Muslims dread criticism of Islam, whether as mockery, reasoned argument, or distaste however expressed.
Some Muslims who spoke against the recent murder, by Muslims, of French satirists who mocked Muhammad, are – it appears, to no one’s surprise – far more earnestly against free speech.
They spoke at a conference convened by a Muslim organization to examine ideas: Are there limits to freedom of speech? Is it immoral to mock a religion? Should it be made criminal to mock or in any way criticize a religion (especially Islam)?
Andrew Harrod writes at Front Page:
“Freedom of speech is not total,” proclaimed the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy’s (CSID) William Lawrence at its January 22 panel on the Muslim Response to Charlie Hebdo: Understanding the Root Causes of Radicalization. Lawrence’s caveat disturbingly introduced false justifications for non-violently achieving the very sharia censorship sought by Charlie Hebdo’s jihadist murderers before a National Press Club audience of about fifty. …
Lawrence’s opening condemnation of the globally infamous January 7 Paris massacre as a “complete aberration” of “Islamic teachings” quickly gave way to criticism of the satire magazine’s victims. Their murders were “orgies of violence unleashed on . . . purveyors” of “bigoted provocations,” making Charlie Hebdo’s satire not just irreverent, but immoral in Lawrence’s estimation. “When did bigotry get so needy” that it sheltered behind free speech claims, Lawrence later asked while quoting an article criticizing cartoon racism, as if criticizing Islamic ideas equaled individual prejudice. Accordingly, Lawrence cited the legally discredited phrase from American Supreme Court history that “you can’t shout fire in a crowded theater,” a universal talking point of censors.
One’s race is not a choice. A race is not a set of ideas. A race cannot be “wrong”.
Ideas can be wrong. To determine how wrong an idea is, it obviously needs to be criticially examined.
Religious ideas are apodictic – established beyond all doubt – to their believers. They brook no contradiction. Each religion believes it has the monopoly of “truth”, though none agrees with any other.
And in the name of this or that religious “truth”, uncountable millions have been persecuted, tormented, and killed.
Islamist and sharia apologist Dalia Mogahed [picked by Obama for the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships – ed], continued Lawrence’s use of the Muslim “race” card implicitly blaming the Charlie Hebdo victims and focused on Europe’s “limits and boundaries of tolerance”. “Certain things will not be said” in the United States, “not because it’s illegal, but because it’s immoral,” she noted without defining Charlie Hebdo’s immorality.
It is immoral (though not necessarily always bad) to lie. It is immoral to make false accusation. It is immoral not to examine ideas.
The lady goes on to confuse ideology with race:
Historic “offensive cartoons” of African-Americans make modern Americans “rightly cringe”. Mogahed’s equivalence between racists and Charlie Hebdo entailed that the French should “hurry up and get enlightened” about satirists. Yet Mogahed bemoaned how many instead sought merely to “reassert our right to offend”.
If someone feels offended when reasonable fault is found with an idea of his, he has no one to blame but himself. If he cannot find cogent argument to support his contention, he stands corrected whether he likes it or not.
CSID President Radwan Masmoudi, like his fellow panelists, wrongly equated religious ideas with individuals as worthy of protection. He emphasized that “every freedom also has limits” and excluded a “right to transgress on others” during audience questioning.
Should freedom have limits? We say in our Articles of Reason: My liberty should be limited by nothing but everyone else’s liberty.
Masmoudi described a “big debate” over whether free speech includes a right to “insult others” or “religion”. …
Asked about speech restrictions in Muslim-majority countries … Masmoudi referenced a supposed “right not to be insulted’. “It is dangerous to insult people based upon their race or . . . religion,” Masmoudi elaborated with once again a race/religion conflation. Such offenses are “not . . . conducive to peace or a democratic society” …
A statement, that, in which a threat is only very lightly veiled.
Such is the analysis of CSID, described by Lawrence as the world’s “preeminent NGO” for the “study of democratic and Islamic thought” and their “modern synthesis”. Not free speech under murderous assault, but offense to Muslim religious sensibilities, falsely equated with prejudices like racism, formed the panel’s main concern demanding, where possible, legal restrictions.
Every idea needs to be tested by critical examination. It is the only way to arrive at the truth. Truth is elusive, and absolute certainty (outside of abstract systems such as mathematics and logic) impossible. But the pursuit of truth is the most important mission of mankind.
It is because absolute certainty is impossible that every idea needs to be subjected to critical examination.
Ideas that are propounded with the most certainty are the ones that most certainly need to be criticized.
Religious ideas are propounded with the most certainty, so religious ideas most need to be criticized.
Yet it is widely considered specially wrong to criticize a religion. To do so is called disrespectful at the very least. At worst it is called “blasphemy” and in some societies the “blasphemer” is severely punished, even executed.
The West has grown powerful, prosperous, and ever more inventive by criticizing ideas. Doubt is the cause, the secret, the trick of its power, prosperity and inventiveness.
Science is the most fruitful application of doubt. A scientist tries continually to prove his ideas wrong. If he fails in that, he succeeds in establishing a truth. Philosophically that truth may remain forever provisional, but it will serve us well. The blood does circulate. The earth does go round the sun.
At present there is a clamor swelling in the forums – physical or electronic – where religious and political panjandrums meet, to demand protection of religion from criticism. The loudest demand comes from Islamic leaders. Though they say religion as such should be protected, they mean only one religion, their own. They want the world to agree that to criticize Islam is a criminal offense. They want laws laid down in every country to make criticism of Islam a crime. Why? Because they recognize that criticism is the most lethal weapon that could be used against them. Words can destroy Islam.
As we say in our Articles of Reason: Many a belief can survive persecution but not critical examination.
Lamentably, powerful Western politicians on the sinister side of Western thought, the political Left, are helping the Muslims achieve their aim. Already most Western European countries have laws sheltering Islam from any criticism, and critics of Islam have been prosecuted and convicted. (Go here to read an ex-Muslim’s condemnation of these prosecutions.)
A counter-clamor is needed: millions of Western voices raised, daily, hourly, continually, against the ideas that constitute the religion of Islam.
The Washington Post and the EU are finding it hard to understand the behavior of the newly elected far-left government of Greece.
It is doing things that could possibly be interpreted as signs that it feels friendlier towards Russia and China than to its fellow members the EU. But no one wants to jump to conclusions. It’s strange and puzzling, as the Washington Post reports it:
[Greece] is complicating Western efforts to take a tough line against Moscow amid an escalating Russian-backed insurgency in southeastern Ukraine.
The new dynamic was on display Thursday, with European foreign ministers gathered for an emergency meeting in Brussels to consider fresh sanctions against Moscow just days after shelling killed 30 civilians in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol. But amid Greece’s doubts, the ministers could agree only to extend existing sanctions while deferring any decision on new ones after hours of emotional debate.
“The discussion was open, frank and heated,” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said in an interview.
Take note of that “heated”.
Although Greece is just one of 28 members of both the European Union and NATO, both organizations operate on a principle of unanimous consent, meaning any member can block policy with a simple veto.
After years of Russian support for populists on the far right and far left in an attempt to undermine European unity, the election of Syriza gives Moscow a potentially critical spoiler at the heart of Western decision-making. …
The prospect of a Russian beachhead inside Western alliances has stirred Cold War-style fears within European defense ministries this week. “If you can’t sit down in a NATO meeting in Brussels, dive into the intelligence and be sure that it’s not going straight back to the Kremlin, that’s a pretty significant and shocking development for the alliance,” said Ian Kearns, director of the European Leadership Network, a London-based think tank.
But just how far Greece’s new government will go in hewing to a pro-Russian line remains unclear. …
The threat of disruption to Europe’s Russia policy, some officials said, may be a mere tactic ahead of broader and, for Greece, more important negotiations to come over the terms of the country’s mammoth debt. Syriza has demanded that the country’s $284 billion bailout agreements be renegotiated, with a significant portion of the total forgiven and austerity restrictions lifted. …
In other words, members of the EU suspect that Greece may be blackmailing it: “Save our economy, or you may find you have big problems with Russia.” But they don’t want to think about that. They prefer to feel bewildered. So what, they wonder, is Greece playing at?
Before the party’s victory Sunday, Syriza’s leadership was outspoken in defending Russia against Western criticism. Last spring, Tsipras visited Moscow and met with Kremlin associates. Western sanctions, he said, were counterproductive.
“I’m sure the E.U. should conduct dialogue and seek peaceful ways out of the conflict together with Moscow and not impose sanctions on Russia,” Tsipras told the state-owned daily newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta.
Since Sunday, Syriza has doubled down in its backing for Russia.
Tsipras had been in office for only hours Monday when he welcomed his first foreign visitor, the Russian ambassador.
The second was the Chinese ambassador.
Greece objected vehemently when European Council President Donald Tusk on Tuesday issued a statement condemning Moscow for the shelling of Mariupol [in the Ukraine] and asking European foreign ministers to draw up new sanctions. …
For Syriza, challenging the EU stance on Russia reflects an ideology “that says we have to be skeptical of certain things our European partners do because the EU is a capitalist, neoliberal enterprise,” said Spyros Economides, an international relations professor at the London School of Economics. For Russia, he said, support for Syriza is more “a marriage of convenience”.
Some Russian officials have responded to Syriza’s triumph with undisguised glee.
“Syriza’s victory will be a breakthrough and will destroy Europe’s liberal consensus,” Mikhail Emelyanov, head of the Russian Duma’s committee on economic policy, told the state news service RIA Novosti. …
But say it is not so! It seems as if … but no … surely not … we simply cannot be sure ….
“You have a lot of people asking themselves whether Greece is going to play the role of the Trojan horse,” said Ben Nimmo, a European security analyst and former NATO official. “But nobody really knows. … ”
A baffled EU. Unable to interpret the signs with any conviction. Lost in a cloud of unknowing.
Now for a little light relief.
Senator John McCain, a genuine hero, made a lousy presidential candidate in 2008. We seldom like anything he says.
But today we applaud him for what he said to a despicable bunch of feeble-minded Islam-supporting terrorist-encouraging pacifist Communist feminists – silly women of both sexes.
The Daily Mail reports:
Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain uncorked a scathing attack on anti-war protesters who interrupted an Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday …
Activists with the far-left pacifist group CodePink stood with banners when former secretary of state Henry Kissinger entered the room, accusing him of committing war crimes during his tenure as America’s top diplomat and as the national security adviser.
They shook handcuffs in his face and chanted “Arrest Henry Kissinger for war crimes” while McCain, who chaired the hearing about global threats to the U.S., sat dumbfounded and embarrassed … visibly angry on Thursday when police weren’t on the scene immediately to remove the protesters from the hearing chamber. …
“You know,” he told the group of pink-clad agitators, “you’re going to have to shut up, or I’m going to have you arrested.”
The Capitol Police tardily appeared.
One man, being escorted from the room by a uniformed cop, shouted something back at the senator.
“Get out of here, you low-life scum,” McCain replied.
The audience “erupted in applause”.
Emily Zanotti at The American Spectator writes:
Since it’s rare to feel proud of the work John McCain does in Congress, it’s probably worth keeping this little nugget somewhere deep in your files, so that you can pull it out and remember that somewhere, deep down inside that slowly-melting Maverick, there’s still a passionate heart that burns with an unquenchable desire to smack a hippie back into the last century where she belongs.
This morning, John McCain’s inner beast reared it’s ugly head at Code Pink’s.
Even while the Cold War was on, and not just in hindsight, the chances of a nuclear war between the West and Soviet Russia never seemed very high. The possibility of it never seemed critical enough to stir up intense or widespread fear. Not even when thousands of peace protestors marched on the streets of Europe’s capitals (at least some of them being perfectly aware of, and cynically indifferent to the fact that their movement was funded by the Soviets in hope of panicking the West into unilateral disarmament) did many people in the West seriously think – or at least show signs of thinking – that mankind was really in imminent danger of being wiped off the face of the earth.
But if Iran becomes a nuclear power – which it will because Obama is letting it – the case will be very different.
Fear of “mutually assured destruction” may have had something to do with the Soviets’ restraint. The ayatollahs who rule Iran will not be restrained by that fear. They love death as we love life. Because death will translate them to a brothel in the sky.
So now the possibility of nuclear war is high. Would it be unreasonable if there were to be intense and widespread fear of it? Or if people in the West at least began to think that we are in imminent danger of being wiped off the face of the earth?
No, not unreasonable. So why aren’t they? Because nuclear armageddon is not yet looming so large as to terrify us.
Before that happens other smaller wars will rage on. America might be singed by them but not devastated.
There’ll be no panic until the Iranians actually deliver their first uranium or plutonium bomb.
Yet there have already been irreversible changes, and the human race is in more danger now from human causes than ever before. Largely because of the ideology-driven policies of the Obama presidency.
J. E. Dyer writes (in part) at Liberty Unyielding:
The Iranian nuclear program is just one of several problems that are working together to destabilize our world, and throw it into – quite possibly – the gravest danger mankind has ever seen.
Even aside from her nuclear program, revolutionary Iran is backing insurgencies and radical clients around the Middle East (like the Houthi insurgency that just pulled off a coup in Yemen). The problem of radical Islamism is coming to a head with the vicious, bloody state-Islamism of ISIS, but also with tribal and Islamist-factional insurgencies elsewhere (Libya, Nigeria), and the collapse of century-old nation-states. Borders are being rendered meaningless. Huge tracts of territory are being taken over by opportunists, who bring no popular charter from anyone, but only a fanatical willingness to slaughter.
Russia, meanwhile … has already invaded Ukraine, something that would have been unthinkable ten years ago. China is imposing a veto on other nations’ economic and maritime activity in the South China Sea – a Chinese aggression against a core U.S. security principle that the world, until only a few years ago, expected American power to deter. Both Asian giants have bigger plans, which everyone can foresee, and there is no longer an American-led consortium with the preparedness and capability to stop them.
In fact, Russia and China are both modernizing their militaries and developing new strategic weapons as rapidly as they can, while the United States is losing ground with our strategic (as well as conventional) arsenal, and doing nothing about it.
Our fast-declining military advantage is one reason our power no longer carries the import it once did. But the more significant point here is that our legacy of power is now being turned against us. America is still the leader of the status quo pack: the nations that aren’t looking to shift borders, remake the map, create economic dependencies abroad, or establish a caliphate. And that leadership, particularly in the case of the Iranian nuclear program, is being leveraged to hold the status quo nations passive and inert while the radical actors do what they want.
Our president’s negotiating policy with Iran is worse than an obstacle to preventing an Iranian bomb. By fencing the “Iran problem” off and giving it time, Obama is actually aiding Iran in pursuing nuclear weapons. The main thing Iran needs is time, and Obama’s management of the P5+1 process gives her that.
Few if any of our highest-profile voices have found a way to make this plain, and articulate the implications. But the main implication – that in the crunch, Obama’s leadership will have to be actively disregarded, or we’re all sunk – is the one the nations in the most danger have to deal with. That’s their reality.
Israel is one of the nations facing this reality, but by no means the only one. Saudi Arabia, the other Gulf states, Jordan, Egypt; the nations bordering Libya and Nigeria; the nations of Eastern Europe; the neighbors in China’s sights in the Far East; the nations bordering the combined socialist and cartel-driven tumult in Central America – all face the same reality. Cooperating with Obama’s America under the old conventions can’t be a given for them, because it’s likely to actually do harm.
Just as important, to those who want to deter threats to American security, is that America herself needs to establish that Obama’s leadership is not what we are committed to. We vigorously disagree with giving Iran time to build a bomb. We have no intention of being held hostage to it.
We know there is a point, in general, at which the trend of policy is no longer disputable, but clearly weak and ineffective – even counterproductive, as with the Iranian nuclear program and the security of our own border. And we’ve reached that point.
The American people have to speak, as much as the other nations. That’s what’s going on with Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu. …
Having Netanyahu come speak to Congress is the way available to him of giving the American people a voice against the Obama policy on Iran. The same attempt is at work in the Iran-policy bills being pushed in the Senate. … [T]he untethered radicalism of the Obama approach – its violation of America’s own principles of power – is what they’re trying to hold in check.
The president is given primacy in foreign relations by the U.S. Constitution, and it is a very big step to posture against him. It’s not so big a step for a foreign leader to do so. His responsibility is to his people, not to a particular president of the United States, or to that president’s policies. The Obama administration does huff petulantly at the drop of a hat, and make it all personal, but the real point is that Netanyahu, or any other foreign leader, must look out for his country’s interests. [Prime Minister Netanyahu] knows that it’s in Israel’s interest to affirm her people’s iron-forged link with the American people, and to articulate what policies a true reckoning of that link would dictate in this hour. …
Boehner has made a big decision because America faces a problem of unprecedented dimension. The world is not what it was five years ago, and trying to maintain the same priorities would, in sober truth, be fatal.
Note; While we fully agree with Commander Dyer’s analysis and warning, we don’t ourselves use the term “Islamism”. The danger we are in comes from Islam, aided by the indulgence of the Obama administration.
Today is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Birkenau was where the mass gassings were done.
The liberating servicemen … gathered Germans from surrounding towns and villages and forced them to walk around the camp and look at the human misery and cruelty that their people were responsible for. The Germans protested that they knew nothing about it. “Wir haben doch nicht gewust.” Of course living around the concentration camp with all the atrocities and smell from the crematorium, they must have known about this situation. – Joseph Aleksander, extermination camp survivor.
Of course they knew. Every German knew.
The German “Resistance”, like the French, has grown bigger every year since World War Two ended. Unlike the French which started with a real if small number, the German grew from zero.
Zero on day zero – this day 70 years ago.
A few brave individuals (most of them are probably known) dared to defy the regime or protest. Otherwise, Germany as a nation was guilty.
And must the Germans bear guilt for all time?
No, not guilt. Only those who commit a crime and those who connive at it are guilty of it.
But shame, yes. If Germans want to be proud of the good in their history, they must in all consistency be ashamed of the evil.
The chamber, which was divided by two compartments, could admit 800 people at a time, and if the need arose considerably more were crammed in. … After the doors were shut, bolted and screwed fast, specially trained SS disinfection experts introduced the gas Zyklon B in the form of small lumps of diatomite soaked in prussic acid. Death of the people inside the gas chamber occurred after a few minutes as a result of internal suffocation caused by the prussic acid halting the exchange of oxygen between the blood and tissues. … Most of the corpses were found near the door through which the victims had tried to escape from the spreading gas. The corpses, which covered the entire floor of the gas chamber, had their knees half bent, and were often cloven together. The bodies were smeared with excrement, vomit and blood. The skin assumed a pink hue. … We reached an open place which resembled a courtyard, in the middle of which stood a thatched–roof house … used as an undressing room for those on their way to the pyre. It was here that they deposited their shabby clothes, their glasses, and their shoes. Behind the house enormous columns of smoke rose skyward, diffusing the odour of broiled flesh and burning hair. – Witness’s testimony, Holocaust Research Project.
Here’s Pat Condell again – as usual saying what few others dare to say.
This time he talks about Muslim anti-Semitism and how Europe is indifferent to it: truths that admirably offend multitudes of Muslims and Europeans.
He also accurately aims a dart at “progressive” Jews who madly cheer on their enemies.
(Hat-tip to our reader Stephen Stern)
Discover the Networks is a superb resource, gifted to researchers by Front Page.
The “networks” are those of the Left. Together they constitute the Vast Leftwing Conspiracy.
We went there to read all about Valerie Jarrett, the decision maker who stands behind Barack Obama and speaks into his ear.
We know that Obama was raised a Communist, so it is not surprising that he picked a Communist to be his closest adviser.
We have extracted some of the most important facts from the Discover the Networks dossier on Jarrett – but urge our readers to see the whole account.
First we learn about her Communist roots.
Valerie Jarrett was born as Valerie Bowman on November 14, 1956 to American parents in Shiraz, Iran. Her late father — a physician named James Bowman — worked as a pathologist and geneticist at a children’s hospital in Shiraz as part of a U.S. aid program to assist developing countries.
Jarrett’s mother is the early-childhood-education author Barbara Taylor Bowman (born1928), who in 1966 co-founded a Chicago-based graduate school in child development known as the Erikson Institute, named after the psychoanalyst Erik Erikson; in 1950 Erikson became a hero to the left by choosing to resign from his professorship at the University of California rather than sign an anti-communist loyalty oath as the school required. Indicative of the Erikson Institute’s radical political orientation is the fact that its board of trustees has included, in addition to Mrs. Bowman, such figures as Tom Ayers (father of the formerWeather Underground terrorist and lifelong Marxist Bill Ayers) and Bernardine Dohrn (longtime wife of Bill Ayers) …
… and leading member of the Weather Underground.
Jarrett’s maternal grandfather was a Chicagoan named Robert Taylor, the first African-American head of the Chicago Housing Authority. In the 1940s he was involved with such Communist fronts as the American Peace Mobilization and the Chicago Civil Liberties Committee. Also a member of these groups was Frank Marshall Davis, the communist journalist who in the 1970s would mentor a young Barack Obama.
Jarrett’s maternal grandmother, Dorothy Taylor, was a Berkeley, California native who was active with Planned Parenthood in its early years.
When Valerie Jarrett was five, her family relocated to London for one year before settling in Chicago’s elite Hyde Park neighborhood in 1963.
Jarrett earned a B.A. in psychology from Stanford University in 1978, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Michigan Law School in 1981. From 1981-87 she practiced law at two Chicago-based private firms. In 1983 she married Dr. William Robert Jarrett, son of the Chicago Sun-Times reporter Vernon Jarrett.
Vernon Jarrett (Valerie Jarrett’s father-in-law) was a pioneering black journalist in the 1940s. He freelanced at Kansas City’s The Call from 1954-58, then returned to Chicago to become the first nationally syndicated black columnist for the communist-influenced Chicago Defender, where he wrote columns extolling the Communist poet Langston Hughes and lifelong Stalinists W.E.B. DuBois and Paul Robeson. Also in the 1940s, Jarrett was a leaderof the Chicago chapter of American Youth for Democracy — youth wing of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). Moreover, he served on a publicity committee for the Packinghouse Workers Union, a Chicago-based entity dominated by the CPUSA. In each of these endeavors, Vernon Jarrett had close contact with the Communist Frank Marshall Davis. When Jarrett died in 2004, he was saluted in the pages of People’s Weekly Worker, the house organ of the CPUSA.
As historian Paul Kengor summarized in 2014: “[Barack] Obama’s mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, worked with the literal relatives of Valerie Jarrett — her grandfather and future father-in-law — in Chicago’s Communist Party circles in the 1940s.” In an earlier piece, Kengor put it this way:
So, imagine where we are today: Barack Obama, Frank Marshall Davis’s political godson, and Valerie Jarrett, daughter-in-law to Vernon Jarrett and granddaughter of Robert Taylor—men with links to pro-Stalinism—are the two dominant figures in the White House, the power center that battled the USSR throughout the Cold War.
Jarrett enters politics:
Valerie Jarrett entered Chicago politics in 1987 as Deputy Corporation Counsel for Finance and Development in the administration of Harold Washington, the city’s first African-American mayor. Jarrett’s father-in-law, whom The Washington Post called “a key influence in [Harold] Washington’s decision to run for the Chicago mayoralty”, may have facilitated Valerie’s rise through Chicago’s political ranks.
After Mayor Washington’s death in 1987, Valerie Jarrett served as deputy chief of staff for the next mayor, Richard M. Daley. During her tenure in that post, Jarrett met and befriended a young lawyer named Michelle Robinson, (the future Michelle Obama), who at the time was engaged to Barack Obama. In 1991 Jarrett and her colleague Susan Sher recruited Michelle to Chicago’s City Hall, and Jarrett quickly became a trusted confidante of both the Obamas.
From 1992 through 1995, Jarrett served the Daley administration as commissioner of the Department of Planning and Development. From 1995-2003, she chaired the Chicago Transit Board. Sometime in the early 1990s, Marilyn Katz, an activist/public-affairs consultant with close ties to City Hall — and a former Students for a Democratic Society radical — introduced Jarrett to Daniel Levin, a cousin of both Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan) and Rep. Sander Levin (D-Michigan).
She has a lucrative career as a slum manager:
From 1995-2008 Jarrett worked for Daniel Levin’s real-estate firm, the Habitat Company. In 2007 Jarrett became Habitat’s president and CEO, drawing a $300,000 in salary plus $550,000 in deferred compensation.
From 2001-08, the Habitat Company managed Grove Parc Plaza, a federally subsidized, 504-unit public housing complex situated in a neighborhood that Barack Obama had represented for eight years as a state senator. But under Habitat’s management, Grove Parc fell into disrepair and became largely uninhabitable, plagued by a host of unaddressed problems such as collapsed roofs, fire damage, rodent infestation, and sewage backups. According to a 2008 Boston Globe report: “In 2006, federal inspectors graded the condition of the complex an 11 on a 100-point scale — a score so bad the buildings now face demolition.” Eventually government inspectors seized control of the complex because of its horrid conditions.
Also under Jarrett’s stewardship, said the Globe, “Habitat … co-managed an even larger subsidized complex in Chicago that was seized by the federal government in 2006, after city inspectors found widespread problems.”
But for Jarrett the news was not all bad. Indeed she became immensely wealthy while presiding over the aforementioned slum apartments. As of 2012 Jarrett owned an 11-percent equity interest in Kingsbury Plaza, a 46-story luxury apartment complex developed by the Habitat Company during 2005-07 at a cost exceeding $100 million. On her 2011 financial disclosure form, she valued that investment — which a Jarrett spokesman said was “a direct result of her 13 years working for Habitat” — at between $1 million and $5 million. According to a 2012 report in the Washington Free Beacon: “Cook County records show the Kingsbury property’s worth at approximately $27.2 million, but thanks to a series of legal appeals beginning in 2003, the land and building are assessed at a much lower value for tax purposes. Since 2008, the property has been designated a ‘special commercial structure’ and is taxed at a value of just $6.8 million, or 25 percent of the actual value. Asked how such a property could enjoy such a low taxable value, an official with the Cook County Assessor’s Office told the Free Beacon that the property’s owners ‘must have good attorneys’.” …
She becomes President Obama’s closest adviser:
Following Barack Obama’s victory in the 2008 presidential election, Jarrett co-chaired the Obama-Biden Transition Project. After that, she was appointed to a prominent position in the Obama administration: Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. In this role, Jarrett was one of President Obama’s (and Mrs. Obama’s) closest and most trusted advisers.
Consider the following observations, by a variety of informed sources, about Jarrett’s importance as an Obama adviser:
- An Obama 2008 campaign official told the New York Times, “If you want [Barack Obama] to do something, there are two people [he’s] not going to say no to: Valerie Jarrett and Michelle Obama.”
- Also in 2008, the aforementioned Susan Sher, who had helped Jarrett recruit Michelle Obama to the Chicago mayor’s office in 1991, emphasized “how incredibly instrumental [Jarrett will] be in virtually everything” in the White House.
- In July 2009, President Obama himself told New York Times reporter Robert Draper, “I trust her [Jarrett] completely … She is family.” Obama said also that he trusted Jarrett “to speak for me, particularly when we’re dealing with delicate issues”. When asked, the President admitted that he was in the habit of soliciting Jarrett’s input on his every decision.
- The New York Times described Jarrett as Obama’s “closest friend in the White House”, his “envoy”, his “emissary”, his “all-purpose ambassador”, and the “ultimate Obama insider”.
- Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank says that Jarrett’s connection to Obama is “deep and personal’, calling her “the real center of Obama’s inner circle”. Milbank also describes Jarrett as Obama’s “longtime mentor and friend”, and as someone in a “position of unparalleled influence over the president”.
- Obama’s former White House communications director, Anita Dunn, says: “Her [Jarrett’s] role since she has been at the White House is one of the broadest and most expansive roles that I think has ever existed in the West Wing”.
- Chicago tycoon Martin Nesbitt says that Jarrett establishes both Michelle and Barack Obama’s “whole notion of authenticity”. According to Nesbitt, Jarrett channels the Obamas’ inner voice, telling them, for instance: “That’s not you. You wouldn’t say that. Somebody else is saying that. Barack Obama wouldn’t say that”.
- According to a November 2014 New Republic report: “Jarrett holds a key vote on Cabinet picks … and has an outsize say on ambassadorships and judgeships. She helps determine who gets invited to the First Lady’s Box for the State of the Union, who attends state dinners and bill-signing ceremonies, and who sits where at any of the above. She has placed friends and former employees in important positions across the administration — ‘you can be my person over there’, is a common refrain. And Jarrett has been known to enjoy the perks of high office herself. When administration aides plan ‘bilats’, the term of art for meetings of two countries’ top officials, they realize that whatever size meeting they negotiate — nine by nine, eight by eight, etc. — our [the U.S.] side will typically include one less foreign policy hand, because Jarrett has a standing seat at any table that includes the president”.
- Jarrett herself is wholy cognizant of the influence she wields with Obama. “We have kind of a mind meld,” she said in 2009. “And chances are, what he wants to do is what I’d want to do.” On another occasion Jarrett told Vogue magazine, “I kind of know what makes them [the Obamas] who they are.”
Jarrett is deeply concerned with racial issues. After the tape recordings of Jeremiah Wright’s racist, anti-American diatribes threatened to sink Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, it was Jarrett who encouraged Obama to give his “race speech” at Constitution Hall. African-American administration staffers have said that without Jarrett’s patronage, “their opinions and the often-legitimate concerns voiced by black leaders like [Al] Sharpton would have been thoroughly disregarded by the white-dominated senior staff”.
When future White House press secretary Robert Gibbs tried to downplay Obama’s assertion (during the 2008 presidential campaign) that Republicans were emphasizing the fact that Obama “doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills”, Jarrett instructed white staffers: “You guys, you’re not getting this issue right.” After Jarrett’s intervention, candidate Obama told his white staffers that they were too “gun-shy on race issues”. According to a campaign source, “[M]oving forward, the candidate made it very clear to us that we were just a bunch of white people who didn’t get it — which, by the way, was true.”
After Obama’s inauguration in January 2009, Jarrett successfully pushed to loosen restrictions barring government officials from meeting with lobbyists, a rule enshrined in Obama’s executive memo on the Recovery Act [stimulus bill], for fear that other “legitimate” concerns — raised by “civil rights organizations whose directors happen to be registered lobbyists — will not be heard”.
In early 2009 Jarrett lobbied President Obama to create the office of Chief Diversity Officer within the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a position filled soon thereafter byMark Lloyd, an Alinskyite and a former senior fellow at the [George Soros supported] Center for American Progress.
Jarrett also helped recruit Obama’s regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, who supports the Fairness Doctrine and has argued that Americans should “celebrate tax day”.
Without Jarrett’s patronage, the self-identified communist revolutionary Van Jones would not have gotten his appointment as the Obama administration’s green jobs czar in March 2009. A White House official told Politico that Jones “did not go through the traditional vetting process”. Instead, Jarrett interviewed Jones, a signal that she pushed for his appointment. Indeed, Jarrett gushed to the Netroots Nation conference in August 2009: “We were so delighted to be able to recruit him [Van Jones] into the White House. We were watching him … for as long as he’s been active out in Oakland. And all the creative ideas he has. And so now, we have captured that, and we have all that energy in the White House.” …
Examples are given of how she brought persons with a variety of subversive and (Islamic) terrorist connections into contact with the president, and urged them to promote his agenda.
She is a keen advocate for “green energy” at any cost:
In 2010-11 Jarrett promoted the California-based solar-power company Solyndra, where one of her wealthiest Chicago connections, billionaire George Kaiser — a leading Obama bundler — held a 35% share in the company. On Jarrett’s advice, President Obama famously visited and publicly extolled Solyndra in 2010, even though auditors were already warning about the abysmal state of its finances. In September 2011 the company declared bankruptcy, but not before it had received a $535 million government-backed loan.
In general, it is her political philosophy that prevails:
In September 2011, Jarrett said the following about what she viewed as the proper role of government:
We have to give people a livelihood so they can provide for their families…. His [President Obama’s] is a moral vision. It’s a vision based very deeply in values and taking care of “the least of these”. And making sure that we are creating a country that’s a country for everybody, not just for the very, very wealthy. We are working hard to lift people out of poverty and give them a better life, a footing, and that’s what government is supposed to do.
A neat summary that of the Left’s eternal pretext for extending government control over every aspect of life – and the fail-safe recipe for keeping people in dependence and poverty.
There follows a story about her contact with illegal immigrants. In the light of all else that is revealed about her influence over Obama’s policies, a reasonable inference is that Jarrett has had much to do with Obama’s policy of amnesty for illegal aliens. And there is corroboration of this:
A September 2012 New York Times report identifies Jarrett as the person responsible for a number of controversial Obama Administration policy decisions, including … the president’s decision to allow illegal immigrants to apply for work permits.
Then comes an outline of her influence on foreign policy:
… Jarrett, prior to the May 2011 U.S. killing of Osama bin Laden, repeatedly urged President Obama not to kill the al Qaeda leader, prompting Obama to cancel the mission on three separate occasions—in January, February, and March of 2011. …
And she has a large share of responsibility for the administration’s policy towards Iran:
In October 2012 it was revealed that for several months, Jarrett, who had no experience in international negotiations, had been leading secret negotiations with representatives of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, in an effort to develop normalized relations between the U.S. and Iran.
Obama is letting Iran become a nuclear power. When it is (and it may be so even now), it will very likely be the crowning achievement of Valerie Jarrett’s political career.
In sum, Valerie Jarrett, elected to no office, is governing the United States. And not without malice:
A few days before the November 2012 presidential election, a representative from Jarrett’s office quoted Jarrett as having told several senior staffers the following:
After we win this election, it’s our turn. Payback time. Everyone not with us is against us and they better be ready because we don’t forget. The ones who helped us will be rewarded, the ones who opposed us will get what they deserve. There is going to be hell to pay. Congress won’t be a problem for us this time. No election to worry about after this is over and we have two judges ready to go.
There speaks the spirit of Communism! Of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Castro. Its gloating use of naked ruthless power. Its mean, petty, cruel drive for vengeance on its perceived enemies. Its contempt for the people and their representatives in government. Its determination to have its hands on all the wheels of power and use them to advance its totalitarian ends.
And there are almost two years still to go in which that spirit will be presiding over America.
In America, owners of businesses are punished for refusing their services to gays and lesbians on grounds of religious – that is to say, Christian – objection to homosexuality. (See here and here and here.)
For atheists no such difficulty can arise. Which shows how being without religion can be materially profitable.
We think everyone should be free to provide his services or refuse to provide them to anyone for any reason, or even on a mere whim.
It is the Left that believes in compulsion, and especially in compelling people to do what it ordains is politically correct.
Yet it also believes in letting Muslims do anything they want.
The Left and Islam can only be very uncomfortable bedfellows. There is likely to be an outbreak of domestic violence between them sooner or later.
Meanwhile, we can enjoy a degree of Schadenfreude when their respective ideologies chafe each other.
This is from Liberty Unyielding, by Howard Portnoy:
A lesbian walks into a Muslim barbershop, and asks for a “businessmen’s haircut”.
It sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it really happened …
In Canada, in November 2012.
Faith McGregor is the lesbian who doesn’t like the girly cuts that they do at a salon. She wants the boy’s hairdo.
Omar Mahrouk is the owner of the Terminal Barber Shop in Toronto. He follows Sharia law … He [doesn’t] believe in touching women other than [his] own wives. …
So he refused to serve her. Who was in the right?
This question is a real head scratcher in Canada, which passed a Multiculturalism Act in 1988, paving the way for an influx of immigrants with medieval attitudes toward second-class citizens (read: women and gays). Faith McGregor belongs to both groups.
Pity the lefties who have to face this awful dilemma. Portnoy asks them: “which is better (in the sense of who trumps whom), a lesbian who wants a haircut or a Muslim who doesn’t want to give it to her”?
(Hat-tip our Facebook commenter Libby Lael)
Our pick today of PowerLine’s The Week in Pictures.
Though this one doesn’t belong to any particular time, but to any time and all time.
Rule by the Democratic Party is nasty, and where can voters look for relief but to the Republicans?
Because the desperation was strong, too much hope was placed in the Republicans.
Now the disappointment begins. They are starting – so soon! – to copy the Democrats.
And already – of course – the Democrats are gloating.
Catherine Rampell writes in the Washington Post:
Republicans have taken the Senate and expanded their fiefdom in the House, but the Democrats seem to have won the intellectual narrative nonetheless. The GOP, inexplicably, is having its Thomas Piketty moment.
Seriously, guys: Republicans have suddenly started caring about inequality. …
When Republicans have taken note of our country’s income and wealth gaps, the sentiment has usually been dismissive and disdainful, full of accusations of class warfare waged by resentful, lazy people unwilling to hoist themselves up by their bootstraps.
Then, in just the past week, many of the likely 2016 Republican presidential contenders began airing concerns about the poor and condemning the outsize fortunes of the wealthy.
On Fox News after the State of the Union speech, Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) denigrated the administration’s economic track record by doing his best Bernie Sanders impression.
“We’re facing right now a divided America when it comes to the economy. It is true that the top 1 percent are doing great under Barack Obama. Today, the top 1 percent earn a higher share of our national income than any year since 1928,” he said, quoting an oft-cited (by liberals) statistic from the work of economists Piketty and Emmanuel Saez.
Likewise, here’s Mitt Romney, in a speech last week: “Under President Obama, the rich have gotten richer, income inequality has gotten worse and there are more people in poverty than ever before.” Sound-bite highlights from his past presidential campaign, you may recall, included a reference to the “47 percent” who don’t pay federal income taxes and a conclusion that “my job is not to worry about those people”.
Apparently his job description has changed.
Jeb Bush, too, has newfound interest in the lower income groups and deep inequity flourishing in our nation. His State of the Union reaction: “While the last eight years have been pretty good ones for top earners, they’ve been a lost decade for the rest of America.” Sen. Rand Paul, as well: “Income inequality has worsened under this administration. And tonight, President Obama offers more of the same policies — policies that have allowed the poor to get poorer and the rich to get richer.”
Someone up the GOP food chain seems to have decided that inequality and poor people now belong in everyone’s talking points, class warfare be damned. But why?
The rest of the article is not worth quoting. Rampell’s answers to her “why?” are unconvincing (you can judge them for yourself here).
What matters is that the Republican Party may not after all be the lesser of two evils. It may simply be the same evil under a different name.
In an open society, the rich are not rich because the poor are poor.
The poor are not poor because the rich are rich.
When Republican politicians encourage that misapprehension, they are encouraging the politics of envy.
As Thomas Sowell says (see our post Listen to Sowell, January 21, 2015), most people are poor when they are young and rich when they are older.
The main cause, in America, of poor people staying poor is that government keeps them so, by keeping them dependent on government.
The best cure for poverty is freedom from government “help”.
The more government “helps” the poor, the more poor people there will be, and the longer they will be trapped in poverty.
We had assumed that Republicans like conservative Ted Cruz and libertarian Rand Paul knew this. Seems we were wrong.
What do bleeding-hearted politicians think the rich do with their money? Keep it in boxes?
No. They invest it, generally in ways that do far more good for the economy than if they give heaps of it to government in taxes. Government uses tax money to pay a vast army of administrators to distribute some it to those they keep on hand-outs. Government wastes money. And higher taxes never did, never can, and never will cure poverty.
It cannot matter how unequal people are in wealth as long as everyone has enough to satisfy their wants. If they don’t have enough, they can do better for themselves in a market economy. Only if they are left free to work for themselves in an uncontrolled economy. Unless they are socialist tyrants, enriching themselves at the people’s expense.
Poverty is a problem. Wealth is not.