Despite superficial differences, America and Israel are fighting the same terrorists

Last week, I posted this image:

Fighting the same terrorists

Some commenters at both my “real me” and my Bookworm Facebook rightly (and politely) pointed out that those who attack the Twin Towers are not the same people as those whom Israel is now fighting. Israel’s enemy calls itself Hamas, while al Qaeda was the entity that took responsibility for bringing down the Twin Towers.

I laboriously explained that, even though the two organizations have different names and, more importantly, one is Sunni and one Shia, the overarching similarity that binds them is that they are both Islamic. All radical Islamic entities, regardless of sect or name, hew to the same basic principles: They hate Jews, Israel, America, Christians, Gays, Hindus, and Women. Those are the “fundamentalist” parts of all Islamic fundamentalists. Everything else is just window dressing.

In making that observation, I could have saved myself a lot of energy if I’d first seen this Dry Bones cartoon, which in a single picture, with just a few words, makes exactly the same point:

They're all the same

A random thought about al Qaeda’s latest threat

Marin County LineOne of the things Democrats generally and Obama specifically are trying to do is to concentrate more Americans into cities.  Suburbs are seen as dangerous bastions of privilege, conservativism, individualism, and racism where people do un-green things such as driving cars to their single-family homes.  This video, for example, shows how the federal government has been attacking Westchester County, arguing that single-family houses are intrinsically racist:

We’re having the same types of attacks leveled on Marin County:  Democrats in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., working with the federal courts, are trying to turn Marin into a densely populated small city, with dressed-up tenements for poor people overwhelming Marin’s spacious, single-family homes.  Of course, what none of these activists considered, and what’s now becoming painfully obvious, is that Marin doesn’t have enough water to sustain this forced urban growth.  We single-family home dwellers spent a fortune on our properties and are having them taken away, not directly through eminent domain, but indirectly through activist legislatures and courts using the language of diversity to turn middle class neighborhoods into tenements.

To the extent that the American voting map is purple, it’s because blue cities sit as fortresses in red suburbs and rural areas.  The bigger the cities, or the more cities per state, the more likely the state is to be a Blue State.

With these considerations in mind, it was with some interest that I read that al Qaeda is urging its followers to plant car bombs in American cities.  My first thought was, “I’m glad I don’t (yet) live in a city.”  My second thought was to wonder how many current city dwellers are going to start thinking that cities are prime targets for terrorism and that maybe, just maybe, they don’t want to live in a terrorist’s version of a bulls-eye.

Friday factoids (and Open Thread)

Victorian posy of pansiesI have lots of intelligent thoughts swirling in my head.  The problem is that they haven’t settled down and become coherent.  Mostly, I’m focused on an upcoming outing with my mother.

My mother is an inveterate shopper.  At almost 91, shopping isn’t just the main pleasure in her life, it’s her only pleasure.  Sometimes I take her (which is truly a test of my love because I hate shopping); sometimes a friend takes her; and sometimes (actually, weekly) she boards the bus at her managed care facility for an outing to her favorite store.

Her most recent solo outing, however, left her distraught.  I got a confused tale about lost receipts, switched-out clothing, purse-snatching sales clerks (although she still has her purse and everything in it), kissing sales ladies, and a general feeling that “something is wrong there.”  I’m sure something is wrong, but I’m not sure whether this mainstream, reputable store is having a management failure or if my mother’s mental capacity has suddenly diminished.  I suspect the latter, but am open to the former — so I’m taking Mom to the store today to see what’s going on.

Meanwhile, there’s interesting stuff out there.

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By now, I’m sure all of you have heard that Dinesh D’Souza was indicted for alleged campaign funding malfeasance to the tune of $20,000.  A couple of comments:  To the extent his lawyer is talking about innocent mistakes, my reading is that D’Souza almost certainly committed the act as charged.  And to the extent that a John Edwards’ friend did the same, and was only charged with a misdemeanor, the over-the-top attack on D’Souza is political revenge.  Check here for Maetenloch’s list of a long line of Mafia-style policing from the Obama administration against conservatives and here, at Gateway Pundit, for Chuck Schumer’s explicit call-out to the IRS to attack conservative groups (but not Organizing for America, of course, Obama’s political arm).

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Zombie has a shocking (no Casablanca-style irony here when I use that word) report about San Francisco’s decision to continue paying a pension to a former city employee convicted on felony charges for storing and sharing the most vile kind of child pornography.  In addition to the images on his computer, the official included excited comments on the photographs giving his enthusiastic support to violence inflicted on children as young as infants and toddlers.  He reserved special approval for situations involving black adults abusing children or black children being abused.  According to the City, his acts didn’t constitute “moral turpitude.”  To which one can only say, “Huh”?

As for a reason behind the Progressive City’s continued support for the felon, it might have something to do with the fact that he’s a gay rights advocate who spearheaded nationwide recognition for “domestic partnerships” and, ironically enough, campaigned vigorously against alleged discrimination against blacks at sex clubs.  In other words, despite his crimes, he’s still politically untouchable.

My comments should not be construed as a swipe at “domestic partnership” laws, which I think are a much better idea than gay marriage, a notion that risks a devastating clash with First Amendment religious rights.  Instead, they’re meant to attack a Progressive world view that forgives any sin provided that the person committing the sin has the right political credentials.  (Roman Polanski comes to mind as another example of this attitude.)

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How about, instead of talking about blacks as the sexual playthings of a disgusting human being, we talk about them as fully realized human beings who do what the rest of us do, which is making political and social choices based upon their life experiences?  If that’s how you view people of other races, religions, cultures, sexual orientations, etc., please read Lloyd Marcus’s article about his upbringing and journey to conservativism, all of which took place inside a home with a hard-working father, and some of which took place in a sparkly new housing project that swiftly devolved into a Hobbesian nightmare.

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If you ever get into an argument with a Leftist about anything — not just about politics, but about anything — you’ll notice one inevitable hallmark of their arguing style.  It’s always personal.  For example, a Leftist will say “That new HBO show Looking is really good.”  You’ll respond “I didn’t like it much.”  A non-Leftist might say, “Oh, that’s too bad.”  Or he might ask, “Why not?”  Or he could say, “But it’s a really good look at the ordinary life of ordinary gays, and is worth watching for that reason.”  But that’s not what a Leftist will say.  He’ll say, “You’re homophobic.”  Or he’ll say, “That’s because you’re too stupid/narrow minded/unreasonable/backwards to appreciate good television.”  It’s never about the show; it’s always about you.

Thomas Sowell has noticed this habit too, a habit that isn’t about the personal being political, but goes beyond that:  Everything is personal when a Leftist is involved — and you’re always the wrong or damaged or stupid or prejudiced or all-around evil person.  After looking at the roots of this practice and giving examples in both 20th and 21st century politics, Sowell, who is a humanist, offers a possible explanation:

The vision of the Left is not just a vision of the world. For many, it is also a vision of themselves — a very flattering vision of people trying to save the planet, rescue the exploited, create “social justice,” and otherwise be on the side of the angels. This is an exalting vision that few are ready to give up, or to risk on a roll of the dice, which is what submitting it to the test of factual evidence amounts to. Maybe that is why there are so many fact-free arguments on the left, whether on gun control, minimum wages, or innumerable other issues — and why they react so viscerally to those who challenge their vision.

I’m not a humanist.  My possible explanation is that Leftism is attractive to deeply insecure people who don’t have a solid sense of their own worth and values.  They latch onto a political ideology that spells out expressly what’s right and wrong, and that gives them permission to function as their own God-heads, casting nonbelievers into eternal damnation.  In other words, it’s a political ideology of, by, and for malignant narcissists.

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Speaking of Looking, a half-hour long HBO dramedy that looks at young gays in San Francisco, it turns out that audiences didn’t want to look.  We actually turned it off in the first 30 seconds of the first episode, when a character sneaked into the bushes to meet another man who attacked his zipper and headed (literally) for his crotch.  This is always going to be the problem with the gay lifestyle.  Even people who are not homophobic and believe that they are entitled to full civil rights really don’t want to know too much about the sexual excesses in which so many gay young men engage.

And while we’re on the subject of salacious productions, enjoy this video (which is extremely good satire, but is not safe for work).

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I don’t think the college bubble is going to burst in time to spare me the cost of sending my two upper-middle-class suburban kids to college.  But it will burst.  Two articles mark the way to bubble collapse.  The first, in The Atlantic, focuses on kids with big debts and no job prospects.  The second, in Forbes, gives voice to one person who thinks he made a smart decision to skip college.  I know that, in my neck of the words, more and more parents are encouraging those of their children who aren’t that academically oriented to look into working for a year or two before going to college or to get their first two years done at the local community college.

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At IBD, both Michael Ramirez and Andrew Malcolm examine Obama’s latest position in the war on terror:  trash-talking al Qaeda.  Neither is impressed.  Richard Baehr has a few compelling and pertinent thoughts on the subject too.

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Also at IBD, an editorial saying that the California drought is not a product of all-encompassing climate change, just as the Polar Vortex isn’t.  It’s happened repeatedly before, and it will happen repeatedly again.  Both are parts of earth’s ever-changing and completely natural cycle.  I hate the drought, but I’m not railing at evil corporate conglomerates.  And in any event, if I want to rail at evil conglomerates who pollute our world, I should yell at the Americans and Europeans who ship their dirty factories to China and at the Chinese fascist government that lets them.  (I’ve decided that China is no longer communist, since it has shifted to a market-based economy.  Instead, it’s now fascist, since the government continues to control the people and the ostensibly privately-owned marketplace.)

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It’s great to be the messiah.  Even as you drive the US economy into the ditch, you and your family enjoy the high life — and charge it to the demoralized, broke American people.  When Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette did that, they lost their heads.  Obama and Co., however, get away with it without even having a dent put on their halos.

Back in the saddle and ready to blog

Victorian posy of pansiesLong, long day.  Really long.  I spent it with my mother, an experience that always exhausts me.  Age has sucked everything but the life out of her.  There’s no vestige anymore of the person she once was.  That saddens me, even though I know it’s the way of things.  A day spent with her is no longer a day with Mom, which used to be my delight, but is, instead, a day spent with a very frail, very slow, somewhat confused, usually grumpy, very passive-aggressive, lovingly narcissistic, obsessive compulsive person.

I don’t regret the time.  I still love the person she was, so I care deeply for the person she is, but I always arrive home completely drained.  It takes energy for me to slow down to her speed (which is the same reason I never enjoyed toddlers) and it takes even more energy for me to deal with her relentless negativity and to track, and respond appropriately to, her often obscure conversation.  I’m a grumpy person myself, so I’ve told both the kids to kick me in the tuchus if, when I’m old, I whine endlessly.  I’ve told them to feel free to threaten me with their absence if I don’t clean up (or cheer up) my act.

Thankfully, I’ve now had a couple of hours to decompress.  My husband took my daughter and her friends to the movies, the dogs are washed and resting nearby, and the mouse is making music on its creaky little wheel.  Everything is peaceful.  I like peaceful, since it gives my brain freedom.  And with that mental freedom comes the urge to share my thoughts.  Here goes:

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Upside down nazi salute quenelleThe new Nazi salute rises in Europe.  Its practitioners say it’s a joke, because they angle their stiff arm downwards, not upwards.  Their claim that it’s a joke is a lie, of course.  They pair this neo-Nazi salute with the same venomous anti-Semitism that led the Nazis to create the gas chambers.  Also, it’s very bizarre to see black men do this salute, since the Nazis believed firmly in black racial inferiority  Hitler, as many recall, was livid when Jesse Owens swept the races during the 1936 Munich Olympics.  How dare he prove false one of the Nazi’s racial theories.

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Bloody fingerprints in BenghaziAndrew McCarthy has penned one of his best posts.  In addition to shredding the purported facts in the now-infamous New York Times whitewash of Benghazi history (which I won’t dignify with a link), McCarthy zeroes in on the real purpose behind the story — and it’s not just to salvage Hillary’s reputation:

[T]he objective of Kirkpatrick’s novella is not to persuade; it is to shrink the parameters of newsworthy inquiry to a punctilious debate over nonsense: The cockamamie trailer and the dizzying jihadist org chart.

[snip]

Coherence and historical accuracy are not what the Times is after. The aim is to drag our consideration of a jihadist act of war down a rabbit hole of nitpicking over which jihadists did what. Meanwhile, the Obama administration’s derelictions before, during, and after the massacre — the matter of greatest consequence — remain studiously outside this wearying crossfire.

Remember, the Times-Clinton tag team has run this play before. Start with a president using a young intern to turn the Oval Office into a brothel and then perjuring himself over it. Ought to be a removable offense, right? But the next thing you know, after some epic media investigation dictated by Democratic talking points, we find ourselves kvetching over whether it was really sex; whether she was of consenting age; whether he really lied; whether the lies were really “material”; whether a president’s Oval Office trysts are really part of his “private life”; and “what the definition of ‘is’ is.”

See? None of the ever tinier questions or answers matter. The idea is to exhaust the American attention span until enough people are persuaded that it’s time to — all together now — move on.

McCarthy ends his post with dozens of the big questions, the ones that need to be asked.  The tragedy of those questions, a tragedy in many ways greater even than those four lonely, violent deaths in Benghazi, is that no one will ever ask them.  The media surrounding Obama and Hillary doesn’t want to know the answer to those questions, and Obama and Hillary will be careful to avoid every coming into contact with the people willing to ask them.

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Behead those who insult IslamCaroline Glick sees a silver lining to that same New York Times article.  She believes that the Times, while trying to whitewash Obama and Hillary, accidentally admitted an important truth:  Radical Islam, which is a worldwide phenomenon made up of many groups and individuals, is the problem.   Al Qaeda is just one tiny drop in the Islamist ocean.  This reality runs counter to Obama’s own narrative.

Since bin Laden’s death, as you know, Obama has been boasting that al Qaeda is dead, meaning that America no longer need fear massive terrorist attacks or global warfare.  With that fiction in place, Obama has felt free to pal around with Iran, the Taliban, the Turkish government, etc.  The New York Times just blew that fiction to smithereens.  Either al Qaeda was the main actor in Benghazi, which means that Obama lied when he said it was defeated, dropped the ball in Benghazi, and lied after the fact; or al Qaeda didn’t commit the Benghazi massacre, which means that Obama lied when he said al Qaeda was the only Islamic enemy, and that he’s been exposing America to terrible danger by refusing to acknowledge terrorists other than al Qaeda.

I agree with Glick in principle, but believe that only a small subset of Americans will appreciate these subtleties.  Either they support Obama and Hillary or they don’t.  Nothing else matters.

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UCLAJonathan Marks writes a brilliant take-down of the antisemitic American Studies Association.

And speaking of the travesty that is modern academia, if you can get behind the Wall Street Journal’s paywall, please check out Heather MacDonald’s masterful exposure of the rot at the heart of UCLA’s English literature department.  Shakespeare is out and now English majors must take “a total of three courses in the following four areas: Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability and Sexuality Studies; Imperial, Transnational, and Postcolonial Studies; genre studies, interdisciplinary studies, and critical theory; or creative writing.”

It sure sounds as if the English Lit department has been transformed into the Marxist Social Issues department.  The students will learn how not to think.  Well, they’re actually learning how not to think in every department at every major American university.  (In years past, I might have excluded the sciences from that blanket statement, but the sciences’ impassioned embrace of the global warming hoax reveals that academia is tainted in toto.)  Worse, these English majors will never learn learn about the beauty of their mother tongue nor will they be exposed to big ideas about human kind.  Instead, their prose, and the thoughts underlying that prose, will be like this:

At its most intimate, colonization involves bodies, altering how subjects experience and conceive of desire, hunger, touch, comfort, pleasure, and pain. This panel seeks participants from all disciplines engaged with the objects of early American studies to contribute to a discussion of method and theory for understanding early American carnality. In particular, it is concerned with the intersection of bodily sensation with evolving understandings of empire, nation, encounter, and resistance. How was colonization effected through and affected by sensation? How do theories of affect and intimacy impact current early American historiographies, and vice versa? How might Americanists reconceptualize our understandings of the significance of empire and colonization through attentiveness to early American sensation? Proposals that consider race, gender, and/or sexuality dynamically or that explore economic status, religion, local conditions, or ethno-cultural identities as part of carnality strongly encouraged (though naming some themes is not meant to exclude other possibilities).

Each panelist will present a 10 minute paper and be paired with a respondent who will provide prepared comments. Respondents will ideally be non-early Americanists in order to foster temporal interdisciplinarity.

Mr. Bookworm doesn’t understand why I’m resistant to spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to send my children to big name colleges. It’s not just that they’re rife with antisemitism and anti-Americanism.  It’s because major universities such as UCLA are neutering and Marx-icizing their English departments, meaning that the universities’ ultimate goal is for America’s “best and brightest” (or at least, her “A” and “B” students) to be taught to think and write in the way of American academics.

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Nuns caring for the sickEverything you need to know about the Obama administration:  It frees from prison Lynne Stewart, an unrepentant Communist who actively aided Islamist terrorism against the US, even as it gets ever-more-deeply involved in a down and dirty fight with nuns who refuse to let  the government force them to violate their religious conscience.  My money is on the nuns.  Obama may have a rigid ideology on his side, but the nuns are members of God’s army, and they will not give up the fight.  Fortunately, the Archdiocese of New York is not playing nice but is, instead, telling the world exactly what the Obama administration is doing — and what it’s doing is discriminating against traditional religion.

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Bradley KasalMary Tudor (1516-1558) lost Calais, the last English outpost in France.  She found that loss so horrifying that she said, “When I am dead and opened, you shall find `Calais’ lying in my heart.”  Barack Obama has lost Fallujah, the city that American troops, especially Marines, bled and died for, probably in greater numbers than in any other geographic site in our decade long battle against Islamists in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He hasn’t said a single word about this terrible loss, nor does he seem to care that he’s allowed ten years of hard-fought military victories to vanish in the blink of an eye.  When Obama dies and is opened, not only will no one find ‘Fallujah’ lying in his heart, no one will find a heart.

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Obama looking stupidTom Blumer details the five myths people have to believe in order to accept the Obama presidency as anything other than a disaster.  Two involve the economy, one involves Obamacare, one involves climate change, and the last is about national security.  2014 may well be the death of all these myths, but we’ll still be saddled with two more years of Obama.

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Kennedy girls 1960The Democrat party used to have genuine liberals in its numbers — people with a broad, classic education who envisioned a world that was better with America, not a world better off without America.  They may have been useful idiots who were unaware that they represented the pretty front of hardcore Leftism, but they were real.

These old-time liberal Democrats were the people who believed in equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome.  They believed that men and women were different (and viva la difference), but that women were entitled to equal treatment under the law.  They would have scoffed at the notion that men, and all their biological impulses, are dangerous and  perverse, and should therefore be destroyed.  They believed wholeheartedly that blacks were their brothers and sisters, and deserved full standing under the law.  They would have been shocked to hear that the blacks were to be treated economically as marginally intelligent infants and sexually as uncontrolled adolescents.  That’s how the KKK and Jim Crow viewed blacks, and true liberal Democrats fought against those demeaning stereotypes.

Old-time liberal Democrats believed that Israel was a feisty nation, rooted in the Bible, burnished in the terrible crucible of the Holocaust, and to be applauded for fighting against the forces of Communist and Arabist darkness.  They would have been unable to comprehend a world in which their party mouthpieces bellowed loudly that Jews are the new Nazis, simply because they are trying to protect their whole country and their individual citizens from being overrun by genocidal, anti-Christian, misogynistic, homophobic, medieval minds.

Those old-time liberals Democrats, who did truly exist, are gone now.  To those of you like myself who were once Leftists, but now identify as conservatives, you’re not imagining it:  the political party you left beyond has truly gone ’round the bend.  They’re all Marxists now.

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When seconds count, the police are always minutes (74 minutes in this case) away.  Thank God for legal guns.

Gathering together a small sampling of the good stuff

Victorian posy of pansiesA rising San Francisco tech yuppie said what all the hard-working young San Franciscans think about the homeless and derelicts who swarm San Francisco’s streets but that none dare to say aloud.  (I remember well the quiet grumbling about the homeless back in my young days as a downtown yuppie, before political correctness permanently disabled saying such things.)  Needless to say, he’s in big trouble.

I’m not the only one who gets confused about the day on which Pearl Harbor falls.

Sometimes, people who are obsessive compulsive can harness that compulsive energy to create the most amazing beauty.

Despite the Left’s relentless, shrill, well-funded efforts, Americans did not buy into gun control in the year since a crazy man attacked an elementary school.

David Gerstman points out that al Qaeda is indeed on the run — but, contrary to our president’s past boasts, that’s not a good thing.  Gerstman shows definitively that al Qaeda is running to a variety of countries that haven’t previously hosted this anti-American jihadist organization, and then making itself at home there.

A small town police chief reads Kanye West the riot act.  It’s wonderful.

This might be the best paragraph written today:  “Okay, let’s give President Obama some credit. He promised openness, not honesty. You get to see the village. If it’s a Potemkin Village, that’s your problem.”

Thoughts about torture and our self-referential president

I finally got around to watching Zero Dark Thirty, the film about the decade-long hunt for bin Laden.  Before it came out, conservatives were concerned because the White House gave the filmmakers unprecedented access to information about the hunt and about the actual hit on bin Laden.  This opened up the possibility that (a) the movie would betray America’s security secrets and (b) the movie would become a pro-Obama piece of political propaganda.

I don’t know whether the first fear was realized, but the second certainly wasn’t.  Those who claim that the movie supports using torture to obtain information are correct.  The movie opens with audio of phone calls from people trapped in the Twin Towers, and then shifts to a torture site somewhere vaguely Middle Eastern looking.  The torturer is a CIA man.  The person being tortured is a money man for al Qaeda.  Having heard that audio, you are not sympathetic to the al Qaeda guy.

Because of the CIA’s torture tactics, the man gives them useful names.  This happens repeatedly, with al Qaeda members getting hung in chains, hit, subject to water torture, deprived of sleep and human dignity, etc., and eventually revealing names and phone numbers.  The movie makes it clear that they are not being tortured for fun.  They are being tortured to get them to yield information about their, and other people’s, role in killing 3,000 Americans.

The film also makes the point that this information is necessary.  Every so often, after showing CIA interrogations aimed at drawing out a little more information about al Qaeda, the film breaks in with news reports about the Khobar Tower bombing, or the London bombing, or the Islamabad Marriott bombing.  The implication is that it’s vitally necessary for the CIA to crack open al Qaeda’s notoriously closed infrastructure.

The CIA operatives in the movie are dismayed when the situation in Washington changes, making “enhanced” interrogation techniques impossible.  As one says when his boss demands that he get information, if they ask someone in Gitmo, he’ll just get lawyered up and the lawyer will pass on the question to al Qaeda, which can then use it to their advantage.  The only “anti-torture” argument in the movie is a 30 second or so snippet of President Obama saying torture is “not who we are.”

That’s not who we are?  What a funny way to frame a rather more fundamental argument:  Are we, as a society, willing to have our public servants use torture for certain limited purposes?  That’s the question, and the movie answers with a definitive “yes.”  If using torture will get information that can save hundreds, thousands or (G*d forbid) millions of lives, torture is not just appropriate, it’s necessary.  We don’t torture for pleasure or “to make a point,” we do it to save lives.

As for Obama’s that’s “not who we are” statement, I was struck then, as I always am, by how self-referential Barack and Michelle are.  They were at it again in Africa.  Michelle, the spoiled darling of a middle-class Chicago family, said that she’s just like the Senegalese (and before that, she was just like youths in Chicago’s worst ghettos).  I know she’s striving for empathy, but it just ends up looking narcissistic.

Obama is worse, though, because he is America’s official spokesman.  While in Senegal, the press asked him about his response to the Supreme Court’s decisions opening the door for national gay marriage.  (By the way, I like Andrew Klavan’s take.)  Obama, of course, approves.  Not only did he say that, he used the question as an opportunity to talk about gay rights as human rights.  This is actually an important thing, because gays are subject to terrible abuse in both Muslim and Christian Africa.  No matter how one feels about gay marriage or homosexuality, the torture, imprisonment, and murder gays experience throughout Africa is a true crime against human rights.

With the gay marriage question, Obama — who is the greatest orator since Lincoln, right? — had the opportunity to make a profound statement about basic principles of human dignity.  Instead, he embarked upon a wandering rumination about his feelings and his thoughts:

The issue of gays and lesbians, and how they’re treated, has come up and has been controversial in many parts of Africa. So I want the African people just to hear what I believe, and that is that every country, every group of people, every religion have different customs, different traditions. And when it comes to people’s personal views and their religious faith, et cetera, I think we have to respect the diversity of views that are there.

But when it comes to how the state treats people, how the law treats people, I believe that everybody has to be treated equally. I don’t believe in discrimination of any sort. That’s my personal view. And I speak as somebody who obviously comes from a country in which there were times when people were not treated equally under the law, and we had to fight long and hard through a civil rights struggle to make sure that happens.

So my basic view is that regardless of race, regardless of religion, regardless of gender, regardless of sexual orientation, when it comes to how the law treats you, how the state treats you — the benefits, the rights and the responsibilities under the law — people should be treated equally. And that’s a principle that I think applies universally, and the good news is it’s an easy principle to remember.

Every world religion has this basic notion that is embodied in the Golden Rule — treat people the way you want to be treated. And I think that applies here as well. (Emphasis added.)

No wonder that the Senegalese president Mackey Sall had no compunction about delivering a smackdown to the American president. And I do mean a smackdown, since he told Obama that he was a hypocrite to say that every culture has its own way of doing things, and Obama totally respects that, it’s just that the American way is better:

These issues are all societal issues basically, and we cannot have a standard model which is applicable to all nations, all countries — you said it, we all have different cultures. We have different religions. We have different traditions. And even in countries where this has been decriminalized and homosexual marriage is allowed, people don’t share the same views.

Obama is a petty mind with a bully pulpit.

I’m very interested in your views about Syria

Barack Obama chose to sit out the first two years of the civil war in Syria.  When it started, he could have helped out the rebels before al Qaeda co-opted them, but he didn’t.  Now, Syria is in a full-scale civil war with the Assad regime as the proxy for Iran and Hezbollah, and the rebels as the proxy for al Qaeda.  It is a war with no good guys, but with plenty of victims in the form of ordinary civilians (especially children, the elderly, and helpless women) slaughtered wholesale or turned into refugees.

Bret Stephens, writing at the Wall Street Journal says that a very prevalent mindset (and I have to admit that it’s been my view) is that as long as they’re fighting each other, they’re not attacking Israel, America, or Europe.  He thinks this is a dangerous attitude, first, because these regional Shia versus Sunni fights can spread until the entire Arab world is aflame and, second, because these wars radicalize Muslims.

I think Stephens has a point that there is a danger that the entire region goes up in smoke, which could suck in other parts of the world.  I don’t agree with the radicalization, though, because that horse has already left the barn.  In the 1980s, during the Iran-Iraq war (which was another Sunni versus Shia fight), the Muslim world wasn’t yet so radicalized and the war did change things.  Now, though, with 9/11 and ten years of war in the Middle East, not to mention the Arab Spring, the name of the game is “radicalized Muslims through the world.”

Accepting as true that Obama has already screwed up by letting the situation get this far, is there anything that can or should be done now?  Or are we fated to sit here helpless and watch the whole world get sucked into the Middle Eastern black hole?

Islam — the ultimate umbrella organization for violent malcontents

Turban Bomb

As was to be expected (and all of you predicted), the media is rushing to indict . . . America for having failed to give two Chechen immigrant brothers the love they needed.  Because of this, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26 years old, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19 old, became disaffected losers longing to kill.  Or, as their uncle, Ruslan Tsarni of Maryland, told reporters: “This has nothing to do with Chechnya.” Instead the Bomb Brothers were “losers — not being able to settle themselves [in America] and thereby just hating everyone who did.”

There’s your narrative:  this was just like Columbine all over again.  Islam was merely a religious bagatelle attached to two young men who would have been ticking time bombs regardless.  And most importantly as far as the Left is concerned, there’s no indication that these boys acted under al Qaeda’s guidance.  They were truly Americanized in that they were self-starters, arriving at terrorism due to their own disaffection and diligence.

To which I say, who cares about al Qaeda?  al Qaeda does not have to be involved in every attack before the bombing can be labeled as bona fide Islamic terrorism.  al Qaeda is just one head of the hydra.  It’s not the beast itself.

The problem is Islam — by which I don’t mean the garden-variety faith that millions of people practice as a party of their ordinary, non-hate-filled lives.  That’s a housebroken version of Islam, and I highly approve of it.

No, the problem is the very core of Islam — its Jihad element — which is a magnet for disaffected people.  The chicken and egg debate (i.e., which came first, Islam or disaffection?) is irrelevant.  The only thing relevant is that Islam comes last, right before the bomb explodes.  Whether Islam breeds terrorists or just provides an attractive justification for malevolent people doesn’t matter.  There it is, sitting like a big ticking egg, just waiting to go BOOM!

chicken_or_egg

I’ve quoted my cousin, the former prison minister (Christian), dozens of times here, but I think it’s important to say again what he once wrote in an email to me:

It is not a contradiction to be a Muslim and a murderer, even a mass murderer. That is one reason why criminals “convert” to Islam in prison. They don’t convert at all; they similarly [sic] remain the angry judgmental vicious beings they always have been. They simply add “religious” diatribes to their personal invective. Islam does not inspire a crisis of conscience, just inspirations to outrage.

The core of Islam, which is built around Mohammad’s demands that his followers go forth and kill, both creates and attracts killers.  Until we address and de-fang Islam, there will always be “disaffected,” “lone wolves,” who just “coincidentally” have as their last words “Allahu Akhbar.”

The worst thing about those drone strikes is Obama’s moral preening and hypocrisy

There’s been a lot of upset in the conservative blogosphere about Obama’s drone strike policy.  The way the administration phrased it, as “legal,” “ethical,” and “wise,” got a lot of hackles up, especially when Michael Isikoff let slip how little oversight there is — including oversight over decisions to kill American citizens.

A lot of people are very worried about this, because they see a government that feels unfettered by the protections accorded citizens under the Bill of Rights.  The problem, as conservatives see it, isn’t so much what the administration does, but the attitude it has when it does it.  Thus, the administration manifestly refuses to acknowledge that the rights stated in the Bill of Rights are inherent in all citizens and that the government has the burden of proving good cause to implicate or limit those rights in any way.

Instead, in every instance, the Obama administration takes the position that government has the inherent power to impinge upon and limit citizen’s freedoms, or even take their lives, leaving citizens with the burden of proving that the government has overreached.  To the extent that the attitude inverts both the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, people who care about those documents and the unalienable rights they establish and protect are going to view anything the administration does with a jaundiced eye.

Rusty Shackleford, however, who knows as much about Al Qaeda and other Islamist extremists as anyone else on this earth, tells conservatives not to get too uptight about those American citizens that the Obama administration targets for drone killing.  These people aren’t just any old Americans.  Instead, they are citizens who have deliberately thrown their lot in with al Qaeda, thereby taking upon themselves enemy status:

If you think it’s unconstitutional or immoral to kill a member of a terrorist organization living abroad then you and I have very different readings of the Constitution and very different sets of moral standards.

Moreover, it’s just basic common sense that in warfare you don’t stop to ask the person you’re about to shoot for a copy of their passport. Who gives a rat’s ass if bin Laden was Saudi or if he was born in Colorado?

Please, go read the report. Nowhere in it is there even a smidgen of a hint that drones could be used against Americans … in America.

The memo in question sets up a three tiered test for when it’s okay to kill an American living — and this is a direct quote from the memo — “in a foreign country“.

1) He must be an immanent threat. By immanent, we don’t mean the threat is immediate. What we mean is that the person is involved in operations that will go forward unless he is killed. In other words, we don’t have to wait for a suicide bomber to get on the airplane before we kill him.

2) Capture is infeasible. This means that a terrorist living in France will be treated differently than a terrorist living in Mali. The major difference being that the French police are perfectly capable (assuming they have the backbone) of arresting a suspected terrorist. In the hinterlands of Mali, not so much.

Please read the rest of Rusty’s post here.  It will assuage some of your worries about the administration’s acts.

Having said all that, I still think Obama is a rotten stinker for what he’s doing.  I’m not saying that it’s bad to kill al Qaeda operatives wherever and whenever we find them in a foreign country, and regardless of whether they are American or non-American.  Rather, my view arises because Obama is a hypocrite who hasn’t had the decency to come before the American people and say that he was wrong to malign George Bush and our troops as rabid killers.

Nick Gillespie, who has the true libertarian’s disdain for these killings (and I don’t necessarily agree with him, but I do admire his consistency), perfectly sums up Obama’s disgusting double standards:

There is a darkly comic aspect to this, I suppose: Here’s a president who once taught classes in constitutional law and swore up and down that America doesn’t torture, that he was against “dumb wars” waged by his predecessors, that he was more transparent than a glass of triple-filtered water, and who won a goddamned Nobel Peace Prize! And he turns out to be not just a little iffy when it comes to being constrained in his willingness to break all sorts of rules but downright godawful.

And his main mouthpiece is a former MSM drone whose babyface is quickly turning into a map of wrinkles brought on by working for an administration which has manifestly failed to live up to even the mediocre standards of the previous occupant of the White House.

The same president who sounded all high and mighty about Gitmo and the fact that American troops are “air raiding villages and killing civilians” seems to have no problem with going into Pakistan, a country with which we’re not at war, and, once there, drone raiding villages and killing civilians.

Unlike Gillespie, I believe that the Bush people were doing the right thing in their battle against an amorphous enemy that transcends borders and draws fellow travelers from myriad nations.  In that regard, it’s telling that the Bush administration had so many good things going there that Obama, in one of the few wise acts of his presidency, built upon their original programs.

What’s sickening is that Obama has never retracted his attacks against those Americans who spent so much time during the Bush years defending us and, when he does the same thing (only more so), he has his flunkies announce that, because it’s The Won who’s killing and torturing, it’s suddenly legal, ethical, and wise.  Along these lines, don’t forget that Eric Holder spent almost four years wrecking havoc in the lives of CIA agents who used techniques less bad than those Obama now countenances, and only let them off the hook this past August.

Bottom line:  there are few things more loathsome than someone who yells at you and humiliates you for doing something, then does the same thing himself, and, if you call him upon it, says that the mere fact that it is he who’s doing it, not you, makes it all right.

When are we going to admit that there is a war going on between us and radical Islam?

I’m guessing that a majority of Americans (a slim majority, but still a majority) know that America entered WWII because the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.  What few stop to consider is why we ended up fighting, not only the Japanese who had just bombed us, but the Germans as well, since they, after all, had not yet done anything to us.  The answer to that unasked question is that, for reasons known only to a megalomaniac, a few days after the Pearl Harbor attack, Hitler declared war on the United States.  The United States took up the challenge with gusto.  Within months, America had become a war machine, cranking out ships, tanks, guns, airplanes, and trained troops.  If Hitler hadn’t acted, Germany might have won the war.  England, after all, was on the ropes by the time America came in to help out.

It’s a little chilling to think that, were we to replay December 1941 with Obama in the White House, America would simply have ignored Germany’s declaration of war.  We would have heard that we have no quarrel with the Germans, who are a peaceful people, except of course for a handful of madmen.  We would have been told that, if these madmen killed our citizens, we would bring the actual killers to justice, but that we had no quarrel with the nations or ideology that gave birth to those killers and that are hard at work to raise an army of madmen.

As our administration and media talked, Hitler would have tightened his grip on Europe; fought a single front war against the Soviet Union; killed all the Jews, Gypsies, mentally disabled, and homosexuals in Europe; and then enslaved all Slavs and Communists (never mind that Naziism was a variation of socialism itself).   At the end of the day, our government would have said that we’re scarcely in a position to criticize the Nazis, since America was once a slave country itself.  Congress would then have announced economic sanctions, but the Executive office would have failed to enforce them.

But we don’t need a hyp0thetical December 1941 to imagine what our current administration would do.  We can watch it in real-time today.  There is a saying that “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt” — and it’s funny that you should mention Egypt right now.  As if 9/11/01 and 9/11/02 weren’t strong enough declarations of war, Islamist clerics are actively calling all Egyptians to wage war against the west, starting with kidnapping:

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has urged Egyptians to restart their revolution to press for Islamic law and called on Muslims to kidnap Westerners, the SITE Intelligence Group said Friday.

In a video released on jihadist forums and translated by the US monitoring service, Zawahiri also lashed out at President Barack Obama, calling him a liar and demanding he admit defeat in Iraq, Afghanistan and North Africa.

Criticizing the new Egyptian government — led by a president drawn from the Muslim Brotherhood — as corrupt, he said a battle is being waged in Egypt between a secular minority and Muslims seeking implementation of Shariah law.

I’ll admit that this is a challenging war because we are fighting, not a single nation, but a geographically diffuse ideology, but it is still war.  After all, what do you call it when a vast and recognizable group of individuals announces that it intends to kill and enslave your people, and then uses arms to carry out that promise?

We should be addressing this war on all fronts:  militarily, economically, and ideologically.  Instead, we are pretending it’s not happening.  To give credit where it’s due, George W. Bush figured out the military part and, with Iran, the economic part.  His problem, though, was that, as leader of a pluralist country, but he couldn’t bring himself to break through political correctness to admit that we are at war with a huge ideological foe.  After all, many Americans who are good, decent people share the same label (i.e., “Muslim”) as that foe. We confuse linguistic nuances with substance.

A problem of nomenclature, though, should not be allowed to obscure the fact that we have an active, resolute, powerful, and devious enemy.  We therefore do not fight that foe by excusing it.  Instead, we fight it by using every breath of free speech to challenge it in every way possible — debate, media, leaflets dropped from airplanes, and whatever else could work.

Obama has been the ultimate Islamist apologist.  He has only half-heartedly imposed sanctions against Iran, given a blank check to the Palestinians (who are a front in this Islamist jihad), weakened Israel (which is an ally in this existential battle), demoralized troops and energized enemies in Afghanistan by setting a certain pull-out date, and undermined a nascent democracy in Iraq by pulling out all troops without leaving a provisional force.  As for what just happened in Benghazi, that’s a chapter in itself, one that includes institutional cowardice and politicizing, lying, cover-ups and, with the imprisonment of a video maker, the destruction of our First Amendment.

Not only is Obama not much of a leader, he’s totally unsuited to military leadership.  You have to love your country to lead your military.  Obama doesn’t.  You have to believe in your country’s values to lead your military.  Obama doesn’t.  You have to courage to lead your military.  Obama doesn’t.  At every level, in every way, Obama fails as a military leader.  Let’s fire him from the job before it’s too late and we find ourselves defeated in the war we continue to pretend doesn’t exist.

An insight into Progressive beliefs about how voters’ minds work

John Hinderaker caught a very funny statement from Jen Psaki, who is one of the president’s official spokesmen. She was responding to a reporter’s question regarding the fact that PBS asked the Democrats to take down an add using Big Bird (emphasis mine):

We have received that request [from PBS]. We’re reviewing it. I will say it doesn’t change the fact that there’s only one candidate in this race who is going to continue to fight for Big Bird and Elmo, and he is riding on this plane.

You can just see the great minds of the Democrat party meeting to put together a checklist of ordinary voter concerns that they should be addressing.

Meeting Chairman:  Okay, folks.  It’s time to get to work.  With the president having tanked in his first debate, and the very real risk that Joe will implode in his only debate, we’ve got to get the president ready to talk about things that really matter to the American people.  I’m going to open the floor to suggestions:

Twenty-something young man:  Uh, what about young people’s concern about the deficit that they’ll have to pay for?

Chairman:  Not going to happen, We know they’re not thinking about that.  They just want sex, booze, and subsidies.  We’ve already tapped Hollywood to remind the demographic that the President is cool, and that he’s got their backs.

Thirty-something young woman:  The President needs to tell womyn that he’ll make sure that they get free birth control and abortions, as well as unrestricted access to tampons (which should be free too).

Chairman:  Again, not going to happen, Sandra.  Our internal polling shows that the Independents aren’t buying that argument.  Anyway, women know that Obama has got their back, and we’ve had Hollywood double down on its “Republicans will legalize rape” claims.

Black woman:  Should we talk about the fact that blacks are disproportionately affected by unemployment?

Chairman:  Our campaign funds and air time are too limited to do messaging on the way the President’s policies are good for African Americans.  American blacks know that Obama’s got their backs,  He’ll make sure that the government always supports them.

Jewish Guy:  Isn’t it time that the President made a strong statement about Israel?

Chairman:  We’ve polled that one, Shlmo, and it’s going nowhere in this election.  Let’s let sleeping dogs lie.

Palestinian Guy:  The president must talk about the continued slaughter and rape of the Palestinian people.

Chairman:  Calm down, Achmed.  We don’t need to do a strong message on this, because our base knows that the President has the Palestinian people’s backs.

Sex-changed gay transvestite:  I have two words:  Gay Marriage.

Chairman:  The president’s still evolving on that one until after the election, Pat.  Don’t worry.  You guys, gals and indeterminates know that the president has your backs.

Lone WASP guy:  What about the murdered ambassador in Libya, the head of security killed in Yemen yesterday, and all the other signs that al Qaeda is coming back?

Chairman:  Come on, Charlie.  The president has already explained that these are just highly critical movie reviews that got out of hand.  The public doesn’t need to hear more.  Al Qaeda knows that the President’s got its back.  Uh, misspoke there, Dude.  I meant that the American people and the American military know that the President’s got their backs.

Five year old attending meeting because she’s got a cold and her mom is still breast-feeding her:  Mommy, Mommy! I want my Tickle Me Elmo doll!!!

Chairman:  That’s it. Elmo!  Big Bird!  Protecting those icons from Republican attacks is the one thing we need to do in order galvanize those Independent voters.  It’s Mom, Apple Pie, Elmo and Big Bird.  Okay, folks!  Here’s the official line:  President Obama, Defender of Sesame Street!