Monday, February 29, 2016

How academia whitewashes Muslim honor killings

How academia whitewashes Muslim honor killings

The whitewashing of Muslim honor killings in America has seeped into academia. And the PC police have found a new scapegoat: Hindu Americans.
In January, the Journal of Family Violence published “An Exploratory Study of Honor Crimes in the United States” by Brittany E. Hayes, Joshua D. Freilich and Steven M. Chermak. It was an act of cowardice as well as a shoddy piece of research. It broke absolutely no new ground, either theoretically or statistically, and is so “politically correct” that it completely misses an entire forest for a tree.
The study’s first error consists of comparing violence against women in general with femicide. Being battered is not the same as being murdered.
A classic honor killing is a family conspiracy mainly against a young daughter; fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins — sometimes even grandfathers — may join in. Westerners don’t often kill their teenage daughters.
The reason Hayes et al. place honor killings within the broader context of “violence against women” is clear. They don’t want to be accused of “Islamophobia” or of targeting any ethnic or religious group.
They don’t tell us the names of any of the 16 honor-killing perpetrators or the names of their victims. The phrase “Muslim perpetrator” and “Muslim honor killing” appear nowhere. In 10,000 words, only 14 are related to “Islam,” “Muslims,” “Arabs” or “Middle Easterners.”
Three times, Hayes et al. rail against “Western media coverage.” They write: “Significantly, media reporters in the United States may be more inclined to cover honor crimes, especially those committed by Middle Easterners, compared to other fatal crimes because they may be perceived as more ‘exotic’ and news worthy.” They insist, “Reporters may search for an honor crime angle when the victim and/or offender are of a particular ethnicity or religion . . . there is a need to study honor crimes in the United States that involve victims and perpetrators from other cultures, like India, or extremist ideologies.”
The New York Times, for example, has published a series of articles on Hindu honor killings in India and has published very few articles about Muslim honor killings in the United States, in North America or in Europe.
These authors seem not to be familiar with the 2012 study which compared Hindu honor killings in India with Muslim honor killings in Pakistan and Hindu versus Muslim honor killings worldwide. Hindus absolutely do perpetrate honor killings (and some of them are quite gruesome), but they do so mainly in India; they don’t bring the custom with them when they emigrate to the West. (Or those who emigrate are not honor-killing tribalists.) That is why one cannot study them here.
Also, many honor killings in India are perpetrated by Muslims as well as by Hindus.
That study showed that most Hindu honor killings are caste-related and that Muslim honor killings are triggered by many more reasons, e.g., girls have been killed for looking at a boy, allowing their veil to slip, being seen without their veil, refusing to marry their first cousin, insisting on divorcing their first cousin, developing non-Muslim friends, having a non-Muslim boyfriend, being suspected of having an affair, wanting a higher education, etc.
Ironically, this comparison of Hindu and Muslim honor killings actually supports a politically correct view: The origin of honor killings probably resides in shame-and-honor tribalism, not necessarily in a particular religion. I don’t understand why other scholars have not yet absorbed this point.
The Koran does not command that a woman be honor-killed. It does, however, demand male and female “modesty” and female “obedience,” and it allows husbands to physically chastise wives. Perhaps extreme misogynists have allowed superstitious and illiterate people to believe that committing intimate family femicide is religiously sanctioned.
Neither Islam nor Hinduism, as religious institutions, has worked very hard to abolish honor killing. The Indian Hindu government has tried to do so. The Pakistani government has not.
Nevertheless, Hayes, Freilich and Chermak bend over backward not to single out any one ethnicity, religion or nationality — except, perhaps, India.
Phyllis Chesler is emerita professor of psychology, author of four studies about honor killing and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Ex-Gitmo Prisoner Arrested on Terror Charges

Ex-Gitmo Prisoner Arrested on Terror Charges

The Guantanamo detention facility. Although some prisoners are kept in cells, others are described as living in 'cottages.' (Photo: Video screenshot)
The Guantanamo detention facility. Although some prisoners are kept in cells, others are described as living in 'cottages.' (Photo: Video screenshot)
A former inmate of the Guantanamo detention camp (Gitmo) has been arrested with four other individuals by Spanish and Moroccan police on terrorism charges.
Police said that the four – three Spaniards and one Moroccan -- were "willing to commit terrorist acts on Spanish soil." Authorities also said that they were already in the process of procuring weapons and substances to make bombs.
The four are also suspected of recruiting for the Islamic State -- particularly minors.
Police said of the former Gitmo-detainee, who was not named, "The fact that this leader was trained in handling weapons, explosives and in military tactics makes this cell particularly dangerous."
The recidivism rate of former Gitmo-detainees is high. Senator John McCain, chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, put the number at 30%, although other’s claimed it was lower.
According to a September 2014 report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, of the 620 detainees transferred out of Gitmo, 107 had been "confirmed of re-engaging" and 77 were "suspected of re-engaging" in terrorist or insurgent activities.
On Tuesday, February 23, 2016, U.S. President Barack Obama called for a closure of the facility. "This is about closing a chapter in our history. Keeping this facility open is contrary to our values. It undermines our standing in the world. It is viewed as a stain on our broader record of upholding the highest standards of rule of law," the president said. 
The following are notable detainees at Gitmo that have been recently freed:
  • Egyptian Tariq Mahmoud Ahmed al Sawah , one of al Qaeda’smost skilled explosives experts, was released in January 2016. Al Sawah was personally praised by Osama bin Laden, may have known of the original Sept. 11 plot and was the creator of the shoe-bomb with which a jihadi tried to down a commercial airplane in 2001.
  • Mohammad Al Rahman Al Shumrani, a 40-year old Saudi Arabian national, was released on January 11, 2016, even though he had vowed to kill “as many Americans as possible.” The previous August, he was listed as a “forever prisoner” – too dangerous to release.
  • Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi was released from Gitmo and transferred to Sudan in July, 2012. In December, 2015, heappeared as a spokesman in a video for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
  • The “Taliban Five,” all high-ranking members of the Afghan Taliban and considered “high risk” and dangerous by the U.S,  were released on June 1, 2014 in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier who was later charged with desertion.

Cruising the Web (why so many young people find socialism appealing these days)

Cruising the Web

Two writers at The Federalist, Emily Ekins and Joy Pullmann, have an excellent essay looking to explain why so many young people find socialism appealing these days. Part of the reason is that they were born or came of age after the end of the Cold War and so have little idea what socialism has meant for countries in the modern world. They know that there was something called the Cold War, but they don't know much about the horrors of the system. My AP European History students, who are all very bright and engaged 12th graders, are amazed when we cover the horrors of the Soviet Union. They'd vaguely heard that Stalin was a Bad Guy, but they really didn't know any details. When they learn about the state-induced Ukrainian famine,they're shocked and can't believe that they had never heard that story before. I often spend a whole period just telling them some of my experiences from spending a summer in the Soviet Union under Brezhnev in 1979. Hearing what everyday life was like and how pervasive the sense of being spied on was from a person whom they know brings it all home for them.

The authors point to survey data that finds that while surveys have favorable opinions of socialism compared to other age groups, they can't define it.
So what do millennials think socialism is? A 2014 Reason-Rupe survey asked respondents to use their own words to describe socialism and found millennials who viewed it favorably were more likely to think of it as just people being kind or “being together,” as one millennial put it. Others thought of socialism as just a more generous social safety net where “the government pays for our own needs,” as another explained it.

If socialism is framed the way Sanders does, as just being a generous social safety net, it’s much harder to undermine among millennials. This narrative says government is a benevolent caretaker and pays for everybody’s needs (from everybody’s pockets), along the lines of the Obama administration’s Life of Julia montage.
That sounds about right from what I've observed from my high school students. And the next point that the authors make also sounds true. When asked questions about a government-managed economy versus a free-market economy, they still prefer the free market. They just don't know that socialism involves the government running the economy. As Ekins and Pullmann point out, young people have experienced government-run organizations and they much prefer those run by private businesses. When I teach the unit on the Bureaucracy, I give them a passage from James Q. Wilson's classic work, Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do And Why They Do It , which contrasts service at the DMV and McDonald's and then explains why the structure of government agencies and the role of incentives create that difference. There is also a section on how Donald Trump was able to come in and build an ice-skating rink at Rockefeller Center so much more quickly and cheaply than the city government could do it and why that was. And my students all get the difference. And they all have stories about how horrible the DMV can be. As teenagers, dealing with the DMV has been one of the few times they've actually had to deal much with a government bureaucracy. And it hasn't been a pleasant experience.

It's also ironic, as Ekins and Pullman remind us, that Democrats don't seem to be able to define the difference between socialism and what their Democratic Party stands for. Like Bernie Sanders, millennials associate socialism with Scandinavia and that makes it nice-sounding for them.
Perhaps the most important reason millennials are less concerned about socialism is that they associate socialism with Scandinavia, not the Soviet Union. Modern “socialism” today appears to be a gentler, kinder version. For instance, countries like Denmark, Sweden, and Norway offer a far more generous social safety net with much higher taxes.

In this view, government just covers people’s basic needs (from everybody’s pockets, of course), but doesn’t seize all the businesses and try to run them, or overtly attempt to control people’s consciences.

These countries actually are not socialist, but “socialistic.” To accommodate their massive social welfare spending, these countries opened their economies to free-market forces in the 1990s, sold off state-owned companies, eased restrictions on business start-ups, reduced barriers to trade and business regulation, and introduced more competition into health care and public services.

In fact, today these countries outrank the United States on business freedom, investment freedom, and property rights, according to the Heritage Economic Freedom Index. So, if anything, the lesson from Scandinavian countries is that market reforms, not socialist ones, explain their prosperity.
But of course, the image of Scandinavia as a socialist paradise persists to this day. Neither Bernie Sanders or any of the Democrats or Donald Trump have caught up on the changes in the past two decades.

The other problem is that young people have no idea of the effect that the massive debts that states are piling up to pay for all these nice benefits will have on their future.
The consequences of slower economic growth, lower productivity, and relatively lower standards of living are opaque unless you have something to compare it to (Norway is an exception here, because they have oil to sell to support their welfare apparatus). Ironically, the consequences of socialist-type policies inside the United States include the very economic effects millennials are so angry about: high college tuition, a rotten job market (especially for those on the bottom rungs of the career ladder), expensive health care, and expensive housing.

If young people had to pay for all the socialist schemes they ostensibly support, their support might rapidly erode. Take, for example, Joy’s brother, a millennial, who recently earned an $8,000 year-end productivity bonus. He was incensed to learn that he would take home only $5,000 of that after taxes. That’s the way most of us feel at tax time, and it’s a major reason politicians keep kicking the can down the road on things like Social Security and Medicare bankruptcy—because they understand people will be furious once they fully realize the costs of these government programs are too high for us all to afford.

Indeed millennials, like generations before them, become more averse to government social spending as their own income rises and have to pay more in taxes.
My students are often outraged when we get to the unit on economic policy and I show them a few charts indicating the impact of government spending on entitlements in the years when they will hope to be in their prime-earning years. They're horrified and suddenly quite willing to cut entitlements for the elderly and other government spending. Suddenly all those government programs that they have been supporting all year in class discussions no longer seem so worthwhile.

So I can will understand the appeal of Bernie Sanders' message to my students. Quite a few of them are very intrigued by his candidacy. And, of course, Hillary Clinton's message is not far behind. I think we need someone to take the approach Ross Perot did in 1992 when he'd just sit before a TV camera and spend a half hour going over charts demonstrating what government spending was going towards and how the growing government debt was going to affect ordinary people.

Some people compare Donald Trump to Ross Perot, but his actual message is nowhere as down-to-earth as Perot's was. I probably wouldn't detest him as much if he were actually about making the sort of decisions to address these problems as Perot promised to do. Instead, Trump seems to believe that he can fix Social Security, for example, by cutting "waste, fraud, and abuse." We've been promised that for decades now and politicians just don't want to admit that there isn't enough waste, fraud, and abuse to address the real imbalance in spending.

Paul Ryan did something like Perot's commercials when he gave the answer to the State of the Union. But we need it done over and over again in clear, simple language if that message is ever going to take hold over the popularity of promising lots of free stuff. As long as liberals pretend that everything can be paid for by taxing "millionaires and billionaires," they'll keep falling for the lure of socialism. Reality is just not as appealing as the cupcakes and unicorns that they're being promised.

I still find it hard to believe that a third of the voters in South Carolina's GOP primary voted for Donald Trump. If blaming George W. Bush for 9/11 and claiming Bush lied to get us into Iraq while telling us how he likes the individual mandate and thinks Planned Parenthood does great stuff for women, and being exposed as a liar for his claims of having opposed the Iraq War before it startedas well as reiterating his call for George W. Bush's impeachment all in the week before the vote didn't sway his voters away, I guess nothing will. Because "he tells it like it is" or whatever. Except for when he's saying something just the opposite of what he said before. And then he lies about it. But hey, he's politically incorrect so it doesn't matter that he's lying to the public.

All I can hope is that the opposition to Trump will coalesce around someone else and do it fast. Jeb Bush dropping out is the first step. But things don't look auspicious after that. As John Podhoretz puts it,....(go to link to read more):

Sunday, February 28, 2016



 – “WashPost Columnist: Trump’s Rise Explains How Hitler Came to Power,” as noted by Tom Blumer at NewsBusters yesterday, who spots Danielle S. Allen, “a political theorist at Harvard University and a contributing columnist for The Post,” penning a column in which she writes that America has reached – insert trademark Monty Python Spanish Inquisition giant orchestra sting here – “The moment of truth: We must stop Trump,” in which Allen asserts:
Like any number of us raised in the late 20th century, I have spent my life perplexed about exactly how Hitler could have come to power in Germany.* Watching Donald Trump’s rise, I now understand. Leave aside whether a direct comparison of Trump to Hitler is accurate. That is not my point. My point rather is about how a demagogic opportunist can exploit a divided country.
See also, the 2008 election. After which, at the beginning of 2009, Newsweek, then-still owned by Washington Post, famously declared “We Are Socialists Now.” A few months later, the Post’s E.J. Dionne pretended to be shocked, Claude Rains inCasablanca style, that some were now calling President Obama a socialist who believes in nationalization, or heck, even a National Socialist. “Media Amnesiacs Suddenly Appalled at Hitler Comparisons” Lachlan Markay of NewsBusters wrote in November of 2009, after everyone from to Al Gore to John Glenn spent the last eight years comparing President Bush and the GOP to Hitler and the Nazis:
A liberal Washington Post columnist laments today of the loss of civility in the public discourse. Strange that he is suddenly outraged that Americans would dare call Obama a socialist or a fascist, given that Bush-Hitler comparisons were widespread during the previous administration.
Liberals in the media spent the summer and early fall bemoaning signs at town hall protests and tea party rallies calling Obama a socialist or communist comparing him to Hitler (incidentally, many of these signs were actually created by supporters of uber-leftist Lyndon LaRouche, as reported by Seton Motley here and here). These pundits had no such admonitions for signs at anti-war rallies during the Bush administration comparing him to Hitler and the Devil, and calling the president a fascist.
So the Post’s E.J. Dionne’s complaints about the loss of civility in the debate over federal politics fit right in with the narrative liberal pundits have been pushing since last year: comparing an American president to a murderous dictator is unacceptable…if that president is a Democrat.
Wrote Dionne in The New Republic yesterday:
The most surprising and disappointing aspect of our politics is how little pushback there has been against the vile, extremist rhetoric that has characterized such a large part of the anti-Obama movement.
President Obama’s administration has largely ignored those accusing him of “fascism” and “communism,” presumably believing that restraint in defense of dignity is no vice.
Dionne quotes former Congressman Jim Leach, R-Iowa, to illustrate the horrific degradation of the national discourse:
There is, after all, a difference between holding a particular tax or spending or health care view, and asserting that an American who supports another approach or is a member of a different political party is an advocate of an ‘ism’ of hate that encompasses gulags and concentration camps.
Interesting advice. Let me know when it apply to Washington Post columnists as well.
* Buyer beware: Parents who are about to shell out $60K a year to send their kids to Harvard, here’s a heads up that they’re being taught by professors who are still “perplexed” by that whole WWII thing.

PEAK ESPOSITO (DP: Worth the time to read and watch the video clip)

While it is difficult to date the onset precisely, we entered the Esposito phase of the Obama presidency within the past few years. It is the phase in which Barack Obama’s barking leftist mania for rule by decree became manifest. In late 2014, for example, The Hill took a look back at “Obama’s ‘pen and phone’ barrage.”
The barrage continues. Since then we have grown accustomed to it.
In Woody Allen’s Bananas (1971, written with Mickey Rose), it is the phase in which the revolutionary Esposito achieves power in the fictional Latin American backwater of San Marcos. The power promptly goes to Esposito’s head. Esposito starts issuing proclamations such as this one: “From this day on, the official language of San Marcos will be Swedish. Silence! In addition to that, all citizens will be required to change their underwear every half-hour. Underwear will be worn on the outside so we can check. Furthermore, all children under 16 years old are now… 16 years old!” Video of this scene is below (with Greek subtitles).
Bananas is a comedy that plays it for laughs. Barack Obama is about as funny as cancer. We probably entered into the Esposito phase of Obama’s presidency long ago, around the time Obama started rewriting unambiguous provisions of Obamacare on his own say-so.
Now we seem to be reaching peak Esposito. The thought comes to mind in connection with Rowan Scarborough’s mind-boggling Washington Times report “Pentagon orders commanders to prioritize climate change in all military actions.” Scarborough explains:
The Pentagon is ordering the top brass to incorporate climate change into virtually everything they do, from testing weapons to training troops to war planning to joint exercises with allies.
A new directive’s theme: The U.S. Armed Forces must show “resilience” and beat back the threat based on “actionable science.”
It says the military will not be able to maintain effectiveness unless the directive is followed. It orders the establishment of a new layer of bureaucracy — a wide array of “climate change boards, councils and working groups” to infuse climate change into “programs, plans and policies.”
The Department of Defense directive is posted online here. In his mania for destruction Obama exceeds Esposito. Esposito would never put his forces to such vacuous tasks.
Quotable quote from Roger Pielke Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado: “Current datasets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century. No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin. In summary, there continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale.”

In today’s New York Post Betsy McCaughey draws attention to a striking episode of the Obama administration’s rank lawlessness. As it has been frequently in the past, Obamacare is the occasion:
In 2014, the White House tried to avert that disaster by promising insurers a taxpayer-funded bailout, but public outrage and quick action by Sen. Marco Rubio put a stop to it. Now the administration is at it again.
Desperate to keep insurers on board, the administration scrambled to find another pot of money. Unfortunately, once again, a big part of that money pot belongs to the public.
President Obama doesn’t seem to care. On Feb. 12, the administration announced that the money will be handed out to insurers — a whopping $7.7 billion this year alone.
But it’s not just expensive: That huge handout to the insurance industry is also illegal.
This is money you and everyone else who already has insurance are forced to pay, called a reinsurance fee. You pay the fee whether you buy your own plan or get covered at work, even if your employer self-insures. You may be clueless about it, but the fee is buried in your premium or taken out of your compensation.
The text of the Affordable Care Act is clear as a bell on what this money can be used for.
Some of these annual fees — adding up to billions a year — belong to the public, not the insurance companies. The law states a fixed share “shall be deposited into the general fund of the Treasury of the United States and may not be used” to offset insurance companies’ losses.
But the administration gave all of it to the insurance companies last year, and got away with that heist. So now they’re trying it again.
In her conclusion McCaughey takes a useful look back at the origin of the Esposito phase of the Obama presidency:
ObamaCare was sold on lies: You can keep your health plan if you like it. And keep your doctor if you like your doctor. Then, once it was passed, the administration resorted to a long string of lawless executive actions to keep an unworkable scheme going, despite the damage being done to employers, doctors and consumers.
The administration’s diversion of public funds to its insurance-company cronies is just the latest defiance of the law.
The president has illegally delayed the employer mandate repeatedly. He’s handing out free ObamaCare plans to illegal immigrants. Statutory deadlines are routinely ignored, and funds are slyly shifted from one program to another — the law be damned.
Ultimately, ObamaCare is imperiling not only our health and our nation’s economic growth, but even our nation’s most precious asset — the rule of law.
Whole thing here.