Displaying posts published in

April 2017

“The Paris Accords Amidst Legions of Canute’s Knights” by Sydney Williams

The apocryphal King Canute placed his throne on the beach to demonstrate the fact that the power of kings was subservient to that of God. This is a message yet to be learned by those who believe that man can control the temperatures of earth – that man is more powerful than nature.

“Denier” is what “climate change absolutists” call those who, like me, acknowledge the fact of climate change and that man has played a significant part, but are skeptical that the precise magnitude of man’s effect is determinable, let alone dominant. “Denier” is the term used by those who profess moral and intellectual superiority to those they condemn as being in the pay of fossil-fuel lobbyists, or as being too stupid to understand what they claim is undeniable. “Denier” is what we are called, we who believe in evolution – that adaptability is key to survival – by those who, like Canute’s entourage, believe that man can compel the tide not to rise.

No reasonable person doubts man’s impact on the environment. He has dammed rivers, so that lands might be cultivated. He has developed energy sources, so that we might be comfortable in winter and summer. He has broken laws of gravity, so that we might travel through air and through space. He has built cities where marshes and virginal forests once stood, so that we might enrich our lives, form societies, educate our youth, finance our businesses, create employment, and erect museums and symphonies to exhibit the art we have created. We know we have had an impact. We also know all living things are interdependent. When one species becomes extinct, others must adapt or die; for change is a permanent feature of life.

Nations, like species, develop unevenly. With species, the ability to adjust to change is crucial. Among nations, survival is tied to liberty. Free men, living under the rule of law and with the prospect of private profit, are more willing to take risks, thus more likely to enjoy the fruits of creativity, ingenuity, perseverance and hard work. A victim and a beneficiary of the wealth created has been the natural world. We have exploited our resources, but we have allowed people to live with clean water and air.

Environmental extremists attack those who extract resources that help all, but they rarely acknowledge the benefits that industry and wealth have brought. When oil was first discovered in Pennsylvania in 1859, the woods of New England towns (like the one in New Hampshire where I grew up) were largely denuded, with trees used for heat, cooking and construction. Wood charcoal was used to make steel, before coal was first used around 1875. New York apartments ceased being heated by coal before the EPA was created. It has hard to imagine how we would live had fossil fuels not been discovered. We may rue the damage they have caused, but without them our lives would be absent comforts we take for granted; nor would we have the moneys they have generated, which have helped conserve our rivers, forests, mountains and beaches.

The Least Diverse Place in America The tragic state of American campuses. Prager University VIDEO


What is the least diverse place in America? It’s the institution that most actively seeks racial, ethnic, gender, and cultural diversity: the college campus! Colleges want students to look different, but think the same. Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA, explains.

California Sanctuary Surge Governor Jerry Brown pardons criminal deportees. Lloyd Billingsley

California governor Jerry Brown has pardoned “three veterans deported to Mexico,” as the Sacramento Bee reported. Hector Barajas Varela, who came to the United States “without authorization,” served more than year in prison for shooting at an occupied home. Brown also pardoned Erasmo Apodaca, who served 10 months in prison for burglary, and Marco Chavez, who spent 15 months in prison for reasons the report did not specify.

Brown issued the pardons as Easter approached, and shortly after President Donald Trump authorized more than $500 million in emergency relief for California, including $274 million for the damaged spillway on Oroville Dam. That federal largesse, after Brown’s tsumani of anti-Trump rhetoric, did not alter the governor’s determination to reinforce California as a sanctuary state for violent criminals. His pardon of criminal foreign nationals, after they had been deported, is merely the latest wave in the surge.

Major California cities and counties have long defied federal efforts to arrest and deport illegals, even violent criminals. Now San Francisco is appealing to a federal judge to block the Trump administration from withholding federal funds from such cities.

When repeatedly deported felon Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez gunned down Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier in July, 2015, that deadly act of gun violence had no discernable effect on Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, headquartered in San Francisco. The state’s Chief Justice, who like Brown has sworn to uphold the law, reserves her wrath for “meanspirited” ICE agents, whom she accused of “stalking” illegals in courthouses. As attorney general Jeff Sessions, explained, it is entirely legal and proper for federal agents to make arrests in public places.

Had Mexican national Luis Bracamontes been arrested, deported and not allowed to return, he might not have gunned down Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy Danny Oliver and detective Michael Davis in 2014. Even so, illegals in the region claimed to fear ICE agents, so this year Sacramento County sheriff Scott Jones invited ICE director Thomas Homan to explain how the federal agency aims to enforce the law.

Hermandad Mexicana, founded by the late Stalinist Bert Corona, organized a demonstration proclaiming “resiste.” Local Democrats denounced, “discriminatory efforts to divide families” and “hate-filled attacks against immigrants.”

After the election of Donald Trump, California attorney general Xavier Becerra proclaimed: “If you want to take on a forward-leaning state that is prepared to defend its rights and interests, then come at us.” For the task of defending “unauthorized immigrants,” Becerra is well qualified.

At Stanford, where he earned his bachelor and law degrees, Becerra was a member of MEChA, the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano De Aztlan. A belch from the sixties’ left, MEChA calls the southwest portion of the United States “Aztlan” and seeks to regain the territory for Mexico.

In Congress, the MEChA veteran faithfully supported amnesty for those in the country illegally. Though turned down as a running mate for Hillary Clinton, Becerra is the ideal choice for Jerry Brown’s attorney general, and he remains uncritical of sanctuary cities that shelter violent criminals.

For his part, Brown began harboring violent criminals back in the 1970s. American Indian Movement co-founder Dennis Banks, convicted of riot and assault for a courthouse gun battle in South Dakota, fled to California and governor Jerry Brown refused to extradite him. That set the tone for Brown’s second go-round as governor.

In late 2015, after radical Islamic terrorists Syeed Farook and Tashfeen Malik gunned down 14 people in San Bernardino, Brown said “we have to be on guard and we have to do whatever we can do.” Brown also said he would spend time “making sure that our federal-state collaboration really is working.” The governor did just the opposite, actively opposing federal enforcement of U.S. immigration laws and his motives are stronger than Xavier Becerra’s.

More Anti-Trump Rioting at Berkeley If you want to beat up Trump supporters with impunity, Berkeley is the college for you. Matthew Vadum

Left-wingers violently attacked Trump supporters at a UC Berkeley rally for at least the third time in recent months, according to media reports.

The riot at Berkeley on Saturday occurred as “Tax Marches” took place in cities across the nation aimed at pressing President Donald Trump to release his personal income tax returns, something the law does not require.

The unrest came days after Berkeley campus Republicans withdrew an April 12 speaking invitation for David Horowitz, saying that the college administration had gone out of its way to make the planned event untenable by placing burdensome, Kafkaesque restrictions on it.

While UC Berkeley and “universities like it discourage conservatives, they open their arms to racist organizations like Black Lives Matter and terrorist support groups like Students for Justice in Palestine, [along with] a range of radical organizations,” Horowitz wrote last week.

But on this past April 15 (Saturday), Trump supporters chose Berkeley to express their support for the president, dubbing that date, traditionally when federal taxes are due, “Patriots Day.” The Berkeley rally was sponsored by pro-Trump group Liberty Revival Alliance.

“I got hit in the back of the head with some sticks,” a bloodied Ben Bergquam of Fresno, Calif., a “Patriots Day” rallier, told reporters as he clung to a crumpled sign reading, “Stop Liberal Intolerance.”

“I don’t agree with everything Trump says, but I don’t agree with violence,” Berquam said.

Not all the rallies Saturday descended into violence.

“I don’t respect this president,” Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) told the crowd at a considerably calmer march far away in Washington, D.C. “I don’t trust this president. He’s not working in the best interests of the American people.”

“I will fight every day until he is impeached,” she said.

Waters led marchers in a chant of “impeach 45” against the nation’s 45th president. “No more secrets, no more lies” emerged as another popular chant. “Show the people your taxes. Stop stonewalling, stop hiding,” Waters said.

Calexit Craziness The ‘Yes California’ independence campaign, led by a Russian-backed eccentric, deserves a firm ‘no’ vote. By Kevin D. Williamson

The Irish Republican Socialist party and Sinn Fein still dream of a unified Irish republic. The Catalan Solidarity for Independence coalition would see the Estelada flag raised over an independent Estat Català, and there are independence-minded movements as far-flung as the western Sahara. The Uhuru Movement is a kind of separatist movement standing on its head, looking to transcend national borders (with their colonial histories) and unite African people in a single African identity. The United States has the Texas Nationalist Movement hoping to restore the Republic of Texas, and somewhere out there is a very committed fellow who believes himself to be the rightful king of Hawaii. There is a more plausible movement for an independent Puerto Rico and a much less plausible movement for an independent California. All of these have something in common.


Weird, right?

The movement for Californian independence expects to have an initiative on the 2018 ballot, which would in turn lead to a 2019 referendum. The organizers of the “Yes California” campaign say that winning the referendum would be only the first step in the long and complex process of establishing a free and independent California, finally liberated from the grasp of Washington and, especially, of the military-industrial complex. “Peace and Security” is, in fact, Exhibit A in the case for Calexit, and the organizers complain that the U.S. government “spends more on its military than the next several countries combined. Not only is California forced to subsidize this massive military budget with our taxes, but Californians are sent off to fight in wars that often do more to perpetuate terrorism than to abate it. The only reason terrorists might want to attack us is because we are part of the United States and are guilty by association.”

If that sounds like it could have been written by Ron Paul or some lonely disciple of Murray Rothbard, that is no accident: The leadership of the California-independence movement has a distinctly paleo smell about it.

“When I talk to people about California independence, they always say: ‘Well, what would you do if China invades?’” says Yes California president Louis Marinelli from his home in . . . Yekaterinburg, formerly Sverdlovsk (city motto: Don’t call us Siberia), an industrial center on the edge of the Ural Mountains in Russia. “Seriously,” he asks, “when’s the last time China invaded another country?” I mention the obvious ones: Tibet, India, and the Soviet Union. There’s Vietnam and Korea. Marinelli is a young man; perhaps much of this seems like ancient history to him. It does not to the Indians, or the Russians, or the Vietnamese, or many others. “No, I mean: When’s the last time China crossed an ocean to invade another country?” he clarifies. “Only the United States does that.”


The American war machine must surely be of some intense concern to California’s would-be Jefferson Davis, inasmuch as there is no legal or constitutional process for a state’s separating from the Union, a question that was settled definitively if not in court then just outside the courthouse at Appomattox.

Palestinians’ Real Enemies: Arabs by Khaled Abu Toameh

The Arab heads of state and monarchs do not like to be reminded of how badly they treat Palestinians and subject them to discriminatory and apartheid laws.

It is not comfortable or safe to be a Palestinian in an Arab country. Scenes of lawlessness and anarchy inside Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank have also driven many residents to move to nearby cities and villages. Most refugees in the West Bank no longer live inside UNRWA-run camps.

Let us end where we began: with the Palestinian (non)leadership. What has it done to help its people in the Arab countries? Nothing. No Palestinian leader will urge an emergency session of the UN Security Council to expose the ethnic cleansing and killing of Palestinians in Arab countries. No Palestinian leader will demand that the international media and human rights organizations investigate the atrocities perpetrated by Arabs on their Palestinian brethren. We are sure to see more such criminal silence when Abbas meets with the president of the United States.

Palestinians living in refugee camps in the Arab world are facing ethnic cleansing, displacement, and death — but their leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are too busy tearing each other to pieces to notice or even, apparently, care much.

Between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas, it looks as if they are competing for the worst leadership, not the best. Clearly, neither regime gives a damn about the plight of their people in the Arab world.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who is scheduled to visit Washington in the coming weeks for his first meeting with US President Donald Trump, spends most of his time abroad. There is hardly a country in the world that he has not visited since he assumed office in January 2005.

Hamas, for its part, is too occupied with hunting down Palestinians suspected of “collaboration” with Israel, and arming its members as massively as possible for war with Israel, to spend much time on the well-being of the two million people living under its thumb in the Gaza Strip. Hamas does have resources: its money is otherwise designated, however, to digging attack tunnels into Israel and smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip.

The globetrotting Abbas, treated to red-carpet receptions wherever he shows up, has no time to attend to his miserable people in the Arab countries. Abbas devotes more than 90 percent of his speeches to denunciations of Israel, uttering barely a word about the atrocities committed against his people in Syria, Lebanon, Libya and Iraq. The 82-year-old PA president is, as always, fully preoccupied with political survival.

Abbas’s real enemies are his critics, such as estranged Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan, and Hamas. Abbas is currently focused on undermining Dahlan and preventing Hamas from taking control of the West Bank. In the past few years, Abbas has also demonstrated an obsession with isolating and delegitimizing Israel in the international arena. For him, this mission is more sacred than saving the lives of Palestinians.

Iran’s Elections: Black Turbans vs. White Turbans by Mohammad Amin

Any distinction between “extremists” and “moderates” in Iran’s political establishment is false.

Whatever the results of the upcoming Iranian elections, there will be no shift in Tehran’s human rights violations or core aims of regional hegemony and pursuit of nuclear weapons.

What does matter is the behavior of the West, particularly the United States, in the near future. If it again resorts to cooperating with Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria, Khamenei will not only be able to pursue his regional and global interests unfettered, but will be better equipped to contain crises at home.

The presidential elections in Iran, scheduled for May 19, have observers wondering whether the “white turban” incumbent, Hassan Rouhani, will retain his position, or be defeated by his likely contender, the “black turban” mullah, Ebrahim Raisi, known for his key role in the 1988 massacre of more than 30,000 political prisoners.

Iran’s elections have observers wondering whether the “white turban” incumbent, Hassan Rouhani (left), will retain his position or be defeated by his likely contender, Ebrahim Raisi (right), the “black turban” mullah. (Images source: Wikimedia Commons).

More importantly, the question on Western minds is how and in what way the Islamic Republic will be affected by either outcome.

The two periods in Iran’s recent history that need to be examined in order to answer this question are that of the tenure of former firebrand President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005 to 2013), who also announced he is running again, and the one that has followed under Rouhani.

At the outset of the Ahmadinejad era, Iran’s GDP (using purchasing power parity) soared beyond $1 trillion, and two of the country’s greatest threats — Iraq under Saddam Hussein and Afghanistan under the Taliban — were eliminated. Both enabled Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to solidify his stronghold.

Midway through this period, however, Iran’s economy fell sharply. Iran became the country with the fifth highest inflation rate in the world. Iran fell into a serious recession, and millions of Iranians found themselves unemployed. All this was going on even before the international community imposed sanctions on the regime in Tehran.

In the years that followed Ahmadinejad’s replacement by the so-called “moderate” Rouhani, sanctions were lifted; oil exports reached pre-sanction levels; billions of dollars’ worth of assets abroad were unfrozen; and hundreds of agreements were signed to expand business transactions with the West.

Nevertheless, the last year of Rouhani’s first term was characterized by yet another economic crisis, summarized in March by Iranian Road and Construction Minister Abbas Akhoondi as: banks going bankrupt, crippling national debt and low economic efficiency.

Black-Clad, Masked Thugs Attack Pro-Trump Protesters By Rick Moran

The press is playing this one right down the middle — both sides are to blame for the violence that erupted in Berkeley when pro- and anti-Trump protesters clashed.

But here’s a video that clearly shows the black clad, masked anti-Trump protesters initiating much of the violence.


Eleven people were injured, with seven transported to the hospital in unknown condition, Berkeley Police spokesman Byron White told CNN.

“A large number of fights have occurred and numerous fireworks have been thrown in the crowds,” Berkeley police said in a statement. “There have also been numerous reports of pepper spray being used in the crowd.”

CNN affiliate KPIX reported that Trump supporters planned a “Patriot Day” rally at noon and counter-protesters showed up a few hours earlier.

Hundreds of people had gathered in Civic Center Park. Police set up a barrier of orange mesh fence to separate the two sides but it quickly fell down as protesters started fighting, KPIX said.

Video showed crowds spilling into nearby streets. Scuffles broke out, fireworks, bottles and traffic cones were thrown into crowds and dumpsters and trash cans were hauled into streets. One man set afire a red “USA” hat and held it overhead.

Police donned gas masks as they used pepper spray on the crowd. A Berkeley station for BART, the mass transit system, was shut down because of the disturbance, CNN affiliate KRON said.

Police said they confiscated prohibited items including hand-held flagpoles, a knife, a stun gun, helmets and signs, and flags attached to poles, KRON reported.

A police officer was treated and released from a hospital after someone threw either pepper spray or tear gas into the crowd, White said. He added that a person in the crowd was treated and released after being sprayed with “bear spray,” an irritant spray used to deter aggressive bears in wilderness areas.

Jihadism Slipped into Comic Books?By Joshua Gelernter

Something very peculiar has gone on in the comic book world over the last two weeks.

Two weeks ago, Marvel Comics—proprietors of Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, the Avengers, and so on—released a comic book titled X-Men Gold #1. It’s a sort of reboot of the X-Men, the mutant superheroes who’ve torn up our movie screens over the last 15 years. X-Men Gold #1 included drawings filled with subtle anti-Christian and anti-Semitic propaganda.

When I first saw a headline to that effect, I assumed it was someone overreacting to something—but then Marvel apologized and recalled the issue.

A few months ago—on December 2 of last year—there were protest marches directed at the governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama. Basuki is a Christian. The protests were over comments he made that the Quranic Surah (“chapter”) 5:51 shouldn’t be taken to mean that “Muslims should not appoint Jews and Christians as their leaders,” which is evidently the idiomatic translation used in Indonesia. The literal translation of the passage is, “O you that have believed, do not take the Jews and Christians as Allies. They are, in fact, allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you—then indeed, he is one of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.”

For allegedly trying to persuade people to ignore the Quaran, Governor Basuki was labeled a blasphemer, and protested by an angry mob hundreds of thousands strong. The December 2 protest became known as the 212 protest, and was duplicated on February 21 of this year; also a “2/12” in some calendars. (Ours, for instance.)

These protests were supported by Indonesian Comic Book artist Ardian Syaf, who illustrated X-Men Gold #1. A drawing in that comic book shows a very-religious Catholic X-Man playing baseball with one of his superhero colleagues, who’s shirt is emblazoned with “QS 5:51.” That is, Quranic Surah 5:51. Another drawing shows a Jewish X-Man, Kitty Pryde, addressing a crowd of onlookers on a city street. As she explains to the crowd that she is the leader of the X-Men, a man in the crowd glares at her; he has the number “51” stamped on his t-shirt —reminding everyone not to accept Jews as leaders. Above him, a storefront is emblazoned with the number 212. Miss Pryde herself stands in front of Jewelry store. Her head partly obscures the last few letters, leaving the word “Jew” floating by her head.

Wellesley’s Student Paper Mounts a Barely Literate Defense of Censorship All the while bemoaning the lack of education that keeps people from having “correct” opinions. by Alice B. Lloyd

Three weeks after a coalition of professors publicly defended their right to censor Title IX naysayer and feminist intellectual Laura Kipnis, a Wellesley News editorial has caught viral flak from civil libertarians, conservatives, copy editors, and other sensible sorts for its clumsy defense of censorship in the name of sensitivity. All before the student paper’s server, and with it the editorial in question, went down Friday morning, that is.

“Many members of our community, including students, alumnae and faculty, have criticized the Wellesley community for becoming an environment where free speech is not allowed or is a violated right,” the editorial accurately observes. “Many outside sources have painted us as a bunch of hot house flowers who cannot exist in the real world.” True.

In their defense of the modern academy’s responsibility to assimilate the unenlightened, the students distinguish “free speech” from “hate speech.” But their failed experiments in sentence structure, as well as logical leaps none among the uninitiated could easily follow, backfire: “Shutting down rhetoric that undermines the existence and rights of others is not a violation of free speech; it is hate speech.” The pronoun “it” floats free, unbound by any antecedent, after the semicolon. The editorialists may have meant the second half of the sentence as a coded message to the world outside their coddling cell: Shutting down rhetoric is hate speech, of course it is! Send help!

But, in a likelier reality, they’ve offered an object lesson in undergraduate groupthink. On your typical elite campus, divergence from the status quo merits hostile rebuke rather than debate: “[I]f people are given the resources to learn and either continue to speak hate speech or refuse to adapt their beliefs, then hostility may be warranted.” And no one seems to remember her—or, I’m sorry, their—elementary writing mechanics or American history.

“The founding fathers put free speech in the Constitution as a way to protect the disenfranchised and to protect individual citizens from the power of the government,” they write. “The spirit of free speech is to protect the suppressed, not to protect a free-for-all where anything is acceptable, no matter how hateful and damaging.” The unthinking reflex to stay safe from dissent and foster intellectual sameness at the expense of rigorous debate has no particular precedent in actual history—or really anywhere off campus, or in any prior generation.

“Vindictive protectiveness” may be the fault of turn-of-the-millennium helicopter parents, Facebook’s fostering of oversensitivity, widespread political polarization, or an emphasis on emotional reasoning in soft sciences.