Sunday, 26 February 2017
Bresson on Bresson: Interviews 1943-1983, New York Review Books, 2016
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by Shmuel Ben-Gad

Almost everyone, it seems, tends to view film as simply a variant of theatre, though different, of course, in that film makes it far easier to change settings and offer spectacle in terms of beautiful pictures, special effects, expressionistic camera work, and the like. The most important dissenter from this view is the French filmmaker Robert Bresson (1901-1999). His films won many awards, and he was inducted into the French Legion of Honor.

The first of his fourteen films was Affaires publiques (1934), a short surrealistic comedy. This was followed by a well-made, conventional film, Les Anges du peche (1943) about an order of nuns that tries to rehabilitate female prisoners, and the less conventional and even better made Les Dames du bois de Boulogne (1945) based upon an incident related in Diderot’s Jacques le fataliste (1945). He first attained his mature style (which film scholar James Monaco brilliantly characterizes as that of an “ascetic esthete”) in his next film, Diary of a Country Priest (1951).  Based upon the novel by Georges Bernanos, no other film, before or since, has so captured the intensity of a religious inner life.

The best way to get to know Bresson’s style, of course, is viewing the films. But the films are so very different from almost any others that it will help those interested in learning more about it to read Bresson’s own thoughts. His gnomic volume Notes sur le cinematograph. (The English translation has been released under three different titles:  Notes on Cinematography, Notes on the Cinematographer, and, most recently by New York Review Books, Notes on the Cimematograph.) In addition New York Review Books has also published Bresson on Bresson a selection of Bresson’s interviews edited by his wife Mylene. The interviews, in total, cover every individual film and also show Bresson expatiating on the elements of his style and the thoughts behind it.

Bresson used the bare minimum means to depict what he wanted to show. In Pickpocket (1959), for example, the central character’s sojourn in England is indicated by two shots and one brief voiceover. He eschewed expressionistic camera angles and movements. Most obviously and famously, Bresson also refused to allow acting. He believed acting was proper to the theatre, which depends on the presence of the live actors before an audience, but false to film, which does not have this means but instead uses images and sounds. What is required, Bresson maintained, is not a person acting but the unembellished image of a person.

Thus Bresson used non-actors, whom he called models. He rehearsed them repeatedly until they delivered their lines automatically, neither projecting nor suppressing emotion. He believed that the camera and tape recorder (which he calls in one of the interviews “sublime tools”), thus freed from the actors’ mask, could penetrate into the character of his models. This non-theatricality takes up much of the interviews. Bresson’s frustration with mainstream cinema (what he calls filmed theatre) is most evident in the interviews. He does not demand that such films cease being made, but thinks it unfortunate that the audience is not educated to appreciate film as an independent art form with its own methods.

The interviews in the book also deal with the other main element of his style: a rhythmic ordering of images and natural sounds so that images affect one another and are affected by, and affect, the natural sounds like colors in a painting. (Bresson earlier in life was a painter and photographer.) .

The interviews also indicate developments in Bresson. He at first rejected color because he thought it “externalizes” while his films seek to get at the inner essence of things. Later, in his last five films, he used color. He discusses this in these interviews, though no mention is made of his concomitant move away from fades to straight cuts, a move which also added power to his ellipses and made the films even more unified, The other major development that comes up in the interviews is his difficult, final eschewal of background music

Whether discussing the art of film, or his particular style, or his individual films, Bresson’s love of film and belief in its power. as well as his frustration (he was never able, for example, to make his film based upon part of the Biblical book of Genesis) comes through strongly in these interviews. The path Bresson followed, based upon his conviction regarding film’s uniqueness and unique capacities, was a brave and lonely one. His body of work, one of purity, interiority, and restrained intensity, enriches us immensely.  

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Shmuel Ben-Gad is a librarian at the George Washington University.

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Posted on 02/26/2017 1:26 PM by NER
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Sunday, 26 February 2017
Does Natalie Portman Have a Long Nose?
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 by Michael Curtis

Donald Trump is now Commander-in Chief in the U.S. and has begun issuing his commands. On February 21, 2017 with an explanation he issued one of them, "Antisemitism is horrible, and it's going to stop and has to stop." Though more well-intentioned than specific, his pronouncement will hearten all in the U.S. and Europe except the lunatic political fringe. Trump alluded to the disturbing fact that there had been bomb threats against 48 Jewish community centers in 26 states in January 2017,

Unfortunately, that fringe, psychopathic or not, has raised its ugly head in recent days in Britain, as well as in the U.S. In Britain, bewildering anti-Jewish statements bordering on psychosis have been made by a number of people including a man named Tony Greenstein, far leftist member, possibly Communist, of the British Labour Party, a prominent mouthpiece of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and purportedly son of a rabbi.

Greenstein was barred from the party in 2015, rejoined, and has been suspended pending an investigation into his behavior. What will that investigation make of his utterances that Zionism is a Jewish variant of antisemitism, that Zionism is a movement of the most reactionary section of the Jewish bourgeoisie, that Jews supported the Nazi Nuremberg laws, and that the State of Israel must be destroyed?

Political differences are one thing, but insanity and unremitting hatred and malicious, warped vitriolic behavior is another. For some time increasing numbers of members of the British Labour Party have made nauseating statements such as “Zio idiots,” and “Zionist scum,” and been reprimanded for obnoxious behavior and been the subject of ridicule. Because of the absurd utterances of members of the party before the 1987 parliamentary election, the mainstream press dubbed it "the loony Left."

Greenstein is almost the perfect personification of the mind-set of the New Left that emerged in Britain in the 1960s and has remained a troublesome factor in the party. Whatever the superficial differences of members of this Leftist group they hold in common two mantras: Zionism is a racist ideology, and Israel is an illegitimate and colonial state.

Leftist politics is topsy-turvy, using hate speech as a dominant form of communication. Zionism, the expression of the Jewish liberation movement has been turned by detractors into its exact opposite. The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) is called a Zionist propaganda organization, a "McCarthyist Zionist organization whose aim is to smear and libel opponents of Israel's apartheid regime. Greenstein, who still considers himself Jewish, believes that Zionism is a Jewish version of antisemitism.

In his valuable book The Left's Jewish Problem, the British sociologist Dave Rich has argued that, irrespective of the many problems with the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Greenstein is a symbol of the problem that the issue of antisemitism on the left of British politics is unlikely to go away unless drastic action is taken.  

Greenstein is only one example of absurdity within the Labour party. He justified the IRA plot to kill Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, arguing she was a military target. He visited Syria with funds supplied by the PLO. He is proud of his activism. In March 2010 he physically disrupted a concert by the Jerusalem Quartet at Wigman Hall in London, arguably the most prestigious setting for chamber music. He revealed not only that the Quartet were cultural ambassadors of “apartheid” Israel, but also that Mozart and Ravel, the main items on the program, had been for a long time agents of the Israeli Mossad.

Greenstein, if perhaps the most absurd in the leftist group, is not a lone voice. One minor but aspiring member of the party is Vicki Kirby who was promoted to be vice-chair of the Woking branch of the party, although she was suspended twice from the party. The first time, in 2014, she was suspended when she suggested in a number of posts on Twitter that Adolf Hitler might be a “Zionist God,” and that Jews had long noses. Her contribution to knowledge and political understanding is that Jews could be identified by long noses, and willingness to slaughter..Jews, she told the world, slaughter the oppressed, though apparently not through their noses. Pity for her theory that the great non-Jewish Jimmy Durante has the greatest snozzle of all.

Other of these biased leftists include two other women. Khadim Hussain, Labour Councillor and former Lord Mayor of Bradford, was suspended for a time from the party for preventing schools in her area teaching Holocaust studies. She denied six million “Zionists “ were killed. She and a Councillor in Kensington, London, Beinazir Lasharie, believe that ISIS is run by Israel, and that Jews and Zionists were behind 9/11.

The most notorious and highest placed person is Lady Tonge, a member of the House of Lords who was obliged to resign from her post as spokesperson of the Liberal Democratic party in the House for outrageous behavior.  

In February 2010 Tonge was removed as Liberal Democratic spokesperson in the Lords for health issues when she said the Israeli soldiers supporting relief efforts in Haiti had been involved in organ trafficking. Her malice extended beyond Israel. In a debate in the Lords in 2006 on Botswana, Tonge attacked the Bushmen of the Kalahari for trying to “stay in the Stone Age,” and having primitive technology. 

But her implicit antisemitism and violent animosity towards Israel is startling. Tonge said she would consider becoming a Palestinian suicide bomber if she were Palestinian. Tonge, who resigned from the Liberal Democratic whip in 2012 now sits in the Lords as an independent peer. She still holds that the Israel lobby has a disproportionate voice in Anglo-American foreign policy.

A particularly troubling part of the antisemitic and anti-Israeli campaign is the accusation, as if a universal phenomenon, that Jews helped the Nazi regime during the war. This charge is a reminder of the contentious affair of Rudolf Kastner who, like all Jews was caught in a tragic situation, was involved in  the dilemma of how to act when the Nazis marched into Budapest in 1944. Kastner was accused of sacrificing the lives of Jews in Budapest in 1944 by collaborating. Kastner had saved 1,684 people, taking them on a train in safety to Switzerland, but he was accused of an exchange with Adolf Eichmann at other times. The charge followed him to Israel where the judge at the trial concluded he had sold “his soul to the devil.” Apparently, Kastner had indeed collaborated and helped the Nazis by disseminating their disinformation to Jews. He was assassinated in Israel in March 1957.

Antisemitism is a poison that has been drunk by all too many. Is there a cure for this disease? Dr. Donald Trump and Dr. Theresa May, joined by sane personnel and political forces in all political parties, now have the opportunity to lead the research to find the antidote and act on it immediately.

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Posted on 02/26/2017 8:35 AM by Michael Curtis
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Sunday, 26 February 2017
The Deep State and the Creep State
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by G. Murphy Donovan

Regime change zealots are now working the home front.  Billy Kristol, erstwhile editor of white blight and right fright at the Weekly Standard, says that he would rather have the “deep state” than the Trump state. If you ever wondered why neo-conservatives are often confused with National Socialists, you might want to read Kristol’s polemics.

The deep state is “a body of people, typically influential members of government agencies or the military, believed to be involved in the secret manipulation or control of government policy.” To this definition we might add that the deep state also includes unelected and often arrogant defense and Intelligence agency apparatchiks and their contractor camp followers.

Think permanent federal sinecures. Think nanny state. Think revolving door. Think “non-partisan,” non-profit, untaxable think tanks. Think military/industrial complex. Think coup plotters. Think partisan shills who leak classified data to the Washington Post or New York Times on burner phones.

Think George Orwell.

Or don’t think at all, if your politics is Trump hate. Seditious, if not treasonous, federal bed wetters in Washington seem to straddle both political parties. In short, the deep state is actually the creep state.

Indeed, elected mules like Senator Charlie Schumer (D-NY) now openly endorse and convey deep state threats. In a recent appearance on the Rachael Maddow show (MSNBC), Schumer warned Trump not to take on the Intelligence Community as the IC has “six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.” Indeed.

The District of Columbia is a company town, an elitist political ghetto. Donald Trump may have swept the heartland in 2016, but a nomenclatura, right and left, still controls the nation’s capital. Indeed, the neo-con right with zealots like John McCain (R-NM) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is aligned with obstructionists like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, principals of the bi-coastal left. Trump hate is the glue that now binds much of the national media and the Washington establishment.

Prominent racist crackpots like congressman Maxine Waters (D-Ca) are already calling for impeachment with help from fake news conduits like CNN.

The deep state is a law unto itself. The political assassination of General Mike Flynn is testimony to the power of recidivism in Washington. Direct action, like the Flynn kill, is merely the opening shot across the White House bow.

The existential threat to reform inside the Beltway is passive aggression, legions of apparatchiks who are dug in for a long war. Federal agency drones believe they can outwait any elected or appointed official, all the while slow rolling any reforms to insure that Trump’s first term is his last term.

Entrenched party elites are energized by mixed motives: dump Trump, demonize Putin, appease Islamism, and defend the status quo. Race baiting, class warfare, and entitlements are part of the drill wherever they can be worked in. For the Beltway bigot; a white, rich male, indeed a successful chap like Trump is reason enough for obstruction and sedition.

The relentless hostility of DC elites is now underwritten, most notably, by the national security establishment: the Intelligence Community, the Department of Defense, and the Justice Department.

In another era, these institutions were presumed to be non-partisan or apolitical, but that day is long gone. And the Flynn classified leaks puts the lie to any deep state motives like patriotism. Intelligence leaks from the national security establishment are designed to undo the legitimate election of last November and torpedo any forthcoming policy initiatives.

If deep state establishment leakers are patriots, then Edward Snowden should be rehabilitated with honors. Indeed, knowing what we now know about Snowden’s motives, the post-9/11 behavior of Intelligence officials is the real danger to the rule of law and national security.

Snowden tried to alert taxpayers to the hazards of universal surveillance that compromise human to say nothing of American privacy rights. The Flynn affair is probative. If sensitive data can be misused, it will be misused. Where there are no boundaries for Intelligence or Justice officials, there are no civil rights for citizens who vote, work, and pay the bills.

The least we can do for now is promote Snowden from traitor to whistle blower. Surely his disclosures are more noble than the seditious, if not traitorous, attempts to undo the 2016 election and now a sitting president. For deep state operatives; the law, professional loyalty, and the Constitution are window dressings.

The first casualty in any deep state is democracy.

Snowden has the courage of his convictions. The same cannot be said of his critics in the Intelligence Community or the creeps who leak secrets to the Washington Post and CNN.  

Corruption within the national security establishment is now manifesting. The deep state is too big, too partisan, too unmanageable, too incestuous, too parochial, too well-funded, and, sadly, now dangerous by virtue of a mix of treachery and incompetence.  

Failure is more relevant than success when it comes to Intelligence performance and funding.

Recall that the Director of NSA was promoted after the 11 September 2001 Arab/Muslim attack on New York City. Recall that the director of CIA who authored the fake intelligence that underwrote three wars in Iraq has an anti-terror decoration created in his name. Recall that the CIA station chief in Benghazi who ran a gun running fiasco was retired with a pension and honors. Recall that none of the various Muslim small wars in the Ummah have been successfully resolved in thirty years. Recall the various US sponsored regime change fiascos, most recently Ukraine and Libya, that were botched and then left to fester.

American Intelligence has not had a big win since James Angleton got lost in the “wilderness of mirrors.”

Now the creep state aspires to execute yet another regime change, this time at home. In the interests of mercy, pray the Trump coup takes less time than the decade it took to find Osama bin Laden. Trump will not fall on his sword, but he, like Julius Caesar, may get the knife from a cabal of treacherous American Senators.

If Trump expects to survive, he cannot play defense. The Flynn episode is just business as usual in DC, another “gotcha” game where the usual suspects and the media conspire to flog Republicans like a piñata. If Trumpsters fold at the first whiff of grapeshot, they might as well take down the Jolly Roger and run up a diaper.

Short of a vertical chop or a wholescale purge, neither the Justice Department nor the Intelligence Community can be trusted to stop the hemorrhage of classified holdings or exterminate deep state rodents trying to gnaw through a restive nation.

Beyond irony, deep state alarms are even ringing on the left. Glen Greenwald, Edward Snowden collaborator, claims that deep state efforts to undermine Trump are a “prescription for destroying democracy.”

Indeed.

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Posted on 02/26/2017 7:46 AM by G. Murphy Donovan
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Sunday, 26 February 2017
Signs of Terminal Illness
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From forced marriage to alcoholic excess, Britain’s airports display the symptoms of cultural rot.

by Theodore Dalrymple

My wife recently sent me a photograph of a police notice in bright red on the inside of the women’s lavatory at the provincial English airport from which she was flying to Paris. It read:  “Don’t want to fly? Tell us why. Call the police or speak to a member of the staff.”

Around the edges of the notice were given various reasons why a woman might not want to fly: “Forced marriage, Female genital mutilation.”

So that no one could say that Muslims were being discriminated against, though the notice was obviously directed mainly at them, other reasons were given: “Modern day slavery, Domestic abuse, Human trafficking, Smuggling, Child sexual exploitation.”

I was all too familiar from my medical work with the problems young women of Pakistani origin sometimes experienced at the airport. They were on their way to Pakistan to marry (voluntarily or not) their betrothed first cousin in their ancestral village, often at the age of 15 or 16. Their parents would allow them possession of their passports only to go through immigration and for identification while boarding the aircraft. These girls knew that if they did not agree to marry their intended (though not intended by them), they would face an ascending scale of emotional blackmail, imprisonment, violence, torture, and even death.

Whether the notice was effective in preventing this appalling situation may be doubted. These young ladies were probably deprived of the use of their mobile phones and not allowed on their own into the lavatory.

Another airport notice draws attention to a different behavioral problem. An imitation departure-screen has a list of flights interspersed with red bands:

LADS HOLIDAY— CANCELLED—TOO DRUNK TO FLY

DREAM HOLIDAY—CANCELLED—TOO DRUNK TO FLY

HEN DO—CANCELLED—TOO DRUNK TO FLY

At the bottom of the notice it says:

KNOW YOUR LIMITS

DRINKING TO EXCESS COULD STOP YOU FLYING

I know of no other country in the world in which such a warning notice at an airport is necessary. It is certainly not unusual in British airports, especially provincial ones, to see rowdy men drinking pint after pint of beer at seven in the morning. There are said to be bars in Europe that display “No English” notices. One can’t blame them.

Returning home after their drunken routs abroad, they (and foreigners) are greeted with notices at immigration that abuse of or assaults on immigration officers are taken extremely seriously. Taxis from English provincial airports inform passengers that they will be charged a fee for cleaning up any vomit they leave behind.

Welcome to England.

First published in City Journal.

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Posted on 02/26/2017 5:57 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
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Saturday, 25 February 2017
Heidelberg pedestrians rammed by car; police shoot attacker
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From Deutsche Welle

Three pedestrians were injured when a man drove his car into pedestrians in a central square on Saturday evening. One of the three people who were hit was seriously injured, police spokeswoman Anne Baas said.

The knife-wielding driver attempted an escape. He was intercepted by a police patrol and shot by an officer following a brief standoff. He was seriously injured and brought to a local hospital. The man's motives and background are still unknown. 

In a interview with broadcaster n-tv, police spokesman Norbert Schaetzle said that the man was believed to be carrying a knife during his stand-off with police. Schaetzle did not confirm whether the man was mentally disturbed, but said that that the perpetrator likely acted alone and that a terrorist background seemed unlikely. 

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Posted on 02/25/2017 12:22 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Saturday, 25 February 2017
The Case against Obama
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The Crux of the Matter Is Not Nativity but Documentation

by David Solway

A Highly Problematic Dossier

It was obvious to me when I first began studying the phenomenally popular Obama early on in his heady career that there was something fishy about him. His words and promises and his very manner reminded me of Jonathan Swift’s broomstick, “set up to be a universal reformer and corrector of abuses, a remover of grievances, [who] raises a mighty dust where there was none before, sharing deeply all the while in the very same pollutions he pretends to sweep away.” As I delved further into Obama’s evasions, his platitudes, his origins, his friends and mentors, and the fact that all his important records were sealed, my discomfort deepened.

Let us consider. As has been reliably reported—and which should be common knowledge by now—Obama has refused to release his name change records, adoption records, records of his and his mother’s repatriation as U.S. citizens from Indonesia, baptism records, Noelani Elementary School records, Punahou School financial aid or school records, Occidental College financial aid records, Harvard Law School records, Columbia senior thesis, record with Illinois State Bar Association, files from his terms as an Illinois state senator, his law client list, medical records and passport records. He has also suppressed the marriage license of his parents. His backdated Selective Service form remains unexplained.

Nor was a valid explanation ever provided for his false Massachusetts Social Security Number, despite the ostensible “fact-checking” by Snopes and its shady investigator Kim Lacapria, actually an effort by the husband-and-wife anti-conservative site to exculpate Obama. (Odd that the Mikkelson couple, now divorced, should have chosen the name. The Snopes family, featured in William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha novel cycle, represents the dregs of humanity.)

When the White House released the long form digital copy of Obama’s birth certificate on April 27, 2011, I immediately suspected it to be in some way defective, an ostensible facsimile of an original that had never been publicly viewed. Former policy advisor to Margaret Thatcher Lord Christopher Moncton, after a minute analysis of the document (and the long list of surrounding incongruities in Obama’s career) and the application of probability theory, wryly hedged his bets, claiming in his affidavit, sworn under oath and penalty of perjury, that the odds of the birth certificate being genuine were “vanishingly different from zero,” that is, “on the order of 1 in 75 sextillion.”

Interestingly, in my own country of Canada, a digital copy like Obama’s would be rejected outright as not constituting proof of citizenship. The issue is not that a hypothetically photoshopped president was born outside the U.S.—although the possibility cannot be dismissed—only that the birth certificate was deeply problematic and quite conceivably fraudulent. The crux of the matter is not nativity but documentation.

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose Cold Case Posse investigated the birth certificate, recently said as much and more in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper: “I don’t care where [Obama] was born. I’m talking about a fraudulent government certificate, a birth certificate. That’s all I’m concerned with.” For years, almost no one wanted to touch the issue—too dangerous, too incendiary. Yet anyone who looks at the document without anterior convictions, or has it impartially analyzed, should know the facsimile released by the White House should not be taken at face value, not because of a few “glitches in some of the printing,” as Tapper alleged, but on far too many counts to dismiss.

The many discrepancies and anomalies found in the LFBC (Long Form Birth Certificate) released by the White House include a chain of custody entailing the distribution of separate “data layers” uncharacteristic of a scanned paper document (more on this later); unnaturally irregular letter, word, line spacing and alignment blemishes inconsistent with the manual typewriter on which the original would have been typed; the problematic “halo effect,” (a sign of manipulation); the absence of “chromatic aberration” that should appear on documents that have come into contact with a camera lens; the out-of-sequence certificate number; the appearance of the word “African” as a race designator twenty eight years before it came into official use; and various anomalous coding practices, among many other irregularities.

Arpaio—against whom, incidentally, the Obama DoJ threatened to file contempt of court charges for defying orders to keep the southern border open to illegals—began his  investigation with a null hypothesis, that is, the assumption that the document is authentic. But if the deviation is alarmingly large, the null hypothesis becomes unacceptable, as was the case with Arpaio’s examination of the digital facsimile.

Additionally, Arpaio’s lead investigator Mike Zullo has discovered nine points of forgery—i.e., of identity—between the Obama document and the birth certificate of a certain Johanna Ah’nee, “the source document from which the Obama LFBC was created.” Birth announcements in newspapers, a fact cited by Obama loyalists, mean nothing; they can be paid for and inserted by anyone who wishes. Crucially, the Hawaii Department of Health has not released Obama’s original 1961 birth records, which would have made the whole problem vanish on the instant—this in itself a smoking gun.

The typical argument put forward by Alex Koppelman in a December 2008 Salon article that releasing the original would only “stoke[ ] the fever of conspiracy mongers”—“Whatever can't be ignored can be twisted to fit into the narrative; every new disclosure of something that should, by rights, end the controversy only opens up new questions, identifies new plotters”—is so risibly disingenuous, so obvious a ploy to avoid confronting unwelcome information, that it scarcely requires rebuttal. To fail to produce evidence of authenticity merely because some might misuse it looks like a pretty slender pretext to cover lack of evidence. There are times when excuses serve only to raise suspicion.

The PDF Dilemma and other Implausibles

Many savants have attested that the computer generated birth certificate is indeed genuine. Most of these anti-skeptics prefer to focus on the so-called pdf layering problem rather than on the profusion of blemishes that mar the document. It seems to them to be the line of least resistance to buttress their claim of authenticity. But here, too, the issue is profoundly troubled.

Obama supporters have circled the wagons. According to FoxNews Politics, for example, specialist Jean-Claude Tremblay, referring to the oddly built-up, multi-layered nature of the document, “said the layers cited by doubters are evidence of the use of common, off-the-shelf scanning software—not evidence of a forgery.” Why a team of computer experts hired by the president of the United States would use off-the-shelf software is a question left unanswered. To take another instance from a myriad, Nathan Goulding writing in the National Review suggested “that whoever scanned the birth certificate in Hawaii forgot to turn off the OCR setting on the scanner.” This explanation is too thin to be acceptable. Luckily, Goulding later discovered in an update that the complexity of the operation creates the identical components found in the document. “Try it at home,” Goulding recommends, providing a recipe for the process.

The experts I’ve read and consulted are unanimous that this cannot account for the many levels of overlay. Former senior technical advisor to the Canadian government and a consummate professional in the field Ted Paull performed Goulding’s “home test” at my request and wrote up a report detailing the stage by stage operation, which concludes: “I would postulate a much more likely explanation, i.e., the long form had to be assembled in an editing program capable of creating separate layers. Once completed it was then saved as a pdf, with the layers intact, i.e. uncompressed into one layer, leaving it further editable as a pdf. I can verify that there is no doubt that the birth certificate was constructed in many separate layers, likely in Adobe Illustrator, which were not ‘compressed’ into one layer before being saved as a pdf. It’s a fake.”

Among a plethora of competent doubters, one commentator to the FoxNews article with obvious forensic skills writes: “I have pulled the long form pdf apart as well. There is evidence of overprint or transparency effects having been applied to the text layers. I placed a black vector layer between the background layer and the text layers. The text changes from black to green when black is placed behind it. This implies that an overprint or transparency effect was applied to the text images at some point. A scanner would not do this. Neither would optimization. Optimization or saving the file through preview could render the effect undiscernable through adobe illustrator tools like the transparency panel or the attributes panel, but when you place a black layer behind it, you can still see the effect. This also strongly suggests the file had been tampered with.” For reasons of space I have cited only two credible witnesses; the list is extensive.

The Plot Thickens

According to Jerome Corsi’s definitive and exhaustive account, Where’s the Birth Certificate?, Hawaii governor Neil Abercrombie has admitted that “a long-form, hospital-generated birth certificate for Barack Obama may not exist within the vital records maintained by the Hawaii Department of Health.” Naturally, Corsi has been pilloried as a crank, especially by those who cannot distinguish between an actual birth certificate and a digital copy. Far more damning, the search for the original was stymied by Obama’s first Executive Order (13489) on January 21, 2009. There can be only two, often reciprocal, reasons to sequester one’s papers: to hide what is there or to hide what isn’t. If anyone can furnish a third reason, I would appreciate being notified. Indeed, the case that something fugitive is going on is so open-and-shut only a real conspiracy of silence or a collective psychic lobotomy could explain ignoring it.

This lengthy scroll of gaps, incongruities, errors, discrepancies and oddities is truly inexcusable. It is not even understandable. Still, diehard liberals and timorous conservatives shrug off the obvious and ridicule those who point to a scantily-clothed emperor as fanatics. Such myopia is shocking. CNN’s po-faced Don Lemon asked how Trump would like being called a “fake president,” but, as they say, he got the wrong guy. For all we know, Obama may have been born in Mother’s Rest. That doesn’t change the near certainty that the birth certificate released by the White House is akin to Monopoly Money.

Pro forma, Obama lawyer Alexandra Hill stated in a New Jersey court (skip to the 34-45 minute mark in the embedded video) that the digital “image” is irrelevant to Obama’s placement on the ballot. This is very convenient. Additionally, Reed Hayes, who has served as an expert for Perkins Coie, the law firm that has defended Obama in eligibility cases, and who sits on the board of the Scientific Association of Forensic Examiners, has stated: “based on my observations and findings, it is clear that the Certificate of Live Birth I examined is not a scan of an original paper birth certificate, but a digitally manufactured document created by utilizing material from various sources.”

In an article titled “We Need a Law to Prevent Another President Obama,” Mark Hewitt critiques Obama’s eligibility for the office of the Presidency by focusing neither on the birth certificate controversy nor on the place of birth issue, but on the question of how the son of a Kenyan national could become President of the United States. He cogently argues that the Constitutional phrase “natural born citizen” means, as the Founders intended, “born of two American parents,” in order to avoid the dilemma of dual citizenship and split allegiance. This observation makes perfect sense. The President cannot owe loyalty to another country. Indeed, nothing could be more obvious, yet few ever assimilated what is palpably undeniable. Hewitt concludes, therefore, that under the auspices and provisions of Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, Obama plainly did not satisfy the eligibility requirements for the Presidency. The argument underscores the ambiguity of Obama’s qualifications for the highest office in the land.

All these shadows on Obama’s legitimacy, however, were swept aside by an ever-compliant media and studiously ignored by Congress, and those who brought attention to the scandal were duly mocked. The fear of media and punditocratic repercussions has had its effect.

The Confidence Man: His Masquerade

For eight years, we resembled the “sophomore” in Herman Melville’s last novel, fascinated by the confidence man’s siren appeal, “Could you now…by way of experiment, simply have confidence in me?” But unlike the infatuate, we were unable to “abruptly retire[ ] from the spot” and leave the charlatan “to wander away in the opposite direction.”

As I’ve noted, there is a heavy cost to be borne for questioning presidential authenticity if that president happens to be Barack Obama. Any other president, especially if he’s Donald Trump, is fair game. Obama, however, is an untouchable, and the penalty for doubting his status and integrity ranges from public derision to career suicide to criminal proceedings.

Lt. Colonel Terry Lakin should know. A decorated Army flight surgeon who questioned whether his deployment orders were legitimate on the grounds that his Commander-in-Chief’s birth certificate was not provably authentic, Lakin was court-martialed, manacled and shackled, imprisoned for six months, and drummed out of the Army without pay, pension and benefits. “What I do not understand,” he wrote in his book Officer’s Oath: Why My Vow to Defend the Constitution Demanded that I Sacrifice My Career, “is why Obama did not just come forward with his key documents and be done with it. Instead, he ordered all his important records to be kept under seal.” Lakin points out what we all know and as I mentioned above, namely that a digital scan is not an official document and would not be sufficient as evidence in court. He himself was required by deployment order to produce five copies of his birth certificate, “but the president did not need one to order my deployment. This was nuts.” What is more, to reiterate, even if the digital certificate were not a forgery, it would still be inadmissible as an official document.

Conservatives, Republicans and others do not want to press the matter for they are terrified of being derided by the media and the sanctimonious punditry as “birthers” or smeared as bigots and racists. Nor do they relish being accused of opening a Pandora’s Box of “evils,” igniting racial conflict and dividing the nation by bringing suit on so volatile an issue. But fear is not a morally justifiable reason for cowardice and the country is already more divided and racially fractured, thanks to Obama, than it has ever been in the modern era.

Many members of the legislative branch, both Democrats and Republicans, are doubtlessly aware that the birth certificate is almost certifiably a forgery—in fact, aside from the layering effect, the manifold disparities therein are more than enough to discredit it—and are cognizant of Obama’s problematic history and subliminal biography. But, like defending soccer players during a free kick, they are carefully protecting their privates. The matter will not conveniently go away; it will form a particularly infamous chapter in the chronicles of the nation and the stigma will remain for generations, unless some form of restitution is forthcoming. Those who have decided to let the matter go will be judged complicit. Is America so far gone that it cannot even begin to acknowledge two seismic political truths: that the Democratic Party, as Dinesh D’Souza has shown in documentary and book, is the greatest shakedown outfit in the history of the United States, and that Barack Obama may be its greatest con artist?

The Trouble with Barry

The trouble with Barry, like Hitchcock’s moribund Harry, is that he never seems to go away, constantly popping up at the most inopportune moments. The Washington Examiner would like to see Obama “go quietly into the night,” as no doubt many people would, to prevent “any post-presidential meddling.” But unlike most previous presidents, Obama has refused to leave quietly and intends to continue his fealty to Alinsky-style “community organizing” and to stirring up resistance to a Trump administration. There is no question of a period of grace or diminishment of vitriol; the “venerable American tradition” of the presidential honeymoon is not in the cards. One way or another, we are in for tempestuous times.

According to the New York Post, Obama has installed a “shadow government” with an army of more than 30,000 agitators whose purpose is “to sabotage the incoming administration.” “You’re going to see me early next year,” he told his troops post-election, “and we’re going to be in a position where we can start cooking up all kinds of great stuff.”  His Organization for Action (OFA) is swimming in cash and has over 250 offices across the country.

In a salient article for American Thinker, Shari Goodman asks why the Seditious Conspiracy Act is not invoked against the mutinous actions of George Soros who “has given away billions to 187 organizations dedicated to destroying the United States from within,” and who is bankrolling the Obama “resistance.” Similarly, I am asking why Obama has so far evaded impeachment. A responsible DoJ would open a file on Obama immediately, on multiple grounds of malfeasance. Of course, he would then become a martyr to his confederates in Party and Press and to his deluded minions. Better a martyr than an agent of destruction.

Failing to act on the “Obama file” would constitute an indelible stain on the American justice system, already deeply compromised under the corrupt stewardship of Obama’s lieutenants Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch. The reluctance to prosecute would amount to a signal dereliction of duty, a willingness to allow the judicial process to be hijacked by the very politicians and legislators sworn to uphold it. Technically, such negligence could itself be tantamount to a crime—call it reckless indifference, collusion or criminal facilitation.

No less critically, it is not only the justice system but the presidency itself that would be irrevocably damaged. “Years of lying presidents—Democrat Lyndon Johnson and Republican Richard Nixon, especially”—writes Thomas Sowell in his farewell syndicated column, “destroyed not only their own credibility, but the credibility which the office itself confers.” A decent president, a man with patriotic feelings, a penchant for decisive action and a sense of commitment to the task of salvaging the republic, could go some way toward restoring confidence in the office of the presidency for mainstream America—but it would first need to be purged of the desecration and befoulment that are Obama’s true legacy. The impeachment of Obama would give proof through the night of Obama’s vexed and destructive presidency that “our flag was still there.” There should be no reluctance to pursue a manifestly legitimate issue involving a former president who has lied consistently during his time in office and floated an unconvincing birth certificate. There should be no falling off in undertaking a just agenda.

We may also consider yet another option, to wit, the issuing of an executive order (used so freely by Obama, thus setting a precedent) to compel Hawaiian officials to release the putatively original document, which should settle the matter definitively. But I have a hunch, as Governor Abercrombie has suggested, that the matter may already have been decided.

At the same time, all of Obama’s sealed records should be made available to the public in the national interest. This might be done under the auspices of national security, in order to ensure that such a miscarriage of political justice never occur again. Obama is part of the swamp that must be drained, perhaps the deepest part, and must be called out for his serial deceptions. Yet Obama is not totally responsible for his miscreant conduct. Americans let him get away with it, the political version of busted coverage. The question is whether Americans will continue letting him get away with it.

The issue is too vastly significant to be passed over. This is a case in which justice must be conspicuously served, despite the consensual depravity of the left and the progressivist hordes that care not a whit for justice, decency and the American Constitution. For it is not enough to say “In God we trust”; we must also trust His deputies and emissaries.

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Posted on 02/25/2017 9:12 AM by David Solway
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Saturday, 25 February 2017
General McMaster and That “Perverted Interpretation of Religion Used To Justify Violence”
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by Hugh Fitzgerald

President Trump has chosen Lt. General William McMaster as his new National Security Adviser. As a three-star general, McMaster’s appointment will require Senate confirmation, and one hopes that whatever else the Senators ask him, they make sure to examine his understanding of Islamic terrorism. For surely this is the greatest threat not only to American security, but to that of the entire West.

General McMaster has pronounced on the subject of Islamic terrorism twice in the last year, in almost identical language, and what he said suggests that he has missed something important about the ideology of Islam.

In May 2016, in a speech he delivered on “Harbingers of Future War: Implications for the Army” at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, General McMaster referred to “groups like ISIL, who use this irreligious ideology, this perverted interpretation of religion to justify violence. They depend on ignorance, and the ability to recruit vulnerable segments of populations to foment hatred, and then use that hatred to justify violence against innocents.

Apparently well-satisfied with his original formulation, General McMaster repeated it, almost verbatim, in a speech to the Center for Leadership and Excellence at the Virginia Military Institute on November 21, 2016, ringingly declaring that “we will defeat today’s enemies, including terrorist organizations like Daesh, who cynically use a perverted interpretation of religion to incite hatred and justify horrific cruelty against innocents.”

This description of Daesh – the Islamic State – as “cynically using a perverted interpretation of religion to incite hatred and justify horrific cruelty against innocents” is most peculiar. For whatever else you can say about Daesh or other Muslim terrorists, the adverb “cynically” is the least applicable to their actions. Al-Baghdadi, Al-Awlaki, Bin Laden, Al-Zawahiri, Nidal Hasan. Omar Mateen, Adam Gadahn, Aafia Siddiqui, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, and all the other stars in the terrorist firmament have not been cynics, but rather, the reverse — the truest of true believers. And what they truly believe(d) in is what Islam’s texts inculcate, including the view of non-Muslims as cosmically ungrateful (in not accepting the message of Muhammad), their “vileness” Qur’anically established (8:55; 98:6), their continued insubmissive existence as kuffar seen as a colossal affront to Islam.

Muslims have a duty to spread Islam by means of Jihad, which overwhelmingly means the use of violence, though it can be conducted through other means – as, for example, Jihad of the Pen/Tongue, to spread Islam’s message. Today, along with violence, a new instrument – demographic conquest – is being used to overwhelm the Infidels and spread Islam. “New” because never before in history have millions of people dedicated to the longterm destruction of others been allowed by those others to settle deep behind what ought be regarded as enemy lines, as Muslims have now been allowed to settle throughout Western Europe. If Muslim numbers do surpass those of the indigenous non-Muslims, Muslims will be in a position to offer non-Muslims a choice: either to convert to Islam, or be killed, or to accept the permanent status of dhimmi, with all of its attendant disabilities. And there is no end to Jihad; it should continue until the whole world is ultimately subjected to Islam. There is nothing – pace General McMaster — “cynical” about any of this.

As for those phrases repeated by General McMaster about this “perverse interpretation of religion [used] to justify violence” which becomes, in his longer variant, a “perverted interpretation of religion to incite hatred and justify horrific cruelty against innocents,” the only “perverted interpretation” of Islam is, I’m afraid, that of General McMaster himself, who appears certain that Islam properly understood cannot possibly inculcate anything that might “incite hatred and justify violence” against non-Muslims. I’m not sure which would be worse: that he may think he must pretend to believe this nonsense in order to avoid being accused of Islamophobia and to safely rise high in the Washington ranks, or that he really believes it.

Perhaps during his confirmation hearings, some senators will press him on this, trying to find out what McMaster thinks Islam, mainstream Islam, teaches and how it differs from that “perverse interpretation” to which he keeps referring. The exchange ought to be instructive. For example, the senators might ask him, while the reporters are present and the cameras whirring, what he remembers from the Qur’an on the subject of Infidels. What, a probing Senator might ask him, under the guise of refreshing his memory, does he make of Qur’an 98:6, describing Infidels as “the vilest of creatures”? Would he regard it as a “perverse interpretation” of that verse to think it inculcates hatred toward non-Muslims, or isn’t it in fact clear in its declaration of such hatred, and should he not be willing to recognize that this is a perfectly straightforward, if disturbing statement, with no “perverse interpretation” necessary?

Or take the famous Verse of the Sword, Qur’an 9:5: “When the sacred months are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and render the alms levy, allow them to go their way. God is forgiving and merciful.” What “perverse interpretation” of this pellucid call to violent Jihad is needed to make this verse “incite hatred”? It’s dripping with murderous hatred already. The Senators could continue to quote from the more than one hundred Jihad verses in the Qur’an or stories from the Hadith, that is, verses that exhort the killing of Infidels. Or they might read out, and ask for General McMaster to comment on, the description of the mass killings of the 600-900 bound prisoners of the Banu Qurayza, by Muhammad and his followers, or the accounts of the pleasure Muhammad (“al-insan al-kamil,” the Perfect Man, and “uswa hasana,” the Model of Conduct) took in learning of the murders of those who mocked him (Asma bint Marwan, Abu Afak), or the descriptions of the many military campaigns he took part in not only against his sworn enemies, but simply against those who, like the inoffensive Jewish farmers of the Khaybar Oasis, were known to be prosperous. For the Khaybar farmers had not been fighting against Muhammad; they were a target for this covetous warlord simply because they were both well-off and ill-defended. The Khaybar attack gives the lie to the Muslim claim that Muhammad only fought defensive wars. Muhammad and his men despoiled the Khaybar farmers, who had done nothing against them, of both their property and their women; the loot was enough of a lure. Or was this aggressiveness all a matter of Muhammad’s “perverse interpretation” of Islam?

It would be perfectly appropriate for the Senators to ask General McMaster what “perverse interpretation” of Islam he thinks the Islamic State or Al-Qaeda labor under, to explain exactly where the terrorists’ interpretation of Islam distorts or veers away from the basic tenets of Islam, as conveyed by any mainstream madrasa’s lessons, or any orthodox imam’s sermons?

General McMaster refers to “groups like ISIL, who use this irreligious ideology” and whose members “depend on ignorance, and the ability to recruit vulnerable segments of populations to foment hatred.” Again he should be asked, what is the “ignorance” that members of the Islamic State depend on to obtain recruits? Is General McMaster suggesting that these potential recruits are “ignorant” of the real meaning of Islam – the peace and tolerance and convivencia about which the small army of apologists (John Esposito, Pope Francis, Karen Armstrong, Barack Obama, Reza Aslan, Omid Safi, and so many others) constantly prate? Is General McMaster quite convinced that it is “ignorance” of Islam that helps “groups like ISIL [ISIS]”? How is it that so many “ignorant” Muslims could manage to remain unaware of Islam’s pacific essence, and thus be easily inveigled into believing the “perverse interpretation” of the faith, as something violent, hate-filled, cruel, that is the very opposite of what, in the General’s view, is the essence of Islam? Is this what General McMaster purports to believe? Isn’t it, rather, that those who join ISIS or Al-Qaeda are not ignorant at all, but know perfectly well what the texts of Islam inculcate, and rightly understand the meaning of Islam as a warlike doctrine of conquest and subjugation? And aren’t they quick to offer textual support from the Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira, for their every act of terror? And hasn’t Islam meant conquest through violence, and subjugation, of many different kinds of Infidels, over many different lands, for the past 1400 years?

Many of the senators questioning General McMaster will prefer not to press these points. Most Democrats will agree with his pollyannish remarks on Islam. Most Republicans may simply wish to defer to the general as a Trump appointee, wrongly assuming that he must, therefore, be “tough” on Islam. Few senators will have the stomach to discuss Islam truthfully in public, knowing they will then have to endure the usual idiotic charges of bigotry and “Islamophobia” from those whose minds are made up, and who do not want to be confused with facts. But it would take only a handful of senators, possibly from both parties, offering piercing questions, to strike a blow for common sense and our common security. Ideally, a few of them will choose to read aloud Qur’anic verses or stories from the Hadith that inculcate hatred of, and violence toward, Infidels. The General should be asked what exactly those recruited by terrorists are ignorant of, and why he considers them, as a result, more “vulnerable” to the siren song of the Al-Baghdadis and Bin Ladens. Does he think these recruits are less educated, or more impoverished, and because of that easier to inveigle into terrorism? The data suggests otherwise. Many studies have concluded that Islamic terrorists are both better off economically and better educated than the average Muslim.

If they are particularly “vulnerable” to those texts that preach violent Jihad, this means not that they are “ignorant” and susceptible to accept a “perverse interpretation” of the faith, but that they are prepared to take Islam to heart, not shirking their duty to engage in violent Jihad (or to “strike terror”), but acting upon what Islam demands of its followers; they are having their Islam straight up, as determined Jihadists, and not on the rocks of self-interested calculation that might make some hesitate to sacrifice themselves for Islam. It’s hard to understand what General McMaster means by his use of the word “ignorance” in reference to these recruits. Is he suggesting that their knowledge of Islam is incomplete, and that if they were to learn more, they would of course come to realize that only a “perverse interpretation” of Islam would lead to violence? Does he believe that his understanding of Islam is superior to that of Al-Baghdadi or Bin Laden? After being confronted in those hearings with those 100-plus Jihad verses, and many other verses, too, that teach contempt for the Infidels, those that characterize them as the “vilest of creatures” and instruct Muslims not to take Christians and Jews as friends, “for they are friends only with each other,” would General McMaster still maintain his rosy view of Islam? It is not those more ignorant of Islam who are inveigled by terrorist masters but, rather, those who, becoming ever more devout, study the texts closely, take to heart the endless litany of hatred toward Infidels, feel keenly the duty of Jihad, and become terrorists fully conscious of what they are doing. We would all prefer to believe – it would be such a great relief – that General McMaster is right, and that Islamic terrorism is a result of a “perverse interpretation” of Islam, one having no relation to the “real” Islam. How comforting it would be to believe that Muslim terrorist masters “depend on ignorance” (of the real, peaceful Islam) – how comforting, and how false.

Perhaps, made aware of comments critical of his knowledge of Islam, such as these you are reading, or here, General McMaster might give himself, by way of preparation for his confirmation hearings, a short course in Islam that would disabuse him of his hitherto complacent understanding. He could then simply tell the sympathetic senators that he has had occasion to study both Islamic texts and Islamic terrorism more fully, and based on that study, wishes to revise his previous statements, made last year, so that they would read something like this: “The many Islamic terrorist groups, such as the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah, and many other groups and groupuscules, are able to recruit Muslims using an interpretation of Islam that is not necessarily accepted by all but is certainly accepted by a great many – far too many – Muslims, and candor compels me to admit, following a re-examination of the Qur’an and other Islamic texts, that this version of Islam should be considered not aberrant but mainstream.”

And then he might add: “It is up to us to figure out how best we can help those born into Islam, without any choice in the matter, who recognize those troublesome aspects of their faith that are inimical to real peace and real tolerance, and for which they would like to find a solution, if such is possible.” An unflinching statement like that, from General McMaster, despite the subsequent howls of protest by CAIR and the Southern Poverty Law Center, would be enough – would be more than enough – to clear a good many minds of cant.

First published in Jihad Watch.

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Posted on 02/25/2017 7:32 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 25 February 2017
London terror arrests: Met charges five teenagers
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From the BBC and the London Evening Standard

The five males, aged between 15 and 19, were arrested on Monday after a "proactive" operation by the Met's counter-terrorism unit. .. suspicion of planning to flee Britain to fight for Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.  The Met’s counter terror detectives are investigating alleged plans by the teenagers, four of whom are schoolchildren, to travel to join the jihadist terror group after communicating with each other online.
Ahmedeltigani Alsyed, 19, from Hounslow, is the only suspect who can be legally named.

Four of the five are charged with preparation of terrorist acts, illegal under the 2006 Terrorism Act. The charges are:

  • A 17-year-old from Merton charged with preparation of terrorist acts and collection of information.
  • A 16-year-old from Lambeth charged with preparation of terrorist acts.
  • A 17-year-old from Hounslow charged with preparation of terrorist acts and dissemination of terrorist publications.
  • A 15-year-old from Waltham Forest charged with collection of information and two counts of dissemination of terrorist publications.
  • Ahmedeltigani Alsyed, 19 from Hounslow, charged with preparation of terrorist acts and collection of information

They are due to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 25 February.

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Posted on 02/25/2017 3:49 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Saturday, 25 February 2017
Muslim BBC boss who put an Islamic State backer on a reality show is rewarded with a promotion as she becomes head of religious TV
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From the Daily Mail

The executive who put a terror sympathiser on TV now heads BBC religious programming on screen. 

Fatima Salaria provoked uproar by giving Anthony Small a platform on Muslims Like Us, a reality-style show. The convicted fraudster and former boxing champion, now known as Abdul Haqq, was a member of hate preacher Anjem Choudary’s inner circle.He had previously expressed support for Islamic State but was cleared last year of trying to join the terror group.

Mrs Salaria, who is a Muslim, argued in December that it was important to hear ‘authentic voices from a range of backgrounds’ so viewers could ‘gain fresh insights and not just have their prejudices confirmed’. Since then she has been quietly named commissioning editor for ethics and religion. This puts her in charge of all the BBC’s religious content on TV, including Songs of Praise and An Island Parish.

It is the second time the BBC has put a Muslim in charge of religious television programming.

Yesterday, Professor Anthony Glees, of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies, said: ‘If a BBC executive makes a programme that’s notorious and then the BBC promotes them, it tells me that the BBC has in that area lost its moral compass.

‘People will obviously think that this lady is more sympathetic to extremism and was trying to mainstream it in Muslims Like Us..."

Before Mrs Salaria commissioned Muslims Like Us she worked on a series of programmes about radicalisation, including one called Britain’s Jihadi Brides. She has also argued on public platforms that the BBC needs to give more of a voice to Muslims.

She said last year: ‘We need more people like me to stand up and say: “This is our community and this is how we want these programmes to be made.”’

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Posted on 02/25/2017 2:49 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Friday, 24 February 2017
Parliament can’t simply demand people feel good about Islam
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by Conrad Black


Liberal MP Iqra Khalid is congratulated by colleagues as she speaks about her anti-Islamophobia motion on Feb. 15, 2017.

There are several problems with the House of Commons private members’ motion 103 on “systemic racism and religious discrimination.” It is based on the assertion that there is a “need to quell” an “increasing public climate of hate and fear” and, implicitly, that the Parliament of Canada has the ability to “quell” it. I believe all of these premises are mistaken. I don’t believe that any such climate as the MP who presented the motion, Iqra Khalid (Liberal, Mississauga-Erin Mills) believes, exists. One of the greatest sociological changes in this country in my now rather lengthy recollection is the very pronounced reduction in racial, sectarian, philosophical, gender, and sex-orientation prejudice. Vast numbers of immigrants from all over the world have generally been very whole-heartedly received in Canada and their collective contribution to the maturation and enrichment of the country is almost universally acknowledged. I know of no other country, except possibly Australia, that has accepted such comparatively large numbers of people from the most varied countries of origin so equably. 

There is some fear generated by racial violence and several murders in Canada in recent years involving Muslims, as perpetrators or victims. But it is not an irrational fear, and doesn’t afflict the whole system, if the system referred to is more broadly based than small and furtive groups of organized bigots. Nor is it clear to me that Parliament has any ability or right to affect whatever level of fear and hate may exist. Ms. Khalid proposes that this objective be tackled by condemning “Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination … (by taking) note of House of Commons petition e-411,” and by requesting a study from the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. The principal religious discrimination in Canada is that the almost universal official attitude of atheism effectively considers any reference to God as discriminatory against non-believers and a violation of the absurdly over-worked desire for separation of church and state. That separation is generally considered to be violated by any reference to the existence of religious belief, apart from charitable platitudes. Indeed Islam is almost the only religion in Canada that is not the subject of at least tepid official disdain.

The petition e-411 referred to was advanced by the president of the Canadian Muslim Forum, Samer Majzoub, in 2016, and credits Islam with a large contribution “to the positive development of human civilization,” claims that the number of Islamic terrorists is “infinitesimally small,” and is unrepresentative of the world Muslim population, and asks that all Canadians recognize that and condemn Islamophobia. The Standing Committee’s study, under Ms. Khalid’s motion, is to develop a “whole-of-government approach” to fighting the alleged “systemic racism and religious discrimination … while ensuring a community-centred focus with a holistic response through evidence-based policy-making.” It is also charged to “collect data to contextualize hate crime reports and to conduct needs assessments for impacted communities.” This choice of words gets to the edge of incomprehensible bureau-speak, but essentially seems to wish to recruit every employee of the federal government to a role of crusading against any differentiation or even recognition of racial or religious individuality and seeks deep background and remedial recommendations for all reports of hate crimes anywhere in the country.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

The motion proclaims the existence of a threat to civil society that is tremendously exaggerated, asking the federal government to launch a total war on what is a very scattered and largely undefinable phenomenon, and asking for mountains of anecdotal opinion from all those who can formulate a claim that they have been disparaged or mistreated because of their race or religion, or have observed this treatment of others. The fact is that it is up to the Muslim leaders in the world, including some in Canada, to be a good deal less ambiguous about and apologetic for the conduct of Islamic extremists, though Mr. Majzoub specifically condemns them. Ms. Khalid’s motion urges the government “to better reflect the enshrined rights and freedoms in the Constitution Acts, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” Those rights include the liberty of anybody to hold and express negative views about any religious denomination or ethnic group or individual as long as they are not inciting hatred, which invites premature recourse to the kangaroo courts of the Human Rights Commissions. It is of the nature of those inquisition chambers that retroactive mind-reading and imputation of guilty motives routinely trespass on individual rights of freedom of expression.

The principal role in strengthening the prestige of the Muslim world will have to be played by the secular and clerical leaders of Islam to enable the other four-fifths of the world to distinguish more easily between the violent fanatics and their fellow travellers and the reasonable majority of Muslims, and to discourage and punish acts of criminal violence against non-Muslim minorities in their midst. The Coptic minority in Egypt, much larger than the Muslim minority in any Western country, and the Christians in Syria and Iraq, have been treated with disgusting brutality and it has scarcely elicited an audible reproof from the civil and ecclesiastical leaders of Islam (or of Western governments, except the Vatican).

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin TangMinister of Canadian Heritage Melanie Joly rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 in Ottawa.

Of course, I agree that Islamophobia and religious and racial discrimination generally are contemptible, but they are usually not crimes, and the reasonable Muslim majority can scarcely be surprised at a tendency to regard large swaths of Islam with suspicion, when the Muslim leadership is almost mute about the mistreatment of Christian and Jewish communities in Muslim countries, and shriek like banshees at any suggestion that they are being assimilated to Islamic terrorists when their own efforts to restrain or suppress Islamist terror is so frequently sporadic and ineffectual.

I get around fairly well and I have heard nothing in this country from anyone that has been as abusive as some of the letters and emails to this newspaper two years ago when I wrote that advocates of the existence of a divine intelligence are generally successful in debates with famous atheists. I did not state any religious views of my own (though it is no secret that I am a Christian) and was pilloried by many as a superstitious idiot. But I didn’t petition Parliament or inflict myself on a Human Rights Commission. There are serious limits to what Parliament or government can do in a free country about people’s opinions. The freedoms Ms. Khalid cites include the right to think and speak negatively about other people and groups. Parliament cannot and should not aspire to turn the country into a judgment-free zone, a vast Pleasantville. Democracy is self-government and that cannot occur without the right of everyone to say and believe what they want, as long as it is not seditious, defamatory, or an incitement to illegal behavior.

Getting further into the area of soliciting denunciations of people because of offensive things they have said, and trying to discourage obnoxious or sociopathic or even hateful opinions, will not eliminate them and is apt to compromise democracy rather than strengthen it. I do not doubt the virtue of Ms. Khalid and Mr. Majzoub’s motives, but it is impossible to increase the respect in which Islam is held by simply demanding it. Only Muslims can attract increased collective admiration from non-Muslims, and they will not do that by trying to infringe the freedom of expression of everyone else and by indulging their co-religionists who regularly and in large numbers revile the rest of us as infidels. Christianity is 600 years senior to Islam and has 600 million more adherents, and, for all its historic failings, a much less violent history. And Christians generally regard Islam with more respect than they receive back from Muslims. The numbers of extremists who lurk and fester among the reasonable and civilized Muslims may be “infinitesimally small” and I hope they are, but they have killed many thousands of innocent people in terrorist acts in almost every Western country over the last 20 years.

The Islamic leaders are not remotely doing all they can to reassure the world, including the people of this country, of the tolerant spirit of the Muslim majority. Not one per cent of Canadians has any problem with Muslims and anyone else having and practicing their religion and cultural traditions, as long as they are not an affront to the laws of this country. Islamophobia, in the sense of a visceral dislike of everyone who is a Muslim, is “infinitesimally small” in this country. But those who seek greater respect for Islam have to earn it, not just require it from Parliament, which has no jurisdiction to confect or confer it.   

Note: I apologize to Rick Peterson, Conservative leadership candidate, for omitting him from the list of bilingual contenders last week. I have now met him and found him a strong (and bilingual) candidate. I have also had representations on behalf of other candidates, and will review the candidates in early April. My point remains that a unilingual leader is unlikely to win a general election against the bilingual Justin Trudeau. I also meant to refer to the traditional success of the Liberals in out-bidding the Conservatives for the support of third parties and not just the CCF-NDP, and apologize for that confusion also.

First published in the National Post.

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Posted on 02/24/2017 12:41 PM by Conrad Black
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Friday, 24 February 2017
Our Brazenly Seditious Media
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by David P. Gontar

It is hardly an exaggeration to observe that the exclusive focus of the American media these days is the new President and his alleged foibles. Substantive matters like law, national policy, war, trade, immigration and economic development are taken up, if at all, only to the extent that they can be bundled as brickbats to hurl at the President. In and of themselves these issues are ignored. For example, Mr. Trump recently directed our attention to the spike in the US murder rate, which he characterized as the highest in 47 years. Instead of reflecting on the problem of violence in our homes and on our streets, and considering ways to control such misbehavior, reporters leaped to fuss obsessively over Mr. Trump's statistics. Evidently what is important to those who fashion public opinion is not the serious challenges we face as a people, but whether in his remarks on public safety our leader may have been arithmetically imprecise, as though a presidential speech were a classroom lecture.

It doesn't concern CNN, NBC, CBS and ABC, et al., that today Chicago is as much a slaughterhouse of human beings as it is of hogs and cattle. What gets their attention is that the President's numbers are a tad askew. But in The Economist of 2/7/17 we read that "Over the past two years America has become more murderous. After steadily falling for a quarter-century, the national homicide rate jumped by 11 percent." The obsession of the media with the new President blinds them to dangerous social realities.  

The daily torrent of quibbles and accusations against Mr. Trump amounts to nothing less than a full scale campaign designed to discredit and undermine the present administration, and it has the effect of encouraging those in high and low places to commit treasonous deeds. In fact, it is fairly admitted by the press that this is what it's all about, and well does it deserve the title "enemy of the people." There is unfolding before our very eyes the grossest instance of de facto sedition in modern history. Make no mistake about it: our media are engaged in a vast criminal enterprise directly proscribed by 18 USC 2384, 2385. The whole lot of those so employed should be arrested, tried and delivered to prison. Let us commend these acts and enactments to the Attorney General for his immediate review.

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Posted on 02/24/2017 5:26 AM by David P. Gontar
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Friday, 24 February 2017
The Regulation Law and Peace in the Middle East
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by Michael Curtis

Critics of Israel persist in the contention that the existence of Israeli settlements is a core, even the main, impediment to peace and to a two state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Once again in the UN Security Council Resolution 2334 of December 23, 2016 which was passed by a vote of 14-0 with the U.S. abstaining and therefore allowing it to pass, the settlements were held to be illegal.  They have been held innumerable times, though incorrectly, in international forums to be violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 49, and The Hague Convention of 1907.

Ignoring the refusal of Palestinians to enter into peace negotiations from 1949 to the present, and their provocative proclamations to exterminate the State of Israel, international declaration declare the settlements to be the obstacle to peace, as well contrary to international law.

With the passage of an Israeli law on Monday, February 6, 2017, there is an opportunity to examine the complicated problem of the settlements in objective fashion. On that day the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, by a vote of 60 to 52 passed the Regulation Law, Hok Hahasdara, sponsored by the Jewish Home Party, the religious nationalist party, led by Naftali Bennett and generally regarded as right wing, and by some members of the Likud Party.

The controversial Regulation Law appears to break the traditional official attitude to the settlements built in the disputed territories. Since the settlements began after the 1967 Six Day War the numbers have expanded. Today, there are 121 officially recognized Israeli settlements containing 400,000 settlers in the West Bank, and 375,000 in east Jerusalem. Under both Labor and Likud governments there was agreement that settlements were built on state or public land, and largely for reasons of security, not on private land, with some exceptions.

There were however unauthorized settlements, built for a variety of reasons, religious, nationalistic, and economic. At once problems arose regarding both sets of settlements. One was that some private land, later claimed to be Palestinian owned, was unregistered according to Ottoman land laws, and therefore the ownership was uncertain .Another was that genuine mapping mistakes were made by Israeli authorities. A third was deliberate avoidance since the Oslo Accords of the rules regarding settlements for religious and economic reasons.

The Israeli Supreme Court (High Court) has approved settlements on land that is publicly owned. It has allowed expropriation of privately owned Palestinian land for security purposes, or for building roads. It did not allow Israeli expropriation of privately owned Palestinian land in order that a settlement be established.

The context for the Regulation Law has to be seen in the events of the Amona issue. In that city, a hilltop near Mount Baal Hatzor the highest peak in the West Bank, 40 Jewish families lived since the 1990s as unauthorized settlers. Amona was the largest of the more than 100 unauthorized outposts built in the West Bank, but tolerated by the governments to avoid internal political crises that might bring down the fragile political coalitions.

In 2006 Israeli police demolished a number of homes in Amona causing a number of injuries, but other homes remained. Amona took on symbolic significance  as representative of the settlement movement. The Israeli High Court ruled in 2014 that the homes were built on private Palestinian land and must be demobilized. After some initial governmental hesitation, Israel forces took down the water and electric infrastructure before demolishing the homes of Amona. The settlers, who were joined by outside protestors, were evacuated from the outpost, causing considerable injuries but no fatalities.

The Regulation Law is relevant to and may be the response to those events. Regulation of the housing units in the settlements is thought necessary because of the possibility of violence. The Law retroactively allows residents of about 4,000 housing units in outposts and settlements built on privately owned land in the West Bank the right to live there, provided the settlers did not know the land was privately owned and the landowner is compensated..

According to one calculation the Regulation Act might mean legalizing 55 outposts now considered to be in violation of Israeli law, including 797 housing units and 3,000 dunams of Palestinian private owned land. It would also allow for the legalization of more than 3,000 housing units in established settlements, and for expropriating  5,000 dunams of private land.

The problem arises that Israeli law is being applied to the disputed territories where Israel  does not have sovereignty. Under the Oslo II Accords of 1995, the West Bank was divided into three areas, A, B, C. The last is under Israeli administration, and has 400,000 Israeli inhabitants. Israel may have claims to the area, the disputed territories, but they are not under Israeli sovereignty.

A number of problems arise. First is whether the Regulation Act can be considered legal. This problem is akin to that of the concept of “adverse possession,” coming from Roman law and the Napoleonic code. This common law concept, that has had a role in the history of English land and property law, as well as in the US, is relevant to occupation of land belonging to another person, and denotes a way of obtaining title to land through use.

Already there are strong differences of opinion, in which legal issues and political objectives intertwine, within Israel itself as well as outside.

The Israeli Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, called the Law a breach of local and international law, unconstitutional,  though Israel does not yet have a written constitution, and refuses to defend it before the Supreme  court .Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog regards it as national suicide. Indeed, as some argue, the Supreme Court will strike it down if it hears a case. Other commentators, and politicians, fear Israel may be brought to the ICC, International Criminal Court.

The most controversial political issue is whether the Law regulating property is in essence an unprecedented and troubling step toward Israeli annexation of West Bank territory and sovereignty over it. The cry is that the Law crosses a red line

The Supreme Court has ruled that Israel is present in the West Bank under the international law of belligerent occupation based on military need of security, rather than for political reasons.It holds that settlements can exist on public or state land, and that privately owned land can be used for security or public purposes. But the Supreme Court has not previously allowed Israel to use privately owned Palestine land to establish a settlement, except in an unusual situation.

Do the settlement constitute an obstacle to peace? The facts illustrate the reality. Following the 1979 Israeli-Egypian peace treaty, Israel evacuated 18 settlements in the Sinai Peninsula and 21 in the Gaza Strip. No peace from the Palestinians. Prime Minister Netanyahu for ten months, November 2009-September 2010, stopped all settlement construction. Again, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas did not come to the peace table. The answer is clear. Despite all the fulminations at international conferences, the settlements are not the obstacle to peace. Nor are they the core issue in the dispute. Nor are they war crimes.

Irrespective of the answers to the legal issues involved, the Regulation Law provides a unique opportunity for a serious conversation between the parties about the territories and land, and might be the spur that persuades the Palestinians to come to the negotiating table.

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Posted on 02/24/2017 4:54 AM by Michael Curtis
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Thursday, 23 February 2017
András Mezei: PRAYERS
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Translated from the Hungarian

& Edited

By Thomas Ország-Land

 

 (1)

Psalm

 

I watch my spade as thrust by thrust

and spit by spit it shapes my home

till, like our psalms, my steaming breath

lifts rising from this cold, deep hole.

My Eternal God! Your very

being steels my arms. You know

that all the time till resurrection

will pass quickly like the thunder

of the gun.

 

(2)

The Lists

 

They did not need quite 24 hours

in Györ, nor in Veszprém nor Szombathely,

in all the small cities throughout the land:

a register of Jewish residents

was assembled before the sunrise

the very day the Germans took over –

the lists were prepared in a sense of shame

and helplessness and in heartfelt regret,

you might say with the greatest of sympathy

and embarrassment. They were surrendered.

 

(3)

Group Portrait

 

The cows grazed in freedom beyond the deathcamp

and the air conveyed their healthy munching

to the people promised a communal bath,

yet whose prayer was for gas: relief, at last,

in the bitter almond fragrance of Zyclon B2 –

in that passive state of animal existence

there stood (My God! hallowed be Thy Name)

a group of women crammed together,

devoid of hair.

 

 

(4)

In the Bomb-pit

 

His shovel clanged against the metal body.

 

He was forced to dig a funnel-shaped pit

around the unexploded bomb in the ground.

The explosives expert watched from a distance.

And, deep within his megatonnes of history,

the Jewish prisoner stood in the bomb-pit:

unharmed

as the expert cautiously descended

into that reality of war, in which

Nebuchadnezzar's lions facing Daniel

must grow tame in the sight of the Lord

even within the metal cloaking of the bomb.

 

 

(5)

Before my Fall

 

Before  my fall,

before that great block of stone

came tumbling upon me,

before it crushed in my chest,

before it rushed me

into the land of shadows –

in the sight of the Lord

I had raised up all of Egypt.

 

 

(6)

The Executioners

         

Still laughing, that Galician Jew's eyes, still bright

in the blaze of his beard set on fire by the killer's lighter,

eternally laughing, beyond even time and the final judgment,

and in his gaze thick heads of hair and earlocks and beards

set alight in a waxen white candelabra of bodies –

 

and the Almighty's face does not flinch in the flames.

 

 

(7)

Self-portrait, Treblinka

 

I fire and I fire while retreating.

My mouth is belching blood, my eyes are smiling.

My strength is sapped, my weapon silent. I’m captured.

My mouth is belching blood. My eyes still smiling.

 

 

András Mezei (1930-2008), a poet, journalist and publisher, was a foremost chronicler of the Hungarian Holocaust. His last, posthumous publication in English was Christmas in Auschwitz (Smokestack Books, England, 2010). His poetry based on personal experience and professional interviews as well as medical, judicial and historical records, are widely taught and anthologized worldwide but still largely ignored in Hungary.

 

 

Thomas Ország-Land is an award-winning poet and foreign correspondent who writes for Iconoclast from Jerusalem and London as well as his native Budapest. His last book was Survivors: Hungarian Jewish Poets of the Holocaust (Smokestack, 2014), and his last E-chapbook, Reading for Rush Hour: A Pamphlet in Praise of Passion (Snakeskin, England, 2016).

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Posted on 02/23/2017 8:47 AM by NER
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Thursday, 23 February 2017
Beer Street, Gin Lane, and Blurred (Moral) Vision
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by Theodore Dalrymple

We like to consider totalitarianism a thing of the past, at least in Western countries, but its temptations are permanent and its justifications never very far away. Since no man is an island, no human action concerns only the actor himself. John Stuart Mill’s famous principle in On Liberty (1859) that the only good reason to interfere with someone’s freedom is to prevent him from doing harm to others is therefore as effective a barrier against totalitarianism as tissue paper against a tsunami. Potential harm to others can be alleged in practically any human action.

Not only is it difficult to perform an action that concerns only oneself—the flap of a butterfly’s wind being able to cause a hurricane thousands of miles away—but we seem to be increasingly sensitive to harm done, or allegedly done, to ourselves. We seem to have revised an old motto, and to now believe that sticks and stones may break our bones but words are just as bad. This is sinister in that it obliterates the distinction between words and deeds.

What is more, the less prone we are, objectively speaking, to illness and accident, the more psychologically fragile we are becoming, as if we expected, as of right, to go through life without any upsets at all, physical or psychological. And since we may be so deeply harmed by words (psychological harm, like beauty, being in the eye of the beholder), our zeal for harm-prevention requires that words should be censored if they are thought by someone to be objectionable. What this leads to, eventually, is that the failure positively to subscribe to some new moral orthodoxy is itself a harm. Thus there will be not only things we must not say, but things we must say. Granted, most of the pressure to conform is as yet social rather than legal, but there are undoubtedly enthusiasts who would like to translate social into legal obligation.

The distinction between words and deeds is not the only one that totalitarians seek to efface. That between the public and the private spheres is also vulnerable. As the young libertarians-turned-totalitarians of the 1960s used to say, the personal is political—which makes everything political. As Shigalov put it in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Devils (1871): “Starting from unlimited freedom, I arrive at unlimited despotism”; and politics, not theology, becomes the queen of the sciences.

A not untypical example of conflating the public with the private appeared in the British Left-liberal daily the Guardian recently. Just after the New Year, the paper ran a column about public drunkenness among young British women, a propensity that seems to be somewhat on the decline but is nevertheless more marked than anywhere else known to me.

The scenes of such excess are, if anything, less attractive even than those of William Hogarth’s Gin Lane (1751), and are without the argument of grinding poverty to extenuate them. The young women are not only helplessly drunk but militant in their shamelessness. These scenes are regularly grist for the photographic mill of British tabloid newspapers, whose own attitude to vulgarity is ambiguous, to put it mildly. They excoriate what they assiduously promote, thus simultaneously profiting from vice and the condemnation of vice.

The hypocrisy of the tabloid press in this matter would be a subject of legitimate criticism, but this was not the criticism leveled by Suzanne Moore in the Guardian. The headline of Moore’s piece was, “Binge Drinking Happens: The Problem Is Binge Moralising on Women.” The subhead: “The New Year Shaming of Young Working-Class Women Is a Staple of Tabloid Culture: This Voyeuristic Morality Policing Also Hides the True Story.”

I will pass over the question of whether such behavior really is, as a matter of empirical fact, the province of working class British women alone; and whether, if it were, it would therefore not be a proper subject of condemnation, presumably on the grounds that working class women are not fully paid-up members of the human race and cannot be held to any particular standards of behavior, such as not urinating in the gutter while incapably drunk. I will also pass over the rather strange view that the real problem is moralizing about the problem, and not the problem itself. We would not, after all, say that the problem with murder is moralizing about murder, for if murder is not morally to be condemned it is difficult to say what is morally to be condemned: and this is so even if the moral condemnation of murder goes without saying.

What, according to the Guardian’s Moore, is the “true story”? That “binge drinking is actually the preserve of the middle aged and middle class who sit at home with their fine wines destroying their livers while judging everyone else.”

Now as a depiction of people who drink fine wines to excess, this is of course inaccurate. Such people (who exist) tend to drink every day, continually, not in binges. But this error is not what is significant about this passage; it is its failure to recognize the difference between drinking too much in the privacy of your home and drinking too much and making a public nuisance of yourself. There is a narrow focus here on the act of drinking too much. The subsequent behavior in public is left out of consideration.

One could, as I’ve indicated, imagine a counterargument that the person who drinks too much at home nevertheless affects others. The drinker’s family might suffer as a result of his habit. He is likely to suffer illness whose treatment will have to be paid for by others. On this view, his drinking to excess, albeit in private, is no more a purely personal matter than is drinking to excess in public and behaving badly.

It does not follow from this, however, that the public/private distinction has ceased to be a real distinction. All it means is that there is always a judgment to be made rather than a strict rule to be applied. To be dead drunk in the street and behave in a disgusting manner in public is simply not the same as getting sozzled at home.

The failure to make proper distinctions continues until the end of the article; in fact that failure even picks up speed:

Binge moralising . . . is a problem. One tends to lose all contact with reality in a constant quest for the high of smug superiority. When you are getting your kicks from kicking an unconscious girl, perhaps it is time to look at yourself.

The conflation now is between criticism of public drunkenness, whether it be justified or not, with physical assault. Since such an assault on the helplessly inebriated would clearly be wrong, it is supposed to follow that criticism of them is likewise, and equally, wrong. This is the way freedom ebbs away—for, as David Hume observed, it is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once.

First published in the Library of Law and Liberty.

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Posted on 02/23/2017 7:03 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
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Wednesday, 22 February 2017
Sydney, Australia: Millionaire Muslim Fraudster Posed as "Battling Single Mother" To Live in Public Housing and Draw Benefits
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And although caught out in her brazen practice of grand-scale welfare fraud, and convicted, she is getting a mere slap on the wrist.  One may note that she had a "mosque marriage" that was not registered with Australian officialdom; and one wonders just how much of that is going on, and how many other Muslim women of this ilk are fraudulently milking - and overburdening - the social security system.

As reported this week by  Lucy Mae Beers for the Aussie branch of the "Daily Mail".

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4247754/Muslim-Centrelink-fraud-Rebecca-Khodragha-appeal-court.html

"No Remorse": Millionaire Muslim Fraudster Who Posed as a "Battling Single Mohter" So She Could Live in Public Housing, Cries in Court as She Loses Appeal Against Home Detention."

'A millionaire Muslim woman who posed as a "battling single mother" so she could live in public housing for 15 years has had her appeal thrown out of court.

'Rebecca Khodragha, 44, appeared at Parramatta District Court on Wednesday to fight her three months home detention sentence, hoping for it to be lightened to community service.

Me, I'd give her community service; three months at a large animal shelter.. assigned to the job of mucking out and cleaning the litter trays and the dog exercise yards.  I wouldn't trust her to feed or care for the animals - she would probably be cruel to them; but, under supervision, she could spend three months doing the rounds with a pooper-scooper. - CM

'The married mother of two, whose husband owns an electrical business which rakes in more than $1 million a year (memo to the authorities, and to any investigative reporter worth their salt; it might be a good idea to look a bit more closely into the business record, customer service record and finances of this so-profitable business, just in case - CM) was given the sentence in 2016 when she was convicted of welfare fraud.

'The court was previously told that Ms Khodragha's husband Khaled Sabsabi owned a lucrative electrical contracting business, which was registered to the housing commission address.

Oops. - CM

'At the same time that Ms Khodragha was claiming welfare benefits, the couple owned two other investment properties - in Lakemba (one of Sydney's most heavily-Islamised suburbs - CM) and Greenacre - which they later sold for a significant profit.

'Justice Martin Sides said the mother of two had an "absence of remorse" and "complete lack of insight" and dismissed the appeal.

Absence of remorse.  Complete lack of insight. In other words: the malignant narcissism, coupled with aggression and predatory behaviour toward non-Muslims, that Islam tends to produce in its adherents. For more, see the works of Niccolai Sennels, in particular, "Among Criminal Muslims".  One must remember that robbing and generally doing-down the dirty infidels is seen as meritorious, in orthodox Islam. - CM

'The court heard that despite the fraud conviction, Ms Khodragha is still living in public housing and receives Centrelink payments.

Why?  Her payments should have been cut off the instant she was convicted; and she should have been evicted from a property in which she is present on the basis of false pretences. - CM

'Ms Khodragha married husband Khaled in an Islamic ceremony (at which mosque? presided over by whom? - CM) in 1991 but their wedding was unregistered (all the better to be able to defraud the dirty infidels - CM) and the pair have been in a Punchbowl housing commission unit in the city's southwest since that year, 7 News reported.

'Ms Khodrangha's lawyer, Zemarai Kahtiz, argued the 44 year old's offending was from October 14 to 20, 2014 only, and not a longer period as claimed by the prosecution.

'He told the court she made $8,036.40 within those six days.

Suuuuure.  Pull the other leg, Mr Mohammedan lawyer, it's got bells on. - CM

"That's the benefit she obtained, not $80,000 or $90,000 as the Crown sees it." he said, "As a result, whatever advantage obtained flows from that date."

'But Crown Prosecutor Antony Di Francesco said Ms Khodragha pleaded guilty to obtaining the rebate and then hiding it from NSW Housing.

"Had she revealed the truth in 2015, they could have conducted an investigation and cancelled the rebates", he said.

'Mr Di Francesco said that by limiting the offending to a number of days, "misconstrues the nature of the charge put to Ms Khodragha to which she pleaded guilty".

'Mr Kahtiz said the mother-of-two has been fired from her job at a medical centre as a result of the court case.

Well, from the sounds of it, her husband's business is very profitable, and so were the proceeds of the sale of two houses.  So losing her job - IF she lost it as a result of the court case; it would be interesting to check that claim, thoroughly - is no big deal. - CM

'He also said she is suffering a number of psychological conditions, including anxiety and depression."

Medical evidence, please.  But the examining and diagnosing medical professionals should not be Muslims. - CM

'Ms Khodragha was tearful as Judge Sides threw out the appeal.

Oh, cry me a river, three months' home detention is a mere slap on the wrist, she has no cause to complain. - CM

'According to Housing NSW, 60,000 people are on the waiting list for public housing".

Might be an idea to go through the list and take a very, very suspicious look at any of the applicants whose names and other details indicate membership in the Mohammedan mob; they might turn out to be fraudsters like Ms Kodragha, spinning fake sob stories in order to game the system.  And it would be a good idea, in cases of claimed psychiatric illness or physical disability on the part of persons with Mohammedan monikers applying for pensions, housing, etc, to check whether the physicians signing off on their diagnoses are Mohammedans or Infidels.  Furthermore, it would be worth an investigative reporter's while to attempt to find out whether, and where, Centrelink and Department of Housing shopfronts, or indeed any portion of those departments that have the job of processing and saying yes or no to applications for social security assistance of various kinds, are staffed with identifiable Mohammedans.  Because... fraud, thy name is Islam. -  CM

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Posted on 02/22/2017 10:26 PM by Christina McIntosh
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Wednesday, 22 February 2017
Australia: Omar Succarieh, Muslim Jihad Enabler, Is Tried For Extortion
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This bloke - who used to run an Islamic bookshop in one of Brisbane's southern suburbs, so any idea that he didn't really understand Islam, or wasn't a real Muslim, gets blown out of the water straightaway - is already doing time in prison for having sent money to the jihad outfit, Jabhat al-Nusra, in Syria (whither two of his brothers, Ahmed and Ibrahim, had gone to wage jihad in 2013; Ahmed is now deceased, having made himself into a human bomb in September 2013 in order to please 'allah' by killing those deemed insufficiently-Islamic).  It seems likely that at least some of the cash he was attempting to extort from an Infidel shop-owner would have ended up in the coffers of jihadis.  I recall that, some years ago now, there was a case of a couple of jihad enablers in France were extorting money from (Infidel) prostitutes, in order to raise cash for Jihad.  Throughout the lands of the Infidels many Muslims are up to their ears in criminal activity, from robbery and welfare fraud, through to large-scale organised crime.  And in many cases the profits from those activities are being channelled toward Jihad.

Here's the ABC's Andrew Kos, reporting on the trial.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-22/omar-succarieh-threatened-brisbane-cafe-owner-court-hears/8293608

'Omar Succarieh "threatened to break legs" of Brisbane Cafe Owner, Extortion Trial Hears.

'A man (That is: A Muslim man - CM) accused of attempting to extort tens of thousands of dollars from a (non-Muslim - CM) cafe manager threatened to "break his legs" if he did not pay up, a Brisbane court has heard.

'Omar Succarieh is facing a judge-only District Court trial for allegedly demanding that Vasilios Pippos give him $50,000 to cover disputed debts owed to a former business partner of Mr Pippos.

It would be interesting to know a bit more about those claimed 'debts'; for example, whether the matter ever came before a court.  The ABC does not inform us, but other reports (of which more below) indicate that the 'former business partner' was a Muslim, in which case, I am inclined to suspect that Mr Vasilios Pippos, like many an Infidel before him, discovered that entering into business with a Muslim was a very bad idea. - CM

'Succarieh is currently serving four and a half years in prison after last year pleading guilty to foreign incursion for helping Australian fighters in Syria in 2014.

'The court heard during a meeting between Mr Pippos and Succarieh at Mr Pippos' Brisbane CBD cafe in March 2014, Succarieh allegedly said, "You owe someone $50,000, and I'm here to collect it."

'He told Mr Pippos that if he did not pay up, "We will come around and take the shop off you".

Who is this 'we'? - CM

'Prosecutor Michael Lehane said it was alleged that Succarieh, who has pleaded not guilty, threatened to break Mr Pippos' legs and harm his family.

'The face-to-face meeting was allegedly followed up by threatening phone calls that were recorded by authorities (in the course of their surveillance of Mr Succarieh because of his suspected jihad leanings - CM).

'In giving evidence, Mr Pippos told the court he handed over $10,000 to his former business partner (who, to repeat, was a Muslim and seemingly an associate of Mr Succarieh's - CM) before going to police.

"I was shit scared" Mr Pippos said. "I feared for the family".

'Mr Pippos denied he owed any money".

And, to be frank, I believe him; because ... Mohammedans lie.  If a Mohammedan accuses an infidel of something, ten to one the Mohammedan is projecting.  I wouldn't be surprised to discover that Mr Pippos was defrauded or in some other way injured financially by his former business partner, to whom Succarieh claims he (Pippos) owes money.

And so to Kate McKenna's report in the Courier Mail, where we hear a fair bit more about the  nature of the threats that were made.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/crime-and-justice/omar-succarieh-accused-of-standover-tactics-to-extort-50000-from-cafe-owner/news-story/2eb7dc70aca751eb1556762e247044de

'Omar  Succarieh Accused of Standover Tactics to Extort $50,000 From Cafe Owner".

'Alleged standover man Omar Succarieh (let's say, "Alleged Muslim standover man Omar Succarieh", and let's bear in mind that the entire Dhimma system as invented and practised for centuries by classical Islam is, in essence, a protection racket involving the extortion of exorbitant sums of money by means of threats - CM) threatened to break a Brisbane cafe operator's legs and take over his business, in an attempt to wring $50,000 out of him, a court has been told.

'Succarieh, 33, pleaded not guilty to an extortion charge, when his judge-only trial began in the Brisbane District Court today.

'Crown Prosecutor Michael Lehane said in his opening address that Succarieh had visited Vasilios Pippos at the cafe on March 12 2014, telling him, "You owe someone $50,000 and I'm here to collect it."

'Mr Lehane said Succarieh was acting as a standover man for an associate, who believed (sic: a better wording would be "claimed" - CM) that Pippos owed him a large sum of money relating to a soured business arrangement to do with fruit shops.

If that 'associate'  had a real and valid claim why did he not make use of the proper legal channels to pursue redress, rather than sending in a standover man? It seems to me that the claim might well have been invented out of whole cloth.   - CM

'During the face to face meeting, Succarieh allegedly told Pippos to source money "or we'll just take (the shop) over", and said that if he stopped paying, he would "come and find you and break your legs".

'Succarieh also allegedly threatened to visit Pippos' wife and daughter to ask them about the debt.

'The court heard an "extremely anxious" Pippos organised to pay Succarieh $10,000 the next day.

'Mr Lehane said federal agents monitoring Succarieh observed him and the victim having an "animated exchange" at the cafe but found it difficult to hear the recording due to traffic noise.

'Succarieh followed up the meeting with threatening phone calls to Pippos, the court heard.

Phone calls that federal agents overheard, because they already had Mr Succarieh under surveillance on suspicion of involvement with jihad terrorism; they did not necessarily expect to catch him in the act of extortion.  One wonders how often those surveilling suspected jihad plotters find themselves in similar situations.  I recall reading one report that stated that those investigating jihad plotters, and those engaged in tracking down pedophile rings, kept bumping into each other so often in the course of their investigations that they began to wonder whether they should not team up.  - CM

'The court heard he partly succeeded in the extortion bid, with Pippos only shelling out $10,000 before alerting police.

'Last year Succarieh pleaded guilty to sending more than $40,000 to Australian fighters (sic: "to Aussie-passport-holding Muslim jihadis" - CM) in Syria, with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions withdrawing terror-related charges.

I wonder how much of that $40,000 was proceeds of crime? - CM

'The trial before Judge Brian Devereaux continues."

And now for our third report on this case, from Toby Mann of Australian Associated Press, a report in the Herald -Sun.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/succarieh-extortion-trial-begins/news-story/f4dca506899fd959659a1eff7522be41

'Broken Legs Threatened Over $50,000 Debt".

That should be, "Broken Legs Threatened Over Alleged $50,000 Debt".  Because so far there doesn't seem to have been any proof presented that Mr Pippos did indeed owe anything at all. - CM

 'An accused standover man threatened to break the legs of a middle-aged cafe owner over a perceived (sic: claimed - CM) $50,000 debt following a business dispute, a court has heard.

'Omar Succarieh allegedly used threats and intimidation to extort $10,000 from Vasilios Pippos while acting as a "standover man" in March 2015, Crown Prosecutor Michael Lehane told the Brisbane District Court on Wednesday.

'After paying the $10,000 Mr Pippos, who denies owing the money (and I find this completely believable; because.. Muslims lie, and the claim that Mr Pippos 'owes money' to his former business partner, who as we shall see, was a Mohammedan, is very likely false, concocted for the occasion - CM) told police he was being extorted and, following investigations, Succarieh was charged with extortion.

'The money was allegedly part of a $50,000 debt Mr Pippos was said to owe to a man called Yousef Masri following a business dispute involving two fruit shops.

Memo to Infidel business men: it is best not to enter into business dealings or partnerships with Mohammedans, for there is a very high probability that those dealings will turn into the stuff of nightmares, and you. will. get. screwed. - CM

'Succarieh is alleged to have threatened Mr Pippos several times during a 25 minute discussion.

"I was s*** scared" Mr Pippos said on Wednesday while giving evidence.  "It was either 'pay or we are going to take your shop over".

'He said Succarieh gave him the option of paying $40,000 cash on the spot, or in installments.

'Succarieh initially demanded $2,000 a week, but eventually agreed to accept $1,000 weekly.

"If I missed a payment the debt was going to go back up to $50,000 and restart", Mr Pippos said.

"If I didn't pay, he'd come after me and break my legs"....".

Omar Succarieh was born in Australia to Muslim immigrant parents. Had those parents never been allowed to migrate here in the first place Infidel Australia would have been spared a great deal of trouble and expense.  One may add that the target of the attempted extortion, Mr Vasilios Pippos, is - to judge from his name - of Greek ancestry.  His Greek Christian forebears in Greece, during the centuries when Greece and other Balkan countries were invaded, occupied and ruled with an iron fist by the Ottoman Muslim caliphate, would have endured the full horror of the sacralised system of extortion that is the Dhimma, paying exorbitant sums of money as jizya to merciless and capricious Muslim overlords in hopes of being grudgingly permitted to remain alive.  The Greeks threw off that cruel yoke and achieved their freedom; then, in the 20th century, many - such as Mr Pippos or his family - migrated to countries such as Australia; now, in the 21st century, this Greco-Australian cafe owner finds himself being subjected to extortion by Muslims, much as his Dhimmi forebears were extorted, in their homeland, centuries ago.- CM

 

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Posted on 02/22/2017 9:03 PM by Christina McIntosh
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Wednesday, 22 February 2017
Trump and the ‘Enemy of the People’
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The media are indeed playing a harmful role.

by Conrad Black

What is utterly astonishing about the fierce contest between the national media and President Trump is that the media do not realize how despised they are by most Americans, and how richly, as a group (which contains many individual exceptions), they deserve to be despised. For 18 months Donald Trump campaigned with great energy all over the country, swept most of the primaries, many by astounding margins against a large field of candidates, and made a point of denouncing the national media as biased, self-serving, and malicious myth-makers. He referred to them hundreds of times as “liars,” and directed the very large crowds that he drew to the media section, and his supporters shook their fists in unfeigned rage at the press gallery. Did the complacent, bemused national press think they were paid plants or that it was all a spoof?

Virtually all of the press opposed Trump, and after ridiculing his bid for the nomination as mad and an enjoyable occasion for an egotistical billionaire buffoon to make a complete ass of himself at great expense to himself and the profound mirth of the journalists, they lapsed into a slightly uneasy assurance, when he was nominated: It was a bit surprising that he demolished the Bush-McCain-Romney centrists, but the Clintons were unstoppable, his defeat was practically certain and a matter of national deliverance from evil and garish foolishness in the showdown with the invincible Hillary.

Even those within the media who professed to favor the Republicans were almost exclusively defeatists. Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal, two weeks before the election, wrote as if it were six months later, lamenting President Clinton’s policies that will flatline the economy and entrench political correctness and tinkering judges, and disparaging Trump for having run such an inept campaign that he fumbled away the last chance to stop the socialized rot of the national state. Despite the failure of the Billy Bush tape to serve the purpose for which it had long been held in reserve, to be the coup de grâce; despite even the inability of FBI director James Comey to quell a revolt within the Bureau against the whitewash that had been performed for Mrs. Clinton in the e-mails affair — the national media were almost unanimous in predicting a Clinton victory. It would probably not be on the Goldwater-McGovern-Mondale scale that had been hoped and expected; Trump had proved to be a tenacious candidate of inexhaustible energy and inexplicably wide popularity. But the all-forgiven Hillary would save America and the world from the great mountebank.

As the Democrats had no argument for reelection on their merits, their only campaign was a personal denigration of Trump. It was the nastiest campaign of modern American history, but also the most entertaining. Trump responded to the Billy Bush tape by trotting out at the second debate three women who signed affidavits that Bill Clinton had sexually assaulted them. In general, the media hyped the anti-Trump onslaught and under-reported his counterattacks, but he made up for it with his antic activity in the social media and the heavy support he enjoyed on the talk-show circuit. At the least, the campaign was a divertissement. Trump ran against all factions of both parties, almost all the national media, political academia, Wall Street, and the claque of opinionated limousine-liberal idiots in Hollywood. While Trump threw as much mud as Clinton, and had as enticing a target, he also promised the enactment of a drastic revision to the tax, health-care, election-financing, and environmental-regulation regimes, and the resurrection of the foreign policy of a Great Power, a prudent but reliable ally of kindred states.

It is not surprising that the Republican leadership that Trump had steamrollered are not enthused by him. And it is this small group of Republican senators — McCain, Graham, Rubio, and others — who are the hinge for the enactment of Trump’s radical populist and conservative program. He needs their votes in the Senate, and the country wants the program. They appear to be snapping churlishly at the president after his more infelicitous outbursts, but remaining with the administration when the bells ring for a Senate vote. The tactic of the Democrats and their fellow travelers in the national media are to invent and amplify false stories, “fake news” such as the golden-shower fraud (the allegation that Trump organized a group of prostitutes to urinate in a bed in a Moscow hotel because the Obamas had once slept in it) and the fabrication that Trump had removed the bust of Martin Luther King from the Oval Office. Each incident of the slightest potential to embarrass the administration is instantly splashed across the media to inflict as much damage as possible on the president, and immobilize him before he can enact his reforms and assume a stature in the political workings of the country that restores to the presidency the authority it has enjoyed when the occupant was generally judged to be effective and competent. These are conditions that, apart from a brief consolidation of support around George W. Bush after the 9/11 attacks and a short interlude with the incoming Obama, have not existed since the first Clinton term.

At one level, it is understandable that the media are fighting to defeat the man who has outed them as myth-makers complicit in the shameful misgovernment of the country for the longest such period in the country’s history. And the media’s discomfort is compounded by the decline of their principal outlets. All the newspapers and most of the television networks are struggling and losing audience for competitive and technological reasons and owing to the fragmentation of the news market. It is understandable but inexcusable. Their primary duty and only raison d’être as reporters of news is to be responsible and professional. They hyped the golden shower and the nonsense of improper Trump relations with Russia. There has never been any evidence of that; it is impossible that Russia could have influenced the election result, but Obama, whose Russian policy was a total failure, and whose investigators couldn’t find any evidence of impropriety in the two months following the election, imposed sanctions against Russia anyway to keep the myth going. Tom Friedman, the ne plus ultra of New York Times Democratic partisans and Obama groupies, solemnly gabbled out the assertion that the Trump-Russia connection and Russia’s completely unsubstantiated intervention in the U.S. election were an assault on the country on the scale of the attacks on Pearl Harbor and the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Friedman has tested the patience of serious readers for years by being the pub bore about Israeli settlements and the need for every newborn child in the world to have a laptop, but this sally incited the inference that he has gone stark, raving mad. David Brooks wrote in the New York Times on February 17 that Trump would not complete his term, because he would bring unimaginable disgrace on himself. His critics alternate between being the boy who cried wolf at fake scandals and issuing fatuous expressions of confidence in his imminent self-destruction.

The travel executive order was sloppily formulated, but the overreaction to it, the violence at Berkeley, mobbing of airports, demonstrations all over the Western world, Senator Schumer sniveling and saying that the Statue of Liberty was weeping too, was insane. Democratic judge-shopping quickly found West Coast judges happy to exceed their jurisdictions and purport to usurp the president’s powers. But the hoped-for result, that Trump would blow up and ignore them, enabling ululations of impeachment to arise, were frustrated. Trump shifted to intensive screening at point of arrival rather than departure, and was the soul of compliance. This has had the supplementary benefit of rebutting the spurious charge that he is an autocrat, the allegation that succeeded to the previous claims of racism and sexism, which the president’s conduct has, in Watergatese, rendered “inoperative.” It is really Trump who is goading his opponents and driving them to overreact and make absurd accusations that vanish within a few days. The media, in their smug purblindness, think the administration is coming apart, as the latest jeremiad from Mr. Henninger put it (Wall Street Journal, February 16), “Donald Trump’s presidency is getting bitten to death by an invisible, lethal ant hill of anonymous leakers.” Henninger, too, fears the immobilization, though not the impeachment potential, of Watergate. There is not the slightest comparison to be made, but the nostalgic invocation of one by Dan Rather, a bedraggled, discredited survivor of the Nixon-assassination squad, has been seized upon to circulate this new Never Trump fantasy.

Henninger, Brooks, and most of the rest of the media miss the point. If Trump can hold the Republicans who are resentful of him personally, and produce his health-care and tax reforms promptly and as promised, they will pass and the country will have turned the corner away from 20 years of generally inept government. Trump has done nothing but win, while the laughter of his detractors slowly turned to cold terror, thinly disguised as moral outrage and patriotic sensibility, accented by the misplaced snobbery of the highbrow Right. The country will be grateful for a fairer, simpler tax system, and a better health-care plan than the Obamacare fiasco. If that is what emerges, the atmosphere will settle down in Washington, and the Republican stragglers will stop playing footsie with the opposition and the Democrats will start to rebuild, as parties do after defeats. No one but a centenarian of faltering mind could regard Schumer and Pelosi as the future.

That leaves the press, and the president’s elevation of his counterattacks on the “failing” New York Times, CBS, ABC, NBC, and CNN as “enemies of the people.” Provided that what is meant is that those outlets have been so slanted and malicious that they have misled the declining section of the country that takes them seriously and that this is inimical to the country’s democratic desire for an informed electorate, it is a justified statement. The recent political coverage of those outlets has been a disgrace and the failure to realize that reveals the moral bankruptcy of most of the U.S. national media. “Enemies of the people” is no more meant to replicate the actions of the French Revolutionary Committee of Public Safety and Lenin’s Politburo, which used the expression, than “America First” was meant to incite the effectively pro-Nazi isolationism championed by Colonel Charles Lindbergh under that banner in 1939–41. The national media have failed the country badly, on balance, and are now fighting the retreating action side by side with the rejected Democrats, which is not their role.

Will Rahn was correct when he wrote just after the election that the media response would be not that Trump’s followers were not all “deplorable” lager louts and couch potatoes after all, but that there were more of such people than they had thought. Partly because of his own antics and partly because of the bruising campaigns he has been through, this president has lower trust levels than most of his recent predecessors, especially as most of them had been honeymooning at this point. But his credibility still runs well ahead of that of the national media, according to a range of the polls. If Trump and Ryan and Price can deliver their tax and health-care reforms, Donald Trump will have stormed Babylon and razed its hierarchical structure to the ground, as his supporters elected him to do. The Democrats’ fears, though not their tactics, are justified; the media’s unprofessional and dishonest calumnies are not. The media should revisit their boycott of the president and contemplate their own shortcomings. It is they, and not he, who threatens a free press. Trump, and the country, will win.

First published in National Review Online.

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

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Posted on 02/22/2017 5:04 AM by Conrad Black
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Wednesday, 22 February 2017
Salat and Zakat in Summerville, South Carolina
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by Hugh Fitzgerald

Recently, parents in Summerville, South Carolina became aware that their sixth-grade children were being taught about Islam in school. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with learning something of value about Islam. It was what, and how, they were being taught that some found objectionable. Part of what the students were required to do was, unsurprisingly, fill-in-the-blank parroting of propaganda. To wit: “Islam is a religion of (peace). If I believe in Islam, I am called a (Muslim). In the Islamic religion, we call God (Allah). I may dress differently than other kids. I feel (bad) that a few people of my religion committed terrorist acts. I (do not) believe in terrorists’ idea of a ‘holy war.’”

Then the children were dutifully taught to memorize the Five Pillars: the Shahada, or recital of the Muslim profession of faith; Salat, the ritual prayers said five times each day; Zakat, the alms given to help the needy; Sawm, or the fasting during the month of Ramadan; and the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca that a Believer should try to make once in his lifetime.

Those objecting to this were reported in the press as if they — parents and non-parents alike — were merely Islamophobic know-nothings. School officials pointed out that this teaching had been going on since 2011 without complaint, and they suavely assured reporters that most of those now complaining about the curriculum in South Carolina were “right-wing activists” from Texas and Oklahoma, and thus, as both out-of-state people and as “right-wing activists,” they could not possibly have a point. Who could be against teaching our children about the Five Pillars of Islam?

Well, you could, and I could, for several reasons. The first is that the children are not being fully informed even about the Five Pillars. Take, for example, Salat, the five daily prayers. The children do not learn, and it is most doubtful that their teachers themselves know, what is contained in those prayers. As Robert Spencer repeatedly has pointed out:

In the course of praying the requisite five prayers a day, an observant Muslim will recite the Fatihah, the first surah of the Qur’an and the most common prayer in Islam, seventeen times. The final two verses of the Fatihah ask Allah: “Show us the straight path, the path of those whom Thou hast favoured; not the (path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray.” The traditional Islamic understanding of this is that the “straight path” is Islam — cf. Islamic apologist John Esposito’s book Islam: The Straight Path. The path of those who have earned Allah’s anger are the Jews, and those who have gone astray are the Christians.

In other words, every dutiful Muslim, saying the five prayers every day, is also cursing the kuffar seventeen times a day. Do you think these sixth-graders learning about the duty of Salat have any idea? Do you think they should be given that information? Or should they be offered only a sanitized version of Salat? Of course, even if their teachers knew what was contained in the Fatihah, and understood that it is recited as part of those daily prayers – perhaps by having done a little study on their own, outside the politically-correct Lesson Plan — would they dare to tell their pupils? Wouldn’t they worry, and with reason, that they might be reported on, and accused of bigotry by someone – a school administrator, a representative of CAIR, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the New York Times, the Washington Post — and likely suffer consequences to their careers, perhaps even lose their jobs, unless they cravenly apologized for this act of “Islamophobia” and “racism”? The textual evidence they might adduce in their own defense – the Fatihah itself — would be to no avail. For they would find, in the present hysterical atmosphere (“We are all Muslims now”), that the truth is no defense; you must say nothing ill about Islam.

And when these 12-year-olds are taught about another of the Five Pillars, Zakat, they are told that it is duty, incumbent upon Muslims, to “give alms to the needy.” Well, yes and no. Zakat is, it’s true, a tax levied to benefit the poor and needy. This of course sounds good, and not just to sixth-graders. What the children will not be told, and what one suspects that their teachers do not know, is that Zakat is meant to benefit only fellow Muslims. This is quite different from the Christian conception of charity, made available to all. The only non-Muslims to whom Zakat might, in rare instances, be given, are those who show signs of wanting to convert, if the giving of that Zakat encourages them to embrace Islam. And one other piquant detail: what teacher would know that one of the purposes for which Zakat can be given is not just to help the needy, but to support the mujahideen, the Jihad warriors of Islam? And if he knew, would he dare to tell his pupils?

So even if the Lesson Plan on Islam is already limited to the most outwardly anodyne part of the faith, the Five Pillars, it is made more anodyne still by leaving out the most disturbing aspects of Salat and Zakat. And the most objectionable part of this parody of pedagogy is that the children are not being taught anything of real significance about the ideology of Islam. What do they learn about Jihad? What do they learn about the status of non-Muslims as dhimmis under Muslim rule? What do they find out about the Jizyah? What do they discover about the hatred and hostility that Islam inculcates toward all non-Muslims? What do they learn of how Islam purports to regulate every area of a Believer’s life? Or of how Islam constricts the possibilities of freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom of conscience? Of course, none of this can be taught in our classrooms today, not to sixth-graders, and not even to college students. This is now the third rail of the American curriculum, at every level – truthful discussion of what Islam is all about.

If you are a parent, and your child is being subjected to classes on Islam similar to what the children in Summerville, South Carolina have been subjected, what ought you to do? Make an appointment to discuss your objections. It may be with the teacher, or school principal, or members of the School Board. Keep your complaints simple and specific, related only to the Five Pillars. Explain that of course you have nothing against your child learning about them. But you do have a problem with what has been left out. “What’s that?” the teacher, the principal, the members of the School Board, will ask. Then, as calmly and sweet-reasonably as you can, tell them about the sura that is recited seventeen times a day by Muslims as part of their prayers, and hand them a printed copy of the Fatihah so they can study it for themselves. Read out the final two verses: “Guide us to the straight path, the path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray.” Make sure to include on the same sheet summaries of, or excerpts from Qur’anic commentators (stick to those who are Muslims themselves) that explain why those who are the “people who have gone astray” is a reference to Christians and why those who “have earned Allah’s anger are the Jews.” Here is one such example:

Some of the commentators believe that / dallin / ‘those gone astray’ refers to the misguided of the Christians; and / maqdubi ‘alayhim / ‘those inflicted with His Wrath’ refers to the misguided of the Jews.

This idea was formed because of the particular responses that these two groups showed in reply to the invitation to Islam. For, as the Qur’an has clearly pointed out in different verses, the misguided Jews used to show a special grudge and enmity against the invitation of Islam, though, at the beginning, their scholars and learned men were the bearers of the glad tidings of Islam.

Very soon, though, under the effect of deviation of thought, belief and notion, and, also, because their financial gains were being endangered, they became the most obstinate enemies of Islam and they did whatever evil they could against the progression of lslam and Muslims.

(Even today, Zionism and Zionists hold the same position regarding the manner in which they treat Islam and Muslims.)

Therefore, to render these people as ‘those inflicted with His Wrath’ seems very correct.

But, the misguided of the Christians, who upon encountering with Islam were not so grudging, but were misled because of their misperception of the Divine religion and therefore refusing the Truth, were rendered into / dallin / ‘ those gone astray’.

They believed in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost instead of clinging to true Monotheism, the worship of Allah. This is, in itself, one of the greatest examples of ‘astray’ and ‘aberration’.

In the Islamic traditions, too, / maqdubi ‘alayhim / ‘ those inflicted with His Wrath’ are interpreted as the Jews, and / dallin / ‘ those gone astray’ as the misguided of the Christians. The foundation of this interpretation is the same as was mentioned in the above.’

Bring with you a second sheet, on which you have printed the Zakat – the “duty to help the poor and needy.” Under that, provide excerpts, again from Muslim commentators, that state that zakat is ordinarily meant to be given only to Muslims, or (rarely) to those who are on the way to embracing Islam. And then, underneath, offer a few more excerpts from Muslim commentators, explaining that Zakat is also meant to support Jihad against the Infidels. Yusef al-Qaradawi, the favored cleric of the Muslim Brotherhood with a vast following, could head the list with his published remarks on zakat: “Today Muslim land is occupied in Palestine, Kashmir, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Chad, Somalia, Cyprus, Samarkand, Bukhara, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Albania and several other occupied countries. Declaring holy war to save these Muslim lands is an Islamic duty, and fighting for such purposes in those occupied territories is the Way of Allah for which zakat must be spent.

Then ask that teacher, that principal, those members of the School Board, what they think should be made of this information? Anything? Nothing? What do they think of the imprecations against the kuffars in the Fatihah? Of the zakat that is meant for Muslims only, and that when needed “must (also) be spent” to pay for fighting against the Infidels? Of course, they won’t ever agree to include this information in the sixth-grade lessons on Islam. It’s not the kind of thing they think the children should be exposed to, and besides, it would spoil the whole why-can’t-we-all-get-along purpose of the classroom undertaking. But they will take home those pages on Salat and Zakat you’ve provided, look into the matter on the Internet, as nowadays we all must, and discover you were telling the disturbing truth. Perhaps the unease and doubt you have provoked, throwing that spanner in their mental works, will lead them to decide to pull the unit on Islam altogether. This is the most, at this point, you can expect.

And these days, that counts as a victory.

First published in Jihad Watch.

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Posted on 02/22/2017 4:56 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Tuesday, 21 February 2017
Sweden and President Trump
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by Michael Curtis

In olden days good authors once used accurate language, now anything goes. It is no secret that President Donald Trump watches TV news and sometimes issues confusing statements based on information from programs he sees. At his campaign style rally in Melbourne, Florida on February 18, 2017, speaking on the issue of immigration, he elaborated on remarks he had heard in a Fox News program. Trump’s own comment was veiled and nebulous, “You look what’s happening last night in Sweden…who would believe this?... they took in large numbers, they are having problems like they never thought possible.”  

The implication was that some terrorist attack had happened as did occur in Germany in the recent past or some serious crime had been committed by some of the Muslim migrants into the country, now, according to some estimates, numbering about 450,000  or 5% of the total population.

The problem for the baffled news media and others was that nothing momentous happened in Sweden on February 17 to which attention should be drawn. Sherlock Holmes solved one of his cases because nothing happened: the dog did not bark. Trump was mistaken about the facts but inadvertently he drew attention to a growing problem in Sweden, and indeed in other Scandinavian countries, of Muslim immigration.

The mystery was soon solved. Listening to the Fox News program, the Tucker Carlson program, President Trump had heard an interview with Ami Horowitz, a young American filmmaker, who was discussing the increasing social problems in Sweden, including the rise in crime caused since the admission of migrants into the country. Horowitz is a brilliant filmmaker, part serious, part ironic and deliberately provocative, whose satirizing of official organizations and people has been devastating. His film of the United Nations, U.N.Me, commenting on the misbehavior of its peacekeeping forces in war zones, its lax officials, and its choice of the then bitterly antisemitic Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, eager to eliminate the State of Israel, as the keynote speaker at the 2009 anti-racism conference this revealing the moral blindness as well as the incompetence of the UN.

Horowitz may have exaggerated when he indicated there were 30-40 no go zones in Sweden where even the police are afraid to go. But his comments on the rise in crime and sexual assaults, and the changes in Sweden on refugee policy and admission of migrants which influenced Trump, were on target.

Migrants have affected Swedish politics. Over the last 15 years, Sweden with a population of 9.8 million, has admitted 650,000 asylum seekers. In 2015 more than 160,000 applied for asylum. Of these, 50,000 came from Syria, 40,000 from Afghanistan, and 20,000 from Iraq. In 2016, the number of applications dropped to 29,000 for a number of reasons. Largely this was due to increased border controls, including those over the Oresund bridge and tunnel link to Copenhagen, only 20 miles away, to the EU-Turkey agreement, and to new controls. Sweden has begun, starting in 2015, to introduce limits on those seeking asylum, such as ID checks on transport, airline, trains, buses, and ferries, more temporary border controls and legislation. People must be able to prove their identity.

Horowitz was not alone in stating the reality. In January 2017 the police chief of Malmo, the third largest city in Sweden, a city of 300,00 in which a quarter of the population is Muslim, warned of the increase in attempted murders and rapes. This is a notorious city. In 2016 it experienced 52 hand grenade attacks. It has also been the setting for serious anti-Semitic demonstrations by the Muslim population.

The unpleasant atmosphere reached a point that led a prominent Danish film actor, Kim Bodnia who is Jewish, to make a public statement. He played the role of a Danish detective in the popular Danish-Swedish TV series, The Bridge. He left the show which is set in Malmo because of the extent of antisemitic prejudice.

Meanwhile the Muslim population, once welcome has been treated generously with financial help, in housing, education, and cash benefits, but only a small number are fully employed.

What is disturbing in this unequal treatment and concern is that the small Jewish community once 700, whose center in the city is now heavily fortified, received no protection from Ilmar Reepalu, the left wing mayor for 15 years, who persisted in denying the obvious incidents including graffiti on the walls in public places. The reality is that a number of Jewish families left the city, and those that remain are reluctant to wear any sign of Jewish identity, such as a kipah, skull cap.

Meanwhile, over 300 Muslims also left Sweden. They went to join and fight for ISIS.

The Swedish political dialogue and landscape is changing in similar fashion to other European countries where far right parties including those in Denmark and Finland have emerged. There is more concern with Swedish culture and immigration, and a rise in anti-migrant sentiment. A significant illustration is shown in current public opinion polls. They show the far right Sweden Democrat party is currently the most popular political party in the country, supported by 25.2% compared with the ruling Social Democrats, 23.4%, and the center-right Moderates 1%. Some subway stations in Stockholm display anti-immigration signs, “Sorry about the mess here in Sweden.”

The rapid rise in support for the nationalist, populist, and strongly anti-immigrant SD is the response to the social changes. Led by Jimmie Akerson, the party first gained seats in the Riksdag, the Swedish parliament, in 2010, gaining 20 seats and 5.7% of the vote. At the last election in 2014, it gained 49 seats and 12.9% of the vote.

Fears have been expressed in Sweden of increasing social unrest and perhaps of terrorist attacks as in France and Belgium. It is not clear if the accusations that Swedish officials are deliberately covering up the extent of the crimes in the country to protect the Muslim migrants, are justified. What is clear is that Trump was mistaken on the details of events or non-events, but that he touched a raw nerve that needs treatment. For this is he likely to receive the Nobel Prize from the Swedish monarch?

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Posted on 02/21/2017 1:56 PM by Michael Curtis
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Tuesday, 21 February 2017
House Dem IT Guys In Security Probe Secretly Took $100K In Iraqi Money
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Utter incompetance on the part of House Democrats. Luke Rosiak writes in the Daily Caller:

Rogue congressional staffers took $100,000 from an Iraqi politician while they had administrator-level access to the House of Representatives’ computer network, according to court documents examined by The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group.

The money was a loan from Dr. Ali al-Attar, an Iraqi political figure, and was funneled through a company with “impossible”-to-decipher financial transactions that the congressional information technology (IT) staffers controlled.

Imran Awan, ringleader of the group that includes his brothers Abid and Jamal, has provided IT services since 2005 for Florida Democrat Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairwoman. The brothers are from Pakistan.

The trio also worked for dozens of other House Democrats, including members of the intelligence, foreign affairs and homeland security committees. Those positions likely gave them access to congressional emails and other sensitive documents.

The brothers, whose access to House IT networks has been terminated, are under criminal investigation by the U.S. Capitol Police.

 

Wasserman Schultz resigned from her DNC post following a disastrous email hack during the 2016 campaign. Her House spokesman did not respond to TheDCNF’s question Monday about Imran’s employment status. As of Feb. 6, she had declined to fire Imran.

 

Investigators found that congressional information was being copied to an off-site server and they suspect the brothers of improperly accessing information and stealing congressional property. Chiefs of staff for the employing Democrats were notified Feb. 2.

 

Soon after Imran began working for members of Congress, Imran’s and Abid’s wives — Hina Alvi and Natalia Sova — also began receiving congressional paychecks, TheDCNF found. Imran’s employers included two members of the intelligence committee, Indiana Democrat Rep. Andre Carson and California Democrat Rep. Jackie Speier.

By 2009, the family was simultaneously managing a full-time car dealership in Virginia, with Abid running day-to-day operations after contributing $250,000 in startup cash. It was called Cars International A, LLC, referred to as “CIA” in court documents.

Imran boasted unusual clout among House Democrats, and was even pictured conversing with former President Bill Clinton. After Rao Abbas, who was owed money by the dealership, threatened to sue amid allegations of deception and theft, Abbas appeared on the congressional payroll and received $250,000 in taxpayer payments.

Abid had “100% control” of the dealership, a one-time business partner said in court documents, in addition to his $165,000-a-year job working full-time for multiple representatives, including Ohio Democrat Tim Ryan and California Democrat Jim Costa.

“He had the dealer license and sole responsibility of running it. Abid would put cars on the lot, take them in consignment, sell them, do all the title work and get money from the retail sale,” according to court documents. Multiple emails show the Awan brothers conducting business such as attending car auctions on weekdays.

“Imram later acted as owner since CIA was considered family business by the Awans,” Abid’s one-time business partner, Nasir Khattak, said in court documents. The car dealership’s finances consisted of byzantine transfers in which staff and cars were often swapped between it and a dealership next door, Khattak said.

Despite numerous family members making $160,000 congressional salaries, debts went unpaid by the brothers, including to the Congressional Federal Credit Union.

“It was very bad record-keeping in Cars International … it is close to impossible to make any sense out of all the transactions that happened,” Khattak said in court documents.

The $100,000 loan came as the dealership continued to rack up debt, court records show.

“Ali Al-Attar was out of the country as he was involved in politics and the formation of the Iraqi government,” Khattak said in court documents.

In addition to his other jobs, Imran is a real estate agent, and Khattak is also a realtor who obtained the cash from Al-Attar and passed it through bank accounts used for real estate deals in Fairfax County, Va.

“Having lost my and Abid’s collective investment of $500k due to Awan’s mismanagement, [CIA] was further in debt $400k to other creditors,” Khattak said in a lawsuit.

Khattak said Imran masterminded the family’s finances and by late 2010, Imran “was running the business in full control” and “instructed Abid not to even speak to anyone.”

The Iraqi cash disappeared amid a dispute between Khattak and the Awans. Khattak said defaulting on the loan meant Al-Attar now owned the business, but the Awans refused to relinquish control.

In 2012, Abid declared personal bankruptcy listing more than $1 million in liabilities. While debts to others went unpaid, he kept ownership of two houses, and Imran kept his own substantial property, despite his admitted role in the failed business.

Bankruptcy documents listed Abbas as a creditor and said he might sue Abid, but Abbas later took the brothers’ side in a lawsuit against Khattak, who said that the Awans had somehow manipulated him to do so. Not long after, Abbas appeared for the first time on the congressional payroll, and collected $250,000 from taxpayers through the end of last year.

Four out of the six Democrats he worked for also employed Imran. His employers included a member of the intelligence committee, Patrick Murphy of Florida; a member of the foreign affairs committee, Theodore Deutch of Florida; and Brad Ashford of Nebraska, who is on the armed services committee.

Abbas’ congressional email was cut off in early February, around the time the Capitol Police revealed that they had uncovered a scheme involving a network of IT aides. The Awans’ access has also been cut off. Reached at a personal email address, Abbas did not respond to repeated questions from TheDCNF.

Abid claimed the Iraqi doctor may never have existed. “If as suspected, all of this is a charade, particularly if it is learned the mysterious Dr. Al-Attar doesn’t exist or didn’t sign the documents, then the whole matter rises to a higher level,” he said in court documents.

The youngest Awan brother, Jamal, was also placed on the House payroll at 20 years of age and makes $160,000, far higher than others in similar jobs.

TheDCNF was the first to identify the brothers and Alvi, and now, Sova and Abbas.
 

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Posted on 02/21/2017 10:52 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Tuesday, 21 February 2017
Campus Newspapers Online: A Good Way to Get our Message to College Students
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by Gary Fouse

Since much of my writing concerns the craziness going on in our universities, I spend a lot of time reading reports from such blogs as Campus Watch, College Reform, The College Fix, and Legal Insurrection to name a few. In addition to cross-posting items of interest, I often go the respective campus newspaper online editions to see how they are reporting a story. Predictably, it is being reported from a left-wing or politically-correct point of view. There's not much one can do about that. We are dealing with student journalists who are liberally inclined or in some cases afraid to take a conservative bent.

Many of these papers, however, have spaces for reader comments in their online editions, and it is here that conservatives have an opening to get in their point of view. Some papers will screen comments, such as the New University at UC Irvine, where I used to teach. They often would not publish comments that I sent in. (They did, however, usually publish letters to the editor I sent in as well as my own op-eds on a couple of occasions.) Currently, they have a new format and apparently don't accept any comments.

Other papers, like the Daily Bruin at UCLA and the Daily Californian at UC Berkeley, are very accessible to reader comments online, and I scour those papers regularly online for articles or op-eds to which I can comment. The Daily Californian is an especially rich field for obvious reasons. You can jump into some really good back and forths on this paper.

One surprising fact I have noticed is that while the pieces put out by the papers themselves are almost always liberal, the reader responses are much more varied. In fact, when it comes to issues like campus anti-semitism, Islamic extremism, Black Lives Matter etc., most of the responses are conservative. Since most of the comments come from readers who are either anonymous or go by monikers, it is hard to tell if they are students or people from outside the university. My policy has always been to attach my name to anything I write, and campus papers are no exception. It goes without saying that you have more credibility when attaching your name as opposed to being anonymous. I am currently involved in a back and forth in the Georgetown University paper, The Hoya, after they put out an op-ed saying that one of their grads, Steve Bannon, "perverted Hoya values" (whatever those are). The article is timely since one of their professors, Dr Jonathan Brown, a converted Muslim and part of the Alwaleed bin Talal Center at GU, had just given a speech at Herndon, Virginia, in which he justified certain forms (Islamic) of slavery and rape. I pointed out that irony to the Hoya and was rebutted by one identifying him/herself as "Georgetown Professor." In my own response, I pointed out that unlike my co-respondent, I signed my name.

Without going into all the problems of left-wing indoctrination going on in our universities, it is crucial that we conservatives get our word out to these students, who are largely unexposed to conservative thought on campus. One avenue that is largely still open is the online edition of campus papers. My suggestion is to tailor your comments to the neutral university student. Appeal to their sense of reason and logic. Try not to come across as a hater or an extremist. That will just drive them into the arms of the other side (which falsely claims to be so tolerant). Make sure your grammar and spelling are correct. Check back every day to see if someone has responded to you. (Disqus can send you responses automatically.)

It is easy to get discouraged about academia, but we can get our message through in certain ways. We should take advantage of any avenue open to us. If we can ever win the university students, we will win the war of ideas. Every future leader of our nation is walking the halls of academia today.

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Posted on 02/21/2017 7:06 AM by Gary Fouse
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Monday, 20 February 2017
Five teenage boys have been arrested by anti-terror officers after police foiled their plans to travel together to join a terrorist “organisation
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From the London Evening Standard

Police stormed addresses across London and arrested the males – aged between 15 and 19 – on suspicion of the preparation of terrorist acts.The Metropolitan Police did not specify if the arrests were in connection with Islamic State, but said they “relate to plans to travel to join a proscribed organisation"

One of those arrested is aged 15, one is 16, two are 17 and another is 19. All five suspects have been detained on suspicion of Preparation of Terrorist Acts contrary to Section 5 of the Terrorism Act 2006

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Posted on 02/20/2017 5:10 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Monday, 20 February 2017
PRESIDENTS DAY 5:30PM EST Listen to Trump Campaign Foreign Policy Advisor Dr. Walid Phares on 1330am WEBY
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Dr. Walid Phares, Trump Campaign Foreign Policy Adviser

Fox News National Security and Foreign Policy Expert

 

Author of best-selling:

 

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Listen to another of the periodic International Middle East Round Table Discussions on Northwest Florida’s Talk Radio 1330amWEBY with “Your Turn” host Mike Bates and Jerry Gordon, Senior editor of the New English Review.  The program will air during the 4:30PM CST/5:30PM EST Time segment on Presidents Day, February 20, 2017.  You may listen live here.  The program will be archived for later listening and will be transcribed for a future article.

 Our featured guest is Dr. Walid Phares.

Dr. Phares will discuss the following national security and foreign policy issues;

  • The rise of a new Mid East Security alliance  known as the Arab NATO composed of the  Gulf Arab Emirates , Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt with outreach to  Israel to combat the rising regional and global hegemony of a nuclear ICBM equipped Iran.
  • Possible initiatives to contain Iran Middle East and Global geo-political objectives following the JCPOA and release of over $150 billion in sequestered funds used to acquire and develop nuclear weapons and Nuclear ICBMs threatening the Middle East, Europe and ultimately the US.
  •  Creation of  autonomous  safe zones  within the framework of a post-Assad federal  Syria for ethnic/religious groups in Syria including Kurds, Alawites, Druze and Sunni Muslims;
  • Withdrawal of all foreign forces including Iran and  proxy Hezbollah; Islamist terrorist groups, Turkey, defeat of ISIS by US –led coalition forces;
  • End of the 27 year regime of indicted war criminal Sudan President Bashir to end Jihad  genocide of indigenous populations in Darfur, Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan  a threat to the Sahel region of Africa
  • Possible Administration adoption of both domestic and international Muslim Brotherhood terrorist designations.

      

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Posted on 02/20/2017 2:37 PM by Jerry Gordon
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Monday, 20 February 2017
Oldham Council denies Trojan Horse plot
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From the Oldham Evening Chronicle

ANTI-terrorism chiefs have been passed a secret report by Oldham Council into allegations of a "Trojan Horse" attempt to take over a local primary school. Town hall bosses investigated complaints from Trish O'Donnell, head teacher at Clarksfield Primary School, reported in yesterday's Sunday Times.

They found that no such plot existed; however, they have confirmed that they have given their report to the national Counter Terrorism Unit and the Department for Education. If there is nothing to cause concern why is the report secret, and why do they think they Counter Terrorism Unit would be interested?

Councillor Amanda Chadderton, cabinet member for education and early years, said: "We take any allegations about our schools very seriously and always investigate in the interests of pupils, staff and parents. The report into an Oldham primary school found no basis to the 'Trojan Horse' allegations. At this time we also have no active investigations or concerns about any of the other schools the Sunday Times has asked about."

The DfE also said the investigation had nothing to do with extremism and "shouldn't be referenced as Trojan Horse." 

A spokesperson said: "We are already aware of the allegations raised in the report and we are working closely with Oldham Council."

Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, said: "...We must be vigilant to any issues that could conflate community tensions. This is why, along with the council, other Oldham MPs, organisations and leaders, we continually work across our diverse communities whilst tackling underlying inequalities which ultimately fuel these tensions."

Socialist Worker newspaper said the claim is "A racist witch hunt" They are part of a wider Islamophobic agenda that socialists should oppose. 

The Guardian reports that O’Donnell’s claims were backed by the headteachers’ union, NAHT, who said there was a “variety of apparent Trojan horse issues” in the Oldham area.

The only people who read the Guardian are school teachers and Social Workers; I hope the union continue to support their members and don't thoew them to the wolves if their claims uncover more unpalatable truths. 

Comments from some local people show that the council is not completely trusted. 

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Posted on 02/20/2017 2:10 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Monday, 20 February 2017
Donald Trump is Not a Zionist Racist
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by Michael Curtis

Donald J. Trump is not easy to define with exact unadorned precision. Like Shakespeare’s Cassius, he is fresh of spirit and resolve, to meet all perils very constantly. His universe is not a paradise of inner tranquility, but one of active decision making. Lacking a fixed ideological point of view, he is neither the most determined conservative, nor a cofounded liberal. Some critics have suggested he may be eccentric and aggressive, and fond of flags and loyalty parades. A majority of the enlightened, elite, classes who oppose him still doubt that he has the requisite qualifications to hold the highest office in the country and wonder who put him in the President’s chair. But one thing he is not and that is a “Zionist racist.”

This label and characterization, was recently bestowed on him by Jibtil Rajoub, deputy secretary of the Palestinian Fatah Central Committee who was repeating similar previous comments. In the same week a writer in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, the official Palestinian Authority paper, on November 12, 2016 wrote that his election revealed the depths of the racist trend in the U.S.

President Trump, like people of good will, is eager to see or help bring about a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli dispute. Yet, while he clearly has good feelings towards the State of Israel, and his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have been cordial and perhaps productive, it is premature to call him a Zionist, in any case an honorable term. Though moving the US Embassy from Tel-Aviv to the Israeli capital Jerusalem is eminently desirable there are legitimate differences, and Trump in spite of his favorable attitude remains, at the moment, undecided if not ambivalent.  

What is most troubling about the Palestinian slander of Trump being a racist, is that it is a reminder of the constant battering of Israel for almost 40 years as a “racist” or “apartheid” state. This charge against Trump, as well as against the State of Israel, should be refuted by all objective commentators, whether they agree or not with Trump’s policies or intention, as well as those of Israel.

The concept of “race” was crucial to Nazis ideology and policy in carrying out the persecution of Jews and Holocaust. After World War II, UNESCO founded on November 16, 1945 in London, asserted that the Nazi atrocities had been made possible by propagating, through ignorance and prejudice, the doctrine of the inequality of men and races particularly concerning Jews.  

Using race is one way of categorizing human diversity. The initial problem in dealing with the issue was the lack of unanimity in defining the nature of “race.” A number of formulas were discussed and asserted by UNESCO, at that time a more serious and objective body than it has since become, starting with the document, The Race Question on July 18, 1950 to clarify the meaning of “race.” The core of the disputed issue is whether race, is a biological fact, or a social myth.

One argument is that there is a biological basis to racial categories, certain anatomical and physiological characteristics, skin color, hair texture, facial makeup and stature, qualities assumed to be essential to or innate to a specific group. These distinct physical traits, different from other groups, are transmitted by hereditary.

From the beginning individuals such as Julian Huxley, objecting to the political use by Nazis of racial classifications, and because of possible misunderstanding of racial groups, substituted "ethnic group" for “race.” They wanted to avoid the use of the word because it appeared to deny or be critical of the concept of equality of the human species.

Even the July 1950 UNESCO declaration on race itself contained contradictions in definition. Part of it was expressed in biological scientific terms, of frequent distribution of genes or physical characteristics, but more frequently the emphasis was on race as a social construction or phenomenon, even a social myth, not a biological concept. This does not deny biological factors or distinct physical characteristics of a given group of people, but more emphasis would be put on social groups with a shared history, sense of identity, geographical links, and cultural affinities.

This criticism of the biological view is based on two reasons, one scientific, the other political. The first argues there is no indisputable biological evidence to support the view that the human species consists of different races. The other, political and social one, is that the “myth” of race has led to slavery, apartheid, and the Holocaust.

According to the 2013 U.S. Census Bureau Report, race and ethnicity are not quantifiable values, and indeed the intended 2020 Census asking people to identify themselves plans to omit “race” or “origin.”  It is a recognition that racial categories change over time. The U.S. was anticipated by France. In May 2013, the French National Assembly approved a bill to remove the words “race” and “racial” from the French penal code. Francois Hollande in his presidential electoral campaign ran on a platform calling for “race” to be removed from the French Constitution.

Whether one regards “race” as a social myth, “racism” is real. It is a falsehood that has taken a heavy toll in life and suffering. Its basis is that there is a hierarchy of races, some are superior to others, with the Aryan or Nordic race at the peak, and justified in dominating the “inferior” races, Slavs (Russians, Serbs, Poles), Gypsies and Jews.

Racism implies discrimination on the basis of ancestry, or physical characteristics, such as skin color or certain facial features, or cultural or religious beliefs. associated with a certain group of people. According to the UNESCO formula racism includes racist ideologies, prejudiced attitudes, discriminatory behavior, structural arrangements and institutional practices resulting in inequality, as well as the fallacious notion that discriminatory relations between groups are morally and scientifically justifiable .It is reflected in discriminatory provisions in legislation or regulations and practices as well as in prejudicial beliefs and acts.

The U.S. was confronted with the issue in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka in May 1954 when the U.S. Supreme Court by 9-0 overruled Plessey v Ferguson 1896 that upheld state racial separation laws under the doctrine of separate but equal. The Court in Brown held that state laws for separate public schools for white and black students were unconstitutional. Separate educational facilities were inherently unequal and a violation of the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The lowest point in the history of the United Nations was reached on November 10, 1975 when the UN General Assembly Resolution 3379 by 72-35 and 32 abstentions determined that “Zionism is a form of Racism and Racial Discrimination.” Though the Resolution was revoked in 1991 by UND GA RES 46/86, it was a reminder of antisemitism and anti-Jewish hatred in a considerable part of the world. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan said at the time, a great evil had been loosed on the world.

Race is not a fiction. Its use is one way to characterize human diversity, and it can be objectively discussed regarding physical and genetic factors. But “racism” is a sociological and political ordering that some races are inferior to others. It is not a scientific term but one that is concerned with discrimination, hatred, and malice.

One expects strong differences of opinion over the policies and actions of President Trump but he is no racist. The Palestinian organizations and personnel who keep using this malicious idiotic falsehood, this “great evil,” should be ashamed of themselves. Slanderous remarks are no way to peace.

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Posted on 02/20/2017 1:15 PM by Michael Curtis
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