Thursday, 30 September 2021
A British Prime Minister’s Failed Policies Are a Gold Mine for his Son
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by Theodore Dalrymple

When the son of a prominent politician makes a fortune, our thoughts naturally turn to influence-peddling. But Euan Blair, the son of the former British Prime Minister of the same surname, has done very well out of a start-up called Multiverse that directly opposes the educational policy promoted by his father when he was in office. Mr Blair junior’s stake in the start-up is now worth, on paper at least, somewhat more than $200 million.

In essence, the start-up is an online employment agency that offers to place young people with employers who will give them an apprenticeship training of some kind as an alternative to college or university.

Mr Blair senior, by contrast, wanted 50 per cent of school-leavers to go to university. This target was inherently corrupt and corrupting.

If you set a centralized bureaucracy a target—and the British educational system was and is very centralized and bureaucratic—it will meet it by hook or by crook. It will change the meanings of words and alter the way by which outcomes are measured.

 

In the case of universities, it lowered entry requirements so that 50 per cent of the school-leavers met them. Instead of setting a standard that had to be met in order to be admitted to university, it took whatever standard 50 per cent of school leavers had reached and made it sufficient for admission.

It is hardly surprising in these circumstances that standards fell. For many students, their courses were of neither intellectual nor or of vocational value, but they indebted themselves to pursue them.

For them, the connotation of a university degree was still elitist: by attaining one, they thought that they joined an elite. But in fact the economic value of a degree fell as degrees grew ever more commonplace, and many students leaving university found that they had to take jobs that they could have done just as well had they never attended university.

The loans they had taken to do so were a millstone round their necks and something of a discouragement to endeavour, for they had to be paid back only once their salaries had reached a certain level. For some high-flyers, of course, their debts were of slight account, but this was not so for most students.

Among the other effects of Mr Blair senior’s policies was grade inflation. Universities were funded according to how many students they attracted, and no one goes into serious debt for a serious chance of failing examinations. If universities failed their students, the word would soon get out. Students became customers who felt themselves entitled to something in return for what they had paid. In effect, then, the universities started to sell degrees, degrading them further.

The policy of extending tertiary education, especially in fields of little vocational value, was not without its hazards. It risked creating a class of malcontents who felt, not without reason, that they had been cheated, and felt they had the right by virtue of their education to a prominent role in society.

The extension of tertiary education in non-technical subjects was one of the causes of the Russian Revolution, for students equated their education to a right to determine which direction society should take as well as a right to economic prosperity. Something similar happened in Latin America, where university-educated young men started guerrilla movements. They never fought for freedom: they fought for power.

Mr Blair’s son, Euan, correctly apprehended how bad his father’s policies were, how poor the results, and saw in them an opportunity. Eventually, the message would get through to school-leavers that the obtaining of a university degree was not an infallible solution to the problems of adult life, often quite the reverse, and that something else was necessary for them.

Credit is surely due to Euan Blair for seeing this opportunity, even if it were one that was in large part created by his father. Moreover, he not only saw an opportunity but seized it. As someone who has never seen a business opportunity in his life, and who, even if he had seen one, would not have had the organizational ability, stamina or inclination to see it through to a valuable or viable business, I cannot but admire the young man.

Of course, he had certain advantages that most people do not have, but everyone must play the cards with which he is dealt, and no one is to be blamed for playing them as well as possible. Good fortune is not a crime.

Nevertheless, there remains something distasteful about the son of an important politician appearing to cash in on the ruinous policies of his father. It would be going far too far to say that these policies were designed to give Euan his opportunity: even Machiavelli himself was not as Machiavellian as that. But could it have been the father who, having seen the mess that he and his government had made, encouraging school-leavers to pay for their own unemployability at the high level they dreamed of, suggested the Multiverse scheme to his son?

There is something else distinctly discomfiting about Multiverse. It claims that a half of its successfully-placed applicants are “people of colour”—a dishonest euphemism if ever there were one, as if humanity were made up of whites and the rest. Could it be that Multiverse was the means by which employers were filling racial quotas in their staff, the setting of such quotas being another typically Blairite idea? One generation makes policy, the next profits from it.

If school is not for everyone, university is even less so. I have in my limited social circle the example of two adolescent boys whose conduct was a nightmare for their parents; so bad was it at times that they sometimes considered calling the police.

Aged sixteen, they left school—unusually for middle class children these days—and found apprenticeship training in two very different fields. Their conduct changed overnight. They accepted the discipline of their apprenticeships without a peep of rebellion, whereas previously they had fought tooth and nail against anything uttered in the imperative mood. But for long, their parents had tried, Blair-like, to squeeze them into the university mould.

The poor, said a German bishop of the sixteenth century, are a goldmine. So are bad ideas.

First published in the Epoch Times.

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Posted on 09/30/2021 6:20 AM by Theodore Dalrymple
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Wednesday, 29 September 2021
If We're Rome, Who Are the Barbarians That Will End Us?
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by Geoffrey Clarfield

The founding fathers did not see themselves as constituting a new version of classical Greece.  Instead, they saw themselves as biblically inspired Romans, which is to say modern Republicans.

Paul Meany has written insightfully about how the founding fathers were enamored of the Roman Republic and how, in many ways, collectively and personally, they modeled themselves on the ancient Romans.

The Founders lavished praise upon Roman heroes who defended their government from tyranny in the Republic's turbulent final days[.] ... [M]any 18th century Americans felt an affinity for ancient Rome, there are many parallels between the two societies. Akin to the Republican Romans, 18th-century Americans were mainly rural farmers[.] ... The Romans praised the virtues of independence, patriotism, and moderation, which were also cornerstones of American society[.] ... By anchoring arguments for freedom to ancient precedent, Revolutionary American authors aimed to demonstrate that their arguments were timeless and firmly embedded in history. Historians like Plutarch, Livy, and Tacitus successfully encapsulated in writing the eternal and unavoidable struggle between liberty and power[.] ... Many of the educated American Revolutionaries did more than just read about the Romans as a scholarly pursuit — they actively tried to emulate their behavior and virtues.

The Romans had a word for their moral code.  They called it "Romanitas."  It was most alive during the history of Republican Rome and then became attenuated, as Rome descended into a Western form of oriental despotism, ruled by emperors who were often put in power by military elites.

Polybius, the ancient historian, captures some of the essence of Romanitas in the following, almost humorous paragraph:

The Roman customs and principles regarding the acquisition of wealth are better than those of the Carthaginians. In the view of the latter nothing is disgraceful that makes for gain; with the former nothing is more disgraceful than to receive bribes and to make profit by improper means. For they regard wealth obtained from unlawful transactions to be as much a subject of reproach as a fair profit from reputable sources is of commendation. A proof of the fact is this: the Carthaginians obtain office by open bribery, but among the Romans the penalty is death.

Romans believed in and practiced loyalty to family and clan, respect for the household gods and the gods of the Pantheon, the value of being a citizen, and the obligations of citizens to fight and serve the state with honesty and "gravitas."  After a while, anyone could become a Roman.  It was paradoxically a voluntary empire, where even conquered peoples could become fully participating citizens or even emperors, such as Spanish-born Trajan.

Scholars have written quite a lot about Romanitas, as did Romans  in past times.  Suffice it to say that one can argue that during most of the history of the American Republic, the values of the Constitution, adherence to the Constitution, and selfless leadership at the highest level have, as with the Romans, been the American ideal, even if not always lived up to in practice.

We could reasonably call these civic virtues "Americanitas."  Above all, these ideals are supposed to serve the interests of the citizens, the legal residents of the Republic, whose representatives serve the people and not themselves, as became the custom of the "senators" under the emperors of the later Roman Empire.

A key American ideal has been that American citizens must fight for America as did Roman citizens during the Republic. Either voluntary soldiers or drafted soldiers are responsible for the defense of the American Republic. The ideal soldier-statesman, and the first president of the Republic, was George Washington, who, alongside his rebel patriots, did not hire German mercenaries to fight the British oppressors, as the British did to fight them.  And so it was in America, until quite recently.

It is not widely known that there were more hired "soldiers" in Afghanistan during America's twenty-year sojourn there than there were actual serving soldiers.  When Vice President Biden's convoy went astray during his visit to Afghanistan, it was the hired mercenaries of the private security company then called Blackwater Inc. that saved his life after a failed attempt by the American military.  So said its founder Eric Prince on National TV, just a couple of weeks ago.

More importantly, it is not widely known that until the 1990s, about 90% of most senior American managers in the private sector, and many in government, had served in the military during WWII, Korea, or Vietnam.  Today, only 5% of senior people in the private sector have served in the U.S. military.  I suspect that the number in the various branches of the government is about the same.  So who are the people leading America, and what are they doing?

They are mostly Baby-Boomers and older. They live in posh suburbs and in gated communities. They usually went to private schools and private colleges. They intermarry among their own class.  Most did not serve in the military.  Their children are privileged and protected.  They have, both Republicans and Democrats, managed to become rich after serving a term or two in government.  Why?

Nine years ago, investigative journalist Peter Schweizer wrote a book showing how senators and congressmen enrich themselves at the public expense by a kind of legislative inside trading.  The name of the book says it all:

Throw Them All Out: How Politicians and Their Friends Get Rich Off Insider Stock Tips, Land Deals, and Cronyism That Would Send the Rest of Us to Prison

That is not how men inspired by the ideals of the constitution and the Roman republic are supposed to act.  This kind of predatory behavior does not echo the grandeur of the senators of the Roman Republic.  It reflects the behaviour of the senators who served emperors and enriched themselves at the citizens' expense and, notably, whose sons no longer went to war for Rome.  Then the Romans and the children of the elites no longer fought for themselves.  They imported "Barbarians" to fight for them, first from Gaul and Spain and then from Germany.

In the beginning, most Barbarians became Romans, adopted Latin, and took on Romanitas as their personal code.  But as the Republican element of ancient Rome receded, as inequality and injustice increased, it was the invading and more importantly migrating Barbarian peoples from north, west, and east of the empire who clamored for its land and wealth.  The Roman ruling elite let them in.  That was the death knell of the Western empire.

Today, we see an American ruling class that is well documented as such. They are tellingly described by former New York Times journalist Hedrick Smith in his book Who Stole the American Dream?  They are even better evoked by Cullen Murphy's book Are We Rome?, where he asks, way back in 2008, whether America resembles Rome under the emperors or when it was a Republic.  Today there is no doubt what the answer is.

Today's Washington elites, and the Deep State, representing the interests of the Democrat party, are no longer interested in the American Republic and its Roman-inspired values.  They have rejected both Americanitas and Romanitas.  They have opened their border on their southern frontier and are allowing in masses of people from non-democratic societies and whose family traditions are also non-democratic.  These "new barbarians" can be bought, and they will vote Democrat for generations to come.

There is no need to proclaim an emperor. Presidential overreach is giving us the same result, overriding state jurisdiction, whose legal basis was established by the founders.  Those citizens who still believe in Romanitas and Americanitas will be illegally outvoted for years to come, and the senatorial and congressional elite will enrich themselves at everyone's expense.

These new barbarians and their patrons in South America, the Far East, and the Islamic world, who send them to our shores, will do all they can to undermine the Constitution and demoralize the remaining forty-eight percent of American patriots who still want a Republic.

It happened to Rome in the fourth century, and it seems to be happening to America today.  Illegal aliens do not know what Romanitas is or was, nor do they care.  Neither are they interested in the Constitution or constitutional government.

A few years back, when living and working in Manhattan,  I was invited as a guest to a national day of celebration for a Caribbean country at a Brooklyn venue.  There was not one American flag in the room, there was no singing of the National Anthem, no one said the pledge of allegiance, and not one speaker gave thanks to the great Republic who invited them to become its citizens.  I felt as though I were in a foreign country in the heart of New York.  I was flabbergasted.

The new barbarians desperately want the bread and circuses given to them by the Washington elite.  It is better than the chaos and poverty they left behind in their home countries. They will behave according to their new masters' wishes — until there comes a time when, probably by non-democratic means, they take over the Republic.

By then, it will have become a Republic in name only.

First published in the American Thinker.

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Posted on 09/29/2021 7:29 AM by Geoffrey Clarfield
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Wednesday, 29 September 2021
Hopeful Signs From Afghanistan
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by Conrad Black

It is not my purpose here to recount to readers as familiar with them as I am the cascade of bad decisions that shamed America in Afghanistan, led to the needless deaths of many people, strained the Western alliance, gravely jeopardized 20 years of social and economic progress in Afghanistan, and may have partially reopened Afghanistan as a nursery and breeding ground of international terrorist organizations.

There has naturally been great curiosity about whether the returning Taliban will simply try to take up where the Taliban of 20 years ago left off. A substantial majority of the citizens of Afghanistan are 20 years old or younger and now know nothing of the era when women were severely restricted and such justice system as there was consisted of largely uncorroborated denunciations followed by the severance of limbs or execution.

The fact that the former head of the country who was effectively installed by the United States and its allies, Hamid Karzai, has remained in Afghanistan and as far as is known has not been detained or threatened, is a positive fact. So is the continued presence in office of the mayor of Kabul; an American citizen and former United Airlines pilot. These are hopeful signs.

There have been probably reliable reports of vindictive and lawless acts, and it must be difficult for the new government to restrain the trigger-happy and vindictive instincts of all of its forces now ruling almost every town in Afghanistan without any of the customary restraints on their behavior that are imposed in more politically sophisticated countries.

When the United States departed altogether on Aug. 31, there was widespread expectation of the imminent slaughter of all those who had cooperated in any way with the 20-year NATO occupation, and dreadful acts of vengeance against prominent former collaborators, and it was assumed and predicted that the primitive misogynistic and aggressively ignorant society governed by the infamous Mullah Omar who tolerated Osama bin Laden setting up in the first place would spring instantly back to grim life again. It may, but there is little indication that it has.

Fox News is among Western media outlets that still telecast live from Kabul, and to judge from the street scenes in the interviews with ordinary people life is confused, but from the chaos of upheaval and not from terror and vengeance.

There are evident demonstrations by somewhat Westernized women; doubtless their protests and their demands are treated with contempt, but the demonstrators themselves are not physically intimidated.

The Taliban rule that we remember from 20 to 30 years ago in the period between the departure of the Soviet Union and the arrival of NATO was not one that would tolerate what they considered underdressed women on the streets demonstrating about anything.

There are also reports, both officially from the Afghan government and from Western news outlets relying upon their own contacts, of skirmishing between the Taliban and ISIS. This is certainly evidence that it is not the intention of the new government now to throw open the country to any terrorists who wish to enter, and it is unlikely that the Afghan government will wish to absorb the military responses of any countries whom guest terrorist organizations such as ISIS and al-Qaeda might choose to antagonize.

The Afghans almost certainly will not give a blank check to these terrorists again. They would know and presumably have been told that anything remotely resembling a repetition of 9/11 would lead to “over the horizon” retribution of extreme destructiveness, with no accompanying notions of boots on the ground with a civilizing, democratizing, and nation-building objective.

It has been revealed that there are direct and frequent contacts between the new regime and several of the Western governments, including the United States. The American freeze of assets and its embargo and sanctions on Afghanistan are onerous, and if the leaders of the new regime are not completely mad, and to judge from their appearance, they are, but to judge from their conduct they are not, then some sort of agreement, as controversy subsides, should be possible to liberalize the international treatment of Afghanistan in exchange for allowing the departure of fugitives from legitimately apprehended injustice.

It is difficult to predict how Afghanistan’s foreign policy will function, given that all of its neighbors have been meddling within the country and patronizing separate sections of the Taliban: Pakistan, Uzbekistan, India, and Iran, in particular.

The Haqqani Taliban is generally regarded as the most influential political force in the country and one heavily subsidized by Pakistan. The United States has contributed something like $20 billion to the Pakistani Armed Forces and their infamous ISI intelligence services in the last 20 years.

A significant amount of this money was clearly really funneled into Afghanistan and to forces hostile to the United States. It is such a terribly complicated and squalid part of the world that there is more than a germ of good sense to the Trump-Biden view that an exit was appropriate (though obviously not the chaotic and pitiful departure that occurred).

A great deal of misinformed history has been inflicted on the public by poorly qualified news people about Afghanistan as “the graveyard of empires.” It was not the site of any defeat of Alexander the Great. He was never defeated, and he established himself as the suzerain power in Afghanistan, then known as Bactria, became friendly with the king, and married his daughter, the famous Roxanne, who bore Alexander’s legitimate heir.

The British sent two exploratory forces there in the middle and late 19th century. The first was roughly handled and the British sent back a punitive expedition. They maintained a presence there until their withdrawal from India and Pakistan in 1947. There is no jinx to Afghanistan. But it is very poor, primitive, landlocked, fiercely resistant to foreigners, riven by tribal and sectarian disagreements, and does not reward the efforts of any greater powers that put themselves to the trouble and expense of subduing it.

The claims of its rare earth resources remind me of Herbert Marcuse’s theory of Vietnamese oil 50 years ago: neither has yet been confirmed. If the Chinese want to run their Belt and Road through Afghanistan, they will not find the locals any friendlier than the British or the Russians or the Americans did.

President Joe Biden is right that Afghanistan is not strategically worth much to America, and it is probably time to terminate assistance to Pakistan, tighten relations with India, and mobilize Arab opinion against the encroachments of their ancient Iranian and Turkish foes.

Biden’s talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week were apparently a failure, and Turkey’s status in NATO should be reviewed. Biden told the United Nations last week that he was putting alliances first and that America is “back” in the world. Not for the first time his words do not correspond with his actions as the American ambassador was sent packing from Paris a couple of weeks after the German government said that Biden had unprecedentedly strained NATO, and the British Parliament voted its contempt for the U.S. president.

For all his shortcomings, strategically, he may ultimately have done the right thing, as President Donald Trump did when he stopped trying to stand between the Turkish army and the militant Kurdish PKK. The West can build its own road from Japan through Australasia and South Korea, Indochina (including, up to a point, Taiwan), India, and to Arabia, Israel, and Europe.

If we must return to a containment policy, we should separate Russia from China (as Trump would have done if the Democrats hadn’t defamed him as a Russian intelligence asset), and get on with the diplomatic and military work necessary to meet the Chinese challenge. We have the allies and the strategic strength. All that is missing is the policymakers in Washington.

First published in the Epoch Times.

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Posted on 09/29/2021 5:57 AM by Conrad Black
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Wednesday, 29 September 2021
French government to close six ‘radical’ mosques
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From the French edition of The Local

France is moving to shut six mosques and break up several associations suspected of producing radical Islamist propaganda, Interior Minister Gerarld Darmanin said on Tuesday.

A third of the 89 places of worship “suspected of being radical” and flagged by the intelligence services had been checked since November 2020, he told Le Figaro newspaper.

Of those, action to shut down six – in five different départements across France – had been launched, he said.

The authorities would also request the dissolution of the Islamist publishers Nawa and the Black African Defence League (LDNA).

Nawa, based in the southern French town of Ariege, “incites the extermination of the Jews and legitimises the stoning of homosexuals”, Darmanin said. The LDNA, the organisers of a protest against police violence in front of the US embassy in Paris in June last year, “calls for hate and discrimination”, he said. “In the coming year, 10 other associations are going to be the object of a dissolution procedure, four them next month,” he said.

Last week, the Council of State, France’s highest administrative court, approved the government’s move to dissolve the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) and Baraka City.

The Islamic press has been chuntering about these forthcoming closures all week.  

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Posted on 09/29/2021 3:33 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Tuesday, 28 September 2021
So Trump was right: the election was rigged. And our next one will be too
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This article is being censored by Twitter. 

Rod Liddle writes in the Times UK:

To what extent, do you think, is Joe Biden abiding by his solemn election pledge to “undo the moral and national shame of the previous administration”? You can judge for yourself by the television pictures of terrified Haitian refugees on the US-Mexico border being horse-whipped by mounted American rangers.

Trump did not do anything like that. If he had attempted to, Hollywood and the partisan coastal media would have imploded in a plasma of outrage. And yet Biden has largely escaped their censure.

I’m not sure, either, that the little old business in Afghanistan entirely banished America’s moral and national shame. Nor Biden’s inability to remember where the hell he is or who he is talking to; nor his geopolitical pig ignorance or his tendency to doze off at crucial moments. I think, in answer to my original question, that America’s “moral and national shame” is absolutely thriving under the present incumbent, perhaps hitting levels not seen since James Buchanan was in office.

The American public is slowly waking up to the fact that they are being led by an ineffectually devious, senile halfwit. Donald Trump is back in the lead in the opinion polls. Imagine how awful a president must be if people would rather that sack of meat with mittens were back in charge.

Soon the public will wake up to something even more unpleasant and sinister: that the last presidential election was a fraud, rigged by big business, the labour unions and, more than anything, the media and the tech companies. If that election had taken place in any other country, it would have been called “unfree”. And, as more and more evidence emerges, it terrifies me that the same thing could happen here.

What, you argue, the BBC deliberately withholds stories damaging to its preferred party or candidate? Facebook and co refuse to carry news stories harmful to the opposition because they class them as “false news”? Yes, I think you see my point.

We already knew, even as Biden was declaring victory, that Facebook and Twitter had cut off Donald Trump’s access to the electorate. He was deliberately rendered voiceless. Before then, they — and the national media — had smothered stories alleging the Biden family’s peddling of influence and Biden’s crackhead son and his dubious business interests in Ukraine. False news, we were informed. Nope, not all of it was false at all, it transpired.

What we didn’t know until we were told in February this year, courtesy of Time magazine, was that there actually was a conspiracy — a secret coalition of chief executives, labour unions, left-wing pressure groups and media companies — to manage what information was available to the voting public. Its aim, as The Wall Street Journal put it, was to “suppress unwanted elements of US political conversation”. What a wonderful phrase.

Time magazine reported this as if the cabal — it called the arrangement a cabal — had been acting heroically. To save the US public from making the same mistake again and electing that Brobdingnagian boor — and to do so by suppressing stories favourable to him.

Now we discover that General Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, was also conspiring against the president. Twice Milley called Chinese diplomats to let them know that he would countermand any order from Trump to attack China — which seems to a lot of US conservatives to be an act of pure treason. Milley also went behind his president’s back to connive with the Democrat leader of the House, Nancy Pelosi.

The reasoning for this was that Trump was “unhinged” — a familiar notion peddled by the media for the four years of his presidency. Was he? I don’t know. He didn’t seem terribly hinged to me, but then Americans rarely do. But more unhinged than your average American — or Joe Biden? Whatever the case, that election one year ago was plainly rigged. Not by fraudulent postal votes. But by an affluent elite conspiring, brutally at times, to ensure that the American public heard only one side of the story.

What worries me most is that so few liberal commentators seem capable of understanding that this was a grotesque manipulation of democracy. And yet surely they must see it, no matter how appalling Trump seemed to them (and indeed, quite often, to me). Instead, those very acts that subverted democracy are depicted as valorous.

The author of that article in Time said the conspirators “were not rigging the election; they were fortifying it”. Wow. Isn’t that a little chilling? And are you looking forward to a “fortified” general election over here?

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Posted on 09/28/2021 12:55 PM by Rebecca Bynum
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Tuesday, 28 September 2021
How COVID-19 taught the public to distrust the authorities
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Rex Murphy writes in the National Post:

Early on during the pandemic, it was easy to accept that the politicians, guided by their selected cadre of experts, knew what they were doing. And there was likewise in the public mind a considerable reservoir of trust in their pronouncements, which was not diminished if — in the very early days — a caution or a recommendation put out one week was altered, revised, or even contradicted by a caution or recommendation the week following.

So for example the first request of the public was to put up with a shutdown of two weeks “to slow down the curve.” Certainly no one was happy about it, but everyone gave it a quick “yes.” Even when there was something of a small panic about the shortage of ventilators (which probably should have been on medical stockpile), that did not really disturb the public’s confidence.

We heard from Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam that “Canada’s risk is much, much lower than that of many countries. (COVID) is going to be rare.” Alas, we have learned throughout the past nearly two years that that declaration was a wild and very, very wrong surmise.

And as the anxieties of the population began to swell and the question of whether face masks would be a useful or necessary safeguard, at a time when face masks were not abundantly available here in Canada, Tam was ready with advice on those as well: “Putting a mask on an asymptomatic person is not beneficial, obviously if you’re not infected,” she said. But when, just seven days later, the same front figure of the federal response to COVID-19 did a full 180-degree turn and returned to her podium to urge the benefit, if not the necessity of face masks, you could sense the turbulence in the public’s confident reception in what the political and medical authorities were urging and ordering.

It would take the whole column and a few more besides to catalogue the declarations and decrees which came down from Ottawa only to be — same phrase — altered, revised, or even contradicted a week or month after their initial commanding iteration.

But these pronouncements, uttered in the first instance with great authority and then reversed with even greater aplomb, began to grate. There was a succession of them, right up to the present moment, on whether we should have travel bans, whether there should be quarantines, whether people landing in our airports from other countries should be getting tested, or whether it was OK that some were just landing, picking up their baggage and going their way.

Then there were the discrepancies in the application of closures and lockdowns. “Necessary” services were allowed to operate — grocery stores, trucking, and curiously, Big Box stores — but “unnecessary” services were to close. Gyms, barbershops, shoe stores, indeed any retail outlet, big or small, that didn’t belong in a chosen category, were to close totally. And people were urged or ordered to stay away from work, unless of course they were, prime example, clerks in the grocery and food outlets.

There was another discrepancy, too, this one financial, and it never has, to this moment, received the full attention it should have. All civil servants, teachers, those on any public contract, remained on permanent payroll, while those in the private sector — even with the CERB payments and other federal assistance — were being brutalized by the closures.

This was nowhere more obviously than in the restaurant and hospitality industries, but almost every trade, from taxi-driving to sales, was hit very hard as well.

While people kept hearing the Liberal mantras — “we all in this together, and we’ve got your back “ — it was clear some backs could claim more shielding (and got it) than others, and “all” and “together” did not quite carry the weight both terms should aspire to.

But there was one discrepancy that towered above all the rest. This was made evident in early June, 2020, when gatherings of thousands of people were permitted to protest the death of George Floyd despite the fact lockdowns were universal in North America and people normally caught amassing in groups larger than five or 10, other than with immediate family members, were either chastened, charged, ridiculed or all three. “How selfish they are” was the cry against these ‘lawbreakers,” a cry we’re hearing much more vehemently about those reluctant or opposed to mandated vaccinations and passports. I’ll deal with that in the next column.

This was the very period when antifa was roaring nightly through some North American cities, and the Black Lives Matter movement was at its public relations pinnacle; the period when “taking a knee” was the curious posture of rebellion, and demonstrations in the U.S., and yes here in Canada, too, were almost daily.

That’s also when a veritable multitude of “medical authorities” — 1,200 of them in fact — thought it both necessary and enlightened to issue a major media statement. They posted a letter — not a Luther at the Wittenberg church door moment its signatories evidently thought it to be.

“We created (this) letter in response to emerging narratives that seemed to malign demonstrations as risky for the public health because of COVID-19 … We wanted to present a narrative that prioritizes opposition to racism as vital to the public health, including the epidemic response.” (My emphasis.)

Now was that not Interesting,? Protest demonstrations as public health prophylactics — better than vaccines?

The point was then explicitly made: “We do not condemn these gatherings as risky for COVID-19 transmission.” Everyone else was told to stay at home, avoid congregating, people walking dogs in the wrong places were arrested, barber shops were shut down .. but here were “medical authorities” essentially saying that gathering in the thousands, for the right cause, “was … vital to public health.”

Up here in shutdown-mad Canada, there were a number of those “vital to public health” protests, and one was attended by no less than the prime minister himself, who duly “took a knee.”

This was the moment that skepticism of the authorities was powerfully launched and the public recognized there was not one set of rules for all, and that even the strictest medical advice could easily, almost triumphantly, be trumped by political considerations.

More on this in my next column.

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Posted on 09/28/2021 12:28 PM by Geoffrey Clarfield
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Tuesday, 28 September 2021
Battered Afghan Women and Divided Loyalties
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by Phyllis Chesler

Back in the day, I could only work with battered women for a short while, after which I burned out. I continued to raise money and consciousness for the shelters and for the shelter movement but I was not saintly enough to keep working with a battered woman who insisted upon returning to her batterer again and again.

Many feminists did so for as long as it took for those poor women to finally side with themselves against the men who were breaking their bones. Many women finally left for the sake of their children, not to save themselves.

And now – I want to say this carefully – we are running into a similar problem with our educated, spirited, even heroic Afghan women. Most will not leave without their families. Women, like men, internalize tribal psychology and cannot conceive of living without being enmeshed in a family network.

Many Afghan women rather admirably feel responsible for both younger siblings and for ailing or disabled parents, especially if they have endangered them by their own feminist activism. According to the women with whom I'm currently in touch, the Taliban are hunting down precisely such women in house-to-house raids. It is feared that they will kill whomever has been left behind.

Just as the first wave of mainly male interpreters brought their families with them, so, too, have Afghan women brought their husbands, brothers, and fathers along with them.

Here's the problem. These men treat "their" women as if they were all still in Kabul, Herat, or Kandahar. The women, who've been rescued by those involved in what I've called a "digital Dunkirk," are now somewhere in Europe or America, in hotels, apartments, and in small houses. The women are being verbally demeaned, hit, threatened, ordered about, and forced into domestic servitude by their men.

We helped "Aisha" (not her real name) get out after she made clear what her fate would be after American forces withdrew: "I will be one of the first persons that would be targeted by my relatives, or if that does not happen, I could be forcibly married or killed if I continue to refuse."

Or, because of her activism, her life would be endangered by the Taliban. "The U.S. provided all the opportunities and I became an educated girl who works for education in Afghanistan. I am known. The Taliban and my own family will come for me."

No, not all abusive Afghan men are Taliban. They are not even Taliban supporters, but they are very serious misogynists. Brothers still "mind" their sisters. Fathers and husbands still order daughters and wives around. The women now have the upper hand: they can report such behavior to their European social workers and potentially challenge the men's right to asylum. But they refuse to do so because they are compassionate, loyal, and dutiful.

Some Afghan women who are still trapped in Afghanistan and imploring my small team of rescuers to get them out – feel that they absolutely cannot leave their young, orphaned brothers or their disabled fathers behind. Some are newly married. Only a few are willing to be evacuated by themselves. Even then, they hope to send for their beloved relatives in a short while.

How many more male misogynists do we want to add to the pre-existing mix in the West? Are all male misogynists alike? I think not.

For example, in the West, wife-beating and rape, including marital rape and sexual harassment, have been criminalized. In countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Egypt, Somalia, i.e. in Muslim countries, such behaviors are normalized, as are other non-Western practices such as face-veiling, child marriage, polygamy, female genital mutilation, and honor killing.

Muslim women and girls who have fled war zones on foot have been routinely raped, "dishonored," and thus further endangered. We also know that many refugee camps are rampant with Muslim male-on-female and Muslim male-on-male sexual harassment and assault. Some Afghan women have recently told us as much.

In fact, the FBI is currently investigating an allegation from an American soldier who "reported being assaulted by a group of Afghan male evacuees at Fort Bliss in New Mexico." And, earlier this month, an Afghan refugee was charged with sexually assaulting two young boys in Fort McCoy, in Wisconsin. Separately, another Afghan man was charged with "strangling his spouse," also at Fort McCoy. Luckily she survived.

In Europe, we have not only seen parallel Islamist societies arise, we have also seen Muslim male sexual rampages and serial rapes against women in Germany and Sweden. Earlier this summer, a group of young Afghan male asylum seekers raped and killed a 13-year-old girl in Austria. "I find it intolerable for people to come to us, say they are seeking protection and then commit cruel, barbaric crimes in Austria," said Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

According to The Express, also earlier this month, an Afghan refugee stabbed a female gardener in Berlin because he reportedly did not "believe a woman should be doing such a job."

In North America, we have seen Muslim-on-Muslim and Muslim male-on-Muslim female honor killings. Perhaps one of the most notorious of cases was the Shafia case in Canada in which an Afghan father, brother, and second wife murdered three biological daughters and a first wife for being "too Western." This family was wealthy and educated. The defendants were all found guilty.

It must be noted that only criminal atrocities make the news. Perfectly peaceful and assimilated Afghans and Muslims in general rarely get written up for their good qualities. Muslim atheists, agnostics, and converts to other religions, must fly beneath the radar in order to survive. We do not hear much about them, either. I know many Afghan men who are peaceful and productive citizens.

However, what we've learned is this: the more fundamentalist a Muslim family is, the greater the likelihood that the members will insist on practices that I term "gender apartheid," e.g. face veiling, arranged marriages, child marriages, domestic servitude, daughter- and wife-battering, monitoring and "stalking" daughters and sisters, forbidding infidel friends, honor killing a daughter who becomes too "Western," etc.

On the other hand, are Western concepts of humanitarian rescue based on evacuating only those who are most worthy, virtuous, and "in our best image" so to speak? Will we hold the stranger at our gate to higher standards?

Assuming that the West continues to allow immigration, is there any evidence that education can change such deeply held religious or cultural beliefs about men's rightful power over women? Has any program been able to successfully re-educate such men and the women who stand by them? Do we even have the tools to vet those who are applying for asylum?

I think not.

First published in IPT.

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Posted on 09/28/2021 9:28 AM by Phyllis Chesler
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Tuesday, 28 September 2021
Female Afghan judges hunted by the murderers they convicted
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From the BBC

They were the trailblazers of women's rights in Afghanistan. They were the staunch defenders of the law, seeking justice for their country's most marginalised. But now, more than 220 female Afghan judges are in hiding due to fear of retribution under Taliban rule. Six former female judges spoke to the BBC from secret locations across Afghanistan. All of their names have been changed for their safety.

Throughout her career as a judge, Masooma has convicted hundreds of men for violence against women, including rape, murder and torture. But just days after the Taliban took control of her city and thousands of convicted criminals were released from prison, the death threats began. Text messages, voice notes and unknown numbers began bombarding her phone.

In the past 20 years, 270 women have sat as judges in Afghanistan. As some of the most powerful and prominent women in the country, they are known public figures.

"Travelling by car out of the city, I wore a burka, so no-one would recognise me. Fortunately, we made it past all the Taliban checkpoints." 

Shortly after they left, her neighbours texted her to say several members of the Taliban had arrived at her old house. Masooma says that as soon as they described the men, she knew who was looking for her.

Several months ago, prior to the Taliban takeover, Masooma was ruling over a case investigating a member of the group for brutally murdering his wife. Upon finding him guilty, Masooma sentenced the man to 20 years in prison.

"I can still see the image of that young woman in my mind. It was a brutal crime," says Masooma. "After the case was over, the criminal approached me and said: 'When I get out of prison, I will do to you what I did to my wife. 

"At the time I didn't take him seriously. But since the Taliban took power, he has called me many times and said he has taken all of my information from the court offices. "He told me: 'I will find you and have my revenge.'"

At least 220 former female judges are known to currently be in hiding across Afghanistan, a BBC investigation has found.

Speaking to six former judges from different provinces, their testimonies of the past five weeks were almost identical. All have received death threats from members of the Taliban whom they previously committed to prison. Four named specific men whom they sentenced for murdering their wives. All have changed their phone number at least once due to receiving death threats.

They are all currently living in hiding, moving locations every few days.

In response to the accusations, Taliban spokesman Bilal Karimi told the BBC: "Female judges should live like any other family without fear. No-one should threaten them. Our special military units are obliged to investigate such complaints and act if there is a violation."

For more than three decades, Judge Sanaa investigated cases of violence against women and children. She says the majority of her cases involved convicting members of the Taliban as well as militant group Isis.

She is currently in hiding with more than a dozen family members.

Only once has one of her male relatives returned to their former family home. But as he was packing some clothes, the Taliban arrived at the house in several cars full of armed men, led by a commander. "I opened the door. They asked me whether this was the judge's house," he says. "When I said I didn't know where she was, they threw me on the stairs. One of them hit me with the butt of his gun and started beating me..."

For decades, Afghanistan has continued to rank as one of the hardest countries in the world. According to Human Rights Watch, an estimated 87% of women and girls will experience abuse during their lifetime.

But this community of judges, by working to uphold the country's former laws which aimed to support women, have helped to advocate for the idea that violence against women and girls is a punishable criminal offence.

This includes charging individuals in cases of rape, torture, forced marriage, as well as in cases where women were prohibited from owning property or going to work or school.

As some of the most prominent female public figures in their country, all six say they have faced harassment throughout their careers, long before the Taliban took full control.

"I wanted to serve my country, that's why I became a judge," says Asma, speaking from a safe house. "In the family affairs court, I dealt mostly with cases involving women who wanted a divorce or separation from members of the Taliban. This posed a real threat to us. Once, the Taliban even launched rockets at the court..."

On behalf of the Taliban, Mr Karimi said he could not yet comment on whether there would be roles for female judges in the future: "The working conditions and opportunities for women are still being discussed."

Judge Masooma says she fears (such) promises of help (from UK and New Zealand) will not arrive in time.

"Sometimes I think, what is our crime? Being educated? Trying to help women and punish criminals?"

I think the role of Judge in Afghanistan must be part of the investigative process, more like under the Napoleonic code, in contrast to the duty of a Judge in the UK's adversarial court proceedings. Below is a picture of woman judges in Afghan court  dress, at a conference in 2013. 

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Posted on 09/28/2021 6:55 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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Tuesday, 28 September 2021
Democrats Repeat the Mistakes of 2016
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by Conrad Black

As we get to the midpoint between the last presidential election and next year’s midterms, all political sides are expending extraordinary effort to ignore the 900-pound gorilla in the formerly smoke-filled room of American politics. This, of course, is Donald Trump. 

The Democrats are still outwardly pretending Trump has gone and that his support has evaporated. They also pretend they can hobble him with vexatious litigation and, if necessary, destroy him again by raising the Trump-hate media smear campaign back to ear-splitting levels. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), even as she finds the ground shifting beneath her feet over the administration’s incontinent spending ambitions, is seeing her effort to promote the January 6 trespass at the U.S. Capitol as an outrage on the scale of Pearl Harbor and 9/11 overshadowed by the Afghanistan disaster and the cascade of other blunders and improvidences of the Biden Administration.

Apart from a few veteran and some recently recruited NeverTrumpers joining in the tired pieties about the regrettable January 6 episode, the Democrats appear to be repeating the mistakes of 2016. They hope formerly mainstream Republicans who failed to repel the GOP base from supporting Trump will have better luck this time. 

It remains true that a large group of Republicans (and no small number of Democrats) basically agree with most or all of Trump’s policies but regard the man as a distasteful carnival operator whose “Trump University” and health care plan (consisting of urinalysis and vitamins for a healthy quarterly fee) are simply not acceptable for a holder of the great office of president of the United States. Many have implied by their ambiguity that they could live with Trump again if his manners improved and his tactics became less bombastic. The acid test being unwisely applied to Trump’s acceptability as a rehabilitated candidate is his humble acceptance of the legitimacy of the election of Joe Biden as president.

There are two serious problems with this criterion, which even the Wall Street Journal seems to embrace. The first problem with the requirement of a full recognition of the unassailability of Biden’s legitimacy as president is that former President Trump and his scores of millions of supporters don’t accept that that is true. The second problem is that it probably is not true.

There are more serious concerns about the integrity of the 2020 presidential election than any in the history of the country except the Hayes-Tilden contest of 1876. That controversy was addressed by a bipartisan commission voting on an exact party split, which was accepted by the candidates under three conditions posed by the Democratic candidate, Governor Samuel Tilden, and which were accepted and honored by General Rutherford B. Hayes. 

No one knows who really won in 1960 between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Nixon declined President Dwight Eisenhower’s urging that he demand a comprehensive review of the many extremely close states. Nixon has received little credit for taking the position that such a state of uncertainty could be destabilizing to the country at a critical moment in the Cold War. 

A similarly uncertain situation played out in the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. That year, the U.S. Supreme Court shut down the decisive Florida recount and the state officially went to Bush by 537 votes out of 5.8 million cast, but no one will ever know whether he was the real winner or not. In 2020, there were more than 40 million mailed or harvested ballots usually mixed in after the polls closed with normally cast ballots and, therefore, unverifiable. About 45,000 votes in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Michigan would have flipped the election to Trump.

The former president was foolish to claim that he had actually won a majority of the popular vote, which is nonsense. But no fair observer can begrudge Trump his severe state of irritation at the extremely suspect abnormalities that afflicted the vote in six states that were clearly targeted for unusual alterations of voting and vote-counting procedures ostensibly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It is also easy to identify with the ex-president’s profound disappointment that the judicial system declined to judge on their merits any of the 19 lawsuits that specifically challenged the integrity of the voting or vote-counting process, as opposed to taking up an individual or a small number of apparently improperly treated ballots. 

Moreover, it appears to have been the political decision of the Supreme Court not to put itself in the position of having to try to reel back and possibly overturn a presidential election. In doing so, the justices may have spared themselves a full-on assault to expand the court. They remain fully armed to deal with unconstitutional legislation, which seems to be the core of the radical Democratic program that the administration hopes to jam through on a strained reconciliation bill as the window narrows before they likely lose their paper-thin congressional majorities next autumn. Again, Trump is to blame for warning of the problems of ballot harvesting but having no adequate team on the ground to record and film its operation and to launch legal challenges forcefully starting on the day after the election.    

All of this leaves the Democrats relying on anti-Trump or at least non-Trump Republicans to impose upon the Republican presidential candidate selection process for 2024 an unacceptable condition. Despite the gathering chatter that Trump’s base support is receding and that too many Republican officeholders are afraid of his ability to make or break their performance in the midterm elections next year, the obvious but rigorously unrecognized facts are 1) Trump can take the nomination of his party easily if he so wishes, and 2) the unspeakable shambles of the incumbent administration is making his return to office simpler and more probable every day.

In the early blush of optimism that the dreadful Trump meteor had passed, the Democratic character assassination squads inside the docile media outlets set upon Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as Trump’s most likely successor . As it dawns on the always losing NeverTrumpers, an angry and unscrupulous minority within a minority, who see the strength of Trump within his party every day, some are trying to build back DeSantis as someone who would enact most of Trump’s policies, enjoy Trump’s goodwill, but who is not Trump. Others, like Representative Alex Gonzales (R-Mich.) are alienated, seeing, as former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake did, that “it’s the president’s party now,” that is, it’s Trump’s party and seems likely to remain so.

The great effort to stamp out any questioning of the legitimacy of the last presidential election has failed. The attempt to perpetuate the Trump-hate smear and legal harassment campaign is sputtering to an end, even as the John Durham inquiry, advancing at the speed of wet cement on a slight grade, has begun its indictments of those responsible for turning the intelligence services and the FBI into arms of the Democratic National Committee-Clinton campaign dirty tricks division. The fantasy that Trump’s support is eroding or that his comparative silence does him anything except good, will probably be vaporized at the first encounter with the voters. 

The daily failures of the Biden Administration show no signs of letting up, nor does the damage from unsustainable levels of illegal immigration, intolerable levels of urban violent crime, aggressively rising inflation, the COVID Tower of Babel, and constant pressure from America’s foreign enemies as the Biden regime stumbles from continent to continent. Such an inexorable procession of failures drives masses of voters into the arms of the chief political alternative, with increasing disregard for the fineries of the alternative president’s sense of etiquette.

Unless the administration has a miraculous infusion of competence and aptitude, or some alternative Republican appears as a messianic deus ex machina, or a relatively silent Donald Trump commits an act of electoral suicide that is a hydrogen bomb escalation on his most egregious faux pas to date, then America and the world should start preparing for Trump’s return. As Bismarck said of Disraeli, “Das ist der Mann.” He is not easily recognizable as the standard-bearer of the Grand Old Party, but in these steadily more distressed circumstances, he is the man.  

First published in American Greatness

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Posted on 09/28/2021 6:28 AM by Conrad Black
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Tuesday, 28 September 2021
Colonialism Revisited
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by Michael Curtis

In comments made in 2018, but leaked in September 2021, Kemi Badenoch, now British Minister for Equalities remarked “I don’t care about colonialism because I know what we were doing before colonialism got there. They came in and just made a different bunch of winners and losers.” It is not exactly clear how to interpret this message by a politician, born in 1980 in London of Nigerian parents, who grew up in Nigeria and has been a Conservative member of the British parliament since 2017.  However, it suggests a view of “colonialism” different from the woke version or that of those who have criticized her.

Badenoch had already entered the partisan controversy over the report of the British Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, BCRED,  published on March 31, 2021. She defended the report and pointed out the complex picture it presented which differed from the way that issues of race in Britain as in the U.S. are often presented. The report indicated that racism and discrimination remain a factor in Britain and that abhorrent racist attitudes continue. But the report also held that factors other than racism may account for disparities between ethnic groups.  These factors include geography, deprivation, and family structure. What is important in this analysis is that it does not deny that institutional racism exists in the UK, but holds that definition of the term should be used more carefully and always based on evidence.

Conclusions of the BCRED report challenge general views, and imply there is room for legitimate disagreement and debate on issues of racism and discrimination. Badenoch’s remark also suggests that the same is true of the realities of “colonialism,” equally like racism and imperialism the subject of general condemnation of European empires and aggression, established across the world since the 15th century. Colonialism has taken various forms, extending control over adjacent or non-contiguous territories, establishing settlements as self-supporting entities, using plantations to grow single crops, cotton, tobacco sugar, exploiting raw materials and labor of enslaved indigenous people.

The remark of Badenoch implies that colonialism was not confined to Europeans and even with them lasted only a relatively short time. Colonialism was not invented as a result of the consequences of voyages of Columbus to the Americas, which involved Portugal, Spain, Britain and the Dutch. Long before Europeans arrived in areas outside Europe, Africans were enslaving other Africans, capturing them by war and raids, and selling them to Rome and Arab markets or using them for human sacrifices, for funeral ceremonies or displays of wealth. 

Colonization, and racism, which is associated with it in a logical way, goes back at least 2000 years  and was present with different peoples. The Passover service commemorates the biblical story of Exodus which related the freeing of Israelites from colonialism and slavery in Egypt. Greece colonized Cyrenaica and part of Egypt. Phoenicians established colonies along the coast of North Africa. Carthaginians set up colonies along the Atlantic coast of Africa. Goths, perhaps from Scandinavia, Vandals, Romans, Byzantines, the Ottomans were also involved in colonial activities, some in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf Coast areas. Muhammad, the self-proclaimed “messenger of god “conquered the Arabism peninsula, that led to the invasion of Africa and the Levant, creating a dominant colonial power that extended from the Iberian Peninsula to Pakistan, until the destruction of Baghdad by the Mongols in 1258.    

Aztecs conquered and exploited others, and war captives. Ottoman Turks  used forced conscription of the areas they conquered in  sotheast Europe. Aztecs organized an empire of three states, in central Mexico including  different ethnic groups, that lasted from1300 for centuries, expanded its political control conquering some states and trading with others. The conquered and political stability.  Slaves who wore special garments were used for a variety of work, sold or sacrificed at religious ceremonies or festivals.

 Bernard Lewis in his 1994 book, Race and Slavery in the Middle East, makes clear that  in the ancient Middle East,  slavery  was present  amongst the Sumerians, Babylonians, Egyptians and other ancient peoples. The Koran assumed the existence of slavery , and Arabs  practiced a  form of slavery similar to that in other parts of the world. Lewis points out that slaves under Islamic rule could   rise, gaining places in the military and even government.

African societies had forms of government that kept and sold slaves. For example, in early 18th century, Dahomey, on the west coast of Africa now called Benin, was a colonial power, in the 18th and 19th centuries, grew rich by conquest, war, trade, trading prisoners for goods, and slave labor. In the Islamic world, most slaves came from lands close to that world, whites from Europe and the Eurasian steppes, and blacks from Sub-Sahara Africa.  The Ottoman Empire  obtained its slaves by conquest and capture, mainly from Africa. Slavery existed for centuries in Ethiopia where even the rulers were large slave owners. The abolition of slavery was only put into law in 1935-6 by the Italian occupiers of the country.

On this controversial and emotional subject of colonialism three things may be said, perhaps to lower the temperature.

First, the European colonial ventures varied considerably. Probably the worst  was Leoplod II of Belgium who ruled  the Belgian Congo as his personal property 1885-1908, and used forced labor resulting in 8 million of the 16 million population killed,

One can be amused but reject the jibe of Sir John Seeley said, the British Empire was acquired in a fit of absence of mind. The Crusaders sought to reclaim Christian lands. The Conquistadors set up commercial colonies in Mexico and Peru and trade routes but also wanted to implant religion, Iberian Catholicism to convert the natives. Spanish colonization  was motivated by a mixture of reasons, profit and the pressure of Catholicism. Reformers and those with a “civilizing mission” wanted to bring progress and economic modernization to backward people.  Profits were sought. Portugal created trading posts that lasted as in Macau, in the south coast of China, the Las Vegas of Asia, until 1999 when the area was transferred to China. A number of European countries sought land not only to settle, but to  produce single crop products by  using slaves or to obtain raw materials. Sugar was a major part of the economy of Caribbean  islands  and the plantations produced about 90% of the sugar consumed in Western Europe.

Secondly, Western European countries, if some belatedly, did abolish slavery and the slave trade, or argue against it as in Britain from the late 18th century, starting with the Dissenters, the Quakers, John Wesley, the evangelist wing pf the Church of England: “The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.” Britain, particularly the Royal Navy was active around the world from 1807 in suppressing the slave trade.

Thirdly, it is disquieting that non-European colonialism and slavery is rarely mentioned or subject of criticism. The reality is that Africans were involved in slavery, centuries before  Europeans were present in Africa. Africans conquered other Africans in wars and raids, and used them for different purposes: victims of human sacrifices, for conspicuous display, and sales to Rome and to Asia.

The Barbary Coast slave trade, on the coast of north Africa, was associated with slave markets in Ottoman states, Algeria, Tunisia, Tripolitania, and Morocco. The most well known person captured by the pirates was Miguel Cervantes, captures 1575,  who was a slave in Algiers for five years. His interest in the question of madness in his Don Quixote probably stems from his experiences as a captive.

The pirates obtained the slaves by raids in ships and on coastal towns, including the Canary Islands  and in 1631 Baltimore, Ireland, the southernmost place in the country. This was the largest raid by Barbary pirates.

The pirate slave traders enslaved more than one million Europeans in North Africa  in  16th to 18th centuries. The U.S.  and other countries paid tribute to prevent raids. Until President Thomas Jefferson refused to do so.  It is memorable and symbolic for American foreign policy today that the U.S. navy expedition fought gunboats and fortifications in the Tripolitan War 1801-1805 and ended the tribute payment.

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Posted on 09/28/2021 5:15 AM by Michael Curtis
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Monday, 27 September 2021
Why do ignoramuses teach in San Diego?
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by Lev Tsitrin

Not every profession is knowledge-based.  A worker at an assembly line only needs to know where to attach the part assigned to him, and a taxi driver hardly needs to know more than the roads in and around his town. They may know nothing else, and still be excellent at their jobs. 

But how about people whose job it is to pass knowledge to others -- the teachers? Should their own knowledge be adequate? Is there a problem when teachers don't know what they are talking about?

I think that would be a problem -- for a simple reason that teachers are authority figures to the students. Student's tacit acknowledgment that a teacher knows more, and hence needs to be listened to, is the cornerstone of the profession. Teaching is based on a respect for teachers' superior knowledge. Without it, no teaching is possible

So what happens when teachers are wrong in what they are teaching? How does it affect students? 

I never gave it a thought until reading this news article, "San Diego teachers’ Union passes resolution rejecting Israel’s legitimacy" The resolution bemoans creation of modern Israel and completely ignores Palestinian terrorism.

So what can those teachers teach their students? That Jewish presence in “historic Palestine” is illegitimate? Yet, that flies in the face of all historical data, which tells us that the area was Jewish for about fifteen hundred years, from the exodus around 1200 BC till the Roman expulsion following Jewish rebellions, the last one lead by Shimon Bar Kokhba. Nor are Arabs native to the land -- they attained their ownership of it in 636 AD in the wave of Arab conquests in which they gained possession of the half of the then-known world, from Spain in the West to the border of India in the East. Hence, teachers' whitewashing of Palestinian terrorism (by simply not mentioning it, apparently on the grounds that it is a legitimate manifestation of a liberation movement against Jewish occupiers) displays their monumental ignorance of what they are talking about.

That it is not particularly helpful for the blind to be led the blind has been known for a very long time -- for a couple of millennia, in fact. One may similarly ask, does being taught by the ignorant lead one to become educated? What is the use of imbibing falsehoods as facts? Where will the distorted view of reality lead one?

The news report I referred to, argues that the result will be hostility and hate towards the Jews. In the ignorant Middle Ages, and in the Nazi Germany that idolized and imitated them, it produced some very ugly results. Ignorance is not good,and spreaders of ignorance can hardly be called teachers.

Yet for some odd reason, the authors and supporters of the "San Diego teachers’ Union resolution" do think of themselves as "teachers." This is a mistake. Ignoramuses cannot be teachers. "San Diego ignoramuses" is a much more accurate moniker for them.

Which leads to the question with which this discussion started -- why does San Diego allows ignoramuses teach the children? What can the ignorant impart to the young and inexperienced, except for errors and lies? What is the use of such "education"? Why do those frauds call themselves "teachers" -- and why are they hired and paid by the city of San Diego, as if they were?

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Posted on 09/27/2021 12:32 PM by Lev Tsitrin
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Monday, 27 September 2021
Michael Rectenwald: The Great Reset Would Create a Global Socialism
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American Thought Leaders - The Epoch Time

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Posted on 09/27/2021 6:02 AM by Michael Rectenwald
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Monday, 27 September 2021
Michael Rectenwald: The US Undergoing a 'Soft Cultural Revolution' Towards Socialism
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American Thought Leaders - The Epoch Times

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Posted on 09/27/2021 5:59 AM by Michael Rectenwald
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Sunday, 26 September 2021
Attacks on our Border Patrol
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by Gary Fouse

As if the scenes this past couple of weeks in Del Rio of 15,000 Haitians storming our border with Mexico were not bad enough, the unconscionable attacks upon our Border Patrol officers by the left and the media are enough to turn your stomach. From Joy Reid at MSNBC to Ilhan Omar, DHS head Alejandro Mayorkas, Kamala Harris, and others took one look at the BP officers on horseback, reins flapping, to quickly conclude that they were whipping the poor Haitian migrants and "bringing back memories of the days of slavery". Talk about a rush to judgment!

And on Friday, President Biden, speaking at a press conference and "answering" a question about the situation at Del Rio, went on to crucify his own Border Patrol, saying that "those people will pay," and "There will be consequences". It was shocking, especially given the fact that the slow-thinking president had a couple of days to digest the situation and realize that nobody was being whipped. Yet, he went right along with his leftist handlers and joined the chorus. Meanwhile, Mayorkas has ordered that the officers be placed on administrative leave and removed horses from any efforts to control the flow of migrants across the river and onto our shores.

As a former federal agent (DEA), I cannot imagine how our Customs and Border Control agents continue to work under these conditions, where they are given no support from their superiors and the administration in Washington, and now see their very jobs-and freedom- under threat just because they were doing their jobs. All because the media and the ruling Left cannot or do not want to see the difference between whips and horse reins being used to control the horse.

So what comes next for the officers on horseback? Will they be disciplined, fired, even be prosecuted and sent to prison? In the same breath that Biden announces an investigation is underway, he states that "those people will pay" and "there will be consequences". Is he the judge, jury, and executioner? At the same time, that hapless hack, Mayorkas, assures reporters that "they know how to conduct an investigation". With the president already promising punishment. That's how the Biden DHS will conduct the investigation.

Just as the Obama administration and the Eric Holder DOJ threw ATF under the bus for the  Operation Fast and Furious fiasco, which was no doubt concocted in Washington, the Biden administration is throwing the Border Patrol under the bus when the videos are clearly exculpatory. It is a disgrace. Neither Biden nor Harris have bothered to spend any time on the border, yet they sit in Washington and condemn the actions of the BP officers who have been put in an impossible situation by the ineptitude and negligence of the Biden administration, which have led to the mess in Del Rio.

Meanwhile, out of 15,000 arrivals, only about 2,000 have been sent back to Haiti, according to DHS, (Mayorkas initially was unable or unwilling to give the numbers when questioned before Congress.) while the remainder are being "processed for removal", a euphemism meaning that they are being transported to points unknown around the US, released, and told to appear later before an immigration judge. The fact is that very few will show up. And all this while several BP officers now have to worry about their careers and their very freedom as Biden promises, "they will pay".

It is all beyond disgusting.

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Posted on 09/26/2021 5:43 AM by Gary Fouse
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Saturday, 25 September 2021
Wigan: Schoolgirls harassed by asylum seekers from nearby hotel.
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From Wigan Today

Several parents from the Standish area have told wigantoday that they are stopping their daughters from going out because groups of men have allegedly been filming their PE lessons at the local high school, winking and passing comments at them in the street and, in one instance, surrounding a 12-year-old and filming her.

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy said she was appalled that the Britannia Hotel in Standish was being used to accommodate vulnerable asylum-seekers again, several years after both the Home Office and services operator Serco accepted that it was completely unsuitable for the purpose, and had done so with no notice or consultation with the police, council, herself or the local community. 

She's of Indian heritage, in case you were wondering. Dad is a famous Marxist academic who considers his left-leaning daughter to be a right-winger. It takes all sorts.

"Across Greater Manchester leaders, public health officials and charities have been working together to plan a warm and suitable welcome for Afghan refugee families. Instead here we have the same chaos led by Serco." Except these are not families are they? I'd say 95% of these "asylum seekers" whether they came out by RAF flight from Kabul or across to Kent on a dinghey are fit young men of military age. 

Vikki Boyle said her daughter and many other girls in the Standish area are staying home rather than going to the park, shops or anywhere else on foot because of this incident and others in which young girls have received unwanted attention from strangers.

Some of the same men have been spotted watching girls taking part in sporting activities at Standish High School and bothering pupils outside the school gates at going-home time, prompting the school to put out a “stranger danger” warning and there has been high profile policing outside the school in recent weeks.

Her daughter, whom we are not naming, was not approached at school or at going-home time, but at 8pm on the popular walkway called The Line. The incident happened on September 7 and this week the police concluded that no offence was committed.

But Vikki and her family are far from happy. She said: “The police say that they may not have been filming her and may may not have been trying to grab her or touch her. But she was left terrified. . . we’ve been keeping our daughters in all summer holiday because of these men who are hanging around in Standish and at the school. That evening she persuaded us to let her go to Aldi with a friend. They were on their way back and then the friend pealed off to go home leaving our daughter to make the last bit of the trip home on her own.

“She was coming down The Line when she saw around 10 men standing in a row, all looking at her. She got in a panic and did not know what to do.  ...one of them started filming her with his phone. He said ‘stop!’ and they circled round her so she could not get away. They said ‘come with us’ and she started crying.

“Then she spotted a man she knew by sight - now we know he is called Ross Pilkington because he had become a bit of a local hero because of all this - and she managed to duck between two of the men and run towards Ross who was with his little boy and dog and they escorted her home. . . We rang the police straight away. Our daughter was sure she could identify five out of 10 of them. 

They seem to have a particular interest in girls. The most stunning mum could be walking down the street but it’s their school-aged daughters they are winking at or trying to beckon away.

“Our daughter now is terrified to go anywhere other than school and back. And it’s not that reassuring there when these guys are watching girls doing their PE through the fencing.

"Something needs to be done about these men. They need educating as to how they should behave. My husband was all for going round and thumping one of them, but that’s not the answer. He would then be the one getting arrested. If nothing is done to tackle the problem then there is a danger of the public taking things into their own hands. And that’s wrong. It’s vigilantism." She is right about one thing; her husband would indeed be the one arrested. 

One mum said: “The behaviour of a small number of men from the Britannia Hotel has been causing a lot of upset. They clearly need educating. If you flee from your own country and want to be accepted in a new one, then you need to learn the new country’s ways. The last thing we want is all the right-wing thugs using this as an excuse to bring their toxic messages to Wigan again and whipping up racism.”  No lady, the last thing you want is your 12 year old daughter raped by a gang and pregnant. Wake up. 

A Wigan Council spokesperson said: “We are working closely with our colleagues at GMP to ensure any reported concerns are considered and responded to in the most appropriate manner, and also to coordinate offers of help and support for the asylum seekers whilst they are in our borough. .. If residents do have any concerns or believe that a crime has been committed, we continue to strongly advise them to report any such incidents to Greater Manchester Police.”

 ...a spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police said "The local Neighbourhood Police Team has investigated this report and conducted several reassurance visits with the family, and it has been established that no offences have been committed. . . The incident has been closed."

"To help address these issues and reassure those residing in the area, we have increased the number of officers who are out and about on patrol. So, if you do have any concerns, please approach our officers and let them know." 

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Posted on 09/25/2021 4:12 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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