Managing businesses (badly): This is precisely what government — Big Government — does

My mother, who gets a lot of her news from the MSM, is nevertheless slowly becoming aware of the Solyndra scandal — not just the fact that a big solar panel company went bankrupt, but that it went bankrupt at great cost to her, because the Obama administration had bet the farm (or should I say, the taxpayer’s farm) on Solyndra.  “That’s not what government is supposed to do,” she said.

Au contraire, Mama,” I replied.  “This is precisely what Obama-style Leftist government is supposed to do.”

I went further than that.  The Obama approach to business is precisely like the Nazi approach to business.  And before anyone gets all hot and sweaty here, and despite Obama’s disgraceful attitude to Israel, I am not likening Obama to Hitler or trying to say that the Progressives are Nazis.  I am making, instead, a very specific point about American-style socialism, which is very different from Soviet, or North Korean, or Cuban style socialism.

When people think of socialism, they think in terms of government doing away with private industry entirely in favor of total nationalization.  That’s why, when you remind people that the fascists were socialists (i.e., Leftists), they’ll always deny it.  “That can’t be true.  Hitler didn’t take over private business.”

While it’s true that Hitler left ostensible corporate ownership in private hands, the practical reality was that the Nazis made the big decisions.  Baron von This and That and Herr So and So got to call the corporation their own, and got all the glamor that went with being rich industrialists, but the practical reality was that they looked to the Reichstag for direction and, because the Nazi Party conferred significant economic benefits on them, they supported it in word and deed.  One could say that German businesses, although nominally private, were in fact subsidiaries of the Nazi government.

That fascist approach, which sees businesses retain their status as “private,” even while being completely answerable to the government, is the Obama model.  He doesn’t want to nationalize companies, he just wants to direct them.  American businesses, in his mind, should be subsidiaries of the Obama White House.  That’s why Obama happily took over GM, and that’s why he and his Chicago cronies saw no problem with using taxpayer money to prop up an already failing solar company.

This same attitude permeates ObamaCare.  We conservatives sometimes forget that the hardcore Left hates the individual mandate as much as we on the conservative side do.  We hate it because it decreases individual freedom.  The Left hates it because the insurance companies will continue to thrive and, indeed, can profit mightily.  The Left cannot understand how their man in the White House could betray them that way.  They forget that Obama, although a socialist, is not a Communist.  He is an economic fascist, and merely wants to manage American business, which will keep a steady stream of money flowing from those same businesses right back to him.

In theory, it’s a lovely solution for both the government and the businesses.  In practice, as Solyndra shows, Obama is a disastrously bad business manager.  It’s also worth remembering, as the Germans learned to their great cost, that while power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.  It’s one thing for business to have a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” relationship with government.  That’s the nature of power.  It’s another thing entirely when a government simply co-opts a nation’s business.

Political violence: from whence does it emanate

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” – President Barack Hussein Obama

I posted this as a comment to Book’s previous post, but have now posted it independently as a challenge to all of us Bookworm salon aficionados.

Here’s the premise: virtually all the political violence that has happened in America as come from people associated with the Democrat and/or the Left.

Here’s my list thus far (continuous updating):

DEMOCRAT /LEFT – LINKED VIOLENCE

  1. Mass. Sen. Charles Sumner beaten by S. Carolina Rep. Preston Brooks over perceived insults made in speech by Brooks (1856).
  2. John Wilkes Booth (anti-Republican Democrat) assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
  3. Southern night riders and the KKK during Reconstruction and into the mid-1900s. (Democrats) – question: do we count each of the lynchings as separate acts of violence?
  4. Chicago Haymarket riot (1886)
  5. Pres. McKinley’s 1901 assassination by Leon Frank Czolgosz (Leftwing anarchist)
  6. Sedition Act of 1918 by Woodrow Wilson (Progressive Democrat)
  7. Assassination attempt on FDR, killing Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak, by Guiseppe Zangara in 1933 (left-wing anarchist)
  8. FDR’s internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII (Democrat progressive)
  9. FALN attack against Pres. Harry Truman (communist)
  10. Sheriff Bull Connors, Gov. George Wallace (Democrats)
  11. John Kennedy’s assassin Lee Harvey Oswald (communist)
  12. Pres. Johnson’s “War on Poverty”
  13. 1968 Democrat Convention
  14. Robert Kennedy’s assassin Sirhan Sirhan (leftwing Palestinian supporter)
  15. Sarah Jane Moore’s attempted assassination of Pres. Gerald Ford
  16. Berkeley People’s Park riot in 1969 (campus socialists, communists and anarchists)
  17. Students for a Democratic Society aka SDS (communist)
  18. Bombing (1970) of Math Center at University of Wisconsin-Madison (anti-war communists)
  19. Symbionese Liberation Army (communists)
  20. American Indian Movement (AIM) killing of FBI agents at Wounded Knee (socialist American Indian activists)
  21. The Weathermen, incl. Dohrn and Ayers (communist)
  22. Puerto Rican terrorist group FALN bombings (communist)
  23. Black Panthers (Left-wing socialist/communist)
  24. James Jones of Jonestown fame (apostolic socialism)
  25. Earth Liberation Front (ELF)
  26. Attack on Branch Davidians (Janet Reno, Clinton Administration)
  27. Ted Kaczynski – Unabomber (leftwing anarchist and environmental fanatic, Gore acolyte)
  28. Left-wing violence, destruction and physical assaults at 1999 G-20 meeting in Seattle.
  29. Attack on Washington, D.C. Holocaust Memorial by James Wenneker von Brunn (anti-U.S. socialist sympathizer)
  30. Left-wing violence, destruction, physical assaults and weapons convictions at 2008 Republican Convention in Minneapolis.
  31. Joe Stack, Austin IRS bomber (anti-Republican, anti-capitalist, anti-wealthy people)
  32. Physical attacks on conservative speakers at university campuses
  33. Multiple physical attacks against Tea Party rallies by SEIU and others (2009).
  34. Shooting of pro-life demonstrator James Pouillon in Owosso, MI (2009)
  35. Physical assault by S. Carolina Rep. Bob Etheridge against student, caught on video.
  36. Discovery Center attack and hostage-taking by James Lee in Sept. 2010 (leftwing environmentalist)

REPUBLICAN, CONSERVATIVE – LINKED VIOLENCE

  1. John Brown’s attack on Harper’s Ferry (?)
  2. Attacks on abortion clinics and murders and attempted murders of abortion providers (conservative Christian group-affiliated (?) individuals)
  3. Firearm attack by Jim D. Adkisson against Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, claiming opposition to its policies (2008)
  4. 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing by Eric Robert Rudolph (see “attacks on abortion clinics” above).

xxxxxxxxxxx

Please delete, amend or add-to the list as you see fit.

Or, let’s have even more fun: how about a comparable list of CONSERVATIVE acts of political violence?

We shall then be able to offer two lists for posterity.

Comments and contributions? Please make them as specific as possible.

UPDATE***

I have broken these out into two lists and will make additions as they come in.

UPDATE***

OK…I’m convinced. I’ve taken the Tuscon, Ariz. shooting off of the “Left” column.

Another conversation with a liberal: “You won’t like it, because I say no one else does” *UPDATED*

My liberal friend and I were talking about having pizza for dinner.  I suggested Round Table.  My friend was appalled.

Liberal Friend:  “Round Table is awful.”

Me:  “I like it.”

Liberal Friend:  “It’s awful.  Just go on Yelp.”

Me:  “Why should I go on Yelp?  That’s helpful if I haven’t been some place and am trying to get I feel for it.  I’ve already been to Round Table, and I know that I like it.”

Liberal Friend:  “It gets terrible reviews on Yelp.”  (This is untrue, by the way.  The service gets mixed reviews but, by and large, our local Round Table ranks pretty darn well in Marin, ahead even of some of the fancy “artisan” pizza places.)

Me: “But I like it.  The fact that others don’t is irrelevant to me.”

Liberal Friend:  “Nobody likes it.  I’m not going to let you eat pizza that nobody likes.”

Yes, it was an insane little conversation.  It was also, in its own peculiar way, an instructive one, because it shows the statist mind at work.  An individual’s opinion is irrelevant.  What matters is the way the collective thinks — or, more accurately, the way the liberal thinks the collective ought to think.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

UPDATE:  We ended up having Dominos.  The service was excellent.  The pizza wasn’t to my taste.  I like Round Table pizza, no matter what anyone tells me to like.

Individualism as a psychiatric illness — what the NPR kerfuffle reveals *UPDATED*

Juan Williams breached PC, group-think protocol by giving voice to a personal feeling, which is the fear of Muslims on airplanes.  This is not an irrational fear.  While the percentage of Muslims who will be threats on airplanes is small, the percentage of mass murderers who board airplanes and happen to be Muslims is large.

Normal people understood what Williams said.  Leftists intentionally misconstrued him — and then one of them said something more, and it’s a something that, to me, reveals a lot about the true nature of statism.

The “something more” that emanated from the Left after Williams violated the PC shibboleth was this statement from Vivian Schiller, the CEO at NPR:

After the firing, Schiller said publicly that whatever feelings Williams had about Muslims should be between him and “his psychiatrist or his publicist — take your pick.”

It took me a while to figure out why that remark was so awful, and the “so awful” part doesn’t have to do with the fact that it’s demeaning or unprofessional.  It was a little trip down memory lane that made me realize what was so terrible about it.

Walk back with me in time.  It’s sometime in 1970.  The Soviet Union is still a completely committed Communist nation.  As a completely committed Communist nation, it is also a complete totalitarian nation, which means that it must exert total control over any citizens who dare to challenge its hegemony.  (I bet some of you have figured out where I’m going with this one.)  One of the ways the Soviet Union controlled dissidents, whether they dissented because of religion, political beliefs, homosexuality, or whatever else made them challenge the statist monolith, was to send them to psychiatrists for “reeducation“.

For those too young to remember those times, you have to appreciate that psychiatry in America and psychiatry in the Soviet Union were two vastly different things.  In the Soviet Union, psychiatry wasn’t about voluntary commercial relationships between an individual and a doctor, with the latter helping a person break a bad habit, find greater happiness, control anxiety, make personal relationships richer, or whatever else got a person thinking a psychiatrist might be a good thing.

In the Soviet Union, psychiatry existed to support the state.  Psychiatrists used the new science of the mind, not to educate people, but to mentally coerce them into singing the state tune, so that they would abandon their dissenting ways forever.  Or, sometimes, they just tortured them with mind games:

In the Soviet Union, psychiatry was used for punitive purposes. Psychiatric hospitals were used by the authorities as prisons in order to isolate hundreds or thousands of political prisoners from the rest of society, discredit their ideas, and break them physically and mentally; as such they are considered a form of torture.[1] This method was also employed against religious prisoners, including especially well-educated atheists who converted to a religion; in such cases their religious faith was determined to be a form of mental illness that needed to be cured.

So, when the head of NPR lashes out at someone for deviating from Leftist orthodoxy by suggesting psychiatry, that’s a significantly more creepy and unguarded response than its superficial snark and immaturity would seem to imply.

UPDATE:  Turns out I’m not the only one thinking along these lines.

UPDATE II:  Garry Hamilton reminds me that psychiatry in America hasn’t been that innocuous either.

Winston Churchill — freedom fighter *UPDATED*

Yesterday I staged an imaginary Obama/Churchill match-up.  Today I want to add a little commentary.

As you had probably already figured out, I greatly admire Churchill.  I understand that he was a difficult person (often); that he could be nasty; that he was more willing to let his own people die in the fight than we would now consider acceptable; and that he made some bad decisions over his long career.  Offsetting all that, though, was that he was a LEADER.  He loved his country unabashedly, and had a deep and clear-cut commitment to its ultimate victory over Nazi totalitarianism.

Today, we see as inevitable, not only the Allied victory in WWII, but the fact that there would be free countries that would stand against the Nazis to begin with.  Back in the 1930s, though, there were many, especially in Churchill’s England, who wanted to make common cause with the Nazis.  This was an easy idea to hold.  From the middle and upper class viewpoint, Germany was not just another Western culture, but was actually the ne plus ultra of western civilization.

Germany was lovely to look at (those Rhine castles and medieval towns), was an academic leader (producing some of the greatest scientists in the world), and was a cultural leader (Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner, Goethe, Schiller).  On top of that, it had such well-managed people, who kept their streets clean and their trains running on time.  The Germans and the Brits even shared the same antisemitism, although it took the latter another 70 years to reach Nazi levels of virulence.

Sure, there had been that hiccup in civility from 1914-1918, but that was the belligerent Kaiser’s fault.  From a cultural point of view, many people in England, especially at the level of the ruling class, considered Germany “one of us.”

It was Churchill who understood that there was one insurmountable difference between the two countries, one that could not be glossed over by superficial similarities or by worship for Germany’s architectural, academic or cultural  beauties:  Freedom.  Churchill understood freedom, and he was able to articulate that understanding in a way few men at any time ever could.

At this point in my writing, I was also about to add that Churchill was able to articulate the idea of freedom in a way that even our current president can’t, despite his being sold to us as America’s greatest orator evah, but I stopped myself.  That merely compares their oratorical skills, while assuming that they share the same values.

The real difference between Churchill and Obama is that the latter does not understand freedom in the same way that Americans do — or at least the way that those Americans raised to revere the Constitution do.  Obama, like any other socialist leader, whether in the Soviet Union, or Nazi Germany, or or modern Europe, or UC Berkeley, or even Orwell’s fictional England, believes that true freedom lies only in total subordination to the state.  That of course explains why he is comfortable with Islam, despite the fact that, unlike the Germans and the England in the 1930s, there are few comforting similarities between the Islamic culture and ours:  as does Obama, Islam also believe in complete subordination to the state.]

UPDATEAndrew Klavan’s short post seems like an appropriate coda to any ruminations about liberty.

Backdoor Communism

The British government has proposed stealth communism:  all paychecks go to the government first, which then doles out to the wage earner whatever amount the government feels is the wage earner’s due.  Think about it.  As Pat Sajak wrote yesterday, withholding is bad enough, because it deprives the worker of a sense of ownership over that portion of the money he never sees.  Nevertheless, under the withholding system, the employee at least gets some money which he owns.  The British government, however, is proposing a system by which ownership of all wages lies with the government.  You can dress that up as efficiency, as the Brits are trying to do, but it sure looks like communism to me.

Being forgiven for our past sins — or, maybe, O’Donnell has grown up *UPDATED*

I know this will come as a surprise to all of you, but I was not born wise or well informed.  I blush to think of some of the behaviors in which I indulged, and the ideas that I held, when I was younger.

When I was a very little girl, I picked up from the secular people surrounding me the idea that there is no God.  Not only did I refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance, although I was scared enough of the teacher that I still moved my lips, I also thought all believers were fools.  I held to this belief for many, many years.

After reading Gone With The Wind for the first time, when I was 11, I came away with the impression that slavery wasn’t really such a bad thing, as long as you treated your slaves nicely. It took me a while to shake this belief too, especially because it seemed to me that the way many American blacks lived, whether in San Francisco’s Bayview/Hunters’ Point, LA’s Watts and South Central, or Michigan’s Detroit, wasn’t a great improvement over the life of a slave.  The concept of freedom, versus mere material welfare, eluded me.

At around the same time, as a child who grew up watching the Vietnam War on the news, as well as all the antiwar protests, I thought the American military was evil, and that Communists weren’t so bad.

When I was 17, and California voters pass Prop. 13, I thought it was outrageous that people should want to keep their own money when it could go to the government, which would spend it for the people’s own good, only it would do it better.

When I was 18, I voted for Jimmy Carter and was deeply saddened when he lost.

When I was a 20-year old student attending Berkeley, and I heard that Ronald Reagan had been shot, I agreed with my fellow students that he deserved it, a sentiment that earned me a harsh and well-deserved scolding from my parents.

When I was 21 and living in England, I wore a keffiyeh, because it was a cool fashion statement.  That same year, I listened in silence as a British Arab man told a terrible and cruel holocaust joke, because I was too socially intimidated to speak up.

When I returned to America in the early 1980s, I was fascinated by MTV, and watched it obsessively, believing that somehow those videos, with their rocking beats and alternatively meaningless or crude images, could enrich my life.

Throughout my teens and 20s, I hated Christian proselytizers, because I thought they wanted to hurt me, a Jew.  It took me decades to understand that they were acting out of great spiritual generosity, and that they would respond immediately and respectfully to a politely given “no.”

Also throughout my teens and twenties, I was mean.  I was an awkward, geeky bookworm, with a quick wit that I used to great effect to hurt people before they could hurt me.  I always had friends, but woe betide anyone who fell on the cutting side of my tongue.  A physical and moral coward, I nevertheless believed that, when it came to insults, the best defense was a good offense.

I was young and I was stupid, stupid, stupid.  I cringe when I look back at the things I did and thought.  What’s really sad is that the only thing that stopped me from making even worse mistakes was my cowardice.  I didn’t really live life.  I observed it from the sidelines, and simply managed to collect a whole bunch of bad ideas as I went along.

The good news is that I grew up.  During those same years, I managed to learn a lot.  At Berkeley, because I couldn’t understand the Marxist cant that permeated every non-science class, and therefore ignored it, I managed to learn about history and art and literature.  At law school (despite a miserable semester with Elizabeth Warren), I learned how to revere the constitution, respect the law and, significantly, analyze data.

Being a lawyer was also a great gift.  It exposed me to activist judges, something that taught me that, without a rule of law, businesses crumble and anarchy arises.  It was frustrating to know that, if I was representing a bank or business in a San Francisco court against an individual, the bank or business would always lose, no matter how rigorously it followed the law, while the individual would always win, no matter how sleazy or careless.  The same held true in employer/employee cases.  I understood that judicial activism increased the cost of doing business, drove businesses out of the Bay Area (and California), and made it virtually impossible for business people to have reliable predictors to control their conduct.

Earning and spending money taught me that capitalism, if properly policed (not controlled, just policed) enriches people, rather than impoverishes or enslaves them.  Living as a responsible adult (rather than a child at home or a cocooned student) taught me that government, even with the best will in the world, is an inefficient engine that moves slowly and that inevitably crushes individuality.  I realized that I prefer to keep power diffuse, amongst myriad people with different ideas about the world, rather than aggregated in one, all-powerful being, whether that being is a person or an ostensibly republican government.  This made me a strong anti-Communist and, indeed, an anti anything totalitarian.

I learned that the old saying was right, and that I could truly catch more flies with honey (especially true honey, not false words of flattery), than I could with vinegar.  I came to regret very deeply the verbal hurts I had inflicted on people.  You will seldom catch me being mean, in act or word.  (Although I admit to slipping when the migraines hit or the kids fight.)

I found it impossible to cling to my prejudices about God and religious people.  The more I learned about science, the more I asked myself, “How did it begin?”  I accept the scientific record and scientific conclusions all the way back to the Big Bang — but what came before?  Could all this something truly have come from nothing?  I don’t know that there is a God, but I’d be an arrogant fool, faced with those questions, to deny a God.  I’m not a believer, but I try to live a moral life as an open-minded non-believer.  I respect believers.

As for Christianity, I learned that people can hold beliefs different from mine, and still be truly, deeply good people, whom it is often an honor to know.  My history studies helped me to understand that the Inquisition is over and that, for the past two hundred years, Christianity has been a uniform force for good in the world.  There are, of course, bad people who profess to be Christians, but Christianity as a belief system is a good thing and we should be grateful for it.  (I also learned, which few Jews accept, that the Nazis were not a Christian movement, but were a violently anti-Christian movement, something that helped me open my heart and mind to Christianity.)

Watching our military during the First Gulf war, and meeting military people as I got older, I began to understand that ours is an exceptional military:  a volunteer organization, controlled by the Constitution, and peopled by ordinary Americans.  Well, “ordinary” in that they’re neither the dregs, nor the aristocrats, as is the case in other, class-based societies.  Instead, they’re people like you and me.  Except, unlike me, they’re brave, even the ones who just joined to pay off their student loans.  Oh, and they’re patriots, which isn’t that common.  And of course, they’re awfully polite and frequently so kind.  But other than that….

So here I am:  someone who was profoundly stupid as a child and young person, but who had the capacity to learn and who did, in fact, learn and grow.

You know where this is going, don’t you?  Christine O’Donnell, of course.

I get the feeling that Christine O’Donnell was a very lost soul when she was young.  The latest evidence of this fact is that Bill Maher is boasting that he has tapes of her admitting to practicing witchcraft (although, frankly, this should endear her to the Left, which loves its Gaia-worshipping Wiccans).

When O’Donnell hit Christianity, she hit it hard, taking a lot of extreme positions (masturbation being the one that has the Left most atwitter) — which is normal for a convert.  The zealots usually come from the recently converted, the ones who still have enthusiasm and who also feel that extremism is an act of repentance.  She’s had financial problems, too, although that leaves her in good company, since it seems that this is a common trait in federal employees.

But O’Donnell has grown up.  Or at least she says she has and, for now, I choose to believe her — because I grew up too.  I wasn’t as silly a youngster as O’Donnell, but I grew up in the 70s and early 80s, which gave me a couple of advantages:  I had a slightly more friendly pop culture (TV still hewed to traditional values) and my youthful idiocies didn’t get captured forever on video tape.

Here’s the difference as I see it between O’Donnell and Obama:  Both of them had idiotic belief systems when they were young, because that’s what a lot of young people do.  But Obama’s belief systems hardened into true-blue (or do I mean true-red?) Marxism, whereas O’Donnell grew up.  She held to her core conservative values (no abortion, small government, etc.), but seems to have abandoned the worst excesses of her youth.

More than that, her conversion to maturity seems sincere.  She has indeed walked away from her immaturity. Yes, O’Donnell is still a pugnacious, somewhat volatile young woman, but she’s not a Wiccan now, she’s not going to set the masturbation police on you, and she’s not going to force all Americans to worship in her church.

If we take her at her word, the O’Donnell of today will go to Washington, D.C. to cut government spending, shrink government’s size, and push for a more Constitutionally run government than we currently have. And there’s nothing crazy or immature about that.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

UPDATE:  I seem to be in good (and forgiving) company, as this related post shows.

UPDATE II:  David Swindle has taken my post and run with it.  He makes the point that O’Donnell’s positions on lust, porn and masturbation are “serious” not “extreme” if you have truly embraced Christianity.  I think he’s absolutely right.

The fact is, though, that the media is selling O’Donnell as “extreme” to Americans who aren’t always that serious about Christianity or who are, like me, fairly conservative, but haven’t fully shaken off a lifetime of urban liberal thinking.  I therefore used the word “extreme” in this post in relation to point of view of people who could be swayed by the media’s attack.  In fact, I agree with David’s take about the smooth and reasonable integration of O’Donnell’s faith and her morality.

The one other thing that informs my use of the word “extreme” is the fact that, as someone older than both David and O’Donnell, the whole “spilling your guts on video about your sexual (or wiccan) beliefs” is just a little freaky to me — and that’s a generational thing.  We didn’t do that when I was growing up probably because, in that pre-video, pre-MTV era, we couldn’t do it.

UPDATE III:  If you’ve read UPDATE II, above, you must read Zombie’s wonderful post mixing up quotations from O’Donnell and Carter.  Both are Christians, but you can tell the O’Donnell posts, because she sounds smarter and less narcissistic.  Oh, and the Left loves Jimmah.

UPDATE IV:  Please visit the Anchoress on this too.

Preparing for mob rule in Oakland *UPDATED*

Last year, an Oakland transit police officer, Johannes Mehserle, killed Oscar Grant, in a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station.  Grant was being, to put it mildly, obstreperous.  Mehserle’s defense is that he meant to taser Grant but, instead, shot him.  Video footage made at the time indicates that Mehserle did indeed make a terrible mistake, and never intended to shoot Grant.  For that reason, trial watchers assume that the jury, if honest, will acquit Mehserle.

Oakland’s Communists and, therefore, Oakland’s merchants are making the same supposition.  To that end, the Communists are working hard to foment riots and the merchants, aware of that fact, are working hard to protect themselves in advance.

Zombie has a photo-rich post documenting precisely what is going on in Oakland:  both the Communist efforts to ensure a riot, and the merchants’ hard work, both physical and psychological, to protect their property and their employees.

I have to admit to being a bit nervous about the whole thing.  I’m fairly far away from Oakland, but quite near Richmond, which nestles immediately on the east side of the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge.  Marin, of course, is on the west side of that same span.  Richmond is a pure Democratic city, with a desperately high crime rate.  A significant part of Marin’s crime, especially shop lifting and car theft, originates in Richmond.

If Richmond explodes along with Oakland, who knows what will travel across the bridge?  I’m hoping that our Marin police are paying attention and not just assuming “it can’t happen here.”

And a little bleg:


UPDATE: Mehserle convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

A Marxist indictment of capitalism — and why the indictment must be wrong

The Anchoress posted at her blog a semi-animated video by a self-avowed Marxist explaining why Marxism, not capitalism, will save the world.  I have to admit that I didn’t watch it.  It wasn’t the content that drove me away, it was the choppy visuals, which trigger migraines.  Having just beaten back a migraine, I wasn’t willing to go for round two.  If you want to watch it, though, please do so, here.

Without having seen the video, though, I can still tell you that anything it says is fallacious, to the extent that it tries to argue that Marxism is a better system than Capitalism.  I know this because I’ve had a lifetime to consider that argument.

My father, who was raised a Communist before dying a Reagan Democrat, kept believing to the day he died that Communism could somehow work, if it was just done right.  The problem, in his Communism steeped brain, was that the Russians, and the Chinese, and the Cubans, and the North Koreans just weren’t doing it right.   Back in those days, since I was young, and hadn’t refined my thoughts, I argued with him simply by reiterating that because Communism hadn’t yet been done right, no matter the time or place tried, that alone was a pretty good indication that it couldn’t be done right.

Those arguments are long gone, but I have finally distilled the principles that, in my mind at least, establish conclusively that Marxism, which draws all power away from the individual and vests that power in the State, can never be done right.  A few epigrammatic statements about the State are all I need:

  • The State has no conscience.
  • The State will always put its collective survival ahead of the living, breathing “cogs” that animate it (and it will dehumanize those cogs to the status of disposable cockroaches if need be to maintain its survival).
  • The State is incapable of rapid response to changing situations (with the federal response to the Gulf Spill being the ultimate example of the rigidity that renders it incapable of abandoning its perfect standards in the face of an overwhelming amount of spilled oil).
  • An all-powerful State, without any competition, has no incentive to provide good service, whatever that service may be (health care, housing, etc.).  Competition is the spur to quality.
  • Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  This was true before Lord Acton said it, and it will be true in perpetuity.  If you vest all power in the State, you inevitably have, not only absolute corruption, but you have absolute corruption with unfettered life-and-death power over every living and breathing “cog” under its control.

Your comments about either the Anchoress’ video or my conclusions?

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

Israel hasn’t changed; the world has *UPDATED*

[Prepare yourself; this is a long one.  Long-time readers may also recognize that I've cannibalized old posts in the service of a new point.]

A friend sent me a link to a 1951 video, showing a popular American singing group celebrating the creation of the State of Israel, something that had happened only three years before:

The affection a mainstream entertainment group felt for Israel was not anomalous back in 1951.  In the eyes of the American public, Israel — and the Jews — were starting what was to be a pretty good run for a number of decades.  This was not a historical accident but was, rather, the confluence of myriad social and geopolitical events.

On the home front, Jews had gone from being alien immigrants clogging New York’s Lower East Side, to becoming middle-class citizens who fully embraced every aspect of American life.  Sure, they might do their worshiping on Friday nights and Saturday mornings, and sure the men wore those funny little skull caps, and absolutely you wouldn’t want your daughter to marry one, but they were still — and quite obviously — solid Americans who embraced the same values as their goyish next-door neighbors.  In other words, for those who liked to justify the irrational, American Jews in the post-war era were not “deserving” of active antisemitism.

It helped that the post-WWII generation had seen exactly what active antisemitism looked like.  Active antisemitism wasn’t the American habit of barring Jews from neighborhoods, banks and law firms.  Nope.  Active antisemitism was serious stuff:

Lager Nordhausen, a Gestapo run concentration camp

Child dying on streets of Warsaw Ghetto

Mass grave at Bergen-Belsen

For the first time ever, Americans understood precisely how far insane, irrational race hated — and, especially, antisemitism — could lead.  The notion of Jews having their own country, a place from which they could defend themselves, made perfect sense to Americans who, less than 200 years before, had also created their own country.

When the nations of the world, in the form of a vaguely philo-semitic and pretty damn guilty UN, voted the State of Israel into existence, Americans cheered.  And when the surrounding Arab nations immediately declared war, intent upon creating a second Holocaust, public sympathy lay with the State of Israel.

This public sympathy was not just a post-War flash in the pan.  Twenty years later, when the Arab nations manifestly intended a second Holocaust, American sympathy again lay with Israel.

A perfect example of the American affinity for Israel is a 100-page 1967 commemorative issue of Life magazine entitled “Israel’s Swift Victory” — referring to the Six Day War in 1967.  What makes the magazine so distinct from today’s media  coverage of Israel is the tone. The Life editors admired Israel tremendously for standing up to the overwhelming odds the Arab nations presented, and for triumphing against those odds. The very first page identifies Israel as a minute, beleaguered haven for Jewish refugees, surrounded by an ocean of hostile Arab nations:

The state of Israel, no bigger than Massachusetts, was established in 1948 in Palestine as a haven for the war-ravaged Jewish communities of Europe. Bitter fighting attended her birth and fixed her boundaries against the surrounding phalanx of hostile Arab states: Jordan cut into her narrow wasp waist and through the holy city of Jerusalem; Egypt along her western desert flank was entrenched in the coastal strip of Gaza. At Israel’s southern tip is the strategic port of Elath, against which Egypt made the play that brought on the war and unhinged the entire Middle East.

Life‘s editors were unsympathetic to Egyptian President Abdel Gamel Nasser’s conduct, which the editors understood presented an existential threat that left Israel with no option but to react. After describing how Nasser, speaking from Cairo, demanded Israel’s extermination, Life editorializes thusly:

The world had grown accustomed to such shows [of destructive hatred towards Israel] through a decade of Arab-Israeli face-offs that seasonally blew as hot as a desert sirocco. Since 1948, when Israel defeated the Arabs and won the right to exist as a nation, anti-Zionist diatribes had been the Arab world’s only official recognition of Israel. Indeed, in the 19 years since the state was founded, the surrounding Arab states have never wavered from their claim that they were in a state of war with Israel.

But now there was an alarming difference in Nasser’s buildup. He demanded that the U.N. withdraw the 3,400-man truce-keeping force that had camped in Egypt’s Sinai desert and in the Gaza Strip ever since Egypt’s defeat in the Suez campaign of 1956 as a buffer between Egyptians and Israelis. A worried United Nations Secretary-General U Thant agreed to the withdrawal, then winged to Cairo to caution Nasser.

He found him adamant. Plagued by economic difficulties at home and bogged down in the war in Yemen, Nasser had lately been criticized by Syrians for hiding behind the U.N. truce-keeping force. With brinksmanship as his weapon, Nasser had moved to bolster his shaky claim to leadership of the divided Arab world.

As a caveat to my post caption (“Israel hasn’t changed; the world has”), I’ll note here that a few things in the world actually haven’t changed:  First, aside from its brief flirtation with decency in 1948, the UN has always been craven. Egypt demands that it withdraws and, voila, it withdraws. The other thing that hasn’t changed, although it’s no longer spoken of in polite MSM company, is the fact that the Arab nations have always used anti-Israeli rhetoric and conduct to deflect attention from their failures and as a vehicle to establish dominance over other Arab nations in the region. In other words, if there weren’t an Israel, the Arab nations would have had to invent one.

In contrast to the fevered, irrational hatred Life describes on the Arab side of the battle line, the Life editors are impressed by the Israelis. Under the bold heading “Israel’s cool readiness,” and accompanied by photographs of smiling Israeli soldiers taking a cooling shower in the desert, listening to their commander, and attending to their tanks, Life has this to say:

With the elan and precision of a practiced drill team, Israel’s largely civilian army — 71,000 regulars and 205,000 reservists — began its swift mobilization to face, if necessary, 14 Arab nations and their 110 million people. As Premier Levi Eshkol was to put it, “The Jewish people has had to fight unceasingly to keep itself alive…. We acted from an instinct to save the soul of a people.

Again, can you imagine a modern publication pointing out the vast disparity in landmass and population between Israel and the Arabs, or even acknowledging in the opening paragraph of any article that Israel has a right to exist? The text about Israel’s readiness is followed by more photographs of reservists preparing their weapons and of a casually seated Moshe Dayan, drinking a soda, and conferring with his men. Under the last photograph, you get to read this:

The Israelis, Dayan said, threw themselves into their hard tasks with “something that is a combination of love, belief and country.”

After using almost reverent tones to describe the Israelis’ offensive strike against the Arab air-forces, which gave Israel the decisive advantage in the War, Life addresses Israel’s first incursion into Gaza. I’m sure you’ll appreciate how the Gaza area is depicted:

Minutes after the first air strike, a full division of Israeli armor and mechanized infantry . . . was slashing into the Egyptian-held Gaza Strip. A tiny wasteland, the strip had been given up by Israel in the 1956 settlement and was now a festering splinter — the barren harbor for 315,000 refugees bent on returning to their Palestinian homes and the base for Arab saboteurs.

Wow! Those clueless (by today’s standards) Life writers actually seem to imply that Egypt, which controlled Gaza for eleven years, had some responsibility for this “festering,” dangerous area.

The Life editors are agog about Israeli military tactics:

The Israeli plan was so flexible that its architects at the last minute switched strategy to avoid a new deployment of enemy forces in southern Sinai. After the air strikes that wiped out the Arab air forces, Israeli armor and infantry swept westward across the waist of Sinai, parallel to the path of the Gaza breakthrough. A smaller column cut south from El Kuntilla, then raced toward Suez. Patrol boats and paratroops were sent to Sharm el Sheikh to break the blockade of the Gulf of Aqaba, but the airborne troops were able to land at the abandoned airfield because the Egyptians had fled. Meanwhile, fighting erupted on another front — the divided city of Jerusalem, where an Israeli pincer column encircled the old, Jordanian section. Yet another Israeli force moved against Jenin, north of Jerusalem. The final Israeli attacked, at the end of the week, was mounted against Syria, which had been shelling border settlements.

The Life editor’s tactical admiration emerges again when speaking about Israel’s successful taking of the Sinai Peninsula:

Stabbing into the Sinai desert, the Israelis stuck to the same strategy that in 1956 had carried them to the Suez Canal in 100 hours: never stop. Although outnumbered more than two to one — by an Egyptian force of almost 100,000 men grouped in seven divisions and supported by 900 tanks — they smashed ahead day and night, outracing the foe, encircling him time and again and trapping thousands of prisoners as Egyptian discipline collapsed. *** The battle — one of the epic armored engagements in history — lasted 24 hours and involved some 1,000 tanks.

Two things occur to me as I read the above descriptions of Israeli strategy in 1967: First, during the 2006 Israeli/Hezbollah war, if press reports are to be believed (and that’s always a leap of faith) Israel did not demonstrate either flexibility or speed. She remained rigidly fixated on using air power, despite the fact that (a) this hadn’t served the Americans that well in Iraq and (b) it didn’t appear to be achieving her objectives.

Indeed, it’s gotten to the point where it’s difficult to imagine the modern Israeli military ever acting with the type of decisiveness and flexibility it showed during the 1967 War.  In the 40+ years since the Six Day War, Israel’s military, like an old man, has become calcified and risk-averse.

The dynamism that characterized its strategy in 1967 was nowhere to be found in 2006, during the Hezbollah War, and its 100% commitment to the worthiness of its own cause seems to have collapsed completely now that Turkey and Iran — two sovereign nations that sit with Israel in the UN — are actively colluding with terrorists to bring weapons into a small neighboring nation-state (that would be Gaza), in order to pave the way for Israel’s destruction.  Only a nation that cares more about world opinion than its own existence would board a terrorist ship armed with paint balls.  Israel’s caving on the blockade is also symptomatic of a loss of faith in itself.

The second thing that occurred to me reading the above was the fact that the Life writers are describing a traditional war: army versus army. Under those circumstances, there’s a tremendous virtue in cheering for the underdog who routs the larger force.

Nowadays, where asymmetrical warfare means that there’s a traditional army on one side and terrorists hiding amongst and targeting civilians on the other side, the battle lines, the tactical lines, and the victory lines can easily be confusing.  This is especially true when you have those, like members of MSM, who don’t understand the nature of the war (one side wants peaceful coexistence; one side wants genocide); who don’t understand that the terrorists are, in fact, well-funded soldiers of Islamic nations, such as Iran and Syria; and who focus on the minutiae of the daily casualty reports without any understanding of the larger dynamics involved (hint:  Iran, Syria and, now, Turkey).

When confronted with the traditional army versus army conflict, as opposed to the illusory “army versus little guy” conflict, the 1967 press could easily distinguish the forest from the trees, as demonstrated in this paragraph:

The Sinai victory had cost the Israelis heavier casualties than the 1956 Suez campaign, 275 dead and 800 wounded. . . . The Egyptian losses were staggering — 20,000 dead by Israeli estimates and perhaps a billion-dollar lost in war materiel. But the objective was gained. Israeli troops took up positions on the east bank of the Suez Canal — and trained their guns on Egypt’s homeland. [Emphasis mine.]

The Life editors also take on what they perceive as the canard that the U.S. blindly allies itself with Israel — a canard that persists to this day, and one that Barack Obama has taken wholly to heart.  Indeed, I have no doubt but that Obama is seriously considering as solid strategic advice the message he received today from Al Qaeda:

Al Qaeda’s American-born spokesman has repeated the terror group’s conditions for peace with America in a video released Sunday.

Adam Gadahn called on President Barack Obama to withdraw his troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, end support for Israel, stop intervening in the affairs of Muslims, and free Muslim prisoners.

If I remember correctly, that was pretty much the same deal (albeit with different nations and another kind of totalitarianism involved) that Hitler offered Chamberlain back in 1938.  And we know how well that turned out.

Back in 1967, the intelligentsia that controlled the MSM wasn’t as easily deceived as the Ivory Tower crowd and media heads are now.  In discussing UN proceedings and, specifically Soviet behavior, the magazine’s editors demonstrated that they understood that Israel was then, as it is now, a pawn in a larger game.  Because this is an extraordinarily important point, and one manifestly ignored on the Left (and often misunderstood in the non-ideological middle), I’m reprinting in its entirety the magazine section focusing on the Cold War aspect of Israel’s travails:

As the Arab soldiers and refugees made their sad and painful way from the scenes of their defeat, the Soviet Union threw its heaviest oratorical gun into the United Nations in an effort to salvage some of what it had lost in the Mideast. Premier Aleksei Kosygin arrived at the General Assembly with an arsenal of invective.

Kosygin put all the blame on Israel and its “imperialist” backers (i.e., the U.S. and Britain). As he saw it, Israel’s “atrocities and violence” brought to mind “the heinous crimes perpetrated by the fascists during World War II.” He demanded the Assembly’s approval for a resolution — rejected earlier by the Security Council — that would condemn Israel as sole aggressor in the conflict, and he proposed that Israel not only be made to pull back to her prewar borders but also to pay reparations to the Arabs for their losses.

He was answered by the Israeli foreign minister, Abba Eban [his speech is here], whose detailed documentation and eloquence told how the Arabs had given his country the choice of defending its national existence or forfeiting it for all time. Then he put Kosygin himself in the defendant’s dock. Russia, he charged, was guilty of inflaming passions in a region “already too hot with tension” by feeding the arms race and spreading false propaganda. He called Kosygin’s reference to the Nazis “an obscene comparison . . . a flagrant breach of international morality and human decency.” As for the Russian demand that Israel pull back to her prewar lines, that, he said, was totally unacceptable until durable and just solutions are reached “in free negotiations with each of our neighbors.” The Arab states “have come face to face with us in conflict; let them now come face to face with us in peace.” Israel was determined not be deprived of her victory.

I assume you caught that the Soviet speaker used precisely the same rhetoric about Israel that has become normative throughout Europe and in most Leftist publications.  He castigated Israel as an imperialist entity and claimed that her tactics were “atrocities” that were identical to those the Nazis used. Unlike today’s MSM, Life‘s 1967 editorial team appears appalled by the tenor and falsity of those accusations.

Back in 1967, the American media was apparently also better able to deal with the fallacious argument stating that Israel is an anchor around America’s neck, dragging her down in her dealings with whomever she happens to be dealing with (whether the Soviet bloc or the Islamists).  The Life editors, some of whom probably were alive, and perhaps fighting, during WWII, understood that an ally’s moral stance is a significant factor in choosing that ally, and that an enemy’s moral deficits are equally important:

The error [the belief that the U.S. unthinkingly supports Israel] arises out of the fact that in most disputes the U.S. has been found on Israel’s side.  That’s because it is the Arabs who challenge the existence of Israel, and not vice versa.

There you have it, in a 1967 nutshell.  The U.S. sides with Israel not because of any hostility to Arabs, but because it recognizes the right of a sovereign nation to defend itself against annihilation — a principle that should be as operative today as it was 40+ years ago.  To the extent that Israel is a mere pawn in larger wars, if America abandons Israel, she is playing right into the hands, not just of Israel’s enemies, but of America’s own.

Because the editors understood the Cold War dynamics at work in the Middle East, they were also clear-headed about the implications of the refugee problem that was arising from the war, a problem that dwarfed the first round of refugees that the Muslim world had begun to use as propaganda tools after the 1948 war, and that the world’s useful idiots funded.  Keep in mind that, in no other place, at no other time, have refugees been kept in stasis in perpetuity.  They have always been resettled, and gone on either to create new communities or to be assimilated within the larger community to which they have relocated.  This would have made especially good sense with the Gaza refugees, who had been simply Ottomans, Jordanians, or Egyptians, depending on the century at issue, the Muslim nation that had regional dominance at the time, and the fellahin‘s geographic proximity to a given Muslim overlord.

Again, because the Life editorial is both clear-headed and prescient, I’m reprinting it here in its entirety (emphasis mine):

The 20th Century’s excellence — and its horrid defects — find some of their most vivid monuments in the hate-filled camps of Arab refugees. The refugees have been supported by the voluntary U.N. contributions of some 75 governments, not to mention the Inner Wheel Club of Hobart, Australia, the Boy Scout Union of Finland, the Women’s Club of Nes, Iceland, the Girls High School of Burton-on-Trend, England, and (for some reason) a number of automobile companies including Chrysler, Ford, G.M. and Volkswagen.

The philanthropy, governmental and private, that has aided these displaced Arabs is genuine — and admirable. The stupidity and political selfishness that have perpetuated the problem are appalling.

Down the ages, there have been thousands of episodes in which whole peoples fled their homes. Most were assimilated in the lands to which they fled. Brutally or beneficently, previous refugee groups were liquidated. Not until our time have there been the money, the philanthropy, the administrative skill, the hygienic know-how and the peculiar kind of nationalism which, in combination, could take a wave of refugees and freeze it into a permanent and festering institution.

In the wake of Israeli victories, the refugee camps received thousands of new recruits, and there may be more if, as seems likely, Israel successfully insists on some enlargement of its boundaries. Thus the refugee problem, one of the main causes of Middle East instability, is about to be magnified.

The early Zionists, looking toward a binational state, never thought they would, could or should replace the Arabs in Palestine.  When terrorism and fighting mounted in 1947-48, Arab leaders urged Palestinian Arabs to flee, promising that the country would soon be liberated.  Israelis tried to induce the Arabs to stay.  For this reason, the Israelis do not now accept responsibility for the Arab exodus.  Often quoted is the statement of a Palestinian Arab writer that the Arab leaders “told us:  ‘Get out so that we can get in.’  We got out but they did not get in.”

After the Israeli victory, Arab leaders outside of Palestine reversed their policy and demanded that all the refugees be readmitted to Israel. Israel reversed its policy, [and] refused to repatriate large numbers of Arabs on the ground that they would endanger the state. Nasser, for instance, has said, “If Arabs return to Israel, Israel will cease to exist.”

Now 1.3 million Arabs, not counting the recent influx, are listed as refugees. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has an international staff of about a hundred and spends nearly $40 million a year, 60% of it from the U.S. government. UNRWA services are performed by 11,500 Arab employees, most them refugees. Obviously, this group has an interest in not solving the refugee problem.

So have the host governments. Consistently they have refused to go along with any plan or policy for the resettlement or assimilation of the refugees, preferring to use them politically. In 1955 the Arab League scuttled a Jordan Valley development project precisely because it would have reduced, perhaps by 250,000, the number of Arab refugees.

It’s about time this dangerous deadlock ended. The inevitable reshuffle of the Middle East ought to include a plan to phase out the refugee problem in five or 10 years. Israel, to show goodwill, should repatriate a few thousand refugees per year. All of the 1.3 million could be absorbed in underpopulated Iran and Syria, provided their governments would cooperate in internationally supported developments projects. Persuading Arab governments to adopt a policy of resettlement should be central to U.S. policy, and it would be worth putting up quite a lot of A.I.D. money to get the job done. [Bolded emphasis mine.]

History has shown the Life editors to be correct when they believed that UN economic interests and Arab political interests would leave the refugee camps as a permanent blight on the Middle Eastern landscape. They were naive only in believing that anyone had the political will to solve the problem. They also could not have anticipated that, in a very short time, the same situation, with its same causes, would be plunged into a looking-glass world, where the Arab governments and the UN were absolved of their sins, and the blame was placed on Israel for not having engaged in an act of self-immolation by taking in these 1.3 million (and counting, and counting, and counting) hate-filled refugees.

America’s fondness and admiration for Israel extended to a cultural appreciation for the Jews as well.  I came of age during the 1960s and 1970s (and 1973, of course, saw the Yom Kippur War, another triumph of Israel’s dynamism that Americans generally applauded).  These were the high water years of America’s pop culture appreciation for her Jews.

If you were around in those decades, you’ll remember a time when popular culture was awash in successful books, songs, and shows that reflected favorably on American Jewish life and culture. For example, when I was a kid, everyone read and quoted from Dan Greenberg’s incredibly funny book, How to be a Jewish Mother. I had a friend who would just double over with laughter every time she thought of the appropriate Jewish mother response if she comes into the living room and finds her daughter necking on the couch with a boy: “Leave this house and don’t come back until you’re a virgin again.”  Another hugely popular Jewish book of the 1960s was Leo Rosten’s The Joys of Yiddish, a book that is a dictionary, a joke book, a cultural history, and a religious history book all rolled into one. (If you haven’t read it yet, you should.)

Anyone over forty also remembers Allan Sherman, the guy who became famous singing “Hello, Muddah; Hello, Faddah” and other ridiculous lyrics to familiar music? His records are still available, but in the 1960s they were a cultural phenomenom.  Sherman’s Ne York Jewishness was an integral part of his humor.  And certainly, no one needs to be reminded of what an enormous hit Fiddler on the Roof was: smash Broadway show, hit movie, and revival after revival. It still does get revived periodically (as was the case in 2004 in New York), but can you imagine it opening as a first run show now, in the same world that lauds a show about about the deranged and pathetic Rachel Corrie?  I certainly can’t.

So much of the entertainment world generally had a Jewish gloss.  Even in the 1960s and 1970s, the Jewish entertainers who hit the big time in Tin Pan Alley, Big Bands, and Broadway from the 1920s through 1940s hadn’t yet been pushed aside.  The American public still recognized and appreciated works from Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Richard Rogers, the Gershwin brothers, Moss Hart, George Kaufman, Lerner and Loewe, Dorothy Field, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, etc.  Milton Berle, George Burns, and Jack Benny lived in American’s living rooms during the 1950s, courtesy of their eponymous TV shows.  While none of these entertainers inserted any Jewish doctrine or explicit Jewish references into their work, their Jewishness permeated who they were and what they did — and Americans still loved them.

Pop culture comes and goes, and I certainly don’t mind — indeed, I think it’s a good thing — that other cultures are getting their moment in the pop culture sun. What I do mind, dreadfully, is how hostile so much of the world is now to things Jewish. Rachel Corrie is a martyr, anti-Semitism is popping up all over, churches boycott Israel, and the New York Times pretends that it was mere coincidence that, back in 2008, the lone Jewish enclave in Mumbai was singled out for an attack that surpassed all the others in sheer brutality.  I miss the time when the Jews were a beloved people, and their culture a thing to be enjoyed and admired.

I’ve now dragged you, higgledy-piggledy, through sixty years of Jewish and Israeli history, as it intersected with American history.  I’ve shown that, pockets of American antisemitism notwithstanding, for most of those sixty years Americans appreciated their Jews, and admired the State of Israel.  More than that, they understood Israel’s role in world geopolitics, seeing it as a proxy for the ugly war the Soviet Bloc was waging against America itself.

Things are completely different now.  Around the world, antisemitism is becoming more blatant and more violent.  Anti-Israel sentiment, which I believe to be an extension of antisemitism, has become de riguer, both abroad and, sadly, somewhat at home.  Our President, whether he is a Muslim or just a sociopath who sympathizes with Islamic goals, has given Israel the cold shoulder and slobbered his way to the feet of every totalitarian Muslim dictator he can find.  Israel has become a pariah nation.

What I find so interesting is that Israel has not changed in the last 60 years.  She is still a small, representative democracy surrounded by dozens of nations that are highly repressive theocratic dictatorships.  Unlike the surrounding nations, she gives equal rights to people of different faiths, colors, creeds, and sexual orientation. (The surrounding nations, in stark contrast, kill and expel people of different faiths, colors, creeds, and sexual orientation, all the while maintaining a brutal war for dominance against the women in the midst.) Israel’s values, in other words, are completely synchronous with those ostensibly espoused by the Western nations that now,  not only despise Israel, but that ally themselves with Islamic dictatorships that practice values completely antithetical to what were, until a few years ago, normative in the West.

Israel also still lives poised on the thin edge of destruction at the hands of those hundreds of millions of citizens who reside in those totalitarian Muslim nations.  She is still the vanguard in a war that both she and the West fight.  Where the enemy was once “Godless Communism,” it’s now Islamic Jihadism, but both enemies have the same goal:  the total destruction of the West and of countries with Western values, and the absorption of those Western nations into political systems that deny individual freedom and that relentlessly destroy their own citizens (in vast numbers) in order to achieve state dominance.

What’s changed, obviously, is the West.  Even though we ostensibly won the Cold War, insofar as we witnessed the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, it’s manifest that we also lost the Cold War, in that we lost our self-identity and internalized the values of the Soviet Bloc itself.  As I pointed out above, there is absolutely nothing to distinguish the speech made by the Soviet’s UN ambassador in 1967 from the standard political talk against Israel that routinely emanates today in Europe and (sadly) in America’s Democratic party.

The Left’s war on the West continues unabated and, as it did in 1967, the Left has allied itself with the Islamic jihadists.  What’s different now, is that there are no longer geographic lines, with a nice Iron Curtain neatly delineating the descendants of the Judeo-Christian enlightenment from Marx’s heirs.  Like a fungus, the latter have disseminated themselves through all western societies and are working vigorously on bringing them down.  As was the case in the 1930s, in 1948, in 1956, in 1967, and in 1973, Israel and the Jews are the front line in the battle, only now they fight alone.

Given that our President has clearly put himself on the wrong side of this war, it is imperative that “We, the people” take up moral arms on Israel’s behalf.  We don’t have to board the next plane and enlist in the IDF (although I know many who did in 1973), but we must put political pressure on everyone we know to force America back into the Israeli camp.  Doing so is not some sentimental act on behalf of a nation America once liked and admired.  As the Life editors recognized back in 1967, it is an absolutely necessary step if America wishes to defend herself against statist and theocratic forces that have allied with an eye to America’s ultimate destruction.

UPDATE:  Proving that I am not writing in a vacuum, two things came to my attention just today that emphasize the unholy linkage between the Left and Islam, on the one hand, and Israel and America, on the other hand.  That linkage has always been there, but now it’s not a fringe; it’s part of the dominant culture.  Very scary.  Anyway, the first is a Zombie article about a strike at the Oakland docks that sees Longshoremen, Communists and Islamists joining hands to protest a perfectly innocuous Israeli ship.  The second is Andy McCarthy’s short post commenting on the collusion between the Left and Islam, a running theme in his new book The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.

Obama and socialism

I warned people close to me (mother, sister, etc.) that Obama was a socialist and they laughed at me and (quite lovingly, because they’re my mom and my sister) called me “extreme.”  I wonder if they would have laughed at Al Sharpton too, now that he’s finally let the cat out of the bag:

Al Sharpton isn’t the only one coming out of the woodwork.  David Leonhardt, writing with the New York Times’ approving imprimatur, spells out precisely what’s going on:

For all the political and economic uncertainties about health reform, at least one thing seems clear: The bill that President Obama signed on Tuesday is the federal government’s biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago.

Read the rest of Leonhardt’s euphoric socialist economic polemic here.

Stop me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the liberal media and the pundits go ballistic when all of us said that Obama’s statement to Joe the Plumber about “spreading the wealth” was a purely socialist notion?  They just think it’s a good thing that it should be the government’s responsibility to, hmm, let me see if I’ve got this right: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”  Quiz those pundits and media-crities and they might suggest some authors for that famous expression.  Was that Adam Smith who said that?  No.  Reagan?  No.  Jefferson?  No.  Tell me that it was Karl Marx, the founder of modern socialism, and I bet they’d be surprised.

Finally, all the pieces have come together, and the MSM is still urging us to avert our heads and not to listen.

I’m sorry this post is incoherent, but I’m irritated, and still trying to get my thoughts organized right now.

Steve Schippert unloads on the “Slaughter Option” & Jamie Glazov speaks of courage under tyranny

As everyone should know by now, House Democrats are contemplating doing away entirely with a vote on the Senate bill, and simply announcing that they’ve passed it.  After all, why shouldn’t the Constitution bow down before their overweening statism?  Steve Schippert, a veteran, has unloaded both cannons against this attack on core American values and governance:

Lose sight of what you are defending and defense isn’t all that important, is it?

This simple reminder compels us to shift focus for the moment from our combative enemies and onto that which we defend. We do not engage in such rigorous defense – in its many forms – simply to preserve soil or borders or lives. We engage in rigorous defense of ideas. Ideas embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. We do not defend simply the shores and borders and people of America. We defend – rigorously – so much more than that. We defend what it means to be American. We defend what it is that inspires so many countless others to risk life, limb and treasure to get to America even still.

And, to put it plainly, there is tyranny afoot and it must be confronted and defeated with confidence, determination and passion. The confrontation is not about health care or any other piece of legislation. It is not about politicians, politics or parties.

The confrontation is about process. The confrontation is about fidelity to the Constitution.

House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter says she is “prepping to help usher the healthcare overhaul through the House and potentially avoid a direct vote on the Senate overhaul bill.” She continued, explaining how House passage of a separate bill containing “changes” to the Senate version would lead House leadership to “deem” the actual Senate HealthCare Bill passed – without a direct vote.

This is not simply tyrannical in nature, it is absolute political cowardice.

Read the rest here.

Also, I suggest that, after reading Steve’s impassioned defense of Constitutional liberty against tyrannical demagoguery, you read Jamie Glazov’s remembrance of his parents, both of whom stood up bravely against the horrors of the Soviet Union.  Being Jewish, I’ve had the pleasure over many years to know so many refusniks and dissidents who stood up to the Soviet Union and made their way to freedom.  I always admired these men and women.  Now, however, I am reminded that their courage must be universal, or we may find ourselves living through the end of the noble American experiment.