Saturday, 21 January 2017
In Italy: Muslim Art Appreciation
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by Hugh Fitzgerald


Dante and Virgil encounter Mohammed in Hell - a divider of the people

By how much has the Muslim population in Italy increased since 1970? Before googling, take a guess.

In 47 years, from 1970 to 2017, the Muslim population in Italy, both of citizens and migrants, has gone from 2,000 (in 1970) to 1.6 million, at the beginning of 2017, and should reach 2 million by the end of 2018. In other words, the number of Muslims in Italy will have increased more than one thousand times in less than a half-century. Should we care?

Italy has always been a welcoming country, open to the world, with a tradition of hospitality that is part of Italian culture, and a destination for people who come to admire the cradle of so much of Western civilization. But now, instead of those who come to admire its art and architecture, a new set of visitors has arrived, a very different group of people, who display no interest in the history, the art, the architecture, the music, the literature of Italy, no interest in the foundations of the culture that defines the West, with the artifacts of that culture, from Rome to the Renaissance, everywhere tangible and present. Instead, these new visitors have arrived in Italy, completely indifferent or often positively hostile to all of these achievements, and have come not to visit but to settle, and not to contribute but to help themselves to whatever benefits the generous Italian state makes available. And in taking and taking, these Muslim migrants leave less for the Italians themselves.

We know, thanks to Oriana Fallaci’s memorable eyewitness description in in The Rage and the Pride (La Rabbia e l’Orgoglio, 2002), how Muslim migrants disported themselves in Florence, until finally dispersed after several horrific months: Theyset up their tents on the sidewalk right by the Duomo (Cathedral), where they kept their shoes and slippers that in their own countries would be lined up outside the mosques. And along with those shoes and slippers, bottles of water to wash their feet before prayer. A tent placed right in front of the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, beside the Baptistery with the golden doors of Ghiberti … with little seats and little tables and chaise-longues and mattresses to sleep on and to have sex on, and little portable burners to cook their food, poisoning the Piazza with smoke and stink, and with a recording device always blaring at full blast, enriched with the loud nasty vulgar voice of the muezzin that punctually called the faithful to prayers, deafening the Infidels, and overwhelming the sound of the church bells…And with all that, the yellow streams of urine that defiled the marble of the Baptistery walls” and desecrated, too, by urinating on, the gilded bronze doors of the Baptistery, Ghiberti’s famous “Gates of Paradise,” one of the great masterpieces of Western art. And that was not all Oriana Fallaci saw and reported on: there were still more “yellow streams of urine, and the fetid stink of the defecations that blocked the door of San Salvatore al Vescovo, the exquisite 11th century Romanesque church in back of the Cathedral that the Sons of Allah had transformed into a latrine.” It’s a hellish picture, as only Fallaci in her full fury could paint, of Muslim migrants demonstrating their special contempt for Christianity and for the Christians who had given them refuge and succor.

And there are other memorable examples of Muslim appreciation of Italian art. Perhaps you remember those Muslims, connected to Al Qaeda, who plotted in 2009 to destroy a 15th-century fresco by Giovanni da Modena in the San Petronio Cathedral in Bologna, a fresco in which the artist follows Dante’s description of Muhammad in the 8th circle of Hell, tearing at his own entrails.

Even though that plot was foiled in time, other Muslims have since called for the Catholic Church itself to demolish, or if not that, at least to “remove,” this fresco. This calling on the Church to do away with the fresco, rather than trying again to blow up all of San Petronio, might be considered by some as an improvement in Muslim behavior. The Church did not yield to this demand (this was before Pope Francis), and the fresco remains where it was. But in order for the fresco to be safeguarded, visitors must now stand at a greater distance from it than before, and a metal grate has been installed, too, so that it is now impossible to enter the dark side chapel where the fresco is located, and this obscures the view of this masterpiece even further. Thus the Muslims have won; the hated fresco is still where it was, but now it is part of Italy’s art heritage that can no longer be seen and admired because it has to be protected from Muslims.

But even works of art whose subjects — unlike the fresco of Giovanni da Modena — have nothing to do with Islam are still in danger for two reasons. First, given the Hadith that reports Muhammad’s statement that “angels do not enter a house that has a picture in it,” and that the word “picture” has been held to include statues as well as painted depictions of humans, much of Western art (with such obvious exceptions as landscapes and abstract art) is in permanent peril from those Muslims who take to heart, and decide to act upon, Muhammad’s words. How much of the art in Italy – statues, frescoes, paintings — is potentially a target of Muslim attacks because of the prohibition on “pictures”? Surely a great deal. Second, even where there is no “picture” involved, such artifacts found in churches as crucifixes, reliquaries, candlesticks, hymnals and prayer books, are all Christian works and therefore have been, and always will be, targets for Muslim vandalism and destruction.

And that is exactly what happened in 2016, as in years past. Muslims continued to leave intermittent reminders of their contempt for their Christian Italian hosts, as with the statue of San Petronio (patron saint of Bologna), vandalized this past June. The Christmas season was marked by Nativity scenes destroyed or even set on fire (and of course not only in Italy), along with the by now standard destruction and desecration of precisely those “crucifixes, reliquaries, candlesticks, hymnals and prayer books,” which signify Christianity and thus deserve to be destroyed whatever the season. Urination and defecation in churches, on altars, seems to be a continuing theme in these attacks. From the scene Fallaci described in 2002, through to 2013 where a group of Muslims defecated on an altar here and up to January 2015 when, after attacking a man praying in the chapel of San Barnaba in Perugia, five Muslims smashed and then urinated on a statue of Mary, described here, and this kind of nauseating behavior is not limited to Italy, for here’s a recent example of Muslim migrants in Sweden, expressing their understanding of interfaith outreach.

Crucifixes, which can themselves be venerable works of art, have been destroyed in many different places all over Italy, and not only those found in churches. Last October, the crucifix at Lake Fimon in the Berici Hills was smeared with red paint for the second time in ten months. On the same day, a Ghanaian Muslim went on an orgy of destruction in four different churches in Rome, at the Basilica of Santa Prassede, San Martino ai Monti, the Basilicas of San Giovanni de’ Fiorentini and the San Vitale, destroying not just crucifixes, including one that dated back to the 9th century, but statues too, and reliquaries. When caught, he insisted that “it was not right that we worship in this way.” And of course, in Islam, it isn’t.

There is much more of this that has been underreported in the Western press – often confined to a small item in a local paper — of creches smashed or thrown into rivers, of sacred books being ripped or burned, of graffiti smeared on church walls, of destruction of religious art, and the desecration of objects of worship of every kind.. And this kind of thing has happened not only in Italy, but in France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain, Greece (Crete). It is in Italy, however, that there is so much more of the Western world’s art heritage protection from attack. You may scare some Muslims into not vandalizing art works with the prospect of prosecution, but how can you convince faithful Muslims to forever allow that which Muhammed himself prohibited? It can’t be done. Think not only of the Bamiyan Buddhas blown up just a few years ago, but also of the long list of Buddhist temples, shrines, stupas, destroyed by Islamic invaders; think of the thousands of Hindu temples and temple complexes razed in India by Muslims; or all the Byzantine churches damaged or razed when the Ottoman Turks solidified their rule. Why should Western Europe’s art be spared, especially as Muslim numbers increase and they feel ever more emboldened to act on their beliefs? Isn’t that one of the considerations that should be taken into account as the wisdom of mass Muslim migration is debated?

And even without wholesale destruction of Christian art and artifacts, demands for their removal, so as to essentially de-Christianize the public space, are worrisome. Adel Smith, a Muslim convert, founder of the Union of the Muslims of Italy, sued to have the crucifix removed from his children’s school. The crucifix in Italy is not only a religious but a cultural symbol; forcing its removal, as Italian Labor Minister Maroni said at the time, “is outrageous. It is unacceptable that one judge should cancel out millennia of history.” But the Muslim petitioner, who referred to the crucifix dismissively as “a small body on two wooden sticks” won his case in court. Fortunately, the Italian Council of State later overturned that decision, upholding the display of the crucifix in all government-sponsored spaces. But the brazen attempt to remove such an important cultural symbol was telling.

Perhaps most outrageous of all was the demand by the same Adel Smith to have the entire Divine Comedy banned from Italian schools because Dante places Muhammad in the 8th Circle of Hell (Inferno, Canto 28). Following conventional Christian views of Islam in the Middle Ages, Dante regarded Islam as a heretical offshoot of Christianity and Muhammad as a sower of discord; thus Dante describes him in the 8th Circle of Hell with his entrails hanging out: ”Look at the maimed Muhammad” (“Vedi come storpiato e’ Maometto”). No doubt this text infuriates Muslims, and so do any illustrations that have been made that show Muhammad in Dante’s 8th Circle of Hell.. But so what? To ban Dante, Italy’s greatest literary figure, central to its cultural identity, from Italian schools because of a few lines in one Canto? Are we to curry favor with Muslims by such censorship? That a Muslim dared to even raise the matter is flabbergasting. It would be as if Muslims in England demanded the removal of Shakespeare from the schools because of three lines in Othello: Othello, a Christianized Moor, in the employ of Christian Venice against the Muslim Ottomans, describes how he handled a “malignant and a turbaned Turk” who had “beat a Venetian and traduced the state”: “I took by the throat the circumcised dog/And smote him – thus.” Is it really so far-fetched to imagine such a demand might someday be made by a Muslim group in Great Britain, or that “in a spirit of compromise” Muslims could lower their request so that not all of Shakespeare, but “only Othello,” be removed ? Half the interfaith-outreach vicars in England might support this, claiming that we shouldn’t give Shakespeare a pass for his “Islamophobia” just because he’s Shakespeare. Anything is possible in this absurd new world of Hypertrophied Diversity and Limitless Tolerance for the “Other” (meaning not all others, just Muslims). So far, Dante remains in the Italian curriculum. But would it be surprising if further Muslim attempts to ban at least Canto 28 from the school syllabus were made?

Italy is the greatest repository of art in the Western world, and the Italians have a special responsibility to protect this common heritage. Imagine what new threats and new worries about the art in its churches and its museums and its public spaces will arise, because Islam prohibits the form (i.e., “pictures”), and Muslims despise the content, of so much of that Christian art? Doesn’t history suggest that as Muslims sense their growing strength in numbers, both their demands and their aggressive behavior will increase? The continued adamant refusal of many Catholic clerics, who are the stewards of so much of this art, to link the current vandalism and destruction of art to Islam itself, is wrong, regrettable, and a dereliction of duty. With a Muslim population that by 2020 will have increased a thousandfold in less than half-a-century, how will Italy deal with Muslims when there are not 1.6 million of them, as there are now, but two or three times that number? What’s to come is still unsure, but what has already been happening to the artistic heritage in Italy is cause for alarm. And given what Muslims have done when the wood is green, what will happen when the wood is dry?

First published in Jihad Watch.

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Posted on 01/21/2017 8:45 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 21 January 2017
The Full Transcript Of Donald Trump's Inaugural Address
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Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans and people of the world, thank you.

We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people.

Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for many, many years to come. We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.

Every four years we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power.

And we are grateful to President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition.

They have been magnificent.

Thank you.

Today's ceremony, however, has a very special meaning because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people.

For too long, a small group in our nation's capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have bore the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered but the jobs left and the factories closed.

The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation's capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

That all changes starting right here and right now, because this moment is your moment. It belongs to you.

It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day.

This is your celebration.

And this, the United States of America, is your country.

What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.

January 20th, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now. You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before.

At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families and good jobs for themselves.

These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public. But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists.

Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation.

An education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.

And the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

We are one nation, and their pain is our pain.

Their dreams are our dreams, and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home and one glorious destiny.

The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.

For many decades we've enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military.

We've defended other nations' borders while refusing to defend our own. And we've spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America's infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.

We've made other countries rich while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.

One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind.

The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world. But that is the past, and now we are looking only to the future.

But that is the past and now we are looking only to the future.

We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it's going to be only America first -- America first.

Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.

Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body. And I will never, ever let you down.

America will start winning again, winning like never before.

We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth, and we will bring back our dreams. We will build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation. We will get our people off of welfare and back to work rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor. We will follow two simple rules -- buy American and hire American.

We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world.

But we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone but rather to let it shine as an example. We will shine for everyone to follow.

We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones. And unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.

At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.

The Bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity. We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreement honestly but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.

There should be no fear. We are protected, and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement. And most importantly, we will be protected by God.

Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger. In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving. We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining but never doing anything about it. The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.

Do not allow anyone to tell you that it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America. We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again. We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the earth from the miseries of disease and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow. A new national pride will stir ourselves, lift our sights and heal our divisions. It’s time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget -- that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.

We all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American flag.

And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams and they are infused with the breath of life by the same Almighty Creator.

So to all Americans in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean, hear these words -- you will never be ignored again.

Your voice, your hopes and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way. Together, we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And yes, together, we will make America great again. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you. God bless you. And God bless America.

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Posted on 01/21/2017 6:13 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Friday, 20 January 2017
Austria: Yet Another Jihad Plotter Arrested
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As reported on 20 January by Ben Ariel for Israel National News, based on information from AFP.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/223604

"Austria Arrests Suspected Terroris".

'Austrian armed commandos on Friday [20th] arrested a man (sic: Muslim man - CM) suspected of planning a terrorist attack in Vienna, police said, according to AFP.

"In recent days indications have grown of an actual suspect planning a supposed (?- CM) act of terror, and Vienna police... immediately began investigating, and implemented security measures", spokeswoman Irina Steier told the news agency.

"The presence of uniformed and plainclothes police was increased, and today at 1800 (1700 GMT), the suspect was arrested in Vienna near his address on the basis of an arrest warrant", Steier said.

'She provided no details of the suspect, except to confirm that it was a man (rather than, say, a woman or juvenile - but age and gender and ethnicity are irrelevant here, what matters is the suspect's ideological affiliation, which may be safely assumed to be the Religion of Blood and War - CM), and that investigations are continuing.

'The Kronenzeitung newspaper published online a document from the interior ministry, saying that a group of "radical Islamists of Albanian origin" (i.e. "jihad-minded ethnically-Albanian Muslims" - CM) intended to launch an attack in Vienna.

So much for the idea - encountered here and there among less-informed Infidels - that Muslims from Albania are somehow less dangerous or more "moderate" than Muslims from anywhere else, or less likely to heed the summons to Jihad that saturates the founding texts of Islam. - CM

'It said that according to information from a foreign intelligence agency and, independently, from a foreign police force, the attack was to take place between January 15 and January 30.

'The document added that a German-speaking sympathizer of the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group made explosives in Germany and that he intended to bring them to Vienna to carry out an attack.

'Just last month Austrian authorities arrested a 25 year old asylum seeker from Morocco (that is, "a claimed-to-be-25 Moroccan Muslim man who posed as an 'asylum seeker'" - CM) suspected of planning an attack during the holiday season (sic: during the Christmas and New Year season - CM) in the city of Salzburg.

'Like many other countries, Austria has been facing a terror threat from both asylum seekers as well as locals who travel to Iraq and Syria to fight alongside jihadists, then return to their home countries.

Rewrite.  "Like many other majority-infidel countries that have foolishly permitted large numbers of Muslims to settle in their midst, whether as 'immigrants' or as claimed 'refugees', Austria has been facing jihad waged from within, both by recently-arrived Muslim jihadists posing as 'asylum seekers' and by Muslims from the longer-established Muslim fifth column, who travel to Iraq and Syria to fight alongside jihadists, and are then (in an act of supreme folly by infidel officialdom) permitted to return to their colonies in the lands of the infidels." - CM

'Facing the challenges of Austrians (sic: "Austria-passport-holding Muslims" - CM) travelling to the Middle East to join jihadist groups, Austria's parliament in February of 2015 passed a law banning foreign sources of financing to Muslim organisations, and requiring imams to be able to speak German.

Cutting off the funds from the likes of Turkey, the House of Saud, Qatar, et al, will do some good. But it would have been better to cut directly to the chase and place a complete ban - never to be lifted - upon all further entry of Muslims into Austria; and to evict from Austria, as expeditiously as possible, all non-citizen Muslims. And tthen, beyond that, there is a next step, involving careful examination of the means by which various "Austrian" Muslims or their parents gained entry and citizenship in the first place, and how they have been conducting themselves vis a vis Infidel Austrians and the infidel Austrian polity; and the making of changes to laws, to permit imposition of either exile or the loss of citizenship upon such Muslim 'citizens', so as to be able to remove those who, although nominally citizens, in fact constitute a Fifth Column, an aggressive and hostile and would-be-conquering vanguard and colony of the Ummah, or Mohammedan Mob, the de facto Empire of Islam.  Got Muslims? Got Jihad.   The only way to have less Jihad is to have fewer Muslims in one's midst. - CM

'In June of that year an Austrian court convicted nine people of Chechen origin (that is, "nine ethnically-Chechen Muslims" - CM) who were arrested on their way to join Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists, together with their Turkish (sic: "Turkish Muslim" - CM) driver.

And that puts paid to the other myth, that Turkish Muslims are somehow more lax, more secular, less likely to Go Jihad.  No matter what ethnicity of Muslim one cares to name, the reality is that some will Go Jihad.  And exactly how many of them do it is irrelevant; because even one can cause huge amounts of grief, as we saw recently on the foreshore at Nice.  - CM

'In October, three Austrian teenagers (sic: "three Austrian-passport-holding Muslim teenagers" - CM) were given custodial terms for trying to join ISIS terrorists in Syria.

Why go to such trouble to keep such deadly creatures in Austria?  So long as they remain in Austria or in Europe, they are a menace to every infidel around them.  Whether in the case of those nine Chechen Muslims, or the three Austrian-passport-holding Muslims (ethnic background undefined), who were tooling off to join ISIS, the sensible thing to do is to let them go... and cancel their passports and residency or citizenship status (after it is reasonably established that they are where they intended to go) so as to prevent their return to the Lands of the Infidels.  And forward all their identifying particulars to Mr Assad, and to Mr Putin... - CM

'Meanwhile, on Friday, police issued a public warning for people to be on the lookout at crowded public places, and to inform police if they see suspicious objects.

'Despite fears of terrorism (fears of the Global Jihad - CM), Austria has been thus far spared in the string of attacks by Islamists suffered by other European countries.

But the best method to keep it that way is to stop importing Mohammedans, right now, and to encourage the departure of those already present. - CM

'In 2015 a record 90,000 people (most of them Muslims - CM) applied for asylum in Austria, after hundreds of thousands of migrants ('after hundreds of thousands of people, the vast majority of them being Muslim men of military age, posing as 'refugees' and 'asylum seekers' - CM) transited the country, bound for Germany and elsewhere, according to AFP.'

 

 

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Posted on 01/20/2017 7:08 PM by Christina McIntosh
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Friday, 20 January 2017
Donald Trump is the US President
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Watching the inauguration of President Trump live on British TV. Also in the Telegraph.

Good luck to President Trump, Mr Pence and their families. Greetings to our American cousins. 

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Posted on 01/20/2017 11:04 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Friday, 20 January 2017
Who Are the “Mediocre Negroes”?
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by Gary Fouse

Marc Lemont Hill is a professor at Morehouse College. He is better known as a cable TV commentator previously at Fox News and more frequently at CNN. Hill is usually more congenial when debating conservatives, but he really made a splash last week when he referred to prominent blacks who have been meeting with President-elect Donald Trump as “mediocre Negroes.” In that class, he included the man he was debating with, Trump supporter Bruce Levell. It also apparently included ex-football stars Jim Brown and Ray Lewis as well as TV star Steve Harvey, all of whom have recently visited Trump at his Hqs in New York.

I don’t know much about the politics of Brown, Lewis or Harvey, though I would not recommend calling Brown or Lewis “mediocre Negroes” to their faces. I am old enough to remember seeing Jim Brown play as well as Lewis. Brown, after leaving football and a short-lived movie career, has devoted much of his time mentoring young gang members and trying to turn them straight. Lewis, who was actually accused of being involved in a homicide in Atlanta (He was never convicted), also spends time trying to teach young people to avoid the mistakes he made in his youth.

In a broader sense, however, this is the type of treatment that is dished out by the left to blacks who are either conservative, Republican, or who don’t follow the plantation rules of conduct and thought required by the left.

Aside from Brown and Lewis et al, this is what people like Clarence Thomas, Condi Rice, Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, Larry Elder, Deroy Murdoch and others have been subjected to for years. Because they refuse to live their lives as victims and suggest alternatives for the failed policies of the left as they pertain to the lives of African-Americans, they are derided as “sell-outs” and “Uncle Toms”. Those are epithets that we as whites cannot fully understand or appreciate. They are designed to cut, to wound, and to silence the target. It is the last insult that most blacks want to endure just as whites are fearful of being called racist. It is to the credit of the above people I listed that they have continued to speak out in the face of a vicious campaign of vilification designed to discredit them and silence them.

Elder, who is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host and commentator, believes that of all the problems facing black America, white racism is near the bottom while single parent homes with absentee fathers is at the top of the list. He states a simple rule: If you get a high school education, stay out of jail, avoid drugs, and don’t father a child out of wedlock at an early age-you will not grow up to be poor in America. (I am paraphrasing.)

When we look at conservative blacks, is there not a lesson there for the rest of us? Can we disagree about gay marriage without fear of being called a homophobe? Can we criticize people like Al Sharpton or groups like Black Lives Matter without fear of being called a racist? Can we oppose illegal immigration without fear of being called a racist? ( I oppose it, and I am married to a Mexican.) Can we speak openly about the threat of Islam and how it relates to terrorism without fear of someone accusing us of hating Muslims as people? Even I as one who has maintained that much of the opposition to Israel is rooted in Jew hatred should concede that not everyone who criticizes Israel is an anti-semite.

In my view, conservative black Americans are the most intellectually stimulating people American society has to offer. It takes courage for them to take the positions they take. They absorb terrible epithets and yet, persevere to say what they think. Their voices should be heard not silenced.

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Posted on 01/20/2017 7:39 AM by Gary Fouse
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Friday, 20 January 2017
January
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I'm a bit later than usual with this, but immediately after Christmas the weather was a bit dull and wet. However the last couple of days have been crisp and clear with cold starlit nights and frost.

This was a walk along the Mardyke Valley earlier this week. The ponds were frozen and there was a clear straight line between the meadow warmed by the sun and the bit in the shadow of the road bridge.

That is a sculpture (obviously); this isn't Texas - our heron are no bigger than anyone elses. 

I have not yet found out what this bush is. There was a lot of them, along paths I have also walked in spring and summer, so whatever it is it is common and (when I find out) I expect the name will be familiar.  

Emmonsail's Heath in Winter ~ John Clare

I love to see the old heath’s withered brake
Mingle its crimpled leaves with furze and ling,
While the old heron from the lonely lake
Starts slow and flaps his melancholy wing,
And oddling crow in idle motions swing
On the half-rotten ash tree’s topmost twig,
Beside whose trunk the gipsy makes his bed.
Up flies the bouncing woodcock from the brig
Where a black quagmire quakes beneath the tread;
The fieldfares chatter in the whistling thorn
And for the haw round fields and closen rove,
And coy bumbarrels, twenty in a drove,
Flit down the hedgerows in the frozen plain
And hang on little twigs and start again.

 

The bumbarrel is a long-tail tit. Emmonsail's Heath was near John Clare's home village of Helpston; it has since been claimed for arable farmland. 

Photographs E Weatherwax England 2017

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Posted on 01/20/2017 5:54 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Friday, 20 January 2017
Tolerance and Its Limits
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by Theodore Dalrymple

When I asked my young patients what their best qualities were, they would almost invariably reply: “I am tolerant and non-judgmental.”

“If you don’t judge people,” I would ask, “how can you be tolerant?”

They did not grasp at once what I meant, so I would explain:

“If you disapprove of nothing, there is nothing to tolerate. You do not tolerate what you like or agree with; you tolerate what you dislike or disagree with. If you make no judgments, tolerance is redundant, there is nothing to tolerate.”

The misunderstanding of what tolerance is is the explanation, perhaps, of a paradox: the more we extol tolerance as a virtue, the less tolerant we become. We become like the humourless man who says that he has a wonderful sense of humor.

Back in the 1960s, the philosopher Herbert Marcuse popularised the notion of “repressive tolerance.” According to this notion, the freedom to express any opinion without fear of retribution actually resulted in, or at any rate served, repression because it duped people into supposing that they were free. Yes, they could say anything they liked, but in practice they lived in a society in which they decided nothing for themselves and in which they were straitjacketed by laws, conventions, moral codes and so forth, all to the material benefit of a small elite, of course (Marcuse was some kind of Marxist). This notion, which was expressed in the dullest of prose, was appealing to utopian adolescents who a) wanted to deny that they were the most fortunate generation who had ever lived, and b) dreamed of a life completely without restraints on their own pleasure.

Half a century later, “repressive tolerance” is taking on a different meaning, one that actually has some practical application. It is repression carried out in the name of tolerance.

In the Netherlands, the politician Geert Wilders has been found guilty of contravening two related provisions of the criminal code: inciting to discrimination, and expressing hatred toward a racial group. In his decidedly populist fashion, Wilders asked the crowd that he was addressing whether they wanted more or less interference in Dutch affairs from the European Union, more or less power for the Dutch Labor Party, and more or fewer Moroccans. Like a shrewd advocate, he knew in advance how his listeners would respond.

There is no jury trial in the Netherlands. A judge alone decides the guilt or innocence of an accused person. To the already loose and somewhat sinister charges themselves was thus added the prejudice of the judge, overwhelmingly likely in the Netherlands to be politically correct. And the judge, to no one’s surprise, found Wilders guilty. But the Netherlands being the Netherlands, the punishment was less than severe: the judge held that the mere fact of being found guilty was punishment enough for the wayward politician.

Nevertheless, Wilders is going to appeal. From his point of view the more publicity he can give to the case, the better for his cause. It will do him no good, however, at least if his aim is political power rather than acting as a gadfly on the periphery of Dutch politics. For even if he should emerge as the political leader with the most votes in the general elections slated for March, he will never have, under the Dutch system of proportional representation, an absolute parliamentary majority and he will never be able to form, or even participate in, a government. The most he can hope for is to change the nature and subject matter of Dutch political debate.

In order to secure the conviction, the judge had to maintain that the Moroccans were a race, because the law did not recognize nationality or national origin as grounds for legal protection from insult and critical comment. This gave rise to a certain amount of hilarity. If nationality were to be confounded with race, Dutch law would henceforth have to recognize a Belgian race, a Swiss race, et cetera.

But the very idea that there are certain groups in need of special protection from offence is both incoherent and condescending, partaking of the very qualities that the idea is supposed to be eliminating from the wicked human mind. The number of human groups that have, or could be, subjected to humiliation, discrimination, or worse is almost infinite. Persecution on economic grounds, for example, has been at least as frequent as persecution on racial grounds. To select a few groups for special protection is therefore irreducibly discriminatory. It is a little like protecting certain species from the ravages of hunters because they are threatened with extinction and unlike other species are unable to protect themselves by fecundity, say, or by camouflage.

This is not to say that all things that should be allowed to be said without legal penalty ought to be said. There must always be a distinction between legal and moral permissibility—a distinction which, with the relentless advance of the administrative state, is in danger of being lost, so that people now say, when justifying morally dubious behavior, “There’s no law against it, is there?”

When Wilders, then, asks a crowd whether it wants more or fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands, I immediately try to put myself in the position of a young Moroccan, or Dutch citizen of Moroccan descent, and imagine what it is like to be regarded by a popular politician, almost ex officio, as a nuisance or a plague, even though all I want to do is to fit in with the wider society around me. I think it takes very little imagination to understand how uncomfortable it would be.

At the same time, it would be incumbent upon me as an immigrant or descendent of an immigrant to try to understand why the majority population might not want their society to be fundamentally altered by immigration and why they might be in favor of a limitation of numbers of immigrants. In fact, it is by no means uncommon for members of immigrant groups themselves to wish such a limitation, for fear of provoking a reaction or backlash against them.

What is certain is that tact, and imaginative sympathy for others, cannot be legislated. The clumsy attempt to decree tolerance will inflame, and has inflamed, the very opposite.

First published in the LIbrary of Law and Liberty.

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Posted on 01/20/2017 5:39 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
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Friday, 20 January 2017
The Inside Story of How John Kerry Secretly Lobbied to Get CAIR Removed From UAE's Terrorist Organization List
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Steve Emerson writes in IPT:

On Nov. 16, 2014, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) took the unusual step of designating the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and the Muslim American Society (MAS) – as terrorist organizations.

They were among 83 groups named for their connections to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

This outraged CAIR officials, who immediately began efforts to get their organization removed from the list. They found a powerful ally in Secretary of State John Kerry, who authorized State Department officials to meet regularly with UAE officials to lobbying on behalf of CAIR and MAS .

CAIR already had a sympathetic ear in the Obama administration, including the State Department, that had openly embraced and legitimized the entire spectrum of radical Islamist groups falsely posing as religious or civil rights groups, which both CAIR and MAS had done.

At a daily State Department press briefing two days after UAE released its list, a spokesman said that State does not "consider CAIR or MAS to be terrorist groups" but that it was seeking more information from UAE about their decision. He added that "as part of our routine engagement with a broad spectrum of faith based organizations, a range of U.S. government officials have met with officials of CAIR and MAS. We at the State Department regularly meet with a wide range of faith based groups to hear their views even if some of their views expressed at times are controversial."

In making that admission, the State Department official had effectively affirmed the Obama Administration policy of embracing radical Islamist group under the euphemism of calling them "faith based groups."

The UAE had good reason to designate CAIR, as records obtained by the FBI indicate it was created as front group for a Hamas support network. While CAIR bills itself as "the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization," the reality is quite different.

Before helping launch CAIR, Executive Director Nihad Awad worked as public relations director for the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), a Hamas propaganda arm in the United States. A 2001 Immigration and Naturalization Service memo documented IAP's support for Hamas and found that the "facts strongly suggest" that IAP was "part of Hamas' propaganda apparatus."

IAP was part of the "Palestine Committee," created by the Muslim Brotherhood to support Hamas politically and financially. CAIR was added to the Palestine Committee's roster just after its 1994 creation.

In 2008, the FBI cut off official contact with CAIR, citing evidence from the Holy Land Foundation terror funding trial which documented the connections between CAIR and its founders to Hamas.

In a letter to U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, the FBI explained, "until we [the FBI] can resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and HAMAS, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner."

During a 2003 Senate hearing, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, said that CAIR is known "to have ties to terrorism." In 2009 correspondence with the FBI, he wrote that cutting off contact with the Islamist group "should be government-wide policy."

CAIR and its representatives, meanwhile, often espouse radical ideology and propagate the jihadist narrative that the United States is waging a "war on Islam." Awad repeated that message as recently as September when he denounced legislation allowing the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia.

CAIR officials often side with Hamas and other Palestinian terrorists.

CAIR-New York board member Lamis Deek, an attorney, tweeted during the 2012 war between Israel and Hamas that Gaza is a "beacon of resistance, exposes shackles, awakens dignity, inspires revolution, reaffirms our oneness – the reason 'israel' won't last."

During a 2009 fundraiser for an effort to break Israel's embargo against the Hamas government in Gaza, Deek explained that Palestinian support for Hamas is a choice for "one united Palestinian state on all of the 1948 territories from the north to the very south. That is what Palestinians chose. And in supporting Palestinian choice we are saying we support their right to liberation from violent colonialism."

Just days before the UAE's 2014 designation of CAIR as a terrorist group in the organization's San Francisco chapter bestowed its "Promoting Justice" award to Sami Al-Arian and his family. Al-Arian secretly ran an American support network for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist group in the late 1980s and early 1990s. PIJ was responsible for terrorist attacks which killed dozens of Israelis and several Americans.

Al-Arian pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide goods or services to the PIJ. His plea agreement included an admission that he was associated with the PIJ. U.S District Judge James S. Moody went further in sentencing Al Arian: "The evidence was clear in this case that you were a leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad," Moody said. "You were on the board of directors and an officer, the secretary. Directors control the actions of an organization, even the PIJ; and you were an active leader."

Since 2001, six CAIR officials have been convicted of terror-related charges. A longtime national board member was deported in part because of his Hamas support.

Yet despite the massive evidence linking CAIR to Hamas and other terror groups, the Obama administration repeatedly invited CAIR officials and other radical Islamist groups to the White House.

In December 2014, CAIR met with top officials of the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Justice Department, asking them to pressure the UAE to remove them from the list, according to reliable sources intimately familiar with the communications. On December 22, 2014, CAIR issued a press release asserting that "the two American Muslim organizations and the U.S. government pledged to work together to achieve a positive solution to the UAE designations.

In response to a letter sent by CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad sent to Secretary Kerry protesting the UAE designation, Kerry responded on May 5, 2015 in a letter to Awad stating, "Let me reiterate, first, that the U.S. government clearly does not consider CAIR to be a terrorist organization. As your letter noted, the Department of State rejected this allegation immediately after the UAE designations were announced in November, and we will continue to do so....U.S. officials have raised the issue of CAIR's inclusion on the UAE's terror list with UAE officials on multiple occasions..."

That portion of the letter now appears on CAIR's website. But at the time that the letter was sent to CAIR, according to knowledgeable sources, there was an agreement between CAIR and the State Department to keep the letter secret. An excerpt from it was posted on CAIR's website only in May 2016, a year after it was received. The IPT has learned that Kerry and CAIR made this agreement to keep the letter secret so as to protect Kerry from public embarrassment. In light of CAIR's numerous ties to Hamas and other unsavory aspects of its record, Kerry had good reason to believe that the letter could cause a public relations disaster for him.

Whatever influence the State Department exerted on the UAE did not work. There has been no indication CAIR and MAS were removed from the Gulf state's terrorist list.

When the UAE list was published, CAIR realized that it was going to a public relations disaster for them as well. So they published a FAQ attacking the UAE as a "politically 'authoritarian' regime."

The organization seemed more comfortable with this authoritarian regime in 2006, when Awad and CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper led a delegation on a fundraising trip to the UAE. State Department cables show that the delegation, led by the public relations firm Hill and Knowlton, sought millions of dollars from UAE donors. The cables, obtained by the IPT through the Freedom of Information Act, show that CAIR officials met with top UAE leaders and attended an evening reception "in honor of the CAIR group" hosted by a top presidential adviser. The cable also noted that "UAE press has reported that Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al-Makhtoum Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance and Industry, 'has endorsed a proposal to build a property in the U.S. to serve as an endowment for CAIR.' The cable added that CAIR had already received substantial contributions from several wealthy UAE donors, including one who had already given CAIR $1 million.

The Muslim American Society, meanwhile, has its own lengthy record of defending accused terrorists and terror supporters. It was formed as the Muslim Brotherhood's overt arm in the United States. Co-founder Abdurrahman Alamoudi, who pleaded guilty in 2004 to engaging in illegal transactions with Libya and facilitating a Libyan plot to assassinate then-Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, testified in 2012 that MAS's connection with the Brotherhood cannot be disputed.

This sordid episode of going to bat for a Hamas-support organization is emblematic of the larger problem of the Obama's administration's inability to pinpoint the heart of the impasse between the Palestinians and the Israelis as unceasing Palestinian terrorism, continued Palestinian subsidies paid to terrorist families, incendiary glorification of terrorists who kill Jews, and massive anti-Semitic incitement in Palestinian schools and media.

The outgoing Secretary of State recently crowed in the New York Times about what he got right. This episode is a stark example of what he got wrong.

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Posted on 01/20/2017 4:28 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Friday, 20 January 2017
Terror Attack in Australia? Driver Plows Vehicle into Pedestrians in Melbourne
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Melbourne is the site of the Australian Open happening now - lots of tourists, lots of media. The Middle-Eastern looking driver was reportedly yelling "Allahu Ahkbar!" Patrick Poole has a preliminary report in PJMedia.
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Posted on 01/20/2017 4:16 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Thursday, 19 January 2017
Meet the Pheasant-Elect
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Geddit?

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Posted on 01/19/2017 8:10 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Wednesday, 18 January 2017
Obama Lifts Sudan Sanctions, while President Bashir perpetrates Jihad
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Add to the list of foreign policy failures by the departing Obama Administration is his last minute executive order partially lifting sanctions on agricultural and transportation trade. It also unfreezes assets in the US of the corrupt regime of indicted war criminal President Omar Bashir.  The sanctions for Darfur will remain with the  only condition  left to the incoming Trump Administration  a so-called 180 day  ‘look back’ provision that might ‘snap back’ sanctions.  The move   by the Obama administration was “welcomed” by the Arab League in a Qatar Tribune report.    This was a dramatic   ‘sea change’ from a President Obama who campaigned during his 2008 election on “ending the slaughter in Darfur.”

US UN Ambassador Samantha Power rationalized the lifting of economic sanctions, imposed since 1997, at her farewell press conference, saying  there was “progress on counterterrorism and cease fires.”   She attributed ‘progress’ on counterterrorism to Sudan ending its harboring of the murderous child soldier movement of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). All while evidence mounted in reports of   New Year’s attacks by the   Bashir regime’s Jihadist militia in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile region. These actions breached cease fires, threatening a renewal of ethnic cleansing of indigenous peoples and fomenting monumental humanitarian crises. 

Veteran Sudan genocide watcher, Eric Reeves in a Huffington Post article called the Obama Administration executive order, “The Final Betrayal of Sudan”. He focused on the current humanitarian crisis in Darfur and especially in the Blue Nile region.  The Obama administration’s Sudan sanctions action was “upsetting” to Mark Brand of Jewish World Watch in a The Hill op ed.  The Wall Street Journal   reported  criticism of the Obama Administration decision as “inexplicable” from Leslie Lefkow deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch.  House Foreign Affairs, Chairman, Rep. Ed Royce (R-California) characterized  it as a “last ditch effort, urging the new administration to look at Sudan with fresh eyes.”

 This last minute rapprochement with Jihadist Sudan by the outgoing Obama Administration comes in the face of a warning issued by Trump Adviser Dr. Walid Phares. He spoke at a Washington, DC conference with Nuba Mountain Sudan émigrés just after the election of President Trump on November 11, 2016.  He avowed, "There is no reason for why we and our European allies should be lifting these sanctions, this is unacceptable. Lifting the sanctions on Bashir’s regime is not acceptable”. Yet, the Wall Street Journal reported that senior officials from the Obama Administration said that the Trump transition team had been briefed on the changes.

Evidence of Bashir’s Continuing Jihad in Darfur

In this New Year there was dramatic evidence of Bashir’s Jihad strategy.  A massacre occurred in the Central Darfur town of Nertiti by marauding Sudan Armed forces and ‘Peace Forces’ mercenaries killing 11, injuring 60 civilians.  This massacre demonstrated Bashir’s callous intent when he declared a "cease fire" with resistance forces. On January 5, 2017 ‘Peace Forces’ militias attacked people in Hay al Jebel in Geneina killing  7 people and wounding  16 others. The Geneina massacre occurred following the end of the visit of Sudan’s 2nd Vice President Hassabo Mohamed Abderhaman who spent two weeks in Geneina. Since January of  last year he frequently moved between Southern, Central and a Western Darfur regions mobilizing Arabs recruits from Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR) for the Sudan ‘Peace Forces’.

The reality is that Sudan President Bashir has mobilized and equipped an international Jihad army of over 150,000 from across the Sahel region and Syria to make the final push for ethnic cleaning in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile Region. Not unlike The Lord’s Resistance Army the Janjaweed militias, now renamed ‘Peace Forces ‘are actively recruiting child soldiers aged 8 to 12 years. 

Sudan’s indicted war criminal President Omar Bashir has called on the International community to support his false peace process in Sudan.

Contrary to the promise he made to the people of America during his campaign to put an end to genocide in Darfur; Obama’s Administration closely cooperated with the genocidal regime in the name of combating terrorism. Cooperation with Khartoum’s regime helped Bashir to continue committing genocide against the people of Darfur and create more terrorist organizations in the world. By signing of this executive order, President Obama has betrayed the oppressed people of Darfur. Without Obama’s support Bashir could not continually have committed genocide against the people of Darfur since his International Criminal Court indictment in 2009.

Hoping to obtain intelligence information to combat global terrorism, Obama’s Administration systematically failed to reveal President Bashir and his Arab cabal’s secret mobilization of Mujahedeen militias known as ‘Peace Forces’ in Darfur. That replaced the Regime’s ‘Rapid Support Forces’ (RSF). The creation of these new forces would be in line with the regime’s strategy of forming and adopting militias.  That began with Janjaweed militias.  Which was followed by ‘Border Guard’ designation morphing into ‘Abu Terra’? ‘Abu Terra’ disappeared when the ‘Rapid Support Forces’ (RSF) appeared.  Now the ‘RSF’ has been replaced with the Orwellian ‘Peace Forces.’ As the strategy of establishing the Caliphate in Africa has not yet been realized, we will doubtless continue to see a succession of new iterations to hide the real identity of Bashir’s Jihadist army.

The question that one could ask is on what grounds did President Obama base his facts that Bashir’s regime had improved its human rights record in Darfur?  This despite the Nertiti and Geneina massacres by his ‘Peace Forces’ in January 2017.

What type of terrorism has the Obama’s Administration been fighting if President al Bashir is currently mobilizing and recruiting Mujahedeen in Jelly, North Darfur?

What was the motivation behind the Obama Administration signed executive order that the genocidal regime of Bashir had reduced its human right abuses in Darfur?

 New terrorist groups continually arrive in Darfur from Libya through Dongola, in North Sudan. These new groups are escorted to Darfur by ‘Peace Forces’ that some EU governments  support  technically and finance to allegedly combat illegal immigrant flow from Africa. These terrorist groups have reportedly been seen in Southern and Eastern Darfur regions. They are believed to include Boko Haram and ISIS jihadis. Villagers who have encountered them reported they are a mixture of Arabs and Africans. The latter look like Nigerians.  Those who resemble Arabs or Egyptians do not speak Arabic. They communicate with people only through interpreters. They frequently ask the names of places, directions and distances. They also depend on the use of maps and GPS to travel. They possess ISIS flags and wear theKodomul (black turban). They are moving on Toyota pickup trucks similar to those used by ‘Peace Forces’. The Sudan regime pretends that these ‘Peace Forces’ are combating illegal immigrants.  In reality they are helping bring in terrorists and Chadian rebels from Libya to Darfur. With the mobilization of newly created ‘Peace Forces’ and the arrival of terrorist groups from Libya,  Darfur war crimes will continue  to go from  bad to worse.

President Bashir and his Arab allies’ Islamic ‘Peace Forces’ have not stopped committing genocide, war crimes and crimes against the indigenous people of Darfur.  With the objective of furthering the Islamic extremist ideology, they have extended killing to the adjacent population Central African Republic and Chad. This is all part of his plan to establish through removal of African tribes a Caliphate in the Sahel region of Central Africa. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of foreign Islamist terrorists and mujahedeen from across Africa and Syria are gathering and being trained in 16 camps in the Sudan for conduct of this Jihad.

Sudan’s interior Minister admitted to the members of parliament on January 4, 2017 that there were over 3,000 armed foreign fighters present in Jebel Amir, Darfur.  This was not the first time the Sudan government revealed that there were foreign fighters in Darfur. The fact is that these fighters were brought in by the regime and controlled by its security agents in order to expand a Jihadist army.

Conclusion

The international community, especially those countries that are embracing Bashir’s regime, should take notice that the National Congress Party/Muslim Brotherhood regime in Khartoum poses a threat to international peace and security. Bashir’s strategy of raising a veritable Jihadist army to establish a Caliphate in the African Sahel region is continuing. If his strategy and his allies are not stopped it could destabilize the whole sub-region. The incoming Trump Administration now has the opportunity to change course in the first 100 days, by the appointment of a new independent minded Special Envoy in Sudan.  That appointee should have special expertise on Islamic counterterrorism to monitor abuses by the Bashir regime in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile Region.  

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Posted on 01/18/2017 3:55 PM by Lt. Gen. Abakar M. Abdallah and Jerry Gordon
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Wednesday, 18 January 2017
‘Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain’
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Progressive Activists Try to Deflect Blame for Their Own Campus Anti-Semitism

by Richard L. Cravatts

In early December, a bipartisan Congressional bill, H.R. 6421/S. 10, the “Antisemitism Awareness Act,” took on a long-overdue task, namely, increasing “understanding of the parameters of contemporary anti-Jewish conduct and will assist the Department of Education in determining whether an investigation of anti-Semitism under title VI is warranted.”

“Jewish students,” the bill accurately noted, “are being threatened, harassed, or intimidated in their schools . . . including through harassing conduct that creates a hostile environment so severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to interfere with or limit some students’ ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by schools.”

The Department of Education had been alerted before to the distressing situation of resurgent anti-Semitism on university campuses, but previous evaluations of Title VI violations were imprecise and “did not provide guidance on current manifestation of anti-Semitism, including discriminatory anti-Semitic conduct that is couched as anti-Israel or anti-Zionist.”

This was all too much for critics, including the morally tendentious, malignant group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), who immediately condemned the intent of the bill, attaching to a December 8th press release two letters with signatures from 60 Jewish Studies “scholars” and some 300 “concerned” Jewish student activists, respectively.

Clearly oblivious to the current scourge of anti-Israel, anti-Semitic campus activism (in which they have, not coincidentally, been active and complicit), JVP and these faculty and students derided the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act as misguided and dangerous, not because it provides a tool for finally being able to identify instances where anti-Semitic speech and behavior has infected campus communities, but because they believe, seemingly irrationally, that Jewish students are actual and potential victims, not of Leftist and Muslim student groups (as they clearly and demonstrably are), but of Right-wing extremist groups, emboldened, they contend, by the election of Donald Trump in November.

The campus war against Israel, promoted relentlessly and virulently for some 15 years now, has been fueled and given life, not by the occasional Nazi-loving skinhead living in his mother’s basement and living on the fringes of society without a substantial base of like-minded fellow travelers, but by student-funded, highly visible, and vocal on-campus groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine (with 220 chapters nationwide) and the Muslim Student Association (with over 600 chapters). Jewish Voice for Peace, along with Open Hillel, J Street U, and other pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel groups, frequently join forces with these virulent groups on campuses to stage Israel Apartheid Weeks, construct mock apartheid walls, and sponsor hate-Israel events, seminars, courses, speeches, and boycott and divestment resolutions—all of which appear promiscuously on campuses around the country, and which are, significant to the Antisemitism Awareness Act, the primary source of the hostile environment Jewish students experience, especially, as often happens, when anti-Israel, anti-Zionist radicalism morphs into anti-Semitism.

These perpetrators of anti-Israel agitation have been leading a virulent campaign to demonize and delegitimize Israel for years now, and it is astonishing that JVP and these meretricious scholars and students ignore all the factual and shameful chronology (of which they have been central fomenters and cheerleaders in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign), and instead are trying to perpetuate the fantasy that the true threat to Jewish students and other Israel supporters is from the Left’s perennial boogeymen, the lunatic fringe of white power extremists who these willfully-blind activists believe, and want others to believe, are the chief perpetrators of anti-Jewish bigotry.

Putting aside the obvious fact that it is JVP and many of these well-known anti-Israel faculty signatories themselves who are intimately involved in creating the hostile climate on campuses across the country, the notion that there is any basis in fact that Right-wing extremists have or will pose any serious threat to Jewish students, and that their ascension is the direct result and logical extension of President-elect Trump’s election, is an astoundingly naïve and specious notion.

In fact, on university campuses the far Right is essentially invisible, especially in the politically correct culture of Leftist students and faculty which has not only subsumed any opposing viewpoints but barely tolerates conservative or Republican viewpoints, let alone the presence on campus of purveyors of the repugnant ideology of skin heads, white power advocates, or anti-gay, anti-Muslim, or anti-Hispanic radicals. On predominantly liberal campuses, it is obvious that no representatives from Aryan Nation, Ku Klux Klan, or Westboro Baptist Church are ever being invited to speak, let alone are campus chapters of these toxic groups going to be set up and paid for with student funds.

JVP and the faculty and students also had another breathtaking claim. Not only does the bill fail to address the actual source of anti-Semitism, they contend, but it is many of them who are the actual targets of hatred, not Jewish students and others who support Israel.  “By potentially targeting those offering criticism of the State of Israel, many of whom are Jews themselves, (and not the white supremacists emboldened by President-elect Trump), this bill fails to confront the real threats facing Jews in America,” contended these individuals who claim suddenly to be experts on the nature and source of contemporary anti-Semitism. “Instead,” they suggested, with an obvious terror at having to be held to account for the corrosive and counter-productive ideology they have chosen to promote, “this bill poses a threat to human rights advocates, scholars, and students. . . .”

What is the nature of the specific “threat” they suggested the bill will pose? As anti-Israel activists did in California when the Regents implemented a resolution to help identify anti-Semitic speech masquerading as mere “criticism of Israel,” these scholars and students are mortified that their right to libel, slander, and relentlessly demean Israel, Zionism, and Jewish self-determination will be curtailed by the implementation of a bill aimed at classifying and identifying anti-Semitic speech, not proscribing it. Of course, what critics of Israel and actual anti-Semites want is to be able to utter any calumny they wish without any repercussions, and certainly without having to defend the viability of their ideology or needing to contend with accusations that they are actually anti-Semitic in their activism—despite seeing themselves merely as “passionate young activists organizing for justice,” whose advocacy is, in their estimation, morally pure and beyond reproach.

The student signatories on one of the JVP letters share the paranoid fantasies of their academic elders, who chronically bemoan perceived restrictions on their right and ability to slander Israel and Jews, even though groups like JVP and SJP regularly violate those very academic free speech precepts by shouting down, heckling, and interfering with pro-Israel speakers, events, and celebrations in their toxic campaign to promote their own view of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and foreclose any opposing views. That one-sided monologue, of course, violates the core principal of academic freedom of speech and expression, but it apparently has never occurred to these social justice warriors that free speech is a right enjoyed by parties on both sides of an argument, and that the same protections they exploit and enjoy are necessarily available to and can be claimed by their ideological opponents.

“At a time when freedom of expression is under threat across the country,” the students disingenuously cautioned, “we need to be protecting and expanding speech, not restricting it.” But that assumption is false, for two reasons. First, it assumes, mistakenly, that the intent of this anti-Semitism bill is to silence criticism of Israel rather than to help administrators and others define it as anti-Semitic when and if it actually is. The purpose of the bill, as well as the U.S. State Department’s own working definition of anti-Semitism, is only to help define and categorize anti-Semitic speech, not to suppress it, and it specifically upholds all First Amendment rights of JVP and anyone else to utter and give expression to whatever level of hateful speech they wish.

No one is telling these toxic Israel-haters to remain silent—or even to not utter anti-Semitic speech. What working definitions and anti-Semitism awareness bills do hope to achieve is to allow those who are pretending only to be anti-Israel but are actually anti-Semitic to be identified as such. The measures are not designed to criminalize or suppress speech, even what we would consider “hate” speech, although going forward Israel-haters may not be able to disguise their anti-Jewish bigotry as successfully as they have when they pretended to care only for the rights of Palestinians and assailed the policies of the Jewish state.

It may be inconvenient and even embarrassing for these Israel-haters to finally be named for they are—radical, misguided activists whose unrelenting campaign of vitriol against the Jewish state and its supporters has regularly morphed into pure anti-Semitism—but their efforts to assign the blame to others for the miasma of dark bigotry on campuses they themselves have helped to create shows how crucial this Anti-Semitism Awareness Act is, and why its passage is important to help eliminate, finally, “the oldest hatred” from institutions of higher education.

Richard L. Cravatts, PhD, President Emeritus of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, is the author of Dispatches From the Campus War Against Israel and Jews.

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Posted on 01/18/2017 3:26 PM by Richard L. Cravatts
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Wednesday, 18 January 2017
Democrats are committing suicide by joining Lewis boycott
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by Kenneth Timmerman

Democrats joining the puerile food fight Rep. John Lewis started with the President-Elect may soon live to regret it.

Donald Trump has promised a vigorous legislative agenda for his first one-hundred days, and has the majorities in Congress to make good on that promise. Democrats who continue to whine and pout, calling him “illegitimate,” may soon find themselves on the wrong side of history.

Here’s what is likely to occur between now and mid-April:

• President Trump will reverse hundreds of Obama’s executive orders, shredding big portions of the former President’s “legacy.”

• Republicans will pass the Obamacare repeal and replace measure.

• Republicans will pass a tax reform package that includes middle class tax cuts and a significant reduction of the corporate income tax.

• Republicans will fund the border wall, and President Trump will start to open bids from contractors.

If Congress does nothing beyond this in the next two years, the economy will grow, jobs will return to the rust belt states, and Democrats will suffer a “shellacking” in the mid-term elections.

And if Donald Trump succeeds in building the border wall (and yes, Mexico will ultimately pay for it through a remittance tax, tariffs, or other measures), he will be re-elected in 2020 with big numbers.

As Mike Huckabee said on Fox Business on Tuesday, Democrats are “never going to be happy his election” because of their "personal animosity," and that is a huge mistake. Why? Because as the new President succeeds with his policies, American voters will have little patience with such critics.

I’m not suggesting that Rep. Lewis is about to lose re-election, given that he represents “one of the most consistently Democratic districts in the nation.”

But some of the Democrats who have decided to join him in boycotting Friday’s inauguration could find themselves facing primary opponents. Among the most vulnerable in this regard is newly-elected Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md).

After his disastrous failure in the Obamacare roll-out as Lieutenant Governor, Brown lost his bid to become Governor in 2014 in heavily-Democrat Maryland. How could that happen? Because members of his own party turned against him and voted for the Republican or just stayed home.

I witnessed Mr. Brown’s unpopularity when black Republican gubernatorial candidate Charles Lollar and I won the endorsement in the 2014 primary of a pre-eminent black pastors and business association in Prince Georges County. (I was Lollar’s running mate).

I asked the leaders of this group why they were endorsing a Republican ticket over Mr. Brown, and they responded almost unanimously: because Anthony Brown had arrogantly ignored them over the previous eight years as Lieutenant Governor. He was out of touch and took them for granted.

Those same black leaders are going to benefit from lower tax rates, as well as from the reduction in the number of illegal aliens with their drain on public school and public health resources. They are not going to take kindly to politicians who tell them these benefits are somehow “illegitimate,” because they have a personal beef with the President who brought them about.

Under Obama, Democrats lost more than 1,000 seats in Congress and in state legislatures because of his unpopular policies. For Democrats to continue opposing President Trump when he enacts popular policies is a strong indicator they have suicidal tendencies.

If these suicidal Democrats don’t seek treatment, the people will dish it out to them at the ballot box.

They face the same choice Bill Clinton faced after the 1994 midterms: embrace success, or go down as a failure.

Three weeks before last November’s election, Rep. Lewis tweeted out a quote from “Walking with the Wind,” his memoire of the civil rights movement. “We are one people, one family, one house – the American house. We must learn to live together as brother & sister or we will perish as fools.”

Those are wise and humble words. Rep. Lewis and his fellow boycotters would do well to heed them.

First published in The Hill.

Kenneth R. Timmerman is a Donald Trump supporter. He was the 2012 Republican Congressional nominee for MD-8 and is the author of Deception: The Making of the YouTube Video Hillary & Obama Blamed for Benghazi, published by Post Hill Press.
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Posted on 01/18/2017 1:20 PM by Kenneth Timmerman
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Wednesday, 18 January 2017
Donald Trump vs. the Media
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by Conrad Black

The CNN hype of the farrago of scatological nonsense about the president-elect and the Russian government ends the pre-inaugural interlude on an all-time triumph of media unprofessionalism, malice, and outright idiocy, by the most bigoted of all large American news outlets. The ne plus ultra in this steady, hand-over-hand climb to a summit of irresponsibility was achieved with the airing of a 35-page dossier of alleged Russian involvement with Trump and in harassments of the Clinton campaign. In it, many Russian officials, from Vladimir Putin down, are named, but almost no Americans are, except for an alleged Trump executive, which quickly proved to have been a case of mistaken or invented identity.

The dossier contained a very lengthy recitation of meetings and vaguely outlined initiatives, running the gamut from leaks designed to smear Clinton, to claims of possession of material that could be used to blackmail Trump because of louche or perverted sexual activity. Mercifully, there was one specific incident that will render this hideous canard unforgettable, a scarlet letter to its promoters: that Donald Trump engaged a group of Russian prostitutes to urinate in a bed allegedly occupied in a Moscow luxury hotel some years before by Mr. and Mrs. Obama. This was the Golden Gate, the Golden Shower, the perfect symbol of the demented media assault on the president-elect.

For such a curtain call in Inauguration Week, it was appropriate to provide the most deserving players: perhaps the most famous Buffalonian since Grover Cleveland, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, who looks like he lives from paycheck to paycheck as a cameo visual impersonator of Victor Hugo, announced the “breaking news” of this inane file that had been bouncing around, beneath the notice of anyone except the scurrilous leftist “news” outlet BuzzFeed, for months. CNN’s Washington bureau chief, Jake Tapper, joined Blitzer in crackling on about this “exclusive,” supplemented by Michael Morell, a former CIA official who now works for a strategic advisory firm run by ex-Hillary Clinton aide Philippe Reines. Then came James Sciutto, “chief national-security correspondent” for CNN, who trumpeted “an enormous team effort by my colleagues . . . at CNN.” Admittedly, slogging through the unsubstantiated, vaguely formulated filth and skulduggery the CNN team picked up with a few digital clicks from BuzzFeed, an act approximating a couple of rabid raccoons’ scooping feces out of a garbage can, could be described as “an immense team effort” for people with any taste or professional integrity.

But the pièce de résistance waited its turn in the wings, and Tapper unveiled “the legendary Carl Bernstein,” to bestow credence on this malignant asininity. Still subsisting from the proceeds of the Nixon character-assassination, disbelieved even by his editor, Ben Bradlee (which did not prevent Bradlee from collecting his share of the journalism awards Watergate deluged on its perpetrators), Bernstein is a semi-extinct volcano. He led whomever watches CNN through a tangle of anonymous people: a former British intelligence agent, Washington research firms opposed to Trump, Russians who had dealt with Trump, and Russian sources for the report, all anonymous, but diligently uncovered, said Bernstein, rather than simply fabricated and published by BuzzFeed. Plus ça change. Let us take heart: Bernstein is forgotten, except at CNN, Richard Nixon (as I mentioned here last week) will never die.

Tapper and Bernstein alternated in working up apparent, implicit confirmations of sources that were firming up. (Wolf Blitzer worked for me when my associates and I owned the Jerusalem Post. When he quit us for a richer offer at CNN, I suspected he would get pretty far down-market when he asked me to give him a departure bonus for enhancing the Post’s prestige by moving to a larger employer. I always salute ambition, am inured to greed, but presenting unverified slander as enterprising journalism is not how we did it, in Jerusalem or elsewhere.) It seems obvious enough that the intelligence services tried to smear Trump, presumably with the encouragement of the outgoing administration, and one of America’s lowest media outlets finally took the bait. This was amplified by “an enormous team effort” at CNN, fluffed up by the benedictions of the hind-legs of the most egregious pantomime horse of myth-making in Washington history.

The reaction to Donald Trump’s January 11 news conference, in which he attacked BuzzFeed and CNN and declined to answer a question from a CNN reporter, varied from general public approval, even with some reservations about the president-elect’s rugged and brusque vocabulary, and the New York Times’s view that the media had to be more astute in their war on Trump. On January 12, Jim Rutenberg said in the Times that the takeaways on the news conference were that 1) “Mr. Trump remains a master media manipulator” who had managed to “delegitimize the news media and make it the story, rather than the chaotic swirl of ethical questions that engulf his transition” (as if the incoming president had purloined the Golden Shower dossier and planted it under Wolf Blitzer and Carl Bernstein’s noses) and 2) “the news media remains an unwitting accomplice in its own diminishment”: “It better figure things out, fast, because it has found itself at the edge of the cliff. And our still-functioning (fingers crossed) democracy needs it to stay on the right side of the drop.”

I read on with insatiable disbelief; this was the newspaper that had apologized, through its publisher and its editor, for its biased coverage of the election, two days after the Trump victory, and here it was commending BuzzFeed for putting out a story that “many news organizations, including this one, had [had] for months.” The danger was that “Mr. Trump’s ‘fake news’ charge against CNN, in front of many millions of Americans, went directly at the network’s core purpose as a global news provider.” Bingo, Mr. Rutenberg; that’s just what it did. Most people who see a lot of the media and are reasonably discerning don’t trust the media and think their core purpose is to deceive, misinform, and mold public opinion in an underinformed way to suit the groupthink of the mainstream media’s principal personalities. This was the downside of the theory of the husband of my dear late friend Kay Graham, of the Washington Post, of “the rough first draft of history.”

Will Rahn of CBS had it right on November 10 when he wrote of the “unbearable smugness of the press” and predicted that the response of the media to the Trump victory would not be that most Trump supporters were not fascistic imbeciles, racists, and chauvinists, but rather that there were a good many more such “deplorables” in the country than the media had imagined. Filmmaker Ken Burns, who has had a reputation of wholesome fairness, told a Stanford commencement address in June that Trump was a menace to democracy, and railed against the “troubling unfiltered Tourette’s of his tribalism.” On October 20, with the candidates neck and neck, he told the inevitable CNN that the election “was an existential moment for the United States of America . . . the greatest threat since the Cuban Missile Crisis and World War II.” Trump was using “the National Socialist playbook” and “the dog whistles of race and immigration.” He accused Trump of inciting mob rule and group hate, and of being an uncontrollably immature and deranged personality who threatened “216 years” of peaceful political transition.”

Burns seems not to have been reassured that Trump had not committed one electoral irregularity at the polls or in the submission of nominees for confirmation after the election. Burns’s abilities as a filmmaker are not at issue, but it was clear from his attempted homogenization of the Roosevelts in his documentary about them, his avoidance of the most insightful biographers of FDR, and his adoption of the feminist bunk that Eleanor was virtually a co-president, that in the uniquely complicated process of choosing a president, he was a technically sophisticated but intellectually stunted, undiscriminatingly hypersensitive sophomore. Meryl Streep sounded the same theme in accepting a Golden Globe award recently and fulminating about Trump being a xenophobic disparager of the handicapped. The mockery of the handicapped was one of the many incidents misinterpreted and amplified by the New York Times.

Of course, Trump is not a xenophobe, racist, sexist, chauvinist, or ungracious man, though he is bumptious, egocentric, and often infelicitous. If he were the carrier of the contagion of any such reprehensible characteristics as Burns and Streep, in their overwrought, quasi-artistic earnestness, impute to him, he could not have won the primaries — fair and square and though vastly outspent — of the Republican party, nor have won the election against a qualified candidate with a very large following who was supported by 90 percent of the American media and 95 percent of the vocal entertainment community.

The real message is that they all failed: both parties, the Bushes, Clintons, and Obamas, Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, McCain, and Romney. Ronald Reagan left the country the world’s only superpower, prosperous, united, and content, set at the head of a respectful and grateful alliance. Then, as happens in the lives of great nations and empires, unchallenged by obvious threats, decay advances quickly on hairy, scurrying feet. The mountebanks of the global-warming fraud assaulted energy production and capitalism generally. These were not legitimate conservationists and vigilant environmentalists; they were frauds, demanding, for pseudoscientific reasons, the elimination of carbon use. The political landscape was also swarmed by the dopey-dreamy believers in the borderless state; the rich lefties, from the cleverest — Warren Buffett, padding around in corduroy trousers and a Viyella shirt asking that his taxes be raised while opening his pockets to receive the largesse of the Obama regime — to the dumbest, the physically well-favored Hollywood airheads and cokeheads calling for social justice while neglecting to pay the minimum wage to migrant aliens rolling their tennis courts and mowing their lawns. They became the iron-clad, locked-arm conventional wisdom.

They did not notice the 12 million illegal immigrants; the sleaziest pay-to-play operation of the federal government in American history; endless stupid Middle Eastern wars, in which the military were brilliant and the political leaders expanded the power of Iran while generating an immense humanitarian crisis; the worldwide economic debacle generated by the officially sponsored U.S. housing bubble; or that the U.S has become a worldwide foreign-policy laughingstock, a condition highlighted by John Kerry’s using the last week in which the taxpayers foot the bill for his travel to return to Vietnam, where he had falsely claimed to be a war hero, and betrayed the country and his comrades.

It has all been such a painful national scenario, and Donald Trump responded so unsubtly to the failure of the system — the presidential candidates, the Congress, the media, the bright people from Hollywood to Wall Street — that what is about to happen will not be seen, for a while yet, as the national deliverance and the resurrection of Norman Rockwell and Walt Disney’s virtuous America that it is. And most of the media and Hollywood will not be seen as the whipped jackals that they are. But what Wolf Blitzer and Carl Bernstein reported, and Ken Burns and Meryl Streep feared, has been averted. God bless America and its new leader, this 58th quadrennial Inauguration Day.  

First published in National Review Online.

— Conrad Black is the author of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom, Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full, and Flight of the Eagle: The Grand Strategies That Brought America from Colonial Dependence to World Leadership

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Posted on 01/18/2017 12:30 PM by Conrad Black
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Wednesday, 18 January 2017
Soul Man
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by Gary Fouse

On Tuesday evening, I happened to watch Fox News’ Tucker Carlson’s show in which one of his guests was Sam Moore of the famous duo of the 1960s, Sam and Dave (the latter is now deceased.) The topic under discussion was the refusal of so many pop stars to appear at the presidential inaugural on Friday. (Many who came out and said they would not perform had not even been invited according to Donald Trump.) Mr. Moore was saddened to hear that a prominent black singer had felt forced to withdraw because of the backlash she was receiving. Moore said that he would be in Washington on Friday to perform and/or support the inaugural. He also said that he didn’t understand why so many people were refusing to attend or recognize Trump’s presidency before he was even sworn in.

Mr. Moore is now 81 years old, ten years older than me. I recall so vividly back in the late 1960s when I was a young soldier stationed in Germany during the Vietnam war. Racial tensions in the army, like racial tensions across American society at the time, were high. As a military policeman, I often found myself right smack dab in the middle.

At that time, Sam and Dave’s classic hit “Soul Man” had hit the American military community in Germany. Among black troops, the song was almost like an anthem to them. I recall being in GI bars when black soldiers came in and went straight to the jukebox and played “Soul Man.” Yes, sometimes I thought it was meant as a statement of defiance.

Now comes Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), an authentic civil rights hero, whose skull was fractured during the famous Pettis Bridge march in Selma, Alabama. I greatly respect Congressman Lewis’ civil rights credentials, but I disagree with many of his positions. I find it outrageous that he has joined some 50 other Democrat members of Congress who are boycotting the inauguration as well as his statements this week that he doesn’t regard Trump’s presidency as legitimate. I also think Trump was not wise to strike back verbally at Lewis. As president, he is going to have his hands full just running the country.

It is sad that so many Democrats of responsibility are behaving in such a petulant manner. Whatever the Russians did in their hacking during the campaign, Hillary Clinton lost this election on her own flaws not because of the Russians. Trump won the Republican nomination fair and square as well as the general election. 

I wish that Lewis and others would follow the example of Sam Moore. We need to come together and give Mr. Trump a chance to lead this country. We can ill afford so many in our society turning their back on our incoming president.

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Posted on 01/18/2017 9:07 AM by Gary Fouse
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Wednesday, 18 January 2017
Ending the Biased United Nations Resolutions against Israel
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by Michael Curtis

Another opening, another show. International politics has taken its cue from Cole Porter. Not far from Broadway, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is due to meet on January 18, 2017 to reiterate its favorite topic, condemnation of the State of Israel. It follows the ministerial meeting in Paris of January 15, 2017 that ended as expected with a declaration, unanimous with the exception of UK, to reaffirm the Palestinian right to statehood and sovereignty, and "end the occupation that began in 1967."

The Paris conference welcomed UNSC Resolution 2334 of December 23, 2016 that condemned Israeli settlement activity, and all (unspecified) acts of violence and terror. It called for financial support for the Palestinian Authority, and for strengthening support for Palestinian steps to “exercise their responsibilities of statehood.” The Resolution, to put it mildly, was unhelpful to peace. The following day, Palestinian Fatah posted a cartoon praising it by showing a dagger in the shape of  a map of the whole of Israel colored with the Palestinian flag. Under the dagger was pool of blood.

There was a noticeable and significant difference between 2334 and the declaration of the Paris conference. Resolution 2334 spoke of “a region where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side.” In Paris, the phrase “democratic states” disappeared from the declaration. That declaration imposed no new obligations on Israel but it does allow Palestinians to avoid direct negotiations. To its credit UK refused to sign the Paris document.

The UN, and indeed all nations and groups interested in the issue, should recall the Armistice Agreements signed in Rhodes on February 24,  1949, that ended the war between Israel and Arab states that had initiated the war by invading  the newly created State of Israel. The Agreement with Jordan was signed on April 3, 1949. It reads in part, "no provision of this Agreement shall in any way prejudice the rights, claims, and positions of either Party hereto in the ultimate peaceful settlement of the Palestine question, the provisions of this Agreement being dictated exclusively by military considerations."

The Agreements laid down armistice lines, generally known as the Green Line. For the most part the line was akin to the 1922 international border between Egypt and Mandatory Palestine, except that Egypt controlled the area known as the Gaza Strip. It was understood that the armistice line was not a political or territorial boundary.

It should be remembered that at that time no Arab country recognized the legitimacy of the State of Israel, nor accepted the armistice "lines" as any kind of territorial border. Jordan ruled and "annexed" the West Bank, including east Jerusalem and the Old City, after 1949.  Thus, the "West Bank" (of Jordan) was created by the 1949 Arrangement. In 1988 Jordan improperly, from a legal point of view, “gave” the area to the Palestinians.  In view of this historical back ground it is ironic the UNSC is said to be likely to propose recognition of a state of “Palestine” with “borders” corresponding to the 1949 armistice lines.

There are two problems with this UN determination to defy international agreements on its partial path to a two state solution. The first is the seeming inability of Palestinian authorities to organize a political structure. The other is the narrow focus of the UN on Israel, disregarding the violations, political and humanitarian, of almost all other states.

Palestinian activity towards Israel is marked by lack of peaceful intentions. Just looking at the record in 2016, Palestinians between January and October killed more than 11 Israelis and injured 131 including 46 security officers. Israel security forces in retaliation killed 94 Palestinians and injured 3300 in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Israel in the same period.

According to Human Rights Watch , Palestinian armed groups continue to launch rockets from Gaza into Israel, violating the laws of war. Hamas which runs Gaza has never prosecuted anyone, or been prosecuted, for crimes committed during the 2014 hostilities in Gaza.  

Areas controlled by Palestinians are not democratic. Palestinians have restricted freedom of expression, tortured and badly treated detainees, and, in Gaza, executed a number of their own people. They have arrested activists for political criticism, for peaceful speech. According to the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR), activists who criticized their leaders or policies were tortured and treated brutally.

International organizations say little or anything about the need for these abuses to be rectified before a Palestinian political entity can be created.  Similarly, one might logically expect that organizations genuinely interested in dealing with abuses of human rights should be concerned with their elimination. Considering the unending onslaught on Israel for its alleged deficiencies, it is worth comparing that democratic country with  just two other Middle East countries.

Again according to Human Rights Watch, in Iran a disturbing policy has been the brutal actions by the security apparatus, reinforced by the judiciary, in putting down attempts of citizens to excise their rights. In the first months of 2016, certainly more than 200  and possibly over 400, have been executed. Non-violent “crimes” such as insulting the Prophet, apostasy, adultery, same sex relations, drug offenses, are punishable by death.

Individuals, who are really Sunni Kurds, have been arrested on charges of “enmity against God”,  and sentenced to death. Children continue to be executed, and flogging is still a punishment for youngsters.

Nor is Saudi Arabia, now the major enemy of Iran, a bastion of human rights. In operations against the Houthis in Yemen, Saudi Arabia has committed many violations of international humanitarian law, killing more than 4,000 civilians and wounding 7,200, some by cluster bombs. In actions, they have stuck civilian homes, markets, hospitals, factories, warehouses, and mosques.

Saudi Arabia represses dissenters and human rights activists engaged in peaceful activity. Comments in public statements or on social media, are punished. Bloggers and journalists have been sent to prison for supporting the right of women to drive.  Some have even been flogged.

A significant task for the incoming Trump administration is to attempt to redirect the energies and priorities of international organizations.   This will mean the end of the interminable biased resolutions against the State of Israel. That will bring peace to at least part of the Middle East.

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Posted on 01/18/2017 7:25 AM by Michael Curtis
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Tuesday, 17 January 2017
There Goes His Insanity Defense
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Fort Lauderdale shooter says he carried out attack for ISIS (CNN)

Esteban Santiago, the man charged with killing five people at the Fort Lauderdale airport, told FBI agents he carried out the attack on behalf of ISIS, FBI special agent Michael Ferlazzo testified at Santiago's bond hearing Tuesday.

The agent did not elaborate on whether Santiago was purporting to be linked to ISIS or simply inspired by the terrorist organization.
Federal authorities in Alaska said Santiago told them prior to the attack that he was hearing voices and that his mind was being controlled by the CIA. Santiago made no such claim during the six-hour interview conducted shortly after the January 6 shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Ferlazzo testified.
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Posted on 01/17/2017 12:54 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Tuesday, 17 January 2017
The Cunning of History - New Review
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Kimberly Baxter writes in the Library of Social Science:

In The Cunning of History: The Holocaust and the American Future, Richard Rubenstein writes,

One of the least helpful ways of understanding the Holocaust is to regard the destruction process as the work of a small group of irresponsible criminals who were atypical of normal statesmen and who somehow gained control of the German people, forcing them by terror and the deliberate stimulation of religious and ethnic hatred to pursue a barbaric and retrograde policy that was thoroughly at odds with the great traditions of Western civilization. On the contrary, we are more likely to understand the Holocaust if we regard it as the expression of some of the most profound tendencies of Western civilization in the twentieth century.

Rubenstein traces the transformation of society that culminated in the Holocaust—through which leaders came to view their own populations as expendable—to earlier historical events. He notes that World War I generals whose strategies caused mass casualties among their own troops enjoyed public approval.

He explains German commander Von Falkenhayn’s strategy at the Battle of Verdun:

His objective at Verdun was to exterminate as many of the enemy as possible. This was a giant step towards the death camps of World War II. For the first time in memory a European nation had attempted to alter the biological rather than the military and political balance of power with an adversary. It did not occur to Von Falkenhayn that he could not slaughter the French without suffering the loss of a comparable number of his own men.

But this fact became evident as the battle dragged on. In nine months, about five hundred thousand men died on each side at Verdun, and the battle lines were more or less in the same place at the end as at the beginning.

Rubenstein also discusses British General Sir Douglas Haig’s strategy at the Battle of the Somme. This battle too entailed massive casualties on all sides. The British lost nearly 60,000 soldiers on the first day and 410,000 total, and the battle lines moved only six miles forward. Rubenstein suggests that there must have been a consensus that this kind of sacrifice was necessary:

Falkenhayn and Haig were leading components of the mechanisms of destruction of their respective countries but their decisions were subject to review. Had the decisions been unacceptable, the commanders would have been speedily replaced. Furthermore, it is altogether possible that nations like individuals do not always know what they really want.

Their actions may provide a better indication of what they want than the publicly stated declarations of their leaders. Both Haig and Von Falkenhayn were convinced that the blood sacrifices were indispensable to victory; so too were those who ratified their decisions.

Thus, Rubenstein understands World War I as a moment in which human societies developed the capacity for mass extermination of their own members. He writes, “From the perspective of subsequent history, Verdun offered a hint of the extent to which the leaders of Germany regarded their own people as expendable.”

He notes, however, that there is evidence that Hitler welcomed World War II “because of the opportunity it provided him to institute extermination programs against groups he regarded as undesirable.” The first extermination program of the German government was initiated the very day the war broke out. Then he asks, “Is it possible that one difference between the Nazi-elite and the World War I elites that chose Haig and Von Falkenhayn for their respective posts was that the leading Nazis knew why they had really chosen the path of war?” He suggest that eliminating portions of the domestic population was an objective in both World War I and World War II, but one that was consciously acknowledged only in the latter case.

Although Rubenstein asserts that “the cultural ethos that permitted the perfection of bureaucratic mass murder was most likely to develop in the land of Luther,” he also writes, “my intention is not to blame Protestantism for the death camps.” He argues that we must distinguish between the humanistic ideals the Judeo-Christian tradition asserts, and the ethos generated by that same tradition. He says that although the Judeo-Christian tradition is said to proclaim that as children of God every human possesses an irreducible element of human dignity,

beyond all conscious intent, it has produced a secularization of consciousness involving an abstract, dehumanized, calculating rationality that can eradicate every vestige of that same human dignity in all areas of human interchange. Furthermore, it is the biblical tradition that has led to the secularization of consciousness, disenchantment of the world, methodical conduct (as in both Protestantism and capitalism), and, finally, bureaucratic objectivity… The culture that made the death camps possible was not only indigenous to the West but was an outcome, albeit unforeseen and unintended, of its fundamental religious traditions.

Rubenstein enlists Max Weber in support of his argument that the combination of capitalism and Protestantism made possible the kind of slavery that occurred in the Nazi death camps. He writes that the Holocaust demonstrates that

large scale massacre is no longer a crime and the state's sovereign powers are such that millions can be stripped of their rights and condemned to the world of the living dead. Thus, the process of secularization ends where it began. In the beginning secularization involved the demystification of and the limitation of the sovereign's power. In the end, the secular state has dethroned all mystifications of power and morality save its own. The state becomes the only true god on earth with the power to define realistically what is good and will be rewarded and what is evil and will be punished; this truly sovereign god also has the ultimate power of divinity, the power to decide who shall live and who shall die.

He emphasizes that “the Holocaust was something very different than an outburst of monumental violence and hatred such as the massacres that have all too frequently punctuated human history.” For example, whereas the 1968 massacre in My Lai, Vietnam, “took place because the Americans lost control of themselves under conditions of wartime stress, Auschwitz was made possible because the German bureaucracy and the SS were in control at every step.”

Rubenstein argues that the Nazi death-camps became “a new form of human society” when they became slave-labor camps. While some camps functioned strictly as killing centers, others such as Auschwitz came to function as both slave-labor and execution centers. New arrivals would be sent to one of these two divisions. Only this slave-labor component transformed the camp system into a “society of total domination.” Rubenstein thinks this Nazi creation has ominous implications for the future:

The camps were thus far more of a permanent threat to the human future than they would have been had they functioned solely as an exercise in mass killing. An execution center can only manufacture corpses; a society of total domination creates a world of the living dead that can serve as a prototype of a future social order, especially in a world confronted by catastrophic crises and ever-increasing, massive population redundancy.

It was not only technological advancements that enabled the Nazis to carry out mass extermination. Their organizational skills were essential to the creation of a totalitarian society in which this was possible. Rubenstein notes, “Few weapons were as indispensable to the Gestapo as its files.” The advances in computing technology since the Nazi regime make the kind of bureaucratic domination they pioneered logistically much easier.

In the final chapter, Rubenstein presents several hypothetical dystopic scenarios of future governments eliminating segments of a population through compulsory sterilization or “mercy death,” using Nazi extermination programs as their guides. He states that his aim in speculating about these specific situations is not to predict the future. He observes:

My purpose is rather to point out that the explosive combination of surplus population, finite resources, and the expanding sovereign powers of government suggest that the Nazi extermination program may yet foreshadow other exercises in the politics of total domination by future governments as they face catastrophic population problems arising out of mankind's very success in mastering nature.

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Posted on 01/17/2017 9:09 AM by Richard L. Rubenstein
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Monday, 16 January 2017
Tim Burton vs. Fiyaz Mughal
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Press release from Liberty GB:


Fiyaz Mughal

On Monday 30 January 2017, one of the most important political show trials of the century is taking place at Southwark Crown Court in London. One of our Liberty GB Executive Council members, Tim Burton, is being prosecuted for the heinous crime of sending a handful of humorous and satirical emails, employing mockery and ridicule, to Tell Mama UK, an organisation run by a prominent Muslim, Fiyaz Mughal OBE.

Fiyaz Mughal has declared himself to be harassed, alarmed, threatened, distressed and allegedly generally discombobulated, not to mention offended and insulted, by the veritable flood of the said humorous and satirical emails emanating from the email account of the “far-right, bigoted, racist and Islamophobic” Tim Burton, as a result of Tell Mama advertising a job vacancy for a caseworker on its website in April 2016.

At one point in these emails, Tim Burton referred to Mr Mughal as “the Mendacious, Grievance-Mongering Taqiyya-Artist-In-Chief of Tell Mama UK.” (Taqiyya is part of the Islamic doctrine of deceit – divinely sanctioned in Islam’s “holy book”, the Quran – a doctrine that tells Muslims that they may deceive non-Muslims if the goal is to advance the cause of Islam or to prevent the denigration of Islam in the eyes of non-Muslims.)

At the last count, there were no less than four of these emails – five if you count the email where Tim Burton is enquiring after the status of his job application – and this has evidently been enough to inspire Mr Mughal to complain bitterly to the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service, who complied with alacrity to his request to have Tim Burton charged and prosecuted for Religiously Aggravated Harassment – a charge which upon conviction can result in a substantial fine, not to mention a long prison sentence.

Unremarkable enough, one might think, were it not for the fact that Fiyaz Mughal sits on a panel that advises the Crown Prosecution Service on how to prosecute cases of so-called “Islamophobia” and whose organisation Tell Mama UK works closely with the Metropolitan Police to ensure than no stone is left unturned to deal robustly with the wave of “Islamophobia” that is sweeping the country and terrorising the Muslim community.

One does not want to invoke any suggestion of conflict of interest, but it might be worth considering how a non-Muslim might be treated were he to go into a police station or a courtroom and complain that a Muslim had been mean to him via email, or had had a Muslim cast aspersions on the honesty and integrity of his organisation. We venture to suggest that a non-Muslim in such circumstances would have been laughed out of the police station or the courtroom, or at the very least told to go away and stop wasting police time.

It might be worth recalling at this point how Fiyaz Mughal was called out by Andrew Gilligan of the Daily Telegraph in June 2013 for (allegedly) fraudulently manipulating the so-called “hate crime” figures of Tell Mama UK in the wake of the Lee Rigby murder in order to maintain his enormous six-figure taxpayer grant. (Following this exposure in the press, Tell Mama UK was investigated and temporarily had its funding withdrawn. Strangely, no charges of fraud were ever brought about by the Metropolitan Police or the CPS.)

Since then, Tell Mama UK has had its funding quietly reinstated and is carrying on its activities much as before, with Fiyaz Mughal frequently hitting the headlines with stories concerning the mythical “Islamophobic” backlash against the Muslim community (which never actually materialises) in the wake of the numerous terrorist atrocities such as the truck attack in France which killed 84 people and injured 120  more in July, or the truck attack on the German Christmas market which killed 12 people and injured 56 more in December.

In the opinion of all of us here at Liberty GB, this prosecution embodies everything that is wrong with the criminal justice system when it comes to the double standard with which Muslims and non-Muslims are treated. We think it is time for a review into the preferential status that Islam currently enjoys under UK law.

Here is a link to the circumstances surrounding the trial - http://www.libertygb.org.uk/news/tim-burton-show-trial-latest-181216-islam-religion

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Posted on 01/16/2017 10:06 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Monday, 16 January 2017
The Insubmissive Infidel, Or, Just A Jot About Jerusalem
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by Hugh Fitzgerald

“Palestinian” leader Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor on religion, one Mahmoud Al-Habbash, has declared that a move of the American embassy to Jerusalem by the Trump administration would constitute a declaration of war on all Muslims,” and then threatened:This will not pass in silence.” He was not alone. A half-dozen other “Palestinian” leaders chimed in with similar threats, claiming that if “America recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of the Jews,” then America will have declared “a new war against the Palestinians and also against the Arabs and the Muslims.”

Many American officials, including several former ambassadors to Israel, are also against the move. They claim it will cause “instability” (as if the Muslim Middle East were not already the most unstable region in the world today), and “harm” Israel’s budding relations behind-the-scenes with some in the Arab world (as if Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia would deprive themselves of the covert help Israel gives them against common enemies, including the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran). More interesting is that “Palestinians” in East Jerusalem, some reports suggest, appear to be “apathetic” about the possible U.S. Embassy move. Of course, the “Palestinian” leaders need to show they are doing something, earning their corrupt keep, and one way is to whip up sentiment against the move, even if locally it hardly matters to many “Palestinians,” who have other, more basic concerns, to worry about.

At this point, for Trump to back down from what he repeatedly said he would do, both during the campaign and after his election, would be taken by many Arabs and Muslims as a sign that their threats work, even with someone like Trump, who prides himself on his toughness. And such a victory would embolden the Arabs and Muslims to attempt more such victories through threat, and not only on matters involving Israel, but within Western Europe, too. Imagine, for example, that flush with victory on the Jerusalem issue (and one can almost hear the cries and ululations of triumph if Trump yields, and announces that he’s “putting off” indefinitely the Embassy move), Muslims decided to threaten Dutch voters that “if you elect Geert Wilders we will boycott Dutch goods” (just like the boycott of Danish products in 2006, to punish Denmark for publication of the Muhammad cartoons), or to make a similar threat to French voters about electing Marine Le Pen: “we’ll boycott French goods, we won’t visit Paris.” Or Muslim threats against any European country that passes measures deemed “anti-Islam” — everything from banning the niqab to serving pork in school lunches, to requiring Muslim girls to attend swimming classes with boys. Could, would European politicians and voters allow themselves to be bullied in such a manner? Of course they could; pusillanimity is a universal problem.

But if Trump stands firm, that should help stiffen the backbone of those Europeans who are rightly alarmed about Islam but – with so much surrender in the air — need encouragement. Trump’s refusal to kowtow will give them something to emulate. But if he gives in on the Jerusalem embassy move, it makes more likely both that other threats will be made by Muslims, their appetites whetted, against the West, and that the demoralization of the Western world – already evident in such craven leaders as Theresa May and Angela Merkel — will increase. The Embassy move may seem to be a matter only about Jerusalem, but it has become much more: a test of wills between the West (as represented by the United States) and a hostile Muslim world which, maddeningly, threatens even as it relies on the West for its economic and, in some cases, political survival. Furthermore, if Trump were to declare that he needed a “waiver on national security grounds” to the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, just like his three predecessors, that would no doubt mean more than just a reversal of his policy; it would make it unlikely that any of his successors would try to move the Embassy. Following such a humiliating retreat by Trump, what future president would expend political capital trying to reverse course yet again? The American Embassy would remain in Tel Aviv, with any hope of its being moved to Jerusalem permanently extinguished.

A lot, then, is at stake.

In the first, and obvious, place, such a retreat would do violence to history and the truth. The connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem, as their “eternal capital,” is not to be undone by votes in that most corrupt and corrupting of institutions, the U.N., where a powerful Muslim bloc holds sway. The Muslim connection to Jerusalem is a matter of faith, not history: Jerusalem is “holy” to Muslims because Muhammad supposedly ascended into Heaven on his winged steed Al-Buraq, from the “farthest mosque” (Al-Masjid al-Aqsa) located on the Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount). You have to be a Muslim to believe the story about Muhammad’s Night Journey. You do not have to be Jewish, however, to know that Jerusalem was the capital of the Jews for thousands of years, that King David and King Solomon really did exist, that the Western Wall and Temple Mount and the cemetery on the Mount of Olives all testify to the ancient Jewish presence, that there is considerable archeological evidence for both the First and Second Temples, and that Jerusalem is mentioned 349 times in the Jewish Bible (but not mentioned once in the Qur’an). The Jewish connection to Jerusalem is a matter, then, of history, not of faith. Nor should the threats of Arabs and Muslims be allowed to sever that connection simply because they have become past masters at rewriting history, as recently demonstrated at UNESCO, in a resolution where the Muslim connection to Jerusalem was emphasized and the Jewish link to the Temple Mount was not even mentioned.

When Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama all invoked considerations of national security to claim a waiver from implementing the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, they were demonstrating their fear of what they assumed might happen, without closely examining what the Arabs could actually do; none was willing to call what can reasonably be seen as the Muslim Arab bluff. And those who now counsel Trump not to fulfill his campaign pledge on the Embassy move — he should be cautious, he should be prudent, he should rock no boats, he should worry more about the Arab and Muslim reaction — are guilty of the same.

For what exactly could Muslims do to the United States, as a response to the Embassy being moved, that they are not already doing, or are trying to do? There have been more than 30,000 separate terrorist attacks by Muslims since 2001, all over the world. The only reason that total is not even higher is that Western security services have grown in their effectiveness, not because Muslims have decided they need to wait for a specific “reason” to attack. No particular act by Infidels is necessary to provoke such attacks; it is enough that Infidels remain Infidels.

If Trump were to do what he promised to do, it would give the world of cautious diplomacy a salutary shock. It would show up the cowardice of previous presidents. It would be a declaration of independence from, and well-deserved expression of contempt for, the U.N. Of course, such a move would be met with plenty of outrage, both real and feigned, but also with support from such anti-Islamic leaders in Europe as Geert Wilders and even, possibly, Marine Le Pen, by way of demonstrating that they, too, will not be subject to Muslim blackmail. Should Wilders win, in particular, and if Trump has moved the Embassy to Jerusalem by then, it would not be surprising if the Dutch leader were to follow suit. Then one hopes — “first a little, thence to more” – others will find out it isn’t so dangerous a move after all. And having one’s embassy in Jerusalem will take on symbolic significance, a way of demonstrating not just a respect for history, but that the West will no longer allow itself to be cowed by Muslims – either in foreign or domestic policy.

What dire threats can the “Palestinians” follow through on? Will they refuse to accept the hundreds of millions of dollars they receive each year in American aid? Let them. Can they punish our European allies, by refusing the billions they receive from them? That should be fine with us and the Europeans. The “Palestinians” can huff and they can puff, but the only house they will blow down is their own. They are at this point no longer the center of Arab interest; many Arab leaders have had their fill of the “whining Palestinians,” and having become weary of their “cause,” are more concerned with all the serious threats – such as the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and, especially, Iran – to their own security.

What about the other Arabs? That means, above all, Saudi Arabia. Will the Saudis cease to pay for the tens of thousands of students they have enrolled in American colleges? Those student numbers have already been steadily reduced over the last few years due to a huge budget deficit, and if the Saudi government reduces those numbers still further, that will reflect budget belt-tightening, not an attempt to punish the United States, which for Saudi Arabia remains the one indispensable country. When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, American airmen promptly arrived in Saudi Arabia to reassure the Saudis. The Americans are still there, the ultimate guarantor of Saudi security. There have been many reports, too, about a covert alliance with Israel, that supplies Saudi Arabia with intelligence on Iran. The Saudis now fear most an aggressive Iran threatening them through proxy wars, as it helps the Shi’as in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon. Iran might even, the Saudis fear, sow open revolt among the Shi’a in the oil-bearing Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. While the “Palestinians” like to think that they will forever remain the focus of Arab foreign policy (as it undoubtedly once was), the permanent cynosure of all Muslim eyes, and assume their cause will always come first, there is reason to believe they have an exaggerated sense of their importance, for the Arabs are now preoccupied with many other conflicts and threats to their well-being. How important is this Embassy move for Saudi Arabia (with Israel now an ally in the war against Iran), compared to the Iranian presence that appears to encircle it? Or the threats from the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood, not just to the Saudis but to many of their neighbors in the cauldron of the Middle East?

And what about the threat that the Saudis might sell off $750 billion in American assets if the Embassy is moved, a threat that has been made before to halt other initiatives, but never carried out? The Saudis said, for example, they would sell those assets if Congress passed a bill giving the families of 9/11 victims the ability to sue Saudi Arabia. Congress not only passed the bill, but when Obama vetoed it, passed it a second time by overriding the veto.

And what did Saudi Arabia do? It did nothing at all; it kept its American investments; its bluff was called. And if it were to make the same threat over the Embassy move, and even if it made good on the threat, many economists now believe, even if it did sell off those American assets, such a move would now have scarcely any effect on the U.S. economy, with its 18 trillion-dollar GDP, with $500 billion traded daily in the bond market alone, but might well devastate the Saudis. As one economist summed up the Saudi quandary:

They can sell the liquid assets fairly quickly – however moving large volumes will imply they will get a haircut, and someone else will make a nice profit. There would be a blip or two in the various indices but no real impact. The more real concern for the Saudis would be where to put that money – euros? rubles? rupees? gold?

For the not so liquid assets – they would need to have a massive firesale. A lot of people will make a killing. And there will be a supply glut in that market. But it would be fairly localized. And they probably won’t be able to liquidate completely.

So net result – they might be able to pull out some portion. Some portion will be frozen. And another portion will end up as someone else’s profit.

None of the economists appear to believe that any economic damage would be inflicted on the American economy. The consensus is that Saudi Arabia would be inflicting economic damage only on itself. That the Saudis refused to go through with their threatened sale of assets when Congress passed – twice – a bill allowing 9/11 families to sue the Saudis shows that they understand this, but hope that those they threaten do not.

The final worry is, of course, about oil. Could the Saudis start cutting off oil supplies, as in 1973? No, they could not. In the first place, in 1973 the oil market was the tightest it had ever been, so tight that OPEC managed to make the quadrupling of oil prices stick. Now market conditions are completely different. There is plenty of oil worldwide, including shale oil, for which effective new methods of extraction have been found. And there are plenty of non-oil sources of energy, which is even more worrisome for oil producers. We hear constantly of new advances in the efficiency of electric cars, and of solar collectors, and other technical achievements that put the oil market under constant downward pressure. The Saudis cannot be cavalier with customers; they must hold on to any part of the American oil market they can. And since oil is fungible, were hotter heads to prevail, and the Saudis decided to strike back at the U.S. for its embassy move by ceasing to sell to the Americans, they would then have to sell that oil elsewhere. To win a customer away from its current supplier would require the Saudis to offer a lower oil price. Should they succeed, that other supplier whom they have replaced will now be eager to sell its oil in the market that has just lost its Saudi supplier – that is, the United States. Lower revenues for the Saudis, no change for the Americans.

A production cut, on the other hand, would cause the price of oil to rise. More American shale oil would become economic to extract, the price of alternative sources of energy – wind and solar and nuclear – would become steadily more competitive following the oil price rise. The Saudis would bear the total brunt if they were the only ones to cut production. And Saudi Arabia is not quite as fabulously rich as it was in the past. Saudi Arabia has been burning through its cash, at a rate close to $100 billion in each of the last two years, because of the oil glut (the Saudis derive 92% of their income from oil); it needs all the revenue it can get. It’s not likely to cut production, given its current needs, in order to make a doubtful political point. Iran is much more on its mind, and the Saudis need both money for armaments, and American security guarantees against Iran that cannot any longer be counted on as a given.

Donald Trump’s words about Saudi Arabia during the campaign must have given Riyadh pause. He said that if elected, he might halt purchases of oil from Saudi Arabia and other Arab allies unless they commit ground troops to the fight against the Islamic State or “substantially reimburse” the United States for combating the militant group, which threatens their stability. And he showed his keen awareness of just who needs whom in the relationship: “If Saudi Arabia was without the cloak of American protection, I don’t think it would be around.”

That must have disturbed the Saudis, who have been able to push their weight around Washington ever since OPEC’s rise in 1973, by acting as if it is the United States that is in desperate need of Saudi Arabia. And now, following Congressional passage of the bill to allow 9/11 families to sue the Saudis that the Kingdom (and the Obama administration) had tried hard to stop, comes Donald Trump, with words that rattled Riyadh. This is no time for the Saudis to annoy the Americans. The Saudis are not fools, and they will not sacrifice themselves, economically or in security matters, to make a point for the tiresome “Palestinians.”

Other Muslim states might wish to punish the American government for recognizing a historical truth in moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. But would they really do something beyond verbal menacing? What else can they do? Sever relations? Not accept our surplus wheat? Refuse the weapons we supply to so many of them? Would Jordan want to forgo the $1.6 billion this year in American aid, without which the country would stagger, if not collapse? Or Egypt its $1.5 billion, or Afghanistan its $1.1 billion, or Pakistan its nearly $1 billion? What threats could they carry out, without fearing American retaliation? For Trump, as we all know, is no fan either of foreign aid, or of Islam, and would be delighted to see a half dozen Muslim countries “punish” us by breaking off relations, thereby giving him all the excuse he needs to end that aid. The leaders of those countries know perfectly well how much they need American aid, and how eager Trump is to cut it off. They won’t be taking any chances on their own well-being, just to please the likes of Mahmoud Abbas and Saeb Erekat.

Trump should call the bluff of the assorted “Palestinians” threatening all manner of mayhem. The fearful and the faint have had their moment in the sun. Now it’s time to try the truth: Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. The rewriters of history must not prevail. The American Embassy belongs in Jerusalem. Just make the move, announcing it laconically and after the fact, without fanfare and without deigning to take notice either of the threats from all those mahmoud-dabbashes or of the feelgood fantasies of Pope Francis. After the expected period of Muslim agitation and even, from Gaza and Ramallah, fabricated hysteria, once the Embassy is moved things will quiet down, and with none of those dire Muslim threats having come to pass, the world will go on pretty much as before, except that those who in Europe want a stronger campaign against the Muslim invasion of their countries – and their numbers are growing — will be heartened by, and no doubt wish to emulate, the no-nonsense approach taken in Washington. The mixture as before just hasn’t been working. It is time to try something new, time to kiss the lips of unacquainted change.

First published in Jihad Watch.

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Posted on 01/16/2017 8:22 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Monday, 16 January 2017
Bomb explosion rocks University of Maiduguri mosque; many feared dead
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Breaking news from Nigeria. From Nigeria TodayThe Pulse and The Nation

A twin bomb blasts have reportedly killed many at the mosque of the University of Maiduguri, Borno state.The tragic incident occurred this Monday, January 16 morning at the mosque during fajr prayers  (dawn prayers). Many are feared killed and according to unconfirmed reports, Prof Mani, professor of veterinary medicine was among those killed.

Sources say the second bomb exploded at the Gate 5 of the institution, killing only the suicide bomber. The Commissioner of Police(CP), Damian Chukwu, confirmed the incident to newsmen in Maiduguri. Chukwu said that 15 persons, who sustained various degrees of injuries were rushed to the hospital.

“At about 5:45 a.m. a mobile police officer who is on duty sighted a suicide bomber who was trying to scale the fence at gate five of the university.  Suspicious of his movement, the mobile police officer instantly gunned him down and his bomb exploded and killed him instantly.

“The second suicide bomber, a seven-year-old detonated the second explosive at the senior staff quarters mosque in the university where a professor and four persons were killed and 15 persons sustained various degrees of injuries and were rushed to the hospital,” victim said Chukwu.

Security forces are said to have been mobilized to the scene of the attack.

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Posted on 01/16/2017 2:11 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Sunday, 15 January 2017
Paula Stern, of Israel, Has Some Things To Say To Those Who Will Be Attending The So-Called "Peace" Conference in Paris
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You will find them at the following link.  An article well worth reading, and worthy of the widest possible circulation.

http://www.israellycool.com/2017/01/10/an-open-letter-to-the-paris-peace-summit-delegates/

"An Open Letter to the Paris "Peace" Summit Delegates".

Mrs Stern proposes a graduated series of intelligent and pointed questions that the infidel participants in that conference might ask - if they dared - of the so-called 'Palestinians', who might be more accurately referred to as "mostly-Muslim Arabs from assorted locations in and around Israel".

Most important of all, she advises those infidel participants that they should ask the "Palestinians" this: "Are you offering a permanent peace agreement or are you offering a hudna?"

And then, for the further instruction of those Infidel participants, she explains: "A hudna is a temporary ceasefire - like the one Mohammed signed as the Treaty of Al-Hudaybiyya.  In that treaty, a ten-year peace/ ceasefire was negotiated... and then broken."

Embedded in her article is a link that offers some further instruction on the subject.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Hudaybiyyah

However, since wikipedia is not necessarily the most helpful source (though this particular entry, as it stands, contains - at time of viewing, this evening of 15th January 2017 - the crucial information that "Muhammad broke this treaty with a surprise attack against Mecca 2 years after the signing, conquering the city" and even states that "the treaty of al-hudaibiyah is used by Islamic scholars as a learning tool on how to lie and deceive in the service of Islam"), I will offer a link to a brief article by "Hugh Fitzgerald" on the same topic.

http://www.newenglishreview.org/blog_direct_link.cfm/blog_id/44065

Hugh refers people to Majid Khadduri's "War and Peace in the Law of Islam", where the topic of Al-Hudaybiyya is thoroughly discussed.

These days no Infidel diplomat, politician, businessperson, journalist or general - indeed, any Infidel who is unlucky enough to have to have anything at all to do with members of the Ummah, or Mohammedan mob, should ever presume to engage in that contact without having first spent some time thoroughly studying and reflecting upon the meaning and implications of the Treaty of Hudaybiyya, in conjunction with the meaning of taqiyya (and the full gamut of carefully-worked-out methods of misdirection, deception, and confusion, encompassed by terms such as tawriyya, taysir, mudarat and muruna), and the Jihad doctrine of Islam.  It would save us all a great deal of time and money, as well as lives, and grief.

 

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Posted on 01/15/2017 5:02 AM by Christina McIntosh
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Sunday, 15 January 2017
"P is For 'Palestine'": Blogger "Israellycool" Satirises the Ummah's Latest Little Propaganda Piece
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Just follow the link supplied; and then be sure to click on the embedded links which will direct you to the items that our intrepid Israeli friend has selected (out of a field simply packed with possible candidates)  in order to create what might be described as a little alphabet of horrors.  

http://www.israellycool.com/2017/01/12/p-is-for-palestine/

Israellycool's illustrated "Alphabet" makes a worthy companion piece, I think, to Philippe Assouline's masterly "A Palestinese Lexicon", which Lexicon cries out to be put into colloquial French (if that has not already been done) and circulated in the Francophone portion of cyberspace, preferably as soon as possible, before the upcoming farcical "peace" conference in Paris takes place.

And since I have mentioned Mr Assouline, and new readers here might not have encountered his work (it was first published five years ago) here is the link that will take you to its appearance on this blog under the heading "An A-Z of Victimhood"

http://www.newenglishreview.org/blog_direct_link.cfm/blog_id/43499

and here is the link (I hope it still works) that should take you to the whole, in its original place of publication.

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/a-palestinese-lexicon/

Assouline's sarcastic entry on 'Peace" is particularly pertinent at the moment.

"Peace: The process by which Israel voluntarily ethnically cleanses every last Jewish person from territory with deep Jewish significance that it won in a defensive war in exchange for increased terrorism, demonization, European and Turkish meddling, and summits at the White House."

 

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Posted on 01/15/2017 4:29 AM by Christina McIntosh
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Saturday, 14 January 2017
Trash Studies
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by Theodore Dalrymple

Archaeologists are interested in the rubbish left by past civilizations: by their detritus shall ye know them. What people throw away reveals as much about them as what they buy in the first place.

But we don’t need to await the passage of three millennia before the study of what people discard becomes instructive. My country, Britain, is now the litter bin of Europe, a kind of vast rubbish dump, and I have been interested in British litter, and littering, for a number of years. The thoroughness with which the country has been befouled, from the grandest city thoroughfares to the most remote country lanes, is astonishing. It is as if it had been host to evangelists of litter who wanted to spread it everywhere, as missionaries once traveled to the farthest islands in the Pacific to spread the Gospel.

I began paying attention to the phenomenon of rubbish on my daily walk between the general hospital where I worked in the morning and the nearby prison where I worked in the afternoon, a matter of a few hundred yards. What should have been clear to me already from the observable behavior of my fellow citizens then became obvious: an Englishman’s street is now his dining room.

The vast majority of the litter was the discarded packaging of food eaten on the hoof, or of the containers—cans and plastic or glass bottles—of drinks, both soft and alcoholic. By contrast, used condoms were few and far between.

Apart from its sheer quantity, what most struck me about the rubbish was that even when it was strewn into people’s front gardens, no one bothered to remove it. It was as if the residents of those houses were blind to it as they went in and out of their front doors, and didn’t mind crunching it underfoot. Most of the homes were publicly owned, and most of the tenants doubtless largely dependent on welfare; but the houses themselves and the little gardens in front of them, while not pretty, were by no means inherently hideous, either.

I examined the packaging and the cans and bottles en route to the prison: they offered an insight, and not a reassuring one, into the local diet, which seemingly had no use for fresh ingredients. I recalled an experiment carried out at a detention center for young delinquents, whose rates of bad and aggressive behavior went down significantly soon after they arrived, when multivitamins were added to their diets. In other words, though not undernourished, they were malnourished.

From my work as a doctor in the area, I knew the insides of the houses that I passed. Though often fitted with TV screens as big as a cinema’s, they contained no piece of furniture around which people could sit to eat a meal together and no kitchen equipment—at least none used—beyond the microwave. Meals involved a dialectic between the fridge and the microwave; they were taken in solitary fashion, as and when the mood took, which was often. In the prison within the shadows of which these houses crouched, I met prisoners who told me that they had never eaten a meal at a table with other people.

It is unsurprising, then, if children soon graduated from domestic foraging to eating in the street. For them, there was a time and a place for everything: the time was now, and the place was here. They dropped the packaging of what they ate as a cow defecates in a field: without awareness of an alternative. Not only the pattern of their eating but also the content of their diet helps to explain the epidemic obesity that has made the British the fattest people in Europe. Their food is fatty and their drink sugary, designed to produce instant, crude gratification. Knowing nothing else, they rarely extend their choices to foods that gratify in a subtler manner.

Theoretically, it should be possible to eat in the street without littering, merely by holding on to the packaging until one can dispose of it in less unsightly a manner. But in Britain, at least, many people do not bother to do this, the effort either beyond them or its worth not apparent to them. I have often observed people littering within easy reach of a trash bin.

The problem (I assume that it is a problem) is not confined to the underclass. After all, the underclass generally does not travel far from where it lives, so its diet and eating habits cannot explain why practically every prospect in the country, no matter how beautiful or historic, is bespattered with the evidence of visitors’ incontinent consumption.

Man’s—or, at least, Britain’s—need for refreshments seems to have grown almost continual in recent years. People seem hardly able to cross the road without gulping something. Even medical students now attend their exams with bottled water in hand, as if global warming had somehow transformed medical-school classrooms into the Sahara desert. How the students dispose of the plastic bottles afterward is a question of importance, and to judge by the areas of towns and cities in which students (mostly the scions of the middle class) congregate, they are none too scrupulous about it.

Litter has spread even to remote places in the country mainly visited by those with adequate disposable income. See a beautiful landscape and throw a vividly colored can or bottle of some chemically concocted drink at it: such seems to be the motto of British domestic tourists. Either they think that someone will or ought to clean up after them, or they do not care. In all, they have littered many thousands of miles of lanes, roads, and hedgerows with a thoroughness worthy of a better object.

From time to time, my wife and I exhibit some civic duty: we take a large garbage bag and try to remove trash from a short stretch of the beautiful lanes near our house, in the countryside of A. E. Housman’s A Shropshire Lad. Recently, for example, we cleared about 400 yards of roadside litter. It took us an hour, by the end of which we had filled two bags almost to bursting with what had been tossed from car windows.

Most of the trash was the packaging of refreshments. But we also picked up a mobile phone, its battery and SIM card removed. And we came across the smashed remnants of a motorcycle involved in a fatal accident two weeks before, along with some memorial messages to the deceased that had become detached from the cellophane-wrapped flowers now rotting at the actual site of the crash. These messages offered evidence of a vague and shallow nonreligious belief in the afterlife held by young people in Britain. “You were my best mate, Baz, miss you forever. Good night.” Death is now conceived of, it seems, as a slightly longer, deeper sleep than usual.

It is alarming to see how much alcohol is drunk en route, though whether by drivers or only by passengers it is impossible to say just from defenestrated cans and bottles. One sees in them signs not of poverty but of abundance, or at least of economic insouciance: we found bottles of spirits a third full and cans of beer almost entirely undrunk. Particularly revolting, from the litter-collector’s point of view, were the congealed, half-eaten fast-food meals slung out of cars on to the verges, still in their styrene containers. As for the cigarette packs with the legend SMOKING KILLS in large black lettering, the litter-collector cannot help but think: “Yes, but not quickly enough.”

Collecting trash, one begins to hate certain brands—in my case, a fizzy, sugary drink called Lucozade, which comes in bright-orange plastic bottles and was once sold to convalescents as an energy restorative; and also a drink that its young consumers suppose to be an antidote to hangovers, containing carbonated water, sucrose, glucose, citric acid, sodium citrate, magnesium carbonate, taurine, caffeine, xanthan gum, natural and artificial flavors and colors, and a few B vitamins. The success of this drink, as illustrated by the frequency with which its cans are thrown from car windows, represents the triumph of marketing over taste and good sense. It is when you see close up what people are prepared to consume that you begin to wonder if the marketplace is like democracy, working best where powers of discrimination are in place.

An hour to clean 400 yards, after which we stopped: I cannot claim any heroic status for our labors. On a fine day, the work itself is not disagreeable (we have instruments to pick up the trash); and, unlike much human labor, it is immediately rewarding. One can see the results at once, however slight they might be in the context of the overall litter problem.

The work is mildly instructive, too. Clearing a length of lane between hedgerows, for instance, one experiences a practical refutation of the ancient philosophical doctrine that no man does wrong knowingly: for some people push cans or bottles or wrappers of which they want to disembarrass themselves deeply into the hedge, making them hard to extract. Why should they do this unless they were aware that disposing of trash in this way were wrong?

Another way of disposing of litter that has become lamentably more frequent, and that I have seen employed nowhere else in Europe, is to gather all one’s unwanted remains in a plastic bag, knot the bag’s handles, and then tie the bag to a hedge, so that it looks like some fat, repellent fruit hanging down, waiting to fall and rot on the ground. Those who do this have clearly gone to some trouble, again suggesting an awareness that litter should not be strewn—their conscience, however, not being strong enough to overcome what they consider their convenience. Freeing the inside of their cars from trash is more important to them than keeping the countryside free from it; and they probably think that, in confining all their garbage in a bag and tying it to a hedge, they have reached a reasonable compromise and done their bit for rural conservation.

Why is the trash not collected? It is, after all, one of the tasks of local governments. But far from fulfilling this duty, they often seem themselves to add to the mess. When contractors repair roads, for example, they put up temporary metal notices on folding frames, weighed down with sandbags to keep them upright, to warn oncoming traffic. When the roadwork is completed, the contractors do not always remove the iron frames but sometimes push them flat on the ground, leaving them where they are; they don’t invariably remove the sandbags, either, with the result that British roadsides are strewn at not-infrequent intervals with rusting iron frames and sodden sandbags. This, too, I have seen in no other country in Europe, whatever the state of its economy.

This slovenliness—both of the private contractors and the local councils—preceded any difficulties with funding. It is highly unlikely, in any case, that purely economic considerations would lead anyone to leave metal frames and sandbags from a worksite behind; if anything, the economics would point in the other direction. There is an obvious lack of pride in the contractors and lack of diligence in the councils. Nobody cares—nobody, that is, whose job is to care.

As far as litter in the strict sense is concerned, there would be no problem in the first place if hundreds of thousands—or, more likely, millions—of people did not behave so badly. And the problem is now so far gone that it would take a new Hercules to clear out this Augean stable. Even if the local councils were to become models of conscientiousness, rather than giant organizations dedicated to the preservation of their salaries and pensions, the task would probably be beyond them. And in times of financial stringency—the seven lean years following the seven fat ones, as they always do—the councils can claim that more pressing priorities weigh on their reduced resources.

You rarely see anyone littering, despite the countless pieces of trash on the ground. The surreptitiousness of its deposition is another indication that many litterers do wrong knowingly. And if you do see someone committing the act, you have to play at being Cesare Lombroso (the Italian criminologist of the late nineteenth century, who believed that certain facial features bespoke criminality) in estimating whether it would be safe to reprimand him. One must always remember the case of Evren Anil, a 23-year-old man who was sitting in his car with his sister when one of two youths threw a half-eaten chocolate bar at the car’s window. Anil protested, and a fight ensued with the youths in which he was punched to the ground, hitting his head on the curb and dying eight days later. The youths received a sentence of four years’ imprisonment, of which they served just 18 months (one was so guilt-ridden that he appealed, unsuccessfully, against his short sentence).

I have long wondered whether litterers see the effect they have on the landscape or townscape. Are they so enclosed in their own personal bubble that nothing beyond its confines registers with them? Is it that the virtual world of their smartphones, computers, and tablets is now more real to them than the physical world around them? But one has no reason to think that the British live more, or much more, in a virtual world than people in other nations in Europe. And since some take the trouble to go to the remote places that they litter, they must have some interest in the real world. The capacity of the human mind to screen out what it does not want to see is formidable.

The trash epidemic, which has arisen over the last two decades, raises the question of the legitimacy of public authority. I believe that the epidemic indicates a profound social malaise, and even political crisis, of far deeper significance than the more publicized agonizing over Britain’s membership in the European Union. Each piece of trash represents either an act of indifference to, or defiance of, civic or public order. Margaret Thatcher famously (or infamously) said that “there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then also to look after our neighbour.” Whatever she may really have meant by this, the litterers act as if it were really true.

No one, I imagine, behaves in any fashion simply because a political leader says something—in Thatcher’s case, in an interview with Women’s Own magazine. But the litterers act as if it were indeed their duty to look after themselves first, even in minute particulars, such as ridding themselves of rubbish. Their neighbor can pick up after them or not, as he wishes; but it is no concern to them because they do not belong to society, which is nonexistent in any case. They belong to no district, town, city, or country. They belong only to themselves, as sovereign as particles in Brownian motion. That is why no public authority has the right—or the moral authority—to tell them how to dispose of their garbage.

The entire population is not like this, of course; but enough people are to set the trend, the tone, the atmosphere. Such activities as removing garbage from 400 yards of road become more futile, like Canute commanding the tide to withdraw. As the litter mounts, those with a civic conscience are likely to withdraw more and more into their own private worlds.

The archaeologists are right: the study of what people abandon (and how they abandon it) tells us a lot about them. The study of litter in Britain shows us how people live and eat, why they grow fat and become diabetic in unprecedented numbers, and how a country falls apart for lack of an authority seen by the population (or a large proportion thereof) as having legitimacy. You could hardly ask more of mere rubbish.

First published in City Journal.

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Posted on 01/14/2017 5:53 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
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Saturday, 14 January 2017
Canada is doing well … but we could do so much better
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by Conrad Black

The recent Finance Canada report projecting Canadian federal budgetary deficits into the 2050s must stand as one of the most inane Canadian public documents of recent memory. The deficit could be eliminated any year on a few months’ notice, so the document is just an alarmist warning from somewhere in the bowels of the finance ministry of what will happen if nothing is done to change course and economic circumstances don’t vary. Never in the 150 year history of Canada as an autonomous country have 30 years passed without any flexibility of circumstances. This is in the category of policy options where past finance ministers were offered the following sort of range of choice by their deputy ministers: 1. The impending bankruptcy of the country and the beginning of discussions on the consequences of default on public debt and auctions of government assets; 2. The cessation of all non-contractual expenses, disbandment of the armed forces and all Crown corporations while taxes are raised in all categories, and special arrangements are made to accommodate the immense surplus that would accrue amidst the grinding stagnation of the economy; and 3. The alternative preferred by the author of the memo.

The last federal election was in part a head-butting contest between two sacred cows — the bipartisan commitment (in which the NDP also joined) of no federal deficit; and the Harper commitment not to raise HST, which it had reduced. These are both commendable impulses but they assumed an ironclad quality that became an inconvenience to fiscal planning. Canada was scandalously plagued by deficits through most of the Trudeau and Mulroney years, and at one point in the mid-Eighties the Canadian dollar sank to 65 U.S. cents. Brian Mulroney provided the answer to the problem with the Goods and Services Tax (GST). It avoided the irritating misnomer of VAT, the Europeans’ preferred Value Added Tax, which is routinely assessed on services where not even a delusionist could imagine there is any value added, such as a legal bill. Legal bills are incurred and must be paid, and are taxed in the hands of the recipients as income, but what excuse is there to tax also the person who pays the bill, on the spurious inference that he has a hidden gain in additional value due to having paid his lawyer?

So far, as with many Euro-absurdities, such nonsense has been repelled at the water’s edge with the continental spirit of President Roosevelt’s assurance at Kingston in 1938 that he would not “stand idly by” if Canada were attacked from another continent. (The phrase caught on, as even Mackenzie King shortly announced that Canada would not “stand idly by” If Hitler attacked Czechoslovakia. Dozens of countries would decline to “stand idly by” as years passed, especially after Mao Tse-tung appended the elaboration that China would “not stand idly by with folded arms” as various bad things occurred. In most cases, of course, there was a lot of idle standing, with a wide range of accompanying manual activity.)

The Finance department’s internal document is an exhortation to the next two generations of federal Canadian leaders not to be inactive while deficits endlessly accumulate. It raises a host of related issues about spending priorities, cost and revenue sharing between the federal and provincial governments, and what direction we want Canada to take. Canadians are justly proud of having a relatively peaceable and livable society. But most foreigners would conclude that given that we are not severely harassed by our one adjacent neighbor and have a vast country with immense resources in almost all forms of base and precious metals, forest products, energy and agriculture except tropical fruit, a relatively comfortable and serene country is not such an astounding triumph as it would be in less well-favoured places.

While it is apparently a terrible source of comparison, prisoners at Auschwitz referred to the storage area for the food and comforts of the guards as “Canada” as indicative of something comfortable, peaceful, clean and abundant, and as such almost beyond the imagination of the desperate inmates. Canada is one of the 10 most prosperous countries that have integrated economies (i.e. excluding small tax havens like Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Monaco, and petro-states like Kuwait and Qatar). But what excuse is there for us not having as high a standard of living as Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, or Australia? The excuses, such as they are, include uncompetitive confusion of government structure and unimaginative public policy. Netherlands and Denmark are not rich countries and the Netherlands has challenges assimilating a large number of Muslim immigrants, a climate not greatly gentler than ours, and few resources, but they have a commercial and exploratory tradition of 500 years. Germany is, of course, Europe’s most powerful country and has suffered terribly, and caused its neighbours to suffer, from its terminal attacks of political immaturity and occasional disposition to satanic collective wickedness. But it had to rebuild entirely after 1945, has admitted several million awkward “guests,” mainly from Turkey, and recently a million improvident Middle Eastern refugees, and is still trying to assimilate the backwardness of tyrannized Communist East Germany, just 25 years reunified with the West. Australia has a smaller population than Canada, a more challenging geography, immense distances from the main countries with shared traditions, though perhaps, on balance, a kinder climate than Canada, but it consistently has a somewhat higher standard of living than Canada.

The point is that we are doing well, but not as well as we should. Some of this is due to the challenge of Quebec independence, which caused large transfers of resources to be made in annual commitments to make clear the benefits of federalism to French Canadians, who do possess the critical mass of population, cultural distinctiveness, territory and resources to set up a country if they chose. I never criticized that investment in concept, but we have won that battle and it is time to enlist Quebec and all Canadians in the uplifting project of making this country as prosperous, exceptional and progressive (which is not here used as a euphemism as it usually is, for socialistic) as it can be.

Brian Mulroney’s GST gave Canada the means to eliminate its deficit, when coupled with the Martin-Chrétien policy of laying off spending in shared areas of federal-provincial responsibility, on provinces without corresponding concessions of tax-collecting ability; and the provinces passing on most of the additional burden to municipalities, whose revenue sources are very narrowly limited. And of course, only the federal government can seriously influence the money supply (which in a simpler time was called “printing money” — if provinces or municipalities do that, they are mere counterfeiters). Stephen Harper had a Friedrich Hayek-like distaste for public-sector spending and believed that if the HST (as GST became) could be reduced, it would create a permanent restraint on government spending as a share of GDP. Both prime ministers were inspired by commendable motives.

When the Great Recession came, for reasons of which Canada was guiltless (the housing bubble and imprudent debt-binge of the financial systems of almost all Western countries), the bounce-back required some deficit spending and this prompted the incoming Justin Trudeau government to promise a brief exploration of traditional pump-priming, which Finance officials now warn will keep us in a spending strait-jacket and a deficitory poorhouse for 35 years. Of course we must do better than this, which is presumably why the authors of the Finance department’s gloomy piece took such a lugubrious view.

I suggest (once again) a flexible HST — raise it on elective spending (luxury goods, complex financial transactions and the mere velocity of money in financial markets) to eliminate the deficit, and reduce taxes on small personal and corporate incomes to ease the conditions of the most vulnerable and provide affordable stimulus. We are not going to rake in any bonanza piling on energy costs, as the climate change-alarm well has run dry, so rely on marijuana sales as the next formerly immoral source of necessary funds, following in the well-trodden tracks of casinos and alcoholic beverages. Reduce corporate tax to compete with Trump’s America in attracting investment and secondary sector jobs, and shift stimulus from the sterility of traditional welfare, other than where there is no practical alternative because of the acute needs of the seriously disadvantaged, to meet our two per cent commitment of GDP for national defence. Let us finally, for the first time in peace, give Canada a military commensurate with our status as a G7 country that will back up a sensible voice in world affairs. All the personnel expenses in defence outlays go to adult education and training-up citizens, and all the hard spending is in high-tech and key industrial areas such as aerospace and ship-building. With imaginative tax policies, we could move the annual growth rate to three to four per cent (as the United States is likely to do), from an elective HST, and the minister can use this absurd departmental report as fuel for his stove at his ski lodge.

The insane prison-building program of the Harper government should be repurposed to assisted housing or convalescent homes and all non-violent criminals should pay community service penalties in spartan but not confined circumstances. We have to stop rationing medical care, as we are, by over-restricting access to many forms of treatment. We have to permit and encourage private medicine, and focus the entire public-sector contribution on those who cannot afford their own health care. Those who can afford to pay their medical bills and insurance can get a tax credit for necessary health expenses. This sacred cow should be quietly allowed to metamorphose into better health care for those who can afford it and for those who cannot, by allowing wealthier groups to use their wealth to assume more of the health-care cost voluntarily and unclog the public health system for everyone. For decades, we have been pushing the Sysyphean burden of obsolete truisms about universality while the federal government has been imposing its shrinking contribution to public health costs to force all provinces into a one size-fits all model of declining efficiency.

By all means let us have public broadcasting, but put the money into creative people and not just the incompetent management feathering their nests while the personalities the public wants to see or hear are persecuted. Bring back the acquitted Jian Ghomeshi and the unoffending Evan Solomon and Amanda Lang and get rid of the idiots who persecuted them. Moving Chrystia Freeland to Foreign Affairs may finally enable us to help reform all the crumbling international institutions, including the UN, NATO, Commonwealth and the IMF, which have been allowed to decay for decades. She and Boris Johnson could be the first wave of some originality in what were once called the chancelleries of the world. A little creative thinking would achieve miracles. Canada could be an exciting country in public policy terms; only our own inertia is stopping us.

First published in the National Post.

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Posted on 01/14/2017 5:23 AM by Conrad Black
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