“Hello, Darkness!” 16

It is a tragedy greater than the Fall of Rome: The Fall of Britain.

And yes, it is far worse that Britain become Islamified than any other European country. It was Britain that spread the Enlightenment through the inhabited world.

Breitbart reported:

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has proposed negotiating away border controls during the Brexit talks, giving EU migrants access to Britain’s labour market, benefits system, and health service. The liberal “conservative” heads the government department responsible for immigration and border controls, but is privately in favor of walking back promises that Britain will regain full control over its borders once the country finally leaves the European Union.

This woman was intent on destroying her country. She was succeeding. But (hot news) she has just been forced to resign, this very day, for making another – different – misjudgment.*

No one is saying how late the hour is, how close to hopeless the cause of saving the nation.  

No attempt is being made to stop the influx of Muslims; the colonization of Britain by Muslim immigrants. Any hope that its regaining of independence after leaving the EU would save Britain from Islamification must be abandoned. .

Criticize the appalling ideology that calls itself Islam, and you can go to jail.

Don’t even dare to think how dreadful it would be to have to become Muslim – a frown of distaste at the suggestion can get you arrested.

So what can be done?

Since those who do oppose the Islamization of Britain – the silent majority (?) – are doing nothing to stop it, let them force the process to its conclusion.  

Demand that Prime Minister Theresa May and all the women in government wear hijabs.

But why just them? Demand that all women in Britain be forced to wear hijabs. Or better still, burquas. And that all prepubescent girls undergo genital mutilation.

Accuse the police of Islamophobia. Loudly and often. Hysterically.

Petition parliament to substitute sharia for British law.

Demand the closing of all religious houses of worship except mosques. Or their conversion to mosques.

Cover the pictures and sculptures of nudes in all the museums and galleries of the British Isles or take the pictures down and smash the sculptures.

Instead of Guy Fawkes, use the 5th of November for massive book-burnings. Empty the libraries. Re-fill them with Korans and other Islamic holy books. Preferably in Arabic.

Close the theaters. Silence the comedians. As the Ayatollah Khomeini said, “There are no jokes in Islam.”

Insist that all the pubs and bars be closed; all wine spirits and beer production cease. A great pouring out into the gutters, the rivers, the ocean could be a vast communal ceremony as Islam is passionately embraced. It would be a fitting display of homage to Allah and his inspiring Prophet.

Seek out a suitable adulteress for the first public stoning. A rape victim would be best.

Some cutting off of hands and feet in Trafalgar Square … some hundreds of gays thrown from roofs in the City … would bring the message home: Islam rules.

What to do about the monarch? Make Prince Charles sultan and caliph? He’s halfway there already.

Come on, Britons! Stop dithering. Raise the black flag of ISIS over Parliament, Whitehall, and Buckingham Palace.  Declare the Islamic State of Britain.

Then make Britain the leader of the Islamic world.

The Enlightenment must be extinguished.

In simple English, “Hello, Darkness!” 

 

***

*Amber Rudd’s replacement as Home Secretary is Sajid Javid, who is British-born of Pakistani Muslim descent.

From Wikipedia:

Javid has described his family’s heritage as Muslim, but he does not practice any religion, although he believes that “we should recognize that Christianity is the religion of our country”.

So might his appointment provide a ray of hope?

Answer: Nope. He had much to do do with this. Helping Muslims with their preferred methods of financial transaction. More Islamification.

Shrinking the welfare state 19

Welfare is Socialism Lite.

Socialism, in whatever brew, is the enemy of freedom.

If the tax-payers’ money spent by government on welfare were to be  … switched, say, to …

We are tempted to say “to the military”, because it is merry sport to bait the Left.

But to be sober about the matter: if it wasn’t confiscated from the people in the first place, if there were no government welfare programs, government would be much smaller and the people would be more prosperous.

Among President Trump’s many achievements in his first fifteen months in office, working continually against spiteful harassment and every kind of impediment the Left can devise, is a reduction of welfare provision. Not a huge reduction, no, but a change  in the right direction.

Investor’s Business Daily reports:

Earlier this month [April, 2018], the government reported that enrollment in food stamps plunged by nearly 600,000 in one month. Is this part of a broader trend toward greater self-reliance?

The Department of Agriculture, which runs the food stamp program — officially called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — reports that enrollment in January was 40.7 million, the lowest it’s been since May 2010.

In the months since President Trump has been in office, the number of people collecting food stamps plunged by nearly 2 million.

The same is true for welfare. Enrollment in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program dropped 12% last year, to reach 2.3 million.

Better still, the number of workers on Social Security Disability Insurance was down to 8.6 million in March — a decline of more than 100,000 since January 2017, and the lowest level since February 2012.

So far this year, disability applications have averaged 179,000 a month, compared with more than 193,000 a month in 2016. And the number of people dropping off disability rolls is up. Even enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP — the health care program for the poor and children — dropped by almost a million in 2017, to 74 million. …

In other words, millions of people are now free from at least some of their dependence on federal benefit programs. …

The best measure of success for any poverty program is for enrollment to keep trending toward zero.

Here’s Milton Friedman speaking, way back in 1976, about what is wrong with the provision of welfare by the state. You will notice he uses words that political correctness has since eliminated from public discourse. But the points he makes are still valid.

And here he is again on the same subject in another extract from the same source:

 

Posted under Socialism, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, April 29, 2018

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A huge achievement 20

Splendid pageantry

What did President Trump say to Xi Jinping of China that persuaded Xi to say what to Kim Jong-un of North Korea who said what to Moon Jae-in of South Korea to bring about the reunification of Korea, the denuclearization of North Korea, talks between the US and North Korea … ?

It is a massive change, a huge development – an astonishing achievement. But whose?

We venture to say it is primarily President Donald Trump’s achievement.

From Breitbart:

The leaders of North and South Korea agreed Friday to pursue a permanent peace and the complete denuclearization of the divided peninsula, as they embraced after a historic summit laden with symbolism.

In a day of bonhomie including a highly symbolic handshake over the Military Demarcation Line that divides the two countries, the pair issued a declaration on “the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean peninsula”.

Upon signing the document, the two leaders shared a warm embrace, the culmination of a summit filled with smiles and displays of friendship in front of the world’s media.

They also agreed that they would this year seek a permanent end to the Korean War, 65 years after the hostilities ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty.

Moon would visit Pyongyang in “the fall”, the two leaders said, also agreeing to hold “regular meetings and direct telephone conversations”.

The so-called Panmunjom Declaration capped an extraordinary day unthinkable only months ago, as the nuclear-armed North carried out a series of missile launches and its sixth atomic blast.

Kim said he was “filled with emotion” after stepping over the concrete blocks into the South, making him the first North Korean leader to set foot there since the shooting stopped in the Korean War.

At Kim’s impromptu invitation the two men briefly crossed hand-in-hand into the North before walking to the Peace House building on the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom for the summit — only the third of its kind since hostilities ceased in 1953.

“I came here determined to send a starting signal at the threshold of a new history,” said Kim.

After the summit, he pledged that the two Koreas will ensure they did not “repeat the unfortunate history in which past inter-Korea agreements … fizzled out after beginning”.

The two previous Korean summits in 2000 and 2007, both of them in Pyongyang, also ended with displays of affection and similar pledges, but the agreements ultimately came to naught.

With the North’s atomic arsenal high on the agenda, South Korean President Moon Jae-in responded that the North’s announced moratorium on nuclear testing and long-range missile launches was “very significant”.

It was the highest-level encounter yet in a whirlwind of nuclear diplomacy, and intended to pave the way for a much-anticipated encounter between Kim and US President Donald Trump. …

The White House said it hoped the summit would “achieve progress toward a future of peace and prosperity for the entire Korean Peninsula”.

Trump has demanded the North give up its weapons, and Washington is pressing for it to do so in a complete, verifiable and irreversible way.

When Kim visited the North’s key backer Beijing last month in only his first foreign trip as leader, China’s state media cited him as saying that the issue could be resolved, as long as Seoul and Washington take “progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace”.

Our guess is that Xi summoned Kim to give him stern orders, but allowed the visit to seem simply a ceremonial state occasion, with smiling faces and displays of mutual respect. But Kim was given no choice.

Okay, it wasn’t just something President Trump said to Xi Jinping that prompted him to persuade Kim Jong-un to seek glory in promoting peace and reconciliation rather than threatening nuclear war.

President Trump was ably assisted by the laws of physics:

Also from Breitbart:

When North Korea performed its most recent nuclear weapon test on September 3 of last year at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, seismologists outside North Korea detected an “earthquake” that followed the test itself. Concerns were expressed that the earthquake was actually a partial collapse of Mount Mantap, where the Punggye-ri site is located, and that nuclear radiation had been released. Unconfirmed reports later said that tunnel collapses had killed hundreds of North Korean workers. …

Chinese geologists [warned] North Korean nuclear scientists that further nuclear tests at Mount Mantap risked a nuclear catastrophe, if the mountain collapsed in an explosion, releasing large amounts of radiation that could contaminate large regions of North Korea and northeast China for decades to come.

Now, two groups of Chinese researchers – one from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in Hefei, and the second from the Jilin Earthquake Agency with the China Earthquake Administration in Changchun – have both reached similar conclusions: That Mount Mantap did in fact collapse after North Korea’s last nuclear weapons test on September 3 of last year.

Here’s the summary from China’s Earthquake Administration:

Seismology illuminates physical processes occurring during underground explosions, not all yet fully understood. The thus far strongest North Korean test of 3 September 2017 was followed by a moderate seismic event (mL 4.1) after 8.5 min. … North Korea detonated its strongest underground nuclear test in September 2017. It attracted the public interest worldwide not only due to its significant magnitude (6.3 mb) but also because it was followed 8.5 min later by a weaker event. Was the delayed shock a secondary explosion, an earthquake provoked by the shot, or something else? We answer these questions. … According to our model, the explosion created a cavity and a damaged “chimney” of rocks above it. The aftershock was neither a secondary explosion nor a triggered tectonic earthquake. It occurred due to a process comparable to a “mirror image” of the explosion, that is, a rock collapse, or compaction, for the first time documented in North Korea’s test site.

The USTC study is awaiting publication, but a summary says, “The occurrence of the collapse should deem the underground infrastructure beneath mountain Mantap not be used for any future nuclear tests.”

A Beijing-based analyst points out that another nuclear test at the site would destabilize not only Mount Mantap but also Changbai Mountain, the site of an active volcano at the China-Korea border. …

[So] North Korea promised [China in the first instance, presumably – ed] to end all nuclear and missile tests and shut down Punggye-ri, North Korea’s nuclear test site.

Shutting down the nuclear test site was particularly hailed by the international media that North Korea’s child dictator Kim Jong-un was turning into a nice guy, willing to compromise and all that. Now the laughable news emerges that the nuclear test site is being shut down because another test would risk a nuclear catastrophe, according to Chinese scientists. …

The collapse of Mantap Mountain represents a collapse of a major part of North Korea’s negotiating position.

With the approach of the forthcoming meeting between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump, Trump has said repeatedly that he was demanding denuclearization – that the North destroy all its nuclear weapons. Kim had the threat of reopening the nuclear test site and performing more tests. But now that threat is gone, and even though the North can do further nuclear development, they can never be sure that their developments will work unless they test them.

And again from Breitbart:

President Donald Trump indicated he believed North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was sincere about pushing for peace and announcing his interest in denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.

“No. I don’t think he’s playing,” Trump said, praising the progress made in the North and South Korea peace process so far. …

Trump said he understood skepticism about Jong-un’s intentions, pointing to the history of American presidents failing to deliver lasting peace in the region.

“Yeah I agree, the United States has been played beautifully like a fiddle, because you’ve had a different kind of a leader,” he said. “We’re not going to be played O.K.? We’re going to hopefully make a deal, if we don’t that’s fine.”

Trump also praised China’s President Xi Jinping, calling him “extremely helpful to me” on the ongoing negations.

“This isn’t like past administrations – we don’t play games,” Trump said.

And that is why, if the reunification of Korea and the denuclearization of North Korea does come about, it is President Trump who will deserve the world’s gratitude.

 

Update:

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha credits President Trump for the progress being made. “Clearly credit goes to President Trump. He’s been determined to come to grips with this from day one,” Kyung-wha said.

A famous socialist advocates “humane” mass murder 59

In this video, the Socialist George Bernard Shaw advocates the gassing of people he regards as useless to society.

Shaw, an amusing and much acclaimed playwright, was highly sympathetic to the National Socialist Adolf Hitler, the Fascist Socialist Benito Mussolini, and the Dictators of the Union of Socialist Republics Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin.

Where does the idea that you need to justify your existence come from?

And with it the idea that the justification must only be according to what and how much you do for others? 

As a general moral theory, it was given birth to by Christianity. It is the very essence of Christian moral doctrine. It drives the Christian conscience towards self-sacrifice and martyrdom.

It was inherited by Socialism/Communism/Marxism/Progressivism. The Left. (Not by Hitler’s  National Socialism. Shaw was inconsistent there.)

We live in an age when the Left is so ungrateful for what the Enlightenment and capitalism have done for humankind, its minions so bent on destroying the great achievements of liberty and prosperity, that they deserve to lose the inventors, the doers and makers, the sustainers of our civilization – the Atlases who carry our world on their shoulders. Beware! Atlas can become exasperated. As he does in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. 

Ayn Rand has the characters who speak for her say:

We are on strike against martyrdom — and against the moral code that demands it. We are on strike against those who believe that one man must exist for the sake of another. We are on strike against the morality of cannibals, be it practiced in body or in spirit. We will not deal with men on any terms but ours — and our terms are a moral code which holds that man is an end in himself and not the means to any end of others.

And:

I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.

Like Adam Smith, she and all capitalists know (whether they express the notion or not), that the best way of earning a living is to provide other people with something – goods or services – that they will pay you for. The benefit is mutual.

We cannot live without others. We cannot help having an effect on them or stop them having an effect on us, and we are happy when the effect is beneficial. But we do not need to live for them.  

It’s surely hard enough sustaining your own life and the lives of your natural dependents. To think up a single formula for sustaining and ordering the lives of millions, as the Left does, is to be absurd or insane; and the implementation of it is tyranny and mass murder. No two lives are so exactly matched that the same conditions will affect them equally. Let them be free, each to choose his own path. He may be self-centered, he may be avaricious; he may be self-denying, he may be altruistic. He pursues his own happiness.

Because of her insistence that we do not live for the sake of others, Ayn Rand has been likened to Friedrich Nietzsche. (By, for instance, Steven Pinker in his book Enlightenment Now. See our post, Enlightenment, atheism, reason, and the humanist Left, April 12, 2018.)

Nietzsche was a weak, unhealthy, mentally deranged German philosopher who invented and adulated an imaginary super-strong Super-Man. The Super-Man would be above conventional morality. His existence would be far more important than the lives of the superfluous multitudes who are fit only to be trampled down. (A belief of his that was shared by Hitler.)

Ayn Rand’s philosophy is nothing like Nietzsche’s. Rather, it is close to that of the Epicureans. They were atheists (though to save themselves from contumely and attack they would wave the subject away by saying yes, yes, okay, there are gods, but they live very far from us human beings and have nothing whatever to do with us). They accepted that to live is to suffer, so the best way an individual can live his life is by finding ways to enjoy it as much as he can. To pursue his own happiness. As a school of thought they were not sybarites; they did not advocate living luxuriously, though they had nothing against anyone doing so if he chose. Their chief pleasure lay in intellectual exploration. They were not Atlases; they did not carry the world on their shoulders. But they saw no sense in creeds of self-sacrifice, whether to men or to gods.

 

(Hat-tip to Don L for the link to the video)

 

Threats to freedom: a view from Britain 11

Under the auspices of The Freedom Association in Britain, Theodore Dalrymple – author of many excellent books, two of them often praised and quoted by Thomas Sowell, Life at the Bottom and Our Culture, What’s Left Of It – gave the inaugural Annual Jillian Becker Lecture on March 23, 2018. 

The annual lecture is in celebration of Individual Freedom and/or The Nation-State. It is given by a person who has spoken or written consistently in defense of either or both. Beyond that, the ideas expressed by the lecturer need not conform to either Jillian Becker’s views or those of the Freedom Association. A wide variety of opinion and context is to be expected and welcomed.

The surprise here is that the lecture is introduced by a Christian priest, the Rev. Peter Mullen, who mentions, in good humor, that both Jillian Becker and Theodore Dalrymple (aka Anthony Daniels) are atheists.

The Freedom Association fought long and hard for Brexit, and was one of the organizations that contributed significantly to the victory of the Leave campaign.

The title of the lecture is: Threats to Freedom.

The height of disloyalty 9

Rhetorical questions: What moves James Comey? What makes him tick?

Why did he emerge from the mists of mystery which rightly enfold the FBI, to make statements about Hillary Clinton’s unlikely innocence and then again her likely guilt? Was doing that part of his job description? Seems improbable.

He is such a tall man that when he stands among other people, he has no choice but to look down on most of them. He is surrounded by the tops of people’s heads. So prominent in bodily presence is he, and yet, until the last couple of years, unnoticed. Did he crave more attention? Then why did he (as he says he did) hide among the White House curtains in the hope (disappointed) of escaping the attention of President Trump?

An enigma.

Did he crave fame? He has attained notoriety at least, which may in time be infamy, if it is not forgotten.

He pinched the title of his apologia, A Higher Loyalty, from one of our posts about him: The higher loyalty of James Comey, September 11, 2016. (So we will maintain in the teeth of all doubt and derision). Of course we meant it ironically, since in our account his “higher loyalty” was given to Hillary Clinton, to whose level even a midget would need to stoop. But we don’t grudge it. It’s probably the best-worded phrase printed anywhere in or on his book. (Which we have not read and have no intention of reading. We go by what is said about it, and by the banality of what we’ve heard him say on TV. And we freely confess to our unshakable prejudice against him.)

To what “higher loyalty” does he himself lay claim? Any hint in his subtitle, “Truth, Lies, and Leadership”? What “truth”? Whose “leadership”? His own? If not, the answers to those questions will remain forever in the vast hot-air Closet of Incoherent Explanations to which politicians’ and bureaucrats’ memoirs and apologias are consigned by the laws of nature.

As to “lies” – is he loyal to some or any of them? Not to all, anyway. His self-contradictions are common knowledge.

What we hear and read about him is that, in addition to lying, he revealed some parts of what he knew – directly to the president-elect, deviously to the press through a friend – while concealing other parts, highly significant facts, among the curtains of his mind. (Along such lines as: “We have a dossier about you Mr. Trump, in which it is alleged that you colluded with a p(r)osse of Russian whores to let you watch them micturate on a hotel bed in Moscow. We also know who paid to have the dossier compiled, but we won’t tell you who it was.” And not a hint did he drop. Even though she who paid for the scurrilous lies was his recently defeated rival for the presidency.)

Many Democrats – whose side he seems, at least intermittently, to favor – want his guts for garters. They, including Hillary Clinton herself, blame him for her loss and Donald Trump’s triumphant gain of the presidency in 2016. She blames lots of people. How much blame – or from our point of view credit – for her loss and his victory belongs to James Comey, who can say?

Millions of Republicans and conservatives long for his utter undoing: indictment, trial, imprisonment, humiliation. Why? That is a question we can answer. There may be many reasons, but we reckon that the big one, the one that towers above all others, is that he could have brought crooked Hillary Clinton to indictment, trial, imprisonment and humiliation – and didn’t do it. 

Posted under corruption, Crime, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, April 21, 2018

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Breaking the spell 44

We very seldom quote from a Leftist atheist site.

Today we do.

At Patheos, Shem the Penman writes in praise of Daniel Dennett. (You can find the whole thing here.)

We won’t discuss his contention that Dennett writes better on atheism than Hitchens, Dawkins and Harris, all of whom he apparently despises (although all of them were to some degree, or at least for a certain time, on the Left). We have given our opinion of their writings elsewhere. (See eg. our reviews of some of their books under Pages in our margin.)

It is something he says that Dennett says that we choose to examine.

He writes:

It may not be as popular on nonbeliever reading lists, or as packed with quotable quips about religion as God Is Not Great or The God Delusion, but Daniel Dennett’s 2006 book Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon gives us a scheme for a scientific study of religion: how it developed and what it means to society today. Even on my first reading of it, I recall being impressed with Dennett’s thoroughness and seriousness in his task, which was much more subtle and empathetic than the standard demolition of religion delivered by cheap polemicists like Hitchens, Harris and Dawkins.

Such a study is important, Dennett knows, because religion represents a significant investment by believers in time, effort, and resources. Whether we think religion is a good thing or not, we have to come up with some sort of explanation for its development and survival throughout human history. In Darwinian terms, it has to justify its cost at every step of its evolution. …

Nowadays, the custodians of religion have come up with ways to ensure its survival that represent defense mechanisms for the meme complex. The first is the “spell” Dennett refers to in the title: the admonition against examining religion the same way we’d examine other human phenomena like sexuality or language. But there’s a more significant way that religion perpetuates itself in our era, and that’s through the belief-in-belief. In other words, whether people believe in the deities and tenets of their religion, they profess belief that the belief in them is a good idea. Religion perpetuates itself not by the belief it inspires, but by the behavior it motivates. Professing religious belief, in particular, is a behavior that significantly contributes to the perpetuation of the meme complex of religion.

This is the feature of Dennett’s thought that distinguishes him from a critic of religion such as Dawkins: while Dawkins focuses on the literal beliefs of religious people, Dennett points out that from the meme’s-eye-view, there’s no difference between a Muslim who prays five times a day because he truly believes in Allah and the truth of the Koran, and a Muslim who prays five times a day because that’s what Muslims do. …

There is a difference. The difference is as stated – that the one truly believes and the other merely conforms. And it is a fairly significant difference, because there is a better chance that the conformer can be dissuaded from his conformity than that the believer can be dissuaded from his belief.

In sum, what Dennett is saying (according to the writer) is that religions continue through the ages because they become conventional in this or that society.

True, and not a revelation.

In most societies, throughout the Third World, the notion that ideas can and should be critically examined did not arise. Only the West was taught this marvelous and simple exercise; first very early in its history, by Socrates in the 4th century BCE, and then, after hundreds of years of dogmatic Christian tyranny, by the Enlightenment thinkers of the 17th and 18th centuries CE.

With the Enlightenment, religion in the West began to die. To quote from our own Articles of Reason: Many a belief can survive persecution, but not critical examination.

It did not happen that everyone who was told to reason became a rationalist. For many who preferred to feel rather than to think, religion was replaced by Romanticism. But almost everyone came to accept what Science revealed and what its child, Technology, put to use. Almost everyone, that is to say, who was taught some science and whose lives were transformed by technology; those  who were TOLD about those ideas, who experienced their effects.

Sure, there are still millions in the West – mainly in America – who learn some science, use technology, and nevertheless continue to believe that their religion is true. But their number is dwindling.

Religion must be argued against. Especially, now, Islam must be argued against. Argument is the best weapon in our arsenal to use against Islam – without excluding any others – precisely because so many Muslims pray five times a day for no better reason than that “that’s what Muslims do”.

That is why Muslims fear critical examination, so much so that they are trying to get it banned by law in Western countries, and by the UN, where they have a bullying majority.

We quote a few passages from the essay Tell them listed in our margin under Pages

Why do millions of Americans “think” that economic equality is morally desirable? …

Why do millions of university students in America admire intellectuals who hate America, such as Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, and make an icon out of the sadistic mass-murderer Che Guevara?

Why? Because they’ve been told to. They’ve been told that good people do and “think” these things. They want to be good. They believe what they’ve been taught. …

Now millions of conservatives are waking up and are asking, how did this happen? It happened because people patiently, energetically, persistently planned it and made it happen.

What can we do about it, they ask themselves and each other.

What they have to do about it is change the minds of the believers. First they must be sure that they want the free republic the founders established; that they want to maintain free markets; that they don’t want a welfare state; that they do want to preserve national defenses; that they want indoctrination in the schools to stop; that they want to forbid the application of foreign law; that they do not want to go on funding an institution – the UN – that consistently works against their interests. Then they must decide that their political philosophy is right, uniquely right, and must be implemented at any and all costs. Then they must start teaching it. With energy, persistence, patience and fiery enthusiasm. It will take time. But that is the only way. Teach, preach, argue, use every method that works.  …

How badly does the conservative right want to win [and hold on to] power in America? How important is it to them that they should?

If it is important, tell the voters, tell the children that the free market is the only means of creating general prosperity, and why. Tell them that central planning of an economy cannot work, and why. Tell them why competition is good for everyone, producers and consumers alike.

Tell them what profit is and why it is essential for ensuring abundance.

Tell them that only where people are free can there be discovery and innovation, improvement in everyone’s daily life, better technology, the advance of civilization. Explain why. Show them the proofs of history.

Tell them the truth about life in the Third World. Not politically correct sentimental drivel, but the actual awful facts about life in most other countries.

Tell them why impartial judgment is the only means to justice; why all sane adult citizens must be treated equally by the law; why people must be judged by their actions, not their intentions or feelings.

Tell them why government should be kept small and its powers limited. Tell them what the essential tasks of government are: protection of the nation, of the individual, of liberty, of the rule of law itself. And why governments should not be allowed more power and money than it needs to fulfill its few essential functions.

Shout down the shouters.

Tell Muslims what is wrong with their creed and why American secularism is better. Don’t allow them … to shut out criticism of their absurd and savage beliefs.

Tolerate only the tolerant and tolerable.

It will take time. Start now. … Tell them.

Posted under Uncategorized by Jillian Becker on Thursday, April 19, 2018

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At last … 6

Katie Pavlich reports at Townhall:

Eleven House Republicans have sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray officially referring Hillary Clinton, fired FBI Director James Comey, fired Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch for criminal investigation. FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who were caught sending hundreds of anti-Trump text messages during the Clinton investigation, have also been referred for criminal investigation.

U.S. Attorney John Huber, who was tapped by Sessions a few weeks ago to investigate the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email probe, was copied on the request.

“Because we believe that those in positions of high authority should be treated the same as every other American, we want to be sure that the potential violations of law outlined below are vetted appropriately,” lawmakers wrote.

As the letter outlines, Comey is under fire for allegedly giving false testimony to Congress last summer about the FBI’s criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s repeated mishandling of classified information. Specifically, lawmakers cite Comey’s decision to draft an exoneration memo of Clinton months before FBI agents were done with their work and before Clinton and key staffers were interviewed for the probe. They’re also going after him for leaking classified information to a friend, which Comey admitted to under oath.

“It would appear that former Director Comey leaked classified information when sharing these memos with Professor Richman. Accordingly, we refer James Comey to DOJ for potential violation(s) of: 18 USC 641, 18 USC 793, and 18USC 1924 (a),” the letter states.

Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch is being referred for allegedly “threatening with reprisal the former FBI informant who tried to come forward in 2016 with insight into the Uranium One deal”.

“With regard to top counterintelligence FBI agent, Peter Strzok, and senior FBI lawyer Lisa Page, we raise concerns regarding their interference in the Hillary Clinton investigation regarding her use of a personal email server,” the letter states.

McCabe has been referred for perceived violation of three different codes after a DOJ inspector general report released last week showed he lied under oath multiple times to FBI and OIG investigators.

As far as Clinton’s referral, lawmakers argue she should be held accountable for “disguising payments to Fusion GPS on mandatory disclosures to the Federal Election Commission.”

At the very least! She surely has much more to answer for.

Will Sessions and Wray do what they’re asked to do?

It’s a happy day, but not yet time to celebrate. The guilty must be found guilty, and heavy sentences must be pronounced upon them.

Our editorial mind is closed to any possibility of their innocence.

Our rule of skepticism is suspended.

May this be the beginning of a wave of justice that will overwhelm them.

A report from Syria 83

Our British associate, Chauncey Tinker, proprietor of The Participator, has drawn our attention to this video.

OAN is a conservative news channel.

The reporter, Pearson Sharp, makes a strong case that the gas attack on Douma was staged for propaganda purposes. We had believed and said that there was a gas attack, so we post the video as self-correction. (Of course, we still cannot be sure whether or not there was a gas attack, and if there was, who launched it. Sharp’s interpreter may have deceived him, for instance; or the witnesses could have been lying.)

In any case, we are glad that the sites in Syria connected with the production of chemical and biological weapons have been bombed to rubble.

Since the Russians have acquired a firm foothold in Syria, and Iran too has a dangerous presence there, was the bombing politically and strategically justified?

Bruce Thornton writes, in part, at Front Page:

Given that our economy is inseparable from the global economy, we have no choice but to be concerned about the critical straits and canals through which global commerce travels, and the airports throughout the world through which people can reach our shores in less than a day. We also can’t ignore the numerous illiberal and autocratic regimes whose beliefs and values conflict with those of the West. The global market … needs a global sheriff so that this astonishing increase in technological innovation and wealth and their global distribution is free to continue. We may not have chosen this role, we may not like or want the job, but history so far has left the U.S. as the only great power with the military capacity for keeping order, and the political beliefs and principles that ensure we will not abuse that power to oppress others.

Yet that truth does not justify the one-world idealism that believes everybody on the planet wants to live like Westerners, or to embrace Western principles and goods like political freedom, tolerance of minorities, free speech, sex equality, secularist government, an open society, and the preference for discussion, negotiation, and treaties as the way to solve conflict rather than brute force. The great diversity of ways of life and beliefs means that transnational institutions, agreements, covenants, and U.N. Security Council resolutions will always in the end be instruments of diverse and conflicting national interests. They are honored as long as they serve those interests, but abused or subverted when they don’t, especially by the more powerful nations. …

The West’s military dominance in the 20th century ensured that other nations would bandwagon with the West and sign such international agreements, with the tacit proviso that they would violate them whenever necessary, even as they paid them lip-service. The history of the last century, which is littered with violated treaties and covenants, proves this obvious truth. …

Indeed, Syria offers a perfect example … of a superficial adherence to international covenants that facilitates violations of them. After Barack Obama issued his empty “red line” threat about Assad’s use of chemical weapons, Secretary of State John Kerry negotiated an empty “solution” to the problem by making Russia the authority overseeing the elimination of Assad’s stockpiles, even though it was and still is not in Russia’s geostrategic interests to disarm Assad. So we got a theatrical compliance that left Assad his weapons, and even worse, gave Russia a sanctioned entrée into the Syrian civil war. The pretense of adhering to international law gave cover to Russia’s strategic aims in the region, one of which was the continuation of Assad’s murderous regime. …

What could justify the raids against Syria? Deterrence is frequently invoked, but it obviously didn’t work last year after the President destroyed some of Assad’s jets. Over the past year, Assad has continued to use chemical weapons on civilians. Indeed, within hours of our latest attack Assad was using high explosives and barrel-bombs to slaughter people who are just as dead or mangled as the victims of his chemical attack. Further consequences may follow. Russia and Iran for now may be blustering to save face, but there still may be some retaliation that we will then have to answer. For once a nation goes down the road of deterring a bad actor by force, it has to continue indefinitely in order to maintain its prestige. It can’t announce publicly that it is a “one-off”.

Americans traditionally do not like constant war or military interventions, particularly “humanitarian” ones. We prefer to intervene when necessary, kill the bad guys, then come back home … Unfortunately, in today’s interconnected world, such conflicts are not as rare as we’d like. But we must make it clear that we will not intervene when necessary just to rush home as though the work is done, nor will we engage in conflicts and occupation of the defeated enemy in order to create liberal democracy.

Rather, we need a foreign policy similar to the “butcher and bolt” policy of the British Empire, or what Israel calls “mowing the grass”. This means when an adversary or enemy challenges our power and interests, or those of our close allies, we should use force to send a message, usually by destroying some of its military assets. We should not rationalize this action by appealing to international law, the U.N., or some fantastical common vales or principles of the mythic “international community.” We should make it clear that there is no time-certain for when we stop, rather that we will return whenever we judge it necessary. And we should do it on the principle that a sovereign nation has a right to defend itself as it sees fit, and owes accountability only to its citizens.

In the near future, bombing Syria will likely still be necessary, not just to deter Assad or change the regime into a liberal democracy, but to let all the players in the region know that the greatest military power in history is watching events in a region we deem vital to our interests, and that we will use force to remind them of our unprecedented ability to project devastating power across the globe. Such a policy will strengthen our prestige, and concentrate wonderfully the minds of our adversaries.

The only remaining question is, Will we the people of the United States be willing to pay the costs and accept the risks of such a policy?

Posted under Iran, Russia, Syria, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, April 17, 2018

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Missile strikes on Syria: punishment, prevention, and warning 4

“What did the missile strikes on Syria’s chemical weapons sites do for America?”

“Why should Americans expend blood and treasure for Syrians victimized by their own government?”

“America is not the world’s policeman.”

Such are the questions and protests that are coming from angry commentators, including many conservatives.

So was President Trump’s decision to act as he did right or wrong?

Claudia Rosett, for long a trusty reporter on the horror show called the United Nations, writes at PJ Media:

With air strikes on Syria’s chemical weapons facilities, carried out jointly with Britain and France, America has done the right thing.

Leading from in front, President Trump is finally redrawing the red line that President Obama erased in 2013. Whatever the threats and criticisms that will surely follow, the world will be safer for it. The vital message is that America is no longer the hamstrung giant of the Obama era. Tyrants such as Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, and his patrons in Moscow and Tehran, have been served notice that it would be unwise to continue to assume that America will waffle, appease or simply retreat while they take upon themselves the shaping – to monstrous effect – of the 21st-century world order. This message is also likely to resonate in Beijing (which has reportedly been planning live-fire naval exercises next week in the Taiwan Strait) and Pyongyang (with its nuclear missile projects).

The immediate aim of the US-led air strikes was to end the chemical weapons attacks that Syria’s Assad regime has continued to inflict on its own people – despite Assad’s promises in 2013 to surrender his chemical weapons, and Russia’s promise to ensure Assad did so. On Friday, speaking at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Ambassador Nikki Haley charged that by U.S. estimates, “Assad has used chemical weapons in the Syrian war at least 50 times” – some of these attacks within the past year, including the gas attack that killed dozens … in the Syrian city of Douma.

There’s room for debate about whether it is America’s responsibility, on humanitarian grounds, to stop such atrocities. But whatever your views on protecting children in a far-off land from the hideous effects of chemical weapons, there is a larger, strategic reason for trying to stop Assad. Syria, with its liberal use of chemical weapons, has been setting a horrific precedent – repeatedly violating the Chemical Weapons Convention to which Damascus acceded in 2013, and eroding the longstanding international taboo against chemical warfare. This is dangerous way beyond Syria. As Haley told the UN Security Council: “All nations and all people will be harmed if we allow Assad to normalize the use of chemical weapons.”

In theory, the United Nations was supposed to prevent this, ensuring in tandem with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that Assad would give up all his chemical weapons – with the specific oversight and guarantees of Russia, under a deal cut in 2013 by Obama and Putin. As I explained in an article earlier this week for The Hill, the UN has failed utterly, thanks to Putin’s cynical exploitation of the entire setup. Russia used the chemical weapons disarmament deal as a portal for its own military entry into Syria in support of Assad, and has since been using its veto on the UN Security Council, along with a torrent of Kremlin propaganda, to run diplomatic cover for Assad.

As many conservative commentators pointed out at the time, it was stupid (if not collusional) of Obama and his secretary of state John Kerry to hand over the responsibility for overseeing Syria’s WMD abandonment to Russia.

The upshot has been that if the US does not stop Assad’s use of chemical weapons, then nobody will.

Neither Britain nor France would have done it without the US.

The US could have done it on its own. British and French participation in the missile attack was useful for President Trump, though not necessary for the success of the operation. The huge majority of the missiles were American – 88 of the 105. Nine were French and 8 were British.

Prime Minister May allowed British forces to strike Syria along with US forces because she “owed” President Trump for his supporting her, when she hit back at Russia for the poisoning of two Russian expats in Britain by expelling Putin’s diplomats and closing a consulate. She asked President Trump to do the same, and he did. She was able to give the order for the strike on Syria by the RAF without consulting parliament because the MPs were still absent on their Easter break. She seized the moment, and now there’s an outcry in the Commons – as well as the country – about it.

As for President Macron, he seems to be fascinated by President Trump, wanting to follow him and yet also to direct him. Macron claimed that he had “convinced” Trump that he should keep the US military engaged in Syria – and then he retracted the claim.

Last April, after Assad used sarin gas in an attack that killed almost 100 people, Trump ordered a strike of 59 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian airbase. Evidently, that was not enough to stop Assad’s chemical weapons spree.

At a Pentagon press briefing Friday evening held shortly after Trump’s public announcement of the strikes on Syria, Gen. Joseph Dunford listed three targets “struck and destroyed,” which he said were “specifically associated with the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons program.” The last two on his list were chemical weapons storage facilities, one of which included “an important command post”. On these, I don’t know anything beyond the generic descriptions Dunford gave at the briefing.

But the first target on Dunford’s list had a very familiar ring. He described it as “a scientific research center located in the greater Damascus area”. He added: “This military facility was a Syrian center for the research, development, production and testing of chemical and biological warfare technology.”

That sure sounds like the notorious Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, also known as the SSRC. In which case there can be no doubt that these air strikes were aimed at an incredibly high-value target, an outfit central to some of the worst depravities of Assad’s weapons programs, and – as it happens – a longtime client of North Korea and Iran. On the 99 percent probability that this was the research center to which Dunford referred, here’s some background:

For starters, I’d credit Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis with telling it exactly as it is, when he said at the same Pentagon press briefing Friday night, “We were very precise and proportionate. But at the same time, it was a heavy strike.”

The SSRC has been on the U.S. sanctions list for 13 years, first designated under the Bush administration in 2005, with periodic, horrifying updates under the Obama and Trump administrations, targeting its various fronts, procurement arms, officials and connections.

This is not just any old research center. According to the U.S. Treasury, it is “the Syrian government agency responsible for developing and producing non-conventional weapons and the missiles to deliver them”. …

On April 24, 2017, following Assad’s sarin gas attack on the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun, the Trump administration blacklisted 271 employees of the SSRC, stating that these individuals “have expertise in chemistry and related disciplines and/or have worked in support of SSRC’s chemical weapons since at least 2012”.  In other words, during the same time frame in which Russia (and former secretary of State John Kerry) were assuring us that 100 percent of the chemical weapons were gone from Syria, the Syrian regime’s SSRC was prolifically busy plowing ahead with Assad’s chemical weapons program.

We also have it on good authority that during roughly that same interval, the SSRC was ordering up shipments from North Korea. According to the UN Panel of Experts on North Korea sanctions, in a report dated March 5, 2018, their investigations into weapons and dual-use shipments to Syria from North Korea turned up more than 40 shipments between 2012 and 2017 “by entities designated by Member States as front companies for the Scientific Studies Research Centre of the Syrian Arab Republic.” Among these shipments were items “with utility in ballistic missile and chemical weapons programs”.

If the SSRC was indeed struck and destroyed, the likely benefits are enormous. That would deprive Assad of one of the most diabolical laboratories of his evil regime, quite likely providing a big setback to his chemical weapons program, with the two-fer that it might also have zapped his bioweapons program.

It would also send a useful message to everyone from the SSRC’s suppliers, such as Iran and North Korea, to such predatory dictators as Russia’s Putin and China’s Xi Jinping. Destroying the SSRC with air strikes ought to drive home, in a way that no amount of UN debate and no quantity of sanctions designations ever could, that these days the U.S. and its allies are serious about their red lines. 

The SSRC was struck. According to the caption to this picture in The Independent, this rubble is what’s left of “part” of it.

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