What Happened Today: May 2, 2022
US ramps up in Ukraine; FBI warrantless spying; BDS isn’t the problem
The Big Story
Despite Russian leaders’ escalating threats of nuclear retaliation, the U.S. has been markedly expanding both its military commitments to Ukraine and its aims for the war, even while playing no direct role in the conflict. In Poland Monday to meet with leaders of the key NATO ally, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed the “strongest possible military response, the strongest sanctions,” against Russia. Those comments came after Pelosi’s visit to Kyiv over the weekend where, accompanied by a delegation of Democratic lawmakers, she promised increased military and economic support to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky. Pelosi’s comments built on the foundation created last week when Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that the U.S. wanted “to see Russia weakened to the degree it can’t do the kinds of things it’s done in Ukraine.” That statement, which significantly raised the stakes of the U.S. involvement in Ukraine beyond supporting the country’s independence to helping it neutralize a nuclear armed superpower, was followed within days by Congress overwhelmingly passing a bill 417-10 (all 10 “no” votes came from Republicans) to revive the WW2 era lend-lease program in order to expedite the shipment of war materials to Ukraine and other American allies in Eastern Europe threatened by Russia. This rapid increase in the U.S. commitment to Ukraine has occurred with virtually no public debate or deliberation. In both Congress and the media, the overwhelming institutional consensus has supported an increased, if largely undefined role in Ukraine, without demanding a clear articulation of the U.S. national interest and objectives in the war. If the U.S. is hoping to see Russia crushed militarily, as statements from Pelosi and Austin as well as from President Biden suggest, the current increases promised through lend-lease and other aid packages would seem to be nowhere close to large enough, given the massive advantages in size and technology that the invading Russians have over Ukrainian forces. The package may, however, be large enough to prolong the war and increase the damages and costs to Russia without fundamentally altering the war’s outcome.
In The Back Pages: BDS Isn’t the Problem, Harvard Is
→ The FBI conducted 3.4 million warrantless searches into the communications data of U.S. citizens last year—almost triple the number from the previous year, according to a report released Friday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The searches were technically authorized under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a legal loophole that allows government agencies to spy on Americans as long as the collection, which would otherwise be unconstitutional, occurs “incidentally” while they are attempting to target non-U.S. citizens. The vast scope of information on Americans being acquired through this method of “bulk data collection” was one of the key revelations of the 2013 leaks from Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the National Security Agency.
→ Reflecting a broader political shift among working class voters of all races, Hispanic voters’ concern about inflation, which they ranked as their top worry in an Axios-Ipsos poll from March, is driving them away from the Democratic Party. In a Quinnipiac University poll from April, Hispanics were more negative toward President Biden than any other demographic group with only 26% of Hispanic voters expressing approval of his job performance. That’s a bad omen for the Democratic Party, which relies on support from Hispanics to win races and had already seen it slipping before inflation shot up. A Reuters article published Tuesday that reported on the phenomenon notes that “Four of the top 15 congressional targets for Republicans are races with heavy Mexican-American populations.”
→ In an interview on Sunday on Italian television, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov argued that Adolf Hitler was partially Jewish—not a popular theory with Israeli officials. “The aim of such lies is to blame the Jews themselves for the most terrible crimes in history that were committed against them,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Tuesday in a statement. Lavrov’s claim that Hitler is Jewish—a well known antisemitic conspiracy theory—is part of Russia’s ongoing efforts to frame its invasion of Ukraine as a program of “denazification.” The routine assertion in Russian propaganda that Ukraine is overrun with Nazis would seem to stumble on the reality that Ukraine’s prime minister, Volodymyr Zelensky, is Jewish, as are other top political officials in the country. But Russia’s leaders, ever the experts on Jews, can explain that. “That means nothing,” Lavrov told his Italian interlocutor about Zelensky’s Jewishness. “Wise Jewish people say that the most ardent antisemites are usually Jews."
→ Apple is running into more trouble with European regulators. On Monday morning, European Union (EU) officials charged the company with violating antitrust laws by banning PayPal and other instant payment services from being used in the Apple App Store. Announcing the charges, Margrethe Vestager, a Danish politician currently serving as executive vice president of the European Commission, alleged “that Apple restricted third-party access to key technology necessary to develop rival mobile wallet solutions on Apple’s devices.” The charges might result in a fine of up to 10% of the company’s global revenue, signaling the EU’s continued effort to crack down on Big Tech. In late March, Vestager led the EU in passing the Digital Markets Act, a series of laws aimed at curbing Big Tech’s monopolistic control of user data and its ability to stymie competition. The Digital Markets Act also requires social media companies to police speech and content on their platforms more aggressively.
→ The legends of the Ghost of Kyiv, a solitary Ukrainian jet fighter circling the skies and shooting down 6—no 10—no 40—Russian jet fighters, turn out to be myth. Last weekend, Ukrainian officials acknowledged the truth. “The ghost of Kyiv is a superhero-legend, whose character was created by Ukrainians!” Ukraine’s Air Force Command wrote in a Facebook post. Since the heroic Ghost of Kyiv was first celebrated on social media by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense in late February, tens of thousands of people have taken to Twitter to celebrate this brave Ukrainian fighter. Some, to be sure, were aware that the Ghost of Ukraine was leading more of a PR coup than a military one but then there were people like Rep. Adam Kinziger (R-Ill.), whose Twitter bio boasts of his love for “calling out conspiracy theories, early and often,” who fell for the overt wartime propaganda.
Jon Noble🦾🟩 - 🇺🇦Stand with Ukraine🇺🇦 @CheckCanopyThroughout the conflict in Ukraine seen today, there is one Ukrainian MiG-29 Fighter Jet that is soaring through the skies of Kyiv, this single fighter jet has already earned itself an alias, the 'Ghost of Kyiv', and has already downed SIX Russian aircraft.#ghostofkyiv #Ukraine https://t.co/EnKB1pMRfl
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→ Thankfully we have the new government office of disinformation to keep us safe.
→ A Biden administration policy mandating that all migrants crossing into the U.S. receive a COVID-19 vaccination has been carried out unevenly, if at all. The policy was originally announced in March, just before the Biden administration repealed Title 42, an emergency declaration enacted by President Trump that, citing the risk of “communicable diseases” like COVID-19, allowed the United States to deport migrants and asylum seekers without immigration hearings. Biden’s vaccination requirement was supposed to give all adults coming across the border a clear choice: a jab or deportation. After Title 42 was repealed, and with record-high numbers of asylum seekers arriving at the U.S. border, the policy was all but ignored. “We’re getting steamrolled out here by thousands [of people crossing the border],” one Border Patrol officer said. “No, we are not vaccinating people.” The Biden administration now appears to be phasing out the vaccine requirement altogether, quietly telling Border Patrol officials to exempt migrants from Mexico, Guatemala, and Haiti from the policy
→ A wild turkey is terrorizing Washington, D.C., stalking the streets of our capital and scratching at the ankles of our civil servants. “There is a terror turkey stalking a river trail,” said Dan Rauch, a D.C. Department of Energy & Environment wildlife biologist who is on the team trying to capture the wayward bird. “If I hadn’t seen the videos myself, I would have thought it was an urban myth.” A task force consisting of members from six federal agencies is trying to capture the bird, according to the National Parks Service’s “Turkey Interview Talking Points,” a draft of which was obtained by The Wall Street Journal. Wild turkeys, almost extinct a century ago, are now making a comeback, with 7 million estimated to be roaming nationwide. As for this D.C. turkey’s motivations? Its politics and affiliations remain unknown.
Liel Leibovitz Explains Why BDS Isn’t the Problem, Harvard Is
Oh no! The editorial board over at The Crimson, Harvard’s student-run newspaper, just endorsed BDS! Quick, let’s start a campaign to write letters and convince people that if you only study the facts you understand indisputably that actually Israel has a right to …
Stop it. Just stop it. Stop pretending like any of this is real. It’s not: What we’re seeing here isn’t a conscientious decision by intrepid young intellectuals that requires equal or greater reaction in order to triumph in the hallowed jousting match that is the war of ideas. What we’re seeing here is a bunch of junior apparatchiks-in-training acting out a decade-old playbook, putting up a piece of performance theater that is crucial to finding later employment in the Borg that now runs this country. Harvard, the U.S. government, the Democratic Party, the media—these are not separate and meaningful institutions that can be redeemed or reformed or addressed. They’re a Jew-hating blob, and they only bother with their odorous little performances, like the one currently unfurling in Cambridge, because they know they can rely on some not-too-smart Yidden to get angry enough and rush into what they believe is a “debate” but is really much more of an auto-da-fe. In other words, put bluntly, what we’re seeing right now in Harvard is what we’re always seeing in Harvard, namely a bunch of slimy twerps twerking for attention, advertising to their older and more moneyed kinfolk that they’re ready for the hiring.
If you’re Jewish and have self-respect—not at all an obvious correlation these days—there’s only one thing you should be doing: leave. Leave right now. Walk away and don’t look back. Study Gemara. Read the Tanya. Polish your Hebrew. Go volunteer at the Jewish old age home down the street. Do something that’s meaningful, and sustainable, and Jewish, instead of investing in institutions that have made a clear and irreversible decision to hate you. Do it now and save yourself. Don’t, and you’ll forever be tied to the inquisitor’s pole, allowed the privilege of explaining precisely why it is that you believe you should be awarded the same liberties and dignities as other human beings.
Merely walking out is not enough for you? Groovy! Harvard announced last week that it will set aside $100 million of its $42 billion endowment to atone for its links to the institution of slavery. Baruch HaShem! Now that Harvard has decided reparations are the way to go, we’d like a little bit of that as well, please. Why? Because Harvard aided and abetted the Holocaust by training some of the people most influential in shaping Nazi ideas and practices. Like Lothrop Stoddard (Ph.D., 1914), who, after penning the unimprovably titled The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy, traveled to Germany to lend his Harvard-accredited renown to Hitler’s eugenic courts. The Nazi eugenics practices, he wrote from the Hereditary Health Court in Charlottenburg, were, if anything, too lax, and that the Nuremberg laws succeeded in “weeding out the worst strains in the Germanic stock in a scientific and truly humanitarian way.”
Those, by the way, would be the laws inspired in part by one Charles B. Davenport, Harvard professor of zoology, who maintained his support for Nazi genocidal policies long after the full impact of their monstrosity became evident, and wrote a loving contribution in a publication feting Otto Reche, the Nazi scientist who openly and enthusiastically promoted the extermination of races he deemed inferior.
The list goes on: Ernst Hanfstaengl, Hitler’s confidant and an ardent Nazi who watched the Reichstag burn from Hermann Goering’s house, was warmly welcomed in his 1934 Harvard reunion, where he regaled attendees with stories of how he helped compose Hitler Youth marching songs modeled after the chants he’d heard on the football field of his good old alma mater. Another touching reunion of Harvard and its Nazi pals took place two years later, when the university sent an official delegation to the University of Heidelberg, which, at that point, was no longer permitting any Jews.
None of this should be surprising to any student of Harvard’s history. Its famed president, Abbott Lawrence Lowell, pioneered the effort to establish a direct quota on the number of Jews, who, in 1922, made up nearly a quarter of all Harvard students.
“The anti-Semitic feeling among students is increasing, and it grows in proportion to the increase in the number of Jews,” Lowell wrote in a letter to a fellow Harvard alum that year. “If [the] number [of Jews] should become 40 percent of the student body, the race feeling would become intense. If every college in the country would take a limited proportion of Jews, I suspect we should go a long way toward eliminating race feeling among students.”
Over at Harvard, in other words, it’s Jew-hating business as usual. Sue it for reparations, pull your money and your kids away, and walk out. Any other engagement is a comical waste of your time.