Tag Archives: Dale Yeager blog

The Heart of Darkness: The Sexual Predators Within America’s Power Elite

Hollywood Child Abuse

“As political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends compensating to increase. And the dictator (unless he needs cannon fodder and families with which to colonize empty or conquered territories) will do well to encourage that freedom.”—Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Power corrupts.

Anyone who believes differently hasn’t been paying attention.

Politics, religion, sports, government, entertainment, business, armed forces: it doesn’t matter what arena you’re talking about, they are all riddled with the kind of seedy, sleazy, decadent, dodgy, depraved, immoral, corrupt behavior that somehow gets a free pass when it involves the wealthy and powerful elite in America.

In this age of partisan politics and a deeply polarized populace, corruption—especially when it involves sexual debauchery, depravity and predatory behavior—has become the great equalizer.

Take Jeffrey Epstein, the hedge fund billionaire / convicted serial pedophile recently arrested on charges of molesting, raping and sex trafficking dozens of young girls.

It is believed that Epstein operated his own personal sex trafficking ring not only for his personal pleasure but also for the pleasure of his friends and business associates. According to The Washington Post, “several of the young women…say they were offered to the rich and famous as sex partners at Epstein’s parties.” At various times, Epstein ferried his friends about on his private plane, nicknamed the “Lolita Express.”

This is part of America’s seedy underbelly.

As I documented in the in-depth piece I wrote earlier this year, child sex trafficking—the buying and selling of women, young girls and boys for sex, some as young as 9 years old—has become big business in America. It is the fastest growing business in organized crime and the second most-lucrative commodity traded illegally after drugs and guns.

Adults purchase children for sex at least 2.5 million times a year in the United States.

It’s not just young girls who are vulnerable to these predators, either.

According to a 2016 investigative report, “boys make up about 36% of children caught up in the U.S. sex industry (about 60% are female and less than 5% are transgender males and females).”

Who buys a child for sex?

Otherwise ordinary men from all walks of life. “They could be your co-worker, doctor, pastor or spouse,” writes journalist Tim Swarens, who spent more than a year investigating the sex trade in America.

Ordinary men, yes.

But then there are the extra-ordinary men, such as Jeffrey Epstein, who belong to a powerful, wealthy, elite segment of society that operates according to their own rules or, rather, who are allowed to sidestep the rules that are used like a bludgeon on the rest of us.

These men skate free of accountability by taking advantage of a criminal justice system that panders to the powerful, the wealthy and the elite.

Over a decade ago, when Epstein was first charged with raping and molesting young girls, he was gifted a secret plea deal with then-U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta, President Trump’s current Labor Secretary, that allowed him to evade federal charges and be given the equivalent of a slap on the wrist: allowed to “work” at home six days a week before returning to jail to sleep. That secret plea deal has since been ruled illegal by a federal judge.

Yet here’s the thing: Epstein did not act alone.

I refer not only to Epstein’s accomplices, who recruited and groomed the young girls he is accused of raping and molesting, many of them homeless or vulnerable, but his circle of influential friends and colleagues that at one time included Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. Both Clinton and Trump, renowned womanizers who have also been accused of sexual impropriety by a significant number of women, were at one time passengers on the Lolita Express.

As the Associated Press points out, “The arrest of the billionaire financier on child sex trafficking charges is raising questions about how much his high-powered associates knew about the hedge fund manager’s interactions with underage girls, and whether they turned a blind eye to potentially illegal conduct.”

In fact, a recent decision by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals allowing a 2,000-page document linked to the Epstein case to be unsealed references allegations of sexual abuse involving “numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known Prime Minister, and other world leaders.”

This is not a minor incident involving minor players.

This is the heart of darkness.

Sex slaves. Sex trafficking. Secret societies. Powerful elites. Government corruption. Judicial cover-ups.

Once again, fact and fiction mirror each other.

Twenty years ago, Stanley Kubrick’s final film Eyes Wide Shut provided viewing audiences with a sordid glimpse into a secret sex society that indulged the basest urges of its affluent members while preying on vulnerable young women. It is not so different from the real world, where powerful men, insulated from accountability, indulge their base urges.

These secret societies flourish, implied Kubrick, because the rest of us are content to navigate life with our eyes wide shut, in denial about the ugly, obvious truths in our midst.

In so doing, we become accomplices to abusive behavior in our midst.

This is how corruption by the power elite flourishes.

For every Epstein who is—finally—called to account for his illegal sexual exploits after years of being given a free pass by those in power, there are hundreds (perhaps thousands) more in the halls of power and wealth whose predation of those most vulnerable among us continues unabated.

While Epstein’s alleged crimes are heinous enough on their own, he is part of a larger narrative of how a culture of entitlement becomes a cesspool and a breeding ground for despots and predators.

Remember the “DC Madam” who was charged with operating a phone-order sex business? Her clients included thousands of White House officials, lobbyists, and Pentagon, FBI, and IRS employees, as well as prominent lawyers, none of whom were ever exposed or held accountable.

Power corrupts.

Worse, as 19th-century historian Lord Acton concluded, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about a politician, an entertainment mogul, a corporate CEO or a police officer: give any one person (or government agency) too much power and allow him or her or it to believe that they are entitled, untouchable and will not be held accountable for their actions, and those powers will eventually be abused.

We’re seeing this dynamic play out every day in communities across America.

Abuse of power—and the ambition-fueled hypocrisy and deliberate disregard for misconduct that make those abuses possible—works the same whether you’re talking about sex crimes, government corruption, or the rule of law.

It’s the same old story all over again: man rises to power, man abuses power abominably, man intimidates and threatens anyone who challenges him with retaliation or worse, and man gets away with it because of a culture of compliance in which no one speaks up because they don’t want to lose their job or their money or their place among the elite.

It’s not just sexual predators that we have to worry about.

For every Jeffrey Epstein (or Bill Clinton or Harvey Weinstein or Roger Ailes or Bill Cosby or Donald Trump) who eventually gets called out for his sexual misbehavior, there are hundreds—thousands—of others in the American police state who are getting away with murder—in many cases, literally—simply because they can.

Unless something changes in the way we deal with these ongoing, egregious abuses of power, the predators of the police state will continue to wreak havoc on our freedoms, our communities, and our lives.

And powerful men (and women) will continue to abuse the powers of their office by treating those around them as underlings and second-class citizens who are unworthy of dignity and respect and undeserving of the legal rights and protections that should be afforded to all Americans.

As Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at the at the University of California, Berkeley, observed in the Harvard Business Review, “While people usually gain power through traits and actions that advance the interests of others, such as empathy, collaboration, openness, fairness, and sharing; when they start to feel powerful or enjoy a position of privilege, those qualities begin to fade. The powerful are more likely than other people to engage in rude, selfish, and unethical behavior.”

After conducting a series of experiments into the phenomenon of how power corrupts, Keltner concluded: “Just the random assignment of power, and all kinds of mischief ensues, and people will become impulsive. They eat more resources than is their fair share. They take more money. People become more unethical.They think unethical behavior is okay if they engage in it. People are more likely to stereotype. They’re more likely to stop attending to other people carefully.”

Power corrupts.

And absolute power corrupts absolutely.

However, it takes a culture of entitlement and a nation of compliant, willfully ignorant, politically divided citizens to provide the foundations of tyranny.

As researchers Joris Lammers and Adam Galinsky found, those in power not only tend to abuse that power but they also feel entitled to abuse it: “People with power that they think is justified break rules not only because they can get away with it, but also because they feel at some intuitive level that they are entitled to take what they want.”

We need to restore the rule of law for all people, no exceptions.

Here’s what the rule of law means in a nutshell: it means that everyone is treated the same under the law, everyone is held equally accountable to abiding by the law, and no one is given a free pass based on their politics, their connections, their wealth, their status or any other bright line test used to confer special treatment on the elite.

This culture of compliance must stop.

The empowerment of petty tyrants and political gods must end.

The state of denial must cease.

Let’s not allow this Epstein sex scandal to become just another blip in the news cycle that goes away all too soon, only to be forgotten when another titillating news headline takes its place.

Sex trafficking, like so many of the evils in our midst, is a cultural disease that is rooted in the American police state’s heart of darkness. It speaks to a far-reaching corruption that stretches from the highest seats of power down to the most hidden corners and relies on our silence and our complicity to turn a blind eye to wrongdoing.

If we want to put an end to these wrongs, we must keep our eyes wide open.

By John W. Whitehead

Terror watch: Shame on Antifa’s Apologists

Nazi KKK Antifa

The hard left’s ideology isn’t popular at the ballot box, “so they must resort to caustic measures of their own to literally beat the right,” warns Raheem Kassam at Human Events.

Witness the group Antifa, which over the weekend physically assaulted the journalist Andy Ngo in Portland, Ore., sending him to the hospital.

Despite Antifa’s history of violence, “Democratic candidates, their fellow travelers in the media and international politicians of the left have long attempted to defend” the group — from former Rep. Keith Ellison, “who endorsed the Antifa handbook which encourages ‘militant’ behavior,” to CNN’s Don Lemon and The Nation magazine’s Natasha Lennard, who’ve both offered apologia.

“Given what happened to Ngo,” writes Kassam, “it is time they were all shamed.”

The Truth About Hate Crimes At Universities

Truth Hate Crimes in the U.S.

Groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center make headlines by claiming hate crimes have surged since Trump’s election, but the real surge is in hate hoaxes, especially among college students.

The day after the 2016 election, Eleesha Long, a student at Bowling Green State University, also in Ohio, said she was attacked by white Trump supporters, who threw rocks at her. Police concluded that she had fabricated the story.

That same day, Kathy Mirah Tu, a University of Minnesota student, claimed in a viral social-media post that she’d been detained by police after she fought a racist man who had attacked her. Campus and local police said that they had had no contact with her.

Again that day, a Muslim student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette made up a story about being attacked and robbed by Trump supporters, who supposedly ripped off her hijab. For weeks after Trump’s election, America was fed a series of outrageous stories of campus race-hatred that fell apart upon examination.

This hate-hoax trend has continued unabated since. In May 2017, mass “anti-racism” protests roiled St. Olaf College in Minnesota, causing classes to be canceled. Authorities discovered that Samantha Wells, a black student activist, had left a racist threat — on her own car.

In September of that year, five black students at the US Air Force Academy Preparatory School found racial slurs written on their doors. An investigation later found that one of the students targeted was responsible for the vandalism.

In November 2018, students at Goucher College in Maryland demanded social-justice training and safe spaces after “I’m gonna kill all [n - - - - s]” was discovered written in a dorm bathroom. Fynn Arthur, a black student, was responsible for the hoax.

That same month, thousands of students at Drake University in Iowa protested after racist notes turned up on campus. Kissie Ram, an Indian-American student, admitted to targeting herself and others in the hoax. She later pled guilty to making a false report to a public entity.

And there are dozens of other examples. They all point to a sickness in American society, with our institutions of higher education too often doubling as “hate-hoax mills,” encouraged by a bloated grievance industry in the form of diversity administrators.

At Oberlin, in particular, this problem precedes the Trump era. In 2013, students at the elite liberal-arts college panicked after someone reported seeing a person in a Ku Klux Klan robe on campus. The administration canceled all classes for the day.

The phantom klansman was never found, though police did find someone wrapped in a blanket. This overreaction was preceded by a month-long spate of racist, anti-Semitic and anti-gay posters around campus. These, too, were found to be hoaxes.

Obsessed with identity, privilege and oppression, our institutions of higher education increasingly promote a paranoid climate of perpetual crisis. Is it surprising, then, that young men and women caught in this hothouse environment would ­respond to an incentive structure that rewards manufactured victimhood?

Andy Ngo

8 Things to Know About Travel Insurance

Travel SERAPH

Will you regret not buying travel insurance? Sometimes costly and often confusing, travel insurance coverage might seem like a trip-planning technicality that’s all too easy to ignore. But Murphy’s law is Murphy’s law, and a good policy could afford you priceless peace of mind. Below are a few things to know about travel insurance before you purchase coverage, including which policies might work best for your type of trip, which policies could be completely useless, and how to shop for the best plan.

You Might Need It

Is travel insurance worth it? That’s the big question for any traveler considering travel insurance. Here’s my general rule: If you’re taking a long, expensive, or ambitious trip to a far-flung destination, travel insurance could be a smart choice. If a natural disaster or sudden illness were to ruin your travel plans, would you lose a great deal of money? Is this the trip of a lifetime? Have you been saving for this getaway for years? Are you traveling to a place with poor local healthcare facilities? Are your accommodations and plane tickets costly and nonrefundable? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you’d do well to seriously consider a plan.

Policies generally cost 5 to 15 percent of the total cost of a trip, depending on the age of the traveler, the level of coverage, and your trip details. If a good policy fits within your budget, it certainly can’t hurt to guard your health and your wallet against calamity.

Your Homeowner’s or Renter’s Insurance Might Offer Sufficient Coverage

If it’s simply your valuables you’re worried about, travel insurance might not be your best bet. Although many travel insurance policies include coverage of stolen or lost items, your belongings may already be covered by homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.

Most homeowner’s and renter’s policies will cover your belongings even if they’re off premises, though you may be limited to 10 percent of the total value of your coverage. If you have a policy like this, travel insurance policies that include coverage for baggage or personal items could be unnecessary. Consumer advocate and SmarterTravel contributor Ed Perkins advises, “Buying a bundled policy is clearly overkill if you just want property coverage.”

Your Credit Card Might Be Enough

Check your credit card’s travel protections, too. According to Ed Perkins, “Several premium credit cards include baggage coverage, provided you pay the entire trip cost with the card. The American Express Green Card, for example, covers replacement cost, not just depreciated cost, and it even covers up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage. This is a no-charge extra. Many Mastercard and Visa credit cards also offer similar benefits, depending on the issuing bank.”

Trip Cancellation Insurance Only Covers Select Reasons

Trip cancellation insurance is a good coverage option when you’ve paid a substantial amount of money for a getaway and wouldn’t be able to comfortably absorb the financial loss if your trip fell through. If things don’t work out, you’ll at least get your nonrefundable, prepaid travel costs back.

It’s important to note, though, that you’ll only get a payout if your travel plans are canceled for reasons listed in the policy. For example, the OneTrip Cancellation Plus plan from Allianz Travelcovers trips canceled for a range of reasons, including illness or injury to you or a travel companion, the loss of your job, and a natural disaster that prevents you from getting to your destination. Not on the list? If your family member has a baby, if you get a new job voluntarily and can no longer take the time off for vacation, or if your pet falls ill.

You can protect yourself against any conceivable reason for cancellation with a cancel-for-any-reason policy.

Read the Fine Print

This one’s a given, but it’s one of the ultra-important things to know about travel insurance: Read the fine print. In the unlikely event that you’ll have to use your travel insurance policy, you want nothing to come as a surprise. For example, depending on the policy, hurricane coverage doesn’t apply if you buy the insurance after the storm in question has been named; that’s a bit of (seemingly arbitrary) fine print that could essentially nullify a policy purchased too late. Take the time to read the details of your plan and become familiar with the documentation you might need when submitting a claim. Take note of coverage limits and exclusions.

Many travel insurance plans come with a review period; this is a grace period during which you can look over your policy and make adjustments.

You Might Be Covered Under Your Current Health Plan

Check your health insurance policy to see whether you’re covered for medical care in a foreign country. Some plans offer full coverage abroad; others offer spotty coverage; and still others, such as Medicare and Medicaid, don’t provide much medical coverage outside of the U.S. at all.

If you lack adequate medical coverage overseas, consider a travel insurance policy with primary or secondary medical coverage. A primary policy will function as your go-to coverage in the event of accident or illness, whereas a secondary plan can be used as a backup to a health insurance policy that offers limited overseas coverage.

An Evacuation Plan Could Be a Good Idea

Various firms offer Travel Safety Planning and training such as SERAPH. Some insurance plans are evacuation plans; that is, in the event you need medical care, your insurance provider will pay for the costs of getting you to a hospital. If you suffer a serious illness or accident while abroad in a remote location, the most expensive component of treatment will likely be evacuation. Depending on where you are, it could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to fly you to a hospital or your home country for emergency treatment; an evacuation plan will cover these costs.

There are two things you should know about this benefit: First, evacuation policies may only cover the costs of transportation to the hospital—not your medical expenses. Second, you may not be able to choose your hospital. While some policies offer a “hospital of choice” option that allows you to pick a preferred hospital, others don’t and will simply take you to the nearest facility deemed appropriate by the insurance company. As always, read the fine print.

Aggregator Sites Can Help You Shop

An easy way to compare plans when shopping for insurance is to use an online agency that functions as an aggregator. On such sites, you’ll enter details about yourself and your trip and get a results list of suggested policies. Check out sites like InsureMyTrip and Squaremouth, both of which allow users to perform side-by-side comparisons of different travel insurance plans and to read customer reviews.

CAROLINE COSTELLO

PARENT ALERT: Teen Vogue Pushes 13 year old Prostitutes

PARENT ALERT: Teen Vogue Pushes 13 year old Prostitute

Teen Vogue, the publishing world’s authority on impressionable pre- and postpubescents and the pervs who love them, has diverged from its core mission of pushing fashion and celebrity tidbits, and is urging youngsters, some as young as 13 or younger, to dump their professional goals, risk their physical, mental and moral well-being and give the exciting world of sex-selling a try.

Forget about growing up to be a doctor, a lawyer, a politician. Why bother getting an education — or even changing out of your bathrobe? Why get out of bed at all? In a deadly serious piece, a medical doctor who specializes in carnal disorders not only makes a spirited argument for the worldwide legalization of prostitution; she also seeks to remove the shame that’s long protected kids from being used.

Sex work, writes Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, the South Africa-based founder of Nalane for Reproductive Justice, can be fun, profitable, physically and spiritually satisfying — and the ultimate expression of radical (and Looney Tunes) feminism.

“I am a doctor, an expert in sexual health, but when you think about it, aren’t I a sex worker? And in some ways, aren’t we all?’’ she writes in a column titled “Why Sex Work Is Real Work.’’

She calls criminalizing prostitution a form of violence — by governments. Silly me. I thought violence is caused by, you know, pimps and buyers of human flesh.

“I believe sex work and sex-worker rights are women’s rights, health rights, labor rights and the litmus test for intersectional feminism.’’

I may not know everything about hooking, but feminism, “intersectional’’ or couch sectional, does not strike me as a valid reason for hanging on the street, the boudoir or the pole.

All over the world — people like the apparent incoming DA, the doctor, people who should know better — are, in effect, promoting prostitution. This fad has got to end.

by ANDREA PEYSER

VIDEO: Elder Abuse Rampant in U.S. Courts

Elder Abuse By U.S. Courts

How much do you value freedom? Do you believe you have a choice in how you live your life? Don’t be deceived… you could be a target.  The Deception of Protection, released today by Elder Dignity and Power Living Media, provides a primer on adult guardianship exploitation in the U.S.  Written and produced by Elder Dignity Co-Founder Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy, the 20-minute video features two of the most prominent advocates, Rick Black and Sam J. Sugar, M.D., as well as families of victims across the country. It also offers preemptive measures so you can actually protect yourself and survival tactics if you get entrapped. 

“If it’s involuntary, it’s fraudulent,” said Black, Director of the Center for Estate Administration Reform (CEAR) which advocates for victims and is working to bring forth new legislation.

Guardianship laws intended to protect the vulnerable are being used to entrap unsuspecting people to control their property. This rising crime can render you a “non-person” within days, wipe out all of your assets and even sequester you away from loved ones. It’s all under the guise of protecting you. Once you are deemed incapacitated, your life is not your own.

“Incapacity has nothing to do with a medical diagnosis. Nothing. All it is is an excuse to apply the legalistic term of incapacitated to a person who was doing just fine in society,” explained Sugar, founder of the Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship (AAAPG). 

In the United States, it is estimated that 1.5 million adults have guardians who control $273 billion in assets. The U.S. has 75 million baby boomers, 10,000 of which reach retirement age every day. We’re entering the biggest generational wealth transfer ever–$68 trillion over the next 25 years. This could be a windfall for rogue guardians causing a disaster for families and charities counting on those planned donations.

“What is freedom when it can be so easily stolen?” said Kennedy who’s aunt has be entrapped in a guardianship for eight years in Florida and sequestered away from her sister and 50+ nieces and nephews for over 1,032 days. “These vicious human rights violations are being committed through color of law and we must engage the public on this issue,” Kennedy added.

WATCH: Elderly Man Beaten With Crowbar, Another Has Head Split Open By Antifa While Trying To Help Gay Man

By AMANDA PRESTIGIACOMO 

During the violent rioting by Antifa protesters in Portland, Oregon this weekend, two men attending a “Him Too” gathering were viciously beaten by the far-left activists.

Daily Wire TVUnmutePlayCurrent Time 0:33Loaded: 100.00%Duration 0:45FullscreenMan Who Claimed To Be Substitute Teacher During Santa Fe Massacre Wasn’t There: ReportPlay Video

One of the victims, identified by commentator and journalist Michelle Malkin as John Blum, suffered a bloodied face after he was beaten with a crowbar. The other man, identified as Adam Kelly, had his head split open by criminal Antifa members, suffering a concussion; he needed 25 stitches.

Blum and Kelly were in Pioneer Courthouse Square to attend a demonstration for the “Him Too” movement, which purports to raise awareness for male sexual assault victims and men falsely accused of sex crimes. The men apparently stepped into the Antifa chaos trying to “help a gay man in a sun dress being chased down the street,” according to Malkin.

“While John was being pummeled by the mob in the center, Adam was struck in the head with nunchucks, metal water bottles, some sort of metal rod, and fists,” Malkin reported on Sunday. “John was sprayed with mace and blinded. He was led away as blood dripped down his face, then dragged to a sidewalk. Another observer notes that one of Adam’s attackers appears to wield something like a sock and padlock.”

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Joe Biggs@Rambobiggs

This man, Adam Kelly was attacked in Portland by ANTIFA the domestic terrorist organization19.5K5:27 PM – Jun 30, 2019 · Holly Hill, FL15.4K people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

Noting that the Antifa criminals were masked, as per usual, Blum told Malkin he would reveal his identity and show his face: “I’m not afraid,” he said. Kelly, too, agreed to come forward.View image on Twitter

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Michelle Malkin@michellemalkinReplying to @michellemalkin

Both John & Adam were beaten by Antifa after trying to help a gay man in a sun dress being chased down the street. While the cowards are masked, John and Adam faced the crowds openly and agreed to be named publicly. “I’m not afraid,” John told me. This is John. /f7,8159:10 PM – Jun 30, 20194,773 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

According to Human Events writer Ian Miles Cheong, Rose City Antifa, a group which helped organize the violent showing on Saturday, celebrated their violence and asked for bail money for the arrested suspects. As The Daily Wire reported on Sunday, at least three Antifa members — two females and one male in their early 20s — were cuffed and arrested for their alleged antics.

“Rose City Antifa the group of anarchist militants responsible for organizing Saturday’s protest in Portland where Andy Ngo was assaulted, has posts celebrating his attack, and another begging for cash to pay the bail money for members who were arrested for violence,” wrote Cheong.

View image on Twitter
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Ian Miles Cheong@stillgray

Rose City Antifa, the group of anarchist militants responsible for organizing Saturday’s protest in Portland where Andy Ngo was assaulted, has posts celebrating his attack, and another begging for cash to pay the bail money for members who were arrested for violence.3,1176:32 AM – Jun 30, 20192,611 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

As noted by Cheong, journalist Andy Ngo was also viscously assaulted and robbed while covering the demonstrations on Saturday. In a video posted online, Ngo was kicked, punched, and had milkshakes thrown on him by the left-wing thugs. According to Portland Police, some of the milkshakes hurled by Antifa reportedly contained quick-dry cement. The Quillette editor suffered a brain hemorrhage, among other injuries, Ngo’s lawyer said.

Attorney Harmeet K. Dhillon, who is representing Ngo, all but promised a lawsuitagainst Antifa early Monday morning via Twitter. “Goodnight everyone except Antifa criminals who I plan to sue into oblivion and then sow salt into their yoga studios and avocado toast stands until nothing grows there, not even the glimmer of a violent criminal conspiracy aided by the effete impotence of a cowed city government,” she said.

Hong Kong – Fighting for Democracy

Hong Kong’s Fight for Democracy

The government’s retreat in the face of massive protests was an unexpected win for the territory’s citizens, but they are unlikely to prevail against Beijing in the long struggle to maintain their rights

Last week, two days after one of the most violent protests in Hong Kong since China resumed control of the territory in 1997, Thomas, a 20-year-old medical student who declined to give his last name, was still helping to clean up and replenish supplies at an emergency medical station outside the headquarters of the territory’s government.

He had spent the better part of a day ferrying wounded protesters from the streets to his first-aid tent nearby. In unprecedented scenes in this city once seen, somewhat patronizingly, as a pragmatic, orderly, business-oriented community with little time for politics, thousands of demonstrators—mostly young, many of them equipped with little more than gas masks and umbrellas—had taken to the streets. Thomas found himself treating internal injuries and blunt-object wounds inflicted by repeated baton rounds and tear-gas fusillades from the Hong Kong police.

But when I spoke to him, exhausted in the searing midsummer heat of tropical Hong Kong, he was ready for the next round of protests to defend the territory’s jealously guarded but fragile freedoms. “Protesting might not succeed, it’s true,” he told me. “But if we don’t protest, we will definitely not succeed.”

Hundreds of thousands of protesters march through the streets of Hong Kong to protest an extradition bill, June 16. PHOTO: KIN CHEUNG/ASSOCIATED PRESS

It is a sentiment that has echoed across centuries of democratic resistance. And although Hong Kong is home to just seven million people, the struggle that continues to play out on the city’s streets has global resonance. While many in the West ponder their own politics and lament the supposed erosion of their freedoms, the people of Hong Kong are engaged in a real struggle for their human rights against the world’s biggest authoritarian power.

The immediate target of the revolt is the Hong Kong government, led by the hapless chief executive, Carrie Lam. But everyone here knows the real fight is against the People’s Republic of China. Beijing is being challenged not by a great military rival but by hundreds of thousands of students, doctors, factory workers, lawyers and civil servants, armed only with a seasoned defiance and a determination to defend their cherished liberties.

That they are unlikely to succeed in the end is not just the predictable denouement of the 1997 agreement returning Hong Kong to China. The fact is that, as an economic asset and gateway, the city now matters less to Beijing than ever before. Its prosperity may well be a sacrifice that President Xi Jinping is willing to make as he asserts the authority of the Communist Party ever more aggressively at home and abroad.

For now, at least, Hong Kong’s rebels have the upper hand. Their resistance was rewarded when, three days after the violent clashes and less than a week after an estimated one million people—one seventh of the city’s population—took to the streets, Ms. Lam announced a climb-down.

She would, she said, “suspend” her attempts to pass legislation through Hong Kong’s legislative council that would have allowed China to extradite people in Hong Kong suspected of crimes. Later, Ms. Lam, who was appointed by the communist government in Beijing, issued an extraordinary televised apology. “I personally have to shoulder much of the responsibility. This has led to controversies, disputes and anxieties in society,” she said. “For this, I offer my most sincere apology to all people of Hong Kong.”

The government had insisted that the extradition arrangement was necessary to ensure that Hong Kong didn’t become a “haven for fugitives” and that the transfer of suspects to China would be permitted only after due judicial process. But people here, including thousands of lawyers, scoffed, warning that the measure would open the way for Beijing to have political opponents and critics of the communist government picked up and sent across the border, where they would be subject to China’s capricious legal arrangements.

“This law would be a huge blow to Hong Kong,” says Jeffrey Ngo, a leading member of the Demosisto group, which advocates for more freedom for the territory. “The rule of law is essential to Hong Kong’s character and its commercial viability.”

‘It’s too soon to call this a turning point—too soon to count our blessings.’—Emily Lau, former Hong Kong lawmaker

Few in Hong Kong are ready to declare victory in what some have termed “the last battle” for the territory’s freedoms—and its unusual status as a semi-independent enclave within the People’s Republic. To veterans of the fight for democracy in Hong Kong, Ms. Lam’s unexpected decision instead looked simply like a tactical retreat by China and its proxies, not a strategic victory in the long struggle for human rights.

“It’s too soon to call this a turning point—too soon to count our blessings,” said Emily Lau, a former lawmaker who has been a persistent critic of China and its nominees for years.

The next day, hundreds of thousands of protesters again took to the streets, this time demanding the full withdrawal of the bill and Ms. Lam’s resignation. More protests took place at the end of the week to keep the pressure on the government and to send a continuing signal to Beijing and the world.

When Britain agreed to hand Hong Kong over to China in 1997, Beijing committed to maintaining much of the territory’s legal system and open culture. In recognition of Hong Kong’s striking economic success over 150 years of British rule and its status as one of the world’s major financial centers, the Communist Party leadership agreed to a most unusual arrangement. China’s leader, Deng Xiaoping, enshrined the principle of “One Country, Two Systems”: Hong Kong would be legally part of China, but it would be a “special administrative region,” largely free to make its own laws (outside of defense and foreign policy) and maintain its liberal system of governance, which includes freedom of speech, freedom of the press and, crucially, the rule of law and an independent judiciary.

There were plenty of skeptics at the outset. Sure enough, over the first 20 years of China’s control, the character of the city has steadily changed. Chief executives of the territory have become steadily more complaisant to China’s wishes, say critics.

A report in April by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the British House of Commons noted the erosion of liberties. “We fear that Hong Kong is in reality moving towards ‘One Country, One and a Half Systems,’ ” the members of Parliament said after a review of the territory’s political system. “We also believe that the Chinese government’s approach to Hong Kong is moving closer to ‘One Country, One System’ than it is to maintaining its treaty commitments under the Joint Declaration.”

The report went on to note in detail breaches of the right to freedom of expression, freedom of the press and media, freedom of assembly and association and academic freedom. It also noted the prevention of democratically elected representatives from taking their seats, extrajudicial abductions, violations of the rule of law, interference in business activities and clampdowns on political speech and human-rights defenders.

Some critics go further. “It is more like One Country, 1.1 Systems,” says Claudia Mo, convener of the pro-democracy bloc in Hong Kong’s legislature. Or, as Thomas, the medical student, puts it, “China’s invisible hand is becoming steadily more visible.”

In 2016, for instance, several anti-Beijing lawmakers refused to take the prescribed oath of loyalty to the People’s Republic, vowing instead to serve the people of Hong Kong, or deliberately flubbed the oath. Though duly elected, they were removed from office.

China has been blamed for spiriting people out of Hong Kong and onto the mainland for detention and torture. The local press, lively and garrulous in the past, has taken on a somewhat muted quality when reporting on subjects of high sensitivity to Beijing. Last year, a journalist for the Financial Times was denied a visa renewal and banned from re-entering Hong Kong for the crime of hosting an event with a local leader who has called for independence for the territory.

A protester holds an umbrella during a performance on a main road in the occupied areas outside government headquarters in Hong Kong, Oct. 9, 2014. The color yellow was closely associated with the massive pro-democracy protests known as the Umbrella Movement. PHOTO: KIN CHEUNG/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Five years ago, tens of thousands took to Hong Kong’s streets in colorful demonstrations to demand an end to China’s steady encroachment on their liberties. These were known as the Umbrella Movement protests, after the implements the marchers carried to ward off both the seasonal rains and the pepper spray used by the police. But that protest fizzled in what seemed like a possible indication of the ultimate acquiescence of Hong Kongers in their political reality.

So when the protests burst onto the streets this month, some were surprised at their ferocity. Mr. Ngo, of the Demosisto movement, says that much more was at stake this time. “In 2014, people were fighting for greater democracy—trying to get China to fulfill its promises,” he said. “In 2019, they are trying to preserve their existing freedoms.”

‘If Hong Kong becomes just like any other Chinese city, it’s not going to work for international business people.’—Claudia Mo, Hong Kong lawmaker

This was not the only time since Hong Kong’s return to China in 1997 that street protests have forced the territory’s government to back down. In 2003, the government’s chief executive tried to introduce legislation that would have expanded the definition of treason under Hong Kong’s constitution in ways that would have dramatically reduced freedom to criticize the Chinese government. Concerns among commercial interests—especially the institutions that have made Hong Kong a major financial center—helped to defeat the measure. Their objections may have been crucial this time as well.

“The risk of extradition [to China] could affect business people too. They’re not apathetic,” says Ms. Mo, the pro-democracy legislator. “And if Hong Kong becomes just like any other Chinese city, it’s not going to work for international business people.”

While the protesters are determined to fight this battle alone if necessary, they also retain a sliver of hope that the world beyond China might help them preserve their way of life in inhospitable circumstances.

On the streets near the government’s offices, Alexandra Wong was bedecked in the British union flag—on her T-shirt, on her umbrella, in her hand. In an irony that may not be lost on Beijing, which recovered Hong Kong as part of its pledge to reverse the “century of humiliation” under imperial intervention, she has fond recollections of Hong Kong’s outside rulers. “As a British colony, we were very happy because we could see the future and we could do what we want,” she says. She isn’t hopeful, given the distractions roilingthe U.K. today, but she would like Britain again to stand firm with its former subjects.

One hears more optimism about the U.S. under President Donald Trump, given his administration’s aggressive posture toward China. “There’s an opportunity here—the U.S. could make the preservation of Hong Kong’s freedoms part of its trade discussions with China,” says Ms. Mo. “U.S. investment here is not exactly tiny, and I hope Washington can find a way to take Hong Kong into account,” she adds.

For now, the territory remains tense as people await the next move from the government and its shadow bosses in Beijing. Any immediate optimism is tempered by the realization that two powerful changes since Hong Kong’s handover to China make it much less likely that the Communist Party’s leaders will tolerate much latitude for this troublesome outpost in their own land.

The first shift is that Hong Kong’s economic significance has dramatically diminished. In 1997, Hong Kong’s output was, remarkably, 20% of China’s GDP. Today, after two decades of rapid Chinese growth, it makes up less than 3%. Chinese financial institutions and other businesses have also become a major presence in the territory, making Hong Kong more dependent on the mainland. Still, if forced to choose, Beijing has always made clear that it would opt for China’s territorial integrity over Hong Kong’s prosperity. If that was true 20 years ago, it is even more so now.

The other big change is the rise of more authoritarian rule in China. Some democrats, in Hong Kong and elsewhere, once thought that the city’s success as a thriving political territory under the rule of law, with freedoms taken for granted in the West, might be a kind of democratic wedge, an inspiration to the rest of China.

But since 2012, when Mr. Xi came to power, the Western conceit that China would become steadily freer has been demolished as China’s new leader has reversed much of the political liberalization of his predecessors. “Thinking [that] Hong Kong could help make China freer was part of the misconception that China was in any case headed in that direction,” says Mr. Ngo.

So despite the tumultuous events of the past week and the success (for now) of the rebels, the odds for Hong Kong don’t look good. It is hard to be hopeful about the territory’s future. Yet it is equally impossible not to be inspired by the events of the past few weeks.

All along Harcourt Road, where many of the pitched battles between police and demonstrators took place last week, posters were pasted to lamp posts, depicting the famous “Tank Man,” a lone man confronting a column of tanks near Tiananmen Square in 1989. They bore the words: “We are Hong Kongers with a conscience. We are not thugs without a conscience.”

“The Chinese government knows that Hong Kong is not Tiananmen Square—what they did 30 years ago, they would not dare to do it here,” says Ms. Lau, the former lawmaker. It is a characteristically defiant statement from a characteristically defiant people, the last flickering flame of resistance to a rising oppressor. For now, at least, it is also true.

By Gerard Baker

Virginia Politician Convicted and Sentenced for Child Rape Wins primary for State Senate

He was in his 50s she was a teen when he raped her.

A Virginia Democrat, who was accused in 2014 of having sex with his teenage secretary he later married, won the Democratic primary on Tuesday for the state’s 16th Senate District.

Joe Morrissey, a former state legislator, was sentenced four years ago and jailed over a scandal involving a minor. He was in his fifties at the time while the minor was 17 years old. She worked at his law office.

Despite denying the wrongdoing, he pleaded guilty in 2015 to a misdemeanor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and admitted that prosecutors had enough evidence for a conviction.

The Democrat spent six months in jail for the crime but managed to continue serving in the state legislature during the sentence.

“People try to blow things up more than what it is,” voter Melvin Washington told the Associated Press. “Ain’t none of us perfect.”

By Lukas Mikelionis

Abortion, Eugenics and Racism: The African America Crisis?

Margret Sanger Abortion and Eugenics

The issue is an Indiana abortion case, Box v. Planned Parenthood. In 2016 the state passed a law banning so-called selective abortions—based on race, gender or disability—and requiring that a baby’s remains be cremated or buried after the procedure is finished. The law was challenged, and the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found both provisions unconstitutional.

Last week’s Supreme Court ruling only partially settled the matter. It upheld the state requirement on the disposal of fetal remains but declined to consider the constitutionality of laws that prohibit what he termed “eugenic” abortions. Sooner or later, writes Justice Thomas, the court will have to take up the issue. “Having created a constitutional right to an abortion, this Court is duty bound to address its scope.”

Those words come at the end of Justice Thomas’s concurrence, which amounts to a 20-page summary of the eugenics movement in the U.S., how it found common cause with abortion-rights activists, and the ramifications of this alliance. Margaret Sanger, feminist icon and founder of Planned Parenthood, opposed abortion but thought birth control—including forced sterilization—should be used to prevent “unfit” people from reproducing.

Sanger was especially concerned about black people having children. She campaigned for birth control in black communities and set up a clinic in Harlem in 1930. “Support for eugenics waned considerably by the 1940s as Americans became familiar with the eugenics of the Nazis,” Justice Thomas explains. But “even after World War II, future Planned Parenthood President Alan Guttmacher and other abortion advocates endorsed abortion for eugenic reasons and promoted it as a means of controlling the population and improving its quality.”

Whether or not today’s abortion-rights advocates share the views of yesterday’s eugenicists, technology has made the elimination of fetuses with unwanted characteristics disturbingly commonplace. Abortion rates for babies diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome are close to 100% in some European countries. Sex-selective abortions in India have resulted in some 50 million more men than women in the country.

And eight decades after Margaret Sanger set up her birth-control clinic in Harlem, Justice Thomas writes, “there are areas of New York City in which black children are more likely to be aborted than they are to be born alive—and are up to eight times more likely to be aborted than white children in the same area.” Pro-choice advocates cite black poverty and discrimination to explain high black abortion rates, but other low-income minorities, such as Hispanics, terminate pregnancies at far lower rates than blacks.

This isn’t the first time Justice Thomas has used a concurrence or a dissent to lay out the relevant racial history of a case. And whenever he does so it’s a public service.

By Jason L. Riley