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Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Transformation of the American Dream into the American Nightmare

By On January 31, 2010
In the movie Moscow on the Hudson (1984) Vladimir Ivanoff, a frustrated jazz musician living in the overregulated and dysfunctional USSR escapes to New York City, only to be initially bewildered and then angered by the chaotic freedom he sees around him. Eventually Ivanoff comes to realize that America is not a utopia, but rather a society in which you are free to be responsible for your own happiness.

The contrast between the film's vision of a repressive and corrupt Moscow, where there are laws for everything, yet everyone lives outside the law because everything you want requires going outside the system, and its vision of New York City, where there seem to be virtually no laws for anything, but yet everything you could want is available if you can find a way to get it-- aptly marks the contrast between the planned and the unplanned society.

That contrast once lay at the heart of the American Dream, of a country where you have the freedom to achieve anything if you strive for it. But while the rhetoric of the American Dream is used just as often by politicians, it has come to mean something else nowadays, namely government subsidized goodies to help you "realize" the American Dream. This subtle distinction has transformed the American Dream from one of individualistic independence, to one of government dependency.

The left has made a specialty of demeaning the American Dream as bourgeois, capitalist, exploitative, consumerist and middle classist. There is a reason for that since the entire idea of the American Dream competes with the entire agenda of the left. The American Dream is premised on the idea that social and economic mobility can be accomplished through less government and more industry, rather than more government and less industry. Like the left, it promises that the individual can bypass class obstacles to succeed. But it comes without the left's collectivist limitations on personal ambition.

That is why the left began to find America more threatening than Europe, because American capitalism offered a clear path to a viable and free life that competed with their class warfare ideology. That is why the American far left was never able to spread its ideas into the general population until it began co-opting the counterculture and the civil rights movement. That is also why America is less socialist than most of its First World peers.

As American Liberals took on the ideas of the American left, rather than directly attacking the American Dream, the way the likes of Howard Zinn or Michael Moore would, they instead subverted it by redefining it as a Government Subsidized Dream. Consider recent pieces of legislation such as the American Dream Downpayment Initiative, which helped subsidize home purchases for the Democratic base, or the American Dream Act, which is targeted at provide amnesty and subsidize college educations for illegal aliens, again another Democratic base.

This redefinition of the American Dream from relying on personal initiative and hard work, to a government subsidized project which depends on your race and usefulness to the party is part of the left's profound Trojan Horse America project. Under the Trojan Horse America project, traditional American ideas and values are not shelved or condemned, but rather redefined as labels for the left's agenda.

The key element in this transformation is to turn individualistic American values into collectivist government ones... while redefining individual initiative as selfish, extremist and dangerous. The "New American Values" come wrapped in red, white and blue packaging, but they foster government dependency, instead of individual independence. They encourage people to engage in groupthink, instead of thinking for themselves. They class people based on categories and then reduce them to another statistic in a particular group. And then they shuffle their statistics and hand out bags of goodies to the members of the deserving classes, the ones who vote for them. And they paste a label on that reading, "The American Dream".

The result is an America that looks more like the USSR, than the America of the past. An overregulated society where there are laws for everything, yet achieving anything increasingly requires that you either be a "member of the party" or step outside the law. A country where nothing seems to work anymore and everything has to be exported from abroad. Where everyone believes in the government, yet no one actually believes the government can change anything. This is the American Nightmare that the left is steadily replacing the American Dream with.

To the left there was never an American Dream, only the whole litany of dead indians, striking coal miners and beaten freedom riders. A deformed version of American history almost indistinguishable from that which was taught in Soviet textbooks. The American Dream to them was nothing more than a low middle class desire to acquire a home and car at the expense of the poor.

But let's take a look at how in the Epic of America. "The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement... It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.

The American Dream, that has lured tens of millions of all nations to our shores in the past century has not been a dream of material plenty, though that has doubtlessly counted heavily. It has been a dream of being able to grow to fullest development as a man and woman, unhampered by the barriers which had slowly been erected in the older civilizations, unrepressed by social orders which had developed for the benefit of classes rather than for the simple human being of any and every class

These phrases make it all too obvious what the left is really trying to destroy, when it set out to destroy and replace the American Dream. The American Dream was not acquisitional, it was about being able to step outside a system and achieve your goals, whatever they may be, on your own. To live as a human being, rather than being repressed by a social system which forces you into static classes. Such a system is of course fundamentally incompatible with tyranny. And if you are going to impose such a tyranny, you need to get rid of that sort of escape hatch first.

The left today openly argues that independence is an outmoded and elitist notion. That individualism is the product of arrogant privilege, and must give way to the interdependence of socialism and global humanism. But by doing so they create a false image of the difference between their way and the American Way. The American Way has never barred people from pursuing collective endeavors, what it has sought to do is bar them from enforcing that collectivism on others.

Tat is the fundamental difference between the American Way and the distorted government run sham that liberalism is peddling at gunpoint. Whether it's Card Check or Health Care rammed through Congress-- liberalism does not allow Americans to choose their level of association. Instead it dictates those levels from the top down, through the government and its affiliated organizations, such as union leaderships.

There is nothing wrong with a union, so long as people are free to work without joining one and companies are free to hire whomever they choose. But liberals cannot accept freedom. Instead it demands that membership and unionization be mandatory. Similarly liberals cannot accept the idea that people want to opt out institutionalized health care. So it is made mandatory. And when in poll after poll the majority say that they don't want it, liberals respond that they are obligated to protect the rights of the minority by imposing it on everyone.

And with that American liberals have once again pulled off their mask and revealed their contempt for democracy and individualism, believing that they have the right to rule over the American people as the "Protectors of the Poor", a title used by numerous kings and tyrants throughout history, from Alfred the Great to Vladimir Lenin.

That same sham lies behind their promotion of an American Dream, which is little more than a tyrant's offering to the mobs that he is counting on to protect his rule. The left's attack on America is an attempt to drive the country back 500 years, all in the cynical name of progressivism.

The Democrats promise that if we give them power, they will rule with a level of fairness that we ourselves are not capable of. And when they have looted all the treasury, and have their mobs to bay for anyone's blood who questions them, when there is a law and a rule for everything, but no one obeys them if they can get away with it, when there is a smiling tyrant on every wall offering us a tenth of our own income back in government coupons... then we will truly be a progressive society that any student of history would recognize.

The American Dream is not a mere dream of commerce, but a dream of freedom. Freedom in labor, freedom in industry, freedom in thought and speech, and freedom of association. That is the American Dream we are fighting for. That is the American Dream that the left is fighting against. We can best defeat the left by offering the American Dream as the antidote to the American Nightmare.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Two Models for the Encounter Between Islam and the West

By On January 30, 2010
There are essentially two models for the current encounter between Islam and the West. The Clash of Civilizations, the first model is held by a narrow slice of the population in First World countries, and an even smaller slice within the political and academic world. This model holds that we are experiencing a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West. A clash of civilizations resulting from the desire of Muslims to create a global civilization based on their religion and culture, by displacing all competing civilizations, primarily (but not limited to) Western Civilization.

The second model is the Assimilationist Model, this model is the most widely held one, not only on the left, but among many on the right as well. The Assimilationist Model holds that the tensions between Muslims and the West, both in the West and in the Muslim world, are the product of the incomplete assimilation of both sides into a global society.

Under the Assimilationist Model, clashes in Europe or terrorism in America result from a failure by their host countries to properly assimilate Muslims within their borders. This "failure to assimilate" results primarily from Western racism, ignorance about Islam, and disrespect for Muslim values, leading to economic and social injustice. This economic and social injustice is then said to marginalize Muslim moderate leaders, who are more prepared to assimilate into their host society, and strengthens Muslim extremists.

On a global scale, violence from the Muslim world is said to be produced by the failure of First World countries to respect and adapt to Muslim culture and religion, as well as the left's old standbys of racism, and economic and social injustice. With the same results as on local level. Muslim extremists are strengthened, Muslim moderates are weakened, and stuff blows up all because we didn't spend enough time learning about other cultures.

Both locally and globally, the Assimilationist Model's prescription for curing terrorist ills is the same. For the affected countries to learn about the values of their attackers and strive to accommodate them. To provide financial benefits and various forms of affirmative action to neutralize Islamic grievances and show respect by promoting and normalizing Islam, both locally and globally. This will harmonize Muslims and non-Muslims together within the emerging global society. And then everyone can join hands and live peacefully together under the enlightened rule of a vast global bureaucracy.

While the Assimilationist Model emerged out of attempts by First World countries to actually assimilate Muslims, in its present state it is essentially a prescription for what is at best mutual assimilation, and what is at worst, a Muslim takeover. And what is worse, the Assimilationist Model is the dominant model used by politicians, academics, business leaders and the political and intellectual elite of almost every society currently targeted by Islam.

And there is a reason for that. Where the Clash of Civilizations model presents a global showdown in which not only is there no avoiding a global conflict, but that conflict will also disrupt emerging trade, international cooperation and global governance mechanisms-- the Assimilationist Model is an essentially optimistic one that says that if we all "buckle down" and make some cultural sacrifices, censor our cartoons, pay fealty to the cultural importance of Mosque and Koran, and avoid eating in public around Ramadan time, in exchange we'll benefit from from globalism abroad and multiculturalism at home (read as a dirt cheap workforce that can help fund our already bankrupt socialist systems). It's no wonder that the Assimilationist Model is so popular among the ruling elite, since it assumes that with a little cultural tinkering, everyone can be made happy. Even if it's under Sharia law. The details don't really matter to them, only the big picture does.

The different viewpoints inherent in these two models, the Clash of Civilizations and the Assimilationist Model underlie virtually all of the debate going on about Islam and the West. And what is so insidious about the Assimilationist Model is that it represents the "easy shortcut" in which societies begin trying to win over Muslims, and by the time they realize it isn't working they see no other alternative short of civil war for dealing with the problem, and this only reinforces their commitment to the Assimilationist Model as the only remaining option.

It is easy to understand why the Assimilationist Model is so dominant, given two choices, most people will choose the "easy way" out. Most people will also try to choose the nicer one, in order to feel better about themselves. The Assimilationist Model offers a minimum of sacrifice up front. There's no need to fight wars or contemplate international alliances against a rising evil. All you really have to do is run some ads, meet with some Muslim leaders, address their concerns and you're done for the day. It seems easy and at first it is. But then the demands get worse and worse, and even when you address them the violence increase. And you're caught inside the trap, and the only way to get out is chew your own leg off, on a national scale. But how many modern leaders are prepared to do that? And so they keep repeating the same futile gestures, putting more and more on the table, in the hopes that at some point the Assimilationist Model will kick in and their society will be saved. Of course the only thing that finally kicks in, is Sharia law and another addition to the Ummah, once the tipping point has been reached.

The difference between the Assimilationist Model and the Clash of Civilizations is the difference between a slot machine that asks for a quarter and a training course in electrical engineering that asks for ten thousand dollars. The first seems tempting, because it asks for very little up front and offers a huge reward. While the other asks for a lot up front and doesn't offer nearly as much down the road, and requires a lot of hard work. And much of the West's political leadership is no longer geared up for sacrifices and hard work, but for socialist bread and circuses, and the Assimilationist Model fits nicely into that mold.

But the intellectual failure of the Assimilationist Model goes even further back, because it's really the model that the West adopted for use against Communist and other far left wing workers' movements, which focused on depriving them of their base by improving conditions for workers. Since then the First World has adapted that same model for use in pacifying virtually any form of dangerous social discontent. But there's a basic disconnect between applying a model meant to deal with an ideological threat to a religious and cultural war. Because while Islam functions at the ideological level, its primary appeal functions at a cultural, national and religious level.

Islam is not simply a manifestation of discontent due to economic or social barriers, but the Manifest Destiny of Muslims in building a global Caliphate. It cannot be waved away with aid money, affirmative action or even showing respect for Islam. The Assimilationist Model is based on the fallacy that Islamism can be neutralized by coddling Muslims. It is profoundly and deeply wrong in this regard, because it fails to understand the power and appeal of Islam. But the fault lies in the left which following its Marxist model of class warfare has coded every social movement as coming in response to economic inequality. And the level of acceptance for the Assimilationist Model demonstrates the level of penetration by the basic ideas behind Marxism... even when those ideas were used to counter the rise of Marxist groups.

The left's intellectual dominance in the First World has wedded its political elite to a worldview in which local and global conflicts can be reduced to either greed on the part of developed nations and groups, or outrage against economic inequality by undeveloped nations and groups. The latter half of the 20th century has overlain those ideas with dollops of tolerance and respect, but the underlying idea remains the same. That you resolve a conflict by divide the Haves from the Have Nots, and assuming the latter can be appeased by remedying the wrongs done to them by the Haves.

The "Have and the Have Not" formula so vital to the Marxist worldview is so thorough embedded that it cannot envision actual Islamist motives as anything except as an insanity that can be pacified by weaning away their followers with economic, social and cultural incentives, or the inventions of intolerant conservative elements within their own society who are seeking to disrupt their attempt at national and global harmony.

This is why the Assimilationist Model has become a fact of life, whether it's in Europe, where governments seek to charm Muslims by showing them respect, or America, where the government is planning to spend billions to lure away Taliban fighters from their machine guns, to Israel, where the endless peace process continues dangling a limited state before terrorists who remain committed to destroying their country.

Because it is easy, because it accommodates the facile worldview of the left and provides minimum disruption to their plans for a global order-- the Assimilationist Model remains very hard to shake. Its optimism and humanism makes it seem morally indefensible to its followers. But its fatal flaw, like that of all utopian delusions, is that it is completely unreal.

The core meaning of utopia is a place that cannot exist. The Assimilationist Model too posits a mythical place brought to life by the ideological will and intellectual laziness of a civilization at war, but refusing to acknowledge it. The rate of global Muslim violence has been steadily increasing, and while the proponents of the Assimilationist Model will always defend it by finding new sources to blame for growing Muslim outrage, almost as quickly as Osama bin Laden's videotaped ghost does (US Troops in Saudi Arabia, Israel, Global Warming, Western Culture, the WTO), this sort of intellectual sloppiness cannot even begin to explain why Muslim violence is not limited to the West, why it is not limited to developed countries, why in fact its only distinctive characteristic is the Muslim violence itself.

The Clash of Civilizations remains the only rational explanation and prescription for action. But it is also a difficult one, both practically and morally for many people to accept. But understanding the other side, requires understanding the flaws of the Assimilationist Model. For it is by understanding the nature of another's delusion, that we can begin to show them the truth.


Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Afternoon Roundup - It's Gitmo Time

By On January 29, 2010

So Obama had his big State of the Union television debut, or what would have been a bigger television debut, if he had actually hoarded his appearances, instead of constantly delivering televised addresses to the nation, Castro style. Obama did manage to get viewers to tune in, who usually tuned him out, but he still couldn't manage to even equal his own stimulus plan address less than a year ago. To say nothing of matching Bush's State of the Union addresses.

This was the moment that Obama should have been hoarding his TV time for, instead of squandering it on constant appearances. The result was a much weaker impact than intended. Obama needed this speech to rebound from the collapsing health care bill and poor poll numbers. But instead he went on a fumbling offensive, trying to juggle an attempt to sell his attempt to capitalize on the new post-brown populism, blame Bush for everything, introduce a new phase of spending plans while claiming to be trying to cut the deficit, and appeasing the left by throwing out Don't Ask, Don't Tell, a candy reform he had been saving for the progressives for a while now.

Obama's speech as expected was low on responsibility. Consider the following--

One year ago, I took office amid two wars, an economy rocked by severe recession, a financial system on the verge of collapse and a government deeply in debt. Experts from across the political spectrum warned that if we did not act, we might face a second depression. So we acted immediately and aggressively. And one year later, the worst of the storm has passed.

The worst of the storm of course has not passed. But more to the point, Obama "credits" the expert with the responsibility for his own actions.

Yet the "experts" were not running the country, he was. It's one of many examples from Obama's SOU in which he refuses to follow Truman's "The Buck Stops Here" doctrine. Instead it stops with the experts.

So I know the anxieties that are out there right now. They're not new. These struggles are the reason I ran for president. These struggles are what I've witnessed for years in places like Elkhart, Ind., and Galesburg, Ill.

Predictable rust belt shoutouts, complete with an attempt to claim that the problem is old... yet it required sudden dire action when he took office. Yet it's better now, but still bad. Except it's not so bad, except when it was under Bush.

Logical consistency never was one of Obama's virtues.

For these Americans and so many others, change has not come fast enough. Some are frustrated; some are angry

This echoes the progressive meme, most famously put out by Howard Dean and Paul Krugman, that what Americans really want from Obama is more aggressive socialism, not less.

They are tired of the partisanship and the shouting and the pettiness. They know we can't afford it. Not now.

Actually the polls show that most people want more partisanship, which is one reason Brown won.

Our most urgent task upon taking office was to shore up the same banks that helped cause this crisis. It was not easy to do. And if there's one thing that has unified Democrats and Republicans, it's that we all hated the bank bailout. I hated it. You hated it. It was about as popular as a root canal.

But when I ran for president, I promised I wouldn't just do what was popular — I would do what was necessary. And if we had allowed the meltdown of the financial system, unemployment might be double what it is today. More businesses would certainly have closed. More homes would have surely been lost.

Also we might be ruled by Godzilla. I mean there's no proof otherwise, so it's safe to say that without bailing out the banks (who by a complete coincidence were some of Obama's biggest donors), Godzilla would be ruling over us today.

If you don't believe me, just ask Paul Krugman.

And that's it folks. The SOU mixed borrowed references to an American history that Obama doesn't give a damn about, a lot of references to the plight of plain ordinary folks he doesn't give a damn about (both essentially cut and paste from Presidential speeches for decades now) with a belligerent defense of his programs and hefty doses of Blame Bush (for at least one of those programs).

This was less a speech than it was the psychic equivalent of Lonesome Rhodes from A Face in the Crowd screaming to an empty hall, "Tell me you love me. I'll make you love me." Obama isn't quite there yet, but he's well on the road to it. His public speeches have gotten pissier and more bitter. And they leave a bitter taste in the audience's mouth, even when it seems like he's saying most of the right things.

This SOU was clearly the product of a lot of rushed focus groups and advisers, smacked off too many cooks and was delivered by a man who pretended to be angry over the state of things in America, but was all too obviously angry at his own falling popularity. Even as he was working to appease contradictory groups, while making a new series of false promises and defending his own record, the emperor's clothes had come off.

The AP fact checked some of Obama's speech and found some major issues. And mind you, not too long ago wire service fact checking used to be reserved for Obama's critics. And even his supporters have grown tired of hearing the "hope" ladled out. Because the only hope from Obama comes from those who have given to him and gotten back taxpayer money in return

Give and Get. That's the Chicago way.

But there's Dem panic all around. The panic is reaching as far as Feingold and Murray. Today I chatted briefly with Marty Lamb, who is working to replace McGovern. And the smell of blood in the water has forced even the left to move right.

Bloomberg, Schumer and Gillibrand, who repeats whatever Schumer tells her to say, even if it contradicts what she said last week, are now all against the terror trials being held in New York. In return Obama decided to slap New York across the face by refusing to support health funding for those suffering from health issues after 9/11.

The state’s two senators and 14 House members met with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius just hours before President Obama implored in his speech to the nation for Congress to come together and deliver a government that delivers on its promises to the American people.

So the legislators were floored to learn the Democratic administration does not want to deliver for the tens of thousands of people who sacrificed after 9/11, and the untold numbers now getting sick.

“She made it clear that the administration does not support any kind of funding mechanism that goes into the bill,” said Bronx Rep. Eliot Engel.

“I think it’s fiscal restraint… but you know what? They find money for everything else, they need to find money for this,” Engel said. “We were attacked because we’re a symbol of our country.”

McMahon was furious that caring for the heroes of Sept. 11 would take a back seat to anything but military funding.

“I thought there was a complete lack of understanding of the issue by the secretary and quite frankly, I did not expect that lack of compassion and failure to understand the urgency of the issue.”

Victims and advocates of 9/11 families are similarly stunned.

Lorie Van Auken, whose husband died on 9/11 and who supports the White House in its push to try the terrorists in New York, was crestfallen at the news.

“I thought that these people would be taken care of. I would have expected better from this administration,” Van Auken said, adding that she thought it sends the wrong message to all of America’s would-be heroes that the government won’t be there for them.

They shouldn't have been floored, since

A. Obama's phony spending freeze will never involve cutting the things he cares about or needs for political reasons. By contrast 9/11 funding is an easy target.

B. This is a warning to New York Democrats not to mouth off over the KSM trials.

Today the Daily News, a generally liberal tabloid, penned an angry editorial reading "Get the hell out of here: No terror trial in city, but send funds for WTC sick"

The precipitous and ill-conceived nature of Attorney General Eric Holder's plan to try the 9/11 masterminds in Manhattan Federal Court appears to have dawned on President Obama. Yesterday, the White House ordered a search for another trial venue.

The right answer would be to convene a military tribunal at the one place fully outfitted for the occasion: Guantanamo Bay.

Obama needs only to switch Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to a military tribunal and then to direct the savings into programs for the 9/11 sick.

Failing such a reversal, Congress needs to take command. Long Island Rep. Pete King got the ball rolling with a bill barring the Justice Department from holding terror trials in civilian courts.

That type of measure may be the only salvation. Mayor Bloomberg has come around to urging that the trial be taken somewhere else. And so have New York's duo of late-to-the-ramparts senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

Imagine, too, the rude awakening suffered Wednesday by those two along with Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Jerry Nadler, Eliot Engel, Michael McMahon and 10 additional members of New York's congressional delegation.

There they were, loyal Obama Democrats, who were sure their fellow loyal Obama Democrats would reverse the funding denials of the vanquished Bush administration. There they were, supporters of civilian terror trials.

And there they were, stiffed by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who said, nope, there would be no long-term funding because, you know, these are tough times.

But there would be money to turn lower Manhattan into an armed camp for the duration - assuming Obama ponies up for the security rather than dumping the costs on the NYPD.

The latest site for the KSM trial would seem to be Governor's Island, which is close to New Jersey, leading that state's lawmakers to get in on the act.

The Tri-State area is not happy with Obama. And the turnaround isn't even limited to the local area. Diane Feinstein has backed up New York Democrats on this.

Only Obama's buddy, mayor of the hellhole that Newark turned into, Cory Booker, says he wants the trials in Newark.

Now the Post is claiming an anonymous administration source has said that Obama may be willing to retreat on the KSM trial, and conduct a military tribunal in Gitmo... if the backlash gets strong enough.

It's a sign of desperation and a sign of the times, that the Obama Admin might be willing to send a brother back to Gitmo, instead of giving him the full ACLU works blocks away from the site of Ground Zero.

In Israel, Haaretz is reporting that Netanyahu may be offering Mitchell more concessions, such as the release of more Fatah terrorists from prison and the removal of more roadblocks... both of which will lead to more terrorist attacks and dead Israelis.

It's a symptom of how broken the political system is, that 17 years after Oslo, Israel is still on the same broken track of appeasing terrorists.

Meanwhile Pinny (Pinchas) Cohen, a presumed descendant of the original Pinchas, tossed two sneakers at the Israeli Supreme Court's left wing head judge, Dorit Beinish.

Naturally this has led to loving depictions of the martyrdom of Dorit, who had her eyeglasses broken. Depictions that have not been lavished on Israelis murdered because of the Supreme Court's favoritism toward terrorists. And the left wing press has eagerly seized on the sneaker throw to begin screaming about a "culture of incitement" (left wing code for criminalizing criticism of left wing public officials), because a mentally unstable man threw sneakers at a corrupt judge.

Haaretz already penned an op ed blaming that same culture of incitement and demanding stronger measures, while praising the court. The repulsive Mazuz latched on to it as part of a "wave of attacks". Apparently there was a wave of sneaker hurlings we were not aware of. In a comic farce, the Chief Justices convened to proclaim their support for Beinish (support against what? A 52 year old man who threw sneakers at her and was promptly arrested?) and issued a statement saying;

"The chief justices see this incident as one that undermines a national symbol and as an insult to the entire legal establishment, which represents one of the pillars of democracy in the State of Israel."

This kind of anti-democratic lunacy in response to a minor incident can only be the work of people who have had insufficient shoes thrown their way. The legal authorities are demanding a long prison sentence for Pinny Cohen, a man who is rather obviously mentally unstable, but whose cry that Dorit Beinish is corrupt, was quite true.

But the same people so worried about a chief justice's broken eyeglasses couldn't give a damn about Israeli children being murdered by the very terrorists they set free.

If you still feel any sympathy for the terrible tragedy of Dorit Beinish's broken eyeglasses, consider some who will pay a much higher price for her actions on behalf of terrorists.

Driving instructor Eli Cohen, a 30-year-old father, was killed in 2000 after his car was sprayed with bullets. Though shot multiple times, he survived long enough to drive to the nearest settlement before he lost consciousness and crashed.

There have been no fatal sniper attacks since the highway was closed to Palestinians in 2002, but risks are ever-present. Almost daily, youths throw stones at passing cars.

Last week, Israeli police say, they found a hidden explosive device by the side of the road.

Memories of the Jewish blood spilled on this highway have led some Israelis, including family members of those killed, to come out strongly against reopening the road to Palestinians.

Saying last week's ruling turns a drive down Highway 443 into a game of Russian roulette, some conservative lawmakers are moving to annex the highway to Israel.

Days after the ruling, posters began appearing along the road, taking aim at Israel's Supreme Court chief, Dorit Beinisch. "Dear Driver, Beware," the signs read. "Beinisch is endangering your life on Route 443."

Meanwhile in the US German Automaker Audi unveiled its "Green Police" ads in which a fake police officer warns people not to use more than one napkin for the sake of the environment.

The ad itself is obnoxious and petty enough to almost qualify as a parody of environmentalism. Worse since there are actual police forces with that name, some may be confused into thinking that the ad represents a legitimate warning from a law enforcement agency and so qualifies as intimidation.

But just to make Audi's green fascism that much more appalling, the name was also used by a Nazi Jew hunting unit.

But you have to admire Audi for putting the fascism in environmentalism so well. What a way to get ready for the Superbowl.

In other news, renowned left wing revisionist historian Howard Zinn died of a vast military industrial conspiracy against his heart. In lieu of flowers, mourners are asked to make kissy faces to Hugo Chavez.

The President of Pakistan is on a black goat killing spree to protect him from evil magic.

Mr Zardari, who rose to power after the assassination of his wife, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, in late 2007, has become increasingly unpopular and faces a range of problems from Islamist militancy to a stagnant economy and political rivalry.

Luckily stagnant economies are easily fixed with a little goat killing.

Incidents like this should serve as an education to anyone who still doesn't understand that a Muslim country may have some technology, but it's still stuck in the dark ages. Now pardon me while I go kill some goats to improve the economy.

Atlas continues her dedicated investigation of the Auschwitz blueprints. It's a quite important issue because it helps expand our knowledge of the Mufti's, at the time the leader of Muslims in Israel, collaboration in the Holocaust.

The report concluded that the Grand Mufti both supported and encouraged “the Nazi program of extermination of the Jews.” Captured records revealed that he had accompanied Adolf Eichmann to visit the gas chambers at Auschwitz and helped to put an end to negotiations being carried out by the Nazis to ransom Jews; the Mufti insisted they be liquidated. Writing to Himmler, the Mufti accused him and Joachim von Ribbentrop of being too lenient, since they had allowed some Jews to flee Germany. “If such practices continue,” the Mufti was quoted, “it would be “incomprehensible to Arabs and Moslems and provoke a feeling of disappointment.”

The Mufti wanted a Nazi invasion in order to exterminate the Jews in Israel. But he wanted the extermination of Jews to even take place in Europe. A common theme in Muslim propaganda is that they're being punished for the Holocaust, which had nothing to do with them.

The hell it didn't.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Behind the Republican Party's Malaise

By On January 27, 2010
Scott Brown's victory and Obama's falling poll numbers were virtually undeserved gifts to a Republican party that for the most part spent the year on the sidelines, benefiting from grassroots activism without actually doing much about it. It's little wonder that Michael Steele is widely hated or that there's talk of a third party. But to fix the Republican party, it's important to understand what is behind its malaise.

1. The Republican Party is Conservative - I don't mean conservative in the sense of socially conservative or fiscally conservative, but being risk averse and when in doubt sticking to the safest path. The party best known for Lincoln or Roosevelt or Reagan, has been defined more by Taft, Eisenhower and Bush Sr. That aversion to risk and making waves has helped Republican candidates be seen as safer and more traditional leaders, and kept the party afloat, but has made it unable to cope with sudden change.

As I wrote in my article, "A Revolutionary Party Once Again", the Republican party needs to be able to fight for change, instead of defending a constantly eroding conformity. The left's counterculture has successfully shifted the battle lines over and over again, because they played cultural offense, while conservatives have played cultural defense. That same phenomenon has occurred in virtually every arena, and politically it has left Republicans ahead on points, but without an actual agenda.

In the aftermath of the 2008 elections, the Republican party was disoriented, confused and lost... because its leadership has no real understanding of how to turn weakness into strength, or to agitate against those in power. And so it was left to the Tea Partiers and others to express the anger that so many Americans were feeling.

2. The Republican Party Fears Extremism - Liberalism's cultural dominance meant that they were able to define conservative Republicans as either evil bankers or klansmen. The Republican party has since worked hard to avoid being associated with anything that smacks of extremism, not that this changes the false image that has been created at all.

Essentially the Republican party has learned to act like an oppressed minority, working hard to avoid being associated with their stereotype. The problem is that you don't beat a stereotype by running the other way. All that does is show vulnerability and limits your freedom of action. Any member of a minority group learns sooner or later that the best way to deal with a stereotype is to do what you think is right, and ignore the stereotype. But instead the Republican party ran from it, and ran all the way from its own base.

Where the Democratic party embraced its grass roots, staged managed as they were, the Republican party has been afraid to do it. But ignoring the power of populism is foolish, as Brown's victory demonstrated. And by trying to make a show of being so much more "moderate" than their base, the Republican party has repeatedly compromised away its principles and alienated its base.

The only way to defeat a charge is to demonstrate that it has no power over you. Yet nationalist and conservative groups throughout the First World have fallen into this same trap, retreating to an imaginary high ground, while their pursuers only increase the venom of their accusations in direct proportion to the willingness shown by conservatives to compromise. You do not defeat such enemies by giving in to them, but by aggressively confronting them.

And by running away from its base, the Republican party has empowered actual extremists by ceding issues such as immigration, civil liberties, states' rights and economic conservatism to them. Meanwhile the party itself becomes more milquetoast day by day, and has bred a culture of tameness in which the leadership is terrified of anything that might disturb the status quo, and dreads being associated with sign wavers and angry people.  But the party needs those sign wavers and angry people to give it passion and meaning. To make it more than a list of candidates, but an idea and a cause.

3. The Republican Party is Playing it Safe - See 1. The Republican party chose to wait out Obama's first year and let him destroy himself. Arguably they can claim that the strategy worked out nicely for them. The party's fortunes are on the rise again, with very little risk to anyone besides Joe Wilson. But that is exactly the problem.

The party's strategy has been geared too often to winning short term victories, as opposed to long term ideological victories. While the left has shifted the ideological territory, the Republican party has managed to be the center-right voice of reason. But being the voice of reason is a short term victory, when in the long term the system is drawn closer and closer to the left wing's vortex of madness.

And so the GOP has rested on its laurels, picking safe battles on social issues without ever really committing to them, denouncing big government without doing much about it and being satisfied to win victories by pointing out that their enemies would plunge the country into a socialist nightmare... without actually saying it in so many words or doing anything to stop them in the long run.

While the left has been changing the country, the Republican party has been focused on winning elections. Essentially the Republicans have been playing checkers, while their enemies have been playing chess... and the results are all around us. It's time to stop playing it safe, and actually work to change the country for the better.

4. The Republican Party is Big Business Minded - While capitalism is a good thing, not everything that's good for corporate donors is good for America. On some issues, such as immigration, the Republican Party has embraced corporate positions over populist ones. On others, such as the War on Terror, it has embraced a compromised line to avoid hurting international trade.

Big businesses look for stability, and the Republican party has all too often complied by being the party of making no waves. It has sought bipartisanship and compromises, and listened to lobbyists more than to tis base. But while stability is a virtue, sometimes you need to fight to change the status quo. And sometimes you need to make waves.

Because making America safe for free enterprise will require making waves and rolling back a lot of the existing bureaucracy, some of which actually benefits major corporations by inhibiting competition from small businesses. If the Republican continues to embrace stability above all else, socialism will come. And that will hurt many of the same companies who insist on a tamer Republican party.

Protecting American free enterprise, whether from socialism or Islamic terrorism, in the long run will involve some short term shocks. But it will be to recreate America as a country where free enterprise actually means something besides having to fill out a mound of paperwork just to be able to lean back in your own chair.

5. The Republican Party Can't Get Angry - Populists have to be able to feel and channel the frustration and anger of the people they represent, but it's been a while since Republicans have shown that they can get angry. While the Democrats have been very good at showing their anger, Republicans have tried to be the  adults. But there is a positive side to anger, because it can channel passion into action. The passion of the protesters over the last year have shown what focused activism on the right can accomplish. But to really make use of that energy, the party needs to understand their constituents anger at what is being done to them.

Joe Wilson's outburst may have been shocking, but for so many it crystalized what they had been feeling, and they were thrilled to see a congressman willing to say it for them. That doesn't mean Republican Senators need to begin shouting and throwing things. But it does mean that they need to show that they are passionate about fighting for their constituents. Anyone can put on the right sound bite, but emotion connects at a visceral level, projects sincere beliefs and causes a message to memorably resonate. And at a time when even leading Democrats are angry at each other, the Republican House and Senate leadership has been barely noticeable in the fray.

It is easy enough for the leadership to glow at Scott Brown's victory, but unless they actively channel the frustration of the message that the people of Massachusetts wanted to send, that glow will soon fade.

6. The Republican Party has No Real Agenda - To lead people, you need to point the way forward. Instead whether it's Michael Steele or toy elephants, the party has tried to reinvent its image, instead of leading with its ideals. The Republican Party has been willing to talk about the evils of big government, more than it has been willing to do anything about big government. It has been willing to talk about fiscal conservativism, more than it has been willing to practice it... and the list goes on and on.

Being the voice of reason, the common sense alternative to the nuts who would turn everything over to the government, dismantle the military and make sure every children's cartoon includes at least one transsexual puppet is fine. It's easy going and you don't need to make any waves. All you have to do is criticize the lunacy, while passing and enforcing compromised versions of that same lunacy. And unfortunately that is exactly what the Republican party has been doing for a while now.

It's not enough to say no, when you really mean sorta yes. And it's not enough to just say no, either. You actually need to work toward a vision. As ugly as it may be, the Democrats do have a vision. All too often Republicans don't, because the party has become detached from its great leaders like Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan, who fought for what they believed in, and instead have been satisfied to be moderately mediocre. To be generally inoffensive. To stake out positions that most people agree with, and then sort of agree with them (but not too much).

To have a vision you must want to change things. The Democrats do and they've gotten very far doing it. The protesters at the Town Halls want to change things, but their party isn't listening to them. The spirit of a party is not at the polling booth or in the tv commercial or the neatly printed election day leaflet, but in the beliefs that its members want to fight for and the vision that they have of what America should be.

There is neither pride nor meaning in winning simply because the public thinks that the Democrats are failures or nuts. It is a victory that accomplishes nothing except to slow the rate of decay. A meaningful victory is one fought and won for a vision of America, one that holds true to the freedom of its citizens, to the defense of its borders, and the supremacy of its ideals. Only recovering those ideals as passionate principles worth fighting for, not paying mere lip service to, will restore the party's spirit again.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hamas' 54 Democratic Congressmen

By On January 26, 2010
Keith Ellison, widely hailed as America's first Muslim congressman, could more accurately be described as CAIR and Hamas' man in Congress. Congressman Ellison has been a regular presence at CAIR fundraisers and at pro-Hamas rallies in the United States. As a former member of Farrakhan's Nation of Islam, Ellison has enough anti-semitic and Islamist credentials to satisfy anyone, and had expressed openly anti-semitic beliefs in the past.

Since Ellison got his start with CAIR , his attempt to provide support for Hamas is completely unsurprising. Both Hamas and CAIR are projects of the Muslim Brotherhood, which also helped birth Al Queda. Organizations like CAIR do the same work in America that Hamas does in Israel. The difference is that CAIR does its work on a political level, while Hamas functions on both a political and a military level. Like CAIR, Ellison is careful to cloak his pro-Hamas agenda, which he does by mentioning that all violence is wrong and that Israelis probably shouldn't be shelled-- but the thrust of his agenda is to force Israel to open its border with Hamas.

The entire "Free Gaza" movement is a Hamas propaganda project that allows it to demand that Israel open its borders, without actually using the P word, for peace, since Hamas doesn't even believe in phony peace negotiations. So Pro-Hamas activists, whether it's former Saddam supporter, George Galloway's Viva Palestina or their American flavors talk only about "The People of Gaza", deemphasize Hamas and emphasize the supposed "suffering" within Gaza.

But the call for Israel to open its borders is nothing more than a way of making it easier for terrorists to strike. Ellison's letter buries its real agenda in paragraphs of prose about how everyone will be better off, except somehow Hamas, if Israel complies with their demand... that Israel ease the movement of people in and out of Gaza. This of course is a fancy way of saying, "Let my Suicide Bombers go".

None of this is up till now is shocking. But what Congressman Keith Ellison accomplished was to convince 53 other Democratic congressmen to join him in this venture. It is not particularly surprising to find the House's most radical anti-Israel voices signing their names onto Ellison's letter. It would be inconceivable if a letter aiding Hamas did not carry the signatures of Barbara Lee, Jim Moran or Jim McDermott, who helped Ellison spearhead the whole campaign. It is essentially inconceivable that any letter circulated in congress opposing Israel would not get their signature.

Jim Moran had managed to blame even the Iraq War on the Jews and McDermott was actually named CAIR's Public Official of the Year. Neither is West Virginia Arab Congressman, Nick Rahall, who is the Democratic party's version of Darrel Issa, who is tied to CAIR as well, and previously voted against Israel's right to defend itself. Rahall is also the top recipient of CAIR donations. The likes of Diane Watson or Pete Stark aren't complete surprises either. Pete Stark has a history of being both anti-Israel and unstable. Neither is Carolyn Kilpatrick, who voted against Israel's right to defend itself, and against condemning terrorist attacks on Israel. Kilpatrick, like virtually every Democrat on the list, is also tied to CAIR.

Then there's William Delahunt, who all but openly expressed the hope that a former Cheney aide would be targeted by Al Queda. John Conyers signing on to this while awaiting prison is no real shocker either. The man has all but endorsed Sharia law in America. Or John Dingell who like many Detroit politicians has gone whole hog with the Islamist Follow Traveler thing.

Congresswoman Betty McCollum has been waging her own private war on Israel, right down to issuing an imperial demand that Israeli Ambassador Oren attend the national conference of the far left anti-Israel group, J Street. McCollum famously belittled Hamas' shelling of Israel as nothing more than a drug gang's drive by shooting and repeated the discredited white phosphorous smear. Again, no more surprising than Chaka Fattah's presence on the list.

Then there's Eric Massa, a former Republican turned turncoat Democrat, Massa has been consistently loudly anti-war and to the left. Like virtually every congressman on this list, he's pushed for a phony ceasefire, that would naturally be one sided. Considering his increasingly unhinged radicalism, and that he has an election coming up soon, Massa must be pretty confident that the nutroots can get him reelected.

It is of course no surprise that this list weighs heavily toward Minnesota and Michigan, where CAIR is strong. But it also includes twelve congressmen from California, 3 from New Jersey, 4 from New York and 6 from Massachusetts. These numbers are not mere statistics, they define the rising influence of the Muslim Brotherhood on American politics, state by state.

And it is instructive to note how many of the congressmen and congresswomen on the list are funded by CAIR money. Keith Ellison, John Conyers, Loretta Sanchez, Betty McCollum, Lois Capps, Bill Pascrell, Elijah Cummings, Bob Filner, Mike Honda, Barbara Lee, John Dingell, James Moran, Nick Rahall, Andre Carson, Mary Jo Kilroy, Carolyn Kilpatrick and Jim McDermott are among the top receivers of CAIR money in congress.

Of the top 11 CAIR moneygetters in congress, Nick Rahall, James Moran, Darrel Issa, John Conyers, Dennis Kucinich, Jesse Jackson, Jr, John Dingell, Barbara Lee, Carolyn Kilpatrick, Shelia Jackson Lee and Jim McDerrmott-- 7 out of 11 signed on to Ellison's letter. That makes the Gaza letter a CAIR project. 5 on that list voted against condemning attacks on Israel.

And the letter is simply an opening shot as part of a broader campaign by the Muslim Brotherhood and its American proxies to attack Israel and promote its own Hamas wing. Its proxies can't openly come out for Hamas, not in the United States anyway. Not from members of congress. But they can work toward a common goal. With this letter, Hamas's masters in the Muslim Brotherhood demonstrated that they can use CAIR to gather 54 congressmen together to push its agenda. That is quite a leap for an organization that is the unindicted co-conspirator in funding Hamas terror It also demonstrates that Amerabia isn't as far away as we have thought.

Update: The Full List of Congressmen who signed on to the letter, by State and District, with contact info, and their current list of challengers in the upcoming elections


Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-7) Fax: 202-225-1541 = AZ 7th Distict


Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-6) Fax: 202-225-5163- CA 6th District
Rep. Lois Capps (D-23) Fax: 202-225-5632 - CA 23rd District - Challenger John Davidson
Rep. Sam Farr (D-17) Fax: 202-225-6791- CA 17th district
Rep. Bob Filner (D-51) Fax: 202-225-9073 - CA 51st district - challenger Nick Popaditch
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-9) Fax: 202-225-9817 - CA 9th District
Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-47) Fax: 202-225-5859 - CA 47th District - challenger Van Tran
Rep. Pete Stark (D-13) Fax: 202-226-3805 - CA 13th District
Rep. Mike Honda (D-15) Fax: 202-225-2699 - CA 15th District
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-12) Fax: 202-226-4183- CA 12th District
Rep. Diane Watson (D-33) Fax: 202-225-2422 - CA 33rd District
Rep. George Miller (D-7) Fax: 202-225-5609 - CA 7th District


Rep. Jim Himes (D-4) Fax: 202-225-9629- 4th district - challenger Dan Debicella


Rep. André Carson (D-7) Fax: 202-225-5633 - 7th district - challenger Carlos May and Marvin Bailey Scott


Rep. Bruce Braley (D-1) Fax: 202-225-9129 - 1st district - challenger Rod Blum


Rep. John Yarmuth (D-3) Fax: 202-225-5776 - 3rd district - multiple challengers


Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-7) Fax: 202-225-3178
Rep. Donna Edwards (D-4) Fax: 202-225-8714


Rep. Michael Capuano (D-8) Fax: 202-225-9322 - 8th district
Rep. William Delahunt (D-10) Fax: 202-225-5658 - 10th district - multiple challengers
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-3) Fax: 202-225-5759 - 3rd district - challenger Marty Lamb
Rep. John Tierney (D-6) Fax: 202-225-5915 - 6th district - Challenger David Sukoff and Bill Hudak
Rep. John Olver (D-1) Fax: 202-226-1224- 1st district - challenger Jeffrey Paul Donnelly
Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-9) Fax: 202-225-3984 - 9th district - challenger Vernon Harrison and Keith Lepor


Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-13) Fax: 202-225-5730
Rep. John Conyers (D-14) Fax: 202-225-0072
Rep. John Dingell (D-15) Fax: 202-226-0371


Rep. Keith Ellison (D-5) Fax: 202-225-4886 - 5th district - challenger Barb Davis
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-4) Fax: 202-225-1968 - 4th district - challenger Ed Matthews
Rep. James Oberstar (D-8) Fax: 202-225-6211- 8th district - multiple challengers

New Jersey

Rep. Donald Payne (D-10) Fax: 202-225-4160 - 10th district -
Rep. Rush Holt (D-12) Fax: 202-225-6025- 12th district - challenger Mike Halfacre and Scott Sipprelle
Rep. William Pascrell (D-8) Fax: 202-225-5751- 8th district - challenger Danielle Staub

New York

Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-11) Fax: 202-226-0112- 11th district
Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-22) Fax: 202-226-0774 - 22nd district - challenger George Philips
Rep. Paul Tonko (D-21) Fax: 202-225-5077 - 21st district - challenger Arthur Welser
Rep. Eric Massa (D-29) Fax: 202-226-6599- 29th district - challenger Tom Reed (in a GOP district)

North Carolina

Rep. David Price (D-4) Fax: 202-225-2014 - 4th district - challengers George Hutchins, Lawson and Frank Roche


Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-9) Fax: 202-225-7711 - 15th district - challengers John Adams and Senator Stivers
Re. Mary Jo Kilroy (D-15) 614-294-2196 - 9th district


Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-3) Fax: 202-225-8941-3rd district
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-4) Fax: 202-225-0032 - 4th district - challenger Sid Leiken


Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-2) Fax: 202-225-5392 - 2nd district
Rep. Joe Sestak (D-7) Fax: 202-225-0280 - 7th district - challenger Patrick Meehan and Dawn Steisland


Rep. Peter Welch (D-At Large) Fax: 202-225-6790 - 1st district


Rep. Jim Moran (D-8) Fax: 202-225-0017 - 8th district - challengers Matthew Berry , Mark Ellmore, J Patrick Murray


Rep. Jim McDermott (D-7) Fax: 202-225-6197 - 7th district
Rep. Adam Smith (D-9) Fax: 202-225-5893 - 9th district - challengers Dick Muri and James Postma
Rep. Jay Inslee (D-1) Fax: 202-226-1606 - 1st district - challenger James Watkins
Rep. Brian Baird (D-3) Fax: 202-225-3478 - 3rd district - challengers David Castillo, David Hedrick and Jon Russell

West Virginia

Rep. Nick Rahall (D-3) Fax: 202-225-9061 - 3rd district - challengers Lee Bias, Gary Gearheart and Conrad Lucas


Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-2) Fax: 202-225-6942 -2nd district - Tim Terenz
Rep. Gwen Moore (D-4) Fax: 202-225-8135 - 4th district - challenger Dan Sebring


Rep. Glen Nye (D-2) Fax: 202-225-4218 - 2nd district - challengers Ben Loyola, Ken Golden, Ed Maulbeck, Bert Misuzawa, Scott Rigell and Scott W Taylor

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Spoiled System

By On January 25, 2010
 Do you feel disadvantaged? Is your volume of business down? Are you a member of a minority group and feel like you need an edge? Are you not a member of a minority group but wish you had your own bailout? Do you think that everyone's getting money from the government but you. Don't worry, there's a solution. The Spoiled System.

The art of politics is the art of patronage, as money and political support is invested in politicians as a down payment on the government largess that they will dispense back to their supporters once in office. As the size of government has expanded, the American spoils system has gone from encompassing jobs for a few thousand bureaucrats in the early 19th century to a spoiled system in which all Americans are expected to support politicians in exchange for a share of the government loot.

The health care debate is only the latest example of how the expansion of government has drawn up battle lines among Americans who are expected to fight over the latest episode of the Spoiled System. And is it only the latest. For if we declare that government provided health care is a legal right, then why not housing or internet access and cars? The Romans had a name for this sort of thing, panem et circenses, or Bread and Circuses, in which politicians dispense the spoils of government treasuries to the public in exchange for their support.

That sort of thing has an ancient history in America going back to the earliest days of government, in which politicians realized that to survive both individually and on a party basis, they would have to create their own base. And so they did. Back in 1800, Aaron Burr, the original Democratic party scoundrel, created an entire electorate with a bill to provide free water to New Yorkers, with a company that also doubled as a bank. Some 200 years later, variations on the same trick are being played over and over good, with the instruments of the public good being exploited in order to perpetuate the spoiled system. It is only now that the system is approaching its final breaking point, as out of control government spending fueled by corruption, party politics and 'bread and circuses' social spending, is bankrupting America.

The key ingredient of course is the size of government. To give away something, you must control it. And as political parties strive to secure their power base through giveaways to individual and entire demographic groups of supporters-- the entitlement arms race takes on a desperate note. Because not only do both parties have to spend money to reward their supporters, but when neither party is dominant, the spending increases two-fold, because the only thing more expensive than single party piggery, is bipartisanship in which both parties tack on the spending they want to get anything passed.

That is how Bush got so many bills passed, by dramatically increasingly spending in order to reward Democratic congressmen and Senators for their cooperation. It's why the NEA's budget shot up to new heights under Bush, and why the same Democratic Senators now assailing Republicans for their spending, were living high on the hog back then, literally. It's why Obama and congressional Democrats are now pondering how much money they're going to have to spend in order to buy off a few Republican Senators to get their agenda through. Because except for the occasional moment of genuine national solidarity in a time of crisis, bipartisanship mainly means twice as much theft.

It will be much harder though, because most Republican Congressmen and Senators understand that they can't afford to vote for much of Obama's agenda. Not because it's too expensive, frankly that has stopped very few politicians on either side over the last decade, but because it's not mere waste or the spoils system in action, but an attempt by Obama and the Democrats to use spending to create their own base. The fundamental difference between the bailouts and health care is that the latter represents a political power grab, that few but the loosest Republicans will go along with for any amount of bribery. And having an aggressive grass roots movement agitating for fiscal conservatism at their doorstep, only reinforces that.

But to paraphrase Marlene Dietrich, the problem with fiscal conservatism is that it doesn't pay... politicians that is. Fiscal conservatism looks good on the letterhead, but in the days when 99 percent of the reason to hold elected office is to bring home the pork, electing or getting elected in order to stop spending money is counterintuitive on both sides of the aisle. There are politicians who make fiscal conservatism their agenda, and some do a better job of camouflaging their earmarks than others, some like Ron Paul go so far as to insert the earmarks and then make a charade of voting against them, but none of them can really stop handing out public money to shore up their own base of support. They can't, because the entire political system is geared to reward those who grab the money.

It is the system itself that is spoiled. Soviet economic planning created a top down system in which the absence of a free market turned the entire economy into one big black market, in which everything belonged to the government, and everyone had to earn a living by stealing from the government and reselling it on the black market. But in fact we have the same system, it just runs out of D.C. and the politicians do all the stealing for us.

In our system you don't need to steal and resell office supplies or fish. Instead two or three politicians get up and promise to steal as much of the budget as they can on your behalf. And raise the debt limit so they can steal even more. The best thief goes off to the state capitol or Washington D.C. and the same game goes on. Most politicians disdain the system, but argue that since everyone does it, they have to deliver the pork to their constituents too. And they're right. How many politicians would get reelected if they actually didn't bring any of the money from Washington D.C. home? How many people would really vote for a man if he promised that their district wouldn't receive a single dollar in Federal money? In many parts of the country it would be easier to run as a convicted child molester than a politician who actually doesn't bring any money home at the end of the day.

The public benefits here and there, a new road, a renovated museum and the occasionally helpful government service. But for every dollar of value that the general public receives, nine dollars are routed into kickbacks to contributors (often passed off as waste), funneled into an endless bureaucracy or just shredded as part of the long drawn out process in which the government's own size and lack of accountability results in more money being spent in a year than a committee of madmen loosed in a bank vault ever could.

But the competition ensures that the spoils system will go on. Imagine two greedy sons who open a safe containing all the money that their father left to them. They both look at each other, each brother suspecting that his sibling will go for the money. So naturally they both begin taking money, and as both shovel hundred dollar bills in their pockets, they begin grabbing the money faster and faster, as each one tries to grab as much as he can so the other one doesn't get it.

That is what we have now. A system in which politicians get elected in order to spend money by paying back their donors and constituents for their support. A system in which parties scheme to make the public more and more dependent on them, in order to control their support. Tammany Hall and the Carpetbaggers were two sides of the same coin. Government can't be reformed, because government is the problem. Fighting the War on Drugs always runs up against the problem that there are people who want drugs and people who want to profit by selling it to them. Fighting government corruption runs up against the same problem. To win the War on Drugs, you somehow have to convince people to stop using drugs or trying to profit from selling them. To win the War on Government Spending, you have to convince politicians to stop spending money.

As long as government can spend money it does not have, raise taxes to collect more money, go into debt to spend more money and has virtually unlimited spending discretion vested in politicians who are supposed to be the people's representatives, but instead have become their pimps, the crisis will only get worse. It will take more than a new election to change that, but a transformation in the relationship between the politicians and the people.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

No Answer to Terrorism

By On January 24, 2010
Bin Laden's latest message, real or memorex, is an uncomfortable reminder for the current ruling party of the United States that terrorism did not go away just because they found it inconvenient or thought global warming was a much more crucial threat. Like every terrorist Bin Laden does not measure victory against a much stronger enemy in terms of strategic assaults, but in terms of staying power. And so Bin Laden's message to Obama is a very simple one. "I am still here. The Mujahadeen are still here. What are you going to do about it?"

Naturally Obama has no answer. His self-proclaimed experience with the Muslim world, and the supposed diplomatic polish that a new administration could bring to the table, have yielded nothing in the way of real world results. Instead after nearly a year of ignoring the War on Terror, Obama was forced to trot out a plan reminiscent of the Bush Administration (to the hisses and boos of the nutroots and his media backers) that was little more than a patriotic smiley face stamped on an obvious exit strategy.

While the Taliban are moving forward with plans for a struggle with the Afghani coalition government once the Allies have withdrawn, Washington D.C. has failed to show that it can even plan more than a year ahead, or address any unexpected contingencies. Napolitano's fumbling response to the Northwest bomber or the Army's extremely politically correct report on the Fort Hood Massacre that managed to perpetuate the very causes of the massacre by ignoring Hassan's Islamofascist beliefs have managed to frustrate even true believers who were waiting for Obama to show that his administration could deftly manage the challenges of global and domestic terrorism.

But the truth is that Obama and his people have no idea what to do with a domestic terrorist who can't be linked to their political opposition, and no idea what to do with global terrorists except the same old "throw money at the moderates" strategy. Islamic Terrorism is off the table and Muslim terrorists have made a career of taunting us about it. Nidal Malik Hasan did everything but send a warning telegram to the Pentagon, and got a free pass for the worst of his antics. Not simply because doctors were needed, but because the mythical moderate Muslim has become one of the most prized creatures in the West, even if he is threatening to cut your head off.

The flip side of the meme "We're not at War with Islam" is the compulsive need to disguise any manifestations of such a war by dressing up our window displays with tokens of our love and affection for Islam, whether it's Koran lessons, Eid fasts for everyone or moderate Muslims who get up and moderately inform everyone that maybe the Taliban thugs trying to murder our soldiers might have a point or two there. And so we censor cartoons that offend Muslims, we pay lip service to the peacefulness of the Koran, the greatness of Mohammed and the general wonderfulness of anything green with a sword and crescent on it. We do everything we can to convince the Wonderful World of Islam that not only don't we have a single negative thought about them, but that we actually love and respect them very much. And while we may have failed to convince a single Muslim of our sincerity, we have done a fantastic job of convincing ourselves (Stockholm Syndrome case study #44317).

So fervently do we believe that we are not fighting a war with Islam (heavens no) that we tune out Muslims, on either side of the board, who tell us that yes our war is with Islam. Because if we were to listen to them, then we might have to deal with the implications of what they're telling us.

It's so much easier for the media and the political establishment to listen to the latest Bin Laden tape and cherry pick enough of his propaganda to reinforce whatever it is they already want to believe about the War on Terror, whether that it's the fault of our foreign policy, of globalism or the sock hop (one of the excuses given by the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sayed Qutb, a perfectly lovely organization that would help birth both Al Queda and Hamas).

Never mind that the Bin Laden messages are propaganda meant to reinforce existing domestic anti-war propaganda. Never mind that Bin Laden is probably dead and his messages are being hacked together by a bunch of call center employees in Lahore in between answering calls from American consumers who want to know why their toaster isn't working. (Hello my name is Baree, you must press the red button before the green button. That is all.) What matters is that the cocoon of denial remain intact for the dreaming butterflies, imagining a world in which the UN takes care of the world's problems.

Because Islamic terrorism is an extremely inconvenient phenomenon to the globalist who can already see the fall of nations and their replacement by a vast enlightened global bureaucracy that will end hunger, bring world peace and make sure that every school in the world looks like something out of a Benetton ad.

If European politicians at least generally understand that what they're doing is destroying their own nations in the long run for short term political gain, American liberal politicians are still fiercely certain that the future will be big one of glassy transparent domes and an enlightened world body of regulators to tell everyone what to do and what to think, ensuring that no one is ever fat or disagrees with government policy. The rise of Islam has no place in this wonderful universe in which everyone has an iPhone and no one votes Republican. It is so out of place that it can only be dealt with by integrating it as another thing that America itself caused by being mean to other countries and which will go away once we have enough glassy transparent domes and inspirational speakers for everyone.

Obama was supposed to fix terrorism, not by dropping bombs on terrorists (Gaia forbid). No, he was supposed to fix terrorism by being inspirational, by uplifting the world's imagination with a new vision of human togetherness and showing that America is no longer a mean country that conquers other countries, but a country where anyone can become anything, so long as they first write a heartfelt biography about it.

Instead Obama has been forced to drop bombs and deploy troops. And all his inspirational speeches didn't inspire the Turks to stop sharpening their knives, the Europeans to contribute more troops, the Russians to stop stirring the pot, the Chinese to stop polluting, the Israelis to put a gun to their own heads, the Palestinian Arabs to agree to let the Israelis commit suicide, the Pakistanis and the Saudis to stop playing both sides at the same time, the Afghani and Iraqi governments to actually work, the Iranians to stop trying to melt down the entire region and the Colombians to stop fighting leftist terror. And after a while, even his die hards began complaining that his speeches just weren't inspiring anymore. But the speeches hadn't changed, they just began to ring hollow. Because it was all too clear now that speeches weren't going to get anything done.

Unlike Obama, Al Queda does not rely on speeches. Like most murderers, their speeches amount to a barely coherent string of rationalizations mostly meant to confuse their victims and the authorities. And like most terrorists, Al Queda relies on inflicting terror and then hanging back and waiting for the sleeping giant to exhaust itself before going back to sleep again. Obama's election was America hitting the snooze button on terrorism, as the independent voters decided that it was time to give the beanbag party a shot at running the country. And now Al Queda is back with a vengeance, kicking us when we're down, because 2008 showed that we had forgotten everything we should have learned in 2001.

What terrorists do is very simple. They inflict terror on the one hand and hold out a political solution on the other. The Nazis did it well enough to convince everyone that everyone would be better off with them in power. Arafat did it well enough to convince everyone but the Israelis that the only way to end terrorism would be to put him in power. Eventually the mass pressure and the rise of the Israeli left convinced the Israelis too. And that is the next stage of Al Queda's gambit, to convince Obama that he would be better off negotiating with them, and letting them have Egypt or Saudi Arabia or Yemen or Afghanistan, or any other part of the world that would fit nicely into their Caliphate.

And can you really count on Obama, facing a tough reelection campaign a few years from now to say no? Al Queda isn't and they win either way. When the Russians wanted to leave Afghanistan, they had to cut a deal with the very people they had been fighting first. If Obama wants a clean getaway withdrawal from Afghanistan, without the images of women jumping to their death trying to accompany the departing US troops or Taliban shells landing on US airfields, then he's going to have to cut a deal. The Taliban and Al Queda know it, even if Obama's crack team in D.C. still hasn't figured it out.

But that's because our enemies have what is most vital to winning a war, a plan for actually winning it. The US government never has. Not under Bush and certainly not under Osama bin Biden, whose cosmopolitan skill set of visiting other countries as a kid did not remotely prepare him playing in the international bloodsport arena of foreign affairs. And the reason we don't have that plan is because we haven't even defined who the enemy is.

Our entire hundred billion dollar security apparatus still doesn't know or refuses to say, what every junior level Taliban fighter does, that this is a war between Civilization and Islam. And only one of them can emerge victorious. Either the West will harness its great advantages of technology, resources and brainpower to crush the extremist cult of throat-slitters, or the Ummah will utilize their wealth and surplus of young males, as well as their knowledge of our political and cultural weaknesses, to overrun and destroy us nation by nation. Al Queda's terrorists are only the forerunners in this great war. They know it, and we don't.

How can we win a war when we won't even define who we're fighting. The lead up to and the aftermath of the Fort Hood Massacre is a tragic demonstration of what the greatest military in the world fighting blind, wrapped in a blindfold of denial, looks like. And though our dearest paid experts refuse to see it, our enemies suffer from no such handicap. As long as we can't define what we're fighting, then we have no answer to terrorism, except to huddle together for comfort and be as defensive and reactive as we can be after every successful or unsuccessful terrorist operation.

No answer to terrorism, oh we have an answer. We're ignoring it, until we can't ignore it anymore, and then we shout a lot, make loud threatening noises and wait for it to go away, so we can go back to ignoring it again. And we throw money at any terrorist willing to pinkie swear that he will go home to his wives and adorable children, be a good moderate Muslim and practice terrorism no more. That's our plan. Is it any wonder we're losing?

We can win, but first we have to fight. We can win, but first we have to know who the enemy is. We can win, but first we have to take off the handcuffs, toss away the blindfold and take the safety off. Imagine if US soldiers had spent the Cold War learning about the wonders of Das Kapital and the Communist way of life. Imagine if during WW2, Bundists worked freely in the defense establishment and Charles Lindbergh was the President of the United States. Imagine if we went into every war insisting that we were not fighting the enemy, but a tiny minuscule minority of their extremists. Imagine if respect for Das Kapital and Mein Kampf had been taught to every US soldier. Imagine it? Why we're living it right now.

We can win, but first we have to start fighting back.


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