Displaying posts published in

February 2017

A beautiful friendship by Caroline Glick

Less than a week after he was inaugurated into office, President Donald Trump announced that he had repaired the US’s fractured ties with Israel. “It got repaired as soon as I took the oath of office,” he said.

Not only does Israel now enjoy warm relations with the White House. When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives in the US capital next week, he will be greeted by the most supportive political climate Israel has ever seen in Washington.

It is true that dangers to Israel’s ties with America lurk in the background. The radical Left is taking control of the Democratic Party.But the forces now hijacking the party on a whole host of issues have yet to transform their hatred of Israel into the position of most Democratic lawmakers in Congress.

Democrats in both houses of Congress joined with their Republican counterparts in condemning UN Security Council Resolution 2334 that criminalized Israel. A significant number of Democratic lawmakers support Trump’s decision to slap new sanctions on Iran.

Similarly, radical Jewish groups have been unsuccessful in rallying the more moderate leftist Jewish leadership to their cause. Case in point is the widespread support Trump’s appointment of David Friedman to serve as his ambassador to Israel is receiving from the community.

Whereas J Street and T’ruah are circulating a petition calling for people to oppose his Senate confirmation, sources close to the issue in Washington say that AIPAC supports it.Given this political climate, Netanyahu must use his meeting with Trump to develop a working alliance to secure Israel’s long-term strategic interests both on issues of joint concern and on issues that concern Israel alone.

The first issue on the agenda must be Iran. Since taking office, Trump has signaled that unlike his predecessors, he is willing to lead a campaign against Iran. Trump has placed Iran on notice that its continued aggression will not go unanswered and he has harshly criticized Obama’s nuclear deal with the mullahs.

In the lead-up to his meeting with Trump, Netanyahu has said that he will present the new president with five options for scaling back Tehran’s nuclear program. No time can be wasted in addressing this problem. Iran continues spinning its advanced centrifuges.

The mullahs are still on schedule to field the means to deploy nuclear warheads at will within a decade. Netanyahu’s task is to work with Trump to significantly set back Iran’s nuclear program as quickly as possible.

Then there is Syria. And Russia.

On Sunday, Trump restated his desire to develop ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Netanyahu must present Trump with a viable plan to reconstitute US-Russian ties in exchange for Russian abandonment of its alliance with Tehran and its cooperation with Iran and Hezbollah in Syria. Here, too, time is of the essence.

According to news reports this week, President Bashar Assad is redeploying his forces to the Syrian border with Israel. Almost since the outset of the war in Syria six years ago, Assad’s forces have been under Iranian and Hezbollah control. If Syrian forces deploy to the border, then Iran and Hezbollah will control the border.

Israel cannot permit such a development. It’s not just that such a deployment greatly expands the risk of war. As long as Russia is acting in strategic alliance with Iran and Hezbollah in Syria, the deployment of Iranian-controlled forces to the border raises the real possibility that Israel will find itself at war with Russia in Syria.

Trojan Horses in Women’s Movement by Khadija Khan

It must be so convenient, while marching in the safe confines of Washington DC, to advocate that other women — far away — be genitally mutilated, married off in childhood, and beaten and violated in their own homes. These women in hijabs marching on Washington do not have to live in this “Utopia.” They are comfortably living in the “infidel West,” protected from such barbarity.

The Western culture that allows women to shout into microphones is not even necessarily the culture these women believe in; it is often just a tool they use to promote totalitarian ideas such as anti-Semitism, religious intolerance and imposition of theocratic beliefs.

Does Linda Sarsour really think that people have gone so mad that they will give up the civil liberties that their ancestors earned through the centuries, merely for interest-free loans?

The hypocrisy is that Sarsour’s bold lifestyle in the US portrays that deep down she herself loathes the suppressing conditions that she promotes for the poor women of the Muslim world, who actually have to live with them. Coming from a conservative Muslim society, I know the culture she yearns for would never allow her to launch such activism without permission from her “guardian” men.

The dissenting voices of the oppressed are fighting on two fronts. They are being crushed by their own totalitarian regimes and at the same time by Western apologists for these tyrants.

Why do women who believe in equal rights for women, pick as their spokesperson someone who one minute boasts of her supposed dissent as “patriotism,” while the next minute advocating chopping off other womens’ genitals? It is like choosing a hangman to campaign against the death penalty, or the head of ISIS to campaign for same sex marriages.

The principles of “dissent,” of which they claim to be so proud, and to have borrowed from religious sources, are actually the modern world’s liberal values and human rights — just those rights values they seem to be trying to destroy.

From the other side of their mouths, however, they are trying to impose Islamic sharia law on the West. Unfortunately, sharia is openly antagonistic to Western values and human rights.

How can cults that believe in dominating others call themselves progressive, when their entire message runs counter to the spirit of tolerance and social coexistence?

The champions of sharia have always said they wish to establish a “righteous” form of government, made by divine law, and presumably to that end, they implant their set of rules — such as allowing no debate or criticism on their beliefs, or such as segregating sexes — to destroy modern democracies.

It must be so convenient, while marching on Washington DC, to advocate that other women — far away — be genitally mutilated, married off in childhood, and domestically beaten and violated — and all the while, in the safe confines of Washington, to stay silent on issues of truly massive abuse: floggings; acid burnings; chopping off limbs or heads, or burning, drowning or burying people alive.

These women in hijabs marching on Washington DC do not have to live in this “Utopia.” They are comfortably living in the “infidel West’, protected from such barbarity.

The values they are enjoying here are the values of the enlightened world and have nothing to do with the culture they are trying to impose on others.

The culture that is allowing women such as Linda Sarsour to shout into microphones is not even necessarily the culture these women believe in; it is often just the culture they are using to promote totalitarian ideas such as anti-Semitism, religious intolerance and the imposition of theocratic beliefs through infiltration or force.

Will Trump back Israel in the next war? Ruthie Blum

Analysts on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean — and of the political spectrum — have been scrutinizing every syllable uttered by members of the new administration in Washington to determine whether U.S. President Donald Trump is as good a friend to the Jewish state as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hopes.

So far, four issues have been discussed and debated ad nauseam: U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley’s pronouncement that her government would not abandon Israel at the world body, as the Obama administration did when it enabled the passage of Security Council Resolution 2234, which deemed all Jewish presence beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines illegal; the nomination of David Friedman — a settlements sympathizer who supports relocating the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — as U.S. ambassador to Israel; a recent Trump administration warning that Israeli settlement construction could be potentially harmful to peace negotiations toward Palestinian statehood (the “two-state solution”); and the omission of any mention of Jews in the statement issued by the administration on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Where the bigger picture is concerned, Israel is observing Team Trump’s behavior toward Iran, telling Tehran that its saber-rattling and ballistic missile tests will incur serious consequences; imposing new sanctions on the mullah-led regime; and openly weighing the designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization.

But the one question that has not been raised is how the Trump administration will respond when Israel is forced to go to war, yet again, with Hamas in Gaza and/or with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Middle East experts have been predicting, albeit cautiously, that neither scenario is likely in the near future, due to the internal difficulties each terrorist group is currently experiencing. Hezbollah is deeply entrenched in the Syrian civil war, and has already lost many of its men in the fighting. Hamas is suffering from a loss of income, as a number of European countries begin to reconsider the process of transferring cash earmarked for the rehabilitation of Gaza, which ends up paying for the rebuilding and enhancement of tunnel and rocket infrastructure.

Recent developments indicate, however, that more serious military action — in addition to retaliatory IDF moves following errant or aimed fire on Israel from just beyond its southern and northern borders — may be unavoidable.

DHS had been warned about radicalized Muslim who allegedly murdered Denver officer by Carlos Garcia

The awful murder of 56-year-old Denver transit officer Scott Von Lanken is made all the more worse after reports surfaced that the Department of Homeland Security had been warned about the alleged killer by members of his mosque. The attack took place Tuesday when Joshua Cummings approached the uniformed transit officer as he was helping two women, according to police. Cummings reportedly told him, “Do as I tell you,” and then fired a gun into his neck, fatally injuring him.

Police captured him blocks away and recovered a firearm.

Cummings is an Army veteran and a convert to Islam, but representatives of his mosque grew apprehensive of how radicalized he was becoming. They had sent a letter to DHS warning about Cummings in December.

Suspect Joshua Cummings, 37, attended a mosque event and raised red flags after expressing perceived extremist views and a willingness to “fight,” according to the email that representatives of the mosque sent to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in December. It’s unclear when the mosque event occurred.

“He seems pretty advanced in his path of radicalization,” the email warned DHS. “He also feels that it [is] okay to fight now (not jihad/struggle, but actually fight), here to establish the rule of Islam.”

The letter concluded with details about how they were trying to pacify his radicalism with counseling from Imams, but it wasn’t working. “He is not listening to reason.”

Homeland Security confirmed in a statement that they had received the letter, adding, “It was immediately referred to the appropriate law enforcement agencies for review.”

Scott Von Lanken was a devoted husband who worked 65 hours a week “to provide for his family, including an adult daughter with disabilities,” reported Kyle Clark of 9 News in Denver.

Von Lanken had also been a Christian pastor at an Assembly of God church in Loveland, Colorado, and later at a church in Ohio.

Cummings faces first degree murder charges according to ABC News, and will appear in court Friday.

Study: Liberal-to-conservative faculty ratio in academia will blow your mind By Pete Vanderzwet

As bad as you might think it is, it’s actually worse

Multiple studies released by statisticians and psychologists have revealed evidence for potential professional and personal harm to academics and students expressing conservative political leanings in universities across America.

As the largely conservative “Greatest Generation” faded into retirement in the 1990s, “Baby Boomers” holding increasingly liberal worldviews came to dominate university faculty. Studies released by the Heterodox Academy, tasking themselves with studying the evolving hegemony of “progressives” in academia, have revealed a significant lack of diversity in political thought encompassing various universities and academic departments.

So dominant is leftist ideology that across university departments in nearly all states, an average ratio of 10:1 exists among faculty who identify as liberal versus conservative. When exploring the makeup of Ivy League institutions and universities in New England, results, such as the case with Brown University, were as high as 60:1 in favor of registered Democrats among professors.

Economic departments found best balance with a 4:5:1 ratio in favor of registered Republicans, but history departments skewed 33:5:1 for Democrats. A significant number of departments had no registered Republicans at all.

Other well respected universities include:

Boston University – 40:1
John Hopkins – 35:1
Tufts – 32:1
Columbia – 30:1
Princeton – 30:1
Boston College – a moderate 22:1 ratio in favor of registered Democrats

Since assistant professors are more likely to be registered Democrats, as the generational transition moves forward, many more top positions in academia are filled by progressives who self-identify with their peers within a set of “scared values.” As the quest for tenure is allocated via “departmental majoritarianism,” “excessive concurrence-seeking” produces a psychological “other” into which they box their conservative peers.

In any rational quest for diversity, such numbers would not be acceptable. The problem, however, isn’t only the lack of diversity when it comes to ideologies fueling the minds of those teaching our children, but the outright hostility presented to their conservative peers and the environment on campus to which conservative students are exposed.

Degrees of Delusion by Peter O’Brien

Does anybody, apart from the Prime Minister, really believe that wrecking the economy in order to combat a trace gas makes any sort of sense whatsoever. Worse than that, if are we just going through the motions to look good before the rest of the world, that isn’t working either.
First the good news if you happen to be a warmist. As of November 4, 2016, precisely 116 “parties” of 197 nations had ratified the Paris climate accord. Even better, the UNFCC website tells us that 112 of those countries submitted CO2 emissions reduction targets, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). These are generally couched in terms of percentage reductions by a pre-determined year –2030, say, against a baseline year of, say, 2005 — and the latest additions to the list mean the accord has now reached its required threshold of global support.

Ostensibly, these contributions have been crafted to help attain the goal of limiting global warming to 2C, but preferably 1.5C, above pre-industrial times. Notice the wording of the national targets. It’s bit of a giveaway. Firstly, they are ‘intended’, i.e. no guarantee they will ever be delivered. And secondly, they are ‘nationally determined’.

On what basis are they determined? This is where the rest of us get to the bad news. One would imagine, ‘climate science’ being such a settled thing, that the UNFCC, prior to the Paris meeting, would have issued some guidance as to exactly what total global CO2 reductions would be needed to meet the 2C goal. How much less CO2 must we emit? Without such guidance how do we know that our nationally determined targets are going to be effective in achieving the goals? Further, how are INDCs to be co-ordinated to maximize the chance of success?

Well, guess what! There is no such official guidance anywhere. Countries simply decided what they could afford. In other words, there is a disconnect between the goal of limiting warming to 2C and what is being promised to achieve it. I’ve written before of this but it’s worth re-visiting the subject in order to highlight the absolute vacuousness of official policy on both sides of the political divide in this country.

Imagine a NSW Premier talking to the CEO of a major construction outfit:

Premier: “We want to build a bridge across the harbour from South Head to North Head. How much will it cost?”

CEO: “How much you got?”

Premier: “We’ve budgeted for $1 billion”

CEO: “Well, give us the billion and we’ll see how far across we can get”

Premier: “Well, it’s worth a shot. When can you start?”

Sounds fanciful, right? What politician in his right mind (admittedly a dying breed) would sign up to something like that? But that’s exactly what we’re doing in relation to the vaunted Paris agreement, only the dollar costs are much bigger.

French Police Detain Four Suspected of Plotting Terror Attack Police find type of explosive material in Montpellier that was used in Paris, Brussels attacks By Noemie Bisserbe

PARIS—Police detained four people in southern France on Friday on suspicion of planning an attack using the same explosive employed by suicide bombers in Islamic State assaults in Paris and Brussels.

Three men—aged 20, 26 and 33—and a 16-year-old girl were taken into police custody in and around the city of Montpellier, according to people familiar with the investigation. At the home of one of the men, police found a liter each of acetone, hydrogen peroxide and sulfuric acid, chemicals used to make the explosive material TATP.

Three of the detainees were suspected of direct involvement in an “imminent attack on French soil,” French Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux said.

In November 2015, Islamic State gunmen, all but one wearing suicide vests containing TATP, killed 130 people in attacks across the French capital. Months later, another group of Islamic State militants using TATP bombed the airport in Brussels and a nearby metro station, leaving 32 people dead.

Friday’s arrests in southern France cap a week of police action across Europe against suspected Islamist radicals.

Two men, one Algerian and the other Nigerian, were taken into custody in Germany on suspicion of planning an imminent attack. Belgian police targeting returnees from Syria detained 11 people in the capital Brussels on Wednesday and released them a day later following questioning.

In the U.K., police on Thursday arrested a 44-year-old man from the southern county of Hertfordshire on suspicion of terror offenses. The man was taken into custody at Gatwick Airport after returning from Iraq, police said, giving no further details.

France has been on high alert after a spate of terrorist attacks in the past 18 months that have left more than 200 people dead.

With presidential elections scheduled for April 23, the country’s Socialist government is under pressure to show it is doing all it can to prevent new attacks. Conservative candidate François Fillon and far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who is leading in the polls, have criticized the government for what they say is its complacency over the threat of terrorism.

French security forces have been granted sweeping powers to hunt and apprehend potential terrorists, and since the beginning of 2016 more than 400 people with suspected links to terrorist groups have been detained.

It was unclear whether the people detained Friday have any links to the militant networks that have carried out attacks in Europe in recent years.

Even as Islamic State loses territory in Syria and Iraq, the militant group has claimed responsibility for terrorist attacks across Europe, which has enabled it to keep the public on edge without being forced to train and equip teams to pull off highly sophisticated operations.

Last week, a man believed to be visiting from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates attacked soldiers near Paris’s Louvre museum while shouting “Allahu akbar.” CONTINUE AT SITE

Asa Fitch and Aresu Eqbali : Iranians Vilify Trump in Annual Rally Renewed friction fuels anti-American displays in celebration of anniversary of Islamic Revolution

TEHRAN—Iran’s annual celebration of its 1979 Islamic Revolution found a new villain on Friday in President Donald Trump, as the country marked the anniversary amid renewed friction between the two countries.

Anti-Americanism has long been a domestic political force in Iran, routinely invoked by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Such sentiments were stoked by Mr. Trump’s recent moves to impose new sanctions in response to an Iranian missile test and bar Iranians from entering the U.S.—and by Mr. Khamenei’s response denouncing the U.S. president.

The annual march in Tehran on Friday featured the ritual burning of American flags, augmented this year with shows of hostility such as an effigy of the American president hanging by a noose and a poster of Mr. Trump with rifle sights on his face.

An Iranian woman holds an anti-Trump poster during an annual event in Tehran on Friday marking the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

An Iranian woman holds an anti-Trump poster during an annual event in Tehran on Friday marking the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Photo: abedin taherkenareh/European Pressphoto Agency

Such displays were also routine during the Obama administration, even as President Barack Obama sought to ease tensions and helped bring about the 2015 deal that lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for the country’s shelving of its nuclear ambitions.

“Iranian people are like this,” said Ali Farhadi, a retired member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, an elite military force. “When they get threatened, they get motivated and are enticed to come out and show resistance.” CONTINUE AT SITE

The Ninth Circuit Ignores Precedent and Threatens National Security Under its ruling, a state university could go to court on behalf of any alien, anywhere. By David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals violated both judicial precedent and the Constitution’s separation of powers in its ruling against President Trump’s executive order on immigration. If the ruling stands, it will pose a danger to national security.

Under normal rules of standing, the states of Washington and Minnesota should never have been allowed to bring this suit. All litigants, including states, must meet fundamental standing requirements: an injury to a legally protected interest, caused by the challenged action, that can be remedied by a federal court acting within its constitutional power. This suit fails on every count.

The plaintiff states assert that their public universities are injured because the order affects travel by certain foreign students and faculty. But that claim involved no legally protected interest. The granting of visas and the decision to admit aliens into the country are discretionary powers of the federal government. Unadmitted aliens have no constitutional right to enter the U.S. In hiring or admitting foreigners, universities were essentially gambling that these noncitizens could make it to America and be admitted. Under the theory of standing applied in this case, universities would be able to sponsor any alien, anywhere in the world, then go to court to challenge a decision to exclude him.

It is also settled law that a state can seek to vindicate only its own rights, not those of third parties, against the national government. The U.S. Supreme Court held in Massachusetts v. Mellon (1923) that it is not within a state’s duty or power to protect its citizens’ “rights in respect of their relations with the Federal Government.” Thus the plaintiffs’ claims that the executive order violates various constitutional rights, such as equal protection, due process and religious freedom, are insufficient because these are individual and not states’ rights.

Even if states could articulate a concrete injury, this is not a case in which the courts ultimately can offer redress. The Constitution grants Congress plenary power over immigration, and Congress has vested the president by statute with broad, nonreviewable discretionary authority to “suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens . . . he may deem to be appropriate” to protect “the interest of the United States.” Numerous presidents have used this authority to suspend entry of aliens from specific countries.

Further, as the Supreme Court explained in Knauff v. Shaughnessy (1950), the authority to exclude aliens “stems not alone from the legislative power but is inherent in the executive power to control the foreign affairs of the nation.” In issuing the order, the president was acting at the apex of his authority. As Justice Robert Jackson noted in Youngstown v. Sawyer (1952): “When the President acts pursuant to an express or implied authorization of Congress, his authority is at its maximum, for it includes all that he possesses in his own right plus all that Congress can delegate.” That point the Ninth Circuit ignored entirely.

The order, frequently mischaracterized as a “Muslim ban,” is actually directed at seven countries that the president believes present a particular threat to U.S. security—a view with which Congress agreed in 2015. All are beset by terrorists and so uncertain and chaotic that proper vetting of potential refugees and immigrants is virtually impossible. CONTINUE AT SITE

Scott Walker’s Tuition Markdown A tuition freeze stirs a campus revolt but not by students.

Scott Walker’s 2011 budget reforms are now paying out what he called a “reform dividend” in his budget proposal this week. The Wisconsin Governor wants to share some of the windfall with college students. Strangely enough, but then maybe not, his inspiration is riling up the bureaucracy that allegedly exists to serve college students.

Mr. Walker froze in-state tuition at the University of Wisconsin in 2013, and now he’s promoting a 5% cut for the 2018-19 school year—the first year-over-year cost decrease in the history of the public university system. The Governor suggests a state budget surplus can be used in part to increase UW’s $6.3 billion budget by $105.2 million, plus a separate $35 million to backfill the lost tuition.

Including the tuition freeze and next year’s cut, the class of 2019 will save about $9,000 each relative to the trend in the decade before the freeze, when UW tuition climbed 118%.

Nearly everybody agrees college affordability is receding and claims to be worried about student debt, though woe unto the Governors who do more than talk. Mr. Walker’s tuition discount is getting a cool reception in the Republican-controlled state legislature because it is a spending increase. But compare that to the reception in Madison and other college towns.

UW–Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank of the flagship campus said in a statement she was “very appreciative” of the funding increases, but she told the faculty in January: “It will not surprise you to know that I think this isn’t the best way to use state dollars. Saving everybody a hundred dollars or so is peanuts compared to what’s needed, which is affordability for low- and middle-income students. We have large numbers of families for whom that hundred dollars is meaningless.”

The UW Board of Regents has been in open revolt against the tuition freeze for years, viewing Mr. Walker’s concession prices as beneath the school’s reputation and dignity. “I don’t want to diminish the importance of tuition, but let’s not get tuition tunnel vision,” UW-System President Ray Cross warned last October. By the way, the new Walker budget brings need-based financial aid to an all-time state high.

Mr. Walker’s tuition cut is a useful exercise in truth-in-advertising for academic priorities. Public universities want both higher costs for students and more taxpayer money, and anybody who tries to challenge this status quo is merely offering “peanuts.”