Empire, Erudition and Entertainment In Edward Gibbon’s ‘History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,’ the real subject is good sense and decency in a losing battle with pride, greed and vice.Joseph Epstein

In the closet of Abdalrahman, eighth-century caliph of Spain, this note was discovered after his death: “I have now reigned above fifty years in victory or peace; beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honours, power and pleasure, have waited on my call.…In this situation, I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot: they amount to fourteen: O Man! place not thy confidence in this present world.”

In a footnote to this item, in the fifth volume of “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” Edward Gibbon writes: “If I may speak of myself (the only person of whom I can speak with certainty), my happy hours have far exceeded, and far exceed, the scanty number of the caliph of Spain; and I shall not scruple to add, that many of them are due to the pleasing labour of the present composition.”

The New Campus Dissenters Not everyone is cowed by political intimidation at universities.

Not least among those welcoming the respite of Thanksgiving must be the nation’s college and university administrators. After student protests evicted Tim Wolfe as president of the University of Missouri, officials at other institutions of higher learning (if we may still call them that) were harassed by shouting or otherwise threatening students. At Princeton University, students occupied the office of the school’s president, Christopher Eisgruber, demanding that he throw Woodrow Wilson down the memory hole.

Even at the remove of several weeks, it is remarkable to recall that the disturbance at Yale University was over “offensive” Halloween costumes. But amid the protests, some important principles are now at risk, notably free speech. We asked at the time where the adults were on campus—either school presidents or boards of trustees? The answer, so far, is that most have caved like wet cardboard. The most hopeful adult response has come from 18- to 22-year olds—the students themselves.

Bully for Whom? Serge Kovaleski and the Trump paradox.By James Taranto

“It’s clear at this point that Donald Trump acts more like a bully than a ‘traditional’ presidential candidate,” observed New York magazine’s Jesse Singal in September:

The current leader in the GOP polls gleefully flouts all of the usual rules of political and social decorum, constantly launching attacks—many of them rather offensive—against both his political rivals and members of the media he believes have treated him unfairly. . . .

Part of what’s been strange about the trajectory of the campaign so far is that Trump hasn’t been punished, in any real sense, for engaging in the sort of behavior that almost everyone agrees is terrible in any setting. Yes, each gross incident is followed by a wave of denunciations, but they don’t seem to have an impact—if anything, Trump seems to be gaining popularity by bullying.

Singal consulted with a “bullying expert,” a UCLA psychologist, who advised Trump’s Republican rivals to counter his bullying by ganging up against him.

“As of yet,” Singal observed, “that united force hasn’t quite emerged in the GOP primary.” As of now, however, it does seem to have emerged in the media, thanks to a dust-up between Trump and a reporter named Serge Kovaleski.

In 2001, Kovaleski was working for the Washington Post. On Sept. 18 of that year, he shared a byline on a story titled “Northern New Jersey Draws Probers’ Eyes.” The story noted that Jersey City had been the base of operations for Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, who directed several terrorist attacks and conspiracies, including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. “Law enforcement officials said northeastern New Jersey could be potentially fertile ground” in investigating the 9/11 attacks, the Post reported. The story included this tidbit:

Your Complete Guide to the Climate Debate At the Paris conference, expect an agreement that is sufficiently vague and noncommittal for all countries to claim victory. By Matt Ridley And Benny Peiser

In February President Obama said, a little carelessly, that climate change is a greater threat than terrorism. Next week he will be in Paris, a city terrorized yet again by mass murderers, for a summit with other world leaders on climate change, not terrorism. What precisely makes these world leaders so convinced that climate change is a more urgent and massive threat than the incessant rampages of Islamist violence?

It cannot be what is happening to world temperatures, because they have gone up only very slowly, less than half as fast as the scientific consensus predicted in 1990 when the global-warming scare began in earnest. Even with this year’s El Niño-boosted warmth threatening to break records, the world is barely half a degree Celsius (0.9 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than it was about 35 years ago. Also, it is increasingly clear that the planet was significantly warmer than today several times during the past 10,000 years.

Nor can it be the consequences of this recent slight temperature increase that worries world leaders. On a global scale, as scientists keep confirming, there has been no increase in frequency or intensity of storms, floods or droughts, while deaths attributed to such natural disasters have never been fewer, thanks to modern technology and infrastructure. Arctic sea ice has recently melted more in summer than it used to in the 1980s, but Antarctic sea ice has increased, and Antarctica is gaining land-based ice, according to a new study by NASA scientists published in the Journal of Glaciology. Sea level continues its centuries-long slow rise—about a foot a century—with no sign of recent acceleration.

Checks and balancing acts : Liat Collins

Security checks are necessary – all Israelis are used to opening their bags and passing through metal detectors before being allowed to enter a bus or train station, shopping mall or concert hall.

Palestinian terrorists have taken the lives of more than 20 people, ranging in age from 18-year-olds to a man in his seventies, since the latest wave of attacks started on October 1. (Although arguably, this is not a wave but more like a stormy sea: The exact moment when it started is hard to pinpoint.) People have an understandable need to rationalize the attacks. I can tell you what is not the trigger: Checkpoints.

Recently I have heard an increasing number of Palestinians and their supporters claiming that it is the fear and humiliation of military checkpoints that are “fueling the despair” that leads people to decide to kill Israelis, using whatever they can: knives, scissors, guns, axes, or cars driven into a crowd of pedestrians.

The frustration at checkpoints is real. The need for checks even more so.

It is the equivalent of security checks at an airport. Once upon a time, pre-flight security checks were perfunctory. That was before the Palestinian hijackings that began in 1968, targeting Israelis and Jews. Since September 11, 2001, airports everywhere enforce rigorous rules, some obvious, others verging on the ludicrous.


It is becoming increasingly egregious to persist with the shabby charade that any consensual resolution to the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict” is possible.

After years of counterproductive concessions and compromise, it is unlikely that the situation is still retrievable by consensual means… remedial measures will require coercive action on a wide scale… Unless the Jews convey the unequivocal message that any…challenge to their sovereignty will be met with overwhelming lethal force, they will increasingly be the victims of such force at the hands of their Arab adversaries – “Into the Fray,” The Jerusalem Post, November 13, 2014

It was with these the words that I concluded my column written almost exactly a year ago. In it, I warned that the country was “on the cusp of carnage” – which was also the title of the column.

No consensual resolution possible

Within days, carnage was upon us, with Jews at morning prayers in a Jerusalem synagogue hacked to death by hate-crazed Arabs brandishing meat-cleavers. Since then, the brutal butchery has continued unabated, indeed, accelerating considerably in recent weeks, with a score of Israelis being slaughtered by Palestinian Arabs.

Alexander Levlovich, Naama Henkin, Eitam Henkin, Aharon Banita-Bennett, Nehemia Lavi, Alon Govberg, Chaim Haviv, Yeshayahu Krishevsky, Richard Lakin, Omri Levy, Avraham Asher Hasno, Benjamin Yakubovich, Ya’akov Litman, Netanel Litman , Reuven Aviram, Aharon Yesayev, Yaakov Don, Ezra Schwartz, Hadar Buchris, and Ziv Mizrahi were stabbed, stoned and shot to death – literally for no other reason than being Jewish.

With each gory week, it is becoming increasingly pointless to pretend some consensual resolution to the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict” is possible.

On This Violent ‘Day of Rage,’ a/k/a Friday, Closure Imposed on PA Villages Due to an epidemic of violence on this ‘Day of Rage,’ the Israeli security cabinet voted to allow commanders to close Arab villages. By: Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Friday, Nov. 27, was the 48th Palestinian Arab rage day of the 2015 calendar year. That’s because this last Friday of November is the fourth to last Friday of 2015.

By the end of the day, the Israeli security cabinet decided to allow for full closures on Palestinian Arab villages. This decision allows military commanders to impose a closure without having to first wait for approval by the full government.

By 7:30 a.m. Friday, there had already been a ramming attack just outside of Jerusalem. An Arab driver rammed his car into Israeli Defense Forces soldiers in Kfar Adumin. After ramming the soldiers, the driver, allegedly jumped out of his car holding a knife, but he was shot and killed by a nearby pedestrian. The terrorist was later identified as Fadi Hassib, 30, from Al-Bireh, which is near Ramallah,

Two soldiers were wounded when Hassib drove his car into them.

Slandering the Prophet” Edward Cline

If Muslims and Islam can’t take criticism or mockery or slander, perhaps they should get out of the kitchen.

“The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied.” President Barack Obama before the U.N. General Assembly, September 25, 2012.

It seems, to judge by his record before and after his U.N. address, in this instance that Obama delivered a verbose, sanctimonious dose of his silver-tongued taqiyya that mentioned desecrated images of Christ and Holocaust denial just so he couldn’t be accused of bigotry or favoritism. However, he hasn’t had much to say about the desecration and destruction of Christian and Jewish edifices and objects by ISIS, or by Islamic enthusiasts in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Malaysia, and in other culturally enriched Islamic pestholes.

On the other hand, it’s fairly well known that Muslims can slander other creeds with legal and social impunity, and even publicly threaten death and dismemberment of anyone who slanders Mohammad and Islam or mentions them with a jaundiced eye.

But, how can you slander an icon, or a cartoon character, a fictional book, movie, or TV character, or a person who might not have even existed historically except in the minds of countless “believers” whose minds anyway are not too firmly anchored to reality? But perhaps it isn’t the icon of Mohammad that should be slandered, mocked, and defamed, but those to whom the icon is a reality.


My friend Professor Sharon is one of Israel’s most distinguished historians and one of the very few Israelis who understood that the Arab wars against Israel were a jihad. Here is a most prescient chapter from his book so apposite today to what is happening in Europe. This is Chapter 6 of Moshe Sharon’s book Jihad: Islam Against Israel and the West, kindly translated for Outpost by Mrs. Sharon.) Published in February 2014


In 1683 the armies of Islam besieged Vienna for the second time. The first time was a century and a half earlier. The great Islamic Empire of the period, the Ottoman Empire under the long reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, was then at its zenith. It had extended its borders on the Danube far to the west of Budapest and was poised to capture Vienna, which stood between its armies and Western Europe. Suleiman regarded himself at that time as the ruler of the world, and treated the great kings of Europe as his subjects. The actual subjugation of the rest of Europe was, as far as he was concerned, only a matter of time.

Fortunately for the world of Christianity, when the Moslem armies attempted to besiege Vienna for the second time, some 117 years after Suleiman’s death, the Ottoman Empire was already on the decline, its expansion westwards had been checked, and the bastions of European Christianity could then begin threatening the Muslim Empire rather than being threatened by it.
Yet for the Ottomans, the Christian countries of Europe remained Dar al-Harb -– “the Land of War” – the term used by the Muslims for all territories not yet under Islamic rule. The term is both legal and political, and is charged with religious belief and emotional fervor.
Legally speaking, it defines the relations between the lands of Islam and the lands of the infidels. Infidels – in Arabic Kuffar (singular: kafir) – are all those who are not Muslims, mainly Jews and Christians. They are, therefore, regarded to be, both theoretically and effectively, in a state of war with the Muslims. This war does not have to be declared, since from the Muslim viewpoint, it is the only possible state of affairs between the two parties. Moreover, it is part of the divine plan. For after Allah sent Muhammad “with the guidance and the religion of truth” there was no other way but that “he may uplift it above every religion.” (Koran, surah 9 verse 33) In other words, Allah made it incumbent on the Muslims, the Community of the Faithful, to subjugate the whole world and bring it under the rule of Allah.
The fire of jihad, Holy War, must burn in the heart of every Muslim. It is a collective and personal duty; and every Muslim leader, particularly the head of the Muslim Empire, is obliged to pursue this duty ceaselessly. Legally therefore, the appellation of “The Land of War” to Europe is understandable. Every Christian coming from the Land of War – dar al harb – has the status of harbi. This is different from being a dhimmi, the status imposed on Christians and Jews tolerated to live under Islamic rule as a third-class subjects. The harbi is simply an alien, an enemy of Islam, even when no acts of war are in progress between the two sides. This legal outlook reflects the religious obligation to keep the Holy War alive. Since no one can abolish this duty that is enshrined in the words of God in the Koran, it remains an open-ended condition. Similarly the Land of War cannot change its status until it is conquered by the Muslims and becomes part of the Land of Islam.
The emotional aspect of this religious obligation is an integral part of the way by which the relations between the Muslims and the kuffar were defined. The Koran and Islamic tradition taught the Muslims that their Community of Faithful is “the best nation ever brought forth to men,” (Koran, surah 3 verse 110) and that the truth of their religion is the only perfect truth, and that they, as believers, are always on the right side, and the infidels are always wrong.
Europe, more than any other part of the world, personified the land of war. It was the natural place against which the Jihad was to be waged. It was, after all, the major enemy of Islam from its very inception. But Europe proved to be a difficult enemy. It was an enemy that fought back successfully. In the Middle Ages the Crusades brought the Europeans into the heart of the Islamic lands, but Islam somehow recovered from this success of the infidels, which placed the Muslims for the first time in a defensive position, and tormented them with doubts about Allah’s support.
But Islam did not recover from the loss of Spain (“the Jewel in the Islamic Crown”). Once Islam conquered Spain, it became an Islamic land. Its re-conquest by the infidels seemed to be a reversal of history for it negated the rule which says that once an Islamic land, always an Islamic land. To this very day, Spain, which the Arabs insist on calling Andalus, is regarded as a lost Islamic territory, the recovery of which is a religious and political objective and duty, more than a dream.

The Affirmative Action Education Bubble Behind the Campus Protests The Left creates misery and then profits from it.Daniel Greenfield

Forget the housing bubble, the education bubble is about to burst.

Student loan debt is at $1.2 trillion. College enrollment increased under Obama, but graduation rates fell. Barely half the students who enrolled in 2009 graduated. His plans for expanding enrollment rates worked, but the plans for expanding graduation rates didn’t.

And some of the biggest casualties were black students.

81% of black graduates had taken out loans and 39% of black borrowers drop out of college. This money helped keep colleges that were deeply in debt afloat. But it didn’t do much for graduation rates.

Black student loan rates had increased by 20 percent since the ’90s. But black male graduation rates had hardly increased at all.

Only a third of black male college students graduate. Among black women, it’s 44%. And the college graduation gap between white and black students has continued to increase under Obama.