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Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Challenge for the Next President: Reversing Decline in U.S. Power

The man or woman who takes office as President of the United States in January 2017 must be aware that a top priority will be the ability to demonstrate the strength and confidence to protect the nation’s vital interests at home and abroad. 

These vital interests are: 

(1) defense of the homeland, 
(2) prevention or successful conclusion of a major war, and (3) preservation of freedom of movement within the global commons. Covering the gap between the current economic and security situation and where the nation needs to be at the end of the first four years of the next presidency will require a “gap strategy.” The gap strategy identifies singular and critical priorities for the next Administration—strengthening enduring alliances, rebuilding defense, and repositioning the economy in order to protect and guarantee vital interests both at home and abroad.


  1. A top priority for the next President of the United States must be to demonstrate the strength and confidence to protect the nation’s vital interests at home and abroad.
  2. These vital interests are: (1) defense of the homeland, (2) prevention or successful conclusion of a major war, and (3) preservation of freedom of movement within the global commons.
  3. Covering the gap between the current economic and security situation and where the nation needs to be at the end of the first four years of the next presidency will require a “gap strategy.”
  4. The gap strategy combines key alliance, defense, and economic foreign policy initiatives. In order to protect its vital interests, America must strengthen its alliances and other security partnerships in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia; rebuild defense capability and capacity; and reposition the economy so that it can grow rapidly without increasing public debt.

A top priority for the next President of the United States must be to demonstrate the strength and confidence to protect the nation’s vital interests at home and abroad. These vital interests are: (1) defense of the homeland; (2) prevention or successful conclusion of a major war with the potential to destabilize regions of critical interest to the U.S.; and (3) preservation of freedom of movement within the global commons: the sea, the air, cyberspace, and outer space domains through which the world conducts business.[1]
There is clearly a need to do something different. The Heritage Foundation’s Index of U.S. Military Strength graded the ability of the United States to protect its vital interests as “marginal,” an assessment that reflects both deteriorating U.S. capabilities and rising concerns in key parts of the world.[2] Further, it is clear that this Administration’s approach to defense and foreign policy is deeply flawed.[3] In practice, it has served the nation poorly.
Demonstrating American will and power requires a sound strategy. Strategy is the integrated application of ends, ways, and means to achieve national objectives. More fundamentally, strategy is the lifeline of a guiding idea to get from the current situation to a better end-state. A good strategy is practical—meeting the standards that it is suitable, feasible, and acceptable.[4] At the same time, it makes hard choices—and delivers results.
The next President will need a particular kind of strategy to guide his or her first years in office. America is a global power with global interests. The goal of government should be to sustain the key attributes that make America great—keeping the nation free, prosperous, and secure.[5] The challenge for the next President is to exercise power in a manner that strengthens the nation while promoting economic growth and innovation without growing public debt. Improving the instruments of American power while at the same time reforming government’s fiscal policies will require a balanced effort from the White House. The trajectory of rebuilding the U.S. military will look like a ramp, matched by economic reforms that grow the economy and shift the weight of federal spending more toward its traditional mission of providing the common defense. Covering the gap between the current economic and security situation and where the nation needs to be at the end of the first four years of the next presidency will require a “gap strategy.”
The gap strategy combines key alliance, defense, and economic foreign policy initiatives to see the next Administration through the first tough, tumultuous years of office. In order to protect its vital interests, America must strengthen its enduring alliances and other security partnerships in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, and rebuild and reprioritize defense capability and capacity without adding to public debt.
The gap strategy ought to include three core components.

1. Empowering Enduring Alliances

America needs allies. America’s greatest strength is strength in numbers: the number of free nations that share its commitment to peace, justice, security, and—above all—freedom.
Building strong alliances requires proactive action that reinforces rather than undermines the sovereignty of the state and at the same time strengthens the bonds of trust and confidence between free peoples, enabling them to act in their common interest. The focus of this should be on building enduring alliances, not just “coalitions of the willing,” with key nations in key regions.[6]
Deepening U.S. Relations with Its European Allies. The top foreign policy goals in Europe should include: living up to treaty obligations in order to defend, and when necessary liberate, NATO members; helping allies to develop military capability and capacity so they can better take responsibility for their own security; encouraging allies to increase defense expenditures; and helping nations to decrease energy dependence on Russia.
The next President must strengthen America’s Special Relationship with the United Kingdom through both diplomatic and military initiatives. The U.K. is America’s closest ally and its anchor to Europe. Issues that could be addressed together include: standing up against Russian aggression in Central and Eastern Europe, joint military and defense procurement projects, pursuing joint initiatives to combat Islamist terrorism in Europe and the Middle East, and discussing how the U.K. could be an even closer partner with the U.S.[7] By strengthening its relationship with the U.K. and anchoring its influence in Europe, the United States will be able to secure interests throughout the region.
Further, America should reinvest in its relationships with allies in the Nordic-Baltic region, and in Central and Eastern Europe. These states have proven to be staunch American allies.[8] Some of them are on NATO’s front line against Russian aggression. It is in America’s best interest to deepen its defense and security relationship with these nations.[9] Therefore, as Russia ramps up its aggressive behavior in the region,[10] the U.S. needs to undertake strong diplomatic and military initiatives to defend the region and thus deter Russian threats. In this regard, the U.S. should: (1) improve its security relationship with Finland and Sweden so that the U.S. will have permission to access the two countries’ airspace and territory should the U.S. need to defend the Baltics, and (2) take its NATO obligations to the Baltic states seriously in order to substantiate U.S. commitment to the transatlantic alliance.[11]
Finally, the President must insist that NATO focuses first and foremost on deterring Russian aggression. The U.S. and NATO members should: (1) base NATO troops in Central and Eastern Europe permanently; (2) shift NATO training from counterinsurgency operations toward force-on-force and collective security operations; (3) pursue regular joint training exercises in order to assure the interoperability and readiness of NATO forces; (4) promote increased defense investment across Europe; and (5) encourage increased investments in missile defense programs, which have been underfunded and have lagged behind the ballistic missile threat for years.[12]These initiatives would send a strong message to Russia.
The U.S. as an AsiaPacific Power. The crucial foreign policy goal in the region is establishing an order whereby all peaceable nations of Asia that play by the rules are treated equally, with the right to chart their own course without being dictated to by any aspiring hegemon.
In light of China’s recent bullying of its neighbors, the next American President should pursue increased intergovernmental dialogue with key players in the Asia–Pacific in an effort to preempt and counter Beijing’s aggressive moves to recast the liberal order of the past 70 years in favor of its extensive and extralegal territorial claims.[13]
U.S. efforts must start with the next American President strengthening security partnerships with traditional allies Japan and South Korea. Along with America’s forward-deployed military, they are the anchor of the U.S. as an Asia–Pacific power.[14] In addition, the United States needs to reassert its traditional support for Taiwan with fresh, militarily consequential arms sales, particularly submarines and new fighter craft.[15] Further, the U.S. must integrate these relationships with key states, such as India and treaty ally Australia.
In Japan, the U.S. should support Tokyo’s assumption of a larger international security role. This would include Japan’s participation in collective self-defense, and increasing defense expenditures in order to better deal with China’s influence and North Korean threats. The U.S. could expedite this process by augmenting public diplomacy in order to assuage regional concerns and persuade neighbors to support Japan’s larger security role.[16]
The U.S. should support South Korea’s initiatives to exercise its sovereign right to defend country and citizens against the North Korean threat. The U.S. should deploy a comprehensive, interoperable, multilayered ballistic missile defense system, such as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), in cooperation with the South Korean government. This would enhance defense against nuclear attacks and augment deterrence by reducing the potential for success of a North Korean missile strike.[17] Additionally, the U.S. and South Korea should focus on transforming their existing relationship into a more comprehensive strategic alliance that looks beyond the Korean Peninsula. In this regard, the U.S. should retain the combined military command structure with South Korea instead of fixating on dates and milestones in the operational control (OPCON) transition plan.[18]
The Philippines—pending the Philippine supreme court’s clearance of the U.S.–Philippine Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA)—is poised to once again become an anchor of the U.S. presence in the Pacific. The next Administration must see through a full and robust implementation of the EDCA. It must also greatly increase the share of security assistance it provides to the Philippines. Less than 2 percent of U.S. foreign military financing goes to the Asia–Pacific, and although the Philippines are now the largest recipient in the Pacific, the country has much greater carrying capacity than its current allocation. America’s other treaty alliance in Southeast Asia, with Thailand, will require massive repair upon Thailand’s eventual return to democracy. The historical dilemma it has faced in its political development has not been met with the sympathy deserving of a decades-long ally.
India is one of America’s best potential partners in the Asia–Pacific. There is an increasing convergence of interests between the two nations on security cooperation, civil nuclear collaboration, clean energy, and respect for religious diversity.[19] Therefore, the next U.S. Administration should seize Indian President Narendra Modi’s willingness to commit to enhanced counterterrorism, defense, and security collaboration in order to deepen relations and safeguard mutual interests.
U.S. cooperation with Japan, India, and Australia should be coordinated through a relationship known as the “quad.” The four-way intergovernmental communication should focus on two issues—ensuring the freedom of the commons (air, seas, space, and cyberspace), and establishing a common approach to resolving territorial disputes. Freedom of the commons and the peaceful resolution of territorial claims are the grease that can best keep the friction caused by China’s expectations in check.
Finally, the quad discussions should not be the totality of America’s engagement with the region, nor the only venue for the four powers to deal with regional issues. There are many forums for dialogue and cooperation in Asia. The quad should complement, not subvert or replace, them. Remaining active and constructive participants in all these venues is part of what makes the quad valuable, as quad-developed interests can be promoted across a range of regional initiatives.[20]
Stabilizing North Africa and the Middle East. The two chief goals of the U.S. in this region must be to reduce (or mitigate) Iran as a regional and global threat, and to eliminate terrorist control over large swaths of territory. Either could represent the core of a global Islamist insurgency movement which, if left unchecked, could threaten global stability.[21]
For starters, the region desperately needs a core of free and stable states to serve as a foundation for restoring peace and stability and creating the prospects for greater economic freedom and more constructive civil societies. The U.S. should assist in building a firebreak against spreading lawlessness and violence by establishing strong bilateral relations with critical states, including Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Iraq, and helping them help themselves become models for regional security, governance, and growth.[22]
Further, the U.S. must aggressively ensure that terrorist groups do not have territorial control of key strategic regions. At present, the most significant threat to regional stability is the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq.[23] However, the Obama Administration’s tepid approach to counterterrorism operations in the Middle East is leading Iraq to choose between Sunni-Islamist ISIS and Shia-Islamist Iran. Either outcome would be disastrous for America, Iraq, and the Middle East as whole.[24]
The next U.S. President must be prepared to inherit the burden of implementing a plan for breaking ISIS territorial control in Iraq and maintaining a stable nation after that goal is achieved.[25] There may be an acceptable medium course of action between Obama’s vacillating, half-hearted initiatives and redeploying large numbers of ground troops. This might include (1) applying extensive and intensive air power, (2) embedding U.S. military advisers in Iraq’s front-line military units, and (3) deploying U.S. Special Operations forces in greater strength and embedding them with Kurdish Peshmerga and Sunni Arab tribal militias.[26]
On the other hand, the next President may quickly find that these half measures are not enough.[27] Conventional ground forces may be required to break an enemy’s territorial control and drive them out. Further, there has to be a serious conversation about what kind of country Iraq should be after ISIS is defeated. After being torn apart by the ISIS invasion and Iranian meddling, Iraq will need dependable strategic partners to make itself whole again. Lacking the confident, robust, intentional involvement of the U.S., one can expect recent sorry history to repeat itself. Meanwhile, the U.S. should continue to lead coalition efforts to help stabilize Afghanistan and leave a residual U.S. force in the country as long as necessary, dropping all arbitrary deadlines for a withdrawal.[28]
Finally, the next President must take the first steps to constrain Iran as a regional threat. According to The Heritage Foundation’s 2015 Index of U.S. Military Strength, Iran also represents a significant security challenge for the region. Its open hostility to the U.S. and Israel, sponsorship of Hezbollah and other Islamist terrorist groups, and historic and avowed threats to the global commons foretell the additional problems it could pose if it acquires more resources and capabilities.[29] The current Iran deal exacerbates these conditions. The deal enriches Iran’s coffers, expands its power and influence, strains U.S. relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia, weakens long-standing nonproliferation goals, and creates the circumstances for a multipolar nuclear Middle East.[30]
Instead of delaying Iran’s nuclear build-up, the U.S. should focus on preventing Iran from ever becoming a nuclear weapons state. The U.S. should maintain its own as well as United Nations sanctions; keep the military option on the table as a credible deterrent; and pursue closer security cooperation with Israel, Turkey, and allied Arab states to force Tehran to accept much tighter restrictions on its nuclear plans.[31] These initiatives would make a conventional or nuclear arms race in the region far less likely.

2. Rebuilding Defense

Diplomacy and economic power, even if skillfully deployed, are often most effective when supported by military force. They are not a substitute for military power, and in some instances are wholly ineffective or irrelevant without military power. Credible military power has a synergistic effect that makes the other elements of national power more influential and effective.[32]
Today, there is Russian adventurism in Eastern Europe, Chinese expansion in the South China Sea, and radical Islamist terrorist organizations inciting violence across swaths of Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. However, the U.S. is unprepared and ill-equipped to handle this reality. The military is being reduced to a size at which it will be able to fight one war at best. America’s technological edge is being challenged by prospective adversaries abroad and by a broken acquisition system at home. The U.S. defense industrial base, while still capable of producing world-class weapons systems, lacks the robustness to support a rapid and sustained defense build-up.[33]
If this nation is to protect its vital interests, deter conflicts with would-be regional hegemons, reassure allies, and respond to crises of all sorts, it needs a robust military of sufficient size, sophistication, resources, and readiness to deal not only with the known threats, but also with inevitable surprises.[34] In order to meet these demands, the next President will have to increase military readiness across the board.[35]
First, the next President should reprioritize defense spending while maintaining the aggregate spending levels for discretionary programs under the Budget Control Act levels.[36] Increased defense funding should be channeled in such a way as to: (1) restore cuts to capacity, particularly U.S. ground forces; (2) accelerate readiness for all the services; (3) shift initiatives from the Overseas Contingency Operations account to the baseline defense budget; (4) increase funding for updating nuclear weapons and missile defense systems; and (5) provide stability for modernization programs.[37] Ultimately, fixing readiness and maintaining modernization programs critical to the preservation of America’s technological advantage is of tremendous importance and is necessary to sustain America’s ability to fight and win wars.
Second, the next President should pursue reforms to make the Pentagon and the Department of Defense more efficient managers of U.S. defense. Within this context, the next President should: (1) cut excessive Defense Department bureaucracy, (2) mandate widespread employment of performance-based logistics, (3) establish the right global military footprint, and (4) craft a 21st-century acquisition system.[38] These initiatives would make the Pentagon and the Defense Department sustainable, cost-effective, and streamlined.
Together, these initiatives will enable the U.S. to rebuild its defense capabilities and reassert American power in a fiscally responsible manner.

3. Making America the Engine of Global Economic Freedom

It is vital that the next President take a broad view of the tools available to advance America’s interests. The powerful role that freedom and free markets play in advancing economic freedom and opportunity at home and abroad must not be forgotten, with particular care given to America’s allies.
Though the interplay between democracy and free markets is hard to characterize, it is undeniable that greater economic freedom “can provide more fertile ground for effective and democratic governance.”[39] In fact, evidence shows that economically free countries are “more politically free and have higher levels of civil liberties than those countries with less economic freedom.”[40]
These freedoms—which the military exists to protect—are also some of America’s greatest tools to build the alliances and nurture the objectives the U.S. military needs to protect that freedom. America should strengthen enduring alliances and build on nascent ones by increasing economic opportunities and collaboration—by removing barriers to free trade and promoting an economic freedom agenda abroad. In some cases this may mean taking the first step, perhaps unilaterally, to eliminate economic barriers.
The next President should undertake the following steps to foster a stronger and more self-confident American economy and promote an economic agenda abroad:
  • Create a bold, consistent narrative about the benefits of free trade and market liberalization.This narrative should highlight positive consequences of economic freedom, including its positive impact on individual states, the value of imports to the national economy, the realities of the global value chains and their value to the U.S., and the salutary effects of economic growth on the environment.
  • Adopt an aggressive, free-market energy export agenda. This single initiative would boost the economy and reinforce U.S. foreign policy goals. From natural gas to oil, coal, nuclear energy, and associated energy technologies, the United States has the capacity to fundamentally liberalize global energy markets and in doing so dilute abuse of energy markets for political ends by countries like Russia.[41]
  • Repeal the Jones Act, a protectionist measure that has decreased U.S. competitiveness in shipbuilding, trade, and maritime services for 85 years. Repealing this act would greatly enhance the U.S. position as a global energy-market leader. It would also boost U.S. competitiveness across the maritime domain, particularly in regards to transporting energy resources.[42]
  • Endorse economic freedom in the Arctic. The next President should promote responsible economic development in an environmentally sensitive, and increasingly important, theater of economic activity.
  • Rethink the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The European Union has indicated that it is more interested in “harmonizing” regulatory practices than in promoting free trade and liberalizing markets. Therefore, the U.S. should proceed through negotiations cautiously.
By promoting economic freedom at home and abroad, the next President would set the proper tone and character of a new foreign policy and deliver strategically meaningful results. These initiatives would unshackle the U.S. economy at home and promote economic freedom around the world—both of which would allow the U.S. to pursue its vital interests.[43]


The gap strategy identifies singular and critical priorities for the next Administration—strengthening enduring alliances, rebuilding defense, and repositioning the economy in order to protect and guarantee vital interests both at home and abroad. The strategy sets a demanding but doable to-do list. More important, it establishes a foundation from which the future President can act with greater freedom and more confidence in meeting the challenge of keeping the nation free, safe, and prosperous in the 21st century.
—James Jay Carafano, PhD, is Vice President of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security, and Foreign Policy and E. W. Richardson Fellow at The Heritage Foundation.Walter Lohman is Director of the Asian Studies Center, of the Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy; Steven P. Bucci, PhD, is Director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign and National Security Policy, of the Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy; and Nile Gardiner, PhD, is Director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, of the Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, at The Heritage Foundation. Bridget Mudd, Research Assistant at The Heritage Foundation, contributed to this paper.


A Return to the National Interest

Trump’s foreign-policy speech drew from an older, better Republican tradition.

Darron Birgenheier / Flickr


Whether the establishment likes it or not, and it evidently does not, there is a revolution going on in America.
The old order in this capital city is on the way out, America is crossing a great divide, and there is no going back.
Donald Trump’s triumphant march to the nomination in Cleveland, virtually assured by his five-state sweep Tuesday, confirms it, as does his foreign policy address of Wednesday.
Two minutes into his speech before the Center for the National Interest, Trump declared that the “major and overriding theme” of his administration will be — “America first.” Right down the smokestack!
Gutsy and brazen it was to use that phrase, considering the demonization of the great anti-war movement of 1940-41, which was backed by the young patriots John F. Kennedy and his brother Joe, Gerald Ford and Sargent Shriver, and President Hoover and Alice Roosevelt.
Whether the issue is trade, immigration or foreign policy, says Trump, “we are putting the American people first again.” U.S. policy will be dictated by U.S. national interests.
By what he castigated, and what he promised, Trump is repudiating both the fruits of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy, and the legacy of Bush Republicanism and neoconservatism.
When Ronald Reagan went home, says Trump, “our foreign policy began to make less and less sense. Logic was replaced with foolishness and arrogance, which ended in one foreign policy disaster after another.”
He lists the results of 15 years of Bush-Obama wars in the Middle East: civil war, religious fanaticism, thousands of Americans killed, trillions of dollars lost, a vacuum created that ISIS has filled.
Is he wrong here? How have all of these wars availed us? Where is the “New World Order” of which Bush I rhapsodized at the U.N.?
Can anyone argue that our interventions to overthrow regimes and erect democratic states in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen have succeeded and been worth the price we have paid in blood and treasure, and the devastation we have left in our wake?
George W. Bush declared that America’s goal would become “to end tyranny in our world.” An utterly utopian delusion, to which Trump retorts by recalling John Quincy Adams’ views on America: “She goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.”
To the neocons’ worldwide crusade for democracy, Trump’s retort is that it was always a “dangerous idea” to think “we could make Western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interest in becoming Western democracies.”
We are “overextended,” he declared, “We must rebuild our military.” Our NATO allies have been freeloading for half a century. NAFTA was a lousy deal. In running up $4 trillion in trade surpluses since Bush I, the Chinese have been eating our lunch.
This may be rankest heresy to America’s elites, but Trump outlines a foreign policy past generations would have recognized as common sense: Look out for your own country and your own people first.
Instead of calling President Putin names, Trump says he would talk to the Russians to “end the cycle of hostility,” if he can.
“Ronald Reagan must be rolling over in his grave,” sputtered Sen. Lindsey Graham, who quit the race to avoid a thrashing by the Donald in his home state of South Carolina.
But this writer served in Reagan’s White House, and the Gipper was always seeking a way to get the Russians to negotiate. He leapt at the chance for a summit with Mikhail Gorbachev in Geneva and Reykjavik.
“Our goal is peace and prosperity, not war,” says Trump, “unlike other candidates, war and aggression will not be my first instinct.”
Is that not an old and good Republican tradition?
Dwight Eisenhower ended the war in Korea and kept us out of any other. Richard Nixon ended the war in Vietnam, negotiated arms agreements with Moscow, and made an historic journey to open up Mao’s China.
Reagan used force three times in eight years. He put Marines in Lebanon, liberated Grenada and sent FB-111s over Tripoli to pay Col. Gadhafi back for bombing a Berlin discotheque full of U.S. troops.
Reagan later believed putting those Marines in Lebanon, where 241 were massacred, to be the worst mistake of his presidency.
Military intervention for reasons of ideology or nation building is not an Eisenhower or Nixon or Reagan tradition. It is not a Republican tradition. It is a Bush II-neocon deformity, an aberration that proved disastrous for the United States and the Middle East.
The New York Times headline declared that Trump’s speech was full of “Paradoxes,” adding, “Calls to Fortify Military and to Use It Less.”
But isn’t that what Reagan did? Conduct the greatest military buildup since Ike, then, from a position of strength, negotiate with Moscow a radical reduction in nuclear arms?
“We’re getting out of the nation-building business,” says Trump.
“The nation-state remains the true foundation for happiness and harmony.” No more surrenders of sovereignty on the altars of “globalism.”
Is that not a definition of a patriotism that too many among our arrogant elites believe belongs to yesterday?

Harvard 'Experts': Islamophobia Everywhere!

Caleb Jephson

Dictatorships have an interest in magnifying minor problems in liberal democracies in order to divert attention from their own oppression and brutality.  One wonders if this interest played a role in facilitating a recent panel titled "Anti-Muslim Sentiment in the US: Challenges and Perspectives."  The panel was sponsored by Harvard University's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program (AISP), whose eponymous founder is an influential member of the Wahhabi Saudi regime.  As every panelist was either a current or future Harvard alumnus, the event provided evidence of some disturbing trends in elite higher education today.
The discussion was held on a cold, rainy Monday evening in the Tsai Auditorium, which serves Harvard's Center for Government and International Studies, before an audience of about eighty, including a representative from the university's Office of the President.
Moderator and AISP director Ali Asani, a Harvard Ph.D., opened the program by arguing that anti-Muslim sentiment is attributed to social polarization and religious illiteracy, which is then exploited by unscrupulous politicians and terrorist organizations.  He described panelist Omar Khoshafa, a Harvard senior who, in 2015, invited Holocaust-denying extremist preacher and Rhodes College religious studies professor Yasir Qadhi to speak at the university as a "superhero."
Panelist Lana Idris, a Harvard senior and campus activist, followed by lamenting:
We harbor some academics and professors on this campus that reiterate, sort of, ideas that help entrench anti-Muslim sentiment on campus, which is something that we really have to work on.
She provided a single example of this alleged phenomenon: an unnamed faculty dean declining to conclude that the 2015 Chapel Hill shooting was a hate crime before the details of the attack became available.  In fact, the motive for that shooting remains unknown.
Christopher Bail, a Duke University assistant professor of sociology and Harvard Ph.D., characterized his lengthy broadside against critics of radical Islam as social science, but his talk did not rate well in a simple fact-check.  To prove his assertion that Republican Party presidential primary candidates are fomenting "Islamophobia," he attributed an inaccurate quote to Marco Rubio and confused Ben Carson with 2012 African-American Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain.
According to Bail, Rubio called to close down "places where Muslims gather to be inspired."  This was presumably a reference to Rubio's extemporaneous remarks on November 19, 2015, in which he spoke of "closing down any places where radicals are being inspired" (emphasis added), while expressly rejecting the equation of these places with mosques.  Bail then lambasted Ben Carson for supposedly saying "that he would hesitate to appoint Muslims to his cabinet," when it was Herman Cain who stated in 2011 that he would not "be comfortable appointing a Muslim ... in [his] cabinet."
Repeatedly plugging his book, Terrified: How Anti-Muslim Fringe Organizations Became Mainstream, Bail argued that the "mainstreaming of anti-Muslim sentiment" in America is due not to terrorism, ISIS, or the attacks of September 11, 2001, but to:
... [a] very well-coordinated effort by a small network of anti-Muslim organizations who have succeeded not only in captivating the mass media but also, increasingly, in influencing our counter-terrorism policy and ... American public opinion about Islam.
The villains in Bail's story included the Middle East Forum and its president, Daniel Pipes; Frank Gaffney; the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI); and unnamed Christian Arabs he alleged were employed as "pseudo-terrorism experts" by anti-Muslim organizations.  That Bail considers those who point out the all too real dangers of Islamism "anti-Muslim" reveals the bias of his arguments.
MEMRI, for example, had allegedly engaged in "media manipulation" for translating a line in a Palestinian children's program as "I will shoot the Jews," when, according to Bail, it meant "the Jews are shooting at us."  Does Bail not know that MEMRI addressed and rebutted the alternative translation, that the context of the statement undisputedly included directing children to shoot "for the sake of al-Aqsa," or that incitement to kill Jews in Palestinian Authority media is routine?  If such sloppiness reflects the quality of his research, it's little wonder he draws such bizarre, conspiratorial conclusions.
The panel's hostility and contempt toward law enforcement, the Republican Party, and anyone opposed to Islamic militancy were similarly revealing.  None of the speakers called for combating jihadism within the Muslim-American community as a moral duty.  Nor was there any acknowledgement that, according to the latest FBI statistics, anti-Jewish hate crimes are over 3.5 times more common than those against Muslims.
Reducing such crimes to zero is a laudable goal.  But the panel's – and particularly Bail's –  scapegoating, systematic use of "Islamophobia" as a cudgel to settle partisan political scores, demonstratively inaccurate research, and lack of objective analysis or constructive suggestions impede rather than advance that aim.  One would hope for more from Harvard-trained students and scholars than biased data made to serve overtly political ends.  One would be disappointed.

Conservatives Need To Embrace Boycotts

If Conservatives Want To Change America, We Need To Embrace BoycottsJohn Hawkins
Liberals have already co-opted Hollywood and our education system; so it’s no secret that the deck is stacked against conservatives in America. However, liberals have also started to pull corporate America to the Left as well. The world’s most powerful corporations are standing against mom and pop Christian bakeries that don’t want to participate in gay weddings and threatening states that don’t want grown men using the bathroom with little girls. While corporations tend to favor whichever politician is in power, they are much more likely to give money to overtly liberal groups than conservative ones. Even ESPN, the all sports network, has a liberal bent. Politically, you can say anything if it’s to the left of center, but Curt Schilling was fired for having a conservative point of view. 
This may seem puzzling to a lot of people. After all, don’t corporations want lower tax rates, less regulations and business- friendly politicians in charge of the country? They do, but you have to keep in mind that Republicans are cheap dates. We don’t stop trying to cut the corporate tax rate or pushing to get rid of ridiculous regulations even in cycles when businesses give heavily to Democrats. So in essence, many corporations undoubtedly believe giving money to Democrats is a win/win. The Democrats may slam corporations at every opportunity, but they can be bought off while the Republicans will stay friendly no matter what the corporations do. All this leads to most corporations being very mercenary about which politicians they fund. 
However, the incentives are different once you get outside of overt political giving because corporations are very sensitive to anything that may tarnish their reputation or hurt their sales. 
So, who’s easily offended by things corporations do? Liberals. 
Who’s going to protest if they don’t like a group a corporation is giving money? Liberals.
Who’s going to boycott if a corporation does something they don’t like? Liberals. 
Meanwhile, you can make fun of Christ and Christians will laugh it off. Conservatives will tolerate the most vicious smears from newspapers and TV shows. Republicans don’t particularly like it when Hollywood portrays them as stupid, evil and cruel, but other than an odd complaint here or there, for the most part we aren’t willing to do anything about it. 
That’s why corporations bend over backwards to make liberals happy while they’re indifferent to offending Christians. The squeaky wheel gets the grease while those who suffer in silence are ignored. 
Do you want to know how big of a difference a small group of people can make? Well, Rush Limbaugh was hit by a boycott and although Rush has done fine overall, I’ve been told by friends in the industry that talk radio overall took a big hit in the quality of its advertisers. According to Rush, there were actually very few people involved


May Day, Trump, Sanders: LAPD braces for weekend of political protest

Veronica Rocha and Richard Winton

The Los Angeles Police Department is bracing for a long weekend of political demonstrations following the California arrival of GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump and boisterous protests in Orange County. 
In the aftermath of clashes at an appearance by Trump in Costa Mesa on Thursday evening, thousands of unionized janitors took to the streets of downtown Los Angeles on Friday afternoon to demand higher wages and expanded rights. 
The janitors, whose contract expires Saturday, began their rally at Grand Park at noon. Janitors say they could strike as early as next week against what they say are unfair labor practices by major janitorial companies.

On Saturday, supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sandersare expected to converge on downtown L.A. for a march and rally tied to International Workers’ Day, or May Day, on Sunday. 
But the largest crowds are expected to gather downtown Sunday to demand equality for immigrants and protest Trump's controversial statements about people from Mexico and Muslims.   
“We have a very active three days with the Janitors for Justice today at midday, Bernie Sanders on Saturday and May Day march Sunday," said LAPD Assistant Chief Michel Moore. "We’ll be using the play book that we have successfully used for a number of years.”
The janitors' march is unpermitted and may disrupt the city's downtown core, but police will accommodate the protest, Moore said.
Demonstrations in Costa Mesa on Thursday resulted in 17 arrests and damage to several police cars as large crowds of Latino protesters vented outrage at Trump's claim that Mexico was sending rapists over the border. 
On Friday, Moore said he believed the Los Angeles demonstrations would be far more calm, but noted that the images from Costa Mesa were alarming.
“It is disturbing to law enforcement as much as all Americans … it's almost the '60s again,” he said.
To prepare for the May Day rally, Moore said, police have been meeting with organizers for several months to ensure a smooth march.
"We expect May Day to be peaceful," Moore said. "We are always prepared for any eventuality were anything to happen. But we have nothing to suggest that will be the case.”
Typically, he said, problems come from outside agitators and not the organized marchers.
As for Saturday's Sanders event, Moore said the candidate won’t be present.
During the janitors' rally Friday, participants held signs reading "Justice for Janitors" and chanted, "Si se puede." An estimated 3,500 people swarmed Grand Avenue demanding justice and fair contracts and called for an end to racism and anti-immigrant rhetoric.
‎Humberto Lara, 62, of South Los Angeles said he has been working as a janitor for Wells Fargo Bank in downtown L.A. for five years, but under the current contract he doesn't make enough to support his family. 
"We want mor‎e benefits," he said. "The amount we have are not enough and the pay is not enough." 
The Sanders march will begin at 3 p.m. on Main Street between Olympic Boulevard and 11th Street, then head north and arrive in front of City Hall at 4. A rally will begin at 6 p.m. and last til about 7:30.
Sunday's May Day event will start at 1 p.m. at 11th and Figueroa streets. From there, participants are expected to march through downtown L.A. and arrive at La Placita on Olvera Street at 3.