Thursday, 29 October 2020
Woman decapitated as three die in 'suspected terror attack' in Nice
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Sky News and Daily Mail

A woman has been decapitated in a suspected terror attack in Nice, French police say.

Three people have died and several others are injured after a knife attack reportedly took place near the Notre Dame church. 

The attack began around 9am, according to local reports, before police swarmed the area where they shot and arrested the attacker. 

The city's mayor, Christian Estrosi, tweeted: 'I am on site with the [police] who arrested the perpetrator of the attack.  'I confirm that everything suggests a terrorist attack in the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Nice.'

The assailant was arrested after the Thursday morning attack and taken to a nearby hospital after being injured during his arrest, a police official told AP. The suspect was believed to be acting alone, the official said.

PARIS (Reuters) - The man suspected of carrying out a fatal knife attack at a church in the southern French city of Nice kept shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) even after he had been arrested by police, Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi told reporters

The Mayor is tweeting regularly this morning. 

13 jours après #SamuelPaty, notre pays ne peut plus se contenter des lois de la paix pour anéantir l’islamo fascisme. #Nice06

13 days after Samuel Paty we need more than the laws of peacetime to eliminate islamo fascism. 

According to the Telegraph the man has been named as Brahim (short for Ibrahim perhaps, although it is a common name in that form in Albania) ) which coincidentally is the same first name as the father of one of teacher Samuel Paty's pupils who made the initial complaint (putting it mildly) 

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Posted on 10/29/2020 4:32 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Wednesday, 28 October 2020
The Media’s Smear Job Campaigning for Joe Biden
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The media must answer for the most egregious smear job in the history of the democratic world.

by Conrad Black

As the national political media have conducted practically the entire Democratic presidential election campaign, the credibility of the media is entirely implicated in the election result. In the latest revelations about the financial activities of the Biden family while presidential candidate Joe Biden was the vice president, the national political media and the principal social media companies have sandbagged another large media company, News Corporation’s New York Post, and have tried to impose online silence on the White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. 

The media either had to suppress the story to maintain support for their candidate and continue to make his campaign for him, or give normal attention to such a well-attested story and probably sink his candidacy—effectively their joint candidacy. If they had chosen the second course of action and treated Biden as they would have treated Trump or any previous presidential candidate mired in such allegations, the Biden candidacy almost certainly would be doomed. In going full metal jacket to ignore the story and to maintain Biden in their candidate protection program, the major media and the executives behind them are putting the credibility and ultimately the value of their franchises on the line.

If Biden is elected, his premeditated lie that he had never discussed his son’s business dealings in Ukraine or other foreign countries will be evident and undeniable, but not significant. There will be no further legal proceedings and while a couple of Senate committees may continue to poke the question, even that will stop if the Democrats emerge from the election with the majority of the Senate. Similarly, the Durham special counsel investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russian collusion allegations, which has been inexcusably prolonged, will also undoubtedly be swept under the carpet no matter what Durham’s findings are. Even though it is now clear that the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, knew when she was circulating the Steele dossier that its chief source was a Russian government agent, these facts appear not to matter. 

Similarly, while there is a bipartisan consensus about some aspects of the unhealthy influence social media has on public opinion formation in the United States, if Biden wins, the post-electoral examination of the role of social media will be comparatively gentle. That is the least the Democrats could do for these immensely influential executives who have carried water on both shoulders for their unfeasible candidate.

But if Trump wins, the Biden financial activities will be investigated. It appears to be uncontested public knowledge that the Biden family received from various foreign sources $9.84 million in the time that Joe Biden was vice president; he seems to have monetized the second-highest public office in the United States. The Bidens deserve the benefit of the doubt in criminal questions, but they could not possibly be serene about the likely outcome of a serious examination of this apparently rather sordid financial history. John Durham presumably will get to the bottom of the origins of the shameful Trump Russian collusion fraud. There is little doubt that somebody committed serious offenses in launching and sustaining the complete fiction of the Trump-Russian collusion story. And the social media barons, with a Trump victory, will be in for a rough sleigh ride.

The extreme uniform and vociferous bias of almost all of the national media is not only remarkable in itself, especially as compounded by the social media attempts to stifle opposing viewpoints, even from the White House. The virulence of that electoral partisanship is also extraordinary. There were widespread suggestions in 1964 that the Republican candidate, Senator Barry M. Goldwater, in upholding the concept of states’ rights, was effectively endorsing indefinite racial segregation, and that by his provocative and bellicose attitude to the communist powers, he was a menace to world peace. I have my doubts if he would’ve been a successful president but he was hideously caricatured and vilified.

 
 

In the current circumstances, the only grievance leveled against President Trump apart from mindless, disenthralled Trump-hate and the incitement of the view that he is somehow morally inadequate to his office, are generally unjust complaints about his COVID management. The Biden campaign is just nasty name-calling. In the first debate, Biden called him “a clown, a liar, and a racist.” In the 2016 campaign, President Obama claimed that Trump was a supporter of the Ku Klux Klan.

Veteran CBS correspondent Leslie Stahl, in the interview that the Trump campaign released to the public unedited almost a week earlier, claimed there was no evidence the Trump campaign had been spied upon by its enemies in 2016 even though that fact has been verified by the inspector general of the Justice Department. Jon Meacham, the man who plowed Newsweek magazine into the ground and has made himself the house historian of the Bush family, declared after the second debate that Trump was illustrative of “the privileged white lizard mentality” of many Americans. This is not the reflection of a respectable historian. Of course, criticism, even harsh criticism of this president is fair comment. But there is no excuse for the hateful and barbarous vilification of him as a person that is now almost the whole campaign against and media coverage of him.          

Unfortunately, The Atlantic’s summary of this president last week, consistent with the integrity of its coverage throughout the Trump era, is only slightly more rabidly irrational than the national media generally on this subject. It comes from Jeffrey Goldberg, the source of the infamous falsehood that Trump referred to American war dead as “losers and suckers.” He wrote last week: 

Donald Trump is the worst president this country has seen since Andrew Johnson or perhaps James Buchanan, or perhaps ever. Trump has brought our country low; has divided our people; he has pitted race against race; he has corrupted our democracy; he has shown contempt for American ideals; he has made cruelty a sacrament; has provided comfort to propagators of hate; he has abandoned America’s allies; he has aligned himself with dictators; he has encouraged terrorism and mob violence; he has undermined the agencies and departments of government; he has despoiled the environment; he has opposed free speech; he has lied frenetically and evangelized for conspiracists; he has stolen children from their parents; he has made himself an advocate of a hostile foreign power; and he has failed to protect America from a ravaging virus . . . Through his avarice and ignorance and negligence and titanic incompetence, he has allowed tens of thousands of Americans to suffer and die, many alone, all needlessly. With each passing day his presidency reaps more death.

In fact, the worst American presidents since James Buchanan were George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Donald Trump has had the best first term of any president in American history except Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Richard Nixon. If Donald Trump is reelected (as he deserves to be), Joe Biden will return to an evidently comfortable retirement. But the media responsible for resurrecting Biden and Kamala Harris from the pre-convention ash heap and trying to elect them with the most egregious smear job in the history of the democratic world will have to answer for what they have done to the vital craft of journalism. 

First published in American Greatness.

 

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Posted on 10/28/2020 7:06 AM by Conrad Black
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Wednesday, 28 October 2020
Iran Denounces Sudan’s Normalization Agreement As Paying ‘Ransom’
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by Hugh Fitzgerald

Tehran appears to be almost as unhinged as the Palestinians in its reaction to the normalization agreements that three Arab states – the UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan (once its government approves the deal) – have now made with Israel. Iran’s charge of “ransom” is reported on here: “Iran slams Sudan’s Israel deal, says it paid ‘ransom’ to get off terror list,” Times of Israel, October 24, 2020:

Iran denounced on Saturday the normalization agreement between Sudan and Israel, saying it was the result of Khartoum paying a “ransom,” as Bahrain became the latest Arab country to welcome the announcement of the deal.

Pay enough ransom, close your eyes to the crimes against Palestinians, then you’ll be taken off the so-called ‘terrorism’ blacklist,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry tweeted. “Obviously, the list is as phony as the US fight against terrorism. Shameful.”

Sudan is not paying “ransom.” It is making a deal – a deal in which it comes out way ahead. For being taken off the list of state sponsors of terrorism will allow Sudan to attract foreign investors who have been reluctant to deal with Khartoum, to receive foreign – especially American — aid, and above all, to be eligible for loans from the IMF, World Bank, and other international financial institutions. And in normalizing relations with Israel, Sudan will benefit from Israeli desires to ensure that “early adopters” of normalization see, in a reasonably short time, clear benefits from taking such a step. In the case of Sudan, Israel is ready to help Sudanese farmers share in its advances in drip irrigation, waste water management, and solar energy – all areas important to those farmers, and in which Israel is a world leader.

Sudan was a staunch ally of Iran until 2016, helping the Islamic Republic smuggle rockets and other weapons to Palestinian terror groups in Gaza. This prompted Israel to repeatedly bomb military facilities in Sudan, according to foreign reports….

Iran is miffed because Sudan will no longer conceivably serve again as a way station for Iranian weapons being transshipped to terror groups in Gaza. While Sudan stopped such cooperation with Iran in 2016, in Tehran there always remained the hope that such transfers could begin again. It was the coup against Omar al-Bashir in 2019 that definitely dashed Iranian hopes that Sudan would once again collaborate with Tehran. Sudan was not only the land link for delivery of Iranian weapons to Hamas in Gaza; it also gave members of Hamas refuge. Most devastatingly, it provided Osama bin Laden with a home and secure headquarters in the very years when he planned the bombing of the American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. But since the overthrow of Omar al-Bashir, Sudan has ended all support for Hamas, as it had previously stopped support for remnants of Al Qaeda. It can no longer be described as a state sponsor of terrorism. Even without its promise of “normalization” of relations with Israel, Sudan deserved to be taken off that list.

In addition to no longer sponsoring any terrorists, which it had already done without needing American prompting, Sudan had to meet another American requirement to be taken off the list: Khartoum promised to, and did, transfer $335 million to compensate Americans who had been killed or wounded in the Al-Qaeda bombing of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998. Was this payment part of the “ransom” Iran says Sudan was forced to pay, or was it, really, a perfectly sensible undertaking, paying in full the amount that was determined to be due to the wounded and to the families of the dead, for the 1998 Embassy bombings in East Africa? Since when did a nation meeting its responsibilty, behaving correctly, become “the payment of ransom”?

What must really enrage Iran about this deal is Sudan’s commitment to designating Hezbollah, Iran’s closest ally, as a terror group. This comes at a very bad time for Hezbollah. Since early 2019, two of the most important European countries, the U.K. and Germany, have banned as a single terrorist entity both the “political” and the “military” wings of Hezbollah, severely constricting its ability to attract recruits and raise money in Europe. The last of the “big three” European powers, France, once a firm holdout on banning Hezbollah, appears to be leaning toward now doing so. President Macron has been outspoken, in his attempts to help Lebanon right itself, in denouncing the role of Hezbollah which, he has said, cannot be both “an army and a political power.” Macron has become increasingly fed up with the role of Hezbollah in preventing reform in Lebanon. No one should be surprised if France, after the examples of the U.K. and Germany, were soon to ban both wings of the terror organization. And there have been three more blows to Hezbollah since mid-August: both Lithuania and Estonia have banned Hezbollah, leading some observers to predict that the third Baltic state, Latvia, will soon do the same, as will, in the same neighborhood, Finland. In mid-October, Guatemala banned Hezbollah; it has previously been banned by Guatemala’s neighbor, Honduras. Paraguay and Argentina banned Hezbollah last year. Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has now promised to ban the terror group. Hezbollah had had a strong following among the large Lebanese Shi’a community in Latin America, but the recent banning of the group in its entirety by several countries has made recruitment and fundraising more difficult. That fundraising had already been made more onerous a task from the fact that Hezbollah’s largest operation in South America is in Venezuela; that country’s economy has collapsed, making it much harder to raise money among the Shi’a community there. If President Bolsonaro finally makes good on his promise to ban Hezbollah in Brazil, it will be a crushing blow to the terror group in South America.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he “condemns and rejects” the Israel-Sudan agreement.

“No one has the right to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause,” the statement from Abbas’s office said.

But Sudan was not claiming the “right to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people.” It said nothing about the Palestinians at all. It is only doing what the UAE and Bahrain have done, which is to promote their own national interests, and not to allow the Palestinians to block their agendas. It is the Palestinians, in fact, who claim the “right to speak on behalf of all the Arabs” when anything supposedly affecting the Palestinians is brought up. It is this presumption that they, the Palestinians, should have their diktats obeyed by the other Arabs that has so infuriated the UAE and Bahrain, and may now, one hopes, infuriate the Sudan.

The Hamas terror group, which rules the Gaza Strip, also condemned the deal as a “political sin” that harms both Palestinians and Sudanese.

The deal with Sudan will include aid and investment from Israel, particularly in technology and agriculture, along with further debt relief. It comes as Sudan and its transitional government teeter on the edge. Thousands have protested in the country’s capital Khartoum and other regions in recent days over dire economic conditions.

How does this deal harm the “Palestinians”? They are harmed only in the sense that, in failing to stop the Sudan from promoting its own interests, they point up their current political weakness, show the world that they are no longer at the center of Arab concerns and can be safely ignored.

And how does this deal harm the Sudanese, as Hamas as claimed? Sudan is removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, which will be of terrific economic benefit. Its removal from that list will now encourage foreign investment in the country, turn on the spigot of foreign – especially American – aid, and again give Khartoum access to loans from the IMF, the World Bank, and other financial institutions. What could be more valuable for Khartoum?

Furthermore, the Sudanese will now have a beneficent economic partner in Israel, which is eager to show the “early adopters” of normalization that they made the right choice. Israel, as the original Start-Up Nation, famously offers cooperation in high tech, but while that kind of cooperation is of some value to Khartoum, what Sudan now needs the most help in is agriculture. Israel happens to be a world leader in three areas – drip irrigation, wastewater management, and solar energy – that are of vital importance to Sudanese farmers. One can expect immediate benefits to Khartoum from Israelis ready to share their advances and their expertise, just as soon as the agreement is ratified by Sudan.

Israel has a major stake in making sure the “normalization” agreements pay off for the Arab states that have been willing to engage in such a hopeful fashion with the Jewish state. We’ve already seen the astonishing results involving Israel and the UAE – the agreements between Emirati and Israeli investors, businessmen, entrepreneurs, marketers, with more such agreements announced almost daily.

Iran can bluster and curse, but what it describes, and decries, as the payment of “ransom,” is nothing more than a sensible business deal, in which Khartoum comes out way ahead. The economic benefits are entirely on its side. The U.S., in removing Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, gives Sudan much-needed access to IMF and World Bank loans, to American foreign aid, and to foreign investors. For its part, Israel will now provide Sudan with the economic benefit of its expertise in industry and, especially in agriculture, in exchange not for an economic benefit of its own, but for the political benefit of having established normal relations with yet another Arab state. For Israel, continuing to punch holes in its isolation in the region, country by country, it is well worth the price.

First published in Jihad Watch

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Posted on 10/28/2020 5:22 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 28 October 2020
Manchester Arena: Security guard ‘did not approach Abedi for fear of being branded a racist’
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It paralyses us all, and again it is little girls who have been the victims. This time blown apart to die although others there that night will spend the rest of their lives maimed. Maimed in a different way to the raped girls of Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford and Telford, but a lifetime of challenges nonetheless. 

PA Media via Microsoft News

A security guard had a “bad feeling” as he eyeballed Manchester Arena suicide bomber Salman Abedi but did not approach him for fear of being branded a racist, a public inquiry has heard.

Kyle Lawler said he was stood 10 or 15ft away from Abedi, who had been reported to security by a member of the public who thought he looked “dodgy”.

The Showsec security guard, aged 18 at the time of the terror attack, told police in a statement read to the inquiry sitting in Manchester: “I felt unsure about what to do.

“It’s very difficult to define a terrorist. For all I knew he might well be an innocent Asian male.

“I did not want people to think I am stereotyping him because of his race.

“I was scared of being wrong and being branded a racist if I got it wrong and would have got into trouble.

“It made me hesitant.

“I wanted to get it right and not mess it up by over-reacting or judging someone by their race.”

Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquiry, said: “If you were to approach him and he was some innocent kid, people might think you were racist?”

Mr Lawler replied: “Yes.”

Around eight minutes before he detonated his device, Showsec steward Mohammed Ali Agha alerted Mr Lawler to the report by a member of the public and both began observing Abedi. 

Mr Lawler said: “At that time he was just an Asian male sat amongst a group of white people. As Ali turned to have a look he’s clocked that we are looking at him. He’s become fidgety with his hands. No sudden movements. He was watching us, watching him. He would kind of look, slightly look away and look back at us.”

In his statement to police, Mr Lawler said: “I just had a bad feeling about him but did not have anything to justify that.”

A stroppy old woman like me, a "Karen" might well say something, but our young have 'equality, diversity, check your privilege' dinned into them at school, at college, at work.  Especially when the older guard, a Muslim himself, is pooh-poohing the parent's concerns. 

Mr Lawler agreed that on five separate occasions after the bombing, he made statements, verbally or in writing, where he “deliberately shortened” the time between him leaving the City Room to the bomb going off, “so no one would say, why didn’t you do something?” the inquiry was told.

He said: “I had no recollection of minutes or seconds. I had a guilty feeling, I had a lot of blame on myself.”

From the Times

In a statement read to the inquiry, Mr Lawler said: “I felt terrible guilt for what happened. I was almost crippled by it. I was in a terrible place and I remain so. I was also angry with myself. I felt with hindsight I should have done something else other than try to get my radio to work.”

“I think I was naive at the time to the situation. It was one of those things, it was possible but it wouldn’t happen to me,”

Mr Lawler spoke to Mr Agha three times in four minutes as the pair tried to work out what to do. Mr Lawler said that he was “starting to panic a bit”  . . . I said words to the effect of, ‘I don’t like him, I don’t think he’s here for a proper reason. If he’s going to pull out a weapon, I’ll attack him and fight him’.”

Mr Agha apparently said: “Yeah that’s sound, that’s what we’ll do” but it was “jokey bravado”, Mr Lawler said.

The inquiry heard Mr Lawler, from Salford, left school at 16 and began an apprenticeship working 7am to 4pm before going in the evenings straight to Showsec events, working from 5.30pm to 11.30pm in the evenings, for £4.24 per hour.

But before the bombing, he said he had never dealt with the report of a suspicious person and was not aware that where Abedi was in the foyer was a CCTV blind spot, which it is thought was identified by the bomber in previous “hostile reconnaissance”.

Not an idle young man then, one willing to work extra hours to make a living. Most of the staff at the Arena in whatever capacity work zero hours for low pay via an agency. 

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Posted on 10/28/2020 2:24 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Tuesday, 27 October 2020
Biden Would End U.S. Support For Saudis In Yemen
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by Hugh Fitzgerald

Joe Biden has called for the U.S. to end its support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. Many beg to differ, as here: “Should the US Support Saudi Arabia’s Intervention in Yemen?,” by Eric Bordenkircher, Algemeiner, October 21, 2020:

The Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, is mistaken to call for an end to US support and involvement in Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen. Biden fails to recognize the linkage of issues in the Middle East. The former vice president is promoting an arguably more destructive and potentially more dangerous policy….

Biden’s position on Yemen looks to redeem the image of the United States as a just, principled, and compassionate nation. He will extract US forces and terminate support for a little understood, deadly, and destructive Middle East conflict. It is an electorally popular position. The optics and actors (i.e. Saudi Arabia) of the conflict make it easy to condemn. It appears to be low-hanging fruit….

Joe Biden either ignores or has simply forgotten the significance of US involvement in Yemen. Saudi security concerns, nuclear proliferation, and the US-Saudi alliance are inextricably linked. Biden’s former boss, Barack Obama, noted this to The Atlantic in 2015: “The protection that we provide as [the Gulf countries’] partner is a far greater deterrent that they could ever hope to achieve by developing their own nuclear stockpile.”…

If the U.S. withdraws support for the Saudi war against the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, Riyadh – now uncertain of American protection against Iran and its nuclear project – would hasten to create its own nuclear deterrent. This would be dangerous enough, but might also create an arms race in the Middle East, the most volatile region in the world.

The complete termination of US support and involvement in Yemen will trigger two outcomes. The Saudi government will question future American commitments to their security. The Biden campaign forgets that Saudi Arabia must continue to live in the same neighborhood with Iran. Iran is relentless in asserting a presence and/or leverage throughout the Middle East. One Saudi weapons deal with the US is insufficient for alleviating Saudi fears.

Iran, despite its economic distress, has been boasting of its advances in home-grown weaponry, especially in precision-guided ballistic missiles, and in anti-missile defense systems. It has successfully attacked Saudi oil processing installations at Abqaiq and Khurais (the Houthis claimed responsibility, but the West, and the Saudis, are convinced the missiles came from Iran). Iran is a direct threat to the Saudis. The Islamic Republic has not only been lobbing missiles at Saudi oil installations, but has been constructing a network of proxies and allies from the Gulf to the Mediterranean.. Iran been relentlessly creating a “Shi’a crescent” that includes the Houthis in Yemen, the Iran-backed Shi’a militias in Iraq, Assad’s Alawite-led army in Syria, and Hezbollah in Lebanon. This “Shi’a crescent” fills the Gulf Arabs, and especially Saudi Arabia, with dread. Riyadh also fears Iran’s appeal both to the restive Shi’a minority inside Saudi Arabia — more than four million Shi’a live in the Eastern Province, where all of the country’s oil is produced — and to the Shi’a majority (60%) in Bahrain, who have already risen once in revolt against their Sunni ruler before being suppressed by Saudi and Pakistani troops.

If Biden withdraws support – weapons, logistics, intelligence – for the Saudis in Yemen, Riyadh is almost certain to begin its own nuclear project, as it has already suggested it will do. Won’t other countries in the region, likely including Iraq and Egypt, want to follow suit? What would that mean for the security of the oilfields, if a Saudi-Iran war – both possessing nuclear weapons — were to break out? And what are the implications for the security of Israel, if three or four Muslim Arab states manage to produce nuclear weapons? The U.S. ought to be reassuring Saudi Arabia of its support in Yemen against an Iranian proxy, rather than threatening, as Biden advocates, to withdraw it.

Saudi Arabia is an ally helping, in Yemen, to block militarily the regional ambitions of Iran, which is the mortal enemy not only of Saudi Arbia, but of both the U.S. (the Great Satan) and Israel (the Little Satan). We don’t have to like the Saudi regime – we can deplore its murder of Jamal Khashoggi and its human rights record –in order to recognize its usefulness in the war against Iran. If the Houthis were to win in Yemen, this would give Iran a military foothold right along the Saudis’ southern border and, as well, an outpost at the entry to the Red Sea, allowing it to threaten Israel’s maritime traffic to Asia.

Biden needs to rethink his ill-considered plan to withdraw American support for the Saudis in Yemen. It could lead to a Houthi – which is the same thing as an Iranian – victory in Yemen. It would likely lead the Saudis, if convinced that they can no longer count on their American ally, to begin a nuclear project of their own, worrisome in itself and even more worrisome if it were to cause other Arab states to follow suit. Saudi Arabia is very far from being what we would wish an ally to be – just as the Soviet Union, which we backed to the hilt in the Second World War, was hardly the ideal ally – but right now we should stick by the Saudis in Yemen, persuade Riyadh to postpone any nuclear ambitions, and encourage Saudi Arabia to improve its human rights record, which remains abysmal. Israel, having carefully weighed the pros and cons, continues to collaborate on security matters with Saudi Arabia against Iran. So should we.

First published in Jihad Watch

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Posted on 10/27/2020 7:23 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Tuesday, 27 October 2020
The Decline of Jewish Population
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by Michael Curtis

It is a truth, though not universally acknowledged, that the world’s population growth is expected to decline and to stop growing by the end of this century. Between 1950 and 2020 that population grew between 1% and 2% each year, the number increasing from 2.5 billion to 7.7 billion. The number is expected to peak in 2064 at 9.7 billion, and decline to 8.8 billion by 2100, depending on the extent of infectious diseases, famine, war, longevity, and especially low birth rates. The global fertility rate is projected by 2070 to fall below the replacement rate, 2.1 births per woman, the level needed to maintain the size of a population. The median age of the world population is expected to increase from 24 in 1950 and 31 in 2020 to 42 in 2100. The number of those over 80 will increase from 146 million in 2020 to 881 million. By 2073, there will be more people aged 65 and older than under 15, the first time this has happened.

The validity of these projections, of course, depends on the impact of the pandemic Covid-19 on human and social behavior. No one fully understands the complexity of Covid-19. We are in midst of trying to understand how viruses and humans evolve, and attempting to assess the evolutionary conflict between parasites and hosts, and whether quarantine can make people more susceptible to other maladies because of lack of microbial exposure. Nevertheless, it is clear that the virus and the consequent need for isolation and distance has affected personal and family lives, human relationships, work lives, and traditional gender roles, and may alter human behavior with mood disorders.

It is also clear that gender inequality is increasing as a result of the virus. Women have lost more jobs than have men because they are more employed in hospitality and service occupations, activities that have lost customers, and have been handicapped because of lockdowns  and school closings, unequal division of additional      household labor, spending more time with household requisites and children, and aiding elderly relatives. The anticipated result of current developments is that birthrates will drop, people will stay single for a longer time,  people will defer marriage and having children.  

To take some countries, estimates predict that by the year 2050 population in Italy will decline from 60.5 to 54 million; in Japan from 126 to 105 million; in Poland  from 37 to 33 million. The U.S. population grew by only 0.48% in 2019, due to fewer births, the aging population and fewer new immigrants because of the decline in jobs in construction and manufacturing.

By coincidence, very important information on population changes is available in a new report published by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research written by demographers Sergio Della Pergola and Daniel Staetsky that provides a comprehensive analysis of the changing Jewish demography in Europe. It reveals, startlingly and surprisingly, that the proportion of world Jewry living in Europe today is about one tenth of what it was in the late 19th century, and approximately the same as in 1170 when there was an account of numbers by a Jewish traveler. 

Jews have long been an integral part of European history and culture. Though calculations may differ because of alternative definitions of Jewishness, whether based on religion,  ethnicity, parentage, or culture, the world’s Jewish population living in Europe is at its lowest level, for a thousand years and has been declining. The Jewish presence depends on various factors: the amount of tolerance for Jewish diversity in the traditional culture, the manifestation of antisemitism, verbally and physically, the legal status of Jews, the availability of economic and educational facilities, the recognition of Jews as a distinct religious group, the degree of intermarriage.

By the 19th century world Jewry amounted to about 10 million; 88% lived in Europe. By the start of World War II world Jewry had increased to 16.6 million. Jews at first, up to the 19th century, moved  from West to East Europe, the reversed the direction. The Holocaust murdered 6 million, thus reducing the European Jewish population to 5.11 million, 35% of world Jewry. The number fell to 26% in 1970, and 9% today, European Jewry now number 1.3 million, out of total Jewry of 14. 7million; present figures are France, 449, 000; UK, 295,000; Russia, 155,000; and Germany 118,000. Since the end of the Soviet Union, the countries of the EU were the main place for Jewish residence.

Most of the decrease in the number of Jews took place in eastern Europe, to  2% today. Between 1948 and 1968   620,000 Jews migrated from eastern Europe, over half to Israel. At the same time, 250,000 Jews from north Africa migrated to France, and another 50,000 to  the rest of Europe. Between 1970 and 2020, Europe lost  59% of its Jewish population, mostly from east Europe. After the Six Day War and  then the end of the Soviet Union, about 1.8 million left east Europe, 1 million to Israel, but 120,000 to Germany. The center of European Jewish gravity  shifted from East to West Europe, the main beneficiary was Germany,

Today, 1.3 million in Europe self-identify as Jews, though 2.8 million have at least one Jewish grandparent or is married to someone with at least  one Jewish grandparent. The world population is 6.2 billion: the main estimate is that there are 13-14 million Jews in the  world, including 6.5 million in Israel and  5,7 million in the U.S. Europe has lost  8.5% of its Jewish population since1970. France has 450,000 today, compared to 530,000 in 1970. The UK has seen a decline of 25% since 1970, to the present 295,000. Since  2000, more than 51,000 French Jews moved  to Israel, partly for economic  reasons, but mainly by fears of antisemitism. In Germany, about 40% of the 118,000 Jews are over 65 while only 10% are under 15, and logically its Jewish population will decline and possibly disappear. Jews will also disappear because of intermarriage: in Poland this accounts for 70% of Jews, in Hungary 50%, and 24% in the UK.

In general, the Jewish communities can be characterized as an urban population, one with low fertility with a significant proportion of Jews of child bearing age not married, and over half of Jewish households having only 1 or 2 children.

In contrast, Israel, which at its creation in 1948 had  800,000 citizens has a population of  9.2 million, 0.11% of world population, of whom 74% are Jewish and 1.8 million are Arabs. It is a highly urban country. Jerusalem has 936,000 inhabitants, Tel Aviv has 460,000, and Haifa  280,000.  

A final word on the U.S. In the late 1940s, Jews were about 4% of the U.S. population; now it is 2,2%, a community of zero population growth, one that is aging and shrinking. Jews began arriving in the Americas with 23 Sephardim who came to New Amsterdam in 1654. At first, more Sephardim arrived, then immigrants came from Germany, and then from east Europe, leading to 4.2 million in 1930. Within the U.S. population changes have occurred, about 44% live in the north east, 17% of the U.S. population, 23% in the west, same as general population, 22% in the south, 38% of total population, and 11% in the  midwest, 21% of the U.S. Numbers of Jews have been declining in big U.S. cities: New York 1.5 million, Los Angeles 519,000, San Francisco 311,000, and Washington, D.C. 292,000.

In spite of problems in the world, most will agree that human progress has occurred, as the world is better fed,  richer, safer, better educated. However, the impact of the Holocaust has been dramatic on the Jewish population and demography in Europe. It is saddening that in the last 50 years Europe has lost 60% of its Jewish population. How many who see a performance of Fiddler on the Roof will appreciate that sadness now that the proportion of Jews in Eastern Europe has declined to 2% of global Jewry?

 

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Posted on 10/27/2020 6:50 AM by Michael Curtis
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Tuesday, 27 October 2020
Manchester Arena inquiry: Guard denies 'fobbing off' man who reported suspicions about bomber
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Sky News

A security guard who said he saw the Manchester Arena bomber smiling just before he blew himself up has denied he "fobbed off" a member of the public who reported his suspicions about 15 minutes before the atrocity.

Showsec guard Mohammed Agha told an inquiry in Manchester: "He was on a phone, a mobile phone, he was smiling."

Seconds later Abedi detonated his device, packed with 3,000 nuts and bolts, shredding everything in its path, as he killed 22 people.

Witnesses said a quarter of an hour before the bombing, Mr Agha told Christopher Wild, who was waiting for his 14-year-old daughter, "yeah, yeah, we've seen him, he's fine" when told there was a suspicious man at the back of the City Room foyer.

Mr Agha said of Mr Wild: "He's come up to me, walked over to me and mentioned, 'there's a suspicious person sat behind you, he's got a backpack. He's said to me that he's waiting for someone'."

Mr Agha acknowledged that Mr Wild had said he was "worried about" the person and by "cross-referencing" he realised he "had seen someone like that as well".

But he added: "I would not say [Mr Wild] was panicked or anything, he just said it to me in an ordinary way. I said to Mr Wild that I'd have a look into it… I said this because I wanted to double-check, is it the same person?"

He denied saying that he was aware of the man, or "fobbing off" Mr Wild.

He added: "I was telling him not to worry, I'll look into it. If I said something to the opposite of what I said, he would have panicked further and when it comes to the security role, you are not supposed to panic people. . ."

Mr Agha said he originally noticed Salman Abedi as he arrived in the City Room foyer that evening at 8.51pm, carrying his heavy rucksack, because of his trainers.

"I liked the look of them, I knew the brand he was wearing," he said.

But the backpack just looked "quite big like a camping rucksack," and he said there was nothing noticeable about the way he was walking.

Abedi left 20 minutes later and returned at 9.33pm, when Mr Agha saw him again but still was not suspicious. "It's a public area and people walk in and out. At that time he just went past me, [I thought] he must be waiting for something or he is waiting for a train" he said. To be fair that entrance/exit of the arena does open onto the concourse of busy Manchester Victoria station. Whether bored passengers should be allowed to wander in and out at will is something I hope has been addressed since. 

This is a photograph I took myself earlier this year of the entrance to the arena, while standing on the concourse of Victoria station waiting for a tram to Rochdale. 

Mr Agha denied "fobbing off" Mr Wild who alerted him to the bomber around 10.15pm. Mr Agha said he "tried to remain calm and think with a straight head." 

It was another eight minutes before he approached a colleague called Kyle Lawler, who had a radio. The pair appeared to discuss the matter before Mr Lawler left the area.

Six minutes later Salman Abedi left his position at the back of the City Room, a CCTV "blind spot", to detonate his device.

Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquiry, asked if he considered what type of harm Abedi might cause.

Mr Agha replied: "No, I didn't specifically go into that, I just thought that he might cause harm… with a weapon - that was obviously a major concern for myself in that area."

The barrister added: "You observed he had a large backpack that might have something in, that he might be there to cause harm. Was one scenario that he might be a suicide bomber?"

"I did think about it but it wasn't in my head to fully go into that situation. There were too many scenarios in my head. I was unclear of the situation," Mr Agha said.

"It crossed your mind this man might be bomber?" Mr Greaney asked.

"Yes," Mr Agha replied.

Asked why he left it for eight minutes before attracting Mr Lawler's attention, Mr Agha said he did not think it was an emergency.

"You are not allowed to leave a fire exit unattended, someone could [have] easily went past [the] doors and I would have got in trouble. My job's in jeopardy.

Mr Agha said it did not occur to him that there was a threat from terrorism at Manchester Arena.

He said nothing was said to him during his briefing before work that evening about the threat from terrorism in the UK.

He had completed an online course called "Counter-terrorism At Events" a year earlier in just under three hours but the key section, which included a 12-minute video called "Eyes Wide Open" was done in just five minutes.

He has now had additional training on counter-terrorism and counter-surveillance.

I'm not saying that he was in on the plot. I don't think he was. But I bet he had to weigh up the lives of infidel girls against the approbrium of the more violent element in that sea in which jihadis swim and he lives and decided to cross his fingers and turn a blind eye. It's a wicked thing to say, and a few years ago I wouldn't have thought it. But something about his protesting is not ringing true to my ears. 

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Posted on 10/27/2020 6:06 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Monday, 26 October 2020
The DSCC is clueless – or downright dishonest
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by Kenneth R. Timmerman

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the DSCC, is charged with raising money for Democrat nominees they hope will give Democrats a majority in the U.S. Senate to permanently change our institutions and how we are governed.

Late Sunday afternoon, just one day before the final confirmation vote for Judge Amy Comey Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, the DSCC sent out an upbeat email to supporters, claiming that they could still “ruin McConnell’s plans to replace Justice Ginsburg!”

In their election fantasy, the DSCC claimed that two Democrats running for Senate seats up for special election, could be “sworn in EARLY and cast the DECIDING VOTES to stop Trump’s Supreme Court nominee!”

“That’s why Mitch McConnell and the entire GOP are unleashing an unprecedented ONSLAUGHT of attacks to crush Mark Kelly and Reverend Warnock over the next nine days.”

Leaving grammar and the actual fund-raising pitch aside, the DSCC is claiming that special elections in Arizona and Georgia, which will be decided following election day on November 3, will somehow be decided today to allow Mark Kelly to replace Senator Martha McSally of Arizona, and Raphael Warnock to replace Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia.

In both cases, this is simply not true.

Voters in Georgia will conduct what amounts to a primary election on November 3 to determine the top two vote-getters for a run-off election on January 5, 2021.

Kelly Loeffler was appointed by Georgia Govenor Brian Kemp on Dec. 31, 2019 to fill the remainder of the term of retiring Senator Johnny Isakson. She is being challenged by Representative Doug Collins, a staple of the FoxNews set and a darling of the American Conservative Union.

Raphael Warnock is the sole Democrat, and as such, is polling in the upper 30% to low 40%s. As of today, polls showed none of the three candidates is polling at over 50%, meaning that there will indeed be a runoff election between the top two vote-getters.

Arizona voters face a somewhat different situation. Following the death of Senator John McCain on August 25, 2018, Governor Doug Ducey appointed former Senator John Kyl to fill the remainder of McCain’s term, which expired in Jan. 2023. But Kyl announced early on he considered himself a placeholder and resigned on December 31, at which point Governor Ducey appointed Martha McSally, triggering a special election to fill the remainder of McCain’s term.

Remember, McSally had just lost an election for Arizona’s other U.S. Senate seat to Democrat Krysten Sinema. So Arizona Republicans figured, it was her time.

Under Arizona law, if Democrat Mark Kelly defeats McSally on November 3, he will be sworn into the U.S. Senate on November 30 – still, a full month after today’s vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett.

So you’ve got to wonder about those voters the DSCC is trying to reach. Clearly, the DSCC thinks they are clueless. But are they?

It would be interesting to see how much money the DSCC actually raised on this particularly lame email.

 

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Posted on 10/26/2020 1:48 PM by Kenneth R. Timmerman
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Monday, 26 October 2020
Qatar airport incident in which women were invasively searched reported to Australian Federal Police
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Ostensibly the authorities were "looking for the mother" of a new born baby found abandoned in the airport washrooms. But  I fear it was all about honour, shame and humiliating the filthy infidels. Reason 1001 why infidels should never a/ fly on any flight operated by an Islamic entity NOR b/ take an airline route that involves a stopover - however brief - in the likes of Qatar, Dubai, etc. Just not worth the risk. 

An Australian woman strip-searched by authorities at a Qatari airport after a premature baby was found in a bathroom says she is considering legal action over the "terrifying" experience.  Two passengers from QR908 both told the ABC they had no idea what was happening to them when all women on the plane were asked to get off after a three-hour delay on October 2.

The two women wanted to remain anonymous and did not know each other before boarding the flight to Sydney.

One of the women said all adult females were removed from the plane by authorities and taken to two ambulances waiting outside the airport.

"No-one spoke English or told us what was happening. It was terrifying," she said. "There were 13 of us and we were all made to leave. A mother near me had left her sleeping children on the plane. There was an elderly woman who was vision impaired and she had to go too. I'm pretty sure she was searched."

She said while she respected Qatar's laws and culture, she was considering legal action. "If the other 12 women came forward with a class action, I would definitely be part of that," she said.

The other female passenger who spoke to the ABC said she was with a group of about six women, who began panicking when they realised they were being taken outside the airport.

"When I got in there, and there was a lady with a mask on and then the authorities closed the ambulance behind me and locked it," she said. "They never explained anything. She told me to pull my pants down and that I needed to examine my vagina.

"I said 'I'm not doing that' and she did not explain anything to me. She just kept saying, 'we need to see it we need to see it'."

The woman said she tried to get out of the ambulance and the authorities on the other side opened the door. "I jumped out and then ran over to the other girls. There was nowhere for me to run,"

The woman said she took her clothes off and was inspected, and touched, by the female nurse. "I was panicking. Everyone had gone white and was shaking," she said. "I was very scared at that point, I didn't know what the possibilities were."

Wolfgang Babeck was on the flight from Doha and said passengers had been waiting on the tarmac for several hours before all women were told to disembark. Dr Babeck said several women were visibly distressed when they returned to their seats.

"People couldn't believe what had happened."

Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne said the Government has formally raised concerns with Qatar. "The Australian Government is deeply concerned at the unacceptable treatment of some female passengers on a recent Qatar Airways flight at Doha Airport," she said. "The advice that has been provided indicates that the treatment of the women concerned was offensive, grossly inappropriate, and beyond circumstances in which the women could give free and informed consent. The Government has formally registered our serious concerns about this incident with Qatari authorities."

Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese described the incident as "really disturbing" and said he would ask for a briefing from the Government. "In my view it is completely unacceptable," he said.

New South Wales Police said the women received support while they completed their mandatory quarantine in Sydney. "Those women completed mandatory quarantine in NSW, during which time they were provided with medical and psychological support by NSW Health," it said in a statement.

Comments and opinion at Breitbart here. 

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Posted on 10/26/2020 6:22 AM by Christina McIntosh
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Monday, 26 October 2020
The Trump Administration’s Geopolitical Hat Trick
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by Hugh Fitzgerald

Sudan has become the third Arab country to agree to normalize relations with Israel. The Palestinians are most unhappy: “Palestinians condemn ‘shameful’ Israel-Sudan accord,” by Khaled Abu Toameh and Celia Jean, Jerusalem Post, October 24, 2020:

The Palestinian Authority said on Friday that it “condemns and rejects” the normalization of relations between Arab countries and Israel.

A statement by the PA presidency in Ramallah said that normalization with Israel is in violation of the Arab summit resolutions and the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative….

Friday’s statement by the PA, however, did not accuse Sudan of betraying the Palestinians or stabbing the Palestinian people in the back, as was the case with the UAE and Bahrain.

Mahmoud Abbas has apparently figured out that the curses and insults that he and his cronies flung at the UAE and Bahrain when they normalized relations with Israel, did the Palestinians no good, but merely inflamed passions against them. With the Sudan, they’re trying a different, more-in-sorrow approach: How can you do this to us? Don’t you feel our pain?

“No one has the right to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian issue,” the statement added. “The path to a just and comprehensive peace should be based on international law and legitimacy so as to end the Israeli occupation of the land of the State of Palestine and achieve independence for the Palestinian people in their state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on the 1967 borders. The Palestinian leadership will take the necessary decisions to protect the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.”

But Sudan did not arrogate to itself the “right to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian issue.” It said nothing at all about the “Palestinians” in its agreement to normalize relations with Israel. It was only addressing, and promoting in two ways, its own national interest. First, to obtain this agreement, the U.S. has removed the Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. That will give it access to foreign investors, and to loans from the World Bank, the IMF, and other institutions. Second, Israel will be eager to prove to the Sudan that it made the right choice, by helping it where it most could use Israeli help: in agriculture. Israel is a world leader in drip irrigation, in wastewater management, and in solar energy, all of which could be of great help to Sudanese farmers.

While not in the official PA statement, Wasel Abu Youssef from the Palestinian Liberation Front, a small faction in the Palestinian Liberation Organization, said that Sudan joining “others who normalized ties with the state of the Israeli occupation represents a new stab in the back of the Palestinian people and a betrayal of the just Palestinian cause.”

“A new stab in the back”? Oh dear. It sounds as if Wasel Abu Youssef of the PLF did not get the memo from Mahmoud Abbas calling for a kinder, gentler approach to Sudan. This kind of charge only infuriated the UAE and Bahrain when it was made about them by the PA; the Sudanese are just as unlikely to be pleased to be described as back-stabbers. The Palestinians really ought to do a better job of coordinating their responses; this mixed-messaging will never do.

Abbas Zaki, a senior official of the ruling Fatah faction, said that Sudan would not gain anything from the normalization accord with Israel….

“Sudan would not gain anything from the normalization accord”? But Sudan has already gained something. It has been removed from the American list of state sponsors of terrorism; that removal will greatly improve Sudan’s ability to attract foreign investment, and will now enable Sudan to receive loans from the IMF, the World Bank, and other financial institutions that were previously impossible to obtain. And then there is the extensive Israeli aid that will be given to Sudanese farmers, just as soon as the agreement goes into effect. Abbas Zaki is whistling in the dark.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that the agreement was “not compatible with Sudan’s record of supporting the Palestinians.”

But that “record of supporting the Palestinians” took place under the long and terrible rule of Omar al-Bashir, the dictator of Sudan from 1989 to 2019. Bashir was an ardent supporter of Hamas, allowing it to operate freely in the country. Bashir also gave refuge to Osama bin Laden, who lived securely in the Sudan for four years. The new regime in Sudan wants to end any hint of the country’s previous connection to terrorists; it wants to reconnect with the West, attract investors, and build its economy, especially agriculture. It has gotten nothing from its “record of supporting the Palestinians” except being placed on the list of state sponsors of terror. Now, by normalizing relations with Israel, it has already been taken off that list, allowing it to attract investors, be again eligible for foreign aid, and be able to obtain loans from major financial institutions such as the IMF. Israel is ready to share with Sudanese farmers the benefits of its expertise and advances in at least three key areas – solar energy, drip irrigation, and wastewater management – where it is a world leader.

PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] spokesman Daoud Shehab accused Sudan of presenting Israel with a “free gift” in order to appease the US.

“This is a black day in the history of Sudan,” Shehab added. “The agreement jeopardizes Sudan’s future and identity and is a betrayal of the Arabs and Muslims.”

The PIJ official expressed confidence that the Sudanese people would not accept this “betrayal.”…

It is Israel that will be giving gifts to the Sudan, in the form of aid to its agricultural sector. As for Shehab’s claim that the normalization agreement “jeopardizes Sudan’s future and identity,” since when did the Palestinians become the judges as to the “Arab” identity of others? Because the Sudanese are black, is there possibly an attempt here to hint at doubt as to their “Arab” identity unless they fall back into line with what the Palestinians demand? And what exactly was the “betrayal” by the Sudan? Did it owe the Palestinians anything? Have the Palestinians ever done anything for the Sudan, other than land the country on the list of state sponsors of terrorism?

There is certainly domestic opposition in the Sudan to this new agreement. But the opponents of normalization surely know that the Sudanese quid for that significant American quo was Sudan’s agreeing to normalize relations with Israel. And if they are willing to “give peace a chance,” they will find the new connection with Israel will pay ample dividends, for the Israelis want to make sure that the “early adopters” of normalization realize economic benefits quickly. In the case of Sudan, as bears repeating, that means Israeli help to Sudanese farmers, mainly by sharing Israeli advances in drip irrigation, in waste water management, and in solar energy.

Commending the agreement from the Arab world was Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who tweeted that he welcomed the joint efforts of all three states involved in the agreement.

He added that he also values “all efforts aimed at achieving regional stability and peace.”…

El-Sisi has for a long time been cooperating with Israel on security matters, especially against Jihadis in the Sinai and, naturally, against the Muslim Brotherhood that is the sworn enemy of his regime. He previously praised both the UAE and Bahrain for their normalization agreements with Israel. It is not surprising, but is still heartening, that the most populous Arab state, and Sudan’s immediate northern neighbor, has come out foursquare for the agreement.

The Palestinian Arabs continue to believe that they should have a veto power over the policy toward Israel of all the other Arabs. They seek to deny the Arab states the possibility of making their own arrangements with Israel, arrangements that further their own national interests. The UAE and Bahrain dismissed the Palestinian objections, and went ahead in normalizing relations with the Jewish state. They have had only curses and insults heaped on them by the Palestinians, which only makes them more determined to promote both economic and people-to-people ties with the Israelis – “a warm peace.” Meanwhile, the entire nation of Israel seems ready to make sure their new Arab interlocutors benefit from such normalization; Israeli businessmen, entrepreneurs, scientists, academics, and tourists have gone to the UAE and Bahrain, while Emiratis and Bahrainis are doing the same in the Jewish state. And now, to complete the Trump Administration’s geopolitical hat trick, Sudan has just become the third Arab state to announce its intention to normalize relations with Israel. Abbas rages in Ramallah, for he can do no other, and the caravan moves on.

First published in Jihad Watch

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Posted on 10/26/2020 6:13 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 25 October 2020
Something hopeful
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And springlike. Except I missed it in the spring when the pandemic started in Europe. I only found it when searching YouTube after the death of Spencer Davis last week. This is Steve Winwood. the former vocalist of the Spencer Davis Group, singing one of my favourite hymns, Now the Green Blade Riseth. He did it as an Easter/spring tribute in April, but it's just as hopeful in autumn. 

 

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Posted on 10/25/2020 9:26 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Sunday, 25 October 2020
In France, Macron Claims That ‘Fear is About to Change Sides’
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by Hugh Fitzgerald

Will the murder of Samuel Paty at long last lead France to do what it must to meet the Islamic threat within? Or will there be rhetorical resolution, a laying of flowers, marches of solidarity in major cities, a series of well-publicized roundups and then, again, a relaxing of resolve and of raids, as happened after the Charlie Hebdo murders? The story of what’s going on in France in the wake of that murder is here: “4 students detained after French teacher’s beheading,” by Alexandre Hielard and Clare Byrne, AFP, October 19, 2020:

French police on Monday [Oct.19] launched a series of raids targeting Islamist networks three days after the beheading of a history teacher who had shown his students a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin vowed there would be “not a minute’s respite for enemies of the Republic,” after tens of thousands took part in rallies countrywide on Sunday to honor history teacher Samuel Paty, and defend freedom of expression.

Fifteen people were in custody on Monday, according to a judicial source, including four students who may have helped the killer identify the teacher in return for payment.

This is disturbing. Did these students not notice that the suspect was carrying a large knife, that he was agitated, that he might have murder and mayhem on his mind? They might have replied that “he’s not here” or “he went home.” They might have warned Mr. Paty himself, or the principal. Did any of them think of that, or were they – “just for a handful of silver” – willing to betray their teacher? Or were these four students Muslims who may have been happy to have Mr. Paty appropriately punished for his blasphemy by a fellow Believer?

Those detained also included four members of the killer’s family, as well as a known Islamist radical and the father of one of Paty’s students, who had launched an online campaign against the teacher.

That “known Islamist radical” is Abdelhakim Sefrioui — a Moroccan-born Islamist described by one prominent French Muslim leader as “dangerous.” On Thursday — the day before Paty’s killing — Sefrioui arrived at the school, where he filmed an interview with a female Muslim student who claimed that Paty had told her she might want to “leave the class,” before showing students an image of a “naked man” who supposedly represented Muhammad. After meeting with members of the school management, Sefrioui issued a statement asserting that Muslim children “had been attacked and humiliated in front of their classmates.” He then demanded the immediate suspension of Paty, whom he referred to as “this thug.”

Of course no Muslim children had been either attacked or humiliated in Paty’s class. He had been solicitous of their feelings, telling them they could leave the room during this particular discussion of caricatures of Muhammad. All but one did; that one – who claims she remained “by accident” in the classroom (or did she remain so as to deliberately witness something offensive to Muslims, that she then might later complain about, showing what a good Muslim girl she was?) — told her father. He was enraged, made a video about the class , and that started the sinister ball rolling that ended in the decapitation of Mr. Paty. “French Arrest Antisemitic, Pro Hamas Imam in Connection to Beheading of Teacher,” StopAntisemitism.org, October 19, 2020:

Sefrioui is well-known to French intelligence, whose agents have monitored his statements and activities for nearly 20 years, according to Bernard Godard, an expert on Islam and former adviser to France’s Interior Ministry, in an interview with the news outlet Marianne.

Much of Sefrioui’s activism has revolved around solidarity with the Palestinians, expressed through virulent anti-Zionism and antisemitism. In 2006, he campaigned on behalf of the presidential campaign of the comedian Dieudonné — who was recently banned across a host of social media platforms for his Holocaust denial and his crude antisemitism.

In 2014, as head of a collective of pro-Palestinian organizations named in honor of the late Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Sefrioui was a key organizer of demonstrations in Paris against Israel’s incursion into the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, furiously asserting at one rally that the coastal enclave was “the worst concentration camp mankind has ever known.”

Here is what puzzles me. The French police have been watching Sefrioui for “nearly 20 years.” 20 years! They know he has made death threats to the moderate imam of Drancy, Hassen Chalgoumi. They know that he has been guilty of hate speech against Israelis, accusing them of running “the worst concentration camp mankind has ever known.” They know that he has supported the Holocaust denier and antisemite Dieudonné. What else do they need to know to expel Sefrioui back to Morocco as a threat to public order and to the safety of Infidels, especially Jews? Why have they been so lax? It is only now they will at long last do something about Abdelhakim Sefrioui – or at least that is what one hopes. It’s a little late for Samuel Paty. Again from AFP:

Darmanin accused the two men [the father of the student, and Sefrioui] of having issued a “fatwa” against Paty.

That’s exactly what they did: they issued a threat on social media, to be carried out by any good Muslim willing to defend the honor of the Prophet and to punish the blaspheming Infidel. Abdoullakh Anzarov, 60 miles away, saw the video online and answered the call. The father and Sefrioui are both accessories before the fact.

Sources in the interior ministry said there had been a total of 40 raids across France on Monday, mostly around Paris, and 20 per day were planned going forward.

These raids are being carried out with such alacrity that the list of potentially dangerous Jihadis must have been prepared long ago. All it took to set off the series of raids was the murder of Mr. Paty. But why did it take anything at all for the round-the-clock raids on these Jihadis, of whom the French government admits there are “thousands” in France? Why is dramatic action taken only after an atrocity, as with Charlie Hebdo or Samuel Paty? Why the stern warnings issued about how the French forces of order this time will come down very hard, as happened after the killings by Muhammad Merah? It’s always the same script. An atrocity, a show of resolve, raids, and then those police actions inevitably die down, until the next horror is committed by Muslims. Shouldn’t the French state be carrying out dozens of raids each day, hundreds of raids every week, never letting up, in saecula saeculorum? Why are the French police not conducting dragnets in no-go neighborhoods, picking up Muslims for crimes large and small – setting fire to cars, drug dealing, street robberies, house break-ins, rapes, murders — keeping them off-balance? Why does the French state not insist on putting informants in every mosque to record the sermons, that can then be examined for the slightest hint of a call to hate or hurt the Infidels, in which case, the imam in question should be charged with hate speech, fined and imprisoned if found guilty, and upon release, if not a citizen, sent back to his country of origin.

We want to harass and destabilize this movement in a very determined way,” one ministry source said.

Why didn’t the Interior Ministry want to “harass and destabilize this [Muslim] movement” last month, last year, two or three or five years ago? Why are the police in France always reacting to some Muslim atrocity with asseverations that this time it will be different, that the roundup is on, that no Muslim malefactor will escape, and so on – and in the end, so disappointingly forth?

Darmanin said the government would also tighten its grip on NGOs with suspected links to Islamist networks, including the Anti-Islamophobia Collective, a group that claims to monitor attacks against Muslims in France.

How unsurprising to discover that a group calling itself the “Anti-Islamophobia Collective” is in fact part of an Islamist network. If anyone needed further evidence of the meretriciousness of that word “Islamophobia” that was invented in order to shut down all criticism of Islam, by labeling it, preposterously, as a “phobia” — that is, “an irrational fear or hatred of Islam” – here it is. What Muslims and their willing collaborators label and libel as “Islamophobia” is nothing more than a most rational judgment as to both the immutable contents of the Qur’an and to the observable behavior of Muslims.

“Fear is about to change sides,” President Emmanuel Macron told a meeting of key ministers Sunday [October 18]to discuss a response to the attack….

This latest atrocity by a Muslim, in this case an angry Chechen who, to defend the honor of his Prophet, decapitated a quiet middle-school teacher, appears to have jolted the French government into action, with dozens of raids daily on Muslims suspected of terrorist links, and a promise by the Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, that there will be no letup in the police raids. We can hope, but warily, for we have hoped before.

A photo of the teacher [that is, the teacher’s severed head] and a message confessing to his murder was found on the mobile phone of his killer, 18-year-old Chechen Abdullakh Anzorov, who was shot dead by police….

Anzorov’s family arrived in France from the predominantly Muslim Russian republic of Chechnya more than a decade ago….

What persuaded the French authorities to let the Anzorov family in? Did they claim to be refugees? If so, from what? Chechens in Russia are not mistreated, and some reports claim that Anzorov and his family had been living in Moscow before they left for France. Chechens in Moscow are on the low end of the socioeconomic scale, but that is not the same thing as being persecuted.

Did they perhaps claim that Moscow was only a stopover, and that they were in fact residents of Chechnya? But in Chechnya, the only people who are now persecuted are homosexuals. Surely neither Abdoulakh Anzorov, who was eight years old when he came to France, nor his seven-year-old brother, nor his parents, nor his grandfather, were being persecuted in Chechnya as homosexuals. These were, like so many Muslims who have managed to make it into Europe, or the United States (one thinks of the Tsarnaev family), economic migrants pretending to be refugees in need of asylum.

One education expert warned Monday that the murder might deter teachers from tackling touchy topics in future….

Far-right National Rally leader Marine Le Pen called for “wartime legislation” to combat the terror threat.

Le Pen, who has announced she will make a third bid for the French presidency in 2022, called for an “immediate” moratorium on immigration and for all foreigners on terror watch lists to be deported.

Le Pen’s suggestion is overbroad. Not all immigrants, just Muslim immigrants, need to be banned. There should be no apologies for such a Muslim ban. It is Muslims who are committing all of these murders – of Jews, of Catholic priests, of people who dared, as cartoonists or teachers, to exercise or discuss the right of free speech – and no one else. Of course with such a ban some inoffensive Muslims will be kept out, but that is the nature of the law; it applies to whole categories of people. There is no sure way to determine which Muslims might engage in violence and which would not. But we know that the Qur’an instructs them to “fight” and to “kill” and to “smite at the necks of” and to “strike terror in the hearts of” Infidels. That being the case, it is only prudent to assume that some will, if given a chance, fulfill those commands.

But Marine Le Pen is right to call for all foreigners on terror watch lists to be deported. What possible argument can there be for not doing so? And why did it take the murder of Samuel Paty to spur the French government to do what it ought always to be doing, around the clock? If suddenly the forces of order have now swung into motion, and rounded up hundreds of people whose names and terrorist sympathies have long been well-known to the authorities (“on lists”), the obvious question is why are they being rounded up only now, and why not when they were first put on the list. Once a foreigner is on a terror watch list, that ought to be enough of a reason to have them expelled from the country. If the existing law does not currently allow someone’s appearance on that list to be sufficient reason for expulsion, then the French need to pass legislation that does allow it.

After the murder of Samuel Paty, the French offered – following the post-Charlie Hebdo template — a national display of sympathy for the victim, with marches and flowers and candlelight vigils and signs saying “Je suis enseignant” (“I am a teacher”) from a populace touched to the quick. There was the posthumous awarding of the Legion d’Honneur to Paty. And there were – again as after the Charlie Hebdo killings — stern declarations by government officials that the fight against the Islamic terrorists will not let up, but from now on will be relentlessly taken to them. The “Islamists” will be shown no quarter by the forces of order, so that, as President Macron said, “fear is about to change sides.”

It is pleasant to think so, but a decade of disappointment makes one wonder. Here are some things the French state could do in order to regain the public’s confidence:

First, the French government could expel all non-French imams who are found to be preaching hatred of Infidels, or contempt for the French state, or the flouting of its laws.

Second, the government could encourage local authorities to refuse to approve the building of any new mosques.

Third, the government could prohibit any foreign funds from being used to pay salaries of imams or for the upkeep of mosques. Local Muslims will from now on have to pay for both. No French government money should be used to support mosques, madrasas, or other Islamic institutions.

Fourth, the French state could insist on recording every Friday sermon delivered in every mosque, to be subsequently checked for content by the police, and if that content proves disturbing enough, there should be prompt expulsion of imams who are not citizens[see the First Point above], and fines and jail terms for offending imams who are French citizens.

Fifth, the government could establish teams of French hackers, employed to disrupt any Islamic sites deemed dangerous to individuals (such as the late Paty), or to groups targeted by Muslims (Jews), or to the French state itself.

Sixth, there should be genetic testing of those Muslims who entered France under the policy of “family reunification” to see if, in fact, those who did so are truly related to the original “anchor relative.” When DNA testing was put in place in the United States, the extensive family reunification claims by Muslims turned out to be largely fraudulent. Why would it be any different in France?

Seventh, Muslim immigration should be halted, in the interests of both public safety and national security. Such a measure, once unthinkable, I suspect will now be enormously popular with the French people who, save for those on the delusional far left, have been forced by grim circumstances to come round to the view that the large-scale Muslim presence in France has created a situation that is far more unpleasant, expensive, and physically dangerous for the indigenous French, as well as for other, non-Muslim immigrants, than would be the case without that large-scale presence.

Eighth, President Macron should follow the lead of Germany and the U.K., and ban both the “political” and the “military” wings of Hezbollah, as inseparable parts of one terror organism. This will be a major blow to the terror group’s ability both to recruit and to raise money in Europe.

We shall soon see, in the next few months, what steps — possibly including some of those suggested just above — are taken by the French government, not just in the immediate aftermath of the murder of Samuel Paty, but in the long term, to uproot the Jihadist threat and put Muslims on notice that the mixture as before will no longer be tolerated. One hopes that this time there will be no relapsing or lessening of the pressure on Muslims and that, as President Macron promised, “fear is about to change sides.”

First published in Jihad Watch

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Posted on 10/25/2020 7:05 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Sunday, 25 October 2020
After final debate, Biden’s campaign is left hanging on the ‘character’ of a high-stakes influence peddler
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by Michael Rectenwald

Trump scored a decisive win in the final debate, as Biden, although lobbed softballs, teetered. The former VP rested his case on “character,” despite recent exposures of a global influence-peddling scheme undertaken in his name.

In the second and last 2020 presidential debate, held at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, Joe Biden and President Donald Trump answered questions about fighting Covid-19, American families, race in America, climate change, national security and leadership. As skewed as most topics were toward Democratic wheelhouses, Trump managed to do well in nearly all of the segments, securing what can only be seen as a victory, especially considering the odds against him.

Amid growing allegations about Biden’s involvement in an international graft scheme fronted by his son Hunter Biden, Trump nevertheless had long odds in a debate moderated by Kristen Welker, an ardent Democrat. Trump not only faced a political opponent, he also faced the narratives of a mainstream media that has been an unabashed accomplice intent on destroying his presidency for the last four years, and is now hell-bent on foiling his re-election bid. In the end, Trump managed to pull a rabbit out of his hat by posting a solid performance and shaking Biden with the allegations of corruption, while holding his own or outright winning on most topics.

On Covid-19, while Biden demagogued by pointing to 220,000 American deaths, Trump pointed to Biden’s handling of H1N1 (swine flu) and contrasted that with his own management of a pandemic that has affected most of the world. After the president said that “we’re learning to live with it,” Biden turned to the camera, addressing the American public, and said, “people are learning to die with it.” Trump pointed to the misery caused by lockdowns in Democratic-run cities and states, while claiming that Biden would lock down the country if one person among the massive bureaucracy recommended it. In all, on a topic cherry-picked by his opposition, Trump emerged unscathed and thus strengthened his standing.

For the second topic, national security, the questions revolved almost exclusively around “foreign interference” in US elections. It was at this point that Trump first invoked the brewing Biden scandal. The story of Hunter Biden’s laptop, emails and business contacts, and their connection to his father, has made the rounds on Trump-friendly media for many weeks. But the major media establishment has worked to memory-hole the story, or otherwise to ascribe the revelations to a Russian misinformation campaign.” Yet, Trump managed to air Biden’s dirty laundry with frequent allusions to his family’s business deals in Ukraine, Russia, China and Iraq.

The topic of immigration worked to Trump’s favor as he repeatedly asked Biden, “who built the cages, Joe?” He was referring to the cages immigrant children were placed in at the border – that were built under the Obama-Biden administration – which were turned into a Democratic talking point against Trump’s policies on fighting illegal immigration. And the president won when he referred to the “catch and release” policy that kept criminal immigrants in American communities, until he abolished it.

The topic of race should have played to Biden’s strengths, given that Trump has been called a racist by the media and the Democratic Party since embarking on his 2016 presidential bid. But Trump pointed to Biden’s passing of the 1994 crime bill that led to the disproportionate imprisonment of blacks for drug use. Notably, Biden was forced to admit that the bill was a “mistake.” Trump then highlighted his own record on black and Hispanic employment, his development of “opportunity zones” and his investment in historically black colleges and universities. When Biden tried to underscore his superior “character,” Trump again raised the specter of Hunter Biden’s multiple international business deals and the former vice president’s alleged involvement in them.

Finally, when it came to climate change, Trump claimed there were record drops in CO2 emissions in the US under his administration and underscored the supposed $100 trillion cost of Biden’s energy plan. Neither is exactly true – emissions declined under Trump, but slower than before, and the $100 trillion cost refers to the Green New Deal from which Biden had sought to distance himself despite calling it a “crucial framework.” But Trump played well around these issues, turning the tables and forcing Biden to admit that his energy plan included the elimination of fossil fuels. Trump then appealed to voters in states like Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Texas, where workers rely on jobs in oil and natural gas. The veracity of climate change never surfaced.

In the end, Biden’s campaign and the Democratic platform, including the New Green Deal, now rest on his “character.” Biden’s last call to character was more than a little ironic in light of allegations regarding the apparent use of his office to enrich his family and himself, potentially at the expense of national interests and security.

First published in RT. 

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Posted on 10/25/2020 5:45 AM by Michael Rectenwald
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Sunday, 25 October 2020
The Plot Against the President
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I watched this on Amazon Prime yesterday - it's excellent. 

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Posted on 10/25/2020 5:29 AM by Rebecca Bynum
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Saturday, 24 October 2020
Coronavirus hysteria will soon come to an end
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Soon, the U.S. election will be over, and whatever the result, the rationale for the Democratic anti-Trump press (faithfully parroted by the Canadian media) to incite public hysteria will be over

by Conrad Black

One more time, I inflict upon readers my grievous reservations about the response of this and many other countries to the coronavirus. The basic facts are that the coronavirus is not fatal to 99.997 per cent of people under the age of 65, and not fatal to 94.6 per cent of people above the age of 65. The vast majority of people of all ages, including the elderly, have zero or minimal symptoms when afflicted by it. The approximately 98 per cent of people who do contract the coronavirus and survive it appear to be thereafter largely immune to it, at least for a time. It is of the nature of this virus that it cannot be prevented from spreading; the only durable cure for a whole society is a vaccine, and as many as seven largely effective vaccines are in the final stages of development and some will likely be available by the end of this year. New Zealand triumphantly announced a couple of months ago that there were no remaining coronavirus cases in the country and, accordingly, its restrictive measures were being relaxed. Parliamentarians threw order papers in the air and there were street parties and nationwide festivities, but within a couple of weeks, and despite screening processes for arriving  people, the coronavirus had returned. The process for discovering, testing and distributing a coronavirus vaccine has been the subject of such intense and universal interest that the normal time required has been reduced by over a year. Vaccines are rarely 100 per cent effective, but they do drastically reduce the incidence of the illness, and they strengthen the morale of afflicted populations.

Research also shows that over 80 per cent of fatalities attributed to the coronavirus in advanced countries that test comprehensively and report accurately are people who also suffer from other significant illnesses or vulnerabilities. The extent to which the coronavirus is the effective cause of death varies in each case and is sometimes nearly impossible to determine. But the underlying point is illustrated by the fact that the average age of people deemed to die from, or at least with, the coronavirus is within a few months of the actuarial life expectancy in each country; for example, the average age of Americans deemed to have died from the coronavirus and the average life expectancy of the American public are both 78. Almost all deaths are sad events, but the media has been irresponsible in its complicity in the maintenance of a higher degree of public anxiety than is justified by this illness. Our entire species has largely fallen into an excessive state of fear, evasion and defeatism.

There is also ample evidence to demonstrate the negative consequences of economic and societal shutdowns. Not only is the unemployment rate multiplied by between five and 10, a great many businesses including most aspects of the travel, hospitality and entertainment industries, are effectively strangled. Education is severely reduced in all respects by being conducted at home in many cases, even if supported by schools and universities. And many people suffer some degree of morose or depressive feelings, and develop substance dependencies as a result of prolonged solitude.

Persevering readers will recall that from the beginning, I opposed an economic shutdown. Instead, I recommended thinning groups and requiring masks in confined public areas and drastic protective measures for elderly or otherwise immunity reduced people. It was always a mistake to shut schools and universities; the students as well as the faculty and administrators beneath the age of 65 all have a very slight risk of suffering serious consequences from the coronavirus, and there is evidence to suggest that children do not transmit the virus as easily as they do simpler ailments like the measles, flu or cold viruses. Parents of school-age children are relatively invulnerable to the coronavirus.

But our whole society went cock-a-hoop for the shutdown and are now edging back toward it in Canada and Europe because of increasing incidences of the virus, generally unaccompanied either by increased fatalities or overloading of hospitals. Because those prevented from working by the pandemic are blameless in their fate, we have correctly adopted a generous method of compensating them. This is not fiscally sustainable indefinitely, however. We are effectively disincentivizing people from work at the same time that we prevent them from working and we are experimenting with an impossibly generous imposition of a guaranteed annual income. We are simply sending a salary drawn from borrowed money to unsustainably large numbers of adult citizens. We will be paying for it for a long time.

It has also been my contention that in Canada we have been too much influenced by aspects of the coronavirus crisis in the United States that have been driven by political tactics in the election campaign in that country. The incumbent administration was practically certain of re-election prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis. The Democratic opposition saw a path to victory by agitating for a gigantic economic shutdown, which would lead to an economic recession that could then be portrayed as a needless depression generated by incompetent public-health management on the part of the Trump administration, even though the administration was following its opponents’ advice in shutting down, and is bringing the nation back to work more quickly than had been thought possible. The U.S. economic growth rate was 32 per cent in the third quarter and the United States has vastly outperformed all other advanced countries in the world since coming out of lockdown.

But in Canada, we have been sluggishly and doggedly attached to a shutdown policy based on infection rates, even though our fatality rate has been comparatively good. I know that the motives of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Toronto Mayor John Tory and other Canadian leaders are in these matters sincere and commendable, but the policy has been mistaken from the beginning, and the longer it continues, the more damage it will cause. We are fundamentally shutting down the normal lives of up to 60 per cent of the population and the leisure time of 90 per cent of the population out of an exaggerated concern for only two per cent of the population who are in fact seriously vulnerable to this illness. It is not too late for Canada to show some leadership, even though we have been long preceded by Sweden, which wisely never imposed a general shutdown. But in around 10 days, the U.S. election will be over, and whatever the result, the rationale for the Democratic anti-Trump press (faithfully parroted by the Canadian media) to incite public hysteria will be over. The American media will cease to hammer public sensibilities with gruesome formulations about “grim milestones,” and other sombre fatuities. Canada will, as usual, plod along behind the Americans, without the excuse of an election, and continental unease will subside. We could have done so much better.

First published in the National Post.

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Posted on 10/24/2020 7:23 AM by Conrad Black
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