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Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Moral Disarmament of the Civilized World

By On February 28, 2010
There are two ways to disarm a people. You can disarm them by taking away their weapons, or you can disarm their minds by taking away their willingness and ability to fight back. Disarmament a people by confiscating their weapons is a weak solution, because people can always make or smuggle new weapons. And without weapons they can still use their numbers and their fists. They can continue fighting so long as they believe that they have the right to defend themselves.

And that is the far great disarmament, the disarmament not of bodies, but of minds. The disarmament of the moral right of self-defense by convincing entire peoples that they are the perpetrators and their attackers are the victims. And that in any case self-defense is futile. That it is better to be quiet, to keep your head down, to learn to get along, to hope that your leaders make whatever deals are necessary to keep the peace, and to replace them with even more spineless leaders if they don't.

That is the moral disarmament of the civilized world and it is going on every day, even in countries where there are guns to be found everywhere, the people's minds are being disarmed, rendered helpless and impotent in the face of the enemy. Because it is not the gun that matters, but the man willing to fire it. A home can be filled with guns from top to bottom, but if the homeowner refuses to use them a robber breaks into his home, because he is not certain whether the robber might not have the right to burglarize him after all-- then even surrounded by a thousand rifles, he has already been disarmed.

Like every great tyranny, the left has always known that the chains must be placed not merely on men's bodies and property, but first and foremost on their minds. Merely placing chains on a man does not make him a slave. He must be taught to think of himself as a slave. To see himself as inferior and worthless. He cannot be prevented by escaping only through threats of violence, instead he must be brought to think that he does not deserve freedom. That whatever dissatisfaction he has with his current condition is his own fault, and that slavery is actually a kindness being rendered unto him. Then his body need no longer be chained. His body can be free and he will remain a slave, because it is his mind that has been chained.

There are many forms of moral disarmament, but they are all directed at depriving a man not merely of freedoms and rights, but of the idea that he has any freedoms and rights. The second amendment comes after the first, and so before the disarmament of self-defense, there is the disarmament of the pen and the voice, in which people learn to censor themselves, to replace "crimethink" with "bellyfeel duckspeak", to avoid saying things that are not yet illegal, but are disapproved of. And even when they do say them, they take great care to demonstrate that they are not engaging in "crimethink", but that though admittedly controversial, their ideas are legitimate and not extremist. They apologize for their words before they say them, which is the intellectual equivalent of going to war with your hands thrown up in the air. And so before they speak, they have already been disarmed.

There is the moral disarmament of the military and security forces who are taught to see themselves not as honorable defenders of their homeland, but as dishonorable brutes and tools of government policy, whose only real purpose is suppressing internal dissent. There is the moral disarmament of academics who are forced to parrot the currently popular relativism and reject the idea that there are absolute truths beyond ideology and politics. There is the moral disarmament of politicians who are given every chance to be greedy and corrupt, while being warned against taking any principled stands not in compliance with the party doctrine. But these are all parts of the Great Moral Disarmament which insists on the worthlessness of the individual and the country, except when they reflect the ideals of their own destruction. Ideals which themselves declare the worthlessness of the individual and the country.

This Catch 22 underlies the moral disarmament of the free world. For if one says that America, England or Israel are worthless unless they give the same rights to terrorists that they do to their citizens-- he is in effect saying that America, England and Israel are worthless either way, as he is only prepared to accept their worth if they demonstrate their willingness to destroy themselves. And that is exactly what he means.

If you want the American left to love their country, all you have to do is turn it over to them so they can destroy it. But that is of course difficult to do unless you first convince the people that those who would destroy the country are actually its saviors, that their hate is actually love, and that all who oppose them are amoral monsters. To do this takes more than mere propaganda, but it requires upending their values so that black is white, right is wrong and wrong is right. Self-defense becomes a crime and terrorism becomes a virtue. Hate for America is actually love, and love for America is actually hate.

And that is where the moral disarmament comes in. For if you surrender your values, you have been disarmed. If you do not have any new values to replace them with, you may be able to fight in your own interest. But few people are able to live entirely without values. And these new values mark the transition from disarmament to slavery. For the easiest way to make a free man into a slave, is to make him forget what makes him free, and then to forget that he is free, and finally to forget that he should want to be free.

To do this you must pervert his values. You must convince him that his individualism, his ownlife, is evil. That his desire for freedom is an act of greed and selfishness that actively leads to the murders of small children in the Third World. That his belief that he has a right to defend himself is a thoughtcrime that represents a dangerous homicidal madness. That any resentment he has toward the authorities or the people attacking him is only due to his own ignorance and prejudices. That he must embrace his would-be killers, give up his freedom and property, and submit to the authorities in order to be a good and moral person.

And now he is no longer a free man. Now he is a slave.

The moral disarmament of the civilized world has been done for the benefit of the left, but its ultimate benefit will not be for the left, but for Islam. For Islam is the religion of slaves, even more so than Socialism. Under Islam all men are already slaves, the only difference is that some are of a higher slave caste than others. Islam too promises the emergence of a perfectly just society when it takes power. The left sees Islam as an ally, but in fact it is a competitor. Both are ideologies that offer up slavery as a just society. Both are fanatical and murderous, operating by treachery and deceit, and taking power by exploiting fifth columns and making false agreements.

The left has worked steadily toward the moral and physical disarmament of the civilized world, without considering that the world will not be run of Brussels or governed by men in blue helmets. Not even Europe will be run that way for long. In their lust for power, the left has disarmed the free world, without considering that just as in Iran, Islam will rise to take the spoils of their long political war against the free world.

An old Soviet joke. A man visits a doctor. The doctor tells him that he is suffering from a progressive paralysis. The man breathes a sigh of relief. "At least it is progressive." The left too is a progressive paralysis for the civilized world. And though the left thinks that it has genuine power, the Muslim politicians who are elected to power from liberal parties, are Muslims first. And when the time is right, there will not need to be any armed coups. The same men who ran as Labor or Democrats will simply pledge allegiance to the banner of Islam under Sharia law. It has happened before. It is happening now.

The left's moral disarmament of the civilized world was intended to make free men into slaves, but it is also their own death warrant. For it disarms the only ones who might protect them from the final consequences of their own hunger for power.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Jewish History Never Ends

By On February 27, 2010
We all know the famous Santayana quote, "Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it." But why is it that we are so forgetful that we cannot remember the past, and thus must keep repeating it, over and over again?

Human self-centeredness convinces us of our own specialness and uniqueness, and all too easily fosters the historically fallacious idea that we are living in a unique time and a special age. That we have left behind history with our progress and our achievements, and with it entered a new state of existence. That we exist now apart from the great roll of human history. And as soon as we become convinced of this idea, the past comes sneaking up on us, dooming us to repeat it.

That is why it is so very dangerous to forget history, to sacrifice the past to our own egotism, to convince ourselves that it doesn't matter anymore. And that is why so many of the Jewish holidays are historical holidays. To observe the Jewish calendar, is to immerse oneself in Jewish history. Its holidays do not simply link the present to the past, they incorporate the past into the present, making them into one great whole.

In the winter, we rise up against an empire and fight for our freedom. In the early spring we are sentenced to death and fight for our lives in the streets of the Persian Empire. We build pyramids for a Pharaoh, feel the lash on our skin and are led out through the Red Sea by the hand of G-d. In the summer our temples fall and we are led into exile. In the fall, we wait out the desert heat of the Exodus in booths as we prepare for our new life. We cannot let go of history, because we are history. It is the history we have carried with us in our calendar, for our holidays and our history are one.

To observe Purim now and hear the Megillah read, is to bear witness to a planned Holocaust that is aborted at the last minute. Someone who comes to sit and hear the Wannsee Conference take place in Persia, 2500 years ago, understands that the Holocaust was not a new development, but a very old one. That is what too many Jews failed to understand in 1939. It is what too many Jews fail to understand in 2010. Because history has never ended. History never ends until it is done.

When you watch Haman strut on stage, whispering in the king's ear, crowing to his friends, boasting of his power and burning with hate against anyone who will not bow to him-- you hear the ancient echo of Barack Hussein Obama. The man whose gaudy entrances belie his own desperate inadequacy, highlight the hole in his heart that can never be filled with any amount of praise or wealth or power. Who would destroy the Jews simply because his ego demands it. No one who hears and understands the ancient message of the Megillah, would have voted for Obama.

The story of Purim, like the story of Pesach (Passover) and Chanukah, the three great historical Jewish holidays, is the story of unchecked human power pitted against the visible and invisible hand of G-d. They tell of how easily hubris and arrogance in power translate into brutal tyranny and even genocide. But that history too is all around us, Hitler's Nazi Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union, Nasser's Great Arab Socialism, Saddam's Iraq, Kim Jong Il's North Korea, and the EU with its Tower of Babel rising to the heavens. And of course Obama and his followers, throwing up their own banners and symbols, holding their heads high and declaring their unlimited power.

History never ends. To forget that is to repeat it. And the great lesson of history is that when men try to make themselves into gods, they will fail and destroy themselves. The tower leans and then falls. The tyrant aspires to the sky, but winds up in the dirt. And before that day comes, unlimited tyranny quickly extends its grasp into the mind of man, to control his thoughts and beliefs. To transform him into a mindless slave of the regime. To teach him to cheer in a crowd and applaud the Great Leader. To forget that the past is the future.

And so we remember. Purim is more than the story of how the Jewish people were saved from the murderous plotting of one Haman, 2500 years ago. It is the story of the rise and fall of Haman but it is also the story of what happens when we forget, as the exiled Jews brought down by Babylon, stripped off their past and holy books, forgot. Instead they attended the feast. They cheered the empire. They watched the rise of evil, and failed to understand that one way or another they were bound to be among the first on its list.

And now since then, year after year, Purim reminds us. Year after year, we become part of the story again, drinking and feasting, confronting genocide and being saved by G-d and the self-sacrifice of one man who remembered, who never forgot that one does not bow to evil. Because to forget that is very dangerous. It is the first step to slavery.

While the postmodern intelligentsia have abandoned and forgotten history, treated it as a bauble in their philosophies and ideologies, history does not forget them. And so Purim comes again to remind us that we are part of history. That one cannot observe Purim and attend the feasts of Obama. The two are incompatible to anyone who remains a part of Jewish history. And so the groggers spin, the noise drowning Haman's plot in defiance. And we continue to live again the cycle of history, the holidays and Parshas that chronicle the Jewish journey from the fields of Caanan to slavery in Egypt and to free men again. The story is more than a part of us. It is who we are. For to those who choose to be Jews, we are our history and our history is ourselves.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Afternoon Roundup - First We Take Manhattan, Then We Take Berlin

By On February 26, 2010


The difference between Bill Clinton and Barack Obama's political instincts couldn't be clearer with the Health Care Summit. Clinton knew when to get out, shift focus and outplay his opponents. Obama meanwhile remains under the delusion that he's a bulldozer that can wreck anything in his path. And so the health care disaster keeps on chugging along.

About the only thing that his Health Care nationalization project has accomplished, has been to hijack Obama's office, and focus it and congress on a controversial and unpopular proposal. And just because HealthCare.gov has only gotten more unpopular, the longer it chugs along, doesn't mean that Obama is about to drop that hot potato. No, like the Spartan boy and his fox, he insists on letting it tear him to pieces in the hopes that he can push through and get his bill passed.

And so what should have been a Senate victory on a jobs bill, an issue that the public cares about, was instead overshadowed by the health care summit, an event which no one thought would accomplish anything, and to no one's surprise didn't. The Republicans weren't going to get caught flatfooted a second time, and all the session accomplished was to repeat an already old debate, while giving the Republican side more airtime for their views than had been previously possible.

At this point, Obama has to either gamble on a congress desperate enough to go for Reconciliation, even though it's wholly illegal. Or hope that ala Scott Brown, he can lure more Republicans to his side. But while Brown might have played the bipartisan tune, on a jobs bill, an issue he can always safely take to the political bank without any real hopes of a sizable backlash, few Republican Senators are going to be interested in climbing on board an unpopular bill that most Americans don't want.

So what's next? Sure Obama is hoping to at least take the GOP down with him, along with the Democratic congress, and he might succeed in convincing the public that both parties aren't worth their vote, but it's a kamikaze maneuver at best. One that requires real desperation to even contemplate. And while Obama won't face his own election for a few more years, his ability to get things done depends on congressional support. Without that he'll be stuck doing the international flybys, and delivering speeches in foreign countries that no one cares about at home, essentially turning him into Tony Blair.

Obama's lack of real Senate experienced has convinced him that if he keeps fighting hard enough, he can win. But surrounded by aggressive fighters like Rahm Emanuel in hock to their own reputation, he lacks the long view that sometimes the smarter move is to shift the topic.

The longer he focuses on health care, the more ineffectual his image becomes. And even if he somehow manages to force health care through, it will be cheered by very few on his own site. Meanwhile whether health care succeeds or fails, the odds are good that it will be the new NRA, and will take the blame for Democratic midterm losses. Which may put a definitive end to any more grand programs emanating from the White House.

But Obama instead is trying to play parliamentary politics, holding summits, debating Senators and trying to control the entire party and every single Democratic politician's election campaign. Of course despite his embrace of non-American parliamentary politics, Obama is still wedded to his contempt for the UK. A somehow baffling contempt, as unless the British killed his father, repeatedly insulting an ally is not a smart move, particularly when you have a shortage of allied forces propping up your Afghan initiative. 

Over in New York State, Andrew Cuomo's political allies continued their smear campaign targeting Governor Patterson. Cuomo, who is basically Elliot Spitzer's second act in American politics, is smart or cowardly enough, to hide out of sight, while his people spread their dirty tricks far and wide, Donald Segretti style. It's handy since once Andrew Cuomo becomes a known value, once his term at HUD and his sizable real estate donations are on the table, some skepticism might set in on whether New York really needs to put Elliot Spitzer II in the governor's mansion.

But now that Patterson has been sufficiently slimed not to run for reelection, the spotlight will be on Andrew Cuomo, who will no longer be able to keep hiding out of sight. By ending his campaign, rather than resigning, Patterson was very obviously pacifying the real source of the campaign targeting him, which didn't want him out of office, but out of the campaign. But now Cuomo will have to deal with Lazio, and if he continues hiding behind the curtain, he'll come to seem as useless as he actually is.

Tea Party leader Tim Graney, and terrorist sympathizer Ron Paul held their debate, to the disruptions and LaRouche like behavior of Paul's deranged cult of followers.

In the Kentucky Senate Primary, Genuine GOP Mom points out some double talk by Rand Paul on abortion.

Over in Dubai, the assassination has now become a fullblown circus, with the Emirati police acting with the expected professionalism and attention to detail so typical of police forces in the region. That is to say they're basically unrolling the largest conspiracy of all time, which long ago stopped making sense, but is likely to involve every nation in the world and about a thousand Mossad agents before it's done.

Dubai police on Wednesday afternoon revealed that fifteen more suspects have been connected to the mysterious assassination of Hamas terror chief Mahmoud al-Mabhouh at a hotel in the emirate last month, and that three of the suspects later fled Dubai through Iran.

According to new intelligence cited by the Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya news networks, the suspects – among them five women – came to Dubai from six European countries and from Hong Kong. Three of them were found to possess Australian passports, while the remaining twelve possessed passports from the UK, Ireland and France.

“The extensive investigation has led to a total of 26 suspects so far involved in the crime,” read a Dubai government statement quoted by Al Arabiya

It's safe to say that this is

A. Sheer lunacy

B. The Dubai police are successfully clouding any actual trail and turning the entire investigation into pure nonsense.

While the idea of Israeli agents fleeing to Iran rings as senseless to most people, Arab countries have a way of trying to blame each other for conspiring with Israel. Even when those claims make no sense at all. Especially when they make no sense at all.

The Dubai police authorities are demanding an international investigation, though it's doubtful that there's much international interest in investigating the whole mess. They're also shrieking that they have DNA and fingerprints, which is impressive only when you consider that for them to be any use they have to be matched against existing suspects.

Of course this is a helpful distraction from Dubai's own collapsing economy, its ballyhooed tallest building in in the world that had to be shut down and its mall shark tank that sprang a leak.

But someone might want to have a word with the developers of the mall, Emaar Properties. That's the same company that constructed the record-shattering Burj Khalifa skyscraper, which was shut down earlier this month after an elevator malfunctioned, trapping 15 passengers for nearly an hour before help came.

Emaar, with strong ties to the Dubai's ruling family, was struck hard by the global financial meltdown.

And it's also rather clear, that Dubai's ruling family did a lot of their construction on the cheap. They didn't spare the slave labor, but clearly they didn't spare the quality either.

Islam researcher Matthias Küntzel meanwhile has a fascinating Journal article on Dubai, which again reinforces the fact that much of Dubai's wealth is attributable to companies using it to do business with Iran.

Dubai is in fact already the "gateway to the Iranian market"—and not only for German companies. The tiny emirate is considered to be the hub for much of the world's illegal trade with Iran. Virtually nothing is produced in Dubai and yet, its activities have somehow catapulted the UAE to the top of the list of countries exporting to Iran in 2009. An astounding 80% of all Emirati imports are re-exported, one-quarter of which goes to Iran via Dubai.

Some 8,000 Iranian firms and 1,200 Iranian trading companies are registered in the emirate. Every week, about 300 flights shuttle between Dubai and Iran. Dubai has one of the world's largest artificial harbors, Jebel Ali, a mere 100 miles away from the Iranian container port of Bandar Abbas. Between 2005 and 2009, the value of goods exported from Dubai to Iran tripled, reaching $12 billion. In 2008, total German exports to the UAE reached $11 billion, an increase of 40% over the previous year. In the vehicle construction and mechanical engineering sectors, exports rose by more than 60%. The desire of the German-Emirati Joint Council to open the "gateway to Iran" even wider is therefore rather worrisome.

That's just part of the picture behind the fraud that is Dubai.

At the Jerusalem Post meanwhile, Caroline Glick has a compelling piece that argues that Europe and America have forgotten what it means to defend their own interests.

They didn’t think of the latter, of course, because Europe has no idea of what its interests are. All it knows is how to sound off authoritatively.

THIS HAS not always been the case. It was after all Europe that brought the world the art of rational statecraft. Once upon a time, Europe’s leaders understood that a nation’s foreign policy was supposed to be based on its national interests. To advance their nation’s interests, governments would adopt certain policies. And to facilitate the success of those policies they developed rhetorical arguments to explain and defend them.

Contemporary European statecraft stands this traditional foreign policy model on its head. Today, rhetoric rules the roost. If actions are taken at all, they are adopted in the service of rhetoric. As for national interests, well, the Lisbon Treaty that effectively bars EU member states from adopting independent foreign policies took care of those.

With national interests subordinated to the whims of bureaucrats in Brussels, Europe does little of value in the international arena. As for its rhetoric, as the EU’s rush to threaten Israel for allegedly killing a terrorist shows, it is cowardly, ineffectual and self-defeating.

If the Mossad did in fact kill Mabhouh, then the operation was an instance in which Israel distinguished itself from its European detractors by acting, rather than preening.

Unfortunately, such instances are increasingly the exception rather than the rule. Over the past 16 years or so, Israel largely descended into the European statecraft abyss. Rather than use rhetoric to explain policies adopted to advance its national interests, successive Israeli governments have adopted policies geared toward strengthening their rhetoric that itself stands in opposition to Israel’s national interests.

Take Israel’s positions on Iran and the Palestinians, for instance. Regarding the Iranians, Israel’s national interest is to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Today, the only way to secure this interest is to use force to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations.

Given Iran’s leaders’ absolute commitment to developing nuclear weapons, no sanctions – regardless of how “crippling” they are supposed to be – will convince them to curtail their efforts to build and deploy their nuclear arsenal.

Beyond that, and far less important, the Russians and the Chinese will refuse to implement “crippling sanctions,” against Iran.

IN LIGHT of these facts, it is distressing that Israel’s leaders have made building an international coalition in support of “crippling” sanctions against Iran their chief aim. And this is not merely a rhetorical flourish. Over the past several weeks and months, Israel’s top leaders have devoted themselves to lobbying foreign governments to support sanctions against Iran.

Last week Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu went to Moscow to gin up support for sanctions from the Russian government. This week, Defense Minister Ehud Barak traveled to the UN and the State Department and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon flew off to Beijing just to lobby senior officials to support sanctions.

It isn’t simply that this behavior doesn’t contribute anything to Israel’s ability to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations. It harms Israel’s ability to do so, if only by diverting our leaders’ focus from where it should be: preparing the IDF to strike and preparing the country to withstand whatever the aftereffects of such a strike would be. Moreover, by calling for sanctions, Israel contributes to the delusion that sanctions are sufficient to block Iran’s race to the nuclear finish line.

As for the Palestinian issue, it is fairly clear that at a minimum, Israel’s interest is to secure its control over the areas of Judea and Samaria that it requires to protect its Jewish heritage and its national security. But it is hard to think of anything the government has done in its year in office to advance that basic interest.

It is argued that Israel’s interest in maintaining good relations with the US administration trumps its interest in strengthening its control over areas in Judea and Samaria that it deems vital. The problem with this argument is that it takes for granted that Israel can determine the status of its relations with the US administration. In the case of the Obama administration, it is abundantly clear that this is not the case.

President Barack Obama and his senior advisers have demonstrated repeatedly that they are interested in weakening – not strengthening – the US alliance with Israel. This week the administration condemned Israel for defining the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem as national heritage sites. The fact that they are national heritage sites is so obvious that even President Shimon Peres defended the move.

Moreover, Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, reiterated for the millionth time this week that he opposes military strikes against Iran’s nuclear installations. That is, for the millionth time, the top US military officer effectively said that he prefers a nuclear armed Iran to an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear installations.

In the interest of strengthening Israel’s ties with a hostile administration, the Netanyahu government has adopted rhetoric on the Palestinian issue that is harmful to Israel’s national interests. It declared its support for a Palestinian state, despite the fact that such a state will define itself through its devotion to Israel’s destruction.

There's much more here, but it's an essentially compelling summation of the disease that has taken hold of the policies of the First World.

In the blog roundup, while the left was busy being outraged over the assassination of a Hamas terrorist, The New Centrist has the story of a Cuban dissident who died in prison of a hunger strike. Doubtlessly Cuba's "excellent health care system" did all it could.

Zapata’s case sparked several street protests by government critics earlier this month, including one during which police in Camagüey detained some 35 people for several hours. The detainees later complained that some of them were beaten during the roundups.

But of course the media isn't particularly interested in reporting on this. However every gang of terrorist supporters who throws rocks at Israeli soldiers protesting the fact that Israel still exists... now that gets unlimited media coverage.

Elder of Ziyon tackles the "Israel has the right to defend itself but..." argument.

The Onward James blog questions just how formidable a foe, the Taliban really are.

United States Central Command General David H. Petraeus said on Meet The Press that the Taliban is a formidable force.

I am a bit non-plussed.

Nonetheless, I suppose it depends on whose rules they fight. NATO allies fight under the Geneva Convention rules; they do not.

No question it's difficult to fight a nation, a culture, an ideology, when the declaration of war is ambiguous such as — War on Terrorism — or that NATO is there only to protect, and should be policemen hunting for criminals. I understand that collateral damage is, sadly, also the price of war. Innocent citizens, or those who are not fighting, are killed. Of course the less the better. But the jihadists do not think that at all.

The mujahideen defeated the Russians, because the Russians forgot why they were there and gave up.

At Israpundit, Charles Jacobs asks whether it isn't time for a Jewish Tea Party

This campus phenomenon – the growth of the Muslim factor, the Jewish establishment’s reluctance to respond forcefully to threats and the failure of public officials to protect Jews against Muslim threats – now mirrors the situation developing for Jews off campus: As mosques, funded by Saudi Arabia, and controlled by radical Muslim organizations, expand across America – unopposed – Jewish leaders fail to respond. Here too, “making nice” – through “dialogues” and outreach programs such as “twinning” synagogues and Islamic centers – is the Jewish establishment’s primary response. And even when, as in Boston and Buffalo, such naïveté backfires, and Jews find instead of sincere and peaceful partners to shake hands with that they have been hoodwinked by Islamist anti-Semites, Jewish leaders remain silent.

Meanwhile, in contrast to the Jewish community, a significant portion of America is in rebellion against – and is in the process of challenging – its political establishment. Grass-roots frustration expressed first in raucous “town hall” meetings and now in the Tea Party movement defeated incumbent Democrats and influenced elected officials not to run for re-election. Americans are angry with both parties. Why? Former CIA official Herbert Meyer notes that Americans were shocked by “two catastrophes we hadn’t imagined our political establishment would allow to happen.” First there was 9-11, “when we discovered that for years, Al Qaeda and its allies had been waging holy war against us,” and our leaders – who knew – did not tell us. The second was “the 2008 financial crash, which revealed that our economy is a house of cards built on a pile of debt so high we cannot possibly repay it.”

Changing America’s Jewish leadership is more difficult: Jewish political leaders are not democratically elected – or replaced. As with royalty, we may get lucky from time to time with an outstanding leader. But our “leaders” are mostly selected and controlled by well-intentioned philanthropists. Many of these donors are politically liberal, and even those who are not are inherently conflict-averse and comfortable with the status quo.

Meanwhile, as we wait and pray for more effective leadership, we need to introduce the concept of “accountability” for our sclerotic Jewish leaders – perhaps by lighting grass-roots fires under them. What about a town hall meeting?

The problem with that though can be summed up by pointing out how many of these groups are basically undemocratic, and are funded by grants from Democratic politicians. This is part of a typical pattern in liberal politics, in which liberal activists run organization that claim to represent a demographic, get grants to dole out to that demographic, and encourage that demographic to support those same politicians. This is machine politics at its ugliest and there's no way to really change that culture.

Lemon Lime Moon has the equation for ending conflict

Noah David Simon takes on the Obama Administration over Rachel's Tomb

The Obama administration criticized Israel Wednesday for designating two Jewish holy sites supposedly on Palestinian territory as Israel national heritage sites but the dumb bastards in the Obama administration seem to forget that Rachel’s Tomb and the Tomb of the Patriarchs are indigenous to the Jewish people and were there thousands of years before the fabricated “Palestinians” fraudulently claimed the territory to be theirs.

For Spanish speaking readers, the REFLEXIONES SOBRE MEDIO ORIENTE Y EL MUNDO blog continues to translate some of my articles into Spanish, including my recent piece on Dubai, MAHMOUD AL-MABHOUH: MATAR A UN TERRORISTA - ANÁLISIS EXCLUSIVO and ISRAEL, EL HOLOCAUSTO Y LA LECCIÓN DE SUPERVIVENCIA

Via Religion of Peace, England's legacy comes down to this.

NO suprise that we have another sickening blatant example of the British judiciary system going soft on muslim thugs. Iraqi, Serwan Abdullah, 23, another muslim-sorry-excuse-for-a-man spat on a World War II hero's medals, worn by his proud grandson, on Remembrance Day. After committing the abhorrent and unprovoked act - the cowardly Abdullah quickly ran away.

The smirking Serwan Abdullah consistently voiced no remorse or sorrow for his despicable act:

"Abdullah showed no remorse and told officers he had done ‘nothing wrong’ adding: ' ‘I am proud of what I have done. I have no respect for him. F*** him and f*** his medals.’"

One is reminded of Philip Larkin's Homage to a Government

Next year we are to bring the soldiers home
For lack of money, and it is all right.
Places they guarded, or kept orderly,
Must guard themselves, and keep themselves orderly.
We want the money for ourselves at home
Instead of working. And this is all right.
It's hard to say who wanted it to happen,
But now it's been decided nobody minds.
The places are a long way off, not here,
Which is all right, and from what we hear
The soldiers there only made trouble happen.
Next year we shall be easier in our minds,
Next year we shall be living in a country
That brought its soldiers home for lack of money.
The statues will be standing in the same
Tree-muffled squares, and look nearly the same.
Our children will not know it's a different country.
All we can hope to leave them now is money.

...and not even the money anymore

Dear readers, enjoy the weekend. To those who celebrate Purim this sunday, Happy Purim.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Dead Road of Socialism

By On February 24, 2010
It is no news to anyone that the world can often be unfair, that families lack the things they need and that people suffer and die unnecessarily in ways that could be avoided. The fundamental question is do we respond to such situations by working together on an individual and social level, giving donations to, participating in, and creating organizations that can help-- or do we try to solve the problem with the white elephant government programs approach of socialism?

The government centralized approach cannot be defended on the grounds of efficiency, because government programs are notoriously inefficient. They cannot be defended on the grounds of fairness, as a single giant program is far more likely to marginalize recipients with no other recourse than a diverse variety of programs. They cannot be defended on financial grounds, as government programs are more likely to run out of money, and less likely to have a real plan for dealing with resource shortfalls. And ultimately government programs draw their funding from the very same people who fund independent programs.  Yet they cannot use that money better or more efficiently.

The only defense for government programs is that they are comprehensive and mandatory. People can choose whether to contribute to charity, but they cannot choose to pay their taxes. This brings the element of wealth redistribution to the table, transforming voluntary contributions into mandatory entitlements. (Which this might seem like a way to maintaining funding sources, this only works until the government itself runs out of money, which Federal social spending programs are set to do.) But the real appeal of socialism is its supposed comprehensiveness. Socialism for the public is supposed to be a Fire and Forget sort of charity. Pay more taxes and the social problems are gone... the only problem is that they are not actually gone.

Regardless of whether government agencies or private charities are in the works, resources are still a finite quantity. And wealth redistribution has historically been a surefire way to kill resource generation. Breaking the cycle of economic growth and trying to artificially control it, produces much the same results as overfishing or hunting the wildlife in a region too widely to allow for a natural balance. Human endeavor, like any other natural process, renews itself through economic processes. Excessive taxation and government intervention break the cycle, leading to diminished resource generation and weaker economies.

The lure of socialism is that of the golden Utopia, a promised land in which the sun always shines, there are never any rainy days and there's enough of everything for everyone. In real life it doesn't work that way. Economies, like any other natural system, have upturns and downturns. There are losses and gains. Resources are finite and are generated through wise trade and reinvestment. In the rhetoric of the socialist utopian though, it never has to rain, all the days can be sunny, wealth is endless and only greed prevents it from being distributed equally by the wise and all-knowing government bureaucracy.

The problem is that a government bureaucracy is not any better at making decisions or distributing resources than individuals or organizational bureaucracies. Lack of self-interest does not lead to better decision making. Often it leads to worse decision making, because the average employee is not going to be a philanthropist. Government bureaucracy quickly turns into the art of sitting in a chair and occasionally dealing with people based on regulations drawn up by people too high up the bureaucratic food chain to actually deal with people. The goal of those higher up on the food chain is to either dispense a lot of services or to ration as few services as possible, depending on the available resources. The goal of those sitting in the chair is to get through the day with as little work as possible. The results are rarely pretty or very efficient.

The premise of socialism is bad because it assumes that the people on the bureaucratic food chain are better at making decisions for you, than you can for yourself. It is also bad because it uses rhetoric that pretends that it can treat finite resources as infinite, only to come up against the cold hard reality that resources are finite after all. Which is when the rationing finally kicks in.

To take in the current health care debate, medical resources are finite, because they are

1.) Highly in demand

2.) Highly expensive and difficult to produce

When you have resources that are both very much in demand and difficult to produce, demand will always exceed supply. Doctors and nurses, technicians, research scientists and pharmacists take time and money to educate and train. Not to mention the staggering scale of medical equipment and manufacturing facilities. All these involve a staggering outlay of resources that cannot simply be made infinite with a few flow charts. Nor is it possible to significantly change the amount of resources required to produce them without also diminishing the quality of the final product, resulting in the kind of medicine you see in Communist and Third World Marxist dictatorships.

You cannot significantly increase available medical resources, without also diminishing their quality. You also cannot significantly alter the distribution of those resources without draining the overall pool of available resources because centralization of resources employs them and consumes them far less efficiently. What you can do is empower people to help others. What you cannot do is disempower people without decreasing resources.

Socialism promises something for nothing, but that just means there's a bigger bill due at the end. Socialist programs do not create resources, they only exploit them. And despite all the rhetoric they are still only playing with limited resources, resources that they are far better at destroying, than creating. The greater their control becomes, the more resources they demand and the less resources there are available.

Suppose that we set sail and arrive at a new continent. Food becomes the issue of most immediate concern. The wild game is quickly hunted out and very soon, the food supply grows short. There are two options then, to centralize remaining food supplies under the hands of the government, which will also control agriculture. Or to let people keep their food, and advise them to use it carefully, share with the less fortunate and plant wisely. The scenario is not hypothetical. The residents of the first permanent English settlement in America, Jamestown, faced that dilemma. Only by abandoning centralization and embracing the free market, did Jamestown come to prosper. And the case of Jamestown was not unique. Early Americans repeatedly faced the choice between centralization and the free market, and repeatedly chose the free market, which is what made America a great and prosperous nation.

America prospered because it trusted the choices that individuals make, more than the choices that elites make. This premise was behind the American system of government, the American economy and the American way of life... or was. By the 20th century the assumption had become that most people were stupid, ignorant and too weak to resist their worst urges. The social advocates pushed everything from eugenics to prohibitionism as the solution. The Depression opened the door to true large scale government control, and it has never been shut since.

And since then the deficit has grown out of control, government has repeatedly demonstrated that it lacked the fiscal planning abilities of a not particularly bright five year old, America's industrial infrastructure came and went, and about the only growth industries remaining involve customer service for products made in China. As government spending continues to swallow individual income, eventually whatever remains will be sucked into the whirlwind as well. After all rising government spending and decreasing job growth collide in fairly predictable ways. Or to put it another way, you can get credit out of a stone, but you can't get blood out of a stone. And eventually the credit runs out, and all you have left is the stone.

The reason for this is that individual initiative repeatedly trumps government bureaucracy when it comes to using and generation resources better. Advocates of government centralization by contrast presume that most people are not very good at making use of their resources, requiring instead that they render it up to the government which will do a better job of it for them. This form of involuntary investment repeatedly produces negative results and it springs from the wholly irrational and elitist notion that people's wealth and choices should be administered not by them, but only by those who have been specially trained to administer them.

Individual initiative is the wellspring of democracy. It is also the most effective means to achieve prosperity while helping others. Rejecting individual initiative in favor of centralization also rejects democracy.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Can We Defeat Terrorists without Defeating Terrorism?

By On February 23, 2010
“We are not waging a war against terrorism because terrorism is but a tactic that will never be defeated, any more than a tactics of war will. Rather, such thinking is a recipe for endless conflict. ... We are at war with Al Qaeda and its extremist allies, and any comment to the contrary is just inaccurate."

John Brennan, Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism

Now there's an obvious paradox in a man whose own post is defined by counterterrorism, arguing that terrorism can never be defeated. Back when the USSR forged its pact with Nazi Germany, the Soviet propaganda machine propounded that they were not at war with "fascism", as "isms" could not be defeated. Similar defeatist arguments were used by Western governments to argue that Communism was another "ism" and Isms could not be defeated.

Both arguments were of course proven wrong, because you can defeat an "Ism" by bringing down the system and country that most exemplifies it, thereby devaluing it as a political or ideological strategy at least for some time to come. That in turn is exactly why Muslim terrorism is targeting America, because we exemplify a society that blends human freedoms, popular representation and free enterprise. If they can corrupt, destroy or bring down America, they will have come one step closer to demonstrating that there is no alternative to accepting Islam.

Brennan argues that terrorism is just another tactic of war, and that therefore it cannot be defeated. This is wrong on both counts, as a man who spent so much time in the intelligence and counterterrorism world should know.

First of all a tactic of war can indeed be defeated by demonstrating that its use is either futile or self-destructive. The reason we have never had a nuclear war, is because any strategy that depended on winning a nuclear war was eliminated by demonstrating that it was far more likely to lead to self-destruction, than to victory.

Secondly terrorism is not a tactic of war, it is a political tactic. Terrorists don't employ terrorism in order to defeat armies, but to show that the army and security forces are unable to defeat them or stop their attacks. Their real target is the political apparatus of the enemy which is forced to make concessions to the political goals of the terrorists in order to end the attacks. These concessions can be direct or indirect. An example of direct concessions would occur at a peace conference, such as the Oslo Accords signed between Israel and Arafat. While an indirect example would be the American and European attempt to appease "moderate" Muslims who have the same goals as the "extremist" Muslims . While the terrorists will usually denounce such appeasement, this is only done in order to stake out their position on the left or the right, and thereby achieve even more far ranging concessions.

Understanding that terrorism is a political tactic is the key to defeating it. Terrorism gambles that the spines of the enemy politicians will be weak enough that they will choose to withdraw, appease and concede-- rather than fight harder and do whatever it takes to win. Terrorists cannot win against a nation whose political and military leadership is united with their citizens in their determination to defeat the terrorists. They can only win by exploiting weakness, and their crimes are crimes of weakness.

If terrorists had the courage to make war, they would make war. They don't plant bombs in cafes because they believe they can actually defeat their enemies in battle. They plant bombs in cafes because they know that they can't, and that their only hope is to spread terror through public acts of terror and highly visible atrocities in order to make it easier for weak politicians to make a fitful effort to stop them, and then pull back when they realize that their half-hearted measures alone won't carry the day.

That is why it is impossible to defeat terrorists, without defeating terrorism. Because the two are the same. Terrorists depend on the success of their core tactic, that of terrorizing the enemy. You cannot defeat them without discrediting this tactic, without demonstrating that it is futile and self-destructive. And you do that in two ways, first by never bowing to terrorism or its demands in any way shape or form. And secondly by going on the offensive against terrorists, by targeting their allies and their affiliated political movements, and any groups, ethnic, religious or political that support them.

The terrorists' tactic is to turn up the heat on their enemies. The best counter is to turn up the heat on them. The terrorists gain their strength by being on the offensive and forcing their enemies to take reactive stances, always waiting to defend against every possible attack. The best counter is to force the terrorists to go on the defensive, to hit them and keep hitting them so that they are forced to be reactive, anticipating the next attack.

A major terrorist organization requires a core of professionals to train new recruits and run operations. It requires a constant flow of money to fund terrorist activities. It needs a political arm or sympathizers and fellow travelers who will conduct their propaganda for them, and make their aims and goals clear. And finally it needs warm bodies to throw into the fray and transform into martyrs. Critics usually harp on the last of these as demonstrating that you cannot simply kill terrorists because they will just recruit more. Which is true. But such recruits are generally worthless. Suicide bombings alone demonstrate how worthless even the terrorist leaders themselves think their recruits are.

But if you can destroy or severely damage the first three, then you have destroyed or severely crippled the ability of the terrorist group to operate. If you destroy its core personnel, you can eliminate the entire group as a threat. If you can humiliate them by forcing confessions out of them, you can even discredit the group's "brand" and impede other terrorists from trying to form the group again in the future.

If you can stop or black the majority of operations, and discredit or destroy some of the core personnel, you will discourage the flow of donations to the group from its backers. Furthermore if you can destroy the political arms and terrify or take down the fellow travelers, you can essentially isolate the terrorist group both from its financial backers and its political goals. The group becomes a dead end, with no real way left to achieve its objectives. Because terrorism is a political strategy, and if the group cannot have any way left to effect political change, it becomes worthless.

It sounds easy, but it's not. The key is to understand that doing these without any real commitment is almost as bad as not doing anything at all. Because the terrorists depend on a certain amount of engagement in order to be able to carry on a running battle that will bring them attention and money, and that will make the people feel that further fighting is futile. The terrorists count on being able to survive repeated engagements by a government too afraid to fight them with the gloves off... so that they can then claim that force will not stop them, only concessions and appeasement will end the violence.

To defeat both terrorists and terrorism, you must be ruthless. You must destroy them by destroying whatever cover they depend on. You must cut off their outside aid and political camouflage, put them on the run and keep them on the run, until they are isolated and immobile, at which point they can be destroyed. This will require tactics that often seem ugly to the postmodern mentality that believes that force is only moral, when it is practiced with perfect purity. But the only thing uglier than what it will take to defeat terrorists, is their victory.

(Spanish Language Translation at REFLEXIONES SOBRE MEDIO ORIENTE Y EL MUNDO)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Israel's Last Chance of Survival

By On February 22, 2010
In the summer of 2011, it will have been 18 years since the Oslo Accords were signed by Shimon Peres, secretly and without the knowledge of the Israeli public whose rights to their own land were being signed away. The accord was based on meetings by left wing academics with terrorists that were illegal under Israeli law, signed covertly by a disgraced politician who had been an admirer of Marx and finally sealed with a public handshake between the world's greatest terrorist and an Israeli Prime Minister suffering from such severe dementia that he had trouble recognizing the man beaming down on them both as the President of the United States, who 5 years later would be facing impeachment.

That handshake with Arafat took place on September 13th, 8 years minus 2 days, before terrorists would duplicate a feat that only Arafat's own terrorists had previously accomplished, by simultaneously hijacking 4 aircraft. Even as the United States had begun pandering to Arafat, the rise of the next wave of terrorism was already underway with Bin Laden hard at work on the organization that would evolve into the Al Queda we know today. The Oslo Accords would play a crucial role in the rise of Islamist terrorism creating a vacuum into which the Muslim Brotherhood could step into with groups such as Hamas and Al Queda. And the Oslo Accords would also come to define Israel's worst defeat since the accords it had signed with Rome over two thousand years ago.

Now as that fateful 18 year mark approaches, there is still a crack in the door remaining through which Israel can save itself. In Hebrew the word for life is Chai, whose letters code as 18. And eighteen years after the scourge of Oslo has brought war and death into the heart of Israel, turned its town and cities into targets for missiles, made its roads into highways of death and now threatens to divide Jerusalem itself-- Israel has the chance to choose life over death by appeasement.

Each year since Oslo, the situation has grown steadily worse. Not just militarily, not just in relation to the children who have been left without arms and legs by Arab terror. But even diplomatically as well. The political war against Israel has reached an unprecedented height with no comparison to even the ugliest days of the Intifada. And all of it has one common element, a blood lust spurred on by Israel's willingness to accommodate, appease and retreat. Not only has any Israeli concession, any act of goodwill and compassion, not changed the way Israel is portrayed-- but each one has only fed the furious hate that Islam and the international left feels for it.

Today when Israel does nothing more than sit on the other side of a fence and absorbs the missiles fired at its schools by terrorists-- the left shrieks itself hoarse with an orgy of hate against "The Wall" and for "The People of Gaza", particularly those wearing bomb belts who are being kept from their religious duty of blowing themselves amid crowds of Jews. As Mohammed proclaimed in the Hadith, "The Hour [of Resurrection] will not arrive until you fight the Jews". While Israel supplies Gaza with electricity and swine flu vaccines, and builds bomb shelters under its schools-- the world demands that Israel tear down its cruel wall and open the doors to the terrorists of Hamas. The message is painfully clear, nothing short of Israel's destruction will suffice.

Now with Gaza held by Hamas, the party that was the choice of the Palestinian Arabs in the last legal election, and an unelected Fatah regime maintained in the West Bank by American money, both of which continue carrying out terrorist attacks against Israel-- the Obama Administration and European leaders continue pressing Israel for more concessions, even when there isn't even a single state available to make those concessions to. This madness has nothing to do with the desire to set up a Palestinian state, an entity that could no more exist than pigs can fly, and everything to do with the Dhimmi desire to trade off Israel to the Muslim world in the hopes of pacifying their anger.

Israel's left wing Labor party made the devil's bargain of Oslo in order to stave off the conservative Likud party that had come to dominate Israeli politics and brought real reform and change to Labor's moribund socialism. And with that they created a precedent in which every Israeli Prime Minister, regardless of party, has been dragged off to negotiate with the terrorists setting off bombs on Israeli city buses and pizzerias, sometimes even while the negotiations were underway. Netanyahu is only the latest pawn in this peace shell game (can you find the peace, is it under shell number one, number two or number three. Here's a hint, it's under none of them. The dealer pocketed it while switching around the shells.) and there is no way to win except to stop playing.

Not only can Israel not achieve peace with either Fatah or Hamas (let alone both at the same time), something which everyone in Israel but the most delusional leftists already know, but it cannot win the approval of the world for trying to make peace with them. Israel's willingness to make peace has made it into a target by an international community that blames Israel for Muslim violence around the world. As their thinking goes, if Israel would just do whatever it takes to make peace, then Muslim violence would stop not just in Israel, but in Paris, Manchester, Basra, Kabul and yes of course, Oslo.

Meanwhile the international left has embraced Islamic terror as the new radical chic, and the grandchildren of Nazis have discovered how much fun it can be to don a Keffiyah and call for Jewish boycotts, just as their grandparents did in the 1930's. Their hatred for Israel, which has nothing to do with anything that the country or its people actually do, is fed by Islamic propagandists and the leading figures of the left, who view Israel as one of those exploitative capitalist nation states that must be destroyed to pave the way for a global humanism, and share the old implacable Communist and Socialist hostility toward the idea of the Jews gathering together in one state.

Oslo was a show of weakness by a country that had heretofore deterred aggression by demonstrating that it could and would defend itself. It and every successive concession poured more blood into the water. Islam and the International Left, both inside and outside the country, are determined to destroy Israel. And though the average Israeli continues to ignore the situation, replying with bluff good humor that the IDF could clean out Gaza in a few days, the reality is that under internal and external pressure Israel is busy destroying itself.

As deep sea creatures evolve in peculiar ways to survive the atmospheric depths, Israel's left has devolved into an arm of Islamic terrorism, from its politicians to the Supreme Court to organizations such as the New Israel Fund (itself an arm of the International Left) down to the academics and anarchists are doing everything possible to destroy the country and terrorize its residents. They have done their best to turn the IDF and the police into a weapon against the most patriotic and Zionist of its citizens. They have turned the media and the newspapers into a non-stop barrage of hate against anyone who questions their destructive policies of appeasement. They have criminalized dissent as incitement, turned the court system into a legislative body to promote their own agenda and tied the hands of the military in fighting terror. In concert with the terror wrought by Islamic terrorists, they have wrought terror against ordinary Israelis, destroying farms, homes and synagogues on behalf of the terrorists.

Israel can still survive, but to do so it must make it clear that further negotiations are off the table until there is a dramatic change in the situation on the ground. It must put a halt to the envoys and diplomatic missions. It must tear down the wall and annex the West Bank and Gaza. It must show the international corps of media propagandists, the frowning talking heads tsking the latest manufactured atrocity and the photographers handing out coins to Arab boys in exchange for tossing some stones at a soldier, to the door, and invite them to never come back. And the left must be pushed back to the margins, where they were until Oslo.

There is no doubt that Israel will suffer by doing this, both politically and economically. But it will suffer less than it would from another 5 years of appeasement and concessions. The international left will go on screaming, but they always have. And without any visible effect, they will move on to something else. The international community will be outraged, but once they learn that Israel will not back down, they will move on as well. The Muslim world will rage, and the few countries that have open relations with Israel will break them off... something that has already happened for the most part anyway.

With the 18th year of Oslo approaching, Israel has the chance to revive itself. Or to go further down the dark road of appeasement until it has so thoroughly destroyed itself that there is no way back.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Appeal of Islam - Islamism is a Reaction to Multiculturalism

By On February 21, 2010
To understand the danger posed by Islam, one must first understand its Islam. And I don't mean its spiritual appeal, because Islam is not a particularly spiritual belief system. It is not really much of a belief system at all, so much as it is a tool of social organization. Because Islam is far less concerned with what people believe, than with what they do. It is not so much of a religion, as a means of ordering behavior within a society along particular lines.

But let's look beyond technical language like that, to see what the appeal of Islam is for the "Muslim World". Islam was born out of the Arab Middle East, but not just any part of it. Not out of the parts of it heavily influenced by the Greek presence, such as Egypt or Syria, places whose histories of intellectual syncretism would have surprised no one by giving birth to a new religion. Instead Islam came out of a more backward part of the region, and its appeal was certainly not philosophical or intellectual or spiritual, for it had nothing new to offer in any of these departments.

The contents of the Koran and the Hadiths are for the most part wholly unoriginal, a clumsy melding of regional myths and customs, with bits of Judaism and Christianity mortared into the whole mess to give it some sense of history and order. Islam's obsessive focus on Mohammed above all else, betrays the bankruptcy of a religion that had no other prophets that they hadn't "borrowed" from pre-existing faiths, and after rolling them in, proclaimed that Mohammed was the absolutely last prophet, and no others need apply on pain of being beheaded. But none of that is the point, because Islam's purpose was not religious, it was social. Islam may have had nothing new to offer religiously, but it had something very important to offer socially, unity. And that one compelling idea dominates Muslim thinking to this day, and exemplifies Islam's appeal to the Muslim world.

The Mecca and Medina both of Mohammed's day and of the present day, was a world dominated by tribal clans and families. There was no larger principle besides working for the benefit of your own family. No trust was possible even between neighbors except premised on the threat of retaliation from one's own kin. To advance required family backing. The clan was everything. The individual was nothing. Justice was meaningless. Law was a means of settling disputes between families in order to avoid vendettas and conflict.

Mohammed's Islam by contrast promised a supreme unity above tribe and clan. The unity of the true believers. This of course is a universally common promise made by cult leaders, and has a timeless appeal to the disenchanted looking for a higher principle and a new identity. So Mohammed was certainly not the first or last "prophet" promising a new order for the believers in which the old social order would become meaningless, and they would be the ones to end up on top regardless of rank or birth. That has always been actually a major recruiting tool, particularly for apocalyptic cults. But Mohammed's version had the largest wingspread, as a billion Muslims today still wait for the entire world to be transformed into a "perfectly just: Islamic society under Islamic law.

What Mohammed offered with Islam was a new identity for Arabs, as Muslims. As tribes and clans they would always be divided and quarrelsome, but as Muslims they were supposed to form into a perfect unity through their submission to Allah, by way of old Mo himself. And while the power of that appeal may often be lost on Westerners, one only need look at the average present day Arab nation, whose governments are familial, where the bureaucracy and military hierarchies are composed of the sons of families who have relationships with the families who run the entire system.

Beneath modern sounding titles such as President or Prime Minister, the old tribe and clan relations still dominate the region. To rule one must have their support. To get their support, one must trade favors. And so under the aping of Western manners, titles, military uniforms and office buildings-- the Middle East of today is not so different from that of Mohammed's time. Except the Christians and Jews are mostly gone. In their place is country after country full of Muslims, which are ruled by governments that are as nepotistic, corrupt and dysfunctional as you would expect from people who have no higher loyalty than to the clan.

And to that region, the Islamists come again with Mohammed's old message, that they can overturn all that corruption and replace it with a higher identity, that of Islam. The Islamists promise divine justice through Islamic law, corruption-free government as run by true believers and societies run by Islamic values that will no longer be playthings of the interests of the wealthy and the powerful. And if you happen to be living in an overcrowded Middle Eastern slum like Cairo, run by a corrupt and brutal family and its associated lieutenants in a style virtually indistinguishable from the Mob, the appeal is an undeniably powerful one.

The Islamists of course can never deliver on their perfect "Islamic society", because their own leadership is just as corrupted as the rest of the Middle East. But by constantly holding out that promise of a perfect society and the brotherhood of all Muslims-- they capitalize on the existing discontent much as Mohammed himself did. And if they ever succeed in taking over, the same sort of thugs that Mohammed himself employed and reward with the loot of his murdered victims, will suppress dissent far more ruthlessly than the previous authorities their "revolution" over threw-- as the Ayatollah's Iran and the Taliban's Afghanistan has aptly shown.

This then represents the problem with trying to apply democracy to the Muslim world. Democracy on top of the clan system results only in representation for the clan leaders, which is perhaps a step forward, but not that much of one. Since the clan leader is already the system and the clan is the process, democracy cannot displace him, just as democracy could not displace the DMV or the post office. But it can and will elevate the Islamists, because it is a useful tool for those propounding Muslim unity, who are naturally the only point of unity in countries where there is no other unifying idea except xenophobia and intolerance for the smallest divergences from the norm.

While a few Arab and Muslim countries have experimented with nationalism, theirs is a recent and thin innovation with no real history behind it. The borders of much of the Muslim world are the product of either European colonial mapmakers or, as in the case of Pakistan, enforced separations. They may have flags and anthems, and their leaders may dress in suits or military uniforms borrowed from Westerners, but these are poor facades, and their own people know it. Nasser's Arab Socialism and Baathism were poor copies of European ideas implemented by professional elites and virtually meaningless to the ordinary Arab. They did not bring unity, only more war. (Islamism will of course do the same, something that the prolonged bout of Al Queda atrocities in Iraq and Jordan have communicated to a small percentage of the region's inhabitants.)

But among all this violence and injustice, Islam continues to hold out the golden promise of a unified Ummah, on terms espoused by a cult leader on the primitive terms of a millennium and a half ago. Because it represents magical thinking, it will always remain more appealing than real progress and reform. While progress and reform take work, the magical solution of Sharia promises to make everything just and right as soon as it is imposed. It is also why Muslims in the region will continue to see democracy as a means for imposing Islam, rather than as an end in and of itself. Because simply injecting democracy into a region that lacks an understanding of a theory of government based on popular representation, turns into a tool for imposing the magical solution of Islam.

Turning to Western Muslims though, one might ask why they embrace Islamism even more aggressively than they do in their own home countries. But the answer is rather obvious. The multicultural societies they are asked to be part of are even more fractured and divided than at home, but without the relative structure of tribe and clan. Studies have shown that in multicultural societies there is less trust between neighbors, which is an inevitable outcome of weakening the natural human bases for connections within a neighborhood or community. Islamism is even more in demand in such a fractured system because it promises absolute unity, where now there is only a multitude of divisions.

The idea of Islam co-existing with a diversity of religions and beliefs is a bit of paradoxical stupidity. Islam was created precisely to supplant a diversity of religions and beliefs by people who wanted to find unity through one supreme system. The rise of Islamism in the West cannot be negated by multiculturalism-- ITS POPULARITY IS A REACTION TO MULTICULTURALISM. The Muslim who finds himself having to deal with Christians, Jews, Sikhs and Hindus on a daily basis, who has to navigate a complex and often contradictory system of social rules and codes naturally longs for stability and simplicity, and he finds it in the most radical interpretations of Islam.

The Islamists have a simple set of rules for how Muslims and non-Muslims must behave, for how women must act and how men should act. The Muslim professional in the West who must deal with clashing and contrasting obligations, who must try to understand what it is to be a Doctor and a Briton, who must choose between political parties and interact with people whose ideas repel him in a professional context will inevitably be drawn to Islam as the solution and the unifying principle in all these conflicts. This great diverse society so beloved by the left is exactly what drives him to the mosque and to the bomb, in the name of simplifying all this mad cacophony until all the damned infidels bow their heads to the infinite justice and wisdom of Islam.

The final benefit of Islam of course is that it makes the Muslim in the West immediately superior to the Westerners. The Muslim Doctor is not only immediately better than his Western colleagues for being a Muslim, but even the lowest doletaker is better than all the infidels. And better than his Muslim brothers who have compromised their religion by becoming too British. He finds a new solidarity and self-esteem by plotting to overthrow and conquer this nation of infidels. And meanwhile back in Saudi Arabia or Iran, the same chaotic cluster of families and clans finances the Islamists, in order to keep their dangerous ideas away from their own throats while using them as a weapon against the West, watch and laugh.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

How to Get the Corporate Money Out of Politics Once and for All

By On February 20, 2010
Politicians constantly love to talk about ways of getting corporate money out of politics, even as they go right on taking that money. But so far no law or measure stands a chance of accomplishing that. McCain-Feingold didn't lead to cleaner politics, it just decentralized where the money went, leading to the rise of 501c's and a more partisan brand of politics.

A recent poll showed that 80 percent of Americans disagree with the recent Supreme Court decision, but for all the alarmist rhetoric about corporate influence spread from Obama on down, the massive economy strangling bailouts happened before this decision. The Democratic congress proposed a health care bill which would make it compulsory for every American to buy health insurance coverage from health insurance companies. The US government has bailed out the banks, the airlines and the auto companies while running up the deficit. To put it bluntly, how much worse could it really get?

Corporate money plays a big role in politics. And that is the way it will always be until we change the reason why it plays such a big role. Because the problem has been misidentified. The problem is not corporate money. The problem is government.

In the sort of rhetoric you hear commonly from liberals, the solution to this and all other problems involving companies, is to send more "dedicated regulators" to Washington D.C., said dedicated regulators usually being lawyers who work for liberal think tanks or lawyers who get elected to public office, who will promptly whip those corporations into line. Which unsurprisingly is exactly the sort of thing that stimulates corporations to invest more into lobbying congress, not just to keep them at bay, but also to use them as weapons against their competitors.

When it comes to regulating business, the great liberal fallacy is that such regulating creates a one way relationship in which "idealistic" politicians and their appointees tell companies what to do, and they do it. But there is no such thing as a one way relationship in politics, unless you're talking about an absolute tyranny. And often not even then. When you choose to regulate, you enter into a political relationship with the targets of your regulations, as well as with various third parties who are affected positively or negatively by those regulations.

The more government regulates business, the more it becomes a player in a corporate environment, as different companies and industries compete for grants, propose regulations that would benefit them and harm their competitors, that would carve out exclusive new territories for them, give them tax breaks, or create disadvantages for independent operators or small businesses. This is an inevitable and unstoppable outgrowth of creating an extensive infrastructure of regulations governing every aspect of doing business in America. And there is no way around that.

To wield power is to turn yourself into a player in a given arena. The more power that government wields in the business world, the more government and business become integrated into a web of corporate socialism, that makes it hard to tell where companies end and the government begins, and vice versa. And there is only one way to stop that. By wielding as little power as possible. By deregulating and passing on those responsibilities to local communities where the interests of the people are more likely to come to the fore.

Prohibition's passage was helped along by associations of merchants and manufacturers of non-alcoholic drinks who assumed that if alcohol was banned, their share of the liquid business would only increase. This sort of phenomenon is not new, but it has gained momentum with every expansion of the regulatory powers of government, as many businesses and industries have discovered that they can exploit government regulations as a club to expand their share of the marketplace.

The current financial crisis was caused in part by the willingness of Clinton era Housing and Urban Development head Andrew Cuomo's willingness to do the bidding of the Mortgage Brokers Association by pressuring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into riskier lending strategies to poorer borrowers with a "grassroots" campaign that worked all too well. The level of complexities involved in this disaster show a little too well how the entanglement of government regulatory agencies and the business world can create multiple opportunities for exploitation through regulation.

While well intentioned people want to know how to get business out of politics, the answer is quite simple. It begins with getting politicians out of business. You cannot regulate an industry, without become entangled in its marketplace strategies, without becoming a player or a counter in that competitive environment. Regulators pretend that they can "clean up" that environment. In reality like Andrew Cuomo, who is now receiving the bulk of his donations from the very same real estate industry he helped "clean up", they become players in that same marketplace. Their decisions can change the playing field, which turns such posts into plum jobs for aspiring politicians like Cuomo, because it allows them to wield the whip on some and collect job offers and donations for their future campaigns from others.

For all their talk about campaign finance reform, very few politicians actually want to get corporate money out of politics. Since that would put them out of business. When Obama hands billions to Wall Street and then makes a show of agonizing over their bonuses as soon as the polls show that the public is angry over his spending policies, he's playing a very old game, in which politicians give with one hand and then slap with the other. A game that the corporations they're in bed with, are very familiar with.

When politicians have the power to tax or give grants and tax breaks, to force entire industries to buy particular products and services, or to subsidize those same products and services by forcing the public to buy them, to transform the playing field by banning certain practices while favoring others-- they place themselves in a position of power that they intend to fully exploit. That is of course why they wanted that position in the first place. They're not fighting for the "little guy", because the little guy can't afford to sign their checks, except  helplessly by way of wealth redistribution.

The regulators don't wield their power in the name of fairness or the empowerment of ordinary Americans, though they claim both of these things on a regular basis. Instead they wield the power however the interests they and their political sponsors are indebted to, want them to. Sometimes this will involve crackdowns on corruption and abuses that will benefit the public. Much of the time it simply means using the government as a tool for rewarding the industry with the best lobbyists. 

And this sort of regulation environment feeds a vicious cycle which encourages and rewards rent seeking behavior by companies. Competition among businesses become focused on transforming the marketplace by hiring lobbyists to pass their favored pieces of legislation, which give them preference, while disadvantaging emerging industries and consumers. And nothing can break that cycle, except to radically scale back the regulatory environment which makes this sort of Corporate Socialism possible.

The regulatory environment is premised on the old fallacy of a progressive notion of government in which an enlightened elite tackle the problems through aggressive regulation. This may occasionally work with a genuinely inspired leader such as Teddy Roosevelt, but 99 percent of the time this sort of enlightened despot theory of good government simply leads to corruption and socialism. Because human nature does not go away when you wrap it in idealistic rhetoric and controlling the economy simply means that the old abuses will go forward more aggressively than ever with government backing and under a new name.

Every abuse of the former system that Communism promised to undo in Russia, it instead worsened tenfold. A generation after they took power, the peasants had no land, livestock and no travel rights, workers had no economic freedom whatsoever, political prisoners were treated far worse than they had been under the Czar, and the black market share of the economy had increased so dramatically that there was hardly any legal economy left. By controlling all the industries, the Communist Party integrated all the old abuses of the capitalist system tenfold. And that is the end result of what government control over business accomplishes. It repeats all the old abuses, makes them worse and makes it impossible to protest against them.

We can get corporate money out of politics to the extent that politicians are willing to get their noses out of the business world. But the more liberals champion regulation, the more corporate money will control politics-- and they will only have themselves to blame for it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Afternoon Roundup - There is No End to the Jihad

By On February 19, 2010
 It's completely unsurprising that the mainstream media is trying to connect Joe Stack's fatal flight into an IRS building with the Tea Party movement or some sort of nebulous right wing extremism. The problem is that Stack's own publicly available manifesto is as much anti-corporate than anti-government, denouncing the Bush Administration and corporate cronyism. Stack also inveighs against health care reform delays and closes with praise for Communism and a condemnation of Capitalism.

Rather obviously not ideas typical of the Tea Party movement.

While the media has scrambled to try and make connections, using their usual cynical tactic of interviewing carefully selected "experts" who talk about right wing extremism and the need to tackle the problem of anti-government sentiments (there were no doubt experts giving King George III the same advice), there are no connections.

Joseph Andrew Stack was angry not over some broader political issue, but because he felt his life had been ruined by the government. But his death serves as a convenient foil for liberals seeking to denounce all anti-government critics as dangerous extremists and terrorists who must be clamped down on. This is not an unfamiliar cycle. But the appropriation of Stack's deadly flight by the left is as cynical as the appropriation of Amy Bishop's shotgun killing of three minority co-workers on the right.

The IRS is not a partisan organization. The particular law that Stack was angry about that disenfranchised engineers and computer experts working as consultants, had been proposed by the Democratic Senator Moynihan and was passed as part of tax reforms under Reagan. It has since remained law as congress has shifted from one party to another. In other words this is not a partisan issue, much as the media would like to transform it into one, in order to gain some leverage over a populist movement.

But in real right wing violence, a rapper named Sky Blu; is claiming that Mitt Romney assaulted him with a "Vulcan Grip " It's clear that Republicans are out of control if even harmless rappers are terrified of them and their brutal outer space assaults.



Hopefully the Federal government can step in and do something to protect the vulnerable hip hop community from further "Vulcan Grip" attacks by violent right wing extremists in the sky.

Over in Pennsylvania, the White House has made it clear how far they're willing to go to tamper with elections, by offering congresscritter Joe Sestak a "high ranking" Federal job if he refrains from challenging Specter.

The White House is claiming that it never happened. Which means that either Sestak is lying or the White House is lying. The White House has an obvious motive for trying to protect Specter, not because they like him, but because they need to be able to present their party as a viable option for GOP defectors.

But if Sestak beats Specter in the primary, switching parties will stop being a good option for liberal Republicans, who can lose a primary just as well in their own party, without making the switch.

The question is how many more candidates never showed up because of cozy affairs like these? And just how deep does the White House's tampering with the democratic process go?

But questions like that would require an objective media, which would require people willing to actually discover the truth. Which in the media can and will get you fired. As one reporter found out.

Atlanta Progressive News has parted ways with long-serving senior staff writer Jonathan Springston. Apparently, Springston’s affinity for fact-based reporting clashed with Cardinale’s vision.

In an e-mail statement, editor Matthew Cardinale says Springston was asked to leave APN last week “because he held on to the notion that there was an objective reality that could be reported objectively, despite the fact that that was not our editorial policy at Atlanta Progressive News.”

And so the Atlanta Progressive has ushered in a new age of philosophy by declaring that there is no objective reality, only subjective activism. As the editor said;

At a very fundamental, core level, Springston did not share our vision for a news publication with a progressive perspective. He held on to the notion that there was an objective reality that could be reported objectively, despite the fact that that was not our editorial policy at Atlanta Progressive News. It just wasn’t the right fit.

In the meantime, here is some information from our Frequently Asked Questions page:
“Progressive news is news that brings us closer to universal health care, living wages, affordable housing, peace, a healthy environment, and voting systems we can trust.

We believe there is no such thing as objective news.

I actually welcome this statement and wish that more news organizations would come out of the objective closet and follow in the footsteps of the Atlanta Progressive by declaring that they don't believe in an objective reality or objective news.

The only question though is why the Atlanta Progressive insists on confusing news with propaganda. In common usage, news assumes reporting, while the Atlanta Progressive is dedicated to propaganda.

Over in sunny Indonesia, which like just about every Muslim country is only becoming more extreme, the Sharia police are on the march.

The province, on the western tip of Sumatra island, home to about 4 million people, won the right to implement Islamic law in 2001, after being granted semi-autonomy as part of efforts to end a decades-long separatist war. Sharia has been enforced with increasing vigor since the 2004 Asian tsunami, which many people interpreted as a divine warning, and last September the provincial parliament approved a new penalty for adulterers: stoning to death.

Aceh is not alone. Across Indonesia, dozens of local governments – given wide scope to enact their own laws under a decentralized system – have adopted Islamic regulations on dress and behavior. In parts of Central Java and South Sulawesi provinces, female civil servants are now obliged to wear headscarves or risk losing their jobs.

In Aceh, many people say they abhor the stoning penalty – yet to be signed into law – although few will criticize it publicly for fear of being branded bad Muslims. But enforcers of a stricter approach to Islam appear to be gathering momentum. Public canings have been carried out, and earlier this month women were banned from wearing tight trousers in one district of Aceh.

Of course Islamic law always gains momentum, because opposing it makes you a heretic, which means you can be killed. Because Islam like the Atlanta Progressive does not believe in an objective reality, only the Islamic reality in which women's hair rays corrupt men and turn them into zombies.

There are advantages to believing only in a subjective Islamic reality. For example when one of your top officials is caught soliciting sex, you can blame Israel for the whole thing... as this great piece by the Jerusalem Post's Khaled Abu Toameh

This is the kind of stuff that drives a young Palestinian man or woman to take a gun or a knife and kill the first Jew he or she meets on the street:

Blaming Israel and the Jews for everything that goes wrong has long been the accepted norm in the Arab and Islamic world. This is how Arab dictators divert attention from the real problems at home. If the economy in an Arab country is bad, then it’s because of Israel and the Jews. If there is no democracy and stability, then its Israel’s and the Jews’ fault, too.

Rafik Husseini was caught with his pants down in the bedroom of an Arab woman and, of course, it’s the Jews’ fault. Never mind that he was caught red-handed soliciting sex from the woman by members of his own security forces, who also filmed him while he was bad-mouthing Abbas and his predecessor, Yasser Arafat. Instead of responding to the charges made by Shabaneh, the Palestinian Authority rushed to accuse him of “collaboration” with Israel. The official Palestinian version is that the Israeli government had recruited the whistle-blower to incriminate Abbas because of his refusal to return to the negotiating table with Israel.

Instead of coping with charges of corruption, Arab rulers and governments find it easier to direct a blaming finger at Israel. This anti-Israel incitement has resulted in the emergence of an entire generation or two of Arabs and Muslims who are convinced that Jews are behind all evils and should therefore be fought against or even eliminated.

When a young Palestinian man or woman hears that Israel has decided to “defame” and “discredit” the Palestinian leadership by exposing one of Abbas’s top aides, Rafik Husseini, while he’s lying naked in the bedroom of a Palestinian woman, he or she will start thinking how to strike back.

Since the scandal broke out in late January, several Palestinian leaders and Abbas aides have repeatedly gone public to condemn the purported Israeli conspiracy.

Shabaneh was a great Palestinian intelligence official until he decided to speak out against rampant corruption in the Palestinian Authority in general and Abbas’s bureau in particular. Shabaneh worked for the Palestinian security services for over 15 years, during which time his bosses praised him for his loyalty, charisma and outstanding work.

But now the same Shabaneh has become, in the eyes of Abbas and his spokesmen, an Israeli spy and traitor who deserves capital punishment. As long as Shabaneh kept his mouth shut, he was okay. He was so much appreciated that less than two years ago Abbas promoted him to the job of commander of the General Intelligence Service in the Hebron district, home to one-third of the West Bank Palestinians.

The Palestinian Authority’s claim that the Israelis are behind the latest sex scandal in Ramallah should be seen in the context of the campaign of incitement that began under Yasser Arafat against Israel and Jews, and what dictators use to “change the subject” at home.

This of course is what happens when you let go of that pesky objective reality, and just stick to propaganda that claims the Jews, CIA or the Freemasons are behind everything that happens around you. Then you can become a staff member for the Atlanta Progressive or a loyal Muslim.

And who's paying for all this loveliness. Why you are? Because the PA is a mostly US and EU funded entity, which exists so that its officials can steal money and kill Jews... in no particular order.

The latest developments in this scandal has Abbas issuing an arrest warrant for the head of the anti-corruption unit of his own Intelligence Service.

... for the crime of well, uncovering corruption in the wrong places. Rafik Husseini has been suspended for a few weeks until a three man commission of his buddies will review his case and decide he's completely innocent.

Shabaneh also expressed fear that the members of the commission of inquiry – all Abbas loyalists – would try to “bury” the cases of corruption that he exposed in the interview with the Post.

He noted that one of the commission members, Ahmed, was himself involved in financial corruption. “Azzam al-Ahmed and his brother, Allam, are suspected of embezzlement of more than $2.5 million,” he said.

So this should work out really well. Washington is of course ignoring the entire situation. Just as three administrations have ignored the mindblowing corruption and abuses of power by the terrorists they put into power and insist on funding and supporting. And when Hamas marches in, they'll wonder why.

The entire perverse situation only becomes more mixed up, when you consider that apparently the Obama Administration's support for Abbas, is the only reason keeping Netanyahu from making a disastrous prisoner release deal that would put large numbers of Hamas terrorists back on the street.

By supporting the Fatah terrorists in this case, the Obama Administration is actually saving Israel from doing a disastrous deal with the devil. Of course anything that comes out of the mouth of Shalit's increasingly repulsive father, Noam Shalit, who has long ago made it obvious that if he had to detonate an atomic bomb in the middle of Tel Aviv in order to obtain his son's release, he would hop on a taxi and get it done... has to be taken with a grain of salt. But there's a tragic irony in the degree to which this entire situation has become so tangled up, that we have to be grateful to the Obama Administration for keeping Netanyahu from putting Hamas terrorists on the street. And it also shows that the only way to deal with the situation is to cut the Gordian Knot and drive all the terrorists out of Israel once and for all.

But that would be the old Israel. The Israel that the Times' Melanie Reid admires in her article.

Now I know we really, really shouldn’t joke about these things. I should be wearing black and have a long face and be uttering pieties about the disgraceful “extrajudicial” killing of the Hamas military chief Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, apparently by Israeli agents.

All nice people, quite rightly, are adopting the proper moral stance and expressing outrage and disgust at this affront to international law and justice. But the rest of us ... well, we simply can’t wait until the movie comes out. Largely thanks to the blurry CCTV pictures, there is an element to the assassination in Dubai that is appallingly irresistible. What the secret agents did — and, critically, what we saw them do — was compelling and breathtaking in its cleverness.

...

It is an unfashionable thing to say, but I have a considerable admiration for the Israeli way of doing things. They want something, they get it. They perceive someone as their deadly enemy, they kill them. They get hit, they hit back. They don’t waste time explaining or justifying or agonising; nor do they allow their detractors to enter their country and then afford them generous welfare payments. They just act. No messing. No scruples. Not even a shrug and a denial, just a rather magnificent refusal to debate anything.

This absolutism, based on their history, carries its own moral weight; one that is rather electrifying in a Western world grown flabby with niceties. Clearly, the Israelis could defend their policies if they wanted to, but they quite simply can’t be bothered. It’s a waste of breath. One admires them for that, too.

I’ve felt this way ever since the Entebbe raid in 1976, an occasion when the Israelis showed Hollywood a thing or two. After two Palestinians and two Germans had hijacked an aircraft on a flight that had originated in Israel, the Israeli army simply swooped in, killed the hijackers and freed all but three of the hostages. It was decisive, bloody and clever. Lieutenant-Colonel “Yoni” Netanyahu, the older brother of the present Prime Minister, Binyamin, was the only commando killed in the fighting.

They also outdid fiction after the massacre at the Munich Olympics in 1972, when they hunted down 11 Palestinians who were responsible and eliminated them wherever they were in the world. Aided by fake passports and disguises, Mossad agents employed methods including a booby-trapped telephone, a bomb planted in a bed and a raid in Beirut in which the present Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, dressed as a woman. Nobody caught it on CCTV, but on the ground that human nature can never resist this kind of stuff, Steven Spielberg made it into the Oscar-nominated 2005 movie Munich.

Maybe, as the West becomes increasingly gentle and polite, and pays those monthly direct debits to Amnesty International, we need the Israelis to remind us that the world is not made according to our template. Maybe that is why we are drawn towards tales of uncompromising, ruthless derring-do. How else to explain the veneration of the SAS, the worldwide glut of books and movies on covert operations?

One last point. Usually, in comedy heist movies, no one gets killed. Somewhere a family is weeping at the death of Mr al-Mabhouh and no one takes any pleasure from that. But the people who die in Mossad operations tend to be, like the Hamas leader, morally compromised. There’s a side to us that acknowledges that some assassins’ victims may have had it coming to them. So we’re appalled, but not so appalled that we don’t look forward with relish to the sequel. Ultimately, this is less about siding with the Israelis than loving winners.

And here's the thing, we do like winners, even when we condemn them. Because winning demonstrates competence.

We're not supposed to admire intelligence agents who take down the bad guys? No, we're supposed to admire the bad guys. And the UK and all of Europe is awash in that sort of propaganda, pursuing CIA agents who forcibly extradited Al Queda terrorists from Italy, Mossad agents who took out a Hamas terrorist in Dubai. The good guys may be the bad guys, and the bad may be the good guys, to the left, which still wears its Che on its sleeve and its chest-- but to the general public, taking out the bad guys is a good thing.

For its entire modern history, Israel has been conflicted, torn between taking the offensive and cutting diplomatic deals. Israel's would be leaders accepted the UN compromise of 1947, but had to fight anyway when the Arabs refused it. Israel accepted the Oslo accords, but has to fight anyway because the Palestinian Arabs have never treated it as anything but a chance to destroy Israel from the inside. And so war is inevitable. Only the terms of the engagement are in doubt.

It's not me talking. It's Fatah leader after Fatah leader, who take money from America, from Europe and Israel-- and call for Jihad anyway. Here's a treat from earlier this month by the P.A. Minister of Religious Endowments on PA TV (which yes, you are funding)

"What is Jihad, and what is resistance? When people talk about Jihad, what do they mean? What is the meaning of Jihad in Islam? And what is the meaning of resistance in Islam? We must understand this.

"The literal meaning of 'Jihad' is the exertion of efforts - exerting your efforts and investing your energy. Jihad for the sake of Allah means exerting your efforts in order to elevate the word of Allah - whether these efforts are mental, physical, financial, or verbal.

"In this, the words of the Prophet Muhammad are true: 'Wage Jihad against infidels or the polytheists with your money, your souls, and your tongues.' Wage Jihad against the polytheists with money. When you use your money for the sake of Allah, in defense of the religion of Allah, of the Muslims, of their countries, and of all that is sacred to them - you are a mujahid for the sake of Allah.

"In Our Resistance to the Enemy, We Must Choose the Means and Methods that Will Grant Us Victory, Benefit Us, and Minimize Our Losses"

"Some people believe that Jihad means nothing but bearing arms and fighting the enemy. This is indeed Jihad, but it is not the only Jihad. There is the Jihad of the word, the Jihad of money, the Jihad of resistance, and the Jihad of defense. This is what we need to understand about the meaning of 'resistance.'

"Resistance does not mean that we should bear arms, whether the time is right or not. It is wise to bear arms at a time when we should bear arms, and to lay down our weapons when we should lay down our weapons.

...

"Brothers, we must understand that resistance assumes many forms, and that Jihad assumes many and varied forms. We have no right to reduce this notion into a single form, or into several forms, without the others. All forms of resistance are honorable and necessary.

"Jihad continues to Judgment Day. Brothers, nobody - whoever he may be - can ever abolish Jihad or say that it has come to an end. Jihad continues to Judgment Day. Someone once said in a political debate: 'I am ready to declare an end to Jihad.' This concept is wrong. Nobody has the right to declare an end to Jihad.

There you have it folks, one of the best elucidations of what Jihad means to date. From the camel's mouth. War of many kinds without end. Military warfare, economic warfare, reproductive warfare... all of it meant to insure the worldwide supremacy of Islam.

There is no end to the Jihad. Not now. Not ever. It's a perpetual war being waged against us by every faithful Muslim, using whatever means and tactics are at his disposal, as decided on by his religious leaders.

The Muslim woman having babies on the dole in the UK is fighting her own Jihad. The CAIR official insinuating himself into our political structure is fighting his own Jihad. The Muslim interpreter who smiles and shakes hands and then poisons the food, is carrying out his own Jihad.

Where there are faithful Muslims, there is Jihad. And until we understand this, we cannot win.

And speaking of the various Jihads, the lawfare Jihad was defeated in Texas. But in California, Tom Campbell, the demon sheep of the Jihad, has his own ties to Islamic Jihad revealed.

But meanwhile Dem congressmen who signed a letter on behalf of Hamas, and who are tied up with anti-Israel lobbying group J Street, are outraged (very outraged) because Israel's Foreign Minister showed no interest in rolling out the red carpet for them.
A group of US congressmen were unpleasantly surprised when Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon refused to meet with them this week.

US congressmen and other governmental representatives are generally treated as VIPs in the Holy Land. However, this particular group was organized by J Street, a lobby that pro-Israel activists say pressures Israel to implement leftist and pro-Arab policies.

Massachusetts Democrat William Delahunt fumed Wednesday that "in our opinion, this is an inappropriate way to treat elected representatives of Israel's closest ally who are visiting the country."

Of course they're not there as representatives of Israel's "closest ally". They're there as representatives of J Street, which is partially funded by George Soros, who kinda wants to see the country burn.

And really, at a time when Delahunt needs to be explaining why he set Amy Bishop loose to kill again, should his priorities really be directed at demanding access to Israeli officials?

But maybe running away to Israel to bash that country is a convenient way for Delahunt to get away from that pesky investigation. And if the investigation goes wrong, maybe he can defect to Gaza.

As questions swirl around his role as Norfolk district attorney in the handling of Amy Bishop's shooting case in 1986, US Representative William Delahunt is half a world away, on a fact-finding tour that's finding controversy in the Middle East.

Delahunt, Democrat of Quincy, told an Associated Press reporter in Tel Aviv he has limited memory of the shooting death of Seth Bishop by his sister, Amy, a case that Braintree Police called accidental and that the Norfolk District Attorney's Office declined to prosecute. Delahunt said his first assistant, John Kivlan, was in charge of the case.

''I understand I haven't had a real opportunity to get into the details of the case, but I suspect when I return I'll have an opportunity to become debriefed and I know there have been statements but I'm not really in a position to see any records,'' Delahunt said.

Sure, it's not like he's a prominent public official or anything.

Family Security Matters has an exclusive on the Muslim Poisoners at Fort Jackson. Of course this will soon be accompanied by calls for more tolerance and diversity. Which is how your food gets poisoned in the first place.

And on that cheerful note, enjoy the weekend.

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