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Updated: 10 hours 22 min ago

Fake Noose

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 05:58

Manqué cineaste Simon Lynxx needs to raise money for his film, so he pays two black friends to mug elderly movie mogul Hermann Wolff, so Lynxx can rescue him and get cash out of gratitude. That’s from Take Five, a D. Keith Mano novel released in 1982, the year actor Jussie Smollett was born.

Nearly four decades later, Smollett is an actor in the Fox series Empire, centered on hip-hop artist Lucious Lyon, CEO of Empire Entertainment. In real life, not on the show, Smollett sends a threatening letter to himself showing a noose, then pays two black friends to attack him in Chicago, which they proclaim is “MAGA country!”

The pair beat Smollett and string a rope around his neck while yelling racist and homophobic slurs. Smollett somehow escapes unscathed. The tale soon unraveled, and as Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson put it, Jussie Smollett “paid $3,500 to stage this attack...The stunt was orchestrated by Smollett because he was dissatisfied with his salary,” reportedly more than $1 million per year before taxes.

Smollett paid the $3,500 to Abel Osundairo, his personal trainer, and Ola Osundairo, a former extra on Empire. Police have the check and a video shows the pair buying the masks. The story was less credible than Al Sharpton’s Tawana Brawley hoax, but Smollett cast himself as a Trump victim. So right from the start leftist Democrats were all in.

“The vicious attack on actor Jussie Smollett was an attempted modern-day lynching,” proclaimed Cory Booker. “I’m glad he’s safe.” In similar style, fellow presidential candidate Kamala Harris tagged the attack a “modern day lynching.”  Green New Dealer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who believe walls are immoral, called it a “racist, homophobic attack.” The media echo chamber also chimed in.

On February 14 Robin Roberts interviewed Smollett on “Good Morning America.” Smollett contended he was a victim and did not orchestrate the alleged attack. According to Roberts, “It’s a setback for race relations, homophobia, MAGA supporters. I cannot think of another case where there is this anger on so many sides and you can understand why there would be.”

Yet as the story unraveled, Smollett’s siblings blamed the media.

Jocqui Smollett and Jurnee Smollett-Bell reposted on Instagram a 1964 quote attributed to Malcolm X. “This is the media, an irresponsible press. It will make the criminal look like he’s the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal. If you aren’t careful, the media will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

Though suspicious from the start, Chicago police gave Smollett the benefit of the doubt and assigning a dozen detectives to what the victim said was a hate crime. Old-fashioned police work quickly exposed Smollett’s fakery and, as Superintendent Johnson said, “When we discovered the actual motive quite frankly it pissed everybody off.”

By February 20 Smollett’s story had completely collapsed, and African American comedians were mocking the actor. Chicago police were coming after Smollett with charges of felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. At that point, the establishment media escalated the rhetoric.

Thursday morning, Keith Boykin and Van Jones appeared on “At This Hour” with Kate Bolduan and both defended their belief in the story as it broke. “A lot of people say, how can you believe this story from the beginning?” Boykin said. Jones responded  “Because it happens!” and described Smollett as “a Jackie Robinson against homophobia in the black community, an icon, a beloved icon.”

Boykin said “I’m hoping still despite all the overwhelming evidence that is presented that it’s not true.” And as the CNN commentator explained, “we had Nazis marching in Charlottesville not long ago. We have people sending pipe bombs to CNN. We have just today or yesterday, we have a Coast Guard white nationalist who is involved in plotting a terror attack on Americans. So, we live in difficult, extreme times. When a story comes up however implausible it seems on its face, unfortunately, we live in a world now where these things are even possible.”

That is the prevailing ethos of fakery on the left.

Since such bad things are possible, that trumps any concern over the “overwhelming evidence”  of the Smollett case and other hoaxes. Like Pelosi, Ocasio-Cortez, Booker and Harris, Van Jones and Keith Boykin said nothing about Smollett’s motive for the fakery, to boost his salary beyond $1 million a year, and whether that constituted greed. Also missing was analysis of leading Democrats who got it wrong, the slander toward those who elected Donald Trump president of the United States, and the effect of fakery on actual victims of hate crimes.

For further reading on that theme see Crying Wolf: Hate Crime Hoaxes in America by Laird Wilcox and Wilfred Reilly’s Hate Crime Hoax: How the Left is Selling a Fake Race War. Based on the record, and the fathomless credulity of the media, readers can expect more fakery in the style of Jussie Smollett, who faces three years in prison. 

Meanwhile, Simon Lynxx got money for his movie but went on to lose his senses one at a time, so Take Five is paginated in reverse. As the Jussie Smollett case confirms, the left has lost all sense of truth, and the soi-disant progressives march backward on the road to serfdom.

Dems Nuked the Filibuster to Confirm Him, Then He Turned to Sexual Harassment

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 05:55

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 fall of 2013, the Democrats were outraged that Republicans were blocking Obama’s nomination of Rep. Mel Watt to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Watt was African-American and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his minions repeatedly tried to associate the move with the Civil War.

“Republicans’ unprecedented obstruction continued today with a step that we have not seen since the Civil War, as they blocked Representative Mel Watt, a sitting member of the House of Representatives, from being confirmed to an administration position,” Reid ranted.

Senator Reid did not explain why House members should have special immunity from being filibustered or receive a special entitlement to administration positions, but everyone understood why. Watt wasn’t just anybody. He was already in Congress. He might be incompetent and unqualified. And inappropriate. But blocking unqualified and inappropriate members of Congress was unacceptable.

It hadn’t been done since the Civil War.

"I have known Mel Watt for 20 years. He is one of the smartest and finest members of Congress, an all-round good guy," Norm Ornstein gushed in The Atlantic. "The rationale that Watt was not qualified for the position was flimsy at best."

Republican opposition to Watt, a pol with "sterling credentials and moral character" was "outrageous."

Watt’s credentials were anything but sterling. He was completely unqualified to head the FHFA. And his moral character was tattered by his war against the Office of Congressional Ethics. The OCE had investigated the Democrat when he had pulled a regulatory amendment two days after a DNC fundraiser for his “reelection” campaign pulled in donations from national finance industry firms.

Rep. Watt had routinely won his elections by 60 and 70 percent in a district he couldn’t lose.

Republicans were concerned that Watt would pursue risky mortgage policies that were popular with Obama’s base, but that had contributed to the recession. Watt already had donors from national financial firms like Bank of America and Goldman Sachs, and had been accused of being bought by them.

All of this made it a very bad idea to appoint him to one of the most powerful financial agencies in the country. But Watt was one of two Obama nominees who became the casus belli for Reid nuking the filibuster. If Republicans couldn’t back Watt, the argument went, the filibuster needed to go.

Reid pushed the nuclear button and Watt became the head the Federal Housing Finance Agency. And Watt repaid his Dem backers by announcing a “dramatic” shift to expand mortgages to unqualified borrowers proving that Senate Republican opposition to Watt had been based on facts, not fears.

The worst was yet to come.

Obama celebrated by declaring that Watt was “the right person to protect Americans”.

But who was going to protect Americans, especially FHFA employees, from Melvin Watt?

“If I Kissed That One, Would It Lead to More?”

Last year, Watt’s scandal breached the surface as he was serving out the end of his term. The former Democrat House member had been aggressively pursuing a woman at the agency he was running.

 Watt took her to a Mexican restaurant and told her, "There is an attraction here that I think needs to be explored."

“If I kissed that one, would it lead to more?” he asked of her tattoo.

When Simone Grimes turned him down, telling him that she was already in a relationship, he told her that wasn't an issue.

"I love my wife too. Having an attraction for someone else doesn’t have to mean you don’t love them.”

"I am confident that the investigation currently in progress will confirm that I have not done anything contrary to law," Watt insisted during the investigation.

But in private, Watt apparently insisted that he shouldn’t have to participate in an investigation because he didn’t see himself as an FHFA employee and was not bound by its employee policies.

Now the results are in.

“We find that there are no circumstances under which it would be appropriate for the head of FHFA to induce a subordinate female employee to meet with him alone, in his apartment, for a conversation in which he professes his attraction for that employee and holds out opportunities for the employee to serve in specific executive positions over which he exercises total control,” the inspector general’s report states.

The 600-page report accuses Watt of misconduct and of not being candid with investigators.

"The standards have become so confused that it’s difficult to operate in them," Watt whined to them.

These were the standards that confused Watt so badly.

“So you have this conversation where you talk to her about the chief of staff position and other positions alone with her in your apartment with soft music in the background, and then tell her that she’s gorgeous, you’re attracted to her?" the investigator asked him.

The Democrat claimed that telling women they were gorgeous only meant a “friendship attraction" and that he had actually been trying to expose her attraction to him.

Nobody was buying it. Especially because Grimes had recordings of some of Watt’s conversations.

And now Watt is just another scandal in the rear-view mirror of the scandal-free Obama administration. But he occupies a unique place in history, as one of two Obama appointees who was used as a pretext for the nuclear option, but whose legacy is a reminder that some nominees should never be voted on.

A corrupt Democrat majority backed Watt and Americans, the FHFA and its employees paid the price.

The Right Man for the Job

The problem doesn’t end with Mel Watt.

His alleged victim, Simone Grimes, testified before the House Financial Services Committee that she had faced retaliation and harassment from FHFA Inspector General Laura Wertheimer.

And that Wertheimer had made her name public.

Wertheimer had started out clerking for Judge Spottswood Robinson, a Democrat hero, and was a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, the most liberal firm on the list in an analysis of law firms. (Robert Mueller, leading the Clinton coup against Trump, was another Wilmer partner.)

And she was appointed by Obama.

Since then, Wertheimer has been under investigation for witness intimidation, allegedly done under pressure from Watt. Republican concerns were proven to be valid as risky loans were once again put on the table. Whistleblower complains alleged that the Obama appointee had slashed the FHFA’s auditors, forcing them out, and ruthlessly targeted whistleblowers reporting misconduct to investigators.

In the House, Watt had tried to cut the Office of Congressional Ethics’ budgets in retaliation for its investigation of him. Now he appeared to have been doing the same thing at FHFA. The FHFA paid out six figures in settlements while whistleblowers warned of Wertheimer’s culture of fear and intimidation. And that Watt was backing risky low down-payment mortgages that would backfire on taxpayers.

Senator Democrats had killed the filibuster to unleash a reign of corruption and terror at the FHFA.

The FHFA purge of its own auditors and the corruption of its internal watchdog are huge scandals, but they flew under the radar of a media reluctant to report damaging information about Democrats. The media insists that Obama ran a “scandal-free” administration and scandals get in the way of that myth.

But then Watt and Wertheimer became caught up in something more newsworthy when the FHFA leadership decided to abuse the agency in order to protect the sexual entitlements of its boss.

Senate Democrats had argued that Melvin Watt had a right to the FHFA position because he was a member of Congress. At the FHFA, he had the right to sexually exploit employees.

"Mel Watt is the right man for the job," Senator Warren had insisted. “Congressman Watt has shown good judgment throughout it all."

“I believe Mel Watt has the vision, experience and temperament necessary," Rep. Maxine Waters had claimed at the time.

No difficult questions will be asked of Warren or Waters about why they ignored Watt’s red flags. And no one will revisit Reid’s decision to nuke the filibuster on behalf of an alleged sexual harasser.

But when we remember the downfall of the filibuster, we should not forget that it was nuked, with the eager cheers of the media and the political class who lectured us on Watt’s “sterling” character, to appoint a corrupt Democrat sexual harasser to one of the most powerful financial offices in the land.

Shamima Begum and the Myth of Islamic Deradicalization

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 05:54

If only we could squeeze Shamima Begum (hijab, prayer mat, Koran and all) into H.G. Wells’ time machine and catapult the ISIS bride to the era of Guy Fawkes, we might just about solve our problem with jihadi Judases returning to Britain.

In merry olde England, we’d truss up a traitor and get a bad-tempered horse to yank him across hard ground. Then we’d then string him on IKEA-like gallows, disembowel, behead and carve the quisling into four quarters. The fairer sex didn’t get hung, drawn and quartered—a female turncoat was simply burned.

The 668-year-old Treason Act is still in force today—barely recognizable, as we’ve defanged it with numerous amendments. We haven’t used it since 1945, when Britain prosecuted William Joyce (aka Lord Haw-Haw), a Nazi fink who ratted on us during World War II.

Half a century after Haw-Haw, we don’t believe stuff and nonsense about treason because we don’t buy into all this guff about the nation state, borders, loyalty to Queen and country, patriotism or nationalism (a Trumpian swear word). In Cool Britannia, we believe in nothing except diversity, LGBTI+ nooky and the venerableness of victimhood.  

Shamima Begum, according to our John Lennonesque creed (“Imagine there’s no countries / It isn’t hard to do”), is not a traitor to be burned at stake, but a victim perched high on the greasy totem pole of intersectionality. She’s a Muslim, brown-skinned woman of Bangladeshi-origin. She’s just had a baby in a Syrian refugee camp, as she couldn’t get to a state-funded NHS convenience clinic, so the needle of sympathy on the liberal Richter scale has jumped even higher.

Shamima’s no bleeding-heart Leftie; in fact, she’s remorseless and unrepentant: “When I saw my first severed head in a bin it didn’t faze me at all. It was from a captured fighter seized on the battlefield, an enemy of Islam. I thought only of what he would have done to a Muslim woman if he had the chance,” she told The Times. She has compared the Manchester Arena bombing, which killed girlie fans of Ariana Grande, to airstrikes by the western allies that killed non-combatants in ISIS-held areas.

Unlike libbies who believe in global warming and veganism, Begum believes in Allah and she’s prepared to die as a martyr. She stakes her life on the Koran and Hadith. She is convinced they are divinely-inspired sources of authority. She believes in Islamic supremacy, in her vocation as a jihadi, and in a country; even better, a Caliphate. This explains why at the age of 15 she slipped out of her London home and hopped on a plane to ISIS Disneyland in Syria.

Ironically, Begum believes in “treason” and the death penalty for treason. In Islam, apostasy is treason. Ahmed al-Tayyeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar University (Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby’s new compadre), categorically asserts: “To convert from Islam is ‘treason’ that should carry the death penalty.” All four schools of Islamic jurisprudence confirm this law. Would it not be fair to simply try Shamima by her own standards of Islamic law? Even by British standards, she has committed treason by aiding ISIS, who have attacked British forces in Syria. 

Begum’s lawyer is playing the victim card, claiming she’s a victim of “grooming and ISIS propaganda.” Predictably, the leftwing Guardian’s editorial is calling her “undoubtedly vulnerable” because “she was groomed online at the age of 15.” Her family has even suggested that Begum’s reluctance to denounce ISIS may be because of “Stockholm syndrome.” But even by the wildest stretches of semantic elasticity, Begum isn’t a victim.

A victim isn’t free to choose. Morally equating Begum’s free choice to join ISIS with the helplessness of underage victims of sexual violence who were groomed on an industrial scale in England by Muslim Pakistani men or to ISIS’s Yazidi women victims forced into sex-slavery is abhorrent beyond description. She made a free choice to join a group of well-publicized genocidal monsters.

To call Begum a victim is a moral outrage that degrades the entire reality of victimhood. To label Begum a victim is to rob her of agency and instrumentality, as well as of her faculty to act as a foot soldier for Islam. So what if she was fifteen? At her age, British girls are given the right to kill their unborn babies without permission from their parents!

“How do you solve a problem like Shamima?” asks Guardian columnist Kenan Malik arguing that Begum “may well change her views over time.” Malik makes Shamima look like a distant cousin of Sister Maria from The Sound of Music, who will one day meet her Captain von Trapp and fight Nazi (or Islamic) imperialism.

The staple answer to the question of solving the problem of returning jihadis is the magic mantra of deradicalization. The BBC, Guardian and Evening Standard suggest referring Begum to Britain’s £40 million a year deradicalization program. Britain’s counter-extremism czar Sara Khan calls for Begum to “undergo an effective deradicalization program.”

Deradicalization is now a cash-fueled industry with its gravy train university departments, academics, social workers, journals and conferences. It helps politicians to say they are doing something. But where is the evidence that deradicalization works? In fact, deradicalization “is practically impossible” says Prof Boaz Ganor, from the International Policy Institute for Counter Terrorism. It only works in a minority of cases, he cautions.

“Around 2009 to 2010, this was very fashionable. It really looked like the answer. Now it is looking like a bit of a fad,” concedes Prof Peter Neumann of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization (ICSR) at King’s College, London. Such programs have been tried with little success in Egypt, Pakistan, Singapore, Yemen, Indonesia, the USA, and European nations. In 2016, two-thirds of jihadis released from British prisons simply refused to engage with prison deradicalization programs.

The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) which works with the Economic and Social Council of the UN, has emphatically stated that it “is opposed in principle to the whole PREVENT (deradicalization) program” of the British government, which, it claims, “rests on racist and Islamophobic assumptions” and demonizes “Islam as innately violent.”

In reality, “many such programs are based on the premise that the true teachings of Islam are peaceful, and so all that needs to be done is show the jihadis how they’re misunderstanding the Qur’an and overlooking its teachings of peace, and all will be well,” notes Islamic scholar Robert Spencer.

Despite the billions of dollars spent all over the world on such programs, the success rate of intervention and prevention in decriminalization schemes remains vastly underexplored, the Journal for Deradicalization reports. Much of the literature is about why people are radicalized or the speed of radicalization.

Many studies, for fear of being labeled Islamophobic, commit a serious category error and make little distinction between Islamic jihadists, white supremacists, the alt-Right, the Far Right, and neo-Nazi radicalization.

Deradicalization has more chance of success with neo-Nazis than with Islamic extremists. Why? Jihadis use the appeal to authority. Their authority—the Koran—is infallible because (unlike Mein Kampf) it’s dictated from heaven. Islam hasn’t fallen foul of Enlightenment higher criticism or postmodern hermeneutics as with liberal readings of the Bible. “The Koran says it! I believe it! You can take your deradicalization and shove it!” as extremist Anjem Choudhary would say.

Deradicalization is based on the wishful thinking of Western liberalism: humans are basically good; evil is a myth; tolerance, pluralism and co-existence are universal values shared by jihadis; Islamic extremists are closet secularists and scientific materialists and once we show them the glories of Western liberalism they will beat their AK-47s into ploughshares and their suicide bomb vests into Greenpeace T-shirts.  

Deradicalization also assumes the bias of Western progressivism: punishment doesn’t work, Muslims are victims of colonialism and racism, jihadis are victims of brainwashing, and they can be re-programmed to accept the superior virtues of religious relativism and the truth that there is no ultimate truth. Then, we can together live as Western Epicureans and eat, drink, make love and not jihad.

Shamima Begum’s latest Sky News interview demonstrates the delusional assumptions underpinning the Scientology-like cult of deradicalization. When asked if she knew what ISIS was doing when she left for Syria, including beheadings and executions, she replied: “Yeah, I knew about those things and I was okay with it. … From what I heard, Islamically that is all allowed. So I was okay with it.”

H.G. Wells’ time machine has inadvertently solved our problem of Shamima. She has, of her own accord, stepped into a religious text and retrojected herself into the primitive and brutish world of seventh-century Arabia. Why does she want to return to a kaffir state like Britain? She can stay in Syria with her fellow jihadis and practice her religion of peace. Or she can find a home in any of the world’s 56 Muslim countries.

Parents Sue to Fight Anti-White, Anti-Male, Anti-Christian, Communist Indoctrination in California

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 05:50

Parents in Santa Barbara, California, are suing a leftist hate group called Just Communities and the local school board there to end the group’s taxpayer-funded so-called implicit bias training that has a powerful anti-white, anti-male, and anti-Christian slant.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Los Angeles, was brought by Fair Education Santa Barbara, a nonprofit formed by parents of children enrolled in the Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD).

The group’s lawyer, Eric Early, calls the curriculum used in the district “radical, discriminatory, and illegal.” In a letter to the district’s counsel last September he wrote that “[t]eachers, parents and students have confidentially expressed their concerns that … [the] discriminatory curriculum has led to increased racial animosity toward Caucasian teachers and students.”

Just Communities (its full name is Just Communities Central Coast) has a contract with the Santa Barbara Unified School District to indoctrinate young people into believing that America today is a manifestly immoral, cruel country in which white people routinely oppress non-whites, men oppress women, Christians oppress non-Christians, heterosexuals oppress gays, and the wealthy oppress the poor.

In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Marxist theorist Paulo Freire urged that schools be used to inculcate radical values in students to transform them into agents of social change. Freire argued that the so-called dominant pedagogy “silences” poor and minority children and that there is no such thing as a neutral educational system. Teachers today are also smitten with the ahistorical, anti-American screeds of Howard Zinn, a Communist Party USA member whose writings they treat as gospel.

Early said the lawsuit aims to halt what he calls a “creeping, social justice warrior, alt-left takeover of the Santa Barbara Unified School District.”

The lawsuit “is doing its best to stop this outfit, Just Communities Central Coast, from continuing to indoctrinate the teachers and young, vulnerable minds of the district with Alinskyist training and beliefs,” Early said.

“The bottom line is it’s time to stop the far-left indoctrination of the district’s teachers and students and it’s time to bring to light what’s really going on in these classrooms to parents who had no idea before this came to light.”

The legal complaint states the SBUSD has “wholeheartedly supported and promoted JCCC’s discriminatory program” and has paid the group more than $1 million since 2013. On Sept. 11, 2018, the school board “considered contracting with JCCC for [an] additional 4 years at a cost to the taxpayers of more than $1.7 million.” On Oct. 8, 2018, the board “renewed its contract with JCCC for another year at a cost to the taxpayers of nearly $300,000.”

SBUSD, according to the complaint, is violating the U.S. Constitution and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 “as they discriminate on the basis of … race” by “intentionally supporting, promoting and implementing JCCC’s programming in SBUSD’s schools with knowledge of its racially discriminatory content and application, which has created a racially hostile educational environment for many teachers and students.”

Fair Education Santa Barbara wants the court to terminate Just Communities’ contract with the school district and filed for a preliminary injunction to freeze the contract while the lawsuit proceeds. The motion for an injunction and other pending motions are expected to be heard by the court in Los Angeles this Monday, Feb. 25.

Fair Education says the injunction is justified because a California statute provides that when a public actor like a school district wants to hire people to do certain work for the district, with very limited exceptions the contracts have to be submitted for public bidding, which was not done in this case.

For its part, Just Communities claims its trainings are aimed at closing what it characterizes as an achievement gap between Latino and white students. Critics counter that the group is trying to turn students into left-wing revolutionaries by encouraging them to become political activists who view the world through the Marxist lens of race, sex, and class.

The complaint states that “[u]nder the guise of promoting so-called ‘unconscious bias’ and ‘inclusivity’ instruction, JCCC’s actual curriculum and practices are overtly and intentionally anti-Caucasian, anti-male, and anti-Christian.”

The training materials used by Just Communities are similar to those used by the extreme-left Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC had to pay almost $3.4 million in 2018 to settle a lawsuit with former Islamic radical Maajid Nawaz whom it falsely labeled an anti-Muslim extremist.

America is a deeply racist country, according to the Marxist-influenced, politically correct training materials. White people enjoy special “privilege” because they are white and gain “[u]nearned access to resources that enhance one’s chances of getting what one needs or influencing others in order to lead a safe, productive, fulfilling life.”

“Oppression based on notions of race is pervasive in U.S. society and many other societies and hurts us all, although in different and distinct ways,” the material also states.

It continues, describing “classism” as “[a] system of oppression based on socio-economic class that privilege (white) people who are wealthy and target people (of color) who are poor or working class. Classism also refers to the economic system that creates excessive inequality and causes basic human needs to go unmet.”

“The work of dismantling racism is an ongoing process, not a one-time event, seminar, or course from which one graduates,” the material states. “The process calls for a lifelong commitment to eliminating all injustice."

Just Communities’ bigoted indoctrination is the very antithesis of our aspirational goals for all students,” James Fenkner of Fair Education Santa Barbara told FrontPage via email.

Fenkner has four daughters, three of whom attend school in the school district.

“I fully support the suit because I fundamentally believe that everyone should be judged upon the quality of their character, not the color of their skin,” he said. “Just Communities’ divisive curriculum, as evidence by their grotesque ‘Forms of Oppression,’ poisons the well of goodwill between all children and perpetuates the dead-end notions of group victimhood, guilt, and retribution.”

The “Forms of Oppression” grid to which Fenkner refers is part of a bundle of teaching materials used by Just Communities. The horizontal table states, for example, that “racism” is a “form of oppression” that the “privilege group” of “white people” use to take aim at the “target group” of “people of color.” The grid uses the same format to describe “sexism,” “heterosexism,” “classism,” and so on.

Jarrod Schwartz, executive director of Just Communities, denied the substance of the allegations against his group, according to the Santa Barbara Independent.

“It’s not who we are, not what we do,” Schwartz said. “The work is not about blame or guilt,” he said. “We’re very intentional about not saying people are oppressors. It’s systems that are unequal.”

Santa Barbara’s education sector has become infected with doctrinaire radicalism.

Santa Barbara City College adjunct professor Celeste Barber appeared on “Fox & Friends” Jan. 30 to tell how she was heckled at a Jan. 24 meeting of the college’s board of trustees. Attendees tried to shout down Barber, who is a member of Fair Education Santa Barbara, when she spoke out against the board’s ban on reciting the Pledge of Allegiance during meetings.

SBCC board president Robert Miller previously told Barber by email that the pledge was banned because it contains the phrase “one nation under God” and because it is “steeped in expressions of nativism and white nationalism.”

“There is nothing white nationalist about the Pledge of Allegiance,” Barber told Fox.

“There’s no reference to race, to gender to ethnicity. It’s all inclusive. That’s why school children around the country, thousands of them recite it every day because it includes everybody who lives in this country.”

Bad publicity forced the SBCC to drop the ban. The college announced on Facebook the day before Barber’s television appearance that the Pledge “will be recited” at board meetings “until some future date when the matter may be reconsidered by the Board.”

And Santa Barbara is just one of many communities across America that has come under the control of radical education theorists and practitioners.

Canada: Scandal Involving P.M. Trudeau Linked to Libya

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 05:10

Four years ago, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officially leveled corruption and fraud charges against Montreal engineering firm SNC-Lavalin, over alleged criminal acts that occurred while that firm was doing business in Libya. The Globe and Mail broke the biggest scandal since Canada’s Adscam scandal, which cost the Liberals dearly in election year 2006. This latest scandal, also breaking in an election year, has to do with the involvement of Justin Trudeau and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in the SNC-Lavalin case.

SNC-Lavalin operates in a variety of sectors globally, including mining and metallurgy, oil and gas, and the fraud and corruption charges against it include nearly $48 million in payments made to Libyan government officials between 2001 and 2011.

The case centers around Liberal MP Jody Wilson-Raybould (JWR), who served as Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada from 2015 until January 2019. She was then demoted in a cabinet shuffle to the position of Minister of Veterans Affairs, and suddenly resigned several days ago (February 12) following the Globe and Mail report, which alleged that the PMO “attempted to press” her to intervene in the corruption and fraud prosecution of SNC-Lavalin in her role as Attorney General, in order to spare the engineering giant — deemed to be a crown jewel in Quebec — from criminal prosecution. The story also indicated that she “came under heavy pressure.”

Now the Commons Justice Committee will look into whether JWR was subjected to any kind of pressure from Trudeau and/or the PMO. Meanwhile, Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, has suddenly quit. Butts is Trudeau’s longtime friend, confidante and confidence booster, and some even say that Butts is his brains. Trudeau calls Butts “the core of his inner circle.” The resignation was over the SNC affair. Criminal charges could also be laid against members of the PMO for obstruction of justice, if its interference is established.

Doing Business with a Jihadist Government:

There is another twist in the criminal case involving SNC Lavalin, and the alleged involvement by Justin Trudeau and the PMO: Libya.

Between 2001 and 2011, a senior executive of SNC-Lavalin established “close ties” with Saadi Gaddafi, the son of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The RCMP alleged that as the president’s son, Saadi Gaddafi “was in a position of power and able to give a business advantage to SNC-Lavalin in Libya,” and that he was “a major recipient of SNC’s largesse.” Court documents allege that the company offered “bribes worth $47.7 million to one or several public officials of the ‘Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.’”

Meanwhile, SNC-Lavalin was allegedly busy defrauding Libyan public agencies of “approximately 129.8 million.” Charges were laid by the RCMP against SNC executive Sami Bebawi and a former SNC executive vice president, Riadh Ben Aissa, who pleaded guilty to charges of corruption and money laundering relating to SNC-Lavalin’s Libyan operation. Aissa has since been extradited to Canada.

It has also been claimed that SNC “paid for lavish trips and more for relatives of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and even had some on payroll to ensure they got lucrative contracts.”

Saadi Gaddafi also has other unsavory personal baggage. He was acquitted last year of murdering Bashir al-Rayani, former footballer and coach of Tripoli’s Al-Ittihad football club. But now Bashir’s family intends to appeal Gaddafi’s acquittal, because they say “we could not get justice under his father’s regime, we will get it now, I’m confident!”

Some more background about the Libyan regime that SNC was allegedly wheeling and dealing with: Muammar Gaddafi seized power in Libya in a military coup d’etat in 1969. He was known for “horrific human rights abuses,” a supporter of jihad terror, “fervently Islamic and pro‐Palestine,” and once stated: “Christianity is not a faith for people in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. Other people who are not sons of Israel have nothing to do with that religion….all those believers who do not follow Islam are losers…..We are here to correct the mistakes in the light of the teachings of the Koran.” Gaddafi also declared that “Iranians are our brothers” and fed into the victimology narrative that America was the great oppressor.

So here is the Canadian government involved not only in possible obstruction of justice, but also in trying to cover up the links of SNC-Lavalin with the Gaddafi regime.

As Trudeau scrambles to do damage control, it should be remembered that he has embraced Islamic supremacists, as well as policies of open-door immigration, heedless of the costs of all this to taxpayers. Meanwhile, he perpetually downplays the dangers of jihad, to the peril of Canadian citizens.

Even the Liberal-leaning CBC noted that “in the week since the SNC-Lavalin story broke, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has changed his talking points several times,” and now risks “brand damage.” Between the Globe and Mail and the CBC, it doesn’t look as if the $600,000,000 bailout package that Trudeau pledged to media, widely considered to be a bribe in an election year, is working in his favor.

Muslim Association President Promotes Video Blaming Jews for 9/11

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 05:10

Sofian Zakkout, President of the American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA), is on the board of directors of both Crime Stoppers of Miami-Dade County and Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade County. He is also a notorious anti-Semite. These anti-crime groups have known about Zakkout’s bigoted activities for years but have made a conscious decision not to do anything about it. This month, Zakkout promoted on his social media a video claiming a wild conspiracy theory that prominent American Jews along with Israel were responsible for 9/11.

Will Crime Stoppers and Citizens Crime Watch finally take action to rid themselves of this hate?

On February 12th, Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout took to Facebook to promote ‘Israel Did 9/11,’ an over-two-hour-long video based around the wild conspiracy theory that prominent American Jews along with Israel were responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The video is narrated by Kenneth O'Keefe, a pro-Palestinian activist whom the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) labels “a raving, David Duke-endorsing anti-Semite.” In August 2014, during a speech he gave at the IONA London Forum, in London, England, O’Keefe stated that the “ultimate insult” is to call someone a “f--king Jew.”

One section of the video discusses “Jewish controlled” and “Jewish owned” media. It features Milton Kapner – an anti-Semitic street preacher who goes by the name Brother Nathanael – rattling off the names of prominent Jews in the media, while each of their images appears on the screen with a Jewish star affixed to them. In the video, Kapner states, “You see, the only news you’re going to get is what the Jews deem fit to print.”

This is not the first time Zakkout has advertised Jewish involvement in the September 11th attacks. In April 2016, Zakkout promoted on Facebook a report, titled ‘FORGET THE HASBARA ABOUT SAUDI ARABIA, 9/11 WAS A ZIONIST JOB.’ The report begins, “It ain’t debatable! Soup to nuts, top to bottom, the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington D.C. were an ‘Israeli’-Jewish job.”

The report names twelve Jews, whom it calls the “REAL planners and executors of 9/11,” including different Israeli Prime Ministers, then-soon-to-be Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg, and then-head of the criminal division of the Justice Department Michael Chertoff. It labels them “chosenite brethren.”

Zakkout has also promoted material claiming the Nazi Holocaust that sought to wipe out the entire Jewish population was a hoax. In February 2016, Zakkout advertised on social media a report titled ‘How the Holocaust was faked.’ It begins: “The alleged ‘Holocaust’ of ‘6 million Jews’ at the hands of Adolf Hitler and National Socialist Germany during WWII is the biggest lie ever foisted upon humanity.” It was produced by The Realist Report, an anti-Jew, anti-black, anti-gay independent media outlet, which describes Hitler as “the greatest leader in modern Western history.”

Zakkout has repeatedly referred to Jews as “monkeys and pigs.” In December 2015, Zakkout posted a photo of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, who is a decorated veteran of many different wars and battles fought by Israel over the last three-plus decades. Above the picture of Eizenkot, Zakkout wrote in Arabic, “You’re a Jew, the grandson of a monkey and a pig.” He signed it “Sofian.”

In July 2017, Zakkout posted on his Facebook a four minute clip from a speech made by Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Louis Farrakhan, where Farrakhan repeatedly labels the Jewish people “Satan.” And in January 2018, Zakkout posted a video clip of a speech made by Steve Anderson, pastor of the Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona, with Anderson claiming that Jews are “under the curse of God for having rejected the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Moreover, Zakkout is an ardent supporter of the terrorist organization Hamas. In July 2014, he organized a pro-Hamas rally held outside the Israeli Consulate in downtown Miami. Rally goers repeatedly shouted, “We are Hamas” and “Let’s go Hamas.” After the rally, Zakkout wrote the following in Arabic, above photos from the event: “Thank God, every day we conquer the American Jews like our conquests over the Jews of Israel!” He signed it “Br. Sofian Zakkout.”

The next month, Zakkout declared in Arabic, "Hamas is in my heart and on my head."

In July 2010, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) condemned Zakkout and his organization AMANA for featuring what the ADL called a “venomous” anti-Semitic video on the AMANA website. The video was produced by and featured white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke. Zakkout has since posted a number of Duke videos onto social media and has championed Duke as “David Duke, a man to believe in!”

Sofian Zakkout’s frequent actions aimed at scapegoating and dehumanizing Jews have repeatedly been pointed out to the leadership of both Crime Stoppers of Miami-Dade County and Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade County, but the message has fallen on deaf ears, as the groups have continued to harbor and legitimize this anti-Semite.

To be 100% clear, Crime Stoppers and Citizens’ Crime Watch are very aware of Zakkout’s actions, and they have made the conscious decision to do nothing about it.

It is indeed surreal that groups involved with fighting crime and affiliated with law enforcement would continue to tacitly condone Zakkout’s pro-terror activities and anti-Semitic incitement. In fact, these groups consist of a number of high profile individuals, including police officials and government representatives.

The Citizens' Crime Watch Executive Committee, on which Zakkout sits, has, as its Vice President, the Director of the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), Juan J. Perez (305-468-5900 / directorsoffice@mdpd.com).

Also on the Executive Committee are:
Miami attorney Craig M. Dorne (305-531-7890 / cdorne@dornelaw.com)
MDPD Sergeant Joseph Bermudez (305-471-1745 / jbermudez@mdpd.com)
Co-Director of the Center for the Administration of Justice at Florida International University (FIU) Ana Carazo Johanning (305-348-5952 / carazjoh@fiu.edu)
President and CEO of Continental National Bank Guillermo Diaz-Rousselot (305-642-2440 / gdr@continentalbank.com)
Florida Senator Anitere Flores (305-222-4117 / flores.anitere@flsenate.gov
Miami attorney Teri Guttman Valdes (305-740-9600 / tgvaldes@aol.com
Miami Commissioner District 11 Joe A. Martinez (305-552-1155 / district11@miamidade.gov
MDPD Deputy Director Alfredo Ramirez III (305-471-2625 / aramireziii@mdpd.com
Assistant Director for Programs at the University of Miami (UM) Priscilla M. Rivera (305-284-2959 / privera@miami.edu)
and Director at Miami-Dade County Public Schools Mark Zaher (305-995-7324 / mzaher@dadeschools.net)

If you wish to contact any of these individuals, please do so in a courteous and respectful manner.

The sanctioning of the bigoted and radical behavior of a member of their advisory boards makes a mockery of their missions and reflects on them, as well. Each day they remain connected to Zakkout, erodes their credibility and sullies their organizations’ names. Shame on every one of them for allowing this travesty to continue.

Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.

Christine Ford, Justin Fairfax and Me

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 05:58

Reprinted from American Thinker.

When it was reported that the law firm of Ballard Spahr was representing Justin Fairfax, the Virginia Lieutenant Governor accused of raping two women, several bells went off in my head. I knew Ballard Spahr had also represented the serial liar Christine Blasey Ford in her attempt to destroy the reputation and career of Brett Kavanaugh. But I was also familiar with Ballard as the firm that represented the once-liberal organization Common Cause in its attempt to tar me as a “white supremacist” and “sexist,” and destroy my own reputation. This effort was particularly instructive in revealing the dangerous mentality behind the blacklist, and the menace it poses not only to conservatives like myself, but to the future of our democracy.

The episode that put Ballard on my radar was an American Legislative Exchange Commission (ALEC) convention that took place last August in New Orleans. About 1200 state legislators attended. The entire thrust of my speech was that Republicans were too timid in advancing conservative agendas. I urged them to seize the opportunities created by President Trump’s bold and aggressive example.[1] I noted that Republicans had failed to repeal and replace Obamacare though they had been elected to do just that. I also referred to the fact that Republicans controlled 33 legislatures but had done nothing to stop Democrat teacher unions and their members from turning the K-12 schools into indoctrination platforms for leftist agendas. The result, was that, “school curricula have been turned over to racist organizations like Black Lives Matter, and terrorist organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood [through its front group CAIR].” These were the only references to blacks or Muslims I made in a 20-minute speech, but they were enough for leftists to use them to attack me and damage my hosts.[2]

In addition to my keynote speech, which received a standing ovation from the assembled legislators, I also spoke on a panel on the same subject. In my remarks, I recalled a seminal moment when Trump emerged as a different kind of Republican leader. This took place during the first primary debate, where the very first question was to Trump, and came from Fox anchor Megyn Kelly, who accused him of calling women “fat pigs, dogs and slobs.” Instead of backing away from these remarks, as every other Republican would have attempted to do, Trump immediately replied: “Only Rosie O’Donnell.” The reference was to an obese actress with a nasty mouth, who had previously been involved in many ugly public exchanges with Trump.[3] Trump’s answer won me over. He was the first Republican I was aware of who would not be cowed by political correctness and retreat under fire, but instead was ready to fight back.

When the panel invited questions from the audience, a distraught state legislator from Wisconsin named Chris Taylor rose to attack me. “You can’t say that about women,” she commented angrily. “You can’t call women fat pigs.” To which I replied: “Even if they are fat pigs? And with nasty mouths like Rosie O’Donnell? Why do you feel that you are personally implicated by O’Donnell’s behavior or Trump’s remark - or that women as a whole are? Why doesn’t the comment apply just to the individual herself and to specific context of their conflicts?”[4]

I hadn’t realized the questioner was a Democrat, nor did I think about the incident further. But three days later an article appeared on the left-wing site PRWatch.org, called “ALEC in Disarray.” It was written by Taylor and described my panel as “the biggest disaster I have ever seen at an ALEC conference….  One of the key speakers was right-wing provocateur David Horowitz. Horowitz is listed in a Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) report published by Alternet with the title, 10 of America's Most Dangerous Hatemongers.”[5]

The Southern Poverty Law Center is a $400 million dollar hate machine, which targets conservatives and smears them as hate groups. Its slander, “hatemonger,” proved sufficient – without supporting evidence -- to cost ALEC tens of thousands of dollars in donations over the next two months. Two and a half weeks after my speech, PR Watch announced that a broad coalition of 79 leftist organizations had agreed to join in pressuring ALEC’s corporate donors to withdraw their financial support. At the end of August, the 79 were joined by Common Cause and People for the American Way, once pillars of American liberalism.

Common Cause announced to its members that it had signed on with “more than 70 other … organizations urging some of the largest corporate funders… to cut ties with the organization after ALEC gave hatemonger David Horowitz a platform at their recent conference to spread white supremacist, sexist, and racist ideas.”[6] The letter the coalition sent to ALEC’s corporate donors began:

We write to urge that you cease your association with and stop funding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which recently provided a platform for white supremacist, sexist, and racist rhetoric at their annual meeting…. [No examples were provided-DH] Horowitz’s Freedom Center has been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a group “giving anti-Muslim voices and radical ideologies a platform to project hate and misinformation.”[7]

Within a month, Verizon, the largest telecommunications provider in the United States and a sponsor of ALEC for thirty years, told The Intercept that the company was withdrawing its support: “’Our company has no tolerance for racist, white supremacist or sexist comment or ideals,’ Verizon spokesperson Richard Young said.”[8] Verizon’s withdrawal was followed by AT&T’s, whose spokesman, Jim Greer told The Intercept. “We have ended our membership with ALEC and their convention speaker was a key factor in the decision.” Note that AT&T didn’t claim it was anything I actually said that prompted their decision. The Intercept, also reported that Dow Chemical and Honeywell had withdrawn their financial support.[9]

When my lawyers sent a letter to Common Cause demanding a retraction for slandering me as a “white supremacist” and “sexist,” a Ballard Spahr lawyer named Seth D. Berlin replied: “Common Cause declines to do so…. Common Cause’s characterizations of your clients’ ‘ideas’ and ‘rhetoric’ as ‘white supremacist,’ ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ and the like, are fully protected expressions of its opinion.”

This was true. Since 1964, slandering a public figure – defaming him without evidence - is protected by the Constitution as per a decision of the Supreme Court in NYTimes v. Sullivan.[10] This decision is responsible for the debased state of our current press since it has relieved media institutions of their legal liability for making false and character-damaging statements about public figures they oppose. Slander has consequently – and disastrously -- become the common currency of the Fourth Estate.

I already understood these facts but had asked my lawyer to send the letter anyway, knowing we did not have a legal case. I saw it as an appeal to the conscience of the Common Cause executives to look at what I had actually said and voluntarily take an action that would repair some of the damage they had done to my reputation. What I was not quite prepared for was the cynical leftism of the Ballard lawyer, Seth D. Berlin.

Having noted the law’s failure to protect public figures from unscrupulous attacks, Berlin proceeded, in a wholly gratuitous gesture, to slander me again. His attack showed me how far politically-motivated disrespect for the facts had corrupted even the ranks of professionals: “Even if Common Cause’s characterizations of your clients were somehow deemed to be [actionable], there is overwhelming evidence that they are substantially true, as is clear from Mr. Horowitz’s many speeches and writings….  For example … he (a) denigrated the Black Lives Matter movement, calling it a “racist organization,” (b) referred to “white skin privilege” as a “ludicrous doctrine,” (d) called Roe v. Wade a “travesty of justice,”…. (f) clearly aligned himself with President Trump, who has frequently embraced racist, sexist, homophobic and other bigoted views.”[11]

If supporting President Trump, along with 63 million other Americans, or doubting that “white skin privilege” has a basis in reality, is “overwhelming evidence” of racism, or calling Roe v. Wade a “travesty of justice, along with such prominent pro-abortion liberal jurists as John Hart Ely – who called it “bad law… because it is not constitutional law, and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be” --  then we are well along the path to a one-party state.[12]

The potency of a discredited blacklist like SPLC’s “Hate Watch” can be attributed first of all to the way the racial politics of the left label every policy dissent – over abortion, affirmative action, immigration, and anti-police vigilante-ism – “racist,” and “sexist.” The vast networks of the left share SPLC’s political agendas and believe in their own righteousness so passionately that they could hardly be less concerned with facts, let alone the rights of those who disagree with them. These networks include ancillary smear sites and blacklists such as Right Wing Watch, Source Watch, Media Matters, Think Progress and others that draw extensively on the slanders provided by SPLC, while adding some of their own. But the slanders are also abetted by journalists too lazy or uninterested to ascertain the facts, and by corporate organizations apprehensive of attacks from the left should they fail to respect its prejudices.

The platform that enables me to participate in the national debate is the David Horowitz Freedom Center, which I created in 1988. In the fall of 2018, one of our donors received the following letter when she tried to get matching funds for her donation from a charity set up for that purpose:

Hi, Anne,

Thank you for reaching out to us about David Horowitz Freedom Center. At this time, the organization that you are interested in supporting is not included in the program because they are on the SPLC watch list. The SPLC is, “Dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation’s children.” Because David Horowitz Freedom Center is on the SPLC watch list, they have been marked as an ineligible organization. More information on the SPLC can be found on their website (www.splcenter.org/) and if you have any questions for us, please let us know.

Cheers,

The letter was signed by the “Goodness Engagement Specialist” of the charity.

At about the same time, Mastercard informed the company that handles the donation website for the Freedom Center that it would no longer honor Mastercard credited donations. Fortunately, the Center’s lawyers were able to get Mastercard to reverse their decision but not before a considerable amount of money was lost.

According to Mastercard, their action was taken in response to a complaint from the website Bloodmoney.org, which was created by Color of Change, an organization that was founded by CNN commentator and Democratic Party leftist, Van Jones. The headlines on the site read: “Who’s Taking Blood Money from Hate Groups? Financial service companies doing business with white supremacists are profiting from hate.” According to Blood Money, as many as “158 funding sources have been removed from white supremacist sites since the beginning of this campaign.”

Breitbart editor Allum Bokhari has called this “financial blacklisting… the most totalitarian form of blacklisting,” and a “terrifying new threat to freedom.” I could not agree more.

Notes:

[2] For documentation see www.stopk12indoctrination.org, a website I am responsible for.

[4] I have had to reconstruct the remarks of Chris Taylor and myself as there is no transcript of the session.

[6] https://www.commoncause.org/resource/coalition-letters-to-alec-corporate-funders-over-david-horowitz-involvement-in-alec/. Again, the text of the speech, containing my unexceptional comments about Black Lives Matter and CAIR’s Islamist propaganda in K-12 schools, can be read here: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/271179/why-we-need-convention-states-david-horowitz

[11] Letter dated October 12, 2018 from Seth D. Berlin, Ballard Spahr, LLP, attorney for Common Cause. I have omitted two of Berlin’s slanders because it would be too tedious to correct his gross misrepresentations of the facts in my text. Suffice it to say I am not opposed to gay marriage, as Berlin claims without evidence, and I did not “mock a children’s book for referring to feminism and transgendered individuals.” I objected to a book called A Is For Activist because it was used in K-12 schools to teach kindergarteners and first graders the alphabet, while promoting leftwing agendas. https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/271179/why-we-need-convention-states-david-horowitz

[12] Yale Law Journal April 1973.

What Taxing the Rich Did to Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s States

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 05:40

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

Tax time is usually an unhappy time for taxpayers, but a joyous time for government employees and the welfare class that gets more in “refunds” than it ever pays in taxes.

But this year, tax time is a depressing time for the taxmasters in the big blue states.

Blue states use high taxes to finance their frivolous spending. But this year, the money just isn’t there even as House and Senate lefties from big blue states tout new plans to soak the rich.

Senator Elizabeth Warren made headlines by building her 2020 campaign around a “wealth tax”.

Warren called it, “the 'Ultra-Millionaire Tax” and claimed that it only “applies to that tippy top 0.1% – those with a net worth of over $50 million”. That’s convenient because the millionaire class warrior’s own estimated net worth tops out at around $10 million. When millionaires like Elizabeth Warren talk about taxing wealth, they mean the wealth of the millionaires who are wealthier than they are.

But over in Warren’s Taxachusetts, soaking the rich isn’t keeping the blue state model afloat.

Massachusetts experienced a January tax revenue shortfall of $195 million. That’s down 6% from 2018. And January is the cold, snowy month that is meant to account for 10% of the revenues for the year.

December was none too cheerful either.

"While most major categories of revenue continue to perform generally as expected, Massachusetts, like a number of other states, experienced below-benchmark performance in the category of non-withheld income in both December and January, particularly in individual estimated payments," the head of the Department of Revenue announced.

“As serious as a heart attack," New York’s Governor Cuomo was much less restrained when discussing New York’s $2.3 billion plus revenue shortfall.

“This is the most serious revenue shock the state has faced in many years," State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli warned.

 “Tax the rich. Tax the rich. Tax the rich. We did that. God forbid the rich leave," Cuomo groused, noting that the 1% of wealthy tax filers also pay almost half the state's income taxes. But, after tax reform, many of the rich were fleeing. Florida, with no income tax, was a commonplace destination.

New York lost almost 50,000 people last year. Florida gained over 300,000 people.

“I want to personally welcome anyone escaping high tax states to join the hundreds of thousands of their former neighbors who have already moved to Florida,” Governor Rick Scott announced last year.

“For richer people, your tax liability could have gone up now $100-, $200-, $300,000,” Governor Cuomo whined. “And there is a tipping point where people say, ‘I love New York, but to spend another $300,000 in taxes? I’ll move.’”

In the Occupy Wall Street era, Mayor Bloomberg had warned about the danger of tax hikes. “One percent of the households that file in this city pay something like 50% of the taxes. In the city, that's something like 40,000 people. If a handful left, any raise would make it revenue neutral."

His successor, Mayor Bill de Blasio, is a lazy Marxist and clueless about economics. “Brothers and sisters, there’s plenty of money in the world," he declared in his State of the City address. "There’s plenty of money in this city. It’s just in the wrong hands.”

The ‘wrong hands’ being any hands other than his pudgy manicured fingertips.

These days he’s singing a different tune.

In February, a doleful De Blasio declared that the city expects to see $935 million less in income tax revenue. That 7% drop is going to make New York City’s $92 billion budget, up $3 billion since last year, a lot more challenging. And, for the first time ever, he demanded that city agencies cut three-quarters of a billion, even as he doubled down on welfare to polish his progressive image for a presidential run.

“We have some tough choices up ahead,” he warned.

Sorry, “brothers and sisters”, suddenly there wasn’t “plenty of money in the city” anymore.

Is Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who made headlines with a 70% tax rate, paying attention to her own backyard? And by that, I don’t mean New York City. The fake “Girl from the Bronx” is actually from one of the wealthiest suburbs in the country with the highest property taxes in the country. Westchester took a downgrade from its AAA rating back in the fall. Another downgrade may hit it within two years.

Home prices are falling as tax reform is hammering Westchester’s deeply flawed economic strategy. And the flawed blue state economic strategy of tax happy enclaves around the country.

New Jersey’s Department of the Treasury noted a 35% tax revenue fall. California State Controller Betty Yee reported a $2.5 billion revenue shortfall. Tax reform is in the wind. And it’s blowing away the blues.

The blue state model hollowed out the greatest cities in America by making them unlivable for the middle class. High taxes in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and countless other cities have turned them into enclaves in which you either need to be rich or on welfare to be able to live in them. And that has made the blue state model precariously dependent on a small and very wealthy tax base.

Lefty politicians solve everything by spending more money and raising taxes on the wealthy. Tax reform made that an unsustainable strategy because, suddenly, red state taxpayers weren’t covering blue state tax bills. And that revealed just how hollow and vulnerable the blue state economic model really is.

When you don’t have a middle class, then the tax burden falls on a very small and mobile population. Unlike the middle class, which is tethered more tightly to jobs and single homes, the sorts of people that progressives are obsessed with taxing are a less stable tax base because they are fewer and freer.

The flip side of class warfare is that your targets can fight back by leaving and leaving you with nothing.

Senator Elizabeth Warren and other blue staters want to take the same failed model nationwide. Their fantasies of a massive national tax hike try to escape the limitations of tax reform by imposing taxes that no one can escape by moving to Florida. Lefties love telling us that we should learn from Europe.

It’s a pity that they never do.

France tried out a tax on the ‘super-rich’. And they packed up and left. The failed state which has the highest tax rates in the modern world is losing its tax base. 10,000 millionaires left France in 2015. 6% of Parisian millionaires got out. 12,000 millionaires left in 2016. Many moved to the US and to the UK.

Socialists, as Britain’s Margaret Thatcher had observed, “always run out of other people’s money.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez want to take the same high taxes that devastated Massachusetts and New York nationwide. The blue state model wrecked blue states.

Now the wreckers of Massachusetts and New York want to wreck America.

Why the Italian Jews Are Winning

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 05:30

Barbara and I were married in the Grand Synagogue in Rome in a ceremony that dates back to the fall of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Refugees from the ancient center of the Jewish people came in significant numbers to Rome (many as Roman slaves; the story is famously illustrated on the Arch of Titus in the Forum), and to this day both the liturgy and the melodies of Jewish worship are believed to be those celebrated in the Jerusalem temple. Our marriage was in the old Spanish (or Sicilian) synagogue beneath the Grand Synagogue, which was built at the turn of the 20th century.

So I took great pleasure from the news that the Grand Synagogue has now been illuminated, thanks to a joint venture involving the Jewish Community, the electric company, and the city government. The Jewish Community is the city’s oldest, and it’s entirely appropriate that the city should single out the synagogue as one of its landmarks. 

When the synagogue was completed, the dome was made of highly reflective metal, which made the structure stand out on the Roman skyline. In time, the metal was removed, and the temple now regains its prominence in the night, and, as Chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni movingly reminded the citizens of the city, it brings to mind the first lines of the Old Testament, when God created light. “Light was the first divine creation,” he said.

There’s the light of the sun, and light from other sources.  But that which shined in the first day of creation was the holiest, the most powerful, primordial energy, which remains hidden until better times.  We hope, symbolically, that the light we turn on tonight reminds us of that primordial one, which is reserved for the righteous.

The dome is now illuminated by modern LED technology, thanks to some 44 projectors. Probably the best place from which to see it is Piazza Garibaldi, up on the hill on the other side of the Tiber. When you look down, and if you then take a stroll through the neighborhood, you should brush up on the recent history of the Roman Jews, from the Holocaust to the present.

Most people do not realize that Italy surrendered to, and then joined, the Allies during the Second World War (Rome fell to a joint US-UK army on D-Day, in fact). In the process, Mussolini was overthrown, fascism was abolished, a military government was installed, and the country was taken over by Hitler’s armies. The Roman Jews were rounded up by the occupying Nazi forces in October, 1943. If you walk through the Jewish neighborhood, until very recently still called “the Ghetto, you will see bronze markets in front of the buildings from which the Jews were dragged off, ultimately to Auschwitz.

Some returned, some fought the Nazis all over the country. In Rome itself, a group of Jews organized a resistance group that fought throughout the occupation, and continued to defend the Jewish Community afterwards. Unlike most other European Jews, the Romans learned a fundamental lesson: the state was not going to defend them against the anti-Semites. If they were going to survive, they would have to defend themselves. So they studied self-defense, getting help from the security forces (notably the carabinieri), and later from the Israelis.

Remember, if you ever knew, that Italy was uniquely free of an indigenous anti-Jewish movement. Indeed, by World War I there had already been two Jewish prime ministers, and the Jewish defense forces had plenty of popular support. In direct contrast with the rest of the old continent, Italy’s Jews seem to be flourishing. In Rome alone there are now roughly twenty synagogues. Chabad is very active, especially in the north. There is a revival of Judaism in the south, most surprisingly in Sicily, where Jewish Communities are reemerging for the first time since the Inquisition. Kosher food is suddenly very popular, especially in Rome.

Indeed, one of the greatest fans of kosher food is none other than His Holiness, Pope Francis. When his Jewish friends come to visit from Buenos Aires, the pope sends out for kosher takeout, and not just to cater to his guests’ culinary requirements. He loves it.

So when you hear that the European Jews are destined to leave, and that European antisemitism is relentlessly rising, keep in mind the words of Ruth Dureghello, the president of the Rome Jewish Community. The illumination of the Grand Synagogue, she said, “is a victory…it is a signal that we don’t wish to hide…we are our Jewish history, we wish to be a light for the future.”

They’re fighting for that future, and they’re winning.

Video: Horowitz Receives Glazov Gang’s Andrei Sakharov Award 2019

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 05:25

In the new video below, Jamie Glazov Presents David Horowitz With the Glazov Gang's Andrei Sakharov Award 2019, given to a hero who stands steadfastly in the face of tyranny - and fans the fires of liberty. Don't miss it!

'Gross' Distortion

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 05:24

“Fresh Air” has been a staple of National Public Radio since 1985 and that has made host Terry Gross, 68, something of a celebrity. Gross is the author of All I did Was Ask: Conversations with Writers, Actors, Musicians and Artists and many of her interviews have become classics. On the other hand, with guests on the political side, her deft critical skills and background knowledge seem to vanish. Consider the February 19th “Fresh Air” appearance of Andrew McCabe.

The former FBI Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe, was there to promote his new book, The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump. It wasn’t clear whether Gross had read the book, but she seemed tuned in to what the “right-wing media” said about it. For example, she cited President Trump and Sean Hannity of Fox News, both of whom used the word “coup.”

McCabe, who was fired from the FBI before he could conveniently retire, responded: “The fact that the president uses a word, or that right-wing media uses a word, or that Sean Hannity uses the same word, simply does not make it true. I mean, we know that many of the words that all three of those folks use are frequently false and, in my own experience, proven to be slanderous and incredibly hurtful. But nevertheless, I will answer it directly: To characterize those comments by Rod Rosenstein as a ‘coup’ is just utterly ridiculous.”

Gross did not probe the actions of Peter Strzok, Lisa Page et al, and their “Mid-Year Exam” and “Crossfire Hurricane” operations. Nothing about the exoneration of candidate Clinton and the “insurance policy” to be deployed in the event that Trump won. It was audio volleyball, set-up and spike. Gross also raised Lindsey Graham’s hearing about the 25th Amendment conversation.

This “will be a very short and uneventful hearing,” McCabe said. “I invite the committee, or any other committee on the Hill, to look beyond that, to ask themselves why is it two of the highest ranking officials in the Department of Justice and the FBI in May of 2017 had to even consider the fact that the president of the United States might pose a national security risk to this country. I think that would be a much broader hearing and a much more interesting and important one.”

Gross then wondered why the FBI would believe the president posed a threat to national security.

“The president was clearly dissatisfied with or angry about the existence of the Russia Investigation,” huffed McCabe. Trump insisted the director announce that he was not under investigation then the president “fires the director of the FBI” and talks about it. “All of those circumstances,” McCabe said, “put us in a position where we couldn’t any longer deny the fact that we were in possession of articulable facts that might indicate a national security threat could exist.”

Terry Gross brought up nothing about Christopher Steele and the DNC-Clinton-funded dossier. Likewise, Gross showed no curiosity about DOJ boss Bruce Ohr and his Sovietophile wife Nellie, who was working for Fusion GPS at the time. But Gross did want McCabe’s take about being fired from the FBI.

“The president has a pretty well-known and well-established habit of attacking people who say things that he doesn't like,” McCabe said, “and he attempts to destroy first someone’s credibility so that others won't listen to what they say, or believe what they say. So the fact that that’s exactly what he has done to me here really shouldn't have been a surprise. I think I probably should have seen this coming.”

And so on, not an interview but in effect a staged reading. As for McCabe’s title about protecting America, Gross might have raised the case of Richard Miller, the 20-year FBI man who gave classified American national defense information to the Soviet Union, or the FBI show of force to arrest Roger Stone. That and a lot more escaped notice, but the show still proved enlightening.

Establishment media outlets like CNN and MSNBC also fail to mount any challenge to the Clinton coup clan and attack their opponents in the “right-wing media.” The difference with Terry Gross and “Fresh Air” is that National Public Radio gets funding from the federal government. American taxpayers don’t get the evenhanded approach they have a right to expect. The same is true on the Public Broadcasting Service.

PBS’s new “Firing Line” host is Margaret Hoover, great granddaughter of Herbert Hoover and wife of CNN anchor John Avlon. Hoover comes billed as conservative but she’s no William F. Buckley, who hosted the show from 1966 to 1999. PBS and NPR are part of the old-line establishment media, but unlike CNN they get government funding. Your tax dollars at work.

Video: Who Is Maxine Waters?

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 05:17

The video below begs the question: Who Is Maxine Waters? 

 

Fighting in the Trenches of This Culture War

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 05:10

For over 15 years, I have been operating a small publishing house, which is Canada’s sole conservative and pro-Israel publishing house. We publish some of the greatest Canadian, American and international authors who support fundamental freedoms, liberty, justice and individual rights as opposed to group rights. Our authors generally oppose cultural and moral relativism, and for that reason they are generally shunned by leftist publishing houses who naively believe that all cultures are equal.

I am the son of a Holocaust survivor who lost his parents and then eight-year-old sister in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. When someone tells me that all cultures are equal, I ask if the person believes that the culture of Nazi Germany or of ISIS is equal to the culture of Canada or the United States. The person usually walks away at that point.

Recently, as part of my publishing duties and the need to see if there are any upcoming opportunities for our authors to speak, I came across an event near Toronto called the Festival of Literary Diversity. Looking at the photographs of the 20 or so authors speaking or appearing, I could see that almost all were brown or black and they were mostly women.

Mantua Books also publishes brown women (Farzana Hassan, The Case Against Jihad), brown men (Professor Salim Mansur, Delectable Lie: a liberal repudiation of multiculturalism and Islamism and the Qur’an Problem), as well as white Jewish women, aged Christian men, gay Jewish men, all what we might term “conservative” thinkers, but who are actually “classically liberal” as much as conservative.

So, I decided to write to the Festival organizers to see if their definition of “marginalized diverse authors” could include our authors, most with Ph.Ds, who are shunned by mainstream leftist publishing houses despite their qualifications to write in their chosen fields on politics and culture.

It occurred to me that readers might like to peer into the trench, where I, a 67-year-old, former practicing lawyer, a developer of affordable rental housing for low income working people (which I insist gives me “progressive” credibility) am fighting in this war every week.

Of course, we are losing most every battle we fight. It is hard when academia, the mainstream media, and NGOs and government bureaucrats are all lined up against you. But I fight on; if my father could survive Auschwitz, I figure I can survive this.

So what follows is my correspondence with a Festival organizer, to give you some insight into one small, polite skirmish in a much larger War.

From Howard Rotberg to A.L.: 

Re:   Festival of Literary Diversity, in Brampton

We are a small publisher, based in Brantford/Hamilton, in business for over 15 years, publishing great authors, most with Ph.Ds, most of whom have been shunned by mainstream, leftist-oriented publishing houses, because of the authors conservative (or classically liberal) political beliefs.

We have white and brown authors, Christian, Muslim and Jewish authors, who write about ideologies and values in contemporary political culture.  Our authors are experts in their field, and are professors, journalists and others living in Canada or around the world. 

Please refer to our website, www.mantuabooks.com.

Our writers are usually opposed to cultural and moral relativism and political correctness that inhibits freedom of expression or that caters to group rights as opposed to individual human rights and maintenance of our liberal democratic justice system.   We are opposed to naïve advocacy of multiculturalism based on the mistaken belief that all cultures are equal.  We believe that cultures that oppress women, gays/lesbians, children, ethnic and religious minorities are not equal to those that uphold the rights of same.

Despite the quality of our writers, we are routinely marginalized by mainstream media who often refuse to review our authors’ works because, notwithstanding our great conservative tradition in Canada, these media feel that they want to publish or write about left-leaning authors not conservative ones, and so we are shunned and marginalized.

We think that a Festival of Literary Diversity should embrace a diversity of all books as long as they meet the requisite standards of intellectual discussion and our Canadian traditional values of liberty, justice and "peace, order and good government.  

Let us know if you want the publisher or some of the authors to participate in a festival of diversity that is in fact diverse.

From A.L. to Howard Rotberg:

Thank you for this. I appreciate and understand where you are coming from. We also do not support the views of people and movements who disenfranchise marginalized groups, but we cannot approach this from a perspective of viewing other cultures as inferior to Western democracies, regardless of whether we agree with their practices or not. As such, we celebrate the rights, complexities and humanity inherent in all cultures, understand that growth comes from meeting one another on common ground, and seek to elevate discussions where cross-cultural dialogues are respectful, mindful, and encourage us all to learn. 

Many thanks, and all the best to you in your continued work. 

From Howard Rotberg to A.L.:

Thank you for your polite and considered response.

I simply want to point out to you that I work with marginalized authors who are marginalized by leftist media.  Words like "diverse" or "marginalized" are highly politicized terms useful for attaining power or reducing power of those with whom one disagrees with politically.

The fact that you cannot bring yourself to state the obvious - that some cultures like that of Nazi Germany or of ISIS - are culturally inferior, tells me, the son of a Holocaust survivor, that the effect of your sincere efforts is to dignify cultures that abuse women and gays and religious minorities;   surely you would be hard-pressed to make the argument, say, to Yezedi women, victims of the evil culture of Syria which includes a culture of rape..

I disagree that there is "humanity" in all cultures.  Nazi Germany and ISIS are the opposites of humanity.

Finally, it sounds nice to say that we should be "respectful" in all discussions. But, in my book, The Ideological Path to Submission … and what we can do about it, I point out that "the Oxford Dictionary defines “respect” as “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements.”  But to me, Islamists who use beheading, rape and sexual assault, torture, persecution of ethnic and religious minorities and gays, and disregard most human rights, do not deserve our “deep admiration” and do not show any great “qualities or achievements.”    We must be clear on this.

My friend, Hamilton writer Gary Gerofsky, has this to say about “safe spaces” where we share our supposed “common ground”:

“I am really confused about the notion of ‘meeting on common ground.’ If there were such a viable concept/place as ‘common ground,’ then can it be defined? If not, then where in the rich spectrum of values and ideas is there a common platform for our minds to meet? Why should there be a common ‘safe place’ when people disagree about significant basic ideas which are diametrically opposed to western values which have made modern western civilization the best place on earth to be living?”

I would recommend that you read Professor Salim Mansur's Delectable Lie:  a liberal repudiation of multiculturalism, Diane Weber Bederman's Back to the Ethic:  Reclaiming Western Values, and my own, The Ideological Path to Submission... and what we can do about it.  Hopefully, readers of those books that are published by Mantua Books will come to understand that cultural relativism, the idea that all cultures are equal, plays a large part in being unable to defend the war against our freedoms and liberties and individual rights.

Paul Joseph Watson Video: Jussie Smollett is a Complete Idiot

Thu, 02/21/2019 - 05:00

In this new video, Paul Joseph Watson weighs in on the hate crime hoax perpetrated by Empire actor Jussie Smollett. Don't miss it!

 

What Was at Stake in the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s Battle in Arizona

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 05:58

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

It’s 2019.

Who would want to oppose a code of ethics for K-12 teachers telling them not to “segregate students according to race”?

The answer is the media.

When State Rep. Mark Finchem in Arizona proposed HB 2002, a code of ethics for educators that included a ban on segregation, he was targeted with media hit pieces accusing him of extremism.

Since his bill had some similarities to the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s K-12 code of ethics, the media attacked a code of ethics opposing racial segregation with smears accusing Horowitz of racism.

Brenna Bailey of the Arizona Daily Star called David Horowitz, a “white extremist”.  Bailey was smearing a Jewish civil rights activist as a “white extremist” for opposing racial segregation.

"Is it too much to ask of our elected officials NOT to copy a so-called ethics code for teachers from an operation with racist overtones?" EJ Montini at the Arizona Republic bleated.

"It is not difficult to figure out where Horwitz is coming from," Montini wrote.

David Horowitz has written countless books, pamphlets, editorials and articles laying out his views. Meanwhile the activists misrepresenting his views can’t even bother getting his name right.

The Freedom Center fought back with an op-ed in the Arizona Daily Star, but not before our name had been dragged through the dirt in an attempt to falsely smear Rep. Finchem and stop HB 2002.

Columnist Tim Steller of the Arizona Daily Star claimed that HB 2002 is part of an attack on "Arizona liberals". But the bill never mentions any political ideology.  Instead it expects teachers of all ideological orientations to refrain from “engaging in political, ideological or religious advocacy in their classrooms”.

A code of ethics for educators can only be an attack on leftists if they are the ones abusing children by twisting lessons into opportunities for indoctrination. The accusation serves as its own guilty admission.

The Arizona smear campaign is typical of how local politics is being hijacked by national blacklists. The blacklist in Arizona was derived from the scam artists at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The SPLC’s blacklist is as notorious for its false claims, misstatements and smears as for its ubiquity. The SPLC blacklist has listed a bar sign and individuals (including myself) as hate groups. It put the entire town of Amana, Iowa on its hate map because an internet troll had proposed holding a racist meeting in a bookstore. It was forced to pay out $3.3 million after libeling a Muslim as an anti-Muslim extremist.

But the SPLC blacklist continues to be widely used, not because it’s accurate, but because it’s useful.

In Arizona, the media didn’t have to bother finding rational grounds to oppose HB 2002, which, in addition to tossing out racial segregation and scapegoating in the classroom, also prohibits teachers from endorsing candidates, bills and measures, and asks them to teach both sides of political issues.

Making arguments for segregation and against political indoctrination of children might have been awkward. It was easier to misleadingly link Rep. Finchem to David Horowitz and then to use the SPLC’s blacklist to accuse anyone who opposes classroom segregation and child indoctrination of racism.

David Horowitz and the Freedom Center are proud to have popularized the idea that students at every educational level have the right to be free of indoctrination and the right to be graded based on the quality of their work, and not on their level of agreement with the political views of their professor.

Their advocacy for student civil rights has provided inspiration to state lawmakers across the country.

This is no different than the way that many civil rights groups operate by laying out a policy framework and inspiring political change by local activists, organizations and legislators willing to tackle a problem.

And the leftist response hasn’t been reasoned debate, but blacklists and dirty tricks.

What happened in Arizona is happening all over America. Debate is shut down with blacklists. The blacklists are sloppy smears, but they save the leftist radicals from having to listen both sides.

That is the purpose of a blacklist.

HB 2002 asked educators to teach both sides of political issues. Its radical opponents responded by using smears to argue that the other side should not be heard from. That’s the exact mindset that is the problem. Classrooms have been hijacked by radicals who believe that every issue only has one side. Their side. And the other side is deplatformed, banned and blacklisted from ever being heard.

Every issue is polarized into the familiar dichotomy of perpetrators and victims. Open inquiry is sacrificed on the altar of social justice. The blacklist is upheld as a safe space for victims of injustice. The targets of the blacklist are dismissed as not only wrong, but wicked. They must be stopped at any cost.

This mindset got its start on college campuses where dissenting speakers were met with shouts, bomb threats and even physical violence. A rash of fake hate crimes was used to kickstart a panic over bigotry on college campuses. Administrators allowed bias response teams to create climates of political terror. Free speech by college students was smothered in a blanket of official and unofficial intimidation.

The David Horowitz Freedom Center had been ahead of its time in debuting the Academic Bill of Rights over fifteen years ago. As David Horowitz saw the battleground shifting from college campuses to the K-12 level, a new call to protect the classrooms of K-12 students from the cultural revolution was launched. And that call was also met with the same blacklists and smear campaigns all over again.

Both the Academic Bill of Rights and the K-12 code of ethics present stark choices between blacklists and open debates. They ask parents and legislators to decide whether they want the next generation to be able to engage with ideas, or to reflexively ignore, purge and shout down anyone they don’t like.

Radical teachers who replace debate with blacklists in the classroom don’t just teach students bad political and civic habits, but also bad social habits. The inability of many millennials to deal with criticism in the workplace, and to meet criticism with political attacks, can be traced back to how they were socialized in the classroom to treat any disagreement as unacceptable and dangerous.

The David Horowitz Freedom Center has never called for barring political ideas from the classroom. That is a false statement repeatedly made by blacklisters who want classrooms to include only one point of view. The Center believes that a free society is built on the ability to see different points of view. The blacklisters believe that any point of view other than their own ought to be blacklisted from public life.

The blacklist has become the defining engine of politics.

“For more than a decade, I myself have been at the top of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hate lists,” David Horowitz wrote of his experience being blacklisted.

But you don’t have to be David Horowitz to be blacklisted. Every conservative sooner or later will experience the force of the blacklist. And even children in the classroom will feel it too.

That’s why the Freedom Center has made fighting for the civil rights of students in classrooms across the country into its signature issue. No child should have to go through what Horowitz and many conservatives have had to endure as adults. The freedom of their minds is worth fighting for.

The K-12 code of ethics is being blacklisted, but it’s also the best defense against the blacklist.

Maine Educators Attack Bill to Prohibit Political Advocacy in Public Schools

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 05:52

A code of ethics for public school teachers that was recently introduced in the Maine Legislature is making headlines, and will serve as an important test-case for efforts to prohibit indoctrination in our nation’s schools. But local educators are responding with hysteria to this commonsense education reform proposal, even as its legislative sponsor responds with calm and logic.

The bill, LD-589, was introduced by Rep. Larry Lockman and co-sponsored by several of his colleagues in the state legislature. It establishes a code of ethics for professional conduct that must be observed by public school teachers in the state and prohibits teachers “from engaging in political, ideological, or religious advocacy in the classroom.”

Specific provisions of the bill prohibit public school teachers from acting during class time or in their role as publicly employed educators to endorse or oppose elected officials and candidates and from “introducing any controversial subject matter that is not germane to the topic of the course being taught.”

The bill does not restrict teachers from bring up contentious topics that are relevant to academic discussion, but forbids teachers from “advocat[ing] in a partisan manner for any side of a controversial issue” and requires that teachers “provide students with materials supporting both sides of a controversial issue being addressed and to present both sides in a fair-minded, nonpartisan manner.”

The bill also outlaws “segregating students according to race or singling out one racial group of students as responsible for the suffering or inequities experienced by another racial group of students”—a tactic often used by educators who attempt to institute their vision of “social justice” by excoriating Caucasian students for their “white privilege.”

Teachers who fail to abide by these rules would face disciplinary action, including possible termination.

Educators’ responses to the bill have been swift and unhinged.

A teacher at Casco Bay High School took especial offense at the bill’s prohibition on racism, tweeting:

“LD 589 proposes that ME teachers be fired for ‘singling out one racial group of students as responsible for the suffering or inequities faced by another racial group of students.’ This institutionalizes white fragility & [seriously], teaching is never apolitical.”

Matthew Drewette-Card, a curriculum developer for one of Maine’s public school districts and the vice president of the Maine Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, submitted written testimony to the Education Committee of the Maine Legislature in preparation for an upcoming hearing on LD-589 which is scheduled for Thursday.

“An educators’ right to constitutional protections do not end when s/he walks into a school or classroom,” states Drewette-Card’s testimony. “This bill would stifle the views, opinions, and rights to speech, protest, and assembly that are guaranteed freedoms in our constitution.”

Drewette-Card’s attempt to attack the constitutionality of LD-589 falls flat on its face. Public school teachers have professional responsibilities as government workers and educators which abridge their First Amendment rights in the classroom. While teachers are entitled to freedom of speech in the course of their ordinary lives as citizens, they are not entitled to say anything they want when speaking to students in a public school classroom. They are not allowed to utter obscenities, they are not allowed to teach students that 2+2=5, or that the earth is flat—although all of these forms of speech are constitutionally protected in their ordinary lives.

Clergy at religious institutions that claim non-profit tax status are also forbidden from engaging in certain speech such as endorsing candidates for office while representing their house of worship. And the Hatch Act forbids employees of the federal government from numerous forms of political speech and activity including running for public office in a partisan election, soliciting or discouraging the political activity of anyone with business before their agency, and engaging in forms of political activity while on duty, in a government office or while wearing an official uniform.

The Hatch Act specifically exempts state and local public school teachers. But in the case of Briggs vs. United States, Intervenor, decided in 2003 by the United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, the court upheld an earlier ruling that the Hatch Act applies to a teacher, Tom Briggs, employed by the District of Columbia Public Schools. And that same ruling confirms that each state does in fact have the authority to limit the political speech and activities of state employees, explaining:

 “because the states retain all powers not delegated to the federal government-unlike the District of Columbia, which has only those powers that Congress is willing to grant it-states have the authority to set their own limits on their employees' political activities, and states should be given leeway to exercise that authority if they so choose.”

Seen in light of the Court’s ruling, Maine Legislative Directive 589 is an effort to do exactly this, for the State of Maine to exercise its own constitutional authority to create its own limits on the political activities of state employees.

Curriculum consultant Drewette-Card also objects to LD 589’s prohibition on “Segregating students according to race or singling out one racial group of students as responsible for the suffering or inequities experienced by another racial group of students,” claiming that “this bill seeks to deny historical fact.”

The educator may want to brush up on his own knowledge of history. In certain times and places throughout history, one race has mistreated another. But the narrative commonly taught in American public schools—that whites are solely responsible for black mistreatment and slavery—is sorely lacking in nuance and truth.

As the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia.org, explains, “Slavery was prevalent in many parts of Africa for many centuries before the beginning of the Atlantic slave trade. There is evidence that enslaved people from some parts of Africa were exported to states in Africa, Europe, and Asia prior to the European colonization of the Americas.” European slave traders conspired with West Africans to enslave and sell other Africans. And free blacks in the South before the Civil War could and did own slaves of their own. Slavery continues to exist in Africa today, long after it was abolished in the United States.  Yet despite this complex historical record, Drewette-Card, like many educators, continue to push the discredited narrative that “white privilege” is responsible for society’s racial ills.

In an interview with a local radio station, Maine Representative Larry Lockman, the bill’s primary sponsor, explained why the legislation is both non-controversial and necessary.

"It is meant to restore just basic principles of public education in a democracy and to prevent teachers from inserting partisan politics into their teaching," explained Lockman.

"Since the beginnings of public education in the United States, it's been assumed that in a democracy teachers should teach children how to think, not teach them what to think. But now we have progressive teachers, administrators, textbook publishers, and they are pushing to ensure that children as early as kindergarten practice 'correct thinking' and I'm using the air quotes here in the studio, 'correct thinking' on subjects such as racial guilt, gender identity, illegal immigration, or other controversial issues," he continued.

"So simply put, this code of ethics would forbid teachers from endorsing candidates as part of their classroom instruction, from introducing controversial material not germane to subjects being taught and generally from using their classrooms as bully pulpits for political, social or religious advocacy,” Rep. Lockman concluded. “Parents want teachers to leave their partisan politics at the schoolhouse door."

Hearings on the measure will be held by the Education Committee on Thursday. Contact information for members of the Education Committee of the Maine Legislature may be found here.

Dealing With Europe’s ISIS Returnees

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 05:50

“Seven hundred German citizens have gone to Syria to fight for the Islamic State. It’s not what they’re doing over there that scares us. It’s what happens when they come back.”
– Astrid, German intelligence officer, Homeland, season 5, episode 2.

Now that ISIS has been reduced from a caliphate to a cipher, the question arises: what to do with its former members who traveled from the West in order to crush the West – and who remain in the hands of the U.S. military and its local allies? Ship them all to Guantánamo so that the European media can paint them as victims of American abuse? Set them free to fight another day?

Early on Sunday morning, President Trump addressed this issue on Twitter. He wrote:  

The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial. The Caliphate is ready to fall. The alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them....

....The U.S. does not want to watch as these ISIS fighters permeate Europe, which is where they are expected to go. We do so much, and spend so much – Time for others to step up and do the job that they are so capable of doing. We are pulling back after 100% Caliphate victory!

Trump’s right, of course. Terrorists with British or French or German passports shouldn’t be our problem. But are our allies prepared to go along?

Some observers would say they already are. In 2014, the Guardian reported that Britain had “arrested at least 60 [ISIS] returnees,” while thirty or more others were “facing trial in Germany.” Only last Friday, the Euronews website outlined the ways in which various European governments are purportedly responding to this challenge. “Initially,” wrote Rachael Kennedy, those governments “generally turned their backs on repatriating their citizens, but some have since started to reconsider their stance following US encouragement.” Kennedy stated that France “was considering the repatriation of 130 men and women to be tried,” that Germany was reportedly “watching the French case closely,” and that under U.K. law “some repatriated British fighters could simply walk free once they return.” Kennedy added that “[w]hile Europe appears uninterested in seeking its citizens out, there is one thing that is clear — if an IS member returns to their home border on their own accord, they can probably expect to be prosecuted.”

Both the 2014 Guardian story and last Friday’s Euronews report were rather puzzling, because you would never imagine, after reading them, that ISIS terrorists have actually been returning for years to some of these countries without ever being prosecuted. Generally speaking, indeed, these countries’ approaches to the return of ISIS members appear to have been feeble, confused, and highly uneven, sometimes varying significantly from one part of a country to another. There have been claims that it’s all but impossible to prosecute these people successfully – partly because European courts eschew jurisdiction over atrocities committed in far-off places and partly because hard evidence is hard to come by. But in many cases the reluctance to prosecute also seems to be rooted in the twisted temptation, on the part of at least some European authorities, to regard these evil beheaders (or would-be beheaders) as victims.

Take Britain. First, a brief detour in the name of context. Keep in mind that it’s only recently begun to be officially acknowledged that, over the last few decades, thousands of non-Muslim girls in British towns and cities have been subjected to Muslim gang rape. As of yet, the true dimensions of this emerging horror can still only be guessed at; but given the scale of what has already been uncovered, and given what this horror has illuminated about the true nature of Islam, you might expect it to have been a total game-changer for British society. You might, that is, expect the grooming-gang scandal to have compelled a total rethinking of immigration policies, to have been at the very heart of parliamentary debates, and to have altered entirely the way in which the British media cover Islam. Nope. In fact, even though this nightmare has only begun to be exposed, Britain’s elites are already eager to move on from it.

Precious few Brits, I would wager, could name even one of the girls who’ve been brutally raped by Muslim grooming gangs. But everybody in Britain now knows the name of 19-year-old Shamima Begum, who left Britain in 2015 to join ISIS. Begum, who this weekend gave birth to her third child at a refugee camp in Syria, has said that she wants to go back to the U.K. and live at her parents’ home in London. Even though she’s refused to express the slightest remorse for her treason, people across Britain have fretted over her fate.

For example, Richard Barrett, a former head of MI6, Britain’s counterpart to the CIA, has said that Britain should let her come home “if we are to stand by our values.” Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott concurs, saying she opposes “making people stateless.” On Sunday, a woman with a working-class British accent phoned into the two-hour Nigel Farage Show – on which Begum’s fate was Topic A – and insisted passionately that “we have a duty to look after that girl!”

Home Secretary Sajid Javid disagreed, saying last week that “if you have supported terrorist organisations abroad I will not hesitate to prevent your return” and that “If you do manage to return you should be ready to be questioned, investigated and potentially prosecuted.” Not exactly tough talk, especially given that being “questioned, investigated and potentially prosecuted” is nowadays the possible fate of anyone in the U.K. who’s caught criticizing Islam on Facebook. Merely by breathing the word prosecution, however, Javid was asking for trouble. Hanif Qadir, a “senior expert” at Prevent – Britain’s ridiculous excuse for an official “counter-extremist” program – told the Guardian that Javid, apparently by failing to offer returning ISIS terrorists candy and flowers, was “fuelling the [ISIS] narrative and giving wind to the sails of other extremists.” In other words, if you don’t coddle these monsters, you’ll create more of them.

Yesterday, fortunately, in what seemed a rare and precious moment of sanity – and genuine toughness- for the Home Office, Javid banned Begum from Britain.

Compare this to the policies in other European countries. But hey, let’s pop over to North America first. Six months ago, a Canadian blogger noted that “over sixty former ISIS fighters have returned to Canada, with more on the way,” and that, instead of being imprisoned or prosecuted, they were being given “thorough rehabilitation.” Some leaders might worry about the risk that such terrorists pose to law-abiding citizens, but the Trudeau administration, unsurprisingly, is more concerned about the safety of the terrorists, whose “identities and locations” are being systematically concealed in order “to protect them.” In a recent speech, a spokesman for Canada’s diplomatic service asserted that “every Canadian citizen – no matter how reprehensible – has the legal right to 're-enter' Canada.” (Don’t ask me to explain those scare quotes around “re-enter.”)

What about the Netherlands? At least a few Dutch citizens who have fought for ISIS have reportedly been flown back home free of charge by the government and given places to live. In February 2017, De Volkskrant ran a rosy report claiming that returnees, then numbering about fifty, seemed to pose “no violent threat at all”; on the contrary, many of them, poor things, were themselves “traumatized.” (Reality check: by the time that piece appeared in De Volkskrant, returnees had already been involved in major terrorist attacks in Brussels and Paris.) “Last month,” reported the Economist in December 2017, “a court in the Netherlands convicted a 22-year-old Dutch woman” who had moved with her Palestinian husband to ISIS territory “of helping to plan terrorism. It then set her free.” Indeed, though there are ISIS trials in the Netherlands, the percentages don’t look good: as of February of last year, according to one source, only seven of 50 ISIS returnees had been tried and convicted of criminal charges, while eight were being prosecuted. The other day, the Netherlands’ Minister of Justice and Security, Ferdinand Grapperhaus, affirmed that his country is, at present, actively involved in repatriating female ISIS members who hold Dutch passports. He didn’t say anything about arresting them.

And Sweden? In that country, it’s up to individual municipalities to decide what to do about returning ISIS members. In 2015, Expressen reported that one such municipality, Örebro, was giving them jobs and offering them “help by a psychologist” to “process the traumatic experiences they’ve undergone.” In 2016, the Sun reported that the city of Lund was offering them “free housing, a driver's license and a range of tax benefits.” (This policy was formulated in accordance with a criminologist’s warning that “terrorist fighters will face difficulties unless they are supported”; a Lund official, Anna Sjöstrand, explained: “We cannot say because you made a wrong choice, you have no right to come back and live in our society.”) And just last week it was reported that the city of Stockholm, in response to critics who claimed it had failed to provide sufficient succor to returning jihadists – this is not a joke – had formulated a new policy to ensure that “the children of returnees feel good and receive the protection and support they need” and was also planning to set up a “help line” for the ex-jihadists themselves. In any event, as of last December, Swedish officials acknowledged that they’d lost track of the great majority of returned ISIS members. 

Denmark? In 2014, the Guardian reported at length on “the so-called Aarhus model,” named after Denmark’s second-largest city, the premise of which was summed up as follows by a psychology professor at Aarhus University: “Look: these are young people struggling with pretty much the same issues as any others – getting a grip on their lives, making sense of things, finding a meaningful place in society. We have to say: provided you have done nothing criminal, we will help you to find a way back.” Of course’s that one hell of a big proviso: how to know what some returning ISIS member has or hasn’t done? As it happens, a report that appeared last Saturday in The Local seemed at least in part to contradict that account: Denmark, it implied, had thus far not taken in ISIS returnees, but might be obliged to do so in accordance with U.S. wishes. Interestingly, while no ISIS terrorist had yet been prosecuted in Denmark as of last summer, a Danish citizen, Tommy Mørck, was sentenced in June to six months for joining the fight against ISIS – and prosecutors were seeking a stiffer sentence. According to Mørck, the Danish judiciary was “cracking down on those who fight IS instead of going after extremists that have returned to Denmark.”

What of Norway? Last week, at a security conference in Munich, Prime Minister Erna Solberg told VG that her country will accept returning ISIS jihadists who have Norwegian citizenship. Will any of them be put on trial? Hard to imagine, at least with Solberg in power.

Germany? In January 2018, the Jerusalem Post reported that the Berlin government believed that over 960 people had left Germany to fight for ISIS, and that about a third had already returned home. In that country, too, the goal is “deradicalization.” Although state, not federal, officials are responsible for carrying out that process, the federal government provides “support for families of those who left Germany to fight for Islamic State” and, since last year, has funded programs “to educate and deradicalize returning foreign fighters.” Not a whisper about prosecution or punishment. This past Sunday, a statement by the German Interior Ministry asserted that “all German citizens, including those suspected of having fought for the so-called IS, have the right to return to Germany.” It further indicated that Germany’s goal is to “deradicalize returnees.” Notwithstanding that 2014 Guardian mention of thirty arrests of returned jihadists, the German Interior Ministry made no mention of putting any of these returnees on trial.

Let’s move on to the European country that has contributed more members to ISIS than any other. That would be France. According to one report, as of last August, when it had “1600 people in prison on terrorist offences…including returnees,” France had “made clear that it has little desire to repatriate and try those returnees who committed terrorist offences off the battlefield.” On January 31, the Guardian quoted French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner as saying that all ISIS members returning to France would be locked up at once and put on trial. Also quoted was Prime Minister Édouard Philippe, who declared that it was better for French jihadists to be “judged, convicted and punished in France rather than disappearing to plan other actions, including against our country.” This past Saturday, the same newspaper quoted a professor at Ghent University as saying that, of all the countries in Europe, only France wants its ISIS members back.

One last country: Belgium. A February 2018 Egmont Institute report noted that while its terrorist laws had been beefed up and returnees were “now more likely to be prosecuted and condemned for terrorism than they were before,” most Belgian returnees were not behind bars at that time. The most important detail in the report was this: “returnees are typically sentenced to 5 years in jail.” Yes, five years. Five. Such grotesquely brief sentences are, alas, par for the course in western Europe.

And that’s the ultimate problem here: our allies may be willing to go along with Trump and prosecute at least some of these barbarians, but their tame punishment regimes haven’t been overhauled to take into account the realities of the world we now live in. In most of these countries, most of these savages, if locked up at all, will get ridiculously short sentences in cells far nicer than they deserve, then be released into the general population, where they’ll pose an ever-present danger to everyone around them. As Danish Defense Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen said the other day about the prospect of giving ISIS terrorists a Danish trial: “They have beheaded people, raped women and children and sold people,” he said. “For me, it is paradoxical for those militants to now claim Western norms regarding protection of rights.”

Perhaps what each of these countries really needs is its own Guantánamo. But what are the chances of that happening? Besides, even if every last one of these monsters could be fenced in forever on, say, the island of St. Helena, what to do about the innumerable sons and daughters of Allah who, though they themselves never went to fight for ISIS, cheered on the caliphate from the safety of their homes in the West?

MUST WATCH: Comedian Hilariously Reenacts Jussie Smollett ‘Attack’

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 05:48

In the new video below, a comedian hilariously reenacts the Jussie Smollett ‘Attack’. Don't miss it!

 

Ed Husain on the British Museum and “The True Face of Islam"

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 05:05

Ed Husain, a self-described former Muslim extremist who once headed the Quilliam Foundation, which is ostensibly dedicated to turning Muslims away from Jihadist activities, is ecstatic about the exhibit of artifacts of Islamic civilization at the British Museum that opened last November.

In Britain today, Islam in its original essence is not to be found in mosques or Muslim schools, but on the first floor of the British Museum. There, the Albukhary Islamic gallery, newly opened to the public, dazzles visitors and defies every certainty promoted by today’s hardline Muslim activists. This spectacular exhibition of objects from across continents and centuries shows us a history of continuity of civilisations, coexistence of communities. It offers a compelling corrective to current popular notions of Islam as an idea and a civilisation.

What “certainties” are those “promoted by today’s hardline Muslim activists”? That it is the duty of Muslims to follow the commandments, found in 109 verses in the Qur’an, to wage violent Jihad? That it is a Muslim’s duty to “strike terror” in the hearts of the Unbelievers? That Muslims should not take Christians and Jews as friends “for they are friends only with each other”? That non-Muslims are “the most vile of created beings”? How do exhibits of Iznik tiles, Persian miniatures, Qur’anic calligraphy, Islamic coinage, illustrations of epic romances, oriental carpets, astrolabes, do anything to undermine those Qur’anic commands to wage Jihad against Infidels, to strike terror in their hearts, to avoid being friends with Christians and Jews, and to despise the “vile” Unbelievers? None of these Qur’anic verses are the least bit softened by that display of astrolabes, carpets, ceramics, and Arabic calligraphy.

Too often, we assume that Islam’s arrival on the world stage involved some violent break with the past that brought forth a new Muslim civilisation. The artifacts, coins, pottery, and tiles on display here from the British Museum’s own collection from the 7th century onwards reveal a different and more accurate history. The Prophet Mohammed was born in 570 in a world dominated by the Sassanians and Byzantines. He and his followers broadly followed the art and architecture, empire and power structures, of this pre-existing world. The earliest Islamic coins were copies of the gold and silver drachms used by the Sassanians. Even the name of the Muslim gold coin, the dinar, was derived from the Roman denarius.

Did not the earliest Muslims themselves believe that Islam represented a complete break with the past, that pre-Islamic past that Muslims dismissed as the Jahiliyya, or Time of Ignorance? Nothing that came before Islam was of worth. The lightning conquests of the earliest Muslims within the span of a century tore up the political structures of the Middle East and North Africa. The Muslim warriors did not follow the “empire [sic] and power structures” of the pre-Islamic world, but rather smashed those political entities to bits and incorporated the conquered territories into the earliest caliphates. Islam was both a faith and a politics, and in both, it broke with the past.

In what way did Muhammad and his followers “broadly follow the art and architecture” of what came before? As for art, the Muslim prohibition on statuary and paintings of living creatures, which were central to both the art of classical antiquity and to Christian art, led to other forms of artistic expression being emphasized in the Islamic lands. These were chiefly Qur’anic calligraphy, ceramics (also with Arabic calligraphy), carpets with elaborate geometric designs, and mosque architecture. There was little connection with the previous art of the pre-Islamic East or of the West. In other words, far from “broadly following” the art of their predecessors, Muslims were prohibited from engaging in the same kind of sculpture and paintings because the depiction of living creatures was forbidden. In mosque architecture, the Muslims did borrow the architectural element known as the squinch, either from Sassanian Persia or from the Byzantines — scholars still argue over which —  in building the domes for their mosques, but there are no other obvious architectural borrowings by mosque architects from pre-Islamic buildings.

Euclid’s Elements taught Muslims the rules for the monumental mosques they built with their domes and perfect proportions. Gilded flasks from Syria from as late as the mid-1200s show designs with an eagle and dancer, popular motifs in the arts of the Mediterranean at the time. The Prophet’s shirt was ‘Made in Rome.’Medieval Muslim philosophers such as Averroes referred to Aristotle as ‘al-Shaikh al-Yunani’, the Greek sheikh. Islam did not kill the Greco-Roman past, but revived it. That spirit radiates through the British Museum’s exhibition.

The use by Muslim artists of an eagle-and-dancer motif found throughout the Mediterranean does not amount to a significant borrowing by them from non-Muslims. Given that both the “dancer” and the “eagle” were living creatures whose images would be forbidden in Islam, it is possible — unless both figures were not real images of either an eagle or a dancer but stylized abstractions —  that the “gilded flask” on display was the product of a Christian, not a Muslim, artisan in Syria. The Prophet’s shirt was “Made in Rome” — does that mean Muslims imported their clothes from the Christian West? And if it were true, so what? No one has claimed that there was no trade between the Islamic world and the West.

Averroes wrote a lengthy commentary on Aristotle, but that does not amount to “reviving…the Greco-Roman past.” Jewish and Christian translators, in Cordoba and Baghdad, did almost all of the translations of Greek and Latin works into Arabic. Should those translations be considered an achievement of Islam? Were they not, rather, the achievements of non-Muslim translators?

It was the Humanists of Europe who revived interest in the civilization of classical antiquity which, in turn, gave rise to the Renaissance. And that revival of European interest in classical antiquity does owe something to the Muslims, but not in the way Ed Husain thinks. The conquest of the Byzantine Empire by the Turks — first the Seljuks, and then the Osmanlis — led many Greek scholars to flee to Italy, bringing with them many Greek (and Latin) manuscripts. In this purely negative way, the Muslims contributed to the West’s Revival of Learning, and thus to the Renaissance.

Coexistence was the hallmark of Muslim civilisations, from China to the Philippines, from Malaysia to Africa and the Middle East. It was not isolated to Muslim Spain. Jewish, Christian and Muslim bread stamps, a practice from Roman times, thrived in Muslim-controlled Egypt. The gallery has a sample of remarkable stone stamps from between 1000 and 1200. Paintings and tile works, engravings on flasks, works by Sephardi Jews and Armenian Christians, but also perfume carriers from 11th-century Ismailis and 19th-century paintings from Bahais, show the diversity that thrived within Islamic civilisations.

Not coexistence, but brutal conquest, was the “hallmark of Muslim civilisations.” Ed Husain carefully refrains from mentioning the conquest of Hindu India, by far the most significant Muslim conquest beyond the Middle East. It’s understandable. That Muslim subjugation of the Hindus extended over many centuries, and caused the deaths, over several centuries of Mughal rule, of between 70-80 million Hindus, and resulted in the conversion of tens of millions more who, by becoming Muslims, could escape the difficult conditions imposed on dhimmis. That hardly qualifies as “coexistence.” Husain says such “coexistence” was “not isolated in Muslim Spain.” It turns out that modern scholars have definitely put paid to the myth of that famed “convivencia” — coexistence — in Islamic Spain. Ed Husain might take time to read Dario Fernandez-Morera’s The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise. Muslims in Spain massacred Christians and Jews. Sometimes those doing the massacring were soldiers, and sometimes they were ordinary Muslims, their rage sparked by some supposed affront to Muslims, causing them to go on a killing spree against Unbelievers. In 807, 700 Christian notables — civilians — were killed by a Muslim army in Toledo. In 1066 in Granada, the Muslims turned on their Jewish neighbors overnight, killing 4,000, or almost all of those living in the city, because the Muslim emir had appointed a Jew, Joseph ibn Naghrela, to be his vizier. A Jew helping an emir to govern Muslims? That was intolerable. No one ordered the Muslims to kill the Jews; they were just doing what came naturally. Jews were also the victims of Christians. In 1391, a Christian mob in Seville killed 4,000 Jews, and in the same year another Christian mob killed 2,000 Jews in Cordoba. These were only the big massacres; there were many other smaller atrocities committed, by Muslims against Jews and Christians, and by Christians against Jews and Muslims. None, apparently, were committed by Jews, who were always on the receiving end. Some convivencia.

Ed Husain’s mention of the inclusion, in the British Museum exhibit of Islamic art, of artworks by Sephardi Jews, Armenian Christians, and Bahais — none of whom were Muslim, and all of whom were persecuted, and even murdered, by Muslims — is at least bizarre. These minorities created as they lived, defying the unfavorable conditions created by their Muslim overlords. Their achievements were attained in spite of, not because of, Muslim rule.

A powerful corrective awaits schools and teachers from across the country who visit the museum. Today’s insular Muslim community leaders may reject science and Darwin, oppose music as a tool of the devil, and cover their women for fear of love and lust. But from the 700s onwards, scientists and thinkers built on pre-Islamic advances in the study of astronomy and other sciences. Astrolabes, the name derived from the Greek astro labos or ‘star-taker’, were the computers of the time. A magnificent 13th-century astrolabe reminds us of the patronage of innovation in science and free thought by medieval Muslim rulers.

It’s not “today’s insular Muslim community leaders” who “reject science and Darwin.” It’s the Islamic clerics, and many ordinary Believers, too,  who insist that “evolution” is merely a “theory.” Muslim views on evolution vary, but those who refuse to accept evolution are hardly limited to a handful of “insular community leaders.” For many Muslims, “evolution” contradicts Qur’anic creationism and cannot be accepted. As for “music as a tool of the devil,” it is not “music” in general, not, for example, a cappella singing, but musical instruments that are haram, having been condemned by Mohammed in a hadith that Ed Husain fails to mention. He ought to have explained that the ban on “musical instruments” is not something that arose with “today’s insular Muslim community leaders,” but began 1,400 years ago.

The question of Muslims who “reject science” brings up two matters. First, many Muslims believe that the Qur’an contains all of knowledge, and that the advances of modern science can be located and teased out, by careful study, of the verses in the Qur’an. An absurdity, but tens of millions of Muslims believe that absurdity. Second, Islam itself encourages the habit of mental submission, and discourages the habit of free and skeptical inquiry, so necessary for the advancement of science. There seems to be a fear that once Muslims start exhibiting doubts in other areas, they might begin to question aspects of Islam itself. Two Western historians of science have studied at great length why science continued to evolve in the West but not in the Islamic world. Ed Husain might profitably consult Stanley Jaki and Professor Toby Huff to discover what it was about Islam that discouraged the advancement of science.

In mentioning the astrolabe, Husain obliquely suggests that it was  invented by Muslims: “A magnificent 13th-century astrolabe reminds us of the patronage of innovation in science and free thought by medieval Muslim rulers.” But the first astrolabe dates back to Hellenistic civilization, between 220 and 150 B.C., that is at least eight hundred years before Islam even appeared.

Musical instruments from various Muslim civilisations are evidence that music, with its diverse regional styles, was significant in religious and secular settings. Theatre, dance performances, divine remembrance or dhikr using music were all popular in mosques, town squares and at Sufi gatherings. Yet Islamic State, the Taleban, and other hardliners ban music today.

The mere fact that musical instruments from “various Muslim” peoples are on display does not tell us how “significant” instrumental music was “in religious and secular settings” among Muslims. We simply have no way of knowing how often such music was played, or where it was favored, and where deplored. We do know, however, that most church services have a musical component, and that there has never been an  equivalent “mosque music” since the beginning of Islam.

What Ed Husain wants his readers to believe is that Muslim opposition to music is only to be found among the “Islamic State, the Taliban, and other hardliners.” That’s not true. He leaves out any mention of the belief, among many Muslims, that Muhammad himself condemned musical instruments when he said: “There will be among my Ummah people who will regard as permissible adultery, silk, alcohol and musical instruments.” (Buhkhari, 5590). And all of these things he’s listed are, of course, prohibited. Many prominent Islamic scholars of the past who agreed that musical instruments were haram include Abu Hanifa, Al-Shafi’i, Ahmad bin Hanbal, Al-Tabari, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Al-Bukhari, Al-Tirmidhi, Al-Nawawi, Al-Bayhaqi, Al-Tahawi, and Al-Qurtubi.

Not all Muslim scholars agree with this view. Some who argue that music is in some cases halal (permitted) claim that this hadith relates only to the use of instruments in the mosques. At the time when Muhammad spoke about the matter, the polytheists — Unbelievers, whether Christians or pagans — used music and musical instruments as part of their worship. These scholars claim that Muhammad’s prohibition was meant to apply only to music that might be similarly used in Muslim worship; it was another way to distinguish the new faith of Islam from the practice of the “polytheists.”

However, the Hadith from Bukhari 5590 unambiguously condemns “musical instruments” —  no matter where they are used — as being on the same level as ‘’adultery” and “alcohol.” It says nothing about allowing, in certain limited circumstances, the use of musical instruments. It is a flat prohibition.

The curators do a fantastic job of tackling modern shibboleths with intelligence and subtlety. The Taleban detonated the ancient Bamiyan Buddhas and Islamic State exploded parts of Palmyra because the statues and figurative art offended the sensitivities of today’s literalist monotheists. A centuries-long collection of tiles and jugs and other objects shows us that figurative art was normal in the Islamic world. Umayyad coins from the 7th century, decades after the passing of the Prophet, carry the image of the caliph Abd al-Malik (r.685–705). Verses of the Quran appeared on tiles with peacocks as late as 1308; Persian dishes from the 1600s, possibly from Muslim hunting lodges, were decorated with pheasants.

Ed Husain claims that the Taliban blew up the Bamiyan Buddhas, and the Islamic State blew up what it could of the Roman buildings in Palmyra “because the statues and figurative art offended the sensitivities of today’s literalist monotheists.” That claim misleads. It was not the sensitivities only of “today’s literalist monotheists” that were offended. Husain seems to think only the “extremists” — the Taliban and the Islamic State — are “literalist monotheists.” But devout Muslims have been “literalist monotheists” since Islam began. The Bamiyan Buddhas would have been blown up long ago, by mainstream Muslims, if only they had possessed the technical wherewithal. These Buddhas offended Muslim sensibilities in two ways. First, they were representations of living creatures, which are forbidden in Islam. Second, they belonged to another, non-Muslim religion, and consequently were especially offensive. Similarly, the Roman buildings in Palmyra were blown up because they were from the pre-Islamic Time of Ignorance, or Jahiliyya, and consequently worthless. Roman statuary would also have violated the Islamic proscription on images of living creatures.

Ed Husain wants you to think that the recent destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas and of Roman statuary and buildings in Palmyra are a new phenomenon, the result of today’s brain-addled extremists (“literalist monotheists”), who do not represent the true Islam. But Muslims have been destroying artworks that showed living creatures — statues, frescoes, paintings — for 1,400 years. Ed Husain knows why, but he’s not about to mention the hadiths in which Muhammad makes clear that all “pictures” (of living creatures) are haram.

Here are just two of those hadith:

1. Narrated Aisha: (the wife of the Prophet) I bought a cushion having on it pictures (of animals). When Allah’s Apostle saw it, he stood at the door and did not enter. I noticed the sign of disapproval on his face and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I repent to Allah and His Apostle. What sin have I committed?’ Allah’s Apostle said. “What is this cushion?” I said, “I have bought it for you so that you may sit on it and recline on it.” Allah’s Apostle said, “The makers of these pictures will be punished on the Day of Resurrection, and it will be said to them, ‘Give life to what you have created (i.e., these pictures).’ ” The Prophet added, “The Angels of (Mercy) do not enter a house in which there are pictures (of animals).” — Muhammad al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari

2. Narrated Salim’s father: Once Gabriel promised to visit the Prophet but he delayed and the Prophet got worried about that. At last he came out and found Gabriel and complained to him of his grief (for his delay). Gabriel said to him, “We do not enter a place in which there is a picture or a dog.” — Muhammad al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari

Ed Husain ought to have admitted that there is strong textual authority for a ban on “pictures” of living creatures — figurative art, whether two or three dimensions, paintings or statues — and he ought to  have provided the supporting hadith. He might then have argued that the most fanatical enforcers of this ban — though hardly the only ones — have recently been the Taliban and the Islamic State. But leaving out these hadith altogether, and hoping you won’t find out about them, shows Ed Husain’s bad faith or rather, his taqiyya.

Then he mentions several examples of figurative art found on Islamic artifacts. First, a  “centuries-long collection of tiles and jugs and other objects shows us that figurative art was normal in the Islamic world.” How does he know that figurative art was “normal” in the Islamic world? Where are these tiles and jugs from? He does not claim they were from all over, which leads one to suspect that they may all have originated in one area — it could even have been a very small area — of the vast Islamic world. And from when do they date? Tell us exactly what “centuries-long” means. Were these tiles and jugs, with figurative art on them, produced over a span of 100 years, or 500, or 1,400? We need to know. All Husain can legitimately conclude from this particular exhibit is that some tiles and some jugs had figurative art on them. A convincing study would require many thousands of examples, from all over the Islamic world, since the beginning of Islam.

This collection of Umayyad coins from the 7th century, decades after the passing of the Prophet, carry the image of the caliph Abd al-Malik (r.685–705). Verses of the Quran appeared on tiles with peacocks as late as 1308; Persian dishes from the 1600s, possibly from Muslim hunting lodges, were decorated with pheasants.

Again, the image of the caliph Abd al-Malik on coins, toward the end of the 7th century, of peacocks (living creatures) painted on tiles in 1308, and pheasants painted on Persian dishes  from the 1600s — that is, exactly three examples of the use of “figurative art” — are hardly enough to contradict the claim that most Muslims, following Muhammad, refrained in their art and artifacts from depicting living creatures. Were there any other caliphs whose images appeared on coins? No, for otherwise such examples would have been on display and Ed Husain would have certainly mentioned them. How many tiles, of all the tiles produced in the Islamic world, were painted with peacocks or any other living beings? How many Persian dishes had pheasants painted on them, and when and where, exactly? We don’t know. Nor, of course, does Ed Husain.

The main point is this: Muhammad’s hadith that in essence prohibits images of living creatures remains valid, observed by almost all Muslims during the past 1,400 years, even if here and there examples of art by Muslims that violate the hadith can be found. These are the exceptions, not the rule. No doubt the curators of the British Museum exhibit went out of their way to find and display pieces that would call the application of that hadith into question. They wanted to put Islam’s best foot forward.

This love of beauty and divinity did not shy away from human desire. The British Museum has a copy of the Mughal’s Hamzanama (Book of Hamza), an epic romance inspired by the Prophet’s uncle Amir Hamza. Also on display is the other classic tale of deep yearning, the story of Layla and Majnun, lovers who met at school and have inspired generations of Muslims. That true love is remembered at the British Museum. Although Layla loves Majnun, the two are forbidden to marry — the eternal story.

Husain cites exactly two examples of what he thinks of as Islamic love stories. One is called  the Hamzanama, and is the story of Muhammad’s paternal uncle, Amir Hamza. But the Hamzanama is not really an “epic romance.” It’s a fictional tale of adventures, punctuated by interludes with different women, and much of this “epic romance” is about Hamza’s violent exploits in war, including smashing the heads of his enemies. Not exactly a love story as we in the West understand it. As for the tale of Layla and Majnun, it’s a story of star-crossed lovers. Ed Husain might have added that this story is hardly reflective of Islamic reality, with men having up to four wives and as many concubines as they could afford. The most prevalent “eternal story” of real life in Islam, then and now, is not that of a couple prevented from marrying, but that of the jealousies and jockeying for position among rival wives of the same man.

Where is that Islam of love, compassion and coexistence? Hasan al-Basri, an 8th-century Muslim thinker from Basra, was so frustrated with the Muslims of his day, compared with earlier believers, that he wrote: ‘The Muslims are all in their graves and Islam is only to be found in books.’ In Britain today, it seems that real Islam is only to be found in the British Museum.

Forget about 7/7/2005 attacks on buses and the London Underground. Forget about the other terrorist attacks in the U.K., at Woolwich, Westminster, Manchester Arena. Forget Anjem Choudary, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Al-Shebab, Boko Haram, Islamic Jihad, Al-Nusra Front, Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah. None of those attacks, none of those groups, have anything to do with the real Islam. “The real Islam is only to be found in the British Museum.” Ed Husain said it. Now you have to believe it. But after all, why would he lie?

Video: Glazov on “Why Jussie Smollett Lied – And The Left’s Victimhood Cult”

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 05:01

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