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A Profound Realignment in the Western World By Daniel McCarthy

Daniel McCarthy is editor at large of The American Conservative. This article first appeared in The National Interest and has been republished with permission.

The populist Right that seems to be rising throughout the advanced world has two goals. One, obviously, is to win office. But the second, which can be achieved short of actually taking power, is simply to replace the center-right. Marine Le Pen will almost certainly lose to Emmanuel Macron in a few weeks’ time. She and her supporters can count it as a victory, however, that there will be no center-right candidate in the second round of France’s presidential election for the first time since Charles de Gaulle founded the Fifth Republic.

The Left has been undergoing a shakeup of its own. Macron represents a tendency toward the pro-market center that bears some comparison with the direction in which Bill Clinton and Tony Blair took the Democrats and Labour in the 1990s. But unlike Clinton and Blair, Macron does not lead an established party. He was formerly a finance minister in the Socialist Party government of Prime Minister Manuel Valls. In picking a nominee earlier this year to succeed the disastrous incumbent Socialist president, François Hollande, the party ultimately faced a choice between the center-left Valls and a left-wing candidate, Benoît Hamon. Hamon won, but so deep is the disaffection with the Socialists that another, independent leftist, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, outperformed him in Sunday’s first-round general election.

The hard Left can take comfort in the thought that the votes for Mélenchon and Hamon together exceeded those for Macron. But this only means that the French Left’s civil war—like the backbiting between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters in the Democratic Party, or between Jeremy Corbyn and his Blairite critics in the Labour Party—will continue.

As different as France, Britain and the United States may be, the similarity of ideological struggles within—as well as between—the Left and Right in all three countries suggests a profound realignment in the politics of the West. Yet where the Right is concerned, the nature of that realignment is all too often misunderstood. There is more than one kind of right-wing populism, and the kind associated with France’s National Front has so far been the least successful. The country’s traditional center-right might even chalk up its failure to get a candidate into the second-round election as a mere fluke—though this would be dangerously overconfident.

Certainly what happened this year to France’s major center-right party, the Republicans, was unusual. The leading contenders for its nomination were two former prime ministers—Alain Juppé, who had served in that role from 1995 to 1997, and François Fillon, who held the office from 2007 to 2012. Fillon prevailed and briefly became a sensation in French politics, before a financial scandal suddenly made him seem virtually unelectable. He stayed in the race and still finished less than 2 points behind Le Pen. Were it not for the scandal, he would now be headed to a runoff with Macron, and the National Front would once more have failed to repeat its performance in 2002, the only other time it advanced to the second round. Even Juppé would have had a solid chance of getting beyond round one. Only the combination of Fillon’s initial appeal and unexpected detonation doomed the Republicans—or so they might tell themselves.

This would, however, overlook the inroads that the National Front has made under Marine Le Pen. She has already improved upon her party’s previous best showing (when she ran in 2012 and received 17.9 percent of the vote) and her father’s high-water mark in the 2002 election, where he received 16.86 percent in the first-round election; this year, she won over 21 percent. Her father won less than 18 percent of the vote in the second round against Jacques Chirac, who swept to re-election by a 64-point margin. Marine Le Pen is certain to improve upon those numbers in her showdown with Macron, though he can still be expected to win easily. (Fillon and Hamon have already endorsed Macron for the second round, and while Mélenchon has not, his left-wing voters can be counted on to prefer Macron to Le Pen. Macron goes into the second round with the center-left and most of the Left and center-right behind him.)

The Pope’s Pilgrimage to Al-Azhar by Lawrence A. Franklin

During a meeting between the former Papal Nuncio to Cairo, Archbishop Jean-Paul Gobel, and Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam warned Gobel that “speaking about Islam in a negative manner was a ‘red line’ that must not be crossed.” If there are any condemnations of violence against the Coptic Christians, they are likely to be articulated only by the Grand Imam and the Egyptian President.

If the Pope’s humble bearing is excessive, however, it might be interpreted even by peaceable Muslims as a submission. If Francis is asked by the Grand Imam to pray at al-Azhar’s mosque, that is a piety that el-Tayeb would not likely reciprocate in a Coptic Church in Egypt.

Facilitating the establishment of an Islamic-Christian relationship that excludes Judaism can only serve the Islamist goal of isolating Jews and Israel. Although relations between the Vatican and al-Azhar will improve in the near future, the honeymoon will not. The Grand Imam will doubtless protect his own theological power base and keep his distance from both the Vatican and the Egyptian regime.

The twin Palm Sunday bombings at Coptic Christian Churches by Islamic terrorists in Egypt, which killed 44 worshipers, draws attention to what is probably the principal reason for the upcoming visit of Pope Francis to Cairo on April 28-29. The Pontiff will likely seek the assistance of Egypt’s Muslim hierarchy to help protect Egypt’s Coptic Christians, the indigenous inhabitants of the country who now number about 9 million and constitute at least 10% of the population.

During his stay, Francis will meet with the Grand Imam of Cairo’s al-Azhar Mosque, Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb. Al-Azhar’s theological complex, which houses Islam’s oldest university, is considered the most influential center of Sunni Islam.

The Pope possibly hopes that the meeting with el-Tayeb will fully repair relations between the Vatican and al-Azhar. These were restored as a result of a letter sent by Pope Francis to the Grand Imam last year. The Papal letter was followed up by a visit to the Holy See by el-Tayeb in May 2016. Relations between the Holy See and al-Azhar had been severed in 2011 by el-Tayeb after he took offense at comments made by the previous Pope, Benedict XVI, on the persecution of Christians in Muslim countries.

Grand Imam el-Tayeb now appears more disposed towards normalizing relations with the Vatican, especially since his amicable visit to the Holy See in May 2016. Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam is likely to be more agreeable toward Francis than he was toward Benedict. This show of flexibility might possibly also be an effort by el-Tayeb to get in line with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s own call for reform within Islam. However, Al-Azhar, determined to maintain its authority over theological matters, has initiated no substantive, doctrinal reforms in response to President Sisi’s declaration. In fact, Al-Azhar has pushed back against attempts by some Muslim reformists who have suggested a more liberal policy concerning women’s rights, including the ability to divorce.

Sanction Iran’s Regime, Add IRCG to Terrorist List by Majid Rafizadeh

It would seem that sanctions should be enforced and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) placed on the U.S. list of Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations — to show that the U.S. stands for human rights, protects the innocent and tries to save the lives of those sentenced to death by Iran’s corrupt government.

Bills to sanction Iran that are being presented in Canada or other Western countries are, in fact, receiving scant attention. Canada has been talking about reopening its Iranian embassy, and pro-Iran advocates, such as the Iranian Canadian Congress, are pushing back against legislation that condemns Iran.

Would any modern Western country really wish to appear to be on the side of this barbaric regime, or in any way to assist it?

A subtle, but dangerous force is spreading throughout the West. It has been seeping into the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, the Middle East, the United States, South America and much of Europe.

Who are they?

They are pro-Iran regime advocates. They appear to be Westerners, but pursue a unique agenda. Under the guise of being average Western citizens, they have been infiltrating the social, political, economic and religious sectors of most Western societies.

These are not my words. They came directly out of the mouth of Iran’s Minister of Intelligence, Mahmoud Alavi. In a rare, recent interview on Iran’s state media, he stated that many Westerners with a dual citizenship “have a lobby group for the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

“We should not accuse them and say things that discourage them about the ancestral homeland, this is not good, and losing this capital is not good for the regime… It is wrong to say that all dual nationals are traitors, spies, or foreign agents; many of these dual nationals love Iran, and are a capital for Iran.

“Many who live in Canada, London, or the United States [are devoted] to the [Islamic] revolution and the supreme leader … In those places some attend religious ceremonies. [Those people] love the [Islamic] Revolution.”

Stars Align for Emmanuel Macron—and France Presidential front-runner is well positioned to tackle economic overhaul, despite challengesBy Simon Nixon

Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the first round of the French presidential elections sparked a rally in financial markets and relief across the rest of the European Union. The nightmare scenario of a runoff between the far left and far right that had kept mainstream European politicians awake at night over the previous week was averted. Instead, polls now give Mr. Macron, an independent, pro-European, social and economic liberal, a 20-point lead over his far-right opponent Marine Le Pen in the second round on May 7, a huge gap to overcome in just two weeks.

All the signs suggest that France is on course to stem the anti-EU populist tide that threatened to bring political and economic chaos to the continent.

And yet even on the cusp of Mr. Macron’s expected victory, a new narrative has emerged. It is said that Mr. Macron is an inexperienced empty suit, whose manifesto was short on detailed plans; that he is a creature of the French establishment, a continuity candidate for the failed presidency of François Hollande. Others predict that his victory will be pyrrhic, that he won’t secure a majority in parliamentary elections next month, that he will be left playing an ornamental role at the head of a French state dominated by his opponents. Some argue that even if he secures a majority, France is fundamentally unreformable—and that his failure will open the door to Ms. Le Pen in 2022.

These are legitimate concerns, but some perspective is needed.

First, Mr. Macron is hardly a complete novice. His rise has certainly been meteoric and no doubt came as a shock to those who only tuned into French politics in the past few months. But in reality, he was already well established as one of the most interesting figures on the French political scene.

Even as a staffer for Mr. Hollande, he showed a rare ability to lead the political agenda, driving the internal resistance to his boss’s disastrous early experiment with high taxes and helping to engineer the U-turn in 2014 when Mr. Hollande belatedly embraced a more free-market agenda.

Explosion Rocks Damascus Airport Israel neither confirms nor denies its involvement but a government minister says the blast is ‘consistent’ with Israel policy By Rory Jones in Tel Aviv and Noam Raydan in Beirut

A large explosion rocked the area near Damascus International Airport early Thursday, in what official Syrian state media said was an Israeli missile strike.

Israel neither confirmed nor denied it was behind the attack, in keeping with official government policy. But Israel’s transport and intelligence minister Yisrael Katz told Israel’s Army Radio on Thursday that the incident was “entirely consistent with our policy of preventing smuggling of weapons to Hezbollah.”

Citing an unnamed military source, Syria’s state news agency, SANA, said the target of the Israeli attack was a military position southwest of the airport and that the blast caused “some material damage.”

The U.K.-based opposition monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the explosion was heard across the capital Damascus and its suburbs. It said the target of the blasts could have been warehouses close to the airport that belong to Hezbollah.

Israel has repeatedly said that it will act to interdict Iranian-supplied weapons transfers in Syria bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon. Syrian state TV said Thursday that there are military bases surrounding the airport used for fighting “terrorists”—a term the regime uses to refer to much of the Syrian opposition.

Iran and Hezbollah have played a major role in maintaining the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power, as it fights an array of antigovernment and militant groups, including Islamic State.

The comments by Mr. Katz, the Israeli minister, came after Syrian and Lebanese media accused Israeli warplanes of carrying out an airstrike on the airport.

How Long the Palestinian Subsidies for Terror? By P. David Hornik

Judging by the over 12,000 shares (as of this writing) for an article posted by Britain’s Daily Mail on Sunday, many Britons are up in arms. They have good reason to be.

Hannah Bladon, an undergraduate at the University of Birmingham, was living in Jerusalem as an exchange student at the Hebrew University, where she was studying Bible, archaeology, and religion.

On April 14, Hannah—aged 20—was riding on the Jerusalem light rail, and was stabbed to death by a 57-year-old Palestinian man named Jamil Tamimi.

Now in custody, Tamimi, who is described as having mental-health issues, told police that he attacked Hannah in the hope that a soldier would kill him. Based on a psychiatric evaluation, however, an Israeli court has ruled that he’s fit to stand trial.

Tamimi, says the Daily Mail, stands to get a salary of more than £800 (or more than $1000) a month from the Palestinian Authority. What’s irking people is that Britain is currently paying the PA £25,000 annually in foreign aid.

As of last December, the aid money is only supposed to go to education and health. “But,” the Daily Mail notes, “critics point out that when British taxpayers’ cash goes to education and health, it frees up money in other budgets controlled by the PA.”

How likely is Tamimi to get rewarded for his cruel murder?

Itamar Marcus, head of the Israeli watchdog organization Palestinian Media Watch, told the Daily Mail that: “According to PA law, everyone who is imprisoned for ‘resisting the occupation’ receives a PA salary…. In PA practice, 100 per cent of the suicide bombers, stabbers, shooters and car rammers have been included in this category and do receive PA salaries.”

George Soros: “The Gravedigger of the Left” By Dr. Mária Schmidt*

* The full version was posted on April 25, 2017, in English, on About Hungary, and the original Hungarian, A Baloldal Sírásója, on Látószög.http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1101941066390&ca=db7af234-2239-45d6-ae7a-6167894243ce

George Soros, his global Open Society Foundations and the hundreds of other organizations also funded by him are noisily and sometimes violently demonstrating against policies and governments who fail to accede to his agenda. There are lawsuits and Congressional investigations into his activities in the United States. In Hungary, the government is passing new laws to curtail his foundations and his Central European University’s operations.

To balance Soros’s version of what’s taking place in Hungary, read excerpts* from an article written by Dr. Mária Schmidt, the director general of the House of Terror Museum, and the XXI Century Institute, in Budapest:

“When George Soros appeared in Hungary in 1984, the Soviet rule still appeared solid and indestructible. Six years later, in 1990, when the Communists were toppled by God’s grace, Soros had already recruited a broad circle of supporters and proposed to take over Hungary’s complete sovereign debt and, in exchange, asked for Hungary’s industry, that is, the bulk of the country’s national wealth. His offer was turned down by JózsefAntall, our first, democratically elected prime minister.

The pundits, who had by that time been promoted to positions of moral authority by Soros, launched a sweeping media campaign urging the government to repay the substantial debt accumulated by the communists and not even think of requesting a debt waiver or even rescheduling. Meanwhile, keeping debt servicing in mind, those same pundits wanted and urged Hungary to be the only country in the region where no re-privatisation took place. That is, they opposed the idea of returning nationalized property to the original owners. Instead, they favored privatization, a process already launched by communist comrades. That position created a common ground for the former democratic opposition, i.e. SZDSZ and those former comrades who had been the beneficiaries of wild privatization. This is how the fullest and fastest privatization possible became one of the main demands of the post-communist camp. It is an established fact by now that privatization in this wild form, just as in its later incarnations, meant the bargain sale of public wealth.

Defy PC Suppression and See ‘The Promise’ A moving, epic, sumptuous film on the suppressed topic of the Armenian genocide. Danusha V. Goska

Powerful people are deploying every trick to prevent you from seeing The Promise, director Terry George’s 2016 film starring Oscar Isaac, Christian Bale and Charlotte Le Bon. Their insistence that you not see the film rouses suspicion. After all, Terry George is a something of a cinematic social justice warrior and critical darling. He’s known for taking on righteous themes, including the English imperial abuse of Irish prisoners in his 1993 film In the Name of the Father, nominated for seven Academy Awards. His 2004 film, Hotel Rwanda, received three Academy Award nominations. The Promise’s script is by George and Robin Swicord, who also has an Academy Award and a Golden Globe nomination under her belt.

George’s Hotel Rwanda depicted the Rwandan genocide. Rwandans died in that signature African phenomenon: tribal violence. Hutus rose up with machetes and murdered their neighboring Tutsis in the world’s fastest genocide. Hotel Rwanda tells a different story. Rwandans died because white people don’t care about black people. In the film, Nick Nolte, playing a UN general, “explains” the genocide to Don Cheadle, playing the real-life hero and rescuer Paul Rusesabagina. “You’re dirt. We think you are dirt. You’re dung. You’re worthless. You’re black. You’re not even a n – – – – -. You’re an African … They’re not gonna stop the slaughter.”

Hotel Rwanda never explains how white people living thousands of miles away could stop a million killings-by-machete occurring over a hundred days. Rwanda is remote, landlocked, and mountainous. There were no airports, train tracks, or installations to bomb. Getting troops into Rwanda would have taken months and given the volatility of the area, the insertion of American or European troops would have sparked separate conflagrations. Witness the horrific fate of the humanitarian mission in the Battle of Mogadishu in October, 1993 – a mere six months before the Rwandan genocide. No matter. It’s whitie’s fault. That movie, the powers that be want you to see.

The powers that be don’t want you to see The Promise, though it stars Oscar Isaac, previously praised for the box office smash, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the critical smash Inside Llewyn Davis, by the hipster Coen Brothers. What, then, is the problem with The Promise and why don’t powerful people want you to see it?

The Promise dramatizes the 1915-1923 Armenian Genocide. An estimated 1.5 million Armenians were murdered by Ottoman Turkey and its successor, the Republic of Turkey.

The victims of the Armenian genocide were Christians. The perpetrators were Muslims.

The EMP Threat From North Korea Is Real, and Terrifying By John R. Moore

Fifty-five years ago, the U.S. tested a nuclear weapon high above the atmosphere over the Pacific. At the time, my father — a nuclear weapons engineer — was listening on our ham radio.

When the device exploded, we heard nothing in Albuquerque. But, in Honolulu, 1000 miles from the detonation, the sky turned red as streetlights and telephones went out. EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) effects from the distant nuclear explosion had struck.

Today we hear concern that cities might be destroyed by North Korean nuclear tipped missiles, but Starfish Prime should alert us to a more imminent danger: EMP. North Korea can launch an EMP attack before it has developed nuclear missile technology, and EMP may be far more deadly.

An EMP disaster from a high-altitude blast seems like science fiction: There is a silent flash high in the sky, and everything using electricity just … stops. Cars stop, power goes out, the Internet dies, satellites quit working, landline and mobile phone systems go out, and computers are destroyed. In a moment, we are back to 1850, as was dramatized in William Forstchen’s 2009 novel One Second After.

While the total wipeout depicted in One Second After is probably exaggerated, the effects could knock out our power grid for months, and destroy critical communications and computer systems. As former CIA chief James Woolsey recently said:

If you look at the electric grid and what it’s susceptible to, we would be moving into a world with no food delivery, no water purification, no banking, no telecommunications, no medicine. All of these things depend on electricity in one way or another.

In such a situation, there simply is no way to rule out the possibility that hundreds of millions could die.

To nuke one of our cities, the North needs to master ICBM construction, nuclear weapons miniaturization, precision long-range guidance technology, atmospheric re-entry vehicles, and fusing to trigger detonation at the right time after the hazardous re-entry. In contrast, an EMP attack requires only a small, light nuclear weapon and the ability to launch it as a satellite. Once over the U.S., it is detonated.

Already, two satellites launched by North Korea cross the U.S. every day.

Do they contain nuclear weapons? Probably not, but how can we know? Nuclear weapons don’t emit much radiation until they go off, so they are hard to detect. I used to fly in a nuclear bomber with the weapon station just a few feet from my station with no shielding — no need.

Meanwhile, North Korea continues striving to miniaturize its nukes — and may have already succeeded. They have released pictures of a miniaturized bomb, although that may just be propaganda.

Starfish Prime used a thermonuclear weapon, a “hydrogen bomb,” which was very powerful but which the North is still striving to build — a difficult task. But only a fission weapon or “atomic bomb” is needed for an EMP, and North Korea has tested several. The yield would probably need to be increased over their latest test, but getting there is only a matter of time. Fusion boosting the weapon to higher yield is not a difficult step. The North recently restarted its Yongbyon reactor, which can produce the necessary tritium.

The EMP danger isn’t only from North Korea. Iran has the capability to launch missiles from ships at sea — the EMP attack depicted in Forstchen’s novel.

We currently have little defense against this threat. Our land based anti-ballistic missile systems are oriented towards warheads coming across the North Pacific, while North Korea launches satellites to the south, which later cross the U.S. from the south or north. The anti-satellite ability of the Navy’s AEGIS ships is unclear — one satellite in a very low orbit has been intercepted, and ships need to be positioned within range of the orbit. Shooting a satellite down before it reaches orbit is another possibility, but AEGIS has a very limited window for such a “boost phase” intercept. CONTINUE AT SITE

Peter O’Brien How to Get Ahead as a Celebrity Scientist

There will be plenty of ABC seats and microphones awaiting US astrophysicist, fact-challenged warmist and tireless self-promoter Neil de Grasse Tyson when he tours Australia this year. That’s the way it works if you hold little respect for actual science and a lucrative contempt for those who do.
At first we had Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW). That was a pretty specific threat. It spelled out the crime, the perpetrator and the result. But when it started to become clear, after 20-odd years of research, that there wasn’t actually a great deal of warming, that the Earth was greening and worldwide crop production continued to increase, something had to be done. Changing the mantra to Beneficial Anthropogenic Global Warming wasn’t going to cut it for the trough-snouters at the IPCC, so we got Climate Change and, more recently, Climate Disruption.

These latter euphemisms for something that isn’t happening are much easier to defend when Mother Nature provides an inexhaustible supply of disasters to draw upon as proof of the coming apocalypse, notwithstanding that the evidence is that these events are not increasing in either frequency or strength. And now, as the highly contrived warming predictions that are the IPCC’s stock in trade deviate ever more from its lurid modeling, yet another fresh mantra has emerged.

Neil de Grasse Tyson, for those of you who don’t know of him, is a celebrity astrophysicist. Like his British counterpart Brian Cox, is a fervent believer in CAGW. Only, of course, he now doesn’t talk about CAGW or even Climate Change. He talks about — drum roll, please — “Science!” CAGW is now, er, science. What were formerly mere “climate change deniers” are now full-blown “science deniers”. What more evidence could you possibly need to conclude that those who question the extent of global warming are, at best, deluded fools or, at worst, Gaia’s eager rapists?

Tyson argues his case in a four minute video that, as we have come to expect from warmists, relies heavily on the strawman argument. At one point he states that, up until now, he “doesn’t remember any time when people were standing in denial of what science was” – whatever that means. To back up this rather vague proposition the video refers to anti-vaxxers, anti-GMers and then, of course, climate change deniers. Oh, and he also throws in a clip of now Vice President Mike Pence arguing that evolution should be taught as theory rather than fact. (To be fair to Pence, that’s not quite the point he made in the full address to Congress, arguing that Charles Darwin’s view is but one perspective, that evolutionary theory is subject to constant and ongoing tweaking and that, as a Christian, he prefers to believe mankind and all the world were brought to their current state by Divine guidance. In this he differs not much from the Jesuit paleontologist and theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, whom Pope Francis cited with approval in his recent dark-green plea for the planet, Laudato si, which, funnily enough, Tyson endorsed to the fullest. Then again, why take anything Tyson says without a grain of salt? A famous mis-quoter, he also has trouble recalling his own past. But enough of Tyson, at least until he arrives in Australia later this year for a series of lectures, when someone might ask him a few pointed questions.)

The interesting thing about this line-up of ‘denialism’ is that of the four examples chosen, three come down to individual choice – you can choose to vaccinate or not, you can choose to eschew GM foods and you can reject evolution if you think that it is incompatible with creationism. These are the views of fringe dwellers which have marginal impact on society. But CAGW affects everyone; you can’t opt in or out of the theory’s consequences, as evidenced by your latest electricity bill and the rent-seekers who make it o much larger than it should be. What Tyson is doing is an example of trying to impose guilt by association. According to Neil, science never gets anything wrong.