A Perspective on the President’s Plans for the Wall

Well, this from the Family Research Council is a bit more hopeful than most of what I’ve been reading lately.  It’s also interesting, if unsurprising, information about the legal status of the President’s plans.  (Although, the USA is still probably doomed and it’s just a matter of time… )

If liberals wanted to sue over the border wall, they’re about 13 years too late. Congress already gave its blessing back in 2006 when it passed the Secure Fence Act. The same goes for the president’s decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel. The House and Senate have been on board since 1995 when they authorized it. If the Left’s being honest, its problem isn’t that the president is moving forward with the wall. It’s problem is that the president is Donald Trump.

Back in 2014, the Washington Examiner’s Eddie Scarry points out, the media had no problem calling it a “border crisis.” Neither did Barack Obama, who stood in the same Rose Garden as Donald Trump did on Friday, and insisted, “We now have an actual humanitarian crisis on the border that only underscores the need to drop the politics and fix our immigration system once and for all.” Five years, one administration, and who-knows-how-many caravans later, and suddenly, this president is doing something “immoral” by addressing the situation. That’s not because the dilemma changed. It’s because the occupant of the Oval Office did.

Take columnists like Karen Tumulty. In 2014, Scarry explains, she had no problem writing about the “current crisis on the Southwest border.” Well, it must have magically fixed itself, because last month, she accused the president of “manufacturing an emergency.” California, New York, and 14 other states want you to think that Donald Trump was acting outside of his constitutional authority when he used his executive power to finish the job Congress gave the greenlight to over a dozen years ago. But, as Ken Klukowski told me last night on Washington Watch, nothing could be farther from the truth.

“It’s critical for everyone to understand: the president is not invoking any of his inherent constitutional powers — none of his Article 2 powers, like commander-in-chief authority. In this case, you have a president who is only acting under a specific act of Congress, a federal statute called the National Emergencies Act of 1976. It’s been used 59 times before. This is just number 60. In fact, the 59th time was earlier this month — also by President Trump — regarding U.S. relations with Venezuela, because of course the turmoil going on over there. Maybe I missed the press release, but I didn’t hear the sky fall [when he declared that emergency]. I didn’t hear a news story from the National Archives that the Constitution burst into flames. One would almost think that this is just part of the rule of law. And that’s exactly what’s going on here.”

President Trump’s request is simple. He wants to move money that’s already been approved by Congress from one bank account to another. This president hasn’t “conjured funding from thin air (the military construction and Army Corps funding has already been appropriated),” the Federalist argues, “nor is he using funds for purposes explicitly prohibited by Congress (to the contrary, Congress explicitly authorized the construction of a border wall).”

In other words, there’s no constitutional crisis here. The only reason these leftist states are suing Trump is because he wants to protect American sovereignty and security. Juxtapose that with 2012. When conservative states took Barack Obama to court over his health care mandate, it was for the exact opposite reason. Unlike Trump, Obama wasn’t in the business of protecting freedom — he was in the business of undermining it. Obviously, after eight years of Obama, a lot of people are out of practice when it comes to operating within the limits of presidential authority. But in this instance, the contrast between the two parties has never been clearer.

 

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Just the Way You Remember It

Memory is a funny thing.  You can remember a lot.  The exact spot in the road where you were driving the last time you heard a particular song.  The jingle of some dumb advertisement from twenty years ago.  Your old telephone number.  A street address for a house that doesn’t exist anymore  A random coworker you haven’t seen in years.  The party where some drunk kids tried to rape you.  That time you smothered an old woman to death.

Some of those things probably didn’t happen.  Especially not that last one.  But smothering an old woman to death is exactly what Ada JoAnn Taylor plead guilty to doing in 1989.  She and five others spent decades in prison only to be exonerated by DNA.  Only one of the six insisted that he wasn’t present for the rape and murder of Helen Wilson.

A combination of weak and abused “perpetrators,” police officers who weren’t bothered by conflicting accounts of the crime, and a psychologist encouraging the accused to remember what happened led to a terrible miscarriage of justice.

James Dean was arrested the next day. It was his twenty-fifth birthday, and he and a team of construction workers had just finished demolishing houses in Lincoln, fifty miles from Beatrice. He was booked into the Gage County jail. A guard wrote that he was “pacing, crying, talking to himself,” waving his arms and exclaiming, “I’ve been arrested on something I know nothing about.”

The sheriff’s staff called Price and asked him to come to the jail to help Dean calm down. In a long session with Price, seventeen days after his arrest, Dean began crying and said that, as a child, he had been beaten by his father and his brother-in-law. Price proposed to Dean that these childhood experiences had created a fear of violence, which caused him to repress his memories of the crime. Price relied on the theory that some events are so traumatic that they are retrieved only through flashbacks and dreams, a notion that became so fashionable in the nineteen-eighties and nineties that it led to one of the most shameful episodes in the history of psychotherapy: patients, eager to please their therapists, engaged in “memory work,” which produced claims of convoluted forms of abuse, like infant incest and satanic ritual rape—memories they later disavowed.

Although at first Dean denied that he was involved, Price wrote that by the end of the session Dean “was doubting the veracity of his own statements.”

***

Six days after Dean’s session with Price, he confessed to Searcey that he had been an accomplice to Wilson’s murder. “I feel that I remembered it in my sleep,” he said. “I had a memory loss, which just kind of just—I didn’t have no idea about none of this stuff.” He seemed fascinated by his new understanding of his own mental processes.

***

Joseph White was the only suspect who tried to prove that he was innocent. He requested DNA testing, but his motion was denied. At his trial, for rape and murder, the only evidence against him was his co-defendants’ confessions.

White years later would be able to get the DNA testing done which proved that someone else had committed the crime.

While this case is rather extreme in that even the allege perpetrators couldn’t remember properly, it serves as an important warning.  Eye witnesses can have critical effects on cases but it is clear that it is all too easy for their testimony to become corrupted or be utterly false simply because they remember something that didn’t happen.

 

The Problem with Holocaust Denial

Ron Unz has a very long and very interesting article about Holocaust Denial where he concludes:

Any conclusions I have drawn are obviously preliminary ones, and the weight others should attach to these must absolutely reflect my strictly amateur status. However, as an outsider exploring this contentious topic I think it far more likely than not that the standard Holocaust narrative is at least substantially false, and quite possibly, almost entirely so.

The arguments he looks at are unsettling and if you look through the comments, you’ll see a large number of deniers saying various iterations of “if you just read such-and-such evidence it will prove that the Holocaust didn’t happen.”

The “proof” offered is all sorts of stuff: the gas chambers at Auschwitz were recreated after the war, there’s no way mathematically that the Germans could have killed that many people, there’s no evidence of mass graves, there’s no giant piles of ash and bones from the crematoriums, Anne Frank’s diary is partially or whole faked as part is written in a type of pen that wasn’t invented until after the end of the war, etc. etc.

IF any of that were true, it would be very damning, but what the people espousing it don’t seem to have considered is: how does any individual person prove that this is actually evidence and not some nut on the internet spouting nonsense?  The problem with history is that it must almost entirely be taken on faith.  We’re relying on someone else to tell thus-and-such happened.  We have to believe them because we personally don’t have the ability to confirm it.

I can’t examine Anne Frank’s diary.  I can’t go to Auschwitz and tell if the gas chambers are fake.  I can’t dig up the field at Treblinka and tell what the ash content of the soil is.  A Holocaust denier can say they have any sort of proof and there’s equal claims of proof on the other side to contradict it.  How is that proof?

The only thing I think there’s any evidence for is that the six million figure is incorrect.  The evidence for that is that the death toll of Auschwitz was revised from 4 to 1.1 million and nobody seemed to care in terms of the total numbers of the Holocaust.

Unz says he hasn’t done a lot of research on the topic yet but following one of his links I came upon a mention of Prisoners of Fear by Ella Lingens-Reiner, a survivor of Birkenau-Auschwitz.  This book is interesting of several reason. 1) It was published in 1948.  Unz mentions the argument that few historical or journalistic works mentioned the Holocaust and the gas chambers etc. until 1960s when memories were fading.  2) She talks about the gas chambers and mass executions of the Jews which would seem to gainsay the claims that there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz. 3) Lingens-Reiner was an ethnic German not a Jew.  Maybe she made the whole thing up but anti-Semitic deniers at least can’t claim she did it out of malignant Jewishness.

But the book also sheds light on why it might be so hard for people to grasp and except the idea of the Nazis’ use of concentration camps and mass exterminations of various peoples: The concentration camps make absolutely no sense at all.

The situation that Lingens-Reiner describes is simply insane.  The prisoners lived in wretched conditions, they froze to death, they starved to death, they were beaten, executed, worked to death.  So if the Nazis didn’t care if anyone lived… why did they try to keep the prisoners alive?  Lingens-Reiner was a doctor.  She worked in the hospital at Birkenau.  Why was there a hospital at all?  With a war going on, why waste man power, food, medicine, supplies on people that you were going to kill anyway?  She talks about SS doctors working to nurse patients back to health only to send them to the gas chamber a few weeks later.  She mentions a gypsy camp where all but a few prisoners were “liquidated” because they weren’t in good enough shape to work, and all the doctors in charge of their care were punished for not keeping them healthy enough.

If it didn’t matter that anyone lived, or if they were going to be executed anyway, why bother?  Why not kill everyone from the get go and be done with it?

There’s one odd detail that she mentions that really stuck out though.  One of the objections to the Holocaust is why are there no records given the sort of bureaucrats the Germans tended to be?  Lingen-Reiner recounts that gassed Jews would have a “S.B.” added to their files to indicate they’d gotten “special treatment” but “whenever inspections from Berlin were expected the camp office worked at high pressure, sometimes through the night, to remove all those index-cards from the files.”  Why would they do that?  If Berlin was fine with exterminating Jews, why hide it?  If they weren’t fine, why keep the records in the first place?

The contradictions and lunacy of this behavior make it hard to understand and hard to accept.  It simply does not make sense and does not on a huge scale.  To be true, the entire Nazi party was not just homicidal but stupid and deranged because they threw away valuable war resources on millions prisoners they only planned to murder.

There is one thing, however, which points towards there being something wrong with the accepted Holocaust story.  Anyone who dares to question the narrative has to be destroyed.  Even the non-kooky Holocaust deniers, the ones who are more measured in their dissent, are to be expelled from society.  A lot of people have a lot of silly, bizarre, or counterfactual notions but they don’t get disemployed and have their names and reputations destroyed.  Now why does that need to happen?

Another War Few Even See

In addition to the culture war being fought, often ineffectively, there is also an often unacknowledged clash of cultures that is parallel and strangely aligned with the liberal side, despite the incompatibility of the two ideologies: Progressivism and Islam.  It is impossible that both can win and exist side by side.  I suspect that if the liberals “win,” their success will be in destroying our culture (if in fact they have not fully done so already) so that the West will be so rootless and weak that Islam and all its oppression will triumph.  If that comes to pass, it will be a very dark day for the West.  Remember how long it took Spain to kick out the Muslims?

Time for choosing in the struggle between Islam and the West

I dare say that most people who have read history would like to think that if they had been present at some pivotal point in history, they would have chosen the right side – with the Allies and against the Axis, with Wilberforce and against the slave traders, with the Romans and against the child-sacrificing Carthaginians.

If I had lived back then, we tell ourselves, I would have fought with the right side, no matter the odds.

Well, now’s your chance. Because it looks very much as though we are at one of those pivotal moments – possibly at one of the major turning points in history, and probably one of the most dangerous. We tend to think that historical turning points generally involve a breakthrough to a higher plane – a turn for the better rather than a turn for the worse. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes, the pendulum of history swings backward and slices off centuries of progress. The turning point at which we now stand threatens to cast us back more than a thousand years to some of history’s darkest days. We may soon be fighting for things we thought had been secured for all time – basics such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and even freedom from enslavement.

The turning point I refer to is the civilizational struggle between Islam and the West (acknowledging, of course, that much of the Western tradition has been adopted by people who live outside the traditional geographic boundaries of the West). On a larger view, the struggle can more accurately be described as a conflict between Christianity and Islam, because if the West loses its Christian soul, it will also lose the ability and the will to defend its freedoms.

Of course, some people deny that there is any “clash of civilizations.” All religions and all cultures want the same thing, they say, and they assure us that the tiny handful of trouble-makers in the Muslim world do not represent the vast majority.

But time and again, polls have shown that at least a majority of Muslims want to be ruled by sharia law – a throwback to the harsh legal system that developed in seventh-century Arabia. Contrary to “enlightened” expectations, it turns out that a great many Muslims in a great many places favor cruel and unusual punishments for theft, adultery, blasphemy, and apostasy.

That’s what they want for fellow Muslims who go astray. But if you’re a non-Muslim you don’t have to go astray in order to be punished. The mere existence of Jews, Christians, and other minorities is considered an affront by many Muslims. As a result, discrimination against non-Muslims is endemic in the Muslim world. It can’t be blamed on a tiny minority of bigots, because just about everyone – including police, government officials, employers, and next-door neighbors – expects unbelievers to know their place.

Jews and Christians got the message a long time ago. That’s why there are so few of them left in places that used to be their homelands – in the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey. For those who don’t leave voluntarily, the daily low-level persecution sometimes breaks out into organized violence. That was the case in the 1914-1923 genocide against Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek Christians living in the Ottoman Empire, in the 1933 massacre of Assyrian Christians in Simele, Iraq, and in the 1941 Farhud (pogrom) against the Jewish population of Baghdad. In more recent years we’ve witnessed the slaughter of Christians and Yazidis by ISIS in Syria and Northern Iraq, the numerous massacres of Christians carried out by Boko Haran in Northern Nigeria and by al-Shabaab in Somalia and Kenya, and the frequent attacks on Coptic Christian churches in Egypt.

“Witnessed” may be too strong a word. Many in the West simply noted these atrocities, and then continued to go about their business as though nothing had happened. But, to paraphrase Trotsky, “You may not be interested in the clash of civilizations, but the clash of civilizations is interested in you.” For a long time, people in the U.S. and Europe were able to ignore the barbarities in Africa, Iraq, and elsewhere. But then the clash of civilization moved north and into Europe. When the “clash” made its appearance in the streets of Paris, in Christmas markets in Germany, and in a concert hall in Manchester, only the willfully blind could fail to notice.

But, apparently, there are a lot of those. In Europe, America, and Canada, the elites in government, media, academia, and even the Church continue to insist that there is no clash. That’s true in a sense. You can’t have a clash if only one side is fighting. And thus far the pushback against jihad – both of the armed variety and the stealth variety – has been feeble. The elites won’t even contemplate the obvious first step – tight restrictions on Muslim immigration.

Moreover, they do everything they can to cover up the clash. Police aren’t allowed to report on the extent of immigrant crime, news media won’t carry stories about the crimes unless they are exceptionally violent, outspoken critics of Islam or immigration are brought before magistrates, and ordinary citizens who post “Islamophobic” remarks on Facebook are visited by police.

The West’s self-imposed blindness to what is happening forces us to another observation about the historical turning point that is now developing. The battle is not simply a civilizational struggle between Islam and the West; it also involves a war within Western civilization itself. Many of our Western institutions now reject the Western heritage, and many of them have effectively taken the side of Islam.

On almost any issue involving a conflict between Islam and traditional Western values, the schools, the media, the courts, and many of the churches stand with Islam. They may not look at it that way. They may rationalize their actions as nothing more than a defense of the civil rights of Muslims. Many of them are likely unfamiliar with the concept of stealth jihad. But they are facilitating it just the same. The main form this facilitation takes is the suppression of any bad news about Islam. Thus, in 2012, Congress refused to investigate Muslim Brotherhood penetration of government agencies, and in the same year the FBI, the Pentagon, and other security agencies bowed to Muslim pressure and purged their training materials of any suggestion that Islamic terrorists were motivated by Islamic ideology. More recently, media giants such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter have taken to stifling the voices of those who speak out against Islamic oppression.

One could cite numerous other instances of this near-suicidal impulse to side with our ideological enemies: the judges who block restrictions on Muslim immigration, the bishops who sign up with the deceptive anti-“Islamophobia” campaign, and the Obama administration’s gift of billions of dollars to Iran.

With a few exception, such as the bishops, these enablers of cultural jihad are secular progressives. Despite their moniker, however, progressives can be decidedly regressive. They champion abortion at every stage of pregnancy – a practice which suggests that the distance between us and the child-sacrificing Carthaginians is not as great as we may think. Progressives promise to pull us into the future, yet they often act to drag us into the past. Several progressive voices now want severe restrictions on freedom of speech. This has already happened on college campuses where hate speech codes effectively stifle free expression. The average college student today has no more freedom of speech than a serving woman in the court of Cleopatra. The “enlightened” progressives who run Google, YouTube, and Facebook don’t have much use for freedom of expression either. Critics of Islam are particularly liable to be restricted, suspended or banned by these Internet monopolies.

Here is the situation in brief. We stand at one of the major turning points of history. Two powerful forces for regression threaten to drag us into a dark past. On the one hand, Islamists want to bring back the subjugation of women, female genital mutilation, sex slavery, beheadings, and dhimmitude for non-believers. On the other hand, their hi-tech progressive enablers are decimating non-Muslim populations by promoting contraception and abortion, while simultaneously controlling the flow of information about Islam using speech-suppressing strategies that no absolute monarch could ever have imagined.

***

Although the means of obfuscating the truth are far more sophisticated now than they were in the 1940s, we still have a marked advantage over our counterparts in that era. We have far more historical perspective than was available to them. For example, when the Nazis were building up their military machine in the 1930s, there was no thousand-year history of Nazi aggression to serve as a warning. The Nazi party was little more than a decade old, and Hitler had not come to power until 1933. There was some excuse for those who naively gave the Nazis the benefit of the doubt.

We, on the other hand, have very little excuse for ignoring the signs of the time. For those who study history, they are very familiar signs. That’s because Islam has a 1,400-year history of aggression. And the battle plan has been remarkably consistent over time – even including migration as a means of invasion. The latest installment of that 1,400-year-old plan for world conquest in the name of Allah has already begun. We are witnessing a remarkable expansion of Islam into every corner of the world – Africa, Australia, the Philippines, China, Russia, Europe, and North and South America.

***

Committed leftists and committed Islamists: it’s a hard combination to beat. Both believe very firmly in what they believe. Unless Christians believe very firmly that they must be stopped, both will continue to expand. We stand at a decisive point in history. Choosing to stay on the sidelines only serves to increase the odds that these regressive forces will triumph.

Did the Death Penalty Have a Positive Effect on Civilization?

Well, this is certainly a very un-PC article.  I’m not sure what I think about this, especially from a Christian perspective, but it does make me think about things in an entirely new way.

If there’s one thing that unites wealthy Leftists, it’s the need to pretend they are compassionate.

And there are few better ways of doing this than campaigning against the death penalty.

Increasingly, Leftists take advantage of modern technology to do this: Activist groups like the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty have created a virtual cottage industry geared toward virtue-signalling on the death penalty. They use their websites to direct the bleeding hearts to the next execution site, so they can launch a protest rally.

Cutting-edge research, however, reveals just how fantastically ironic this is. It seems that without the death penalty there’d be no internet, no television; in fact, very little civilization.

The first scholars to develop this king of all Left-triggering ideas were Canadian anthropologist Peter Frost and the late University of Utah anthropologist Henry Harpending. They published their landmark research in 2015 under the title Western Europe, State Formation, and Genetic Pacification in the journal Evolutionary Psychology.[PDF]

It was a truly ingenious argument.

When Europe became Christian, the death penalty was abolished. Right up until the beginning of the Middle Ages, people were left to settle their own disputes by fighting each other or demanding, from the state, that the murderer pay a fine for killing their relative. But, as Frost and Harpending put it, the Church gradually came to accept that, the “wicked” should be executed “so that the good can live in peace.”

With biblical justification, more and more crimes became subject to the death penalty. By the High Middle Ages, every single felony (any crime serious enough to have traditionally warranted the confiscation of property) was met with the hangman’s noose.

Those sent to the gallows were almost always high-testosterone young men prone to violent crime. In fact, Frost and Harpending calculated that one percent of the male population were executed every generation throughout the Middle Ages. And another one percent were killed at the scene of the crime or died in fetid prisons awaiting trial or execution. So two percent of young men were eliminated every generation.

And because they tended to be young, this process meant that they had fewer children than if they hadn’t been executed. Thus, they would have passed on fewer of their genes.

It’s here that Frost and Harpending perceptively draw their conclusion. Capital punishment must have changed the nature of European personality—by, in effect, culling out the psychopaths.

Read the rest here