The reason for the move to academies is purely political, just as setting up the old comprehensive system was political. The existing system was set up to empower Labour Party ideology. The new proposals are put forward to benefit Conservative Party ideology. Politicians always want to shape the minds of the next generation because doing so gives them the power to control the future agenda.
The Labour Party have effectively controlled education for decades and have dumbed it down by subjecting it to tis own unrigorous world view. This worldview is based on an idealism that often ignores and sometimes actively resists reality
There are 4 Americans in prison in Iran for which there have been countless calls and efforts for their release. Major Garrett of CBS asked Barack Obama during a press conference if he was content with leaving those Americans behind to which Obama responded by shaming Garrett for even asking the question.
It should also be noted that the Palestinian Authority demanded that thousands of terrorists in prison in Israel be released for a scheduled round of peace talks between Israel and the PA. Barack Obama forced Israel to comply for face financial extortion. Israel complied where later many of those terrorists were re-arrested in Qatar. The betrayal continues. The secrets were effective.
Mojtaba Atarodi, arrested in California for attempting to acquire equipment for Iran’s military-nuclear programs, was released in April as part of back channel talks, Times of Israel told. The contacts, mediated in Oman for years by close colleague of the Sultan, have seen a series of US-Iran prisoner releases, and there may be more to come
The secret back channel of negotiations between Iran and the United States, which led to this month’s interim deal in Geneva on Iran’s rogue nuclear program, has also seen a series of prisoner releases by both sides, which have played a central role in bridging the distance between the two nations, the Times of Israel has been told.
In the most dramatic of those releases, the US in April released a top Iranian scientist, Mojtaba Atarodi, who had been arrested in 2011 for attempting to acquire equipment that could be used for Iran’s military-nuclear programs.
American and Iranian officials have been meeting secretly in Oman on and off for years, according to a respected Israeli intelligence analyst, Ronen Solomon. And in the past three years as a consequence of those talks, Iran released three American prisoners, all via Oman, and the US responded in kind. Then, most critically, in April, when the back channel was reactivated in advance of the Geneva P5+1 meetings, the US released a fourth Iranian prisoner, high-ranking Iranian scientist Atarodi, who was arrested in California on charges that remain sealed but relate to his attempt to acquire what are known as dual-use technologies, or equipment that could be used for Iran’s military-nuclear programs. Iran has not reciprocated for that latest release.
Solomon, an independent intelligence analyst (who in 2009 revealed the crucial role played by German Federal Intelligence Service officer Gerhard Conrad in the negotiations that led to the 2011 Gilad Shalit Israel-Hamas prisoner deal), has been following the US-Iran meetings in Oman for years. Detailing what he termed the “unwritten prisoner exchange deals” agreed over the years in Oman by the US and Iran, Solomon told The Times of Israel that “It’s clear what the Iranians got” with the release of top scientist Atarodi in April. “What’s unclear is what the US got.”
The history of these deals, though, he said, would suggest that in the coming months Iran will release at least one of three US citizens who are currently believed to be in Iranian custody. One of these three is former FBI agent Robert Levinson.
Solomon told The Times of Israel that the interlocutor in the Oman talks is a man named Salem Ben Nasser al Ismaily, who is the executive president of the Omani Center for Investment Promotion and Export Development and a close confidant of the Omani leader Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
The latter tells the fictional tale of John Wilkinson, a successful American businessman who fails in all of his business endeavors in the Gulf until he meets Sultan, who explains to him, according to the book’s promotional literature, how to forgo his hard-charging Western style and “surrender to very different values rooted in ancient tribal customs and traditions.” Those mores have been central to the murky prisoner swaps surrounding the nuclear negotiations, Solomon said.
Solomon said he identified Ismaily’s role back in September 2010, when Sarah Shourd, an American who apparently inadvertently crossed into Iran while hiking near the Iraqi border, was released, for what were called humanitarian reasons. She was delivered into Ismaily’s hands in Oman and from there was flown to the US — the first release in the series of deals brokered in Oman. One year later, in September 2011, her fiancé and fellow hiker, Shane Bauer, was set free along with their friend, Josh Fattal. The two men were also received at Muscat’s Seeb military airport by Ismaily before being flown back to the US.
The US began reciprocating in August 2012, Solomon said. It freed Shahrzad Mir Gholikhan, an Iranian convicted on three counts of weapons trafficking. Next Nosratollah Tajik, a former Iranian ambassador to Jordan — who, like Gholikhan, had been initially apprehended abroad trying to buy night-vision goggles from US agents — was freed after the US opted not to follow up an extradition request it had submitted to the British. Then, in January 2013, Amir Hossein Seirafi was released, also via Oman, having been arrested in Frankfurt and convicted in the US of trying to buy specialized vacuum pumps that could be used in the Iranian nuclear program.
Finally, in April, came the release of Mojtaba Atarodi.
The facts of his case are still shrouded. On December 7, 2011, Atarodi, a faculty member at the prestigious Sharif University of Technology (SUT) in Tehran — a US-educated electrical engineer with a heart condition, a green card and a brother living in the US — arrived at LAX and was arrested by US federal officials.
He appeared twice in US federal court in San Francisco and was incarcerated at a federal facility in Dublin, California and then kept under house arrest. The US government cloaked the contents of his indictment and released no statement upon his release. His lawyer, Matthew David Kohn, told The Times of Israel he would like to discuss the case further but that first he had to “make some inquiries” to see what he was allowed to reveal.
In January, shortly after Atarodi’s arrest, his colleagues wrote a letter to the journal Nature, protesting his detention. “We believe holding a distinguished 55-year-old professor in custody is a historical mistake and not commensurate with the image that America strives to extend throughout the world as a bastion of free scientific exchange among schools and academic institutions,” they said.
Solomon, who compiled a profile of Atarodi, believes that the scientist, prior to his arrest, played an important role in Iran’s missile and nuclear programs. Atarodi, he said, has co-authored more than 30 technical articles, mostly related to micro-electric engineering and, in 2011, won the Khwarizmi award for the design of a microchip receiver for digital photos. “That same technology,” he said, “can be used for missile guidance and the analysis of nuclear tests.”
Solomon further noted that the then-Iranian defense minister and former commander of the revolutionary guards, Ahmad Vahidi, attended the prize ceremony and that Professor Massoud Ali-Mahmoudi, an Iranian physics professor who was assassinated in 2010, was an earlier recipient of the prize.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Atarodi came to the US at the behest of the logistics wing of the IRGC [the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps],” Solomon said.
On April 26 Atarodi was flown from the US to Seeb military airbase in Oman, where he met with Ismaily, and onward to Iran. “The release of someone who holds that sort of information and has advanced strategic projects in Iran is a prize,” Solomon said. The US, said Solomon, must have already received something in return or will do so in the future.
Thus far, US-Iran prisoner swaps have been conducted in a manner utterly distinct from the old Cold War rituals, in which, as was the case with Prisoner of Zion Natan Sharansky, spies or prisoners from either side of the Iron Curtain walked across Berlin’s old Glienicke Bridge toward their respective home countries. Instead, with Iran claiming it knows nothing about the whereabouts of former FBI agent Levinson, for instance, and the US eager to show that it will not barter with hostage-takers, the deals have taken the form of a delayed quid pro quo.
There are currently three US nationals — Levinson, Saeed Abedini, and Amir Hekmati — still believed to be held in Iran.
US President Barak Obama raised the issue of the imprisoned Americans in his historic September phone call to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor, Tony Blinken, told CNN that aside from the nuclear program it was the only other issue that was brought up in the call.
The interim deal in Geneva did not include any reference to prisoner dealings. Richard Haas, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, told CNN, “you’ve got to decide how much you’re going to try to accomplish, and just tackling all the dimensions of the nuclear agreement is ambition enough.” A spokeswoman for the National Security Council added that the “talks focused exclusively on nuclear issues.”
The omission prompted the chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, Jay Sekulow, who is representing Pastor Saeed Abedini’s wife Naghmeh, to charge Obama and US Secretary of State John Kerry with turning their backs on an American citizen. On the center’s website, he called the decision “outrageous and a betrayal” and said it sends the message that “Americans are expendable.”
Abedini, who was born in Iran and later converted to Christianity, was arrested earlier this year in Iran for what would seem was strictly Christian charity work and sentenced to eight years in prison. He was recently transferred from Evin Prison, a notorious jail for political prisoners in Tehran, Sukelow wrote in a letter to Kerry, “to the even more notorious and brutal Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj.”
Amir Hekmati, a 31-year-old former Marine from Flint, Michigan, who allegedly obtained permission to visit his grandmother in Iran in 2011, was charged with espionage and sentenced to death in 2012. In September, Hekmati managed to smuggle a letter out of prison. Published in the Guardian, it contended that his filmed admission of guilt had been coerced and that his arrest “is part of a propaganda and hostage-taking effort by Iranian intelligence to secure the release of Iranians abroad being held on security-related charges.”
Levinson, a 65-year-old veteran of the FBI, was last seen on March 9, 2007, on Kish Island, Iran. According to Solomon, Levinson was stationed in Dubai at the time as part of a US task force comprised of former officers operating in the United Arab Emirates, training officials there to combat weapons trafficking, and was tempted to come to Kish for a meeting.
The last person he is known to have had contact with, and with whom he shared a room the night before his abduction, according to a Reuters article from 2007, is Dawud Salahuddin, an American convert to Islam, who is wanted in the US for murder. According to a New Yorker profile of the Long Island-born Salahuddin, he showed up at the home of Ali Akbar Tabatabai’s Bethseda, Maryland door in July 1980, dressed as a mailman, and shot Tabatabai, a Shah supporter, three times in the abdomen, killing him. From there he fled to Canada and on to Switzerland and Iran.
Salahuddin has indicated that Levinson had come to Kish to meet with him.
In September, Rouhani denied any knowledge of Levinson’s whereabouts. In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, he said that, “We don’t know where he is, who he is. He is an American who has disappeared. We have no news of him.”
This is highly doubtful. In 2010 and 2011 Levinson’s family received a video and photographs respectively of him in captivity. In January of this year the AP reported that “despite years of denials,” many US security officials now believe that “Iran’s intelligence service was almost certainly behind the 54-second video and five photographs of Levinson that were emailed anonymously to his family.” The photos and the videos traced back to different addresses in Afghanistan and Pakistan, suggesting, perhaps, that Levinson, the longest-held hostage in US history, was imprisoned in Balochistan, a desert region spanning the borders of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
On Tuesday, Levinson’s son Dan wrote a column in the Washington Post calling Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif “well-respected men committed to the goodwill of all human beings, regardless of their nationality.”
Several hours later, White House Spokesman Jay Carney published a statement saying that the US government welcomes the assistance “of our international partners” in attempting to bring Levinson home and, he added, “we respectfully ask the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to assist us in securing Mr. Levinson’s health, welfare, and safe return.”
As was the case with the Geneva negotiations, and as is likely happening with the upcoming round of talks regarding Syria, there is good reason to believe, and in this case to hope, that the movements played out under the spotlights of the international stage have been choreographed well in advance, perhaps in the sea-side city of Muscat, under the careful tutelage of Salem Ben Nasser al Ismaily.
I’ve long known that Daniel Greenfield – who formerly posted as “Sultan Knish” – is an incisive, politically-incorrect, “tell-it-as-it-is” writer. In his latest piece – “Time to Call Obama and Kerry What They Are: Traitors” – he does not disappoint.
Credit: FrontPage Magazine
Greenfield is not one to dance around reality, excusing Obama as someone who just doesn’t get it, or who is too idealistic, or… He presents facts straight on, and draws his conclusions (emphasis added):
“The last time a feeble leader of a fading nation came bearing ‘Peace in our time,’ a pugnacious controversial right-winger retorted, ‘You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war.’ That right-winger went on to lead the United Kingdom against Hitler.
“The latest worthless agreement with a murderous dictatorship is being brandished by John Kerry, a man who instinctively seeks out dishonor the way a pig roots for truffles…
“John Kerry betrayed his uniform and his nation so many times that it became his career. He illegally met with the representatives of the North Vietnamese enemy in Paris and then next year headed to Washington, D.C. where he blasted the American soldiers being murdered by his new friends as rapists and murderers ‘reminiscent of Genghis Khan’…
“Kerry revolted even liberals with his gushing over Syria’s Assad. Now he’s playing the useful idiot for Assad’s bosses in Tehran.
“For almost fifty years, John Kerry has been selling out American interests to the enemy. Iran is his biggest success. The dirty Iran nuke deal is the culmination of his life’s many treasons.
“It turns America from an opponent of Iran’s expansionism, terrorism and nuclear weapons program into a key supporter. The international coalition built to stop Iran’s nukes will instead protect its program.
“And none of this would have happened without Obama.
“Obama began his rise by pandering to radical leftists on removing Saddam. He urged them to take on Egypt instead, and that’s what he did once in office, orchestrating the takeover of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and across the region. The Muslim Brotherhood was overthrown by popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, but Obama had preserved the Iranian regime when it was faced with the Green Revolution. Now Iran is his last best Islamist hope for stopping America in the Middle East.
“Obama and Kerry had both voted against designating Iran’s IRGC terrorist ringleaders who were organizing the murder of American soldiers as a terrorist organization while in the Senate…
“Throughout the [negotiating] process they chanted, ‘No deal is better than a bad deal.’ But their deal isn’t just bad. It’s treason.
“Obama isn’t Chamberlain. He doesn’t mean well. Kerry isn’t making honest mistakes. They negotiated ineptly with Iran because they are throwing the game. They meant for America to lose all along.
“When Obama negotiates with Republicans, he extracts maximum concessions for the barest minimum. Kerry did the same thing with Israel during the failed attempt at restarting peace negotiations with the PLO. That’s how they treat those they consider their enemies. This is how they treat their friends.
“A bad deal wasn’t just better than no deal, it was better than a good deal.
“Obama did not go into this to stop Iran from going nuclear. He did it to turn Iran into the axis of the Middle East.
“Obama made this deal to cripple American power in the Middle East.
“Iran get[s] to keep its nuclear facilities, its reactors, including the hidden underground fortified Fordow facility which Obama had repeatedly stated was, ‘inconsistent with a peaceful program.’
“The deal gives Iran a ‘peaceful’ nuclear program with an equally peaceful ballistic missile program. It puts into place a complicated inspection regime that can be blocked by Iran and its backers. It turns Iran into the new North Korea and the new Saddam Hussein, lavishing money on it while running future administrations through a cat and mouse game of proving violations by the terrorist regime.
“And Obama made sure the Iran deal was written to make the proof as hard to obtain as possible.
“That hasn’t stopped Obama from lying and claiming that ‘Inspectors will have 24/7 access to Iran’s nuclear facilities.’ Meanwhile France’s Foreign Minister, somewhat more accurately put it, ‘The IAEA will be able to gain access to Iran’s military sites, if necessary, under certain conditions’…
“One of the first items on Iran’s shopping list will be Russia’s S300 missile system to keep Israel or a future American administration from taking out Iran’s nuclear program. But Iran is also pursuing ICBMs that can strike at Europe and America. Obama’s decision to phase out the ballistic missile sanctions on Iran will make it easier for Iran to build weapons that can destroy major American cities.
“And Iran’s new cash will empower it to fund terrorism in Israel, America and around the world.
“Obama claims to ‘have stopped the spread of nuclear weapons’ by allowing Iran to keep enhancing its nuclear program and rewarding it with ballistic missiles for its ‘peaceful’ intentions. He claims to have negotiated ‘from a position of strength and principle’ when in fact he surrendered to the Iranians on position after position. Tehran negotiated from strength and principle. Obama sold out America…
“Obama and Kerry have not made this deal as representatives of the United States, but as representatives of a toxic ideology that views America as the cause of all that is wrong in the world. This is not an agreement that strengthens us and keeps us safe, but an agreement that weakens us and endangers us negotiated by men who believe that a strong Iran is better than a strong America…
“Their ideology is not America. It is not American. It is the same poisonous left-wing hatred which led Kerry to the Viet Cong, to the Sandinistas and to Assad. It is the same resentment of America that Obama carried to Cairo, Havana and Tehran. We have met the enemy and he is in the White House.”
I’m not going to pursue a great deal of analysis now on how the Israeli government will make the case against this deal, or how Congress is likely to vote. It’s too soon for that. But this must be shared, immediately:
“Aside from removing UN conventional arms embargo on Iran after five years, the nuclear deal signed Tuesday by the P5+1 powers and Iran grants several other questionable concessions to the leading state sponsor of terror, unrelated to its controversial nuclear program.
“The most glaring of these concessions is seen by some as the inclusion of the name Qassem Soleimani on a list of companies and individuals who will have sanctions against them removed as expressly detailed in the deal, reports Yedioth Aharonoth.
“Someimani is the Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander who leads the elite Qods Force, which conducts foreign operations outside of Iran’s borders and directs the Islamic regime’s terrorist activities throughout the world.
“While no clear reason was given as to why Soleimani – who is on the official American terrorist list, and whose Qods Forces have murdered American soldiers in Iraq – had individual sanctions against him removed, the move apparently comes due to the shared fight against Islamic State (ISIS) that Soleimani has been leading in Iraq in parallel to American efforts.
“Indicating the willingness to bend on principles in order to secure an Iranian alliance against [ISIS], US President Barack Obama was revealed to have sent secret letters last October to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenmei asking for cooperation against ISIS, in addition to asking for help in sealing the nuclear deal.
“Thanks to the removal of sanctions, the arch-terrorist Soleimani will now be able to travel freely throughout the world, advancing Iran’s terror interests.”
Here we have incisive cartoon commentary from Ya’akov Kirschen, creator of Dry Bones:
I want to remind my readers in America how much depends on you. You must stand up and be counted in the course of the next 60 days, with regard to your opposition to the Iran deal. The situation is deadly serious and passivity is not an acceptable option.
For those in the NY area:
Watch for rallies in other parts of the country, as well.
EMET – The Endowment for Middle East Truth – which does lobbying in Congress, is urging contacts with Senators and Congresspersons. You are being asked by EMET to fill out a form that will allow them to arrange crucial meetings in the Capitol.
Over the years I have seen many idiotic pieces of what pass for journalistic regurgitation and moronic self-indulgence… the piece over at Vox entitled: 3 reasons the American Revolution was a mistake, by Dylan Matthews, is in a class all by its lonesome. It begs for a brutal fisking and on this Independence Day in 2015, far from the revolutionary battlefield (but perhaps getting closer by the day and hour), I will oblige this vapid moonbat in honor of our Independence. Hard won for us all, benefiting even the likes of this troll.
Now, granted… this wannabe hipster is no brain trust. In fact, he looks stoned and addled:
Dylan Matthews of Vox
Dylan Matthews has been writing since the age of 14 in 2004. He went to Harvard as well. Then he went on to write for the Washington Post. He also writes for Salon and The New Republic. In other words, he’s a radical Leftist and a Marxist. Duh. Dylan Matthews was an identified member of JournoList – an email group of approximately 400 “Progressive” and socialist journalists, academics and “new media” activists. The group was shut down in 2010 after being exposed from within. Yep, no bias there. Right.
Our young Marxist starts off his diatribe with a picture of George Washington, where he wittily captions it: George Washington crosses the Delaware, makes the world a worse place in the process. Only if you detest freedom and living in the greatest nation to ever grace the planet, which of course he does.
After besmirching our first and greatest president and someone that Matthews will NEVER be, a man of courage and character, he goes on to opine that on this July 4th, he is flying to the UK. The symbolism of it all is not lost on this raving moonbat. Matthews then proclaims that “American independence in 1776 was a monumental mistake” (never mind the years from 1776 to 1783 when Independence was actually attained) and that we should be grieving that we left the Brits instead of staying indentured to the British Empire. Does this guy even read history? Evidently not, because he knows nothing of the American Revolution or the Independence our forebears fought, bled and died for, all so we could be free. Free to practice our religion as we see fit… free to speak out without fear of persecution… free from crushing taxes and free to craft our own laws and conduct business as a free nation would. The pseudo-intellectuality of this cretin is nauseating.
His first premise is that abolition would have come faster without Independence:
Abolition in most of the British Empire occurred in 1834, following the passage of the Slavery Abolition Act. That left out India, but slavery was banned there too in 1843. In England itself, slavery was illegal at least going back to 1772. That’s decades earlier than the United States.
This alone is enough to make the case against the revolution. Decades less slavery is a massive humanitarian gain that almost certainly dominates whatever gains came to the colonists from independence.
There’s a gaping fallacy in the above and unless Matthews is just stone stupid (which could well be the case), it is dishonest. In 1772, the US colonies were still under British rule. He claims that slavery was illegal for the Brits dating back to that year, but it didn’t end slavery here in the US. That was under the control of the British. And the infamous British slave trade was not ended until 1807. It’s also a fact that in the West Indies, where slaves were freed in 1834, they were forced to continue working for their former masters for four to six years without compensation after they were set ‘free.’ Chattel slavery was replaced by serfdom. When they were freed, they did not own the houses they lived in, their livestock or their farms. They had to start paying rent. They were still forced to work for the very masters who set them free and follow their orders or starve. So, claiming that slavery was eradicated by the Brits long before the US did is somewhat specious. Saying that slavery ended at that time was akin to saying what ‘is’ is. Very little changed in the beginning.
Contrary to his gender-studies/racism-fusion rant, the revolution did not give more power to the “white male minority” as its primary motive. He purports that from the very beginning the whole country was about repression. We were fleeing repression. The people who settled this country, for the most part, came here to escape religious and political persecution in England and Europe. His argument has no foundation and is entirely speculative, written as though to answer an academic “how does the American Revolution make you feel?” question. Do you honestly believe that women, Indians and blacks would have been any better off under British rule in the colonies? Not a chance. The British didn’t care about women’s rights or the plight of the Indians or the civil rights of African Americans. They were for power for the King, the nobility and whatever benefited the monarchy. Their “rights” were granted at the whim of the monarch, not from God nor even seen as natural human rights. The British nobility reveled in servants and to this day they still do… they’re just paid a wage now and appear to be free. His arguments on emancipation are even more ridiculous.
As for Matthews claiming that the majority of African Americans fought for the Crown, once again, history is a bitch. Prior to the revolution, many free African Americans supported the anti-British cause, most famously Crispus Attucks, believed to be the first person killed at the Boston Massacre. At the time of the American Revolution, some blacks had already been enlisted as Minutemen. Both free and enslaved Africans had served in local militias, especially in the North, defending their villages against attacks by Native Americans. In March of 1775, the Continental Congress assigned units of the Massachusetts militia as Minutemen. They were under orders to become activated if the British troops in Boston took the offensive.
In April of 1775, at Lexington and Concord, blacks responded to the call and fought with Patriot forces. The Battle of Bunker Hill also had African-American soldiers fighting along with white Patriots. Many African Americans, both enslaved and free, wanted to join with the Patriots. They believed that they would either achieve freedom or expand their civil rights. In addition to the role of soldier, blacks also served as guides, messengers and spies.
American states had to meet quotas of troops for the new Continental Army and New England regiments recruited black slaves by promising freedom to those who served in the Continental Army. During the course of the war, about one fifth of the northern army was black. At the Siege of Yorktown in 1781, Baron Closen, a German officer in the French Royal Deux-Ponts Regiment, estimated the American army to be about one quarter black.
You cannot secure freedom for a minority of any kind if there is no freedom to be had for anyone. The patriots of the American Revolution knew this and fought to the death for it.
However, in the spirit of identifying actual causes of oppression, since that seems to be his “hot button” issue, let’s remember that, indeed, there was a faction in this country that labored long and hard to preserve the subservience of the blacks long after their official emancipation. That faction was the Democrat party and its adjuncts, such as the KKK. The Democrats hated that the Republican party — expressly founded to secure the rights and equality of blacks — was beginning to gain traction, to the point that they mounted a massive subterfuge to blame the plight of blacks on the very people who had worked to free them, culminating in the infamous words of Lyndon B. Johnson: “I’ll have those niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.” So, Dylan, if you wonder why the Black Man is still struggling in America, check your Dem privilege, you simpering fop.
…But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
Next, Matthews claims that independence was bad for Native Americans:
Starting with the Proclamation of 1763, the British colonial government placed firm limits on westward settlement in the United States. It wasn’t motivated by an altruistic desire to keep American Indians from being subjugated or anything; it just wanted to avoid border conflicts.
But all the same, the policy enraged American settlers, who were appalled that the British would seem to side with Indians over white men. “The British government remained willing to conceive of Native Americans as subjects of the crown, similar to colonists,” Ethan Schmidt writes in Native Americans in the American Revolution. “American colonists … refused to see Indians as fellow subjects. Instead, they viewed them as obstacles in the way of their dreams of land ownership and trading wealth.” This view is reflected in the Declaration of Independence, which attacks King George III for backing “merciless Indian Savages.”
Nice skewed version of history you’ve got there son. I know you’ll be shocked, but he gets it wrong yet again. The Proclamation of 1763 does not mean what he is claiming it does. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was issued October 7th, 1763, by King George III, following Great Britain’s acquisition of French territory in North America after the end of the French and Indian War/Seven Years’ War, which forbade all settlement past a line drawn along the Appalachian Mountains. The Royal Proclamation continues to be of legal importance to First Nations in Canada and is significant for the variation of indigenous status in the United States. It eventually ensured that British culture and laws were applied in Upper Canada after 1791, which was done to attract British settlers to the province. Last time I looked, we were not Canada. This was the Brits’ way of trying to manage North America and had nothing to do with Native Americans. The colonists objected to being slaughtered by the Indians, I’m sure. Racism did exist, but it would have been no less under British rule, I assure you. Border conflicts and battles would still have been the norm until the Brits had had enough and quelled them.
And lastly, Matthews claims America would have a better system of government if we’d stuck with Britain.
I’ve heard this argument many times… that any government is better than our Constitutional Republic – especially the parliamentary system. That’s an ill conceived joke. I’m sure whatever history that Matthews was taught was biased and left huge holes in reality and how things truly unfolded here in the States. Matthews is a big government guy – an outspoken Progressive. The people don’t know what is best for them and never have according to him – you know, as in a dictatorship. They would be far better off, in his warped view, if our elite betters simply decided everything for us. This is how we have gotten to where we are today, via Obama. In fact, Matthews during his brief adult life, at the tender age of 25, has never known anything else than an Obama Administration. He’s in for quite a culture shock when a true conservative, such as Ted Cruz, is elected.
RedState points out that Ben Domenech, in The Transom, points out the best critique of this nonsense comes from Mark Twain, who did not graduate from Harvard and would rip Matthews to shreds:
“For in a republic, who is “the Country”? Is it the Government which is for the moment in the saddle? Why, the Government is merely a servant — merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn’t. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them. Who, then, is “the country?” Is it the newspaper? Is it the pulpit? Is it the school-superintendent? Why, these are mere parts of the country, not the whole of it; they have not command, they have only their little share in the command. They are but one in the thousand; it is in the thousand that command is lodged; they must determine what is right and what is wrong; they must decide who is a patriot and who isn’t.”
“In a monarchy, the king and his family are the country; in a republic it is the common voice of the people. Each of you, for himself, by himself and on his own responsibility, must speak. And it is a solemn and weighty responsibility, and not lightly to be flung aside at the bullying of pulpit, press, government, or the empty catch-phrases of politicians. Each must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, and which course is patriotic and which isn’t. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide it against your convictions is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may. If you alone of all the nation shall decide one way, and that way be the right way according to your convictions of the right, you have done your duty by yourself and by your country — hold up your head! You have nothing to be ashamed of.”
When drafting the Constitution, the founders ensured that the executive, judicial and legislative branches had co-equal power, with checks and balances to ensure that neither branch produced a dictatorship. I’m sure that is much to Matthews’ dismay. I wonder in Matthews’ lack of study, if he ever considered the history of 20th-century parliamentary systems, especially one in particular — the Weimar Republic. Matthews supports a parliamentary system in opposition to our Republic, claiming it is a bulwark against a dictatorship. Seriously? And this is because he likes unchecked big government power. You can’t make this stuff up:
In the US, activists wanting to put a price on carbon emissions spent years trying to put together a coalition to make it happen, mobilizing sympathetic businesses and philanthropists and attempting to make bipartisan coalition — and they still failed to pass cap and trade, after millions of dollars and man hours. In the UK, the Conservative government decided it wanted a carbon tax. So there was a carbon tax. Just like that. Passing big, necessary legislation — in this case, legislation that’s literally necessary to save the planet — is a whole lot easier with parliaments than presidential systems.
Yeah, screw that whole ‘freedom’ thing. Big government gets it done faster and eliminates the riffraff factor. This guy is the very definition of a useful idiot.
Krystal Heath had this to say about the greatness of America over at Louder with Crowder – 15 reasons why the American Revolution was the best thing that ever happened to the world:
1. It established a haven for religious freedom. Oppressed men, women, and children from all around the globe flocked to our shores to worship the god they pleased in the manner they desired to… and no one was going to stop them, kill them, or force them to convert.
2. It created a democratic republic. For the first time in modern history, the average citizen had a voice in his own government. And it’s worked out pretty well for us.
3. It recognized that mankind is endowed with certain unalienable rights by their Creator. Government doesn’t give us our rights, our very existence does. Yes, America, we were the ones who put that in writing and created a standard for human rights unparalleled by any other governmental system.
4. It ended tyranny. No more would a people be governed by a single man, woman, or family. Three separate yet equal branches of government were established to ensure justice and domestic tranquility.
5. It brought with it a Bill of Rights. America today is the most free nation on earth because we have the right to say what we will, assemble where we will, defend ourselves as we will, and so on – these liberties are often threatened, yet they remain our own.
6. It gave us some of the greatest governing charters in the world. From the Mayflower Compact to the Declaration of Independence, the United States from its inception created a blueprint which other nations have aspired to duplicate.
7. It gave mankind a haven for pursuing happiness. Life in America is good. The US has more self-made millionaires and billionaires proportionally than anywhere else in the world. And by global standards, America’s middle class is really, really rich. Our standard of living is second to none. Period.
8. It created a land of opportunity. Success or failure in America is dependent on an individual’s own work ethic. We rise and fall on our own. If you can dream it, you can do it.
9. It birthed a land of virtue and ideals. Like it or not, the United States was founded on Biblical principles. Those principles embedded in our framework a standard of decency and decorum rarely found elsewhere.
10. It brought unparalleled innovation and technology to the world. Who built the first automobile? Who invented the airplane? Who put a man on the moon? Who created your iPhone? ‘Merica.
11. It gave the world the best in entertainment. Maybe Pride and Prejudice and British soap operas are your thing. But in case you haven’t noticed, all the best shows are Made in the USA.
12. It brought baseball and football to mankind. Our basketball and hockey teams are pretty epic, too.
13. It set the standard for modern, civilized societies. Travel the world. You’ll find America has the best cities, the best stores, and the greatest communities on the globe.
14. It made cultural diversity a reality. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” Unlike any other country on the planet, the USA is a nation of immigrants. People from all backgrounds and faiths live here together, united.
15. It’s about freedom. America is synonymous with liberty. And without the Revolution, that wouldn’t have been possible.
Britain kept their monarchy, how’s that working for them? They have one of the world’s highest violent crime rates. They’re overrun with Islamists and terrorists. Their violent crime has gotten so bad, in spite of their having banned guns decades ago, now they are looking at banning knives. And tell me how their people are anything but indentured servants with the failed economy they have? How does having a ruling family, who is answerable to just about no one, trump a Constitutional Republic? Even if you’ve only watched “The Patriot” with Mel Gibson, you are light years more enlightened than this moron. This liberal writer at Vox is an over-educated, biased asshat, in addition to being stupid and ignorant. If he likes Britain so much, why, by all means, go… please. I’ll take up a collection to buy you a ticket. Just don’t come back.
Fake stories about conservatives are often too tempting for members of the news media to pass by, or fact check, and two UK papers were recently caught peddling one such story to their readers. Yet nowhere in their articles does it mention that they had even attempted to contact the subject of their ridicule, Pastor John Hagee of Texas.
Both the UK Daily Mail and the UK Mirror published stories regarding Christians United for Israel’s Pastor Hagee based on a fake report by a website called Newslo asserting that Hagee had argued that women saying God’s name during intercourse should be “prosecuted.”
“If it were up to me, I would put every single woman or girl who does that in jail,” Newslo quoted Pastor Hagee as saying. “That would be a fine example of God’s wrath aimed at what is, in my opinion, a terrible misuse of our Maker’s good name.”
ABC’s “The View,” has also been taken in by this con job, having a great time laughing and mocking Pastor Hagee. Whoopi Goldberg said, “Sir,” addressing Hagee, “I don’t mean to be a bonehead, but how do you think you’re going to enforce this?” It will be interesting to see how the bonehead producer who decided to put this story out for the ladies of “The View” will deal with it, once they become aware that they’ve been had. Can we expect apologies from the boneheaded line-up of “The View?”
Ari Morgenstern, Christians United for Israel’s (CUFI) communications director, and spokesman for Pastor Hagee, is demanding a full retraction from Newslo, calling this “satirical” website’s postings “defamatory.” Morgenstern told Accuracy in Media, “Every media outlet that reported this ought to be ashamed. The most elementary due diligence would’ve revealed that Newslo, the source of the ‘story,’ is a fake news outlet—kind of like The Onion but not funny. A freshman writing for his/her high-school newspaper would’ve been fired for less.”
After all, the only indications on the page that this story is fake are the “Check the Facts” and “Hide the Facts” buttons. The former function highlights in yellow the beginning paragraphs, which refer to Pastor Hagee’s preaching on scripture. The rest of the article, with the inflammatory statements, remains in white text.
Newslo openly bills itself as the “first hybrid news/satire platform,” stating, “Whenever you see #NNTS (No Need to Satirize), you’re reading COMPLETELY real news that only seems too absurd to be true.”
Apparently two United Kingdom papers, and ABC’s “The View,” couldn’t tell the difference between fact and fiction. Or maybe the content conveniently fit their liberal assumptions.
The Hagee post also does not feature the #NNTS hash tag at the end.
“Hagee did not go into detail on how women would be prosecuted if they were to be caught crying out God’s name during sex, nor did he explain why men would not be jailed for the same deed,” writes Kelly McLaughlin for the UK Daily Mail on June 21. (Update: The Daily Mail has now removed the article.)
The Mirror used similar language on June 20, ending with a survey asking whether people should “be locked up for using God’s name during sex.”
The absurd treatment now given to Pastor Hagee mirrors another incident in 2008, when the pastor, who has done so much valuable interfaith work bringing Jews and Christians together in support of Israel, was likened to Barack Obama’s vitriolic and anti-Semitic Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
“To assert that I in any way condone the Holocaust or that monster Adolf Hitler is the biggest and ugliest of lies,” said Pastor Hagee at the time. “I have always condemned the horrors of the Holocaust in the strongest of terms.”
However, sometimes reality simply doesn’t suit the liberal media agenda.
Morgenstern has contacted both papers, ABC and Newslo, yet as of this writing two of the three publications have not taken this disgusting content off their websites.
I also urge you to view CUFI’s website, and if you are passionate about Israel, as either a Christian or a Jew, this is an event worth attending. Their 10th annual summit takes place next month in Washington, D.C.
[Update, 4:00 p.m.: After this was posted, The Mirror removed the story, and both the Mirror and the Mail (which had removed it earlier, as previously noted) are considering retractions. “The View” will issue an online retraction and apology, and will do the same tomorrow on air. We have replaced both The Mirror and The Mail articles with PDFs of their stories.]
Pope Francis has formally recognized a Palestinian state, even though it does not exist. While the media have noted that the Vatican’s curious action has created some controversy, there has been little discussion of whether “Palestinians” actually do exist, where the modern-day concept of a “State of Palestine” came from, and which major power benefits from the creation of a nation under the control of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the Middle East.
American-Israeli political commentator and journalist Sha’i ben-Tekoa told Accuracy in Media, “Starting with Chapter 2:1 of the Pope’s own Holy Writ, Christian Scripture refers to Judea 42 times, Samaria 11 times, never to ‘Palestine,’ ‘Palestinians’ or the ‘West Bank.’ The Arabs in Judea and Samaria meet not one of the international legal requirements for statehood.”
He is referring to Matthew 2:1, which refers to Jesus being born in Bethlehem in Judea.
Many commentators, with little or no access to major U.S. media, argue with justification that the Arabs in Judea and Samaria are squatters, with no legal right to even be there.
“Most of the so-called ‘Palestinians’ are in fact interlopers and squatters from Syria—and other places—mostly in the 1920s and 1930s who simply took possession of pieces of land in Israel,” says commentator Rockwell Lazareth. William Mayer, editor and publisher of PipeLineNews.com, says “the so-called Palestinians” are in fact “Arab colonial squatters” who have been used to wage war against Israel.
Commenting further on the Vatican’s recognition of a so-called Palestinian state, Ben-Tekoa tells AIM, “This business of recognizing a phantom state for a phantom nation that screws the Jews is an outrage. It is this generation’s version of Jew-hatred. The Pope should lead, not follow the enemies of Israel.”
Soon, the United Nations adopted the cause. Dr. Harris Schoenberg’s 1989 book, A Mandate for Terror: The United Nations and the PLO, describes how the world body came to endorse and embrace the terrorism campaign of the PLO. The UN General Assembly voted in 2012 to recognize Palestine as a non-member state, giving it the same status as the Vatican. The only countries voting against this initiative were Canada, Czech Republic, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Panama, and the United States.
Earlier this year, the International Criminal Court (ICC) accepted “Palestine” as a State Party to the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding treaty. The court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, is currently probing alleged Israeli war crimes during last summer’s war in Gaza with the Hamas terrorist group.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the chairman of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority, who is scheduled to meet with Pope Francis on May 16, is widely considered to be a key Russian asset in the Middle East.
Abbas speaks fluent Russian as a result of his KGB training at the KGB’s Patrice Lumumba University, where he wrote a report claiming that there was no Holocaust, and that the Jews who were murdered during World War II were actually killed by Zionists working with the Nazis. It is now called the People’s Friendship University.
Former KGB officers and intelligence analysts say that the PLO’s long-time chairman, Yasser Arafat, was an also an agent of the Soviet intelligence service.
The links between various Arab and Islamic terrorist groups and the Russians are said to continue. Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking defector from the former Soviet bloc, says KGB dissident Alexander Litvinenko, who was living in London, was assassinated by the KGB in 2006 because he spilled the beans on how Soviet intelligence spawned Islamic terrorism and even trained al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri.
Marius Laurinavius, Senior Policy Analyst in the Policy Analysis and Research Division of the Eastern Europe Studies Center, argues in his paper, “Do traces of KGB, FSB and GRU lead to Islamic State?,” that it is impossible to understand the rise of the Islamic state without paying attention to the links between the Russian secret services and Arab/Muslim terrorists, including in the Russian region of Chechnya.
Nevertheless, it seems that the PLO has been successful in its campaign, as even the United States government, first under President George W. Bush and now under President Barack Obama, has accepted a so-called “two-state solution” of Israel and a Palestinian state.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in 2009 that he was prepared to recognize a “demilitarized” Palestinian state of some kind, subject to security conditions and their recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. However, a document outlining the approach of Netanyahu’s new coalition government did not include any intention of establishing a Palestinian state.
The publication Foreign Policy says Obama has decided to review the “diplomatic protection” it has offered Israel in the United Nations against anti-Israel resolutions as a way to pressure the Jewish state, and that “There is a growing movement at the United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution outlining a roadmap for future peace talks.” Such a “roadmap” would force Israel to accept a Russian-influenced Palestinian state.
The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, has already announced that Russia will back a resolution calling for a Palestinian state.
With the Vatican endorsing statehood for Palestine, the Russians, working with Obama, may see their chance to put more pressure on Israel.
This will likely work out to the benefit of Russia and its Palestinian agents, not the United States or Israel.
In his 1971 book, Red Star Over Bethlehem: Russia Drives for the Middle East, former diplomatic envoy Ira Hirschman argued that the Soviet Union voted in the U.N. to establish the state of Israel in 1947, only to oust “the last vestiges of British power in the land-bridge area linking Europe, Africa, and Asia,” and that its strategic objective has been to make possible the long-awaited dream of Catherine the Great to establish Russian warm-water ports in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
The usually astute Heritage Foundation commentator Nile Gardiner calls the win by the Conservative Party in Britain a defeat for socialism. Yet, Conservative Party head David Cameron ran on a platform boasting that “we have protected the National Health Service, with 9,500 more doctors and 6,900 more nurses, and ensured generous rises in the State Pension.”
Based on this precedent, we can anticipate that Republican Party politicians here in America will one day run on a platform of making Obamacare more affordable, rather than seeking to abolish it. This, then, will be defined as the “conservative” position.
The coverage of the recent British elections has demonstrated that the term “conservative” has lost much of its meaning. It’s time to take a hard look at what the term has come to mean in Britain and how it is being distorted and transformed here.
In addition to the Conservative Party’s embrace of socialist programs, the Cameron government, which has ruled Britain for five years, has embraced Islamic immigration to Britain, going so far as to pay more deference to global Islam than traditional Christianity. Demonstrating this bias, the supposedly “conservative” government in Britain banned American anti-Jihad activists Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer from the country. Geller and Spencer had intended to rally opposition to the Islamization of the West. Spencer called Cameron, who has labeled Islam “a religion of peace,” as the “dhimmi appeaser.” The term means a non-Muslim who accepts Muslim dominance.
Cameron and his Conservative Party have also embraced the legalization of homosexual marriage. The Conservatives’ 2015 manifesto says: “Our historic introduction of gay marriage has helped drive forward equality and strengthened the institution of marriage. But there is still more to do, and we will continue to champion equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people.”
We can easily anticipate the Republican Party going down this road in the United States. In fact, the publication Politico notes that GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush is among those trying to “have it both ways” on homosexual marriage. “While he publicly maintains his opposition to same-sex marriage, reaffirmed over the weekend by a surrogate he sent to Iowa, Bush is sending signals that he may be more accepting of ‘marriage equality’—the strongest signal, perhaps, coming when he referred to the issue using that term favored by LGBT advocates—than he’s able to let on,” the publication reported.
It noted that Bush has hired a communications director, Tim Miller, who is openly gay, and his inner circle of staffers “have all expressed strong support for marriage equality, including Mike Murphy, hired to run his messaging shop, who wrote about the GOP’s need to evolve on policy following Romney’s defeat in 2012.”
Jeb Bush is shaping up as the David Cameron of the Republican Party.
In Britain the changes keep coming, now at an astounding rate. Andrea Williams of the British group Christian Concern says the Cameron government has not only “destroyed marriage” by redefining it to include homosexual couples, but it is also pursuing liberal policies in other areas. For example, she says the government has liberalized abortion and refused to outlaw abortions on the basis of the sex of the fetus. She says that in Britain nurses and teachers have been suspended for wearing Christian crosses, judges have been replaced for refusing to place children in homosexual relationships with two fathers or two mothers, and Christian street preachers are being jailed for “offensive” comments. “We have no leader at the helm of any of our main parties, whether it’s the Liberal Democrats, the Labor Party or the Conservative Party, who are speaking a moral vision,” she says.
Another British group, the Christian Institute, confirms these ominous trends and warns that “…here in the UK religious liberty is being increasingly challenged…Street preachers have been arrested. Christians have lost their jobs for answering questions about their faith or for taking an ethical stand. Christians in business have come into conflict with equality laws and faced fines for holding to the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.”
Commentator Charles Moore had warned in March 2015: “Socially conservative moral views are now teetering on the edge of criminality, and are over the edge of disapproval by those who run modern Britain.”
In arguing that “Britain is at heart still a conservative country,” Gardiner of the Heritage Foundation was talking about a country that no longer exists. His only reference to Britain’s cultural collapse came in his observation that Cameron had “alienated many grassroots supporters with highly controversial ‘modernizing’ policies such as backing gay marriage and increasing spending on foreign aid, both deeply unpopular with the Conservative base.” In fact, as we have seen in the statements quoted above, the conservative base has been betrayed on a host of issues. Today, even free speech is at risk in Britain.
In the U.S., it appears that big money is driving the Republican Party to the left, along the same path taken by Britain. The Politico article quoted earlier noted the influence of hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, who has decided that since his own son is gay, the Republican Party should embrace the homosexual lifestyle and homosexual marriage. The publication said that Bush is determined to win Singer’s personal support, and added that “other billionaire bundlers like Seth Klarman and Dan Loeb, another hedge funder known for asking any candidate who enters his office where they stand on gay rights,” are also looking for Republicans to finance and push their pet causes.
As these developments unfold, it will be up to conservatives in the media and the think tanks to shine a light on the attempted takeover of the Republican Party. That will be much harder to do if the conservative media become part of the problem and go AWOL on the need for a moral vision to save the country.
In this context, Guy Benson, the political editor of its conservative Townhall.com website, has announced that he is a practicing homosexual. Benson, a supporter of homosexual marriage, is a Fox News contributor who appeared on Megyn Kelly’s Fox News show to discuss coming out of the closet through a footnote in his new book. “I think it’s very brave,” Kelly told him.
Fox News has been a major financial backer of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, a group that featured a male stripper at its recent New York City fundraiser. However, Townhall.com’s parent company is a Christian firm, Salem Media Group, which has refused comment on whether Benson will retain his influential position within the company. The company describes its mission as “targeting audiences interested in Christian and family-themed content and conservative values.”
Kudos to Graeme Wood of The Atlantic, whose tour de force backgrounder on the burgeoning Caliphate in the Middle East (“What ISIS Really Wants“) is the kind of journalism that vintage media should engage in, but never does.
The entire article is an absolute must-read, but a digest version — summarizing the key graphs — is excerpted below. It’s a very short-form version of Graeme’s work, which you simply must read when you have the time to fully absorb it. The gravity of his findings cannot be overstated.
[ISIS] seized Mosul, Iraq, last June, and already rules an area larger than the United Kingdom. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been its leader since May 2010, but until last summer, his most recent known appearance on film was a grainy mug shot from a stay in U.S. captivity at Camp Bucca during the occupation of Iraq. Then, on July 5 of last year, he stepped into the pulpit of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, to deliver a Ramadan sermon as the first caliph in generations—upgrading his resolution from grainy to high-definition, and his position from hunted guerrilla to commander of all Muslims. The inflow of jihadists that followed, from around the world, was unprecedented in its pace and volume, and is continuing.
Our ignorance of the Islamic State is in some ways understandable: It is a hermit kingdom; few have gone there and returned. Baghdadi has spoken on camera only once. But his address, and the Islamic State’s countless other propaganda videos and encyclicals, are online, and the caliphate’s supporters have toiled mightily to make their project knowable. We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world…
…In conversation, [ISIS] insist[s it] will not—cannot—waver from governing precepts that were embedded in Islam by the Prophet Muhammad and his earliest followers. They often speak in codes and allusions that sound odd or old-fashioned to non-Muslims, but refer to specific traditions and texts of early Islam.
To take one example: In September, Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the Islamic State’s chief spokesman, called on Muslims in Western countries such as France and Canada to find an infidel and “smash his head with a rock,” poison him, run him over with a car, or “destroy his crops.” To Western ears, the biblical-sounding punishments—the stoning and crop destruction—juxtaposed strangely with his more modern-sounding call to vehicular homicide…
…But Adnani was not merely talking trash. His speech was laced with theological and legal discussion, and his exhortation to attack crops directly echoed orders from Muhammad to leave well water and crops alone—unless the armies of Islam were in a defensive position, in which case Muslims in the lands of kuffar, or infidels, should be unmerciful, and poison away.
The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam…
…Denying the holiness of the Koran or the prophecies of Muhammad is straightforward apostasy. But Zarqawi and the state he spawned take the position that many other acts can remove a Muslim from Islam. These include, in certain cases, selling alcohol or drugs, wearing Western clothes or shaving one’s beard, voting in an election—even for a Muslim candidate—and being lax about calling other people apostates. Being a Shiite, as most Iraqi Arabs are, meets the standard as well, because the Islamic State regards Shiism as innovation, and to innovate on the Koran is to deny its initial perfection. (The Islamic State claims that common Shiite practices, such as worship at the graves of imams and public self-flagellation, have no basis in the Koran or in the example of the Prophet.) That means roughly 200 million Shia are marked for death. So too are the heads of state of every Muslim country, who have elevated man-made law above Sharia by running for office or enforcing laws not made by God.
Following takfiri doctrine, the Islamic State is committed to purifying the world by killing vast numbers of people. The lack of objective reporting from its territory makes the true extent of the slaughter unknowable, but social-media posts from the region suggest that individual executions happen more or less continually, and mass executions every few weeks. Muslim “apostates” are the most common victims. Exempted from automatic execution, it appears, are Christians who do not resist their new government. Baghdadi permits them to live, as long as they pay a special tax, known as the jizya, and acknowledge their subjugation. The Koranic authority for this practice is not in dispute…
…Many mainstream Muslim organizations have gone so far as to say the Islamic State is, in fact, un-Islamic. It is, of course, reassuring to know that the vast majority of Muslims have zero interest in replacing Hollywood movies with public executions as evening entertainment. But Muslims who call the Islamic State un-Islamic are typically, as the Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel, the leading expert on the group’s theology, told me, “embarrassed and politically correct, with a cotton-candy view of their own religion” that neglects “what their religion has historically and legally required.” Many denials of the Islamic State’s religious nature, he said, are rooted in an “interfaith-Christian-nonsense tradition.”
…According to Haykel, the ranks of the Islamic State are deeply infused with religious vigor. Koranic quotations are ubiquitous. “Even the foot soldiers spout this stuff constantly,” Haykel said. “They mug for their cameras and repeat their basic doctrines in formulaic fashion, and they do it all the time.” He regards the claim that the Islamic State has distorted the texts of Islam as preposterous, sustainable only through willful ignorance. “People want to absolve Islam,” he said. “It’s this ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ mantra. As if there is such a thing as ‘Islam’! It’s what Muslims do, and how they interpret their texts.” Those texts are shared by all Sunni Muslims, not just the Islamic State. “And these guys have just as much legitimacy as anyone else…”
…In Haykel’s estimation, the fighters of the Islamic State are authentic throwbacks to early Islam and are faithfully reproducing its norms of war. This behavior includes a number of practices that modern Muslims tend to prefer not to acknowledge as integral to their sacred texts. “Slavery, crucifixion, and beheadings are not something that freakish [jihadists] are cherry-picking from the medieval tradition,” Haykel said. Islamic State fighters “are smack in the middle of the medieval tradition and are bringing it wholesale into the present day…”
…The Koran specifies crucifixion as one of the only punishments permitted for enemies of Islam. The tax on Christians finds clear endorsement in the Surah Al-Tawba, the Koran’s ninth chapter, which instructs Muslims to fight Christians and Jews “until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” The Prophet, whom all Muslims consider exemplary, imposed these rules and owned slaves…
…The last caliphate was the Ottoman empire, which reached its peak in the 16th century and then experienced a long decline, until the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, euthanized it in 1924. But Cerantonio, like many supporters of the Islamic State, doesn’t acknowledge that caliphate as legitimate, because it didn’t fully enforce Islamic law, which requires stonings and slavery and amputations, and because its caliphs were not descended from the tribe of the Prophet, the Quraysh.
Baghdadi spoke at length of the importance of the caliphate in his Mosul sermon. He said that to revive the institution of the caliphate—which had not functioned except in name for about 1,000 years—was a communal obligation. He and his loyalists had “hastened to declare the caliphate and place an imam” at its head, he said. “This is a duty upon the Muslims—a duty that has been lost for centuries … The Muslims sin by losing it, and they must always seek to establish it.” Like bin Laden before him, Baghdadi spoke floridly, with frequent scriptural allusion and command of classical rhetoric. Unlike bin Laden, and unlike those false caliphs of the Ottoman empire, he is Qurayshi…
…The caliph is required to implement Sharia. Any deviation will compel those who have pledged allegiance to inform the caliph in private of his error and, in extreme cases, to excommunicate and replace him if he persists. (“I have been plagued with this great matter, plagued with this responsibility, and it is a heavy responsibility,” Baghdadi said in his sermon.) In return, the caliph commands obedience—and those who persist in supporting non-Muslim governments, after being duly warned and educated about their sin, are considered apostates…
…[Cleric Anmem] Choudary said Sharia has been misunderstood because of its incomplete application by regimes such as Saudi Arabia, which does behead murderers and cut off thieves’ hands. “The problem,” he explained, “is that when places like Saudi Arabia just implement the penal code, and don’t provide the social and economic justice of the Sharia—the whole package—they simply engender hatred toward the Sharia.” That whole package, he said, would include free housing, food, and clothing for all, though of course anyone who wished to enrich himself with work could do so.
Abdul Muhid, 32, continued along these lines. He was dressed in mujahideen chic when I met him at a local restaurant: scruffy beard, Afghan cap, and a wallet outside of his clothes, attached with what looked like a shoulder holster. When we sat down, he was eager to discuss welfare. The Islamic State may have medieval-style punishments for moral crimes (lashes for boozing or fornication, stoning for adultery), but its social-welfare program is, at least in some aspects, progressive to a degree that would please an MSNBC pundit. Health care, he said, is free. (“Isn’t it free in Britain, too?,” I asked. “Not really,” he said. “Some procedures aren’t covered, such as vision.”) This provision of social welfare was not, he said, a policy choice of the Islamic State, but a policy obligation inherent in God’s law…
…If we had identified the Islamic State’s intentions early, and realized that the vacuum in Syria and Iraq would give it ample space to carry them out, we might, at a minimum, have pushed Iraq to harden its border with Syria and preemptively make deals with its Sunnis. That would at least have avoided the electrifying propaganda effect created by the declaration of a caliphate just after the conquest of Iraq’s third-largest city. Yet, just over a year ago, Obama told The New Yorker that he considered ISIS to be al-Qaeda’s weaker partner. “If a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” the president said…
…One way to un-cast the Islamic State’s spell over its adherents would be to overpower it militarily and occupy the parts of Syria and Iraq now under caliphate rule. Al‑Qaeda is ineradicable because it can survive, cockroach-like, by going underground. The Islamic State cannot. If it loses its grip on its territory in Syria and Iraq, it will cease to be a caliphate. Caliphates cannot exist as underground movements, because territorial authority is a requirement: take away its command of territory, and all those oaths of allegiance are no longer binding. Former pledges could of course continue to attack the West and behead their enemies, as freelancers. But the propaganda value of the caliphate would disappear, and with it the supposed religious duty to immigrate and serve it…
…Properly contained, the Islamic State is likely to be its own undoing. No country is its ally, and its ideology ensures that this will remain the case. The land it controls, while expansive, is mostly uninhabited and poor. As it stagnates or slowly shrinks, its claim that it is the engine of God’s will and the agent of apocalypse will weaken, and fewer believers will arrive. And as more reports of misery within it leak out, radical Islamist movements elsewhere will be discredited: No one has tried harder to implement strict Sharia by violence. This is what it looks like…
…It would be facile, even exculpatory, to call the problem of the Islamic State “a problem with Islam.” The religion allows many interpretations, and Islamic State supporters are morally on the hook for the one they choose. And yet simply denouncing the Islamic State as un-Islamic can be counterproductive, especially if those who hear the message have read the holy texts and seen the endorsement of many of the caliphate’s practices written plainly within them.
Muslims can say that slavery is not legitimate now, and that crucifixion is wrong at this historical juncture. Many say precisely this. But they cannot condemn slavery or crucifixion outright without contradicting the Koran and the example of the Prophet. “The only principled ground that the Islamic State’s opponents could take is to say that certain core texts and traditional teachings of Islam are no longer valid,” Bernard Haykel says. That really would be an act of apostasy.