“There is no maxim in my opinion which is more liable to be misapplied, and which therefore needs elucidation than the current one that the interest of the majority is the political standard of right and wrong… . In fact it is only reestablishing under another name and a more specious form, force as the measure of right… .”
— James Madison(1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President
This isn’t an attack on “humanity.” It’s a war against the West.
President Obama summed up the jihadist killing in Paris as “an attack not just on Paris.” But rather, he assured us, “This is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share.”
But is that assumption true?
Certainly, the president seems as unable to utter the targeted “West” and “Western” as he is the targeter “radical Islam” or “jihadist.”
Were the suicide bombers and the AK-47 shooters who slaughtered the innocent in Paris seeking to destroy the ideology of communist China?
Was their deadly message aimed at the protocols of Cuba, North Korea, or Venezuela? The Islamist terrorists — how careful were the president and the American news media to use the generic “they” and the non-specific “the terrorists” — did not seem too concerned with “all of humanity.” By the pattern of their attacks, our enemies seem not to share with the president that all of humanity embraces “universal values.”
Certainly the Vietnamese and Ecuadorians are more safe than those in Paris, New York, or Fort Hood. Communist Chinese profiteers in Africa or cartoonists in Beijing are not on the targeting list of ISIS.
Instead, radical Muslims and jihadists abroad overwhelmingly focus on Westerners. In the Middle East, when they don’t find them so ubiquitously any more, they kill and torture other religious and tribal groups who do not adhere to their particular brand of fundamentalist Sunni or Shiite Islam.
At home, the agendas of the tea party, Occupy Wall Street, anti-abortionists, Black Lives Matter, radical feminists, Christian fundamentalists and revolutionary atheists do not manifest themselves in blowing up restaurants and massacring innocents. Abroad, Christian crusaders are not desecrating mosques. Kurdish militias are not beheading civilians on videos. Jewish “militants” are not cutting off hands in religious courts, and Sufi clerics are not blowing up UN world heritage sites.
To the degree the Paris killers seek existential resonance, they are clearly attacking the expressions and manifestations of quite singular Western values of consensual government, human rights, equality of the sexes, freedom of expression and religion, and the bounty that follows from free market economics and the sanctions of private property. They hate not humanity so much as they do the West — and for an apparent variety of reasons that transcend the usual boilerplate of supporting Israel, buying oil from plutocratic sheiks and thuggish theocrats, or occasionally bombing or droning an unhinged terrorist or dictator.
* * *
The West is powerful, far more powerful than the alternatives, and its reach threatens, both insidiously and overtly, its antitheses. The treatment by radical Islamists of Christians, women, minorities, and homosexuals reminds us that inclusivity and diversity are not their creed. In fact, Islamists despise diversity as proof of our impurity and apostasy.
Yet radical Muslims, like moths to a flame, gravitate toward the affluent and leisured West — the recruiting grounds of ISIS are often in Europe and North America — as if they too want the security of civilized landscapes, but not the institutions that birth and nurture them. As nihilists, non-integrating Muslim fundamentalists in the West would turn their adopted enclaves into something similar to what they fled in the Middle East — and then move on when they found the water dangerous, medical care nonexistent, and safety for their children iffy.
The more the West welcomes in migrants from the Middle East who break immigration laws and issue demands on their hosts upon arrival, the more radical Muslims see such hospitality as weakness to be despised rather than as magnanimity to be appreciated. They see Western refinement in Thucydidean terms as endangering muscularity; like good parasites they feed off their hosts with the expectation that the meal provider will last for quite some time.
Western affluence and popular culture threaten to obliterate the 7th-century of the madrassa, and not by intent, but, far worse, by indifference. Young male Middle Easterners, in Mohamed Atta fashion, in London, Paris, and Berlin, as good addicts hate the provider of their pleasure — whether expressed benignly in Parisian soccer matches and rock concerts or in more tawdry fashion by the likes of Miley Cyrus and the Kardashians — and would hate them even more if they were to withdraw it.
Even the most clever jihadists cannot make the technology they use to destroy Westerners — from jetliners to plastic explosives to cell phones and the Internet; their religious figures damn Western technology as proof of our decadence and then see their youth hooked on it in addictive fashion. Their reaction to Western popular bounty is of course schizophrenic, true of most passive-aggressives, who alternate between bouts of inferiority and superiority. What did these weak, atheistic, and ambiguous Westerners do, they snarl to themselves, to obtain such extravagant but also decadent lifestyles? Are they wealthy and cocky, and we of the Middle East poor and miserable, because they choose Mammon over Allah, or because as imperialists and colonialists they robbed the treasures of the caliphate and have been living off our bounty ever since?
* * *
By any historical measure, radical Islamists like Al Qaeda and ISIS are weak, lacking the manpower, technology and economic power of the West. But they see willpower, zealotry, and suicidal nihilism as force multipliers in their war against the current postmodern West. And as they grow, they are dismissed by Western leaders such as Barack Obama and John Kerry with assurances that they are “contained” and “their days are numbered.”
The more our intelligence and government technocrats assure us that the Muslim Brotherhood is largely “secular” or that the Fort Hood terrorist Major Hasan’s labors represented “workplace violence,” or that a right-wing video stirred up the spontaneous “rioters” in Benghazi, the more Islamists up the ante — in part due to strategic arrogance that follows the loss of Western deterrence, but also in part due to sick curiosity over just how far one has to go to rile up these “Eloi:” blow up the finale of the Boston Marathon, shoot up soldiers at a military base, butcher cartoonists in Paris, or something akin to 9/11 and Friday’s massacre in Paris? Will all that ever earn more than campus trigger warnings about “Islamophobia”?
If the president recently announced that global warming was the world’s greatest threat, if John Kerry sees climate change as the catalyst for the implosion of the Middle East (have four years of crippling drought forced Californians to strap on suicide belts?), and if Al Gore is perched high above the fray in the Eiffel Tower tweeting about earth in the balance, the jihadists are far more earthly.
Both before September 11 and afterward, they lost fear of Western retaliation. Before 9/11 they killed hundreds, like a sheep shearer who was careful to keep his periodic sheering reasonable and profitable. After 9/11, they grasped that even when bombed, invaded, and defeated at home, their long wars eventually exhaust Westerners, who, it turns out, can live with an occasional blown-up jet or shot-up rock concert, but not with a constabulary force in Iraq.
ISIL will assume that after the Paris attack, European and American leaders will, in time, remind Westerners of the dangers of right-wing nativists and xenophobes and “overreaction.” They will focus on the need to condemn abstract terrorism and extremism, and the need to reach out and embrace our common humanity. And such Islamist cynicism will be largely spot on about our leadership and culture — in the fashion that Osama bin Laden once blamed us for global warming and the lack of campaign finance reform.
Federal agents took more money and stuff from Americans in 2014 than burglars did.
In 2014, the federal government confiscated some $4.5 billion from Americans through civil asset forfeiture, according to a recent report from the Institute for Justice, a nonprofit libertarian law and research organization.
That’s a figure which has been growing rapidly in recent years—as recently as 2008 it was “just” $1.5 billion, and there’s compelling evidence that law enforcement agencies use this license to bolster their budgets in lean years.
In the words of one officer, civil asset forfeiture funds are “kind of like pennies from heaven. It gets you a toy or something that you need is the way that we typically look at it to be perfectly honest.”
That $4.5 billion figure is shocking on its own.
But it’s even more shocking when you put it in this perspective: in that same year, FBI records show burglars took only $3.9 billion from Americans.
So in 2014, the federal government took more money and stuff from Americans than actual burglars did.
Our government is “getting really good at separating the citizen from their property — not just really good, criminally good.”
This comparison is even more appalling when you consider that many people whose money or stuff is taken through civil asset forfeiture are never charged or convicted with any crime.
That’s because it essentially allows a police officer who finds you “suspicious” to just take your stuff.
Once your property has been confiscated, the burden of proof is on you, not the police, to show that you didn’t get it from any criminal activity. Even if you personally are cleared of all charges, that may not matter. As the Philadelphia City Paper reports, “Technically, it’s the property—not its owner—that’s being accused of criminality, which means the property can be subject to forfeiture whether or not its owner is ever convicted of a crime.”
In other words, they don’t have to charge you. They don’t have to present any evidence of illegal activity. In fact, you have no right to a lawyer and won’t get a day in court. In some jurisdictions, you actually have to pay thousands of dollars just to be able to contest the seizure.
And guess what? The police conveniently happen to consider large amounts of cash very suspicious indeed—but not too suspicious to dump it right into their own department coffers.
Read more about civil asset
forfeiture here, and click here to learn how it functions in your state.
Bonnie Kristian is a columnist at Rare, a contributing writer at The Week, and a communications consultant for Young Americans for Liberty. You can find more of her work at www.bonniekristian.com or follow her on Twitter @bonniekristian
A brutal cold spell could kill refugees. Paris COP21 delegates need to discuss this climate issue.
Even after the latest Paris massacres – and previous radical Islamist atrocities in the USA, France, Britain, Canada, Spain, India, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria and elsewhere – politicians absurdly say hypothetical manmade global warming is the greatest threat facing humanity. In reality, fossil fuel contributions to climate change pose few dangers to people or planet, and winters kill 20 times more people than hot weather.
After being assured snowy winters would soon be something only read about in history books, Europe was shaken by five brutally cold winters this past decade. Thousands died, because they were homeless, lived in drafty homes with poor heating systems, or could not afford adequate fuel.
It could happen again, with even worse consequences. “Millions of desperate people are on the march,” Walter Russell Mead recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal. “Sunni refugees driven out by the barbarity of the Assad regime in Syria, Christians and Yazidis fleeing the pornographic violence of Islamic State, millions more of all faiths and no faith fleeing poverty and oppression without end.”
Where are they heading? Mostly not into neighboring Arab countries, most of which have yanked their welcome mats. Instead, if they’re not staying in Turkey, they’re going north to Europe – into the path the extremely cold “Siberian Express” has increasingly taken. Germany alone could face the challenge of feeding and sheltering 800,000 to 1,000,000 freezing refugees this winter.
If a blast of frigid Siberian air should hit, temperatures in parts of eastern and northern Europe and the western Former Soviet Union could become 70 degrees F (39C) colder than cold spells in much of the Middle East. During the coldest Siberian outbreaks, it gets as lethally cold as -40F (-40C).
Northern and eastern Europeans are largely acclimated to such cold. However, for refugees from regions where winters average 20 to 30 degrees warmer, makeshift houses or tents will make their sojourn a bone-chilling experience. Europe’s exorbitant energy costs, resulting from its obeisance to climate chaos credos, could make this an even worse humanitarian crisis.
However, to listen to the UN, many world leaders, environmental NGOs, scientists from the climate alarm industry, and their sycophant media – especially on the eve of their Paris 2015 global warming summit – threats from cold weather are not supposed to happen. Just 15 years ago, the German paper Spiegel proclaimed, “Good-bye winter: In Germany bitter cold winters are now a thing of the past.” That same year, a British Climate Research Unit scientist said “children aren’t going to know what snow is.”
The media dutifully repeated similar claims each year, until unbelievably cold, snowy winters began hitting in 2008/09. In December 2010, England had its second-coldest December since 1659, amid the Little Ice Age. For five years, 2008-2013, snow paralyzed travel in England and northern and western Europe. Not surprisingly, the same media then blamed manmade global warming for the harsh winters.
In reality, natural Atlantic Ocean cycles lasting around 60 years control winter temperatures in Europe and Eastern North America. When the North Atlantic warms, “blocking high pressure systems” largely prevent warm Atlantic air from reaching Europe.
There is also a strong correlation between the sun’s geomagnetic activity and these blocking-induced cold winters in Europe. The five brutally cold winters ending in 2012/13 had the lowest level of solar geomagnetic activity in the entire record, dating back some 90 years.
When the North Atlantic is warm and the sun’s geomagnetic patterns are weak, these blocking patterns keep warmer Atlantic air out of Europe. Frigid air from off deep snows in Siberia can then more easily invade from the east, bringing sub-zero cold and heavy snows. That’s what happened from 2008 to 2013.
The ocean and solar factors eased in 2013, and the last two years have seen more Atlantic air and milder winters. However both solar and ocean patterns are starting to return to the situation where cold invasions are more likely. That could usher in nasty surprises for the Middle Eastern refugees.
Even this year’s early winter October cold brought news stories about Syrian children becoming sick amid exposure to colder weather than they were used to. In Austria, adults and children alike were already complaining about the weather and wishing they could go home.
In fact, cold weather kills 20 times more people than hot weather, according to a Lancet medical journal study that analyzed 74 million deaths in 384 locations across 13 countries. It should be required reading for the 40,000-plus bureaucrats, politicians, activists and promoters who will soon descend on Paris, to enjoy five-star hotels and restaurants while blathering endlessly about dire threats of global warming.
They should ponder the fact that the Lancet study reflects normal societies in peaceful countries. Even there, many more people die each year during the four winter months than in the eight non-winter months. Indeed, there even the United States experiences some 100,000 Excess Winter Deaths per year.
In the United Kingdom, the winter death rate is about twice as high as in the USA: excess winter deaths range up to 50,000 per year – due to the UK’s poorer home insulation and heating systems, and much higher energy costs caused by its climate and renewable energy policies.
The refugees’ excess winter death toll could well be even greater, due to the high cost of European energy and the migrants’ extreme poverty, poor nutrition, inadequate clothing and blankets, preexisting diseases, and makeshift housing: tents, trailers and other dwellings that have little or no insulation or central heat.
Systematic misinformation about the dangers of fossil fuels and hot versus cold weather has helped make this crisis much worse than needs be. Climate alarmists will thus bear the blame for thousands of avoidable deaths among refugees this winter, especially if the Siberian Express invades once again.
The Paris climate conferees need to focus on humanity’s real and immediate dangers: this rapidly growing refugee crisis, abysmal EU economies and job losses – and the billions worldwide who still lack the adequate, reliable, affordable energy required to end their crushing poverty, malnutrition, disease and early death, by ensuring clean water, proper sanitation, modern hospitals, lights, refrigerators and plentiful food. The climate conferees must address the following much more pressing questions.
How is climate change more important than safeguarding refugees who are already suffering from cold weather? Should conferees be focused on hypothetical future manmade climate chaos, while EU nations squabble over who will take how many refugees and potential terrorists, amid a possible winter crisis? What contingency plans do they have for another bout of frigid weather possibly invading the continent?
When a million refugees are freezing in squalid conditions with inadequate shelter, food, heat, clothing and medical care, and 1.3 billion people still do not have electricity – why would the world commit to spending billions on alleged future global warming catastrophes? As Bjorn Lomborg puts it, why would the world also want to give up nearly $1 trillion in GDP every year for the rest of this century, to avert a total hypothetical (computer modeled) temperature rise of just 0.306 degrees C (0.558 F) by 2100?
Where will the money come from to combat growing war and terrorism, aid the millions displaced by these horrors, rebuild devastated cities, put millions of people back to work, and bring electricity and better lives to billions of others – if we continue this obsession over global warming? Do humans really play a big enough roll in climate change to justify these incomprehensible price tags? Where is the actual evidence? Not computer models or press releases – the actual evidence?
It would be an unconscionable crime against humanity, if the nations gathering in Paris implement policies to protect our planet’s energy-deprived masses from hypothetical manmade climate disasters decades from now, by perpetuating poverty and disease that kill millions more people tomorrow.
These are the real reasons climate change is a critical moral issue. We need to we recognize that, and stop playing games with people’s lives. We must acknowledge that horrific computer model scenarios do not reflect planetary reality – and must not guide energy policy.
Joe D’Aleo is a Certified Consulting Meteorologist and American Meteorological Society Fellow and co-founder of The Weather Channel. Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow. Climate experts Allan MacRae and Madhav Khandekar contributed to this article.