Displaying posts published in

March 2018


Kano, Nigeria (CNN)The Nigerian government has released the names of the 110 missing girls, some as young as 11 years old, who have not been seen since a raid on their school in Dapchi last week.
Fighter jets, helicopters and surveillance planes have all been deployed in the search for the girls, who vanished after suspected Boko Haram militants attacked the Government Girls Science Technical College.
According to a list of names released by the authorities Tuesday, the missing are aged between 11 and 19. The names have been verified by a panel of school administrators and government officials, according to a statement by Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture.
As of Monday evening, the Nigerian Air Force had flown a total of 200 hours while searching for the girls. Nigeria’s Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar, has been relocated to Yobe State, where Dapchi is located, to personally supervise the search, the government statement said.

The school is only 275 kilometers (170 miles) from Chibok, where Boko Haram militants kidnapped nearly 300 girls from a school in 2014.

Palestinians: The “Ugly Crime” of a School Curriculum by Bassam Tawil

A recent study of Palestinian textbooks found that Palestinian children are being taught to glorify and value terrorism and violence. The Palestinian Authority and its Minister of Education, Sabri Saidam, want Arab schools in Jerusalem to teach the students why Muslims should be killing Jews.

“Within the pages of the textbooks, children are being taught to be expendable. Messages such as: ‘The Volcano of My Revenge’; ‘The Longing of my Blood for my Land’; and ‘I Shall Sacrifice My Blood to Saturate the Land’ suffuse the [Palestinian] curriculum. Math books use numbers of dead martyrs to teach arithmetic. The vision of an Arab Palestine includes the entirety of what is now Israel, defined as the ‘1948 Occupied Territories.'” — IMPACT-se.

How come the Arab citizens of Israel have never complained about the Israeli educational system? The answer is because they evidently like the education that Israel has been offering them. It teaches them to value life, freedom of speech and democracy, and Arab Israelis admire it. They love the education Israel offers them because it does not demonize any race or group of people. They love it because it does not teach them to kill Jews, but to live with them in peace and security. This is the truth that the Palestinian Authority does not want to hear. This is the truth that it does not want the rest of the world to hear.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) Minister of Education, Sabri Saidam, is worried these days. He is not worried, he says, because Palestinian schoolchildren are being taught to hate Israel. He is not worried because Palestinian schoolchildren are being goaded by their leaders to carry out terror attacks against Jews, from stone-throwing to stabbings to ramming cars.

The PA minister of Education is worried, he says, about a “crime” that is about to be committed against Arab children in Jerusalem schools. The “crime,” in his view, is that the children will be taught according to an Israeli, and not a Palestinian, curriculum.

Saidam sees the decision to apply the Israeli curriculum to Arab schools in Jerusalem as an “ugly crime of counterfeit.” These are the exact words he used to denounce the decision to introduce the Israeli curriculum into Arab schools.

Why are the minister and the Palestinian Authority so truculently opposed to Arab schoolchildren studying according to the Israeli curriculum? Is this curriculum really an “ugly crime of counterfeit,” as the minister says?

Iran and Hezbollah’s Terror in Argentina by Lawrence A. Franklin

If efforts to expose Iran’s and Hezbollah’s roles in the Argentinean bombings are successful, the information will elucidate for regional leaders the dark side of Iran’s ties to sub-state terrorist groups to increase even further its influence in Latin America.

For decades, Iran has seemingly been employing both normative diplomatic ties and criminal links to export its Islamic revolution to the Western Hemisphere. By using similar methods of subversion, Iran appears already to have penetrated other Latin American nations, including Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil and some island countries in the Caribbean.

Iran’s activities in Latin America are a direct challenge to U.S. primacy in the Western Hemisphere. Iran, it seems, wants to replace the U.S. as the power ally of Latin American countries.

While Iran’s nuclear, ballistic missile, and expansionist policies in the Middle East are well known, most of the Islamic Republic’s operations in Latin America appear to have been proceeding underway, below the radar, for several decades.

During a joint news conference on February 4 in Buenos Aires with Argentina’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Jorge Faurie, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pledged to combat Hezbollah’s fundraising in Latin America, which is used to finance its terrorist operations. This indicates that U.S. intelligence and enforcement agencies could be closely following Iranian and Hezbollah incursions into Central and South America. The Department of Justice, for instance, recently announced that it had established a Hezbollah Financing and Narcoterrorism Team (HFNT) to monitor and prosecute the criminal activities of Hezbollah, Iran’s allied terrorist network in the region.

Technology menaces childhood and culture Katharine Birbalsingh

I am the Headmistress of a school called Michaela, a free school in inner-city London, trying to make a difference. We opened in 2014 and we have been straining to increase opportunity for our working-class kids ever since. The good news is that so far we have been winning the fight. The bad news is that the technology epidemic is one hell of a weapon in the enemy’s arsenal.

Visitors to our school often ask me what has been our biggest obstacle. I used to say our detractors. Protesters demanding the closure of free schools outside our gates, or letters/emails/tweets shouting abuse or even death threats are hard to handle. We also have to manage the absence of a sports hall and sports fields (we don’t have any grass at all) and tightening budgets. Finding excellent teachers is also hard. But none of that compares to the fight we have against technology.

In the last few weeks, I have had dozens of individual meetings with our Year Ten families as we prepare for 2019 when their children will take their GCSE exams. In some of the meetings, both the child and the parent will say that the child is doing too much homework, that the school should expect less of them. The parent knows the child has their smartphone next to them during homework time, giving them access to video games, Snapchat, Instagram, Netflix, WhatsApp and YouTube. Yet the parent is still convinced that their child is doing their homework properly.

I then try to explain to the parent why I think this is dangerous, as I have done at assembly to the children. Several of the big tech CEOs don’t allow their children to own smartphones and when they are older don’t allow them unsupervised access to the internet on their phones. Steve Jobs, when asked what his children thought of the iPad when it came out in 2010, said they had not tried it because he thought it was too dangerous. Both he and Bill Gates preferred their children to spend time around the dinner table talking about books and history. Imagine that: these big tech CEOs pack their houses with real books with pages to turn!

This is always eye-opening for our parents. They, like me, had no idea. In fact, I hear stories from parents who have saved for months in order to get their child a new smartphone for their birthday. Some of them then look to me in desperation, saying that the present they saved up for now monopolises and controls their child.

For parents who are still unconvinced, I suggest that these CEOs must know something we don’t know. They must have inside knowledge. They are protecting their own children from what they are selling to our children. I explain how the tech CEOs remind me of Snoop Dogg, who sells rap to other people’s children, yet doesn’t allow his own children to listen to his music.

The onslaught against the West’s moral codes Melanie Phillips

This is an edited version of a lecture given at the Holy Land Dialogues in Jerusalem last month.

It has become the orthodoxy in the West that freedom, human rights and reason all derive from secularism and that the greatest threat to all these good things is religion.

I want to suggest that the opposite is true. In the service of this orthodoxy, the West is undermining and destroying the very values which it holds most dear as the defining characteristics of a civilised society.

War is being waged against Western culture from within which is in essence a war against Christianity and its moral origins in the Hebrew Bible. By attacking these Biblical foundations in the name of reason and human rights, the culture warriors of secularism are sawing off the branch on which they sit. The only way to defend Western civilisation is to reaffirm and restore its Biblical foundations. My argument is a development of ideas I first explored in my 2012 book The World Turned Upside Down: The Global Battle over God, Truth and Power.

We are living in an era which extols reason, science and human rights. These are said to be essential for progress, a civilised society and the betterment of humanity. Religion is said to be their antithesis, the source instead of superstitious mumbo-jumbo, oppression and backward-thinking.

Some of this hostility is being driven by the perceived threat from Islamic terrorism and the Islamisation of Western culture. However, this animus against religion has far deeper roots and can be traced back to what is considered the birthplace of Western reason, the 18th-century Enlightenment.

Actually, it goes back specifically to the French Enlightenment. In England and Scotland, the Enlightenment developed reason and political liberty within the framework of Biblical belief. In France, by contrast, anti-clericalism morphed into fundamental hostility to Christianity and to religion itself.

“Ecrasez l’infame,” said Voltaire (crush infamy) — the infamy to which he referred being not just the Church but Christianity, which he wanted to replace with the religion of reason, virtue and liberty, “drawn from the bosom of nature”.
But this Enlightenment did not remove religion so much as pervert it. It took millenarian fantasies, the idea that the perfection of the world was at hand, and it secularised them. Instead of God producing heaven on earth, it would be mankind which would bring that about. Reason would create the perfect society and “progress” was the process by which utopia would be attained.

Far from utopia, however, this thinking resulted in something more akin to hell on earth. For the worship of man through reason led straight to totalitarianism. It was reason that would redeem religious superstition and bring about the kingdom of Man on earth. And just like medieval apocalyptic Christian belief, this secular doctrine would also be unchallengeable and heretics would be punished. This kind of fanaticism infused the three great tyrannical movements that were spun out of Enlightenment thinking: the French Revolution, Communism and Fascism.

This is CNN: The Children’s News Network By Julie Kelly

Every child knows intuitively that losing is not fun. Toddlers will steal a coveted toy right from the hands of an unwitting playmate in the ultimate power move; grade-schoolers will weep openly on the soccer-field sidelines after the usual 1-0 loss; and just try to console a sophomore girl whose latest crush asks someone else to the Homecoming dance. The need to win and get what you want is as basic a human instinct as breathing and shoe shopping.

So, it must really hurt the tender feelings of the puerile talent pool at CNN that the Investigation, Discovery, and Hallmark channels have more viewers than they do. They must really want to pout and kick their little sister over the fact that Fox News had more than double the number of viewers than they did in 2017, and their right-wing rival has been the most watched cable news network for 194 months in a row. To make matters worse, the biggest bully in school, Donald Trump, keeps giving them social-media wedgies on Twitter every week. Even when they try to fight back by explaining how an apple is really a banana or something, everyone makes fun of them.

Being unpopular really stinks.

The CNN roster of reporters and anchors is loaded with some of the most immature whiners in television news. The network’s White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, is Arnold Horshack to Sarah Sanders’ Mr. Kotter, the annoying (but not nearly as loveable) class dunce trying to get attention from his eye-rolling teacher. On Monday, Acosta tussled with Sanders about whether Trump would have run into Stoneman Douglas High School to “save the day” during the February 14 shooting and worried that schools will become like “the Wild West.” Alisyn Camerota pouted that NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch was using explosive rhetoric against the media: “How dare you?” she wailed.

Trump’s Generals Are Too Valuable to be Dismissed By Victor Davis Hanson

Near-daily gossip surrounds Donald Trump’s three marquee generals.

The media sometimes blare out rumors that General John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, is proving to be a loose cannon and might soon be fired.

Lt. General H.R. McMaster, Trump’s national security adviser, is occasionally rumored to be a robotic PowerPoint wonk and hawkish interventionist who soon might be terminated.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis is purportedly too much the centrist Democrat, and embarrassed by Trump’s antics, and thus might be leaving.

Of course, few Cabinet or White House appointees ever serve throughout an entire administration. Burnout is natural. Lucrative private-sector job offers multiply monthly. Normal people do not enjoy living inside the Beltway.

Barack Obama had four defense secretaries, three national security advisers and five chiefs of staff. That is about par for a presidential tenure covering eight years.

But the problem with all these rumors of departing generals is not just that they are likely false and shopworn. They also make no sense because the three generals have been radically successful. In just a year, they have markedly enhanced U.S. national security as well as the image of the Trump administration itself.

The media, which is mostly anti-Trump, has always been schizophrenic in the coverage of the three generals. Some media outlets initially echoed old worries about too many Pentagon tentacles or the militarization of the executive branch. They forgot that generals, both active and retired, have long held administration jobs. General Colin Powell, for instance, served four different presidents, starting with his tenure as national security adviser under Ronald Reagan.

Others in the media had hoped that the mostly apolitical generals would nudge the wild-card Trump left of center and embed him within the Washington foreign-policy establishment.

Trump’s Win is the Reichstag Fire of Internet Censorship Manufacture a crisis and eliminate free speech. Daniel Greenfield

“It’s a plot against our election, not by the Russians, but by the left. It’s a plot against freedom of speech, not by the Russians, but by the left. The plotters took a Russian propaganda and influence operation and turned it into a pretext for the greatest assault on democracy and freedom in American history.”

Trump’s election victory was the Reichstag fire of internet censorship. The fury and conspiracy theories that followed were not just about bringing down President Trump, but ending free speech online.

It’s no coincidence that the central conspiracy theory surrounding the 2016 election involves free speech or that the solution is internet censorship. The claim that Russian trolls and bots rigged the election has zero actual evidence behind it. But it’s a convenient tool for not only delegitimizing Trump, but the very idea of a free and open internet where anyone can say anything they choose.

Senator Ben Cardin, Rep. Jerry Nadler and other members of Congress compared the election influence conspiracy to Pearl Harbor. Rep. Jim Himes went even further, suggesting that it had eclipsed 9/11 by claiming that it, “is up there with Pearl Harbor in terms of its seriousness as a challenge to this country.”

What they’re really saying is that Democrats losing an election is worse than the murder of 3,000 people. It’s why they will oppose a terror state travel ban until Islamic terrorists start voting Republican.

And what did this greatest attack since Pearl Harbor consist of? Speech. On the internet.

Russia Deploys Stealth Fighters To Syria But is it more bark than bite? Ari Lieberman

Last week, Russia escalated its military profile in Syria by dispatching its top of the line fighter bomber to the war-ravaged country. Based on publicly available Israeli satellite imagery and eyewitness accounts, the Russians have deployed between 2 to 4 Su-57 fighter bombers to Khmeimim Airbase. In addition to the Su-57, the Russians also deployed advanced Su-36 fighter jets, and an A-50U airborne command and control plane.

The Su-57 is a fifth generation fighter bomber, and according to Russia, is said to possess stealth characteristics and performance features similar to the U.S. F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II. The Israeli Air Force has adopted the F-35 (which it calls the Adir) as its premier fighter and has outfitted the plane with an indigenously designed avionics package. The Su-57 is almost certainly the product of stolen U.S. technology, obtained through corporate espionage, cyber penetrations and surprisingly, open sources. The Russians have over the years developed a penchant for stealing or otherwise appropriating Western technology. Regardless, the F-22 and F-35 are still considered far superior to the Russian plane.

But if Russian reports regarding the aircraft’s performance are accurate, the Su-57 platform poses a serious challenge to U.S. and Israeli aerial operations. Both Israeli F-35s and U.S. Raptors are active over the cluttered skies of Syria.

In June 2017, a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet shot down a Syrian Su-22 after it dropped bombs on Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) positions. The SDF is an anti-Assad militia which is working with the U.S. to defeat ISIS and also operates as an effective bulwark against Iranian expansion. On December 14, two U.S. F-22s intercepted two Russian-piloted Su-25s and a third Su-35 which flew into coalition airspace on the east side of the Euphrates River.

Jennifer Lawrence and Hollywood’s Whore School By Kyle Smith

Women getting undressed on command and abused: Spy thriller or a Hollywood producer’s office?

An outraged Jennifer Lawrence saying, “You sent me to whore school!” in a Russian accent is the defining moment of the spy thriller Red Sparrow, a movie that would have felt very different when it was filmed a year ago than it does now.

Lawrence’s Dominika is a Russian ballerina in present-day Moscow who, after getting Nancy Kerrigan-ed by a rival, is forced to become a spy for a Russian intelligence service on pain of having state-provided health care withdrawn from her sick mom. Dominika’s gig is very different from what I’ve seen in any other spy movie, though: “Sparrows,” as the trainees are known, are sent to the ominous State School Four, where they study pornography, oral sex, getting undressed on command, etc. Recruits are expected to master psychological operations and learn to exploit the enemy’s weakness, which means climbing into bed with him.

“Whore school” is as good a name for it as any, and in Dominika’s case earning her bachelor of dark arts degree means lots of scenes of her stripping nude, getting raped, fighting off a rape, being tortured while naked, etc. So it’s a movie that sells exploitation under the guise of condemning it. Lawrence’s consent to participate in this project doesn’t make it less grueling to watch.

Couldn’t any number of Hollywood women describe their experience as being put through ‘whore school’?

These days it’s hard not to hear eerie echoes in the plot: Does not Star School Four operate much like Hollywood with gray proletarian uniforms? Charlotte Rampling, playing the authoritarian head of the school known only as “Matron,” orders students in her classroom to undress in front of the others in order to break them down for the task of having sex with whomever the state wants them to have sex with. Matron doesn’t much differ from all of those agents and publicists, many of them women, who told their naïve young sparrows, “Go see Mr. Weinstein, he’s waiting for you in the bunga-bunga suite.” Many such actresses must have thought it was in their best interest to simply go along with what seemed to be expected of them. Couldn’t any number of Hollywood women describe their experience as being put through “whore school”?