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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Why Muslim Military Shootings are Inevitable

The murder of nine Americans by an Afghan veteran air force pilot comes in the same week that Palestinian Authority police opened fire on Jewish religious worshipers headed to Joseph's Tomb. Events like this don't happen that often, but they happen often enough to remind us that how many of the men wearing police or military uniforms are straining at the leashes to kill us. When that leash snaps and they see an opportunity, the bullets begin to fly.

It's not just the war on terror front lines. In 2004, a Jordanian UN Peacekeeper opened fire on a group of Americans, killing two women. In 1997, on the Island of Peace, a Jordanian Corporal saw a group of Israeli schoolgirls and killed as many of the 7th and 8th graders as he could. Certainly the act of a madman? Not from the Muslim point of view. The shooter did employ an insanity defense, but it's clear that no one really thinks he was crazy. They think he was a hero.

According to his mother, "My son did a heroic deed and has pleased Allah and his own conscience. My son lifts my head and the head of the entire Arab and Islamic nation." And Jordan's new Justice Minister, appointed in response to the "Arab Spring" democracy protests reflects that attitude at the top. Hussein Mjali, the new reformist Justice Minister says, "He's a hero. He does not deserve prison. If a Jewish person killed Arabs, his country would have built a statue for him instead of imprisonment". This is what democracy and reform look like in the Arab world. This is what the attitudes of ordinary Muslims translated into political power look like. It's also what happens when they find themselves within firing range of non-Muslims.

It's possible go on listing cases like this all day. There's nothing too unique about any of them. What they get at is the underlying mentality of the ordinary Muslim that is at odds with Western notions of war. Their armies may be trained by American, British and French advisers, but the troops themselves are still Muslims. You can train them in Western tactics, but not in the morality of Western armies. And when you operate alongside them, you put yourself on the wrong side of a 21st century weapon wielded by a 7th century mind.


1. Muslims see themselves as being in a permanent state of war with anyone who has ever insulted their honor in any way

Honor is defined so loosely and broadly that just about anyone can be a target. Regardless of what treaties are signed or agreements are reached, avenging that lost honor takes precedence over everything else. The shooting doesn't stop when a piece of paper is signed. Only the official shooting does. A Muslim who seizes the chance to kill a Christian or a Jew is a hero. The government that signs a treaty with a Christian or Jewish state is branded despicable for selling out Arab and Muslim honor.


2. Muslim soldiers and officers are not bound by any common code of arms or esprit de corps

The modern Muslim army is the creation of Western colonialism. It is an institution with no moral weight. Muslim armies fight as individuals, feeling little responsibility to one another. Officers despise soldiers. Soldiers expect to be used as cannon fodder. There are exceptions, but they are rare. There is very little mutual trust and less professionalism. There is a love of formalities, of uniforms and parades, but it's no more than skin deep. A Muslim soldier or officer cannot be expected to refrain from an act because it will reflect badly on his fellows or injure their position. And he is not bound by any code of arms, only by practical necessities and his own sense of heroism.


3. Muslims contextualize actions by the group identities of the killer and his victims

Which is a fancy way of saying that Muslims place less value on the lives of non-Muslims. The lives of Muslim men are worth more than those of Muslim women. The lives of Muslims are worth more than those of non-Muslims. A Muslim who opens fire on a group of Muslims is a monster. A Muslim who opens fire on a group of non-Muslims is at worst behaving badly, and at best a hero of the nation. The higher the relative value of the shooter and the lower the relative value of his victims, the more excuses there are.

They may use some of the same words that we do, but their meanings are contextualized not by the nature of the act, but by the people involved. 'Murder' doesn't mean the act of taking a life, but someone you dislike taking the life of someone you do like. Murder can be classified as self-defense even when the victim was unarmed or a child. A father honor killing his daughter can be described as self-defense. Running airplanes into the twin towers can be described as acts of self-defense, while US drones strikes against Al-Qaeda are acts of terror.

So long as the life of the perpetrator is worth more than those of his victims, he is likely to get a partial or full pass for his actions. Self-defense applies when the perpetrator was defended some 'right' that is an aspect of his superiority. Whether it's the superiority of the father to the daughter, or the Muslim to the Christian and the Jew.


4. Group identity is the defining identity

Western liberals often imagine that they can travel safely to Muslim countries if they explain how much they disagree with their governments. But Muslims still view them as Americans, Canadians or Italians. Emotionally the group identity still defines the individual. And the individual is expected to assume responsibility for the group. Muslims frequently disagree and hate their own governments, but they do not process the cosmopolitan mindset of the Western liberal. The American liberal is still a representative of his system. An envoy from the enemy camp who can be employed for anything from propaganda to a beheading on video.


5. Group identity supplants personal relationships

Westerners fancy that they form one-on-one connections with Muslims. That is possible. But it still happens through the matrix of group identity. The extent to which the awareness of group identity dominates the interaction depends on context. But it is always there. The Westerner may think of himself as an individual, but the Muslim thinks of himself as a member of a group. His first loyalty is to that group, not to any personal bonds formed with an individual outside that group. In such a mindset, trust has virtually no useful meaning and all politics is personal.


6. Every member of a target group is fair game

Men, women, children. It doesn't matter. They're all members of the group. Even if they personally disagree with the group. It won't always go down this way. Sometimes a personal relationship may save a life. But it's not something you can count on. The imperative is genocidal. There is no distinction between soldiers and civilians. Women and children have no special privileges. Less if anything.


7. The Muslim way of war is the raid

The army is still an overlay for a tribal culture. Muslims can function within it, but most of them are  more comfortable fighting as guerrillas and terrorists. The unexpected raid, a brief massacre and then a quick escape. Opening fire on a crowd feels more natural, than marching off to a war.


Combine all these elements together and what happened and what will keep happening over and over again is inevitable. A Muslim army carries these cultural and religious codes in its head. And its soldiers and officers will act on them. Western militaries may often be fooled by the facade of the professional army, but scratch the surface and what is revealed underneath has not changed much in a thousand years.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Afternoon Roundup - Liars vs Racists


 The combination of Trump, Obama and the media insured that this week's story would be the birth certificate issue. Even though there isn't much of a story there. The birth certificate has been part of the much larger underlying issue which is the lack of transparency by the Obama Administration in even the simplest things. And that may not be a resolvable issue anymore.

It's not just that Obama has lied too many times. Most politicians lie or stretch the truth or hold back information. The problem is that the media and too many institutions have been willing to lie for him. Take a simple story like Obama Sr's time at Harvard.

The Arizona Independent filed a Freedom of Information Request and turned up INS records that showed Harvard thought Obama Sr was a "slippery character" and wanted him gone. But Harvard today claims their records don't support any such thing. So whom are you going to believe, period government records or the spokesman for Harvard University?

This problem repeats itself over and over again. Not only do negative stories on Obama's background not get reported, but people in high positions continue to cover for him. The contents of Sarah Palin's personal email account were sprawled over the internet-- but the LA Times won't release Obama's Rashid Khalidi tape. Yet is there a single person who honestly believes that if the Khalidi tape starred McCain, that it wouldn't have been out there and on Page 1 of every major newspaper? Or if John McCain had attended a violently racist church or Cindy McCain had a photo op with David Duke's wife that these wouldn't have equally been Page 1 stories?

The perfect storm of Obama's stonewalling and an establishment willing to cover up and lie for him, means that people legitimately distrust anything that comes out of his mouth or the media. In such an environment, a culture of conspiracy theories may be wrong, but not irrational. And it also means that there's no real way to prove or disprove anything anymore.

Is it irrational to believe that the media would like to us about major documents that are a factor in a presidential race? It should be. But in the 2004 election, the highest profile news program around presented a document indicting Bush for draft dodging that turned out to have been written in Microsoft Word.

Media talking heads complain that the internet has proliferated conspiracy theories so that there is no longer a consensus on what's true and what isn't. But who do you blame for that, except a media which has been willing to sell lies in order to achieve political victories. This is no longer just about the big lies, like Walter Duranty insisting that Soviet Russia was a happy worker's utopia, it's even about the most ordinary things. Like a birth certificate. The liberal establishment has completely discredited itself. And with liberal ideologues controlling most of the media, a rational consensus can no longer hold up.

A consensus only works if we agree on some things. We can disagree on taxes and stop signs. But we don't disagree that blatant lies are wrong and that politicians from all parties should be equally subject to scrutiny. Except we don't agree on that anymore. Instead we agree that you'll lie like crazy and we won't believe a word that comes out of your mouths. What's truth? Nobody knows anymore.

What is really disturbing about the birth certificate issue is that Obama never took it seriously as an obligation. Instead he threw it out to counter an opposing candidate who was rising in the polls. And the media narrative is that this is a shameful\triumphant event that humiliates\uplifts Obama. No it doesn't make any sense. But when you lie all the time, you stop noticing when your news reports follow contradictory, but useful narratives.

Obama has become an event horizon beyond which truth no longer seems to exist anymore. The birth certificate release no longer has any real meaning. It's always possible to find more 'questions' to ask about it. There's no objective way to finalize the issue, because the consensus has broken down.

The left's unprecedented corruption of government and the media which could have played a watchdog role, means that those institutions can no longer serve as watchdogs, only propagandists.

When you can no longer trust institutions, then you either drink the kool aid or refuse to drink anything at all. The question isn't are they lying, it's how much are they lying. And when you're dealing with that kind of framework, to 'trust' you have to argue that they would lie X amount, but not Y amount. Because lying Y amount would be just crazy. Right?

The left is free to believe that asking for Obama's birth certificate is racist. And plenty on the right will believe that the birth certificate is fake. The Racists vs Liars debate of narratives has been going on for a while now and it transcends the birth certificate. It's the larger story here. The zero sum struggle. And it's only going to get uglier.

Are we in a recovery or an economic disaster? If you believe the liars, we're in a recovery. And the only people denying it hate socialism, which as we all know is code, for race. Is Global Warming a serious problem? The liars say yes and that anyone who disagree is a racist who hates the Third World countries that are suffering from GW. Is ObamaCare... well you get the drill. Ground Zero Mosque, yep. Big government. You know it.

If you agree with Obama, you're a liar. And if you disagree with him, you're a racist. It's useless to conduct a political debate under these conditions.

This level of divisiveness is less about Obama, and more about the way the left has used institutions under its control to promote him and silence his critics. And there's a price to pay for that. Constant propaganda works. And it doesn't. You end up with two types of people. One type who believes everything the authorities say. The other who wouldn't believe them if they said the sun was shining.

The media was meant to be a forum, instead it's become a propaganda megaphone. And the alternative is a crowdsourced media. Which is exactly what we have on the internet. Crowdsourced media means more mistakes, but it still beats a one note media apparatus which spends all day blaring OBAMA IS GREAT LOOK HOW GREAT OBAMA IS ISN'T HE GREAT THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE HIM ARE RACISTS. Of course conspiracy theories flourish in such an environment. How could they not. And how do you disprove them when is no longer a consensus on much of anything anymore.

The media talking heads like to solemnly blame the internet for this chain of events, but the internet is an outlet. It's their lies that have gotten us here.

But let's turn to Trump for the moment...

Obama and Trump are now feeding off each other in a successful political relationship. Establishment Republicans are infuriated that Trump continues to drive the narrative. Grass roots enjoy someone landing a few populist punches on the big zero. If the establishment outlets work hard enough, they may convince the grass roots to pull back. Or it may backfire on them.

Trump polls badly in a national election, no matter how well he polls in GOP primaries. Which means he's not a viable candidate. Not unless he can change that soon. But in light of Walter Russell Meade pegging Obama as the bet hedger, Trump is the gambler. Or at least appears that way.

But Trump's biggest advantage is the lack of viable candidates in the field. Go and look around. There are few conservative bloggers or writers who are really 100 percent enthusiastic about any candidate. Instead you'll see smears of one candidate or another percolating.

Romney is a liberal. Huckabee is a slimeball. Gingrich is a lobbyist (whether or not we should have ethanol subsidies, they're certainly cheaper than fighting three wars fueled by oil money.) On and on. Is it any wonder that few are paying attention to Trump being labeled a "carnival barker" (the barkers object by the way). We have a large group of not very likable candidates tearing each other down. They front runners are all establishment candidates, all more liberal than their grass roots and all dull. If things go on this way. Then we will lose.

Trump's entry, whether he's serious about running or not, is shaking up the race. And that's a good thing. This race needs shaking up, before we stumble through a series of dull primaries, in which the front runner with the most money and the least objectionable personality makes it through the gate.

Let's remember that the Republicans didn't turn the tide by being nice, but by being loud and in your face. I'm not suggesting that Romney or Pawlenty get up and start cursing, but some populism wouldn't hurt. It might even make them a little popular beyond the people bussed in to support them.

Obama's message is... well he doesn't really have one anymore. Trump's message is, I'm going to make America great again with common sense smackdowns. What's the message of the Republican front runners? Boiled down, it's "We're the adults in the room, so let us clean up this mess." It's a serious message. But not a very exciting one.

Right now no one looks good. And we're wasting time. Trump has been an unexpected splash of cold water. A warning to the front runners to step up their game. It's not really about the viability of Trump as a candidate, but the viability of his approach.

Moving onward,

The Cult of Global Warming is blaming tornadoes on global warming and Think Progress is ghoulishly claiming that the states which were hardest hit are to blame for not endorsing global warming.

As we all know tornadoes were invented in the time of Al Gore and severe storms did not exist prior to Time Magazine covers on the environment. Which fits since the deadliest tornado ever killed 1,300 people in Bangladesh in 1986. It is unknown whether the dead paid homage to the Global Warming fairy or not.

After the Jerusalem bus bombing by Muslim terrorists, Think Progress attacked AIPAC for sending out a fundraising email mentioning the attack calling it crass and saying, "It’s disgraceful that AIPAC’s first response to this tragedy is to try and monetize it."

And now Think Progress' first response to the tragedy is to exploit it by attacking the states hardest hit by a natural disaster. Crass? Nah. Progressive. That's more like it.

Speaking of Israel, Fatah and Hamas have kissed and made up for now. Is Israel supposed to negotiate with an entity that refuses to recognize it and calls for its destruction? Probably. This may be a case of Hamas saving Israel from itself by aborting whatever concessions Netanyahu was going to propose. But Abbas and Obama and the EU will still try to have their cake and eat it too. Even Peres knows this is crazy. But these days Peres looks less crazy than his European counterparts.

Of course the diplos and the media are thrilled to death by the whole thing. Hamas is saying no more peace talks. Fatah is saying maybe more peace talks will happen. So the unity thing is off to a great start.

Ma'an, the PA's own paper, calls the agreement a new revolution. But against whom?

The Christian Science Monitor says that the agreement is the result of the Arab Spring and those imaginary Hamas moderates who can dance infinitely on the head of a pin. The entire piece written by the Monitor's editorial board is such a piece of deranged kool aid snorting lunacy that it's almost impossible to read through without laughing.

What will Arabs demanding liberty eventually do with the liberty-denying Islamists in their countries?

Arabs aren't demanding liberty, they're demanding populism. Which is not the same thing. At all.

In postrevolution Egypt, for example, leaders are trying to work with any democracy-loving member of the Muslim Brotherhood they can trust. 

Liberty-denying, democracy-loving? This reads like bad Maureen Dowd. What leaders are these anyway? Egypt's political future is dominated by insiders like Moussa and the Brotherhood. Not the Twitter activists.

On top of that democracy and liberty are not necessarily the same thing. Not in a country where most don't believe Christians should have equal rights.

But then there is Hamas.

The extremist Palestinian Muslim group has ruled the tiny Gaza Strip with an iron fist since 2007. It still often rains rockets down on Israeli civilians, earning it a US label as a terrorist group.

Those "extremists" won an election which means they have the support of the majority of Palestinian Arab Muslims.

Egypt, which allows the only border access for Gazans, has clearly chosen democracy. Syria, which supports Hamas by providing exile to some leaders, appears on the verge of revolution.

Egypt has chosen the Muslim Brotherhood, which is Hamas' daddy. Syria has yet to be overthrown. But Hamas' real backers are in Iran and Saudi Arabia anyway. Neither of which seem to be going anywhere.

This public pressure helps explain the surprise deal reached Wednesday by Hamas and Fatah. The tentative reconciliation pact, brokered by Egypt and scheduled to be formally signed May 4, aims to set up an interim government of independent technocrats that would hold presidential and parliamentary elections by the end of the year. 

Actually what explains it is that the PA wants to unilaterally declare a state.

If the accord holds – and that’s a big if, given the failure of two similar deals since 2007 – it might allow Palestinians to again speak as one. 

The Monitor's editors are clearly aware that unity agreements are not a new phenomenon, yet they insist on pretending that this one sprung from the head of the mythical deity known as the Arab Spring.

But for Abbas, an alliance with a Hamas that still doesn’t renounce violence and doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist would probably result in the United States cutting off millions in foreign aid and retaliatory moves by Israel.

Why would it when Abbas hasn't renounced violence either and US money already goes to terrorists who murder Israelis? Remind me when Barghouti, the favorite of two administrations, renounced violence.

His only hope is that the moderates within Hamas – sensitive to young Palestinians yearning for unity, freedom, and jobs – gain the upper hand against hard-line extremists. Otherwise, Palestinian unity will be elusive.

This reads like it was written in candy syrup. Hamas has no moderates in the sense that they want peace. There are tactical differences and those are marginal. And no one in Hamas wants freedom in the Western sense.

Obama has kept an open hand to Islamists in many conflicts, hoping to turn them away from anti-democratic jihadism. He’s not ruled out talks with Taliban factions in Afghanistan. He tried but failed to hold talks with Iran. And he’s still sorting out which detainees at Guantánamo should be tried and which can be rehabilitated.

In that sort of open-mindedness, he is not like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who prefers a divided Palestinian people in order to keep them weak.

Right. Because Israel should endorse 'unity' with a genocidal terrorist organization whose charter reads like Mein Kampf.

Is Hamas capable of reform? The uprisings for democracy in the Middle East remain a powerful force against Islamists like the leaders of Hamas.

Huh? The uprisings have actually empowered the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamists in Tunisia and Libya.

And Hamas cannot really stand in the way of an independent Palestine being accepted by the United Nations.

It doesn't need to. It just needs to wait till it gains international recognition and then take it over.

Rowan Dean at the Australian has a better solution

Here's my plan. We get each of the main players to do a proper ad campaign, selling the benefits of living in their countries to each other. Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinians - Hamas and Fatah will have to do separate campaigns - Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Oman, Iraq, Kuwait and, of course, Israel will all take part. I bags working on the Israel account.

Here's how it works. Every country runs a series of full-page print ads, backed up by television commercials, radio spots, websites and letter drops - in other words, a fully integrated campaign - throughout the Middle East. The point of the ad campaigns is to get people to fill in the coupon at the bottom of the page or, if they want, to apply online to come and live in whichever country they choose, based solely on the ads.

Anyone can live in any country they want to, but they can pick only one destination and there is no changing your mind. Once you've chosen, that's it. That's your new life.

Let's go for it.


Meanwhile Egypt will open the Rafah crossing, which means that any attempt to block Hamas has all but failed. On the flip side that means Hamas becomes Egypt's problem. The attack on the gas line appears to have come from Fatah or Hamas terrorists. Israel now has every right to sever all connections with Gaza and treat it like the Egyptian province it was from 1948 to 1967. If Egypt wants to buddy up with Hamas, then it had better be ready to take ownership of it too.

Finally some Reform Jews are standing up to the selection of left wing extremist Rick Jacobs to head the Reform movement. The anti-Israel left has made far too many organizational inroads in the last decade. It's important for members of Reform congregations to make their voices heard on this issue.

If Reform elects a leader who supports boycotts and hate campaigns against the Jewish state, then there will be a fundamental breach. It's no different than the NAACP selecting a Klansman to lead them. The fix is no doubt in, but enough voices raised in protest may still be able to make a difference.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

No One Expects the Muslim Inquisition

Monty Python may have surprised us with the Spanish Inquisition, but today there is hardly anyone who doesn't expect the Muslim Inquisition. It is almost hard to imagine that there was a time not so long ago when it was possible to catch sight of Muslim terrorists in films and when it was permissible to crack jokes about Mohammed and the mountain.

Today a few strokes of a pen can put you on the run, not in Islambad or Ridyah, but as far away as Seattle. And the mere whisper of a mosque protest can put you in a jail cell for 'breach of peace'. Peace being another way of saying Islam.

Ever since Mohammed couched his demand for surrender to the Byzantine Emperor with the words, 'Aslim Taslam'-- appeasing Muslims often comes gift wrapped as 'peace'. From the 'Peace Process' that condemns Israel to carve itself up to appease Muslim terror, to Terry Jones planted in a Dearbornistan jail cell for 'Breach of Peace' on charges of plotting to exercise his Constitutional right to protest-- the Religion of Peace finds ways to remind us that in the Islamic lexicon, peace is just another way of saying 'submission'. As Mohammed told Heracilus back in the day, the only peace to be found is under the rule of Islam.  

Globalism, immigration and the internet have moved the blasphemy trial from the hinterlands of Islam to the rainy west coast. And it isn't just a few mullahs in dark garb writing out their fatwas anymore. The clerics may write the fatwas, but more and more it's the local justice departments of formerly free countries that enforce them. When a few angry Imams call for your head, you can always turn to the authorities for protection. But when the authorities are the ones calling for your head because you offended the imams-- who do you turn to?

You can't spell Socialism without Islam. And the difference between Sharia law as practiced in the formerly free West, from the one practiced in the minaret ridden slums of the east is that Western authorities don't lock away blasphemers because they believe that Mohammed was the final prophet of Allah and the Koran is his revelation to mankind. Rather they're afraid of the murderous offense taken by those who do.

It's bad enough when Muslims enact laws to promote the supremacy of a religion that they believe in, but what do we make of Western authorities who don't believe in their religion, but do abide by their definition of blasphemy. It's awful to be persecuted for your beliefs by authorities whose beliefs are at variance with yours, but even worse to be persecuted by authorities who believe in nothing at all. If Muslims have faith in Allah, they have faith in their own power to jail those who might give Muslims an excuse for kicking up a violent fuss.

Some call it the heckler's veto, but it's more like the Heckler and Koch veto. If the authorities were afraid of riots in the 60's, now they're afraid of massacres. And it's easier to put on the Dhimmi and pay out the Danegeld, than to stand up to the religion of the machine gun and the faith of the suicide bomb.

British authorities kept an open door and a warm meal ready for the friendless Islamist so as not to offend Muslims for fear of terror. In return, the civic leaders of Londonistan were rewarded with the 7/7 attacks. A bloody atrocity that did not in any way diminish the flow of bearded hostiles into Albion. After all, if this was how Muslims responded to not being offended, just imagine what they would do if you they really were offended.

Now England has become a nation where you can be arrested for a bad karaoke rendition of Kung Fu Fighting, but where Islamists cheerfully sit on the dole like so many murderous partridges in a rotten pear tree, composing their hymns of jihad, burning poppies and proclaiming that the end is near in Luton. It is perfectly safe to arrest bad singers and ex-soldiers who touch a lighter to the pages of a Koran. At least from the perspective of the authorities. But arresting Muslims is so much more dangerous altogether.

Spend enough time standing in line and you discover that there are two kinds of people. The kind who decide that lines may be uncomfortable, but they'll have to wait in them just like everyone else. And the kind who decide that only suckers wait in line and muscle their way through with violent tantrums daring anyone to stop them. The first kind have adapted to the discomforts of civilization, the second kind treat them like sheep, confident that people willing to stand in line at a bureaucrat's word don't have what it takes to stop them. And much of the time they're right.

Muslims are the violent queue jumpers of civilization, their violent tantrums putting not the fear of Allah, but the fear of violent disorder into the guardians of civilizations. The fragile order of the urban centers, chock full of multiculturalism and resentment, depends on everyone respecting authority. That has become the chief duty of all forms of law enforcement. Not so much to prevent crime, but to keep everyone properly respectful of all laws and regulations.

Most of the criticisms of the TSA miss the point. The blue shirted drones aren't fondling air travelers for any other reason than because frightened and humiliated people are how incompetent systems assert their authority in the face of problems that they cannot afford to tackle. You can grope a 6 year old and the only thing you have to worry about is Drudge pageviews. But try singling out Muslims for a rational airline security policy and the bureaucrats who make the policies are certain it will only increase terror. Grope an imam or grope a 6 year old? It's not a tough choice for the bureaucracy. It never is.

From throwing elderly preachers in jail to firing employees for burning korans on their day off to groping children-- the system is doing its best to protect itself from having to make difficult decisions. And the Muslim Inquisition has been outsourced to the overpaid employees of the modern socialist state. Their duty is not to serve or protect, but to keep the facade going for as long as possible.

We live in a world run by the smirking embodiments of the Peter Principle, screwups who have leveraged a screwed up system to get to where they are. The hereditary monarchies that Mohammed confronted in his day, have nothing on the parade of hopeless buffoons who are at the wheel today, insisting that there is no such thing as deficit spending, carving up their sole aircraft carrier before going to war, and insisting that the only way to stop terror is by surrendering to it. The authorities aren't mad, they're powermad. Smart enough to find their niche of power and stupid enough to cling to it at all costs with safe decisions and boldly inoffensive rhetoric.

The outsourcing of the Muslim Inquisition is now a depressing fact of life in the West. In the United States, the Constitution provides one last defense against the mandate of public order that has swept away the rights of citizen in Europe. But it is a defense unlikely to hold against the full tide. When the guardians of our public order insist that it is a choice between freedom of speech and dead soldiers in Afghanistan, you can expect that it won't just be Justice Stephen Breyer burning the Constitution on his lonesome.

There is a congruence between the public order mandate of the leaders of the declining west, and the imperative of the religion of peace. Both demand submission under the law. Not the law of men, but the law of systems.  The law of the West has become the law of the system. A system that is more important than any law abiding individual in it. Maintaining the pretense that the system is working just fine is the sole duty of its administrators and advocates. It's the slow bus version of Orwell's Oceania, a system whose totalitarianism is offset only by its incompetence. Whose greatest secret is its own helplessness in the face of organized opposition.

Unscramble Socialism and you get Islam. As the line cutters of the West, Muslims have stumbled on the pathetic truth of the system. That it is every bit as weak as they were told. The system will buy them off with money, with privileges and by enforcing their doctrines against its own citizens. Everyone has learned to expect the Muslim Inquisition from the state, as sure as BBC license fees, the DMV and every other bureaucratic nightmare of oppressive incompetence. But they don't always understand why.

The 'Why' is because the system has a thorough contempt for its compliant citizenry and a deep seated fear of the arriving hordes of Muslim immigrants who will not comply and not obey. Its officers will browbeat and berate ordinary cooperative citizens, but treat Muslims with kid gloves for fear that they will stop "cooperating" with authorities. It will confiscate guns from Americans, but let Islamists with their armed training camps. It will toss anyone who might even think of offending a Muslim in jail for a 'Breach of the Peace', but let the Islamists run wild shrieking their hate. Burning a Koran is a criminal offense, but putting a lighter to the Constitution is the duty of the judiciary.

The Blasphemy trial has left Pakistan for Londonistan and Lebanon for Dearborn, to be enforced by a system that would rather impose Islamic law on the peoples of the formerly free world, than admit that it has lost control over the consequences of its own immigration and social welfare policies.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Israel's Folly

The State of Israel spent the first 30 years of its modern existence reclaiming its territory, and the next 33 years negotiating the terms on which it would be returned to the neighboring countries which had made war on it, as well as an entirely new terrorist state created in the name of peace and maintained in the name of war.

33 years after the country's first 'hawkish' conservative PM allowed himself to be browbeaten by Jimmy Carter into turning over territory three times its own present size to an Egypt whose new leaders are now disavowing the accords-- its current 'hawkish' conservative PM is readying himself to offer a whole new raft of concessions in the hopes of preempting a unilateral solution by Obama or Abbas.

For all the furious New York Times articles, there is little to distinguish Israel's hawks from its doves once they take up their residence in Beit Aghion on the corner of Lord Balfour's street. Like their American counterparts, they rapidly trade in the rhetoric about an "Undivided Jerusalem" and "War on Terror" for the burden of realpolitik built on a copy of the Art of Appeasement.

The governing mandate of every Israeli PM since 1992 (and perhaps even earlier) has been to try and make a deal with the Palestinian Arabs work. The folly of this has been amply demonstrated time and time again, filling Israel's cemeteries and hospitals, destroying its security and international standing, and dividing its people against themselves. And yet all these factors have only spurred on the perception that the deal must be somehow made to work. Somehow.

The doves have tried multilateral negotiations. The hawks tried unilateral concessions. The sum total of their efforts is the creation of two terrorist states, one recognized by the international community, one by the far left, and both at war with Israel inside its own borders.

The first state is run by the KGB trained funder of the Munich Massacre and backed by the international community. The second state is run by the local affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood and funded by the Muslim world. These two states, popularly known as the Palestinian Authority and Hamas run Gaza, differ only in their tactics, not their aims. Neither are anything but unelected leaders of terrorist groups dedicated to Israel's destruction.

Almost two decades of negotiations have led to nothing but eighteen years of terror. A state of affairs ignored by everyone except the people living on the firing line, their family sedans scarred by bullets, their kindergartens equipped with bomb shelters and their children equipped with emergency cell phones to check in after every attack. As the international community, the media and the government push forward for more concessions and negotiations, they have no way to push back except through the occasional unheard protest.

Year after year, and leader after leader, the Israeli response has been to push forward in the hopes of finding light at the end of the tunnel. But the tunnel has only gotten darker and narrower. And it is growing obvious to even the dimmest observer that the tunnel of peace is really a dead end. Talk of a 'breakthrough' keeps alive the hope that Israel can slim down enough to squeeze through a pinhole that simply doesn't exist.

Israeli leaders are surrounded by technocrats and diplomats who favor retreating from territory, rather than from bad policies. So the land goes, the people die and the bad policies remain.

Though Rabin had remained dubious about the illegally negotiated Oslo Accords, the inevitability of an agreement has been adopted by the entire political establishment. Even the 'hawks' spend most of their time moving border lines on a map to find some acceptable formula for a Palestinian state. No one asks anymore whether there should be a Palestinian state. Only how big it should be. And how many Israelis should be evicted from their homes in the name of a lasting peace.

But few Israelis believe in a lasting peace anymore. Instead they expect that some form of negotiated separation will keep their sons at home and away from the firefights in Gaza and the West Bank. Never mind that such a separation is even more of an illusion. Barak's unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon and Sharon's unilateral pullout from Gaza put Hezbollah and Hamas into power and brought on the Second Lebanon War and the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit.

Caught between Israelis who want security and an international community that demands passivity, the government has innovated Passive-Aggressive Warfare. Israel's security barriers meant to stop suicide bombers, traded in the bombings for constant shelling instead, now its new Iron Dome defense system is meant to stop the shelling, which doesn't mean an end to terror, but the beginning of another form of terror. From security measures to drones to counter-missile defenses, Israel is revolutionizing the passive-aggressive war on terror. And minimizing the pain of its self-destructive policies with new technological feats that address the symptoms, not the problem.

Even fewer in Israel's political establishment believe that terrorism will ever end. The obligatory Rabin festivals and video clips have taken on the air of a hippie festival, charmingly idealistic and completely unrealistic. Not even the left believes anymore. Whatever idealism it ever possessed has been replaced by a dedicated climate of hate. The New New Left is no longer interested in peace, but in assigning blame for the war. Haaretz columnists drag forward everyone from Netanyahu's wife to the settler boogeyman, while their grandchildren don keffiyahs and stone Israeli soldiers in the company of protest tourists from Norway and Scotland.

The logic of pushing forward to an agreement has little to do with stopping terrorism anymore. Not when all it takes to make your own terrorist group is a dozen friends and a Dubai bank account. The Palestinian Authority and Hamas are umbrella groups supported by numberless militias, any of whom can form their own terrorist group at any time, or moonlight between working as police, running a protection racket and their own splinter terrorist organization for which the official leadership claims plausible deniability.

Israel's culture minister said this week that her nephew was murdered by a terrorist disguised as a security officer. But the difference between terrorists and security officers in the Palestinian Authority is that they're called security officers when they draw paychecks from the US and the EU, and terrorists when they murder Israeli civilians. This formal distinction allows Western diplomats their own plausible deniability, pretending that they aren't funding terrorism. When that's exactly what they're doing and have been doing since Arafat got his first aid package. But if they were to admit that Palestinian security forces are nothing more than terrorists in uniforms, they would also have to admit that the Palestinian Authority government is nothing more than terrorists in suits.

At stake is Israel's legitimacy, or at least that's how the politicians see it. To maintain its legitimacy in the international community, its relations with the United States and Europe, it must continue working toward an agreement. But the more it has labored over an agreement, the more the boycotts and the culture war have grown. The withdrawal from Gaza has done far more to feed hate against Israel, than any combination of checkpoints and security measures. Every effort to preserve Israel's legitimacy endangers it further.

Israeli leaders search for some magic formula that will either achieve a peace agreement or convince the world that the gangs of suit decked Palestinian Muslim terrorists are not serious about peace. This futile brand of alchemy, with the goal of turning hate into gold, is futilely perverse. No amount of negotiated failures will ever convince international diplomats that the Palestinian Arabs aren't serious about peace.

For Western diplomats, a Palestinian state isn't the goal, but the means of convincing the Muslim world that they are serious about their concerns. For Muslim leaders, a Palestinian state isn't the goal either, it's only a means of diverting attention from their domestic misery. It isn't even the goal for Palestinian leaders who have shown no ability or interest in running a state.

If a Palestinian state were declared tomorrow, regardless of what papers were or weren't signed, this state would still be economically dependent on Israel and on Western aid, and it would still be full of terrorists taking potshots at Israelis.

The 1967 borders are as legally and demographically random as any other. The 'Green Line' is nothing but a convenient talking point. With all the territory back to the 1967 borders in terrorist hands, their attention would turn to the territory beyond it. 1967 would give way to 1948. New terrorist attacks would be carried out in the name of claiming even more land for the 'refugees'. Israeli Arabs whose MK's already preach terrorism and align themselves as Palestinians would quickly scramble on board. And the international community would demand new concessions. And eventually a One State Solution.

Israelis have learned not to think about the future to avoid confronting this reality. The discredited leader of the last decade becomes the savior of the next, only to be discredited yet again. Peres, Barak and Netanyahu rise from the ashes of their failures. The discredited plans of the last government become the template for the failures of the next. Each leader denounces the past, but refuses to part ways with it. As a dog returns to its vomit, so Israeli leaders repeat the folly of the past.

Netanyahu's proposal will take the position of the kid who punches himself in the face half as hard as the bully would, in the hopes of dissuading the bully from beating on him. Or in the even fainter hope of gaining the sympathy of some well meaning observer. And every time Israeli leaders have tried this, the bully hits them twice as hard anyway, while the observers cheer on the bully. The observers hope that cheering on the bully will save them from his wrath. And Israel's leaders still think that they can minimize the pain, and outmaneuver the bully and the observers through some clever dealmaking.

The bully is Islam. His shouts about historical justice are motivated by a violent inferiority complex. Despite his belligerence, he is weak. But America, Europe and Israel suffer from national inferiority complexes that prevent them from standing up to him. So the bully rampages about the global playground. There is no use bargaining with him. Even less use appeasing him. You can either stand up to him, or keep getting beaten by him. For all the idealistic songs and images of flowers in gun barrels, there has never been a third way.

The Israeli flag is the symbol of the House of David, a lad who built a nation by standing up to Goliath. To be worthy of the flag, is to be worthy of the act. Israel survived by standing up to the armies of Islam. Not willingly, but reluctantly. After all other options had been exhausted. Not it faces a political war in which all the diplomatic options will never be exhausted, until its enemies overreach themselves with a full invasion. And by then Israel may no longer be capable of defending itself.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bad Assumptions Lead to Bad Policies

What is so terribly interesting about bad governments is that they are as self-deceiving as they are deceptive. The straightforward clarity of Orwell's Oceania with its apparatchiks who knew exactly what the system was about and how evil it was, is woefully lacking in our own apparatchiks who assemble the most ridiculous plans out of the tissue paper of their own consensus and then goggle when it all comes apart on them. Whatever evil they harbor within themselves is outdone time and time again by their own stupidity.

Libya is a case in point. We are now loosely involved in a civil war in Libya on the side of the losing side. An engagement engineered by the brightest leaders the West had to offer. Forget dullards like Bush, Blair and Chirac-- the new generation weren't going to let themselves get caught out that way. These were sharp men, brainy boys who had gone to the right schools, Harvard, Oxford, Sciences Po. Surely they could draw on the lessons of history.

The Western elite rushed out of their ivory towers to cheer on what they dubbed the 'Arab Spring', but it was a false spring. Its proper historical placement was not with the revolutions of 1848, but the Egyptian and Iraqi coups of 1952 and 1958. The decline of British and French colonial influence toppled Middle Eastern monarchies. The fall of American influence, combined with the malign power of the left, engineered the overthrow of pro-American governments in Egypt and Tunisia, as it had in Iran. There is no Arab Spring, only a Muslim Winter.

Western elites have been patting the Muslim world on the head, whispering soothing praises in its ears and hoping that it will reform and turn their lies into truths. And in their minds, to "reform" means to become like them. To adopt their system of government and their way of life. So it has been an article of faith that the trouble of the Muslim world is not religious, but political. Not Islam, but dictatorships. Open up the voting booths and every pile of rubble occupied by Bedouin barbarians with 7th century mores and 20th century weapons will become just like Norway. Democracy will save Muslims from themselves. And save us from them too.

So bad assumptions lead to bad policy. Western governments rushed to treat every large group of protesters as the will of the people. Chants and slogans took the place of the voting booth. Only the Saudis with their tanks in Bahrain got an exemption from the clause thanks to their snakelike grip on the foreign policy apparatus of their best customers. Ali and Mubarak had to go. Now the Islamists are tipped to take power in two of the formerly more stable parts of North Africa. Another great victory for democracy, which leaves out everyone who isn't a Muslim male.

And then there's Gaddafi, a lunatic with the worst army in the region, who refuses to go. And a scattered army of rebels comprising everyone from former regime thugs to Al-Qaeda. With a No Fly Zone turning into a trickle of military advisers for an intervening in a civil war-- the chief casualty of Libya has been history. Once again we know whom we're fighting against, but we don't know whom we're fighting for. Democracy is a great slogan, but short on details. And ideology is a poor substitute for strategy.

The functional execution of a moral imperative with real world strategies leads to moral compromises. We set out to save the women of Afghanistan from the Taliban, by subjecting them to the milder version of local laws, which still use rape as punishment, excuses honor killing, imprisons teenage girls who flee their husbands and far worse. We came to DeBaathify Iraq, only to be forced to ally with the Baath party anyway, because the Shiites and Al-Qaeda proved to be even worse.

Each time we are told that we are allying with the 'good guys' against the 'bad guys', what actually happens is that in the end we ally with whoever isn't shooting at us, against whoever is. Like it or not, that's exactly what became of our moral imperatives in Afghanistan and Iraq. It's already happening in Libya where we keep bombing rebel positions through some disastrous confluence of poor intelligence and rebel hostility. Put troops on the ground and they'll be shot at by both sides. Remove Gaddafi and you will create chaos that will force us to cobble together another coalition of the 'Currently Least Hostile' as we have tried to do in Iraq and Afghanistan.

How could we stumble into the same mess over and over again? Bad assumptions lead to bad policy. Unless the assumptions get a spring cleaning, the same mistakes will keep on happening over and over again.

If you assume that a moral policy (by your lights) must also be a successful one, then you will keep presiding over disasters until you learn otherwise.

Take our economic policy. It is an article of faith among liberals that conservative spending is bad economic policy and liberal spending is good economic policy. And vice versa. These articles of faith exist entirely apart from economic realities. Liberals discover deficits under conservative governments, and conservatives discover deficits under liberal governments. A change of government makes the fiscal hawks coo like doves. Now the New York Times and The Nation claim that deficits are a myth. Why? Because they interfere with their policy agenda.

We live in a strange political universe in which the existence of objective realities is treated as subjective for political reasons. Deficits, WMD's and Islamic Terrorism have become political Schrodinger's cats. Their reality dependent on the observer. Is there a cat in the box? We can't know.

Are we in an economic crisis? You could get a subjective answer from an ordinary citizen based on his own experiences, or a political answer from a wonk, but getting an objective answer has become nearly impossible. And without objective policymaking, all policies are bad policies. Political policymaking treats every crisis as an opportunity. The solution to every problem is the policy agenda of one side or the other, not a solution that derives from the nature of the problem undertaken with an awareness of the consequences.

By defining the problem in relation to the policy agenda, which is defined in terms of a political worldview, we rarely get at the actual problem. Instead we perpetuate the same policies over and over again. To understand why is to understand why we think the way that we do.

To posit that the great difficulty of the Muslim world is its lack of democracy, is to believe that democracy is what makes 'us better than them', and that by passing on this form of government to our distant relations across the Med, we can resolve their social and cultural problems. But democracy is decentralized decision making. And the EU may champion democracy in the Middle East, but it invariably opposes it at home. Decentralizing power relationships and decision making in authoritarian cultures does not lead to a better order, but to a more chaotic and fragile one.

Liberal conservatives invariably seize on the democracy theme, because they strive for a civic culture. The left seizes on popular protests against American backed leaders with equal zeal, because in their worldview, America and the West are the sum of everything that is wrong with the world. The Western enthusiasm for the Arab revolts are a Frankenstein merger of these two memes that appear compatible from a distance, but come apart on close examination.

Liberal conservatives think that civic participation can save the Muslim world, not because it can, but because they it can save the West. The left thinks that everyone should be living under a People's Dictatorship run by disgruntled university grads like themselves. Neither has much of a clue about the Muslim world. They simply apply their domestic attitudes globally. Post-Communist Russia and China baffle them, but do not stymie them. Instead they march blindly onward to the next stupid conclusion.

Economically we are caught between a left that thinks socialism is never bad economic policy and a right that thinks capitalism is never bad national policy. The debate now comes down to the right pressing for cuts in the left's sacred cows, and the left offering to cut the right's sacred cows instead. So far we have cut funding for the border fence and the military. Considering the cost of illegal immigration, the former is as clear cut a case of penny wise and pound foolish as there ever was in government. The tug of war is raising important questions about the sustainability of unlimited government spending, but the debates over social services spending are almost a sideshow. The real problems have always been structural. The problem is not how much we are spending, but that we have a system built on spending, in both the public and private sectors.

Right now we are trying to cut an alcoholic's booze supply by 10 percent, in order to one day cut it by 40 percent. But the problem isn't the total booze intake, it is that the alcoholic is addicted to drinking. Take away his Jack Daniels and he'll drink antifreeze. It's not the total or the percentage that's the issue, but the state of mind. Our corporations are just as irresponsible and incapable of long term vision as the socialists. It wasn't the socialists alone who carved up American industry and business. Just as often it was Wall Street and the CEO's who cared only about the next quarter, not the next century, let alone about their own country. This isn't a struggle between socialism and capitalism. Our leading capitalists are the biggest proponents of socialism. And socialists sit on the boards of corporations.

Our culture has ceased to think in the long term. The intersection between action and outcome is filled with political jargon. We have become great communicators and terrible implementers. The same bad assumptions keep leading to bad policies, that are critiqued and revisited each time because the mindset that leads to them has not been fixed. We fight wars and bankrupt ourselves without ever admitting what we are doing. Only after the deed is done do we acknowledge it, and then repeat it again. Until we change how we think, the same mistakes will keep happening over and over again.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Freedom of Speech On the Run

Freedom of speech is governed by legal restrictions and public mores. And what most of us have discovered is that a multicultural society means more 'mores' and more people to offend. That has taken us from one general set of social speech codes that governed such things as obscenity and public abuse, to a thousand fiefdoms of speech in which every group strives to impose its own speech codes in public forums. The Constitution still protects some forms of political speech for now, but it is a weak and fitful defense in a society where it is not the content of speech that matters, but who is offended by it.

In Postmodern America, censorship has become one form of political clout. The ability to suppress a word, is bona fide power. Municipalities, corporations and public figures are constantly pressured to neuter their vocabulary. The groups that do the pressuring count coup for each successful act of linguistic castration. This battlefield of the dictionary leads to a colonization of grammar. The group that can force a word substitution claims credit for controlling how people think. And there is a certain amount of truth to that, but not a great deal of it. Neutering language only spreads euphemisms. The more we try to stamp out a meaning, the more it slithers into new words, subverting the meanings of even words specifically constructed to be inoffensive.

The Bill of Rights tried to protect freedom of speech from the government, and accordingly today it is the government that directly threatens freedom of speech the least. Indirectly is another matter. The government cannot clap you in irons for saying the wrong thing, unless you're standing in an airport, but it can mandate that companies fire you for saying the wrong thing, or be held accountable for failing to do so. Such indirectly direct censorship is repressive, but not actionable. When government controls the business environment, it also controls the speech of the workers.

In such an environment, the less you say, the safer you are. When you need to speak, it's best to use meaningless words. Corporate language has already achieved a high water mark of emptiness with pages and pages that mean nothing. And that language is spreading to the general public, as students learn from a young age to use the appropriate words to express the hollow phrases that are mandatory in a politically correct society. The formal pieties of political correctness lead to hollow sloganeering, an elite that knows the right answer for every question, but doesn't understand the question itself.

We have not become more tolerant, but we have become more cautious. The more the taboos are broken in private, the more they are hypocritically upheld in public. Popular culture upholds liberal taboos and then violently lashes out at those same protected groups anyway. Repression breeds hypocrisy. The more empty public speech becomes, the more authentic taboo breaking speech comes to seem. Liberal artists walk a curious line between conformity and abuse, trading in the forbidden bigotries, while agitating against them. The best productions do both at once, displaying the garish spectacle of bigotry in order to formally condemn it, much as epics depicted lavish displays of prurient sin as cautionary examples, All in the Family and South Park are obvious examples. The bigotry is always more glaring and more colorful than its pious denunciation.

It is not mere multiculturalism that is to blame, but the dissolution of any single moral code, putting the ball in the hands of countless political and religious factions, all intent on imposing their own form of control. Some merely want to control the portrayal of their own people. Others aim for grander things. Government imposes sanctions on behalf of some groups, but not others. The clash of priorities between different groups can only be resolved by valuing one identity over another, sexual freedom over religious freedom, or racial privilege over gender equality. In such a clash one group must be degraded and the other elevated. The false victims distinguished from the true victims. And which are the true and which are the false is not only a matter of perspective, but of a political value system.

The marketplace of ideas that some talk of has never really evolved into any debates anything worth mentioning. Instead there are dividing lines, mutual exchanges of slogans, preaching to the choir, and actions ranging from boycotts and harassment to state and federal intervention. There can be no final resolution to any of it because almost everyone supports some form of censorship and some form of free speech. What varies are what they want censored and what they want free. And the means they will use to do it.

The true impact of multiculturalism is the addition of insecurity to the mix. As identity has come to equal rights, the affirmation of group identity has come to be equated with maintaining identity rights. As every identity group scrambles for position in a country losing its own identity, insecurity becomes the underlying theme of identity. And everyone is afraid of losing theirs. Controlling language, media depictions of the group, permitted language, slur suppression and all the rest are forms of group insecurity. And the leader class that feeds those insecurities shows its political clout through repression.

The grass is always greener on the other side. So is the privilege. Most of the outraged groups are too busy imagining how good the other half has it, to consider how good they have it. The common theme of identity insecurity is "You Just Don't Understand", it's the cry of everyone who feels put upon looking for an ombudsman. And the government willingly plays ombudsman, or licenses those who do. The chorus is, "It's Only Your Sense of Privilege That Prevents You From Seeing How Much Better Off You Are Than Me". But who is better off? Everyone is if you're dissatisfied enough to think so.

In a society where everyone is angry, those who complain the loudest get heard. The battle of grievances is won by the enforcement of a new set of mores. From now on thou shalt not offend the outraged. Parse such logic and banning Koran burning makes sense. What are race riots compared to using planes as guided missiles. When there is no speech code, but those created by the escalation of grievances, the team willing to kill thousands to express their anger wins by default.

A multicultural society strives to be inoffensive, and winds up offending and censoring most everyone anyway. Even inoffensiveness can be offensive when it leaves a vacuum of meaning. And it becomes easy enough to read the most offensive meanings into that vacuum. "What did you say?" "I know what you said, but what did you really mean?" Such very human misunderstandings become elevated to matters of public policy when the dividing line between the personal and the political fractures across identity lines. There is no "We" anymore, only mutually resentful identity groups who don't trust anyone to say what they mean. They know the bigotry is still there, which it is, only now more so.

We live in a time with more free speech and less censorship than ever, and with less free speech and more censorship than ever. Much of the censorship has been outsourced, embedded in corporate and academic groupthink and in the budding minds of the youth, for whom the political taboos and their violation have become second nature. The government spends less time censoring individual speech and more time censuring institutions. It is less concerned with what you say, and more concerned with what the company you work for, the school you attend or the group you are part of permits you to say. It is a fine and finely ugly distinction. Oceania outsourced. 1984 subcontracted to the highest bidder.

So much censorship is required, because we no longer know who we are, and the authorities are no longer sure who we are either. Mutual resentments lead to divide and conquer governments. Cries of "What Have You Done For Me Lately" are answered with new restrictions. Societies are melting down into puddles of bureaucracy, their only identity expressed through charts and regulations. The insecure grasp for power. "This nation belongs to us", they cry, because they do not know whom it belongs to. Only that they feel it does not belong to them. And freedom of speech goes on the run from them as the frightened sew their lips shut and call it tolerance. The outraged raise their megaphones high and cry for justice, when what they really mean is revenge. And the silenced wait for it all to end.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Afternoon Roundup - Like a Koran on Fire


Remember Derek Fenton, the New Jersey transit worker who burned a few Koran pages in New York on his free time and got canned for it across the river by Christie's New Jersey Transit? Well there's a happy ending. Fenton has won back his job, damages and lost wages. The importance of this goes beyond Fenton, warning municipalities against this form of appeasement. Of course New Jersey decisionmakers probably think this brand of appeasement was cheap at the price.

This is what Fenton had to say

"Our government cannot pick and choose whose free speech rights are protected, based on whether or not they approve of the content of our statements or actions," Fenton said in a statement. "This is the very essence of the First Amendment."

This is what Christie said at the time

The settlement comes after the governor publicly supported Fenton’s firing. In February, Christie said he didn’t ask for the dismissal but called it appropriate because "that kind of intolerance is ... unacceptable."

"I knew he was going to be fired, and I had no problem with it," Christie said at the time. "And I still don’t have a problem with it."


Pick your conservative hero.

Let's contrast this with the UK where Andrew Ryan, a former British soldier, was sentenced to more than two months in prison for burning a Koran. At a time when British soldiers are being jeered by Muslim thugs in Londonistan, it's the soldiers who are being sent to jail.

The charge against Andrew Ryan, according to District Judge Gerald Chalk, was "Theatrical Bigotry", which for some reason was leveled against Andrew Ryan, but not say Caryl Churchill for Seven Jewish Children. What is "Theatrical Bigotry"? It's offending Muslims in a public place.

While being led away, Ryan asked "What about burning poppies?" referring to a Muslim form of protest that doesn't get labeled as theatrical bigotry. Neither does the harassment and violence against Jewish owned stores such as Ahava, by Muslim and pro-Muslim protesters.

Following sentencing, Inspector Paul Marshall, of Carlisle CID, said: "Today's result shows how seriously we take hate crime in the county.

"This incident was highly unusual for Cumbria as we have such low levels of hate crime in the county.

"However, when it does occur we investigate thoroughly so that offenders, and the local community, know that hate crime will simply not be tolerated."

There's that phrase again. "We won't tolerate." "Intolerable". So much intolerance in the name of tolerance. Isn't intolerance in the name of tolerance rather a contradiction in terms.

Andrew Ryan was charged with "religiously aggravated harassment" and given 70 days. But Choudhury, an Islamist who burned poppies, was fined 50 pounds and charged only with a violation of the Public Order Act.

"It's worth mentioning Choudhury's paltry fine, because that is certainly what Ryan's supporters in the English Defence League will do. Why is it that one act of theatrical bigotry merits a fine, and another a 70-day jail sentence? Why does the desecration of a symbol of national mourning merit less punishment than the desecration of a religious text?"

The same reason you can burn and desecrate every other national and religious symbol, but those of Muslims.

Ryan struggled with security guards in court after the sentence was passed. While being handcuffed he shouted: "What about my country? What about burning poppies?"

About 10 people were in court to support Ryan, and as they left the court they shouted "do you call this justice?"

This is Bloomberg, Christie and Lindsay Graham's justice.

Another story making the rounds out of the UK by way of Afghanistan overlaps with it when an unarmed British soldier leaped from his vehicle to capture a top ranking Taliban bomb maker.

The drama erupted when a soldier on a Helmand province patrol spotted a hidden bomb just inches from his foot in Gereshk. Lee was in a Warrior commanded by Lt Martyn Fulford 2km away when they and the crew in another of the armoured vehicles were alerted to the fleeing motorcyclist - suspected of sending squads of suicide bombers to attack Brit troops.

Lt Fulford, of Churchdown, Gloucs, told how he ordered the Warrior's driver to "put his foot down" as the terrorist roared towards the main road that runs through Helmand to make his getaway.

He said: "It was a race towards Highway One. If he reached the tarmac he would have been able to outpace us and escape. We just pipped him. Pte Stephens ripped his headset off and leapt down." Lee said: "I jumped out of the wagon and I grabbed the geezer.

"It was mark one left, mark two right fists. That was it. No weapons, just my hands."

It is a great story, but here's a thought left unaddressed, did Stephens tackle the Taliban bomb maker unarmed because there was no authorization to open fire under their rules of engagement.

Here's a more precise description of events
Shortly after spotting an improvised explosive device, the soldiers saw a motorcyclist approach as they crossed open ground.

Insurgent gunmen then opened fire from behind him pinning the soldiers down and letting him speed off.

Lt Martyn Fulford, 24, from Churchdown in Gloucester, was commanding one of two Warrior armoured vehicles 2km away, which set off to intercept the bike.

He said: "It was a race towards Highway One. If he reached the tarmac he would have been able to outpace us. We just pipped him. I had my rifle out of the turret screaming at him. Pte Stephens ripped his headset off and leapt down."

Pte Stephens, from Solihull, said he grabbed the suspect around the neck and dragged him towards his vehicle. Asked what he was thinking, he said: "My muckers were getting shot at and I thought, 'I'm not having that.' "

The fleeing Taliban commander was not using a weapon and the Warrior was within very close range but no one shot at him. Which suggests there may have been authorization to fire on the attackers, but not on the commander. Of course they might have wanted to take him alive for questioning, but they didn't appear to know who he was at the time. The Taliban commander would have known the ROE's and known that the weapon was an impotent threat.

The difference is big. Was this a heroic maneuver in the field, or forced by restrictive rules of engagement that caused a soldier to tackle a man unarmed that he had no authorization to fire on or stop in any way through the use of armed force.

Let's look at the cost of such regs on British troops back in 2010 and the absurd pussyfooting around required by them.
Two insurgents were seen knocking a “murder hole” through a wall, of the kind used by the Taleban to fire at British soldiers. The insurgents darted between firing positions, peering through fresh murder holes and cracks in the walls.

One appeared to be carrying something wrapped in cloth, possibly a weapon. The airspace above the compound was cleared of helicopters and jets, creating room for the drone to fire a Hellfire missile.

Mackay-Lewis told his men: “Command wants to make sure they are insurgents inside and not civilians.”

The Taleban’s radio spluttered and crackled into life. “We can see the soldiers standing by a wall,” said one of the insurgents. “Be prepared to fire when they approach us.”

The advance paused as the BRF commander decided whether to launch the drone’s missile. He gave the order to engage and then immediately retracted it as he began to doubt that the men were insurgents.

“We decided that there was no imminent threat, so we held back. It’s called courageous restraint and we try to exercise it whenever we can,” said Captain James Boutle.

The commander desperately needed the insurgents to open fire or to reveal themselves in the open, away from the compound, to permit him to call in an airstrike with confidence.

...

But the BRF commander regretted the decision. “I should have given the order,” he admitted later. “We had them.”

Perhaps a commenter with a military background can shed some light on this.

Moving on. The dominant political story this week is the lack of a story. Obama's popularity is stuck in a quagmire, but so is the GOP. Ryan's plan is about as popular among voters as Obama's Libyan war. The left and the right are disappointed. But so is the average voter.

The Republican establishment having completely forgotten the lessons of Christine O'Donnell are piling on Trump. It's a reflexive strategy, and a stupid one. A sizable amount of voters will just as reflexively embrace whoever the establishment is down on. There's plenty to criticize Trump for, but going all out against him will only help him. And personal attacks and namecalling against a man with the teflon media presence of Trump are not only useless, they make the opposition to Trump look petty.

Focusing on his hair, his ex-wives or his merchandising treats voters like idiots. It's doubtful that there's anyone who doesn't already notice these things about Trump. Reiterating them smacks of Mean Girls snobbery. The best way to beat Trump is to respect the voters and challenge him on the issues. If Trump really has nothing more to offer than hot air, Republican primary voters will see that for themselves. Articles pointing out some of Trump's past positions will help, but they won't close the deal.

Trump has injected the one thing the GOP race needs badly-- energy. And right now Trump looks good for doing what no one else will, aggressively taking on Obama. By doing that he's showing that he has more guts than a lot of the pack. And plenty of people are responding to that. Anyone who wants to beat Trump has to bring energy and passion to the game.

A Republican establishment which is worried about its candidates having to compete against Trump, had better think hard about them competing against Obama. If they can't take on a billionaire TV star, how are they ever going to beat Obama?

The GOP race still looks too much like a bunch of hesitant kids getting ready for a big game of kickball. They stand around, look over the ball and few of them are just willing to jump in and play. So far it's the unlikely candidates, like John Bolton, Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain and yes Trump, who have jumped in. And the 'serious candidates' are waiting around, strategizing, to avoid any missteps. But they've already made their biggest misstep. No one cares about them.

What the parties see and what voters see are two different things. The Democrats mistook their wins in 2006 and 2008 for an open ended mandate. Now the Republicans are doing the same thing. And their actual mandate is not as open ended as some bloggers and pundits have begun to think. It is also much less ideological. The Democrats didn't have a mandate for radical social change in 2008, neither did the Republicans in 2010. The more the fights go on, the more the voters despair of both parties. The average American still treats politicians like plumbers, firing them when things don't go right. And what the voters want is action, or at least the appearance of action, on the economy. The practical realities are of less interest and harder to communicate.

High gas prices, high unemployment and difficulty paying the bills is what's on most people's radar. The Republican congress has failed to speak to that, and it creates another opening for Obama, who will now tackle 'oil speculators' (a fairly typical Communist response to any economic crisis was to blame speculators for driving up prices) and Republicans are going to have to hit hard by turning the restrictions on drilling into a major campaign issue. The return of "Drill Baby, Drill".

But all that is a sideshow. The vote will go to the man or woman who can confidently promise better times ahead. That's what Reagan did in 1980. Unless the Republicans put up someone who can step up and promise better times ahead... than Obama's odds of winning aren't bad.

The public doesn't trust Obama on the economy, but how much are they going to trust Random Republican Candidate No. 344?

Obama is focusing on radicalizing his base, on assembling a Get Out the Vote program based on union members and minorities who are frightened of losing what they have. He isn't playing to hope anymore, he's playing to fear. The message to union members is you'll lose your benefits, to Latinos, you'll be deported, to seniors you'll lose your health care, and so on and so forth down the line. Will that be enough to win? Not in 2012. Not on its own. But keep the Republican turnout weak and swing enough voters who aren't crazy about the Republican candidate his way and the numbers look different.

In 2008 it was Obama's race to win or lose. In 2010, it's the Republicans' race to win or lose.

In 1980, Reagan hit Carter and the Democrats hard on their scarcity politics and on economic decline, to position himself as the man to rejuvenate American prosperity. The methods of communicating that were simple. This was Reagan's opening from his convention speech...
Never before in our history have Americans been called upon to face three grave threats to our very existence, any one of which could destroy us. We face a disintegrating economy, a weakened defense and an energy policy based on the sharing of scarcity.

Easily relevant to the present day.

Let's take a look at this supermarket ad from 1984 that highlighted the cost of inflation in an easy to relate to way.



Like most brilliant messages it's simple. Here's another simple metaphor from the 1980 convention speech

First, we must overcome something the present administration has cooked up: a new and altogether indigestible economic stew, one part inflation, one part high unemployment, one part recession, one part runaway taxes, one party deficit spending and seasoned by an energy crisis. It's an economic stew that has turned the national stomach.

None of this is very hard, but it takes the right man to bring the message home.

And now over to Libya, we were in and then we were out and now we're back in. McCain managed to fly over and take media ownership of the war for the usual incomprehensible reasons. Meanwhile there's ample evidence that the civil war is taking on racial Arab vs African components with atrocities committed against African POW's.

“Thousands of Africans have come under attack and lost their homes and possessions during the recent fighting,” a human rights official told the Los Angeles Times. “A lot of Africans have been caught up in this mercenary hysteria.”

But another, more sinister motive lurks behind the current rebel “African hunt” than just Gaddafi’s disturbing use of African mercenaries to put down the rebellion. The ferocious animosity Libyan rebels are showing toward black Africans is actually rooted in a deeply embedded, centuries-old Arab racism the war has inflamed.

This racism has its roots in the institution of Islamic slavery. From the seventh century to the twentieth, it is estimated 14 million black Africans were violently enslaved and transported under harsh conditions to countries around the Islamic world. Due to the blackness of the slave’s skin combined with his menial work and chattel status, Africans became synonymous in Arab eyes with inferiority and even something less than human. And since the Islamic world experienced no abolition movement, let alone a civil war like America’s, that attempted to establish the black slave’s humanity, he continued to remain sub-human in the Arab world view — as Africans today often point out.

One of these Africans is Dutch-Somali writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali. In her highly acclaimed book, Infidel, Ali experienced the Arabs’ persistent and dehumanizing racist attitude toward black Africans and its Islamic slavery base when attending school in Saudi Arabia. Her Egyptian teacher, Ali recounts, would always hit her, the only African child in the class, with a ruler, calling her “aswad abda,” black slave-girl. Ali writes: “To be a foreigner (in Saudi Arabia), and moreover a black foreigner, meant, you were scarcely human, unprotected: fair game.”

Even the word Arabs use today for black Africans, both Muslim and non-Muslim, is ‘abeed’, or slave. Besides serving as an Arab insult for Africans, this derogatory term reflects the thinking on the part of some Arabs that blacks are still fit only for slavery.

More worrying still is the UN/French backed Islamic takeover of the Ivory Coast and now rising Muslim violence in Nigeria. The Islamic plan for Africa is Islamization with all others reduced to second class status Dhimmis. The Western world and the UN continue to act in aid of that goal.

The situation is a complex one. Arab colonization of Africa and the Middle East has resulted in genocide and repression time and time again. The entire Israeli-Arab conflict is in sum a resistance to that colonialism by the indigenous Jewish population.

The US and the UN failed to intervene with armed force against Arab Sudanese genocide of Africans. But they were quick to anoint a Muslim ruler in the Ivory Coast.

The ugliness has religious and racial components. Sometimes those come together, but they are never truly separate. Islam is after all an Arabic religion. Its prophet and scripture are Arabic. Arabs are the guardians of its holy places. But the religion also masks racism and repression.

Backing the Libyan rebels as democrats, is as foolish as backing Egyptian protesters as democrats. This kind of thing isn't new at all and there are no good guys.

Professor SAAD JABBAR (Deputy Director, North Africa Center at Cambridge University): I tell you, these people, because of their skin, they will be slaughtered in Libya. There is so much anger there against those mercenaries, which suddenly sprung up. I think it is urgent to do something about it now, otherwise, a genocide against anyone who has black skin and who doesn't speak perfect Arabic.

...

"We left behind our friends from Chad. We left behind their bodies. We had 70 or 80 people from Chad working for our company. They cut them dead with pruning shears and axes, attacking them, saying you're providing troops for Gadhafi. The Sudanese, the Chadians were massacred. We saw it ourselves."

Nobody is talking about this brand of genocide as usual. Just as no one wants to talk about the Muslim Brotherhood's hostility or El Baradei's continuing antics in Egypt.
"I am a worker, not a fighter. They took me from my house and [raped] my wife," he said, gesturing with his hands. Before he could say much more, a pair of guards told him to shut up and hustled him through the steel doors of a cell block, which quickly slammed behind them.

The title of the story "Journalists Visit Prisoners Held by Rebels in Libya,"

These are McCain's heroes. The good people we're providing Halal meals for.

Thousands of Ghanaian migrant workers who recently returned from Libya after attacks there against black Africans say they are relieved to be home, though their hopes of finding their fortunes have been destroyed.

At least 5,200 Ghanaians have returned since October, after violence against blacks that, by unofficial accounts, left more than 135 dead. In addition, thousands of laborers from Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan and other nations have fled Libya, taking a strong resentment toward Libyans with them.

Today? No, 2000. Libya, like most of the Arab-Muslim world is racist. The revolution is and remains a farce.

Oh yes and speaking of El Baradei, his latest antic is to call for war crimes probes of the Bush Administration. Way to pander to the left and the Islamists in one breath.

Meanwhile Islamic violence against Christians in Egypt continues to spread. While Time drools over El Baradei and Wael Ghonim, their 'influence' is completely hollow. Egypt belongs to the army, the Brotherhood and the mob. And the mob is not well disposed toward minorities.

There's more on the Libyan atrocities here from John Rosenthal at Pajamas Media Via Andrew McCarthy at National Review with Allah Akbar, It's Our Friends the Rebels.

To summarize the Libyan situation, we're backing a scrambled mix of factions, some of whom are Al Qaeda, some of whom are ex-regime thugs, and some of whom are behind Door Number 3, which covers everything from CIA backed militias to professional rebels. Most of the excuses why we're doing this fall flat. We're not even doing it for the one good reason, which would be to remove Gaddafi from power because he was a sponsor of terrorists, instead we're doing it to pay homage to the spirit of Arab Democracy or some nonsense like that.

Obama claimed that we're doing it to enforce the will of the Arab League, which turns out not to support it. And the OIC is against examining the actions of the Arab governments

The Organization of the Islamic Conference, whose members carry significant weight in the 47-nation Human Rights Council, said it wouldn't consent to holding such a meeting.

"We think that the events that are taking place do not merit some kind of a special session," said Zamir Akram, Pakistan's ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva.

He accused those advocating a special session of double standards, and said the OIC would use any such meeting to focus on human rights abuses by Israel instead.

Clearly. Closing it up, also from Elder of Ziyon, a prescription for Israeli action in the face of a unilateral Palestinian state declaration, from one of the few honest men in the cabinet

Dr. Uzi Landau, Israel's Minister of National Infrastructure, warns that in the event of a unilateral United Nations declaration of a Palestinian state, he will call upon Israel to annex the Jordan Valley and large, Jewish populated blocs in the West Bank:

If only. Instead we've got grim tidings that Netanyahu's congressional speech will unveil some surprise. And surprise usually means surprise concession. One of those "bold" steps that will "resolve" the logjam. G-d help us all.

Obama's September target date for an Abbas state is coming up. A number of Chavez's Latin American allies have already recognized a Palestinian state. France has said that it's under consideration. Peres is pushing for Israel to 'write its own' peace plan, which just means more unilateral concessions that don't factor to anything. And Obama's people are reportedly drafting their own plan to present, which includes dividing Jerusalem.

But the good news is that Israel's left, as reported by Haaretz, has a plan of battle to defend their neighborhoods and communities.

The forum hopes to raise the secular majority's voice, which its members say has fallen silent until the danger reached people's doorstep. Meanwhile, they are discussing their local "battle plans" together, using military terms like "war" and the need to "defend themselves."

"We feel they see this [process] as an occupation and we're still at the stage in which each one is fighting for his home, so it's early days yet to tell where the neighborhood forum is going," says Yitzhaki-Toledano.

No, they're not standing up to Muslim terrorists. They're fighting against synagogues moving into their neighborhoods. Anti-tank missiles are being used on schoolbuses, but the lunatic left and Haaretz have their priorities in order. They must defend their way of life.

And the Shalit relations continue their ghoulish publicity stunts, egged on by the left. Noam Shalit had kind words for Hamas, but none for Israel. Zvi Shalit has penned another accusatory letter denouncing Netanyahu for "refusing to free Gilad", as if he were sitting in an Israeli jail, rather than the custody of terrorists. A smirking Haaretz article calls on the Shalit relations to "take off the velvet gloves"and wage a "personal war" against the Prime Minister. To what end? To agree to a Hamas deal which would free terrorists with blood on their hands and surely insure that there will be more Gilad Shalits to come.

Noam Shalit long ago crossed the terminator from needy to ruthless to completely amoral. His own flesh and blood cannot come over the lives of countless others. And he and his family have exploited their sacred position as the relatives to a captured soldier to behave in the most boorish and repugnant manner imaginable. They have turned themselves into proxies for Hamas. They have become the aiders and abetters of the kidnappers of their son.

In Israel, the Free Gilad Shalit movement is freighted with left wing activists, which is why I have written next to nothing about him. I hope that he is rescued. But I completely oppose the Shalit family's mercenary demands, especially in light of the cost of similar deals before, and their leftist handlers. As long as there is a rising Palestinian state, then it isn't Gilad Shalit in prison, but all of Israel. The latest round of attacks are a reminder of that.

The left's phony outrage over Gilad's imprisonment is the height of hypocrisy when they simultaneously empower the terrorists who hold him and the entire country hostage. I support the liberation of Gilad Shalit, within the liberation of the entire country from the terrorists of Hamas and Fatah.