Showing posts from January, 2010


The Transformation of the American Dream into the American Nightmare

In the movie Moscow on the Hudson (1984) Vladimir Ivanoff, a frustrated jazz musician living in the overregulated and dysfunctional USSR escapes to New York City, only to be initially bewildered and then angered by the chaotic freedom he sees around him. Eventually Ivanoff comes to realize that America is not a utopia, but rather a society in which you are free to be responsible for your own happiness. The contrast between the film's vision of a repressive and corrupt Moscow, where there are laws for everything, yet everyone lives outside the law because everything you want requires going outside the system, and its vision of New York City, where there seem to be virtually no laws for anything, but yet everything you could want is available if you can find a way to get it-- aptly marks the contrast between the planned and the unplanned society. That contrast once lay at the heart of the American Dream, of a country where you have the freedom to achieve anything if you strive f

Two Models for the Encounter Between Islam and the West

There are essentially two models for the current encounter between Islam and the West. The Clash of Civilizations, the first model is held by a narrow slice of the population in First World countries, and an even smaller slice within the political and academic world. This model holds that we are experiencing a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West. A clash of civilizations resulting from the desire of Muslims to create a global civilization based on their religion and culture, by displacing all competing civilizations, primarily (but not limited to) Western Civilization. The second model is the Assimilationist Model, this model is the most widely held one, not only on the left, but among many on the right as well. The Assimilationist Model holds that the tensions between Muslims and the West, both in the West and in the Muslim world, are the product of the incomplete assimilation of both sides into a global society. Under the Assimilationist Model, clashes in Europe or terr

Friday Afternoon Roundup - It's Gitmo Time

So Obama had his big State of the Union television debut, or what would have been a bigger television debut, if he had actually hoarded his appearances, instead of constantly delivering televised addresses to the nation, Castro style. Obama did manage to get viewers to tune in, who usually tuned him out, but he still couldn't manage to even equal his own stimulus plan address less than a year ago. To say nothing of matching Bush's State of the Union addresses. This was the moment that Obama should have been hoarding his TV time for, instead of squandering it on constant appearances. The result was a much weaker impact than intended. Obama needed this speech to rebound from the collapsing health care bill and poor poll numbers. But instead he went on a fumbling offensive, trying to juggle an attempt to sell his attempt to capitalize on the new post-brown populism, blame Bush for everything, introduce a new phase of spending plans while claiming to be trying to cut the defici

Behind the Republican Party's Malaise

Scott Brown's victory and Obama's falling poll numbers were virtually undeserved gifts to a Republican party that for the most part spent the year on the sidelines, benefiting from grassroots activism without actually doing much about it. It's little wonder that Michael Steele is widely hated or that there's talk of a third party. But to fix the Republican party, it's important to understand what is behind its malaise. 1. The Republican Party is Conservative - I don't mean conservative in the sense of socially conservative or fiscally conservative, but being risk averse and when in doubt sticking to the safest path. The party best known for Lincoln or Roosevelt or Reagan, has been defined more by Taft, Eisenhower and Bush Sr. That aversion to risk and making waves has helped Republican candidates be seen as safer and more traditional leaders, and kept the party afloat, but has made it unable to cope with sudden change. As I wrote in my article, " A Re

Hamas' 54 Democratic Congressmen

Keith Ellison , widely hailed as America's first Muslim congressman, could more accurately be described as CAIR and Hamas' man in Congress. Congressman Ellison has been a regular presence at CAIR fundraisers and at pro-Hamas rallies in the United States. As a former member of Farrakhan's Nation of Islam , Ellison has enough anti-semitic and Islamist credentials to satisfy anyone, and had expressed openly anti-semitic beliefs in the past. Since Ellison got his start with CAIR , his attempt to provide support for Hamas is completely unsurprising. Both Hamas and CAIR are projects of the Muslim Brotherhood, which also helped birth Al Queda. Organizations like CAIR do the same work in America that Hamas does in Israel. The difference is that CAIR does its work on a political level, while Hamas functions on both a political and a military level. Like CAIR, Ellison is careful to cloak his pro-Hamas agenda, which he does by mentioning that all violence is wrong and that Is

The Spoiled System

 Do you feel disadvantaged? Is your volume of business down? Are you a member of a minority group and feel like you need an edge? Are you not a member of a minority group but wish you had your own bailout? Do you think that everyone's getting money from the government but you. Don't worry, there's a solution. The Spoiled System. The art of politics is the art of patronage, as money and political support is invested in politicians as a down payment on the government largess that they will dispense back to their supporters once in office. As the size of government has expanded, the American spoils system has gone from encompassing jobs for a few thousand bureaucrats in the early 19th century to a spoiled system in which all Americans are expected to support politicians in exchange for a share of the government loot. The health care debate is only the latest example of how the expansion of government has drawn up battle lines among Americans who are expected to fight over

No Answer to Terrorism

Bin Laden's latest message, real or memorex, is an uncomfortable reminder for the current ruling party of the United States that terrorism did not go away just because they found it inconvenient or thought global warming was a much more crucial threat. Like every terrorist Bin Laden does not measure victory against a much stronger enemy in terms of strategic assaults, but in terms of staying power. And so Bin Laden's message to Obama is a very simple one. " I am still here. The Mujahadeen are still here. What are you going to do about it? " Naturally Obama has no answer. His self-proclaimed experience with the Muslim world, and the supposed diplomatic polish that a new administration could bring to the table, have yielded nothing in the way of real world results. Instead after nearly a year of ignoring the War on Terror, Obama was forced to trot out a plan reminiscent of the Bush Administration (to the hisses and boos of the nutroots and his media backers) that was