December 2008 Archives

LOOKING AHEAD: REPUBLICAN CHALLENGES

The Wall Street Journal reported on a new poll on what voters think of Republicans. Steve Moore for the WSJ reports with our italicized comments interspersed:

The first comprehensive poll on why voters voted the way they did in November has just been released by the communications firm Target Point Consulting. I received a full briefing from the pollster Alex Lundry on what these 1,000 voters think of Republicans. The short answer is: not much.

The GOP is "in great disfavor with the electorate right now. Republicans are blamed for fiscal mismanagement, overspending, and the bad economy," says Mr. Lundry.

Fiscal mismanagement when in office. Absolutely. Overspending. Absolutely. The bad economy. The burden of the party with executive power, the prior "good" economic times forgotten -- and the media never even acknowledged those good times when they were happening. As for the worldwide financial crisis we are experiencing, this was triggered by Democrats and Democratic policies on housing that Republicans unsuccessfully tried to change, but the media didn't report it that way and the fast-talking Democrats were quicker and better at pointing the finger than the Republicans -- a key Republican failing.

"Democrats are seen as a center-right party, while Republicans are seen as dominated by the right." That's a big problem because even though 84% of voters say they are center or right on the ideological spectrum, the 48% in the middle, i.e., independents, are tilting heavily toward Democrats.

This view is so hilariously wrong but nonetheless extremely disturbing. That voters think Democrats are "center-right" seems impossible, considering they nominated the most far-left senator in the party who advocates a "spread the wealth around" policy is astounding and fast-talking liberals like Barney Frank are praising expanded welfare. It shows the skill of Democratic PR aided by the left wing mainstream media. For example, the myth that man is responsible for climate change, a concept embraced by the Democratic Party, and will require actions that will thrust millions into poverty, is deemed reasonable and mainstream by the media. The Republican position that growth of the world economy is paramount and man's impact on climate is either minimal or altogether unproven is deemed by the media as extreme far-right thinking. That such false impressions have developed is proof of Republican ineptness in the age of instant media.

The fairly narrow victory by Barack Obama in the popular vote disguises an "enthusiasm gap" among Democratic and Republican voters. Some 65% of Obama voters "strongly supported" him, whereas only 33% of John McCain voters "strongly supported" the Arizona Republican. This helps explain the river of money for Mr. Obama and the massive grassroots advantage for the Democrats.

This isn't such a big problem for the long run. Voters "wanted" the first black president to show they weren't racist and Obama fanned that feeling skillfully if despicably by unfounded but effective charges of racism against Clinton and McCain. Also, McCain wasn't much of a conservative and left too many in the base sitting on their hands.

Issue by issue, when the issues are clearly understood, the Republican positions are held by a substantial majority. Telling the story well with credible spokesmen is what's needed. The handicap of the left-wing media -- and what Sam Huntington called the "de-nationalized elites" in academia and elsewhere -- is a fact that has to be addressed in all communication plans. For example, when Democrats and the elites belittle traditional American ethics and morality, patriotism and military service, and Republicans allow them to get away with it, they are missing huge opportunities. Republicans have not been forceful enough in standing up for positions that a majority of Americans agree with, fearing the backlash from the leftwing media. For example, the left wing attacks aggressively on the extreme position on gay marriage, crying "bigotry" and "denial of civil rights," and conservative spokesmen cringe instead of issuing forceful rejoinders, even though the majority of people vote for the traditional concept of marriage. But if conservaties allow the one-sided debate to continue as it is, conservative positions will be eroded, to the vast injury of American society. "Anything goes" is not an American value.

But the biggest problem revealed by the poll for Republicans is that "voters no longer believe that the party cares about the middle class in a meaningful or credible way," Mr. Lundry explains. "Democrats cleverly frame every issue as for the middle class."

Most everybody thinks they belong to the middle class. Democrats though are aiming to solidify their voting support among Americans who will be delighted with handouts from the government. The more they can make people dependent on government, the larger their support base. This is the age-old struggle between Marxist equality of outcome vs. equality of opportunity that this nation was built on. Rob Peter to pay Paul. The nation is very close to having more Pauls than Peters, since so many now pay no income tax. Consequently, they have no regard for Peter, who is the middle class person footing the government bills. This is a huge problem and Obama with his pledge to "spread the wealth" will make it worse. He would transform our society into a European-style one, which is already staggering under its unsustainable socialist burdens.

What issues have Republicans hurt themselves most on? Three that jump out are immigration, where Republicans are seen as too strident; the War in Iraq, where voters are eager for closure; and bailouts, where voters have become angry and resentful at throwing money at failing giant corporations. Furthermore, as economic anxieties have escalated, independent voters are now more favorably inclined toward protectionist trade policies. Free marketeers need to make a better case for the positive benefits of international trade or more restrictions are certainly on the way.

The statements here are questionable. Overwhelmingly, Americans disapproved of all the proposed immigration plans, including McCain's and the President's. No sensible conservative proposal entered the debate; conservatives only operated at the margins or, with Tom Tancredo, at the extreme. The borders must be made secure, first and foremost. Any path to citizenship must include English and thorough Americanization and assimilation, so that the kinds of separatism and hostility shown by La Raza and the pro-Mexico rallies in Los Angeles would be disqualifying for citizenship and permanent residency. Legal immigration should be based on what America needs by way of skills rather than on family relations.

As for the economic problems and the bailouts, again it is Republican failure to characterize the situation accurately that allowed the Democrats and the media to blame the Republicans, especially the Bush Administration. Democrats instantly blamed Bush and Wall Street, when it was Democrats like Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and, yes, Barack Obama, who brought on the subprime loan failure fiasco that triggered the world financial panic. To this day how many average voters knew of Bush and Senate Republican efforts to reverse Clinton subprime loan policies and rein in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that were blocked by Democrats led by Frank and Dodd and supported by Senator Obama? As for pinning Wall Street on the Republicans, that's a joke: Obama raised several times more money from Wall Street than McCain did. Republicans are for small business and entrepreneurship, not "Wall Street greed," greed that feeds Democratic coffers very generously. President Bush has often been faulted for not responding forcefully to criticism, fair and unfair, and in that respect he did serve the country and conservatism well. Unfortunately, Congress at this time doesn't have impressive Republican spokesmen to make the case, either.

Democrats and the leftwing media did a disservice to the country by politicizing the Iraq war. However, it will fade as any kind of positive issue for the Democrats and should emerge as a success that Republicans can take credit for - a tyrant and his threat to his neighbors and America removed, a democratic country functioning in the Middle East assisting in the war against violent Islam and, soon, substantially more oil in the world supply. A more aggressive response by the White House to the avalanche of Democratic criticism would have helped.

The good news is that voters are very fearful that Democrats will go too far with their liberal agenda. When voters are asked what they "like least about the Democrats," the most common answers volunteered were: "taxes going up," "big government," "liberal," "raise spending," and even "socialism." These broad economic and fiscal principles appear to present the GOP with its biggest opening.

Again, these Democratic positions will not become the albatrosses they should be unless Republicans are forceful and aggressive. They must find their voices and their spokesmen. Also, the damage that the global warning myth and the economically disastrous Democratic plans to counter it will do to the average citizen must be aggressivley exposed and discredited. This is a major issue to get on the side of the middle class against the environmental elites who own the Democratic Party.

The poll also reveals that Republicans can win back voters by opposing Democrats on several specific policies coming down the pike in 2009: card-check labor union elections, bailouts for banks and auto makers, welfare expansions and affirmative action.

Denying workers the vote in union elections is outrageous. Bailing out the auto unions, which is what will happen, is outrageous. Explaining why getting a hand up instead of a handout is better for the individual, the family and America is a challenge but must be done. As for affirmative action, the voters have just elected the first affirmative action president, so, who knows how big an issue that will be.

The key for the months ahead is for Republicans to posture themselves, advises Mr. Lundry, "not as obstructionists, but as a check on the Obama agenda."

Too many are being lulled by Obama's excellent appointment for defense and economics into thinking he will go mainstream. He will show his extremist side very soon: His pro-abortion agenda is breathtaking in its scope. He intends to expand abortion far beyond Roe v. Wade. Even some of his backers are arguing that infanticide is just an extension of abortion. His "spread the wealth" plan has the potential to expand the handout class into a majority for the Democratic Party. There are many, including minorities, particularly Hispanics, who may rebel against his cultural policies who can be captured for the conservative cause. Obama says he wants to transform America and what he is proposing, based on his Marxist socialist background and associations and his support for abortion without limits, is an ugly America.

Boston attorney par excellence Jeff Robbins wrote an op-ed piece for the Boston Globe yesterday pointing out how Hamas was causing as much if not more anguish and pain to the Palestinian population as to the Jews of Israel. As he notes in his article, Hamas is perfectly content to have Palestinians become victims in its war of destruction against Israel because it gives them photo-ops that the press in the West will use to mischaracterize what is happening.

How ironic that as Jeff Robbins is making that point on the op-ed page, the Globe in a supersize picture on the front page is doing exactly that favor for Hamas.

HamasPR500.jpg

A relative carried the body of one of five young sisters who authorities said died in an air strike at Gaza's Jabalya refugee camp. (Reuters Photo / Mohammed Salem)

That's our Globe, as smart and accurate as its parent the New York Times.


The suffering that Hamas causes
By Jeff Robbins | December 30, 2008

LAST MONTH'S commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provided the occasion to ask difficult questions about societies whose political leadership serially violates them. What, for instance, is to be done about places like Darfur or Zimbabwe, or any one of a multitude of places governed by leaders whose consciences appear untouched by the suffering they are causing? To the list of grotesque human rights violators must be added Hamas, whose disdain for the suffering its policies cause the Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip is exceeded only by its open, and even proud, infliction of atrocities on Israeli civilians.

This year alone, Hamas, which expressly calls for the obliteration of Israel, has launched approximately 3,000 rockets and mortar bombs into Israeli civilian centers, always for the purpose of killing and maiming Israelis if possible, and terrifying those who are not actually hit. In the last week or so, Hamas has fired some 200 rockets and bombs into Israeli communities.

Under these circumstances - circumstances which would have continued without end had the Israelis failed to act - it seems clear that the Israeli military response was not merely a necessary one. It was, regrettably, the only one left.

Israeli author Amos Oz, whose call for peace with the Palestinians is shared by a majority of Israelis, succinctly described the brutalization of Israeli civilians in terms that cannot fairly be disputed. In a recent piece entitled "Israel Must Defend Its Citizens," the longtime advocate for reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis wrote: "The systematic bombing of the citizens in Israel's towns and cities is a war crime and a crime against humanity."

Oz is correct. But it isn't only Israelis whose fundamental human rights Hamas is violating. It is those of the Palestinian population about whose welfare Hamas professes to care.

In direct contravention of international law, Hamas uses Palestinian civilians as human shields, utilizing homes, schools and community centers as launching pads, content in the knowledge that if innocent Palestinian civilians are caught in the cross-fire, it will be Israel that is criticized. This amounts to a sort of Daily Double of human rights violations: the use of innocent Palestinians as human shields for the infliction of violence upon innocent Israelis.

It is Hamas that perfected the use of the suicide bomb, by which young Palestinians were induced to kill themselves so that Israelis could also be killed. It is somehow apt that Hamas should be forever associated with the suicide bomb, for in a larger sense Hamas has proved to be an instrument of the demise of Palestinians in Gaza.

Hamas's persistent call for the annihilation of Israel through jihad, its unequivocal rejection of any peace with Israel under any circumstances, its seizure of Gaza through a coup d'etat, its repression of women and freedom of expression, and its embrace of Iran have all disgusted the international community, which will have little to do with it. Hamas has likewise repelled numerous Arab governments, which might otherwise have been expected to dip into their ample reserves of petrodollars to provide much-needed aid and foreign investment to Gaza, but which have steered clear of it.

Thus Hamas leads the Gazan population on a kamikaze course. The suffering of Gazans cannot conceivably be a genuine concern of the leadership, given the perpetuation of that suffering for which Hamas is responsible. And the suffering of Israelis is its avowed goal.

Whether it was South Africa or Sudan, the international community has understood that the way to deal with truly egregious human rights violators is not to placate them, but to speak the truth about them, and to them. If the truth is spoken plainly enough, and forcefully enough, to a Hamas leadership whose cruelty and callousness have reached alarming levels, it may be that the Palestinians and Israelis alike may be spared further suffering of the kind to which they have been relegated in the past.

Jeff Robbins, an attorney, was a US delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission during the Clinton administration.


Professor Sam Huntington of Harvard has died at 81 on Martha's Vineyard.

He was a brilliant observer of developing trends and was the first to identify the 21st Century's great challenge: the spread of Islam. He coined the phrase "the bloody borders of Islam." Wherever he looked, where Muslim lands butted up against other lands, there was violence and conflict. Now, with the enormous flood of Muslim immigrants into Europe, the bloody borders are around Muslim self-ghettoized enclaves. His original essay on "The Clash of Civilizations?" appeared in the magazine Foreign Affairs in 1993 and was expanded to book-length in 1996. HIs basic point was that conflicts of the future would be principally along cultural and religious lines, with Islam looming as the principal cause of such conflict.

In 2004 Huntington addressed an urgent developing problem for Americans in "Who Are We?" The historical strength of American, he maintained, was indeed the flow of immigrants from all over the world who adopted the American Creed -- belief in liberty, democracy and individual rights --- but a critical component too many overlooked was their immersion into American culture: becoming a citizen, a loyal American and absorbing the Anglo-Protestant culture of the Founders. According to John Fonte, "This culture includes the English language; British traditions of law, rights, and limited government; the values of dissenting Protestantism (especially its moralism and anti-hierarchical spirit, which made it different from European Protestantism); the work ethic, economic opportunity, individualism, and Christianity."

What concerned Huntington, and why he wrote the book, was "since the 1960s, powerful forces among American elites have launched a sustained effort — one that is, “quite possibly, without precedent in human history” — to “deconstruct” American national identity." These forces emphasized the origins and cultures of the immigrants, not their assimilation of American values, and also embraced the transnational -- being citizens of the world -- and denigrated loyalty to and affection for the American nation, in short, patriotism, the belief that America is an exceptional nation. (This "deconstructionist elitest" attitude is remarkably shown by President-Elect Obama -- no flag lapel pin, no saluting the flag or covering his heart during the playing of the national anthem and his "citizen of the world" speech in Berlin, to say nothing about his taking in stride Rev. Jeremiah Wright's cries of "God Damn America.")

The deconstruction efforts of what Huntington terms the "denationalized elites" to turn America into something ordinary crops up in such things as ethnic, racial and group preferences, multiculturalism, bilingualism and opposition to English as the common language. These strike at a core principle of the American Creed: the concept of equal rights for individuals regardless of race. Huntington found disturbing trends of non-assimilation among Muslim and Mexican immigrants that showed that the efforts of mulitculturalist transnational elites to deconstruct American identity were having an effect.

Any renewed effort to regularize the immigration situation, particularly with regard to the 10-12 million illegals already in this country, must include an emphasis on Americanization. Polls show an overwhelming majority of Americans want new immigrants to become patriotic Americans just like them. Deconstructionist elites like Alan Wolfe of Boston College, who fervently support transnational world citizenry and multiculturalism rather than Americanism, should be beaten back. Although a lifelong Democrat, Huntington was loathed by the elite multiculturalists who inhabit academica today for his views on Islam and what it is to be an American.

Huntington's perceptiveness on Islam and American identity provides a lesson for today.

Multiculturism, as promoted by Professor Wolfe and his fellow transnationals is weakening the American fabric and allowing alien cultures, such as Islam, to grow in America, when all Muslim immigrants, like all immigrans before them, should aspire to be Americans first. Islamic supremacism, the goal being world rule, can be advanced by violence or separatism and gradual infiltration. Multiculturalism allows Islam to advance. During the major immigration periods of the past, Americanization programs for immigrants were common. Whatever academics like Alan Wolfe might say, such programs should be a part of any immigration or amnesty law. The nation needs immigrants who are proud to be Americans.

May Sam Huntington, patriot, rest in peace.

Massachusetts sends an all-Democratic team to Congress and they are powerful. Some even revel in their power. As in 2008.

For example, Cape Cod's own Congressman Willam Delahunt took pleasure in outing a government security official so al-Qaeda could get a good look at him. We can be sure his family didn't enjoy the Congressman's joke. He earned a place in our Hall of Shame.

Then there is the powerful and shameless rolled into one. Congressman Barney Frank did more than any other U.S. public official in bringing about the worldwide financial crisis. He was among those who pressed the Clinton Administration to loosen up mortgage lending standards so that mortgage lenders would be required to make loans to uncreditworthy borrowers. Then, to give nervous banks and other mortgage lenders somewhere to offload those risky loans, he (along with Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut) badgered the Democrats running Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the latter run by another Massachusetts boy) to buy those risky loans, package them up and sell them around the world as securities backed by the U.S. government. A concerned Bush Administration and Senate Republicans tried to bring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under control, but Barney Frank was there, 2003-2006, blocking those efforts, saying everything was fine and no changes were neeeded. When the subprime mortgage defaults started and exploded into an unraveling of the world financial system, there was Barney Frank blaming Wall Street. Shameless.

Chicago Democrats are also powerful, but their speciality is racial politics, payoffs and corruption. The Chicago Democratic machine put its candidate for president forward, hid his problematic past with a fictionalized biography, counted (correctly) on reverse racism to elect him and raised hundreds of millions of dollars illegally online to propel him into the White House. All of those unsavory buddies, Wright, Pfleger, Rezko, Ayers, Dohrn, Khalidi, Farrakhan, were shoved offstage with the media's acquiesence. Then the Mayor Daley spinmaster and Obama campaign orchestrator David Axelrod and Chicago Congressman and Obama's choice for White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel thought Democratic governor Blagojevich should name an Obama pick to Obama's Senate seat, all of which has now blown up into the "Senate Seat for Sale" scandal caught on tape by federal agents. The Chicago Three will now run the country from the White House, no doubt drawing on all the expertise accumulated by the Chicago Democratic machine over decades.

The biggest story of 2008 really was the turnaround in Iraq, which, as soon as it became obvious it was to be a success, disappeared from media top news. Replacing a terrrorist-supporting tyrant in the Middle East with a democratically-elected government that is an ally in the war against violent Islam is a tremendous accomplishment for which President Bush and General Petraeus will not get credit from the Democrats who opposed and ridiculed them. Or from their collaborating media.

Victor Davis Hanson reviews the year (but without the Massachusetts side notes) and calls it "A Year Like None Other." He sees three decades rolled into 2008, the Roaring 20s, the "bleak" 1930s and the Sixties. See if you agree.

The internal struggle in Israel between the appeasement left and its media echo chamber and the patriots on the right dedicated to a free and safe Israel is coming to a head on Election Day February 10th. The incumbent government was more than justified in sending the Israel Defense Forces into war agains Hamas in Gaza to protect Israeli citizens from mortar, rocket and missile attacks. Howver, if the government were really intent on eliminating Hamas as a force, that is, defeating it, it would have done so many months ago. Instead, it is just softening Hamas up so it can resume negotiations to give something away for some temporary period of calm.

In fact, the timing of the attack just six weeks before the election appears to be a cynical attempt by the appeasement government to convince the electorate it can run the country capably and successfully bargain with Hamas for its safety.

Polls show the public substantially opposed to government plans to give away the Golan, most if not all of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and strongly in favor of a strong response to Hamas and Fatah aggression in Gaza and the West Bank. The Israeli public has no confidence that there will ever be peace with terrorists who get their own state in a "two-state solution." It is this public sentiment that the government is trying to overcome with the timing of its IDF attack on Hamas security centers. Through the diplomatic grapevine it appears that Egypt and Saudi Arabia would be delighted if the IDF were to convincingly defeat Iranian-backed Hamas. Would that the present Israeli Livni-Olmert-Barak government were committed to victory as well.

Caroline Glick movingly describes the human side of the struggle for Israel's soul that is fast approaching a decision point. Which will prevail, defeatism and appeasement or those who see a shining future for Israel built on strength and a strong defense?


Our World: Patriots and anti-patriots

Dec. 29, 2008
Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST

Two years ago, the North was a war zone. Fields and forests, homes and hospitals were set ablaze by Hizbullah missiles. But on Sunday afternoon, as a tireless patriot was laid to rest in the Jezreel Valley, the ground was not burning with missile fire, it was exploding with fecundity. It filled the air with the aroma of its promise of spring harvests.

A multitude of mourners from all over the country crowded into Moshav Moledet's small cemetery to pay their final respects to 53-year-old Tzafrir Ronen, who died of a heart attack on Friday night. The man they mourned had dedicated his life to defending the country. In recent years, Tzafrir spent nearly every waking moment fighting for its soul. He sought to educate his fellow Israelis about the threats facing the country generally, and specifically about the existential danger to its viability presented by the Left's defeatist and post-Zionist narrative.

For this son of the Jezreel Valley, who grew up with the land, that narrative - which argues that Israel has neither the ability nor the right to defeat its enemies and to settle its land - was the single greatest threat to the long-term well-being of the country. Over the years, as Tzafrir's frustration at the direction the country was taking grew, his message became angrier and more urgent. As each of his successive warnings - about the fraudulent Oslo peace process, the withdrawal from southern Lebanon, the criminalization of Jewish building in Judea and Samaria, the refusal to enforce laws in the Israeli Arab sector, the expulsion of the Jews from Gaza and northern Samaria and the establishment of the Hamas terror state in Gaza - were ignored by successive governments, by the media and, inevitably, by voters, Tzafrir, like so many others in his position felt he was shouting into the wind.

MARGINALIZING AND silencing voices like Tzafrir's is one of the Israeli Left's greatest achievements. By consistently ignoring or demonizing voices like Tzafrir's - who have been correct about every major strategic issue facing the country - while steadfastly legitimizing and lionizing men and women like Amos Oz, Shulamit Aloni, Yossi Beilin and Haim Ramon - who not only have been wrong about every major issue in the past generation, but have also often taken leading roles in our enemies' propaganda campaigns - the Left has managed to remove our most vibrant thinkers and bravest builders and fighters from the national debate.

But the hundreds who crowded into the cemetery on Sunday are proof that the Left's success has been far from complete. The mourners at his funeral included Israelis from all walks of life -- religious, secular, farmers, city dwellers, Jews, non-Jews, new olim and sabras. The fact that people from such diverse backgrounds and traditions have found the way to work with one another shows that in spite of the demonization of the Right, people are still interested in defending and building the country. They are still are drawn to voices in the wilderness, like Tzafrir's, which say that we must fight, and win, and that we deserve to win and should feel privileged to fight for what is right.

On the face of it, Tzafrir, his colleagues and friends could feel vindicated by the Olmert-Livni-Barak government's decision to launch Operation Cast Lead against Hamas's regime in Gaza. Since Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni first began advocating the surrender of Gaza in late 2003, Tzafrir and his colleagues were at the forefront of the protest movement against the giveaway. Not only did they argue that the forcible expulsion and destruction of communities in Gaza was a moral outrage, they warned that a withdrawal would transform Gaza into the jihadist hub it has become.

AND OF course, they were right. Far from bringing peace and stability, as they warned the likes of Olmert and Livni, withdrawal from Gaza started the countdown to the war we are now fighting. And as they warned would happen, withdrawal from Gaza allowed Hamas to become an Iranian proxy and build the Iranian-supplied army that now assaults the South with missiles and rockets.

Moreover, the international outcry which has greeted the IDF operation, and the tepid US support it has enjoyed, shows clearly that by "ending the occupation" of Gaza, (which actually ended with the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994), Israel weakened rather than strengthened its international supporters. Today Israel is being condemned more harshly than it was in 2004 when the IDF nearly destroyed Hamas in Gaza by decapitating its leadership.

On the face of it, Tzafrir and his colleagues could pat themselves on the backs and say that by waging Operation Cast Lead, Livni and Olmert and the architect of unilateral surrenders of land to terrorists himself - Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who handed South Lebanon to Hizbullah in 2000 - have finally seen the light. They understand that terrorists have to be defeated and that the country is better off controlling hostile territories than allowing its enemies to control them.

BUT THIS is not the case. Olmert, Livni and Barak have made clear that they haven't changed their defeatist and post-Zionist view of Israel's prospects at all. Their current operation in Gaza is not aimed at defeating Hamas. They have uttered no call for victory. To the contrary, as Olmert made clear in his speech on Saturday evening, the goal of the current campaign is simply to "change the situation" in the South. The question is what "change" they have in mind.

For her part, Livni has called for installing the Fatah terror group in Gaza instead of Hamas. But Fatah has been rejected not only by Gazans, but by the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria as well. Bringing Fatah into Gaza would do nothing to stabilize the situation. It would simply be an invitation for Fatah to conduct war against Israel and seek an accommodation with Hamas and Iran.

Barak has claimed that we can no more negotiate a settlement with Hamas than the US can negotiate a settlement with al-Qaida. And this is true in principle. Just as al-Qaida will never live at peace with America, so Hamas will never accept peaceful coexistence with Israel. But Barak has never been one to abide by principles.

He didn't adhere to that principle six months ago when he convinced Livni and Olmert to accept a cease-fire that enabled Hamas to build its army and its missile arsenal without fear of IDF attack. And Barak did not adhere to this principle when as late as last Tuesday he was calling for a renewal of the failed, one-sided cease-fire.

THE FACT of the matter is that the change that the Olmert-Livni-Barak government seeks today has more to do with the public's perception of its competence than with any interest in changing the situation in Gaza in any fundamental way. During the Second Lebanon War, the government showed that it could not be trusted with the defense of the country and with the proper deployment of IDF soldiers. And in the aftermath of that war, the government lost its moral right to send its forces into battle.

Now it uses its campaign in Gaza as a means of winning back its moral authority. But the problem is that despite its protestations of cunning competence, the government's aims today are the same as they were in 2006. As was the case with Hizbullah, the Olmert-Livni-Barak government is signaling that it seeks a new negotiated settlement with Hamas. The hoped-for settlement, which has been telegraphed to the public through the pro-government media, will leave Hamas in power in Gaza. Although the government claims that the postwar Hamas will be more peaceful than the prewar Hamas, there is no reason to believe this will be the case.

Just as has been the case with Hizbullah since the government failed to destroy the terror army in 2006, so if Hamas remains in control of Gaza after the current war, no matter what its condition, it will be perceived as the winner.

HERE IT is important to make a sharp distinction between the IDF's clear military successes in Gaza and the political leadership's problematic management of this campaign. In the former case, it is inarguable that by destroying Hamas's military installations, killing its military commanders and incapacitating its weapons smuggling infrastructure, the IDF is weakening Hamas as a military organization. And this is a great and long-awaited achievement.

In contrast, the Olmert-Livni-Barak government's refusal to reconsider its defeatist political philosophy makes it apparent that in the longer term, any strategic advantage enjoyed from the IDF's success will be marginal. Like Hizbullah, Hamas - which enjoys Iranian and Syrian state sponsorship and authentic popularity throughout the Islamic world - does not have to defeat Israel to be perceived as the victor. It merely needs to survive. That is the great difference between jihadist organizations and Western democracies. And by surviving, it will expand its international cachet.

JUST AS the Bush administration seeks to accommodate Hizbullah by selling advanced weapons to the Lebanese government it dominates, so too, in the aftermath of the current campaign, Hamas will be accepted by the West.

Tzafrir Ronen, and his colleagues whose strategic wisdom caused them to be banished from the public square, can always depend on hapless, defeatist governments like that of Olmert, Livni, and Barak to remember them in times of crisis. Like a Swiss clock, whenever leaders who preach nothing but defeat and retreat to their countrymen find themselves in a position of having to fight our enemies, they know they can count on men like Tzafrir to fight for them. And to date, men like Tzafrir, who served in the IDF's elite combat units, and whose sons and daughters continue to bear the greatest burdens in our defense, have answered their calls without hesitation.

Looking at the faces of the mourners on Sunday afternoon and listening to the many eulogies of Tzafrir that repeatedly praised his Zionism, there was no room for doubt that again today these people will answer the call. But how long will this state of affairs continue? How long can failed and strategically blind politicians continue to expect the men and women they demonize to save the country after they fail, and then hand it back to them to endanger again?

UPDATE: Associated Press filed this report at 8:15 p.m. Eastern Time.

Indian-born Muslim author Salman Rushdie appeared on a panel in New York City on December 19th at the Asia Society. In this video he is making devastatingly critical remarks about the motives of the Muslims who carried out the Mumbai massacre.

The text of his key point is below the video.


"Ask yourself the question that if the Kashmir problem were resolved tomorrow, if Israel-Palestine reached a lasting peace, do we believe that al-Qaeda would disband? Do we believe that Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad would put their guns down and beat them into plough-shears and say we would now be farmers because our job is done. I mean the point about is that is laughable, right? And the point about that is that that is not their project. Their project is power. This is a power grab by the most obscurantist, revanchist, old-fashioned, medievalist idea of modern culture that attempts to drag the world back into the middle ages at the point of modern weaponry ..." Salman Rushdie.

The full panel video may be seen at the website of the Asia Society.

Iran supplies munitions to Hamas in Gaza as well as to Hezbullah in southern Lebanon. Iranian missiles fired from Gaza can now reach 20 to 25 miles into Israel, putting major population centers such as Ashkelon (pop. 105,000) and Ashdod (205,000) in danger.

The Hamas thugs know they are firing at civilian centers. The missiles analyzed by the Israli bomb experts contained

metal balls designed to act as shrapnel, and the intended effects were visible at a home situated just a few meters from where one of the rockets hit, which looked as if it had been sprayed with a machine gun.

Large, gaping holes peppered the front of the house.

Rocket and missile fire from Gaza has been a constant even during the so-called six-month truce which Hamas ended. Since the truce ended ten days ago the projectiles fired have been in the hundreds. Israel had warned repeatedly that the firing must stop or they would attack all Hamas security centers. Hamas often fires the missiles and rockets from mobile platforms in the middle of civilian areas, knowing that when the Israelis retaliate some of their civiilans will be killed, thus providing Hamas with pictures of "victims" for the gullible media.

Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of Israel, refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, has not renounced terrorism and has not ceased terrorist operations against Israel's citizens. An American Muslim so-called charity the Holy Land Foundation was recently convicted in Texas of funneling money to a know terrorist organization Hamas. In that case CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) and the North American Islamic Trust, the owner of the new mosque in Boston's Roxbury district, were named as unindicted co-conspirators.)

Hizbullah-type rockets fired

Dec. 28, 2008
Yaakov Lappin , THE JERUSALEM POST
Two Katyusha rockets that Hamas fired deep into Israel on Sunday are the same type launched by Hizbullah during the Second Lebanon War, an Israel Police source told The Jerusalem Post.

The two rockets were Hamas's deepest attacks into Israeli territory to date. The first Katyusha hit in Gan Yavne, 35 km. north of the Strip, and the second struck 20 minutes later in an undisclosed location near Ashdod, 40 km. from Gaza.

Police sappers who analyzed the projectiles said they carried six to seven kilograms of explosives each, and identified them as 122-millimeter PIPE type-81 Katyusha rockets, which have a range of 40 km.

The rockets contained metal balls designed to act as shrapnel, and the intended effects were visible at a home situated just a few meters from where one of the rockets hit, which looked as if it had been sprayed with a machine gun.

Large, gaping holes peppered the front of the house.

"This is our Hanukka miracle," said Avital, a mother of five who hid with her children and husband in a safe room in the house after hearing the air raid siren. Her family was one of the few in her community on Sunday morning - most of the moshav's families were away on an organized trip. Hours later, the families returned and examined the damaged home with stunned expressions.

Dozens of people lit a large hanukkia and sang holiday songs near the home, in a show of solidarity with the family.

"At 9:30 we heard the first siren. I was praying," Avital said. "My son woke his siblings up and we entered the safe room. Soon afterward, we heard a second siren."

Avital's husband, Eyal, was working in the garden outside their home. "I wouldn't be here now if I hadn't heeded that second siren," Eyal told the Post. "I would be dead."

"We entered the safe room [again] and 30 seconds later, we heard an enormous explosion and shrapnel flying," Avital said.

"My little girl cried, but on the whole we were calm," said her husband.

Police sappers quickly arrived and removed the rocket, which hit moist sand next to the home. The soil appeared to absorb much of the explosion.

"We're reciting psalms and thanking God," Avital said. "Property is replaceable, human lives are not," she added. "We are still in shock from what happened."

Avital expressed support for the current IDF operation in Gaza, saying, "This is a kind of war, and we are prepared to take this in order to win. In Sderot, they have this every day."

The Home Front Command added Yavne and Gadera to its list of communities under threat from Hamas rockets, telling residents there they had one minute to enter shelter in the event of an air raid siren.

However, unlike in Gaza-periphery communities, the Home Front Command said life in Gadera and Yavne could continue as usual.

RECESSION CURE AVAILABLE?

White Mark Steyn give us a few chuckles as he sees the U.S. on the road to totalitarian socialism, Peter Schiff sees the result of all this government intervention and bailouts with printing press money as soaring inflation and a stifled economy. Schiff doesn't use the term, but the message is there: There's no such thing as a free lunch.

After years of overspending and expansion of debt, a correction is coming due. It's called a recession.

The good news is that economics is not all that complicated. The bad news is that our economy is broken and there is nothing the government can do to fix it. However, the free market does have a cure: it's called a recession, and it's not fun, easy or quick. But if we put our faith in the power of government to make the pain go away, we will live with the consequences for generations.

Schiff's good sense is worth reading.

There's No Pain-Free Cure for Recession

Belt-tightening is required by all, including government.

By PETER SCHIFF
December 27, Wall Street Jounal Opinion

As recession fears cause the nation to embrace greater state control of the economy and unimaginable federal deficits, one searches in vain for debate worthy of the moment. Where there should be an historic clash of ideas, there is only blind resignation and an amorphous queasiness that we are simply sweeping the slouching beast under the rug.

With faith in the free markets now taking a back seat to fear and expediency, nearly the entire political spectrum agrees that the federal government must spend whatever amount is necessary to stabilize the housing market, bail out financial firms, liquefy the credit markets, create jobs and make the recession as shallow and brief as possible. The few who maintain free-market views have been largely marginalized.

Taking the theories of economist John Maynard Keynes as gospel, our most highly respected contemporary economists imagine a complex world in which economics at the personal, corporate and municipal levels are governed by laws far different from those in effect at the national level.

Individuals, companies or cities with heavy debt and shrinking revenues instinctively know that they must reduce spending, tighten their belts, pay down debt and live within their means. But it is axiomatic in Keynesianism that national governments can create and sustain economic activity by injecting printed money into the financial system. In their view, absent the stimuli of the New Deal and World War II, the Depression would never have ended.

On a gut level, we have a hard time with this concept. There is a vague sense of smoke and mirrors, of something being magically created out of nothing. But economics, we are told, is complicated.

It would be irresponsible in the extreme for an individual to forestall a personal recession by taking out newer, bigger loans when the old loans can't be repaid. However, this is precisely what we are planning on a national level.

I believe these ideas hold sway largely because they promise happy, pain-free solutions. They are the economic equivalent of miracle weight-loss programs that require no dieting or exercise. The theories permit economists to claim mystic wisdom, governments to pretend that they have the power to dispel hardship with the whir of a printing press, and voters to believe that they can have recovery without sacrifice.

As a follower of the Austrian School of economics I believe that market forces apply equally to people and nations. The problems we face collectively are no different from those we face individually. Belt tightening is required by all, including government.

Governments cannot create but merely redirect. When the government spends, the money has to come from somewhere. If the government doesn't have a surplus, then it must come from taxes. If taxes don't go up, then it must come from increased borrowing. If lenders won't lend, then it must come from the printing press, which is where all these bailouts are headed. But each additional dollar printed diminishes the value those already in circulation. Something cannot be effortlessly created from nothing.

Similarly, any jobs or other economic activity created by public-sector expansion merely comes at the expense of jobs lost in the private sector. And if the government chooses to save inefficient jobs in select private industries, more efficient jobs will be lost in others. As more factors of production come under government control, the more inefficient our entire economy becomes. Inefficiency lowers productivity, stifles competitiveness and lowers living standards.

If we look at government market interventions through this pragmatic lens, what can we expect from the coming avalanche of federal activism?

By borrowing more than it can ever pay back, the government will guarantee higher inflation for years to come, thereby diminishing the value of all that Americans have saved and acquired. For now the inflationary tide is being held back by the countervailing pressures of bursting asset bubbles in real estate and stocks, forced liquidations in commodities, and troubled retailers slashing prices to unload excess inventory. But when the dust settles, trillions of new dollars will remain, chasing a diminished supply of goods. We will be left with 1970s-style stagflation, only with a much sharper contraction and significantly higher inflation.

The good news is that economics is not all that complicated. The bad news is that our economy is broken and there is nothing the government can do to fix it. However, the free market does have a cure: it's called a recession, and it's not fun, easy or quick. But if we put our faith in the power of government to make the pain go away, we will live with the consequences for generations.

Mr. Schiff is president of Euro Pacific Capital and author of "The Little Book of Bull Moves in Bear Markets" (Wiley, 2008)

WHAT THE WORLD WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS

Mark Steyn wonders what the Age of Obama will do to America. Will it accelerate us down the path to the weakness bred by totalitarian "daddy knows best" government offering handouts instead of encouraging opportunity?

All inspired by a Christmas song by American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson.

December 27, 2008, 9:00 a.m.

Grow Up!
An Obamafied American Idol Christmas
.

By Mark Steyn

I was at the mall two days before Christmas, and it was strangely quiet. So quiet that, sadly, I was able to hear every word of Kelly Clarkson bellowing over the sound system “My Grown-Up Christmas List.” Don’t get me wrong — I love seasonal songs. “Winter Wonderland” — I dig it. “Rudolph” — man, he’s cool, albeit not as literally as Frosty. But “Grown-Up Christmas List” is one of those overwrought ballads of melismatic bombast made for the American Idol crowd. It’s all about how the singer now eschews asking Santa for materialist goodies — beribboned trinkets and gaudy novelties — in favor of selfless grown-up stuff like world peace.

Which is an odd sentiment to hear at a shopping mall.

But it seems to have done the trick. “Retail Sales Plummet,” read the Christmas headline in the Wall Street Journal. “Sales plunged across most categories on shrinking consumer spending.”

Hey, that’s great news, isn’t it? After all, everyone knows Americans consume too much. What was it that then Senator Obama said on the subject? “We can’t just keep driving our SUVs, eating whatever we want, keeping our homes at 72 degrees at all times regardless of whether we live in the tundra or the desert and keep consuming 25 percent of the world’s resources with just 4 percent of the world’s population, and expect the rest of the world to say you just go ahead, we’ll be fine.”

And boy, we took the great man’s words to heart. SUV sales have nosedived, and 72 is no longer your home’s thermostat setting but its current value expressed as a percentage of what you paid for it. If I understand then Senator Obama’s logic, in a just world Americans would be 4 percent of the population and consume a fair and reasonable 4 percent of the world’s resources. And in these last few months we’ve made an excellent start toward that blessed utopia: Americans are driving smaller cars, buying smaller homes, giving smaller Christmas presents.

And yet, strangely, President-Elect Obama doesn’t seem terribly happy about the Obamafication of the American economy. He’s proposing some 5.7 bazillion dollar “stimulus” package or whatever it is now to “stimulate” it back into its bad old ways.

And how does the rest of the world, of whose tender sensibilities then Senator Obama was so mindful, feel about the collapse of American consumer excess? They’re aghast, they’re terrified, they’re on a one-way express elevator down to Sub-Basement Level 37 of the abyss with no hope of putting on the brakes unless the global economy can restore aggregate demand. What does all that mumbo-jumbo about “aggregate demand” mean? Well, that’s a fancy term for you — yes, you, Joe Lardbutt, the bloated disgusting embodiment of American excess, driving around in your Chevy Behemoth, getting two blocks to the gallon as you shear the roof off the drive-thru lane to pick up your $7.93 decaf gingersnap-mocha-pepperoni-zebra mussel frappuccino, which makes for a wonderful cool refreshing thirst-quencher after you’ve been working up a sweat watching the plasma TV in your rec room all morning with the thermostat set to 87. The message from the European political class couldn’t be more straightforward: If you crass, vulgar Americans don’t ramp up the demand, we’re kaput. Unless you get back to previous levels of planet-devastating consumption, the planet is screwed.

“Much of the load will fall on the US,” wrote Martin Wolf in the Financial Times, “largely because the Europeans, Japanese and even the Chinese are too inert, too complacent, or too weak.” The European Union has 500 million people, compared with America’s 300 million. Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain are advanced economies whose combined population adds up to that of the United States. Many EU members have enjoyed for decades the enlightened progressive policies Americans won’t be getting until January 20th. Why then are they so “inert” that their economic fortunes depend on the despised moronic Yanks?

Ah, well. To return to Kelly Clarkson — and Barbra Streisand and Michael Buble and Amy Grant — the striking thing about their “Grown-Up Christmas List” is how childish it is. The concerned vocalist tells Santa that what she wants for Christmas is:

“No more lives torn apart,
That wars would never start…”

Whether wars start depends on the intended target’s ability to deter. As to “lives torn apart,” that, too, is a matter of being on the receiving end. If you’re in an African dictatorship, your life can be torn apart. If you’re in a society that values individual liberty, you’ll at least get a shot at tearing your own life apart — you’ll make bad choices, marry a ne’er-do-well, blow your savings, lose your job — but these are ultimately within your power to correct. The passivity of the lyric — the “lives” that get “torn apart” is very revealing. A state in which lives aren’t torn apart will be, by definition, totalitarian: As in The Stepford Wives or The Invasion Of the Body Snatchers, we’ll all be wandering around in glassy-eyed conformity. “Lives” will no longer be “torn apart” because they’re no longer lives, but simply the husks of a centrally controlled tyranny. To live is messy but liberating: Free societies enable the citizenry to fulfill their potential — to innovate, to create, to accumulate — while recognizing that some of their number will fail. But to attempt to insulate free peoples from moral hazard is debilitating and ultimately fatal. To Martin Wolf’s list of a Europe “too inert, too complacent, too weak,” we might add “too old”: Healthy societies recharge their batteries by the aged and wealthy lending their savings to the young and eager. But Germany is a population of prosperous seniors with no grandchildren to lend to. Japan is a society of great invention with insufficient youth to provide a domestic market. That’s why if you’re Sony or Ikea or any other great global brand, you want access to America for your product. That’s why economic recovery will be driven by the U.S., and not by Euro-Japanese entities long marinated in Obamanomics.

One final thought on “My Grown-Up Christmas List.” The first two lines always give me a chuckle:

“Do you remember me?
I sat upon your knee…”

When was the last time you saw a child sit upon a Santa’s knee? Rod Liddle in the British Spectator reports that at a top London department store Santa sits at one end of the bench while a large “X” directs the moppet to a place down the other end, well out of arm’s reach. For even Santa Claus is just another pedophile in waiting. Naughty or nice? Who really knows? Best not to take any chances. That’s another way societies seize up — by obsessing on phantom threats rather than real ones.

Are free peoples now merely vulnerable infants in need of protection from the pedophile Santa of global capitalism? This is the issue that will determine the future: Euro-style state-directed protectionist sclerosis vs. individual liberty in all its messiness. I know what I want on my “Grown-Up Christmas List.”

THE MUMBAI ATROCITIES -- WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE?


Political correctness, fear of being charged with racism or "Islamophobia" keep those in civilized nations under threat from Islamic suremacist barbarism from defending themselves. Columnist Cinnamon Stillwell of the Middle East Forum asks,

Should not this grave threat to human rights be called what it is? Should not the world rally against this cancer within its midst and spare no expense or effort to stop it from metastasizing? Should not human rights groups make defeating this ideology its chief priority? Should not women's groups make the oppression of Muslim women, both within and without the Muslim world, its first priority? Should not gay rights groups turn their attention to the hangings of young men across the Muslim world? Should not Jewish groups condemn the hateful, anti-Semitic propaganda that is brainwashing Muslim youth? Should not those who believe in religious freedom denounce the persecution of religious minorities, apostates, and atheists in the Muslim world? Should not those who advocate free speech condemn the campaign to silence journalists and activists in the Muslim world, as well as attempts to do the same in the West? Should not the international community do everything in its power to prevent fanatical Islamist regimes from acquiring nuclear weapons and wreaking unprecedented havoc on the planet?

In a richly-linked article Stillwell explains why and how we are endangering ourselves.


Obama has named a woman from UCal Berkeley Christina Romer as head of the Council of Economic Advisors, perhaps on the mistaken assumption that anyone from Berkeley had to be a left-wing economist. Luckily for the country, she isn't. Last year she and her husband published the results of a study they had done which concluded this:

"The most striking finding of this exercise is that tax increases have a large negative effect on investment."

Estimating the cumulative impact of a tax increase of 1% of GDP, they found that "over the next three years output is on average 1.8% lower than it otherwise would have been."

This "is followed by a large and highly significant rise in the unemployment rate." How much job loss? "The estimated output effect after 12 quarters is a decrease of 2.9%," the Romer study found.

Also, another Romer report issued last year found that "a tax cut of 1% of GDP increases real output by 3% over the next three years."

Will Obama listen to this wisdom?

All Roads Lead To Romer

Read it all.

Britain's Channel 4 TV network created some controversy by inviting Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to deliver a message for Christmas Day. It contended that European viewers really didn't know Ahmadinejad and his positions and it was a public service to have him, in a sense, respond to Queen Elizabeth's Christmas message as head of the Church of England.

Caroline Glick, the most perceptive of all Middle East political analysts, believes Channel 4 did the right thing.

THE FACT of the matter is that Channel 4 is right. There is a great deal of ignorance in the West about what the likes of Ahmadinejad and his colleagues in Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas stand for. But this isn't their fault. They tell us every day that they seek the destruction of the Jews and the domination of the West in the name of Islam. And every day they take actions that they believe advance their goals.

The reason that the West remains ignorant of the views and goals of the likes of Hamas and Iran is not that the latter have hidden their views and goals. It is because the leading political leaders and foreign policy practitioners in the West refuse to listen to them and deny the significance of their actions.

As far as the West's leaders are concerned, Iran and its allies are unimportant. They are not actors, but objects. As far as the West's leading foreign policy "experts" and decision-makers are concerned, the only true actors on the global stage are Western powers. They alone have the power to shape reality and the world. Oddly enough, this dominant political philosophy, which is based on denying the existence of non-Western actors on the world stage, is referred to as political "realism."

Glick rightly denounces this "realism" as fantasy, whether it involves dealing with Iran, Syria, the Hezbollah-dominated Lebanese government, Hamas or North Korea.

These foreign policy realists maintain that talking and appeasement are the way to bend these actors to the will of the West, even though years doing that have not produced the desired Western results. The age-old definition of a madman applies: Doing the same thing that failed over and over again expecting a different result.

IS ISRAEL REPEATING MCCAIN'S MISTAKE?

As a pivotal election nears in Israel (on February 10th), the Middle East's leading political analyst Caroline Glick is concerned that the leader of the Israeli conservative Likud Party is making the same mistakes John McCain made in the U.S. presidential election. Her core conviction:

As we saw in the U.S. presidential election and in the current Israeli Knesset campaign, by moving to the left, right-leaning candidates demoralize their base. And far from convincing swing voters to support them, they make swing voters feel comfortable supporting their opponents.

And this:

By incorrectly identifying the object of both Republican dissatisfaction and swing-voter concerns, McCain demoralized his base and convinced undecided voters it was okay to support Obama. Indeed, it was McCain's anti-Republican campaign more than Obama's change campaign that brought a majority of voters to Obama. As polling data indicates, Obama did not move many Republican voters to his side.

Read it all.

How Conservatives Lose Elections

By: Caroline B. Glick

Wednesday, December 24 2008

It would seem that in recent years conservative candidates in both Israel and the U.S. have forgotten how to win an election.

CHRISTMAS DAY

The Irish group Celtic Woman calls out with a traditional Christmas carol.

TO END THE RECESSION, LET THE MARKETS WORK

Professor Thomas Sowell hopes that the federal governmnent will not repeat the mistakes of Franklin Delano Roosevelt that unnecessarily prolonged and deepened the Great Depression.

The stock market crash, which has been blamed for the widespread suffering during the Great Depression of the 1930s, created no unemployment rate that was even half of what was created in the wake of the government interventions of Hoover and FDR.
Gov't Solutions Only Deepened '30s Downturn

By THOMAS SOWELL

With both Barack Obama's supporters and the media looking forward to the new administration's policies being similar to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's policies during the 1930s depression, it may be useful to look at just what those policies — and more important, their consequences — were.

The prevailing view in many quarters is that the stock market crash of 1929 was a failure of the free market that led to massive unemployment in the 1930s — and that it was the intervention of Roosevelt's New Deal policies which rescued the economy.

It is such a good story that it seems a pity to spoil it with facts. Yet there is something to be said for not repeating the catastrophes of the past.

Let's start at square one, with the stock crash in October 1929. Was this what led to massive unemployment? Official government statistics suggest otherwise. So do new statistics on unemployment by two current scholars, Richard Vedder and Lowell Gallaway, in their book "Out of Work."

The Vedder and Gallaway statistics allow us to follow unemployment month by month. They put the unemployment rate at 5% in November 1929, a month after the stock market crash. It hit 9% in December — but then began a generally downward trend, subsiding to 6.3% in June 1930.

That was when the Smoot-Hawley tariffs were passed, against the advice of economists across the country, who warned of dire consequences. Five months after the Smoot-Hawley tariffs, the jobless rate hit double digits for the first time in the 1930s.

This was more than a year after the stock market crash. Moreover, the unemployment rate rose to even higher levels under both Presidents Herbert Hoover and Roosevelt, both of whom intervened in the economy on an unprecedented scale.

Before the Great Depression, it was not considered to be the business of the federal government to try to get the economy out of a depression. But the Smoot-Hawley tariff — designed to save American jobs by restricting imports — was one of Hoover's interventions, followed by even bigger interventions by FDR.

The rise in unemployment after the stock market crash of 1929 was a blip on the screen compared with the soaring unemployment rates reached later, after a series of government interventions.

For nearly three consecutive years, beginning in February 1932, the unemployment rate never fell below 20% for any month before January 1935, when it fell to 19.3%, according to the Vedder and Gallaway statistics. In other words, the evidence suggests that it was not the "problem" of the financial crisis in 1929 that caused massive unemployment, but politicians' attempted "solutions."

Is that the history that we seem to be ready to repeat?

The stock market crash, which has been blamed for the widespread suffering during the Great Depression of the 1930s, created no unemployment rate that was even half of what was created in the wake of the government interventions of Hoover and FDR.

Politically, however, Roosevelt could not have been more successful. After all, he was the only president elected four times in a row. He was a master of political rhetoric.

If Barack Obama wants political success, following in the footsteps of FDR looks like the way to go. But people concerned about the economy need to take a closer look at history. We deserve something better than repeating the '30s disasters.

There is yet another factor that provides a parallel to what happened during the Great Depression. No matter how much worse things got after government intervention under Roosevelt's New Deal policies, the party line was that he had to "do something" to get us out of the disaster created by the failure of the unregulated market and Hoover's "do nothing" policies.

Today, an increasing number of scholars recognize that FDR's policies were extensions of interventions begun under Hoover. Moreover, the temporary rise in unemployment after the market crash was nowhere near the massive and long-lasting unemployment after government interventions.

Barack Obama already has his Herbert Hoover to blame for any and all disasters that his policies create: George W. Bush.


'Twas the Night Before Christmas


Original 1933 Disney version

A CHILD IS BORN

As we celebrate the birth of a child who taught love and the value of every life, here on earth and in heaven, the world cannot close its eyes to those malign forces who are fixated on death. It must open its eyes and ears to the child's message or else the culture of death will prevail. Is the world listening, is America listening?

"I KNOW MARGARET THATCHER. SARAH PALIN?"

I know Margaret Thatcher. Margaret Thatcher is a friend of mine. And as a matter of fact, Margaret Thatcher and Sarah Palin have a great deal in common.

And?

[T]he mark of a star, dear boy. They rise to the big occasions.

Mrs. Palin had four big occasions in the late, doomed Republican campaign: her introduction by John McCain in Ohio, her speech at the GOP convention, her vice-presidential debate with Sen. Joe Biden, and her appearance on Saturday Night Live.

With minimal preparation, she rose to all four of them. That's the mark of a star.

If conservative intellectuals, Republican operatives and McCain "handlers" can't see it, then so much the worse for them.

So there, you know-it-all snobs.


Kit Lange is an Air Force veteran and military writer who fears what an Obama presidency will bring (HT: Richard C).

She specializes in investigating murder cases stemming from actions in combat. Her work was used as evidence in the Lt. Ilario Pantano case, and has been quoted extensively in other news publications for other cases. In 2005, she co-wrote a 10-part series disproving war crime allegations against an elite Army unit; her blog, EuphoricReality.com, was named as one of the top 10 milblogs of the year. She is also the National Web Coordinator for Gathering of Eagles, a nationally-recognized troop support organization. Kit holds a degree in Aircraft Maintenance Technology from Spartan College of Aeronautics, and is currently working on a second degree in Aviation Technology Management. She resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is an occasional talk-show host.



My Predictions for the New Obama "Presidency"

KitLange.jpg

Now that America has shown us all that affirmative action even works in politics, I've compiled a list of things that you can probably expect to happen. These predictions are 80% gleaned from information all of us have access to, and 15% gut instinct based on many years of research, historical study, and being glued to current affairs. The other 5% is just anger at my countrymen's stupidity--I admit it.

FACING REALITY IN DETROIT -- SOON?

As always, Professor Thomas Sowell sees things clearly and tells it like it is simply and plainly. Would that our government and government-to-be were as clear-eyed and sensible and would have learned the lessons of history.

The auto bailout that the Bush Administration and the Democrats are discussing is for the unions, not for the companies. The sooner the companies take the necessary steps to reform themselves through Bankruptcy's Chapter XI, the better the chance they will emerge as companies ready for the competiton. It worked for the airlines, it can work for the auto companies.

In the meantime, Dr. Sowell suggests we look at the larger picture of life, of which the auto rescue plan is just one example of denying what needs to be done. Reality is still there when the fantasy fades.

Postponing Reality At Detroit's Big Three By THOMAS SOWELL | Posted Wednesday, December 17, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Some of us were raised to believe that reality is inescapable. But that just shows how far behind the times we are. Today, reality is optional. At the very least, it can be postponed.

Kids in school are not learning? Not a problem. Just promote them on to the next grade anyway. Call it "compassion," so as not to hurt their "self-esteem."

Can't meet college admissions standards after they graduate from high school? Denounce those standards as just arbitrary barriers to favor the privileged, and demand that exceptions be made.

Can't do math or science after they are in college? Denounce those courses for their rigidity and insensitivity, and create softer courses that the students can pass to get their degrees.

Once they are out in the real world, people with diplomas and degrees — but with no real education — can hit a wall. But by then the day of reckoning has been postponed for 15 or more years. Of course, the reckoning itself can last the rest of their lives.

The current bailout extravaganza is applying the postponement of reality democratically — to the rich as well as the poor, to the irresponsible as well as to the responsible, to the inefficient as well as to the efficient. It is a triumph of the non-judgmental philosophy that we have heard so much about in high-toned circles.

We are told that the collapse of the Big Three automakers in Detroit would have repercussions across the country, causing mass layoffs among firms that supply the automobile makers with parts, and shutting down automobile dealerships from coast to coast.

A renowned economist of the past, J.A. Schumpeter, used to refer to progress under capitalism as "creative destruction" — the replacement of businesses that have outlived their usefulness with businesses that carry technological and organizational creativity forward, raising standards of living in the process.

Indeed, this is very much like what happened a hundred years ago, when that new technological wonder, the automobile, wreaked havoc on all the forms of transportation built up around horses.

For thousands of years, horses had been the way to go, whether in buggies or royal coaches, whether pulling trolleys in the cities or plows on the farms. People had bet their futures on something with a track record of reliable success going back many centuries.

Were all these people to be left high and dry? What about all the other people who supplied the things used with horses — oats, saddles, horseshoes and buggies? Wouldn't they all go falling like dominoes when horses were replaced by cars?

Unfortunately for all the good people who had in good faith gone into all the various lines of work revolving around horses, there was no compassionate government to step in with a bailout or a stimulus package. They had to face reality, right then and right there, without even a postponement.

Who would have thought that those who displaced them would find themselves in a similar situation 100 years later?

Actually the automobile industry is not nearly in as bad a situation now as the horse-based industries were then. There is no replacement for the automobile anywhere on the horizon. Nor has the public decided to do without cars indefinitely.

While Detroit's Big Three are laying off thousands of workers, Toyota is hiring thousands of workers right here in America, where a substantial share of all our Toyotas are manufactured.

Will this save Detroit or Michigan? No.

Detroit and Michigan have followed classic liberal policies of treating businesses as prey, rather than as assets. They have helped kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. So have the unions. So have managements that have gone along to get along.

Toyota, Honda and other foreign automakers are not heading for Detroit, even though there are lots of experienced automobile workers there. They are avoiding the rust belts and the policies that have made those places rust belts.

A bailout of Detroit's Big Three would be only the latest in the postponements of reality. As for automobile dealers, they can probably sell Toyotas just as easily as they sold Chevys. And Toyotas will require just as many tires per car, as well as other parts from automobile parts suppliers.

UPDATE: No reality. President Bush punted to the union-supporting Obama administration and the Democratic Congress, who will use taxpayer money to save the unions, not GM and Chrysler. Painful changes are needed and Chapter XI bankruptcy is the obvious ways to accomplish them. Unaffordable contracts are dragging the car companies down: Think of this: 90,000 build cars for the Big Three, but the Big Three are paying the health care and pension costs for one million retirees. Doesn't work.

JUSTICE IN THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION?

The word is that a Kerry for President in 2004 worker now living in New Hampshire made off with $100,000 in campaign funds and has now been indicted. When will somebody get indicted for the Obama campaign's fraudulent online fundraising that bought him the election? Somebody with Chicagoland political smarts had to be in on it.

On second thought, if Eric Holder is the attorney general, it probably won't happen. Anybody who engineered the pardon of multimillionaire fugitive financier Marc Rich and okayed the pardon of Puerto Rican terrorists to get the Puerto Rican vote for Hillary's run for Senate in New York probably won't be interested in such inconsequential stuff as his boss buying the presidency. Oh, and Holder also okayed the commutation of the decades' long sentences of two convicted Weather Underground terrorist friends of (guess who?) Obama friends WU terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn. In the course of the WU robbing a Brinks-type truck, two policeman and a guard were killed.

AH! CHICAGO, WHAT A WONDERFUL TOWN

As the nation at last is becomng informed about the rampant political corruption that has been business-as-usual in "Crook County," Illinois for decades, Michelle Malkin's investigations reveal that lurking behind those crooked Chicago politicians and their pals are their partners-in-crime the wives. While it's not exactly "behind every bad man is a bad woman," in Chicagoland politics it's a good working assumption. As Obama was backing Blogdejavich for Governor and doing his sweetheat home deal with Rezko, Michelle was hanging out with their wives, showing solidarity.

Michelle Obama was apparently friendly with the sordid sorority, according to Chicago Magazine. Writer James Merriner reported on a fashion show/political back-scratching gala chaired by Mrs. Rezko and co-chaired by Mrs. Blago two days before the November 2006 elections:

"Michelle Obama, wife of the Democratic U.S. senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama, was a special guest that day (even though the news had just broken about Rezko's participation in a funky real-estate transaction involving the Obamas' Hyde Park home). The fashion show attracted little if any media coverage, which may have been exactly as its organizers and sponsors had hoped. Just three weeks earlier, Tony Rezko had been indicted on charges of extorting kickbacks from businesses seeking contracts from the Blagojevich administration."


The Real Housewives of Crook County
Michelle Malkin
Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cable television introduced us to "The Real Housewives of Orange County" -- an estrogen-infused reality show featuring a coven of conniving and ambitious women living pampered lives in Southern California. Blago-gate has brought us something even juicier: The Real Housewives of Crook County, Illinois. The public may be wearying of indicted Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the Chicago boys' club, but the conniving and ambitious women behind the scenes of the corruption scandal are a must-see political drama all their own.

Mrs. Blago, the former Patti Mell, won the hearts of old-school thugs everywhere with her f-word-filled rants captured on FBI wiretaps, some of which were colorfully detailed in the criminal complaint against her hubby last week. It's old news to folks in Chicago, but the woman who masquerades as a sweet gubernatorial spouse dedicated to children's advocacy is a cutthroat wheeler-dealer in heels who schemed with the gov to fire pesky editorial writers and get herself placed on paid corporate boards in exchange for naming the president-elect's pick to the Senate. First Lady by day, Dragon Lady by night.

For the rest of the Chicagoland wives story...

Occasionally, a good idea surfaces in the press. Today Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal -- and former editor of the Jerusalem Post -- suggests how we can help Pakistan, which is in desperate need of $100 billion. Europeans have come up with $15 billion and the only place to turn for the $85 billion is the U.S. (The Saudis don't help anybody, even fellow Muslims, unless it involves spreading Mohammad-era Koranic training on how to take over the world through jihad.)

The quid pro quo for the money would be Pakistan's elimination of its nuclear weapons and its weapons infrastructure. The U.S. would provide safeguards for Pakistan's security against nuclear attack in return. One can be sure that Pakistan's home-grown terrorists would dearly love to get their hands on those weapons. Using conventional weapons, Pakistani terrorists killed 1500 of their felllow civilians in 2007. With nuclear weapons and the opportunity to take over the country, who's to say they would hesitate to use them against the capital city Islamabad? And the U.S. should insist that the Saudi-funded madrassas teaching jihad be shut down as well.

Pakistan is the world's largest exporter of terrorists in the world today and many of them do their work without leaving home. Getting rid of the principal Pakistani threat to the rest of the world -- and Pakistan itself -- would be an excellent accomplishment for the Obama administration.

President-to-be Obama wants to "reboot" America's relationship with the Muslim world and muses about making a speech in the capital of a major Muslim country.

Amir Tahiri, an Iranian journalist in exile since the Islamic state emerged in Iran, is skeptical. He urges Obama to think carefully about what he has said he wants to do and the implications of whatever move he makes. He doesn't quite call Obama "naive," but he comes close.

Obama talks of "a unique opportunity to reboot America's image," as if his nation's problems with terrorism were due to poor public relations on Washington's part. Does he think so highly of his own talent for seducing people with words that he believes that he can do with a single speech what his five predecessors have failed to do since 1979 - namely, remove the threat of Islamic terror?

Hubris has marked Obama all his life and he won't change now. He probably believes he can do it.

An Interesting read.

It is interesting that suddenly the national media has become aware of the "cesspool" of Chicago politics that the Chicago press has been writing about for decades. The national media conveniently ignored that part of the Obama story during the presidential campaign.

During the campaign, for example, there was at best "mild" interest in Tony Rezko, now convicted of 16 counts of political corruption, who raised $250,000 for Obama and chipped in a few hundred thousand more to make it possible for him to buy his mansion in Hyde Park.

But Rezko was also a major fundraiser for Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was known to be under federal investigation when Rezko helped Obama buy his house.

Rezko, among other things, was a slumlord who built "affordable" housing in Obama's south side of Chicago with grants from the state which state senator Obama helped him get and with grants from a foundation chaired by Obama. In the Blagojevich criminal complaint there are many charges dealing with Chicagoland corruption in addition to the charge of trying to sell the Obama U.S. Senate seat. Kickbacks and campaign contributions as payoffs for such things as affordable housing grants, construction and service contracts and patronage jobs are what keeps the machine in power, according to many reports over the years by the Chicago media.

And Chicagoland politicians will in a few days be in charge of the White House -- and, hopefully, not running the country Chicago-style.

Chicago is the county seat of Cook County, referred to by some as Crook County, one of the most heavily Democratic counties in the nation. Almost half of all if the residents of Illinois live in Cook County. The political power in the country resides in the mayor of Chicago Richard M. Daley, the son of a previous mayor Richard J. Daley. (whose police put down the riots at the 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention). Mayor Richard M. Daley will complete 20 years as the leader of the Chicagoland Democratic Machine in office this coming April. (The county has a separate chief executive who "listens" to the mayor; when the opportunity arose to replace the longtime county boss with a reformer, Obama supported the "family" and went with the boss's son Todd Stroger.)

The Democratic machine is legendary for its history of corruption. As the local media has reported time and again, patronage, kickbacks and payoffs keep the machine in office and allow it to call the shots for politicians seeking office in the county and state and Congress -- ten of Illinois' 17 districts are wholly or partly in Cook County .

Why was it that Barack Obama's first run for the Illinois state senate was uncontested? In his South Side district Republicans are a rare species, so it's the Democratic primary that counts. Obama had three opponents file for the office, one of whom was the long-term incumbent. Obama challenged the signatures of all of them and the Daley machine reviewing board threw all three of them off the ballot. Ever hear of three candidates in one election being disqualified for "bad" signatures? Clearly, the machine had identified Obama as a "comer" and somebody it could do business with. Obama returned the favor and never challenged the Daley machine, even when some reformers dared to mount a campaign and pleaded for his support. (When Obama ran for the U.S. Senate seat, in an amazing turn of fate, both his Democratic opponent in the primary and his Republican opponent in the final were forced to resign from the races because somehow their sealed divorce papers became public during the campaigns.) Obama supported Blagojevich in his gubernatorial campaign in 2006 despite news he was under federal investigation for corruption.

Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was an aide to Mayor Daley and was awarded the congressional seat that became vacant when Rod Blagojevich became Governor of Illinois. More ominously, he was at President Clinton's side when he forced Israel to offer Yasser Arafat virtually all of the West Bank and East Jerusalem imperiling Israel's security; fortunately for Israel, Arafat said no, showing he had no intention of supporting the continued existence of Israel. During the two and a half years between his Clinton service and taking over the Blagojevich seat he worked for an investment banker in Chicago and magically raked in $16 million for his services. The nation was in recession most of that time (1999-2002).

Obama's chief strategist in the White House will be David Axelrod, who served Mayor Daley for years as a political strategist. (He did the same for Eliot Spitzer in his gubernatorial election.) Axelrod was the chief strategist for the Obama campaign and is credited by many with keeping Obama a mystery man, successfully hiding Obama's history (e.g., records of birth, college and law school days) from media and public scrutiny. Right up to the election the question hung in the air: "Who is Barack Obama?" It still does. Political fundraising is a high art in Chicago, What hand did Axelrod have in fraudulently disabling the usual identification features of the online credit system to allow the Obama campaign to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in untraceable funds?

Governor Blagojevich also prospered within the Daley Democratic machine because of his family political connections. He first held public office in Chicago, then in Cook County and then took over the Congressional seat formerly held for many years by Dan Rostenkowski, who was in prison for mail fraud. Rahm Emanuel succeeded him in the Rostenkowski seat. Emanuel is wise not to answer any questions about his conversations with Governor Blagojevich about the successor to the Obama U.S. Senate seat, since it appears the taping of the governor's phones has been going on for several years.

None of this story is new. All the pieces have appeared in the Chicago media or reports by investigative researchers ignored or dismissed out of hand as irrelevant by the national media at one time or another. One of the exasperated local columnists John Kass did a piece for the Chicago Sun-Times last November which gives one the flavor of Chicago and at least his disgust with the national media's failure to do its job.

Chicagoland politicians and their consultants are certainly experienced in skating over and around thin ice through years of practice. That skill now resides in the White House with the Chicagoland troika. "That's not the Tony Rezko I knew," is a recent famous example.

There are still some researchers looking into what clearly appears to be criminal violations of campaign financing laws by the Obama campaign. New information is reported on by columnist Herb Denenberg of the Philadelphia Bulletin. Hundreds of millions poured in from unidentified sources, tens of millions from unidentified foreign donors who cannot contribute legally. Only the Philadelphia Bulletin among the mainstream media is covering this scandal.

Did Obama Buy The White House With Illegal Money?
By Herb Denenberg, The Bulletin, Philadelphia
Published:
Monday, December 8, 2008

There is now growing evidence that Sen. Barack Obama bought the White House by using illegal and fraudulent fundraising, but that's a story you won't read in the mainstream media. You will read about it here today. While that story of Obama election law violations is still developing, what is the mainstream media reporting on? The New York Times isn't interested in election fraud ... if committed by Sen. Obama and the Democrats. So it is using its resources to investigate the amount of money the McCain campaign spent on hair stylists for Gov. Sarah Palin. (New York Times, Dec. 6, 2008). They've already investigated the amount spent on her wardrobe. Yes, the bias and dishonesty of the New York Times no longer just oozes out, it floods out in epic proportions. The once great paper has become a sad joke, a puppet and propagandist for the Democratic Party that can hardly write an honest word on politics.

The mainstream media paid little attention to ACORN, the organization that is the headquarters for election fraud, and its long-time and close association with Sen. Obama. Nor would it spend time reporting on some of the strange expenditures of the Obama campaign, such as the one for 400,000 temporary Obama tattoos. Of course, the mainstream media doesn't question how Sen. Obama spent his campaign money. In the eyes of the mainstream media, the Messiah, the Savior, the Chosen One, a.k.a. Sen. Obama can do no wrong. But the Times and the mainstream media have endless resources for how the McCain campaign spent its money.

The momentous Israeli election set for February 10th seems likely to put the future of Israel in the hands of Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud Party.

The anti-Israel forces surrounding Obama have been licking their chops, looking forward to the opportunity to sell out Israel to the Muslims clamoring for its destruction. It was very clear before the U.S. presidential election that Obama bore little sympathy for Israel. Too many of the people he is appointing to foreign poicy positions and consulting with are well-known for their antipathy for Israel: National Security Advisor Jim Jones, UN Ambassador Susan Rice, loose cannon advisor Samantha Rice, Warren Christopher and Jim Baker, just to name a few. (Also, 20 years of Jew-hatred from Jeremiah Wright has had to have some effect.) And Obama has promised to "reboot" U.S. relations with the Muslim world and has stated his intention to give a major address in a Muslim state.

People who have been in close contact with Obama's foreign policy transition team have privately acknowledged that the widespread belief that Obama will move swiftly to put the screws on Israel is fully justified. According to one source who has spent a great deal of time with the transition team since last month's US elections, Obama's people are "scope-locked" on Israel.

Even left and center Israelis realize they need a strong leader to stand up for Israel in the face of the expected onslaught from the Obama Administration. The Muslim definition of "peace" is the calm resulting from a complete conquest of the people and land Muslims have targeted. Israel is the target of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt and Syria. If it is wiped out, there will be peace.

It could be that Obama's negative disposition towards Jews and Israel was planted during his early years in Indonesia attending mosque with his step-father. Though Obama has blocked access to much of his history, it has become known that a prominent Muslim hater of Israel actively worked to get him admitted to Harvard Law School (and may have helped finance him while there) and that he found compatibility with the Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakhan, whose Million Man March he helped organize and attended. At a going away party in Chicago, Obama toasted the honoree, a former spokeman for Yasser Arafat, for his many insights delivered over more than a few familly dinners in his Hyde Park neighborhood. Even his Jewish chief of staff Rham Emanuel was a principal aide to President Clinton in the last days of his administration as he sought to win a Nobel Peace Prize by forcing Israel to surrender almost all of the West Bank and East Jerusalem to Palestinian terrorists, leaving itself defenseless. Fortunately for the future of Israel, Arafat said "no" to Clinton and Emanuel. One could not get better evidence that Palestinians didn't want to share land with Israel, they wanted to eliminate it.

The Middle East's leading political analyst Caroline Glick describes the battle that will erupt between the Obama Administration and the people of Israel, who want to continue to live in freedom. They know they will have to defend themselves and need a leader strong enought to withstand the pressure to capitulate that will be brought to bear by Obama and his circle of Israel haters.

Israel will be be mostly alone. Though strongly supported by American Evangelicals and many other Americans, its core constituency, American Jews, sold Israel out, voting 78% for Obama, fully knowing his presidency could spell the demise of Israel. Israel has defended itself through wars and terrrorism for more than 60 years and now needs to ready itself to fend off its greatest threat in history, this time coming from its long-time supporter the United States led by a President Obama. They will vote for Benjamin Netanyahu.

The stakes could not be higher for democracy in the Middle East and the fate of half the world's Jews, as Caroline Glick explains.

Column One: Netanyahu's grand coalition

Dec. 11, 2008
Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST
The "international community" is eagerly anticipating the incoming Obama administration's policy toward Israel. It is widely assumed that as soon as he comes into office, US President-elect Barack Obama will move quickly to place massive pressure on the next Israeli government to withdraw from Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and the Golan Heights in the interests of advancing a "peace process" with the Palestinians and the Syrians.

OBAMA READYING FOR SOCIALISM PUSH?

Mainstream media and columnists have been singularly uninterested in Obama's philosophy and his immersion in Marxist studies and activities. Saul Alinsky, the founder of community organizing, was a hero to Obama and he studied his methods carefully and extensively. Alinksy wanted to overthrow capitalism and establish a totalitarian Marxist socialist (or communist) system in America. The signs are that Obama wants that, too.

Fortunately for us, British writer Melanie Phillips is paying attention even if no one in the American media is. Today she notes the first Alinsky-style steps Obama is taking to mobilize his 13 million email correspondents to help push through his programs.

Obama in a careless recorded moment in 2001 revealed his dissatisfaction with the U.S. Constitution. Its focus was on freedom of opportunity, whereas Obama wants the government to use its power for "redistributive change." He said he didn't think the Supreme Court, no matter how left wing, would be able to accomplish that, so Phillips believes he's aiming to undermine the values of the Constitution at street level.

[C]ommunity organising’ is straight out of the Alinsky/ Gramsci Marxist playbook – a means of radicalising the proletariat so that it takes power and overturns the values of the society. Instead of the Founding Fathers and the Supreme Court, America is about to get a new constitution written by the thugs of ACORN.

Obama learned the value of ACORN in the early 1990s when he worked with them on voter registration. More important, he taught ACORN operatives how to harass and intimidate bankers into making mortgage loans to people who couldn't afford them. Obama literally planted the seeds that led to today's subprime mortgage loan crisis, world credit breakdown, the collapse of the markets and the loss of hundreds of billions in savings.

In his presidential compaign, Obama used ACORN for voter registration and employed Alinksy techniques, especially rhetorically, with his calls of "hope' and "change," never identifying what change he wanted. Start with a dissastified group (ready made from the financial collapse), proceed with calm and quiet deception on the way to exciting the masses into a frenzy of demand.

Alinsky, who believed that the revolution had to be carried out through stealth and deception with its proponents cultivating an image of centrism and pragmatism, set out in Rules for Radicals how capitalism would be overthrown by the mobilisation of the masses and the whipping up of their discontent.

Those who are lulled by the centrist defense and economic appointments have no idea of the radical redistributive changes Obama intends to ram through Congress and the media with the aid of his millions of community organizers. As Phillips observes, all those exhibiting the muscle at most represent the 54% who voted for Obama and not at all the 47% who did not, who will have no say. Indeed, since so many of the 54% were totally oblivious to or ignorant of Obama's radical past and demonstrated inclinations it is a fair assumption that they will be as astonished and dismayed at what is being foisted on them as the 47%.

The American system has produced the greatest prosperity the world has ever seen and an America of unparalleled economic strength. This is what Obama, by his past words and actions, seems bent on destroying and replacing with his socialist utopia. He's wasting no time in getting ready.

Phillips is open in her grave concern about an Obama presidency:

As history tells us, sometimes democratic elections bring to power a leader who threatens freedom. This is just such a moment.

Her fear-tinged observation:

December 9, 2008

Ruling by a Radical
Melanie Phillips

At the end of October, I wrote here about the interview Barack Obama gave back in 2001 in which he said the American Constitution was flawed because it only provided for “negative liberty” – which I suggest is what genuine freedom consists of – as opposed to what the state should do for individuals, or “positive rights” as this is known, which I suggest amounts to state control of individual behaviour. He regretted the fact that the civil rights movement had

a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change.
I commented that, since Obama recognised that the Supreme Court was unlikely to redraft the constitution, his stated aim was to bring about some kind of undermining of its values at street level:

As has been pointed out on this blog and in numerous investigations published on the net, ‘community organising’ is straight out of the Alinsky/ Gramsci Marxist playbook – a means of radicalising the proletariat so that it takes power and overturns the values of the society. Instead of the Founding Fathers and the Supreme Court, America is about to get a new constitution written by the thugs of ACORN.
Alinsky was the Marxist thinker who preached cultural revolution from the grass roots up through community organisation, and whose thinking permeates ACORN and other community groups that in the past were associated with or funded by Obama – now the nation’s First Community Organiser. Now look at the latest email Camp Obama has sent to the 13 million-plus names on its database of supporters:
Exactly one month ago, you made history by giving all Americans a real opportunity for change. Now it's time to start preparing and working for change in our communities. On December 13th and 14th, supporters are coming together in every part of the country to reflect on what we've accomplished and plan the future of this movement. Your ideas and feedback will be collected and used to guide this movement in the months and years ahead. Join your friends and neighbors – sign up to host or attend a Change is Coming house meeting near you.Since the election, the challenges we face -- and our responsibility to take action – have only gotten more urgent.

You can connect with fellow supporters, make progress on the issues you care about, and help shape the future of your community and our country.Learn what you can do now to support President-elect Obama's agenda for change and continue to make a difference in your community. Take the first important step by hosting or attending a Change is Coming house meeting. Sign up right now: http://my.barackobama.com/changeiscoming

To get our country back on track, it will take all of us working together. Barack and Joe have a clear agenda and an unprecedented opportunity for change. But they can't do it alone. Will you join us at a house meeting and help plan the next steps for this movement?

And at the Change is Coming website itself, we learn:

As President, Barack Obama is counting on you to organize in your neighborhood and continue this movement. This guide will provide you with all the tools and resources you need to host a successful Change Is Coming house meeting. At your event you will:

• Get to know others in your area who are ready to work for change.
• Determine the issues most important to your group.
• Plan how you can reach out to your local representatives and media to ensure your voices are heard.
• Get started bringing change right away by planning a service event before the Inauguration.

It is up to each one of us to take the fate of our country into our hands. Use this guide to start planning your own Change is Coming event.
Alinsky, who believed that the revolution had to be carried out through stealth and deception with its proponents cultivating an image of centrism and pragmatism, set out in Rules for Radicals how capitalism would be overthrown by the mobilisation of the masses and the whipping up of their discontent. As I noted here, the strategy revolved around creating apparently moderate local organisations that would be manipulated by community organisers – effectively deniable political agitators -- to foment grievance and dissent.

Apparently oblivious – like so many – to the implications of all this, the Washington Post has told us breathlessly that health policy is to be shaped by harnessing the campaign supporters’ database – despite a few, er, legal pitfalls.

“This is the beginning of the reinvention of what the presidency in the 21st century could be,’ said Simon Rosenberg, president of the center-left think tank NDN. ‘This will reinvent the relationship of the president to the American people in a way we probably haven't seen since FDR’s use of radio in the 1930s.”
Since those whose input is to be tapped, however, are Obama’s supporters, this “reinvention of the relationship to the American people” will effectively exclude from helping shape the policy of their country the 47 per cent of the people of that country who did not vote for Obama.

A couple of other stories have started waking up to this. Bloomberg has noted that the email list would also give Obama the ability to pressurise Congress.

“When President Obama says, "21 members of Congress are standing in the way of my health plan", one out of 10 voting Americans start to go to work on those members of Congress', said Democratic consultant Joe Trippi, who ran Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign, the first to make widespread use of the Internet to raise money and organize supporters.
It’s called Ruling by a Radical.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributor Melanie Phillips is the author of the powerful and frightening “Londonistan” which can be purchased at Amazon.com.

Warning: If you click though to the publication where the article appears and click on the link in the Obama letter to his 13 million email army that says "Sign up right now," you will get caught in installing a special Obama network on your computer. Don't.

Obama's Illinois Democratic governor has been arrested for peddling Obama's Senate seat for personal benefit. Prosecutor Fitzpatrick said he stepped in to arrest the governor to stop a crime spree. Illinois and Chicago are interrelated centers of political corruption. Convicted felon Tony Rezko, who raised more than $250,000 for Obama and made it possible for him to buy his Hyde Park mansion, was a big fundraiser for Blagojevich. The 16 counts Rezko was convicted on all involved political corrupution.

OBAMAREZKO206.jpg
Obama, Rezko

Obama had a candidate which he discussed with the governor, but she withdrew her name just before Fitzpatrick struck. Hmm. Did Fitzpatrick or somebody else tip Obama off? It turns out David Axelrod, Obama's chief strategist and, like Obama, an alumnus of the Chicago Democratic machine, said about a month ago that Obama had discussed the vacancy with the governor. Today Obama seemed to say he hadn't spoken to the governor about it and an Obama spokesman said Axelrod had "misspoke."

obamablagojevich140.jpg
Democrats Blagojevich, Obama, Chicago Mayor Daley's brother

It also was learned today that the Chicago Tribune had dug out the story last October about the Democratic governor's shakedowns of campaign contributors and state contractors as well as the parent company of the Tribune itself, but had not published the story at the request of the prosecutor, who said it would interfere with the ongoing investigation. What effect might this sordid story of political corruption have had on the presidential election if published in October?

Gov. Rod Blagojevich arrested, charged

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said today that federal authorities arrested Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich today because the governor went on "a political corruption crime spree" that needed to be stopped.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said today that federal authorities arrested Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich today because the governor went on "a political corruption crime spree" that needed to be stopped.

Fitzgerald said secret tape recordings showed Blagojevich was attempting "to sell the U.S. Senate seat" that President-elect Barack Obama recently vacated. The governor has the sole power to pick Obama's replacement under the state constitution.

"The conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave," Fitzgerald said, quoting Blagojevich as saying the Senate seat is "a bleeping valuable thing. You just don't give it away....I've got this thing and it's bleeping golden."

Blagojevich wasn't against the corrupt deal for the Senate seat, he was against "being stiffed in the corrupt deal," Fitzgerald said.

more ...

And read the whole Criminal Complaint here. It's amazing.

THE MEANING OF MUMBAI -- FOR US

Doctor Thomas Sowell wonders if the reality of Mumbai has clicked into the heads of those who have fought so bitterly to weaken our national security. He wonders if President Obama understands the hatred that seeks to kill us and is immune to offers of concessions. And the American people who "want it all," do they realize that "benefits have costs"? Are we ready to fight to defend what we have -- country, homes, families?

A self-identified Dutch homosexual "humanist," feeling the noose of Islamic supression tightening around him which will change his life forever, says

coping with the islamization of Europe is like “a process of mourning.” He is overwhelmed by a “feeling of sadness.” “I am not a warrior,” he says, “but who is? I have never learned to fight for my freedom. I was only good at enjoying it.”

Professor Sowell fears we have not awakened from our complacent slumber and that we have fallen prey to the false hope of "Can't we all get along?" Are we ready to fight for what we hold dear?

Will the horrors unleashed by Islamic terrorists in Mumbai cause any second thoughts by those who are so anxious to start weakening the American security systems currently in place, including government interceptions of international phone calls and the holding of terrorists at Guantanamo?

Maybe. But never underestimate partisan blindness in Washington or in the mainstream media where, if the Bush administration did it, then it must be wrong. . ..

[The Islamic terrorists] didn't strike again here, even though they have struck in Spain, Indonesia, England and India, among other places. Does anyone imagine that this was because they didn't want to hit America again?

Could this have had anything to do with all the security precautions that liberals have been complaining about so bitterly, from the interception of international phone calls to forcing information out of captured terrorists?

Dr. Sowell identifies the fatal ignorance:

Too many people refuse to acknowledge that benefits have costs. . . . There are people who refuse to give up anything, even to save their own lives.

He asks:

How many Americans are willing to see New York, Chicago and Los Angeles all disappear in nuclear mushroom clouds, rather than surrender to whatever outrageous demands the terrorists make?

Neither Barack Obama nor those with whom he will be surrounded in Washington show any signs of being serious about forestalling such a terrible choice by taking any action with any realistic chance of preventing a nuclear Iran. . . .

The people who flew those planes into the World Trade Center buildings could not have been bought off by any concessions, not even the hundreds of billions of dollars we are spending in bailout money today.

They want our soul-- and if they are willing to die and we are not, they will get it.


The Meaning of Mumbai
Thomas Sowell
Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Will the horrors unleashed by Islamic terrorists in Mumbai cause any second thoughts by those who are so anxious to start weakening the American security systems currently in place, including government interceptions of international phone calls and the holding of terrorists at Guantanamo?

Maybe. But never underestimate partisan blindness in Washington or in the mainstream media where, if the Bush administration did it, then it must be wrong.

Contrary to some of the more mawkish notions of what a government is supposed to be, its top job is the protection of the people. Nobody on 9/11 would have thought that we would see nothing comparable again in this country for seven long years.

Many people seem to have forgotten how, in the wake of 9/11, every great national event-- the World Series, Christmas, New Year's, the Super Bowl-- was under the shadow of a fear that this was when the terrorists would strike again.

They didn't strike again here, even though they have struck in Spain, Indonesia, England and India, among other places. Does anyone imagine that this was because they didn't want to hit America again?

more...

IRAQ: A SUCCESS STORY

Secretary of State Rice on the Sunday morning talk shows stated the obvious which the Bush-blind media don't seem to see:

[T]he overthrow of Saddam Hussein is going to turn out to be a great strategic achievement," Rice said on Fox. "Not just for the Bush administration, but for the United States of America."

"You now have a young, democratic, multi-ethnic, multi-confessional Iraq that has just signed a historic agreement with the United States establishing a long-term relationship, as well as a Strategic Forces Agreement to allow American forces to help them finish the job," she added. "That's a trade up. And you now have an Iraq that's at the center of the Middle East, that's a bulwark against Iran, without the tremendous downsides that came with the murderous and aggressive regime of Saddam Hussein."

Charles Krauthammer said it even better.

CLIMATE CHANGE -- MAN'S FAULT?

| 1 Comment

G.K. Chesterton is reputed to have said, "When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing. They believe in anything."

Climate warming is today's "anything." There are still those who believe in God -- or at least have not sunk to believing in "anything" -- and view Al Gore's global warming alarm with skepticism.

Increasing evidence undecuts the unproven claims of the Gore climate change acolytes who blame humans for causing global warming (or cooling, as temperatures suggest).

Hopefully, science will prevail over Al Gore.

Skepticism on climate change
By Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe Columnist | December 7, 2008

THE MAIL brings an invitation to register for the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change, which convenes on March 8 in New York City. Sponsored by the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based think tank, the conference will host an international lineup of climate scientists and researchers who will focus on four broad areas: climatology, paleoclimatology, the impact of climate change, and climate-change politics and economics.

But if last year's gathering is any indication, the conference is likely to cover the climate-change waterfront. There were dozens of presentations in 2008, including: "Strengths and Weaknesses of Climate Models," "Ecological and Demographic Perspectives on the Status of Polar Bears," and "The Overstated Role of Carbon Dioxide on Climate Change."

Just another forum, then, sounding the usual alarums on the looming threat from global warming?

Actually, no. The scientists and scholars Heartland is assembling are not members of the gloom-and-doom chorus. They dispute the frantic claims that global warming is an onrushing catastrophe; many are skeptical of the notion that human activity has a significant effect on the planet's climate, or that such an effect can be reliably measured or predicted. Some point out that global temperatures peaked in 1998 and have been falling since then. Indeed, several argue that a period of global cooling is on the way. Nearly all would argue that climate is always changing, and that no one really knows whether current computer models can reliably account for the myriad of factors that cause that natural variability.

On this they would all agree: Science is not settled by majority vote, especially in a field as young as climate science.

Skepticism and inquiry go to the essence of scientific progress. It is always legitimate to challenge the existing "consensus" with new data or an alternative hypothesis. Those who insist that dissent be silenced or even punished are not the allies of science, but something closer to religious fanatics.

Unfortunately, when it comes to climate change, far too many people have been all too ready to play the Grand Inquisitor. For example, The Weather Channel's senior climatologist, Heidi Cullen, has recommended that meteorologists be denied professional certification if they voice doubts about global-warming alarmism. James Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, wants oil-company executives tried for "crimes against humanity if they continue to dispute what is understood scientifically" about global warming. Al Gore frequently derides those who dispute his climate dogma as fools who should be ignored. "Climate deniers fall into the same camp as people who still don't believe we landed on the moon," Gore's spokeswoman told The Politico a few days ago.

But as the list of confirmed speakers for Heartland's climate-change conference makes clear, it is Gore whose eyes are shut to reality. Among the "climate deniers" lined up to speak are Richard Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT; the University of Alabama's Roy W. Spencer, a pioneer in the monitoring of global temperatures by satellite; Stephen McIntyre, primary author of the influential Climate Audit blog; and meteorologist John Coleman, who founded the Weather Channel in 1982. They may not stand with the majority in debates over climate science, but - Gore's dismissal notwithstanding - they are far from alone.

In fact, what prompted The Politico to solicit Gore's comment was its decision to report on the mounting dissent from global-warming orthodoxy. "Scientists urge caution on global warming," the story was headlined; it opened by noting "a growing accumulation of global cooling science and other findings that could signal that the science behind global warming may still be too shaky to warrant cap-and-trade legislation."

Coverage of such skepticism is increasing. The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Michael Scott reported last week that meteorologists at each of Cleveland's TV stations dissent from the alarmists' scenario. In the Canadian province of Alberta, the Edmonton Journal found, 68 percent of climate scientists and engineers do not believe "the debate on the scientific causes of recent climate change is settled."

Expect to see more of this. The debate goes on, as it should.

ISLAM'S "WAR AGAINST CIVILIZATION"

British writer Melanie Phillips shouts to her countrymen "Wake Up!" But the snoring goes on as Islam's War of Conquest steadily advances everywhere.

What Mumbai shows:

a war is being waged against civilization.
at the core of the Islamists' hatred of Israel festers their hatred of the Jews.
With these atrocities, moreover, Islamist attacks have moved much closer to war than conventional terrorism.

The Mumbai atrocity is a wake-up call for a frighteningly unprepared world

By Melanie Phillips
December 2, 2008

Western commentators still don't grasp what the free world is facing. This was not merely a distant horror.

Around the world, people have reacted with horror to the vile atrocities in Mumbai.

For three days, our TV screens transmitted images of carnage and chaos as the toll of murder victims climbed to upwards of 190 people, with many hundreds more injured.

Despite the fact that Western citizens were caught up in the attacks, there is nevertheless a sense that this was nothing to do with us — a horrible event happening in a faraway place.

Among commentators, moreover, there has been no small amount of confusion.

Were these terrorists motivated by the grievance between Muslims and Hindus over Kashmir, or was this a broader attack by Al Qaeda?

If British and American tourists were singled out over Iraq — which many assume is the motive for such attacks — why were Indians targeted in the Victoria railway station?

And why was an obscure outreach centre geared to Jews marked for slaughter?

Such perceptions and questions suggest that, even now, Western commentators still don't grasp what the free world is facing. This was not merely a distant horror.

We should pay the closest possible attention to what happened in Mumbai because something on this scale could well happen here.

But because we don't understand what we are actually up against, we are not doing nearly enough to prevent this — or something even worse — occurring; and if it were to happen here, we would be unable to cope.

The Mumbai atrocities show very clearly what too many obdurately deny — that a war is being waged against civilization.

It is both global and local. It is not 'our' fault; it has nothing to do with Muslim poverty, oppression or discrimination.

The Islamic fundamentalist fanatics use specific grievances — Kashmir, Iraq, Palestine, Chechnya — merely as recruiting sergeants for their worldwide holy war against all 'unbelievers'.

The Mumbai attackers targeted British, American and Indian citizens simply because they wanted to kill as many British, American and Indian 'unbelievers' as possible.

Where they found Muslims, they spared them.

They also singled out for slaughter the occupants of an outreach organization geared to Jews with no Israeli or political agenda — underscoring the point that at the core of the Islamists' hatred of Israel festers their hatred of the Jews.

This was not, as is so often described, 'mindless violence'.

On the contrary, the terrorists precisely calibrated both their choice of targets and the way in which they attacked them. This tells us many things.

India was chosen in order to further two aims. First was to foment greater tension between India and Pakistan.

No less important was the wish to destroy the ever more vital strategic alliance between India and the West in common defense against the Islamist onslaught.

That was why British and American visitors in those two grand hotels were singled out.

And that was why Mumbai itself was chosen — as the symbol of India's burgeoning commerce and prosperity and its links with the West.

The manner of these attacks also carried a message.

Many hostages were taken, but no attempt was made to use them to demand redress of any grievances. They were simply killed.

That made a statement that the terrorists' agenda is non-negotiable.

The attacks demonstrated, above all, the reach of the perpetrators and the impotence of their designated victims.

Those who believe that Islamist terror can be halted by addressing grievances around the world are profoundly mistaken.

With these atrocities, moreover, Islamist attacks have moved much closer to war than conventional terrorism.

The Iranian-born foreign affairs specialist Amir Taheri has pointed out that the Mumbai attacks embody the plan outlined by a senior Al Qaeda strategist after the U.S. decided to fight back following 9/11 — a decision that the Islamists had not expected.

This new strategy entails targeting countries with a substantial Muslim presence for 'low-intensity warfare' comprising bombings, kidnappings, the taking of hostages, the use of women and children as human shields, beheadings and other attacks that make normal life impossible.

Such a simultaneous, multi-faceted onslaught quickly reduces a city and a country to chaos. It can be repeated anywhere — and our cities must be among the most vulnerable.

The attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 came on a quiet Sunday just like this one. Power Line's remembrance of how that day changed the world is here.

Mark Steyn worries about the all-too-obvious silence of Muslims about Islamic atrocities and their loud complaints about being put "on the defensive once again about bloodshed linked to their religion.” Mumbai is just another sorry example.

And the press in its multicultural political correctness wonders just who are these youths running amok and what if anything is the purpose of this "random violence." Random?

The discovery that, for the first time in an Indian terrorist atrocity, Jews had been attacked, tortured, and killed produced from the New York Times a serene befuddlement: “It is not known if the Jewish center was strategically chosen, or if it was an accidental hostage scene.”

Hmm. Greater Bombay forms one of the world’s five biggest cities. It has a population of nearly 20 million. But only one Jewish center, located in a building that gives no external clue as to the bounty waiting therein. An “accidental hostage scene” that one of the “practitioners” just happened to stumble upon? “I must be the luckiest jihadist in town. What are the odds?”

While the media is scratching its collective head, what are the "moderate" Muslims doing, Stey wonders?

“[R]eforming” Islam is something only Muslims can do. But they show very little sign of being interested in doing it, and the rest of us are inclined to accept that. Spread a rumor that a Koran got flushed down the can at Gitmo, and there’ll be rioting throughout the Muslim world. Publish some dull cartoons in a minor Danish newspaper, and there’ll be protests around the planet. But slaughter the young pregnant wife of a rabbi in Bombay in the name of Allah, and that’s just business as usual. And, if it is somehow “understandable” that for the first time in history it’s no longer safe for a Jew to live in India, then we are greasing the skids for a very slippery slope. Muslims, the AP headline informs us, “worry about image.” Not enough.

Islamic apologists insist on referring to Islam as a "religion" when it clearly is a totalitarian ideology waving the banner of religion in its war of world conquest. ("It isn't the devil who made me do it; it's Allah.") Why not confuse non-Muslims into thinking that Islam is just another "peaceful religion"? The Irony about the Religion of Peace is that in the view of its adherents there will only be Peace when Islam rules all the world.

Some good news! The first Vietnamese-American, a Republican, has been elected to Congress in Louisiana, defeating Democrat William Jefferson (he with the $100,000 in cash in his freezer) in the heavily black Second District of Lousiana in New Orleans. Lawyer Ahn "Joseph" Cao did the impossible.

“I’m speechless right now,” he said before thanking a litany of people who he said contributed to his victory. "I came over here when I was eight years old, I had absolutely nothing. I didn't speak any English. The American dream is alive and well."

JosephCao.jpg

Cao came to the United States as a child after the fall of Saigon in 1975 and went on to earn degrees in philosophy, physics and law.

Another Louisiania Republican won election to Congress to replace a retiring Republican. In the 4th Congressional District in western Louisiana, Republican John Fleming squeaked past Democrat Paul Carmouche in the race to replace retiring 10-term Rep. Jim McCrery, R-La.

Details here.

By their adoption of multiculturalism -- that is, the belief that all cultures are equally good, except Western civilization, which is universally bad and responsible for the world's ills -- as their religion, Western elites (which include the elites in India) are putting millions in extreme danger.

The Middle East's leading political analyst Caroline Glick finds the post-Mumbai reporting, analyses and governmental commentary unreal if not insane. The mulitculturists immediately began blaming the victims because of the grievances the jihadists had supposedly suffered at the hands of India (ignoring the history of Islamic murder of 80 million Hindus in their centuries of assault). Newspapers such as the New York Times were at pains not to identify that all the attackers were Muslims (instead they were called Pakistanis and one Indian!) and to overlook the fact that the small, out-of-the-way Jewish center had been deliberately targeted.

The jihadists in Mumbai, like their counterparts from Gaza to Baghdad to Guantanamo Bay, have been defended, and their acts and motivations have been explained away, by their allies and loyal apologists: Western multiculturalists. Multiculturalism is a quasi-religion predicated on both moral relativism and a basic belief in the inherent avarice of the West - particularly of the US and Israel. Multiculturalists assert that Westerners - or, in the case of India, Hindus - are to blame for all acts of violence carried out against them by non-Westerners.

What the Mubai attack and its aftermath shows:

THE ATTACKS in Mumbai and the multiculturalists' rush to minimize their significance exposed two disturbing truths about the global jihad. First, they showed that the jihadists are quick studies. With each passing day, their capacity to attack grows larger. . . .
THE SECOND truth about the global jihad that the Mumbai attacks exposed is that there is nothing that jihadists can do to make the multiculturalists stop defending them. And there is nothing effective that democratic governments can do to defend against the jihadists that multiculturalists will deem acceptable. This is the case because multiculturalists cannot accept the fact that the jihadists are waging war against the West without disavowing multiculturalism itself. And since they will not disavow what has become their religion, they will never be convinced that they must stop defending jihadists.
This frightening] "refusal to acknowledge the fact of the global jihad [is shared by] many of the governments principally targeted by jihadist regimes and terror armies. Take the incoming Obama administration for example.

Iran daily threatens to destroy the US, annihilate Israel, close the Straits of Hormuz, use nuclear weapons and proliferate nuclear weapons to other states. It controls Syria, Lebanon and Gaza. It is the primary sponsor of the insurgency in Iraq and, with Pakistan, the major sponsor of the insurgency in Afghanistan. It has cultivated strategic ties with US foes in the Western Hemisphere like Venezuela, Nicaragua and Ecuador.

Yet one of the first foreign policy initiatives promised by the incoming Obama administration is to attempt to diplomatically engage Iran with the aim of striking a grand bargain with the mullahs. . . .

Unless something changes soon, the consequences of the jihadist-multicultural alliance will be suffered by millions and millions of people.

To read Glick's full analysis, click here.

Note: A Power Line reader notes just how assiduously the opinion-setters in the media are going through these multicultural hoops to avoid linking Islam with terror.

Update: Mark Steyn in his weekly column also points out the way in which the cowering media avoids linking "Islam" to "terrorism" in their reports, instead referring to "gunmen," "militants," "youths" and "teenage gunmen."

Columnist Charles Krauthammer points out tha the American and Iraqi success in hammering out an agreement on military and strategic cooperation is an extraordinary achievement. "It constitutes our best hope for the kind of fundamental political-cultural change in the Arab sphere that alone will bring about the defeat of Islamic extremism." He explains why this is so:

A self-sustaining, democratic and pro-American Iraq is within our reach. It would have two hugely important effects in the region.

First, it would constitute a major defeat for Tehran, the putative winner of the Iraq war, according to the smart set. Iran's client, Moqtada al-Sadr, still hiding in Iran, was visibly marginalized in parliament -- after being militarily humiliated in Basra and Baghdad by the new Iraqi security forces. Moreover, the major religious Shiite parties were the ones that negotiated, promoted and assured passage of the strategic alliance with the United States, against the most determined Iranian opposition.

Second is the regional effect of the new political entity on display in Baghdad -- a flawed yet functioning democratic polity with unprecedented free speech, free elections and freely competing parliamentary factions. For this to happen in the most important Arab country besides Egypt can, over time (over generational time, the time scale of the war on terror), alter the evolution of Arab society. It constitutes our best hope for the kind of fundamental political-cultural change in the Arab sphere that alone will bring about the defeat of Islamic extremism. After all, newly sovereign Iraq is today more engaged in the fight against Arab radicalism than any country on earth, save the United States -- with which, mirabile dictu, it has now thrown in its lot.

Read it all.

Not only has President Bush kept the nation safe for eight years, which Mumbai reminds us is no easy task, he has planted the tree of liberty in the heart of the Islamic world. May it grow in numbers.

libertytreephotoboston.jpg

-- Symbol of Sons of Liberty, Boston, 1765

Saxby Chambliss won the run-off in Georgia to preserve a vital seat for U.S. Senate Republicans, holding Democrats short of a filibuster-proof 60 votes. He achieved a smashing victory, capturing 57% of the vote.

This morning Senator Chambliss was interviewed on Fox's morning program. He thanked all those Republican heavyweights who had come into the state to campaign for him -- Giuliani, Romney, McCain, Huckabee among others. Sarah Palin came at his invitation the day before of and the day of the election. Chamblis said this:

“You want to peak on the last day, and we had John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Governor [Mitt] Romney and Rudy Giuliani. But Sarah Palin came in on the last day and man, she was dynamite. We packed the houses everywhere we went.”

Kilmeade asked, “You saw all the heavyweights in the Republican Party show up . . . tell me about Sarah Palin. Will her popularity last?”

“I cannot see it diminishing," the senator answered. “I can’t overstate the impact she had down here. All these folks did a great job, they all allowed us to add momentum, but when she walks in a room, folks just explode. She’s a dynamic lady, a great administrator, and I think she’s got a great future in the Republican Party.”

Barbarians.

In Mumbai, Islamic killers murdered 172 or more. Random killings in restaurants, hotel corridors, shopping malls, aiming at foreigners and rich Indians to strike terror, hurt commerce and destroy terrorism. Ramdom, except for Mohammad's favorite target, Jews, whom they sought out in a small Orthodox synagogue serving Jews passing through Mumbai. Those there were all tortured and killed, except for a 2-year old left crying hysterically over the twisted bodies of his mother, six-month pregnant, and rabbi father.

Not that far away Muslim pirates terrorize shipping lanes for hostages and ransom, much as Muslim pirates did in the Mediterranean for centuries till President Jefferson put an end to it.

There is no right or wrong as the West knows it in Islam. The model is the perfect man Mohammad. If he raped, pillaged, raided caravans and killed Jews, why, then, true believers in Islam can do what their founder did. And they do.

As Mohammad did it for wealth and power, so too do his modern day followers.

A personal note: This summer a wonderful cruise took place on the Regatta, an identical sister ship of the Nautica, both owned by the cruise line Oceania. So the Nautica's brush with Muslim pirates has special meaning.

Allowing this alien ideology into the West is a serious mistake that hopefully will be corrected before it is too late. It is late already for Europe.


Cruise passengers describe "cheeky" pirate attack
By SEBASTIAN ABBOT, Associated Press Writer Sebastian Abbot, Associated Press Writer
Wed Dec 3, 5:12 pm ET

MUSCAT, Oman – Ordered to get inside and stay down, Oregon tourist Clyde Thornburg heard the pirates' rifle shots hit the side of the luxury cruise liner — "Pop! Pop! Pop!" — then felt the ship speed up to escape.

At this port north of the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden, passengers told The Associated Press on Wednesday they had been warned of the danger even before they embarked, and the crew used a device that blasted painful high-decibel sound waves to keep the marauders at bay.

The attack on the nearly 600-foot-long cruise ship in the dangerous waters between Yemen and Somalia was the latest evidence pirates have grown more brazen, viewing almost any vessel as a potential target — even a large luxury liner with hundreds of tourists on board.

But the assault on the M/S Nautica lasted only five minutes Sunday, and the ship with about 650 passengers and 400 crew members sped away quickly and was not seized.

"We didn't think they would be cheeky enough to attack a cruise ship," said Wendy Armitage, of Wellington, New Zealand, shortly after disembarking for a daylong port stop in the Omani capital of Muscat.

During the assault, pirates on one of two skiffs fired eight rifle shots at the ship, according to its American operator, Oceania Cruises, Inc. The captain ordered the passengers inside and accelerated the cruise liner quickly, leaving the pirates far behind in their 20- to 30-foot wooden speedboats, powered with twin outboard motors.

"I couldn't see them shooting, but I heard them hitting the ship, 'Pop! Pop! Pop!'" said Thornburg, of Bend, Ore. "It wasn't really scary because the captain announced for the safety of everybody to get inside and get down, and by that time he was pouring on the coals to the ship and was outrunning them."

Lynne Pincini of Australia said she was heading to a friend's cabin when the order came to keep their heads down and stay inside.

"We heard the announcement, and of course we went straight out on the balcony to have a look," she said. "It was like a very large speedboat. It was running alongside the boat."

The passengers were on a monthlong cruise from Rome to Singapore, a route that took them through the Gulf of Aden between Somalia and Yemen, where pirates have hijacked dozens of vessels this year.

Cargo ships, cruise liners and other vessels use the route — the only access to the Suez Canal shortcut between East and West — unless they are willing to add weeks to the trip by traveling around the southern tip of Africa.

At the beginning of the journey, the Nautica's captain briefed the passengers on what the vessel could do to ward off pirates.

Alicia Moorehead said they were told the Nautica could outrun pirates and was equipped with high-pressure water hoses and a device that blasts painful sound waves at any bandits. Such devices can emit sounds up to 150 decibels — well above the normal pain threshold of 120 decibels — focused on targets several hundred yards away.

"We had been reassured that they had these ghetto blasters that could go through them. And we could outrun anything that they had," Pincini said.

Moorehead's husband, Pat, said the crew laid out the water hoses before the vessel entered the Gulf of Aden.

"They had laid out the fire hoses for a high pressure repellant. They never did fire them up, but they were ready for them," said Moorehead, a native of Long Beach, Calif.

"I will say the crew was very calm. They had prepared for this. Every staff member has an assignment in case of an emergency, and every one of them did it calmly and quickly," he added.

Some passengers said the crew used the long-range acoustic device to ward off the attack, and at least two passengers described hearing two booms after the pirates fired their rifles.

Oceania Cruises would not comment on specific details of the ship's security other than to say the ship's captain and crew used "evasive maneuvers and took all prescribed precautions."

Roger Middleton, author of a recent report on piracy for the London-based think tank Chatham House, said such non-lethal defenses are preferable to having armed guards on board — but their effectiveness is limited. Earplugs can foil the sound device, for example.

The ship's high speed and the difficulty of boarding such a large ship probably were the reasons the pirates were not successful, Middleton said.

"Lots of pirate attacks fail ... They will go for anything and keep trying until they get on board," he said. "I think they see these things as how much money they get out of them. And lots of Western tourists is very valuable."

International warships patrol the Gulf of Aden and have created a security corridor under a U.S.-led initiative, but attacks on shipping have not abated.

In about 100 attacks off the Somali coast this year, 40 vessels have been seized. Thirteen remain in the hands of pirates, including a Saudi supertanker filled with $100 million worth of crude and a Ukrainian ship loaded with 33 battle tanks.

Large ransoms are usually paid for the release of hijacked vessels, but a Somali official maintained Wednesday that a Yemeni cargo ship and its eight crew members were freed without a ransom after an appeal by local clan elders and regional officials.

The ship, released Tuesday, was seized last month in the Arabian Sea. A Yemeni security official had said the pirates were demanding a $2 million ransom

ISLAMIC MUMBAI KILLERS TARGETED JEWS

The ten Islamic terrorists sent from Pakistan to commit murder in Mumbai were specifically told to target the small Jewish center for Jews traveling through India. Five hostages were found tortured and murdered, so badly so that the pathologist said he had never seen such brutality. The 29-year old rabbi from New York and his six-month pregnant wife of 28 were murdered, their 2-year old son survived. What did they have to do with Kashmir, Iraq, Hindu violence? They were sought out and killed because they were Jews.

Orphan of New York Rabbi and Wife Killed in Mumbai Attacks Leaves India
Monday , December 01, 2008

The 2-year-old orphan found drenched in the blood of his parents at the besieged Jewish center in Mumbai left India on Monday on an Israeli Air Force jet, accompanied by the Indian woman who rescued him.

MumbaiJewishOrphan.jpg

Dec. 1: Moshe Holtzberg, the orphan of the rabbi and wife slain in the Mumbai Jewish center, cries during a memorial service at a synagogue in Mumbai.

Moshe Holtzberg's parents, Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka, ran the headquarters of the ultra-Orthodox Chabad Lubavitch movement in Mumbai — one of 10 targets besieged by gunman over the 60-hour rampage.

During the attack Thursday, Sandra Samuel, a nanny who worked there for years, had locked herself in a laundry room when she heard Rivkah screaming for her to help. Then the screaming stopped, and it was quiet, said Robert Katz, a New York-based fund-raiser for an Israeli orphanage founded by the boy's family.

Samuel cracked open the door of her hiding place and saw a deserted staircase. She ran up one flight and saw the rabbi and his wife, covered in blood and shot to death. The child was crying beside his parents' bodies, his pants drenched in blood.

She snatched the boy, bolted down the stairs and out of the building.

"She's been there with him throughout," Katz said.

Six civilians were killed in the center — all of them Jewish and four of them Israeli, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Andy David said. In all, more than 170 died in attacks on 10 targets across the Indian city.

Moshe was accompanied on the trip to Israel by his maternal grandparents, Yehudit and Shimon Rosenberg, who were reunited with their grandson when they arrived in Mumbai on Friday.

"It was pure raw emotion, tears of joy, tears of sorrow, incredible emotion, understandably out of control," said Katz.

Asked about Moshe's condition, he said: "I don't know that he can comprehend or that he will remember seeing his parents shot in cold blood."

Before the child's departure, dozens gathered at a synagogue in Mumbai for a memorial service for the Jews slain at the Chabad center. During the service, Moshe burst into tears and called out "Ima," Hebrew for "mother."

Weeping, Shimon Rosenberg delivered a eulogy for his daughter and son-in-law, reciting the Hebrew phrases from the Book of Job: "The Lord giveth. The Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."

Moshe's father was a dual American-Israeli citizen and his mother was Israeli. The couple lived in Israel and Brooklyn before they moved to Mumbai in 2003.

Samuel, an Indian resident, will live with Moshe in Israel "so at least he has someone he knows and recognizes and loves," said Katz.

Though Samuel has no passport or papers, Moshe's grand-uncle, Rabbi Yitzchak David Grossman, helped arrange for her to get a visa to Israel. In a sad coincidence, Grossman is founder of the Migdal Ohr, which says it is Israel's largest facility for orphaned and disadvantaged children.

The Israeli jet that carried Moshe and Samuel also carried the remains of his parents and the others killed at the Chabad House, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said.

Government officials planned a small ceremony upon the plane's arrival.

"There are going to be thousands of people at this funeral," said Katz, executive vice president of Migdal Ohr's fundraising arm in New York. "This couple wasn't living in the West Bank. They weren't settlers. They weren't occupying anyone's land. They were killed because they were Jews, simple and plain."

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From the Hadith, the sayings and actions of Mohammad:

.“The Last Hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: `Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him’; but the tree Gharkad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 40, Number 6985).

The Wall Street Journal continues its extraordinary reporting of the murders by Islamic supremacists in Mumbai. (For its earlier report, click here.) Evidence collected by American and Indian intelligence points to a Pakistani mastermind of the massacre. All ten of the terrorists were Pakistani. The one survivor has been confirming information that was intercepted by American communications monitoring.

Read the story that will appear in tomorrow's WSJ:

DECEMBER 3, 2008

India Names Mumbai Mastermind Article

By GEETA ANAND, MATTHEW ROSENBERG, YAROSLAV TROFIMOV and ZAHID HUSSAIN

MUMBAI -- India has accused a senior leader of the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba of orchestrating last week's terror attacks that killed at least 172 people here, and demanded the Pakistani government turn him over and take action against the group.
Just two days before hitting the city, the group of 10 terrorists who ravaged India's financial capital communicated with Yusuf Muzammil and four other Lashkar leaders via a satellite phone that they left behind on a fishing trawler they hijacked to get to Mumbai, a senior Mumbai police official told The Wall Street Journal. The entire group also underwent rigorous training in a Lashkar-e-Taiba camp in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, the official said.

Mr. Muzammil had earlier been in touch with an Indian Muslim extremist who scoped out Mumbai locations for possible attack before he was arrested early this year, said another senior Indian police official. The Indian man, Faheem Ahmed Ansari, had in his possession layouts drawn up for the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel and Mumbai's main railway station, both prime targets of last week's attack, the police official said.

Mr. Ansari, who also made sketches and maps of locations in southern Mumbai that weren't attacked, had met Mr. Muzammil and trained at the same Lashkar camp as the terrorists in last week's attack, an official said.

U.S. officials agreed that Mr. Muzammil was a focus of their attention in the attacks, though they stopped short of calling him the mastermind. "That is a name that is definitely on the radar screen," a U.S. counterterrorism official said.

Information gathered in the probe also continues to point to a connection to Lashkar-e-Taiba, that official said. Along with a confession from the one gunman captured in the attacks, officials cited phone calls intercepted by satellite during the attacks that connected the assailants to members of Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan, and the recovered satellite phone from the boat.

It also emerged Tuesday that U.S. authorities had warned Indian officials of a pending attack by sea. Hasan Gafoor, Mumbai police commissioner, told reporters there was a general warning issued in September that hotels could be targeted as well, after the bombing of the Marriot Hotel in Islamabad.

Two militants arrested in early 2007 also told police officials then that they were part of a band of eight Lashkar members who slipped into India by boat from Karachi, Pakistan, and made their way to Mumbai, an Indian police official in Kashmir said in an interview Tuesday. The group broke into pairs -- just as last week's attackers did -- and made their way north using safehouses provided by local sympathizers, the police official said.

The evidence cited by investigators is giving fresh ammunition to the Indian government, which has long tried to pressure Pakistan into cracking down on Lashkar-e-Taiba. India claims the group enjoys support from elements of the Pakistani intelligence agency. Pakistan denies that and outlawed the organization in 2002, but has done little to curtail its operations.

Mr. Muzammil's name is on a list of people -- numbering about 20 in all -- that India gave Pakistan earlier this week, demanding their immediate extradition, a senior Pakistani official told the Journal. The official said Pakistan was examining India's list of suspects and has assured New Delhi that action would be taken against them if there is evidence of involvement in the attacks.

Any move by the shaky civilian government of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari against Lashkar-e-Taiba could create a huge backlash, however, particularly from Islamic groups, said a senior official in Pakistan. On Tuesday, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani convened a meeting of all of the country's political parties in the capital to develop a joint response to Indian demands for extradition.

"The government of Pakistan has offered a joint investigation mechanism and we are ready to compose such a team which will help the investigation," Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in a televised statement. Mr. Qureshi, however, declined to say whether Pakistan would hand over any of those sought by India.

The Mumbai attacks have ratcheted up tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors, who have been exchanging verbal fire for the past several days and sparking fears of a conflict. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is scheduled to arrive in India Wednesday, as is Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Indian authorities say evidence highlights how Lashkar has broadened its operations to include recruitment of both Indian and Pakistani Muslim extremists.

Lashkar-e-Taiba -- literally Army of the Good -- has been implicated by Indian officials in several recent terrorist attacks on Indian soil. The group initially focused on fighting the Indian army in the disputed state of Kashmir. Over the years, it has expanded its cause into the rest of India and aims to establish Islamic rule.

India has told Pakistan that the latest attacks in Mumbai were masterminded by Mr. Muzammil, aided by others in Lashkar's senior ranks including an operative named Asrar Shah, according to a senior Pakistani official. Mr. Muzammil, a Pakistani in his mid-30s, became head of Lashkar-e-Taiba's anti-Indian planning cell some three months ago, according to Dipankar Banerjee, director of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, an independent think tank in New Delhi. Indian authorities believe he is in Pakistan but officials there haven't acknowledged that.

India also claims the attacks were approved by Hafiz Muhammed Saeed, the Pakistani official said. Mr. Saeed is the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the parent organization of the Lashkar group. Mr. Saeed, who is free in Pakistan, denied the accusations. "India has always accused me without any evidence," he told Pakistan's GEO News television channel.

Indian investigators -- helped in part by the testimony of the one terrorist they captured alive, Mohammed Ajmal Kasab -- say they now possess solid proof. "We have made substantial progress in the investigation," said A.N. Roy, director general of the State Police of Maharashtra, where Mumbai is located.

According to Mumbai police chief Hasan Gafoor, Mr. Kasab told interrogators that he and fellow gunmen spent between a year and 18 months in a Lashkar-e-Taiba camp.

An armed policeman guards the Victoria Terminus station on Tuesday in Mumbai.
The 10 militants left Pakistan's port city of Karachi on Nov. 23 aboard a ship called the Al Husseini, which also carried a crew of seven, another senior police official said. Investigators believe that all the 10 gunmen were Pakistani because they spoke Punjabi or Punjabi-accented Urdu.

When they entered Indian waters, the terrorists hijacked a fishing trawler called the Kuber and took its five crew members prisoner. The terrorists transferred four of them to the Al Husseini and they were subsequently killed, police believe. The terrorists kept the Kuber's lead crewman alive and sailed close to Mumbai.

The terrorists abandoned the Kuber in haste, fearing detection by an approaching vessel, the senior police official said. In the process, they forgot their satellite phone on the Kuber. Investigators found in the call log the numbers of five people, including Mr. Muzammil, two of his deputies and his personal aide, the senior police official said. Indian officials had already intercepted phone conversations made while the terrorists were traveling to Mumbai.

Indian Muslim leaders are skeptical of Lashkar's reach into India. But police say Lashkar has increasingly sought contacts and recruits among Indian extremists. In October, for instance, five Muslims from the southern state of Kerala were recruited into Lashkar-e-Taiba and traveled to the Indian part of Kashmir, according to T.K. Vinod Kumar, Kerala's deputy inspector-general of police. They tried to cross the line of control that runs between India and Pakistan and reach training camps on the Pakistani side.
Four among the group were killed in a firefight with the Indian military during that attempt. The fifth, construction worker Abdul Jabbar, was arrested two weeks ago, Mr. Kumar says.

Unlike other Pakistani-based jihadist organizations, Lashkar draws its recruits across a broad social spectrum, from universities as well as among unemployed youths. The majority come from Punjab; Mr. Kasab used to live in the Punjabi village of Faridkot, according to Indian investigators.

In March 2007 when two militants were arrested in the Indian-controlled section of Kashmir, the pair told police that Lashkar was looking to start slipping people into India from the sea to avoid heavily guarded land borders. The sea also provided a winter route to Kashmir for Lashkar members, when high mountain passes crossing to India's part of the state are often blanketed by deep snow.

—Siobhan Gorman, David Crawford, Tariq Engineer and Peter Wonacott contributed to this article.

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FREEDOM OF SPEECH IS "RIGHT," AFTER ALL

Once again, Professor Sowell speaks clearly about the growing fascism of the left. This time he shows how the fascists operate in academia. (Hounding Lawrence Summers out of the presidency of Harvard for the unforgivable sins of supporting the return of ROTC to campus and wondering out loud if genetics had anything to do with the poor performance of females in science is another example of academic fascism at work.)


Freedom and the Left
Thomas Sowell
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Most people on the left are not opposed to freedom. They are just in favor of all sorts of things that are incompatible with freedom.

Freedom ultimately means the right of other people to do things that you do not approve of. Nazis were free to be Nazis under Hitler. It is only when you are able to do things that other people don't approve that you are free.

One of the most innocent-sounding examples of the left's many impositions of its vision on others is the widespread requirement by schools and by college admissions committees that students do "community service."

There are high schools across the country from which you cannot graduate, and colleges where your application for admission will not be accepted, unless you have engaged in activities arbitrarily defined as "community service."

The arrogance of commandeering young people's time, instead of leaving them and their parents free to decide for themselves how to use that time, is exceeded only by the arrogance of imposing your own notions as to what is or is not a service to the community.

Working in a homeless shelter is widely regarded as "community service"-- as if aiding and abetting vagrancy is necessarily a service, rather than a disservice, to the community.

Is a community better off with more people not working, hanging out on the streets, aggressively panhandling people on the sidewalks, urinating in the street, leaving narcotics needles in the parks where children play?

This is just one of the ways in which handing out various kinds of benefits to people who have not worked for them breaks the connection between productivity and reward, as far as they are concerned.

But that connection remains as unbreakable as ever for society as a whole. You can make anything an "entitlement" for individuals and groups but nothing is an entitlement for society as a whole, not even food or shelter, both of which have to be produced by somebody's work or they will not exist.

What "entitlements" for some people mean is forcing other people to work for their benefit. As a bumper sticker put it: "Work harder. Millions of people on welfare are depending on you."

The most fundamental problem, however, is not which particular activities students are required to engage in under the title of "community service."

The most fundamental question is: What in the world qualifies teachers and members of college admissions committees to define what is good for society as a whole, or even for the students on whom they impose their arbitrary notions?

What expertise do they have that justifies overriding other people's freedom? What do their arbitrary impositions show, except that fools rush in where angels fear to tread?
What lessons do students get from this, except submission to arbitrary power?

Supposedly students are to get a sense of compassion or noblesse oblige from serving others. But this all depends on who defines compassion. In practice, it means forcing students to undergo a propaganda experience to make them receptive to the left's vision of the world.

I am sure those who favor "community service" requirements would understand the principle behind the objections to this if high school military exercises were required.

Indeed, many of those who promote compulsory "community service" activities are bitterly opposed to even voluntary military training in high schools or colleges, though many other people regard military training as more of a contribution to society than feeding people who refuse to work.

THE ISLAMIC TERROR ATTACK ON MUMBAI

Just ten Islamic terrorists did it all.

Just ten men paralyzed Mumbai for three days, killing at least 174. Only one survived and he's from Pakistan.

This gripping account by the Wall Street Journal is a tale of horror and sheer incompetence on the part of the Indian police and much of the military.

DECEMBER 1, 2008

India Under Fire for Security in Wake of Attacks

At Tourist Haunts and Train Station, Swiftly Launched Assault Overwhelmed Police; Home Affairs Minister Steps Down

By YAROSLAV TROFIMOV, GEETA ANAND, PETER WONACOTT and MATTHEW ROSENBERG

MUMBAI -- As waiters started setting dinner buffets in Mumbai's luxurious hotels, the killings that would ravage this Indian metropolis began out of sight, in the muddy waters of the Arabian Sea.

In the dusk hours of Wednesday, fisherman Chandrakant Tare was sailing his boat about 100 yards from a fishing trawler when he spotted young men killing a sailor on board. He says he saw them toss the body into the engine room. Assuming he had stumbled upon pirates, Mr. Tare says, he sped away.

Hours later, at least 10 terrorists, having arrived by small craft on the shores of Mumbai, began to sow death and destruction at will across India's financial capital.

Pieced together from interviews with dozens of witnesses and officials, this account of the three days of the battle for Mumbai shows just how a small but ruthless group of skilled militants, attacking multiple targets in quick succession, managed to bring one of the world's largest cities to its knees. The human toll -- currently at 174 fatalities, including nine terrorists -- was exacerbated by the Indian authorities' lack of preparedness for such a major attack. But the chain of events also points to just how vulnerable any major city can be to this type of urban warfare.

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HOW TO REALLY SAVE THE AMERICAN AUTO INDUSTRY

So the Big Three auto executives will troop into Congress tomorrow armed with spiffy new plans they will never be able to implement. Should Congress pour yet more money down a bottomless pit?

A special approach to bankruptcy to take account of the needs of continuing financing diffiiculties and warranties along with a drastic overhaul of unsustainable costs could be the best way of saving the American car industry and as many jobs as possible at the Big Three and all the suppliers they work with.

A Real Bailout for Auto Makers

By JAY PALMER
November 29, 2008
Barron's

Detroit's only hope may be to let ailing auto makers file for prepackaged bankruptcy.

IS A BANKRUPTCY THE BEST OPTION FOR GENERAL MOTORS, Chrysler and Ford ? While their CEOs insist otherwise and the risks would be high, a growing chorus of outsiders says yes. "It's the only real option that would allow GM to take the steps necessary for its long-term survival," asserts John Casesa, managing partner of New York's Casesa Strategic Advisors.

Unless the companies solve their problems, they're hurtling toward an ignominious fate: liquidation.

THE GREAT ENERGY DELUSION

The key point:

Al Gore and Barack Obama have great ambitions for conversion of existing energy sources to green ones: Gore wants all electricity to be powered by wind and solar in a decade. Obama wants our use of oil to end in ten years.

Delusional, our author says:

The historical verdict is unassailable: because of the requisite technical and infrastructural imperatives and because of numerous (and often entirely unforeseen) socio-economic adjustments, energy transitions in large economies and on a global scale are inherently protracted affairs.

That is why, barring some extraordinary commitments and actions, none of the promises for greatly accelerated energy transitions will be realized, and during the next decade none of the new energy sources and prime movers will make a major difference by capturing 20 percent to 25 percent of its respective market.

A world without fossil fuel combustion is highly desirable and, to be optimistic, our collective determination, commitment, and persistence could accelerate its arrival—but getting there will demand not only high cost but also considerable patience: coming energy transitions will unfold across decades, not years.

Unfortunately, this delusion and another one, the unproven assumption that human activity is having a significant impact on the earth’s climate, will be driving our political leaders into making expensive mistakes that will harm the national security.

The nation should have as a goal becoming independent of hostile and unstable producers of energy as soon as possible. The quickest way to that end is developing the energy resources of this country – offshore, in the Rocky Mountains’ shale, in Alaska. And all of this can be done by job-creating American companies with more environmental sensitivity than will be done in energy development almost anywhere else in the world. Ten years from now the world will be using more oil, not less, and certainly it will not be an oil-free world. To the extent elected delusionists prevent the United States from developing our own resources, they are adding to global pollution – in waters, on land and in the air as well as handicapping our drive to national security independence from overseas energy suppliers.

Pouring all money into "acceptable clean" energy development puts the goal of energy independence off longer and does not take utilize the obvious advantages we have, such as the world's largest repository of coal. Furthermore, switching to alternatives to coal, oil and natural gas will require enormous additional investment in infrastructure and the junking of trillions of dollars of investment already made. The nation needs to consider carefully the effects on our economy and national security before embracing costly, unproven assumptions that will lead to little if any good and probably do great harm.

As for what cannot be done in a decade or two, consider this.


Moore's Curse and the Great Energy Delusion

By Vaclav Smil From The American (A Magazine): Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Our transition away from fossil fuels will take decades—if it happens at all.

During the early 1970s we were told by the promoters of nuclear energy that by the year 2000 America’s coal-based electricity generation plants would be relics of the past and that all electricity would come from nuclear fission. What’s more, we were told that the first generation fission reactors would by then be on their way out, replaced by super-efficient breeder reactors that would produce more fuel than they were initially charged with.

During the early 1980s some aficionados of small-scale, distributed, “soft” (today’s “green”) energies saw America of the first decade of the 21st century drawing 30 percent to 50 percent of its energy use from renewables (solar,wind, biofuels). For the past three decades we have been told how natural gas will become the most important source of modern energy: widely cited forecasts of the early 1980s had the world deriving half of its energy from natural gas by 2000. And a decade ago the promoters of fuel cell cars were telling us that such vehicles would by now be on the road in large numbers, well on their way to displacing ancient and inefficient internal combustion engines.

These are the realities of 2008: coal-fired power plants produce half of all U.S. electricity, nuclear stations 20 percent, and there is not a single commercial breeder reactor operating anywhere in the world; in 2007 the United States derives about 1.7 percent of its energy from new renewable conversions (corn-based ethanol, wind, photovoltaic solar, geothermal); natural gas supplies about 24 percent of the world’s commercial energy—less than half the share predicted in the early 1980s and still less than coal with nearly 29 percent; and there are no fuel-cell cars.

The fiscal crisis will be on everyone's minds for quite awhile.

The world financial network hangs together because of confidence.

What shattered that confidence was the bursting of the housing bubble and the defaults beginning with the subprime loans encouraged, indeed, required by Democrats in Congress led by the likes of Massachusetts' own Congressman Barney Frank. Frank and other Democrats also twisted arms at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy the risky loans and package them up and send them around the world with the implicit U.S. guaranty behind them. Frank, the top Democrat in the House of Representatives on financial matters, kept telling concerned Republicans that Fannie and Freddie were in great condition and that no reform or new regulation was needed. Frank convinced fellow Democrats in the Senate this was the case and together they blocked reform legislation in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006.

What percent of Massachusetts -- and U.S. -- residents know that Democratic policies and actions cost them 30-50% of their life savings?

"Who blew that hole in your IRA?" Barney Frank. But he wasn't alone.

Of course, the voluble Frank is on the airwaves regularly blaming everyone else but himself and his colleagues, The Democrats in Congress worked hard to get their constituents who couldn't afford homes to get "subprime" (that is, very risky) mortgage loans. They got the loans all right, they got their homes, but when the housing bubble burst their mortgage defaults caused them agony and in many cases the loss of their homes.

The collapse of the subprime market triggered the financial panic that has cost the world trillions and frozen the credit system, leading to job as well as financial losses.
Democrats are now once again hard at work, this time figuring out how much of taxpayers' money will be poured into the black hole they created in the hope they will avert the Depression that their good intentions and bad judgment has hurtling towards us

After all, as Frank says, there are plenty of rich people out there to tax.

The whole sorry tale of Democratic responsibility is still being written, but a good start would be here and here.

FROM THEE TO ME TO MINE

The president-elect says he wants to "jolt" the economy. Metaphor aside, will it do any good?

Professor Thomas Sowell sees the frenzy whipped up by the media as a wonderful opportunity for politicians to spend money on their favorite groups which they will take away from those who have earned it. Could that be?

What we are talking about is a golden political opportunity for politicians to use the current financial crisis to fundamentally change an economy that has been successful for more than two centuries, so that politicians can henceforth micro-manage all sorts of businesses and play Robin Hood, taking from those who are not likely to vote for them and transferring part of their earnings to those who will vote for them . . . .

No doubt we could all use a few billion dollars every now and then. But the question of who actually gets it will be strictly in the hands of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. It is one of the few parts of the legacy of the Bush administration that the Democrats are not likely to criticize.

Professor Sowell's timely warning is of what looks like a good imitation of totalitarian socialism. But who can stop them?

Read "Jolting" the Economy

War is being waged by Islamic supremacists worldwide. Their goal is to conquer the world. Don't laugh. They've been at it for 1400 years, with much success over the centuries. With the Middle East awash with billions of petrodollars, a potential support base of 1.3 billion Muslims worldwide, of which an estimated 10-15% are supportive of the supremists' goal, the followers of Mohammad are in the best position to wage war they have been in since 1453.

While they don't currently have military might to attack the U.S. frontally, they can inflict damage through terrorist attacks, as happened on 9/11/2001. The attack of just ten Muslim terrorists in Mumbai is illustrative as well. Fortunately, since the Bush Administration quickly went on high alert immediately after 9/11 and strengthened national defenses, it has became much more difficult for Islamic forces to launch a major strike in this country. In fact, several significant plots have been thwarted and the nation has been able to protect itself successfully in the years since.

However, there is a quieter offensive underway to weaken our culture to advance the cause of Islamic supremacism that largely escapes notice. One of the foremost experts on Islamic supremacism who is very much focused on Islamic efforts to undermine society is Robert Spencer. He calls this under-the-radar, quiet offensive to establish Islam as the ruler in the U.S. "Stealth Jihad," which he describes in detail in his book of that name.

Jihad in common parlance means violent war against unbelievers, which, according to Mohammad, is to be unrelenting until victory is achieved. Stealth Jihad is part of that same war, but it is being being waged by non-violent means. Among other things, it involves raising money for "charity," which gets funneled to support terrorist organizations and Islamic fighters in other parts of the world -- as well as Stealth Jihad in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere..

A major victory was won last week in a Dallas courtroom when the Holy Land Foundation and several of its leaders were found guilty of knowingly funding the terrorist organization Hamas in Gaza. During the course of this trial and a prior one it was revealed that the Holy Land Foundation was but one of up to 70 Islamic organizations in a network established by the Muslim Brotherhood to undermine the United States from within with the ultimate goal of replacing the U.S. Constituton with Islamic law, Sharia. To be specific, the goal is to conduct in the United States

"a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and 'sabotaging' its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah's religion is made victorious over all other religions."

GUANTANAMO TO BE CLOSED? WHERE DO 'THEY' GO?

If President Obama (after January 20) closes Guantanomo, where is he going to put those guys?

As everyone but President-elect B. Hussein Obama's base knows, many of the Guantanamo detainees cannot be sent to their home countries, cannot be released and cannot be tried. They need to be held in some form of extra-legal limbo the rest of their lives, sort of like Phil Spector.

Will we send them all to Afghanistan where they can resume jihad? Does anyone -- except some nutty judge -- want them released in the United States if no one will take them?

One story illustrates the challenge.

TERRORISTS' RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME

Guantanamo detainees not exactly philanthropists
by Ann Coulter
November 26, 2008

I thought the rest of the world was going to love us if we elected B. Hussein Obama! Somebody better tell the Indian Muslims.

As everyone but President-elect B. Hussein Obama's base knows, many of the Guantanamo detainees cannot be sent to their home countries, cannot be released and cannot be tried. They need to be held in some form of extra-legal limbo the rest of their lives, sort of like Phil Spector.

And now they're Obama's problem.

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