Thursday, May 29, 2014

The "You Didn't Do That" Society

First Elliot Rodger murdered his three roommates with a knife, hammer and machete. Then he shot eight people, three of them fatally, and tried to run over several others in his car.

After the bodies were taken away, everyone on television agreed that it was the fault of the guns.

Rodger had been in therapy since he was eight and was seeing therapists every day in high school. He had a history of making violent threats and the police had already gotten involved. He was on multiple prescription medications and had therapists whom he alerted to his plans by sending them his manifesto.

A therapist reacted by notifying his mother who drove out personally. By then even more people were dead.

In a country where a little boy with a pop tart chewed in the shape of a gun triggers immediate action, the professionals who cashed in on the killer’s wealthy family were in no hurry to call the police. One even reassured his mother while the shootings were going on that it wasn’t him.

So it was clearly the fault of the guns. Guns that Elliot Rodger bought with $5,000 from his family. The BMW he used to commit some of the attacks was given to him by his mother.

Jenni Rodger, his British aunt, blamed America and guns for her nephew's massacre. "What kind of a society allows this? How can this be allowed to happen? I want to appeal to Americans to do something about this horrific problem."

Somehow the parenting failure of her brother is now the fault of an entire foreign country.

Rodger's father issued a statement through his lawyer in support of gun control and "staunchly against guns." It might have been a bit more useful if Peter Rodger, instead of opposing a category of manual instruments, had spent more time dealing with his son's problems.

Guns did not kill six people. His son did.

Maybe Elliot Rodger's family would not have been able to change anything, but it's likely that they could have at least prevented the massacre if they had become more involved instead of delegating the problem that their son had become to therapists and medications. It's the height of cynicism for his father and aunt to take refuge in abstractions about gun control.

When a teenager stabbed twenty people at a Pittsburgh-area high school there were no easy answers about gun control to take refuge in. If Rodger had stuck to his knife, hammer and machete, his relatives who coddled him all these years wouldn't be able to shift the blame to an abstract policy. They wouldn't be able to politicize the crime and snip their own involvement out of the picture.

Elliot Rodger's parents, communicating through a lawyer and a talent agent, find it convenient to put up another layer of abstraction between themselves and the actions of their son. And the easiest way to do that is to transform it into a widespread social problem. The more that the smiling people on television talk about gun control, the less likely they are to talk about them.

Even mental illness reduces a specific crime to the abstraction of a social problem. Expanding an individual act into a social problem manufactures a collective responsibility. The scapegoats are people who had nothing to do with what happened. The killer's family has successfully shifted responsibility to people who live a thousand miles away and never even knew their son existed.

Guns have become a convenient cliche. The new villain is no longer the killer, but the 5 million members of the NRA who are unwilling to give up their constitutional rights because Elliot Rodger's family failed at their single most important job.

Why is a gun owner in North Carolina more responsible for the Isla Vista killings than Peter Rodger? Does Peter Rodger’s staunch opposition to guns free him from responsibility while dumping it on the majority of Americans who believe in the Bill of Rights?

Elliot Rodger was not a social problem. He was not a gun culture. He was not a national anything. He was an individual and individuals bear responsibility for their own actions.

The left is expert at removing responsibility from individuals and assigning it to the culture at large. Every murder is a failure of society. And society fails every murderer, they insist. We are all murderers because we own guns or didn't vote for the right politicians who would have allocated more money to mental health treatment, school counseling or midnight basketball.

And outlawed guns.

The "You didn't build that" society is also the "You didn't do that" society. The flip side of Elizabeth Warren and Barack Obama's collectivist rhetoric is that just as no one invents the airplane, creates a company or writes the Great American Novel on their own, no one kills six people on their own. If you killed six people, it's because of the Second Amendment. If you wanted to kill sorority girls, it's because of Seth Rogen movies. If you're a half-Asian who beat and stabbed your Asian roommates to death, it's because of white (or half-white) supremacism.

No one does anything good or bad on their own. The good that men do gets taxed away for the purported benefit of society and the evil that they do is blamed on society.

In a collectivist system, everyone is responsible for everything collectively and not responsible for anything individually. Everyone but the killer is responsible for his shooting spree. And that means no one is responsible. The problem is tackled with public awareness hashtags and legislation that hurts millions of people who didn't do anything wrong.

America's gun owners, like its machete and hammer owners, did not kill anyone. Every day the vast majority of gun owners somehow manage to get through the day without a killing spree. Their tools don't have minds of their own. The gun culture that liberals talk about does not sneak in through their windows at night and urge them to shoot up the neighborhood.

Elliot Rodger did not kill because he had guns. He bought guns because he wanted to kill. And he wasn't very good at it, wounding more people than he killed. Like many on the left he believed that guns would make him invincible. They didn't. And it was the same good guys with guns the left sneers at who put a stop to his killing spree.

We aren't rethinking the First Amendment because of Rodger's YouTube videos and manifesto. Why are we supposed to rethink the Second Amendment every time some psycho includes guns in his killing spree? The problem was not with Rodger's computer, his smartphone, his hammer, his machete or his handguns. They were only the tools that he used. The problem was with him.

The solution to horrifying crimes is not collective guilt, but individual responsibility. Instead of transforming individual acts into a social problem, we should instead remind ourselves that the keystone of morality is individual responsibility. Collectives are not moral. Individuals are.

People don't kill because there is a gun shop around the corner. They kill because they make a choice.

Elliot Rodger's family doesn't want to deal with their own choices. Elliot Rodger certainly did not want to deal with his. However if we want a moral society, we won't get there by pretending that choice doesn't exist. We won't get there by banning guns. We won't get there through abstractions.

A moral society recognizes the power and responsibility of individual choice. A better country doesn't begin with banning guns, but with holding accountable those who kill. Even while liberals were puffing out their chests over gun control, the Supreme Court's liberal justices stepped in to save Freddie Hall who kidnapped, raped and murdered a pregnant woman and shot a deputy.

That was in 1978. A decade earlier, he had gone to jail for raping another woman and gouging out her eyes so she wouldn't be able to identify him.

Like some of the other monsters on death row, Hall decided to plead retarded. His IQ scores dropped. After a long series of appeals, the Supreme Court finally decided that executing him would be unconstitutional.

"Florida’s law contravenes our Nation’s commitment to dignity and its duty to teach human decency as the mark of a civilized world," Justice Kennedy wrote, speaking for the majority. But America was at its best in dignity and decency when it held men, including monsters like Freddie Hall, accountable for their actions. Decency and civilization come from individual choices. Liberals like Kennedy reject individual choices and seek every possible pretext for protecting killers from their moral choices.

A society that makes excuses for monsters becomes an amoral cesspool where no one is responsible for anything because everyone is responsible for everything. Instead of offering collectivist excuses and implementing collectivist overreactions, we can restore dignity and decency by rejecting social problems and embracing individual responsibility.

Our choice is not between a safe society without guns and a dangerous society with guns. It is between a society of individual responsibility where everyone can be trusted to own a gun and a society of collectivist irresponsibles where no one can be trusted to own a gun.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Evil is the Motive of Evil

Elliot Rodger is only the latest mass murderer whose creepy videos and massive manifesto will be pored over for clues to his state of mind. Rodger is in good company with killers like Osama bin Laden, Anders Behring Breivik and Christopher Dorner who exploited their murderous celebrity by running their mouths and fingers while unloading their deep thoughts on everything.

Osama bin Laden suggested everyone read Jimmy Carter's Palestine as well as Walt and Mearsheimer's The Israel Lobby. Christopher Dorner regretted missing out on the next season of The Walking Dead. Breivik discussed his favorite video games and Elliot Rodger had to tell us every movie he watched.

Mass murderers act like aspiring celebrities because that's what they are. They want to be famous. They are compulsive narcissists who need everyone to pay attention to them.

Analyzing their manifestos for motive is a waste of time. Rodger, like Dorner, Breivik and Bin Laden, was obsessed with power fantasies. They all killed people to gain power over them and over the larger audience beyond their victims. They wanted to make the rest of the world see them the way they saw themselves. Their videos and manifestos were a pose like everything else about them.

A hundred years ago we would have called them evil. Today we pore over their writings trying to understand what made them snap. And when we do that, we make the mistake of assuming that their complaints made them kill, instead of being the excuse that allowed them to kill.

A million young men go around complaining about being alone. They don't go on a killing spree. A million workers hate their job and their coworkers. They don't kill them. Millions of ordinary people resent their spouses, their parents, their bosses, their neighbors and their garbage men.

They don’t kill them.

The significant thing about Elliot Rodger or Christopher Dorner is that they began killing. It's the only thing about them worth paying attention to, not their whiny manifestos.

The manifestos tell a story that has been playing out inside the heads of the killers, but killers are unreliable narrators. Their stories exist dreamlike inside their own heads and they reshape and change the stories all the time. The story is an egotistical narrative that the killers need to be true so that they can be free to kill.

Elliot Rodger needed to feel rejected by women so that he could justify his killing spree. Dorner needed to alienate everyone around him. Breivik needed to believe that he was leading an international movement. Osama bin Laden needed to draw the United States into a conflict.

Their manifestos encourage us to see things backward. They play out the familiar story of the man who was pushed too far. But these aren't men who were pushed too far. They were men who pushed themselves until they were exactly where they wanted to be.

Once they carry out their acts of violence, the linkage between act and manifesto breaks down.

Rodger killed four men and two women. Dorner murdered the daughter and fiancé of his LAPD representative and Breivik shot up a camp. Osama bin Laden ranted about Israel, among his dozens of other motives, but did little to go after it in any concerted way.

Manifestos don't tell us what a murderer will do. They don't even tell us why he's doing it. All they tell us is what he wants his potential sympathizers to believe about his motives.

The modern mindset assumes that dismissing a man as evil is uninformative. But understanding that a killer is evil tells us far more about him than we can learn by studying his manifestos.

What is evil? Evil seeks power over others. It sees the rest of world as evil and wants to dominate or destroy it.

Why does evil see the world as evil? Because its definition of evil is the gap between its own power fantasies of how the world should be and how it really is. Paranoid schizophrenics interpret this gap as a malignancy in the world that is directed at them. The more conventionally evil see something that is similar, but with fewer fantastic elements. They deliberately misinterpret events in order to move to the next step of the screenplay that exists in their own heads.

Evil has a great deal of self-esteem and no empathy. It turns its own power fantasies into a narcissistic ideology and if it can't pass along that ideology to someone else, it kills. That's why this type of killer usually has a history of negative social media involvement in which he tries to live out his fantasies.

Osama bin Laden or Mohammed, his prophet, became successful narcissistic killers with armies of followers murdering in their name. Rodger, Breivik and Dorner were unsuccessful and had to act on their own, but they all shared common ambitions that transcended race and nationality.

The Caliphate, the ultimate goal of Islam, is also the embodiment of the power fantasy. Breivik dreamed of founding a kingdom. Rodger wanted to rule the planet as a fascist dictator and round up women into concentration camps. That is something that Mohammed actually did as nearly enough as he could at the time. One reason why Islamic terrorism is so widespread is because Islam’s Jihad is unique in providing a socially acceptable outlet for its Rodgers and Breiviks.

Evil wants absolute power over others. If it can't rule, it will destroy. If it can't control everyone, then it will enforce absolute control over a few victims by taking their lives.

The narcissistic mass murderer is striving to eliminate everyone who is not made in his image. He is a frustrated little godling who wants to be worshiped. He rejects the presence of the rest of the human race because they are different than him. His preferred forms of worship are conformity and death.

Evil is not limited to the occasional spree killer. In the last century Hitler and Stalin oversaw cults of personality built on this same model under which millions died. Stalin's Communism and Hitler's National Socialism were messy and contradictory ideologies. They ultimately existed so that one man could exercise his power fantasies and destroy as much of the world as he could.

And here in our own country, there is an ideology that is obsessed with controlling and shaping all of human behavior. We call that ideology by many names such as liberalism or progressivism, but it's more accurately a diseased narcissism whose followers strive to stamp out anyone who doesn't think like them and to control the lives of everyone else.  

Every society is caught in a struggle between freedom and power. Our society is no different. The Elliot Rodgers we fight on a national and international scale are equally demented, but far more dangerous. Not all of them attack us with knives and guns. Some launch their assaults with rules and regulations.

It's only the failed narcissistic killer who goes on a suicide spree. The successful ones go on to become dictators. That is why it's important to see past the manifesto to the real motive.

The stories that killers tell are like the fire engine sirens in a dream that ends when the alarm clock rings. They tell us how they explain what they want to do anyway. They are the reflections of an evil mind.

Evil in all its forms wants absolute power over people. The ultimate form of absolute power over another human being is murder. It is the acts that killers commit that tell us what they truly are.

If freedom is to defeat power, we have to judge evil not by its deceptive motives and manifestos, but by its ugly and bloody consequences. We have to ignore its pretense of idealism and its sense of victimhood and look at the bodies left in its wake.

Anyone can tell a story, but not everyone can take a life.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Our Oppressed Oppressors

Some counties have dictators, tyrants and kings. America has victims in high office. Victims with vast powers and great wealth who despite all that are oppressed by the people they rule.

They are the oppressed oppressors.

Never has a ruling class been as oppressed as ours by an ignorant rabble that rudely abuses the army of benevolent public servants who see to their welfare in exchange for nothing except a feeling of moral satisfaction and a six-figure salary. Not to mention unlimited power.

"They talk about me like a dog," Obama complained. "Is it a lack of respect for me?" he whined to the Secretary of Defense.

When Obama isn't complaining, the media outlets of the ruling class do it for him. Every hour one of the greasy suckers on the tentacle of a massive media corporation with lavish skyscraper headquarters in four countries calls out the subliminal bigotry of the people who dare to criticize the man who controls every aspect of their lives.

The media has worked its iPads off alerting us to the perpetual victimization of the Obamas. From NBC to NPR, from CNN to CBS, from the New York Times to the Washington Post, the billion dollar corporations have spoken in one voice and they have said that criticizing the most powerful man in the world is racist. And they have told us that our ingratitude depresses him.

"The world seems to disappoint him," David Remnick said. Remnick deftly balances the responsibilities of promoting Obama as editor of the New Yorker (Advance Publications - $6.56 billion) and promoting Obama as author of "The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama” (Bertelsmann - $22 billion).

Michelle Obama described the White House as a "nice prison" and compared her plight to that of a military wife. And who can blame her? One day the Obamas are just barely making do with a 1,701 person staff and then the sequester, that Obama proposed, kicks in and their staff is cut to a miserly 436.

The 16 assistants who help Michelle Obama perform her important duties of giving speeches and booking NBC sitcom appearances were cut so drastically that she was unable to even Tweet. Of the 90 people who clean up the family quarters of the power couple, only 15 remained.

And that went on for days.

For a term and change, the media has alerted us to the perpetual victimization of the Obamas. It has exposed the hidden racist motives of even their most innocuous critics. It has enlightened us to the many ways in which powerful politicians are oppressed by the people whom they are oppressing.

Oprah Winfrey ($2.9 billion) said that Obama was the victim of racism. As proof she pointed to Congressman Joe Wilson calling Obama a liar... while Obama was lying. The interview was part of her promotional tour for The Butler ($176 million) which was also based on a series of lies.

It would take a racist to point out that the most powerful man in the world and one of the wealthiest women in the country were lying. Our oppressed ruling class deserves better than to have its political lies questioned and we should check our privilege for even considering it.

Oprah Winfrey went on to suggest that the only solution to racism was for "generations of people, older people" to just "die". Sterling, who has a billion less than her, lost his team for much less than proposing age-based racial genocide. But Oprah, who says worse things in public interviews than Sterling said in private, has proposed buying his team.

Wealth redistribution isn’t for the poor. It's for the poor billionaire member of the ruling class who coincidentally experiences a racist incident involving a European luxury goods store whenever she has a new movie to promote. It’s also for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ($20 million) or Michael Jordan ($650 million) who complain about the racist country that made them so rich.

Our ruling class is being oppressed by those lower down on the ladder. Their pain emerges as heartfelt pleas for genocide and outrage over being held accountable for abusing their power.

Attorney General Eric Holder, who had gotten away with shipping guns to drug lords in Mexico, propping up racist voter intimidation by the New Black Panther Party, getting involved in presidential pardons for cash, targeting reporters and making up his own laws, demanded of the audience at Al Sharpton's political conference, "What Attorney General has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment? What President has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?"

Who can fail to sympathize with the most powerful men in the country demanding to know when anyone had ever been as oppressed as them by an occasional request for accountability?

The oppression of our ruling class knows no limits. After berating Holder for, again, refusing to provide documents linking Muslim groups close to his boss to Islamic terrorists, Congress (salary $174.000) dragged in Lois Lerner (salary $185,000), the IRS official in charge of suppressing populist threats to the victimized ruling class, and held her in contempt.

Fortunately the ruling class made it all but impossible to fire or prosecute her.

Congressman Jim Moran, a Democrat who has spent 20 years in Congress and his entire life in government, complained that he could hardly make ends meet on $174,000..

"The members of Congress are underpaid," Moran said. "A lot of members can’t even afford to live decently in Washington.”

Sadly salaries remain frozen while the ruling class has to beg for bread in the gutter. Or cut dirty deals with lobbyists.

The oppression marches on with the investigation of Benghazi. The political outlets of the ruling class have already denounced the bizarre obsession with the administration's lies about the murder of four Americans. And the harm it might cause to another of our victim rulers.

Before the Obamas were oppressed by the privilege of being the most powerful people in the world, the Clintons were stuck in that same plight. Twice.

Now Hillary Clinton is being persecuted for nothing more than championing a disastrous war in Libya that led to the rise of Al Qaeda and the murder of an ambassador due to a lack of basic security while her underlings were spending millions on art and mansion renovations.

After lying and blaming a video, and locking up the filmmaker, she courageously demanded to know, "What difference at this point does it make?"

To the ruling class it makes no difference. To the parents of her victims and the man she locked up, it might make a bit of a difference. And that's the whole problem. Our oppressed ruling class, despite all it has done for this country, must occasionally still deal with whining from the families of those they kill or those they lock up for inappropriate speech.

If America were more like China, a wish that Obama expressed a few years ago, he wouldn't have to put up with it.

Neither would Hillary.

Our victimized ruling class and their living Constitution, which is slowly evolving to outlaw free speech and mandate universal diets, isn't ready to reform this broken system which allows the rabble to upload YouTube videos that offend Muslims and demand investigations of public officials.

It'll take another decade of outraged social media mobs, of the ruling class and funded by the ruling class, blowing up random politically incorrect comments into a national crisis to set the stage for liberating our ruling class from being oppressed by free speech. 

Then we’ll be just like China only without the industry, jobs or rising middle class. And that means we’ll be more like North Korea. 

Meanwhile mustachioed strategist David Axelrod accused Republicans of using Benghazi to bully Hillary Clinton out of being crowned as the most powerful person in the world.

How does one bully the wife of the formerly most powerful man in the world ($55 million) who has, despite the lack of a single tangible accomplishment, already been declared the inevitable nominee and winner of the next presidential election by Time and the New York Times?

Time's cover, which showed a tiny candidate clinging to the heel of a gigantic Hillary, and the New York Times cover, which depicted Hillary as an entire planet, might be considered bullying other candidates out of the race. The more enlightened understand that another member of the oppressed ruling class and her media followers are exercising their prerogatives.

Our oppressed oppressors only oppress because, like Al Qaeda, the mugger on the street and the Jets, they are oppressed. If Hillary bullies, it's because she's a victim. If the rabble criticize her, then she's twice the victim that she was before and entitled to bully twice as much.

The same goes for Obama and the rest of our victimized ruling class.

There's a reason that every government agency has its own SWAT team and every billion dollar media outlet has three staffers whose job it is to call out the people for their bigotry and privilege. Some might call it the cynical abuse of power by a corrupt ruling class, but it's just a case of the victims resisting the democratic oppression of the majority with its tendency to vote against the aggressive taxation and sexual peccadilloes that the ruling class feels that it is entitled to.

One day our oppressed ruling class will tire of our oppression and casting off its shackles will rise up against us, our voting booths and our constitutions. It will liberate itself of the last of our laws and enslave us so that our eternally oppressed oppressors may finally be free to do to us whatever they will.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Will a Rogue General Undo Obama's Regime Change in Libya?

It didn't take Egypt very long to revert back to a military oligarchy with elections. That oligarchy wasn't brought back by an armed coup in the dead of night, but by popular protests.

The Arab Spring was trumpeted by liberals as a new era in the history of the Middle East. But the Middle East is better at undoing history than the media is at writing it.

In Egypt, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi brushed away the effects of the Arab Spring. Now in Libya, General Khalifa Hifter is set to undo Obama's military intervention which put the Muslim Brotherhood on the road to taking over Libya, as they had taken over Egypt. 

Forty-five years ago a group of officers led by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi seized control of Libya. Gaddafi enjoyed support from the military and Federalist opponents of a central government. And the rest is history, except that history in the Middle East repeats like a broken record.

Now Khalifa Hifter, a former Colonel (his post-Gaddafi rank is higher and disputed), is leading another military coup while vowing to free Libya of chaos, instability and corruption. Like Gaddafi, Hifter focused on Benghazi and Tripoli. His forces pounded Islamic militias in Benghazi, including those responsible for the murder of four Americans, and seized the parliament in Tripoli.

Hifter, who has spent a long time living in the United States, claims to have American support, but his real support probably comes from the east.

Like Gaddafi, Hifter is supported by the military and the Federalists. However he isn't fighting a weak monarchy, but the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda and other Islamist militias. But like Gaddafi, his takeover was probably inspired by Egypt and possibly even planned out by Egypt.

Egypt's new government, which overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood, can't risk allowing the group to control a bordering country and one of the largest oil reserves in Africa. Gaddafi used Libya's oil wealth to fuel his insanity and fund terrorism. The Muslim Brotherhood would funnel it into pursuing its program of regional and global takeovers and the Islamic militias that control much of Libya would become a problem for Egypt.

Egypt's immediate security agenda is to control border instability fed by the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza and Sinai. It would only be natural for Egypt's new rulers to turn their attention to their country’s large western border with Libya. 

When he released a video calling for a change of power, General Hifter appeared marginalized and isolated. Now he has powerful financial, military and tribal allies. And many ordinary Libyans see him as a possible alternative to the random brutality of militia rule, of which the Benghazi attack that killed four Americans was just one example, the collapsing governments and the threat that the simmering civil war which never really ended might heat up until the bloodshed becomes as extreme as anything in Syria.

The Syrian Civil War is also Hifter’s best asset and greatest threat. The conflict called away many Jihadis who had originally fought in Libya, but if that unholy war collapses and there isn't a more appealing conflict waiting in the wings, they may drift back to Libya to fight its military. Al Qaeda has training camps in Libya and the Islamic militias are doing well, but they may not have the numbers to take on General Hifter’s forces. And with Syria and Egypt consuming the energy and attention span of Jihadis worldwide, this may be Libya's only chance to beat them.

Even though Hifter is stepping into the slot occupied by Gaddafi, it doesn't mean that he is another Gaddafi.

General Hifter had close links to the United States and the CIA. In the Middle East that doesn't mean much, but he is less likely to share Gaddafi's resentment of the UK or his demented flavor of Socialism. Gaddafi had the same relationship to Egypt as Kim Jong Il did to the People's Republic of China. Like China, Egypt thought it was getting a smaller version of its own rulers; instead it got an insane maniac who couldn’t be controlled by anyone including his backers.

This time Egypt may actually get what it wants; a stable Libya under military officers who, like their Egyptian counterparts, are less interested in revolution and more interested in the good life. In the best case scenario, the generals may stabilize Libya. If they don't, Libya will wait for a strongman to finally get the job done.

The question is whether General Hifter can get the job done.

The Muslim Brotherhood's roots in Libya have always been weak. Unlike Egypt, it hasn't done too well at straight elections and has been obligated to resort to political machinations. It got the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group to switch its orientation from Al Qaeda to the Brotherhood long enough for Gaddafi to set them loose and for them to help overthrow him. But that left the Brotherhood dependent on Islamic militias with unstable allegiances and a hunger for power.

That hasn't worked too well for the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria where its influence has been swamped by Al Qaeda. The Brotherhood is a parasite that depends on a facsimile of civilization even as it works to destroy it. Post-Gaddafi Libya is closer to Syria than to Egypt, its tribal links are more powerful than political slogans and even religion.

If Libya's generals can win quickly, the Muslim Brotherhood's hopes of getting its greasy hands on the country's oil wealth will go the way of its brief time ruling Egypt. If they can't, then Libya may go the way of Syria. The Libyan military was known as a joke under Gaddafi and its performance during the Libyan Civil War didn't do much to impress anyone.

And there is the Obama card.

General Hifter claims American support, but it's doubtful that he has anything except maybe a few leftover contacts in the CIA. The Arab Spring was never about democracy, it was about convincing Islamists to pursue their Caliphate dreams through political elections, instead of suicide bombings. Hifter, like Al-Sisi, is upsetting that particular apple cart and the vendors of its sour fruit in Washington and Brussels won't thank him for it.

But Al-Sisi also demonstrated that Obama is too weak to be worth fearing. Despite his support for the Muslim Brotherhood, Obama was forced to accept a new Egypt. And, after kicking and screaming, even provide it with military aid. Hifter is gambling that Obama won't turn to a second unpopular military intervention in the Middle East and will accept a fait accompli.

Especially if it turns out to have been backed by Saudi Arabia.

Egypt was meant to be a model for the revolutions of the Arab Spring, but instead it became a counterrevolutionary model. Even if Egypt isn't behind Hifter, the general obviously drew inspiration from what the Egyptian military did to a much more powerful Muslim Brotherhood regime. And he also drew inspiration from Obama's inability to meaningfully respond to it

Gaddafi's coup against a king echoed Egypt's own military coup against a king. Hifter's coup against a political body increasingly dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood's machinations is also an echo of Egypt's overthrow of a Muslim Brotherhood government.

We should be wary of embracing either Al-Sisi or Hifter. They are at most only the enemies of our enemy, but they also appear to have a narrower scope of ambition and less interest, by the standards of the region, in engaging in international terrorism or waging a war against the West.  Stabilizing Libya will reduce terrorism and limit the flow of refugees spilling into Europe.

The media will pay little attention as the last dregs of the Arab Spring slide into the gutter. It will have little to say about Obama's illegal Libyan intervention, except to mock Republicans for trying to find out the truth about the chain of bad decisions that led to the murder of four Americans. Like Obama, the pundits and talking heads will learn little humility from the swiftness with which the Middle East erased their new era of history from history.

And that is why they have nothing to say about the Middle East worth listening to. They never understood the region. Their political agenda for it is big on empty slogans that reflect a reality that exists only in their own minds. They thought that their plans for the region were set in stone. Instead they were writing on sand. The wind has blown across the desert and their plans have blown away with it.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday Afternoon Roundup - #LikeABoss


When everyone is talking about your boss’ incompetence, it’s time for a #LikeABoss hashtag.




ALSO LIKE #LIKEABOSS

1,600 Americans died chasing a political slogan that existed only in the heads of his speechwriters.

In 2009, the CIA determined that there were at most 100 Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Next year his own CIA director admitted that there were at most 50-100 Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

That same year 499 Americans were killed in Afghanistan.

Obama Lost the War on Al Qaeda, While Claiming to Have Won It




Gitmo Terrorists Got Better Medical Care than American Vets - The 150 Jihadis have 100 doctors and nurses assigned to them




3 AM PHONE CALL

A still-classified State Department e-mail says that one of the first responses from the White House to the Benghazi attack was to contact YouTube to warn of the “ramifications” of allowing the posting of an anti-Islamic video.

“White House is reaching out to U-Tube [sic] to advice ramification of the posting of the Pastor Jon video,” the e-mail reads, according to Issa.

During Benghazi Attack, Instead of Saving Americans, They Told YouTube to Take Down Video




Dem Congressman: “We’ve Proved that Communism Works




A TALE OF TWO JOES

In 2009, the Campaign for America’s Future, a collection of influential lefties within the Democratic Party,  ran a blog post that proposed to use the VA as a national health care model.

The post was by health care consultant Joe Paduda, who recently dismissed the people suffering under ObamaCare by writing, “‘When one person suffers it is a tragedy, when millions do, it is a statistic.’ As abhorrent as quoting Josef Stalin might be, the monster was right.”

Arguing against the Medicare for Everyone proposal that’s a popular lefty vehicle to single payer, Paduda wrote, “Medicare is not controlling the primary driver of medical costs – utilization of services.”

Liberals Wanted to use the VA as a Model for National Health Care





MUSLIM MISOGYNISTIC MURDER CULTURE

Defense attorney Julie Clark admitted Hussain beat his wife — but argued that he is guilty of only manslaughter because he didn’t intend to kill her. In Pakistan, Clark said, beating one’s wife is customary.

“He comes from a culture where he thinks this is appropriate conduct, where he can hit his wife,” Clark said in her opening statements at the Brooklyn Supreme Court bench trial.

NYC Muslim Beats Wife to Death, Lawyer says Beating Women is “Customary” in his Culture




More Gazans Accidentally Blow Themselves Up… Than are Killed by Israel




ISLAM IS PANTS

Yahya “John” Lindh sued the directors of the Federal Bureau of prison. He is represented by the ACLU.

The lawsuit states: “Yahya Lindh is Muslim and it is a clear tenet of Islam that Muslim men are prohibited from wearing pants below their ankles."

Islam. It’s a religion whose prophet raped a little girl and had verses put into his head by the devil. But if you wear your pants too long, you will go to hell.

“The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The dress that is under the ankle is in the Hellfire.” (al-Bukhaari, no. 5787)

American Taliban Sues Prison for Violating Islam by Making Him Wear Long Pants




Libya Detains UN Observer for “Sorcery” and “Black Magic”




OUTRAGE OUTRAGE ATLANTIC ELEVENTY

Did George Wallace come back from the dead? Are there colored water fountains again? Are black kids being prevented from going to schools in their districts?

No, no and no.

Segregation was a government policy. There is no government policy to segregate children. Resegregation is a myth like the jackalope. It refers to the fact that there are minority areas. That’s why the most “segregated” schools are in New York City

Not exactly Old Dominion.

There is No School Resegregation




DRONE DRONE

Paul keeps insisting that “American citizens” must be tried before they are killed. But our criminal justice system no more allows us to execute foreigners without due process than Americans.

If killing Anwar Al-Awlaki was an extrajudicial killing, then so is killing any Al Qaeda commander. If we have to put Anwar Al-Awlaki on trial before killing him, then we have to put every Al Qaeda terrorist we drone kill on trial first.

Rand Paul provides no legal basis for the distinction he’s making between Americans and foreigners. And that’s probably because he isn’t making that distinction. He just knows that emphasizing the American citizen part makes for a more compelling argument to a conservative audience.

Rand Paul’s Dishonesty About Anwar Al-Awlaki and Drones




#LIKEABOSS II

CNN’s widely and deservedly mocked coverage of the missing Malaysian jet is a-ok with the network’s boss mostly because a ton of people watched it. “I’m incredibly comfortable with it,” Jeff Zucker said.

Other things that Jeff Zucker is incredibly comfortable with include…

... "I’m incredibly comfortable with the way CNN covered the Justin Bieber story,” Zucker told the audience.

... “A lot of the basis of your question really emanates from the tremendous emergence of Keith Olbermann‘s program at 8 o’clock. I think I’m incredibly comfortable with that program.”

Also Jeff Zucker is comfortable getting fired for his incompetence…

“We had both gotten to the same place,” Mr. Zucker said. “He made it clear that they wanted to move on at the close of the deal, and I was completely comfortable with that.”

Biggest Failure in TV History Refuses to be “Shamed” into Covering Benghazi




1 in 7 Prisoners May be an Illegal Alien




YES WE CAN

“Gentlemen, we have the technology, we have the capability to make the world’s first billion dollar website. We can make it load slower, crash faster and email your personal information directly to Nigerian scammers.”

Healthcare.Gov is the $1 Billion Website





A MAN FOR ALL TREASONS

Charlie Crist has been a Republican, an Independent and a Democrat, switching parties after every defeat. If he loses this time, he might be thinking of going Communist. He’s not quite red, but orange might be close enough.

Only Charlie Crist Can Go to Communist Cuba




Will Pope Francis Meet with Palestinian Authority Muslim Sheikh Who Called for Exterminating Jews?




HOT SHOT - #LikeABoss

Local officials in New Mexico warn a move by the Obama administration to designate nearly a half-million acres as a national monument could open up a crime corridor making it easier for illegal immigrants to cross the border and for drug cartels to operate undetected.

“I’m not finished,” Obama said during Wednesday’s ceremony. "There is no time to waste to preserve precious resources and give a shot in the arm to local economies.”

These border parks, created to protect the environment, often more closely resemble a landfill from the debris and damage caused by endless streams of drug runners and illegal aliens.

Ah that’s what Obama meant by a shot in the arm for the local economy. First you tie off the arm of the local economy. Then you inject heroin into it.

Obama Creates 500,000 Acre Paradise for Illegal Aliens, Drug Cartels




Obama’s DREAM Amnesty Leads to Huge Surge in Illegal Alien Minors Invading US




WHY EL PASO IS SAFER THAN JUAREZ

“And two of the safest cities in America, two of them are on the border with Mexico,” Garcia continued. “And of course, the reason is we’ve proved that Communism works. If you give everybody a good government job, there’s no crime.”

El Paso also has one cop to every 600 people. Or 17 cops to 10,000 people. That’s a worse ratio than New York which is something like a cop to every 300 people, but it really beats Chicago with 44 cops to 10,000 people.

If you look at cities by population, El Paso has one of the higher cop to civilian ratios in its size. And that is much of its secret. If you throw manpower at a crime problem and the department is decently run, you can drive down crime rates.

El Paso has higher cop ratios than Boston, Baltimore or Denver. Its secret isn’t government jobs. It’s men in uniform.

Dem Congressman: “We’ve Proved that Communism Works”




The VA Really is Socialized Medicine – That’s Why It’s Terrible




THAT'S ALL FOLKS

Bugs Bunny: “He’s got me dead to rights, doc. Would you like to shoot him here, or wait till you get home?”

Daffy Duck: “Oh, no, you don’t. Not this time. Wait till you get home”

Senate Republicans say they’ll try to pass immigration reform legislation in the next two years if they take back the Senate in November.

Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.) Said House Republicans have a narrow window between early June and the August recess to act.

“I am saying that if Speaker Boehner, Leader Cantor, and other Republican leaders refuse to schedule a vote on immigration reform during this window, it will not pass until 2017 at the earliest,” he said on the Senate floor Wednesday.

Democrats Blackmailing GOP Pro-Amnesty Senators by Refusing to Pass Amnesty




BRIGHT RED CARD

The temperature in Qatar between May and September ranges between 30°-50°C (86°-122°F) with humidity of 90%.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has admitted that it was “a mistake” to choose Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup.

Blatter said that the technical report into Qatar’s bid had warned that it was too hot but despite that, FIFA’s executive committee had voted for the Middle Eastern country.

But Mr Blatter insisted Qatar had not “bought” the World Cup: “No. I will never say they bought it,” he said.

Soccer President Admits World Cup in Islamist Country w/122 Degree Temperatures a Mistake





#BRINGBACKOURGAYS

Mr Jammeh, who took power in a coup in 1994, was re-elected with 72% of the figures, official figures show. “I will deliver to the Gambian people and if I have to rule this country for one billion years, I will, if Allah says so.”

Yahya Jammeh told a political rally that gay people had 24 hours to leave the country. He promised “stricter laws than Iran” on homosexuality and said he would “cut off the head” of any gay person found in The Gambia.

The president of Gambia has threatened to kill any citizen of his country who cites persecution of  LGBT people in seeking asylum abroad.

Muslim President of Gambia Threatens to Kill Any Gays Who Claim Asylum in US




Obama Inc. Shifting Funds from Cultural Exchange w/Europe to Africa




ECO-ZOMBIE WAR ON WOMEN

Ehrlich, a Stanford University biologist famous for his widely debunked book “The Population Bomb,” which predicted four billion famine deaths, including 65 million Americans.”

Ehrlich blamed Republicans and the media for failing to take action.

He accused “every state legislature” of waging a “war on women” and a “war on the environment.”

He called for “backup abortions” for any woman who’s birth control failed, in an attempt to control “breeding,” as he put it.

Ehrlich told Zepps humans must soon begin contemplating “eat[ing] the bodies of your dead” after resources are depleted.

Environmentalist Hoaxer who said Billions Would Die in 70s Famines, Warns We’ll Have to Eat Our Dead




A DRINK OF WATER

Police in Northern Ireland are investigating a potential hate crime after an evangelical Protestant preacher compared “cells” of Muslims in Britain to the IRA.

“I think the public of Northern Ireland is fed up with all this stuff, when we have to treat everyone like cotton wool, and yet the people we are treating like cotton wool, in other lands wouldn’t let us breathe – wouldn’t give us a drink of water,” McConnell said.

“I will wait and see what the police say to me. I am prepared and if they put me in jail I will go to jail, but I will not retract what I have said,” he added.

IRA Demands Investigation of Pastor Who Compared Muslim Migrants to IRA



FOR THE KIDS

The waiver proposal is being pushed, in part, by the School Nutrition Association, which represents school nutrition workers and receives substantial industry funding. The group has been criticized by health activists, who say it is serving the interests of processed-food firms such as makers of frozen pizza and agribusiness companies listed as donors.

Tom Stenzel, president of the United Fresh Produce Association, which is lobbying against delays in carrying out the new rules, said he believes the school nutritionists organization is responding to its donor base.

“They are overwhelmingly dependent on the processed food industry so there is an ingrained bias toward foods like frozen pizza and chicken nuggets that have been a staple of school lunches in the past,” Stenzel said.

Meat, Dairy and Fruit Lobbyists Fight It Out Over School Lunches




SEA CHANGE

Feminism had already been subverted by the “Women of Color” attack which accused white feminists of privileging gender over race. It’s one reason why American feminists have so little to say about Islamic law. They’ve had it beaten into their heads that they have no right to presume that Muslim women don’t want to wear hijabs or be second-class citizens. They’ve embraced the comforting myth that a woman in a hijab or a burka is just as empowered as a Western woman who can dress as she likes.

When it comes to Muslims, a conventional feminism that argues for equal rights hardly exists among professional American feminists. Gay rights groups however have demonstrated now that they are unwilling to subordinate their agenda to the larger agenda of the left.  Unlike feminists, they don’t intend to just take a seat in the back and show up as representative props at generic protests.
The Brunei Moment




Imam Who Said 9/11 Museum Film was Islamophobic, Stole $140,000




SYRIA, IT'S EVERYWHERE MUSLIM MIGRANTS GO

Yesterday, police and security were again called in as ugly scenes erupted at the Blockhouse Bay Rd mosque where two Islamic factions are fighting for control.

Security officers had to intervene to stop a worshipper from using a weapon to attack another man who turned up at the mosque border despite having been trespassed.

First you have a mosque. Then the mosque has a border. Then there are Muslims invading the mosque border. And then you’ve got the Syrian Civil War in New Zealand.

“To Actually Put a Jihad on a New Zealand Citizen Trying to Enforce New Zealand Law is Ludicrous.”




SO IT IS

I would like to see the site treated with more respect, but that’s been a lost cause ever since the cops allowed Truthers and vendors to overrun the area. And there are far too many tourists who treat it as another stop on a tour and behave with very little respect. Fixing that would be a more worthwhile effort than denouncing the gift shop or the restaurant.
My own preference would have been for rebuilding the Towers and placing a memorial at the base. Instead the rebuilding was a disaster and there’s a memorial and a museum.
If people feel the need for souvenirs, then it’s better if they get a somber stylized pin at the museum than a holographic 9/11 keychain made in Shanghai from Abdul Fareed outside.

The 9/11 Museum is a Museum… So It’s Going to have a Gift Shop




Pakistani Muslim Lawmaker Blames Drones for Polio




MONEY WALKS...

It’s no secret that lefty doesn’t practice what he shrieks. Michael Moore had Haliburton stocks. Code Pink’s deranged Medea Benjamin invests in companies that have a sizable presence in Israel. George Soros, a major funder of the Anti-Israel movement, including BDS, goes them one better by buying up a chunk of SodaStream while investing in other Israeli companies.

George Soros Funds BDS, Buys SodaStream Stock




NO WAY BACK

Former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren has an interesting exchange of letters with the editor of Foreign Policy about Israel. One particular thing that Michael Oren wrote jumped out at me.

But a two-state solution is unfortunately unlikely and not because of Israel. We’d make most of the sacrifices — but only because the Palestinians lack the national cohesion necessary to sustain a state structure. Our identity exists entirely independently of theirs; theirs cannot exist without denying ours. Accepting us would sever the one thread that — sometimes — holds them together.

Palestinian Identity as the “Anti-Israel”





PATIENT ZERO

The sharpest gap may in Malaysia which scores at 61%. But Muslim anti-Semitism rates in Malaysia are at 83% while Buddhist anti-Semitism rates are at 34%.

It’s one country and yet the difference in a particular strain of bigotry between Muslims and Buddhists is stunning.

It’s hard to look at these numbers and deny the fact that anti-Semitism is spread by Islam.

Anti-Semitism Survey Shows Muslims More Anti-Semitic than Buddhists




THE ROUNDUP


WE DON'T NEED NO EDUCATION

The song was recorded just off Upper Street, and the children were recruited from the nearby Islington Green Comprehensive School. However, while Walters's song was a protest against his strict Fifties grammar school, the education these children were receiving in 1979 was very different indeed.

A testbed of progressive education, Islington Green Comprehensive had an established reputation for chaotic behaviour and dreadful academic results. A new head, Communist Party member Margaret Maden, had been drafted in to turn the school around

In 2007, a BBC documentary reunited the choir, and there was a palpable sense they had been let down by their school. One former pupil, the daughter of a consultant psychiatrist, recalled, "I don't think I learned anywhere near as much as I could have done. I was quite bright, I think obviously if it had been a far more disciplined school then an awful lot more time would have been taken up with teaching and much less with crowd control. Come the end of the fifth year I was desperate to get out. I just wanted to leave." Aged 40, she was doing four jobs to afford the fees at her son's independent prep school.

A Commentator article, via Blazing Cat Fur




CONTROL

While in one part of southern California students were recently asked to debate if the Holocaust had ever happened, in nearby Los Angeles an advocacy group for children of Holocaust survivors is trying in its own unique way to ensure that a genocide of the Jews will never again occur by training its members in the use of firearms for self-defense.

The group, Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, last week hosted the gun instruction course in which they learned from a former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officer who taught them the basics of safe firearm handling and shooting.

In encouraging people to attend, the Holocaust survivor children’s group posited that an armed civilian population could have stopped historical crimes against unarmed minorities including those under Stalin, in Cambodia and European Jews. “Atrocities could have been prevented with bullets and rifles. There is no virtue in being unprepared. Do you want Never Again to really be Never Again? … Freedom is not Free,” its invitation to the class read.

from The Blaze's story on the work of Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors




WHY DOES TREASON NEVER PROFIT?

Glenn Greenwald, for instance, is a particularly resilient example. Greenwald successfully survived a scandal which resulted from his exposure for having persistently used “sock puppet” false identities to lavish praise on his own blog postings. He more recently attached himself to the cause of “whistle blowers” like Edward Snowden and acted as go-between between the latter and Establishment newspapers. Pimping US Intelligence secrets to the Guardian and the Times is the kind of thing which, in today’s world, makes one a hero in certain circles, and the next thing you knew Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar was writing a check for $250 million to buy Greenwald his own media organization. Who better to manage such a thing than the man renowned as “the left’s most dishonest blogger?”

from Never Yet Melted's commentary




TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SOCIALIST

While we drank our coffee after the meal, he launched a sales pitch for treason. He proved not the most subtle of barkers.

"OK. We now know each other, and you know what I need from you."

"No, what do you need?"

"You know, you know." He arched his eyebrows.

"I don't know. What do you want?" I was getting the feeling that this was going in a weird direction.

"You work for Walters, right"

"Yes."

"I need his secret documents."

I thought he was joking and laughed, "Sure, you need his 'secret documents'. How many do you need?" I sipped my coffee, and then stared at him over my glasses.

"Yes, here is the list." He handed me a paper that had on it, no kidding, a typed tasking for me, "Provide all secret papers."

...from DiploMad's tales of the lighter side of treason




MEANS AND ENDS

The mayor calls his budget “historic” and “transcendent.” Indeed, for the first time since New York recovered from its near-bankruptcy of the 1970s, the city is willing explicitly to spend beyond its means to buy labor peace. The new teachers’ contract, including $4.3 billion in retroactive pay raises back to 2009, is the acute example

Via Neo-neocon, but in fact New York City began spending wildly beyond its means under Bloomy. The difference is that Bloomberg was only a liberal while De Blasio is a creature of the hard left.

New York City comes in second on the list of cities with the largest unfunded pensions. After Detroit.

A New York household is on the hook for $14,302 in unfunded city employee pensions and $22,857 in unfunded city worker health care costs. Since much of the city doesn’t actually pay taxes, that breakdown is mostly fictional.

“Bernie Madoff pretended he was getting 8% returns on his clients’ investments—and he’s in jail for running a Ponzi scheme. But in the public sector that kind of make-believe is common,” Joel Klein, the former New York City school chancellor, wrote.

“The city pension plan offered teachers and administrators guaranteed an 8.25% return, regardless of what the investments actually earned in the market.”

Cliff meet city.






Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Never Again, Again

Steven Spielberg threw a Holocaust party and everyone, from Samuel L. Jackson to Kim Kardashian, was invited.

The gala evening for his Shoah Foundation began with a few jokes. Conan O'Brien's, “I called all my Jewish writers into my office and asked them for some Shoah jokes” really killed. Bruce Springsteen  played "Dancing in the Dark" whose lyrics "you can't start a fire without a spark" couldn't possibly have been more appropriate considering that the literal meaning of Holocaust is "Sacrifice by fire."

Obama slipped in after his DNC fundraiser with Barbara Streisand and Jeffrey Katzenberg to shake hands with a bunch of studio heads, Jewish and non-Jewish, and accept an award as Ambassador for Humanity. There was no explanation as to what an Ambassador for Humanity does. Maybe he reaches out to space aliens. Or tries to commune with fish.

Last summer, Obama had forced Israel to release the murderer of Isaac Rotenburg, an elderly Holocaust survivor who had escaped a death camp and reached Israel, only to be killed by a member of Palestinian Authority leader Abbas' Fatah party.

Flanked by Spielberg and Springsteen, Obama told an audience of notables such as Kim Kardashian, Samuel L. Jackson, Tyler Perry, Tom Cruise and Robert Downey Jr. about the importance of Holocaust survivors and how he would like to help the Nigerian girls kidnapped by an Islamic terrorist group that his administration fought to keep off the terrorist list, but he just can't.

It's hard to find the time to fight Nigerian Islamic terrorists when you're so busy forcing Israel to free Islamic terrorists.

Cruise had delivered the introduction to the 2005 event at which Steven Spielberg appointed Bill Clinton as Ambassador to Humanity. Last year George Clooney, currently marrying a woman eager to defend every Muslim thug and terrorist, became Ambassador to Humanity. Before that it was the CEO of Walt Disney, the CEO of Comcast and Spielberg's pal Jeffrey Katzenberg.

To be appointed Ambassador for Humanity you have to run a Hollywood studio or be a top Democrat. If Hillary Clinton isn't named Ambassador for Humanity next year, it will only be because the world ended.

There was no word on whether Tony Kushner was in attendance. Kushner, Spielberg's longtime collaborator, had called the rebirth of Israel a "mistake", accused Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial and museum, of a "Zionist agenda" and said that reciting "Next Year in Jerusalem" at Passover was "imperialism".

Spielberg had handed over the story of the PLO massacre of Israeli athletes to Kushner who turned it into an indictment of Israel and a defense of the terrorists. Munich was a work of historical revisionism justifying the murder of Jews and demonizing those Jews who fought back from a filmmaker who had built the “serious” phase of his career on exploiting the Holocaust.

Responding to the backlash, Spielberg called critics "right-wing fundamentalists" and said that, "people who are important to me" see the movie correctly, including, "Liberal American Jews."

Now Spielberg is working on yet another Jewish themed project with Kushner.

The Israeli response to the Munich Massacre embodied a “Never Again” attitude to the Holocaust in the truest sense. It was this “Never Again” stance that Spielberg, like so many Jewish liberals, tried to tear down and replace with tolerance memorials and vulgar parties.

What does the Holocaust mean to Spielberg? The Shoah Foundation is becoming a general purpose genocide studies outlet. It still has a preponderance of Jewish material on the Holocaust, but its modern orientation is turned away from the Jews. Its Center for Advanced Genocide Research aggressively shifts the focus to genocide prevention.

But not the genocide of Jews being aided and abetted by its latest Ambassador for Humanity.

After the jokes and musical performances, the speeches by Spielberg and Obama implied that the Shoah Foundation was working to prevent a repetition of the Holocaust. If anything it's the other way around. Spielberg and Obama have helped make another Holocaust possible

Obama bears the blame for enabling Iran's nuclear strategy, but Spielberg bears the guilt for celebrating him while he does it. Obama is married by family and ideology to two movements that have sought to exterminate the Jews. Spielberg's party circuit echoes with the shallowness and liberal pieties that prevented American Jewish leaders from challenging FDR's complicity in the Holocaust.

That battle was fought between Jewish studio heads who pledged their allegiance and silence to FDR and rebels like Ben Hecht. On one side was a cult worshiping a liberal leader and on the other were desperate advertisements such as "For Sale to Humanity 70,000 Jews Guaranteed Human Beings at $50 A Piece" and "Help Prevent 4,000,000 People from Becoming Ghosts".

None of the Ambassadors for Humanity of the time were interested. Instead they denounced the advertisements, pageants and protests for being too shrill, too abrasive and too hostile to FDR.

The leaders of liberal American Jewry have not changed. They continue handing out awards to their friends and providing cover for anti-Semitic liberal politicians. They clink their glasses and toast each other while their brothers burn. And they do it, obscenely, using the Holocaust.

Never again means nothing to them. Their apathy and empty internationalist pieties about the peoples of the world are the very "Again" that Never Again was meant to avert.

The world was never going to be a magical place in which no one would ever want to kill the Jews. When trying to come up with a plausible future the Science Fiction author Dan Simmons wrote, "The one constant thread between today and a thousand years from now will be that someone, somewhere, will be planning to kill the Jews."

It's a daunting thing to consider for anyone who has been raised in a progressive society which fancies itself the end of history-- but it is true.

Never Again was never meant to dissuade the sort of people who would like to kill Jews. That was never a realistic option. It was meant to remind Jews not to allow the sort of leaders who would let it happen again to take the wheel. Unfortunately they never stopped being in charge.

Spielberg's vulgarity is nothing new. Neither is his contempt for Israel or inability to understand the Holocaust in any terms other than a jumping off point for international civil rights activism. He only happens to be slightly more famous. America's liberal Jewish leaders have brought their communities to the brink of extinction with their rubber chicken dinners and their glass and chrome awards. Now they are also becoming collaborators in the destruction of the Jewish State.

American Jews do not have leaders. They have liberal spokesmen whose job is to move them into line for the latest liberal cause. The Holocaust they are carrying out will be slower and less violent, but it will complete the process of reducing 6 million Jews to half that number. Whether they will also succeed in wiping out half the Jewish population of the world by destroying Israel is still unknown.

Despite the explosion in Holocaust museums and memorials, it remains an abstraction to them. A war crime. A human rights violation. A failure of tolerance. No matter how much money they throw at commemorations, they cannot come to grips with it because they do not understand it as a Jewish phenomenon. They are trying to understand a human experience from the outside-in through books and videos. But you don't understand an experience by watching it. You understand by living it.

We cannot live through the Holocaust, but we can do and live in a potential Holocaust. I don't refer to Neo-Nazi leaders living in trailer parks and collecting food stamps while doubling as informants for the FBI and fundraisers for the Southern Poverty Law Center. Despite the occasional act of violence, they stopped being relevant a while back.

Genocide is not a threat when it comes from obvious villains. Serial killers aren't the monsters that everyone fears. They are the friendly next door neighbor with a basement full of bodies.

The Nazis have become omnipresent villains, but before the war they were the personable serial killers next door. The political and economic programs of Germany and Italy were influential in Washington D.C. Hitler’s columns ran in American newspapers and the excuses made for Nazism by the media sound familiar when contrasted with the modern excuses for Islamic terror.

The New York Times wrote that that the “men around Hitler hold diverse views.” The AP assured readers that “Nazi Drive on Jews Under Control Now: US Investigation Shows No Cause for Protest.”  INS, a forerunner of UPI, conveyed that the “Hitler regime was doing its best to curb further persecution” of Jews.

The State Department said that physical mistreatment of Jews "may be considered virtually terminated."

Now the serial killer next door is a friendly Muslim immigrant. No one is allowed to suspect him of anything, profile him or spy on his mosque until the bomb goes off at a synagogue or until the plane flies into a New York skyscraper. He is the moderate PLO leader whose followers call for blood. He is the newly moderate President of Iran, smiling and shaking hands, while the technicians move the radioactive work of genocide forward.

If Never Again is to stand for anything, it must challenge the official reassurances that nothing is wrong even while the fire begins to burn. If the foundations, organizations and assorted rubber chicken party circuit stops that exploit the memory of the Holocaust are to justify their seven-figure fundraisers and six-figure salaries, when a mass movement threatens to kill all the Jews and then kills some Jews, they should at the very least pay attention, instead of making excuses for them and for their politicians.

Spielberg's Shoah Foundation with its empty awards and vulgar gaiety, its Holocaust jokes and humanitarian trophies isn't the cure, it's the disease. It's another of the cancerous blooms eating alive what is left of American Jewry. It's not what we ought to be supporting, it's what we need to be fighting.

What we need is not a perfect remembrance of the Holocaust, but a perfect awareness of it. We must resist the abstracting of history. Instead we must realize that we are living history. Time has not ended. There is no wall of glass between ourselves and the past. The past is not a foreign country. It is this dying moment. And the one after that.

A thousand years from now someone will still be plotting to kill the Jews because the future is simply someone else's past, just as the past was someone else's future. We can meet the inevitability of that with despair or denial. We can meet it with empty humanitarianism that defies human nature. Or we can meet it with courage and resistance. 

It is tempting to surrender to the Carpe Diem of the Shoah Gala and get in line to become appointed Ambassadors for Humanity. Why not believe in peace, hope and change? Why not act as if the moment and the lifetime are all that matter and that all our answers must be found here or nowhere at all? Why not allow ourselves to be defined by an ideology that says history is over and we are it?

Because that too would be a Holocaust of another sort. A mass extinction event and a death of the soul. If we are to survive, then we must think generationally. If we are to survive, we must live as part of history. And if we are to have hope, it cannot be in the humanitarian Tikkun Olam redemption of the moment, of some secular singularity of hope and change that will transform the world. That hope is for those struggling against the inevitability of their mortality and clinging to the moment.

Our hope is not in mortality. It is in immortality. We are not the end of history. We are part of a living thing that stretches through history.

Jewish history is not a subject of study. It is either life or it is death. Either Jews will inhabit their history or they will perish outside it.

Again, will come, again and again.

Never Again is not a conviction that history will end. It is the hope that Jews will one day come into the conviction of their heritage, the faith of their fathers and the courage of their kings.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Democratic Party's Brain Damage

In 2008, Democrats insisted that Senator John McCain was too old to be president. At a rally introducing Hillary Clinton, Congressman John Murtha criticized him for even running. "It's no old man's job," he said.

Obama and Kerry used language suggesting that McCain was senile. Left-wing activists claimed that could die of skin cancer at any moment. Late night comedians turned McCain's age into a target.

McClatchy headlined a story, "Some wonder if McCain's too old and wrinkly to be president."

There are no stories in which reporters ask passerby if Hillary is too old and wrinkly to take 3 AM phone calls.
 
In Newsweek, Anna Quindlen, a fanatical Hillary supporter, wrote that, "The senator's pursuit of the presidency reminds me a bit of those women who decide to have a baby in their late 50s." If she has any objection to Hillary's pursuit of the presidency while pushing 70, she hasn't written about it.

By October, spurred by repeated media attacks on his age, 34 percent of Americans said that McCain was too old to be president. The sharp spike in the poll numbers over one month showed how effective the Democratic age smear was.

Had McCain been elected, he would have taken office at 72. If Hillary Clinton wins, she'll be 69. And age is suddenly no longer an issue. Neither is health.

Quindlen emphasized that McCain couldn't lift his arms over his head. No one is going to ask how flexible Hillary Clinton is in body (the political flexibility of the woman who opposed and supported nearly everything at one time or another is already renowned).

The problem as it turned out was not that McCain was old. It was that he was a Republican.

Slate ran an article claiming that McCain's brain would go bad over the next eight years, but discussing the state of Hillary's brain is out of bounds. Late night comedians won't be making jokes about how old Hillary is or how confused she gets in the morning.

Those jokes could only be made about a man who was three years older than she is now.

It's outrageous to question the medical consequences of Hillary's "traumatic brain injury" which took her six months to recover from after passing out and falling down while boarding a plane. But ridiculing Bob Dole's dead arm, an injury he suffered while dragging one of his men into a foxhole out of enemy fire during WW2, or McCain's inability to lift his arms or perform certain tasks after they were broken by his torturers, was part of the game.

We can question the health of war veterans, but not of a career politician.

There will be no stories about how wrinkled Hillary's skin is. No one will ask her if she can tie her shoes. Or if she can use Twitter without an assistant. Or whether she forgets things sometimes.

But if a Republican in his late sixties or early seventies becomes a candidate, then the switch will flip and suddenly asking those questions will become fair game.

Again.

The issue isn't Hillary's brain. It's that Democrats don't consider themselves accountable in the same way that they expect Republicans to be. It's that they consider attacks on Republicans fair game that they are too thin-skinned to accept when they rebound on them.

If McCain was too old and his brain too infirm to serve in the White House, the same people making that argument should have to explain why those same questions can't even be asked about Hillary. Does three years make a world of difference? Has medical science been so dramatically revolutionized over the last eight years that they no longer matter?

If Hillary isn't too old and if her health is off limits, then Democrats should admit that they engaged in cynical ageist attacks to win the White House. But that too would be accountability.

And we have a crisis of accountability.

The Democrat in the White House and his associates refuse to accept responsibility for anything or to display even a smidgen of intellectual consistency. Every press conference and press release is a torrent of lies that isn't even tangentially related to the truth. Any call for accountability results in an explosion of outrage as if the very act of holding the ruling party accountable is a crime.

The huffing and puffing over the suggestion that a woman who took six months to recover from a serious health episode may have health problems that will affect her performance is typical of the way that the Democratic Party behaves.

And of the way that its media auxiliaries echo its agenda.

When Murtha accused McCain of being too old, the media took the attack seriously. When Karl Rove mentioned Hillary's health problem, the majority of the stories focused on it as a cynical attack. This partisan coverage gap is not an anomaly. It's the new normal.

The problem isn't Hillary's brain damage. It's the Democratic Party's brain damage. 

The Democratic Party, which has been around since the early 19th century, is just too old. The parts of its brain that relate to accountability and integrity have been burned out. The political party suffered a traumatic brain episode in the sixties and it hasn't recovered from it since. The left side of its political brain is dominant while the right side has completely withered away.

The Democrats keep insisting that they're moving forward, when they're actually wandering off to the left without even being able to recognize it. They insist that they're centrist when they've completely drifted off the road.

It doesn't matter how young or old its candidates are as long as they base their worldview around discredited 19th century ideas about economics and equally discredited 20th century ideas about the virtues of central planning. A youthful body with a decayed brain rotting with ideas that were old when Nixon and LBJ were toddlers isn't progressive.

It's hopelessly reactionary.

Obama may have been in his late forties when elected, but his ideas were around one hundred and forty years old. No matter what age Hillary is, her ideas are equally old and unworkable. It's not the state of her brain that's the problem, it's the things she's been putting in there since a very young age. 

The Democratic Party has become a brain damaged party of old radicals in youthful bodies. Its radicalism leaves it incapable of performing such basic mental functions as practicing intellectual consistency. It no longer believes in universal truths or codes of behavior. It insists with senile petulance that it should be allowed to do and say anything it wants while its opponents should not be allowed to say or do anything at all.

Eight years of this partisan totalitarianism has divided the country as never before and Democrats, with predictable hypocrisy,  refuse to take any responsibility for this state of divisiveness or its outcome. They also refuse to take responsibility for the setbacks in the War on Terror or the economy.

Or for anything at all.

If Hillary and her Democratic Party really want to demonstrate their mental fitness, they can start by naming one single new economic idea that they've brought to the table in the last seventy years. And if they can't, working Americans will ask themselves whether they can afford another eight years of 19th century economics from a political party whose last new idea is even older than Hillary.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Fire Burns

The circle of men whirls around the fire, hand in hand, hand catching hand, drawing in newcomers into the ring that races around and around in the growing darkness.

A melody thumps through the speakers that teeter unevenly with the bass, the sound is old and new, a mix of the past and the present, like the participants in the dance, traditional garments blending with jeans and t-shirts until it is all a blur.

It is Lag BaOmer, an obscure holiday even to  those who come to the fires. The  Jewish Revolt against the Roman Empire is remembered through days of deprivation for the thousands of students who died in the war, until the thirty-third day of the Biblical Omer, the day when Jerusalem was liberated.

Deprived of music for weeks, it rolls back in waves through speakers, from horns blown by children and a makeshift drum echoing an ancient celebration when men danced around fires and shot arrows into the air in a free Jerusalem.

The fires and bows have remained a part of Lag BaOmer even when hardly anyone remembers the true reason.

The new Yom Yerushalayim, the day of the liberation of the city, is coming up soon,  but the old Yom Yerushalaim, came thousands of years ago and a number of days before. Time is a wheel, and, like the circle of the dance, everything comes around again. Hands pulling on hands, years pulling on years, on and on like the orbits of planets and stars. The Divine Hand of G-d pulls us along, and we pull each other in the dance of life.

The circle speeds up, men racing faster and faster, the children left behind, as the flames sputter and night falls. The rebellion, although bravely fought, failed, and Jerusalem fell again, and then Betar. The joy of the celebration turned to ashes, but, even in the shadow of the empire, their spirit endured. The stories were changed a little, the rebellion encoded into a story of Rabbi Akiva, a pivotal scholarly figure in the war, and of his students who perished because they had not been able to get along with one another. The failure of unity had been the underlying reason for the Roman conquest and the Jewish defeats. It is the ancient lesson still unlearned that the circle of the dance teaches us.

Lag BaOmer is not the first Jewish story of physical and spiritual heroism to become a hidden code. There is much that we know, without knowing what it truly means, messages from the past that exist only as echoes reminding us unknowingly of our purpose. Those in the circle around the flame may not know what they are truly commemorating and yet the act is its own commemoration. Thousands of years later the echo of a fierce joy, the pride of a people emerging out of darkness in a burst of wild energy, is still here.

Though the details are forgotten, the joy endures, the song is sung and the fire still burns.

In the darkness, there is nothing but the fire and the wild shapes racing around it, leaping with the guttering flames. A teenager pours oil on the flames and they rise higher. A new song begins but they are all the same song. Even the new songs are old. The music changes, but the words remain the same. Arms rise and fall, feet kick and the participants run around the fire only to end up right back where they began.

Codemaking is a dangerous business, for the keys to the code can be forgotten. In Spain and in the American Southwest there are men and women who keep odd rituals, but who no longer remember that the reason they keep them is because they are descended from Jewish Conversos. They have lost the most important part of the code, the part that explains everything. The men dancing around the fire have not lost that. They may not remember the liberation of Jerusalem, but their feet remember it, their arms remember it, their hearts remember it and most of all they remember who they are.

They retain the key to the entire code. They remember that they are Jews.

It all began with fire. Avraham was cast into the fire and emerged alive from the flames. Then Chananya, Mishael and Azariah. And then millions more turning to ash in the ovens only to rise again in a new generation.

"Is not this man a brand plucked out of the fire," G-d asks Satan in the vision of the Prophet Zechariah. "But who may abide the day of his coming?" the Prophet Malachi asks."And who shall stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire."

A piece of heavy wood chars, bright sparks rising into the night air. It is cool outside the ring of fire, but here it is painfully hot, the air thick with waves of heat. The children gaze wonderingly at the sparks, flying up like tiny stars, their eyes recording the memory with a purer fidelity than any of the cameras outside the circle. Their minds capture the memory of the light, the feel of it on their skin and the awe of seeing something new for the first time. They will remember the circle and the fire.

The story of Moloch is the tale of men who worshiped the fire with the bodies of their children. But the children who race around the margins of this fire are the survivors of the servants of Moloch who tried to thrust their grandfathers and great-grandfathers into the flames. They will grow running around the flames from those who wish to thrust them into the fire, to burn away all that they are. Some will die, killed by Muslim terrorists or by other modern day servants of Moloch, but others will survive, and one day their children will race around the flames, defying the worshipers of fire, the worshipers of death, to do their worst to them.

The fire blazes up, tongues of flame darting toward us like burning lions. This is the race we run around the flames that always burn, whether we see them or not. Year after year, generation after generation, and century after century, the fire burns, but we go on and no matter how many of us burn, we continue running the race with the flames, outpacing, outlasting and outliving. No matter how many of us fall into the flames, we still live.

A Talmudic recollection bemoans the Zoroastrian persecutions of the Jews. The notion today is as quaint as Assyrian chariots and Roman legions. The day will come when the Islamic persecutions are as obscure. When all the desert sands have covered over Mecca and the might and power of Islam are one with Assyria and Rome, with ancient pagan religions that have come and gone, blazing brightly like the flames, only to go out into the darkness, the dance will continue.

The men slow their steps, an ancient movement that the first wave of settlers to the Holy Land instinctively recreated. Dancing is a key that unlocks secret knowledge and opens up buried memories, turning the wheel of time back until it all becomes a circle that comes alive when it is closed.

Despite the tremendous variations in customs and appearances, they have unlocked the code of the circle, the hand to hand connection, the knowledge that whatever else we must go on. That the Jewish people must live.

The Bar Kochba revolt was not the last time that Jews fought to liberate their land. It was not the last time that the gates of Jerusalem were thrown open to a Jewish army. The liberation of Jerusalem in 1967 was the fulfillment of a struggle that had been going on for nearly two thousand years, as empires and caliphates had claimed the land, planted their spears and rifles over its barren hills, and enforced their laws upon it. And if Jerusalem falls again, if Masada falls again, if we fall into the fire, then we will rise out of it again, less in number, less in memory, but still a circle.

Fresh from battle, the soldiers danced around the flames. They had defeated the legions of Rome,  they had beaten the greatest army in the world. They had survived the flames and in an explosion of joy, they raced around the celebratory fires, tasting the momentary immortality of the aftermath of battle. Their names are forgotten, lost to memory. Lag BaOmer is associated now with two of Rome's scholarly opponents, Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who passed on the teachings and traditions that kept the circle intact even in the fire.

Wars are won and lost all the time. No victory, however significant, endures forever. There is no immortality in the victories of the flesh, only in the triumphs of the spirit.

For all our losses, this circle is a victory, an ancient celebration of a spiritual triumph kept secret in the face of the enemy. The circle of clasped hands reminds us that against the dead hand of history, we have a Living Hand that guides us even in our darkest hours, in the smoke and flame, in the ash and fire.

"Know that your descendants will be strangers in a land not their own," G-d tells Avraham, as the sun goes down, and amid a thick darkness, a smoking furnace and a flaming torches passes between the parted pieces of the covenant. There is smoke and fire, a thick darkness, but as each hand in the circle clasps another, the pieces are joined together into one. The unity will not last. But it is a reminder of who we can be and who we should be when we join together. A reminder of the covenant with G-d and with one another.

The dance is difficult, not because it is hard to learn or do, but because it is tiring. Some fall out of the circle, but others join in. It is a mistake to dwell too much on how many come and how many go. To count the losses, while overlooking the gains. We were never meant to be a numerous people, to swell to an empire, rotten with corruption, choking on its own grossness, until it dies. It is easier to win the race with the flames when you are small and light on your feet. Some tire of the race and leave, and fall into the flames or the darkness and are gone. But we go on. We always go on.