Some Responses to Sandy Hook

After the shooting at the Batman premiere in Colorado earlier this year, Brian Doherty, an expert on firearms policy, did a cool-headed analysis for Russia Today on the errors of clamors for gun control that inevitably follow such tragedies. I think it holds up well in light of what just happened in Connecticut.

 

Its important to remember that these bizarre attacks, and gun murders in general, are rare and getting rarer every year. This is despite the fact that all states have liberalized their gun laws in recent years, and many more Americans are carrying weapons. Four million Americans each year apply for gun licenses. Alarmist news headlines notwithstanding, gun violence has in fact plummeted by half over the last 20 years. Sure, we hear a lot about America having a higher rate of gun deaths than virtually any other place. What we don’t hear nearly as often is that many of these incidents on the official statistics are suicides, or committed by gangs unlikely to be affected even if the federal government were to institute a strict firearms ban tomorrow. Lets not forget the tens of thousands of serious crimes prevented every year by gun owners.

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This raises another important policy point. Did the fact that this elementary school was declared a ‘gun-free zone’ make it any safer? What if one of the teachers or staff was armed? After Israel witnessed a number of Palestinian terrorist attacks against its schools in the 1970’s, fierce debate ensued about scrapping the harsh firearms regulations instituted under the British Mandate. Eventually, teachers were allowed to carry guns, along with parents and even grandparents who came to help out with security at school buildings and on school trips. The attacks stopped. The soft targets were now not so soft.

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I know this alleged quote from Morgan Freeman may not be genuine. After all, who could possibly be better to add gravitas to crap you want to spread on the internet? However, I believe the argument has a lot of merit. Concerning the causes of school shootings and how to prevent them:

You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here’s why.

It’s because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single victim of Columbine? Disturbed people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he’ll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.

CNN’s article says that if the body count “holds up”, this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer’s face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer’s identity? None that I’ve seen yet. Because they don’t sell. So congratulations  sensationalist media, you’ve just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.

You can help by forgetting you ever read this man’s name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem.

There is significant evidence that excessive talk and media coverage of suicide actually  increases the suicide rate. I would not be surprised if the same pattern appeared in relation to massive gun attacks.

 

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Sure and Begorrah, ‘Tis A Most Moving Tribute

One of the odder things you’ll find on YouTube: a tribute to the late Colonel Qaddaffi with an Irish twist.

Israeli Politics: Worrying Developments

The electoral merger of Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu bothered me from the beginning. I expected it to dilute liberal elements in Likud and bring in lots of idiotic populists. There should always be a clear distinction between the right-liberal descendants of Jabotinsky and the ugly, unthinking nationalism of Yisrael Beiteinu.

My bad dream has become reality. Unfortunately, the problem isn’t just from the Yisrael Beiteinu people. But with one of them slated for every Likidnik under the merger agreement, its going to make it  a whole lot worse. The Likud primaries have sidelined decent, honest men like Benny Begin, Dan Meridor and Michael Eitan. They’re not likely to sit in the next Knesset. Danny Danon and Miri Regev have emerged among the victors.

Its not that I have that visceral hatred, common in Europe, that regards these hawkish types as the devil incarnate. I largely agree with Regev on the matter of African immigrants. I have a notorious fondness for Bibi. Yet now its become clear he has no concept of strategy. Does he really believe he can ask America to continue its support for Israel at the UN and then get up their noses with controversial settlement plans? Are grandstanding gestures a substitute for well-crafted policy?

westBank-E1

Its easy to get stuck in an ideological echo-chamber. I know that, despite the hyperbole, 3000 housing units in E1 isn’t going to cut the Palestinian Territories in half. Honest assessments of the map will tell you that. Nor will it cut eastern Jerusalem from Ramallah. But these plans and arguments in their defense simply don’t resonate abroad.

In the meantime, the Labor Party has welcomed economic ignoramuses like Stav Shaffir, in order to ride the wave of the social protests that have stirred the country.

That leaves Israel with one mob wants to cripple Israel economically, and another that wants to cripple it diplomatically.

My support will certainly be going to Lapids’ party, Yesh Atid.

The Arab Spring: The Big Lie of the Middle East

Remember how often we were told that only a tiny minority of Muslims in the world are Islamists? With the success of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas in recent years, we were assured that they were in fact moderate Islamists, in a different league entirely from the likes of Bin Laden. I can’t count how many times I was chastised by some leftist – inevitably enamored with the protests across the Middle East – for ‘scaremongering’ about the Muslim Brotherhood.

Then came the Egyptian elections, with the Muslim Brotherhood coming out on top, and the even more extreme Salafists landing in second. Both groups came out far ahead of the nearest liberal faction. The result was only a surprise to the western journalists who spent the entire time sipping coffee with Egyptians who looked and acted just like them. The western left suddenly developed a bit more critical distance when it came to the Brotherhood.

So, was anybody at this stage surprised by Mohammed Morsi’s crackdown on challenges to his presidential authority?

Its high time to stop the fantasies and projections about “The Arab Spring”.

Unfortunately, the Arab world has merely swung from one set of bad ideas – Nasserism, Baathism, Pan-Arabism, Socialism, etc. – to Islamism, largely due to the failure of the former to live up to their crazy promises. That is all.

Haaretz Manufactures Another Lie

Pablo Christiani was born into a pious Jewish family in 13th century France. Somewhere along the line, he strayed from fold and became a Christian. Like many other baptized Jews of that era, he took up a leading role in demonizing his people. He even tried to get the Talmud banned. This kind of thing often proved to be a lucrative career path for Jewish converts. Christiani was paid good money to travel far and wide to convert Jews. Christiani is most famous for his role in the Disputation of Barcelona in 1263, an event organised by the Dominicans for the Court of King James I of Aragon. Christiani would debate the leading rabbi and philosopher Nachmanides. Unlike similar debates in Medieval times, it was not rigged against the Jews. Nachmanides insisted on complete freedom of speech.

To the horror of the Dominicans and the surprise of the wider population, the Disputation went in favour of Nachmanides. The King was so impressed that he awarded the rabbi with a prize of 300 gold coins and declared that never before had he heard “an unjust cause so nobly defended”. He even visited a synagogue in Barcelona and addressed the congregants a short time afterward.

Pablo Christiani was upset. Don’t feel too sorry for him. As a consolation, I believe he was awarded an editorial job at Haaretz.

The Role of Haaretz and Gideon Levy in the Apartheid Canard

Haaretz is a left-liberal paper of good quality. Unfortunately, there appears to be an increasing emphasis on the ‘left’ side of the equation  Its English online edition has an important role. A quick look at the comments reveal its mostly read by foreign hacks and quite a few anti-Semites looking for ‘dirt’ on the Jewish state. Gideon Levy, a journalist for Haaretz, is respected far more among left-wing circles abroad than he is in Israel – like many others at that paper.

Gideon Levy could be described as the Pablo Christiani of our time. He’s also been known to shoot from the hip. He falsely claimed to the now disgraced journalist Johann Hari that the death of a dog by a Qasam rocket got more newspaper coverage in Israel than the deaths of tens of Palestinians on the same day. Unfortunately, the incidents he described occurred three years apart.

Levy’s latest piece of journalistic venom has reverberated throughout the world. He wrote two articles – a report and an opinion piece – on a survey of around 500 Israelis on the political situation. The headline over his report screamed: Most Israelis support an apartheid regime in Israel. 

There was a tiny flaw in the initial report and Levy’s commentary. It was all bollocks.

A number of disparities were picked up by Ben-Dror Yemini, a senior journalist with the Hebrew daily Maariv:

According to the survey, 53 percent of Israelis are not opposed to having an Arab neighbor. That much is clear. But when Gideon Levy passes from reporting to overt incitement masquerading as “interpretation,” he writes that “the majority doesn’t want… Arab neighbors.” Could it be that the second Gideon Levy didn’t properly read what was written by the first Gideon Levy?

Moving on: According to the survey, 33% of Israelis support revoking the voting rights of Israeli Arabs. That’s a grave figure in and of itself. But when it comes to the “interpretation,” Levy writes that “the majority doesn’t want Arabs to vote for the Knesset.” Again, Levy the interpreter seems not to have read Levy the reporter. Is he capable of formulating a sentence that includes only the truth? And where in the hell is his editor? Was there not a single editor who could properly parse the results of the survey?

Not only that, but the headline Most Israelis support an apartheid regime in Israel did not even reflect the findings of the survey. The Israelis polled were asked about the granting of voting rights to Palestinian Arabs if the territories were annexed. It did not relate to the current situation, but to a hypothetical situation. Most Israelis oppose the annexation of the territories in the first place.

Levy has come out with a somewhat tepid apology. Unfortunately, it seems to be available only to Haaretz subscribers  He says mistakes “were not made intentionally, but as a result of neglect due to time pressure”.

Anybody who actually believes this happened accidentally at Israel’s oldest quality broadsheet is a fool.

Gideon Levy is no fool. Neither was Pablo Christiani. But they both had an agenda and an audience, and they did a massive disservice to their own people.

Illustration of a Medieval disputation. These events of the past are still remarkably relevant

Vincent Browne: Israel Is A Cancer

The Irish broadcaster Vincent Browne is a leftie. Of that there is no doubt. However, I am often impressed by the way he can give other Irish lefties a good grilling on his show, even if they are disproportionately represented on the panels in the first place. I’ve always been fond of Tonight with Vincent Browne. Its the only television program from Ireland that I bother to catch up with online.

On one subject, unfortunately, Browne lacks all objectivity. And it really shows. That subject is Israel:

Browne has talked about Israel in this way before, but never in so openly vicious a manner. Still, I doubt he will get into too much trouble for this. Demonizing an entire country as a ‘cancer’ (something that must be eliminated, of course) is language associated with hardcore bigots. Nazis have said it of the Slavic nations. Socialists said it of Kulaks. Islamists say it of Jews. An Israeli who says it about Arabs is likely to be labeled a Kahanist lunatic, and certainly isn’t going to be welcome among progressive circles. But from the aisles of organic food stores and the auditoriums of universities, the notion that Israel is a ‘cancer’ is almost taken for granted.

Nevertheless, this kind of talk has no place on a respectable current affairs program, even in Ireland. Its particularly unworthy of  Vincent Browne, who likes to give the odd lecture on media ethics. Browne’s words are an echo of the vilest propaganda produced by Islamic fundamentalist states. For this, Tonight with Vincent Browne has lost a fan.

The President and the Pakistani: The Reality

The President and the Pakistani, currently running at the Waterloo East Theater claims to be based on:

The incredible chapter in the life of Barack Obama, when he lived in a crime-ridden and violent neighbourhood with an illegal Pakistani immigrant, this is a gripping play about a night when a hunt for the truth exposes the lies we want to believe in.

Barack Obama did indeed share a sixth floor walk-up in Harlem with a Pakistani by the name of Sohale Siddiqi in the early eighties. The play portrays the idealistic Obama struggling to pay the rent in a filthy apartment surrounded by criminals and bums. The setting of the play may be accurate, but the story is not.

First off, Barack is referred to as ‘Barry’, the given name Obama used for most of his life up to his undergraduate years at Occidental College in California. Obama later transferred to Columbia, always intending to move into nearby Harlem. Thus, he would likely have gone by ‘Barack’ during his time in New York. Going to Harlem with an illegal Pakistani immigrant was a politically-motivated gesture to demonstrate where his loyalties lay. Adopting the name ‘Barack’ was a similar gesture. As I have written before, Obama has had a life-long obsession with being ‘black enough’ to be the black leader he wanted to be.  Obama admits that he “ceased to advertise my mother’s race at the age of twelve or thirteen, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself with whites”. Thus, he ended up manufacturing an identity and personal narrative. He insisted that people at Occidental call him ‘Barack’, as he recounts in a typical conversation on page 104 of Dreams from my Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance:

“Barack’s my given name. My father’s name. He was a Kenyan”.

“Does it mean something?”

“It means ‘Blessed’. In Arabic. My grandfather was  a Muslim”.

This was all true, but Obama had been using the name ‘Barry’ up to this point. The change was for a reason:

[C]onfusion made me question my own racial credentials… To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets [page 100].

On page 105 he admits:

What I needed was a community, I realized, a community that cut deeper than the common despair that black friends and I shared when reading the latest crime statistics, or the high fives I might exchange on a basketball court. A place where I could put down stakes and test my commitments.

So he moves to Harlem. This was a carefully considered choice. ‘The President and the Pakistani’ doesn’t make that clear. Obama didn’t need to live in a dump with low-lives. He could afford better. He found the illegal immigrant Siddiqi through wealthy Pakistani colleagues at Occidental: Imad Hussein, Mohamed Hasan Chandoo, and Wahid Hamid. Obama would visit Pakistan himself, staying at the grand estate of Muhammad Mian Soomro, who in 2007 became Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister.

It wasn’t allegiance to Islam that led Obama to do all this. It was an expression of racial and Third World solidarity. Siddiqi was secular, as well as a heavy drinker and drug abuser.  Obama had expressed pride in his grandfather’s conversion to Islam, purely because he felt it was evidence he was anti-white. Obama had a long interest in Nation of Islam, and his links to them and other anti-white black nationalist movements are shockingly extensive. His image of Islam as anti-European skewed his perception of his grandfather. He notoriously claimed he took part in the Mau Mau uprising and was tortured by the British. In fact, his third wife, whom Obama calls Granny, would tell Obama that his grandfather very willingly served the British and admired their ways. Plus, he only converted to Islam because he found Christianity too soft and feminine.

‘The President and the Pakistani’ begins by portraying Obama and his new friend as a comic bromance getting up to all sorts of wacky antics. It ends with Obama making a commitment to straighten up and act serious after his Pakistani friend’s dog is stabbed by drug dealers. He complains about the cocaine all over the table after he’s invited some friends over for an anti-apartheid meeting. These particular details may or may not be true. We do know, however, that Obama did swear off drugs in this period. He also started jogging. He developed the habits typical of Reagan era yuppies trying to grow up, even briefly contemplating a career in the private sector. He admits in his own account that Siddiqi said he was “becoming a bore”.

‘The’President and the Pakistani’ has proved to be a hit. But don’t believe will give you the real Obama. If it did, no theater would have it.

Barack Obama and Sohale Siqqiqi in 1981

Cover-Up in Benghazi

Does Mitt Romney want to win the election in November? Sometimes, I doubt it. There are echoes in this race of John McCain’s blunders in 2008, when he refused to confront Obama on the matters of Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and Obama’s bizarre past writings. One only need look at a golden opportunity he appears to have missed: an Obama administration cover-up that could and should bring down a Commander in Chief.

Pat Buchanan provides the devastating details.

In summary: We now know that the September 11th attack in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens was observed in near real time by the State Department’s Charlene Lamb. Lamb was in contact with the security section at the Benghazi compound. Scores of men with automatic weapons and RPGs launched a night assault. There never was any protest at or near the site—not against the anti-Muslim YouTube video The Innocence of Muslims or anything else.

The next day, September 12th, Fox News and Eli Lake of The Daily Beast reported that U.S. intelligence had concluded that what happened was a planned act of terrorism. Within 24 hours of the attack, U.S. intelligence had already identified some of the perpetrators as members of an al-Qaeda affiliate in the Maghreb.

Two weeks later, Obama was still blaming a video. Just like the White House press secretary, Jay Carney, had said on September 14th, and UN Ambassador Susan Rice said two days after that. We now know that these people all knew better.

Why did they lie?

It doesn’t take a genius to figure that they needed to cover-up the reality of a terrorist attack in a city they had rescued from Qaddafi’s vengeance eighteen months before.  Obama didn’t want the American public to know that Samantha Power, Susan Rice, as well the Wicked Witch of the White House herself, Hillary Clinton fouled up by promoting intervention in Libya and ended up handing a big prize to Islamists in North Africa. Chris Stevens payed a big price. There are others that need to pay up too.

The Nobel Committee’s Great Mistake

The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the EU its Peace Prize for its  six decade contribution “to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights  in Europe”. Heaven knows it needs the prize money. The odds of this convincing Norway itself to join the union are slim, however.

What can explain last week’s surprising decision? The Committee may have revealed a political agenda in favor of European integration and the currency project. Since World War II there hasn’t been a war between the powers of Western Europe. That’s all well and good, but was there really much of a chance of that happening after 1945? Is the EU responsible for these decades of peace?

I doubt it. The Nobel Committee is re-writing history.

The EU as we know it today is far away from the European Coal and Steel Community of the 1950s. Its only existed since the Maastricht Treaty of 1992. And that’s where the problem lies. It was Maastricht that led to the euro.

The Nobel Prize Committee is making a massive gamble that this experiment will hold out. They did this despite the large-scale riots on many of Europe’s streets, widespread unemployment, and the significant gains made by both communist and fascist parties in the recent Greek elections.

Its a choice that I believe will come back to haunt them when currency has all but collapsed.  Germany can’t pay for the whole of Southern Europe forever. The unrest now can easily be just the tip of an iceberg.

Well, at least they’re not likely to get the Nobel Prize in Economics.

The Irish politician Mary Hanafin once remarked that unless there was a united Europe, we’d have another Auschwitz. Historical ignorance like this abounds among European policy makers. Supranational experiments, the placing of different peoples under one flag and currency, have rarely turned out well. At best, they split at the first opportunity. This happened with the Czechs and the Slovaks. At worst, they descend into outright chaos, war, and even genocide. This was the case in the Balkans.

My hope is that top-down European ‘integration’ doesn’t go so far as to lead to lead to a disaster on the scale of Yugoslavia when the time comes to dissolve.

Here’s a link to hear Nigel Farage on the matter.

Obama’s Huckstering

A 2007 speech by Barack Obama at Hampton University in Virginia has been going viral, and for good reason. The speech is yet another disturbing example of Obama or other figures in his administration stirring up racial tensions for political gain. Not only that, it shows Obama peddling an easily checkable and serious lie.

Obama delivers his address in his finest black ghetto style. From 21:45 on in the video below he starts talking about the federal government response to Hurricane Katrina. Like many others at the time, Obama accuses the government of being lackluster in response to the disaster, especially compared to its reaction in Florida after Hurricane Andrew and New York after 9/11.

It gets really interesting when he mentions the Stafford Act. This requires communities receiving federal disaster relief to contribute as much as 10% of what the federal government does. Obama points out that this requirement was waived in the case of New York and Florida because the Bush administration clearly sees them as “part of the American family”.  When it comes to New Orleans, Obama tells his predominantly black audience, which includes Rev. Jeremiah Wright, “they don’t care about [it] as much”.

This speech was delivered on June 5th, 2007. The date is significant, because on May 24th, less than two weeks earlier, the  Senate had actually voted 80-14 to waive the Stafford Act requirement in the case of New Orleans. Just like it had done for New York and Florida. More federal money was spent assisting New Orleans than was spent on both New York after 9/11 and Florida after Hurricane Andrew combined.

Believe me, this gets funnier.

The Congressional Record for May 24, 2007, shows that the then Senator Barack Obama was present that day. And would you believe it, he was there for that vote on the  Stafford Act requirement.

And he was among the fourteen that voted against the waiver.