Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Shut Him Up They Say: Israeli Defense chief urges IDF radio to ban poet praising Palestinian ‘Joan of Arc’

RT | Jan 23, 2018

© Ammar Awad / Reuters
Top Israeli officials are embroiled in a war of words after the defense chief urged IDF radio to ban famed poet Yonatan Geffen on its stations. The artist earlier praised a jailed Palestinian activist for slapping a soldier.

I told Army Radio this morning to stop playing or interviewing Yonatan Geffen on all its stations,” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman tweeted Tuesday.

Yonatan Geffen, a 70-year-old Israeli poet and songwriter, published a short poem celebrating teenage activist Ahed Tamimi, who has become an iconic figure after videos of her confronting IDF soldiers from two years ago and last December went viral.

Calling Tamimi “a beautiful 17-year-old girl,” the poet wrote: “in that slap were 50 years of occupation and humiliation.” "Like David who slapped Goliath, you will be in the same ranks as Joan of Arc, Hannah Senesh and Anna Frank,” Geffen writes in the poem, published on Instagram.

Israel “will not give a platform to a drunk who compares a child who perished in the Holocaust and a brave fighter who fought the Nazis to Ahed Tamimi, a brat who attacked a soldier,” Lieberman said of the poet.

Attorney General of Israel Avichai Mandelblit, dismissed the defense minister’s calls, saying that he had no right to give orders to Army Radio, and that “the legal authority to determine the content that the station will broadcast is reserved for the professional employees of the station.”

Mandelblit, however, added that his statement does “not legitimize the content of [Geffen’s] outrageous remarks,” according to the Jerusalem Post.

In response, Liberman said that as defense minister, he is “the shield for all the soldiers” and he is guided “by common sense that stands above bureaucratic directives.”

Culture Minister Miri Regev slammed the poet for sympathizing with Tamimi, who is “not pure,” but rather “a terror-supporting criminal who is now sitting in detention.” Regev advised Geffen not to act “like a poet who has been recruited to free Palestine.”

Last month, Tamimi was arrested days after the incident in the West Bank. Later, a military court indicted the teenager with aggravated assault, along with her mother and cousin. The latest viral video shows Tamimi, her mother Nariman, and her cousin Nour, confronting the two IDF soldiers in the village of Nabi Saleh. The women can be seen pushing, slapping, and kicking the heavily-armed servicemen, who ordered them to leave.

Also read:  Empire Files: Abby Martin Meets Ahed Tamimi—Message From A Freedom Fighter

Can you dig it? Davos 'Masters of the Universe' bogged down under avalanche alert

RT | Jan 23, 2018

© Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
Members of the World Economic Forum assembling in the quaint Alpine town of Davos for their annual talk found themselves deep in snow on Tuesday, causing delays and other inconveniences as the four-day meeting kicked off.

For the 2,500 wealthy movers and shakers who ascended on the scenic valley town in Switzerland, the primary issue on their minds was suddenly no different from that of an underpaid, overworked plantation worker toiling in the fields all day for peanuts: the weather.

© Arnd Wiegmann / Reuters
For almost a week, Davos has been buffeted by heavy snowfall with up to six feet of wet hardpack - ideal conditions for hitting the slopes, but less so when it comes to shuttling billionaires from their private jets to the conference center.

Here is how the New York Times described the scene in Davos, where the residents of some areas had to be evacuated due to the risk of avalanches.

"Head-high snow drifts quickly piled up along the roads, leaving no place for street plows to push more snow. Sidewalks completely disappeared. Pedestrians slipped and slid in traffic between huge trucks and luxury minivans on streets carpeted with compacted ice several inches thick."
© Denis Balibouse / Reuters

According to a report by Reuters, the SLF Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research in Davos issued a Level 5 avalanche warning, the highest on its one-to-five scale. 

“Fresh snow and snow drift accumulations are prone to triggering (avalanches). Until late in the night a large number of natural avalanches are to be expected,” it said, while adding that transportation routes could be made impassable.

© Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
To add insult to injury, even the town's helicopter pad – ideal for whisking attendees around the forum – was forced to close due to inclement weather conditions.

Linda P. Fried, dean of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, was 30 minutes late for her presentation, which - ironically enough - focused on health risks associated with climate change.

When asked about her scheduled performance to speak about a heating planet in the middle of a major snowstorm, she responded: "It isn’t accurate, people just don’t understand, that’s not the metric,” according to The Times.

In any event, she admitted, “I’ve been coming for eight years and this is the worst I’ve seen it."
©  Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

Given the extremely cold temperatures that have gripped much of the world this winter, not least of all in the United States and Europe, President Trump may take advantage of the cold conditions to dismiss the claims of the climate-change activists, who predict dangerous changes to Earth's temperature over the next several decades.

In December, amid a particularly frigid cold snap, Trump took delight in tweeting:

"In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!”

Robert Bridge is an American writer and journalist. He is author of the book, 'Midnight in the American Empire,' released in 2013. robertvbridge@yahoo.com

'Deplorable' professor fights back against campus politically correct totalitarianism

SOTT | Jan 23, 2018 | Mark Tapon

Front Page Magazine - An interview with the "Anti-PC NYU Prof."

Michael Rectenwald
"In the fall of 2016," New York University professor Michael Rectenwald recently told The Daily Caller, "I was noting an increase of this social justice ideology on campuses, and it started to really alarm me. I saw it coming home to roost here at NYU, with the creation of the bias reporting hotline, and with the cancellation of the Milo Yiannopoulos talk because someone might walk past it and hear something which might 'trigger' them."

Rectenwald, himself a leftist, created an initially anonymous Twitter account, @antipcnyuprof, to speak out against that ideology and the "absolutely anti-education and anti-intellectual" classroom indoctrination he was witnessing, as well as the collectivist surveillance state that the campus was becoming, as students were urged to report each other for the sin of committing microaggressions.

In October of that year, he outed himself as the man behind the controversial Twitter account, and "all hell broke loose." He swiftly found himself the target of shunning and harassment from his colleagues and the NYU administration. In true Cultural Revolution fashion, several colleagues in his department in the Liberal Studies Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Working Group published an open letter declaring him guilty of incorrect thinking. "The thing that is interesting here is that they were saying that because I don't think like them, I am sick and mentally ill," Rectenwald said to the Daily Caller.

Instead of kowtowing to the campus totalitarians, Rectenwald declared himself done with the Left in a February 2017 tweet ("The Left has utterly and completely lost its way and I no longer want anything to do with it.") and has gone on to become an even more fervent defender of free speech and academic freedom. He has appeared often in conservative media to discuss those issues and the harassment he has received from the Left.

Recently Rectenwald even filed a lawsuit against NYU and four of his colleagues for defamation. He consented to answering some questions for FrontPage Mag about his conflict with the NYU ideologues.

Recently Rectenwald even filed a lawsuit against NYU and four of his colleagues for defamation. He consented to answering some questions for FrontPage Mag about his conflict with the NYU ideologues.

Mark Tapson: A year ago on Twitter you wrote, "Goodbye to the Left, goodbye." Can you describe your intellectual journey from "left-liberal activist" to outspoken "deplorable" and what drove that seemingly sudden transition?

Michael Rectenwald: In hindsight, I think that the transition was less sudden than it might have appeared. I had gone from a left-liberal activist to a left communist before I became "deplorable." I narrate the history of the transition in my book, discussed below. But I'll tell something of the transition here.

My public criticisms of "social justice" ideology and politically correct authoritarianism resonated with large swaths of the political right. I gained a sizeable new audience and support network - through Twitter, Facebook and via hundreds of supportive emails. I also drew backing from "cultural libertarians," as Paul Joseph Watson dubbed this newly-emergent "counterculture." It should come as no surprise that many Trumpists backed me, especially given Trump's regular (although non-specific) criticisms of political correctness.

Criticism of political correctness was supposed to be the exclusive province of the rightwing. For most observers, it was almost inconceivable that an anti-P.C. critic could come from another political quarter. Unsurprisingly, then, the majority of people who discovered my case, including some reporters, simply assumed that I was a conservative. As one Twitter troll put it: "You're anti-P.C.? You must be a rightwing nut-job." But as I explained in numerous interviews and essays, I was not a Trump supporter; I was never a right-winger, or an alt-right-winger; I was never a conservative of any variety. I wasn't even a classical John Stuart Mill liberal.

In fact, for several years, I had identified as a left or libertarian communist. My politics were to the left (and considerably critical of the authoritarianism) of Bolshevism! I published essays in socialist journals on several topics, including a Marxist critique of postmodern theory, analyses of identity politics and intersectionality theory (here and here), analyses of political economy (here and here), and an examination of the prospects for socialism in the context of transhumanism. I became a respected Marxist thinker and essayist. I had flirted with a Trotskyist sect, and later became affiliated with a loosely organized left or libertarian communist group.

It wasn't only strangers who mistook me for rightwing or conservative. So too did many who knew better. An anti-Trump mania and reactionary fervor now gripped liberals and leftists of nearly all stripes. Previously unaffiliated and warring left and liberal factions consolidated and circled the wagons. Anyone who failed to signal complete fidelity to "the resistance" risked being savaged.

After my appearance on Fox Business News, such rabid ideologues ambushed me. The social-justice-sympathetic members of the left communist group to which I belonged denounced me in a series of group emails. Several members conducted a preposterous cyber show-trial, bringing charges against me and calling for votes on a number of alleged transgressions. From what I could tell, my worst offences included appearing on Fox News, sounding remotely like a member of an opposing political tribe, receiving positive coverage in right-leaning media, and criticizing leftist milieus just as Trump became President.

I denied that these self-appointed judges held any moral authority over me and declared their arbitrations null and void. Meanwhile, the elders of the group (one a supposed friend of mine) had remained silent, allowing the abuse to go on unabated for a day. When the elders finally chimed in, they called for my official expulsion. I told them not to bother as I wanted nothing further to do with them; I quit. In their collectivist zeal, they later stripped my name from three essays that I'd written for publication on their website, and assigned their authorship to someone else entirely. Upon discovering this fraudulence, I publicly berated them for plagiarism. A prominent member of the American Association of University Professors noticed my complaint and investigated the alleged breach of intellectual integrity. Verifying my authorship of the essays, he condemned the group's actions in a popular blog. Only then did the benevolent dictators return my name to the essays' mastheads.

Friends and acquaintances from other communities also turned on me with a vengeance, joining in the groupthink repudiation. After my appearance on "The O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News, the Twitter attack was so fierce, vitriolic, and sustained that my associate Lori Price and I spent a whole night blocking and muting tweeters.

But the worst banishment came from the NYU Liberal Studies community - to which I had contributed a great deal, and of which I had striven for years to be a well-regarded member. Soon after the open letter appeared, I recognized a virtual universal shunning by my faculty colleagues. One after another, colleagues unfriended and blocked me on Facebook. The few that didn't simply avoided me entirely, until I saved them the trouble and unfriended them. Most stinging were the betrayals of those who once relied on my generosity, some whose careers I had supported and considerably advanced.

Despite the harsh treatment doled out to me by the social justice left and the warm reception I received from the right, I did not become a right-winger, or a conservative. But after the social-justice-infiltrated left showed me its gnarly fangs and drove me out, I could no longer identify as a leftist.

MT: As a staunch First Amendment defender, do you think it is possible to reverse the culture of politically correct totalitarianism that seems to be dominating academia today, and how can we do that?

MR: It is possible but reversing a forty-year trend that has finally resulted in what we have today - the complete takeover of academic pedagogy, philosophy, and policy by "social justice" ideology - will take a long, sustained effort, and the support of elements of the culture outside of academe, including media pundits, writers, independent scholars, public intellectuals, and a growing body of disaffected and vocal academic apostates and other renegades willing to take risks - as Bret Weinstein, Jordan Peterson, and others, including myself, have done. The way will be treacherous because the "social justice" left controls academic departments and administrations almost entirely, and everyone else within academia has been cowed into submission for fear of being "called out" as well. We are dealing with a Maoist-like Red Guard as we undergo a soft cultural revolution of our own. David Horowitz has been right all this time about the communists lurking in academia. Their impact has now been manifested through the "social justice" movement.

I put "social justice" in scare quotes because this term is a misnomer if there ever was one. Although the movement trades on a euphemistic name and the good will that movements that have gone by the same name have earned, including the Civil Rights movement, contemporary "social justice" has nothing to do with justice and is anything but benevolent. It is a movement based on postmodernist theoretical notions and as I have pointed out (here and here), the postmodern adoption of Stalinist and Maoist disciplinary mechanisms, such as "autocritique" and "struggle sessions." It is totalitarian through and through. We must learn from and employ the tactics that served to defeat totalitarian leftism in the past.

MT: Apart from personal vindication, of course, is there some larger objective you are hoping to accomplish through this defamation lawsuit against NYU?

MR: I want to make clear that social justice activists cannot get away with replacing the First Amendment with their own speech codes. They are not the official arbiters of acceptable speech, despite their self-arrogation as such.

The First Amendment does not protect all speech. It does not, for example, protect speech that leads to illegal activity and/or imminent violence. It does not protect defamation, slander, or libel. The First Amendment does not protect speakers from liability for the foreseeable consequences of their speech.

The "social justice" leftists are now claiming that I am a hypocrite because I am suing over insults, and that I am seeking a safe space of my own. But they apparently do not understand the difference between an incidental differing of opinion, an insult, and the real damages of defamation. I never claimed to be a free speech absolutist. And my own exercise of free speech and so-called academic freedom amounted to criticism of the "social justice" ideology and the mechanisms prevalent in academia and beyond. I never once mentioned any individuals by name. I never once engaged in ad hominem argumentation.

My attackers, however, showed no such restraint. In fact, they maliciously and mendaciously attacked me using official university email list servs, with the explicit aim of damaging my professional reputation and destroying my career.

Meanwhile, irony, contradiction, and hypocrisy are all on their side. Based on the postmodern theoretical notion of "social and linguistic constructivism," the "social justice" left deems language use a material act. Thus, they excuse shutting down speech they disapprove of, "by any means necessary." Yet "social justice" leftists actually have no problem with truly damaging language use - as long as it's being undertaken by them, that is. While Antifa, the "social justice" extracurricular infantry, burns down campuses to prevent the airing of "dangerous" speech, the "social justice" leftists seek safe spaces - not as protection from the violence of their compeers, but from the so-called "discursive violence" of non-PC-left speakers. Yet "social justice" ideologues undertake the most virulent forms of libel and defamation when dealing with speakers who express views at variance with their own.

Ironically, precisely while calling me a "racist," "sexist," "bully," and "Satan," I was bullied, abused and pelted with racist, sexist and other remarks that denigrated me on the basis of my race and sex or gender. The irony, double standard and hypocrisy are astounding. If the reverse had been the case, all hell would have broken loose. The defendants apparently thought that individual rights are not real and that because I am of a certain category they could make such statements with impunity. But the law doesn't agree.

So, while this suit is not merely symbolic - I have actually suffered from defamation, from malicious and mendacious speech intended to destroy me professionally and otherwise - it is also meant as a symbolic case in point, as an example to demonstrate the intent and scope of the First Amendment, which differs markedly from "social justice" speech rules. The main "social justice" speech rule is this: "social justice" leftists can say (and do) whatever they want to say (and do). And they can shut down whatever they don't want said (or done) - "by any means possible." The only problem is that they are legally wrong.

MT: You have a new book in the works about the postmodern roots of social justice ideology. Can you tell us a little about that and when we can expect it?

MR: The book is a memoir whose central argument is that the contemporary "social justice" creed and movement is the child of postmodern theory, while also incorporating some of the methods of Stalinism and Maoism. Just as postmodern theory lay dying in the academy, it gave birth to a child: "social justice" ideology.

I demonstrate the genealogy of "social justice" by recalling and retracing my own graduate education in Critical Theory (The Frankfurt School) and postmodern theory (deconstruction, poststructuralism, Lacanian psychoanalytic theory, third-wave feminist theory, Science Studies, gender and transgender theory, and so on). The book explains just how social justice derives from postmodern theoretical notions and how and why these notions are not only philosophically wrong but also extremely pernicious. I recall my own indoctrination into these schools of thought, as well my emergence from them. The book is 95% complete, so hopefully it will appear in matter of a few months. The tentative (and hopefully final) title is Springtime for Snowflakes: 'Social Justice' and Its Postmodern Parent. (I am currently on the market for a new publisher.)

MT: With a title like Springtime for Snowflakes, it's bound to be a great read. Thanks, Professor Rectenwald, and congratulations on your escape from the dark side into the light!

Also read: 'I felt unsafe': NYU professor sues colleagues for defamation

How US went from supporting Syrian Kurds, to backing Turkey against them – in just 9 days

RT | Jan 22, 2018 | Igor Ogorodnev

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been left flailing as Washington desperately struggles to avoid being shut out of Syria by its own allies – following a crisis it helped provoke just days ago.

For all the backpedaling and reframing the US officials are now doing, the chronology of the volte-face from Afrin to Ankara is startlingly straightforward.

January 13

US announces a 30,000-strong Kurdish YPG-led Border Security Force (BSF) to stave off a Islamic State “resurgence,” operating out of the quarter of Syria's territory that the Kurdish minority now controls.

January 15

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls BSF an “army of terror” and promises to “strangle it before it is born,” saying it will imminently invade the north-western enclave of Afrin. Ankara says the US did not consult it over BSF, and insists Washington broke its promise to no longer arm YPG, whom Turkey views as separatist terrorists.

January 17

Tillerson to media: “That entire situation has been mis-portrayed, mis-described, some people misspoke. We are not creating a Border Security Force at all.”

Meanwhile, Pentagon spokesman Adrian Rankine-Galloway says of the 8,000-10,000 YPG militiamen in Afrin: "We don't consider them as part of our 'Defeat ISIS' operations, which is what we are doing there and we do not support them. We are not involved with them at all."

January 20

Turkey attacks Afrin. If there wasn’t enough disingenuousness here already, the airstrike-backed ground attack is called Operation Olive Branch. Turkey says that it will create a 30-km deep “security zone” inside the Syrian border, and announces plans to push the offensive further east.

January 21

"Turkey is a NATO ally. It's the only NATO country with an active insurgency inside its borders. And Turkey has legitimate security concerns," says US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. “We’ll sort this out.”

January 22

Tillerson to Turkey: “Let us see if we can work with you to create the kind of security zone you might need.” The kind of security zone that will operate on the same territory as the BSF? That force that was purportedly essential to the ‘Defeat Isis’ operations? Never mind all that.

Now, Tillerson deserves some sympathy. If Al-Qaeda turned into ISIS the last time US forces abandoned the region, what will ISIS turn into? Turkish and Kurdish tensions also predate the conflict, and it’s not Washington’s fault that Ankara is its NATO ally, while YPG provided America’s most motivated force against ISIS. All in all, Washington is now trying to make the best of a bad hand.

But the entire episode is emblematic of the incoherent and doomed-to-fail strategy the US has pursued in Syria for the past seven years. What did the US think was going to happen after its BSF announcement? Like the teenager who unexpectedly comes home with a tattoo, it didn’t tell Ankara in advance because it must have realized what the reaction would be, or perhaps underestimated Erdogan’s fury – yet again – before trotting out a series of implausible denials.

The bigger problem is that Washington supports actors who have few aims in common beyond their mission to destroy Islamic State – which for most of them is no longer a priority, and for some never was. And apart from a by-now almost mythical 2011 pro-democracy movement, none of them share American aims anyway.

In fact, most are probably questioning why the US is even there. For Syrians, this is their own conflict, Turkey borders it, Kurds have long coveted their own state, even Russia is here at the official behest of Assad. America’s desire to pin its colors to Kurds or Turkey or anyone else in Syria shows that is raring to remain a part of the post-conflict stage, but everyone else has either greater motivation, more legitimacy, or both. So at its current level of engagement – where it can’t even back its horses for a week – Washington is probably best-off helping quietly, and not lighting matches and then inching away in embarrassment while others wage real wars.

Igor Ogorodnev for RT

Severity of Paris rat infestation captured in horrifying VIDEO

RT | Jan 23, 2018

Paris’ long-running rat problem has again been highlighted through spine-chilling footage of a city dumpster filled with rodents. The rubbish collector who shot the video say rats have even attacked his colleagues.

The video, shot in December 2017 on the banks of the River Seine between the Musee d'Orsay and the Pont Royal, show a much-less romantic side to the city of love.
 In the footage, the swarm of rats are scrambling over each other as they fight over food scraps. Others are caught desperately trying to leap out of the bin.

What may be even more alarming, is that this is not an uncommon site in the capital, but rather a harsh reality "for both Parisians and tourists, who come to visit the most beautiful city in the world," the unnamed garbage collector said.

"For a year, there has been a proliferation of rats in all the areas bordering the Seine," he told Le Parisien. The rats filmed in the bin have been incinerated.

The city employee says his colleagues have had rats jump up to their throats and arms, adding, that nobody has been bitten, yet. But, he said, “We do not want to wait until there is a tragedy.”

The garbage collectors are calling on the city to “take measures to eradicate the problem.” They say restaurants along the Seine are to blame. "The restaurants have about fifteen skips at their disposal, some still leave garbage bags outside," he said.

City authorities say they are aware of the problem and conceded that they’re seeing “more and more [rats] in public places,” reports Le Parisien. Mao Peninou, deputy mayor in charge of cleanliness, said city hall alloted €1.5 million to fight the pests last September and issued several deratting operations.

What Scientists Now Know About the Impending Mini Ice Age but Aren't Saying

Adapt2030 | Jan 23, 2018

There is now a concerted effort to switch the narrative of global warming to global cooling in the main stream media. Along with that a shift from oceans were rising to now they are not rising, warming will stop because the mini ice age is coming, orbits of our planet are moving, Antarctic ice is not growing and a massive effort to make you believe because of a tiny amount of Arctic sea ice loss its now creating record cold across parts of the Northern Hemisphere. This is what scientist know is coming but are afraid to say, as it has drastic effects for our society moving forward.

Adapt2030 links..