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Kerry On Edge As Legacy Crumbles

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 04:20

Former Secretary of State John Kerry wasted no time condemning President Trump’s decision not to recertify, and to possibly withdraw from, the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran that Kerry negotiated on behalf of his boss Barack Obama. President Trump insisted on significant improvements to the Joint Plan of Comprehensive Action (JCPOA), as the deal is formally known. The JCPOA’s fundamental flaws that President Trump wants fixed include Iran’s ability to block unfettered international inspections, the wiggle room that Iran is exploiting to continue developing and testing ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, and the sunset clause on nuclear enrichment that would provide Iran a clear path to becoming a nuclear armed state after the current restrictions are lifted. Obama and Kerry had promised that these issues would be dealt with satisfactorily before agreeing to the final terms of the JCPOA. Instead they caved to Iranian pressure in order to get the deal done.

Now that President Trump is trying to clean up the mess Obama and Kerry left him, Kerry has the gall to label President Trump’s decision a "reckless abandonment of facts in favor of ego and ideology" and to accuse the Trump administration of “lying to the American people.” It was the Obama administration that recklessly abandoned the facts in pressing ahead with the deal. The Obama administration lied to the American people, abandoning its own promises to ensure that the deal contained ironclad protections. Moreover, all that President Trump has done so far is to return the JCPOA to Congress for review. Had Obama followed the Constitution and submitted the JCPOA to the Senate as a treaty in the first place, the JCPOA in its present form almost certainly would not have been approved. Congress should now have the opportunity to revisit the JCPOA to determine whether the protections that the Obama administration promised are working as advertised. Congress should also consider whether time limits on Iran’s commitments continue to make sense in light of what we are now experiencing with Iran’s nuclear technology collaborator, North Korea. It bought time to turn into a full-fledged nuclear power under our noses.  

Kerry had promised that the Iranian regime would be prohibited from testing ballistic missiles. This turned out to be a lie. After the JCPOA was finalized, with no such prohibition included, Iran continued to test such missiles. The Obama administration’s response was that the missiles had become a separate issue, to be dealt with under a new United Nations Security Council resolution endorsing the JCPOA.  The new resolution replaced clear prohibitions imposed on Iran’s ballistic missile program with a weak declaration in an annex that simply “calls upon” Iran not to undertake any activity such as development and test launches related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons for eight years.  

Iran has tested several ballistic missiles during the last two years, including two Qadr H missiles with the phrase “Israel must be wiped out” emblazoned on the sides. The commander of Iran’s Army, Major General Ataollah Salehi, had told reporters just a month before the launch of those missiles that Iran was "neither paying any attention to the resolutions against Iran, nor implementing them. This is not a breach of the JCPOA.”

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin, spurning requests from Obama administration officials to impose sanctions against Iran under the Security Council resolution, asserted that the Iranian missile test did not violate the resolution. “A call is different from a ban so legally you cannot violate a call, you can comply with a call or you can ignore the call, but you cannot violate a call,” the Russian ambassador said. In short, the JCPOA did not cover the missile tests and the replacement UN Security Council resolution that did mention the missiles is toothless.

Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told CNN, during an interview aired on April 6, 2015,  that under the deal’s terms then still being negotiated, “you will have anywhere, anytime, 24/7 access as it relates to the nuclear facilities that Iran has." Rhodes claimed that “if we see a site that we need to inspect on a military facility, we can get access to that site and inspect it. So if it's a suspicious site that we believe is related to its nuclear efforts, we can get access and inspect that site through the IAEA.” This was another lie. After the JCPOA was finalized in July 2015, Rhodes shamelessly denied that anytime, anywhere inspections were ever considered as part of the negotiations. “We never sought in this negotiation the capacity for so-called anytime, anywhere,” Rhodes said on July 14, 2015.

The JCPOA’s supporters, including Kerry, have made much of the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has on several occasions verified Iran’s compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA, keeping its stock of low-enriched uranium below the limit set forth in the JCPOA and not pursuing further construction of the Arak reactor. Iran was found to have slightly exceeded the limit on its stock of heavy water, but has remedied the problem to the IAEA’s satisfaction. IAEA chief Yukiya Amano reiterated in a statement he issued on October 9th that Iran has remained in compliance with its JCPOA commitments.

The problem, as any clear-eyed observer of the process recognizes, is that the IAEA relies on Iran for self-inspection of certain sites that the regime does not want the IAEA to inspect freely on its own. IAEA inspectors have avoided examining military sites it knows exists and has no reliable way of tracking undeclared sites. The IAEA’s explanation for not visiting any of Iran’s known military sites is that it had “no reason to ask” for access. Evidently, the IAEA is supposed to block out the fact that Iran had conducted tests relevant to nuclear bomb detonations at a military site before the JCPOA’s finalization in 2015. The IAEA should just pretend that such tests could not possibly happen again.

“Nobody is allowed to visit Iran's military sites,” said Iran’s Head of Strategic Research Center at the Expediency Council and adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, Ali Akbar Velayati. Intimidation works. The IAEA knows not to ask.

As to the JCPOA’s sunset provisions, the Obama administration lied about that too. Kerry claimed on September 2, 2015 that the JCPOA “never sunsets. There’s no sunset in this agreement.”

This month Kerry has resorted to parsing words. He claims the phrase 'sunset provisions' is a “misnomer,” before then defending the JCPOA’s time limits. "We were comfortable because the cap on Iran’s low-enriched uranium stockpile remains in place until 2030,” Kerry wrote in an article published in the Washington Post late last month. In other words, let’s just kick the can down the road and hope for a more reasonable Iranian regime in 13 years that would agree to extend the time limits. In the meantime, Kerry advises us not to worry. Kerry declared, “15 or 25 years from now, we still have the same military options we have today.”

John Kerry has obviously learned nothing from the North Korean fiasco, which resulted from years of phony agreements with the rogue regime and so-called “strategic patience.” The United States clearly does not have the same military options today to deal with a nuclear armed North Korea as it did 23 years ago when former President Bill Clinton decided not to use military force to stamp out North Korea’s nuclear program at its inception. Instead, Clinton started us down the primrose path of naïve diplomacy with a duplicitous regime that now is on the verge of being able to strike the U.S. mainland with nuclear warheads delivered by intercontinental ballistic missiles. It is precisely because North Korea’s actions over the last 23 years have proven that making concessions to a rogue regime in order to obtain denuclearization commitments is so dangerous that President Trump does not want to make the same mistake with Iran.

America’s European allies are also upset with President Trump for refusing to recertify the deal and threatening to pull out if certain conditions are not met. British Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel issued a joint statement last Friday praising the JCPOA and its implementation. They said that the nuclear deal with Iran was “the culmination of 13 years of diplomacy and was a major step towards ensuring that Iran’s nuclear programme is not diverted for military purposes. Therefore, we encourage the US Administration and Congress to consider the implications to the security of the US and its allies before taking any steps that might undermine the JCPOA, such as re-imposing sanctions on Iran lifted under the agreement.”

Perhaps these European leaders should remember their own history. Appeasement through phony deals with a rogue dictatorship does not work, as proven by the infamous Munich Pact signed by British and French Prime Ministers Neville Chamberlain and Edouard Daladier with German Chancellor Adolf Hitler seventy-nine years ago.

 

Iran Plays Chess, We Play Checkers

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 04:15

The Iranian-backed attack in Iraqi Kurdistan is nothing short of disastrous for the United States, for U.S. interests and U.S. allies in the region, and for American prestige.

It’s a hockey-style power play by Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force commander Qassem Suleymani, and a direct challenge to President Trump, coming just hours after the President announced a new get tough policy on Iran.

A U.S. ally in Baghdad is attacking another U.S. ally in Kurdistan using U.S. weapons, including M1-A2 Abrams tanks, paid for with U.S. taxpayer dollars. And they are doing so under the watchful eyes of U.S. and coalition drones and fighter jets, which continue to control the skies over Iraq.

How in the world did we get here?

Even Democrats should be ready to admit by now that the American withdrawal from the Middle East under Obama and the Iran nuclear deal have emboldened the Iranian regime, while removing much of the hard-won leverage over Iran that sanctions had won for us.

Today, if we want to get tough on Iran, we can no longer call on our European allies to shut down Iran’s access to the international financial system. We can no longer impose gargantuan fines on a French or a German bank to punish them for violating those sanctions and to deter them from doing it again.

Today, our main leverage over Iran is military. We can bomb their forces in Iraq. We can intercept their ships. Eventually, we could take out their nuclear weapons production facilities.

If that sounds an awful lot like war, it’s because it is.

As Thomas Jefferson reportedly said in relation to the Barbary Pirates, an earlier jihadi Muslim confederacy that declared war on America: sanctions are the only option between appeasement and war. Obama just removed sanctions. QED.

But the Trump administration is not without blame. 

The President instructed his national security team to take a fresh look at our overall strategy toward the Islamic State of Iran early in his presidency. To show how serious the administration was, national security advisor Michael Flynn “put Iran on notice” in an on-record briefing on Feb. 1.

And then, something happened. Rather than continue the “get tough” policy by decertifying the Iran nuclear deal, imposing new sanctions and other measures as Flynn was recommending, the President fired Flynn and other hard-line advisors, and everything turned to mush.

I am not dissing the new Iran strategy the President rolled out on Friday, far from it. My Iranian dissident friends drew much encouragement from the President’s willingness to take an all fronts approach against the Iranian regime, not just focus on its nuclear weapons program. The fact that he mentioned the regime’s dreadful record of human rights abuses and political repression was significant. 

But does it really mean the U.S. is finally ready to provide material support to a pro-freedom coalition in Iran to spark a popular uprising against the regime? 

Don’t hold your breath. The Deep State would never abide by it.

But Qassem Suleymani wasn’t going to wait to find out. Perhaps assuming – correctly – that the U.S. President was leaning out over his skis, he decided to act decisively to test the President’s resolve.

Want to get tough on the Iranian regime, Mr. President? Then bomb the Iranian-backed militias attacking our Kurdish allies in Northern Iraq and send U.S. special forces to capture Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleymani, a war criminal who has the blood of more than a thousand U.S. soldiers on his hands. (Watch a video of how Iran killed our soldiers in Iraq here).

Because that’s what Suleymani is daring you to do. And he’s betting, you won’t lift a finger to help the Kurds or to threaten him in any way.

In Middle East parlance, that makes Suleymani – not Donald Trump – the strong horse, the one to be feared and respected.

To be fair to Suleymani, he has been advancing his pieces like a brilliant chess player, springing his trap on us at precisely the moment when it would cause us the most damage.

First, in 2014 as ISIS was preparing its assault on Mosul and the Assyrian Christian and Kurdish regions of Northern Iraq, he instructed his puppet, then Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, to order the Iraqi army to withdraw from Mosul ahead of the ISIS advance. 

That left Mosul defenseless and accounts for why ISIS was able to take over the city in a matter of hours without a fight.

Maliki fled briefly to Iran after his role in the abandon of Mosul was revealed in the Iraqi media, and was soon replaced by Qassem Suleymani’s new front man, Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi.

Same puppet-master, new puppet.

Next, he recruited 100,000 Iraqi Shiite fighters into the Hasht-e Shahbi militia, known in English as the Popular Mobilization Units, or PMU. They might be Iraqis, but they are owned by Qassem Suleymani and his Quds Force.

When the U.S. decided to rearm the Iraqi military to join the fight against ISIS, Suleymani positioned PMU units to fill the vacuum when ISIS left. 

As I learned in July while on a reporting mission to northern Iraq, the PMU faced off with the Kurdish peshmerga all across the Nineveh Plain and was already threatening to confront them in Kirkuk.

As the U.S.-backed Iraqi army drove ISIS out of Iraq, Suleymani’s PMU raced to the border with Syria, opening a land bridge for Iran into Syria and Lebanon, putting Iran on Israel’s northern border directly for the first time.

Today, Suleymani and his strategy ally, Turkish president Erdogan, want to jerk the leash of Iraqi Kurdish president Massoud Barzani to make him realize who really calls the shots in the region.

Guess what: for all of Donald Trump’s welcome bravoura, it’s not the United States. 

One immediate goal both the Turks and Iranians share is to eliminate safe havens in Iraqi Kurdistan for the PKK and PJAK, Turkish and Iranian Kurdish dissident groups. Both have reiterated that demand in recent days.

Beyond that, they want to make Barzani kneel as a vassal to his suzerain, and abandon all hopes for Kurdish independence. That can only happen if the United States drops its support for the KRG.

Barzani himself has made bad moves. He has recklessly endangered his Queen (Kirkuk), while not defending his King (Erbil). And while doing so, he has tweaked the nose of his only committed ally, the United States, and alienated his local rivals, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan of former Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani, who died on October 3.

Barzani appears to have realized he has overstepped with his ill-timed and poorly-prepared referendum, and has agreed to cede the K-1 airbase and other positions south of Kirkuk to Iranian-backed Iraqi government forces south of Kirkuk.

So far, the Pentagon is pretending that nothing is happening, just a bit of maneuvering among friends.

This is not just embarrassing, it is dangerous, wrong-headed, and will lead to total disaster. We’ve already lost Iraq, thanks to Obama’s withdrawal in 2011. Now we are about to lose the last ally on the ground that we have, the Kurds.

It’s time for the United States to face facts and recognize that an independent, united Iraq ceased to exist several years ago, and that the only way for us to check Iranian domination of the region is to support a united, independent and democratic Kurdistan, with U.S. military bases in Kirkuk and Erbil.

To get there will require a great deal of hands-on diplomacy, because Barzani has shown himself to be reckless, unreliable and undemocratic. We need to working the ground, aligning the players.

We need to be playing chess, not checkers.

Harvey Weinstein: The Left’s Culture Rape Monster

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 04:10

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.

In the spring of his final year as a movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein was doing what he always did. Or rather what he always did in public view: as opposed to what he has been accused of doing in hotel rooms and deserted office storage rooms. He was fighting a ratings war over a movie with adult content.

The movie was 3 Generations. It had been made two years earlier to cash in on the transgender boom. Back then it was called About Ray. But the reviews were bad and the movie was pulled a few days before it was supposed to be released. What do you do with a bad politically correct movie that you paid $6 million for? You start a culture war. And that’s exactly what Harvey Weinstein did.

He enlisted GLAAD, the gay rights group, to lobby for a PG-13 rating for the newly renamed movie. 

"The Weinstein Company dared to tell culture-changing LGBTQ stories that Hollywood too often shies away from,” GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis shilled.

It didn’t hurt that Harvey was a donor to GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign. Weinstein had even presented his pal, Bill Clinton, with a GLAAD award at its awards show.

Harvey’s gambit didn’t pay off financially. The reviews for 3 Generations were just as bad this time around. And it took in $60,000. Or 1 percent of what Harvey had paid for it. But Harvey had known two years ago that the movie wouldn’t make money. The 3 Generations campaign wasn’t about the movie, but about Harvey Weinstein’s brand as a courageous mogul on the political cutting edge of the industry.

Harvey Weinstein wasn’t really in the movie business. He was in the culture business.

Some of his movies were meant for general audiences. But mostly he sold the illusion of culture to a prosperous leftist elite. Sometimes that meant traditional highbrow British Oscar bait like The King’s Speech or Shakespeare in Love. But much of the time it meant pandering to their politics. 

And thus, 3 Generations, for the transgender category, The Hunting Ground, for the campus rape category, Fruitvale Station, for police brutality, Wind River, for Native American oppression, and, if you reach back far enough, Fahrenheit 9/11 for the anti-war category and Miral, for the anti-Israel category. 

And countless others.

Harvey Weinstein didn’t get all his Oscars and his clout in the industry because he had good taste. Or even a good idea of what would work. The 3 Generations debacle is a reminder of that. The New York Times pulled the trigger on the story that brought him down, after blocking a similar story in his heyday, because his company was faltering and no longer all that valuable to the finances of the big lefty paper.

Even at his peak, he was never all that big when compared to the big boys of the industry. His estimated net worth is under $300 million. What made him think he could grab Gwyneth Paltrow, the goddaughter of Steven Spielberg, an industry titan with a net worth of $3 billion, and get away with it?

All that clout which brought in Oscars, fawning media profiles and the frightened compliance of the women he abused, didn’t come from his cash, it came from his role as a culture warrior of the left.

When Harvey Weinstein wanted to bully the MPAA and promote a bad movie, he had the heads of the biggest gay rights groups at his beck and call. When he wanted to push Miral, an anti-Israel movie that was just as bad, he got it screened at the UN General Assembly Hall. When he wanted to promote, The Hunting Ground, a discredited documentary, Planned Parenthood was eager to step up.

Why was everyone from the United Nations to GLAAD so eager to accommodate Harvey? 

Money was an obvious factor. Harvey donated enthusiastically to left-wing groups like Planned Parenthood and GLAAD. Just this year, he helped endow a chair in Gloria Steinem’s name. 

But money wasn’t enough. Hollywood’s bigwigs routinely write big checks for trendy causes.

Harvey Weinstein got his clout as a culture warrior. An alphabet soup of lefty groups, right up to the UN, was eager to give him what he wanted because they saw him as championing their agenda.

He rolled out movies that pushed the left’s social and political agendas like no other company did. And in return, he got the same “rape pass” that Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton and other top lefties did.

It wasn’t mere money that intimidated his victims. Harvey’s millions alone didn’t buy him the right to assault and then silence women, some of whom became famous and powerful in their own right, in an industry that is the subject of constant media attention and scrutiny. It was his connections on the left.

Harvey Weinstein shoveled large amounts of money into the media and lefty groups. But more than mere cash, he had their loyalty because he fought the cultural battles that they wanted him to fight.

And they provided him with exactly the stories he wanted. And none of the stories he didn’t want.

The media is hunting through Hollywood to find out who knew about Harvey. And everyone knew and said nothing. They said nothing because the media would have destroyed them. Look back at the old stories about Harvey’s conflicts with the MPAA, with Jewish groups over Miral, and so many others, and it’s easy to spot the heavy hand of Harvey in every article. The media let him write the story.

It let him write the story because he was telling their stories in theaters across the country.

What no one in Hollywood or the media can say is that the women whom he abused were collateral damage in a culture war. Harvey ran an assembly line on which movies about the left’s latest social agenda were rolled out. If you wanted campus rapes, police brutality, transgender, gay rights, anti-Israel or anything from the Left “R” Us emporium, he made it happen. And the price was ignoring the screams coming from his hotel rooms and the office storage rooms that he allegedly brought women to.

The left paid that price. It paid it, until Harvey wasn’t good for it anymore. And then it came to collect.

Harvey Weinstein didn’t assault women ‘despite’ his leftist politics as the media alleges in its fumbling efforts to connect him to toxic masculinity. He assaulted women because of his leftist politics. It was his politics that made him feel safe assaulting women. And it was his politics that made them feel unsafe about turning him in. How do you take on a man who has Planned Parenthood in his back pocket?

And it was his cultural transgressiveness that won him a pass. The cultural pioneers of the left who break all sorts of sexual boundaries are expected to occasionally transgress boundaries like consent. That’s true across the entertainment industry. And it was true across the counterculture in general.

How many rapes were there at Occupy Wall Street camps and how much sexual harassment was there in the Bernie Sanders campaign? That’s how leftist political and culture wars have always worked.

Harvey Weinstein’s willingness to push cultural boundaries insulated him from accusations of abuse by, on the one hand, making him appear too virtuously leftist to do such a thing, and on the other hand, giving him a pass for being too transgressive to be bound by the conventions of bourgeois morality.

And Harvey’s shabby defenses have called on both arguments, trying to wrap himself in the cause of gun control, signaling his usefulness to the left, and invoking the culture of the 70s, to create complicity. 

Harvey is still hoping that the left’s culture war can be invoked to protect its fallen monster.

Following its “Tragedy + Trump = Story” formula, the media has run numerous stories trying to tie Harvey to Trump. It’s revealing, not only for the partisan cynicism of trying to associate the actions of a top Obama and Hillary donor with Trump, but because it shows why the media covered for Harvey.

Even now, it’s still incapable of acknowledging that a leftist can sexually abuse and rape. Its political tribalism is so strong that it needs to associate Harvey with Trump to be able to condemn him.

And that, more than anything else, shows why the media covered for Harvey Weinstein.

The women whom Harvey allegedly abused knew that the media’s rule is that there are no enemies to the left. And Harvey had worked hard to always stay to the left of everyone else. Including his victims. 

Just How “Afraid” are Muslims at Amherst College?

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 04:10

Out at Amherst, where hope is the thing with feathers, a panel discussion about Islam at the college on September 25 included Michael Graham, a radio host who has, in the past, suffered for his outspokenness about Islam.

After the event, Muslim students wrote an “Open Letter,” claiming that Graham had made them “afraid” and that he ought to “apologize” for what he said. In their complaint they quoted briefly from his remarks the other day, but concentrated mainly on what he said 12 years ago on his Washington radio show. And what he said in 2005 was this:  “Islam is a terrorist organization,” “moderate Muslims are those who only want to kill Jews,” and finally, that “the problem is not extremism. The problem is Islam.” CAIR protested at the time, and Graham was fired as a result. These remarks do not appear to be threats, but attempts at characterization which may or may not be true. They hardly qualify as “hate speech” that threatened Muslims then, much less threatens them today.

Did Graham, at Amherst College in September 2017, physically threaten Muslims or suggest that others should harm them? Did he attempt to whip up hatred toward all Muslims? Apparently not, for if he had, we can be sure that in their letter of complaint the Muslim students would have included such remarks. Here is what he said: “Every rational person should acknowledge that Islam is the only major world religion with terror committed in its name.” When the KKK was brought up as an example of Christian terrorism he replied that the KKK was a “minority group” within Christianity; he might also have added that the KKK is not following Christian doctrine at all. Graham claimed that “there is a civil war going on in Islam right now,” which the Muslims who wrote the Open Letter bizarrely insisted was a way of implying that Islam is limited to a war-torn geographical region. Graham did not say, however,  that this “civil war” has engulfed the entire Muslim world. The complaining Muslims claimed Graham said that “all Afghans are wired differently from the rest of the world.” Graham explained that what he meant by that was simply this: having been invaded so often in their history, the Afghans have come to deeply distrust all foreigners.

The only thing we know for certain about the writers of the “Open Letter” is that they wish, through their demand for an “apology,” to limit the freedom of speech when it comes to Islam and Muslims. It’s an attempt at censorship. For if an apology could indeed be elicited (as of this writing, it has not been forthcoming), that would be a warning to others not to dare in the future to criticise Islam as Graham had done.

The “Open Letter” of the Muslim Student Association (which was also signed by members of the South Asian Student Association) included this astonishing remark:

“No student should ever have to feel afraid for their safety or have to wake up in the morning knowing that there are other students on this campus who hate them for an integral part of their identity and are willing and able to voice these hurtful ideas on a public platform.”

As there is no evidence — no direct quote from Graham — provided to show why it would be reasonable for Muslims “to feel afraid for their safety or have to wake up in the morning knowing that there are other students on this campus who hate them for an integral part of their identity and are willing and able to voice these hurtful ideas on a public platform,” we can only take on faith that Muslims “feel afraid” because of something Graham said. In the letter of protest, there was ample room to quote any threats he might have made, but there were none; since his remarks 12 years ago were stronger than those he made two weeks ago, and we were being asked to believe that those “Islamophobic” comments still hung in the air and, presumably, were right now making Muslims “afraid.” And if there was such fear, why did only nine people, out of the entire membership of both the Muslim Student Association and the South Asian Student Association, sign the letter of protest? In fact, judging by their names, at most four of the nine were Muslims; the other five simply went along as a gesture of solidarity. So, out of  a student body of nearly 2,000, with — we can reasonably assume — about 50-100 Muslims among them, only four Muslims bothered even to sign a letter about their supposedly feeling “afraid” for their “safety.” This handful of protesters against Graham does not suggest that, as the protest letter insists, Graham’s “presence on campus was extremely unsettling and disturbing for students who identify as Muslim.” If it were, surely more than four of Amherst’s Muslims would have signed. And since we know that there have been many cases of manufactured “victimization” by Muslims across the country — see Robert Spencer’s “It Has Been A Big Week For Fake Hate” — why should we not believe, rather, that the fear that handful claim to feel is entirely made-up, designed to support the suppression of anti-Islamic speech, no matter how fact-based that speech may be. Furthermore, the letter of protest was not just a protest about past speech, but was in effect a demand for prior approval, by Muslims, of any speakers coming to the Amherst campus to talk about Islam. Here is how this extraordinary demand for prior censorship was worded:

“We feel that a dialogue prior to the event with the relevant student groups — especially the Muslim Students Association (MSA), but also other groups such as South Asian Students Association (SASA), Middle East Studies and Student Association (MESSA) and International Students Association (ISA) — would have been conducive to finding a productive and appropriate speaker qualified to speak on this topic while still keeping the perspective that ACR wanted to share through this event.”

In other words, the Amherst Conservative Review ought to have consulted — that is, established a “dialogue” — with the Middle East Studies and Student Association (and other groups representing foreign students) so as to find “a productive and appropriate speaker qualified to speak on this topic” (Islam). That means censorship by Muslims.

All of this talk about being “afraid for their safety” puts one in mind, of course, of the truly hair-raising remarks about Unbelievers in the Qur’an itself, that is the immutable and uncreated word of God. At Qur’an 98:6, Muslims learn that non-Muslims are “the most vile of creatures,” while Muslims themselves are — see Qur’an 3:110 — “the best of peoples.” Muslims are commanded to attack non-Muslims, not for anything they have done, but because they are Unbelievers. If you were aware of even a handful of the 109 verses about Jihad, wouldn’t that be cause for real, and not feigned, alarm?

Consider this handful:

9:5: “(The Verse of the Sword): And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”

9:29: “Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.’

2:191-193: “And slay them wherever you come upon them, and expel them from where they expelled you; persecution is more grievous than slaying. But fight them not by the Holy Mosque until they should fight you there; then, if they fight you, slay them — such is the recompense of unbelievers, but if they give over, surely Allah is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is Allah’s; then if they give over, there shall be no enmity save for evildoers.”

8:12 (A famous “strike terror” verse featuring dismemberment and beheading): “[Remember] when your Lord inspired to the angels, ‘I am with you, so strengthen those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike [them] upon the necks and strike from them every fingertip.’”

47:4: “So when you meet those who disbelieve [in battle], strike [their] necks until, when you have inflicted slaughter upon them, then secure their bonds, and either [confer] favor afterwards or ransom [them] until the war lays down its burdens. That [is the command]. And if Allah had willed, He could have taken vengeance upon them [Himself], but [He ordered armed struggle] to test some of you by means of others. And those who are killed in the cause of Allah – never will He waste their deeds.”

Imagine the more than 100 other verses in the Qur’an similar to these in significance. Think, too, of the nearly 31,884 attacks by Muslims since 9/11/2001. Think of the news brought each day,  about the slaughter of a Coptic priest, and then a day or two later, of a Coptic bishop in Egypt, of jailed Christians awaiting to be put to death  for “blasphemy” in Pakistan, of the killing of Christians by Muslims, for the crime of being Christians, in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia. Think of the Sunni attacks on the Shi’a as well — for let’s not forget that for many Sunnis, the Shi’a are no better than Infidels.

It would not be ridiculous for you, if a non-Muslim, to be “afraid for your safety” in much of the world, including now parts of Europe where Muslims are now a considerable and aggressive presence, not because of a single speaker, such as Michael Graham, but because of 1.5 billion people who are taught to, and most do, believe, that the Qur’an is the Word of God, the Qur’an which includes so many murderous imprecations against the Infidels.

Or suppose you are not just non-Muslim but, specifically, Jewish, and you are aware of what is written about Jews both in the Qur’an and by the most respected Qur’anic commentators.

Robert Spencer’s compilation is hair-raising:

The Qur’an depicts the Jews as inveterately evil and bent on destroying the wellbeing of the Muslims. They are the strongest of all people in enmity toward the Muslims (5:82); as fabricating things and falsely ascribing them to Allah (2:79; 3:75, 3:181); claiming that Allah’s power is limited (5:64); loving to listen to lies (5:41); disobeying Allah and never observing his commands (5:13); disputing and quarreling (2:247); hiding the truth and misleading people (3:78); staging rebellion against the prophets and rejecting their guidance (2:55); being hypocritical (2:14, 2:44); giving preference to their own interests over the teachings of Muhammad (2:87); wishing evil for people and trying to mislead them (2:109); feeling pain when others are happy or fortunate (3:120); being arrogant about their being Allah’s beloved people (5:18); devouring people’s wealth by subterfuge (4:161); slandering the true religion and being cursed by Allah (4:46); killing the prophets (2:61); being merciless and heartless (2:74); never keeping their promises or fulfilling their words (2:100); being unrestrained in committing sins (5:79); being cowardly (59:13-14); being miserly (4:53); being transformed into apes and pigs for breaking the Sabbath (2:63-65; 5:59-60; 7:166); and more.

The classic Qur’anic commentators do not mitigate the Qur’an’s words against Jews, but only add fuel to the fire. Ibn Kathir explained Qur’an 2:61 (“They were covered with humiliation and misery; they drew on themselves the wrath of Allah”) this way: “This Ayah [verse] indicates that the Children of Israel were plagued with humiliation, and that this will continue, meaning that it will never cease. They will continue to suffer humiliation at the hands of all who interact with them, along with the disgrace that they feel inwardly.” Another Middle Ages commentator of lingering influence, Abdallah ibn Umar al-Baidawi, explains the same verse this way: “The Jews are mostly humiliated and wretched either of their own accord, or out of coercion of the fear of having their jizya [punitive tax] doubled.”

Ibn Kathir notes Islamic traditions that predict that at the end of the world, when “the Jews will support the Dajjal (False Messiah), and the Muslims, along with ‘Isa [Jesus], son of Mary, will kill the Jews.” The idea in Islam that the end times will be marked by Muslims killing Jews comes from the prophet Muhammad himself, who said, “The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. ‘O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.’” This is, not unexpectedly, a favorite motif among contemporary jihadists.

Not just contemporary jihadists, but modern-day mainstream Islamic authorities take these passages seriously. The former Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, who was the most respected cleric in the world among Sunni Muslims, called Jews “the enemies of Allah, descendants of apes and pigs.” The late Saudi sheikh Abd al-Rahman al-Sudayyis, imam of the principal mosque in the holiest city in Islam, Mecca, said in a sermon that Jews are “the scum of the human race, the rats of the world, the violators of pacts and agreements, the murderers of the prophets, and the offspring of apes and pigs.”

Another Saudi sheikh, Ba’d bin Abdallah al-Ajameh al-Ghamidi, made the connection explicit: “The current behavior of the brothers of apes and pigs, their treachery, violation of agreements, and defiling of holy places … is connected with the deeds of their forefathers during the early period of Islam–which proves the great similarity between all the Jews living today and the Jews who lived at the dawn of Islam.”

Shouldn’t Jews, those that become aware of these Qur’anic verses and the commentary on them right up to today, have much greater reason to be “afraid for their safety” than Muslims who claim that a handful of remarks uttered twelve years ago by one Michael Graham, whose words, unlike the Qur’an, are not taken by anyone to be the Word of God but indeed got him promptly fired — have made them “afraid”? Don’t Christians, who are denounced, not quite as frequently as Jews, but still often enough in the Qur’an, and of course they are included in all of the 109 Jihad verses directed at Infidels, also have real reason to be afraid “for their personal safety”? Do we see, as we look around the world,  murders of Muslims by Christians, or only the reverse? Look at the Coptic priest, and the bishop, both stabbed to death in recent days in Egypt. Think of all the Assyrians and Chaldeans killed in Iraq and Syria in the last decade, the churches blown up, the more than a million Christians who have fled Iraq since 2003 alone. Think of the  Christians in Pakistan killed by mobs for supposed “blasphemy” (even now several sit in prison awaiting their death sentence to be carried out in more formal fashion), of the martyrdom of Bishop John Joseph in Pakistan in 1998, who committed suicide to protest the mistreatment of Christians in that country. Think of the Christian schoolgirls beheaded in Indonesia, the Christian villages razed, the churches torched, by Muslim mobs, sometimes on the direct orders of imams. Think of the Christian villages destroyed, and the Christian girls kidnapped, by Boko Haram, in northern Nigeria. With all of these attacks by Muslims, against Christians, now as in the past, who should really be “afraid”?

It would be salutary if, by way of reply to the “Open Letter” of protest signed by four Muslims, the Amherst Conservative Review were to offer not the apology demanded, but rather, to produce for public consumption the verses in the Qur’an that command Jihad warfare against the Infidels, an enormous and unanswerable list of terrifying commands to “strike terror,” to “smite at their necks,” to “slay them wherever you find them,’” and so on, letting those grim quotes be submitted to a candid world, and asking rhetorically, if anyone has good reason to be afraid, is it not the those against whom these verses are directed? Then let everyone judge for himself which remarks — those of one Michael Graham, speaking only for himself, and threatening no one — or the more than 100 Jihad verses in the Qur’an, are more likely to make someone “afraid…for his own safety.”

The protesting Muslim students — all four of them — insist that “No student should ever have to feel afraid for their safety or have to wake up in the morning knowing that there are other students on this campus who hate them for an integral part of their identity and are willing and able to voice these hurtful ideas on a public platform.” True enough: but anyone familiar with the Qur’an will want to redirect these words at Muslims themselves. Which Amherst students have good reason to “feel afraid for their safety” because “other students…hate them for an integral part of their identity”? Don’t the Qur’an’s many Jihad verses command murderous hatred and killing of non-Muslims not because of what they do, but only because of an “integral part of their identity” — that is, the very fact of their being non-Muslims? Haven’t we non-Muslims, when we see what has happened to other non-Muslims,  conquered and subjugated by Muslims during the past 1400 years, earned the melancholy right to feel afraid? I’m — afraid — so.000000000000000

Ireland Honors Mass Murderer With Postage Stamp

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 04:03

Among the many things the Irish (especially in the U.S.) are NOT infamous for is their dim-wittedness, party-poopery and cowardice. 

Yet Ireland celebrated the 50th anniversary of Ernest “Che” Guevara’s death last week by issuing a commemorative postage stamp bearing the terrorist mass-murderer’s famous picture. 

Che Guevara’s first decree when his “rebels” captured the town of Sancti Spiritus in central Cuba during the last days of the skirmishing against Batista's army outlawed alcohol, gambling and regulated relations between the sexes—conditions not exactly conducive to a festive St Paddy’s Day. Popular outcry and Fidel's sharp political sense made Ireland’s new hero grudgingly rescind his order.  

"I have no home, no woman, no parents, no brothers and no friends," wrote this new hero of Ireland in his diaries. "My friends are friends only so long as they think as I do politically." Luckily Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan’s joint St Paddy’s Day festivities did not fall under Che Guevara’s jurisdiction.

"Individualism must disappear!" thundered Ireland’s new hero in a 1961 speech in Havana. Interestingly, the cheeky Ernesto Guevara's signature on his early correspondence read "Stalin II." In a famous speech in 1961 Ireland’s new hero the “party-animal” Che Guevara denounced the very "spirit of rebellion" as "reprehensible." "Youth must refrain from ungrateful questioning of governmental mandates" commanded Guevara. "Instead they must dedicate themselves to study, work and military service!" 

And woe to those youths "who stayed up late at night carousing and thus reported to work (government forced-labor) tardily." Youth, wrote Ireland’s new hero, "should learn to think and act as a mass." Those who “chose their own path" as in growing long hair and listening to Rock & Roll (Van Morrison, Jim Morrison for instance) were denounced as worthless "lumpen" and "delinquents." In a famous speech Ireland’s new hero even vowed, "to make individualism disappear from Cuba! It is criminal to think of individuals!" 

Tens of thousands of Cuban youths guilty of nothing more than trying to boogie to Light My Gloria, Gloria or Brown-Eyed Girl while tipping a pint learned that Che Guevara's admonitions were more than idle bombast. 

By the mid 1960s the crime “digging” rock music or “effeminate” behavior got thousands of youths yanked off Cuba's streets and parks by secret police and dumped in prison camps with "Work Will Make Men Out of You" in bold letters above the gate and with machine gunners posted on the watchtowers. The initials for these camps were UMAP, not GULAG, but the conditions were quite similar. 

Many opponents of the regime co-founded by Che Guevara qualify as the longest-suffering political prisoners in modern history, having suffered prison camps, forced labor and torture chambers for a period over THIRTY TIMES as long in Che Guevara’s prisons and torture chambers as Michael Collins and Jerry Adams spent in British jails and internment camps.

“Certainly, we execute!” Che Guevara boasted while addressing the hallowed halls of the UN General Assembly on Dec. 9, 1964 to the claps and cheers of that august body. “And we will continue executing as long as it is necessary! This is a war to the death against the Revolution’s enemies!”

The communist firing squads gleefully set in motion by Che Guevara in Cuba murdered OVER ONE THOUSAND TIMES as many Cuban anti-communist rebels as the British executed Irish rebels during the Easter Rising. The figure of 16,000 firing squad murders by the regime co-founded by Che Guevara, by the way, issues from the Black Book of Communism, written by French scholars and published in English by Harvard University Press, (neither outfit exactly a bastion of those insufferable and loudmouthed “embittered Cuban exiles" with "an ax to grind!”)

Full-documentation and much, much more on these Che-Guevara initiated human-rights horrors here.  

One day before his death in Bolivia, Che Guevara—for the first time in his life—finally faced something properly describable as combat. So he ordered his guerrilla charges to give no quarter, to fight to their last breaths and to their last bullet. With his men doing exactly what he ordered (fighting and dying to the last bullet), a slightly wounded Che snuck away from the firefight and surrendered with fully loaded weapons while whimpering to his captors: “Don’t Shoot! I’m Che. I’m worth more to you alive than dead!” His Bolivian captors viewed the matter differently. In the following day, they adopted a policy that has since become a favorite among Americans who encounter (so-called) endangered species threatening their families or livestock on their property: “Shoot, shovel and shut-up.”

Justice has never been better served. 

 

Who Pays What in Taxes?

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 04:03

Politicians exploit public ignorance. Few areas of public ignorance provide as many opportunities for political demagoguery as taxation. Today some politicians argue that the rich must pay their fair share and label the proposed changes in tax law as tax cuts for the rich. Let's look at who pays what, with an eye toward attempting to answer this question: Are the rich paying their fair share?

According to the latest IRS data, the payment of income taxes is as follows. The top 1 percent of income earners, those having an adjusted annual gross income of $480,930 or higher, pay about 39 percent of federal income taxes. That means about 892,000 Americans are stuck with paying 39 percent of all federal taxes. The top 10 percent of income earners, those having an adjusted gross income over $138,031, pay about 70.6 percent of federal income taxes (https://tinyurl.com/yddvee2o). About 1.7 million Americans, less than 1 percent of our population, pay 70.6 percent of federal income taxes. Is that fair, or do you think they should pay more? By the way, earning $500,000 a year doesn't make one rich. It's not even yacht money.

But the fairness question goes further. The bottom 50 percent of income earners, those having an adjusted gross income of $39,275 or less, pay 2.83 percent of federal income taxes. Thirty-seven million tax filers have no tax obligation at all. The Tax Policy Center estimates that 45.5 percent of households will not pay federal income tax this year (http://tinyurl.com/h8ks4ge). There's a severe political problem of so many Americans not having any skin in the game. These Americans become natural constituencies for big-spending politicians. After all, if you don't pay federal taxes, what do you care about big spending? Also, if you don't pay federal taxes, why should you be happy about a tax cut? What's in it for you? In fact, you might see tax cuts as threatening your handout programs.

Our nation has a 38.91 percent tax on corporate earnings, the fourth-highest in the world. The House of Representatives has proposed that it be cut to 20 percent; some members of Congress call for a 15 percent rate. The nation's political hustlers object, saying corporations should pay their fair share of taxes. The fact of the matter — which even leftist economists understand, though they might not publicly admit it — is corporations do not pay taxes. An important subject area in economics is called tax incidence. It holds that the entity upon whom a tax is levied does not necessarily bear its full burden. Some of it can be shifted to another party. If a tax is levied on a corporation, it will have one of four responses or some combination thereof. It will raise the price of its product, lower dividends, cut salaries or lay off workers. In each case, a flesh-and-blood person bears the tax burden. The important point is that corporations are legal fictions and as such do not pay taxes. Corporations are merely tax collectors for the government.

Politicians love to trick people by suggesting that they will impose taxes not on them but on some other entity instead. We can personalize the trick by talking about property taxes. Imagine that you are a homeowner and a politician tells you he is not going to tax you. Instead, he's going to tax your property and land. You would easily see the political chicanery. Land and property cannot and do not pay taxes. Again, only people pay taxes. The same principle applies to corporations.

There's another side to taxes that goes completely unappreciated. According to a 2013 study by the Virginia-based Mercatus Center, Americans spend up to $378 billion annually in tax-related accounting costs, and in 2011, Americans spent more than 6 billion hours complying with the tax code. Those hours are equivalent to the annual hours of a workforce of 3.4 million, or the number of people employed by four of the largest U.S. companies — Wal-Mart, IBM, McDonald's and Target — combined (http://tinyurl.com/y9dvbzja). Along with tax cuts, tax simplification should be on the agenda.

Frontpagemag.com Gets Results Against BDS

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 04:10

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.

Life comes at you fast.

In July, Dan Fishback, a member of the militantly anti-Israel JVP Artists Council, was writing up arguments for boycotting Israeli plays for the militantly anti-Israel site, The Forward.

Now the cold winds of fall blow through the glass towers of Manhattan and Dan Fishback in back in The Forward with a brand new message. “My Play Was Just Canceled Because I'm Not Pro-Israel.”

Boycotting plays is fun and games until it happens to you. And that’s just wrong.

The left packs the same moral compass as your average playground bully. It’s okay to punch other kids in the face. It’s not okay when they punch you back.

Front Page Magazine, Ronn Torossian and JCC Watch have exposed the JVP infiltration of the American Jewish Historical Society and the Center for Jewish History in a series of hard-hitting articles and posts.

And now the bullies have turned into crybullies.

The boycotters are complaining about a boycott and the censors are complaining about censorship.

Dan Fishback’s play wasn’t canceled because he isn’t pro-Israel enough. It was canceled because it was an anti-Israel work by a BDS activist whose stated goal is to “normalize Jewish anti-Zionism”. The Jewish community was upset to see the American Jewish Historical Society and the Center for Jewish History allying with JVP: a hate group that defends anti-Semitism and which sponsored talks by an anti-Semite who accused Jews of drinking blood.

There’s a world of difference between “I’m not pro-Israel” and “I’m a member of the arts council of a hate group.” A hate group whose speakers have traded in gutter anti-Semitism like, "Jews have reputation 4being sleazy thieves".

Dan Fishback plaintively whines about " feeling unwelcome in Jewish spaces" and "shunned from the places that are supposed to shelter and nurture you: families, synagogues, community centers."

I guess that’s just what happens when your own idea of sheltering and nurturing is a boycott.

What sort of mad entitlement leads the anti-Israel left to think that it can shun and not be shunned, that it can wage war on the Jewish State and still be welcome in Jewish spaces?

But that’s exactly the left’s entitled attitude. Its motto is, “No punch backs.”

Jennifer Schuessler at the New York Times wrote up a sympathetic puff piece on Fishback that doesn’t bother with journalistic trivialities like interviewing any of his critics (but does pad it out with multiple quotes from his defenders). Schuessler has done quite a bit of, generally positive, coverage of BDS, and tries to spin it as an issue of free speech and censorship. Fishback gets the last word. Of course.

The New York Times insists that Fishback’s anti-Israel agenda is entitled to airtime at the Center for Jewish History, but his critics aren’t entitled to be heard in the pages of the Times.

But it was Dan Fishback who insisted back in July, "it’s not that BDS is ‘censoring’ work — it’s that BDS is resisting a propaganda campaign that was intentionally crafted to influence international politics."

It’s not censorship when he tries to shut down an Israeli play. It’s “resisting a propaganda campaign”. But when Jews resist his propaganda campaign, that’s censorship.

It’s censorship when they do it. It’s resistance when we do it. And that’s typical BDS hypocrisy.

BDS activists argue against free speech and for censorship when they’re the ones doing the censoring. And then when their victims fight back, they passionately expound on the importance of open dialogue and hearing multiple viewpoints.

When Israel barred BDS activists from entering the country, BDSers wailed that the ban was a threat to democracy. The controversial anti-Israel boss of the Center for Jewish History, David N. Myers, along with Beth Wenger, chair of the Academic Advisory Council of the Center for Jewish History, and fellow Council members Marion Kaplan, Hasia Diner and Jeffrey Veidlinger signed a letter denouncing the ban. Joining them was the American Jewish Historical Society Academic Council's chair, Lila Corwin-Berman, along with six of her Council colleagues.

The CJH and AJHS academic councilors claimed that banning BDS activists is “bad for the principles of free speech and thought on which our scholarship is based” and worried that it would “prevent us from continuing our rich scholarly interactions with Israeli colleagues in the field of Jewish studies.”

But the whole point of BDS is to prevent such “rich, scholarly interactions”.

BDS is a virus that demands exclusion, but uses open dialogue as its host. That is how totalitarian movements, especially leftist ones, operate in free societies. They demand the absolute right to be heard. And the absolute right to deny others the ability to be heard.

If you oppose them, you’re interfering with their right to silence you.

BDS activists attack by demanding the exclusion of authentically Jewish and Israeli voices. But when attacked, they go on the defensive by condemning the very idea of excluding people. They call for opening Jewish institutions to their anti-Israel agenda even as they strive to shut pro-Israel voices out of the institutions that they control. And they must be held accountable for their malicious hypocrisy.

You can’t advocate a boycott of Israeli plays and then cry about censorship and free speech when your play gets boycotted. You can’t advocate an academic boycott of Israel and then protest because BDS academics might be excluded in retaliation. You can’t launch the vilest attacks against Jews and then complain about hate speech when Jewish students on campuses fight back against BDS bigots.

But that’s exactly what BDS activists do. And that’s why it’s not just an anti-Semitic movement, but a totalitarian movement that corrupts the integrity of our society to serve its hateful ends.

It isn’t just Israelis and Jews that BDS activists are boycotting, but the very idea of free speech.

BDS’s censorship hypocrisy is typical of the anti-free speech left which rejects a universal right to speech. Advocates for social justice or members in good standing of “oppressed” groups have a right to speak so absolute that it even encompasses death threats, calls for genocide and physical violence as campus violence by leftist groups, including Students for Justice in Palestine, has made clear. But those who disagree have few if any rights to speak because their speech is “harmful” to the oppressed.

It’s why Dan Fishback could argue that boycotting Israeli plays wasn’t censorship, it was “resistance”. But boycotting his play is censorship. Implicit in that argument is the understanding that certain kinds of plays are legitimate and others aren’t. A play against Israel is legitimate. An Israeli play may not be.

Censorship isn’t silencing a work of art. It’s someone with the wrong politics silencing someone with the right politics. But when someone with the right politics silences someone with the wrong politics, that’s the way things should be. Zionists should be silenced, but anti-Zionists are entitled to be heard.

The debate between supporters and opponents of the Jewish State has a limited impact on most Americans. But Jews have often been the canaries in the totalitarian coal mine. Pro-Israel groups were among the earlier targets of leftist campus violence. And now attacking speakers whom the left opposes has become normalized on campuses even as the attackers demand their own safe spaces.

The corrupt logic of BDS is everywhere. And it must be opposed.

The Beginning of the End of Progressive Domination?

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 04:10

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

For over forty years the left has been successfully reshaping American culture. Social mores and government policies about sexuality, marriage, the sexes, race relations, morality, and ethics have changed radically. The collective wisdom of the human race that we call tradition has been marginalized or discarded completely. The role of religion in public life has been reduced to a private preference. And politics has been increasingly driven by the assumptions of progressivism: internationalism privileged over nationalism, centralization of power over its dispersal in federalism, elitist technocracy over democratic republicanism, “human sciences” over common sense, and dependent clients over autonomous citizens.

But the election of Donald Trump, and the overreach of the left’s response to that victory, suggest that we may be seeing the beginning of the end of the left’s cultural, social, and political dominance.

The two terms of Barack Obama seemed to be the crowning validation of the left’s victory. Despite Obama’s “no blue state, no red state” campaign rhetoric, he governed as the most leftist––and ineffectual–– president in history. Deficits exploded, taxes were raised, new entitlements created, and government expanded far beyond the dreams of center-left Democrats. Marriage and sex identities were redefined. The narrative of permanent white racism was endorsed and promoted. Tradition-minded Americans were scorned as “bitter clingers to guns and religion.” Hollywood and Silicon Valley became even more powerful cultural arbiters and left-wing publicists. And cosmopolitan internationalism was privileged over patriotic nationalism, while American exceptionalism was reduced to an irrational parochial prejudice.

The shocking repudiation of the establishment left’s anointed successor, Hillary Clinton, was the first sign that perhaps the hubristic left had overreached, and summoned nemesis in the form of a vulgar, braggadocios reality television star and casino developer who scorned the hypocritical rules of decorum and political correctness that even many Republicans adopted to avoid censure and calumny. Yet rather than learning the tragic self-knowledge that Aristotle says compensates the victim of nemesis, the left overreached yet again with its outlandish, hysterical tantrums over Trump’s victory. The result has been a stark exposure of the left’s incoherence and hypocrisy so graphic and preposterous that they can no longer be ignored.

First, the now decidedly leftist Democrats refused to acknowledge their political miscalculations. Rather than admit that their party has drifted too far left beyond the beliefs of the bulk of the states’ citizens, they shifted blame onto a whole catalogue of miscreants: Russian meddling, a careerist FBI director, their own lap-dog media, endemic sexism, an out-of-date

Electoral College, FOX News, and irredeemable “deplorables” were just a few. Still high on the “permanent majority” Kool-Aid they drank during the Obama years, they pitched a fit and called it “resistance,” as though comfortably preaching to the media, university, and entertainment choirs was like fighting Nazis in occupied France. The bathos and ridiculous hyperbole of their whining exposed for all to see their rank egotism and lack of discernment and judgment.

This childish behavior came hard on the whole “snowflake” and “microagression” phenomenon in colleges and universities. Normal people watched as some of the most privileged young people in history turned their subjective slights and bathetic discontents into weapons of tyranny, shouting down or driving away speakers they didn’t like, and calling for “muscle” to enforce their assault on the First Amendment. Relentlessly repeated on FOX News and on the Drudge Report, these antics galvanized large swaths of American voters who used to be amused, but now were disgusted by such displays of rank ingratitude and arrogant dismissal of Constitutional rights. And voters could see that the Democrats encouraged and enabled this nonsense. The prestige of America’s best universities, where most of these rites of passage for the scions of the well-heeled occurred, was even more damaged than it had been in the previous decades.

So too with the world of entertainment. Badly educated actors, musicians, and entertainers, those glorified jugglers, jesters, and sword-swallowers who fancy themselves “artists,” have let loose an endless stream of dull leftwing clichés and bromides that were in their dotage fifty years ago. The spectacle of moral preening coming from the entertainment industry––one that trades in vulgarity, misogyny, sexual exploitation, the glorification of violence, and, worst of all, the production of banal, mindless movies and television shows recycling predictable plots, villains, and heroes––has disgusted millions of voters, who are sick of being lectured to by overpaid carnies. So they vote with their feet for the alternatives, while movie grosses and television ratings decline.

As for the media, their long-time habit of substituting political activism for journalism, unleashed during the Obama years, has been freed from its last restraints while covering Trump. The contrast between the “slobbering love affair,” as Bernie Goldberg described the media’s coverage of Obama, and the obsessive Javert-like hounding of Trump has stripped the last veil of objectivity from the media. They’ve been exposed as flacks no longer seeking the truth, but manufacturing partisan narratives. The long cover-up of the Weinstein scandal is further confirmation of the media’s amoral principles and selective outrage. With numerous alternatives to the activism of the mainstream media now available, the legacy media that once dominated the reporting of news and political commentary are now shrinking in influence and lashing out in fury at their diminished prestige and profits.

Two recent events have focused this turn against the sixties’ hijacking of the culture. The preposterous “protests” by NFL players disrespecting the flag during pregame ceremonies has angered large numbers of Americans and hit the League in the wallet. The race card that always has trumped every political or social conflict has perhaps lost its power. The spectacle of rich one-percenters recycling lies about police encounters with blacks and the endemic racism of American society has discredited the decades-long racial narrative constantly peddled by Democrats, movies, television shows, and school curricula from grade-school to university. The endless scolding of white people by blacks more privileged than the majority of human beings who ever existed has lost its credibility. The racial good will that got a polished mediocrity like Barack Obama twice elected president perhaps has been squandered in this attempt of rich people who play games to pose as perpetual victims. These supposed victims appear more interested in camouflaging their privilege than improving the lives of their so-called “brothers” and “sisters.”

The second is the Harvey Weinstein scandal. A lavish donor to Democrats––praised by Hillary Clinton and the Obamas, given standing ovations at awards shows by the politically correct, slavishly courted and feted by progressive actors and entertainers, and long known to be a vicious sexual predator by these same progressive “feminists” supposedly anguished by the plight of women––perhaps will become the straw that breaks the back of progressive ideology. Just as ultrasounds, Planned Parenthood’s dismemberment of babies to harvest and sell their organs, and murderous ghouls like Kermit Gosnell have turned people against abortion, perhaps the lies, cover-ups, and rationalizations of Weinstein’s creepy assaults on more than 30 women will discredit Hollywood’s pompous posing and smug virtue-signaling on the part of self-proclaimed champions of women’s rights. The spectacle of a rich feminist and progressive icon like Jane Fonda whimpering about her own moral cowardice has destroyed the credibility we foolishly gave to Hollywood’s dunces and poltroons.

So do these signs portend at last the end of the leftist “fundamental transformation” of America? Will we begin to see even more pushback, and more reforms of our cultural and social institutions?

Other signs suggest we shouldn’t start celebrating. The lefts’ demolition of the American social and political order has reached deep into our schools, popular culture, and political policies. There are 66 million Millennials, the worst-educated cohort in American history, steeped in the progressive world-view since kindergarten. The shibboleths, clichés, mythemes, and transparent lies of that world view are second nature to them, signs of intellectual sophistication and class superiority. Their favorite oracles, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and YouTube, are morphing into Big Brother censors and manipulators of information on behalf of progressives. And these Millennials are going to be around for a long time, unlike the aging Boomers, among whom are most of the last remnants of the old America.

More ominous, the progressive redistributionist entitlement state and the habits of dependence it fosters are unlikely to be reformed, even as the increasing debt to finance this “kinder, gentler” Leviathan continues to drive us toward bankruptcy. The vast wealth and physical comfort we Americans enjoy fool us into thinking that all these cultural and political pathologies are affordable, nothing to worry about as long as the shelves of Costco are full, the cat videos keep coming on Facebook and YouTube, the new CGI superhero cartoons are showing at the Cineplex, and new Silicon Valley toys continue to be available. We can keep on enjoying our bread and circuses and not think about the Goths and Vandals gathering on the horizon.

So, beginning of the end of the leftist cultural regime, or a transient, doomed resistance? One thing for sure, we have a couple of national elections coming in 2018 and 2020 that will answer that question.

Truck Bombs Wreak Horrific Carnage in Somalia

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 04:09

In September 2014, former President Barack Obama boasted that his “strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.” Yemen is in the midst of a fierce civil war and still faces a serious Islamic terrorist threat. As for Somalia, the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab Islamic terrorist group is thriving. “Al-Shabab reportedly killed more than 4,200 people in 2016, making it the deadliest Islamic terror group in Africa,” according to the Counter Extremism Project. In the first seven months of 2016, al-Shabab killed more than twice as many people using improvised explosive devices as it did during all of 2015. If that were not enough, a group of jihadists broke away from al-Shabab in 2015 and pledged their allegiance to ISIS. The ISIS affiliate may be a relative newcomer in Somalia, but has already left its own bloody trail. ISIS also has established strongholds in Africa as a whole, where ISIS reportedly killed 2,350 people in 2016. So much for Obama’s claim of success against terrorism, using Somalia as one of his examples.

The carnage from Islamist terrorist attacks in Somalia has continued during 2017. Two bomb blasts in the heart of the Somali capital of Mogadishu Saturday, one detonated shortly after the other, killed at least 237 people and wounded at least 300 others. The Mogadishu bombing is considered the deadliest single attack in Somalia's history. A truck full of military-grade and homemade explosives was reportedly targeting Somalia’s foreign ministry. When the explosives detonated, they apparently ignited a fuel tanker which multiplied the effects of the explosions in death and destruction. “In our 10 year experience as the first responder in #Mogadishu, we haven’t seen anything like this,” the Aamin ambulance service tweeted.

Given the pattern of al-Shabab’s past bombings, that Somali-based Islamist terrorist group is suspected of being behind Saturday’s terrorist attack in Mogadishu, a frequent al-Shabab target. Somali Information Minister Abdirahman Omar Osman, for example, has already condemned the al-Shabab terrorists for the “barbaric attack.”  However, as of the writing of this article, al-Shabab has not yet claimed responsibility. 

It is possible that the break-away affiliate of ISIS in Somalia carried out the latest lethal attacks, following its attacks last May and again earlier this month. The ISIS affiliate sees itself as a rival of al-Shabab in Somalia and is looking for ways to lure Islamic militants away from the larger, more established al-Shabab. ISIS’s capture and brief occupation of a Somali port city last fall and its few small-scale attacks have hardly caused a ripple. Although ISIS has not yet claimed responsibility for the attack either, it may decide at some point to use Saturday’s bombings for propaganda purposes in an effort to establish more legitimacy amongst the jihadists vying for control in Somalia. If so, they have a lot of catching up to do with the far more dangerous threat in Somalia today, al-Shabab, which has resisted ISIS overtures to merge operations.    

Al-Shabab is the entrenched Islamist terror group, which aims to turn Somalia and the entire East African region into a fundamentalist Islamic state. It presently controls substantial portions of the southern Somali countryside and has thousands of fighters. It has carried out numerous massacres of civilians in Somalia and its neighboring countries in East Africa since it broke off from its predecessor group, al-Ittihad al-Islami, in 2003. 

Working with a group of Sharia courts called the Islamic Courts Union, the al-Shabab militants gained control of Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, in 2006, prompting a series of incursions from Ethiopia and Kenya to push al-Shabab out of its strongholds. Al-Shabab fought back, expanded its base of operations, and enriched itself through taxes, extortion and other means. 

According to a report by the Counter Extremism Project, “Under al-Shabab’s strict brand of sharia, stonings, amputations, and beheadings are regular punishment for criminals and apostates. The group violently persecutes non-Muslims and clashes frequently with humanitarian and international aid workers.”

By 2011, al-Shabab was estimated to have been generating “between US$ 70 million to US$ 100 million per year in revenue from taxation and extortion in areas under its control,” according to a 2011 report by the United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea

Al-Shabab formally pledged allegiance to al Qaeda in 2012, although there were ties going back at least as far as 2008. In a preview of what ISIS would later accomplish using social media, al-Shabab employed sophisticated recruiting techniques to recruit from abroad, including use of twitter, videos and even hip-hop rap in English. One such rap included these lyrics: “[M]ortar by mortar, shell by shell, only going to stop when they go to hell.”

The recruiting efforts paid off, including by attracting “a number of Americans to fight in Somalia, most of whom are from Minnesota," according to CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen’s CNN.com column. Minneapolis has the largest Somali population in the United States. Most are either refugees or children of refugees. Some have been easy pickings for al-Shabab recruiters

In another preview of ISIS-style behavior, al-Shabab has recruited children to fight in its ranks, and its militants have regularly kidnapped women and girls as sex slaves. 

Al-Shabab has continued to step up its deadly attacks in Somalia, Kenya and Uganda. It has launched attacks against contingents of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), a peace keeping mission operated by the African Union in Somalia with approval by the United Nations Security Council. It has also targeted civilians. In some of its massacres the Islamic terrorists singled out non-Muslims. The following is just a sampling.

In September 2013 al-Shabab’s Westgate Mall attacks in Nairobi, Kenya left 68 people dead and 175 wounded. In November 2014, al-Shabab militants slaughtered 28 non-Muslim passengers who were traveling on a hijacked bus on the way to Nairobi, Kenya. The dead, 19 men and 9 women, were shot at close range. The victims were killed for not being able to recite an Islamic declaration. In December 2014, al-Shabab singled out more non-Muslims in Kenya for death. They were either beheaded or shot in the head at close range. In April 2015, the jihadist militants reportedly singled out Christians and shot them, while freeing many Muslims, during their attack at a Kenyan college. In April 2016, suspected al-Shabab militants in Mogadishu killed a woman working for the UN High Commission on Refugees office. In July and August of 2016, attacks involving car bombs killed at least 55 people. The first occurred near AMISOM’s headquarters at an airport in Mogadishu. The second car bomb attack, which also involved some shootings, occurred at a beach restaurant in Mogadishu. The third occurred near the Presidential Palace and two hotels in Mogadishu. In October 2016, al-Shabab killed six Christians in a Kenyan town near the Somali border.

Al-Shabab regularly claimed responsibility for such attacks, but has kept silent so far regarding Saturday’s massacre. 

Somali president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, declared three days of national mourning for the victims of Somalia’s latest horrific attack. “Terror won't win," he said.

Whether the group determined to be ultimately responsible for the carnage turns out to be al-Shabab, ISIS or some other radical jihadist group, there is little doubt that the ideological spark for the explosions was the poison of Islamism.  

Trump Adopts Robust Approach Toward America’s Enemies

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 04:07

Last week the Trump administration initiated a series of hard-hitting measures aimed at putting the enemies of the United States on notice that it would no longer be business as usual at the White House. No longer would the United States allow itself to be subjected to indignities with impunity. There would now be a heavy price to pay for attempts to subvert the interests of the United States and its allies.

On October 10, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Counterterrorism Nathan A. Sales, announced that the United States would be placing bounties of $7 million and $5 million respectively on the heads of two senior Hezbollah members Talal Hamiyah and Fu’ad Shukr. Hamiyah is the organization’s commander for overseas terror operations which target U.S. and Israeli interests. Shukr is a senior Hezbollah commander who has taken an active role in perpetrating atrocities in Syria and was also involved in the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, which resulted in the deaths of 241 service members.

Sales also directed criticism against countries which absurdly make distinction between Hezbollah’s political and military wings. He bluntly stated that Hezbollah has no political organization and the group in its entirety is “rotten to its core.”

The new robust approach vis-à-vis Hezbollah is refreshing and stands in marked contrast with the way the Obama administration dealt with the notorious terrorist organization. In its zeal to strike a bargain with Iran and maintain détente with the world’s premier state sponsor of international terrorism, the Obama administration treated the Iranian proxy terror arm with kid gloves. 

In September 2016, former secretary of state John Kerry met with Syrian opposition members and tried to convince them to focus their energies on ISIS while steering clear of Hezbollah. During the exchange with the oppositionists he blurted, “Hezbollah is not plotting against us.” It was a shocking display of abject ignorance underscored by the fact that barely nine months later, the U.S. Justice Department announced the arrest of two Hezbollah operatives in New York and Michigan, who were plotting to carry out terror attacks against the United States.

Two days after Sales’ press conference, the State Department announced that it would be withdrawing from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The decision was made only after UNESCO, led by its Muslim bloc, passed a series of ludicrous and pernicious resolutions aimed at severing the Jewish (and Christian) nexus to holy sites in Israel and territories administered by Israel. 

The multiple resolutions Islamicized Jewish and Christian holy sites. They referred to Jerusalem as “occupied territory” while the Rachel’s Tomb, a site revered by Jews world over for over 3,000 years, was referred to as the “Bilal Ibn Rabah Mosque” and a “Palestinian site.” This despite the fact that even Muslims had always historically regarded Rachel’s Tomb as a revered Jewish site. But UNESCO’s outrages and historical mendacity didn’t end there. In July, the body designated the burial site of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah – the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs – as an endangered “Palestinian Heritage Site” ignoring the fact that while the site was under Muslim rule, Muslim guards refused Jewish worshipers entry beyond the seventh step leading to site’s entrance. 

The July resolution was particularly egregious because it disregarded a recommendation issued by the International Council of Monuments and Sites highlighting a number of problems with the proposed UNESCO resolution.

The move to withdraw from UNESCO was spearheaded by Nikki Haley, Trump’s indefatigable U.N. ambassador. Unlike her Obama-appointed predecessors, Haley has taken a proactive approach in dealing with UN’s inherent anti-Israel, anti-Western biases. In the short span that she’s been at her post, she has scored impressive results and changed the tenor at the body. In fact, the U.S. announcement to withdraw from UNESCO may have had a positive influence on a crucial vote for the leadership of UNESCO the following day. 

After several voting rounds, two candidates for UNESCO’s Director-General spot emerged – France’s Audrey Azoulay, who is also of Jewish descent, and Qatar’s rabidly anti-Semitic Hamad Bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari. Azoulay was a dark horse but surprisingly prevailed over her anti-Semitic rival by a vote of 30-28. Divisions within the Arab world no doubt worked in Azoulay’s favor; the Saudis and their allies despise Qatar. Nevertheless, the State Department’s announcement likely jolted some of UNESCO’s members into voting for the saner choice. It is too early to tell what effect, if any, Azoulay will have on UNESCO but the U.S. decision to withdraw does not go into effect until the end of December giving the State Department some time to assess whether UNESCO will alter its mendacious, anti-Israel, agenda-driven trajectory.

The day after the State Department served notice of its intent to withdraw from UNESCO, Trump delivered a speech in which he announced that he could no longer certify Iran’s compliance with the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran deal. He noted a litany of Iranian transgressions since the execution of the JCPOA which violated both the letter and spirit of the agreement. Trump also announced that he had instructed his Treasury Department to institute new sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, its agents and affiliates. Since much of Iran’s economy is controlled or utilized by the IRGC, such a sanctions regimen would have teeth.

The Trump administration wants to re-negotiate aspects of the deal which work heavily in Iran’s favor. The deal in its current form contains a sunset clause in which key restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program expire, providing the Islamic Republic with a legal pathway toward producing nuclear bombs. Essentially, Obama kicked the can down the road and irresponsibly placed the very real prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran in the hands of the next administration. 

Trump understandably wants to dispense with sunset clauses and wants to transform the deal into something more permanent. He also wants a more verifiable inspection regimen. The deal allows the Iranians up to 24 days to sanitize a site slated for inspection. Moreover, other Iranian military sites, like the highly opaque Parchin facility, where Iran conducts its most secretive experiments, are off limits to international inspectors. 

Lastly, Trump wants the deal to incorporate a moratorium on Iranian ballistic missile development and testing. The JCPOA does not directly address the issue of Iran’s ballistic missiles. Instead, the prohibition on Iranian ballistic missile development is covered by a separate and rather weak and ineffectual UN Security Council resolution and the Iranians continue to defy it with impunity. It is now up to the Senate to enact legislation that comports with the administration’s goals and objectives.

The flurry of measures undertaken by the Trump administration this past week, including actions targeting the IRGC and Hezbollah as well as the de-certification of the JCPOA and the moves at UNESCO demonstrate in no uncertain terms that the US will make its enemies account for their nefarious activities. It is a refreshing change from the pusillanimous policies pursued by the past administration.        

 

A Muslim Photographer Shows the True Face of Islam (Part 4)

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 04:03

Carlos Khalil Guzman is a “revert” to Islam who is now going about the United States, taking pictures of cheerful, fresh-faced, smiling Muslims, each of whom is asked to choose a favorite verse in the Qur’an, or a saying by Muhammad in the Hadith, and to explain why he, or she, has made that particular choice.

So far, [Guzman has] taken 52 portraits across about 26 states. His goal is to take 114 portraits, to symbolize the 114 chapters in the Quran. He hopes to finish the project this year, and later turn the entire series into an interactive traveling art exhibit. He said his sense of urgency to complete the project has been spurred on by reports of increasing levels of hate crimes against American Muslims.

He hopes his audience can come to understand that the challenges faced by Muslims in America are connected to the challenges faced by other marginalized groups.

“What affects one oppressed community in this country affects another oppressed community,” he said.

Are Muslims an “oppressed community” in this country? Where is the evidence for this? In the series of manufactured “hate crimes” used to swell the numbers of the latter? In all the examples of smarmy interfaith outreach where Christians and Jews feel they have to defend Muslims and Islam, but never feel they have an obligation to find out first about what is in the texts of Islam, and what Muslims are routinely taught, and especially how they are taught to regard Infidels? They defend the faith, by taking it on faith. If it is claimed by Guzman that Muslims are “oppressed” in this country, he should offer the evidence. What we see is not oppression but, on the contrary, an unseemly media rush to defend Muslims and Islam, repeating the absurdist mantra that “Islam has nothing to do with Islamic terrorism,” which by now is a fixed formula. Then there is the focus after every attack by Muslim terrorists on the “need to reassure the Muslim community,” in its most treacly version through holding those Interfaith meetings where Christian and Jewish clergymen “stand side-by-side with their Muslim brothers.” And at the same time the coherent critics of Islam, who carefully adduce the textual evidence from Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira to explain Islamic terrorism,  are cast into the outer darkness as “Islamophobes” and soon find that both Google and Facebook direct people away from them online. In other words, at every step, far from being “oppressed,” the Muslim community finds itself the recipient of very public uncritical support.

One of Guzman’s photographs is of a student, one Myree Shadi, whose favorite remark by Muhammad may actually never have been uttered by him:

“All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.” – Prophet Muhammad

“This is so important to me not only as a Muslim but also as an Afro-Latina. This states that Islam is against racism and discrimination. All humans are created equal. All that matters to God is the good a person does and the devotion we have for our creator.”

Is it true that in Islam “an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab”? The Arabs certainly behave as if Islam is their gift to civilization, and that they are indeed superior to non-Arabs. After all, the message of Allah was received by an Arab, and in the Arabic language. Muslims are supposed to read, recite, memorize the Qur’an in Arabic, whatever their native language. Five times a day, Muslims turn toward Mecca, in Arabia, to recite, in Arabic, their prayers. Converts to Islam very often take on Arab names. In some countries — e.g., Pakistan — non-Arabs adopt not just Arab names, but a spurious Arab lineage. Pakistan is full of people who identify themselves as “Sayids,” or descendants of the Arab tribe of Muhammad, as a matter of appropriated prestige. Finally, what would or should Myree Shadi, “College Student” in Boston make, or what does Carlos Khalil Guzman himself make, of Anwar Shaikh’s important study, Islam — The Arab Imperialism? Or have they never heard of him, or his book, even though he is known to Muslims from Pakistan to Great Britain, many of whom clamor for the clerics to issue a rebuttal to his book? Curiously, none have apparently felt able to do so. As for the claim that the Arabs do not feel themselves superior to non-Arab Muslims, why have the Arabs in Iraq denied  the Muslim Kurds national rights, and killed almost 200,000 of them, without any Arabs in or outside Iraq publicly uttering a syllable of dismay? Why have Arabs in Algeria denied the Berbers cultural rights, and for a long time even tried to prevent them from using the Berber language? Why did Arab Muslims attack, and murder, black African Muslims in Darfur? Doesn’t this have to do with the Arab sense of superiority over non-Arabs?

And is Ms. Shadi sure that Muhammad said that ”an Arab is not superior to a non-Arab”? One Muslim website describes where this apocryphal quote came from: “This comes, supposedly, from Muhammad’s ‘last sermon,’ but no mention of it can be found in the ‘authentic’ hadith collections of Sahih Al-Bukhari or Sahih Muslim. It appears to have been disseminated by a Pakistani Islamist named Syed F.H. Faizi in the last century. Because the Pakistanis are ajami (non-Arab) Muslims, they obviously have a motivation to lie about the teachings of Islam with regards to the position of Arabs and non-Arabs. The rigorously authenticated hadiths of Muhammad make it clear that God favors the Arabs over the non-Arabs.”

For example,the famous historian Al-Tabari wrote that “Arabs are the most noble people in lineage, the most prominent, and the best in deeds. We were the first to respond to the call of the Prophet. We are Allah’s helpers and the viziers of His Messenger.” 

For many similar quotes about Arabs being superior to all other Muslims, click on the link here.

Another of Guzman’s subjects offers as her favorite remark by Muhammad this Hadith: “Heaven lies under the feet of your mother.”

“This hadith is one of my favorites because it talks about being mindful of our parents.”

Yes, but this verse should be read along with other verses about how to treat your parents. Perhaps this young Muslim does not know what else is written in the Qur’an about being “mindful” of your parents “if they choose unbelief.” Here is 9:23:

“Believers, do not befriend your fathers or your brothers if they choose unbelief in preference to faith. Wrongdoers are those that befriend them.’”

In other words, if your parents are not Muslims but “choose unbelief,” then you are commanded to have nothing more to do with them. They are dead to you. That’s not exactly filial piety or being “mindful of one’s parents.” Its uncompromising harshness and cruelty — to one’s own parents — is terrifying.

Here’s another “favorite verse” of another of Guzman’s subjects, Kenneth Rula:

“And never say of anything, ‘Indeed, I will do that tomorrow,’ without adding, ‘If Allah wills.’ And remember your Lord when you forget and say, ‘Perhaps my Lord will guide me to what is nearer than this to right conduct.’” – Quran 18: 23-24

“This verse, to me, is a significant reminder of Allah (God). Remembering to say ‘inshallah,’ if God wills, before speaking about plans is acknowledgement that as humans, we are not in control of everything.” Kenneth Rula, Louisiana

Inshallah” is not quite so innocuous a sentiment as is here suggested. It means more than that “we are not in control of everything.” Rather, it is a continuous reminder of the fatalism that Islam encourages. This inshallah-fatalism is the kind of thing that discourages, for example, economic development — for why try hard if, in the end, it is the will or whim of Allah that determines failure or success? It’s also a way of avoiding blame when things go wrong, for it’s “Allah’s will,” and that’s all that need be said.

Fida Ousol, a nursing student in New Jersey, chose as her favorite verses part of the first chapter of the Qur’an, Al-Fatiha:

“In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful. [All] praise is [due] to Allah, Lord of the worlds. The Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful, Sovereign of the Day of Recompense. It is You we worship and You we ask for help. Guide us to the straight path. The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray.” – Quran Chapter 1, Verses 1-7

“I chose the verses from the first chapter (Al-Fatiha) of the Quran. These verses remind me of my childhood. My sisters and I would all gather together and we would recite it together or one by one. We were so proud of ourselves when we memorized it and we could see our parents were proud of us too. This surah (chapter) is the first in the Quran and I have always said it in times of fear, when I would think a ghost was in the room or if I was walking home late. I knew Allah (God) was watching and helping me. These words are powerful and they have helped me feel and be protected.”

Of course, neither Fida Osoul, nor Carlos Khalil Guzman, is going to explain that the Al-Fatiha curses the kuffar, for “those who have evoked [your] anger” refers to Jews and “those who are astray” refers to Christians. Perhaps they are unaware of what the authoritative Qur’anic commentators say about this part of the Al-Fatiha, or perhaps they know all too well, and have no intention of volunteering such information.

Bushra Zarin, in South Dakota, finds Muhammad’s words on migration to be his favorite:

“Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended. Whoever migrates with an intention for Allah and His messenger, the migration will be for the sake of Allah and His messenger. And whoever migrates for the worldly gain or to marry a woman, then his migration will be for the sake of whatever he migrated for.” – Prophet Muhammad

Though you would likely not know it, if you are a non-Muslim, this “migration for the sake of Allah and His messenger” refers to the Hijra, when Muhammad and his followers moved from Mecca to Medina, in 622 A.D. This was jihad by emigration, the large-scale movement of Muslims into a non-Muslim area, bringing Islam with them, in an effort to win new territories for Islam both by demographic conquest and by conducting Da’wa, the Call to Islam. This, of course, is what is taking place in Europe today, where tens of millions of Muslims now live, having been allowed to settle deep behind what Islam teaches them to regard as enemy lines. And they are conducting Da’wa, finding particular success among prisoners, and others who find that Islam supplies a ready-made band of brothers, offers both a complete regulation of life and explanation of the universe, and sanctions what some might interpret as criminal violence but which can now be interpreted as Islamically justified when the victims are Unbelievers. Crimes of property can be seen as helping oneself to a proleptic Jizyah; sexual assault by Muslims of Infidel women, whose dress and demeanor are of the come-hither sort, are similarly a case of “they deserve what they get.”

Nothing surprising here. Carlos Khalil Guzman offers one more variant of crowd-pleasing Islam, of smiling young Muslims offering sweetness and light, with every Qur’anic verse that deals with Jihad or the Unbelievers simply ignored, and with only the most benevolent bits offered up to us, in what Guzman and his collaborators no doubt think is a good cause: to make us believe that we misunderstand Islam when, for some unfathomable  reason — could 31,800 attacks by Muslims since 9/11/2001 have something to do with it? — we allow ourselves to think ill of it. And in the brave new world Muslims and their apologists are — inshallah! — creating, that would never do.

Paul Joseph Watson Video: Eminem is a Complete Idiot

Mon, 10/16/2017 - 04:02

In his new video, Paul Joseph Watson reveals why: Eminem is a Complete Idiot and he asks: What, exactly, is edgy, bold and honest about calling Trump a racist? Don't miss it!

 

The End of the University?

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 04:10

Below is Mark Tapson's review of David Horowitz’s new book, “The Left in the Universities" which is volume 8 of The Black Book of the American Left, a multi-volume collection of David Horowitz's conservative writings that will, when completed, be the most ambitious effort ever undertaken to define the Left and its agenda. (Order HERE.) We encourage our readers to visit BlackBookOfTheAmericanLeft.com – which features Horowitz’s introductions to Volumes 1-8 of this 10-volume series, along with their tables of contents, reviews and interviews with the author.

Colleges and universities have become flashpoints for the most heated culture war conflicts of the day. Our former institutions of higher learning are now the sites of anarchic violence against the few conservative speakers who manage to get invited on campus. With a Republican in the White House, academics with a far leftwing bias indoctrinate students more aggressively than ever before. Some of those same professors, and timid school administrators, are under literal siege from radicalized minority students demanding racial payback for perceived oppression. Instead of allowing their worldviews to be expanded by the campus diversity they claim to value so highly, students wail about racist and sexual “microaggressions” and retreat into segregated safe spaces. Universities have degenerated into circuses of irrationality and radicalism.

How did it come to this? To answer that question, you can do no better than to read David Horowitz’s The Left in the University – volume eight of, and the latest addition to, his series of collected writings titled The Black Book of the American Left. Horowitz, of course, is the former radical leftist-turned-conservative, the founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and the author of many books, including the recent New York Times bestseller Big Agenda: President Trump’s Plan to Save America.

The Left in the University addresses what Horowitz describes as “one of the underappreciated tragedies of our times: the successful campaign of the left to subvert the curricula of collegiate institutions and transform entire academic departments and schools—including Schools of Education—into doctrinal training centers for their social and political causes.” This successful campaign arguably has done more to steer America toward the left’s goal of “fundamental transformation” than any other strategy of cultural Marxism.

This new volume collects nearly four dozen essays written from 1993 to 2010, presented chronologically and divided into five sections. Part I frames the book’s subject with an edited introduction to Horowitz’s controversial 2005 book, The Professors. Part II recounts his experiences on college campuses and observations on the decline of academic discourse in the five years prior to creating an Academic Bill of Rights, which lobbies for the right of students to be presented with professional, fair-minded instruction – not indoctrination – from their professors. The campaign for this Bill of Rights, and the attacks against it by biased educator organizations and tenured faculty, are the subjects of Parts III and IV.

Part V covers the uproar sparked by The Professors and by another book Horowitz wrote about political bias in the university, Indoctrination U. It details more of his efforts to convince the academic community of its obligation to maintain professionalism and objectivity in the classroom. The book concludes with an epilogue presenting Horowitz’s plan for reforming universities and for re-establishing standards of scholarship and instruction in the classroom.

Some of the essay titles alone are enough to capture the lugubrious sense of the university’s degeneration into leftist indoctrination centers since the 1960s: “The Decline of Academic Discourse,” “Campus Repression,” “What Has Happened to American Liberals?”, “The Orwellian Left,” “Intellectual Thuggery,” “What’s Not Liberal About the Liberal Arts,” “Intellectual Muggings,” and “The End of the University as We Have Known it.”

What is captured in such hard-hitting, personal essays from David Horowitz is the process that underlies the left’s successful ideological siege of higher education and the subsequent brainwashing of our youth. This is exemplified by a recent poll which revealed that fully 44% of American college students believe that so-called “hate speech” – the left’s catch-all label for offensive speech which conveniently includes any ideas with which they disagree – is not protected by the First Amendment. This perverse misunderstanding of free speech has been adopted even by conservative students, disturbingly. The result is that we are very nearly at a tipping point beyond which most adults will not consider our most precious freedom to be worthy of preserving. That can be attributed almost entirely to the influence of academia.

This was demonstrated forcefully earlier this year when a speaking engagement featuring Milo Yiannopoulos at UC Berkeley – once regarded as the home of the Free Speech movement (more on that in a moment) – was cancelled by a violent mob of vandals who falsely declared that Milo came not to debate but to spread hate and fascism, and thus his right to speak deserved to be abrogated. “Fuck your free speech” is the new campus battle cry.

Horowitz notes in “The Free Speech Movement and its Tragic Result,” the book’s final essay, that this sort of student totalitarianism isn’t so much a reversal of the aim of Berkeley’s 1960s movement as it is the inevitable end of it: “The so-called Free Speech movement, which introduced political crusading into the halls of learning, has led to the destruction of a great institution, and a flourishing of ideological bigotry, viewpoint repression, and intellectual fraud.” It has led to “eruptions of student mobs demanding the suppression of ideas that disturb them” and demands for safe spaces from dangerous ideas.

The Left in the University closes with an epilogue titled “A Plan for University Reform,” in which Horowitz proposes the establishment of an Office of Academic Standards and Academic Freedom which would set forth standards requiring faculty to teach students how to think, not what to think, and hold instructors to “professional standards of inquiry and expression.” It would also “ensure that proper procedures are followed in curricular matters” and include a “grievance machinery that would allow students to file complaints about classroom misconduct without fear of faculty reprisal.” Such a plan, firmly enforced, would bring the machinery of indoctrination in the American university to a grinding halt and force a revival of its original mission of vibrant, open inquiry and the pursuit of truth.

But that commonsense proposal, originally developed in 2010 but never published, ends the book on a note of false optimism, as Horowitz concedes in the introduction, because the leftist bias in our colleges and universities is so hopelessly entrenched. “I publish [the Plan] now because I have given up any hope that universities can institute such a reform. The faculty opposition is too devious and too strong, and even more importantly there is no conservative will to see such reforms enacted.”

But there may be hope yet for such a plan on the horizon. The American university cannot sustain its current path. The radical left on campus is beginning to implode under the weight of its own totalitarian excesses, and a backlash – declines in alumni support and student applications – is underway. Conservative student groups like the nationwide campus organization Turning Point USA are havens of sanity by comparison, and are beginning to flourish. Even some Progressive administrators and faculty members – like the Evergreen State professor targeted by raging students, who sued the school for nearly $4 million (he settled the case for $500,000) – are repulsed and terrified by the young P.C. monsters they have helped create. For their own survival, universities must undertake a fundamental transformation.

The first step might be for those faculty and administrators to sit down with a copy of The Left in the University and take a long hard look at themselves.

Leftists and the Jews

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 04:09

Editor’s note: The following remarks were delivered by Rabbi Shalom Lewis on the second day of Rosh Hashanah at the congregation Etz Chaim in Atlanta, Georgia.

The words I am about to share will be riddled with controversy. Some will squirm in their seats and I will squirm here on the bima but they are words I must express. I have never shied away from the truth, even if disturbing, even if risky, even if politically incorrect. Jeremiah many years ago lamented his prophetic appointment by crying out, “Vehaya b’libi ke’ish bo’eret atzur be’atzmotai. … V’niglayti kalcheil, v’lo uchal.” (“God’s word was like a raging fire in my heart, shut up in my bones. … I could not hold it in. I was helpless.”) Jeremiah’s messages were blunt and harsh. He was beaten up by our ancestors and repeated attempts on his life were made but his words remain. Though no Jeremiah, I share his irrepressible passion for saying what needs to be said. I am also confident that you will be kinder to me then were the hostile and homicidal Jews of old to Jeremiah. I made a commitment to myself when I began the rabbinate that I would never talk down to my congregation, nor patronize them, nor treat them with disrespect from the bima. You have heard over the years sermons that many thought were hyperbolic, over the top, but we at Etz Chaim have always been ahead of the curve. I am proud of that. So please understand, it is the respect I have for you that compels me to say what must be said and what must be heard. 

I had another sermon ready to go for today but two recent events convinced me to change topics. One was personal and the other was public. First the personal.

Things happen to us all in the course of routine and easily slip away as life urges us on to what is next. But then, from seemingly out of nowhere we reach a tipping point, a weightless straw on the back of the camel, that sends us into a fury. We cry out, “Enough. I’ve had it.” We see what has been in front of us all along but now we recognize it for what it is. Not a few seconds easily dismissed but a sinister warning easily overlooked. A tiny growth on what otherwise appears a healthy body. 

I play Words with Friends and have about a dozen games going at any one time. Most of my honorable opponents are here this morning. For the unaware, Words with Friends is scrabble played online. And so, a couple of weeks ago, in the midst of a game, I had a great word and a great spot; A and Q that I could place on a triple letter that would reach a triple word square, giving me well over one hundred points. A very respectable score. And so, I punched in the word and it was rejected. I punched it in again and I am told “Invalid Word.” I am puzzled. It’s a legitimate word but maybe my iPhone is smarter than me. I looked it up in my Merriam-Webster Dictionary and sure enough, there was the word. Next, I went to the source of all knowledge, Google, and asked the question. “Why is” — and I provided the word — “why is this word not acceptable in Words with Friends?” The immediate response was, “The word is disparaging of women.” I was stunned. What was the word? “Squaw.” An Algonquin Indian loan word that is part of our vocabulary. It is in books. In movies. On TV shows and a proud Thanksgiving candle that burns on our festive table, next to a pilgrim and a turkey. It means an Indian woman. 

I exploded. I was not upset that I could not earn a lot of points. I was not upset that I could have won the game. I was enraged that some flip-flop-wearing whippersnapper, sitting in Portland or Boulder or San Francisco, was telling me what words are kosher and what words are treiff. This distant snit was censoring my vocabulary, our vocabulary, no less than what is done in China. In North Korea. In Cuba and beyond. Not a silly little game. Not the expression of sensitivity, but the pomposity of a dangerous rising class of self- righteous suppressers of the First Amendment. Where do these champions of compassion stop when Noah Webster says go? Should we eliminate from our vocabulary the words Alamo? Pueblo? Fritos? Because they might be offensive to Mexicans? Should we eliminate from our vocabulary the words cotton? Plantation? Ghetto? Because it might be offensive to blacks? Should we eliminate from our vocabulary the words Cadillac? Cruise? Wallet? Because it might be offensive to the poor? Where does this lunacy end? Who makes the decisions? 

Charlottesville was an ugly weekend and a shameful event but it was a moment in time, not a trend. Not a resurgence. The thugs were not goons sent by a sympathetic government but beer bellied, tattooed, seig heiling, sheet wearing, Neanderthals. There is no secret, massive network gathering, plotting in the dark the overthrow of America. Planning to bomb synagogues. Planning to lynch blacks. Planning to round up gays and foreign-speaking immigrants. Yes. These are evil people and given the opportunity would do hateful things, but their numbers are insignificant when factored in to a population of three hundred and thirty million people. They are not surging in membership. The Nazis, the skin heads, the Klan, the white supremacists, are marginalized, are demonized, are ostracized, and pose no existential threat to our country nor to us. Period. To claim otherwise is simply untrue. 

Curious, I Googled up Nazi marches and rallies in America. The search took me to Charlottesville in 2017, and then to Skokie in 1977. Forty years ago, yes, there were a few other episodes here and there, but do any of us remember them? They were ridiculously inconsequential. 1977 and then this past August. Do we understand how far we have come from cross burnings and Bund rallies in Madison Square Garden? To overreact to these incidents is to empower the corrupt, to inflate their influence, to magnify their numbers. They are not mythical creatures and every so often do emerge from the shadows to parade down Main Street, but the suppression of hate speech is the suppression of all speech. It is the price we pay for living in a free society where even the repulsive must be tolerated. Not so long ago there was panic and fear as scores of Jewish Community Centers and Jewish agencies were paralyzed by bomb threats. Jews were terrified. And then the truth. A disgruntled man trying to frame his ex-girlfriend and a crazy Jewish, Israeli hacker who lived in Ashkelon. There was no epidemic of hate. No outburst of anti-Semitism. 

For forty years, I have walked to and from Shul every Friday night, Shabbos morning and yuntiff with a kippa perched proudly on my head. I did not seek quiet, untraveled routes, and shuffle down alley ways. I strolled along the major, well trafficked arteries of our community, an obvious Jew. Never once in all those years was I ever verbally taunted by a passerby on the sidewalk nor by a bigoted hooligan in a speeding car. Our building, in thirty-five years, has never suffered anti-Semitic vandalism. No scrawled epithets of hate. No swastikas. No Jewish stars. Never. This is not Kristallnacht. This is not the state-sponsored pogroms of Czarist Russia. This is not the Ukrainian massacres of Chemelniki nor the Spanish Inquisition. The police are on our side. The politicians are on our side. The government is on our side. The neighbors are on our side. America is the same after Charlottesville as she was before. The danger we face as Americans and as Jews is not coming from the Right. It is a diversion. It is a red herring. We need to look in the opposite direction. 

As I venture into a place of possible controversy permit me a brief detour that I hope sets straight the record. In November, we had dismal options. To the shock of all, the underdog won and the slam dunk lost. Let me say it loudly, slowly and clearly: I am no enthusiastic fan of President Trump. There is no presidential presence in the oval office. He lacks dignity and has no filter when he speaks. He panders to his crowd and often falsehoods flow easily from his lips. His campaign rhetoric was inexcusable. His demeanor on the stump, a cringing embarrassment. He is morally inarticulate but that was no excuse for his confused, tepid words in Charlottesville but this is not 1933. There is no “Night of the Long Knives.” No Nuremberg Laws. No consolidation of power. In the nine months of Trump’s presidency he has passed no significant legislation. Hardly the sign of a ruthless dictator and yet, those in opposition call themselves the “Resistance.” Forgive me but that term was used in the war against the Nazis and has no place in the vocabulary of political disputes in a functioning democracy any more then PETA’s shameful “Holocaust on your Plate” campaign. That being said, our president is deeply flawed, but I do not believe that he is a bigot, a racist, a misogynist, an anti-Semite. Would I have preferred someone else in the White House? Most certainly. With that out of the way, let me proceed. 

When I was in college, I had a professor for a course in Mexican history. She dressed in black, wore dark eye shadow and could best be described as Goth. When she began to teach, she would pull an ash tray out of her bag and place it on the desk. Next, she would light up a cigarette and begin her lecture. The moment the cigarette burned down, she lit another and then another. One day a fellow from the campus police passed by our room and noticed, through the glass panel on the side of the door, that our instructor was smoking. He knocked and slowly opened the door. He pointed to the No Smoking sign on the wall and respectfully said, “Professor. There is no smoking in the room.” “Oh,” she responded, “I didn’t realize. So, Sorry.” She then snuffed out the cigarette in the ash tray. “Thank you, Ma’am. Have a good day.” He smiled, turned and disappeared down the hall. The moment he was no longer visible, she reached into her bag. Put a fresh Chesterfield to her lips, lit it up, made an obscene gesture and yelled, using the full expletive that I will not, “F— you, cop.” The entire class, including me, burst into enthusiastic applause at her defiance. As the years passed and I reflected on that incident I came to realize what infantile jerks we were and that our professor was not heroic but a crude, tobacco smelling, rule-breaking boor. Yes, we were anti-establishment in the 1960s. We protested the war. Hated Nixon. But at some point, we grew up and chose to live in the real world of responsibility, consequences, virtue, rules and truth. 

There is something rotten in Denmark, but also something rotten in America and here is the uncomfortable truth. The painful, confusing, disturbing truth. The great threat that we face as Americans and as Jews comes not from the Alt Right but from the Alt Left. Some are violent, rampaging criminals, others wear suits and ties, jeans and t-shirts. Some make no pretense of their disdain for America while others appear loyal citizens. Their tactics are different, but their goals are the same. They do not understand America nor American exceptionalism. We are a dangerously polarized society and have tumbled into a place of binary values that define who and what we are. This cultural divide will also define where we go as a nation. As Americans and as Jews we must pick a side. And though it should be an easy choice it is confusing because the Left claims the moral high ground, wrapped in what they define as tolerance, equality, sensitivity and decency when in truth, their agenda is intolerant, unequal, insensitive and indecent. “We are the champions of all that is good,” they cry out, when in fact they are on the wrong side of benevolence. They are the true bigots. The true oppressors. The true deniers of human rights. The true threat to authentic democracy. 

Let me provide a simple test to help us figure out what to do when our hearts take us in the direction of what we believe is tikkun olam, when we are motivated to march. To raise our voices. To donate resources in the hope of creating an improved society. There is no better way to distinguish between what is moral and what is immoral. What is good and what is corrupt than in the Middle East impasse between Israel and the Palestinians. Though neither side is without blemish, the difference between the two is huge and provides us the definition of good and the definition of evil. 

The Palestinians have steadfastly refused generous settlements from Israeli administrations, even the sharing of Jerusalem as capital. They still dream and chant of a homeland, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” No compromise. The Palestinians provide tens of thousands of dollars to families of terrorists who were killed. They hold parades to honor terrorists who murdered innocent children. They name parks and streets after barbarians who slaughtered entire Jewish families. They have built playgrounds with rubber toys of Jewish body parts for their children to reenact terrorist attacks. And a new strategy recently introduced: The Palestinian Education Ministry will give any student arrested for throwing Molotov cocktails at passing Israeli cars a passing grade in school. 

Meanwhile, a few kilometers from Ramallah, what does apartheid, genocidal, ethnic cleansing Israel do? She has provided medical attention for countless numbers of wounded Arabs fleeing the bloodshed in Syria. Arabs are voting members of Knesset. An Arab sits on the Supreme Court of Israel. In wars with ruthless enemies, Israel warns, as no other army does, of an impending attack so non-combatants can get out of the way. Arabs enjoy full civil rights. They worship as they wish. They shop alongside Israelis. They set up umbrellas on the beaches next to Israelis. They sit in buses next to Israelis. They are cared for in hospitals next to Israelis. 

Contrast the two. One is enlightened and civilized. The other is depraved and primitive. And yet, who is vilified by the Left and who is celebrated? Who is demonized by the Left and who is embraced? It is a cliché we have all heard, but it needs to be said here again. “If the Arabs/Palestinians put down their weapons today, there would be peace tomorrow. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no Israel tomorrow.” The Left likes the latter part of the quote and we who sing Hatikvah, eat felafel and go on Birthright, don’t get it. 

We are good people and are always in the forefront of social action and liberal causes. It’s in our DNA as Jews to feel empathy for the marginalized, the persecuted, the less fortunate. It’s who we are and who we have been for millennia but I suggest that in the complexity of today we use the Israeli-Palestinian crisis as a moral litmus test. Whatever the cause. Whatever the protest. Whatever the rally, if we wish to show solidarity because it appears a righteous event, then we should drape ourselves in the Israeli flag, put on a blue and white kippa and wait to see what happens. Permit me to offer some clues in what the reaction would be in too many of today’s civil and human rights venues. Let’s connect some dots. 

This past January many who are here today participated in The Woman’s March. A worldwide protest to advocate for women’s rights, worker’s rights, racial equality and assorted reforms. Nice stuff for sure. Sounds good, but the National Co-Chair of the Women’s March was a woman, Linda Sarsour, who claims that Zionists cannot be feminists, that there is no room in the movement for people who support the state of Israel, that there is nothing creepier than Zionism. Would Golda Meir walk alongside Sarsour? How about, Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman? Sarsour supports the BDS campaign against Israel. Boycott. Divest. Sanctions. But where is her BDS outrage against real injustice in China? Iran? Cuba? North Korea? Venezuela? ISIS? Saudi Arabia? Sudan? Yemen? Syria? Gaza? There, the feminist Left, to its disgrace, is silent. 

We participate in the Gay Rights Parade here in Atlanta and are a proudly inclusive community. One of the great moments of my career was bringing two women together in marriage under the chuppa in our chapel. Our credentials are unassailable. We are supporters of LGBTQ rights. Period. Several months back the lesbian community sponsored the “Chicago Dyke March” that exposed the progressives as not being so progressive. Three women who came to participate where thrown out of the event because they were carrying rainbow Pride flags that had Jewish stars in the center. When asked why they couldn’t carry the flags that reflected their gay pride and their Jewish pride, they were told that their flag made people feel unsafe and that the march was anti-Zionist and pro-Palestinian and the organizers do not allow imperialistic flags. I am confused. Help me understand what Middle East country has multiple gay pride parades? Gay Neighborhoods? Gay bars? Civil rights for gays? Is it Egypt? Iraq? Libya? Saudi Arabia? Syria? Lebanon? Iran? Gaza? The gay Left, to its disgrace, is silent. 

Closer to home. Martin Luther King many years ago, boldly declared with eloquence and authority, “You declare my friend that you do not hate the Jews, you are merely anti-Zionist. And I say, let the truth ring forth from the high mountain tops, let it echo through the valleys of God’s green earth. When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews. This is God’s own truth... The hatred of the Jews remains a blot on the soul of mankind... So know this, anti- Zionism is... anti-Semitic and ever will be so.” Would MLK be a member of BLM? Would that great civil rights leader be a card-carrying member of Black Lives Matter? Judge for yourself. They accuse Israel of genocide and of apartheid. They support BDS and stand in solidarity with Palestine. Black lives matter, but not if they come from Yemen and wear a kippa. Black lives matter, but not if they come from Ethiopia and speak Hebrew. Jews were in the forefront of the civil rights movement. Jews were on the bridge in Montgomery. Jewish lives were lost fighting for black lives. But none of that matters to Black Lives Matter. Tyrants and tyranny across the planet. The Black Left, to its disgrace, is silent. 

Women’s rights is a noble cause. Gay rights is a noble cause. Black rights is a noble cause, but they all have been hijacked by a morally bankrupt Left. It’s as confusing as having a beautiful, succulent brisket in front of us. It looks delicious. Smells fabulous, flowing gravy, smothered in onions but then someone comes along and spits on it. Do we still eat it? We are in Chelm, lost in a wicked place of sanctimonious piety. We have been betrayed by those who we thought were friends. We have been stabbed in the back by those who we thought were allies. We have been abandoned and yet refuse to accept the treachery as real. 

A while back I had lunch with a local clergyman at Ted’s Montana Grill. He is senior pastor of one of the largest churches in our community. The conversation was easy and pleasant. Retirement time tables. Theology. Biblical interpretations. We shared pulpit experiences, when we both looked at our watches and realized that hours had passed and we needed to get back to work. As I prepared to leave the pastor asked if I might answer one more question for him. “Sure,” I replied. He said this is a question asked of him by his congregation more than any other. I looked at him and said, “I know what that question is.” He looked back and asked “How do you know what question my congregants most ask me?” I said again, “I know.” He stared at me. Folded his arms. Sat back in the chair and said, “OK, what’s the question?” I smiled and said with total confidence, “The question your congregants ask more than any other is...’Why are Jews Democrats?’” His jaw dropped. He was dumbfounded. He laughed. “You’re right. How did you know?” I responded, “Whenever I have a serious conversation with a non-Jew, that is the question they always ask.” I understand why historically we gravitated to the Democratic Party. It was comfortable. Its agenda was social justice. Minority rights. It stood for the prophetic and rabbinic dream of “letakein olam bimalchut Shadai” (“to repair the world in Godly fashion”). We could never see ourselves sidling up to cigar smoking, pinky-ring wearing, over fed corporate executives. The right was wrong. A Jewish Republican was a family embarrassment. Well friends, we now live in different times. I report. You decide. 

In the 2012 Democratic National Convention, the insertion into the platform of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel met with resistance and loud opposition from delegates. Twice in two days it was brought up and twice it was yelled down. A voice vote was finally called and after three close votes the pro-Israel position was pushed through. When announced, it met with boos and jeers throughout the hall. 

In the 2016 Democratic National Convention Israel fared no better. Or should I say an authentic democracy fared no better against terrorist benefactors and celebrants. Inside the convention hall, delegates waved Palestinian flags to the cheers of many. Signs were waved reading, “I support Palestinian human rights” and pro-Palestinian positions were adopted at Israel’s expense thanks to the progressive agenda of landsman Bernie Sanders. 

One more piece. Keith Ellison, a Democratic congressman from Minnesota appeared a shoo-in to chair the DNC this past year, effectively making him the senior ranking Democrat in the country. He was narrowly defeated in a nail-biter, but was made deputy DNC chairman as a gesture of Democratic unity and goodwill. I have no problem with Ellison because he is Black. I have no problem with Ellison because he is a Muslim. I have no problem with Ellison because he is a Democrat. But I have a problem with Ellison, because when Hamas attacked Israel with Grad and Kassam rockets, Kaibar-1 and Fajr-5 rockets rained down on half the country, he voted against Iron Dome. He did not just vote against rearming Israel with a defensive weapon but effectively voted in favor of allowing thousands of Hamas rockets to annihilate and kill Jewish children in playgrounds. Pregnant mothers taking a stroll. Families sun bathing on the beach. Seniors sipping tea. Jewish innocents who would be killed because they were unprotected, in the wrong place at the wrong time. An American congressman saying, Jewish Lives Don’t Matter. This man was only thirty-five votes away from being the head of the Democratic Party. Good Democratic liberals who get it, are hanging on by their fingertips but they are becoming an endangered species in an increasingly progressive Democratic Party that has lost its way and is doubling down on the madness of the Left, not the sanity of the center. 

It is told that a Hasid once approached his master, confessing that he had problems dealing with a particular Talmudic text. “My son,” asked the rebbe, “is your problem with the text that you have trouble believing in; is it that the existence of the world to come is real?” “No,” replied the Hasid. “My trouble is believing that this world is real.” 

The Greatest Generation had clarity and destroyed an enemy that threatened Western values. There were no apologies for Dresden nor Hiroshima. They got the job done. Today, those magnificent values are once again under threat by forces that span the spectrum of the Left, from the masked Antifa fascists to Brooks Brothers radicals and an assortment of others in between who never made it out of nursery school. By nature, I am an optimist, but I am deeply unnerved by the inroads made by those who claim democratic principles but are redefining morality and freedom with the doublespeak of an Orwellian nightmare. It is no less sinister and disastrous then termites chomping away, until suddenly, everything comes crashing down. 

Let me provide more dots and you decide if I am a paranoid Paul Revere with a yarmulkah or a legitimately alarmed American and Jew. We are all familiar with the famous poem by German pastor Martin Niemoller. “First, they came for the Catholics and I did not speak out because I was not a Catholic. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.” This was a powerful indictment of the craven Germans who ignored the rise of Nazi fascism. The poem, an eloquent warning of moral procrastination in the face of rising malevolence. Look away as many of us do. Ignore the facts as many of us do. Make excuses, as many of us do, but we are all in the crosshairs of despotism. The Founding Fathers are holding their breath. 

We must open our eyes to the dishonesty of the Left. We must open our ears to their unholy rants. We must open our minds and discredit their unprincipled, ruinous ideology. With uncompromising courage, we must assert the real meaning of liberty, not the nonsense peddled by an arrogant left. Let our voices be raised and let our fists pound, as we take back our country from these seditious villains. 

Forgive the rambling screed but I must vent. Listen and connect the dots.

Window smashers. Car burners. Rioters. Highway blockers: You should be arrested, tried and thrown into prison.

Kaepernick, stand up and thank America for making you a multi-millionaire for simply throwing a ball in a game.

Gray lady of Times Square, ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Boko Haram, Taliban are not militants nor freedom fighters, they are murderous, savage terrorists.

Lois Lerner, innocent bureaucrats do not plead the Fifth.

Google, shame on you for firing James Damore for speaking the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Sean Penn, next time you get sick don’t go to the Cleveland Clinic. Don’t go to Johns Hopkins. Don’t go to the Mayo Clinic. Check yourself in to a Cuban hospital. 

Snow flakes and cream puffs, be prepared to be crushed in the real world of competition.

Snowflakes and creampuffs, be prepared to be traumatized in the real world that is not fair. Has trigger words and no safe places in which to cower and whimper.

HR, you are to hire employees based on talent and skill, not gender, not color, not ethnicity.

Madonna, Johnny Depp, Kathy Griffin, stick to singing. Stick to acting. Stick to screeching. You are unfit to be the moral conscience of America.

Yes, Stop and frisk profiles, but it works and protects your neighborhoods. 

Stop whining and thank the boys in blue.

Don’t preach the environmental danger of cheap fossil fuels to the poor in the midst of a shivering winter.

Don’t claim to live a carbon free life as you fly in private jets to climate conferences.

University presidents and deans (present company excluded) grow a spine and expel the rioters and the occupiers from your campus. 

Mr. Carter, you are cancer free, alive today because of Israeli medicine, not because of Palestinian wonder drugs.

YouTube, shame on you for restricting the video “Israel, the world’s most moral army,” claiming it is a sensitive topic not suitable for all audiences. 

Don’t preach that there are limits to what a person should earn and then take 3.2 million dollars for a 90-minute speech.

Fraternities, if you wish to host a Greek toga party, put on the togas, drink ouzo, dance the kalamantianos and tell the cultural appropriation police on campus that Zorba said it was ok. 

ESPN, Robert Lee is a sportscaster. General Robert E Lee was a Confederate general. You are morons. Stalin murdered 20 million. Mao murdered 45 million. Will you picket the embassies and demand their statues be torn down?

Salute the soldier. Salute the flag and thank God Almighty for a powerful American military. 

Connect the dots. There is a pattern. A direction. An ugly revolution churning in this country.

America has done more uplifting of humanity and promotion of freedom than any other country in the history of this planet. We Jews have been blessed beyond our wildest fantasies, enjoying her gifts, her bounty, her grace but we must step away from what is happening and not be seduced by a deceitful, pandering mirage. The Left is not our friend, not as Americans and not as Jews. 

Freedom courses through our blood. It throbs in our soul.

It is no accident that on the Liberty Bell are written the words from our Torah, “Ukratem dror ba’aretz” (“Proclaim liberty throughout the land and to all the inhabitants thereof”). The treasure that is America and the poetry that is Judaism are joined together in a hallowed union that rang across spacious skies, fruited plains and majestic purple mountains.

We are good folks and must see beyond the moral bankruptcy, the hypocrisy, the lies, the hatred and the calamity of an ascendant Left.

My friends, Charlottesville is the price of freedom and squaw is a real word. 

 

ISIS on the Run Under Trump

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 04:08

Last week Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that ISIS’s "fraudulent caliphate in Iraq and Syria is on the brink of being completely extinguished," and credited "an aggressive new strategy led by the president." President Trump trusted his military to carry out a robust strategy to quickly eliminate ISIS’s control of territories from which it could plan and direct terrorist attacks worldwide. As Defense Secretary Jim Mattis explained last May, "First, he delegated authority to the right level to aggressively and in a timely manner move against enemy vulnerabilities. Secondly, he directed a tactical shift from shoving ISIS out of safe locations in an attrition fight to surrounding the enemy in their strongholds so we can annihilate ISIS."

Former President Barack Obama had allowed the ISIS cancer to metastasize in the first place, leading to the killing, maiming, kidnapping and sexual enslavement of many thousands of innocent men, women and children. That is because Obama initially considered ISIS a “J.V. team” and then failed to prosecute a meaningful counter-strategy to quickly eliminate the ISIS scourge before its killing machine could become a regional and then a global threat. There has been huge slaughter and a global security threat unleashed thanks to Obama's handling of ISIS, and the reverse of that trend under President Trump.

When Obama left office in January 2017, after years of ISIS expansion and atrocities, the ISIS threat was finally beginning to recede in his slow war of attrition. However, ISIS still held on to significant territories in Iraq and Syria. While Obama slow rolled the fight against ISIS under overly restrictive rules of engagement that centralized tactical decision-making in the White House, President Trump has taken the gloves off. As commander-in-chief, he set the overall strategy and trusted his military to carry out their battle plans in the field with minimum interference and second-guessing. As a result, ISIS is finally on the run. ISIS territory has been reclaimed at a faster rate under President Trump than under Obama, with nearly a third of the territory taken by ISIS in Iraq and Syria since 2014 recovered during the first six months of the Trump administration. ISIS is on the verge of losing any remnant of control it has clung to in Raqqa, its de facto capital in Syria, since being largely routed from there last month. Earlier this month, ISIS lost control of its last major urban stronghold in Iraq, Hawija. Monthly revenue for ISIS in Iraq and Syria dropped about 49 percent from the third quarter of 2016 to the second quarter of 2017. 

In Syria, where the six-year-old civil war has claimed about 500,000 lives, civilian deaths decreased during the first half of 2017 as compared to the same period in 2016 -- from 6567 to 5381, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights. In June 2016, 1271 civilians were killed as compared to 848 civilians in June 2017. Thus, as the Trump administration was fighting ISIS more aggressively, while at the same time punishing the Syrian regime for its chemical attack in contrast to the Obama administration’s passivity, civilian deaths in Syria were actually dropping. 

ISIS’s rise all started when, against military advice, Obama precipitously removed all U.S. combat troops from Iraq in 2011, creating a vacuum which allowed the defeated remnants of al Qaeda in Iraq to regroup and morph by 2014 into the self-declared caliphate of the Islamic State (i.e., ISIS). Obama did nothing as ISIS expanded its tentacles in Iraq and Syria. The same month in 2014 that ISIS seized Falluja, a city in Anbar Province, Iraq, and parts of Ramadi, the province's capital, is when Obama dismissed ISIS as akin to a “J.V. team.” By that time, ISIS had controlled “more than 34,000 square miles in Syria and Iraq, from the Mediterranean coast to south of Baghdad,” according to figures cited by CNN. 

In June 2014, ISIS took over the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Finally, Obama began to take notice and ordered limited air strikes against ISIS, initially in Iraq and then in Syria. He said the goal was to work with a global coalition to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the militants. However, a year later, at a news conference held on June 8, 2015 following a G-7 summit meeting in Germany, Obama admitted that “we don’t have, yet, a complete strategy” to confront the threat posed by ISIS.

Moreover, Obama continued to deny that ISIS fighters were inspired by their Islamist ideology. At a prayer breakfast in February 2015, Obama sought to deflect attention from ISIS’s religiously motivated atrocities by referring to the centuries old Crusades and the Inquisition. “And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place,” Obama said, “remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency, that can pervert and distort our faith.”

Instead of castigating Christians for long ago events and engaging in moral relativism, Obama should have spent his time and attention devising an effective strategy to combat the genocide against Christians and other religious minorities inflicted in the name of Islam during his watch. Yet he could not even bring himself to utter the words “Islamic terrorism.” 

While Obama fiddled, the Middle East was burning. ISIS targeted religious minorities with forced conversions, expulsions, death or captivity, particularly Christians. ISIS made its anti-Christian intentions clear in its magazine Dabiq: “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah, the Exalted.”

A report dated March 9, 2016 submitted to former Secretary of State John Kerry by the Knights of Columbus and In Defense of Christians, entitled Genocide against Christians in the Middle East, laid out the particulars of the horrors ISIS was inflicting upon the dwindling Christian population. The report cited, for example, an estimate by Melkite Catholic Archbishop Jean-Clément Jeanbart of Aleppo, placing “the number of Christians kidnapped and/or killed in his city as in the hundreds, with as many as ‘thousands’ killed throughout Syria.” 

In 2011, there were approximately 1,250,000 Christians in Syria. There were less than 500,000 in 2016. Some of those Christians not killed by ISIS have been forced to pay a tax to the Islamic terrorists. ISIS has also destroyed churches and Christian shrines. However, Obama never sought to protect Christians who were being massacred and displaced. Indeed, he sharply criticized the suggestion that persecuted Christians be given preference for admission as refugees. He said that “when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which person who's fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted… that’s shameful.”  Obama added: “That's not American, it's not who we are.”

In Obama’s last full calendar year in office, 99 percent of the 12,587 refugees from Syria admitted to the U.S. were Muslims, while less than 1 percent were Christians. Estimates of the Christians’ proportion of the total population of Syria have ranged from 5 to 10 percent since the onset of the Syrian civil war. Muslims made up 87% of Syria’s total population. Thus Muslims were being admitted to the United States in a greater proportion than even their huge majority percentage of the total population in Syria itself. Obama clearly discriminated against Christians and other non-Muslim minority religious groups who needed refugee status protection the most, while vastly favoring the one group of refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries who needed protection the least– Sunni Muslims.

After declaring that Christians have “been horribly treated” by the refugee program under Obama, President Trump has sought to reverse the Obama administration’s disgraceful discrimination against Christian refugees. Unfortunately, he has been stymied to date by the courts.

The best way for President Trump to stop the genocide being perpetrated by ISIS on Christians and other religious minorities will be to continue on his course of completely annihilating the monster that Obama’s feckless policies allowed to grow out of control in the first place.

Imran Awan Made "Massive" Data Transfers

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 04:05

Imran Awan was the preferred IT man for former DNC boss Debbie Wasserman Schultz and other prominent Democrats. When Awan attempted to flee the country in July, authorities busted him for bank fraud, but for Andrew McCarthy, who prosecuted “Blind Sheik” Omar Abdel-Rahman, “this appears to be a real conspiracy, aimed at undermining American national security.”  Now some in Congress agree.

On Tuesday, Fox News reported, Rep. Scott Perry said Awan had made “massive” data transfers that posed a “substantial security threat.” Awan and four of his associates made 5,400 unauthorized logins on a single government server that belonged to Xavier Becerra, then head of House Democratic Caucus and now attorney general of California. 

On October 6, Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller reported that Awan’s attorney wants to bar authorities from recovering data off the hard drive from a laptop with the username “RepDWS.” Capitol police found that laptop in a phone booth in the Rayburn House Office Building after Imran Awan had been banned from the House network from which he made massive data transfers.

Xavier Becerra was one of five House Democratic Caucus members who hired Imran Awan in 2004 but Becerra made more payments to Awan than any other Caucus member. Awan had access to data from 45 House Democrats including members of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees. To access that kind of information requires a security clearance, and as Andrew McCarthy noted, Awan and his crew could not possibly have qualified for such a clearance

Florida Democrat Debbie Wasserman granted Awan free access to her computer and also brought aboard Abid Awan’s wife Natalia Sova and Awan’s brother Jamal. Wasserman Schultz refused to fire Awan even after he became the target of a criminal investigation, and she threatened investigators when they sought to inspect a laptop that belonged to the intrusive IT man.  

In August, Wasserman Schultz told the Sun-Sentinel she was concerned that Awan’s 

due process rights were “being violated,” that the Muslim was “put under scrutiny because of his religious faith,” and that “the right-wing media circus fringe” was jumping to “outrageous, egregious conclusions that they have ties to terrorists and that they were stealing data.” Wasserman Schultz also said it was absurd to conclude that Awan was trying to flee the country.

As Luke Rosiak noted, when Imran Awan tried to board a flight to Pakistan in July he was carrying documents with an alias in the Jackson Heights, Queens neighborhood of New York City, and possibly planning to relocate there under a different identity. According to prosecutors, Awan was taking “active measures” to hide evidence, such as wiping clean his cell phone. 

Awan’s attorney Chris Gowen is a former aide to Bill and Hillary Clinton. Gowen described Awan’s arrest as “clearly a right-wing media-driven prosecution by a United States Attorney’s Office that wants to prosecute people for working while Muslim.”

Some three months later, Rep. Scott Perry announced a “substantial security threat” from “massive” data breaches by the Democrats’ favorite IT man. Of all the IT men in all the IT companies in all the world, why did the Democrats hire Imran Awan? After learning that the Pakistani-born Muslim was under investigation, why did the Democrats keep paying him? And why did they bring on board other members of his family?

In his 5,400 unauthorized logins, what material did Awan take from members of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees?  Did Imran Awan send any classified information to his homeland Pakistan, which aids the Taliban and harbored Osama bin Laden? Or did he sell it off to Russia or perhaps North Korea?

What did the Democrats know about Awan’s data breaches, and when did they know it? Did Awan’s data have anything to do with all the DNC leaks last year? Is Mueller’s Russia probe a diversion from the massive data breaches by Awan and his family?

What, exactly, was on that secret server that House Democratic Caucus boss Xavier Becerra wanted to wipe clean? That is a key question, but Perry should expect little if any cooperation from Becerra, once on Hillary Clinton’s short list as a running mate. 

Becerra is Jerry Brown’s megaphone against Trump, and California is now officially a sanctuary state. Secretary of State Alex Padilla refuses to give voter information to a federal investigation on election fraud, so attorney general Becerra is not likely to come clean on the server. His office had no comment after Perry’s announcement. Security threats are not a new theme for the Pennsylvania Republican, a member of the Homeland Security subcommittee on terrorism and intelligence.

“Violent Islamist extremism is regarded by many security experts as the principle extremist threat to the United States,” said Rep. Perry in a September 22, 2016, statement for a hearing on radical Islamist terror.  

“It’s time to stop hiding behind a façade of political correctness. Radical Islamist terrorists threaten our freedoms and threaten our way of life. If we are too afraid to name our enemy, and to dig deep into their ideological motivations, how are we ever expected to destroy this scourge?” 

Rep. Perry could be the right man to lead a full congressional investigation on the Democrats’ IT man Imran Awan. 

Are We All Unconscious Racists?

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 04:04

Reprinted from City Journal.

Few academic ideas have been as eagerly absorbed into public discourse in recent years as “implicit bias.” Embraced by a president, a would-be president, and the nation’s top law-enforcement official, the implicit-bias conceit has launched a movement to remove the concept of individual agency from the law and spawned a multimillion-dollar consulting industry. The statistical basis on which it rests is now crumbling, but don’t expect its influence to wane anytime soon.

Implicit bias purports to answer the question: Why do racial disparities persist in household income, job status, and incarceration rates, when explicit racism has, by all measures, greatly diminished over the last half-century? The reason, according to implicit-bias researchers, lies deep in our brains, outside the reach of conscious thought. We may consciously embrace racial equality, but almost all of us harbor unconscious biases favoring whites over blacks, the proponents claim. And those unconscious biases, which the implicit-bias project purports to measure scientifically, drive the discriminatory behavior that, in turn, results in racial inequality.

The need to plumb the unconscious to explain ongoing racial gaps arises for one reason: it is taboo in universities and mainstream society to acknowledge intergroup differences in interests, abilities, cultural values, or family structure that might produce socioeconomic disparities.

The implicit-bias idea burst onto the academic scene in 1998 with the rollout of a psychological instrument called the implicit association test (IAT). Created by social psychologists Anthony Greenwald and Mahzarin Banaji, with funding from the National Science Foundation and National Institute of Mental Health, the IAT was announced as a breakthrough in prejudice studies: “The pervasiveness of prejudice, affecting 90 to 95 percent of people, was demonstrated today . . . by psychologists who developed a new tool that measures the unconscious roots of prejudice,” read the press release.

The race IAT (there are non-race varieties) displays a series of black faces and white faces on a computer; the test subject must sort them quickly by race into two categories, represented by the “i” and “e” keys on the keyboard. Next, the subject sorts “good” or “positive” words like “pleasant,” and “bad” or “negative” words like “death,” into good and bad categories, represented by those same two computer keys. The sorting tasks are then intermingled: faces and words appear at random on the screen, and the test-taker has to sort them with the “i” and “e” keys. Next, the sorting protocol is reversed. If, before, a black face was to be sorted using the same key as the key for a “bad” word, now a black face is sorted with the same key as a “good” word and a white face sorted with the reverse key. If a subject takes longer sorting black faces using the computer key associated with a “good” word than he does sorting white faces using the computer key associated with a “good” word, the IAT deems the subject a bearer of implicit bias. The IAT ranks the subject’s degree of implicit bias based on the differences in milliseconds with which he accomplishes the different sorting tasks; at the end of the test, he finds out whether he has a strong, moderate, or weak “preference” for blacks or for whites. A majority of test-takers (including many blacks) are rated as showing a preference for white faces. Additional IATs sort pictures of women, the elderly, the disabled, and other purportedly disfavored groups.

Greenwald and Banaji did not pioneer such response-time studies; psychologists already used response-time methodology to measure how closely concepts are associated in memory. And the idea that automatic cognitive processes and associations help us navigate daily life is also widely accepted in psychology. But Greenwald and Banaji, now at the University of Washington and Harvard University, respectively, pushed the response-time technique and the implicit-cognition idea into charged political territory. Not only did they confidently assert that any differences in sorting times for black and white faces flow from unconscious prejudice against blacks; they also claimed that such unconscious prejudice, as measured by the IAT, predicts discriminatory behavior. It is “clearly . . . established that automatic race preference predicts discrimination,” they wrote in their 2013 bestseller Blind Spot, which popularized the IAT. And in the final link of their causal chain, they hypothesized that this unconscious predilection to discriminate is a cause of racial disparities: “It is reasonable to conclude not only that implicit bias is a cause of Black disadvantage but also that it plausibly plays a greater role than does explicit bias in explaining the discrimination that contributes to Black disadvantage.”

The implicit-bias conceit spread like wildfire. President Barack Obama denounced “unconscious” biases against minorities and females in science in 2016. NBC anchor Lester Holt asked Hillary Clinton during a September 2016 presidential debate whether “police are implicitly biased against black people.” Clinton answered: “Lester, I think implicit bias is a problem for everyone, not just police.” Then–FBI director James Comey claimed in a 2015 speech that “much research” points to the “widespread existence of unconscious bias.” “Many people in our white-majority culture,” Comey said, “react differently to a white face than a black face.” The Obama Justice Department packed off all federal law-enforcement agents to implicit-bias training. Clinton promised to help fund it for local police departments, many of which had already begun the training following the 2014 fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

A parade of journalists confessed their IAT-revealed preferences, including Malcolm Gladwell in his acclaimed book Blink. Corporate diversity trainers retooled themselves as purveyors of the new “science of bias.” And the legal academy started building the case that the concept of intentionality in the law was scientifically obtuse. Leading the charge was Jerry Kang, a UCLA law professor in the school’s critical race studies program who became UCLA’s fantastically paid vice chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in 2015 (starting salary: $354,900, now up to $444,000). “The law has an obligation to respond to changes in scientific knowledge,” Kang said in a 2015 lecture. “Federal anti-discrimination law has been fixated on, and obsessed with, conscious intent.” But the new “behavioral realism,” as the movement to incorporate IAT-inspired concepts into the law calls itself, shows that we “discriminate without the intent and awareness to discriminate.” If we look only for conscious intent, we will “necessarily be blind to a whole bunch of real harm that is painful and consequential,” he concluded. Kang has pitched behavioral realism to law firms, corporations, judges, and government agencies.

A battle is under way regarding the admissibility of IAT research in employment-discrimination lawsuits: plaintiffs’ attorneys regularly offer Anthony Greenwald as an expert witness; the defense tries to disqualify him. Greenwald has survived some defense challenges but has lost others. Kang is philosophical: “It might not matter if Tony’s expert testimony is kicked out now,” he said in his 2015 lecture—in ten years, everyone will know that our brains harbor hidden biases. And if that alleged knowledge becomes legally actionable, then every personnel decision can be challenged as the product of implicit bias. The only way to guarantee equality of opportunity would be to mandate equality of result through quotas, observes the University of Pennsylvania’s Philip Tetlock, a critic of the most sweeping IAT claims.

The potential reach of the behavioral-realism movement, which George Soros’s Open Society Foundation is underwriting, goes far beyond employment-discrimination litigation. Some employers are using the IAT to screen potential workers, diversity consultant Howard Ross says. More and more college administrations require members of faculty-search committees to take the IAT to confront their hidden biases against minority and female candidates. Promotion committees at many corporations undergo the IAT. UCLA law school strongly encourages incoming law students to take the test to confront their implicit prejudice against fellow students; the University of Virginia might incorporate the IAT into its curriculum. Kang has argued for FCC regulation of how the news media portray minorities, to lessen implicit prejudice. If threats to fair treatment “lie in every mind,” as Kang and Banaji argued in a 2006 California Law Review article, then the scope for government intervention in private transactions to overcome those threats is almost limitless.

But though proponents refer to IAT research as “science”—or, in Kang’s words, “remarkable,” “jaw-dropping” science—their claims about its social significance leapfrogged ahead of scientific validation. There is hardly an aspect of IAT doctrine that is not now under methodological challenge.

Any social-psychological instrument must pass two tests to be considered accurate: reliability and validity. A psychological instrument is reliable if the same test subject, taking the test at different times, achieves roughly the same score each time. But IAT bias scores have a lower rate of consistency than is deemed acceptable for use in the real world—a subject could be rated with a high degree of implicit bias on one taking of the IAT and a low or moderate degree the next time around. A recent estimate puts the reliability of the race IAT at half of what is considered usable. No evidence exists, in other words, that the IAT reliably measures anything stable in the test-taker.

But the fiercest disputes concern the IAT’s validity. A psychological instrument is deemed “valid” if it actually measures what it claims to be measuring—in this case, implicit bias and, by extension, discriminatory behavior. If the IAT were valid, a high implicit-bias score would predict discriminatory behavior, as Greenwald and Banaji asserted from the start. It turns out, however, that IAT scores have almost no connection to what ludicrously counts as “discriminatory behavior” in IAT research—trivial nuances of body language during a mock interview in a college psychology laboratory, say, or a hypothetical choice to donate to children in Colombian, rather than South African, slums. Oceans of ink have been spilled debating the statistical strength of the correlation between IAT scores and lab-induced “discriminatory behavior” on the part of college students paid to take the test. The actual content of those “discriminatory behaviors” gets mentioned only in passing, if at all, and no one notes how remote those behaviors are from the discrimination that we should be worried about.

Even if we accept at face value that the placement of one’s chair in a mock lab interview or decisions in a prisoner’s-dilemma game are significant “discriminatory behaviors,” the statistical connection between IAT scores and those actions is negligible. A 2009 meta-analysis of 122 IAT studies by Greenwald, Banaji, and two management professors found that IAT scores accounted for only 5.5 percent of the variation in laboratory-induced “discrimination.” Even that low score was arrived at by questionable methods, as Jesse Singal discussed in a masterful review of the IAT literature in New York. A team of IAT skeptics—Fred Oswald of Rice University, Gregory Mitchell of the University of Virginia law school, Hart Blanton of the University of Connecticut, James Jaccard of New York University, and Philip Tetlock—noticed that Greenwald and his coauthors had counted opposite behaviors as validating the IAT. If test subjects scored high on implicit bias via the IAT but demonstrated better behavior toward out-group members (such as blacks) than toward in-group members, that was a validation of the IAT on the theory that the subjects were overcompensating for their implicit bias. But studies that found a correlation between a high implicit-bias score and discriminatory behavior toward out-group members also validated the IAT. In other words: heads, I win; tails, I win.

Academic research has convinced companies that implicit bias plays a role in their hiring practices, but the firms can provide few examples of qualified minority candidates being denied a job. (JIM WEST/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO) Academic research has convinced companies that implicit bias plays a role in their hiring practices, but the firms can provide few examples of qualified minority candidates being denied a job. (JIM WEST/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO)

Greenwald and Banaji now admit that the IAT does not predict biased behavior. The psychometric problems associated with the race IAT “render [it] problematic to use to classify persons as likely to engage in discrimination,” they wrote in 2015, just two years after their sweeping claims in Blind Spot. The IAT should not be used, for example, to select a bias-free jury, maintains Greenwald. “We do not regard the IAT as diagnosing something that inevitably results in racist or prejudicial behavior,” he told The Chronicle of Higher Education in January. Their fallback position: though the IAT does not predict individual biased behavior, it predicts discrimination and disadvantage in the aggregate. “Statistically small effects” can have “societally large effects,” they have argued. If a society has higher levels of implicit bias against blacks as measured on the IAT, it will allegedly have higher levels of discriminatory behavior. Hart Blanton, one of the skeptics, dismisses this argument. If you don’t know what an instrument means on an individual level, you don’t know what it means in the aggregate, he told New York’s Singal. In fairness to Greenwald and Banaji, it is true that a cholesterol score, say, is more accurate at predicting heart attacks the larger the sample of subjects. But too much debate exists about what the IAT actually measures for much confidence about large-scale effects.

Initially, most of the psychology profession accepted the startling claim that one’s predilection to discriminate in real life is revealed by the microsecond speed with which one sorts images. But possible alternative meanings of a “pro-white” IAT score are now beginning to emerge. Older test-takers may have cognitive difficulty with the shifting instructions of the IAT. Objective correlations between group membership and socioeconomic outcomes may lead to differences in sorting times, as could greater familiarity with one ethnic-racial group compared with another. These alternative meanings should have been ruled out before the world learned that a new “scientific” test had revealed the ubiquity of prejudice.

The most recent meta-analysis deals another blow to the conventional IAT narrative. This study, not yet formally published, looked at whether changes in implicit bias allegedly measured by the IAT led to changes in “discriminatory behavior”—defined as the usual artificial lab conduct. While small changes in IAT scores can be induced in a lab setting through various psychological priming techniques, they do not produce changes in behavior, the study found. The analyses’ seven authors propose a radical possibility that would halt the implicit-bias crusade in its tracks: “perhaps automatically retrieved associations really are causally inert”—that is, they have no relationship to how we act in the real world. Instead of “acting as a ‘cognitive monster’ that inevitably leads to bias-consistent thought and behavior,” the researchers propose, “automatically retrieved associations could reflect the residual ‘scar’ of concepts that are frequently paired together within the social environment.” If this is true, they write, there would need to be a “reevaluation of some of the central assumptions that drive implicit bias research.” That is an understatement.

Among the study’s authors are Brian Nosek of the University of Virginia and Calvin Lai of Washington University in St. Louis. Both have collaborated with Greenwald and Banaji in furthering the dominant IAT narrative; Nosek was Banaji’s student and helped put the IAT on the web. It is a testament to their scientific integrity that they have gone where the data have led them. (Greenwald warned me in advance about their meta-analysis: “There has been a recent rash of popular press critique based on a privately circulated ‘research report’ that has not been accepted by any journal, and has been heavily criticized by editor and reviewers of the one journal to which I know it was submitted,” he wrote in an e-mail. But the Nosek, Lai, et al. study was not “privately circulated”; it is available on the web, as part of the open-science initiative that Nosek helped found.)

The fractious debate around the IAT has been carried out exclusively at the micro-level, with hundreds of articles burrowing deep into complicated statistical models to assess minute differences in experimental reaction times. Meanwhile, outside the purview of these debates, two salient features of the world go unnoticed by the participants: the pervasiveness of racial preferences and the behavior that lies behind socioeconomic disparities.

One would have difficulty finding an elite institution today that does not pressure its managers to hire and promote as many blacks and Hispanics as possible. Nearly 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies have some sort of diversity infrastructure, according to Howard Ross. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requires every business with 100 or more employees to report the racial composition of its workforce. Employers know that empty boxes for blacks and other “underrepresented minorities” can trigger governmental review. Some companies tie manager compensation to the achievement of “diversity,” as Roger Clegg documented before the U.S. Civil Rights Commission in 2006. “If people miss their diversity and inclusion goals, it hurts their bonuses,” the CEO of Abbott Laboratories said in a 2002 interview. Since then, the diversity pressure has only intensified. Google’s “objectives and key results” for managers include increased diversity. Walmart and other big corporations require law firms to put minority attorneys on the legal teams that represent them. “We are terminating a firm right now strictly because of their inability to grasp our diversity expectations,” Walmart’s general counsel announced in 2005. Any reporter seeking a surefire story idea can propose tallying up the minorities in a particular firm or profession; Silicon Valley has become the favorite subject of bean-counting “exposés,” though Hollywood and the entertainment industry are also targets of choice. Organizations will do everything possible to avoid such negative publicity.

In colleges, the mandate to hire more minority (and female) candidates hangs over almost all faculty recruiting. (Asians don’t count as a “minority” or a “person of color” for academic diversity purposes, since they are academically competitive.) Deans have canceled faculty-search results and ordered the hiring committee to go back to the drawing board if the finalists are not sufficiently “diverse.” (See “Multiculti U,” Spring 2013.) Every selective college today admits black and Hispanic students with much weaker academic qualifications than white and Asian students, as any high school senior knows. At the University of Michigan, for example, an Asian with the same GPA and SAT scores as the median black admit had zero chance in 2005 of admission; a white with those same scores had a 1 percent chance of admission. At Arizona State University, a white with the same academic credentials as the average black admit had a 2 percent chance of admission in 2006; that average black had a 96 percent chance of admission. The preferences continue into graduate and professional schools. UCLA and UC Berkeley law schools admit blacks at a 400 percent higher rate than can be explained on race-neutral grounds, though California law in theory bans them from using racial preferences. From 2013 to 2016, medical schools nationally admitted 57 percent of black applicants with low MCATs of 24 to 26 but only 8 percent of whites and 6 percent of Asians with those same low scores, as Frederick Lynch reported in the New York Times. The reason for these racial preferences is administrators’ burning desire to engineer a campus with a “critical mass” of black and Hispanic faces.

Similar pressures exist in the government and nonprofit sectors. In the New York Police Department, blacks and Hispanics are promoted ahead of whites for every position to which promotion is discretionary, as opposed to being determined by an objective exam. In the 1990s, blacks and Hispanics became detectives almost five years earlier than whites and took half the time as whites did to be appointed to deputy inspector or deputy chief.

And yet, we are to believe that alleged millisecond associations between blacks and negative terms are a more powerful determinant of who gets admitted, hired, and promoted than these often explicit and heavy-handed preferences. If a competitively qualified black female PhD in computer engineering walks into Google, say, we are to believe that a recruiter will unconsciously find reasons not to hire her, so as to bring on an inferior white male. The scenario is preposterous on its face—in fact, such a candidate would be snapped up in an instant by every tech firm and academic department across the country. The same is true for competitively qualified black lawyers, accountants, and portfolio managers.

If such discrimination is so ubiquitous, there should be victims aplenty that the proponents of implicit bias can point to. They cannot.

I twice asked Anthony Greenwald via e-mail if he was aware of qualified candidates in faculty searches anywhere who were overlooked or rejected because of skin color. He ignored the question. I twice asked Jerry Kang’s special assistant for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion via e-mail if Vice Chancellor Kang was aware of faculty candidates for hire or promotion at UCLA or elsewhere who were overlooked because of implicit bias. Kang’s assistant ignored the question. Howard Ross has been a prominent corporate diversity trainer for 30 years, with clients that include hundreds of Fortune 500 companies, Harvard and Stanford medical schools, and two dozen other colleges and universities. I asked him in a phone interview if he was aware of the most qualified candidate for a business or academic position not getting hired or promoted because of bias. Ross merely said that there was a “ton of research that demonstrates that it happens all the time,” without providing examples.

PricewaterhouseCoopers has spearheaded an economy-wide diversity initiative, dubbed the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™. Nearly 200 CEOs have signed a pledge to send their employees to implicit-bias training; in the case of PricewaterhouseCoopers, that means packing off 50,000 employees to the trainers. Any organization spending a large sum of money on a problem would presumably have a firm evidentiary basis that the problem exists. Megan DiSciullo is a spokesman for the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion and a member of PricewaterhouseCoopers’s human resources department. I asked her if she was aware of candidates who should have been hired at PwC but weren’t because of implicit bias. Our telephone exchange went as follows:

DiSciullo: I’m not aware of someone not getting a job because of bias.

Me: But are your managers making suboptimal decisions because of bias?

DiSciullo: The coalition as a group recognizes that everyone has unconscious bias; we are committed to training our managers to be better.

Me: Your managers are not making optimal decisions because of bias?

DiSciullo: Everyone has unconscious bias. I’m not saying that anyone is not being hired or promoted, but it’s part of the workplace.

Me: In what way? People are being treated differently?

DiSciullo: People have bias, but it manifests itself differently. I think you have an agenda which I am trying to unpack. The facts are clear that people have biases and that they could bring them to the workplace. Corporations recognize that fact and want to build the most inclusive workplace.

Me: You base the statement that everyone has biases on what?

DiSciullo: On science and on the Harvard Business Review.

Other signatories to the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion include Cisco, Qualcomm, KPMG, Accenture, HP, Procter & Gamble, and New York Life, several of which are on the steering committee. These companies either failed to respond to preliminary requests for an interview about the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion or went silent when asked if they knew of implicit bias infecting hiring and promotion decisions. Obviously, such reticence may be motivated by a fear of litigation. But it is also likely that there are no known victims of implicit bias.

The insistence that implicit bias routinely denies competitively qualified minority candidates jobs and promotions also requires overlooking the relentless pressure to take race into account in employment and admissions decisions. I asked Greenwald if implicit bias overrides these institutional pressures to hire and promote by race. He evaded the question. “ ‘Override’ is the wrong word,” he wrote back. “Implicit biases function as filters on perception and judgment, operating outside of awareness and often rendering perception and judgment invalid.” In response to a follow-up question, he denied that those institutional pressures were all that strong, as evidenced by the fact that many diversity programs produced no “beneficial effect.” Another explanation for the persistent lack of proportional representation in the workplace, however, is that there are not proportional numbers of qualified minorities in the hiring pipeline.

Diversity trainers invoke behavioral economics to explain why explicit diversity mandates don’t override implicit bias. This field, popularized by the work of cognitive psychologist Daniel Kahneman, has shown that people often fail to use information in rational ways. “We now know that most decisions are visceral and emotional,” said Ross, in response to my incredulity that a college physics department would not leap at a competitively qualified black PhD candidate. Noelle Emerson, a high-profile diversity trainer in Silicon Valley, claims that because companies are “not purely rational actors,” they will as a group discriminate against the most qualified candidate. “People will be left out of entire industries,” she said. “People from stereotyped groups have a harder time getting hired and promoted.”

But incentives can overcome the flaws in rational analysis identified by behavioral economics. The incentive for race-conscious employment decisions is so strong that the burden of proof is on those who maintain that implicit bias will override it. The fact is that blacks on the academic market and in many other fields enjoy a huge hiring advantage.

Yet they are still not proportionally represented in the workplace, despite decades of trying to engineer “diversity.” You can read through hundreds of implicit-bias studies and never come across the primary reason: the academic skills gap. Given the gap’s size, anything resembling proportional representation can be achieved only through massive hiring preferences.

From 1996 to 2015, the average difference between the mean black score on the math SAT and the mean white score was 0.92 standard deviation, reports a February 2017 Brookings Institution study. The average black score on the math SAT was 428 in 2015; the average white score was 534, and the average Asian score was 598. The racial gaps were particularly great at the tails of the distribution. Among top scorers—those scoring between 750 and 800—60 percent were Asian, 33 percent were white, and 2 percent were black. At the lowest end—scores between 300 and 350—6 percent were Asian, 21 percent were white, and 35 percent were black. If the SATs were redesigned to increase score variance—that is, to spread out the scores across a greater range by adding more hard questions and more easy questions—the racial gaps would widen.

The usual poverty explanations for the SAT gap don’t hold up. In 1997, white students from households with incomes of $10,000 or less scored better than black students from households with incomes of $80,000 to $100,000. At the University of California, race predicts SAT scores better than class.

Proponents of racial preferences routinely claim that the SATs are culturally biased and do not measure actual cognitive skills. If that were the case, blacks would do better in college than their SAT scores would predict. In fact, blacks do worse. Further, the math test is not amenable to the “cultural-bias” criticism (unless one believes that math is itself biased). Low scores reflect an actual difficulty with math. Fifty-four percent of black elementary and high school students in California, for example, do not meet the state’s math standards, compared with 21 percent of white students and 11 percent of Asian students. The chancellor of the California Community Colleges system proposed in July 2017 that intermediate algebra be removed from graduation requirements for associate’s degrees because blacks and Hispanics have such a hard time passing the course. Math difficulties are the greatest reason that, in California, only 35 percent of black students earn their associate’s degrees, compared with 54 percent of whites and 65 percent of Asians.

The math SAT and algebra require abstract quantitative reasoning. The math achievement gap will most affect hiring in fields with advanced quantitative requirements. In 2016, 1 percent of all PhDs in computer science went to blacks, or 17 out of 1,659 PhDs, according to the Computing Research Association’s annual Taulbee Survey. Three blacks received a PhD in computer engineering, or 3.4 percent of the total. Blacks earned 0.7 percent of master’s degrees in computer science and 3 percent of undergraduate degrees in computer science. Yet the biggest Silicon Valley firms are wedded to the idea that their own implicit bias is responsible for the racial (and gender) composition of their workforce. A member of Google’s “People Analytics” (i.e., HR) department, Brian Welle, lectures widely about implicit bias and the IAT; Google declined to let me interview him or a People Analytics colleague. (In August 2017, Google’s CEO fired James Damore, a computer engineer, for questioning the assumptions behind the company’s implicit-bias training, especially regarding gender.)

A host of other professions beyond the sciences draw on the analytic skills required by algebra and the math SAT. Business management and consulting, for example, call for logic and conceptual flexibility. Anyone in medicine, including nursing, should be able to master basic algebra. These professions should not be tainted with the implicit-bias charge when they are hiring from the same finite pool of competitively qualified blacks.

The SAT’s verbal sections show the same 100-point test-score gap between whites and blacks as the math section. Pace the critics, that is not an artifact of cultural bias: the average black 12th-grader reads at the level of the average white eighth-grader. In California, 44 percent of black students through the high school grades do not meet state standards in English language arts and literacy, compared with 16 percent of white students and 11 percent of Asian students.

Like the SAT, the LSAT also measures reading comprehension and verbal reasoning. It has a greater test-score gap than the SAT: 1.06 standard deviations between average black and white scores in 2014. If the LSAT test-score gap were the result of cultural bias, the LSAT would under-predict black performance in law school. It does not. The majority of black law students cluster in the bottom tenth of their class, thanks to racial preferences in admissions. The median black law school GPA is at the 6th percentile of the median white GPA, meaning that 94 percent of whites do better than the median black. This achievement gap cannot be chalked up to implicit bias on the part of law school professors. The overwhelming majority of law school exams are still graded blind, meaning that the identity of the test-taker is concealed from the grader. The bar exam is also graded blind. If blacks were discriminated against in law school by professors, they should do better on the bar exam than their GPAs would predict. They do not. A study by the Law School Admissions Council found that 22 percent of black test-takers never pass the bar examination after five attempts, compared with 3 percent of white test-takers. Yet the relatively low number of blacks among law-firm partners is routinely attributed—by the firms themselves—to hiring and promotion committee bias. In fact, corporate law firms hire blacks at rates that exceed their representation among law school graduates. But because the preferences in their favor are so large—the law school GPAs of black associates are at least a standard deviation below those of white associates—black attrition from corporate firms is high. By the time the partnership decision rolls around, few black associates remain at their firms to be promoted, as UCLA law professor Richard Sander has shown.

Implicit-bias researchers do not discuss the cognitive skills gap. I asked Greenwald if gaps in academic preparedness should also be considered in explaining socioeconomic disparities. He responded simply by offering up more wellsprings of bias: “There are sources of unintended disparities other than implicit bias (esp. institutional discrimination and in-group favoritism).” But a 2014 study for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago by economist Bhashkar Mazumder found that differences in cognitive skills measured by the Armed Forces Qualification Test account for most of the black–white difference in intergenerational mobility. Blacks and whites with the same score on the AFQT have similar rates of upward and downward mobility. The AFQT should over-predict upward mobility for blacks if bias were holding them back; it does not.

The iron grip of the implicit-bias concept on the corporate world will merely result in a loss of efficiency as workers are again trundled off to this latest iteration of diversity training and are further pressured to take race into account in personnel decisions. Most ominously for productivity, signatories to the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion have pledged to encourage more conversations among their employees about race, even though a recent report found that 70 percent of employees are not comfortable discussing race relations at work—understandably, given the potential tensions created by diversity preferences and the oversaturation of race talk in American life. Procter & Gamble is on the steering committee of the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion. You would think that its managers would have better things to do than lead bull sessions about racial microaggressions (alleged racial slights too small for ordinary detection), in light of the company’s lackluster growth over the last decade and the ongoing fight for control of its board.

But it is in law enforcement that the mania for implicit-bias training exacts its most serious cost. Police officers unquestionably need more hands-on tactical training to avoid ending up in a position that requires the use of force. Officers need tools for keeping their cool in highly charged, hostile encounters. They should practice de-escalating confrontations and gaining voluntary compliance. Some officers pay out of their own pocket for tactical training, since their departments offer too little of it. But now there will be less time and departmental money available for the necessary skills upgrades because precious training resources are being diverted to the implicit-bias industry. And that wasteful training is being carried out in the name of a problem that does not even exist: bias-driven police killings of black men.

Joshua Correll, a psychologist at the University of Colorado, has been studying police shoot/ don’t shoot decisions for years. His experiments require officers to react to rapidly changing images of potential targets on a computer screen. He has found that officers are no more likely to shoot an unarmed black target than an unarmed white one. Officers are slightly quicker to identify an armed black target as armed than an armed white target, and slower to identify an unarmed black target as unarmed than an unarmed white target. But the faster cognitive processing speeds for stereotype-congruent targets (i.e., armed blacks and unarmed whites) do not result in officers shooting unarmed black targets at a higher rate than unarmed white ones.

Correll’s conclusions were confirmed in 2016 with the release of four studies that found either no antiblack bias in police shootings or a bias that favored blacks. Three of the studies—by Roland Fryer, Ted Miller, and the Center for Policing Equity—reviewed data on actual police use of force; a fourth put officers in a more sophisticated life-size video simulator than the computers that Correll uses. That study, led by the University of Washington’s Lois James, found that officers waited significantly longer before shooting an armed black target than an armed white target and were three times less likely to shoot an unarmed black target than an unarmed white target. James hypothesized that officers were second-guessing themselves when confronting black suspects because of the current climate around race and policing.

Both experimental and data-based research, in other words, dispel the claim that police officers are killing blacks out of implicit bias. That has not stopped the implicit-bias juggernaut, however. Police departments across the country are subjecting their officers to implicit-bias training at considerable cost; any controversial shooting invariably triggers a pledge to bring in the bias consultants. The New York Police Department next year will start requiring recruits and officers already on the job to attend a full-day seminar in implicit bias, time that could be better spent practicing tactical and communication skills.

Crime, Unfiltered

Harvard’s Project Implicit website, which publicly administers the IAT, offers an optional questionnaire before the race test, designed to measure explicit racial attitudes. The questionnaire instead demonstrates the worldview of bias researchers. Agreeing with such statements as: “Most big corporations are interested in treating their black and white employees equally,” “Black people should take the jobs that are available and then work their way up to better jobs,” or “Many black teenagers do not respect themselves or anyone else” will undoubtedly earn you an F in tolerance and understanding. (The project managers have not yet revealed survey results.) The statement about black teenagers, at the very least, is fully supported by empirical crime data and individual instances of youth crime, culled from a random handful of cities over the last half-year.

In late August 2017, for example, a group of four black teens and young adults went on an armed-robbery rampage in Chicago and Indiana, targeting the elderly in particular. On August 24, two of the robbers, in hoodies, jumped out of an SUV and demanded that a 73-year-old man, strolling in his Southwest Side Chicago neighborhood, turn over his wallet, phone, and keys. He refused and was shot in the abdomen, reported the Chicago Tribune. Days before, within a few minutes’ time, the same group had tried to rob an 85-year-old man and a 67-year-old man in Indiana. Shortly thereafter, they robbed a 33-year-old woman walking with her 11-year-old daughter. The group is suspected of up to 20 armed robberies.

In Baltimore in June 2017, a 37-year-old mother of eight called the police after someone threatened her son during a dispute over a stolen bike seat. After the cops left, 18-year-old Darius Neal returned and shot her dead in front of her children. Also that month, four 16-year-olds beat a city commissioner in downtown Baltimore and stole his two phones and wallet. The commissioner runs antiviolence programs for the city.

Baltimore prosecutors charged a 17-year-old with a triple shooting over the summer, part of a wave of gun violence that left 11 local juveniles dead and 25 wounded through the first eight months of 2017.

In early June 2017, NYPD officers responded to a report of gunfire at a party in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. Officer Dalsh Vere was questioning a 15-year-old in a stolen Honda at 11:50 PM when the 15-year-old floored the accelerator and dragged Vere two blocks. Vere was left in a coma with brain trauma. The boy had prior convictions for possession of stolen property, menacing, and burglary. His teen passengers were charged with hindering prosecution.

At least three times from April to June, groups of turnstile-jumping teens—in one case, numbering up to 60—beat and robbed passengers on the Bay Area Rapid Transit system. A similar group attacked a carnival near the Oakland Coliseum, pummeling workers and stealing prizes from the game booths. BART managers refused to release video from the incidents because doing so would allegedly perpetuate false racial stereotypes.

In March, more than 100 teens marauded through downtown Philadelphia, beating and tasing people, jumping on the hoods of cars, and running through traffic. A 19-year-old shot two Miami officers ambush-style as they were sitting in an unmarked van in a housing project. One of the officers had previously arrested the gunman on a weapons charge. And two Chicago boys, 14 and 15, participated in a gang rape of a 15-year-old girl that was filmed and broadcast live on Facebook. The victim’s family has subsequently been harassed by local children; a group of girls beat up the victim’s 12-year-old sister in retaliation for the victim’s having reported the assault. The attackers belong to a group of 35 to 50 teenage boys who have been terrorizing the elderly and children in the neighborhood, reports the Chicago Tribune.

In late February, a mob of teens in Baltimore surrounded a woman and yanked her by her ponytail to the ground, hit a homeless woman in the face, and punched a couple. A few days earlier, a teen mob attacked a man and stole his phone. The previous week, about 15 youths knocked a woman down at the University of Maryland and stole her phone.

All the IAT-inspired lecturing cannot change the reality that drives police activity: the incidence of crime. And that is a topic about which implicit-bias trainers have little to say, as I discovered while observing a three-day training program in Chesterfield, Missouri, in May 2016.

About three dozen officers and supervisors had come to this green suburb of St. Louis from as far away as Montana, Virginia, North Carolina, Michigan, and Kentucky for a “train-the-trainer” session offered by the premier antibias outfit in the field. Lori Fridell has been lecturing to police departments about bias-based policing since the “driving while black” notion emerged in the 1990s. But the implicit-bias idea has boosted her business enormously, as has the Black Lives Matter movement, jump-started by the Michael Brown shooting in nearby Ferguson in 2014. In 2016, Fridell was fielding a call a day from police departments, courts, and other parts of the criminal-justice system. The Obama Justice Department funded her organization’s implicit-bias trainings for police departments that it considered particularly troubled. Other agencies pay their own way.

A day and a half into the three-day Chesterfield training, the attendees had been informed that the Brown shooting was a function of implicit bias (even though Brown had tried to grab the officer’s gun and had assaulted him) and that the overrepresentation of blacks in prison was because blacks get longer sentences than whites for the same crime (in fact, sentences are equal, once criminal history is taken into account). The attendees had learned about the IAT; they had watched a video of singer Susan Boyle’s victory in the television show Britain’s Got Talent; they had viewed photos of a hot babe on a motorcycle and a female executive with a briefcase; they had written down stereotypes about the “unhoused”—not activities directly related, say, to serving a felony warrant safely. The theme of these exercises was that everyone carries around stereotypes, and that to be human is to be biased. In the case of police officers, the two trainers explained, those biases could put an officer’s life in jeopardy if he discounts a potential threat from a white female or a senior citizen because it is counter-stereotypical. But those implicit biases are also killing black men, said trainer Sandra Brown, a retired Palo Alto police public-affairs lieutenant.

Brown described a study by Stanford psychologist Jennifer Eberhardt in which Stanford students in a psych lab were shown a blurry object on a computer screen. The students were quicker to identify it correctly as a gun if they had been shown an image of a black face right beforehand. (Greenwald and Banaji also invoke this study.) “Black men are dying because we see the gun too quickly,” Brown said—never mind that the aforementioned research on police shootings shows that black men are not dying because police officers “see the gun too quickly.” Why might such a priming function occur? Eberhardt and her coauthors, of course, attributed it to irrational stereotype. But another explanation comes to mind: blacks are objectively more associated with crime. The Chesterfield training only tiptoed up to this topic.

It is “partially factual,” Brown said, that “people of color” are disproportionately involved in street crime. Actually, it is fully factual; street crime today is almost exclusively the province of “people of color.” In New York City, for example, blacks and Hispanics committed 98 percent of all shootings in 2016; whites, who, at 34 percent of the population, are the city’s largest racial group, committed less than 2 percent of all shootings. Those figures come from the victims of, and witnesses to, those shootings. Blacks, who are 23 percent of the population, committed 71 percent of New York’s gun violence—meaning that blacks in New York are 50 times more likely to commit a shooting than a white New Yorker. In Chicago, blacks and whites each make up a little less than a third of the city’s population: blacks commit 80 percent of all shootings; and whites, a little over 1 percent—making blacks in the Windy City 80 times more likely to commit a shooting than whites. These disparities are repeated in cities across the country. If you’re hit in a drive-by shooting, the odds are overwhelming that your assailant will be black or Hispanic—and that you will be, too, since blacks and Hispanics are usually the victims of such crimes. If the public associates blacks with violent street crime, it is facts that lead to that association.

Yes, a police action should not be based on a “stereotype,” as Brown rightly admonished. But crime is the overwhelming determinant of policing today, and to pretend that implicit bias drives policing distracts from the challenges that officers face. By day two, the audience was interjecting some social and political reality back into the training. “Are there any studies about black and white officer shootings?” asked a black officer. “No one’s outraged if I shoot a black, but if a white officer does, it will be pandemonium.” Another local officer said that he worried about the violence in the black community: “It’s so disproportionate. When black people are shot by other blacks, it doesn’t make the news. There were over a dozen people shot in a theater the other day. I worry about that disparity.”

Then an officer from Chesterfield raised the most pressing concern in the Black Lives Matter era: depolicing. Seventy-five percent of the apprehended shoplifters in the Chesterfield mall were black, he said. (Chesterfield’s black population was 2.6 percent in 2010.) “We struggle with depolicing; it’s difficult to tell officers to enforce the shoplifting laws when they will be confronted with the implicit bias issue.” That is the dilemma facing officers today: if they enforce the law, they will generate the racially disproportionate stop-and-arrest statistics that fuel specious implicit-bias charges. But it is the reality of crime, not bias, which results in those disproportions.

The trainers had nothing to offer to resolve this problem. “It’s hard to answer these tough questions,” Brown said. Her partner, Scott Wong, also from the Palo Alto police department, gamely tried to bring the discussion back to the official topic. “You need a passion for this; you have to believe in implicit bias and how it affects officers.” But while many officers could do with a courtesy tune-up, they are overwhelmingly not making bad decisions based on invidious stereotypes. What they are doing, on a daily basis, is trying to deal with the breakdown of family and bourgeois norms in inner-city areas that leads to so many young black men gang-banging in the streets. Joshua Correll has found that officers’ neurological threat response is more pronounced when confronting black suspects. Might that be because black males have made up 42 percent of all cop-killers over the last decade, though they are only 6 percent of the population? Or because the individuals involved in the daily drive-by shootings in American cities are overwhelmingly black? Until those realities of crime change, any allegedly “stereotypical” associations between blacks and crime in the public mind will remain justified and psychologically unavoidable. Those crime rates will also affect the pool of job candidates without a criminal record, further reducing the likelihood of proportional representation in the workplace.

The Chesterfield training did offer several profound pieces of advice: “Make every day the day you try to change someone’s perceptions” of the police, Brown said. She urged officers to get out of their cars and talk to civilians: “They need to know us; people are afraid to talk to us as human beings.” However sage this message, though, it should not be necessary to contract with a pricey implicit-bias trainer to convey it.

The implicit-bias crusade is agenda-driven social science. Banaji seems to see herself on a crusade. In an e-mail to New York’s Jesse Singal, she attacked both the credentials and the motives of the academics who have subjected the IAT narrative to critical scrutiny: “I don’t read commentaries from non-experts,” she wrote (those “non-experts” are overwhelmingly credentialed psychologists, like herself). “It scares people (fortunately, a negligible minority) that learning about our minds may lead people to change their behavior so that their behavior may be more in line with their ideals and aspirations.” The critics should explore with their “psychotherapists or church leaders” their alleged obsession with the race IAT, she suggested. Kang has accused critics of holding a “tournament of merit” vision of society and of having financial reasons for IAT skepticism. (Of course, the fact that Banaji and Kang hire themselves out as IB trainers, for “non-trivial . . . fees,” as Kang puts it about himself, and that Greenwald serves as a paid expert witness in discrimination lawsuits, does not lead Kang to impute financial reasons for such pro-IAT advocacy.)

A thought experiment is in order: if American blacks acted en masse like Asian-Americans for ten years in all things relevant to economic success—if they had similar rates of school attendance, paying attention in class, doing homework and studying for exams, staying away from crime, persisting in a job, and avoiding out-of-wedlock childbearing—and we still saw racial differences in income, professional status, and incarceration rates, then it would be well justified to seek an explanation in unconscious prejudice. But as long as the behavioral disparities remain so great, the minute distinctions of the IAT are a sideshow. America has an appalling history of racism and brutal subjugation, and we should always be vigilant against any recurrence of that history. But the most influential sectors of our economy today practice preferences in favor of blacks. The main obstacles to racial equality at present lie not in implicit bias but in culture and behavior.

Prager U Video: The "Anti-Hate" Group That Is a Hate Group

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 04:03

Below is Prager U's new video on how the SPLC is the "anti-hate" group that is actually the real hate group. To learn more about the SPLC's fomenting of hatred and lies, see DiscovertheNetwork.org's SPLC profile. Also join the Freedom Center's new campaign to oppose the SPLC's and BloodMoney.org's totalitarian blacklists of hate.

 

 

 

A Muslim Photographer’s Snapshots (Part 3)

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 04:01

Let’s remember Carlos Khalil Guzman’s claim that “Islam is against all types of oppression, literally all of it. It’s against racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, you name it.” We saw in a previous article how much bigger, and how much more deadly than the Atlantic Slave Trade was that of the Arabs in Africa. We also saw how deeply racist were the Muslim Arabs, offering by way of evidence a florilegium of quotes from the most respected of Arab historians and commentators.

Now we should examine Guzman’s claim that [Islam] is “against homophobia.” Really? Has he not paid attention to the practice of throwing homosexuals off of tall buildings, as the bezonians of the Islamic State have so enjoyed doing, of late, or hanging them from cranes, as is the means of punishment the Ayatollahs in Iran favor? Is he unaware that 2,000 “Palestinian” homosexuals have chosen to live in Israel, in order to be safe from their Muslim Arab brothers? Have these widely-publicized punishments escaped him? Is he aware of all the Muslim clerics who have ferociously denounced not just homosexuality, but homosexuals? Has he noticed that in 9 of the 10 nations that consider homosexuality a crime punishable by death the people are almost entirely Muslim (and the 10th, Nigeria, likely has a Muslim majority)? All of this makes a mockery of Guzman’s claim that “Islam is against homophobia.”

When, this past June, a one-room mosque opened in Berlin that permitted homosexuals and others in what is called the “LGBT community” to attend, and even officiate as imams, this became news all over the world, precisely because it was so unusual, for it went against the almost universal practice of Muslims by allowing open homosexuals to attend. The homosexual Imam Zahedi, from the only mosque in France that allows homosexuals, came to attend the opening of the Berlin mosque. We learned, too, that another such mosque was being ‘’planned” — i.e., does not yet exist — for the U.K. So in all of Europe, with 44 million Muslims (if we include European Russia), there will be perhaps three one-room mosques where homosexuals will be welcome. If we add in the number of such mosques believed to exist in the United States, Australia, and South Africa, the total comes to about ten mosques, for 1.5 billion Muslims. Or let’s double it: let’s say there are 20 such mosques, ten of which we know about. That’s still not very many for 1.5 billion worshippers. And like Seyran Ates, the lesbian imam of the Berlin mosque, who now receives round-the-clock protection because of the many credible death threats made against her, and when last heard from announced that she was getting “3,000 emails a day full of hate,” the imams of other mosques that permit homosexual worshippers have been similarly threatened, and presumably are receiving protection. All of which suggests that Islam is indeed homophobic, despite Guzman’s claim.

And where do we find the source of this homophobia? America’s first openly homosexual imam, one Daayiee Abdullah, likes to say that “nowhere in the Qur’an is homosexuality forbidden.” Apparently he has forgotten that the Qur’an contains numerous condemnations of homosexual activity, such as this: “And [We had sent] Lot when he said to his people, ‘Do you commit such immorality as no one has preceded you with from among the worlds? Indeed, you approach men with desire, instead of women. Rather, you are a transgressing people.’…And We rained upon them a rain [of stones]. Then see how was the end of the criminals.” (Qur’an 7:80-84). And in the Hadith, Muhammad specifies a punishment for the sin of the people of Lot (i.e., homosexuality): “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, ‘Whoever you find doing the action of the people of Lot, execute the one who does it and the one to whom it is done.’” (Sunan Abu Dawud 4462).

Will Carlos Khalil Guzman recognize these quotes from both the Qur’an and Hadith as the unambiguous denunciations of homosexuality that they are? Or will he continue to maintain, against all the evidence, that Islam is not “homophobic”? He might have said something else, after all. He might have claimed that “historically, like Christianity, Islam was homophobic but, thankfully, that is changing, with all sorts of LGBT-friendly mosques opening practically each week. So progress is being made.” It would still be false, but not quite to the degree as denying altogether that Islam is “homophobic.’

Guzman also claims that Islam “condemns…antisemitism.” Perhaps he hasn’t been studying the Qur’an as carefully as he might on this subject.

He could start with the evidence Robert Spencer has amassed of antisemitism, both in the Qur’an, with several dozen verses, and in telling quotes from Muslim theologians, both medieval and modern, who endorse that Qur’an-and-Hadith-based antisemitism.

Here is what the Qur’an has to say about the Jews:

“The Qur’an depicts the Jews as inveterately evil and bent on destroying the wellbeing of the Muslims. They are the strongest of all people in enmity toward the Muslims (5:82); as fabricating things and falsely ascribing them to Allah (2:79; 3:75, 3:181); claiming that Allah’s power is limited (5:64); loving to listen to lies (5:41); disobeying Allah and never observing his commands (5:13); disputing and quarreling (2:247); hiding the truth and misleading people (3:78); staging rebellion against the prophets and rejecting their guidance (2:55); being hypocritical (2:14, 2:44); giving preference to their own interests over the teachings of Muhammad (2:87); wishing evil for people and trying to mislead them (2:109); feeling pain when others are happy or fortunate (3:120); being arrogant about their being Allah’s beloved people (5:18); devouring people’s wealth by subterfuge (4:161); slandering the true religion and being cursed by Allah (4:46); killing the prophets (2:61); being merciless and heartless (2:74); never keeping their promises or fulfilling their words (2:100); being unrestrained in committing sins (5:79); being cowardly (59:13-14); being miserly (4:53); being transformed into apes and pigs for breaking the Sabbath (2:63-65; 5:59-60; 7:166); and more.”

To these excerpts from the Qur’an Spencer adds what the most respected Muslim scholars of the past have to say on the subject of the Jews:

The classic Qur’anic commentators do not mitigate the Qur’an’s words against Jews, but only add fuel to the fire. Ibn Kathir explained Qur’an 2:61 (“They were covered with humiliation and misery; they drew on themselves the wrath of Allah”) this way: “This Ayah [verse] indicates that the Children of Israel were plagued with humiliation, and that this will continue, meaning that it will never cease. They will continue to suffer humiliation at the hands of all who interact with them, along with the disgrace that they feel inwardly.” Another Middle Ages commentator of lingering influence, Abdallah ibn Umar al-Baidawi, explains the same verse this way: “The Jews are mostly humiliated and wretched either of their own accord, or out of coercion of the fear of having their jizya [punitive tax] doubled.”

Ibn Kathir notes Islamic traditions that predict that at the end of the world, “the Jews will support the Dajjal (False Messiah), and the Muslims, along with ‘Isa [Jesus], son of Mary, will kill the Jews.” The idea in Islam that the end times will be marked by Muslims killing Jews comes from the prophet Muhammad himself, who said, “The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. ‘O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.’” This is, not unexpectedly, a favorite motif among contemporary jihadists.”

And contemporary Islamic scholars continue to hammer on the anti-Jewish theme:

Not just contemporary jihadists, but modern-day mainstream Islamic authorities take these passages seriously. The former Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, who was the most respected cleric in the world among Sunni Muslims, called Jews “the enemies of Allah, descendants of apes and pigs.” The late Saudi sheikh Abd al-Rahman al-Sudayyis, imam of the principal mosque in the holiest city in Islam, Mecca, said in a sermon that Jews are “the scum of the human race, the rats of the world, the violators of pacts and agreements, the murderers of the prophets, and the offspring of apes and pigs.”

Another Saudi sheikh, Ba’d bin Abdallah al-Ajameh al-Ghamidi, made the connection explicit: “The current behavior of the brothers of apes and pigs, their treachery, violation of agreements, and defiling of holy places … is connected with the deeds of their forefathers during the early period of Islam–which proves the great similarity between all the Jews living today and the Jews who lived at the dawn of Islam.”

With this kind of overwhelming evidence, how can Guzman with a straight face make his claims for a “tolerant, charitable, compassionate” Islam that condemns “racism, homophobia, antisemitism”? Can it possibly be that he’s overlooked all this? Or is he merely engaging in Taqiyya? Whether he is truly this ignorant, or is being deliberately misleading, about Islam, he is not a guide whom anyone can sensibly trust.

Guzman’s own favorite verse from the Quran is about how Islam guides everyone to connect with their humanity.

“The line, taken from chapter 29, verse 2, reads, “Do the people think that they will be left alone on saying, We believe, and not be tried?”

″[The verse] is meaningful to me [Guzman] because it is a constant reminder that God never does anything to punish us, rather every experience good or bad is God’s way of keeping us and guiding us toward the right path, one of compassion, understanding, justice, knowledge and love,” Guzman told HuffPost. “Islam is a guide to help everyone connect with their humanity regardless of ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or political view.”

Let’s take these claims of Guzman in turn.

1. “God never does anything to punish us” — the Qur’an is full of commands that if we don’t fulfill, punishment of all kinds follow. Allah may choose to postpone some punishments for the afterlife, but that is his choice. Throughout the Qur’an, there is mention of Allah punishing his enemies not directly, but through humans fulfilling his commands. For example, one of the Jihad verses reads “Fight them; Allah will punish them by your hands” (9:14)

2. Allah is “keeping us and guiding us toward the right path, one of compassion, understanding, justice, knowledge and love.” There is precious little “compassion” toward Unbelievers in either the Qur’an or Hadith. Believers are commanded not to love, but to hate the Unbelievers, not to take them as friends, and to be guided by the principle of Al Wala Wal Bara — that is, “loving and disavowal” for the sake of Allah. One must love all that has to do with Allah, including those who share the deep, that is fellow Muslims and, at the same time, hate the Unbelievers for the sake of Allah. It would be fascinating to find out from Carlos Khalil Guzman what he thinks of this doctrine. As for this supposed right path of the Believer, “one of compassion, understanding, justice, knowledge, and love” — these are merely so much feel-good boilerplate, that have nothing do with the harsh reality of Islam, that uncompromisingly divides the world between Muslim and Infidel, and divides the terrestrial globe between Dar al-Islam, the lands where Islam dominates, and Dar al-Harb, the lands where non-Muslims still prevail. Between the two camps there must exist a state of permanent war, until Islam everywhere dominates, and Muslims rule, everywhere.

Guzman’s hope is that the series will serve as an educational tool for people who have been fed false narratives about Islam. He hopes it also demonstrates how Muslims were an integral part of the United States’ history and culture ever since the first Muslims arrived in the Americas as African slaves.

“Fed false narratives?” Which false narratives are those? That Muslims are taught the duty, incumbent upon them, of waging jihad warfare against the Infidels, until Islam, dominates, and Muslims, rule everywhere? That Muslims have a right to demand of non-Muslims that they pay a tax, the Jizyah, if they want to continue to practice their religion? That Muslims must not abandon Islam for another religion, on pain of death? Or that mockery of Muhammad must be punished by death? Or that there are several Qur’anic verses telling Muslims to strike terror in the hearts of the Infidels, and that then expand upon the various ways this can be done? Or that Muslims are told not to take Christians and Jews as friends “for they are friends only with each other”(5:51)? Are those the “false narratives” that we are all being fed? We need Carlos Khalil Guzman to tell us just what he has in mind.

“There’s always been a Muslim presence in the country. The values that our Constitution upholds are part of Islam, if people only took the time to learn about Islam,” Guzman said. “Islam is all about justice.”

This nunc-pro-tunc backdating of a Muslim presence in America is a staple of Islamic propaganda. The most comical example of this was when a State Department spokesman asserted — repeating a bizarre Muslim claim–that Muslims accompanied Columbus on his first voyage. This story arose, apparently, from the fact that Columbus took with him, as navigator and potential interpreter (Columbus thought he might run into Hebrew-speaking peoples) Luis de Torres, a converso (a Jew who converted to Christianity) who also knew some Arabic. It was assumed, in the retelling by Muslims, that because of that, Torres must have been an Arab and a Muslim. As for this “Muslim presence that ‘has always been…in the country,” the fact that some slaves brought from Africa were Muslims means a lot less than Guzman seems to think. How many of the slaves were Muslims? Figures from 5% to 30% are invoked, but no one has yet provided convincing data for any of them; these figures seem plucked out of the ether. One thing is clear: none of the slaveowners seemed aware of Muslims among their slaves, nor did the non-Muslim slaves leave testimony about fellow slaves who were Muslim. If they attracted no comment, perhaps that is because there were very few of them. There undoubtedly were some Muslims, but how many? And how long did Islam last in those early days? Without any mosques or madrasas, above all without any Qur’ans, and certainly no copies of the Hadith or Sira, Islam could not have been passed on to a second generation. Wherever it might have been found, it would have quickly disappeared. And in an environment where slaves were encouraged to convert to Christianity, that would make clinging to Islam even more unlikely.

As for Guzman’s claim that “the values that our Constitution upholds are part of Islam, if people only took the time to learn about Islam,” he has it exactly backwards. For anyone who “takes the time” to learn about Islam will quickly understand how Islam flatly contradicts the “values” of our Constitution. In the first place, we have a government which owes its legitimacy to how well it expresses the will of the people, through representative democracy. In Islam, the government owes its legitimacy to how well it expresses the will of Allah, as set down in the Qur’an. A despot may rule, provided he is a good Muslim. Most Muslim states are run by despots; only a very few can claim, and that only intermittently, and for very short periods — usually ending with a bullet or a bomb — to be even semi-democracies. See the fates of Anwar Sadat in Egypt, and of, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his daughter Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan.

The most important part of our Constitution are the rights contained in the First Amendment. These include the right to free speech. In Islam, there is no free speech when it comes to Islam itself. Criticism or mockery of Muhammad can be, and in many Muslim countries is, punishable by death, just as they were in Muhammad’s time. See Asma bint Marwan, Abu ‘Afak, Ka’b ibn al-Ashraf. The mere charge against someone who, it is claimed, said something critical of Islam or of Muhammad, can lead not just to official punishment, but to a vigilante justice enforced by Muslims who are enraged at what they deem to be unacceptable blasphemy (often the slimmest rumor will set off Muslim mobs). Ordinarily, these vigilantes then go unpunished. A few years ago a raging mob of 1,000 Muslims tortured and then burned to death a young Christian couple, supposedly for desecrating a Qur’an. No one was punished. At the moment two Christians have been sentenced to death in Pakistan for blasphemy. One, Asia Bibi, was convicted on the basis of the testimony of a Muslim woman with whom she had been collecting fruit; they had quarreled over something; the Muslim woman then claimed that the Christian girl had said something negative about the Prophet Muhammad, which Bibi denied. Given the prior quarrel with her accuser, and the fact that Bibi certainly knew the penalty for maligning the Prophet, how plausible is it that she is guilty as charged? The second case is even more absurd, for the Christian who is said to have forwarded some pejorative message about Muhammad he had received could not possibly have understood what he had done — if indeed he had done it — because, it turn outs, he is illiterate.

Muslims in the West, of course, have chosen to punish blasphemers with death as well. Think of the repeated attempts to kill the Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, the riots by Muslims around the globe over the Danish paper, Jyllands-Posten, the murder of Theo van Gogh for his movie about the mistreatment of women in Islam, Submission, and most horrible of all, the murder of the dozen members of the staff of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, for daring to mock Muhammad.

As for freedom of religion, which the First Amendment guarantees, that, too, is absent in Islamic societies. It does not exist for Muslims: apostasy from Islam can be punished by death. It does not exist for non-Muslims, either. They may, as dhimmis, be allowed to practice their own faiths, but according to the Sharia they are to be subject to various onerous duties, the most important of which is the required payment of a capitation tax, or Jizyah, to the Muslim state. In fact, calling it a tax is a misnomer; it is in truth “protection money’” paid to Muslims, a kind of extortion to ensure that Muslims do not attack those who pay. No wonder that over time many non-Muslims converted to Islam to avoid having to pay the Jizyah, and also having to endure, as despised Infidels, many other humiliations. They could not, for example, build or repair their houses of worship; they were forbidden to ride horses; they had to move aside for Muslims on pathways; in some places, both Christians and Jews had to wear identifying signs on their clothing and on their dwellings (the yellow star for Jews was first imposed in Baghdad). All of this made conversion to Islam more attractive.

Can it really be that Carlos Khalil Guzman is unaware of the limits on religious freedom in Muslim societies? He could have simply avoided the issue, not mentioned the Constitution at all. But something made him think he could get away with asserting, without more, that Islam and the Constitution of the United States uphold the same values. They do not. Guzman ought to be asked to supply a list of the “same values” upheld by Islam and the Constitution of the United States. Freedom of speech and freedom of religion? Where are either of these to be found guaranteed in Muslim lands? In what Muslim country can one speak pejoratively of Islam or of Muhammad without incurring severe punishment, including, in some cases, death? In what Muslim country are all religions, and their adherents, treated equally? As for equal protection of the laws, to be found guaranteed as against the states by the Fourteenth Amendment (and against the Federal government by the “due process” clause of the Fifth Amendment, which is held to incorporate the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection), that is, the guarantee of non-discrimination, whether by sex, race, or religion, in what Muslim lands are such rights guaranteed? Where in Dar al-Islam are non-Muslims equal to Muslims, or women to men? How could non-Muslims be treated as equal to Muslims when they are described in the Qur’an as “the most vile of creatures” while Muslims are, according to that same Qur’an, the “best of peoples”? Does Carlos Guzman know those verses? Does Carlos Guzman even understand the rights guaranteed by the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments, and why they are not, and never can be, guaranteed under the Sharia, which legally enshrines Muslim supremacism? His resultant confusion should prove instructive. For our Constitution flatly contradicts, in both its general principles, and in its specific provisions concerning the equal rights of individuals, what Islam, in its Holy Law or Sharia, wishes always to defend.

Getting Them Young

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 04:44

​In places like Edina, Minnesota, the Left has transformed K-12 schools into indoctrination factories whose overarching purpose is to train students to be reflexively racist and anti-American.

Educators in Edina, a wealthy Minneapolis suburb, don’t even try to conceal their sinister goals. Elementary school students there are subjected to an A-B-C book titled A is for Activist. Among the alphabetized propaganda points are these gems:

"A is for Activist. Are you an Activist?"

"C is for ... Creative Counter to Corporate vultures."

"F is for Feminist."

"T is for Trans."

"X is for Malcolm as in Malcolm X."

When Donald Trump won the election last November, anarchy and partisan bullying paralyzed the high school.

“I felt like the school was descending into mass hysteria,” one student said of the day after the election. Another said Trump’s victory was treated as “the end of the world as we know it.”

Students reported “[e]very teacher was crying in class, one even told the whole class ‘Trump winning is worse than 9/11 and the Columbine shooting.’” The sheer volume of “liberal propaganda that was pushed every single day in class this year was worse than it’s ever been–and you’re bullied by the teachers and every student if you dare speak against it.”

“[T]he teachers can absolutely do whatever they want. The administration will do nothing about it!! The day of the election every single student was in the commons chanting ‘F*** TRUMP’ and the teachers never did anything. A LOT of people are starting to complain and my mom has some friends who are leaving the school district.”

Teachers in Edina use totalitarian methods, particularly self-criticism sessions, to enforce ideological rigidity and reinforce social cohesion.

One mother complained of a humiliating Khmer Rouge-like denunciation process her son was forced to endure. In a 10th grade AP World History class, the teacher “called out any Trump supporters and asked them to assure the class that they weren’t racist.” In much of the United States, sending one’s children to public schools is already tantamount to child abuse. Too often elementary and secondary schools, especially in the inner cities, fail to teach pupils even the basics of reading, writing, and thinking critically. Nowadays they focus on crusades for so-called social justice instead of doing their jobs. This includes pedagogical sermons excoriating President Trump for the crime of trying to “Make America Great Again.”

In Edina radical indoctrination has supplanted actual education that helps students prepare for the real world.

Test scores in the community’s once top-rated schools have been plummeting, writes Katherine Kersten, senior fellow at the Minnesota-based Center for the American Experiment, in Thinking Minnesota magazine.

“There’s been a sea change in educational philosophy, and it comes from the top,” she writes. 

In recent years teachers have been shoving so-called white privilege, along with Marxism, feminism, and post-colonialism, down their young charges’ throats.

It’s no secret that public school teachers across America are largely driven by ideology, not a desire to educate. They teach students that America, a nation flawed in its conception by the original sin of slavery, has never truly experienced reforms. It is as if the Civil War and the Civil Rights Era never happened. Corporations and the rich oppress the citizenry daily as the U.S. unjustly pushes around less powerful countries, especially Muslim ones. America is so fundamentally corrupt and evil in their view that it can only be fixed by radical changes like those espoused by educational theorists like Paulo Freire and Bill Ayers.

In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Freire argued that schools be used to inculcate radical, revolutionary values in students so they become agents of social change. Generations of teachers answered his call.

Freire was only expanding on the ideas of Vladimir Lenin who said, “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.” Teachers in publicly-funded elementary and secondary schools get a full eight years more than Lenin required to intellectually cripple students, perhaps for life.

“If we want change to come, we would do well not to look at the sites of power we have no access to; the White House, the Congress, the Pentagon,” Ayers said in 2012. “We have absolute access to the community, the school, the neighborhood, the street, the classroom, the workplace, the shop, the farm.”

Teachers in Edina take the ideas of Freire, Lenin, and Ayers seriously.

At Edina’s Highlands Elementary, teachers indoctrinate five-year-olds in order to radicalize them and encourage them to become activists obsessed with race.

The school district’s “unrelenting focus on skin color is the leading edge of a larger ideological campaign to shape students’ attitudes and beliefs on a range of controversial issues—most importantly, the familiar litany of ‘race, class, gender,’” Kersten writes.

While this is happening “ordinary students are too often falling through the cracks and gifted education is languishing.”

Edina embraces something called the All for All plan. Its “fundamental premise is that white racism—not socio-economic factors like family breakdown—is the primary cause of the achievement gap.”

School staff meetings there are social justice pep rallies. One teacher told Kersten that “equity was the only thing we talked about, not the nuts and bolts of teaching reading and math.”

Equity in this context doesn’t refer to equal treatment for all, she notes. Here the word “signals an obsession with ‘white privilege,’ and an effort to blame any academic challenge that minority students may have on institutional racial bias.” In other words, race-based identity politics rules.

At the elementary school, teachers of K-2 students dwell endlessly on skin color and encourage white pupils to feel guilty about being white. “Equity” is identified as the key criterion used to evaluate the school district’s K-5 math curricula.

Children have to watch their language and self-censor for fear of incurring the wrath of teachers.

“My kids have written things they don’t believe just to survive,” one mother told Kersten.

“They know exactly what the teacher wants. They almost don’t see anything incorrect in doing that anymore, because it’s so engrained. They have endured enough public shaming to say they will not put themselves in that position again.”

Another parent “was absolutely sickened” by the officially sanctioned psychological torture to which her young son was subjected. He explained that he was “labeled a racist, sexist and rapist — yes, a RAPIST — because he is a white male.” The parent added, “This was all in a Venn diagram on the white board. We have a photo.”

At the Edina high school’s multicultural show in April this year, student performers used the event to call for “students, faculty, staff and administrators to act en masse to address racial injustice,” according to the school’s student newspaper. Student organizers tried to “ignite a conversation pertaining to white privilege and the Black Lives Matter movement.”

A female student gave an explicit speech about the sexual fantasies she had about a classmate that sounded like a “Dear Penthouse Forum” letter. “I spent seventh-grade music classes imagining her legs intertwining with mine, her body constantly reminding me of a violin, and I was begging to be allowed to pluck one string.”

A male student revealing his sexual desires probably would have been kicked off the stage and accused of sexual harassment, Kersten writes.

Getting students to hate and distrust law enforcement officers is also a priority. One teacher was so wrapped up in cop-hatred that she claimed just saying the word police “made her feel physically ill,” according to a parent.

Teachers in Edina and across the fruited plan saturate students with information about real and imagined instances of racial injustice in America in a nonstop barrage of historic facts and ahistorical nonsense. And in the culture at large, the media, politicians, and the entertainment industry can’t stop talking about race. The last thing any young student in America needs is to be taught about is race. Race matters only to America-hating radicals.

People in Edina are tired of all of this. 

They are angry about political agendas being pushed at the expense of education. At the same time they are afraid to speak out for fear of reprisals, Kersten writes.

Though a growing number of parents, students and teachers are angry and frustrated about recent developments, they hesitate to protest publicly. Students and parents fear bullying and retaliation in terms of grades and classroom humiliation. Teachers who don’t toe the orthodox line fear ostracism and a tainted career. The climate of intimidation is so intense that not one of those interviewed for this article would speak on the record.

Remaining silent is no way to win a culture war.

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