RealClearInvestigations' Picks of the Week
RealClearInvestigations' Picks of the Week
Aug. 11 to Aug. 17, 2019
In France, Even Muslims Have Had It
With Radical Muslims
For years, Muslim-immigration fears in France were largely portrayed as the fever dreams of nutty, paranoid, racist, far-right Islamophobes. Those days are over. In a sea change that the elite French and American media have been slow to pick up on, even Muslims in France are afraid of radical Muslims.
In RealClearInvestigations, ex-New York Times Paris bureau chief Richard Bernstein goes back to the land of liberté, égalité and fraternité, which he’s followed for decades, to examine France’s quietly dramatic cultural counterreaction. That response traces back to a series of murderous recent jihadist terror attacks, including those on the magazine Charlie Hebdo and the Bataclan nightclub in Paris. A broad rethink is under way among the French. No, they are not all xenophobes now. But Bernstein reports these startling developments:
- In the immigrant-heavy outer Paris neighborhood of Saint-Denis, Muslims of North African heritage strategize weekly on confronting growing fundamentalist Islam in their midst. “What worries me is that it's developing; it's not retreating,” says the group’s leader.
- This statistic is the most talked about in France: Nearly 19% of children currently born in France are given Islamic or Arab names by their parents.
- Another much discussed concern: The average age of Muslims in France is lower, and the Muslim birthrate higher, than the rest of the population.
- A leftwing outfit’s recent poll found that 74% of the public believes that laïcité – the French concept of a secular state -- is ‘in danger,” compared with 58% 14 years ago.
- Liberal French academics and pundits increasingly debate whether the state has been too tolerant of religious practices, especially the wearing of the veil.
- One of France’s most widely discussed books says fear of being branded bigots has French elites turning a blind eye to the spread of fundamentalist Islamic practices.
- Others argue assimilation is taking place. One respected demographer says only a third of Muslims in France regularly pray at a mosque, and daily prayer is one of the five pillars of Islam.
But the numbers of the sanguine are shrinking. “It's clear that there is a big change,” insists a political philosopher at the prestigious School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences. “The doctrine of successive governments has been to minimize the changes that this has brought about and especially to say that any worries about it are exaggerated. … But a growing part of the culture is Muslim, much of which resists assimilation. That's a fact.”
Victoria Nuland Tells All
on Steele Dossier ... Not
Former Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland has repeatedly downplayed her role in the spread of Christopher Steele’s anti-Trump dossier. But long-awaited evidence has emerged showing Nuland was more involved in the dossier than she has let on. As Eric Felten reports for RealClearInvestigations, the new evidence is FBI interviews with Bruce Ohr, the Department of Justice's high-ranking intermediary between Steele and the FBI. And those records show that:
- Glenn Simpson, the Democrat-hired opposition researcher behind Steele's dossier, and others "were talking to Victoria Nuland at the U.S. State Department” in 2016, according to Ohr.
- Although Nuland's repeated public denials about involvement with the dossier sounded unequivocal, they didn't cover Simpson.
- Asked under oath before the Senate Intelligence Committee whether she had any role in an October 2016 briefing by Steele at the State Department, Nuland responded: “I did not. I actively chose not to be part of that briefing.”
- The records indicating Nuland was dealing with Simpson belie her insistence that she avoided political activities as a career federal employee subject to the Hatch Act.
- The newly released Ohr material also raises these questions about the Trump-Russia role of the State Department, once run by Hillary Clinton: How many times did Nuland listen to Simpson pitch Steele’s material? What did she do with the spurious information? Who were the “others” Bruce Ohr said Nuland was talking to about the dossier?
- The records show just how active Simpson was in working his relationship with Ohr – whose wife, Nellie, was on Simpson’s Fusion GPS payroll.
The Ohr interviews are mostly redacted, but at some point the shielded material will be disclosed. Then, Felten writes, the public will learn even more about how Simpson – with the help of powerful government officials such as Victoria Nuland and Bruce Ohr – helped to catalyze a national crisis.
Jeffrey Epstein and Other Sexual Abuse: Top Articles
Jeffrey Epstein Was Left Alone, Not Closely Monitored, New York Times
Epstein and Young Woman Alone in Prison's Attorney Room, Forbes
Broken Bones in Epstein's Neck Raise New Doubts, Washington Post
Epstein Bodyguard: I Think He Got Help Killing Himself, New York
The Brother Who Could Inherit Jeffrey Epstein’s Millions, Daily Beast
Where in the World Is Ghislaine Maxwell?, Daily Beast
Sexual Abuse and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Hearst Connecticut Media
9 Accuse Opera Legend Plácido Domingo as Harasser, Associated Press
Katy Perry Accused of Exposing Model's Penis at Party, Fox News
Other Noteworthy Articles and Series
The New Nativists
New York Times
Just when you thought Fonzie the waterskiing liberal woke journalist had run out of sharks to jump, the New York Times Magazine runs a cover story stating that 1619 marks the nation's "true founding" – in slavery 400 years ago. In the investigative arena, meanwhile, the paper manages a twofer of conspiracy-mongering about perceived right-wing conspiracists, in a series called "The New Nativists." "How the El Paso Killer Echoed the Incendiary Words of Conservative Media Stars" pushes a dubious correlation-is-causation premise to imply linguistic incitement to violence without any evidence whatsoever that the deranged shooter's manifesto or his actions could be directly attributed to the words of the conservative commentators or outlets in question, as opposed to someone or something else. Or no one else, given that the man is crazy. "The Global Machine Behind the Rise of Far-Right Nationalism" reports that growing opposition to immigration in Sweden is the result of a clever campaign linked to Russia's Vladimir Putin – him again! – and the Ukraine. Put another way, Swedes and other Europeans are responding not to abundant and obvious facts on the ground but to lies in cyberspace. This article has the additional demerit of presenting an ally of the pro-immigration left side of global information warfare as an impartial white hat. It doesn't mention that the Institute for Strategic Dialogue "contributes George Soros conspiracy theories research for Buzzfeed News," as the nonprofit's own website says. That website also discloses Soros's Open Society Foundations as a backer. The Times neglected those two preceding links, though it had time to examine "12 million available links from over 18,000 domains" for its article.
Ukraine-Connected Donor Lent $500,000 to Biden Brother
A donor with deep ties to Ukraine loaned Joe Biden’s younger brother a half-million dollars at the same time the then-Vice President oversaw U.S. policy toward the country. The 2015 loan came as the Veep’s brother faced financial difficulties related to his acquisition of a multimillion-dollar vacation home, nicknamed “the Biden Bungalow,” in South Florida. There is no indication that the loan influenced Joe Biden’s official actions, but it furthers a decades-long pattern by which relatives of the former vice president have leaned on his political allies for money and otherwise benefited financially from the Biden name.
75 Shot Across Chicago a Year Ago; Only 5 Charged
Last August, at least 75 people were shot and 13 of them were killed in 40 attacks during a brutal week of violence in Chicago. A year later, more than 30 of those attacks remain unsolved, reflecting the Chicago Police Department’s continuing struggle to boost clearance rates -- abysmally below the national average in recent years. In dozens of interviews, the Chicago Tribune documented a host of problems: lack of police training, poor access to technology, insufficient staffing and poor or nonexistent follow-up by detectives in neighborhoods plagued by shootings. Witnesses and surviving family members spoke of not hearing from detectives, leading them to question the department’s commitment. Neighbors said they did not trust police and did not even want to be seen talking to them.
105 Died at Uganda Charity of Untrained American
A decade ago, then 20-year-old ago Renee Bach left her home in Virginia to set up a charity for children in Uganda. She saw it as a calling from God. "It was a very, very profound feeling and experience. It's kind of hard to even describe in words," she says. "Like there was something that I was supposed to do." From 2010 through 2015, she says she took in 940 severely malnourished children, many of whom were also suffering other serious ailments, including pneumonia, intestinal parasites, tuberculosis and HIV. One hundred and five of those children died. Now Bach is being sued in Ugandan civil court. This story asks: “How could a young American with no medical training even contemplate caring for critically ill children in a foreign country?”
3 Years of Misery Inside Google, the Happiest Company in Tech
Is wokeness good for business? Google appears to be struggling with that question – and the meaning of its “don’t be evil” mantra – as it tries to balance its collectivist, social-justice culture with the demands of capitalism. Time and again, this article reports, Google has found itself between a rock and a hard place. To invent products like Gmail, Earth, and Translate, you need coddled geniuses free to let their minds run wild. But to lock down lucrative government contracts or expand into coveted foreign markets, as Google increasingly needed to do, you need to be able to issue orders and give clients what they want. This has created friction as employees, encouraged to vent in the everyone-has-a-voice workplace, constantly try to hold the company hostage to its own public image. Kevin Roose has a telling take on this dynamic. He seems to suggest it's fine for Google and other tech companies to bow to worker demands to shun Pentagon contracts while simultaneously helping China muzzle free speech.
The Desperate Race to Neutralize a Lethal Superbug Yeast
Imagine every yeast problem that we consider unthinkably minor – skin rashes, vaginal problems, infections of the mouth and throat – being caused instead by a potentially lethal organism that no drug can touch. That’s the brewing fear regarding a new strain of yeast that flourishes in hospital settings. The strain, C. auris, was first seen in 2009 and is like no other: It causes grave wound and bloodstream infections. It spreads easily from person to person. It survives without difficulty on cool inorganic surface. And because of those qualities, it has sparked ferocious hospital outbreaks. Worst of all, the super-yeast emerged already resistant to the limited drugs available to treat fungal infections. So far, C. auris has been diagnosed in patients in more than 30 countries on six continents – including more than 700 cases in the U.S. When investigators talk about it, they use ominous phrases such as “pandemic potential.”
Kids Aren't Playing Enough Sports. The Culprit? Cost.
A recent study found that in 2018, only 38% of kids aged 6 to 12 played team sports on a regular basis -- down from 45% a decade earlier. A major reason: team sports are so darned expensive. The Aspen Institute found the average amount of spending on a sport was approximately $692. This helps explain why children from low-income families are half as likely to play sports as children from wealthier homes.
The Story of Major League Baseball's Secret Mud
Talk about a monopoly! For decades, baseball’s official rule book has required that every ball be rubbed with mud before use in a game, to improve the pitcher’s grip and thereby protect batters. And the mud collected by Patrick Bantliff on the banks of a tributary of the Delaware River is the only substance allowed on the roughly 240,000 balls used in the majors each season. Bintliff, however, is not some high-roller: he’s a mud harvester who spends his days collecting his product with a shovel and a few buckets. And he’s not even beloved by baseball: MLB has recently tried to eliminate Bintliff, teaming with Rawlings to develop a ball that doesn’t need mud. But baseball is realizing that it isn’t so easy to replace him, and, in fact, it might not be possible at all. Read the story of this magic mud, which, after five or six weeks of processing by Bintliff, is “smooth, almost creamy, gloppy without being especially gooey … It will feel more like cold cream than pudding, with any trace of grit removed.”