Sunday, December 17, 2017

Geopolitics Europe: Observations From the Back Row

By Rich Kozlovich

One of the things everyone should easily be aware of - nothing is ever as it appears in politics, national or international. The only constant we can be assured of is - there will be change. Foundational systems for a stable world are crumbling, and although these structures continue to exist who can say for how long and what the outcome will be.

However, there are certain fundamentals that apply that allow for reasonable conclusions and anticipation of world events. One of them is - finances! Eventually everything has to be paid for! And that's not just a problem in the United States with over 20 trillion in outright debt, not to mention the financial obligations regarding Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. That might be a total debt load of over 100 trillion dollars.

Europe is a mess. There's talk of their era of harmony being over, but I say - there never really was any real harmony right from the beginning. The Brits have decided to leave the EU, causing a ton of anxiety on both sides of this issue, but I believe it's sending shivers down the backs of all the EU leadership and bureaucracy as they see this as the tip of the iceberg, and the harbinger of their doom.

Poland and Hungary are in revolt and simply refusing to adhere to EU demands, especially involving immigration, and the EU leadership is outraged and mostly helpless as the Eastern periphery of the EU revolts. Poland is moving toward what most western nation would view as undemocratic by taking control over what's seen on television and heard on the radio. They also planning on taking control over the judiciary. That really doesn't sit well with the EU. But we also have to understand all the EU countries have taken positions that could absolutely be construed as anti-democratic.

The center of the EU - Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands - along with Sweden, Norway and most likely Denmark want the Eastern bloc punished for their refusal to go along with the wishes of these dysfunctional leaders who've been leading Europe into an eventual oblivion of Muslim domination. Eastern Europe will not accept these suicidal EU policies and eventually the Center EU may be left to form their own coalition and continue the policies that's destroying Europe.

russia-europe-buffer-zones
Map from Geopolitical Futures

But the Eastern EU countries, and I include the Czechs in this, are a far different breed from the center, or even Britain. They don't really like the idea of being a singular entity, they don't like Muslim immigration, and they like their individuality. Europe is a mismatch of different cultures and different languages. How do you unify that mix, especially when their citizens don't really want unification?

Did you know the United States is officially on the metric system? That became official decades ago. But no one wanted it, and we're still measuring in inches, feet, gallons, miles per hour, etc. Making something the law doesn't mean it will be reality.

Europe isn't a nation. Europe is nothing more than a geographical expression, as a result it's simply not possible for EU politicians to be effective and force their views on the whole. Politics is the art of the possible. The EU isn't possible, in spite of the fact the leadership wants and thinks in terms of being an entity that's in harmony - the rules imposed by the EU make that impossible.

In the meanwhile, Europe's economic growth has been meager and anti-immigration forces are garnering strength, all of which is tearing Europe apart. And that includes their financial wherewithal.

Europe is in deep debt and here's the reality. If there's a worldwide economic downturn the EU will cease to exist overnight instead of in five years - which is my prediction - the EU will cease to exist as we know it within five years.  And countries like Greece will cease to exist as independent nations within 15 years, and it may be far less. 

The United States is one of the few, and possibly the only nation, that can actually survive such a downturn as the US, being a natural capital generator due to many factors, has the ability to overcome the debt load we discussed at the beginning.  The US is also capable of feeding itself, fueling itself, arming itself and defending itself, irrespective of what's going on in the rest of the world.   Neither Europe, Russia, China or much of the rest of the world of international trade is capable of doing all four of those foundational things.

Litigation — Ecofascists' New Weapon Against Dissent

In the age of litigiousness, why rebut when you can simply sue? That's the alarming philosophy adopted by the Left.

Jordan Candler Dec. 11, 2017 @ Patriot Post    

Believe it or not, there are a large number of climate researchers who refuse to become ecofascist henchmen. Unfortunately, their nonconformity on man-made global warming means there’s a significant price to pay, which is inflicted upon them with the help of the Leftmedia. Over the last several years, leftists have resorted to an increasingly radical approach to shutting down climate skepticism — for example, by dragging dissenters to court. The latest victims are the National Academy of Sciences and Christopher Clark.

The duo are the current targets of Stanford professor Mark Jacobson, who has initiated a $10 million defamation lawsuit because Clark and 20 fellow researchers recently presented an alternative view on renewable energy’s less-rosy potential via literature that appears at the National Academy of Sciences. According to Investor’s Business Daily, “The paper … was a robust critique of work done by Stanford professor Mark Jacobson, whose widely cited research claimed that the U.S. could easily switch to 100% renewable energy in as few as 35 years.” Sadly, we live in the age of litigiousness. So why rebut when you can simply sue? And that’s exactly what Jacobson did.

Such dragging through the mud is the Left’s new modus operandi. Prominent climatologist Michael Mann claimed defamation too when he sued Tim Ball, a fellow climatologist with whom he disagreed. Moreover, according to IBD, “Now another scientist finds himself being sued by environmentalists because his results failed to conform to what they wanted. In this case, the highly respected geoscientist Ricardo Villalba conducted a scientific survey of Argentina’s glaciers. Green groups said that his survey favored mining interests, and so filed suit against him. Villalba now faces criminal charges for violating a 2010 law meant to protect Argentina’s glaciers.” And lest we forget, AGs United for Clean Power wants to see climate skeptics prosecuted. Yet a new study by two Australian scientists points to evidence of sea level measurement malpractice. This is but a small sample of what the litigious Left doesn't want the public to see.

The esteemed author Michael Crichton once said, “The work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.” Unfortunately, ecofascists want to ensure consensus-breakers aren’t able to do so without suffering severe consequences.

Sweet Home Alabama

By Rich Kozlovich

Sweet Home Alabama was a song realease in 1974 by Lynyrd Skynyrd and was an instant hit, and as far as I can tell it's still popular.  As it turns out - it's also controversial - which I never knew until now.  At issue: Is it pro-South or is it Anti-South?  Is it conservative or is it liberal? 

I guess I just like the song and never got that involved in looking for - or seeing - any deep down hidden agenda or meaning.   I shouldn't be surprise though, since now even Jingle Bells is being called racist.  Is there anything the left can't declare as racist?  The left declares something as racist and their myrmidons have a knee jerk reaction, just like Pavlov's dogs who he conditioned to salivate when he rang a bell. 

But one thing is clear - it would appear this last election has created the same kind of controversy. 

Many of my readers will have noted I’ve not said much about the Alabama race and what Judge Roy Moore did or didn’t do. And the reason why?  I don’t really know what he did or didn’t do!  I did post articles by others showing this was a political ploy and most of what came out was highly dubious, but I kept wondering: why any 30-year-old man would want to date anyone who was a teenager, if he had no untoward intentions? 

It appears he treated them with respect, and it appears he was simply looking for a marriage partner who was half his age. Personally, I don’t think he did do anything untoward, but I also think a thirty year old man dating a sixteen year old girl is weird.

John Whitesides published this article: After Alabama upset, Democrats see new prospects in U.S. South, saying:
“The solidly Republican South suddenly looks a little less solid. Tuesday’s upset win by Democrat Doug Jones in Alabama, coupled with last month’s Democratic sweep in Virginia, has given the party new optimism about its 2018 prospects in the South and other conservative, heavily rural regions where Republicans have dominated for decades”  
DNC Chairman Perez claims Democrats can win in every zip code in America. Doug Jones feels his efforts should be the road map and template for Democrat wins all through the South by pushing for huge black turnouts and staying far away from the far left agenda touted by and driven by the Democratic National Committee. So it appears his solution to cracking the South is to mislead them about what the Democrat party stands for and by race baiting as the templant the Democrats need to crack the South away from the Republicans.

Is that really a way to create a tectonic shift among the conservative leaning South - not the Republican leaning South - the Conservative leaning South?

The fact of the matter is Democrats have serious problems with large areas of the country once they're outside major metropolitan areas, with the exception of places like New York, California and a few other places.  In spite of the media drum beating “sex offender” and “pedophile” 24/7 about Moore, this race was close.

That doesn’t seem like a tectonic shift to me.

Conservatives won’t forget what Democrats really think of them. Hillary called conservatives the 'Basket of Deplorables'.  Which Democrats condemned her for that? Do they think no one will remember Democrats think they're Deplorable

Or perhaps no one will remember Obama ridiculing them for being bitter, and as a result, “they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”   As if the country doesn’t really understand the real issue about immigration, especially illegal immigration.  It's about getting more Democrats elected and destroying the Constitution.   I'm I overstating that?  Who is it demanding the First Amendment (freedom of speech) be overtuned as hate speech? It's not conservatives!

Conservatives see this in broader terms, with better meaning and understanding than does the media or the Democrats, so why didn't they vote for Moore?  It's my opiniion they didn’t vote for him as they would have Sessions because they just didn’t like this whole problem with Moore.  Even if they believed he didn’t do anything wrong. Maybe, like me, they also thought his penchant for young girls was weird. But conservatives have learned to be patient, and they know this race wasn’t going to seat anyone for a normal six year Senate term.

Ann Coulter (who I think is also a bit weird, so it scares me when I think she demonstrates good insight and vision) wrote why she secretly wanted Judge Moore to lose.  Her cry - Brooks 2020!

She claims “Rep. Mo Brooks was the true Trumpian candidate in Alabama", which is why she "endorsed him in the primary"……”  saying, “Trump should have endorsed Brooks”…. “but he endorsed Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s pro-amnesty candidate, Luther Strange, on the advice of his son-in-law” [after all] “who knows Alabama politics better than Jared Kushner?” And I think that’s a critical statement!

The people of Alabama know Alabama far better than the national parties or the media, or Jard Kushner.  It's my view Alabama Republicans, especially the conservatives, are playing the long game.  The Democrats won a field goal.  Alabama conservatives want touchdowns. 

She notes, “Sessions won his last re-election with 97 percent of the vote", as a solid conservative! She feels Brooks can now run in 2020, and if elected can take the place of Sessions as being a solid conservative thorn in the side of the Mitch McConnell Senate Republicans.

Right now the Republican majority in the Senate is 51-49 - slim but not disastrous.  Conservatives see this farther down the road. John Whitesides notes: “Democrats will have to defend 26 seats, including 10 in states won by Trump. They would need to pick up two more Republican-held states to reclaim control.” “In the House of Representatives, Democrats need to gain 24 seats to win a majority.”

Can Democrats win outside major metropolitan areas of the country?  Can they retake the suburbs? That remains to be seen and given their penchant - and need - to cater to the left wing base and the unending racist rhetoric they spew out - it seems to me to be unlikely. As you look at who took the counties in the last Presidential election – not the states, the counties – Democrats lost big.

We'll see, but this isn't the disaster that's being painted by the left and their megaphones in the media.  The 2018 midterms will be a bloodbath for both parties.  For the Democrats it will be in the general election and for the Republicans it will be in the primaries, although some of that's been fixed by RINO's retiring so they won't have to face their constitutents.  But make no mistake about this - this Alabama election isn't what it appears on the surface. 

Reducing Antiquities Act land grabs

Special interests blatantly misrepresent President Trump and Interior Secretary’s actions

Paul Driessen

Acting on recommendations by Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, on December 4 President Trump significantly reduced the size of two enormous areas in Utah that Presidents Clinton and Obama had set aside as limited-access, no-development zones under the 1906 Antiquities Act.

Mr. Trump’s action reduced the Grand Staircase Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments from a combined 3.2 million acres (the size of Connecticut) to 1.2 million acres (slightly smaller than Delaware).

Utah residents and elected officials applauded the move as long overdue. Patagonia and North Face  outdoor apparel companies, environmentalist groups, and various liberal politicians and news outlets branded the action a desecration, claimed President Trump “stole” the lands from the American people, and launched coordinated and hyperventilated disinformation campaigns.

In reality, the actual thefts were masterminded and conducted by previous White House officials, in cahoots with radical environmentalists. Employing the immense power of the federal government, they took valuable state lands, multiple private lands and property rights, and a private company’s most valuable asset (America’s largest clean coal deposit) without any compensation whatsoever.

The Antiquities Act was intended to protect areas of historic, prehistoric or scientific value, and lands designated as monuments were to be “the smallest size compatible with the proper care and management” of objects or sites to be protected. Its goal is to safeguard fossils, unique plants and habitats, Native artifacts and sites, geologic structures and special scenic areas from damage, desecration and looting.

The first national monument ever designated (the 1,347-acre Devils Tower) respected the law’s language and intent, as have most designations since then. However, in recent decades presidents have increasingly used the act to circumvent Congress and replace proper legislative processes with executive decrees. They established enormous de facto wilderness areas with the stroke of a pen – usually with little or no consultation with people and elected officials in communities that would be most severely impacted.

It is these abuses that Messrs. Zinke and Trump sought to correct. In so doing, they followed decisions by Presidents Coolidge, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Taft and Wilson, who also reduced the size of previous monument designations. The Utah changes address arguably the greatest onshore Antiquities Act abuses.

President Clinton designated the 1,880,461-acre Grand Staircase Escalante Monument in large part to make a billion-dollar coal deposit off limits, by preventing any roads from reaching it. The action was quietly engineered by Katie McGinty, his White House Environmental Policy Office director, in collaboration with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. Even Mr. Clinton was not fully aware of what he was signing, and Ms. McGinty totally blindsided Utah Governor Michael Levitt, who (like every other citizen and official in Utah) knew nothing about the massive land lockup until it was a done deal.

(For all the sordid details, read chapter 12 in Cracking Big Green or chapter 4 in Undue Influence.)

President Obama designated the 1,351,849-acre Bears Ears NM three weeks before leaving office, largely to make still more energy, mineral and other resources off limits to exploration and development. He too did so without prior consultation with Utah’s governor, congressional delegation or residents. Offshore marine national monuments now total 760 million acres – 7-1/2 times the size of California!

Monument designation means exploration, drilling, mining, timber harvesting, motorized vehicles, and even grazing and gathering firewood are prohibited. People’s property rights, lives, livelihoods, living standards and life savings are grievously affected. The entire tax, job and revenue base of communities, counties and states is impacted. Thousands of acres of state “school sections” – which states are granted at the time of statehood to finance schools – are made off limits, with no compensation.

That’s real thievery. At the very least, this demands careful consultation with the people who live there, and negotiations with their representatives to ensure that all these interests are considered and addressed. Stroke-of-the-pen monument decrees callously circumvented all these constitutional, legal and ethical safeguards. They ensured that valuable property was taken without due process or just compensation.

Taken together, the original Grand Staircase and Bears Ears Monuments were far larger than the combined acreage of Utah’s Bryce and Zion National Parks. They are in addition to Utah’s three other national parks, six other national monuments, four national recreation and conservation areas, hundreds of miles of national trails, 31 national wilderness areas, and millions of acres in other restrictive land use categories – in a state where the federal government still owns 61% of all the land.

Compare that to states east of the Mississippi, where federal agencies own, manage or control just 0.3% of Connecticut and Iowa, and 0.6% of New York, for example. People and officials in these states have no inkling of what it is like to live in Western states where 30% to 80% of all lands are federally owned.

Even more important, the remaining Utah monument areas are still huge.  From Bears Ears, the new Shash Jáa monument is 130,000 acres (three times the size of Washington, DC) and Indian Creek is 72,000 acres (almost twice DC). From Grand Staircase Escalante, the new Grand Staircase is 210,000 acres (one-third of Rhode Island); Kaiparowits is 551,000 acres (81% of RI); and Escalante Canyons is 243,000 acres (36% of RI). To suggest that these monuments are now too small to safeguard their unique habitats, scenic areas, fossil sites, antiquities and Pueblo ruins is simply absurd – and disingenuous.

Imagine the Fish & Wildlife Service or other federal agency “protecting” one-half of Rhode Island or Delaware as a monument or endangered species habitat, to safeguard a Native American village site, small meteorite crater, scenic river valley, or rare fish, frog or bird habitat – on the bogus ground that making a smaller area off limits to human activity would leave it open to depredation.

That’s what Utah was dealing with – along with claims that a single mine, oil well, road, ranch, town or other sign of humanity’s presence … in areas the size of Rhode Island, Delaware or even Connecticut … would forever destroy the “wilderness character” of the entire area. This is what drives environmentalist activism and decades of pre-Trump federal land management policy. It’s deplorable and intolerable.

In reality, all areas removed from highly restrictive “national monument” status remain under the management and protection of multiple federal agencies and regulations. They are not being “stolen,” given to Utah or private interests, opened to rapacious looting and development, or left defenseless.

In stark contrast to the way Presidents Clinton and Obama designated the two original monuments, these decisions to reduce their size were made only after numerous extensive meetings and consultations, over a six-month period, with local residents and leaders, tribal and inter-tribal members and delegates, local, county and congressional representatives, environmental groups and many other parties.

If any of these or other people and organizations want official wilderness or park status for any of these areas that have been returned to traditional “multiple use” management and protection – they can and should utilize the legislative processes required by the Constitution, Wilderness Act and other laws. Any other approach would be improper, unconstitutional, illegal, unethical and dismissive of local interests.

On a related front, federal arrogance and heavy-handedness took the Obama era war on coal to the Navajo Nation. Citing specious climate change, health and “viewshed” justifications, regulators issued what were effectively execution orders for the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station and its associated coal mine –destroying two pillars of the precarious Navajo economy and living standards. In league with radical greens, they also scuttled plans to build the proposed state-of-the-art Desert Rock coal-fired power plant.

As in the case of huge Utah national monument designations, Navajo families and tribal leaders were deliberately and systematically excluded from the decision-making and property confiscation process.

This is the regulatory culture and mindset that President Trump and Secretary Zinke are trying to change. For doing so, they are meeting fierce resistance and disinformation from Patagonia, North Face and their allies. Shoppers might want to keep this in mind when thinking about what to buy for holiday gifts.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of books and articles on energy and environmental policy.

The Greek Experiment: Can an Economy Be Wiped Out by Taxation?

December 16, 2017 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty
 
Greece has confirmed that a nation can spend itself into a fiscal crisis.
 
And the Greek experience also has confirmed that bailouts exacerbate a fiscal crisis by enabling more bad policy, while also rewarding spendthrift politicians and reckless lenders (as I predicted when Greece’s finances first began to unravel).
 
So now let’s look at a third question: Can a country tax itself to death? Greek politicians are doing their best to see if this is possible, with a seemingly endless parade of tax increases (so many that even the tax-loving folks at the IMF have balked).
 
At the very least, they’ve pushed the private sector into hospice care.
 
Let’s peruse a couple of recent stories from Ekathimerini, an English-language Greek news outlet. We’ll start with a rather grim look at a very punitive tax regime that is aggressively grabbing money from taxpayers with arrears.
Tax authorities have confiscated the salaries, pensions and assets of more that 180,000 taxpayers since the start of the year, but expired debts to the state have continued to rise, reaching almost 100 billion euros, as the taxpaying capacity of the Greeks is all but exhausted. In the month of October, authorities made almost 1,000 confiscations a day from people with debts to the state of more than 500 euros. In the first 10 months of the year, the state confiscated some 4 billion euros.
But the Greek government is losing a race. The more it raises taxes, the more people fall behind.
in October alone, the unpaid tax obligations of households and enterprises came to 1.2 billion euros. Unpaid taxes from January to October amounted to 10.44 billion euros, which brings the total including unpaid debts from previous years to almost 100 billion euros (99.8 billion), or about 55 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. The inability of citizens and businesses to meet their obligations is also confirmed by the course of public revenues, which this year have declined by more than 2.5 billion euros. The same situation is expected to continue into next year, as the new tax burdens and increased social security contributions look set to send debts to the state soaring.
The fact that revenues have declined should be a glaring signal to politicians that they are past the revenue-maximizing point on the Laffer Curve.
 
But the government probably won’t be satisfied until everyone in the private sector is in debt to the state.
There are now 4.17 million taxpayers who owe the state money. This means that one in every two taxpayers is in arrears to the state, with 1,724,708 taxpayers facing the risk of forced collection measures. Of the 99.8 billion euros of total debt, just 10-15 billion euros is still considered to be collectible.
Here’s another article from Ekathimerini that looks at how Greece is doubling down on suicidal fiscal policy.
Greece is defying the prevalent trend among the world’s industrialized nations for reducing tax rates in order to boost investment and competitiveness… According to the report, in contrast to the majority of OECD member states, Greece has raised taxes and social security contributions as government policy is geared toward reaching fiscal targets, even though this inevitably harms the crisis-hit country’s competitiveness.
It’s hard to think of a tax that Greek politicians haven’t increased.
Greece…is also the only one among them that increased taxes on labor and corporate profits. …eight OECD member states reduced rates in 2017 on an average of 2.7 percent…, in stark contrast to Greece, which…has the highest corporate tax rates in the OECD compared to 2008. Many countries also offered breaks and reductions on income tax, …also cutting social contributions in 2015-2016. Not so Greece, which in 2016 raised both, thereby increasing the overall burden on low-income earners by 1.5 percent. Greece was also the only country in the OECD to raise value-added tax rates in 2016.
And what was accomplished by all these tax increases? Less tax revenue and recession. That’s a lose-lose scenario by almost any standard.
…in the 2014-2015 period, 25 of the 32 countries for which data is available recorded an increase in tax-to-GDP levels. The report…mentions Greece as an exception to this trend as well, noting that the country was in recession in that two-year period.
Even an establishment outlet like the U.K.-based Financial Times has noticed.
Unemployment is at 23 per cent and 44 per cent of those aged 15-24 are out of work. More than a fifth of Greeks get by without basics such as heating or a telephone connection. …Sweeping new taxes imposed across the economy have already left communities scrabbling to survive. …this year will bring €1bn worth of new taxes on cars, telecoms, television, fuel, cigarettes, coffee and beer… New taxes have eroded disposable incomes still further. Value added tax has increased to 24 per cent on food, disproportionately hurting the poor, for whom living costs represent a far higher proportion of income. Most detested is the Enfia property levy, which brings in €2.65bn a year – roughly €650 from each of Greece’s four million households. …recent direct taxes like the new estate tax have affected households that have seen their income decline greatly during the crisis. The rise of VAT, meanwhile, only adds to the cost of life of poor families.” …this month, new levies will mean the taxes paid by his business will jump 29 per cent.
Interestingly, the article acknowledges that profligate politicians created the mess, while also noting that the Greek people also deserve blame.
…blame is laid on the politicians who spent the 27 years of Greece’s EU membership before the crisis loading the country with debt to fund increased defence expenditure, more public sector jobs and higher pension and other social benefit payments. …“The Greek people should be blamed. We voted for these people,” he concludes.
The problem, of course, is that Greek voters don’t show any interest in now voting for politicians who will clean up the mess. Simply stated, too many people in the country are living off the government.
 
In other words, even though it’s mathematically possible to fix the problems, the erosion of societal capital suggests that Greece may have reached the point of collapse.
 
From a fiscal perspective, this chart from OECD data confirms that policy
 
 is getting worse rather than better. Measured as a share of economic output, taxes and spending have both become a bigger burden over the past 10 years.

 
What makes this chart especially depressing is that economic output is lower today than it was in 2005, which means that the problem isn’t so much that annual tax receipts and spending level are climbing, but rather that the private economy is declining.
 
Let’s close with an additional look at the moribund Greek economy and a discussion of how the bailouts have made a bad situation even worse.
 
The Wall Street Journal editorialized on the impact of ever-higher taxes and a still-stifling bureaucratic business environment.
…the bailout is not in fact working, if you think the goal should be to restore Athens to sound public finances and to offer Greeks economic hope for the future. The European Commission’s autumn forecast predicts eurozone economic growth of 2.2% this year, the fastest in a decade. But Greece is falling further behind. …Investment has collapsed in the country, to 11% of GDP last year from 26% of GDP in 2007. …The bailouts are creating a dangerous situation in which the government has enough cash to meet its debts but no one else in Greece can thrive.
And here’s the scary part. What happens when there’s another global recession? The already-bad numbers in Greece will get even worse. Not a pleasant thought.
 
P.S. If you want to know why I’m not optimistic about Greece’s future, how can you expect good policy from a nation that subsidizes pedophiles and requires stool samples to set up online companies? I’d be more hopeful if Greek politicians instead had learned some lessons from Slovakia or Latvia.
 
P.P.S. Notwithstanding a the constant stream of bad policy, I am capable of feeling sorry for Greece.
 
P.P.P.S. Newer readers may not be familiar with my collection of Greek-related humor. This cartoon is quite  good, but this this one is my favorite. And the final cartoon in this post also has a Greek theme.
 
We also have a couple of videos. The first one features a European romantic comedy and the second one features a Greek comic pontificating about Germany.
 
Last but not least, here are some very un-PC maps of how various peoples – including the Greeks – view different European nations. Speaking of stereotypes, the Greeks are in a tight race with the Italians and Germans for being considered untrustworthy.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Cartoon of the Day!

Tax Cuts

Dan Mitchell on Tax Plan

Grading the AiP House-Senate Republican Tax Plan

December 14, 2017 by Dan Mitchell
In early November, I reviewed the House’s tax plan and the Senate’s tax plan.  I was grading on a curve. I wasn’t expecting or hoping for something really bold like a flat tax.  Instead, I simply put forward a wish list of  a few incremental reforms that would make an awful tax system somewhat less punitive.  A few things to make April 15 more bearable.  Some changes that would give the economy a chance to grow faster and create more jobs so that living standards could improve. Is that asking too much? It wasn’t even a long list. Just two primary goals.
And two secondary goals.
Based on those items, I think House and Senate GOPers did a reasonably good job (at least compared to my low expectations earlier in the year).  Now let’s look at the agreement in principle (AiP) that was just announced by House and Senate negotiators and assign grades to the key provisions. And we’ll start by looking at the items on my wish list.  Is there a big reduction in the corporate tax rate?..........To Read More....


What’s the Best Tax Policy for Working Families?

December 15, 2017 by Dan Mitchell
Adopting tax reform (even a watered-down version of tax reform) is not easy.
  • Some critics say it will deprive the federal government of too much money (a strange argument since it will be a net tax increase starting in 2027).
  • Some critics say it will make it more difficult for state and local governments to raise tax rates (they’re right, but that’s a selling point for reform).
  • Some critics say it will make debt less attractive for companies compared to equity (they’re right, though that’s another selling point for reform).
  • Some critics say it will cause capital to shift from residential real estate to business investment (they’re right, but that’s a good thing for the economy).
Now there’s a new obstacle to tax reform. Senator Marco Rubio says he wants some additional tax relief for working families. And he’s willing to impose a higher corporate tax rate to make the numbers work.  That proposal was not warmly received by his GOP colleagues since the 20-percent corporate rate was perceived as their biggest achievement.  But now Republicans are contemplating a 21-percent corporate rate so they have wiggle room to lower the top personal tax rate to 37 percent. Which prompted Senator Rubio to issue a sarcastic tweet about the priorities of his colleagues.
"20.94% Corp. rate to pay for tax cut for working family making $40k was anti-growth but 21% to cut tax for couples making $1million is fine?"
Since tax reform is partly a political exercise, with politicians allocating benefits to various groups of supporters, there’s nothing inherently accurate or inaccurate about Senator Rubio’s observation......To Read More....

 

An Anti-Semitic Allahu Akbar in Amsterdam

Posted by Daniel Greenfield 0 Comments Wednesday, December 13, 2017 @ Sultan Knish Blog
 

 
 
Amsterdam’s HaCarmel restaurant sits between two other restaurants. The Jewish kosher eatery whose big blue sign boasts fish, meat and vegetarian options is sandwiched between a sidewalk café with its inevitable Heineken umbrellas on one corner of Amstelveenseweg and an ice cream place on the other corner. There’s an Italian restaurant across the street with some very nice front windows.

If the Muslim refugee had wanted to smash up any eatery, he had plenty of options. But he went to the Kosher restaurant. Inside were wooden chairs, white tablecloths and red roses. Outside came the guttural shriek of, “Allahu Akbar.” This was the battle cry with which Mohammed had inaugurated his massacre and enslavement of the Jews. The cuisine inside HaCarmel is Middle Eastern, but the attack showed why there are few Jews (or Christians) left in the Middle East outside Israel.

The Amsterdam cops had plenty of warning. The “Palestinian” was wearing a Keffiyah on his head, waving a large PLO flag in one hand and brandishing a club in the other while shouting, “Allahu akbar.”

Even in a city where 1 in 4 are Muslim, the attacker was putting on a hell of a display. He had done everything but put an ad in the paper announcing that he’s an Islamic terrorist. And so the police were already on the scene by the time the Islamic thug reached the Jewish restaurant.

Synagogues, kosher restaurants and any recognizably Jewish buildings in Europe are at risk of being attacked. Police officers and, in some countries, soldiers usually aren’t too far away from potential targets in nicer areas. But being there and actually stopping the attack is not at all the same thing.

Video shows the police officer arriving on the scene just in time. The Muslim refugee goes on shouting. Then he smashes HaCarmel’s front windows. The police, in typically European fashion, do nothing. Instead they stand there watching the Muslim thug as he smashes the glass with blow after blow as if they were attending the opening of an interesting art exhibit instead of a violent racist attack.

He starts smashing the door and the Amsterdam cops amble over for a better view. Their body language is casual and loose. They’re interested in the attack in the way that sightseers are. Maybe they’re admiring his Kosher restaurant window smashing techniques. But they’re not about to intervene.

A Muslim’s got a right to smash up a Jewish restaurant’s windows, is their attitude. Or maybe those are their orders. Their job is the usual job of cops to see that the situation doesn’t get out of control.

European cops do have their red lines. Even when it comes to outbursts of Muslim anti-Semitism.

Watching the video makes it clear what those red lines are. Muslims can safely smash Jewish windows while screaming, “Allahu Akbar”. It’s only when he finishes kicking through the glass and actually moves into the restaurant that one of the officers unhurriedly approaches him and urges him to come outside.

Then he’s finally tackled and arrested.

The European red line for anti-Semitism is that you can smash Jewish windows while the cops watch, but you won’t be allowed to potentially attack Jewish people. At least while the cops watch.

Once he was de-flagged, de-keffiyahed and taken down to the local police version of downtown, the “Palestinian” refugee told the police that he’s not anti-Semitic. It was just another of those Muslim attacks on Jews that have nothing to do with anti-Semitism.

Lefty politicians and the media rushed to blame Trump. But the Muslim refugee never mentioned Trump or Jerusalem. Muslims have been attacking Jews in Amsterdam long before Trump’s announcement.

Things were bad enough that cops dressed as Jews had been deployed to stop anti-Semitic attacks.

Rabbi Benjamin Jacobs, the Chief Rabbi of Holland, has had rocks thrown at him, he’s been called a dirty Jew and was nearly hit by a car. His house not far from Amsterdam has been vandalized five times. And the police have warned him not to travel by train. All this was before Trump had recognized Jerusalem.

Who’s doing all this?

According to the Jewish community’s anti-Semitism watchdog, 70% of anti-Semitic attacks in the Netherlands had been carried out by immigrants. And we aren’t talking about the Chinese.

Muslim harassment isn’t new at HaCarmel.

Passerby routinely spit at the windows. Nazi salutes and middle fingers are also commonplace. But the good people offering Nazi salutes to a Kosher restaurant aren’t the ones that the left expects. When a Jewish broadcaster filmed a Rabbi walking through a Moroccan neighborhood in Amsterdam, the men offering them Nazi salutes were as Aryan as Arafat, but as Muslim as Mohammed.

Supporting Muslim migration is the new Nazi collaboration. It’s smashing Jewish store windows, firebombing synagogues and driving Jews out of the cities of Europe.

HaCarmel isn’t located in a Muslim no-go zone. It’s a trendy area full of trendy eateries. The Heineken Experience and the Van Gogh Museum are less than 2 miles away. The Vondelpark is a few blocks away.

If this is what it’s like on Amstelveenseweg (“the new place to be in Amsterdam Old South”) imagine what it’s like in areas where the police won’t show up to stop the tourists from being too rattled. Imagine what it’s like to be in a synagogue that looks like an unremarkable concrete fortress and still gets vandalized every few weeks. Imagine what it’s like for ordinary Jews when even the Chief Rabbi regularly gets called a dirty Jew and has rocks thrown through his windows.

Left-wing politicians were quick to blame Trump. Reinier van Dantzig of D66, who touts Muslim refugees, blamed the “ill-considered statements of the leader of the free world.” But Trump didn’t come down to Amsterdam to smash a Jewish restaurant’s window. A Muslim migrant did that.

But meanwhile conservative Dutch politicians visited the restaurant in a show of solidarity.

That’s the usual shameful pattern in which the left excuses and defends Muslim anti-Semitism by blaming the Jews. “A distinction should be made between traditional anti-Semitism, which should be condemned and Muslim hatred for Jews, which stems from the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians,” Howard Gutman, Obama’s disgraced ambassador to Belgium, had argued.

The distinction is really an exception and a justification. Anti-Semitism is wrong unless Muslims do it. And Muslim anti-Semitism is just really a response to their oppression by the Jews.

The Kosher restaurant wasn’t the victim. It was the perpetrator.


Blaming Trump for anti-Semitic violence in Europe really blames the Jews. Trump just recognized the reality that Jerusalem is the center of Jewish religious, historic and political life. He didn’t create that reality. And so blaming Trump for recognizing the reality of Jewish Jerusalem just blames the Jews.

After the HaCarmel attack, Daniel Baron, the owner’s son, began sweeping up the mess. Friends from the Jewish community came by to help. But the customers haven’t come drifting back. Muslim terror has already depressed the nightlife in Paris and other European cities. And Jewish restaurants have long been the targets of Muslim violence. The closing act to the Charlie Hebdo attack was the massacre at a Kosher supermarket in Paris before the Sabbath. Obama famously described it as a random attack on “a bunch of folks in a deli." There have been lots of those "random” attacks by “lone wolves.”

But HaCarmel isn’t giving up.

“For what Trump did, they can break the windows ten more times,” Daniel Baron stated. “Jerusalem will still be Israel’s capital.”

The anti-Israel lobby of J Street, If Not Now, T’ruah and the rest of the gang often claim that they’re standing up to racists. But this is what actually standing up to racists, instead of collaborating with them, looks like.
 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Shall Every Knee Bow?

By Rich Kozlovich

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, its presumed our thoughts turn to issues of faith, so for the last few years between Thanksgiving and Christmas I have published this article, and will continue to do so most years, with additions expanding on the logic and factual foundation.

One of the things that started this was an article I read where a science commentator stated - with great confidence - the Theory of Evolution was now bullet proof. Really? My personal motto is De Omnibus Dubitandum - Question Everything, and I think this is worth questioning. So, let's do that together!

There was an article I came across entitled, "Many atheist scientists take their kids to church”! The article went on to say:
“about one in five atheist scientists with children involve their families with religious institutions even if they do not agree with the teachings, according to a study done by Rice University and the University at Buffalo.” The article pointed out “The findings surrounding atheists shouldn't be too surprising, since the Pew Forum Religious Survey taken back in 2008 that showed 21 percent of self-described atheists responded that they believe in God.”
Does everyone really find this to be all that extraordinary? Anthropologists have noted that in every culture in the world, and in all of human history, religion has played an important role in people’s lives. There was one prominent atheist, Antony Flew, who claimed at the end of his life he was now a believer. Why? Is it true "there are no atheists in foxholes"? Of course the explanation was that he had lost his mind - yet even Albert Einstein, who was not a religious person in any sense and absolutely rejected the idea of a personal God, also rejected the idea of atheism.

For the believers among my readers the explanation is simple; we are designed to believe. For the unbelievers among my readers the explanation is simple also. There is no other logical explanation!

The other thing that triggered this effort was a political debate on television where the moderator asked the Republican candidate, running for some office or other, if he believed in the Theory of Evolution. The candidate looked foolish because he was obviously flustered by the question, which clearly was the moderator’s goal.

The first thought from everyone should have been - why can’t any reasonably intelligent person answer this question intelligently? Yet many of those who profess to be believers would be equally flustered to provide a rational intellectual response in that situation. So let me help everyone!

Here is the answer and the correct response.

I wish to state categorically that I believe in the Theory of Evolution because that theory presents clear and incontrovertible scientific evidence there must be an Intelligent Designer!

Wow! I’m willing to bet that’s a shocker for many – on either side of the aisle -so let’s explore this.

For years I’ve been saying, “everything is the basics”. What's that mean? It means in order to understand anything we must explore the foundational thinking of what it is we’re trying to understand. If the foundation is flawed, then the entire structure of thinking that it’s built on is a false premise, and will collapse under scrutiny from its own weight - that is if we wish to really see the truth. And that is the crux of the matter isn’t it?

Believing takes on many forms. For some it has to do with a higher power. For others it can take on the worship of oneself, for others it can take on the worship of some philosophy or other; but humanity has the desire to look to some higher explanation for existence, and human existence in particular. But one thing seems clear, ‘believing’ is inherent to our genetic code. Otherwise how can anyone explain why so many have believed so much over so long a time of human history, and in so many different cultures?

Of course, the problem for the unbelievers among my readers with this explanation is that they would then have to explain how that genetic code was designed in that manner - or designed at all for that matter - if there is no higher power.

I do find it fascinating how some can believe that Intelligent Design is “a pig that won’t fly”! The design is so complicated that it defies explanation as to how infinitely small mutations over millions of years could bring us (and all else in the universe) to what now exists. Whether one disagrees or agrees with evolution, I question how anyone can say that there is no designer.

Some feel that an intelligent designer used evolution. Some feel evolution is a mistake constantly making more mistakes and changing everything all the time all by accident. I wonder how anyone can explain how this can happen by accident and develop successful organisms since "geneticists estimate that  99 out of 100 mutations are harmful, and about 20 out of the 99 are lethal."

Then there are those who [chap. 14] state there is so much “statistical data that they were at last able to confirm what they had suspected all along: Mutations were not 99 percent harmful to the DNA and the organism; they were 100 percent harmful! It was discovered that in EVERY instance, mutations caused some kind of damage—always! Out of it all, the researchers learned that DNA coding in the genes simply will not tolerate much change. More than just the slightest amount will ruin the code and the organism will be greatly weakened.”

According to the Theory of Evolution life started when electricity, in some form such as lightening, charged some molecules existing in a chemical rich ocean soup and thus became cellular life. Of course no one can explain where these mythical molecules came from or the chemical rich ocean. In point of fact - there is absolutely no evidence that this ever occurred, and there is no evidence that it can occur since no one has been able to duplicate this mythical event in a lab - ever.
"Abiogenesis is the idea of life originating from non-living material (non-life). This concept has expanded a great deal as mankind’s understanding of science has grown, but all forms of abiogenesis have one thing in common: they are all scientifically unsupportable."  
"Modern ideas of abiogenesis can be very complex..........from deep-sea lava vents to meteoric impact sites and even radioactive beaches. In general, all modern theories of abiogenesis imagine some scenario in which natural conditions create, combine, and arrange molecules in such a way that they begin to self-replicate.  
These theories vary widely as to the nature of these conditions, the complexity of the molecules, and so forth. All share at least one common factor: they are implausible to the point of impossibility, based on established science, including a DNA molecule which can’t form without a preexisting protein.  There is no “prototype first cell.”...........Life either had a natural origin (abiogenesis) or a supernatural origin (intelligent design).

They've been able to get molecules to group together, but it isn’t life! Especially since no one has ever been able to generate more than four of the twenty amino acids needed for life. These “cells” are all lacking in all the things that make life possible, including a DNA molecule which can’t form without a preexisting protein.   A molecule that's so complex they're now finding a " within the DNA code.

My friend Mike Shaw of Shaw’s Eco-Logic once commented:
"When I was at MIT I used to drive them nuts with this simple question: Where does the information whereby the transfer RNA is able to decode the Messenger RNA sequence into a protein come from? After all, there are enzymes (proteins) that help synthesize the DNA and RNA sequences into their particular coding, thus creating those enzymes, right? As such, we have an untenable case of circular logic. Somehow, the nucleic acids just seem to "know" the proper sequence of their nucleotides; or, the protein (enzyme) seems to "know" the proper sequencing."
Protein molecules are amazingly complex, and are absolutely necessary for life. Furthermore, in order for a cell to function it takes 2000 protein enzymes. If life started in the ocean in some chemical rich soup, through some accidental electrical discharge then how did that cell, or group of cells, survive long enough to replicate themselves? That's foundational!

Evolutionary thought would require millions of years of mutations before the next step to propagation would come into being. If that’s so - how did they replicate? If we are to believe what proponents of evolutionary theory claim, then we have to recognize that these mythical cells would have died within seconds, minutes or days, but they would have ceased to exist long before they could have reproduced. How do I know that?

Let's go back to the foundational question once again!

If life could only advance from active cells in the ocean in some chemical rich soup, which came into being as a result of some accidental electrical discharge; how did that cell, or group of cells, replicate themselves to become what we are all now through a series of mutations occurring over millions of years?

As we explore this we must realize there is a very serious crack in the foundation of their theory - and logic. When you think this out correctly the very foundation for the explanation propounded by scientists gets even more complicated and incomprehensible. If such an event really did take place, the first order of business would not be propagation - the first order of business would be survival!

Survival means that this mythical cell, or cells, would have already had an advanced biological system in place allowing them to recognize the need for nutrition. In order for any of this to occur the cells would have to be self aware to some extent, no matter to how small a degree, which in itself would require some sort of advanced design. Which leads to the next obvious question - “How does matter become conscious of itself?”

Then it would not only have to be able recognize the need for nutrition, it would also have to be able to recognize what was nutritional and what was not. These mythical cells would then need a system for absorption, i.e., some way to eat! That would then require a digestive system, which would require an internal biological mechanism allowing the organism to recognize and separate that which was nutritional from what would become waste during the absorption process. Then the cells would require an energy storage and utilization system, and the ability to recognize what was food, where it was and a form of locomotion to get to it - and finally - after all of that, this mythical organism would require a system for waste elimination.

Then and only then would propagation come into play!

That's a definition of a complex organism with advanced biological systems completely in tack and functioning together harmoniously from the very first second of its existence. What organism could possibly survive long enough without these advanced fundamental functions that would allow it to live long enough to propagate? But then we come to the next crack in the "science" and logic of Evolution: How many millions of years of mutations would it take to allow for enough development to allow for propagation? Millions of years and millions of small mutations, all of which would have to be beneficial mutations. So what happened in those millions of years between origin and propagation?

Does it seem rational this could possibly occur if it takes millions of years of tiny mutations to create a next step in the developmental process as scientists claim? And - once again - we are expected to believe this came about as an accident after an electrical discharge of some sort?

Okay, let’s say, for the sake of argument, it did happen - it still means the organism had to have some seriously advanced biological functions to survive past a very short time. If that’s the case, and it clearly must be, then doesn’t that imply planning and design? Doesn’t planning and design require intelligence?

Do we really think these advanced systems could come into existence at once without some predetermined design?

Which brings me back to the beginning!

Evolutionally thought requires millions of years of mutations before any of these absolutely necessary biological systems would come into being before the organism could advance to the next step of propagation. So assuming these organism’s survived, we have to wonder how any organism could know which tiny mutations were beneficial, or even needed, over a million years or so, and decide to save them for a next step, which presumably was another accidentally mutation. The complexity of that kind of design would require some kind of organizational planning and implementation. With the rate of detrimental versus beneficial mutations it could not be accidental and still be beneficial!

Now let’s take a look at propagation!

Take a woman’s monthly cycle. It is amazingly complex! The right amount of chemicals, hormones and enzymes would have to come into play in exactly the right sequence of time in order to begin the cycle and finish the cycle. However, if a woman becomes pregnant during the cycle another whole set of chemical conditions would come into play. How could any organism know how to plan for two diametrically opposing end results?

Remembering that there are untold numbers of species in the world that have cycles unique unto themselves, that means that this would have to be done an incalculable number of times in an incalculable number of organisms and all be beneficial. One negative mutation would seemingly doom the organism. Yet, we are to believe that this happens through a series of positive accidents that would overcome all of these deadly accidents! Isn't that a form of belief, i.e. faith? It does seem to defy logic...or science as it were!

How would any organism know what chemicals to develop over millions of years? How did the organism know that hormones and enzymes were needed along with other chemicals? How would the organism know how to organize them? How did the organism know which chemicals would work harmoniously together and in conjunction with enzymes and hormones? How would these organisms know how to ‘create’ them? And finally, how did the organism know what end result would follow without some sort of plan?

However, even with a design - how could incredibly small mutations be of value during the whole process of millions of years? In point of fact, it seems reasonable that these mutations would hinder continued existence, not enhance it. But even if you accept the idea of small changes over millions of years the question still remains  -  how could all of that come into being without intelligence behind it?

How could so many complex systems come into being all at once without some sort of design and an application of the design? Wouldn’t the presumption be that these cells already had an amazingly complex chemical make-up that would create an end result? If so, doesn’t that imply planning and design? Doesn’t planning and design require intelligence? And if these events actually did happen, and cells came into existence with all these complicated biological systems in place; what would you call it? Creation?

Dennis Prager wrote an article on June 18, 2013 titled, “Why Some Scientists Embrace the'Multiverse'”,  where-in he cites views held by prominent scientists regarding this universal complexity and just how fragile it is.

He quotes:
“Michael Turner, astrophysicist at the University of Chicago and Fermilab: "The precision is as if one could throw a dart across the entire universe and hit a bulls eye one millimeter in diameter on the other side."  
"The really amazing thing is not that life on Earth is balanced on a knife-edge, but that the entire universe is balanced on a knife-edge and would be total chaos if any of the natural 'constants' were off even slightly." Paul Davies, professor of theoretical physics at Adelaide University  
Steven Weinberg, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics, and an anti-religious agnostic, notes that "the existence of life of any kind seems to require a cancellation between different contributions to the vacuum energy, accurate to about 120 decimal places. This means that if the energies of the Big Bang were, in arbitrary units, not: 1 followed by 118 zeros…but instead: 1 followed by 118 zeros and a 1, there would be no life of any sort in the entire universe."
Dennis goes on to say:
“Unless one is a closed-minded atheist (there are open-minded atheists), it is not valid on a purely scientific basis to deny that the universe is improbably fine-tuned to create life, let alone intelligent life. Additionally, it is atheistic dogma, not science, to dismiss design as unscientific. The argument that science cannot suggest that intelligence comes from intelligence or design from an intelligent designer is simply a tautology. It is dogma masquerading as science.”  
"The universe is far more massive and complex than previously thought. The observable universe boasts at least 10 times as many galaxies as originally estimated......This means that the cosmic census of galaxies, which has been conventionally pegged at around 100 to 200 billion, may be closer to a whopping two trillion individual galactic systems."....... “It boggles the mind that over 90 percent of the galaxies in the universe have yet to be studied".
Which brings me to what I consider a central point in our exploration of the Theory of Evolution - where and how did the theory really originate?

Darwin wasn't the originator of this theory, as one writer noted - "Darwin was primarily the enthusiastic collector of the ideas of others", and probably stole his theory from his grandfather Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802) who had "already had pretty much developed a full theory of evolution."

But it goes back much further to ancient Greece with Pythagoras, a searcher of enlightenment who traveled all over his known world. It's believed he was influenced by Hindu religious thinking and the transmigration of the soul - migrating from lower forms to higher forms. This pattern of thinking continued through the centuries to Darwin.
"The Hindus were Spinozas 2,000 years before the birth of Spinoza, Darwinians centuries before the birth of Darwin, and evolutionists many centuries before the doctrine of evolution had been accepted by the Huxleys of our time, and before any word like 'evolution' existed in any language of the world." - Sir M. Monier-Williams, Professor of Sanskrit, Oxford University
It appears the Theory of Evolution is in reality nothing more than a tenet of pagan religion, and an article of faith for unblievers.  Interesting dichotomy, don't you think? 

I can understand anyone’s reason for not subscribing to any religious group. The sanguinary history of the world’s religions has not done much to inspire confidence over the course of human history. So I can understand someone being un-religious, and I can understand why someone would believe that there may be a higher power that doesn’t interfere in the lives of humanity. I can understand why people might not be sure and proclaim they're agnostic - although I consider that to be pragmatic atheism.

What I can’t understand is how anyone cannot believe there must be a planner behind this phenomenally complex reality we call - existence! And that's why I say I believe in the Theory of Evolution because it scientifically proves that there must be an Intelligent Designer! A Creator!

I will leave it to you to decide for yourself if there is a benevolent God. But there must be a creator.

That’s foundational!   That’s “the basics”!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Hollywood is Shocked, Shocked I Tell You.

By Rich Kozlovich

R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. posted an article at American Spectator yesterday entitled, The Revolution Eats Its Own, saying:
As I ponder the lengthening list of alleged sexual offenders drawn from Hollywood, the arts, the media, and politics, I am moved to wonder why are the overwhelming majority of the accused prominent luminaries of the left.  
Those accused on the right claim utter innocence including Bill O’Reilly, who nonetheless paid out a fortune to accusers — go figguh, as they say in Brooklyn.  
At any rate, the lefties constitute the growing multitude. At the top of the list — at least for me — is Bill Clinton, aided and abetted by his lovely wife Bruno. In the 1990s many of the same people who are out for the blood of today’s sexual assailants were among Bill’s proud defenders, but I will bet that he is not sleeping easily today.
When The American Spectator was on the prowl in the 1990s we had dozens of other women — shall we say? — under surveillance quite aside from those we did report on?  
What if those taciturn ladies from yesteryear were to step forward now to join Juanita Broaddrick (she claims rape), Kathleen Willey (groped), and the loquacious Paula Corbin Jones (“kiss it”)? Of course, today’s list of accused assailants began with the Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, whose problems, incidentally, began just months after he sat down with the Clintons, post-election, to plot a documentary about how Donald Trump stole the election from Hillary.  
Harvey was very tight with the Clintons, though in a few months Hillary would banish him, saying she was “shocked and appalled by the revelations” — ahem."
Everything the author says here is largely true, and logical.....but.....so what? Hillary was "shocked and appalled"  Really? Really?  So was Captain Louis Renault... SHOCKED! Shocked I tell you!

Leftists who've been guilty of condemnation without validation have chortled and toasted themselves, but they're now being hoisted on their own petards. Let me say it..............schadenfreude! But just a little schadenfreude can go a long way.

This will play out like all of the latest outrages of the day and things will be different, especially among the media's leftists.....at least those who are left. At some point the public will tire of all of this. At some point someone will sue the companies who are firing them without due process. At some point someone will sue their accusers.....and win.......and it will all stop. Why? Because most people don't conduct themselves in the low way as have these prominent political, entertainment and media people.  Let's face it, making claims about average people don't get the publicity or payouts as it does when a prominent person is "outed".   And all of this has already become tiresome.

This sordid behavior has gone on forever - not to diminish the fact this conduct is unacceptable - but this isn't really new.....really.....it isn't. Hollywood has been notorious for this from the beginning, and that's been well known forever. So, are we to assume these Hollywood stars who have come forth now were stunningly ignorant about how an industry that's promoted every sort of despicable behavior actually conducted itself? And now an industry full of immoral behavior is outraged at.... immoral behavior?

These stars must have known what the game was and chose to play it. They must have known the price and chose to pay it in order to take a short cut to fame and success, don't you think? After all, they would have us all believe their smarter than America as a whole since they constantly telling us what positions Americans should take on every political, moral and environmental issue facing America.  If that’s true, then they must have been aware of what they were getting into.  Don't you think?  Or are they stupid, disingenous or both?    

Will there be benefits to society overall over this? Sure! All companies will institute directives to try and ameliorate such behavior.

Will there be a downside to all of this? Sure. From this point on attorneys and activists will stir up the pot against anyone they dislike whether the facts support such action or not.

 Gloria Allred is already feeding at the trough, and she'll be followed by a lot more soon enough.

One more thing. 

This will be my only post today because even a newsie like me can stand only so much. 

Best wishes, Rich

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

What the War Over Jerusalem is Really About

Posted by Daniel Greenfield 4 Comments Monday, December 11, 2017 @ Sultan Knish Blog

Hamas has announced that President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has opened the “gates of hell.” Its Muslim Brotherhood parent has declared America an “enemy state.”

The Arab League boss warned that the Jerusalem move “will fuel extremism and result in violence.” The Jordanian Foreign Minister claimed that it would “trigger anger” and “fuel tension.”

“Moderate” Muslim leaders excel at threatening violence on behalf of the “extremists”.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) warned that recognizing Jerusalem will trigger an Islamic summit and be considered a "blatant attack on the Arab and Islamic nations."

The last time the OIC was this mad, someone drew Mohammed. And wasn’t stoned to death for it.

According to the Saudi ambassador, it will “heighten tensions”. The Deputy Prime Minister of Islamist Turkey called it a “major catastrophe”. And the leader of the largest Muslim country in Europe, France's Emmanuel Macron "expressed concern" that America will “unilaterally recognize Jerusalem."

PLO leaders and minions meanwhile made it quite clear that now the dead peace process is truly dead.

The Palestinian Authority’s boss warned that recognizing Jerusalem will “destroy the peace process”. The PLO’s envoy in D.C. threatened that it would be the “final lethal blow” and “the kiss of death to the two-state solution”. A top PA advisor claimed it “will end any chance of a peace process.”

A day later, the peace process is still as alive and as dead as it ever was.

Since the chance of a peace process is about the same as being hit by lightning while scoring a Royal Flush, that “chance” doesn’t amount to anything. The peace process has been deader than Dracula for ages. And even a PLO terrorist should know that you can’t threaten to kill a dead hostage.

The only kiss of death here came from Arafat.

Peace wasn’t killed though. It was never alive. Because a permanent peace is Islamically impossible.

"The world will pay the price," warned Mahmoud Habash, the Palestinian Authority’s Supreme Sharia judge.

Habash isn’t just the bigwig of Islamic law, he’s also the Islamic adviser to the leader of the Palestinian Authority. And Abbas, the terror organization’s leader, was there when Habash made his remarks.

Previously Habash had declared that the Kotel, the Western Wall of the fallen Temple, the holiest site in Judaism, “can never be for non-Muslims. It cannot be under the sovereignty of non-Muslims.”

While the official warnings from the Palestinian Authority, the Arab League and assorted other Islamic organizations have claimed that recognizing Jerusalem threatens the non-existent peace process, Habash had in the past had made it quite clear that the issue wasn’t land, it was Jihad.

“The struggle over this land is not merely a struggle over a piece of land here or there. Not at all. The struggle has the symbolism of holiness, or blessing. It is a struggle between those whom Allah has chosen for Ribat and those who are trying to mutilate the land of Ribat," Habash had declared.

Ribat means that Israel is a frontier outpost between the territories of Islam and the free world. The Muslim terrorists who call themselves “Palestinians” have, according to the Abbas adviser, been chosen for “Ribat” to stand guard on the Islamic frontier and expand the territories of Islam.

The sense of Ribat is that the Jihadists may not yet be able to win a definitive victory, but must maintain their vigilance for the ultimate goal, which a Hadith defines as performing Ribat “against my enemy and your enemy until he abandons his religion for your religion."

That is what’s at stake here.

It’s not about a “piece of land here or there”, as the PA’s top Sharia judge clarifies, it’s a religious war. And Israel is not just a religious war between Muslims and Jews, but a shifting frontier in the larger war between Islam and the rest of the world. It’s another territory to be conquered on the way to Europe. And Europe is another territory to be conquered on the way to America.

There can be no peace in a religious war. Nor is there anything to negotiate.

“It isn't possible to compromise on or negotiate over Jerusalem,” Habash had said. “In politics there can be compromises here and there... In politics there can be negotiation. However, in matters of religion, faith, values, ethics, and history, there can be no compromises.”

There’s an extremely thin line in Islamic theocracy between politics and religion. But what Habash is really saying is that there might be room to negotiate how many times a week the garbage truck comes to pick up the trash, but not who gives him the orders. Islamic supremacism is non-negotiable.

The Supreme Sharia judge warned Trump that moving the embassy is “a declaration of war on all Muslims.” Why all Muslims? Because the “Palestinians” are a myth. Islamic conquests are collective.

And it’s not as if any of the Muslim leaders disagree.

Why is Jerusalem their business? It’s not empathy for the “Palestinians”. Kuwait ethnically cleansed huge numbers of them. They aren’t treated all that much better in other Arab Muslim countries.

It’s not about them. The Muslim settlers in Israel are just there as “Ribat”. They’re the frontier guard of the Islamic conquest. Much like the Sharia patrols in the No-Go Zones of Europe or the Jihadists in Kashmir, the Rohingya in Burma and all the other Islamic Volksdeutsche variants of occupying colonists.

Sunni may fight Shiite. Muslim countries, tribes and clans may war with each other. But the land they’re fighting over belongs to all of them collectively.

It can never belong to non-Muslims. That is the essence of Islam where conquest is religion.

That’s true of Jerusalem. And of the entire world.

That is what is truly at stake in the war over Jerusalem. When countries refuse to move their embassies to Jerusalem, they are submitting to Sharia law and Islamic supremacism. The issue at stake is the same one as drawing Mohammed. It’s not about a “piece of land”. It’s about the supremacy of Islam.

Refusing to move the embassy doesn’t prevent violence. Islamic terrorism continues to claim lives in Jerusalem. And Islamic violence has been a constant before Israel liberated Jerusalem or before there was even a free Israel. The Arab League, the Jordanians, the Saudis and the rest of the gang aren’t promising an end to the violence. Instead they warn that if we don’t obey, it will grow worse.

That’s not diplomacy. It’s a hostage crisis.

President Trump made the right decision by refusing to let our foreign policy be held hostage. We don’t win by giving in to terrorists.

We win by resisting them. Or else we’ll have to live our lives as hostages of Islamic terror.

Jerusalem is a metaphor. Every free country has its own Jerusalem. In America, it’s the First Amendment. Our Jerusalem is not just a piece of land, it’s a value. And the Islamic Jihad seeks to intimidate us into giving it up until, as the Hadith states, we abandon our religion for Islam.

Moving the embassy to Jerusalem will do much more for America than it will for Israel.

The Israelis already know where their capital is. We need to remember where we left our freedom. Islamic terrorists win when they terrorize us into being too afraid to do the right thing.

President Trump sent a message to the terrorists that America will not be terrorized.

Previous administrations allowed the terrorists to decide where we put our embassy. But Trump has made it clear that we won’t let Islamic terrorists decide where we put our embassies, what cartoons we will draw or how we live our lives. That is what real freedom means.