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ISRAEL, AMERICA'S "EXCEPTIONAL ALLY"

Caroline Glick is brilliant again, as always.

America's exceptional ally

Sep. 11, 2009
Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST

There has been much talk in recent months about the prospect of Syria bolting the Iranian axis and becoming magically transformed into an ally of the West. Although Syria's President-for-life Bashar Assad's daily demonstrations of fealty to his murderous friends has exposed this talk as nothing more than fantasy, it continues to dominate the international discourse on Syria.

In the meantime, Syria's ongoing real transformation, from a more or less functioning state into an impoverished wasteland, has been ignored.

Today, the country faces the greatest economic catastrophe in its history. The crisis is causing massive malnutrition and displacement for hundreds of thousands of Syrians. These Syrians - some 250,000 mainly Kurdish farmers - have been forced off their farms over the past two years because their lands were reclaimed by the desert.

Today shantytowns have sprung up around major cities such as Damascus. They are filled with internally displaced refugees. Through a cataclysmic combination of irrational agricultural policies embraced by the Ba'athist Assad dynasty for the past 45 years that have eroded the soil, and massive digging of some 420,000 unauthorized wells that have dried out the groundwater aquifiers, Syria's regime has done everything in its power to dry up the country. The effects of these demented policies have been exacerbated in recent years by Turkey's diversion of Syria's main water source, the Euphrates River, through the construction of dams upstream, and by two years of unrelenting drought. Today, much of Syria's previously fertile farmland has become wasteland. Former farmers are now destitute day laborers with few prospects for economic recovery.

Imagine if in his country's moment of peril, instead of clinging to his alliance with Iran, Hizbullah, al-Qaida, and Hamas, Assad were to turn to Israel to help him out of this crisis?

Israel is a world leader in water desalination and recycling. The largest desalination plant in the world is located in Ashkelon. Israeli technology and engineers could help Syria rebuild its water supply.

Israel could also help Syria use whatever water it still has, or is able to produce through desalination and recycling more wisely through drip irrigation - which was invented in Israel. Israel today supplies 50 percent of the international market for drip irrigation. In places like Syria and southern Iraq that are now being dried out by the Turkish dams, irrigation is primitive - often involving nothing more than water trucks pumping water out of the Euphrates and driving it over to fields that are often less than a kilometer away.

Then there are Syria's dwindling oil reserves. No doubt, Israeli engineers and seismologists would be able to increase the efficiency and productivity of existing wells and so increase their output. It is certainly not beyond the realm of possibility that Israeli scientists and engineers could even discover new, untapped oil reserves.

BUT, OF COURSE, Syria isn't interested in Israel's help. Syria wants to have its enemy and eat it too. As Assad has made clear repeatedly, what he wants is to receive the Golan Heights - and through it Israel's fresh water supply - for nothing. He wants Israel to surrender the Golan Heights, plus some Israeli land Syria illegally occupied from 1948 until1967, in exchange for a meaningless piece of paper.

In this demand, Assad is supported by none other than Turkish Prime Minister Recip Erdogan, whose country is drying Syria out. It is Erdogan after all, who mediated talks aimed at convincing then-prime minister Ehud Olmert to give up the Golan Heights and it is Erdogan today who is encouraging the Obama administration to pressure Israel to surrender its water to Syria.

Beyond demanding that Israel give him the Golan Heights, Assad is happy associating with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hassan Nasrallah, Khaled Mashaal and various and sundry al-Qaida leaders who move freely through his territory. Hanging out with these murderers affords him the opportunity to feel like a real man - a master of the universe who can kill Israelis, Iraqis and Americans and terrorize the Lebanese into submission.

As for his problems at home, Assad imprisons any Syrian engineer with the temerity to point out that by exporting cotton Syria is effectively exporting water. Assad doesn't fear that his regime will collapse under the weight of five decades of Ba'athist economic imbecility. He is banking on the US and Europe saving him from the consequences of his own incompetence through economic handouts; by turning a blind eye to his continued economic exploitation of Lebanon; and perhaps by coercing Israel into surrendering the Golan Heights.

THE SAME, of course, can be said of the Palestinians. Actually, the case of the Palestinians is even more extraordinary. From 1967 through 1987 - when through their violent uprising they decided to cut their economy off from Israel's - Palestinian economic growth in Gaza, Judea and Samaria rose by double digits every year. Indeed, while linked to Israel's, the Palestinian economy was the fourth fastest growing economy in the world. But since 1994, when the PLO took over, although the Palestinians have become the largest per capita foreign aid recipients in recorded history, the Palestinian economy has contracted on a per capita basis.

The one sure-fire path to economic growth and prosperity is for the Palestinians to reintegrate their economy with Israel's. But to do this, they must first end their involvement in terrorism and open their economy to free market forces and the transparency and rule of law and protection for property rights that form the foundations of those forces. The very notion of doing so, however, is considered so radical that supposedly moderate, pro-peace and free market friendly Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayad rejected the economic peace plan put forward by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu out of hand. After all, how can the Palestinians accept free market forces when it means that - horror of horrors - Jews might buy and sell land and other resources?

The Palestinians and the Syrians are not alone. From Egypt to Saudi Arabia to Pakistan and Indonesia, the Arab and Muslim world has preferred poverty and economic backwardness to the prosperity that would come from engaging Israel. They prefer their staunch rejection of Israel and hatred of Jews and the economic stagnation this involves to the prosperity and political freedom and stability that would come from an acceptance of Israel.

AS AMERICAN economic and technology guru George Gilder puts it in his new book The Israel Test, "The test of a culture is what it accomplishes in advancing the human cause - what it creates rather than what it claims."

Gilder's book is a unique and necessary contribution to the current international debate about the Middle East. Rather than concentrate solely on Arab claims from Israel as most writers do, Gilder turns his attention to what the nations of the region create. Specifically, he shows that only Israel creates wealth through creativity and innovation and that today Israel is contributing more to the human cause through its scientific, technological and financial advances than any other country in the world except the US.

The Israel Test describes in riveting detail both the massive contributions of mainly Diaspora Jews to the US victories in World War II and the Cold War and to the scientific revolutions of the 20th century that set the foundations for the computer age, and the massive contributions of Israeli Jews to the digital revolution that defines and shapes our economic realities today.

But before Gilder begins to describe these great Jewish contributions to the global economy and the general well-being of people around the world, he asserts that the future of the world will be determined by its treatment of Israel. As he puts it, "The central issue in international politics, dividing the world into two fractious armies, is the tiny state of Israel."

In his view, "Israel defines a line of demarcation," between those who pass and those who fail what he refers to as "the Israel test."

Gilder poses the test to his readers by asking them a few questions: "What is your attitude toward people who excel you in the creation of wealth or in other accomplishment? Do you aspire to their excellence, or do you seethe at it? Do you admire and celebrate exceptional achievement or do you impugn it and seek to tear it down?"

By his telling, the future of civilization will be determined by how the nations of the world - and particularly, how the American people - answer these questions.

Gilder's book is valuable on its own accord. I personally learned an enormous amount about Israel's pioneering role in the information economy. Beyond that, it provides a stunning rebuttal to the central arguments of the other major book that has been written about Israel and the Arabs in the US in recent years.

Steve Walt and John Mearshimer's The Israel Lobby has two central arguments. First, they argue that Israel has little value as an ally to the US. Second, they assert that given Israel's worthlessness to the US, the only reasonable explanation of why Americans overwhelmingly support Israel is that they have been manipulated by a conspiracy of Jewish organizations and Jewish-owned and controlled media and financial outlets. In their view, the nefarious Jewish-controlled forces have bamboozled the American people into believing that Israel is important to them and even a kindred nation to the US.

Gilder blows both arguments out of the water without even directly engaging them or noting Israel's singular contributions to US intelligence and military prowess. Instead, he demonstrates that Israel is an indispensable motor for the US economy, which in turn is the principal driver of US power globally. Much of Silicon Valley's economic prowess is founded on technologies made in Israel. Everything from the microchip to the cellphone has either been made in Israel or by Israelis in Silicon Valley.

It is Gilder's own admiration for Israel's exceptional achievements that puts paid Walt and Mearshimer's second argument. There is something distinctively American in his enthusiasm for Israel's innovative genius. From America's earliest beginnings, the American character has been imbued with an admiration for achievement. As a nation, Americans have always passed Gilder's Israel test.

Taken together with the other reasons for American support for Israel - particularly religious affinity for the people of the Bible - Gilder's book shows that the American and Israeli people are indeed natural friends and allies bound together by their exceptionalism that motivates them to strive for excellence and progress to the benefit of all mankind.

Today Americans commemorate the eighth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Those attacks were the greatest confrontation to date between American exceptionalism and Islamist nihilism. On this day, Gilder's book serves as a reminder of what makes the US and its exceptional ally Israel worth defending at all costs. The Israel Test also teaches us that so long as we keep faith with ourselves, we will not be alone in our fight against barbarism and hatred, and inevitably, we will emerge the victors in this bitter fight.


There are one or two commentators in Boston who never viewed Ted Kennedy as a lion of anything. Howie Carr watched Senator Kennedy throughout his public career and did not like what he saw.

Kennedy's abandonment of his pro-life stance stands in stark contrast to the efforts of his recently deceased sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver on behalf of the unborn, though she is better known for founding the Special Olympics to benefit those with intellectual disabilities.

While he bears responsibility for the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, consider also the millions of deaths to which he has contributed by switching to support of abortion for political expediency in his failed run for the presidency in 1980. Until then, his postion in the Senate since 1962 had been that abortion "was not in accordance with the value which our civilization places on human life."

The Vatican newspaper's front page rightly criticized Kennedy's anti-life stance while noting his passing. That he will have a Catholic burial hopefully signfies a death bed confession of that grave sin against humanity and Christian morality.

Is it too much to hope he has left a statement to be made public expressing sorrow and repentance for his betrayal of the unborn? What a profound effect such a message might have on mealy-mouthed Catholic hypocrites like Senator John Kerry, who have adopted the formula first enunciated by Mario Cuomo, at Notre Dame, no less: "While I'm personally opposed to abortion, I won't impose my religious beliefs on others."

What Catholic priest would have the backbone to demand or even suggest it? Certainly not one the Kennedys would call in for last rites.

We won't hold our breath waiting.

Ted Kennedy's legacy not as heroic as some might think

By Howie Carr New York Post
August 27, 2009

I never voted for Ted Kennedy, not once, and neither did maybe a quarter to one-third of the Massachusetts electorate, although you'd never know that from the echo chamber of the mainstream media since his death in Hyannisport late Tuesday night.

While offering condolences to the Kennedy family at this sad moment, it is important to note that his life was not as simple, nor heroic, as is now being portrayed. On the cable channels yesterday, his fellow Senate graybeards, of both parties, were lamenting the passing of what was invariably described as Ted Kennedy's "collegial" Senate - where voices were seldom raised, and partisan bickering ended when the gavel came down to end the session.

All of which would have come as a surprise to Robert Bork, the Supreme Court nominee of whom the collegial Ted said in 1986:

"Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters . . ."

So much for collegiality. Of course, Kennedy is now endlessly lauded for his support of "women's rights," i.e. abortion. But into the 1970s, before the Roman Catholic Church's influence began to wane, Kennedy was a traditional pro-life New England Democrat.

Here was his take on abortion in 1971:

"Wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized - the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grow old."

There's a story, perhaps apocryphal, that in his first Senate campaign in 1962, Kennedy was shaking hands at a factory-gate during a shift change. A haggard worker began berating him about how he'd never worked a day in his life. According to the legend, at that point another salt-of-the-earth blue-collar type leaned in and told Kennedy, "Never worked a day in your life, kid? You ain't missed a thing."

But in fact he had. Yesterday the tributes kept mentioning his commitment to the "working class." He fought for, as President Obama said on Martha's Vineyard of all places, "an America that is more equal and more just."

But more equal and more just for some people than for others. When it came to the white ethnic working class from which his father came, Kennedy just plain didn't get it. Whether it was court-ordered busing in Boston in the 1970s, or the affirmative action policies that stymied the careers of so many of his family's traditional voters, Kennedy never grasped the depth of the blue-collar frustration as he veered left. And what infuriated them even more was that so many of them had grown up in homes where on one side of the mantel was a faded photo of the martyred JFK, and on the other the pope, with a dried-up palm frond given out at Mass on Palm Sunday between them.

Chappaquiddick, of course, never went away. But sometimes Kennedy could seem oblivious even to that ultimate blemish on his career. In 1974, when President Ford pardoned Richard Nixon for his Watergate crimes, Kennedy issued this thundering statement:

"Do we operate under a system of equal justice under law? Or is there one system for the average citizen and another for the high and mighty?"

On issue after issue he was wrong - the nuclear freeze, the Reagan tax cuts, the Immigration Reform Act of 1965, which he assured his Senate colleagues would not lead to a "flood" of immigrants into America's cities. With a Tele-Promp-Ter, he could be articulate, but when he wasn't using his glasses to read a prepared statement, he was often an oratorical mess. In 2005, at the National Press Club, he referred to the current president as "Osama bin La-uh, Osama Obama, uh Obama."

And yet he was always protected by most of the media, who shared his views on just about everything. In 1962, at the behest of President Kennedy, the Boston Globe played the story of his expulsion from Harvard below the fold on the front page. To the very end the Globe did its best to shield him - last week the struggling Times-owned broadsheet broke the story of his deathbed attempt to change the Massachusetts law on Senate succession, without mentioning that he himself had lobbied in 2004 to enact the law he was now denouncing as undemocratic. Only then, he was for stripping the governor of his right to fill a Senate vacancy, because, you see, that governor was a Republican.

The Globe reported that Kennedy was extremely concerned that the people of Massachusetts would have no representation in the Senate for five months until the special election. The fact that he had already missed 97 percent of the Senate roll-call votes in 2009 was not noted until the next day - in a different newspaper.

The hagiography will continue throughout the weekend. We all agree that Ted Kennedy should rest in peace. But let's not forget that there was more, much more, to his "legacy" than is being reported on MSNBC.

Though not mentioned by Carr, Kennedy's vicious mendacity in attacking Judge Bork during his confirmation hearing to be a Supreme Court Justice should not be forgotten. It has poisoned the judicial confirmation process ever since.

Without question, Texas governor Rick Perry is the most successful governor in the United States. While most other states such as Illinois and California are swimming in red ink, Texas is running a surplus. People and businesses may be abandoning high tax states like California, but they're moving into Texas. Unemployment is 2% lower than the national average. Local taxes are among the lowest in the country, no income tax, no capital gains tax. In 2008 Texas created more new jobs than all of the other 49 states combined.

Perry is a conservative with a heart. When Katrina struck New Orleans, it was Perry who offered Texas as a place for the suddenly homeless. Texas took in more hurricane refugees than any other state, fed them, clothed them, educated the children and wound up giving many of them incentives to go out and find jobs.

He's running for an unprecedented (for Texas) third term in 2010. He isn't interested in going to Washington, but he keeps his eyes on what's happening there.

And when it comes to the Obama administration, Mr. Perry doesn't mince words: "To me, this is one of the great Frankenstein experimentations in American history. We've seen that movie before. It was from 1932 to 1940."

As for the health care bill, he calls it "scary"and notes that it was the seniors who figured it out first.

[T]he aspect of this [bill] that has to do with end-of-life decisions . . . are pretty cold-hearted in my opinion. You're a little too old to be spending money on, so we're just going to put you over here in the 'gonna die' category. 'Bye.' That's pretty gruesome and scary to people that are my mom and dad's age."

Another important reason Mr. Perry believes the bill is flawed is because it ignores tort reform. "To talk about health-care reform and not talk about tort reform is like whistling past the cemetery. . . . In this administration's case, it's because they're bought and sold by the trial lawyers." The governor puts his cap back on, adding, "I'll be the pope before we get tort reform with this administration."

By contrast, Perry credits a tort reform measure which he engineered for bringing a lot of new business into Texas -- and doctors.

Perry believes the Republican Party, which lost its way spending like Democrats in Washington, can find its way back with its conservative principles. And he knows a leader he likes:

The political divide, the governor insists, is between "mushy, middle of the road" Republicans and clear, devoted fiscal and social conservatives, like himself and Sarah Palin.


On that last point, he states emphatically, "I love Sarah Palin, I love her positions, I think she was a good governor. . . . I want her to be engaged in this rebuilding of the Republican Party. . . . She is substantially more the face of this country than some other people who might want to be the face of the Republican Party. To me she's the face of America. I mean she's a hard worker, she didn't come from money, she didn't come from privilege, she just worked hard. . . . I have not seen another person who invigorated the Republican base [like she did] with the possible exception of Ronald Reagan in 1976--the speech he made at the Republican Convention. People were looking around and saying, 'we nominated the wrong dude.'"

He intends to stay in Texas. He believes states are the place for innovation and experimentation, not Washington, and he wants to contInue to be part of that.

Read Fiscal Conservatism and the Soul of the GOP, this weekend's Wall Street Journal featured interview.

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OBAMA'S DEATH SQUAD

It is astonishing how far out of the mainstream of America President Obama has been and is. Throughout his life (that is, as much as he has allowed us to know about) he has sought out as associates, colleagues and mentors people who hate America, its free markets and its dedication to individual freedom. Frank Marshall Davis, member of the American Communist Party, black power activists and Marxists during college years, followers of Marxist Saul Alinksky during his community organizer days, ACORN, Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, Rashid Khalidi,Louis Farrakhan, Jeremiah Wright, Edward Said, Michael Pflegher,

Along the way he developed a desire for control of other peoples' lives, the kind that a totalitarian collectivist government exercises, because he believes he knows how to run peoples' lives better than they do for the good of society. This desire for power to control life has evidenced itself most strikingly in the extreme positions he advocates on killing babies, including forcing U.S. taxpayer funding of abortions worldwide. It is notable that every high-level Catholic he has appointed is a supporter of abortion. He has pledged to Planned Parenthood he will wipe out every restriction on abortion. Even his desired health care bill has the government getting involved in facilitating end-of-life decisons. And two of his top "science" advisors have written extensively about the practicality of government choosing who will live and who will die, as this editorial describes. One of them has even opined that a child really doesn't become entitled to be considered a person until several years after birth.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

EDITORIAL: Obama's mad science adviser
THE WASHINGTON TIMES


When it comes to having past views that should frighten every American citizen, Ezekiel Emanuel (see above editorial) has nothing on the president's "chief science adviser," John P. Holdren. The combination of Mr. Holdren with Dr. Emanuel should make the public seriously concerned with this administration's moral compass concerning care for the old and weak.

Earlier this month, Mr. Holdren served as co-chairman when the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology met for the first time. It's a disgrace that Mr. Holdren is even on the council. In "Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment," a book he co-authored in 1977 with noted doomsayers Paul R. and Anne H. Erlich, Mr. Holdren wrote: "Indeed, it has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society."

In case compulsory abortion wasn't enough to diffuse his imaginary population bomb, Mr. Holdren and the Erlichs considered other extremist measures. "A program of sterilizing women after their second or third child, despite the relatively greater difficulty of the operation than vasectomy, might be easier to implement than trying to sterilize men," they wrote. "The development of a long-term sterilizing capsule that could be implanted under the skin and removed when pregnancy is desired opens additional possibilities for coercive fertility control."

It gets worse. The Holdren-Erlich book also promotes "Adding a sterilant to drinking water or staple foods." After noting that, well, yes, there were "very difficult political, legal and social questions, to say nothing of the technical problems," Mr. Holdren and his co-authors express hope that their idea may still be viable. "To be acceptable, such a substance would have to meet some rather stiff requirements," they wrote. "It must be uniformly effective, despite widely varying doses received by individuals, and despite varying degrees of fertility and sensitivity among individuals; it must be free of dangerous or unpleasant side effects; and it must have no effect on members of the opposite sex, children, old people, pets or livestock."

Most Americans can be forgiven for thinking that mass sterilization through drinking water is never acceptable and that someone who supported such horrors should have no place on a prestigious White House council. The question naturally arises why President Obama chooses to surround himself with extremists like Mr. Holdren or Dr. Emanuel. No matter how much they claim their views have "evolved," health and science under Obamacare would be a frightening prospect with people like this advising the president.

Professor Thomas Sowell captures well the President's desire to control life and death and the role of these advisers in his plans:

[President Obama] said, "the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out there." He added: "It is very difficult to imagine the country making those decisions just through the normal political channels. That is why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance."

But when you select people like Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel to give "independent" guidance, you have already chosen a policy through your choice of advisors, who simply provide political cover. The net result can be exactly the same as if those providing that guidance were openly called "death panels."


ABC's Jake Tapper excoriates Sarah Palin for calling the Obama health plan "evil" because of its bias towards shuffling the old -- and the infirm -- off the mortal coil as soon as they or their parents or guardians can be persuaded to give it up. Tapper says he read the bill (he's an exception) and says the language that concerns her doesn't lead to her "evil" conclusion about "death panels."

Well, Charles Lane writing for the Washington Post (not exactly a right-wing newspaper) agrees with Palin without saying so.

Ideally, the delicate decisions about how to manage life's end would be made in a setting that is neutral in both appearance and fact. Yes, it's good to have a doctor's perspective. But Section 1233 goes beyond facilitating doctor input to preferring it. Indeed, the measure would have an interested party -- the government -- recruit doctors to sell the elderly on living wills, hospice care and their associated providers, professions and organizations. You don't have to be a right-wing wacko to question that approach.


As it happens, I have a living will and a durable power of attorney for health care. I'm glad I do. I drew them up based on publicly available medical information, in consultation with my family and a lawyer. No authority figure got paid by federal bean-counters to influence me. I have a hunch I'm not the only one who would rather do it that way.

For Obama, cutting health care costs requires "you" -- or your loved ones -- packing it in.

The Obama death cult doesn't stop with millions of abortions around the world, including late term abortions and born-alive infanticide. Even for those born alive, he wants to decide who lives and dies, even in America, Section 1233 power. Dominion over life and death is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

Canadian David Warren philosophizes in the Ottawa Sun and often sees the United States America more clearly than many who live and write within our borders.

He is pessimistic about the revolution that is unfolding under Obama's direction and foresees the emerging of a new America that can't be stopped with full Democratic control of Congress and the White House.

In the middle of this economic mess, the U.S. politicians are debating not one, but two new programs of unprecedented size, without the slightest understanding of the economic consequences. One is a vast new "health care" plan, to be sold almost entirely on emotion, with President Obama's snake-oil skills. The only thing clear about it, is the intention of the people behind it: to effectively nationalize the U.S. medical system, by making every part of it report to government bureaucracies. This is what we did in Canada in the 1960s, and we've spent the decades since trying to persuade ourselves that waiting rooms are natural.

The other is the "cap and trade" legislation. At a time when it has become all but obvious that the "global warming" scare was an imposture, the U.S. government is going to war against carbon fuels, through a program that can only kill jobs, both directly and through outsourcing of American economic activity to places with lower environmental standards; while igniting protectionist trade wars over the latter.

Can it be stopped?

I don't think they can. For not only has the Democrat party - committed in the main to the "second American revolution" I began to sketch above - control of the White House and both Houses. The Republican party is pulling itself apart. Only half of it is willing to fight: the other half thinks the only way back to power is to accommodate this revolution.

He sees no solution, only disaster ahead.

July 5, 2009

The New America

By David Warren

The Dow has been tanking again, and new figures show the U.S. economy shedding jobs at an accelerating rate. One might criticize the U.S. government for the first trillion or two of "stimulus" spending, by observing that it hasn't worked. But that would be too easy.

Yes, it was crazy, in the middle of a crisis created by debt, to see how far they could run up debt. It was crazy to shore up nearly worthless assets, in the face of irresistible market forces. At a time when the entire investment system desperately needs to be de-leveraged, it was crazy to oil the gears.

Continue reading...

SARAH PALIN PUTS FAMILY FIRST

Kingmaker Palin
Posted by: Jonathan Garthwaite at 5:15 PM July 3, 2009

Other than Rush Limbaugh, who doesn't fly from state to state doing campaign events, is there a more popular conservative Republican than Sarah Palin? Nobody draws bigger crowds, raises more money and energizes activist more than Palin.

If she's really done as a candidate, we may find out she ends up having a greater impact as an activist, prolific speaker and fundraiser for conservative causes than she would have had as a candidate.

She's stepped aside for now for the good of her family. Let the kids grow up in a hopefully normal world free of the vicious attacks from the likes of David Letterman and the crazed left wing nuts who will without hesitation destroy her family to destroy her.

One day the kids will be older and Sarah Palin will still be young and vigorous and perhaps ready to reenter the presidential sweepstakes.

Good mother. Right move.

UPDATE: Mark Steyn agrees, but makes a broader philosophical observation that may well be correct though depressing:

Cutting bait


With respect to many of the Palinologists below, I think they're getting way too hepatomantic over the entrails.

As a political move for anything other than the 2010 Senate race, today's announcement is a disaster. And I'm not sure it's a plus for the Senate - and, even if it were, the manner and timing suggest it was not a professionally planned event and therefore is unlikely to have any grand strategy behind it.

So Occam's Razor leaves us with: Who needs this?

In states far from the national spotlight, politics still attracts normal people. You're a mayor or a state senator or even the governor, but you lead a normal life. The local media are tough on you, but they know you, they live where you live, they're tough on the real you, not on some caricature cooked up by a malign alliance of late-night comics who'd never heard of you a week earlier and media grandees supposedly on your own side who pronounce you a "cancer".

Then suddenly you get the call from Washington. You know it'll mean Secret Service, and speechwriters, and minders vetting your wardrobe. But nobody said it would mean a mainstream network comedy host doing statutory rape gags about your 14-year old daughter. You've got a special-needs kid and a son in Iraq and a daughter who's given you your first grandchild in less than ideal circumstances. That would be enough for most of us. But the special-needs kid and the daughter and most everyone else you love are a national joke, and the PC enforcers are entirely cool with it.

Most of those who sneer at Sarah Palin have no desire to live her life. But why not try to - what's the word? - "empathize"? If you like Wasilla and hunting and snowmachining and moose stew and politics, is the last worth giving up everything else in the hopes that one day David Letterman and Maureen Dowd might decide Trig and Bristol and the rest are sufficiently non-risible to enable you to prosper in their world? And, putting aside the odds, would you really like to be the person you'd have to turn into under that scenario?

National office will dwindle down to the unhealthily singleminded (Clinton, Obama), the timeserving emirs of Incumbistan (Biden, McCain) and dynastic heirs (Bush). Our loss.


One of the winning plaintiffs in the Supreme Court decision in the Ricci case throwing out Judge Sonia Sotomayor's "whitey must lose" appeals court decision was a Hispanic Lt. Ben Vargas. At a press conference earlier today, he had this to say:

Gesturing toward his three young sons, Lieutenant Vargas explained why he had no regrets. "I want them to have a fair shake, to get a job on their merits and not because they're Hispanic or they fill a quota," he said. "What a lousy way to live."

Via Powerline

Here's a man who understandS what America means, the freedom to succeed on your merits.

Vargas recognized this: "I am so grateful for the opportunity only the United States can give."


"In Congress, July Fourth, one thousand seven hundred and seventy six. A declaration by the Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. When in the course of human events..."

Sound somewhat familiar? It's very close to the words Thomas Jefferson used to begin the Declaration of Independence.

After more than 200 years these words hidden among Jefferson's papers became known.

American ingenuity cracked open this two centuries-old secret.

To learn how, click here.

To be the land of the free, it must also be the home of the brave.

On this birthday of America, remember those who defend our country.

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.

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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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.

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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).

EDMUND BURKE KNOWS BARACK OBAMA

Human nature doesn't change and dangerous men spring up in all times.

Thomas Sowell found much in what Edmund Burke said and wrote two hundred years ago that highlights the dangers to America and the world of the Obama presidency.

Burke

"feared particularly the kind of man "whose whole importance has begun with his office, and is sure to end with it" -- the kind of man "who before he comes into power has no friends, or who coming into power is obliged to desert his friends." Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and others come to mind.

Burke and Obama

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) had a lot to say about the Obama administration.

By Thomas Sowell

The other day I sought a respite from current events by rereading some of the writings of the 18th-century British statesman Edmund Burke. But it was not nearly as big an escape as I had thought it would be.

When Burke wrote of his apprehension about "new power in new persons," I could not help thinking of the new powers that have been created by which a new president of the United States -- a man with zero experience in business -- can fire the head of General Motors and tell banks how to run their businesses.

Not only is Barack Obama new to the presidency, he is new to running any organization. One of Burke's fears was that "we may place our confidence in the virtue of those who have never been tried."

Neither eloquence nor zeal is a substitute for experience, according to Burke. He said, "eloquence may exist without a proportionate degree of wisdom." As for zeal, Burke said: "It is no excuse for presumptuous ignorance that it is directed by insolent passion."

The Obama administration's back-and-forth on the question whether American intelligence agents who forced information out of captured terrorist leaders will be subject to legal jeopardy -- even though they were told at the time that what they were doing was not only legal but a service to the nation -- came to mind when reading Burke's warning about the dangers of continuing to change the rules and values by which people lived. Burke asked how we could expect a sense of honor to exist when "no man could know what would be the test of honour in a nation, continually varying the standard of its coin"?

The current drive to take from "the rich" for the benefit of others came to mind when reading Burke's warning against creating a situation where "any one description of citizens should be brought to regard any of the others as their proper prey."

He also warned that "those who attempt to level, never equalise." What they end up doing is concentrating power in their own hands -- and Burke saw such new powers as dangerous, even if they were used only sparingly at first.

He said, "the true danger is, when liberty is nibbled away, for expedients and by parts." He also said: "It is by lying dormant a long time, or being at first very rarely exercised, that arbitrary power steals upon a people."

People who don't like "the rich" or "big business" or the banks may be happy that President Obama is sticking it to them. But such arbitrary powers can be turned on anybody. As John Donne said: "Send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee." There is a lot of wisdom in those words.

The Constitution of the United States set out to limit the powers of the federal government, but judges have greatly eroded those limitations over the years, and the dispensing of bailout money has allowed the Obama administration to exercise powers that the Constitution never bestowed.

Edmund Burke understood that, no matter what form of government you have, in the end the character of those who wield the powers of government is crucial. He said: "Constitute government how you please, infinitely the greater part of it must depend upon the exercise of the powers which are left at large to the prudence and uprightness of ministers of state."

He also said, "of all things, we ought to be the most concerned who and what sort of men they are that hold the trust of everything that is dear to us." He feared particularly the kind of man "whose whole importance has begun with his office, and is sure to end with it" -- the kind of man "who before he comes into power has no friends, or who coming into power is obliged to desert his friends." Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and others come to mind.

The biggest challenge to America -- and to the world -- today is the danger of Iran with nuclear weapons. President Obama is acting as if this is something he can finesse with talks or deals. Worse yet, he may think it is something we can live with.

Burke had something to say about things like that as well: "There is no safety for honest men, but by believing all possible evil of evil men, and by acting with promptitude, decision, and steadiness on that belief." Acting -- not talking.

-- Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

The extraordinary Spengler of the Asia Times reviews the post-humous book of Richard John Nuehaus who died earlier this year. Father Neuhaus, who converted from his vocation as a Lutheran minister to Roman Catholicism, was a giant among intellectuals who think and write about God and man. HIs final evocation concerned Christianity in America.

BOOK REVIEW This almost-chosen, almost-pregnant land

American Babylon by Richard John Neuhaus

Reviewed by Spengler

President Abraham Lincoln famously called Americans an "almost chosen people". That might qualify as America's national joke, for you can't be "almost chosen" any more than you can be almost pregnant.

Lincoln's oxymoron frames the tension between the religious impulses that made America and the reality that ultimately it is one imperfect polity among many others. America is "a country with the soul of a church", as G K Chesterton wrote, and by no accident, the only industrial nation (apart from Israel) in which religion plays a decisive role in public life. The central role of religion continues to polarize Americans and confuse foreign observers.

The working of faith in America's public square is more complex than Americans acknowledge, or foreigners understand, Richard John Neuhaus shows in this study of the heavenly city versus the earthly city of our exile.

Idolatry attracts both wings of American politics: the right tends to confound the United States of America with the City of God, while the left makes an object of worship out of its utopian imagination. Neuhaus was a pre-eminent social conservative and an advisor to former president George W Bush, but no less an even-handed critic for that. That quality that makes American Babylon: Notes of a Christian Exile one of the indispensable books of our time, of such importance that one wants to suspend debate of America's character until everyone has had time to read it.

Until his death on January 8, Father Neuhaus was America's pre-eminent Christian intellectual, and his posthumous book reminds us what a gap in public discourse is left by his absence. Starting in 1990, Neuhaus edited (and wrote a good deal of) the monthly journal First Things. It is hard for this writer to imagine intellectual life in America without First Things.

I have missed very few issues in the past 15 years, and could not have found my own journalistic vocation had Neuhaus not blazed such a broad trail. In 2007, I had the honor to contribute an essay on Franz Rosenzweig to his journal. Neuhaus was the rare sort of writer from whom one learned especially in disagreement, for his formulation of the issues was so lucid as to force those who did not share his views to rethink their own.

"There is in America," he wrote, "a strong current of Christian patriotism in which 'God and country' falls trippingly from the tongue. Indeed, God and country are sometimes conflated in a single allegiance that permits no tension, never mind conflict, between the two." Neuhaus added that "this book is animated by a deeply and lively patriotism", adding, "I have considerable sympathy for Abraham Lincoln's observation that, among the political orders of the earthly city, America is 'the last, best hope of mankind'."

On the left, utopian efforts to create a heaven on Earth expressed American idolatry, for example, in the Social Gospel movement of Walter Rauschenberg, "Christianizing America and Americanizing Christianity." The liberal philosopher John Dewey embodied the drift of mainline Protestantism into a social reform movement. The heir of this left-wing current is Rauschenberg's grandson, the late philosopher Richard Rorty, whose career was dedicated to proving the proposition that no proposition can be proven.

It is even sillier than it sounds, in Neuhaus' amusing account. As Neuhaus says,


Rorty writes that [John] Dewey and his soulmate Walt Whitman "wanted [their] utopian America to replace God as the unconditional object of desire. They wanted the struggle for social justice to be the country's animating principle, the nation's soul". He quotes favorably the lines of Whitman:

And I say to mankind, Be not curious about God, For I who am curious about each am not curious about God.

"Whitman and Dewey," Rorty writes, "gave us all the romance, and all the spiritual uplift we Americans need to go about our public business."


That is the left-wing version of American self-worship. American nationalism harbors a civic religion as well. There is, Neuhaus explains,

a line of devotion that runs from the [Puritans'] "errand in the wilderness" to John F Kennedy's inaugural ... It is the American story, the American promise, that is invoked in Martin Luther King Jr's dream of the "beloved community" and in Ronald Reagan's vision of the "city on a hill".

Some readers will be surprised and others scandalized by the suggestion that George W Bush was in the tradition of Washington, Lincoln, Wilson, Kennedy, King and Reagan in sounding the characteristic notes of the American story, but so it is.

This is painfully clear, observes Neuhaus, in George W Bush's second inaugural address:

We are led [Bush said in his address] by events and common sense, to one conclusion: the survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world. America's vital interest and our deepest beliefs are now one ... We go forward with complete confidence in the even triumph of freedom. Not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability; it is human choices that move events. Not because we consider ourselves a chosen nation; God moves and chooses as He wills.

"Both the power and the danger of the story is in the sincerity with which it is told," Neuhaus commented. "Good intentions go awry; we blind ourselves to our own capacity for self-deception when we cast ourselves in the role of God's agents in history's battle between The Children of Light and The Children of Darkness, to cite the title of [a] book by [Reinhold] Niebuhr."

Bush's second inaugural was an exercise in American self-worship, in its assumption that the free institutions of the United States were an earthly manifestation of the divine, such that the American government should become a Bureau of Missions for the cult of democracy. But it is manifestly false that America's security depends upon the success of freedom elsewhere. China's political system is not free by Western standards, yet China poses no strategic threat to the United States. Dictatorships that support terrorism well may constitute a strategic threat to the United States, especially if they are able to employ nuclear weapons. But the United States could just as well wipe all of them off the face of the Earth through pre-emptive nuclear bombardment, or let them fight each other to exhaustion, as try to foster democracy in their midst. America had no strategic imperative to promote democracy, only a narcissistic one.

Neuhaus concludes,

However high our appreciation of America's achievement and promise, and whether that appreciation is expressed from the left, as in the case of Richard Rorty's work, or from the right, as in George W Bush's speech, with its confidence in "a new order of the ages", the great danger is in forgetting that America, too, is Babylon.

From a Christian vantage point, Neuhaus means, every earthly city is an exile, like the Babylon whence the Jews of the 6th century were exiled after the fall of Jerusalem. Nonetheless, the Puritans who founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony, as Neuhaus retells the story, saw themselves as a new chosen people founding a new promised land.

In some tellings of the story, they and the New World were Jerusalem, having escaped the captivity of the Babylon of the Old World ... And, in the more fantastical flights of theological imagination, America is something very close to the New Jerusalem.
That, as Neuhaus reports, was the view of the great 18th-century theologian Jonathan Edwards, whose "Great Awakening" preceded and by most accounts prepared the ground for the American Revolution. Yet the fervent Calvinism of the Puritans and Jonathan Edwards turned into the mushy transcendentalism of Ralph Waldo Emerson by the 1830s. With good reason, American critic Harold Bloom characterized this peculiar variety of American religion as Gnostic. Nonetheless:

In the 1860s the church of the novus ordo seclorum was shattered by the bloodiest war in your history, and from that catastrophe emerged the most profound theologian of the civil religion. Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, with its troubled reflection on the mysteries of providence, is in some ways worthy of St Augustine, except, of course, that it is without Augustine's Church, and therefore without the communal bearer of the story of the world by which all other stories, including the story of America, are truly told. American theology has suffered from an ecclesiological deficit, leading to an ecclesiological substitution of America for the Church through time.

There is no gainsaying Neuhaus' critique of the Puritans, who were in a sense play-acting at being Jews with their vision of a new chosen people and a new promised land. Gentiles do not emulate the Jews, or "Judaize", with success, perhaps because Jewish continuity depends not only upon faith but upon blood ties. By 1800, every formerly Puritan church in Boston but one had turned Unitarian, and the vapid Emerson became their intellectual heir.

Still, the tiny band of English separatists who departed Delft on the Mayflower in 1620 had better reasons to seek an "errand in the wilderness" than we easily can imagine today. Then in its second year, the Thirty Years War eventually would kill about two-fifths of the people of Central Europe, and destroy forever the Christian Empire of the Middle Ages, leaving the secular nation state in its place as Europe's principle of political organization.

A red line connects the Thirty Years War of 1618-1648 to the Second Thirty Years War of 1914-1945. Whether the Puritans were right to conclude that Europe already had been lost for Christianity is a matter for historians to debate. But it is hard to imagine how Europe might have avoided the victory of communism or fascism were it not for the United States, now the only major nation in which Christianity remains at the center of public life. If the Puritans had not sailed to America in emulation of Israel leaving Egypt, the Gates of Hell well might have prevailed over St Peter.

Lincoln appeared not only "as the most profound theologian of the civil religion", as Neuhaus argues, but arguably as the most profound American theologian of any religion. That is the view of the evangelical historian Mark Noll in his book America's God. "Views of providence," Noll writes, "provide the sharpest contrast between Lincoln and the professional theologians of his day."

Noll muses that "the American God may have been working too well for the Protestant theologians who, even as they exploited Scripture and pious experience so successfully, yet found it easy to equate America's moral government of God with Christianity itself. Their tragedy - and the greater the theologian, the greater the tragedy - was to rest content with a God defined by the American conventions God's own loyal servants had exploited so well."

Because America is not a chosen nation, Neuhaus warns, "we should be uneasy even with Lincoln's sharply modified claim that we are an 'almost chosen' people". But "almost chosen" is like "almost pregnant", and the absurdity of Lincoln's joke suggests the possibility of a more benign reading.

America brought into the world a new political form, the non-ethnic democracy, a necessary but not sufficient condition for a Christian nation. America really is different, from, say, Poland, the homeland of the greatest religious leader of our times. Pope John Paul II's last book, Memory and Identity, "is about Poland and being Polish, both of which John Paul explores and affirms in a way that many might think scandalously chauvinistic", Neuhaus observes.

In some respects, Poland deserves the special admiration of her pre-eminent son. As a breakaway Soviet buffer state on the central front, Poland occupied center stage in the Cold War, and the Polish people led by the Catholic Church rose heroically to the occasion.

The trouble is that Poland's story is coming to an end. The country's population will fall by almost 30% by mid-century, and the median age will rise from 36 years to 56 years. Benedict XVI, for that matter, ranks by my reckoning as the best mind on the planet, but it is questionable whether today's Germany is capable of educating another Joseph Ratzinger.

America's story will not end, at least not in the same way. What we might call America's "Special Providence" is founded on its capacity to absorb the talented and energetic immigrants vomited out by the wars and persecutions of the Old World.

Europe's residual paganism, the persistence of ethnic self-worship under a Christian veneer, became the downfall of Christendom. America's fresh start made it congenitally receptive to Christianity.

Only in its potential is America "almost chosen"; the extent to which it actually is Christian will depend not on its constitution but on its churches. Ultimately, the Puritan hope of forming a new chosen people in a new promised land only could fail, but it is hard to see how Christianity could have prevailed in the West without it.

Sometimes, perhaps, Christians may have to emulate the Jews in order to remain Christians.

American Babylon: Notes of a Christian Exile by Richard John Neuhaus. Basic Books, New York 2009. ISBN-10: 0465013678. Price US$26.95, 288 pages.



Be true to thyself.

Why the GOP Can't Win With Minorities

March 16, 2009 Opinion Wall Street Journal
By SHELBY STEELE

Today conservatism is stigmatized in our culture as an antiminority political philosophy. In certain quarters, conservatism is simply racism by another name. And minorities who openly identify themselves as conservatives are still novelties, fish out of water.

Yet there is now the feeling that without an appeal to minorities, conservatism is at risk of marginalization. The recent election revealed a Republican Party -- largely white, male and Southern -- seemingly on its way to becoming a "regional" party. Still, an appeal targeted just at minorities -- reeking as it surely would of identity politics -- is anathema to most conservatives. Can't it be assumed, they would argue, that support of classic principles -- individual freedom and equality under the law -- constitutes support of minorities? And, given the fact that blacks and Hispanics often poll more conservatively than whites on most social issues, shouldn't there be an easy simpatico between these minorities and political conservatism?

'Compassionate conservatism' was clever -- as a marketing ploy.
But of course the reverse is true. There is an abiding alienation between the two -- an alienation that I believe is the great new challenge for both modern conservatism and formerly oppressed minorities. Oddly, each now needs the other to evolve.

Yet why this alienation to begin with? Can it be overcome?

I think it began in a very specific cultural circumstance: the dramatic loss of moral authority that America suffered in the 1960s after openly acknowledging its long mistreatment of blacks and other minorities. Societies have moral accountability, and they cannot admit to persecuting a race of people for four centuries without losing considerable moral legitimacy. Such a confession -- honorable as it may be -- virtually calls out challenges to authority. And in the 1960s challenges emerged from everywhere -- middle-class white kids rioted for "Free Speech" at Berkeley, black riots decimated inner cities across the country, and violent antiwar protests were ubiquitous. America suddenly needed a conspicuous display of moral authority in order to defend the legitimacy of its institutions against relentless challenge.

This was the circumstance that opened a new formula for power in American politics: redemption. If you could at least seem to redeem America of its past sins, you could win enough moral authority to claim real political power. Lyndon Johnson devastated Barry Goldwater because -- among other reasons -- he seemed bent on redeeming America of its shameful racist past, while Goldwater's puritanical libertarianism precluded his even supporting the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Johnson's Great Society grandly advertised a new American racial innocence. If it utterly failed to "end poverty in our time," it succeeded -- through a great display of generosity toward minorities and the poor -- in recovering enough moral authority to see the government through the inexorable challenges of the '60s.

When redemption became a term of power, "redemptive liberalism" was born -- a new activist liberalism that gave itself a "redemptive" profile by focusing on social engineering rather than liberalism's classic focus on individual freedom. In the '60s there was no time to allow individual freedom to render up the social good. Redemptive liberalism would proactively engineer the good. Name a good like "integration," and then engineer it into being through a draconian regimen of school busing. If the busing did profound damage to public education in America, it gave liberals the right to say, "At least we did something!" In other words, we are activists against America's old sin of segregation. Activism is moral authority in redemptive liberalism.

But conservatism sees moral authority more in a discipline of principles than in activism. It sees ideas of the good like "diversity" as mere pretext for the social engineering that always leads to unintended and oppressive consequences. Conservatism would enforce the principles that ensure individual freedom, and then allow "the good" to happen by "invisible hand."

And here is conservatism's great problem with minorities. In an era when even failed moral activism is redemptive -- and thus a source of moral authority and power -- conservatism stands flat-footed with only discipline to offer. It has only an invisible hand to compete with the activism of the left. So conservatism has no way to show itself redeemed of America's bigoted past, no way like the Great Society to engineer a grand display of its innocence, and no way to show deference to minorities for the oppression they endured. Thus it seems to be in league with that oppression.

Added to this, American minorities of color -- especially blacks -- are often born into grievance-focused identities. The idea of grievance will seem to define them in some eternal way, and it will link them atavistically to a community of loved ones. To separate from grievance -- to say simply that one is no longer racially aggrieved -- will surely feel like an act of betrayal that threatens to cut one off from community, family and history. So, paradoxically, a certain chauvinism develops around one's sense of grievance. Today the feeling of being aggrieved by American bigotry is far more a matter of identity than of actual aggrievement.

And this identity calls minorities to an anticonservative orientation to American politics. It makes for an almost ancestral resistance to conservatism. One's identity of grievance is flattered by the moral activism of the left and offended by the invisible hand of the right. Minorities feel they were saved from oppression by the left's activism, not by the right's discipline. The truth doesn't matter much here (in fact it took both activism and principle, civil war and social movement, to end this oppression). But activism indicates moral anguish in whites, and so it constitutes the witness minorities crave. They feel seen, understood. With the invisible hand the special case of their suffering doesn't count for much, and they go without witness.

So here stands contemporary American conservatism amidst its cultural liabilities and, now, its electoral failures -- with no mechanism to redeem America of its shames, atavistically resisted by minorities, and vulnerable to stigmatization as a bigoted and imperialistic political orientation. Today's liberalism may stand on decades of failed ideas, but it is failure in the name of American redemption. It remains competitive with -- even ascendant over -- conservatism because it addresses America's moral accountability to its past with moral activism. This is the left's great power, and a good part of the reason Barack Obama is now the president of the United States. No matter his failures -- or the fruitlessness of his extravagant and scatter-gun governmental activism -- he redeems America of an ugly past. How does conservatism compete with this?

The first impulse is to moderate. With "compassionate conservatism" and "affirmative access" and "faith-based initiatives," President George W. Bush tried to show a redemptive conservatism that could be activist against the legacy of America's disgraceful past. And it worked electorally by moderating the image of conservatives as uncaring disciplinarians. But in the end it was only a marketer's ploy -- a shrewd advertisement with no actual product to sell.

What drew me to conservatism years ago was the fact that it gave discipline a slightly higher status than virtue. This meant it could not be subverted by passing notions of the good. It could be above moral vanity. And so it made no special promises to me as a minority. It neglected me in every way except as a human being who wanted freedom. Until my encounter with conservatism I had only known the racial determinism of segregation on the one hand and of white liberalism on the other -- two varieties of white supremacy in which I could only be dependent and inferior.

The appeal of conservatism is the mutuality it asserts between individual and political freedom, its beautiful idea of a free man in a free society. And it offers minorities the one thing they can never get from liberalism: human rather than racial dignity. I always secretly loved Malcolm X more than Martin Luther King Jr. because Malcolm wanted a fuller human dignity for blacks -- one independent of white moral wrestling. In a liberalism that wants to redeem the nation of its past, minorities can only be ciphers in white struggles of conscience.

Liberalism's glamour follows from its promise of a new American innocence. But the appeal of conservatism is relief from this supercilious idea. Innocence is not possible for America. This nation did what it did. And conservatism's appeal is that it does not bank on the recovery of lost innocence. It seeks the discipline of ordinary people rather than the virtuousness of extraordinary people. The challenge for conservatives today is simply self-acceptance, and even a little pride in the way we flail away at problems with an invisible hand.

Mr. Steele is a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.

PROMOTING THE CULTURE OF DEATH

Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe shows the inhumanity of the intelligentsia in the form of Princeton professor Peter Singer, who is a major promotor of the culture of death. While Singerr cheerily gives money to assist hungry Africans, he sees nothing wrong with killing newborn babies for whatever reason someone has. He wants to shuck off the "old morality," leaving only the opinion of the moment to guide behavior.


Intelligence is no guarantee of goodness
by Jeff Jacoby
The Boston Globe
March 4, 2009

PETER SINGER has written a new book. The prominent Australian philosopher, a professor of bioethics at Princeton University, argues in The Life You Can Save that residents of the affluent West have it within their power to eradicate extreme Third World poverty and its attendant suffering. By donating money to charity instead of spending it on things we don't really need, he writes, everyone can save lives -- and when you fail to do so, he suggests, "you are leaving a child to die, a child you could have saved."

Singer told the Wall Street Journal last week that he tries to practice what he preaches by giving one-third of his income to "Oxfam and other organizations working in the field." Few of us can give away that much of our earnings, but Singer urges most people to donate between 1 percent and 5 percent of what they make to help the destitute, with those who earn more digging even deeper.

You don't have to be a disciple of Singer's philosophy to admire his commitment to charity, especially when you consider the tightfistedness of some of our leading public figures. (One recent example: For the 10 years ending in 2007, then-Senator Joseph Biden and his wife gave slightly more than one-eighth of 1 percent of their income to charity -- a mere $3,690 on an adjusted gross income of $2.45 million.) I salute Singer's generosity, and sincerely hope that his new book prompts many readers to do more for the needy than they have ever thought about doing before.

And yet I can't help wondering which will ultimately prove more influential -- Singer's efforts to save lives through charity, or the role he has played as an intellectual enabler for the modern culture of death.

FaceOfEvilSinger.jpg

Face of Evil

In 2005, Foreign Policy marked its 35th anniversary by asking several thinkers to speculate on what ideas or values taken for granted today will vanish in the next 35 years. "The sanctity of life," answered Singer, looking forward to the day when "only a rump of hard-core, know-nothing religious fundamentalists will defend the view that every human life, from conception to death, is sacrosanct." A year earlier, pronouncing "the whole edifice of Judeo-Christian morality . . . terminally ill," Singer had elaborated on his notorious view that it ought to be lawful to kill severely disabled infants. "All I am saying," he told The Independent, "is, why limit the killing to the womb? Nothing magical happens at birth. Of course infanticide needs to be strictly legally controlled and rare -- but it should not be ruled out, any more than abortion."

Perhaps it seems odd that the same individual can be a champion of both saving life through philanthropy and ending life through legalized infanticide. Yet if morality is merely a matter of opinion and preference -- if there is no overarching ethical code that supersedes any value system we can contrive for ourselves -- then why not value the lives of the impoverished above the lives of the disabled? Singer accepts that some of what he says "seems obscene and evil if you are still looking at it through the prism of the old morality." But give up that "old morality," and the objections are easily resolved.

In his Wall Street Journal interview, Singer spoke of dilemmas that may arise in the future when parents are able to select the genetic traits of their offspring. "I would not oppose selecting for intelligence," he says. "We could assume that people of higher intelligence would have good consequences for society."

Could we, though? Does higher intelligence always, or even usually, lead to "good consequences?" Like strength or agility or attractiveness, intelligence is only a gift, not a guarantee -- an asset that can as readily be used to harm others as to help them. Singer's faith in intelligence is consistent with his own life's work, but highly intelligent people are perfectly capable of monstrousness. Reason, education, and intellectual quickness are to be prized, but they are no substitute for good character, kindness, and ethical values. In the 20th century, after all, it was learned intellectuals who signed newspaper ads supporting Stalin, and men with PhDs who planned Hitler's Final Solution.

Intelligence alone will not make the world a better place, and if anyone's career proves the point, it is Singer's. Over the years, he has turned his skill to rationalizing bestiality, proposing a 28-day period during which newborns could be killed, and concluding that breeding children for spare parts is "not . . . something really wrong in itself." And why not? Once you've jettisoned the "old morality," good and evil become just a matter of opinion. "Man without God is a beast," wrote Whittaker Chambers, "never more beastly than when he is most intelligent about his beastliness."

The two greatest threats to America today are the Obama Administration and radical Islam. As Mark Steyn notes, the Muslim demographic is not only exploding worldwide (ten times faster than the natives in Britain) it is also becoming more intimidating, more violent, more extreme due to the tens of billions of dollars spent over the past 30 years by the Saudis on selling Islam as Mohammad realily meant it to be -- the ruler of the world.

At the same time, the principal defenders of freedom and Western heritage, Britain and the United States, are in the process of dismantling their free market economies and substituting "Can't we all just get along?" capitulation for a strong national defense and civilizational pride.

As the ex-Muslim emigré from Syria Wafa Sultan, now a psychiatrist living and working in southern California, reminds us, we are not engaged in a clash of civilziations with Islam, it is a war between civilzation and barbarism. But who is listening?

A small vignette from a young woman in the Swat Valley of Pakistan (which Mark Steyn talks about in his piece), who has learned of the Pakistani government's agreement that Islamic law will be enforced throughout the valley:

"Today the party of the Mullah announced that 'democracy' is un-Islamic. It is too late. We have lost the battle against the militants. We have seen day by day how government and army have [been] weakened, how they have finally been reduced to talk and to deal. Nobody is accountable for the thousands killed, for the closure of schools, for the beheadings of men and women. Nobody. Someone said to me the other day - 'Don't complain, because the one you complain to will be your enemy.'


"We no longer can turn [to anyone] here to complain. We now have to think about how to survive this. We now have to give up much of what many of us believe in - tolerance, peace, educated women, and freedom."

She believes the North-West Frontier Province is lost. And she questioned whether President Obama understands the extremists. "He seems to think that these people can be contained within their land, or [any] land. He thinks there is a meeting point, a dialogue possibility. Those who think that giving the militants their haven will contain them - well, the rest of the country and the world will see what this will lead to. This is not the end, it is only the beginning."


February 21, 2009, 7:00 a.m.

From Islamabad to Bradford
Degrees of accommodation.

By Mark Steyn in National Review Online


'It is hard to understand this deal," said Richard Holbrooke, President Obama's special envoy. And, if the special envoy of the so-called smartest and most impressive administration in living memory can't understand it, what chance do the rest of us have?

Nevertheless, let's try. In the Swat Valley, where a young Winston Churchill once served with the Malakand Field Force battling Muslim insurgents, his successors have concluded the game isn't worth the candle. In return for a temporary ceasefire, the Pakistani government agreed to let the local franchise of the Taliban impose its industrial strength version of sharia across the whole of Malakand Region. If "region" sounds a bit of an imprecise term, Malakand has over five million people, all of whom are now living under a murderous theocracy. Still, peace rallies have broken out all over the Swat Valley, and, at a Swat peace rally, it helps to stand well back: As one headline put it, "Journalist Killed While Covering Peace Rally."

But don't worry about Pakistani nukes falling into the hands of "extremists": The Swat Valley is a good hundred miles from the "nation"'s capital, Islamabad -- or about as far as Northern Vermont is from Southern Vermont. And, of course, Islamabad is safely under the control of the famously moderate Ali Zardari. A few days before the Swat deal, Mr. Zardari marked the dawn of the Obama era by releasing from house arrest A. Q. Khan, the celebrated scientist and one-stop shop for all your Islamic nuclear needs, for whose generosity North Korea and Iran are especially grateful.

From Islamabad, let us zip a world away to London. Actually, it's nearer than you think. The flight routes between Pakistan and the United Kingdom are some of the busiest in the world. Can you get a direct flight from your local airport to, say, Bradford?

Where?

Bradford, Yorkshire. There are four flights a week from Islamabad to Bradford, a town where 75 percent of Pakistani Britons are married to their first cousins. But don't worry, in the country as a whole, only 57 percent of Pakistani Britons are married to first cousins.

Among that growing population of Yorkshire Pakistanis is a fellow called Lord Ahmed, a Muslim member of Parliament. He was in the news the other day for threatening (as the columnist Melanie Phillips put it) "to bring a force of 10,000 Muslims to lay siege to the House of Lords" if it went ahead with an event at which the Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders would have introduced a screening of his controversial film Fitna. Britain's Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, reacted to this by declaring Minheer Wilders persona non grata and having him arrested at Heathrow and returned to the Netherlands.

The Home Secretary is best known for an inspired change of terminology: Last year she announced that henceforth Muslim terrorism (an unhelpful phrase) would be reclassified as "anti-Islamic activity." Seriously. The logic being that Muslims blowing stuff up tends not to do much for Islam's reputation -- i.e., it's an "anti-Islamic activity" in the same sense that Pearl Harbor was an anti-Japanese activity.

Anyway, Geert Wilders's short film is basically a compilation video of footage from various recent Muslim terrorist atrocities -- whoops, sorry, "anti-Islamic activities" -- accompanied by the relevant chapter and verse from the Koran. Jacqui Smith banned the filmmaker on "public order" grounds -- in other words, the government's fear that Lord Ahmed meant what he said about a 10,000-strong mob besieging the Palace of Westminster. You might conceivably get the impression from Wilders's movie that many Muslims are irrational and violent types it's best to steer well clear of. But, if you didn't, Jacqui Smith pretty much confirmed it: We can't have chaps walking around saying Muslims are violent because they'll go bananas and smash the place up.

So, confronted by blackmail, the British government caved. So did the Pakistani government in Swat. But, in fairness to Islamabad, they waited until the shooting was well underway before throwing in the towel. In London, you no longer have to go that far. You just give the impression your more excitable chums might not be able to restrain themselves. "Nice little G7 advanced western democracy you got here. Shame if anything were to happen to it." Twenty years ago this month, Margaret Thatcher's Conservative ministry defended the right of a left-wing author Salman Rushdie to publish a book in the face of Muslim riots and the Ayatollah Khomeini's attempted mob hit. Two decades on, a supposedly progressive government surrenders to the mob before it's even taken to the streets.


In his first TV interview as president, Barack Obama told viewers of al-Arabiya TV that he wanted to restore the "same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago." I'm not sure quite what golden age he's looking back to there -- the Beirut barracks slaughter? the embassy hostages? -- but the point is, it's very hard to turn back the clock. Because the facts on the ground change, and change remorselessly. Even in 30 years. Between 1970 and 2000, the developed world declined from just under 30 percent of the global population to just over 20 percent, while the Muslim world increased from 15 percent to 20 percent. And in 2030, it won't even be possible to re-take that survey, because by that point half the "developed world" will itself be Muslim: In Bradford -- as in London, Amsterdam, Brussels, and almost every other western European city from Malmo to Marseilles -- the principal population growth comes from Islam. Thirty years ago, in the Obama golden age, a British documentary-maker was so horrified by the "honor killing" of a teenage member of the House of Saud at the behest of her father, the king's brother, that he made a famous TV film about it, Death Of A Princess. The furious Saudis threatened a trade boycott with Britain over this unwanted exposure. Today, we have honor killings not just in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, but in Germany, Scandinavia, Britain, Toronto, Dallas, and Buffalo. And they barely raise an eyebrow.

Along with the demographic growth has come radicalization: It's not just that there are more Muslims, but that, within that growing population, moderate Islam is on the decline -- in Singapore, in the Balkans, in northern England -- and radicalized, Arabized, Wahhabized Islam is on the rise. So we have degrees of accommodation: surrender in Islamabad, appeasement in London, acceptance in Toronto and Buffalo.

According to ABC News, a team of UCLA professors have used biogeographic theories to locate Osama bin Laden's hideout as one of three possible houses in the small town of Parachinar, and have suggested to the Pentagon they keep an eye on these buildings. But the problem isn't confined to three buildings. It ripples ever outwards, to the new hardcore sharia state in Malakand, up the road to nuclear Islamabad, over to Bradford on that jet-speed conveyor-belt of child brides, down to the House of Lords and beyond.

Meanwhile, President Obama has removed Winston Churchill's bust from the Oval Office and returned it to the British. Given what Sir Winston had to say about Islam in his book on the Sudanese campaign, the bust will almost certainly be arrested at Heathrow and deported as a threat to public order.


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

HOW OBAMA CAN HELP HIS PEOPLE RESPONSIBLY

Where can President Obama do the most good? It can't be said often enough -- He can change the corrosive black culture that is spinning young African-Americans deeper and deeper into holes they cannot dig out of. We said as much not too long ago.

Now a black newspaper columnist pleads with President Obama to make this a top priority.

Let's hope that Obama's example leads young black Americans to stop obsessing about white racism, reject hip-hop and ghetto culture, and embrace intellectual achievement. May a million belts bloom, and baggy trousers stop sliding off black men's rumps. (Obama recommends: "Brothers should pull up their pants.") May a new era of responsibility envelop America's 'hoods.

In this respect, President Obama ironically could become a force for socially conservative change.

Information coming from sources inside the Obama transition camp indicate that President Obama plans to launch a major attack immediately after his inauguration.

The target isn't Iran. It's unborn children.

As a start, Obama has said he will immediatly cancel all of the presidential executive orders protecting life and allow the industrial breeding and destruction of human beings for embryonic stem cell use despite evidence that other stem cells not involving the industrial breeding of embryos are at least as good as if not better for medical use. Millions more humans -- science has proved incontrovertibly that life begins when egg and sperm are joined -- will die. Professor Robert George of Princeton sees an unhealthy perversity in Obama's position:

It is as if Obama is opposed to stem-cell research unless it involves killing human embryos.

As tragic as that decision will be for the sanctity of life, Obama is also preparing a massive taxpayer "bailout" of about $1 billion to reward his fervent supporters at Planned Parenthood and NARAL. But it's not only taxpayer money he wants to send their way. He intends to eliminate all of the 500 or so restrictions placed on abortion over the past 30 years by federal and state legislatures and approved by the Supreme Court. Even partial-birth abortion, which 75% of Americans oppose, would be legalized. In 2007 Obama told Planned Parenthood he wanted his first act as president to be signing the euphemismistically named "Freedom of Choice Act," which will do all of these things and more. Even edducation programs about the benefits of abstinence would be wiped out. Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe noted this:

Obama advocates abortion rights even more sweeping than those enacted under Roe v. Wade. "The first thing I'd do as president," he assured the Planned Parenthood Action Fund last year, "is sign the Freedom of Choice Act." The measure would not only codify Roe, it would eliminate even restrictions on abortion that the Supreme Court has allowed - the federal ban on government funding of abortion, for example, or the law prohibiting partial-birth abortion.

Planned Parenthood and NARAL are the two leading advocates in the United States of terminating the lives of the unborn. Planned Parenthood is the biggest abortion mill in the country, raking in hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

Though the media never mention it, abortion is the leading cause of death in the U.S., killing an estimated 1.2 million human beings each year. 40 million since Roe v. Wade. And Obama's action to permit the industrial breeding and destruction of human beings, reminiscent of the eugenics practiced in the 1930s, will add how many millions more to the death toll?

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