Saturday, 29 February 2020
Grooming gang member has over £50,000 of his assets seized
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Rape gang would have been a better description, but we know what they mean. From the Telegraph and Argus, the local newspaper for Bradford. H/T Mrs F.

A member of a Bradford grooming gang had more than £50,000 of his assets seized in a confiscation hearing for his drug dealing and money laundering activities.

Parvaze Ahmed, 37, was jailed for 17 years exactly a year ago for three offences of raping a vulnerable teenager who was plied with alcohol and cocaine.

He was brought back to Bradford Crown Court from prison today for the hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act that concerned his convictions in 2018 for dealing Class B drugs and money laundering.

Ahmed, formerly of Farcliffe Road, Manningham, Bradford, had benefited to the tune of £51,400 from his criminality, Mark Brookes for the Crown told the court.

Mr Brookes said Ahmed’s assets totalled £69,575 from the sale of a property.

Ahmed, known as Pav, was ordered to pay back the £51,400 from that amount by May 27 or face an extra three years behind bars in default.

Jonathan Turner, Ahmed’s barrister, said he was already serving a lengthy jail sentence and his earliest release date was more than ten years away.

On February 27 last year, Ahmed and eight other men were jailed for a total of more than 132 years at Bradford Crown Court for their roles in what the judge labelled the “wicked and relentless” grooming, rape and sexual exploitation of two vulnerable girls from a care home in the city.

Less that a week after he was jailed, Ahmed was caught updating his Facebook account from prison.

His name appeared as “Jimmy Khan” on the social networking site in which he showed a shared photograph of himself and another man with the caption: "Brotherhood. NO JUSTICE NO PEACE." Several of his friends were quick to 'like' and 'love' the post. The account was quickly closed down after complaints from members of the public.

This should be done in a lot more cases; also the provisions for criminal bankruptcy are under used in my opinion. 

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Posted on 02/29/2020 2:45 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Saturday, 29 February 2020
The Necessary (Temporary) Democratic Party Suicide
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The Democrats and the United States need a Sanders candidacy, so the existing party can be completely defeated, humiliated, and rebirthed.

by Conrad Black

The “Gong Show” of a Democratic presidential primary debate Tuesday night just made it clear how desperately this intellectually bankrupt rag-tag team of harpies and hustlers truly is. They are the heirs of the Clinton-Obama place men who mismanaged America, corrupted the Justice Department and the intelligence services, and created such a scarcity of serious candidates for the presidency.

The former mayor of New York City announced he was seeking the nomination because the 20 declared candidates were inadequate. He was correct—but so, on the face of things, is he inadequate. The debate in Charleston on Tuesday was like a scene from Lord of the Flies as a disorderly, screechy group of misbehaving superannuated juveniles spoke and shouted over each other, waving their arms in the air and exchanging epithets. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), her hopes withered by her mendacity, robotic uniforms, and humorless righteousness, is reduced to hurling vitriol at Mike Bloomberg.

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Posted on 02/29/2020 5:06 AM by Conrad Black
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Saturday, 29 February 2020
Asia Bibi: I always believed I would be freed. She is offered a home in France.
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The BBC  interviewed her in France yesterday. She also met President Macron and has been invited to live in France. 

Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman who spent years on death row after being convicted of blasphemy, says she always believed she would be freed. Now living in Canada, she told the BBC that she hoped she would be able to return to Pakistan one day. 

Ms Bibi spoke to the BBC during a visit to France where she is promoting her new book. Ms Bibi has released a memoir, Enfin Libre! (Finally Free), written with French journalist Anne-Isabelle Tollet.

In it, she recounts her time in jail and her brutal treatment by guards. In one of the most disturbing incidents she recounts how she had her neck put in a brace that was tightened with a key, and was pulled about on a chain by guards.

"I can't breathe," she writes. "My neck is compressed by a neck brace that the guard can tighten as much as he wants with a big key. A long chain drags on the dirty floor; it links my throat to the guard's handcuffs that drags me like a dog."

Pakistani authorities have dismissed the allegations, saying her claims of torture were "not plausible".

Ms Bibi told the BBC that her Christian faith helped her through the ordeal.

"They said change your faith, and you'll be freed. But I said no. I will live my sentence. With my faith," she said. "I found out from my husband that the whole world was praying for me. And that even the Pope had prayed for me. That made me happy. And I found out the whole world was praying for my misery to end. That made me feel that their prayers would definitely free me." Praise be. 

Ms Bibi called on Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan to free anyone unjustly accused or convicted of blasphemy and to ensure that the charges are investigated properly. Ms Bibi says in her book that the Christian community is despised and bullied and discriminated against.

But Pakistan says it attaches high importance to the protection of rights of minorities, which are guaranteed under its constitution. Pakistani authorities say blasphemy laws exist in many parts of the world and that all such cases in Pakistan are brought before the courts and follow due process.

Enfin Libre! By Asia Bibi is out now in French and other languages, and an English translation of the book will be available in September.

The BBC give rather more room to the Pakistani government to deny her torture than I think that regime merits; they also don't mention the British government's refusal to offer her asylum on the grounds that a certain community would be so disturbed that her safety couldn't be guaranteed.

Asia Bibi said on Friday that she had been invited to live in France, after a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.  "I have received the invitation from the president and the French Republic, and I’m honored," she said.

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Posted on 02/29/2020 4:34 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Saturday, 29 February 2020
Containing the Virus of Antisemitism
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by Michael Curtis

They intended evil against you. Therefore, you should make them turn their back.

On February 26, 2020 Pope Francis spoke of the too many offensive and harmful words, too much verbal violence, amplified by the Internet. Words indeed range from the brutal and most cruel to the insensitive. The brutal is often accompanied by discrimination, persecution, violence, massacres, pogroms, and, at its worst, death camps.  Auschwitz is still the global personification of evil. The insensitive may be couched in false prudence, or as Abraham Lincoln said, blowing out the moral lights around us.

A recent specious example of that insensitivity can be observed in the case of one of the major leaders of the British Labour Party, John McDonnell, MP. After visiting Julian Assange, accused by the United States of leaking thousands of classified documents, who is in Belmarsh prison in London, McDonnell  compared the attempt to extradite Assange to the U.S. with the persecution of Alfred Dreyfus: “I think it’s the Dreyfus case of our age, persecuted for political reasons, for simply exposing the truth for what went on in relation to recent wars.”

Assange could face prison for violating U.S. espionage laws and publishing classified information published in 2010-1 on-line by WikiLeaks relating to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He spent seven years hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy, before waiting in prison. It is an insensitive distortion of history to draw a parallel between the two cases. Assange committed an illegal act, and so far has not been punished for it. Dreyfus was innocent, falsely convicted of treason in 1894 for passing military secrets to Germany and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil’s Island, and later pardoned. He was guilty only of being a Jew.

McDonnell’s statement was ridiculous and deeply offensive, but it reflected in oblique fashion the increase in antisemitism in European countries. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo at a conference in Paris on February 24-25, 2020, of the EJA, European Jewish Association pointed out, “We cannot be disconnected from the history of antisemitism and we should be very careful of hate speech. Attacking Jews is an act against humanity. There is a new form of antisemitism which is anti-Zionism.”  In France President Emmanuel Macron, in a speech on February 20, 2019 had already commented on the resurgence of antisemitism that was probably unpresented since the end of World War II.

At the Paris conference, participants discussed the issue of “Jews in Europe; united for a better future.”  The organizer EJA was founded in 2018 in Budapest with funds from the Hungarian government to fight antisemitism and anti-Zionism in European Union countries.

The conference examined a survey presented by the Hungary based Action and Protection League of 16,000 people from 16 European countries that showed some unwelcome results.  About one fifth of Europeans believe that a secret Jewish cabal runs the world, influencing politics and economics, though it did not provide the meeting place which can be here revealed as a kosher deli at the corner of Times Square and 42 Second Street, where the language is Yiddish. The same proportion of those surveyed also believe that Jewish people talk too much, in unspecified languages, about the Holocaust and exploit the Holocaust for their own needs.  A third of those surveyed said that Israel’s policies, undefined, made them understand why some people hate Jews. The survey showed that Holocaust denial was more common in East Europe and in Greece, while antisemitism and anti-Israeli diatribes were more common in the west of Europe.

The Paris conference was attended by 250 people including Elan Carr, U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism. It proposed a plan to appoint a special envoy  to deal with antisemitism in every European country, upgrade Holocaust education, to work with European legislators to punish those who foment antisemitism, and perhaps make it illegal for BDS to be implemented in any public institution. The optimistic hope is that, if the plan is implemented, the situation regarding antisemitism may get better.

Can one be so optimistic? Accusations of Jews poisoning wells have largely disappeared, but blood libels, killing Christian children to use their blood still exists, as does caricatures of Jews based on infamous stereotypes. Popular behavior illustrates this. On February 24, 2020 a disgusting carnival parade in the small town of Campo de Criptana in Ciudad Real, in the central region of Castilla-la-Mancha, 70 miles from Madrid, supposedly intended to be a commemoration of Holocaust victims, was a combination of vulgar kitsch and antisemitism, a mockery and trivialization of the Holocaust.  It featured a man dressed as a Nazi soldier carrying a gun, virtually naked women dressed as Nazi SS officers with dominatrix whips, and others supposed to be concentration camp prisoners. One carnival float had a large Menorah lamp between two gas chamber chimneys, a reminder of Auschwitz.

The distastefulness of the carnival was compounded by the fact that only a few days earlier on February 13, 2020, a militant politician, Clara Ponsati, economist and academic, Catalan member of the European Parliament, had made a speech that could be misinterpreted. She condemned what she called one of the most hideous crimes against the Jewish people, the general expulsion in 1492 of Jews from Spain. This first episode of state antisemitism, she said, was one that Adolf Hitler admired and sought to surpass, stands as a cornerstone of the Spanish tragic record of intolerance. Today, she held, this intolerance takes the form of contempt for the right of the certain minority. Therefore, she compared Spain’s expulsion of Jews in 1492 with its treatment of the Catalan minority.

The Spanish carnival was not the first of its kind. Already there have been carnivals at Aalst , a town about 10 miles from Brussels. The carnivals, supposedly celebrating Lent, every year repeat in a blatant way racist and antisemitic presentations which depict Orthodox Jews with large hooked noses standing on stacks of fake bars of gold coins. At its carnival on February 23, 2020 floats have Jews depicted as ants and insects, while some carnival revelers wear Nazi uniforms. The carnival is not only beyond good taste, it is not humorous. It is a mockery of the Holocaust.

Other countries have been part of this demonization of Jews. In April 2019 an Easter holiday ritual was held in the small town of Pruchnik in south east Poland. Local residents burned an effigy of Judas portrayed as a Jew seen with hooked nose, black hat, and sidelocks. Similar rituals have been held in other places, including Ermioni, small port city of Greece.

The evil of antisemitism still exists but is also belatedly recognized by offenders. One example is illustrative. The Nederlandse Spoorwegen, NS, the Dutch owned railroad company acknowledged the role it had played in World War II. It announced in June 2019 that it would pay compensation for survivors and families of the 100,000 Holocaust victims, more than 70% of the Jewish population, who were sent on Dutch trains to Nazi death camps. On the other hand, soccer fans of the team Rotterdam Feyenoord chanted antisemitic songs and slogans in its match in Rotterdam against rival team Ajax, popularly regarded as a Jewish team.

The world is currently suffering from the coronavirus that has killed more than 2,800 people world wide. The danger is that the disease can spread widely, and therefore it must be contained. This is also true of the evil disease of antisemitism.

 

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Posted on 02/29/2020 4:31 AM by Michael Curtis
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Saturday, 29 February 2020
Ryanair’s Michael Leary Dares to Display Common Sense
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by Hugh Fitzgerald

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary has demanded extra anti-terror checks for Muslim men at airports as “that is where the threat is coming from.” This observation has brought cries of outrage from the Muslim Council of Britain and from Khalid Mahmood, a Muslim member of Parliament.

You can find the story here.

The budget airline chief, 58, believes terror suspects flagged at airports would “generally be males of a Muslim persuasion.”

Michael O’Leary believes Muslim men should be subjected to extra anti-terror checks at airports.

The Ryanair boss’s comments were condemned by charities and an MP.

Outspoken Mr O’Leary of the budget carrier made the controversial comments in an interview with The Times.

Charities and an MP blasted Mr O’Leary’s remarks and accused him of Islamophobia and racism.

Mr O’Leary said: “Who are the bombers? They are going to be single males travelling on their own.

“If you are travelling with a family of kids, on you go; the chances you are going to blow them all up is zero.

“You can’t say stuff, because it’s racism, but it will generally be males of a Muslim persuasion.”

“You can’t say stuff” but not “because its racism.” Rather, “because people will immediately call it racism.” What O’Leary means is this: too many of us have been frightened of being thought bigots, so the false, absurd charge of “racism” keeps being brought up by Defenders of the Faith of Islam, hoping to shield the faith from any kind of criticism.

He added: “Thirty years ago it was the Irish. If that is where the threat is coming from, deal with the threat.”

The Muslim Council of Britain said the Irish businessman’s comments were racist and discriminatory.

Even those who are most opposed to the ideology of Islam cannot be described as “racists.” It has to be endlessly repeated, urbi et orbi, that Islam is not a “race” and Muslim defenders should not be allowed to get away with pretending otherwise, and attempting to persuade us to agree. Ask the Muslim Council of Britain point-blank: “Is it your contention that there is a Muslim race? If so, what are the identifiable characteristics of that race which distinguish it from other races? How can Islam, which like Christianity lays claims to being an universal faith, with adherents worldwide, of all races — black, brown, yellow, and white — at the same time insist that it constitutes a race? No one suggests that critics of Christianity, and of Christians, are “racists.” Why should Islam, and adherents of Islam, be uniquely privileged to invoke “racism” to deflect criticism?”

A spokesman [for the Muslim Council of Great Britain] said: “He openly advocates discrimination against “males of a Muslim persuasion’, which presumably is not based on specific intelligence but solely whether someone ‘looks or acts like a Muslim’.”

An extra check, as O’Leary recommends, on Muslims at airports does not constitute impermissible “discrimination.” The state’s first duty is to protect the lives of its citizens. That justifies a higher level of scrutiny of those who have posed the greatest threat to those lives. Today, in the Western world, the data about past terrorist attacks involving airplanes supports the conclusion that those most likely to engage in such attacks are single male Muslims. Does the Muslim Council of Britain wish to deny that data?

The “specific intelligence” which Mr. O’Leary believes justifies giving extra scrutiny is this: according to the data accumulated in the last few decades, almost all those who have attempted terrorist attacks using planes – either by hijacking them, or by blowing them up in flight, or by using them as missiles deliberately flown into buildings – have been Muslims. That is all the intelligence one needs to give an extra level of scrutiny to male Muslim passengers. Think of the El Al flight flying from Tel Aviv to Paris, that Black September took over and flew to Entebbe, where the Jewish passengers were held hostage until rescued by Israeli commandos led by Jonathan Netanyahu, the brother of Prime Minister Netanyahu. Think of the Sabena Flight hijacked to Tel Aviv by four Muslim terrorists. Think of the attempts to blow up American planes by the Underwear Bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Shoe Bomber, Richard Reid, both of which failed. Think of the four planes hijacked on 9/11 by Muslim terrorists, with two of them flown into the Twin Towers, a third into the Pentagon, and a fourth that had been headed to the Capitol instead crashed into a field in Pennsylvania when passengers rushed the cabin in a vain attempt to retake the plane. And if we were to look at the incidence of Muslim terrorism of all kinds – not just that involving planes – we discover that more than 36,000 attacks by Muslim terrorists have taken place since 9/11. That’s a colossal number. Or is it “Islamophobic” to say so?

Michael O’Leary is dealing in probabilities, likelihoods, just as the security services do everywhere. He does not claim that all Muslims, or most Muslims, are terrorists. That charge against him is palpably absurd. He only states what should be obvious, and that Muslims are trying to shout down with cries of “Islamophobia”: a very high percentage of terrorist acts, and a very high percentage of terrorist acts involving planes, have been committed by Muslims. What O’Leary says is either true or false. If true, then no one should reasonably object to acting on that knowledge, in order to save lives. That means “extra checks” on Muslim passengers.

“This is the very definition of Islamophobia.”

The “very definition of Islamophobia” according to this spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, is for anyone – such as Michael O’Leary – to dare to state that Muslims constitute the greatest number, by far, of terrorists who seize planes, blow up planes, or use planes as flying missiles to bring down buildings, like the Twin Towers, that are full of Infidels.

The charge of “Islamophobia” is merely another way for Muslims to say “Shut up” to Infidels. O’Leary runs an airline; he is responsible for the safety of his passengers. He has both a right and a duty to point out, should he bother to reply to his Muslim critics, that “Islamophobia” is a word deliberately coined and put into widespread use since 9/11, in order to make the Infidels believe that all criticism of Islam, no matter how fact-based and sober, bespeaks “an irrational fear” of a peaceful faith. If you express misgivings, say, about the more than 100 Qur’anic verses that command Muslims to fight, to kill, to smite at the necks of, to strike terror in the hearts of, non-Muslims, you are an “Islamophobe.” If you note that the Qur’an tells Muslims that they are the “best of peoples” and non-Muslims the “most vile of created beings,” you will be called an “Islamophobe.” If you dare to quote such well-known hadith of Muhammad as “war is deceit” and “I have been made victorious through terror,” you are surely an “Islamophobe.” If you point out that Muhammad consummated his marriage to little Aisha when she was nine years old and he was 54, you are only doing this because you are an “Islamophobe.” Your intention in raising such matters, in quoting such verses, is to promote “Islamophobia.” Only an irrational hatred of Islam could have led you to bring up these verses; no fair-minded person would do such a thing.

Khalid Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, who is Muslim, blasted Mr O’Leary’s comments, which came two days after a far-right terrorist massacred ten people in a shooting in Germany.

Of what relevance is that news about a “far-right terrorist” who “massacred ten people in a shooting in Germany”? None at all. It is simply dropped in by the reporter — or is it Mahmood himself — a red herring intended to deflect our attention from Muslim terrorists, a way to undercut O’Leary by suggesting that “see, here’s an example just two days ago of far-right terrorism, so why don’t we talk about that?” But why? No one has denied the existence of far-right terrorism. And right now, all over the world, it is Muslim terrorists who are the greatest threat, claiming by far the most victims. Michael O’Leary is talking about the need to provide an extra check on passengers who are single, male, and Muslim because single male Muslims are the ones behind most terrorism. If far-right terrorists had, during the last two decades, been hijacking planes, blowing up planes, using planes as missiles, no doubt Michael O’Leary would be calling for greater scrutiny of passengers who are known to belong to or support far-right groups. But because they haven’t, he hasn’t.

Mr Mahmood said: “He’s effectively saying ‘everyone is game — if they look like a Muslim then they must be a terrorist’.

Mr. Mahmood knows perfectly well that O’Leary did not say, nor imply, that all Muslims are terrorists. Yet he simply carries on with this idiocy, knowing he won’t be laughed off the stage, so confused have the world’s Infidels become, so fearful of offending Muslims, that common sense is now, in the court of public opinion, called “Islamophobia” and few dare to appeal this judgment.

It doesn’t improve community relations; it gives succour to people of a fascist mindset.

“In Germany this week a white person killed eight people. Should we profile white people to see if they’re fascists?”

Is that what we should be worrying about, if we own an airline and are responsible for the safety of passengers? Since when did it become an airline owner’s duty to “improve community relations”? And who says that the only way to “improve community relations” is to yield to every Muslim demand, to refrain from any Islamocriticism, to take care not to wound the tender psyches of Muslims who simply cannot abide any hint that they, or their faith, are less than wonderful?

Of course the word “fascist” – no surprise — had to be brought up by Muslims intent on blackening O’Leary’s name and undermining his sensible request for “extra checks” on Muslim passengers. To be an Islamocritic is not only to be an Islamophobe, but to have a “fascist mindset” which, in the very next sentence, grades into being a “fascist.” If you are disturbed by many Quranic verses, those that command Muslims to engage in violent Jihad — to fight, kill, smite, and strike terror in the hearts of the Infidels — then you must be a “fascist.” Who else could be disturbed by any of the verses in the immutable Qur’an? And again, this defender of Islam brings up a recent killing of eight people in Germany by a white man and asks, sarcastically and idiotically, “should we profile white people to see if they’re fascists?”

“He’s being very blinkered and is actually encouraging racism.”

One last time: Islam does not define a race. Muslims are not a race. Criticism of Islam is not “racism.” Criticism of Islam does not “actually encourage racism.” It encourages only the exercise of common sense. Look in the Qur’an – what does it say? Look around the world at the observable behavior of Muslims – what does that behavior tell us? O’Leary is saying aloud what any owner of an airline, any airline pilot, any members of a cabin crew, are thinking: “Never mind Muslim feelings and these absurd charges of “racism” and “Islamophobia.” Of course we want extra checking of Muslim passengers, just as O’Leary requests. We fly all the time. We want to be safe. Is that really so hard to understand? Please, Michael O’Leary, don’t be dissuaded. We’re with you. Keep it up.

First published in Jihad Watch

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Posted on 02/29/2020 4:24 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Saturday, 29 February 2020
New Freedom Movement ‘Hearts of Oak’ Launched in London By Tommy Robinson & Carl Benjamin
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From Kipper Central. I was otherwise engaged yesterday to the extent that I wasn't even able to post this last night. 

A new pro-Freedom movement, called ‘Hearts of Oak’ has been launched today in London.

The movement, launched by a group of prominent free speech activists including Tommy Robinson and Carl Benjamin (A.K.A. Sargon of Akkad), has announced that it will speak out on major issues which the mainstream media and politicians have tried to keep quiet.

Along with Robinson & Benjamin, a number of former UKIP figures were in attendance – including Alan Craig (former UKIP spokesman) and Peter McIlvenna (former UKIP campaign coordinator), who together organised today’s event and will be running Hearts of Oak.

Craig & McIlvenna told Kipper Central that the movement is strictly not a political party – and that instead it is a cultural movement seeking to protect values of freedom and integrity.

Behind the speakers there is a backdrop of a traditional British countryside scene – with the phrase “Our children, our country, our future.”

This first theme – of protecting British children – ran through the event, especially in Tommy Robinson’s strong rejection of the sexualisation of young children in modern culture. . . Perhaps something the media didn’t expect Tommy to say today was that he stands with Muslim families across the country, but that was his primary message today – he encouraged his followers to come out and support the Muslim parents in Birmingham against the sexualisation of children, in the campaign he has dubbed ‘Don’t mess with our kids’.

Tommy finished his speech with a strong message for the government and the media – “if you’ve been watching the protests so far, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

The second theme – of our country and culture – is clearly the underlying foundation to the movement’s ideology, with every speech discussing the greatness of Britain, and our cultural values. Carl Benjamin’s speech dealt with the issue at the forefront of the “culture war” – freedom of speech; he discussed the media’s creation of “hate figures” like Tommy Robinson, who he says the public are being brainwashed into hating without knowing why.

Catherine Blaiklock, the founder of the Brexit Party, addressed the final theme – our future – as she gave a speech on Boris Johnson’s “immigration fraud”, arguing the government are not delivering on immigration true to what the public voted for in 2016. In particular, she spoke about the deep-rooted problems with illegal immigration and how little is being done to stop it.

The fourth speaker, Anglo-Nigerian church leader Wale Babatunde, gave an incredibly passionate speech arguing that Christianity and Christian values underpin all of the great social & political developments of the UK, and listed how many aspects of British history and British institutions are in fact of Christian origin.

Alan Craig, hosting the event, added the caveat that Hearts of Oak is a secular movement and is “not here to evangelise!”, but he made clear that the movement is totally in support of Christian values, which he also believes underpin Britain’s culture.

Finally, Peter McIlvenna – the event’s other organiser – unveiled the group’s newly-launched website (heartsofoak.org) where people can sign up to updates from the movement. He spoke about the purpose of Hearts of Oak, and how people can get involved.

“I want this to be an organisation which brings change and doesn’t just commentate,” he said. That kind of determination shone through for the entirety of the event. There comes a point where you have to say this is our country, we’re going to stay and we’re going to fight.”

I have not watched the speeches either yet, but a link to the you tube video is here. The owners have disallowed playback on other sites.

Interestingly a second group to support free speech also launched this week: The Free Speech Union, founded by Toby Young a journalist who used to write for the Telegraph. Colleague Juliet Samuel who still works at that newspaper has joined him. 

Brexit has been voted through by this country twice. Yet many of these “powerful” people – for they include plenty of those villains known as “straight, white men” – are still afraid to voice support for it. They sense the vicious atmosphere around us, which polices what people are and are not allowed to say and who is or isn’t allowed to say it. It is a domain that allows for no explanation and forgives no transgressions. Free speech, while nominally still free, is being subverted by fear.

That is the reason I agreed to be on the advisory council for an organisation that launched this week called The Free Speech Union. The FSU aims to offer support to people who are prosecuted, fired or mobbed, with no due process, for things they have said. It may be less than a week old, but in some eyes, it has already committed an original sin. It was founded by Toby Young, the writer and free school founder, otherwise known as “that misogynist, eugenicist gammon”, who was hounded out of public life in 2018 for historic Twitter posts about boobs.

Naturally, for certain social media activist types, this was all very triggering, as they say. The snide ones wrote about how Young’s “pathetic” club is only for “Twitter dads from Surrey” (is fathering spawn in Surrey such a crime?). The officially offended, like Baroness Kennedy, quickly branded the FSU a haven for “an awful lot of ugly views”. Others online simply called it a “cover for hate speech”. 

The safest course of action, faced with this mind-boggling array of bear traps, is not to say anything. Express no opinions, make no jokes and take no risks. That, in a nutshell, is the impulse the FSU was founded to fight.

And this is the opposition faced by middle class members of the professions. A group lead by UKIP and Brexit supporting persons, who include Tommy is really going to rile the Wokes. 

The comments to Miss Samuel's article refer to Hearts of Oak. Including the (so far) best rated ones

  • Tommy and Carl Benjamin have launched their own Free Speech Movement - announced within the last 24 Hours "hearts of oak".  Well worth a look.  Tommy is a hero of whom we should be proud. If we didn't have such a biased establishment, Lisa Nandy would be in court for continually libelling him as 'Far Right' and thus proving she hasn't a clue what the term means.
  • Time to fight back folks, find a free speech movement and support it. I am with Tommy Robinson on this one. Lets see how long this comment lasts. (the moderators at the Telegraph are getting a reputation for not tolerating views they don't like - and this in one of the last conservative with a small 'c'  newspapers in the UK)
  • Yes, we must toast the few brave people who dare speak out for free speech. This is why tommy Robinson received the Free Speech award in Denmark some weeks ago.
  • Isn’t it interesting that Tommy is being treated more fairly in Russia than he is here.
  • He's treated more fairly in most countries he visits to speak.  When he was in prison there were protests at various foreign embassies supporting demands to free him here - Israel, and Denmark....
  • We all need to join and support Toby. (And Tommy)
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Posted on 02/29/2020 3:19 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Friday, 28 February 2020
Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff at CPAC and Capitol Hill
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Elisabeth holds her book, The Truth is No Defense, during a panel discussion at CPAC, Feb. 27, 2020.


Elisabeth meets with US Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) and the Austrian representative to the European Parliament.


Elisabeth meets with US Representative Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) 

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Posted on 02/28/2020 9:59 AM by New English Review Press
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Friday, 28 February 2020
The Bloomberg Is Off the Rose
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The former New York City mayor remains the Democrats’ best bet, but his bantam rooster-moneybags routine is off to a rocky start and at this point he is no match for Trump and his army of supporters and strong record in office.

by Conrad Black

Instant dismissals of Michael Bloomberg’s Wednesday night performance in the Democratic debate as a disaster are exaggerations of what happened. But there is no question the reality of him was a let-down to such an idolatrous, $400 million advertising build-up. Bloomberg was not overly articulate or ingenuous, and he was too impersonal to satisfy a party that likes to think of itself as impassioned. As someone who had been preceded by such a mighty fanfare, he was the victim of his own largesse—more than 20 times the advertising expense of his nearest competitor.

The public had been led to expect the arrival of a demiurge, but Bloomberg has little physical presence (unlike Trump), and is far from a stem-winding speaker. He handled the disparagements of his status as a billionaire ably—“I worked hard for the money and I give most of it away to charities each year.” But he got the worst of the predictable questions about stop-and-frisk, and bombed badly when asked about the alleged sexual harassment episodes which were settled with pay-offs and non-disclosure agreements.

Bloomberg only really excelled when taxes and economics were the focus. Here he (rightly) derided the views of all of the other candidates as “ridiculous,” and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) accused him of a “cheap shot” when Bloomberg said Sanders’ socialism was really “Communism and that was tried and didn’t work.”

“Marxism” would have been more accurate than Communism, but Sanders opened the kimono for such a reflection by amplifying his call for confiscatory taxation on high wealth and incomes, and redistribution to the lowest third on the economic scale, along with the outright nationalization or heavy regulation of the private sector. It is an insane program and Bloomberg’s dismissal of it was authoritative.

The two previous front-runners, who seemed to run out of steam in Iowa and New Hampshire, Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), made a bit of a comeback.

Warren seemed less strident than usual but she speaks with a tremulous voice, and emotive twitches and palpitations, reinforcing her sincerity but not her persuasiveness.

The former vice president, for the first time that I’ve seen, made count his experience, and especially his time in national office. After an outburst of unseemly heckling, Biden gave a good, punchy wind-up, and graduated from the amiable but fading water buffalo to the old contender torquing himself up for a last hurrah; from a somewhat pitiable state to a rather endearing one. If anyone gained, Warren and Biden did.

Pete Buttigieg, as Klobuchar tellingly remarked, has “talking points,” but he hasn’t really done anything in his career that entitles him to be thought of in presidential terms. He is admirably glib, but he is a fraud, a construct, as if fabricated from a child’s erector set. Klobuchar is amiable and relatively sober politically, but terribly unexciting. Sanders is always high-pitched, angry, arms waving, plunging ever further into his socialist cul-de-sac.

Bloomberg had to do well to confirm the position he has bought in the polls and add momentum; the party establishment, desperate at the collapse of Biden and the rise of Sanders, bent the rules to shoe-horn him into the debate. He cannot have reassured the party elders.

 

Instead of rising to the presidency, Bloomberg tried to redefine it down to the necessity to defeat Trump (called “a disaster,” for reasons that weren’t hinted at), and the identification of the best executive. As he was the only Democratic candidate who had ever been an executive, there wasn’t much suspense to his pitch, but it trivialized the office.

The one point everyone agreed upon was the necessity of defeating Trump. But the big takeaway from the debate was that none of them could win a debate with Trump, much less an election. And none of them could pull the people on the hustings as Trump always does (and did Wednesday night in Phoenix).

Bloomberg bandies about that he, too, is a New Yorker and he can deal with a con man and face down a bully. But he wasn’t credible; he was the little guy talking tough in the absence of the enemy.

Trump exaggerates, but none of the Democrats acknowledge that there are now more jobs to be filled in the United States than there are unemployed, and none shows any awareness that the incomes of the lower 20 percent of American income-earners are now rising more quickly, in percentage terms, than the incomes of the most wealthy. They are still preaching the hackneyed Democratic litany of “45 years of work for no increase in real income,” (Sanders), and “one percent income growth annually” (Buttigieg). It is piffle and Trump will blow them to pieces.

Except for Bloomberg, they all buy into the zero-sum game of third-grade arithmetic economics: wildly inflated ideas of what increased revenue tax increases will yield, as if reducing the disposable income of people and corporations would not reduce their investment and spending; and a complete naïveté about both the cost and benignity of government administration of all the additional regulation and taxation that even the comparative moderates envision.

The discussion of the environment was a painful, fiercely contested six-way race to see who could produce the more fearful alarms about the future of the planet if we did not hasten to reduce carbon emissions at the expense of employment in many industries, including oil and natural gas.

Fortunately, there was no real discussion of foreign relations and not much about immigration. All the bunk about Trump blowing up the world, or at least blundering into a new Middle Eastern or Korean War, is hard to sustain, and the Democrats seem to recognize by their silence (Speaker Nancy Pelosi) that a southern border is not “immoral,” and illegal immigration is not popular, apart from Democratic ward-heelers who use the illegals (noncitizens) to stuff the ballot boxes and Republican employers who like the cheap labor.

The picture for the Democrats is likely to grow steadily darker, unless Bloomberg can come out of the gate on Super Tuesday much closer to Sanders than the polls now show him to be. He will have to do much better to drive out Biden, Warren, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar and reduce it to a showdown with Sanders.

The presidency is a glamorous position and needs to be filled by a star. Franklin Roosevelt, as he said to Orson Welles, was “a great actor,” in addition to possessing other aptitudes. Harry Truman was Everyman; Ike was the likable victorious five-star general; John F. Kennedy was an idol; Reagan was also a great actor (who starred in a lot of grade-B movies), Bill Clinton at least excited his followers, as did Obama; both are suave and fluent.

And Trump pulled between 5 million and 25 million viewers every week for 14 years and has commanded a huge following as president. None of these Democrats is a star—Bloomberg was supposed to be a star but didn’t look like one on Wednesday night. None of them excites anyone, except Sanders, who frightens twice as many people as he enlists.

The Democrats’ nightmare scenario now looms: there is no sign that the number of candidates is going to shrink appreciably and if it does not, it will be a messy convention. (I suspect Sanders and Bloomberg will offer the vice-presidential nominations to Buttigieg and Klobuchar and induce Biden and Warren to withdraw.)

They can’t crank up the fake scandal machine against Trump again, and the Obama Justice Department and intelligence agencies are likely to be exposed in indictments in the spring for truly shocking and unconstitutional misconduct during and after the 2016 election. It is increasingly difficult to see how the Democratic leadership, which first thought Trump was a joke, then a disposable president, and then an easily defeatable president, is going to make it even a close race.

As of now, Michael Bloomberg remains the Democrats’ best bet. But his bantam rooster-moneybags routine is off to a rocky start and at this point, he is no match for Trump and his army of supporters and strong record in office.

First published in American Greatness.

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Posted on 02/28/2020 5:29 AM by Conrad Black
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Friday, 28 February 2020
In Norway, Textbook Degringolade
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by Hugh Fitzgerald

The new revelations about “Palestinian” textbooks are only part of the problem of miseducation. We have grown wearily accustomed to claims that those who form part of the Judeo-Christian world, the world of Europe and North America, the heirs of the Enlightenment, the upholders of mental freedom and human rights, are guilty of every conceivable historical crime against the “others” whom we have conquered and whose lands we have supposedly laid waste. We have grown weary, too, of all those tales about the admirable “others,” which nowadays, is taken to mean not just non-whites, but also, and mainly, Muslims, the historic enemies of the Judeo-Christian West, who are absolved of all such crimes themselves, and depicted only as victims of European villainy.

A little over a year ago, an intrepid Norwegian decided to study his country’s textbooks to see how they described both Europeans, and the “others” — that is, those, non-whites and/or Muslims, with whom those Europeans came in contact.

Here is what he found:

In Norwegian textbooks, Europeans are systematically portrayed as abusers, imperialists, and exploiters. By contrast, non-whites are ascribed the role of victims, signalling an anti-Western bias, a new study has claimed.

Something to do with European supremacy,” a new study by Bergen University student Kristoffer Tyssøy Høisæther, has uncovered double standards in the way history is being presented in Norwegian textbooks used today in elementary and high schools.

According to Høisæther, there is a pronounced difference in the way Western and Islamic history in the Middle Ages is portrayed. In general, there tends to be an overemphasis on the problematic aspects of Western history, as opposed to a prevalent omission of problematic aspects within Islamic history.

The most remarkable finding in my work is how Europeans are consistently portrayed as ‘abusers’, as opposed to other cultures and peoples, who continually hold a sacrificial role”, Høisæther wrote in an article in the news outlet Resett.

To quantify this finding, the author listed 25 instances of massacres, mass killings and genocides depicted in history books, all of which were carried out by Europeans. By contrast, Muslims and Jews are exclusively given the role of victim.

Think of what had to have been left out. The entire story of the rapid Muslim conquest of the Middle East, North Africa, and the Iberian Peninsula, all in the first century of Islam’s existence, was punctuated by mass killings, of which there was not a word in the Norwegian textbooks. Once they conquered Spain, Muslims at various times conducted pogroms, as with the 4,000 Jews who were killed in Granada on January 31, 1066. Again, no mention of this. The Muslims continued for centuries to raid up and down the coasts of Europe, killing any who resisted, and seizing and enslaving, according to Western historians, more than one million white slaves. In one memorable raid, Muslims in 1631 attacked the town of Baltimore, in Ireland, where they captured and made off with everyone — between 107-227 people — for a lifetime of slavery in Algiers. The Muslims continued to attack Christian shipping in the Mediterranean for centuries, both for whatever cargo they might be carrying, and to seize and enslave the Christian crews. This practice, in which Europeans were the victims and Muslims the victimizers, continued until the young American Republic refused to pay ransom for its ships and crews, and instead successfully ended the threat of the “Barbary Pirates.”

In covering the Crusades, the textbooks in Norway apparently mention only the massacres by, and not of, the Christians. The Crusades themselves are presented as an act of unfathomable Christian aggression, prompted by a motiveless malignity. But the Crusades were finally a reaction to centuries of Muslim conquest, that had resulted in the loss of the once-Christian Middle East, North Africa, and the Iberian Peninsula, to the forces of Islam. The eleventh century began with new restrictions placed on Christians in the Holy Land, imposed by the Fatimid Caliph Al-Hakim, who in 1009 also ordered the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. By the end of the eleventh century, the Byzantines were under assault by the Seljuk Turks, who then requested aid from Rome.That is how the Crusades began. The campaigns were bloody on both sides, and certainly it was proper to describe Crusader atrocities against Jews by Crusaders in the Rhineland as they made their way to the East, and further atrocities against both Muslims and Jews in the Holy Land. But what was improper, and deeply disturbing, is that the textbooks the Norwegian scholar examined never make mention of Muslim atrocities.

Although there are have been many endless cases of massacres and genocide by Muslims, the worst surely has been the mass killings of Hindus by Muslims who arrived as invaders and remained as rulers. The respected Indian historian K. S. Lal has claimed that 70-80 million Hindus were killed over several centuries. But there’s not a word about them in the Norwegian texts. Such an omission is scandalous.

Also left out of these highly tendentious textbooks, apparently, is the genocide of 1.5 Armenians, and the killings of about one million other Christians (Greeks, Assyrians), by Muslim Turks in the 30-years from 1894 to 1924.

Nor is there any mention of contemporary mass murdering by Muslims, especially the attempted genocide of the Yazidis by members of Isis.

“The willingness to place Europeans solely in the role of the abusers is highly reprehensible, and this is undoubtedly instrumental in creating a very distorted picture of history,” Høisæther wrote.

In one textbook, “cruelty and greed” were called “typical European characteristics.” Furthermore, Western prosperity was attributed to “gross exploitation of other peoples.” While European immigration to America “wiped out millions of Indians”, non-European conquests are portrayed in a much more peaceful way, such as “the Arabs spread out over a vast area.” Similarly, trade in the Indian Ocean, which included millions of slaves, is portrayed as a “flourishing enterprise and a multifaceted contact across cultures, religions and languages.” Such a description for the Atlantic trade carried out by Europeans is hardly imaginable.

The European immigrants did indeed “wipe out millions of Indians,” through battles, disease, loss of native habitat through appropriation of land by the Europeans. But again, textbooks that correctly convey this information are obligated to describe what the Muslim conquest from the Atlantic to western China meant for those who were conquered. With the genocide of Hindus in India alone amounting to 70-80 million people, what was the total number of victims of Muslim conquests and subsequent Muslim rule? It had to have been far more than 100 million. To leave that out of the textbooks is an outrage.

“The Arabs spread out over a vast area” is an anodyne description of a bloody history. How did they “spread out”? We are not told, but many educated people know it was almost always by military conquest. Muslim conquerors were only following the 109 Quir’anic verses that command Muslims to wage Jihad until the whole world submits to Islam, and Muslims rule, everywhere. Muslim armies conquered many lands and many peoples, and left the conquered non-Muslims with three options: death, conversion to Islam, or acceptance of the status of dhimmi, which imposed many onerous conditions, including most famously, payment of the Jizyah. This Jizyah was a tax paid to the Muslim state, by non-Muslims, in order prevent Muslim attacks on those “tolerated” non-Muslims known as dhimmis; in other words, it was extortion. Apparently you cannot find in these textbooks any mention of the dhimmis and what was demanded of them.

According to Høisæther, in several comparisons between the West and the Islamic world, the former appears clearly inferior. The Islamic world is claimed to be “distinctly democratic”, whereas the Europeans excelled “in strength and rage.” In another instance, the Renaissance and the Enlightenment were allegedly founded on knowledge preserved by Islam.

The Islamic world has never been “distinctly democratic” but, rather, the political preserve of an endless succession of despots. The legitimacy of a government in Western democracies depends on whether it reflects the will of the people, as expressed in elections. The legitimacy of a Muslim ruler depends on how well he enforces the will of Allah, as set down in the Qur’an. He can be, and almost always is, a despot, but as long as he is a good Muslim, his rule should not be opposed.

Describing Europeans as excelling in “strength and rage” is curious. Possibly for the textbook writer, or writers, the word “strength” refers to the superior weaponry, and military tactics, that explain the ultimate success of the Europeans against Muslim enemies. But for many centuries it was the Muslims who had Europeans on the defensive; the failed siege of Vienna by the Ottoman Turks in 1683 marked the reversal of fortunes. As for the Europeans excelling in “rage,” this claim is plucked from the air. Given the fanaticism of Muslim fighters, their willingness to die fighting the hated Infidel, deaths that guarantee the Muslim “martyrs” entry into the Islamic Heaven, surely they are more entitled than Europeans to be described as excelling in “rage.”

The claim that both the Renaissance and the Enlightenment were “founded on knowledge preserved by Islam” only began to be made during the last few decades, when Western history books have become disseminators of the absurd and the topsy-turvy. The Renaissance does owe one thing to Muslims. Had the Turks not conquered the Byzantines, Greek scholars carrying Greek and Latin manuscripts would not have had to flee Anatolia for Italy, where they created what is called the Revival of Learning, the rediscovery by Christian Europe of the pre-Christian world of classical antiquity, that led to what became known as the Renaissance. For Muslims, by contrast, that world of classical antiquity, which revivified European civilization, was viewed as belonging to the Jahiliyya, or Time of Ignorance, and thus was to be despised.

In the same way, we could give Muslims some back-handed credit for the discovery of the New World, for had Muslim Turkish conquerors not finally sealed off, with the conquest of Constantinople on May 29,1453, the land route to Asia for European traders, Columbus would not have been impelled to seek a new route to the Indies.

As for claiming that the Enlightenment was founded on knowledge preserved by Islam, it is difficult to understand what those Norwegian textbook writers could possibly mean. What knowledge “preserved by Islam” do they have in mind? Do they mean the Arabic texts translated into Latin, and also into Hebrew, Ladino, and Castilian, by the Toledo school of translators? Can Greek texts translated into Arabic by the Christian translators who worked in Baghdad at the Abbasid Caliphate’s Bait al-Hikma, the House of Wisdom, be considered to have been “preserved by Islam”? Or were they not, more exactly, made available by Christians to Arabic readers? The Enlightenment encouraged the questioning of authority, the application of Reason instead of reliance on Faith. But Islam discourages skeptical inquiry and encourages the habit of mental submission, and has done so for 1,400 years. Islam was and remains opposed to everything that the European Enlightenment represents.

While Christianity is portrayed as a brutal and merciless religion, with compulsory conversion and mass executions, the Islamic world, especially the Ottoman Empire, which led expansionist wars for hundreds of years, is praised for its religious tolerance. No attention is devoted to the persecution of non-Muslims in the Middle Ages. Spain under its 700-year Muslim rule is thus portrayed as a peaceful place with various confessions happily co-existing.”

The history of Islam is the history of Jihad, the conquest of many lands and the subjugation of many peoples, to the forces of Islam. Once conquered, non-Muslim peoples were given the choice of being killed, or converting to Islam, or being subject, as dhimmis, to a host of economic, social, and political disabilities, including payment of the Jizyah. Can this reasonably be described as “tolerance” as we understand that concept today? In Spain, the insistence in many Western textbooks that under Islamic rule Muslims, Christians,and Jews all “happily” co-existed is flatly untrue. The pogrom in Granada in 1066, in which Muslims killed 4,000 Jews in one day, was not the only mass-murder of Jews by Muslims; according to the historian Joel Kraemer, Jews learned to practice “prudent dissimulation”before their Muslim masters. There was also the forced exile of many Christians, sent by the Almoravids to Morocco in 1126. But the best evidence that Islamic Spain was not the wonderfully tolerant place that some textbooks now claim is the 770-year Reconquista itself. For if Islamic Spain had been so tolerant, why would Spain’s Christians have fought so long and so hard to undo Muslim rule?

What this study of Norwegian textbooks reveals is hardly surprising. The Western world has been consumed for decades with political correctness, and with depicting the “white, European,Western world” as guilty of intolerance, imperialism, colonialism. The West perversely wants to think the worst of itself, and the best of its enemies. But it is Islam, its mass murders (with more than 100 million victims) now overlooked — how many people know the number of Hindus murdered by Muslims in India? — that always spread by force. Islam, too, became the most successful imperialism in human history, by convincing those who were conquered to identify with their conquerors, by converting to Islam, taking Arabic names, even adopting false Arab lineages or, still more absurd, to claim descent, as “Sayyids,” from the Prophet’s own tribe. Islam thus became, as the late scholar Anwar Shaikh has described it, a “vehicle for Arab supremacism.”

This study of how Norwegian history textbooks treat Western and Islamic imperialisms, if widely disseminated and read, can do much good, by holding up for examination the extraordinary claims now being made, for too long slipping under the pedagogic radar, for Islamic tolerance and Western villainy. Let the authors be asked to defend their skewed coverage, in a public discussion and debate. Ideally, they will be suitably shown up, and their textbooks should then be taken out of circulation, to be replaced by others with a greater regard for the truth.

First published in Jihad Watch. 

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Posted on 02/28/2020 4:52 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Thursday, 27 February 2020
Ilhan Omar Blames – Who Else? – The Americans
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by Hugh Fitzgerald

Who to blame for this and for that? The Russians were always asking themselves that question: Kto vinovat? – Who is to blame? – was the title of a famous work by Alexander Herzen, a title subsequently recycled by many others, and not only in Russia.

Here in America, someone who enjoys finding non-Muslims to blame for the ills endured by the Muslim lands is Congressman Ilhan Omar, reliably hugging the shore of absurdity. She has yet again delivered her thoughts on Who Is To Blame for all the world’s ills. Apparently, the culprit she has in the past always dragged into kangaroo court of her own untidy mind hasn’t changed – it’s still the United States.

Her version of reality is here.

When you see a Somali refugee or an Iraqi refugee or a Libyan refugee, we often are like ‘this is my neighbor, they must have survived some struggle,’ we don’t ever pause to think ‘what American policy made them come over here?’” she said at a Democracy Now! and Rising Majority event in Washington, D.C., receiving loud applause.

What makes Somalis or Iraqis or Libyan refugees come to America? It is the wretched and dangerous condition of their own countries, and the assurance that in America they will be living in a secure state, with a government of laws, that respects basic human rights, including freedom of speech and freedom of religion, unlike any of the countries they come from or, indeed, unlike any Muslim-majority country. They know, too, that they will have benefits of many kinds lavished upon them, these economic migrants who convince our immigration officials that they are “asylum seekers” fleeing persecution. The benefits they receive include some or all of the following: free or subsidized housing, free medical care, free education, unemployment benefits, and family allowances. No one knows this better than Ilhan Omar, who is fully aware of just how well her fellow Somalis in Minneapolis have done by taking advantage of every possible benefit offered to them, even beyond the great and unmerited gift of being allowed to settle in America in the first place, among mostly unsuspecting Infidels whom those Muslim migrants have been taught since childhood to despise as “the most vile of created beings.” Yet Omar feels not the tiniest twinge of gratitude to the United States; in her topsy-turvy moral world, it is American policy that is to blame for what makes Somalia such an unpleasant place to live.

But how is America to blame for conditions in Somalia? The Republic of Somalia was formed in 1960 by the federation of a former Italian colony and a British protectorate. Mohamed Siad Barre held dictatorial rule over the country from October 1969 until January 1991, when he was overthrown in a bloody civil war waged by clan-based guerrillas. The American government was not responsible either for the long despotism of Siad Barre, nor for the civil war that deposed him. The war that followed among the various Somali clans had nothing to do with the American government. Nor did the appearance of the terrorist group Al-Shabab, which is a local branch of Al Qaeda. Fighting, insecurity, and lack of state protection, and recurring humanitarian crises have had a devastating impact on Somali civilians for years. The number of internally displaced people, many living unassisted and at risk of serious abuse, have now reached 3 million. The Islamist armed group Al-Shabab has subjected the people living under its control to harsh treatment, including forcibly recruiting them to its ranks. Somalis often suffer deadly attacks by Al-Shabab that deliberately target civilians. The Americans have “intervened” in Somalia in two ways. They have delivered humanitarian aid to civilians when such deliveries can be made without coming under fire, and they have attacked Al-Shabab which has terrorized and murdered so many Somali civilians. Surely Ilhan Omar knows this. Or does she not want to be bothered with mere facts, when malevolent falsehoods are so much more fun?

As for Libya, in what way was America responsible for the madman Qaddafi, who came to power in a coup that overthrew the pro-American King Idris in 1969 and also led to Libya closing down America’ Wheelus Airbase? In his forty-two years as the absolute ruler of Libya, Qaddafi faced only implacable enmity from Washington. And that following Qaddafi’s overthrow in 2011, among local militias based in Tripoli, Tobruk, Misrata, Benghazi, and other cities, again had nothing to do with America. As of right now, the Americans in theory “recognize” the government based in Tripoli under Fayez Al-Sarraj, but have done nothing to support it, and there are many in Washington who regard the pro-American General Khalifa Haftar, based in eastern Libya, as a better bet. Khalifa Haftar, after all, lived in America for 20 years, where he served as a consultant to the C.I. A., and even became an American citizen. But as with Somalia, there is little reason to blame America for the endless wars that have been going on in Libya since the most violent lord of misrule, Muammar Qaddafi, was killed in 2011.

Finally, Ilhan Omar mentions Iraq. The United States government has twice engaged with Iraq. In 1990-1991 during the Gulf War pushed Saddam Hussein’s troops out of Kuwait, which he had invaded and declared would now be the 19th province of Iraq. Does Ilhan Omar think that preventing the murderous regime of Saddam Hussein from swallowing Kuwait was a bad idea? Would she have preferred that Kuwait have disappeared, that Iraq have been enlarged, and that Saddam Hussein, further emboldened, might then have attacked the UAE or Jordan or even Saudi Arabia?

Then there was the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Americans sought to remove Saddam Hussein, and to bring Western-style democracy to Iraq. Were these aims illegitimate, in Ilhan Omar’s view? Aren’t Iraqis much better off today than they were when Saddam was in power, murdering his opponents at will? The only fault to be found with American policy in Iraq is that it was much too naïve and generous. Americans stayed, and spent two trillion dollars, in order to bring about peace, security, and a democratic government, in a country where the divisions, both sectarian (Sunni and Shia), and ethnic (Arabs and Kurds) could not be healed. In “democratic” Iraq, the Shi’a Arabs, who constitute 60% of the population, refuse to relinquish any of the power they now possess, and the Sunni Arabs whom Saddam Hussein had naturally favored, are as yet unwilling to acquiesce in their loss of power to the Shi’a. These conflicts have nothing to do with America.

Ilhan Omar seems to think that the Somalis, Libyans, and Iraqis now in the U.S. are “owed” their resettlement in this country because American actions in their countries caused them to flee in the first place. That’ a travesty of history. Somalia, Libya, and Iraq have been suffering from decades of what the Italians call Malgoverno – Bad Government. Think of the despots, all three pathologically evil, who ran these countries for many decades – Siad Barre, Muammar Qaddafi, and Saddam Hussein. Think of how , in Somalia, the clans have continued to fight each other long after Siad Barre was deposed, how the city-based militias in Libya have been fighting since Qaddafy was grotesquely impaled; how the Sunnis and Shi’a continue to battle over power, and over the money that power brings, in post-Saddam Iraq. Ilhan Omar doesn’t have time to recognize that truth; she knows it’s America’s fault that people have felt the need to flee Somalia, Libya, and Iraq. Hers not to reason why.

“When you see flooding happening in a country abroad and you are urgently raising money for these lives to be saved, you don’t think about, ‘How have I contributed to the climate warming that has led to these floodings and these catastrophes that are taking place abroad?’” Omar said.

Really? How does Ilhan Omar know what you or I think about flooding and its relation to global warming (the melting of glaciers and ice caps that lead to a rise in sea level), and our own contributions to that warming? We can hardly avoid thinking about it, as it is constantly being discussed on radio, on television, and online. There is even a movement to decrease air travel to an absolute minimum: not nations, but individuals, “take the pledge” for “the sake of the planet”). We are sufficiently aware of climate warming to think of our own contribution to it, however large or small. But America is not uniquely guilty, as Ilhan Omar believes; every industrialized nation has been contributing to global warming. Some less industrialized countries also contribute to climate change by starting fires to turn forest into ranchland, as Brazilian cattle ranchers have been known to do in the Amazon. It might surprise Omar to learn that the United States is no longer the main emitter of CO2; China now emits more than twice as much CO2 as does the United States, and its emissions continue on a steep upward curve. India’s CO2 emissions are steadily rising as well. Omar might also be interested to learn that Saudi Arabia emits as much CO2 as do Great Britain and France together, while Iran emits as much as Canada, Germany, and South Korea.

Ilhan Omar probably does not know that the Arab oil states, and above all Saudi Arabia, have tried to block or water down international agreements on lowering carbon emissions. An article in the Guardian about the role of the Saudis in the 2015 negotiations leading to the Paris Climate Accord is devastating:

Saudi Arabia has long played a high-profile presence at annual climate summits operating from the luxuriously appointed pavilions of the Gulf Co-operation Council – and over the years has regularly been accused of blocking action on climate change.

In the run-up to the Paris summit, however, the kingdom adopted a more amenable posture. Last month it delivered a plan to fight climate change, pledging a “significant deviation” in emissions, but was the last G20 country to submit its offer to the United Nations, and analysts described the targets as opaque….

Behind the closed doors of negotiating sessions, however, the Saudis have strenuously resisted efforts to enshrine ambitious goals into the text of a Paris agreement.

The Saudis objected even to the mention of 1.5C – a new more ambitious target for limiting warming now endorsed by more than 100 countries including vulnerable low-lying states and big polluters such as the European Union and US.

The kingdom balked at the goal of decarbonising the economy by 2050….

And although Saudi Arabia ranks as the world’s 15th largest economy, it has resisted efforts to grow the Green Climate Fund to help poorer countries cope with global warming – insisting only industrialised countries contribute.

Saudi negotiators have also demanded that if tiny islands like Kiribati be compensated for climate change, they should also be protected from loss of future oil income, and they have sought financial aid to acquire new green energy technology…

We feel Saudi Arabia is playing a bully role in undermining the position of other Arab countries,” Hmaidan said. “It is unfortunate that the Arab group is the only group opposing 1.5C.”

Ilhan, take a good look.

No further questions, your honor.

First published in Jihad Watch

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Posted on 02/27/2020 4:40 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
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Wednesday, 26 February 2020
Antisemitism, the evil which must not be named
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The multifaceted nature of the “oldest hatred” makes it difficult to combat because it means different things to different people and is too often disguised by blaming the victims. 

by Matthew M. Hausman

Despite laudatory coverage of the “No Hate, No Fear” Solidarity March against antisemitism in New York last month, none in the political or media establishments have acknowledged their complicity in facilitating Jew-hatred and shielding its purveyors.  For many progressives, the rally cry “no hate, no fear” was a platitude used to obscure their own biases and excuse identity communities where antisemitism is flourishing. And few of the mainstream commentators professing support showed any self-awareness given their initial efforts to blame the deadly assaults against Jews in Monsey, NY and Jersey City, NJ on white supremacism, right-wing extremism or President Trump, when in fact they were perpetrated by members of minority groups – some with suspected ties to an antisemitic religious sect.  

Misdirection in assigning blame is perhaps unavoidable when vague euphemisms instead of graphic specificity are used to describe anti-Jewish hatred.  While the “No Hate, No Fear” rally was organized to denounce violence against Jews, its moniker omitted the words “Jew” and “antisemitism.” Indeed, the event name avoided any appearance of ethnocentrism and seemed to project an aura of inclusiveness, though antisemitism targets only Jews and the lethal attacks being condemned affected no other minority.  And despite declarations of concern regarding hate violence generally, there has been no similar uptick against any other class or group.

Whatever the reason for this apparent inhibition, it seems to echo an establishment reluctance to offend those who should be offended, i.e., doctrinaire progressives and identity communities where antisemitism is thriving but with whom liberals find common cause.  Moreover, it evokes the efforts of those who seek to reconceptualize Jewish history as a universal metaphor to validate a political agenda that, among other things, heaps disproportionate criticism on Israel and downplays left-wing antisemitism.

It appears Democratic leaders are unable to condemn antisemitism without generalizing its meaning or diluting its focus.  They instead analogize it to other hatreds, especially those affecting demographic groups favored by progressives.  Or they turn it into an allegory to justify their goals and programs. Not all hatreds are equal, however, and none is more pernicious than antisemitism...

CONTINUE READING AT  http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/25266

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Posted on 02/26/2020 10:55 AM by Matthew Hausman
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Wednesday, 26 February 2020
God bless Professor Channa Newman!
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The one-sided pro-“Palestine” madness on American campuses is a virus which shows no sign of quitting anytime soon. But now we have some professors who are fighting back publicly. Newman, in her late seventies, and a survivor, has filed a lawsuit.

by Phyllis Chesler

Newman is a long-time professor of French and Cultural Studies and Chair of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, who has just sued Point Park University claiming “employment discrimination based on her Jewish and Israeli ancestry and alleging that there has been a concerted effort led by anti-Zionist faculty and students to create a hostile work environment.”

She is also a savvy Holocaust survivor who has certainly learned her lessons. What’s more, she lives and works in Pittsburgh, where white nationalist, Robert Gregory Bowers, unleashed a Jew-hating massacre at the “Tree of Life” synagogue on a Sabbath in October of 2018.

Newman has filed an 18-count complaint in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County and the counts include: “Discrimination of race/national origin, religion, age, and sex; Retaliation by stripping of duties, removing as Chair; Hostile work environment causing Newman to feel unsafe; Breach of contract and negligent supervision by administration who Newman claims ignored her; Intention inflictional of emotional distress resulting from university’s action.”

In her lawsuit, Professor Newman has named another Point Park professor, Robert Ross, as having used his position to promote “highly anti-Zionist views and activities” and to “foster the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.” She has also named another professor, J. Dwight Hines as having aided and abetted Ross’s machinations.

Ross and Hines are two men who appear to be at least 30 to 40 years young than Newman; in turn, they have misled and used vulnerable, even younger students, in a witch-hunt against a women, a Jew, and an Israeli, who is in her late seventies—and whose academic accomplishments and knowledge base seem to far outshine their own.

In a private exchange, Professor Channa thanked me for my “words of support...(she has) been battling the BDS ideology on (her) campus all alone (for) five years and will now be able to do it publicly. The zeal that drove the anti-Zionist and his supporters (along with the vulnerable students he mobilized for the hunt)” and that led to his”guiding a student to file a false Title IX charge against me (which) may prove to have been a mistake.”

Now, Professor Channa hopes to unmask BDS and to expose it as the “hate force and fraud that it is. Under cover of “social justice” and conflating ‘Palestinian rights’ with intersectionality (the magic word) and all whom they designated as ‘oppressed,’ the new antisemites make their ‘moral’ claim against Israel. And against me.”

In her civil complaint, Dr. Newman details a painful but typical pattern of organized “shunning and disrespect by student followers, and some faculty, administrators, and alumni.” She details her lead tormentor’s refusal to visit Israel and Jordan when he took his students to visit “Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.” His response: “My Hezbollah friends would disown me if I went to Israel.”

And exactly who has led the demon-pack against Professor Newman? None other than a professor whose Ph.D is in Geography (!), and who once taught at the American University in Beirut (as did Professor Steven Salaita, another high profile and well-protected anti-Zionist). Robert Ross describes himself as an Associate Professor of Literary Arts and Social Justice Studies, and the Co-ordinator of the Social Justice Studies Program. Some of his  articles are titled: “No Space for Apartheid: Towards an Academic Boycott of Israel Among Geographers”; “One Year Later, Gaza is still in Crisis” (which appeared at the decidedly non-academic Mondoweiss!); “We Know Best How to Liberate You: The Misguided Attack on Presbyterian Divestment” (also in Mondoweiss); “Divestment is an Investment in Love, Peace, and Justice”; and “Price Tag attacks and Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” (also in Mondoweiss).

I had to wait many years for a professor to go on the offensive publicly. Newman is a Holocaust survivor, holds Israeli, Czech, and U.S. citizenship, but more importantly, she has been employed at Point Park University since 1964. Newman speaks many languages and her research and publications are wide-ranging. 

I am indebted to Professor Andrew Pessin, whose own 2015 case I and Richard Landes were both privileged to cover. Together with Doron S. Ben-Atar, Professor Pessin has since co-edited a must-read book titled Anti-Zionism on Campus: The University, Free Speech, and BDS. Professor Pessin called my attention to Newman’s case.

But now, Professor Newman’s  civil complaint is here. It should become a template for pro-Israel professors who are under similar siege. 

Long, long ago, but no so far away, in 2001-2002, I insisted that anti-Zionism=anti-Semitism in the late 20th and 21st centuries. This all-too-obvious idea was contained in the manuscript of my 2003 book on the subject The New Anti-Semitism and in the hundreds of articles I wrote and collected since then. At the time, my editor strongly objected to my saying so. He kept asking me if I was “sure, really sure that I wanted to write this.” I stood my ground.

This was not the only politically incorrect idea I shared in this work. I also held the Western intelligentsia and glitterati responsible for collaborating with Islamists and I understood that the cognitive filth coming out of the Muslim world was traditional Islamic Jew hatred in increasingly ramped up versions. I also viewed the pro-Palestine and anti-Israel maliciousness of Europeans and the United Nations as the way they were continuing the Holocaust.

Very few books hit the grand trifecta as I’d done. Abe Foxman’s 2003 book, Never Again?: The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism, primarily focused only on white supremacist, neo-Nazi Jew hatred. This distressingly minor and misguided work got reviewed everywhere.

My book was barely reviewed in the mainstream media. It did not sell many copies. Many liberal and left-wing Jews kept challenging me as well. My reputation as a trendy, cutting-edge intellectual took a deep dive. And few—even those who supported my work and honored me personally—publicly remembered where they first heard these ideas in English.

However, at the time, those American university professors who read my book began writing to me to share how they had been shamed and threatened on campuses for being perceived as pro-Israel or as too pro-Israel. With their permission, I turned their emails over to the one interested editor at the New York Times who specialized in education. She had tried to review my book but had been turned down. I suggested she do a story about the death of truth on the American campus—and she agreed. Within a few weeks, she told me, rather sadly, that she’d been “stopped at the highest level.”

The one-sided pro-“Palestine” madness on American campuses is a virus which shows no sign of quitting anytime soon. But now we have some professors who are willing to publicly fight back.

For the first time in history, Professor Newman’s Point Park adversaries concocted a fake Title IX complaint against a woman (brought by a student for her alleged “insensitivity” to the #MeToo movement). She “sexually harassed” no one.  Newman was easily exonerated. However, the hostility has continued.

Professor Channa has endured having her students, some colleagues, and some administrators “ghost” her. Students have refused to study with her. She was removed from a class she regularly taught—and her students knew about this before she did. And then, a new Title IX complaint was filed against her, allegedly having to do with her views of the American Presidency.

In Channa Newman, we have a new Dreyfus, one who is vigorously fighting back. She should be supported by a network of scholars, philanthropists, journalists, and lawyers, and by Jews and people of good will everywhere.

First published in Israel National News.  

The writer is a Ginsburg-Ingerman Fellow at the Middle East Forum, received the 2013 National Jewish Book Award,.authored 18 books, including Women and Madness and The New Anti-Semitism, and 4 studies about honor killing, Her latest books are An American Bride in Kabul,  A Family Conspiracy: Honor Killing and A Politically Incorrect Feminist.

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Posted on 02/26/2020 10:00 AM by Phyllis Chesler
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Wednesday, 26 February 2020
Fake News and the 2020 Election
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by Michael Curtis

It is more fitting to seek the truth of the matter rather than have imaginary conceptions. Be sure it’s true when you speak your words, it’s a sin to tell a lie. Political crises come when false words are spoken.

At the raucous debate of Democratic presidential rivals in Charleston, South Carolina, on February 25, 2020 the candidates under unwelcome pressure sometimes misplaced the truth and expressed fake news with tortuous logic. Bernie Sanders, the obvious target of the debate, was said to be the preferred choice of Russian President Vladimir Putin to be the opponent of President Donald Trump. As an addition, Bernie was also linked indirectly to the Charleston church massacre in 2015.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg informed Sanders that Russia was supporting his campaign for the Democratic nomination, one part of Putin’s attempt to influence the 2020 election. Bloomberg apparently knew that Putin wanted Trump to be president of the U.S. and that was why Russia was helping Sanders become the nominee, so he would lose to Trump. To add to the confusion there is related unsubstantiated information. On February 20, 2020 Shelby Pierson, Homeland  Security official for intelligence, is supposed to have told the House Intelligence Committee, headed by Adam Schiff, the indefatigable believer in Russia-Trump collusion, in a bipartisan briefing that Russia was resuming its policy of influencing U.S. elections. Schiff concluded by repeating his long held belief that Russia was opting for Trump in 2020.

Fake news and fake jobs, the repacking of information to fit one’ opinions, have a long history. In ancient Rome, Octavian in his struggle to be and remain Roman Emperor Augustus in 27 B.C. engaged in misinformation about the will and testament of his rival Mark Antony. At one time Christians were declared to be engaged in cannibalism and incest. Starting in 1475 in Trent, Italy,  when a two year old Christian boy was said to have been found in the basement of a Jewish home resulting in the entire Jewish community being arrested and 15 burned at the stake, Jews have had to face fake news of blood libels, anti- Jewish propaganda and accusations of the use of Christian blood for religious rites .

Fake news has also had a long history in the U.S. before and after independence. Ben Franklin on March 22, 1782 published a false account of atrocities, especially scalping, by Indians who worked with King George III against the American rebels. George Washington in a letter on June 26, 1796  to Alexander Hamilton  expressed his “disinclination to be no longer buffetted in the public prints by a set of infamous scribblers.” A disgraceful example of distortion was Walter Duranty, New York Times correspondent in the Soviet Union, 1922-1936,  in his effort to make the Soviet Union attractive and seem a paradise, perpetrated sensational fake news, including covering up the Stalinist campaign that claimed millions of lives, mostly in Ukraine. Perhaps most amusing was the surprising success of fake news on the CBS network broadcast of The War of the Worlds in October 1938 when Orson Welles presented a faux invasion by Martians taking place in New Jersey, and the broadcast supposedly caused panic among part of the audience.

The master of fake news was Joseph Goebbels, Nazi minister of propaganda, and virulent antisemite who implemented what Adolf Hitler had called the “big lie,” a lie so great and infamous that no one could have the impudence to deny it.

It is disturbing that in discussions about the 2020 US presidential election many Americans believe that fake news, a more dramatic form of misinformation or disinformation, is a bigger threat than terrorism, illegal immigration, violent crime, or racism, and is causing significant harm. Indeed, a recent MIT study concludes that fake news is more likely to go viral than other news, because the fake news is more novel and evokes more emotion than valid news.

Though it is uncertain that fake news changed many people’s mind in the 2016 U.S. election, and it is probable at the time that most political news exposure came from mainstream media outposts, the problem has become apparent. In April 2018 Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, declared that his organization did not do enough to “prevent these tools from being used for harm as well as good, that goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech.”

The issue now is whether and to what extent fake news is influencing the 2020 election. Social media firms have deleted thousands of inauthentic accounts that seek to be influential, but this has not stopped all penetration. Though hundreds of fake accounts on social media have originated from other countries as well as from Russia, it is clear that Russia has established many fake accounts on social media to undermine U.S. elections and cause chaos. Since 2015 Russia has used a web brigade, Internet Research Agency, a firm of 400 employees in St. Petersburg to this end. Putin had already established the Russian World Foundation in 2007, ostensibly to promote the Russian language as Russia’s national heritage, to unite all who cherish the Russian word and Russian culture wherever they may live, but in essence it is a body to project Russian “soft power.” Putin has the Russian Orthodox Church as a strong ally, and used religion for political purposes. Putin has said it is Russian duty to stand together against contemporary challenges and threats “using their spiritual legacy over invaluable traditions of unity to go forward and continue our thousand year history.”

The fake news and disinformation emanating from the Kremlin continues. This is ironic because in March 2019 Putin signed a bill for punishment of individuals and on-line media for spreading fake news and information that disrespects the state. This involves material considered insulting to Russian officials, which can then block websites publishing the information. Irresponsible publications may face fines of up to $23,000 and jail for information that presents disrespect for society, government, state symbols, the constitution, and government institutions.

Plus ca change plus c’est la meme chose. The old game of Kreminology continues, making guesses about who’s really in power in Russia, the intentions of Russian leaders and their policy objectives. In spite of fake news, it is unlikely that Russia or Putin himself is supporting a particular U.S. candidate, but very likely it is attempting to sow discord in the U.S. system, and trying to persuade supporters of Bernie Sanders to think the system is rigged.

The truth about Putin is hard to fathom for lack of any systematic position or dialectical belief.

He remains popular in Russia though a dictator, a combination of aggressive foreign policy, opportunistic, nostalgic patriotism, anti-Western resentment, and antagonism towards the U.S.

Putin wants to be a player in international affairs, even if without a single key, but with short term goals in the context of conflicting and often contradictory forces in Russia.  

His view of Russia is at the center of world history and must be defended. A major concern is the possibility of the expansion of NATO to Russian borders. In opposition to the West, he held that Ukraine was a puppet of the West though Ukraine was not separate from Russia because of links through language, history and culture.

Irrespective of Putin’s real motives and interests, attention must be paid by sensible authorities in the U.S. about the prevalence of fake news, and irresponsible use of them. This includes U.S, journalism. in August 2019 Lawrence O’Donnell, NSNBC host, announced that Trump was a Russian operative and that Russian oligarchs were signing loans for Trump. This was an actual statement, not a description of a bad Hollywood Cold War script. O’Donnell later apologized , explaining that his story came from a source close to the Deutsche Bank who had told him that Trump’s loans were co-signed by Russian billionaires  close to Putin. But in what seems more paranoia than genuine analysis he still persisted in his essential argument, declaring that Putin was working hard to reelect his favorite president of the U.S., and that Putin was Trump’s real running mate.

American politicians and the media have been too prone to imitate Oscar Wilde, “As for believing, things, I can believe anything provided it is quite incredible.” Now they must understand the importance of being earnest about fake news.

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Posted on 02/26/2020 9:40 AM by Michael Curtis
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Wednesday, 26 February 2020
Images of Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi just 19 seconds before he detonated device shown at brother's trial
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From the Manchester Evening News

CCTV images of Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi just 19 seconds before he detonated his device were shown at his brother's trial. Wearing a cap and carrying a heavy bomb in his rucksack, the images show him mingling with concert-goers as they leave the Arena at 10.30pm on May 22, 2017.

Moments later, he detonated the device while standing in the middle of the foyer, killing himself and 22 others as well as seriously injuring dozens more.

The jurors were told horrific details of the life-changing injuries suffered by some of the 359 people, many of them children, who were in the foyer at the time of the blast, which propelled almost 3,000 pieces of shrapnel. Aside from the 22 who died, 92 were seriously injured but survived - including one woman, 51, who broke both her legs in the blast, but who also suffered shrapnel wounds in the 1996 IRA bombing of Manchester, the court heard.

The bomber's brother, Hashem Abedi, 22, from Fallowfield, was in Libya at the time of the attack.

He is standing trial at the Old Bailey in London, where he denies assisting his sibling in the months before the attack by allegedly helping him source shrapnel for the device and chemicals to produce deadly TATP explosives.

As the trial resumed, jurors were shown CCTV images of Salman Abedi's final movements on the day of the bombing. . . The jurors were told he twice called the Abedi family home in Libya, one of them lasting four minutes and 12 seconds.

Jurors were told he remained out of view of any cameras for an hour and then returned to detonate the device, as the foyer was filling with people leaving the venue and parents coming to collect their children - at 10.31pm. One CCTV still, taken 19 seconds before the blast, showed Salman Abedi in the centre of the foyer as it filled with people.

A map of where those who died was shown the jury, illustrating how those closest were just two metres from the bomber,while the furthest was more than 20 metres away.

The jury heard Salman Abedi was dismembered in the blast.

He was identified in part thanks to DNA, which matched DNA taken from him during an arrest for shoplifting in 2012, the court was told. A Halifax bank card beating his name was found near the box office windows.

Almost 3,000 screws, nuts and bolts were found at the scene, embedded in walls, an advertising poster and in the bodies of victims. More were found during a renovation of the Arena in 2019, the jurors were told.

Hashem Abedi, 22, from Fallowfield, denies 22 counts of murder; one charge of attempted murder concerning those who were hurt but survived; and a charge that he conspired with Salman Abedi to cause an explosion. 

 

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Posted on 02/26/2020 6:03 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Wednesday, 26 February 2020
The Sanders Record
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The Vermont senator has been true to his principles throughout his life — unfortunately.

by Conrad Black

It is timely to look more closely at Senator Bernie Sanders. He is 78, was born and raised in Brooklyn in a Jewish family; his antecedents on both sides came from Galicia in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now part of Poland). His father emigrated to New York in 1921 some years after Sanders’s mother’s family. An older brother, Larry, lives in England and was a Green Party city councilor in Oxford (he and I were opponents in a debate in 2016 in London about the U.S. election, and he was amiable and soft-spoken — none of Bernie’s arm-waving and shouting). Sanders was a capable athlete in his early years but an indifferent student. He took a B.A. in political science at the University of Chicago in 1964 and was an active member of CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) and SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) and helped agitate successfully against segregated residences at the university. He attended the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Martin Luther King gave his memorable “I Have a Dream” speech. Sanders was also an anti-war activist, but no more militant or demonstrative, as far as can be seen, than was Bill Clinton. He was a member of the Student Peace Union, and after the Vietnam War began, he sought status as a conscientious objector. This was denied, but only after the draft calls had settled on younger men.

He returned to New York City and worked as a substitute teacher in the Head Start program, a psychiatric aide, and a carpenter. Then in 1968 he moved to Stannard, Vt., population 88, in a Thoreau-esque gesture of integrality with nature and rural living. With his small inheritance, he bought a cabin with a dirt floor and very crude plumbing, and he paid the bills by being a carpenter, though his chief occupation was making what he has called “radical film strips” for educational use. His first marriage, in these bucolic conditions, lasted only two years.

Sanders began his long career in third-party left-wing politics in a mélange of left-wing causes called the Liberty Union Party. Under this banner, Sanders was a candidate for governor of Vermont in 1972 and 1976, and for the U.S. Senate in a 1972 special election and in 1974, taking 4 percent of the statewide vote in the second Senate contest, against Patrick Leahy, now in his eighth term. Sanders increased his vote total to about 8 percent (11,000 votes) running for governor in 1976, but the Liberty Union Party then dissolved. The next year Sanders, now 36 and still a part-time carpenter, became the director of the leftist American People’s Historical Society, in which capacity he produced a 30-minute documentary lionizing Eugene V. Debs — a five-time Socialist candidate for president who won 900,000 votes (6 percent) in the famous 1912 election of three presidents against Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft.Wilson incarcerated Debs for sedition during World War I for recommending non-compliance with the military draft (he would later be pardoned by President Warren Harding).

Sanders gained steady employment for the first time when he was elected mayor of Burlington, Vt., by ten votes in 1981, at the head of a coalition of leftist civic-action groups against a five-term Democrat who was tacitly endorsed by the Republicans as well. Sanders accused him of being a patronage-tainted stooge of local developers. As mayor, Sanders balanced the municipal budget, attracted a minor-league baseball team (it was called the Vermont Reds not because of Sanders, but because it was a farm team of the Cincinnati Reds). He was a pioneer in community-trust housing, sued to reduce local cable-television rates, and championed an imaginative multi-use redevelopment plan for the city’s Lake Champlain waterfront; his slogan was “Burlington is not for sale.” He worked well with all groups (except some developers) and showed no signs of the authoritarianism of the doctrinaire Left, though he admired some of their most odious exemplars, such as Fidel Castro, whom he unsuccessfully tried to visit. He was reelected three times as a declared socialist, with his vote inching up above 55 percent in 1987, and he had another try at the governor’s chair in 1986, but got only 14 percent of the vote. By this time Sanders was already focused on national government and had invited leftist professor and eminent linguist Noam Chomsky to give a speech in 1985 denouncing American foreign policy. He retired as mayor in 1989 and became a lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard in 1989 and at Hamilton College in 1991.

In 1988, Sanders ran again as an independent for statewide office, as congressman at large for Vermont, and gained 38 percent of the vote, double the vote for the Democratic candidate, and within three points of the winner, Republican Peter Smith. Two years later, he ran again as an independent, but without a Democrat in the race, and this time he entered Congress, aged 50, as a Democratic-left independent fusion candidate. He served eight consecutive terms as a congressman and then in 2006 won the first of three terms (so far) as U.S. senator. It was unjust for Michael Bloomberg to suggest that Sanders was a Communist, as he does believe in free elections. He has stuck to his platform and doggedly fought out his career at the polls through 20 elections between 1972 and 2018, 16 of them statewide, albeit in a small state. It is correct, but unsurprising given that he sat as a socialist in the Senate, to say that he has introduced 364 bills as a senator, of which only three have passed, and two of them were to name post offices.

Bernie Sanders believes in mobilizing the less advantaged 50.1 percent of the voters in America, as in Vermont and in Burlington, by promising them a sufficient share of the wealth and status of the upper 49.9 percent of society, while assuaging any reservations about confiscating the wealth and income of others by denouncing the system and representing such redistribution as fairness. He wants an environmental revolution, no doubt to reduce pollution as a side benefit, but more importantly as a planet-saving cover for his assault on capitalism and his acquisition of the votes of the relatively disadvantaged. He is making a direct appeal to a majority of Americans by promising them economic benefits wrenched from the hands of the greedy 49.9 percent, or benignly showered upon them by a kindly state, as if the state got its money from anyone but its constituents.

The key to repulsing Sanders lies in three responses: First, publicization, as has already begun, of the many colossal indiscretions in his lengthy public record, including his exaggerated claim that the U.S. is “systemically racist” and reflections published in an “alternative” newspaper on the alleged propensity of women to fantasize about rape. Second is fanning the well-entrenched negative American response to the idea of socialism as coercive and anti-individualistic, amounting to Communism with less severity, at least initially. Finally, Sanders’s opponent, Bloomberg (and if he can’t do it, Trump), starts with the 49.9 percent who are losers in the Sanders transformation and then scoops up at least a third of Sanders’s targeted voters by pitching to their not unreasonable faith in their ability to get into the upper half without having to float upwards because of exorbitant government extractions and reallocations.

Obviously, Sanders must lose, if not at the convention, then in November. If Sanders is nominated, Trump will take about 65 percent of the vote, the highest percentage for a candidate in a contested U.S. presidential election in 200 years, and will win every state (including Vermont), and roll up a margin of about twice Richard Nixon’s outstanding record of 18 million votes over George McGovern in 1972 (with only about 55 percent of the number of voters anticipated this year). In such a tidal wave, Trump’s coattails would be long and would install a heavy Republican majority in both houses of Congress. This is why the Democratic elders are frazzled by the prospect of a Sanders candidacy. Michael Bloomberg, who is not otherwise any more beloved a candidate to them than Trump was to the Bush-Romney-McCain Republicans four years ago, is now the anointed savior of some post-electoral standing for the Democrats. Never in American history has a political leader achieved so swift a transition from a side-splitting joke to his opponents, as Trump was a little over three years ago, to the subject of their cold, gripping terror, of such enormity as only the impending loss of control of a vast apparatus of government and media influence can induce.

The Democrats now face a choice of sinking with all hands with Sanders or being badly shot up and limping home, waterlogged and well down in the water with all hands at the pumps, which is the best the brazen and clumsy Bloomberg takeover can now realistically have as its objective.

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Posted on 02/26/2020 4:45 AM by Conrad Black
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