Reading Raymond Ibrahim’s excellent November 2nd article, “How Historic Revisionism Justifies Islamic Terrorism,” I was led to follow one of his links to how Hollywood contributes to that revisionism and disinformation. There I discovered James Burke’s May 2005 article on the Free Republic site, “Kingdom of Heaven: Propaganda or History?” The Burke article examines the revisionist depiction of the struggle for Jerusalem between the Crusaders and Saladin’s Moslem armies in Ridley Scott’s 2005 epic, “Kingdom of Heaven.” That in turn led me to thinking about the filmography of the star director and producer.

Ibrahim wrote in his Historic Revision article:

How important, really, is history to current affairs? Do events from the 7th century-or, more importantly, how we understand them-have any influence on U.S. foreign policy today?

By way of answer, consider some parallels between academia’s portrayal of historic Islamic jihads and the U.S. government’s and media’s portrayal of contemporary Islamic jihads.

While any objective appraisal of the 7th century Muslim conquests proves that they were just that-conquests, with all the bloodshed and rapine that that entails-the historical revisionism of modern academia, especially within Arab and Islamic studies departments, has led to some portrayals of the original Muslim conquerors as “freedom-fighters” trying to “liberate” the Mideast from tyrants and autocrats. (Beginning to sound familiar?)

Hollywood and Ridley Scott have lent a helping hand in that revisionist project. Burke’s article thoroughly dissects “Kingdom of Heaven,” not only for its historical inaccuracies, but for its bias against Western civilization and for Islam, in which the Crusaders are depicted as a bunch of posturing, spiritually lost, bungling boobs and Saladin and his hordes are depicted as nice, honorable guys who just happened to be roaming the deserts armed to the teeth in the 12th century, and Saladin as a leader not really interested in cementing his growing Islamic empire by retaking Jerusalem.


The Science Fiction of IPCC Climate Models

Climate policies need scientific forecasts, not alarmist scenarios


The human race has prospered by relying on forecasts that the seasons will follow their usual course, while knowing they will sometimes be better or worse. Are things different now?

For the fifth time now, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change claims they are. The difference, the IPCC asserts, is increased human emissions of carbon dioxide: a colorless, odorless, non-toxic gas that is a byproduct of growing prosperity. It is also a product of all animal respiration and is also essential for most life on Earth, yet in total it makes up only 0.0004 of the atmosphere.

The IPCC assumes that the relatively small human contribution of this gas to the atmosphere will cause global warming, and insists that the warming will be dangerous.

Other scientists contest the IPCC assumptions, on the grounds that the climatological effect of increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide is trivial – and that the climate is so complex and insufficiently understood that the net effect of human emissions on global temperatures cannot be forecasted.

The computer models that the authors of the IPCC reports rely on are complicated representations of the assumption that human carbon dioxide emissions are now the primary factor driving climate change and will substantially overheat the Earth. The models include many assumptions that mainstream scientists question.

Germany and Syria: A Case Study in Jihad by Andrew Harrod


The “martyr death” is the “best way to die,” Mustafa’s “wish…for every believing brother and sister,” declared the 24-year old Moroccan-German in an Oct. 18 interview for the German public television station ZDF (“Minderjährige Deutsche im Krieg” segment). Having recently returned from Syria, Mustafa is one more manifestation of what he calls the “very clear matter” of “armed struggle” in Islam worrying German authorities in light of Syria’s ongoing Islamist-dominated insurgency.

Two days after Mustafa’s television appearance, Germany’s leading newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported that 200 jihadists had left Germany to fight against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime. These jihadists had formed a “German Camp” in northern Syria for the establishment of German-speaking fighting units, according to Germany’s domestic security service, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz or BfV). More than half of these jihadists are German citizens, BfV estimated; although an estimated 80-85 percent of these fighters had a “migrant background,” while the rest were German converts, according to a German radio interview. Eight of these German jihadists had already died fighting in Syria, now “by far the most ‘attractive’ jihad theater of war” for Islamists globally, in BfV’s view. German officials estimate that there are now about 1,000 European jihadists in Syria, with 120 from Belgium and 150 from Kosovo.

Such European jihadists did not just present problems for Syria, BfV President Hans-Georg Maaßen analyzed in a Sept. 22 interview. Speaking then of 170 German jihadists entering the Syrian insurgency, Maaßen described this number as having “clearly increased” from 120 a few months before. These peoples were among a “very high personnel potential of Islamists in Germany, 42,000 persons.” Jihad recruitment among these German residents for Syria filled the BfV “with great concern,” because “these persons will presumably come back again.” If they do, these jihadists “will probably have combat experience, they will perhaps even have a mission, a terrorist mission.”


Is Washington ignoring years of nuclear and missile cooperation between Tehran and Pyongyang?


Are Iran and North Korea cooperating on their nuclear-weapons programs? If so, their efforts undermine, and may preclude, Barack Obama’s diplomatic attempts to address these threats separately. The issue is especially timely now as Mr. Obama’s negotiators rush to make a deal with Iran.

Tehran-Pyongyang collaboration raises questions of enormous strategic importance for global counterproliferation efforts. Although publicly available information is scarce, American policy makers should pay the closest attention to the implications of such cooperation. The direct evidence, while limited, is troubling.

Not least because of the initial intermediation of Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan’s proliferation network, the potential for Iranian-North Korean cooperation has long been attractive. But within the U.S. diplomatic, defense and intelligence communities, broad understanding of such dynamics is often hampered by powerful bureaucratic “stovepipes.” In the bureaucratic tribal mindset, Pyongyang is an Asia problem and Tehran is a Middle East problem.

Fred Siegel: Fracking, Poverty and the New Liberal Gentry

The energy bonanza has bypassed New York, where socialites and celebrities have come out in force to stop it.


The transformation of American liberalism over the past half-century is nowhere more apparent than in the disputes now roiling a relatively obscure section of upstate New York. In 1965, as part of his “war on poverty,” President Lyndon Johnson created the Appalachian Regional Commission. Among the areas to be served by the commission were the Southern Tier counties of New York state, including Broome, Tioga and Chemung. The commission’s central aim was to “Increase job opportunities and per capita income in Appalachia to reach parity with the nation.”

Like so many Great Society antipoverty programs, the effort largely failed. The Southern Tier counties remain much as they appeared in the 1960s, pocked by deserted farms and abandoned businesses, largely untouched by the prosperity that blessed much of America over the past five decades.

Beginning about a dozen years ago, remarkable improvements in natural-gas drilling by means of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, seemed to promise a way out of poverty. The massive Marcellus Shale Formation under New York and Pennsylvania has proved to be “the most lucrative natural gas play in the U.S.,” Business Week recently noted, because the shale produces high-quality gas and is easily shipped to New York and Philadelphia.



Eddie Rickenbacker went from race-car driver to ace pilot in World War I. When the bombs fell on Pearl Harbor, he signed up again.

Since World War II, the U.S. military has been united around a single principle—air supremacy. Because of it, no American soldier has been killed by enemy air attack in 60 years. Likewise, the American aerospace industry has been the world leader over the same period and the master of space and satellite technology as well.

According to Winston Groom, the author of many works of military history (though perhaps best known as the creator of Forrest Gump), we owe this legacy, in part, to three extraordinary men. The first is Eddie Rickenbacker, America’s top ace during World War I, who, as an executive at Eastern Airlines in the 1930s, helped to lay the foundation of modern commercial air travel. The second is James Doolittle, the Ph.D. in aeronautical engineering who as a record-breaking racing flier introduced high-performance, high-octane fuel to the aviation industry. The third is Charles Lindbergh, whose solo flight across the Atlantic in 1927 triggered an explosion of interest in air flight in America, not least in the military.

In “The Aviators,” Mr. Groom reminds us that, in the 1920s and 1930s, these men were celebrities—the object of “frenzied admiration.” Yet when World War II broke out, all three, now in middle age, risked their lives in the air once again. As Mr. Groom’s absorbing narrative unfolds, we see one man enduring a horrendous ordeal on the open sea; another nearly losing his life in a bombing run; and yet another finding a sort of redemption for his battered public image.



The reported political obstacles to the construction of a natural gas pipeline between Israel and Turkey are but another confirmation that relations between the two countries are strained. This last Israel-Turkey row also provides an opportunity to ponder the wisdom of building an Israeli pipeline to Turkey, in the first place.

There are good reasons why Israel and Turkey are considering the construction of such a pipeline. Turkey is a natural gas importer, while Israel is about to become a natural gas exporter. Not only is Turkey trying to diversify its gas imports in order to reduce its dependency on Russia’s expansive natural gas, it also wants to solidify its key role as a transit country for energy flows: Turkey is strategically located at the crossroads of energy exporters (the Middle East and the Caucasus) and energy importers (European countries). As the EU will likely become an importer of Israel’s natural gas, Turkey could provide a transit route for an Israeli gas pipeline to Europe.

However, relying on Turkey as a transit country for Israel’s exports to Europe would constitute a long-term strategic mistake.

The infrastructure for the delivery of natural gas (either via pipelines or liquefaction) is complex and expensive, which is why exporting and importing countries are generally locked in long-term agreements. Hence the need to carefully understand the potential risks of the Turkish option.



A new survey published by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights reveals the worrying extent of anti-Jewish abuse in Europe and failure of states to tackle this growing problem. There is now little room for doubt; Europe’s Jews feel increasingly threatened and abused, fearing antisemitic abuse from Muslim extremists, the extreme right-wing, and left-wing radicals. With few European member states taking any serious action, and the failure of the authorities to tackle this growing problem, the human rights of Jewish Europeans are under threat. 75 years after Kristallnacht, has Europe failed to learn from history?

This week marks the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the series of coordinated attacks against Jews throughout Germany and parts of Austria which was the ominous prelude to the mass murder of much of European Jewry. The savage attacks of 9th November 1938 saw Jewish businesses attacked, hundreds of synagogues torched and around 30,000 Jewish men rounded up for deportation to concentration camps. German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week described Kristallnacht as “one of the darkest moments in German history,” urging “all the people in this country to show their civil courage and ensure that no form of anti-Semitism is tolerated.” But 75 years on, where do German Jews stand? Merkel herself went on to observe that today it is “almost inexplicable but also the reality that no Jewish institution can be left without police protection.”

This is true elsewhere in Europe, too. In Britain, I am used to attending synagogues protected by concrete crash barriers, watched over by teams of security guards. Our Jewish schools are surrounded with razor wire, and bomb proof doors. One security professional told me that this has become so normal most of the children don’t even notice it any more. Yet I grew up in a country that gave me, and generations of Jews before me, a safe place to live, study and pray. As a Rabbi friend of mine often publicly remarks at events of national importance, Britain has been good to its Jews, and the Jews have been good for Britain.

Yet over recent years, things have changed for the worse in Europe. Antisemitism has appeared in the lives of a generation who never thought they would experience it first hand. From stories about verbal abuse shouted at kippah-wearers and physical attacks on Jews, to an arson attack on a London synagogue and a shooting at a French Jewish school, it is clear that something has changed.

STELLA PAUL:U.S Landed Man on Moon, Can’t Launch Website

If you’ve been busy trying to log on to the ObamaCare website, or stumbling around in search of the cupcake shop to which the New York health care website mistakenly directs you, let me catch you up with the latest news.
We’ll start with the embarrassment of a country that once launched a man to the moon, but now can’t even launch a website. Even those who hated the ObamaCare concept, and I freely admit I was never a fan, would have admired a silky-smooth execution that showcased the genius of American know-how. But that’s not what we got.
Now, not only must we suffer through the chaotic disruption of our entire medical system, but the launch also besmirched the stellar reputation of American technology. Oops! Make that Canadian technology.
Canadian? It turns out the perpetrator of the website fiasco is CGI Federal, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Montreal-based CGI Group. To execute its signature achievement, the Obama administration selected CGI, also known as “Conseillers en Gestion et Informatique,” for a hugely lucrative no-bid contract. Even if the site worked well, it would have been nice to give an American-owned company the job, especially with so many Americans still unemployed.
So far, CGI has garnered $687 million in American taxpayer funds, although its track record hardly inspires confidence. In September 2012, the Ontario government fired CGI and refused to pay them, after CGI for three years missed deadlines on its $46.2 million contract to build a registry of diabetes patients.

Ten Lessons of ObamaCare: Robert Tracinski ****


President Obama is still trying to downplay the launch failure of ObamaCare as if it were just a few glitches on a website.

No, it’s much more than that. It is a timeless demonstration of the failure of central planning, government regulations, and the entitlement state. It is a failure so total, so comprehensive, and so multifaceted that it will be studied by schoolchildren 50 years from now when their teachers explain to them why the giant welfare and regulatory state built up in the second half of the 20th century collapsed in the first half of the 21st.

The lessons of that failure will not be new lessons. They’re the ones we should have learned in the 20th century, when we had plenty of examples to draw from. But a generation has grown up that doesn’t remember the 1970s, the failures of socialism, or the depredations of Communism. And because those topics are not yet part of a standard school curriculum, we’ve had to relearn them in the School of Hard Knocks, with Professor Obama giving us a refresher course.

In the hope that we won’t have to learn this all over again another thirty years from now, here are ten big lessons from the launch of ObamaCare about why big government fails.

1. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

We’ve already seen about a half-dozen stories like this one, in which an Obama voters declares, “I was all for ObamaCare until I found out I was paying for it.” Or as another one puts it: “Of course, I want people to have health care. I just didn’t realize I would be the one who was going to pay for it personally.” Well, who did he think was going to pay for it?

The entire middle-class welfare state, to which ObamaCare is the latest addition, is an attempt to make the middle class into a constituency for big government by promising them endless benefits, from free health care to a guaranteed income, with no costs, consequences, or trade-offs, and no strings attached. Everything is supposed to be paid for by “the rich,” which means anyone who makes a dollar more than you. But when the law is passed, a whole chunk of the middle class finds out that they are the ones getting fleeced for the benefit of anyone who makes a dollar less than them.

If you want to figure out the winners and losers of ObamaCare, it’s not so much about the rich versus the poor. It’s this: the more you are productive and self-supporting, the more likely you are to end up paying the freight for everyone else. That’s what promises of a free lunch always amount to: punishing the productive and rewarding the unproductive.

What do you suppose are the long-term consequences of that kind of system? Well, let’s start by looking at what the regulatory state does to productive people, which is our second lesson.

2. Regulation stifles production.

How did the president who deployed state of the art information technology for his re-election campaign manage to botch the website for his signature piece of legislation? Listen to this explanationfrom some of the Obama campaign’s own Web guys: “The government has to follow a code called the Federal Acquisition Regulation, which is more than 1,800 pages of legalese that all but ensure that the companies that win government contracts, like the ones put out to build HealthCare.gov, are those that can navigate the regulations best, but not necessarily do the best job.”

In other words, when you pass a lot of regulations, it only makes people good at following regulations. As I replied: “But what do they imagine ObamaCare is, if not a massive set of new regulations? If a mere 1,800 pages of federal procurement regulations cause 94% of federal IT projects to fail—how about the 2,000-plus pages of the Affordable Care Act?”

A truly creative, productive mind answers to only one “regulator”: reality. It looks at facts and results and figures out what is actually required to get things done, rather than following some arbitrary set of rules. But government regulations put precisely such rules between a worker’s mind and reality. That’s how the federal government ended up launching a system that had been tested against every clause and subsection of the Federal Acquisition Regulation—but hadn’t been tested to see if it would work in the real world.