Europe has survived former presses by Islam and done so with great glory. The first was when the Crusades responded to the surging Muslim Arabs out of Arabia in the Holy Land. These surges into the Holy Lands with the intent and oft success in liberating lands and even Jerusalem may not have kept the lands from eventual Islamic ascendancy, but it did prevent the further surge of Islam into Europe. Constantinople had stood for years against the battering by Islamic forces with catapults, ballista and similar siege equipment but the walls built to withstand any attack of its day did exactly that and Constantinople withstood every barrage thrown at them. It was the eventual equipping the forces of Islam with the newest of weapons, the siege cannon (see picture below) which caused its fall. These were not any normal cannons nor did it throw normal cannonballs. The stone cannonballs…
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Some call George Osborne the “Submarine Chancellor” due to how he can stay below the waves during political storms and then pop up in clement weather. He is surfacing once again today to warn that Brexit would cost households £4,300 a year, in an intervention which has made today’s splash. The Chancellor will back up this big number by publishing Treasury analysis which is expected to warn that leaving could lead to a possible recession, plummeting exports and rising prices and leave Britain worse of “for decades to come”, shrinking the economy by 6% by 2030.
Eurosceptics are putting on a brave face in response, with Conservative-leaning pundits mockingly comparing Osborne’s prediction with his slipping deadline for when he’d get the deficit down. “Chancellor who promised to get rid of deficit 2 years ago says something unbelievable about Brexit in 2030,” Tim Montgomerie commented. The vitriol Osborne is getting from Tory Eurosceptics for his intervention is all too apparent, with farming minister George Eustice attacking his record as Chancellor and suggesting Treasury officials do not live in the “real world”. The rise in blue-on-blue attacks bodes very ill for any future Osborne leadership bid.
But the Treasury has helped kill off ideas it didn’t like the sound of before, like Scottish independence in 2014. The question of money is almost certainly the Remain side’s strongest argument. Research by Professor Philip Cowley and YouGov found that the amount people thought they would gain or lose in the EU had a potentially big impact on how they would vote. The idea that they would be £25 worse off inside the EU saw Leave pull ahead in popularity, while the suggestion that they would be £500 better off staying in led to a 19 point lead for Remain. So you can expect Remainers to quote the £4,300 figure with gusto, as if floating voters take that on board, it could be decisive. Even if sceptical voters decide that the amount must be a bit less than that, Cowley’s research suggests that they would still swing towards staying in the EU.
If HMT isn’t enough, Remainers are looking forward to Barack Obama’s visit later in the week, during which he is expected to spell out why he wants Britain to stay in the EU. Charles Moore remains sceptical as to how much impact the President of the United States could have. “The point of this referendum is that it is a unique opportunity to say to those who normally decide our fate that they have made a bit of a mess of things and now it is time for them to listen to us,” he writes in today’s paper. “Think how much they will despise us if we tell them they were right after all.”
This week the Remain campaign is firing two of its biggest guns: putting an official “cost” on Brexit and wheeling out Obama. Why are they doing it so soon? It could just be a sensible comms strategy, getting key messages out early and then repeating them endlessly until June 23 to get them in voters’ mind. Or is the Remain side a little nervy about the polls being so close? Theresa May is expected to go into battle for the pro-EU side in the coming weeks, so it still has a few more weapons left in its armoury.
The California university system seems to have the dubious distinction of being the epicenter of the campus war against Israel. The situation that has apparently reached such intolerable levels that the Board of Regents of the University of California (UC Regents) was forced to take some action. This effort resulted in a study entitled the “Final Report of the Regents Working Group on Principles Against Intolerance.” The study attempts to establish guidelines by which any discrimination against a minority group on campus would be identified and censured. The report, however, specifically focused on the thorny issue of anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism as a prevalent and ugly reality throughout the California university system.
The report examined a range of incidents that occurred during the 2014-15 academic year. It cited unfortunate transgressions that “included vandalism targeting property associated with Jewish people or Judaism; challenges to the candidacies of Jewish students seeking to assume representative positions within student government; political, intellectual and social dialogue that is anti-Semitic; and social exclusion and stereotyping.”
The problem on California campuses, and on campuses across the country, is apparently that pro-Palestinian activists, in their zeal to seek self-affirmation, statehood, and “social justice” for Palestinians, have waged — presumably as a tactic in achieving those ends — an extremely caustic cognitive war against Israel and Jews. That, however, appears to be just part of a larger, more invidious intellectual jihad against Israel led by some of those in the Muslim world together with some Western elites who also wish to weaken, and ultimately destroy, the Jewish state.
When Apple finishes its new $5 billion headquarters in Cupertino, California, the technorati will ooh and ahh over its otherworldly architecture, patting themselves on the back for yet another example of “innovation.” Countless employees, tech bloggers, and design fanatics are already lauding the “futuristic” building and its many “groundbreaking” features. But few are aware that Apple’s monumental project is already outdated, mimicking a half-century of stagnant suburban corporate campuses that isolated themselves—by design—from the communities their products were supposed to impact.
In the 1940s and ’50s, when American corporations first flirted with a move to the ‘burbs, CEOs realized that horizontal architecture immersed in a park-like buffer lent big business a sheen of wholesome goodness. The exodus was triggered, in part, by inroads the labor movement was making among blue-collar employees in cities. At the same time, the increasing diversity of urban populations meant it was getting harder and harder to maintain an all-white workforce. One by one, major companies headed out of town for greener pastures, luring desired employees into their gilded cages with the types of office perks familiar to any Googler.
Though these sprawling developments were initially hailed as innovative, America’s experiment with suburban, car-centric lifestyles eventually proved problematic, both for its exclusiveness and environmental drawbacks: Such communities intentionally prevented certain ethnic groups and lower-income people from moving there, while enforcing zoning rules that maximized driving. Today’s tech campuses, which the New York Times describes as “the triumph of privatized commons, of a verdant natural world sheltered for the few,” are no better, having done nothing to disrupt the isolated, anti-urban landscape favored by mid-century corporations.