Sunday, October 9, 2022

Biden and Simple Possession of Marijuana

 Gary Fouse


President Biden has made his pitch for the pot-smoking vote this week by announcing that he is issuing pardons for anybody who has been convicted on the federal level for simple possession of marijuana. This raises a lot of interesting points.

As a retired DEA agent, I did have occasions to work marijuana cases. Actually, most all of those cases were when I was a US Customs agent prior to joining the newly-created DEA in July 1973. With Customs, I was assigned to a group exclusively investigating the smuggling of large, commercial quantities of marijuana by aircraft, something that was quite prevalent at the time in the Southwest area bordering Mexico.

As my career continued in DEA from 1973-1995 when I retired, marijuana understandably became a lesser priority compared to heroin, cocaine, and later drugs like methamphetamine. The biggest priority now for DEA is fentanyl, of course.

At this point, I would like to introduce the federal drug law dealing with simple possession of controlled substances (drugs requiring a prescription or simply drugs that are illegal on their face, like heroin). The federal laws regarding drugs are under Title 21 of the US Code. These were the laws I enforced as a Customs and DEA agent. The statutes we were most concerned with and most often charged were smuggling, possession with intent to distribute, and conspiracy to do the same. There is a statute for simple possession. It is 21 USC 844.

It is important to note that no federal prosecutor would accept a case that involved someone arrested for simple possession of a personal quantity of drugs, especially marijuana. I cannot speak for every state and local jurisdiction, but at a federal level, we only cared about commercial quantities. That means that we didn't care about some guy smoking a joint in his home. But if his home contained 500 kilos of marijuana, that was not for his personal use. That was clearly what we called a commercial quantity. He was trafficking.

So now you might ask why is this 21 USC 844 on the books? In practice, it is used for plea bargaining purposes. Pleading to a lesser charge. It is especially handy when a defendant has cooperated with law enforcement to a great degree and deserves a big break. Let me give you an example. Let's say DEA arrests a guy transporting a load of cocaine in his vehicle, let's say 20 kilos. It turns out that he is just a "mule" who is being paid to carry the drugs from one place or one person to another person or place. The driver agrees to cooperate. He names the person who gave him the drugs and the name of the person he is supposed to deliver the drugs to. He also agrees to go through with the delivery to the intended recipient, which he does under the control of the agents. To make a long story short, everybody is arrested on both ends, and the driver testifies in court. In return, he is allowed to plead to a lesser offense (21 USC 844 in many cases).

That's what we are talking about. Nobody at the federal level is chasing pot smokers and throwing them in federal prison for having a personal supply of marijuana or any other drug. The US Attorney's office would never accept such a case. So this is no great act of mercy by President Biden. 

Biden also wants the government to review whether marijuana is properly classified as a Schedule One drug, like heroin. On its face, it seems ludicrous that marijuana and heroin would be in the same classification or schedule. The reasoning is-you can agree or disagree- that like heroin, marijuana is judged to have a high potential for abuse and has no medically recognized use. You can read the list of schedules under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970 here. Interestingly, cocaine and fentanyl are listed under Schedule Two because they do have certain legal medical uses.

The bottom line is that virtually all the beneficiaries of this pardon are people who actually committed more serious offenses, but were allowed to plead to the lesser charge of 21 USC 844-simple possession either because they cooperated with law enforcement and/or simply agreed to plead to the lesser charge.

You are not going to see Cheech and Chong walk out of federal prison where they have been serving time because DEA agents found them smoking marijuana on a street corner.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Austrian President Wants All Austrian Women to Wear Headscarves

 Gary Fouse


-"Mommy, why are we fleeing Austria?"
-"So I don't have to wear a fricking scarf"!

Notwithstanding recent events in Iran, the president of Austria, Alexander Van der Bellen, thinks that it is about time to ask all Austrian women to wear headscarves out of solidarity with Muslims. Fortunately, the position of president in Austria is largely ceremonial, and most political power rests with the chancellor.

How about defending the right of Muslim women in Austria not to wear a head scarf if they so choose? How about solidarity with Mahsa Amini, the young Iranian woman who recently died in police custody after being arrested for not "properly" wearing a head scarf? How about solidarity with the people in  Iran who are protesting Amini's death and being killed by Iran police and Revolutionary Guards?

From an American perspective, I would defend the right of Muslim women in the US to wear a headscarf if they feel it is their religious duty. I would also defend their right not to wear it if they don't want to. But the bottom line is that this foolish Austrian president is misdirecting his "solidarity".

Mahsa Amimi
The below article from Unzensuriert (Austria) is translated by Fousesquawk.

Caption: Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen asks Austrian women to wear headscarves out of solidarity with Muslims

Federal presidential election  29 September 2022 16:24

Van der Bellen: "Will have to ask all women to wear a head scarf-out of solidarity".

"Beloved Austria", "Austria with all my heart" is written on the ad posters of Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen, with which he campaigns nationwide for his reelection. But how much credibility are his messages? Can we trust a federal president and really elect him as head of state if he asks women to wear a head scarf out of solidarity with Muslims.

"Not just Muslims, every woman can wear a head scarf"

Many, perhaps, have already forgotten, but when Alexander Van der Bellen was hardly in office, he said verbatim on the ORF-Broadcast, "Report":

"It is the right of a woman to dress however she wishes, that is my opinion on this. Incidentally, not just Muslim women, every woman can wear a head scarf. And if it continues with this Islamophobia actually spreading, the day will come when we will have to ask all women to wear a head scarf. All in solidarity with those who do it for religious reasons."

Why doesn't Van der Bellen wear a head scarf?

When the federal president made this statement, he had been in office almost one hundred days. In social media, there was a lot going around because of the call for solidarity. Die Presse pointed out a few critics.

"Does anyone know if (Van der Bellen wanted to make a joke?" Peter Bussjaeger, Professor of Federalism at the University of Innsbruck, subsequently asked. Manfred Juraczka, former club chairman of the Austrian Peoples' Party in Vienna, likewise used the statement for critique via Kurznachrictendienst (Headline Service). "So much for the election claim that hashtag vdB (Van der Bellen) is a man of the middle." Another user also immediately made another suggestion to the head of state: "Mr Van der Bellen, why don't you set a good example and wear a head scarf?" 

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Rocky Mountain High Middle East Studies

 Gary Fouse





Nader Hashemi

Nader Hashemi is the head of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver. In the wake of the recent stabbing attack of Salman Rushdie by a Muslim man trying to cash in on the fatwa issued decades ago by the Ayatollah Khomeini, Hashemi has a hare-brained theory as to who is really behind the attempted murder.

It's the Mossad, Israel's intelligence service.

The Jewish News Syndicate has the details.

To the uninitiated, one might think this guy is smoking his socks or whatever it is they smoke in Colorado. But in reality, this is precisely what I have come to expect from Middle East Studies departments in universities across the nation. This is typical of Middle East Studies scholarship.

These departments are about as academically valid as gender studies, and LGBTQ studies departments. In truth, they are pan-Arab, anti-West, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic hotbeds dedicated to teachings of people like Edward Said and his post-colonial Orientalism, which teaches that anything connected to the West is racist, colonialist, imperialistic, and whatever other negative label you can attach.

Just as "academics" like Hashemi are loathe to admit that any country outside of Israel in that part of the world could be involved in terrorism, any problems in the region are the fault of Israel, the US, and the West. Oh, they'll condemn any dictators in the region who have been friendly to the West, but the real underlying reason they want to see these particular dictators fall is so that they can be replaced by an Islamist regime. But it's never the fault of Arab/Middle Eastern society or Islam. The only reason they hate the West and Israel (according to them) is because of Zionism, injustices to the Palestinians, and colonialism in general.

But it's always somebody else's fault.

It is also worthy of note that in the cash-crazed atmosphere of academia, much of Middle East studies in the US owes its existence to oil money from countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who want to see their brand of history, politics, and Islam promoted to gullible US students. Thus, they contribute money to establish these departments and make sure they are staffed with the "right" kind of professors. Pro-Israel professors need not apply. Why would they want to work in that type of hostile environment?

Final point: Call me naive, but which country do you think is more likely to order the assassination of an innocent man like Rushdie, Israel or the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world? I am not saying that Iran was involved, but the original fatwa came out of that country, and they never rescinded it after Khomeini's death. They are a despicable regime, so Hashemi can defend them all he wants at the cost to his own reputation.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Italy: The Human Cost of Illegal Migration

 Gary Fouse


This article from Il Giornale is rather long. It took me two days to translate it, but it is well worth a read. This is how immigration has gone off the rails in Italy (as well as other Western European countries). No control over who is allowed in and who isn't. The result is hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants, radical Muslims, and various and sundry types of criminals. That has resulted in dead Italians, raped Italians, and Italian police being assaulted by people who should not even be in the country. 

The article mentions San Siro, a  neighborhood where I lived during my years in Milan in the 1980s. How sad to hear how it has been taken over by squatters and riff-raff.

Rapes, fights, "cultural" crimes: The criminal immigration that frightens Italy

17 June 2022 - 07:23

The violent side of immigration between sexual crimes and attacks on police: " In Italy, a stable presence of the foreign component"

Francesca Bernasconi and Rosa Scognamiglio

Women and girls molested or raped in the middle of the street. Police officers and Carabinieri punched or threatened with knives. And girls mistreated or killed by their own relatives because they rejected the traditions of their own culture and wanted to live Western style. These are the crimes and attacks that appear on the news pages and involve criminal foreigners. And the phenomenon of criminal immigration, born contemporaneously with the arrival in Italy of social and cultural groups from various countries in the world, a phenomenon which, from the 1970s, has transformed the peninsula into an immigration state. But how has this trend transformed the criminal panorama?

The presence of different social, ethnic, and cultural groups inevitably brings about a transformation of criminal-specific points, (as) explained to Il Giornale by the criminologist Francesca Capozza, author of the book, Criminal Immigration, which analyzes the phenomenon, showing the face of foreign crime in Italy. "You see the stable presence of the foreign connection that takes the form of organized crime, within that municipality, of terrorism, as well as culturally-motivated crimes".

The numbers of foreign crime

Immigration is not synonymous with criminality. It's the opposite. Beginning in the 1970s, however, in our country, an increase in the arrival of people from other parts of the world with different customs and habits has been recorded. In addition to people who migrate legally, there are those (who migrate) illegally. This new movement has brought about a change in crime because, in addition to Italian crime, there is added the foreign component, which has gone on to change the general panorama of criminality and security.

The statistics, reported in the XIII Report of the Antigone Association on conditions of detention, tell of a rise in the number of foreigners present in Italian jails, which, beginning in the early 1990s, has undergone an "unstoppable" increase. Now, according to the data from the Justice Ministry, updated on 31 May, 2022, detained foreigners make up 17,136, of a total of 57,067 people in jail: a percentage that slightly surpasses 30%, as also confirmed by Francesca Capozza, who speaks of official data," which do not record, therefore, any unverified, subsequent involvement". In the large cities, however, this percentage goes up so much that, according to what is specified in Il Giornale by counselor Riccardo De Corato, "in Milan, over 70% of the prison population of San Vittore is composed of immigrants."

It is necessary, however, to point out that among the foreign detainees, the percentage of illegal migrants, reported in the Antigone report, is "between 60-80% depending on the type of crime. Not just that.  "Almost all of the migrants who commit crimes have previous arrests," points out Counselor De Corato. "I believe many of the illegals present in Italy are fleeing their own country of origin because they evidently have unfinished business with the justice (system), they probably can't walk around free or they risk heavy sentences. Otherwise, you cannot explain the motive in which they prefer to pay money to the smugglers, risking their lives at sea, rather than reach Italy by other means. I do not believe that they are all fleeing from war."

These percentages refer to criminality in general. But the activity of the foreign component varies according to the type of crimes committed. The XIII Antigone Report of 2017 connected the presence in jail of foreign criminals mostly to property crimes, relative to drugs, and connected to prostitution. "The type of crime mostly committed by them," Dr. Capozza explained to Il Giornale, concerns crimes against property (27%, in particular, thefts and robberies), against persons (31%, particularly deliberate personal injuries), violations of drug laws (about 31%)". On the other hand, the percentage of foreigners detained for Mafia-type crimes is low.

Rapes and  sexual molestations

It was shortly after dawn on August 9, 2021, when a 26-year-old Italian-South American was surprised from the back, dragged by the arm, and raped in an excavation ditch for water pipes in a construction site at Cascina Gobba, just steps from the San Raffaele Hospital, by a 31-year-old Egyptian without a regular residence permit. On the other hand, last December 6, a young (female) commuter was attacked on the Milan-Varese train by two young men in their early 20s. The first, who was reportedly the "lookout", is an Italian with drug addiction problems; the other-the material perpetrator of the attempted rape- is a Moroccan with a prior police record and illegally in Italy. And then the horror of New Years' Eve: nine young girls were molested by a gang of foreigners just steps from the Duomo (Cathedral) of Milan during the festivities for the beginning of the new year.

"I beg you, stop" That desperate cry, then the horror from the illegal (migrant)

"The data from Istat (Italian National Institute of Statistics) speak clearly: Foreigners are 5 times more (often the perpetrators) in respect to crimes of sexual violence than Italians," points out Counselor Riccardo De Corato-notwithstanding the tightening of sentences, the molestations and the rapes are not diminishing. The policies that (protect) women do not seem to have taken effect within part of the foreign population-and the serious episode that took place New Years' Eve in Duomo Square confirms it- that they continue to consider the woman as an object, a property, with which, the man can do as he wants".

On June 2, five adolescents were harassed with shocking molestations on a train to Peschiera returning from a day spent at Lake Garda. The perpetrators, not yet all identified, reportedly directed racist insults at the young victims."You are white, you shouldn't be here (on the train-editor's note) ". A worrisome phenomenon, which signals a negative record in Lombardy (region), relative to sexual crimes. "In our capital (Milan-editor's note), the trend of the past few years has never seen a drop, unfortunately," adds De Corato-"On the contrary, it is rising slightly given that from 273 cases in 2011, it has passed 285 in 2021. In my opinion, the situation is very troubling."

"Culturally motivated" crimes 

No less alarming is the tendency relating to so-called "culturally motivated crimes", i.e. those crimes that ripen in a cultural context in contrast with the systems of rules and values in the host country. "The explanatory theories of foreign crime identify (multiple factors) of delinquent behavior in which the interior conflict between the culture of origin and value systems of the host country," explains Dr. Capozza, "which, within the same person, produces a contrast between  divergent cultural systems and norms (and) can lead to discomfort, insecurity, and confusion with the risk of maladjustment, psychiatric disturbance, and criminality."

Then there are other factors to take into consideration, for example, "the precarious economic conditions in which the immigrants are in," the expert continues. "The social marginalization of which they are often victims with the subsequent risk of "labeling", the absence of social groups and family references can favor the adoption of delinquent behaviors."

Among the culturally oriented crimes, those connected to the phenomenon of forced marriages are notably on the increase. According to the latest data released by the Viminale (Interior Ministry), two out of three victims are foreigners with a strong incidence of Pakistani women. "I believe that there is, at least on the part of some, also a large problem underestimating certain phenomena that are ignored and characterized as habits and customs of a culture (that are) to be respected," adds De Corato. "I am referring, for example, to the niqab (face covering) and female genital mutilation, the latter practice to which many children, daughters, and (non-EU) foreigners in our country are being subjected."

Estimates relative to infibulation (University of Milan, Bicocca 2019), on the other hand, account for 87,600 victims in Italy. Of these, 7000 are (female) children and girls little more than adolescents. "There is evidently still much to do to spread the culture of respect and equality in respect to women," concludes the security counselor for the Lombardy region. "Sometimes, we open our eyes realizing how serious the condition of cultural segregation is in which women are kept, here (Italy) as well, when incidents like that of Saman (Abbas) occur. Then everything falls back into forgetfulness, and we pretend not knowing that many Muslims consider women to be anthropologically inferior and subordinate to men." 

Attacks on police

Not just rapes, thefts, robberies, or "culturally-motivated" crimes. Violent immigration also affects the police. The latest incident goes back a few days when at Pisa, a (non-EU) foreigner, aged 30, attacked a policeman, hitting him with a violent punch. Not just that: During the episode, the young man reportedly destroyed the glass of the patrol car. 

In May of 2021, instead of being attacked, two police officers were working in Milan when a pair of North Africans in the country illegally went into a rage insulting the officers. Then the violence: Kicks and punches directed at the officers, both injured, so much they had to go to emergency care. One of the two police officers was treated for a fractured hand with a (recovery) prognosis of 25 days, while the other was diagnosed with a contusion on his elbow. Earlier, in January 2021, a group of foreigners had surrounded police officers, threatening them with a broken bottle and punching them several times.

According to the report, "Beaten cops" in 2021, furnished by ASAPS. the Association for safety on the streets, in 2021 physical attacks on officers totaled 2,655, more than 7 per day. Of these, 37% were caused by foreign citizens. But why this fury directed at police and Carabinieri, with the risk of being arrested? "On the one hand, the linguistic difficulty and knowledge of the culture and the rules make it difficult for the foreigner to be able to communicate and comprehend the social and judicial system in which he is inserted," explained the criminologist Francesca Capozza. But there is more. In fact, the expert continues, "on the other hand, the police at the time of the crime, represent the limit and the law from which they themselves are fleeing, or that they struggle to understand and accept, thus reactive emotions connected to them pour out."

The risk of radicalization

The data relative to the phenomenon of violent immigration, which clearly concerns only the extremist and radical fringe of the foreigners who reach Italy, outlines scenarios that are not very reassuring for the future. Milan, where the presence of illegal migrants has reached 50,000, is among the Italian cities most at risk. "It is evident that the choice of moving to Milan is not accidental. There is money, well-being, and work.  But there is also the question. The point at which many neighborhoods of the city are now (run by) the foreign element," explains De Corato. The public housing of San Siro, for example, is almost all occupied by Arab squatters. The same can be said for Corvetto, where there is a strong presence of foreigners from Eastern Europe, Roma (Gypsies), and Africans. They are all places where the government has lost contact with reality, and where, in my opinion, the situation is irreversible. And it is obvious then that the risk rising, violent criminality is elevated." 

Though the prospects are not encouraging, and the process of radicalization is a conceivable eventuality, we are not facing an irreversible crisis. "The only solution to guarantee the safety of our citizens is the presence of police on the ground. In Milan, for example, up until some time ago, there were neighborhood watches. Where did they go? The only deterrent is the presence everywhere of men in uniform, on foot, and the social concierge," concludes the Lombardy counselor. "But in the current state, with entire neighborhoods under assault by foreigners, it is practically impossible to apply solutions of this type. The people are afraid." 

Friday, June 10, 2022

Deja Vu all over again?

 Gary Fouse


"Anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination have no place in the University.  The Regents call on University leaders actively to challenge anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination when and wherever they emerge within the University community."  

-UC Regents revised Statement of Principles Against Intolerance

March 24, 2016

On May 18-19, the University of California Regents held public meetings in which students, faculty, staff, and other interested parties could address the regents with their UC-related concerns. During those hearings, a number of Jewish students from UCLA urged the Regents to take a stronger stand against campus anti-Semitism as they recounted their own personal experiences. I am cross-posting an article from the Los Angeles-based Jewish Journal.

Wait a minute: This all sounds very familiar. That's because back in 2015, I participated in two such events where I joined other colleagues in informing the UC Regents about the problem of anti-Semitism on UC campuses. The first event was at UC Irvine, where I was then working as a part-time teacher, and the second event was at UCLA. Subsequently, in March 2016, the Regents passed a revised Statement of Principles Against Intolerance that specifically addressed anti-Semitism.

Predictably, that did not solve the problem because similar, Palestinian-inspired incidents have continued to occur on UC campuses including disruptions of Jewish, pro-Israel events by Students for Justice in Palestine and various chapters of the Muslim Student Association/Union. I should add that 2015 was hardly the only year in which UC Regents have listened to the complaints of anti-Semitism from Jewish students. The result has been, in my view, that the Statement of Principles is nothing more than a piece of paper that the university can proudly exhibit when complaints arise. Anti-Semitism does have a place at the University of California and is alive and well, just as is the case on campuses across North America.

And why is this given that the UC Regents have gone on record with their Statement of Principles? It is largely because university administrators are too cowardly to take action, in some cases, probably because they sympathize with all the efforts to demonize Israel, even if it means that some Jewish students are subject to intimidation and bullying while pro-Israel speakers have their free speech rights violated. No doubt, they are also intimidated by the Muslim students and their supporters in organizations like CAIR-ever ready to file lawsuits against people for perceived discrimination.

I will close this with a quote from one of the UCLA Jewish students to the Regents:

 The UC Regents need “to stand in solidarity with the Jewish community and stay committed to creating a safe educational space for all students by upholding the Principles Against Intolerance.” 

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Mass Killings and Mental Illness

 Gary Fouse


Recent events around the world, including the US, have caused many of us to consider the question of mental illness when especially heinous crimes are committed, particularly involving mass murder. As I write, the US, just yesterday (May 24), has experienced a horrific elementary school shooting in Texas. Ninteeen children and three adults (including the 18-year-old shooter) are reported dead. Just a couple of weeks ago, we were shocked by a racially motivated shooting in Buffalo when ten people were shot and killed by a young white gunman targeting black people. In addition, the US in the last couple of decades has suffered a number of mass-casualty school attacks that defy explanation.

We are also dealing with the issue of terror attacks at the hands of Islamic terrorists, which often result in mass casualties, but just as often with only one or two casualties, attacks committed either by suicide vest, gun, or simply using a knife or car if that is all that is available.

In Europe, being politically correct, the politicians, police, and media are very quick to describe a Muslim attacker as "mentally ill". Just two days ago (Monday), a man shouting, "Allahu Akhbar" entered the embassy of Qatar in Paris, and beat and strangled a security guard to death as police had to wait outside almost an hour for official written permission to enter the embassy and intervene. As usual, the assailant is being described as having a history of mental illness. It's not just in France, but also in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden, and other Western European countries dealing with a massive influx of Muslim migrants, mostly, single young males. Aside from periodic terror attacks, the rate of murder, aggravated assault, and rape has skyrocketed. In Europe, the powers that be would prefer to label them as individuals with mental problems (which have nothing to do with Islam, of course). Apparently, they are all crazy. But are they?

It is pretty much a given that we have a mental health crisis in the US. When you consider the amount of violent crime, senseless attacks, homelessness, and drug abuse, I fully agree that we have a mental health crisis, and crime is a component of that.

Recently, one of my anonymous reader/commentators took me to task for, according to him or her, being (among those) ready to assign mental illness to white racist perpetrators but not to Muslim attackers when they murder someone to the cry of "Allahu Akhbar". In other words, killing non-Muslims in the name of Islam. 

While I think my critic was off-base (I don't excuse murder by anybody), the point merits some reflection. 

Mass murderers generally by definition have a few screws loose. That applies both to serial killers and one-timers who explode and take out as many victims as they can in one fell swoop.  (It is also true that serial killers and mass killers tend to be white.)

The issue of Islamic radicalization and acts of violence against non-Muslims (or Muslims of other sects) seems more complex because they are following an ideology. An ideology they interpret as requiring them to wage violent jihad against infidels. Of course, not all Muslims subscribe to that ideology, preferring to live peacefully with their neighbors and make a living to support their families.

But many do feel called upon to join the jihad-the "lesser jihad" as the Prophet Mohammad was quoted as saying as he returned from a battle: The "greater jihad" was the inner struggle to be a better Muslim. It is this latter jihad that you hear about when you talk to Islamic apologists. The fact is that both jihads exist.

So the question begs: Are violent Muslim extremists, the members of al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Islamic State-and those who act independently, such as this week's attacker at the Qatari embassy in Paris-insane? Are they all deranged individuals who are incapable of acting rationally? Were the 19 hijackers of 9-11 all insane? They carried off the biggest terror attack in history. They had a motive. They apparently acted very calmly and methodically. In that case, you had 19 "crazies" who all found each other and coordinated their operation perfectly.

The critics of Islam-those who have either left it or studied it in detail- would tell you that a perfectly sane, rational person can attend certain mosques, listen to certain imams, learn the Koran, the Hadith, and the life and sayings of Mohammed, and come to a perfectly rational conclusion that his or her religion compels him/her to take up arms and kill people in the name of Allah. Again, not all Muslims follow that call, but we need to be on our guard for those who might.

So the question of which murderers are mentally ill and which are simply evil is a bit tricky. We should differentiate according to sound reasoning and not assign labels selectively.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

The Supreme Court Leak

 Gary Fouse


This article first appeared in New English Review

Since Monday, the number one issue in the US is the apparent leaking of a Supreme Court draft document indicating that the Court is about to overturn Roe v Wade. There are two issues at play here. First is the significance of the decision-if that is indeed the final decision (which Chief JusticeJohn Roberts denies), and second-and more importantly, in my view-the leak itself.

Let us set aside any debate on the issue of abortion itself (I am pro-life). Whether you are for or against abortion, we all should be concerned about how this document-which Roberts concedes is genuine- got turned over to Politico. It is almost certain that it was turned over, if not by one of the justices (which I doubt), by someone employed in the Court, possibly a law clerk.

If so, this is a gross violation of the confidentiality and independence of the court. While it is true that the nomination and confirmation of Supreme Court justices have become highly politicized over the years, the Court was always considered independent, and its processes were considered confidential. To my knowledge, this is the first time in the history of the Court that this has occurred.

While we don't yet know who is responsible for the compromise of this document (We should know soon), the motive would appear to be that some disgruntled person within the Supreme Court building wanted to short-circuit what appears to be a coming decision against Roe v Wade. That would involve provoking nation-wide protests, which have already begun, and a campaign of pressure against one or more justices to change their vote before it is made public. Could threats against certain justices be far behind?

It should be noted that if this is the final decision of the Court, abortion will not be outlawed. The issue will merely be returned to the states, their voters, and their legislators to either allow it, ban it, or allow it with certain restrictions. Women wanting an abortion will still, almost certainly, be able to travel to California, New York, or several other states if their own state bans it.

Since the news broke, I have been watching the reactions on Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC (not continuously). Most of the discussion on Fox revolves around the leak and its serious implications for the Court. All I have seen on CNN and MSNBC are discussions about how this decision would be a disaster for women's reproductive rights. Again, I may have missed something on these two networks, but they don't seem to be concerned about the leak per se. I would guess that once the person's identity becomes known, that person will be heralded by the left as a "heroic whistleblower". 

In short, the Court is in dangerous waters, not because of the decision-whatever it is- but because of this leak. If the eventual decision is changed because of this leak and public pressure, the credibility of the Court will be destroyed. If the President and the Democrats decide to pack the Court and succeed in doing so, the Court's credibility will be destroyed. It will mean that aside from the obvious fact that the nomination and confirmation of Supreme Court justices is politicized, their deliberative and decision-making process have also become politicized. We cannot have that.

Sunday, April 3, 2022

New York: Pro-Palestinian Group Calls for "Global Intifada"

 Gary Fouse


This article first appeared in New English Review.

Palestinians passing out sweets to celebrate a terror attack against Israelis
-New English Review

Never underestimate the gall of the pro-Palestinian lobby in the US. The month of March witnessed three deadly terror attacks against civilians in Israel by Palestinian killers. In these three separate attacks, 11 Israelis were killed, most of them civilians. This was widely hailed in the West Bank and Gaza where people poured out onto the streets and passed out candy. Thus, it appears that Israel may be on the brink of another so-called intifada (uprising). Previous intifadas in the past decades have cost the lives of thousands of people on both sides. The important point is that they were started by Palestinians.

And keep in mind also that intifadas are much more than marches, protests, passive resistance, and people using slingshots against the guns of Israel's military. They include murderous attacks against innocents, using guns, knives, bombs, or cars.

So it strikes me as particularly obnoxious when Palestinian supporters turn out in American cities and college campuses and proclaim their support for intifadas. Especially obnoxious are the actions of these people in their Palestinian scarves with the black and white doo-dads marching in New York City this week and calling for a "global intifada," as the Jewish News Syndicate reports. Keep in mind that New York City has a large Jewish population, and the city has experienced a disturbing number of anti-Jewish attacks in the last few years. This is evidence that the anti-Semitism rampant on university campuses has metastasized into our society at large-at least among certain segments of our population. It is troubling, and I lay most of the blame on the pro-Palestinian lobby in the US.

It is instructive that these people would be calling for a global intifada. They can define it as they want, but history has shown us that intifadas are murderous attacks against innocent civilians, women, and children. Combine that word with chants like, "From the river to the sea; Palestine will be free". The "river" is the Jordan River on Israel's eastern border, while the sea is the Mediterranean on its western coast. That means no more Israel and no more Jews. A global intifada would mean more deadly attacks against Jews on the streets of cities all over the world including here in the US.

That is a concept that the majority of clear-minded, decent Americans will never embrace. In spite of all the efforts of the pro-Palestinian crowd, which include appeals to blatant anti-Semitism, a solid majority of Americans still stand with Israel and reject this Jew-hatred that is deeply embedded in the Middle Eastern mindset.

The pro-Palestinian crowd would do well to remember that this is not the West Bank or Gaza, where acts of terrorism are celebrated. We have laws against violence in this country, and plenty of jail cells to accommodate these folks. We don't want their intifada in our country. It is time we stand up to these bullies. What took place in New York this week does not represent America.

Friday, March 18, 2022

Period Equity at UC Santa Cruz (America's Wackiest University)

 Gary Fouse


"Period equity, or menstrual equity, refers to having equal access to free period products regardless of one’s gender, and, in turn, dispelling existing stigmas around menstruation."

-City on a Hill Press (UCSC)

In these dark times, it's time for some laughs, and what better source of humor is there than the University of California at Santa Cruz, America's Wackiest University and home of the Banana Slugs?

UCSC has once again become a trailblazer when it comes to recognizing marginalized groups-like women during that time of month. So now, in the name of period equity, the school has introduced tampon machines in its bathrooms-at least those designated as "all-gender" bathrooms in a particular building on campus. (Don't they mean "both gender"? Just askin'.

 "Earlier this quarter, the first free menstrual supply dispensers were installed in all-gender restrooms on the third floor of the Bay Tree Bookstore and in the Redwood Building."

 But Dear Readers, Let's don't be too harsh on the young lady pushing this idea. After all, she is just a young college student who is having all these ideas planted into her mind by the so-called adults who are responsible for educating her. Where else could a young person get the idea that a (publicly-funded) university should be giving out free condoms when those fortunate enough to attend the University of California at any campus can clearly pay for them? And if you think this is an equity issue, I say men can buy their own condoms as well.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Munich-2022 Version

 Gary Fouse


  "Good news, mein Fuehrer. Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi are in Munich."


Well, this has to be reassuring. Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, and Barbara Lee have joined Kamala Harris in Munich to meet with our allies and reassure them of.....whatever. President Biden has decided to send his A Team to Munich since, after all, he is the B Team.

  "I have here in my hand, a paper signed by Putin........"


The last farce that took place in Munich was in 1938 when British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain "pulled peace out of the fire" with his infamous sell-out of Czechoslovakia. That was the one that saved the world from WW2, if you recall.

This makes Ukrainian President Zelenskiy's decision to leave Ukraine and attend the Munich confab all the more confusing. Maybe this is his way of getting out of town while the getting is good. He certainly doesn't need to be in Munich to hear Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi prattle on about "economic sanctions in our time!" What does he think they are going to do, vote Ukraine into NATO?

It's a sad situation all the way around. Having people like Harris and Pelosi going to Munich of all places is just adding to the humiliation.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Is the University of Chicago a Brown University?

 Gary Fouse


Back in 2005, I published my third book, Erlangen: An American's History of a German Town. My reason for choosing the Franconian (N Bavaria) town of Erlangen was that I had spent almost three years there as a US Army Military Policeman in the 1960s. I developed a strong attachment to Erlangen, and after my army service, I returned several times and ultimately decided to write a history of the town. 

Erlangen is also a university town and home to Friedrich-Alexander University, notable for its medical department and historically famed as a center of Lutheran theology. Many of Germany's greatest Lutheran theologians taught there, and I know of at least 3 or 4 who are buried in Erlangen.

An unfortunate part of its history was that it was the first university in Germany where Nazi students formed a student organization, (the NS Studentenbewegung-National Socialist Student Movement) in 1923 and achieved a majority in student government (1929). This was in the days before Hitler took power in 1933. Hence, they acquired the moniker, the "Brown University".

Indeed, as Hitler and his party were struggling throughout the 1920s and early 1930s to gain power in Germany, one of their first targets was the universities. Hitler made a total of 5 speeches in Erlangen between 1923-1931, largely due to the presence of the university. In 1931, the famed writer and later exiled dissident, Thomas Mann, spoke at Erlangen, and his speech was disrupted by the Nazi students. In addition, Hitler's student followers engaged in acts of intimidation against their opponents including of course Jewish students and Jewish professors, whose classes they boycotted and occasionally disrupted. This happened, of course, at other universities. 

Why do I bring this up? Certainly not to denigrate the present-day University of Erlangen nor present-day Germany. It is because I have seen similar agitation in US universities against today's generation of Jewish students-especially if they support the Jewish state of Israel. 

That is because the well-organized and well-financed Palestinian movement is alive and well on US college campuses as Israel is regularly demonized. pro-Palestinian activists fight to gain seats in student governments while trying to keep Jews out. In recent years, we have witnessed the latter effort at UCLA, USC, and UC Santa Cruz. I wrote about them on this site. Anti-Israel events on campuses all over the country are the order of the day while any pro-Israel event can expect to be disrupted by today's latter-day Brown Shirts.

And who are these Brown Shirts in the 21st century? In my opinion, we are talking about the various chapters of the Muslim Student Association on campuses around the country and their sister organization, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the latter organization open to non-Muslim students as well including some misguided Jewish students on the left of the political spectrum. 

SJP's tactics of bullying and disruption have been well documented at more universities that could be listed here. On more than one occasion, I have applied the moniker The Brown University to Brown University itself due to harassment of Jewish students at that Rhode Island institution. I know some would accuse me of resorting too often to Nazi comparisons in writing about current anti-Semitism on our campuses. But the harassment, bullying, disruption, and intimidation that I have personally witnessed brings back the specter of what was going on in German universities in the years before and immediately after Hitler took power.

Of course, things got infinitely worse in Germany for Jews later in the 3rd Reich, and we have not reached that level of horror yet. But as we witness the awful resurgence of anti-Semitism worldwide, it is important to note that in the US, at least, its point of origin has been within our universities. During my 18 years teaching part-time at UC Irvine, I personally witnessed it many times. I've seen how they try to intimidate Jewish students. They've tried to intimidate me-unsuccessfully.

In my case, I had the advantages of age, life experience, and my position as an adjunct teacher on campus to deal with the intimidation. But the average 19-20 student usually doesn't possess those advantages. I've seen time and time again how Jewish students try to "dialogue" with these people. They are routinely unsuccessful. It is a losing tactic.

The following article from The College Fix on what is going on at the University of Chicago is reminiscent of what was going on in German universities in the lead-up to 1933 when Hitler took power.

If you are a student of the history of the Third Reich, which I am, you can look back to the 1920s and early 30s when Nazi students were boycotting classes taught by Jewish professors and agitating to get them removed from their positions. After Hitler took power, they were successful.

Today, we have little Brown Shirts agitating against the hiring of Israeli professors and against any classes that would present Israel in a positive light as opposed to the propaganda and indoctrination delivered by the pan-Arab, anti-Israel, anti-West professors of the various Middle East Studies departments and their useful idiot allies. These modern-day Brown Shirts are trying to stop their universities from having any relationships with Israeli universities. They routinely disrupt pro-Israel events and try to shut them down. They are against free speech when it comes to their opponents. And to the great shame of our universities, the administrators have turned a blind eye. They have refused to punish offenders. They have enabled the trouble-makers and the anti-Semites. The institution where I taught for 18 years-UC Irvine- is no exception.

The University of Chicago needs to tell SJP in no uncertain terms that they will not censor speech or classes they don't like on campus. SJP is a despicable organization. That they count a few Jewish members in their ranks is irrelevant. They are still Brown Shirts.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Italy: New Year's Eve in Milan

 Gary Fouse


Brings back memories of New Year's Eve in Cologne

Duomo in Milan

Arguably, the two most spectacular and iconic cathedrals in Europe are the Dom in Cologne, Germany and the Duomo in Milan, Italy. I have been fortunate enough to have visited both, and since I lived in Milan for 5 years in the 1980s, I am quite familiar with the Duomo.

Dom in Cologne

Unfortunately, both now share shameful episodes in their recent past. It was New Year's Eve 2015-2016 when hundreds of young men, basically all of Middle East origin, stormed the square between the Cologne cathedral and the train station, molesting dozens, if not hundreds of women while the police could not or would not do a thing.

New Year's Eve, Cologne 2015-16

Now, a similar, if somewhat smaller episode has occurred steps away from the Milan Duomo, where a teenage girl was accosted and groped by about 30 young men she described as being "of foreign origin" during the New Year's Eve celebrations.

The below article from Il Giornale is translated by Fousesquawk.

"Surrounded and molested by 30 foreigners". The horror just steps away from the Duomo.

I January 2022-14:43

Reportedly of foreign origin, as reported by the victim, the attackers who surrounded a girl near the Duomo Square

by Francesca Galici

It was a little after one-thirty am on New Year's Eve when a girl was surrounded and molested by about 30 boys near the Royal Palace in Milan, right in the middle of the city, a few steps from Duomo Square. The 19-year-old tried to defend herself using the purse she carried with her, which, however, was grabbed by her attackers as she tried to push them off.

This is the recounting of the girl, who reported to the police that she was groped and that at a certain point, the group reportedly tried to undress her. Fortunately, numerous police officers were in the area, who quickly received the alarm of the young girl and were able to immediately intervene.

At the sight of the uniforms, the attackers dispersed in several directions making their escape. The girl was immediately treated by the officers, and for her, aside from the huge fright and shock, there were no further serious consequences. The girl told the investigators that the group of attackers were presumably of foreign origin. 

The incident has brought to light an age-old problem of security common to all large cities on New Year's Eve. It was in 2016 in Cologne, Germany, that 90 women reported being subjected to molestation and violence on the part of some 1,000 drunken men, described by the victims as "apparently of Arab origin".

Violence on New Year's Eve

In this same zone, a short distance from where the 19-year-old was attacked, shortly before dawn, another episode of violence was recorded in a brawl which led to the injuries to a few young men. According to the initial reconstructions, it seems that an 18-year-old was stabbed in the neck by a 16-year-old at the height of a dispute near Duomo Square. The 18-year-old is now being treated at the Milan Polyclinic in serious condition. First responders found him in a pool of blood, and his condition immediately appeared to be very serious, such that the young man is fighting between life and death.

In all, 10 brawls were recorded yesterday near the center of Milan. The work carried out by police, in riot gear, was important, guarding Duomo Square and the surrounding areas, trying to reduce the gatherings, but it was impossible to avoid the formations of young men. Moments of tension were also recorded in the outer areas, like Gae Aulenti Square, (and) sometime after midnight, patrols responded to an attack suffered by two young men by seven foreigners. The two young men, ages 18 and 19, were transferred in code yellow to Fatebenefratelli Hospital in Milan with injuries to the head and chest, caused by broken bottles.