Category Archives: The Left

Norman Podhoretz on the Spiritual War for America

Sounds like I need to read some of Mr Podhoretz’s books! mrossol

The Wall Street Journal, By Barton Swaim,

Norman Podhoretz

Illustration: Barbara Kelley

There was a time—roughly from the mid-1960s to the rise of Donald Trump in 2015—when the American right was more or less definable. No more. Major political parties are always riven by internal disputes, but even during George W. Bush’s second term, at the nadir of the Iraq war, the Republican coalition seemed to hang together better than it has these past six years. Mr. Trump’s candidacy was a sign of that fracturing rather than its cause, but his presidency wasn’t marked by unity in the GOP.

Quite the opposite. A significant faction of the party now advocates aggressive industrial policy as a means of alleviating social ills wrought by “unregulated” capitalism. Another demeans the party’s traditional predilection for hawkish foreign policy as an obsession with “forever wars.” The right’s leading media personalities, meanwhile, would rather talk about the latest cultural outrage—an androgynous Mr. Potato Head!—than explain the perils of turning social welfare into a middle-class entitlement.

Are the challenges facing conservatives really so different from what they were 50, 60 or 70 years ago? Most of the architects of postwar conservatism aren’t around to ask anymore, but Norman Podhoretz—editor of the Jewish intellectual magazine Commentary from 1960 to 1995 and one of the founders of neoconservatism—is 91 and as talkative as ever. I visited his book-laden Upper East Side apartment last month with the vague premonition that he might have something to say about the fractured state of American conservatism.

My timing was good. The day before, voters had elected a Republican governor in a state most observers considered blue, and indisputably blue New Jersey had come within a few percentage points of doing the same. “I wasn’t sure they were still out there,” Mr. Podhoretz says. Who? “The ‘deplorables,’ ” he says, gesturing quotation marks as he employs Hillary Clinton’s famous term from 2016. “I really didn’t know. If the results had gone the other way, I wouldn’t have been that surprised. Our troops were not as visible, at least to me, because the media and the culture are all on the other side . . . The other side has won the culture—that’s one battlefield—but they haven’t yet won the polity. That’s very encouraging.”

Mr. Podhoretz says he uses the word “deplorables” loosely, to mean Americans of all classes who refuse to be told what to do and how to live by the nation’s well-heeled progressive elite. “The question for me was whether the sources of health and vitality I used to know existed in this country were still there. I fell in love with Americans when I was in the Army. I was born in Brooklyn; I lived in England”—Mr. Podhoretz studied English literature at Cambridge on a Fulbright Scholarship in the early 1950s—“but I hadn’t been to very many places in my country. Being in the Army, you get shuffled around. That’s where I discovered Americans. Especially the deplorables. They were great.”

This is a theme, aside from the word “deplorables,” that runs through Mr. Podhoretz’s first memoir, “Making It” (1967). In the Army in 1953-55, he wrote in that book, “usually my closest friends were back-country Southern boys, real rednecks.” (As a Southern redneck myself, I marked the passage in pencil many years ago.) “They’re sane,” he says to me. “They know there’s something wrong, let’s say, when a guy says he’s a girl. They look at that and say, What are you, f— crazy?” He waves as if to suggest this is only one among many instances of insanity. “All that stuff.”

He contrasts these deplorables with something like what the Russians called the “intelligentsia.” “The intelligentsia thought it was wrong that people who’ve made a lot of money in business should be our leaders,” he says. “They resented it. They were not being accorded the power they thought they deserved. But as time went on, they were accorded more and more power—and they stayed resentful. The intelligentsia in America is still resentful.”

This gets us to the subject of Mr. Trump. Mr. Podhoretz’s admiration for the 45th president, when it crept out a few years ago, surprised some observers on the left and right. Hadn’t Mr. Trump harshly criticized the Iraq war, which Mr. Podhoretz fervently supported? Yes, but the pre-eminent themes of Mr. Podhoretz’s journalism were always gratitude to the United States and skepticism of credentialed experts.

“I was, to begin with, anti-anti-Trump,” he says. “I was not crazy about the guy. I had never met him, and still I’ve never met him. But I thought the animosity against him was way out of proportion and, on the right, a big mistake. I went from anti-anti-Trump to pro-Trump. . . . I still think—and it’s been the same fight going on in my lifetime since, I would say, 1965—I still think there’s only one question: Is America good or bad?”

He pauses, leans back in his sofa chair, and restates the formulation. “A force for good in the world—or not?”

Mr. Podhoretz was only 30 when he became editor of Commentary, then a magazine of the left. Over the next several years he began to reject the Marxian attitude of his fellow New York intellectuals. “I broke with the left mainly because of its anti-Americanism. When you’re hanging around with people, you hear things they don’t say in public. I knew what they thought, what they didn’t say except in private. And what they thought was horrendous to me.” Each of his four autobiographical books—“Making It,” “Breaking Ranks” (1979), “Ex-Friends” (1999) and “My Love Affair With America” (2000)—is in some way an account of his estrangement from the left as a consequence of its refusal, as he saw it, to embrace the U.S., its history and its culture.

His essays in Commentary, not only on domestic politics and foreign policy but also, perhaps especially, on literature, were always distinguished by a graceful pugnacity. He takes bold positions, expresses them fluently, and hits hard. So his description of conservative voters as “troops” didn’t surprise me. “It’s a war, in my view,” Mr. Podhoretz says. “Many people are reluctant to see it in those terms. I mean, people say it’s a lot like 1858 and so on, but I don’t see it as a prelude to a civil war and 600,000 Americans dead. That’s not my meaning. But spiritually it’s a war.”

The term “culture war” has been thrown around for 30 years, but Mr. Podhoretz takes the martial metaphor seriously: “We’re in a war, and it’s a war to the death. Now they actually admit it. They used to pretend. Not anymore. ‘Dissent’ was the real patriotism—so being against America meant you were for America, if you remember all that. Now they’re happy to say what they think.”

The left wants to win, he says, but “I’m not sure anymore what our side wants. The right, as I used to understand it, no longer exists. So you’ve got one very clear side, and one very muddled side.”

Would it be accurate to say that the right’s muddled state consists in a division between those who understand that we’re in a war and those who don’t? A sizeable contingent of the right, such as it is, still believes that solid reporting, thorough scholarship and careful argumentation will win the respect of their ideological adversaries on the basis of fairness and merit. Is that way of thinking a failure to understand the nature of the conflict?

“I think so,” Mr. Podhoretz says. “And I think Trump was the only guy who understood the situation in those terms, whether by instinct or whatever.”

What about Mr. Trump’s claim, during the 2016 campaign, that the Bush administration “lied” to justify an invasion of Iraq? “That was one of the main things that kept me from becoming pro-Trump,” Mr. Podhoretz says. “And I still get very angry on that whole business. First of all, it’s not true. It’s also crazy. Why would they lie about weapons of mass destruction? If they were lying, they knew they would be exposed a week after our troops got in. So what was the sense of it? Nobody was lying. Seventeen intelligence agencies, something like that, thought Saddam was hiding them.”

Here Mr. Podhoretz laughs. “Look,” he says, “Trump is a type of person . . . there’s a wonderful Yiddish slang word: bulvan. A bully, doesn’t care, crashes through. Trump’s bad side is a necessary accompaniment to his good side.”

Mr. Podhoretz doesn’t like everything about the populist right. “I heard Tucker Carlson the other day call neoconservatives ‘cowards.’ That’s funny—I never met any neocons who were cowards.” (The term “neocons” in this context refers broadly to those who hold the view that the U.S. and the world are better served by the assertive use of American power abroad.) He takes up the Fox host’s taunt: “I served in this country’s military. Did Carlson? I don’t think so.”

Mr. Trump’s behavior after the 2020 election notwithstanding, Mr. Podhoretz has no apologies. “Maybe Trump’s outlived his usefulness, I don’t know,” Mr. Podhoretz says. “And the way he gave away Georgia”—he means the two Jan. 5 runoff elections that cost the Republicans the Senate majority—“was pretty hard to forgive. But if I thought he could win, I wouldn’t hesitate to vote for him.”

Mr. Podhoretz keeps returning to the theme of war, a war made necessary, in his view, by the anti-Americanism of the political left. Is the hatred of America worse than it used to be? “Unquestionably,” he says. “The left of the 1930s, which was the first time it had significant power and influence, was anti-American to begin with. But it had an alternative—the Soviet Union.” The U.S.S.R. turned out to be a disappointment when it allied with Hitler in 1939, although some on the left never gave up on Russian communism. “Then, after the war, especially in the 1960s and later, they had a series of alternatives—Cuba one week, Mao’s China the next, or Nicaragua, or North Vietnam, or whatever.” The left liked Sweden for a while, he laughs, but Sweden has a market economy. “And”—he laughs again—“somebody found out about the suicide rate.”

But now, he notes, there’s no alternative, no pretense that some other place does things better. “This ‘woke’ business—critical race theory, Black Lives Matter, all of it—is just pure anti-American hatred. And I think [its proponents] would admit that. Which is why I keep saying it’s a war. If you don’t understand that, you don’t know what the hell is going on.”

What about the claim that the war is over, and the right lost? Mr. Podhoretz points out that things were pretty bad for conservatives in the late 1970s, but the reaction was explosive. Magazines like Commentary, he thinks, changed the way intellectuals and academics thought about welfare and foreign policy: “People used to accuse me of being self-important when I said this, but the change in the political culture that the neoconservative movement helped to foster was a necessary precondition for the election of Ronald Reagan.”

That can happen again? “It could.”

Maybe, after all, the right’s internal divisions aren’t fatal. Mr. Podhoretz notes that Henry Kissinger, “who used to call me his worst enemy,” is now a close friend. So, until his death in 2008, was William F. Buckley Jr. , with whom Mr. Podhoretz had several fierce disagreements. Wars, including “spiritual” ones, tend to force co-belligerents back into the same camp.

“People make everything complicated,” he says, “when mostly it’s simple.”

Mr. Swaim is a Journal editorial page writer.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/norman-podhoretz-spiritual-war-for-america-conservatism-republican-trump-youngkin-carlson-11639149560?mod=hp_opin_pos_5#cxrecs_s

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“Zuckerbucks” and the 2020 Election

“Zuckerbucks” and the 2020 Election

Really? This is how American’s want their election process to be managed? This is “fair”? Is it even legal? mrossol

The following is adapted from Chapter 7 of Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections.

In the 2020 presidential election, for the first time ever, partisan groups were allowed—on a widespread basis—to cross the bright red line separating government officials who administer elections from political operatives who work to win them. It is important to understand how this happened in order to prevent it in the future.

Months after the election, Time magazine published a triumphant story of how the election was won by “a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information.”  Written by Molly Ball, a journalist with close ties to Democratic leaders, it told a cheerful story of a “conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes,” the “result of an informal alliance between left-wing activists and business titans.” 

A major part of this “conspiracy” to “save the 2020 election” was to use COVID as a pretext to maximize absentee and early voting. This effort was enormously successful. Nearly half of voters ended up voting by mail, and another quarter voted early. It was, Ball wrote, “practically a revolution in how people vote.” Another major part was to raise an army of progressive activists to administer the election at the ground level. Here, one billionaire in particular took a leading role: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. 

Zuckerberg’s help to Democrats is well known when it comes to censoring their political opponents in the name of preventing “misinformation.” Less well known is the fact that he directly funded liberal groups running partisan get-out-the-vote operations. In fact, he helped those groups infiltrate election offices in key swing states by doling out large grants to crucial districts.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, an organization led by Zuckerberg’s wife Priscilla, gave more than $400 million to nonprofit groups involved in “securing” the 2020 election. Most of those funds—colloquially called “Zuckerbucks”—were funneled through the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), a voter outreach organization founded by Tiana Epps-Johnson, Whitney May, and Donny Bridges. All three had previously worked on activism relating to election rules for the New Organizing Institute, once described by The Washington Post as “the Democratic Party’s Hogwarts for digital wizardry.” 

Flush with $350 million in Zuckerbucks, the CTCL proceeded to disburse large grants to election officials and local governments across the country. These disbursements were billed publicly as “COVID-19 response grants,” ostensibly to help municipalities acquire protective gear for poll workers or otherwise help protect election officials and volunteers against the virus. In practice, relatively little money was spent for this. Here, as in other cases, COVID simply provided cover. 

According to the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), Georgia received more than $31 million in Zuckerbucks, one of the highest amounts in the country. The three Georgia counties that received the most money spent only 1.3 percent of it on personal protective equipment. The rest was spent on salaries, laptops, vehicle rentals, attorney fees for public records requests, mail-in balloting, and other measures that allowed elections offices to hire activists to work the election. Not all Georgia counties received CTCL funding. And of those that did, Trump-voting counties received an average of $1.91 per registered voter, compared to $7.13 per registered voter in Biden-voting counties.

The FGA looked at this funding another way, too. Trump won Georgia by more than five points in 2016. He lost it by three-tenths of a point in 2020. On average, as a share of the two-party vote, most counties moved Democratic by less than one percentage point in that time. Counties that didn’t receive Zuckerbucks showed hardly any movement, but counties that did moved an average of 2.3 percentage points Democratic. In counties that did not receive Zuckerbucks, “roughly half saw an increase in Democrat votes that offset the increase in Republican votes, while roughly half saw the opposite trend.” In counties that did receive Zuckerbucks, by contrast, three quarters “saw a significant uptick in Democrat votes that offset any upward change in Republican votes,” including highly populated Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, and DeKalb counties.

Of all the 2020 battleground states, it is probably in Wisconsin where the most has been brought to light about how Zuckerbucks worked. 

CTCL distributed $6.3 million to the Wisconsin cities of Racine, Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee, and Kenosha—purportedly to ensure that voting could take place “in accordance with prevailing [anti-COVID] public health requirements.” 

Wisconsin law says voting is a right, but that “voting by absentee ballot must be carefully regulated to prevent the potential for fraud or abuse; to prevent overzealous solicitation of absent electors who may prefer not to participate in an election.” Wisconsin law also says that elections are to be run by clerks or other government officials. But the five cities that received Zuckerbucks outsourced much of their election operation to private liberal groups, in one case so extensively that a sidelined government official quit in frustration. 

This was by design. Cities that received grants were not allowed to use the money to fund outside help unless CTCL specifically approved their plans in writing. CTCL kept tight control of how money was spent, and it had an abundance of “partners” to help with anything the cities needed. 

Some government officials were willing to do whatever CTCL recommended. “As far as I’m concerned I am taking all of my cues from CTCL and work with those you recommend,” Celestine Jeffreys, the chief of staff to Democratic Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich, wrote in an email. CTCL not only had plenty of recommendations, but made available a “network of current and former election administrators and election experts” to scale up “your vote by mail processes” and “ensure forms, envelopes, and other materials are understood and completed correctly by voters.”

Power the Polls, a liberal group recruiting poll workers, promised to help with ballot curing. The liberal Mikva Challenge worked to recruit high school-age poll workers. And the left-wing Brennan Center offered help with “election integrity,” including “post-election audits” and “cybersecurity.”

The Center for Civic Design, an election administration policy organization that frequently partners with groups such as liberal billionaire Pierre Omidyar’s Democracy Fund, designed absentee ballots and voting instructions, often working directly with an election commission to design envelopes and create advertising and targeting campaigns. The Elections Group, also linked to the Democracy Fund, provided technical assistance in handling drop boxes and conducted voter outreach. The communications director for the Center for Secure and Modern Elections, an organization that advocates sweeping changes to the elections process, ran a conference call to help Green Bay develop Spanish-language radio ads and geofencing to target voters in a predefined area. 

Digital Response, a nonprofit launched in 2020, offered to “bring voters an updated elections website,” “run a website health check,” “set up communications channels,” “bring poll worker application and management online,” “track and respond to polling location wait times,” “set up voter support and email response tools,” “bring vote-by-mail applications online,” “process incoming [vote-by-mail] applications,” and help with “ballot curing process tooling and voter notification.”

The National Vote at Home Institute was presented as a “technical assistance partner” that could “support outreach around absentee voting,” provide and oversee voting machines, consult on methods to cure absentee ballots, and even assume the duty of curing ballots. 

A few weeks after the five Wisconsin cities received their grants, CTCL emailed Claire Woodall-Vogg, the executive director of the Milwaukee Election Commission, to offer “an experienced elections staffer that could potentially embed with your staff in Milwaukee in a matter of days.” The staffer leading Wisconsin’s portion of the National Vote at Home Institute was an out-of-state Democratic activist named Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein. As soon as he met with Woodall-Vogg, he asked for contacts in other cities and at the Wisconsin Elections Commission. 

Spitzer-Rubenstein would eventually take over much of Green Bay’s election planning from the official charged with running the election, Green Bay Clerk Kris Teske. This made Teske so unhappy that she took Family and Medical Leave prior to the election and quit shortly thereafter. 

Emails from Spitzer-Rubenstein show the extent to which he was managing the election process. To one government official he wrote, “By Monday, I’ll have our edits on the absentee voting instructions. We’re pushing Quickbase to get their system up and running and I’ll keep you updated. I’ll revise the planning tool to accurately reflect the process. I’ll create a flowchart for the vote-by-mail processing that we will be able to share with both inspectors and also observers.”

Once early voting started, Woodall-Vogg would provide Spitzer-Rubenstein with daily updates on the numbers of absentee ballots returned and still outstanding in each ward­­—prized information for a political operative. 

Amazingly, Spitzer-Rubenstein even asked for direct access to the Milwaukee Election Commission’s voter database: “Would you or someone else on your team be able to do a screen-share so we can see the process for an export?” he wrote. “Do you know if WisVote has an [application programming interface] or anything similar so that it can connect with other software apps? That would be the holy grail.” Even for Woodall-Vogg, that was too much. “While I completely understand and appreciate the assistance that is trying to be provided,” she replied, “I am definitely not comfortable having a non-staff member involved in the function of our voter database, much less recording it.”

When these emails were released in 2021, they stunned Wisconsin observers. “What exactly was the National Vote at Home Institute doing with its daily reports? Was it making sure that people were actually voting from home by going door-to-door to collect ballots from voters who had not yet turned theirs in? Was this data sharing a condition of the CTCL grant? And who was really running Milwaukee’s election?” asked Dan O’Donnell, whose election analysis appeared at Wisconsin’s conservative MacIver Institute.

Kris Teske, the sidelined Green Bay city clerk—in whose office Wisconsin law actually places the responsibility to conduct elections—had of course seen what was happening early on. “I just don’t know where the Clerk’s Office fits in anymore,” she wrote in early July. By August, she was worried about legal exposure: “I don’t understand how people who don’t have the knowledge of the process can tell us how to manage the election,” she wrote on August 28. 

Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich simply handed over Teske’s authority to agents from outside groups and gave them leadership roles in collecting absentee ballots, fixing ballots that would otherwise be voided for failure to follow the law, and even supervising the counting of ballots. “The grant mentors would like to meet with you to discuss, further, the ballot curing process. Please let them know when you’re available,” Genrich’s chief of staff told Teske. 

Spitzer-Rubenstein explained that the National Vote at Home Institute had done the same for other cities in Wisconsin. “We have a process map that we’ve worked out with Milwaukee for their process. We can also adapt the letter we’re sending out with rejected absentee ballots along with a call script alerting voters. (We can also get people to make the calls, too, so you don’t need to worry about it.)”

Other emails show that Spitzer-Rubenstein had keys to the central counting facility and access to all the machines before election night. His name was on contracts with the hotel hosting the ballot counting. 

Sandy Juno, who was clerk of Brown County, where Green Bay is located, later testified about the problems in a legislative hearing. “He was advising them on things. He was touching the ballots. He had access to see how the votes were counted,” Juno said of Spitzer-Rubenstein. Others testified that he was giving orders to poll workers and seemed to be the person running the election night count operation.

“I would really like to think that when we talk about security of elections, we’re talking about more than just the security of the internet,” Juno said. “You know, it has to be security of the physical location, where you’re not giving a third party keys to where you have your election equipment.” 

Juno noted that there were irregularities in the counting, too, with no consistency between the various tables. Some had absentee ballots face-up, so anyone could see how they were marked. Poll workers were seen reviewing ballots not just to see that they’d been appropriately checked by the clerk, but “reviewing how they were marked.” And poll workers fixing ballots used the same color pens as the ones ballots had been filled out in, contrary to established procedures designed to make sure observers could differentiate between voters’ marks and poll workers’ marks.

The plan by Democratic strategists to bring activist groups into election offices worked in part because no legislature had ever imagined that a nonprofit could take over so many election offices so easily. “If it can happen to Green Bay, Wisconsin, sweet little old Green Bay, Wisconsin, these people can coordinate any place,” said Janel Brandtjen, a state representative in Wisconsin. 

She was right. What happened in Green Bay happened in Democrat-run cities and counties across the country. Four hundred million Zuckerbucks were distributed with strings attached. Officials were required to work with “partner organizations” to massively expand mail-in voting and staff their election operations with partisan activists. The plan was genius. And because no one ever imagined that the election system could be privatized in this way, there were no laws to prevent it. 

Such laws should now be a priority.

Mollie Hemingway is a senior editor at The Federalist, a senior journalism fellow at Hillsdale College, and a FOX News contributor. She received her B.A. from the University of Colorado at Denver. She has written for numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Christianity Today. She is the co-author of Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court and the author of Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections.

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Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’ death shows the dark side of lockdowns

UnHerd, 12/7/2021  by Amy Jones

Domestic abuse skyrocketed when restrictions were in place

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

The harrowing tale of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes should act as a cautionary tale for many reasons. The six-year-old was subjected to a campaign of abuse and cruelty by his father, Thomas Hughes, and stepmother, Emma Tustin, in the midst of lockdown last year. A campaign involving beating, abuse and poisoning which culminated in his death. Tustin and Hughes were both jailed last week for murder and manslaughter respectively.

Of course, the perpetrators are fully responsible for their behaviour and Arthur’s death. But it is hard not to consider the effect lockdown had on Arthur, and on many vulnerable children like him. It’s reported that Arthur’s abuse worsened when Hughes moved in with Tustin at the start of the first lockdown in March 2020. The absence of school meant the usual checks and safety nets which might have saved Arthur were lost. Even when school recommenced for children in June, his father reported him as continuing to be absent.

Arthur wasn’t the only one. Following lockdown and school closures, it is estimated that 100,000 children have disappeared from the UK schooling system. They left as a result of school closures and never fully returned. While adults were being prioritised in the Covid response, these vulnerable children lost their safety net in the school and slipped through the cracks. In April 2020, months before Arthur was murdered, a Home Affairs Committee even remarked:

The social distancing guidelines have had a profound impact on families in need, as the closure of schools and children’s services has meant that “a lot of children who would be picked up and noticed [ … ] when things are going wrong become invisible.

– Home Affairs Committee

It’s also reported that Arthur’s uncle Daniel Hughes raised his concerns about Arthur to the police. But he was warned that he would be arrested for breaching lockdown rules if he attempted to return to Arthur’s house. It seems that while the state protected Arthur from Covid, it did little to protect him from the danger in his own home.

It should come as no surprise that lockdowns have been horrific for victims of abuse and domestic violence. There is a growing body of evidence showing the effect lockdowns have had on the vulnerable: the NSPCC reported calls to their helpline increased by 32% during lockdown; there was a 65% increase in calls to a helpline for male victims of abuse; visits to refuge websites trebled; and in the EU, there was a 60% increase in emergency calls by women being subjected to domestic violence during lockdown. In a survey for the BBC’s Panorama, two thirds of domestic abuse victims reported being subjected to more violence from their partners during lockdown, and harrowingly, three-quarters said lockdown made it harder to escape their abusers.

Amid happy tales of baking banana bread, watching Netflix and enjoying Zoom quizzes, it is easy to overlook the risk lockdowns pose to the vulnerable. As the panic over the omicron variant rumbles on with increasingly shrill calls for lockdown, it is important to remember that for many of the most vulnerable, lockdowns do not save them, but condemn them to months of abuse and suffering with no escape.

Amy Jones is an anonymous medical doctor with a background in philosophy and bioethics. You can find her on Twitter at @skepticalzebra.

https://unherd.com/thepost/arthur-labinjo-hughes-death-shows-the-dark-side-of-lockdowns/?mc_cid=d7131736f1&mc_eid=0ff3e7ea29

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Texas Law Enforcement Reports Reveal Scope of the Border Crisis

It is crazy to think any American citizen thinks what is happening at the boarder is good, positive. I’m flabbergasted every time I am reminded of what is happening. mrossol

The Epoch Times, 12/2/2021    By Charlotte Cuthbertson

 

DEL RIO, Texas—In one week, 22,651 illegal aliens from 40 countries were apprehended in Texas near the U.S.–Mexico border, according to a Nov. 2 law enforcement report issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety and obtained by The Epoch Times.

The reporting week encompassed the seven days from Oct. 27 through Nov. 2, and according to the previous week’s numbers and a report from May, the numbers have been this high for months.

Law enforcement arrested 48 fugitives and 13 gang members. In addition, more than 4,000 pounds of marijuana, 669 pounds of methamphetamine, and 87 pounds of cocaine were seized. Also confiscated were 27 handguns, three long guns, and more than $188,000 in cash.

In the past six months, three separate currency seizures each exceeded $1.5 million.

The Border Operations Sector Assessment reports, labeled “law enforcement sensitive,” are issued weekly to law enforcement personnel and government recipients, but the public is kept in the dark about the extent of border crime and illegal activity in their respective areas. The reports emanate from the Border Security Operations Center, run by the Texas Rangers, which collates information from Border Patrol, as well as state law enforcement and participating local law enforcement.

 
Epoch Times Photo
A summary of reported law enforcement actions in illegal aliens apprehensions and cross-border crime incidents along the Texas-Mexico border from Oct. 27 through Nov. 2, 2021, from the Texas Border Operations Sector Assessment report obtained by The Epoch Times. (Screenshot)

Just shy of 22,000 illegal aliens were apprehended on average per week in Texas over the past four weeks—68 percent of whom were from countries other than Mexico. Extrapolated for a year, that would mean more than 1.1 million illegal alien apprehensions along the Texas–Mexico border alone. The report doesn’t estimate how many individuals evaded apprehension.

While illegal aliens from Central and South American countries tend to account for most of the apprehensions, the numbers from other nationalities are significant. In the reported week, apprehensions included 57 illegal immigrants from Turkey, 36 from Romania, 26 from Senegal, 14 from Eritrea, eight from China, and three from Uzbekistan.

The U.S. State Department lists four countries as “state sponsors of terrorism”—Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Syria.

Although a handful of illegal aliens are caught in Texas each week from the latter three counties, hundreds of Cubans are flooding across the border and claiming asylum. In the week of the report, law enforcement apprehended 610 Cubans entering Texas, and 551 the previous week.

The report includes a section with photos showing where law enforcement is finding drugs and cash concealed in vehicles. It also includes a section that outlines significant recent events in Mexico, including any large group of migrants heading toward the United States border and any cartel activity. In one case, the Mexican army arrested three kidnappers from the Gulf cartel who were holding 25 people in southeast Matamoros, the Mexican city across the border from Brownsville, Texas.

Epoch Times Photo
A summary of reported law enforcement actions in cross-border crime incidents in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, from Oct. 27 through Nov. 2, 2021, from the Texas Border Operations Sector Assessment report obtained by The Epoch Times. (Screenshot)

The report states that law enforcement was involved in 61 vehicle pursuits and 55 bailouts (in which a driver stops and the passengers scatter to avoid capture). The actual numbers are likely higher, as statistics from some counties aren’t included in the report.

The Willacy County Sheriff’s Office reported seven incidents of human smuggling within a five-day period. The county sits on a direct smuggling route to Houston, 30 miles north of the border in the Rio Grande Valley. Deputies arrested three human smugglers, turned 16 illegal aliens over to Border Patrol, seized seven vehicles, and were involved in four pursuits and five bailouts.

On Oct. 29, just north of Van Horn, Texas, law enforcement responded to a vehicle rollover that involved five illegal aliens and four other deceased occupants.

In the Big Bend sector, on Oct. 30, a Texas state trooper stopped a Chevrolet Tahoe and arrested the driver, who was under 18, for human smuggling. The driver admitted to being paid $2,000 to pick up the passenger, an illegal alien minor.

Epoch Times Photo
Texas, Nebraska, and Iowa State Troopers, along with Border Patrol and the Kinney County Constable, detain the driver and prepare to search a stolen vehicle in Kinney County, Texas, on July 21, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)
Epoch Times Photo
An example of law enforcement interactions with illegal aliens in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, from Oct. 27 through Nov. 2, 2021, from the Texas Border Operations Sector Assessment report obtained by The Epoch Times. (Screenshot)

The reports also track gang activity in each border sector.

During the week, Border Patrol reported encounters with 11 gang members associated with the Texas Syndicate, Paisas, 18th Street, Gulf Cartel, and MS-13 gangs.

In the Laredo sector on Oct. 28, a convicted felon and captain of the Mexican Mafia Laredo Chapter was arrested while distributing narcotics and carrying a firearm. Law enforcement searched a related apartment and found methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. Several Santa Muerte shrines were located in the apartment, according to the report. Santa Muerte, or the saint of death, is often revered by cartel and gang members.

A second law enforcement report obtained by The Epoch Times that summarizes border activity from the end of May, shows similar trends, indicating the consistently high volume of border crime.

More than 25,000 illegal aliens, from up to 46 countries, were apprehended per week during a four-week period, with more than 70 percent of them from countries other than Mexico.

Epoch Times Photo
A summary of reported law enforcement actions in cross-border crime incidents in the Del Rio, Texas, area from Oct. 27 through Nov. 2, 2021, from the Texas Border Operations Sector Assessment report obtained by The Epoch Times. (Screenshot)

June 2011 Report

Ten years ago, the picture looked vastly different.

During the reporting period of June 15 through June 21, 2011, the number of illegal aliens apprehended near the Texas–Mexico border was 2,258—one-tenth of the current number, although the volume of drugs seized was significantly higher.

The illegal aliens hailed from 22 different countries and 34 percent were from countries other than Mexico—compared to the 68 percent in recent times.

Law enforcement arrested 179 fugitives and 15 gang members. Agents seized almost 35,000 pounds of marijuana, 237 pounds of cocaine, 57 pounds of methamphetamines, and almost five pounds of heroin.

The report also outlines three separate incidents—on June 9, 11, and 19—where Border Patrol agents and other law enforcement personnel in the Rio Grande Valley area were shot at from the Mexican side of the river.

Epoch Times Photo
Border Patrol agents apprehend and transport illegal immigrants who have just crossed the river into La Joya, Texas, on Nov. 17, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

The 2011 report contained more detailed information on cartel activity in Mexico than the more recent reports (16 pages versus two pages), including details about alleged cartel-related killings in Mexican border cities.

One example from June 21, 2011, described the discovery of a man’s remains in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso.

“A black plastic bag containing the head and genitals of a man was thrown from a car onto the sidewalk behind a church,” the report states. “The rest of the body was found the following morning on a sidewalk in front of an abandoned house five blocks away. The man’s torso was inside one plastic bag and his extremities in another bag inside a cardboard box.”

The Epoch Times submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Texas Department of Public Safety asking for Border Operations Sector Assessment reports from previous years.

The request was denied on the basis of a prior opinion that states, in part, “We agree the release of the submitted information would interfere with law enforcement.”

https://www.theepochtimes.com/mkt_morningbrief/exclusive-texas-law-enforcement-reports-reveal-scope-of-the-border-crisis_4133656.html?utm_source=Morningbrief&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=mb-2021-12-02&mktids=68df2bb5af10e2af577ae8cd1995877b&est=LOp9MjFBEjvP4JkwlNnHtMamMFxFje+vGzDTsqV9wk0Kt8ozV3VEc2XC51RO7A==

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