincidence that the President, back in 2009, cited Greece in that answer: with a $17 trillion national debt, he seems pretty keen on taking America in that direction.

It seems as if Anglosphere principles are being implemented to some degree more faithfully by folks in the East than the West. Do you see this trend occurring? What are the implications?

Hannan: Anglosphere principles are transportable. They are passed on through intellectual exchange, not gene flow. They are why Bermuda isn’t Haiti, why Hong Kong isn’t China, why Singapore isn’t Indonesia. But it’s striking that, in the league table of economic freedom, the top four territories are all common law and Anglophone: Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore.

One topic that you do not mention in Inventing Freedom is the effect of the Israelites, Greeks/Romans and others on our political system. Do you see Anglosphere roots in these peoples, or otherwise care to comment?

Hannan: I don’t claim that we invented the idea of law. When Moses came down from Sinai, the fathers of the English were still grubbing about with their pigs in the cold soil of northern Germany. What we invented, rather, was the extraordinary idea that the law is the property of the people. Think of that commonplace, yet peculiarly English, phrase ‘the law of the land’. Not the king’s law, nor God’s law, but the law of the land – the patrimony of every citizen. Even now, people raised in the European Roman-law tradition are astonished by our beautiful, anomalous common-law system. They can’t get their heads around the idea that, instead of writing down a law and then applying it to particular cases, the law grows up, like a coral, judgment by judgment. It’s the property of the people as a whole, not of the state: an ally of freedom, not an instrument of government control.

Nor do I claim we invented democracy: the rooting about with the pigs thing was still going on when Cleon and Demosthenes were making their speeches. But we invented the idea of personal freedom within a democratic system – a very different tradition to the Continental one, inspired by Herder and Rousseau, which elevated the will of the majority over the rights of the individual and which, in the end, whelped the two misshapen pups of fascism and communism.

Our system worked. Anglosphere countries never fell to revolution or dictatorship. Our countries never elected a single fascist legislator, and no more than half a dozen revolutionary socialists. We made the defense of freedom everyone’s business, and people responded.

Read more at TheBlaze…

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