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February 2017

The Muslim Brotherhood: Wellspring of Terrorism by Judith Bergman

The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in Egypt released an official statement calling on its supporters to “prepare” for “jihad”, in January 2015.

“The Muslim Brotherhood at all levels have repeatedly defended Hamas attacks… including the use of suicide bombers and the killing of civilians.” — UK government expert review of the Muslim Brotherhood, December 2015.

The Muslim Brotherhood not only funds one of the most virulent terrorist groups, Hamas, but there is barely any daylight between the various leaderships of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Jordan and Hamas.

Most of the terrorists who later founded al Qaeda were rooted in the MB. Osama bin Laden was apparently recruited as a young man to the MB, whereas Ayman al Zawahiri joined the MB at the age of 14 and went on to found the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ),”an organization that…. holds many of the same beliefs as the MB but simply refuses to renounce violence inside Egypt” — Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

The Muslim Brotherhood believes today what it has always believed: that a caliphate, where sharia law will rule, must be established through jihad. Refusing to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization would be a grave mistake, playing straight into the strategy of the Brotherhood and, once more, revealing to the world the extreme gullibility of the West.

The Trump administration is considering designating the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) a foreign terrorist organization, and Human Rights Watch is outraged.

“Designating the Muslim Brotherhood a ‘foreign terrorist organization’ would wrongly equate it with violent extremist groups like Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State and make their otherwise lawful activities illegal,” said Human Rights Watch. The press release went on to repeat the old claim that “…the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt officially renounced violence in the 1970s and sought to promote its ideas through social and political activities”.

Agents of Their Own Destruction Are Palestinians Victims or Actors? by Denis MacEoin

The importance of a shift in narratives cannot be overemphasized. It is the key to peace.

“Just as real peace could come to Europe after World War II only after Germans abandoned the ‘German narrative’ and accepted the true history of the war that Germany started, so only abandonment of the ‘Palestinian narrative’ and acceptance of the true sequence of the events of 1947-48 can serve as a basis for reconciliation between Jews and Arabs.” — Moshe Arens, former Defence Minister, Israel.

Psychologically, it is easier to embrace a good cause (or, for that matter, even a bad one) in simplistic, “black and white” terms. For many people a “good” cause is made up of people who suffer from “imperialism” and “colonialism”, plucky minorities, third-world victims of first-world oppression, revolutionary vanguards, and anyone put upon by the United States, Great Britain, France or any former “imperialist” power. Other “imperialist” powers, such as Russia, China or Iran, are conveniently overlooked or forgotten — not to mention the centuries of Islamist imperialism that covered Iran, Turkey, Greece, all of North Africa, Hungary, Serbia, the Balkans, virtually all of Eastern Europe and which we see still continuing.

The Palestinians, in this narrative of “good” and “bad” have purportedly been permanently “dispossessed” by, of all people, the Jews — whom they had the misfortune to attack in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973 — and lose to.

If members of the new U.S. administration seek to advance the moribund “peace process”, they could find no better place to start than direct confrontation with Palestinian rejectionism. This means that those leaders must be pressed as hard as possible to end their persecution of their own populations.

There must be carrots, but there must also be sticks. The UN, the EU, and the OIC will offer only carrots. Will the U.S. now add the threat of real consequences to that mix?

With the advent of President Trump’s administration, massive changes are expected, not just on the domestic front, but internationally. One of the first regions that will require immediate attention is the Middle East, where the policies of the Obama administration have led to a diminished role for the United States and therefore for global freedom.

If the Trump administration is to make rapid progress in the peace process (to the extent there is one), their first priority must be to demolish the Palestinian narrative. It is a false narrative from beginning to end. It tells historical falsehoods about the origins of the “Palestinian” people, the precedence of Jews in the land, the Jewish and Christian identity of holy sites, and the self-inflicted “Nakba” of 1947-48. But a purely historical approach is unlikely to appeal on the political or emotional level. Something more has to be addressed. That something more must, it would seem, be a hard-headed dismissal of the narrative of Palestinian victimhood. It is this perception of Palestinians as the constant victims of an aggressive Israel that drives pro-Palestinian Christians, human rights activists, moral campaigners, socialists, and many others.

The importance of a shift in narratives cannot be overemphasized. It is the key to peace. “Just as real peace could come to Europe after World War II only after Germans abandoned the ‘German narrative’ and accepted the true history of the war that Germany started, so only abandonment of the ‘Palestinian narrative’ and acceptance of the true sequence of the events of 1947-48 can serve as a basis for reconciliation between Jews and Arabs,” wrote Moshe Arens, former Defence Minister of the State of Israel.

The Palestinian Arabs, their leaders, and their worldwide, manifold aiders and abettors have deluded the international media, the United Nations, politicians just about everywhere, religious leaders from most of the Christian churches, and human rights activists on every continent, into believing them to be the world’s greatest victims, a struggling and persecuted people whose woes and sufferings have for decades eclipsed those of every other suffering minority on the face of the planet. You never have to look far for evidence of this.

Writing in 2015, shortly after Mahmoud Abbas’s visit to the UN General Assembly, Dr. Eran Lerman of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies expressed this sense of Palestinian victimhood thus:

The speech delivered by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas at the UN General Assembly last week was proof, once again, that the Palestinian “narrative” of victimhood has become a threat to any practical prospect for peace. Palestinian leaders consistently advance an interpretation of history which is at odds not only with the facts but also with their people’s best interests.

At the core of Abbas’ plaintive narration is the notion of the Palestinians as innocent victims, whose right to statehood and independence has been taken away and brutally ignored for much too long. In this telling of history, the Palestinians deserve to be backed by coercive intervention, as soon as possible, so as to impose on Israel a solution which would implement their “rights.”

The United Nations: Making a Mockery of Human Rights by George Igler

“Nowhere has the UN’s failure been more consistent and more outrageous than in its bias against our close ally Israel.” — Governor Nikki Haley, US Ambassador-designate to the United Nations.

When those handsomely remunerated within transnational institutions make their priority spiteful political issues and arguably anti-Semitic point-scoring — rather than protecting hard-won humanistic principles such as human rights — the very values that differentiate segments of the modern world from the more barbarous norms of the past — their legitimacy is eroded.

“My commitment is… to reject any oppression in the name of religion… a goal that we will reach in a peaceful and law-abiding way.” — Raif Badawi, a Saudi blogger sentenced for such thoughts to 1000 lashes — in contravention of international law — followed by ten years in jail and a fine of approximately $260,000. His lawyer, Walid Abu’l-Khayr, was jailed as well. Where was the United Nations then? A royal pardon for both men should be granted immediately.

It is high time that democratic nations reasserted their sovereignty in the face of these unelected, untransparent, and unaccountable transnational institutions which so often make a mockery of the standards they are pledged to uphold.

The “rise of populism” has become an absorbing subject for political commentators in the West, yet as the Cato Institute scholar, Alberto Mingardi, helpfully observes, the term is “as slippery as it is popular.”

Perhaps the most noteworthy feature of this current political trend is why we are struck by it. The nations of the West are, after all, democracies: systems of government designed to translate popular concerns into legislative instruments.

An answer to this dysfunction might lie in the layers of transnational governance, which proliferated after the Second World War, superseding national, and by implication democratically-accountable, decision making.

The horrendous carnage that ripped the world apart in the middle of the last century led to a principled decision by the world’s leaders to promote the formulation, and then ratification, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Today, the most senior transnational body responsible for preserving such rights, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), housed within the Palace of Nations in Geneva, is arguably a pathetic joke.

To say so is not an exercise in polemic; it is a product of soberly assessing the facts.

Peter O’Brien :Dreadful Heat, Dire Science, Dim Hacks

Why this media preoccupation with days over 35C? The reason is not hard to fathom: 35C is now the magic number the IPCC is using as a benchmark for ‘extreme weather’. It’s that simple — even more simple, come to think of it, than the habitues of your typical ABC or Fairfax newsroom.
It’s hard to be a CAGW sceptic. Just when you think all the ducks are lining up, at a moment when no serious person could invest the slightest credence in catastrophrianism’s sky-is-falling predictions and busted prophecies, summer gets hot, as its wont, and all the usual suspects are speed dialling boy and girl reporters to dictate the last update on the planet’s imminent, heat-addled demise. And we were so close, too, when last week’s Dreadful Heat (™) revived the climate careerists, academic fabulists, grant-snaffling rent-seekers and subsidy hogs.

Think about it: the strongest recorded El Nino only causing the globe to warm by a miniscule amount (less than the margin for error); Donald Trump elected on a promise to tear up the Paris climate agreement; new revelations about the settled science of climatological back-stabbing and skulduggery; more blackouts due in no small part to renewable energy’s impact on the electricity grid and market.

Why, even Malcolm Turnbull was extolling the virtues of coal, albeit “clean coal” and its cousin, “pumped hydro”, a prime ministerial endorsement suggesting the smart money is preparing to mine yet another corner of the public purse.

Then along comes Sydney’s ‘hottest summer on record’ to dominate the nightly news. I’m taking about NSW, but I guess it’s pretty much the same story everywhere else — apart from Western Australia, Victoria and Tasmania, where summer so far as been a cool disappointment for beachgoers and those who appreciate cool drinks with little umbrellas in them.

The weather soon returned to normal, but by then the doomsayers and their stenographers were off and running, yelping alarums to every sympathetic journalism-school graduate they could find. As demonstrated by today’s ABC headline, “Climate change: Scientists sad, frustrated as extreme weather becomes the new norm“, the usual suspects couldn’t have moved any faster toward the nearest microphone than if the visiting Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann was offering the hem of his garment for media slobbering.

As it happens, the press pack would have had to take a number and wait its turn, as Fairfax’s Peter Hannam was first in line — and seemingly determined not to mention anything negative about the jet-setting carbon-belcher’s dubious science, his involvement in Climategate, or the defamation action against Mark Steyn for branding a huckster and disgrace to science as exactly that. Deliciously, Hannam reported the author of so much fake news as being deeply troubled by … yes … “fake news.” You couldn’t make this stuff up, except that’s what their climate careerists and their toadies to every day of the week, twice on Sundays.

So forgive me, please, for being a little down in the mouth just at the moment, especially about the increasing tendency for alarmists (and their useful idiots in the MSM) to employ vague hyperbole in reporting weather events, thus avoiding the inconvenient truth that such record temperatures as we have been setting lately are meaningless, being smaller than the margin of error.

Swedish Feminista Politicians Obey Male Iranian Masters

Self-abasement bigtime! In a spectacular display of the hypocritical feminism that blasts President Trump and other Western men for misogyny real and supposed, these Swedish feministas bow their hijabbed heads to the leaders of a country known for very real and hideous oppression of women.

In the process these whacky Swedish hypocrites (whose own country, now the rape capital of Europe owing to Islamic mass migration , betrays its women and girls) have betrayed Iranian women, for whom encasement in body sacks is compulsory, despite the pleas of Iranian feminists fighting the hijab whom they have blatantly ignored.


Hillel Neuer of UN Watch has the lowdown on these wicked women. Inter alia:

‘In a statement that has gone viral on Twitter and Facebook, UN Watch, a non-governmental human rights NGO in Geneva, expressed disappointment that Sweden’s self-declared “first feminist government in the world” sacrificed its principles and betrayed the rights of Iranian women as Trade Minister Ann Linde and other female members walked before Iranian President Rouhani on Saturday wearing Hijabs, Chadors, and long coats, in deference to Iran’s oppressive and unjust modesty laws which make the Hijab compulsory — despite Stockholm’s promise to promote “a gender equality perspective” internationally, and to adopt a “feminist foreign policy” in which “equality between women and men is a fundamental aim.”

In doing so, Sweden’s female leaders ignored the recent appeal by Iranian women’s right activist Masih Alinejad who urged Europeans female politicians “to stand for their own dignity” and to refuse to kowtow to the compulsory Hijab while visiting Iran.

Resolution 2334 and Potential Teachable Moments How a document long on anti-Israel lies can still be put to good use. February 14, 2017 Kenneth Levin

The United States, even as it seeks to counter UN Security Council Resolution 2334’s flouting of international law and undermining of chances for Arab-Israeli peace, may yet be able to turn elements of the resolution to something positive.

The resolution, choreographed by the Obama Administration and passed with Obama’s abstention, is a relatively short document long on anti-Israel hypocrisy and lies. The most significant lie is the assertion, despite much international law to the contrary and nothing in international law in support of it, that all the land administered by Israel beyond the pre-1967 armistice lines is Palestinian Territory and that Israel has no legitimate claim to any of it.

Among 2334’s many hypocrisies, it declares that it is “Reaffirming… [Security Council] resolutions 242 (1967), [and] 338 (1973)…” In fact, it is an attempt to nullify those resolutions. The first calls for the negotiation of new, “secure and recognized boundaries,” does not pre-judge ultimate disposition of the territory, and makes no reference to any of it being “Palestinian,” while the second, 338, calls for implementation of the first.

SCR2334 also states that it is “Guided by… the Charter of the United Nations…,” but it is in violation of the Charter as the Charter reaffirms Jewish rights in the territory that 2334 asserts to be Palestinian. In addition, the resolution misrepresents the contents of the Quartet Roadmap, claiming Israeli obligations that, according to the Roadmap, were only to become operative if the Palestinians took steps with which they never complied.

But the hypocrisies associated with 2334 extend beyond the document itself. The document, while exclusively attacking, indicting, and demanding action against Israel, does refer to the Palestinian Authority’s responsibility regarding “confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantling terrorist capabilities…” And elsewhere it condemns, in addition to acts of terror, “acts of provocation, incitement and destruction,” and calls for refraining from “incitement and inflammatory rhetoric.” After the passage of 2334, a number of Western leaders justified their support for the resolution, or, in America’s case, its abstention, by noting the resolution’s supposed “balance,” its condemning terror and incitement in addition to its advancing anti-Israel declarations.

Secretary of State Kerry reported that the United States had insisted it would withhold its veto only if the resolution were balanced and that its “references to incitement and terrorism” met that standard. Statements in a similar vein were put forward by Samantha Power, American ambassador to the UN. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson justified his nation’s vote in favor of the resolution by likewise citing its “balance,” and the prime minister and foreign minister of New Zealand defended their nation’s sponsorship of the resolution with virtually the same claim of “balance.”

But the wording in 2334 that provides the transparent fig-leaf of “balance” may yet be put to good purpose. The resolution calls for “the Secretary-General to report to the Council every three months on the implementation of the provisions of the present resolution.” The Obama Administration and the nations that voted for the resolution clearly anticipated that these reports would consist entirely of a catalogue of any Israeli construction beyond the pre-1967 armistice lines as well as updates on the implementation of anti-Israel steps called for in the resolution.

But the United States can insist that these quarterly reports contain a comprehensive review of Palestinian “provocation, incitement and destruction,” “inflammatory rhetoric,” and supporting of rather than “confronting of those engaged in terror” in the intervening months.

Obama’s Shadow Presidency Well-funded Organizing for Action promises to crack conservative skulls to halt the Trump agenda. Matthew Vadum

Former President Obama is waging war against the Trump administration through his generously funded agitation outfit, Organizing for Action, to defend his monumentally destructive record of failure and violent polarization.

It is a chilling reminder that the increasingly aggressive, in-your-face Left in this country is on the march.

Acclaimed author Paul Sperry writes in the New York Post:

Obama has an army of agitators — numbering more than 30,000 — who will fight his Republican successor at every turn of his historic presidency. And Obama will command them from a bunker less than two miles from the White House.

In what’s shaping up to be a highly unusual post-presidency, Obama isn’t just staying behind in Washington. He’s working behind the scenes to set up what will effectively be a shadow government to not only protect his threatened legacy, but to sabotage the incoming administration and its popular “America First” agenda.

What is Organizing for Action? It is a less violent version of Mussolini’s black shirts and Hitler’s brown shirts, or of the government-supported goon squads that Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Cuba’s Castro brothers used to harass and intimidate their domestic opponents.

OfA isn’t, strictly speaking, a new group. After the 2008 election, the group, then known as Organizing for America, was a phony grassroots campaign run by the Democratic National Committee that sought to replicate the community organizing techniques Obama learned from the teachings of his fellow Chicagoan, Saul Alinsky. OfA was created in large part because the White House could not legally use the 13 million e-mail addresses that the Obama campaign compiled in 2008.

Former U.S. Rep. Bob Edgar (D-Penn.), sounded the alarm about OfA in 2013, suggesting the group was dangerous to democracy. “If President Obama is serious about his often-expressed desire to rein in big money in politics, he should shut down Organizing for Action and disavow any plan to schedule regular meetings with its major donors,” he said as president of the left-wing group Common Cause. “Access to the President should never be for sale.”

Annotation Tuesday! Ron Rosenbaum and “The Secrets of the Little Blue Box” see note please

The person Craig S. Karpel mentioned in this interesting history is a dear friend for decades …..who would have thunk that his interest led to “Apple” even though he has been the apple of my eyes for years…..rsk
The writer talks about his eerily prescient 1971 Esquire classic about “phone phreaks,” and how it inspired Steve Jobs (who later said, “If we hadn’t made blue boxes, there would have been no Apple.”)http://niemanstoryboard.org/stories/annotation-tuesday-ron-rosenbaum-and-the-secrets-of-the-little-blue-box/

Some writers work for decades before one of their pieces gets widespread attention. Ron Rosenbaum managed to pull it off with his second long-form magazine article.

Rosenbaum’s 1971 Esquire piece, “Secrets of the Little Blue Box,” tells the story of an underground network of telephone hackers – dubbed “phone phreaks” – who devised a small box that enabled them to control the long-distance phone network. Rosenbaum’s article quickly became a cult classic and made overnight celebrities of the phone phreaks, especially a character named Captain Crunch, who made the phone network dance to his tune by blowing a toy whistle given away in boxes of Cap’n Crunch cereal.

It touched a nerve maybe because it combines old-fashioned underground sci-fi intrigue vs. the tech surveillance state. And everybody likes the band of little guys taking on the Big Money Goliath using brains instead of tanks.

Rosenbaum’s article is the rare magazine story that not only chronicled history, it also shaped it. A tech enthusiast named Steve Wozniak read Rosenbaum’s piece, and then showed it to his friend Steve Jobs. Before long, the two collaborated on building and selling their own blue boxes. It was the first product release of what would eventually become one of the world’s most valuable companies – Apple.
The piece also would turn out to be remarkably prescient, revealing how some of the phone hackers were already turning their attention to an even more tempting target – computer networks.

With the apparent Russian hack of the U.S. presidential election dominating headlines worldwide, it seemed a perfect time to revisit this 46-year-old gem, which helped launch a career that has included the publication of several books, including “Explaining Hitler,” “The Shakespeare Wars,” “How the End Begins” and a collection of his longform essays and reporting, “The Secret Parts of Fortune,” with nonfiction from The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, Slate and The New York Observer, among others.

I chatted with Rosenbaum about “The Secrets of the Little Blue Box,” which wasrecently republished as part of the Amazon Singles Classics series. His answers have been slightly edited.

What was the genesis of this piece?

It came from Esquire. Just for context, this was during the last couple years of the editorship of the late Harold Hayes, part Marine sergeant, part avant, avant gardiste. A great editor on all levels who, more than anyone of the other claimants, deserves credit as a founder of what we now think of as “The New Journalism.” There was no such name or aesthetic doctrine written down when I was there, just a lot of writers given freedom to tell their stories in sometimes unconventional ways. But it was still at its heart about intensive reporting, immersive storytelling, not stylistic tricks. Read Terry Southern’s knockout hilarious evocation of the place in the short story called “Blood of a Wig.” I advise every journalist to read it. It’s in one of his collections, “Red Dirt Marijuana and Other Tastes.”

The Blue Box piece was only my second magazine story. I had been writing for the Village Voice for a year and a half after the prospect of a snoozy academic career drove me out of the study of English lit at Yale graduate school, where they were grinding literature into theory. I thought journalism offered adventure and excitement to a kid from a relatively sheltered background. I wanted to hang out with cops and criminals. I stumbled into a couple of lucky breaks – right place at the right time – and got to do it.

A friend and colleague from the Voice and Esquire, Craig S. Karpel, had spent the summer in Northern California and met a lawyer named Metzger who was repping the blue box maker and dealer I called “Al Gilbertson” (the real person wanted anonymity). Craig sent a memo to the East Coast about this underground network of phone phreaks.

The Two Types of Campus Leftists The Clintonite vs. the ripped-jeans revolutionary By Elliot Kaufman

He arrived at the party wearing a blazer over a black T-shirt. He sported one of those fancy, new-age haircuts and wore jeans that revealed nearly half his legs. I instantly knew what I was looking at, a campus archetype more than an individual: The ripped-jeans revolutionary.

His name was Sam, and as I soon discovered, Sam was a Communist — a Maoist, he quickly added, presumably worried that I might mistake him for one of those sellout Trotskyists. At 18 years of age, studying English at Stanford University, Sam wanted to assure me that he was on the Right Side of History.

I had encountered leftists like Sam before — there are usually one or two in every large humanities class — so I knew how to proceed. Let him talk and keep a running mental tab of his most hilarious quotes.

“You can’t deny the industrial achievements of the USSR,” he remarked. Or better, name-dropping three philosophers in one sentence: “Zizek, though he understood Hegel much better than he understood Lacan, makes a good point.” There was the curious: “Doesn’t Judaism make so much more sense without God?” And my personal favorite: “Do you really think our wage-slavery is any better?”

Ah yes, I had forgotten: Who are we to judge the Soviet gulag system?

One is tempted to shake such people, like an old television that has stopped working. It might bring him to his senses. But there is no need. Does this teenager really have a thoughtful objection to Zizek’s reading of Lacan? Does he have the requisite knowledge to assure me, as he did, that “everything would have been fine” if Lenin had lived a little longer? Of course not. He probably just gets a thrill from the shocked looks he generates upon informing his peers that “Bernie would have won if he wasn’t so moderate.”

Roll your eyes and move on.

Ninth Circuit May Rehear Trump’s Travel-Ban Case At least one judge on the appeals court has asked for an en banc hearing. By Jenna Ellis

At least one judge on the Ninth Circuit has requested reconsideration in the matter of State of Washington and Minnesota v. President Trump. The Ninth Circuit chief judge issued an order Friday stating that an unnamed judge among the 29 active members of the circuit court has requested an en banc hearing — meaning that eleven judges or possibly the entire panel would hear the case, rather than the select three-judge panel that issued the 3-0 ruling against Trump’s executive order.

Procedurally, any judge on the circuit court may sua sponte — on the judge’s own initiative without a party asking or moving the court through any written pleadings — request a reconsideration before a fuller bench, rather than the select panel.

The Ninth Circuit’s en banc proceedings typically only consist of eleven judges, as the controlling federal law allows that for circuits with more than 15 judges to limit en banc hearings to “such number of members of its en banc courts as may be prescribed by rule of the court of appeals.” Currently, per the Ninth Circuit’s Rule 35-3, eleven judges sit for a “limited en banc court,” which usually include the chief judge. Parties may suggest or request a hearing before the whole panel of 29 judges; however, the Ninth Circuit has never granted an en banc hearing before the entire panel.

The court’s February 10 order requires the parties to file briefs by 11:00 a.m. Pacific time on Thursday, February 16, arguing their respective positions only on whether the matter should be reconsidered before the fuller panel. Importantly, amicus (or “friend of the court”) briefs may also be filed by interested organizations on either side, seeking to advise the court whether or not to grant a rehearing.

En banc proceedings are not typical, but usually occur in cases that are considered extremely important because of the parties, the precedent value, or because they are particularly noteworthy. This case is particularly suited for a fuller panel review because of the serious issue and extreme importance to the country.