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Reparations for Slavery…From Africans

Hilary Fordwich corrects CNN’s Don Lemon on British Empire over slavery during the Queen’s funeral:

Don Lemon: “Some people want to be paid back and members of the public are wondering, ‘Why are we suffering when you are, you have all this vast wealth?’ Those are legitimate concerns…”

Hilary Fordwich: “Well I think you’re right about reparations in terms of – if people want it though, what they need to do is, you always need to go back to the beginning of the supply chain. Where was the beginning of the supply chain? That was in Africa. Across the entire world, when slavery was taking place, which was the first nation in the world that abolished slavery? …the British”

“In Great Britain they abolished slavery. 2,000 naval men died on the high seas trying to stop slavery. Why? Because the African kings were rounding up their own people. They had them [in] cages, waiting in the beaches.”

“I think you’re totally right. If reparations need to be paid, we need to go right back to the beginning of that supply chain and say, ‘Who was rounding up their own people and having them handcuffed in cages. Absolutely, that’s where they should start.”

Woman Scares Off Intruder, No Shots Fired

Writes Jeff Jacoby in his newsletter Arguable on “Guns keep Americans safer”:

…Now comes a new survey of gun owners , one of the largest and most comprehensive ever conducted. Supervised by Georgetown University professor William English and published on the Social Science Research Network, it surveyed 16,708 gun owners, drawn from an overall population sample of 54,000. Among its findings: roughly 32 percent of American adults, 42 percent of them female, own guns. Handguns remain the most common type of firearm owned, with 171 million in private hands, but Americans also own 146 million rifles and 98 million shotguns.

…According to English, “approximately a third of gun owners have used a firearm to defend themselves or their property, often on more than one occasion, and guns are used defensively by firearms owners in approximately 1.67 million incidents per year. A majority of gun owners, 56.2 percent, indicate that they carry a handgun for self-defense in at least some circumstances.”

Using a gun in this context generally does not mean firing a gun. More than 80 percent of the time, respondents said that when they “used” their weapon to respond to a threat, it was sufficient to simply show their gun, or merely mention that they had one. It is not surprising that most defensive gun uses never rise to the level of a news story. “Woman Scares Off Intruder, No Shots Fired,” isn’t a very gripping headline.

See also Andrew Bernstein’s article, Defense of Innocent Lives Requires Gun Ownership By Honest Persons.

Big-Tech “Little Brothers”

“The FBI, I think, basically came to us – some folks on our team – and was like, ‘Hey, just so you know, like, you should be on high alert… We thought that there was a lot of Russian propaganda in the 2016 election. We have it on notice that, basically, there’s about to be some kind of dump of that’s similar to that. So just be vigilant.’” – Mark Zuckerberg, The Joe Rogan Experience

Writes Jonathan Turley in “Zuckerberg Reveals the FBI Told His Company to be Wary of ‘Russian Disinformation’“:

[Facebook’s parent company Meta] only recently allowed customers to discuss the lab theory of the origins of Covid after years of biased censorship. Facebook’s decision to allow people to discuss the theory followed the company’s Oversight Board upholding a ban on any postings of Trump, a move that even figures like Germany’s Angela Merkel and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) have criticized as a danger to free speech.  Even Trump’s voice has been banned by Facebook. Trump remains too harmful for Facebook users to hear . . . at least until the company decides that they are ready for such exposure. Facebook has tried to get customers to embrace censorship in a commercial campaign despite its long record of abusive and biased “content modification.”

Note such actions by private companies are not censorship – unless pressure, no matter how light, was imposed upon by the government.

From “Evolving With Big Tech: Facebook’s New Campaign Should Have Free Speech Advocates Nervous“:

Politicians know that the First Amendment only deals with government censorship, but who needs “Big Brother” when a slew of “Little Brothers” can do the work more efficiently and comprehensively?

When Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey came before the Senate to apologize for blocking the Hunter Biden story before the election, he was met by demands from Democratic leaders for more censorship. Senator Chris Coons (D., Md.) pressed Dorsey to expand the categories of censored material to prevent people from sharing any views that he considers “climate denialism.” Likewise, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) chastised the companies for shying away from censorship and told them that he was “concerned that both of your companies are, in fact, backsliding or retrenching, that you are failing to take action against dangerous disinformation.” Accordingly, he demanded that they “commit to the same kind of robust content modification playbook in this coming election.”

Republicans have been acting in the opposite direction, seeking to force companies to not block information (which is also censorship). Though in practice, the Democrat variant of banning speech at this time is a far greater danger, than bills that call for the equal promulgation of opposing viewpoints according to “free speech principles,” the proper response is to ban government interference in all speech that does not violate the rights of others.

President Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan May Exceed $1 Trillion

Wharton Business School budget model crunches the numbers on Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan:

  • We estimate that President Biden’s proposed student loan debt cancellation alone will cost between $469 billion to $519 billion over the 10-year budget window, depending on whether existing and new students are included. About 75% of the benefit falls to households making $88,000 or less per year.
  • Loan forbearance for 2022 will cost an additional $16 billion.
  • Under strict “static” assumptions about student borrowing behavior and using take-up rates within existing income-based repayment programs, the proposed new IDR program will cost an additional $70 billion, increasing total package costs to $605 billion.
  • However, depending on future details of the actual IDR program and concomitant behavioral changes, the IDR program could add another $450 billion or more, thereby raising total plan costs to over $1 trillion.

Read the details here.

In July 2021, Nancy Pelosi stated the President has no power to forgive such loans: “People think that the president of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness. He does not. He can postpone. He can delay. But he does not have that power. That has to be an act of Congress…And I don’t even like to call it forgiveness because that implies a transgression. It’s not to be forgiven, just freeing people from those obligations.”

(She has recently flip-flopped on her position).

“National emergencies” grant the President extra-ordinary powers, whether student loans or climate change.

Ben Bayer: “Responsible Sex” Arguments Against Abortion vs. the Right to Pursue Happiness

Writes philosopher Ben Bayer, author of Why the Right to Abortion Is Sacrosanct, in his op-ed “If you value personal responsibility, rethink abortion“:

I agree that one should be willing to live with the consequences of one’s actions. Responsible sex, for instance, means pursuing this value with an eye to one’s health and self-esteem. It means using contraception and protection, and treating sex as a meaningful experience with someone else who feels the same way.

But if opponents of abortion really care about responsibility, why aren’t they outraged by the fact that fifteen of the new state abortion bans, the Texan ban included, contain no exceptions for rape or incest? Victims of rape and incest — like the 10-year-old girl in Ohio who had to flee to Indiana for an abortion — have not been irresponsible. Why don’t the supporters of “responsibility” denounce any ban without rape and incest exceptions?

The answer is that anti-abortion rhetoric about ‘responsibility’ is a cover for attacking the American right to the pursuit of happiness:

Serious abortion opponents think that choosing the joy of sex for its own sake is morally suspect and so “irresponsible.” They believe sex has only one “natural” purpose: reproduction. The only acceptable alternative is celibacy. In their view our “responsibility” is to pursue only those ends assigned to us by some higher power. This is inconsistent with the idea that we should pursue the goals and consequences we are willing to accept in our pursuit of happiness.

Required reading.

Donald Trump Warned Europeans About Reliance on Russian Gas

  • World

Douglas Murray, the author of The War on the West, says former US President Donald Trump said “Germany was too reliant on Russian gas and that it would be paying a price for this” at the UN four years ago. “And the German diplomats … all laughed away and giggled away at Donald Trump…Now, you may not think that Donald Trump is the world’s finest purveyor of truth. But he was telling the truth on this occasion. He was saying something that was absolutely true and giving the Europeans a reality check that was long overdue.” (SkyNews)

Washington Post has a video of Trump educating European elites on foreign policy and energy:

The Biden Administration is the Gift That Keeps on Giving – To America’s Enemies

  • World

The late Osama Bin Laden in planning to assassinate then-President Obama told his fellow terrorists to leave Vice-President Joe Biden unharmed. He could prove useful.

From the US DOD:

The DoD estimated that U.S.-funded equipment valued at $7.12 billion was in the inventory of the former Afghan government when it collapsed, much of which has since been seized by the Taliban. This included military aircraft, ground vehicles, weapons, and other military equipment.

From the NY Post:

The report also said that 316,260 small arms — including rifles, sniper rifles, pistols, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and howitzers — worth $511.8 million were under the care of the Afghan military at the time of its collapse, but the condition of those weapons was unknown. Communications, explosive detection, night-vision and other surveillance equipment was also in the Kabul government’s inventory when the Taliban took over.

Well, at least Biden isn’t Trump. Like for much of Biden’s Presidency, the response has been like that of “new atheist” Sam Harris who states, “Hunter Biden literally could have had the corpses of children in his basement – I would not have cared.”

 

 

Ban Iranian Regime Human Rights Violators From Entering the United States

“Raisi’s Death Commission executed children as young as 15.”

U.S. Senators Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, Chuck Grassley, Marsha Blackburn, Rick Scott, and Marco Rubio sent a letter to President Biden calling on him to deny entry visas to Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi and other senior Iranian officials to attend the U.N. General Assembly in September 2022.

Below is the full text of the letter:

July 27, 2021

President Joseph R. Biden
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Biden,

We are writing to express our concern about the prospect of incoming Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, visiting the United States to attend the United Nations General Assembly.

Raisi’s record as a violator of human rights is long-standing and clear. In 1988, during his tenure as the deputy prosecutor of Tehran, Raisi served on a four-member Death Commission which oversaw the killing of over 5,000 prisoners, including women and children. The Death Commission conducted interviews that lasted only minutes to determine a prisoner’s loyalty to the Islamic Republic of Iran, then sentenced them to death without a lawyer, right to appeal, or fair trial. The executions, conducted by hanging or firing squad, often occurred on the same day as the Death Commission’s interrogations. After burying the dead in unmarked mass graves, Iranian officials refused to notify families for months and never shared with them the locations of their graves. Raisi’s Death Commission executed children as young as 15.

Ebrahim Raisi is proud of his record. In 2018, Raisi defended his role on the 1988 Death Commission, calling it “divine punishment” and “one of the proud achievements of the system.” In the thirty years since the commission, Raisi continued to subject the Iranian people to extrajudicial prosecution, torture, and execution. During the 2009 Green Revolution, when Iranians protested the rigged presidential election, Raisi served as Iran’s deputy chief justice. In this role, Raisi was directly involved in the regime’s prosecution and death sentences of peaceful protesters. Years after, when Raisi served as prosecutor general, he advocated for maintaining Iran’s house arrests on Green Revolution leaders.

Raisi also consistently supports inhumane punishment against the Iranian people. In 2010, Raisi celebrated the Iranian judiciary’s amputation of a prisoner’s hand for stealing as “a source of pride for us.” More recently, Ebrahim Raisi led Iran’s judiciary from 2019 to 2021. During his tenure, the judiciary regularly tortured its prisoners.

Recently, the United States designated Raisi for his role as head of Iran’s judiciary in facilitating the Supreme Leader of Iran’s tyrannical agenda, where he oversaw the state’s crackdown and murder of non-violent protesters. In 2019, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Raisi, pursuant to Executive Order 13876, for his oversight over the executions of juveniles, torture, and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of Iranian prisoners, including amputations.

Ebrahim Raisi should remain sanctioned under U.S. law. If the United Nations General Assembly maintains its current plans to allow some in-person attendance, the White House should deny Raisi and other Iranian leaders visas to attend. Allowing Raisi to travel to the United States-to the same city where the Iranian regime just tried to kidnap a U.S. citizen-would legitimize his repression, undermine America’s moral leadership, and potentially endanger our national security, given the likely presence of intelligence agents in the Iranian traveling party.

There is strong precedent for denying an entry visa to a foreign leader. In 1988, the United States barred PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat from entering the United States to attend a meeting of the United Nations. In 2014, President Obama denied an entry visa to Iranian Ambassador Hamid Aboutalebi, who was involved in taking American diplomats hostage in 1979. In 2020, the United States declined to issue a visa for Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Ebrahim Raisi’s role in the Death Commissions, brutal crackdowns on Iranian protesters, and his association with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps should disqualify him from receiving a visa to the United States.

Thank you for considering this important matter. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

/s/

 

“Words are Violence” Crowd Sanctions The Attack on Salman Rushdie

“This issue has nothing to do with an oppressed and disadvantaged minority. It has everything to do with the battle against fanatical Islam, which is highly organized, well funded, and which seeks to terrify us all, Muslims as well as non-Muslims, into a cowed silence.” – Salman Rushdie

 

Writes Bari Weiss on the stabbing in the neck of author Salman Rushdie who “has lived half of his life with a bounty on his head—some $3.3 million promised by the Islamic Republic of Iran to anyone who murdered him”:

We live in a culture in which many of the most celebrated people occupying the highest perches believe that words are violence. In this, they have much in common with Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who issued the first fatwa against Salman Rushdie in 1989, and with Hadi Matar, the 24-year-old who, yesterday, appears to have fulfilled his command when he stabbed the author in the neck on a stage in Western New York.

The first group believes they are motivated by inclusion and tolerance—that it’s possible to create something even better than liberalism, a utopian society where no one is ever offended. The second we all recognize as religious fanatics. But it is the indulgence and cowardice of the words are violence crowd that has empowered the second and allowed us to reach this moment, when a fanatic rushes the stage of a literary conference with a knife and plunges it into one of the bravest writers alive.

[…] And yet as shocking as this attack was, it was also 33 years in the making: The Satanic Verses is a book with a very bloody trail.

She goes on to recount the horrific number of murders, stabbings, bookstore bombings and burnings, and anti-Rushdie riots, noting the courage of those defending Rushdie in the 1980s, and how the intellectuals of today condemn Rushdie, and those like him who dare to speak what they believe:

…the difference between civilization and barbarism is that civilization responds to words with words. Not knives or guns or fire. That is the bright line. There can be no excuse for blurring that line—whether out of religious fanaticism or ideological orthodoxy of any other kind.

Today our culture is dominated by those who blur that line—those who lend credence to the idea that words, art, song lyrics, children’s books, and op-eds are the same as violence. We are so used to this worldview and what it requires—apologize, grovel, erase, grovel some more—that we no longer notice. It is why we can count, on one hand—Dave Chappelle; J.K. Rowling—those who show spine.

Another lesson to draw from the attack is made by Daniel Pipes, noting that “Salman Rushdie was never safe“:

Will the rest of us learn from this sad tale? Russia and China are certainly great power foes, but Islamism is an ideological threat. Its practitioners range from the rabid (ISIS) to the totalitarian (the Islamic Republic of Iran) to the mock-friendly (the Turkey of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan). They threaten via propaganda, subversion, and violence. They mobilise not just in the caves of Afghanistan but in idyllic resort towns like Chautauqua, New York.

Related:

Religious Terrorism vs. Free Speech by Leonard Peikoff
Ayatollah Khomeni’s attack on Salman Rushdie and his publishers represents religious terrorism. Americans oppose the Ayatollah’s death-decree, but our government is doing nothing to combat it.

Immigration is the United States’ “Secret Sauce” to American Greatness

Writes Graham Allison and Eric Schmidt on why “The U.S. Needs a Million Talents Program to Retain Technology Leadership”:

What is the single most significant step the United States can take to sustain the technological predominance it has enjoyed since World War II? The answer should be obvious: to actively recruit the most talented minds in the world and welcome them into a society where they have the opportunity to realize their dreams. From physicist Albert Einstein and the other European scientists who helped the United States win World War II and land on the moon to the founders of Intel, Google, eBay, Uber, and the many technology companies that have powered economic growth, smart and ambitious immigrants have been the country’s secret sauce.

They recount the case of a foreign scientist who help invent 5G, and how the U.S. failure to retain him, benefited China:

It’s not just a matter of enticing new immigrants but of retaining bright minds already in the country. In 2009, a Turkish graduate of the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Erdal Arikan, published a paper that solved a fundamental problem in information theory, allowing for much faster and more accurate data transfers. Unable to get an academic appointment or funding to work on this seemingly esoteric problem in the United States, he returned to his home country. As a foreign citizen, he would have had to find a U.S. employer interested in his project to be able to stay.

Back in Turkey, Arikan turned to China. It turned out that Arikan’s insight was the breakthrough needed to leap from 4G telecommunications networks to much faster 5G mobile internet services. Four years later, China’s national telecommunications champion, Huawei, was using Arikan’s discovery to invent some of the first 5G technologies. Today, Huawei holds over two-thirds of the patents related to Arikan’s solution—10 times more than its nearest competitor. And while Huawei has produced one-third of the 5G infrastructure now operating around the world, the United States does not have a single major company competing in this race. Had the United States been able to retain Arikan—simply by allowing him to stay in the country instead of making his visa contingent on immediately finding a sponsor for his work—this history might well have been different.

Similar stories are far too common. The founders of China’s leading companies in semiconductors, smartphones, and app-based deliveries—the Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, Xiaomi, and Meituan—were all educated at U.S. universities.

They recommend:

To this end, the U.S. Congress should streamline the country’s immigration rules and establish programs to recruit and retain established tech superstars and the world’s best students researching advanced technologies. And if Congress will not act, then Biden should use his ample executive authority to create a million talents program and promote the United States’ leadership in the technology of the future.

[…]

It’s time for the United States to poach with purpose. To start, Washington should grant an additional 250,000 green cards each year. The current backlog of green cards—which entitle their holders to permanent residency and unrestricted work—is well over 1 million for high-skilled immigrants and is projected to grow to nearly 2.5 million by 2030. Right now, the U.S. government is hopelessly behind, approving two applications for every green card it actually issues. The United States also requires that no more than 7 percent of employment- and family-based green cards be issued to citizens from any single country, disadvantaging scientists and engineers from India and China. Congress should eliminate this cap and create new green card categories for experts in frontier technologies.

We might add an easier, less micro-managed, pro-freedom solution: the entire removal of immigration quotas: if you are a peaceful, loving, rights-respecting productive person, America welcomes you to her shores.

Jan 6 Show Hearings: An Unbalanced Caricature of a Justice

Jonathan Turley writes about how truth-finding took a second seat to a Democrat political narrative, in “Poll: The J6 Hearings Had Virtually No Impact on Changing the Public Views.

J6 show hearings emphasized a scripted conclusion over an open and balanced inquiry

Writes Turley on how “the Committee would focus on reinforcing “a narrative” rather than follow prior investigatory commissions with an open and balanced inquiry”:

After bringing in a television producer, the hearings showed members reading off teleprompters and witnesses confined in limited roles of reaffirming what members were declaring about the riot. There was no effort to present alternative interpretations or viewpoints. It played into criticism of a “show trial” environment–an image that was magnified by Cheney declaring in the last hearing that Trump family and associates had come forward to “confess” and encouraging others to do the same.

Many of us supported the effort to bring greater transparency to what occurred on Jan. 6th and these hearings have offered a great deal of important new information. Indeed, it has proven gut-wrenching in the accounts of lawyers and staff trying to combat baseless theories and to protect the constitutional process.

Yet, the heavy-handed approach to framing the evidence has been both unnecessary and at times counterproductive. The strength of some of this evidence would not have been diminished by a more balanced committee or investigation. The unquestioning media coverage likely added to the feeling of many that these hearings lacked objective analysis and full accounts of what occurred, including the exclusion of any discussion of why the Capitol was left poorly protected on that day despite prior warnings of potential violence.

J6 show hearings provided no smoking gun evidence to criminally punish Trump

Second, the Committee over promised the public. At the start of the hearings, committee members promised they had the long-sought smoking-gun evidence — new material that would close the circle on Trump. Committee member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) indicated he thought there was now “credible evidence” to support a variety of criminal charges. His colleague, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), said the committee would show that Trump organized a “coup” on Jan. 6, 2021. That framing has led to glaring omissions. The Committee has routinely edited videotapes and crafted presentations to eliminate alternative explanations or opposing viewpoints like repeatedly editing out Trump telling his supporters to go to the Capitol peacefully.

Offering a more balanced account, including allowing the Republicans to appoint their own members (in accordance with long-standing tradition), would not have lessened much of the dramatic testimony. Yet, allowing Republicans to pick their members (yes, including Rep. Jim Jordan) would have prevented allegations of a highly choreographed show trial. It would have added credibility to the process. Indeed, much of this evidence would have been hard to refute like the deposition of former Attorney General Bill Barr on the election fraud allegations.

Concludes Turley, “Presented with one-sided, tightly choreographed hearings, most citizens were left precisely where they began. The hearings were meant to enrage the base rather than add allies. It may have succeeded in that limited objective, but it could have been so much more.”

Vergara Cid on Biden’s Friendly Fist Bump with Saudi Arabia

Writes Agustina Vergara Cid on “Saudi Oil Isn’t Worth the Betrayal of American Values“:

…In an op-ed for the Washington Post, the president claimed that the goal of his visit was “to strengthen a strategic partnership going forward that’s based on mutual interests and responsibilities, while also holding true to fundamental American values.” But this is a fantasy: everything about the Saudi regime is hostile to fundamental American values.

Saudi Arabia is an absolute Islamic monarchy. The ultimate authority, even on judicial matters, is the king. Citizens have no rights or due process — the legal system is based on Sharia law, which empowers the state to control every aspect of people’s lives, including what they can think and say…. Just as there’s no freedom of speech, there is no freedom of thought: those who renounce Islam are subject to public decapitation. Dissent is punished by lashings, torture, wrongful imprisonment, kidnapping (see the case of Loujain al-Hathloul) and murder.

…Biden said that he is “not going to remain silent” when it comes to “a clear violation of human rights.” But what does that lack of silence mean if it has no implications for how he acts towards the perpetrators? Is empty finger wagging what Biden means by “holding true to fundamental American values”?

By the very act of sitting at the table with the Saudis, President Biden has whitewashed the regime’s despotic nature and crimes. He has empowered the regime by giving it a moral sanction.

Read the rest.

Jan 6 Committee Has So Far Failed To Make a Criminal Case Against Trump

Writes Jonathan Turley, “Jan. 6 committee has yet to establish a criminal case against Trump“:

[…] It is difficult to make a criminal case over what an official failed to do. Yet the last hearing seemed to focus on a number of things that did not occur, from a draft tweet that was not sent to an executive order that was never signed. There were discussions of appointing Trump attorney Sidney Powell as a special counsel, seizing voting machines or replacing the Justice Department’s leadership. As unnerving as these proposals were, they also were not carried out.

It is the type of evidence used to show mens rea — “guilty mind.” However, crimes generally require both guilty minds and guilty acts. Building a criminal case on the failure to act to stop the violence is a notoriously difficult case to make.

[…] It is even more difficult when the House committee has blocked any serious investigation into the potentially contributing failure of Congress to take better precautions before the riot, another costly act of omission.

[…] Looking objectively at the evidence, the committee never supplied “credible” proof of crimes. That is not to say the evidence is not shocking; indeed, it is like a series of “jump scares” involving Trump and others raising unfounded or unconstitutional courses of conduct.

[…] The Jan. 6 committee has made a case against Trump personally and politically. It has not done so criminally.

Read the full article.

Brian Simpson: Is US Constitution in Danger?

James Valliant interviews Professor Brian Simpson to discuss threats to America’s constitution from calls to end the filibuster, pack the court, release decisions, and how your economic liberties are protected by the constitution.

 

Also by Brian Simpson: