Willing ISIS Brides Should Be Tried for Treason

By Scott McConnell

In liberal circles, a wave of empathy is building for the “foreign fighters” of ISIS who desire to return to their Western lives. The tip of this iceberg is the very publicized case of Shamima Begum, the 19-year-old former Londoner who flew from Gatwick four years ago with two other girls her age to join the Islamic State.

Now, having abandoned the remaining ISIS-controlled territory for a refugee camp run by Kurdish militias in Syria, she is petitioning to return to London and raise her third child. Her case has been all over the British news. For someone who wants her baby to be cared for by the National Health Service, she is curiously unrepentant about joining a terrorist organization. Thus far she’s been unable to summon even nominal disapproval of the Islamic State-orchestrated bombing of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, which killed 22 people, much less the enslavement and mass rape of Yazidi women in ISIS-controlled areas. She’s even defended the most brutal ISIS practices as “compatible with Islam.” Nevertheless, a sort of British chattering class groundswell has arisen to welcome her, to treat her, as one columnist wryly put it, as “Britain’s long lost sweetheart.”

Treat her “with compassion,” urges the liberal Guardian. Naturally, her attorney describes her as a “victim.” Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn avers that Begum obviously “needs to answer questions” about her activities upon her return but also needs also to be “shown support.” It remains to be seen, however, whether she will return at all. Home Secretary Sajid Javid has revoked her citizenship, noting that she still retains Bangladeshi nationality and that her father has returned to Bangladesh. It’s not clear how the citizenship question will ultimately be resolved, but Begum has made it clear that she wishes to return to the UK where the social benefits are clearly superior.

In the television interviews she gives, she affects a normalcy and near-banality that evokes Hannah Arendt’s famous epigram about the Eichmann trial. Here is a young woman who left an apparently comfortable life as a straight-A high school student in Britain to join an organization that was self-avowedly bloodthirsty and at war, and now manages to speak of her experience as though she were expressing a preference for pop music. Asked about executions, she says, “I knew about those things and I was okay with it. Because, you know, I started becoming religious before I left. From what I heard, Islamically it is all allowed. So I was okay with it.” The sight of severed heads in dustbins, she avers, “didn’t faze me at all.” She says “a lot of people should have sympathy with everything I’ve gone through.” She just wants to “come home and live quietly with my child.”


That child, as one columnist remarked, is named after an Arab slayer of infidels. So it’s fairly understandable that most British people seem not at all eager to welcome her back into the bosom of their welfare state as if she had …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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Everything Is A Trigger

By Rod Dreher

This is how stupid identity politics have made our country:

Virginia first lady Pam Northam apologized Wednesday after she handed out cotton to black children during a recent tour of the governor’s mansion, the latest racial controversy involving the top levels of state government.

Northam handed out the cotton while showing students an adjacent cottage to the residence that had once served as a kitchen, asking them to imagine picking the crop as enslaved Africans.

“I regret that I have upset anyone,” Northam said. “I am still committed to chronicling the important history of the Historic Kitchen, and will continue to engage historians and experts on the best way to do so in the future.”

Her apology came after a Virginia state employee whose eighth-grade daughter and another black child were on the tour complained to lawmakers and Gov. Ralph Northam’s office, The Washington Post reported.

What is the problem here? It is a historical fact that black slaves picked cotton on Virginia plantations. What is wrong with giving schoolchildren of whatever race a tactile sense of what raw cotton is — this, as part of a tour explaining the history of the residence in antebellum times? What’s next, Pam Northam having to apologize for wearing cotton sweaters?

According to the Washington Post, this is what happened. Excerpt:

Northam’s office and one other parent of a child who was present said the first lady did not single out the African American students and simply handed out the cotton to a group.

… Trained docents often lead tours of the Executive Mansion, which was built with slave labor in 1813 and is the oldest active governor’s residence in the country. In this case, Pam Northam — a former middle school teacher — took groups of pages to an adjacent cottage that had long ago served as a kitchen.

Before a huge fireplace with iron cooking implements, Pam Northam held up samples of cotton and tobacco to a group of about 20 children and described the enslaved workers who picked it.

“Mrs. Northam then asked these three pages (the only African American pages in the program) if they could imagine what it must have been like to pick cotton all day,” Walker wrote. “I can not for the life of me understand why the first lady would single out the African American pages for this — or — why she would ask them such an insensitive question.”

The governor’s office, which did not make Pam Northam available for an interview, said she simply handed the cotton to whoever was nearby and wanted everyone to note the sharpness of the stems and leaves on the raw cotton, to imagine how uncomfortable it would’ve been to handle all day.

Jonathan Capehart, a black liberal Washington Post columnist, was triggered. Excerpt:

As an educational point, I get it: Having children touch and feel cotton to help imagine a time when handling the rough fiber was daily life during slavery isn’t a terrible thing. It brings history into the present …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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In Venezuela, Sanctions Make a Terrible Situation Even Worse

By Daniel Larison

Francisco Rodriguez and Jeffrey Sachs warn against the possibility of civil war and foreign military intervention in Venezuela, and they fault the Trump administration for its reckless interference:

On this great challenge, US President Donald Trump’s administration has gravely miscalculated. When the United States chose to recognise Guaidó as Venezuela’s president – along with a group of Latin American countries – and ban oil trade with the Maduro government, it was betting that the pressure would be sufficient to topple the regime. As a former senior US official told the Wall Street Journal, “they thought it was a 24-hour operation.”

The administration and the opposition both expected quick, relatively easy success, and at each step they have failed to consider what happens next if success continues to elude them. The difficulty in forcing Maduro from power was foreseeable and should have been anticipated, but because Trump was heeding the advice of hawkish ideologues and was following his own bad instincts he plunged into the crisis without any clue how hard it would be. The authors note that even if U.S. pressure manages to split the military, that would likely lead to civil war:

Maduro’s ability to withstand intense US pressure is not a surprise to close observers of Venezuela’s military. The centralised structures of command and control of military intelligence, as well as the personal interests of senior officers who control major chunks of the economy, make it highly unlikely that the army will turn on Maduro.

US provocation might create a schism between military commanders and more junior officers, but that would only make the plunge into a bloody civil war more likely. To date, there have been no defections among high-ranking officers with direct control of troops.

To date, there have reportedly been about 300 desertions from a force of about 100,000. That number may grow over time, but it is a bad sign for the opposition that there have been so few to abandon Maduro after more than a month. If the military splits, a peaceful transition becomes much less likely, and if it remains largely united behind Maduro there won’t be a transition at all.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is strangling the Venezuelan economy with its sanctions. The authors warn that U.S. sanctions will end up starving the population if they remain in place for very long:

Even without military intervention, US sanctions policies, if sustained, are bound to create a famine [bold mine-DL]. By cutting off Venezuela’s oil trade with the US and threatening to sanction non-US firms that do business with Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, the Trump administration has created one of the most punitive economic sanctions regimes in recent history.

But rather than provoking a coup, economically isolating a country that essentially feeds itself with its oil export revenues could lead to mass hunger instead.

Sanctions are always punitive, but as Rodriguez and Sachs point out the sanctions on Venezuela are unusually so. In both the Iranian and Venezuelan cases, the ones to suffer from the punishment inflicted on …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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Inside Father Dinh’s Closet

By Rod Dreher

Exciting news from the Catholic Diocese of Oakland, California:

A glass meth pipe and thong underwear found in a locked closet, a blindfold found inside a nightstand drawer, and sex toys found behind a mirror on the floor. Those are just a few of the items Livermore police detectives removed from the living quarters of Father Van Dinh inside the rectory of St. Michael Catholic Church as they investigated the priest for rape in 2017, according to a police report viewed recently by NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit.

Days before detectives served that search warrant at the church, Dinh’s accuser said the priest blindfolded and raped him inside the priest’s bedroom. The former seminarian’s accusations, equal parts horrific and bizarre, were detailed in the police report.

On Monday, Dinh’s accuser filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Oakland and Bishop Michael C. Barber.

The media account identifies the accuser as “John Doe” to protect his identity. More:

Doe told NBC Bay Area that Dinh, who he considered a trusted spiritual adviser at the time, offered to set him up with a job as a receptionist at a friend’s office. But before going to meet with Dinh’s friend, the priest invited him for breakfast at the rectory of St. Michael, Doe said.

Doe says he was lured there under false pretenses.

“He sat me down in a chair and gave me a gift bag,” Doe said. “In the gift bag he had oils, and chocolate, and underwear. He grabbed me and he said, ‘I want to give you a massage.’ I was frozen. I was in shock.”

Doe says Dinh pushed him down on a mattress, took his clothes off, and began massaging his body with baby oil against his will.

“Dinh was breathing fast and started to say, ‘Woody, Woody, what’s your fantasy?’” the civil complaint stated. “In the past, Dinh had told Plaintiff he resembled the character “Woody” from the movie Toy Story.”

In vivid detail, Doe recounted being blindfolded, having his hands tied in front of him, and raped.

“I was frozen, I couldn’t move,” Doe said.

After the ordeal was over, Doe says Dinh told him to rest in bed while he made breakfast. That’s when Doe said he ran from the rectory.

“Immediately after escaping Dinh’s residence, Plaintiff drove to the residence of another priest and told him that Dinh had sexually abused him against his will,” the civil complaint stated. “The priest immediately reported the incident to Gloria Espinoza, a representative for the Diocese.”

Four days later, the Diocese alerted the police. Good grief, people, what’s it going to take? You cannot trust the Diocese in these matters. Call the cops yourself!

“Woody, Woody, what’s your fantasy?” A meth pipe and sex toys. Nope, no gay priest problem in the Catholic Church, not at all.

I finished Frederic Martel’s supposed blockbuster, In The Closet Of The Vatican, the other night. I wrote about the first 40 percent of the book last week, and promised to …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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Defeatist Democrats Should Give Trump a Chance on North Korea

By Daniel R. DePetris

Ask President Donald Trump whether there is a comprehensive denuclearization and peace deal to be had with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and he will usually fall back on his rhetorical crutch: “We’ll see what happens.”

Ask a Trump administration official if there will be progress, and the answers will be all over the place, from “Well, that’s the plan” to “Absolutely, the president is a master negotiator.” After yesterday’s diplomatic impasse in Hanoi where Trump walked away from the table without so much as a general framework, however, hardliners in his administration are even less likely to give North Korea the benefit of the doubt.

Regardless of what happens in Vietnam, though, the response from Democrats has been the same from the start: abrasive, negative, and highly partisan. Democrats view this president much like Republicans viewed Barack Obama: arrogant, too self-confident, a danger to the American constitutional republic. Yet if Democrats aren’t careful, they could fall into the same trap that Republican lawmakers willingly stepped into when the Obama administration was engaging in tough nuclear negotiations with Iran.

Between the fall of 2013 and the summer of 2015, the GOP did almost everything it could to trip up the Obama White House as it conducted perhaps the most significant nuclear diplomacy since the Reagan administration. Some of the Republican concerns were legitimate, involving issues like the pace of diplomacy, the early economic sanctions relief, and the temporary nature of the final agreement. Yet a sizable chunk of the animus was directed at President Obama personally, motivated by the GOP’s desire to prevent a Democratic president from pocketing a historic foreign policy accomplishment. GOP hawks, of course, denied that they were seeking a political victory. But those denials became easier to dismiss as time passed and Republican antics on Capitol Hill grew more ridiculous.


Some GOP lawmakers, like Marco Rubio, were thinking about running for president and therefore had an added incentive to play to the base and fight Obama. Some lived in a perpetual state of hypnosis, deadly convinced there was such a thing as the perfect deal and that all the Obama administration had to do was stiffen its spine. Others weren’t supportive of any diplomacy with Iran, viewing the mullahs as so maniacal that anything short of Tehran’s full capitulation would amount to a Neville Chamberlain moment. Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas was a prime example of this strain of thought. The junior senator from Arkansas organized a letter to Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei from the Senate GOP conference that all but dared the supreme leader to walk away from the talks.

What does any of this have to do with the Trump administration’s current diplomacy with North Korea? Not much on its face. The U.S.-North Korea talks are different in form, substance, and character than Obama’s diplomacy with the Iranians. But there is one similarity: in both cases, the opposition party was prepared to use high-stakes diplomacy as a political weapon in Washington’s never-ending partisan war.

Democrats have a right …read more

Via:: American Conservative


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