Pull up a stool for another busy day on the Three Martini Lunch. Join Jim and Greg as they call out Joe Biden for falsely insisting the Obama-Biden administration never used military action apart from congressional authorization. They also hammer CNN for blatantly siding with Elizabeth Warren in her accusation that Bernie Sanders told her a woman could not get elected president – a charge Sanders strongly denies. And they unload on the radical Bernie Sanders campaign field organizer caught on tape threatening to burn down Milwaukee and other cities if Sanders does not win the Democratic nomination at the convention this summer.
More than a million people flooded the streets of Hong Kong on multiple occasions this week in an effort to derail legislation that opponents believe is the last chance to save the business hub from the clutches of the communist Chinese regime in Beijing.
Wednesday’s protests turned violent as local authorities lashed out at the demonstrators who succeeded in delaying a vote on extradition legislation.
“The Hong Kong government, at the prodding of Beijing, has proposed an extradition bill which would allow China to take people off the streets of Hong Kong in effect,” said Gordon Chang, an East Asia policy expert and author of “The Coming Collapse of China.”
“Hong Kong right now has extradition agreements with twenty nations, not including China. The extradition bill would broaden that and that would give Beijing the ability really to bring Hong Kong to heel. As Hong Kong democrats say, this is the last stand of the city,” added Chang.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Chang explain what Hong Kong will look like in the coming years if the extradition bill becomes law and which very powerful ally protesters have on their side.
Communist North Korea is once against the world’s worst persecutor of Christians, but Islamic oppression is by far the greatest threat to believers around the globe according to the 2019 World Watch List from Open Doors USA.
The list of 50 nations also shows persecution sharply on the rise in prominent places like India, China, and Russia.
While persecution is on the rise in many parts of the world, Open Doors USA President and CEO Dr. David Curry says North Korea is still home of the worst brutality.
“If people know you’re a Christian, you’ll be arrested, taken to a labor camp and (you’ll) probably die there. You’re not allowed to have a bible. They’re illegal. They consider Christians to be the number one enemy of the state,” said Curry.
Eight Islamic nations follow North Korea on the list – Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Sudan, Eritrea, Yemen, and Iran – with Afghanistan just a whisker behind North Korea for the worst nation to live as Christians. India is now up to the 10th spot.
Curry says the growing strength of the Taliban makes life very difficult for believers in Afghanistan.
“There’s an underground church there but it’s very difficult for them to function,” said Curry. “They don’t have the prison systems that North Korea does. It’s more of a vigilante kind of a justice. If they find out you are a Christian, you’ll be expelled from the family. You could be beaten, killed, or raped,” said Curry.
Thirty-four of the fifty nations listed due to “Islamic oppression.” So why do those government feel threatened by their Christian minorities?
“The ideology is what it’s all about for them. They see Christians as apostates, as infidels. These are radical Islamic folks who have an agenda to impose their world view on everybody, including the West if they could,” said Curry.
And why is India so high on the list? Curry says the country has changed drastically in just a few years.
“The government has a radical Hindu agenda. They’re attacking Christians and there are hundreds of cases against Christians and churches in that country. They are good citizens, but it runs contrary to the BJP party’s nationalist Hindu agenda where they say you’re not an Indian unless you’re Hindu,” said Curry, noting that the government is even harassing Mother Teresa’s organization helping the poorest of the poor.
He believes a strong stand by American business leaders could make a big difference.
“I would love to see the business community in America – Amazon, Google, all these people that want to get access to that big population – look at their corporate charters. What does it mean that we’re doing so much business in India when they have such a horrible human rights pattern here over the last six years,” said Curry.
Two other very prominent nations rocketed up the list in 2019. China surged 16 spots to 27th, while Russia was off the list and is now at 41st. Curry says Russia is still plagued by Islamic violence in the Caucuses but he is also worried about new religious expression rules being implemented by the government.
He considers China the big story of this year’s list, noting President Xi Jinping’s efforts to consolidate more and more power in the state. He says the Communist Party is infiltrating the churches because the regime is fearful of the 100 million Christians there. Surveillance cameras are everywhere to monitor services and those refusing the cameras are shut down. So are any pastors refusing to follow the demands for how churches ought to function..
Listen to the full podcast to hear much more about the World Watch List. Dr. Curry explains why Christian women in these countries are the most vulnerable people in the world, where there is a major bright spot in the middle of the Islamic world, and what he hopes people do with this information. Dr. Curry also talks about the perseverance of believers in the midst of persecution and how churches in many of these nations continue to grow.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud the Trump administration for rolling back the burdensome EPA clean power plant regulations and giving the states more flexibility in how they deal with emissions. They also unload on CNN and other media outlets for reporting on tearful reunions among family members living in North and South Korea after nearly 70 years, blaming the separation on the Korean War rather than a brutally repressive communist regime in North Korea. And they shake their heads as President Trump takes to Twitter and muses about pulling security clearances based on what former national security officials say about him on cable television.
The Senate Budget Committee approved a tax reform bill along party lines Tuesday, sending legislation to the Senate floor that a key fiscal conservative lawmaker says is vital to pass if Americans want to see the economy continue growing and eventually booming.
The vote in the committee was 12-11, and included ‘yes’ votes from Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn. The bill already cleared the Senate Finance Committee and will now be considered by the full Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted Tuesday that getting to 51 votes in favor of the bill is still a work in progress, but Rep. Dave Brat, R-Virginia, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, says Republicans must push this bill across the goal line or the economic consequences will be severe.
“Our economy needs it and you see every day on the financial channels that if anyone hiccups and there are two ‘no’ votes then the market goes down,” said Brat, contending that investors are bullish because they are assuming tax reform will get done.
“That’s an objective reality that’s out there. This is baked in the cake and if we don’t come up with these tax cuts, the economy will not continue to grow like it has been. It’s been flying high and consumer expectations are high and that’s where we want to keep it,” said Brat.
The effort to sway moderates took a bit of a hit this week, when the Congressional Budget Office, or CBO, estimated that the Senate bill would add $1.4 trillion to the national debt over ten years and would hurt middle class and poor Americans the most.
Brat is firing back on multiple fronts, first challenging the CBO’s recent history of badly inaccurate estimates.
“I think that’s probably based on the teachings of Karl Marx. They’ve been wrong so many times on every thing they do,” said Brat, noting a recent report on health care costs in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“The CBO said Obamacare was going to lower the cost of health care. Now the premiums for a family are $30,000. The deductible is $9,000. So you’ve got to pay $39,000 before you see one dollar of insurance. There’s CBO’s infinite wisdom on scoring the costs of these things,” said Brat.
Despite the frequent criticism of capitalism, Brat says world history proves the free market is the surest path out of poverty.
“Is capitalism good for the poor or is communism and command systems and top-down (better)?” said Brat. “The history of nations is the history of poverty unless you have capital accumulation.”
Brat says the GOP approach of allowing deductions for all capital will not only be a boon for business owners but will likely mean more money in pockets of employees. He says that’s a far cry from the Democrats calling for higher taxes and much higher spending.
“They want to increase $10 trillion, increase spending $11 trillion and they end up with more debt than wee do in our tax piece even after they they raise taxes $10 trillion in the Progressive Caucus budget and tax plan,” said Brat.
While confident Republicans have a good plan, Brat says they need to do a better job of messaging.
“I wish the mainstream media was more fair in the messaging and our team needs to do a much more aggressive job of messaging about the benefits of free markets,” said Brat.
Sen. Johnson and Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, had earlier said they could not support the existing Senate bill because it provided far more benefits to corporations than to small businesses. Johnson says he’s encouraged by some changes made to address his concerns.
Brat says Johnson and Daines are right that pass-through businesses that file at the individual rate need more help in the legislation. He says the House worked to beef up tax breaks for those small businesses, including just a nine percent tax rate on the first $75,000.
He also says Americans will be helped by married couples paying just 12 percent on income below $90,000. The next bracket, 25 percent, stays in place up to $260,000.
Brat would like to see more help for small businesses, but he says math is a real challenge for the GOP in making all of this work.
“There’s about $6 trillion in tax cuts and $4.5 trillion in pay-fors, so on net they know there’s only so much you can put around, so you want it to be as pro-growth as you can be,” said Brat.
But Brat says time is of the essence and Republicans need to get the job done.
“They all know we have to have these tax cuts go into effect,” said Brat. “It’s going to be a net win for everybody.”
Free college, free health care, and government-defined income levels are all increasingly popular notions among the political left in the United States, but they are also raising concerns among opponents that some of the basic tenets of communism are alive and well in the United States.
This month marks 100 years since the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia that led to the creation of the Soviet Union and the murders of tens of millions of people. After a century of economic and humanitarian horrors, the growing embrace of socialist and communist principles in the political and academic realm is clear.
But why are these ideas still popular given communism’s track record of bloody failure?
“Education, education, education. Or maybe I should say miseducation, miseducation, miseducation or ignorance, ignorance, ignorance. It all kind of goes together,” said Grove City College Political Science Professor Paul Kengor, who is also the author of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism: The Killingest Idea Ever.”
“This is the natural byproduct of our K-12 public schools, our government schools, and especially our universities failing to teach people the horrors of communism,” said Kengor.
He says academia at all levels dropped the ball on the atrocities of the past 100 years and beyond.
“They’ve done a bang-up job teaching the evils of Nazism and fascism. But for the 100th anniversary of Bolshevism and the Communist Revolution, which is what we’re at right now in October 2017. Everybody should be able to say, ‘Oh yeah, they killed a hundred million people, didn’t they?'” said Kengor.
Kengor says parents need to stop sending their kids to expensive schools only for their kids to be indoctrinated by ’60s radicals who are sympathetic to communism.
“If you took Johnny or Susie, who you spent the first 18 years of his or her life teaching them the right things and then you send them off to that secular college, that liberal insane asylum, and handed twenty to thirty to forty thousand dollars a year of your life savings and at Christmas-time came back with their own definitions of marriage and gender and telling you why you’re a fascist for not supporting government funding of Planned Parenthood, you helped make this possible. You should not send your kids to these colleges,” said Kengor.
He says knowingly sending your kids to schools to embrace socialist and communist ideas is doing exactly what radicals like Lenin would have wanted you to do.
“These are academic indoctrination centers and if you send your kids to these schools, you are going to be paying for them to have their minds destroyed.
“Vladimir Lenin said, and I quote this in the book, ‘Give me four years with a child and the seed that I plant will never be removed,” said Kengor.
In the book, Kengor says the education on communism is so bad that a survey a few years back showed roughly a quarter of Americans thought George W. Bush killed more people than Joseph Stalin.
He points out Stalin’s death toll even dwarfs that of Adolf Hitler.
“I’m sure that the vast majority of Americans think that Hitler killed more people than Stalin, when in fact Stalin killed – by some accounts, including Alexander Yakovlev – he said Stalin alone killed 60-70 million people. Hitler killed about 10 million.
“Stalin’s not even the greatest killer. Mao is,” said Kengor referring to communist Chinese despot Mao Zedong.
“This is a frightful dangerous ideology. People don’t know that because we fail to educate them,” added Kengor.
Defenders of Marxism and communism suggest bad leaders are responsible for the genocide rather than the ideology itself. Kengor says the record is clear.
“People have done it right. That’s what it comes down to. What other ideology or system that has been tried by so many different people on every different continent and every different ethnic group and nationality, and yet everywhere it goes it leads to a trail of corpses,” said Kengor.
He says genocide is a necessary aspect of communism, and the proof is right there in “The Communist Manifesto” by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
“Like Marx and Engels themselves said, ‘Despotism will of course be necessary in implementing this,” said Kengor.
Monday marked May Day, which was punctuated by scores of “workers” marches around the world, but on of the leading experts on communism says movements like this always end in death, poverty, and misery.
More than a quarter century after the end of the Cold War, political movements at home and abroad are once again embracing ideas of equality for all and casting the wealthy as villains who keeping working people from climbing higher in society.
Lee Edwards is the chairman of the board of trustees for the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. He spearheaded the effort for a national memorial to those victims that was dedicated in 2007. Edwards is also a distinguished fellow in conservative thought at the Heritage Foundation and a prolific author on the conservative movement.
He says the promises always sound so good.
“People say, ‘Oh, wouldn’t it be wonderful. Let’s do away with all classes. Let’s do away with all conflicts and have some utopia in which we’re all going to be friends.’ That just works against human nature. Even (Karl) Marx said the only way we’re going to get to communism is through a dictatorship of the proletariat,” said Edwards.
But 100 years of communism and practice expose the promises for what they really are.
“The communists are the biggest liars in human history. If you think about it, they promised peace, land, and bread to the people in the beginning way back in Russia and then in China. Instead of peace, they got them involved in wars. Instead of land, they took away their land. Instead of bread, they gave them bread lines,” said Edwards.
Perhaps the most chilling result of a century of communism is the death toll.
“There are over 100 million victims as a result of communism. One hundred million,” said Edwards, noting that China’s Mao Zedong and the USSR’s Joseph Stalin are by far the most murderous of dictators, killing their own people by the tens of millions.
And why does does communism lead to systematic government genocide?
“Because they say that we’re going to arrive at this Utopian society, and if you get in our way and you deny us, then we’re going to kill you,” said Edwards, pointing out how Stalin starved 5-7 million Ukrainians to death by ordering the communizing of agriculture there.
In short, Edwards says everyone suffers under communism except the leaders. He says rationing was rampant in the old Soviet Union, except for vodka.
“Everything else was rationed. Everything else was only available to what we call the nomenclatura, the members of the party and members of the army, who were running things in Soviet Russia and still in communist China,” said Edwards.
And while just five official communist governments exist today (China, Vietnam, Laos, North Korea, and Cuba), many others are de facto socialist dictatorships, most notably Venezuela, which is currently in a state of major unrest.
But Edwards is concerned about the rise of communist and socialist sympathies here in the U.S., starting with how Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, attracted a great deal of enthusiasm and support during his 2016 presidential campaign.
“The line between Bernie Sanders’ democratic socialism and socialism outright is probably pretty thin. Frankly, I’m concerned that too many young people are not adequately educated or informed about the real failures, about the deaths, about the murders, about the purges,” said Edwards.
“They never heard about the gulag, for example, that series of forced labor camps in which Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and millions and millions of people lived in and many of them died. So this is really an educational process that we need to get into,” said Edwards.
That in itself is difficult because he says academia is often sympathetic to communism.
“There are still Marxist professors who are saying, ‘Oh well, communism is this marvelous idea, it’s just never been tried adequately and therefore we can’t dismiss it,'” said Edwards.
The issue also hit close to home for Edwards recently when protesters in Washington posed while extending their middle fingers to the Victims of Communism Memorial. He says education has to be the answer and his foundation his leading the effort.
“We have created a curriculum on communism from Marx to Mao, which I’m happy to say is being used in high schools, public schools, private schools, home schools. We’ve got to begin very early on. We can’t wait for colleges and universities to begin to tell the truth,” said Edwards.
While he acknowledges a major battle for the direction of young minds, Edwards is fully confident freedom will win.
“I believe there is an instinct within all of us, within our breast, for the desire for freedom. We can see that with people challenging, even today, challenging China, challenging the authoritarian ways of Russia. I believe that is there but it must be encouraged. It must be educated. It must be developed. It’s not going to develop all by itself,” he said.