Tuesday, January 24, 2017



One way Trump is different from European nationalists

History seems to be repeating itself in Europe. Brian Porter-Szücs below notes that European nationalists tend to be socialists -- exactly as Hitler was.  And he notes that Trump runs an opposite coalition -- between nationalism and capitalism. 

He does not seem to understand The Trump phenomenon or America generally, however.  He sees the Trump coalition as weak and unstable while the European coalition as strong.  From what we saw of Hitler, he may be right that the European coalition is strong but the Trump coalition could also be strong, given the different historical context in America.  Capitalism is much more traditional in America so any type of conservatism is likely to include support for capitalism



When comparing Europe and America, we frequently overlook differences that hide inside similarities.

There is no doubt that President-elect Donald Trump is surfing the same wave as European authoritarian nationalists like Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, France’s Marine Le Pen, Turkey’s Recep Erdoğan, Austria’s Norbert Hofer or Poland’s Jarosław Kaczyński.

The parallels are many. Yet, during this apparent moment of political convergence, the U.S. is diverging from Europe in one fundamental aspect. While Trump might resemble these European nationalists, he has tied himself to a Republican Party that is quite distinct from the parties they lead.

Authoritarian nationalism in Poland

Consider the case of Poland, where I am currently living and writing. Over the past year, the situation here has steadily deteriorated.

As recently as 2014, many were saying that Poland had entered a golden age, with greater wealth, stability and international prominence than ever. But in 2015, it all came crashing down with the election of the Law and Justice Party (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, or PiS).

Since then, Poland has been censured by the European Union’s Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance and transformed from the EU’s exemplar of success to one of its biggest headaches. The formerly booming economy has slowed. The country’s credit rating has been downgraded. And the Warsaw stock market’s capitalization has declined by US$50 billion.

This authoritarian, nationalist movement is led by Jarosław Kaczyński. Kaczyński rules Poland with near absolute authority even though he is technically only an ordinary member of Parliament. He has installed a president and prime minister who are loyal to him, thus making the official offices of state subordinated to the leader of the ruling party – much as it was during the communist era.

Throughout most of 2016, the government openly defied unfavorable rulings from the constitutional court, a conflict that ended only when PiS installed its own obedient chief justice. New regulations restricting the media provoked a filibuster attempt by the opposition beginning in late December. The main opposition parties occupied the parliamentary dais, but PiS responded by holding a meeting of its caucus in another room and passing the legislation it wanted. Faced with threats of arrest, the opposition abandoned their protest on Jan. 12.

The state-owned media has become an unabashed propaganda outlet, with a bias not seen since the fall of communism. For example, on Jan. 15 the main TV station aired a “documentary” arguing that the recent parliamentary protests were a failed coup attempt with the goal of overthrowing democracy in Poland on behalf of unspecified foreign interests.

According to a recent IPSOS survey, only 25 percent of Poles believe that the state-owned media is trustworthy, and nearly all of them describe themselves as PiS supporters. An independent media still exists, but companies with state contracts are being pressured to pull advertising from media that oppose Kaczyński, and not sell opposition periodicals in their stores.

A massive and ill-planned educational “reform” has been pushed through. The main upshot will be the firing of thousands of teachers, setting the stage for an ideological purge of the profession. That’s necessary, because starting next fall students will be subjected to a new mandatory curriculum that emphasizes “patriotic education.”

PiS uses the slogan “Dobre Zmiany,” which means “Good Changes,” to encompass the move away from the norms of constitutional rule of law, pluralism and liberal democracy.

The same hatreds, the same promises

A comparison of the rhetoric of Kaczyński and Trump shows that they both come from the same ideological framework.

For example, on Jan. 10, Kaczyński was confronted with a loud protest during one of his speeches. Pointing to his opponents, he said “the day will come when Poland will once and for all free itself from all that, from the sickness that we see here. And no shouts, no screams, no sirens will change that. Poland will be victorious against its enemies, against the traitors.”

Both Trump and Kaczyński have appealed to explicit xenophobia. Both promise to return “greatness” to their country, even as their isolationism and extremism distance them from former allies. Both evoke memories of a lost era of job security and prosperity for industrial workers, and claim that they can bring those good days back. Most of all, both cultivate a worldview based on an existential struggle between themselves and a mysterious, conspiratorial network of enemies.

Even the path to power for both Trump and Kaczyński has been similar. Neither represents a majority, but both took advantage of constitutional quirks to transform extraordinarily tight electoral results into a victory.

In Poland, parties that get fewer than 5 percent of the vote get no seats in Parliament. Their votes are distributed proportionately among the larger parties. Because the left splintered into multiple parties, none of them got more than 5 percent and PiS’s 38 percent of the votes translated to 51 percent of the parliamentary delegates. As in America, a couple hundred thousand Polish votes cast differently would have led to a totally different outcome. Since the elections, PiS’s support has remained in the low to mid-30’s. That should give us some pause before we attribute either victory to profound cultural or sociological shifts.

Despite Trump’s unconcealed fondness for Russia, which is not usually an asset in Poland, the PiS government applauded his electoral victory. Kaczyński despises Putin and was happy to welcome U.S. troops to Poland on Jan. 12, yet his ideological affinity with Trump seems to be more important.

An essential difference

Despite all these similarities, there is an essential difference between the two leaders. Kaczyński, like his European counterparts on the far right, is genuinely hostile to capitalism.

On the European side of the Atlantic, “liberalism” has long been understood to encompass both free market economics and liberal constitutional democracy. PiS wants to expand the welfare state, lower the retirement age, outlaw commerce on Sundays and holidays and undertake a massive state-financed construction program.

The party’s hostile relation to the business community has sent the Polish stock market and the value of the złoty to record lows. For Kaczyński, national freedom is what matters. Individual freedoms, including economic ones, are subordinate. As a result, most Polish businesspeople stand alongside civil rights activists in common opposition to the wave of far-right victories.

The contrast with the U.S. could not be more dramatic. Trump has named oligarchs, libertarians and Ayn Rand enthusiasts like Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson to cabinet positions.

The ability of the Republicans to bring together business interests with antiliberal populism is an impressive bit of ideological sleight of hand. If that stew can be kept in one pot, Trump will likely remain a formidable force, able to draw upon broad populist anger and vast financial resources. But it is hard to see how Trump will hold all that together.

The base that elected him is more closely aligned to their European counterparts than to the Republican leadership. This difference is crucial. Trump and Kaczyński are similar, but the latter is at the head of a coherent and committed movement, while the former is trying to ride two horses that won’t be going in the same direction for very long.

Perhaps the economic elites of the U.S. will make a compromise akin to that made by their peers in the 1930s, when business leaders in Germany reluctantly accepted fascist centralization and state control as the cost of maintaining their wealth and power. Most of Europe’s business elites today haven’t yet made this bargain, perhaps because they remember the consequences of that earlier deal with the devil. The decisions of their American peers will play a vital role in determining what happens over the next few years.

SOURCE






Netanyahu calls on Trump to unpick Iran nuclear deal

Israel pushed Iran’s nuclear programme to the top of President Trump’s foreign policy agenda last night, in the first phone call between the country’s leaders since Mr Trump’s inauguration.

Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, is hopeful that the new US administration will take a harder line on Iran. He has long criticised the 2015 Iran nuclear pact spearheaded by President Obama, which Mr Trump has pledged to “tear up”.

In a sign of the increased support Mr Trump appears willing to give to Israel, the White House said yesterday that it was at the “beginning” of discussing plans to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. The US, like most countries, has long kept its embassy in Tel Aviv to avoid taking sides in the dispute over the holy city, which is claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians.

Mr Trump has promised to move it, an action that Palestinian officials said would effectively end the peace process. Husam Zumlot, an adviser to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, said: “For decades we’ve accepted that the road to peace goes through Washington. This will be the end of what you’ve been building for a quarter century.”

During last night’s phone call — described as a “very warm conversation” by Mr Netanyahu — the leaders agreed that peace between Israel and the Palestinians must be “negotiated directly between the two parties” and to “closely consult on a range of regional issues, including addressing the threats posed by Iran,” the White House said. Mr Netanyahu, who accepted an invitation from the president to visit Washington next month, said that there would be “no daylight between the United States and Israel” in their vision for the region.

At a cabinet meeting before the call, the prime minister had said: “I would like to make it clear, contrary to reports that I have read, that stopping the Iranian threat . . . continues to be a supreme goal of the state of Israel.”

He also made an unusual public appeal to Iranians in a video posted on Facebook on Saturday night. “You have a proud history. You have a rich culture. Tragically, you are shackled by a theocratic tyranny,” he said in the two-and-a-half-minute clip, recorded in English with Farsi subtitles.

Mr Netanyahu went on to mention the protests after the disputed 2009 election in which scores of Iranians were killed. “I’ll never forget the images of brave young students hungry for change gunned down in the streets of Tehran,” he said.

The message is unlikely to find a large audience in Iran, where Israel is not held in high regard. Instead it was a signal of Mr Netanyahu’s priorities in the Trump era. Israel considers Iran its main regional foe, both because of its nuclear work and its patronage of militant groups such as Hezbollah. Mr Netanyahu spent years threatening to carry out airstrikes against its atomic facilities and the issue came to dominate Israeli politics. He once answered a question about the high cost of apartments by invoking the threat from Iran.

These threats became moot in the summer of 2015 when Iran signed the nuclear pact with six world powers. The deal, reached after years of talks, offered Tehran relief from economic sanctions in exchange for strict limits on its nuclear activities.

Mr Netanyahu had strongly opposed the deal, the centrepiece of Mr Obama’s foreign policy. Its passage was a major diplomatic defeat and he quickly dropped the subject — until now.

On the campaign trail Mr Trump promised repeatedly to “tear up” the deal. His closest aides are similarly critical. Michael Flynn, his national security adviser, predicted that it would lead to a “large regional war.”

Jared Kushner, the president’s influential son-in-law, is also thought to oppose the agreement. The president said last week that Mr Kushner, whose family donates heavily to Israeli causes, would serve as his Middle East peace negotiator. The Justice Department ruled on Friday that his appointment as a senior White House adviser would not violate federal anti-nepotism laws.

Mr Trump’s cabinet nominees took a more restrained stance in their confirmation hearings earlier this month. James Mattis, the defence secretary, called it an “imperfect arms control agreement”. The president’s choice for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, wants to review the deal. Neither man supports tearing it up.

Analysts say it is unlikely that Mr Netanyahu will push to scrap the agreement altogether. Israeli spies have recently advised him not to: while they think that the deal is flawed, they also believe that it has delayed Iran’s nuclear programme and made it easier to monitor. The municipal planning committee in Jerusalem yesterday approved plans for 556 new homes in three neighbourhoods beyond Israel’s pre-1967 borders. The United Nations, and much of the world, considers such construction to be illegal.

The plans were originally tabled in December, days after the UN security council approved a resolution that condemned Israeli settlements, but Mr Netanyahu delayed the measure, afraid of how Mr Obama might respond.

Meir Turgeman, head of the planning committee, said it was no coincidence that the homes were approved on the first working day after Mr Trump took office.

“I hope an era has ended,” Nir Barkat, the mayor of Jerusalem, said after the vote yesterday. “From now on, we will continue to build and develop Jerusalem for the benefit of its residents.”

Mr Turgeman said that he would advance plans for thousands of other homes in the coming weeks.

Some of Mr Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition partners want to go even further. Naftali Bennett, leader of the pro-settler Jewish Home party, has already drafted a bill to annex Ma’ale Adumim, one of the largest settlements in the occupied West Bank. Such a move would prompt a furious reaction from the Palestinians and from many of Israel’s closest allies, particularly in Europe. The bill was scheduled for a cabinet vote yesterday but Mr Netanyahu postponed the debate.

Analysis

Binyamin Netanyahu’s disagreements with President Obama were open and bitter, and most particularly so over the nuclear deal with Iran (Richard Spencer writes).

It is easy to forget how real the possibility of conflict with Iran was, whether stemming from an Israeli strike on its nuclear facilities or an American one, when Mr Obama took office.

Israeli leaders, and some American officials, were scathing of the attempts — led by the European Union — to negotiate with Tehran. However, back-channel talks were under way between the State Department and Iranian diplomats in Oman.

That eventually led to the deal under which most of Iran’s centrifuge programme would be dismantled and put in storage, and its stocks of low-enriched uranium transferred, in return for a gradual lifting of sanctions.

Mr Netanyahu was furious. He had publicly campaigned against any deal that did not scrap the nuclear programme altogether, most famously in 2012 when he used a cartoon of a bomb at the UN general assembly to illustrate his “red lines”. After the deal, he used an address to the US Congress to lay into President Obama, an unprecedented snub.

It all seemed too late. The American foreign policy establishment largely backed the deal and the debate has since focused on how far, and not whether, America and Iran will co-operate on a range of issues, such as fighting Islamic State.

With Mr Trump vociferously attacking the deal and appointing hardline supporters of Israel to key positions, Mr Netanyahu sees an opening, even though he probably knows the deal will not be completely ripped up.

SOURCE







Concerned About Anti-Israel Bias, Republicans Introduce Another Bill Targeting U.N. Funding

Republican lawmakers on Wednesday introduced yet another bill targeting United Nations funding, this time including a special focus on the U.N. Human Rights Council’s heavily anti-Israel agenda.

The bill introduced by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) aims to combat what they describe as “systematic bias and targeting of the Jewish state of Israel at the United Nations.”

It calls specifically for U.S. funding to be withheld until the president certifies that no U.N. agency or affiliated agency grants official status or recognition to any organization promoting or condoning anti-Semitism.

American taxpayers account for 22 percent of the regular budget of the U.N., plus almost 29 percent of the separate peacekeeping budget. The U.S. additionally provides billions of dollars more each year in “voluntary contributions” to a spread of U.N. agencies, ranging from the International Atomic Energy Agency to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).

Under the new legislation, the Geneva-based Human Rights Council would be deprived of U.S. funding until it drops a permanent agenda item focusing on Israel and the Palestinian territories.

As CNSNews.com has reported, Israel is the only country out of 192 U.N. member-states that is the subject of a permanent item on the HRC’s agenda.

The item’s existence means that Israel is routinely condemned at every regular month-long HRC session – three times a year – irrespective of what crises and conflicts may be occurring anywhere else in the world.

When the HRC in 2011 held a review of its first five years in operation, the Obama administration sought to have the Israel agenda item removed. Although the move was unsuccessful, the administration chose not to vote against the final review report that left the item intact.

The Rubio-Cotton legislation says that until the secretary of state can certify that the Israel-centric item has been removed from the HRC agenda, the U.S. will be neither able to fund, nor run for a seat on, the council.

Also in the crosshairs is UNRWA, which has been dogged over recent years by allegations about associations with Hamas, and staff members’ posting of anti-Semitic messages on social media.

Established after the 1948 war launched by Arab nations against the newly-declared state of Israel, UNRWA is the only U.N. agency to deal exclusively with one group of refugees. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees is responsible for refugees from all other parts of the world.

The U.S. has long been UNRWA’s largest bilateral donor, providing it with $380.5 million in 2015. Since 1950, American taxpayers have accounted for more $4 billion in contributions to UNRWA.

In their bill, Rubio and Cotton make future U.S. funding for UNRWA contingent on the secretary of state certifying that no UNRWA official, employee, consultant, contractor (etc.) is a member of Hamas or any other U.S.-designated terrorist group; or has “propagated, disseminated, or incited anti-Israel, or anti-Semitic rhetoric or propaganda.”

Further, the secretary must certify that no UNRWA school, hospital or other facility is being used by Hamas or affiliated terror groups for operations, training, recruitment or fundraising

It also calls for independent audits to ensure no UNRWA resources are being diverted to Hamas or other terror groups.

“This bill simply puts into law what should be common sense,” Cotton said Wednesday. “Americans’ tax dollars should not fund anti-Semitic activities or nefarious efforts to undermine the legitimacy of Israel.”

“For too long, the world's worst actors have used the United Nations as a forum to point an accusatory finger at Israel and deflect from their own failings,” Cotton added. “That will stop only when America leads, stands on principle, and uses its considerable leverage to force true reform at the United Nations.”

Rubio said it was time the U.N. was “held accountable for targeting and singling out Israel while countries that actually threaten international peace and security – like Russia and China – go unchallenged.”

Other pieces of legislation already introduced in Congress this month seek to prohibit either assessed or voluntary U.S. funding for the U.N. – or both – or to tie future such funding to specific actions by the world body or to funding reports by the administration.

One, introduced by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) last week, would cut off all U.S. funding to the U.N. until last month’s U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel is repealed.

Another bill, the American Sovereignty Restoration Act introduced by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), calls for an outright U.S. withdrawal from the U.N.

The Pew Research Center reported last fall that only 43 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of the U.N., compared to 80 percent of Democrats – the largest margin between the two measured by Pew in the 27 years it has polled the issue.

SOURCE






Obama was worse for freedom and peace than Bush was

On Tuesday, it was announced that President Obama would commute the sentence of Chelsea (nee Bradley) Manning, who was given 35 years in jail in 2013 for offences under the Espionage Act. Manning, then serving in the US army, delivered three quarters of a million classified documents to Wikileaks. WikiLeaks published them all online.

We should be happy for Manning; the sentence was extremely long. The power of the president to pardon citizens can be a humane one. And yet Manning’s commutation has a smell of hypocrisy to it. Commutations are usually applied to those who have spent a long time in prison and who are very unlikely to reoffend. Most of those granted commutations alongside Manning had been in prison since the 1990s, many on drugs charges. Manning has spent six years in custody, for a grave criminal offence, and has never expressed remorse. The commutation looks like a PR exercise, a cynical move to secure Obama’s place in the hearts of Western liberals who view Manning as a martyr to the cause of transparency.

The commutation seems especially cynical given Obama’s record on civil liberties. Upon taking office in 2009, he launched an unprecedented ‘war on whistleblowers’. In 2015 it was reported that he had brought prosecutions against nine people under the Espionage Act — more than double all previous presidents combined since that act was passed during the First World War. As one investigative reporter said, these prosecutions created a ‘chilling effect’ in officialdom.

Obama also shrouded his foreign policy in secrecy. He was the first president in history to carry out targeted killings of US citizens outside of warzones. And he did so using secret legal memos, which meant the legal basis for his decisions were never disclosed to the press or reviewed by a federal court. This was, as legal observers have pointed out, a ‘huge departure’ from US constitutional law. Through his targeted killing programmes, Obama dropped bombs in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and Libya; he spread Bush’s ‘war on terror’ to more parts of the globe.

He was also a champion of detaining terror suspects without charge. In 2009 he signed executive orders mandating the closure of Guantanamo Bay within 12 months. These orders weren’t worth the paper they were written on. The so-called closure of Guantanamo involved transferring remaining detainees to prisons in their home countries or to US military or civilian prisons, rather than finally subjecting them to proper trials. Also in 2009 he called for a ‘preventative detention’ law that would allow the president to imprison people who had not been charged with a crime. This became reality under the National Defence Authorisation Act of 2012, which Obama personally authorised. Section 1021 of that act affirmed the authority of the president ‘to detain any person, including a US citizen, without trial until the end of hostilities against international terrorist organisations’.

Obama is also heavily into deporting immigrants. Much has been said of Trump’s anti-immigrant language; far less is said about Obama’s industrial-scale deportations. The Department of Homeland Secretary deported 414,481 people in 2014. Each year of the Obama administration involved more deportations than under any preceding president. Staggeringly, Obama is on track to deport more people than all previous presidents put together. He championed the use of the Priority Enforcement Programme, which allowed local law enforcement to check the fingerprints of the people they arrest against a federal database related to immigration. This basically turned local police officers into immigration officers, and increased arrests around the Mexican border.

Obama took some of the worst illiberal excesses of the Bush administration and made them legal and ordinary. And he always hid behind a shield of secret bureaucracy. Like many others, I did not want to see Chelsea Manning rot in prison. But for Obama to use this case to try to rewrite his own record on justice and liberty is an outrage. That so many so-called progressives are lapping it up is an indictment of their levels of critical thinking. What’s more, this commutation looks like little more than a final middle finger to those millions of people who thought Manning should remain in jail.

SOURCE

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Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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Monday, January 23, 2017



Women’s March Organizer is a vicious Jew-hater with ties to Islamic Terror

Notorious Islamic Jew-hater Linda Sarsour is one of organizers of Saturday’s Women’s March. Ironic, of course, we have never seen Sarsour stand against the gender apartheid, honor violence, or the oppression and subjugation under Islamic law. No, what Sarsour agitates and incites against is the Jewish state and its people.

Born in 1980 in Brooklyn, New York, Linda Sarsour is a Palestinian-American community activist who has served as executive director of the Arab American Association of New York (AAANY) since 2005. She is also a board member of the Muslim Democratic Club of New York (MDCNY), and a member of the Justice League NYC.

An outspoken critic of Israel, Sarsour supports the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement, a Hamas-inspired initiative that uses various forms of public protest, economic pressure, and court rulings to advance the Hamas agenda of permanently destroying Israel as a Jewish nation-state.

Vis-a-vis the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict, Sarsour favors a one-state solution where an Arab majority and a Jewish minority would live together within the borders of a single country. She made clear her opposition to Israel’s existence as a Jewish state when she tweeted in October 2012 that “nothing is creepier than Zionism.”

Falsely maintaining that “Palestine existed before the State of Israel,” Sarsour seeks to help “bring back a Palestinian State for the Palestinian people.” To advance this agenda, Sarsour has tweeted images of fraudulent maps claiming to depict the “Palestinian loss of land” that supposedly occurred between 1946 and 2000.

As the head of AAANY, Sarsour has played a central role in pressuring the New York Police Department to terminate its secret surveillance of Muslim mosques and organizations suspected of promoting extremism or terrorism, and to curtail its use of “stop-and-frisk” anti-crime measures. In 2011 she worked in conjuction with Communities United for Police Reform, a coalition to advance the passage of the Community Safety Act (which expanded the definition of bias-based profiling and created an independent inspector general to review police policy in New York City). Sarsour also succeeded in pressuring City Hall to close New York’s public schools for the observance of the Islamic holidays Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

In May 2012 Sarsour tweeted that the so-called “underwear bomber,” an al-Qaeda operative who on Christmas Day 2009 had tried to blow up a Detroit-bound passenger jet with explosives hidden inside his underwear, was actually a CIA agent participating in America’s “war on Islam.”

In 2013 Sarsour campaigned for New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio. After de Blasio was elected, his office repeatedly featured Sarsour in press releases supporting the mayor’s positions on education and other matters. Moreover, his Mayor’s Fund pledged $500,000 to AAANY in 2016.

In a February 2015 appearance on Rachel Maddow‘s television program, Sarsour lamented that a nationwide epidemic of “Islamophobia” was responsible for “anti-sharia bills trying to ban us [Muslims] from practicing our faith,” “mosques being vandalized,” and Muslim “kids being executed” in the United States.

In August 2015 Sarsour spoke out in support of the incarcerated Palestinian Islamic Jihad member Muhammad Allan, a known recruiter of suicide bombers.

In October 2015, Sarsour posted on Twitter a photo of a young Palestinian boy clutching two stones as he stared down a group of Israeli soldiers, and labeled it “The definition of courage.” When numerous Twitter users, including Queens Councilman Rory Lancman, subsequently criticized Sarsour’s controversial post, she tweeted in response: “The Zionist trolls are out to play. Bring it. You will never silence me.”

On Melissa Harris-Perry‘s television program on December 12, 2015, Sarsour lamented the allegedly long list of “attacks on [Muslim] individuals and on mosques” that had been perpetrated by Americans who — by misperceiving all Muslims as potential terrorists — were themselves “engaging in terrorism against the innocent [Muslim] community that has nothing to do with [terrorism].”

Sarsour also scoffed at the notion of Muslim integration into American society: “We can’t change who we are. This is how we look [with Muslim attire]. We can’t integrate and assimilate…. We’re gonna look like this when we walk out into the streets of our cities when we’re traveling in this country.”

In 2015 as well, Sarsour co-founded MPOWER Change, “an online organization that enables [Muslims] to respond [to key events] in rapid, nationwide, coordinated ways as a community.”

According to CounterJihad.com, Sarsour “has attended numerous rallies sponsored by Al-Awda, promoted and solicited donations for their events, and … spoken at their rallies. Sarsour has also solicited donations for the Hamas-affiliated Palestine Children’s Relief Fund.

SOURCE






The fabulous wealth of the 'Oxfam 8'

by Jeff Jacoby

OXFAM GRABBED headlines on Monday with a report claiming that the world's eight richest men own as much wealth as the world's poorest 3.7 billion people — half of the planet's population.

The report was released in Davos, Switzerland, at the start of the World Economic Forum, an annual powwow of high-powered business and political leaders. The executive director of Oxfam International, Winnie Byanyima, seized the occasion to portray the gap between the world's superrich few and extremely poor many as a moral and social calamity.

"It is obscene for so much wealth to be held in the hands of so few when 1 in 10 people survive on less than $2 a day," she said. "Inequality is trapping hundreds of millions in poverty; it is fracturing our societies and undermining democracy." Oxfam's proposed solutions are the usual leftist nostrums: higher taxes, a "living wage" for employees, more government spending.

Headlines notwithstanding, Oxfam's "new" finding is the same-old, same-old it trots out every year. In 2014, Oxfam reported that the world's 85 richest people have as much wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest; in 2015, it shaved the number of multibillionaires to 80; in 2016, the number dropped again, to 62. Now Oxfam claims the world's poorest half is out-owned by just eight men.

To be sure, it's a striking statistic. It's also irrelevant.

The eight superbillionaires singled out by Oxfam are Microsoft founder Bill Gates, investor Warren Buffett, Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Spanish clothing magnate Amancio Ortega, Amazon creator Jeff Bezos, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, and Michael Bloomberg, the financial-services entrepreneur and former New York mayor.

Besides being unimaginably rich, the eight men have a few things in common that Oxfam doesn't dwell on.

To begin with, all eight men earned their extraordinary wealth. Through ingenuity, talent, and immense effort, they created enterprises that provide hundreds of millions, even billions, of human beings with goods and services that make life better, healthier, safer, and more affordable.

Moreover, the Oxfam Eight didn't grow their fortunes by preventing other people from growing theirs. Their wealth may equal that of half the people on Earth (though Oxfam's methodology is dubious), but the world's poor have been climbing out of poverty at the fastest rate in human history. Byanyima rightly bewails the fact that "1 in 10 people survive on less than $2 a day" — what she omits is that over the past 30 years, the number of people living in such extreme poverty has fallen by nearly 75 percent. Johan Norberg, writing in Spiked Review, provides hard numbers: Worldwide, an average of 138,000 people climb out of extreme poverty every day. Since 1990, the world's population has grown by more than 2 billion, yet the ranks of those in extreme poverty has shrunk by more than 1.25 billion.

It is, in Norberg's words, "the most important story of our time: Poverty as we know it is disappearing from our planet."

Just as capitalism made it possible for Gates, Zuckerberg, and the others to reach the highest rung on the economic ladder, it is making it possible for billions of men and women to climb up from the lowest rung. Oxfam's billionaires are richer than they used to be. So is almost everyone else.

The populist left is forever railing against wealth and those who earn it. Jeremy Corbyn, the British Labor Party chief, last week suggested the imposition of a maximum-wage law that would put a ceiling on the amount of money Britons can earn. But tearing down the rich has never yet succeeded in raising up the poor.

Of course, the super-wealthy ought to share their great fortunes. Not because wealth disparities are "obscene," as Oxfam says. And not because the economy is a zero-sum game, with the rich getting richer only as the poor get poorer. But as a matter of goodness and gratitude — the timeless moral principle that from those to whom much is given, much is required.

Oxfam's megabillionaires agree. They have all given vast amounts to charity, using their wealth to do good for enormous numbers of people in need, in danger, or in pain. Gates has donated more to charitable causes than anyone, ever. Buffett and Zuckerberg have pledged to give away more than half of their wealth to philanthropy, as have scores of other billionaires.

Wealth is good, and the more people who can create and earn it, the better. All decent people should worry about what the very poor lack. If you obsess instead about what the very rich have, you're doing it wrong.

SOURCE







One Step Too Far

One more day should not pass before the United States Congress votes to immediately halt all funding to the United Nations and end our membership in the U.N., largely comprised of our enemies, which falsely presents itself as an organization dedicated to worldwide freedom, liberty and "social justice" for all. Not only does the U.N. support terrorism, it is anti-American and anti-Israeli, and through U.N. schemes, like Agenda 2030 and "sustainable development", the U.N. promotes tyranny and the subversion of any mechanism for freedom, such as our U.S. Constitution, thus promoting the suppression of the unalienable rights of all mankind.

The U.N. claims that it seeks to create a peaceful world and protect human rights, and yet, many of the world's most troublesome and violent nations and human rights violators -- Russia, China, Indonesia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Cuba -- sit on the U.N. Human Rights Council. One should recall that the United States was removed from the U.N. Human Rights High Commission in 2001, in retaliation for the U.S.'s defense of Israel, an all-time high point for U.N. hostility towards the U.S.

U.S. taxpayers' money far too often is placed against American values and interests, whenever the United States gives it to the U.N. This occurs because the U.N. majority of votes is held by the undemocratic 57 member nations of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the 120-member Non-Aligned Movement, chaired by Iran from 2012 to 2015. And so, the U.N.'s World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva, heavily funded by the U.S., was able to pass dual-use nuclear technology to Iran and North Korea, without batting an eye.

Did this promote peace? And does arming and supplying Hamas terrorists promote peace?

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees has embedded itself with Hamas terrorists, who have formed close ties with the Islamic State over the past two years, and rocket arsenals have been found numerous times in UNRWA's U.S. funded schools. UNRWA-provided construction materials are used in Hamas tunnels, which are staging areas for terrorist attacks that kill innocent Israeli citizens; and, the Leftist Obama administration must tacitly approve of this Palestinian initiative, since it has sent $380 million annually to the UNRWA.

In 2011, did the Durban III Conference in New York and the U.N. legitimization of the Palestinian recognition initiative promote peace or an OIC agenda?

Shortly after Durban III, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton noted: "You just don't read about it, you just don't hear about t in the media. But the pervasiveness of the anti-Zionism and anti-Americanism is there as an undercurrent -- all the time."

And if the December 23rd, 2016 UN Resolution 2334 is not one step too far for the American people, just how far will we go with the U.N.'s madness? Not much further, I suspect, especially once one looks at the U.N. Resolution 16/18, the Small Arms Treaty and Agenda 2030.

With the treason gene dancing nimbly through her mind daily in December 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton colluded with the 57 Islamic nations of the OIC to abrogate the First Amendment. They met in New York City to formulate a strategy that would convince the U.S. Senate to ratify U.N. Resolution 16/18, which criminalizes any criticism of Islam, essentially criminalizing free speech and a bedrock of our U.S. Constitution and our American heritage.

The Small Arms Treaty, adopted in April 2013, is another anti-American U.N. initiative aimed at the Second Amendment. It prohibits exporting conventional weapons, including personal firearms, to nations with poor human rights records. Since U.N. officials regularly fabricate "human rights abuses" against the U.S., this "treaty" would be a strong nuisance, if applied against us. Registration of all firearm imports down to the final purchaser is also demanded, which would be used as the next step towards private firearms confiscation and heavily resisted in America.

The U.N. currently strives to implement Agenda 2030, with its expected $3 to $5 trillion annual price-tag, and its undisguised plan for global socialism and fascism [i.e. corporatism]. Goal Ten calls on U.N. members and every single person worldwide to "reduce inequality within and among countries", which can only be made possible, according to the U.N., "if wealth is shared and income inequality is addressed". Basically, this confiscates Western wealth, shrinks their economies through Big Government policies and "redistributes" [gives] their money to authoritarian/ totalitarian Third World regimes, rather than their impoverished victims, keeping the tyrants in power.

Agenda 2030's premise that the world's current rate of consumption is "unsustainable" is based on fallacies straight out of Malthusian philosophy. The West does not have to reduce their consumption of everything -- meat, cars, electrical appliances, convenience foods, air-conditioning, or expansive and modest housing -- as suggest by U.N. globalists, in order that poor countries can have more and the world can achieve a "sustainable" balance. All that is required is keeping the independent spirit of freedom alive that opens the creative and innovative minds of men, which has always led to a prosperous reality.

Agenda 2030 will be forced on all the citizens of nations willing to use government coercion. Nowhere does it protect individual rights and the unalienable rights granted to all men by our Creator. Its 'Universal Declaration of Human Rights' absolutely denies individuals parental control over their children and the right to self-defense.

Thankfully, U.N. treaties, including the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, signed by any U.S. President do not hold any enforceable weight of law, even through "customary international law", without the U.S. Senate's imprimatur and a two-thirds majority vote, contrary to assertions by globalists, American leftists and Obama's State Department. And even then, the U.S. Constitution cannot be superseded by international law.

Is it any wonder that former U.S. Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) introduced legislation every year he was in Congress to withdraw our membership in the U.N.?

All Americans, who wish to preserve freedom and liberty for their children's children and beyond, must eradicate the U.N.'s clear and present danger to the sovereignty and survival of the United States. We must fervently urge President Donald Trump and the 115th Congress to totally repeal the United Nations Participation Act of 1945 and expel the U.N. from the United States completely, releasing the $7.7 billion wasted on the U.N.'s validation of tyrants for better uses in America. And from this day 'til the end of time, let America stand only with those nations that are willing to bear any burden and fight the good fight against any foe to assure that future generations live in Freedom and Liberty.

SOURCE






Australia: Muslim Terror Attack in Melbourne

The malign influence of Islam again

Bill Muehlenberg

You will note that I used both the “M” word and the “T” word in my title – something that almost all of our authorities, leaders, politicians and police still refuse to do. As I said in my first piece on this horrible attack two days ago, there was plenty of evidence to suggest that Dimitrious Gargasoulas who drove his car into a crowd of people was a Muslim.

Before proceeding, let me point out the latest tragic news about this attack: we now have a fifth victim: a three-month-old baby. There may well be more deaths in the coming days due to this deliberate and atrocious attack on innocent men, women and children in a busy Melbourne shopping area. We need to keep the grieving families and loved ones in our prayers.

Since the initial attack on Friday afternoon there is even more evidence about who this guy is and what he believes. But from day one I and others were already compiling the growing list of indications of Islam at work. Those included:

-the allegation that he shouted “Allahu Akhbar” as he was wildly driving his car

-his burning of a Bible just before the attack

-his own claim on his own FB page where he said: “I am actually greek islamic Kurdish” [Kurds are Muslims]

-his rants on his FB pages about he and God dealing with the “dogs” – dogs of course are considered to be unclean in Islam, and the term is often used of the infidels

-his deliberate targeting of people with a vehicle, a by now quite common and bloody MO of IS

Yet for simply offering this data and asking relevant questions, I and others were attacked mercilessly. We were accused of being Islamophobic, of being fear-mongers, of stirring up trouble, of stereotyping people, etc, etc. And on top of this, the police had insisted almost immediately after the attack that this had nothing to do with terrorism.

In my first article I asked why this so often seems to be the case. All the evidence seems to indicate an act of terror, and an Islamic act of terror at that, yet the authorities insist from the very outset that this just cannot be the case. Why the desire to protect one political ideology, even though it puts so many people at risk?

And since my first report, we are now learning even more about the attacker. As one news report states:

Dimitrious Gargasoulas, 26, ranted about the Illuminati, called unbelievers ‘dogs’, and vowed to ‘have god’s laws re-instated’ in the weeks before the attack that killed four people. ‘I declare war on tyranny today, you dogs will have the option to either believe in me and his positive energy he offers and stay faithful to me or serve the one who enslaves you at his feet,’ he wrote on Facebook on Monday.

‘I offer freedom no work no bills just that we all keep faith and believe in the one god, the one higher being for the good and protect the energy that he gives with your heart. God bless everyone in the world it is about to change xoxo.’

He claimed to be ‘Greek Islamic Kurdish’ and a follower of Yazdanism, the native religion of the Kurds before the arrival of Islam, also know as the ‘cult of Angels’. ‘I know exactly how to take you DOGS down the power of knowing has revealed and I shall have GODS laws re-instated,’ he wrote last Saturday.

But one of the clearest pieces of evidence now comes from a close friend of his. The article continues:

A close friend said Gargasoulas’ rantings were driven by heavy use of the drug ice, and that he had recently converted to Islam. ‘He was a great guy but ice destroyed him. Then he converted to Muslim and changed very quickly. For over a month he’s been on edge,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

There you have it. Unless his close friend is a liar, or the media is just making this claim up out of thin air, we now have the smoking gun: he was a convert to Islam and this helped to push him over the edge. It is not the only factor of course, but as his close friend said, it was a significant factor indeed.

Undoubtedly we will learn even more about this guy in the upcoming days, and learn more about the Islam connection. In the meantime, I wonder if any of my critics will now relent and repent. For two days I have been attacked and hated on by all sorts of people for suggesting that the car terrorist may have been a Muslim.

Now we know that he was indeed a convert to Islam, and he had declared war on the infidels. So will any of my critics be apologising to me? Will they admit that they got things wrong in their zeal to defend Islam at all costs? I won’t be holding my breath on this.

Once again, let me make clear what I have been saying all along. Am I saying that Islam alone is the cause of this latest attack? No I am not. Am I saying his drug problems had nothing to do with this? No I am not. Yes we had known all along about his drug issues.

But it is not as if we should be forced to choose here, and insist that either he was drug-affected or Islam-affected. It is clear that he was greatly impacted by both. The truth is, ice makes everything worse. And the truth is, Islam makes everything worse.

They are both dangerous drugs. Neither should never be given a free run in the West, and both need to be closely examined, monitored and assessed for the harm that they may cause. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but almost all of the terror attacks around the world over the past few decades have been committed by Muslims.

Our leaders, politicians and security forces need to decide whose side they are on here. Is the defence and protection of innocent citizens their top priority, or is a politically correct and dangerous fixation on exonerating Islam at all costs their number one priority?

I think many ordinary Australians and Westerners already know the answer to that question.

SOURCE

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Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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Sunday, January 22, 2017



Children are a joy and a great delight -- but not so much for feminists

That a woman of no great physical strength will fight like a lion to protect her children tells you something about the bond that forms between normal parents and their children.  So much so that a lot of parents are embarrassed by it.  When asked about childrearing, a mother will often stress the negatives rather than confess the great happiness that children bring.  Children give the happiness that drug users seek but do not find.  Foolish people frantically seek pleasures in all sorts of places when the key to happiness is right under their noses: children.

But children are a burden, too, right?  They can be.  A single mother bringing up children by herself has to be unusually capable and resourceful to come through the experience well.  But single mothers are well outside what humans have evolved for. For almost as long as we have been human, a mother was surrounded by  helpful others:  a husband plus two sets of grandparents. 

A husband took away much of the need to work so doing things with the children could be a fairly relaxed affair.  And whenever a mother needed time out -- to work or unwind, there were as many as four grandparents to help out with the childminding.  Often the grandparents did more of the child-rearing than the mother did. As a child, my son spent more of the day with his Nanna than with any other family member. And I won't mention aunts, uncles, siblings and cousins.  To this day, they often help out too.

And the scenario I have described still actually exists in most of the world and is not uncommon even in "modern" societies.

But some "independent" people in their wisdom think they can do without all that.  Their values are quite simply unwise. And to them children can be a great stress and a burden.  They make out of their greatest happiness their greatest burden.  They find that "independence" is not all it is cracked up to be.  Independence and support are basically opposites.  Anybody reading this might do well to think for a little while about whether their various connections with others could be strengthened.

And one of the greatest sources of the independence folly are feminists.  Contrary to all human experience, they even preach that men and women don't need one-another.  So some women are misled into missing out on children altogether.  Biology being what is is, however, most feminists do seem in the end to have a child or two.  And that's where the "fun" starts.  The "sisterhood" turns out to be surprisingly unhelpful to the mother concerned.  They may even scorn the mother concerned and call her a "breeder", a term of great contempt for them.  Children are just not their bag.

If there is a man consistently in the mother's life, that can be a big help but may not be. A strong bond between a man and a feminist is inherently unlikely.  So when children arrive the man may run, or at least distance himself.  So a feminist mother will generally be stuck in the stressful single mother scenario.  Her only salvation from that will be that she has retained enough connections with her parents for them to help.  But she will still be more burdened that she would have been in a traditional relationship.

Traditional relationships are wise.  They will of course have some conflicts but they are what has evolved to fit us best.  They are traditional because they do fit what we are.  But these days a lot of mothers don't even have a husband so they haven't even got their foot on the first rung of the ladder.

Why are they so foolish?  Again, feminism is a big part of the blame.  Feminists fill women's heads with lies such as women can "have it all" and even deceive women about how desirable "all" is.  They fill women's heads with fantasies about how wonderful is this "career" that men have. 

They fail to mention that a man enters onto a career as simply the best way to make money, not to achieve honour and glory.  And they fail to mention that a career entails spending the best part of most of your day in the company of people you don't particularly like and whom you would not seek out.  Sometimes you may get good feelings out of your career but all you usually get for all the stresses you endure is money. And many men would gladly throw it all away if they could reasonably do so.

And to cap it all, a feminist mother may well bear a boy.  And there is nothing more destructive of feminists delusions than a normal little boy.  90% of the time he will be indestructibly boyish.  Given him a choice of a dolly and a toy truck and 90% or more of the time he will choose the truck. I have two favourite real life stories about that:

* A woman has three boys in close succession, and being a kindly soul, she gave her boys toys that they chose.  She had however heard feminist ravings so wondered if they would like a dolly.  So she gave them one.  They promptly ripped it legs off, pulled its eyes out and threw it in a corner.  They decisively educated her about male/female differences.  She herself had a doll from her childhood which she greatly treasured. In a traditional society men fought the battles and women minded the children.  And that is now genetically encoded.

* I was at a party where there was a 4-year-old boy. I was talking to him about his toys and said to him, "Boys have trucks and girls have dolls, don't they? He promptly nodded.  But a more "modern" man nearby then said to the boy, "But boys sometimes have dolls too, don't they?"  The boy's reply was eloquent.  He simply said "AAARGH!".

And if the feminist mother bans her boy from having toy guns, he will simply imagine one into existence using a stick or something else as a prop.  So her boy will almost certainly disabuse a feminist mother of claims that males and females are born with no basic differences.

It probably eventually  occurs to a woman who has been "woke" out of feminist fantasies that maybe a husband might be a good idea after all.  But finding one at that juncture will make what is always a difficult task very difficult indeed -- JR.






Some Women Are More Equal Than Others

The Women's March doesn't actually include all women.

On Saturday, gaggles of anti-Trump feminists will descend on Washington to protest The Donald’s presidency. The Women’s March on Washington claims to “stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”

How curious, then, that march organizers disqualified from sponsoring the event a feminist organization whose founder is on record calling Donald Trump “a greedy, narcissistic, misogynistic, adulterer; a corporate mogul (who brags about not being able to be bought, but conveniently leaves out that he’s usually the one buying); a Godless, brainless reality TV star.”

Why the rejection?

Turns out the organization in question — New Wave Feminists (NWF) — is pro-life, and we all know that’s an unforgiveable sin on the Left. So when rabid pro-abortionists got wind that NWF was listed among event sponsors, they did what ultra-Leftist women do best: throw a fit. As one woman hysterically tweeted, “Intersectional feminism does not include a pro-life agenda. That’s not how it works! [Insert pouty face and foot-stomping here.] The right to choose is a fundamental part of feminism.” Unless you choose to be pro-life, that is.

Apparently, solidarity applies only if you support dismembering live babies and selling their body parts for profit. And diversity can go no further than choosing between D&E or suction abortions.

Quickly backtracking from any semblance of open-mindedness, the Women’s March issued a statement apologizing for the “error” and confirming that unless you favor killing babies, your diverse feminism is simply not identical enough to Planned Parenthood’s to be welcome. No free thinkers allowed. After all, the march takes place the day before the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

Responding to the rejection, NWF founder Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa stated, “It appears that the [Women’s March on Washington] only wants to include a ‘diverse’ array of women who think exactly like them. That’s unfortunate, but we will not be deterred.” Despite being removed as a sponsor, the group will still march.

As will And Then There Were None (ATTWN), another pro-life group that received a similar rejection after first being approved as an event sponsor. You may recognize ATTWN founder Abby Johnson as the former Planned Parenthood director who left the abortion industry in 2009. Johnson shares on Facebook that after ATTWN applied to be an event partner, she received a phone call from a woman informing her that the application was rejected because all partners “must be supportive of women’s reproductive rights.” Johnson explains: “I told her that wasn’t a problem because we absolutely support reproductive rights, as long as they don’t infringe on the rights of individual human beings in the womb. I guess she didn’t like that, so she just repeated that we could not be a partner. … I finally asked, ‘So is this a pro-abortion March now?’ She hung up.”

Oddly, later that day ATTWN was approved and listed as an event sponsor — only to be disqualified once again later.

Of course, this hardly comes as a surprise. Groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL have hijacked the word “feminism” — and are even trying to hijack the word “women” — to advance their infant-dismemberment business. As The Federalist’s Joy Pullman notes, “[Feminist Susan B.] Anthony’s legacy has become largely a cover for people who profit from killing other humans and selling their dissected body parts for profit. So much for human rights. … [T]he decline in women identifying themselves as feminists has directly coincided with leading feminists' defenestration of pro-life women to obsess almost exclusively over abortion. Making abortion the core of the women’s rights movement isn’t helping.”

Indeed, nearly 40% of women believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, according to the Pew Research Center. With 40% of women unwelcome, Saturday’s event can hardly be called a “Women’s March.”

Turns out that to abortion-fixated females, equality looks good on paper. But when it comes to reality, they believe some women are more equal than others.

SOURCE







Episcopalian hatred of Donald Trump

For years, the Washington National Cathedral, an Episcopal parish with a dual role as a civic gathering place, has hosted a prayer service for the newly sworn-in president. But keeping the tradition this year has caused an uproar among Episcopalians opposed to President-elect Donald Trump.

It’s the latest example of the backlash against religious leaders, artists, celebrities and other participants in events surrounding the inaugural.

The cathedral for the largely liberal denomination will host an interfaith prayer service on Saturday, the day after Trump takes office.

Bishop Mariann Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington wrote in a blog post that while she shared “a sense of outrage at some of the president-elect’s words and actions,” she felt an obligation to welcome all people without qualification, especially those who disagree and need to find a way to work together.

That role “requires a willingness to put ourselves in places that make us uncomfortable,” Budde wrote.

Episcopalians critical of the decision were also upset to learn that the cathedral choir, drawn in part from local Episcopal schools, would sing at the inauguration before the ceremony started, and that the interfaith service the next day would not include a sermon. They saw a missed opportunity to speak out against Trump’s proposed temporary ban on Muslim immigrants and other policies, his calling Mexicans rapists and his remarks about grabbing women’s genitals.

Organizers for past services have said the presidential inaugural committees have chosen the preacher, and Trump chose not to have one this year.

Budde said most Episcopalians who have contacted her about the service “are dismayed, disappointed and angry.”

The Very Rev. Randolph Hollerith, the cathedral dean, defended the decision to participate in the ceremonies. “Our willingness to pray and sing with everyone today does not mean we won’t join with others in protest tomorrow,” he said in a statement.

The emotional dispute within the church mirrors the broader fight about the morality of taking part in inaugural events this year, which has stretched across the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, a Bruce Springsteen cover band, the Radio City Rockettes and the marching band of historically black Talladega College in Alabama. Groups participating in inauguration events have said they viewed their role in part as serving the country and supporting democracy, not giving an endorsement.

Broadway star Jennifer Holliday, who backed out as a performer following protests from her gay and black fans, said she was pained by the reaction.  “How could I have this much hate spewing at me, and I haven’t even done anything? I guess it’s not like those old days when political views were your own and you had freedom of speech,” she said. “We live in a different time now and a decision to go and do something for America is not so clear-cut anymore.”

Some clergy invited to offer prayers at Friday’s swearing-in have also faced criticism. New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who will read from Scripture at the inaugural, said he told critics he had a “sacred responsibility” to participate.

“Had Mrs. Clinton won and invited me I would have gone, too. It’s not the person. It’s the office, right?” Dolan said on Sirius XM’s Catholic Channel last week.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, who will offer a prayer near the end of Friday’s program, said, “I believe that all of us should pray for his great success, because his great success means our great success.”

But critics contend Trump will be a president unlike any other, because of his policies and vulgarity, so traditions surrounding his inauguration should not hold. The Rev. Gary Hall, who retired in 2015 as dean of the National Cathedral, noted that the church was envisioned as a Westminster Abbey for the U.S. It has long been the site of national events, hosting inaugural interfaith prayer services, presidential funerals and national prayers of mourning, including a ceremony with evangelist Billy Graham three days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

But Trump’s “xenophobia and misogyny,” among other behavior and proposed policies, have been “outside the bounds of all mainstream norms” and the church should not appear to bless him, Hall wrote.  “We cannot use the words, symbols, and images of our faith to provide a religious gloss to an autocrat,” Hall wrote.

The head of the Episcopal Church, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, responded to the controversy over the cathedral with a statement urging all to pray for Trump and all civic leaders. “Prayer is not a simplistic cheer or declaration of support,” he wrote, but can also “ask God to intervene and change the course of history, to change someone’s mind or his or her heart.”

SOURCE






We need freedom, not human rights

There's nothing to fear from repealing Britain's Human Rights Act

Between Christmas and New Year, the prime minister, Theresa May, announced that the Tories would fight the 2020 General Election on a pledge to repeal the Human Rights Act (HRA). She said she hoped to ‘lift and shift’ the rights bestowed by the European Convention on Human Rights, giving the Supreme Court the final say on how these rights are applied.

This isn’t the first time the Tories have made this pledge. In fact, it’s starting to feel like they would be unable to fight an election if they actually succeeded in repealing the HRA. The Tory Party first promised to repeal it in 2005, then again in 2010. This was later supplemented with a promise to replace it with a British Bill of Rights. In 2015, the Tories promised to repeal and replace the act within 100 days of winning a majority. Over a year later, nothing has happened.

At the time, almost everyone thought the 2015 pledge was laughable. Repealing the HRA raised constitutional questions that would be hard to resolve in six months, let alone 100 days. May’s critics were right to say that the Supreme Court does, in reality, have the final say over how these rights are applied. The act only obliges the court to take European decisions into account, rather than binding the court’s own decision. Nonetheless, following the Tory victory at the 2015 General Election, Michael Gove was appointed justice secretary with a mandate to repeal it. But after a disastrous appearance at a select committee in 2016, he appeared to put his plans off until later in the year.

Then came the Brexit vote. Gove was sent to the backbenches and replaced by a new justice secretary, Liz Truss. Few people thought Truss was up to the challenge of repealing the HRA, and, after another disastrous select committee appearance later in 2016, it appeared that the repeal plans would be put off yet again.

But while the Tories’ political cowardice is laughable, the reaction from the left has been bizarre. Many left-wing commentators seem to think that the HRA is the only thing standing between us and despotism. Martha Spurrier, director of human-rights campaign group Liberty, says defending the HRA is the ‘struggle of our generation’. Liberty’s website claims that repealing it would ‘weaken everyone’s rights – leaving politicians to decide when our fundamental freedoms should apply’. One commentator suggested that repealing it would leave UK citizens ‘deprived of rights or the means to enforce them before the courts’. Another said that it would mean the UK state could ‘pick and choose which rights it granted, much like Russia’. One piece even suggested that leaving the remit of the European Convention on Human Rights would lessen our influence over countries like Russia and Turkey. These critics truly believe that repealing the HRA would propel us into an age of despotism and international chaos.

This panic is misplaced. It is foolish to rely on the law to defend freedom, and the HRA has proved this. Since it passed in 1998, we have seen people prosecuted for simply saying what they believe, for using insulting words, and for glorifying organisations that the government thinks are dangerous. Just before the New Year, it became illegal to ‘invite support’ for the insignificant far-right group National Action, after it became a proscribed organisation under the Terrorism Act. Football fans in Scotland have been prosecuted for singing so-called sectarian songs. The UK prosecutes thousands of people every year under harassment legislation that criminalises causing ‘alarm and distress’ through speech. The HRA has done nothing to stop these attacks on free expression.

The HRA has also been ineffective at protecting other important rights. The Tory government’s Investigatory Powers Act, nicknamed the ‘snooper’s charter’, passed without any intervention from human-rights law, even though it bestows significant new powers on the government to access our personal data. So much for the HRA protecting privacy. And what about our immigration detention centres? Since 1971, UK immigration laws have allowed people to be detained indefinitely while the state makes a decision about their immigration status.

Perhaps the most cringeworthy contribution to the human-rights debate in recent days has come from Lord Falconer. Falconer was central to the New Labour government that introduced the act. In a piece for the Guardian, Falconer said that in politically uncertain times, it was vital to maintain our commitment to human rights as a part of the ‘fabric’ of British politics. This is the same Lord Falconer who, with New Labour, oversaw a sweeping erosion of key civil liberties. In 2001, New Labour introduced emergency powers to allow for indefinite detention, without charge, for terror suspects. New Labour went on to introduce the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which granted the most sweeping surveillance powers to public bodies we have ever seen. It also repealed the double-jeopardy protection, which meant no person could be tried for the same crime twice. Human-rights advocates, take note: if you’re on the same side as Falconer, you’re probably doing something very wrong.

The HRA has shown us that no law can be relied upon to protect our freedom. If we believe in democracy, we have to recognise that freedom must be defended in the democratic arena. The kind of freedom we should strive for cannot be handed down from on high by a judge in the High Court or the European Court of Human Rights. It has to be won through the democratic process. The left’s panic at the prospect of repealing the HRA shows that it is no longer comfortable taking a fight for greater freedom to the public. But even proponents of the HRA must accept it offers a degraded model of human freedom, one closely managed by unelected and unaccountable members of the judiciary.

For true liberals, repealing the Human Rights Act is not an existential threat – it is an opportunity to fight for our most fundamental freedoms. I say, bring it on.

SOURCE

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Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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Friday, January 20, 2017



Who decides what is fake news?

The German clampdown on ‘misinformation’ is a threat to free speech

By Sabine Beppler-Spahl

Fake news has become big news in Germany. Facebook in particular is being accused of facilitating the spread of hoaxes and misinformation. According to government officials and media commentators, this fake news could influence Germany’s elections later this year.

A Breitbart article claiming that a mob of Muslim immigrants burned down a church in the city of Dortmund is held up as an example of fake news. ‘Fake news: how Breitbart manipulates facts and lets a mob riot’, said one headline. ‘Politicians are alarmed’, the report continues, pointing out that the head of the electoral body Bundeswahlleiter, which oversees elections in Germany, thinks fake news could impact how people vote.

Concern about fake news really gained momentum following the US presidential elections. In December, Thomas Oppermann of Germany’s Social Democratic Party suggested Facebook should face fines of up to €500,000 for posts containing fake news or hate speech that aren’t removed within 24 hours. German justice minister Heiko Maas has called for tougher EU regulations: social-media owners should be held criminally liable for failing to remove hate speech, he says. Der Spiegel says officials have discussed opening a Defence Centre Against Disinformation.

But what, exactly, would be banned? What would Facebook and other sites be forced to take down? What is fake news? It is striking that in almost all German reports on this issue, the English term ‘fake news’ is used, as if this were a new phenomenon, thus requiring a new phrase. In the past, when a German newspaper or magazine published false information, the German words Falschmeldung or Zeitungsente would have been used. One of the most famous cases of Falschmeldung was the publication of the fake Hitler’s diaries in 1982. There have been countless others, including TV broadcaster ARD, who had to apologise for a series of incorrect reports about the conflict in Ukraine. Germany’s adoption of the English term feeds a sense of alarm; it implies that Germany is under threat from a novel phenomenon, and one that largely comes from without, with Mark Zuckerberg, Putin and Trump held up as instigators.

It is precisely because of its malleability that ‘fake news’ is a dangerous concept. If a Defence Centre Against Disinformation were only to concern itself with plain and imminently dangerous lies – like the one that spread after the Berlin terror attack in December, when a WhatsApp message warned of an imminent new attack on a shopping centre in Neukölln – then it wouldn’t actually be needed. For it is already an offence in Germany to spread such immediately threatening misinformation.

But there is more to ‘fake news’ than just lies. What is now discussed as ‘fake news’ is not simply completely made-up things, which should enjoy freedom too, though of course they must be challenged; news that comes in a certain style or with a certain opinion, one that the elites do not like, now also runs the risk of being branded ‘fake news’.

Consider the Breitbart report on the burning of the church in Dortmund on New Year’s Eve. It was sloppy, prejudiced, and in parts wrong, but it wasn’t really a lie. It was based on a report in Ruhr Nachrichten, a local paper in Dortmund, which it exaggerated in a tendentious way. Breitbart claimed that a mob of a 1,000 men, chanting ‘Allahu Akbar’ had set the roof of Germany’s oldest church on fire. The original German report said groups of mainly foreign young men had roamed the streets of the city before joining another group in a local square; there were at least 1,000 people. From within this group, some fireworks were thrown at the police. On a different street, probably as a result of fireworks, a fire started on the netting on the scaffolding surrounding the church. Firefighters put it out.

The main problem is that Breitbart misled readers into thinking that the situation in Dortmund was out of control because immigrants were running amok. In fact, the night had been like most New Year nights in Germany, as the police later pointed out. Young men roaming the streets and setting of fireworks is a normal part of Germany’s New Year celebrations.

Breitbart is known for being provocative and insincere. But to clamp down on its stories in the name of protecting the German public from fake news would be chilling. Those calling on the state to tackle misinformation seem to believe there are some people — in the political and media class — who have that rare insight into what is true, and what is false. And who therefore know what the German public should and should not be allowed to read.

Is the political class really all-knowing? Ironically, Thomas de Maiziere, our interior minister and one of the main proponents of a war on misinformation, has himself been accused of spreading fake news. An internet platform called Hoaxmap, which aims to expose fake news, has included some of de Maiziere’s postings and comments in its lists. In one, he said 30 per cent of those claiming to be Syrian refugees were not really Syrians; in another he accused German doctors of undermining deportations by frivolously handing out sick notes to migrants. As Hoaxmap says, these claims have not been substantiated.

It isn’t only politicians who are worried about ‘fake news’; the media are, too. In a piece titled ‘The Power of Truth’, in Berliner Zeitung, Brigitte Fehrle wrote about how much she is fearing this year — ‘because of the poisonous mood… because we know the extent to which social media now dominate the public’.

In an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, titled ‘Yes, Mark, Facebook does bear responsibility for Donald Trump’s victory’, the editors of Wired Germany demand that Facebook add warnings to unserious news reports. Is it any wonder politicians feel they have the right to censor ‘fake news’, or just exaggerated stories, when the media are effectively calling on them to do so?

There are some critical voices. The German Journalists’ Association says talk of a government campaign against misinformation is ‘gibberish’. But for the most part the media are going along with, and stirring up, the fake-news panic.

Traditional news outlets have been under great pressure from social media in recent years. They have lost readers, listeners and viewers to internet platforms. They have also found themselves being criticised more. Many media people were shocked when supporters of the right-wing movement Pegida started ranting against ‘the press’, sometimes using the term Lügenpresse (‘the lying press’). They were accusing the established media of telling lies before the term ‘fake news’ was coined.

The traditional media’s attacks on social media can be seen as a fightback against these trends, an attempt to say: ‘We are still the serious media, and you are unserious.’

The warnings against fake news also reveal the establishment’s fear that things are spinning out of control. They especially fear losing their grip on the public’s imagination — this is what Fehrle meant when she wrote of social media’s new hold over the public. The most striking expression of this fear came with last year’s spate of sexual assaults by Muslim men on women in Cologne, when the authorities went out of their way to cover up the attacks. The paternalistic sentiment behind this cover-up — to withhold certain information or ideas from the public — is still strong. So in response to the Breitbart report on the burning of the church, one politician said: ‘The danger is that these stories spread with incredible speed and take on lives of their own.’

This is another way of saying that these reports will stir up dangerous public passions, so the authorities must keep a check on the flow of information.

Ironically, it is this deep distrust in the public’s powers of judgement that has led to ‘fake news’, or simply alternative news, becoming so popular: people are turning away from established narratives. There will always be liars and attention-seekers. We should challenge them, of course, in the public sphere, not with fines and bans. Even more importantly, we must challenge all attempts at censorship.

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A generation of offended snowflakes

While most secular lefties today would want nothing to do with such (in their view) outdated notions as the Ten Commandments, they in fact still cling to a few moral absolutes which they insist must remain inviolate. One of them especially stands out like a sore thumb: "Thou shalt not offend anyone".

This is the one commandment these folks demand above all else. They think they have some sort of universal and absolute right never to be offended, and woe to those who dare to offend. These folks insist that they must be protected from any form of offence, and want swift punishment on anyone who is deemed to be offensive.

This of course is all part of rampant political correctness and the war on truth. The only thing that matters for these delicate little petals is that their feelings are not hurt. But the trouble is, they take offence at anything and everything. It is a Brave New World of thought crimes, hate speech, and thought police.

Everyone must be super careful about what they think or say, lest the Offence Police go after them. It is getting to the point where we dare not say anything about anything, for fear of upsetting and offending someone. No wonder so many folks never open their mouths any more – they fear the consequences for merely expressing a point of view.

Free speech and free thought is now verboten in our Big Brother world of "acceptable" thought and speech. Dare to resist the official PC orthodoxy and you will be punished. Examples of this are now legion, and I have featured plenty of them on my site. Consider two more recent cases of this insanity in action – once again found on our college campuses.

The first story, from the UK, is a real shocker, with the headline alone enough to make you question the mental state of those in charge there: "Bible students are warned...you may find the crucifixion too upsetting!" Here is how this story begins:

Theology students are being warned in advance that they may see distressing images while studying the crucifixion of Jesus, giving them a chance to leave if they fear being upset. It is part of a trend at a number of universities for 'trigger warnings' issued by tutors to let students know about course content that might prove disturbing. Advocates say it helps to protect the mental health of vulnerable students.

But critics say it is creating a generation of 'snowflake' students unable to cope with the harsh realities of the world.

The University of Glasgow, part of the elite Russell Group, confirmed that trigger warnings are issued to theology students studying 'Creation to Apocalypse: Introduction to the Bible (Level 1)'. According to university documents, a lecture on Jesus and cinema sometimes 'contains graphic scenes of the crucifixion, and this is flagged up to students beforehand'….

Students are told 'you can, of course, leave a class at any time should you need to, but please check in… later that day to let us know how you are'.

The article offers other examples at the university where trigger warnings are provided. Thankfully not everyone was impressed with all this. Liz Smith, a Scottish Tory education spokesman put it this way: "Universities are meant to be a place of learning where concepts are challenged and tricky subjects debated. That will become increasingly difficult if they go too far out their way to ensure everything survives the politically correct test. Some of the examples set out here are patently ridiculous."

They certainly are. But it seems Western universities are now specialising in such ridiculous and moronic PC foolishness. Consider another UK school where the stranglehold of political correctness is destroying higher education and turning students into perpetually offended cry-babies:

They are titans of philosophy, without whose work an understanding of the subject is all but inconceivable. But now students at a University of London college are demanding that such seminal figures as Plato, Descartes, Immanuel Kant and Bertrand Russell should be largely dropped from the curriculum simply because they are white.

These may be the names that underpin civilisation, yet the student union at the world-renowned School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) is insisting that when studying philosophy 'the majority of philosophers on our courses' should be from Africa and Asia. The students say it is in order to 'decolonise' the 'white institution' that is their college.

Good grief. Um, isn't that a form of racism? Oh yeah, I forgot: only whites are guilty of racism it seems. Thankfully there were a few level-headed voices to be heard in protest. British philosopher Roger Scruton for example said this:

This suggests ignorance and a determination not to overcome that ignorance. You can't rule out a whole area of intellectual endeavour without having investigated it and clearly they haven't investigated what they mean by white philosophy. If they think there is a colonial context from which Kant's Critique of Pure Reason arose, I would like to hear it.

And Sir Anthony Seldon, the vice-chancellor of Buckingham University said this: "There is a real danger political correctness is getting out of control. We need to understand the world as it was and not to rewrite history as some might like it to have been."

The university used to be a place of learning, of gaining knowledge, of being exposed to differing ideas and perspectives, but today it is largely about enforcing a radical secular left agenda and forcing students into a diabolical groupthink, with no deviation allowed from the accepted ideology.

As Thomas Sowell once put it, "Education is not merely neglected in many of our schools today, but is replaced to a great extent by ideological indoctrination." Or as Scruton put it elsewhere: "Tenured professors enjoy all the privileges of the academy in return for relentless debunking of the civilization that made this possible."

In a 2000 essay on "The origins of political correctness" William S. Lind said this: "The totalitarian nature of Political Correctness is revealed nowhere more clearly than on college campuses, many of which at this point are small ivy-covered North Koreas..."

All this spells not only the death of higher education, but the death of the West. As Malcolm Muggeridge put it, "Whereas other civilisations have been brought down by attacks of barbarians from without, ours had the unique distinction of training its own destroyers at its own educational institutions, and then providing them with facilities for propagating their destructive ideology far and wide, all at the public expense."

It is getting to the place where concerned parents who want their children to be able to think and reason, and not emote and always feel offended, had best keep them out of most Western universities. Scary times indeed.

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Sweden's leading shopping mall is deemed a no-go zone, with police blaming gangs of unaccompanied minors who have arrived in the country for spate of attacks

Sweden's leading shopping mall has been deemed a no-go zone amid a spike in violence police say has been caused by unaccompanied migrants.

Police are on high alert patrolling the Nordstan mall in Gothenburg after a spate of incidents involving staff and shoppers being threatened by gangs.

In some cases, the number of youngsters outnumber the police and the rise in the sinister behaviour has seen the sales take a hit.

Many shoppers are now afraid to even visit the complex, according to RT, and even officers are being threatened by the gangs.

'We have seen an increase since last autumn, with mostly unaccompanied minors who are staying here in Nordstan,' one of the police managers, Jonas Bergqvist, told Expressen.

'In the evening they deal drugs and violence between fractions sometimes occurs.

'If there are conflicts from their home countries, they bring them here.'

The trouble appears to start at around 8pm - the time shops shut for the day - when groups of up to 150 teens descend upon the mall. 

Police say the rise coincides with the increased number of unaccompanied migrants entering the country.

A number of those involved are said to be youths from Syria, Afghanistan and Morocco, according to RT.

Among the alarming incidents include a youngster and a shopkeeper who were robbed with a broken class held to their throats.

Added to the chaos is the fact that police are finding it increasingly difficult to charge the offenders due to the lack of identification, meaning the teenagers are merely handed over to social services.

Officer Rikard Sorensen told RT: 'I've had people in front of me that look like they are 35, but who claim to be 15.

'I can't prove they're lying so we have to release them,' Rikard Sorensen, another officer.'

The troubles have seen the mall labeled a no-go zone, according to Expressen. 

An area is listed as such if there have been dangerous cases of muggings, robberies, harassment, and sexual assault.

SOURCE






Strange case in Scotland

Landmark civil rape case ‘will help more women find justice’.  The burden of proof in civil cases is lower

A landmark court ruling that two footballers are rapists, despite their never having faced a criminal trial, will open the way for other women to gain justice, a senior lawyer has said.

Denise Clair, 30, waived her right to anonymity to sue David Goodwillie and David Robertson in the first civil case of its kind in Scotland.

Ms Clair, a mother of one, took the unprecedented step after the Crown Office declined to prosecute the pair, claiming there was insufficient evidence. She was vindicated after a judge at the Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled on Tuesday that they were rapists and awarded her £100,000.

However, Goodwillie yesterday insisted he was innocent and said that he was considering an appeal.

SOURCE






Julie Bishop distances Australia from global statement on Israel-Palestine peace

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has distanced the Turnbull government from a communique agreed by ministers and diplomats of 70 nations, including Australia, concerning the pathways to peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

The concluding statement called on both sides to "take urgent steps in order to reverse the current negative trends on the ground", including acts of violence and the construction of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories.

The communique specifically welcomed resolution 2334, passed by the UN Security Council last month, which declared the settlements violated international law and called on Israel to immediately cease all settlement activity.

Following the conference, Ms Bishop distanced the Australian government from the contents of the concluding statement, insisting the government did not necessarily agree with everything its diplomats had agreed to in Paris.

"Australia was represented at the conference by diplomatic officials from the Australian embassy in Paris," Ms Bishop told Fairfax Media.

"While the Australian government was represented at the Paris conference this does not mean we agree with every element of the final statement."

Without specifically mentioning the conference's endorsement of resolution 2334, Ms Bishop noted the Coalition did not support "one-sided resolutions targeting Israel".

"The most important priority must be a resumption of direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians for a two-state solution as soon as possible," she said.

Australia became one of the few countries other than Israel to condemn the New Zealand-sponsored resolution 2334, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull labelling it "one-sided" and "deeply unsettling".

Crucially, the resolution was allowed to pass because the US - Israel's foremost ally on the security council - did not use its veto power and instead chose to abstain.

Sunday's meeting in Paris did not involve Israel or the Palestinians and was dismissed in advance by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as "futile" and "rigged".

Chairman of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the communique and said the endorsement of resolution 2334 was among a number of "positive elements" in the text, Israeli media reported.

But Britain, attending the conference as an observer, also expressed reservations about the final agreement, arguing it was a time to "encourage conditions for peace" rather than entrench hardened positions.

"We have particular reservations about an international conference intended to advance peace between the parties that does not involve them," the British Foreign Office said in a statement.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault used the summit to warn Mr Trump against his proposal to relocate the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, calling it a provocative and unilateral move.

Ms Bishop would not comment on Mr Trump's pronouncement but reiterated the Australian government had no plans to move its own embassy in Israel, despite the call from former prime minister Tony Abbott.

SOURCE

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Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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