Friday, August 19, 2016

Guests Do Not Work! Prager U - Cheap and Effective! Israel Is Wet! Obama's Continued Failures- Aleppo To Iran Deal! Insidious Muslim Money! Trump Wants To Win!

Obama delayed going to La. because he did not want
to disrupt the rescue but he criticized GW for not going
right away. Obama remains a fraud.

Guests do not work. (See 1 below.)
Prager U an answer to Leftist Professors who are filling the heads of students with hate America


Israel is way ahead when it comes to desalination and we are stuck with Obama who is all wet! (See 2 below.)
Aleppo, another Obama orchestrated tragedy.

Does Obama even know what outcome he seeks in Syria and if so how  to achieve this goal? (See 3 and 3a below.)

The Iran Deal, another Obama theory gone awry  and the ominous consequences will befall the next president.  (See 3b below.)
The Clinton's have agreed if Hillary becomes president it would not be worthy of  them to do what they did while she was Sec. of State.  How gracious of them.
Muslim funding of Western Universities and colleges is having an insidious, termite like effect. (See 4 below.)
Yes, Trump is running to win but can he come from so far behind and do so? (See 5 below.)
Can government be made agile again?  If so, how? (See 6 below.)


By Christine Williams

Even in the midst of the Muslim migrant crisis in Germany, Mayor Bernd Pohlers of the eastern town of Saxony Waldenburg, where the asylum seekers refused to accept work, stated his concern about this latest piece of news playing “into the hands of those opposing the mass migration,” evincing yet again the all too familiar stench of political posturing and a cruel disregard for those who cast their votes in trust.
“German asylum seekers refuse to work insisting ‘We are Merkel’s GUESTS'”, by Siobhan McFadyen and Monika Pallenberg, UK Express, August 18, 2016:
ASYLUM seekers in Germany are refusing to undertake work to counteract boredom – using Chancellor Angela Merkel’s generous hospitality as an excuse.
According to mayor Bernd Pohlers of the eastern town of Saxony Waldenburg, the asylum seekers refused to accept the work that was offered to them after they arrived in the country.
The local council spent £600 arranging for the men to have uniforms but were stunned when they were told they would not complete it because they were “guests of Angela Merkel”.
While asylum seekers are not allowed to work under immigration rules within the EU, they are allowed to do voluntary work.
However officials in the district of Zwickau came up with a plan to help encourage those without employment to get back to work and to help them become more accepted within the local community.
In order to do this they created voluntary jobs which included a nominal payment of £18 for 20 hours work.
But all of the male residents of the local refugee accommodation who initially agreed to get involved in the charitable activities quit after discovering there was a minimum wage £7.30 (€8.50) in Germany.
The men had been picked up and offered transportation from their paid-for housing where they are also given food and then dropped home.
Mayor Pohlers said: “It was subsequently argued by these people that they are guests of Mrs. Merkel and guests do not have to work.
“Furthermore, they were of the opinion that there is a minimum wage (€8.50) in Germany, and that this had to be paid by the City Waldenburg.”
Despite attempts at mediation the asylum seekers refused to return to work.
Mayor Pohlers added: “In a specially convened meeting with an interpreter the authorities explained the rules again.
“Unfortunately, no agreement could be reached on the continuation of the measure.”
Now all seven of the jobs have been scrapped.
The mayor spoke out in a bid to highlight the issue of the asylum crisis in Germany.
He said he is aware his statements could play into the hands of those opposing the mass migration.
However after having raised money from the local community to help aid the asylum seeker’s transition into the community, he felt compelled to speak out…..

Israel Proves the Desalination Era Is Here

One of the driest countries on Earth now makes more freshwater than it needs
·         By Rowan Jacobsen

July 19, 2016 — Ten miles south of Tel Aviv, I stand on a catwalk over two concrete reservoirs the size of football fields and watch water pour into them from a massive pipe emerging from the sand. The pipe is so large I could walk through it standing upright, were it not full of Mediterranean seawater pumped from an intake a mile offshore.

“Now, that’s a pump!” Edo Bar-Zeev shouts to me over the din of the motors, grinning with undisguised awe at the scene before us. The reservoirs beneath us contain several feet of sand through which the seawater filters before making its way to a vast metal hangar, where it is transformed into enough drinking water to supply 1.5 million people.

We are standing above the new Sorek desalination plant, the largest reverse-osmosis desal facility in the world, and we are staring at Israel’s salvation. Just a few years ago, in the depths of its worst drought in at least 900 years, Israel was running out of water. Now it has a surplus. That remarkable turnaround was accomplished through national campaigns to conserve and reuse Israel’s meager water resources, but the biggest impact came from a new wave of desalination plants.

Bar-Zeev, who recently joined Israel’s Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research after completing his postdoc work at Yale University, is an expert on biofouling, which has always been an Achilles’ heel of desalination and one of the reasons it has been considered a last resort. Desal works by pushing saltwater into membranes containing microscopic pores. The water gets through, while the larger salt molecules are left behind. But microorganisms in seawater quickly colonize the membranes and block the pores, and controlling them requires periodic costly and chemical-intensive cleaning. But Bar-Zeev and colleagues developed a chemical-free system using porous lava stone to capture the microorganisms before they reach the membranes. It’s just one of many breakthroughs in membrane technology that have made desalination much more efficient. Israel now gets 55 percent of its domestic water from desalination, and that has helped to turn one of the world’s driest countries into the unlikeliest of water giants.

Driven by necessity, Israel is learning to squeeze more out of a drop of water than any country on Earth, and much of that learning is happening at the Zuckerberg Institute, where researchers have pioneered new techniques in drip irrigation, water treatment and desalination. They have developed resilient well systems for African villages and biological digesters than can halve the water usage of most homes.

The institute’s original mission was to improve life in Israel’s bone-dry Negev Desert, but the lessons look increasingly applicable to the entire Fertile Crescent. “The Middle East is drying up,” says Osnat Gillor, a professor at the Zuckerberg Institute who studies the use of recycled wastewater on crops. “The only country that isn’t suffering acute water stress is Israel.”

That water stress has been a major factor in the turmoil tearing apart the Middle East, but Bar-Zeev believes that Israel’s solutions can help its parched neighbors, too — and in the process, bring together old enemies in common cause.

Bar-Zeev acknowledges that water will likely be a source of conflict in the Middle East in the future. “But I believe water can be a bridge, through joint ventures,” he says. “And one of those ventures is desalination.”


In 2008, Israel teetered on the edge of catastrophe. A decade-long drought had scorched the Fertile Crescent, and Israel’s largest source of freshwater, the Sea of Galilee, had dropped to within inches of the “black line” at which irreversible salt infiltration would flood the lake and ruin it forever. Water restrictions were imposed, and many farmers lost a year’s crops.

Their counterparts in Syria fared much worse. As the drought intensified and the water table plunged, Syria’s farmers chased it, drilling wells 100, 200, then 500 meters (300, 700, then 1,600 feet) down in a literal race to the bottom. Eventually, the wells ran dry and Syria’s farmland collapsed in an epic dust storm. More than a million farmers joined massive shantytowns on the outskirts of Aleppo, Homs, Damascus and other cities in a futile attempt to find work and purpose.

And that, according to the authors of “Climate Change in the Fertile Crescent and Implications of the Recent Syrian Drought,” a 2015 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was the tinder that burned Syria to the ground. “The rapidly growing urban peripheries of Syria,” they wrote, “marked by illegal settlements, overcrowding, poor infrastructure, unemployment, and crime, were neglected by the Assad government and became the heart of the developing unrest.”

Similar stories are playing out across the Middle East, where drought and agricultural collapse have produced a lost generation with no prospects and simmering resentments. Iran, Iraq and Jordan all face water catastrophes. Water is driving the entire region to desperate acts.


Except Israel. Amazingly, Israel has more water than it needs. The turnaround started in 2007, when low-flow toilets and shower heads were installed nationwide and the national water authority built innovative water treatment systems that recapture 86 percent of the water that goes down the drain and use it for irrigation — vastly more than the second-most-efficient country in the world, Spain, which recycles 19 percent.

But even with those measures, Israel still needed about 1.9 billion cubic meters (2.5 billion cubic yards) of freshwater per year and was getting just 1.4 billion cubic meters (1.8 billion cubic yards) from natural sources. That 500-million-cubic-meter (650-million-cubic-yard) shortfall was why the Sea of Galilee was draining like an unplugged tub and why the country was about to lose its farms.

Enter desalination. The Ashkelon plant, in 2005, provided 127 million cubic meters (166 million cubic yards) of water. Hadera, in 2009, put out another 140 million cubic meters (183 million cubic yards). And now Sorek, 150 million cubic meters (196 million cubic yards). All told, desal plants can provide some 600 million cubic meters (785 million cubic yards) of water a year, and more are on the way.

The Sea of Galilee is fuller. Israel’s farms are thriving. And the country faces a previously unfathomable question: What to do with its extra water?


Inside Sorek, 50,000 membranes enclosed in vertical white cylinders, each 4 feet high and 16 inches wide, are whirring like jet engines. The whole thing feels like a throbbing spaceship about to blast off. The cylinders contain sheets of plastic membranes wrapped around a central pipe, and the membranes are stippled with pores less than a hundredth the diameter of a human hair. Water shoots into the cylinders at a pressure of 70 atmospheres and is pushed through the membranes, while the remaining brine is returned to the sea.
Desalination used to be an expensive energy hog, but the kind of advanced technologies being employed at Sorek have been a game changer. Water produced by desalination costs just a third of what it did in the 1990s. Sorek can produce a thousand liters of drinking water for 58 cents. Israeli households pay about US$30 a month for their water — similar to households in most U.S. cities, and far less than Las Vegas (US$47) or Los Angeles (US$58).

The International Desalination Association claims that 300 million people get water from desalination, and that number is quickly rising. IDE, the Israeli company that built Ashkelon, Hadera and Sorek, recently finished the Carlsbad desalination plant in Southern California, a close cousin of its Israel plants, and it has many more in the works. Worldwide, the equivalent of six additional Sorek plants are coming online every year. The desalination era is here.

What excites Bar-Zeev the most is the opportunity for water diplomacy. Israel supplies the West Bank with water, as required by the 1995 Oslo II Accords, but the Palestinians still receive far less than they need. Water has been entangled with other negotiations in the ill-fated peace process, but now that more is at hand, many observers see the opportunity to depoliticize it. Bar-Zeev has ambitious plans for a Water Knows No Boundaries conference in 2018, which will bring together water scientists from Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza for a meeting of the minds.

Even more ambitious is the US$900 million Red Sea–Dead Sea Canal, a joint venture between Israel and Jordan to build a large desalination plant on the Red Sea, where they share a border, and divide the water among Israelis, Jordanians and the Palestinians. The brine discharge from the plant will be piped 100 miles north through Jordan to replenish the Dead Sea, which has been dropping a meter per year since the two countries began diverting the only river that feeds it in the 1960s. By 2020, these old foes will be drinking from the same tap.

On the far end of the Sorek plant, Bar-Zeev and I get to share a tap as well. Branching off from the main line where the Sorek water enters the Israeli grid is a simple spigot, a paper cup dispenser beside it. I open the tap and drink cup after cup of what was the Mediterranean Sea 40 minutes ago. It tastes cold, clear and miraculous.

The contrasts couldn’t be starker. A few miles from here, water disappeared and civilization crumbled. Here, a galvanized civilization created water from nothingness. As Bar-Zeev and I drink deep, and the climate sizzles, I wonder which of these stories will be the exception, and which the rule. 

What Will History Say About Aleppo?

by Denis MacEoin
The Gatestone Institute

Excerpt of a June 26 article originally titled "Western Universities: The Best Indoctrination Money Can Buy."

Oxford's Middle East Centre "has received substantial sums of money from sources in the Middle East ... there is a clear risk that donors will seek to influence the output and activities of the MEC." – Robin Simcox, A Degree of Influence, 2009.

[T]here is a growing threat to Western leadership around the world. The threat is not Islamic terrorism (although that is a real and growing threat, especially in Europe, but increasingly in the United States). The threat is not about growing Muslim demographics (although this is taking its toll in Europe, too). The threat is not even from the rise in influence of Islam across the globe. Those are genuine issues; Western leaders have so far failed adequately to respond to the threats they represent.

The clear and present danger here eclipses all the others: it is to the values of the Enlightenment. If not curtailed, this risk could usher in the abandonment of the very intellectual freedoms on which our wider freedoms rest. It is our complicity in the rapid and so far unstoppable growth of direct Islamic (and indeed Islamist) control over whole departments and centers in a burgeoning number of Western universities in Europe and the USA.
Do a handful of donations from Muslim governments to a number of European and American universities merit an entire article that starts out with claims that Western civilization is under threat? As a matter of fact, the scale of the donations is far beyond a handful, the universities involved are among the top academies in the world, the money involved is hundreds of billions of dollars, and the targets of Islamic finance are, for the most part, specific and form part of a distinct agenda. Some money may be given to business schools or science departments, but the overwhelming majority goes to support or create large departments and academic centers for Middle East, Islamic, or Arabic Studies.
The academic targets of Islamic finance are specific and form part of a distinct agenda.
There is a seeming logic in this – aren't extremely rich Muslim states entitled to further the study of their own societies, history, and religion?Shouldn't they have an interest in creating a corps of knowledgeable men and women with the requisite language skills and close familiarity with the subjects they first study then teach, or with which they engage as government advisors, civil servants with governments, the UN or international NGOs, think tank members, public experts, media analysts and perhaps politicians? Well, if they observed complete neutrality and left academics to their own counsel, their input would pass as simple generosity or as a contribution to good relations within the international community. What could be nicer? Isn't the Islamic world badly misunderstood in the West, and wouldn't more teaching and research on it and its beliefs be a real boon? And how can someone like myself, who has spent a lifetime studying, teaching and writing about Islamic and Middle Eastern subject think badly of such an endeavour?

One obvious criticism is the sheer scale of the operation, meaning that fundamentalist Muslim states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar now effectively exercise a swathe of influence over the way in which Islam and Middle East Studies are taught in key Western universities. The dilemma for the universities is a harbinger of crises to come. Even fairly rich universities such as Harvard and Oxford experience financial difficulties. State funds are often hard or impossible to obtain; academics have to scramble to find funding for their projects, their jobs or their departments.

Universities have responded in a number of ways. One has been to bring in more and more students from abroad, including extremely high numbers from Islamic countries (where the standard of education is almost uniformly poor). ICEF Monitor reports:
At its inception in 2005, there were just over 3,000 Saudi students in the US, a country that has been the primary destination for KASP-funded students in the years since and that saw its Saudi enrolment swell to just under 60,000 students in 2014/15 (for a nearly 2,000% increase over the last ten years). For the past five years in a row, Saudi Arabia has been the fourth-largest sending country for the US.
There are also large numbers of Saudi students in Canada and the UK.

The number of Saudi students in the US increased 2,000 percent from 2005 to 2015.
A second response for a small number of universities has been to open satellite campuses in foreign countries, several in the Gulf. For example, University College London, Heriot-Watt University, New York University and Ireland's Royal College of Surgeons run programs, respectively, in Qatar, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Bahrain.
Unsurprisingly, these campuses are far from free from external supervision.According to Professor Stephen F. Eisenman of Northwestern University (which has a branch in Qatar), "The ethics of establishing a campus in an authoritarian country are murky, especially when it inhibits free expression, and counts among its allies several oppressive regimes or groups."

Problematic as all this is, it is eclipsed by the impact on the study of the Islamic world in Western universities at home. Starting with the UK alone, Arab News reports:
Over the past decade, Saudi Arabia has been the largest source of donations from Islamic states and royal families to British universities, much of which is devoted to the study of Islam, the Middle East and Arabic literature. A large share of this money went toward establishing Islamic study centers. In 2008, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal donated £8 million (SR 48.5 million) each to Cambridge and Edinburgh for this purpose, Al-Eqtisadiah business daily reported yesterday. Oxford has been the largest British beneficiary of Saudi support. In 2005, Prince Sultan, the late crown prince, gave £2 million (SR 12 million) to the Ashmolean Museum. In 2001, the King Abdul Aziz Foundation gave £1 million (SR 6.1 million) to the Middle East Center. There are many other donors. Oxford's £75 million (SR 454.6 million) Islamic Studies Center was supported by 12 Muslim countries. Ruler of Oman, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, gave £3.1 million (SR 18.8 million) to Cambridge to fund two posts, including a chair of Arabic. Ruler of Sharjah, Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Qassimi, has supported Exeter's Islamic studies center with more than £5 million (SR 30 million) since 2001. Trinity Saint David, part of the University of Wales, has received donations from the ruler of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
Here, as well, is a summary of moneys given to U.S. universities, dating back as far as 1976:
The story of the Saudi donations in the United States dates back to 1976, when Riyadh transferred one million dollars to the University of Southern California.
In 1979, Saudi Aramco World magazine published a list of Middle Eastern gifts, including $200,000 from the Saudis to Duke University for a program in Islamic and Arabian development studies; $750,000 from the Libyan government for a chair of Arab culture at Georgetown University; and $250,000 from the United Arab Emirates for a visiting professorship of Arab history, also at Georgetown.
Until that time, Ryadh spent one hundred billion dollars to spread Wahhabism, the most anti-Semitic and extremist version of Islam.
Leading the list of "beneficiaries" is Harvard, with about $30 million. The jewel of the Ivy League received $20 million in 2005 alone.
20 million dollars were donated to the Middle East Studies Center at the University of Arkansas; $5 million to the Center for Middle East Studies at Berkeley, in California; $11 million to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and a half million dollars to Texas University (the seventh university, in order of size, in the United States); $1 million to Princeton; $5 million dollars to Rutgers University....
Oxford has a research center funded by the Iranian regime, while at Cambridge the funds come from Saudi Arabia, Oman and Iran.
Scholarships and degree programs are the favorite and easiest weapons of the Islamist regimes to influence the Western academies and their freedoms. Eight universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, have accepted more than 233.5 million pounds sterling from Saudi and Muslim sources since 1995. The total sum, revealed by Anthony Glees, the director of Brunel University's Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, amounts to the largest source of external funding to UK universities.
Universities that have accepted donations from Saudi royals and other Arab sources include Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, University College London, the London School of Economics, Exeter, Dundee and City.
In a 2009 study of the funding of strategically important subjects in UK universities, Robin Simcox, then a Research Fellow for the Centre for Social Cohesion, provides detailed tables and longer commentaries on the provision of funds to Arabic and Islamic Studies. A Degree of Influence[4]looks at eleven universities, including some with major centers for Islamic and Middle East Studies, such as Oxford (22 entries), Cambridge, London's School of Oriental and African Studies, Edinburgh, Durham and Exeter. Some of his observations are pertinent. Writing of Oxford's heavily-endowed Middle East Centre, he notes that
The MEC has received substantial sums of money from sources in the Middle East. The way in which this money has been used means there is a clear risk that donors will seek to influence the output and activities of the MEC. In addition, many large donations to the MEC have been anonymous, creating a lack of transparency. In many cases, Oxford has knowingly accepted money from undemocratic states with poor human rights records.... Several agreements made between the MEC and donors appear to indicate that funders have sought to influence the centre's output and activities.[5]
Of Cambridge, he writes:
Cambridge University is an example of how funding has had a significant impact upon how the university is run. Recent donations have been attached with conditions that could lead to donors gaining oversight via university Management Committees. While the principal donor's intentions seem honourable, a precedent appears to have been set where wealthy donors can influence the running of an independent academic institution.[6]
What does this unprecedented influence from countries and individuals with low expectations for academic freedom bring to our most revered institutions of learning? There are some positives. The money can allow genuine scholars to lecture or carry out valuable research, to teach languages such as Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Kurdish or Urdu (although not, of course, Hebrew), and to hold conferences open to a wide array of colleagues. All that is to the good, provided academics steer clear of controversy and subjects that upset their donors. In truth, academic freedom is at risk.
Countries and individuals with low expectations for academic freedom have unprecedented influence in our most revered institutions of learning.

What so many fail or prefer not to grasp is that the subventions from Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular are part of a much wider pattern. The Saudis for decades have disbursed hundreds of billions of dollars in order to propagate their puritan form of Islam, Wahhabism, across the globe, while building hundreds of mosques, schools, libraries, and Islamic centres, and sending out streams of hardline preachers trained in their seminaries and Islamic universities, to spread their message to Muslims everywhere, creating and financing bodies for Islamic missionary work, recruiting young Muslims to commit to an extreme form of their faith – all to the end of making the Saudi state the key player in the world of Islam and a leader in the propagation of Islam in the West. That is the nature of the doctrine. Deep pockets for academic study in Europe and North America are stitched tightly against their pockets that fund the missionary work and the enforcement of the most fundamentalist form of the Islamic faith.

Another way of looking at it is that earlier this year, Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti, Shaykh Abd al-'Aziz bin-Abdullah al-Shaykh, issued a fatwa forbidding Muslims to play chess. He is far from the first to do so. He justifies the ban by saying, "The game of chess is a waste of time and an opportunity to squander money. It causes enmity and hatred between people". On February 3, 2016, a young Saudi cleric, Shaykh Sa'ad al-'Atiq, appeared on a fatwa advice programme onal-Ahwaz TV, and stated that if people publish pictures on social media sites, someone else may copy them and apply sorcery to them, which will result in the original poster becoming ill with cancer and other diseases. He even says he knows many cases of this. Over the past several years, several people have been beheaded in Saudi Arabia on charges of witchcraft and sorcery.

Saudi Grand Mufti Shaykh Abd al-'Aziz bin Abdullah al-Shaykh recently issued a fatwa forbidding Muslims to play chess.
In May 2016, I read that another Saudi shaykh, Salih bin Fawzan Al Fawzan, a member of the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars, said that, "taking pictures is prohibited if not for a necessity — not with cats, not with dogs, not with wolves, not with anything". This, of course, is in direct line with the ancient ban on images of living creatures that has had such a marked effect on Islamic art. It is not hard to see that, if this is the height of scholarship in Saudi Arabia, their motives in financing academic study in Western universities may not be as noble as some would like to believe.

The Saudi antipathy to critical, rational, and secular scholarship is surely a warning. More than one Saudi shaykh, including the notorious Grand Mufti Bin Baz, have declared that the earth is stationary and that the sun revolves around it. Some are still doing so. Of course, better educated Saudis and others will find this laughable; but the fatwa declaring it has become the basis for intense debate among the highly religious.

The moment Western scholarship infringes the sensitivities of the Saudis, Qataris, Kuwaitis, Bahrainis and others, the barriers go up. Academics are denied visas to attend conferences, criticism of Gulf states is toned down, debate is shifted away from the Gulf monarchies themselves, and, compared to study of other Arab regions, rigorous critiques on subjects in the Gulf, such as political reform, human rights and suppression of dissent are largely excluded. According to Kristian Coates Ulrichsen of Rice University's Baker Institute, "Almost every centre of Middle East studies in the UK is linked somehow to a Gulf backer. It's created dilemmas, especially over the last few years as the threshold for self-tolerance of any dissenting view has got lower."
One of those "dilemmas" is the influence by teachers across the United States on impressionable students who organize Israel Apartheid Weeks. The students join with assorted anti-Semitic demonstrators, condemn Israel for every sin under the sun, and use intimidation against Jewish and Zionist colleagues, but are never told any historical, legal, or political facts by their equally biased faculties. America's Campus Watch monitoring organization keeps a close eye on this sort of abuse by identifying teachers and researchers who go far outside the boundaries of balanced academic discourse to mislead, indoctrinate, and validate student extremists. It exposes professors who make exaggerated claims about Islamophobia or who offer support to terrorist entities such as Hamas. Its steady record of news associated with Middle East Studies provides ample evidence of the distortions now hawked as balanced scholarship.

But for the clearest evidence that Gulf backers cannot be entrusted with the support of Western university studies of Islam and the Middle East, we need not look further than one of the earliest cases of Saudi investment in the field. In 1981, the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education paid for a lectureship at Britain's Newcastle University, to teach Arabic and Islamic Studies in the Department of Religious Studies.[7] The appointee, a non-Muslim British teacher with a solid research record, embarked on an ambitious range of topics designed to give students a wide background in Islamic history and doctrine. Five years later, funding for his post was abruptly ended. The reason was that he included among his courses lectures on Sufism and Shi'ism – vital subject for any study of Islam, yet, to the Wahhabis, both anathema.

This was bad enough – academics at neighbouring Durham University's Centre for Middle East and Islamic Studies were vociferous in condemning the action and the reason given for it but the Saudis went further. They appointed (unilaterally, without any involvement with an interview by a university board) a Saudi teacher with no qualifications whatsoever in Islamic Studies (his PhD was in English Literature). The department and the university, eager to receive more money, allowed this amateur to teach and examine their students for several years more, after which the post fell by the wayside.

This is one of the most remarkable academic stories of recent history. A dismissal and an appointment based solely upon religious doctrine. But it had its effect. Other academics in the field, receiving or hoping to receive Saudi funding, now had their eyes open: There are topics, however important within the subject, that anyone who wants to keep his job must steer clear of. There are teachers who have research and publication interests in those topics who should not be appointed to Saudi-financed posts. In 1981, the Saudis were dipping their toes in the water. Now they are offshore, swimming in the strong currents.

Fundamentalist Islam, backed by vast monetary power, is corrupting our dearest Enlightenment values. This May, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Muslim body likened to the United Nations, prohibited eleven gay and transgender organizations from attending a conference at the UN on research to end the AIDS epidemic.
Egypt wrote on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to the 193-member general assembly about its decision without citing a reason. Clearly, protecting individuals most affected by the epidemic  trans people globally are 49 times more likely to be living with HIV than the general population  is not on the agenda.
It has to be assumed that the real reason for this was the deep-seated homophobia within the Muslim world. Potentially life-saving medical advances were blocked because Islam proscribes homosexuality (Qur'an: 77: 80-84).

We cannot continue to live like this. We cannot let hardline Muslims and Muslim states elbow aside their reform-minded brethren and trample on our most essential freedoms. Without the example and standards set up by Western nations, the Muslim world itself will fall into even greater decline, and that will lead to greater violence everywhere. If we owe it to ourselves to resist this onslaught on our values, we also owe it to the Muslim world to protect it from its own resistance to and fear of change.
Dr. Denis MacEoin, a senior editor at Middle East Quarterly, is a distinguished senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute.

[4] Robin Simcox, A Degree of Influence: The funding of strategically important subjects in UK universities, Centre for Social Cohesion, London, 2009.
[5] A Degree of Influence, p. 35.
[6] Ibid, p. 64
[7] See Daniel Easterman. New Jerusalems, London, 1992, pp.92-93.

Last Night Was the Turning Point in Trump's Campaign

Donald Trump in Charlotte, N.C. Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Donald Trump cleared up one thing in his speech in Charlotte, North Carolina, last night: he is running to win.

Throughout this very odd election cycle, some pundits have periodically suggested that Trump wasn't serious in his run for the presidency. First, it was said that he got into the race simply to garner publicity, to burnish his "brand." He himself, it was said, was surprised that he did so well in the primaries.

When it became clear that he was poised to win the nomination, the story changed slightly. Now, he was said to be playing the buffoon because he didn't really want the job. The same line was repeated and amplified post-convention whenever Trump went off-message or waved The National Enquirer about. Anything having to do with Ted Cruz really seemed to set him off. And off he went, as his plummeting poll numbers showed.

But these last couple of weeks have shown the world a new, more disciplined Donald Trump.

His speeches on the economy, on foreign policy, on policing and race relations, and -- just last night -- his brilliant speech that touched on everything from national security to race relations, free trade, immigration, and Obamacare, have shown that he is deadly earnest about winning this election.

To employ a phrase that Trump himself favors: Believe me, he's in it to win.
Last night's speech was significant for  several reasons. Substantively, it hammered home a truth that is as uncomfortable as it necessary to acknowledge: the dreadful plight of black Americans is largely the creation of Democrats.

Aside: in a rare obeisance to political correctness, Trump consistently referred to "African-Americans."  Perhaps that is politically expedient -- but I believe it is patronizing.

As Teddy Roosevelt observed, "hyphenated-Americans" are a threat to the integrity of the country. We are not Irish-Americans or German-American or African-Americans (a term that is especially bizarre because it is applied indiscriminately to certain dark-skinned people: Jamaica, for example, is not part of Africa). We are simply Americans whose ancestors happen to be from Ireland, Germany, Kenya, or wherever.

But back to that perhaps startling claim -- to the media and Democrats, anyway -- about Democrats being largely responsible for the plight of black Americans. Donald Trump is quite correct:
Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party have taken African-American votes totally for granted.
Until now, anyway, the black vote has run according to the Democratic script. What is that script? Lyndon Johnson articulated it in its purest -- as well as its crassest -- form when in 1964 he remarked to two like-minded Democratic governors that, with his Great Society programs:
I’ll have those n*****s voting Democratic for the next 200 years.
It hasn't been 200 years yet. But for the last 50? As patronizing Democratic programs stifled freedom and individual initiative, and erected an increasingly burdensome (and expensive) governmental cocoon around their minority charges?

The black vote has been largely in the pocket of its new plantation owners.
The "Great Society" did not abolish poverty. That was never the intention. It institutionalized poverty.

Along the way, it created an engorging bureaucracy that was a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party.

As Trump pointed out in his speech in Milwaukee earlier this week, all of the nation's failed cities -- Detroit, Baltimore, Chicago, Oakland, Memphis, Milwaukee itself -- have been under Democratic control for decades.

Milwaukee, for example, has been Democratic since 1908. Do you suppose that there is a connection between the disasters -- the poverty, the crime, the corruption -- that have engulfed these cities, and the political complexion of their leadership? Or is it merely fortuitous?

To ask the question is to answer it.
Regular readers know that I have found find a lot to criticize about Donald Trump. I stand by those criticisms. But I also acknowledge a new note in Trump's campaign.

His speeches of the last two weeks have outlined with clarity and conviction that he is serious about bringing about significant change. Not just the word "change": the country has staggered under that ruse for nearly eight years now. No, Trump is promising to bring real change to all Americans, but especially to American cities and the materially disenfranchised denizens who have spent the last several decades suffering from the hypocritical benevolence of the corrupt Democratic bureaucracy.

Some polls crow that Trump has "zero percent" support among blacks. After his speech in Milwaukee, that changed, with at least one poll reporting a 10-point jump
I suspect that after his speech in North Carolina, we'll see much more movement in the polls -- and not just among minorities.

Last night's speech was notable for its focus, its discipline, and its hard-hitting criticism of Hillary Clinton. It was also notable for its humanity. There are some who say that the "J." in Donald Trump's name is for "Jester." Certainly, crass braggadocio has shadowed him throughout his public career.

In a few brief sentences last night, Trump acknowledged ... and apologized(!) for that:
Sometimes, in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don’t choose the right words or you say the wrong thing. I have done that, and I regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain. Too much is at stake for us to be consumed with these issues.
I suspect that a future historian, commenting on the surprising Trump victory in the election of 2016, will settle on the quartet of speeches Trump delivered in the middle of August 2016 as the turning point in a campaign the media had already written off as moribund.
And if pressed, I suspect that a future historian will point to last night's speech, to Trump's candid appeal for black votes and to black self-interest, as the pivotal moment.

Beyond that, I'll wager that our future scribe will put his finger on Trump's admission of error and expression of regret as the humanizing moment when people said:
Well, all right then, let's give him another look.
Doubtless, Hillary Clinton and her surrogates are even now plotting to bait him, to lure him off target and to trick him into flailing against some irrelevant charge. If he is canny, he will ignore all these distractions and concentrate like a laser beam on his main issues: the economy, immigration, national security, and social comity.

His target is not a Constitution-waving Democratic shill, but Hillary Clinton. Her ostentatious corruption and incompetence, and the failed policies she has inherited and which she has pledged to continue and exacerbate.
Trump said early on in his speech:
Our campaign is about representing the great majority of Americans -- Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Conservatives and Liberals -- who read the newspaper, or turn on the TV, and don’t hear anyone speaking for them. All they hear are insiders fighting for insiders.
That's what the mainstream media hears, too, but since they are themselves on the inside, it is a song whose melody they like. If Trump continues on the tack he has taken these last couple of weeks, there is a good chance he will win.

He needs to do two things. On the positive side, he needs to stay on message, repeating his ideas for tax reform, economic revitalization, control of our borders, defeating Islamic terrorism, replacing Obamacare, and enhancing America's position in the world.
On the polemical side, he needs to be relentless in calling attention to the prosperity-killing and freedom-blighting program that is the Democratic platform (read it: it makes the Port Huron Statement seem sane).

He also needs to call attention to Hillary's decades-long career of pay-to-play corruption and her callous incompetence as secretary of State.

Two weeks ago, it looked as if Donald Trump's campaign was on life support. At the moment it looks as if the patient has made a miraculous recovery.
6)How to make big government agile again
By Ryan Cooper

President Obama has passed many huge expansions of federal government authority, like ObamaCare and the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, but getting such laws actually implemented was a tremendous struggle. The Volcker Rule, which prohibits certain forms of speculation by commercial banks, took nearly four years to be finalized, and hasn't taken full effect yet — and banks just asked for another five-year grace period before they have to comply. Elsewhere, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission recently delayed regulation of cross-border derivative contracts for an entire year.

We may well hit the next financial crisis before the regulatory response to the last one is fully implemented. Why? Legal scholars finger a culprit called "regulatory ossification," referring to the grinding slowness of today's federal rule-writing apparatus — largely because regulatory agencies are strangled by endless paperwork and frivolous lawsuits.

Fully tackling this problem will probably require congressional action. Luckily, there are many things a president can do to partially alleviate the problem. Since she's looking increasingly likely to take the White House, Hillary Clinton would be well advised to start taking this problem seriously.

One of the finest pieces of policy journalism ever written is "He Who Makes the Rules," by Haley Sweetland Edwards. It's an in-depth look at the bureaucratic trench warfare that causes the years-long delays in rulemaking. Laws like Dodd-Frank generally don't contain specific regulations saying what must happen; instead they instruct federal agencies to write rules within specific parameters, with the overall process governed by the 1946 Administrative Procedure Act.
Edwards' article goes well with work by Thomas McGarity, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law. In a Duke Law Review article andtestimony before Congress, he explains where things went wrong. The APA process was supposed to allow for public comment and participation in rule-writing, while maintaining an efficient federal bureaucracy. But over time, as rule-writing got new requirements for economic justification, environmental impact studies, and the adoption of the legal "hard look doctrine" (making it easier to challenge regulations on procedural grounds), it has become tremendously burdensome for agencies.

Fulfilling those requirements, which require mountains of expert work, "takes an enormous amount of resources," McGarity told The Week. When Republicans control Congress, and hence most agencies are constantly half-starved for funds, it's even harder. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, for example, has been all but hamstrung in the Obama years.

To be sure, many minor rules are written and issued with little fanfare or delay. But ones that affect the operations and profits of big institutions — the ones that really matter — suffer from all-out legal and procedural attacks. That's how some centerpiece parts of Dodd-Frank can be still on hold after over six years.
Removing some of these obstacles, like the special regulatory review panelfor small business established by Congress in the '90s (that has since beencaptured by big business) will require new laws be passed.

But the president can do quite a lot. Many requirements for onerous studies could be repealed by executive orders, says McGarity. More importantly, key positions overseeing the regulatory bureaucracy could be filled by someone sympathetic to the agency perspective, rather than the industries they regulate.

President Obama did an abysmal job of this during his first term, appointing economist Cass Sunstein as the chief of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which oversees the regulatory apparatus. The administration did issue many important rules during his tenure, but it also spent a vastly disproportionate amount of time meeting with industry representatives, and effectively slow-walked many critical regulations — particularly EPA ones. For someone concerned with timely action on big finance or climate change, Sunstein was a manifest failure.

At root, this is an ideological problem. Sunstein is a 1970s neoliberal who thinks that regulation is usually an economic drag, and should only be implemented after you prove in 19 different ways that it won't be an undue burden. And four years out of government, he's still peddling proposals for cutting "red tape" which involve forcing agencies to carry out even moreexpensive, complex studies, and writing into law other requirements that are currently executive orders — making the problem worse.

As Elizabeth Warren pointed out in a recent speech, what is needed is someone with the opposite view — that regulations are a huge net benefit that are absolutely critical to protecting the American economy and citizenry. Slow-walking regulation of finance or climate change with onerous cost-benefit nitpicking when Wall Street just obliterated the economy and American cities are suffering clockwork weather disasters is completely idiotic.

So given that Republicans stand a good chance of hanging onto Congress, if Hillary Clinton wants to achieve anything during her presidency, appointing people who believe in quality government to key regulatory posts might be the single smartest and easiest step she could take.

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