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November 2016

Tony Thomas Teach ‘em Green, Raise ‘em Stupid

According to the latest international comparison, Australian kids are falling further behind, despite ever-larger sums of taxpayer cash being poured into the Chalk-Industrial Complex. One reason we’re raising another generation of dolts: propaganda passed off as wisdom.
Green/Left lobby Cool Australia, backed by Labor’s teacher unions and Bendigo Bank, is achieving massive success in brainwashing school students about the inhumanity of the federal government’s asylum-seeker policies, the evils of capitalism, and our imminent climate peril. The Cool Australia’s teaching templates are now being used by 52,540 teachers in 6,676 primary and high schools (71% of total schools). The courses have impacted just over a million students via 140,000 lessons downloaded for classes this year alone. Students’ uptake of Cool Australia materials has doubled in the past three years.

Teachers are mostly flummoxed about how to prioritise “sustainability” throughout their primary and secondary school lessons, as required by the national curriculum.[1] Cool Australia has marshaled a team of 19 professional curriculum writers who offer teachers and pupils easy templates for lessons that include the sustainability mantra along with green and anti-government propaganda.

Teachers have grasped at the organisation’s labor-saving advantages. As one teacher enthused, “I love the fact they take some of the leg work out of my lessons and allow me to spend more time working on the outdoor gardens etc.” A coordinator (hopefully not of English courses) wrote that the lessons gave her “piece of mind”.

Much of the Cool material, such as lessons advocating recycling and energy-saving, is largely harmless, even beneficial. But material on hot-button political topics is designed to turn students into green activists and anti-conservative bigots.

On asylum seekers, the basic “text” is the film “Chasing Asylum” by activist Eva Orner, whose intention is to shame Australia and mobilise international pressure against the Pacific solution. At least eleven different lessons for Years 9-10 feature her cinematic agitprop, billed as a “documentary”. The film hardly conforms to the professed “apolitical” nature of Cool Australia courses. The film’s descriptor reads:

Chasing Asylum exposes the real impact of Australia’s offshore detention policies and explores how ‘The Lucky Country’ became a country where leaders choose detention over compassion and governments deprive the desperate of their basic human rights. The film features never before seen footage from inside Australia’s offshore detention camps, revealing the personal impact of sending those in search of a safe home to languish in limbo. Chasing Asylum explores the mental, physical and fiscal consequences of Australia’s decision to lock away families in unsanitary conditions hidden from media scrutiny, destroying their lives under the pretext of saving them.

David Singer: Carter Threatens Chaos for Obama, Trump and US Foreign Policy

* betray another former President – George Bush,
* destroy America’s reputation for integrity and trustworthiness and
* thwart President-elect Donald Trump in attempting to resolve the 100 years old conflict between Arabs and Jews

In an op-ed piece in the New York Times Carter has proffered the following advice to Obama as his eight year term of office is ending:

“The simple but vital step this administration must take before its term expires on Jan. 20 is to grant American diplomatic recognition to the state of Palestine, as 137 countries have already done, and help it achieve full United Nations membership.”

The following calamitous consequences for American foreign policy would ensue should Obama accept Carter’s irresponsible advice:

1. President Bush’s 2003 Roadmap and 13 years of American diplomacy would be trashed.

Endorsed by the United Nations, European Union and Russia and accepted by Israel (with14 reservations) and the then Palestinian Authority (since disbanded on 3 January 2013) – the Roadmap provides for:

“A settlement, negotiated between the parties,” that “will result in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors”

The science of hating Zionists, why most anti-Zionism is antisemitic David Collier

Some pieces are easy to write. I go to an event and hear people suggest that the Zionists were responsible for the holocaust, or witness mention of Jewish power. If it is a speech by Max Blumenthal or Tom Suarez, I will hear tales of Jewish conspiracy. I return home, analyse the recordings, research, and write. It is an easy process to follow.http://david-collier.com/?p=2460

The more difficult pieces are those that challenge the narratives. The message is not a simple ‘one-liner’. There can be discomfort in internally challenging deeply held beliefs, an inability to ‘cross the divide’. People are even uncertain sometimes ‘which side’ the piece is on.

This is one of those items. To make the journey with me, you need to let go of some of your beliefs. Ignore statements that challenge your history and set aside all you know about the creation of the conflict between 1917 and 1967.

I am going to ask you to immerse yourself inside the Palestinian narrative. I am doing so because I am going to use their narrative, not just to show that Zionism is a movement of national liberation but to forcefully drive home the idea that the Balfour apology campaign, anti-Zionism and the entire settler colonial paradigm are all knee deep in antisemitic thought.
An alternate universe

The Arab narrative suggests that the British had written a letter as a nation of empire and handed a land that was not theirs over to a rich and powerful European sect. The British then spent 30 years facilitating this movement. Eventually, in 1948, the Palestinians were brutally expelled from their land by these invading racist white Europeans.

Today, millions of the descendants of the victims of this ‘Nakba’ are scattered. Many live as refugees in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. Others have gone further afield, and you can find them in nations across the globe. Waiting with their deeds and their keys until they, or their children, or their grandchildren, can eventually return.

That return is described as a movement for national liberation. “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”. ‘Fatah’, the largest faction of the PLO, was originally called the ‘Palestinian National Liberation Movement’.

Central to the liberation movement is the return of the refugees. Those that were ‘scattered’:

“the “right of return” for the descendants to their land and homes in “Palestine” will be valid for all eternity, it is not subject to negotiation, and is both a group and personal “right” that cannot be cancelled.” (Palestinian Diaspora in Europe” conference 2015)

The same message is repeated here:

“Palestinians have repeatedly said that the right of return enshrined in various United Nations resolutions is non-negotiable and does not have an expiry date.”

The Palestinian right of return. An inalienable right. A hereditary condition, with Palestinian ‘nationhood’ passing from parent to child.

In this manner, 70 years later, the struggle, even the violent struggle, is framed as a movement of National liberation rather than a struggle for personal freedoms. The Arab who was born in Lebanon, whose parents were born in Lebanon, does not strive for freedom in Lebanon, but rather to experience the liberation of his ‘homeland’. A land neither he nor his parents ever trod. This movement of national liberation has full time support from a long list of anti-Zionist activists.

Britain’s Muslim Brotherhood Whitewash A parliamentary inquiry into the group played down the group’s radical ideology and activities. By Con Coughlin

Ever since Britain joined the Obama administration in 2011 to demand the removal of Hosni Mubarak, the British government has faced a difficult dilemma about how to handle the Muslim Brotherhood, the party that took over following the Egyptian president’s downfall.

Moderate, pro-Western Arab states, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have long regarded the Muslim Brotherhood as a radical Islamist organization. Under pressure to ban the movement, David Cameron, Britain’s prime minister at the time, in 2014 authorized a government inquiry into Muslim Brotherhood activities.

John Jenkins, one of Britain’s leading Arabists and a former ambassador to Iraq, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Syria, was appointed to head the inquiry. But despite a thorough review, the inquiry’s conclusions were ambivalent over allegations that the Muslim Brotherhood was directly involved in terrorist activity.

When the government finally announced the “main findings” of the review last year, it called membership in the Muslim Brotherhood merely a “possible indicator of extremism” and the group a “rite of passage” to violence for some members. This whitewashing is baffling. Even the review went so far as to identify the Muslim Brotherhood’s connection with Hamas, which Britain has designated a terrorist organization.

In early November, the Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs said the report’s ambivalent conclusions had undermined confidence in Britain’s dealings with the Arab world. For example, the report seems to have ignored the fact that shortly after the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi took power in 2012, hardline Salafists emerged and launched a campaign of terror against secular-minded Egyptians. Women were regularly harassed to wear the veil, and Coptic Christians were attacked and killed.

The Morsi government also sought to deepen its ties with Hamas and initiated a rapprochement between Cairo and Tehran. Iranian warships were soon granted passage through the Suez Canal for the first time since the 1979 Iranian revolution.

This worrying precedent hasn’t been repeated since Mr. Morsi was overthrown in 2013 by Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, the former defense minister and now Egypt’s president. Mr. Morsi and other leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood, meanwhile, have been convicted of treason and terrorism, though Mr. Morsi’s death sentence has since been overturned and a retrial ordered.

The governments of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have all outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood as a terror organization and want Whitehall to ban the Muslim Brotherhood’s ability to operate in Britain. These Arab countries insist that Muslim Brotherhood activists are taking advantage of Britain’s tolerant attitude toward Islamist groups to plot terror attacks in the Arab world, allegations that the Muslim Brotherhood denies, claiming that it is opposed to terrorism and violence. Pro-Western Arab states also still resent Britain and America’s involvement in supporting the removal of Mr. Mubarak, who had been a loyal ally of Western policy in the region, dating back at least to the First Gulf War.

The review’s failure to come out strongly against the Muslim Brotherhood is now causing the British government some major headaches. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have reportedly threatened to cancel lucrative trade deals with Britain in retaliation for the inquiry. Meanwhile, the British government has been heavily criticized by the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs as well as highly vocal pro-Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Britain, who claim the review failed to take into account the brutal repression Muslim Brotherhood supporters suffered at the hands of the Egyptian security authorities after President Sisi came to power. CONTINUE AT SITE

A Gingrich Commission on Government Newt is looking for a role, and this would fit his evangelism.

From the drama over Donald Trump’s cabinet you’d think the only position in government is Secretary of State. Yet Mr. Trump will need advice elsewhere, not least in taming the regulatory state. Newt Gingrich said he won’t serve in a Trump cabinet but would like to contribute. How about tapping the former House Speaker to lead a Gingrich Commission to modernize and shrink the federal government?

The models for this project would be the Hoover Commissions of the 1940s and early 1950s. President Harry Truman appointed former President Herbert Hoover to look for ways to streamline government in 1947, and Dwight Eisenhower did it again in 1953, and about 70% of the proposals were adopted in the two Administrations. Congress combined several agencies into what is now the General Services Administration, which reduced paperwork and federal procurement costs.

There’s also the 1980s Grace Commission, which made nearly 2,500 recommendations on everything from farm-credit rules to Pentagon hardware. The Grace Commission accomplished less than its predecessors thanks to a Democratic Congress, but it provoked a public debate about the role of government.

A Gingrich Commission would have an opening for greater progress with a GOP White House and Congress. There’s always a chance that the effervescent Mr. Gingrich would careen off course by proposing a military base on the moon. But he talks all the time about updating government for the 21st century, and he published a book on “winning the future” that covers everything from education to balancing the federal budget. This would be a chance to do it.

The feds over the decades have piled program atop program regardless of results, and a commission could highlight failures and duplications. Unlike previous eras, much of the work has already been done by think tanks or other commissions. The commission could work fairly rapidly, perhaps in a few months.

For example: Speaker Paul Ryan’s “Better Way” agenda has identified some 80 welfare programs run by 13 federal agencies, and inevitably many overlap in benefits and eligibility. That seems ripe for a closer look. President-elect Trump has singled out civil-service reform as a priority, and Paul Light of New York University has suggested ideas on these pages that the Gingrich Commission could review.

Over the next year Congress and the new Administration will be preoccupied with daily squalls and the rough and tumble of passing legislation. There’s no time for research. A Gingrich Commission could do that work and serve up ideas to plug into the budget over the next two years and beyond. Government is at its lowest standing with Americans in decades, so even progressives should support an effort that might improve its functioning and lay the basis for more public confidence.

Trump’s A-Team The president-elect is assembling a who’s who of conservatives for his cabinet.Dan Henninger

The day before Thanksgiving in New York, I bumped into a Trump adviser who actually knows what is going on inside Trump Tower, as opposed to rumors inhabiting the media such as this Tuesday headline: “Trump’s Team Frays Over Romney.” The message I got was different: “It’s going to be fine. It’s going to be just fine.”

In the seven days since Thanksgiving, President-elect Trump has named the respected schools reformer Betsy DeVos from Michigan as Secretary of Education. Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, the chairman of the House Budget Committee and a committed reformer of ObamaCare, is Secretary of Health and Human Services. Elaine Chao, who was George W. Bush’s reformist Labor Secretary for eight years, is the new Secretary of Transportation.

Two businessmen will enter the cabinet. Former Goldman Sachs banker Steven Mnuchin is Treasury Secretary and Wilbur Ross, an investor in distressed industries, will be Commerce Secretary.

Going deeper into the policy weeds, Mr. Trump selected Indiana Medicaid reformer Seema Verma to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. The main Supreme Court adviser visiting Trump Tower has been Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the Federalist Society.

Bob Woodson, one of this generation’s smartest and most productive black conservatives, has been in to discuss with Mr. Trump how to make good on his campaign promise to champion the inner cities.

If instead of these individuals, the visitors to Trump Tower had been the alt-right activists of so many progressive night sweats, it would have been reported across the New York Times’ front page and on CNN round the clock, as if Godzilla and Mothra were trundling up Fifth Avenue.

Instead, the Trump transition has been talking to and appointing some of the most accomplished and serious individuals in Republican and conservative politics. Donald Trump isn’t pulling rabbits out of a hat. Somebody at team Trump has a first-rate Rolodex.

Fidel’s Venezuelan Legacy Boat people flee the country that imitated the Castro model.


Fidel Castro’s death has elicited a flood of commentary about his legacy, including predictable tributes to his alleged achievements in health care and education. Readers interested in a more accurate accounting should read current headlines about life and death in Venezuela.

Except for Nicaragua in the 1980s, Venezuela has more wholly adopted Castro’s economic and ideological model than any other Latin American nation. The late Hugo Chávez took his cues from Castro on everything from his fondness for army fatigues to his 10-hour speeches. Chávez also adopted the Castro model of seizing private property, suppressing the independent media, hounding political opponents and making cause with rogues in Damascus and Tehran.

For a while Venezuela escaped some of the inevitable consequences thanks to a flood of petrodollars. That’s over. Inflation is forecast to reach 1,640% next year. Caracas is the world’s most violent city. Hospitals have run out of basic medicines, including antibiotics, leading to skyrocketing infant mortality. There are chronic and severe shortages of electricity, food and water, as well as ordinary consumer goods like diapers or beer. Nicolás Maduro, Chávez’s handpicked successor, has put his leading political opponents in jail.

And there’s hunger. An estimated 120,000 Venezuelans flooded into neighboring Colombia to buy food when Mr. Maduro briefly opened the border in July. Desperate Venezuelans are trekking through the Amazon hinterlands to make it to Brazil. And, like Cubans, they are taking to boats, risking their lives to make it to the nearby Dutch colony of Curaçao. Where there’s socialism there are boat people.

For years Caracas supplied Cuba with cheap oil. Havana returned the favor by providing the Chavista regime with much of its security apparatus, including thousands of military advisers and intelligence agents. Few doubted Castro’s skill in holding on to power, and Mr. Maduro and his lieutenants have the same determination.

Not long ago young leftists were hailing the achievements of Chávez’s “revolution,” much as a previous generation celebrated Castro’s. Western credulity about socialism is eternal, which perhaps explains the tearful eulogies for Castro. Those less easily suckered need only look at Venezuela’s desperate boat people to know the truth of Fidel’s legacy.

My Life with Leonard Cohen Friends, but never close, our paths intersected and then diverged, until this past September, when I connected with Leonard for the last time. Ruth Wisse

When Leonard Cohen died in early November, the flags of Montreal, his native city, were lowered to half-mast. Friends and fans exchanged notes of condolence. Leonard was such a mournful singer that he seemed to have readied his admirers for the loss of him, supplying the words and music for their lament. Many—and his Jewish devotees most of all—continue to grieve for the man who danced them to the end of love.http://mosaicmagazine.com/observation/2016/11/no-apologies-how-to-respond-to-slander-of-israel-and-jews/

Leonard’s eminence was never any mystery to me, a fellow Montrealer and fellow undergraduate (two years behind him) at McGill University. Decades later, when I set out to write a memoir of my college years, I found that I remembered him more distinctly than I remembered myself at that age. Although he was by no means the closest of my friends, not my lover or even the man I most admired among that assemblage of aspiring students, the title of my essay, “My Life without Leonard Cohen,” conveyed the realization that by organizing my memories around his singular presence, I could best reconstruct how our respective paths in life had diverged.

In college Leonard gave the impression of being a little unsure about everything—except his talent. In my essay, which was published in Commentary in 1995, I described how in his senior year and my sophomore year, our shared teacher Louis Dudek launched the McGill Poetry Series with Leonard’s first published book of verse; I helped to raise the money for that project and took part in the discussions surrounding its appearance. The title of the book,Let Us Compare Mythologies, already hinted at his idea of Judaism as but one set of beliefs among many. In a university that then included in its curriculum not a single reference to Judaism or the Jews, we who constituted about a third of the undergraduate population tended to devalue our heritage. “Culture” for us meant Matthew Arnold; “poetry” (at least for students of Dudek) meant T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. Although we were never tempted to deny our Jewishness, it seemed bad form to practice it overtly or to mention it in our classes. Cosmopolitan worldliness was our watchword.

Soon after college I rebelled against this self-denigration and determined to introduce Jewish literature into the academy. In 1969 I helped to found the Jewish Studies program at McGill and taught courses in Yiddish literature. Meanwhile, Leonard for his part was launched on an exploration of spiritual experience that eventually took him to the Buddhist monastery on Mount Baldy, California. In his writing and through other forms of experimentation he was intent on finding the combination that was right for him.

My 1995 essay,swaddled in appreciation and love, nonetheless reflected my disappointment over Leonard’s choice. He had written that Canadians were “desperate for a Keats.” I demurred:

Not true in my case. I was desperate for a Cohen. I bet on him as on a racehorse, prayed for him as for an angel. His confidence and his talent were such that I accorded to him my highest hopes, certain that he would become the guardian truth-teller of my generation.

By “Cohen” I had in mind the Jewish high-priestly caste, a fitting association for a poet reaching for greatness. Thou shalt not flirt with other gods is the basis of the Jewish creed. I’d been writing about the two of us in parallel, but at this point in my essay I switched tracks; the man climbing Mount Baldy was not standing with me at the foot of Mount Sinai. He would follow his muse wherever she led him; if I wanted a poet or writer for the Jewish people, I would have to look elsewhere.

To my surprise, soon after the essay’s appearance I received a note from Leonard, whom I’d not seen in years. It was unmistakably distressed. “I don’t know about ‘flower-childrens’ brigades,” he wrote, referring to my description of the audiences he was attracting,

The Decline and Fall of Higher Education By Michael Thau

Nearly everyone outside academia knows that America’s colleges and universities are doing a poor job of preparing their charges for adult life. Undergraduate education, nonetheless, continues to enjoy tremendous prestige. Few upper middle class parents would prefer a gainfully employed child to one attending university; indeed, for most affluent parents, the former would be a source of embarrassment. Higher education’s social esteem makes it hard to fully assimilate its well-known failings but it also completely hides the worst. For, you see, the biggest problem isn’t the facts and skills students don’t learn, it’s the bad habits they do.

I was a philosophy professor for 13 years and, at the beginning, I noticed that my colleagues weren’t requiring much from students and the deleterious effect of this on the latter’s work habits. So, I tried making my students work to get good grades. But, regardless of the penalties I imposed, it was impossible to get all but a tiny minority to seriously apply themselves. The most active response I got from students was extreme resentment. Most students stared at me incredulously when I explained that they’d have to work hard to get a decent grade. A few times I heard a shocked student complain – without intending or even noticing any irony – “But this is harder than high school!”

I tried telling my classes that some work was required even though I wouldn’t be checking it and, literally, almost no one could comprehend what this meant. They immediately heard “won’t be checked” as “isn’t required” because almost all of them prioritized entertainment and socializing far above learning. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of students who major in the humanities do so precisely because they have no reason for being in college besides avoiding work and because humanities classes require far less of it than the sciences. But, even outside the humanities, the typical student views the person in front of the classroom, not as a teacher, but merely as an obstacle to getting a B or better.

Of course, students couldn’t stay in college with no desire to learn if their professors weren’t cooperating. And here we come to the second reason that college is such a crippling experience for so many: virtually no professors at an even minimally distinguished college or university regard their real job as teaching. Indeed, if you work at a prestigious college or university, you do so little teaching that it would be almost impossible to do so. I was an assistant professor in UCLA’s philosophy department from 1996-2004. Philosophy faculty taught four ten‑week courses a year, each meeting four hours a week. Salaries, however, by no means reflected our minimal teaching duties. Upon leaving, my annual salary – one of the lowest in the department – was $65,000 plus about $4,000 a year in (untaxed) “research” money for travel; the most senior department members had six figure salaries plus five figure travel budgets. Teaching loads and salaries at Princeton, where I earned my PhD, and Temple, where I worked next, and similar institutions are comparable. For a successful academic, teaching is just a cover story – it’s what you say you do to justify your generous pay. What you really do – what gives you self-respect, pride of accomplishment and takes up most of your time – is produce “research.”

Academic research calls to mind beneficial technological advancements. But, even most scientific research has no practical value. It’s mostly, at best, the accumulation of tiny facts that will never affect anyone outside a handful of aficionados. Even in the sciences academic research is mostly academic. But research in the humanities is entirely academic. That’s not to say that the great humanist texts have no value; the humanities’ canon does have very important things to say about how to live a good, productive, and happy life. But these practical lessons don’t generate the kind of papers required for success in academia. The writing of a successful professor must be couched in the most abstract terms – it must be completely inaccessible to all but a few like-minded colleagues. Accessibility and practical import are the hug and kiss of professional death; they mark your work as unsophisticated and you as not very clever.

Why the Democrats Can’t Stop Calling the GOP Racists by Karin McQuillan

President Obama, Democrat politicians and the mainstream media are still calling Trump KKK. They’re tarring his team as anti-Semites and racists. The electoral map would stop any normal politicians in their tracks, but Democrat hate speech is only getting louder and more hysterical. A major course correction is not going to happen for three reasons:

1. Democrat leadership;

2. Democrat donors;

3. Democrat voting blocks.

There is no force in the party that wants to change.

Democrats don’t debate Trump on the issues, because their agenda is a turn-off. Under the leadership of Alinskyite Barack Obama, the Democratic Party has degenerated from liberalism to progressivism. It has not been pretty. A focus on preferential treatment for blacks has given way to a war on cops. Caring about Hispanic Americans suddenly means America shouldn’t have borders and should have sanctuary for rapists and killers — as long as they are here illegally.

Browbeating college kids by empowerring feminists and black activists with Title IX money has turned college campuses against freedom of thought and speech. Women’s issues have bizarrely turned into a war on masculinity. Gay rights has morphed into men in women’s bathrooms. Pro-choice turned into third-trimester infanticide and lawsuits against the Little Sisters of the Poor. Physical violence against Republicans is encouraged by President Obama and Clinton under the euphemism ‘protest.’

Democrat progressive politics is weird and ugly and dangerous, and people across the country have recoiled from it. As Marc Thiessen says with his usual eloquence, “You can drive some 3,000 miles across the entire continental United States — from sea to shining sea — without driving through a single county that voted for Hillary Clinton.”