June 2009 Archives

AMERICA IS FOR FREEDOM, IS OBAMA?

Obama was on the side of the mullahs in Iran and now he's favoring a would-be dictator in Hondurus, as do Castro, Chavez and Ortega. Michael Ramirez comments:


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Caroline Glick charges that Oama is driven by a "radical, anti-American ideology" that puts him on the side of "anti-American dictators" against America's allies.

She documents her charge with example after example of how Obama's "policy has either already failed - as it has in North Korea - or is in the process of failing."

So if Obama's foreign policy has already failed or is in the process of failing throughout the world, why is he refusing to reassess it? Why, with blood running through the streets of Iran, is he still interested in appeasing the mullahs? Why, with Venezuela threatening to invade Honduras for Zelaya, is he siding with Zelaya against Honduran democrats? Why, with the Palestinians refusing to accept the Jewish people's right to self-determination, is he seeking to expel some 500,000 Jews from their homes in the interest of appeasing the Palestinians? Why, with North Korea threatening to attack the US with ballistic missiles, is he refusing to order the USS John McCain to interdict the suspected North Korean missile ship it has been trailing for the past two weeks?

Her disturbing answer is "He is immune to reality."

Obama may succeed for a time in evading public scrutiny for his foreign-policy failures because the public will be too concerned with his domestic failures to notice them. But in the end, his slavish devotion to his radical ideological agenda will ensure that his failures reach a critical mass.


And then they will sink him.

Read it all.

Our World: Ideologue-in-chief

Jun. 29, 2009
Caroline Glick

THE JERUSALEM POST

For a brief moment it seemed that US President Barack Obama was moved by the recent events in Iran. On Friday, he issued his harshest statement yet on the mullocracy's barbaric clampdown against its brave citizens who dared to demand freedom in the aftermath of June 12's stolen presidential elections.

Speaking of the protesters Obama said, "Their bravery in the face of brutality is a testament to their enduring pursuit of justice. The violence perpetrated against them is outrageous. In spite of the government's efforts to keep the world from bearing witness to that violence, we see it and we condemn it."

While some noted the oddity of Obama's attribution of the protesters' struggle to the "pursuit of justice," rather than the pursuit of freedom - which is what they are actually fighting for - most Iran watchers in Washington and beyond were satisfied with his statement.

Alas, it was a false alarm. On Sunday Obama dispatched his surrogates - presidential adviser David Axelrod and UN Ambassador Susan Rice - to the morning talk shows to make clear that he has not allowed mere events to influence his policies.

HEY, OBAMA: ISRAELIS HAVE RIGHT,TOO

Why is Obama so opposed to a free and democratic Israel? He has had Israel in mind as he picked the foreign policy advisors who surround him. There is not an Israeli champion among them.

Is it his early exposure to Islam in Indonesia? Is it his being drenched in left-wing Marxism (which was anti-Semitic) during his Occidental and Columbia years and in the Jew-hatred of Jeremiah Wright for 20 years?

He clearly entered the White House with an agenda to give power to the forces that were dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

He courted the Jews in the election for their money and votes, but that romance is over, at least on his side. The not-yet-disillusioned American Jews cling on. They apparently care more about his anti-capitalism, "progressive, abortions-all the time-everywhere" policies than they do Israel.

It's time to fight back.

Obama tells Jews where they can live

Joseph Farah asks why U.S. supports creation of a new 'anti-Semitic hate state'
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Posted: May 29, 2009
1:00 am Eastern
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Barack Obama is taking what he and his administration refer to as "a more balanced approach to Middle East policy."

Let me explain what that literally means in real terms.

It means the U.S. government is now using its clout with Israel to insist Jews, not Israelis, mind you, but Jews, be disallowed from living in East Jerusalem and the historically Jewish lands of Judea and Samaria, often referred to as the West Bank.

I want you to try to imagine the outrage, the horror, the outcry, the clamoring, the gnashing of teeth that would ensue if Arabs or Muslims were told they could no longer live in certain parts of Israel - let alone their own country.

POLAR BEAR CLIMATE CHANGE?

As with Obama and Democrats in the House of Representatives, don't let facts get in the way.

Polar bear expert barred by global warmists

Mitchell Taylor, who has studied the animals for 30 years, was told his views 'are extremely unhelpful' , reveals Christopher Booker.

Christopher Booker
The Telegraph, London
June 27, 2009

According to the world?s leading expert on polar bears, their numbers are higher than they were 30 years ago.

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Over the coming days a curiously revealing event will be taking place in Copenhagen. Top of the agenda at a meeting of the Polar Bear Specialist Group (set up under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature/Species Survival Commission) will be the need to produce a suitably scary report on how polar bears are being threatened with extinction by man-made global warming.

This is one of a steady drizzle of events planned to stoke up alarm in the run-up to the UN's major conference on climate change in Copenhagen next December. But one of the world's leading experts on polar bears has been told to stay away from this week's meeting, specifically because his views on global warming do not accord with those of the rest of the group.

Dr Mitchell Taylor has been researching the status and management of polar bears in Canada and around the Arctic Circle for 30 years, as both an academic and a government employee. More than once since 2006 he has made headlines by insisting that polar bear numbers, far from decreasing, are much higher than they were 30 years ago. Of the 19 different bear populations, almost all are increasing or at optimum levels, only two have for local reasons modestly declined.

Dr Taylor agrees that the Arctic has been warming over the last 30 years. But he ascribes this not to rising levels of CO2 - as is dictated by the computer models of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and believed by his PBSG colleagues - but to currents bringing warm water into the Arctic from the Pacific and the effect of winds blowing in from the Bering Sea.

He has also observed, however, how the melting of Arctic ice, supposedly threatening the survival of the bears, has rocketed to the top of the warmists' agenda as their most iconic single cause. The famous photograph of two bears standing forlornly on a melting iceberg was produced thousands of times by Al Gore, the WWF and others as an emblem of how the bears faced extinction - until last year the photographer, Amanda Byrd, revealed that the bears, just off the Alaska coast, were in no danger. Her picture had nothing to do with global warming and was only taken because the wind-sculpted ice they were standing on made such a striking image.

Dr Taylor had obtained funding to attend this week's meeting of the PBSG, but this was voted down by its members because of his views on global warming. The chairman, Dr Andy Derocher, a former university pupil of Dr Taylor's, frankly explained in an email (which I was not sent by Dr Taylor) that his rejection had nothing to do with his undoubted expertise on polar bears: "it was the position you've taken on global warming that brought opposition".

Dr Taylor was told that his views running "counter to human-induced climate change are extremely unhelpful". His signing of the Manhattan Declaration - a statement by 500 scientists that the causes of climate change are not CO2 but natural, such as changes in the radiation of the sun and ocean currents - was "inconsistent with the position taken by the PBSG".

So, as the great Copenhagen bandwagon rolls on, stand by this week for reports along the lines of "scientists say polar bears are threatened with extinction by vanishing Arctic ice". But also check out Anthony Watt's Watts UpWith That website for the latest news of what is actually happening in the Arctic. The average temperature at midsummer is still below zero, the latest date that this has happened in 50 years of record-keeping. After last year's recovery from its September 2007 low, this year's ice melt is likely to be substantially less than for some time. The bears are doing fine.

DOCTOR RECOUNTS NEDA'S MURDER


The BBC found the doctor who happend to be standing near Neda Agha-Soltan when she was shot in the chest by a Basji on a motorcycle as they were watching the demonstration. This is his story.



Iran doctor tells of Neda's death
BBC June 25, 2009

The doctor who tried to save an Iranian protester as she bled to death on a street in Tehran has told the BBC of her final moments.

Dr Arash Hejazi, who is studying at a university in the south of England, said he ran to Neda Agha-Soltan's aid after seeing she had been shot in the chest.

Despite his attempts to stop the bleeding she died in less than a minute, he said.

Video of Ms Soltan's death was posted on the internet and images of her have become a rallying point for Iranian opposition supporters around the world.

Dr Hejazi also told how passers-by then seized an armed Basij militia volunteer who appeared to admit shooting Ms Soltan.

Dr Hejazi said he had not slept for three nights following the incident, but he wanted to speak out so that her death was not in vain.

He doubted that he would be able to return to Iran after talking openly about Ms Soltan's killing.


"I was there with some friends because we had heard that there were some protests and we decided to go and take a look," he said.

"Anti-riot police were coming by motorcycles towards the crowd."

Dr Hejazi said he saw Ms Soltan, who he did not know, with an older man who he thought was her father but later on learned was her music teacher.

"Suddenly everything turned crazy. The police threw teargas and the motorcycles started rushing towards the crowd. We ran to an intersection and people were just standing. They didn't know what to do.

"We heard a gunshot. Neda was standing one metre away from me. I turned back and I saw blood gushing out of Neda's chest.

"She was in a shocked situation, just looking at her chest. The she lost her control.

"We ran to her and lay her on the ground. I saw the bullet wound just below the neck with blood gushing out.

"I have never seen such a thing because the bullet, it seemed to have blasted inside her chest, and later on, blood exiting from her mouth and nose.


"I had the impression that it had hit the lung as well. Her blood was draining out of her body and I was just putting pressure on the wound to try to stop the bleeding, which wasn't successful unfortunately, and she died in less than one minute."

Dr Hejazi said he first thought the gunshot had come from a rooftop.

But later he saw protesters grab an armed man on a motorcycle.

"People shouted 'we got him, we got him'. They disarmed him and took out his identity card which showed he was a Basij member. People were furious and he was shouting, 'I didn't want to kill her'.

"People didn't know what do to do with him so they let him go. But they took his identity card. There are people there who know who he is. Some people were also taking photos of him."

Dr Hejazi said he knew he was putting himself in jeopardy by talking about what happened.

"It was a tough decision to make to come out and talk about it but she died for a cause. She was fighting for basic rights... I don't want her blood to have been shed in vain."

He added: "She died on the streets to say something."

Dr Hejazi said he did not believe he could now return to Iran.

"They are going to denounce what I am saying. They are going to put so many things on me. I have never been in politics. I am jeopardising my situation because of the innocent look in her (Neda's) eyes."

OBAMA, THE "LITTLE PRESIDENT"

Hmm.

June 24, 2009

The little president who wasn't there
By James Lewis in The American Thinker

Last night I saw upon the stair

A little president who wasn't there
He wasn't there again today
Oh, how I wish he'd go away

The White House is now occupied by a little president who just isn't there when he is called upon to take a clear, moral stand. For such sheer gutless flabbiness and evasion, you have to look back to the dismal Jimmy Carter years. If Tehran seems quieter today, it's because the civilian demonstrators have been identified and are being beaten and tortured and maybe killed in Evin Prison. Don't believe for a moment that the sadistic regime has changed, just because you don't see people bleeding on the streets. They are bleeding all right. It's just out of public view.

Read it all ...

Not only has Obama abandoned the American policy of promoting freedom, he has reversed decades of American refusal to negotiate with terrorists. As Andrew McCarthy rightly says, Obama is endangering the lives of American troops in combat by encouraging hostage-taking.


Negotiating with Terrorists
The Obama administration ignores a longstanding -- and life-saving -- policy.

By Andrew C. McCarthy National Review Online
June 24, 2009


As the Iranian government's murderous repression of the Iranian people continues, critics right and left agitate over the deafening silence of an American president who, as a candidate, derided the Bush administration's ambitious democracy promotion as too timid. They speculate as to why Barack Obama won't speak out: Why won't he condemn the mullahs? Is he daft enough to believe he can charm the regime into abandoning its nuclear ambitions? Does the self-described realist so prize stability that he thinks it's worth abandoning the cause of freedom -- and the best chance in 30 years of dislodging an implacable American enemy?

In truth, it's worse than that. Even as the mullahs are terrorizing the Iranian people, the Obama administration is negotiating with an Iranian-backed terrorist organization and abandoning the American proscription against exchanging terrorist prisoners for hostages kidnapped by terrorists. Worse still, Obama has already released a terrorist responsible for the brutal murders of five American soldiers in exchange for the remains of two deceased British hostages.

Prepare to be infuriated.

Read it all . . .

In the course of wondering whether Iranian agents were going to be instigating attacks in Britain as payback for its many hurts to Iran, British columnist Melanie Phillips speculates why Obama did not forcefully stand up for freedom and democracy in Iran when it counted. She is thoroughly disgusted with his failure and the possible reasons for it.

What a disgrace that this man is leader of the free world; and at such a point in history. If he had put America stoutly behind the protesters and championed them against the regime, by now they might have toppled it.

Phillips is the best-selling author of Londonistan, the shocking account of how British officialdom allowed if not facilitated the creation of the most dangerous Islamist terrorist nest in Europe in Britain.

The Iran Crisis
Melanie Phillips The Spectator, London
Wednesday, 24th June 2009

There is chatter in some quarters that the Iranian 'green revolution' may be petering out. Well, it depends whom you're reading.

The Iran expert Michael Ledeen says he has no idea what's going to happen. But there are signs that the regime is preparing for an all-out assault; and that they are panicking and the ayatollahs are at odds amongst themselves; and that, most interestingly of all, this:

...that there are cracks in the regime's edifice, ranging from declarations of small groups of Revolutionary Guards calling on their brothers to defect to "the people," to a phenomenon that is just beginning to be discussed here and there, mostly on the Net but originally in an Arab newspaper. Steve Schippert posted on it and did a first-class analysis. Steve starts with a report from al Arabiya that says senior ayatollahs have been meeting secretly in Qom to discuss significant changes in the structure of the Iranian state. In addition to the Iranian clerics, there was a foreigner: Jawad al-Shahristani, the supreme representative of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the foremost Shiite leader in Iraq.


If this is true, it is, as Steve says, huge. Because it means that senior religious leaders in Iran are talking to the representative of an Iraqi Imam who believes, as most Shi'ites did before Khomeini's heresy, that the proper role of religious leaders is to guide their people from the mosque, not from the political capital. In other words, they are talking about the most serious form of regime change.

As Ledeen also says, however, the protesters know they are on their own facing the thugs of the basiji. Despite Obama's belated condemnation today of the brutality being meted out, his remarks were far too little, far too late and still far too inadequate. As Mladen Andrijasevic notes, his strategy of engaging the regime remains, regardless of how many protesters have been killed, tortured or jailed -- and will remain, it would appear, even if worse happens in the days to come. And as Joseph Ashby devastatingly notes :

Obama believes, on some significant level, the propaganda promoted by America's enemies that the United States is the main instigator and perpetrator of international unrest. So shockingly, amazingly, unbelievably, Obama is saying that Iran may very well use America as a propaganda tool, but at least this time they won't be right.

What a disgrace that this man is leader of the free world; and at such a point in history. If he had put America stoutly behind the protesters and championed them against the regime, by now they might have toppled it. There are signs today that even the fawning American media is appalled.

In a standfirst to an article by Joshua Muravchik observing that the Iran debacle confirms that Obama has totally abandoned the long-standing American objective to promote human rights and democracy, Commentary has this to say:

Iranian exiles in the U.S. are receiving calls from back home asking why President Obama has 'given Khamenei the green light' to crack down on the election protestors. To conspiracy-minded Middle Easterners, that is the obvious meaning of Obama's equivocal response to the Iranian nation's sudden and unexpected reach for freedom. How to explain that this interpretation is implausible? That the more likely reason for Obama's behavior is that he is imprisoned in the ideology of loving your enemies and hating George W. Bush?
Whatever the reason, Obama's failure may destroy his presidency. His betrayal of democracy and human rights through a series of pronouncements and small actions during his first months in office had been correctable until now. But the thousand daily decisions that usually make up policy are eclipsed by big-bang moments such as we are now witnessing. Failure to use the bully pulpit to give the Iranian people as much support as possible is morally reprehensible and a strategical blunder for which he will not be forgiven.

Ledeen also says this: that there are

...reliable accounts that Khamenei has left Tehran for a mountain retreat, and has given orders to his people to go all-out in the coming days, not only against the dissidents in Iran, but also against any and all American, British, French and German targets.. . . .

Vigilance required.

In the past, Omnia21 has wondered more than once whose side the New York Times is on.

Now, universally respected analyst Michael Barone asks the same question.

Whose side is the New York Times on?


By: Michael Barone
Senior Political Analyst
06/23/09

The New York Timeshas revealed that its reporter David Rohde was kidnapped and held by terrorists in Afghanistan for seven months and that it and, at its request, other media refrained from reporting this to protect Rohde's safety. The story has come out only after Rohde was rescued by American forces. Here is the Times's explanation for covering up this story.

"From the early days of this ordeal, the prevailing view among David's family, experts in kidnapping cases, officials of several governments and others we consulted was that going public could increase the danger to David and the other hostages. The kidnappers initially said as much," said Bill Keller, the executive editor of the Times. "We decided to respect that advice, as we have in other kidnapping cases, and a number of other news organizations that learned of David's plight have done the same. We are enormously grateful for their support."

To which I'm inclined to say, good for the Times and for all those, including conservative blogger Ed Morrissey, who kept the lid on this story.

But the Times of course did not take the same approach when it published its December 2005 story on NSA surveillance of communications between suspected terrorists abroad and persons in the United States and its June 2006 story on the entirely legal Swift surveillance of terrorist financing.

Bill Keller was a wonderful reporter, whose coverage of the downfall of the apartheid system in South Africa and the downfall of Communism in Russia deserved all the awards he received. He's a fine writer and was a thoughtful and interesting columnist for a couple of years early in this decade.

But his decisions and those of his colleagues at the Times indicate pretty clearly whose side they are on. They are determined to protect their brave and admirable colleagues from danger. But they are not concerned to protect the people of the United States and friendly nations from dangers which, while perhaps more remote, have proved painfully real, and not only on September 11, 2001. They seem to see themselves as transnational journalists, with responsibilities to their colleagues and their profession, but with no particular responsibilities as American citizens.

The Middle East's foremost political analyst Caroline Glick exposes the abdication of the American media from its role of democracy's watchdog and the dangerous effects it is having on the safety of America and the world.

OUR WORLD today is complex and fraught with dangers. Some of these dangers are new, and some are old. All require serious discussion.


In free societies, the media's primary responsibilities are to report current events to the public, place those events into an historical context to enable the public to understand how and why they occurred, and to present the public with the options for going forward. It is due to the media's historic role in maintaining and cultivating an informed discussion and debate about current affairs that they became known as democracy's watchdog. When media organs fail to fulfill their basic responsibilities, they degenerate quickly into democracy's undertaker. For an uninformed public is incapable of making the sorts of decisions required of free citizens.

Obama and his media flacks would have us believe that by speaking of American values and by distinguishing friend from foe, former president George W. Bush raised the hackles of the world against America. Perhaps there is some truth to this assertion. Perhaps there isn't.

What they fail to consider is that by genuflecting to tyrants, Obama has made the US an international laughingstock. Far from sharing their adulation of Obama and his cool demeanor, most of the nations of the world believe that the US has abandoned its leadership role. And unlike the US media, they realize that America has no understudy.

Her sober analysis is worth reading in full.

The Obama effect

Jun. 22, 2009
Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST

"Could there be something to all the talk of an Obama effect, after all? A stealth effect, perhaps?"

So asked Helene Cooper, the New York Times' diplomatic correspondent in a news analysis of the massive anti-regime protests in Iran published in Sunday's Times.

It took US President Barack Obama eight days to issue a clear statement of support for the millions of pro-freedom demonstrators throughout Iran risking their lives to oppose the tyranny of the mullahs. And after eight days of vacillating and hedging his bets and so effectively supporting Iranian dictator Ali Khamenei against the multitudes rallying in the streets, Obama's much awaited statement was not particularly forceful.

He offered no American support of any kind for the protesters. Indeed, it is hard to say that in making his statement, the American president was speaking primarily as an American.

He warned the likes of Khamenei and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose goons are currently under orders to beat, arrest and murder protesters, that "the world is watching... If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion."

According to several prominent Western bloggers with direct ties to the protesters, Obama's statement left the Iranians underwhelmed and angry.

But as Cooper sees it, the protesters owe their ability to oppose the regime that just stole their votes and has trampled their basic human rights for 30 years to Obama and the so-called "Obama effect." Offering no evidence for her thesis, and ignoring a public record filled with evidence to the contrary, Cooper claims that it is due to Obama's willingness to accept the legitimacy of Iran's clerical tyranny that the protesters feel emboldened to oppose their regime. If it hadn't been for Obama, and his embrace of appeasement as his central guiding principle for contending with the likes of Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, as far as Cooper is concerned, the people on the streets would never have come out to protest.

By this thinking, America is so despised by the Iranians that the only way they will make a move against their regime is if they believe that America is allied with their regime. So by this line of reasoning, the only way the US can lead is by negative example - which the world in its wisdom will reject.

While Cooper's analysis gives no evidence that Obama's policies toward the ayatollahs had any impact on the tumultuous events now sweeping through Iran, it does make clear that the so-called Obama effect is a real phenomenon. It just isn't the phenomenon she claims it is.

THE REAL OBAMA effect on world affairs relates to the US media's unprecedented willingness to abandon the basic responsibilities of a free press in favor of acting as propagandists for the president. From Cooper - who pretends that Obama's unreciprocated open hand to the mullahs is what empowered the protesters - to Newsweek editor Evan Thomas who referred to Obama earlier this month as a "sort of God," without a hint of irony, the US media have mobilized to serve the needs of the president.

It is hard to think of an example in US history in which the media organs of the world's most important democracy so openly sacrificed the most basic responsibilities of news gatherers to act as shills for the chief executive. Franklin Delano Roosevelt enjoyed adoring media attention, but he also faced media pressures that compelled him to take actions he did not favor. The same was the case with John F. Kennedy.

Today the mainstream US media exert no such pressures on Obama. Earlier this month NBC's nightly news anchorman Brian Williams bowed to Obama when he bid him good night at the White House.

On Wednesday ABC News will devote an entire day of programming to advancing Obama's controversial plan to nationalize health care. Its two prime time news shows will be broadcast from White House. Good Morning America will feature an interview with Obama, and ABC's other three flagship shows will dedicate special programming to his health care reform program.

On the other hand, ABC has refused Republican requests for a right of reply to Obama's positions. The network has also refused to sell commercial advertising time to Republicans and other Obama opponents to offer their dissenting opinions to his plans.

This media behavior has been noted by the likes of Fox News and the handful of other US news outlets that are not in the tank for Obama. But the repercussions of the Obama effect on US politics and world affairs have been largely ignored.

THE MOST IMPORTANT repercussion of the US media's propagandistic reporting is that the American public is denied the ability to understand events as they unfold. Take for instance The New York Times' write-up of Khamenei's sermon this past Friday in which he effectively declared war on the protesters. As Russell Berman pointed out in the Telos blog on Saturday, the Times' write-up was misleadingly selective.

The Times did not mention that Khamenei ascribed world events to a Zionist conspiracy which he believes controls the US. It similarly failed to mention his long rant against the US for the FBI's 1993 raid on David Koresh's Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas.

Had the Times - and other major media outlets - properly reported Khamenei's speech, they would have made clear to their readers that he is not a rational thinker. His view of world events is deeply distorted by his hatreds and prejudices and paranoia.

But then, if Times readers were permitted to know just how demented Khamenei's views of the world are, they might come to the conclusion that Obama's intense desire to sit down with him, and his constant pandering to Iran's "supreme leader" are ill-advised and counterproductive. They might come to the conclusion that it is impossible to achieve a meeting of the minds with a man who calls Americans "morons" and leads his subordinate government officials in chants of "Death to America," "Death to Britain" and "Death to Israel."

And if they came to these conclusions, how could Obama be expected to affect anything?

Sunday, Cooper argued that Obama has changed the course of history in Iran simply by being the US president. In her words, unnamed Obama supporters claim that "the mere election of Barack Obama in the United States had galvanized reformers in Iran to demand change."

And Obama's power as president to change the world is not limited to Iran. As far as his media servants are concerned, his "mere election" is responsible for everything positive that has occurred in the US and throughout the world since last November.

TAKE HIZBULLAH'S defeat in the Lebanese parliamentary elections two weeks ago. As far as the US media are concerned, it was Obama's speech to the Muslim world on June 4 that emboldened the Lebanese to back the anti-Syrian March 14 slate of candidates. Never mind that his speech - which refused to condemn Iran for its support for terrorism and its nuclear weapons program - actually strengthened Hizbullah's position by demonstrating that the US would take no action against its Iranian masters. As far as the US media were concerned, Obama won the election for Hizbullah's pro-Western rivals.

Yet this is not true. According to actual electoral data, what swung the balance towards Saad Hariri's March 14 camp was Hizbullah-allied Christian leader Michel Aoun's failure to convince Lebanon's Christian minority to acquiesce to Hizbullah's takeover of the country. And Lebanese Christian voters did not reject Hizbullah because Obama is President of the United States. They rejected Hizbullah because the Maronite Christian Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir warned them on the eve of the election, "We must be alert to the schemes being plotted for us and thwart the intense efforts which, if they succeed, will change the face of our country."

WHILE OBAMA'S supporters in the US media are certain that Obama's "mere election" is responsible for every positive development on the world scene, they are equally certain that he bears no responsibility for the negative developments that have happened so far on his watch.

For instance, the fact that North Korea chose to escalate its nuclear brinksmanship shortly after Obama took office with a promise of appeasing Pyongyang is considered irrelevant. The fact that he ordered deep cuts in the US missile defense budget as North Korea tested a long-range missile and a nuclear bomb, and that he has maintained these cuts despite North Korea's announced plan to launch a missile against the US on July 4 has gone largely unreported.

Furthermore, the US media were quick to celebrate the UN Security Council's recent resolution against North Korea which calls for inspections of suspicious North Korean ships travelling in international waters as a great Obama achievement. But they failed to inform the public that the resolution has no enforcement mechanism. Consequently, today the USS John McCain, which is tracking a North Korean ship suspected of carrying ballistic missiles, lacks the authority to interdict it and inspect the cargo.

OUR WORLD today is complex and fraught with dangers. Some of these dangers are new, and some are old. All require serious discussion.

In free societies, the media's primary responsibilities are to report current events to the public, place those events into an historical context to enable the public to understand how and why they occurred, and to present the public with the options for going forward. It is due to the media's historic role in maintaining and cultivating an informed discussion and debate about current affairs that they became known as democracy's watchdog. When media organs fail to fulfill their basic responsibilities, they degenerate quickly into democracy's undertaker. For an uninformed public is incapable of making the sorts of decisions required of free citizens.

Obama and his media flacks would have us believe that by speaking of American values and by distinguishing friend from foe, former president George W. Bush raised the hackles of the world against America. Perhaps there is some truth to this assertion. Perhaps there isn't.

What they fail to consider is that by genuflecting to tyrants, Obama has made the US an international laughingstock. Far from sharing their adulation of Obama and his cool demeanor, most of the nations of the world believe that the US has abandoned its leadership role. And unlike the US media, they realize that America has no understudy.

Unfortunately, unless the Obama effect wears off soon, by the time the American people become aware of this fact it may be too late to make a difference.

Universally respected political analyst Michael Barone provides his assessment of Obama after five months. What he sees is Chicagoland politics being applied to the world, but without the skill a Mayor Daley might use to deal with changing facts. For domestic purposes, this observation is most relevant:[

Obama] does business Chicago-style. His first political ambition was to be mayor of Chicago, the boss of all he surveyed; he has had to settle for the broader but less complete hegemony of the presidency. From Chicago he brings the assumption that there will always be a bounteous private sector that can be plundered endlessly on behalf of political favorites.

The biggest private sector being plundered is the taxpaying public. The "stimulus" money is to expand government to create a Democratically loyal dependent welfare class. Taking money from Chrysler secured creditors to hand over to union supporters. Decreasiing charitable deductions for the American Heart Association so he can give more government money to ACORN and other corrupt organizations who support his aims.

His inability to abandon his pre-conceived notions in the face of reaity is seen every day, most recently in his stuttering response to the democratic uprising in Iran, when he is fixated on his absurd belief he can talk the mullahs out their nuclear weapons program.

As Barone says, it's a dangerous world and the ability ot adjust to hard realities that differ from fantastical assumptions is vital to American security. So far, Obama has not shown the capacity to do that.

Read this all, carefully, so you will know the danger this inexperienced, silver-tongued narcissist is to the individualistic, entrepreneurial America fostered by the Constitution. Obama is all assumptions, careless about considering the impact of new facts and indifferent to details. Not a good combination.


Dodge facts, skip details, govern Chicago-style
By: Michael Barone
Senior Political Analyst
06/20/09 10:05 PM EDT

President Barack Obama likes to execute long-range strategies but suffers from cognitive dissonance when new facts render them inappropriate. We pundits like to analyze our presidents and so, as Barack Obama deals with difficult problems ranging from health care legislation to upheaval in Iran, let me offer my Three Rules of Obama.

First, Obama likes to execute long-range strategies but suffers from cognitive dissonance when new facts render them inappropriate. His 2008 campaign was a largely flawless execution of a smart strategy, but he was flummoxed momentarily when the Russians invaded Georgia and when John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate. On domestic policy, he has been executing his long-range strategy of vastly expanding government, but may be encountering problems as voters show unease at huge increases on spending.

His long-range strategy of propitiating America's enemies has been undercut by North Korea's missile launches and demonstrations in Iran against the mullah regime's apparent election fraud. His assumption that friendly words could melt the hearts of Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have been refuted by events. He limits himself to expressing "deep concern" about the election in the almost surely vain hope of persuading the mullahs to abandon their drive for nuclear weapons, while he misses his chance to encourage the one result -- regime change -- that could protect us and our allies from Iranian attack.

Second, he does not seem to care much about the details of policy. He subcontracted the stimulus package to congressional appropriators, the cap-and-trade legislation to Henry Waxman and Edward Markey, and his health care program to Max Baucus. The result is incoherent public policy: indefensible pork barrel projects, a carbon emissions bill that doesn't limit carbon emissions from politically connected industries, and a health care program priced by the Congressional Budget Office at a fiscally unfeasible $1,600,000,000,000.

He quickly announced the closing of the prison at Guantanamo Bay and now finds his administration begging the likes of Palau and Bermuda to take a few detainees off its hands. His acceptance of Arabist insistence that all problems in the Middle East can be solved by getting an Israeli-Palestinian settlement has put us in the absurd position of pressuring Israel not to expand settlements by a single square meter but pledging not to "meddle" in Iran.

Third, he does business Chicago-style. His first political ambition was to be mayor of Chicago, the boss of all he surveyed; he has had to settle for the broader but less complete hegemony of the presidency. From Chicago he brings the assumption that there will always be a bounteous private sector that can be plundered endlessly on behalf of political favorites. Hence the government takeover of General Motors and Chrysler to bail out the United Auto Workers, the proposal for channeling money from the private nonprofits to the government by limiting the charitable deduction for high earners, the plan for expanding government (and public employee union rolls) by instituting universal pre-kindergarten.

Chicago-style, he has kept the Republicans out of serious policy negotiations but has allowed left-wing Democrats to veto a measure upholding his own decision not to release interrogation photos. While promising a politics of mutual respect, he peppers both his speeches and impromptu responses with jabs at his predecessor. Basking in the adulation of nearly the entire press corps, he whines about his coverage on Fox News. Those who stand in the way, like the Chrysler secured creditors, are told that their reputations will be destroyed; those who expose wrongdoing by political allies, like the AmeriCorps inspector general, are fired.

Obama entered the presidency with what seemed like supreme self-confidence. He had, after all, advanced from the Illinois state Senate to the presidency of the United States in just four years -- a steeper and more rapid ascent than any president since Woodrow Wilson. The success of his long-range campaign strategy seems to have made him confident that his long-range policy strategies would work as well.

But transferring large segments of the American economy from the private to the public sector has proved to be tougher than winning Democratic primaries and caucuses. And Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong Il have proved to be harder to charm than American mainstream media. It's generally good for American presidents to have long-term strategies. But in setting public policy it's important to get the details right. And in guiding the nation in a dangerous world it's vital to adjust to face hard realities and adjust to unexpected events.

WHY IS OBAMA BETRAYING ISRAEL?

Almost all if not all of the observers who have spoken out about Obama's anti-Israel shift have been conservatives or other Republicans. This time the cogent articulation of Obama's betrayal of Israel comes from an editor at the quite left-wing New Republic.

Kirchick's description of Obama as campaigner and Obama as president is all too accurate. All those nice things he had to say about Israel during the campaign have been pushed aside in President Obama's haste to win friends in Muslim high places. Obama has been aided in the implementation of his anti-Israel policy by the many anti-Israel and anti-Jewish aides he has appointed to State Department, UN and National Security posts. Chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is not in the pro-Israel camp: He was by President Clinton's side forcing Israeli Prime Minister Barak to offer Yasser Arafat virtually off the West Bank to make a deal; fortunately for Israel, Arafat refused the offer.

Obama must have stayed with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright for 20 years because he agreed with the hate he was spouting -- anti-white, anti-Jewish and anti-Israel. Now that he's in office he has an opportunity to act on that animus. It's not only America which has been bad and deserves to be punished, it's Israel, too.

Kirchick details the damage Obama is doing to the American public's perception of Israel.

The percentage of American voters who call themselves supporters of Israel has plummeted from 69% last September to 49% this month, according to the Israel Project. Meanwhile, only 6% of Jewish Israelis consider Obama to be "pro-Israel," a Jerusalem Post poll found, pointing to a disturbing gulf between the two nations. There are even signs of rising anti-Semitism, as a survey by Columbia and Stanford professors found that 32% of Democrats blamed Jews for the financial crisis.

Obama is turning America against Israel, for what exactly? The false hopes of improved relations with Arab nations and a nuclear-equipped Iran. That is not what he promised in his campaign, and neither a fair practice or a fair trade.

It's all worth reading.

ISRAEL BETRAYED By JAMES KIRCHICK New York Post June 20, 2009 --

When Barack Obama was running for president, he vigorously reassured voters of his firm commitment to America's special relationship with Israel. Indeed, he worked to beef up his pro-Israel bona fides long before he even announced his intention to run. In a 2006 speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Obama recounted a helicopter tour over the Israeli border with the West Bank. "I could truly see how close everything is and why peace through security is the only way for Israel," he said. In that same speech, Obama called the Jewish State "our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy." During the primary and general election campaigns, Obama dispatched a stream of high-profile Jewish supporters to canvas Florida, and in a 2008 AIPAC speech, he went so far as to declare that Jerusalem must remain the "undivided" capital of Israel.

For all the qualms that anti-Obama "smears" would depress support in the Jewish community, Jews rewarded Obama with nearly 80% of their votes, more than they gave John Kerry.

Just six months into the new administration, however, it is becoming increasingly clear that those who harbored suspicions about Obama's approach to the Middle East had good reason to be worried. A confluence of factors -- including his administration's undue pressure on Israel, a conciliatory approach to authoritarian Muslim regimes, and the baseless linkage of the failed "peace process" to the curtailment of the Iranian nuclear program -- point to what could become "the greatest disagreement between the two countries in the history of their relationship," as Middle East expert Robert Satloff recently told Newsweek.

This dramatic shift in American policy began several months ago when the administration signaled that it would make the cessation of Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank the centerpiece of its policy to revamp the region. And that approach, mostly hinted at through anonymous leaks, became as good as official when Obama delivered his vaunted address to the Muslim world in Cairo earlier this month. In that speech, Israel (and, specifically, its policy of settlement construction) was the only state to merit specific criticism from the president of the United States. Among all the degradations and injustices in the Middle East, from the abhorrent treatment of women in nations like Saudi Arabia, to Syrian-backed assassinations of pro-sovereignty politicians in Lebanon, to the arrest and imprisonment of gay men in Egypt, the leader of the free world singled out America's one, reliable democratic ally in the region for rebuke.

Obama's strategic worldview assumes that once the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved, other problems in the Middle East will be easier to fix, if not solve themselves. "We understand that Israel's preoccupation with Iran as an existential threat," National Security Advisor Jim Jones told George Stephanopoulos last month. "We agree with that. And by the same token, there are a lot of things that you can do to diminish that existential threat by working hard towards achieving a two-state solution."

By establishing this connection, the fate of the entire region thus hinges upon the resolution of a problem that hasn't had a solution for over six decades. This is an awfully convenient view for those who enjoy the status quo, which is why so many Arab despots cling to it, and it's discouraging to see the Obama administration joining them.

"Linkage" is faulty for two reasons. The first is intrinsic to the peace process itself, as it is going nowhere. And it will continue to go nowhere for at least as long as Hamas -- a terrorist organization constitutionally committed to the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews -- rules the Gaza Strip, which it has controlled since violently seizing power in the summer of 2007. But it's not just Hamas that remains hesitant to work with Israel. To see the continued intransigence of the Palestinians, witness their bizarre reactions to Benjamin Netanyahu's momentous speech last week, in which the Israeli Prime Minister, for the first time in his career, announced his support for the two-state solution so obsessively demanded by the international community. The Palestinian Ambassador to Egypt denounced Netanyahu's pledge as "nothing but a hoax." The PLO Executive Committee Secretary called Netanyahu a "liar and a crook" who is "looking for ploys to disrupt the peace endeavor." A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that, "The speech has destroyed all peace initiatives and [chances for] a solution." And these are the so-called "moderates."

The second reason why "linkage" is a faulty premise, and why the Obama administration is so foolish to pursue it, is that the problems of the Middle East are not inspired by the lack of a Palestinian state. The biggest crisis in the Middle East right now is Iran's mad quest for nuclear weapons. Nothing even comes close. Even the Arab states -- whose citizens, we are told, cannot rest due to Palestinian statelessness -- are letting the world know that their foremost concern is a revolutionary Islamic theocracy with nuclear weapons (As the dramatic and inspiring street protests in Tehran over the past week have amply demonstrated, what really rouses the Muslim "street" is the venality and cruelty of the region's authoritarian governments, not far-off Zionists reluctant to give Palestinians a state).

These regimes know that Iran, thus armed, will be able to act with far greater impunity that it already does, causing more trouble for coalition forces in Iraq, ordering its proxy armies of Hamas and Hezbollah to ramp up attacks on Israel and stir chaos in Lebanon, and support radical elements throughout the region. It would also set off a regional arms race, with Saudi Arabia and Egypt as the next likely proliferators. Yet the Obama administration does not seem to realize that stopping an Iranian nuclear bomb ought take precedence over the stalled "peace process."

In his otherwise admirable remarks about the significance of the Holocaust and the hatefulness of its denial in his Cairo speech, Obama did further damage by paying obeisance to the Arabs' false narrative about Israeli's creation. In neglecting to affirm the Jews' historic claim on the land of Israel, Obama confirmed the Arab belief that they are paying for the crimes of mid-twentieth century Europe. However awful the misfortune that befell them, Obama's narrative -- in the minds of his audience -- portrays the Jews, however awful their misfortune, as occupiers, not indigenous neighbors.

The Cairo speech provided Obama with an opportunity to call on the Muslim world to acknowledge that Jews are as much a part of the Middle East and its history as are Persians and Arabs, Sunnis and Shia, Druz and Christians. He failed in that task.
Unfortunately, the President seems to be paying no domestic political price for turning on Israel. Given the historic support that the American public has shown for the Jewish State, this is in and of itself a disturbing sign. But when an American administration's rhetoric and diplomacy render Israel the obstinate actor and portray its supposed recalcitrance as the main obstacle to peace, public opinion will follow.

The percentage of American voters who call themselves supporters of Israel has plummeted from 69% last September to 49% this month, according to the Israel Project. Meanwhile, only 6% of Jewish Israelis consider Obama to be "pro-Israel," a Jerusalem Post poll found, pointing to a disturbing gulf between the two nations. There are even signs of rising anti-Semitism, as a survey by Columbia and Stanford professors found that 32% of Democrats blamed Jews for the financial crisis.

Obama is turning America against Israel, for what exactly? The false hopes of improved relations with Arab nations and a nuclear-equipped Iran. That is not what he promised in his campaign, and neither a fair practice or a fair trade.

--James Kirchick is an assistant editor of The New Republic and a Phillips Foundation Journalism Fellow.

John Kass is a longtime columnist at the Chicago Tribune. He has covered the corrupt Daley Democratic machine for many years and all of the years of Barack Obama's rise through the ranks of the machine on his way to the White House.

Kass was one of the few who focused on the fact that three top graduates of the corrupt Daley machine would now be running the country Chicagoland style: Obama, Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod. The Chicago machine greased elections Obama ran in by knocking his opponents off the ballot. Emanuel "earned" $16 million in a Daley-friendly investment bank (for which he had no training or experience) after leaving the Clinton administration an before being tapped two years later to take over the congressional seat being vacated by Daley's and his friend Rod Blogjevich to run for Governor. Through all the years Axelrod was Daley's principal political advisor. Chicago hardball cares not for what the law says.

In the wake of Obama illegally firing an Inspector General, Kass felt it appropriate to remind political Washington it had no reason to be "shocked" or "surprised" at such lawless behavior.

Obama's political play should shock no one
John Kass Chicago Tribune
June 21, 2009

It's amusing to watch the Washington political establishment feign shock, now that President Barack Obama's reform administration has used a clay foot to vigorously kick one inspector general and boot another out the door.

One inspector general foolishly investigated a friend of the president. Another inspector general audited those juicy bonuses given to AIG executives as part of $700 billion federal bailout of the financial industry.

It's a decent man-bites-dog story, at least until North Korea tries lobbing a few missiles toward Hawaii. But until that happens, the political talk shows will buzz about Neil Barofsky, the inspector general overseeing the financial bailout.

Barofsky now claims that his autonomy will be compromised if the Obama Justice Department rules that he is merely a functionary of the Department of Treasury.
"An adverse ruling ... could potentially have a serious impact on the independence of our agency and our ability to carry out our mandate," Barofsky wrote in a letter to ranking senators on Friday.

Just two weeks ago, inspector general Gerald Walpin, who watches over volunteer community programs, was fired. He investigated Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, an Obama pal and former NBA star. Walpin alleged Johnson misused $850,000 in federal youth grants.

The use of political muscle may be prohibited in the mythic transcendental fairyland where much of the Obama spin originates, sprouting green and lush, like the never-ending fields of primo Hopium.

But our president is from Chicago. Obama's Media Merlin David Axelrod and chief of staff Rahm Emanuel come right from Chicago Democratic machine boss Mayor Richard Daley. They don't believe in fairies.

Daley can't wait to be rid of his own inspector general, David Hoffman, who had the audacity to question why Daley's nephew received $68 million in city pension funds to invest. The mayor insists he didn't know anything about it. Nobody with a functioning brain believes the mayor.

The second that Hoffman's term expires, the mayor will change the locks on his office doors and move Hoffman's house plants out into the cold. Daley might even send some of the same political tough guys who helped elect Emanuel to Congress years ago, all in the name of reform.

It's the Chicago Way. Now, formally, it's also the Chicago on the Potomac Way.

One fellow who seems surprised is Walpin. He was transformed from dogged inspector general to alleged drooling incompetent last week in just a few spin cycles.

"I am now the target of the most powerful man in this country with an army of aides whose major responsibility seems to be to attack me and get rid of me," Walpin was quoted as saying.

In a letter to Congress explaining Walpin's firing, the Obama White House complained that Walpin failed to disclose exculpatory evidence that would have helped the mayor of Sacramento, and exhibited "other troubling and inappropriate conduct."

The letter, by White House counsel Norman Eisen, also left the impression that Walpin, 77, was a doddering old man just shy of dementia, describing him as "confused" and "disoriented" and all but incapacitated. I don't know whether that's true. But I do know this:

Walpin alleged that Obama's ally, supporter and fundraiser, Sacramento Mayor Johnson, played games with the $850,000 in federal money targeted for the AmeriCorps student volunteer program. Johnson allegedly paid "volunteers" to work on Democratic political campaigns, run his personal errands and even wash his car.

In an April deal with prosecutors in the Obama Justice Department, Johnson was not charged with a crime. But his St. HOPE Academy charity agreed to pay back half of the $850,000, including $72,000 from Johnson himself.

During the presidential campaign, the message expertly spun by Daley's mouthpiece, Axelrod, was that Obama would bring hope and change and transform the cynical politics of the past.

The Washington Beltway media pack, exhausted after the cynicism of the Bush years, was eager for change. Many fired up their Hopium pipes and waited, glassy eyed, for the rapture, all but chanting "Yes We Can." Now they're coming down hard.

So here's my question:

What's the big surprise? What strange, exotic land do they think Obama comes from?

Do they think Obama learned his politics in Narnia, while cavorting with gentle forest creatures, some of which have hooves and serve tea and cakes to journalists and well-mannered English schoolgirls on snowy winter afternoons?

Did Obama learn politics in Camelot, the magical kingdom where federal czars sit at a great round table, all for the good of the simple peasants? Or did he learn politics along that famous highway, you know, the one that's always paved with good intentions?

No. Obama learned his politics in Chicago.

And now all of Washington can learn it, too.

Eyewitness accounts of the Iranian uprising by journallists are rare, since most Western reporters were ordered out of the country. John Lyons, an Australian, was there to report on the protests of Saturday, June 20. HIs report was filed today in The Australian (hence the date of June 22 vs. June 21):

Iran regime ready to fight its own people

John Lyons in Tehran | June 22, 2009

The Australian

I WATCHED a regime prepare for war yesterday -- against its own people.
The show of force the Iranian government brought on to the streets and squares of Tehran was extraordinary.

For several hours in and around the battleground -- Englelab Street, Englelab Square and Azadi Square -- I watched the regime bring in a force that would crush almost any uprising. At one point, about 20 vans full of riot police went past in a convoy; riot police stood on almost every corner, sometimes spaced only 2m apart; the motorcycle police were there; snipers were on rooftops; soldiers sat on the mounds around Azadi Square, sitting under trees to get relief from the sun; and the Basij militiamen were out in force, wearing plain clothes but carrying their trademark batons.

And the security forces brought out all their weapons -- pistols, rifles, machineguns, teargas, everything.

State media said yesterday 13 people were killed and 100 wounded as the protest stretched from late Saturday to early yesterday Australian time. This brought to 20 the official death toll for a week of unrest since the June 12 presidential elections.
State-run television reported that a suicide bombing at the shrine of the leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ruhollah Khomeini, killed at least two people and wounded eight.

The bloody battles with police on the streets of Tehran on Saturday came a day after Khomeini's replacement as Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned that further protests could lead to bloodshed.

The only safe place I could find to watch from was the Englelab Street bus -- the first-floor shop I had used as a safe house a week before in Englelab Square had its shutters down. Ominously, riot police were clearing everyone out of the shops. And the regime made it clear live ammunition was now part of the equation.

Even the buses don't feel completely safe, but they're better than nothing.

A bizarre daily ritual takes place. Thousands of people come out to demonstrate against the regime -- they're not just protesting about the rigged re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- and make their way to the venue of the rally. They carry green flags and ribbons, the colour of defeated reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, and toot their horns.

As if in some grim gladiatorial contest, the police and militia gather to meet them. The only question each day is whether the police and militia will attack.

This has become a strange version of a civil war in which only one side has arms. "We have the numbers, they have the weapons," one protester told me.

Saturday was different. On Friday, Ayatollah Khamenei said the protests must end and warned organisers they would be held responsible for the consequences. It was also different in that it was just for the determined and the brave; most people with children are unlikely to want to walk down a street against all the firepower of the nation.

Yesterday only tens of thousands turned up, not the hundreds of thousands of previous rallies or the million-plus of the Mousavi rally last Sunday.

As always, the lead-up to the clash was unnerving. Riot police waited until 4pm (9.30pm AEST), the start time for the rally. Some were so padded up with bullet-proof vests and helmets they looked like American footballers with batons. Sometimes you'd see a group of 10 or so listening to instructions. Likewise, the Basij militia could be seen talking to their commanders.

While one part of Englelab Square prepared for war, at the other end life went on. A fruit seller stood in the middle of the road trying to tempt traffic to stop; some kids were playing volleyball down a side lane; old people sat in a park while children played.

At about 2.30pm panic set in, and you could see people running to get on buses. This was not a place to stay.

Four o'clock came and the contest began. This time the regime seemed more strategic -- the police sealed off streets and intersections, quarantining them into dozens of small battle zones.

This meant those who were trapped had no chance of back-up from other demonstrators. It also meant the security forces could deal with smaller crowds and take their time.

The bus I was on couldn't get into Englelab Square, where bad things were happening. One man got on to the bus saying the police were going wild. One soldier ran from the scene; we could see smoke rising.

Our bus was diverted around Englelab Square and made its way to Azadi Square, the destination of the daily marches.

As our bus stopped at Azadi Square, I saw a man who had his face smashed; people stopped a car and asked the occupants to take him away, which they did.

We had to get off the bus to walk to another. Outside, with no protection, it felt like a scene from Dante's Inferno.

Fires were everywhere, with the stink of burning tyres. People ran in all directions.

Behind us we could see a battle between riot police and protesters. A large group of police suddenly began running into Azadi Square.

I told my companion we should jump on to one of the buses caught in the traffic jam, but they all had their doors shut.

We made our way across Azadi Square and got on another bus. It started as police began chasing people the way we were going -- for a few seconds a group was running alongside our bus.

We escaped, and they did too. But how long can this madness go on?

SUNDAY PROTEST IN TEHRAN TEARGASSED

This video from Tehran appears to show protesters dispersing as tear gas is released.

NEDA'S DREAMS ARE IRAN'S DREAMS

| 1 Comment

On Friday an Iranian woman wrote (in Farsi, translated) she was going out on Saturday to protest and mused about her life because she knew she could be killed.

Saturday night, she wrote again, this time about Neda Agha-Soltan (originally but mistakenly identified as Neda Soltani, an Iranian woman who is alive), just someone watching what was going on, who was murdered by a government sniper:

Yesterday I wrote a note, with the subject line "tomorrow is a great day perhaps tomorrow I'll be killed." I'm here to let you know I'm alive but my sister was killed...I'm here to tell you my sister died while in her father's hands...

I'm here to tell you my sister had big dreams...

I'm here to tell you my sister who died was a decent person... and like me yearned for a day when her hair would be swept by the wind... and like me read "Forough" [Forough Farrokhzad]... and longed to live free and equal... and she longed to hold her head up and announce, "I'm Iranian"... and she longed to one day fall in love to a man with a shaggy hair... and she longed for a daughter to braid her hair and sing lullaby by her crib...

my sister died from not having life... my sister died as injustice has no end... my sister died since she loved life too much... and my sister died since she lovingly cared for people . . . .

Whether this woman was in fact Neda' biological sister is not clear, but her identification with her is.


Some protest marching is continuing on Sunday, June 21. According to a Twitter entry, they are chanting "Dont be sacered, DO NOT BE SCARED, We're all together"


Twitter channels #iranelection and now #neda are accumulating posts at the rate of hundreds per minute. #Neda sprang up Saturday night in memory of the 16-year old girl Neda Soltani gunned down by a govenment sniper late Saturday afternoon, Tehran time.

Sunday morning reading on the Iran crisis:

Michael Ledeen, America's foremost expert on Iran, gets his hands on a copy of a letter addressed to President Obama from "the office of" Iranian presidential candidate Mousavi criticizing Obama for saying it did not matter who won the Iranian election.

It is a specially grave insult for those who are now fighting for democracy and freedom, and an unwarranted gift and even praise for Mr. Khamenei, whose security forces are now killing peaceful Iranians in the streets of every major city in the country.


Your statement misled the people of the world. It was no doubt inspired by your hope for dialogue with this regime, but you cannot possibly believe in promises from a regime that lies to its own people and then kills them when they demand the promises be kept.

Click here to read.

Victor Davis Hanson analyzes why Obama has been absent so long among the voices speaking out on the election travesty in Iran and its bloody aftermath and why he must speak now and say something like this:

"Hundreds of thousands of gallant Iranians are now engaged in a non-violent moral struggle against tyranny in Iran-one of the great examples of bravery in our times. All free peoples of the world watch their ordeal, and can only wish them success, while owing them a great deal of gratitude for risking their lives for the innate and shared notion of human freedom and dignity. We in the United States ask the government of Iran--as well as its military and security forces -- to recognize the universal appeal of freedom that flourishes among its own remarkable people, to stand down and renounce its serial use of violence and coercion-and to ensure a truly free election where the voices of all can be at last fully heard, so that Iran can once more properly reenter the family of law-biding nations".

. Click here to read.

Obama was (is?) going to rely solely on his persuasive rhetoric to turn Iran into a democracy and have it throw down its nuclear arms.

Will today's horrors make him think more might be necessary?

What planet is he living on?

New Heights in Not Meddling

At Newsmax, Ken Timmerman reports that President Obama has zeroed out funding in the 2010 budget for pro-democracy programs in Iran. As Ken tells it, the new administration is merely carrying to conclusion the undermining of the Bush-era initiative already achieved by -- surprise! -- the Bush State Department:

Newsmax has learned that the Obama administration also has zeroed out funding for pro-democracy programs inside Iran from the State Department budget for fiscal 2010, just as protests in Iran are ramping up.


Read it all . . . .

Iran's plain-clothed thugs the Basji shot this young woman to death on the streets of Tehran this afternoon, Saturday, June 20. Posted via Twitter.

Very graphic. NOT for children to view.


Murdering their own people.

If this doesn't bring the corrupt theocracy down, what will?

Ralph Peters warned such a thing might happen if America did not speak up for freedom:

If we see greater violence in Tehran, the blood of those freedom marchers will be on our president's hands.

As Charles Krauthammer asked:

And where is our president? Afraid of "meddling." Afraid to take sides between the head-breaking, women-shackling exporters of terror -- and the people in the street yearning to breathe free. This from a president who fancies himself the restorer of America's moral standing in the world.

May this young woman find peace.

UPDATE FROM TEHRAN: The victim shot was not even among the protesters, yet she was murdered anyway. Her name was Neda Neda Agha-Soltan (not Neda Soltani, as originally reported). She was 26 she worked for a travel agency in Tehran. She was just watching with her father and was shot randomly by a snipe firing into a crowd. In the video her father has on the blue and white striped shirt.

At 19:05 June 20th, TEHRAN TIME

Place: Karekar Ave., at the corner crossing Khosravi St. and Salehi st.

A young woman who was standing aside with her father watching the protests was shot by a basij member hiding on the rooftop of a civilian house. He had clear shot at the girl and could not miss her. However, he aimed straight her heart. I am a doctor, so I rushed to try to save her. But the impact of the gunshot was so fierce that the bullet had blasted inside the victim's chest, and she died in less than 2 minutes.

The protests were going on about 1 kilometer away in the main street and some of the protesting crowd were running from tear gas used among them, towards Salehi St.

The film is shot by my friend who was standing beside me.

Please let the world know.

Neda might well become the symbol of the revolution.

More about Neda from Twitter.

A Twitter report: NEDA's family were banned from having funeral and any Wake for her at Mosques.

WHERE IS THIS LAND?


President Obama is endangering American citizens not only by his constant displays of weakness in the face of foreign aggression, but by surrending to the Global War on Terror, preferring to treat terrorists driven by ideology seeking to destroy American and kill Americans as ordinary criminals rather than the war combatants they are.

Andrew McCarthy, who more than almost anyone, knows the limitiations of the criminal justice system in defending against attacks of war, makes clear the dangers that President Obama is exposing his country and its citizens to.

President Obama and Attorney General Holder are fond of labeling as a "false choice" the reality that, in national exigencies, we have to decide whether to trim some protections for enemy combatants in order to promote security. That's no false choice. It's a real choice, with the lives of our citizens hanging in the balance. If you want to defeat this enemy and prevent these attacks, you go to war and you get intelligence. If you are content to live with this enemy and endure its attacks, you go to court . . . . Obama has decided to go to court.
What Obama is in fact doing:
The problem is that [Obama] wants to treat international terrorists as suspects in a law-enforcement matter rather than as wartime enemies.

The consequences:


[I]f we return to law-enforcement mode under the Obama FBI's new "Global Justice" initiative, then we are back to September 10 -- to the embassy-bombing approach to counterterrorism, in which completed terrorist attacks, rather than interrupted terrorist plots, await us.

Americans will die in terrorist attacks because of Obama's abandoning the war against Islamic terrorism. Is this part of his wish to placate Muslims by denying the ideological hostility at the heart of Islam? In doing so, he is risking the lives of American citizens.

National security has always been the first responsibility of American presidents -- until Barack Obama.

Read the whole frightening story.

How War Fighting Became Law Enforcement

Obama Goes to Court

by Andrew C. McCarthy
National Review Online
June 17, 2009

(Note: In Part I of this article, Andrew C. McCarthy showed how Miranda warnings grew from a procedural safeguard into an inviolable constitutional right. In Part II, he explained how judges and the Justice Department expanded this right to the point where it applied to terrorists captured abroad. Here, in the final part, he describes how the odd couple of John McCain and Barack Obama have put the nation in great danger by turning the War on Terror into something resembling a police investigation.)

Two months after the 1998 bombers of the U.S. embassy in Kenya were convicted, al-Qaeda destroyed the Twin Towers, struck the Pentagon, and was foiled by the martyred patriots of Flight 93 in an attempt to attack the Capitol or the White House. Unlike its predecessor, the Bush administration deemed the attack an act of war, as did Congress, which overwhelmingly authorized the use of military force a week later. American officials were dispatched to foreign lands to conduct military and intelligence operations, not criminal investigations. Prosecution, which in the eight previous years had managed to neutralize fewer than three dozen jihadists, most of them low-level, was aptly judged to have been a provocatively weak response to a transnational terrorist network with global aims and frightful capabilities.

The name of the game was now intelligence and prevention, not evidence and prosecution. Radical Islam had to be stopped from attacking -- there could be no trials of suicide terrorists after they'd struck, and even if there could, they'd be a grossly inadequate measure. After 9/11, a premium was put on obtaining information for purposes of mapping the terror network, uncovering ongoing plots, and acquiring operational intelligence that would be of use to our military and covert intelligence forces.

Miranda was separate from all of this. The Miranda rule is a device to ensure the constitutional integrity of confession evidence for use at trial. It has no place in situations where trial either is not contemplated or, if contemplated, is at best a third- or fourth-tier consideration, subordinate to national security, force security, and the preservation of foreign intelligence sources and national-defense secrets. Miranda is designed for the criminal-justice process, in which we impose the burden of proof on the government, the suspect is presumed innocent, we arguably do not want him to implicate himself unless he sees it as in his interest to do so, and we would rather see the government lose than see an innocent person convicted. To the contrary, when the nation goes to war, our primary concern is the national interest, not the suspect's interest; we don't presume a detained combatant innocent, because it is not our purpose to establish his guilt; the government's burden is to prosecute the war, not the war prisoners; and we see it as imperative that the government win -- to the point that we sacrifice our blood and treasure and are resigned to the inevitability of horrific collateral casualties and damage.

In the post-9/11 strategy, then, Miranda had no place. Interrogation was conducted by military and intelligence personnel whose objective was to obtain intelligence, not derive prosecutable evidence. And the emphasis on interrogation has been remarkably effective. For eight years, despite intense efforts to reprise 9/11, al-Qaeda has not carried out a terrorist attack in the United States.

Nevertheless, scandal erupted in 2004, with revelations about prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib and, later, the CIA's top-secret enhanced-interrogation program for a small number of high-level al-Qaeda detainees. Amid growing public unrest over the war in Iraq, the interrogations controversy provided ample opportunity for demagoguery. Chief among the grandstanders was Sen. John McCain, then planning a 2008 run for the White House. A Vietnam War hero who had famously endured a years-long ordeal of captivity, isolation, and torture, McCain railed at the harsh treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody. Echoed by allies like Sens. Ted Kennedy (who likened the U.S. administration of Iraq to Saddam Hussein's) and Dick Durbin (who compared American soldiers to thugs who had served the Nazis, the Soviets, and Pol Pot), McCain contributed mightily to the Left's smear that the Bush administration had instituted a systematic torture regime.

In 2005, capitalizing on the atmosphere he had stoked, McCain proposed legislation (the "McCain Amendment") that would vest every person detained by American officials, anywhere in the world, with rights under the Fifth Amendment (as well as the Eighth and Fourteenth). I was among a small number of naysayers who vigorously opposed the McCain Amendment (see, e.g., here, here, here, and here). In the climate of the times, we were slandered as torturemongers for our trouble. But while I continue to believe it would be foolish to take off the table coercive interrogation tactics that do not meet the strict legal definition of torture, that was not the only reason for opposing the McCain Amendment. A principal reason was Dickerson, particularly as its Miranda requirement was construed by Judge Sand.

McCain explicitly included the Fifth Amendment in his legislation because it addresses his target, coercive interrogation. As we've seen, in Dickerson, the Supreme Court held that Miranda was now considered part of the Fifth Amendment's core. In the al-Owhali case, Judge Sand ruled that Miranda imposes daunting burdens on American agents overseas -- burdens far more challenging than the rote reading of an advice-of-rights card that typically happens in domestic policing. With the Supreme Court, beginning in 2004, imposing more and more criminal-justice procedure on the battlefield, the McCain Amendment would almost certainly be used by courts or a Democratic administration to impose Miranda protocols not just on FBI agents conducting criminal investigations (which is what it's meant for) in foreign countries, but on U.S. military and intelligence agents conducting combat and covert operations. That would be the death knell not of the "torture" over which McCain obsessed but of any effective intelligence collection.

The McCain Amendment passed by a 90-9 margin in the Senate, with all but nine Republicans joining the unanimous Democrats. It became law -- incorporated in the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 -- with the signature of President Bush.

OBAMA GOES TO COURT
This is the background against which we must consider Steve Hayes's report that the Obama administration has orchestrated the world's first Mirandized war. A war against a terror network that specializes in sneak mass-murder attacks, in which intelligence is at an unprecedented premium, is a strange setting for inaugurating a practice in which detainees are told they needn't speak to you and have a right to the assistance of an attorney underwritten by the American taxpayers they've been trying to kill.

But expect President Obama to gaze at his teleprompter and assure you that he is not inaugurating that practice. It was President Clinton, he'll quite rightly tell you, whose (Reno/Holder) Justice Department first started Mirandizing captured terrorists overseas. He'll elaborate that it was President Bush, prompted by Senator McCain, who extended Fifth Amendment rights to enemy aliens and imposed on our soldiers and intelligence agents the duty to safeguard those rights. And this, he'll insist, was just a recognition of the "rule of law," because after all, it was the Supreme Court that developed Miranda and (relying on the arguments of the Reno/Holder Justice Department) made it part and parcel of the Fifth Amendment. Why are you blaming me, Obama will shrewdly ask, for a lawful, long-established policy that I am merely continuing?

It will all be very clever. But it will be wrong. Contrary to what his spokesmen have said, Obama is not simply continuing the policy of previous administrations; he is vastly expanding it, to the point where it becomes a serious threat to our nation's security.

The Obama administration's protestations ring false from the start. The very notion of advising enemy combatants of Miranda rights seems so absurd that, as The Weekly Standard's John McCormack reports, President Obama himself poked fun at it only three months ago ("Now, do these folks deserve Miranda rights? Do they deserve to be treated like a shoplifter down the block? Of course not."). And that was after, as a candidate, he had mocked Gov. Sarah Palin for arguing that he intended to give terrorists Miranda protections.

This is not about Miranda; it's about how we view terrorism.

Miranda has been applied to some alien terrorists captured overseas for eleven years, but only in the context of criminal investigations. It arose in the embassy-bombing case -- and nearly cost that case -- because the Clinton administration chose to treat that attack as a crime and the captured prisoners as criminal defendants. Had President Clinton adopted the Bush approach and proceeded with a military response -- not a flurry of cruise missiles but a real war -- he'd have had robust congressional support, Miranda would never have been an issue, al-Qaeda would have been decimated, and Pres. Al Gore would never have had a 9/11 to deal with.

The McCain Amendment is a debacle because it theoretically extends Miranda to enemy combatants. That is a trickier problem, yet not an insurmountable one, for two reasons. First, the courts have held that a Fifth Amendment violation -- and therefore a Miranda violation -- occurs not during the actual questioning but when the prosecution attempts to use the statement in court. There is thus at least a plausible argument that if you do not intend to bring a detainee to court -- if you are just questioning him to gather intelligence -- you do not need to give him Miranda rights.

Concededly, this is dicey. The concept that the conduct giving rise to the violation (the coercion used during the questioning) is somehow not really the violation is a legal fiction, and an unattractive one. But it has been enough to justify withholding Miranda warnings in most cases where high-value suspects have been captured. Still, it would help if the McCain Amendment were repealed, or at least amended to make clear that it was not Congress's intention to impose the Miranda component of the Fifth Amendment on U.S. officials overseas.

Second, in upholding al-Owhali's conviction earlier this year, a panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued a superb opinion that clipped the worst excesses of Judge Sand's nine-year-old ruling. Federal agents, it instructs, are merely required to communicate accurate information about a suspect's rights; it is not their job to master foreign law, intercede with other countries on behalf of captured terrorists, or browbeat nations whose cooperation we need into adopting American right-to-counsel rules.

Perhaps more important, the Second Circuit construed Dickerson as glossing the Fifth Amendment with a commonsense Miranda, one that is flexible in its application to varying circumstances. The panel observed that Miranda itself disavowed "creat[ing] a constitutional straitjacket" and that Rehnquist's opinion for the Dickerson Court admonished that "no constitutional rule is immutable." Indeed, on this point, the panel noted that the Supreme Court had long ago dispensed with any need to comply with Miranda "in a situation posing a threat to public safety." The public-safety exception was carved out by the Supreme Court in 1984 (in New York v. Quarles) in a peacetime domestic police emergency. A fortiori, there should be no Miranda requirement at all in battlefield circumstances or in connection with national-security emergencies.

But here, at last, is the point. The problem is not just that Obama wants to extend Miranda to nearly all captured terrorists. That's just a symptom. The problem is that he wants to treat international terrorists as suspects in a law-enforcement matter rather than as wartime enemies.

Despite the McCain Amendment, the requirement of Miranda in warfare is something we have been navigating around fairly well. The recent Second Circuit ruling provides further reason for optimism that we can continue doing so -- as long as we remain in war mode. But if we return to law-enforcement mode under the Obama FBI's new "Global Justice" initiative, then we are back to September 10 -- to the embassy-bombing approach to counterterrorism, in which completed terrorist attacks, rather than interrupted terrorist plots, await us.

There's no point making this into a controversy about Miranda. After all, if we go the law-enforcement route, there is no question that Miranda applies. The issue is not Miranda, but whether we should view terrorists like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as mere criminals. If so, then obviously we must follow criminal protocols, and there is no question that Miranda applies. We must tell them they don't have to talk to us, and that we will get them a free lawyer -- who will promptly advise them to clam up. We must also accept that we will no longer get the timely intelligence that thwarts attacks. We must resign ourselves to more dead Americans.

President Obama and Attorney General Holder are fond of labeling as a "false choice" the reality that, in national exigencies, we have to decide whether to trim some protections for enemy combatants in order to promote security. That's no false choice. It's a real choice, with the lives of our citizens hanging in the balance. If you want to defeat this enemy and prevent these attacks, you go to war and you get intelligence. If you are content to live with this enemy and endure its attacks, you go to court and you get Miranda. Obama has decided to go to court.

--Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and the author of Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad (Encounter Books, 2008). McCarthy was the lead prosector who sent the blind shiekh who mastermineded the first Wold Trade Center bombing in 1993 to prison.

Hardly a week goes by without Charles Krauthammer providing this nation with clear, well-articulated vision.

The shame many Americans feel about the President's silence on the Iran protests is felt by Krauthammer, too. Are we not the "beacon of democracy"? In Obama's eyes, which are apparently principally focused on the "Supreme Leader," apparently not.

And where is our president? Afraid of "meddling." Afraid to take sides between the head-breaking, women-shackling exporters of terror -- and the people in the street yearning to breathe free. This from a president who fancies himself the restorer of America's moral standing in the world.

Disheartening. Depressing. Shameful.

Hope And Change -- But Not For Iran

By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER
Washington Post
January 19, 2009

Millions of Iranians take to the streets to defy a theocratic dictatorship that, among its other finer qualities, is a self-declared enemy of America and the tolerance and liberties it represents. The demonstrators are fighting on their own, but they await just a word that America is on their side.

And what do they hear from the president of the United States? Silence. Then, worse. Three days in, the president makes clear his policy: continued "dialogue" with their clerical masters.

Dialogue with a regime that is breaking heads, shooting demonstrators, expelling journalists, arresting activists. Engagement with -- which inevitably confers legitimacy upon -- leaders elected in a process that begins as a sham (only four handpicked candidates permitted out of 476) and ends in overt rigging.

Then, after treating this popular revolution as an inconvenience to the real business of Obama-Khamenei negotiations, the president speaks favorably of "some initial reaction from the Supreme Leader that indicates he understands the Iranian people have deep concerns about the election."

Where to begin? "Supreme Leader"? Note the abject solicitousness with which the American president confers this honorific on a clerical dictator who, even as his minions attack demonstrators, offers to examine some returns in some electoral districts -- a farcical fix that will do nothing to alter the fraudulence of the election.

Moreover, this incipient revolution is no longer about the election.

Obama totally misses the point. The election allowed the political space and provided the spark for the eruption of anti-regime fervor that has been simmering for years and awaiting its moment. But people aren't dying in the street because they want a recount of hanging chads in suburban Isfahan.

They want to bring down the tyrannical, misogynist, corrupt theocracy that has imposed itself with the very baton-wielding goons that today attack the demonstrators.

This started out about election fraud. But like all revolutions, it has far outgrown its origins. What's at stake now is the very legitimacy of this regime -- and the future of the entire Middle East.

This revolution will end either as a Tiananmen (a hot Tiananmen with massive and bloody repression or a cold Tiananmen with a finer mix of brutality and co-optation) or as a true revolution that brings down the Islamic Republic.

The latter is improbable but, for the first time in 30 years, not impossible. Imagine the repercussions. It would mark a decisive blow to Islamist radicalism, of which Iran today is not just standard-bearer and model, but financier and arms supplier. It would do to Islamism what the collapse of the Soviet Union did to communism -- leave it forever spent and discredited.

In the region, it would launch a second Arab spring. The first in 2005 -- the expulsion of Syria from Lebanon, first elections in Iraq and early liberalization in the Gulf states and Egypt -- was aborted by a fierce counterattack from the forces of repression and reaction, led and funded by Iran.

Now, with Hezbollah having lost elections in Lebanon and Iraq establishing institutions of a young democracy, the fall of the Islamist dictatorship in Iran would have an electric and contagious effect.

The exception -- Iraq and Lebanon -- becomes the rule. Democracy becomes the wave. Syria becomes isolated; Hezbollah and Hamas, patronless. The entire trajectory of the region is reversed.

All hangs in the balance. The Khamenei regime is deciding whether to do a Tiananmen. And what side is the Obama administration taking? None. Except for the desire that this "vigorous debate" (press secretary Robert Gibbs' disgraceful euphemism) over election "irregularities" not stand in the way of U.S.-Iranian engagement on nuclear weapons.

Even from the narrow perspective of the nuclear issue, the administration's geopolitical calculus is absurd. There is zero chance that any such talks will denuclearize Iran. On Monday, Ahmadinejad declared yet again that the nuclear "file is shut, forever."

The only hope for a resolution of the nuclear question is regime change, which (if the successor regime were as moderate as pre-Khomeini Iran) might either stop the program, or make it manageable and nonthreatening.

That's our fundamental interest. And our fundamental values demand that we stand with demonstrators opposing a regime that is the antithesis of all we believe.

And where is our president? Afraid of "meddling." Afraid to take sides between the head-breaking, women-shackling exporters of terror -- and the people in the street yearning to breathe free. This from a president who fancies himself the restorer of America's moral standing in the world.

Ralp Peters expresses his outrage at Obama's failure to stand with the protesting Iranians callling for freedom. His stinging rebuke warns that Obama's failure has consequences:

If we see greater violence in Tehran, the blood of those freedom marchers will be on our president's hands.

It's "treachery" to the cause of freedom.


OBAMA'S GREEN LIGHT FOR A CRACKDOWN
June 18, 2009
New York Post
Ralph Peters

SILENCE is complicity. Our president's refusal to take a forthright moral stand on the side of the Iranian freedom marchers is read in Tehran as a blank check for the current regime.

The fundamentalist junta has begun arresting opposition figures, with regime mouthpieces raising the prospect of the death penalty. Inevitably, there are claims that dissidents have been "hoarding weapons and explosives."

Foreign media reps are under house arrest. Cellphone frequencies are jammed. Students are killed and the killings disavowed.

And our president is "troubled," but doesn't believe we should "meddle" in Iran's internal affairs. (Meddling in Israel's domestic affairs is just fine, though.)

We just turned our backs on freedom.

Again.

Of all our foreign-policy failures in my lifetime, our current shunning of those demanding free elections and expanded civil rights in Iran reminds me most of Hungary in 1956.

For years, we encouraged the Hungarians to rise up against oppression. When they did, we watched from the sidelines as Russian tanks drove over them.

For decades, Washington policymakers from both parties have prodded Iranians to throw off their shackles. Last Friday, millions of Iranians stood up. And we're standing down.

That isn't diplomacy. It's treachery.

Despite absurd claims that Obama's Islam-smooching Cairo speech triggered the calls for freedom in Tehran's streets, these politics are local. But if those partisan claims of the "Cairo Effect" were true, wouldn't our president be obliged to stand beside those he incited?

Too bad for the Iranians, but their outburst of popular anger toward Iran's oppressive government doesn't fit the administration's script -- which is written around negotiations with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

To Obama, his dogmatic commitment to negotiations is infinitely more important than a few million protesters chanting the Farsi equivalent of "We Shall Overcome."

This is madness. There is no chance -- zero, null, nada -- that negotiations with the junta of mullahs will lead to the termination (or even a serious interruption) of Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. Our president's faith in his powers of persuasion is beginning to look pathological. Is his program of negotiations with apocalypse-minded, woman-hating, Jew-killing fanatics so sacrosanct that he can't acknowledge human cries for freedom?

Is the Rev. Jeremiah Wright a better role model than Martin Luther King? It's a damned shame that our first minority president wasn't a veteran of our civil-rights struggle, rather than its privileged beneficiary.

An ugly pattern's emerging in our president's beliefs:

He's infallible. This is rich, given all the criticism of the Bush administration's unwillingness to admit mistakes. We now have a president with Jimmy Carter's naivete, Richard Nixon's distaste for laws, Lyndon Johnson's commitment to the wrong war, and Bill Clinton's moral fecklessness.

Democracy isn't important. Our president seems infected by yesteryear's Third-World-leftist view that dictatorships are essential to post-colonial development -- especially for Muslims.

Look where Obama has gone and who he supports: the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, his groveling speech in Egypt, his embrace of Hamas, his hands-off approach to the gory regime in Sudan -- and now his dismay at the protests in Iran.

Strict Islam is true Islam. This is bewildering, given Obama's childhood exposure to the tolerant Islam practiced in most of Indonesia. The defining remark of his presidency thus far was his Cairo demand for the right of Muslim women to wear Islamic dress in the West -- while remaining silent about their right to reject the hijab, burqa or chador in the Middle East.

History's a blank canvas -- except for America's sins. Of course, we've had presidents who presented the past in the colors they preferred -- but we've never had one who just made it all up.

Obama's ignorance of history is on naked display -- no sense of the brutality of Iran's Islamist regime, of the years of mass imprisonments, diabolical torture, prison rapes, wholesale executions and secret graves that made the shah's reign seem idyllic. Our president seems to regard the Iranian protesters as spoiled brats.

Facts? Who cares? In his Cairo sermon -- a speech that will live in infamy -- our president compared the plight of the Palestinians, the aggressors in 1948, with the Holocaust. He didn't mention the million Jews dispossessed and driven from Muslim lands since 1948, nor the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Christians from the West Bank.

Now our president's attempt to vote "present" yet again green-lights the Iranian regime's determination to face down the demonstrators -- and the mullahs understand it as such.
If we see greater violence in Tehran, the blood of those freedom marchers will be on our president's hands.

Geert Wilders, the Dutch parliamentarian who is leading the fight against the Islamamization of Europe, was interviewed by Jerusalem's Haaretz. Wilders announced he is making a second film; the first, Fitna, highlighted the many savage passages in the Koran with scenes of Islamic terrorist carnage. The new film will deal with the Islamization that Muslins are forcing on the West, with Europe bearing the brunt of massive Muslim immigration into non-assimilating self-created ghettoes. He said Islam is fighting all free societies in its war against Israel.

Israel is only the first line of defense for the West. Now it's Israel but we are next. That's why beyond solidarity, it is in Europe's interest to stand by Israel."

The interview.


Dutch anti-Islam MP: 'Israel is West's first line of defense'

By Cnaan Liphshiz, Haaretz Correspondent

Haaratz.com

Israel will be a major part of Geert Wilders' next film on Islam, the rightist Dutch legislator said last week in an interview for Haaretz. He praised Avigdor Lieberman, observing "similarities" between Yisrael Beiteinu and the Party for Freedom - a small movement which has grown to become Holland's second most popular.

Wilders, a controversial anti-immigration politician, rose to international fame last year when he released a 14-minute film entitled Fitna, which attempts to portray what he considers as Islam's "violent nature." The film, which has been viewed by millions online, provoked mass protests throughout the Muslim world.

In April Wilders announced he was working on a sequel. Just as Fitna focused on genocidal anti-Semitism in the Muslim world, Wilders said that the sequel - which focuses on "Islamization in the West" - will show "how the forces of Islamization are specifically targeting Israel in a fight against all free societies."

He added: "The film will demonstrate that the fight against Israel is not territorial, and hence Israel is only the first line of defense for the West. Now it's Israel but we are next. That's why beyond solidarity, it is in Europe's interest to stand by Israel."

Wilders is facing criminal charges for allegedly inciting hate by comparing the Koran to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf in the original Fitna film. His party's dark horse achievement in the European Parliament elections earlier this month, he said, is connected to the judicial system's decision to prosecute him.

The Party for Freedom - which has only nine seats in Dutch parliament - won five seats in the June 4 European elections, making it the second largest of all Dutch parties in Brussels. A recent poll shows that if elections were held now, the Party would become the country's largest or second largest.

"The appeals court's decision in January to prosecute me angered many people, as did the decision by the government of the U.K. not to let me enter Britain," Wilders told Haaretz. He added some of the anger manifested itself in the European Parliament election.

According to Wilders, his party's rise in popularity is reminiscent of how Lieberman's party grew to become Israel's third largest. "Our parties may not be identical, but there are certainly more similarities than dissimilarities, and I am proud of that," Wilders said about Yisrael Beiteinu.

"I've met Liebrman and called to congratulate him after the Israeli elections," said Wilders, who visits Israel frequently to meet with leading Israeli politicians, defense officials and opinion-shapers. "Lieberman's an intelligent, strong and clever politician and I understand why his party grew in popularity."

Israel under Benjamin Netanyahu is, according to Wilders, safer because it doesn't automatically accept the two-state solution. But he added: "I am more concerned now about Israel's situation because of the positions of U.S. President Barack Obama."

The president's speech in Cairo "shocked" Wilders, he says. "Until now Israel could rely on the U.S. for support even when the Europeans failed to offer it. Now Israel will have a tougher time," he added.

"The two-state solution is an internal Israeli matter and I hesitate to interfere. But my personal belief is that there is a two state solution for the Palestinians. One of those states is called Jordan," he added.

Wilders also said that Obama's preference for dialogue with Iran despite its ongoing drive to obtain nuclear weapons - according to Western intelligence reports - is "intolerable."

The Party for Freedom will not join any bloc at the European Parliament, Wilders said. "We will not join an rightist party with anti-Semitic or xenophobic inclinations," he explained. "The attempts to classify us as such are the result of our rivals' panic."

Wilders' party believes in halting immigration to the Netherlands, and banning the construction of mosques in that country. While defending gay rights and supporting animal welfare bills, the Party holds a hardliner assimilation stance on the integration of existing immigrants into Dutch society, and is consistently Eurosceptic.

"Our achievement in the European Parliament owed partly to a protest vote by people who do not accept that their tax monies are funding highways in Portugal and subsidizing Polish farmers. They want their money back - approximately five billion euros."

Described by some as "fascist" and "ultra-nationalist," other Dutch parties have shunned the Party for Freedom, treating it as a pariah movement. However, as its political power climbs, leading centrist politicians are advocating an alliance with Wilders, touching off a heated debate in their parties' ranks.

"We have no power but a lot of influence, and are now a serious force which cannot be ignored," Wilders said. "I think the stale political establishment of the Netherlands doesn't quite know how to close the window that let in our party, like a cool draft of wind."

While the Iranian government has tried to shut down all communition in and out of Iran, Twitter still lives. To follow what Iranians and others are saying live, click on the link below.

Twitter comments are limited to 140 words.

As one Iranian said, "When you're getting shot at, 140 words are a novel."

#iranelection


Last December 14th Omnia21 warned that Chicogoland mob politics was moving into the White House with Obama, Emanuel and Axelrod, all products of the corrupt Daley Democratic machine.

Evidence of massive illegal behavior for political ends was easily seen -- but ignored by the media -- during the campaign in the untilization of fraud-ridden ACORN for get out the vote work and raising hundreds of millions of dollars online without gathering donor information. We wondered (cynically, we must admit) if Attorney General-designate Eric Holder would investigate such fraud when in office.

It didn't take long before the Obama administration showed its disregard for the rule of law. The forced arrangements for the Chrysler and GM bankruptcies deliberately violated settled law through threats and intimidation in order to take property from secured bondholders to favored unsecured unions. Respected columnist and political analyst MIchael Barone rightly called this behavior "Gangster Government."

Then we learn that planned federal indictments of gun-toting Black Panther voter intimidation in Philadelphia on 2008 Presidential Election Day was called off by Attorney General Holder. Holder also forbade the State of Georgia from undertaking a planned purge of its voting records to eliminate ineligible registrants such as dead people and illegal immigrants.

This shocking lawlessness fails to bother the national media because it's the Obama administration and it can do no wrong in their eyes.

Now we find out that an Inspector General has been fired by the White House for doing his job in uncovering waste, fraud and abuse. Inspector Generals are not political appointees and can only be fired for cause after 30 days' notice to Congress. This IG had the termerity to blow the whistle on a prominent Obama supporter whose organization misused hundreds of thousands of dollars of federal grants. Michelle Malking updates the story which was first broken by Byron York of the Washington Examiner. Even Michelle Obama has been implicated in the scandal. Senator Grassley has asked for production of information about the firing which he said did not meet the standards set by Congress.

With Chicago Democrats in control of the White House, with Democrats in control of the House and Senate and the media compliant and adoring, no one is calling to the attention of the American public the lawlessness which is rampant in the Obama Administration, except for a few bloggers and non-mainstream voices.

How bad is it?

With Walpin's removal, the top management positions at CNCS are now open. The decks are clear to install lackeys who will protect the government volunteerism industry and its Democratic cronies. And a chilling effect has undoubtedly taken hold in every other inspector general's office in Washington.

Read it all.

UPDATE: It now turns out the White House in a letter says that Walpin was fired because he was disoriented, confused and put his capacity to serve in question.

Glenn Back had Walpin on his TV show today (June 17th). Does his incapacity show?

Link: Walpin

Mr. Walpin said he doesn't think he'll win because he's up against the most powerful machine in the world -- the corrupt Chicagoland machine that's now running the country from the White House. Let's hope he's wrong.

IranProtest.jpg

Millions are protesting what they beiieve is a fraudulent election in Iran. Green is the color of the main opponent to Ahmadinejad, Hossein Mousavi. The Guardian of London reports 12 students have died.

Check out these picture posted by Boston Globe online.

Twitter is doing an unbelievable job in handling posts coming in at more than one a second. #iranelection

Is the tide of public opinion in Europe starting to turn?

This is the question after Geert Wilders' Freedom Party came in second to the ruling party in the European elections in Holland.

Wilders is saying out loud what many Dutch are afraid to say:

"Islam wants to dominate our society. "It's in opposition to freedom."

"If people are offended, that's not my aim. I don't talk about Muslims but about Islam. Everything I say is against the fascist Islamic ideology . . . ."

"It is civilisation against barbarity."

Wilders is the foremost voice in Europe against the "invasion" of Muslims who refuse to integrate, stay separate and even announce their ilntention of taking over Europe through immigration and high birth rates, turning Europe into a Muslim land under sharia.

Dutch divided over Geert Wilders as radical MP eyes premiership


By Nick Meo in Rotterdam

Telegraph London 14 Jun 2009

Until last week, the Bernard family had the normal concerns of any middle-class Dutch family - putting their teenage children through university, living a greener life, and paying the mortgage.

But that has all changed since the European election - and the triumph by Geert Wilders, the right-wing populist and outspoken critic of Islam who in February was banned from entering Britain as a threat to "community harmony".

To many abroad Mr Wilders, a Dutch MP, appears an old-fashioned racist whose views put him on a par with other far-Right politicians elsewhere in Europe.

Yet in its first ever test of national electoral support among the normally tolerant Dutch, his anti-immigration Party for Freedom which he founded in 2006 won 17 per cent of the votes - making it the second biggest party. That has shaken the country to its core - opening up the real possibility that, through the Dutch coalition system, Mr Wilders could win power at the next general election.

Now, like many others in the Netherlands, the Bernards are desperately worried. "This has the feeling of what happened to Germany in the 1930s," said Alfred Bernard, 52, a lawyer. "Wilders blames foreigners for everything. People are disoriented because of the economic crisis. Everywhere there is dissatisfaction with mainstream politicians.

"After this I really believe that Wilders could become prime minister in the 2011 parliamentary elections, or at least set the political agenda."

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Wilders, 45, was frank about that ambition. Asked about the prospect of taking power in two years' time, he said: "That is our biggest job. We had an enormous success last week and our biggest task is to keep up momentum. I am very confident that we will have an excellent result.

"If my party becomes the biggest party, I would be honoured to be prime minister."

Sitting in his office in the Dutch parliament building in The Hague, protected from the threat of assassination by 10 armed secret service bodyguards, he summed up his antipathy to the religion of many immigrants to the Netherlands.

"Islam wants to dominate our society," he said in fluent and only slightly accented English. "It's in opposition to freedom.

"If people are offended, that's not my aim. I don't talk about Muslims but about Islam. Everything I say is against the fascist Islamic ideology."

To the charge that to many his views appeared to be racist, he responded: "If that was true, we would never have been the second biggest party in the European elections."

Why, then, did Moroccans and Turks living in the Netherlands so fear him? "As long as they don't commit crimes, it's a baseless fear," he said. "If you adhere to our laws, if you act according to our values, you are free to stay. We will help you to integrate.

"But if you cross the red line, if you start committing crimes, if you want to do jihad or impose sharia, we want you to be sent out of the Netherlands and we will get rid of your permits to stay."

An admirer of Churchill and Lady Thatcher, he is charismatic as well as combative. Holland's conventional politicians - mostly dull men in suits - have no idea how to counter his politically incorrect taunts, which outrage the parliamentary chamber but delight his supporters.

He has come a long way since the days when he could be lightly dismissed as an eccentric fringe politician with an extraordinary blond quiff, known mainly for baiting Muslims.

"Half of Holland loves me and half of Holland hates me. There is no in-between," Mr Wilders said. "This is a new politics, and I think it would have a great chance of success in other European countries. We are democrats. On economic and social issues we are centrist. We want tougher laws on crime and we want to stop Holland paying so much money to the European Union.

"We would stop immigration from Muslim countries and close Islamic schools. We want to be more proud of our identity."

He admitted that he is frustrated at his image abroad, especially in Britain, a country which he admires. He claimed to believe in freedom above all else and pointed out that he is despised by Holland's Neo-Nazis, who dubbed him the "blond Zionist" because of his links to Israel - a country which he has often visited and where he counts politicians among his friends.

He is still angered at being banned from entering Britain, where he had been invited to show his controversial 17-minute film linking the Koran with the September 11 terror attacks. Muslim groups were among those who campaigned against his admission, and he dismissed the Home Office ruling as an attempt at "appeasement" of Islam.

Dutch liberals groaned when the British Government refused entry, because they knew Mr Wilders would milk the decision to generate massive publicity at home. He is also being prosecuted in Holland for promoting hate crimes, a case which is thought unlikely to succeed but which has allowed him to pose as a martyr.

In the European Parliament his four MEPs will not ally with the British National party, he said, claiming he had never met a BNP Member. "I understand they talk a lot about blacks and whites. This is disgusting," he said.

Then a dreamy look of a man convinced of his own destiny came into his eyes as he launched into a fresh tirade about the threat to Western civilisation from Islam. "Samuel Huntingdon was being too positive when he talked about a clash of civilisations," Mr Wilders said. "It is civilisation against barbarity."

His conviction explains why families like the Bernards, who know what happened next door in Germany during the 1930s, find Mr Wilders so unsettling.

In the past, the Bernards always had confidence in the post-war Dutch dream of equality and tolerance. But now Mr Bernard and his librarian wife Marjina, also 52, have been forced to ask whether their country is fundamentally changing.

The day after the results were announced, Mrs Bernard joined a mainstream political party for the first time in her life because she thinks that if Mr Wilders is to be opposed, ordinary politics must first be revived.

"It is getting scary," she said. "He is becoming more extreme. He has made it respectable to speak out against Muslims."

They live in an airy ground-floor flat in a neat suburb of Rotterdam, Europe's biggest port with a population of 580,000, about four out 10 of whom are immigrants or the descendants of immigrants. On current birth rates, the city is expected to become Europe's first with a Muslim majority in about 2020. That has put it firmly at the centre of Holland's anguished debate about race, immigration and Islam - a debate which is apparently being won by Mr Wilders.

The young watch his irreverent attacks on YouTube, relishing the novelty of a politician who can make them laugh. His older supporters are fiercely loyal to a leader who is bold enough to voice what they think, but for years dared not say.

"I voted for him because immigration isn't working here in Holland any more," said Ben De Reus, a 40-year-old bus driver from Rotterdam.

"He wants to get rid of the Turks and they don't belong here," said an elderly woman supporter in a prosperous southern suburb - wrongly, since Mr Wilders says he would "encourage" repatriation but wants the expulsion only of immigrants convicted of crimes.

Some 15 per cent of the Dutch population of 16.5 million are from ethnic minorities - many from Morocco and Turkey.

Most of the Party for Freedom's 17 per cent of the vote was cast in Holland's four big cities, where the immigrants live and where white voters grumble about high crime rates, chaotic foreigners who don't understand orderly Dutch ways, and Muslim families who refuse to learn the language and fit in.

But it did well in parts of rural Holland too. It polled highest - 39.8 per cent - in Volderdam, a picturesque, overwhelmingly white town surrounded by windmills and tulip fields, where there are no burkhas but tourists queue up to take photos of women in clogs.

His rhetoric has delighted many voters, the ones who fear that their beloved Dutch values are under attack from an alien way of life.

Dutch tolerance has shaped the Party of Freedom to be quite unlike most European Right-wing movements: its election campaigning championed the victims of gay-bashing gangs of Moroccan youths, and Mr Wilders talks often about the threat from Islam to women's rights.

His success is a sign of how the political landscape has changed. Even Dutch left-wingers now have to admit that there is a problem with Moroccan street gangs are a problem, and liberals wring their hands about the failure of immigrants to integrate since the first were admitted during the 1960s and 70s - many from Morocco and Turkey.

"Everybody assumed that immigrants would go home once they had finished their work here. But instead they stayed and brought their families," said Rita Van Der Linde, a spokeswoman for the Rotterdam municipality.

The city's large Moroccan population have found jobs harder to come by in recent years. Unemployed, and often feeling unwelcome, they have become more Islamic and retreated to the security of the mosques in their communities, in the older, scruffier parts of the city where they are isolated from mainstream Dutch life.

"This development has made white Dutch people nervous of them, especially since September 11th 2001," Ms Van Der Linde said.

Hopes for harmony on the streets have been invested in a new mayor, Ahmed Aboutaleb, a member of the Dutch Labour Party whose parents came from Morocco.

He has broken with multiculturalism by urging immigrants to learn the language and fit in, or get on a plane out. He has also pledged to crack down on Moroccan criminals, using language which Right-wingers say would get them branded as racists if they used it.

But in office he has tried to remain aloof from the fray, leaving the field almost clear for Mr Wilders to argue against immigration, which in reality has slowed to a trickle.

Not everyone believes there is enough substance to the Party of Freedom for it to have a chance of achieving real power.

In a little café in Rotterdam which proudly serves only traditional Dutch dishes, owner Martin Voltuees, 46, said of Mr Wilders: "He has a lot of good one-liners but no solutions. We have always been a culture of immigrants ever since the Jews arrived. The difference is that in the past people brought their skills, but now we have immigrants who just bring their poverty.

"Twenty years ago there were plenty of jobs in Rotterdam in the shipyards, and we needed them. That's gone now. But you see in Holland black and white, Muslims and Christians, intermarrying, so perhaps these problems are solving themselves."

Others are less sanguine - not least the Dutch citizens who feel themselves to be under fire.

Omar Kirac, 19, an engineering student at a Rotterdam university whose Turkish parents moved to the Netherlands before he was born, said: "Wilders hates people like me, and of course I hate him. I voted against him - it was the blond people who voted for him.

"We think he could become the prime minister and that would be dangerous for us, and dangerous for the Netherlands.

"Politicians need to focus on the economic crisis, not blame Muslims for everything."

While the Obama administration is focused on windmills and solar power, China is betting that oil will be the dominant energy fuel for many, many years. As a consequence, it is doing all it can to nail down future supplies.

Brazil is a prime Chinese target: It not only is the biggest single source of iron ore in the world and the second largest exporter of foodstuff, its national oil company Petrobras has discovered perhaps the biggest new oil field found anywhere in the world in many years offshore Brazil that promises to vault Petrobras and Brazil into the top tier of oil producers.

Some may rightfully grumble that China by entering into huge contracts for future supply is interfering with the global system of free trade. What China ties up never enters into the world trading system. That means less world oil for the United States and other nations to compete for, thus guaranteeing higher prices for what's left.

Brazil is launching a multi-year offshore oil development program estimated to cost $175 billion. As a result, rating agencies have sniffily dropped Brazil's bond rating to the lowest investment grade. No worry. China is stepping up.

To finance much of this development, Brazil has turned to China. With the active support of the Chinese government, many Chinese banks are lining up to extend loans to Brazil's energy sector. Right now, there is an agreement for a Chinese consortium to lend Petrobras $10 billion. In exchange, Petrobras will eventually ship 200,000 barrels of oil per day to Chinese refineries. There are more such long-term finance supply deals in the works. . . .
The Chinese are looking well ahead into the rest of this century, and even into the 22nd century. They want to ensure their future access to a diverse global supply chain, as well as win entrée into resource-rich regions of the world for Chinese industries and support firms. . . .
Why are the Chinese receiving such a warm welcome in Brazil? According to Sergio Gabrielli, CEO of Petrobras, "The U.S. has a problem. There isn't someone in the U.S. government that we can sit down with and have the kinds of discussions we're having with the Chinese."

The present U.S. administration isn't interested in oil. The U.S. has untapped reserves that could make the U.S. independent of oil and gas suppliers outside the Western Hemisphere. But it is denying itself development of those reserves -- the only country in the world to be doing so.

It isn't even interested in oil resources in our hemisphere that it can help develop for its own future purchase potential.

Also, the U.S. has plunged itself so deeply into debt to expand government programs it has no money to invest in strategic opportunities that arise elsewhere, even in relatively friendly places such as Brazil. (Brazil, as the largest exporter of ethanol in the world, is annoyed that it cannot economically sell to the United States since the Democratic Congress maintains the 50 cents per gallon tariff on foreign ethanol imports, which kills imports from Brazil.)

For those who think oil will be of no interest ten years from now, what is happening in Brazil is of no consequence.

Brazil's National Commitment to Energy - Bankrolled by China Jun 12th, 2009 | By Byron King

Brazil is making a national commitment to develop energy resources located far offshore in the South Atlantic. Indeed, no nation has ever advanced such an ambitious plan for long-term comprehensive offshore development. And it's being bankrolled by China.

Much of Brazil's South Atlantic development will require drilling wells in waters up to two miles deep, through four-five miles of rock beneath the seabed. The prize at the end will be oil deposits with reserves estimated in the tens of billions of barrels. With access to this offshore bounty, Brazil expects to take its place among the first ranks of energy-producing nations in the world.

Brazil's state-controlled national oil company (NOC), Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) plans to spend over $175 billion in the next five years just on offshore development. The immense investment involves buying and building dozens of new drill ships and seagoing platforms, along with many dozens more support and servicing vessels. Petrobras will lay thousands of miles of pipelines on the seafloor, connecting massive complexes of subsea equipment that will sit atop hundreds of oil wells.

To finance much of this development, Brazil has turned to China. With the active support of the Chinese government, many Chinese banks are lining up to extend loans to Brazil's energy sector. Right now, there is an agreement for a Chinese consortium to lend Petrobras $10 billion. In exchange, Petrobras will eventually ship 200,000 barrels of oil per day to Chinese refineries. There are more such long-term finance supply deals in the works.

The Chinese government has established strategic guidelines for its national firms. That is, the Chinese government has set goals for Chinese firms to supply China's long-term needs for energy and other natural resources. The Chinese are looking well ahead into the rest of this century, and even into the 22nd century. They want to ensure their future access to a diverse global supply chain, as well as win entrée into resource-rich regions of the world for Chinese industries and support firms.

Why are the Chinese receiving such a warm welcome in Brazil? According to Sergio Gabrielli, CEO of Petrobras, "The U.S. has a problem. There isn't someone in the U.S. government that we can sit down with and have the kinds of discussions we're having with the Chinese."

In other words, there is a new geopolitics of oil at work. In the olden days, it would have been large international oil companies (IOCs) like Exxon Mobil, Shell and BP walking into a room to meet with the Brazilians. The IOCs were the only game in town. They controlled the financing and the technology for large developments.

But today, the biggest deals begin with a political understanding at the top, hammered out between the highest levels of the respective governments. This top-down political deal making cuts out the IOCs, except where they have technical expertise that can be hired on a contract basis.

In essence, we are witnessing the end of the post-World War II economic construct of the world's financial system. That construct always had a Western bias. But the 2008 crash of the Western business and financial model has changed everything. It has left a barren worldwide financial landscape for large development projects. Most traditional Western financing is simply not available for large projects. And as French author Francois Rabelais (1494-1553) once noted, "Nature abhors a vacuum."

Thus has the Western financial crisis handed well-capitalized, government-backed Chinese banks and industrial firms an unmatched competitive advantage. With the traditional credit markets dry, Chinese banks have transformed into key lenders for the resource developments that will fuel the next generation of humanity. Indeed, for now, the Chinese are the world's ONLY lenders for large resource development projects.

PALIN PIPELINE EDGES TOWARD REALITY

While David Letterman was trying to explain away his pathetic obscene jokes about Governor Sarah Palin's family, she was wrapping up a momentous announcement in Texas to help secure America's energy independence. Exxon Mobil's decision to back Alaska's $30 billion pipeline project was a victory for Palin, Alaska and the United States. She had done something Alaska's public officials had been trying but failed to do for 30 years. With Exxon Mobil's heft, experience and financial resources in the mix, the pipeline will become a reality.

PalinPipeline.jpg

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin celebrates a landmark agreement between TransCanada and ExxonMobil to partner together in building Alaska's natural gas pipeline - the largest and most complex construction project in North America. Governor Palin, center, is joined by (left to right) Marty Massey, Joint interest Manager for Exxon Mobil; Alaska Department of Natural Resources Deputy Commissioner Marty Rutherford; Rich Krueger, President of Exxon Mobil Production Company; Hal Kvisle, President and CEO of TransCanada Corporation; and Dennis McConaghy, Executive Vice-President of Pipeline Strategy and Development. (Click on image for bigger picture.)

Leadership matters.

Pipeline, Not Pipe Dream: Credit Palin

By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Monday, June 15, 2009

Energy: Exxon Mobil's surprise decision to join Trans-Canada on a vast Alaska gas pipeline project is a big step toward making the U.S. self-sufficient in domestic energy. By defying naysayers, Sarah Palin is now vindicated.

It must be sweet vindication for Alaska's governor. Against critics who said her 1,712-mile natural gas pipeline project would never get off the ground, who should the project bag but the "big gorilla" of American energy -- Exxon Mobil.

In a major surprise, Exxon announced Thursday that it had forged a partnership with TransCanada, the Canadian pipeline company that holds the state license for Palin's $126 billion Alaska Gasoline Inducement Act project.

It's a big vote of confidence in Palin's top project from a by-the-books company known for its rigid investment standards.

"We evaluated all the options and it came down to our belief that this approach with TransCanada and Exxon Mobil was going to be the most successful project," said Marty Massey, U.S. joint interest manager of Exxon Mobil Production Co. He said Exxon might look at expanding its participation.

Rival oil firms had whispered to IBD that it would never happen. "It's gonna happen and we're very excited about this development," Palin told "Good Morning America" on Friday.

Doubters of Palin's pipeline plan were numerous.

Some said the pipeline would be too big to work, and that a rival BP/ConocoPhillips project, called Denali, would doom Palin's plan because Alaska didn't have enough natural gas for both.

Exxon's tilt toward TransCanada suggests the oil giant believes that's not true. Exxon is America's largest company, with extraction rights to a third of all Alaska's gas reserves. It can use them to fill either pipeline. "We will make a decision based on commercial reality," Massey said. "But . . . why would we put our money and not our gas in the pipeline?"

Obama administration officials who had nothing to do with this, like Energy Secretary Ken Salazar, rushed to claim credit too.What better vote of confidence could there be?

Other doubters had suggested the pipeline could never happen because of a global gas glut, making the pipeline uneconomical. But with the project slated for completion in 2018, and the need for natural gas expected to rise between 20% and 40% by 2030, it's precisely now that such a project should be built.

"I think it's very shortsighted" to assume that "market conditions are going to stay as they are today," Palin told CNN. In an interview with IBD last July when gasoline hit $4 at the pump, she noted that if drilling had started in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge just five years ago, when policymakers were dismissing the idea of $100-a-barrel oil, "we wouldn't be in our predicament today."

This is another in a series of successful steps to build the world's largest commercial construction project. For this, credit Palin. Despite the too-hip ridicule of comedians like David Letterman, she was the one who got the pipeline past Alaska's legislature, something governors had tried -- and failed -- to do for 30 years.

Other partners are sure to join, and the near-impossible task of bringing Alaskan energy to the continental U.S. is that much closer.

If there are any doubts left, note that it's Alaska's officials giving Palin the most credit. As Deputy Natural Resources Commissioner Marty Rutherford told IBD, Palin relentlessly drove this project, walking the process through the bureaucracy, asking questions, even going to Texas on Thursday to hear from Exxon itself.

"We're sitting here and in a short two-and-a-half years we have two premier companies in the world moving this process forward," said Alaska Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Irwin. "Thank you Gov. Palin, thank you participants and thank you Alaskans."

With praise like this, maybe it's time Palin started getting some attention for helping to secure America's energy future -- and less for having to defend herself from the dirty jibes of over-the-hill comics.

For Americans tired of high energy prices and dependence on foreign energy, Palin's hitting some very big home runs indeed.

PALESTINIAN BARBARISM: NATURE OR NURTURE?

Will Palestinians EVER be ready to have a sovereign state next to Israel? Is there something in their nature or nurture that makes it impossible? There are many examples why this seems to be the reality.

Generations of Islamic Palestinians as well as other Muslims have been taught from birth to hate Jews and to kill them if they have the opportunity.

Today Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank by radio and television demonize Jews and Israel. In Palestinian schools, beginning in kintergarten, children are taught to aspire to kill Jews (any Jews, including children) as a suicide "martyr" as their highest goal in life.

When Gaza was handed over to the Palestinian Authority there was a great opportunity to show the world Palestinians could establish a functioning society. They had a chance to start building an economy that would employ Palestinians. Instead, they immediately demonstrated how incapable they were of living side-by-side with Israel and how little they cared for building a self-sustaining community.

Gaza immediately became a launching pad for rockets targeting nearby Israeli villages.

As for their desire to build an economically self-sustaining community? The first few hours of Gazan independence showed there was none. Rather than accept the magnanimous multimillion dollar gift of American Jews that could have employed thousands of Palestinians in a profitable business, they chose to destroy it, so strong was their hatred of "the Jews."

As the Obama administration seems intent on playing out its fantasy about Palestinians being ready to be in charge of a state living peacefully alongside Israel, this reminder is timely.

The writer is a Holocaust concentration camp survivor.


Schadenfreude: An Interesting German Word that Fits the Writer's Feelings for the Palestinians (and Some Well-Meaning Jews)

by Si Frumkin, (Los Angeles) Jewish Observer, October 3-5, 2005

I am not a great fan of German achievement. I believe that a Lexus or a Cadillac is better than a BMW or Mercedes.

But I do acknowledge that Germans have a way with words. They created words that other languages simply do not have. Schadenfreude [schah-den-froy-day] is such a word.

In case you are not familiar with it, it takes seven English words to define it: "malicious satisfaction in the misfortunes of others." The dictionary also explains it with a quote from The New York Times about historian Peter Gay--who felt Schadenfreude as a Jewish child in Nazi-era Berlin, watching the Germans lose coveted gold medals in the 1936 Olympics; he said that it "can be one of the great joys of life."

All this is a prelude to inform you that I felt--and greatly enjoyed Schadenfreude recently.

A friend had recently come back from a trip to Russia.

He told us that he saw beautiful flowers at an expensive flower shop in Moscow and asked where these out-of-season flowers had come from. "Holland," he was told. "Most of our flowers come from Holland, but the Dutch buy a lot of them from Israel and resell them throughout Europe. We are lucky to get them. They are so beautiful."

Another friend spent a week in the French countryside where he enjoyed a wonderful tasty fruit, apparently some kind of a cross of a peach and a plum. He asked what it was and was told that it was imported from Israel, the only place where it was cultivated.

I am sure that at least some of the flowers, fruit and vegetables that cater to European sophisticates came from the more than 3000 Gaza greenhouses. They were all built on barren empty land by the Jews who, until a few years ago, employed over 12,000 Palestinians there. Since the start of the last Intifada and several terror attacks by the more demented employees, the number of Arabs working the greenhouses was drastically reduced, and they were replaced by Thais, Africans and Filipinos.

During the months of preparation for the Israeli withdrawal, there were many questions on what should be done with the green-houses. They were state-of-art agricultural marvels with their own sophisticated temperature and humidity control systems. They turned out millions of dollars worth of produce yearly and they were a source of employment for thousands of people in an area, where close to 40% were unemployed.

Should these marvelous structures be destroyed or moved or just abandoned? Then a wonderful and heartwarming solution was found. A small group of wealthy American Jews decided to buy the greenhouses from Israel and donate them to the Palestinian Authority. One of the donors was former World Bank president James Wolfensohn who put up $500,000 of his own money. All in all, $14 million was collected, the deal was done and an appreciative Palestinian spokesmen announced that the greenhouses would become the cornerstone of the future Palestinian economy.

So where is the Schadenfreude, you say? Happy ending for all, right? Palestinians get the greenhouses, Israelis get $14 million and the small group of admirable Jews in America get the warm feeling of having made the world a more tolerant and loving place where Arabs appreciate Jewish kindness and are less eager to murder Jews, right?

Well, no, not really!

Have you heard the old story about a scorpion that asked a fox to carry him across a river?

The fox refused: "You are a scorpion and you might sting me," he said. The scorpion scoffed. "Don't be ridiculous. Why would I sting you? We would both drown if I did that," he said.

The fox thought this made sense and told him to climb on his back. Halfway across the river the scorpion stung the fox. "Why did you do that? Now we'll both drown," cried the drowning fox.

"I know, my friend, but it is in my nature to sting" said the scorpion before dying.

And so it is in the nature of the Palestinian mentality: Just an hour or so after the Jews left Gaza, thousands of Palestinians swarmed into the empty settlements.

The Palestinian police stood and watched the mob demolish the abandoned synagogues and set them on fire. They also watched with interest as part of the crowd turned on the greenhouses, breaking windows, taking plates of glass, wiring, computer and electronic parts, irrigation pipes and timers.

It didn't take long and after a few hours or so the greenhouses that it had taken years to build were just so much junk.

And so I have Schadenfreude. The Palestinians will not export flowers to Holland or fruit to France. The greenhouses will not be rebuilt.

The Palestinian economy, such as it is, will continue to be mired in corruption, hatred and violence.

They will suffer--Schadenfreude--but still, they'll never admit that it was their own fault.

And I also have Schadenfreude towards the naive rich Jews who thought that the Arab reaction to their gift would be based on logic and not on inbred hatred. You silly people, didn't you learn yet that this is the Middle East where scorpions sting even if this means their own destruction? You lost $14 million and, you know, I am glad you did.

I only hope that Israel cashed the $14 million check before it was too late

OBAMA REWRITES HISTORY TO SUIT HIMSELF

The trouble with President Obama is he says what he wants his audience to hear whether it's true or not. His Cairo speech is a prime example of Obamaspeak, but it not at all unique. A shame the media doesn't bother to set the historical facts straight so starstruck are they at their "god" hovering over the world.

Many have pointed out at various times the inaccuracies of Obamaspeak, but none does is better than Greek scholar Victor Davis Hanson, now a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution.

President Obama, in elegant fashion, may casually invoke the means of politically correct history for the higher ends of contemporary reconciliation. But it is a bad habit. Eloquence and good intentions exempt no one from the truth of the past -- President Obama included.

Amen.

June 11, 2009, 0:00 a.m.

Our Historically Challenged President

A list of distortions.

By Victor Davis Hanson


In his speech last week in Cairo, President Obama proclaimed he was a "student of history." But despite Barack Obama's image as an Ivy League-educated intellectual, he lacks historical competency, in areas of both facts and interpretation.

This first became apparent during the presidential campaign. Candidate Obama proclaimed then that during World War II his great-uncle had helped liberate Auschwitz, and that his grandfather knew fellow American troops that had entered Auschwitz and Treblinka.

Both are impossible. The Americans didn't free either Nazi death camp. (Regarding Obama's great uncle's war experience, the Obama team later said he'd meant the camp at Buchenwald.)

Much of what Obama said to thousands of Germans during his Victory Column speech in Berlin last summer was also ahistorical. He began, "I know that I don't look like the Americans who've previously spoken in this great city." He apparently forgot that for the prior eight years, the official faces of American foreign policy in Germany were Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice -- both African-Americans.

In the same speech, Obama seemed to suggest that the world had come to together to save Berlin during the Airlift. In fact, it was almost an entirely American and British effort -- written off by most observers as hopeless and joined by a handful of Western allies only when the lift looked like it might succeed.

In the recent Cairo speech, Obama's historical allusions were even more suspect. Almost every one of his references was either misleading or incomplete. He suggested that today's Middle East tension was fed by the legacy of European colonialism and the Cold War that had reduced nations to proxies.

But the great colonizers of the Middle East were the Ottoman Muslims, who for centuries ruled with an iron fist. The 20th-century movements of Baathism, Pan-Arabism, and Nasserism -- largely homegrown totalitarian ideologies -- did far more damage over the last half-century to the Middle East than did the legacy of European colonialism.

Obama also claimed that "Islam . . . carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment." While medieval Islamic culture was impressive and ensured the survival of a few classical texts -- often through the agency of Arabic-speaking Christians -- it had little to do with the European rediscovery of classical Greek and Latin values. Europeans, Chinese, and Hindus, not Muslims, invented most of the breakthroughs Obama credited to Islamic innovation.

Much of the Renaissance, in fact, was more predicated on the centuries-long flight of Greek-speaking Byzantine scholars from Constantinople to Western Europe to escape the aggression of Islamic Turks. Many romantic thinkers of the Enlightenment sought to extend freedom to oppressed subjects of Muslim fundamentalist rule in eastern and southern Europe.

Obama also insisted that "Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition." Yet the Spanish Inquisition began in 1478; by then Cordoba had long been re-conquered by Spanish Christians, and was governed as a staunchly Christian city.

In reference to Iraq, President Obama promised that "no system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other." Is he unaware that the United States imposed democracies after World War II?

After the defeat of German Nazism, Italian fascism, and Japanese militarism, Americans -- by force -- insisted that these nations adopt democratic governments, for both their own sakes and the world's. Indeed, it is hard to think of too many democratic governments that did not emerge from violence -- including our own.

Obama also stated: "For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights."

With all due respect to our president, this assertion is again not fully accurate. The only thing that ended slavery in the United States was the Civil War, which saw some 600,000 Americans -- the vast majority of them white -- lost in a violent struggle to ensure that nearly half the country would not remain a slave-owning society. Also, the massive urban riots of the 1960s and 1970s were certainly violent.

This list of distortions could be easily expanded. President Obama, in elegant fashion, may casually invoke the means of politically correct history for the higher ends of contemporary reconciliation. But it is a bad habit. Eloquence and good intentions exempt no one from the truth of the past -- President Obama included.

The reaction to the falsities and half-truths in President Obama's Cairo speech to Muslims of the world continues. Brigitte Gabriel, who was terrorized by Muslim violence as a young Christian girl in Lebanon and ultimately settled in the United States, has written a letter to the President that bears careful reading.


An Open Letter to President Obama
June 8, 2009


Dear Mr. President,

You face difficult challenges in matters such as achieving peace in the Middle East and protecting America from the threat of radical Islam and terrorism. These are challenges that have vexed past presidents, going as far back as our second president, John Adams. I have no doubt you appreciate both the gravity of these challenges and the enormous obstacles that exist to solving them.

I also have no doubt that you and your staff understood that, no matter what you said in your speech last Thursday in Cairo, there would be those who would take issue with you. That is always the case when attempting to solve problems that are as deep and emotionally-laden as these challenges are.

I am assuming it is your sincere hope that the approach you have chosen to take, as evidenced by what I'm sure was a carefully crafted speech, will ultimately prove successful. However, it pains me to say this sir, but, while you said in your speech that you are a "student of history," it is abundantly clear that, in these matters, you do not know history and thus, as Santayana noted, you are doomed to repeat it. In doing so your efforts, however well-intentioned they may be, will not produce what you profess to hope they will produce.

A wise man once said that if you start with the wrong assumptions, no matter how logical your reasoning is, you will end up with the wrong conclusion.

With all due respect Mr. President, you are starting with certain assumptions that are unsupported by history and an objective study of the ideology of political Islam.

You began in your speech by asserting that "tensions" exist between the United States and Muslims around the world, which, of course, is correct.

Unfortunately, you then proceeded, incorrectly, to lay virtually all the blame for these tensions at the feet of America and the West. You blamed western colonialism, the Cold War, and even modernity and globalism.

A student of American history, who is not trying to reconstruct it to fit a modern politically correct narrative, would state that tensions between America and Muslims began with the unprovoked, four-decades long assault by the Muslim Barbary pirates against American shipping in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. I find it telling that you mentioned the Treaty of Tripoli in your speech but ignored the circumstances that led to it. That treaty was but one of numerous attempts by the United States to achieve peace with the jihadists of the Barbary Coast who were attacking our shipping and killing and enslaving our citizens and our soldiers and who by their own admission were doing so to fulfill the call to jihad.

These jihadists were not acting to protest American foreign policy, which was decidedly isolationist, and there was no state of Israel to scapegoat.

They were doing what countless Islamic jihadists have done throughout history, acting upon the hundreds of passages in the Qur'an and the Hadith that call upon faithful Muslims to kill, conquer or subjugate the infidel.

A student of world history would know that, for all the acknowledged evils of Western colonialism, these evils pale in comparison to the nearly 14 centuries of Islamic colonialism that began in Arabia under the leadership of Mohammed. The student of history would know that Islamic forces eradicated all Jewish and Christian presence from Arabia after Mohammed's death, and then succeeded in conquering all of North Africa, most of the Middle East, much of Asia Minor, and significant portions of Europe and India, eventually creating an empire larger than Rome's was at its peak.

The number of dead and enslaved during these many centuries of Islamic imperial conquest and colonialism have been estimated to total more than 300 million. What's more, the wealth of many of the conquered nations and cultures was plundered by the Islamic conquerors, and millions of non-Muslims who did survive were forced to pay onerous taxes, such as the "jizya," a humiliation tax to the Islamic caliphs. Indeed, in some areas Christians and Jews were made to wear a receipt for the jizya around their neck as a mark of their dishonor.

These facts have not been invented by Christian or Jewish historical revisionists, but were chronicled by Muslim eyewitnesses throughout the past 14 centuries and are available to be researched by any person seeking an objective understanding of how Islam spread throughout the world.

You say in your speech that we must squarely face the tensions that exist between America and the Muslim world. That is a laudable notion with which I agree, but by casting Islam as the historical victim and the West (and by implication, America) as the aggressor, you do not face these tensions squarely, but alleviate the Muslim world from coming to grips with the jihadist ideology embedded in its holy books and acted upon for 1,400 years.

Even worse, you empower and embolden militant Islamists who regard your gestures as signs of weakness and capitulation.

The issue is not that all Muslims are terrorists or radicals or extremists.

We all know that the majority of Muslims are not. We also know that many peace-loving Muslims are victims of Islamist violence.

The issue is this: what drives hundreds of millions of Muslims worldwide to call for the death of Jews?

What drives millions of Muslims to riot, destroy property, and take innocent lives in reaction to the Danish cartoons?

What drives tens of thousands of Muslims to demand the execution of a British teacher whose only "crime" was allowing her students to name their teddy bears "Mohammed"?

What drives countless Muslims worldwide to actively participate in, or fund, or provide nurture to terrorist organizations?

What drives Muslims in mosques in America to proclaim and distribute materials that call for hatred of and the destruction of infidels?

What drives entire Islamic countries to prohibit the building of a church or synagogue?

To assume, as you apparently do, that what drives these actions is not an ideology embedded in the holy books of Islam, but rather other "root causes," most of which you lay at the feet of America and the West, is at best naïve and at worst dangerous.

Lastly, I must address your statement that "Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance." Unfortunately, the examples you gave are the exception rather than the rule.

Historically speaking, I seriously doubt the Egyptian Copts, the Lebanese Maronites, the Christians in Bethlehem, the Assyrians, the Hindus, the Jews, and many others who have been persecuted by Islamic violence and supremacism, would agree with your assertion.

For instance, Christians and Jews became "Dhimmis," a second class group under Islam. Dhimmis were forced to wear distinctive clothing; it was Baghdad's Caliph Al-Mutawakkil, in the ninth century, who designated a yellow badge for Jews under Islam, which Hitler copied and duplicated in Nazi Germany nearly a thousand years later.

I witnessed first-hand the "tolerance" of Islam when Islamists ravaged my country of birth, Lebanon, in the 1970's, leaving widespread death and destruction in their wake. I saw how they re-paid the tolerance that Lebanese Christians extended toward them. My experience is not an isolated one. When you make an unfounded assertion about the "proud tradition" of tolerance in Islam, you do a great disservice to the hundreds of millions of non-Muslims who have been killed, maimed, enslaved, conquered, subjugated or displaced in the cause of Islamic jihad.

Mr. President, those of us like me who are ringing the alarm in America about the threat of radical Islam would like nothing better than to peacefully co-exist with the Muslim world.

Most Americans would like nothing better than to peacefully co-exist with the Muslim world. The obstacle to achieving this does not lie with us in America and the West. It lies with the hundreds of millions of Muslims worldwide, including many of their spiritual leaders, who take seriously the repeated calls to jihad in the Qur'an and the Hadith. Who regard "infidels" as inferior and worthy of conquering, subjugating and forcibly converting. Who support "cultural jihad" as a means to subvert non-Muslim societies from within. Who take seriously the admonitions throughout the Qur'an and the Hadith to convert the world to Islam by force if necessary and bring it under the rule of Allah.

Unless you are willing to courageously and honestly accept this, your aspirations for worldwide comity and peace in the Middle East are doomed to fail.

Sincerely,

Brigitte Gabriel

OBAMA: ISLAM'S APOLOGIST-IN-CHIEF

President Obama has become the self-proclaimed apologist for Islam and is "either unable or unwilling to come to terms with the nature of the radical Islamic threat to America and the West." HIs Cairo speech was a collection of missstatements and half-truths that exaggerated if not falsified Islamic claims for academic progress and tolerance.

His actions with respect to Islamic terrorists are even more alarming: Bringing terrorists captured on the battlefield to New York for a court trial? Reading Miranda rights to Taliban mauraders rounded up in the Afghan mountains? Expressing a willingness to release Guantanomo detainees in the United States? Stacking his administration with Arabists and selling out Israel?

What is the extent of the danger in all this for Americans?

The Bush administration was justifiably taken to task for refusing to recognize or do anything about the nefarious role played by state sponsors of extremism such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in the spread of radical Islam. President Obama has already gone beyond that, with a policy of pandering and appeasement. History teaches us that tolerating the intolerant and appeasing the unappeasable results in more conflict and bloodshed.

Read all of what Alex Alexiev has to say.

June 11, 2009, 4:00 a.m.

Obama's Fantasy Islam
Obama has seemingly chosen to act as an apologist for Islamism.

By Alex Alexiev of the Hudson Institute


With the media's rhapsodic paeans to President Obama's "historic" Cairo speech now receding into the background, this may be an opportune moment to take a sober look at America's policies vis-à-vis the Muslim world and, no less important, at where Islam itself may be heading.

It is now clear that the president is either unable or unwilling to come to terms with the nature of the radical Islamic threat to America and the West. To him, the problem is a few violent extremists, a "small but potent minority of Muslims," which leaves one wondering how a small minority got to be quite so potent. In any case, the West is dealing not with a few militants, or even with terrorism as such, but with a murderous, totalitarian doctrine couched in Islamic terms that has already become the dominant idiom in much of the Muslim world and its diaspora communities. Whether it is called "radical Islam," "Islamism," "Salafism," or "Islamofascism," it aims at nothing short of the conquest of the world for Islam, by violent means if need be. And not just any kind of Islam, but the most reactionary and intolerant interpretation of the Muslim faith.

It is an ideology that elevates violent jihad as a religious obligation for all Muslims, openly discriminates against non-Muslims and women, banishes democracy and secularism, and ordains the murder of apostates and homosexuals. This doctrine is preached today in tens of thousands of Salafi, Wahhabi, and Deobandi mosques and madrassas, and promoted by countless Islamist organizations, from the Muslim Brotherhood networks in America to the Taliban and its fellow jihadists in Pakistan. Extremism and terrorism are the results of this malignant phenomenon. The Taliban and al-Qaeda did not bring Pakistan to the edge of the precipice on their own; rather, 30 years of state-sponsored Islamization of Pakistani society made Islamism the threat it is.

While President Bush was also remiss in explaining to Americans that we're in a deadly conflict with a violent Islamist doctrine that has deep and spreading roots among a quarter of the human population -- rather than with terrorism, which is simply its symptom -- Obama has seemingly chosen to act as an apologist for this ideology. There is no other credible reason for a man with an army of experts, researchers, and fact-checkers at his disposal to utter so many half-truths and outright falsehoods about what Islam is and what it is not. These include his touting ostensible Islamic contributions to music (an art form prohibited among the devout) and printing (regarded by the mullahs as the devil's invention, and not available to Muslims until three centuries after Gutenberg), and his preposterous promotion of Saudi King Abdullah, ruler of the most religiously intolerant country on earth, as a champion of "interfaith dialogue."

More telling still are Obama's historically inaccurate portrayals of Muslims as being at "the forefront of innovation and education," and his blaming colonialism and the Cold War for their falling behind. In fact, Muslims have not been at the forefront of anything since ijtihad (reason) was declared un-Islamic ten centuries ago and replaced by blind obedience to reactionary sharia dogma, which, in turn, ushered in a cultural and intellectual stagnation that is yet to be overcome. Indeed, the greatest Muslim minds over the centuries, from Averoes and Avicenna to Noble Prize physicist Abdus Salam, have invariably been persecuted and declared apostates by the guardians of Islamic orthodoxy. While colonialism is a favorite Islamist whipping boy for all real or imagined ills visited upon the Muslims, it was the result, not the cause, of the inexorable decline of Islam as a world power and civilization that culminated in the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century. Nor should it be forgotten that throughout most of its history, Islam has been a premier imperialist and colonialist power itself.

Perhaps the greatest failure of the president's vaunted new approach to Islam is his reluctance to examine the profoundly oppressive and despotic nature of governance in most Arab and Muslim countries as one of the root causes of radical Islam. Worn-out clichés that Islam is "an important part of promoting peace" do little to explain to either Westerners or Muslims the nature of the conflict and how it affects their well-being. It is, of course, a well-known fact that radical Islam would have never reached critical mass without massive financial support and political sponsorship from states such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, and Sudan. What's less well-known is that many Muslim regimes that are considered moderate, or even American allies, have also aided and abetted Islamic extremism.


Egypt, the recipient of billions of U.S. aid dollars, is a case in point. Faced with a virulent Islamist threat from the Muslim Brotherhood, Cairo's dictatorial rulers, from Sadat to Mubarak, sought to appease the Islamists by allowing them to play an ever-greater role in society. First Sadat promoted sharia as one of the sources of law and later proclaimed it the sole source of Egyptian legislation, providing the Islamists with a powerful weapon against their secular opponents. Mubarak then appointed the mullahs of Al-Azhar as the sole arbiters of what books should be published in or imported into Egypt. Predictably, anything that does not meet their medieval criteria is being censored, while books that discuss how many angels could be recruited for a war against Israel (120 million) are encouraged.

This is the same organization that, in President Obama's words, "paved the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment." The inevitable result of such policies is evident in the mufti of Egypt's open support for Hezbollah and Hamas, and in his Taliban-like fatwa that sculpture and sculptors are against Islam.

The inescapable reality is that the policies that have served the venal and corrupt Arab regimes well (by keeping their oppressed populations poor, uneducated, and ignorant) have served the violent religious obscurantism of the Islamists even better. Consider that not a single Western government had the courage to criticize the Organization of the Islamic Conference in 1990 when all 45 of its members voted for the "Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam," which, de facto and de jure, denied most internationally recognized human rights to Muslims by making all rights and freedoms in Muslim countries subject to sharia as their "sole source." To discuss our relations with the Muslim world in the abstract, as the Obama administration is now doing, without even mentioning the vast gulf separating most Muslim regimes from the rest of the world when it comes to the most basic aspects of modern civilization is disingenuous as well as futile.

The Bush administration was justifiably taken to task for refusing to recognize or do anything about the nefarious role played by state sponsors of extremism such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in the spread of radical Islam. President Obama has already gone beyond that, with a policy of pandering and appeasement. History teaches us that tolerating the intolerant and appeasing the unappeasable results in more conflict and bloodshed.

-- Alex Alexiev is an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C.

For those who thought we were electing a president of the United States it may be a shock to learn that, no, we were putting in place an overseer of the world's affairs who would treat the United States as just another country. As Obama speaks from his Olympian heights, he shortchanges the people who elected him to defend the country and uphold the Constitution.

Charles Krauthammer is getting more than annoyed with Obama's shading of the truth to convince Muslims that the U.S. and the Muslims of the world are engaged in the same struggle for human rights -- and are more or less at the same stage in the struggle.


Obama undoubtedly thinks he is demonstrating historical magnanimity with all these moral equivalencies and self-flagellating apologetics. On the contrary. He's showing cheap condescension, an unseemly hunger for applause and a willingness to distort history for political effect.

Distorting history is not truth-telling, but the telling of soft lies. Creating false equivalencies is not moral leadership, but moral abdication. And hovering above it all, above country and history, is a sign not of transcendence but of a disturbing ambivalence toward one's own country.

Read it all.

IT WILL HAVE TO BE PAID BACK

Who's going to pay for this?

You, your children, your grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The Obama administration is engaged in a historic borrowing from future generations to pay for an unprecedented expansion of the federal bureaucracy and government control over many aspects of American life. It will burden the American economy for decades. There is only one way to pay for all these unfunded deficits -- higher taxes on everyone, which will be a drag on economic growth, reduce the nation's prosperity and jeopardize the nation's security and standing as the most powerful and successful nation in the history of the world.

Who voted for this? Did they know?

RACIALISM? RACISM.

Supreme Justice Holmes said in many cases he found for people he "despised." In other words, he decided on the law and the facts of the case, as the Constitution requires. With Judge Sonia Sotomayor, it seems it's always a matter of black and white, or brown and white or yellow and white. Guess who wins?

Her most shocking decision denying equal rights to whites is in the Supreme Court and the Cour's decision should be issued in the next few weeks. In the Ricci case, a dyslexic white public safey official who spent about 1,000 hours studying for his exam, spent money to hire a reader to help him and scored well enough to qualify for promotion was denied promotion when the New Haven bureaucracy threw out the exam results because no blacks reached the qualifying level. Sotomayor and two other judges didn't have the courage to write an opinion, but only issued a short statement rubber stamping the district court's upholding of the bureaucrats' outrageous action. Mr. Ricci appealed the case to the Supreme Court. It will be astonishing if the Court does not rule he was denied his constitutional rights. This is what some call "racialism" which in fact is nothing but "racism.'

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THE LIES ABOUT ISLAMIC TOLERANCE


While President Obama did articulate some hard truths that Musllms deny but had to hear, he actually understated much of the oppressive nature of Islam and wildly overstated the history of Islamic "tolerance." Through the centuries Islam has continually oppressed conquered peoples and dangled the threat of death over them. This was so during the fabricated Golden Age of Islamic Andalusia and is so in modern Egypt, where Obama spoke. Today Coptic Christians, once a majority, are a persecuted, shrinking minority. Jews, once flourishing in Egypt, have virtually disappeared. One whose family fled Muslim persecution in Egypt tells his story.

June 9, 2009 New York Times

The Exodus Obama Forgot to Mention
By ANDRÉ ACIMAN

PRESIDENT OBAMA'S speech to the Islamic world was a groundbreaking event. Never before has a young, dynamic American president, beloved both by his countrymen and the nations of the world, extended so timely and eager a hand to a part of the globe that, recently, had seen fewer and fewer reasons to trust us or to wish us well.

As important, Mr. Obama did not mince words. Never before has a president gone over to the Arab world and broadcast its flaws so loudly and clearly: extremism, nuclear weapons programs and a faltering record in human rights, education and economic development -- the Arab world gets no passing grades in any of these domains. Mr. Obama even found a moment to mention the plight of Egypt's harassed Coptic community and to criticize the new wave of Holocaust deniers. And to show he was not playing favorites, he put the Israelis on notice: no more settlements in the occupied territories. He spoke about the suffering of Palestinians. This was no wilting olive branch.

And yet, for all the president's talk of "a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world" and shared "principles of justice and progress," neither he nor anyone around him, and certainly no one in the audience, bothered to notice one small detail missing from the speech: he forgot me.

The president never said a word about me. Or, for that matter, about any of the other 800,000 or so Jews born in the Middle East who fled the Arab and Muslim world or who were summarily expelled for being Jewish in the 20th century. With all his references to the history of Islam and to its (questionable) "proud tradition of tolerance" of other faiths, Mr. Obama never said anything about those Jews whose ancestors had been living in Arab lands long before the advent of Islam but were its first victims once rampant nationalism swept over the Arab world.

Nor did he bother to mention that with this flight and expulsion, Jewish assets were -- let's call it by its proper name -- looted. Mr. Obama never mentioned the belongings I still own in Egypt and will never recover. My mother's house, my father's factory, our life in Egypt, our friends, our books, our cars, my bicycle. We are, each one of us, not just defined by the arrangement of protein molecules in our cells, but also by the things we call our own. Take away our things and something in us dies. Losing his wealth, his home, the life he had built, killed my father. He didn't die right away; it took four decades of exile to finish him off.

Mr. Obama had harsh things to say to the Arab world about its treatment of women. And he said much about America's debt to Islam. But he failed to remind the Egyptians in his audience that until 50 years ago a strong and vibrant Jewish community thrived in their midst. Or that many of Egypt's finest hospitals and other institutions were founded and financed by Jews. It is a shame that he did not remind the Egyptians in the audience of this, because, in most cases -- and especially among those younger than 50 -- their memory banks have been conveniently expunged of deadweight and guilt. They have no recollections of Jews.

In Alexandria, my birthplace and my home, all streets bearing Jewish names have been renamed. A few years ago, the Library of Alexandria put on display an Arabic translation of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," perhaps the most anti-Semitic piece of prose ever written. Today, for the record, there are perhaps four Jews left in Alexandria.

When the last Jew dies, the temples and religious artifacts and books that were the property of what was once probably the wealthiest Jewish community on the Mediterranean will go to the Egyptian government -- not to me, or to my children, or to any of the numberless descendants of Egyptian Jews.

It is strange that our president, a man so versed in history and so committed to the truth, should have omitted mentioning the Jews of Egypt. He either forgot, or just didn't know, or just thought it wasn't expedient or appropriate for this venue. But for him to speak in Cairo of a shared effort "to find common ground ... and to respect the dignity of all human beings" without mentioning people in my position would be like his speaking to the residents of Berlin about the future of Germany and forgetting to mention a small detail called World War II.

-- André Aciman, a professor of comparative literature at the City University of New York Graduate Center, is the author of the memoir "Out of Egypt."

National security strategist Frank Gaffney pulls some disturbing indicators out of President Obama's Cairo speech that leads him to conclude, at least tentatively, that Obama is in spirit if not in fact America's first Muslim president.

There were several tell-tale signs:

Obama adopts the Muslim Brotherhood estimate of seven million Muslims in America, when all others put the figure at half or less than half that number.

Obama addressed the "Muslim world," which does not exist as such; there may be as many as 57 Muslim majority nations and other nations which have substantial Muslim populations. In the view of Islamic supremacists, there is but one Islamic nation that ignores man-made national boundaries, the umma, and it was this supposedly unified body that Obama addressed.

Obama was born to a Muslim father and raised in his early years by his Muslim step-father in a Muslim-majority nation as a Muslim. It is not known what faith he followed after leaving Indonesia until at age 26 or 27 he signed up with Jeremiah Wright, whose hateful version of Christianity (and view of America) had much in common with Islam, not surprising since Wright had himself been a Muslim before establishing his church. While Obama repeately refers to himself as a Christian, he has said he didn't necessarily subscribe to the view that Jesus is the Son of God.

In his speech Obama was careful to refer to the "Holy Koran," something few non-Muslims do.

Obama also referred to his visit to Saudi Arabia as the place where Islam was "first revealed." Again, this is an Islamic formulation which in effect asserts that Islam is the original monotheistic religion pre-dating Judaism and Christianity.

Finally, he referred to a story in the Haditha in which the "children of Abraham" mingled together in Jerusalem and Moses, Jesus and Mohammad joined in prayer. Obama uttered the Muslim prayer for deceased holy men "peace be upon them" for the three. A Christian believing in the divinity of Jesus would never classify Jesus as a dead Muslim prophet along with Moses and Mohammad (which the Koran does).

Obama in this speech (as well as duing the presidential campaign and since taking office) expressed a special hostility for Israel, something his Muslim audience clearly related to. While he gave Iran carte blache to continue its nuclear development ("no one nation can tell another" what to do) he then commanded that Israel stop all settlements, even to accommodate natural family growth.

Gaffney concludes:

Whether Mr. Obama actually is a Muslim or simply plays one in the presidency may, in the end, be irrelevant. What is alarming is that in aligning himself and his policies with those of Shariah-adherents such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the president will greatly intensify the already enormous pressure on peaceful, tolerant American Muslims to submit to such forces -- and heighten expectations, here and abroad, that the rest of us will do so as well.

Read it all.

America's first Muslim president?

By Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. June 9, 2009

During his White House years, William Jefferson Clinton -- someone Judge Sonia Sotomayor might call a "white male" -- was dubbed "America's first black president" by a black admirer. Applying the standard of identity politics and pandering to a special interest that earned Mr. Clinton that distinction, Barack Hussein Obama would have to be considered America's first Muslim president.

This is not to say, necessarily, that Mr. Obama actually is a Muslim any more than Mr. Clinton actually is black. After his five months in office, and most especially after his just-concluded visit to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, however, a stunning conclusion seems increasingly plausible: The man now happy to have his Islamic-rooted middle name featured prominently has engaged in the most consequential bait-and-switch since Adolf Hitler duped Neville Chamberlain over Czechoslovakia at Munich.

What little we know about Mr. Obama's youth certainly suggests that he not only had a Kenyan father who was Muslim, but spent his early, formative years as one in Indonesia. As the president likes to say, "much has been made" -- in this case by him and his campaign handlers -- of the fact that he became a Christian as an adult in Chicago, under the now-notorious Pastor Jeremiah A. Wright.

With Mr. Obama's unbelievably ballyhooed address in Cairo Thursday to what he calls "the Muslim world" (hereafter known as "the Speech"), there is mounting evidence that the president not only identifies with Muslims, but actually may still be one himself. Consider the following indicators:

Mr. Obama referred four times in his speech to "the Holy Koran." Non-Muslims -- even pandering ones -- generally don't use that Islamic formulation.


Mr. Obama established his firsthand knowledge of Islam (albeit without mentioning his reported upbringing in the faith) with the statement, "I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed." Again, "revealed" is a depiction Muslims use to reflect their conviction that the Koran is the word of G-d, as dictated to Muhammad.

Then the president made a statement no believing Christian -- certainly not one versed, as he professes to be, in the ways of Islam -- would ever make. In the context of what he euphemistically called the "situation between Israelis, Palestinians and Arabs," Mr. Obama said he looked forward to the day "...when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them) joined in prayer."

Now, the term "peace be upon them" is invoked by Muslims as a way of blessing deceased holy men. According to Islam, that is what all three were -- dead prophets. Of course, for Christians, Jesus is the living and immortal Son of G0d.

In the final analysis, it may be beside the point whether Mr. Obama actually is a Muslim. In the Speech and elsewhere, he has aligned himself with adherents to what authoritative Islam calls Shariah -- notably, the dangerous global movement known as the Muslim Brotherhood -- to a degree that makes Mr. Clinton's fabled affinity for blacks pale by comparison.

For example, Mr. Obama has -- from literally his inaugural address onward -- inflated the numbers and, in that way and others, exaggerated the contemporary and historical importance of Muslim-Americans in the United States. In the Speech, he used the Brotherhood's estimates of "nearly 7 million Muslims" in this country, at least twice the estimates from other, more reputable sources. (Who knows? By the time Mr. Obama's friends in the radical Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN) perpetrate their trademark books-cooking as deputy 2010 census takers, the official count may well claim considerably more than 7 million Muslims are living here.)

Even more troubling were the commitments the president made in Cairo to promote Islam in America. For instance, he declared: "I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear." He vowed to ensure that women can cover their heads, including, presumably, when having their photographs taken for passports, driver's licenses or other identification purposes. He also pledged to enable Muslims to engage in zakat, their faith's requirement for tithing, even though four of the eight types of charity called for by Shariah can be associated with terrorism. Not surprisingly, a number of Islamic "charities" in this country have been convicted of providing material support for terrorism.

Particularly worrying is the realignment Mr. Obama has announced in U.S. policy toward Israel. While he pays lip service to the "unbreakable" bond between America and the Jewish state, the president has unmistakably signaled that he intends to compel the Israelis to make territorial and other strategic concessions to Palestinians to achieve the hallowed two-state solution. In doing so, he ignores the inconvenient fact that both the Brotherhood's Hamas and Abu Mazen's Fatah remain determined to achieve a one-state solution, whereby the Jews will be driven "into the sea."

Whether Mr. Obama actually is a Muslim or simply plays one in the presidency may, in the end, be irrelevant. What is alarming is that in aligning himself and his policies with those of Shariah-adherents such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the president will greatly intensify the already enormous pressure on peaceful, tolerant American Muslims to submit to such forces -- and heighten expectations, here and abroad, that the rest of us will do so as well.

-- Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy in the Reagan Administration, heads the Center for Security Policy.

PROMISES, PROMISES

The Obama administration made projections about the unemployment that would result if the stimulus bill did not pass. Well, it passed and look what happened. Unemployment is higher than than their worst case. (Chart courtesy of Power Line)


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Click on picture for a bigger one.

OBAMA IS NO RONALD REAGAN

Jeff Jacoby contrasts what Ronald Reagan did with his opportunity in Berlin and what Obama didn't do in Cairo.

What the Brandenburg Gate was for Ronald Reagan in 1987, Cairo University could have been for Obama. Reagan seized the moment, spoke the truth, and helped liberate half a continent. All Obama did was give a speech.

Oh, well. Maybe there'll be a next time.


In Cairo, the president pandered

by Jeff Jacoby
The Boston Globe
June 7, 2009

PRESIDENT OBAMA went to the Middle East, he said, to speak frankly and forthrightly about the issues that bedevil America's relations with the Muslim world. "Part of being a good friend is being honest," he had said in an interview just before his trip. He warned his Cairo audience that he intended to be blunt. "We must say openly the things we hold in our hearts and that too often are said only behind closed doors," he declared; so he was going to "speak as clearly and plainly as I can."

About some things, the president was indeed direct. He conveyed his impatience with those -- there are many in the Middle East -- who blame the 9/11 terrorist attacks on a Jewish or American conspiracy. "Let us be clear: Al-Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day" and "the victims were innocent men, women and children. . . . These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with."

He was even more scornful about Holocaust denial, which is also rife in the Arab world. "Six million Jews were killed" by Nazi Germany, Obama said -- "more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful."

Would that the rest of his remarks had been equally plain-spoken. As the first American president with Muslim roots, Obama benefits from much acclaim and goodwill in the Middle East. Rarely has a president had a better opportunity to openly address the pathologies and prejudices that drag Islamic societies backward, trapping so many of the world's Muslims in cultures that are unfree and unenlightened. As a candidate for president, Obama had argued that his experience of Muslim life gave him the moral authority to speak truth to Islamic power. "I can speak forcefully," he told The New York Times, "about the need for Muslim countries to reconcile themselves to modernity in ways they have failed to do."
Alas, that is just what he didn't do. Instead Obama pandered to his audience. He repeatedly praised Islamic history and teachings, repeatedly drew attention to American or Western shortcomings -- and repeatedly avoided speaking frankly about the dysfunctions in contemporary Islam.

He spoke of democracy, for example, but only in gauzy platitudes about "the freedom to live as you choose" and the need for "government of the people and by the people." Obama could have mentioned that democracy is almost entirely absent from the Arab world, or called for the release of imprisoned dissidents. He could have used his bully pulpit to urge an end to Egypt's repressive "state of emergency," which has lasted 28 years. He could have contrasted Iraq's hard-won constitutional democracy with the Middle East's ugly autocracies and dictatorships. He could have offered hope and encouragement to persecuted reformers and pro-democracy activists. Why didn't he?

"I want to address . . . women's rights," the president said, as well he might, given the appalling subjugation of women in so many Muslim countries. But about that subjugation -- the gender apartheid in Saudi Arabia, the fanatic misogyny of the Taliban, the widespread female genital mutilation, the "honor" killings of women who get pregnant out of wedlock -- he spoke not a word. The closest he came to denouncing the thugs who blow up girls' schools and murder their teachers was to observe tepidly that "a woman who is denied an education is denied equality." He disagreed, he said, with those who think "that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal." But what about women who are forced to wear a hijab? About them, Obama was silent.

Most astonishing of all, Obama never spoke the words "Islamist" or "Islamism." In a speech directed to Muslims worldwide, he made no effort to refute radical Islam's endorsement of global jihad. He spoke only of "extremists" -- as in "violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security" -- but said nothing about the totalitarian religious ideology that drives them. For Obama, speaking in the heart of the Arab world at a seat of Muslim learning, it was the perfect moment to strike an intellectual blow against radical Islam. It was the ideal venue to implore Muslims to rise up, vocally and en masse, against the jihadists who preach and commit violence in the name of Islam.

What the Brandenburg Gate was for Ronald Reagan in 1987, Cairo University could have been for Obama. Reagan seized the moment, spoke the truth, and helped liberate half a continent. All Obama did was give a speech.

Obama played racial politics during the presidential campaign while claiming he would lead the way to a post-racist America. He is still playing the race card and the only quibble is whether what he is doing is racist or "racialist," as if there is a difference. "Racism" is bad, but somehow "racialism" is good? In either case merit and individual worth take a back seat to group identity and grievance as advantage is sought because of race or ethnicity.

African-America Shelby Steele has compiled a lifetime of individual achievement. He has dedicated a significant part of his thinking and writing to helping America move beyond the cries of historical victimization by blacks as justification for favors and the white guilt that results in dispensing unearned benefits at the expense of equal opportunity and equal protection of the law.

Identity politics, as Steele points out, is at the heart of Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor nomination to be a justice of the Supreme Court. No one pretends she is among the most qualified for that post: Her principal qualifications are she is a woman and a Hispanic -- with a "compelling" personal story.

Equal justice under the law since Greek times has meant impartiality and objectivity in dealing with the facts and the law without regard to the power, prestige or worthiness of the contesting parties. Hence, Lady Justice is often shown blindfolded.

AZMTSRB25120[1].jpg


President Obama and Sonia Sotomayor believe that blindfold should be ripped off.

Professor Steele explains how this nomination undermines American constitutional values. And how Obama betrays the America that has benefitted him, though he charitably calls what he has done "a mistake.".

With the Sotomayor nomination, Mr. Obama has made the same mistake his wife made in her "This is the first time I am proud of my country" remark: bad faith toward an America that has shown him only good faith.



Sotomayor and the Politics of Race
Americans thought they were electing a president who would transcend grievance.

By SHELBY STEELE Wall Street Journal Opinion June 8, 2009

President Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court points to a dilemma that will likely plague his presidency: How does a "post-racialist" president play identity politics?

What is most notable about the Sotomayor nomination is its almost perfect predictability. Somehow we all simply know -- like it or not -- that Hispanics are now overdue for the gravitas of high office. And our new post-racialist president is especially attuned to this chance to have a "first" under his belt, not to mention the chance to further secure the Hispanic vote. And yet it was precisely the American longing for post-racialism -- relief from this sort of racial calculating -- that lifted Mr. Obama into office.

The Sotomayor nomination commits the cardinal sin of identity politics: It seeks to elevate people more for the political currency of their gender and ethnicity than for their individual merit. (Here, too, is the ugly faithlessness in minority merit that always underlies such maneuverings.) Mr. Obama is promising one thing and practicing another, using his interracial background to suggest an America delivered from racial corruption even as he practices a crude form of racial patronage. From America's first black president, and a man promising the "new," we get a Supreme Court nomination that is both unoriginal and hackneyed.

This contradiction has always been at the heart of the Obama story. On the one hand there was the 2004 Democratic Convention speech proclaiming "only one America." And on the other hand there was the race-baiting of Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Does this most powerful man on earth know himself well enough to resolve this contradiction and point the way to a genuinely post-racial America?

The Sotomayor nomination suggests not. Throughout her career Judge Sotomayor has demonstrated a Hispanic chauvinism so extreme that it sometimes crosses into outright claims of racial supremacy, as in 2001 when she said in a lecture at the University of California, Berkeley, "a wise Latina woman . . . would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male."

The White House acknowledges that this now famous statement -- both racist and dim-witted -- was turned up in the vetting process. So we can only assume that the president was aware of it, as well as Judge Sotomayor's career-long claim that ethnicity and gender are virtual determinisms in judging: We need diversity because, as she said in her Berkeley lecture, "inherent physiological or cultural differences . . . make a difference in our judging." The nine white male justices who decided the Brown school-desegregation case in 1954 might have felt otherwise, as would a president seeking to lead us toward a new, post-racial society.

But of course "post-racialism" is not a real idea. It is an impression, a chimera that grows out of a very specific racial manipulation that I have called "bargaining." Here the minority makes a bargain with white society: I will not "guilt" you with America's centuries of racism if you will not hold my minority status against me. Whites love this bargain because it allows them to feel above America's racist past and, therefore, immune to charges of racism. By embracing the bargainer they embrace the impression of a world beyond racial division, a world in which whites are innocent and minorities carry no anger. This is the impression that animates bargainers like Mr. Obama or Oprah Winfrey with an irresistible charisma. Even if post-racialism is an obvious illusion -- a bargainer's trick as it were -- whites are flattered by believing in it.

But the Sotomayor nomination shows that Mr. Obama has no idea what a post-racial society would look like. In selling himself as a candidate to the American public he is a gifted bargainer beautifully turned out in post-racial impressionism. But in the real world of Supreme Court nominations, where there is a chance to actually bring some of that idealism down to earth, he chooses a hardened, divisive and race-focused veteran of the culture wars he claims to transcend.

I have called Mr. Obama a bound man because he cannot win white support without bargaining and he cannot maintain minority support without playing the very identity politics that injure him with whites. The latter form of politics is grounded in being what I call a challenger -- i.e., someone who presumes that whites are racist until they prove otherwise by granting preferences of some kind to minorities. Whites quietly seethe at challengers like Jesse Jackson who use the moral authority of their race's historic grievance to muscle for preferential treatment. Mr. Obama has been loved precisely because he was an anti-Jackson, a bargainer who grants them innocence before asking for their support. So when Mr. Obama plays identity politics -- as in the Sotomayor nomination -- he starts to look too much like the challenger. Still, if he doesn't allow identity to trump merit so that he can elevate people like Judge Sotomayor, he angers the minorities who so lavishly supported him. So far he is more the captive of America's ongoing racial neurosis than the man who might liberate us from it.

Judge Sotomayor is the archetypal challenger. Challengers see the moral authority that comes from their group's historic grievance as an entitlement to immediate parity with whites -- whether or not their group has actually earned this parity through development. If their group is not yet competitive with whites, the moral authority that comes from their grievance should be allowed to compensate for what they lack in development. This creates a terrible corruption in which the group's historic grievance is allowed to count as individual merit. And so a perverse incentive is created: Weakness and victimization are rewarded over development. Better to be a troublemaker than to pursue excellence.

Sonia Sotomayor is of the generation of minorities that came of age under the hegemony of this perverse incentive. For this generation, challenging and protesting were careerism itself. This is why middle- and upper middle-class minorities are often more militant than poor and working-class minorities. America's institutions -- universities, government agencies, the media and even corporations -- reward their grievance. Minority intellectuals, especially, have been rewarded for theories that justify grievance.

And here we come to Judge Sotomayor's favorite such ingenuity: disparate impact. In the now celebrated Ricci case the city of New Haven, Conn., threw out a paper and pencil test that firefighters were required to take for promotion because so few minorities passed it. In other words, the test had a disparate and negative impact on minorities, so the lead plaintiff, Frank Ricci -- a white male with dyslexia who worked 10 hours a day to pass the test at a high level -- was effectively denied promotion because he was white. Judge Sotomayor supported the city's decision to throw out the test undoubtedly because of her commitment to disparate impact -- a concept that invariably makes whites accountable for minority mediocrity.

Challengers are essentially team players. Their deepest atavistic connection is to their aggrieved race, ethnicity or gender. Toward the larger society that now often elevates and privileges them, they carry a lingering bad faith -- and sometimes a cavalier disregard where whites are concerned, as with Judge Sotomayor in the Ricci case.

With the Sotomayor nomination, Mr. Obama has made the same mistake his wife made in her "This is the first time I am proud of my country" remark: bad faith toward an America that has shown him only good faith.

Mr. Steele, a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, is the author, most recently, of "A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win" (Free Press, 2007).

President Obama was so intent on saying nice things about Muslims that he made things up. He said he was a "student of history." From his many misstatements in the campaign and since, we know he wasn't much of a history student.

Professor Tipler reports the facts on the scientfic discoveries Obama cited in his Cairo speech. The professor also explains why Islam true believers don't produce scientists.


Obama Flunks History at Cairo U

Posted By Frank J. Tipler June 7, 2009

Frank J. Tipler is Professor of Mathematical Physics at Tulane University. He is the co-author of The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (Oxford University Press) and the author of The Physics of Immortality and The Physics of Christianity both published by Doubleday.

In his speech to the Muslim world in Cairo, President Barack Obama [1] claimed: "As a student of history, I also know civilization's debt to Islam. It was Islam -- at places like Al-Azhar University -- that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing."

Obama is not much of a "student of history" if he believes this. Almost every advance he attributes to the Muslims was due to someone else.

The non-Muslim Chinese invented the magnetic compass and printing (Gutenberg invented not printing, but movable type). The non-Muslim Hindu Indians invented algebra and the decimal numbering system. The non-Muslim European Christians invented the university.

I can't address advances in medicine, but I have studied the history of astronomy and physics. The Muslims contributed nothing.

All modern physics descends from Galileo (1564 -1642); all modern astronomy from Copernicus (1473-1543). If you study Galileo's works carefully, as I have, you see that he started with the achievements of the Greek mathematical physicist Archimedes of Syracuse (c. 287 BC - c. 212 BC). If you study Copernicus' works carefully, as I have, you will see that Copernicus' great book On the Revolutions is essentially a heliocentric re-working of the geocentric astronomy textbook by the Greek Ptolemy (c. 90 AD - 168 AD). Copernicus mostly used even Ptolemy's data for the positions of the planets.

Note the dates for Archimedes/Galileo and Ptolemy/Copernicus. It is as if the Muslim world never existed. As far as their fundamental contributions to physics and astronomy, it did not.

If one reads history of science textbooks prior to about 1980, one will find very little mention of Muslim "contributions" to physics and astronomy. This is reasonable, because there weren't any. In the past generation, however, political correctness has dictated that Muslims be given credit for discoveries they did not make.

Certainly, the Muslims were a conduit for the discoveries of others. The word "algebra" is indeed derived from an Arabic word. The books of Archimedes and Ptolemy used by Galileo and Copernicus were indeed translations into Latin from the Arabic. But let us never forget that Archimedes and Ptolemy wrote their books in Greek, not Arabic. They were Greeks, not Muslims.

Most of the names for the brightest stars are of Arabic origin, because the names of these stars given in Ptolemy's textbook were never translated from the Arabic. But do you think that the Arabs were the first humans to observe Rigel and Betelguese, the first and second brightest stars in Orion?

The reason Muslims never developed fundamental physics is because the leading Muslim theologians declared the idea of fixed physical laws to be heretical. The Qur'an (verse 6:64) states: "The Jews have said, 'God's hand is fettered.' Fettered are their hands, and they are cursed for what they have said. Nay, but His hands are outspread; He expends how He will." The standard Muslim interpretation of this passage has been that there cannot be unchanging physical laws because Allah may change the laws at any moment. In 1982, the Institute for Policy Studies in Islamabad, Pakistan, criticized a chemistry textbook by saying: "There is latent poison present in the subheading Energy Causes Changes because it gives the impression that energy is the true cause rather than Allah. Similarly it is unIslamic to teach that mixing hydrogen and oxygen automatically produces water. The Islamic way is this: when atoms of hydrogen approach atoms of oxygen, then by the Will of Allah water is produced." The implication is clear: next week, Allah may change his mind about water being a compound of hydrogen and oxygen. With this sort of worldview, how could one possibly be a scientist?

The cosmology of the Qur'an is obviously geocentric, and as a consequence, Al-Azhar University, which Obama singles out for praise in his speech, still teaches Ptolemaic astronomy.

There was one truly great "Muslim" physicist, the Nobel Prize winning Pakistani, Mohammed Abdus Salam. I put "Muslim" in quotes, because Salam belonged to the Ahmadi sect of Islam, a sect that accepts modern science. But in 1974, the Pakistani parliament declared the Ahmadi sect heretical, and its members are currently being persecuted in Pakistan. Contemporary Muslim historians generally do not list Salam as an important Muslim scientist. Had he remained in Pakistan, he quite possibly would have been killed.

During the Cold War, it was commonplace for leftist academics to attribute many discoveries to scientists in Communist countries, discoveries that had actually been made in the West. So now leftist academics attribute to Muslims discoveries that had actually been made by others.

I never expected to hear a president of the United States do so.

GLOBAL WARMING? IT ISN'T WARMING

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Global warming believers are increasingly finding it difficult to come up with facts to support their claims. Not only that, but as calculations are done to determine the economic damage their cures would impose on mankind sensible people are insisting that more is needed than religious belief in global warming to justify any such actions.


Global warming and a tale of two planets

Kofi Annan claims that global warming is already "killing 300,000 people a year". The situation looks a little different in the real world, says Christopher Booker.

By Christopher Booker
Telegraph, London
Published: 5:58PM BST 06 Jun 2009

This supposedly super-heated century has seen some extraordinary snowfalls, such as in Greece last year.

It might well be called "the tale of two planets". On one planet live all the Great and Good who have recently been trying to whip up an ever greater panic over global warming, as the clock ticks down to next December's UN conference in Copenhagen when they plan a new treaty to follow the Kyoto Protocol of 1997.

There was, for instance, the three-day gathering organised by Prince Charles at St James's Palace, at which 20 Nobel laureates (including two African winners of the Peace and Literature prizes) listened to speeches from Lord Stern and Prince Charles, before issuing a declaration which compared the threat of global warming to that of all-out nuclear war. They also heard President Obama's Energy Secretary, Stephen Chu, solemnly telling them that if all buildings and pavements were painted white, to reflect the sun's rays back into space, this would be equivalent to taking all vehicles off the world's roads for 11 years.

Then there was the 103-page report launched by Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General, on behalf of something called the Global Humanitarian Forum, claiming, without a shred of hard evidence, that global warming is already "killing 300,000 people a year". But Mr Annan himself had to admit that this report, drawn up by a firm of consultants, was not "a scientific study" but was "the most plausible account of the current impact of climate change".

Even this was topped by a report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology claiming that world temperatures could rise this century by 7 degrees C, "killing billions of people worldwide and leaving the world on the brink of total collapse". According to MIT, these projections are based on new evidence which has come to light since 2003.
Now for the other planet, the one the rest of us live on. Here all the accepted measures of global temperatures show that their trend has been downwards since 2002, declining at a rate that averages to about 0.25 degree per decade. Yet such a fall was predicted by none of those 25 computer models on which the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the rest of the Great and the Good rely for their theory of runaway global warming. Their computers are programmed to assume that as CO2 goes up, temperatures inevitably follow. But graphs show, where the variation of global temperatures from a 30-year mean is plotted against CO2 levels,the two lines clearly diverging, contrary to the theory. In this century, temperatures have fallen as CO2 has risen.

Furthermore, the Arctic ice has failed to disappear, as can be seen from the Crysophere Today website: it is now not far off its 30-year mean. Al Gore's polar bears have failed to drown. The ice in the Antarctic is actually way above its 30-year average. Except in the minds of Kofi Annan, Lord Stern and Prince Charles's assembled worthies, the threatened catastrophe seems not to be happening.

Meanwhile, on the planet where the rest of us live, the prospects for a new treaty in December, which according to an estimate by the International Energy Agency would cost us all $45 trillion, are not looking too hot. The Chinese and the Indians insist that, since all this global warming is the fault of the developed world, they will only sign the treaty if we agree to pay them $300 billion a year. The Africans and South Americans make similar demands.

But herein lies a mystery. Our own wonderfully sensible and honest MPs, it will be recalled, have already passed the Climate Change Act, committing us to restrict our CO2 emissions within 40 years to a level only 20 per cent of where they were in 1990. President Obama has committed the US to the same. Since these targets could only be met by closing down our economies, it is hard to know where we will find the money to pay the rest of the world what it is demanding. The real question we must decide in the years ahead is which of these two planets we are actually living on.

Melanie Phillips is the author of the shocking story of Britain's indifference to and in some ways aid of the rise of radical Islam. "Londonistan" is must reading.

Phillips here does a careful review of the Obama Cairo speech and its carefully crafted anti-Semitic, pro-Muslim messages are revealed.


Obama in Cairo
Melanie PhillipsThursday, 4th June 2009

First, the good bits in Obama's speech in Cairo.

He told the Palestinians unequivocally that violence was wrong.

He said that there was an unbreakable bond between America and Israel.

He told the Arab states firmly:

The Arab-Israeli conflict should no longer be used to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems. Instead, it must be a cause for action to help the Palestinian people develop the institutions that will sustain their state; to recognize Israel's legitimacy; and to choose progress over a self-defeating focus on the past.

He condemned the persecution of non-Muslims in the Islamic world and urged equal rights for Muslim women.

He referred to Iran's role since 1979 in acts of hostage-taking and violence against U.S. troops and civilians.

Now the bad bits - and they were really bad.

He revealed gross ignorance of the Jews' unique claim to the land of Israel. He said that America's unbreakable bond with Israel was based upon

the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied. Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust...

The Jews' aspiration for their homeland does not derive from the Holocaust, nor their overall tragic history. It derives from Judaism itself, which is composed of the inseparable elements of the religion, the people and the land. Their unique claim upon the land rests upon the fact that the Jews are the only people for whom Israel was ever their nation, which it was for hundreds of years - centuries before the Arabs and Muslims came on the scene. As for antisemitism, he made no mention of the alliance between the Palestinians and the Nazis during the 1930s, and the fact that Nazi-style Jew-hatred continues to pour out of the Arab and Muslim world to this day.

Worse, Obama appeared to draw a subliminal equivalence between the Holocaust extermination camps and the Palestinian 'refugee' camps:

Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed - more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction - or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews - is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.


On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people - Muslims and Christians - have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than 60 years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead.

And with this awful and revealing linkage, he duly segued seamlessly into the distorted Arab and Muslim narrative of Israel's history. It is not undeniable that the Palestinians 'have suffered in pursuit of a homeland' because it is untrue. The Palestinians have been offered a homeland repeatedly - in 1936, 1947, 2000 and last year. They have repeatedly turned it down. The Arabs could have created it between 1948 and 1967, when the West Bank and Gaza were occupied by Jordan and Egypt. They chose not to do so. They could have created it after 1967, when Israel offered the land to them in return for peace with Israel. They refused the offer. The Palestinians have suffered because they have tried for six decades to destroy the Jews' homeland.

For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation.

The 'pain of dislocation' was caused by the fact that six decades ago they went to war against the newly recreated Israel to destroy it, and were subsequently deliberately kept in 'refugee' camps by the Arab world. What other aggressors in the world are described as suffering 'the pain of dislocation' caused by their own aggression -- which has continued for sixty years without remission and shows no sign of ending?

Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead.

There is one reason for that and one reason alone - the Palestinians have ensured that Israel has never lived in peace or security, because they have continued to attack it and murder its citizens. And Gaza? Doesn't Obama realise the Israelis no longer occupy Gaza? It is run by Hamas, which shows its commitment to the peace and security of its inhabitants by throwing them off the tops of tall buildings.

So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable.

And what about the intolerable situation of Israel, forced to live in a state of siege for sixty years because of the unending aggression of the Palestinians and the wider Arab and Muslim world? The Palestinians could have lived in peace and prosperity alongside Israel at any time since 1948. If they were to end their attempt to destroy Israel and accept instead the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state -- that crucial qualification Obama omitted to mention -- they could do so tomorrow. The only reason their position is intolerable is because they themselves have made it so. What other aggressors in the world have their situation described as 'intolerable'?

Palestinians must abandon violence.

Good. But then:

Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed.

'Resistance'? 'Resistance' is a term of moral approval. 'Resistance' describes a fight against injustice. But the Palestinians have been engaged in an attempt to wipe out Israel. Obama sees this as 'resistance' - even though he says violence is wrong. And then this:

For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America's founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia.

So Obama has equated genocidal terrorism by the Palestinians with the civil rights movement in America and the true resistance against apartheid in South Africa. Thus the moral bankruptcy of the moral relativist.

Next, he repeated that the settlements (all of them? just new ones?) undermined peace and so had to stop. But they don't undermine peace. It is Arab rejectionism that prevents peace in the Middle East, and the settlements are a palpable excuse. Yet Obama delivered no ultimatum of any kind to Iran, the real threat to peace in the region and the world; indeed, he repeated that Iran

should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,

an alarming indication that he might view as acceptable a formulation which might enable Iran to continue to make nuclear weapons under some kind of verbal and political camouflage.

For his egregious sanitising of Islam and its history, and his absurd claims about its contribution to western civilisation, read Robert Spencer here. But in this regard, one of Obama's references in particular made me catch my breath. It was this:

The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind.

This is boilerplate misrepresentation by Islamists and their apologists. The fact is that it is Judaism which teaches this as a cardinal precept. The Talmud states:

Whoever destroys a single soul, he is guilty as though he had destroyed a complete world; and whoever preserves a single soul, it is as though he had preserved a whole world.

The Koran appropriated this precept - but altered it to mean something very different. Thus (verses 5:32-5:35):

That was why we laid it down for the Israelites that whoever killed a human being, except as punishment for murder or other villainy in the land, shall be regarded as having killed all mankind; and that whoever saved a human life shall be regarded as having saved all mankind. Our apostles brought them veritable proofs: yet many among them, even after that, did prodigious evil in the land. Those that make war against God and His apostle and spread disorder in the land shall be slain or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or be banished from the land. (My emphasis)

In other words, this turns a Talmudic precept affirming the value of preserving human life into a prescription for violence and murder against Jews and 'unbelievers'. Yet Obama passed it off as evidence of the pacific nature of Islam.

So in conclusion, yes, there was some positive stuff in this speech - but it was outweighed by the United States President's shocking historical misrepresentations, gross ignorance, disgusting moral equivalence between aggressors and their victims, and disturbing sanitising of Islamist supremacism.

In short, deeply troubling.


OBAMA: LEADING AMERICA'S DECLINE

Mark Steyn reads the Obama Cairo speech as the expression of the failing spirit of America. We can't or won't do what we have to do as we used to do. Actually, the fate of General Motors does now seem to presage the fate of the United Staes. As GM goes, so goes America. To moral and financial bankruptcy.

Once Obama moved on from the more generalized Islamoschmoozing to the details, the subtext -- the absence of American will -- became explicit. He used the cover of multilateralism and moral equivalence to communicate, consistently, American weakness: "No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons." Perhaps by "no single nation" he means the "global community" should pick and choose, which means the U.N. Security Council, which means the Big Five, which means that Russia and China will pursue their own murky interests and that, in the absence of American leadership, Britain and France will reach their accommodations with a nuclear Iran, a nuclear North Korea, and any other psycho-state minded to join them.

Except, of course, we're still big and tough enough to tell little Israel what it must do: Don't have babies, don't grow, shrink or, better yet, emigrate. And don't irritate the Muslims on the way out.

'The Muslim World'

One-way multiculturalism.

By Mark Steyn
National Review Online June 6, 2009

As recently as last summer, General Motors filing for bankruptcy would have been the biggest news story of the week. But it's not such a very great step from the unthinkable to the inevitable, and by the time it actually happened the market barely noticed and the media were focused on the president's "address to the Muslim world." As it happens, these two stories are the same story: snapshots, at home and abroad, of the hyperpower in eclipse. It's a long time since anyone touted GM as the emblematic brand of America -- What's good for GM is good for America, etc. In fact, it's more emblematic than ever: Like General Motors, the U.S. government spends more than it makes, and has airily committed itself to ever more unsustainable levels of benefits. GM has about 95,000 workers but provides health benefits to a million people: It's not a business enterprise, but a vast welfare plan with a tiny loss-making commercial sector. As GM goes, so goes America?

But who cares? Overseas, the coolest president in history was giving a speech. Or, as the official press release headlined it on the State Department website, "President Obama Speaks to the Muslim World from Cairo."

Let's pause right there: It's interesting how easily the words "the Muslim world" roll off the tongues of liberal secular progressives who'd choke on any equivalent reference to "the Christian world." When such hyper-alert policemen of the perimeter between church and state endorse the former but not the latter, they're implicitly acknowledging that Islam is not merely a faith but a political project, too. There is an "Organization of the Islamic Conference," which is already the largest single voting bloc at the U.N. and is still adding new members. Imagine if someone proposed an "Organization of the Christian Conference" that would hold summits attended by prime ministers and presidents, and vote as a bloc in transnational bodies. But, of course, there is no "Christian world": Europe is largely post-Christian and, as President Obama bizarrely asserted to a European interviewer last week, America is "one of the largest Muslim countries in the world." Perhaps we're eligible for membership in the OIC.

I suppose the benign interpretation is that, as head of state of the last superpower, Obama is indulging in a little harmless condescension. In his Cairo speech, he congratulated Muslims on inventing algebra and quoted approvingly one of the less bloodcurdling sections of the Koran. As socio-historical scholarship goes, I found myself recalling that moment in the long twilight of the Habsburg Empire when Crown Prince Rudolph and his mistress were found dead at the royal hunting lodge at Mayerling -- either a double suicide, or something even more sinister. Happily, in the Broadway musical version, instead of being found dead, the star-crossed lovers emigrate to America and settle down on a farm in Pennsylvania. Recently, my old comrade Stephen Fry gave an amusing lecture at the Royal Geographical Society in London on the popular Americanism "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade" -- or, if something's bitter and hard to swallow, add sugar and sell it. That's what the president did with Islam: He added sugar and sold it.

The speech nevertheless impressed many conservatives, including Rich Lowry, my esteemed editor at National Review, "esteemed editor" being the sort of thing one says before booting the boss in the crotch. Rich thought that the president succeeded in his principal task: "Fundamentally, Obama's goal was to tell the Muslim world, 'We respect and value you, your religion and your civilization, and only ask that you don't hate us and murder us in return.'" But those terms are too narrow. You don't have to murder a guy if he preemptively surrenders. And you don't even have to hate him if you're too busy despising him. The savvier Muslim potentates have no desire to be sitting in a smelly cave in the Hindu Kush sharing a latrine with a dozen halfwitted goatherds while plotting how to blow up the Empire State Building. Nevertheless, they share key goals with the cave dwellers -- including the wish to expand the boundaries of "the Muslim world" and (as in the anti-blasphemy push at the U.N.) to place Islam, globally, beyond criticism. The non-terrorist advance of Islam is a significant challenge to western notions of liberty and pluralism.

Once Obama moved on from the more generalized Islamoschmoozing to the details, the subtext -- the absence of American will -- became explicit. He used the cover of multilateralism and moral equivalence to communicate, consistently, American weakness: "No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons." Perhaps by "no single nation" he means the "global community" should pick and choose, which means the U.N. Security Council, which means the Big Five, which means that Russia and China will pursue their own murky interests and that, in the absence of American leadership, Britain and France will reach their accommodations with a nuclear Iran, a nuclear North Korea, and any other psycho-state minded to join them.

On the other hand, a "single nation" certainly has the right to tell another nation anything it wants if that nation happens to be the Zionist Entity: As Hillary Clinton just instructed Israel re its West Bank communities, there has to be "a stop to settlements -- not some settlements, not outposts, not natural-growth exceptions." No "natural growth"? You mean, if you and the missus have a kid, you've got to talk gran'ma into moving out? To Tel Aviv, or Brooklyn, or wherever? At a stroke, the administration has endorsed "the Muslim world"'s view of those non-Muslims who happen to find themselves within what it regards as lands belonging to Islam: The Jewish and Christian communities are free to stand still or shrink, but not to grow. Would Obama be comfortable mandating "no natural growth" to Israel's million-and-a-half Muslims? No. But the administration has embraced the "the Muslim world"'s commitment to one-way multiculturalism, whereby Islam expands in the west but Christianity and Judaism shrivel remorselessly in the Middle East.

And so it goes. Like General Motors, America is "too big to fail." So it won't, not immediately. It will linger on in a twilight existence sclerotic and ineffectual, declining unto a kind of societal dementia, unable to keep pace with what's happening and with an ever more tenuous grip on its own past, but able on occasion to throw out impressive words albeit strung together without much meaning: empower, peace, justice, prosperity -- just to take one windy gust from the president's Cairo speech.

There's better phrase-making in the current issue of Foreign Affairs, in a coinage of Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Committee on Foreign Relations. The president emeritus is a sober, judicious paragon of torpidly conventional wisdom. Nevertheless, musing on American decline, he writes, "The country's economy, infrastructure, public schools, and political system have been allowed to deteriorate. The result has been diminished economic strength, a less vital democracy, and a mediocrity of spirit." That last is the one to watch: A great power can survive a lot of things, but not "a mediocrity of spirit." A wealthy nation living on the accumulated cultural capital of a glorious past can dodge its rendezvous with fate, but only for a while. That sound you heard in Cairo is the tingy ping of a hollow superpower.

-- Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is author of America Alone.

Professor Victor Davis Hanson draws on his experience as a farmer to highlight the unreality President Obama lives in. In the flood of comments posted in response to his article, the major quarrel is with Hanson's statement that sooner or later Obama "will get it."

Most say "No he won't." It's up to the majority of Americans to wake up before serious damage is don.

The Reckoning

Posted By Victor Davis Hanson On June 5, 2009


Obama Versus the Way of the Universe

I wish the President well, but he is butting up against human nature. And that is a fight one cannot win. If one runs up nearly a $2 trillion annual deficit, and then persists in such red-ink to the point of adding another $9 trillion, all to reach an aggregate $20 trillion national debt, there are not too many options. If there were, everyone-both states and individuals-would simply spend, call it stimuli, and then find academics to offer contorted explanations why it was OK and the money need not really have to be paid back. Does Obama think his debt is like buying a house in a down market with an up market inevitable?-that is, we borrow to the max and then count on our equity to come to bail us out? But houses do not always go up, and we can't quite sell off the US to capture our speculative profit.

So we all know the old rules, because the universe works according to time-honored precepts: we either must tax all of us (there are not enough of those evil "they" who make between $200-500K or even enough of the noble generous rich who make over $10 million a year and think Obama should increase inheritance taxes so that their children get only $1 billion instead of $2, while the hardware store owner's kids sell the business) in insidious ways; OR simply cut government expenditures elsewhere to pay the annual interest payments, OR print money and screw the Chinese, European, etc. , debtors, inflating our way out via the late 1970s.

Sorry, there are no other real alternatives.

The only mystery? How the choice of payment is rhetoricized in the hope and change mode.

Deficit Foreign Policy Too

So it is with foreign policy as well. Obama's make-over will have positive short-term effects, as he reminds the world ad nauseam that he is black, sorta, kinda from a Muslim family, and the son of an African who is more like the world than he like most Americans-and not George Bush and not a thieving capitalist and not a warmongering imperialist and not (fill in the blanks). (My favorite Cairo line was the apology on Gitmo where inmates have laptops and Mediterranean food, spoken to millions whose societies kill and maim tens of thousands in Gulags on a yearly basis.)

But in the long run?

He hits against human nature. Most of you readers-in business, law, the professions-don't continually praise your friends, competitors, and enemies (e.g., "Glad you got that job, Home Depot-we at Lowes didn't really need it; what a wonderful bid you submitted, Hilton, much better than ours here at the Four Seasons; it was my fault here at Goldman Sachs that I didn't match your better offer at Credit Suisse; I grew up working for the Royals, and can empathize why you Yankees don't like us; it's time we at Citibank apologized to Chase for our past cutthroat competition; we are just too arrogant over here at Delta and wanted to let you guys at United know that.")

Sorry

The world sadly does not work that way. If one were to do that, we know the outcome: a group of rival execs would say "Hmmm, time to steal market share from Citibank, or Hilton isn't really up to the arena anymore, let's move in on its Western region, etc."

Only someone who has not been in the real world, but only marketed rhetoric without consequences (e.g., if Obama had a bad day organizing, or legislating, was he fired?) could believe such things.

A Farmer's Tale

In short, Obama reminds me a little of myself-at 26. I had left the farm for 9 years to get a BA in classics, PhD in classical philology, and live in Athens for two years of archaeological study-all on scholarships, TAships, research-ships and part-time summer and school jobs tucked under the aegis of the academic, no-consequences world. By the end of endless seminars, papers, theses, debates, discussions, academic get-togethers, I had forgotten much of the culture of the farm where I spent years 1-18.

The Return

Then after the requisite degrees I left academia, and returned to farm 180 acres with my brother and cousin-and sadly was quickly disabused of the world of the faculty lounge.

Oh yes, I came back to Selma thinking, "I am not going to be the grouch my grandfather was, yelling at neighbors, worried all the time, nervous, seeing the world as rather hostile, hoarding a tiny stash of savings, worried as if bugs, the government, hired men, weather, and markets were out to destroy him. I'll farm with my Bay Area manners and sort of think, "I will reset the farm, and things will at last work as they should" (not thinking that my grandfather raised three daughters, sent them to college while mortgaging the farm in the Depression, and spent on himself last, and was a saint compared to my pampered existence in the university)."

One small example of my late coming of age. A rather brutal neighbor (now dead and not to be mentioned by name (de mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est)), an immigrant from an impoverished country, a self-made man, veteran of infamous fights and various bullying, shared a communal ditch. We talked and exchanged pleasantries-at first-at the standpipe gate. He lamented how rude my late grandfather had been to him, and even had made unfounded accusations that he was less than honest (he was also sort of playing the race card, remarking about the prejudicial nature of California agrarian culture).

Hope and Change

I was shocked to hear that, and assured him that there would be no such incitements on my part on the new age of the Davis farm. No more 'me first', no more disdain for newcomers and upstarts. And then after about 3 months of sizing me up (at 26, I confess looking back I was not 1/8th the man my grandfather was at 86) he began stealing water in insidious ways: taking an extra day on his turn, cutting in a day early on mine, siphoning off water at night, destroying my pressure settings, watering his vineyards on days that were on my allotment. Stealing no less! And in 1980!

Here's how I rushed into action. First, I gave a great Obama speech on communal sharing and why the ditch would not work if everyone did what he did. Farmers simply would perish if they did not come together, and see their common shared interests. He nodded and smiled-and stole more the next week.

The Enlightenment To the Rescue

Then I appealed to his minority status, and remarked how wonderful it was that he came from dire poverty abroad and now farmed over 500 acres. He growled-and stole even more.

I took the UN route and warned that that I would be forced to go get the ditch tender (a crusty, old hombre who enjoyed watching fights like these for blood sport); he pointed out that the tender was, in fact, on the alleyway across the street watching us, and meeting him for coffee in an hour.

Multilateralism

I went to the irrigation district and filed a formal complaint. Nice people with smiles and monogrammed hats promised they'd look into it, but pointed out the season was half over anyway, and I should "get used to it" and start anew next year. Meanwhile, I noticed by July my vineyard was starting to be stressed, and his was lush. He watered so much that he began to flood the entire vineyard middle, the water lapping out the furrows and reaching berm to berm.

Hmmm

For a while I went the Clement Attlee mode and rationalized, "Hmmm, maybe all that watering is going to give his vines more mildew, while my dusty dry vines will aerate more. Do I really need my water? Did I offend him in some way? Do I really want to lower myself to his troglodyte methods?" A few meetings went well with his, "OK, it's a misunderstanding." I heard "No problem" about a zillion times the next two weeks.

Then by July 15, after three months of such aggrandizement I tried the empathetic route with the neighbor, "If you don't stop this, I'll have to turn on my pumps and spend hundreds of dollars to supply the water I'm supposed to get by virtue of my irrigation taxes. You know that's not fair!" He laughed at the use of "by virtue of".

I felt sorry for him, really did, that he had reduced a dispute over something as mundane as "water" into some sort of existential issue of regional peace. What did he wish me to do-descend down to his level, to become exactly like him, to settle differences on the basis of primate strength?

I thought about this for yet another seven days, compulsively so as I looked out at the parched vines. Couldn't I just pay the power bill, pump for 10 days, and feel as his moral better that I had not descended to his cave-dwelling status? Oddly, I began to hear a once familiar voice in my head whisper, "He'll take your crew next right when you need it. He'll take over your alleyway. He'll drive on your place like he owns it. He'll...").

The Inevitable Overreaction?

Then in a trance-like fashion, I went out to restore deterrence. I got a massive chain and lock, and simply shut down his communal lateral. Locked the gate so tight, he couldn't even get a quarter-turn. He'd be lucky if he got a 100 gallons in a week. Then I got a veritable arsenal of protective weaponry, got in my pickup, drove back over to the gate, and waited with ammo, clubs, shovels, etc.

In an hour he drove up in a dust cloud. He was going to smash me, get his football playing son to strangle me, sue me, bankrupt me, hunt me down, etc. He swore and yelled-I was a disgrace to my family, a racist, a psycho, worse than my grandfather. He was going to lock my gates, steal all my water, and indeed he leveled all sorts of threats (remember the scene in Unforgiven when Eastwood walks out and screams threats to the terrified town?-that was my neighbor). I got out with large vine stake and said something to the effect (forgive me if I don't have the verbatim transcript-it has been 29 years since then), "It's locked until you follow the rules. Anytime you don't, it's locked again. Do it one more time and I weld it shut. Not a drop. So sue me."

He got up, screeched his tires, blew a dust cloud in my face, and raced down the alleyway-honking even as he left.

Pax

For the next ten years until his death, he was the model neighbor. He would stop me with, "Victor, I shut off tomorrow, half-a day early-why not take my half day to jump start your turn?" And indeed we finally began to have philosophical discussions (he was widely read) about Sun-Maid, Carter, Reagan, the US, literature, etc.

Here was his final compliment, one that apparently connected my once elite disdain for his grubby world of the muscular classes with my inevitable failure and bankruptcy to come. It went something like this, though after three decades I have forgotten his exact phraseology: "Victor, I used to drive by your grandfather's house, and see you up there on the scaffold, scraping off the old paint. I'd say to my friends-look at that young fool, he's painting my house. You see, I knew you'd go broke, and I'd buy your place. Always wanted it, and knew you were getting it ready for me. Why not let you finish before I took it?" (I didn't tell him, that in fact he used to say that not just to friends, but to me as I was chipping away.)

Postmortem

He died about a month later. I still miss him, and grew to, if not trust him, in a strange way like him.

Obama will come to his senses with his 'Bush did it', reset button, moral equivalency, soaring hope and change, with these apologies to Europeans, his Arab world Sermons on the Mount to Al Arabiya, in Turkey, in Cairo, etc., his touchy-feely videos to Iran, his "we are all victims of racism" sops to Ortega, Chavez, and Morales. It is only a matter of when, under what conditions, how high the price we must pay, and whether we lose the farm before he gains wisdom about the tragic universe in which we live.

A sojourn at an elite university, you see, can sometimes become a very dangerous thing indeed.

An Iranian exile who lives in and writes mostly from London, provides the most detailed critique of President Obama's Cairo speech. He's appalled.


MEEK PREZ ROLLS OVER, LETS FANATICS SET MUSLIM AGENDA
By AMIR TAHERI
New York Post
June 5, 2009 --

PRESIDENT Obama's "address to the Muslim world" was a masterwork of equivocation and political naiveté.

Let's start with a sentence buried within his text -- possibly in hopes that few might notice. With it, Obama effectively accepts Iran's nuclear ambitions.

"No single nation should pick and choose which nations should hold nuclear weapons," he said.

He wasn't prepared to go further than warning that an Iranian bomb could mark the start of a Middle East nuclear arms race.

Unlike his previous statements, the Cairo speech didn't include the threat of any action -- not even further sanctions -- against the Islamic Republic. The message was clear: America was distancing itself from United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Obama also abandoned President Bush's freedom agenda in support of Middle East democratic movements, saying: "No system of government can or should be imposed on one nation by another."

Of course, America didn't "impose" any system of government on Afghanistan or Iraq. All it did was to remove impediments to democracy in those countries. A majority of Afghans and Iraqis, and perhaps even "Muslims around the world," don't regret the demise of Mullah Omar, a fanatical cleric, or Saddam Hussein, a brutal secular despot.

Obama said he was seeking "a new beginning between the US and Muslims around the world" -- implying that "Muslims around the world" (including Muslim Americans) represent a monolithic bloc, as Osama bin Laden and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claim.

Is the president unaware that there are 57 countries with Muslim majorities and a further 60 countries where Muslims represent substantial minorities? Trying to press almost a quarter of humanity into a single ghetto based on religious apartheid is the fruit of either woeful ignorance or dangerous provocation.

Obama's mea culpa vis-à-vis Islam extended beyond the short span of US history. He appropriated the guilt for the Crusades, Western colonialism and support for despotic regimes during the Cold War, and countered that with a flattering narrative about Islam's role in history, featuring outlandish claims that would astonish many Muslims.

Ignoring the role of ancient Greece, pre-Islamic Persia, China and India, he credited Islam with having invented modern medicine, algebra, navigation and even the use of pen and printing. He went so far as to trace the genesis of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment to Cairo's medieval Al Azhar theological school.

Noting that Thomas Jefferson had a copy of the Koran, Obama stated that "Islam has always been a part of American history." He also exaggerated the number of Muslim Americans at 7 million, a figure designed to promote Islam as the second-largest religious community in America after Christianity.

Obama promised to help change the US taxation system to allow Muslims to pay zakat, an Islamic tax, and threatened to prosecute those who don't allow US Muslim women to cover their hair.

Despite his anxiety about being "respectful of the values of others," Obama had nothing to say about the abominable treatment of women in many Muslim-majority countries. The best he could do was this platitude: "Our daughters can contribute just as much to society as our sons."

Emphasizing the Islamic aspect of his identity, Obama said: "I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed."

He then committed America's support to the Saudi initiative known as Interfaith Dialogue and the Turkish-sponsored Dialogue of Civilizations, both of which divide the world on the basis of religious creed.

Obama voiced no support for "Muslims around the world" who are fighting for democracy and human rights, making no mention of the tens of thousands of political prisoners in the 57 Muslim-majority countries. He had no warm words for those fighting for women's rights and equal rights for ethnic and religious minorities.

The president may not know it, but his "Muslim world" is experiencing a historic civil war of ideas in which growing movements for freedom and human rights are fighting a variety of despotic, fanatical terrorist groups that use Islam as a fascist ideology.

Obama refused to acknowledge the existence of the two camps, let alone take sides. So it wasn't surprising that the Muslim Brotherhood, which wasn't invited to hear Obama's speech, praised him for "acknowledging the justice of our case."

Meanwhile, Egypt's democratic movement Kifayah! (Enough!), officially invited, refused to show up. "We cannot endorse a policy of support for despots in the name of fostering stability," a spokesman said in Cairo.

-- Amir Taheri's latest book is "The Persian Night: Iran Under the Khomeinist Revolution

Obama's Cairo speech unveiling his "inner Muslim" contained much that was astonishing. It misstated and overstated Islamic accomplishments, told lies about the presence of Muslims in America, stated that Islam had a Golden Rule when it does not and cast Israel off to fend for itself against Iran and other Islamic foes. It also gave Iran the green light to acquire nuclear weapons. Ironically, in withdrawing American support for Israel and relinquishing America's role as global policeman of nuclear weapon capability, Obama was reversing or abandoning positions adopted six decades ago by a Democratic president Harry S Truman.

This editorial describes the danger that Truman saw which Obama is plunging America and the world into.


Total Tolerance
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY
Posted Friday, June 05, 2009 4:20 PM PT Issue of June 8, 2009

Nuclear Proliferation: In the torrent of analysis of the president's Muslim speech, a major policy shift went largely unnoticed. We now endorse equal opportunity regarding what countries can have atomic weapons.

President Obama's Cairo University address to the world's Muslims on Thursday squandered a historic opportunity that perhaps only a president with a Muslim father and a Muslim name could have utilized: effectively rallying the Islamic world against Iran as it pursues nuclear weapons.

Instead, he did pretty much the opposite, declaring that "no single nation should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons."

This is multilateralism taken to its reductio ad absurdum. Since the dawn of atomic weapons, it has been mostly the United States' job -- what Harry Truman called "an awful responsibility which has come to us" -- to act as a kind of global nuclear custodian.
Truman made no bones about defending our building of the bomb, noting that the Nazis "were on the search for it" and that "we know now how close they were to finding it. And we knew the disaster which would come to this nation, and to all peace-loving nations, to all civilization, if they had found it first."

That Democratic president made it clear to the world that "Great Britain, Canada and the United States, who have the secret of its production, do not intend to reveal that secret until means have been found to control the bomb so as to protect ourselves and the rest of the world from the danger of total destruction."

If we are honest with ourselves today, we must admit that even now, nearly six-and-a-half decades into the nuclear age, there remains no foolproof means of controlling the bomb. It continues to be, in Give 'em Hell Harry's words, "too dangerous to be loose in a lawless world."

So it is chilling to hear a U.S. president go to Egypt and, after issuing an unprecedented apology for the 1953 CIA coup that kept Iran and its oil from the clutches of Iran's direct neighbor to the north, the Soviet Union, declare that Iran has "the right" to nuclear power -- which it can easily use to build bombs.

There is nothing new in a president calling for "a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons," as Obama did in Cairo. Ronald Reagan expressed such hopes. But isn't contending that "no single nation should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons" the opposite of zero nuclear tolerance?

How is it a step toward a nuclear-free world when we announce that the West should stop practicing what might be called "nuclear discrimination?" Tehran will interpret Obama's words as carte blanche to pursue its goal of building a nuclear weapons arsenal.

According to the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has now amassed 1,359 kilograms of low-enriched uranium hexafluoride. It has nearly 5,000 centrifuges up and running -- and is making it more difficult for international inspectors to scrutinize its nuclear program.

Yet at the G-8 foreign ministers conference at the end of this month in Italy, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will rub shoulders with Tehran's diplomatic mission, invited to attend by the Italians, just as if Iran were Finland or New Zealand or any other civilized nation, not the Islamofascist threat to the world that it is.

Neither Europe nor the U.N. has the willingness or the fortitude to "pick and choose" multilaterally which nations can be accepted into the nuclear club. Only the U.S. can lead in such an "awful responsibility."

But last week in Cairo we apparently relinquished that grave duty.

The Middle East's most percerptive political analyst Caroline Glick dissects President Obama's fantasized message to the world's Muslims and his insulting demands of Israel and his outrageous equating of Palestinian terror with Israeli's defensive actions.

Obama is sacrificing Israel for warmer relations with an unchanged and unchanging Islam bent on world conquest. In the process, he is endangering American security as he is also doing with his feckless response to North Korea's aggressive provocations.

The Manchurian candidate after all?

In short, Obama's "straight talk" to the Arab world, which began with his disingenuous claim that like America, Islam is committed to "justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings," was consciously and fundamentally fraudulent. And this fraud was advanced to facilitate his goal of placing the Islamic world on equal moral footing with the free world. . . .
In short, by attacking Israel and claiming that Israel is responsible for the absence of peace, the administration is encouraging the Palestinians and the Arab world as a whole to continue to reject Israel and to refuse to make peace with the Jewish state. . . .
The only reasonable explanation is that the administration is baiting Israel because it wishes to abandon the Jewish state as an ally in favor of warmer ties with the Arabs. It has chosen to attack Israel on the issue of Jewish construction because it believes that by concentrating on this issue, it will minimize the political price it will be forced to pay at home for jettisoning America's alliance with Israel. By claiming that he is only pressuring Israel in order to enable a peaceful "two-state solution," Obama assumes that he will be able to maintain his support base among American Jews who will overlook the underlying hostility his "pro-peace" stance papers over.

As for Iran, it is clear from the Cairo speech Obama will do nothing to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and carrying out its threat to eliminate Israel. Like Pontius Pilate, he is washing his hands in public.

There's more on Obama's mendacity and the need for Israel to stay united and strong.

Will American Jews, who voted overwhelmingly for Obama, allow this betrayal to stand? Apparently, Obama thinks he can cajole them into turning their backs on Israel as well.

Obama's Arabian dreams

By Caroline B. Glick
June 5, 2009

US President Barack Obama claims to be a big fan of telling the truth. In media interviews ahead of his trip to Saudi Arabia and Egypt and during his big speech in Cairo on Thursday, he claimed that the centerpiece of his Middle East policy is his willingness to tell people hard truths. Indeed, Obama made three references to the need to tell the truth in his so-called address to the Muslim world.

Unfortunately, for a speech billed as an exercise in truth telling, Obama's address fell short. Far from reflecting hard truths, Obama's speech reflected political convenience.

Obama's so-called hard truths for the Islamic world included statements about the need to fight so-called extremists; give equal rights to women; provide freedom of religion; and foster democracy. Unfortunately, all of his statements on these issues were nothing more than abstract, theoretical declarations devoid of policy prescriptions.

He spoke of the need to fight Islamic terrorists without mentioning that their intellectual, political and monetary foundations and support come from the very mosques, politicians and regimes in Saudi Arabia and Egypt that Obama extols as moderate and responsible.

He spoke of the need to grant equality to women without making mention of common Islamic practices like so-called honor killings, and female genital mutilation. He ignored the fact that throughout the lands of Islam women are denied basic legal and human rights. And then he qualified his statement by mendaciously claiming that women in the US similarly suffer from an equality deficit. In so discussing this issue, Obama sent the message that he couldn't care less about the plight of women in the Islamic world.

So too, Obama spoke about the need for religious freedom but ignored Saudi Arabian religious apartheid. He talked about the blessings of democracy but ignored the problems of tyranny.

In short, Obama's "straight talk" to the Arab world, which began with his disingenuous claim that like America, Islam is committed to "justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings," was consciously and fundamentally fraudulent. And this fraud was advanced to facilitate his goal of placing the Islamic world on equal moral footing with the free world.

In a like manner, Obama's tough "truths" about Israel were marked by factual and moral dishonesty in the service of political ends.

On the surface Obama seemed to scold the Muslim world for its all-pervasive Holocaust denial and craven Jew hatred. By asserting that Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism are wrong, he seemed to be upholding his earlier claim that America's ties to Israel are "unbreakable."

Unfortunately, a careful study of his statements shows that Obama was actually accepting the Arab view that Israel is a foreign -- and therefore unjustifiable -- intruder in the Arab world. Indeed, far from attacking their rejection of Israel, Obama legitimized it.

The basic Arab argument against Israel is that the only reason Israel was established was to sooth the guilty consciences of Europeans who were embarrassed about the Holocaust. By their telling, the Jews have no legal, historic or moral rights to the Land of Israel.

This argument is completely false. The international community recognized the legal, historic and moral rights of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel long before anyone had ever heard of Adolf Hitler. In 1922, the League of Nations mandated the "reconstitution" -- not the creation -- of the Jewish commonwealth in the Land of Israel in its historic borders on both sides of the Jordan River.

But in his self-described exercise in truth telling, Obama ignored this basic truth in favor of the Arab lie. He gave credence to this lie by stating wrongly that "the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history." He then explicitly tied Israel's establishment to the Holocaust by moving to a self-serving history lesson about the genocide of European Jewry.

Even worse than his willful blindness to the historic, legal, and moral justifications for Israel's rebirth, was Obama's characterization of Israel itself. Obama blithely, falsely and obnoxiously compared Israel's treatment of Palestinians to white American slave owners' treatment of their black slaves. He similarly cast Palestinian terrorists in the same morally pure category as slaves. Perhaps most repulsively, Obama elevated Palestinian terrorism to the moral heights of slave rebellions and the civil rights movement by referring to it by its Arab euphemism, "resistance."

But as disappointing and frankly obscene as Obama's rhetoric was, the policies he outlined were much worse. While prattling about how Islam and America are two sides of the same coin, Obama managed to spell out two clear policies. First he announced that he will compel Israel to completely end all building for Jews in Judea, Samaria, and eastern, northern and southern Jerusalem. Second he said that he will strive to convince Iran to substitute its nuclear weapons program with a nuclear energy program.

Obama argued that the first policy will facilitate peace and the second policy will prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Upon reflection however, it is clear that neither of his policies can possibly achieve his stated aims. Indeed, their inability to accomplish the ends he claims he has adopted them to advance is so obvious, that it is worth considering what his actual rationale for adopting them may be.

The administration's policy towards Jewish building in Israel's heartland and capital city expose a massive level of hostility towards Israel. Not only does it fly in the face of explicit US commitments to Israel undertaken by the Bush administration, it contradicts a longstanding agreement between successive Israeli and American governments not to embarrass each other.

Moreover, the fact that the administration cannot stop attacking Israel about Jewish construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, but has nothing to say about Hizbullah's projected democratic takeover of Lebanon next week, Hamas's genocidal political platform, Fatah's involvement in terrorism, or North Korean ties to Iran and Syria, has egregious consequences for the prospects for peace in the region.

As Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas made clear in his interview last week with the Washington Post, in light of the administration's hostility towards Israel, the Palestinian Authority no longer feels it is necessary to make any concessions whatsoever to Israel. It needn't accept Israel's identity as a Jewish state. It needn't minimize in any way its demand that Israel commit demographic suicide by accepting millions of foreign, hostile Arabs as full citizens. And it needn't curtail its territorial demand that Israel contract to within indefensible borders.

In short, by attacking Israel and claiming that Israel is responsible for the absence of peace, the administration is encouraging the Palestinians and the Arab world as a whole to continue to reject Israel and to refuse to make peace with the Jewish state.

The Netanyahu government reportedly fears that Obama and his advisors have made such an issue of settlements because they seek to overthrow Israel's government and replace it with the more pliable Kadima party. Government sources note that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel played a central role in destabilizing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's first government in 1999, when he served as an advisor to then president Bill Clinton. They also note that Emmanuel is currently working with leftist Israelis and American Jews associated with Kadima and the Democratic Party to discredit the government.

While there is little reason to doubt that the Obama administration would prefer a leftist government in Jerusalem, it is unlikely that the White House is attacking Israel primarily to advance this aim. This is first of all the case because today there is little danger that Netanyahu's coalition partners will abandon him.

Moreover, the Americans have no reason to believe that prospects for a peace deal would improve with a leftist government at the helm in Jerusalem. After all, despite its best efforts, the Kadima government was unable to make peace with the Palestinians as was the Labor government before it. What the Palestinians have shown consistently since the failed 2000 Camp David summit is that there is no deal that Israel can offer them that they are willing to accept.

So if the aim of the administration in attacking Israel is neither to foster peace nor to bring down the Netanyahu government, what can explain its behavior?

The only reasonable explanation is that the administration is baiting Israel because it wishes to abandon the Jewish state as an ally in favor of warmer ties with the Arabs. It has chosen to attack Israel on the issue of Jewish construction because it believes that by concentrating on this issue, it will minimize the political price it will be forced to pay at home for jettisoning America's alliance with Israel. By claiming that he is only pressuring Israel in order to enable a peaceful "two-state solution," Obama assumes that he will be able to maintain his support base among American Jews who will overlook the underlying hostility his "pro-peace" stance papers over.

Obama's policy towards Iran is a logical complement of his policy towards Israel. Just as there is no chance that he will bring Middle East peace closer by attacking Israel, so he will not prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons by offering the mullahs nuclear energy. The deal Obama is now proposing has been on the table since 2003 when Iran's nuclear program was first exposed. Over the past six years, the Iranians have repeatedly rejected it. Indeed, just last week they again announced that they reject it.

Here too, to understand the President's actual goal it is necessary to search for the answers closer to home. Since Obama's policy has no chance of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, it is apparent that he has come to terms with the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran. In light of this, the most rational explanation for his policy of engaging Iran is that he wishes to avoid being blamed when Iran emerges as a nuclear power in the coming months.

In reckoning with the Obama administration, it is imperative that the Netanyahu government and the public alike understand what the true goals of its current policies are. Happily, consistent polling data show that the overwhelming majority of Israelis realize that the White House is deeply hostile towards Israel. The data also show that the public approves of Netanyahu's handling of our relations with Washington.

Moving forward, the government must sustain this public awareness and support. By his words as well as by his deeds, not only has Obama shown that he is not a friend of Israel. He has shown that there is nothing that Israel can do to make him change his mind.

--Caroline Glick is the deputy managing editor of the Jerusalem Post and a senior fellow at Washington's Center for Security Policy.

Will America's supporters of Israel stand up to this betrayal by Obama?

Good news out of the Netherlands. In the election for members of the European Parliament, Geert Wilders' Freedom Party scored big, landing at least four seats in its first try, coming in second to the ruling Christian Democratic Party. This is solid evidence that the Dutch public is waking up to the internal cultural threat posed by the 800,000 Muslims living in the Netherlands. The Dutch were in the forefront of welcoming mass immigration of Muslims from North Africa, Turkey and the Middle East and are now realizing that these Muslims intend to remake Holland into an intolerant Islamic society.

Thus far, the Dutch response to the aggressive advance of Islam has been craven: "Don't do anything to irritate the Muslims. They'll be violent." Muslim on non-Muslim crime in Holland is rampant. Muslim births are a multiple of native births and already Muslim children under four years of age constitute a majority of that age group in large cities. Rotterdam has been called the capital of Eurabia. See our earlier report.


Earth Times

ANALYSIS: Geert Wilders, the far-right rising star of Dutch politics

Posted on : 2009-06-05 | Author : DPA

Amsterdam - Geert Wilders, the enfant terrible of Dutch politics, has done it again. On Thursday, his anti-Islamic Freedom Party (PVV) participated in the European Parliament elections for the first time, winning 4 seats and proceeding to become the second-largest Dutch party in Brussels.

The result echoed a similar performance by the PVV two years ago, when it made its debut in national elections and instantly gained nine seats in the 150-strong Dutch parliament.

"The Netherlands is waking up from a leftist nightmare," Wilders said as he celebrated Thursday's result, "a nightmare of tremendously high taxes, crime, bad health care, headscarves and burqa's, impoverishment, mass immigration and islamization."

Wilders, who is 45 and is married a Hungarian woman, openly refers to Islam as a "backward" and "fundamentalist" culture that necessarily clashes with Europe's civilization.

In "Fitna", his 16-minute political film that caused global controversy in March 2008, Wilders warns of Europe's "ongoing Islamization", explaining fundamentalism and terrorism as a Muslim phenomenon.

A frequent target of death threats, he has lived under tight personal security since the November 2004 assassination of another Dutch critic of Islam, filmmaker Theo van Gogh.

Born in Venlo in the overwhelmingly Catholic southern Netherlands, Wilders worked in Israel and travelled extensively in the Middle East during his youth.

Back in the Netherlands, he studied law and worked for an insurer.

In 1990 he started to work for the parliamentary Liberal VVD faction, and in 1998 became a lawmaker himself.

Quickly recognized as an outspoken and talented legislator, the blond politician positioned himself at the party's right wing.

Initially obeying party orders to tone himself down, Wilders returned to the center-stage after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, increasingly raising the issue of what he called the "threat of Islam".

His opposition against Turkish membership of the European Union resulted in a breakaway from the Liberals. On September 2, 2004 he decided to make his voice heard even more by becoming an independent lawmaker.

His international notoriety as a result of the Fitna film has come at a price.

In January 2009, the Dutch district court ruled that he should be prosecuted for alleged discrimination and incitement to hatred and violence. The trial is due to start in several months.

Next month, he plans to sue the British government for denying him entry into Britain on the grounds that he posed a threat to public security. ...

More...

While Obama's Cairo speech furthered his plan to sacrifice Israel to make points with the world's Muslims, it also weakened the U.S. in the war of Islamic supremacism being waged against the non-Muslim world.

Obama bought into the game that Islamic apologists play when they tout Islam as a religion of peace and dismiss the terrorists as a fringe group misreading the Koran.

In fact, the Koran is two-faced. There are some wonderful quotes that the apologists -- and Obama -- use to back up the assertions about a peaceful Islam. Trouble is the dark, violent side of Islam, also found in the Koran, is universally considered by Islamic scholars as trumping the peaceful words spoken by Mohammad (supposedly from Allah) in his earlier Meccan days before he acquired power after resettling in Medina. The Medina message to conquer the world through war on all non-Muslims until all the world is Islamic is the controlling mission of Islam. Contrary to what Obama insists, Islam is the problem

Andrew McCarthy skewers the president's "fable."


Making Believe

Obama's Speech Long on Fables, Short on Facts

By Andrew C. McCarthy

National Review Online

June 5, 2009


The Islamic world has heard the much anticipated speech about the relationship between Islam and America from "Barack Hussein Obama" -- emphasis added by the president himself, who until recently considered the use of his middle name a right-wing smear. The oration was called "A New Beginning." "A Pretend Beginning" would have been a more accurate.

Though President Obama has won plaudits from some surprising quarters -- including from National Review -- the speech was warmed-over leftist dogma sprinkled with a fictional accounting of Islam and its history. NR's editors forgive this as the "obvious consideration" that a presidential address must "stress some truths more than others and soften the harsher ones." This is a promiscuous conception of truth. What the president did was promote various fictions about Islam while airbrushing truths that are not merely harsh but are the facts behind the rampage that has victimized us for much of the last three decades. That rampage, moreover, was substantially discounted in a haze of moral equivalence.

It would be bad enough to do this under any circumstances, but it is inexcusable to do it while paying only lip-service to one of the few truths the president did speak: namely, that any "partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn't."

"What it isn't" is a religion of peace with a legacy so overflowing with achievement in science, philosophy, and the arts that civilization, as President Obama claimed, owes a great "debt to Islam." In fact, the ledger runs heavily in the other direction.

Islam was spread by the sword -- not by the allure of its still problematic message -- and many of the cultural achievements within the Muslim world that the president glossed occurred despite Islam (particularly in the areas of literature, art, and music) or are more properly understood as the accomplishments (especially in science and architecture) of better-educated peoples whom Muslims conquered. The president rehearsed the claim that Islam single-handedly "carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment." This is a myth. As Robert Spencer has ably recounted, it is not true that Muslims alone preserved the works of Aristotle, Galen, Plato, Hippocrates, and other pillars of Western enlightenment. More significantly, arrested development in the Islamic world owes to an anti-intellectualism that persists to this day in enclaves holding that no education beyond the study of the Koran is necessary.

The president, moreover, insisted on pulling from the Muslim apologists' playbook the expurgation of Islamic scripture in order to render it congenial to Western sensibilities. We were treated to the hidebound claim that terrorist violence is anti-Islamic because what Obama takes pains to call "the Holy Koran" teaches that "whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind." This conveniently decoupled Sura 5:32 from the next verse (5:33), which, though unmentioned by Obama, is well known by Muslims to read: "The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land, is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: That is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the hereafter."

Noting a bowdlerization even this egregious does not do justice to how misleading the president's tactic was. Though Obama portrayed Islam as having a "proud tradition of tolerance," it has a far more consequential legacy of intolerance. Islam strives for hegemony, seeking not to co-exist but to make all the world the realm of the Muslims (dar al-Islam) while regarding those parts not under its dominion as the realm of war (dar al-Harb). What Obama means by "an innocent" and what many Muslims take the term to mean are different.

Sura 5:33 is far from aberrant, and the "Holy Koran," quite apart from its several other commands to violence, dehumanizes Jews in several places as the children of monkeys and pigs. It admonishes that Muslims "take not the Jews and the Christians as friends and protectors" (5:51). The hadiths of the prophet are replete with tales of non-Muslims slaughtered, forced into slavery, and reduced to humiliating dhimmitude. Mohammed's vision of the end of the world foresaw Jesus returning to abolish Christianity and impose Islam, while Jews are killed by Muslims (with the help of trees and stones, which alert the faithful, "Muslim, there is a Jew behind me -- come and kill him!" In fact, even President Obama's cordial greeting of "assalaamu alaykum" to his Egyptian audience conveys (no doubt unintentionally) something of basic Islamic intolerance. Under sharia (Islamic law), as Spencer explains, "a Muslim may only extend this greeting -- Peace be upon you -- to a fellow Muslim. To a non-Muslim he is to say, 'Peace be upon those who are rightly guided,' i.e., Peace be upon the Muslims."

To be sure, no sensible person would suggest that a U.S. president rehash these and other unpleasant facts in order to provoke Muslims gratuitously. But it was Obama's idea to give this speech -- it's not as if he were put, through no fault of his own, to the awkward choice of telling a few little white lies or insulting his hosts. More to the point, the president takes the risible position (as did his predecessor) that "Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism -- it is an important part of promoting peace." Islam, however, is palpably a huge part of the problem in combating violent extremism, which is serially committed by Muslims under the influence of notable religious scholars (including more than a few educated at al-Azhar University, the "beacon of Islamic learning" that co-hosted the president's speech) who invoke some of the many scriptures the president elected not to mention.

It is true enough that Islam must be part of the solution to the promotion of peace, but for two reasons alone. First, while it is possible to ignore Islamic doctrine's nexus to terrorism, the nexus cannot credibly be denied, and therefore the need to deal with it is unavoidable. Second, and related, there can be no peace unless Islam reforms -- unless it purges its savage elements and compellingly condemns the violence committed in its name. This can't be done as Obama and others would like to do it: by telling Muslims everything is fine, that their religion is wonderful as is, while making believe the bad scriptures don't exist and radicals are merely a tiny fringe of crazy people. That is a strategy designed by liberals to convince other liberals who don't need convincing, so desperate are they to believe all is well. It does nothing to discredit the violent fundamentalists in the eyes of other Muslims; in fact, it enhances their credibility because it ignores their doctrinal justifications of terror rather than offering a credible counter-construction.

Worse, assuming there is no credible counter-construction (which may very well be the case), there is an enormous amount of reform to be done -- work that can only be done by Muslims. We cannot rouse them to the task by telling them we think Islam, as it currently exists, is promoting peace.

All this would require a commitment to come to grips with "what Islam is, not what it isn't." It's too bad we don't have that commitment.


-- National Review's Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and the author of Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad (Encounter Books, 2008). McCarthy was the federal prosecutor responsible for sending the blind shiekh who masterminded the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 to prison.

MORE BETRAYAL OF ISRAEL BY OBAMA

Obama seeks to overturn years of American agreement that Israel has a right to exist and grow as any country does. This was most recently confirmed by a letter from President Bush in 2004 and a resolution of Congress.

Now, suddenly in a recent visit by Secretary of State Clinton and echoed by Obama at Cairo yesterday Israel is not to be permitted any growth of existing towns ringing Jerusalem in the West Bank to accommodate the birth of children.

Incredilby, Obama's imperial dictation to Israel comes in the midst of a speech in which he emphasized that the U.S. can dictate to no nation. Nonetheless, it is an order that cannot and will not stand.

Charles Krauthammer hammers home the nail.

June 5, 2009

The Settlements Myth

By Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post

WASHINGTON -- Obama the Humble declares there will be no more "dictating" to other countries. We should "forge partnerships as opposed to simply dictating solutions," he told the G-20 summit. In Middle East negotiations, he told al-Arabiya, America will henceforth "start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating."

An admirable sentiment. It applies to everyone -- Iran, Russia, Cuba, Syria, even Venezuela. Except Israel. Israel is ordered to freeze all settlement activity. As Secretary of State Clinton imperiously explained the diktat: "a stop to settlements -- not some settlements, not outposts, not natural-growth exceptions."

What's the issue? No "natural growth" means strangling to death the thriving towns close to the 1949 armistice line, many of them suburbs of Jerusalem, that every negotiation over the past decade has envisioned Israel retaining. It means no increase in population. Which means no babies. Or if you have babies, no housing for them -- not even within the existing town boundaries. Which means for every child born, someone has to move out. No community can survive like that. The obvious objective is to undermine and destroy these towns -- even before negotiations.

To what end? Over the last decade, the U.S. government has understood that any final peace treaty would involve Israel retaining some of the close-in settlements -- and compensating the Palestinians accordingly with land from within Israel itself.

That was envisioned in the Clinton plan in the Camp David negotiations in 2000, and again at Taba in 2001. After all, why turn towns to rubble when, instead, Arabs and Jews can stay in their homes if the 1949 armistice line is shifted slightly into the Palestinian side to capture the major close-in Jewish settlements, and then shifted into Israeli territory to capture Israeli land to give to the Palestinians?

This idea is not only logical, not only accepted by both Democratic and Republican administrations for the last decade, but was agreed to in writing in the letters of understanding exchanged between Israel and the United States in 2004 -- and subsequently overwhelmingly endorsed by a concurrent resolution of Congress.

Yet the Obama State Department has repeatedly refused to endorse these agreements or even say it will honor them. This from a president who piously insists that all parties to the conflict honor previous obligations.

The entire "natural growth" issue is a concoction. It's farcical to suggest that the peace process is moribund because a teacher in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem is making an addition to her house to accommodate new grandchildren -- when Gaza is run by Hamas terrorists dedicated to permanent war with Israel and when Mahmoud Abbas, having turned down every one of Ehud Olmert's peace offers, brazenly declares that he is in a waiting mode -- waiting for Hamas to become moderate and for Israel to cave -- before he'll do anything to advance peace.

In his much-heralded "Muslim world" address in Cairo Thursday, Obama declared that the Palestinian people's "situation" is "intolerable." Indeed it is, the result of 60 years of Palestinian leadership that gave its people corruption, tyranny, religious intolerance and forced militarization; leadership that for three generations -- Haj Amin al-Husseini in 1947, Yasser Arafat in 2000, Abbas in December 2008 -- rejected every offer of independence and dignity, choosing destitution and despair rather than accept any settlement not accompanied by the extinction of Israel.

In the 16 years since the Oslo accords turned the West Bank and Gaza over to the Palestinians, their leaders -- Fatah and Hamas alike -- built no schools, no roads, no courthouses, no hospitals, no institutions that would relieve their people's suffering. Instead they poured everything into an infrastructure of war and terror, all the while depositing billions (from gullible Western donors) into their Swiss bank accounts.

Obama says he came to Cairo to tell the truth. But he uttered not a word of that. Instead, among all the bromides and lofty sentiments, he issued but one concrete declaration of new American policy: "The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements," thus reinforcing the myth that Palestinian misery and statelessness are the fault of Israel and the settlements.

Blaming Israel and picking a fight over "natural growth" may curry favor with the Muslim "street." But it will only induce the Arab states to do like Abbas: sit and wait for America to deliver Israel on a platter. Which makes the Obama strategy not just dishonorable but self-defeating.

OBAMA GETS THUMBS-DOWN IN ISRAEL

Obama's Cairo speech was anything but frank and honest. He wildly overstated Muslims' contributions to science and economic progress; what little there was more often than not was the fruit of the second-class Jews and Christians in their midst paying tribute to save their lives. He praised Muslims for their tolerance, which is demonstrably lacking through most Muslim majority nations. His worst insult was the moral equivalence he drew between terrorist-supporting Palestinians and Israelis defending their families.

The audience reacted enthusiastically to all the praise for the Palestinians and silently to the statements calling for acceptance of the right of Israel to exist; as he said, Israel wasn't going anywhere; it's strong enough to defend itself.

To move the new initiative on, it's mostly the same: American taxpayers are going to ante up more billions to buy their favor and good will.

Early reaction from Israel, as set forth below, is pretty much on the money.


Obama's Speech Anything But Music to Israeli Ears

Posted By P. David Hornik

With a [1] newly released poll finding that 60 percent of Israelis "don't trust ... President [Obama] to consider and protect Israel's interests during his efforts to improve relations between America and the Muslim world," and that 55 percent of Israelis say Obama leans in favor of the Palestinians and only 5 percent that he favors Israel, there wasn't much in [2] Obama's Cairo speech today to allay the concerns.

True, he spoke ringing words about the Holocaust. Addressing the Muslim world as a whole, he even took a swipe at widespread Muslim Holocaust denial, saying, "Six million Jews were killed -- more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful." But he followed with a classic "on the other hand" that led into: "it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people -- Muslims and Christians -- have suffered in pursuit of a homeland." The moral equivalency, the implied connection, is clear; both forms of denial are bad, one balances the other.

Except that this is a severe moral distortion, and not only because of the different magnitudes involved. Whereas the Jews of Europe were in no way responsible for their victimization, the Palestinians' suffering was caused by their own and the Arab world's rejection of the state granted them by the 1947 UN Partition Plan and was wholly avoidable simply by accepting that state. Indeed, Obama went on to compound the falsification by referring to "the displacement brought by Israel's founding." If it was time to be honest, why couldn't Obama have challenged the widespread Arab and Muslim myth -- part of what has caused ongoing bloodshed and suffering for all -- of the inherent injustice of Israel's creation, which need not have entailed the displacement of a single individual?

But with moral equivalency as the keynote, Obama went on to admonish the Palestinians that they "must abandon violence," since "resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed" -- and then censured Israel for alleged sins presented as equivalent to terrorism. No one was surprised that these included settlements, which, to be fair to Obama, have long figured in U.S. diplomacy and pronouncements -- both Republican and Democratic -- as the equivalent of suicide bombings, rocket barrages, and the like.

Obama's charge sheet against Israel, though, also included that it "must live up to its obligations to ensure that Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society" and the assertion that "the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel's security." Here it must simply be said that without the Palestinian "resistance through violence and killing," and systematic incitement that fosters it, no Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank or border controls on Gaza would exist, and to treat these as equivalent is to portray aggression and self-defense, crime and policing, as one and the same, morally indistinguishable.

Nor did Israel's explicit offers -- in addition to the UN's original offer -- of Palestinian statehood in 2000 and 2007, in both cases summarily rejected by the Palestinian side, figure anywhere in Obama's speech. Earlier in the address he said, "I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly the things we hold in our hearts, and that too often are said only behind closed doors." This noble sentiment wasn't enough for him to summon the courage to tell his Muslim audience -- which wouldn't have liked it; but wasn't candor supposed to be the point? -- that a lack of statehood in the West Bank and Gaza is by now a reality the Palestinians must lay completely at their own door.

True, in addition to Holocaust denial and Palestinian violence, Obama mentioned other failings of the Muslim world. He spoke of "violent extremism" as a whole, slaughter in Darfur, Iran's push for nuclear weapons, lack of democracy, religious intolerance, deficits of literacy, development, and women's rights. Contrasting all this with Israel's democracy may have been too harsh for his audience. But failing to mention that Israel exists in an environment where all those things -- violence, intolerance, the nuclear threat -- are realities to be contended with, while characterizing Israel as committing equivalent wrongs and creating obstacles to peace when since the early 1990s its policies have shown a yearning for peace verging on the desperate and suicidal, does nothing to assuage destructive attitudes and instead helps perpetuate them.

And if Obama's reference to Israeli settlements was de rigueur, it was also -- in keeping with the pressure tactics of the last few weeks -- exceptional in its harshness. "The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements," he said, adding, "This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop." Contrast this with Obama's earlier kid-glove treatment of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas regarding incitement -- "I also mentioned to President Abbas in a frank exchange that it was very important to continue to make progress in reducing the incitement and anti-Israel sentiments that are sometimes expressed in schools and mosques and in the public square" -- and you start to see why most Israelis have lost trust in this president.

Abbas and all other Muslims are told that it might be better were they to change their ways in some regards. Israel's treatment is much rougher. Supplicate the dictatorships, slam the democracy -- isn't that what moral equivalency is for?

As President Obama flies to Cairo to deliver a speech to the world's Muslims, the Director of Jihad Watch Robert Spencer suggests it is time to end the fantasies and speak clearly and honestly to all Muslims. Their goal of Islamic supremacism and world conquest must be put aside and they should take their place as equals with non-Muslims of the world.

Sadly, Obama may well fan the flames of hatred and division and convince Muslims at last they have have a friend against the Jews.

The speech is at 6:10 a.m. Thursday, June 4th, Eastern Daylight Time.

June 2, 2009
The Speech Obama Should [Have Given] Give in Cairo
By Robert Spencer
Jihad Watch
in the American Thinker

As Barack Obama prepares to give his long-anticipated major address to the Islamic world from Cairo, as a public service I here offer the speech he should give:

Dear friends,

I have said that in this speech I would offer my personal commitment to engagement with the Islamic world, based upon mutual interests and mutual respect. Establishing peace between the forces of the global jihad and America and her ally Israel is something that I would very much love to do. The first thing I must acknowledge, however, is that much as I would love to see this peace dawning over the world, it is not within my power to achieve this.

That may surprise many of you. You have grown accustomed to thinking that the tensions between Muslims and the United States - tensions that boiled over on September 11, 2001 and on the occasions of many other acts of jihad terrorism as well - are entirely the fault of the United States. Americans have been told that we are hated because of our support for Israel, and because of our attempts to bring freedom and stability to the overwhelmingly Muslim people of Iraq and Afghanistan. We are hated because we have spent American treasure to try to secure a better life for Muslims the world over, spending billions of dollars in aid for Egypt, Pakistan, and other Muslim countries.

I must speak honestly with you. It puzzles and pains Americans to see ourselves vilified and hated for trying to help others. Now, unlike the Islamic Republic of Iran and other Islamic entities, we seek no apologies, no restitution. We do not ask for a word of thanks for our numerous attempts to help Muslim societies become safe, prosperous places to live for all their citizens. We do not ask for your approval. But at this point we are going to cease efforts to build bridges of understanding with the Islamic world that have turned out to be fruitless, and even self-defeating.

We have showered billions on Pakistan to enable the Pakistani government to fight the Islamic jihadists, only to see a great deal of that money being funneled to those same jihadists, who are now stronger than ever.

We have tried to establish democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan, only to see non-Muslim minorities treated worse than ever, such that they have been streaming out of Iraq in unprecedented numbers, while the few that remain in Afghanistan are subject to increasingly violent persecution.

We have brokered peace treaty after peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians - from Camp David to Oslo to the Road Map for Peace - only to see the Palestinian side again and again trample upon its commitments to recognize and respect Israel's basic right to exist.

I have offered you America's outstretched hand. In doing so I have followed a path blazed by my predecessors. But that gesture of conciliation has never been reciprocated. And so now, even as my good will is still extended to you, I must act more realistically.

Pakistan and other Muslim countries will not receive another penny of American aid unless and until they demonstrate - in a transparent and inspectable fashion - that they are working against, not abetting, the forces of the global jihad. This will include instituting comprehensive nationwide programs to teach against the jihad doctrine of Islamic supremacism, teaching that Muslims and non-Muslims must live together as equal citizens on an indefinite basis, without any attempts by Muslims to subjugate non-Muslims as inferiors under the rule of Islamic law.

I trust you will understand that we cannot continue to fund the cutting of our own throat.

Afghanistan and Iraq must immediately guarantee the equality of rights of women and non-Muslims, or American arms will no longer devote themselves to keeping regimes in power that do not guarantee those rights.

I will call upon Israel to make no further territorial concessions. The withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 demonstrated only that such concessions whet, rather than sate, the appetites of Islamic jihadists for more concessions. The assumption that territorial concessions will bring peace ignores not only recent history, but also the stated goal of the jihadist movements arrayed against Israel: the destruction of the Jewish state.

That state is an American ally - a more reliable one than any Islamic state has ever been. And we will do whatever is necessary to preserve and defend that ally.

Our hand is outstretched, but we are not unrealistic about the nature of the world. The animus between us is as much, if not more, the result of the doctrines of jihad and Islamic supremacism as it is a result of American policy. I am telling you today that we understand this, and will be acting accordingly. Ultimately a policy based on realism will be much better for both of us than policies based on the fantasies and half-truths that have hitherto prevailed.

Thank you, and may God bless you.

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Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times Bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad.

JERUSALEM, THE ETERNAL FRONT LINE

Jerusalem, O Jerusalem. The eternal home of the Jews, which shall be defended at all costs.

The Ingeborg Rennert Foundation's Guardian of Zion Award has been awarded since 1997 to Elie Wiesel, Herman Wouk, A.M. Rosenthal, Sir Martin Gilbert, Charles Krauthammer, Daniel Pipes, Norman Podhoretz, and others. ReceIving the Award is a distinct honor; it is fitting for Ms. Caroline Glick to be in such illustrious and brilliant company.

Caroline Glick, a citizen of the United States and an adopted citizen of Israel, is the most perceptive and articulate analyst of Middle Eastern affairs anywhere in the world. She writes regularly for the Jerusalem Post, dividing her time between Israel and Washington, DC, where she is a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy.

Caroline gave the following extraordinary address on her acceptance of the Ingeborg Rennert Foundation's 2009 Guardian of Zion Award in Jerusalem. Listen to the audio or read the text below. Better yet, listen to Caroline and read the text as she speaks.

================================================


Good evening. Members of Knesset, President Moshe Kaveh of Bar Ilan, Professor Benzion Netanyahu, former Guardian of Zion award winners Prof. Elie Wiesel and Arthur Cohn, and honored guests, thank you all for coming here today.

I would also like to thank some very important people who made a special trip to join me here this evening. Thank you to my parents, Sharon and Gerald Glick who came here from Chicago. Thank you to Frank Gaffney, the President of the Center for Security Policy in Washington and my dear colleague, and his wife Marisol for flying in from Washington to be here.

Thank you to Professor Avi Bell from Bar Ilan University Law School, my friend and intellectual sounding board for delaying your flight to New York where you'll be presenting a paper at a law conference tomorrow, to be here with me tonight.

Thank you to Prof. Joshua Schwartz from the Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies at Bar Ilan and your staff for organizing this event.

And finally and most importantly, thank you Mr. and Mrs. Ira and Inga Rennert. Thank you for bringing my parents and the Gaffneys to Jerusalem for this event. Thank you for your extraordinary support for my work. And thank you for being such amazing Jews who give of yourselves everyday for Israel, for Jerusalem and for the Jewish people throughout the world. I am privileged to know you and we are blessed as a people to have you among our leading lights.

I take enormous satisfaction from receiving this award. For nearly as long as I can remember, the image of the watchman on the gates of Jerusalem has been the singular image of Jewish strength for me. It is has always been to the Jewish watchmen, ever vigilant, to whom we have owed our lives, and our survival as a people.

Today these watchmen preserve our freedom in our land. For fifty generations in exile, it was the memory of those Jewish Centurions, manning the barricades that inspired us to keep faith with our traditions, our God, our law, and our land.

I believe that it is an honor beyond measure that Bar Ilan University and the Rennert Center would deem it proper to cast me among the ranks of our greatest defenders and champions. I know I do not deserve this distinction. I certainly do not believe that I have earned it. But I do know that since childhood I have strived to emulate the image of the watchman - or watchwoman -- on the walls of Zion. And I pledge that I will continue throughout my life to strive to earn the distinction you bestow on me tonight.

THE WATCHMAN at the gates is a powerful image. But of course the defense of Jerusalem cannot begin at the gates. And guarding Jerusalem is not simply a matter of physical strength. It requires spiritual commitment and wisdom as well. Indeed, defenders of Zion require a greater mix of physical and spiritual strength than any defenders of any spot on earth.

Both our recent and ancient history as a people is one continuous testament to this truth.

And it is this aspect of Jerusalem - the eternal and temporal front line of the Jewish people - that I wish to discuss with you tonight.

If you drove to Jerusalem this evening from Tel Aviv, as the coastal plain suddenly ended 25 kilometers from the city at Shaar Haguy or Bab el Wahd, you reached the starting point of the siege of Jerusalem from 1947. It was from this gauntlet that the British-commanded Jordan Legion sought - with the help of the Arabs of Jerusalem and surrounding villages - to cut the Jews of the city off from the rest of the country and so to conquer the nascent Jewish state.

As you began ascending through the hills to Jerusalem you could see the remnants of some of the most fearsome and bloody battles of the war. They came in the form of the reverentially preserved hulks of armored personnel carriers used by Haganah and Palmach units sent in front of the Jordanian snipers in a continuous attempt to bring reinforcements and food to the besieged Jews of Jerusalem.

As the hills -- covered on both sides by JNF forests -- rose to meet you, you passed the Latrun fortress on your right. It was the British decision to transfer control over Latrun - with its command over the road below - to the Jordan Legion, that all but guaranteed the fall of Jerusalem by preventing reinforcements from aiding its undermanned defenders.

Wave after wave of Jewish soldiers threw themselves against the guns of the Jordan Legion in a desperate attempt to break its chokehold on Jerusalem.

If you came to this hotel from the center of town, you may have gone by Davidka Square. There you would have passed by one of the primitive mortars used by the Harel Brigade in the battle for Jerusalem.

The Davidka was grossly ineffective as a killing machine. But between its thunderous noise and the rumor mill, it proved an effective tool of psychological warfare against the enemy. Even more than in traditional conflicts, the psychological aspect of the War of Independence played a pivotal role in determining its outcome.

The Jews, who just three years before had been incinerated in European crematoria were an object of wonder no less than hatred for our enemies. Like the phoenix rising from the ashes, for many Arabs there was a sense that supernatural powers were at work as the new Jewish state rose from the ruins of Jerusalem.

For their part, schooled in the martial traditions of Joshua and Gideon, the Jews of 1948 blended seamlessly the psychological and the metaphysical with armor and steel.

The Davidka monument is just as much a reminder of what this uniquely Jewish military doctrine can achieve as the unwalled city of Jericho.

If you came this way from the Old City, you most likely walked through the Jewish Quarter. It was to the 1,700 Jews who lived there in 1948 and their 150 defenders that the eyes of the citizens of nascent Jewish state were turned. The future security of the country was dependent on their ability to withstand the Arab siege. They had to be assisted and they had to hold their ground if the war was to end in a resounding victory for the Jews.

Tragically, the spiritual strength that sustained us 61 years ago was not matched by sufficient physical strength to hold the city.

As Jerusalem commander Dov Yosef instructed the starving and desperate Jews within the walls about the nutritional benefits of various leaves that they could eat in the absence of food, and as wave after wave of Jewish fighters fell to their deaths on the roads ringing the city -- at Latrun, the Castel, Har Adar and Gush Etzion - in their bid to relieve the Jerusalemites -- the British-commanded Jordanians delighted in our suffering. Arab snipers picked off any Jew within range.

In the end, the Jews of the Old City held out for 6 months. Last week marked the 61st anniversary of the fall of Jerusalem on May 27, 1948. Of the Jewish Quarter's 150 defenders, only 43 survived until the Hurva synagogue was destroyed by the Jordan Legion. It was the destruction of the venerable old synagogue that finally forced the hands of the rabbis within the walls. After the Hurva was destroyed, the rabbis began negotiating the surrender of the Old City to the Arabs.

If you walked to the King David Hotel today from the Old City, and exited through the Jaffa Gate, you certainly took note of the gentrified neighborhood of Mamila. Today, as you walk through the new upscale shopping plaza, it is hard to believe, that from May 27, 1948 through June 7, 1967 Mamila was Israel's frontline. It was Sderot and Kiryat Shemona of its time.

The Jews of the neighborhood lived in constant fear of Jordanian snipers who took pot shots from the walls of the conquered city at the Jews down below. The buildings you passed were once surrounded by sandbags. The Jews who lived inside them would run, not walk across the street. Any hesitation could spell their death.

But then, on the third day of the Six Day War, their long nightmare ended. After 19 years, the IDF succeeded in liberating the capital city. Paratroopers from kibbutzim danced with yeshiva buchers as they stood in awe before the remnant of the Second Temple. In June 1967, the proper balance between our spiritual and physical defenses had finally been struck.

After 2000 years, we were again a free people.

EIGHTEEN YEARS AGO, on May 27, 1991, the 43rd anniversary of the fall of Jerusalem, and the 24th anniversary of its liberation, tens of thousands of Jews from Ethiopia were airlifted to the Jewish state. As then prime minister Yitzhak Shamir said, the Ethiopian aliyah marked the first time in history where Africans were liberated from slavery by being taken out of Africa.

The entire country celebrated the arrival of these Jews, who had maintained their allegiance to Zion for thousands of years often in complete isolation from the rest of the people of Israel.

The next day, May 28, 1991, I stepped off an El Al plane at Ben Gurion Airport, and before reaching the passport check, I walked up the stairs of the old terminal building to the Ministry of Absorption's offices and officially made aliyah. A friend picked me and my massive immigrant suitcases up and a few hours later, I began my new life in Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem that greeted me 18 years ago was almost entirely free from fear. It was hard for me to imagine that the city had ever been endangered as I rode the buses, walked along the streets, sat in cafes, hiked in the forests, shopped in supermarkets and clothing stores.

As I moved without fear through Arab neighborhoods, and traversed the old and new city, it rarely occurred to me that I was walking on contested ground. The Palestinian uprising, which had begun in 1988 and had instigated a period of self-segregation and renewed hostility towards Israel among the city's Arab residents, had been defeated in the wake of the Gulf War.

But unbeknownst to me and to my fellow Jerusalemites, all of this was set to change just two years later. When, as part of the implementation of the Oslo peace process with the PLO, the government of Israel allowed for an Arab armed force to be deployed on the outskirts of the city, fear returned to Jerusalem.

Within just a few weeks of the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, Jerusalem again became the front line of the country as terrorists from Ramallah, Hebron, Beit Lehem and beyond converged on Jerusalem to terrorize its people in shooting attacks and suicide bombings. What the people of Sderot experience today was first suffered by residents of Gilo.

I moved away from Jerusalem at the end of 1991, after I joined the army. I returned to the city in 2002. By that time, the sense of safety I had felt here during my first months in the country had been obliterated. Every day brought a new atrocity or attempted atrocity. My own street became the scene of carnage as a bus was bombed just a half a block from my front door. My neighbors' mangled bodies were strewn before me as I ran out of my home with some vague notion that I could help someone.

While there was no hunger among the city's residents in 2002 as there had been during the siege in 1948, the chronic, continuous sense that at any moment you could be killed filled the air with similar dread and foreboding.

It was only after the government finally unleashed the Israel Defense Force in Judea and Samaria that a semblance of normality returned again to the city. It was only after Operation Defensive Shield returned our soldiers to the streets of Ramallah, Beit Lehem, Shehem, Jenin, Kalkilya and Hebron, and vastly curtailed the powers of the Palestinian armed forces, that we could feel safe going out to dinner and riding the bus again.

DURING THE YEARS THAT Jerusalem came under physical threat, it also became politically threatened. Israel's acquiescence to the PLO's military presence on the outskirts of the city began a process of unraveling Israel's own claim to the city. As Yassir Arafat ordered his forces to march on Jerusalem, and denied that the Jewish people have any rights to the city, successive Israeli governments found themselves on the diplomatic defensive.

Just as our leaders allowed Jerusalem's physical wellbeing to be threatened, so they enabled its political unity to come under assault. Rather than insist that the world recognize our sovereign rights to our capital, at best, our leaders spoke of the strategic importance of Jerusalem to our physical security.

The element of metaphysical power embodied by the tactically worthless Davidka was absent from discussions of how Israel needed Tzur Bahar and Jabel Mukaber to defend Armon HaNatziv or how our control over Shoefat and Beit Hanina is necessary to defend Ramot, Neve Yaakov and Pisgat Zeev.

Happily today Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat have abandoned this defensive posture and are waging strident campaigns against all who demand that we again surrender our eternal capital.

But for much of the past 15 years, the full expanse of Jewish history and identity was narrowed to a discussion of isolated neighborhoods, as if they were what this is all about.

Jerusalem's importance is far greater than the sum total of its neighborhoods. In ignoring this basic truth, our leaders did more to imperil the city's neighborhoods than legions of our enemies could hope to accomplish.

Even more devastating than what we said to the world is what we said to ourselves. For much of the past 15 years, our national leaders scornfully and contemptuously worked to limit our expectations and accused us of being greedy for assuming we had a right to our capital.

When did King David live in Abu Dis, they sneered. Why were we needlessly upsetting the Arabs by moving back to Ir David, they hissed. The underlying message was clear. We were provoking our enemies by asserting our rights, which we were told, were unimportant.

In general, since 1994, to greater and lesser degrees, our leaders abandoned Jerusalem as our metaphysical frontline and reduced the rationale of our control over our eternal capital to a security argument.

This argument is fine for as far is it goes. We explained - correctly - that without Israeli control over Jerusalem, the entire country would be under threat. And this is true. Indeed it has always been true.

Among other reasons, King David chose Jerusalem as his capital city because of its strategic importance. Were foreign forces to take control over Jerusalem and surrounding areas today, everything from Ben Gurion Airport to Tel Aviv to Beersheva to Tiberias would be placed under threat.

As Shaar Haguy in 1948 and Beit Jalla in 2000 showed, with foreign forces on the outskirts of the city, Jerusalem is cut off from the rest of the country. To secure the city is to secure the country. And to abandon the city - whether by surrendering control of the road to Tel Aviv or by relinquishing Judea and Samaria -- is to imperil the country.

Specifically, placing foreign forces in Jerusalem or on its doorstep would mean importing Gaza into the heart of the country.

Jerusalemites would find ourselves living in bomb shelters like our brothers and sisters in Sderot. Tel Aviv would find itself, like Ofakim, within range of enemy rockets. Terrorists with simple portable weapons could sit on the hills of Jerusalem and shoot down civilian jetliners landing at Ben Gurion airport. In wartime, terrorists with primitive artillery could shut down the country's vital traffic arteries, preventing reservists from reaching the fronts to defend the state.

Although inarguably accurate, Israel's security arguments for its sovereignty over Jerusalem have fallen on deaf ears. Neither the Americans - who demand that we cease asserting our sovereignty over eastern, northern and southern Jerusalem, not to mention Judea and Samaria -- nor the Arabs consider Jerusalem primarily a military issue.

The Americans prefer to ignore the metaphysical and spiritual aspects of the city's frontline status as they push for an Israeli retreat to the indefensible 1949 armistice lines. For them, the issue of Jerusalem is no more than a petty real estate squabble.

But our enemies know better. For them the question of who controls Jerusalem is rightly recognized as the core issue - as the issue upon which Israel rises or falls as a state and as a people. Earlier this month, this point was made clearly by one of Israel's sworn enemies.

In a television interview on May 7, the PLO's Ambassador to Lebanon Abbas Zaki explained that from the PLO to the Iranian mullahs, Jerusalem is seen as the metaphysical key to Israel's wellbeing. As he put it,

"With the [implementation of the] two-state solution, [involving an Israeli relinquishment of Jerusalem], in my opinion, Israel will collapse, because if they get out of Jerusalem, what will become of all the talk about the Promised Land and the Chosen People? What will become of all the sacrifices they made - just to be told to leave? They consider Jerusalem to have a spiritual status. The Jews consider Judea and Samaria to be their historic dream. If the Jews leave those places, the Zionist idea will begin to collapse. It will regress of its own accord. Then we will move forward."

As a wayward Jew once said, "The truth will set you free."

We owe the likes of Zaki -- and the Iranians who call their most prestigious terrorist unit the Jerusalem Brigade - a big thank you for reminding us of who we are and what we need to survive. For even as our leaders tried to forget what we as a people have always known, our history - both ancient and modern - is testament to the truth of Zaki's statement.

WE MARK THE END of Jewish control over the Land of Israel as having occurred not with the Roman invasion in 63 BCE, nor from the defeat of Bar Kochba's rebellion 182 years later in 135. We mark the hurban, the destruction of our sovereignty as having occurred with the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE.

And why is this the case? It is because people do not fight for strategically significant hilltops. They fight for ideas like freedom. They fight for symbols, for abstractions like flags. They fight for their beliefs. They fight for their way of life.

They do not fight for strategic advantage.

We Jews know this better than any other people. We were the first people to self-consciously define ourselves at Mt. Sinai as a nation committed to an abstract principle of an invisible God, an abstract code of law, and an abstract, yet-to-be-seen promised land.

Josef Trumpeldor is not remembered as a great hero for having said, "It is good to die for strategically significant hilltops," - although that is what he died defending.

Trumpeldor is remembered as a great hero for declaring, "It is good to die for our country."

Even further back, we remember that the only reason the Kingdom of Judea did not suffer the same fate as the Kingdom of Israel in the end of the 8th century BCE is because as the ten tribes of Israel were expelled into oblivion, King Hezkiyahu saved Jerusalem from the Assyrians.

Due to his failed attempt to purge Judea of Assyrian influence, Hezkiyahu lost Lachish and Gat and dozens of other cities and villages and was forced to fall back on Jerusalem. There, against all odds, Hezkiyahu kept Jerusalem free. He breached the Assyrian siege by digging his famous water tunnel under the city.

Assyrian King Sennacherib, who destroyed the Kingdom of Israel and deported the ten tribes, went home empty-handed. His conquest of all the other cities and villages meant little without Jerusalem. By saving Jerusalem, Hezkiyahu saved Jewish independence and through it, he saved the Jewish people.

As Isaiah had promised in Chapter 37, verses 32-35:

לב כִּי מִירוּשָׁלִַם תֵּצֵא שְׁאֵרִית, וּפְלֵיטָה מֵהַר צִיּוֹן; קִנְאַת יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת, תַּעֲשֶׂה-זֹּאת. לג לָכֵן, כֹּה-אָמַר יְהוָה אֶל-מֶלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר, לֹא יָבוֹא אֶל-הָעִיר הַזֹּאת, וְלֹא-יוֹרֶה שָׁם חֵץ; וְלֹא-יְקַדְּמֶנָּה מָגֵן, וְלֹא-יִשְׁפֹּךְ עָלֶיהָ סֹלְלָה. לד בַּדֶּרֶךְ אֲשֶׁר-בָּא, בָּהּ יָשׁוּב; וְאֶל-הָעִיר הַזֹּאת לֹא יָבוֹא, נְאֻם-יְהוָה. לה וְגַנּוֹתִי עַל-הָעִיר הַזֹּאת, לְהוֹשִׁיעָהּ--לְמַעֲנִי, וּלְמַעַן דָּוִד עַבְדִּי.

"From Jerusalem and Mt. Zion the people will be renewed. And so God said to the King of Assyria, you will not enter this city, you will not shoot your arrows upon it, you will not breach its defenses, your cannons will not reach it. You will go back the way you came. You will not enter this city, God decreed. I defended this city to save it for me and for David my servant."

Our history as a people - both ancient and modern - has always been tied to Jerusalem. On Hanukah we remember the Maccabean revolt in a very telling way. The Maccabees began their revolt against the Greeks in 167 BCE. The fighting lasted for 23 years until Jonathan was crowned king.

But we remember the revolt for an event that occurred two years into the fighting. We celebrate the revolt not because it established the Maccabean dynasty. We celebrate it because in 165, Judah Maccabi liberated the Temple and so reinstated our sovereignty as a nation and our hope for national renewal. Again - from Jerusalem and Mt. Zion, the people were renewed.

Just as Zaki, Arafat, Nasrallah, and Ahmadinejad remind us every day, from the outset of our nationhood here in Israel four thousand years ago, throughout the centuries of our dispersion and to this day, our fate as a nation - both physically and spiritually - has always been tied directly to our control, or lack of control over Jerusalem. Jerusalem has always been our front line both physically and spiritually.

Rabbi Akiva knew, as he gazed at the destroyed Temple from Mt. Scopus that one day our control over the city would be restored and so our national wellbeing would be renewed. This is why he laughed as he watched foxes entering and exiting the Holiest of Holies.

Perhaps if he had known then that it would take nearly 2,000 years for that to happen, he would have joined his colleagues in their tears instead of shocking them with his laughter and gaiety.

But still, today we know that Rabbi Akiva was right. Our return to Jerusalem did presage our national rebirth with the renewal of our sovereignty in 1948 and 1967.

The modern Zionist movement, which officially began with Hovevei Tzion in 1882, came after the Jewish repopulation of Jerusalem. By 1850, Jews again comprised the majority of the city's population. And it was our strong presence here that emboldened the early Zionists to believe that a mass return to Zion was finally possible. It was because we had returned again to Jerusalem that our hope and so our strength were finally renewed after 2000 years of stateless wandering and persecution.

LET US RETURN for a moment to 1967. There were many glorious events that occurred during those six days in June. I said before that it was only in 1967 that we wrought the proper balance between physical and spiritual strength. I would like to consider that statement at somewhat greater length.

In June 1967, Israel was transformed from a threatened, vulnerable Jewish statelet into a mighty state to be reckoned with. But who celebrated -- then or since -- the conquest of Gaza and Kalkilyah? Who remembers the great battles in the Sinai or even the Golan Heights?

The images of that war that have entered our collective consciousness - never to leave - are the images of our paratroopers on the Temple Mount, of Mota Gur crying "Har Habayit b'Yadeinu!" "the Temple Mount is in our hands!," of our young soldiers praying at the Western Wall.

The convergence of Jerusalem as our frontline of physical security and spiritual security was palpable in those days.

IN HONOR of Yom Yerushalayim this month, a documentary was aired on Israel Television about the signals battalion in the Paratroopers Brigade. The battalion played a major role in the fighting - first taking over the Rockefeller Museum, then the Temple Mount, then the Kotel, then the walls of the city.

In the documentary, the heroes who liberated Jerusalem were brought together forty years later to celebrate its renewal and to recall their fight. They told a stunning story.

After the city was liberated, they situated themselves in the abandoned Jordanian police station just inside the Jaffa Gate. The same station now houses the Israel police. In one of the rooms, they found a large quantity of musical instruments. Apparently, the Jordanian police band was stationed at the site and stored its instruments there.

The men took one of the drums and climbed up the walls of the Old City overlooking Mamila. There the Jews had been huddled beneath the streets in their bomb shelters for several weeks.

As they ascended the walls, the paratroopers began pounding the drum. It must have been a terrifically strange noise since they all claimed to have had no idea how to play the drums.

As the men told it, and as a woman who had been hiding in the shelters with her family recalled, the civilians became perplexed at the new sound that replaced the familiar staccato pop of gun bursts and cannon fire. Slowly, they began emerging from the shelters to find out what was happening.

There above them, they saw the flag of Israel flying. They saw Jewish watchmen on the walls, beating the drums of victory in a half-mad boom, boom, boom.

And at the site of the Guardians of Jerusalem above them, the Jews of Mamila began to dance as in times of old. They danced and danced, and walked to the walls, first tentatively, and then with a massive convulsion of joy and relief, of hope and ecstasy as for the first time in 2000 years the city was secured. The Jews were free of fear as we returned to the Temple Mount, to Mt. Zion, to Jerusalem from whence our strength was renewed.

Our enemies are right in choosing their targets. They are right because they know who we are. We are the children of Jerusalem, of Zion. Our physical and spiritual survival is dependent on our willingness to dedicate our lives in every generation to guarding both the physical and spiritual walls of this city. It is only by guarding Zion, that we guard its people.

I am humbled and honored beyond words to have been chosen from among so many of my fellow Jews for this singular honor of being named a Guardian of Zion. For me, more than anything, what this means, is that people I respect for their defense of our people accept me as a loyal daughter of this eternal city.

It is all I have ever wished to be.

It is all I wish for my children to become.

And with God's help, it is something I will be blessed to remain all the days of my life.

Thank you. God bless the people of Israel and our eternal capital city.

Caroline Glick, Jerusalem, The Eternal Front Line


Professor Thomas Sowell has an astonishing ability to put the most profound truths into words that everyone can understand. In this two-part essay, he explains why Judge Sotomayor is such a danger to America and should not be confirmed as a justice on the Supreme Court.

'Out of Context'
By Thomas Sowell
Syndicated columnist
Tuesday, June 2, 2009

In Washington, the clearer a statement is, the more certain it is to be followed by a "clarification" when people realize what was said. The clearly racist comments made by Judge Sonia Sotomayor on the Berkeley campus in 2001 have forced the spinmasters to resort to their last-ditch excuse, that it was "taken out of context."

If that line is used during Judge Sotomayor's Senate confirmation hearings, someone should ask her to explain just what those words mean when taken in context.

What could such statements possibly mean -- in any context -- other than the new and fashionable racism of our time, rather than the old-fashioned racism of earlier times? Racism has never done this country any good, and it needs to be fought against, not put under new management for different groups.

Looked at in the context of Judge Sotomayor's voting to dismiss the appeal of white firefighters who were denied the promotions they had earned by passing an exam, because not enough minorities passed that exam to create "diversity," her words in Berkeley seem to match her actions on the judicial bench in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals all too well.

The Supreme Court of the United States thought that case was important enough to hear it, even though the three-judge panel on which Judge Sotomayor served gave it short shrift in less than a page. Apparently the famous "empathy" that President Obama says a judge should have does not apply to white males in Judge Sotomayor's court.

The very idea that a judge's "life experiences" should influence judicial decisions is as absurd as it is dangerous.

It is dangerous because citizens are supposed to obey the law, which means they must know what the law is in advance -- and nobody can know in advance what the "life experiences" of whatever judge they might appear before will happen to be.

It is absurd because it flies in the face of the facts. It was a fellow Puerto Rican judge on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals -- Jose Cabranes -- who rebuked his judicial colleagues for the cavalier way they dismissed the white firefighters' case.

On the Supreme Court, the justice whose life story is most like that of Sonia Sotomayor -- Clarence Thomas -- has a very different judicial philosophy from hers.

The clever people in the media and elsewhere are saying that "inevitably" one's background influences how one feels about issues. Even if that were true, judges are not supposed to decide cases based on their personal feelings.

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said that he "loathed" many of the people in whose favor he voted on the Supreme Court. Obviously, he had feelings. But he also had the good sense and integrity to rule on the basis of the law, not his feelings.

Laws are made for the benefit of the citizens, not for the self-indulgences of judges. Making excuses for such self-indulgences and calling them "inevitable" is part of the cleverness that has eroded the rule of law and undermined respect for the law.

Something else is said to be "inevitable" by the clever people. That is the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. But it was only a year and a half ago that Hillary Clinton's winning the Democratic Party's nomination for president was considered "inevitable."

The Republicans certainly do not have the votes to stop Judge Sotomayor from being confirmed -- if all the Democrats vote for her. But that depends on what the people say. It looked like a done deal a couple of years ago when an amnesty bill for illegal aliens was sailing through the Senate with bipartisan support. But public outrage brought that political steamroller to a screeching halt.

Nothing is inevitable in a democracy unless the public lets the political spinmasters and media talking heads lead them around by the nose.

The real question is whether the Republican Senators have the guts to alert the public to the dangers of putting this kind of judge on the highest court in the land, so that they will at least have some chance of stopping the next one that comes along.

It would be considered a disgrace if an umpire in a baseball game let his "empathy" determine whether a pitch was called a ball or strike. Surely we should accept nothing less from a judge.


================================================================

'Out of Context,' II

Thomas Sowell
Syndicated columnist
Wednesday, June 03, 2009

As the mainstream media circles the wagons around Judge Sonia Sotomayor, to protect her from the consequences of her own words and deeds, its main arguments are distractions from the issue at hand. A CNN reporter, for example, got all worked up because Rush Limbaugh had used the word "racist" to describe the judge's words.

Since it has been repeated like a mantra that Judge Sotomayor's words have been "taken out of context," let us look at Rush Limbaugh in context. The cold fact is that Rush Limbaugh has not been nominated to sit on the highest court in the land, with a lifetime appointment, to have the lives and liberties of 300 million Americans in his hands.

Whatever you may think about his choice of words, those words and the ideas behind them do not change the law of the land. The words and actions of Supreme Court justices do. Anyone who doesn't like what Rush Limbaugh says can simply turn off the radio or change the station. But you cannot escape the consequences of Supreme Court decisions. Nor will your children or grandchildren.

What does it say about a nominee to the Supreme Court that the most that her defenders can say in her defense is that her critics used words that her defenders don't like?

What does it say about her qualifications to be on the Supreme Court when her supporters' biggest talking points are that she had to struggle to rise in the world?

Bonnie and Clyde had to struggle. Al Capone had to struggle. The only President of the United States who was forced to resign for his misdeeds-- Richard Nixon-- had to struggle. For that matter, Adolf Hitler had to struggle! There is no evidence that struggle automatically makes you a better person.

Sometimes, instead of making you appreciative of a society in which someone born at the bottom can rise to the top, it leaves you embittered that you had to spend years struggling, and resentful of those who were born into circumstances where the easy way to the top was open to them.

Much in the past of Sonia Sotomayor, and of the president who nominated her, suggests such resentments. Both have a history of connections with people who promoted resentments against American society. La Raza ("the race") was Judge Sotomayor's Jeremiah Wright. If context is important, then look at that context.

Sonia Sotomayor has, in both her words and in her decision as a judge to dismiss out of hand the appeal of white firefighters who had been discriminated against, betrayed a racism that is no less racism because it is directed against different people than the old racism of the past.

The code word for the new racism is "diversity." The Constitution of the United States says nothing about diversity and the Constitution is what a judge is supposed to pay attention to, not the prevailing buzzwords of the times.

What the Constitution says is "equal protection of the laws" for all Americans-- and that is not taken out of context. People have put their lives on the line to make those words a reality. Now all of that is to be made to vanish into thin air by saying the magic word "diversity."

The landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, like the Constitution, proclaimed equal rights for all, not special rights for those for whom judges have "empathy."

When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was being debated in Congress, its opponents claimed that it would lead to discrimination against white people. Its supporters declared that it meant no such thing and added new provisions to make sure that it meant no such thing. That was the law that was passed.

It was not the law, but the judges, who changed equal rights into special rights and thereby set the stage for the new mantra of "diversity" that trumps equal rights. Diversity was Judge Sotomayor's rationale for going along with the denial of equal rights for white firefighters in Connecticut.

When all else fails, supporters of Judge Sotomayor say that she is Hispanic and a woman, and that it would be politically dangerous to deny her a place on the Supreme Court. This is as much an insult to the intelligence of Hispanic and female voters as it is to the Constitution of the United States and to those who put their lives on the line for equal rights.

For Professor Sowell's wisdom, click here.

Who better to recognize Obama's stampeding of America into Marxist socialism than Russia's Pravda?


American capitalism gone with a whimper

27.04.2009 Pravda

It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American decent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people.

True, the situation has been well prepared on and off for the past century, especially the past twenty years. The initial testing grounds was conducted upon our Holy Russia and a bloody test it was. But we Russians would not just roll over and give up our freedoms and our souls, no matter how much money Wall Street poured into the fists of the Marxists.

Those lessons were taken and used to properly prepare the American populace for the surrender of their freedoms and souls, to the whims of their elites and betters.

First, the population was dumbed down through a politicized and substandard education system based on pop culture, rather then the classics. Americans know more about their favorite TV dramas then the drama in DC that directly affects their lives. They care more for their "right" to choke down a McDonalds burger or a BurgerKing burger than for their constitutional rights. Then they turn around and lecture us about our rights and about our "democracy". Pride blind the foolish.

Then their faith in God was destroyed, until their churches, all tens of thousands of different "branches and denominations" were for the most part little more then Sunday circuses and their televangelists and top protestant mega preachers were more then happy to sell out their souls and flocks to be on the "winning" side of one pseudo Marxist politician or another. Their flocks may complain, but when explained that they would be on the "winning" side, their flocks were ever so quick to reject Christ in hopes for earthly power. Even our Holy Orthodox churches are scandalously liberalized in America.

The final collapse has come with the election of Barack Obama. His speed in the past three months has been truly impressive. His spending and money printing has been a record setting, not just in America's short history but in the world. If this keeps up for more then another year, and there is no sign that it will not, America at best will resemble the Wiemar Republic and at worst Zimbabwe.

These past two weeks have been the most breath taking of all. First came the announcement of a planned redesign of the American Byzantine tax system, by the very thieves who used it to bankroll their thefts, loses and swindles of hundreds of billions of dollars. These make our Russian oligarchs look little more then ordinary street thugs, in comparison. Yes, the Americans have beat our own thieves in the shear volumes. Should we congratulate them?

These men, of course, are not an elected panel but made up of appointees picked from the very financial oligarchs and their henchmen who are now gorging themselves on trillions of American dollars, in one bailout after another. They are also usurping the rights, duties and powers of the American congress (parliament). Again, congress has put up little more then a whimper to their masters.

Then came Barack Obama's command that GM's (General Motor) president step down from leadership of his company. That is correct, dear reader, in the land of "pure" free markets, the American president now has the power, the self given power, to fire CEOs and we can assume other employees of private companies, at will. Come hither, go dither, the centurion commands his minions.

So it should be no surprise, that the American president has followed this up with a "bold" move of declaring that he and another group of unelected, chosen stooges will now redesign the entire automotive industry and will even be the guarantee of automobile policies. I am sure that if given the chance, they would happily try and redesign it for the whole of the world, too. Prime Minister Putin, less then two months ago, warned Obama and UK's Blair, not to follow the path to Marxism, it only leads to disaster. Apparently, even though we suffered 70 years of this Western sponsored horror show, we know nothing, as foolish, drunken Russians, so let our "wise" Anglo-Saxon fools find out the folly of their own pride.

Again, the American public has taken this with barely a whimper...but a "freeman" whimper.

So, should it be any surprise to discover that the Democratically controlled Congress of America is working on passing a new regulation that would give the American Treasury department the power to set "fair" maximum salaries, evaluate performance and control how private companies give out pay raises and bonuses? Senator Barney Franks, a social pervert basking in his homosexuality (of course, amongst the modern, enlightened American societal norm, as well as that of the general West, homosexuality is not only not a looked down upon life choice, but is often praised as a virtue) and his Marxist enlightenment, has led this effort. He stresses that this only affects companies that receive government monies, but it is retroactive and taken to a logical extreme, this would include any company or industry that has ever received a tax break or incentive.

The Russian owners of American companies and industries should look thoughtfully at this and the option of closing their facilities down and fleeing the land of the Red as fast as possible. In other words, divest while there is still value left.

The proud American will go down into his slavery with out a fight, beating his chest and proclaiming to the world, how free he really is. The world will only snicker.

Stanislav Mishin

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