Wednesday, 30 September 2020
Trump Wins Round One, Barely

by Conrad Black

There was no clear winner in Tuesday’s presidential debate and the country was the loser. 

President Trump could have won decisively if he had just followed Napoleon’s famous advice not to “interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” The moderator, Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace, did an excellent professional job largely without bias, and undoubtedly more fairly than those who will conduct the next two debates, but he didn’t come down hard enough on the interruptions. If Trump had just allowed Wallace to follow up on his questions of Biden, the former vice president would have stumbled badly. Trump’s irritating interruptions created an incoherent cacophony that enabled Biden to escape severe embarrassment. 

On balance, Trump almost certainly won, but a very few viewers would have had the perseverance to listen carefully enough to note that Trump defended his own record quite capably, and Biden was very shaky and imprecise both in criticism of his opponent and in explaining why he should be president. As was expected, the fact that he got through 90 minutes in the ring with Trump without becoming incomprehensibly muddled, empowered his supporters to claim that in limping out intact, he had won.

For those who followed it carefully or replay it, it will be clear not only that Trump is a much more forceful and articulate man than Joe Biden, but that he also clearly won the argument, insofar as it could be perceived within the tumult of interruptions.

The Democrats can claim the partial victory of their candidate having survived to fight another day, but the Democratic campaign—which has consisted exclusively of nonstop defamation of the president with a new false allegation every week—was discredited by Biden’s failure to make any of his accusations stick, or even sound like he believed them himself. 

These Foolish Things . . . 

For those who want a strong president, Trump won; for those who do not want an overbearing president, he did not win and to the extent that he did not win, perhaps Biden did.

But Biden could not refute Trump’s strong argument in favor of the COVID-19 shutdown that he sponsored and against Biden’s predisposition to shut the economy down again. Biden did not reply to the question of whether he favored ending the Senate filibuster and packing the Supreme Court. He did not make a strong argument against the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the high court. He was unable to give any evidence whatsoever of support for his campaign from any law enforcement organization; he denied the charges of his son’s corruption in Ukraine and China, a subject that he invited Trump to take up by mentioning his other son who was a decorated combat veteran.

Biden had no answer to allegations about the Trump-Russian collusion fraud, of which he was to some degree aware from the start, and was not altogether successful in trying to straddle between the militant African Americans in his party and opposition to mob violence. He was reduced to saying that “Antifa is just an idea,” and that sociologists and psychologists should accompany police in their general tasks of law enforcement. He will have disappointed the Left of his party, announcing (unconvincingly) “I am the Democratic Party now.”

But they now have nowhere else to go. The best he could do for them was to allege that there was “systemic injustice” in the country. He made no effort to defend his media allies and protectors from Trump’s dismissive attacks.

Biden denied that he was in favor of the Green New Deal even though his vice-presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) cosponsored it and he presented a harebrained proposal for giving $20 billion to Brazil to help reverse the reduction of the Amazon rainforest. He completely bobbled his attempt to explain his healthcare plans and the impossible fiscal burden of enactment of the Biden-Sanders taxing and spending proposals. Trump effectively exposed the Democrats’ panic campaign on the coronavirus but was careful to be solicitous of victims.

The Record, For What It’s Worth

For anyone who analyzes the exchanges at all, it is obvious that Biden continued the Democratic campaign of incitement of Trump-hate. He called Trump “a clown,” “ a liar,” “a racist,” “the worst president in U.S. history,” accused him of being “unpresidential,” told him to “shut up,” and had no answer, after saying the Trump was not “smart,” to Trump’s references to Biden’s false claims to academic distinction in a university he did not, in fact, attend. 

Biden’s charges that Trump was trying to prevent millions of people from voting, and was responsible for killer floods and fires and hurricanes because of his climate policy were just rubbish. Trump explained his opposition to Critical Race Theory effectively and was also plausible in the elaboration of his reservations about sending out ballots to the entire voters’ list in many states. But Trump failed to raise a number of points that would have been of great assistance to him. 

He rebutted the argument that he was a racist but failed to mention his Opportunity Zones program, his aid to historically African American universities, and the fact that he had produced full employment and more swiftly rising incomes for the lowest 20 percent of income earners than for the top 10 percent. He did not mention the southern border wall or the 90 percent reduction of illegal immigration. Neither did he mention Biden’s opposition to the killing of Osama bin Laden, and while he chastised him for his environmental nonsense, he did not make the point that enactment of the Democratic green new deal program would eliminate at least 7 million jobs in the oil and related industries.

Trump did not reject white supremacists as promptly as he should have done and, when he did, it was scarcely audible amid the contending voices of all three participants speaking at once. He was reasonably effective in rejecting the myth that he had ever endorsed the Klan and the Nazis at Charlottesville in 2017.

Raising the Game . . . Maybe

If it could be measured in points as in a prizefight, Trump was the victor, but few voters will do that and those who disliked Trump would not have been persuaded to soften their views and will be relieved that Biden survived. 

Those who have a positive opinion of Biden knew his limitations and he did not exceed them. But it was an unedifying spectacle: I suspect Biden’s vagueness, his scrutiny of notes, and his outrageous insults of the president personally will be found more unsatisfactory than Trump’s endless interruptions and his general belligerence. Trump is the one who needed to win and while he marginally did so, it is unlikely that his performance will provide him any sort of breakthrough. He dodged the tradition of an incumbent president losing the first debate, as Carter (1980), Reagan (1984), George H.W. Bush (1992), and Obama (2012), did; my guess is that Trump will gain one or two points in most polls, but I do not predict that with any confidence, and it remains a very close election. 

Wallace did his best, but he should have absolutely disallowed any interruptions in the two minutes allowed to each candidate to respond, and that practice should be stipulated for the balance of the debates. This extremely important and very nasty campaign is unlikely to become any more civilized or intellectually distinguished.

One longs for Kennedy and Nixon, civilized, well-informed, highly articulate and courteous Navy combat veterans in their 40s. But Trump set out in 2015 to overthrow the entire political establishment, and he can raise his game. I doubt that Biden can.

First published in American Greatness

Posted on 09/30/2020 5:01 AM by Conrad Black
Wednesday, 30 September 2020
Will Sudan Be Next to Normalize Relations with Israel?

by Hugh Fitzgerald

In late-August I posted an article “Is Sudan Next?” where I discussed the possibility – the likelihood – that after the United Arab Emirates, the next Arab state to normalize relations with Israel was likely to be either the Sudan or Bahrain. At the time, most bets were on Bahrain, so naturally, wanting to go against the current, I plumped for Sudan. I was wrong. Bahrain turned out to be the first to follow suit, by agreeing to recognize Israel, which is not quite the “normalization”that the UAE offered, but it’s a milestone on the way.

In late September, the evidence suggests that this time, it is Sudan that will next be ready for its closeup. The story at – from which I’ve excerpted a few paragraphs — is here.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sudan’s leader, Sovereignty Council Chair Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, are likely to meet in the coming days in Uganda.

According to sources close to the Sovereignty Council speaking to the Arabic edition of i24NEWS, on Saturday, September 26, the Sudanese-Israeli Friendship Association will be inaugurated in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.

The event, where media will be invited for coverage, will set off a normalization process between the two countries, sources told i24NEWS….

On Wednesday, Burhan returned to Sudan from the UAE, where he conducted talks with US officials on matters including Arab normalization with Israel, as per his statement.

According to the Sovereignty Council, the discussions were focused on removing Sudan from the US list of terrorism sponsors, as well as on peace in the Darfur region.

In a previous piece at here, the Sudanese in mid-August were already talking about their intention to sign a peace treaty with Israel:

Sudan’s Foreign Ministry said the African country intended to sign a peace accord with Israel, following the normalization deal reached by the Jewish state and the United Arab Emirates last week.

“The Emirates’ move is a brave and bold step and contributes to putting the Arab world on the right track to build peace in the region and to build sustainable peace,” Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Haydar Sadig told Reuters on Tuesday.

“I cannot deny that there are contacts between Sudan and Israel,” he continued.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later praised the announcement, saying, “Israel, Sudan and the entire region will benefit from the peace agreement and will be able — together — to build a better future for all peoples of the region. We will do whatever is necessary to turn vision into reality.”

Israel has cultivated relations with Sudan in recent years, and Netanyahu met with Sudanese leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan during a trip to Uganda in February.

Israel has cultivated relations with Sudan not “in recent years,” but only since the dictator Omar el-Bashir was deposed in April 2019. It was after Bashir’s overthrow that Netanyahu had his meeting in Uganda on February 3, 2020 with the chief of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

Immediately after the meeting, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement: “It has been agreed to start a cooperation that will lead to normalizing the ties between the countries.”

Why Sudan? Under the dictator Omar el-Bashir, Sudan seemed irredeemably hostile to Israel. El-Bashir offered refuge, secure training facilities, and weapons to Hamas fighters. He beamingly played host to Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. Indeed, under El-Bashir the Sudan was Hamas’s best friend in Africa. And Israel treated it accordingly. On October 23, 2012, Israel bombed the Yarmouk munitions factory and warehouse in Khartoum, where weapons were being held for shipment to Hamas. El-Bashir, undeterred, continued to support Hamas until his last days in power. But once he was overthrown, Khartoum did a complete turn, and that is when talks with Israel began to be held in secret about the establishment of diplomatic relations and, more recently, about “normalization” of those ties.

We know what Israel would derive from such ties: ever greater legitimacy among the Arab and Muslim peoples, while the Palestinians, visibly unable to prevent Arab states from making their own arrangements with Israel, and having already consigned the UAE and Bahrain, and the Arab League as an institution, to the outer darkness, would be seen as yet again unable to prevent an Arab state from acting to further its own national interest. Each Arab state that follows the UAE’s lead makes it easier for the next one to go and do likewise. The example of the UAE made it easier for Bahrain. The examples of both the UAE and Bahrain make it easier for Sudan to join the ever-lengthening list. And if Sudan normalizes relations with Israel, in a few weeks, can Oman be far behind? And then what about Mauritania? Or Morocco? Or Tunisia? A string of diplomatic victories for Israel and diplomatic defeats for the increasingly frantic Palestinian Authority, with Mahmoud Abbas beside himself with spittle-flecked fury.

What’s in it for the Sudan? First, there is a powerful message that such normalization with Israel would send to the West and especially to the United States. The days of a Hamas-supporting Sudan, eager to supply weapons to the terror group, are well and truly over. Sudan Is ready to again be a part of the comity of nations. And what better way to demonstrate it than by removing Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism — which it has not been since the overthrow of Omar al-Bashir — and for Sudan, in turn, leaving behind the “Three No’s of Khartoum” and normalizing relations with the Jewish state?

What else does the Sudan hope for? It is badly in need of both aid and investment, and the two most likely sources of such funds are Western countries and the rich Gulf Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which withheld aid when the Sudan was supporting Hamas. Now there is a chance – with Israel embraced and Hamas rebuffed – that those spigots will re-open.

And then there is Israel itself, which can directly help the Sudan with its most pressing problem: the agricultural sector. Israel is a world leader in water use, especially in novel irrigation techniques that make maximum use of water resources by drip irrigation that can now pinpoint not just individual plants, but particular parts of those plants. Israel is also a leader in desalination, another possible source of water for parched Sudanese farms. Israel now gets 55 percent of its domestic water from desalination, and that has helped to turn one of the world’s driest countries into the unlikeliest of water giants. Israeli scientists have also come up with Watergen, a machine that manages to “squeeze” water out of the circumambient air. Finally, Israel leads the world in wastewater management. Nearly 90% of wastewater in Israel is treated for reuse, most of it in agricultural irrigation. Some of it is also sufficiently purified to be potable. All of Israel’s technical prowess in this area could be of great benefit to Sudanese farmers.

Israel is also a leader in solar energy, and can be expected to share its knowledge and advances in this field with the Sudan. After all, Israel is eager to demonstrate to the Arab states the many benefits they can derive from good relations with the Jewish state. It has a stake in their economic success. Now Israel, off to a good start with the UAE with all kinds of deals being made between organizations and businesses and individuals from both countries, and to a lesser extent the same is happening with Bahrain, will now have a chance to show what it can do for the Sudan, and for any other Arab state now willing to give not only peace, but normalization, a chance.

First published in Jihad Watch

Posted on 09/30/2020 4:42 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 29 September 2020
Teenage boy made homemade bombs during lockdown, court hears

A 14-year-old boy developed extreme views influenced by the so-called Islamic State and attempted to make homemade bombs during the coronavirus lockdown, a court heard.

The defendant, who is now 15 and cannot be named for legal reasons, allegedly filmed homemade videos telling viewers how he would "carry out Jihad" and "become a martyr", as well as creating notes on his iPhone which said "women are tools, an object to be used... a sex slave".

Leicester Crown Court heard he researched rudimentary homemade items to make basic bombs and added some to his mother's Amazon wish-list.

Prosecutors allege the Hampshire teenager made bottle bombs in his wardrobe - adding that notes on his phone had been found with the words: "The extinction of the western race and ethnic cleansing of the colonised land stolen by the western plague."

Jurors heard how the boy had searched an article about Islamic State beheading 21 Christians and another about an attack claimed by Islamic State on churches in Indonesia.

Opening the case against the defendant, prosecutor Anne Whyte QC said the teenager added Islamic State songs and the group's flag to his homemade videos - with one of the clips played to the jury on Tuesday.

The defendant held his head in his hands as the video was played to the court.

Ms Whyte said: "This is an unusual case and it concerns the activities of a young person who, we will be suggesting, felt isolated and angry about his personal circumstances. As you have just heard, he is facing an allegation of preparing acts of terrorism. In summary, it is said that, even though he was young, he had developed extremist views, radical views, associated with the terrorist organisation, Islamic State. This probably happened in early 2020, so this year."

During her opening, Ms Whyte told the jury how the defendant had added "rusty screws" and "shrapnel" to his homemade bottle bombs - the result of which had made burn marks in his wardrobe.  "He made a video setting out his wish to be a martyr, again, we say, influenced by propaganda from Islamic State."

The prosecution alleged the teenager told viewers of his videos how to make bombs in order to "support our brothers and sisters at the Gaza Strip". 

The teenager, from Eastleigh, denies one count of preparing acts of terrorism. The trial, expected to last two weeks, continues. 

Posted on 09/29/2020 10:14 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 29 September 2020
Something round and pink

Spindle (Euonymus europaea), a deciduous native tree, a sign of ancient woodland found in woods, hedges and hedgerows. The berries and leaves are toxic to humans but were used in the past to make a treatment for headlice. The wood is very hard and was used to make spindles for spinning (hence the name) needles for knitting and skewers. 

In some areas, it was  thought that if the spindle flowered early, an outbreak of the plague was on the way. I photographed these berries a few days ago but couldn't get into this woodland in spring due to lockdown, so I have no idea when the bushes flowered. 

Posted on 09/29/2020 8:47 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 29 September 2020
ACB vs. ‘Know-Nothing’ Democrats

Republicans are almost certain to confirm an outstanding judge. But a simmering anti-Catholicism threatens to break through.

by Conrad Black

The Democrats have essentially given up on blocking the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. This does not imply, however, that they will fail to turn her hearings into a nasty farce of smears of the nominee as an adherent to a voodoo-like religious devotion, and a passionate seeker of an America with no assisted healthcare and back-alley abortions. 

The strategy mirrors the malicious fiction then-Senators Joe Biden and Teddy Kennedy threw at Robert Bork in 1987. Barrett, like Bork, is obviously a person of outstanding character and intelligence with impeccable credentials as a law professor and judge. It will not be easy for Democrats to portray such an accomplished and attractive person and personality, who departed for Washington with her husband and family of seven in a minivan, as the slavering primitivist that is their preferred caricature. 

Despite Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s wholesomeness when he was nominated to the high court two years ago, the fact that he was a man and that the United States was plunged in the tenebrous thickets of the #MeToo movement where the careers of everyone from Charlie Rose to Al Franken were terminated instantly on rather slender evidence of at worst tawdry but not aggressive behavior to women years before, made Kavanaugh a sitting duck for the sort of assault that he endured. 

The attack upon Kavanaugh was based on the defamation of his character as a high school student more than 30 years before and was produced by a reluctant and flaky accuser who cited witnesses who couldn’t recall the incident alleged, and instead professed to believe that it had not occurred. 

In this case, there can be no serious challenge to Barrett’s character—not that the challenge to Kavanaugh was serious in terms of evidence, just that the villainous charge and hysteria of the time rattled the weaker Republicans on the Judiciary committee. There are more than 70 million Roman Catholics in the United States, and approximately half of them take the religion quite seriously (including Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi). 

Take Care With Questioning

As the great majority of all Americans object to sectarian prejudice, the Democrats will have to be a good deal more careful questioning Barrett than they were three years ago at her hearings as a Circuit Court of Appeals nominee.

On that occasion, the ranking Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who also produced the principal assailant on Kavanaugh’s character, had the effrontery to express concern to Barrett that “the dogma lives loudly within you.” Feinstein is scarcely qualified to inflict theological opinions on witnesses before the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Further, the implication of Feinstein’s remark is that the world’s original and largest Christian religion—the largest single religious denomination in the United States—is an irrational and authoritarian organization that effectively brainwashes its communicants and requires them in their professional occupations to adopt positions inimical to the public interest or policy of the United States. This is the oldest and shabbiest form of bigotry in the country, except for slavery and its legacy. 

There will of course be an attempt to disguise the Democrats’ inquisition behind a secular curiosity about the candidate’s open-minded consideration of the legal status of abortion. Whatever views they may suspect her of harboring on the Affordable Care Act, that has nothing practically to do with her faith.            

On her previous appearance before the Judiciary Committee, Barrett was able to manage the abortion question by stating that whatever her views on the subject, precedents from the Supreme Court were the law and none of her opinions, religious or otherwise, would impede her from applying the law. Since she is now a candidate for a court that can alter or repeal, or even up to a point rewrite legislation, the question becomes more complicated. 

The Abortion Dilemma

The core of the problem is that the militant advocates of abortion, feminists who regard it as the litmus test of their status as citizens, and the wealthy and politically assertive abortion industry represented by Planned Parenthood and others, are rightly fearful of the vulnerability of the Roe v. Wade decision (1973). But instead of proposing a new and less fragile legal basis for abortion they have for decades been conducting a rearguard action and a desperate defense on the ramparts of a poorly motivated judgment.

Roe v. Wade was based on a presumed right to privacy extended to a woman’s right to absolute control over what goes on within her own body. This was a fatuous perspective; the real issue is when the unborn attain the rights of people, an issue about which there is a wide-ranging debate and all positions, from conception to delivery at term can be cogently argued as the time that fetuses become people. 

The only solution, as has occurred in other advanced countries, is a compromise, usually around five months, which satisfies neither the pro-abortion (most of them aren’t much interested in choice) nor pro-life factions of approximately equal political strength. Presumably, Barrett will repeat that her own views will not color her interpretation of the law and that she will not express an opinion on the hypothesis of a Roe challenge.  

Return of the “Know-Nothings”?

Try as they will to profess respect for Barrett’s faith and church, the Democrats are almost certain to leave the country with the uneasy feeling that they are intellectually persecuting Catholicism, insulting its membership, and are offending the permanent tolerant majority of Americans. 

Despite George Washington’s promise to the Roman Catholics of America that they would not be persecuted, there was ample anti-Catholic prejudice in the country for many decades. In 1856, former President Millard Fillmore received 22 percent of the popular vote as the presidential candidate of the American Party, which wished to disqualify Roman Catholics and immigrants from public office, and which was popularly and appropriately known as the “Know-Nothing” party. 

Many readers will remember then-Senator John F. Kennedy’s address to Protestant clergymen in Houston in 1960 deploring the implications of any widely held view that scores of millions of Americans were disqualified from the nation’s highest office on the day of their baptism. 

The fact of being a Roman Catholic is no longer a political handicap. But the entire American state federally and in many of the individual states has been moving determinedly towards a fiscal and cultural oppression of religion, and the Roman Catholic religion in particular. 

Flirting with Dangerous Fallacies

Catholic schools and institutions are fiscally and otherwise discriminated against and under the spurious guise of separating church and state, something that has never remotely been a problem in the United States, perversely authoritarian legislation has been passed in many places requiring Roman Catholic institutions to pay for activities that it conscientiously opposes, including most forms of birth control, sterilization, and abortion (“reproductive rights” is the misnomer). No church, nor all faiths combined, are any threat to the authority of secular government in the United States. 

The antagonism of the political system is intellectual and psychological. If the existence of spiritual forces and of any divine or supernatural intelligence is officially denied, a vacuum is created that will ultimately be occupied by mere mortals. That is the road to the fallacies about the perfectibility of man, the absolute rule of reason, and the elevation of leaders to pagan eminence. 

This is the issue that, ignorant though they may be of it, Democratic Senators may be scratching at in the Barrett confirmation process. It will not be thoroughly dealt with in these hearings, but it may break the surface. In this profound sense, it is an issue that could ultimately imperil our civilization. 

For the moment, however, the Republicans are almost certain to confirm an outstanding judge. 

First published in American Greatness.

Posted on 09/29/2020 6:42 AM by Conrad Black
Tuesday, 29 September 2020
It’s good to be the king, but I’d rather be President.

by Michael Curtis

On May 1782 General George Washington who was still Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, encamped in Newburgh, New York, received a letter from Lewis Nicola, an Irish born Colonel in the Army. Nicola confessed he was not a “violent admirer of a republican form of government” and pointed out that though republics in the past had shone with great brightness, their luster had been of short duration as if only a blaze. In contrast, the principal monarchies of Europe although having had periods of vigor and weakness, yet they still subsisted and shone with luster.

Pointing out the financial difficulties of the army, which were due to lack of payment by the states and the weakness of the new republic, Nicola with some ambiguity suggested an alternative , that the new country have a strong leadership, a monarchy though not an absolute monarchy, but one “governed by wise  and moderate councils,” not a tyranny. He suggested to Washington that he fill that role. But Washington, who viewed the letter with “abhorrence” replied on the same day rejecting the proposal and told Nicola to banish these thoughts from his mind. He became President of the U.S. in 1789.

Since then, no one in the U.S. has sought or been given royal titles, except some of the most celebrated jazz musicians. The country has been honored at different levels by Paul Whiteman, King of jazz, Benny Goodman, King of swing, Ella Fitzgerald, Queen of jazz, Billie Holiday, Lady Day, Bessie Smith, Empress of the blues, King Oliver and King Cole, Count Basie, Earl Hines, Duke Ellington, Sir  Roland Hanna and Sir Charles Thompson.

Today the droll highly publicized soap opera featuring  the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the 35 year old Prince Harry and the 39 year old Meghan Markle, the drama of a member, even if nominal, of the British Royal Family,  RF, seriously thinking of running to become President of the U.S.,  is a comic parallel of the preference of George Washington, a model of integrity, courage, and moral character, in deciding his or her role. Nothing with kings, nothing with crowns, bring on the ex-royals and clowns.

Let us start with the changing status of the Sussex duo. Queen Elizabeth II gave the title of the Dukedom of Sussex to Harry and Meghan at their marriage in May 2018. In January 2020 the duo announced their intention to step back as senior members of the RF and said that they would seek financial independence. Harry’s last solo engagement was attending the opening of the Silverstone Experience, the family attraction at the home of British motor racing, in March 2020. The last official trip of the duo as members of the RF was an expensive one to South Africa,  Botswana, Angola, and Malawi, which cost pounds 245,643, the most costly royal trip for some time.

Harry is still a member of the RF but no longer a working member, and his comments are made in a personal capacity. He remains Prince Harry, but presently has no royal duties and will receive no public funds. Yet he is 6th in line in succession to the throne, and has not yet been deprived of his title though he and Meghan have agreed not to use their HRH (His, Her Royal Highness) titles. Harry does not formally represent the Queen, but is expected to “uphold her values.” Meghan remains Duchess. In view of this changing relationship. However, it is arguable  that the Sussex duo is exploiting the royal title for personal benefit and financial gain.

The couple now living in a $14.7 million mansion in Montecito, in Santa Barbara county, California, an area known for its celebrity residents, such as Oprah Winfrey and Gwyneth Paltrow. It is understandable that they view life in the California sun as preferable to royal duties, visiting community projects in minor cities in Britain or participating in meeting of charity organizations. It is less understandable that Harry is deficient in his awareness of British constitutional practice.  By political convention, Harry, like all members of the RF  did not vote in British elections in order  to be above party politics. Nevertheless, in a joint video address with Meghan, Harry, an outsider and ineligible to vote in the U.S. called on American citizens to vote in the 2020 presidential election, saying it was vital to reject hate speech, misinformation, and online negativity. Though Harry did not mention a preferred candidate, Bidden or Trump, his preference and that of Meghan is clear. What is even more clear is that Harry crossed the line, and unwisely encroached into the arena of politics.

There is no mistaking the views of Meghan who informed citizens, that this U.S. election is the most important election of our time, and called on people to vote. She has been personal active. Gloria Steinem revealed that Meghan had joined her in calling Americans to vote. President Donald Trump reacted to her activity, saying he was not a fan of Meghan, but “I wish a lot of luck to Harry, because he’s going to need it.” The feeling is mutual.  Meghan at different times has referred to Trump as divisive and misogynistic. Yet, unless appearances and body language are deceptive, Harry, once seemingly confident in his own skin, appears as a ventriloquist’s dummy, mouthpiece for his wife.

The Sussex duo, possessed of fragile egos, told us  they left the UK for greater privacy, but this raises two issues. One is that Meghan confessed her frustration at having to be silent while a royal in UK. The other is that the duo has sought privacy in what is probably the most highly publicized and spotlight area in the world, the world of Hollywood.

In its latest issue, Time Magazine congratulated the Sussex duo “as this year’s transformative leaders and change makers. You work tirelessly to create a better world, a better global   community for all of us.”   So far, the transformation has been limited. Meghan did sent a video message of sympathy to 59 year old singer Archie Williams, wrongly convicted for rape, who had been imprisoned for 36 years. More significant, and more rewarding, is the multi -million dollar deal with Netflix, which has 200 million subscribers, supposedly to provide nature series,  scripted shows, children’s programs, and documentaries.

This is a far cry from the activity of the RF with their thousands of official engagements a year, in public and charitable services in the UK and abroad. The official roster of the last year lists the Princess Royal with 447 engagements, the Prince of Wales with 398, and the Queen with 283.  In 2018, 3793 royal engagements were listed, and in 2019-20 there were 3,200. The members of the RF are involved as patrons or presidents in a wide range of more than 3,000 organizations in many areas: educational, environment, hospitals, and housing. Estimates are that more than 70,000 people are entertained each year at meals, receptions, and garden parties. The purpose of the activity is to strengthen national unity, and to participate in community and local events.

The heir to the throne, Charles, Prince of Wales is patron or president  or member of over 400 charities and organizations, and  more than 20 performing arts organizations, including the Royal College of Music, Royal Academy of the arts, the Royal Opera, the Royal Ballet, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Foundation for Children  and the Arts. Charles founded the Prince’s Trust in 1976 which is said to be the largest multi cause charitable enterprise in the UK.

The world now is aware that Meghan is interested in politics. Recent reports and rumors, and speculation in the latest issue of Vanity Fair suggest that, though she has not had personal political experience, she is seriously interested in running for U.S. president in 2024.

This is understandable. Harry, 6th in line to the throne, is not going to become King, and Meghan therefore will never become Queen. The alternative is apparent as observers have noticed. In a Tatler November survey of 4,174 people, 68% of Britons believe that the Sussex duo should lose their royal titles as Duke and Duchess, but more than a third think Meghan has political ambitions and 35% thought she wants to be president of the U.S. If that happens, the comedy becomes farce. Harry will no longer be Captain General of the Royal Marines and will become First Husband of the U.S.

Thomas Jefferson in a letter of May 2, 1788 to George Washington wrote “there is not a single crowned head in Europe whose talents or merit would entitle him to be elected a vestryman  by the people of any parish in America.”  It is unlikely that the talents or merits of a Duchess of Sussex entitle her to be elected president of the U.S.


Posted on 09/29/2020 5:13 AM by Michael Curtis
Tuesday, 29 September 2020
Son of Mireille Knoll Accuses French Justice System of ‘Unconscionable’ Treatment of Jews

by Hugh Fitzgerald

The eldest son of Mireille Knoll, the Holocaust survivor who was savagely murdered during an antisemitic assault in her Paris apartment, has castigated France’s judiciary for its alleged indifference to violence against Jews, in an emotional speech he delivered in Paris on September 13.. His story is here.

Allan Knoll — whose mother, Mireille Knoll, was stabbed eleven times and then set on fire in March 2018 by two intruders who believed that because she was Jewish,, she would be hiding large amounts of cash — addressed a small rally on Sunday in the Place de la Republique in Paris.

The demonstration was organized by “The Group Against Silence,” a collective of activists that is campaigning for justice in the case of Sarah Halimi — a 65-year-old Jewish widow who was slain in her Paris apartment by an antisemitic assailant eleven months before Mireille Knoll suffered a similar fate.

But while Knoll’s accused killers will face trial, the individual charged with Halimi’s murder — 29-year-old Kobili Traore — was excused from a criminal trial last December after a court in Paris deemed that his ingestion of cannabis on the night of the killing had rendered him temporarily insane.

Apparently, he had a very small amount of cannabis in his system, not enough to be “rendered temporarily insane” as the judge nonetheless ruled..His defense lawyers made It sound as if he had gone off his rocker, when Traore was merely experiencing a gentle high. He was only behaving toward this Jewish lady as one would expect someone deeply attentive to the antisemitic Qur’anic verses would do. Nonetheless, the judge – no doubt unaware of those antisemitic verses, and the 1,400 history of Muslims behaving murderously toward Jews — bought the defense lawyers’ argument.

Allan Knoll told the rally that he was in attendance in memory of his own mother, as well as Sarah Halimi and the four Jewish victims of the January 2015 terrorist attack on a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris.

“The way that the judicial system has treated the Jewish community is unconscionable,” he stated. “The decision reached by the judge [in the Halimi case] was shameful.”

Continued Knoll: “The fact that someone takes a small amount of drugs doesn’t mean he loses possession of his faculties. The murder of Sarah Halimi was a deliberate act and it cannot go unpunished.”

Kobili Traore was not out of his mind when he attacked, beat to death 65-year-old Sarah Halimi, and threw her body out the window, while he yelled “Allahu akbar.” He had been taught, by dozens of Qur’anic verses, to hate Jews; other verses instructed him to fight, to kill, to smite at the necks of, to strike terror in the hearts of, Infidels, including Jews. Unaware of what the Qur’an commands, or what is contained in the Hadith on the subject of Jews, the French judge could not believe that Traore could have been in his right mind and do what he did — although thousands of Muslim terrorists have done exactly the same kinds of things against Infidels recently. Did the judge forget about the Islamic State? He concluded that Traore must have been in a psychotic state brought on by ingesting a small amount of cannabis, and should not be criminally punished, but instead receive treatment in a mental health facility. And after that, he will be perfectly free to live and do as he likes.

That means the killer of Sarah Halimi will never be punished. Is it any wonder that ever since that verdict was handed down in December 2019, French Jews have been declaring their deep unhappiness with French justice?

The failure to punish Sarah Halimi’s murderer is one of several cases where the killers of Jews have received mild sentences, or no punishment at all. Of the 27 people who took part in the kidnapping, torture, and murder of 23-year-old Ilan Halimi (no relation to Sarah), only one – ringleader Yousouf Fofana – received a life sentence.

Knoll argued that a reopening of the case would “serve to vindicate Sarah Halimi and all the Jewish victims that have been attacked and killed over the years.”

Knoll charged that the French judiciary “was bowing like a servant” before alleged murderers like Traore.

“There is no political justification for this,” he declared. “Until you [the French judiciary] get off your knees, France will stay on its knees.”…

This was an oblique echo of what Stephane Charbonnier, the brave editor of Charlie Hebdo murdered on January 7, 2015, had said: “Je préfère mourir debout que vivre à genoux.” (“I prefer to die standing than to live on my knees.”) For Allan Knoll, the French judges who let killers of Jews off with absurdly light sentences, or no punishment at all, are still “on their knees.”

Mireille Knoll, an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor suffering from Parkinson’s, knew her killer, Yacine Matoub, a neighbor whom she had known since he was a child. When Matoub carried out his carefully-planned attack — with an accomplice, Alex Carrimbacus — he did so because he assumed she, “a Jew,” had plenty of money. Both the robbery and murder were premeditated: Knoll had to be killed, because she had known Matoub – had befriended her young neighbor for years– and could easily identify him.

The question Allan Knoll must be asking is why it has taken the French justice system more than two years to finally bring his mother’s killers to trial? And he must be anxious about the ultimate result. After all, the murderer of Sarah Halimi got off scot-free, required only to receive some mental health treatment. Why shouldn’t his mother’s killers be treated the same?

And what of the punishments given to the 27 people who were responsible for the kidnapping, torture, and killing of Ilan Halimi (no relation to Sarah Halimi)? Of the 27, as we noted above, only one — one! — received a life sentence. As for the others, all but four were given sentences shorter than what the prosecution demanded. Twenty of them received less than ten years – for having participated in the kidnapping, torture, and murder of Ilan Halimi. What do you think would have happened if the victim had been a Muslim young man, kidnapped, tortured over three weeks, and murdered by a gang of Christians and Jews? You know the answer. Life sentences for all of them.

The French failure to punish Sarah Halimi’s killer at all, the failure to punish adequately those who murdered Ilan Halimi, take place in an atmosphere of ever-increasing antisemitic attacks.

Gravestones in Jewish cemeteries have been painted with swastikas and tipped over, portraits of the late Holocaust survivor and former Minister of Health Simone Veil defaced, “Juden” painted on the windows of Parisian bakeries and other stores around the country. Jews wearing kippahs have been subject to verbal and physical abuse, Jewish property vandalized or stolen. Even a tree planted in memory of Ilan Halimi was cut down.

A prominent French philosopher, Alain Finkielkraut, was verbally attacked and physically threatened for being Jewish as he walked past a “gilets jaunes” (yellow-vest) protest in Paris. Meanwhile, the antisemitic “comedian” M’bala M’bala Dieudonne has had a high old time entertaining audiences with his antisemitic wit and wisdom, and his heil-hitlering salute – his right hand stretched out to make what he calls the “quenelle” – has been widely copied by his moronic fans. Recently, however, he has had more of his appearances cancelled by the authorities for his fomenting of race-hatred.

Most disturbing are what French Jews now say openly: They are angry and scared. Scared about the sharp rise in antisemitic attacks. and angry at what they see as an inadequate response by the French state – the police, the judiciary, the political leaders.

A common fear among French Jews is that of wearing identifying clothing in public. As one Jewish shopkeeper put it: “If, for example, while I was sitting and eating in my store and I heard someone enter, I automatically took off my kippah,” he said, adding that neither he nor his children went out in public wearing Jewish symbols for fear of being attacked.

Antisemitic attacks have been steadily on the rise in France. In 2017, there were 311 such attacks. In 2018, there were 547, an increase of 74%. In 2019, 687, another increase of 27%. These are only the ones that are reported. How many French Jews want to avoid possible further trouble, and choose not to report that a Muslim neighbor has harassed them, or boys  on the street pushed them down and called them “sales Juifs”?

What might the French state do? It could increase pari passu with the rise in antisemitic attacks the visible police presence in Jewish neighborhoods, and outside Jewish schools and synagogues. CCTV cameras should be placed in Jewish cemeteries. The French state needs to ratchet up its monitoring of mosques and the sermons of imams for antisemitic (and anti-Christian) content, and force offenders to resign their positions as being “dangerous to the state.” It would be most helpful if undercover police, of both sexes, dressed visibly as Jews (kippah, Star of David necklace, even the full Orthodox outfit for some), working in teams, could stroll through the city in neighborhoods where they might attract antisemitic bullies who will then get the surprise of their lives, as they attack and in turn are violently suppressed and carted away in black marias. If word gets around, from Mohammad to Muhammed or from Mahmoud to Ahmed, that you can no longer be sure who is a likely victim, easily overcome, and who turns out to be a member of what the French call, soothingly, “the forces of order,” this could help change the behavior of those who take pleasure in harassing and beating up Jews. “War is deceit,” said Muhammad; war must be made unceasingly on antisemites, no quarter must be shown.

Posted on 09/29/2020 4:55 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 29 September 2020
Trinity College Historical Society rescind Richard Dawkins invitation over author’s stance on Islam and sexual assault

From the Irish Independent the University Times and international student magazine the College Fix

The College Historical Society (the Hist) has tonight rescinded its invitation to Richard Dawkins to address the society next year.

Auditor of the Hist Bríd O’Donnell announced the cancellation in a statement on her Instagram page, saying that she had been “unaware of Richard Dawkins’ opinions on Islam and sexual assault until this evening”, adding that the society “will not be moving ahead with his address as we value our members comfort above all else”.

“I want to thank everyone who pointed out this valuable information to me”, O’Donnell added. “I truthfully hope we didn’t cause too much discomfort and if so, I apologise and will rectify it.”

The longtime University of Oxford “professor for public understanding of science,” who once said that pigs are more “human” than human fetuses, has become loathsome to the progressive left in recent years for his critical comments on Islam.

As a staunch atheist, Dawkins is also known for his controversial criticisms of religion. He has come under fire in the past for his comments on Muslim faith schools, saying they had a “pernicious influence”. This came after the Muslim Council of Britain said it was unreasonable to expect schools not to teach fundamental theories of faith.

Dawkins has also said that when teaching evolution his “colleagues lecturing in universities lament having undergraduate students walk out of their classes”, adding that these students are “almost entirely Muslims”.

The Hist, one of Trinity’s two debating societies, is the oldest student society in the world, having been founded in 1770.

The society hosts high-profile speakers every year, and holds debates every Wednesday. Figures such as Winston Churchill and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have addressed the society. A stream of the biggest names in Irish history have passed through the Hist, including Edmund Burke, Theobald Wolfe Tone, Robert Emmet, Oliver Goldsmith, Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett.

The Times noted that in 2018 the society apologized for inviting an even more controversial speaker, Nigel Farage, whose leadership of the U.K. Independence Party helped usher in Brexit in 2016. Its auditor at the time, Paul Molloy, initially defended inviting Farage and awarding him the society’s medal for public discourse, saying it often invites figures who “hold controversial and unorthodox views.”

It seems that while he is calling Christians 'stupid', unpleasant as I might feel about that, his views in an academic context are rightly considered an opinion worthy of debate and discussion. Islam of course must not be examined, discussed or in any way criticised. 

 Academics from other universities are not impressed. 

Posted on 09/29/2020 3:45 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 28 September 2020
The New York Times' Tax Returns

by Bill Corden

Everybody, just everybody, takes full advantage of the tax laws to make sure they pay the absolute minimum.........there's been no documented instance of someone wanting to pay more than they have to.

Those office towers in the downtown cores of our major cities are filled with tax accountants and lawyers who can save a client millions upon millions of dollars.

It's quite easy for these professionals, they make their living by  the interpretation of maybe a clumsily placed comma in the Income Tax legislation, maybe a loosely worded clause, or by discovering more favourable conditions in another jurisdiction.

Once they hit on a weakness,  they have the resources to take that interpretation to the highest courts. Well-heeled  clients are only too happy to pay their hefty bills

Tax avoidance is quite legal, tax evasion is an offence but, just like professional athletes with their designer drugs, the line between what's legal and what isn't, is tested  to the limit by the inhabitants of those glittering glass buildings

And so we turn to the high profile tax returns of one Donald Trump and his organisation, who no doubt have taken full advantage of every loophole, just as the New York Times will have done. 

"If you were on the "up and up" you'd release them to the general public" goes the argument, but I can see why Trump and his advisers adamantly refuse to do so. 

If you dropped a corporate tax return or a complex personal tax return in front of 99% of the population, they wouldn't be able to understand as much as  the first page. Even the so-called business reporters in the media would have difficulty in translating the story into a balanced assessment.

But that difficulty wouldn't stop them from taking any single page out of the return and using it as a powerful weapon against their target (guess who that might be) and once it's in print or in the electronic media it becomes the virtual truth.

It's no wonder President Trump and his team  have fought tooth and nail to prevent publication because they know that's exactly what the media will do.

Which brings me to the point of my writing, we know that the NYT and its brother-in-arms the WaPo have been losing millions of dollars over the past 10 years or so.

Have they too taken advantage of sloppily worded Tax Legislation?

Have they too stretched the rules on claiming expenses to the absolute limit? 

Maybe it's time to apply the same amount of scrutiny to these horribly biased organisations and see how upright and moral they really are. Let's see how loud they squeal.

Posted on 09/28/2020 12:54 PM by Bill Corden
Monday, 28 September 2020
Tell-Tale Toponyms at the New York Times

by Hugh Fitzgerald

Elder of Ziyon has a piece on the New York Times’s slightly self-conscious use of the word “Judean” in a story about an ancient species of date – that grew in Judea 2000 years ago – that has been brought back to edible life by Israeli scientists. The story is here.

The New York Times has an interesting article about Israelis managing to harvest dates from the famous Judean date palm, planted with seeds that are over 2000 years old:

The plump, golden-brown dates hanging in a bunch just above the sandy soil were finally ready to pick….

These were the much-extolled but long-lost Judean dates, and the harvest this month was hailed as a modern miracle of science.

Where was the seed found again?

Hannah’s seed, which came from an ancient burial cave in Wadi el-Makkukh near Jericho, now in the West Bank, was carbon dated to between the first and fourth centuries B.C.E., becoming one of the oldest known seeds to have ever been germinated.

The phrase “now in the West Bank” is awkward – did the cave somehow move from Judea to the “West Bank”? But for the Times to more accurately say “now called the West Bank” would be problematic for a paper that chose to embrace that term only in the 1970s….

A challenge should be thrown out to the media: Please find a single example of the toponym “West Bank” being applied before 1950 to an area that, for thousands of years, was known all over the Western world – and by Jesus – as “Judea and Samaria.” Is there, for example, any use of the term “West Bank” in any of the U.N.’s discussions about Israel and the Arabs between 1947 and 1950? Answer: No. Did any Arab diplomat ever use the term “West Bank” before 1950? No. In the meetings of the Arab League before 1950, was the term “West Bank” ever used? No. During the 1948-1949 Arab-Israeli war, did any of the Arab military communiques refer to the “West Bank”? Again, No.

We all know what happened after that Jordanian decision in 1950. By dint of incessant repetition, by the Arabs, the term “West Bank” spread and became part of common usage. And we know why the Jordanians came up with that term. They wanted to efface the Jewish connection to the land, a connection that was immediately evoked by the place names “Judea” and “Samaria.” The bland “West Bank” would do just fine.

There is historical precedent for this. The Romans, hoping to efface the place name “Judea” — which reminded everyone that Jews had long possessed that land — renamed the area as “Syria Palaestina” or “Palestine” for short. The Romans also renamed Jerusalem as “Aelia Capitolina.” The first stuck, for many in the Western world; the second did not, undoubtedly because of the constant Biblical references to Jesus in Jerusalem.

The Arabs have not always been so successful in imposing their toponyms. They have tried to convince the world to use the place name “the Arabian Gulf” or “the Gulf,” instead of “the Persian Gulf,” but the Persian Gulf has not been knocked from its perch, despite the best efforts of the Gulf Arab states.

Another lexical contretemps recently involved Israel’s plans in Judea and Samaria. Was Israel planning to “annex” parts of Judea and Samaria, or was it “extending its sovereignty”? The first implied that these territories did not belong to Israel, but to another country. Much of the international community, the NGO world and the media, at first referred only to Israel’s “annexation.” But in essence, annexation means one state imposing legal authority over the territory of another state acquired by force or aggression, normally during war. Israel won Judea and Samaria in the Six-Day War, a war of self-defense. And the territory it won, in Judea and Samaria, never belonged to another state but was, rather, an unallocated part of the Mandate for Palestine. to which Israel has a preexisting claim superior to all others, based on the Mandate for Palestine, a claim which, because of its 1967 victory, Israel could now act upon by “extending its sovereignty” to that land.

It took an effort, but so many writers were careful to keep using the phrase “extending its sovereignty” — consciously avoiding the terms “annex” and “annexationi” – that that formulation prevailed, and even the liberal mainstream press has been referring to Israel’s “extension of sovereignty” rather than to “annexation.”

Is there a way to undermine the use of “West Bank”? Can we reverse the Arab lexical victory? Yes. It will take deliberation, and patience, and low cunning. We can start slowly, in order to acclimate ourselves, and others, to the use of “Judea and Samaria.” I suggest that we now refer to “Judea and Samaria (a/k/a the “West Bank” since 1950),” signalling that there is something illegitimate about the place name “West Bank.” Or, in the alternative, the shorter version: “Judea and Samaria (a/k/a the West Bank).” We can demand, for example, that The New York Times and the Washington Post do the same – “Judea and Samaria (a/k/a the “West Bank” since 1950), by pointing out to their editors that the phrase “West Bank” only dates from 1950, that it was deliberately imposed then by the Jordanians for obvious propagandistic purposes, that the placenames “Judea and Samaria,” on the other hand, have been in continuous use for several thousand years and should not be erased from usage because the Arabs since 1950 have found it politically useful to do so. Keep hammering this point. Flood the networks – CNN, BBC, NPR, CBS, NBC, ABC, all of them – with the history lesson they need to learn, about the recent and highly suspect origin of the place name “West Bank,” and politely request that this be acknowledged in their own usage. Little by little, as those who have blithely been referring to “the West Bank” are made repeatedly aware of its propagandistic provenance, and become more self-conscious, too, In using it, a few at first, and thence to more, should begin to supplant “West Bank” with the toponyms “Judea and Samaria” that were good enough for Jesus, and for the entire Western world for thousands of years, until just the day before yesterday.

There is one more lexical battle that was lost and now needs to be fought again, and this time won. It’s the use of the word “Palestinian” to indicate a separate ethnic group. Many are familiar with what Zuheir Mohsen, himself a Palestinian Arab, and leader of the As Saiqa terrorist group, said about the soi-disant “Palestinian people”: “The Palestinian people do not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct ‘Palestinian people’ to oppose Zionism. Yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity exists only for tactical reasons.”

From this fabricated Palestinian people another useful fiction was born. No longer would the world see – if it ever did – the Arab-Israeli conflict as one between twenty-two Arab states, with a total population of hundreds of millions, and a tiny Jewish state, scarcely discernible on a world map, with a population of a few million. Now the conflict could be – and was — re-formulated, more acceptably, as one between “two tiny peoples, each struggling for its homeland.”

Is this battle over the “Palestinian people” lost for good? I don’t think so. There is one simple thing that needs to be done: demoting that pseudo-ethnic noun to a geographic adjective. It will be hard at first, but increasingly easy through repeated use: instead of writing or talking about the “Palestinians,” simply add the word “Arabs.” To wit: “The Palestinian Arabs have heaped scorn on the U.A.E.” “The Palestinian Arabs continue to insist that Israel must be squeezed back within the 1949 armistice lines.” “The Palestinian Arabs refuse even to discuss the $50 billion aid package promised them in the Trump Peace Plan.” I have myself too often ignored my own advice and used the word “Palestinian” as a noun, by itself – out of laziness, inattention, or because I think it’s the wrong time and place to call them, self-consciously, “Palestinian Arabs.” I have used the word “Palestinians” in the titles of many of my Jihad Watch pieces when I ought instead to have written “Palestinian Arabs.” Mea maxima culpa. But when I am paying attention, I find it is easy enough to write or speak about the “Palestinian Arabs.” And each time that phrase is used, there is a little chipping away at the “peoplehood” of the “Palestinian Arabs.” Now, if only we could convince the Israelis, who not only write and speak about the “Palestinians,” but also – worse still – often refer to “the Palestinian people” or to “our two peoples, Israelis and Palestinians.” No: it should always be, reminding the world of the gross inequality in population and in lands possessed, “our two peoples – Jews and Arabs.”

First published in Jihad Watch

Posted on 09/28/2020 7:26 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 28 September 2020
Deranging The Swamp Of Ignorance

by John M. Joyce

A lot of British people are very confused about the political situation in the U.S.A. so I thought I would explain things to them in simple terms.

But before I start to teach them the basic facts of American political life, and just for your interest, you Americans who might read this should know a thing or two about British politics.

First off let me tell you that there are many political parties in the U.K. but that there are only two Political Parties – the Terrors and Lie-bore.

The Terrors are currently in power but Lie-bore say they really won the last general election and their living prophet, called Germy Combine who, until recently, led the Lie-bore Party, should be the Prim Monster. Regrettably he has been replaced by Sir Careless Stormtrooper whose avowed intent is to have no Momentum in politics at all.

This offends the “Harvesters”, Germy Combine’s supporters (who only fly on planes that have one wing, the left one), who believe that they should have been given the Momentum to rule. They feel that they were cheated at the last general election, as I said, by not having Germy Combine elevated . . .  damn it! I meant elected . . . to the office of Prim Monster. It’s obvious to them that “the people” got it wrong again, as they always do (see Brexit).

Anyway, every so often the British people vote for Mummers-with-Parament called M.P.s whose primary function is to ignore, and seek to overturn, the wishes of “the people” because, as is well known, “the people” are always wrong. At the last election “the people” got it completely wrong and elected the Terrors.

That means that the Prim Monster became Boris Godunov, the first non-Rurikid Prim Monster and responsible for ushering in the Time of Troubles by using nineteen covins to infect everything he touches. He is ably assisted by the Pretty Petal (a.k.a. Patella goddess of the home office) and an ornamental garden plant called a Rich Old Sumac, which is an absolute Treasure and thrives anywhere.

Enough of that, I need to get on and explain American politics to the many Brits who are watching the U.S.A.’s election processes with sadness and alarm but above all else, confusion; after all, their system is so very simple as I’ve just explained. It seems to them that the Americans are wandering complacently into their general election with their eyes firmly fixed on that putative saviour, that great hope whom they seem to think will take them all to a place in the broad, sunlit uplands, that habitual promise-maker, that more than a man – The Glorious Biden known to one and all as Epic Joe. Of course his real name is Babbling Biden The Bizarre Bullshitter, but don’t let that put anyone off.

It seems to my fellow Brits that The Glorious Biden will win, of course, because beatific saviours of mankind, American-kind at any rate, always win. They wear white hats so they must win, mustn’t they? If it looks as if they won’t then all sorts of things have to be manipulated to make sure that they do – the media, the opinion polls, votes, the electoral college, the police, the courts, even lawbreakers and rioters. Indeed anything and everything that needs to be modified to ensure the Epic Joe’s win will be changed, and that is right and proper and as it should be.

Manipulation is the correct thing to do, you see, because, as most of you now know, and as I made plain earlier, “the people” cannot be trusted to make the correct decision. The right outcome is, of course, the elevation .  .  . sorry, the election I meant to say (I keep doing that and I don’t know why) .  .  . of The Glorious Biden and his sidekick The Magnificent Scybala-Kamala known to her followers, who call themselves the Great Unfooled, as the Apostle of the Unhinged or, much more simply, Ohmigod Harris. Any other result is unthinkable, an offence against nature, a sin so original that it runs counter to reality.

Epic Joe The Saviour and The Magnificent Scybala-Kamala will lead all Americans into the Land of Wonderful Woke the moment The Glorious Biden is elevated .  .  . sorry, I did it again, I meant elected .  .  . as a Permanent Paramount Potus and The Scybala Kamala takes charge of the nation as his only Vice. Supported by THE PARTY, a.k.a. the Dandy Dazzling Dems, she will make sure that peace reigns (using any means necessary) and that there is a proper shift of wealth and property to the most deserving among the Great Unfooled.

By the way, almost every Dandy Dazzler is called Mark after their prophet Curly Marks who wrote their holy book entitled “That’ll Cap It All”. Their religion is called Markshitism and collectively the believing Dandy Dazzlers are often called Markshits.

Anyway, the Dandy Dazzling Markshits will aid The Magnificent Scybala-Kamala’s redistributive efforts. It’s obvious, as I’m sure you can see, that they know best who is deserving of largesse and who has too much. Rest assured that they will follow the rules that they have laid down for themselves and only remove excess wealth from those who don’t have it.

It is an article of their most joyous and enlightened faith that all white males have too much no matter what they do or where they live. Some black males who have dared to copy the white males’ striving also have too much and must be taught the error of their ways – and the Dandy Dazzling Markshits have many wonderful and kind ways to reduce them to the straightened and narrow.

It is comforting to know that you will find Dandy Dazzling Markshit Dems almost everywhere and where they cannot reach then you will find their close friends the Repulsive Representative Dems. A lot of the Repulsive Representative Dems live in a House in a place called Washington-dizzy where they spend their time learning Chinese and encouraging the Dandy Dazzlers to dream up even better ways to persuade everyone to follow The Glorious Biden and The Scybala-Kamala to the Land of Wonderful Woke.

The Repulsive Representative Dems are led by an aged Chieftainess called Noxious Nancy, who often goes by the more formal name of Paltry Pelosi. A ‘pelosi’ is American cod Italian for the hairy monster that is used to scare people who are not yet Dandy Dazzling Markshits into mending their ways: consequently her nickname – “hairy  motherf-----”.

Noxious Nancy’s lack of intellect is often obscured, thank goodness, by her complete inability to get to grips with the nuances of the English language (a deficit and a fault that is similar to The Glorious Biden’s own inability, which proves, yet again, that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery). She is often reduced to ripping up pieces of paper in public in order to assuage her impotent, but hairy, rages.

The rump of the Repulsive Representative Dems are more correctly known as the Rabid Representative Dems and most of them live in fifty Houses in a place called Statecapital. They also spend their time learning Chinese (and sometimes Korean – specifically North Korean).

Apart from that they plot and scheme in order to keep the general population at home and cut off from the world so that “the people” can enjoy a lot of peace and quiet in which they can learn to love The Glorious Biden and The Scybala-Kamala and practice following them to the Land of Wonderful Woke.

When the Rabid Representative Dems need more to occupy themselves with they make long speeches encouraging their local Dandy Dazzlers, often known as Cockeyed Councildems, to de-police the funding – particularly the funding for all things painted green or for anything sponsored by the Backward Loathsome Mumpers (BLM – staunch and true believing Dandy Dazzlers who, like the Thuggees, worship fire and violence, and also Curly Marks, and who believe that they and they alone can save mankind from destruction by the primal urges everyone but them has succumbed to).

Naturally there are evil opponents of The Glorious Biden and The Scybala-Kamala. They are called Righteous Repubs and they are, according to the Dandy Dazzling Markshits, all Lycans. The average Righteous Repub Lycan is, so the Repulsive Representative Dems say, a creature of the most fearsome mien and something to be feared. It is said that they have weird articles of faith such as beliefs in the rule of law, free speech, self control, politeness, one man one vote and no cheating, honest and politically neutral judges, the Constitution and its Amendments, freedom of conscience and religion, and the equality of all people, to name but a few.

Obviously those beliefs are completely wrongheaded and the Backward Loathsome Mumpers point that out by screaming angrily straight into the face of anybody who disagrees (screaming angrily in public is a type of worship chanting used by them). In addition they claim that such beliefs simply won’t work in the Land of Wonderful Woke and that that proves how wrong they are. The Righteous Repub Lycans say that that’s the wrong way round and that their belief in those things actually proves that the Land of Wonderful Woke is a mythical place.

Any Righteous Repub Lycan who says that has to be destroyed – “cancelled” as the Dandy Dazzling Markshit Dems call it – before the innocent (read: under-educated) among the Dazzling Markshits get too upset and lose sight of the road to the Land of Wonderful Woke.

Of course Righteous Repub Lycans can see and understand the road to the Land of Wonderful Woke very easily because it’s yellow and made out of bricks and not in a Can’s Ass any more (I’ve no idea what that means, dear Brits, you’ll have to ask an American, but it’s what they always say about brick roads, especially yellow ones, so I thought I’d put it in to keep them happy).

Some Righteous Repub Lycans are Sennapods and live in a house in Washington-dizzy right next door to the house that the Repulsive Representative Dems live in. Needless to say there’s a lot of antagonism between the inhabitants of the two houses.

The biggest bone of contention between the two groups is the unique fruits that Repulsive Representative Dems and many of the Dandy Dazzling Markshits need to eat to stay alive. These can only be supplied by the Sennapods and nobody else. These fruits are a type of very, very small Persian apple called “Imp Peaches”. However, Repulsive Representative Dems and Dandy Dazzler Markshits cannot be satisfied no matter how many Imp Peaches they consume because all their appetites are continuously being stimulated by the sound of a Trumpeter who lives close by.

The Trumpeter plays his instrument sixteen hundred times a day at the end of an avenue (Pencil Mania Avenue, named for the famous draughtsman and architect FLloyd Write) that leads to the Repulsive Representative Dems favourite haunt – Cap-it-all-Hill (strangely, not named after Curly Marks’ holy book but a co-incidence that Dazzling Markshits rather like, nonetheless). There on that hill the Repulsive Representative Dems believe that they have found the gateway to The Land of Wonderful Woke.

It is there, also, that they want to institute a state religion – Markshitism. They plan to erect memorials to Curly Marks and his holy book “That’ll Cap It All” on the Notional Mill – a revered building on the Potty Muck River in Washington-dizzy that, according to the Backward Loathsome Mumpers was built by Slavs forcibly taken from Ally-Asked-Her-State (a well known Sarahpalindrome) in the far north-west, which is next to the place called Candida where millions of thrushes live on a very large Mountie called Log On. (Mountie Log On is the tallest Mountie in Candida.)

Along with the Backward Loathsome Mumpers they want to remove all the other monuments that adorn the Notional Mill, but they know that that will take some time because there are one thousand six hundred and nineteen of them.

Backward Loathsome Mumpers don’t like anything to do with Slavs but pretend that they are not anti-Russian, and therefore Backward Loathsome Mumpers are believed by Dandy Dazzling Markshits to be very fashionable and cool. Righteous Repub Lycans think they are simply racy, and nasty about Slavs, and so shouldn’t be listened to.

Dandy Dazzlers in general are discouraged from reading Curly Marks holy book “That’ll Cap It All” in case they discover its secret. (It’s simply a second rate work of rather painstakingly simplistic philosophy that is actually almost a hundred and fifty years out of date, but shhh, don’t tell anyone.) According to true believing Dandy Dazzling Markshits only they can safely read the holy book and interpret its message for the present day.

Such true believers have appointed themselves the high priests and priestesses of Markshitism and Wokeness (belief in the Land of Wonderful Woke) and they gather for prayer meetings and ritual “cancellations” in a small village called Socialmedia on the shores of Lake Magician (MI). Inevitably, of course, some have been known to gather by the side of Lake Superior in a somewhat desperate attempt at boosting their self image.

Wherever the Dandy Dazzling Markshits gather they always have a good time cancelling people, painting the town green, burning buildings and looting “the people’s” homes and businesses and killing people, especially black people, Slavs and policemen. All good clean fun as I’m sure you’ll agree and simply largely peaceful hi-jinks and youthful high spirits.

Sometimes the Dandy Dazzling Markshits like to pretend that they are flow snakes so that they can remove all the fences (known as “taking a fence”) that define proper tea. However, real flow snakes live everywhere not just where Markshits want them to, and anyway only we Brits make proper tea.

Interestingly, the Dandy Dazzling Markshits are trying very hard to get “protected species” status for the flow snakes as it is alleged that they are very helpful in demonstrating the harm that Righteous Repub Lycans can do to the Repulsive Representative Dems – and to the memory of Curly Marks and his holy book “That’ll Cap It All”. Flow snakes act, so the Markshits claim, like a Steinway in a gold mine.

By and large, flow snakes prefer to live in swamps – especially the one in Washington-dizzy where they can hear the Trumpeter and get tearful with joy as they listen to his brilliant music.

However, a word of warning is good here: ordinary people must avoid flow snakes like the plague for they are incredibly venomous!

Finally, let me tell you, my dear fellow Brits, about a cunning plan that the Repulsive Representative Dems have dreamed up with their fellow Markshits and the Backward Loathsome Mumpers. They are going to try to commit mule fraud and hope that no one notices.

In essence their dastardly plan is very simple: they are going to send a mule to everyone in the U.S.A., even dead people, even people who aren’t American, even people who don’t know if they’re dead or not, and even people who don’t know if they’re in the same place or not. To make things easy later on when they examine the mules they are going to send black mules to black people and white mules to white people.

People of Asian extraction will get an elephant for reasons that I will explain in a moment. The First Nations peoples will get casinos, which are a type of bison that when swallowed whole are guaranteed to make them rich.

Now, the really cunning part of the plan is that everyone has to return their mules after marking them with a special mark that will allow The Glorious Biden and The Magnificent Scybala-Kamala to be elevated .  .  . sorry .  .  . aw, forget it! .  .  . and become an eternal Potus and his only Vice. Obviously it is not expected that the First Nations peoples will return their gambolling Bovidae – marked or unmarked. There’s a limit to the quantity of shit that even Dandy Dazzlers can be expected to handle.

If white mules are returned without the special mark, or with a different mark, they will be very carefully lost. Other white mules with the correct special mark will be retrieved from their store (called a bullet box) to take their place. These other mules will have been very carefully looked after by Dandy Dazzling Markshits who keep the Bullet Boxes clear of wrongly marked mules. The carefully lost mules will simply be dumped in a sack in a ditch somewhere. Oddly enough that treatment doesn’t seem to disturb animal rights activists at all! I’ve been told that that is because they believe that the mules will be made out of paper! You couldn’t make it up, could you?

It is expected by the Repulsive Representative Dems, by the Dandy Dazzling Markshits and by the Backward Loathsome Mumpers that all the black mules will be returned with the special mark. If any black mules get sent back with the wrong mark then the black person who did that will be sent a Krew Kut Flan covered in a sheet of white cotton and they will be forced to cook it on a burning cross, which is very difficult and will teach them the error of their ways.

Asian Americans are not expected to return their elephants, marked or otherwise, because they are too clever to be fooled into taking part in mule fraud with the wrong animal. They will be allowed to keep their pachyderms in their front rooms and this permission has given rise to the phrase “the elephant in the room”.

And that, dear fellow Brits, just about sums up everything you need to know about the forthcoming elevation . . . really, not again, sorry, I can’t help it . . . of The Glorious Epic Joe Biden, a.k.a. Bogus Biden the Bigot, and The Magnificent Scybala-Kamala the Apostle of the Unhinged, Ohmigod Harris.

In passing I hope that you have gained a little insight into the complicated world of American politics. It’s a difficult field of study I know, and it’s taken me over fifty years of hard work to master it. It’s good to share and I’m happy to be of service.

You’re welcome.

Posted on 09/28/2020 6:38 AM by John M. Joyce
Sunday, 27 September 2020
Canada could be a world power, but not without rethinking our goals

Cease the feckless pursuit of popularity that is of little practical utility

by Conrad Black

Canadian soldiers return from Vimy Ridge in a photo that has been colourized. Canada’s distinguished performance during World War One confirmed its status on the world stage, writes Conrad Black. PHOTO BY CANADIAN WAR MUSEUM/GEORGE METCALF ARCHIVAL COLLECTION/THE VIMY FOUNDATION

Without it ever having been a matter of national debate or even public articulation, Canada’s foreign policy has evolved in the post-Cold War era to one of relatively tenuous connection to traditional allies and a nebulous pursuit of popularity in the developing world. The end of the Cold War and of the bipolarized era has enabled Canada to play a relatively detached role that more accurately reflects the musings of its leaders than any identifiable strategic interest. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that Canada is “post-national” and has hotly pursued a temporary seat on the Security Council of the United Nations, unsuccessfully courting a large number of underdeveloped and questionably democratic countries. For much of its history Canada’s foreign policy was dictated by its comparative insecurity as an independent sovereign state. It can afford its present policy without danger to its security, but the point of it is not clear.

Canada’s founder, Samuel de Champlain, had a brilliant vision of a great New France in the northern part of this continent that would grow to be a second bulwark of French civilization in the world. He even sold this vision to the generally skeptical master of the 17th-century French state, Cardinal Richelieu. When Richelieu married King Louis XIII’s sister off to Britain’s King Charles I, an informal Anglo-French alliance arose that survived the Cromwell interlude and continued until Charles’ son James II was sent packing by his own daughter and her husband, the Dutch King William III, in the so-called Glorious Revolution of 1687. How glorious it was is a matter of some debate, but from this point and for 200 years France had the greatest army in Europe and Britain the greatest Navy and Britain could only intervene marginally in Europe to maintain a balance amongst states with an approximately equivalent correlation of forces, Spain, France, Austria, Russia, Prussia, Turkey. But Britain took what it wanted in the world beyond Europe, including North America, India, South Africa, Gibraltar, Malaya, Hong Kong, Suez and Australia.

Sir Guy Carleton, Lord Dorchester, Canada’s greatest statesman since Champlain, saw the American Revolution coming and envisioned a bicultural Canada, and founded Upper Canada (Ontario). He spent four years lobbying for support in London for the Québec Act, passed in 1774, just before the Americans rebelled, by which French Canadians pledged their loyalty to the British crown in exchange for the assurance of the preservation of their language, religion and civil law. Both sides honoured the agreement and by a hair’s breadth French and English Canadians with British support resisted American attempts at annexation in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Thereafter, agile Canadian statesman, especially Robert Baldwin and Louis H. LaFontaine, sought independence in all but defence and foreign affairs and the civil rights of legislative self-government enjoyed by the peoples of Great Britain and America. It required great finesse to achieve this without provoking the British into abandoning their traditional protection of Canada in exchange for some consideration from the U.S.

The United States walked on eggshells toward its terrible Civil War, and had to tolerate Canada, but once victorious, the insurrection suppressed and slaves emancipated, in 1865, with the greatest army and generals in the world and after the assassination of the great and judicious Abraham Lincoln, everyone realized that if Canada was not to be absorbed by the United States it had to be shaped into a country and launched. It was in these circumstances that John A. Macdonald, (currently widely and shamefully traduced by ingrates and academic idiots), George-Etienne Cartier, and George Brown fashioned the world’s only transcontinental, bicultural, parliamentary Confederation ever, which effectively became an autonomous country in 1867, to considerable skepticism in London and Washington. Today, of countries as populous as Canada, only the British and Americans have older continuous political institutions than Canada does. British sponsorship and growing American maturity permitted Canada to grow rapidly and massive immigration in the Laurier years enabled to keep pace demographically with the ever rising American giant. Canada’s distinguished performance in World War I confirmed its status as a victorious sovereign power and cofounder of the League of Nations. It was only at this point, and after several years of consideration, and even though two-thirds of the business conducted by the British Embassy in Washington was on behalf of Canada, that Canada exchanged ministers with the United States, and also with France, in the mid-1920s. These officials, along with the High Commissioner in London, formed the original Canadian diplomatic corps, and Canada’s first autonomous international agreement was the Halibut Treaty with the U.S. in 1923.

Canada’s formidable contribution to Allied victory in World War II, and the fall of France and shattering of Japan, Germany, and Italy, left us one of the world’s important countries, as we remain. Canada was a cofounder of the United Nations and NATO, and conducted a foreign aid program proportionately as generous as the American Marshall Plan in favour of Western Europe. Louis St. Laurent and Lester Pearson contributed importantly to resolving the Suez crisis of 1956 provoked by the rank stupidity of the British and the French. Brian Mulroney reversed Pierre Trudeau’s fatuous placation of the communist powers, that was as much designed to impress Quebec nationalists as anything else. Mulroney won Canada great admiration for his role in fighting famine in Ethiopia and apartheid in South Africa, and in transforming an Open Skies conference in Ottawa into a major power agreement on the reunification of Germany in 1990. Ever since he has been unjustly accused of being too friendly with American presidents; Canadian prime ministers have kept their distance from the United States, without replacing Mulroney’s policy with anything coherent. The only foreign policy distinction Canada has enjoyed in the past 25 years was Stephen Harper’s staunch support of Israel.

Canada has never been in an unjust or losing war. It has always been a reliable ally and never been animated by any motive of greed, intrusion or domination. No one has any serious grievance against this country. Canada is uniquely and admirably positioned to lead a call for the renovation of the United Nations, NATO, the Commonwealth, World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund, and all of them are in desperate need of it. The UN now is chiefly a corrupt provider of primal scream therapy for poor and despotic countries. The Western Alliance has degenerated into the gracious collective acceptance of an American military guarantee while most member countries including Canada pay only a fraction of what they had pledged to the common defence. We should lead international research into climate change and a greater comprehension of that issue, which now divides the principal industrial powers who are skeptical of it and the Western Europeans who have largely capitulated to an assault on the petroleum and nuclear power industries that is motivated more by the animosity toward capitalism of the international left then by any comprehensible notion of how to in enhance the environment.

Canada could be a great power, not a superpower like the United States and China, but in the same category as Britain, France, Germany and Japan. But to do this we must espouse serious and useful goals of international reform and accelerate economic growth. Our ministry of global affairs as it is now portentously called, should repurpose itself to those ends, maintain a generous and focused foreign aid program, and cease its feckless and extravagant pursuit of popularity in disadvantaged areas where it cannot be bought for long and is of little practical utility. Justin may think Canada is post-national, but the world isn’t.

Published in the National Post.

Posted on 09/27/2020 1:09 PM by Conrad Black
Sunday, 27 September 2020
In Libya, Fayez al-Sarraj Announces He Will Quit, Upsetting Erdogan

by Hugh Fitzgerald

In Libya, Turkish troops and more than 20,000 Syrian mercenaries brought in by Turkey have turned the tide in favor of the Government of National Accord (GNA), ending the 14-month siege of Tripoli by the LNA and pushing General Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) forces eastward, all the way to Sirte. The two sides — the LNA and GNA — have after lengthy negotiations finally agreed to hold national elections in 18 months.

In the midst of this movement, Fayez al-Sarraj, the Prime Minister of the GNA, has announced he will resign in October. President Erdgoan declares this news is “most upsetting for us.” Here is the story:

President Tayyip Erdogan said on September 18 that Turkey was upset that Libya’s internationally recognized Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, an ally, wants to quit next month and Ankara may hold talks with his government on the issue in the coming week

Sarraj announced on September 16 his intention to step down by the end of October. The move could feed political tensions in Tripoli amid new efforts to find a political solution to the country’s conflict.

“A development like this, hearing such news, has been upsetting for us,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul, adding that Turkish delegations may hold talks with Sarraj’s government in the coming week….

Sarraj is head of the Government of National Accord (GNA), based in Tripoli, while eastern Libya and much of the south is controlled by Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA). His departure could lead to infighting among senior GNA figures….

We would prefer for Sarraj to remain in his post because under his leadership a united Libya that has resolved its issues could emerge,” the [Turkish] official said….

Al-Sarraj explained his own departure as coming at the end of United Nations-brokered talks between the country’s rival factions that have led to a “new preparatory phase” to unify Libyan institutions and prepare for parliamentary and presidential elections. He may have believed that he had completed his task, having successfully concluded an agreement with the LNA on a preliminary deal that aims to guide the country towards elections within 18 months and to demilitarise the city of Sirte, and he could now leave.

But there are also other reasons why he chose this moment.

Many cities in Libya – mainly though not exclusively in the GNA territories — have been convulsed for a solid month of popular protests over the state of the economy. These protests have been a mounting source of frustration for Al-Sarraj, who could do very little to improve things since the main source of revenue in Libya, the oilfields, remain firmly under the control of General Khaftar’s LNA. This frustration of being unable to deal with the economic distress must have taken its toll on Al-Sarraj.

Another reason for Al-Sarraj to quit is simple exhaustion. After five grueling years of presiding over the fractious GNA, and in recent times seeing decisions for the GNA being made not in Tripoli but in Ankara, Al-Sarraj was worn out by all the fighting both against the LNA, and within the GNA. He surely knows that his departure will lead to new infighting among other senior GNA figures and, especially, between the armed groups from Tripoli and those from the Interior Minister’s coastal city of Misrata that wield control on the ground. But he’s had enough.

President Erdogan is upset with Al-Sarraj’s decision for several reasons. First, he doesn’t want infighting among potential successors to Al-Sarraj that could possibly bring about a rupture within the GNA. He is especially concerned that the Interior Minister with whom Al-Sarraj recently quarreled, Fathi Bashagha, might mobilize his own militia in Misrata to press his claim as the successor to Al-Sarraj, leading to other contenders based in Tripoli to respond in kind, letting loose their own militias, thereby dangerously dividing the GNA.

Second, Erdogan was able to obtain certain tentative concessions from Al-Sarraj that the Libyans may claim are  no longer valid. Al-Sarraj had apparently given Erdogan tentative permission to create a Turkish naval military base inside the port of Misrata, a city where two-thirds of the population consists of “Libyan Turks” (Turks have been settling in Libya over the last two centuries), as well as promising to give Turkey control of the airbase at al-Watiya, near the border with Tunisia. Now those agreements will have to be re-negotiated with his successor.

Moreover, Turkish officials have already confirmed that there were talks with the Libyan authorities about starting oil and gas exploration operations in onshore and offshore fields, in addition to talks about other energy-related fields such as electricity production. Al-Sarraj was apparently more amenable to Turkish demands than his likely successors will be, especially since the Libyan national government will soon include representatives from General Haftar’s anti-Turkish LNA.

Erdogan has invested a lot in his Libyan venture. He has sent thousands of his own troops, and more than 20,000 Syrian mercenaries, too, to break General Haftar’s 14-month siege of Tripoli and to push the LNA forces back to Sirte. It worked, and now the GNA forces, and their Turkish and Syrian allies, are poised on the outskirts of Sirte. Erdogan has always expected to be paid back for his support of the GNA. He wants a new military naval base for Turkish ships to be built inside the port of Misrata. He also wants Turkey to be given control of the existing airbase at al-Watiya. Finally, he wants to be given oil-and-gas concessions on Libyan land and in Libya’s territorial waters. Now that Al-Sarraj is stepping down before Ankara could secure final guarantees for the Misrata naval base, the Al-Watiya airbase, and the implementation of its future energy projects, Turkey will be forced to start negotiations all over again with the next government. No wonder the sulphurous Erdogan is “upset.” And perhaps Al-Sarraj’s successor, with the LNA forces having retreated so far eastward, will not feel quite so desperately the need for Turkish military support as Al-Sarraj did when Tripoli was about to fall to its LNA besiegers. And if, as is hoped, the Libyan elections that are to be held within 18 months lead to a government of national unity, and a merging of the GNA and LNA forces, there will be even less need for the Libyans to call upon the Turkish military. It would be reasonable at that point, when there is a unified Libyan government, to ask the Turks to leave. But will they? Or are they there, as seems to be the case with Turkish troops now in Syria, to stay?

At that point, if and when the Turks are asked to leave, Erdogan is certain to play hardball, reminding the Libyans that he has done their state some service; they are in debt to him for lifting the siege of Tripoli, pushing the LNA forces much farther east, and making possible the conditions on the ground that have led to the present ceasefire and the plans for national elections. Erdogan makes very clear that he wants that debt to be paid, by Turkey being given possession of both a military naval base and an airbase, as well as being provided with oil-and-gas concessions. He is likely to keep his own troops, and the Syrian mercenaries he sent to Libya with them, at what he plans to become his naval base in Misrata (which he tellingly calls a “Turkish city” because of its large population of “Libyan Turks”), and at the existing airbase in al-Watiya, which he intends to make a base for Turkish planes alone, pending a Libyan agreement to formalize the Turkish possession of both. The Turkish troops will remain, too, until an agreement on oil-and-gas concessions in Libyan territorial waters and on Libyan land, that Erdogan believed he was on the verge of completing with Al-Sarraj at the time of his departure, are re-negotiated and ratified by the Libyans. Erdogan is “upset” now over Fayaz Al-Sarraj’s resignation, but he’ll get over it, as he pockets his prizes – those bases, those oil-and-gas concessions — from the Libyans. As for Fayez Al-Sarraj, he will surely be enjoying his well-deserved rest, after five years of riding herd on the fractious Libyans in the GNA, while simultaneously fighting the LNA. And above all, he will take great pleasure in being spared the need to placate that difficult, demanding, and dangerous man, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

First published in Jihad Watch

Posted on 09/27/2020 7:10 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 27 September 2020
Suspect in Paris knife attack confesses to stabbings

From France 24

A Pakistan-born teenager has admitted to stabbing two people with a meat cleaver outside the former Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine, investigators said Saturday, with nine people now detained over what the government condemned as "Islamist terror".

The 18-year-old said he wanted to avenge the republication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed by the satirical weekly, which in January 2015 was targeted in a massacre carried out by Islamist gunmen.

While the man is believed to have carried out the stabbings alone, eight other people are now also under arrest following two more detentions Saturday. The two new individuals arrested were the suspect's younger brother and another acquaintance, a judicial source said.

The man, who said he was born in Pakistan and is 18, "takes responsibility for his action", a source close to the investigation said.

The man said during questioning he places his actions "in the context of the republication of cartoons" of the Prophet Mohammed in Charlie Hebdo on the eve of the trial opening.

The people wounded were employees of prize-winning TV production agency Premieres Lignes, whose offices are in the same block in central Paris that used to house Charlie Hebdo.

However it is not believed that the two, who had stepped out onto the street for a cigarette break, were specifically targeted.

The man mistakenly believed Charlie Hebdo's offices were still in that building and wanted to attack journalists from the magazine, a source close to the inquiry told AFP, confirming information first published in the Le Parisien newspaper. Charlie Hebdo moved offices after the 2015 attack and its current address is kept secret for security reasons.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said Friday the attack was "clearly an act of Islamist terrorism". 

The photograph I used here last week came from AFP and the defendant's face was pixelated. There are unpixelated images doing the rounds. The source (so far as I can trace them back) is a French LGBT activist and Je Suis Charlie supporter on Twitter. He has both a different shot of the defendant sitting by the steps immediately after capture, and what seems very likely to be the same man inside (the police station? custody suite type place?) shortly after.

If genuine, and I have no reason to doubt them, he may well be carrying papers with a date of birth of 2002 (those of the younger brother arrested since perhaps?) but he is NOT 18 years old. Not even with an uphill paper round in childhood. Not even as a result of the strain of being a jihadist in Europe's most romantic city. He's scamming so as to get favourable young person treatment and status. I put him at 20 years older. 

Posted on 09/27/2020 7:06 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Saturday, 26 September 2020
Defendant who shot Croydon police sergeant has, as I feared, *extreme Islamist* views

From The Times 

The suspect, who remains in hospital in a critical condition, was previously referred to the Channel programme, which deals with the most serious Prevent cases, The Times has learnt. He is a British citizen of Sri Lankan origin who is autistic.

The man, who had expressed extreme right-wing and Islamist views, has not been named. Sources emphasised it was not deemed necessary for MI5 or counterterrorism police to investigate him. The shooting, at 2.15am, remains a murder inquiry and extremism is not thought to be a factor at this stage.

and according to The Telegraph 

The suspect, who according to sources is a British citizen of mixed race with a family background in Sri Lanka, had been picked up in Croydon city centre during a routine police stop and search 40 minutes before the alleged murder of Sgt Ratana. The young man had been acting suspiciously in the early hours of yesterday morning when he was arrested at 1.40am by a team of five officers. Little is known about the alleged killer but sources have told The Telegraph he had been signed up to a Home Office deradicalisation programme to “provide support to individuals who are at risk of being drawn into terrorism”.

It is understood the man had been downloading from the internet both far-Right and Islamic State propaganda. The suspect had autism and has been described as confused, the situation “complicated”.

He was investigated briefly but authorities dismissed him as a concern. Intelligence services have no record of the man on their extensive list of 40,000 terror suspects and have ruled out terrorism as a possible motive for yesterday’s shooting.

I wonder what the 'right-wing' aspect of his views extreme views are. I suspect he has less than liberal opinions on the role and status of women and acceptance of homosexuality. 

The gunman, who had been arrested for possession of ammunition and illegal drugs, was being searched and had his hands cuffed behind his back. Somehow he got to the gun which was either down his trousers on in his underwear. He started firing the gun at the officers from between his legs and hit Sergeant Matiu Ratana (a New Zealander) in the chest, killing him. He then shot himself in the neck and is critically ill in hospital. It may suit the authorities to downplay the Islamic/terrorism aspect of this murder, but it no longer fools anybody

Posted on 09/26/2020 6:27 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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