|Photo from the London riots, (Gates of Vienna)|
So politicians are the new terrorists and government spending is the new hostage. Elected officials who refuse to spend money, or refuse to spend it the way they're told to spend it, are 'terrorists'. And that poor money locked up in the dirty fists of taxpayers is their hostage. And Obama and congressional Democrats will fight to bring all the hostages home, home being their discretionary spending. And the pockets of their supporters.
The left is putting up a fight. But a primary challenge from anyone but nutjobs like Mike Gravel is extremely unlikely. Nader may roll out the green wagon again, but there won't be much enthusiasm for it. If he makes a third party run, then he might have an impact on the general election, but this time expect Democrats to work hard to keep him out of any battleground states. Absent a liberal Ross Perot, (which is not impossible considering the number of liberal millionaires and billionaires who are politically active) there's no doomsday scenario here.
The downside of all this is that Obama's people are now succeeding in their plan to position him as the voice of reason above all the quarreling politicians in congress. If this keeps up, Obama's poll ratings will begin improving and he'll look like the moderate who's trying to keep peace between the extremists. That's not enough to win him the election, but it will make him a lot harder to beat, even with a bad economy and public dissatisfaction on our side.
But the odds are good that there will be a more stable accommodation in the new congress. What that accommodation will look like, is trickier to define. There's already growing predictable resistance to an earmark ban. The cleverer argument is Simpson's, that earmarks will only put the ball in the court of federal agencies. But the predictable bottom line is that with Republicans in the driver's seat, they are much less likely to show fiscal restraint. The party that gets access to the purse strings, uses them. The Republicans won't top the 2008 congress, but that's setting the bar fairly low. And the deficit is still growing.
The Democratic meltdown over Obama affirms the essential Republican election year argument, that he was inexperienced and not ready for the job. For all the media spin, McCain had reacted to the economic crisis like a competent legislator, Obama like an empty suit. His presence in the Senate was a useless farce. Is it any wonder that he's still a useless farce?
And the flip side of the current division is that he'll have much less impact on the process, because his meditation skills are very poor. It's one thing to play dictator, another to play negotiator.
Perhaps though Obama can still step in and take care of a small matter for his good friend, Helen Thomas...
Defending her controversial comments in Dearborn, journalist Helen Thomas said on a radio show aired Tuesday that a prominent Jewish group was intimidating her. And she maintained her belief that Zionists are controlling U.S. foreign policy.
She added: “I’m getting tired of this intimidation. I’m going to report him (ADL director Abe Foxman) to President Obama and all the proper authorities. He better stop intimidating me. He has to shut up everyone in the country who is against Israeli tyranny. That’s his job. That’s what he is paid for.”
But while there's plenty of buyer's remorse on the Democratic side, any attempt to replace him is extremely unlikely. Plenty of Hillary supporters who didn't go the PUMA route, but went on the Barack bandwagon, are starting to jump off. And Hillary Clinton's primary challenge is an extreme longshot. By the political rules of the last generation, it's virtually unthinkable. But Obama's rise to power broke many of those same rules. The system has changed enough that the unthinkable, can't be entirely ruled out.
But if the Clintons have any such intention, you won't see it any time soon apart from Drudge headlines. And while Hillary Clinton's people have been known to feed Drudge material, that probably isn't what's happening now. If Hillary Clinton has any thoughts of running, she'll keep those thoughts to herself and some very trusted allies. And she'll do everything to discount the idea, while she and her husband act as helpful as possible in order to diffuse Obama's suspicions. And then find a way to stab him in the back.
While the losers will try to pander to the left, Hillary's base would be more moderate and looking for a winner. They're not going to flip on Obama because it's usually not done. And flipping for a candidate who lost last time around, would be a long shot. The peace treaty between both camps brought a lot of Clinton allies into the Obama Administration. A split like that would result in a political civil war with the White House.
All this is just speculation though that isn't likely to come about.
But the UK offers another model. Cameron's cuts have been vigorous. And the riots are a response to that. Reagan faced similarly tensions as Governor of California, but far less open violence. Europe though has gotten too used to protest theater as the norm. Yet the Republicans would be well advised to look to Cameron, whose cuts make Chris Christie look like a wimp.
At the same time the UK riots offer a taste of the kind of blowback that would emerge from particular kinds of social welfare cuts. The US wouldn't likely see street riots over cuts in student aid. The question is what kinds of cuts would do it. And it is an interesting question.
Politically correct policing is part of the problem. Few modern day American cities would tolerate what the UK police does. The 90's saw a wave of support for tough on crime policing in major American urban areas. And the NYPD, the SFPD and other police forces showed that they could quickly and professionally shut down riots before they started. The Anti-War movement tested their mettle and lost. Aside from Seattle, leftist street riots have not gone anywhere.
But another key difference is that in the UK, such riots also feature Muslims. While in the US, they're limited to the children of the upper and middle class. Muslim rioters have been the force behind the turbulence in France. And now they are making their presence felt in the UK disturbances. And that can be the difference between the usual Starbucks smashing anarchists and real violence.
And that's where politically correct policing becomes a much bigger problem. Consider the response to some Starbucks smashing in the UK last year
TRADERS told today how pro-Palestinian demonstrators caused hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage when they ransacked businesses near the Israeli Embassy.
The policing bill for Saturday's protest has topped more than £1million. Three officers and 20 demonstrators were injured.
An angry mob targeted shops and cafés in Kensington High Street, looting and smashing windows as violence flared during the rally.
Starbucks bore the brunt of the vandalism as masked protesters ripped out fittings and equipment after clashes with riot police.
A few doors down, at the Stick and Bowl Chinese restaurant, waitress Mai Chen narrowly escaped injury when rioters threw a metal bar through the window. Restaurant manager Daniel Foo said: "They threw bottles, shoes and sticks and one bracket that cracked an officer's riot helmet and put her on the floor. Another came through our window, but we need the whole front replaced because the weight of the crowds buckled it."
About 200 hardcore protesters led the rampage after thousands had marched peacefully from Speakers' Corner, Hyde Park, to Kensington Gardens, near the embassy in Palace Green.
Looters smashed the window of the Top Gun clothes store, stealing leather wallets and bags before throwing red paint into the shop.
Iranian businessman Mike Miri, who owns the store, said: "We think we were deliberately targeted as the name sounds American." Police arrested 24 people after seemingly indiscriminate attacks on a dental practice and a newsagents. Dr Dave Jamus feared looters would steal the £20,000 worth of paintings from his Kensington Dental Spa after they smashed through the glass frontage.
Strada manager Santo Muscabneri told how staff tried to prevent rioters damaging the restaurant by serving free "pizzas for peace" and giving shelter to a group of children.
A pro-Israel demonstration in Trafalgar Square yesterday passed off largely peacefully. Organisers claimed 15,000 demonstrators were present although police put numbers at 4,000. Two were arrested for public order offences.
Speakers addressed the rally to defend Israel's right to protect itself. Henry Grunwald, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, told the crowd: "The atmosphere on the streets of London has been very unpleasant in the last few days. We felt it important to make our voices heard. We want the people of Israel to have peace, and the people of Gaza to have peace."
Met Police Commander Bob Broadhurst, in charge of policing the demonstrations, said discussions would be held with both sets of protesters this week to prevent any more violence. He said: "We will need to sit down and talk to organisers and say, 'enough's enough'."
Though the violence only came from the Muslim side... the commander blamed both sets of protesters. Because blaming Muslims is dangerous. So is holding them accountable. And that attitude doesn't just limit itself to the usual Muslim anti-Jewish protests.
Furthermore the tolerance and praise for left wing violence against Jewish stores, such as Ahava, helps normalize violence in general. Until it extends all the way up to the Koran loving Prince Charles. You can't segregate violence, unless the people responsible for it are in charge of the government, as they were in Nazi Germany. Barring that, the violence will spiral out of control.
If you grant permission and encouragement to "activists" who smash, vandalize and intimidate one group of people... how can you then turn around and deny it to another group when they turn elsewhere with the same kind of self-righteousness?
The idea that the line can be drawn here and not there is foolishness of the worst sort.
In India, Muslim violence and terror also continues, though it isn't much reported.
One child has been killed and at least 32 others injured in a terror strike reportedly carried out by Indian Mujahideen outside a temple at Shitla Ghat in Varanasi on Tuesday evening. Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the blast that took place near a temple on Tuesday evening at around 6:35 PM just five minutes after the Ganga Aarti.
Despite the name, Indian Mujahadeen is actually a Muslim terrorist group funded out of Pakistan. Note also the targeting of a religious site by Muslims. A consistent pattern that makes a mockery out of the idea that this is anything but another religious war by Muslims against non-Muslims.
This naturally ties into the Bolkenstein remarks covered at Gates of Vienna, suggesting that Jews should emigrate due to rising anti-semitism. The question is where should they emigrate to?
If the goal is to escape the threat of Islam, that leaves rather few viable locations. As the number of Muslims in America rises and the left continues its radicalization, it will have the same problems as Holland. American cities with sizable Muslim populations are already becoming a danger zone for Jews.
New York City and the tri-state area has seen a number of Muslim attacks and attempted attacks that generally did not get reported on. In his time, Giuliani quickly made it clear to Muslim leaders with a series of police actions that they had better control their people. So far there has been no new flareup under Bloomberg. But that won't last forever. Particularly when a Democratic mayor is elected. Particularly one with ties to Al Sharpton.
The situation on college campuses can and will extend beyond it, just as it has in Europe.
Where then should they emigrate to? Israel. It's one option, but Israel itself is under siege, and the government ignores a lot of Muslim violence in the same way that European and American authorities do. That runs counter to the illusion that many have of Israel, but it's the truth. I wrote about it in more detail in last week's roundup.
So what does that leave? Latin America has a growing Muslim population. China has Muslim terrorism. Russia will be Muslim in less than a century. And what then? All the Jews of Europe can't move to Japan.
European Jewish emigration is understandable, but promoting it also smacks of cowardice. Particularly there is nowhere to really go.
During WW2, Jews could at least flee to territory that was not in Nazi hands or likely to be invaded by them. It was difficult. For millions it was impossible. But the situation is much more impossible now. Because the world has far more Muslims than Nazis, and thanks to over a millennia of conquest, they are geographically distributed across the world.
And even if all the Jews do move to Japan or go off into space, what happens to the rest of the world? To all the other religions and cultures of the world? Could we live in a dark world knowing that we have one island of light amidst it all? And how long would that island stand against the growing darkness?
If we don't stand up to Islam where we live, we can't count on being able to outrun it forever. We have to stand up to it here and now before it's too late. For all our sakes.