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July 2017

Sweden: A Failed State? by Judith Bergman

The Swedish state, in true Orwellian style, fights those Swedish citizens who point out the obvious problems that migrants are causing.

When police officer Peter Springare said in February that migrants were committing a disproportionate amount of crime in the suburbs, he was investigated for inciting “racial hatred”.

Currently, a 70-year-old Swedish pensioner is being prosecuted for “hate speech”, for writing on Facebook that migrants “set fire to cars, and urinate and defecate on the streets”.

The security situation in Sweden is now so critical that the national police chief, Dan Eliasson, has asked the public for help; the police are unable to solve the problems on their own. In June, the Swedish police released a new report, “Utsatta områden 2017”, (“Vulnerable Areas 2017”, commonly known as “no-go zones” or lawless areas). It shows that the 55 no-go zones of a year ago are now 61.

In September 2016, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Minister of Interior Anders Ygeman refused to see the warnings: in 2015, only 14% of all crimes in Sweden were solved, and in 2016, 80% of police officers were allegedly considering quitting the force. Both ministers refused to call it a crisis. According to Anders Ygeman:

“… we are in a very difficult position, but crisis is something completely different. …we are in a very strained position and this is because we have done the biggest reorganization since the 1960s, while we have these very difficult external factors with the highest refugee reception since the Second World War. We have border controls for the first time in 20 years, and an increased terrorist threat”.

A year later the Swedish national police chief is calling the situation “acute”.

In 2015, only 14% of all crimes in Sweden were solved. In 2016, 80% of police officers were allegedly considering quitting the force. Nonetheless, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven (pictured above) refused to call it a crisis. (Photo by Michael Campanella/Getty Images)

Sweden increasingly resembles a failed state: In the 61 “no-go zones”, there are 200 criminal networks with an estimated 5,000 criminals who are members. Twenty-three of those no-go zones are especially critical: children as young as 10 years old are involved in serious crimes there, including weapons and drugs, and are literally being trained to become hardened criminals.

The trouble, however, extends beyond organized crime. In June, Swedish police in the city of Trollhättan, during a riot in the Kronogården suburb, were attacked by approximately a hundred masked migrant youths, mainly Somalis. The rioting continued for two nights.

Violent riots, however, are just part of Sweden’s security problems. In 2010, according to the government, there were “only” 200 radical Islamists in Sweden. In June, the head of the Swedish Security Service (Säpo), Anders Thornberg, told the Swedish media that the country is experiencing a “historical” challenge in having to deal with thousands of “radical Islamists in Sweden”. The jihadists and jihadist supporters are mainly concentrated in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö and Örebro, according to Säpo. “This is the ‘new normal’ … It is an historic challenge that extremist circles are growing,” Thornberg said.

The Swedish establishment has only itself to blame for it.

The Merkava 4: Why Hezbollah Should Be Afraid—Very Afraid The lessons of the 1973 and 2006 wars. Ari Lieberman

Following the 1973 Yom Kippur War, armchair pundits determined that the age of the tank as king of the battlefield had come to an ignominious end. They argued that the introduction of anti-tank guided missiles rendered the tank obsolete. How wrong they were. Several post-war studies of the conflict demonstrated that the tank was still indispensable to modern warfare and when employed in a combined arms manner with artillery and mechanized infantry, still reigned supreme.

Israel learned many lessons from the Yom Kippur War and incorporated those lessons into the development of its own indigenous tank, the Merkava (Chariot). The Merkava 1 entered service with the Israel Defense Forces in 1978 and first saw action in 1982 during Operation Peace for Galilee when it engaged and destroyed no fewer than nine Soviet-made, Syrian T-72 tanks without sustaining a single loss. It also reportedly succeeded in downing a Syrian anti-tank helicopter with its main gun.

Since that time, the Merkava has undergone several modifications and improvements, the latest iteration of which is the Merkava 4. The Merkava 4 is considered by armored warfare experts to be among the finest tanks in the world, and in terms of crew survivability, the safest.

In the summer of 2006, Israel was forced to go to war again, this time with the notorious terrorist organization Hezbollah. On July 12, two Israeli reservists were killed and their bodies snatched during a Hezbollah cross-border attack. Israel could not allow the outrage to go unanswered and decided to launch an offensive against Hezbollah. Nearly 400 Merkava tanks, mostly of the older II and III variants, were haphazardly deployed in the latter stages of the 34-day conflict.

During the course of the war, Hezbollah guerrillas fired thousands of anti-tank missiles – from the first generation Sagger to the highly advanced Kornet – at static Israeli infantry and tanks but only succeeding in damaging some 40 tanks and of these, there were only 20 penetrations. Despite these encouraging numbers, so-called experts began to once again challenge the utility of the tank and its place in modern warfare.

IDF planners saw things differently. They went back to the drawing board in an effort to draw conclusions from the performance of the Merkava and tactics employed by its crew members.

With at least 1/3 of its fighting force permanently stationed in Syria, the probability of Hezbollah initiating war against Israel in the near future is low. Even in the absence of the Syrian conflict, Hezbollah will soon not forget the thrashing it took at the hands of the IDF during the 2006 campaign. Nevertheless, most experts agree that the next Lebanon war is not a question of if, but when, and when it does begin, Israel’s latest Merkava variant, the vaunted Merkava 4 will be in the thick of it.

Justine Damond: Killed by “Islamophobia” Political correctness put her in the way of a “nervous, jumpy” Muslim cop who took her life. Robert Spencer

A forty-year-old Australian woman named Justine Damond called 911 in Minneapolis Saturday night to report what she thought might be a rape; when police arrived, she approached the police car, and a Minneapolis police officer named Mohamed Noor shot her dead. Since then, Noor has refused to be interviewed by investigators, but has spoken to friends about what happened and why. The more Noor and those who know him have spoken, the more it becomes clear: Justine Damond was a casualty of “Islamophobia.”

Mohamed Noor is a Somali Muslim. He was the first Somali Muslim on the Minneapolis police force. In 2016, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges expressed her excitement about that fact: “I want to take a moment to recognize Officer Mohamed Noor, the newest Somali officer in the Minneapolis Police Department. Officer Noor has been assigned to the 5th Precinct, where his arrival has been highly celebrated, particularly by the Somali community in and around Karmel Mall.”

Hodges wasn’t excited because Mohamed Noor had the skills necessary to become a fine police officer. She was only excited because he represented a religious and ethnic that she was anxious to court. And it is increasingly clear, as we learn about Mohamed Noor’s nervousness and jumpiness and lack of respect for women, and from his own account of events that he relayed to friends (that he was “startled” and reacted by opening fire), that Mohamed Noor was not cut out to be a policeman. He did not have the temperament for it, and if he hadn’t killed Justine Damond, he would likely have done something similar at some point.

So why was he on the force at all? Because he was the first Somali Muslim on the Minneapolis police force. He was a symbol of our glorious multicultural mosaic. He was a rebuke to “Islamophobes” and proof that what they say is false. Minneapolis authorities placed a great deal of faith in Mohamed Noor. He was for them the triumph of diversity, the victory of their worldview. But he has let them down.

Mohamed Noor is not a jihad terrorist. This was not a jihad attack. He is just a trigger-happy, panicky, reckless individual who held his job not because he was fit for it, but because of what he symbolized. And in the wake of his failure, Minneapolis multiculturalists aren’t about to reconsider their religion. On the contrary, they are doubling down. Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges has immediately recognized — as authorities do everywhere after jihad attacks — that the real victims are not those who were killed or wounded, but the Muslim community. She should have issued a statement saying that she recognized that Mohamed Noor was not hired because he was competent, but because he was a Somali Muslim, and that she sees now that Leftist social engineering on the police force costs lives. She should have promised that from now on, police officers will be hired based on their fitness for the job, not their religion or ethnicity.

Mueller Expands His Probe Again It’s all Russia, Russia and Trump, Trump — all the time. Matthew Vadum

Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III is yet again expanding the scope of his off-the-rails investigation into the Left’s wacky Russian electoral collusion conspiracy theory by examining financial transactions even vaguely related to Russia involving President Trump’s businesses and those of his associates, Bloomberg News reports.

Honest observers recognize that with the election of Donald Trump, the longtime Russophiles of the morally flexible Left flipped on their traditional friends in Moscow faster than you can say Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact or Operation Barbarossa. Ignoring its own history of rampant seditious collaboration with Russia, the Left has now managed to convince many that any past or present connection a Republican has or had to Russia, however trivial, is somehow now retroactively evidence of treason against the United States.

There is still no evidence that Trump covered up a crime, or even that there was an underlying crime to be concealed but that hasn’t stopped the Left’s witch-hunt from growing and the goalposts from being shifted.

Remember that it was just a month ago as the bizarre collusion allegations got stuck in the mud that Mueller expanded his investigation to include allegations that Trump tried to obstruct justice by firing FBI Director James B. Comey on May 9. The claim is that Trump did this to end Comey’s investigation into National Security Advisor Mike Flynn’s ties to Russia. Of course, as Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz has pointed out repeatedly, the president has authority under the Constitution to fire the FBI director for any reason or no reason at all. Comey himself has freely acknowledged he served at the pleasure of the president.

That said, “FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008,” Bloomberg reported an anonymous source saying.

The report continues, elaborating that:

Mueller’s team is looking at the Trump SoHo hotel condominium development, which was a licensing deal with Bayrock Capital LLC. In 2010, the former finance director of Bayrock filed a lawsuit claiming the firm structured transactions in fraudulent ways to evade taxes. Bayrock was a key source of capital for Trump projects, including Trump SoHo.

The 2013 Miss Universe pageant is of interest because a prominent Moscow developer, Aras Agalarov, paid $20 million to bring the beauty spectacle there. About a third of that sum went to Trump in the form of a licensing fee, according to Forbes magazine. At the event, Trump met Herman Gref, chief executive of Russia’s biggest bank, Sberbank PJSC. Agalarov’s son, Emin, helped broker a meeting last year between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer [i.e. Natalia Veselnitskaya] who was said to have damaging information about Hillary Clinton and her campaign.

Another significant financial transaction involved a Palm Beach, Florida, estate Trump purchased in 2004 for $41 million, after its previous owner lost it in bankruptcy. In March of 2008, after the real-estate bubble had begun losing air, Russian fertilizer magnate Dmitry Rybolovlev bought the property for $95 million.

As part of their investigation, Mueller’s team has issued subpoenas to banks and filed requests for bank records to foreign lenders under mutual legal-assistance treaties, according to two of the people familiar with the matter.

In addition, a federal money-laundering probe of Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has reportedly been subsumed into the larger investigation headed by Mueller. Mueller’s office is also reportedly looking at Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s tenure as vice chairman of the Bank of Cyprus and at presidential advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner’s efforts to obtain financing for his family’s real estate investments.

Newt Gingrich said yesterday that Mueller “has so many conflicts of interest it’s almost an absurdity,” but all of this seems above-board to Bloomberg.

“The Justice Department’s May 17 order to Mueller,” the media outlet reports, “instructs him to investigate ‘any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign’ as well as ‘any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation,’ suggesting a relatively broad mandate.”

Trump lawyer John Dowd disagrees. He said examining the president’s business dealings should be out-of-bounds for Mueller.

The Son of the Man who Put the Saud in Saudi Arabia Prince Abdul-Rahman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, 1931-2017 by Mark Steyn

I see that Prince Abdul-Rahman bin Abdulaziz al Saud died the other day. If you’re having trouble keeping track of your Saudi princes, well, I don’t blame you. Unlike the closely held princely titles of the House of Windsor, the House of Saud is somewhat promiscuous with the designation: there are (at the time of writing) over 10,000 Saudi “princes” running around the country – and, in fact, at this time of year, more likely running around Mayfair and the French Riviera, exhausting the poor old blondes from the escort agencies. I believe that’s Abdul-Rahman at right, although to be honest all Saudi princes look alike to me, except that some wear white and others look very fetching in gingham. As I once remarked to Sheikh Ghazi al-Ghosaibi, the late cabinet minister, he was the only Saudi I knew who wasn’t a prince.

Abdul-Rahman was a longtime Deputy Defense Minister, whose catering company, by happy coincidence, held the catering contract for the Defense Ministry. The first Saudi prince to be educated in the west, he was a bit of a cranky curmudgeon in later years, mainly because of changes to the Saudi succession that eliminated any possibility of him taking the throne. But he nevertheless held a privileged place as the son of Ibn Saud, the man who founded the “nation” and stapled his name to it. When I say “the son”, I mean a son: Ibn Saud had approximately 100 kids, the first born in 1900, the last over half-a-century later, in 1952, a few months before ol’ Poppa Saud traded in siring for expiring.

Abdul-Rahman’s mother was said to be Ibn Saud’s favorite among his 22 wives – or, at any rate, one of the favorites. Top Five certainly. She also had the highest status, because she bore him more boys – seven – than any other other missus. They’re known as the Sudairi Seven or, alternatively, the Magnificent Seven. She also gave him seven daughters. They’re known as the seven blackout curtains standing over in the corner. This splendidly fertile lady’s name was Hussa bint Ahmed, and she was Ibn Saud’s cousin once removed and then, if I’m counting correctly, his eighth wife. But she’s a bit like the Grover Cleveland of the House of Saud – in that he’s counted as the 22nd and 24th President of the United States, and she’s the eighth wife and also either the tenth or eleventh. He first married her when he was 38 and she was 13. But he divorced her and then remarried her. In between their marriages she was married to his brother, but Ibn Saud was a sentimental lad and never got over his child-bride-turned-sister-in-law, so he ordered his brother to divorce her.

Don’t worry, though: In the House of Saud, it’s happy endings all round. Two of their daughters wound up marrying two of the sons of another brother of Ibn Saud. The Saudi version of Genealogy.com must be a hoot: “Hey, thanks for the DNA sample. You’re 53.8 per cent first cousin, and 46.2 per cent uncle.”

Anyway, all this Saudomy reminded me that on The Mark Steyn Show back in January I offered a few thoughts on Ibn Saud’s establishment of his alleged kingdom. This is the first time this has been aired in the wider world, so give it a click and see what you think:

‘Indoctrinationism’: The Ideology of Speech Policing By Bruce Heiden

Speech policing in the United States, often called “political correctness,” has inspired much resentment and concern along with advocacy. Right now only its advocates have an action plan—which is to institutionalize PC on university campuses through the appointment of administrators responsible for developing and enforcing policies to control expression. Those who object to political correctness are less organized and largely lack a coherent idea of it as a unified phenomenon. But they apparently stumbled into one successful response to it in the presidential victory of Donald Trump. Although Trump has no policy proposals that touch upon political correctness per se, his willingness to occasionally violate its sensibilities, and to openly denounce some of its advocates in the media, certainly won him many votes among proud Deplorables. https://amgreatness.com/2017/07/20/indoctrinationism-ideology-speech-policing/

What’s In a Name?
Some commentators have even suggested that PC was the single most important factor separating Trump from his Republican rivals, and that it needs to be seen as a central issue in contemporary American politics. David Gelernter made such an argument in early 2016 and suggested that the real gravity of “political correctness” and its significance to voters have been obscured and minimized by the term itself. I think he’s right. “PC,” like “man-caused disaster,” is a gift to the enemy it is supposed to name.

Since most people don’t know or care about the historical origin of the term “political correctness,” the best way to grasp what it conveys in today’s discourse is to examine its constituent semantic elements. “Correctness” refers to a judgment that some form of expression is subject to approval or not; “political” refers to the standard according to which this judgment is rendered. “Political correctness” therefore implies that politics and speech are separate realms, and that speech is subordinate to politics. Restrictions on speech seem less serious than jobs, health care, racism, and other intrinsically political matters.

Additionally, since politics in the United States involves a plurality of parties, and freedom of expression is protected by the First Amendment, a “political” judgment about speech will strike many intuitively as merely an annoyance, subject to automatic contestation by rival parties, and without means of enforcement. This does not sound like a threat to the norms of our republican government, or even a consequential infringement on anybody’s rights as a citizen.

An “Ism” Breeding in Our Baseboards
Nevertheless, many people now realize that minimizing the problem called “political correctness” is wrong. We need to remove the distraction of a term that makes a serious problem seem trivial or even humorous. Speech policing would be better, but it lacks a critical feature.

For the speech policing we now confront is actually the centerpiece of a nascent ideology. While in the past leftist regimes used speech policing as an instrument to support agendas like solidarity with oppressed classes, the putatively oppressed classes are now instruments that the left uses as pretexts to expand speech policing. This ideology of speech policing I propose to call Indoctrinationism.

Our Self-Interested Senators An open health-care debate finally would bring some actual accountability. Kimberley Strassel

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at this point has busted pretty much every move in his effort to rally 50 votes for an Obama Care replacement. He’s listened. He’s negotiated. He’s encouraged. He’s cajoled. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Months later, still lacking a majority, the time has come for the Kentucky Republican to execute the final, clarifying move. It’s time for Mr. McConnell to make this all about his self-interested members.

Up to now, this exercise has been about trying to improve health care and the federal fisc. The House bill isn’t perfect—no bill ever is—but it amounts to the biggest entitlement reform in history. It repeals crushing taxes. It dramatically cuts spending. And it begins the process of stabilizing the individual health-care market and expanding consumer freedom.

None of this is good enough for a handful of senators, so now it’s time to make this exercise all about them. Mr. McConnell should make clear that the overwhelming majority of the Republican Party stands ready to make good on its repeal-and-replace campaign promise—and that it would have done so already were it not for a cynical or egotistic few. It’s time for some very public accountability.

That rests in Mr. McConnell giving his caucus a drop-dead date to broker a compromise, after which he will proceed to bring up the House bill. And any Republican who votes against moving forward, “a motion to proceed,” will forever be known as the Republican who saved ObamaCare. The Republican who voted to throw billions more taxpayer dollars at failing entitlement programs and collapsing insurance markets. The Republican who abandoned struggling American families. The Republican who voted against a tax cut and spending reductions. The Republican who made Chuck Schumer’s year.

And that’s only a short list of the real-world accountability. That vote might also provide home-state voters a new, eye-opening means to account for the character of their senators. Few things drive conservative voters battier than phony politicians, those who say one thing and do another to avoid hard choices.

Nearly every Senate Republican is on record having voted to repeal ObamaCare—back when they knew that President Obama’s veto made the vote consequence-free. And to be crystal clear, any senator who now votes against simply proceeding to debate is doing so for just one reason: To again avoid consequences, to again avoid accountability. CONTINUE AT SITE

Brawn in an Age of Brains Does physical labor have a future? Victor Davis Hanson

Those who would never stoop to paint their own houses gladly expend far more energy sweating at the gym. During the decline in physical-labor jobs over the last 50 years, an entire compensating industry has grown up around physical fitness. As modern work becomes less physical, requiring hours at a desk or some sort of immobile standing, the fitness center has replaced the drudgery of the field, the mine, and the forest as a means to exercise the body each day. A forbidding array of exercise bikes and StairMasters not only works the body; it also reinforces the modern, scientifically backed conviction that physical fitness promotes general wellness, mental acuity, and perhaps longevity. A new slang has entered the Western vocabulary, from “abs,” “glutes,” and “cardio” to “ripped” and “toned” to describe the ideal results of daily exercise: a look of chiseled fitness. The ideal is much different from the appearance of the pipe fitter and welder of the past, whose protruding bellies and girth were not necessarily incongruous with physical strength and stamina incurred from daily physical labor.

Yet the modern idea of “working out” by no means denotes that someone is laboring at a physical task, except for wisely keeping fit. Our idea of exercising, then, is not quite the Odyssean notion of being equally adept in craftiness and brawn—the ability to build a raft or lead men into battle—or versatile in outfoxing sexy sirens and ramming poles through the heads of dull-witted huge monsters. We are more like Alcibiades, whose high life and gifts for political craft and oratory were balanced by his studied Olympic training and sponsorship of chariotry.

One reason for our disdain for labor today is that the more physical work recedes in the twenty-first century, the more life superficially appears to get better, even for the vestigial muscular classes. Cheap cell phones, video games, the Internet, social media, and labor-saving appliances all make life easier and suggest that even more and better benefits are on the horizon. Formerly backbreaking industries, from the growing of almonds to the building of cars, are increasingly mechanized, using fewer but more skilled operators; in the future, this work might be all but robotized, without much human agency at all.

Anyone who has spot-welded or harvested almonds with a mallet and canvas has no regrets in seeing the disappearance of such rote drudgery, from the view of both the laborer and the consumer, who benefits from the cheaper prices brought on by labor-saving devices. But as we continue on this trajectory, initiated in the Industrial Revolution, from less demanding physical work to rare physical work, is something lost? Something only poorly approximated by greater leisure time, non-muscular jobs, and contrived physical exercise?

Until the early nineteenth century, hard work—agricultural work, for most of the population—was bifurcated: working as a slave, serf, or hired hand for someone else was the unfortunate lot of the accursed. In popular lore, hired or coerced labor led nowhere but to premature old age, illness, accident, poverty, and an early death. So the once-popular Edwin Markham, in his iconic “The Man with the Hoe,” laments the exploited toiler: “Through this dread shape the suffering ages look; Time’s tragedy is in the aching stoop; Through this dread shape humanity betrayed.” Physical work was not just hard and dirty; it was also done for someone else. In contrast with physical work for wages (what the aristocratic Greeks deprecated as banausia), voices of the agrarian tradition—from the seventh-century BC Greek poet Hesiod to the romantic paeans of the farmer voiced by aristocratic landowners such as Thomas Jefferson and later by the Southern agrarians—praised the yeoman and the homesteader. Ostensibly, the owner-operator calibrated his own drudgery by his own self-interest and profits; and in theory, at least, he controlled the conditions of his own physical exploitation.

Politicians still give lip service to the “entrepreneur” who gets up at 5 AM to open his bakery and goes home long after his employees have quit at 6 PM (akin to what Hesiod praised as “work with work upon work”). But Donald Trump was the first politician in recent memory to refer to working people with the first-person plural possessive pronoun of endearment—“our miners” and “our farmers,” as if physical work was still critical and honored. Otherwise, most of popular culture promotes the idea of a bachelor’s degree as the first stepping-stone of the cognitive elite on the path toward professional and graduate schools, certification and degree branding, interning, and ending up largely physically inactive but inordinately well compensated and intellectually and psychologically fulfilled. So inured are we to the ideal of a cursus honorum that we don’t even need to mention that it is an obvious means to escape a supposedly limited life of laying tile or overhauling transmissions.

Yet talk long enough to the most accomplished academics, lawyers, and CEOs—who also tend to be the most conscientious about biking, jogging, and weightlifting (obesity is mostly an epidemic of the poor and lower middle classes)—and more often than not, they will brag about a long-ago college summer job waiting tables or an internship repairing hiking trails. They might praise the granite-counter installer who redid their kitchen, or offer an anecdote about the time they helped the tree-trimmer haul limbs from the backyard out to the trailer at the curb. There seems a human instinct to want to do physical work. We moderns want to be able to say that we have some residual firsthand familiarity with drudgery—or at least share our admiration for muscular labor when one sees the positive results of physical craftsmanship, or even the smallest physical alteration of the natural environment.

Anyone who has spot-welded has no regrets in seeing the disappearance of such rote drudgery.

The proliferation of hard-work reality-television programming reflects this apparent need, if only vicariously. Indeed, the more we have become immobile, urbanized, and distanced from hard work, the more we tune in to watch reality television’s assorted truckers, loggers, farmers, fishermen, drillers, and rail engineers. Usually, these supposed “losers” are filmed in rough physical landscapes of Alaska, Wyoming, Colorado, or out at sea, where they sweat, grunt, smoke, and swear as they toil to bring us our seafood, wood floors, arugula, and high-performance gasoline. The subtext of these shows is that the human dinosaurs who do such work are as tough and wild as the environment in which they labor.

In a society that supposedly despises menial jobs, the television ratings for such programs suggest that lots of Americans enjoy watching people of action who work with their hands, even if (or perhaps because) they are sometimes overweight, unkempt, and coarse. Mike Rowe became a media celebrity for his Discovery Channel reality series Dirty Jobs, in which he not only tried but also enjoyed said jobs—to the delight of viewers.

The Public Broadcasting Service’s signature series This Old House and its later spin-off shows on cable television made physical work seem especially hip. Yuppies and upwardly mobile young urban couples during off-hours put on old clothes, strapped on leather tool belts, and took up sledgehammers to knock down walls and break up concrete to remodel older homes into their own dream-gentrified Victorians. Apparently, they had a blast getting dirty and using their muscles while slowly turning decaying structures into renovated palaces. Again, the subtext of This Old House was that doing a lot of physical labor in remodeling something decrepit into something beautiful was rewarding—and preferable to contracting the hard labor out to experts.

What is it about physical work, in its supposed eleventh hour within a rapidly changing Western culture, that still intrigues us?

Physical work remains the foundation for twenty-first-century sophistication and complexity. Investors may know the oil trade better than oil drillers, but buying and selling based on intimate knowledge of Indonesian politics or the nature of the American automobile market are still predicated on someone’s knowing how to feed down steel casing to follow the drill bit. If there is no one to pump oil, there is nothing to sell. Selling plums to Japan is not the same as pruning a plum tree. Both aspects of the oil and plum industries are critical to their success, but the commercial tasks are cerebral and secondary, the physical ones elemental and primary.

London’s Acid Test of Diversity Daniel Greenfield

Things are going smashingly well in Londonistan.

The City of London has the highest murder rate in the land. While the authorities launch investigations into pork being left at a mosque or a hijab supposedly being torn off, crime continues to rise.

Gun control has worked so wonderfully well that gun crime in London rose 42%. When gun control advocates insist that we should be more like the UK, London’s 2,544 gun crime offenses probably aren’t what they have in mind.

But gun control does work in London after a fashion. Those gang members who can’t lay their hand on a firearm must make do with a sharp blade. Knife crimes in London rose 24% to 12,074 recorded offences. 60 people were stabbed to death last year.

Why? Here’s a hint from the Metropolitan Police’s assistant commissioner. “There are complex social reasons why more young people are carrying knives and this cannot be solved by the police alone.”

Those complex social reasons would seem to involve stabbing other people. But like Islamic terrorism, stabbings in London are one of those things that can’t be solved by the police. Unlike people saying mean things about Muslims on Facebook and Twitter which the Met cops are well equipped to solve.

Still the authorities have been doing their best to tackle stabbings with a knife ban. Carry a knife without a “good reason” and you can get four years in prison. Good reasons for carrying knives include using it as a prop in a production of Romeo and Juliet, taking it to a museum or “religious reasons”. The ban, which covers “sword-sticks”, samurai swords and “zombie knives” that are sold to fight zombies, isn’t working.

But it’s working well enough that many of the gangs responsible for the violence are turning to acid.

Acid attacks in London rose from 162 in 2012 to 454 last year. There have already been 199 acid attacks this year. Five acid attacks just happened in London in the space of little more than an hour.

And so the obvious new solution is drain cleaner control.

The push is on to “license” corrosive substances while banning anyone from carrying drain cleaner unless they have a good reason. When the public is banned from buying drain cleaners, then finally everyone in London will be safe. It’s worked for guns and knives. Bound to work for acid. And being stuck with a clogged toilet, like Allah Akbar car rammings, is the price we must all pay for diversity.

It’s easy to blame and ban inanimate objects. And it avoids any discussion of the perpetrators.

Newham is the London borough with the highest number of acid attacks. It also has the second highest percentage of Muslims in the UK. 398 acid attacks occurred in 5 years in the area named as “the most ethnically diverse district in England and Wales”. 33% of Newham consists of non-UK passport holders.

But surely that’s some sort of random coincidence.

‘You Jew!’ Becoming Common Insult In Berlin Schools As Anti-Semitism Rises by Chris Tomlinson

Schoolteachers and other school officials in Berlin have noticed a rising trend of anti-Semitism among pupils and say the expression “You Jew!” has become a common insult.

A report conducted by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) of 21 schools in Berlin shows the level of antisemitism is growing among the primarily Turkish and Arab Muslim pupils. The group also found a disturbing rise in support for radical Islamism, according to German broadcaster RBB.

Many of the teachers interviewed for the survey said they had been confronted by various anti-Semitic incidents in recent years. Some blamed “religious authorities”, saying many of the Muslim children were being taught at their mosques to be aggressive toward classmates who were girls, homosexuals or secular Muslims.

The AJC study, which took place between 2015 and 2016, looked at schools where Turks and Arab children made up a significant proportion of the student population but also several schools in middle-class areas with more native German pupils. Though the AJC claims the study does not reflect all Berlin schools, they note a worrying trend of anti-Semitism in those they did examine.

Another major revelation in the study was that children from migrant backgrounds identify less and less with their former ethnicity and more with their common religion of Islam. As a result, some teachers said that mosque leaders were training young people to act as “morality police” within their schools.

“We have a kind of parallel education now, and we have on the one hand what is to be officially taught at school, and then we have mosque visits, mosque clubs, which influence many students,” one teacher remarked.