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November 2017

Deadly myths of the opioid epidemic By Betsy McCaughey

President Trump’s declaration that opioid abuse is a public-health emergency is sparking debate about addiction. Tragically, myths and misinformation are blocking the path to preventing more deaths.

Start with the causes of the opioid crisis. On “Face the Nation,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, chair of Trump’s opioid commission, blamed over-prescribing doctors. “This crisis started not on a street corner somewhere. This crisis started in the doctor’s offices and hospitals of America.” That’s untrue, Governor.

It contradicts scientific evidence and lets drug abusers off the hook. At least three quarters of opioid-pill abusers and almost all heroin addicts got hooked without ever having been prescribed pain medication for an injury or illness, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Emergency-room records show only a fraction — 13 percent — of opioid-overdose victims began taking drugs because of pain, according to the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine. The media feature many stories about patients who needed pain killers and later became addicts, but these are exceptions, not the rule.

Experimenting with opioids — whether heroin or pills — is almost always a choice. A bad choice. Young adults account for 90 percent of first-time abusers. To protect the next generation from making that mistake, Trump proposes a “massive advertising campaign to get people, especially children, not to want to take drugs in the first place.” The liberal media mock Trump’s proposal as a throwback to the 1980s, but in fact he’s on the mark.

For decades, popular music has glamorized drug use. Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel pays lip service to tackling tough political issues, but his guest line-up this week includes Ty Dolla $ign, whose music videos showcase drug use.

Trump’s offering an alternative message. History proves it can work. In 2012 and 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ran hard-hitting and graphic ads against smoking, with ex-smokers talking about their own lung disease, cancer, and other miseries. The ads cut smoking among youth and convinced 400,000 smokers to quit for good.

Trump’s campaign should be just as terrifying. Show hospitalized teens with their arms amputated because of infections from heroin needles and brain-damaged overdose victims in nursing homes.

Warning about opioid abuse sounds like a no-brainer. So why do activists like Kassandra Frederique and Dionna King of the Drug Policy Alliance deplore “the persistent stigma of drug use”? As if we’re not supposed to hurt addicts’ feelings. With drug overdose deaths at record highs, that’s misguided.

You no longer see smoking in movies or on television. Stigmatizing cigarettes worked. So why de-stigmatize opioids? We can help those already hooked without doing that.

Christie calls addiction a “disease.” It’s true that some people succumb to it more than others. But new research suggests the disease metaphor could be hurtful. Addicts who believe they have the free will to quit have a much higher success rate than those who think of themselves as diseased, according to new research from the University of Minnesota and Florida State University. Quitting Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s isn’t possible, but getting off drugs is.

Harvard professor Gene Heyman insists addicts can choose to stop using drugs once “the penalties for excessive use become overwhelming,” such as losing their job or kids.


In these willfully ignorant, fiercely partisan times, let’s recall that we fought our bloodiest war to end human bondage. Almost three-quarters of a million Americans died in a complex struggle that began to right an inexcusable injustice.

Now we’re re-fighting our Civil War with neo-Stalinist, fact-purging propaganda that makes cartoon villains of the dead. We rush to tear down statues of men we refuse to understand. We rob one group of citizens of their heritage to please another.

And the president’s chief of staff cannot state facts about our history without triggering mob-rule outrage from those who could not even tell you when the Civil War was fought.

Yes, slavery was the catalyst of our Civil War. Without slavery, sectional disagreements would have remained, but none would have brought us to make war on ourselves. Still Trump chief of staff Gen. John Kelly’s televised remark that “the lack of an ability to compromise” provoked our Civil War was also accurate. Despite repeated attempts by Northern states to find a political compromise, nothing satisfied Southern firebrands.

There’s much more to it, though. While slavery brought us to fratricidal war, that doesn’t mean everyone who wore a Confederate uniform fought for slavery. Quite the contrary. Rare was the Rebel soldier who owned a slave (as usual, the rich often stayed home).

Let’s judge the dead as we’re admonished to judge the living: as individuals. As a student of the Civil War since childhood, it astonished me when the media reacted to Kelly’s statement that Robert E. Lee was “an honorable man” as if Kelly had praised Pol Pot.

Robert E. Lee was, in fact, a man of flawless honor in his times. He abhorred secession and viewed slavery as doomed. But when Virginia seceded from the Union, this hero of multiple wars felt compelled — as Kelly honestly noted — to defend his state, his family and friends. It was, for him and others, an anguished choice.

Nor was Lee alone in detesting secession. Many of the West Point-trained officers who became Confederate generals strongly opposed it. Jubal Early argued bravely against it. Thomas J. Jackson, soon to be known as “Stonewall,” preferred continued unity and peace.

Now students who have never taken a course in American history demonstrate to tear down statues of Jackson, a man who, before the war, defied his neighbors to start a Sunday school for blacks; who broke Virginia law by teaching slaves and free blacks to read; and who saved slaves from being sold into the Deep South. (Virginians, such as General-to-be Robert Rodes, were appalled by the treatment of slaves in the Cotton Belt.)

Jackson continued sending regular donations back to that Lexington, Va., Sunday school until he died of wounds.

After the West Side Highway Jihad: What Does ‘Extreme Vetting’ Mean? Our immigration system needs to take Islam into account, to distinguish pro-American Muslims from sharia supremacists. By Andrew C. McCarthy

To the surprise of exactly no one, it turns out that the Uzbek-born jihadist who murdered eight people on the streets of New York City on Tuesday was invited into the United States under the cockamamie “Diversity Visa Program.” (Paul Mirengoff has the details at Powerline.) Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, a sharia supremacist and Islamic State supporter, came to our shores seven years ago, as a young Muslim man of 21.

I wrote about the Diversity Visa Program in The Grand Jihad, my book about the sharia supremacist strategy for infiltrating and “destroying the West” (to quote the Muslim Brotherhood). As detailed there:

Since the Bush 41 administration, the State Department has also been running a “Diversity Visa” program, the very purpose of which is to promote immigration from countries whose citizens resist coming to the United States — i.e., to encourage our cultural disintegration. It is a hare-brained scheme, concocted by hard-Left Senator Ted Kennedy, because the Irish (yes, the Irish!) were purportedly underrepresented in our gorgeous mosaic. Mark Krikorian, the director of the Center for Immigration Studies, describes the consequences: Fully one-third of the annual diversity-visa lottery winners now come from Islamic countries, which means that the program has become a disproportionately important immigration vehicle for Muslims.

Thanks to [this and other federal immigration] policies, another million or so Muslims reside in the United States (i.e., in addition to the roughly million-and-a-half American Muslims). It is impossible to say for sure what the precise number is because our crack Homeland Security Department keeps track only of immigrant entries into the U.S. — not whether these aliens leave, much less whether, once here, they adhere to their stated purpose for coming. It bears repeating, however, that these aliens are not American Muslims. They are legal and illegal immigrants whose fealty is to some other country, or, more realistically, to the ummah [(i.e., the notional worldwide Islamic community)]. This is a matter of no small importance when we are well aware of the supremacist Islamist design: Immigration not to pursue the American dream but to become the American nightmare — a jihad to transform the United States.

It has been nearly a decade since I wrote that passage. In the interim, it has become only clearer that the jihadists are only the tip of the spear. We are dealing with an ideological enemy whose aim — they are quite explicit about this — is to supplant Western culture and law with sharia’s repressive societal system and legal code. This is the objective of all jihadism. These violent attacks cannot happen, at least not with regularity, unless the militants have a support system: ideological enclaves that foster incitement, recruitment, training, fund-raising, and moral support.

As night follows day, we learn that, in the years leading up to yesterday’s attack, Saipov gravitated to the Omar Mosque in Paterson, N.J. Sharia supremacism’s inroads have made the community the object of counterterrorism investigations for over a dozen years.

Because of the centrality of immigration issues to the Trump campaign and presidency, we have been debating visa and refugee policy. I’ve thus tried to point out, any number of times: While the potential that trained jihadists could enter the country by masquerading as good-faith immigrants is serious, it is not the primary danger. The overarching threat is self-created: an immigration policy that promotes assimilation-resistant enclaves in which sharia supremacism embeds. Though we worry about the jihadist of today, we must be at least as concerned about the ten-, twelve-, 15-year-old kid who settles into a sharia-supremacist enclave and, like Saipov, is a jihadist seven years from now.

Ever quick with a tweet, President Trump reacted last night by asserting (among other things): “I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this.”

But he is being politically correct. After all, what is it that “Extreme Vetting” is vetting for? No one wants to say. Why? Because, as we’ve been contending here for months, the ill-considered, ineffectual “travel bans” have pushed the Trump administration into a posture that makes screening for sharia supremacism much more difficult.


On November 2, 2017, it will be 100 years since Lord Arthur Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary, issued the famous Balfour Declaration. Balfour was a Christian Zionist and looked with great sympathy upon Jewish aspirations and Zionism, which simply put is the Jewish people’s national liberation movement. Put in Biblical terms, it is the return from exile of the Jews to Zion – to that very special land promised by God to the first Jew, Abraham, and through his descendants, Isaac and Jacob, to the Jewish people forever.

The Hebrew Scriptures equate Zion with the holiest city in Judaism, Israel’s capital of Jerusalem. You can read numerous references in the Bible and the Psalms to the word Zion, such as in Psalm 135:21, II Samuel 5:7 and Isaiah 24:23. The Biblical yearning of the Jews to return to their ancestral homeland is mirrored in the modern political usage of the term Zionism, first employed in 1890 by the Jewish author and poet, Nathan Birnbaum.

Theodore Herzl, an assimilated Jewish journalist from Vienna, became the father of modern Zionism in the late nineteenth century. He had been so moved by the hopelessness of the lives of the Jews in Europe, that he helped create the political movement calling for the return of the Jews to their ancient homeland, which resulted finally in the rebirth and reconstitution of Israel in 1948. Herzl himself wrote in 1898. “One thing is to me certain, high above any doubt: the movement will continue. I know not when I shall die, but Zionism will never die.”

Herzl died young, his heart unable to withstand his feverish restlessness and the enormous strain he placed upon it. But this article deals with the Christians who found within their faith the Biblical signposts, which showed them the imperative need to support the return of the Jews to ancient Zion and the Land of Israel. Who were some of these Christians and what did they find in the Scriptures that moved them so profoundly?

Perhaps the first Christians to reject the belief – found among the majority of Catholics and Protestants – that the Church is the “new Israel” and that Christians are the “new Jews” occurred some 500 years ago as a result of the printing of the King James Version of the Bible. They realized that such an old and pernicious belief held by the Church was the fuel that fed the fires of the Catholic Inquisition and of the massacres of Jewish populations throughout much of Europe during the Crusades. That idea is known today primarily as “Replacement Theology” and is employed chiefly as a weapon against the reconstitution of the Jewish State of Israel in its ancestral and Biblical homeland.

In about 1560, Henry Finch, an Englishman who was a jurist, legal writer, member of the British Parliament and Hebraist, encouraged the Jews in Europe to assert their claim to the Promised Land. He spoke and wrote in Hebrew but could not speak to Jews directly for they had been driven out of England in 1290 by Edward I, after the barons and the kings had repeatedly exploited, impoverished and massacred them. It was not until 1657 that they were to return during the time of Oliver Cromwell, who himself was moved to support the rights of the Jews to live again in England and to return to Zion.

Finch was moved by the words of the Jewish prophet Isaiah, and particularly by Chapter 43:4-7 in which the Lord God of Israel declares that he will “bring back His people from the East, the West, the North and the South.” Henry Finch was thus one of the early Christian Zionists. Many Christians have been moved to embrace the return of the Jews to Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, by what the Jewish prophet Jeremiah wrote in chapter 31:10-12. “Hear the Word of the Lord, O ye nations. Declare it and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him: therefore, they shall come and sing again in the heights of Zion.”

In 1910, a young British Army officer with the unlikely name, Richard Meinertzhagen, was dining with the British Consul in Odessa when a pogrom broke out in the streets outside. Meinertzhagen watched with growing but impotent rage as Jewish shops and businesses erupted in flames and Jewish men, women and children were hunted down, beaten, murdered and left to lie in the gutter while the police stood by and watched. He wrote in his journal, “I am deeply moved by these terrible deeds and have resolved that whenever or where I can help the Jews, I shall do so to the best of my ability.”

Young Richard Meinertzhagen became a lifelong Zionist and, though a nominal Christian, wrote that he was much influenced by the “Divine Promise that the Holy Land will forever remain Israel’s inheritance.” Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen went on to become a great fighter for the Zionist cause at a time when senior members of the British Government, such as Foreign Secretary, Lord Arthur Balfour, and Prime Minister, Lloyd George, were devoted Christian Zionists.

The Leftist War Against America Requires a Reality Revolution by Linda Goudsmit

The Leftist progressive movement has adopted the binary victim/oppressor social structure of cultural Marxism. White males are the identified oppressors and everyone else is their victim. Classical Marxism identifies the oppressors as the bourgeoisie (owners of production) who exploit the proletariat (the workers). The metric of classical Marxism is economics. Cultural Marxism is a departure because it relabels the players in the drama and defines culture as the metric of exploitation.

Cultural Marxism dominates the Leftist Democrat Party and explains their radical political platform that is taking aim at the established Judeo-Christian values which define American culture. The family, the Church, patriotism, traditional definitions of race, gender, and sexual identity are oppressive and must be dismantled and replaced with romanticized notions of one globalized world without political borders, country borders, sexual borders, or any other defined boundary.

Here is the problem. Classical Marxism and cultural Marxism both seek to replace an existing order with collectivism – they are selling their own idealized form of secular heaven on earth. The naive social justice warriors who sign onto this Leftist fantasy are too childish to examine the reality of the offer. They believe the fantasy of a Marxist paradise but the reality they are embracing is the state of powerless infancy – complete dependence in a world without boundaries and borders.

Critical thinking is the objective analysis of facts to form a judgment and is the foundation of rational thought. Critical thinking is dependent upon accurate information – it relies upon objective reality. The ability to remain in objective reality is threatened when fiction/fantasy (subjective reality) is presented as fact. It is impossible to make an informed decision without an accurate source of information.

Truth in lending laws exist to provide consumers with informed consent. Surgical consent forms and pharmaceutical labels equip patients with information to make informed decisions about their health. Product labeling, food labeling, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), are all attempts to provide consumers with accurate information to make informed decisions. Laws and labels acknowledge the existence of conflicts of interest and are attempts to level the playing field. What about conflicts of interest in politics? News? Social media?

Let’s consider the current reporting of the horrific jihadi attack in NYC on 10.31.17. Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, an Uzbeki national admitted into the United States through the deadly “diversity” visa program, rented a truck and drove down the Hudson River bike path deliberately murdering and maiming innocent Americans. He murdered eight people injured dozens more then exited his vehicle shouting “Allah Akhbar!”

Predictably leftist Mayor Bill de Blasio (a cultural Marxist) refused to use the words Islamic terrorism or jihad and instead disingenuously called the attack a “cowardly act of terrorism.” “We know this action was intended to break our spirit. Our spirit will never be moved by an act of violence and an act meant … to intimidate us.” Similarly leftist cultural Marxist Governor Andrew Cuomo told the nation that this was the action of a “lone wolf,” and that “there is no evidence to suggest a wider plot or wider scheme.” REALLY? These two Leftist political responses are prime examples of the subjective reality that the Left is selling to America.

There is no such thing as a lone wolf. The term lone wolf is a misleading political misnomer – jihadists do NOT act alone – they are part of a worldwide Islamic ideological war against the West that seeks to destroy Western culture and replace it with Islam and sharia law. Politicians who are unable or unwilling to accept this unpleasant reality are unfit to serve. Americans need leaders with the ability to identify and act upon the threat. America needs objective reality. Saying you are safe and being safe are not the same thing. America needs leaders without a political conflict of interest.


In our digital age, we need a new word to describe the person we have unequivocally witnessed committing mass murder. To call Sayfullo Saipo a “suspect” is misleading – only one person was in the driver’s seat of the truck that sped down the west side highway, running over cyclists and pedestrians, ultimately killing eight and wounding at least eleven. He is seen on video exiting the truck after crashing it into a schoolbus, waving weapons and getting shot. Or, to be consistent, must we call the policeman the “suspected shooter”, compounding the lunacy of not spelling out what our eyes have seen. The only thing that remains unknown is under which category of slaughter Saipov will eventually be found guilty, but reading and hearing all the reporters continually refer to him as “the suspect” is a dishonor to the victims and their loved ones.

The other phrase we need to lose is “or the terrorists will win.” When multiple people die and are maimed in a savage attack, terrorists have won. Celebrating at a parade will not diminish the sorrow and agony of the victims’ survivors nor should it relieve any of us of whatever guilt we accrue by turning a blind eye to the obvious. Our police department prides itself on its outreach program to truck rental companies in the tri-state area, alerting them to the need for background checks on possible terrorists who want to turn trucks into murder weapons. This modus operandi has succeeded in killing 130 people and injuring close to 200 since 2016. Well, an immigrant from Uzbekistan walks into Home Depot in New Jersey with a swarthy complexion, a full bushy beard, a Muslim name of Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, requesting a short term rental of a truck – what was missing from this profile that dissuaded the dispatcher from informing the counter-terrorism division that had done the outreach? Either John Miller, head of this division, has over-estimated its efficacy or we have been so brainwashed by the media that legitimate suspicion and profiling are considered Islamophobic. Perhaps the person who handled the rental was more anxious about his being called that than about the chance of a terrorist incident. That possibility should make us all ashamed that we have abandoned logic in favor of what began as an Islamic public-relations campaign after 9/11.

Profiling is not an act of discrimination; it is the means by which law enforcement aims to anticipate and minimize future criminal acts. It is based on analysis of past acts and behavior and is analogous to what a smart doctor does when she takes a history of your family background. If you are black and have a higher risk of sickle cell anemia, you don’t call your doctor racist for factoring that into her diagnosis. If you are Jewish, you get tested for the brca gene for breast cancer as an act of precaution, not prejudice. If 3,000 New Yorkers were killed on 9/11 in the name of Allah, we can never be called Islamophobic for worrying that other jihadists abound with similar motives. Sadly, some of our movers and shakers have succeeded in shaming us for this understandable , appropriate anxiety.

Finally, why didn’t our governor and mayor initiate a somber few minutes of silence at the outset of the Halloween parade to acknowledge the tragedy that had occurred less than a mile away. Grandstanding that we need to carry on with our jollity or the terrorists will win ignores a more powerful message. The terrorists don’t win when we remember our humanity, exhibit grief at senseless violence and show our compassion for innocent victims in our own home town.

Mueller is running amok Matthew Walther

After months of getting themselves worked up about hearings featuring a hero once accused of rigging the election for Donald Trump and Don Jr.’s inability to sniff out Nigerian prince emails, spectators of the Russia game have finally gotten what they wanted: indictments.

Unfortunately, the indictments of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business partner Richard Gates have nothing whatever to do with “collusion,” however broadly defined. Politically speaking, we have learned nothing except what we already knew: namely, that a shady businessman who briefly worked for the Trump campaign is, in fact, a very shady businessman indeed, one who has just pled not guilty to failing to register as a foreign agent on behalf of the Ukrainian puppet government and not declaring all of his income derived from his essentially pro-Kremlin lobbying.

Dot connectors will, of course, continue to connect dots. It could be that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is hoping to secure testimony from Manafort or Gates that will give him the dirt he needs to bring more appropriate charges. It could be that he already has that information and is just waiting for goodness knows what occasion. At the very least, obsessives will say, the hiring of Manafort indicates — these comments almost write themselves — a very serious lack of judgment on Trump’s part. You don’t say? The man whose idea of a feel-good national unity speech following an act of domestic terrorism was to suggest a degree of moral equivalence between the KKK and its opponents has horrible instincts, often fails to think things through, is a bad judge of character, etc.? Gosh.

Even George Papadopoulos’ guilty plea is no smoking gun. The former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign admits that he lied about email exchanges with a shadowy figure known as “the professor” who had promised Russian “dirt” on Clinton. But as far as we can tell, his communications with Dr. Dirt went nowhere. Papadopoulos also made vague references in his emails to “meetings” with Russian officials that probably did not end up taking place, which seems important only if you ignore the fact that presidential candidates, especially after securing their parties’ nominations, routinely meet with foreign leaders, even heads of state.

The most significant thing about Monday’s Mueller bonanza is that it reminds us what is wrong with these hysterical wide-ranging special prosecutor investigations that take place in public. Whitewater went on for nearly a decade before it concluded in 2003. Does the fact that Bill Clinton lied about sleeping with Monica Lewinsky prove that he and Hillary and the McDougals broke the law in the course of their real-estate dealings in the late ’70s? If you ask enough people enough questions about enough topics, sooner or later you’re going to catch somebody in a lie. Monday’s revelations don’t in themselves mean anything other than that Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department is keeping Mueller on a very long leash.

It needs to be shortened. The purpose of the investigation is to determine whether the presidential campaign of Donald Trump knowingly colluded with the Russian government in the hope of altering the outcome of the 2016 election, not to see whether any person even loosely connected with the former could be found guilty of any crime, including perjury. The resignation of Tony Podesta from the prominent lobbying group he founded in the wake of Manafort’s indictment suggests that we are getting very far afield indeed.

There are many problems with the Mueller probe, not least its show-boating obsession with keeping its business in the newspapers, but the biggest one is that its parameters were never well defined. What would count as actual collusion? Idle language is thrown around about people having “ties” to Russia or being “Kremlin-connected.” How do you define “Kremlin-connected”? What would be the broad equivalent in the United States from Russia’s perspective? A former congressman? Anyone who does business on K Street having a meeting? Defense contractors? Given the country’s autocratic structure, there are very few living Russian nationals of any wealth or distinction who are not “Kremlin-connected.”

Gaza Strip: Breeding Ground for Radical Terror Groups by Bassam Tawil

Hamas is doing its utmost to conceal the truth about ISIS in the Gaza Strip, while the Palestinian Authority (PA) is continuing to pretend as if Hamas is headed toward moderation as a result of the “reconciliation” accord.

Hamas presents itself as the sole and legitimate ruler of the Gaza Strip and as if it is in full control of the Gaza Strip.

If the “reconciliation” agreement is implemented, Majed Faraj, commander of the PA General Intelligence, and considered a strong candidate to succeed Abbas in the West Bank, will soon find himself working with his Gaza Strip counterpart — a convicted terrorist who serves as a “general,” named Tawfik Abu Na’im.

Hamas claims that Israel was behind the attempt on the life of Tawfik Abu Na’im, a top Hamas security official in the Gaza Strip. There is good reason to believe, however, that ISIS was behind the assassination attempt, which took place in the Gaza Strip on October 27.

Abu Na’im, commander of Hamas’s security apparatus, was lightly injured when an explosive device hidden beneath his car exploded after Friday prayers in a local mosque. Even before Abu Na’im was rushed to hospital, several Hamas officials and spokesmen publicly held Israel responsible. This claim, of course, came without any evidence to support their charge.

Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas political bureau, visits top Hamas security official Tawfik Abu Na’im at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on October 27, 2017. (Image source: Mohammad Austaz, Hamas Media Office)

Abu Na’im, who was released from an Israeli prison in 2011 after 23 years behind bars for terror-related offenses, is one of the founders of Hamas’s military wing, Ezaddin Al-Qassam.

Since his release and return to the Gaza Strip, Abu Na’im, who holds the rank of “general,” has been dubbed the “man of difficult missions.”

Only a handful of Hamas officials know the nature of the “difficult missions” Abu Na’im is said to have carried out on behalf of the terrorist movement. What is certain, is that these missions were anything but humanitarian in nature.

Those who are familiar with Hamas’s “missions” cannot but conclude that the “general” was involved in terrorist activities such as the digging of tunnels and the smuggling of weapons. It is also likely that he was involved in planning terror attacks and preparing Hamas for another war against Israel.

Hamas is now claiming that Abu Na’im was targeted by Israel precisely because of his involvement with Hamas’s terrorist activities. Hamas is also claiming that by targeting its “general,” Israel is seeking to sabotage the recent “reconciliation” agreement between Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority (PA).

Ma’mun Abu Amer, a Palestinian expert on Israeli affairs, argues that Israel is the only beneficiary of the assassination of a senior Hamas official. “Israel is trying to sabotage the reconciliation and create chaos in the Gaza Strip,” he alleged. He even went as far as claiming that Israel is behind a number of ISIS-inspired terror groups in the Gaza Strip.

The Advantages of Liberal Insurance Pay up now, via public support for progressive causes, to avoid punishment later. By Victor Davis Hanson —

Progressive obsessions with race and class blur individual achievement. Those of the past instead are judged as one-dimensional players, either good or bad based on their perceived liberalism as interpreted by 2017 standards.

The humane General James Longstreet and the racist General Nathan Bedford Forrest are equally culpable because they fought for the Confederacy. It doesn’t matter that Teddy Roosevelt was an environmentalist and trust-buster when few others were — because his views of imperialism were uncouth by our standards.

In contrast, the racist eugenicist Margaret Sanger is spared progressive hell, because her pro-abortion advocacy helped found what became Planned Parenthood.

The scary thing about contemporary progressivism is this reduction of individuals to cardboard cutouts, whose sins and saintly works fade before cosmic concepts of race and gender.

Making the Necessary Allowances
Exemptions work in the present, too. Leftists think that state-mandated equality is of such critical importance that illiberal means are sometimes excusable to achieve it.

For example, Trump’s supposed collusion with Russia is declared a danger to the republic. So the Steele–Fusion GPS file of unverified smears about a presidential candidate, based on bought Russian fabrications, is renamed as mere “opposition research,” a means necessary to stop a threat such as Donald Trump.

Another example is the current campus tendency to suspend constitutionally protected due process when students are merely accused of sexual assault, or to deny free speech in order to shield students from views they find illiberal.

Exemption is more than just normal human hypocrisy. It takes such contradictions to a cosmic plane and is far more effective than pseudo-confessionals and apologies, individual contextualization, claims of victimization, and blame-gaming that humans seek refuge in when caught in hypocrisies.

As a corollary, liberals can escape the ramifications of their own ideologies. They may place their personal interests “in context” by public professions of caring. Recently, liberal journalists Mark Halperin and Leon Wieseltier were exposed as long-time serial sexual harassers — or worse — a fact that many of their associates must have long overlooked, given their support for feminist agendas.

Next to exemption is the closely related doctrine of secular penance (or the cessation of punishment through purchased indulgences). It usually follows when the currency of exemption is finally exhausted. Personal sins are then absolved by assertions of liberal orthodoxies. When desperate and in extremis, liberals find absolution by promising to do compensatory liberal good works — feminism, environmentalism, and identity politics become their feel-good version of hair shirts, ashes, and fasting.

Had Ted Kennedy not been heir to a liberal dynasty and later pronounced the progressive “Lion of the Senate,” he might have somewhere along his career path been charged with everything from involuntary manslaughter to sexual assault — and on the latter grounds ended his career in the fashion of a Senator Robert Packwood or Bill O’Reilly.

We have seen plenty examples of both exemption and penance recently.

Take the Uranium One deal. Most liberals knew that after 2008 Hillary Clinton would run for president in 2016 and thus, they hoped, complete a 16-year Obama-Clinton progressive trajectory.

The Spiral of Silence How media bias aids the Left’s totalitarian climate-change crusade By Rupert Darwall

Editor’s Note: The following excerpt is adapted from Rupert Darwall’s new book Green Tyranny: Exposing the Totalitarian Roots of The Climate Industrial Complex. It appears here with permission.

Solitude many men have sought, and been reconciled to: but nobody that has the least thought or sense of a man about him, can live in society under the constant dislike and ill opinion of his familiars, and those he converses with.
— John Locke, 1690

It is not so much the dread of what an angry public may do that disarms the modern American, as it is sheer inability to stand unmoved in the rush of totally hostile comment, to endure a life perpetually at variance with the conscience and feeling of those about him.
— Edward Alsworth Ross, 1901

In August 2014, the Pew Research Center, an offshoot of the Pew Charitable Trusts, published the results of a survey on people’s willingness to discuss contentious issues on social-media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. “An informed citizenry depends on people’s exposure to information on important political issues and on their willingness to discuss these issues with those around them,” Pew explained. If people thought friends and followers on social media disagreed with them, they were less likely to share their views, the survey showed. “It has long been established that when people are surrounded by those who are likely to disagree with their opinion, they are more likely to self-censor.” These findings confirmed a major insight of pre-Internet-era communication studies: the tendency of people not to voice their opinions when they sense that their view is not widely shared. The report’s authors, led by Keith Hampton of Rutgers University, wrote, “This tendency is called the ‘spiral of silence.’”

The Spiral of Silence, published in 1984, was written by Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, West Germany’s foremost pollster. There was more to Noelle-Neumann. As the first sentence of her Times obituary put it, Noelle-Neumann moved from working as “a Nazi propagandist to become the grande dame of opinion polling in post-war Germany.” A cell leader of the Nazi student organization in Munich, she met Hitler at Berchtesgaden. “She found him sympathetic, lively and engaging.” Thanks to a scholarship from Joseph Goebbels’s Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, she went to the University of Missouri to study journalism. Her 1940 doctoral thesis on George Gallup’s polling techniques brought her to Goebbels’s notice, and he gave her a job writing for Das Reich. “To reach into the darkness to find the Jew who is hiding behind the Chicago Daily News is like sticking your hand into a wasp’s nest,” she wrote in June 1941. Dismissed a year later, she distanced herself from the Nazi regime, and after the war she and her husband, also an alumnus of Goebbels’s propaganda ministry, established the Allensbach Institute. Turned down by the SPD, Allensbach’s services were offered to the CDU. She was soon having tea with Konrad Adenauer, West Germany’s first chancellor.

Noelle-Neumann claimed that her thinking about the spiral of silence had been triggered by the 1965 German election, though this was far from the whole story. Polls had shown the CDU–CSU coalition running neck and neck with the SPD, while expectations of the outcome shifted dramatically in favor of the CDU–CSU coalition, accurately forecasting the actual result. Others’ opinions might influence one’s own behavior, Noelle-Neumann hypothesized. When a population is continuously exposed to a persistent and consistent media account of current events on controversial issues, the primary motivation of a person will be to conform, at least outwardly, to avoid discomfort and dissonance. “Over time there is thus a spiraling of opinion change in favor of one set of views,” Noelle-Neumann argued.

The intuition that had led her to the spiral of silence lay outside opinion polls. “The fear of isolation seems to be the force that sets the spiral of silence in motion,” she wrote. Historians, political philosophers, and other thinkers provided corroboration. Alexis de Tocqueville had written in 1856 that people “dread isolation more than error.” The quotations at the head of this chapter appeared in a lecture given by Noelle-Neumann just two months after the 1965 election. People can be on uncomfortable or even dangerous ground when the climate of opinion runs counter to their views. “When people attempt to avoid isolation, they are not responding hyper-sensitively to trivialities; these are existential issues that can involve real hazards,” she wrote in The Spiral of Silence. It could be proved