Hey, You Wanna Die?

This’ll get it done:

Lingzi Lu and MIT Officer Sean Collier “weren’t always just the victims of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,” a prosecutor told teary-eyed jurors yesterday as the stories of those murdered in the marathon bombings continue to dominate the death penalty sentencing trial.

“She was a beautiful nerd,” Lu’s Rhode Island aunt Jinyan “Helen” Zhao testified about the Boston University graduate student.

Lu, 23, who’d been in the Hub only eight months when she was killed by the bomb blast in front of the Forum restaurant, “loved everything good in life,” Zhao said. “She told me, ‘I can’t wait to see how pretty Boston will be in the spring.’?”

Zhao said her niece, a product of the Chinese government’s one-family, one-child population-control policy, had an insatiable appetite for love stories and desserts — even devouring an entire pumpkin pie during her first Thanksgiving in the States.

Her parents, still too stricken to travel here for the trial, made the gut-wrenching decision to bury their only child in the city she’d come to love, laying her to rest in a tiara and pink bridal gown with a music box and her favorite books. “I think they just felt she was part of Boston, part of the city, so the thing is she should be here,” Zhao said.

Jurors also heard yesterday from Joseph Rogers and Andrew Collier, the stepfather and younger brother, respectively, of Sean Collier, 27, who Tsarnaev and his older brother shot to death three days after the terror attack.

“I miss Sean. I miss everything about him,” said Andrew Collier, 27, a NASCAR machinist living in North Carolina. Sean, he said, was “a moral compass … right down to, ‘You can’t kill a bug, you have to put it outside.’ He was an amazing person.”

I suppose there’s some irony in that story being shared at a death penalty hearing. [Bleep] irony.

I opposed the death penalty as a liberal because, well, I was a liberal. I still oppose the death penalty as a conservative because, well, I was a liberal.

I suppose my best argument is also my weakest one: checking the power of the state. Once the criminal has been tried fairly and convicted, the state has already won. The murderer (or guilty party in some other capital crime) is already at the mercy of the state, never to see freedom again if the state so declares. State executions make me queasy. They are the default punishment of barbarian states like our friends, the Saudis, or Iran. That’s not my style.

But I have “evolved” on the issue, as Obama would say, to make exceptions. Does the convicted criminal still pose a threat? Has he killed or tried to kill while in prison? Will he? Even another murderer unfortunate to be locked up with our hypothetical sociopath does not deserve himself to be murdered just because we lacked the stomach to do what decency demanded of us.

And what about crimes so horrific that it is indecent to imagine the perpetrator alive? Timothy McVeigh of recent memory; Adolf Eichmann to name just one of the past. Not every murderer is a Mengele, but Mengele was. To argue for his life out of “justice” is perverse. (Mengele never met “justice” at all, having escaped to South America and having lived to age 67.)

Tsarnaev’s crimes, it seems to me, have to be judged in that light. Even though big brother, Speed Bump, was the ring-leader (if two sick brothers can form a ring), and he was the one who assassinated MIT police officer Sean Collier, it was only junior’s pressure cooker that actually took lives. He was the one standing so casually behind the Richard family before leaving his weapon of mass destruction to kill 8-year-old Martin and two others.

Is that a smile on his face? He should die just for that. Even if the Richard family disagrees. (As coaxed to by the Boston Globe, front page, above the fold, in large font.)

Much of my reconsideration of previously held beliefs has been tutored by writers I have come to admire—in this case, my rebbe Dennis Prager. His defense of the death penalty shows none of the tortured anguish I still betray. The issue is morally crystal clear in his mind. As I say, there’s much about Prager I admire.

I still oppose the death penalty, but with exceptions. I still support abortion, but with exceptions. My prejudice is toward life. That gets me through my qualms. Tsarnaev should die.

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Captain Obvious: Job Is Not Done In Yemen

Jen Psaki shares pearls of wisdom

Yemen remains unstable and much more work needs to be done in the region, despite a declared halt to the Saudi-led bombing campaign in the country, the White House said on Wednesday.

“Obviously, the job is not done,” Jen Psaki, White House communications director, said on CNN.

Brilliant mind she has.

– Aggie

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Germany Today

The accountant of Auschwitz on trial, possibly sentence: 3-15 years

Jewish life is still worthless in Germany. The defendant faces just 3-15 years for his participation in hundreds of thousands of deaths. Yes, it is good that he has accepted “moral responsibility” for his actions, but we see him smiling and apparently enjoying the attention.

A former SS sergeant described how so many Jews were brought to the Auschwitz death camp at once that he was put on a 24-hour shift guarding the ramp where they disembarked from the trains.
He told in chilling detail how cattle cars full of Jews were brought to the Auschwitz death camp, the people stripped of their belongings and then most led directly into gas chambers.
Oskar Groening is being tried on 300,000 counts of accessory to murder, related to a period between May and July 1944 when around 425,000 Jews from Hungary were brought to the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex in Nazi-occupied Poland and most immediately gassed to death.
During that period, so many trains were arriving that often two would have to wait with closed doors as the first was ‘processed,’ Groening testified at the Lueneburg state court.

Etc. Go to the link for photos and video. Europe is a cesspool, and that is being a bit harsh to cesspools everywhere.

– Aggie

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Pound Sand, Jimmy!

Israeli President, Rivlin, refuses to meet with Jimmy Carter.

President Reuven Rivlin has refused to meet with former US president Jimmy Carter during his upcoming visit to the region, due to his stances over recent years seen as “anti-Israel.”

In recent years, Carter has become one of the most prominent critics of Israel, notably when during last summer’s war with Hamas he denounced the IDF’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza as illegitimate.

An Israeli diplomatic official told The Jerusalem Post’s Hebrew sister publication Ma’ariv that the Foreign Ministry recommended Rivlin not meet with Carter, in order to transmit the message that those who harm Israel will not meet with the president.

Carter is the 2nd worst President in modern American history. I think we all know who the worst is.

– Aggie

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Read It. Think About It.

George F. Will, quoted in the Wall Street Journal yesterday

Free speech has never been, in the history of our republic, more comprehensively, aggressively and dangerously threatened than it is now. The Alien and Sedition Acts arose from a temporary, transitory fever and were in any case sunsetted and disappeared. The fevers after and during the First World War and in the early culture war era also were eruptions of distemper rooted in local conditions and local issues bound to disappear, which they did.

Today’s attack is different. It’s an attack on the theory of freedom of speech. It is an attack on the desirability of free speech and indeed if listened to carefully and plumbed fully, what we have today is an attack on the very possibility of free speech. The belief is that the First Amendment is a mistake. . . .

Yesterday the Democratic Party, the oldest political party in the world, the party that guided this country through two world wars and is more responsible than any other for the shape of the modern American state—the Democratic Party’s leading and prohibitively favored frontrunner candidate for the presidential nomination announced four goals for her public life going forward, one of which is to amend the Bill of Rights to make it less protective. It’s an astonishing event. She said that she wants to change the First Amendment in order to further empower the political class to regulate the quantity, content and timing of political speech about the political class—and so far as I can tell there’s not a ripple of commentary about this on the stagnant waters of the American journalistic community.

I have been very busy with personal stuff lately, and not able to post as much as I’d like, but this is just too important to overlook.

– Aggie

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Of Blessed Memory

Our own silent tribute to those victims of terrorism we can’t forget:


Adelle Biton


Asher and Yonatan Palmer


Shiri Negari


Ilan Halimi


The Fogels

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How to Pay Nothing in Taxes—Guaranteed!

Get a job at MSNBC. No one there pays taxes:

Touré Neblett, co-host of MSNBC’s The Cycle, owes more than $59,000 in taxes, according to public records reviewed by National Review.

In September 2013, New York issued a state tax warrant to Neblett and his wife, Rita Nakouzi, for $46,862.68. Six months later, the state issued an additional warrant to the couple for $12,849.87.

MSNBC’s hosts and guests regularly call for higher taxes on the rich, condemning wealthy individuals and corporations who don’t pay their taxes or make use of loopholes. But recent reports, as well as records reviewed by National Review, show that at least four high-profile MSNBC on-air personalities have tax liens or warrants filed against them.

Last month, New York filed a $4,948.15 tax warrant against Joy-Ann Reid, who serves as managing editor of theGrio.com and until earlier this year hosted MSNBC’s The Reid Report, and her husband, Jason. Reid has called taxes on the wealthy “a basic fairness argument,” also arguing for “smart spending and smart tax increases” to create economic growth.

Last week, the Winston-Salem Journal reported that Melissa Harris-Perry, who hosts an MSNBC show named after herself, and her husband, James Perry, owed around $70,000 in delinquent taxes, according to a federal lien filed in April 2015. Harris-Perry told the newspaper that she and her husband had made a $21,721 payment toward that debt on Tax Day.

Meanwhile, Al Sharpton’s tax problems have been the subject of extensive coverage by National Review and other publications. In November, the New York Times estimated that Sharpton and his entities owed as much as $4.5 million in taxes, penalties, and interest, a sum the MSNBC host disputes.

By my rough estimation, four MSNBC hosts owe the American people, folks, $4.635 million. I acknowledge their commitment to presenting hosts of color on the network, but are there no candidates who are current on their tax liabilities?

I don’t care how pretty you are, Melissa. Pay up. Okay, ten percent off for being easy on the eyes.

Check that: let’s make Al Sharpton pay the difference.

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Good News!

Boko Haram got you down? ISIS killing your buzz (among other things)? The Taliban and Al Qaeda and Al Shabaab, bumming you out?

Turn that frown upside-down, Gloomy Gus, it’s all good:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: But I always tell people we have to maintain some perspective on this. The Middle East and North Africa are going through changes that we haven’t seen in our generation. I think the Islamic world is going through a process where they have to isolate and push out the kind of extremism that we’ve seen expressed by ISIL. And that’s a generational project.

It’s going to take some time but I remind people that you know, there actually is probably less war and less violence around the world today than there might have been 30-40 years ago. It doesn’t make it any less painful. But things can get better. We just have to be vigilant and we have to have strong partners.

No one calls him on this stuff. The evening news should play this sound over a screen of ISIS beheadings or Syrian mass graves. Heck, Mexico has never been bloodier than today.

I wonder if he actually thinks people aren’t dying by the bushelful and blood isn’t being spilled by the barrelful just because he says they aren’t.

NO BLOOD FOR EGO!!!

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Breaking News From 1973

Good luck this time, Arabs.

No, seriously:

Army commanders of Arab states have gathered in Cairo to discuss the formation of a joint force to be used to intervene in regional crises and combat terrorism.

Arab League Chief Nabil Elaraby opened Wednesday’s meeting by saying that the force is not meant to be an “army against any country” but a “partnership” among Arab nations.

The creation of such a force has been a longtime goal that has eluded Arab nations in the 65 years since they signed a rarely used joint defense pact.

Well, they used it once, anyway.

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Meet Jeremy England

Just an ordinary lad:

On a sunny afternoon, at a bustling cafe less than a mile from Stanford University’s Palo Alto campus and more than 5,000 miles from his home, an assistant professor from MIT is telling me about science. Very advanced science. His name is Jeremy England, and at 33, he’s already being called the next Charles Darwin.

Say what?

In town to give a lecture, the Harvard grad and Rhodes scholar speaks quickly, his voice rising a few pitches in tone, his long-fingered hands making sudden jerks when he’s excited. He’s skinny, with a long face, scraggly beard and carelessly groomed mop of sandy brown hair — what you might expect from a theoretical physicist. But then there’s the street-style Adidas on his feet and the kippah atop his head. And the fact that this scientist also talks a lot about God.

The science is cool, but what about the kippah?

God wasn’t a big player for England during most of his early life. While his mom is Jewish — his dad was raised Lutheran but never felt strongly about passing on his Protestant ties — there wasn’t a lot of religious talk while he was growing up. The Englands would share a festive meal for Passover and light candles for Hanukkah, but the family didn’t keep a Bible in the home. His mother, England says, was born in Poland in 1947 to a family ravaged by the Holocaust. Much of her extended family — including her grandparents — were killed by the Nazis, and in the wake of such destruction, England says, Judaism brought up negative, painful feelings for her; she distanced herself.

It seems ironic, then, that anti-Semitism would eventually push England to the faith he says his mother spurned. While studying at Oxford in the early 2000s, he faced his first anti-Israel sentiment from classmates — which got him, in expected fashion, reading books and picking people’s brains to figure out where he stood on the issue. And in 2009, he visited Israel for the first time — where he “fell in love.” Studying the Torah provided an opportunity for intellectual engagement that he says was “unlike anything I had ever experienced in terms of subtlety and grandeur of scope.”

For his part, England believes science can give us explanations and predictions, but it can never tell us what we should do with that information. That’s where, he says, the religious teachings come in. Indeed, the man who’s one-upping Darwin has spent the past 10 years painstakingly combing through the Torah, interpreting it word by word much the way he ponders the meaning of life. His conclusion? Common translations are lacking. Take the term “creation.” England suggests we understand it not as the literal making of the Earth but rather as giving Earth a name. All throughout the Bible, he says, there are examples of terms that could be interpreted differently from what we’ve come to accept as standard.

That even applies to some of the good book’s most famous players, like Joseph, the ancient biblical interpreter of dreams, who rose to become the most powerful man in Egypt after the pharaoh. Maybe, England suggests, he wasn’t a fortune-teller. Maybe he was a scientist.

I highlighted the part I found most interesting. Driven by the antisemitism indigenous to the British intelligentsia, he returned to his Jewish roots. And found truth there he didn’t know was missing.

But a bit about the science:

The 101 version of his big idea is this: Under the right conditions, a random group of atoms will self-organize, unbidden, to more effectively use energy. Over time and with just the right amount of, say, sunlight, a cluster of atoms could come remarkably close to what we call life. In fact, here’s a thought: Some things we consider inanimate actually may already be “alive.” It all depends on how we define life, something England’s work might prompt us to reconsider. “People think of the origin of life as being a rare process,” says Vijay Pande, a Stanford chemistry professor. “Jeremy’s proposal makes life a consequence of physical laws, not something random.”

England’s idea may sound strange, even incredible, but it’s drawn the attention of an impressive posse of high-level academics. After all, while Darwinism may explain evolution and the complex world we live in today, it doesn’t account for the onset of intelligent beings. England’s insistence on probing for the step that preceded all of our current assumptions about life is what makes him stand out, says Carl Franck, a Cornell physics professor, who’s been following England’s work closely. “Every 30 years or so we experience these gigantic steps forward,” Franck says. “We’re due for one. And this might be it.”

And all from a modern Orthodox Jew with fancy sneakers.

There’s more at the link, if you’re interested.

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One Civil Liberty Violation They’re OK With

Amnesty International and antisemitism: two great tastes that taste great together:

Amnesty International is facing criticism for refusing to tackle anti-Semitism in the UK, after a motion calling on the group to do so was voted down at its annual international conference.

The motion was narrowly defeated by 468 votes to 461 at Sunday’s International AGM.

It had been tabled by Amnesty member Andrew Thorpe-Apps, who told Britain’s The Jewish Chronicle that while he was not Jewish himself, he had put forward the motion after being appalled at the rising discrimination and attacks against British Jews.

Just last week, on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel, a report revealed a shocking rise in the number of violent anti-Semitic attacks in Europe last year, with France and UK experiencing the greatest increase.

Thorpe-Apps said the motion was the only one rejected during the entire conference.

But it was close! Sooooo close.

In response, Amnesty International UK press officer Neil Durkin sought to explain away the vote by implying the group didn’t want to focus on one specific kind of discrimination.

“After a really interesting debate where everyone condemned discrimination against all ethnic and religious groups, our membership decided not to pass this resolution calling for a campaign with a single focus,” he said. “Amnesty International fights against discrimination in all its forms, and will continue to do so.”

However, contrary to Durkin’s claim, Amnesty has published numerous reports singling out other specific forms of discrimination, including a 123-page report on discrimination against Muslims in Europe.

It’s as true among the Left as it is of the Right in British society: there are certain things one just doesn’t discuss. Sex, money, Jew-hatred. Calling them out is bad form, old chap. Just not done.

No matter what:

Durkin added that “Amnesty’s UK Board, which supported the resolution, will be considering the outcome of the vote at their next meeting.”

That will hardly come as a comfort to British Jews, after Amnesty UK last year came under fire when one of its senior officials compared Israel to ISIS.

Leftists George Galloway and Ken Livingstone are still national political figures in Britain—two more vile antisemites in one country it would be hard to imagine, even spotting France Jean-Marie Le Pen. Better not to mention it, however. Curdles the milk in the tea.

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Six Years an Economic Slave

With recovery like this one, who needs recession?

Since the Obama recovery began in the second quarter of 2009, public and private projections of economic growth have consistently overestimated actual performance. Six years later, projections of prosperity being just around the corner have given way to a debate over whether the U.S. has fallen into “secular stagnation,” a fancy phrase for the chronic low growth seen in much of Europe.

How bad is the Obama recovery? Compared with the average postwar recovery, the economy in the past six years has created 12.1 million fewer jobs and $6,175 less income on average for every man, woman and child in the country. Had this recovery been as strong as previous postwar recoveries, some 1.6 million more Americans would have been lifted out of poverty and middle-income families would have a stunning $11,629 more annual income. At the present rate of growth in per capita GDP, it will take another 31 years for this recovery to match the per capita income growth already achieved at this point in previous postwar recoveries.

When the recession ended, the Federal Reserve projected future real GDP growth would average between 3.8% and 5% in 2011-14. Based on America’s past economic resilience, these projections were well within the norm for a postwar recovery. Even though the economy never came close to those projections in 2011-13, the Fed continued to predict a strong recovery, projecting a 2014 growth rate in excess of 4%. Yet the economy underperformed for the sixth year in a row, growing at only 2.4%.

What’s that all about? Is the economy racist? Why do these things always happen to Obama?

[W]e know that the Obama program represents the most dramatic change in U.S. economic policy in over three-quarters of a century. We also know from the experience of our individual states and the historic performance of other nations that policy choices have profound effects on economic outcomes.

The literature on economic development shows that U.S. states and nations tend to prosper when tax rates are low, regulatory burden is restrained by the rule of law, government debt is limited, labor markets are flexible and capital markets are dominated by private decision making. While many other factors are important, economists generally agree on these fundamental conditions.

As measured by virtually every economic policy known historically to promote growth, the structure of the U.S. economy is less conducive to growth today than it was when Mr. Obama became president in 2009.

I’m going to stop here, because I get tired of arguing with a post. A big-eared post that plays too much golf and has an over-inflated opinion of itself.

Obama says the recession was worse than he thought, yet it was over before the echoes of his oath of office had died away. He has shepherded a recovery of rare duration—six years!—but of unprecedented weakness. To paraphrase and contradict Elizabeth Warren (and himself), he totally built that.

To conclude:

Despite the largest fiscal stimulus program in history and the most expansive monetary policy in more than 150 years, the U.S. economy is underperforming today because we have bad economic policies. America succeeded in the Reagan and post-Reagan era because of good economic policies. Economic policies have consequences.

With better economic policies America was like the fabled farmer with the goose that laid golden eggs. He kept the pond clean and full, he erected a nice coop, threw out corn for the goose and every day the goose laid a golden egg. Mr. Obama has drained the pond, burned down the coop and let the dogs loose to chase the goose around the barnyard. Now that the goose has stopped laying golden eggs, the administration’s apologists—arguing that we are now in “secular stagnation”—add insult to injury by suggesting that something is wrong with the goose.

And Michelle refuses to have goose served for school lunch, preferring instead tofu croquettes and cauliflower spears. Which the children save to throw at each other during Gay Sex Among Indigenous Peoples class.

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