BEN WEINGARTEN

Reader. Writer. Thinker. Commentator. Truth Seeker.

Category: Uncategorized

My Latest in City Journal: New York’s Willfully Blind, Politically Correct Counterjihadist Document Purge

The very day that homegrown jihadist Edward Archer fired 13 shots at Philadelphia Police Officer Jesse Hartnett, New York City was settling two long-standing suits with Muslim individuals and organizations challenging the legality of the City’s intelligence and surveillance programs vis-à-vis the Muslim community.

While New York refused to acknowledge any liability arising from its counterjihadist programs, the NYPD agreed to scrub from its website a groundbreaking 2007 analysis published by two senior analysts in its intelligence unit, Radicalization in the West [download it before it’s gone], that represents one of the most clear-eyed and sober publicly disclosed analyses of the jihadist threat.

Radicalization in the West, Page 75.

Radicalization in the West, Page 75.

Eerily but tellingly, it provides a model of how an American goes from “pre-radicalization” to “jihadization” that matches perfectly the story and profile of the aforementioned Archer, and it argues that the chief animator of jihadists is theo-political Islamic supremacist ideology — something our national security establishment maddeningly and disastrously continues to ignore and/or deny.

The NYPD will not only purge what appears to be a valuable piece of analysis as a means of placating the Muslim community, but it has also agreed not to use the analysis to open or extend ongoing investigations.

I write about this politically-motivated travesty of a decision in a new piece at City Journal titled See No Islam, Hear No Islam.

Featured Image Source: PhillyVoice.

Reaction to Tarantino’s Anti-Cop, Black Lives Matter Rhetoric Illustrates Virtue of Free Markets and Free Minds

On Monday 11/2, I sat in as a guest again on Newsmax TV’s “The Daily Wrap.”

During the episode, we had the chance to discuss a variety of issues including Donald Trump and Ben Carson’s continued dominance in the polls, the RNC’s botching of the GOP debates, Quentin Tarantino’s siding with #BlackLivesMatter against cops and the market-driven backlash, our nation’s $43 million gas station in Afghanistan and much more!

You can watch the show in full, along with some particularly pertinent clips below.

Full Episode

Trump v. Carson and Current GOP Polls

The RNC’s Bungling of the GOP Debates

Quentin Tarantino’s Clinton-Like Phony “Apology”

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The Progressive Mantra: Never Let a Shooting Go to Waste

Progressive politicians politicize tragedies within 24 hours because the only principle they live by is that of winning and therefore power.

Here’s exhibit #3,689,474 from the particularly shameless Sen. Dick Durbin:

Of course Instapundit was ahead of the curve on this one:

Naturally, not mentioned by Durbin or the president is the fact that the perpetrator of this horrendous double homicide was a black man who wanted to start a race war.

The “national conversation” the Left is having is about guns, because narratives.

Of course one of the poisonous fruits of the Obama presidency is that we are subjected to national lectures on, and hyper-politicization regarding each individual tragedy that can be spun to push a policy objective of the progressive Democratic Party.

 

Featured Image Source: Clash Daily.

This is What (de Blasio’s) Democracy Looks Like!

Progressivism: Progress for the politically connected and woe for everyone else.

Here’s what New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s politburo looks like, per the New York Post:

Mayor de Blasio’s patronage mill is churning out junk jobs funded with taxpayer money for longtime pals, campaign grunts and acolytes.

In addition to creating a $150,000 post for Stephanie Yazgi — the longtime girlfriend of his top strategist, Emma Wolfe — de Blasio has created positions to amp up his progressive agenda and national profile and spread propaganda touting his “transcendent” accomplishments.

The city’s television station — led by de Blasio buddy Janet Choi — devotes much of its taxpayer-funded $5.7 million budget to broadcasting his ribbon-cuttings, announcements and features about his friends, including his wedding singer.

His $105,000 digital director, Jessica Singleton, shapes his social-media image while his $69,000 media analyst, Mahen Gunaratna, measures the influence of his messages.

New York’s Community Affairs Unit is the biggest draw for de Blasio cronies:

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America Naively Swoons While Communist Cuba Cracks Down

What is it about dictatorships that make Americans swoon?

Juxtaposing two recent articles published within 24 hours of each other on Cuba is instructive.

First, a Wall Street Journal article titled “Amid Thaw, First Authorized U.S. Yacht Sails to Cuba on Hopes of Travel Surge” reads:

The 78-foot Still Water docked in the marina late Wednesday after a four-hour jaunt. Aboard the sleek yacht were three crew and 12 passengers eager to see Cuba before the sharp economic and social change that many Americans expect to sweep the country as a long-frozen U.S.-Cuba relationship thaws. Some also hoped to sniff out business opportunities that such a transformation might spawn.

“Being born in the 50s and being indoctrinated the way we were, it’s interesting to be able to see this,” said 57-year-old passenger Jack McClurg, who manages his personal investments from Colorado and sails the Caribbean in his own 115-foot Italian-made yacht. “I’m just wanting to see this change happening.”

… Though Presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro agreed in December to restore diplomatic relations between their countries, the trade embargo remains largely in effect. But officials and entrepreneurs in both countries are chipping at its edges, hoping to marry U.S. investors with Cuba’s hope to revive its economy.

“The genie of free enterprise is out of the bottle and it is a powerful genie,” Jose Viera, a retired senior Cuban diplomat, assured the yacht’s group in a private briefing. [Emphasis mine]

Contrast this sunny view with what is actually happening on the island to non-apparitchiks:

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George Will explains his unified theory of beer (and speaks with TheBlaze about all things baseball)

In an interview with TheBlaze Books [TwitterFacebook] in connection with the release of his new book, “A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred,” we spoke with prodigious columnist and author George Will on baseball, the Cubs and Wrigley Field, Will’s view on shortening baseball games to 7 innings, PEDs and his entertaining and informative unified theory of beer.

Our interview, which we conducted via phone, is below, slightly modified to include links and italics for emphasis.

Who is this book intended for? And why should non-Cubs fans and even non-baseball fans read it? 

Will: Well it’s a little bit a book about me, it’s a book about Chicago, it’s a book about 20th century history, and about baseball in general. And beyond that it’s a book about the peculiar chemistry of loyalty that we develop towards these teams. Those of us who are sports fans occasionally sit back and say, “What am I doing? Why do I care so much about this?”

And the answer is a complex one that we care about excellence, and professional athletes do difficult, dangerous things well, but beyond that I think baseball particularly – the everyday-ness of it – the 162 game season, the fact that going to the ballpark is a big part of being a baseball fan in a way that going to a football stadium is not a big part of the NFL fan’s experience. I served on a Major League Baseball commission that studied this and we came to the conclusion that about 98% of self-identified NFL fans had never been to an NFL game. In baseball the ballpark itself, the experience of coming together with fellow members of your tribe for three hours of shared enjoyment is much more important than in other sports. In cities particularly where we’re kind of a dust of individuals, this provides us with unity – one that may only gather and disperse for three hours, but it does so 81 times a year at home, and on the radio and television, so it’s a very interesting chemistry of loyalty that’s also the subject of the book.

There’s also some I find interesting and amusing digressions on the history of beer and it’s relationship to baseball, and Babe Ruth’s called shot – alleged called shot in the 1932 World Series – I’m deeply skeptical of the whole myth, and things like that. It was a writing challenge that provoked me as a professional writer – I said “Well, Wrigley Field’s coming up on one hundred years old, must be some interesting things there. Turns out there really were.”

You mention a couple of stories there – I also thought in particular the Lady’s Day stories with folks being able to stand on the field were quite amusing, along with the sad story you tell of Hack Wilson’s life. Is there any one particular story that most resonated with you, or that you care most deeply about associated with the Cubs and Wrigley Field?

Will: Well let’s go with a couple of things you mentioned. One is the sad story of Hack Wilson who to this day holds one of the almost unbreakable records in baseball: 191 RBI’s in one season. He was five foot six. His shoe size was five and a half (5 ½). Very strange looking man and frankly today we know that some of the curious physical attributes of him are associated with fetal alcohol syndrome. And indeed he was born to a teenage unmarried mother who was herself an alcoholic. He was to die of alcohol-related ailments. But in a blazing career with a sharp rise in trajectory and equally sharp plunge, he dominated baseball for a few years. And there is a melancholy aspect of this because professional athletes generally have a compressed trajectory because they peak a little early in life and have to find something to do with the rest of their lives. He unfortunately didn’t have much of a rest of his life.

The most amusing story to me was to discover that Wrigley Field had a vendor for awhile who was a “ne’er-do-well,” and he seemed to have ways of sort of cheating his fans and the Cub management kept an eye on him. His name was Jack Rubenstein. He later left Chicago, moved to Dallas, changed his name to Jack Ruby and of course entered history by killing Lee Harvey Oswald.

Wonderful stories like this – you mentioned a moment ago the Lady’s Day phenomenon – William Wrigley (the Wrigley after whom the ballpark is named), was a visionary in baseball. First of all with regard to radio, a lot of owners said, “Oh radio’s going to kill baseball, it’s terrible. People won’t come out to the ballpark anymore.” He said, “Nonsense. Radio will be the greatest merchandiser of our sport. It will whet people’s appetite for coming to the ballpark.” So, he gave away the broadcasting rights to the Cubs. In fact at one point five Chicago radio stations were broadcasting the Cubs. And indeed it worked. People began to come out to see that which had interested them on the radio.

And you mentioned Lady’s Day – he said, “Look, our ballparks at that time were sort of rough and ready places, and women didn’t want to go there – particularly didn’t want to go there alone.” He said, “Well, we’re gonna let them in free.” Well, on some days 17,000 showed up. And they overflowed the grandstand and the bleachers, and would stand in high heels – people got dressed up to go to the ballpark then – they’d stand in the outfield their heels sinking into the dirt and they’d string a rope around the outfield to contain them and still define the outfield. And they could help the Cubs because when the opposing batter hit a deep fly they’d back up, so the Cub outfielder could have more room to chase the fly down, and when the Cub batter hit a fly ball they’d move in, so they’d be more apt to go into the crowd for…I guess they’d call it a ground rule double. But this was the way baseball began to merchandise itself, and was a great success.

Read more at TheBlaze…

Stoll on JFK Part III: Gold, Goldwater, libertarianism and more on anti-Communism

In a wide-ranging interview with Blaze Books in connection with his newest title, JFK, Conservative, Ira Stoll provided his insights on JFK’s political ideology, religiosity, foreign policy views and a whole host of other topics. Below is the final part of our interview, conducted via email. You can find Part I here and Part II here. The interview has been slightly edited for clarity.

In your book you indicate that JFK took a number of public stances that were fiscally and monetarily conservative. Who were some of the thinkers that influenced his economic philosophy?

Stoll: His father was a successful businessman who was quite concerned about the flow of gold. His Treasury Secretary, Douglas Dillon, was a Wall Street Republican who wanted tax cuts. Kennedy’s friend Phil Graham, the owner and publisher of the Washington Post, was also pushing Kennedy for tax cuts to spur economic growth. I also detect in Kennedy’s speeches the influence of a libertarian writer named Albert Jay Nock, author of a book called Our Enemy, the State and of an introduction to Herbert Spencer’s The Man Versus the State, both of which were on Kennedy’s bookshelf.

How do we reconcile the more leftist items on Kennedy’s agenda such as increased social spending with his ideological principles?

Stoll: Increased social spending wasn’t an item on Kennedy’s agenda, at least not in any significant way that he fought for or achieved while in office. He gave a speech or two in favor of Medicare and for increased aid to education, but liberals within the administration were disappointed that instead of pushing for those things he focused on free trade and the tax cuts. Anyway, one can be for a modest government safety net for the elderly, disabled, and mentally ill, and for efforts to expand opportunity to the young through education, as Kennedy was and as many conservatives are even today, while still being skeptical of or resistant to the excesses of the ever-expanding federal welfare state.

Read more at TheBlaze…

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