Saturday, May 27, 2017

How Sharia Supremacism and Judicial Imperialism Threaten National Security

Having failed to define the real threat — sharia supremacism — Trump walked into a trap of his own making.

By Andrew C. McCarthy — May 27, 2017
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The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling against President Trump’s so-called travel ban empowers both radical Islam and judicial imperialism. The combination portends lasting damage to the United States.

To rehash, the executive order (EO) proclaimed temporary restrictions (the main one, for 90 days) on travel to the United States by the nationals of six countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Those countries, along with Iraq (cited in Trump’s original executive order, but not the revised EO at issue), had previously been singled out by Congress and President Obama — not because they are Muslim-majority countries, but because a) the presence or promotion of terrorism in their territories makes their nationals suspect and b) their anti-Americanism and/or dysfunctional governments render it impossible to conduct background checks on visa applicants.

This Fourth Circuit’s en banc review of prior invalidations of the EO by “progressive” activists masquerading as jurists produced 205 pages of opinions. The outcome was about as uncertain as Secretariat at Belmont, with ten of the tribunal’s 13 judges joining Chief Judge Roger Gregory’s majority ruling to one degree or another.

Three judges filed compelling dissents that will prove quite useful when, as Trump promises, the case proceeds to the Supreme Court. The continuation of the litigation is an unfortunate outcome, even if conservatives and other rule-of-law types, buoyed by Justice Neil Gorsuch’s appointment, may be right that the EO has a better shot in the High Court.

That’s because the EO doesn’t matter. You may not have noticed, but sharia supremacism has already won, regardless of what the Supreme Court does.

See, the EO was never an end in and of itself. It is a means — a fatally flawed one — to a vital end. That end is a vetting system that enables our security services to distinguish pro-Western Muslims from sharia supremacists. That’s the goal. The EO was conceived as a temporary pause while the vetting system took shape.

From a security perspective, though, the EO was utterly ineffective: applicable to a negligible slice of the global anti-American threat. More significantly, as a strategy, starting with the EO rather than getting to vetting has been a catastrophe.

As we have previously observed, in order to install the vetting system we need, the challenge of Islam must be confronted head-on and without apology. That is unavoidable. You can’t flinch. It is a certainty that the Democrat-media complex — of which Islamist organizations are members in good standing — is going to smear you as a racist “Islamophobe.” (Yes, this is another race-obsessed “progressive” narrative, so Islam gets to be the “race,” so that defenders of the Constitution and Western culture can be cast as “the oppressor.”) You have to be content with knowing that you are not a racist, with knowing that you are defending religious liberty, including the religious liberty of pro-Western Muslims.

There is a single battle that must be won. American culture must be convinced that Islam, while it has plenty of diversity, has a mainstream strain — sharia supremacism — that is not a religion but a totalitarian political ideology hiding under a religious veneer.

Intellectually, this should not be a difficult thing to do. Sharia supremacism does not accept the separation of religion from political life (which is why it is lethally hostile to reform Muslims). It requires the imposition of classical, ancient sharia law, which crushes individual liberty (particularly freedom — of conscience, of speech, and in economic affairs). It systematically discriminates against women and non-Muslims. It is cruel in its enforcement. It endorses violent jihad to settle political disputes (since such disputes boil whether sharia is being undermined — a capital offense).

What I have just outlined is not a “theory.” Quite apart from the fact that sharia supremacism is the subject of numerous books, studies, public-opinion polls, and courtroom prosecutions, one need only look at life in Saudi Arabia and Iran, societies in which the regime imposes sharia. As I mentioned a few days ago, one need only look at the State Departments warnings to Americans who travel to Saudi Arabia.

Nevertheless, what should be easy to establish intellectually is difficult as a practical matter. Sharia supremacists and their progressive allies maintain that Islam may not be parsed into different strains. For legal purposes, they insist it is a monolith that is protected by religious-liberty principles — notwithstanding that a) progressives are generally hostile to religious liberty and b) sharia supremacists themselves would destroy religious liberty. Perversely, then, they argue that the First Amendment is offended by national-security measures against anti-American radicals who would, given the chance, deep-six the First Amendment in favor of sharia.

It is essential to win this debate over the political nature of sharia supremacism. Our law has a long constitutional tradition, rooted in the natural and international law of self-defense, of excluding aliens on the basis of radical, anti-American political ideology. Thus, if sharia supremacism is deemed a political ideology, we can keep out alien adherents of a cause that both inspires the terrorists of today and, wherever it is allowed to take root, produces the terrorists of tomorrow.

Yet, we also have a strong commitment to religious freedom. If at the end of the debate — assuming we ever have the debate — our culture’s conclusion is that sharia supremacism equals Islam, equals religion, equals immunity from governmental protective measures, then the Constitution really will have become a suicide pact. We would have decided that anti-constitutional sharia radicals are just as welcome as any other Muslim.

Since this is the debate we must have — i.e., Can we legally vet for sharia supremacism? – the Trump administration’s burden was to tee up the debate on favorable terrain. That required having it over something that the public would understand as truly crucial to our current and future security.

That something should have been vetting. That would have put the focus on sharia — specifically, on its noxious, counter-constitutional terms. The argument would not merely be about the possibility that trained terrorists might infiltrate refugee populations. It would be about the resistance of sharia supremacism to Western assimilation, which inevitably leads to the phenomenon of sharia enclaves, to “no go” zones, and to the creation of the conditions in which the jihadists of tomorrow are bred. (See, e.g., Europe.) Vetting is what we absolutely have to do to protect the country. It is not more complicated than that.

Trump, instead, teed things up for guaranteed failure. Instead of a battle over vetting, he forced it to be fought over the EO, which would do nothing meaningful to improve our security. The threat from the six cited countries is less severe than from other cauldrons of sharia supremacism that are not covered in the EO. Since the EO is not a defensible security measure, it can easily be made to look like a gratuitous swipe at Muslims — especially in light of Trump’s reckless campaign rhetoric, which often failed to distinguish sharia supremacists from all Muslims (many of whom have taken heroic measures to help Americans fight jihadists).

Having thus failed to define the real threat, Trump walked into a trap of his own making. Forced to defend itself against claims of racism, forced to defend the pointless exclusion of Muslims rather than the essential exclusion of sharia supremacists, the administration has responded by vigorously contending that the travel ban has nothing to do with Islam. “It’s facially neutral,” the Justice Department insists. The administration now stresses that the EO does not mention Islam, does not target Islam, and is not directed at Islam.

Well, isn’t that wonderful! I’m sure the Supreme Court will be impressed — the administration might even win there . . . though I wouldn’t bet the ranch on getting Justice Kennedy’s vote.

But you see, the upshot of the administration’s assurances that the EO has nothing to do with Islam is an implicit admission: If a proposed law or executive order did confront Islam directly, it would be unconstitutional. So then . . . how are we ever going to win the debate over vetting? 
How are we ever going to make an intellectually honest, convincing argument that adherents to a radical political ideology rooted in Islamic scripture can lawfully be kept out of our country?
The EO is thus worse than ineffective. It is counterproductive. It probably means that vetting will never happen — or, alternatively, that the administration will try to enhance vetting but pretend, as it has with the EO, that the enhancement has nothing to do with Islam.

To be fair, while such dishonesty is not excusable, it is understandable. Inexorably, these battles are fought out in the courts — Congress having defaulted its responsibility to make law and to limit the judiciary’s capacity to interfere, which the Constitution empowers it to do. The courts are no longer courts. They are no longer the peer judicial branch of a government of divided powers, in which each branch respects the constitutional authorities and competencies of the others. The courts now claim supremacy over the two political branches.

Naturally, they are smart enough not to come out and say it that way. They’ve done it by gradually dismantling separation-of-powers. This doctrine always held that the judiciary did not intrude on matters like immigration, national security against foreign threats, and war fighting — matters constitutionally committed to the branches politically accountable to the voters whose lives are at stake. But, as I warned at the time, Justice Kennedy put the last nail in that coffin in the 2008 Boumediene decision, which astoundingly held that alien enemy combatants engaged in an offensive terrorist war against the United States are endowed with constitutional habeas corpus rights, to be asserted against the U.S. government — indeed, against the executive branch that is prosecuting the congressionally authorized military campaign.

Kennedy scoffed at the principle that the judiciary has no business meddling in the political branches’ conduct of war. His Orwellian contortion of separation of powers holds that the actions of the political branches are strengthened by judicial review. Under the new dispensation, it is not the Constitution but the judiciary that determines the legitimacy of executive and legislative action in defense of the nation.

When Kennedy and the Court’s “progressive” bloc ignored the settled jurisprudence of judicial modesty (what we might call, “know your place”), they unleashed the lower courts to do the same — knowing there was always a good chance that five Supremes would endorse renegade “progress.” Thus did the Fourth Circuit, in neutering the EO, ignore a binding 1972 Supreme Court precedent, Kleindienst v. Mandel, which prohibits federal courts from second-guessing executive discretion in the immigration context. Mandel should have made the case a slam dunk in favor of Trump’s EO. Instead, Judge Gregory declared robed oligarchy: There can be no judicial “abdication” in situations where “constitutional rights, values, and principles are at stake.”

Simply stated, that is a breathtaking claim of power to act any time the judges see fit, for whatever “value” they choose to vindicate.

What federal judges do not see as fit is Donald Trump. If he orders it, they will undo it, even if it is manifest that the same orders would be upheld if issued by a different president.

And the judges’ values tend not to be your values. You value American national security. They value a new, aggressive, and indiscriminate protection of religion — provided that the religion is Islam. Your value is a trifle. Their value is transformed into a right of Muslim immigration, derived from the new, judicially manufactured right of America-based Muslims not to have their self-esteem bruised.

Sharia supremacism and judicial imperialism: a combination that is breaking our will in a way no previous challengers ever could.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

Book Review: 'Pax Romana' by Adrian Goldsworthy

Devise and Conquer: Lessons From Rome

From the May 29, 2017, issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

May 21, 2017

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Pax Romana is a magic mirror that shows us the bloody beasts we must become to raise and rule an American empire. Few seek such a course, but it is the inevitable end of many or indeed most realistic American foreign policy options, especially in the Middle East. How must we behave if we wish to hold dominion as securely as the Romans did over sundry ominous, contumacious, and well-armed folk?
First, we must be implacable in war. We must break our enemies. This was once the American way, as the Confederacy, the Germans, and the Japanese can attest. To the broken, mercy and alliance can be extended: To this American habit the same witnesses can be called. "Spare the humble and war down the proud" is how Virgil described our policy. Some foes, like Carthage, may never bow their heads: thus Cato the Elder appending the phrase "Carthage must be destroyed" to his every speech long after Carthage, defeated in two Punic Wars, had been reduced to a trifling trading post on the African foreshore. Carthage was finally obliterated during Rome's Third Punic War, in 149-146 B.C. Such foes must suffer the grimmer fate Tacitus described as Rome's alternative policy: "They make a desert and they call it peace."

We need not turn victory into rule: We seek above all to inculcate a submissive attitude in those we defeat. The Romans rarely made war to seize territory and were long reluctant to create provinces under direct government, preferring deferential friends to taxpaying subjects. Many puzzling instances of Roman action or of sloth—including the alleged advice of Augustus, Rome's greatest conqueror, to his successors, to halt Roman expansion—can be understood when it is grasped that the Romans sought victory for nation and army rather than rule over more dirt; that they valued psychological over territorial domination; and that, early on at least, they felt that the direct administration of a conquered area was a sign of failure.
Allies, in the Roman view, must be supported with arms, even if—especially if—they are in the wrong, as were the "Sons of Mars," the mercenary company that inadvertently ignited the First Punic War. They must be supported even if supporting them is perilous, even if supporting them pits you against a mighty enemy, such as Pyrrhus of Epirus (Pyrrhic his victories might have been, but they killed tens of thousands of Romans). Only by such actions against Rome's own interest was the loyalty of allies ensured afterwards when disloyalty was in the allies' interest—as when Hannibal thrice defeated the Romans and was trampling his way down Italy, and the power of Rome appeared as a balloon drifting towards the sharp tusk of a Carthaginian elephant. An empire consists both of subject lands and loyal allies, ideally mostly the latter. For centuries the Romans' most usual term for their empire was simply "the allies."
A properly submissive attitude was difficult for ancient states to maintain, and the Romans were apt to see arrogance where none was intended—as, perhaps, in the case of Carthage. Over time they also came to grasp the joys and profits of direct rule. But their way of war served them well for keeping the peace over what evolved into a territorial empire, because they were no less implacable if that peace were broken. Spare no effort to defeat and hunt down rebels (so the Romans thought). If they flee to the gable of the world—to Masada, 1,300 feet above a desert—carry in water and build a ramp up to that roof and leave it as your monument when the rebels finally preempt their capture by suicide. Atrocity was the Roman way in war and revolts, in part because they enjoyed it—the old wolf-magic still pulsed in their blood—but also because they knew well the terrible power of example.
The Roman peace was kept in less brutal ways, too, as Adrian Goldsworthy goes on to show here. Graceful in prose, learned in lore, as comfortable with archaeological as with literary witness, and a master of anecdote and historical comparison, Goldsworthy points his reader to many instances where Roman rule succeeded by powerful protection, upright justice, and intermingled economic interest.
After the turn of the millennium, Roman soldiers were rare in most of the interior provinces of the empire, because the Romans never imagined that their distant, descending, all-slaughtering military might could replace in local sway the power that rises up by nature from city street, from farm and fane. At that level, the power to collect rent is the power to collect taxes, and the power to protect the harvest is the power to drive off broken men and brigands. Buy the men who live by rent, and control the cities; in ruder lands, buy those who command the ancient fidelity or the piety of the folk. Rome collected rentiers and local chiefs into town councils, councils collectively charged with gathering taxes and keeping the peace, councilors who in exchange Rome allowed to lord over lesser men, and squeeze them.
If that squeezing be our measure, the rule of the councils was perhaps the most successful regime in the history of the West, involving the greatest peaceful transfer of wealth from the low to the high. This we can tell from the vast and ornate structures that the squeezers built for their towns in rivalry with one another: the temples, markets, fountains, baths, colonnades, and libraries. York Minster took the Middle Ages over two-and-a-half centuries to finish; a second-century A.D. magnifico of Roman Ephesus could have built it in two-and-a-half years.
After the bloody conquest, and after the bloody suppression of the rebellions that often erupted when the sons of those killed in the conquest came of age, and despite the daily exactions by high from low—despite, in short, the way the Romans seemed to brood a nest full of the eggs of future strife—during the first two, and the fourth, centuries A.D., most of the Roman empire, most of the time, abode in profound, almost stultifying, peace. Golds-worthy argues that the cycles of stunning violence with which the Romans introduced themselves to their eventual subjects induced in the conquered a manner of coma, and that when eventually they awoke it appeared to them that they had always been servants of Rome, that Roman rule was by then (in the immortal formulation of Paul Veyne) "in the nature of things."
Can we take upon ourselves the cheerful cruelty needed to beat our enemies into that coma from which they will emerge our willing collaborators? Will we ever be able to reconcile our consciences to looking into Adrian Goldsworthy's mirror and seeing the wolves of old Rome, their chops crusted with blood, looking back at us?
J. E. Lendon, professor of history at the University of Virginia, is the author of Soldiers and Ghosts: A History of Battle in Classical Antiquity and Song of Wrath: The Peloponnesian War Begins.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Britain Should Seek Vengeance for Manchester, Not Justice

Now is not the time for weakness in the face of the jihadist threat.

By David French — May 25, 2017
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Soldiers walk with a police officer on Whitehall in London, Britain May 24, 2017

Let me share with you some deeply flawed words from the editorial board of the New York Times. I do this not because the Times is alone in its sentiment but because the paragraph below is perfectly representative of the wrong approach to fighting terror. Reflecting on the Manchester bombing, the editors say this:
Meanwhile, as hard as it is amid the shock and the mourning, it is important to recognize this attack for what it is: an attempt to shake Britain — and, by extension, the rest of Europe and the West — to its core, and to provoke a thirst for vengeance and a desire for absolute safety so intense, it will sweep away the most cherished democratic values and the inclusiveness of diverse societies.
To the contrary, Britain should seek vengeance. And if terrorists want to provoke a climactic confrontation in the Middle East, then the West should give them the battle they crave. Why? Because they’ll lose. Because they’ll be slaughtered. Because they’ll be exposed as the violent hucksters they are.

Underpinning the Times’s sentiment is the persistent, misguided belief that what we face isn’t a true war but rather a particularly challenging law-enforcement operation, in which armies stay largely sidelined, the cops do their work, and societies cope with terrorism in much the same way that they cope with other forms of criminal violence.

For those who subscribe to this view, the fundamental response to terror — in addition to mourning the dead and expressing love and support for their families — is to find precisely the people responsible and punish them precisely with the penalties prescribed by law. If we achieve less, then police have failed. If our response sweeps beyond those responsible for the bad act, then we have committed our own injustices and thus perpetuated the cycle of hate and violence.

In war, the goal is different. In war, the goal is to meet an attack with an overwhelming response — to find and punish those responsible for discrete acts, kill their allies, and annihilate their military organization. This martial act of vengeance and wrath — yes, vengeance — should be carried out in accordance with the laws of war, but the laws of war are no impediment to decisive military force.

Vengeance by itself is not wrong. The manner of the vengeance and its object defines its morality and effectiveness. History is littered with examples of vengeance-motivated atrocities, but it is also full of cases where vengeance (or the threat of vengeance) motivated entire societies to defeat mortal threats and deter even worse calamities.

The call for unconditional surrender in World War II was a departure from the norm in great-power conflicts, but it led to the ultimate defeat of Nazism and Japanese militarism, rather than to mere setbacks that would have allowed the Nazis and the Japanese to refit, re-arm, and try again. In multiple points throughout the Cold War, the threat of overwhelming retaliation kept conflicts limited, kept weapons of mass destruction off the field of battle, and helped the world avoid another catastrophic global conflict.

By contrast, terrorists count on Western restraint. They often presume that we’ll be unwilling to do what it truly takes to destroy their safe havens or that we’ll grow weary of conflict and ultimately acquiesce to their demands. And all too many voices in the West are eager to oblige. When law enforcement isn’t enough to prevent attacks, and when carefully limited military strikes prove ineffective, they argue that we should look to address the “legitimate grievances” that are said to ultimately drive jihadist motivations.

That is when terrorists win.

There exists already a model for successful vengeance. Osama bin Laden wasn’t prepared for massive American retaliation after 9/11. He didn’t expect to lose his safe havens and the vast bulk of his fighters. He thought America would respond as it had before, with ineffective cruise-missile volleys or perhaps even the same timidity that followed the Battle of Mogadishu. In fact, he said as much, speaking of American weakness to Western reporters. But he was wrong: He met American strength, al-Qaeda was left in ruins, and the threat of terror eased for a time.
In fact, there’s a consistent pattern to terrorist violence. When they obtain and maintain safe havens, jihadists are able to plan, train, inspire, and strike. When they are driven from their strongholds — pounded from the air and the ground — they lose much of their effectiveness and their appeal. Take your boot off their neck, and they rise again.

So, Britain, ignore the New York Times. Give in to your “thirst for vengeance.” In a manner that is consistent with the laws of war and the great tradition of British arms, make an example of ISIS. Destroy terrorist safe havens with prompt, decisive force, pursue terrorists wherever they flee, and send a clear message. Terrorists have sown the wind. They will reap the whirlwind. 
Avenge your fallen.

— David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, an attorney, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Book Review: 'Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty' by John B. Boles

The complex Thomas Jefferson in his place and time
Jonathan Yardley was the book critic of The Washington Post from 1981 to 2014.
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In the spring of 1962, John F. Kennedy held a dinner at the White House for Nobel Prize laureates from nations of the Western Hemisphere. Opening his remarks, he rather famouslysaid, “I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.” Quite less famously, he continued, “Someone once said that Thomas Jefferson was a gentleman of 32 who could calculate an eclipse, survey an estate, tie an artery, plan an edifice, try a cause, break a horse, and dance the minuet.”
That was April 1962, and that was how Jefferson was then viewed: as a man of astonishingly varied and sophisticated knowledge and accomplishments, a Founding Father to rank beside Washington and Franklin. Then, a dozen years later, came Fawn Brodie’s “Jefferson: An Intimate History,” an inquiry into Jefferson’s relations with his slaves, most specifically the possibility of sexual relations with the house servant Sally Hemings. It sold well for a work of ostensibly serious history, though it aroused passionate indignation among Jefferson loyalists in Virginia and elsewhere, and it set Jefferson on the downhill course he has followed ever since. As John B. Boles says at the outset of this magisterial biography:
“Jefferson’s complexity renders him easy to caricature in popular culture. Particularly in recent years, Jefferson, long the hero of small d as well as capital D democrats, has seen his reputation wane due to his views on race, the revelation of his relationship with Sally Hemings, and his failure to free his own slaves. Once lauded as the champion of the little man, today he is vilified as a hypocritical slave owner, professing a love of liberty while quietly driving his own slaves to labor harder in his pursuit of luxury. Surely an interpretive middle ground is possible, if not necessary. If we hope to understand the enigma that is Thomas Jefferson, we must view him holistically and within the rich context of his time and place. This biography aims to provide that perspective.”
To say that it does so is massive understatement. “Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty” is perhaps the finest one-volume biography of an American president. Boles, a professor of history at Rice University, has spent many years studying Jefferson’s native American South in all its mysteries, contradictions, follies and outrages, as well as its unique contributions to the national culture and literature. This biography is the culmination of a long, distinguished career. I admire it so passionately that, almost 2 1/2 years into a happy retirement, I had no choice except to violate my pledge never again to write another book review.
To his study of this deeply controversial man, Boles brings an ample supply of what has been so lamentably missing in the discussion over the past half-century: a calm insistence on separating truth (so far as we can know it) from rumor and invective, and a refusal to judge a man who lived more than two centuries ago by the moral, ethical and political standards of today. Boles admires Jefferson and maintains a sympathetic attitude toward him through this long, immensely satisfying narrative, but he does not flinch when Jefferson’s behavior and attitudes seem, according to 21st-century standards, offensive at worst, inexplicable at best.
Because the focus in recent years has been almost entirely on Jefferson’s attitudes toward slavery and his actions regarding the several hundred slaves who fell under his ownership, it is important to recall that there was vastly more to his long life than this. In Boles’s “full-scale biography,” Jefferson is presented to us “in all his guises: politician, diplomat, party leader, executive; architect, musician, oenophile, gourmand, traveler; inventor, historian, political theorist; land owner, farmer, slaveholder; and son, father, grandfather.” Without smothering the reader under mountains of detail, Boles briskly but authoritatively takes Jefferson from his birth in Virginia in 1743 to his death, at home in his beloved Monticello, on the Fourth of July, 1826, several hours before the death in Massachusetts of his old friend and occasional rival, John Adams, that other great Founding Father.
As Boles notes, the world into which Jefferson was born was so different from our own that we are hard-pressed to imagine it, yet it was out of this distant world that our own eventually emerged, and Jefferson was at the very center as the transformation from colony to nation got under way. He wrote the immortal Declaration of Independence, which gave voice to the convictions and hopes that impelled his fellow colonists into revolution. At the end of his life he said the Declaration was one of his three singular accomplishments, the others being the enactment of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1786) and the establishment of the University of Virginia a couple of years before his death.
He represented the new nation in Paris from 1784 to 1790, and while he was there delighted in and learned from the varied aspects of that city, whether musical or literary or architectural. In Philadelphia and New York, from 1790 to 1801, he participated in the formation of the new government and served a term as John Adams’s vice president, spending much of that term at Monticello, just as Adams spent much of his term at his Massachusetts home. He then sought and won the presidency in February 1801 in a breathtakingly close vote in the House of Representatives.
The accomplishments of his presidency are well known, most notably the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and the Lewis and Clark expedition to the far West, though his second term was less successful than his first. He lived for more than a decade and a half after it ended, and while he continued to be active in the public lives of his nation and state, he found his greatest pleasures in Monticello and within the bonds of the family to which he was utterly devoted. His wife, Martha, had died in 1782, pleading with him on her deathbed not to marry again, a request that he honored willingly but one that probably had much to do with his later escape into the arms of Hemings.
Thanks largely to the diligent research of Annette Gordon-Reed and the two books that emerged from it, “Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings” (1997) and “The Hemingses of Monticello” (2008), we now know almost certainly as much as we ever will about this essentially mysterious connection. We do know that Hemings “gave birth to five children,” that Jefferson “was demonstrably present at Monticello nine months prior to each of these births” and that one of her children bore an almost uncanny resemblance to Jefferson. Gordon-Reed “argues that Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, as unlikely as it might seem, probably had genuine mutual affection,” which if true can only leave us all the more puzzled by “his failure to emancipate his own slaves or work actively to end slavery completely.” Boles writes:
“Activists in Jefferson’s time . . . much less the abolitionists who emerged soon after his death, could not accept such a patient approach; nor can modern readers. Jefferson’s willingness to wait tells us a great deal about his character and also about his era, his race, and his class. As a wealthy white man, he saw little need for urgency; he believed, rather, that in God’s good time, emancipation would somehow be effected. In no other aspect of his life does Jefferson seem more distant from us or more disappointing.”
Disappointing, to be sure, but also understandable. He was a creature of his own time, not of ours, and at the end of this superb, utterly riveting biography, Boles strikes exactly the right note. He describes the “simple obelisk” erected over Jefferson’s grave at Monticello and then says: “It was a simple marker for a man of vast accomplishments and complexities, the supreme spokesman of America’s promise. Ironically, today he is often found wanting for not practicing the principles he articulated best. Yet Jefferson, despite his limitations, more than anyone else was the intellectual architect of the nation’s highest ideals. He will always belong in the American pantheon.”

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Muslim sex grooming paved the way for the Manchester Arena attack.

May 24, 2017

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The police escorted members of the public from the Manchester Arena in England. Credit Dave Thompson/Getty Images
In the months before weeping little girls with nails in their faces were carried out of the Manchester Arena, the authorities of that city were hard at work fighting the dreaded threat of Islamophobia.
While Salman Abedi, the second-generation Muslim refugee terrorist who maimed and killed dozens in a brutal terrorist attack, stalked the streets wailing, “There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is the messenger of Allah”, Manchester police were busy with more important things.
The Greater Manchester Police are one of only two police forces to list Islamophobia as a hate crime category. Earlier this year, Chief Constable Ian Hopkins honored Tell Mama for fighting Islamophobia. Tell Mama had lost funding earlier when its claims of a plague of violent Islamophobia fell apart. 
Shahid Malik, the chair of Tell Mama, had been photographed with the leader of Hamas. Appearing at the Global Peace and Unity conference, where plenty of terrorism supporters have promenaded, he boasted, “In 2005 we had four Muslim MPs. In 2009 or 2010 we’ll have eight or ten Muslim MPs. In 2014 we’ll have 16 Muslim MPs. At this rate the whole parliament will be Muslim.”
Last year, Hopkins had appeared at a Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) event at the European Islamic Centre along with Azad Ali. Ali has praised Anwar Al-Awlaki and other Al Qaeda figures. He justified the murder of British and American soldiers, he praised Hamas and Hezbollah.
Instead of arresting him, the Chief Constable appeared at the same forum with a terrorist supporter. 
Also present was Greater Manchester Police Crime Commissioner and Interim Mayor Tony Lloyd who came by to talk about "eradicating hate". This was at an event attended by Anas Altikriti of the Cordoba Foundation, who had backed terrorists murdering British soldiers and accused Jews of dual loyalty.
Tony Lloyd will be the Labour candidate in Rochdale; home of the Muslim sex grooming cover-up. 
Both Manchester Mayor Burnham and Chief Constable Ian Hopkins had appeared at MEND events. MEND’s Director of Engagement is Azad Ali.
After the attack, Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham vowed on camera, “terrorists will never beat us”. The terrorists don’t need to beat Burnham. He’ll eagerly collaborate without so much as a single slap.
Last year the left-wing politician fought the government’s efforts to crack down on Islamic terror. “It is creating a feeling in the Muslim community that it is being spied upon and unfairly targeted,” he whined.
Terrorists will never beat us. Unless they have their useful idiots operating on the inside for whom Muslim feelings come first and little girls being torn to pieces by shrapnel come last.
Burnham accused opponents of Islamic terror of racism, xenophobia and all the usual stuff. He insisted that there was a huge Islamophobia problem that was being hidden because Muslims were too afraid of the police to report this rash of imaginary crimes.
"There’s a lot of people in this country not necessarily at risk from ‘Islamic extremism’ but it’s far-right extremism," Andy insisted.
This is what led to the Manchester Arena bombing. Mayor Burnham sold out the police. The police sold out the people. The authorities were chasing Islamophobia when they should have been fighting Islamic terror.
Mayor Burnham and Chief Constable Hopkins pandered to Islamists, prioritized Islamophobia and dutifully opposed the government's fight against Islamic terror. 
The Islamophobia lie killed 22 people in Manchester. It happened on the watch of the GMP.
No one takes Islamophobia more seriously than the Greater Manchester Police. When Muslim sex grooming gangs were abusing little girls in Rochdale, the GMP dutifully covered it up. On one of the recorded interviews, a police officer can be heard yawning as a girl describes her abuse. 
An MP who had pursued these cases said that the authorities “were afraid of being called racist."
Even after Judge Clifton brought it out into the open, stating, “You preyed on girls because they were not part of your community or religion", Detective Chief Superintendent Mary Doyle insisted, "I think if we start to get ourselves hung up on race and ethnicity issues, we take away the real issues."
Detective Constable Maggie Oliver resigned from the GMP for its mishandling of the sex grooming cases. She has warned that offenders are still on the loose. “What I saw in Rochdale was police officers and senior cops acting without any shame because it was convenient to ignore the abuse they knew was happening,” she warned.
There’s still no shame. 
Oliver blamed Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy. Fahy had been knighted for “services to policing”. His “services” included warning that the British government’s Prevent crackdown on Islamic terrorists was contrary to “British values” and would alienate “non-violent Muslims”. 
"A lot of Muslims feel that there is a constant anti-Muslim narrative in the media,” he mewled.
Fahy was replaced by the GMP’s deputy chief constable. Ian Hopkins had cut his teeth on explaining the importance of Ramadan the same year that the GMP was apologizing to the victims of Muslim sex grooming. Even as the GMP fell from 8,000 to 5,300 officers, the new Chief Constable picked up a £172,000 ($223,000) salary. That was down from Fahy’s £206,000 ($267,000) package.
Chief Constable Hopkins declared that people have a right to be “safe from hatred”. After the Manchester Arena attack by a second-generation Muslim refugee, he warned, "We understand that feelings are very raw right now and people are bound to be looking for answers … it is vital that our diverse communities in Greater Manchester stand together and do not tolerate hate.”
Feelings will occasionally grow raw when picking the nails of the latest Muslim terrorist attack out of your child’s face or knowing that she has been raped by a dozen Pakistani men. It may even be possible that in their final dying moments, the victims of the Manchester Arena attack were afraid of Islam. 
If only they could be prosecuted after death.
The cowardly denunciation of Islamophobia was as strong as anything in Hopkins’ statement. It is Islamophobia, not the victims of Islam, that agitates the Chief Constable’s sensitive sympathies.
It was not the victims of Muslim sex grooming in Rochdale or its cover-up that outraged Hopkins. His greatest moment of outrage came when the London Times headlined the story of an Imam murdered by a fellow Muslim for not being Islamic enough as, “Imam beaten to death in sex grooming town.”
The headline was “offensive to the thousands of peaceful law abiding Muslims”, Hopkins complained.
It wasn’t the abuse of little girls that was the problem. It was calling it out for what it was.
The Jihad has been kept quiet through such shameful expediencies. When the head of the Clarksfield primary school complained about threats to blow up her car due to an Islamist “Trojan horse” plot to take control of the institution, the GMP found nothing.
Of course. Finding something might have been Islamophobic.
The Manchester authorities were in the business of fighting Islamophobia. They made that their priority. Not only did they lie about the true threat, but they wasted resources that might have gone to stopping the attack. The blood of innocent children is on their hands. But that’s nothing new.
Just ask the abused little girls of Rochdale. 
This time around the consequences were harder to brush under the rug. The world saw what happened in the Manchester Arena. And they were horrified. This time the victims couldn’t could be hidden away.
The question is whether anything will be done.

Iconoclast in the Promised Land

By Caroline B. Glick
May 23, 2017

Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu at the King David Hotel, May 22 2017.
Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu at the King David Hotel, May 22 2017... (photo credit:GPO)

Israelis are greeting US President Donald Trump with cautious optimism. Their optimism stems from President Trump’s iconoclasm. Trump won the US presidential election based on a campaign of rejecting the prevailing narratives on US domestic and foreign policy that have long held sway among the elites. These narratives dictate and limit the boundaries of acceptable discourse in the US. Unfortunately, their relationship with facts and truth was never more than incidental. Indeed, in recent years that incidental link has vanished altogether along a wide swath of policy areas. On the domestic front, the most obvious examples of this disconnect between the prevailing narratives that dictate policies and the facts that guarantee the failure of those policies relate to US immigration policy and US healthcare policy.

American voters elected Trump because whether or not they supported his specific immigration and healthcare policies, they appreciated his willingness to state openly that the policies now in effect are having devastating impacts on American society.

As far as foreign policy is concerned, Trump’s willingness to buck conventional wisdom was most in evidence in his full-throated rejection of the foreign policy establishment’s refusal to acknowledge the obvious link between Islam and Islamic terrorism. Likewise, his rejection of president Barack Obama’s nuclear and financial appeasement of the Iranian regime worked to his electoral advantage. The elite media, and much of the foreign policy community, along with Democratic lawmakers, willingly joined Obama’s echo chamber and peddled the narrative that the nuclear deal would empower so-called “moderates” in the Iranian regime against so-called “hardliners.”

In stark contrast, the majority of the American public recognized that empowering your enemy both financially and militarily is a recipe for disaster.

Finally, Trump’s enthusiastic, unqualified support for Israel, his refusal to endorse the establishment of a Palestinian state and his pledge to move the US Embassy to Israel’s capital city Jerusalem were second importance only to his pledge to appoint Supreme Court justices that oppose abortion to his success in winning near wall-to-wall support from evangelical Christian voters.

It was because of his foreign policy iconoclasm that Israelis were, by and large, euphoric when Trump was finally inaugurated in January.

Since then, however, in significant ways, Trump has bowed to the narratives of the establishment. As a result, Israel’s euphoria at his election has been replaced by cautious optimism.

During his speech in Riyadh, in relation to both Iran and Islamic terrorism, Trump kept his promise to base his strategies for dealing with the threats on facts rather than narrative.

As far as Iran was concerned, Trump broke with convention by ignoring the meaningless presidential “elections” in Iran last Friday. Rather than embrace the common delusion that ballots mean something in Iran, when Iranian dictator Ali Khamenei decides who can run for election and decides who wins, Trump concentrated on facts. Iran is the primary engine of terrorism in the region and the world, he explained. Moreover, the world would be a better place, and the Iranian people would be better off, if the regime were overthrown.

On Islamic terrorism, Trump again ignored the advice of his national security adviser H.R. McMaster and refused to embrace the false narrative that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. Rather, standing before the leaders of the Islamic world, Trump exhorted them to confront “Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires.”

Trump’s decision to make the case outright to the Muslim leaders was all the more astounding because on the eve of his speech, McMaster demeaned his refusal to embrace the narrative that Islam is peace in an interview with ABC News. In McMaster’s insubordinate words, “The president will call [Islamic terrorism] whatever he wants to call it. But I think it’s important that whatever we call it, we recognize that these are not religious people and, in fact, these enemies of all civilizations, what they want to do is to cloak their criminal behavior under this false idea of some kind of religious war.”

McMaster then insisted that despite the fact that his boss continues to talk about “radical Islamic terrorism,” Trump is coming around to embracing the official narrative that Islam is unrelated to Islamic terrorism. “This is learning,” he said.

But while Trump has maintained his fact-based rhetoric on Iran, for instance, his actual policy is very similar to Obama’s. Rather than keep his campaign pledge and cancel the nuclear deal which guarantees Iran a nuclear arsenal in ten years, Trump chose to punt. He certified – wrongly – that Iran is abiding by the terms of the deal even as the Iranians are stockpiling uranium in excess of the amounts permitted under the deal and are barring weapons inspectors from entering their nuclear sites. So too, Trump has kept up Obama’s practice of keeping the public in the dark regarding what was actually agreed to with Iran by refusing to reveal the nuclear agreement’s secret protocols.

In other words, his policies have yet to match his rhetoric on Iran.

But then again, there is reason to give Trump the benefit of the doubt on Iran. It is more than possible that Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel is entirely about Iran. After all, Trump has enthusiastically joined the anti- Iran coalition that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu built with the Sunni regimes to try to mitigate the destructive consequences of Obama’s embrace of the ayatollahs. And he seems to be interested in using this coalition to rebuild US power in the Middle East while ending Iran’s unimpeded rise as a nuclear power and regional hegemon, just as Israel and the Sunnis had hoped.

The same inconsistency and lack of clarity about Trump’s intentions and his level of willingness to reject the establishment narrative on foreign policy is even more blatant in everything related to Israel and the Palestinian war against it.

During his speech in Riyadh, Trump repeated the obnoxious practice of his predecessors and left Israel off the long list of countries that are afflicted by terrorism. The notion at the heart of that deliberate snub is that terrorism against Israel is somehow different and frankly more acceptable, than terrorism against everyone else.

During his brief visit to Israel, Trump will also go to Bethlehem to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. This will be the two men’s second meeting in less than a month. By insisting on meeting with Abbas during his lightning visit to Israel, Trump signals that he agrees with the narrative view that the US cannot support Israel without also legitimizing and supporting the PLO and its terror funding kleptocracy, the Palestinian Authority.

Finally, even when Trump has adopted a position that repudiates the establishment’s line, the fact is that the establishment’s members dominate his foreign policy team. And as a consequence, they do everything they can to dilute the significance of his moves.

This was clearly in evidence in relation to Trump’s decision to visit the Western Wall on Monday. In the week that preceded his visit, embassy officers angrily rejected Israel’s request that Netanyahu join Trump during his visit to the Jewish holy site, insisting that the Western Wall isn’t in Israel.

In so acting, these Obama holdovers were backed by McMaster, who refuses to admit that the Western Wall is in Jerusalem, and by his Israel-Palestinians director at the National Security Council, Kris Bauman, who served on Obama’s anti-Israel foreign policy team and supports US recognition of Hamas.

In other words, even when Trump tries to embrace fact over narrative, his failure to populate his foreign policy team with iconoclasts like himself has made it all but impossible for him to abandon the anti-Israel narrative guiding US policy. None of this means that Israelis have lost hope in Trump. To the contrary. They have enormous hope in him. But they recognize that so long as the same hostile false narrative about Israel, and the establishment that clings to it dominate Trump’s thinking and policies, the promise of his presidency will not be met.


We need more than mourning in response to the new barbarism.

23 May 2017

Police officers on patrol in Manchester, England, on Tuesday near some of the first flowers left in memory of the victims of an attack at an Ariana Grande concert. Credit(Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

After the terror, the platitudes. And the hashtags. And the candlelit vigils. And they always have the same message: ‘Be unified. Feel love. Don’t give in to hate.’ The banalities roll off the national tongue. Vapidity abounds. A shallow fetishisation of ‘togetherness’ takes the place of any articulation of what we should be together for – and against. And so it has been after the barbarism in Manchester. In response to the deaths of more than 20 people at an Ariana Grande gig, in response to the massacre of children enjoying pop music, people effectively say: ‘All you need is love.’ The disparity between these horrors and our response to them, between what happened and what we say, is vast. This has to change.
It is becoming clear that the top-down promotion of a hollow ‘togetherness’ in response to terrorism is about cultivating passivity. It is about suppressing strong public feeling. It’s about reducing us to a line of mourners whose only job is to weep for our fellow citizens, not ask why they died, or rage against their dying. The great fear of both officialdom and the media class in the wake of terror attacks is that the volatile masses will turn wild and hateful. This is why every attack is followed by warnings of an ‘Islamophobic backlash’ and heightened policing of speech on Twitter and gatherings in public: because what they fundamentally fear is public passion, our passion. They want us passive, empathetic, upset, not angry, active, questioning. They prefer us as a lonely crowd of dutiful, disconnected mourners rather than a real collective of citizens demanding to know why our fellow citizens died and how we might prevent others from dying. We should stop playing the role they’ve allotted us.
As part of the post-terror narrative, our emotions are closely policed. Some emotions are celebrated, others demonised. Empathy – good. Grief – good. Sharing your sadness online – great. But hatred? Anger? Fury? These are bad. They are inferior forms of feeling, apparently, and must be discouraged. Because if we green-light anger about terrorism, then people will launch pogroms against Muslims, they say, or even attack Sikhs or the local Hindu-owned cornershop, because that’s how stupid and hateful we apparently are. But there is a strong justification for hate right now. Certainly for anger. For rage, in fact. Twenty-two of our fellow citizens were killed at a pop concert. I hate that, I hate the person who did it, I hate those who will apologise for it, and I hate the ideology that underpins such barbarism. I want to destroy that ideology. I don’t feel sad, I feel apoplectic. Others will feel likewise, but if they express this verboten post-terror emotion they risk being branded as architects of hate, contributors to future terrorist acts, racist, and so on. Their fury is shushed. ‘Just weep. That’s your role.’
The post-terror cultivation of passivity speaks to a profound crisis of – and fear of – the active citizen. It diminishes us as citizens to reduce us to hashtaggers and candle-holders in the wake of serious, disorientating acts of violence against our society. It decommissions the hard thinking and deep feeling citizens ought to pursue after terror attacks. Indeed, in some ways this official post-terror narrative is the unwitting cousin of the terror attack itself. Where terrorism pursues a war of attrition against our social fabric, seeking to rip away bit by bit our confidence and openness and sense of ourselves as free citizens, officialdom and the media diminish our individuality and our social role, through instructing us on what we may feel and think and say about national atrocities and discouraging us from taking responsibility for confronting these atrocities and the ideological and violent rot behind them. The terrorist seeks to weaken our resolve, the powers-that-be want to sedate our emotions, retire our anger, reduce us to wet-eyed performers in their post-terror play. It’s a dual assault on the individual and society.