Bad things in good times 2

Mark Steyn talks about bad things in a recently published (April 25, 2016) video: environmentalism, Islam, state-created art.

Well worth the 27+ minutes it takes to hear it through.

We like the last few minutes best, starting at about 24.40 when he talks about how lucky we are to be living in a warm period.

Posted under Canada, Climate, Commentary, Environmentalism, government, Health, History, India, Islam, Leftism, Muslims, Science, Somalia, Sweden, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Saturday, May 21, 2016

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The party that stood against freedom 1

… and still does.

Here’s the trailer of Dinesh D’Souza’s movie about the horrible history of the Democratic Party:

Posted under History, Slavery, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Sunday, May 15, 2016

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The West despairs – but why? 3

Why is the West embracing the idea of its own extinction?

A very large number of human beings, the most enlightened, best informed, ever more productive, brilliantly entertained, comfortably accommodated – prosperous indeed beyond ancestral dreams – are choosing to give up existence. Is it simply because they cannot think of any reason to go on living? 

Seems so. They do not want to have children. Almost all Western countries – the great exception being the United States of America (fertility rate 2.06) – have fertility rates well below stability (2.1), which means they are dying out, each generation getting smaller. A strong indication that the present generation has no care for the future of the race.

Western intellectuals – in almost total unanimity in the academies – denigrate their civilization, find no value in it, even express disgust with it.

We have written about this annihilationist mood of Western intellectuals and elected leaders in a number of posts, among them these:

In “A vision of pure meaninglessness”  (December 14, 2008), we discuss the wish of environmentalists to protect the planet from human beings:

The environmentalists hold to the view, as little fact-based as all their views tend to be, that over-population is a threat, when in fact most countries, notably all of Europe and Japan, have precisely the opposite problem: birth-rates so low that the Italians, the Irish, the Spanish, the Portuguese (all predominantly Catholic countries, note) as well as the British, the Scandinavians, the Russians, the Japanese are literally dying out.

The environmentalist view is that human beings are messy creatures, doing more harm than good to the planet. The Green vision is of a clean, nay a pure planet. In truth, their ideal could only be realized by the total elimination of the filthy human species.

Fresh wild raw uninhabited world (January 2, 2012) deals with the same theme:  

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) [in] its infamous report … alleged that human beings, just by bumbling about their daily business in spots here and there in the vast empty spaces of the continents, were having a deleterious – worse, a drastic – still worse, a disastrous effect on the climates of the planet. Its fans have had it up to here with the human species. If they could have their way they’d be rid of every last one of the squalid two-legged contaminators, and let the planet, finally cured of human infestation, spin on round the sun forever fresh, a wild, raw, goodness-packed organic world.

And in To be or not to be (January 10, 2016) …

A professor of philosophy named David Benatar published, some eight or nine years ago, a book titled: Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence. 

He makes the case that to live is to suffer and so it is best not to live. Just coming into existence is “a serious harm”. People should not have children. All babies should be killed in the womb. Humanity should become extinct.

He argues that the pain living beings endure is always much greater than the pleasure they enjoy. So they should not live. To avoid pain is a good thing; to miss pleasure is merely not a bad thing. The harm must always outweigh the joy.

It would not matter – he contends – if the human race ceased to exist: human existence has no value. 

No value to whom? The only possible answer is “to human beings”.

And we constantly write about European governments inviting vast numbers of Muslims into their countries from the Near, Middle and Far East, and Africa, to share their cosy welfare states – even those which are most rapidly subsiding into poverty. The Muslim immigrants will breed prolifically, become a majority, and impose sharia law on Europe as soon as they can.

Today, Giulio Meotti – writing at Gatestone – describes how what’s left of the nation-states of Western Europe are lowering their defenses, depleting their militaries, finding no reason to protect themselves with force even should they come under violent attack.

Actually, in some cases, because they are coming under violent attack:

On March 11, 2004, 192 people were killed and 1,400 wounded in a series of terrorist attacks in Madrid. Three days later, Spain’s Socialist leader, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, was elected prime minister. Just 24 hours after being sworn in, Zapatero ordered Spanish troops to leave Iraq “as soon as possible”.

The directive was a monumental political victory for extremist Islam. Since then, Europe’s boots on the ground have not been dispatched outside Europe to fight jihadism; instead, they have been deployed inside the European countries to protect monuments and civilians.

“Opération Sentinelle” is the first new large-scale military operation within France. The army is now protecting synagogues, art galleries, schools, newspapers, public offices and underground stations. Of all French soldiers currently engaged in military operations, half of them are deployed inside France. And half of those are assigned to protect 717 Jewish schools. Meanwhile, French paralysis before ISIS is immortalized by the image of police running away from the office of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo during the massacre there.

You can find the same figure in Italy: 11,000 Italian soldiers are currently engaged in military operations and more than half of them are used in operation “Safe Streets”,  which, as its name reveals, keeps Italy’s cities safe. Italy’s army is also busy providing aid to migrants crossing the Mediterranean.

In 2003, Italy was one of the very few countries, along with Spain and Britain, which stood with the United States in its noble war in Iraq – a war that was successful until the infamous US pull-out on December 18, 2011.

Today, Italy, like Spain, runs away from its responsibility in the war against the Islamic State. Italy’s Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti ruled out the idea of Italy taking part in action against ISIS, after EU defense ministers unanimously backed a French request for help.

Italy’s soldiers, stationed in front of my newspaper’s office in Rome, provide a semblance of security, but the fact that half of Italy’s soldiers are engaged in domestic security, and not in offensive military strikes, should give us pause. These numbers shed a light not only on Europe’s internal terror frontlines, from the French banlieues to “Londonistan”.  These numbers also shed light on the great Western retreat.

US President Barack Obama has boasted that as part of his legacy, he has withdrawn American military forces from the Middle East. His shameful departure from Iraq has been the main reason that the Islamic State rose to power – and the reason Obama postponed a military withdrawal from Afghanistan. This US retreat can only be compared to the fall of Saigon, with the picture of a helicopter evacuating the U.S. embassy.

In Europe, armies are no longer even ready for war.

The German army is now useless, and Germany spends only 1.2% of GDP on defense. The German army today has the lowest number of staff at any time in its history.

In 2012, Germany’s highest court, breaking a 67-year-old taboo against using the military within Germany’s borders, allowed the military to be deployed in domestic operations. The post-Hitler nation’s fear that the army could develop again into a state-within-a-state that might impede democracy has paralyzed Europe’s largest and wealthiest country. Last January, it was revealed that German air force reconnaissance jets cannot even fly at night.

Many European states slumber in the same condition as Belgium, with its failed security apparatus. A senior U.S. intelligence officer even recently likened the Belgian security forces to “children”.

And Sweden’s commander-in-chief, Sverker Göranson, said his country could only fend off an invasion for a maximum of one week.

During the past ten years, the United Kingdom has also increasingly been seen by its allies – both in the US and in Europe – as a power in retreat, focusing only on its domestic agenda. The British have become increasingly insular – a littler England.

The former head of the Royal Navy, Admiral Nigel Essenigh, has spoken of “uncomfortable similarities” between the UK’s defenses now and those in the early 1930s, during the rise of Nazi Germany.

In Canada, military bases are now being used to host migrants from Middle East. Justin Trudeau, the new Canadian prime minister, first halted military strikes against ISIS, then refused to join the coalition against it. Terrorism has apparently never been a priority for Trudeau – not like “gender equality”,  global warming, euthanasia and injustices committed against Canada’s natives.

The bigger question is: Why does anyone choose to fight in a war? Civilized nations go to war so that members of today’s generation may sacrifice themselves to protect future generations.

But if there are no future generations, there is no reason whatever for today’s young men to die in war.

Spain’s fertility has fallen the most – the lowest in Western Europe over twenty years and the most extreme demographic spiral observed anywhere. Similarly, fewer babies were born in Italy in 2015 than in any year since the state was founded 154 years ago. … Italy’s population shrank. Germany, likewise, is experiencing a demographic suicide.

This massive deployment of armed forces in our own cities is a departure from history. It is a moral disarmament, before a military one. It is Europe’s new Weimar moment, from the name of the first German Republic that was dramatically dismantled by the rise of Nazism. The Weimar Republic still represents a cultural muddle, a masterpiece of unarmed democracy devoted to a mutilated pacifism, a mixture of naïve cultural, political reformism and the first highly developed welfare state.

According to the historian Walter Laqueur, Weimar was the first case of the “life and death of a permissive society”. Will Europe’s new Weimar also be brought down, this time by Islamists?

By Islam, yes.

Because that’s what Europe wants – doesn’t it? How else explain what’s happening to it? What it is letting happen to it.

But why?

“The Great Die-Off” 6

… that never happened.

On the first Earth Day in 1970, environmentalists predicted the direst imaginable consequences, including the possible extinction of the human race, within 30 years.

That is, if we earthlings didn’t obey them and go back to living the life of the savage: “poor, nasty, brutish, and short”.  They didn’t put it that way exactly. But that’s what their wishes would have brought us to.

“Solitary” should also be in that quotation from Thomas Hobbes, but that wouldn’t be the case because the doomsday environmentalists are collectivists to a man and feminist.

Not a single one of their predictions has come true.

Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute writes:

In the May 2000 issue of Reason Magazine, award-winning science correspondent Ronald Bailey wrote an excellent article titled Earth Day, Then and Now to provide some historical perspective on the 30th anniversary of Earth Day. In that article, Bailey noted that around the time of the first Earth Day, and in the years following, there was a “torrent of apocalyptic predictions” and many of those predictions were featured in his Reason article. Well, it’s now the 46th anniversary of  Earth Day, and a good time to ask the question again that Bailey asked 16 years ago: How accurate were the predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970? The answer: “The prophets of doom were not simply wrong, but spectacularly wrong,” according to Bailey. Here are 18 examples of the spectacularly wrong predictions made around 1970 when the “green holy day” (aka Earth Day) started:

1. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind”. 

2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation,” wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner in the Earth Day issue of the scholarly journal Environment.

3. The day after the first Earth Day, the New York Times editorial page warned, “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”

4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,” wrote Paul Ehrlich in a 1969 essay titled “Eco-Catastrophe! “By 1975 some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”

6. Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off”. 

7. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.

8. Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”

9. In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support … the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution … by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half. …”

10. Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time that, “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”

11. Barry Commoner predicted that decaying organic pollutants would use up all of the oxygen in America’s rivers, causing freshwater fish to suffocate.

12. Paul Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in his 1970 that “air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone”. Ehrlich sketched a scenario in which 200,000 Americans would die in 1973 during “smog disasters” in New York and Los Angeles.

13. Paul Ehrlich warned in the May 1970 issue of Audubon that DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons “may have substantially reduced the life expectancy of people born since 1945″. Ehrlich warned that Americans born since 1946 … now had a life expectancy of only 49 years, and he predicted that if current patterns continued this expectancy would reach 42 years by 1980, when it might level out.

14. Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate … that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any’.”

15. Harrison Brown, a scientist at the National Academy of Sciences, published a chart in Scientific American that looked at metal reserves and estimated the humanity would totally run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would be gone before 1990.

16. Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look that, “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”

17. In 1975, Paul Ehrlich predicted that “since more than nine-tenths of the original tropical rainforests will be removed in most areas within the next 30 years or so, it is expected that half of the organisms in these areas will vanish with it”.

18. Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

The Daily Caller notes just how wrong some of those predictions have turned out to be:

1: “Civilization Will End Within 15 Or 30 Years”

Harvard biologist Dr. George Wald warned shortly before the first Earth Day in 1970 that civilization would soon end “unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind”. Three years before his projection, Wald was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Wald was a vocal opponent of the Vietnam War and the nuclear arms race. He even flew to Moscow at one point to advise the leader of the Soviet Union on environmental policy. Despite his assistance to a communist government, civilization still exists. The percentage of Americans who are concerned about environmental threats has fallen as civilization failed to end by environmental catastrophe.

2: “100-200 Million People Per Year Will Be Starving To Death During The Next Ten Years”

Stanford professor Dr. Paul Ehrlich declared in April 1970 that mass starvation was imminent. His dire predictions failed to materialize as the number of people living in poverty has significantly declined and the amount of food per person has steadily increased, despite population growth. The world’s Gross Domestic Product per person has immeasurably grown despite increases in population.

Ehrlich is largely responsible for this view, having co-published The Population Bomb with The Sierra Club in 1968. The book made a number of claims including that millions of humans would starve to death in the 1970s and 1980s, mass famines would sweep England leading to the country’s demise, and that ecological destruction would devastate the planet causing the collapse of civilization.

3: “Population Will Inevitably And Completely Outstrip Whatever Small Increases In Food Supplies We Make”

Paul Ehrlich also made the above claim in 1970, shortly before an agricultural revolution that caused the world’s food supply to rapidly increase.

Ehrlich has consistently failed to revise his predictions when confronted with the fact that they did not occur, stating in 2009 that “perhaps the most serious flaw in The Bomb was that it was much too optimistic about the future”.

4: “Demographers Agree Almost Unanimously … Thirty Years From Now, The Entire World … Will Be In Famine”

Environmentalists in 1970 truly believed in a scientific consensus predicting global famine due to population growth in the developing world, especially in India. …

[But] India, where the famines were supposed to begin, recently became one of the world’s largest exporters of agricultural products and food supply per person in the country has drastically increased in recent years. In fact, the number of people in every country listed by Gunter has risen dramatically since 1970.

5: “In A Decade, Urban Dwellers Will Have To Wear Gas Masks To Survive Air Pollution”

Life magazine stated in January 1970 that scientist had “solid experimental and theoretical evidence” to believe that “in a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution … by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching Earth by one half”.

Despite the prediction, air quality has been improving worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Air pollution has also sharply declined in industrialized countries.

Carbon dioxide (CO2), the gas environmentalists are worried about today, is odorless, invisible and harmless to humans in normal amounts.

6: “Childbearing [Will Be] A Punishable Crime Against Society, Unless The Parents Hold A Government License”

David Brower, the first executive director of The Sierra Club made the above claim and went on to say that “all potential parents [should be] required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing”. Brower was also essential in founding Friends of the Earth and the League Of Conservation Voters and much of the modern environmental movement.

Brower believed that most environmental problems were ultimately attributable to new technology that allowed humans to pass natural limits on population size. He famously stated before his death in 2000 that “all technology should be assumed guilty until proven innocent” and repeatedly advocated for mandatory birth control.

Today, the only major government to ever get close to his vision has been China, which ended its one-child policy last October.

7: “By The Year 2000 … There Won’t Be Any More Crude Oil”

On Earth Day in 1970 ecologist Kenneth Watt famously predicted that the world would run out of oil saying, “You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any’.”

Numerous academics like Watt predicted that American oil production peaked in 1970 and would gradually decline, likely causing a global economic meltdown. However, the successful application of massive hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, caused American oil production to come roaring back and there is currently too much oil on the market.

American oil and natural gas reserves are at their highest levels since 1972 and American oil production in 2014 was 80 percent higher than in 2008 thanks to fracking.

Furthermore, the U.S. now controls the world’s largest untapped oil reserve, the Green River Formation in Colorado. This formation alone contains up to 3 trillion barrels of untapped oil shale, half of which may be recoverable. That’s five and a half times the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia. This single geologic formation could contain more oil than the rest of the world’s proven reserves combined.

We’ll give Mark Perry the last word:

Let’s keep those spectacularly wrong predictions from the first Earth Day 1970 in mind when we’re bombarded [around Earth Day 2016] with media hype, and claims like this from the 2015 Earth Day website:

Scientists warn us that climate change could accelerate beyond our control, threatening our survival and everything we love. We call on you to keep global temperature rise under the unacceptably dangerous level of 2 degrees C, by phasing out carbon pollution to zero. To achieve this, you must urgently forge realistic global, national and local agreements, to rapidly shift our societies and economies to 100% clean energy by 2050. Do this fairly, with support to the most vulnerable among us. Our world is worth saving and now is our moment to act. But to change everything, we need everyone. Join us.

Finally, think about this question, posed by Ronald Bailey in 2000: What will Earth look like when Earth Day 60 rolls around in 2030? Bailey predicts a much cleaner, and much richer future world, with less hunger and malnutrition, less poverty, and longer life expectancy, and with lower mineral and metal prices.

But he makes one final prediction about Earth Day 2030: “There will be a disproportionately influential group of doomsters predicting that the future – and the present – never looked so bleak.”

In other words, the hype, hysteria and spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions will continue, promoted by the “environmental grievance hustlers”.

The red, the green, and the white man walking 0

In September 2015, Sanders’s presidential campaign received the support of the former Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers, who wrote: “I believe that among the Sanders supporters there are thousands who are dissatisfied, who are disgruntled, but who do not have a coherent left analysis, who therefore are open to our ideas as they weren’t before they got involved in the Sanders surge. … So, why don’t we join a Sanders local campaign or go to a mass rally? … We could have lists of places and projects where anarchists and others are working with people in projects that are using anarchist and community participatory ideas and vision. Places where Bernie supporters might get involved once they knew about them.”

That paragraph and the following come from Discover the Networks:

In his first public speech as a presidential candidate in Burlington, Vermont, in May 2015, Bernie Sanders broadly laid out the major planks of his campaign’s agenda:

  • He declared that financial inequality “is immoral, it is bad economics, it is unsustainable”. 
  • Vowing to send “a message to the billionaire class”, he said: “You can’t have huge tax breaks [for the rich] while children in this country go hungry … while there are massive unmet needs on every corner…. Your greed has got to end…. You cannot take advantage of all the benefits of America if you refuse to accept your responsibilities.”
  • He pledged to enact “a tax system that is fair and progressive, which tells the wealthiest individuals and the largest corporations that they are going to begin to pay their fair share”.
  • He claimed that “the current federal [hourly] minimum wage of $7.25 is a starvation wage and must be raised … to $15.00 an hour”.
  • He described the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) as a “modest” step in the direction of rightfully forcing the U.S. to “join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee health care to all as a right”.  “And we must do it through a Medicare-for-all, single payer health plan,” he explained.
  • He called for “pay equity for women workers”, and “paid sick leave and guaranteed vacation time for every worker in this country”.
  • Describing the rising costs of a college education as “insane”, he vowed to “fight to make tuition in public colleges and universities free, as well as substantially lower interest rates on student loans”.
  • He pledged to “expand Social Security benefits” and mandate “a universal pre-K system for all the children of this country”. 
  • Asserting that “there is nothing more important” than fighting global warming, he said: “The debate is over. The scientific community has spoken in a virtually unanimous voice. Climate change is real, it is caused by human activity, and it is already causing devastating problems in our country and throughout the world.” He elaborated that in the absence of government intervention, America would inevitably see “more drought, more famine, more rising sea level, more floods, more ocean acidification, [and] more extreme weather disturbances”, in the absence of government intervention.
  • He called for the government to use taxpayer dollars to rebuild America’s “crumbling infrastructure” by repairing “our roads, our bridges, our water systems, our rail and airports”.
  • He would begin this process by working to advance, in the Senate, a five-year, $1 trillion bill that he himself had proposed, claiming that it “would create and maintain 13 million good paying jobs”.

Bernie Sanders has an older brother, Larry, who says that Bernie is a “genuine socialist”.

We know about Larry from Nico Hines, who writes a quite sympathetic – even affectionate – profile of him at the Daily Beast:

[Larry Sanders is] a soft-spoken man, who has been calmly explaining his little brother’s sudden political success from his sun-drenched kitchen table in Oxford [England]. …

If Bernie is able to ride the recent surge in support all the way to the White House, Larry says he would go big — no matter what Congress, the usual conventions or even the majority of the Democratic Party might say.

“He’ll flex his muscles,” Larry said. “I mean this is not cowboy stuff, there are very intricate constitutional discussions, [but] he won’t hesitate, if he thinks he’s got the constitutional power to do something—he will do it.”

If that’s a warning to those who think President Obama has been guilty of constitutional overreach, he also has one for Democrats who would try to moderate a Sanders presidency. … Bernie wants to revolutionize politics, but he also specifically wants to revolutionize the Democratic Party.

There is no doubt that Larry was a formative influence on Bernie, who is six years his junior. When Larry was at college studying Marx and Hegel, Bernie was still at high school. “Sometimes I would tell Bernard about something I’d heard about or read about so I think he did get — at a much younger age than most people — an idea of political thought. So I think I did help him get started,” he said. “He has given me credit — not all the credit.”

As a radical member of the Young Democrats in the 1950s, Larry was already attracting political attention within the student body. “I do recall a Republican club paper called me ‘an obese socialist’, ” he said, laughing. “And I wasn’t even very fat then!”

Last week, Larry was appointed health spokesman for the left-wing Green Party in England. He had been an active member of the Labour Party in the 1980s, but he grew disillusioned once Tony Blair had taken the party into the center ground.

He is far more impressed with Jeremy Corbyn — the hard left campaigner who won a shock election to become the new leader of the Labour Party last year. Many have pointed out the similarities between the two men [Bernie, that is, and Jeremy], even though British politics is centered considerably to the left of the American mainstream — and Corbyn is way out to the left of that.

Larry isn’t so sure that his brother is more moderate, however. “Bernard is a genuine socialist in his sense of class warfare — that he thinks there is not a national interest so much as there is an interest with sectors of the population,” he said. “In that sense, his passion and the sense of conflict between the major owners and the rest of the population is very socialist — as socialist as Corbyn.”

Some of the Corbynistas have been helping Larry and the “London for Bernie” organization to raise awareness about the global primary, which allows Americans abroad to send delegates — and even some super delegates — to the Democratic convention. Larry said Corbyn supporters within the Labour Party had helped to arrange for UNITE, Britain’s largest union, to allow Bernie’s supporters to hold events in their buildings for free. The union confirmed that the group used its rooms without charge. The move might be a violation of U.S. campaign finance law depending on who was involved, according to the former general counsel for the Federal Election Commission.

Bernie has always told his brother that the cause of socialism, or social democracy, is more important than his own career.

Who put in “or social democracy”? It is extremely unlikely that Bernie has “always” told his brother that his is “the cause of social democracy”. That’s his claimed cause as he fights in the Democratic Party for the presidential nomination. His long career shows his cause to have been a deeper shade of red.  

“What he said to me very clearly was: ‘I don’t mind running and making a fool of myself, I’ve been humiliated before — I’ll go back to doing the job I love[as Senator], no big sweat, but if I do badly then everyone will say: ‘See, I told you, nobody is interested in that crap.’ And for a generation those ideas and the millions of people he thinks need those ideas will be wiped out,” Larry said.

He would not have run if he thought he would damage the cause — ‘I think I can make a respectable showing’ — that was his decision. I’m not sure that he thought he could win.”

Bernie Sanders has already surpassed the “respectable showing” stage, he has the Clinton camp on the hop, and the latest polling suggests that he has closed a 40-point deficit to come within the margin of error in Nevada.

Larry says he always had faith in his brother but he uses the word “astonishing” over and over again to describe the events of the last six months.

Bernie likes to praise the Scandinavian countries as “democratic socialist” models,

Here, in a 2013 video, Stefan Molyneaux talks about the Myth of Scandinavian Socialism.

We don’t agree with all his opinions, but find the facts he presents interesting: 

Posted under communism, Denmark, History, Leftism, Norway, Soviet Union, Sweden, Totalitarianism, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, February 20, 2016

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Left, white, grovel 7

What is wrong with racial prejudice – before it is even acted on – is that it is a collective verdict. Individuals are seen primarily as belonging to this or that race, and the characteristics presumed to be those of the race are presumed to be those of each member of it.

To individualists, every human being is unique. Fair enough to judge him by the contents of his character (as Martin Luther King advocated), or the the contents of his mind (as we do), or his actions (as those affected by them inevitably will). He (or she, understood) may be – probably will be – first reacted to according to his perceived race, color, ethnic descent, place of origin, accent, physical build, manner and style; but to what extent do such facts about him have any significant effect on his social relationships and transactions? Impossible to know, and foolish to presume.

It is intensely unjust to select a person to be a specimen of a class and punish him for whatever its offenses are presumed to be. 

It is what terrorists do when they inflict pain and death on someone because he is of this or that race, class, or occupation. In the 1970s young middle-class, affluent, educated, European terrorists seized businessmen and industrialists, held them to ransom, tortured and murdered them because they “belonged to the class” of businessmen and industrialists. The terrorists justified their actions as being blows against injustice – the injustice of racism, classism, and (especially) capitalism.

It is what Muslim terrorists do when they cut off an American’s head because he is American. And it is what Islam does perpetually to women. Muslim women are under a collective sentence of enslavement. The only thing that matters about any one of them is her sex.

It is what black racists do when they hold “whiteness” to be an offense that needs to be atoned for by every “whitey”.

It is what feminists do when they complain about “the patriarchy” and want revenge on every man for that ages-long male dominance (thanks to which we have a great civilization).

As stupid as treating others according to presumptions about their race or class or occupation, is setting oneself up as a representative of a race, or class, or country. 

That is what Barack Obama does – has the breathtaking hubris to do – when he apologizes to other (often morally and culturally inferior) nations as the self-appointed spokesman for the American people, past and present, for something done that he personally disapproves of.

In all circumstances it is absurd and immoral to apologize for something you personally haven’t done. Just as it is absurd and immoral for you to forgive someone for something he did to someone else.

Obama, the Democratic Party, collectivists in general take an opposite view of course.

The Democrat-dominated government of Delaware provides a nice fresh example of this kind of nugatory group-think:

AP reports:

Gov. Jack Markell-D signed a resolution Wednesday apologizing for Delaware’s role in slavery and wrongs committed against blacks during the Jim Crow era. …

The resolution apologizing for slavery is a symbolic measure aimed at promoting “reconciliation and healing”.  …

According to the resolution, legislatures in eight other states also have apologized for their roles in slavery.

Nationally, congressional resolutions apologizing for slavery were passed separately in the House in 2008 and the Senate the following year, but the two measures have never been reconciled into a single version to be submitted to the president for his signature.

Why not, we wonder. President Obama would sign the ridiculous thing for sure.

“Compassionate totalitarianism” 4

President George W. Bush was probably the most maligned president of modern times (though fans of President Obama make that claim for him).

Last night Rudi Giuliani, the great former mayor of New York, said in an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News, that President George W. Bush had kept Americans safe after the Muslim mass-murder attack of 9/11, and for that America owes him honor and gratitude. We agree. In practice President Bush did a good job.

Where we did not agree with President George W. Bush himself, was on a matter of theory: his political philosophy of “compassionate conservatism”. (It’s a sentimentality that Governor John Kasich now puts in his shopwindow as he advertises himself for the Republican presidential nomination.)

Compassion is an emotion. Individuals feel it or hold it as a moral value. But the state has no emotion. A government has no heart. Government is for protection – of the nation by means of a strong military defense, and of the individual by the rule of law strictly and indiscriminately applied. Government is not a father or mother or nanny or sugar daddy. In conservative philosophy, it has no duty to provide for the people it protects. It has no means to do so. It is not the nation’s money earner. It ought not to be an agency that forces some people to give it money so that it can hand it to other people. .

But in socialist philosophy, providing for the people’s needs is government’s chief function. Socialist government starts by “redistributing” private wealth: taking money from those who have earned it and giving it to those who have not. The long-term plan is for government (euphemistically, “the people”) to “own the means of production, distribution and exchange”. In plain words, to own everything. A socialist government is in loco parentis. The people are its children whom it must house, feed, educate, medicate, and make all decisions for. It knows what is best for you, and your duty is to obey it. It will give you what it judges you need – or withhold it if you step out of line. If you are disobedient, you will be punished. If you put your personal interests above the government-ordained interests of the collective “All”,  you may find yourself provided with no house, no food, no schooling, no doctoring, and – once the grip of a socialist regime has become absolute, as in Russia in the last century – no means by which you can supply these needs for yourself.

Socialists, Communists, Marxists – let’s say Leftists in general – believe that History (a sort of god whose prophet was Karl Marx) is moving humankind in a certain direction it has pre-ordained. Towards a world in which people live without private possessions. Where each is concerned only with the good of All. (Invention, which is essentially an individual enterprise is thus made impossible, so no actual advance is ever made.) Moving towards that utopia is what Leftists mean by “progress“. 

That’s why they call themselves “progressives”.

Professor Walter Williams writes at Townhall:

Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders seek to claim the “progressive” mantle. Both claim the other is not a true progressive. Clinton teased Sanders as being the “self-proclaimed gatekeeper for progressivism”. Bernie Sanders said that Hillary Clinton can’t be both a moderate and a progressive and that most progressives don’t take millions from Wall Street. But let’s talk about the origins of progressivism. It’s only historical ignorance that could explain black affinity for progressivism.

The Progressive Era is generally seen as the period from 1890 to 1920. President Woodrow Wilson, a leading [Democrat and] progressive, had a deep contempt for the founding principles of our nation. Progress for Wilson was to get “beyond the Declaration of Independence”,  because “it is of no consequence to us”. President Wilson implored that “all that progressives ask or desire is permission – in an era when ‘development,’ ‘evolution,’ is the scientific word – to interpret the Constitution according to the Darwinian principle; all they ask is recognition of the fact that a nation is a living thing and not a machine”.

President Woodrow Wilson was a believer in notions of racial superiority and inferiority. He was so enthralled with D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation movie, which glorified the Ku Klux Klan, that he invited various dignitaries to the White House to view it with him. … When President Wilson introduced racial segregation to the civil service, the NAACP and the National Independent Political League protested. Wilson vigorously defended it, arguing that segregation was in the interest of Negroes. Booker T. Washington wrote during Wilson’s first term, “I have never seen the colored people so discouraged and bitter as they are at the present time.”

President Woodrow Wilson’s predecessor, Theodore Roosevelt, was another progressive captivated by the notions of racial inferiority. He opposed voting rights for black Americans, which were guaranteed by the 15th Amendment, on the grounds that the black race was still in its adolescence. …

The Progressive era gave birth to the “separate but equal” doctrine that emerged from the Supreme Court’s notorious 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, a case that symbolized Jim Crow racism. Progressives were also people who attacked free-market economics. Along with muckraking journalists they attacked capitalistic barons. They were advocates of what might be called “scientific racism” that drew from anthropology, biology, psychology, sociology, eugenics and medical science. …

Legal scholar Richard Epstein concludes that progressivism sought to grant the state vast new authority to manage all walks of American life while at the same time weakening traditional checks on government power, including private property rights and liberty of contract, two principles that progressives hold in contempt. Epstein notes, “The sad but simple truth is that the Jim Crow resegregation of America depended on a conception of constitutional law that gave property rights short shrift, and showed broad deference to state action under the police power.”

It is clear that today’s progressives have the same constitutional contempt as their predecessors. I hope they do not share the racial vision. Black voters ought to demand, at a minimum, that progressives disavow their ugly racist past.

They should re-label themselves to something other than progressives, maybe compassionate totalitarians. 

The end of national sovereignty 5

The EU – the European Union – is not a democracy. It has a parliament, and people are elected to it by the citizens of the member states, but it has no real power of decision. Members of the European Parliament talk there. Nobody listens. Not even their fellow MEPs.

Unelected bureaucrats decide what the 503 million people of Europe may do, eat, use, buy, sell, and say, and not do, eat, use, buy, sell, and say. In finicky detail. (See for example here and here.)

The bureaucrats compose the Commission. The president of the Commission is appointed by the Council and he appoints the other 27 members.

The Council is composed of the heads of the governments of the member states and the President of the Commission whom they have appointed.

The EU Commission – 28 unelected officials – exercises dictatorial power, and has dictated that Europe shall be terminated; and that slowly – over about three more generations – the continent will become part of the Ummah, the world unity of Muslims, governed by Sharia, Islam’s legal system inseparable from the religion. To this end, the EU is importing millions of Muslims (often under the courtesy name of “refugees”), who will have large families as multiple wives each bear many children.

The Commission’s writ does not officially run in Western countries outside the EU; but this momentous decision, a turning point in the history of mankind, is apparently approved of and being emulated by the political leadership of most Western states, notably Canada, Australia, and even the United States of America.

Or is there a conspiracy among all Western leaders to Islamize their world?

The Big Question is WHY? 

John Griffing writes at American Thinker:

Europe is on fire, in a social and financial crisis of its leaders’ own making. Its public places are now spectacles of the obscene, and its women are sexual objects for a predatory race of invaders. Its social systems are stretched to the breaking point by belligerent “refugees” who are devouring their host countries at will, while Europe’s leaders defend the invaders and blame their own citizens.

Western civilization is under attack, and rational citizens are at a loss to understand why their leaders are allowing the destruction of their societies.

Much has been written about the outrageous acts that have been committed by Muslim migrants, so we need not repeat them here. We can simply agree that the situation in Europe is disastrous, and it’s getting worse. And America is not far behind.

Western leaders are aiding and abetting this insanity with a consistency and single-mindedness of purpose that can only be explained in one way: they must think they have something to gain from the chaos created by this crisis.

What other conclusion can be drawn from the brazen ascendancy of Islam in the western world, and the deafening silence that permits its success?  Clearly, Western leaders think they can use Islam for their own ends, to consolidate their own power.

Whether their motivations are globalist, nationalist, pro-Islam, or merely megalomaniacal, they all seem to hold one belief in common: the belief that they can control Muslim migration to create the chaos necessary to justify their predetermined solutions. …

But they are dangerously underestimating those they presume to use as pawns. …

Islam is now controlling most of Europe, either actively, or passively, due to the absence of any response from local governing authorities – a curious void of law and order. …

Unless Europeans and Americans rise up now to reverse this trend, one of two things will occur. Either those in power will succeed in using this crisis to advance their aims and fundamentally transform their societies, or, more likely, Islam will become dominant in the West past the point of no return.

If those two occurrences are distinguishable from each other.

“The Moors” have come home. The Muslim horde hastily imported into Europe over the cries and screams of voters are living up to the archetypes people in the West have come to fear, especially when cartoons result in lynch-mobs, and when a woman clothed according to western custom is mercilessly raped by “migrants”. …

A majority of Muslims living in Britain say they want full Sharia law, a separate Muslim police force, and death for anyone who speaks against Mohammed.  The same survey revealed a majority percentage also favor terrorist attacks against Britain and the United States.  51 percent of American Muslims also say they want Shariah and the US government to become Islamic.

The Netherlands openly advocates placing Shariah – the desert law which commands death for adulterers, death for gambling, death for leaving the faith (or having no faith), and death for homosexuals – on the ballot.

German courts are already enforcing Shariah when requested, and the impetus for this golden nugget originated in Nuremburg.

France has over 751 “no-go zones”, i.e. areas of land ruled by Islamic law and totally unrecognizable as French.

And where French law is not enforced, the police being afraid to enter them.

This was verified again after the recent French attacks.

The British already have actual Shariah courts in operation all over the United Kingdom.  These “courts” are chaired by a man who thinks amputation for petty crimes is a great idea, something he wants to “offer British society”.

Americans and Europeans need to stop acting surprised when Muslims behave like Muslims.  They are acting according to what the Qur’an says to do. It’s there in plain sight for anyone to read. And its ultimate aim is conquest and complete domination of any other culture but Islam. …

Not only is history repeating, but it is repeating on a crash timetable, and with the perverse backing of the host countries destined to be remade in the image of Islamic hegemony.

Why would any true German, Frenchman or Briton cooperate in their own organized destruction if there were not some goal or elusive purpose to be accomplished by the ever less accountable and more distant governments that make such decisions?

It would only be logical to deduce that French leaders, German leaders and British leaders have determined that there is an acceptable cost to property and lives if the chaos resulting from the indiscriminate welcoming of new migrant hoards can be directed towards an unspoken goal.  This is not out of left field.  Angela Merkel calling her own people “neo-Nazis” and turning water cannons on her own citizens is indicative.

Amazingly, this mindset is evident in every recent action to open the borders of Europe and America to their new visitors.

Controlled chaos is the desired result.

We underestimate the depravity of Western leaders if we think the lives of American and European citizens mean anything more to them than plot points in a narrative, one leading inevitably to the end of national sovereignty.

There’s chaos all right, but where’s the control?

What is that “goal or elusive purpose to be accomplished by the ever less accountable governments”? 

Is it something beyond the destruction of their own nations? Of their continent? Of Western civilization?

Is it some earthly paradise that can only arise out of submission to Islam and Sharia law?

A vision that they alone – the political deciders and dictators who will  not explain their plan – can see?

Is that hellish path the only way to it?

If so, it would be good to be told what it is, and how it will come about, and when.

Or else there is no answer at all to WHY.   

Islamic terrorism 3

In this excellent video published by the Clarion Project in December 2015, Raheel Raza, president of Muslims Facing Tomorrow, talks truthfully about radical Islam.

 

(Hat-tip to our Facebook commenter, Darryl Kerney)

Posted under Arab States, Demography, Egypt, Europe, History, immigration, Iran, Iraq, Islam, jihad, Lebanon, Libya, middle east, Muslims, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestinians, Syria, Terrorism, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Friday, January 29, 2016

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Christian agnosticism 0

Today in our Pages section (see the top of our margin), we post a review by Jillian Becker of How Jesus Became God by Bart D. Ehrman.

Here is part of it.

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Bart D. Ehrman’s book How Jesus Became God is a formidable challenge to Christian belief. It stands to his credit that he pursued his researches to the point where he changed from a believing Christian into an “agnostic”. (I put the word in quotation marks because I think the word as applied to religious belief is a cop-out, an intellectual bromide. If you do not believe there is a god, whether your unbelief is weak or strong, you are an atheist.)

An enormous amount of what he says fits with what is known and makes good sense. But in one vital area he goes wrong. He goes wrong because his perspective is Christian – even though he no longer thought of himself as a Christian when he came to write the book. He was not able to free himself sufficiently from the Christian viewpoint because he could not totally shrug off his Christian indoctrination.

Where is it that he goes wrong? ? He traces the vital beginning of the process of Jesus becoming God to the first, Jewish, followers of Jesus. That is the core of his thesis. And, interesting as his book is, generally well-researched as it is, it fails to make its case; because the author has not understood who the earliest followers of Jesus were and what they believed about him.

There is convincing evidence that the man whose Greek biographers called by the name Jesus (and we must call him that for want of knowing what his birth name was) did exist in the province of Judea between the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius, and that he was a rabbi with a burning (fanatical, even insanely fanatical) desire to bring about a new Kingdom of God, like the one he and his nation believed had been the free and glorious kingdom of David and Solomon. He prophesied that the “Son of Man” – or the Messiah, the Annointed One – would come and effect this wonder, and he even came to believe that he was that “Son of Man”, that Messiah, himself.

Now let’s look at more of the probable story from a non-Christian (and unbelieving) standpoint.

Jesus’s gesture of attacking some Roman soldiers, along with a couple of his followers armed with two swords – one of them used to slice off a Roman’s ear – did not bring the result he expected. He had convinced himself such a move on his part would be the signal to God to start the series of earth-transforming miracles that would destroy the Roman Empire and bring back the freedom and glory of the Jewish people. The Romans arrested him, brought him to a cursory trial, and condemned him to death by crucifixion – the punishment prescribed for insurrection by Roman law. The punishment was duly carried out. (As Ehrman says, the body was probably flung on the ground somewhere to be devoured by birds and worms and scavenging beasts.)

His little circle of close followers, shocked, terrified, and grieving, fled from Jerusalem to save their own lives, but returned after a while and were to be found among the numerous sects and factions of perfectly orthodox Jews who lived there and carried out their obligations under the law in and to the Temple. They could not bear to give up their idea that Jesus was the Messiah. And as he had not succeeded in doing what a Messiah had to do, they trusted that he would soon return and complete his task. They even sent out missionaries to preach to dispersed communities of Jews and their hangers-on of “God fearers” that Jesus was the risen Messiah and he would return in glory to save the Jewish nation.

Now we come to the tricky bit. Did they then believe that Jesus had come back to life after his execution? Yes. So to them he was still alive? Yes. Did they believe that he had suspired not just in spirit, but in his body? Seems very likely that they did. And this would not have been strange among the Jews of the time. Every sect and party, every faction and movement, religious and political,  except one – the Sadducees, the party of the royal priests – believed in the bodily resurrection of the dead. The general resurrection (the dogma ran) would occur at the end of days. But Jesus’s resurrection, his disciples believed, would be sooner than that – very soon. And they might well have pictured him returning in clouds of glory, descending from the sky and instantly causing the political liberation and resultant spiritual renewal of Israel.

Did they then believe that he was, or became after his death, or perhaps had always been God, or a god, or “the [unique] Son of God” – no. If they had believed any of that they would no longer have been Jews. But doesn’t the idea of his return in clouds of glory and descending from the sky imply divinity? Yes. And Ehrman argues well that there was precedent in the Jewish religious annals for an orthodox belief that (a) there were beings other than God himself in the divine sphere who were thus themselves divine – angels, seraphim, cherubim; and (b) that men had been raised to the sphere of divinity and – it could be argued – shared in the aura of the divine. It is even true that the Hebrew word for God – Elohim – is a plural. And that Psalm 82 speaks of creatures on earth being “gods”. He cites the (apocryphal) books of Enoch and The Wisdom of Solomon for the strongest evidence to support his contention that, while Jehovah was believed by the Jews to be the chief God, there were many lesser gods in Jewish scriptures.

Fine. But now we come back to what the followers of Jesus believed. First of all, who were they? At one point Ehrman calls them “illiterate peasants”. Well there he is probably wrong. For one thing, Jewish boys (most if not absolutely all) were taught to read so that they could read aloud a portion of the law when they turned thirteen. Secondly, there is nothing to say that either Jesus or his followers were uneducated men or even poor men. (The Christian tradition that Jesus was a carpenter and the apparent son of a carpenter has no basis in any discoverable historical fact. The family could have been well-to-do. There were means to support him as a rabbi – a voluntary teacher of the law – in his last year or two.) The disciple Matthew (not to be confused with the name attached to one of the gospels) was certainly literate, being a tax collector.

If Ehrman is right that they were mostly illiterate peasants, then the chance that they would have known anything of the apocryphal books of Enoch are remote, and virtually nil that they could have known of The Wisdom of Solomon – written in Greek – or the works of their contemporary Philo of Alexandria in Egypt.

And even if they were literate, as they almost certainly were, they were not scholars or theologians. There is no way they would have been able to argue for the existence of lesser gods, even if they knew Psalm 82 off by heart. They would have been taught that “God is One” – the central tenet of Judaism. So Ehrman’s sophisticated arguments from esoteric and academic sources for the possibility that they could believe Jesus was or became a god, are inapplicable to them. …

Posted under Articles, Atheism, Christianity, History, Judaism by Jillian Becker on Sunday, January 17, 2016

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