Displaying posts published in

October 2017

Edmonton police investigate ‘acts of terrorism’ after officer stabbed, pedestrians run down ‘Hatred has no place in Alberta’ says Alberta premier Rachel Notley By Alexandra Zabjek,

Politicians and Muslim community leaders are cautioning against potential community backlash after a suspected terrorism attack in Edmonton Saturday night.

A 30-year-old man is in custody following a high-speed chase just before midnight through streets filled with bar patrons and football fans. A man stabbed a police officer with a knife and deliberately plowed into pedestrians on Edmonton’s busiest downtown strip, police say.

Abdulahi Hasan Sharif is the man accused in the attacks, multiple sources tell CBC News.

The chase ended after a white U-Haul van the man was driving struck four pedestrians and flipped on its side. Cst. Mike Chernyk was the officer injured in the violent altercation, sources tell CBC News.

Edmonton police Chief Rod Knecht confirmed that a black ISIS flag was seized from a car where the police officer was attacked. The officer was not critically injured. The condition of the four pedestrians is not known.

“Based on evidence at the scenes and the actions of the suspect … it was determined that these incidents are being investigated as acts of terrorism,” Knecht said.

The incident triggered a torrent of hate messages on social media, much of it targeting Muslims.
‘Hatred has no place in Alberta’

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley thanked first responders for bravery during the chaotic night and urged the public to avoid lashing out.

“The horrific events last night in downtown Edmonton have left us shocked and angry,” Notley said in a statement. “It’s left us shocked at the indiscriminate cruelty and angry that someone might target their hatred at places where we gather with our families and friends.

‘Alberta we must stand together in defence of our loved ones, friends and neighbours’3:12

“Hatred has no place in Alberta. It’s not who we are. We are in this together and together we are stronger than any form of hate.”

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson called for vigilance and urged the community to remain calm.

“To the best of our knowledge this was a lone wolf attack,” Iveson told a news conference Sunday. “Terrorism is about creating panic and sowing divide and disputing people’s lives, so we can succumb to that or we can rise above it.”

Edmonton suspected terror attack likely a ‘lone wolf’ incident, says Mayor Don Iveson

Members of Edmonton’s Muslim community are strongly condemning the attacks and calling for solidarity within the community.

Edmonton human rights activist Ahmed Abdikadir said he felt “anger and frustration” at news the violence may have been the work of a terrorist. He fears the attack may result in a backlash against the city’s minority communities.

‘The Word “Jew” is a Common Insult in Norway Today’ (video)

I’ve stumbled across this video from earlier this year, on Jews in Norway, which I think deserves a look.

‘TV 2 Norway investigate Norwegian anti-Semitism. The word “Jew” is a common insult in many communities in Norway. What role does the neo-Nazis’, muslim immigrations and the – BDS (boycott Israel) movement play – if any? And: Can old prejudices be joked away?’



“The Official Discourse Was That the Jews in Malmö Were Harassed by Swedish neo-Nazis” (video)


Ten minutes of sheer good sense. Left-leaning Swedish intellectual Göran Adamson, who was sacked from his academic post as a political sociologist for offending the tyrants of political correctness, here gives a searing critique of multiculturalism (“It ought to be a good thing for certain cultures to change”) and the suppression of free speech and of truth itself, that its tsars have imposed on western societies (“You no longer have a discussion about things”).


Trump Tells Tillerson Talking to North Korea Is A Waste of Time The president, in tweet, also says the U.S. will ‘do what has to be done’ with North Korea By Felicia Schwartz

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump said he didn’t think it was worth pursuing negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, a day after his secretary of state revealed the U.S. was in direct contact with Pyongyang.

“I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” Mr. Trump said on Twitter on Sunday, using a disparaging reference to Mr. Kim. “Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!”

The president and his top diplomat have sent differing signals about North Korea before, as well as on other topics. In August, Mr. Trump warned of unleashing “fire and fury” on North Korea, raising questions about potential nuclear war, amid worries that Pyongyang may target Guam. Mr. Tillerson later told reporters there was no new threat from North Korea and that Americans should “sleep well at night.”

Mr. Tillerson has been interested in pursuing lines of communication with North Korea, but that approach has been largely rejected by Mr. Trump, whose advisers have warned about the signal it would send after North Korea sent a pair of missiles over Japan this summer and tested what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb.

Mr. Trump also tweeted on Sunday, “Being nice to Rocket Man hasn’t worked in 25 years, why would it work now? Clinton failed, Bush failed, and Obama failed. I won’t fail.”

Hundreds Hurt as Catalans, Spanish Police Clash Amid Independence Referendum Spanish police forcibly remove people from polling stations, had fired rubber pellets By Jon Sindreu, Pietro Lombardi and Jeannette Neumann

BARCELONA—Spain stood on the brink of a political and constitutional crisis after clashes between national police and Catalan voters seeking to cast ballots in an independence referendum for Catalonia deepened a long-running secessionist struggle that has riven Spain.

Catalan officials say millions of people cast ballots in Sunday’s vote in defiance of the Spanish government, which outlawed the ballot and sent thousands of police to the restive region to stop the vote. More than 760 people were left injured, according to Catalan officials, while the Spanish government said 11 police officers were also hurt.

The government of Catalonia, a prosperous region in northeast Spain, is set to announce results of the referendum Monday or Tuesday, with most expecting Catalans to have voted in favor of secession. Carles Puigdemont, the Catalan president, has pledged to declare independence 48 hours after a ‘yes’ vote, throwing down a challenge to Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

Stark scenes of national police battling civilians could fuel animosity in Catalonia, while also threatening to sap the political support for Mr. Rajoy, who heads a fragile minority government.

“It would have been easier for everyone to turn a blind eye while they carried out a serious attack on our democracy,” said Mr. Rajoy late Sunday. “We did what we had to do.”

The Spanish crisis is also an irritant for other European Union members, many worried that a vote in favor of secession could fuel discontent in independence-minded regions such as the U.K.’s Scotland and Belgium’s Flanders. And if it distracts Mr. Rajoy from dealing with economic problems dogging Spain, such as very high youth unemployment, it could take the shine off one of the region’s brightest recovery stories.

Pro-independence groups defied the Rajoy government Sunday, opening thousands of polling stations in schools and other local buildings for a ballot on whether Catalonia should break free of Spain. Starting Friday evening, thousands of referendum supporters—including families with small children—occupied more than 1,000 polling stations throughout Catalonia to avoid their closure for Sunday’s vote, said Catalan officials. Officials from the central government said the figure was closer to several hundred. CONTINUE AT SITE

Campus Speech and Anti-Klan Laws Have you been censored or shouted down? You may have legal recourse. Here’s a handy guide. By Jay Weiser

A brawl broke out in an “Empathy Tent” at the University of California, Berkeley last week, marking the official start of college riot season. Last week Attorney General Jeff Sessions braved protesters at Georgetown Law Center, where he promised to intervene in campus free-speech cases and urged students and universities to “stand up against those who would silence free expression by violence or other means.” The targets of suppression have ways to hold colleges and rioters to account using civil-rights statutes and common-law torts.
Illustration: David Gothard

Administrators often “coddle” and “encourage” censorship, Mr. Sessions observed. That’s nothing new. After the Civil War, white students at what is now Washington and Lee University in Virginia attacked blacks associated with the Freedmen’s Bureau. The college president, Robert E. Lee, offered pieties and looked the other way. In response to similar incidents, Congress safeguarded civil rights with legislation known as anti-Ku Klux Klan acts.

Public universities are subject to the full sweep of the anti-KKK laws, as well as more recent civil-rights statutes. At San Francisco State University, Jewish students have filed suit under Section 1983 of the federal civil-rights law, alleging disruption of their events violates the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The First Amendment requires public universities to treat speech neutrally, regardless of the message. Administrators may not tell police to stand down in the face of a “heckler’s veto.”

In 2013 at New York’s University at Buffalo, police let counterprotesters shut down a pro-life demonstration. This June the university settled, paying the plaintiffs’ attorney fees and promising to refrain from viewpoint discrimination in the future.

But universities are responsible only for taking reasonable precautions. A target of last semester’s antispeech riots, Bret Weinstein, was mobbed and hounded out of Evergreen State College after refusing to comply with a college-sponsored “Day of Absence” in which white people were “asked” to stay off campus. While Mr. Weinstein claimed that Evergreen State violated his right of free speech, the college could have argued that it acted reasonably because violent antispeech protests were still novel and Mr. Weinstein was physically threatened in class only once. He and his wife, also an Evergreen professor, settled their claim for $500,000 and an agreement to resign. Public universities now have notice of their duty to provide security, which UC Berkeley and the University of Utah just fulfilled for conservative writer Ben Shapiro.

Private universities have no First Amendment obligation to provide a forum for speech. But many riots purport to attack white “supremacy” or “privilege,” and if private universities act with deliberate indifference to racially motivated attacks, they may be liable to students or speakers. Colleges are subject to antidiscrimination statutes such as Section 1981, an anti-KKK act that would cover student and speaker contract rights. If they accept federal funding—and all but a handful do—they are also subject to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Institutions are not the only prospective defendants. Campus rioters themselves may be liable under Section 1985(3), which covers private conspiracies and targets those who, like masked Antifa attackers, go in disguise—“a common tactic also used by the detestable Ku Klux Klan,” as Mr. Sessions noted. The statute applies most clearly to racially motivated physical attacks or efforts to exclude persons. Evergreen State is a classic case: After disrupting Mr. Weinstein’s class, students detained the college president and apparently posted photos of themselves brandishing baseball bats on Facebook . Some faculty members demanded disciplinary action against Mr. Weinstein and later assembled with masked Antifa members who attacked counterprotesters. CONTINUE AT SITE

Trump’s Excellent Judges His four latest nominees highlight his biggest political success.

The start of a new Supreme Court term is a good moment to note some under-reported news: President Trump is rapidly remaking the federal appellate and district courts, with highly qualified nominees who fulfill his campaign promise to pick “constitutional conservatives.”

The White House announced its eighth batch of judicial nominees on Thursday, including four excellent choices for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. They include a pair of Texans: Don Willett, who is now on the Texas Supreme Court and is well known for his witty Twitter feed; and James Ho, a Gibson, Dunn partner in Dallas who clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas and was Texas solicitor general.

The other two Fifth Circuit nominees have notable legal achievements to their credit. Stuart Duncan was solicitor general of Louisiana and general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. He was counsel of record in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, the landmark 2014 decision allowing closely held companies to be exempt from regulations they object to on religious grounds.

Kurt Engelhardt is chief judge for the federal district court for eastern Louisiana. In 2013 he wrote a withering 129-page opinion documenting misconduct by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney in prosecuting New Orleans police. Prosecutors attempted to inflame the potential jury pool against the officers with prejudicial public comments, including the use of a fake name on the website of the Times-Picayune. Justice appealed, but Judge Engelhardt was upheld by the Fifth Circuit he will join if he’s confirmed.

The speed of the nominations and the quality of the nominees is a result of the close ties between White House judicial vetters and the Federalist Society that is a national clearinghouse for conservative legal talent. Judicial nominations are arguably the most successful part of the Trump Presidency.

By our count—and we may have missed a name or two—Mr. Trump has made 18 nominations to appellate courts, 39 to district courts and three to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The Senate has confirmed only four for the appellate courts as Democrats use every possible delaying tactic. They’re even trying to disqualify Amy Coney Barrett, a nominee for the Seventh Circuit, because she’s an “orthodox Catholic,” as Senator Dick Durbin put it in a question at a Senate hearing.

With confirmation politics increasingly polarized, Mr. Trump and Republicans are wise to move quickly to take advantage of this moment of Senate and White House control. If Democrats take the Senate in 2018, Chuck Schumer will try to block the confirmation of any conservative nominee. Mr. Trump deserves more credit than he’s getting for his judicial-nominating operation.

FEMA’s Foul-Up in Puerto Rico The emergency plan depended on generators but diesel was not delivered.By Mary Anastasia O’Grady

Hurricane Katrina taught the Federal Emergency Management Agency some harsh lessons in 2005. FEMA used what it learned to prepare and respond better when Harvey and Irma hit the U.S. mainland earlier this year. Now Maria has taken the bureaucrats back to school in Puerto Rico, and they’re not getting passing grades.

Ahead of the Category 4 storm that hit with 155 mile-an-hour winds on Sept. 20, the FEMA team in Puerto Rico said it was ready. But a week later much of the island was still in dire need of food, water and fuel—the basics of humanitarian relief.

The most immediate needs centered on the sick and elderly. About 97% of the island lost electricity in the storm. Diesel-run generators were supposed to fill the void in hospitals and dialysis centers and provide refrigeration for medicines like insulin. But the diesel fuel did not arrive, and by midweek family members began to panic. Tearful Puerto Ricans begged for help.

FEMA will no doubt learn again from Maria. But so too should the rest of us, about the folly of relying on government to deal with a disaster even as predictable as the aftermath of a hurricane.

The only thing more certain than Maria’s devastation has been the rush to politicize it. As video of waist-deep water, washed out highways, splintered roofs, and uprooted trees scattered across the island hit American living rooms, Donald Trump’s adversaries and their media cheerleaders painted the president a heartless Anglo snob.

Yet the failures in Puerto Rico have not been due to a lack of federal attention. Rather the local FEMA team failed to execute fundamental aspects of emergency operations. Whether that’s because it was overwhelmed by the widespread devastation or because of bureaucratic incompetence can be debated. But efforts to chalk up the crisis to mainlander disregard for life are dishonest.

Mr. Trump’s big mistake has been his handling of the Jones Act, which mandates that shipping from the mainland to the island use only American-built-and-crewed vessels. First he said he would not suspend it as he did for Texas after Harvey and Florida after Irma. “A lot of people that work in the shipping industry . . . don’t want [it] lifted,” he said. Well, duh. A lot of people don’t like competition. But that’s hardly a good argument for blocking it.

Under pressure, he finally said he would suspend the Jones Act for Puerto Rico—but only for 10 days, a meaningless gesture.

For more than a week the island’s ports have been piled high with containers waiting to be hitched up to cabs and their contents delivered to supermarkets, restaurants, home-building supply stores and medical centers. In other words, much of the merchandise needed in an islandwide triage is already on Puerto Rican docks. CONTINUE AT SITE

Not sure what happens today in Catalonia By Silvio Canto, Jr.

We have not seen so much division and hostility in Spain since the Spanish Civil War of the late 1930s.

It seems like every one of my Spanish friends has an opinion about today’s vote. One of my friends refers to Catalonia as “crazy rebels.” One of my other friends calls the government in Madrid a few names not suitable for a family blog.

At the same time, they’re all very concerned about what happens the next day. The people who want independence don’t know how they will react the day after. The people who want Catalonia to stay are afraid that it could lead to a civil war. And both sides fear the economic impact of putting everyone through this.

Today, the people of Catalonia will vote to split from Spain, as we see in this update by John Moody:

Catalans have their own culture and language, and for the past two years, their political leadership has been promising citizens a vote.

Spain’s Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has said such a ballot would be invalid and in violation of Spain’s constitution.

The possibility that Catalonia would split off from Spain is very much like California’s “Calexit” movement.

Politically and psychologically, the Golden State is different from America’s misnamed “flyover” states, so its aspirations to be independent are understandable.

Just a few months ago, one independence movement said leaving the United States was the only way to defend “California values.”

So, too, Catalonia’s desire to pull away from the rest of Spain, of which it’s been a part since the 15th century, when King Ferdinand of Aragon married Queen Isabella of Castile and united their realms.

Today, Catalonia is one of Spain’s economic engines, and Barcelona, its capital, is the country’s leading destination for tourists.

Finally, Canada Begins to Consider U.S. Missile-Defense Partnership For years, only American moral responsibility has protected Canada from a missile attack. Now, Canadians want to change that. By Philip H. DeVoe

Ever since North American Aerospace Defense Command’s (NORAD) deputy commander, Lieutenant General Pierre St-Amand, testified that that “the extant U.S. policy is not to defend Canada” in the event of a North Korean missile attack, Canadians have begun reconsidering their opposition to missile defense. Efforts to overcome that opposition have failed a number of times in the past, because the perception that missile defense threatens Canada’s commitment to peaceful neutrality always trumped concerns over national security — and because Canadians took it for granted that NORAD and NATO would protect them in the event of an attack.

In fact, the mutual-defense clause in NATO’s charter only explicitly requires member nations to act following a direct attack, ambiguously referring back to the U.N charter on the question of collective self-defense. And NORAD is only a monitoring service; if a missile is detected, the decision of whether or not to intercept is left up to member nations themselves. St-Amand’s revelation of this dark reality has left Canadians scratching their heads: How has the Canadian government left them defenseless against missile attacks for so long?

Thirty-two years ago, during the incipient years of missile defense, President Ronald Reagan offered Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney the opportunity to join a space defense-research program called the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). Mulroney’s decision not to participate was hedged in concern that doing so would uproot Canada’s role as a mediator during the Cold War, but he told reporters that he had great respect for the program and fully supported America’s efforts.

As early as 2003, President George W. Bush tried again, offering Canada the chance to buy into what was then named the Ballistic Missile Defense Shield (BMD). Despite a campaign promise to increase Canadian missile defense, Prime Minister Paul Martin, a Liberal, announced two years later that Canada would opt out of the program, bowing to public criticism and a lack of support in Parliament.

Both times, Canada’s opposition to joining America’s missile-defense program hinged on the same three issues: Its high cost, its low reliability, and, most importantly, the threat it poses to geopolitical stability. In 1985 and the early 2000s, the latter issue dominated criticism of the American program. Should a country begin preparing for a missile attack, the theory states, it will make volatile nations — the Soviet Union in the 1980s and Iran and North Korea today — feel less secure, and thus more likely to attack. This idea runs contrary to Canada’s international identity as a passively pacifist, neutral mediator; Canadians love staying out of the way, and missile defense, in their eyes, would be the opposite.

So far, to be sure, staying out of the way has worked. Canada is one of the few world powers — and arguably the only Group of 7 member — North Korea hasn’t threatened to destroy. Kim-Jong Un’s regime appears to regard Canada with none of the hostility it heaps on the U.S.: Returning from a successful mission to release a Canadian prisoner in August, national-security adviser Daniel Jean reported that Kim considers our northern neighbor to be a peaceful and friendly country. So the question of how the Canadian government could leave the nation powerless in responding to ICBMs has a simple answer: Missile defense is unpopular and unnecessary.