Showing posts from February, 2010


The Moral Disarmament of the Civilized World

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

Jewish History Never Ends

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 one

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

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 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 c

The Dead Road of Socialism

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 gove

Can We Defeat Terrorists without Defeating Terrorism?

“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 count

Israel's Last Chance of Survival

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 t

The Appeal of Islam - Islamism is a Reaction to Multiculturalism

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 intellectua

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

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

Friday Afternoon Roundup - There is No End to the Jihad

 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