Articles

Monday, March 02, 2015

The Obama Inquisition

If you want to infuriate a liberal, question his patriotism. He’ll sneer, mock and ridicule the question. And then when he is up against the wall, he will mumble that the real patriots don’t need to wear flag pins because they covertly perform their patriotism in the dead of night when no one is looking.

He may even trot out that fake Jefferson quote about dissent being the highest form of patriotism. No, Teddy Roosevelt didn’t say it either. He did however say that “Patriotism means to stand by the country… It does not mean to stand by the president... save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country.”

And he meant it, ruthlessly attacking Woodrow Wilson until Democratic Senator William J. Stone called the former president “the most seditious man of consequence in America”.

Dissent stopped being patriotic the very second that Obama entered the Oval Office. Suddenly it became unspeakable treason and racist sedition.

Patriotism could be questioned again, but not for the love of country, only for the love of a president.

The patriotism practiced by Republicans was the patriotism of Teddy Roosevelt, standing by the country rather than by a man. And standing by him exactly to the degree in which he stood by the country. That is what Giuliani did. To this the Democrats answered with the patriotism of Obama, launching witch hunts against anyone whose love of Obama appeared to be lacking in sincerity and enthusiasm.

Now the media is questioning Scott Walker’s patriotism. Not his love of country, but his love of Obama.

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank fumed that Scott Walker had replied to a question about whether Obama was a Christian with “I don’t know.” “This is not a matter of conjecture. The correct answer is yes,” Milbank angrily prompted like Orwell’s O’Brien lecturing Winston Smith about the virtues of Doublethink.

Of course the correct answer is, “I don’t know.” Or as Walker put it, “You’ve asked me to make statements about people that I haven’t had a conversation with about that. How [could] I say if I know either of you are a Christian?”

No one knows whether Obama is a Christian, loves the country or wears ballet slippers to bed. These are hypothetical questions. Milbank wants them to be prerequisites for getting elected, writing that Walker’s confession of ignorance on Obama’s inner faith “disqualified him” from being president.

The question was ridiculous and asked in bad faith. Candidates are not normally interrogated about the religions of other politicians. The only reason to ask it was to force Walker to affirm Obama’s virtues. Instead of providing testimony for his own faith, he was asked to provide testimony for Obama’s faith.

Call it the media’s Obama Inquisition. No one expects it, but by now everyone probably should.

Obama doesn’t need to love America. That would be one of those vulgar displays that our bicoastal elites sneer at and class together with Wal-Mart and country music. But Republicans still need to verbally profess that Obama is a Christian who loves America, motherhood and arugula pie.

We no longer have a political test based on the love of the country, but we do have one based on the love of Obama. We don’t have to wear flag pins; we have to wear Obama pins. Showy displays of patriotism are for tacky flyover country types. Obama holograms, alongside Jesus holograms, are sold on the streets of every inner city. The upscale version of that is the ubiquitous Obama logo that can be spotted on the back bumper of every ecologically conscious Subaru from San Francisco to Boston.

And there’s nothing showy or tacky about those expressions of Obamatism.

Politicians no longer have to demonstrate love of God and country. Instead they, as Scott Walker has learned, have to affirm their faith in the verities that have replaced them; Obama and evolution. These are what a serious candidate in the non-exceptional Post-American nation of ours must believe.

To question them, even implicitly by failing to affirm them, is progressive Post-American blasphemy. And the Obama Inquisition is relentless in ferreting out even the mildest inquiring eyebrow of heresy.

Nobody knows what is in Obama’s head except the man himself and his team of psychiatrists. But it doesn’t matter what is in Obama’s head. It matters that we believe particular things about Obama.

We must have faith in Obama.

The left has replaced nationalism with a cult of personality. And cults of personality are fragile. We accept flaws in a nation because it includes our own flawed selves. But to believe in a man, he must be perfect. The naked emperor cannot be challenged because everyone is only one loud exclamation away from realizing that not only isn’t he wearing any pants, but that everyone else sees it too. And then the cult shudders under a wave of laughter traveling at the speed of sound from coast to coast.

The left whined that displays of patriotism singled them as if they were part of some lurking seditious force out to undermine America. Which is a perfectly absurd notion as Professor Bill Ayers could tell you. But now the media rants that Scott Walker’s lack of faith in Obama’s patriotism and faith are a “wink” and a “dog whistle” to the nefarious anti-Obama forces lurking in the heartland.

Paranoia about enemies of the country who must be stamped out has been replaced with paranoia about enemies of Obama who must be stamped out. It is not enough that a politician does not personally question Obama’s patriotism. He must also testify to Comrade Obama’s patriotism. That is what is truly being demanded of Scott Walker.

He must denounce the idea that Obama, who thinks the Bible has a verse in it about not throwing stones when you live in a glass house, is anything but a Christian. He must verbally assert that Obama loves America as that is the new post-American pledge of allegiance. It is not enough not to question Obama. Scott Walker must have faith in Obama’s goodness. And that demand is as Un-American as Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright.

Americans have never been forced to bow to a man. They have never been forced to believe in a man. They have never been forced to pledge their allegiance to a sovereign, rather than to the nation.

For six years, America has suffered under a hysterical atmosphere of media paranoia about dark forces spreading hate and undermining Obama. Not even the most zealous anti-Communist ever spent as much time fulminating about secret subversives as the average MSNBC talking head. Even the mildest criticism has to be relentlessly stamped out and exposed as part of a vast anti-Obama conspiracy.

It has reached such a point that the failure to praise Obama disqualifies a candidate for public office.

It’s not a completely unprecedented state of affairs. Woodrow Wilson’s administration saw men jailed for everything from private conversations to making a movie about the American Revolution. Teddy Roosevelt, a former president, was threatened with prison by Democrats, both subtly and unsubtly, for his articles attacking the administration’s policies. But there was still no cult of personality of Wilson.

Democrats no longer have patriotism at their disposal. They can’t rally the nation for love of country. They don’t even believe in the government unless they’re running it. That just leaves them with a man.

The cult of personality is no longer just an option. It’s their only option. Obama is all they have.

And if you don’t believe in Obama, you’re a racist enemy of all that’s good and progressive who is going to liberal hell. Or as they call it, Portland.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Our Crucial Choice of the War on Terror

There are two models for fighting terrorism. We can see the terrorists as an external invading force that has to be destroyed or as an internal element in our society to be managed.

In the War on Terror, Bush saw terrorists as an external force that had to be fought while Obama sees them as an internal element to be managed. And while both men signed off on some of the same tactics, their view of the conflict at the big picture level was fundamentally different.

The differences express themselves in such things as detaining terrorists at Guantanamo Bay or backing Islamist democracy. If Muslim terrorists are an alien force, then detaining them without trial is no more of a problem than detaining Nazi saboteurs was during WW2. And if Islamic terrorism is driven by alien impulses, then it has nothing in common with us and attempting to accommodate it cannot succeed.

Obama and the Europeans see Islamic terrorism as a social problem whose root causes need to be resolved rather than defeated. It’s the old model used for the radical left which was “fought” by mainstream parties adopting elements of its program to compete with it… with disastrous results.

But the results of adopting elements of the Islamic program would be even worse.

Obama blamed the Paris terror attacks on a failure to integrate. But Islamic terrorism is an attempt to integrate Europe into Islam. The bombs and bullets, like the Sharia patrols and the No-Go Zones, are statements by Muslims that they will not be integrated into Europe. Europe must integrate with them.

Muslim terrorists reject the assumption that they are a domestic social problem. To the Muslim born in France or the UK, who may even be a native convert, the domestic social problem comes from Jews and Christians who refuse to acknowledge the supremacy of Islam, from cartoonists who draw Mohammed and from women who leave the house. Islamic terrorism is meant to integrate us into the Dar-al-Islam.

If we are going to view Islamic terrorism as a domestic social problem, then we might as well take a look at how Muslim countries deal with terrorism. They rarely declare war against it, but when they do, they tend to engage in ruthless mass slaughter. Jordan may have killed as many as 20,000 Palestinian Arabs in its fight with the PLO. Assad’s father may have killed 40,000 Syrians in Hama when putting down the Muslim Brotherhood. The death toll from the current conflict hovers at around a quarter of a million.

But Muslim countries rarely fight terrorism. Like Obama, they mostly manage terrorism.

In Muslim countries, terrorism actually is an internal element. It’s not an alien force, but an ongoing momentum of expansion and conflict that predates the airplane and the bomb. This is the tool that Mohammed and his successors used to conquer sizable portions of the world. That’s why Muslim countries don’t fight terrorism. They export it.

Jihad is a ticking time bomb that they dump on their enemies. Major Muslim countries sponsor terrorist groups the way that we sponsor sports teams. Sometimes they fight a terrorist group and then sponsor it and fight it again. Sometimes they sponsor it and fight it at the same time. That’s the kind of situation that gives counterterrorism experts headaches, but maintains a bizarre kind of stability in the region.

A Muslim country with a terrorist problem points the terrorists to another country. That’s a major reason why Lebanon, Syria and Iraq are disaster areas. It’s also why our Gulf allies keep funding the terrorists attacking America. Not only is it the religiously devout thing to do and confers geopolitical advantages on them, but it’s also the international equivalent of dumping your toxic waste next door.

Exporting Islamic terrorism is something that Muslim countries can do more easily than non-Muslim countries can. The Russians are about the only non-Muslims to have managed to do it without getting hurt too badly. Our own efforts in dabbling with foreign Muslim terrorists have been disastrous. Trying to export domestic Muslim terrorists into another conflict would be a terrible idea.

Nevertheless the West is doing just that in Syria, intentionally or unintentionally. And the consequences will be quite serious because unlike the Saudis, we can’t keep generating international conflicts for them to fight in fast enough to prevent them from coming home and killing Americans.

Obama and the EU are trying to manage Islamic terrorists, but only Muslim countries can do that. In the Muslim world, terrorist groups function as unofficial militias, proxy armies that can be dispatched to fight their enemies. But Islamic forces fight for an Islamic cause. Obama can claim that America is one of the world’s largest Muslim countries, but he can’t call on their Islamic allegiance to the United States.

The most crucial decision in our approach to Islamic terrorism is to decide whether it represents a foreign or domestic element. If we treat Muslim terrorists as a domestic force, then we will have to cater to them. The path of appeasement will eventually lead to adopting some form of Islamic law even if we do it under the guise of our existing legal system, such as prosecuting blasphemy against Islam under hate crime laws. But as we attempt to manage Islamic terrorism, the violence will increase.

Eventually we will discover that the only way to compete with Al Qaeda or ISIS is to adopt elements of the Islamic program, the way that the West did with the radical left. That is what most Muslim countries have already done. And if we do it, then we will have defeated ourselves. That is why the approach advocated by Obama and the European Union is bound to fail. The United States is not a Muslim country and it cannot afford to manage terror the way that Muslim countries do.

The Islamic terrorist is not a legitimate domestic element in America, the way that he is in Pakistan or Syria, because he has no function here. The United States is not in need of freelance fanatical militias following a foreign creed that puts them at odds with Americans. If we attempt to cultivate Islamic terrorists, then we will still end up becoming their first, or at best, second choice of targets.

The West can only defeat Islamic terrorism by treating it as a foreign element; an outside force that must be destroyed, rather than accommodated. Unlike Islamic countries, we cannot accommodate it without destroying what we are. And we cannot make use of it without destroying ourselves.

Europe still insists on seeing Islamic terrorism as a domestic social problem and if its Muslim population continues to grow, then eventually it will be correct. Islamic terrorism will cease to be a foreign threat to Europe and become the means by which its non-Muslims are integrated into accepting Islamic rule.

The United States however is not an Islamic country in any sense of the word. It does not face the same demographic danger as France. And it should not treat Islamic terrorism as a domestic element.

To defeat an enemy, we have to view it as external to ourselves. When we accept Islam as a domestic phenomenon to be grappled with, managed, moderated and deradicalized; then we give up on the possibility of defeating it because an internal problem that is part of us can never truly be defeated.

And that defeatism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

When we treat the War on Terror like the War on Drugs or the War on Poverty, then we accept the impossibility of winning. Instead we adapt to a European mindset of managing the fallout from the latest batch of attacks. Terrorism becomes no different than crime; a threat we try to live through without hope of ever seeing it end. And that way lies a police state and numberless terror attacks for it to police.

Declarations of war are important because they remind us that we have an external enemy. Internal enemies may be a part of us, but external enemies are not. We can defeat them without defeating ourselves. We are not doomed to fight an endless struggle with Islam unless we make it a part of us.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Secular Religion of the Left

For most of human history, men and women have derived their moral dimension of life from the family and religion. Both of those are now dead or dying in the West under the influence of its new moral and ethical system. That system is one that we know in its various forms as the left.

The left can be summed up as moral materialism. It is a secular religion that claims to add a moral dimension to materialism. Its obsessions are largely economic, from its early class warfare focus to its modern environmentalism. Even its racial politics code class warfare by skin color.

Kill off religion and what do you have left? The answer can be seen in China. You're left with materialism and family interests.. Cast off the shackles of the family for individualistic consumerism and you're left with nothing except materialism as can be seen in any major Western city.

Modern urban man is much too "smart" for religion. At least his own. He wants to add an ethical dimension to life without having to believe in anything except the sense of fairness that he already has, but which he does not realize is not nearly as valid objectively as it is subjectively in his inner emotional reality.

And that is what the left is. It strips away everything except that egotistical sense that things should be run more fairly with predictably unfair results.

Liberalism, and the milder flavors of the left, provide a permission slip for materialism by elevating it through political activism. This is the philosophical purpose of environmentalism's green label. It tells you that you are a good person for buying something and soothes the moral anxieties of an urban class with no coherent moral system except the need to impose an ethical order on the consumerism that defined their childhood, their adolescence and their adult life.

Those most in need of the moral system of materialism are the descendants of the displaced, whether by immigration to the United States or migration within the United States from rural to urban areas, who have become detached from a large extended family structure that once sustained them.

Their grandparents had already loosened their grip on religion and as the family disintegrated, materialism took its place. Their grandparents worked hard to provide for their children, but the children no longer saw maintaining the family as a moral activity. Sometimes they didn't even bother with a family. They became lonely individuals looking for a collective. A virtual political family.

Liberalism fills the missing space once inhabited by religion and the family. It provides a moral and ethical system as religion did and the accompanying sense of purpose and its state institutions replace and supplant the family. It does both of these things destructively and badly as its institutions forever try to patch social problems created by the disintegration of the family and its ideas provide too few people with a sense of purpose of a meaningful life.

And yet it isn't entirely to blame for this state of affairs. The left has actively tried to destroy the family and religion, but the American liberal was until recently less guilty on both charges. His main crime was collaborating with the left while refusing to acknowledge its destructive aims. The process by which the displacement of liberal ideas and their replacement by the ideas of the far left is nearly complete. The American liberal is now an aging relic. In his place is the resentful radical.

The process that led to this state of affairs isn't the left's fault either. Even if it's not for lack of trying. In some ways the left isn't the problem, it's a symptom of the problem. Its ability to fundamentally transform people is limited. The transformation that has occurred is because of the choices that people have been led into making trading religion and family for a dead end materialism. Those choices evolved organically from the natural direction of society and technology.

And into that empty space, the left came. It dominates because there is nothing else to fill that space. It can only be truly resisted by cultural groups that have maintained hold of family and religion. Without that sense of purpose, there is only the endless baffled retreat of the Republican Party.

Liberalism appeals more to the middle class and the upper class because it is a religion of materialism. It makes very little sense to those who don't have material things. The underclass might embrace the harsher populism of the left, but shows little interest in its larger collectivist philosophy. The underclass is losing family and religion at a faster rate than the upper class, but it clings to what it has and finds meaning in it. It may be nakedly materialistic, but it doesn't believe that it is too smart for religion or too individualistic for family. It has many flaws, but arrogance isn't one of them.

Ennobling consumerism is a difficult task. The left doesn't come anywhere close to succeeding at it. Instead it makes it more expensive and raises the entry barriers for everything by working to eliminate cheap food, cheap household goods and cheap everything. It's a class issue.

Why does the left really hate Walmart? It doesn't really have a lot to do with unions and has a lot to do with class. Walmart's crime is industrial. It's the crime of the factory and the supermarket and every means of mass production and consumption. It makes cheap products too readily available to the masses. Liberals like to believe that they oppose consumerism, but what they really want to do is raise the entry levels to the lifestyle. Liberal consumerism is all about upselling ethics.

When tangible goods become too easy to produce, you add value through intangibles. The fair trade food tastes the same as non-fair trade food. Organic, a category with a debatable meaning, doesn't really provide that much more value. And environmental labels are worth very little. And yet the average product at Whole Foods is covered in so many "ethical liberal" labels that it's hard to figure out what it even is.

Intangible value is all about class. And class is all about creating barriers to entry.

Liberalism has become a revolt against the middle class that its grandparents struggled to reach, a rejection of their "materialism" while substituting the "ethical materialism" of liberalism in its place that envisions a much smaller upper and middle class that derives its wealth and power not from hard work in the private sector, but highly profitable social justice volunteerism in the public sector.

An American Dream of universal prosperity has been pitted against the left's dream of a benevolent feudal system in which the few will be very well paid to oversee the income equality of the many. 

The left's private argument against the American Dream is that it's little more than Walmart. And to some degree they're right. Easy availability of the necessities of life does not lead to a meaningful life. But the easy contempt that the left has for it shows its basic inability to understand how important these things are and how hard they were to come by for most of human history.

Salt was once a precious commodity. Today it sells for pennies a pound. The ability to light the darkness meant the difference between studying at night and living in ignorance. Today a light bulb goes for a quarter. At least it did until the left banned them. And electricity, the left also keeps raising the price of that. Few of the post-apocalyptic fantasies spilling out of Hollywood really describe what would happen if the people manufacturing them were thrown back before the industrial revolution..

Progress has made a good life materially possible, but it has also displaced and damaged the social mechanisms that make a good life socially possible. We have easy access to technology and streets full of vicious illiterate thugs. We can discuss anything with anyone, but we live in a society that values few things worth discussing. We have mass production, but not mass character.

For all its feigned populism, such elitist critiques of society are not foreign to the left. The left's elitist critiques differ in some regards, but they are on the same basic wavelength as those of the social conservative. And its solution is to promote what it considers social progress by reversing or slowing down industrial, commercial and technological progress. The environmental movement is only the latest ideological incarnation of this philosophy which strives to slow down the rate of progress.

The left's social collectivism however is no replacement for what is being lost. What it really does is attempt to apply industrial and commercial strategies to human relationships. Not only is it not a challenge to a consumeristic society, but it attempts to worsen the damage by rebuilding society on the model of the factory and the department store as an impersonal system.

That's not a solution to the problem. It is the problem.

The left cannot escape its own materialism. Its attempts at adding an ethical dimension to materialism fail because its ethical dimension is still materialistic. Its pathetic efforts at injecting pastiches of Third World and minority spirituality into its politics to provide the illusion of a spiritual dimension are hollow and racist. The left cannot fill its own hole, because it is the hole.

Like Islam, it provides something for people to believe in, but the thing it provides is the compulsion to find meaning by forcibly remaking other people's lives in a perpetual revolution which becomes its own purpose.

The left can't replace family or religion. Its social solutions are alien and artificial. They fix nothing and damage everything. Their appeal is to those who are arrogant and starved for meaning, who want religion without religion and family without family only to discover that they are not enough.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

We Can Kill Our Way to Victory

“We can not win this war by killing them,” Marie Harf said on MSNBC.

 Reversing thousands of years of battlefield experience in which wars were won by “killing them”, the State Department spokeswoman argued that you can’t defeat ISIS by killing its fighters.

"We can not kill our way out of this war,” she said. “We need in the medium and longer term to go after the root causes that lead people to join these groups, whether it is lack of opportunity for jobs."

War is one of the few things in life we can reliably kill our way out of. The United States has had a great track record of killing our way out of wars. We killed our way out of WW1. We killed our way out of WW2. The problem began when we stopped trying to kill our way out of wars and started trying to hug our way out of wars instead. Progressive academics added war to economics, terrorism and the climate in the list of subjects they did not understand and wanted to make certain that no one else was allowed to understand. Because the solution to war is so obvious that no progressive could possibly think of it.

Harf’s argument is a familiar one. There was a time when progressive reformers had convinced politicians that we couldn’t arrest, shoot, imprison or execute our way out of crime.

We couldn’t stop crime by fighting crime. Instead the root causes of crime had to be addressed. The police became social workers and criminals overran entire cities. The public demanded action and a new wave of mayors got tough on crime. While the sociologists, social workers, activists and bleeding hearts wailed that it wouldn’t work, surprisingly locking up criminals did stop them from committing crimes.

It was a revelation almost as surprising as realizing that it does take a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun. Addressing root causes won’t stop a killing spree in progress. (That’s another one of those things we can and do kill our way out of.)

But bad ideas are harder to kill than bad people. And stupid ideas are the hardest ideas of all to kill.

The same plan that failed to stop street gangs and drug dealers has been deployed to defeat ISIS. Heading it up are progressives who don’t believe that killing the enemy wins wars.

General Patton told the Third Army, “The harder we push, the more Germans we kill. The more Germans we kill, the fewer of our men will be killed.” That kind of thinking is passé. General McChrystal, Obama’s favorite commander (before he had to be purged for insulting Obama) had a much better plan.

“We will not win based on the number of Taliban we kill,” he said. “We must avoid the trap of winning tactical victories—but suffering strategic defeats—by causing civilian casualties or excessive damage and thus alienating the people.”

Under Obama’s rotating shift of commanders, we avoided the trap of winning tactical victories. Instead of following Patton’s maxim, American casualties doubled. The Taliban struck closer to Kabul while US soldiers avoided engaging the enemy because they wouldn’t be given permission to attack unless the Taliban announced themselves openly while avoiding mosques or civilian buildings.

“We will not win simply by killing insurgents,” McChrystal had insisted. “We will help the Afghan people win by securing them, by protecting them from intimidation, violence and abuse.”

But we couldn’t protect the Afghan people without killing the Taliban. Civilian casualties caused by the United States fell 28 percent, but the Taliban more than made up for it by increasing their killing of civilians by 40 percent. Not only did we avoid the trap of a tactical victory, but we also suffered a strategic defeat. American soldiers couldn’t kill insurgents, protect civilians or even protect themselves. We’ve tried the McChrystal way and over 2,000 American soldiers came home in boxes from Afghanistan trying to win the hearts and minds of the Afghans. Many more returned missing arms and legs. The Taliban poll badly among Afghans, but instead of hiring a PR expert to improve their image, a Pentagon report expects them to be encircling key cities by 2017.

Unlike our leaders, the Taliban are not worried about falling into the trap of winning tactical victories. They are big believers in killing their way to popularity. As ISIS and Boko Haram have demonstrated, winning by killing works better than trying to win by wars by winning polls.

Now the same whiz kids that looked for the root cause of the problem in Afghanistan by dumping money everywhere, including into companies linked to Al Qaeda and the Taliban, think that the way to beat ISIS is with unemployment centers and job training. Many of the ISIS Jihadists come from the social welfare paradises of Europe where there are more people employed to find the root causes of terrorism through welfare than there are people working to fight them. So far they haven’t had much luck either.

The Europeans were still searching for the root causes of Muslim terrorism back when Obama was smoking pot on a dirty couch. They’re still searching for them even while newspapers, cafes and synagogues are shot up. Meanwhile unarmed police officers lie on the ground and beg for their lives.

Obama’s real ISIS strategy is even worse than his Afghan strategy. He doesn’t have a plan for beating ISIS. He has a plan for preventing it from expanding while the sociologists try to figure out the root causes for its popularity. American air power isn’t there to crush ISIS. It’s there to stop it from launching any major advances and embarrassing him too much. Meanwhile hearts and minds will be won. At least those minds that haven’t been beheaded and those hearts that haven’t been burned to ash.

We won’t be falling into the trap of winning victories. Instead we’ll be figuring out how to create jobs so that all the ISIS fighters go home to Copenhagen and Paris where they won’t be Obama’s problem.

But while it’s tempting to believe that stupid ideas like these are solely the realm of lefties like Obama, it was Mitt Romney who announced during the final debate that, “We can't kill our way out of this mess.”

“We're going to have to put in place a very comprehensive and robust strategy to help the world of Islam and other parts of the world, reject this radical violent extremism,” he insisted, calling for education and economic development.

“Killing our way out of this mess” has become an orphaned strategy. Neither Democrats nor
Republicans want to take it home with them. But killing our way out of wars used to be a bipartisan strategy.

Truman believed in a plan to “kill as many as possible.” Eisenhower could casually write, “We should have killed more of them.” But why listen to the leaders who oversaw America’s last great war when we can instead listen to the architects of the social strategy that turned our cities into war zones?

What did Eisenhower and Truman know that Obama doesn’t? They knew war.

Truman cheated his way into WW1, despite being an only son and half-blind. He took the initiative and took the war to the enemy. They don’t make Democrats like that anymore. They do make Democrats like Barack Obama, who use Marines as umbrella stands and whose strategy is not to offend the enemy.

In Afghanistan, the top brass considered a medal for “courageous restraint”. If we go on trying to not kill our way out of Iraq, that medal will go well with all the burned bodies and severed heads.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

European Colonialism is the Only Thing That Modernized Islam

Like math and the Midwest, ISIS confuses progressives. It’s not hard to confuse a group of people who never figured out that if you borrow 18 trillion dollars, you’re going to have to pay it back. But ISIS is especially confusing to a demographic whose entire ideology is being on the right side of history.

Raised to believe that history inevitably trended toward diversity in catalog models, fusion restaurants and gay marriage, the Arab Spring led them on by promising that the Middle East would be just like Europe and then ISIS tore up their Lonely Planet guidebook to Syria and chopped off their heads.

But ISIS also believes that it’s on the right side of history. Its history is the Koran. The right side of its history is what Iraq and Syria look like today. It’s also how parts of Europe are starting to look.

Progressive politicians and pundits trying to cope with ISIS lapse into a shrill incoherence that has nothing to do with their outrage at its atrocities and a lot to do with their sheer incomprehension. Terms like “apocalyptic nihilism” get thrown around as if heavy metal were beginning to make a comeback.

Those few analysts who admit that the Islamic State might be a just a little Islamic emphasize that it’s a medieval throwback, as if there were some modern version of Islam to compare it to.

Journalists trying to make sense of ISIS demanding Jizya payments and taking slaves ought to remember that these aren’t medieval behaviors in the Middle East. Not unless medieval means the 19th century. And that’s spotting them a whole century. Saudi Arabia only abolished slavery in 1962 under pressure from the United States. Its labor market and that of fellow Petrojihadi kingdoms like Kuwait and Qatar are based on arrangements that look a lot like temporary slavery… for those foreigners who survive.

Non-Muslims paid Jizya to Muslim rulers until very recently. Here is what it looked like in nineteenth century Morocco from the account of James Riley, an American shipwrecked sea captain.

"The Mohammedan scrivener appointed to receive it took it from them, hitting each one a smart blow with his fist on his bare forehead, by way of receipt for his money, at which the Jews said, ‘Thank you, my lord.’”

Those Jews who could not pay were flogged and imprisoned until they converted to Islam. An account from 1894 is similar, except that the blows were delivered to the back of the neck. Only French colonialism finally put a stop to this practice as well as many other brutal Islamic Supremacist laws.

Morocco was one of the Arab countries where Jews were treated reasonably well by the standards of the Muslim world. It’s one of the few Arab countries to still retain a Jewish population. When ISIS demands Jizya from non-Muslims, it’s not reviving some controversial medieval behavior. It’s doing what even “moderate” Muslim countries were doing until European guns and warships made them stop.

If the French hadn’t intervened, the same ugly scene would have gone on playing out in Morocco. If the United States hadn’t intervened, the Saudis would still openly keep slaves.

Islam never became enlightened. It never stopped being ‘medieval’. Whatever enlightenment it received was imposed on it by European colonialism. It’s a second-hand enlightenment that never went under the skin.

ISIS isn’t just seventh century Islam. It’s also much more recent than that. It’s Islam before the French and the English came. It’s what the Muslim world was like before it was forced to have presidents and constitutions, before it was forced to at least pay lip service to the alien notion of equal rights for all.

The media reported the burning of the Jordanian pilot as if it were some horrifying and unprecedented aberration. But Muslim heretics, as well as Jews and Christians accused of blasphemy, were burned alive for their crimes against Islam. Numerous accounts of this remain, not from the seventh century, but from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Those who weren’t burned, might be beheaded.

These were not the practices of some apocalyptic death cult. They were the Islamic law in the “cosmopolitan” parts of North Africa. The only reason they aren’t the law now is that the French left behind some of their own laws.

Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia that were never truly colonized still behead men and women for “witchcraft and sorcery.” Not in the seventh century or even in the nineteenth century. Last year.

The problem isn’t that ISIS is ‘medieval’. The problem is that Islam is.

What progressives mistake for modern Islam, whether while touring Algeria or on the campus of their university, is really an Islam whose practice has been repressed by the West while its ideology remains untouched. Modern Islam is in a state of contradiction. It’s a schizophrenic religion whose doctrine calls for supremacism but whose capabilities prevent it from exercising the full measure of its doctrines.

Islam is the 90 lb. weakling that wants to be the school bully. It can’t punch you in the face, so it stabs you in the back and then blames someone else. When you punch it back, it plays the victim.

This split between ideas and power forced Islamists to resort to sneakier tactics, from terrorism to mass migration, to fulfill the spirit of their religion. The underlying imperative is to restore a conquering Islam capable of humiliating non-Muslims in Muslim lands and expanding into non-Muslim countries. That is why Saddam and Iran pursued weapons of mass destruction. Why Muslim armies tested themselves against Israel. Why Al Qaeda built a decentralized terrorist network with cells around the world.

Together with the practical agendas of wealth and power was a deeper spiritual significance. Islam required that its leaders wage a war against the infidels. And they had to do so on terms that would allow them to win. Or at least to survive the attempt.

ISIS cuts through the split by advocating an uncompromising supremacism. Its theater of brutality is meant to convince Muslim audiences that they have the ability to directly confront the West. They no longer need to navigate a course between their capabilities and their religion. Under a Caliph, they can build the capabilities to restore the full practice of Islam as it was before the Europeans put a stop to it.

In the bigger picture, ISIS would like to turn the clock back to the seventh century. That’s a vision it shares with any number of Islamist groups and governments. But its most objectionable behavior, such as beheading and burning non-Muslims, taking slaves and demanding Jizya from non-Muslims, only requires turning back the clock to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

To truly understand ISIS, we don’t need to go back to the seventh century. The eighteenth century would be just as good. And once we understand that, we understand all the rest of it too.

Progressives see ISIS as a historical aberration. ISIS sees them the same way. It’s all a question of whose history book we’re using and which side is willing to do anything to win. Islam is a religion of war. Its right side of history is not a matter of faith. The right side of history is the side that wins.

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Revisionist Muslim History of America

Turkish President Erdogan’s claim that Columbus encountered a mosque in Cuba (the explorer actually saw a rock whose shape he compared to the dome of a mosque) and a Saudi Imam claiming that Columbus had sailed to America to attack Muslims are typical of an emerging genre of Muslim revisionist history that lays claim to America based on an imaginary earlier Muslim presence here.

While these examples may be laughable, Muslim historical revisionism has taken root in academia. It can be found in PBS broadcasts and in a recent New York Times piece.

In the New York Times, Peter Manseau asserts that, “There is an inconvenient footnote to the assertion that Islam is anti-American: Muslims arrived here before the founding of the United States — not just a few, but thousands.”

The description of Islam as anti-American has nothing to do with the Muslim date of arrival. Instead it refers to Islam’s theocratic erosion of the line between mosque and state, its theological doctrines of violence against non-Muslims and women, as well as the belief of a succession of killers crying “Allahu Akbar” that they can achieve a paradise full of virgins by killing Americans. The Muslims who had the biggest influence on the United States were nineteen men who boarded planes on September 11.

But Manseau goes on to offer up three examples of Muslims in the early days of the United States.

“In 1528, a Moroccan slave called Estevanico was shipwrecked along with a band of Spanish explorers near the future city of Galveston, Tex. The city of Azemmour, in which he was raised, had been a Muslim stronghold against European invasion until it fell during his youth. While given a Christian name after his enslavement, he eventually escaped his Christian captors and set off on his own through much of the Southwest.”

Manseau neglects to mention that Estevanico or Esteban de Dorantes was African, not Arab. Morocco was a major slave market and Africans in Morocco today are still often taunted as slaves. If Estevanico was ever Muslim, it was because he or his ancestors had been enslaved and converted to Islam.

And Manseau’s history only gets worse.

Estevanico didn’t escape his masters. He set out as a scout for them. He did disobey them by resuming a faith healing routine that began during an earlier journey in which he along with some members of his expedition claimed to be a “Son of the Sun” and cured diseases with the sign of the cross.

It’s hard to think of a less Islamic form of behavior.

During his expedition, Estevanico pretended to be a shaman, gathered followers, including a harem, and demanded turquoise and women from the local Indians in exchange for magical healing. Meanwhile he sent back crosses of different sizes to his Spanish masters to show them the most promising Indian villages. Eventually he reached the Zuni who killed him for, in some accounts, wearing offensive shamanic clothing from other tribes or for demanding women from them.

Zuni accounts claim that he molested their women. A similar report comes from Coronado who said that, "The Indians say that they killed him here because the Indians of Chichiticale said that he was a bad man and not like the Christians who never killed women, and he killed them, and because he assaulted their women, whom the Indians love better than themselves."

Black nationalists tried to make a hero out of Estevanico, but he makes a remarkably poor hero. He was a scam artist exploiting the native population, aiding the Spaniards and abusing women along the way. Some of this makes him a tolerably passing Muslim, but there is no real evidence that he was a Muslim aside from his land of origin. At times he appears to have practiced Christianity and later adopted the persona of an Indian shaman. Manseau tries to put the best face possible on his history but deceives readers in much the same way that his hero deceived the native population.

But Manseau’s next “Muslim” hero is if anything even worse than Estevanico.

“The best known Muslim to pass through the port at New Orleans was Abdul-Rahman Ibrahim ibn Sori, a prince in his homeland whose plight drew wide attention. As one newspaper account noted, he had read the Bible and admired its precepts, but added, ‘His principal objections are that Christians do not follow them,’” Manseau writes.

This description once again leaves out quite a lot.

The so-called Prince Abdul Rahman Ibrahima Sori has been a major figure in Muslim revisionist history. He appeared in a PBS documentary which was targeted to black audiences. Unfortunately for them, Abdul Rahman was actually a racist who boasted that “not a drop of Negro blood runs in his veins. He places the Negro on a scale of being infinitely below the Moor.”

He was notorious for his abuse of slaves. A letter mentions that, “M. Foster actually made him manager of the plantation, had continually to keep an eye upon him and to curb his sanguinary temper to prevent him from exercising cruelty on his fellow servants.”

Abdul Rahman, by his own account, was a Muslim Moor sold into slavery by the Africans he had been attacking. He was a violent racist who despised Africans and abused the slaves under his power.

The parallel with Estevanico’s abuse of the native population is striking.

However much of what we know about Abdul Rahman came from his own mythmaking. It’s quite likely that he was never a prince of anything. Like Estevanico, he may have just been a talented con artist who was good at raising money by telling stories.

And during his grand tour of America, he promised to introduce Christianity to Africa.

As Muslim role models go, Abdul Rahman manages to be even worse than Estevanico. Manseau leaves all these details out because they change the narrative. Neither of his Muslim role models appears to have been particularly Muslim. Both casually dabbled in Christianity when it suited them.

But Manseau goes on. “Among the enslaved Muslims in North Carolina was a religious teacher named Omar ibn Said. Recaptured in 1810 after running away from a cruel master he called a kafir (an infidel), he became known for inscribing the walls of his jail cell with Arabic script. He wrote an account of his life in 1831, describing how in freedom he had loved to read the Quran, but in slavery his owners had converted him to Christianity.”

Manseau fails to mention that “Omar was regularly willing and able to reassure all visiting Christians that he was a true convert as he often wrote in Arabic what he called 'The Lord's Prayer' and the Twenty-Third Psalm.” Or “Prince Moro’s” eager wish that "Mohamedans may receive the gospel." Not to mention Omar’s autobiography in which he wrote that, “When I was a Mohammedan I prayed thus… But now I pray “Our Father”, etc., in the words of our Lord Jesus the Messiah.”

Manseau’s description of Omar’s autobiography is blatantly dishonest. As with Estevanico and Abdul Rahman, he has to leave out basic facts of the lives of these “Muslims” to accommodate his agenda. But Manseau is following in the footsteps of other revisionist historians who insisted that Omar’s copying of material from the Koran in an Arabic he had mostly forgotten proved his commitment to Islam.

The basic fact he has to leave out is that Omar described himself as a devout Christian. His other two “Muslims” consist of a man who promised to bring Christianity to Africa and another who played a shaman when he wasn’t making crosses.

The deceits of Peter Manseau and the New York Times, which never bothers fact checking even the wildest Muslim claims, are in their own way every bit as dishonest as Erdogan’s Cuban mosque. The difference is that they have the protective coloration of academia and journalism. Their dishonesty is more sedate and buried under protective layers of omissions and distortions.

Revisionist Muslim histories of America should be rejected, whether they come from Erdogan or the New York Times, because they are built on lies. And a history built on lies cannot stand.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

An Era of Bad Faith Ends

Generation Xers mourning Stewart’s departure ought to be thanking the man who made the awkward comedian’s long tenure of pulling faces while making snide remarks possible; President Bush.

George W. Bush made Jon Stewart. Even Stewart has admitted that his show came into its own when Bush did. A world in which a President Gore spent eight years sonorously lecturing Americans about his love for the trees is also a world in which Jon Stewart would be out there doing pizza commercials.

It was Bush’s victory that took a flailing cable show hosted by an irritating little standup comedian with more neurotic tics than a flea-bitten Woody Allen and turned him into the voice of liberalism. Stewart’s nervous smirk and his passive aggressive mockery became the zeitgeist of urban Democrats nervously responding to Bush’s popularity and the rise of American patriotism after September 11.

The Democratic Party was out of ideas. The politicians who would become some of Bush’s most fevered critics were still following the president’s cues. A newly serious America was confronting a world war.

Stewart’s disingenuousness, veering from ironic detachment to self-righteous hectoring, undermined real sincerity with fake sincerity. The Daily Show’s audience of hipster yuppies cheered their newfound faith in sincere cynicism while the calculated ironic distance of his comedy kept him safe from critics. Even while he attacked the media’s dishonesty, his own routine was the most dishonest of them all.

His fake news was real news, biased and spun with punch lines. It was fake news that was real and just as fake as the rest of the news. The truth was that the lie was still a lie.

What Stewart offered a party dragged down by a morose Gore and Kerry was the promise of cool. Their former figurehead had started out playing the saxophone on the Arsenio Hall Show only to decay into a bloated red-faced mess. With towers burning and wars rising, Stewart was to be their bridge to a cooler and younger 21st century that an aging Democratic Party no longer seemed able to grapple with.

Jon Stewart didn’t actually have cool, but he could offer it up inversely by way of mockery. Like a school paper’s drama critic, he might not be cool, but by railing against others, he could deny coolness to them.

Stewart wasn’t funny and knew little about politics. Unqualified to be in politics, journalism or even comedy, he straddled the line by casting himself as a critic of the media and politics. In his new role, he just had to be funny by the standards of politics and politically knowledge by the standard of comedians. It was a low bar that he just managed to limbo under. All he had to was to go after the right targets.

Audiences in retro glasses clapped like electroshocked seals at his every grimace and the media declared that his fake news was what real news should be. And worst of all, they meant it.

The media found Stewart refreshing not because he kept them honest, but because he encouraged their worst partisan instincts for dishonesty. The news anchors at their desks wished that they could say the things that he said. And some of them began to say them. Today the line has blurred so much that NBC News was thinking of offering Stewart a gig on Meet the Press.

While Bush may have made Stewart, Jon Stewart then made Obama. Barack Obama was a political version of Jon Stewart; a dishonest entertainer turning politics into a joke and then faking a theatrical sincerity while throwing out every possible distraction to cover up his dishonesty and bad faith.

Stewart provided a counterpoint to Bush’s real sincerity with fake sincerity. It was a joke that Stephen Colbert would polish into a single mindless routine. The flip side of the routine was that flippancy equaled sincerity. If the sincerity of patriotism and the devoutness of faith were a joke, then anyone who was joking was bound to be sincere. Those were the clown shoes to be filled by hope and change.

Obama’s fake self-awareness made him seem authentic in a social media society composed of reflective levels of personality. What Stewart offered Democrats was an evasive viewpoint without accountability. And nothing quite appeals to the cowardly instincts of a political hack like being able to take a political position without being held accountable for it. But it was Obama who truly embraced politics without accountability, transforming every issue into a joke or referencing it back to his own biography.

While he may have come out on the stage with a unique personal story, what kept Obama competitive was his skill at refracting everything through layers of irony and self-awareness. His approach was to borrow Stewart’s own routine without any of its ambiguity. Stewart’s pretense of triangulation became Obama’s obsession with turning his radical left-wing politics into an imaginary middle ground.

Stewart and Obama had come out of a political movement trying to respond to September 11 without having the first idea how to do so. Stewart’s comedy paved the way for minimizing the threat while inflating the absurdity of those trying to fight it. It is an approach that Obama continues to embrace.

Both men have pretended that they aren’t ideologues. They have acted as if the left is a third way, rather than the same old way, selling that dishonest message through style, not substance.

Jon Stewart did not offer an alternative to the media. He was what the media was becoming. The merging of opinion and reporting along with the overlay of cynical humor over every story have become ubiquitous. Stewart didn’t pave the way for a better media. He paved the way for Buzzfeed, Vice, Politico and Vox. He turned the news into a joke with an agenda… which is exactly what it is now.

Obama was an equally fake alternative. He didn’t offer inspiration, but manipulation. His new ideas were the same old ideas packaged around his personality, around new styles and designs fed through social media and media appearances. Unwilling to connect with opponents, reporters and even voters, he then settled for digging in on his grievances and breaking the rules by ruling the country unilaterally.

Generation X cynicism fused with millennial brand awareness to create a political monster who might not be able to lie to the people all the time, but who cynically made the existence of his lies irrelevant.

Stewart’s Daily Show had offered an antidote to the Bush era of patriotism, sincerity and decency. Its antidote was passive aggressive ridicule and political satire as sincerity. After the Bush era ended, Stewart and his fellow comedians had little left to do except take on the job of defending Obama, while occasionally critiquing him. They had become the official court jesters of the Democratic Party.

It’s no wonder that Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart, anticipating eight more years of Hillary, have chosen to move on. The genre has long since outlived its original response to 9/11 sincerity. It now exists only to feed on itself. To act as a comedic Media Matters churning out viral videos slamming opponents for some sin against the left while pretending to be part of mainstream consensus.

Jon Stewart gave us the era of Obama. As that era of bad faith comes to a close, so does his own.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Beat the Media, Win the White House

One of the reasons that Romney lost is that he failed to take on the media. The ultimate lost opportunity came when CNN’s debate moderator Candy Crowley directly inserted herself into the argument between Obama and Romney to declare her favorite right and Romney wrong.

Romney had won the Republican primaries, but had failed to absorb the lesson of his most tenacious opponent. Newt Gingrich did not treat the media as a neutral moderator, but as a debate opponent, challenging its premises and agendas. And so Romney was left unprepared for Crowley’s attack.

On the road to 2016, the latest crop of candidates appears to have learned nothing from Romney’s failure. In response to the media blowing up his vaccine comment, Christie issued a sensible clarification that provided more fuel for the media narrative. And the media narrative is what most people know.

They know that Christie was behind Bridgegate even though the Democrats pushing the story provided zero evidence of it. They know that Congressman Steve Scalise spoke at a Neo-Nazi event even though that never actually happened. But what they know is the story that the media tells them. Not the facts.

The media is using Christie to churn out stories framing the GOP race as a debate over vaccines while painting Republicans as opponents of vaccination. Media attacks on Republicans come in three stages. The first stage reports on an individual Republican’s action or statement. The second stage projects that on Republicans in general as part of a “Culture of X”. The third stage asks whether Republicans will ever be able to break free of the “Culture of X” with “X” being anything from racism to hatred of science.

By now we’re in the third stage. Republican opposition to vaccination has become a media meme.

In response, conservative blogs and outlets have shown that Obama and Hillary Clinton both linked vaccines to autism and that parents who don’t vaccinate tend to be wealthy Democrats.

But the media won’t report that unless the actual candidates stop debating vaccines and start using those facts to challenge its lies and hypocrisy.

A media smear campaign can’t be met with sensible clarifications. They only strengthen the smear. Christie’s clarification that he believes in measles vaccinations has allowed the media to begin spinning him as flip-flopping on vaccines. Any further statements explaining his views will be used to continue reporting on the manufactured story of the “Republican vaccine controversy.”

The only way to break the cycle is for Republicans to stop explaining themselves and to challenge the narrative. The narrative is a lie, but no one will ever know that if the candidates don’t challenge it.

Sensible clarifications might have worked in 1955. They might have even worked in 1985. But they’re completely useless today. No doubt the fact that Obama and Hillary were vaccine skeptics will be acknowledged somewhere near the bottom of a Washington Post fact check of a Hillary commercial that blames her opponent for spreading disease and killing children. Maybe as many as five people will read it.

Today’s media has less respect for the truth than an elevator full of con artists. As bad as it is most of the time, it gets worse during national campaigns when it begins manufacturing scandals and then reporting on them and then demanding that the candidates respond to its narratives as if they were real issues.

And Republicans keep falling for it

The road to the White House is over the crushed and mangled narratives of the media. A Republican candidate who fails to take on the media will fall wrapped head to toe in lies and scandals. He will go on issuing clarifications and sensible statements while the media accuses him of murdering small children.

The media is not impartial. It is not even a forum. The national media is the political opponent of every Republican running for the White House.

It needs to be treated that way.

When CNN’s John King tried to drag Newt Gingrich through the dirt in a primary debate, Gingrich dragged the media through the dirt instead, describing it as “destructive”, “vicious” and “negative”. He turned the tables by putting the media and its motives up on the stage. He refused to treat John King as a journalist who had the right to hold him accountable. Instead he fought to hold King accountable.

And that’s something that any Republican candidate can do.

The public doesn’t like the media. Poll after poll shows that they don’t trust the media. They listen to what the media tells them because Republicans meekly play out their parts in the media’s smear campaigns the way that ISIS hostages do what they’re told even while their heads are being cut off.

When the media attacks, the issue should never be the credibility of a Republican candidate. The issue must always be the credibility of the media. It must be the credibility of the politicians being protected by the press. If Christie and Paul had based all of their replies around the fact that their positions are basically the same as those of Obama and Hillary, the media’s entire story would have collapsed.

The media would have been unable to move forward with the story without quoting the candidates, relegating the whole thing to the backwaters of the left in places like Salon and Slate. Instead the story is everywhere. And the only people who can kill it are the Republican targets of the smear campaign.

Conservative media outlets do their part, but they need Republicans to do theirs. The media buried Romney’s dog story when Republicans tepidly picked on the conservative media’s response that Obama had eaten dog. But when Republicans sit and take it, then they become the victims of the media.

The media counts on Republicans playing defense. When Republicans go on the attack, when they challenge premises and the moral authority of the press, then phony scandals suddenly fizzle out.

Republicans wouldn’t roll over and play dead for their opponents. Why do they do it for the media?

Obama understood that being able to control your message and your brand is the most important element of modern politics. He shut out the media by using a small clique of influential friendly journalists for heavy interviews while doing light chats with everyone from YouTube celebrities to late night talk show hosts. He has his own photographer who distributes photos for the press to use.

When there’s a controversy, the White House leaks an anonymous response. Its spokesmen divert and delay. They make fools of themselves to protect Obama. Their main goal is to deny the press a useable quote and they accomplish their real purpose of making the press briefings a waste of the press’ time.

If Obama distrusts and shuts out the press even though it licks his boots, why do Republicans play ball with it only to get a kick in the teeth?

The media was Obama’s messaging machine. It is becoming Hillary’s spin system. If Republicans passively submit to it, then the media will define them and 2016 will become a rerun of 2012.

2016 won’t just be a race against Hillary, but against the media. The media needs Republicans to tie the noose around their own necks by acknowledging the media’s credibility as investigators and reporters.

When Republicans provide the media with credibility, they lose.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Obama’s Big Fat Greek Budget

In a speech at the Department of Homeland Security, Obama declared that he wants to “replace mindless austerity with smart investments that strengthen America”. Those “smart” investments scattered across a gargantuan $4 trillion budget include a $500 million Green Climate Fund for the Third World and $105 million to help the government build better websites.

Obama is fond of putting the word “smart” in front of stupid ideas to make them seem less stupid.

The $4 trillion budget is actually as stupid as the new left-wing Greek government elected on a platform of not paying its debts. This new government intends to replace the old policy of getting money in exchange for cutting spending with a new policy of not cutting spending and demanding money anyway. So far this new policy has been rejected by every country from Germany to China.

Greece has managed to spend itself into a debt that stands at 175 percent of its GDP. But of course we’re Americans. Our “smart” government with its “common sense reforms” and eagerness to spend a vast fortune to build better websites couldn’t possibly have dug us into a hole that deep.

Our debt-to-GDP ratio is only 101 percent. Under Bush, it stood at 64 percent. By the time the last election rolled around, it was nudging 100 percent.

But that’s no reason for “mindless austerity”. It’s no reason to stop investing in things like spending hundreds of millions of dollars to help Third World countries buy crudely inefficient solar panels from China that will break down even before our economy does. Obama’s idea of “smart” investments that “strengthen America” is to borrow money from China to buy things from China for other countries. That’s not even a smart investment for China which has been reducing its holdings of US Treasury bonds because it’s not all that confident in our “smart” investments.

While Obama announced that he wouldn’t accept a budget that doesn’t raise spending, Greece’s left-wing finance minister also announced that he won’t accept “the self-perpetuating crisis of deflation and unsustainable debt”

. “You have to be prepared to blow the whole thing up, simply by being intransigent if you are not taken seriously,” he declared.

That’s also Obama’s strategy. Intransigence and blowing up the economy is all he brings to the table. Greece’s finance minister plans to go after multinationals and the rich to close the gap. Considering how fast the wealthy and corporations fled France when its Socialist government tried that, you can only imagine what will take place in Greece. But the Greek leftist strategy is also Obama’s strategy. Both act as if the existence of a massive debt is something that they can ignore if they feel like it. Debt, like war, will be over if you want it to be. You can wave it away with imaginary economics.

Obama promises that his illegal alien amnesty and ObamaCare boondoggles will save us so much money that a $4 trillion budget will be no challenge. Every one of his disastrous proposals can be paid for with their own promises. Money is being spent using his own speeches as the IOU.

The Greek left is doubling down on unions, attacking privatization and hiring more government workers. Its priorities are the same ones as those of Obama, Jerry Brown or Bill de Blasio. The attacks on austerity use homeless families as human shields, but they are really about protecting the institutions of the left.

Austerity simply means living within a budget. The Keynesian budgetophobes, who portray budgetary restraint as the plot of some Dickensian villain, insist on more “smart” investments in big government. And when you’ve made enough “smart” investments that your bonds are junk and the banks won’t lend you any more money at favorable terms, then it’s time to denounce that austerity.

The left makes crazy promises that it can’t keep, spends money it doesn’t have and then waits until a halfway responsible government gets into office so that it can denounce its austerity cutbacks. It goes deep into debt to international banks and then rants and raves against them. And then it asks them to lend it more money. It denounces the European Union, but suckles greedily at its financial lifelines.

Obama denounces a “mindless austerity” that his own mindless spending and refusal to compromise made necessary. His $4 trillion budget consists of phantom taxes that will never be collected, imaginary savings that will never materialize and entirely real amounts of money being spent to create a huge pile of debt and massive deficits down the road.

The closest thing Greece has to a plan is to turn to Russia in the hopes that either Vladimir will be generous or the EU will panic at a breach in the sanctions on Russia and cut Greece’s debt some more. That’s not economic reform; it’s political terrorism aimed at extracting money, not for a recovery, but to delay the reckoning a little longer before dumping the problem into the lap of another government.

Obama is all too familiar with that brand of political terrorism. When S&P downgraded Treasury debt, former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner warned that the credit rating firm would have its actions “looked at very carefully.” A $5 billion lawsuit followed. Whether it’s the American left or the Greek left, they both still believe in solving their mathematical problems at the point of a gun. Obama needs Wall Street the same way that the Greek left needs the European Union. It’s a corrupt and dysfunctional relationship in which after all the noise dies down, the real losers are the taxpayers.

Greece’s tax revenues are already falling. Its plan to squeeze more money will only accelerate the process. Obama’s plans to loot revenues outside the country are even more willfully delusional. That leaves what’s left of the middle class as the biggest target. Google isn’t going to let Obama pick its pockets. But the middle class has fewer options. Obama’s plan to tax 527 college fund savings has been aborted, but it’s only the first shot across the bow of the upper middle class and then the middle class.

When Obama talks about “middle class economics”, what he really means is an economics built on taxing the middle class. His budget, with its expansion of the earned income credit and free community college, doesn’t offer much to the middle class, but it takes a lot. And what it takes most of all is their future.

Debt is about more than just money. It’s about the end of expectations and the death of hope.

Polls of Greek adults showed them to be the biggest pessimists globally, but Americans are catching up. Three quarters of Americans are not confident that their children will live better than they will. The first American generation to see a decline in living standards has been born under a cloud of debt, surrounded by rising prices and falling incomes. It sees a government that spends trillions in their name which they will be expected to somehow repay with the jobs that don’t exist anymore.

The generations of tomorrow will be the ones left holding the bill for Obama’s debt. His $4 trillion budget is paid with the coin of their lives and dreams. His debt is their future.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

The Ghosts of Auschwitz in the Middle East

In exile in Argentina, the world’s most wanted man was writing a defense of the indefensible.

He rejected “so-called Western culture” whose bible “expressly established that everything sacred came from the Jews.” Instead he looked to the “large circle of friends, many millions of people” whose good opinion of his crimes he wanted.

These millions of people were not in Germany. They weren’t even in Argentina.

His fellow Nazis had abandoned him after deciding that the murder of millions of Jews was indefensible and had to be denied instead of defended. But he did not want to be denied. He wanted to be admired.

“You 360 million Mohammedans to whom I have had a strong inner connection since the days of my association with your Grand Mufti of Jerusalem,” Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the Holocaust wrote. “You, who have a greater truth in the surahs of your Koran, I call upon you to pass judgment on me.”

Eichmann knew he could expect a good verdict from a religion whose prophet had ordered the ethnic cleansing of Jews and which believes the end will “not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them. When a Jew hides behind a rock or a tree, it will say, ‘O Muslim, O servant of Allah! There is a Jew behind me, come and kill him!’”

There was Eichmann’s Hadith Holocaust with even the rocks and trees finding Jews for the Islamic SS.

A more literal judgment came Eichmann’s way five years later in Jerusalem when Israeli agents used extraordinary rendition to seize him and bring him to trial. But the Muslim world had issued its own verdict long ago when the Mufti of Jerusalem had come to Europe urging the extermination of the Jews.

“This is your best opportunity to get rid of this dirty race… Kill the Jews,” the Mufti had ranted to fellow Muslims.

On the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the ghosts of Eichmann and the Mufti of Jerusalem, who had visited its gas chambers while the Holocaust was underway, still linger there.

A Holocaust survivor in Auschwitz recalled being told that the Mufti’s arrival was a working visit.

“When we have won the war he will return to Palestine to build gas chambers and kill the Jews who are living over there,” an SS officer told him.

Eichmann’s Nazis lost, but the Mufti’s Islamists continue their genocidal agenda. Mein Kampf may be banned in Germany, but it’s a bestseller in the Muslim world.

The edition is often the translation of Louis Heiden aka Luis al-Haj, a Nazi convert to Islam whose introduction proclaims, “National Socialism did not die with the death of its herald. Rather, its seeds multiplied under each star.” The reference was meant literarily. The old Egyptian flag had carried a crescent and three stars on a green field. The new flag of the Arab Republic had two green stars.

Haj worked under Johann von Leers aka Omar Amin, another Muslim convert in the Nazi Ministry of Propaganda, who praised the persecution of the Jews under Islam as “an eternal service to the world”.

An earlier edition had been published by the brother of future dictator, Gamal Abdel Nasser.

In two years in Egypt, Mein Kampf had sold 911,000 copies, an extraordinary accomplishment in a country with a working age population of 13 million suggesting that as many as one in fourteen adults might have bought a copy. By American equivalent bestseller standards it had outsold the Da Vinci Code.

During those same years the vast majority of Egyptian Jews had been ethnically cleansed by Nasser.

At the beginning of the decade, Muslim Brotherhood godfather Sayyid Qutb had written his own Mein Kampf titled, “Our Struggle against the Jews” in which he claimed that Allah had sent Hitler. The claim has more recently been repeated by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Yusuf al-Qaradawi on Al Jazeera in ’09.

“The last punishment was carried out by Hitler… Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers,” he said. Today everyone agrees that the Nazis were evil. By the fifties, even Eichmann’s fellow Nazis were looking to jettison the Holocaust and improve their brand. But the Nazis back then were often treated the way that Muslims are today.

Media coverage emphasized distinctions between the radical and moderate Nazis. (Hitler was, of course, a moderate.) Nazi grievances were treated as legitimate. Their crimes were lied about and covered up.

In 1933, the Associated Press’ wire report claimed that the persecution of Jews had already ended. Another wire story headlined “Jew Persecution Over Says Envoy” cited Secretary of State Hull’s relief that the Hitler regime was doing its best to curb further persecution of the Jews.

Hull would later apologize when the Republican Mayor of New York City referred to the Fuhrer as a “man without honor”. Mayor LaGuardia might have been suffering from Fuhrerphobia.

Jewish protests were treated as shrill and baseless alarmism.

“U.S. Investigation Shows No Cause for Protest,” the AP headlined its coverage.

“Notwithstanding assurances given by German government leaders and by Hull that the Nazi excesses against the Jewish race had ceased in Germany, Jewish leaders went ahead with plans for mass protest meetings,” another wire story read. “All requests that these meetings be canceled fell on deaf ears.”

A week before the story, the first official Nazi concentration camp of Dachau had opened.

The media coverage should sound familiar. It’s how Iran’s nuclear buildup is being covered. It’s how Muslim violence against Jews is covered. It’s discussed reluctantly and immediately dismissed. Jews are written off as pests who refuse to listen when Kerry, like Hull, tells them there’s nothing to worry about.

That is how the Holocaust really happened.

Auschwitz just shows us the final stage. It doesn’t show us the sympathy for the Nazis, the willingness of some on the left to see them as allies in overturning the existing system and the anger at the selfishness of the Jews in putting their own desire not to be killed ahead of world peace.

Auschwitz requires more context than just Hitler. It requires that we understand why so many countries and so many world leaders enabled him. And it is not a difficult thing to understand. All we need to do is look at the response to Muslim attempts to kill Jews before and after the Holocaust.

It was easier to appease the Nazis. It is easier to appease the Muslim world. The Jews were not seen as a canary in the coalmine; instead, like the Czechs and then the Poles and then everyone else, they were an obstacle to making a deal with the devil. Today it’s the Nigerian Christians, the Burmese Buddhists and a long list of others around the world including the Jews of Israel who stand in the way of peace.

The Holocaust and the entire war happened because everyone wanted peace with Nazi Germany and refused to accept that Nazism was innately aggressive.

Eichmann envisioned Nazis and Muslims as victims.

“Who are the aggressors here? Who are the war criminals? The victims are Egyptians, Arabs, Mohammedans. Amon and Allah,” Eichmann wrote of the 1956 war.

On the Egyptian side was a long list of Nazis. They, like Eichmann, saw Islam as carrying on their agenda, not only toward the Jews, but toward the West.

The Nazis were not merely anti-Semites. They wanted to tear down civilization and replace it with their own flavor of barbarism.

At war, they had a great deal in common with ISIS, brutally wiping out entire populations, resettling areas and enslaving those they did not kill. Having no contemporary barbarians in Europe to model themselves on, they willingly modeled themselves on the armies of Islam.

The ghosts of Auschwitz are still haunting Sudan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Gaza, Iraq, Iran and a hundred other places. The victims are Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Yazidis and numberless others. The Nazis began with the Jews. The Muslim saying is, “First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people.”

Auschwitz is what happens when we fail to take threats like that seriously because we want peace at any price. The price of peace was Auschwitz, it was millions dead, countries carved to pieces, peoples enslaved for years and others for generations. The price of peace was ignorance, apathy and then war.

Eichmann found support for Auschwitz in the “surahs of your Koran.” So did the Jihadis who murdered Jews in Paris. If we forget that, then we forget the real lesson of Auschwitz.