Friday, November 26, 2021

Israel to Ask Donor Countries to Resume Aid to Palestinian Authority - Hugh Fitzgerald

 

​ by Hugh Fitzgerald

Say it ain't so.

 


The Israeli government believes it has a stake in the financial well-being of the Palestinian Authority, and is prepared to ask donors to the PA to restore their previous level of aid. This is not only counterintuitive; it is also wrong. A report on this plan is here: “Israel to ask donor countries to restore payments to Palestinians,” by Tovah Lazaroff, Jerusalem Post, November 14, 2021.

The thinking in Jerusalem is that the PA needs to win back the support of its largely impoverished population, in order to prevent a Hamas takeover of the Palestinian-populated parts of the West Bank. But Mahmoud Abbas has so enraged the Palestinians, 80% of whom now say they want him to quit, that more aid money made available to the Palestinians is unlikely to win them back. More money will not remove the fury over Abbas’ despotic rule – he is now in the seventeenth year of his four-year term as President. It will not assuage the anger over his raising hopes by calling for parliamentary and presidential elections in January, and then dashing those hopes in March by canceling both, when he realized his Fatah faction would lose seats in the Parliament and, even worse, he would lose the presidency in a landslide for his opponent, whoever that might be. And more money distributed to Palestinians will not make them any less enraged over the murder of activist Nizar Banat, a severe critic of Abbas’ corruption, who was taken away from his brother’s home by Abbas’ security services, and beaten to death.

Israel is set to ask donor countries to restore their financial contributions to the Palestinian Authority at the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee meeting in Oslo on Wednesday, according to a source in the Ministry for Regional Cooperation.

Those donations have dropped by 85% over the last 13 years, according to a World Bank report published last week in advance of the donor meeting. In 2008, the global community contributed $1.2 billion to the PA, which was an all-time high and this year, donor funds are only expected to amount to $184 million, the World Bank explained.

There are many reasons for the steady decrease in aid to the PA from $1.2 billion in 2008, its highest ever, to $184 million – its lowest ever — in 2021. One is simply donor fatigue. Especially among the Arab states, there has been exasperation with the PA for continually going to the well of Arab support, without making any effort to negotiate with Israel. The Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, famously told Mahmoud Abbas in 2018 to “accept whatever deal the Americans offer.” The Saudis are less inclined too, to help the PA, now that they are collaborating on security matters with Israel against their common foe, Iran. The Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the Kingdom’s sworn enemy, is Hamas, which rules Gaza and has a strong presence in the West Bank. The Saudis have no intention of sending aid that might inadvertently end up in the hands of Hamas The United Arab Emirates, having normalized ties with Israel as a member of the Abraham Accords, and already having reaped enormous benefits — $675 million in trade deals with the Jewish state in the first year alone –has concluded that its own national interest benefits from ever closer ties to Israel and, as a consequence, has cut its aid to the PA

As for European donors, they have cut back on aid to both to the PA and to UNRWA because of the continued failure of both to remove antisemitic content from their schoolbooks; the PA leaders, and UNRWA officials, keep promising to revise those books, or to replace them entirely, but never do, and the EU, fed up, earlier this year demanded action, and to back up its demand held back all of its aid to the PA, claiming “technical problems.” The Europeans are also infuriated that the PA has continued with its “Pay-For-Slay” program, not only because this program both rewards past, and incentivizes future, terrorism, but also because it has led the Israelis, quite understandably, to withhold the precise amounts the PA distributes to imprisoned terrorists and to the families of terrorists killed while carrying out their attacks; that sum is deducted by Jerusalem from the customs duties that Israel collects for, and transfers to, the PA. All Abbas has to do in order to unlock several hundred million dollars that Israel has withheld but stands ready to provide, is to halt the Pay-For-Slay program. He still won’t do so, and yet he expects foreign donors to increase their aid and rescue the Palestinians from the consequences of his own obstinacy.

Why should Israel be attempting to persuade former donors to revive their previous support of the PA? How will this money help persuade Palestinians to overlook Abbas’ despotism, his refusal to hold elections even after seventeen years in office, the murder of Nizar Banat by his goons? The only way to improve the situation for the Palestinians in the West Bank, so that they do not turn to Hamas, is to get rid of Abbas himself. And that can be accomplished only by bringing down his government, which requires starving it of funds. The system he has created depends upon providing well-paid sinecures to the relatives and friends of his loyalists; If he has to cut back on their salaries, or even to reduce the number of such jobs available to distribute to his loyalists, his position weakens. He survives only because he can provide extravagant salaries — ten times the average Palestinian wage — to those who, in return, support him. The Israelis want to convince others to provide him with the wherewithal to remain in power. I think he should be forced to cling ever more uneasily to power, his weakness making him ultimately more receptive to a deal with the Jewish state.

Why should any country renew its aid to the PA, while the $400-$600 million fortune that Abbas and his two grasping sons, Tarek and Yasser, have assembled remains untouched?

Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frej (Meretz) who is expected to represent Israel at the meeting, will ask donor countries to restore payments and to invest in particular in projects involving water and health, a source told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday….

Before restoring any payments, the donor countries should demand an accounting from Mahmoud Abbas: how exactly did he and his sons amass that fortune recently estimated at $600 million, and how much of that money will be returned to the PA treasury? Not a dime more from donors should be forthcoming, until that information is made available, and until Abbas has disgorged most of his ill-gotten gains — say, a half-billion dollars — to the PA, leaving him with the still considerable sum of $100 million. The donor countries have a right to look at the PA books, to see who holds those sinecures, what their jobs supposedly entail, how much they are paid, and who they are related to, so as to unravel the systematic corruption that keeps Abbas in power.

The meeting comes as the PA faces an acute financial crisis, with both the World Bank and the United Nations warning that it has a looming $1.36 billion deficit and may not be able to pay its civil servants at the end of this year.

If the PA is not able to pay its civil servants, that weakens Abbas’ hold on them, which is purely a result of the money he allows his sinecure-holding loyalists to be given. The less money Abbas has, the more pressure he will be under to end the “Pay-For-Slay” program so as to unlock the hundreds of millions of dollars in customs duties that Israel refuses to release as long as that program continues. Unlike Abbas, the PA’s civil servants — who don’t have his huge fortune to fall back on — are more willing to give up “Pay-For-Slay” if it means their paychecks won’t be interrupted.

Frej is expected to urge the Palestinian Authority to take advantage of economic benefits offered it through the Abraham Accords, an initiative it has rejected. This could include tourists initiative between the PA and Arab countries that have normalized ties with Israel, such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco.

In other words, Israel’s Regional Cooperation Minister, Essawi Frej, himself an Arab, will urge the PA to encourage Arab tourists from the Abraham Accords countries – the U.A.E., Bahrain, Morocco – when they are visiting Israel, to also visit the PA territories in the West Bank.

Israel also plans to present a number of initiatives that could add money into the PA coffers, including an electronic VAT system, that would ease custom collections. It is estimated that this could save the PA NIS 100,000 million shekels a year….

The introduction of an electronic system for calculating and collecting VAT would save the PA roughly $30 million a year. That amount is insufficient to make much of a difference to the PA’s wellbeing.

In a report it published last week, the Office for the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process called for the Paris Protocol to be updated….

Without any details having been offered, it’s hard to be certain as to what “updating” the Paris Protocol between Israel and the PA would mean. I assume it means that the PA should be wiling to engage in economic partnerships with Israeli businesses and individuals, instead of treating the possibilities of collaborating with Israelis with great distrust.

Here is a suggestion. Instead of attempting to persuade donor countries to again open their purse-strings to the PA yet again, Israel should insist on two things.

First, the Jewish state should insist that the “Pay-For-Slay” program be shut down, so that Israel can immediately pay the customs duties that it has been withholding from transfer to the PA; these hundreds of millions of dollars will relieve the sense of urgency at the PA, and at the same time, force it at long last to end the morally intolerable system whereby it rewards past, and incentivizes future, terrorism, even if it does not itself send terrorists out on missions. Israel should not be encouraging donor nations to renew their aid to the PA, but instead, be urging them to demand, with a single voice, the end of “Pay-For-Slay.” And if it won’t do so, then those donors should deny the PA even the small amount of aid it is currently providing.

Second, Israel should raise the one issue that sends Mahmoud Abbas into a frenzy – the continuing massive corruption that has been responsible for more than a half-billion dollars in donor aid to the PA being diverted to Mahmoud Abbas, his sons, his other relatives, and his thousands of loyalists and their relatives and friends. Israel should raise the forbidden subject — the need for most of that money to be disgorged, and put to use for the ordinary Palestinians whom Abbas claims to care so much about. Abbas’ continued ability to cling to power, with the PA in a permanently precarious condition financially, is not something Israel should try to prevent. It’s a good thing. It will ultimately force Abbas to put a stop to “Pay-For-Slay,” which should severely undermine the recruiting of terrorists. With less aid money coming in, the PA leaders will also have a decreased ability to divert funds to themselves, which would be felt more keenly than in times of plenty. Israel should raise at the donors’ conference the need to demand the disgorgement to the PA, by Mahmoud Abbas and his equally corrupt sons, of more than half a billion dollars in aid money that they have long diverted to their own accounts and businesses. And one more demand ought to be made to the PA — an end to the government sinecures, many paying ten times the average Palestinian wage, that Abbas has distributed to his most loyal followers, their relatives, and friends. 

With Israel now willing to transfer the full amount of the customs duties it collects for the PA, and with the half-billion dollars recovered from Mahmoud Abbas and his sons, the PA ought to be able to right its listing ship of state. That should be enough to keep it on an even keel, and possibly convince a handful of donors to revive a portion of their previous aid, but not by so much that the PA can again try to ignore its donors’ demands. It cannot risk reviving the “Pay-For-Slay” program, nor an attempt by Abbas to revert to his highly creative and crooked bookkeeping. And the Gulf Arabs will want to remind Abbas that their patience is limited; they expect him now to engage in good-faith negotiations with the Jewish state. And Abbas will have to do as those who control his purse strings insist.

Originally published at Jihad Watch.

 

Hugh Fitzgerald

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/11/israel-ask-donor-countries-resume-aid-palestinian-hugh-fitzgerald/

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More countries to join Abraham Accords 'within months' says Israeli ambassador to US - Arutz Sheva Staff

 

​ by Arutz Sheva Staff

Israeli ambassador to Washington D.C. Gilad Erdan describes the intensive efforts of the Biden administration to expand the accords.

 

גלעד ארדן
Gilad Erdan                                                                                                            Kobi Richter

According to Israel’s outgoing ambassador to Washington D.C., the next few months could bring exciting developments in the area of Israel’s relations with other countries in the region as the Abraham Accords are expanded.

In a special interview with Israel Hayom in advance of the end of his tenure, former Likud minister Gilad Erdan described the intensive efforts being made by the current American administration to persuade more countries to normalize their relations with Israel.

Erdan, who is also Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, a post he will continue to hold even after leaving Washington, told Israel Hayom that, “The Abraham Accords are an excellent example of policies the US administration has adopted in spite of the political polarization in the United States. At first, they were somewhat hesitant about it, and they absorbed a lot of criticism in Congress, but they persevered nonetheless.”

“Over time,” Erdan continued, “the administration actually intensified its efforts to incorporate additional countries and to leverage its influence on significant Muslim countries which do not currently have formal diplomatic relations with Israel, in the hope that peace treaties would result. The officials dealing with these efforts are higher level than those in the past, and I hope that we will soon see the fruits of their labors, even within the next few months. The current administration is investing heavily in this area,” he noted.

Erdan also stressed that Israel needs to be doing more to invest in building ties with the younger generation of Americans, and specifically with African-Americans. “Mainstream Democrats support Israel, but the Palestinians have succeeded in connecting up with the Black Lives Matter movement, even though there is really nothing linking the two narratives.”

According to Erdan, one of the main challenges for Erdan’s successor in Washington, Mike Herzog, will be dealing with the growing rivalry between the United States and China. “China is a desirable partner to have in economic terms given her cheap and swift labor, and she does not have many competitors here in Israel for the big projects Chinese investors are undertaking. On the other hand, there is bipartisan agreement in the United States that China represents a strategic threat, and the US administration wants to see its allies take the same line with regard to China, so that’s something that could be challenging for Israel in the future.”

As for Erdan’s own future plans, the ambassador refused to be drawn, including on whether he plans to run for the leadership of the Likud party.

 

Arutz Sheva Staff

Source: https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/317563

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Prager U Video: Howard Zinn and the Book That Poisoned a Generation - Prager U

 

​ by Prager U

The Marxist dogma behind the most popular book on American history.

 


One book and one author have changed how American history is taught. America is no longer the good guy but the cause of everyone’s problems. Who is the author? What is the book? And why has it become so popular?

Mary Grabar, Resident Fellow at the Alexander Hamilton Institute and FrontPage Mag contributor, explains it all in this must-see video from Prager University. Check it out below:

 

 

Prager U

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/11/prager-u-video-howard-zinn-and-book-poisoned-prager-u/

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The Supply Chain and Border Security - Chris Farrell

 

​ by Chris Farrell

Foreign truckers -- cleared for expedited commercial crossings between Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. -- include at least half a dozen drivers who had deep connections to terrorism and drug-smuggling operations. And those are just the ones we know about.

  • There is another threat to the trucking industry, the supply chain and our national security. It is NOT reported in the mainstream media: Foreign truckers -- cleared for expedited commercial crossings between Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. -- include at least half a dozen drivers who had deep connections to terrorism and drug-smuggling operations. And those are just the ones we know about.

  • The disturbing details are outlined in a 34-page report, issued by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General with redactions to protect information in the original "law enforcement sensitive" version.

  • Even when the criminal history of a candidate is available from another U.S. federal law enforcement agency, CBP apparently cannot access it. Instead of rejecting the foreign driver in question out of an abundance of caution, the agency simply rubber-stamps the candidate without additional screening.

There is a threat to the U.S. trucking industry, supply chain and national security. It is NOT reported in the mainstream media: Foreign truckers -- cleared for expedited commercial crossings between Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. -- include at least half a dozen drivers who had deep connections to terrorism and drug-smuggling operations. Pictured: Trucks line up before heading to the United States at the Otay commercial port of entry on the US-Mexico border in Tijuana, on March 20, 2020. (Photo by Guillermo Arias/AFP via Getty Images)

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says that national supply chain problems are caused by a lack of affordable childcare. While major U.S. ports such as Los Angeles and Baltimore have ships in the harbor waiting to offload cargo, a trucking shortage is delaying offloads and hauling. "Some of those issues," Buttigieg stated, "may have to do with the availability of truckers, a thousand miles inland. There are a lot of things contributing to this. One of them is childcare, of course, which is why the president's Build Back Better vision is going to be good for the labor market."

Over at MSNBC, host Tiffany Cross offered a different analysis of the trucking/supply chain problem. "This is an industry populated by a lot of white men over the age of 55," she stated. "This group of people overwhelmingly voted for Trump. Some people have talked about aggressive truck drivers cutting them off or not being helpful."

The trucking shortages in the United States are real. Buttigieg and Cross are entitled to their opinions, of course, but their analyses seem off the mark. There is another threat to the trucking industry, the supply chain and our national security. It is NOT reported in the mainstream media: Foreign truckers -- cleared for expedited commercial crossings between Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. -- include at least half a dozen drivers who had deep connections to terrorism and drug-smuggling operations.

The disturbing details are outlined in a 34-page report, issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General with redactions to protect information in the original "law enforcement sensitive" version.

The "commercial clearance" program is known as Free and Secure Trade (FAST), and participants who meet certain eligibility criteria and are considered low risk after a thorough security check receive expedited border processing between Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. Proper vetting is essential and must assure there is no risk in letting the individual with cargo travel freely in and out of the country. The goal is to ensure security and safety of inter-border commerce while enhancing the economic prosperity of each country. Ideally, this enables U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to focus its security efforts and inspections on commerce that is "high or unknown risk" while ensuring the flow of legitimate, "low-risk commerce." The reality is that CBP is failing miserably to screen drivers properly, federal auditors found, writing that "without an effective means to evaluate the program's impact on border security, CBP may be exposing its land ports of entry to heightened threats."

Due to the agency's "inadequate policies and procedures," the probe found, drivers who should not have qualified for FAST clearance were allowed to participate. Investigators examined 8,859 active drivers during fiscal year 2019 and determined that 1,084 were ineligible and therefore "increasing border security risk." Making matters worse, CBP approved 94% of foreign drivers with "potentially disqualifying records," the report says. In those cases, federal agents failed to conduct full background checks because the U.S. government evidently does not have access to the necessary foreign databases. The exact information is redacted but the report makes clear that the records required properly to vet foreign nationals -- specifically Mexican citizens -- is not available to CBP officers, and they "need access" to complete the appropriate security process to authenticate drivers as low risk.

The void identified in report by the inability of DHS to access and check reliable foreign databases for essential criminal and/or intelligence information goes to the much larger question of vetting immigrants. The subject is far beyond the scope of this article and deserves separate treatment, but make a mental note about the millions of persons entering the United States (legally and illegally) and the paucity of reliable information available to U.S. decision-makers.

Even when the criminal history of a candidate is available from another U.S. federal law enforcement agency, CBP apparently cannot access it. Instead of rejecting the foreign driver in question out of an abundance of caution, the agency simply rubber-stamps the candidate without additional screening. To illustrate this incredible, but very common, lack of cooperation within American law enforcement agencies, the Inspector General offers the case of two Mexican nationals determined to be "ineligible." Both were approved for FAST despite having extensive FBI files, in addition to what redacted portions seem to indicate are substantial criminal histories in Mexico. But evidently CBP and the FBI do not share information. "FBI records did not allow Enrollment Center officers to assess the drivers' risk prior to approving their participation in the program," the report states. So, what does the agency charged with safeguarding the nation's infamously porous borders to do? Wave the foreign drivers through as "low risk" without vetting them.

Was not that sort of breakdown in communication exactly what was supposed to have been a lesson learned and fixed in the aftermath of 9/11? Apparently not.

As unbelievable as this may sound, this sort of conduct has been going on for years. FAST has long been plagued by serious security lapses. In fact, already in May 2012 a DHS Inspector General investigation found that drivers with ties to terrorism and drug-smuggling were authorized by CBP for the program's expedited border crossing. More than 80,100 drivers examined by the IG participated in FAST -- 70,000 along the U.S.-Canada border and over 11,500 along the U.S.-Mexico border. Investigators found that at least half a dozen drivers cleared by CBP had deep connections to terrorism and drug-smuggling operations. And those are just the ones we know about. It gets scarier; it took federal officials five years to realize it! At least two dozen others had criminal, immigration, or agricultural violations. In warning CBP about the dangers of its security lapses, the DHS Inspector General watchdog pointed out in that report that the benefits granted to FAST participants "make the program attractive to drug smugglers." That was back in 2012, and it seems like little has changed after nearly a decade.

President Biden has commented on the public's ability to comprehend national supply chain problems, stating: "You hear a lot about the supply chains in the news, but frankly, not a lot of people have a clear understanding, whether they have a Ph.D. or they didn't go to school, about how a supply chain works."

Biden, Buttigieg and Cross all have their opinions on the current supply chain and trucking problems America is facing. However, the long-term border security and trucking problem the nation faces is something documented by Homeland Security for the past ten years that little or nothing has been done to correct. Given the Biden administration's penchant for open borders, minimal law enforcement and lax security, it appears that nothing will be done to protect the American public -- short of a disaster or terror attack.

Chris Farrell is Director of Investigations at Judicial Watch and Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

 

Chris Farrell

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/17947/supply-chain-border-security

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NIH Chief Wants Online ‘Misinformation’ Spreaders ‘Brought to Justice' - Robert Spencer

 

​ by Robert Spencer

Violating a fundamental right guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

 


With secret police chief Merrick Garland siccing the FBI on parents at school board meetings and the social media giants continuing to cut the ground out from under dissenting voices, the Biden administration has not exactly provided a welcoming place for the freedom of speech. However, Francis Collins, the outgoing director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), thinks there is still altogether too much of it. Collins wants those who are spreading “misinformation” to be “brought to justice,” and pronto.

It’s disconcerting to see an official of the United States government (the NIH is an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services) coming out so openly against a fundamental right guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and hallowed by over two centuries of precedent, but as far as Collins is concerned, the need to curtail the freedom of speech is urgent. He said Friday, “Conspiracies are winning here. Truth is losing. That’s a really serious indictment of the way in which our society seems to be traveling.”

Collins was referring to what he said was misinformation about America’s doctor, Anthony Fauci. According to The Washington Post, Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) wasn’t really funding experiments involving the gratuitous torture of puppiesThe Post admitted that “NIAID was initially listed as a funder on the study in a paper in a scientific journal in late July,” but claimed that “the researchers and the medical journal corrected the error.”

Collins was indignant over the fact that people still believed Fauci was involved in the puppy torture, fuming: “Truth is supposed to be truth, and the fact that your truth would be so heavily modified by your social circle or where you get your news tells you we’re in real trouble.”

All right. Maybe Fauci is as kind to dogs as that renowned animal lover, Adolf Hitler, was. Maybe. But if NIAID did not fund the experiments, why was it listed as doing so in the first place? Was the NIAID removed from the list of funders only when the experiments started to receive unwelcome media attention? When Fauci has contradicted himself numerous times about the usefulness of wearing masks and not even followed his own recommendations, would it really be wise to accept at face value everything that the NIH and other agencies claim is true?

That’s what Francis Collins wants, and more: he wants those who contradict his wisdom to be punished. He finds it appalling that “somebody’s Facebook post carries as much weight as a statement from the director of the CDC about what is the truth of a public health crisis.” The Post lamented the alleged fact that “the rapid-fire spread of misinformation has altered public opinion of the pandemic and coronavirus vaccines,” and claimed that “some 6 in 10 Americans say they either believe the government is exaggerating the number of deaths from the virus or aren’t sure. Nearly 1 in 4 Americans believe covid-19 shots contain microchips or don’t know if the claim is true.”

There is ample reason for this widespread distrust: the government has so often proven itself to be untrustworthy. Most notoriously, Collins and Fauci themselves were caught lying about the NIH funding gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab where the COVID-19 virus originated. And then there has been all the stonewalling about the side effects of the COVID vaccines. As PJ Media’s Stacey Lennox noted in September, “The FDA already states that the highest risk for pericarditis and myocarditis following the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is in young men between the ages of 12 and 17. There is no information about long-term risks associated with a young man suffering from heart disease following vaccination, yet schools and colleges are moving to mandate them. It is a complete inversion of what Western societies have traditionally done. We are subjecting young men to an unknown risk because adults are suffering from media-induced mass hysteria.”

Collins is unrepentant, however, and enraged that some people are calling for Fauci to resign: “Do you then want to hand a victory on a platter to the people who have made up stories and incessantly thrown around information that is absolutely untrue to try to take him down? You want to say okay, they win?”

Why, no, Frank. The only problem is that it’s not altogether clear right now whether it is you or the people you’re targeting who are actually the ones spreading the misinformation. If you get your way and those you claim are spreading misinformation are silenced, in blithe disregard of the First Amendment, it may turn out later that those who are smeared as spreaders of misinformation are actually telling the truth. Remember Hunter Biden’s laptop, and how all the self-appointed guardians of acceptable discourse labeled as “misinformation” what turned out to be entirely accurate reporting on its contents? You wouldn’t want that to happen again, would you? While you’re pondering that question, Dr. Collins, you fascist, kindly also tender your resignation and never appear in the public square again.

 

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 23 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades)The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is The Critical Qur’anFollow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here. 

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/11/nih-chief-wants-online-misinformation-spreaders-robert-spencer/

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Report: US to unilaterally reopen PA Consulate in Jerusalem - Arutz Sheva Staff

 

​ by Arutz Sheva Staff

Report quotes high-ranking Israeli official as admitting that consulate will reopen "soon," despite right-wing objections within government.

 

The US consulate on Agron Street
The US consulate on Agron Street
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

 A high-ranking Israeli official has told i24news that the United States will be opening a consulate to deal with Palestinian affairs “soon,” Asharq Al-Awsat reports.

According to the report, the Biden administration has already informed Israel of its intentions and plans to move ahead unilaterally if it does not obtain a response from Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government, which is no longer seen as under immediate threat of dissolving due to internal strife, now that the budget has passed.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump closed the consulate in 2019 after recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the U.S. embassy to the city, merging its services with the consulate.

The report added that the official Israeli source also stated that the government would soon be announcing a new settlement plan in “East Jerusalem,” an area which includes parts of the city’s northern and eastern neighborhoods that were brought under Israeli control during the Six-Day War. The area referred to is actually in the northern suburb of Atarot near to where an industrial zone already exists.

 

Arutz Sheva Staff

Source: https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/317575

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Comrade Omarova's nomination crashes and burns as five Dem senators announce opposition to her appointment as comptroller of the currency - Thomas Lifson

​ by Thomas Lifson

All five are from states where a GOP opponent would have at least a fighting chance running against them, and no doubt feared that a vote to confirm her would be used against them if they ran for re-election.

The radicals who tell Joe Biden what to do as president overreached when they had him nominate Saule Omarova as comptroller of the currency, a powerful regulator of the banking system.  The émigré from Soviet-era Kazakhstan, a Lenin Scholar at Moscow State University, earned a credential as a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, while also earning the credential of thief for an arrest for shoplifting in Madison, demonstrating contempt for private property.  Naturally, she ended up as a professor.

That contempt, along with a Soviet commissar's view of private enterprise, when she expressed a desire to starve oil and gas producers of capital and drive them into bankruptcy, made it difficult for Democrat senators in swing states to vote for her confirmation.

Then there was her plan, expressed in an academic paper, to sweep bank deposits into the Federal Reserve Bank, all the better "for generating, modulating, and allocating financial resources in a democratic economy — the People's Ledger."  My colleague Monica Showalter suspects that senators started hearing from constituents who did not want "the People's Ledger" to hold on to their financial resources and possibly loot them for public purposes like controlling inflation or redirecting capital into politically favored hands like Solyndra.

During Senate confirmation hearings, she claimed that her academic papers were just exploratory thoughts, even though she called them a "blueprint."


YouTube screen grab.

I got a bad case of the willies watching her testimony and affect as she spoke.  She seemed to have the humorless attitude of a commissar, the robotic, inhumane stance of someone who could just as easily tell you why removing you to a concentration camp is the best solution for everyone.

Axios broke the story of the five Democrats who let it be known that they would join the 50 Republican senators in torpedoing her nomination.

In phone call on Wednesday, Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), all members of the Senate Banking Committee, told Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) — the panel's chairman — of their opposition.

They're joined in opposing her by Sens. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.).

All five are from states where a GOP opponent would have at least a fighting chance running against them, and no doubt feared that a vote to confirm her would be used against them if they ran for re-election.

Rather than learn a lesson, the nameless White House sources who spoke to Axios (and Bloomberg) off the record refuse to concede her inappropriateness for the powerful position:

·  "The White House continues to strongly support her historic nomination," a White House official told Axios.

·  "Saule Omarova is eminently qualified for this position," the official said. "She has been treated unfairly since her nomination with unacceptable red-baiting from Republicans like it's the McCarthy era."

Senator Elizabeth Warren continues to support her, perhaps confusing Omarova's high cheekbones for Native American heritage.  Or perhaps because she likes the idea of a Lenin Scholar regulating banks.

 

Thomas Lifson

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2021/11/comrade_omarovas_nomination_crashes_and_burns_as_five_dem_senators_announce_opposition_to_her_appointment_as_comptroller_of_the_currency.html

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RaymondIbrahim.com banned as a 'pornographic' website - Raymond Ibrahim

 

​ by Raymond Ibrahim

The left has reached a new low in its war on truth

I recently discovered that some WiFi networks classify my website and ban it for being a "pornography site."

While having to pass through the Los Angeles area earlier this month — the only Californian county that still mandates indoor masks — I discovered that the WiFi networks of several businesses ban access to RaymondIbrahim.com with the following explanation:

Access closed.  The site is blocked according to network settings.  Site: raymondibrahim.com is blocked, because it belongs to blocked categories: Pornography & Sexuality. 

As one example, a screenshot from the Glendale Galleria follows:

As anyone who has visited my website since its inception 16 years ago knows, RaymondIbrahim.com focuses almost exclusively on the Islamic question: it looks at doctrinal and historical issues pertaining to Islam, that religion's interactions with non-Muslims — with a strong focus on Christian minorities who are regularly persecuted by the adherents of the religion of peace — and modern Islamic terrorism.

In what world can any of these topics be labeled "pornographic"?  In the left's world — where lying and cheating and doing everything possible to conceal the truth have become standard practice.  

For the record, some of my articles do discuss sexuality in the context of Islamic doctrine — for example, that Muslim men can have up to four wives and as many concubines that their right hands possess (a paraphrase of Koran 4:3).  However, whenever addressing such topics, I always do so through the most professional and objective language possible — never in a "pornographic" or lurid manner. 

But perhaps these L.A. WiFi networks adhere to a traditional morality and are zealous of banning anything that, no matter how remotely, smacks of sexuality?  So I decided to test the matter: while on a couple of the networks that banned my site, I googled and searched for sex-related topics, including rape, and lo and behold, countless — not a few of a rather sordid if not downright pornographic nature — popped up, and most of them were accompanied by sexual ads depicting half-naked women. 

So much, then, for my site being banned because the networks banning it are careful to keep any and all sexual topics from the eyes of minors. 

None of this is surprising, but rather in keeping with my and others' experiences.  As discussed in this article, for example, Facebook recently "punished" me for posting content — an article about Muslims slaughtering Christians — that did not meet its "standards"; other Big Tech giants — including Google Search and YouTube — have also censored my writings and videos that contradict their leftist agenda and narrative — again, the Muslim persecution of Christians chief among them.

Even so, it would seem that the left has reached a new low in its war on truth, tarring as "pornographic" websites that expose and seek to redress ongoing atrocities committed against religious minorities. 

 

Raymond Ibrahim, author of Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute.

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2021/11/raymondibrahimcom_banned_as_a_pornographic_website.html

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Mansour Abbas: Temple Mount belongs only to Muslims - Arutz Sheva Staff

 

​ by Arutz Sheva Staff

Ra'am chairman says Arab parties must act to prevent new elections which could return Netanyahu to power.

 

Mansour Abbas
Mansour Abbas
Noam Moskowitz/Knesset spokesperson

United Arab List (Ra'am) chairman Mansour Abbas said in an interview with the Kul al-Arab newspaper Thursday that the Arab parties must make every effort to prevent elections that could lead to the return of Benjamin Netanyahu to the prime minister's seat.

Abbas said he does not regret joining the coalition, and that he becomes more and more convinced that Ra'am is going in the right direction every day.

"We will not give up our national, religious, and human rights and these are red lines that we will not cross. Ra'am is the party that most of all realizes its religious and national goals," Abbas said.

He addressed the issue of the Temple Mount and said, "The Temple Mount belongs to Muslims only. We are working in the government to make a commitment not to invade the Al-Aqsa Mosque, not to perform religious worship on it by non-Muslims as it is a Muslim-only right. I have dedicated my whole life to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and no one can criticize me on this issue."

Abbas noted that "Israel is a Jewish state whether we like it or not and the question is what is our status in the state. I consider myself a citizen with full citizenship in the State of Israel and I want to exercise all my rights."

 

Arutz Sheva Staff

Source: https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/317598

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Thursday, November 25, 2021

Will the Palestinian Authority Abandon ‘Pay-For-Slay’? - Hugh Fitzgerald

 

​ by Hugh Fitzgerald

Likely not, but there will be consequences.

 


The Palestinian Authority provides generous monthly stipends to imprisoned terrorists and to the families of terrorists who were killed while committing their attacks. The more serious the offense, and the longer the prison term, the greater the stipend. The families of the dead “martyrs” receive the most. The effect of this policy is to reward past, and incentivize future, terrorism.

Congress passed the Taylor Force Act in 2018, which forbids giving any aid to the PA as long as this “Pay-For-Slay” program continues. The Bidenites have violated the act with impunity, having transferred hundreds of millions of dollars to the PA even though it continues its “Pay-For-Slay”program. How they have been allowed to get away with this? Where is the outcry from Congress? From the public? It’s a puzzlement.

Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly rejected the suggestion that he would ever succumb to pressure and end “Pay-For-Slay.” He melodramatically promised to fund the program, unchanged, down to “my last penny.” But now it seems he’s decided after all to stand down from his previous position, and instead to change the method of payment which will depend not on the severity of the recipient’s sentence, but on the financial need of a prisoner’s, or a deceased terrorist’s, family.

A report on this likely change to the PA’s “Pay-or-Slay” program is here: “Palestinian Authority likely to abolish pay-for-slay, Frej says,” by Tovah Lazaroff, Jerusalem Post, November 17, 2021:

The Palestinian Authority is likely to abolish its policy of providing monthly stipends to jailed terrorists and the families of terrorists who have killed Israelis, Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frej told Israel Radio on Wednesday morning.

“I believe that in the coming months this [PA] policy will change,” Frej said, adding that a different mechanism would be created that would be acceptable to everyone. It was an allusion to past proposals to sway the PA to change its method of payment, which now provides the largest financial reward for those who have committed the most serious terror attack and the least reward for those only marginally involved in terror.

The international community would prefer a social welfare system for Palestinians jailed by Israel that provided equitable payments based solely on financial needs….

The “dire financial crisis” of the PA is a result of several factors. 

First, the EU donors have been most unhappy with the continued use by the PA of antisemitic schoolbooks that it has repeatedly promised to fix or replace, but has done neither. As a consequence, since the beginning of the year the EU has held back on contributions to the PA, claiming “technical difficulties.”

Secondly, the colossal corruption in the PA continues without abating; Mahmoud Abbas and his two sons Tarek and Yasser have by now accumulated a family fortune of between $400 and $600 million. In addition, several hundred Abbas loyalists, their relatives and friends, have received PA government sinecures that pay up to ten times the ordinary Palestinian wage, another drain on the PA’s finances. This theft of aid money has enraged many donors, including those in Europe and the Arab states in the Gulf.

Third, the rich Sunni states of the Gulf have been suffering compassion fatigue; they are tired of being seen by the PA as a bottomless funder of the Palestinians, and angry, too, about the PA’s refusal to negotiate with Israel. The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Mahmoud Abbas in 2018 to “accept whatever deal the Americans offer.” Abbas ignored that advice. As a consequence, Saudi aid to the PA has decreased from $174.7 million in 2019 to only $32.5 million in 2020. Though figures for 2021 have not been released, everyone assumes there will have been another decrease in Saudi aid since 2020 – perhaps all the way to zero. The United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have also cut their aid to the PA. All of this leaves the PA finances in a parlous state.

Among the issues highlighted by the World Bank, is an 85% drop in donor funding over the last 13 years, from $1.2 billion in 2008 to $184 million this year.

Both reports spoke against Israel’s policy of penalizing the PA for the terror payments, which Israel has dubbed, “pay-for-slay.”

Israel withholds that sum, some NIS 50 million a month, from its transfer to Ramallah of the tax fees it collects on behalf of the PA. In August Israel increased the sums it withholds to NIS 100 million monthly. But in light of the PA’s financial distress, Israel in the fall provided the PA with a NIS 500 million loan to offset the money it had withheld.

Israel will still continue to withhold from the taxes it collects for the PA, by the exact amount that the PA transfers to imprisoned terrorists and the families of dead terrorists. But at the same time, Israel has this fall provided the PA with a 500 million shekel ($155 million dollars) loan, hoping to stave off the financial collapse of the PA

In Oslo, Frej plans to ask donor countries that attend the AHLC to restore funding to the PA. On Wednesday morning Israel radio quizzed him about the discrepancy in Israel’s policy, which both penalizes the PA for pay-for-slay but helps it attain financial stability.

Here we have an Israeli official imploring donors to restore funding to the PA. This is based on the notion that the PA may be bad, but Hamas would be worse. And the support to the PA should allow it to provide more funding to improve the lives of ordinary Palestinians. That, anyway, is the assumption. But will this be the result? What if most of the donor money is siphoned off, as so much has been in the past, to line the pockets of Abbas, his relatives and friends, and to provide well-paid sinecures in the government, paying ten times the average salary to his loyalists and their relatives and friends? Won’t this spectacle of still more funds being diverted to Abbas & Co. further enrage ordinary Palestinians, who would feel better if all of the Palestinians, the leaders and not just their subjects, shared equally in the financial meltdown and consequent immiseration?

Frej added that he believed the situation would change. “I see there is a desire among the Palestinians to change this situation,” Frej said, adding that the US is working on this issue as well. “They [the US] are also not releasing money because of this,” he said.

Actually Essawi Frej is wrong. The American government, to its everlasting shame, has been releasing money to the PA despite the Taylor Force Act. But while the Bidenites have run roughshod over Taylor Force, they would prefer to have the Palestinians come up with a different way to provide financial aid to terrorists and their families. And they have done so.

UNSCO in its report to the AHLC also said that the “PA is weighing options for resolving the so-called ‘prisoners payments’ issue.”

It explained that these payments “greatly complicate Palestinian relations with Israel and key donors. International technical assistance could help the PA instead strengthen its existing cash transfer program that targets the most vulnerable Palestinian households.”

On Monday PA Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh told his cabinet that he had no intention of backing down on this issue, adding that he would press donor countries to pressure Israel to halt its tax deductions.

The Palestinian Prime Minister does not sound like he plans to abandon or refashion the “Pay-For-Slay” plan, and wants donors to pressure Israel to end its policy of withholding from the tax duties it collects for the PA and then hands over to it, the precise amounts the PA pays out to Palestinian terrorists and their families under the “Pay-For-Slay” program.

Israel and the PA appear to have been able to ignore the latest Gaza War between Hamas and Israel, and their representatives have been meeting to discuss ways to ameliorate the PA’s financial situation.

The ongoing contact between the parties has created a new, more positive dynamic. The parties are seeking to revitalize their cooperation, particularly cooperation relating to the economy and trade.

This is crucial in order to strengthen the Palestinian economy, meet basic needs, especially in Gaza, and reduce the risk of further escalations of violence,’ Huitfeldt said.

“The economy in Palestine has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Poverty and unemployment are on the rise. The escalation of violence between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza in May brought further suffering to the civilian population,” Huitfeldt said….

Neither the poverty nor unemployment in. Gaza are Israel’s fault. Mismanagement and corruption explain the situation. The corruption has been colossal: just two Hamas leaders, Mousa ibn Marzouk and Khaled Meshaal, have each stolen at least $2.5 billion, with some Arabs suggesting that Khaled Meshaal’s take has been $5 billion. Another 600 Hamas millionaires – who collectively are worth several billion dollars — live in the Strip. Such extremes of wealth, and the knowledge that the wealth consists of aid money meant for everyone, has put ordinary Palestinians in a rage.

Let’s suppose the PA starts to give out money not just to those convicted of terrorism, nor to families of prisoners who died during their terrorist attacks, but instead to all prisoners, the size of their stipends based on financial need rather than the nature of their deed. Though this is presented as getting away from the “Pay-For-Slay” program, those prisoners who have the greatest financial need will be those who are put away for the longest time, and unable to work to support their families -– that is, terrorists and, of course, those families deprived of a breadwinner because he was killed in performing a terrorist attack will also be in the greatest need. By a different route — with financial need as the sole criterion for the size of a stipend, the PA will still end up roughly with the same result, with imprisoned terrorists and the families of dead terrorists getting the largest stipends.

The PA will not be happy. It had hoped to recharacterize the payments it made to imprisoned terrorists as payments to the incarcerated based on financial need, and it assumed that that would be the end of any complaints. But the Palestinian prisoners most in financial need are those who are imprisoned the longest, who cannot earn money for themselves or their families during that time, and that means the terrorists. In other words, though the criteria for payment appear to be different, the prisoners who are given the most under “Pay-For-Slay” are almost identical to those who are given the most when financial need alone is being considered.

And there is something else that needs to be discussed by the donor states, and that ought to be factored into their decision on whether to renew aid to the PA. The “rewards” to Palestinian terrorists are much more than financial. Terrorists – alive and dead — are honored and held up as role models. Schools, streets, parks, city squares, and sports teams are named after them. Their terrorist acts are depicted as brave acts of derring-do, especially on children’s shows on Palestinian television. Stories are written about them. Video re-enactments of their lives and deaths are produced. Dalia Al-Mughrabi, Ahlam Al-Tamimi, Leila Khaled, Marwan Barghouti, Samir Kuntar, and many other mass murderers of Israeli men, women, and children, are held up as figures to emulate.

The donor countries – with the U.S. in the lead — should insist that the PA cease to glorify Palestinian terrorists, living or dead. No more television programs about them, no stories or books written to tell their tale to inspire others to go and do likewise. No naming of schools, streets, squares, and sports teams after them. Those schools, streets, etc. that have already been named after terrorists should have their names changed. All that honoring and glorifying of terrorists has the same effect as the “Pay-For-Slay” stipends: it rewards past, and incentivizes future, terrorist acts.

Will the PA conceivably agree to this demand? If it does, it will be seen by many Arabs as betraying its role as paladin of the Palestinian cause. And if it doesn’t, it could be dealt quite a blow to its bank account. Hard to say which road Mahmoud Abbas will choose.

 

Hugh Fitzgerald

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/11/will-palestinian-authority-abandon-pay-slay-hugh-fitzgerald/

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Replacing History with a 'Narrative' - Mary Grabar

 

​ by Mary Grabar

The Left's vicious assault on America.

 


Voters this election rejected the teaching of The 1619 Project and Critical Race Theory, as proven by the results of Virginia’s gubernatorial race and, less publicized but as equally telling in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, where nineteen-year-old, Nicholas Seppy won a seat on the school board. Seppy said he thought that the history of slavery should be taught in the classroom, but it should be taught objectively.

I agree with him. That’s why I wrote Debunking The 1619 Project and before that Debunking Howard Zinn.

So hats off to Christopher Rufo who exposed these toxic materials and to Seppy and Virginia governor-elect Glenn Youngkin who listened to parents who were rightfully outraged.

But we cannot rest. The radical “educrats” who believe they are the ones to remake your children never do.

Over the years I have seen how “educators” introduce a topic, put on a pretense of retreating, and then sneak back. This happened with the teaching of Ethnic Studies in California, which was withdrawn for about eighteen months after complaints about antisemitism. Then—surprise!—it was signed into law by the governor. Superficial changes had been made but the promotion of politicized ethnic identity—what the educrats wanted—will remain for all California high school graduates.

Similarly, the Common Core State Standards Initiative, which claims to “establish clear, consistent guidelines for what every student should know and be able to do in math and English language arts from kindergarten through 12th grade,” was rebranded under various names by states. But the damage remains as demonstrable knowledge of the subject matter was replaced by students’ ability to “collaborate” and accept “diversity.” As I pointed out back in 2012, Common Core broke down the distinctions between nonfiction and fiction. English teachers were tasked with having students read “cold” such historical materials as the Gettysburg Address.

This development, as well as that of Critical Race Theory’s assault on truth and replacement of objective history with “narrative,” has ushered in the use in classrooms of such materials as The 1619 Project, a hundred-page mishmash of polemical essays, “literary works'' contemplating “moments in history,” short biased articles, and profiles. Creator Nikole Hannah-Jones has insisted that her Project is truthful. But when accepting the Freedom of Speech award from the Roosevelt Institute on October 13, she called The 1619 Project a “narrative,” one pushing the “policy” of reparations. Students in grades K-12, however, are told that it is history.

But real history is not “narrative.” It is certainly not what Hannah-Jones presents: white Americans as uniquely and uniformly guilty of enslaving people. I testified about what it leaves out—such as black involvement in slavery in Africa and America—before the Michigan State Senate for a bill that would remove it from classrooms. A version was recently passed by the Michigan House. Fortunately, over half of the states have passed or introduced legislation to remove The 1619 Project from classroom material.

Still, we cannot rest.

Though it may be removed from the curriculum, a 600-page hardcover edition of The 1619 Project and a children’s picture book version, Born on the Water, were published by Penguin Random House on November 16. The picture book has a grandmother telling her grandchildren a fantastical history of white oppression of blacks. At the end she says, “This is why we say Black Lives Matter, why we celebrate Black Girl Magic.” The hardcover edition, intended for high school use, is an expansion of the original, with footnotes from Marxist historians and leftist organizations. The teachers guide offers a historian’s claim that history is a matter of “‘evolving interpretations, not facts’”—in support of Hannah-Jones’s claim that the “fights over the 1619 Project were never really about the facts.”

While young students have a grandmother promoting Black Lives Matter, high school students are instructed in advocating for reparations. They are directly asked to contemplate Hannah-Jones’s “arguments for reparations for Black Americans” and how this country “can make amends for the legacy of slavery, theft, violence, terror, and mass incarceration.”

Hannah-Jones’s 600,000-plus Twitter followers are eagerly “donating” copies via leftist bookstores to school libraries, where librarians, eager to “decolonize” libraries, are discarding classics to make room.           

Similarly, The Zinn Education Project, when a bill was proposed in Arkansas to forbid the use of Howard Zinn’s Marxist tract in publicly funded schools in 2017, used the opportunity to fundraise and send copies to teachers. Recently, it has enlisted teachers and students to defy current legislation.

Professors are pushing both of these fake histories. The 1619 Project became a “common read” on campuses across the country after the riots of 2020. It is being taught as a first-year seminar at Notre Dame University by English professor John Duffy.

The University of Georgia Press just published what is essentially a teacher’s manual, Rethinking America’s Past: Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States in the Classroom and Beyond by history professor Robert Cohen and education professor Sonia E. Murrow. This book, by two credentialed professors, ignores Zinn’s falsification of evidence, misquotations, fabrications, and plagiarism and promotes a clearly Marxist history. It presents my book that documents it all as “mean-spirited” “polemic.”

Students, at the minimum, should have access to materials that do insist that facts matter and that provide alternatives to Zinn and The 1619 Project.

With this year’s election over, we should now insist that librarians at public schools and public libraries give such materials equal space on bookshelves. They are, after all, paid for by taxpayers.

 

Mary Grabar

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/11/we-cannot-rest-mary-grabar/

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Ahmaud Arbery trial verdict: Travis McMichael guilty on all counts - Audrey Conklin , Rebecca Rosenberg

 

​ by Audrey Conklin , Rebecca Rosenberg

Travis McMichael was found guilty on all 9 counts, Greg McMichael was found guilty on 8

Jurors in Brunswick, Georgia, on Wednesday found Travis McMichael and his father, Greg McMichael, guilty on nearly all counts, including felony murder, capping off an intense trial surrounding the February 2020 shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery.

Jurors also found the McMichaels' neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan, guilty of felony murder.

Travis McMichael, 35, was found guilty on all counts, and Greg McMichael, 65, was found guilty on eight after they shot and killed Arbery, a 25-year-old unarmed Black man, while he was on a run in a neighborhood outside of Brunswick. 

All three men were charged with nine counts.

Ahmaud Arbery

Ahmaud Arbery

The 12 jurors, 11 of whom are White and one of whom is Black, reached their verdict on the 14th day of the trial. The prosecution and defense made their closing arguments on Monday, when protesters including Black armed militias appeared outside the Glynn County courthouse, demanding justice for the deceased 25-year-old.

On the Sunday afternoon when Arbery was killed, Greg McMichael spotted Arbery "hauling a—" by his house and called for his son. The pair grabbed their guns and hopped in a pickup truck. Bryan soon joined the chase in his own pickup truck.

The McMichaels allegedly recognized Arbery, who had been spotted on surveillance video inside their neighbor’s under-construction home on five occasions. There is no evidence he ever stole anything from their neighbor's home. 

This combo of booking photos provided by the Glynn County, Ga., Detention Center, shows from left, Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael, and William "Roddie" Bryan Jr. (Glynn County Detention Center via AP)

This combo of booking photos provided by the Glynn County, Ga., Detention Center, shows from left, Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael, and William "Roddie" Bryan Jr. (Glynn County Detention Center via AP)

Travis McMichael testified last week that he tried to talk to Arbery, whom he recognized from the surveillance footage, but the young man kept running.

Prosecutor Linda Dunikoski told jurors that the men pursued Arbery for five minutes, as Greg McMichael threatened, "Stop or I'll blow your f—king head off!" The men then used their trucks to trap him, she said.

AHMAUD ARBERY TRIAL: GEORGIA JURORS NOT PERMITTED TO HEAR EXPLOSIVE EVIDENCE

Arbery darted right to the other side of the vehicle then turned left toward Travis McMichael. After Travis McMichael flashed his shotgun, Arbery rushed toward him. The two tussled over the weapon before Travis McMichael opened fire three times at close range, striking Arbery twice in the torso, and killing him. 

Bryan filmed part of the encounter on his cellphone.

Travis McMichael testified that he acted in self-defense, opening fire only after Arbery, who was unarmed, attacked him and grabbed for his gun.

Greg McMichael wipes his eyes during a recess in the testimony of his son Travis McMichael during their trial and trial of their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan at the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, in Brunswick, Georgia. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)

Greg McMichael wipes his eyes during a recess in the testimony of his son Travis McMichael during their trial and trial of their neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan at the Glynn County Courthouse, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, in Brunswick, Georgia. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, Pool)

Glynn County Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley barred evidence about the defendants' alleged use of racial slurs and Arbery's troubled past — calling some of the material too inflammatory and prejudicial.

After Travis McMichael shot Arbery in the torso, he allegedly blurted "F—ing n——" as the 25-year-old took his final breaths, according to Bryan's statement to an investigator. Dunikoski pushed last week for the judge to let her cross Travis McMichael on the alleged racial slur — but he ruled against her.

In addition, Walmsley, in a blow to the defense, ruled that they could not admit any evidence of Arbery’s troubled past — including brushes with the law and mental health history.

Prosecutors said Arbery was an avid jogger who lived just two miles from where he was killed.

Arbery’s killing became part of a larger national reckoning on racial injustice after the graphic video of his death filmed by Bryan was leaked online two months later.

No one was charged in the killing until Bryan’s video was made public and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the case from local police. The men also face federal hate crime charges. 

Fox News' Rebecca Rosenberg and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Audrey Conklin is a digital reporter for FOX Business and Fox News. Email tips to audrey.conklin@fox.com. Follow her on Twitter at @audpants.

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/us/ahmaud-arbery-trial-verdict

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Global warming scaremongers refuted as Arctic ice growing, on track to be the most ice in 2 decades - Thomas Lifson

 

​ by Thomas Lifson

This week, Arctic sea ice is approaching 10,000,000 km2 — the second highest ice extent of any of the last 15 years.

The scariest scenario of the global warming doomsayers has been the idea that the melting Arctic ice cap would put coastal cities underwater. For example:

‘Scientists in the US have presented one of the most dramatic forecasts yet for the disappearance of Arctic sea ice,’ reported the BBC back in 2007. ‘Their latest modelling indicates that northern polar waters could be ice-free in summers within just 5-6 years.’

Professor Wieslaw Maslowski from the Department of Oceanography of the US Navy predicted an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the summer of 2013.

Maslowski added that his prediction was on the conservative side, too: “Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer is not accounting for the last two minima, in 2005 and 2007. So given that fact, you can argue that may be our projection of 2013 is already too conservative.”

There are plenty more such forecasts:

‘Scientists in the US have presented one of the most dramatic forecasts yet for the disappearance of Arctic sea ice,’ reported the BBC back in 2007. ‘Their latest modelling indicates that northern polar waters could be ice-free in summers within just 5-6 years.’

Professor Wieslaw Maslowski from the Department of Oceanography of the US Navy predicted an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the summer of 2013.

Maslowski added that his prediction was on the conservative side, too: “Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer is not accounting for the last two minima, in 2005 and 2007. So given that fact, you can argue that may be our projection of 2013 is already too conservative.”

And

In 2010, Mark Sereezer, the newly appointed senior scientist at the US government’s Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colo. was famously quoted as saying: “the Arctic is screaming.”

But, as with countless other prophesies of climate doom, they were alarmist BS. Cap Allon writes:

This week, Arctic sea ice is approaching 10,000,000 km2 — the second highest ice extent of any of the last 15 years. Furthermore, the years 2008 and 2005 are on course to be eclipsed in the coming days/weeks, as are many from the early-2000s and mid/late-1990s — this means that 2021 will soon claim the title of ‘the highest Arctic sea ice extent of the past two decades’ (since 2001). (snip)

According to the latest data from the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI), Arctic sea ice ‘volume’ has been on something of a tear in recent weeks — it is now tracking above all recent years (black line on the below chart), and shows no signs of abating:

It's so cold in the Arctic that:

Two icebreakers are on the way to rescue ice-locked ships on Northern Sea Route (snip)

District authorities in the Russian Far East have decided to commission two icebreakers to aid the vessels currently ice-locked in the East Siberian Sea. (snip)

The commissioning of the powerful icebreaking vessels comes as severe sea-ice conditions have taken shippers by surprise. There are now about 20 vessels that either are stuck or struggling to make it across the icy waters.

But what about the Antarctic ice cap?

That’s not about to melt either:

[T]he South Pole also just witnessed a historically cold winter. As reported last month: “Between the months of April and September, the South Pole averaged a temperature of -61.1C (-78F). Simply put, this was the region’s coldest 6-month spell ever recorded, and it comfortably usurped the previous coldest ‘coreless winter‘ on record: the -60.6C (-77F) from 1976 (solar minimum of weak cycle 20).”

In  fact, it turns out that, according to a study released a week ago:

Paleoclimate data indicate there was less Arctic sea ice during the pre-industrial period than in modern times, or when CO2 concentrations were 100 ppm lower than today (280 vs. 380 ppm).

Scientists (Diamond et al., 2021) assert that during the 18th and 19th centuries Arctic sea ice extent minimum (September) values averaged 5.54 million km².

Though modern sea ice losses are often characterized as dangerously low, satellite data indicate the 2002-’06 five-year average minimum sea ice extent was 5.92 million km², which is 0.38 km² above the 1700s and 1800s or pre-industrial (PI) levels. This would not appear to be consistent with claims of unprecedented sea ice losses in recent decades.

Also, CO2 peaked at only ~280 ppm during the Last Interglacial (LIG), which is approximately the same as the PI CO2 concentration.  And yet due to the additional 60-75 W/m² shortwave Arctic forcing during that interglacial relative to today, there was “a consistently ice-free LIG Arctic from early August until early October” from about 130,000 to 115,000 years before present (Diamond et al., 2021).

(Polar bears – thought to be dependent on summer sea ice presence to hunt seal – nonetheless survived an ice-free Arctic for millennia.)

Joe Biden and the climate grifters don’t care about the data. They want to spend trillions of dollars converting the motor vehicle fleet to battery-powered electric cars whose power source will be… something. Not quite sure what. Windmills and solar panels won’t work, and the greenies hate nuclear power.

It’s all a scam.

Hat tips: Richard Baehr, Mike Nadler, and John McMahon

 

Thomas Lifson

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2021/11/global_warming_scaremongers_refuted_as_arctic_ice_growing_on_track_to_be_the_most_ice_in_2_decades.html

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