Pat Condell passionately makes the case for “Brexit” – Britain’s exit from the European Union:
Brexit The Movie:
Long as the movie is, it’s riveting. Find out just how horrible the EU is – and what a loser!
On September 3, 2011, and again on September 28, 2015, we posted an article that makes the case for free speech.
Today we repeat this vital part of it:
The greatness of the West began with doubting. The idea that every belief, every assumption, should be critically examined started the might of Europe. When those old Greek thinkers who founded our civilization learnt and taught that no one has a monopoly of truth or ever will have, they launched the intellectual adventure that has carried the human race – not without a long interval in the doldrums – literally to the skies.
Socrates taught the utility of suspicion. He is reputed to have said, “The highest form of human excellence is to question oneself and others.” He was not, however, the first to use doubt for discovery. Thales of Miletos, who was born 155 years before Socrates, dared to doubt that religion’s explanatory tales about how the world came to be as it is were to be trusted, and he began exploring natural phenomena in a way that we recognize as scientific. He is often called the Father of Science. With him and his contemporary, Anaximander, who argued with him by advancing alternative ideas, came the notion – for the first time as far as we know – that reason could fathom and describe how the universe worked.
Science is one of the main achievements of the West, but it is not the only product of constructive doubt that made for its greatness. Doubt as a habit of mind or tradition of thinking meant that new, foreign, even counter-intuitive ideas were not dismissed. Europe, before and after it stagnated in the doldrums of the long Catholic Christian night (and even to some extent during those dark centuries), was hospitable to ideas wherever they came from. …
Our civilization cannot survive without this openness. Critical examination is the breath that keeps it alive. But it is in danger of suffocation. It is more threatened now than it has been for the last four hundred years by dogmatisms: Marxism, environmentalism, religion – above all Islam which absolutely forbids criticism.
Now to those sources of destructive dogmatism we must add another: the European Union.
The ideas of Marxism, environmentalism, Islam most need to be criticized. Because they are inherently intolerant, terroristic, and totalitarian. Over and over again, unendingly, they need to be torn to pieces by critics who hate them.
And they are the very ideologies that the European Union wants most to shield from critical examination.
Breitbart London reports:
The European Commission has today [May 31, 2016] announced a partnership with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft in order to crack down on what it classes as “illegal hate speech” while “criminaliz[ing]” perpetrators and “promoting independent counter-narratives” that the European Union favours.
A press release from the Commission this morning claims the new initiative has been set up “to respond to the challenge of ensuring that online platforms do not offer opportunities for illegal online hate speech to spread virally”.
The move has been branded “Orwellian” by Members of the European Parliament, and digital freedom groups have already pulled out of any further discussions with the Commission, calling the new policy “lamentable”.
The unelected, executive branch of the European Union (EU) released a Code of Conduct today that “includes a series of commitments to combat the spread of illegal hate speech online in Europe” developed “together with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft (‘the IT companies’)” who have “signed up”.
That the bureaucratic dictatorship of the EU should try such a deplorable move is not surprising.
But why are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft conceding to its authoritarian anti-freedom demands?
The commitments include “educat[ing] and rais[ing] awareness with their users” and building a “network” of “trusted reporters” to flag unwanted content. Facebook and Twitter are to provide “regular training to their staff on current societal developments” and work more closely with national governments and “their law enforcement agencies” to remove content the EU does not favor.
Most alarmingly, however, the platforms have also promised to engage in the active promotion of views and organisations the EU does favour, and the re-education of supposedly hateful users.
Facebook and others must, “recogniz[e] the value of independent counter speech against hateful rhetoric and prejudice, aim to continue their work in identifying and promoting independent counter-narratives, new ideas and initiatives and supporting educational programs that encourage critical thinking.”
Note that in current leftist-dominated jargon, “critical thinking” means “uncritical thinking” – ie. meek acceptance of leftist dogma.
Janice Atkinson MEP told Breitbart London: “It’s Orwellian. Anyone who has read 1984 sees it’s very re-enactment live.
“The Commission has been itching to shut down free speech in the Parliament and now they’re attacking social media. We have already seen Facebook ‘policing’ so-called right-wing postings.
“If an MEP, such as the centre-right Hungarians, the Danish People’s Party, the Finns, the Swedish Democrats, the Austrian FPO, say no to migration quotas because they cannot cope with the cultural and religious requirements of Muslims across the Middle East who are seeking refugee status, is that a hate crime? And what is their punishment? It’s a frightening path to totalitarianism.” …
The Code of Conduct has also been slammed by groups who have been working closely with the Commission. In a sign of an impending backlash, one organisation which promotes privacy, data protection, and net neutrality has already vowed to break ties.
The European Digital Rights (EDRi) announced its decision to pull out of future discussions with the Commission today, stating it does not have confidence in the “ill-considered code of conduct”.
“Faced with this lamentable outcome, and with no possibility to provide meaningful input to this process, the Commission has left us with no other choice but to withdraw from the discussion,” said Estelle Massé, EU Policy Analyst at Access Now. …
What does Facebook have to say about it?
Monika Bickert, Head of Global Policy Management at Facebook, said: “We welcome today’s announcement and the chance to continue our work with the Commission and wider tech industry to fight hate speech.” …
Last September, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was overheard confronting Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg about “hate speech”, with Mr. Zuckerberg replying: “We need to do some work”
Now, the EU has described how: “The IT Companies support the European Commission and EU Member States… They share, together with other platforms and social media companies, a collective responsibility and pride in promoting and facilitating freedom of expression throughout the online world.”
Promote freedom of expression by censoring it? How does the Commission (ie. the bureaucratic oligarchy that governs the EU) reconcile these two contradictory activities?
The Commission argues that expanding censorship will somehow protect and expand free speech, because “[hate speech] negatively impacts those who speak out for freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination in our open societies and has a chilling effect on the democratic discourse on online platforms”.
Vĕra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said the new measures would counter Islamist terrorism:
“The recent terror attacks have reminded us of the urgent need to address illegal online hate speech. Social media is unfortunately one of the tools that terrorist groups use to radicalise young people and racist use to spread violence and hatred”.
Some excuse! The Islamic terrorists use code. And it is primarily to protect Islam from justified and desperately needed censure, that this whole scheme is being hatched, anyway.
What do Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft have to say about it? We are given only a Twitter statement:
Twitter’s Head of Public Policy for Europe, Karen White, said: “Hateful conduct has no place on Twitter … We look forward to further constructive dialogue between the European Commission, member states, our partners in civil society and our peers in the technology sector on this issue.”
“Hateful conduct”? People express their opinions on Facebook. They argue for what they like and against what they don’t like. If they can no longer do that, there won’t be much use for it. What will Twitter be used for if not opinion? And how interesting will YouTube be, purged of argument?
Who will use the social media merely to repeat authorized opinions like mantras? By agreeing to carry only permitted orthodoxies, they are destroying themselves.
The government of the United States was intended by the Founding Fathers to be the servant of the people. But it has become the master of the people. The tyrannical master of the people.
And it is not only the statist, collectivist, Democratic administrations that have exercised and hardened the tyranny. Republicans, who oppose tyranny in principle, have done it too.
This is from PJ Media by Michael Walsh:
It was during the first Nixon administration that the hideous monstrosity of the Environmental Protection Agency came into being by executive order, along with its ugly twin, the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Seemingly innocuous and well-intentioned at the time, both agencies have metastasized, their original missions completed and now forever on the prowl for something else to meddle with. They’re both unconstitutional, of course, but what’s even worse is that they’ve turned into rogue agencies, issuing edicts, orders and regulations largely devoid of congressional scrutiny – pure instruments of executive power, with none to gainsay them. …
This week a young rancher in Wyoming, Andy Johnson, won a battle for private property rights against one of the bureaucratic entities that strikes fear in the hearts of farmers and ranchers nationwide, the Environmental Protection Agency. …
Johnson fought back against a mandate from the EPA to dismantle a pond that he had built on his own land with the required state permits. Fines totaling $16 million were imposed before they were finally overturned in the wake of his court victory. …
[He had] obtained a state permit before building the stock pond in 2012 on his sprawling nine-acre farm for a small herd of livestock. [Yet] not long after construction, the EPA threatened Johnson with civil and criminal penalties – including the threat of a $37,500-a-day fine – claiming he needed the agency’s permission before building the 40-by-300 foot pond, which is filled by a natural stream. … You can read all about the Johnson case, which ought to outrage every real American, here.
And another case:
To get an idea of just how obnoxious and intrusive these do-gooder agencies have become, get a load of this from Lou Ann Rieley, who owns a farm in Delaware:
A few years ago we received a notice that there was suspicious material piled behind our commercial poultry houses that looked like it may be illegally piled manure. Airplane surveillance photos showed large piles of material and had to be investigated by the powers-that-be. We got a letter informing us that inspectors would be coming on our farm and we could not refuse to extend our hospitality to them. We complied and they discovered, as we had told them, it was piles of dirt. Our sons were practicing moving dirt with the new front-end loader. After having gained entrance to our property they insisted on being granted complete access to every part of the farm even though there were no violations.
I looked outside one day to see two men that I did not recognize poking around our barn area. I watched them for a few minutes then went outside to question what they were doing. They informed me they were from the SPCA and had received an anonymous tip that someone in the area had a horse that was limping and it might be us. I told them there was none that I was aware of but they could look at the horses if they wished. They inspected the horses and found nothing wrong.
I asked who had made the complaint but was denied the information … I quoted the 4th Amendment to the Constitution and my right to be secure from unreasonable searches. Needless to say, that did not go over well and the investigators began to look for other things that could be violations of animal welfare since I dared to question their authority. I asked again who made the complaint that instigated their investigation and they told me that I could never know unless I was charged with something and went to court. I demanded that they charge me so I could have my day in court but they refused since they could find no violations, but not before threatening my property. These men demanded my vet records, which by law they had no right to access. It did not matter, they were the voice of government authority and I had to comply … or else.
… Faceless bureaucrats with guns arriving one fine day in order to investigate a citizen who is not even under suspicion. The Constitution doesn’t matter to them, nor do legalistic protestations, nor simple human decency. No … agents from EPA or OSHA or any other federal agency with a SWAT team (which is most of them) can simply make demands on citizens in the name of “regulations”.
This is the inevitable result of ceding representative government to cabals of empowered clerks. Recall that while Republicans talk a good game about “limited government”, in fact they’re almost as big proponents of Big Government as the Democrats, and promises to the contrary are just a ruse to sucker the rubes into voting for the junior wing of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party, so we all can pretend to believe in democracy.
But democracy is null and void in the face of faceless tyranny like the EPA, which cannot reform itself, and will never stop until it is put out of business, dismantled and its buildings pulled down around its ears.
The IRS not only penalizes conservative organizations and assists leftists, its also seizes large sums of money belonging to innocent people and keeps it.
This is from the Daily Signal, by Melissa Quinn:
For more than four years, Maryland dairy farmer Randy Sowers has been fighting the federal government, asking it to right what many say was a wrong.
In Feb. 2012, two federal agents told Sowers, who owns South Mountain Creamery in Frederick, Md. that the Internal Revenue Service [IRS] was seizing more than $60,000 from his farm’s bank account under a subset of civil forfeiture laws governing cash transactions.
According to the IRS, Sowers had committed structuring violations. Structuring is the act of making consistent cash deposits or withdrawals of under $10,000 to avoid government reporting requirements.
But the dairy farmer didn’t know he was doing anything wrong, and because Sowers and his wife sold milk at local farmer’s markets — where customers paid primarily in cash — they frequently made cash deposits into the business’s bank account.
Sowers and his wife tried to fight the government to get their money back, but ultimately decided to settle.
The IRS returned $33,436 to the Sowers and kept $29,500.
On Wednesday, Sowers and his lawyer, Robert Johnson of the Institute for Justice, will appear before a panel of lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee to detail Sowers’ lengthy battle with the federal government and discuss broader issues with how the IRS is using civil forfeiture.
“One of the main issues that’s going to come out of this hearing is the IRS still is holding tens of millions of dollars that it seized from people that it wouldn’t have seized under its policies today,” Johnson told The Daily Signal. “Those people deserve to get their money back, and Randy Sowers deserves to get his money back.” …
Civil forfeiture and structuring laws were put in place to curb drug trafficking and money laundering. However, in recent years, the government has taken money and property from innocent property owners who were never charged with a crime and were unaware they were breaking the law. …
In the last two years, the IRS and Justice Department changed their internal policies regarding structuring, allowing the agencies to pursue structuring cases only in instances where the money stems from criminal activity. Under the policy changes, a number of business owners, including Sowers, wouldn’t have had their money taken.
So a small beginning has been made to curb the arrogant powers of the IRS.
There’s still a long way to go to restore – or initiate? – government of the people, by the people, for the people.
How deep did the corruption of the Clintons go when they were in power? And at what human cost did they enrich themselves?
Here’s just one example to judge by: the Clintons’ collusion with a mining company operating in Africa that caused untold human misery, displacement, starvation, and massacre.
Richard Pollock writes at the Daily Caller:
A little known Swedish-Canadian oil and mining conglomerate human rights groups have repeatedly charged produces “blood minerals” is among the Clinton Foundation’s biggest donors, thanks to a $100 million pledge in 2007, a Daily Caller News Foundation [DCNF] investigation has found.
“Blood minerals” are related to “blood diamonds”, which are allegedly mined in war zones or sold as commodities to help finance political insurgencies or despotic warlords. When the Vancouver, Canada-based Lundin Group gave its $100 million commitment to the “Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative”, the company had long been cutting deals with warlords, Marxist rebels, military strongmen and dictatorships in the war-torn African countries of Congo, Sudan and Ethiopia.
Lundin promoted its reputation as a fierce, hard-driving company. Adolf Lundin, who founded the company, audaciously traveled to the French home of Congo dictator Mobutu Sese Seko in 1996 to secure mining rights for his company. A few years later, Lundin admitted he had offered a “donation” to Mobutu’s “elections campaign”, but later said he never gave the funds. …
The Lundin Group reportedly cut a deal in 1997 with Congolese Marxist warlord Laurent Kabila, with a $50 million down payment toward $250 million they would give to the rebels in exchange for mining rights, according to according to U.N. Inspector Jason K. Stearns. Lundin eventually won majority rights to one of the country’s richest mineral veins.
A Swedish prosecutor, mirroring the views of human rights groups, once characterized the company as filled with “opportunistic, dictator-hugging businessmen”, a description the company has vigorously denied.
In accepting the $100 million, President Bill Clinton hailed Lundin’s contribution, saying “today’s generous support by the Lundin Group is to be applauded because it demonstrates the potential of this global initiative to capture the imagination and support of the mining sector”. It wasn’t the first time Clinton consorted with mining moguls. In the waning hours of his presidency in 2001, Clinton pardoned Glencore International mining and oil magnate Marc Rich after his wife, Denise, made generous donations to the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign and his Clinton Library. Clinton’s pardon erased a 65-count indictment against Rich for trading with Iran against the oil embargo. Rich did the Iranian oil sales while Americans were held captive in the country by the Mullahs.
In the same year the Clinton Foundation accepted Lundin’s money, Swedwatch, a Swedish non-governmental organization that tracks Swedish business dealings in the developing world, released a condemnatory report about the company’s operations in Congo, titled “Risky Business”.
The report detailed widespread suffering in the Congo as whole villages were removed to make way for Lundin’s mining operations.
Six years earlier, the relief organization Christian Aid released a report denouncing the scorched-earth tactics of the Sudanese military to clear villages for Lundin’s petroleum exploration. Its report was titled, “Lundin Oil in Sudan: Scorched Earth”.
Thanks to those reporters and others, Lundin is known in Congress as well. Rep. Joe Pitts, a Pennsylvania Republican who co-chairs the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, told the DCNF that “areas with high conflict over minerals are breeding grounds for human rights abuses on a massive scale, and when entities like the Clintons’ Foundation accept donations from these corrupt actors, they are sanctioning the exploitation“. …
Human rights groups have released numerous reports of the devastation wrought by oil and mining companies in Africa, with many focusing specifically on Lundin.
Swedwatch wrote extensively of the horrors caused by Lundin mining in Congo. “Three villages were relocated to make room for the new mining activities. In October 2007, many resettled families that had been promised new houses were still sheltering under plastic sheeting, waiting for their new houses to be built,” the report stated.
Christian Aid said field workers in the Sudan “found thousands of Nuer civilians displaced from villages along this road, hundreds of miles away” due to Lundin oil operations, adding, “Then government troops arrived by truck and helicopter, burning the villages and killing anyone who was unable to flee – in most cases, the old and the very young.”
In April, 2001, Swedish Dagens Nyheter journalist Anna Koblanck toured Lundin’s Block 5A oil parcels in the Sudan with company executives.
Koblanck described seeing death and destruction along the way, writing, “The displaced Bentiu are starving to death.” She reported that “many villages along the road are empty”.
Human Rights Watch in 2003 noted Lundin never mentioned the scorched earth tactics in public statements about its presence in the Sudan: “The oil companies, led by Lundin, made no public statement condemning this destruction and displacement in Block 5A, despite the press attention it garnered and the regular alarms from U.N. agencies about the dire state of the needy in this very area.
“None of this fighting nor mass displacement caused the oil consortium, led by Lundin, to express concern about the well-being of the people living in its concession area,” said Human Rights Watch. “Lundin never mentioned the armed conflict in its public releases.”
Accusations of Lundin human rights violations in Ethiopia were so frequent in 2011, two Swedish journalists went there to investigate … They were arrested by Ethiopian authorities government on “terrorism” charges and in 2012 sentenced to 18 years in prison.
The two “were investigating allegations of human rights violations linked to the activities of the Swedish oil company Lundin Oil”, stated PEN, the international journalist organization. The international outcry finally secured their release after more than a year of imprisonment.
And did the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, try to do anything about this vast atrocity?
No. She profited from it:
Although then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the Congo in 2009, she unexpectedly delayed implementation of a landmark “certification” program designed to assure human rights were respected by mining companies like Lundin in Africa. …
Her failure to act was criticized at the time by John Prendergast, president of Enough.org, a nongovernmental organization which championed the “blood minerals” legislation. … Robin Wright, another Enough.org advocate, wrote in Time Magazine that two years after Clinton traveled to the Congo, local villagers told her, “nearly everyone I met asked me to take a message back to ‘Mama Clinton’ to urge her to make good on her promise to implement the certification process“.
Such apparent quid pro quos were common at the Clinton Foundation, charges Charles Ortel, who has extensively studied the foundation.
Since January 2001, the Clinton family has used their public charity as a vehicle to create enormously valuable concessions in numerous desperately poor and corrupt countries, for individuals who claim that they have made extravagantly large ‘pledges’.
The final execution of the certification process was announced by the Department of State the same month Clinton left office in February, 2013.
hir ze! 3
The transgender population of the US is now estimated to be o.3% of the total.
The rest of us 322,000,000+* have to be real nice to them. For their sakes we must all make changes in the way we live and the way we speak. The government orders us to. And it tells us how. And it will punish us with the full force of the law if we disobey.
But with the best will in the world, what is to be done about the huge problem troubling government, business, states, stores, restaurants, hotels, schools, the military, the police, progressives and moralists: Which public bathroom/restroom/locker-room should transgenders use, the one reserved for the gender they started out as, or the one reserved for the gender they have become or are becoming or would like to become?
It is the dilemma of the age.
From Truth Revolt, by Trey Sanchez:
Welcome to Obama’s America, where the government will provide you a list of approved words to speak and those you must never utter. Any violators will be punished and issued stiff fines.
It would sound like a conspiracy theory if it weren’t true, but it’s already happening in places like New York City and Chicago.
The following are legal requirements made by New York City’s Commission on Human Rights:
The NYCHRL [New York City Human Rights Law] requires employers, landlords, and all businesses and professionals to use an employee’s, tenant’s, customer’s, or client’s preferred name, pronoun and title (eg. Ms./Mrs.) regardless of the individual’s sex assigned at birth, anatomy, gender, medical history, appearance, or the sex indicated on the individual’s identification.
Most individuals and many transgender people use female or male pronouns and titles. Some transgender and gender non-conforming people prefer to use pronouns other than he/him/his or she/her/hers, such as they/them/theirs or ze/hir. [Footnote: Ze and hir are popular gender-free pronouns preferred by some transgender and/or gender non-conforming individuals.] …
This isn’t just the government as employer, requiring its employees to say things that keep government patrons happy with government services. This is the government as sovereign, threatening “civil penalties up to $125,000 for violations, and up to $250,000 for violations that are the result of willful, wanton, or malicious conduct” if people don’t speak the way the government tells them to speak.
These government-enforced rules don’t apply just to adult citizens but to children as well. The Chicago Public School (CPS) system has now decreed that children must address teachers and classmates with their preferred gender pronouns and if they willfully refuse, they face charges of sexual harassment according to Title IX discrimination policies.
CPS Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice K. Jackson said:
The guidelines released today will help ensure every student and adult in the CPS family can participate in an environment of complete tolerance and respect. CPS, like much of the country, has become far more aware of the needs and experiences of the transgender community, and it’s crucial for CPS guidelines to reflect our commitment to promoting safe and inclusive schools. These guidelines build on our commitment to fostering healthy and supportive learning opportunities across the District so that each of our students can reach their full potential.
What’s more, students who decide to change their gender at school aren’t required to notify their parents and in fact are protected by the school if they would like to keep the decision confidential:
When speaking with other staff members, parents, guardians, or third parties, school staff should not disclose a student’s preferred name, pronoun, or other confidential information pertaining to the student’s transgender or gender nonconforming status without the student’s permission, unless authorized to do so by the Law Department.
Whoa! New problem coming up right there. How will they allude to the student under discussion? The right (preferred) pronoun could let the secret out. But the wrong pronoun could put the staff member, parent, guardian, or third party in trouble with the law.
And that’s not all. A tide of problems is washing in:
This is all going to get extremely difficult to navigate as “gender fluid” folks can change their gender status based on how they are feeling on any given day. Will anyone be able to keep with when “ze” is better than “he” or when “sie” is more appropriate than “she” since the rules themselves are just as fluid?
And who gives his full blessing to the government forcing its ideology about gender on the rest of the country? None other than President Obama himself, who recently gave his own decree to the nation’s public schools, threatening litigation and loss of federal funding if students aren’t allowed to enter the bathroom of their choice while under the care of the state.
This is no longer a plot from some fictional dystopia. It’s reality.
It is to be hoped that when the history of America in 2016 comes to be written, historians will understand that the most important issue facing the government then, in the last year of the 44th president, was not the advancing conquest of the Western world by Islam; not the bellicose threats of Russia to nations under the NATO defense umbrella; not the wars raging in the Middle East; not the vast trade imbalance between the US and China; not Third World poverty; not the zika epidemic; not even the looming general election that would decide the future of the nation and the rest of the world, but the issue of which bathroom transgenders should use.
We hope this post will be of help to them.
*The US population was computed to be 322,762,018 at the start of 2016.
To generalize for a delightful moment of offensive political incorrectness: Germans notoriously lack a sense of humor.
Of course there have been, and are, some German humorists. But that there should be a national scandal, a huge legal controversy, even headlines across the world about a piece of humorous writing by a German in Germany, can only be astonishing.
It has happened.
Stefan Frank writes at Gatestone:
Who would have thought that there is still a law in Germany that makes “lèse majesté” (offending the dignity of a monarch) a punishable crime? And that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now benefiting from just that – and that it could plunge Germany into a (further) “national crisis.”
The terms “national crisis” and “governmental crisis” have been coming up again and again. In light of all the massive problems Germany has, this one is about a poem in which a cabaret performer and comedian, Jan Böhmermann, recently insulted the Turkish President.
Erdogan has called for Böhmermann’s head and, as of last week, has Chancellor Merkel on his side.
The story began in March, when a German regional television station aired a music video during a satirical show, in which repression and human rights violations under Erdogan were pilloried in a humorous way. The Turkish government summoned the German ambassador and demanded that the video be removed from the internet and never be shown again. Germans thereby learned that the German ambassador is regularly summoned to Ankara – three times so far this year. According to reports, the Turkish government once complained about teaching material in Saxony’s schools that dealt with the Armenian genocide.
The revelation that Erdogan is so easy to insult inspired some people to see if they could go the extra mile. Cabaret artist Jan Böhmermann published an “Offensive Poem” (its actual title) on ZDF Neo, a tiny state-run entertainment TV channel with a market share of 1%. It contained speculations about the Turkish president’s digestive and sexual preferences. AFP reports that,
In his ‘libelous poem’, which, as comedian Jan Böhmermann smilingly announced on television, openly exceeds the limits of free speech in Germany, Böhmermann accused Erdogan of having sex with goats and sheep, among other things.
Böhmermann apparently mixed these unsubstantiated claims with (as an example) truthful statements on the oppression of minorities in Turkey (Erdogan wanted to “get Kurds, cut Christians,” he said).
In a preemptive surrender, which many Germans view as the real scandal, ZDF immediately deleted the broadcast from its Internet archives – before Erdogan could even complain. “The parody that satirically addresses the Turkish President does not meet the quality requirements the ZDF has in place for satire shows,” the station explained of this step. “For this reason, the passage was removed from the program.” This, as ZDF program director Norbert Himmler said, occurred “in consultation with Jan Böhmermann.” The limits of irony and satire were exceeded in this case
ZDF editors now criticize this course of action, and are asking for the piece to be accessible in the archives once again.
Chancellor Merkel – who is not otherwise known to react quickly to crises – tried to appease Erdogan shortly after the broadcast of the program. In a telephone conversation with Turkish Prime Minister Davutoglu, she called the poem “deliberately hurtful” and “unacceptable”. She probably hoped to settle things without having explicitly to apologize, which many Germans from across the political spectrum would resent. But Erdogan has no intention of settling down. He called for the criminal prosecution of Böhmermann. …
Laws, some of which date back to the German Empire, complicate the issue. Hardly any German has ever heard of them, but they have suddenly become relevant. In Germany, the term “abusive criticism” has primarily been familiar to lawyers; the fact that gross affronts are prohibited in Germany is probably obvious to many citizens. However, little known – and much less accepted – is a law from 1871, which makes the “slander of institutions and officials of foreign states” an offense carrying a penalty of up to five years in prison.
On April 14, Angela Merkel announced that she is granting the Turkish President’s demand for prosecution against Böhmermann – against the objections of her coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SPD).
In Germany, justice should decide such a case, not the government, says Merkel. But many commentators believe this justification to be hypocritical; after all, Erdogan supposedly already filed lawsuits as a private individual at the Court in Mainz. What Merkel will now enable is another court case for “lèse majesté.” The Berlin Tagesspiegel writes:
“The majority of Germans are against the fact that she [Merkel] is complying with Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s majesty demands in this way. ‘Majesty’ is, therefore, the appropriate term, because penal code section 103 from the year 1871 is for lèse majesté. So it comes from a time when we were still driving carriages and had an emperor. And the Turks had a sultan.”
Many also consider Merkel’s decision to be particularly absurd because on the same day, the Chancellor announced that she wants to abolish the law on lèse majesté “by 2018.”
Through her decision, Merkel signaled that the Turkish President’s “honor” is more important than that of normal German citizens, who can only take ordinary legal action when they are slandered, and who do not enjoy the privilege of an extended “protection of honor” for “princes.”
Erdogan has managed to extend what he already practices in Turkey to Germany. A few months ago, when nobody in Turkey had even heard of Jan Böhmermann, Die Welt reported:
Paragraph 299 of the Turkish Penal Code, which provides for imprisonment of up to four years for insulting the head of state, has become the most common political offense. As a CHP party inquiry revealed, 98 people were arrested for this reason in the first ten months of last year. 66 were indicted, and 15 were kept in custody. The number of preliminary proceedings is unknown; human rights activists estimate several hundred. ‘With these reactions, Erdogan shows how justified this criticism is,’ said CHP human rights politician Sezgin Tanrikulu of Die Welt. ‘A regime that responds to all criticism with criminal proceedings is moving toward a dictatorship’.
The Turkish penal code – now in Germany?
The Turkish government called the slander of Erdogan a “serious crime against humanity”. The choice of words is reminiscent of how Erdogan once acquitted Sudanese President Omar al Bashir of genocide allegations in Darfur: “Muslims cannot carry out genocide.” Erdogan at the time was expressing an attitude often widespread in the West: crimes are not crimes when Muslims commit them. This also seems to be the view of many German politicians and journalists; rarely is a Muslim despot or demagogue criticized in Germany, while at the same time, no one in Germany has any inhibitions about vilifying Christianity or the Church.
It is this double standard, among other things, that Mathias Döpfner, CEO of the major German publishing house, Axel Springer, denounced in an open letter to Böhmermann … In it, Döpfner calls for “solidarity with Jan Böhmermann.” He also writes:
First, I want to say: I think your poem succeeded. I laughed out loud. So it’s important to me to say that, because in the past few days, there hasn’t been a single article about your text – whether accusatory or taking your side – that didn’t first (and at the same time captatio benevolentiae) emphasize how tasteless and primitive and insulting your satire about Erdogan was.
According to Döpfner, it’s “as if you were to accuse a Formula 1 car manufacturer of having fast cars.” Being offensive is certainly the goal, and has a useful consequence: “It is very revealing what reactions your satire triggered. A focal point and a turning point.” Döpfner evokes various works by German artists, comedians, and cartoonists that are solely about mocking Christians and their faith. “When it comes to the provocation of religious or, more precisely, Christian feelings, anything goes in Germany,” says Döpfner. However, if someone offends Erdogan, that leads to “a kind of national crisis.”
Döpfner remembers how in Turkey, Erdogan proceeded against freedom of speech, minorities, and equality for women by force, and mentions the “excessive and reckless violence of the Turkish army” against the Kurds. Why, of all things, does insulting Erdogan cause such turbulence in Germany? Döpfner writes:
For the small compensation of three billion euros, Erdogan regulates the streams of refugees so that conditions do not get out of control in Germany. You have to understand, Mr. Böhmermann, that the German government apologized to the Turkish government for your insensitive remarks. In the current situation, they are simply ‘not helpful’ – artistic freedom or not. You could easily call it kowtowing. Or as Michel Houellebecq phrased it in the title of his masterpiece on the self-abandonment of the democratic Western world: submission.
Erdogan, who also campaigned in Germany during Turkish elections, appears to consider Germany an appendage of his Great Ottoman Empire. He calls out to Turks in Germany: “Assimilation is a crime against humanity.” He has great power in Germany. This is not only based on German organizations like the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), which is controlled by the Turkish government, but above all on his ability to provoke upheaval in Germany if he wants. That Chancellor Merkel has delegated even more power to Erdogan in this situation, by imploring him to prevent hundreds of thousands of migrants in Turkey from heading for Europe, has made the situation even worse — particularly because she has explained over and over that this is the only solution to the migrant crisis.
Merkel considers it indecent when Europeans secure their own country’s borders based on current laws, but she gives Erdogan full reign to proceed with migrants at his discretion. …
Böhmermann’s television appearances were canceled; he fears for his life and is under police protection.
We are about to make sweeping generalizations, with no attempt to accommodate all shades of opinion. ( Shades of opinion are welcome in comment.)
Left and Right inhabit different universes of discourse. Completely different issues concern them.
The biggest issues on the American Left (in random order) are:
- Climate and the Environment
- Social Justice
To elaborate a little more:
The Left – internationally – holds man-made global warming to be an urgent threat to all life on earth, and tries in the name of saving the planet to force redistribution of wealth over the whole world, the redistributing agent being ideally a world government run according to Leftist values.
The one freedom the Left passionately advocates for is that of Each to seek sexual satisfaction of any kind, and for Each to choose a personal sexual identity, all personal choices connected with sex to be protected by law and subsidized financially, where required, by government.
The Left catalogues all Americans and all foreign nations according to a race analysis, according to which the white race is privileged and oppressive, and all institutions, led by government, have a moral duty to compensate non-whites and handicap whites.
All inequalities between sexes, races, and classes are considered by the Left to be unjust, the injustice being perpetrated by institutions and needing to be corrected by government using any means, including quotas for opportunity and advancement; adjustment of standards for inclusion and compensation; enforced limitations on the expression of dissenting opinion; the redistribution of wealth and power.
The Right does not concern itself with these issues unless compelled to, in which case its dismissive opinion of them is:
Man-made global warming is not true and would not be a bad thing if it were.
Sex is a private matter, only of public concern if it harms children.
Race is irrelevant to all political issues.
All justice is personal, having no meaning apart from the individual; standards must be upheld; power belongs to the powerful and cannot be bestowed; wealth is inescapably unequal in a free society, equality and liberty being mutually exclusive.
The biggest issues on the American Right (also in random order) are:
- Individual freedom
- The economy
- The Constitution
A little more:
The Right holds that individual freedom is the highest value. All innovation, all progress, depends on it. It requires absolute freedom of speech. The prime duty of government is to protect it.
Capitalism is the only system that lifts people out of poverty and secures prosperity. The Right wants the free market to be left to operate without government interference.
The government’s duty of protection requires a strong military to defend the nation from foreign attack; to maintain America’s superpower status of which the Right is proud; and specifically at this time to stop the advance of Islam and its terrorism.
The Constitution established the best possible system of government for a free society and the Right holds that it must be upheld and defended in its entirety.
The Left does not concern itself with these issues unless compelled to, in which case its dismissive opinion of them is:
The individual is less important than the collective, and individual interests are always subordinate to those of the collective.
Capitalism is evil, it values profits above people, it allows some to be rich while it keeps the many poor. The economy needs to be planned centrally by government for the equal good of all.
Wars should never be fought. Spending money on the military is a huge waste. America should not be the world’s policeman. It should not be a superower.
The Constitution is an outdated document. It says nothing about slavery. It stands in the way of an enlightened executive, such as President Obama’s, hampering his laudable efforts to change America into a more equal society.
Plainly, there is no common ground between Left and Right.
Dennis Prager writes at Townhall:
Just about all candidates for president regularly announce their intent to unite Americans, to “bring us together”.
It’s a gimmick.
If they are sincere, they are profoundly naive; if they are just muttering sweet nothings in order to seduce Americans to vote for them, they are manipulative.
In his acceptance speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, John Kerry, one of the most polarizing figures in modern American political history, said, “Maybe some just see us divided into those red states and blue states, but I see us as one America: red, white and blue.”
And President Barack Obama, who has disunited Americans by race, class and gender perhaps more than any president since the beginning of the 20th century, regularly campaigned on the theme of uniting Americans.
In his 2008 victory speech, President-elect Barack Obama said: “We have never been just a collection of … red states and blue states. We are, and always will be, the United States of America.”
In their current campaigns for president, Republican Gov. John Kasich and Democrat Hillary Clinton regularly proclaim their intention to bring Americans together. He, one suspects, because he is naive, and she, because she will say pretzels come from Neptune if it will garner votes.
Bringing people together is actually the theme of John Kasich’s entire campaign.
One headline on the “Meet John” page of his website says, “BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER, LIFTING PEOPLE UP.”
Senator Rob Portman said of Kasich on Feb. 1, 2016, “I am endorsing John Kasich because I believe he is the person our country needs to bring Americans together.”
And Clinton, who, according to CNN, is tied with Trump for the most negatives in presidential polling for either Republicans or Democrats since 1984, also speaks repeatedly about her ability and desire to bring Americans together.
The “Hillary Clinton for President Supporters” Facebook page has even said, “We’re in the business of bringing people together.”
What’s more, on April 6, 2016, CNN posted a YouTube video titled: “Hillary Clinton — We need a president who can bring people together.”
Lanny Davis, who served as special counsel to former President Bill Clinton, wrote on The Hill website that “Clinton wants to bring us together”.
Beyond Kasich and Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders made this a major theme in one of his ads called “Together”, which begins with Sanders saying, “Our job is to bring people together.”
Even Trump, who divides Republicans – not to mention other Americans – like no Republican ever has, uses this mantra.
A January article on The Hill site quoted Trump saying, “I can really bring people together.”
Gov. Chris Christie introduced Trump on Super Tuesday, and a NJ.com column released that night was titled, “Christie on Super Tuesday: Trump is ‘bringing the country together’.”
For the record, Sen. Ted Cruz speaks about uniting Republicans, but not often about uniting all Americans.
All calls for unity by Democrats are particularly fraudulent. Dividing Americans by race, gender and class is how the left views America and how Democratic candidates seek to win elections.
But calls for unity are meaningless no matter who makes them, because no one who calls for unity tells you what they really mean. What they really mean is that they want to unite Americans around their values — and around their values only.
Would Clinton be willing to unite all Americans around recognizing the human rights of the unborn? Would she be willing to unite all Americans around support for widespread gun ownership?
Of course not.
She is willing to unite Americans provided they adopt her views.
Would Sanders like to “bring people together” in support of reducing corporate and individual income taxes in order to spur the economy?
Would Kasich be in favor of “bringing Americans together” by having them all support increasing the size of government and the national debt? One hopes not.
I first realized the dishonesty of just about all calls for unity during a 10-year period in which I engaged in weekly dialogues with clergy of all faiths. Protestant and Catholic clergymen and women would routinely call for Christian unity. When I asked Protestants if they would support such unity if it entailed them adopting the sacraments of the Catholic Church and recognizing the pope as the Vicar of Christ on Earth, the discussion ended. Similarly, when I asked Catholic priests if they would give up the sacraments and the papacy in order to achieve unity with Protestant Christians, all talk of unity stopped. And, of course, the same would hold true for both Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews who routinely call for Jewish unity.
Even more absurd are the calls of naive Christians and Jews to have all the “children of Abraham” – Jewish, Christian and Muslim – unite.
The calls themselves can even be dangerous. One would be hard-pressed to name a single free society that was ever united outside of wartime. The only truly united countries are totalitarian states.
So, why do presidential candidates repeat this nonsense every four years? Because Americans fall for it every four years.
But it’s time to grow up.
The gap between the left and right is unbridgeable. Their worldviews are mutually exclusive.
The Left is dangerously wrong.
This is about the criminalization of doubt.
The US Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that not only has she discussed internally the possibility of pursuing civil actions against “climate change deniers”, but she has also “referred it to the FBI to consider whether or not it meets the criteria for which we could take action”.
Some Environmentalists are so absolutely convinced that human activity is really changing the climate of the planet, is really making it dangerously hotter, that they think big rich companies who deal in fossil fuels – the burning of which, they say, causes the alleged hotting up – simply must know this; must have done their own research and discovered it for themselves; and are hiding the documentation, which must exist, and which proves they know it; are deliberately concealing their knowledge and its proofs so that they can go on selling their “evil” product for the “evil” motive of profit, uncaring that it is “doing harm to the planet”, and continuing to deny that there is such a thing as man-made global warming; so they are criminals who need to be prosecuted and punished.
Just think what a heap of suppositions is being compiled here:
- That the earth is heating up.
- That human activity is heating up the earth.
- That the earth’s heating up is dangerous to human health.
- That the burning of fossil fuels is one of the chief human activities to blame for the earth’s heating up.
- That the fossil fuel companies have done their own research into these “facts”.
- That their research proves – must prove – that their products are much to blame for the earth’s heating up and damaging human health.
- That despite having found out all that for themselves they choose to lie about it and say that they do not know these “facts”.
- That they are lying when they say they do not have the documentation of their research which “proves” that they do know; and furthermore
- That they are doing all this lying and concealing and deceiving in order to be able to continue to sell their products while knowing that they are damaging human health.
- That therefore they are committing a variety of crimes including a crime against humanity in general.
We quote from an article at Watts Up With That?:
This is in the news today via “Climate NEXUS”, which is a Madison Ave. PR firm:
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that he is launching a legal probe into Exxon’s climate denial. The inquiry will look into both consumer and investor protection laws, covering the oil giant’s activity dating back to the 1970s. Schneiderman’s investigation could open “a sweeping new legal front in the battle over climate change”, says the New York Times, which broke the story. Two separate reports by InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times uncovered that Exxon has known about the dangers of climate change since the 1970s but sowed doubt by funding climate change skeptics to preserve its business. Exxon has been compared extensively to the tobacco industry, which was convicted of racketeering in 2000 for deliberately deceiving the public about the dangers of its products.
Behind all that is an orchestrated plan; a nasty, spiteful. wholly unjustifiable conspiracy.
So where do these strange ideas come from?
Step forward “Climate Accountability Institute”.
The Climate Accountability Institute (CAI) is … attempting to marry “climate concerns” to environmentalism and tobacco prohibitionist tactics. …
In 2012 the CAI held a “workshop” in La Jolla California. It was “conceived” by Naomi Oreskes and others, and called Establishing Accountability for Climate Change Damages: Lessons from Tobacco Control.
So from the beginning, these persecutors, these witch-hunters, these self-righteous busybodies had it fixed in their heads that, as with smoking, human health is at issue.
Stanton Glantz, a prominent tobacco control activist scientist was present as were a clutch of lawyers, climate scientists, communication professionals, PR agency heads, bloggers and journalists.
They released a report:
The workshop was an “exploratory, open-ended dialogue” on the use of “lessons from tobacco-related education, laws, and litigation to address climate change“.
A key breakthrough in the public and legal case for tobacco control came when internal documents came to light showing the tobacco industry had knowingly misled the public. Similar documents may well exist in the vaults of the fossil fuel industry and their trade associations and front groups…
Why do these mythical documents need to be unearthed?
While we currently lack a compelling public narrative about climate change in the United States, we may be close to coalescing around one. Furthermore, climate change may loom larger today in the public mind than tobacco did when public health advocates began winning policy victories.
The reader should take a moment to grasp the momentous logic: We know legally “incriminating documents” (their choice of words) “may” exist, because tobacco activists had a breakthrough with such documents. They need to be found in order to make climate change a “looming threat” in the public mind.
Try thinking of a more reverse-engineered form of activism.
The first chapter in the report is Lessons from Tobacco Control. It is mainly one section called The Importance of Documents in Tobacco Litigation.
We learn next to nothing about these supposed “documents” from the report. After all, they haven’t been released or even found.
… many participants suggested that incriminating documents may exist that demonstrate collusion among the major fossil fuel companies …
But “the documents” were very valuable. … Since they were so sure they exist, careful plotting was needed on companies whose vaults to raid. …
Stanton Glantz was a vocal workshop participant. … [He] was so excited he proposed using the tobacco archives platform at the University of California San Francisco for climate documents (which were yet to be found). …
In what mode were the documents to be used?
Most importantly, the release of these documents meant that charges of conspiracy or racketeering could become a crucial component of tobacco litigation
Having firmly established that documents convenient to their strategy existed, the delegates moved on to discussing how to obtain them.
The answer was once again clear: “lawsuits”. It was not just lawsuits, it was “Congressional hearings”, “sympathetic state attorney generals” and “false advertising claims”.
State attorneys general can also subpoena documents, raising the possibility that a single sympathetic state attorney general might have substantial success in bringing key internal documents to light
The would-be litigators were inspired to think of other grounds for lawsuits: “False advertising”. “Libel suits”.
Now you know where the line on how “fossil fuel companies ‘knew’ they were doing wrong but yet did it” comes from.
The cries of “it’s a conspiracy!’”are planned and pre-meditated, on lawyers’ advice.
There certainly is a conspiracy underway – of these climate-change fanatics to do as much damage as possible to the fossil fuel industry.
This is where RICO [the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations act] came in:
Richard Ayres, an experienced environmental attorney, suggested that the RICO Act, which had been used effectively against the tobacco industry, could similarly be used to bring a lawsuit against carbon producers. ...
[He] knew starting lawsuits against productive companies wouldn’t look good. They needed to be spun … By dressing [the lawsuits] up as injury “compensation”.
Even if your ultimate goal might be to shut down a company, you still might be wise to start out by asking for compensation for injured parties.
The conspiracy plot thickened:
The suggestions appeared to grow outlandish at every turn. Richard Heede, one of CAI’s members, had come up with a system for blaming individual companies … [His] bizarre formulas, we learn, were received “positively” by “most of the workshop’s participants”. One UCS participant felt that “it could potentially be useful as part of a coordinated campaign to identify key climate ‘wrongdoers'”. Another felt it was useful in blaming faceless corporate entities instead of countries thereby bypassing provoking patriotic impulses in international negotiations.
Heede’s work was funded by Greenpeace. Of note, Greenpeace counsel Jasper Teulings was present at the meeting.
Greenpeace is a profoundly evil organization, as we have explained here.
… Naomi Oreskes suggested that some portion of sea level rise could be attributed to the emissions caused by a single carbon-producing company.
The oil company Exxon made its appearance in her example:
She suggested, “You might be able to say, ‘Here’s Exxon’s contribution to what’s happening to Key West or Venice’.”
So now we see how they suck statements of “scientific fact” out of their thumbs.
This was a strategy Glantz liked:
…Stanton Glantz expressed some enthusiasm about such a strategy, based on his experience with tobacco litigation. As he put it, “I would be surprised if the industry chose to attack the calculation that one foot of flooding in Key West could be attributed to ExxonMobil.”
We cannot resist repeating that: They expect that “the industry” will not “attack the calculation that one foot of flooding in Key West could be attributed to ExxonMobil”. !
The conspiratorial tide did not recede. Former computer scientist John Mashey claimed collusion between “climate change deniers” and fossil fuel companies:
[Mashey] presented a brief overview of some of his research, which traces funding, personnel, and messaging connections between roughly 600 individuals …
The penultimate section in the report is on how delegates planned to win “public opinion”. … (“RICO is not easy. It is certainly not a sure win” – Ayres) and others were wary of drawing the attention of “hostile legislators who might seek to undermine them”.
With public opinion, the delegates were clearly divided. PR mavens, lawyers and activists wanted to cry fraud, paint up villains and create outrage:
To mobilize, people often need to be outraged.
Daniel Yankelovich a “public opinion researcher” involved in “citizen education” appears to have balked at the “sue, sue, sue” chanting. Court cases are useful only after the public had been won over, he said. …
The workshop ended and there was “agreement”. “Documents” needed to be obtained. Legal action was needed both for “wresting potentially useful internal documents” and ‘maintaining pressure on the industry’.
A consensus had emerged.
… an emerging consensus on a strategy that incorporates legal action with a narrative that creates public outrage.
The participants, we learn
…made commitments to try to coordinate future efforts, continue discussing strategies for gaining access to internal documents from the fossil fuel industry and its affiliated climate denial network …
Why is the report important? Because climate activists have done everything the delegates said they wanted done, in the report.
[This includes] the latest letter from US Senators to Exxon, the conspiratorial ‘Exxon Knew’ campaign with the portrayal of old Exxon reports by InsideClimateNews as “internal documents”, the RICO letter from scientists and much more. … It is almost as if climate activists have willed [incriminating] “documents” into existence – just as they were advised.
Almost as if? That’s exactly what they have done.
And the campaign to criminalize the businessmen who run the fossil fuel industry is gathering pace.
Matthew Vadum writes at Front Page:
Led by agenda-setting New York State and radical left-winger Al Gore the progressive persecution of climate change skeptics by the states is underway.
Top law enforcement officers in several states are joining with the Chicken Littles of green activism to weaponize the scientifically dubious argument that human activity is not only changing the earth’s climate but that unprecedented world catastrophe awaits unless draconian, economy-killing carbon emission controls are imposed more or less immediately.
The litigation offensive has nothing to do with justice. It is aimed at forcing those few remaining holdouts in the business community who stubbornly cling to science to confess their thought crimes and submit to the know-nothing Left’s climate superstitions. It is part of modern-day environmentalism’s ongoing assault on knowledge, human progress, markets, and the rule of law.
Repent and embrace the true green faith or else you’ll be investigated and denounced as a climate criminal, is the message of “Inspector Gotcha,” New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.
“It’s too early to say what we’re going to find,” he said of the five-month-old witch hunt aimed at his current target, the gigantic ExxonMobil, at a press conference this week in Lower Manhattan. “We intend to work as aggressively as possible, but also as carefully as possible.”
The New York Times previously reported that Schneiderman is looking into “whether the company lied to the public about the risks of climate change or to investors about how such risks might hurt the oil business. … For several years, advocacy groups with expertise in financial analysis have been warning that fossil fuel companies might be overvalued in the stock market, since the need to limit climate change might require that much of their coal, oil and natural gas be left in the ground.”
“The First Amendment, ladies and gentlemen, does not give you the right to commit fraud,” Schneiderman said this week.
Of course that assertion is true on its face but that doesn’t necessarily mean whatever he’s calling fraud is actually fraud. How can rejecting a theory – a wild, unproven, apocalyptic theory based on creative computer modeling and little else – about future climate conditions constitute fraud?
The New York Times now reports that the attorneys general of Massachusetts and the Virgin Islands said this week they would join Schneiderman’s politically motivated so-called investigation into whether ExxonMobil lied to investors and the public for years about the alleged threat posed by climate change. California opened its own investigation into the company last year. …
At Schneiderman’s press conference, former Vice President Gore, whose understanding of science roughly mirrors that of the Unabomber, was in attendance along with the attorneys general of Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Vermont, Virginia, and the Virgin Islands.
Gore implied ExxonMobil was just as bad as the tobacco industry which allegedly denied risks posed by its products for years. State attorneys general were an important part of the effort to nail Big Tobacco, he said.
“I do think the analogy may hold up rather precisely,” said Gore whose longtime meal ticket has been global warming. … Gore reportedly had a net worth of about $1.7 million at the turn of the century. But global warming hysteria cultivated by Gore grew over the years and by 2013 his fortune had grown to more than $200 million.
Schneiderman, a left-wing fanatic, is gearing up for what amounts to political show trials to enforce the Left’s party line on anthropogenic global warming. …
This radical inquisitor whom Politico reported had “spent his career building an ideological infrastructure for the left,” is building a gallows for those with the temerity to reject the lies of the misanthropic global-warmist agenda.
And what is his deep, emotional, fanatical motive?
Schneiderman is a leftist’s leftist, a zealous true believer intent on, in his own words, “slow[ing] down the bone-crushing machinery of the contemporary conservative movement.” …
The business community is wary of Schneiderman — and for good reason. …
It needs to be said that Schneiderman’s pursuit of ExxonMobil sure smells like political payback.
As Dr. Steven J. Allen, my learned Capital Research Center colleague, has reported, ExxonMobil used to be a major contributor to the scandal-plagued Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, as well as a sponsor of the annual meetings of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). But as the foundation became inundated by adverse publicity related to the fact that it functions as a clearinghouse for future presidential favors from Hillary Clinton, ExxonMobil reportedly stopped giving it money.
It’s no coincidence that Secretary Clinton turned on the company last fall, demanding it be investigated for giving grants to warming-skeptic organizations. “There’s a lot of evidence that they misled the public,” she declared.
“In November, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman — a top supporter of Clinton — launched an investigation into the company that, in the words of the Wall Street Journal, ‘marks a dangerous new escalation of the Left’s attempt to stamp out all disagreement on global-warming science and policy … demanding Exxon’s documents on climate research from 1977 to 2015’.”
Was Schneiderman’s newfound interest in ExxonMobil piqued by green idealism?
The question answers itself.
We would say, “Let that be a lesson to all companies that bribed, or were subjected to extortion by the Clintons!” – but we know it won’t be. Only if Hillary Clinton fails to win the presidency will companies (and foreign governments) even consider turning their backs on the Clintons and closing their purses.
Is it not passing strange that such monuments of capitalism as Exxonmobil, so likely to be targets of the Left, habitually give huge donations to leftist politicians like the Clintons? Does it never strike them that in the long run – though the short-term benefits they buy may be sweet – they are paying for their own destruction?
Barack Hussein Obama is sympathetic to Communist regimes because he was raised from infancy to be a Communist and has continued throughout his life to like Communism.
As a young adult he was trained in the “community organizing” school of Communist radical Saul Alinsky.
In 1986, at the age of twenty-three … Obama was hired by the Alinsky team “to organize residents on the South Side [of Chicago] while learning and applying Alinsky’s philosopy of street-level democracy”.
So David Horowitz writes in his book Radicals*. The chapter titled A Radical Machiavelli outlines the whole story of Obama’s rise to power, diligently following the Alinsky way in order to use power for the radical transformation of America.
It should come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention that Obama chooses to make friends with Communist dictators – notably, this month, with the blood-drenched Castro Brothers who are still ruling Cuba.
They weren’t very eager to entertain him. No Castro or his deputy met the president of the United States at the airport when he landed. Raul Castro took him to a ball game, where Obama cheered delightedly (soon after he’d been informed that jihadis had bombed America’s NATO ally Belgium, causing massive loss of life and injury). Later he danced the tango. And he made a speech.
What did he say?
We quote from an article by Carlos Eire at PowerLine:
A classic example of Obamaspeak, this boilerplate speech consisted of four essential elements: some truths (few in number), several myths (plentiful), many platitudes (even more plentiful), and a string of lies (all braided with the myths and platitudes). …
Nowhere in this speech do the Castro brothers show up. Nowhere are their many crimes against humanity mentioned. Nowhere is any blame laid on them for enslaving and ruining “the Cuban people” or for poisoning relations with the United States. In their place, another abstraction shows up to play the part of the villain: “ideology”.
As he has done countless times before, Obama inserts himself in history as the ultimate slayer of the “Cold War” dragon, which is always drawn by him as a caricature, a fairy monster of sorts with no teeth and no fire in his breath, whose scales are fluffy and whose wings are as diaphanous as all abstract thoughts. “Ideology” in Obamaspeak, is no real threat to life and limb, no powerful enslaving force, but an illusory phantom from some distant past …
To ensure that his Cuban audience recognized his power to dispel this toothless abstraction, Obama [told] them: “From the beginning of my time in office, I’ve urged the people of the Americas to leave behind the ideological battles of the past.”
Never mind the Castro brothers, or the tens of thousands of Cubans murdered by them, the hundreds of thousands imprisoned and tortured, or the two million driven into exile, or the nuclear missiles they pointed at the United States, or the soldiers and spies they’ve sent all over the world, or the terrorists they have sponsored. …
Anywhere you look, it is easy to spot platitudinous metaphors and abstractions in this Obamaesque tapestry. There are so many of them, in fact, that they are hard to tally. So let’s just mention the more disturbing ones.
“In many ways, the United States and Cuba are like two brothers who’ve been estranged for many years,” he said, “even as we share the same blood.”
What blood? As it turns out, the closest Obama came to identifying that blood was to babble on about superficial similarities between Cuban and American culture, especially in the realms of music and sports.
Obama also spoke of “hope” repeatedly. He even had the nerve to tell Cubans of “hope that is rooted in the future that you can choose and that you can shape, and that you can build for your country.”
What hope, as long as the Castro dynasty is in control? What is this amorphous “hope” or this amorphous “future”? What of this “choosing” and “shaping”? How is that to happen when there is no civil society in Cuba, no rule of law, no chance to express oneself freely, no private property, no free market economy? …
The biggest lies in the speech have to do with history, and all of these falsehoods come straight from the Castro regime’s Ministry of Truth …
In Obama’s thinly disguised Marxist narrative there is a constant dialectic between an imperialist power (the United States) and an unjustly exploited subaltern (Cuba), and in this poisoned relationship, the United States is responsible for most of Cuba’s ills.
The exploitation, said Obama, began with the Spanish-American War: “The blue waters beneath Air Force One once carried American battleships to this island — to liberate, but also to exert control over Cuba.”
After that, with “control” over Cuba, the United States could not help but behave very badly. “Before 1959,” said Obama, “ some Americans saw Cuba as something to exploit, ignored poverty, enabled corruption.”
This is pure Castroite propaganda, which all Cubans born after 1959 have had force-fed to them as “history”. And in this false “history”, of course, it is always assumed that the Castro are the heroes who rescued Cubans from all of the exploitation.
That an American president should parrot such lies tells us a lot about the character of such a president, and the real-world value of his speech to the enslaved Cuban people. …
One of the biggest [lies] is the claim that the so-called embargo “was not working” and that it was “hurting the Cuban people”. This could be seen as the linchpin of Obama’s argument for “normalizing” relations. It sounds reasonable. But the truth is that the embargo was not put into place to force the collapse of the Castro regime, but to contain the damage it could do to the United States and its allies. And as far as that goal was concerned, the so-called embargo was indeed working.
As to the claim that the embargo hurt the Cuban people, nothing could be further from the truth. What really impoverished the Cuban people and made them destitute was the insane economic policies of the Castro regime. Cuba has been trading with every other country in the world while the embargo has been in place, and for the past decade and a half the island has been visited by tens of millions of non-American tourists. Yet, despite the opportunities made possible by such exchanges, poverty, deprivation, and repression continued to be the lot of all Cubans.
This lie about the “embargo” forms the basis for another equally heinous one, the claim that “the United States of America is normalizing relations with the Cuban people”. …
There is no real “normalization” going on insofar as the lives of Cubans are concerned. In fact, repression has increased and the economy has worsened since Obama began warming up to the Castro regime in December 2014. Secondly, the so-called “normalization” process does not involve “the Cuban people” at all, but only the Castro regime, that is, Raul Castro, his geriatric military junta, and his slightly younger oligarchs.
Obama also lied about the changes supposedly taking place in Cuba, such as the economic improvements brought about by self-employment, which are highlighted with a series of bogus feel-good stories about cuentapropistas or entrepreneurs. Every Cuban knows that the self-employment ruse is one of the biggest lies of all, and no ticket to prosperity or freedom, because the Castro regime owns absolutely everything on the island. …
The speech reaches a crescendo with the invocation of the term “reconciliation” …
What makes the use of this term incorrect in the case of Cuba – and what makes all talk of “reconciliation” a lie – is that genuine reconciliation involves penance and an admission of guilt on the part of wrongdoers. Those guilty of the worst sins in recent Cuban history – the Castro brothers and their supporters – have not only refused to admit their guilt, but actually remain in power and refuse to stop abusing the human rights of the Cuban people.
Until those who rule Cuba step aside and admit their guilt – and until those at the top ranks are tried in a court of justice for their many crimes against humanity – there can be no genuine “reconciliation” in Cuba.
To speak of “reconciliation” as the payoff of Obama’s many concessions to the Castro regime is akin to speaking of “reconciliation” between a rapist and his victim while the rapist continues to rape his victim repeatedly, with no remorse and no end in sight.
Finally, to sum up his own vapid, narcissistic, and self-aggrandizing rhetoric, Obama closed the speech with a Spanish rendition of his 2008 campaign slogan, si se puede (yes, it’s possible, or yes we can).
Yes, sure. Tell that to the Ladies in White, Obama, please, as they are beaten and arrested every Sunday. Tell that to the political prisoners who rot in tiny cells. Tell that to the Cuban schoolchildren who are fed lies and propaganda disguised as “education” and who have no hope of ever earning more than twenty dollars a month as adults. Tell that to the mother whose son or daughter just drowned while trying to flee on a flimsy raft from the hell that is Castro’s Cuba.
Tell them, please, how anything is possible other than what the Castro regime deigns to dole out to them.
Until there are no more masters and no more slaves, there can be no end to slavery.
For Obama to fling his campaign slogan “yes we can” to Cubans is no different from some Northern abolitionist visiting a Southern plantation to tell the slaves to ignore their chains and think happy thoughts.
To employ that recycled slogan in Cuba was downright shameful, and a very fitting end to a very disgraceful speech.
*Radicals: Portraits of a Destructive Passion by David Horowitz, Regnery, 2012. (Our quotation comes from p. 181.)
Why does the Washington establishment need to be uprooted and thrown out?
Why do millions of Americans long for a fresh start, a swift scraping away of all the foul accretions that adhere to government like poisonous barnacles?
Paul Driessen answers these vital questions. He writes at Townhall:
Washington is out of control. Legislators, judges and unelected bureaucrats want to control our lives, livelihoods and living standards, with no accountability even for major errors, calculated deception, or deliberate, often illegal assaults on our liberties and on citizens who resist the advancing Leviathan.
These themes animate Republican and conservative politics because they are happening – regularly.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute is renowned for its annual Ten Thousand Commandments reports on federal rules. A scary but mesmerizing new analysis now maps how the Washington bureaucracy lawlessly imposes agendas that all too frequently contravene or disregard what We the People support, what is best for the nation, and even what Congress has enacted or refused to encode in legislation. …
No one even knows how many Executive Branch agencies there are – estimates range from 60 to 438 – much less how many new rules they implement and impose each year. Officially … they issued a staggering 3,554 new rules in 2014, while President Obama signed “only” 226 new laws enacted by Congress. Worse, of the 53,838 (!) formal final regulations included in the Federal Register from 2001 through 2014, only 160 (0.3%) received a “cost-benefit” analysis; we have no idea how the rest affect us. …
This does not include tens of thousands of decrees issued in the form of:
* notices, bulletins, proclamations, circulars, guidance memos, and new or revised interpretations, policy statements and procedures;
* investigations, inquiries, warning letters, negotiated settlements to legal actions (often involving collusion between agencies and activist groups), explicit or veiled threats of legal action, armed agents raiding homes and businesses, or adverse publicity, coordinated with activists and the media; as well as
* blog posts, news releases, and emails or telephone calls to citizens or company employees.
All these actions have the force and effect of law. But few or none are covered by Administrative Procedures Act “public notice and comment” requirements, so they often escape scrutiny by courts, watchdogs and Congress. Many are supported only by “homogenized”, manipulated data; elaborate, imaginative or imaginary regulatory benefits; cavalier dismissal of costs; and no mention of benefits from the activity, chemical, energy source, industry or jobs being regulated, sometimes into oblivion.
EPA’s Clean Power Plan assumes that shutting down America’s coal-fired power plants – a tiny fraction of such facilities worldwide – can somehow stop climate change that is actually governed by numerous powerful natural forces over which humans have absolutely no control. The plan also assumes any global warming will be dangerous and ignores the many thousands who will be rendered jobless.
A “social cost of carbon” scheme concocted by a multitude of federal agencies makes the same faulty assumptions. It then hypothesizes every imaginable and illusory “cost” of carbon dioxide emissions – to forests, agriculture, water resources, “forced migration” of people and wildlife, human health and disease, coastal cities, ecosystems and wetlands. But it completely ignores every one of the obvious and enormous benefits of using fossil fuels … and of CO2’s immense fertilizing effects on forest and crop growth.
President Obama imposed both of these programs because Congress refused to enact almost 700 different cap-tax-and-trade and other climate bills. Rather than working with Congress to achieve at least some of what he wanted, Mr. Obama simply had his agencies issue decrees …
Where Congress has enacted legislation that the president dislikes – on illegal immigration or the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate, for example – he simply tells his agencies not to enforce the “offensive” provisions. Meanwhile, Endangered Species Act rules are enforced with an iron fist against ranching, oil and mining operations, but ignored in the case of wind turbines and solar installations.
Under collusive sue-and-settle lawsuits, parties impacted by decisions never have an opportunity to speak or present evidence, or even be notified that a suit has been filed or adjudicated, until it is too late.
The entire system allows unelected, unaccountable government officials to decide winners and losers, and reward cronies and allies with taxpayer-funded grants and subsidies, while punishing critics and enemies. “Progressive” judges defer to “agency discretion” and give bureaucrats free rein to do as they please, even when the rules, decisions and decrees do not comply with legal, constitutional or scientific requirements.
No citizen, small business or even large corporation can possibly even know all these edicts exist, much less understand or comply with them. Moreover, at least 4,500 carry criminal penalties, many regardless of any intent to violate a rule or commit a crime – and “ignorance of the law is no excuse”. …
Federalism, states’ rights, state and local laws and customs, and personal liberties increasingly cease to matter.
The federal Goliath now costs US families, businesses, hospitals and organizationsover $1.9 trillion a year! That is twice the entire federal budget in 1981. It’s equal to the entire budget in 1986, nearly half the incomprehensible Obama budget for FY-2017, more than the budgets of all other countries except China.
“The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they [resist] every kind of improvement,” economist and political analyst Ludwig von Mises observed 72 years ago. “They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent.” …
The same agencies write, impose, enforce and adjudicate the rules, and impose punishment for infractions. They work tirelessly and imperiously to “fundamentally transform” our nation’s legal, energy, economic and social systems …
They impose edicts that would never be supported by the People or enacted by Congress, and that they rarely if ever apply to themselves. They lavish billions on allies, while denying funding and legitimacy to critics, siccing IRS dogs on opposition groups, and threatening civil and criminal “racketeering” actions against anyone who “denies” the alleged “reality” of dangerous manmade climate change.
They seek to ban fossil fuels, biotech crops and insecticides – even from Third World families suffering from abject poverty, rampant malnutrition and disease, and a near total absence of electricity. They do all they can to silence and punish alternative views, and even the notion that there can be alternative views.
For seven years, our “Try and stop me” president and administration have used and abused their powers to impose their agenda.
What we need now is a “Try and make me” president, who will refuse to enforce their edicts. Who will use his pen, phone and power to review them, root out any fraud and abuse behind them, and defund and bury them. Who will work with Congress to restore the rule of law and our Constitution, economic growth, and the role of personal liberties, opportunities and responsibilities.
Is there a candidate for the presidency who could be that “Try and make me” leader?