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The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky

The Iconoclast

Friday, 18 April 2014

Travelogue, propaganda piece, but still somethingof Iraqi reality -- before Islam came back, with a vengeance -- comes through. The flight of Baghdad's Jews, who in the 1920s constituted one-third of the population of Baghdad (and far more of its professional and intellectual class), is not mentioned.


Posted on 04/18/2014 9:03 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Friday, 18 April 2014

You're going to be hearing a lot about both.

And by god you should.

The self-satisfaction and self-delusion of our billionaires, including the bejeaned philosopher-kings of Silicon Valley, those through whose bucolic company-campuses the employees are encouraged to coast on roller-skates, must be pricked and the air let out.

Posted on 04/18/2014 7:32 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Friday, 18 April 2014


You can sing along with the words:

Il Pinguino Innamorato:
Guarda, guarda, guarda
il bel Pinguino innamorato
col colletto duro e con il petto inamidato...
Va passeggiando per il pack
con un'aria molto chick
molleggiando dolcemente il frac.

Sotto al chiar di luna
va a cantar la serenata
dove fa la nanna
la pinguina innamorata
"Oh, bella figlia dell'amor,
schiavo son dei vezzi tuoi,
io son tutto tuo
se tu mi vuoi!"

Ma il papà della pinguina
esce con la scopa in man:
"Lascia star la mia bambina!
Via di qua, o marran!"

Quatto, quatto, quatto
il bel pinguino innamorato
con il cuor trafitto
s'allontana disperato...
Poi nella notte s'ode un click.
sopra il pack che ha fatto crack
s'è sparato il bel pinguino in frac.

Posted on 04/18/2014 6:47 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Friday, 18 April 2014
Watch here.
Posted on 04/18/2014 6:40 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Friday, 18 April 2014
At The Wall Street Journal, here.
Posted on 04/18/2014 6:27 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Friday, 18 April 2014

Aya Sewell, Sarasota Citizen Activist Protests

Houghton Mifflin World History: Patterns of Interaction

Last Friday in Tallahassee, April 11, 2014, the Republican controlled  Florida Senate passed SB864 sponsored by Sen. Alan Hays (R-Umatilla) by a narrow vote of 21 to 19. The measure would eliminate State Department of Education control over selection of textbooks returning that role to Florida’s 67 school districts, requiring open public hearing on texts used in courses.  The bill reflected in part concerns of conservative Groups over the Common Core Curriculum State Standards, sponsored by the National Association of Governors and Council of Chief State School Officers  seeking to impose national standards. Despite that criticism the Common Core has been adopted in Forty-four states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA).

 However, SB864 was largely prompted by a different issue; objections of parental groups in several Florida counties in about the treatment of Islam and Muslim culture in world history textbooks on the Florida State Department of Education list of approved texts.  A companion bill (HB 921) is working its way  through the Florida House sponsored by Rep. Matt Gaetz of Fort Walton.  That version would provide a local option to districts to review texts; however, the selections must still meet state standards.  Gaetz  was quoted in a News Herald  editorial saying: “I think there’s an increasing frustration by parents in our state, that they don’t have a lot of say regarding the content and materials their children use in the classroom.”

Local advocates here in Florida drew attention to misrepresentations of Islam in protests in Volusia,  Brevard and Sarasota Counties. Our  Iconoclast post on the subject, “Sarasota, Florida’s biased Islam textbook problem”,  highlighted the relentless efforts of citizen activist Aya Sewell. Ms. Sewell is of Iraqi Jewish  heritage, members of her family were  subject to a 1941 pogrom against the Jewish population in Baghdad, the Farhud.  Sewell led a campaign against such texts locally in Sarasota, as well as before the Florida Department of Education.  Elsewhere in the US, Tennessee parents have also raised objections to similar course material extolling Palestinian suicide bombers.     Americans for Peace and Tolerance (APT) in Boston accused the Newton, Massachusetts school board and superintendent for permitting use of texts and course materials that engage in promoting false information regarding both Islam and demonization of Israel.  APT undertook content and bias analysis and promoted their findings that included placing ads in local area media and a petition campaign.

An article in the current edition of Education Week noted the debate over the pending Florida textbook legislation:

[Sen. ]Hays said the legislation was needed so that school board members will be accountable to parents and voters. He said school board members have blamed the state for the textbooks they picked.

"This bill imposes on the local school board members the responsibility and accountability to their citizens," Hays said.

Opponents complained it would cost districts money to review textbooks. Sen. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, said she was worried that some districts would wind up censoring some books, while other senators raised questions about whether districts would pick textbooks aligned to the state's current standards.

Even Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart questioned Hays' bill.

"From a practical standpoint it lifts a burden from us," Stewart said. "But we heard loud and clear from districts that they rely on (the state review). They need that. They don't have the resources to be able to do that."

Following the Florida Senate vote on SB864, CAIR-Florida unleashed an ad hominem campaign against Sen. Hays.  CAIR  undertook  an Action Campaign   sending  Florida  Legislators  an inflammatory Daily Beast  opinion column by Dean Obeidallah, that headlined, “Islamophobic Florida Republican Would Legalize Textbook Censorship”. Obeidallah  (which  means “little servant of God in Arabic”) is a former  lawyer,  self-styled Arab American standup comic,  son of a Palestinian father and mother of Sicilian ancestry who grew up in Paramus, New Jersey.  Self proclaimed Muslim Obeidallah has been involved in several controversial issues including an apology to the Romney family.  CAIR, a Muslim Brotherhood front group, was listed as one of several unindicted co-conspirators in the 2008 Federal Dallas Holy Land Foundation Trial involving funneling tens of millions to Hamas, an MB affiliate.

This latest action by CAIR-Florida  followed earlier criticism of  SB386, also sponsored by Sen. Hays,  on the acceptance of foreign laws in certain cases by Florida’ s court system as “bullying  legislation against Muslims and other minorities”.  Both  SB386  and companion house  version (HB903) are currently pending floor votes in both the Senate and  House prior to the end of the 2014 Legislative session on May 2nd in Tallahassee.

To illustrate the concerns of  Floridians that prompted  Sen. Hays  and Rep. Gaetz  to sponsor SB864 and HB 921, we  investigated  an assessment  performed  by  Jacksonville-based Verity Educate  (VE) of  one the texts on the approved list of the Florida State Department of Education. It was  Houghton Mifflin  Harcourt, Holt McDougal high school  text book called World History: Patterns of Interaction.  VE is a non-partisan, independent organization that uses scholars to examine and provide thorough reports on content accuracy and objectivity in textbooks and curricular material.   VE has performed such assessments at the request of parental groups in Massachusetts, Tennessee and Texas.

A letter we requested from the executive director of VE, Dr. Ellen R. Wald, noted the scope of their investigation of the Houghton Mifflin high school text book:

Verify Educate examined the 2012 Tennessee edition of  World History: Patterns of Intercation. Verify Educate's analysis concerned only the sections of the book dealing with the Middle East and Central Asia, as well as other related topics, including certain events in India, Spain, the United States, and the region around the Black Sea. This was done at the request of parents who specifically felt that their backgrounds were insufficient to examine these topics.

VE’s findings from its analysis  are:

The reviewed sections of this textbook exhibit regular flaws of factual inaccuracy, dishonesty, and bias. The primary concern with this textbook is the desire to make arguments and instill opinions in the students. These arguments come at the expense of instilling a fluency in the material (a knowledge of the language and facts). An additional effect of the focus on arguments is the lost opportunity for students to practice and develop critical thinking skills.

The most prevalent flaws in this textbook include the following:

•  The text presents religious texts and tradition as historical evidence even absent independent corroboration. The text regularly uses the Koran and other religious writings to relate events as history and fails to mention when no independent corroboration from sources outside the religion exists. In most cases the text fails to differentiate between history and religious tradition.

•  The text portrays religion as the defining characteristic of the Middle East and Central Asia throughout history, such that essentially all accomplishments and events are based on religion. Among the detrimental effects of this argument are lost opportunities for students to engage in critical thinking, distorted views of history, and the denigration of the inhabitants of this region. Limiting the basis for the history of the Middle East and Central Asia to a narrow focus on religion disparages and demeans the people, politics, geography, and historical events that occurred, particularly when religion is not highlighted in other regions.

•  The text repeatedly asserts that the religion of Islam dictates “tolerance” of nonMuslims and that Muslim rulers have historically practiced “tolerance” towards the non-Muslim populations under their rule. This argument is promoted at the expense of examining historical facts honestly and fostering critical thinking. Students are presented with a conclusion and historical facts are often manipulated or stripped of nuance to convince students, even in cases when this conclusion is false. The focus on religious “tolerance” is unique to the sections of the text discussing Islam, and it  borders on obsession and bias.

•  The text depicts the depth and breadth of “Muslim contributions” as unique in history and as the result of Islam. In this regard, the text consistently attributes the successes of diverse societies to religion alone, even when these societies are geographically dispersed and chronologically distant. For example, the text connects the mathematical advances of a 9th century Spanish mathematician to the architectural exploits of a 17th century Mughal emperor in India based solely on their religion. The diverse Muslim populations over a 1500-year period do not constitute one society. In addition, the attention devoted to “Muslim contributions” far surpasses the attention given to any other society’s accomplishments.

That leads to the question of who wrote such misleading entries about Islam that the VE analysis  uncovered in the Houghton Mifflin publication.

One of those groups relied on by major textbook publishers is the Council on Islamic Education  known as the Institute on Religious and Civic Values (IRCV). Its founder, Shabbir Mansuri, is listed as an academic reviewer on a textbook used in Brevard County.

In 2001 the OC Weekly newspaper in California interviewed Mansuri about comments Lynne Cheney made lamenting the amount of time schools were spending teaching cultures that were not American. Mansuri took her comments as a personal attack.

“For the past 11 years, Mansuri has waged what he calls a ‘bloodless’ revolution: promoting an increased emphasis on world cultures and faiths – including Islam – inside American junior high and high school campuses,” the newspaper reported.

The IRCV had Saudi funding to pay Muslim scholars writing those chapters in the Prentice Hall, Pearson, Houghton Mifflin and other world history text  books.

Back in 2002,  this writer  ran interference for the American Jewish Committee chapter in Connecticut in an episode involving federal funding of a Da’wa program on Islam run with Muslim instructors as a summer program for public high school teachers at a state university.   During that episode we made the acquaintance of Stanley Kurtz  of the Hoover Institute at the time on this issue. Kurtz wrote a series of investigative articles for the NRO about the Title VI USDOE Higher Education Act grants for Middle East Studies programs dominated by Islam and Palestinian apologists. Universities, as Kurtz pointed out who benefitted from US Higher Education Act Title VI grants were engaged in preparation of work books for teachers in K-12 that engaged in role playing for fourth graders costumed as Arabs.

That effort led us to the forensic reviews –Islam in the Classroom – conducted by Dr. Gilbert T. Sewall of the American Textbook Council (ATC) on world history texts produced by the four major US textbook publishers.  Sewall  found those treatments biased   and in some cases prepared by the Saudi-financed and California based  IRVC. We later found out that effort had begun in the “image studies” funded by American oil partners of ARAMCO  in the early 1970’s objected to in the mid 1980’s  by a  study conducted by a school district in Tucson, Arizona.   The latest edition of the continuing ATC review of  Islam in the Classroom What the Texts Tell us  by Dr. Sewall  was published in 2008.  Its conclusions corroborate the findings  of  Dr. Wald’s analysis in the VE report. To wit:

Many political and religious groups try to use the textbook process to their advantage, but the deficiencies in Islam-related lessons are uniquely disturbing. History textbooks present an incomplete and conflicted view of Islam that misrepresents its foundations and challenges to international security.

• Misinformation about Islam is more pronounced in junior high school textbooks than high school textbooks.

• Outright textbook errors about Islam are not the main problem. The more serious failure is the presence of disputed definitions and claims that are presented as established facts.

• Deficiencies about Islam in textbooks copyrighted before 2001 persist and in some cases have grown  worse. Instead of making corrections or adjusting contested facts, publishers and editors defend misinformation and content evasions against the record. Biases persist. Silences are profound and intentional.

• Islamic activists use multiculturalism and ready-made American political movements, especially  those on  campus,  to  advance and  justify  the makeover of Islam-related textbook content.

•  Particular fault  rests  with  the publishing  corporations,  boards  of  directors,  and executives who decide what editorial policies their companies will pursue.

Publishers have developed new world and U.S. history textbooks at three different grade levels. Errors about Islam that occurred in older textbooks have not been corrected but reiterated. Publishers have learned of contested facts and have had the time to correct imbalances. But instead of making changes, they have sustained errors or, in deliberate acts of self censorship, have removed controversial material.

In an interview, Dr. Wald  of VE analyzed the effects of  Florida Senate Bill SB864 :

While SB864 leaves all of the Florida state standards intact, and even highlights further standards to ensure fairness to all ethnic, religious, and diversity groups, the bill provides for parents and communities to have a greater say in the local education system.  Given that the standards are maintained, I can't see how this bill could engender any more censorship than would come out of the current state review process.  In fact, the bill has the potential to severely decrease censorship.  Whereas now the state board can reject material for the entire state, under this bill, each community would make its own decision, and a rejection would only impact that community.

We commend  Florida Sen. Alan Hays and Rep. Matt Gaetz for their sponsorship of  SB864 and HB 921.  Given the analyses of Drs. Wald of Verity Educate and Dr. Sewall of American Textbook Council  Florida may lead the nation to reign in the misleading depiction of Islam in World History texts.  By devolving reviews of leading publishers to local school districts in the Sunshine State  that may allow concerned parents  to sponsors such studies forcing publishers to finally correct  errors of both omission and commission.  We look forward to the reconciliation of the Senate and House versions leading to passage and ultimate enactment into law.


Posted on 04/18/2014 6:05 AM by Jerry Gordon

Friday, 18 April 2014
NOT a line of her writing have I,
    Not a thread of her hair,
No mark of her late time as dame in her dwelling, whereby
    I may picture her there;
  And in vain do I urge my unsight
    To conceive my lost prize
At her close, whom I knew when her dreams were upbrimming with light,
    And with laughter her eyes.
  What scenes spread around her last days,
    Sad, shining, or dim?
Did her gifts and compassions enray and enarch her sweet ways
    With an aureate nimb?
  Or did life-light decline from her years,
    And mischances control
Her full day-star; unease, or regret, or forebodings, or fears
    Disennoble her soul?
  Thus I do but the phantom retain
    Of the maiden of yore
As my relic; yet haply the best of her—fined in my brain
    It may be the more
  That no line of her writing have I,
    Nor a thread of her hair,
No mark of her late time as dame in her dwelling, whereby
    I may picture her there.

Posted on 04/18/2014 6:04 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Friday, 18 April 2014

While casting about to find something to write about apart from another lamentation over the weakness of most Western political leadership, the collapse of fiscal integrity in all but a few countries, the charade of Iranian nuclear discussions, and the decline and fall of practically everybody, my thoughts alit on Herbert the Raccoon, as my wife christened him, who has largely been living in a little half-moon balcony adjacent to my wife’s third-floor dressing room. In the cold snap in March, my wife put a heater up against the window and Herbert gratefully attached himself like a limpet to the window, turning about every hour to give the benefit of the heat to his other side. A young raccoon, Herbert was just big enough to reach the ledge on the balcony with his front paws and peer out over the view of several miles, his little pointy ears confidently breaking the horizon when we looked out the window from behind him, within the house. His dark, ringed eyes surveyed the scene with the worldly detachment of Jacques Cartier grasping the immense proportions of the Gulf of the St. Lawrence nearly 500 years ago, and famously concluding (rather negatively, as it turned out) that “it is the land God gave to Cain.”

This house is set on a relatively large urban property in Toronto, bordered along one side by a ravine, and we have an unusually high incidence of wildlife, including foxes, deer, skunks, possum, and feral cats. My wife’s two magnificent Hungarian Kuvaszok, white dogs of over 100 pounds that are devoted to their owners but skeptical about everyone else, generally keep the non-domestic animals at a distance, except for the skunks, of course, who go where they please. But last year, a feral kitten fell down a runoff pipe beside the house, and the constant meowing of the kitten, and its sibling at the top of the pipe, eventually alerted us to their presence. To the distant pleasure of their brave and resourceful mother, gardeners dug up the pipe, opened it, and the kittens were conveyed to the veterinarian like two matched Infants of Prague. They returned after a few days in cracking health and undiminished voice and rule the housekeeper’s attached home with the feline assurance of the MGM lion, princes of beasts, and are even deferred to by my wife’s dogs, who are very proprietary with everyone else.

We were somewhat complacently contemplating our status as helpers to nature’s tenacity of life, when the head of the work crew that has been repairing water damage under the copper roof on a pavilion of this house advised that a raccoon and her newborn cub were at the center of the work site, nestled snugly in the newly deployed insulation (cleverly adapted to the requirements of maternity). We all traipsed up the steps to take a view, and only a heart of stone would not have been touched by the sight: Herbert, it emerged, was Henrietta, and her cub was too little to walk or open its eyes, and its mother kept one paw on it at all times, stroking reassuringly. Once again, severe options were out of the question, and Google gave us a crash course on what to expect. As in the affair with the kittens, the local animal-rescue people were utterly hopeless. A year ago, they advised us to starve the kittens to death in the pipe; now, they told us that a mother and her cub could not be moved and there was nothing for it but to concede to the squatters and turn the work site into a veterinary maternity ward for up to eight weeks.

More ingenious heads, especially Henrietta’s, prevailed. As the housekeeper, the felines’ friend, arrived, with a cage trap in one hand and the familiar thick (dental-resistant) gloves in the other, Henrietta conducted an exploration prompted by the workmen’s use of the microwave. The foreman gently removed the cub to a warm, grassy place within an adjacent walled garden. This was the moment of truth, as there is apparently some chance of a mother raccoon’s abandoning a cub who has been handled at all at a young age by a human. But Henrietta, walking with authority despite her youth and fatigue after what must have been a very enervating act of birth, appeared and was seen by my wife scampering at speed with her cub in her mouth to the comparatively under-populated orchard. It too is fenced, as this entire property is zoned into areas so we can rotate the dogs and gardeners around without the dogs’ chasing the gardeners up the trees and forcing them to call for help with their cellphones. There are also the foibles of neighbors to be considered, as some of them are hostile to dogs and manifest this in unseemly ways designed, successfully, to rouse these essentially friendly if protective dogs to simulate the Hound of the Baskervilles and other legendarily terrifying canines. So other fenced areas can provide buffer zones, cordons sanitaires, with neighbors. Henrietta puzzled the system out with great acuity, and she moves between zones with her little passenger; she sometimes returns, when the coast is clear, to the two warmer places, in the roof and on the balcony, that, by her talents as an explorer, she discovered for herself. There have now been enough sightings for me tentatively to claim victory in this little drama for the party of life.

I cannot claim that the point to this mundane story is obvious, yet it all seems reassuring to me — reassuring because everyone, including the workmen, had the same instinct that we must help young life, even though raccoons are at times notoriously irritating animals. And reassuring also because after such a severe winter, the rites of spring have begun, and however challenged and apparently stifled, life always has what it must to go on. Despite the banality of the thought, we have all found it uplifting to see this small confirmation that despite every natural and human challenge and unkindness, life has waged a battle that it has never lost. I should probably apologize for this platitudinous little yarn, but I will not — I have reviewed what other columnists and bloggers have written in the last few days on the more frequent current political and economic personalities and subjects, and Henrietta and her cub are more interesting and more admirable. We would rather have them sheltering in or near our house than almost any contemporary political leader I can think of.

First published in National Review.

Posted on 04/18/2014 5:13 AM by Conrad Black

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Gerrt Wilders, leader of the PVV Freedom Party

Geert Wilders" Freedom Party (PVV) leads in  Dutch polls next month's European Parliament elections.  According to a report in the Dutch publication,  Spitsnieuws:

A TNS NIPO poll published today predicts that the PVV, the Party for Freedom of Geert Wilders,  will become the biggest party in the European elections in the Netherlands.

According to the poll the PVV is going to win the European elections on 22 May with 18.1% of the votes, followed by the Liberal VVD of Prime Minister Mark Rutte with 16.2% and the liberal-democrat D66 party with 15.7%.

The losers of the European elections would be the Christian-Democrats and Labor.

In our April NER article, Geert Wilders Once Again Endures a Firestorm of Criticism, we noted how Dutch voters in the March 2014 municipal elections had voted their disapproval of the ruling coalition parties in the Hague Parliament, noting how they immediately tried to pin the blame on Geert  Wilders as an extremist.  Presciently in our conclusion we suggested that those same Dutch voters would ultimate vindicate him in the May european elections.  We wrote:

To paraphrase England’s Henry II regarding the fate of former boon companion, Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Beckett, the Dutch political and media establishment might say: “who will rid us of this upstart meddlesome blonde.” We hope that those Dutch folks who went to the polls on March 19th and gave the PVV victories in several smaller municipalities may be joined by others in the majority, who didn’t vote. That might  provide the PVV with a victory in the May EU parliamentary elections. We have seen Wilders bounce back from previous episodes like a proverbial cat with nine lives. His Euro-skeptic alliance partners, especially Ms. Le Pen in France, would deem that a stunning and well deserved turnabout.

Posted on 04/17/2014 7:20 PM by Jerry Gordon

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Republished from  Dr. Rich Swier eMagazine

Tuesday, a news conference held by New York Police Commissioner William Bratton announced the dismantling of the NYPD Muslim community surveillance program; The Demographic Unit, renamed the Zone Assessment Unit.   Department spokesperson Stephen Davis remarked:

Understanding certain local demographics can be a useful factor when assessing the threat information that comes into New York City virtually on a daily basis. In the future, we will gather that information, if necessary, through direct contact between the police precincts and the representatives of the communities they serve.

Democrat Mayor of New York, William Di Blasio called the move:

 a critical step forward in easing tensions between the police and the communities they serve, so that our cops and our citizens can help one another go after the real bad guys.

CAIR New York Board Chairman, Ray Mahoney said:

CAIR-NY welcomes the closing of the NYPD Zone Assessment Unit. This is an important first step. However, the damage of unconstitutional mass spying on people solely on the basis of their religion has already been carried out and must be addressed. We need to hear from the mayor and NYPD officials that the policy itself has been ended and that the department will no longer apply mass surveillance or other forms of biased and predatory policing to any faith-based community.

Linda Sarsour of the Arab American Association of New York said

The Demographics Unit created psychological warfare in our community. Those documents, they showed where we live. That’s the cafe where I eat. That’s where I pray. That’s where I buy my groceries. They were able to see their entire lives on those maps. And it completely messed with the psyche of the community.

Thus ends a program developed in 2003 with the assistance  ex-CIA officer Lawrence Sanchez at the request of former Commissioner Ray Kelly. In the wake of 9/11 it was deemed important to try and identify extremists in New York and outlying targeted Muslim communities who might provide assistance in terrorist plots threatening the City of New York.  That meant identifying informants within the community, creating a veritable census of the community and its institutions including monitoring Mosques and their leaders for inflammatory ideology.

Given the failure within the federal intelligence community exposed in the Report of the 9/11 Commission to collect, analyze and disseminate counter terrorism intelligence, forming special units within  the NYPD to detect and prevent terrorist attacks made eminent sense to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.  The NYPD counterterrorism program had another component the International Liaison Program with officers located in 11 overseas cities. The combined NYPD counterterrorism effort  alleged to have stopped more than 16 terrorists plots including intercepting a perpetrator of a possible dirty bomb attack planned for the 2004 Republican National Convention in Manhattan.  These programs have been pummeled with criticism that they were costly, and didn’t result in any arrests. New York Muslim community activitists and civil liberties groups point to a “pretrial examination before the US District Court for the Southern District of New York  in which  Commanding Officer of the Intelligence Division Thomas Galati admitted that the program had never generated a lead”.

With the arrival of   Mayor DiBlasio and Commissioner Bratton in 2014, the Muslim Community Mapping effort by the NYPD became subject to litigation by Muslim plaintiffs, in actions previously  filed in the Newark, New Jersey Federal District Court and in the Eastern District Court  in Brooklyn. Mayor DiBlasio during his electoral campaign had urged accommodation of New York Muslim community concerns. The Washington Post tagged Bratton, in December 2013 as   “healer in chief of a worried Muslim community”.

The first case was brought by Muslim plaintiffs in 2012 against the City of New York as a result of a 2011 Associated Press investigation of the New York Police Department (NYPD) surveillance of Muslim mosques in New Jersey.  The AP series:

Revealed that the NYPD dispatched undercover officers into minority neighborhoods as part of a human mapping program.  Police also used informants, known as "mosque crawlers," to monitor sermons, even when there was no evidence of wrongdoing. Hundreds of mosques and Muslim student groups were investigated and dozens were infiltrated. Many of these operations were built with help from the CIA, which is prohibited from spying on Americans but was instrumental in transforming the NYPD's intelligence unit after 9/11.

The NYPD had also undertaken similar surveillance  of the Somali Muslim community in Buffalo, New York.  The Newark federal court ruling was immediately contested by Muslim community leaders and civil rights groups as abetting ‘spying’ and so-called community profiling. The New Jersey case harkens back to CAIR and other Muslim advocacy groups in New York contesting a 2007 NYPD Muslim profiling   manual.  There was also  a case brought by an ex- Muslim NYPD officer against a consultant to the NYPD counterterrorism unit. Ironically, former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, who set up the Muslim community surveillance program, received an award in 2012 from the Department’s Muslim Advisory Council.

On February 20, 2014, the first action brought by New Jersey Muslim Plaintiffs in the matter of Hassan v. City of New York, 2:12-CV-3401, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark) was dismissed by Federal District Judge William F. Martini who noted in his decision:

[T]he Plaintiffs in this case have not alleged facts from which it can be plausibly inferred that they were targeted solely because of their religion.  The more likely explanation for the surveillance was a desire to locate budding terrorist conspiracies. The most obvious reason for so concluding is that surveillance of the Muslim community began just after the attacks of September 11, 2001. The police could not have monitored New Jersey for Muslim terrorists’ activities without monitoring the Muslim community itself. While this surveillance program may have had adverse effects upon the Muslim community after the AP published its articles; the motive for the program was not solely to discriminate against Muslims, but rather to find Muslim terrorists hiding among ordinary, law-abiding Muslims.

In an interview with Brooke Goldstein of the Lawfare Project, we asked her about the NYPD surveillance program.  She said:

What I can say is that from my dealings with the NYPD, they were not targeting Muslims and engaging in discrimination based on race or religion.  What they were doing was targeting institutions that have a connection to terrorism and those groups happen to be Islamist.  ... Simply because of the fact they have a theological justification has now opened up the NYPD surveillance program to accusations of so-called Islamophobia which are absolutely baseless and ridiculous. 

In light of Tuesday’s announcement by NYPD Commissioner Bratton, could the Eastern District case brought by New York plaintiffs be mooted?   Or will the announcement spur further Lawfare litigation by New York Muslim plaintiffs?

The NYPD  abandonment of the Muslim community mapping programs  may  embolden Muslim Brotherhood influencers in the Obama Administration, especially Arif Alikhan, assistant secretary for policy and Mohamed Elibiary, a senior member of the US Department of Homeland Security’s  advisory council.  Alikhan, as deputy mayor of Los Angeles for public safety, worked to scuttle  a similar Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD)  Muslim community ‘mapping’ program in 2007 when current NYPD Police Commissioner William Bratton was LAPD  Police Chief from 2002-2009.  Elibiary on the DHS Advisory panel had been actively involved in elimination of Islamic Jihad doctrine from DHS and other federal agencies’ counterterrorism training materials.  Perhaps NYPD Commissioner might turn to a community self policing proposal being promoted by MPAC, a Muslim Brotherhood front with influence in Washington,   called “Safe Spaces”.  According to a Wall Street Journal article,  “Mosques get a New Message”, Safe Spaces , is about  a voluntary program  by boards of  American  Mosques engaging in identifying and ‘converting’ extremists in their midst thereby co-opting local and national law enforcement profiling of their communities. 

With the end the NYPD Muslim community surveillance by order of Commissioner Bratton, New Yorkers must be concerned about who will monitor Islamist extremists and potential terror threats in the Big Apple.  As of Tuesday, Lawfare by Muslim Brotherhood interests reigns supreme in all five boroughs.

Posted on 04/17/2014 6:33 PM by Jerry Gordon

Thursday, 17 April 2014

From the Telegraph

Abu Hamza, the radical Islamic hate cleric, turned his London mosque into “the base of operations for the global export of violence and terror”, a New York jury was told at the start of his trial on terrorism charges.

“Abu Hamza was not just a preacher of religion,” Edward Kim, assistant US attorney, said in opening arguments. “He was a trainer of terrorists and he used the cover of religion so he could hide in plain sight in London. His goal was clear, simple and vicious. All able-bodied Muslims had a duty to wage war against non-Muslims. He was a leader with a global following, who didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the walk. He dispatched young men around the world to train, to fight, to kill.”

The white-bearded imam, who lost his hands and an eye in an explosion in Afghanistan, shuffled papers with his stumps and put on a prosthetic limb to take notes as he listened to the prosecution lay out its allegations about his role at the Finsbury Park mosque in north London. 

Mr Kim explained that two other Britons would play a key role in the prosecution case. He said that Feroz Abbasi, a Ugandan-born Londoner who was captured by US forces in Afghanistan in Dec 2001, was sent by Hamza for training for jihad missions by al-Qaeda commanders.

Saajid Badat, a British terrorist “supergrass”, would describe training with Mr Abbasi at al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan via video link from Britain, the prosecutor said. Mr Abbasi, who was held at Guantanamo Bay for three years before his return to London in 2005, has never been charged by US or British authorities.

The jury will also hear testimony from Mary Quin, a former American hostage who escaped the kidnapping in Yemen and later travelled to the Finsbury Park mosque to confront Hamza. The prosecution will play a tape recording that she he made of her encounter in which Hamza allegedly admitted providing the kidnappers with a satellite telephone and justified the hostage-taking.

Mr Kim also noted that flak jackets, chemical warfare suits and gas marks were found at the Finsbury Park mosque - the “tools of war stockpiled in a place of worship”. 

Posted on 04/17/2014 4:30 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Count all the ways Rami Khouri, Defender of the Faith (though it's a faith I don't believe he shares -- I think he's an example of that well-known phenomenon, the Arab islamochristian, who wraps himself in protective 'Uruba solidarity, and attempts to fit into a Muslim sea mainly by being plus-royaliste-que-le-roi in his hostility toward Israel) manages to misrepresent and malign Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and compare his tone with hers, in her many interviews, articles, and two books. Whose is the quiet tone of reason, and whose that hysterical tone to which, by now, devotees of have all grown  inured?

Rami Khouri has made a fatal mistake. He's quoted Ayaan Hirsi Ali. And even though the remarks are plucked out of context, and no doubt the most uncompromisinig of her remarks, they still make sense. What he's quoted, in order, he thinks, to show her up, will have the opposite effect, will strike many readers -- especially Christians living in Lebanon and those Muslims-for-identification-purposes-only Muslims who have long agonized over what happens to minds on Islam, and especially today, as they look around the world, even in Muslim lands, must be in an agony of doubt and hidden apostasy  -- as piercingly true.

Posted on 04/16/2014 9:39 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Passover Seder is an occasion when Jewish people around the world remember their history. That complex past, embracing both suffering and happiness, is symbolized in the Seder service by the mixture of bitter horseradish with sweet parsley, representing spring and renewal. The collective memory is of ancient persecution, exile, pogroms, the Holocaust, perpetual anti-Semitism, present-day terrorism but also one of emancipation in democratic countries and the creation of the State of Israel. Above all, this story depicts the liberation of people 3,300 years ago from slavery and subjugation in the Egypt ruled by Pharoah to liberation, freedom, and sovereignty in a land promised to them. 

The central part of the Seder is the asking and the response to four questions about the nature and significance of the festive ceremony, and the traditions observed and different foods that are eaten on the occasion. Those answers recall the struggles of Jews in their desire to be free: the coming forth from Egypt, and the struggle and rebellion against the Romans who destroyed the Second Temple. The memory of those struggles against persecution and discrimination is still echoed in the challenges today requiring the struggle against discrimination and anti-Semitism, the response to those who refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the State of Israel or who deny or minimize the relationship to the area of the Middle East that is still disputed, and also the answer to the bigoted and biased boycotters of Israel.

At the heart of the Seder story is the escape of Jews from bondage to a life of freedom and political sovereignty. For Israel today, and for the hopes of peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors, the four questions asked in the Seder can be boiled down to one: in spite of the incontestable evidence, why will Palestinians not accept the historical relationship of Jews to the area of Palestine, and why do they so strongly oppose the sovereignty and the legitimacy of the Jewish State?

The sovereignty of Israel is manifested by its political independence, by the revival of the Hebrew language in popular use as well as for religious purposes, as well as by unexpected contemporary features such as becoming skilled in military defense and security, by its accomplishments as a country of innovative high tech, with world-class great universities, and even by unexpected production of oil and gas. Yet, Palestinian leaders to this point have not only refused to accept that sovereignty and the existence of Israel in real rather than in perfunctory form, but also denied what the Seder story tells in abundance, the historic relationship of the Jewish people to the land. 

As in the Seder ceremony, there is need for the story to be told again of the bonds that unite the Jewish people and tie it to the land, a bond illustrated in recent years by the ingathering into Israel of Jews from Ethiopia and India. The recital of those bonds should also be heard by members of the international community, and by those who look favorably on or advocate the fallacious Palestinian Narrative of Victimhood.  

The true international understanding started with the Balfour Declaration on November 2, 1917. This was letter from British Foreign Minister Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild stating that the British government views “with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” This Declaration was then incorporated into both the Peace Treaty of Sèvres and the Mandate for Palestine.

The Treaty of Sèvres of August 10, 1920, establishing peace between the Ottoman Empire and the Allies of World War I, implemented the result of negotiations that had started in London and continued in the San Remo Resolution in April 1920. Article 95 of the Treaty, implementing that Resolution, laid down that a Mandatory, to be appointed, would be responsible for putting into effect the Declaration originally by Britain and “adopted by the other Allied Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

Based on the San Remo Resolution and on Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, the Mandate for Palestine, given to Britain by the League on July 24, 1922 and put into effect on September 329, 1923, was the basis for the administration of territory, an area that was formerly part of provinces of the Ottoman Empire. The preamble to the Mandate repeated the words of the Treaty of Sèvres “in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

 International agreements after World War II went further. The crucial event was the UN General Assembly 181 (II) Resolution of November 29, 1947, the so-called partition resolution, passed by a vote of 33-13-10. It called for the ending of the Mandate for Palestine no later than August 1, 1948. More importantly, it called (article A, 3) for the creation of “Independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem.”

Therefore, the international community called for the creation of a Jewish State that came into existence on May 14, 1948. The Arab-Israel conflict resulted from the refusal of Arab leaders and governments to accept the partition resolution. This refusal was proclaimed even before the resolution. The General Secretary of the Arab League, Azzam Pasha, was quoted on page 9 of the Egyptian newspaper Akhbar el-Yom of October 11, 1947 as saying, that if a Jewish state is established and a war were to occur it “would lead to a war of extermination and momentous massacre that history will record similarly to the Mongol massacre or the wars of the Crusades.” In the same fashion, the Syrian president and the Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini both spoke of the eradicating of Zionism or the annihilation of Zionists.

The contrast between the two sides could not be clearer. Chaim Weizmann, the longtime Zionist leader and president of the Zionist Organization who became the first president of Israel on February 1, 1949, wrote to David Ben-Gurion on May 30, 1948 that it is “the profound desire of our people to establish relations of harmony and mutual respect with their fellow Arab citizens, with the neighboring Arab states, and with all other nations.”

The Arab leaders refused to create a Palestinian state, let alone acknowledge the international recognition of a Jewish State. They, especially the Palestinian leaders, still refuse that acknowledgment and in addition deny the significance of Jewish history. President Mahmoud Abbas, who presumably has never attended a Seder, speaks of ‘illusions and legends” that Jews use in referring to their history in Jerusalem, and of the “alleged” Jewish temple there. Palestinian spokespeople even deny the validity of the artifacts with Jewish symbols that have been found near the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Why do those spokespersons persist in arguing that the claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history?

Can there possibly be a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, begun by the refusal of the Arabs to create a Palestinian state and by their wars and continual military aggression against Israeli civilians, if the distortion of Jewish history is not only kept alive but continues to be disseminated through Arab education? President Abbas should be invited to a Seder.

Michael Curtis is author of Jews, Antisemitism, and the Middle East.

First published in the American Thinker.

Posted on 04/16/2014 7:10 AM by Michael Curtis

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Posted just today, the following employment ad from Brown University is the distilled expression of much that is wrong in university life. It used to be said tha tin a good poem not a word should  be changed (it's not true, but it points in the direction of a truth); in this announcement from Brown, every word needs changed. Some semblance of life-- not the "life of the mind" (ridiculous phrase) but of mind -- needs to be given to what now is dead and deadening. The nothing words and the nothing understandings that lie behind these nothing words -- well, nothing will come of nothing. Write again.

Associate Director, Middle East Studies

Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

Brown University is seeking an Associate Director, Middle East Studies to provide critical leadership and direction in support of programmatic initiatives, strategic growth and curricular development.  Middle East Studies at Brown is in a transition period of rapid growth and the position offers an exciting opportunity for motivated and highly organized individuals to institutionalize an agenda-driven program grounded in Brown’s tradition of interdisciplinary, critical, and engaged scholarship.

Position Summary:

  • The Associate Director provides critical leadership and direction in support of programmatic initiatives, strategic growth and curricular development of Middle East Studies, including an interdisciplinary undergraduate concentration and its related research and instructional activities. 
  • In conjunction with the Faculty Director, the Associate Director will create, design, and oversee innovative and long-term development of the concentration, while also teaching one to two courses per year and serving as a Student Advisor. 
  • This position will participate in the development of outreach initiatives, including advancement and fund raising opportunities, program events, grant writing, web design, supporting visiting professors and Post-Docs, and the creation of promotional materials. 
  • The position of Associate Director will serve as a principle program liaison to faculty, students, and administrators across departments and offices within the University, and represent the program on University committees as appropriate.
  • As the Associate Director, the incumbent will also cultivate and coordinate relations with similar programs and centers in other universities as well as with scholars and academic institutions on the national and international levels.
Posted on 04/16/2014 6:45 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

It was Robert Louis Stevenson who said: “Man is a creature who lives not upon bread alone but principally by catchwords.” Refining our thoughts with qualifications can get tiring, so we recur to slogans to capture a reality that is almost always complex.

Alas, what should be the shorthand of thought often turns out to be the short-circuit of thought. When we think of Margaret Thatcher, for example, we think of free-market reforms—whether we are for such reforms or against them, whether we welcome or abominate them.

Is this right? Was Mrs. Thatcher’s legacy one of free markets, of laissez-faire? I am far from sure.

The question first came up when my late friend, the development economist, Peter Bauer (who was a formidable opponent of the orthodoxies of his time) said to me that he thought Mrs. Thatcher had talked a great deal but had actually done very little. In a way, he said, she had even set her own cause back because her strident language had convinced people that she had carried out her radical program, thus arousing the undying hatred of her intellectual opponents as if she had done so, while in fact she changed very little, at least as regards the fundamentals. She thus gave the ideas for which she stood a bad name without their ever having been put into practice.

This came up again recently when a think tank sent me an email circular with the title,Margaret Thatcher—A Free Market Legacy? Of course, the answer depends somewhat on what you consider a political legacy to be. Is all that happens after a politician leaves power his legacy, or only those parts of what is done that are either in accordance with or in conscious opposition to his precepts? Some reforms or changes are irreversible, others easily reversible. Does a legacy consist only of the former?

In the case of Britain and Mrs. Thatcher, I prefer to speak of her effect rather than her legacy. It seems to me that she subdued the political power of the unions, but that that power would have declined anyway—as it has done in France even without a Thatcher figure to lead the charge. That said, she handled the coal miners with skill and determination. After she defeated the Miners’ Union, no other union would lightly take her government on. And so far, at least, British unions have not recovered their extra-constitutional role as the fourth, and seemingly most powerful, branch of government. Even Peter Bauer acknowledged this as an achievement.

But did Mrs. Thatcher roll back the state, as it was her intention and indeed vocation to do? Here I think the answer must decisively be no. That is, at least if the question is about her long-term effect. It is true that she managed to reduce the public sector’s proportion of the Gross Domestic Product somewhat during her term in office. But 30 years after she entered office, it was higher than when she entered it. In 1979 it was 44.6 per cent; in 2009, 47.7 per cent. Her long-term effect (if 30 years counts as the long-term) on the size of the state was nil, despite her reputation as a prudent or even savage cutter of public services.

She did nothing to reduce dependence on the state as a source of primary income. On the contrary, during her period in office, spending on social security increased rather than decreased. (This was largely because unemployment rose so high; it was ethically, socially, and politically impossible to drive down the income of the unemployed to the value of their labor to employers, which in many cases would probably have been negative.) Government spending having declined as a proportion of GDP, social security increased proportionately even more. Mrs. Thatcher did not, because she could not, effect any fundamental change in the model of the welfare state. That model, in democracies at least, has a one-way ratchet.

Mrs Thatcher was loved and hated not so much because she changed things, but because she said she wanted to. Wilfred Owen notwithstanding, men always fight for flags because symbols are more powerful in their minds than reality.

Such measures as GDP are very crude when it comes to estimating the effect on a society of a politician of Mrs. Thatcher’s stature. Still, my impression is that her effect, where it was long-lasting, was predominantly negative.

Mrs. Thatcher gave the impression of being an economic determinist—a mirror-image Marxist if you will. Whether she really was in the inner fastnesses of her mind is beside the point. In politics, what people think you are is often more important than what you are. She gave the impression that if the economy were fixed, everything else desirable would follow as the night the day, and that the way to fix it was to let everyone follow his own narrow economic interest.

To be sure, it was very necessary in Britain at the time to try to undo the effect of many years of intellectual propaganda against all forms of commerce, which the intelligentsia then thought was intrinsically besmirching in a way that public service funded by taxation was not. The utopia peddled by the intellectuals was of a society in which everybody and everything was subsidized. (The ultimate source of the subsidies, of course, was of no interest or concern.)

Margaret Thatcher was, in effect, the Guizot of 20th century Britain: enrichissez vous was her message to the British people. Unfortunately, it was not only the people in the genuinely commercial sector who heard the message. Those in the public sector did, too. This sector never became small; and Mrs Thatcher, not able to reduce it, thought to tame it by introducing scientific management into it.

She believed in scientific management as scientologists believe in L. Ron Hubbard. Unfortunately, this meant that enichissez vous quickly became the watchword of the public administration, whose senior bureaucrats successfully argued that, as managers of vast enterprises such as public hospitals, which were now to be run as businesses, they could arrogate to themselves every perquisite enjoyed by the captains of industry and the kings of commerce. The result has been that employment in the public sector is more lucrative than in the private, and much less risky. There are many towns in Britain in which the middle class is composed almost solely of so-called public servants.

The supposedly scientific management that Mrs. Thatcher introduced into the public sector had, ironically enough, a strong Soviet flavor to it, complete with bogus benchmarks easily reached by means of organized lying and falsification, as well as the universal employment of a langue de bois all its own. As a professor in Bristol put it when the government suddenly introduced a new term, clinical governance, into its circulars without explaining what it meant: “clinical governance is a term untranslatable into any other language, including English.” The Iron Lady, the most anti-Soviet of all recent British Prime Ministers, immeasurably advanced the cause of Sovietism, regrettably, in her own country.

Her successor-but-one, Anthony Blair, with the cunning of the natural born swindler, seized his chance and created a loyal, corrupt, self-seeking nomenklatura class that remains extremely influential and easily able to outwit the blancmange-like David Cameron, who in any case so easily moulds himself to any shape going.

I concede, of course, that any historical interpretation is open to dispute and revision. Moreover, to blame a figure for not having done the impossible is not to damage her reputation in the slightest. There is (thank goodness) a limit to what one person can do in countries such as the United Kingdom. I liked Mrs. Thatcher personally and she was head and shoulders above the other political figures of her time. But that only shows that politics are the shadow on the cave wall.

First published in the Library of Law and Liberty

Posted on 04/16/2014 5:43 AM by Theodore Dalrymple

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Today marked the first commemoration of the Boston Marathon Bombing that occurred at the Boylston Street finish line on April 15, 2013 in two devastating explosions at 2:49 PM triggered by homemade pressure cookers bombs packed with lethal shrapnel. The nation was riveted for five days by the pursuant of refugee Jihadists of Chechen origin, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarneav who planned and perpetrated the bombing. The elder Tamerlan dies in a hail of bullets, while his younger sibling Dzhokhar was captured cowering in a boat in the backyard of a Watertown neighborhood. Dzhokhar’s trial is scheduled in a Boston Federal Court in November 2014.  The Federal prosecutors are seeking a death penalty for his actions.

President Obama observed the Bombing in a private moment of silence. Vice President Biden journeyed to Boston to join in a memorial with Mayor Marty Walsh, former Mayor Thomas Menino, Massachusetts Governor Derval Patrick first responders and four survivors at a series of scheduled events at the Hynes Convention Center.

 Biden commended these survivors for their “pure courage”.  Further he said, “You have become the face of America’s resolve.” He completed his speech saying, "We are Boston. We are America. We respond, we endure, we overcome, and we own the finish line." 

Governor Patrick reflecting the Hub City’s community spirit said, “We are no strangers here.”

These remarks at today’s commemoration and memorial bolstered the imagery of Boston Strong defiant, yet grieving over the losses in both human and spiritual terms.  There is an exhibit at the Boston Public Library at the head of the Copley Square with a selection drawn from the City of Boston Archives of the global outpouring of sympathies.  There were blessings for runners who have signed up for the 2014 Marathon, re- scheduled for April 21st, who will run in  the name of those killed and injured, many maimed for life with missing limbs. There will be panel discussions of the resilience of the Boston community and books to be published on the occasion of this commemoration.

Governor Patrick has contended that  security planning for this year’s Boston Marathon is has been “very thorough”,   preparing  for the legendary race’s 26 mile plus route from suburban Hopkington,Massachusetts to the finish line in Copley Square.

The devastation is reflected in the opening stanzas of our article on this tragic event in the May 2013 edition of the New English Review, Refugee Jihad Terror in Boston:

Those Boston Marathon blasts occurred less than 13 seconds apart at approximately 2:49 PM on Monday, April 15, 2013. They left a trail of deaths and destruction in what is now called the Boston Marathon Massacre involving three dead and more that 282 treated for injuries. Fourteen were severely maimed for life with missing limbs. The deaths caused by the Tsarnaev brothers include 8 year old Martin Richard, 29 year old Krystle Campbell and 23 year old Lu Lingzi, a Chinese national and Boston University graduate student. 26 year old MIT police officer Sean Collier was killed by the Tsarnaevs while in his patrol car in Cambridge. Richard Donahue, a 33 year old Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority police officer was also shot and critically wounded.

Notwithstanding, perhaps because of today’s commemorations in Boston there are lingering questions even before the trial of younger brother Dzhokhar begins later this year in Boston.

Questions remain regarding whether the Jihad attack could have been prevented given emerging evidence.

There is  evidence of Russian intercepts of telephone conversations between Tamerlan and his mother in Dagestan expressing jihadist ideology passed on to the FBI in 2011.  A recent Intelligence Inspector General report exonerated the FBI pointing a finger at the alleged failure of the Russian intelligence service to respond to follow up questions.  There are allegations  by Dzhokhar’s lawyers that the FBI tried to enlist elder brother Tamerlan as an informant.

Then there is a question raised in a recent Boston Magazine investigative article  “Murders before the Marathon” about the Middlesex County prosecutor and FBI investigations of the grisly 2011 murders of three men, two of them Jews,  in an alleged  bust drug deal in Waltham, Massachusetts on 9/11/2011.  The three murdered men Brendan Mess, 25; Raphael Teken, 37; and Eric Weissman, 31, were found with their throats cut in September of 2011, and their bodies were covered with marijuana.” The author of the Boston Magazine article had met one of the victims Eric Weissman, a purveyor of designer marijuana in a casual deal as a college student and was able to interview the victim’s wife and the girl friend of one of the accomplices killed in an Orlando, Florida shooting by an FBI agent.

 According to the Boston Magazine article the information available to Middlesex County police and prosecutors might have led to indictment of the Tsarneavs thereby preventing implementation of their jihad at the Marathon finish line in 2013. Those investigations into the Waltham triple murders went cold for over 570 days, only reignited by the Tsarneav perpetration of the Marathon Bombing.  There was  both DNA evidence and corroboration of  the perpetrators by the wife of the one of those murdered linking the participation of Tsarneavs along with an accomplice,  fellow Chechen Refugee, Ibragim Todashev.

Todashev, according to Ann Corcoran at Refugee Resettlement Watch, was granted asylum by the US DOJ Executive Office of Immigration Review under false pretenses pointing to a threat to his life in Chechnya, despite the fact that his father was a Chechen official.  Todashev was killed in an alleged assault in his Orlando apartment nine months ago in a shooting by an FBI agent allegedly justified by a knife attack by Todaschev. That killing is still being investigated by independent Florida prosecutors. However, recently the FBI Agent’s actions were deemed “justified”.

There is also the matter of  whether the Mosque in Cambridge, affiliated with Muslim Brotherhood-backed Islamic Cultural Center of Boston (ISBCC) should have been subject to community policing akin to that of the NYPD.  We raise this because another Muslim Brotherhood front, MPAC with entre to the Obama White House, FBI and the Department of Homeland Security’s advisory council, has been promoting an initiative, “Safe Spaces”.  According to a Wall Street Journal article,  “Mosques get a New Message”, Safe Spaces , is about  a voluntary program  by boards of  American  Mosques engaging in identifying and ‘converting’ extremists in their midst thereby co-opting local and national law enforcement profiling of their communities.  The trigger for the MPAC initiative is an incident that occurred at the Cambridge Mosque involved Tamerlan in January 2013. The WSJ article noted the event and reactions of the ISBCC spokesperson to the MPAC Safe Spaces initiative:

In January 2013, months before the bombing, [Tamerlan] shouted at a speaker who compared Martin Luther King Jr. to Muhammad, calling him a "hypocrite."

Afterward, mosque leaders gave him an ultimatum, saying that if he ever interrupted Friday service again he would be expelled, said Yusufi Vali, a spokesman for the mosque.

The MPAC report said Mr. Tamerlan's outbursts "were more than enough cause for concern to warrant intervention from community leaders to help provide counseling" which "might have revealed other red flags that would generate greater concern" and eventually have alerted law enforcement.

Mr. Vali said he hadn't yet read the MPAC report, and declined to comment on it, "so I can't respond to adopting the initiative or whether that would have been a better approach."

This first commemoration is focused on the resilience of Boston honoring the memories of those who lost their lives at the hands of the Jihadists, the Tsarneav brothers. 

Tuesday evening, Boston Police detained a man for questioning about two unattended backpacks left at the Boylston Street Marathon finish line.  ABC news reported the bomb squad blew u p the backpacks. Police have cleared the area. Trains are bypassing the nearby Copley Square station. The police department has tweeted asking people to avoid the area.

Given the continuing investigations into the Bombing and these latest developments, are Boston and our nation prepared to prevent another jihadist attack in a public space?

Posted on 04/15/2014 9:34 PM by Jerry Gordon

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

News just to hand.   Background briefing: police were called to a report of a domestic viiolence incident.  Members of the Muslim family involved, assaulted police and were arrested.  Certain of the persons involved had just been formally charged when this second riot was started..right there in the court.

The Muslims are, of course, claiming they wuz "provoked!!!" and crying victim (I encourage readers to click on the links and look at photos of drama queen be-hijabbed mama and her menacing thuggish sons) but I would bet my bottom dollar that the court's CCTV footage, slowed down and viewed frame by frame if necessary, will show that the mohammedthug threw the first punch.

And so to our reports.

First, from the ABC.

"Riot squad called to courtroom brawl involving Sydney family charged with assaulting police".

"The riot squad has been called to a Sydney courtroom to deal with a brawl between police and members of a family (a Muslim family - CM) facing charges for assaulting police.

'Five members of the Mehanna family were facing Downing Centre Local Court in central Sydney over charges of Affray and assaulting police on New Year's Day in 2013 at their Bankstown home.

'Witnesses said that shortly after the lunch adjournment one of the Mehanna brothers struck a police officer, starting a courtroom brawl that involved more than 30 officers.

That's not a brawl. That's a riot. In a court.  It wasn't outside the court, either. It was inside the court.  I am not sure that Australian non-Muslims have ever pulled this kind of stunt in a court. Not even in our wildest colonial days. - CM

'But Ali Mehanna claims it was police who started the altercation.

Suuuure. And what do we know about Muslims? They lie, lie, lie, lie, lie; and they always, always, always cry victim, and cry "grievance!" and "we wuz pwovoked!!" and  claim that the other guy started it.  Ali Mehanna's screams of "victim" and "provocation" are totally and dismally predictable.  It will be fun to see what happens if - as I strongly suspect - the CCTV footage from the courtroom plus anything filmed on mobile phones, etc, by non-Muslim persons present in the court, shows decisively that the fight was started by the Muslim participants. - CM

"There was no need for more police. Officers were in court dealing with the situation. Tehre were six or seven other police officers outside of the courtroom", he said.

I see the massive reinforcement of the courtroom cops as a healthy sign that Australian police are learning to instantly deploy overwhelming force when violent Mohammedans begin causing Trouble. - CM

"As my brother and the family has left the court room, they provoked him.

You know what, Mr Mehanna?  I don't believe you. - CM

"They were pushing, shoving, and before you knew it he was getting hit and punched by the police officers.

Again, Mr Mehanna, I don't believe you. - CM

"And then while they were arresting him on the floor, they started kicking him, kneeing was police brutality all over".

Wait for the CCTV footage to be analysed. It may well tell a story of an out-of-control run-amok mohammedthug having to be subdued by main force. - CM

'The original case against members of the Mehanna family was adjourned for sentencing until next month.

'Police say one officer was injured in the brawl, and at least one member of the Mehanna family has been taken into custody.

Observe.  The Muslim mobster, Ali Mehanna, claimed the police were beating up on his bruvva; yet there is no hint that either that bruvva (who started the fight) or anyone else in the Mob incurred any real injury; the only person injured was a police officer . -

And now to the Sydney Morning Herald version, from their court reporter Emma Partridge.

"Dozens of police in brawl at Downing Centre court".

"Witnesses describe a brawl between police and a group of brothers who had just been convicted at Sydney's Downing Centre Courts on Tuesday.

"Dozens of police officers have been involved in a brawl inside a Sydney court with a family (that is: a Muslim family - CM) on trial for brawling with police.

'One officer was "smacked in the face" during the fight, witness and 2UE court reporter Leonie Ryan said.

Non-Muslim witness. Good.  - CM

'A number of police cars circled the Downing Centre at lunchtime on Tuesday.

'The fight broke out minutes after Adel, Hussain and Ali Mehanna were convicted of numerous offences, including affray, resisting arrest and assaulting police during a fight that broke out outside their Bankstown home on January 1 2013.

"Five Mehanna family members were facing police assault charges after the brawl.

'Ali Mehanna, who was allegedly involved in Tuesday's scrum (really? "scrum"?? - this was at least a brawl, and potentially a riot - CM) on level four, kept screaming "This is police brutality".

Suuuure. - CM

 'Ryan said Adel Mehanna was inside the dock of the courtroom when he started screaming: "I'm going to f***ing kill you".

Uttering threats to kill, right there in court. Not smart.  Ugly.  And Ali Mehanna wants to represent himself and his thuggish family as poor little innocent persecuted victims, attacked out of the blue by the eeevil police? - CM

'Officers then stormed in as Corrective Services attempted to take him away.

Sounds like he should have been in a straitjacket. - CM

"We walked out of court, we were standing outside the doors, and all of a sudden we just hear screaming.  We turned around and it was almost like a football match brawl", she said.

"There were punches being thrown everywhere. It was just fists flying everywhere and screaming.

'She said one police officer was punched in the face before a man was tackled to the ground and handcuffed.

Nota bene.  First the police officer was punched in the face - by the mohammedthug - and then the person who threw the punch was tackled and handcuffed (while, one may safely assume, continuing to violently resist arrest). - CM

'Ali Mehanna told reporters outside the court that his brother, who was arrested over the brawl, was the victim of an "unprovoked attack".

Turnspeak. Reversal of reality. Because the account I've just read, by the non-Muslim witness, indicates that his brother started the fight by assaulting a police officer. - CM

"They provoked my brother as he walked out, they found a reason and then 'bang' they jumped on him", Ali Mehanna said.

"There were officers outside of the courtroom, there was no need for officers to be outside of the courtroom (oh yes there was...because visible deployment of overwhelming force is the only way for Infidel law enforcement to deal with the ever-present possibility of the mohammedan insta-mob - CM), and then as we were leaving there was six or seven of them."

All necessary, so far as I can see.  If there had been few or no police present, what might have happened to the non-Muslim persons present in and around that court? - CM

'Family supported Hassan Anthony kept repeating the words "police brutality".

Nobody actually got hurt, except a police officer.  That tells me the police used just as much force as was necessary to subdue a dangerous and out-of-control person who represented a manifest threat.- CM

"They hit him (a family) to the face, they kneed him in the back", Mr Anthony said.

He wasn't taken away to hospital so I assume very little actual harm was done. - CM

"There was no mercy, all because they (police officers) are wearing the colour blue", he said.

???? What's the colour blue got to do with it? And.. no mercy?  His thuggish kinsman was subdued and arrested, as he required to be - and without sustaining, in the process, any injury serious enought to require medical attention. That's mercy, as far as I'm concerned.  - CM

The case continues.

Now to our third 'take' on this disgraceful incident; this time, from the Daily Telegraph's Lema Samandar, as reproduced by "The Australian".

"Brawl erupts outside court rooms as three members from the same family were convicted of assaulting police".

That is: another member of the same family...assaulted police. In the court. - CM

'A Western Sydney family who were in court today over assaulting police began a brawl with officers outside a courtroom, saying they were provoked.

How, "provoked", given that they started the fight? This is bog-standard mohammedan turnspeak and reversal of reality.  But one must bear in mind that absolutely everything on earth seems to "provoke" or offend mohammedans.  The real "provocation" was probably the fact that members of the Allah Gang, the Ummah or Mohammedan Mob, were being publicly subjected to processes of Infidel law...Infidel law for which Muslims are taught to feel nothing but contempt. - CM

'Dozens of officers and riot squad police swarmed the Downing Centre Local Court moments after a fight broke out between members of the Mehanna family and police.

Probably that sentence should have ended, "moments after a member or members of the Mehanna family attacked police." - CM

'But outside court, Ali Mehanna said police crash-tackled his brother Hassan as he was walking out of court.

"After the court dismissed most (but not all - CM) of the charges (against) my mother, my father, my sister, m y brother - the cops aggravated the situation", Mr Mehanna said.

"As my brother left the courtroom they came, they provoked him

How? By looking at him funny? It seems clear, from the non-Muslim witness quoted in reports I've already considered, that nobody actually did anything to the mohammedthug until after he threw the punch. - CM

"and they rearrested him."

Mr Mehanna has omitted something.  In between the claim "they provoked him" which does seem to refer to any kind of physical or verbal attack, and "and they rearrested him", there is the punch thrown at the police officer. - CM

 "There's videos of the officer constantly hitting my brother, there was six, seven of them on top of him, they were hitting him."

But there will also be, I bet, video - and non-Muslim eyewitness testimony, too - of the mohammedthug throwing the first punch. - CM

'Up to six officers tried to restrain Hassan Mehanna, he screamed "help me, somebody help me".

That six officers were required to restrain him suggests that he was violently resisting arrest. And...the fact of six officers, and more arriving on the scene, is probably why other mohammedthugs present seem to have pulled in their horns, rather than proceeding to a full-scale riot. -  CM

'The brawl happened minutes after Magistrate Darryl Pearce convicted brothers Adel, Hussan ahd Ali Mehanna of numerous offences, including affray, resisting arrest, and assaulting police during a fight that broke out outside their Bankstown home on New Year's Day last year.

'And that, I suspect, is the real "provocation" that Mr Ali Mehanna is whining about; that a number of mohammedans are about to be punished under non-Muslim law. - CM

'As people left the court, Adel screamed out from the dock, "I'm going to kill you".

I observe that the Daily Telegraph has primly omitted his use of the F-bomb, but of course, what matters is the public expression of a threat to kill.   If the Australian authorities knew what they were doing, Adel Mehanna and his entire family would be looking down the barrel of deportation.  Unfortunately, we've not realized that yet; in the interim, I hope that Adel Mehanna after publicly uttering a threat to kill, is now firmly on the list of people to be watched, by the AFP and ASIO.  

And yet more, from Channel Nine, giving some idea of just why exactly so many police had to be deployed.  The violence and the feverish histrionics of the Muslim street, exploding inside a courtroom in Sydney. - CM

'Brawl erupts outside Sydney Court.

"Moments after three brothers (three Muslim brothers - CM) were convicted over a brawl with police, there was screaming, punching and wailing as another altercation with officers erupted at a Sydney court.

'Dozens of officers and riot ssquad police swarmed over level four of Downing Central Local Court on Tuesday after brothers Adel, Hussain, and Ali Mehanna were convicted of numerous offences, including affray and resisting arrest.

'After the decision was handed down, Adel yelled out from the dock at people leaving the court, "I'm going to f***ing kill you".

'An altercation with police and one of the brothers then spilled out of the court into the foyer.

'As bewildered members of staff and the public stared on, six officers tried to restrain one of the brothers who lay writhing on the floor screaming, "Help me, somebody help me".

'His mother Rafah Mehannah wailed and screamed out, "No, no".  She was later taken from the court in an ambulance.

Drama queen. - CM

'The three brothers, as well as their mother, their father Mohammed and sister Zainab, had just faced charges in court over the altercation with police at their Bankstown home.

'The court heard police had been called to the property after reports of a domestic dispute in the early hours of New Year's Day last year.

'When two officers arrived, the three brothers were smoking on the front lawn.  

'Magistrate Darryl Pearce said Ali had sworn at them, calling one a "slut" (this indicates that, as per usual procedure when police go to a suspected domestic dispute, one of the attending officers was female - CM), and telling them it was a family matter.

'Despite police discovering there was no case of domestic violence, at least 10 more officers turned up.

Probably because Sydney police have learnt, the hard way, that in any dealings with members of the Mohammedan mob, it is as well to deploy force majeure. - CM

'The situation escalated (how, precisely? - CM), and a "brawl" broke out, with the brothers found to have assaulted a number of police and resisted arrest.

'However, Magistrate Pearce dismissed the charges against Mr and Mrs Mehanna and Zainab, saying that they had only acted in defence of their family.

?????  - CM

'He said the trio would have come out of the house to see one officer with a gun drawn, others holding tasers and others punching the three men.

Memo to cops engaged in any interaction at all with the mohammedan mob: make sure everything, from the beginning, is video and audio recorded, so that it  may be objectively clear who did what, when. - CM

'Speaking outside court, a supporter of the family alleged the Mehannas had again been attacked by police on Tuesday.  "If you don't believe us, you can believe the camera footage", he told reporters.

Suuuure.  Me, I suspect the camera footage will tell quite a different tale. - CM

'Hussain was taken into custody following Tuesday's ugly scenes while Adel (the one who yelled at people who were leavng the court, "I'm going to f-ing kill you! - CM) remains in custody. Ali was given bail. (I wonder if he'll try to flit? - CM).

"The matters will return to court next month."

And I suspect there will be an even bigger and more visible police presence, next time around. - CM

Posted on 04/15/2014 6:47 PM by Christina McIntosh

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

At least the division within Arab countries is now being noticed. But what is still verboten is the subject of rich, lightly-populated Arab sheikdoms, and the poverty of the Arabs -- and Muslims -- in Egypt, the rest of North Africa (excluding LIbya if it manages to start selling oil again), Yemen, and in Syria, and even Iraq. There is no discussion of what the fabulously rich members of the Umma ought to do to support other members of the Umma, outside their own countries. But it's clear from the tepid response to appeals to give aid to Syrians that the West is fed up having to shell out still more billions, while the rich Arabs, in such places as Qatar, with trillions to split among fewer than 200,00 Qataris, are not contributing, or contributing so little compared to what they could be doing.

The article, at Al Arabiya, here.

When articles about this appear in the West, written by Westerners, they are overheard in the Arab and Muslim lands. And that's good. It would  not take much to rouse fury among poorer Arabs and Muslims against the rich Arabs and Muslims. Why should people in Pakistan not resent the waddling emirs of the Gulf who, after all, are members of the same 'Umma and should be willing to share that wealth with fellow Muslimjs? That's part of  what belonging to that 'Umma is suppposed to mean. But the rich Arabs are not going to share more than a very tiny bit. And they have no intention of letting this world-wide caliphate business, or even the idea of  a single Arab state, go anywhere, for it would mean having to share that wealth.

Eventually the poorer Arabs are going to catch on..

Posted on 04/15/2014 4:03 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

From The Telegraph

One of Britain’s most senior policemen has accused Michael Gove of fuelling speculation about an alleged Muslim plot to take over schools by appointing the anti-terrorism chief who oversaw the July 7 bombings investigation to oversee inquiries.

Chris Sims, Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, said the decision to call in Peter Clarke, former head of Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command, to investigate claims about schools in Birmingham was “desperately unfortunate”.

In remarks echoed by the leader of Birmingham City Council Sir Albert Bore and local MPs, he said the move would “inevitably” lead people to “draw unwarranted conclusions” about the allegations that hardline elements in the Muslim community in the city had orchestrated a dirty tricks campaign to increase their influence.

But Mr Gove insisted he wanted to “get to the bottom” of the allegations and end the uncertainty which was interfering with children’s education.

Community leaders have warned of a perceived “witch hunt” against Muslims based on questionable evidence.

But Mr Gove’s decision to appoint one of Britain’s most experienced anti-terrorism experts to look into the claims is an indication of the level of seriousness being attached to it.

He said: “I am extremely concerned by the allegations made in connection to a number of schools in Birmingham. I have already asked Ofsted to inspect a number of schools of concern and these investigations are ongoing. But wider, more comprehensive action is needed.

“These allegations need either to be substantiated and firm action taken, or to be shown to be baseless. We cannot allow uncertainty for parents or pupils to persist. That is why I am appointing a commissioner to oversee this work. Peter Clarke brings a wealth of relevant skills and experience, and is very well placed to lead a fair and thorough assessment of the evidence, and report back to me.

“We expect he will work closely with Birmingham City Council. . . "

But in a highly unusual move for a Chief Constable – Mr Sims publicly criticised Mr Gove’s decision. He said: "This is a desperately unfortunate appointment. He told The Telegraph that it would be “perceived in the strongest possible terms by many, many people”

“People will read into it that this has suddenly become a counter terrorism investigation,” he said. “In many respects this is not a policing issue. I have a counter terrorism unit that runs from this force but they are not engaged in investigating schools in east Birmingham. And I don’t for a minute think that Peter Clarke will be either but I understand the community well enough to know that his appointment will be judged by many to be exactly that. . . "

It strikes me that the very complaints suggest that it is an excellent decision. 

Posted on 04/15/2014 2:41 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Tuesday, 15 April 2014
Those who think they should make themselves get excited about what is happening between Russia  and Ukraine -- that is, what happens to the Russians living in Eastern Ukraine, might find "Erased" by Omer Bartov enlightening. If you don't want to read the book, you might read the excellent review that I ran across in an old issue of the TLS. If you have Internet access to  the TLS Archive (I don't, as I rely on the kindness of non-strangers for hand-me-down copies of the TLS), you can find out a lot from the review by Philip Longworth that appeared on May 9, 2008. It will harden your heart.
Posted on 04/15/2014 9:21 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Tuesday, 15 April 2014
Posted on 04/15/2014 9:15 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Européennes : les désunions poussent le FN

| 165 Commentaires
Une même cacophonie interne affaiblit l’Union européenne et l’Union pour un mouvement populaire (UMP).  Ces rassemblements de façade, trop éloignés des citoyens pour se réclamer d’une légitimité démocratique, s’effritent à mesure qu’approche l’échéance des élections européennes du 25 mai. L’UE, construite de bric et de broc et à la va comme j’te pousse,  est incapable d’apporter une position commune et claire à l’offensive de Vladimir Poutine pour tenter de déstabiliser l’est ukrainien après sa victoire en Crimée. L’UMP, pour sa part, se déchire publiquement à propos de cette même Europe, qui lui ressemble dans son inefficacité, son inorganisation, son absence de leader. Ce lundi matin, sur RTL, Bruno Lemaire a contredit François Baroin qui avait appelé, la veille, à une expression publique de Nicolas Sarkozy sur l’Ukraine et sur l’Europe : une péripétie supplémentaire dans une famille politique qui, de Laurent Wauquiez à Xavier Bertrand en passant par Henri Guaino, étale ses divergences et laisse apparaître ses manques de réflexions sur cette Union de plus en plus rejetée par la montée des "populismes" européens, qui ne sont que la prise de conscience des peuples de leur mise à l’écart par une oligarchie confortée par les juges de Strasbourg et les experts de Bruxelles. La panique se laisse voir un peu partout.

L’Europe, celle des nations et du libéralisme, est indispensable. Cependant, l’actuelle Union européenne, technocratie moralisatrice et despotique, indifférente aux peuples, aux cultures et aux frontières, ne mérite pas d’être reconduite en l’état. Une sanction électorale se profile contre ceux qui entendent maintenir, la gauche en tête, cette organisation vécue comme une contrainte par beaucoup de gens. D’autant que l’euro trop fort, dont tous les responsables s’inquiètent ces jours-ci, mériterait aussi un vrai débat sur la pérennité de la monnaie unique, hypothèse inabordable et sur laquelle j’avoue avoir une opinion fluctuante. Dans cette perspective électorale, Harlem Désir s’annonce d’ailleurs comme le fossoyeur du socialisme : après avoir co-conduit son parti à la raclée des municipales, l’ancien patron du PS, promu secrétaire d’Etat aux affaires européennes, ne pourra éviter la rouste des européennes. "On lui dit qu’il n’est pas compétent sur l’Europe, c’est faux !", a tenté de convaincre ce matin sur France Inter l’ancien ministre de l’Economie, Pierre Moscovici, dans une solidarité de perdants. Mais tout est fait pour laisser le FN prendre cette fois la première place.
Posted on 04/15/2014 9:09 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The belief that everyone can be persuaded by argument to behave well is, I suppose, a corollary of the notion that no man does wrong knowingly. The task of the moralist, then, is to get people to understand the true nature of their conduct, to educate them; and once this is done, the reprehensible conduct will cease by itself.

This is an optimistic theory, and like all optimism is unfounded. Men not only do wrong knowingly, but often do wrong because they know it is wrong. Of course, every false theory is an employment opportunity for someone. The truth might set you free, but it will also sometimes make you unemployed. And unemployment is more to be feared than is freedom to be welcomed.

Recently I attended our annual town meeting. The senior policeman in charge of our area was there to take public questions. He was very smooth, and might just as well have been a mildly evangelical vicar as a policeman. One of the townspeople asked him about periodical nuisance in the town, namely the descent upon it of hundreds of motorcyclists who gather garbed in black leather at a disgusting café a few miles out of town, and arrive like a swarm of African killer bees, their machines making a sound like angry hymenopterans of Brobdingnagian size.

Was it an offence to make such a noise, asked the townsman?

'No,' replied the vicar-policeman.

If he had left it at that, we should all have been satisfied with the knowledge that in order to do something about it, if we felt sufficiently moved to do anything at all, we should have to lobby parliament. However, the vicar-policeman (presumably his boss was a canon-policeman, or even a bishop-policeman) continued:

'We are working with the bikers to educate them about the noise they make. We send an officer to the café on the weekends when they meet there.'

This infuriated me. Talk about wasting police time! It was grossly disparaging of us to imagine that we should be impressed by such evident absurdity, and condescending to the bikers themselves to suppose that they were unaware that the revving of their engines made a noise fit to bring down the walls of our town.

They did not make the noise because they were unaware of it, they made the noise because they liked it. The pretence that ignorance was the heart of the problem (the vicar-policeman was far from stupid) gave his force an excuse to engage on pseudowork, so much easier and less wearing to perform than real work.

First published in Salisbury Review.    

Posted on 04/15/2014 9:02 AM by Theodore Dalrymple

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

He has hundreds of millions, or perhaps billions. But he expects attractive Western girls (he's using the usual maquereaux at modelling and casting agencies), living in Europe, to take his herd of womenfolkin tow  (and, very likely,when the occasion warrants, to attend to his own needs, but for that, possibly, he intends to pay extra).

Read about the Dubai sheikh, looking for 60 "personal assistants," here.

Posted on 04/15/2014 9:00 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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