Tuesday, January 18, 2022
Tuesday, January 18, 2022
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Daily Briefing: WEDNESDAY’S “NEWS OF THE WEEK IN REVIEW” (January 5, 2022)


One of the casualties of the extreme ideological divisions characterizing contemporary politics has been the decline of public respect for major media, recently estimated at under 40%, and sinking. This week’s unusual format of our “Media-ocrity” section expresses a striking fact. Over the New Year’s weekend, the Toronto Globe and Mail, sometimes called Canada’s “paper of record,” presented a highly distorted and unrelievedly dark picture in a series of overlapping and reinforcing news, opinion, and editorial pieces of American society and politics.These pieces argued that the United States is clearly on the verge of a profound right-ward authoritarian shift associated with Donald J. Trump and his supporters.  They say that the so-called “insurrection” of January 6 expresses divisions indicating growing authoritarianism and quite possibly leading to civil war.

Now what is remarkable and deplorable, and even irresponsible, is not the concern with January 6 per se, a demonstration turned riot the excesses of which any rational person committed to democratic values should rightly deplore. It is, instead, the hysterical, and for the most part factually unsupported, nature of the paper’s concerted partisan journalism, which is deeply concerning. However, this heavy-handed spin distorts the reality it seeks to explain. It ignores the fact that not a single participant in the so-called “revolutionary attack” on January 6 was armed, nor has a single person of the over 700 so far arrested—most of whom continue to languish in jail, some in solitary–been charged with treason or sedition.

And despite repeated use of adjectives like “bloody” and “deadly,” the only person killed in the riot was Ashley Babbitt, a young demonstrator and military veteran shot dead without warning by a Capitol policeman.  Equally shocking in this condemnatory array is the absence of a single article viewing the affair, and its possible causes and consequences, differently. There is a large, rich, and easily accessible literature on this matter. Much informed (and not only conservative) opinion argues that terming this event, however rowdy and even deplorably violent some of its participants were, an” insurrection” or “revolutionary,” is wholly unwarranted. And further, attributing it to a conscious attempt or plot on President Trump’s part physically to overthrow the government is absurd.

Abraham Lincoln said there usually were three sides to most disputes—my side, your side, and the truth–an aphorism once taught in journalism schools. Once upon a time, aspiring reporters were taught that truth-seeking, based on careful evaluation of evidence–who, what, where, when, how, and above all, why – was the basis of journalism.

Students were taught, and great newspapers and media understood that not only informing but enlightening, the public was journalism’s highest goal and ultimate raison d’être. This key value is why the American Founders emphasized the First Amendment, freedom of speech as essential to journalism, education, and an informed public. Without this commitment, democracy and the whole Constitutional structure is threatened.

The Globe and Mail‘s editors are entitled to their opinions, not to a Pravda-like abuse of trust in the name of sheer propaganda. If all we get in the news is opinion at this crucial historical juncture on so vital a question as “whither America” is an uncritical and distorted ideological presentation, then the paper is failing its readers. So please read the following selections, and tell us what you think.—Ed.

Jan. 6 Committee Prepares to Go Public as Findings Mount:  Mary Clare Jalonick, The Globe and Mail, Jan. 2, 2022

“The full picture is coming to light, despite President Trump’s ongoing efforts to hide the picture,” said Wyoming representative Liz Cheyney, the [House Jan.6 investigative committee’s vice-chairman and one of its two Republican members].. . . [The Committee] is fleshing out critical details of the worst attack on the Capitol in two centuries. . . True accounting may be fleeting. . . even as [it] works Mr. Trump and his allies continue to push lies about election fraud’. . . “I think that the challenge that we face is that the attacks on our democracy are continuing—they didn’t come to an end on Jan. 6,” said another panel member, California Democrat representative Adam Schiff, also chairman of the House intelligence committee.”

Canadians Must Prepare for A Future In Which The U.S. Is No Longer Our Ally and Friend: John Ibbitson, Globe and Mail, Jan. 3, 2022

“If the next Presidential election reveals the United States is hurling toward instability and even violence, what can Canada do? … What would NORAD or NATO look like in a world in which the United States is internally divided to the point of instability? To what extent could multilateral organizations such as the World Trade Organization and the World Health Organization function without American participation? These questions are stomach-turning. But better to face them than to watch passively. We need to bolster our military and protect our borders, especially in the North. . . A future in which the United States is no longer a stable democracy is not a future any of us want to face. But we may have little choice.”

2022 is the Year America Falls Off a Cliff. How will Canada Hang On? Stephen Marche, Globe and Mail, Jan. 2, 2022

“The question facing those who care about the United States is how, not if, the republic will end. … Canadians must prepare for this eventuality, and the chaos it will bring … America has sown the wind. The whirlwind is rising. Nobody wants to face the inevitable fallout, least of all America’s neighbours and allies. …At least one former general has already called for a Myanmar-style coup … every political leader should prepare for American chaos—at the border, in the markets, in international institutions, in the spillover of their toxic political discourse. … Confederation began during the first U.S. Civil War. The next civil war will require as much vision and fortitude on the part of the Canadian leaders as the first. …”

No Matter What, The Capitol Hill Insurrection Will Be an Inflection Point in U.S. History David Scribman, Globe and Mail, Jan. 2, 2022

“We know that Donald Trump did not accept that he lost the 2020 election. We know that the White House was the apparent base-camp of a conspiracy to overturn the election results. We know that on Jan.6 the 45th American President gave an incendiary speech that roused his supporters. . .a mob. . . [which] ransack[e] the symbolic center of American democracy. . . If the capitol siege was a one-time event, it will be regarded as a stain on the country’s history [but] if instead it is a warning of rebellions to come, it will be remembered as a 21st-century update of Thomas Jefferson’s. . .’firebell in the night’. . . the current strife sets the educated against the less educated, and the urban against the rural, creating a genuine feud of cultures and outlooks.. . . ‘The Jan.6 uprising [Dr. Lester Spence, a Johns Hopkins U. political scientist] argued, was an attempt to overthrow the government that was generated by a former president.. . . ‘.”

The American Polity is Cracked, and Might Collapse. Canada Must Prepare Thomas Homer Dixon, Globe and Mail, Dec. 31, 2021

“By 2025, American democracy could collapse, causing extreme domestic instability, including widespread civil violence. By 2030, if not sooner, the country could be governed by a right-wing dictatorship. . . Leading American academics are now actively addressing the prospect of a fatal weakening of U.S. democracy. . . the country is becoming increasingly ungovernable, and some experts believe it could descend into civil war. How should Canada prepare? … the political right and left are isolated from, and increasingly despise, each other. Both believe the stakes are existential—that the other is out to destroy the country they love. The moderate political center is fast vanishing. And, oh yes, the population is armed to the teeth, with somewhere around 300 million firearms in the hands of civilians. … Some diagnoses…imply the two sides are equally responsible for [the] crisis. They aren’t. … blame lies disproportionately on the political right … demagogues on the right are pushing the radicalization process further that ever before. By weaponizing people’s fear and anger Mr Trump [and acolytes like] Fox‘s Tucker Carlson. . . have captured the GOP and transformed it into a near-fascist personality cult that’s a perfect instrument for wrecking democracy.

And it’s not inaccurate to use the F word. As conservative commentator David Frum argues, Trumpism increasingly resembles European fascism in its contempt for the rule of law and glorification of violence. . .At the heart of the ideological narrative of right-wing U.S. right-wing demagogues. . . is the implication that large segments of the country’s population—mainly the non-white, non-Christian, and educated urban ones—aren’t really equal citizens. They aren’t quite full Americans, or even real Americans. . .A crucial factor determining how much constraint {a re-elected and dictatorial Trump] faces will be the response of the U.S. military. In a second Trump Administration, the bulwark [represented by the Joint Chiefs of Staff under General Milley] could crumble. [Appointing lackeys and sycophants, Trump could] bend it to his will. . . A terrible storm is coming from the south, and Canada is woefully unprepared. …”

With Donald Trump Lurking, is the U.S. Sleepwalking toward Calamity?:  Editorial Board, Globe and Mail, Jan. 3, 2022

“. . .the most dangerous force in the world going into 2002 might not be in Beijing or in Moscow, but in the United States. Its name is Trumpism. … His lowered profile, and the return to a kind of adult normalcy in the form of President Joe Biden and his administration, has made a lot of people happily forget [Trump] the naked self-dealer in office. … [But] he has taken aim at the entire American constitutional order [and] he’s been so effective at spreading the big lie [about his 2020 election victory being stolen] that three retired generals write an op-ed in the Washington Post in December warning that if he … loses the 2024 election, insurrectionist forces within the U.S. military could stage a coup. ….[Win or lose, Trump] could throw the U.S. into an extended period of unrest [and] open the door for China and Russia to be even more aggressive. The U.S. is sleepwalking toward calamity, one that could take the rest of the world with it.”

                                       WEEKLY QUOTES

“The continuation of these Israeli measures will lead to an explosion of the situation.” – PA President Mahmoud Abbas to Russian President Vladimir Putin.  According to Wafa, Abbas blames Israeli “unilateral measures such as settlements, confiscation of land, demolishing homes, expelling Palestinians from Jerusalem, abusing prisoners,” for this possible explosion of violence. (JNS, Dec. 31, 2021)

“The reopening of the American Consulate in Jerusalem is the most important issue for the Palestinians. We are focusing on the consulate because we want an American address that will take care of Palestinian affairs and form the nucleus of an American embassy in Palestine and express the recognition that Jerusalem is occupied Arab land.” —   Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh after meeting with activists in Tulkarm.  (Jewish Press, Dec. 28, 2021)

“Israel is a racist European ethnostate built on stolen land from its indigenous population!” — Hussain Altamimi, a staffer for “Squad” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,D-N.Y.  (Fox News, Jan. 1, 2021)

“We ask everyone to stop filming/sharing footage of the firing of rockets towards the Zionist state because it will negatively affect our resistance. Not sharing will stop [Israel’s] ability to pinpoint where the rockets are being fired from. We are all responsible.” — Yasmeen Mashayekh, a 21-year-old Palestinian University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering student and mentor. Mashayekh is a “diversity, equity, and inclusion senator” for the Viterbi Graduate Student Association. (United With Israel, Dec. 30, 2021)

“There is a special place in hell for people like that who promote antisemitism… he deserves to be praised for the good that he did but he must be condemned for the evil that he perpetrated on the world.”  — constitutional lawyer Alan Dershowitz on the late Desmond Tutu’s blatant antisemitism speaking on Rob Schmitt Tonight.  (YouTube, Dec. 29, 2021)

“I think that it is time for some careful thinking about what wins elections, and not just in deep blue districts where a Democrat and a Liberal Democrat or so-called Progressive Democrat is going to win.” — Hillary Clinton to MSNBC‘s Willie Geist, possibly positioning herself for yet another Presidential run.  (Political Flare, Dec. 30, 2021)

“Jan. 6 is not in the past; it is every day.  It is regular citizens who threaten election officials and other public servants who ask, “When can we use the guns?” and who vow to murder politicians who dare to vote their conscience. It is Republican lawmakers scrambling to make it harder for people to vote and easier to subvert their will if they do. It is Donald Trump who continues to stoke the flames of conflict with his rampant lies and limitless resentments and whose twisted version of reality still dominates one of the nation’s two major political parties.”NY Times Editorial Board on the January 6th “insurrection.”  (NY Times, Jan. 1, 2021)


ISRAEL STRIKES HAMAS TARGETS AFTER ROCKETS FROM GAZA EXPLODE OFF TEL AVIV COAST (Gaza) — The Israeli Air Force struck a rocket manufacturing site and military posts belonging to Hamas, after two rockets fired from the Gaza Strip landed off the Tel Aviv coast on Saturday morning. Hamas claimed that the rockets went off inadvertently due to bad weather conditions.  (Algemeiner, Jan. 2, 2022)

SYRIAN TV REPORTS ISRAELI MISSILE ATTACK ON LATAKIA PORT (Syria) — Syrian television reported that the Israeli Air Force had attacked the port of Latakia in western Syria.  The attack was “astonishingly precise,” according to The War Zone. The Syrian defense responded with anti-aircraft fire.  A Syrian TV reporter said there was a fire in several containers following the attack and extensive damage to buildings in the area. (Jewish Press, Dec. 28, 2021; JNS, Dec. 30, 2021)

ISRAEL CONDEMNS KIEV TORCHLIGHT CELEBRATION OF UKRAINIAN NAZI COLLABORATOR (Jerusalem) — The Israeli embassy in Kiev condemned a torchlight march of Ukrainian nationalists who celebrated the birthday of Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera. Andriy Tarasenko, leader of the nationalist party Right Sector, said, “Today, when there is a war with the occupier [Russia] at the front, and the struggle against the ‘fifth column continues in the rear, we remember and honor the memory of Stepan Bandera.” (Jewish Press, Jan. 2, 2022)

ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE: IRAN 6 WEEKS AWAY FROM NUCLEAR DEVICE(Tehran) — According to the Israeli defense establishment, Iran has shortened the time to six to eight weeks for producing enough enriched uranium to produce a nuclear bomb.  (Jewish Press, Dec. 30, 2021)

IRANIAN-MADE UAVS ARE IN VENEZUELA, 1,200 MILES FROM MIAMI’S SKYSCRAPERS, EXPERT REVEALS (Tehran) — Iranian-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are stationed in Venezuela, some 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles) from Miami, a new report by the Alma Center, a defense watchdog in Israel, concludes.  (Jewish Press, Dec. 30, 2021)

IRAN VOWS REVENGE FOR SOLEIMANI KILLING IF TRUMP NOT PUT ON TRIAL (Tehran). Former U.S. President Donald Trump must face trial for Qassem Soleimani’s killing, or Tehran will take “a martyr’s revenge,” said Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.  He spoke on the second anniversary of General Qassem Soleimani’s assassination. Soleimani was the commander of the Quds Force, the overseas arm of the elite Revolutionary Guards. He was killed on Jan. 3, 2020 in Iraq, in a drone attack ordered by then-President Trump. (Reuters, Jan. 3, 2022)

MIDDLE EAST FORUM LAUNCHES COUNTER-ISLAMIST MEDIA PLATFORM(Philadelphia) — The Middle East Forum just launched an ambitious new counter-Islamist media platform, Focus on Western Islamism (FWI), to provide a hub for a range of activities, including research, reporting, investigation, and analysis. (Middle East Forum, Jan. 1, 2022)

FRANCE CLOSES MOSQUE ACCUSED OF INCITING VIOLENCE AGAINST JEWS, CHRISTIANS (Beauvais) — France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin announced that the government was closing the mosque in Beauvais due to its “unacceptable” sermons, “apology of jihad,” and incitement targeting “Christians, homosexuals, and Jews.” Darmanin said the mosque also regularly hosted a speaker who “acts as a regular imam” and reportedly made remarks that “glorify jihad and the fighters, whom he describes as heroes.” (JNS, Dec. 30, 2021)

WATCH: Israel’s ‘Special’ Soldiers Defend the Jewish State United With Israel, Jan. 2, 2022Despite their “special needs,” these Israelis give an “extra special’ contribution to the defense and protection of the State of Israel.

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