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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December 31, 1912

By On December 31, 2014
(The posting of this article has become an annual tradition of historical proportion at this blog.)

The next year  sweeps around the earth like the hand of a clock, from Australia to Europe and across the great stretch of the Atlantic it rides the darkness to America. And then around and around again, each passing day marking another sweep of the hours.

In Times Square crowds of tourists gather in clumps behind police barricades, clutching their corporate swag beneath video billboards shifting and humming in the cool air. And the same scene repeats in other squares and other places even if it doesn't feel like there is a great deal to celebrate.

While the year makes its first pass around the world, let us leave it behind, open a door in time and step back to another year, a century past.

December 31, 1912.

The crowds are just as large, though the men wear hats. The word gay is employed with no touch of irony. Liquor is harder to come by because the end of the year, one hundred and two years ago, has fallen on a Sunday. 

There are more dances and fewer corporate brands. Horns are blown, and the occasional revolver fired into the air, a sight unimaginable in the controlled celebrations of today's urban metropolis.

The Hotel Workers Union strike fizzled out on Broadway though a volley of bricks was hurled at the Hotel Astor during the celebrations. New York's finest spent the evening outside the Rockefeller mansion waiting to subpoena the tycoon in the money trust investigation. And the Postmaster General inaugurated the new parcel service by shipping a silver loving cup from Washington to New York.

On Ellis Island, Castro, a bitter enemy of the United States, and the former president of Venezuela, had been arrested for trying to sneak into the country while the customs officers had their guard down. Gazing at the Statue of Liberty, Castro denied that he was a revolutionary and bitterly urged the American masses to rise up and tear down the statue in the name of freedom.

Times Square has far fewer billboards and no videos, but it does have the giant Horn and Hardart Automat which opened just that year, where food comes from banks of vending machines giving celebrating crowds a view of the amazing world of tomorrow for the world of 1912 is after all like our own. We can open a door into the past, but we cannot escape the present.

The Presidential election of 1912, like that of 2012, ended in disaster. Both Taft and Roosevelt lost and Woodrow Wilson won. In the White House, President Taft met with cabinet members and diplomats for a final reception.

Woodrow Wilson, who would lead America into a bloody and senseless war, subvert its Constitution, and begin the process of making global government and statism into the national religion of his party, was optimistic about the new year. "Thirteen is my lucky number," he said. "It is curious how the number 13 has figured in my life and never with bad fortune."

Americans today face the lightbulb ban. Americans then were confronted with the matchstick ban as the Esch bill in Congress outlawed phosphorus "strike 'em on your pants" matches by imposing a $1,000 tax on them. This was deemed to be Constitutional. In Indianapolis, the train carrying union leaders guilty of the dynamite plot was making its secret way to Federal prison even while the lawyers of the dynamiters vowed to appeal.

The passing year, a century past, had its distinct echoes in our own time. There had been, what the men of the time, thought of as wars, yet they could not even conceive of the wars shortly to come. There were the usual dry news items about the collapse of the government in Spain, a war and an economic crisis in distant parts of the world that did not concern them.

A recession was here, after several panics, and though there was plenty of cheer, there was also plenty of worry. The Federal Reserve Act would be signed at the end of 1913, partly in response to the economic crisis.

Socialism was on the march with the Socialist Party having doubled its votes in the national election.  All three major candidates, Wilson, Roosevelt and Taft, had warned that the country was drifting toward Socialism and that they were the only ones who could stop it.

"Unless Socialism is checked," Professor Albert Bushnell Hart warned, "within sixteen years there will be a Socialist President of the United States." Hart was off by four years. Hoover won in 1928. FDR won in 1932.

At New York City's May Day rally, the American flag was torn down and replaced with the red flag, to cries of, "Take down that dirty rag" and "We don't recognize that flag." The site of the rally was Union Square, one of the locations where the rag ends of Occupy Wall Street now hangs out.

There was tension on the Mexican border and alarm over Socialist successes in German elections. An obscure fellow with the silly name of Lenin had carved out a group with the even sillier name of the Bolsheviks. China became a Republic. New Mexico became a state, the African National Congress was founded and the Titanic sank. In our time it was merely the Costa Concordia.

There was bloody fighting in Benghazi where 20,000 Italian troops faced off against 20,000 Arabs and 8,000 Turks. The Italians had modern warships and armored vehicles, while the Muslim forces were supplied by voluntary donations and fighters crossing from Egypt and across North Africa to join in attacking the infidels.

The Italian-Turkish war has since been forgotten, except by the Italians, the Libyans and the Turks, but it featured the first strategic use of airships, ushering in a century of European aerial warfare.

There was a good deal going on while the horns were blown and men in heavy coats and wet hats made their way through the festivities.

World War I was two years away, but the Balkan War had already fired the first shots. The rest was just a matter of bringing the non-phosphorus matches closer to the kindling. The Anti-Saloon League was gathering strength for a nationwide effort that would hijack the political system and divide it into dry and wet, and, among other things, ram through the personal income tax.

Change was coming, and as in 1912, the country was no longer hopeful, it was wary.

The century, for all its expected glamor, had been a difficult one. The future, political and economic, was unknown. Few knew exactly what was to come, but equally few were especially optimistic even when the champagne was flowing.

If we were to stop a reveler staggering out of a hotel, stand in his path and tell him that war was five years away and a great depression would come in on its tail, that liquor would be banned, crime would proliferate and a Socialist president would rule the United States for three terms, while wielding near absolute power, he might have decided to make his way to the recently constructed Manhattan Bridge for a swan dive into the river.

And yet we know that though all this is true, there is a deeper truth. For all those setbacks, the United States survived, and many of us look nostalgically toward a time that was every bit as uncertain and nerve-wracking as our own.

December 31, 1912 was a door that opened onto many things.

Our December 31 is likewise a door, and if a man in shiny clothes from the year 2115 were to stop us on the street and spill out everything he knew about the next century, it is likely that there would be as much greatness as tragedy in that tale.

As the year sweeps across the earth, let us remember that history is more than the worst of its events, that all times bear the burden of their uncertainties, but also carry within them the seeds of greatness. Looking back on this time, it may be that it is not the defeats that we will recall, but how they readied us for the fight ahead. 2012 may be as forgotten as 1912, but 2018 and 2022 may endure in history.

America has not fallen, no more than it did when the clock struck midnight on December 31, 1912. Though it may not seem likely now, there are many great things ahead, and though the challenges at times seem insurmountable and the defeats many, another year and another century await us.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Two Empires We Must Defeat

By On December 30, 2014
There is a thread that connects many of our conflicts, whether it's the one against terrorism or the one between the Republican establishment and its conservative insurgency. To win a war, we have to understand the nature of the conflict and how we got there. And that's often the missing piece.

The left blames imperialism for our conflict with terrorists. And it's right. Just not in the way that it thinks.

Empires may be expansionist, but they're also tolerant and multicultural. They have to be, since out of their initial phase they have to enlist the cooperation and services of subjects from a variety of cultures and religions. An empire may initially be fueled by the talents and skills of a core nation, but as it reaches its next phase, it begins sacrificing their interests to the larger structure of empire.

The argument between the establishments of the right and the left is over two different kinds of empires. The Republican establishment in America and its various center-right counterparts abroad have attached themselves to the liberal vision of a transnational empire of international law so much that they have forgotten that this vision came from the left, rather than from the right.

This Empire of International Law proved to have some uses for global trade and security, particularly during the Cold War. These practical arrangements however are overshadowed by the fact that it, like every empire, sacrifices the interests of its peoples to its own structure. This is true of the structure at every level, from the EU to the Federal structure of the United States. The system has displaced the people. And the system runs on principles that require cheap labor leading to policies like amnesty.

The Empire of International Law needs Muslim immigrants even if its people don't, because it envisions integrating them and their countries into this arrangement and rejects national interests as narrow-minded and nativist.

This formerly liberal vision now embraced largely by centrists is the left's vision, which includes today's liberals, is of a completely transnational ideological empire in which there are no borders, but there are countless activists, in which everything and everyone are controlled by the state.

Like the more conventional imperial vision, the left's red Empire of Ideology depends on enlisting Muslims and Muslim countries into its ranks. This is the basis of the Red-Green alliance.

These two types of imperialists are incapable of representing native workers or communities because they are transnationalists. Their vision is cosmopolitan, rather than representative. They are entranced with a byzantine international arrangement and uninterested in the lives of the people they are ruining.

This Imperial blindness is why the West is falling so swiftly to Islam. It's why the pockets of resistance are coming from nations outside the imperial sphere.

Countries like Israel, India or Burma are dependent on specific groups and are not truly part of either empire. They are not transnational. They are national. And it's why they are still holding out.

The empires have made their inroads into them. Israel has its tycoon class that would love nothing more than to join the transnational empire. It has its radical left that would destroy Israel for the world revolution. But it also has millions of people that understand that their lives are on the line.

The resistance to Islam has come from outside the empire. It has come from countries that are neither part of Islam nor the Empire. Those countries may be large, like India or China, or precariously small, like Israel, but they have a dominant ethnic and/or religious identity and are not truly part of the Empire, though they have extensive interconnections with it.

These countries have minority groups, including sizable Muslim minorities, but they also have a national interest that is tethered to its majority.

The United States used to be that way, until not long ago. And then it lost touch with itself. It became diseased with empire and the disease of empire has nothing to do with pith helmets or planting flags. It's what happens when the structure of the system becomes more important than the people. When that happens the old principles that are based on the people are set aside and replaced with principles that are based on the system.

That is how globalism came to trump American workers. It's how accommodating Islam came to matter more than anything else.

An empire may begin by conquering other countries, but it invariably ends by conquering and consuming its own. The empire we are part of isn't, despite the left's rhetoric, a conquering empire. American territorial expansionism ended long before we became part of an empire. Instead we are part of an empire of systems, an empire of principles, an empire of internationalism, of trade and of pieces of papers, legal and financial, being moved through the bowels of our endless systems.

This is the thing that we call international law. And it has to die for us to live.

This is the empire that feeds armies of foreign immigrants through our countries. It's also the empire that pays allegiance to Islam because empires have to diversify to expand. Diversity isn't the source of our strength. It is the source of imperial expansionism which has to absorb many more peoples.

To empires, people are interchangeable. If the natives have a low birth rate and a long lifespan, then workers with high birth rates and lower lifespans are brought in to replace them. If the natives are reluctant to pay higher taxes, immigrants from countries that are fine with voting for high taxation are imported. That is how empires, not nations, do business.

This is what the political establishment in most countries believes. This is what tearing them apart.

The only way for the nations to survive is for the empire, in all its forms, the ideological revolutionary empire of the left and the centrist empire of international law, to to be cast off.

Every political revolution that fails to take into account the power of these two empires on our national politics is doomed to fail. To win a conflict, you have to understand what you are fighting.

We are fighting against two variations on the same set of ideas about the importance of transnational institutions over national ones. We are fighting against the entrenched loyalty to systems and ideology over people. We are fighting empires that have displaced people for ideas.

The only possible revolution that can succeed against these two empires is populist. It must emerge from the needs of the people of a country to be free, to be prosperous and to manage its own affairs. It must proceed by showing the people how they have been victimized and how they are being victimized. And it must show them that they reclaim what their grandparents had if they take back controls over their own countries and destinies.

The rhetoric of empire is seductive. Our educational systems implant it at an early age. It is not the empire of explorers and conquerors, but of lawyers and social justice activists. Against it we must raise the flag of national interests.

The left and the right establishments pretend that they have two very different sets of ideas about the world. They have the same set of ideas, one is a more extreme version of the other. The left fights its own heresies much more fiercely than it does the right. Its rhetoric about imperialism is a rejection of its former ideas about empire for its more radical empire. And we do not want either empire.

What we must have is an end to empires and the rise of nations. Only nations that answer to the national interests of their people can stand against the savage barbarian migrating tide.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Every Christmas Now Comes With Muslim Terrorism

By On December 25, 2014
Muslim Terrorism has become as much of a Christmas tradition for Christians in the West, as it already was for Christians in the Muslim world, where Somali Muslim gunmen attacked a Christmas party at an African Union base.

A Somali Muslim attempted to bring terrorism into the United States by bombing a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland in 2010. Mohamed Osman Mohamud (twice the Mohammed for twice the mayhem) had a simple goal, "I want whoever is attending that event to leave, to leave dead or injured."

Mohamed Mohamud was just following up on the work of Christmas Day flight bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab over from Nigeria who stuffed his underwear full of plastic explosives and tried to detonate it on Flight 253.

Meanwhile this year we've been tried to race riots in which Muslim organizers have played a leading role and two attacks on New York police officers carried out by Black Muslims. The last attack by Ismayil Abdullah Brinsley robbed two families of a Christmas holiday together.

Over in France, a Muslim rammed his car into a Christmas market while shouting Allahu Akbar, which translates roughly to my Allah is greater than your god. His attack was one of two Car Jihads in France, which has one of the largest Muslim populations in Europe, in a matter of days. And one of three Muslim terror attacks overall.

Meanwhile in Australia, the flag of Jihad was held up by hostages over a window engraving reading "Merry Christmas" in a terror attack that ended up costing two lives.

The Muslim massacres of Christians in the West a may be happening at a slower pace than in Iraq, but they are happening nonetheless leading to a season in which holiday shopping now comes with massacre plots mixed in with the radio jingles and cheer.

If gift wrapping and church going are Christmas traditions, carrying out massacres during other people's holiday celebrations is a Muslim tradition.

In Israel, holidays are a time for extra special caution. The Passover massacre in which dozens of senior citizens attending a holiday meal were murdered, the Yom Kippur War in which Muslim armies invaded Israel on the holiest day of its year or the Purim bombing outside a Tel Aviv mall using a nail bomb, are just some  examples of Muslim religious tolerance at work.

It's not limited to Jews or Christians either.

In 2008, a number of bombs went off in Delhi just before Diwali. And back in 1991, Muslims planned to massacre thousands of Hindus during Diwali.

Had they succeeded, the death toll might have been bigger than 9/11.

For Muslims this has always been religious war. And what better target for terror, than an infidel's religious event?

The clergy at interfaith conferences may yammer on about how we're all the children of god, but Muslims know better. They are the slaves of Allah and we are heretics and idol worshipers. It's their duty to fight us, until we submit and accept Muslim rule.

The more we resist, the more they're obligated to kill us until we give in and there's a mosque on every corner and the Koran replaces the Constitution. It's a religious duty for a Muslim to make the Way of Allah triumphant all across the globe.

To Muslims, this is a sacred duty and a way of life, that is not a detail, but the heart of the Koran.

The Islamic holy texts are dominated by a single categorical imperative, to expand, dominate and rule. For the Muslim, life is complicated, but Islam is simple. And even the most secular and westernized Muslim will sooner or later feel an imperative to escape from the complications of modern life, into the pure simplicity of Islam at a cafe or an airline flight. The media charges that such escapees misunderstand Islam, but in actuality they understand it quite well.

Islam is a state of permanent religious war. It has no room in it for dissent or religious differences. That is why the Christian population in the Muslim world is vanishing. As the West becomes more Muslim, its Christian population will begin to decline and vanish.

Multiculturalism is one thing. But that's not what we have here. It's not living side by side with chicken noodle soup and tandoori restaurants. Or stacking churches, synagogues, ashrams and Shinto shrines on every block. Because while the political and cultural elite of the West may subscribe to multiculturalism, its Muslim imports subscribe to only one law. The law of Islam.

 They may lapse at times. They may get through a university education, attend nightclubs, listen to the same music all the other kids their age do-- but there's still a ticking time bomb inside their heads. And that bomb is the same one that appears as the lit fuse on the turban of the cartoon Mohammad.

The bomb is Islam. And when it's lit, the result is mass murder.

It is an uncomfortable thing to think about. We who pride ourselves on our tolerance and slap ourselves on the back for our open-mindedness do not like to think that our civilization is an illusion, a parquet floor built over the roaring fire of barbarism underneath.

But it was not so long ago, in the space of years, that our ancestors would have thought no more of killing people because they were different, than we would think of swatting a fly. The difference between us and the Muslim world is that we have changed. They have not.

And much as we may befriend them, the thought of killing us can never be entirely wrong to them. After enough time spent together, we might rank above flies to them, but well below full-fledged and fellow humans. And when they need answers, they turn to a book whose verses promise salvation to anyone who kills us.

It is important to think of these things, because our lives and the survival of our civilization are at stake. We have begun to learn what it is like to live with terror. But we have not learned all of it by far.

Terror haunted Christmas tree lighting celebrations are the beginning, but not the end of it. This is not a bridge we can cross with some multicultural cuisine and a PBS special.

It requires that we understand what we have done. We have imported people from a culture and religion that has never accepted the most basic premise of our way of life. Coexistence. And so we cannot coexist with them. And they cannot coexist with us. After a few years or decades of baffled attempts to adjust to a foreign way of life, they will either wall themselves off or make war on us. Or both at the same time. They cannot be our neighbors, only our enemies.

The sooner we realize that, the less we'll have to read about terror attacks at Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Light of Chanukah

By On December 22, 2014
A candle is a brief flare of light. A wick dipped in oil burns and then goes out again. The light of Chanukah appears to follow the same narrative. Briefly there is light and warmth and then darkness again.

Out of the exile of Babylon, the handful that returned to resettle and rebuild the land faced the might of new empires. The Jews who returned from the exile of one evil empire some twenty-six hundred years ago were forced to decide whether they would be a people with their own faith and history, or the colony of another empire, with its history and beliefs.

Jerusalem's wealthy elites threw in their lot with the empire and its ways. But out in the rural heartland where the old ways where still kept, a spark flared to life. Modi'in. Maccabee.

And so war came between the handfuls of Jewish Maccabee partisans and the armies of Antiochus IV’s Selecuid empire. A war that had its echoes in the past and would have it again in the future as lightly armed and untrained armies of Jewish soldiers would go on to fight in those same hills and valleys against the Romans and eventually the armies of six Arab nations.

The Syrian Greek armies were among the best of their day. The Maccabees were living in the backwaters of Israel, a nation that had not been independently ruled since the armies of Babylon had flooded across the land, destroying everything in their path.

In the wilderness of Judea a band of brothers vowed that they would bow to no man and let no foreigners rule over their land. Apollonius brought his Samaritan forces against the brothers, and Judah, first among the Macabees, killed him, took his sword and wore it for his own.

Seron, General of the army of Coele-Syria, brought together his soldiers, along with renegade Jewish mercenaries, and was broken at Beit Haran. The Governor of Syria who dispatched two generals, Nicanor, and Gorgias, with forty thousand soldiers and seven thousand horsemen to conquer Judea, destroy Jerusalem and abolish the whole Jewish nation forever. So certain were they of victory that they brought with them merchant caravans to fill with the Hebrew slaves of a destroyed nation.

Judah walked among his brothers and fellow rebels and spoke to them of the thing for which they fought; “O my fellow soldiers, no other time remains more opportune than the present for courage and contempt of dangers; for if you now fight manfully, you may recover your liberty, which, as it is a thing of itself agreeable to all men, so it proves to be to us much more desirable, by its affording us the liberty of worshiping God.

"Since therefore you are in such circumstances at present, you must either recover that liberty, and so regain a happy and blessed way of living, which is that according to our laws, and the customs of our country, or to submit to the most opprobrious sufferings; nor will any seed of your nation remain if you be beat in this battle. Fight therefore manfully; and suppose that you must die, though you do not fight; but believe, that besides such glorious rewards as those of the liberty of your country, of your laws, of your religion, you shall then obtain everlasting glory.

"Prepare yourselves, therefore, and put yourselves into such an agreeable posture, that you may be ready to fight with the enemy as soon as it is day tomorrow morning."

Though the Macabees were but three thousand, starving and dressed in bare rags, the God for whom they fought and their native wits and courage, gave them victory over thousands and tens of thousands. Worn from battle, the Macabees did not flee back into their Judean wilderness, instead they went on to Jerusalem and its Temple, to reclaim their land and their God, only to find the Temple and the capital in ruins.

The Macabees had fought courageously for the freedom to worship God once again as their fathers had, but courage alone could not make the Menorah burn and thus renew the Temple service again. Yet it had not been mere berserker’s courage that had brought them this far. Like their ancestors before them who had leaped into furnaces and the raging sea, they had dared the impossible on faith. Faith in a God who watched over his nation and intervened in the affairs of men. And so on faith they poured the oil of that single flask in the Menorah, oil that could only last for a single day. And then having done all they could, the priests and sons of priests who had fought through entire armies to reach this place, accepted that they had done all they could and left the remainder in the hands of the Almighty.

If they had won by the strength of their hands alone, then the lamps would burn for a day and then flicker out. But if it had been more than mere force of arms that had brought them here, if it had been more than mere happenstance that a small band of ragged and starving rebels had shattered the armies of an empire, then the flames of the Menorah would burn on.

The sun rose and set again. The day came to its end and the men watched the lights of the Menorah to see if they would burn or die out. And if the flame in their hearts could have kindled the lamps, they would have burst into bright flame then and there. Darkness fell that night and still the lamps burned on. For eight days and nights the Menorah burned on that single lonely pure flask of oil, until more could be found, and the men who for a time had been soldiers and had once again become priests, saw that while it may be men who kindle lamps and hearts, it is the Almighty who provides them with the fuel of the spirit through which they burn.

120 years after the Maccabees drove out the foreign invaders and their collaborators, another foreign invader, Herod, the son of a Roman Idumean governor, was placed on the throne by the Roman Empire, disposing of the last of the Maccabean kings and ending the brief revival of the Jewish kingdom.

The revived kingdom had been a plaything in the game of empires. Exiled by Babylon, restored by Persia, conquered by the Greeks, ground under the heel of the remnants of Alexander's empire, briefly liberated by the Parthians, tricked into servitude and destroyed by Rome. The victory of the Maccabean brothers in reclaiming Jerusalem was a brief flare of light in the dark centuries and even that light was shadowed by the growing darkness.

The fall of the Roman Republic and the civil wars of the new empire, its uncontrollable spending and greed made it hopelessly corrupt. Caesar repaid Jewish loyalty by rewarding the Idumean murderers of Jewish kings, and his successors saw the Jewish state as a way to bring in some quick money. Out went the Jewish kings, in came the son of Rome's tax collector, Herod.

The promises made by Senate to the Maccabees ceased to matter. Imperial greed collided with Jewish nationalism in a war that for a brief shining moment seemed as if it might end in another Chanukah, but ended instead in massacre and atrocity. The exiles went forth once again, some on foot and some in slave ships. Jerusalem was renamed and resettled. The long night had begun.

But no darkness lasts forever.

Two thousand years after the Jews had come to believe that wars were for other people and miracles meant escaping alive, Jewish armies stood and held the line against an empire and the would be empires of the region.

And now the flame still burns, though it is flickering. Sixty-five years is a long time for oil to burn, especially when the black oil next door seems so much more useful to the empires and republics across the sea. And the children of many of those who first lit the flame no longer see the point in that hoary old light.

But that old light is still the light of possibilities. It burns to remind us of the extraordinary things that our ancestors did and of the extraordinary assistance that they received. We cannot always expect oil to burn for eight days, just as we cannot always expect the bullet to miss or the rocket to fall short. And yet even in those moments of darkness the reminder of the flame is with us for no darkness lasts forever and no exile, whether of the body of the spirit, endures. Sooner or later the spark flares to life again and the oil burns again. Sooner or later the light returns.

It is the miracle that we commemorate because it is a reminder of possibilities. Each time we light a candle or dip a wick in oil, we release a flare of light from the darkness comes to remind us of what was, is and can still be.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Saving Comrade Castro

By On December 19, 2014
The Soviet Union did not have to fall. If Carter had won a second term and Mondale had succeeded him, the Communist dictatorship might have received the outside help it needed to survive.

And we would still be living under the shadow of the Cold War.

Carter couldn’t save the Soviet Union, but he did his best to save Castro, visiting Fidel and Raul in Cuba where the second worst president in American history described his meeting with Castro as a greeting among “old friends”.

Raul Castro called Carter “the best of all U.S. presidents”.

Obama’s dirty deal with Raul will make the worst president in American history, Castro’s new best friend.

Carter couldn’t save Castro, but Obama did. This was not a prisoner exchange. This was a Communist bailout.

Obama boasted that he would increase the flow of money to Cuba from businesses, from bank accounts and from trade. When he said, “We’re significantly increasing the amount of money that can be sent to Cuba”, that was his real mission statement.

The Castro regime is on its last legs. Its sponsors in Moscow and Caracas are going bankrupt due to failing energy prices. The last hope of the Butcher of Havana was a bailout from Washington D.C.

And that’s exactly what Obama gave him.

Obama has protected the Castros from regime change as if Communist dictators are an endangered species.

From the beginning, Obama put his foreign policy at the disposal of Havana when he backed Honduran leftist thug Manuel Zelaya’s attempt to shred its Constitution over the protests of the country’s Congress and Supreme Court. And its military, which refused to obey his illegal orders.

Obama’s support for an elected dictator in Honduras should have warned Americans that their newly elected leader viewed men like Zelaya favorably and constitutions and the separation of powers between the branches of government unfavorably. It also showcased his agenda for Latin America.

His embrace of Raul Castro brings that agenda out into the open even if he still insists in wrapping it in dishonest claims about “freedom” and “openness” while bailing out a Communist dictatorship.

Obama began his Castro speech with a lie, declaring, “The United States of America is changing its relationship with the people of Cuba.”

The Cuban people have no relationship with the United States because they have no free elections and no say in how they are governed. The only Cubans who have a relationship with the United States fled here on rafts.

Obama did not make his dirty deal with the Cuban people. He made it in a marathon phone call with the Cuban dictator. When Obama claims that his deal with Raul Castro represents a new relationship with the people of Cuba, he is endorsing a Communist dictatorship as the legitimate representative of the Cuban people.

This is a retroactive endorsement of the Castro regime and its entire history of mass murder and political terror. Obama is not trying to “open up” Cuba as he claimed. He likes Cuba just the way it is; Communist and closed.

Obama did not consult the Cuban people, just as he did not consult the American people. He disregarded the embargo, Congress, the Constitution and the freedom of the Cuban people.

His dictatorial disregard of the embargo, which can only be eliminated by Congress, in order to support a dictatorship, is a disturbing reminder that the road he is walking down leads to a miserable tyranny. Cuban-American senators from both parties have been unanimous in condemning the move. These senators are the closest thing to Cuban elected officials. But Obama disregarded Senator Menendez, a man of his own party, Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Ted Cruz.

Instead Obama chose to stand with Raul Castro and his Communist dictatorship.

Obama tried to whitewash his crime by exploiting Alan Gross, a USAID contractor who was imprisoned and abused by the Castro regime, as if the release of an American hostage justified helping the men holding him hostage stay in power. And the media, which was reprinting Castro’s propaganda claiming that Gross’ imprisonment was justified, is busy now pretending that it cares about his release.

He had similarly tried to whitewash his Taliban amnesty by using Bergdahl and his parents as cover. If a deal is struck with Iran, the release of Robert Levinson, Saeed Abedini or Amir Hekmati will almost certainly be used to divert attention from the fact that their own government has collaborated with the thugs and terrorists who took them hostage.

Even though Obama criticized European countries for paying financial ransoms to ISIS, his own ransom paid to the Castros is worth countless billions. And the blood money pouring out of American banks into the Castro regime will encourage other dictatorships to take Americans hostage as leverage for obtaining concessions from the United States. Americans abroad will suffer for Obama’s dirty deal.

No European country recognized ISIS in exchange for the release of hostages. Only Obama was willing to go that far with Cuba, not only opening diplomatic and economic relations, but promising to remove the Communist dictatorship from the list of state sponsors of terror despite the fact that the last State Department review found that Cuba continued to support the leftist narco-terrorists of FARC.

FARC had taken its own American hostages who were starved and beaten, tortured and abused.

Now Obama has given in to the demand of a state sponsor of terror to be removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism in exchange for releasing a hostage.

Obama has sent a message to Iran that the best way to secure a deal is by wrapping it in an American hostage. He has told ISIS that we do negotiate with terrorists. And he has once again demonstrated that his vaunted “smart power” is nothing more than appeasement wrapped in excuses and lies.

But Obama did not act to help Alan Gross. He did not even act because he genuinely thought that diplomatic relations would open up Cuba. In his speech, Obama used the claim commonly put forward by Castro apologists that the very fact that the Castros were still in power proved that sanctions had failed. Yet the lack of sanctions against Cuba by the rest of the world certainly did not usher in the new spirit of openness that Obama is promising. Rewarding dictators with cash never frees a nation. This was not about saving Alan Gross. It was about saving Raul Castro.

Obama and Castro are both weakened leaders of the left. Like the Castros, Obama has lost international influence and his own people have turned on him. The only thing he has left is unilateral rule.

If Obama saw something of his own hopes and aspirations to engage in a populist transformation of the United States in Manuel Zelaya or Hugo Chavez, his horizons have narrowed down to those of Raul Castro. His ability to remake the world has vanished and the American people are revolting against his collectivization efforts. They want open health care markets, free speech and honest government.

Obama can no longer remake the Middle East, he certainly can’t bring the Soviet Union back from the dead, but he could still bail out Raul Castro and maintain Communist rule in Cuba.

No matter how often Obama claims to be “on the right side of history”, the Castros are a living
reminder that to be on the left is to be on the wrong side of history.

Obama did not want to see the “Berlin Wall” fall in Havana on his watch. After watching his own grip on the United States collapse, he did not want to see the left fail again.

We can never know how history might have been different if Carter had gotten a second term or if Mondale had replaced Reagan. But Obama’s deal with Castro reminds us that the end of the USSR was not inevitable. It happened because we stood up against the tyrants in the Kremlin and their useful idiots in the White House.

A good man like Reagan could make a difference by bringing down the USSR. A bad man like Obama can make a difference by keeping Cuba Communist.

 This article originally appeared as Obama’s Bailout for Communist Dictators at Front Page Magazine.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Dangerous Holiday

By On December 16, 2014
Holidays are a calendar. They mark points in emotional and physical time. They remind of us who we are.

Many of those celebrating Chanukah celebrate a holiday that does nothing more than celebrate 'celebration', the rituals and rites of entertainment, a special food, a symbol whose meaning they don't remember and a little family fun.

Chanukah is many things but it is not a safe holiday. It is a victory celebration in a guerrilla war. It is a reminder that Obama's war on Jerusalem was preceded long before him by Antiochus's war on Jerusalem. It is a brief light in a period of great darkness.

The great irony of Chanukah is that those likeliest to strip away its historical and religious meaning would have been fighting against the Macabees. The battle to preserve the meaning of Chanukah is part of the struggle to preserve the Jewish traditions and culture that the left attacks.

Today's struggle for Jerusalem, for Judaism, for freedom of religion and a meaningful life continues that same old struggle of Chanukah.

The overt militarism of the Chanukah story has made it an uncomfortable fit for liberal Jews who found it easier to strip away its dangerous underlying message that a time comes when you must choose between the destruction of your culture and a war you can't win. In those dark days a war must be fought if the soul of the nation is to survive.

There are worse things than death and slavery, the fate that waited for the Maccabees and their allies had they failed, the fates that came anyway when the last of the Maccabees were betrayed and murdered by Caesar's Edomite minister, whose sons went on to rule over Israel as the Herodian dynasty.

Nations can survive the mass murder of their bodies, but not the death of their spirit. A nation does not die, until its soul dies, and the soul of a nation is in its culture and its faith, not in the bodies of its citizens.

Tonight that first candle, that first glimmer of flame over oil, marks the night that the Maccabee forces entered Jerusalem, driving out the enemy armies and their Jewish collaborators, and reclaiming their people's culture and religion.

The light of the flame was a powerful message sent across time that even in the darkest hour, hope was not lost. And Divine Providence would not abandon the people. Time passed the Maccabees fell, Jerusalem was occupied and ethnically cleansed over and over again, and still the menorah burned on. A covert message that still all hope was not lost. That Israel would rise again. 

Israel had used signal fires and torches held up on mountain tops to pass along important news. The lighting of the menorah was a miniature signal fire, a perpetuation of the temple light, its eight-day light a reminder that even the smallest light can burn beyond expectation and light beyond belief and that those who trust in G-d and fight for the freedom to believe in Him, should never abandon hope.

That divine signal fire first lit in the deserts by freed slaves has been passed on for thousands of years. Today the menorah is on the seal of the State of Israel, the product of a modern day Chanukah. The mark of a Jerusalem liberated in a miracle of six days, not eight. Six as in the number of the original temple Menorah. And the one on the seal as well.

For those liberals who believe that Jewish identity should be limited to donating to help Haiti, agitating for illegal aliens and promoting the environment; Chanukah is a threatening holiday. They have secularized it, dressed it up with teddy bears and toys, trimmed it with the ecology and civil rights of their new faith. Occasionally a Jewish liberal learns the history of it and writes an outraged essay about nationalism and militarism, but mostly they are content to bury it in the same dark cellar that they store the rest of the history of their people and the culture that they left behind.

Holidays aren't mere parties, they are messages. Knots of time that we tie around the fingers of our lives so that we remember what our ancestors meant us to never forget. That they lived and died for a reason. The party is a celebration, but if we forget what it celebrates, then it becomes a celebration of celebration. A hollow and soulless festival of the self. The Maccabees fought because they believed they had something worth fighting for. Not for their possessions, but for their traditions, their families and their G-d. The celebration of Chanukah is not just how we remember them, but how we remember that we are called upon to keep their watch. To take up their banner and carry their sword.

History is a wheel and as it turns, we see the old continents of time rising again, events revisiting themselves as the patterns of the past become new again. Ancient battles become new wars. And old struggles have to be re-fought again until we finally get them right.

Modiin, the rural center of the old Maccabee resistance, is a revived city today, larger than it ever was. Modiin-Maccabim has some 80,000 people living there. In the ancient days, this was where the Maccabee clan rose against the Seleucid conquerors over religious freedom. Today it is a place that the European Union labels an illegal settlement. A place that Jews have no right to live even though it is within sight of the Maccabees who lived and died there. Over two thousand years after Chanukah, Jews are still not allowed to live in peace in Modiin.

The new Maccabees are farmers and teachers, men and women who build families and homes in the lands of their ancestors, who brave the threats of terrorists and international tyrants to live their lives and raise their children. Knowing that they will not be allowed to live in peace, that everything they stand for is hated by the UN, in the capitals of great empires and even by their own government, they still put flame to wick and mark the first day of many days of the miracle that revived the spirit of a nation and inspires it to this day.

Not only may Jews not live in Modiin, but they may not live in Jerusalem either. And yet they do. They persist, to the eternal frustration of empires, in this quiet resistance of building a future with their buildings, their bodies and their lives. They persist in living where so many would like them to die. And they persist in lighting the menorah when so many would rather that it be forgotten.

The Jew today is called on to forget. To turn his children into bricks in order to construct the utopia of their new world order. To bend to the progressive wheel and wear the social justice chain, and cast his own offspring into the sea of zero population growth. To give up his  nation, his land, his faith and his future to toil in the shadow of the pyramids of socialism. To go down to labor in Egypt once more, in South America and Haitian slums, in barrios and villages, in ghettos and madinas, to give up who he is in order to serve others in the new slavery of social justice.

It takes courage to resist physical oppression, but it takes even greater courage to resist cultural oppression. The terms of physical resistance are easy to understand. Force is used against force. Cultural resistance is far more difficult, and by the time the necessity for it is apparent, it can often be too late.The Maccabees had to resist not only physical oppression and armed force, but the cultural oppression of a system that regarded their monotheism, their nationalism, their traditions and rituals as barbaric. A system that much of their own fellow Jews had already accepted as right and proper.

The Maccabees rose up not only against physical oppression, Israel had and would face that over and over again, they rose up against an assault on their religious and cultural  identity.  The lighting of the Menorah is the perpetuation of that cultural resistance and when it is performed properly then it reminds us that cultural oppression, like physical oppression, is ubiquitous, and that just as the forms of cultural oppression can often go unnoticed, so too the resistance to it can go unnoticed as well.

Every year that we celebrate Chanukah, the left makes another attempt to "desecrate the temple" by destroying its meaning and replacing it with the usual grab bag of social justice issues under the union label of "Tikkun Olam". And each time we push back against their ruthless assault on Jewish history and tradition the same way that the Maccabees did, by reclaiming our sacred places, cleaning away the filth left behind by the occupiers, and lighting the Menorah to remind us of who we are.

Chanukah marks the culmination of the Maccabee campaign for the liberation of Jerusalem. It is the time when we remember the men and women who refused to submit to the perversion of their values and the theft of their land. It reminds us that we must not allow our land to be stolen under any guise or allow our religion, history and culture to be perverted on any pretext. The light of the Menorah reminds us that the sacredness of a nation is in its spirit and that preserving that spirit is an eternal struggle against the conquerors of land and the tyrants of souls.

Chanukah is a Holiday of Resistance. It commemorates the physical and spiritual resistance that is required of us sooner or later in all times. Chanukah takes us back to the armed resistance and the moral awakening that liberated Jerusalem and connected the Jewish people with their G-d once again. And that reminds us to never give up, not in the face of an assault on our bodies or on our culture. The lights go out, but they are lit again, each day, for thousands of years, reminding us to hold on to our traditions and our faith, rather than trade them in for the trendy trinkets and cheap jewelery of progressive liberalism.

To light the menorah on Chanukah is to pass on a signal fire that has been kept lit for thousands of years. From the first holiday of Passover, after which the freed slaves kindled the first Menorah, to the final holiday of Chanukah, that light burns on. The historical cycle of Jewish holidays begins with Moshe confronting Pharaoh and demanding the freedom of the Jewish people. It ends with the Maccabees standing up to the tyranny of Antiochus and fighting for the right of the Jewish people to live under their own rule on their own land.

The lights of the menorah embody the spirit of the Jewish people. A spirit that has outlived the atrocities of every tyrant. In the heart of the flame that has burned for a thousand years lives the soul of a people.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Life in Post-Truth America

By On December 14, 2014
Next month Americans will experience the fifteenth anniversary of the time that the President of the United States shook his finger at the country and informed it, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never.”

Bill Clinton was lying. But the lie was more significant than the thing that he was lying about.

When the lie came crashing down, Clinton and his defenders deconstructed the English language, questioning the meaning of every word in his sentence rather than admit that the lie was a lie.

Given a choice between telling the truth or challenging the definitions of such words as “sex” and “is”, they decided to burn their dictionary.

Clinton’s antics set the stage for a current administration which can never be caught in a lie because it’s lying all the time. Obama and his people don’t just lie, they lie about the lies and then they lie about those lies. Bringing them in to testify just clogs the filters with an extra layer of lies.

Invite Gruber to testify about the time that he admitted that the administration had been lying and the only thing that will happen is more lies being told by a man who is there only because he lied.

Like the old lady who explained her cosmology to Bertrand Russell as being “turtles all the way down”, with modern progressives it’s lies all the way down.

Lena Dunham served up a rape accusation against a conservative Republican named Barry only to hide behind the ambiguity of being an unreliable narrator. The unreliable narrator likewise takes the stage at the University of Virginia where a high profile case has dissolved into contradictory stories in which it becomes difficult to tell whether it was the reporter or her subject who was doing the lying.

The unreliable narrator has crossed over from a fictional device in novels to memoirs, journalism and into politics. Journalists repeatedly dismissed ObamaCare scandals by arguing that no one could have taken Obama’s claims at face value anyway. When Obama promised Americans that they could keep their doctors, the housewife in Topeka, the freelance programmer in San Francisco and the geologist in Tulsa were supposed to be as knowing as the Washington press corps and realize that he didn’t mean it.

Like Lena Dunham, Obama was an unreliable narrator. No one was ever supposed to expect the truth from him. The significance of Bill Clinton was not in his affairs, but in his cynicism. He got away with lying by dismissing the idea that anyone should have ever expected the truth from him. Obama expanded on his work by eliminating the base truth underneath the lies.

The device of the unreliable narrator puts truth out of reach. It says that there is no such thing as truth, only various perspectives on an event.

Lena Dunham doesn’t claim to be providing facts, only different versions of a story. The facts themselves cannot be retrieved because there are no facts. The man in question is no longer named Barry. Every descriptive detail about him might be equally false. The whole thing may never have happened, but it’s important to believe that it happened without ever expecting it to be true.

This is the Doublethink state of our progressive Oceania. We are expected to believe a lie while remembering that it’s a lie and therefore never really fooled us or caused anyone any harm.

We were supposed to believe Obama’s assurances about ObamaCare while knowing them not to be true. We are supposed to believe Lena Dunham and Jackie and Gruber while disbelieving them. “The essential act of the Party is to use conscious deception while retaining the firmness of purpose that goes with complete honesty,” Orwell wrote.

The conscious deceptions of the modern Doublethinkers depend on them telling a lie in the service of the greater truth. That pursuit of a greater truth built out of lies is what motivated a Rolling Stone article about fraternity rapists that even Mike Nifong would have turned his nose up at or Gruber’s arrogant truths about lying. The greater truth gives them the firmness of purpose and the complete honesty.

Lena Dunham in BuzzFeed, the apologists for ObamaCare and the activist cheerleaders for Rolling Stone, insist that the facts are a technicality that is obstructing the greater truth. And the greater truth is a worldview that is out of the reach of facts and can never be disproven.

Bill Clinton and his allies deconstructed the English language rather than admit a lie. Their successors deconstruct reality. They deny that objective truth exists or even matters. They didn’t lie because there is no such thing as truth. There are perspectives, some of which agree with Bill Clinton’s version of reality or Lena Dunham’s version of reality. And then there is Obama’s version of reality.

Obama is the nexus of Doublethink. He is the man whom reporters have denounced as the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation and whom they compulsively defend with every possible lie. Why do journalists protect and serve the man who threatened them, bugged and even tried to lock them up? They too have long ago become unreliable narrators of their own profession.

In the absence of facts, there can be no reality. There is only ideology.

Obama doesn’t simply lie. He exists in a truth-free zone. He doesn’t stumble with any construction as clumsy as Kerry’s “I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it.” He does not start with truthful facts. His starting point is in an imaginary territory. It ends in an imaginary territory. If the two imaginary territories are different, it scarcely matters because neither place was ever real.

When he came into office Obama insisted that we had to pivot to fighting Al Qaeda in Afghanistan even though it was no longer in Afghanistan. He went on claiming victory over an enemy that didn’t exist while dismissing ISIS as a jayvee team even when it was capturing entire cities in Iraq.

These weren’t mere lies. This was a foreign policy being conducted in an imaginary territory. It was Wag the Dog being played out in real life. But then again what is real around Obama anyway?

Bill Clinton lied. Obama tells stories. None of these stories have anything to do with reality. Lena Dunham’s biography is a peek into a disordered mind that is incapable of grasping the concept of truth. In her world there are no facts, only stories that elicit emotional reactions. Obama’s entire career rests on the same technique of telling stories for emotional effect without any regard for reality.

ObamaCare was an ugly collectivist bureaucratic dinosaur clothed in imaginary stories. The stories about it, about the economy, about the war are still being told. Added to it are new stories about racism. The stories are passionate, compelling and appealing. They are also completely unreal.

Progressives don’t only live in a post-American world; they live in a post-Truth world. A world without facts and without truth is one in which the America that was cannot exist.

America had prospered because of a firm belief in a discoverable and exploitable reality. That was the country that could build skyscrapers and fleets in a year. Post-Truth America has little interest in big buildings because it’s too busy enacting a psychodrama in which the earth is about to be destroyed. And fleets, like horses and bayonets and facts, are 19th century toys that are much less interesting than the manipulation of people through lies and deceit.

Lena Dunham’s Barry and Obama’s Barry are both imaginary creatures. They are the sophisticated products of disordered minds and a disordered civilization whose leading figures lie as instinctively and as shamelessly as any pre-rational culture that could not distinguish between lies and truth.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Leftist Lynch Mobs from Ferguson to Rolling Stone

By On December 12, 2014
Did you bury a teenage girl alive after shooting her? Are you on death row after a string of crimes too gruesome to describe? Or you just a member of Al Qaeda dedicated to destroying America?

 If so progressives will fight for you. Just dial 1-800-IAM-VICTIM and the left waiting to take your call will insist on your presumption of innocence. Its activists, reporters and lawyers will exploit every pretext to get you off the hook and they will call that justice.

The judicial process, they will say, matters more than public safety, public outrage or the victims.

When the crime wave set loose by their own activism flooded the country they clung to Blackstone’s formulation of “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.” As murders, rapes and robberies rose, the value of that formulation went up from ten to ten thousand.

But it had to be the right ten thousand.

Leftist lynch mobs rioting in Ferguson, marching through Manhattan and screaming in Oakland assert that the presumption of innocence doesn’t apply to police officers or white Hispanics. Their poses of victimization with their cries of “Black lives matter” and “I can’t breathe” disguise what they really are.

They were protesting before the case moved forward. They have continued protesting after the verdict was in. That’s not a call for justice. It’s a lynch mob that knows what the verdict should be and seeks to intimidate the authorities into giving it to them by taking the law into their own hands.

Rolling Stone’s rape story was cooked out of the same ingredients; a presumption of guilt and a lynch mob demanding its own brand of justice. The facts never mattered.

The assistant managing editor at the University of Virginia’s student paper admitted that when she argued, "To let fact checking define the narrative would be a huge mistake."

It was never about the facts. It was about the narrative. And the narrative was not only the guilt of a few men, but the way that their guilt stood in for the guilt of all men or all white people. The factual question of whether Officer Darren Wilson or a few UVA students committed a crime was a technicality.

Since the racist and sexist narrative states that all white people or all men are inherently guilty, the factual question of whether a few men actually raped someone doesn’t matter. The factual question of whether a police officer is actually guilty under the law is so obscure that it isn’t worth discussing.

Fact checking just obstructs the narrative that all white people or all men are guilty.

The old lynch mobs presumed that a black man was guilty on account of his race. So do the new lynch mobs.

Wilson’s crime wasn’t shooting Michael Brown. It was shooting him while being white. If he had been black, we wouldn’t be talking about it now. If the black sergeant supervising the takedown of Eric Garner had been the one to restrain him, there would be no protesters shouting “I can’t breathe”.

Subtract the race of the perpetrator and the case wouldn’t exist. That’s what makes the case racist.

A lynch mob brought into existence by the race of the man they want lynched is a racist lynch mob.

At Ferguson and the University of Virginia not only was the crime assumed into existence before the verdict was in, but the action of one police officer in Ferguson was used to indict all police officers and then all white people. The actions of a few men at the University of Virginia were used to indict the entire fraternity and then all fraternities and then all men.

Classic lynch mobs treated the actions of one black rapist as a justification for repressing all black people. The leftist lynch mobs at Ferguson and the University of Virginia used the accusation of an individual crime to call for the repression of entire groups, to attack all white people and all men.

Even if these crimes had turned out to be substantiated, indicting hundreds of millions of people for the actions of a few is the narrative of a hate group. And that’s what progressives have shown that they are; a respectable establishment hate group that demonizes millions of people and leads lynch mobs.

One of the greatest lies of the left is that it believes in civil liberties. The ACLU’s civil libertarian colors were a convenient costume. It never existed to protect the rights of the people against leftist governments. It existed to protect the privileges of leftists.

That’s a direct quote from its co-founder.

Roger Nash Baldwin wrote, “If I aid the reactionaries to get free speech now and then, if I go outside the class struggle to fight against censorship, it is only because those liberties help to create a more hospitable atmosphere for working class liberties... When that power of the working class is once achieved, as it has been only in the Soviet Union, I am for maintaining it by any means whatever.”

When Baldwin wrote these words, he was speaking of a Soviet Union led by Stalin which was maintaining its dictatorship of the proletariat through a secret police, torture and mass murder.

The co-founder of the ACLU was not only endorsing Stalin’s crimes, but he was also looking forward to an American Stalin rounding up enemies of the state and shooting them with the support of the ACLU.

The presumption of innocence is an idea that leftists only believe in when they aren’t in power.

When the left isn’t in power, then it may protect civil liberties to protect itself. When one of its own radicals is sitting in the White House, then it leads lynch mobs through the streets. The protests aren’t acts of weakness by victims, but signs of strength by oppressors.

The left is rejecting the democratic results of the midterm elections and turning to street violence. Their confidence is derived from the support of the establishment from the White House to the media. Never have lynch mobs received such universal acclaim from all the powers of the United States of America.

The progressive lynch mobs in Ferguson and at the University of Virginia contend that some crimes are too hurtful to a particular population to be protected by the presumption of innocence. Some suspects should be presumed guilty because of the combination of their race and gender with a national crisis.

After fighting for Al Qaeda terrorists at Gitmo, the left hypocritically decided that the presumption of innocence should apply to Muslim terrorists but not to police officers. The civil libertarians of the left went from championing the rights of criminals over those of victims to embracing the conservative position of victim rights… as long these rights are reserved for only the right sorts of victims.

The activists of the left must be forced to admit whether they are for or against the presumption of innocence. If they want to dispense with the presumption of innocence when it comes to enemies of the people like police officers and fraternity members, it will also go away for Islamic terrorists and violent thugs. Not to mention Weather Underground terrorists teaching at prestigious progressive colleges.

We cannot have a presumption of innocence for some people and not others. The left is not entitled to create two justice systems for two types of people. One group will be lynched with a formality of a trial manipulated to produce a verdict that not only damns one defendant, but also his entire race or gender. The other will receive every possible defense no matter how obvious his guilt may be.

America is a nation of laws, not of racist lynch mobs. Its trials are based on facts, not on narratives. The presumption of innocence matters more than the narrative and the social justice hashtag. Without it all we have left are racist lynch mobs with smartphones marching through Manhattan.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Fat Class Warfare

By On December 07, 2014
There was a time when fat was in and thin was out. Obesity was the privilege of wealth and being thin meant being poor. In simpler societies, before slumming became a romantic pose, there was nothing attractive about not having enough to eat.

To be fat was to be part of the leisure class. Thin meant you were on the road to the poorhouse or to consumption, which meant your body was being consumed, not that you were the one doing the consuming.

Then agriculture was revolutionized and the values flipped. No one in the West was starving to death and the poorest man could still grow fat. By the time the social programs kicked in, weight no longer meant leisure.

With packaged foods widely available and jobs shifting from the factory to the desk, it was entirely possible to work hard and get fat.

On the other side of the aisle, exercise meant leisure time. The standard was set by movie stars who struggled to meet unrealistic standards because they had the time and disposable income to do it.

Fat no longer meant upper class gentry. Instead it meant lower class peasant. As with art, the widespread availability turned minimalism, and eventually the worthless and overpriced, into class signifiers. Conspicuous consumption of that which was widely available was lower class. 

The overflowing table made way for micro portions and exotic but barely edible foods. Thin was in on the plate and the waistline.
In many Third World countries where feudalism never ended, the values never flipped. Instead of anorexia, teenage girls suffer from being force fed to make them more marriageable. The wealthy are fat and the feasts at the top never end.

In the West, weight stands in for class, at a time when explicit classism has become politically incorrect. When Europeans sneer at how fat Americans are, and American coastal elites sneer at the rest of the country for being fat, it's a class putdown.

And no one traffics in class putdowns like the left.

Liberalism has become an engine of class repression, with the super-rich pushing down the rich and the rich liberal undermining the middle class. Its regulatory regime limits social mobility and locks in class privileges even while spewing rhetoric about these and income inequality.

Obesity is a classic moral crusade whose real purpose is to inflate the sense of moral superiority of a particular elite. With the moral codes of sex and drugs having been dismantled by that same elite, obesity is one of the few remaining class signifiers, aside from cigarettes, that it's safe to hold a moral crusade about.

The War on Fat echoes the same old obsessions of Prohibitionism, a paranoid concern about the inability of the lower classes to care for themselves that verges on bigotry, an imaginary crisis blown out of all proportion in order to justify abuses of power and the self-congratulatory superiority lurking behind the curtain.

Their obesity concern trolling is a combination of classism and nanny statism that brings to mind the days when their ideological forebears thought that the way to deal with the poor was to sterilize those who seemed less capable than the rest to improve the breed. The breed being culled while the elites try to teach their less evolved cousins to survive by eating their arugula.

Finding moral failings in a manufactured underclass justifies endless abuses of power by demonstrating the inferiority and unfitness of those below. Obesity fits into that same template.

The solutions never work. Michelle Obama's botched school lunch program and ObamaCare lawsuits over fitness rewards once again show that the technocratic nanny state can never achieve the goals of the moral crusade. But slimming down isn't really the goal. Bloomberg's soda ban wasn't a serious solution. It was an expression of disdain and most of those on the receiving end understood that.

Barack and Michelle Obama lecture on food while gorging themselves at banquets. The lecture is the point. Cutting calories isn't. It's easier to oppress those who are manifestly inferior. Every elite needs these hypocritical justifications of their own superiority. The nanny state is not an act of concern.

It's an act of contempt.

The nanny state is built on a technocratic confidence in the ability to create one size fits all solutions, overlaying that on a map of the current medical wisdom leads to the creation of single standards, which often have less to do with health than they do with the status symbols of the leisure class. 19th century popularized medicine created so many of these fads that some of them are still around today. The 20th century created even more of them. And the 21st century is only getting started.

Death though is not only inevitable, but it cannot be dodged with a one size fits all standard. Fitness guru Jim Fixx who helped kickstart the running craze died in his early fifties of a heart attack. Fixx had quit smoking and lost weight, and still died at an early age. Jackie Gleason who spent his life looking like a walking health attack, smoking and drinking, outlived him by nearly twenty years.

Medicine is individual and the collectivization of medicine is a technocratic solution that leads to broad stroke solutions, like adding calories to menus and other rats in a maze tactics designed to modify human behavior on a national level. The targeting of fast food restaurants, public school meals and food stamps reeks of the same elitist arrogance that drives the nanny state.

The politicization of food by the elites of the left always comes down to class, no matter how it may be disguised in liberal colors. From exotic to locally grown, the trajectory of food politics follows the upselling of food prices  The only difference is that the dominance of the left has wrapped the added cost with no added value in their own politics. The more affordable food becomes, the more the left finds ways to add cost to food, without adding value.

But the politicization of food goes beyond the fair trade and locally grown fetishes of the politically correct elites, the more politics ends up on your plate, the more the elites are driven to involve everyone else in their food fights. What begins as a way of raising prices while diminishing value to assert wealth and privilege becomes imposed on everyone in the name of their political morality.

Once everyone else is paying more and getting less, then the classist left demands new ways to set its superior moral eating habits apart. Instead of everyone ending up with more food, everyone ends up with less.

Lefty culture practices conspicuous consumption, but the consumption has to be disguised with conspicuous political pieties. The food may cost twice as much, but it's locally grown on a farm run by handicapped union workers who visit Cuba to receive free health care or by the indigenous peoples of Tuba-Tuba with the proceeds going to a complete sonic library of their chants and ceremonies. It's a meaningfully meaningless hairshirt that disguises the consumption underneath.

Conspicuous consumption is now for the poor while conspicuous political consumption is for liberal elites. Al Gore may live in a mansion but he still has the carbon footprint of a mouse. The problem is the truck driver whose vehicular emissions are killing the planet. Whole Foods is just fine, but we need to do something about White Castle. 

In a moment of horrifying tone deafness that makes Marie Antoinette seem enlightened, the left is cheering that fewer Americans are eating meat, without seeming to understand that it's because fewer Americans are able to afford it because of the left's economic policies.

What the left's food police can't accomplish with nudges and shaming, they can finish off with policies and regulations that raise the price of food or make it too difficult to sell. When the left fails to sell the public on conspicuous political consumption as a status symbol, it brings in the heavy bureaucratic artillery.

It isn't unusual for elites to use the legal system to enforce their own values on the general public, though it was the kind of thing that the universal franchise was supposed to put a leash on, but there is something grim about their growing preoccupation with the habits and mortality of the population. It's the kind of concern that has a habit of ending in eugenics and the more medicine is universalized, the easier it is to start cutting off access to medical treatment for those who haven't been nudged far enough in the right direction.

Social medicine politicizes food consumption and a globalized economy politicizes food production. And the politicized American plate has less on it and at a higher price. While the left obsessively pursues its mission of destroying fast food in the name of lowering socialized medicine costs, they are taking affordable and filling food off the shelves, as they have done with countless other products that they have targeted.

By the time the left was done with Russia, it had gone from a wheat producer to a wheat importer and many basic food staples were hard to come by even in a country filled with collective farms. Finding modern day examples of that isn't hard. We only have to look as far south as Venezuela to see empty store shelves under the weight of government food policies.

But one day that may be the local grocery store if the left gets its way.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Black Lives Don't Matter

By On December 04, 2014
The slogan of the wave of Ferguson protests is “Black Lives Matter”. But progressives are far more interested in toting around the corpse of Michael Brown to their protests than in the living man he was.

Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and countless others like them grew up in broken families, their lives haunted by fathers and stepfathers with gang ties. The only masculine culture they had was that of the thug and that culture eventually killed them.

Criminal culture is even more fatal to criminals than it is to their victims. If you attack enough people, eventually one of them will fight back. Eventually one of them will kill you.

It wasn’t Darren Wilson who decided that black lives don’t matter. Michael Brown did. He did not grow up with a sense that his life was worth anything more than violent posturing could make of it. Just like Martin, that violent posturing eventually killed him.

Rappers recorded a tribute song to Michael Brown titled, “Don’t Shoot”. But Brown’s own songs had a different theme with lyrics like “My favorite part of killing people is when they hit the ground.”

Black criminals victimize other black people first. The Ferguson looters went after businesses serving the black community and businesses owned by black people. That’s the way it always is.

Which black lives really matter in Missouri; the lives of criminals shot by police officers or the black lives taken by criminals?

Missouri has a black homicide rate that is nearly double the nationwide homicide rate for black people. And it’s nearly six times higher than the overall murder rate in Missouri.

If the media were really outraged by lost black lives, they would be outraged by those numbers. If the protesters really wanted to say that black lives matter, they would fight those murder rates instead of contributing to them with their protests. The story of Missouri’s murder rate is the story of the left. From the beginning to the end of the 1960s, murder rates doubled, rapes, robberies and car thefts doubled, assaults tripled and thefts quadrupled.

A decade in which America changed left a bloody trail of death and misery in its wake. The victims of the left’s transformation of America filled the gutters, morgues, prisons and hospitals.

When Giuliani pointed out that the police were there to protect black people, he was asserting that black lives matter. And unlike every single one of his self-righteous critics, he actually saved black lives.

The decision of his Socialist successor, Bill de Blasio, to move criminals back into housing projects was a statement that they don’t. Housing projects in the pre-Giuliani era belonged to drug dealers. Getting criminals out of housing projects saved black lives, especially those of children.

The “Black Lives Matter” protesters claim that there’s a crisis of police shootings. There isn’t. There is a crisis of young black men shooting each other.

After the shooting of drug dealer Derrick Jones, the NAACP breathlessly reported that 37 black people were shot by police in Oakland over four years. Meanwhile there were 1,594 shooting victims in Oakland in one year.

The vast majority of the perpetrators were black. The majority of murder victims were young black men. So were their killers. The leading cause of death for young black men is murder. The perpetrators are other young black men.

If black lives really mattered, then the life of a young black man shot down by a criminal would matter at least as much as Michael Brown. But those black lives don’t matter.

The progressive Ferguson protesters not only don’t care about them, but they want to take more black lives by empowering criminals and crippling the police.

The gang is to the black community as the cartel is to lawless parts of Mexico, except that the American equivalents of the Narcocorrido, the songs glamorizing cartel drug dealers, are distributed by major music labels and their performers are invited to the White House.

While Mexico tries to fight drug and gang music, American progressives make it mainstream.

Gang culture in Black America, which is responsible for most of the gun violence in the country, isn’t the work of a few thugs in a burned out building; it’s promoted by progressives in the entertainment industry. The black lives taken by its glamorization of drug dealing and violent killing also don’t matter.

You don’t show that black lives matter by supporting criminal control over entire black neighborhoods. When you fight the criminals who are taking black lives, when you roll back crime, then you show that black lives really matter. When you help criminals you are announcing that black lives don’t matter.

Despite its self-righteousness about black lives mattering, the left isn’t any good at saving them. It is however really good at taking them. Planned Parenthood’s black outreach arm announced on Twitter that it was joining the Ferguson protests because #BlackLivesMatter.

More African-American lives were ended at abortion clinics in the United States than anywhere else. But those black lives also don’t matter.

The 6,000 black people murdered in one year don’t matter. The 400,000 black babies killed in one year don’t matter. Does a black man have to be killed by a white cop for his life to matter to the left? That’s the only conclusion that can be drawn from Ferguson.

To the #BlackLivesMatter crowd, the furious white hipsters crowding malls and staging die-ins, black lives only matter when they feed their own political agendas, their grudges and their own egos.

If black lives really mattered to the left, it would not have built an entire industry, an entire culture and an entire political movement around taking them.

Progressives only care about black people when they’re using them as weapons. For black lives to matter to them, they have to be dead at the hands of a white man. For black unemployment to matter to them, they have to be able to blame it on Republicans. Black poverty, black homelessness only matter to them when they can cash in on a social justice solution that doesn’t fix the problem.

The rest of the time they don’t pay attention and don’t care.

Black people exist for the political convenience of progressives. Black lives don’t matter to them except when they can make use of them. The master-slave relationship has shifted from the plantation to the poll inflating the self-esteem and power of the masters while destroying the lives of their slaves.

The Ferguson protests are not about saving black lives, but promoting the pro-crime politics that take them. Its message is that all black people are criminals and have to be protected from law enforcement. By turning Michael Brown into the ubiquitous black man, the left reveals how racist it really is.

If black lives truly matter, then they matter when the conditions of their misery can’t be blamed on white people. If black lives truly mattered to the protesters, they would fight crime instead of supporting the criminals taking black lives.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

How to Make Your Own Race Riot

By On December 02, 2014
The angry rioter is a sacred figure in the progressive pantheon of social justice. The shirtless men in bandanas carting away cell phones are so outraged by injustice that they are willing to take to the streets and do what progressive hipsters taking social justice selfies of themselves in souvenir t-shirts plastered with the face of the latest victim of “white supremacism” can only dream about.

But the saint of the looted convenience store is as mythical a figure as the selfless community organizer. The race riot isn’t a bubbling stew of outrage out of which wounded souls emerge to cry out for justice. It’s a complicated criminal conspiracy in which the perpetrators rarely suffer any consequences.

Here’s how a race riot is actually put together.


3. Riots aren’t fed by outrage, but by opportunism

The rioters aren’t outraged, they’re usually bored young men, frustrated and lacking in empathy. Many of them have gang ties or a criminal record stretching back to kindergarten.

They’re the same people who commit crimes in any other non-outraged context.

The rest are there to get some attention while providing them with protective coloration. 9 out of 10 people screaming frenziedly while holding up “Black Lives Matter” signs would eagerly scream and hold up “Justin Bieber 4 President” or “Ferguson Loves the KKK” signs if it got them positive attention and a shot at being on television.

Everything you need to do know about why the riots fizzled out can be read on a thermometer. On Monday, when the grand jury failed to indict Officer Wilson, the temperature hit a high of 57 degrees. The next day it was still in the forties. Now that the temperature is in the twenties, the riots have fizzled out.

Weather breaks up a riot faster than appeasement. It’s hard to riot when your teeth are chattering.

There’s a reason that riots usually happen in the summer. If the grand jury verdict had been issued in January, it would have been met peacefully.

The riots in Ferguson didn’t happen because of outrage, but because the gathering mobs were told by everyone from CNN right up to Governor Nixon that angry protests were expected and would be tolerated. That was as good as throwing a match into a spreading pool of gasoline.

No one was stealing beauty supplies or starting fires in Walgreens because they were upset that Michael Brown got shot. They were stealing for the same reasons that Michael Brown stole; because they believed that they could get away with it.


2. The rioters and looters aren’t burning their own community

A riot has two components. There are the bored and irritated locals who begin swarming streets because they have no jobs, it’s hot outside and there’s nothing good on television. They will loosely agree with whatever issue is on the table, but they aren’t all that worked up about it.

And then there are the outsiders.

Before the riot, community organizers, citizen reporters and assorted activists show up to coordinate, spread slogans and justify the coming violence. They want violence far more than the locals do and they taunt police and try to create incidents, but they usually avoid personally engaging in violence.

(In the early twentieth century the group stirring up riots was usually some arm of the Communist Party. Later a variety of leftist groups, many closely entangled with the Democratic Party took over. The Ferguson protests are somewhat unique in the sizable Muslim presence with their activists playing the same role that the Communist Party used to play a century ago.) Most of the damage is done by looters and rioters from other areas looking for an opportunity to burn and steal. Some locals will tag after them, but they are usually responsible for the worst of the violence.

Being outsiders they’re unknown to the police and rarely have to worry about being identified afterwards. And they don’t care about burning down someone else’s community.

The media usually sticks to its narrative of an outraged community that engages in excesses, especially when it can’t tell apart the locals from the outsiders. Local cops can, but no one in the media listens to them. Arrest records usually show that most of those charged in the more violent crimes aren’t locals, but the media remains immune to facts that conflict with a favorite narrative.


1. Riots are about power, not for the rioters, but for the establishment

"We must not reprimand our children for outrage when it is the outrage that was put in them by an oppressive system," Al Sharpton had said, in the aftermath of the murder of a Jewish student by an angry black mob.

This same rhetoric was used by the inciters of the violence in Ferguson and has been used in similar riots going back generations. Its major theme is that the rioters are free to do whatever they want. They carry no moral responsibility for their actions.

And what they want is to smash and steal anything they can get their hands on. This isn’t outrage. It’s textbook amoral behavior. The riot doesn’t release anger; it frees the perpetrators of their morality.

The real purpose of a riot isn’t to benefit the rioters. It’s to benefit those who incite the riot. The rioters and looters react in response to riot-friendly conditions created from above. If you build the political infrastructure for a riot, the rioters and looters will come.

Sharpton’s riots weren’t about helping anyone except himself. By associating himself with violence, he sold the idea that he was an influential figure in the black community. Whether or not Sharpton was actually popular, his rise to the top of the political establishment became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Riots are about perception, not reality. The ringleader tries to keep his hands clean while convincing the establishment that he can turn the violence on or off any time he wants to.

Ferguson is the product of a new generation of Sharptons, ambitious activists feeding hate, of the New Black Panther Party’s obsession with becoming relevant, of the ragged hipster ends of Occupy Wall Street drifting from occupation to occupation, of Muslim agents dreaming of turning African-Americans into a fifth column and of Obama’s clumsy efforts to keep on playing community organizer by feeding racial grievances and then pretending to rise above them.

Those who gain from unleashing chaos and violence are not the powerless, but the powerful. Sharpton rose to his important role as Obama’s liaison on a trail of bodies. Someone operating in Ferguson hopes to be the next Sharpton. Meanwhile Obama is playing a perverse fusion of Sharpton and MLK, amping up a bad situation and then telling blacks and whites that they need to rise above it.

It’s an old and cynical game that has been played in and around the Democratic Party for too long.

The answers to Ferguson can’t be found in its streets. The problem didn’t come from there. It came from a black political establishment that lights the fuse for its own power and profit.

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